Category Archives: Life..such as it is

People, places and things that inspire me to be me.

Sweet Surprises…

My soul mate and I celebrated our 25th anniversary last month…Although we planned our anniversary trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming together there was a little sneaking around going on with some of the details.  I thought I would surprise my husband by ordering a small version of our wedding cake from a local Jackson bakery.

When we arrived in Jackson our room wasn’t ready so we decided to take a walk around town. Our hotel was right off the town square and everything was within a 4 block radius.  As we walked I began to talk about this bakery I had heard of in Jackson.  I talked and talked about the macaroons they made and I expressed how I just had to have a macaroon while we were there.  We walked until we came to the bakery I had found online. I asked my husband to wait while I ran and checked to see if they had the desired sweet available at such a late hour of the day.  I came out with a little white cake box that held the cake I had ordered weeks earlier. I smiled, he smiled..we walked back to the hotel.  What was really in the box was still my little secret surprise.

We walked back to the hotel with the little cake box.  Our room wasn’t quite ready so we sat in the lobby in front of the big fireplace and looked through a couple local magazines.  The wait wasn’t too long. Finally our room was ready, our bags were taken up and a few minutes later we walked into the most beautiful hotel room.  That’s when I discovered I wasn’t the only who had been planning a little surprise.,,the room was filled with flowers.  Roses, lilies, hydrangea…where do you find hydrangea in February in Wyoming?

It was so sweet knowing that we both had been thinking about making our anniversary extra special for the other by planning, plotting, researching and seeing to a few extra special surprise details.

sweet surprises

The cake was 6 layers of sweet red velvet covered in cream cheese buttercream icing. The flowers were lovely and fragrant…all of my favorites.

white flowers

Cake

3 Comments

Filed under encouragment, Travel, Weekend Getaways and Vacation Spots

Autumn Pear and Cranberry Chopped Salad….

Autumn Chopped Salad

 IMG_6328

Ingredients:
6 to 8 cups of Chopped Romaine Lettuce
2 medium pears, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped pecans
8 slices thick-cut bacon (applewood) crisp and crumbled
4 to 6 oz feta cheese, crumbled
Poppy Seed Dressing
Balsamic Vinaigrette (I like Newman’s Own Light Balsamic Vinaigrette)

IMG_6330

Directions:

On a large platter, combine lettuce, pears, cranberries, pecans, bacon and feta cheese.  Drizzle generously with poppy seed dressing, followed by some of the balsamic vinaigrette. (I would estimate that I used about a cup of dressing…70% poppy seed dressing and 30 percent balsamic vinaigrette).  Toss and serve immediately!

IMG_6329

Delicious!

IMG_6331

Leave a comment

Filed under All Things Foodie, Food and Wine, Healthy Living

I will carry your burden but not your load…

my load

Recently someone posed this question to me…Is there a difference between your load and your burden?

My answer was…yes of course there is a difference. But when I tried to articulate the difference I found I struggled to give a clear explanation.

A load is something with substantial weight. Something you can physically see, touch and feel. It is something that can be weighed.  On the other hand a burden is something that weighs you down emotionally. It’s a perceived load. It doesn’t have physical traits. You cannot see it, touch it or feel it.

Yes, a load can be burdensome but that isn’t what I am talking about here…

According to God’s word, in Galatians 6, we are to carry each others burdens and we are to carry our own load.  We should have empathy and sympathy for those who are hurting physically and struggling emotionally with the things that are out if their control.  We should be there to help them carry their burden. However, we should not be expected to carry someone’s load…bail them out of situations that were caused by their choices.

The more we carry someones load for them the less likely they are to learn to carry it for themselves. The more dependent they will become.  It will be difficult in the beginning…the load will seem too heavy for them but over time they will grow stronger in their abilities and their belief that they can do it. Empathize with their burden but encourage them to pick up their load and walk.

Leave a comment

Filed under encouragment, Faith

Finding Beauty…

Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the hummingbird, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential and fight for your dreams. Ashley Smith.

039

3 Comments

Filed under encouragment, Nature, photograhy

Layers and Layers

My obsession with creating a beautifully inviting bed began when I stayed at a little boutique hotel, it was quite by accident that we checked into this particular hotel. You know they say that the difference between something good and something great is the attention to detail. The attention to the linens and bedding choices changed the way I thought about my own bed.

layers 1

Not long after that I discovered Nate Berkus‘ blog.  I loved so many of the images he posted of incredibly inviting bedding ensembles fueled my desire for that kind of bed.

I also admire the way the department stores make up the bedding displays…layers and layers of luxurious fabrics and inviting colors and contrasting yet complimentary textures and pillows…oh so many pillows.  I began taking note of all of the elements that made up the beds that I found most inviting…

20131230-135425.jpg

However, all those elements that make up a luxuriously inviting bed can be very expensive.  And it’s not just the look that matters, the texture of the fabrics should have the feel of luxury…Bedding can be expensive. and I have made a few regrettable spur of the moment purchases that ended up costing me more than just money…I recommend that you take your time and only buy it if you love it.

This time around I took my time and made my selections carefully…and now I have the bed of my dreams…well almost.  I would like to add one or two more elements   but half the fun is the search and I am enjoying this project so much I am not ready for it to be finished…

layers 3

My bedding ensemble is made up of 100% Egyptian cotton sheets; one deep pocket fitted sheet and two flat sheets.  The next layer is a beautiful quilt with my favorite color pallet.  The next layer is a warm and cozy chocolate faux fur king size blanket. The final layer is a beautifully textured duvet in a soft cream and latte color palette. Last but not least are the pillows; there are thirteen pillows on my bed.  It sounds a little over the top but it is a king size bed…there are 3 king size and 4 queen size pillows and 6 decorative pillows piled up…

layers 4

The side effect of this little project is now I make my bed, layer by layer…almost everyday!

