HIKING ATTIRE MADE EASY

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I thought I would share how you can pack easily and stress free for a hiking trip.

In my younger years, I would seriously gear up, meaning I would run out and purchase all the state of the art equipment for the activity I was going to be involved in. Well, I’m much wiser (and older) now.

Therefore, I have learned that all you really need for a fun, enjoyable, and safe hiking trip are:
*sunscreen
*a hat
*sunglasses
*good sturdy shoes . . . Ok, let’s talk about this one. You do not need to buy those super expensive ‘hiking boots’ that you will only wear once in a great moon. You can and seriously should just wear a pair of comfy, sturdy, workout shoes. The pair you wear daily to run in or walk or work out in. The pair your feet already love.
*clothes that breath well and are comfy to hike in
*a lightweight backpack to carry water and snacks (for me a camera), and I usually throw in a jacket incase the weather changes

Since this is a kind of trip that fashion isn’t a concern, have some fun with it.

For example:
On our first day of hiking I chose a panama style hat which is breathable and lightweight . . .
I paired it with a simple grey tee, olive linen shorts and a pair of my nike free runs.
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The second day we actually hiked in Zions National Park, which can be quite hot in the afternoon and I knew we were going to hike Angels Landing which is a straight up hike for several miles.
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Therefore I chose to wear some really lightweight, breathable workout attire, but notice I’m just wearing a pair of New Balance running shoes (see, my feet already love these).
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And for the last day . . . well I was nice to hubby and we golfed first and then just took an easy hike.
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So I kind of dressed for the part (I’m really not much of a golfer).
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So, my friends, no need to run out and buy anything for a hiking trip, just grab a pair of running shoes, some shorts you have laying around in a drawer or some workout attire, your sunglasses, a hat, and off you go.

As always, thanks for dropping by. Have a most wonderful day!

TAKING A MINI VACATION IN YOUR OWN NECK OF THE WOODS

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A Few weeks ago, actually a few days before Labor day weekend, my husband and I decided to forgo our usual travel agenda, which involves; booking an airfare, a rental car, a hotel, strategically packing a carry-on suitcase, all our electronic (we think we can’t live without), then taking a deep breath and head out to our destination. This time, we decided to simply, throw in some backpacks, some hiking gear (which I will talk about tomorrow), a cooler with lots of water, some snacks for hiking, our golf clubs, and then drove stress free out of our drive way . . . calling to book a room at a hotel on our way.

We drove a few hours and decided we were much over due for this place . . .
Bryce National Canyon
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A hike where at every turn you were met with priceless scenery . . .
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spectacular views . . .
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It reminded me of being in Florence when you would turn a corner and come face to face with some of the most glorious man-made structures known to man, yet here . . . it was Heavenly constructed.
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As we hiked into the canyon the views simply took my breath away . . .
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And what about these statues . . .
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Or the natural holes and arches . . .
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But I believe the best part was observing how the sun would peak out at just the perfect place
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And bring with it all sorts of color changes . . .
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until it set and you were left with the perfect silhouette.
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I think we’ll be doing a few more of these kind of mini vacations.

HOW TO THROW A FIRST BIRTHDAY PARTY THAT ALL AGES WILL ENJOY

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This was the question and desire my daughter had when we began planning for Molly’s 1st birthday party.
Knowing most of the children being invited would range in ages of 5 and under and be accompanied by their parents, we wanted them all to have an enjoyable time.
We also had to keep in mind the location, which is a little community of town homes. Therefore we knew we could utilize the community yard and pray for good weather.

With these things in mind . . .

We came up with the perfect theme.

A MINI CARNIVAL

We got to work creating the invitations . . .
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Tori hand delivered them and then she got to work creating banners (which hung on the door, windows, and tables)
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signs
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and chalkboard art on the lemonade stand which now held some of the treats and displays.
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Using a picnic table, we set out the “carnival food” for all ages . . .
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which included popcorn, corn-dogs, churros, and bottled water.
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Then the Big Top Arrived (the big red tent).
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And the party began!

