FALL FORWARD~

This has been a bit of a challenging Summer.

I’m approaching the Big 60 next year, and trying to visualize how I want to live this next important decade…I wouldn’t be lying if I said it’s been pretty daunting…”If not now, WHEN?” resonates in my brain all day long….

New Hampshire and Florida are claiming two of my closest female friends by the end of this  year. If you are anything like me, you know how precious  old friendships are….

People I care about are grieving the loss of loved ones, And THE WORLD HAS OFFICIALLY GONE CRAZY!

News junkie that I am, I’ve turned off  the “breaking news alerts” from my phone….I.Just.Can’t.

What to do?

Sometimes you just has to push through the blue, and plan your way out….

So , in the Fall, I’ve signed on to my local mentorship program to team up with a lovely 7th grade girl who needs a friend…

I have a feeling, never having had a daughter, that she will give me more than I give her.

I can’t wait to meet her❤️🙏

Next, I’m going to make good on my bucket list item of getting serious about photography.

I took an online  course over  the Summer for IPhone photography that I highly recommend! (BTW, the IPhone 7 takes pictures as good as any DSLR  I’ve ever owned…)

Here’s the link…it really is a great course .

https://iphonephotographyschool.com/elcs_thank_you/?lead=camera

Next, did you see the gorgeous Diane Lane in the movie “Paris Can Wait”?? Fun movie, breathtaking scenery of the South of France (I will go back someday🙏)

What I loved the most about the movie, aside from the elegant clothes, was this camera she used in many scenes..

It’s a Leica C Digital and if I flunk the DSLR course, Santa is going to bring me this for Christmas.

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Next up for the Fall… 💃 SALSA!!!!

I’ve enrolled in a beginners Salsa class, and am praying my hips hold up!

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The other day, I was looking at my closed MoonFlower buds, and I was trying to decide if they had already opened and were spent, or had they not bloomed at all yet…

I sometimes feel like that…and guess what? The buds weren’t spent at all, but  just getting ready to explode with life…

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and so am I.~

Have a lovely Summer weekend, and plan yourself happy!~❤️

 

 

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MY HOME, SWEET HOME~

 

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HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!

With all the nightmare news headlines coming from all sides today, you’d think America was an island the Brits used to lock up the insane!

But today, I want to reflect on what is GOOD about the country I love, the greatest country on Earth.

America is a beautiful country, from East Coast to West, and all in between.

Mountains, lakes, forests, prairies and magnificent oceans….we have it all here, if you look.

But more beautiful than that are its people…

Say what you want about the “Ugly American”, but we are the first to respond to disaster or humanitarian crisis, anywhere on the Globe.

We have sent more of our boys to die for other’s freedom than any country on Earth…

We even send money to countries that hate us.

Our military, often maligned, are made up of the best of America…brave men and women who protect not only us everyday, but also the inhabitants of foreign soils. We are often the country others look to for help in conflict.

I, for one, am so proud of our military….it’s the strongest on earth, but also with a compassion our adversary’s could never fathom or emulate.

We have the best hospitals and colleges on the planet…come to Boston some time and see the students from around the world getting educated, then go to the hospitals and see how many people from other countries are being saved here.

We have our flaws, for sure, but we also have the freedom to speak our mind, and to vote however we choose….

Women here are free, and equal to men, and each and every nationality that comes here does well, as long as they are willing to work hard.

Hard work is rewarded here, and it’s still the surest path to the “American Dream”.

We take care of our senior citizens, and are working now to finally start taking care of our Veterans.

We are the best of the best…doctors, scientists, engineers, researchers, philanthropists, farmers, educators, innovators… I salute them all.

So next time you turn on the news, on any channel, and hear the chaos, remember that people are passionate on both sides because there is so much at stake…

The soul of the greatest country on Earth….

She is still so worth fighting for.

God Bless America, and enjoy her birthday!~

LIFE IS WHAT HAPPENS…..

Je suis desole!  So very, very sorry.  I had to disappear for a while….

This blog was always intended to be a place of pleasure, and an outlet of creativity for me.

I’ve had such a busy year thus far, that getting the content together necessary to post a half way decent blog became another thing on my nagging “To Do” list.

I never want to feel like this blog was just another thing to check off the list of things to be done, so I shut it down.

I dearly apologize to those who have been checking in for a new post!  I value every second that someone spends here in my small little piece of the blogosphere, and I would never just throw something up that I didn’t think was worth you time.

I am back, and promise to do better…forgive me?

Lots to review, introduce and regale, so hang tight.

I won’t let you down.

More coming, but have you tried these…?

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If you are like me, you like a nice cocktail, but not the calories that come with it.  I promise you, you will love these mixers!  By a company called be Mixed, these mixes are free of sugar, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, gluten free, and here’s the best part….ZERO CALORIES!!  How did they DO that??? With the help of Monk Fruit, citrus zests and stevia, these cocktail mixers are the freshest, most delicious thing you can get in a bottle!  I would (and do) drink them without the alcohol, they are that good.

My absolute favorite is the Ginger-lime, but the Margarita and Cucumber-Mint flavors are terrific as well!

