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I love France as much as I love dogs so The French Dog by Rachael Hale is a delight.  The photography is so beautiful that I keep it on my coffee table.  The dog lover in your life will enjoy pouring over this book and dreaming of a trip to France where the dogs live  la belle vie.

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In particular I love my dog; I always say that he is my favorite person.   He’s a person wearing a fur onsie who happens to lick his butt.  No judgement there; we all have our quirks.  My dog and I, we’re like this and I can read his mind.  I am certain that he could have written these poems, had he access to a computer.  I keep it out of his reach because he’s really smart and really mischievous and wouldn’t hesitate to write a juicy tell-all book just to blackmail me for exclusive rights to my bed.  I bought this book the other day while shopping for others, but decided that it was the perfect gift for myself.  I have taken to reading the poems from I Could Chew On This by Francesco Marciuliano out loud to my family, but can barely finish because I’m laughing so hard.

Here’s an excerpt:


I wag my tail

I tilt my head

I give a little wink

I flash my smile

I show my belly

I give a little lick

I do it all

From sit to speak

To attract women far and near

Then you chime in

With something about “fan fiction”

And I realize we’re going to die alone

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Okay here’s one more:



When I’m running on the beach

The warm wind in my face

The cool water at my paws

The bright sun shining on us all

I’ll stop for a moment

Look out at the brilliant blue ocean

And think

“Have I really eaten the same exact dinner

For eight years straight?”

Trust me, the Dog Lover on your holiday list will love these books.  Or just forget everyone else and buy the books for yourself!

© 2014, All rights reserved. Republished only with permission.


Simple and Modern Holiday Decor

in Christmas

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Finding holiday decorations that are modern and simple that fit in with my existing decor can be somewhat challenging; my tastes lean more toward Swanky Penthouse or Groovy Downtown Loft than Santa’s Workshop or Rustic Cabin.  I also change the colors of my decorations every year.  Yes, I own a lot decorations.  This year the combination is gold, silver and white.

My favorite places to look for modern holiday decor are: West Elm, CB2, Crate & Barrel, Anthropologie, Ballard Designs, local home design boutiques and of course Target who knocks off everyone else.  Although stores like TJMaxx, Marshall’s and Home Goods cater more toward to the tchotchke crowd, it’s worth a look; often times I get lucky.

Since I don’t have a fireplace anymore, I used my coffee table as a display surface.  The gold tray and silver box are always on the coffee table, but everything else was added for Christmas.  I even changed out the coasters, although since  they fit with my overall decor I will keep them out after the holidays.  I love that the trees all have different textures.


candle – Anthropologie

boxwood ball – West Elm

coasters – Anthropologie

reindeer – Target

trees – Target

I added the peace wreath this year and I love it so much that it will be a permanent decoration and I will just take off the lights.  I love the scale,  it’s huge and makes a statement at the top of the stairs.


peace wreath – CB2

battery operated thin wire led lights – Amazon

I am always on the hunt for a great tree skirt that doesn’t look like an Ugly Christmas Sweater and I love this faux fur version; I see myself using this for many years to come.  Swanky.


tree skirt – Pottery Barn

Hanging this garland of gold geometric cubes on my bannister instead of greenery keeps with my color scheme, is modern and also allows me to display holiday cards.


garland – Target

mini clothes pins – Michael’s

I wanted to bring some holiday decor to my art wall this wreath is perfect.  Originally it had a big red bow, but I removed it.  A small clear command hook was easy to install on the mirror and will be easy to remove.


wreath – TJMaxx

This red cabinet is a focal point in the room, so I thought it needed decoration.


gold stars – Pier 1

And finally inspired by store window displays, I had the bright idea of stringing gold snowflakes from track lights in the ceiling with fishing rod line.  Not such a bright idea because it was tedious and sort of dangerous, but hey it looks great.


gold snowflakes – Target

As I have shown it’s possible to decorate for the holiday season and still retain the personality of your modern home!

© 2014, All rights reserved. Republished only with permission.


It happened at the Apple Store.  Launch Day for the iPhone 6: long lines, no lunch, and everything that could go wrong with my order did go wrong.  4 hours later I was still cool until I had to let somebody know what’s what.  When I got home I expressed my anger on Facebook.

