"We are what we believe we are."
C.S. Lewis

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mop Philosophy Monday

 Fresh flowers at this time of year are a real treat but I can't get mine to last long, do you think I should spritz them with water?  I thought it might keep them from drying out so quickly.
I GIVE UP
The big news from the Old Mop Phil-er:  I've officially given up ironing all of MrBP's shirts, a time- consuming process that I have always found the most tedious of household chores.
My thinking has always been that they will last longer with home care rather than the dry cleaner's heavy machines and use of chemicals.  But guess what:  those shirts fall prey to ink marks before they ever reach old age, and those heavy machines do a much better pressing job than I can ever manage.  
Still, it did feel like a bit of a defeat.

I've been churning out the vegetable soup.
Of course I've been organizing closets again, mostly for the Rascals, but here's a peek at my winter closet, it's all Brora.
My winter closet.
I keep the all-important jumpers in a big drawer.
 I bought some champagne and then proceeded to trip on my own feet on the way home, at which time the champagne flew out of my market basket and landed on the concrete sidewalk.
Champagne bottle of steel.
 It didn't break, much to the surprise of everyone, including the other pedestrians.  
Do you get embarrassed when you do stupid, daft things like tripping in front of a crowd of people and having your champagne bottle fly through the air?  That would have left me mortified when I was younger but it doesn't bother me these days.

Do you remember that I found that perfect black wool dress from Boden, real cheapie on the sales?
Black wool Boden dress with silk charmeuse sash.

 It's perfect for going out for dinners and other evening functions.
As is this dress:
My best silk dress from Brora.
 My silk dress from Brora which I throw on with some pearls.


I was planning to buy a dark navy LV handbag for summer but then I realized that every single time I went out in the evening I was in a bit of a pinch: the lack-of-a-black-handbag-for-evening-pinch.  That meant sticking my lipstick in my pocket or MrBP's, stashing my phone in my coat, having no place for my wallet or cardigan sweater or any of the other things I like to bring with me when we go out.

So I turned to our friend GetFresh of course, who really knows a thing or 8,000 about handbags, we pro-ed and con-ed over various bags and came up, in the end, with this:
Smythson Antonia Small Top Handle Bag in Black.
 It has a top handle and a short shoulder strap, matte gold hardware and is lined with navy satin.
I like the shagreen clasp and the bits of blue stitching, it's structured frame style and roomy compartments.  It is incredibly well-made.
If you are unfamiliar with the Smythson brand you can visit their site here.

Thanks GetFresh for helping me find a classic black bag!  I've used it for several evenings out already and it is perfect.   It was a sensible investment and as far as that navy LV handbag, well maybe next year.

I hope your week is off to a pleasant beginning.
Leave a comment if you please, I love to read them.  We will be losing our electricity this morning for several hours due to some kind of maintenance but I'll be back later this afternoon for a chat.
xoxDani





49 comments:

  1. I cannot believe that the champagne didn't break! Can we have a pic of you carrying the bag? I'd love to see the shape in situ. Over here, shirts don't last that long either, hubs heavy growth seems to grate away collars at an alarming rate, he shaves every morning but bristles by 3 pm.

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    1. that is a swarthy man, Tabs!

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    2. Yes Tabs he's got 3 o'clock shadow!
      Okay will get a picture in the mirror done next time I am gussied up with bag.

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  2. Hi Dani,
    I gave up the shirt ironing a long time ago. My husband never agreed on me ironing the shirts over the weekend for the week. So HE was ironing a shirt every evening for the day after in order to be sure it would be "perfect"... And the dry cleaning started after being fed up to meet with the iron and the iron board every evening...
    I have been sorting the house over the weekend too and was pleased to make some room in the living room, the kitchen and the laundry. It gave me a chance to rethink and reorganize some things in the kitchen. It was a lovely step, but I am sure there is more to do... I love your Brora items, you have great pieces... I tried Boden some timmes ago, but was so disappointed to notice that they have so many items manufactured in China.
    Handbag is one thing I also need to work on in my project as I have really, really hard time to find THE perfect handbag. I know Smythson and love what they do, I never bought anything from them. I have bought on my last trip to England a coin purse from Aspinal, they also have lovely things I thought. Of course LV is one of my preferred shop for bag, but my account is not always on agreement with this...

