I was gambling in Havana…

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Havana bound

If you have been reading my blog for any length of time you know I love to travel.  Whether it’s a day trip, weekend get-away, or week long adventure I am always game to go.  Next up – Miami and Havana!

I spent 5 years in the 80’s living in Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, and Miami Beach so going back to South Florida to visit my old haunts (and friends) is going to be a blast.  As if that weren’t enough I am also going to spend a few days in Cuba – a place I’ve always dreamed of visiting but never thought I’d actually get a chance to see in person.

I know plenty about South Florida and next to nothing about Cuba so I’ve purchased a few tourist guides (Fodor’s Cuba (Travel Guide) and Lonely Planet Cuba (Travel Guide)) and created a Cuba Ricky! inspiration page.  I also sent off for a new passport, since the last time I traveled out of the States was to ring in the 21st century at the foot of Edinburgh Castle.

I love the endless possibilities and the planning that go along with travel and over the next few months I will be sharing my plans with you.  Have you spent any time exploring Miami or Havana? Do you have any tips you can share that would help me plan my trip or suggestions for places to go, things to do, and – perhaps most important – restaurants I should visit?   I’d love to know…

 

 

 

 

You’re the best thing…

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Liz, Mike, and Debbie at The Globes

With temperatures hovering in the single digits I’m looking forward to building a fire, making a tasty appetizer tray, and settling in to watch ‘The Golden Globes’. TGG is my favorite award show of all (and there will be plenty from now until February 26th when the Oscars air) because it combines beautiful people, high fashion and copious amounts of booze.

I am a sucker for red carpet fashion and end up spending way too much time on the internet the next day, examining everyone’s outfits. I am looking forward to seeing what Natalie Portman, Ruth Negga, Hailee Steinfeld, Emma Stone, Nicole Kidman, Evan Rachel Wood, Issa Rae, Thandi Newton, and Lena Headey decide to wear since each has a unique style. Coincidently, each these ladies have appeared in my favorite 2016 small and big screen flicks, so I am rooting for them to be able to complete their looks with a Golden Globe!

Did you see any of the nominated movies and TV shows? What was your favorite movie from 2016? How about TV show? Will you watch the Globes? Who do you think will win?  I always fill out a ballot and see how closely my choices mirror the actual winners – if you like to do the same you can download a ballot and we can compare notes (and fashion favorites) come Monday.

Image from Getty Images (3241027)

 

 

In the middle of Chapter 3…

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Gifts that keep on giving

One of my favorite gifts to receive is a book, or more specifically, books. My Santa Momma gave me 9 books that have been on my ‘2B…or not 2B Reads‘ Pinterest board for awhile now.   I am almost finished with my current read and then I’ve got a big decision to make – what gift do I begin first? Decisions, decisions…just the sort of dilemma I love to resolve.

 

Welcome back my friends…

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And we’re off…

Happy 2017 everyone. I hope Santa treated you well and you got to spend lots of quality time with those you care most about. I enjoyed a week of downtime and cooked, binge-watched movies, TV shows, and sporting events (Go Clemson), and played nightly cutthroat Scrabble games with family and friends.

I am not a big one for New Year’s resolutions (see here). Instead, I use January 1st to brainstorm about the future.  Last year, I hoped to find inspiration through books, movies, fashion, travel, and art. Looking back through my posts from the past year I can say that I was definitely achieved my goal, finding influence through my travel (here), fashion (here and here), and reading (here and here).

As for 2017, I will continue to find inspiration as I always have while setting a few goals for myself (such as posting on a more regular basis).  As the year proceeds I will be sharing my creations and adventures with all of you so stay tuned.  And thank you for reading – it means the world to me.

All the best for 2017!

 

The sweetest gift….

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Angels Booty 

The world can be such a horrible place but each year when Christmas rolls around my faith in humanity gets restored once again.  People open their hearts and give – not only to family and friends but to perfect strangers as well.  I am a giver by nature and donate time throughout the year to help children learn to read. When Christmas rolls around I also like to help with the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program (see my 2015 Angel Tree post here).

If you are not familiar with the program, it provides people like me with opportunity to ‘adopt’ less fortunate individuals (mostly children and seniors) and provide them with gifts and necessities. I’ve been adopting angels for over 20 years and have also worked behind the scenes for the past 5, helping with gift intake, checking presents against wish lists, shopping for ‘forgotten angels’ (angels no one adopts), and working in the warehouse.

This year, it was my pleasure to work at our mall’s Angel Tree station.  There was a steady stream of people returning bags of gifts for their angels (we filled an entire dumpster!) and even more wanting to adopt.  People took a surprisingly long time to study each person’s requests before choosing the perfect angel and seemed happy for chance to help someone else in need. Rich, poor, young, old, black, white, healthy, infirm – the only common denominators seemed to be that everyone had a big heart and wanted to help!

After I finished my shift it felt like I had been given an unexpected and wonderful gift. I got to experience the true spirit of Christmas courtesy of a tree, some angels, and the overwhelming generosity of my fellow man (and woman)!

How about you?  Are you a giver?  I’d love to hear what sorts of giving opportunities you support or organizations you volunteer with…

 

You wear it well…

Like most of you, December is always crazy busy for me.  In addition to preparing for the holidays and an end-of-the-year road trip to visit loved ones, I also have a wedding anniversary (21 and counting – see more here) and 3 birthdays  to observe (all within 6 days of Christmas).