My Facebook Post, September 23, 2014 

Y’all think I’m sweet. You don’t even know. Just ask that lady at the Apple Store who said to two black young men near me “if you say one more word, I’m going to call the police.” I had no choice but to insert myself in that situation.

Facebook Friend 1:   Oh my! What did you say?
Facebook Friend 2:    Thank God you were there!
Facebook Friend 3:    Oh hells no!
Facebook Friend 4:   What.
Facebook Friend 5:   I REALLY want to know what you said and how that situation turned out. But without even knowing, I’m so glad you were there!!!
My Husband:   You guys have nooooooo idea who this woman is! And I love her for that.
Facebook Friend 6:   Boom!
Facebook Friend 7:   I gotta hear the end of that. Share.
Facebook Friend 8:   Okay we need details. So beyond proud of you!!
Facebook Friend 9:   Just ask me how sweet you were in 7th grade. 

What Happened In The Apple Store

Me:  Picture this: two young men, dressed in polo button downs, nice watches and designer jeans, buying iPhones on launch day with their parent’s money.  The woman was….at the end of the class spectrum, to put it nicely.  I did not have all the facts, but it seems like the woman and the boys had words the whole time they were in line outside. Then the one of the boys said something smart under his breath when the woman passed him in the store.  Yes, he was a privileged little smart-ass, BUT this woman was like 50 years old and these kids were 18 or 19.  
All I could see was my son. When she said “if you say one more word, I’m going to call the police” at the top of her lungs, clearly for all around to hear, I calmly reminded her that she was the adult, they were kids and if she thought they were out of hand or felt “threatened” as she said (give me a f**ing break, I guaranteed these kids were seniors at Westminster or Morehouse freshman and couldn’t fight their way out of a paper bag), tell the Apple store manager to deal with them but to call the police on two young BLACK BOYS for saying things she didn’t like, she needs to check that.
And then it got ugly when she said, “how dare you play the race card with me – my husband is a brown man” (standing next to her, he was brown, yes, but not African American). Ya’ll KNOW those were fighting words! “Race Card?!” I said, “Oh, you don’t know me – who do you think you are talking to?” And yup, it was ON and escalating quickly.
Many Apple employees intervened to break us up and she ended up in the corner crying “how dare she call me racist” (which I did not). The boys slinked away to the other side of the room. I got distracted and couldn’t find them again, otherwise I would have given them a talking to – while this woman was crazy and wrong for “calling the police” on these boys and really a bully, their smart asses were going to land in jail. Confronted with the situation, a cop would have taken this low-class woman’s word over theirs – no matter who their daddy was. They really needed to know that. They had no clue, during the whole exchange they looked like two deer in headlights.
Facebook Friend 10:   GOOD. FOR. YOU!! I wish you could have spoken to the boys too, but I’m happy you put her in her rightful place! Threatening to call the police over words from teens. With all the sensitivity happening now, she wanted to escalate some sillyness? Smh…
Facebook Friend 11:   Man oh man. I don’t even know what to say. Ready to call the police? Whats the charge….being black and male? And she said it out loud and has a “brown man?!?” I’m sooooo glad you were there..and not me. Maybe I’m not as calm as I thought because this really disturbs me. It realllllllly does….
Facebook Friend 12:   I guess she doesn’t have any “brown” boys at home. Seriously. Be an adult and tell those boys what’s what. But call the police? That sounds like a death sentence these days.
Facebook Friend 13:
Richard Smith's photo.
Facebook Friend 14:   She knew exactly what calling the police meant and was willing to test her societal privilege by threatening their lives simply because she could. Because calling the police on a black man means that he could die, even if he’s the victim…and more than any other time this is irrefutable! Excellent intervention!!!
Me:   Actually Friend 12, I think she did have kids because she kept saying “they were rude and my kids would have never been rude like that”. I did not deny that – it sounds like the boys were being spoiled brats – but I told her that she should have told someone in the store to get them kicked out the line if they were being that horrible. Really the argument was stupid…something like the boys would not move up in line when they should have. But to still be shouting an hour after the fact AND threaten to call the police in a very loud voice was, like you said, a possible death sentence these days. Married to a “brown” man or not, she knew that was her ace in the hole and she used it.
Facebook Friend 15:   Wow….young black men need to wake up and think about their actions…thank goodness for you.
Me:   Facebook Friend 11, the charge would have been, in her words, harassment. The kid said “oh so now you want to stand by me” when she passed him, so from what I understand, she felt that he was holding up the line outside and he felt that she was not wanting to stand next to him and his friend. I don’t know, whatever, it was stupid – and hardly harassment. And her husband was right there – her life was not in any danger. And she was talking to a KID – seriously, he had braces and pimples. I assume a college freshman because they were out of school, but he could have been in high school. Chastise his little smart ass or get him kicked out of the line, but threatening to call the police was taking it too far. Tension was already high from the long lines. This is how people end up dead.
Facebook Friend 11:   Yeah, it’s beyond sad when people think the first option for any conflict with us is the police. I wonder what’s the real goal…subconsciously…under it all….erase us from America? All of us in jail and only deal with the black folks you tolerate or like? Ugh. I hate it. Let me find some Dave Chapelle specials on youtube or something. I need a laugh right now..a smile. Thanks for sharing the story.
Me:  Facebook Friend 14,  these kids didn’t even think. Unfortunately I am sure they believe that what they see on TV does not apply to them….after all they are not criminals or thugs or drug dealers – or whatever they *think* one needs to be to end up in jail, or worse, dead. Child, don’t nobody care who your parents are or how much money they have. We have learned the questions will be asked after the fact – if at all.
Facebook Friend 14:   That is what is so crazy….calling the police could have been a death sentence….that lady fully understood her threat….it is ashamed we have to be fearful of their very people that are suppose to be there to protect.
Facebook Friend 16:   I hope and pray should my kids ever need it, you are standing nearby to come to their defense. Married to a brown man does not exempt you from being racist….where did she get that from?

