Archive for the ‘Favorite Things’ Category

Home Improvements and Other Rambles

June 27th, 2017

Hi y’all- Long time no talk. Despite my absence here on this little space, I’ve been thinking of it- That counts right? I thought so. Life has been rolling along full speed ahead and while I would love to say that I have a perfect life balance for blogging, home and social life- I would be lying if I said I did.

Lately we’ve been all about home improvements, finally getting the living room completed and working on the guest room since we’re having my best friend since my teenage years visiting soon. To say I’m excited is probably the understatement of the year. I’ve been drooling over antique bedroom furniture from Laurel Crown & finally made a few purchases here and there. Now to finish pulling the room together. I have a week to do so. That’s plenty of time, right? Nothing like a ticking clock to shift things into high gear.

Treats and Weekends

February 3rd, 2017

TGIF!!  I am so excited it’s weekend and I’m kicking it off by being ‘home alone’ tonight.   My favorite guy is working, but that means I can curl up on the sofa with my favorite TV shows from earlier in the week that I’ve missed.   Grey’s, Nashville, How to Get Away with Murder & Scandal.   I love the time alone, plus we have a busy weekend on the horizon with friends.   Tomorrow night we’ll spend the evening at friends, and Sunday we’ll go out to dinner with some other friends.    Great times in the making!

Yesterday was our ‘lucky 13’ anniversary and I was greeted not only with coffee in bed, but also some gorgeous roses, plus a beautiful card.  I’ll admit that I didn’t think he would remember, but he did, which made this girl smile big.   Since we both had work to get done yesterday and he was working last night- we decided to skip going out for dinner, and instead grabbed a few things of our own personal interest and had that.    Mine, was my occasional ‘once a month’ sushi treat.      I had a friend ask why I didn’t make it myself, but I make pretty much everything and from scratch, so I think I’ll continue to enjoy this freshly made once in a while treat.    Funny enough- I don’t care for rice.  I don’t buy it-  and while I’ll eat it if I’m somewhere and someone has rice as part of the meal-   I never cook it, but I do love this sushi, including the rice.      It isn’t my Gulf Coast favorites, but it will do.

How are you spending your weekend?   I know it’s Super Bowl weekend, but I’m not a football fan, so no parties here.   I do like a good get together though, so maybe it’s something to consider for next year.

In the meantime-  I’m ready to kick back, relax- and get a dose of some of my favorite actors and actresses.

 

Whatever you find yourself doing this weekend, ENJOY!

I Am….

February 2nd, 2017

I can’t believe it has almost been a week since I was on here last.     The week has flown by- with last weekend spent in the company of a good friend exploring various inspirational foodie haunts, plus a little trip to the beach.    One of our ‘stops’ during the day was the local camera store, because she needed to get some passport photos made so she could renew her ‘almost’ expired passport.

While this is not a post about Nikon-  I’ve long been a fan of their products and even own several Nikon DSLR cameras.     That being said-   some of my favorite commercials ever are their I AM ads.

I saw this ad in the store and I couldn’t help but pause and soak up not only the image, but also the text and what it means.

I do believe that what we focus on in our lives is what we not only see more of, but also what we manifest.  Yes, life is full of ups and downs- but when I think of some of lifes’ darkest moments in my life-  I also can find the beauty in them.     I would prefer that life had no sadness or tragedy, but to be able to find something beautiful in the midst of pain is important, at least to me.

I was reading an article earlier today talking about life defining moments, and how some of them are moments that have brought us the deepest sorrow.    I was reminded of a moment where I felt a deep amount of pain and in the beginning wasn’t quite sure how I would make it through- as it was something I’d never experienced before.

Rather than becoming angry and bitter- as it would have been easy to do-   I allowed myself to feel what I was feeling, also made a few choices that I wasn’t extremely proud of, as a knee-jerk reaction to the pain, but on the whole-  I took the time to grieve, then I wanted to be aware of what the pain could teach me, and what lessons I could take away from the entire situation.