Leave a comment

Filed under Home Sweet Home

Party Planning…

My husband and I love entertaining our friends…Every time we decide to have a party I begin searching the web for party planning tips.  Always in hopes of finding one or two *new tips to help me organize my time better or make the party more memorable.  Most party planning websites start 4 weeks out…I am usually working on a 4 day time frame.  Of course the bigger the party or more important the event you will need more time to plan.  A casual get together doesn’t take as much planning.  Either way you can plan a successful party…

DSC00063

Day 4

Make a guest list…email, Facebook, text or call your guests. A great party is not determined by the number of people that attend but by the interaction of the guests who do attend.
Plan the menu...seated dinner, buffet or h’ordeuvres.  The perfect dinner party is 6-10 people.  If you have more than 10 people you will need to decide which way to go…all out and set up a buffet or scale back and serve h’ordeuvres.

Day 3
Make a playlist that is upbeat and will be sufficient to last throughout the party.
Clean the house…dust flat surfaces, scrub bathrooms, clean out the refrigerator, take out the trash.
Take inventory of serving dishes, make sure you have a platter or bowl for each item on the menu. Don’t forget the serving spoons. Use disposable dishes and utensils wherever possible. No one wants to be stuck doing dishes at the end of the night or even worse wake up to the mess in the morning.

Day 2
Stock the bar! Purchase an assortment of fruit juices, sodas and waters for mixers.  Also, keep the coffee bar in mind when stocking up…you will need creamers, and flavored liquors such as amaretto and Baileys Irish cream.
*Check the medicine cabinet, remove personal items you wouldn’t want guests to see.
Decorate your table, dessert bar and drink station. I like to keep the decorations to a minimum; fresh flowers, candles and a pretty table covering and some reflective surfaces.  I like to spread the food and drinks out through out the entertaining area.  It helps to keep your guests from congregating in one area…

*Set up a clean up station…Place a box of salt, Wine Away (red wine stain remover), club soda, and a couple of rags in a wicker basket, and store a few in strategic places in case a nasty spill occurs.

Day 1
Buy flowers
Cook as much of the food in advance as possible…dips and desserts are best made ahead so that the flavors have a chance to meld.

Day of Party
Finish last-minute cooking, this should be minimal. You don’t want to be tied to the kitchen when your guests are arriving.
Display food…place desserts on dessert bar, a cheese boards should be put out at least 1 hour in advance of guests arriving.  prep the coffee pot and put the first couple of hot appetizers in the oven so that when your first guests arrive the party can get started.
Get dressed…at least 1 hour before your party starts you should take a few minutes to sit down, relax and then put on your party dress.  You have worked really hard for last few days and you deserve to enjoy yourself and your guests.
Now go and Greet your guests

2 Comments

Filed under Entertaining, Holiday's

Fun and Fanciful Centerpiece….

Image

This is last years pinterest inspired DIY centerpiece…It’s time to make one for this year…Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

2 Comments

Filed under Christmas Traditions, Creative Ideas, DIY

Naturally Soft and Subtle…

Over the years our Christmas Tree decorations have reflected who we are as a family. In the beginning our tree was decorated with twinkling multi-colored lights and a spattering of ornaments. For several years our tree was a beautiful hodge podge of ornaments created by our son at school Christmas parties and dollar store treasures. Then there came the day when the colored lights were replaced with white lights and the ornaments were treasured purchases from numerous vacations. Now we are empty nesters with no grandchildren. So now our tree reflects a quieter more serene palette. This year the decorations are a reflection of our love of outdoors and a life blessed beyond measure.

20131217-082223.jpg

20131217-082243.jpg

20131217-082258.jpg

20131217-082313.jpg

20131217-082329.jpg

20131217-082408.jpg

20131217-082424.jpg

20131217-082437.jpg

4 Comments

Filed under Christmas Traditions

Stay Stress Free During the Holidays

nolagirlatheart:

I am always looking for tips and tricks to help me make the Holiday season more beautiful and enjoyable…These stay stress free tips from M&J are just what I needed with just 8 days left until the big day. I hope you find them helpful…Merry Christmas!

Originally posted on M&J Blog:

The holidays are a  time for togetherness and celebration, but they can also be extremely stressful. From planning to shopping, hosting and decorating; the stress of the holidays can take the joy out of the most wonderful time of the year! Here are some ways to keep your cool during this busy season.

Black Wrapped Presents

Keep It Simple – When it comes to gift wrapping or decorating, you can use shortcuts without sacrificing style. Wrap all of your gifts with one type of wrapping paper, and then customize each with different trim.

Gingerbread from Honestly YumFocus on One Thing – Whether it’s wrapping the presents beautifully or making a gingerbread house even a seasoned architect would be envious of, focus on doing one or two things really well. If you put too much pressure on yourself to make everything perfect, you’re bound to crack.

Dining Room Thistlewood

Accumulate Over Time – There’s no reason to buy or…

View original 109 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Blog Re-Posts, Christmas Traditions

The Bookworms’ Christmas Trees

nolagirlatheart:

I hope you are enjoying the wonderful holiday season…Christmas is my favorite of all of the holidays. This particular holiday seems to bring out the Martha Stewart in everyone…If you are a book lover you will really enjoy these creative Christmas Trees. Merry Christmas!!!

Originally posted on anacalum:

View original

Leave a comment

Filed under Blog Re-Posts, Christmas Traditions, Creative Ideas