Purchase here:
https://www.be-mixed.com/

And because it’s KENTUCKY DERBY DAY, (go Irish War Cry!!) I will be using the Cucumber-Mint in my Kentucky Derby Mint Julep…..

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Here are some tasty recipes for the julep, but try one with the be Mixed cucumber mint someday…it takes this classic drink to a whole new level, and you waistline will thank you!
Kentucky Derby: The Most Delicious & Mouth-Watering Mint Julep Recipes

So whether you are watching on TV, there, or having a bash, enjoy the tradition, and Wear Your Crowns… (or a VERY big hat!)

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Have a lovely weekend ~

ANOTHER AULD LANG SYNE~

 


Goodbye 2016!!!

What an INCREDIBLE year!

Good or bad, it was an epic year for most people I know…not a lot of gray area in 2016!

We had the election season from Hell that tore the country apart and exposed today’s politics for what it is…a blood sport, at best.

Whether  your candidate won or lost, remember that we are all a Free People, that not everyone can get a trophy in the real world, and that we will survive, because America has 240 years invested in her thus far, and she’s immune to the victories and shortcomings of her leaders.

We will be just fine.

The entertainment industry was hit hard this year, with the deaths of Prince, Bowie, George Michael, Sir George Martin, Maurice White, Glen Fry, Leonard Cohen and on.

Personally , we lost an iconic uncle, a much too young high school bestie, and the dear dad of my sister in law…stunning and sad, evidence that you need to savor each moment for those who no longer can❤️

This weeks deaths of the fabulous Carrie Fisher and Debby Reynolds highlights what an insane year it was. Dying literally a day apart, can’t you just hear Carrie saying “Seriously mom??? You couldn’t have waited a month? You had to hijack my funeral, too????”

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Strong, gutsy, flawed …totally Crown Worthy ladies, I shall miss them both❤️

So tonight, I will roast a tenderloin, steam some mussels, pop a few Veuve corks and give thanks for every minute of 2016, the good and the bad, the ugly and the brilliant.

Because it all adds up to the sacred gift of life, a gift for which I am eternally grateful🙏

Onward to 2017!

Be good, do good and Wear Those  Crowns high👑! I have a feeling 2017 is going to be a wild ride!!!!!

Have a fabulous fantastic New Year❤️

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Beauty, the Books and Blood Orange Bliss~

New England in Autumn is a little slice of Heaven.

The foliage, the Indian Summer weather (warm sunny days, crisp, cool nights,) and OH, the food.  I’m a sucker for anything pumpkin. You could sprinkle pumpkin spice on a pile of dirt, and I swear I’d eat it!

Cold weather clothes are terrific as well .  It’s almost as if they KNEW we would be eating too much, and made oversized knit sweaters, bulky jackets and belly hiding sweater scarfs the fashionable thing.

On to beauty….

I make a point to walk every day in the woods near my home. I just don’t want to miss a minute of the glory!

Check this out from my walk yesterday…

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It’s a breathtaking  time of year, and hard to feel anything but invigorated and alive when I’m out in nature, and that’s why I will always be a New England girl!

This week, lots of great reads were released.

So many books, so little time!

This first one I am enjoying is “Capture Your Style” by Aimee Song.

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Because the political season is in full on ugly mode, I am trying to stay away from social media sites that just bring me down… I’ve traded more Instagram for less Facebook and Twitter in the precious little time I have in my day to browse.

I find Instagram uplifting and love seeing everyone’s day through pics. This book, written by a woman with one of the largest Instagram accounts on the planet, gives some great advice about photo shooting, editing, text, content, how to capture your own style, and tell your own story in an appealing way.  She’s made a five figure income off of her Instagram account, and travels the world snapping pics, so she knows her stuff. Her advice about editing apps alone is worth the cost of the book, if you care about the quality of your photos.

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The second book, “The Bitch Is Back: Older, Wiser, and (Getting) Happier..by Cathi Hanauer is a FABULOUS read for we “femme d’un certain age.”  Chronicling some of the best women writers in their forties, fifties and sixties, these “bitches”, all bestselling authors and some of my favorites, offer unique views of modern womanhood today, but from an older and wiser perspective. Topics ranging from marriage and/or divorce, cancer, dealing with elderly parents or adult children, workplace age and sexism, highlight that we older women have a lot on our plates. Here, it’s examined with guts and gusto, and I yell  “Brava!” after each essay read.

We older women are AWESOME, aren’t we?? I want to send a Virtual  Crown to each of the contributors….it’s a terrific read.

Finally, last night in Boston, I had the best martini I’ve ever had.  And people who know me know that I make a mean martini.  It was a blood orange martini, but like no other.  One sip, and I was transported to Sicily, to the sun drenched blood orange groves.  HEAVEN!

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I have made blood orange martinis before, but nothing tasted this good.  I asked the bartender, who kindly told me the secret.  They make it with a few tablespoons of this blood orange purée, imported from Napa Valley.

You can buy it online here. https://www.perfectpuree.com/product/blood-orange-concentrate/

along  with several other flavors like Meyer Lemon and Caramelized Pineapple, (have MERCY!) which I am eager to try next.

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Whatever you view, read, savor or drink, do something nice for a stranger, and have a lovely week ahead~

POLITICS AND PUMPKINS, POLISH AND POUTS ~

Are you ready to toss your TV out the window?

