Archive for the ‘Gift Ideas’ Category

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.

Early Christmas for Someone

December 10th, 2016

This morning while I was out walking the dog, I noticed a box out by the bulk trash for a martin parlor guitar. I couldn’t help but smile, as I knew immediately that it meant our neighbor (who is in a band and whom I’ve mentioned here before), must have received one for Christmas as a gift. I suspect that if that’s the case we will be hearing the contents of said box this weekend sometime.. unless he actually put it under the tree, which is doubtful. I know his band is supposed to be playing at a local Christmas festival tonight, so maybe he’s there testing it out now. Either way, I’m looking forward to hearing the sound. His passion for music never dissapoints.

Tis the Season

November 29th, 2016

I spent the afternoon at my hair stylists today and we exchanged stories of what kind of gifts were were giving this coming hoiday season. She has two musicians in her family- one quite well known and the other, someone with a lot of diverse talent and someone I’ve predicted will continue to grow in popularity and shine bright. Because their family is so large, they always draw names, and she said this year she and her husband got the two musician’s names. She said a little asking around and she was able to find the right gift for both of them by looking at guitar center instruments and just to make sure the surprise isn’t spoiled by her sometimes stubborn teenage son, she had them shipped to her sister’s home where they will be safe from all prying eyes.

What about you? How did you do your holiday shopping this year? Are you done, or in the midst of it all?

Nordic Ware- How I Love Thee

March 29th, 2016

If you know me- then you know that baking is like second nature to me.    Flavor combinations, getting creative in the kitchen is something that I’ve always loved – from the time that mom let me do my thing in the kitchen.       I like to create and the kitchen is one of those spaces where I can do just that-   if it sounds good- I will try it, even if others may look at me as though I’ve lost my marbles- (which happens probably more than people realize, or if you know me in my everyday life- then you can probably ‘get it’).    I like to do things my style even if it means that it doesn’t follow the norm, but I digress- well, sort of.

Nordic Ware is one of my favorite brands for pans.  (No they didn’t pay me to say that- it’s the facts.)   Aside from the fact that they are made in the good ole  U S of A, their quality is second to none.    Le Creuset is another one of my favorites, but right now we’re talking Nordic Ware.

Most of you know, and some of you may not, that my business is also making life a little sweeter for others.   I have a small baking company, which feeds my passion to learn, to be challenged, to create, and to bring joy to others.    All things that are important to me.  Despite my love of pans and gorgeous cookware, I try to not be an impulse shopper when it comes to products, including baking tools, pans and the like.   What I do- is I make a list of things that I really want and I let it sit and percolate if you will.      Over time, I’ll realize that some things really were impulses and I scratch them off the list, while others linger.

The Nordic Ware Heritage pans were amongst the items that lingered, in this case for more than a year.     Last week, I decided to take the plunge and order the Heritage bunt pan, leaving the Heritage bundtlet pan behind.    Two days later, I caved and ordered those too.    I couldn’t help myself.    It’s been on the list for more than a year.   Some things you know you are meant to have.

The Heritage bundt pan arrived today and I will admit I felt joyous opening the box.   After I ooohed and ahhed over the pan, I immediately started thinking about cakes I wanted to bake and who I wanted to bake them for.    Plus how gorgeous and impressive they would be for my customers.

A new pan is a great muse for inspiration, especially when it’s Nordic Ware.     As far as that first cake— I’m still deciding, but a lemon-ginger-cardamon flavor combination is swimming in my head.      The big decision now is –   do I experiment now, or do I wait until my Whole 30 is complete, so I can enjoy the fruits of my labor?   Decisions, decisions!    Thank you Nordic Ware for making an amazing product.

Oh- and just as the Heritage fell of my ‘list’, now the new crown pan has made it to the list.   It is even more impressive than the Heritage-   What’s a girl to do?

Tis the Season

October 27th, 2015

With less than two months to go before Christmas, I’ll be the first one to admit- that I’ve spent a little of our traveling down time browsing online for Christmas gifts, plus paying a little extra attention to the things people say in regards to ‘wants’- and I’m taking notes!

One of my close friends is a huge Broncos fan (I know, bless his heart- we can’t all be Saint’s fans, I suppose), so when I found the Joy Jewelers broncos jewelry selection I was thrilled! There are several options that I know he will love, and once I have a little extra time to sit and peruse the site- I’ll make a decision from their selection, plus see what other goodies they have to offer.

Let the holiday season begin!

