MY HOME, SWEET HOME~

 

IMG_1915

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!~

MOTHERS AND OTHERS~A REPOST.

I thought this one deserved a second “go round…”

I hope you agree.

Whatever kind of mother you are, or for whatever kind mothering you do…have a blessed day!

 

Mother’s Day…So many images come to my mind when I think of the word “mother”.

There’s the obvious mom, yours, and there are the ones not so obvious.

There’s the aunt who was like a mom, always magically appearing when you needed her most and there’s the friend who came over and gave you a heating pad when you were having bad menstrual cramps (or in later years, had a level 3 hangover,) because your own mom was busy elsewhere..your friend just knew exactly what you needed and provided it.

There was the teacher in third grade who could see that you were hurting because you were new to the school and not making friends.  She let you sit with her during indoor recess, and included the “cool girls” at her desk as well. Discussions on the merits of “Beatles” vs. “Monkees” ensued, and  by the time recess was over, you were a cool girl, too.

There’s the sister who called you the day your first-born was leaving for college, because she’d been there, and knew you couldn’t breathe from sorrow.

That’s mothering..

There are all different kinds of moms…crack addict moms, and gluten-free, free range,organic only, natural birth with a doula moms.

There are the absentee moms that say “life is a bitch, and if you don’t toughen up, you will get eaten alive,” and there are the moms that would kick down the doors of Hell for you.

What kind of mom did you have?

and what kind of mom were you?

I find there is a correlation between the two.

If your mom was a “June Cleaver”, you probably tended to be a “Murphy Brown”.

If your mom was a “Roseanne”, you were more likely to be an  “Abilene,”(the housekeeper/nanny from the movie “The Help”..)

What little girl would not want to be on her lap, hearing her coo “you is smart, you is kind, you is important” ..?

image

 

I had a hard-working, career pediatric nurse for a mom.  I was the only girl in my class who had a professional mom in the 60’s.  I was SO proud of her.  But I missed her, and often, while she was healing the sick children in the city. She wasn’t home for us much, even when she was.

I overcompensated by being the breastfeed til they were two, stay at home, homeschooling, Boy Scouting, school board and every-sport-known-to-man volunteer mom.

The one who would kick down those Hell doors….

After a lot of trial and error, I turned out OK…

and while they are still works in progress, so will my boys.

Somewhere between my mom and I, there exists the perfect mom. A mom who has the succinct balance of give and take, of attention and independence, of   “let them grow up” and “don’t ever let them go”…..

My mom and I are polar opposites, but one thing we have in common…we do the best we can, and really….that’s all you can do.

Happy Mothers day to all the moms, aunties,teachers, sisters,  friends and all others who mother us well, and make our lives worth living.

Your work is the most important on Earth…

But you knew that…~

 

 

 

 

 

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????”

img_3882

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❤️

img_3883

I’M THANKFUL FOR…~

THANKSGIVING WEEK IS UPON US….the years are flying, ladies..hold on with both hands!

I’ve many things to be thankful for this year…but then again, I have many things to be thankful for every year…even the not so good ones.

I practice gratitude, a concept that dates as far back as the bible, where Paul instructs “In everything, give thanks.”  Buddhists also consider gratitude one of the most important dharmas for fruitful living in daily life.

Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of the book “Simple Abundance”,  ignited a million woman gratitude movement in 1995, and I’ve never looked back.

Sarah reminds us, through her work, that there is beauty and bliss in the simplest of things…

A really good cup of coffee..

A baby’s laugh..

A heavenly pair of cashmere socks..

A decadent TV show..(think Downton Abbey!)

So the first thing I am grateful for this season is that I have re-purchased Sarah’s books, (my originals are long-lost in two moves), and I am currently savoring my favorites..

“Moving On” helped me tremendously when I was selling my home of many years and downsizing…It reminded me, page after page, that there is beauty everywhere in the big AND small,  if you look for it…

(Here’s some quiet beauty I have found in my new little home….Sarah is right again!!)

img_4889

 

img_3614

 

img_5121 “Romancing the Ordinary” is my other favorite…I love the ordinary moments where you see, smell, hear or taste something that just elevates your mood to joy….those are the best moments…

and they are all around us, everyday, if we look….

img_3702

The next thing I’m grateful for is another book I am loving..

It’s the latest from the brilliant writer, Alice Hoffman, whose work I’ve loved since “Practical Magic” in 1995.  “Faithful” is the story of the power of love, generosity and redemption when the world looks bleak and you are out of resources.

