Beat the Heat

July 3rd, 2015

frozenWe are having a little heat wave here in the land of Never- and the order of the week food wise has looked a little like this-   Salads, Salads and more salads.   Plus various melons.

It hasn’t been ‘that’ bad for me- since being from the Deep South- our heat always comes with a splash of humidity, bound to ruin even the best hair and make-up days.

After dinner-  (California chicken salad- a recipe from my dear friend Carol) I wanted something-   I decided on some frozen berries- a few pieces of crushed walnut- some museli- and I mixed some lemon and plain quark together.

My intent was to cool off with the frozen berries, but my taste buds did a little happy dance in my mouth-   It was SO good!

Have you ever tried frozen blueberries?  They are so good-

Happy 4th weekend y’all-   Be safe-   Eat some amazing BBQ and spend time with people you love-   Make memories.

 

 

Happy Birthday Month to ME!

July 1st, 2015

eatcakeEat Cake for Breakfast… probably one of my all time favorite little sayings-  and that’s exactly what I did a few weeks ago-      I made these little mini layer cakes (carrot cake with walnuts and cream cheese frosting) as a little something to offer on my business page, but after photographs and so forth- I decided to have one for breakfast.

That, a cup of coffee, and my favorite bun book-  “The Book of Buns ” by Jane Mason- and I was ready to rock my morning.  (PS- if you bake bread and don’t have that book- you NEED it.. trust me on that)  We are currently enjoying some amazing Greek breadsticks- a recipe from the book.   No, I won’t share the recipe-  buy the book and you’ll have it-  trust me- it has techniques in there that you need :)

This post isn’t about eating cake for breakfast, nor is it about bread baking, but instead it’s about a month of celebration-   my birthday month- and big things are happening, and I’m grateful for my life..

So if you read this space- sit back- enjoy the ride- and grab some cake-  and eat it for breakfast-  you won’t be sorry!   AS for me- I’ll be celebrating each and every day-   as I do all days- only this month a little more since I’ll be rocking 48 this year (and don’t look a day over 35 lol)   :)

 

 

Joy in the Little Things

June 30th, 2015

zucchiniIt’s no secret that I love the color yellow.  It, along with red are my go-to colors.  They make me happy.

This morning-  I went out to cut some parsley and cilantro for some chicken salad I was making.    I was greeted with an abundance of yellow blossoms on my zucchini plants.    Zucchini is one of my favorite summertime vegetables.  They are so versatile, but the flowers are huge and absolutely stunning.      Yesterday, when I watered them, there was one blossom that was almost open and the others seemed like they were days away from spreading their petals and basking in the sunshine, so the surprise was all mine.   I guess Mother Nature had other plans, and in turn- I couldn’t help but smile and was instantly filled with joy.

Yes, it’s something small- but there is great joy to be found when we take the time to notice those little things that often go missed-

What’s your joy moment for today?

On Daring to Be Happy

June 29th, 2015

happyI absolutely love this little ‘sign’ of happiness.  It is a snap I took a few weeks ago at my favorite beach café.  It’s the placemats they use for their restaurant.    Seeing them every time I go there puts a huge smile on my face, but I digress.

Happiness-   it’s one of those things I hear a LOT of people talking about-     some people ARE happy- right where they are-    they are able to realize that within every day, there is always moments of joy-  little bits of beauty all around us-  so much to be grateful for.      I consider myself as one of those-  even though it doesn’t mean I don’t have struggles or days that test my patience-  we all do..   To say otherwise isn’t realistic.

I’m a firm believer that happiness is a total inside job-   meaning it’s within us, and it’s available to anyone.

There are also people who attach their happiness as something that is always fleeting- and just outside of their reach-   I’ll be happy when… (insert whatever said object, job, promotion, etc. happens to be the thing they’ve attached it to)

The reality is-    nothing like that can make us happy- .. those things come-  they go-  and then sometimes there is even the realization that it isn’t what the person wanted after all-     and then they find themselves attached to the next thing that will make them happy.

 

I also know a few people who are determined that if only they had certain situations that they would be happy-   if they were living in a different place, if they could lose weight- and the list goes on.    They tend to go from one thing to the next- looking for that next big happiness fix-  attaching all their happiness to the next big thing-  and not realizing that it has to come from within first..

That only when they have the joy within themselves-  the peace- contentment and happiness within-   will they be able to fully appreciate and enjoy all that the ‘external’ adds to their life-   It can definitely add to- but is never the cause of lasting happiness.

Gratitude is huge-   look around and be grateful where you are-   even if it isn’t where you strive to be-    If you can’t be grateful where you are- how can you be grateful where you aren’t?

Dare to be happy— to be vulnerable and know that it’s one of the best gifts you can give yourself.

Take the Road Less Traveled…

June 27th, 2015

roadlessIt’s no secret that I love the Robert Frost poem The Road Not Taken-  I have a pair of Kate Spade/Keds, which I bought specifically because they said “Take the Road Less Traveled”- and it’s one of those little things that I try to do anytime I get the chance.

The predictable path is comfortable and well, predictable- but there are often great treasures (and adventure) to be found on the road less traveled.

Last weekend I found myself exploring a nearby city with a friend.  We had met in this particular city for a few reasons-   The first being that we had not seen each other in almost a year, and the second being that we wanted to enjoy the Saturday ‘home-made’ market- where not only is there great quality local fruits and vegetables, but also freshly made pastas, tapenades, locally made cheeses and sausages-  and the list goes on..

After we had perused the market and made a few purchases, we decided to head ‘off the beaten path’ and see what we would find.   We had no goal in mind other than to see where the road took us.     We found some beautiful discoveries, and this photo gives a glimpse of one of the many things we saw.

