Saturday, 29 December 2012

Reflections of 2012.......

I am closing out 2012 with this post. Fingers crossed that my husband will be up to travel on Sunday for a few days to get away, after playing "nurse Tina" 24/7 for the last 5 days I am ready to strangle someone get away for a few hopefully we will get to go and I will be back later in the week! If not you might be hearing from me again sooner than later!

Wow. Hard to believe 2012 is nearly over. Crazy, how that happens. Where on earth did time go? So many things I wanted to do. Some got done, others well....are still simmering on the front burner:) Hopefully in 2013, fingers and toes are crossed! The last five days I have been on call 24/7 for husband in bed with the flu...made the most of it, stealing an hour here and there to run out, meet a friend or do a little bargain hunting on Christmas decor for next year, saw for the umpteenth time, Last Holiday, Its Complicated and The Notebook while a box of chocolates nearby dared me to not eat it..... I lost!  I look back at my blog and see how its grown, how I have grown, reflecting fondly on all the people I have met, taking such joy out of reading over the countless emails I have received from people telling me things like "you got me excited about my house again" or "you have made me look at blue and white a whole new way and now I can't get enough" or that they simply feel like I am their friend, and trust me, I feel like you are mine too:) The gratification blogging has brought is frankly hard to put into words, but suffice to say its a big part of my life, a big part of me and it has helped me to rediscover my passions in an unbridled and liberating thank you for your support and embracing what I have to share and say!
 I thought it would be fun to reflect on my blog this past year so I included a post from every month that had special meaning or significance or just was pretty to look at! And then I finish off this post with a few personal reflections on things I have learned and take away with me as we close out 2012. And finally I want to wish each and every one of you the best 2013 possible...may it be a year filled with good health, joy, love, laughter and many reasons to smile. We have had a great year together but the best is yet to come! So let's walk down memory lane together shall we..........

January...we moved, we finally did it!
February.....settling in!
March...a big big announcement!

April...a prayer for Teddy (and all your prayers worked)!

May...see what my dream wedding would look like

June...a living room is born.

July...movies, food and other fun topics! crowns and caronas!

September....Brimfield, the one and only!

October..a perfect month to talk about my favorite season!

November...who can ever forget Sandy!

December....what else, Christmas!
And a few reflections on things I have learned in 2012.......
There is such liberation in the power of being able to "let go". I used to think this was a silly saying/cliche  but indeed "letting go" is a real thing! Yes,  it is a lot of work to get to that point but when you realize ultimately no matter what you have planned, what you have decided will and should happen,  that it in the end what will happen.......will happen. This year has been a first for me, allowing things to happen as they are meant to happen and it has truly changed the game for me, and its very liberating! It's a work in progress but I am moving in the right direction:)
That there are no words to properly convey how short time is, how precious and for those of you with young families, little children... really enjoy and savor every moment. Really. I cannot tell you what I would give to click my heels and have my kids be young again......never think you are taking "too many" pictures or videos. No such thing! They will be all you have to take you back to those happy times and they will keep you smiling for years.....
That when you look good you feel good. So true. When you invest that extra few minutes or effort into looking good (and of course you never know who you might run into).....there is undoubtedly that extra pep in your step, just no doubt about it!
That life is too short to not enjoy great food. I realized this year just how much I enjoy cooking, how excited I get over buying the freshest ingredients, how a new cookbook sends my senses into overdrive....yep I love it all. It's like cheap therapy!  Life is too short to not enjoy good food. Scratch that...make it great food!
 I used to,  when I was younger and inexperienced,  think olive oils were all the same, that dried basil is not so different from fresh basil, that a Parmesan in the market cannot be that much more inferior to freshly shaved Parmesan....boy, was I wrong! Go out there and buy the freshest ingredients you can, then make a meal with them and see and taste the difference!