Rip your phone off wall and throw it out? (If you’re ancient, and still HAVE a landline…)

If you answered “yup,” chances are it’s election season, and never has their been one as polarizing and difficult as this one!

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People who know me know I am passionate about politics.  I do not discuss politics on this site, however, as it’s suppose to be a fun and uplifting place to come.  Politics, at least today’s version, has become a blood sport, pitting family members against each other, as well as friends and co-workers.

So, with help from fellow blogger Shannon Abels, I’ve devised what I think are some solid guidelines to get you through the next few months without losing your mind..

1. Seek out the truth

Often the important issues can’t be summarized in a tweet or news clip.  It takes time and patience and more than just skimming the headlines for you to learn the truth.  Especially with today’s media being, shall we say, agenda’d on both sides.  Be sure you are seeking out reputable sources, and just shut off CNN and FOX New altogether.

2. Converse to gain understanding.

The other day, I had a long political conversation with a Starbucks manager, in her mid-forties.  She was Black, Gay and adopted.  Listening to her, I was able to ascertain why she is voting the way she is, and, even though she and I are not in agreement about a lot of things, I now understand at least where her fears lie, and why she is voting the way she is.  We each have or own things that are really important to us, and no one candidate solves them all. Having civil conversation allows us to at least gain a better understanding of each other.

3. Determine if you have a willing audience for discussion

Nothing appalls me more, from either side, than a  person ASSUMING that everyone thinks like they do. They are the ones who will say at a dinner party “can you imagine the idiots voting for —- and how stupid can you be?” Facebook is different, because you know your audience and can control the privacy settings. But out in public, well, you’ve heard the saying “never assume…It makes an ASS out of U and ME!”  And just because a person lives in a heavily red or heavily blue state, does not mean they don’t think for themselves and follow the majority.

4. Seek depth, not soundbites

Soundbites lack context, but time is valuable: therefore, that is often all we hear or see. Please  be aware that there is always more to the story.

5. Watch or listen to debates

Sometimes, even the greatest pundits can’t cover up the lack of knowledge of a subject, or the extreme ideas or opinions of a candidate.  Truth speaks as candidates debate.

6. Seek out quality information, but less of it.

Read a paper or two, and limit yourself to about 15 minutes a night of political news from as unbiased a source as you can find…hard, I know.  After that, take a deep breath, and shift your focus.

It’s going to be a loooooong season.  Pace yourself, become an EDUCATED voter, then do your civic duty and VOTE!

Pumpkin is up next!

I found what looks to be a delightful recipe for pumpkin brioche in this months edition of  one of my favorite magazines, Victoria..

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This will be a perfect accompaniment to my Bouef Carbonadde recipe ….

http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Classic-Beef-Beer-Stew

It appears to take most of the day to make, but since I am having  guests tonite, I will attempt to make the effort and report back next time!  You can see the above photo, and my “finished product” side by side, and decide for yourself!  The recipe can be found on Victoriamagazine.com

Polish time!  You ladies know about my obsession with nail polish by now, and particularly about Smith and Cult nail polish.  Great wear, easy application with a super flat brush, and THE.BEST.COLORS…

These are the three I love this season…The first is called  “1976” (because it reminded the color chemist of her moms rose gold lame dress from the disco days…I was there in ’76, and Yup! They got it right! )

My other two seasonal favorites are called “Darjeeling Darling”, a gorgeous Autumn green, and “Dark Like Me,” and lovely burgundy.

Buy them at Newman Marcus or here ….http://www.smithandcult.com/nailed-lacquer.html

 

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Pouts!!…Have you seen the new seasonal trend in lip color?  Dark as the night, matted and in your face…(or at least on your lips!)

The new shades are gorgeous…deep plums, blues, violets..colors we’ve never seen on lips..

The problem is, they look AMAZING on young girls, but not so much on “we of the older and wiser generation”..

So I did a little research and found just the one.  By Urban Decay, this line blew me away with color…

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But putting them on my lips was waaaay tooo Bella Lugosi-esque!  Barnabus Collins would dig it, but my family would have been horrified.

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So I settled for one from the Urban Decay line called “Seismic”, that had all the pigment and color of the deep, lovely violet, but with none of the matte, and it was delightfully moisterizer  to boot!

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So now you can talk politics without getting tarred and feathered, bake a delicious pumpkin brioche, have beautifully colored nails AND wear the dark lip trend without being embalmed first!

And you thought you were just reading some little blog post…

 

Have a fantastic Columbus Day Weekend, and Wear Your Crowns! ~

 

 

 

 

 

 

THINGS I’M LOVING, SUMMER 2016❤️~

imageWith Memorial Day upon us, I want to share some Crown~Worthy  things that, in my humble opinion, will enhance the all too brief summer experience. Remember, I’m from Boston…our summers last about ten weeks, our winters five months. Summers are sacred in New England.

SO! Having said that, here’s my SUMMER 2016 Hall of Fame Crown~Worthy list!

I love my champagne, but I love it even more, sitting on a beach, watching the sunset.