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    1. Steph the Boden quality is not Brora, I think the dress was made in Romania and I can tolerate it as it is lined in viscose rather than poly, I have one other Boden item and it is made in China.
      The Smythson was quite a bit less expensive than the LV I was saving for but still an investment bag.
      I keep sorting and sorting and I think I'm finally getting somewhere, let's keep it up!

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  3. Well I want to sit with your flowers! I am looking at my own tulips, which are on last feet, and I must go get more, I cannot get through winter without fresh flowers on my dining room table - it just cheers me up so much!

    Okay - that is too funny about the champers! I am so used to making a spectacle of myself that it doesn't really bother me now, but I would of course take the unbroken bottle as a sign from God that drinking IS good and that would make me happy all day long!

    I love this purse! I especially love the clasp on top - those are the kind of embellishments which make my heart sing! I bought a nice black leather satchel bag this season (not in the Symthson league - yours is heart-stoppingly wonderful!) but it was too large. You can go too big and too small and neither is good IMO. I am becoming a bit of a Goldilocks the older I get! Good old GF - I don't know why she isn't a personal shopper - she is so good!!

    I love looking in your closet - it makes me very peaceful. I am not there with mine yet, but I am getting there, slowly but surely. Looking at less is very freeing. Especially when the less is lovely!

    Have a great day!

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    1. WMM there is nothing worse than a crammed closet it muddles the mind. I am so happy your organizing is going well, it can be a load of work but the results are good aren't they!
      Yes that clasp is the bee's knees.

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  4. Give up the shirts, Dani! It's OK!! I spent about a month doing MLAne's, thinking it would be a good activity while watching movies with the girls; too many complaints were lodged so (gladly) quit.

    We do need some flowers this time of year, don't we? I don't know know if a bit of sugar and lemon juice prolongs them, but that's what I do.

    I am a "faller"; at this point I am just grateful not to break anything (bones not Champs). I do yoga to help balance. Skiing is frightening but worth it.

    Oh, should clean this house-- tooo much snow fun this weekend. Enjoy your day!

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    1. Lane I'm a big clumsy oaf, I do quite a bit of balance work every day with my Classical Stretch program and it does work wonders.
      Thanks for the OK, it feels good to quit the iron!

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  5. BLOOMING LOVELY Ta for crediting my closet obsession darling. With Tabs on the full monte purse photo. You've got me buying smora Brora so only fair I swing you over to Smythson. And champagne seems a worthy accompaniment.

    To keep your pretty flowers longer > make sure vase is super clean, no soap residue. Add a 1/4 tsp. of asprin (a Bayer tablet), a 1/4 tsp. of sugar and 1/4 tsp. of white vinegar, vodka or bleach (anti-bac.) to liter of water and stir. And drop a copper penny in the vase. Cut stems a small bit at 45 degree angle every other day (tulips straight across).

    BTW, you are not "helping" with that navy dress. The other Brora silk sale print (as blouse) I have been preening over, along with the stars. Happy Monday with less ironing (drudge I actually find satisfying BUT do know it's brilliant to let go of a chore you despise, phew.)

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    1. GF, what, no eye of newt or hair of toad by the full moon? Kidding of course, but it does seem like a lot of steps. Domestic diva I am not.
      :^)

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    2. xoxo hah from very un-Martha. But when hotels spend gobs on flowers for lobbies, VIP guests, events - and many are in relatively remote to flower shop locations - they tend to perfect making them last the week. Random workplace absorption that actually helps ;-)

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    3. I can imagine there is science to the method, especially given the price and "perishability" of fresh flowers. I will try to remember this helpful tip.