That everyone out there and I do mean everyone is fighting some kind of battle...some smaller and some bigger. By remembering that, it allows you to "give a break" to people and to be more forgiving, more tolerant, I have made a conscious effort to remind myself of this often.
That you should take every single opportunity given to travel and learn, spread your wings and absorb the knowledge out there, embrace the unknown. Any chance you are given...seize it. There is so much to discover and learn. This year I hope to practice what I preach and get out there and discover something wonderful and unexpected myself! I have a lot of living yet to do.....

That when I was younger and my parents used to tell me over and over how my handwritten letters and homemade gifts (of which there were many) were the best and most cherished of any, I never believed them. But now, I "get it". Saying they were right is an understatement. Seeing those darling letters and perfectly imperfect gifts made by my kids (then) cute little hands are truly amongst my most cherished possessions. Save every one, just touching them allows the memories to come rushing back!

 That age is just a number, I have always thought this but now I really think it, live it and believe it. I don't feel too old to do anything, well maybe wear velour sweat suits and UGGS,  ...but I honestly feel like there's nothing I can't do. Health is wealth, that is for sure and it applies to your mental health as much as it does to your physical being. I want to continue to challenge myself to new things.  What will you do to challenge yourself in 2013?

So that my dear friends and readers is a recap of 2012.  Its been a great year, some highs and lows.....but I truly think the best is yet to come. For all those who check in with me every day...thank you. Thank you for your support, kind and encouraging words and sharing as you do. You make me want to get up and get busy on my blog every single day! I love the connections I get to make daily with so many from all over the world..that in itself is quite a phenomenon and a true blessing!

I wish everyone a blessed and full 2013, a year filled with great things, big achievements, personal goals, unedited laughter, too many smiles to count and above all good health. Cheers to a fabulous 2013!


Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Goodbye Christmas 2012.......

Wow! Hard to believe its all over. That incredible build up, that frenzy we all work ourselves into, the stress, anxiety, the gift buying marathons, the present wrapping sessions, the hemming and hawing over what to cook, holiday outfit dilemmas, last minute doubts about gifts bought....its all over. I must admit it was ALL worth it.....Christmas day was exactly as I had hoped, it was above all else, relaxing, beautiful, enjoyable, and even therapeutic.... filled with great food, family togetherness, movie marathons....and doing a whole lot of nothing. Except the mounds of dishes, and cooking for hours
I wouldn't  change a was a day of rest that we all needed. How about you? How was your special day? As you had hoped? Only thing not planned was husband getting sick...started feeling sick towards the end of the day and is in bed hopefully not with the flu! I managed to take a few pictures which are below.........supposed to go away but now the trip is very questionable. 
I am kind of enjoying this second day of rest admittedly its a bit unexpected but wonderful.  Hit a few early sales at nearby local shops this morning to take advantage of stocking up some pretties for next year, that was fun! But nearly fainted when I saw, get this....VALENTINES DAY merchandise..I kid you not!!!!!!
Had an insanely great turkey sandwich and nibbled on a bunch of leftovers after which I polished off a few bites of some heavenly pies from a nearby farm. Yep....this is a great day! Just hard to believe its all over, we are having stormy weather right now,  so probably will be staying in though I had plans to go see Le Mis tonight, may have to wait a day or two. What's cooking over there on your end? Do tell!
Here's my table set for Christmas day dinner, elegant and understated was the theme and of course my darling napkin rings took center stage!

So how long do you keep your Christmas decor up? I like to keep mine around awhile, a week or two....why not enjoy and savor the season just a little longer? Its too pretty to not enjoy, and heck it keeps you feeling the spirit and magic of such a beautiful season! I actually learned a few things this season, some or all you might know but "revelations" for it goes-
  • I WILL absolutely start planing out Christmas 2013 in NOVEMBER! You read it here first, please remind me of this next year!  I did  A LOT of last minute shopping, looking for hard to get items (case in point scoring an i Mac on Christmas eve) the stress o meter was in high gear, I would love to know all my gifts are purchased by Dec.4th. That's my new deadline for 2013!