Veuve Clicquot Rose is the perfect drink for a special sandy sunset. It’s light, like the Rose we enjoy all summer, but with a magical taste of bubbly goodness, and SO pretty🍾 . It’s hard not to smile when enjoying a glass. Treat yourself at least once this summer. You owe it to yourself!

Summer tends to play havoc with my hair, newly silver. Between the UVA rays, salt water and dry heat, delicate gray shades don’t stand a chance. White becomes yellow in no time, and not in a good way.

After a year-long search, I finally found the perfect shampoo for white, silver and platinum.

Aveda Blue Malva is a joy to use. Smells like I think Heaven would smell (if I ever get there😉), and when your hair dries, it’s bright, silver and luminescent. Not a trace of dull yellow, and it feels like silk. Highly rated online, highly recommended by me. A Crown~Worthy  find a year in the making, but not cheap. It runs about $38 per bottle, but it’s 33 ounces, so you’ll use it awhile.

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I can see a difference in my hair since using it, even in photos….

 

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Next on the list…

I searched far and wide for a summer nail color I wouldn’t get tired of. One that was neutral enough to go with everything, but not boring like most neutrals. (I will never be accused of being boring!)

I saw this on a model in a magazine and eureka! That was it, and the search was on…

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I finally found it, but it was sold out everywhere, forcing me to buy it direct from the company and pay shipping, which I was not happy about. But it’s mine, it’s on my feet and toes, and it makes me smile every time I look at it, so it’s all good!

It’s by a company called Smith and Cult, and while the names are insane, the colors are gorgeous. This green is called “Bitter Buddhist” of all things, but it’s a subtle, grayish green that reminds me of a Monet. The wear is great and, if you are into that kind of aesthetic, the bottle is gorgeous.

You can find it at Neiman Marcus, if you’re lucky, and other places online if not sold out. But I bought it direct from the company because when I finally found it, I had to have it.

Heres a cute article from the Huffington Post about the company and the crazy names of the colors..

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/17/smith-and-cult-nail-polish-line_n_5990128.html

 

Next up, a water bottle that A. Looks sleek B. Keeps your water cold FOR TWELVE HOURS IN A HOT CAR….it’s true, I tested it, and may I introduce my new favorite thing…

 

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Produced by the company S’well, these bottles are it for me!

Ranging around $35. per bottle, I’ve seen them in Starbucks and Barnes and Noble Cafes. Target sells the cheaper, smaller version of their bottle, but when it comes to water, go big or go home!
How pretty is this limited edition rose gold one….?
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Oh, and did I neglect to point out that it keeps the above referenced champagne, or any other wine, ice-cold for an outdoor picnic?  And yes, it’s keeps your hot coffee steaming all day in the cold weather, but we aren’t going THERE today.🌞

Here we have a make your own ice cream sandwich kit from Williams Sonoma. SO cute, and you can customize all day long to make the perfect sandwich. I’m famous for my ice cream sandwhich cookies for the beach parties our extended family gathers at. This makes it so much easier. Why spend your precious time on anything but being creative?

My favorite is combo is salted caramel gelato, the sandwich dipped in melted chocolate and sprinkled with crushed cashews. The options are endless and we’ve been known to use anything from pop rocks to crystallized ginger! The kit is super easy to use, and  at a $19.95 price point for three, it pays for itself in no time!

You can purchase this at Williams Sonoma in store or online.

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At last but not least, while I am a HUGE proponent of shutting off the TV and being outside as much as possible in the precious summer, here’s one hilarious show I found recently to binge watch if you have a rainy day.

Silicon Valley, an HBO comedy centered around the high-tech industry, is uproariously funny, or as one of my male friends said “freakin brilliant!”

It’s the story of a team of nerdy but brilliant computer guys naively navigating the cut throat Hi Tech industry of Silicon Valley. Having two computer engineers in the family, (how do you think I set UP this crazy blog?!), I can tell you from my sideline observation that the show is dead on, and funnier than it has a right to be! Now in its third season on HBO, it’s available for streaming. Enjoy!

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Wherever your summer takes you, whatever you eat, drink, shampoo with or watch, have a GLORIOUS SUMMER and savor each and every day, and have a Crown~Worthy Memorial Day Weekend❤️👸🏼~

❤️EVERYDAY IS VALENTINES DAY~

Can it be that another Valentine’s Day is almost here???

How time flies when you’re having fun!

In my house, we have a motto that “everyday is Valentine’s Day”. We don’t wait for special occasions to say “I love you”, or to do something nice for one another. Why let the advertisers dictate when you should pay attention to your partner, when, with a little effort, you can do it all year long? It’s the little things that matter. The things that mean more than a dozen roses ever could.  The gestures, the kind word, or the quiet support. Having one another’s back. Those are the things that cement a relationship.

HOWEVER…we DO like treats! So what better day to gift the one you love than on the day of love. Forget flowers on Valentine’s Day.  So unoriginal, so easy.

Here are some things that would surely please your mate on Valentines Day…

Tickets to a romantic show, like this one, would be GREAT paired with a nice dinner, or after show cocktail and dessert at a lovely bistro.

Remember these two?