Through that-  I learned SO much.   It was one of lifes’ biggest gifts and because of the experience, I was able to carry what I learned with me- so that I can apply it to life as needed.   That embodies the above photo-  and the …. beauty of life.

We are all different.    It seems now more than ever there is a focus on how different we really are, but at the core-   it really isn’t us versus them-   we are all very much the same.    We all bleed, we all have hopes- dreams- fears- uncertainties.   We all love- believe in something-  laugh-  sleep- and the list goes on.     The truth is-  we are far more alike than we are different.

Fill in the blank-    I am.. ______  As for me-   I believe the one word I’ll  put above all others for what I AM-    LOVE.   I am LOVE.    Don’t you want to join me in striving to be love in all that we do?     While one person doesn’t have the power to change the world-  we do have the power to change ourselves- to be a shining light-  the proverbial North Star in the night sky-   to leave a ripple of love, respect, inspiration and positivity so large that it creates a tidal wave of the aforementioned and brings something beautiful and positive to every one in it’s path.

That, my friends is how beautiful things happen.    Love!

Favorite Products- Bobs Red Mill

January 25th, 2017

If you know me in my everyday world- then you know what a HUGE fan I am of Bob’s Red Mill products. It started with me when I tried their steel cut oats. I was so impressed with the quality and flavor that over the years I’ve tried SO many of their products, I’ve lost count.

BRM-00882-7I’m also a big fan of one-stop-shopping and / or ordering, which is why iHerb is one of my favorite places to order from. Their customer service is second to none (which makes this chick extremely loyal), plus they have a vast assortment of Bob’s Red Mill products (including gluten-free flours). I also ordered freeze-dried fruits from there (great for baking and other projects), supplements, and even my favorite soap.

This morning I had an email that they were having an additional 5.00 off every order until the end of January, so I cashed in by ordering this 7 Grain Pancake and Waffle mix, along with a few other items on my list.   I can’t wait to try this-  It’s one of the products from BRM that I haven’t tried, and it will be great (I think) to use in my new waffle maker that Santa brought me.

Oh and did I mention there is free shipping on all orders over $40, plus no sales tax!  Yep, you read it right.   Don’t Miss out on the 5.00 extra savings until the end of the month, plus the free shipping-   visit iHerb and check out the savings for yourself. You can thank me later.

Christmas- Southern Living Style

December 15th, 2016

It has been a hustle and bustle kind of week.    I’d love to say that I’ve got everything together- have the tree up and it’s looking festive in here, but I’d be lying.    We have the tree, but it’s yet to be brought in and decorated.    We DO have the lights and decorations out-    so that’s a step in the right direction, but I’ve been swamped with work this week.   I’m grateful- oh so grateful, but I’ve been baking my  heart out-  with more in the works.

img_2300Thankfully, I’m a little ahead of schedule after running behind schedule earlier in the week, so that is a huge plus!  Tonight I took some time and finally cracked open my Christmas with Southern Living book that I’d ordered but not taken the time to look at yet.

I’ve also been itching for the Bake from Scratch holiday issue, so was able to browse it a little as well.  Both are favorites, but I’m one of those people who will leave a cookbook sitting for months if I can’t stop and fully savor each and every page.

I know it may sound silly, but it’s true.  There’s something almost ritualistic about it.   Pure enjoyment and focused on the season at hand.

I’ve seen several recipes that I want to make for our own holiday table, including my grandmas praline recipe that I improved a couple of years ago, plus divinity.    My dearest great aunt sent me a gallon of pecans that she’s picked up from her orchard and shelled.     It was an amazing gift, and something that makes me want to create something special with the fresh pecans that I know were sent with much love.

I want whatever I make with some of them to be made with love and deliberation, but also something that the flavor of the pecans will shine through.

What would you suggest?   I’ll be sure to share what I decide to make, but as for now- I’ve got some relaxing to do as tomorrow a villiage of gingerbread men await my services.