We often get so caught up in the busy of each day-  getting from one point to another-  completing one task or another, that we often forget to take time to explore beyond our self-imposed boundaries, and as I have learned time and time again-  it’s in those moments of being fully present in each moment- and taking the time to explore and discover- that treasures await.

So today-  I challenge you to take that less traveled road-  whatever that means to you-   and I’d love to hear about your discoveries.

Perfect Endings

May 31st, 2015

greatending Yesterday was one of those days-   You know the ones-   where everything you’ve been planning leads up to the ‘day’ where all the preparation comes into play.   One of those days that when you realize that everything comes together and plays out exactly how it should- that it couldn’t have been any better if you’d planned it that way.

I’m grateful for all days-   because there is something to be learned in all of them.   But yesterday-  was a ‘knock it out of the park’ kind of day-  where every little thing went fantastic and ended in exhilarating exhaustion.     It was a beautiful gift- and I took several times in the midst of the day to make sure that I enjoyed and appreciated it for just that-  a gift.

Last night- Marcel and I had dinner to celebrate my success-   which was my first major catering event-     We had a wonderful dinner-  and it ended with a drive through the countryside (see photo right) and a note from the beautiful person who hired me- saying that they loved everything and that people were still talking about how good the food was.

There is beauty happening all around me-    and I’m celebrating in the successes of those I love-    a close friend just received a huge promotion at work-  another is doing the Alpe de Huze this coming week-  another messaged me this morning that she’d had her baby- a little boy-   my adorable nephew finished the year with a perfect GPA-   my BFF’s parents are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary next week-   my own parents will be doing the same in less than two weeks…  and the list goes on.

Me-  I’m smiling at all the possibilities all around-   the joy-  the love-  the beauty of life-

Let the Music Play

May 31st, 2015

Last night some of my favorite people got together for a huge party- People I grew up with gathered in one spot and celebrated life- the musicians gathered their bags, pulled out their instruments and played some amazing music. The masses danced, sang, and enjoyed some great food and fellowship. It was- by all means the party of the decade.

What I love- is that since I was unable to be there due to living out of state, that seeing them all on Facebook allowed me to have a peek into the evening- Word has it that it may become an annual event, so who knows? Maybe next year I’ll be out there singing, dancing and having a great time with them too..

Vacation Planning

May 24th, 2015

Later this year- we are celebrating some milestones in our lives-   Marcel is turning 50, diddy is turning 75, and mom and diddy will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.     There is much to be thankful for- plus huge milestones deserve to be celebrated-   so we’re doing so in the form of travel.

Since I’m the ‘official’ family ‘tour guide / planner’ , the search for some great travel destinations has begun.    I have a few ideas, including a couple of cruises, but I need to get all the research done, compile some ideas-   and then share with the rest of the gang.   From there we’ll decide where we want to go and when.

We love being able to share in local customs and culture- plus enjoy the local food- markets and so on.     I would travel for a living- if it paid the bills.      I never get tired of exploring new places.

So tell me-  how do you plan to spend your summer/fall vacation?

Delights in Little Successes

May 21st, 2015

MadelelinesThose of you who know me in my everyday life know how much I love to create.    That subject of creativity is a broad-stroked brush, because there are so many things that really tap into that creative side of me-   painting, writing, making jewelry, gardening, and cooking are just a few of those creative outlets for me.

I’m one of those people who need to be challenged-  according to my mother-  I’ve been that way as long as she can remember, hearing the story of how I came home from school in the first grade saying I wasn’t going back until the teacher started teaching us to read.     The ‘writing’ the  ABC’s was boring because that was something I’d long mastered.

So apparently challenge keeps me from getting bored, but I digress.

Most of you also know that I own a small company-   and I’ve recently expanded and have created a new service- which has it’s debut run next weekend, but again- I digress, even though I’m getting to the point- I promise.

French Madeleines have been on my list to make for quite some time- but since I like to create (see the theme here ? ) my own recipes- I hadn’t done anything with it, because quite honestly I’ve had other irons in the fire.    But here and there I’d read and think about them, but another big downfall was I had no madeleine pan… another big problem.   After all, what’s a Madeleine without the pan?

So I ordered one online-  and since I didn’t have any big plans today-   I decided to put the recipe idea I had in my head to the test- as a ‘possible’ for the menu for my new business expansion venture.

I’ll admit I had no idea how it was going to turn out- but I trust the creative and scientific process of baking- and honestly, I never think about ‘if’ something will turn out- because if it doesn’t- then I’ve learned something and I’ll make adjustments and move on.   That happens to us all.

But in this case- something magical happened-   these little light, buttery treats turned out perfect, and admittedly- I did a little mental happy dance.

There is joy in the little things-  and in creative successes, and this is definitely one of them.

 

 

Great Day to be a Duck

May 16th, 2015

IMG_3144.JPGThis morning I woke up first to the sound of my alarm humming a quiet medley, and at the moment I turned it off, I could hear it…. The sound of rain falling.

We’ve had day upon day of glorious Spring weather, so it’s only fitting that to keep things in balance- sometimes it rains.

I had set the coffee to work it’s morning Magic the night before, so I stumbled half-awake into the kitchen to find a hot cup waiting for me.

I would be lying if I said an unplanned walk in the rain is something I enjoy, but since I’ve had plans for months to go to our first book club meeting- it trumps the rain, even if it means getting a little wet to get there.

Thankfully, by the time I headed out donned in my yellow rain slicker, and umbrella in hand, it had slowed to a fine drizzle- I picked up the pace and managed to say mostly dry by the time I arrived at the train station.

Oh, and I passed quite a few mallards enjoying the weather to the fullest.

There is beauty to be found in every day- even the rainy ones, and even if you aren’t a duck.

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