Me:   I saw my son in those boys – not that he would have talked to an adult like that, but just a kid who was in a situation that could have taken a turn for the worse really fast. The boys were clearly in over their heads, smart asses – yes, but no threat. If the police was called, I would have been there with them as a witness, I would not have let them go alone. And if that woman doesn’t think that her husband would be profiled at an airport (he was brown like Middle Eastern or Indian) she doesn’t travel much.

Facebook Friend 16:   I know! But it’s sad that our kids cant be kids for fear of a situation turning very bad. What did her husband say during the whole thing?
Me:   Oh he was right there with her, co-signing, but she was clearly the vocal (and most crazy) one. Did I mention that these were grown people? And not small in stature. The kids did not look threatening in the least. Except they were black boys, I guess to some that is threatening enough.
Facebook Friend 17:   Yay. For. You.
Facebook Friend 18:   That is crazy and ridiculous both at the same time-The woman was crazy and her husband was ridiculous. Good for you.
Facebook Friend 19:   These are the lessons we must teach our young men. Even if your kid wouldn’t act like that, you have to warm them about being around and getting caught up with some kids that may. So sad. Some people don’t even have to have such convos with their young men.
Facebook Friend 20:   As you should have.
Me:   Facebook Friend 19, I know what you’re saying but actually I don’t know what that conversation would look like. I mean if the boys were being rude I would tell them to check themselves but what if the woman started it? What if the boys were just defending themselves (if in a smart-assed way)? I wanted to hear their side of the story, but the woman just screamed over everyone.
Facebook Friend 19:  Yeah I understand… Can’t prepare them for things even we can’t imagine happening. Or not knowing both sides. I still find it scary though.
Me:   Yes, agreed, it is scary. And sad and frustrating and stressful.
Facebook Friend 21:   You can never “behave” well enough to appease a bigot – nor should you try. White kids are often super rude to adults (AKA their parents) and to police but it seldom results in their deaths. John Crawford III was walking through Walmart doing what? Yeah. NOTHING! And only now that he is in danger of being sued is the white man who “felt threatened” and called the police recanting his story. That won’t help John Crawford or his family though. Too bad no white person saw fit to check this woman’s abhorrent behavior and the putrid attitude that birthed it. I’m sorry you were placed in the position to have to address her, but I am glad you did. You made a difference today! God bless you for doing that good deed that He planned in advance for you to do. You were on assignment today.
Facebook Friend 22:   I wish you had gotten to speak to those boys afterwards. They need to know just what kind of crisis you may have averted for them.
Facebook Friend 23:   Go Sherrelle!!!!
Me:   If you haven’t seen this before, it’s worth watching. Jon Stewart nailed it. 


