It almost looks as if this is a beach with lots of white sand doesn't it?
But, in reality, this is winter. Ice, and snow, and temperatures at 10 below zero.
And yet, isn't this some of the most beautiful scenery you have ever seen?
Winter, can be quite beautiful and mesmerizing to look at. I love it.


So many things, so many paths taken, so many entrances and exits in my life. I am going to put on my favorite blue shirt and,  for the first time I will pay attention to the label and the way it was sewn, and then I am going to imagine the hands that designed it and the machines that then sewed it into something that I love. And even the things that I am used to – my coffee cup, my favorite pen, the boots that have become an extension of my feet after wearing them so much – will be mulled over in the pursuit and mystery of discovery. I want everything that my hand touches, everything that my eyes see and everything that my mouth tastes to be different now, even those things I have known it seems forever. That way things will no longer be a secret. Even after having been with me for such a long time, they will show me the miracle of coming into touch again with my emotions that are worn down by routine. I want to look at the sun and the moon as if it is the first time. Because time and life have a way of changing everything into something perfectly understandable – and very predictable. But for me, I need mystery, fun, excitement, and yes, even some drama mixed in there for good measure. Throw in some frightening and interesting and then lets see how the next 365 days go as I treat it as if it were the first time that I ever did anything at all. Taking in the newness of each new thing and person that I come into contact with. In this way, I will remain what I am and what I like to be, a constant surprise to myself. This person who was not created by my father or by my mother, nor by my school, but by all that I have lived so far – who I suddenly forgot, but am quite happily discovering all over again."

"I would like to look at this new year as if it were the first time that a year will have unfolded before my eyes. 
I will be very happy to see the people I love around me - and I will be amazed as I discover so many new things about them - just by listening.  
 This year, I will look at everything and everybody as if I were seeing it for the first time – 
especially the small things that I failed to notice before, and in whose magic I had completely forgotten.


Who doesn’t feel better after a bit of sugary goodness? Me.

 All this sugary goodness is too much for anyone to handle. 
No matter where you are, at Christmas time you can be sure that 
something will call your name and you will be powerless to avoid it.
After all, we all have favorites, and this is the time of year so many
of them show up. Only once a year... but here comes some help...

Here's a few tips to eat less of that yummy sugary goodness


1. Give away, hide, or throw away leftovers. Be sneaky. 
You don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.

2. Pick your favorite and have a moderate sized treat and move on.

3. Be strategic: don’t walk past a pile of chocolate when you are hungry.
You'll never make it and you know it.

4. Combat crap with cut-up fruit and veggies. 
They are plentiful this time of year too!

5. If you over-indulge, get thee to the gym—really. you'll feel better, 
burn some calories, and then let it go.

6. Don’t feel guilty saying “NO” to the office sugar-pusher. 
“But I spent hours baking this for everyone to enjoy". 
Well, sugar-pusher, open up a bakery and sell your deliciousness there.
You can be more discreet than that of course. 

We all fall off the healthy wagon. Don’t worry about it; worrying only makes things worse. 
Yes, worrying can make you gain weight. I won’t get into the science, but if you ever watch late-night television, 
someone is always selling a pill to reduce your levels of cortisol. 
Balance your stress levels the old fashion way: exercise, meditate, read, have fun, 
and be better tomorrow.

Unless of course tomorrow is a holiday party, then you might be in trouble. Holiday parties usually mean two things: 
lots of  food and lots of booze. Plan for the parties and you will survive. Be the person that brings the hummus plate with veggies, 
bakes a chicken dish, or brings fruit for dessert. Sure, people will give you a dirty look, but everyone 
wants to eat more veggies and fruit. I also recommend eating before you go to parties. 
Nothing huge, just healthy. You'll thank yourself later trust me.


My newest addition to my Christmas collection. Each year I collect a new snowman.   
Everyone is different in what they like to collect. My daughter likes to collect Santa Claus, 
my friend likes to collect angels, it's just whatever you like I guess!
This one was made from... you guessed it recycled parts! But I didn't make it. I wish that I had! It's my newest treasure. I love to surround myself with beautiful things, and the holidays are no exception-I have a separate collection of treasures just for Christmas that I have been accumulating for simply years now. I guess everyone does. Things from homemade items that the kids made me and the grandkids made me, and things that have been passed on from great grandparents to grandparents to
 my parents and then to me. I have lots of treasures. They are all personal and important to me.  Do you feel the same way about your Christmas Collection?


