first 5 minute project of the year


Let’s hear it for packing tape!  You’ll see why in a minute.  I was so excited after receiving this glorious fabric from a friend to use it to recover something and after searching around the house a bit, I found the perfect item; an old step ladder.  It was pretty gnarly, so I cleaned it up and was ready to recover the foam.  Then, disaster struck as I went through the whole garage, top to bottom looking for the staple gun and some gorilla glue.  No luck!  So, being the thrifty and creative woman she is, my mom came over and suggested using duct tape or packing tape.  It worked!  It will be great, maybe not long term, but for now, it’s holding nicely.  I just wrapped the foam like a package and taped ‘er down!

Voila!  A new step ladder!  Kinda. ;)






New Year – New You! A salad for beautiful skin!


I admit it.  I’ve been hiding from you.  I’ve been under a rock, licking my wounds and trying to crawl out of the pit.  I don’t know if it was my Seasonal Affective Disorder kicking into high gear or the fact that I was sideswiped with the worst flu I’ve had in years, but I felt downright depressed and instead of cheering in the New Year, I wanted to wish time away.  However, the great God of mercy, hope and love, reached down to lift me up during my little feeling sorry for myself episode and put me back on solid ground; strengthening me and showing me that 2015 will be MY year!  Just when I think I can’t handle any more, there He is; showing up mightily on my behalf.  Healing, restoring.  :)

So, without further adieu, here is a fantastic recipe for a salad that will bring about healing and beauty to your skin this winter.  Why not start the year out right by choosing foods that heal and nourish your body?

This salad has several main ingredients that are especially good for the skin which is why I call it my New Year’s Beauty Salad.

Arugula – high in sulfur and Vitamin A, great for sun damage and acne

Pumpkin Seeds- high in B vitamins, great for glowing skin

Cucumber – great for cleansing

Radish – High in sulfur, silicon and vitamin C which are great for connective tissue formation and make for glowing skin.

Avocado – high in good fats that help nourish the skin

For a complete run down on the ingredients in this salad, check out David Wolfe’s Top Ten Beauty Foods here; .  We took his whole list and mushed them into one, glorious recipe!

New Year’s Beauty Salad (enough for 2-3 small salads)

2 cups arugula

1 organic cucumber (or 2 small cukes)

5 radishes, sliced

3 tb pumpkin seeds

1 sliced avocado

2 tb hemp seeds

1/2 c assorted olives

1 c cooked black quinoa (or plain is fine)

Dress with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, ground turmeric, and lemon juice and toss with all salad ingredients.  Enjoy cold!

So, instead of setting resolutions this year, how about committing whole-heartedly to taking care of the one body you will ever get?  There is no “new body lot” to trade your old one in.   Keep this one running smoothly.  Feed it with supreme fuel, wash it with gentle cleansers and watch it sparkle like new for years to come!





2014 in review


Thanks to WordPress for supplying bloggers with a great report like this!!!

Happy New Year to everyone who followed me this year.  Thanks for your support and virtual friendship. :)


The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,800 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Christmas cookies and the frustrating world of the internet


I’m sorry.  I haven’t written in a while, because well, frankly, I’ve been hurt.  It happened; the thing that no blogger or writer wants to talk about or discuss-the lack of likes on a post.  Yes, I am one of those uber-sensitive people that really knows better but still lets her emotions get hung up on the tiny button at the bottom of the post.  But I know I’m not the only one out there who feels bad watching all her friends get hundreds of likes on their blog posts or even silly Facebook pictures of their neighbor’s cat (no disrespect to cats :) ) wearing a santa hat when you’ve poured out your soul for all to see.

Now being a seasoned blogger, I know better!  I posted every flippin’ day for a year last year and still never managed to crack the 50, (well, realistically, more like 25) “likes” mark.  And I know I didn’t go out every day and “like” everyone else’s pages and comment on your gorgeous travel photos or snide remarks about my Jesus, but frankly I didn’t have time.  I was too busy blogging every day!  Oh yeah, and working full time and moving across country.  So please forgive my lack of marketing and establishing relationships throughout the WordPress world.  Yes, I know better.  This is the foundation of all good blogging and it’s not that I didn’t want to.  I just plain didn’t have time!