A timely book, indeed!

img_3699

Next is the new eight part series on PBS, called “Soundbreaking”…if you are a music fan, DO NOT MISS THIS

img_5236

It traces your favorite music back from it’s inception  to the studio, where the magic happened…what a treat to watch!

How did “Yesterday” become the classic beauty it is?  How did Phil Spector’s famous “wall of sound” come to be? How many studio musicians did it take to make “Pet Sounds”?  All the way up to today’s rap, this series is a stellar behind the scenes look at “how the soup was made”  in the studio, with the help of a few genius producers. Great series, three crowns up!!

The next thing I’m thankful for this week is a lovely body lotion I stumbled upon in a gift shop in Meredith, New Hampshire while on a retreat.  I left my own lotion home, and was looking to find something to use for a few days.

I bought this lotion, and will be ordering it on-line for years to come.

img_3704

By a company called Naked Bee, this Orange Blossom Honey lotion is a real treat.  It’s made from organic aloe and sunflower oil, honey and green and white tea, it applies like a blanket of softness, and smells INCREDIBLE!  Like an orange grove in the sun.  I put it on before bed, and the scent sends me off to dreamland, instantly erasing the stresses of the day.

Hard to feel bad when you smell so good!

I will be trying the Chai Tea, Grapefruit Blossom and  Lavender Beeswax lotions  in the future..and maybe even the Nag Champa one if I’m feeling adventurous.

https://www.nakedbee.bz

Next I’m forever grateful to Ina Garten, the fabulous Barefoot Contessa for bringing my humble cooking to the next level.  I’ve never made an Ina recipe that hasn’t  been perfectly delicious, and I doubt I ever will…she’s that good.

Here’s one of her recipes I’m making to bring to my mom for Thanksgiving…a sweet treat for a hardworking caregiver….

img_3671

Recipe here…

https://barefootcontessa.com/inas-world/chocolate-bark

Thank you, Ina, for all the books and shows.  I’m a grateful cook!

Finally, I’m grateful for my family, and my three sons, all wonderful works in progress….but this Thanksgiving, I’m most grateful for the THE most patient man in the Free World, my best date, my husband Ed….and the Bruno Mars tickets he scored for me last week didn’t’ hurt!!

Yeeeeoooww!!!!

Have a blessed Thanksgiving and treasure what’s good.  It’s all around us…~

What can YOU do…?~

Good Morning!

Have we all settled down since Tuesday?

I hope so.

I know for a fact that the sun still shines and the earth is still spinning, so it’s all good!

Last night, in honor of Veteran Day, we went to see “Hacksaw Ridge”, and I am so glad I did.

img_3609

It’s exactly what the world needs right now, but alas, the people who need it most will never see it.

Based on the true story of conscientious objector Desmond Doss, who won the Congressional Medal of Honor in WWII despite refusing to bear arms, it’s a story of two things sorely lacking in our country today.

The courage of conviction, and love of god and Country.

Desmond was a Seventh-day Adventist, a religion that forbids killing or the bearing of arms.  Yet Desmond also loved his country.

As boy after boy enlisted in WWII, he struggled with how to reconcile the two.  He couldn’t turn his back on his religion, and wouldn’t turn his back on his country.

So he became a medic and enlisted in he army as a conscientious objector, one of the nations first.

He was ostracized at best, beaten and almost court marshaled at worse, but BECAUSE he was a man with the courage of his convictions, and a religious man who valued life, he went on to single handedly save over 75 soldiers in the battle of Okinawa without firing a single shot!

Such a powerful story on two fronts.

He stayed true to who he was, because he answered only to the god he served, and he had a tremendous sense of patriotism with a desire to do the right thing.

When I look around today, I see protests that go nowhere and achieve nothing, and a large portion of our population  who want to take from our country, but never give back.

And it breaks my heart.

There was one powerful scene that caused me to weep..(thank you, Mel Gibson for ALWAYS making me cry at the movies you produce..”Passion of the Christ” and “Braveheart” come to mind.)

The scene is desperate one, as the bullets are flying and Desmond’s fellow soldiers are being slaughtered all around him. He is at a loss as to what to do, as he serves a God who does not want him to pick up a gun….he looks around at the carnage piling up and cries, “I don’t understand..What is it you want me to do??”

How many of us, who worship a god, have been there in our lives…Sometimes the challenges  we are faced with are so hard, we are ill equipped to know the way…and we look up and say “WHAT ON EARTH IS IT YOU WANT FROM ME??”