It comes down to what you surround yourself with during the holidays. What's your style? A little bit of everything or do you just like certain colors or perhaps your a vintage type of person? Well, it really doesn't matter because once you put us all together we are all so different that there is no end to all the beautiful homes I love to look at. I love to see how other people decorate for the holidays. 

In my own home I am more traditional and elegant in the main living room and the dining room. But, after that, anything goes. I have a family room that I decorate vintage style, and in my own Library/ Office I try to have fun and just use original pieces made or given to me over the years-including some things that I have made myself. And to that end, I am really trying hard to create new things made from old things so that things are being reused and up-cycled rather that just thrown away. 

Do you need some last minute ideas for your home? I found some lovely ideas for you....
and most of them are all about re-using old ornaments or other things you may otherwise
throw away...remember, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! 

From In my own style comes a tutorial on how to make this lovely ornament tree, 
what a wonderful way to re-use old ornaments! Find it HERE

Look at this beautiful ornament and driftwood Christmas tree craft. 
The tutorial can be found on this lovely site called The space between

Another gorgeous ornament tree with tutorial found HERE!
This is from So into Vintage.

Found on Dreamy Whites, simple but oh so elegant... found HERE!

Here's quite a festive door ornament! 

What a clever idea, using ornaments to make a frame-perhaps one
that can hold a new family picture taken each year!

There are so many styles to be had. 
What is your holiday style? I'd love to see it!



Change is a funny thing. It's certainly played a big part in my life over the past year. Sometimes we want things to change so badly we'd do just about anything to make it happen. But, more often than not, we're so scared of it that we would give anything to stop it from happening.

Personally, I can't think of a year in which I have changed more that 2013. I'm now working in a different area that allows me to help people, {I love that} and of course I do still live in the same house, but it seems that almost everything else has changed quite dramatically. Specifically, my relationships with others, my relationship with myself, my understanding of the world, my actions and more importantly my reactions, my thoughts and even my way of thinking -- all of these things have undergone major transformations this year.

I looked into the mirror and asked myself "Why? Why now? What was so different about this year that made it so special?"

 And I even knew the answer: you were was ready. 

It took a long time to get here. Many trials and errors. Many bad moments... but they made me a much stronger person. Then, one day I really looked around me and I realized that this was my life and I didn't like it one bit. I'd thought this many times before. I'd always wanted a different life. I'd always thought that "someday" things would be different. Ah, the elusive "someday".  But the big difference is that now I realize that I have to make things different. It's not just going to happen.

 Sounds simple enough doesn't it? But it wasn't that simple to get to this point in my life. Even though the answer is simple. And this is it; Take control of, and be responsible for your own life. No one else's , just yours. Do not let others dictate to you - like what you want to do, or, what they think you would enjoy, not anything. Take control. And stop being afraid. Starting today, welcome change. Look at things. Really look at things. With your own eyes. And from that moment forward make your decisions.


via: we heart it
Christmas Cheer...

Collecting new Holiday drink recipes and trying a few during a Holiday get-together
is another time honored Christmas Tradition in my family. Some are alcoholic drinks, 
while others are not. You decide. I do a good mix of both. Enjoy this years finds!

Cranberry, Pomegranate, and Green Tea Holiday Spritzer


Found HERE
Post image for Cranberry, Pomegranate, & Green Tea Holiday Spritzer 
Cranberry, Pomegranate, & Green Tea Holiday SpritzerServes 4
32 oz. unsweetened pomegranate juice
16 oz. sparkling water
16 oz. green tea, steeped and cooled
5 sprigs fresh rosemary
¾ cup fresh cranberries
If you like, you can start by making festive ice cubes! Distribute 1 sprig of rosemary into an ice cube tray, 
and fill each cube with 1-3 cranberries. Fill the tray with water and place in the freezer overnight.
To make the spritzer, just combine all the liquids and mix lightly with a spoon. 
Pour into 4 separate glasses and add the ice cubes. 
Finish off each glass with 1 sprig of rosemary and a few extra cranberries,

Yummy! doesn't this sound delicious and refreshing, and healthy!!!


Ginger punch

Found HERE


Ginger punch


    1 cup chilled orange juice
    1 cup chilled apple juice
    2 tablespoons ginger beer cordial
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
    4 strawberries, hulled, roughly chopped
    2 cups chilled lemonade
    ice cubes, to serve

Combine orange juice, apple juice and cordial in a large bowl. 
Top with mint, strawberries, lemonade and ice. Stir to combine. Serve.

Spiked apple pie punch

This party beverage works well both hot and cold. With one 750-milliliter bottle of grain alcohol, 
you can serve about 36 people and get them all feeling seasonal with the apple and cinnamon flavors.