I Love Great Customer Service

August 7th, 2015

I celebrate many things in life daily, but one thing I never fail to celebrate is amazing customer service. I had a problem with an Amazon order last week, and as soon as I realized, I gave them a call. During the course of getting it all sorted, I spoke to four different Amazon professionals, all of which were courteous and went above and beyond their duties as a customer service representative.

It’s these type of ‘little things’ that find me loyal to so many companies- both large and small. What about you? Do you find yourself being more loyal to companies who offer out-of-this-world customer service?

Thank you Amazon!

Getting Started

October 18th, 2014

A friend mentioned the other day that she was more than 3/4 of the way finished with her Christmas shopping. Yes! I’m serious. Me, on the other hand, is on the opposite end of the spectrum in the aspect that I haven’t even started. In fact, I haven’t purchased one gift, yet. I have to say that she did inspire me though, and after seeing one of my friends talking about their new guitar and knowing their passion and love for music shines through in all aspects of their life- I’m considering picking up a acoustic guitar strap for them. I think he’ll love it- plus when he plays, he can be reminded of people who love and support his passion.

Ode to Savings AND a Coupon Code

March 25th, 2014

To know me is to know that I LOVE a good deal, and even more than a good deal- I love being able to share that deal with others. I can’t remember if I’ve written on here about iHerb before or not, but iHerb is THE BEST online store for any and everything your heart desires for healthy products.

I’ve ordered from them several times- quite a few of my friends are regular customers, and since they have free shipping over 40.00, I believe it is- you can’t go wrong. They have a great selection of Bob’s Red Mill products- so I tend to order steel-cut oats from them, along with various flours- think coconut, quinoa, sorghum, blue corn and the list goes one.

They also have a ‘free’ product that you can choose from a list- and they’ll include it in your box. I call it a little extra bit of ‘happy’. They have skin products- snack products (Blue Diamond almond thins and Beanitos are two of our faves.), and pretty much all sorts of amazing things, for no more than you’d pay for the same items somewhere else, and in some cases- they are even less expensive, which is a win-win all around.

Their turn around time is also SUPER fast- so I can’t sing their praises high enough. I don’t work for them, and they aren’t paying me to write this- I just like their site and thought I’d share since I was putting my own order together.

They also sent me an email several days ago that they’re having a special so I’ll receive a 5% discount over 60.00, which is a great thing- and if you happened to be a new customer- you will also receive an additional 10.00 off your total order if you spend 40.00 and 5. off if you spend less than 40.

You can find them by visiting or visit the site directly at and use the iHerb coupon code “QJK474” at check out. Enjoy! You can thank me later!

Bath Time for JJ

February 2nd, 2014

20140202-174223.jpg Yesterday, I took advantage of the gap in my schedule and decided to give JJ a little clip around his eyes, plus give him a bath. I’m blessed in the fact that he actually loves the bath, even more so when he gets to take his favorite toy along to keep things interesting.

Granted, it makes for a little longer bath time, but I can tell it brings him joy, so why not?

I mentioned buying a Furminator for Mister M. not too long ago, so yesterday I decided to give it a try on JJ’s fur. It worked like a charm on him too, plus it allowed me to get rid of some of his excess fur, that may have otherwise ended up in his crate or on the floor.

So even though I bought the Furminator for long haired cats, it works on dogs too.

He is now all spiffed and ready for our upcoming road trip, which starts tomorrow. This will be our first time traveling with both pets, so should be an adventure.

THE King of Vanilla

January 26th, 2014

I wrote recently about the joy of an experience I had, without going into a lot of details at the time.    I promised to come back later and write about it, but for some reason, time has been running away from me, leaving me less time to write than I had anticipated.    Here I am, finally, holding true to that promise.

Without boring you with all of the details, I had a rare opportunity, through my business to be able to have a behind the scenes look at how “THE” vanilla people, Nielsen Massey do things.    I have been a huge fan of their products for years, many years to be exact, and after a little emailing back and forth, I was given the opportunity for a meeting at their European headquarters and a tour of the factory.

It was in my top ten- life experiences, right there along with swimming with the dolphins, zip lining with my mom, and hot air ballooning.   Amazing!   I learned so much, and while I had an appreciation for the product, I now have a deep appreciation for the company and the owners.    I literally had a huge sense of family feeling, in those few hours I spent there.

I also left feeling more inspired than ever, and look forward to trying some of their other flavored extracts, which I know are going to take my recipes to yet another level.     If you haven’t ever tried their products, I highly recommend that you do.   You can find them a Williams-Sonoma or other specialty stores.

  • Digg
  • Delicious
  • Furl
  • Stumble
  • Technorati
  • Yahoo