I have found many times that the answer may not come instantly, but it does come if you wait.

Desmond’s answer to his question was that he was called to use his courage and resourcefulness to rescue  the wounded but not dead soldiers left on the battle field, still under attack.

Most of those men, who would have been left for dead if not for Desmond, went on to get married, have families and live full lives.

THAT, my friends, is a great story.

Whether or not you are religious in any way, if you are a citizen of the Unites States, especially today, you need to see this film and ask yourself the question John Kennedy asked you several decades ago…

“Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.”

The answer to everything that ails our country today lies in that question, if you have the courage to answer it.

img_3610

In honor of Veterans Day, just for today, can you give that some thought?  And maybe find a small way to give back  to the Greatest Generation for all their sacrifice, and to the Greatest Country on Earth, for all our blessings?? Instead of focusing on what’s wrong with the country, let’s reflect on what’s right, and act accordingly!

God Bless America, thank you , and have an amazing weekend ~

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…

Screenshot

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.

img_3483

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.

img_3484

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!

img_3486

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.

img_3485

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

Ch-ch-ch-ch Changes (Turn and face the strange..) ~

Heloo, October!  I can’t BELIEVE how fast September went.

image

As some of you know, I went through a big life event last week. I closed up my big ol’ 9 room country club colonial, sold it to a lovely, starry-eyed couple (good luck, kids!) and moved into a 1300 square foot elegantly appointed apartment.  With about 1,000 neighbors and dogs!

I was really nervous at first, as I have never, in almost 58 years, lived in anything but a house.  Small as they were,  I always had my own space and my own land.

I entered into the next phase, however, with more excitement than trepidation.

You see, the best times of my life, in retrospect , have been the times of biggest change.  The bigger the change, the bigger my growth as a person, and the bigger the lessons learned.

I had been STAGNANT for so many years.  Something about being chained to taking care of a big house while working two jobs, and having so many empty rooms as most of my boys are gone, just left me feeling old.  The house had become a museum to the past, and I am all about the future.

I handed over the keys, thanked God for the memories, bad and good, and onward we went.

To date, I have meet such a melting pot of fine people in my new complex!  I’ve met hard-working, polite 20 somethings, Indian high tech professionals, a large Asian population with the MOST gorgeous babies and toddlers.  (Interesting about that culture…mom and dad bring the grandparents with them, wherever they reside, and have built-in baby sitters.  In the day, you see the grandparents in the playground or pool with the little ones, and at night, as they rest, the parents appear.  It’s a testament to that culture that family is everything.)

And then I met “Giselle”…..

Not her real name, but a dead ringer for the real Giselle, I noticed this lovely young Brazilian mom by the pool everyday with her  beautiful, blond, curly haired toddler.While everyone else poolside was gawking at her “Girl from Ipanema” beauty, I noticed something else….how utterly attentive and captivated she was by her little boy.  Unlike a lot of moms today, she did not have her face in a phone constantly.  In fact, she didn’t even carry one.  She was SO enchanted by her little guy.  I could tell she was a great mother. She looked however, a bit lonely.  I think, because she was so gorgeous, the other residents were a bit intimidated to even stand next to her bikini clad body, much less talk to her.

Luckily for both of us, I don’t intimidate easily, and I approached her to tell her what an awesome job I thought she was doing as a mom.  She broke down in tears and thanked me heartily.  We started talking, and she confessed that her baby boy, Franco, is the love of her life, but she misses her mom in Brazil tremendously.  She said there are days when she can’t take the loneliness, as her husband works long hours and her mom can’t Skype.  The more we talked, the more it became clear that the Divine Spirit had a plan for us….

I have been waiting for a young lady to come into my life for a long time.  With a husband, and three sons who have  no “serious” girlfriends yet, it’s a lonely existence for a woman in my house!  Even my dog, Jesse, is a boy!

The more I talked with “Giselle”, the more we bonded.  I told her she could call me anytime, night or day, and I would be there for her.  I will be babysitting for her so she can get back to her sport of running,and I can get my fix of baby love, and have a surrogate daughter for the time we both reside there and maybe onward.

The day we met, as we were parting, she asked me my name…when I said “Kathy” she burst into tears and hugged me….her mom in Brazil is named “Kathy.”

Coincidence or Divine Interveniton?  You decide.