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The FABULOUS Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neil of “Love Story” fame have teamed up again after decades to bring a poignant joy to this long standing romantic play. The reviews are great! Check to see if it’s coming near you. Perfect Valentines Day gift if you were touched by Oliver and Jennie, back in the day.❤️

Next, for the coffee lover in your life, and you all have one, this is some of the best coffee I’ve ever had. Black Bear Roasting Company in New Hampshire is a hidden jewel of a find. This mail order company delivers some outrageously good coffee beans straight to your door. You can buy it in half pound bags, or in bulk, and the selection is great. Trust me on this one…the quality and taste of this coffee will knock your socks off. The service is terrific and the price is comparable to a Starbucks bag…… But SO MUCH BETTER!

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My favorite is this gorgeous blend, Country French. This rich, smooth blend is perfect for a weekend cup in bed with the papers…my idea of heaven!

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Find it here… https://blackbearcoffee.com

I’m not a big jewelry gal….simple pieces, on occasion, and I’m good. But when I saw this Tiffany piece, I went MAD (for obvious reasons..😉) This will adorn my neck soon!❤️

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At TIFFANY.com, your Queen will adore you❤️👸

If you still don’t know what to get your honey, friend, dog, child, etc, here are more ideas from last Valentine’s Day…

https://wearyourcrowns.wordpress.com/2015/02/10/crown-worthy-valentines-gifts/

Finally, while Valentines Day is the day of love, never forget that the most important person to love is yourself. If you can’t figure out how to love and honor yourself, you can never learn how to really love and honor another. Put yourself at the top of that list!

Have a lovely Valentines Day❤️~

 

 

#52SATURDAYS, AND RECOVERY REMEDY

Last week, I spent the better part in bed with Attack Of The Killer Bronchitis. 2016 hasn’t been kind in the health department! I’m soldiering on, however, and I’ve even lost 13 pounds on my supposedly health inducing diet. I’ll take it, but I don’t do well being sidelined with illness.
My Saturday photo day gave me a good excuse to get out of bed,go visit my salon, and my favorite “color whisperer”, the lovely Bridgette. I always feel better after, and got my Saturday shot to boot!

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Spending so much time in bed has some benefit. I caught up on my reading, and finished “Boys in trees”, the veeeery interesting autobiography by Carly Simon. She and Sean Connery, who knew?

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Turns out, Carly is a really good writer, and the bio is chock full of antidotes from the Seventies. From Sweet Baby James, to Warren, Paul and Linda, Mick, et al, it is an enjoyable read. Made me want to dig out my fringe vest and guitar….if I had a guitar!
See you Saturday. Who knows what I’ll capture then??

52 Saturdays#2

This challenge is tougher than I thought it would be!
52Saturdays, where I take one interesting picture that reflects my Saturday for the entire years.

I had big plans of going into Boston to get a great shot of the Public Gardens or Old Faneuil Hall, but I woke up to a dreary day, and wanted to continue my Downton Abbey binge more than anything else. So, like a crazy women, I ran around the house shooting anything and everything til I got what I needed.

I was looking to do something interesting with a shadow, and lo and behold, here it was.
Levitating peppers!
Due to the white ledge they were placed on, the shadow below and the shape of the pepper, this shot somehow managed to make them look as if they were floating in air!

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Pleased was I!

Then, because I didn’t get “out there” like intended, I decided to take a pic of My Muse, Jesse, for the bonus points. (He’s using his “please put down the camera, get off your ass, and walk me!” face).

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Have a fantastic week ahead! ~

52 SATURDAYS~1

As mentioned previously, in 2016 I decided to challenge myself to take better pictures by joining the “52 Saturdays” Group.

The idea being that you set out consciously to get a great shot somewhere. Unlike “Picture Of The Day”, it can’t be a spontaneous shot, but a mindful excercise.

Full disclosure…the day before, I started a cleansing diet of no caffeine, sugar, alcohol or dairy.

I guess I underestimated how badly the caffeine withdrawal would be.

I started my day feeling a bit lousy at 6 AM, but needed to walk, so I thought I’d capture something in the overcast cemetery.

This little angel was quietly waiting for her close up on the chilly, snow capped morning….

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As the walk dragged on, it became very clear to me that I was withdrawing from caffeine in a BIG way.

The walk was cut short, and crushing headache, nausea, etc. ensued.

I ended up in bed for the next 24 hours, binge watching Downton Abbey.
(Where have you BEEN all my life?)…..

So if my 1st of 52 Saturdays is to be honestly reflected, it’s this image….(the only one I could show without scaring you!)

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Hopefully, that’s my quota for winter ills.
The good news is I’m down five pounds, but would take those pounds over how I felt yesterday, any day!

And a big THANK YOU, to my wing man, husband extraordinaire, for the care yesterday.

In sickness and in health, you’re the greatest❤️

Have a healthy week!~

BON ANNIVERSAIRE~

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One year! It’s flown by!
Thank you so much for all the emails and kind words.
2016 is going to be gangbusters!
I promise interesting content, fabulousity, and lots of fun. ❤️
Thanks for stopping by, and see you in a few~

CHRISTMAS, MY WAY~

This year, The holiday season was off to a bad start. The list of “must do” and “must attend”  was getting longer than my arm. I found myself becoming cranky and annoyed as I started making the endless lists and circling dates.