    • It really does pay to take advantage of those day after Christmas sales and stock up for next year, I had fun pulling out previous purchases from last year and to get half off of things like paper, ribbon, holiday decor (which can get very pricey) pays off in spades! I also picking up great little doo dads when on sale and adding them to gifts, such a pretty and inexpensive way to jazz up a gift!

    • I will be sure to get a great family picture or at least a picture of my three boys sometime in the summer or fall to avoid the last minute chaos and arguing that ensued trying to get them to take pics 5 days before Christmas! Wish I could say its a joke but it's not....yes this year was way behind! Ended up only taking it of my youngest son and the rate we are going, Teddy will be the last man standing next year, LOL!  I WILL get those done early next year!

    • You know how at the  last minute..the UPS man or mail lady shows up, or there's a teacher or garbageman you want to give a little something to but you forget and then frantically run inside rummaging through your wallet for change? Happens to me all the time! A little tip......this is the ONE thing I did in an organized fashion this year and it was so convenient!  I filled about 5 or 6 blank envelops with a generic holiday card and a twenty dollar bill in each. I kept them in a convenient drawer in the kitchen (easy access) It was so nice knowing this was taken care of and believe me I used up every single envelope! 
  • Love watching things grow from "the ground up". I planted my paperwhites a little late this year but a great rule of thumb is to do this for Thanksgiving, that way you are guaranteed beautiful blooms a week or so before Christmas. Not to mention it is a very inexpensive alternative to buying things already in bloom.  I get such enjoyment out of watching something literally come to life, and the smell is heavenly!
My breakfast room
  •  Priceless things like great pictures and videos still make to me, one of the best gifts. Whats better than getting a treasured picture of those you love in a gorgeous silver frame? It's a great gift and easy! I received such a gift and have to say it was quite possibly my favorite!
  • I think the most effective way to decorating is using nice quality fake greens with real greens. In nearly every one of my vignettes I did this, every single one is in fact a combination of good quality faux holiday greenery with real......less mess, more economical and longer lasting! 
  • Pinecones to me, remain one of the most inexpensive and elegant ways to decorate for the holidays. I have them everywhere, love filling urns with them adding them to vignettes, buying both big and small. They are in my living room, bathrooms, kitchen and dining room....get a glue gun and add them to just about anything, their impact is amazing!  They make perfect adornments to gifts as well. Super functional and multi purpose...I pack them up in big plastic bins and reuse them every year.
 My family room
    So that's a recap of things I have learned this year.......what are your tips? Feel free to add them, I love sharing information and especially if its something we can all benefit from! So come's your turn to talk! Hope your holidays were super merry and very relaxing......cheers to the end of a great year and to the start of an even better year ahead!


    Sunday, 23 December 2012

    Merry Christmas!

    Hi there, hard to believe Christmas is just a few days away. Boy, this month really flew! This mama elf is ready to call it a holiday wrap. As the saying goes...."it is what it is". As of today, what is done is done and what's not done well.....shall remain:) It's kind of a relief to know this, no more pressure, no more 14 hour days running around, sleepless nights tossing and turning over what hasn't gotten done, no more fighting crowds, strategizing for choice parking spaces, no more brainstorming about what to buy so and so etc...... It is all done. Woo hoo!

     I am going to be taking a few days off to enjoy my family and savor this magical season of togetherness, family and friends, great food, downtime and doing a whole lot of nothing!

    I will be back later in the week but do want to send a heartfelt greeting to each and every one of you, may your season be bright, full of hope and happiness, laughter and smiles. I thank you for following along with me this year, 2012 and look forward to what lies ahead!  The best is yet to come......

    Merry merry Christmas from our house to yours!

    Finally he decides to cooperate :) 

    Teddy the "homeboy" says Merry Cbristmas too (these were a few shots from a mini photo shoot)!