Although my experience in the Apple Store was upsetting and mildly disruptive with shouting and name-calling, can you imagine how this would have gone down if it had happened this week, the week of the Michael Brown and Eric Garner decisions?

© 2014, All rights reserved. Republished only with permission.


As I said in yesterday’s blog post, 4 Quick And Easy Halloween Costumes, once I decided to dress up for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, I knew that I had to be something awesome.  I’ve always had a soft spot for those turtles; back when they were first popular, before I even had children, my godson was obsessed with them.  I watched the cartoons, I saw the movies, I played with the toys.  I know all about those turtles; it would be so much fun to be one for halloween!   I would get to talk like a surfer, leap around and randomly throw ninja kicks.  The fact that I get to carry a weapon was even better.

Don’t get scared by the list of materials needed for this costume, it’s pretty easy.  I’ve done the hard work for you by combining the best parts of several Ninja Turtle DIY costume ideas found on Pinterest with my own ideas into one easy-to-follow blog post.

Let’s get started!  Gather your materials:


green shirt – I bought mine at American Apparel, but also saw shirts at Target, Wet Seal and Forever 21.  I was picky with my shade of green and wanted to match my shorts, but if you don’t care, buy the first green shirt you see.

green shorts or pants – I bought mine at American Apparel.  Honestly green shorts were harder to find than I thought they would be.  Since it was hot at Disney World (and let’s face it, I wanted to look cute), I wore shorts, but you could wear green leggings or even black leggings.  If you want to wear shorts, go straight to American Apparel and save yourself the hunt.

green socks – I bought mine at American Apparel.  I didn’t have any luck with green socks at a sports store.  Just make your life easier and go to American Apparel for all the clothes!  These are really nice socks.

dark green fabric  – You only need two strips long enough for the turtle shell straps.

light green fabric – You probably need a 1/4 – 1/2 yards, enough to make abs on the shirt.

fabric for the mask, leg and arm bands (the color of your particular turtle) – I was Raphael; he wears red.  You will probably only need a 1/4 yard, but make sure it’s long enough for a mask and to tie around your arms and legs.

aluminum roasting pan – This can be bought at any grocery store for $3.

a strip of (fake) leather  – I bought this at a fabric store.  You can also use brown fabric.  You only need a piece long enough for your waist.

a wooden circle – This is for the belt medallion.  I bought it at Michael’s for $2.

a wooden letter (the first initial of your particular turtle) – I bought this at Michael’s for $2; it was already painted black.

fabric glue or body tape – I wanted to wear my nice American Apparel shirt after halloween, so I didn’t want the turtle abs to be permanently glued on.  Body tape is sticky, but it can be removed.  If your shirt is a one-time use, fabric glue is fine.

hot glue gun and/or wood glue – You need some adhesive to assemble the belt.

dark green spray paint

brown spray paint

gold paint – I already had spray paint, but you can use regular paint as well.  A small bottle is enough.

weapon – This accessory will vary according to your particular turtle.  Raphael carries a pair of sai. I bought these at Target for $2.

With all the materials assembled now you’re ready to


STEP 1:  Make a rectangle template from a piece of cardboard and then use that to cut out the turtle abs from the light green fabric.  Next cut the corners a bit to round them.

TMNT costume abs

 STEP 2: Before adhering the turtle abs, put on the shirt and mark the place under your breasts with a piece of tape.  Start the turtle abs under the tape.  My turtle had a six-pack.  I used sticky body tape because I wanted to wear this very nice shirt again (without turtle abs), but you can use fabric glue.  The body tape stayed on nicely, but was easy to remove later.

TMNT costume adding abs

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Shirt Costume

STEP 3:  Cut a strip of of fabric for your mask.  Have a friend draw around your eyes (make sure it’s someone you trust!) then cut out the eye holes.  Cut a little space for your nose as well.  While you’re at it, cut strips of the same fabric to tie on your arms and legs.