“This is not how I want to spend my time”, I found myself thinking over and over….

What to do?

Then I had an epiphany….this is MY one and only life, and for decades I’ve being living it to satisfy the desires  of others. It’s time for me to design a Christmas that resembles one I would like to celebrate..

and off I went…

Instead of spending Sunday at the mall running around with sore feet and too many packages, I saw a Nordic Christmas concert advertised at a local Episcopalian church.

I’m not Episcopalian OR of Nordic Descent, but it was just lovely…!

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Then I made a tough call….to pass up one side of the family’s semi-mandatory Christmas party to go to see my parents, one who is ailing, and treat them to a weekend of high tea, laughter and reminiscing.

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Next, a small but pleasurable departure from the Season of Stress. Leaving a work obligation later than expected, I took the time to pull off the road and watch this….

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The sights and lights!

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A Christmas martini and a Sound Of Music singalong❤️

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We even squeezed in an OUTSTANDING movie….The Big Short,

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Onto Christmas Eve…

A lovely meal at a reputable Asian restaurant after a beautiful church service…where they opened the windows because it was 68 degrees! A FIRST for this fifty-seven year old!

Christmas was an elegant brunch of Brioche French Toast and Barefoot Contessa “Crack” Bacon. Crack, because you eat so much you will need bacon rehab. Here is the recipe….

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/caramelized-bacon.html

The day ended with my favorite drink by the fire…
image No stress, all JOY❤️  (And off tonite to see the movie, “JOY”, starring some of my favorite actors.)

New Years Eve next, then off to what I KNOW is going to be an extraordinary year….my way!

Have an authentic week ahead, and Happy New Year!

Make it YOURS~

2016, ANTICIPATION, ADVENTURE AND A SPACE OF MY OWN🙏

 

I’ve been thinking about 2016, an exciting year for sure.

My husband and I will be selling our big old house and downsizing. The best part is we have no idea where we are going, or what we are looking for…it’s a wide open plan we call “The Great Adventure!”

Unencumbered now by the housing needs of our sons, we can finally plant ourselves where we WANT to be, not where we NEED to be.

And I, for one, could not be more excited. Our Final Destination, after owning five places in four cities in thirty years, is all about US, and will reflect our taste, our needs, and who we are at this stage in our lives.

One thing I know for certain… having lived with four males for the past three decades, it’s MY turn. I plan on surrounding myself with beauty, nature, and my own space to create, think, nap, reflect and dream.

Here’s a perfect book I found recently. A photographer happened upon a growing women’s trend in England called “The Small Spaces Movement.”

 

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Women are carving out space for themselves in the most unusual places! Sheds! Who knew??

It’s like going back to the playhouse or treehouse of your childhood, but with electricity and in some instances, gas and plumbing!

I’m doing this for sure! I’m thinking Shabby Chic Shed, and I’m having a “NO BOYS ALLOWED” sign made for the door.😉

Also, at the start of every new year,  I like to challenge myself to take better, more interesting pictures.

To achieve this, I commit to a photo of the day, month, etc. challenge.

Here’s my post about photo diaries from January…

https://wearyourcrowns.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/62/

For the upcoming year, I’ve chosen “52 Saturdays”….the idea being to find something interesting to shoot every Saturday, no matter what, and edit and post it on a social media site for all to see.

I chose this project because for the past 25 years, I’ve worked Saturdays in one form or another, and decided this year to give myself the gift of that day off. So this challenge was a perfect fit for me.

I will be posting the photo here, on Flickr, and on Instagram, starting January 2nd. Watch for it. I promise it will be fun!

Have a lovely weekend, and get ready for 2016!~

IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE A CROWN WORTHY CHRISTMAS ~

It’s started, whether you like it or not, the holiday shopping season.

Here are a few things I would love to see under MY tree😉

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Feather light, like a warm, soft hug for your feet, cashmere socks are the ultimate luxury. Perfect to wear in your winter boots, these by Garnet Hill are the ones to buy. 100% cashmere, no blends here. Lovely colors, and while expensive, can you put a price on pure happiness??

http://www.garnethill.com/women-27s-cashmere-socks/117684

Next, moisture is your best friend in the harsh New England winters. Your skin needs it, and your nasal passages will thank you as well, for this next gift.

How cute is this portable, aroma diffusing, warm mist humidifier that glows with soft light in the dark?

By Aliexpress.com, at a $31. price point, it’s a great grab gift or stocking stuffer for your girlfriends, or a perfect addition to a chilly college dorm room. Buy two, one for your bed, one for your office..

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The next little slice of Heaven is from UGGS.Com
Cozy yet practical, these shearling, fingerless gloves are indispensable. If you’re like me, and can’t take enough photos of the beauty in the chilly outdoors, OR if you are a teenage girl and glued to Tumbler/Tinder/IG/FB texting, tweeting, etc., etc., and on and on…😩 (look UP once in awhile…It’s a beautiful world!), I digress…..these are for you. You need to keep those busy hands warm, and what better way to do it than with these babies…UGGS really knows how to blend warmth and practicality with style. I love this color, but they come in five…pricey for $145, but then they are UGGS!!

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Next, a great book filled with three of my favorite things…Hope, Optimism and FOOD!