If I hadn’t broken waaaaay out of my comfort zone to try new things, I wouldn’t be as happy as I am as of this writing.

Now, unemcumbered by that house, my husband and I have the time to embrace new things instead of raking lawns and fixing leaks.

We have lots of adventures awaiting, and I’m so ready for what’s ahead…

I may even try the Indian food truck that comes to the complex next Friday….; )  or maybe not…

Here’s a pic of my tiny tiny balcony…decorated within an inch of it’s life for Fall….Can you tell I’m a downsizer?

image.jpeg

Have a glorious October, embrace the changing of the seasons of your life, and wear your crowns! ~

image

 

Well, HELLO AUTUMN!❤️🍁

image

 

And hello blogosphere ! Too long, I know. Many changes and lots to do has taken me away from my happy place, Wear Your Crowns. I apologize ! I’ve been busy selling a nine room home and trying to figure out how to fit it into a four room apartment as temporary dwelling til the real estate market catches up with its low inventory. At the end of this month, I’ll be camping out for the holidays in a cozy but lovely place, looking for that Final Destination. I’ve moved a lot and the next house is the last!

How was your Summer? Ours was dry and drought filled, which is kind of amazing considering the severe flooding in other parts of the country. My heart goes out to the people who’ve had bigger challenges than dry lawns and a truncated foliage season to deal with.

One of the best nights I spent this summer was the night of the Perseid Meteor Showers. It was promised to be amazing this year! I had lots of wishes and needed to find some shooting stars, and it did not disappoint.

image

It took three different locations by car at 2 AM, but bleary-eyed, I found what I was seeking and the show was breathtaking!☄💫✨

One of the things I wished for was that I would never lose childlike wonder and the ability to be thrilled by the world around me. Many wishes later, I crawled home stiff-necked but filled with hope and awe. Amazing.

Another thing of interest this Summer happened September 1st. While I’m not a student of Astrology, this next event fascinated me.

The New Moon in Virgo, with a Solar Eclipse  is a significant astrological event in two parts (Sept. 1 and Sept. 16). This is a time of major change and clearing. It’s a time to reject old patterns that aren’t serving you, accept the past, forgive and move on, and be mindful and open to the changes this period of time will bring about. According to the astrologers I have interviewed, some changes may not be welcome, some very appreciated, but the key is to stay open to the process, don’t fight it, and see where it takes you. This astrological movement culminates in March 2017, so hang on to your hats…it’s going to be interesting!

My motto has always been “change is growth”, and it’s always the tough changes that bring the most growth. To me, being stagnant and unable to move, letting life happen to you as opposed to creating and living your life consciously, is the sorriest of human states.

While it’s not always easy to embrace change…a child leaving for college, leaving a stress filled job that doesn’t serve you, ending a relationship that isn’t healthy, dealing with an illness, these are the hards of life that bring you to the place you are supposed to be. Fear is the only thing, I believe, that keeps people stuck.

Remove the fear and meet life head on. The beauty of living an authentic life, the life you are supposed to be living, is the greatest reward. One I’m very much looking forward to in the days ahead.

SO! Welcome back and thanks for being here… Today’s “lecture” culminates with the prayer that you set your intentions, keep your hearts open, and of course, Wear Your Crowns👸🙏🏻❤️

Have an AMAZING AUTUMN~

MOTHERS AND OTHERS~

Mother’s Day…So many images come to my mind when I think of the word “mother”.

There’s the obvious mom, yours, and there are the ones not so obvious.

There’s the aunt who was like a mom, always magically appearing when you needed her most and there’s the friend who came over and gave you a heating pad when you were having bad menstrual cramps (or in later years, had a level 3 hangover,) because your own mom was busy elsewhere..your friend just knew exactly what you needed and provided it.

There was the teacher in third grade who could see that you were hurting because you were new to the school and not making friends.  She let you sit with her during indoor recess, and included the “cool girls” at her desk as well. Discussions on the merits of “Beatles” vs. “Monkees” ensued, and  by the time recess was over, you were a cool girl, too.

There’s the sister who called you the day your first-born was leaving for college, because she’d been there, and knew you couldn’t breathe from sorrow.

That’s mothering..

There are all different kinds of moms…crack addict moms, and gluten-free, free range,organic only, natural birth with a doula moms.

There are the absentee moms that say “life is a bitch, and if you don’t toughen up, you will get eaten alive,” and there are the moms that would kick down the doors of Hell for you.

What kind of mom did you have?

and what kind of mom were you?