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    4. Oh!!! the star blouse is so lovely GetFresh... I wanted to let go for this one, but I definitely try to not buy much silk as I need to wash and iron them myself as I don't trust my dry cleaner after she managed to break all the buttons of two cardi and one Brora silk blouse (yes she did replace the buttons on the cardi, but on one of them she put flower shaped buttons!!)... Thanks for the flowers tips!

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    5. GF will follow these instructions when my Feb flowers arrive end of week, thank you! That Brora star blouse is beautiful.

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  6. I'm a total clutz but I don't get embarassed over it anymore. One time, I was out on a date with a fella and he took me to a busy Italian restaurant where we sat on the patio, next to the street. After the meal, as we were rising to leave, my friend noticed a tiny spot of sauce on his tie and asked me if I thought anyone would notice it. At that point it became apparent that I had somehow caught the tablecloth and was taking it with me, pulling dishes and glasses off to smash on the tiles and spilling water in the process. As all eyes turned to see the melee and identify the offender, I replied dryly to my friend that no, I didn't think anyone would notice the spot on his tie. I still break more than my share of glassware but thankfully it's never in front of such a crowd so in that perspective it's not a big deal.

    I am intrigued with the handbag brand, perhaps I can squeeze in a visit to the store while I'm here in London. I love a quality handbag and of course they are perfect travel souvenirs too, now that you've started that idea.

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    1. xoxo Smythson started 125 years ago with stationary, diaries and small leather goods, ladies' bags relatively new. They have recently re-done their Bond St. store, think you'd like.

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    2. xoxo that's hilarious! Yes I think the spotted tie was safe from scrutiny, how funny!
      Yes please go to Smythson. I ordered from the British site and the service was excellent, the shipping free and it arrived in the most beautiful tissue-lined box. I would love to hear your impressions of the actual store!

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    3. XOXO ... you've made my day. So funny and I hope you didn't have Black Fleece on.

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  7. Morning Dani - your new evening bag is beautiful, so classic! I'd also like to see it in a full photo. I can't believe that bottle didn't break! I'm a bit of a klutz too, so when we lived in BP I lived in fear of tripping on our tile stairs.

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    1. Patricia, I bought the champers to cheer up a friend so I was very glad it didn't break!

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  8. I love your new bag, and like others, would love to see a whole photo of it. Smythson has such beautiful and classic designs, it'll last forever. Bottle of champagne seem to be quite hardy, as I've dropped a few, and never have broken one either. Glad you gave up on the shirt ironing. Good move.

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    1. Kathy yes the relief with the shirts, I've just been out to pick them up at the cleaners and they are all perfect.
      The bag is a total classic and the perfect size, I didn't want anything that looked too evening-ish yet it needed to fit in with my black dresses and shoes I wear when we go out. It's quite special and I told MrBP absolutely no valentine's day or anniversary presents as I have my gift.

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  9. Fortunately my hubs wears flannel and the few dress shirts he wears to dinners they either go to dry cleaners or he does himself. I hate ironing. Fresh flowers are always a must (oriental lilies are my fav) but I like greenery arrangements from garden in winter also. Last along time. I have really got to check out this Brora...never heard of it until recently.

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    1. BlueBooby I will join you in the dread of ironing. I ironed my hand once I can't believe I didn't stop then.

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  10. Count me on the list of those who would like to see a full photo of your new bag. Great investment, you will carry it for years.

    I have fresh flowers in my office every week. I spend so much time at work. The flowers make it so pleasant to be here. I'm going to have to try Get Fresh's method for making them last longer!

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    1. Hi DF, okay I better get on this photo pronto!
      What a good idea to have flowers at your office considering you spend your days there, they really are civilized.

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  11. It was lovely to click on your post and be greeted by that gorgeous bouquet. My flowers never last as long as I'd like, but here are a few tips.

    - Make a fresh cut at the bottom of each stem before placing the flowers in the vase. I usually trim off about a half inch, sometimes more depending on how tall vase is.