“MY KITCHEN YEAR, 136 Recipes that SAVED MY LIFE”, by Ruth Reichl, is part memoir, part cookbook, (a twofer!)

Ruth was the longtime editor of Gourmet Magazine, loving her job and her life. When the magazine abruptly closed, she was unprepared and lost. Each day was a challenge to rebuild and redefine herself in her midlife, a daunting task. But with a lot of courage, and a KILLER repertoire of comforting recipes, Ruth put one step in front of the other and literally cooked her way to solid ground once again.

I loved her pluck, her spirit, and her recipe for three day short ribs !!! Crown Worthy accomplishment, this book and her comeback❤️

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-kitchen-year-ruth-reichl/1120998970

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You need a good candle, or twelve, in the winter, and these are the best on planet Earth. I promise.  By Diptyque Paris, this Feu de Bois candle smells like a crackling fireplace in a country cottage…in the woods…with pine cones..and a glass of champagne…and your honey beside you….can you smell it now😉?? WWW.diptyqueparis.com

Not cheap, but very high quality burn and scent is indescribable. You just have to trust me.  $60. For a large candle, but much class expensive than buying a cottage in the woods!

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Finally, grab your best girlfriends, and give them a gift that will last the Winter,(and help you survive the gloom!)
Plan one night a week, buy some good wine, make some delicious apps, and watch one or two episodes of this HILARIOUS comedy!
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Easily the funniest show I’ve seen in a long time. A perfect “girls night in” show..(which also made my handsome husband laugh out loud, too many times to count), this is the story of two lifelong BFF’s who haven’t been able to count on the men in their lives, so they form their own little family when one gets pregnant. Played BRILLIANTLY by real life besties Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham, you would swear they don’t have a script. Supporting actor Keegan Michael-Key is the maniaclly  funny scene stealer, and ever-still-hunky, Kenny Loggins makes an appearance in the season two finale. (If you watch the series, you see this coming a mile away!)😆

Whoever and however you gift, find the beauty in life this season, and enjoy the magic.

Have a lovely, Crown Worthy weekend ~

THANKSGIVING, AND “THE BOOK”, TRADITIONS OLD AND NEW❤️

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Twenty four years ago, I started a tradition on my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving.
Instead of going around the table, asking what my family and guests were thankful for, I made a rule…”if you don’t write it in the book, you don’t eat!”

At first, I was met with a lot of eyeball rolling and sighs . But I persevered. And can I tell you, 24 years later, my sons all remind me to make sure I dig out The Book for turkey day? We have to travel now for this holiday, and the rule has become “please don’t forget The Book!”

A simple few paragraphs written, (some years at gunpoint!) have become the most precious of family archives. Two of my sons could not even write when the book was new, and one not born yet. They would dictate as we wrote of their love, appreciation and a few Christmas requests thrown in for Santa.
Later came the crayon entries…then the teen years, creative writing and duct tape frames. Anagrams and angst slowly and tentatively became words mature and the sentiments, poignant.
We’ve lost some of the people in The Book, and some have come back to the family. Some are nearing the end, and we wonder “is this his last entry?” This makes it even more precious.
Someday, when I’m gone, I know The Book will be sitting on a table at my family’s feast.
I hope they remember that each year was beautiful, even the ridiculously hard ones…and oh, so very precious to me. And I hope they will always remember to take a few minutes to record their blessings….Because then they live forever.❤️

A new tradition, started last year, are these little delights…The Thanksgiving “Breakfast of Champions”, for we who have to get up very, very early and hit the road.  “Over the bridge, and through the woods, to Grandmother Jean’s house we go!”

Cinnamon buns, bacon feathers, candy corn beaks…that and a STRONG cup of Starbucks, and we can handle anything the Traffic Gods throw at us!
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Have the most amazing Thanksgiving. And remember to tell the people around them how very much you love them…even if you must have a big glass of wine to do it! These are words I promise you will never regret saying..

👸 and don’t forget to set your scales back ten pounds!

GOING GRAY UPDATE, CROWN WORTHY FINDS~

I’ve been a busy girl, and I’ve lost track of the months, but I think this is month 9 in the going gray transition.

I had to tweak it at the hairdresser this month. Nice only going every two months instead of every three weeks,  but it was necessary. My ends, which were bleached and highlighted to ease in the gray, were getting yellowish.

You remember Bridget, my “Color Whisperer” who missed her calling as a chemist??

I would take a bullet for this young lady, she’s that talented❤️

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She highlighted my ends with a platinum white blonde this time, and it blends much more seamlessly with the gray.  The fact that the back of my hair is still 80 percent brunette is another story, but in its own time, I guess…

From this….

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To this…….

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We are making progress!

On to some Crown Worthy things for Fall…

The color garnet, which I can only wear in small bits, is reported to be huge this Fall. Apparently, so are crowns!!👍🙏👸

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Next, continuing with the Crown theme (because you can’t have TOO many,) is this limited edition coffee travel mug I found at my local Starbucks yesterday.

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How adorable is that?

It’s a heavy glass mug, with gold leaf trim.  Too heavy for my travels, but perfect for an office conversation starter.❤️

Starbucks must have received my “Wear Your Crowns” memo!