Prep time: 5 minutes, Cook time: 30 minutes


• 1 gallon apple juice

• 1 gallon apple cider

• 3 cups white sugar

• 8 cinnamon sticks

• 1 bottle 190 proof grain alcohol (750 ml)


1. In a large pot, combine juice, cidar, sugar and cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil, 
then remove from heat and let cool completely.

2. When cool, stir in grain alcohol.

3. Transfer to large serving dish and let guests ladle into cups. 
 Garnish with additional cinnamon sticks or apple slices, if desired.

Holiday milk punch

This party beverage is a great alternative to eggnog because it has no heavy cream or egg. 
The best part? It can be frozen and saved for up to a month.

Prep time: 5 minutes; "Cook" time: 4-8 hours (for chilling)


• 1 cup sugar

• 1 cup dark rum

• 1/2 cup brandy

• 2 tablespoons vanilla extract

• 1/2 gallon whole milk

• Grated nutmeg (optional)


1. Combine rum, brandy and vanilla extract in a large, heavy pitcher and dissolve sugar in the mixture.

2. Add milk; freeze until very cold or even slushy (4-8 hours).

3. Pour into glasses and grate nutmeg (or sprinkle ground nutmeg) on top, if desired. Serves eight.

Bourbon-Pecan milk punch

1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup cane syrup
1 tablespoon cream of coconut
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup water
1/4 cup bourbon
Garnishment: sweetened whipped cream {optional}
 Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring once. Cool 10 minutes. 
Process pecans, syrup, cream of coconut, cinnamon, vanilla, and kosher salt in a food processor 30 to 60 seconds or until smooth.
With processor running, pour water through food chute. Press mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a pitcher, using back of spoon. Discard solids. Cover and chill 3 to 24 hours. Stir in bourbon just before serving. Serve over ice. Garnish, if desired.
Try This Twist!
Milky Pecan Punch: Add 1 cup milk with bourbon. Makes: 3 cups.

I've actually drank this with breakfast. Yes, I said it.

Hot buttered lemonade

If you like lemon, this drink is about as soothing as they come — it's somehow light and rich at the same time. 
It's great for all ages, and best of all, it's easy to make.

Prep time: 5 minutes, Cook time: 5 minutes

• 3 cups water
• 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
• 2/3 cup sugar
• 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
• 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
• 4 cinnamon sticks (optional)


1. In a saucepan over medium heat, simmer water, lemon juice, sugar and lemon peel until sugar is dissolved.

2. Pour into mugs; dot each with butter. Drop in a cinnamon stick if desired. Serves four.
Crockpot Style:


9 c hot water
1 3/4 c sugar
1 Tbsp shredded lemon peel
1 1/2 c lemon juice ( 8 lemons )

butter or margarine


In crock pot cooker, thoroughly combine water, sugar, lemon peel, and lemon juice.
Cover and heat on low heat setting for 4 to 6 hours.

Serve in mugs; dot each with butter.
Serve with stick cinnamon stirrers, if desired.

Via: Joy the Baker

Hot Buttered Rum and Cider
serves 4
adapted from Epicurious


3 cups spiced apple cider
1/2 cup water
2 cinnamon sticks
10 whole cloves
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter
3/4 cup dark spiced rum
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
sliced apples and cinnamon sticks for serving


In a medium saucepan, combine cider, water, cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. 
Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 15 minutes.

Uncover, return to medium heat, and add butter.  Stir until melted.  Remove from heat,
stir in bourbon and lemon juice.  Remove cinnamon sticks and cloves. Add sliced apples before serving. 
Serve the cider in mugs with cinnamon sticks for garnish. 

Hot spiced wine

Mulled wine is popular in many countries around the world, from Chile to Czech Republic. 
Because of its universality, this hot toddy has many varieties, from slow-cooked to quick and easy. 
This particular recipe from Food.com is one of the simpler versions.

Prep time: 5 minutes, Cook time: 5 minutes


• 1/2 cup sugar

• 1/4 cup water

• 10 whole cloves

• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 3 peppercorns, whole

• 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (to taste)

• 1 orange, juiced

• 1 bottle red wine

• Cinnamon sticks (optional)


1. Combine all ingredients except wine in a pan and boil for five minutes.

2. Reduce heat, add wine. Heat to the point where it is just before boiling. 
{Try to avoid boiling; the alcohol will begin to evaporate.}

3. Strain into cups and serve hot.

4. Garnish with cinnamon sticks, if desired. Serves four.

That completes this years new recipes. Have some to share with me?