With a Cotton Candy Stand . . .
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I mean what’s a carnival without cotton candy?
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And snow cones . . .
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And bubbles.
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But under the Big Red Tent is where the magic really happened . . .
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Where children of all ages happily interacted . . .
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playing to their hearts content . . .

and to think we questioned if Molly would even notice the games . . .
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Although she did let us know when it was time for gifts.
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Uncle Riley made sure she was well equipped with her Nike clothes.
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Then the moment every one year old gets . . .
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She actually began by carefully picking each tiny little sprinkle off the frosting . . .

until she figured this was much better . . .
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and why not share some with mom and dad?
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Obviously Molly had a wonderful birthday . . .
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and as each of her friends with smiles on their faces took their “thank you for joining us” treats and walked towards their homes, I believe they too have a wonderful time.
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ARE YOU READY TO STORE YOUR SANDALS ?

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Adrienne @therichlifeonabudget and Jill @everythingjustso really got me thinking about this when they decided for this month’s HIWM (how I wear my) would be sandals. I mean, we’re now heading into fall, which basically means . . . wardrobe transition time.

Although . . .

Putting on these black wedge sandals with this ensemble seemed to be just the right match.
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And . . .

Strapping these gold heeled sandals with this outift was a no-brainer.
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Or . . .

Even better when paired with my skinnies for a fun date night.
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But . . .

When I slipped my feet into these . . .
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my mind was made up.

My sandals are not ready for storing quite yet.

How do you feel about storing your sandals? Are you ready yet?

Click on over to Adrienne’s and Jill’s, it just might help you decide to leave yours out a bit longer.

And also head over to Patti’s for Visible Monday, great way to see some stylish women.

SAYING GOODBYE TO SUMMER WITH SOME SAILOR ATTIRE

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I spent this past Labor Day weekend with my hubby by spontaneously throwing in some hiking gear, jumping in the truck and heading to Bryce and Zions National Park (this wonderful post will be in a day or two).

But at the last minute I decided to grab a few casual dinner outfits, which proved to be just perfect for the two evenings.
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Any time you put on a white with blue strip (boat neck) tee it instantly says “Sailor Attire”. With this outfit I chose to add a little floral touch by layering the boatneck tee over a floral printed blouse. I also chose khaki capris to welcome in a bit of fall and for added fun my orange boat shoes, panama hat and vintage style sunglasses.
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(pants – tee – blouse – hat: jcrew, shoes: sperry)

For this outfit, I just switched from white with blue stripes to Navy with white stripes, which also says “Sailor Attire”.
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This outfit is what I call casual comfy . . . over size tee and linen pants with sneakers.
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Yes, I could get use to this kind of outfit.
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As always my friends, thanks for dropping by. Have a wonderful day!

(pants: Ann Taylor , tee: jcrew, shoes:keds sunglasses: ray ban)

How are you saying goodbye to summer? Or are you kind of like me and not quite ready to say goodbye quite yet?

Joining the wonderful Mis Papelicos for share in style and Judith for her monthly hat attack.

INVITING FRIENDS OVER WITH HANDMADE INVITATIONS AND MADE FROM SCRATCH CAKE

I truly believe there is nothing more loving or generous than inviting friends old and new into your home. You don’t have to throw an elaborate tea party, you can simply open your door and let them in or just have them join you for a relaxing conversation on your front or back porch.

But sometimes (as you all know) inviting friends to join me for a tea party is one way of sharing my love and creative energy with them.

I’m old fashion, in a sense, when comes to a few things to entertaining.

The first is invitations . . .

I truly believe in handmade invitations. I know it’s not for everyone, but is there really anything better than receiving an old fashion, handmade invitation in the mail?

Plus it gives my creative brain something to do for a few days.

For this invite these are the steps I took . . .

*first: I created this on the computer
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*second: I send it to a printer or print it at home

*third: after its printed I will go through my stack of papers I have at home to see if I have the perfect layering pieces, if not, I head to a local craft store (such as Michael’s) with invite in hand and began eyeing which papers compliment one another. I just prefer a little layering for added fun.
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*fourth: then I glue the layers together
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*fifth: take a look and decide if it needs anything else . . .in the case, it did.

*sixth: I chose to use a doily, some black and white bakers twine and then I quickly created the little tag on the computer.
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*seventh: put the finishing touches together.
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Does this process take a while, I wish I could say, no it’s easy and simple, but it does take some time. But as I create and put together each and every invitation, it gives me time to think of each and every person I’m inviting and what a lovely process this has become.