Next, because I bought my iPhone Six Plus two MONTHS ago, Apple released its latest version this week.

Let me state that I’m really not upset. I ADORE my 6 plus. It’s the first phone I’ve been actually able to read in, well, ever…the battery life is great and the camera A-mazing! It has even replaced my iPad on many occasions, the screen is that readable, the keyboard that user friendly!

The upgrades to the latest version includes a bit longer battery life, (I’m fine with 9 solid hours, thanks!), and a better camera. But if you read my last post, you know I’ve got a DSLR capable camera ATTACHED to my iPHONE, via the DXO…..way better than anything Apple has put out to date.

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So I, not missing the improved camera.

I will say I love the new rose gold and pink phone….

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Very girlie-girl….But I have this leather case from SENA cases, that’s strong for all the times I drop my phone (waay too much!)

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Same color, much stronger, and who doesn’t use a cover anyway???

My last find is an oldie, but new to me.

I’ve struggled with soft, paper-thin finger nails my whole life.

I did the acrylic nail for about 12 years, which didn’t help. Actually made them worse.

Then I switched to gels, but had a bratty habit of peeling them off before I could get to the salon for a soak. A HUGE no-no, and I have been yelled at in four different Asian dialects because of it!😩 The nails got even softer..

I decided to get serious and do some research.

I found that this product, Nail Defense by Orly, has been a game changer.

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That, and taking a biotin supplement took my nails from soft to this, in four months…

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That’s Terra Mauve, which my manicurist   convinced me to wear for this pic. Great for Fall, but not really my cup of tea. I’m liking the darker shades this season.

Whatever  you dial with, shoot with, drink out of, or paint the town and your nails with….have an epic, Crown Worthy weekend!~

LOVING THE LENS~

I’m a novice, albeit passionate photographer.  I love capturing beauty, even more, now that I have a 50 plus memory!  If I can’t recall the moment, I pull up my digitals, and I’m right back in that space and time.

On my never-ending quest to be a better photographer, I’ve amassed a few things that have helped tremendously…things I think are just.plain.great!

I love my Nikon, but I only carry it with me when I set out to photograph a new place or special event, but the best pictures are in the small, everyday moments

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If you pay attention, they are there in bounty.

So for those moments, it’s the iPhone 6+.

Gorgeous camera, made even better by the right apps and accessories.

My first find is the Camera+ app.

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In a review, the Wall Street Journal says “The Clarity filter in the Camera+ app is iPhone photography’s secret sauce.  It adds pro camera crispness to almost any shot.”

TIME Magazine awarded it a 50 Best iPhone apps award in 2014 with this testament…”If the iPhone’s standard camera is like a digital point-and-shoot, the Camera+ app is like a high-quality SLR lens”

Winner: Best Visual Design, Best Photography App – Best App Ever Awards

Take a look….

Here’s a photo taken with my iPhone 6+, at my desk.

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Here’s the same photo taken with my iPhone 6+, using the Camera+ app, with NO editing…

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The next BIG THING on the scene of iPhone photography is the DxO One, which is new and setting the photography world on its head!  Called “a ground breaking camera in an extremely small package” by The Digital Photography Review, this pricey piece of technology turns your iPhone into an SLR worthy of a professional photographer.

Look how small it is, attached to your phone!

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Portraits, low light settings, fast action, everything is crisper, clearer and sharper, with amazing color and bokeh.

Here are some shots taken when the DXO is attached to the iPhone, (which takes but a twist..and boom, you’re on!)image

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This camera accessory isn’t cheap.  In fact, it costs about as much as the iPhone 6 with a $600 price point.  But if you are serious about photography, and want an addition to your phone that not only enables you to take professional quality shots, but fits in your pocket, this is your must have for Christmas 2015!

And so we don’t leave the SLR cameras out of the discussion, here are a few things I love for the Big Black Box….

Did you ever want to haul your gear to a wedding in style?

Look no further…..

First is a gorgeous, to-DIE-for camera bag and some Crown Worthy camera straps if you are a photo fashionista, all from Bloomtheorystraps.com

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Did you see anything you love???

Next, I also love a company called CapturingCouture.com

Even more adorable camera straps and accessories.

Here’s a strap covered in roses…and a few more to enjoy.

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Finally, I received the best piece of advice regarding photography from my nephew Paul, as I was preparing to travel to Paris for the first time..He simply said “Auntie K, don’t forget to look up.”

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How right he was….

If you look up, and you live in New England, you will notice that the leaves are just starting to change.  In a few weeks, you are going to be treated to Autumn, ablaze with color that will take your breath away.

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Charge your batteries, grab your cameras and get out there and look up!

You won’t be sorry.

Have a lovely weekend, and capture a memory.  They are there for the taking! ~

IF A SHOOTING STAR GOES BY…,

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Tonite you will be transported to a world of glory and wonder if you set your alarm for around 1-4AM, EST. the Perseid Meteor Showers are upon us and tonight’s show promises to be grande!

So set your alarm, grab a chair and be transported to a world of childlike wonder. 🌠

We may have problems, but they are all small compared to the grandeur of the Night Sky.

Don’t forget to make a wish…….

Have a Magical MidSummers Night❤️~

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