I find there is a correlation between the two.

If your mom was a “June Cleaver”, you probably tended to be a “Murphy Brown”.

If your mom was a “Roseanne”, you were more likely to be an  “Abilene,”(the housekeeper/nanny from the movie “The Help”..)

What little girl would not want to be on her lap, hearing her coo “you is smart, you is kind, you is important.”

image

 

I had a hard-working, career pediatric nurse for a mom.  I was the only girl in my class who had a professional mom in the 60’s.  I was SO proud of her.  But I missed her, and often, while she was healing the sick children in the city. She wasn’t home for us much, even when she was.

I overcompensated by being the breastfeed til they were two, stay at home, homeschooling, Boy Scout, school board and every-sport-known-to-man volunteer mom.

the one who would kick down those Hell doors….

After a lot of trial and error, I turned out OK…

and while they are still works in progress, so will my boys.

Somewhere between my mom and me, there exists the perfect mom. A mom who has the perfect balance of give and take, of attention and independence, of   “let them grow up” and “don’t ever let them go”…..

My mom and I are polar opposites, but one thing we have in common…we do the best we can, and really….that’s all you can do.

Happy Mothers day to all the moms, aunties,teachers, sisters,  friends and all others who mother us well, and make our lives worth living.

 

 

 

 

 

 

THINGS I’M LOVING NOW~

Well, hello SPRING! That’s what I’m loving most, even if it WILL snow tonight. I’ll be walking the beach and picnicking in no time!

I’ve talked about this before, but about four times a year, Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra join forces to produce a free 21 day meditation challenge. The first one I did, about two years ago, changed my life. I came to realize that whatever I was lacking, or whatever I needed, was right there inside me and always had been.   I just needed to make the time to access it.   That knowledge empowered me to make major changes in the way I think and the way I look at the world, and I’m better for it.  I look forward to their challenges now, each one focusing on a different thing.

Starting Monday, they are offering a new meditation challenge centered around weight and weight loss. If you need to lose weight, I urge you to participate. You won’t be sorry. It only takes about 17 minutes a day, and after twenty one days, you will think differently about your body, I promise!!

I’ve recently lost twenty pounds, but understand that keeping it off is going to be the real challenge, so I’m ALL IN for this one!

image

Just go to Oprah.com and find the above link to register. You will thank me!

The next thing I love was introduced to me when I was on my weight loss program recently. The diet, (The Fast Metabolism Diet, highly recommended,) requires that you drink half your weight in ounces of water each day. Yikes!!! For someone who doesn’t like to drink anything but coffee or wine, this was a challenge. Then I found La Croix sparkling water at my local Whole Foods, and became instantly hooked. It’s a sparking water that’s flavored with essence of natural fruits, no calories, no sodium, nothing artificial. SO REFRESHING, I can drink it all day.  With favors like coconut, cucumber mint, mango, pear, etc., you can shake it up!

image

 

image

Another thing I’m loving.. The new show Vinyl on HBO is a rollicking ride through the seventies music scene. Produced by Martin Scorcese and Mick Jagger, it’s a take no prisoners story of the excess of the seventies. Sex, drugs and rock n roll as only Martin and Mick could tell it.

image

And the cast??? Powerhouse Bobby Canavale soars as the coke’d up record producer Richie Finestra, with the golden ear for great music. Olivia Wilde plays his recovering wife, and GREAT PERFORMAMCES by Micks son James Jagger, Juno Temple, Andrew Dice Clay, and Ray Romano like you’ve never seen him. Hang on to your hat…especially if you remember the early seventies! When the Emmys roll around again, bet money of this!!!

Next.. After a long drab winter, it’s a bright OPI red for my nails. Nothing says Spring like Chick Flick Cherry

image

And finally, I’m loving my muse, Jesse, snoozing in the sunlight of the first Spring day.

imageHave an AMAZING SPRING, and a lovely week~❤️🌷💐🌸🌹

❤️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?

image

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!

image

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!

image

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!❤️

image

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❤️~

 

 

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….

image

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!)

image

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~

image
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…!

image

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.

image image image

image

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….

.image

The sights and lights!

image image image

A Christmas martini and a Sound Of Music singalong❤️

image

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

image

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.”

 

image

 

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😉

image

 

 

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..

image

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!!

image

 

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

image

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!

image

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!
image
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❤️

image

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!
image
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!

IF NOT NOW…..

image

My magical City of Light, my broken heart.