    - Add a crushed aspirin to the water in the vase. I've never tried this myself.

    - On the rare occasion that I have pop (soda) in the house. I add about a 1/4 cup to the vase. Something clear like Sprite looks the best. Otherwise, I add 3 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of vinegar to a quart (liter) of water. The sugar is supposed to nourish the flowers and the vinegar keeps the water clear longer. I do find that I have to change the water every few days to keep it from getting mucky. I hope this helps!

    Do you have a favorite Vegetable Soup Recipe? I have yet to find one that I really like.


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    1. maryeb thank you. Who knew about this aspirin business? I will be trying all tips!
      I generally saute a shallot in a bit of olive oil, then start adding in celery, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, really whatever is lying around as far as vegetables go. I add lots of water and simmer it for at least an hour, then puree in my blender in batches. I often serve it with a little cream swirled into the top, everyone loves it!

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  12. I *love* your black bag! It is perfect. Whenever I fly through Heathrow, I stop at Smythson to admire their offerings.

    Looks like Mr. BP has a big of a colour story going. Though you may feel defeated, do you also feel a bit relieved?

    I'm glad the champagne survived. I'm not too bothered by tripping and such anymore, but I remember falling on ice as a middle school-er, in front of an elementary school and being mortified when a handful of kids pointed and laughed.

    I really like you Brora silk shirts. I'm looking for a tie front silk shirt (tie at the neck, not the waist), and a scarf front shirt (not necessarily silk). It's all about the small luxuries in clothing, I think - the drape, the material.

    No plant advice here, as I only buy hard to kill plants. That said, frequent replenishing of the water for cut flowers seems to prolong their life (but maybe that is a plants 101 tip).

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    1. Abby I was often embarrassed as a kid, I was a little runt who was terrible at any sport involving a ball and was often laughed at. Brora has a couple of blouses on the sale which are very beautiful with their loose ties!
      Plants do not survive in my house. I would at least like to be able to take care of fresh flowers!

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    2. Dani, this was me to a T!: "I was a little runt who was terrible at any sport involving a ball and was often laughed at."

      I still say, I don't play sports that involve balls. Good thing I discovered that there is fitness beyond gym class. I'm still not a natural athlete, but I can at least enjoyably partake in other sports - why didn't they introduce us to all of the other ways to be fit when we were in school?

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  13. Hi Dani, glad to hear you did not hurt yourself in the fall and the champagne survived too! During a rainstorm, I slipped and slid down on my backside down a flight of stairs in a subway station. I couldn't sit comfortably for a week after. I applaud your choice of the Smythson bag. It looks fabulous and I am sure the quality matches their other merchandise. I would love to own a Smythson bag but am afraid to drop so much money on an online purchase and on a bag I have not seen in real life. Next time I get to visit London, I will surely go and see the bags in person. I love buying the stationery at Smythson, it is almost too good to write upon.

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    1. Louise that sounds AWFUL. Oh my you poor thing. I can only imagine how much that would have hurt, those subway stairs are so slippery. I wouldn't have had the nerve to order the Smythson without GetFresh's help so I really have her to thank. They do ship for free and I could have returned it if it hadn't worked out but truly the best method is to see the bags in person. Please go to the store when you are in London and then you can tell us all about it!

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  14. The flowers are gorgeous, are they from the monthly delivery you got from dear MrBP? I would just leave them as is, when I try to intervene it never works.
    I will be making a vegetable soup tonight, already thinking about it, I love soups. Yesterday I did quite a walk in the snow and I was thinking about what would happen if I slipped on the ice and if that would be embarrassing. I decided that I don't care too much. Good thing the bubbly survived, more reasons to drink!

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    1. Yes ajc they are, they were January's flowers. More are coming this week and they will brighten things up considerably, my it's gloomy here today.
      We had plenty of exercise over the weekend as well, the only worry with slipping is breaking something I'm sure you'll agree! Enjoy your soup tonight, that will be just the thing.

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  15. Your new handbag is beautiful. I especially like the shagreen clasp - such a luxurious detail.