On the Eve of the New Year

December 31st, 2015

On the heels of the new year- I find myself thinking and reflecting on the year that has passed.     It has been one of loss and heartache for people I love dearly, but through it all love has prevailed-  family and friendship above all-    Resilience and the beauty of the human spirit shines through.

It has also been one of many wonderful adventures-  with family and friends.   The trip to Italy with my parents and Marcel- one of the high points-  Experiencing Lake Como, the people, the culture and everything in between was pure bliss-    To be able to share that with three of the people I love most in the world leaves me so grateful.

Yesterday I finished Brene Brown’s book-  Rising Strong.   I read it in two days, and it came at the perfect time.   Ironically, I had started it during the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, read the first chapter, and while I loved it-  knew that I was too distracted with ‘life’ to fully take the time to soak it in.    My intent was to grab a chapter here and there as time allowed, but what actually happened was much better.    I put the book on the coffee table and there it sat until Christmas had passed and all of my orders and work had been completed for the year.   One afternoon this week I took advantage of the sunshine and mild temps, made myself a cup of Chai tea and spent most of the afternoon reading.    I read half of the book in one afternoon, and yesterday I finished the other half.

I read every page- no, more accurately I soaked up each and every page as though I were a sponge soaking up spilled liquid.  I used my pen to highlight passages that really spoke to me (and there were many)!

It’s a rare day that I order a physical book these days,  choosing to save space and trees by ordering most everything for the Kindle.   This book was an exception, as I wanted to be able to pick it up and reference my favorite parts- and the notes I wrote within the margins.        This book was HUGE for me in terms of putting into perspective what I’d already been learning over the course of the year-   and I’m grateful.

Saturday, I’ll be spending the day in a city I’ve never explored with a few dear friends.   I’m looking forward to the time with them, plus seeing and experiencing something new.

I should arrive home to a couple of things (outside of the fur babies, JJ and Mister M- and Marcel)   1- Elizabeth  Gilberts new book Big Magic (which will be my next read)   2-  The card I sent myself with a list of the 25 things I want more of in my life for the new year.   I write them down, but I love mail- and I loved the idea of receiving that gift- and being able to put it away- and at the end of the year pull it out and review it!

Time to enjoy some time with my favorite guy- but I leave you with these last words for 2015:

 

Do more than belong: participate. – Do more than care: help.
Do more than believe: practice. – Do more than be fair: be kind.
Do more than forgive: forget. – Do more than dream: work.
~William Arthur Ward

 

 

Creating Joy in the Little Things

December 5th, 2015

AmstelveenYou ever have one of those days where it seems like in all things that you do- that you’re cultivating joy?

Yesterday was one of those days for me.    I spent the day in the company of some amazing friends.   We didn’t have ‘big’ plans-  our focus was spending some quality time together and to go on a few foodie quests to look for some specific products we’d had our eyes on.

A couple of those items was at a specialty market which had a stall of beautiful foodie products from France.   Mustards, sausages, jams, oils, vinegars, and butter-  oh the butter (that’s a post of a different flavor- and worth of a post all it’s own).       So we walked amongst the fresh fish, breads, cheeses, fruits and vegetables until we happened upon the treasure we were searching for.   Little did we know at the time just how MUCH of a treasure it would turn out to be.

We found the things we wanted-  talked to the wonderful French woman.  When we were done shopping- she pointed towards a lone wooden table sitting 30 feet away.     “Go, sit.”, she says.   “I want to make you a French pancake.”

We were all a bit perplexed, as it seemed to come from no where-  and I think she sensed our apprehension and being unsure what to do, because before we could do anything but look at each other in uncertainty she began talking again,  “Go, sit!   I’ll come to you and bring you a fresh pancake to enjoy. I’ll make them and bring them to you-   They are on me.    Please.”

So we did as we were asked, and sat!   She came to the table offering us toppings of sugar-   cinnamon-sugar-  caramel or cheese, which isn’t very French, and we could all see from the expression on her fact that she was hoping we wouldn’t desecrate her beloved French crepe with cheese.     Thankfully we all choose either sugar or cinnamon sugar.    Off she went with a huge smile on her face.