Another old fashion rule I follow . . . always bake a cake or any dessert for that matter from scratch. Now days this is quite a treat, but oh, so worth every bite.
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For this particular bundt cake I used this recipe:
CAKE

2 2/3 cups cake flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk

Have all ingredients at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease and flour bundt pan.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the sugar and continue beating until light and fluffily, about 3-5 minutes. Add eggs a little at a time beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

Reduce the the speed to low and add the flour, milk, and sour cream, alternating the three.

Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake 40 – 45 minutes.

GLAZE

1/2 cup powder sugar
3 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice.

In a small sauce pan, combine all glaze ingredients and heat over medium heat until sugar dissolves and glaze is warm. After cake has cooled for about ten minutes and you have inverted onto your cake plate, brush with glaze.

Another little old fashion thing of mine . . . always make homemade salad dressing. Now this is easy and it just doesn’t compare to store bought.
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For this salad I chose to use a lemon poppyseed dressing :

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. dijon mustard
2 tsp. honey
1/3 cup olive oil
1 Tbl poppyseed
salt and pepper

Now sometimes I’ve been known to try something totally knew on my guest, after all, they are my friends so what better time to try something fun and new, right? This time I decided to make a peach bruschetta to go along with the salad. And, so glad I did, it was to die for . . . talk about sweet and savoring.
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I used fresh raisin and cinnamon bread (I cut the crust off with a honeycomb cookie cutter to go among with the theme).
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Toast the bread . . . spread on balsamic vinegar and oil (you can use olive oil if you prefer), place a slice of mozzarella cheese, and a slice of fresh peach, and drizzle a bit of honey.
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As always my friends, thanks for dropping by. Have a most wonderful Friday and extra long weekend.

SPREADING JOY AND LOVE ONE DROP AT A TIME

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This is one of my summer flower beds full in bloom . . .

due in part to the loving help of these . . .
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wonderful . . . busy . . . and active . . . honeybees.
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I love spending quiet time observing these little creatures in action.

There’s no chatter or gossip going on, just a whole lot of laboring . . .

being done together and alone.

Did you know . . .
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Do you ever feel, as I do, that your daily contributions and efforts are possibly making any difference in the world or to others?
If we take this simple example of nature and compare it with ourselves the answer is YES!
You are making a difference ONE. DROP. AT. A. TIME.
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After observing these busy little bees for a few days I began to think of how I could use my little drops and I instantly knew just how to go about it.

By throwing a “BEE” theme tea party.
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The colors were easy to decide on . . . of course they would be yellow, black and white.

So I gathered my white, yellow and black linens . . . (I layered my table first with a white table clothe, then layered a smaller yellow on top followed by a black and white table runner).
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I then pulled out all my black and white dishes and began mixing and matching. (remember your plates don’t have to be matchy-matchy, just have fun with it)
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After laying down my table runner and placing the plates around the table I began creating my center piece.
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Which consisted of a bee engraved cake plate which I placed a vines wreath on and then a candle, a honey pot, and little bees here and there.
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A black and white tea pot, and decorative bee plate . . .
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And then I start adding the magic of fresh flowers (mini yellow roses were placed in the tea pot and yellow and white daisies were placed in my vintage white vases)
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Until . . . in just all comes together.

Then back to the place settings . . .
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Playing around with the mixture of black, white and a bit of yellow.
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This color scheme just speaks for itself . . . saying “I’m full of JOY!
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As usual I like to add a few vignettes around my house to enhance the theme.
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One being the dessert table . . .(this is a honeycomb cake mold, I’ll be sharing the recipe tomorrow)
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Another I placed the Bee book, another honeycomb candle and mini honey pot inside my vintage bird cage.
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And the other was a setting with a cake plate stacked with mini jars of honey, a brass bee plaque, candles, and honey pot.
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(The mini jars of honey I purchased at hobby lobby as well as the bee fabric, which I simply cut with pinking sheers and added local grown honey and my homemade tags . . . this gift to take home)
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As well as their mini picture frames which were placed by their individual plates . . .

Both a simple reminder that we do spread goodness and love one drop and a time by being JOYFUL!

As always my friends, thanks for dropping by. Have a most wonderful day.

Linking up with Jann for SYC (share your cup Thursday)and Ivy and Elephants.