TMNT costume mask

STEP 4: Paint the wood medallion gold and let it dry.

gold paint Teenage Ninja Turtle costume gold belt

STEP 5: When the medallion is dry, glue on the wood initial; I used wood glue.  Then glue the initialed medallion to the leather strip with a hot-glue gun.   After I put the belt around my waist, I fascinated it in the back with a safely pin.

TMNT costume belt

STEP 6: Find a well-ventilated area to spray the aluminum pan dark green.  Let it dry according to the directions.  Next spray on the brown paint very lightly.  You don’t want to cover the green paint, you just want to make it look more turtle-y.

Teenage Ninja Turtle Costume green shell

STEP 7: When the paint is dry, poke holes (carefully!) in the top and bottom of the pan and thread two strips of dark green fabric thru the holes.  Make a knot.  This is your shell!

TMNT costume shell

TMNT costume shell straps

 Put on the turtle shirt, shorts, socks, mask, belt, leg and arm bands, and turtle shell.  Proceed to walk around like the bad-ass, yet lovable, super hero that you are while throwing punches and ninja kicks.  A most excellent idea!

Funki Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Costume


© 2014, All rights reserved. Republished only with permission.

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4 Quick And Easy Halloween Costumes

in Totally Random

Full confession: halloween is not my favorite holiday.  I like candy as much as anyone else (actually probably more than most) but I just don’t get into halloween.  I really don’t decorate and the last time I put any effort into a costume for myself was probably back in college.

However, this year my family was going to celebrate my daughter’s 13th birthday at the best halloween party ever – Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party in Disney World.   If you know anything about me you would know that I either go big or go home, so if we were going to a Disney World halloween party, of course we were going to dress up.  And if I was going to dress up, it was going to be excellent.  I only have two speeds: i don’t care and excellent.  If I was going to dress up, then I was going to be a super-hero because I kind of think I am one anyway.  Any day I expect S.H.I.E.L.D. to come knocking on my door, asking me to use my powers for yet another alien invasion.

I wanted us to go as a group costume and had so many great ideas, but my daughter only wanted to be Minnie Mouse.  And my son based his costume decision on his favorite hat.  My husband didn’t even think about his costume until the day before we left for Disney World.  I suggested the standard  what-I-can-find-in-my-closet costume, a pirate, but he wanted to pretend that he gave some thought to his costume choice.  Translation: he wanted me to think of a costume for him that wasn’t lame and shop for it and assemble it the day before our vacation.  I was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.  Most excellent.

Family Halloween Costumes

As you can see, all the costumes turned out great! While the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume was more involved than the rest, it was still only a couple of hours of work.  The end result – most excellent! – was worth the effort.  The rest of the costumes were either no work at all or took less than 30 mins to assemble.


Minnie Mouse

black leotard  – My daughter’s own.  I tight tee will work as well.

red skirt –  I bought this skirt at Forever 21 for about $10. If you are lucky enough to find one with dots, even better.

white felt – I bought at Michael’s for less than $1.   I cut the circles and used fabric glue to adhere dots to the skirt.

white ribbon for the belt – I bought at Michael’s for $3.

yellow ribbon for the shoes – I bought at Michael’s for $2.

black tights or leggings – My daughter’s own.

Minnie Mouse ears – My daughter’s own from a past Disney World trip, but I have seen them at Target in the party section.



plaid shirt – My son’s own.

jeans – My son’s own.

cowboy boots – My son’s own.

cowboy hat – My son’s own.

bandana – I bought at a local five & dime store for $1.


Clark Kent / Superman

hat – My husband’s own.

dark suit pants – My husband’s own.

white dress shirt – My husband’s own.

dark tie – My husband’s own.

glasses – My husband’s own.

suspenders – I bought at Target for $12.

Superman tee – I bought at Target for $12.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Costume

There is a complete tutorial on this blog post.


We had a ball at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and I loved talking like a surfer, leaping around wielding sai and doing random round kicks, fully in character.  Hmmm…maybe this halloween thing is not so bad after all!

 Family Disney Castle Halloween

© 2014, All rights reserved. Republished only with permission.