Less than ten minutes later, she returned with freshly made crepes.  One for each of us.    As you can see they look divine.   I assure you they tasted better than they look.

Combine that with our holiday drinks from Starbucks and it was the perfect light lunch.

We thanked her profusely and her smile was beautiful and genuine-    We were so grateful and filled with joy from such a  small gesture.

From there the day continued to get better- and ended over a lot of girl-talk and homemade soup.   Pure comfort and joy.

Yesterday reminded me that we can find joy in our daily lives, all we have to do is keep our eyes open and embrace the moments.    You never know — you could find yourself right in the middle of one of your favorite moments of the year-  so pay attention.

Coloring for Grown-Ups

September 14th, 2015

coloringYesterday-  when I ‘should’ have been working on checking things off my ‘to do’ list-  I decided to take a little break and do some coloring.

Adult coloring books are all the rage right now, and are cited for how they can bring total relaxation and can be really good for stress.    Even though I wasn’t feeling stressed, I was definitely having the urge to tune in to the colors and unplug from everything else.

I love that these coloring books happen to be coloring cards-  so that when I’m done coloring it-  I can write a note on the back-  add an address and send to someone in hopes of brightening their day.

Have you tried coloring, and if so, does it relax you?

Perfect Days

September 13th, 2015

perfect Earlier this week (Tuesday) I woke up bright and early to visit a friend I haven’t seen in a few weeks.    The sun was shining bright, and the air had the crispness to it that only happens when Fall is on the way.

I walked outside, greeted with the aforementioned- and out loud I said-  “I wish every day was like this.”    Aside from the fact that I was spending the day with a close friend (which makes all days good days), I could feel that everything about the day was going to be amazing.

I was right-    Since I took the train for my journey, it also meant a small layover while I switched connections.   I had two choices-   take a quick potty break, or duck into Starbucks and see if they had the Pumpkin Spice Latte on the menu.     To know me is to know that I chose the latter.   It wasn’t really a contest.

To match my ‘great day’ feeling-   they didn’t have the PSL on the menu, but when I asked- she said that indeed, they did have them.  YAY-  plus to top it off, it was free, which somehow made it all the sweeter.

I spent an energized afternoon with my dear friend- laughing, eating some amazing salad that she whipped up for us both-  soaking up some of natures vitamin D in the form of sunshine, and bouncing ideas off each other for a new project we’re embarking on soon.    It couldn’t have been any better!

When I arrived home-  Marcel met me at the station and we’d decided to go run a few errands and get those out of the way so we didn’t have to do them later.   We grabbed a quick bite out-  did our shopping and then took the ‘long road home’ through some of my favorite countryside in our immediate area.  That’s what you see in the photo.

From beginning to end-   it was beautiful, perfect, and a fully energizing day.    To know that every day isn’t this perfect, made me appreciate it all the more.

Vacation Planning 2.0

July 31st, 2015

I love traveling. As much as traveling, I love the planning. I really do believe that exploring the places to see along the journey, mapping out a route- which allows us to maximize our time is part of the fun.

Today I’ve spent some of my day working on upcoming European vacation travel plans and to say that I am excited is an understatement.

Part of our travels will include various chocolate factories and their shops in Switzerland and Germany. After all, who wouldn’t love a travel itinerary that included chocolate? My sentiments exactly.

I love how small blips seen here or there- an article read- a photo- can spark inspiration and send me off on a Google searching adventure to find out ‘more’. Being eternally curious only adds to the intrigue of exploring new places.

How do I keep up with it all? I find calendars online that I can edit- type in the edited information, then I print them- From there I fill in via markers (various colors have different meanings) and bookmark, bookmark, bookmark when it comes to destinations and places to explore that catch my eye.

How about you? What’s your favorite thing about travel? Do you enjoy the planning as much as the rest?

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