So, you’d think I might be a popular blogger by now with over 410 posts under my belt and all that experience.  That, and the fact that I actually don my battle gear and wage a daily war in internet-land; keywords, algorhithms, SEO, you name it.  That’s a part of my full time job these days; marketing and internet sales for a manufacturing plant.  And I still don’t know CRAP!  The science and ever-changing internet drives me BATTY!  I’ve read hours worth of documents on how to market your blog, watched videos, read e-books, attended webinars.  You know what?  With all that knowledge I got 3 likes on my last blog post.  Hours upon countless hours marketing, researching, making sure I have all the right words under keywords, but without “keyword stuffing” because God forbid, the google-machine gets upset and then your blog can’t be found anywhere.

Is anyone else as frustrated as I am?  I honestly don’t know how people do it.  Get discovered.

Now, I apologize to those of you who were tantalized by the photo and hung in there. Thanks for listening to me rant.  And now for something fun!  Just for you; whomever is reading today.  You don’t have to hit the “like” button.  I promise I won’t rant again. :)

Check out these delicious Cranberry Bliss Bars.  This recipe was popular a few years ago as people started creating “knock off”  versions of the Starbucks treat.  I made these over the weekend for a cookie exchange.  And I kept a batch to myself.  And ate them all. :)


Here’s the link to the recipe I used.  Thanks, Recipe Girl!

By the way, as I was proofing this post and checking things out, I noticed the permalink says “f-the-internet”.  Haha.

book review and hot flashes






One minute I’m crying.  The next minute, I’m laughing.  I feel as though I’ve been through an automatic car wash with my windows down.   Emotionally drained and ready for bed with my pink blanky and thumb in mouth.

Early menopause, you ask?  No, I’ve just read Renee Carlino’s newest book, After the Rain.

This woman is on fire with her latest masterpiece!  I mean, rarely have I ever felt such intense emotions while reading a fiction novel.  And lest you think it’s a fluffy, little Harlequin-esque story, just wait.  By page 38, I was ready to don my boxing gloves and knock one of the characters into next week and walk away.  Yet, while at the grocery store later that day, I could NOT stop thinking, what is going to happen next?

I became greedy with my hours until I finished the book.  Dogs whimpered to go outside, husband begged for me to finish and come eat dinner, phone beeped with mounting text messages and yet, I remained tucked away in my “woman cave”.  This story was addicting like a bag of Doritos and this girl was going nowhere until I finished.  And then, with a big smile on my face, I sighed like I’d been holding my breath for hours and turned the last page.

Below, is a lovely note from Renee’s editor, Jhanteigh Kupihea, with Atria Books and I hope it will further entice you to BUY THIS BOOK!

I’m so pleased to present After the Rain by Renée Carlino, a gorgeous contemporary romance that explores the second chances waiting beyond the shattered dreams of youth.

“To read a Renée Carlino novel is to laugh, cry, and fall in love, all while doing some serious soul-searching. As with her first two women’s novels, Sweet Thing and Nowhere But Here, Renee gives us a young, beautifully complex protagonist who must search for meaning and a sense of self after a devastating tragedy, all while navigating matters of the heart with the man who could be The One, if only she can get over the one who came before.

Early readers agree that After the Rain is to be cherished. New York Times bestselling author A.L. Jackson said, ‘[It] tore me up in the best way possible…goes straight to the list of my all-time favorites.’ New York Times bestselling author Mia Sheridan said, ‘Heartbreaking, hopeful, and beautifully written…Books like this make my heart feel full.'”

Needless to say, I am in full agreement that this book brought me hope (along with cherry, red cheeks and heart palpitations as I begrudgingly ;) waded through some seriously sensual love scenes).  Thanks to the people at Atria Books for including me in the Blog Review Tour for Renee’s third book.  It’s been a great experience.

Renee, you’ve done it again and I can’t wish you enough continued success.  I’m pleased to be one of your biggest fans and honored to be one of your friends.


Now, go out and get this book!




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Creating custom banners for your Etsy store or facebook page


Ahhhh…the ever-changing face of the internet.  From new social media start-ups to the umpteen-million new websites that can be found on google each day, it’s basically a full time job if you want to get found out there in the inter-web world and your first “viewer” impression is critical.