    I am the worst clutz, and once upon a time, a slip or drop would embarrass me for days on end. I'm glad to hear you didn't hurt yourself. Cheers to you!

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    1. Merry Wife, thank you and no I wasn't hurt at all, I sort of caught myself but the flying champagne was quite a spectacle!

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  16. My parents should have named me Klutzy! Even so, I'm sure I would have spent one of my 9 lives trying to get under a bottle of champagne to stop it breaking. My Mr's shirts are not hand-pressed by me and I feel no guilt whatsoever. Ironing is so boring. Was the champagne to celebrate you throwing off the ironing shackles? Your newest addition from Smythson looks lovely.

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    1. Sulky I have an image of your furry ninja body flying through the air to catch the champagne. I should just bring you on my trips to the Happy Store!
      I'm so happy to be over ironing, what was I thinking?
      The champagne was a cheer up for Berna who has been locked into the darkness of a winter gloom. Then she went to Florida and it made it WORSE. So the champagne, I mean sometimes you have to bring out the big items!

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  17. I don't know about the aspirin or other tips but I do know that the key to floral longevity is to prohibit the growth of bacteria below the waterline. To that end, stems should be trimmed at an angle, using a sharp knife, and under running water if possible. All vegetation-leaves, buds,etc- that will be under water must be removed. The aspirin, vinegar, bleach and other preservatives are added with the intent of keeping the water bacteria free. I just change the water frequently and add nothing. Sugar is said to feed the plants, but again, I have never tried it. Additionally, the biggest threat plants face is the gas emitted by aging fruit. It causes a natural senescence in the flower which will hasten its departure. Keep those blooms away from fruit. Certain flowers like Narcissus can not be mixed with other flowers because they emit a toxin, and Gerbera daisies are notoriously susceptible to the decay from other flowers and will last so much longer if by themselves. Whew. I have become an admirer of Smythson ever since I saw it on Tabitha's amazing blog. Great choice. I now have my husband's and sons shirt laundered. It is my understanding that they wash the shirts in soap, not dry cleaning fluid. Ironing is soooo time consuming. I am sure your family enjoys your time spent cooking your fabulous soup far more than the time you spent ironing!

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    1. KnitYarns time for cooking is always appreciated it seems. I just couldn't do a nice job on those shirts, I'll stick to table linens and try to avoid that whenever possible!
      How do you know so much about preserving flowers! Thank you for taking the time to offer your expertise! You know, I wondered about those Gerbera, I have had them single in vases and they last a long time, in a mixed bouquet they get 4 days.
      My bag is the mini version of Tabitha's, she has the large black Antonia!

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  18. Hi Dani! The flowers are very pretty, and your new handbag is so very lovely! I would also love to see a full photo it. :)

    Do not feel bad about sending Mr.BP's shirts to the cleaners. Ironing is very time consuming (not to mention less than enjoyable), so if you can outsource the chore, then why not? I'm sure that he is very thankful to have it taken care of it for him either way.

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  19. Thank goodness the champagne was saved!

    I gave up ironing RDog's shirts awhile ago. Dry-cleaning men's shirts is so cheap! Why can't it be that affordable for ladies blouses?

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  20. The Boden dress looks stunning on you!

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  21. Hi Dani,
    My goodness that bag is a stunner. It's just the perfect size. It's good enough for the Queen , Tabs and now you.
    Yeah for saving the champagne and love the flowers.
    Years ago we went out to dinner and I went to pass the silk tasseled menu across a lit candle. Boy does silk catch on fire. The waiter came to the rescue and I never recovered. The whole restaurant went quiet and I wanted to slide under the table.

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  22. Hi Dani,
    I absolutely adore your blog. I've replaced all of my husband's shirts with Brooks Brothers No Iron shirts. I just launder them, remove them from the dryer immediately, hang them, and all of the wrinkles just disappear as the shirt cools. They still look fabulous after many, many washings. He looks polished and well cared for.

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