We’re planning on an anniversary meal at a trendy restaurant in town and also have a rock-n-roll work/date night planned for next weekend. I am looking forward to seeing if Rolf & Daughters lives up to its rave reviews, and beyond excited to see my husband play with his new band, The Smoky White Devils!

I rarely get the chance to ‘dress up’ for everyday life but love to go all out for special occasions. Here’s what I am planning on wearing to celebrate our 21st, and to rock on…

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21 and counting
Hayley Hasselhoff Duster Coat  |  Dress the Population ‘Charlie’  Jumpsuit  |  Carolee Teardrop Crystal  Earrings  |  Ecosusi Floral Evening Clutch   |  9 West Millenio Ankle Wrap Pumps
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I love rock and roll
Sejour Faux Fur Jacket  |  Giani Bernini Silver Hoop Earrings  |  Keith T  |  Skull Ring (my own)  |  Nocono Studded Cross Concho Scalloped Leather Belt  |  Hue Paneled Leatherette Leggings  |  9 West Paganeli Point Toe Booties  |  Clinique Matte Crimson Lipstick

 

 

 

Gave you what you wanted…

 

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8 for 20

Over the next few weeks you will be able to see some of the gifts I’ll be giving this season (with tips on how you can easily purchase or make something similar).  Let’s begin with some Secret Santa gifts that set me back less than $20 total.

A bit of backstory: each year I participate in a Secret Santa gift exchange at work.  There are only two rules; you can’t spend more than $20, and you have to purchase an ornament out of that amount (which is used to reveal each Santa).  After choosing your person you receive a listing of their favorite candy, snack, non-alcoholic beverage (it is work), hobby, color, and the like.   Everyone hangs their stockings at the start of December so gifts can be deposited as often as Santa sees fit.  You can open your gift(s) at any time or all at once. Trying to guess who your Santa might be is highly encouraged.  With any luck, all of the Santa’s identities will remain a mystery until the ornament reveal happens at our holiday lunch.

This year I challenged myself to see how many nice things I could give my ‘secret’ while keeping within my $20 budget.  This person likes chocolate, golds and greens, coffee, and owls…here’s what I purchased or made and will be secretly delivering over the next 7 days…

  1. Ghiradelli Sea Salt Cashews ($3.80 from Amazon)
  2. Holographic Glittered Bronze Owl Ornament ($4.99 form Walmart)
  3. Golden Mechanical Pencil Assortment ($3.00 from Target’s Dollar Spot Christmas Collection)
  4. ‘Warm Hands Warm Heart’ Knit Gloves ($1.00 from JoAnn Fabrics)
  5. Aloe Plant in 6″ Clay Pot and Saucer ($1.00 plant from Lowe’s. I had the pot and saucer, acrylic paint and ribbon on hand. I cleaned and then painted the pot and saucer with 3 coats of acrylic paint, then  glued ribbon around the top of the pot, leaving enough extra ribbon to tie into a pretty bow.)
  6.  Starbucks Card (given to me and being re-gifted; a $5 value that technically cost me zero.)
  7. Infinity Scarf (I used this silky beaded charmeuse fabric which I had left over from another project, to make the scarf.  Search Pinterest for “how to make an infinity scarf”.  Even a novice seamstress can make an infinity scarf in less than an hour. And since I already had the fabric and thread on hand the scarf cost nada to make.)
  8. Golden Writing Case with Notes ($3.00 from Target’s Dollar Spot Christmas Collection)

…A little ingenuity combined with some re-gifting, material re-sourcing, and sweat equity, and I now have 7 days of gifts, plus and ornament, for $17!  Now all I need to do is deposit each gift unnoticed, hope the person likes what they’ve received, and can’t figure out I’m their Santa until I give them the owl!

How about you?  Will you participate in a Secret Santa or other type of gift exchange this year?  What sorts of gifts do you plan on giving (or making)? I’d love to know…

 

 

Motion pictures…

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1 down…8 to go

One of my favorite Thanksgiving-Christmas traditions is to see as many new movies as possible.  I love everything from the lobby posters and displays (which I used to build) to the overpriced refreshments (I am a coke and popcorn kinda’ girl) to the previews and finally the movie itself.  About the only thing I don’t like is the ‘roller coaster’ intro, which makes my motion sickness kick into high gear every time!

After what seems like a months-long movie drought I am looking forward to the following November-December releases:

I also saw my ninth pick,  ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ , this past weekend as a respite from 3 days of football and turkey.  I was pleasantly surprised by the movie, which cast a sneaky sort of charm over the audience.  It was beautifully shot, with lots of CGI as you might imagine. Was it great? No…but it WAS entertaining (no nudity! no cursing! no drugs!) and appropriate for wizards, muggles, non-mags, and beasts of all ages.

How about you?  Do you like to see movies when they come out or do you prefer to wait and watch them from the comfort of your couch?  Are there any movies you want to see this holiday season? I’d love to know…

 

Thank you very much….

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And I am

Last week I featured a mantle design that I hoped to make for Thanksgiving. I was aiming to have everything finished a few days ago but…..I actually finished an hour ago.  In between getting our turkey in the oven and planning my weekend shopping I am so thankful…for my family and friends, for my health, for my faith, for my creativity, and most importantly for each day I wake up and get to do it all over again.  Happy Thanksgiving!