Today, I’m not talking about search engine optimization or what the best e-commerce platform is, but I’m talking about making a killer banner for your Etsy (or facebook) page.

Last year at this time, I wasn’t working so I had more brain cells to devote to creating jewelry, homemade soaps, dog treats and such for our Etsy store.  I was able to put together a nice banner in no time at all.  This year after giving our Etsy store a facelift and reorganizing some departments, I realized the most important thing would be to update the banner.  This is one of the first visual impressions a customer will get when coming to our site or any site.  Unfortunately, this year it has proven to be a challenge to do this simple task-probably the happy brain cells I had last year while not working, promptly left when I started working in Camden, NJ for a sock manufacturer.  But that’s another story. :)

Anyway, I finally figured it out and wanted to write clear, concise steps for those of you, possibly not so computer savvy, looking for an easy (and free) way to update your banners.

I tried this on both and with the same, positive results.

Hopefully you have a great photo that will be indicative of the products you sell or something eye-catching for your facebook page to capture the viewer’s attention.  Photography is a whole different animal that I won’t tackle here, but make sure your picture is very clear, has interesting subject matter and good lighting.

Now, I will walk through the steps using picmonkey today, but both picmonkey and befunky are very similar in how you can edit the photo to make your banner.

1. Firstly, upload your photo


glass banner

2. Next, you will resize the photo.   Etsy banners need to be 760 wide x 100 tall (and Facebook banners should be 851 x 315).  So, using Picmonkey, I went into the “Resize” option on the left sidebar, entered 760 in the first box, but left whatever is in the next box as is for now so it will keep the proportion.  Hit the “apply” button so it will save your first edits.

3. Then, you will crop the photo. Using Picmonkey, I leave the drop down menu for cropping (once again, on the left sidebar) at “no fixed proportions” and then type in the boxes below, 760 x 100.  Here, you can drag the frame to whatever part of your photo you want to use.  This is where actually picking the photo comes in very important.  Make sure it’s something you can crop or use a small portion of.  Pick something that is horizontal, too!  Not a close up of a persons’ face, or you’ll wind up with possibly a great view up their nose with nothing else in the shot. Make sure you hit “apply”.

glass banner blog test

4. Now you have your picture where you can do the fun stuff; add blurry edges, frames, a starry sky or whatever you desire.  On Picmonkey, the choices to edit are along the side bar to the left.  So, for my purposes, I played around with some sparkles to highlight our “jewels” and then added a graduated darkening frame and our store name.  Be sure to play around.  There’s an undo button, so don’t worry.  Just have fun and you’ll wind up with a great creation!

glass banner4


And if you want to see this creation live, check out the link to our Etsy store.  We’d love to see you and I hope this was helpful!

Let me know if you have any questions or comments or how yours worked out!


Maple apple goodness


Tis the season for all things apple!  I was so pleased with how totally awesome (yes, I just said totally awesome) this recipe turned out.  It might have been a wee bit soggy, but hey, if you add 2 sticks of butter to anything you’re bound to have that problem. :)  I doubled this recipe and took it to the reception at church over the weekend that we hosted for after the big fall concert which went swimmingly, I might add!  You can’t go wrong with a room full of top notch, talented musicians from the Philadelphia area and even one flown in from Colorado!

This is a great way to use up those apples going bad on the counter.  Come on, I know you have them…you had every intention of eating them fresh as a snack, but then Halloween came and went and you were stuck with lots of candy.  If you’re a living, breathing human being, I know what you’d pick first.  Hhhhmmmmm; bruised, mealy apple or a Reeses peanut butter cup? ;)

So, here she is…the Glazed Apple Maple Blondie recipe!  Here is the original link from The Recipe Critic;

I used whole wheat flour instead and it worked out lovely.  Next time, I’ll try it with brown rice flour because this recipe is just begging to be gluten free!

***The only other note I may suggest, is to cook the sugar syrup a little longer.  I’m thinking that’s part of my “soggy” problem.  My glaze didn’t thicken as much as it probably should have.blondies boiling sugar syrup

Look at that gorgeous pot of boiling, bubbly, brown sugar and butter!