I had hoped to return to Paris soon. I had more to see, more to experience. I wanted more of the flowerpots in every black wrought iron windowsill. I wanted the smells of sugar and roasting meat. I wanted the perfume in the air, and to gaze at the brilliant scarves, flowing from women rushing to work.

I wanted the energy, the passion, the red lips, the incredible wine.

I hadn’t finished touring the museums and gilded halls. I needed to see the seasons change through the Chanel and St.Laurent windows.

I needed to drink again the best coffee in the world, and eat the croissants that only Paris can claim.

I’d hoped to someday take a cooking class there, and really understand the seriousness that goes into producing the meal…the technique, the ingredients…so serious it becomes effortless…

I wanted one more infusion of the je ne sais quoi that can truly only be found in the magical City of Light…

I can’t return now, any time soon. The march of ISIS, and it’s religion of death, has destroyed Paris for me. It has contaminated my precious city, the place I go to in my head to dream and escape when days get tough.

Now I see images of bloodied bodies outside the last cafe I sat in.
I see images of people running in fear. I see 9/11, the sequel.

No matter what political ideology you ascribe to, no matter what party you vote for…..peace can no longer be obtained through “understanding one another” anymore than you could train your dog to stop barking by giving him a treat.
They want to kill us, and they will…unless the ENTIRE WORLD bans together to say “Enough!”
We must hunt down and destroy radical Islam, by any means necessary.

Peace through force….their lives or yours.
Dieu benit et garde ma ville de lumiere….💔

DETERMINED TO DOWNSIZE~

Four homes in thirty years of marriage…some tolerated, some much loved…time to downsize. Time to let go.

A house can be many things…..a home, an oasis, a loveless prison or a comforting embrace…a shelter from the storm, or the eye of it. Depends on how your journey is unfolding when you reside there.

Working in real estate, I’ve seen a lot of tears at house closings. Happy tears when couples are moving their family into a dream home, sad tears when the sale is due to death or divorce.

This Fall, I’ll be packing up my own home. Nine rooms are too much for a shrinking family. The Nest is getting emptier, and my husbands knees can no longer keep up with lawns and stairs. Mixed feelings abound.

image

I loved this home for its gorgeous bones, fragrant Honeysuckle vines and Sweet Peas all through Spring and Summer.

image

I loved the way that, when the moon was full and reflecting on the snow-covered yard, it positively glowed. And OH, that gorgeous Maple outside my  window in Autumn. My whole kitchen was illuminated in golden light.

I loved the hearth sized fireplace that warmed us many a night, and the porch swing on the veranda, where we rocked the nights away.

image image

I also had a lot of tough times in that house.

Days that completely broke my heart, but did not break me.

As I go from room to room now, de-cluttering and preparing for the next family, I will come across something that triggers a memory in me. If the memory is a bad one, I allow the tears to flow….one last time.

It’s important for me to honor the bad memories as well as the good. It’s was because of the bad memories that I became the woman I am today….strong, courageous like even I can’t believe, and living with an open heart despite all the times it broke. So important were the lessons….

Even though I was only in this house for the past ten years, I call it the house I grew up in. I’m on my way to becoming the person I want to be because of everything I have experienced.

I am grateful beyond words, not for the pain, but for the lessons learn, that sometimes only come from pain.

I’m currently reading a highly recommended book about a woman traveling a later life journey, and the cottage she brought back to life while rebuilding her own. Fascinating and heart warming, it makes me anticipate and not dread what comes next.

The Bee Cottage, by France’s Schultz is a lovely, life affirming read.

image

 

 

If you are getting ready to make a major life change, this little book may help you anticipate the road ahead. After making a mess of her own life, the author found a much neglected little cottage and gave it a name, “The Bee Cottage”. With each wall torn or plastered, she lovingly created a home, and a life, worthy of the next leg of her journey.

Someday I want a Bee Cottage, but not yet. I dream though….

Here is my collection of dream cottages so far.

 

image image image image image

But big or small, you have to remember one thing. Home is inside of you. It’s not your physical space, although it sure helps to have one that nurtures and not stresses you. Home is in your soul, where your memories of love, joy, hope and goodness reside….where your future plans,your gratitude and most important, where your peace lives.

As Glenda the Good Witch said..”You had the power all along, My Dear!”

 

I leave you with some lyrics to a favorite song, “Give Me The Simple Life”

Have a simply lovely weekend, wherever you call home ~

image

 

%d bloggers like this: