Chocolate Chip Brown Butter Cookies

These cookies are delicious and never fail to please. They were gone in a jiffy, lasting no more than 3 days in our house. They were such a hit, that the boys requested that I make them again. I think the secret ingredient that makes these cookies so delicious is the browned butter. I mean, nothing tastes bad with a little extra butter, right? Add in the chocolate and it’s cookie paradise.


  • 2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups old fashioned oat
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chocolate chunks or chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add the butter to a skillet set over medium heat. Cook until the butter begins to brown, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a heatproof bowl. Let cool 5 minutes or so. How to Brown Butter.
  3. After the butter has cooled, mix in the brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla, mixing until smooth. Add the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt. Then, fold in the chocolate.
  4. Roll the dough into rounded tablespoon size balls and place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake 9-10 minutes or until the cookies are just beginning to set on the edges.
  5. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet. They will continue to cook slightly as they sit on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with flaky salt (if desired).
  6. Enjoy!

Cruising with Norwegian Cruise Line

With a plethora of vacation options to choose from, which weighed heavily on our decision, my husband and I decided relaxation was in order and a seven night Caribbean cruise would do the trick. Based on timing, cost, and the destinations that we ‘wanted’ to see, we booked our cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line – Getaway (NCL)for a relaxing mid summer trip. The cruise itinerary included stops in the Bahamas (at their private island), Virgin Islands (St Thomas), Dominican Republic (Punta Cana), and Puerto Rico (San Juan). We paid in full and began planning our excursions. And then…..

We received a message from NCL about 3 weeks prior to our departure date that our itinerary had changed. We would not be going to St Thomas at all and our day at Punta Cana had been canceled and moved to Amber Cove DR. We would have to spend an extra day at sea. There was no explanation given and no money refunded. Our excursions were canceled (that money was refunded), and we would have to wait until new excursions were posted to re-book. Because the cruise line reserves the right to alter itineraries as needed, we could not cancel without losing money that we had already spent. I was not happy and this had already put a bad taste in my mouth for the trip.

I had cruised twice before, both times with Disney, and my husband had cruised with Royal Caribbean, so these were the expectations that we had going into our trip. Both had provided excellent service and it’s what we expected from NCL but that is not what we experienced and we hadn’t even begun packing for the trip.

Check in Process

Upon arrival at the port, I proceeded to drop off our bags while my husband parked the car. I hadn’t “checked in” via the app in time so I did not have my room number. They looked it up, tagged the bags, and we got in line. And then we waited, and waited, and waited, and waited. The check in process, once we made it past the COVID check, took over 1 hour. The reason: “computer issues”. Once we finally received our room key, we made our way onto the ship and to get settled in. We noticed that one of our bags had already been delivered but the other two were missing. We were told by the staff that they would eventually be delivered. So again, we waited, and waited, and waited and at 5:00 pm (before the ship left the dock) we decided to go and look for our missing bags. Sure enough, there they were in the baggage room, un-tagged and on the floor. I still have no idea how the tags were not on our bags but I guess the positive is that at least they made it onto the ship.

Once we unpacked and got a snack, we decided to download the cruise app and start booking some activities. This is a standard feature with most cruises and it allows you to see your excursions, dining options, shows, and activities on the ship. Great idea except that the app was offline and all activities would need to be booked by calling or waiting in another long line at the front desk. We decided to at least get our dining reservations booked by calling and reserving our choice of restaurants for three of the seven nights of our cruise. Everything else would have to wait.

Ship Activities

After dinner our first night, we decided to take a stroll on the upper deck, grab a drink and a deck lounge chair, and possibly listen to some music by the pool. Sounds nice, right? Except, on this ship, they begin picking up and stacking the chairs as soon as the sun starts to go down. There was nowhere to sit and no one in the pool. Why? The reason, it seemed to me, is to drive people to the casino or to the shows on the lower decks. So far, my idea of relaxing cruise with a tropical drink had resulted in almost lost luggage, a mediocre buffet, and a smoky casino. Might as well have been in Vegas.

Speaking of pools, there were four on the ship. One was in the spa (you had to pay to access), one was in the VIP section (yep, only for VIPs), one was a kiddie pool (only available to kids), and one on the main deck for everyone else. I cannot tell you how packed that one available pool was. There was no place to sit and almost no way to access it during the day due to the large number of people in there. I decided to pay the money and go to the spa. At least there was a pool there I could use.

Once our in cruise app began to work, we were able to access the ships activities. Some could be booked directly via the app and some required sign up in person. I decided to take a painting class on our extra day at sea and attempted to sign up earlier that morning to ensure my spot. After one hour of asking multiple cruise attendants and going to three different spots, I was able to find the sign up desk for art class. No one seemed to know where to go or how to sign up or that it even existed. This was apparently the the case with several activities that required in person reservations.

We decided to try the two shows offered aboard the Getaway and overall the quality was not bad. One show, Million Dollar Quartet, was spectacular. It’s a jukebox musical that dramatizes the 1956 impromptu recording session at Sun Records featuring Johnny Cash, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins. (The actor that played Jerry Lee was exceptional!) The other show during our cruise was Burn the Floor which features a variety of Latin dancing including the samba, rumba, etc. Definitely a show to see if you like lots of Latin Ballroom dancing.


NCL is unique in that guests can book dinner at a variety of restaurants at the time that works for them. Guests are not given a dining rotation with a specific time to eat. There were a variety of restaurants to choose from and most were very good. Some do require reservations and some are first come, first serve.

The buffet, while robust, was not memorable. It provided standard cruise fare and was a nice option for a snack.

I do want to mention the Mojito Bar. This bar specialized in, you guessed it… Mojito’s and they were yummy. My husband was a frequent visitor and tried each one : )


Unfortunately, during this trip, I got food poisoning and I do not know when/where this took place. And while I will not point fingers at the cruise line (it could have happened during an excursion), I was very disappointed by the lack of medical care. At 2:00AM I decided to hobble down to the nurses station only to be told they would not see me unless I paid $200 upfront and they would not take insurance. They didn’t even open the door! This was the piece de resistance for me. To not help someone in need unless you pay upfront (given that we’ve paid quite a bit to be on this ship in the first place) was unacceptable. I basically stayed in the room for the next day and half and didn’t recover until after I got home.

Excursions/Great Stirrup Cay

There were a decent number of excursions to choose from based on our three ports of call and I will write a separate post on this as these can apply to a variety of cruise lines. We did stop at NCL’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay, which was a lovely island but with too many zip lines. They do have many activities to choose from such as snorkeling, beach games, paddle board rentals, and cabanas for rent.

Be advised that NCL requires a tender boat to get from the ship to the island whereas some other cruises dock directly next to the island allowing guests easy access to the ship. The line to get onto the tender at the end of the day is long so plan accordingly. Also, there are no bike rentals on the island.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I was not impressed by this cruise line. I thought the overall communication with guests, both before and during the cruise, the issues with technology, the change in itinerary, and lack of pools/outdoor “space” were poor. I’m sure NCL has other ships that may be better equipped to offer a 7 day Caribbean cruise but this is not it.

Sunflower Butter, Hershey Kiss cookies

Who doesn’t love a yummy Christmas cookie? Baking Christmas cookies is one of my favorite activities at Christmas and this recipe is a family favorite. My kids love this cookie and let’s just say, they don’t last long in our house. But with both boys having a peanut allergy, I have to get creative and tweak the recipe a bit using Sunflower Butter, instead of peanut butter. To me, it tastes just a good as the original recipe but of course, you can use either butter option.

I’ve already made one batch and yes, they are now gone. Guess I’ll be making more of these in the coming weeks. Happy Baking, friends!


  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup Sunflower butter (or peanut butter, your choice)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Hershey Kisses to go on top
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Mix together the butter, sunflower butter, and sugars in a bowl until smooth and combined.
  3. Add in the egg and mix until smooth.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Slowly, add the flour mixture into the butter mixture and combine to form the cookie dough.
  6. Add a few tablespoons of sugar to a small, separate bowl.
  7. Scoop the dough into balls using about 1/5 Tbs of dough. Roll them between your hands and then into the sugar. Place them on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
  8. Bake for about 12 minutes. They should spread slightly and be golden on the bottom. Once baked, place the cookies on a cookie rack.
  9. Quickly, place a Hershey Kiss in the center of each cookie.

Enjoy, and try not to eat them all at once!

October: Outings and Occasions

Happy Halloween! How has your October been going? Ours has been pretty busy with school, work, football, and a few Halloween activities. I can’t believe that the holiday mad dash is about to kick off right after this. Does this energize you or do you find yourself dragging? Personally, it energizes me at the start and then by the time the holiday itself arrives, I’m over it.

Halloween at Home

My goal this year was to just pick and choose a few activities to do and Halloween decorations to put up. I wasn’t planning to break the bank on this one. I had plenty of decor left over from previous Halloweens and I added a few lights to round out the display. My kids are teenagers so Halloween has taken on a different feel. They still dress up and want candy but we don’t search for the perfect costume like we use to. A scary mask and some face paint usually does the trick. Still, our neighborhood goes all out and everyone sets up tables for the trick or treaters at the end of the driveway. I always make sure to have plenty of candy, allergy friendly items, and dog treats (love the dog costumes) on hand.

Below are a few Halloween touches that I placed on the table by our entryway.

The Entryway Table

Pumpkin Lights

Disney’s Magic Kingdom

This month, we went to Disney and Zoo Tampa, Creatures of the Night for some Halloween fun. I mean, Disney always goes all out and for some, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party is a must see if you’ve got little ones.

Tampa Zoo: Creatures of the Night

I cannot say enough about the Tampa Zoo (yes, that Zoo from Secrets of the Zoo on Nat Geo). The zoo itself is excellent and I recommend a visit on any day when you are in the Tampa area. But, they go all out on Halloween, and Christmas too.

From ‘scary’ costumes and haunted houses to themed food, treats, and entertainment, its an event not to be missed.

Scary Monsters
Through the Haunted Tunnel
Haunted House

Happy Halloween

Before the trick or treating starts, I always put together something fun and special for the kids, and for me and my husband. You are never too old to enjoy Halloween, right? Graveyard nachos and some brain juice should do the trick… I mean, the treat.

Remembering Queen Elizabeth II

Much has been said this past week about the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. The grace, dignity, and constancy of the Queen has been repeated many times. I do not know a time without the Queen as she has been the monarch for my entire life and that of most others.

Being an American, I am watching the events of her funeral take place on TV. However, if I were there, I would be one in the queue to pay my respects because as so many have stated, she may not have been my Queen but she was THE QUEEN. A true leader who persevered, reassured, and rose above politics. A constant in a sea of turmoil and change. A shining beacon of grace and dignity in a world where it seems to be lacking everywhere. An example to so many across the planet.

I am also amazed at the British people for their outpouring of love and admiration for their Queen. To see national unity in this way is quite refreshing and inspiring. So, that’s what it looks like?

I am in awe of the pageantry and processionals. Rehearsed. Perfected. Honorable. It is something that the British should be proud of as it’s not seen in most countries, especially not mine.

Lastly, the relentless tributes that the Royal Family has paid to their mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother are heartfelt. To grieve with cameras watching your every move has to be difficult, especially for the newly crowned King Charles. Here’s hoping that he is able to fill the very big void that his mother has left behind. It seems though, he couldn’t have had a better teacher.

RIP Queen Elizabeth. You will be missed.

In honor of the Queen, let’s look at some of her favorite things:


The Queen’s love of long walks in the Scottish countryside at Balmoral were said to be some of her favorites, usually with her dogs in tow. The Queen found calm and serenity here in the Scottish highlands and every morning, her wake-up call was bagpipes played by “Pipe Major” at 9:00 am.

The Queen and Duke at Balmoral
Taking a walk in Scotland

Her Corgi’s and Horses

The Queen loved animals in general and has had over 30 dogs in her life, mostly Corgi’s. She was also a lover of horses and one of her horses even won Royal Ascot in 2013 (the first reigning monarch to win the Gold Cup). By the way, it has been reported that Prince Andrew will be taking and caring for the Queen’s dogs following her passing.

The Queen’s love of horses
The famous Corgi’s

Earl Grey Tea and Chocolate Biscuit Cake

According to Royal Chef Darren McGrady, afternoon tea was likely the Queen’s favorite meal of the day. McGrady also went on to share the menu for Queen Elizabeth’s daily afternoon tea which included two types of sandwiches, scones, a small cake, and Earl Grey tea. McGrady said that Earl Grey tea and Chocolate Biscuit Cake were her favorite. The recipe for the cake can be found on Chef Darren McGrady’s website.

Earl Grey Tea and Chocolate Biscuit Cake

A Gin and Dubonnet Cocktail

The Queen would indulge in this cocktail before lunch. Her Majesty preferred a 2:1 ration of Dubonnet to gin, for a lower alcohol serve, along with a slice of lemon. If you make one, raise your glass and toast The Queen.

Dubonnet and Gin Cocktail

Sapphire Blues

Her beloved father noticed the cornflower blue gemstones, which represent love, purity, and wisdom, and said they matched his daughter’s eyes. She considered it her lucky color and often wore it to Royal Ascot.

Her Majesty in Blue

Downton Abbey, Coronation Street, and early James Bond films

We have all heard about Her Majesty’s sense of humor and it was on full display during the Olympics when she and James Bond actor, Daniel Craig, filmed their famous video for the 20212 London Olympics. But apparently, the Queen also enjoyed early James Bond films as well as Downton Abbey and Coronation Street as well. It is said that she would sometimes point out discrepancies in the show since she was well versed in royal protocol, of course.

The Queen and James Bond

A favorite show

Jam Pennies

The Queen’s favorite snack, Jam Pennies (jam sandwiches), of which Royal Chef, Darren McGrady, states she ate every single day. Two slices of white bread, butter, and strawberry jam. Easy enough yet fit for a Queen.

Jam Pennies

Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia

Also known as the Royal Yacht Britannia, is the former royal yacht of the British monarchy. She was in service from 1954 until 1997. The yacht was retired in 1997. It was so beloved by the Queen that during the retirement ceremony, it was one of the only times that the Queen was noticed shedding a tear.

Royal Yacht Britannia

Her Pearl Necklace

Although her collection was vast, the Queen was rarely seen without her favorite three-strand pearl necklace, given to her by her beloved father, King George VI. Leslie Field, author of The Queen’s Jewels, stated “She wants to wear pearls every day as her mother and grandmother did before her. She wouldn’t wear a diamond necklace to go to a charity lunch – it is simply traditional that a lady would wear pearls during the day.”

The Pearl Necklace

Totchos for the Win

Homemade Totchos, with a side of broccoli, were on the menu last night. I know this is a dinner that both boys will eat. While it’s not the healthiest dinner I’ve ever cooked, it’s fun and tasty and well, why not?

In case you were wondering, Totchos are “nachos” made with tater tots instead of tortilla chips. Add whatever nacho toppings you like to make this dish your own. We eat nachos quite a bit in our house so I decided to change things up a bit with the totchos.

This recipe is based off of Woody’s Lunchbox Totchos at Hollywood Studios. FYI…I decided to stick with just cheddar cheese here since the original recipe calls for a jar of queso dip (of which I’m not a huge fan).

So, here it goes….


  • 1 (2 lb bag) of tater tots
  • 1.5 cups of Frito Corn Chips
  • 1 can of chili (your favorite or homemade)
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 6 Tbs of sour cream
  • 2 Tbs of chopped green onions
  • Broccoli or any other green veggie to add as a side


  1. Cook tater tots according to package directions.
  2. Warm up the chili while the tater tots are cooking.
  3. Once the tater tots are done, divide them evenly among 4-5 bowls.
  4. Top with corn chips.
  5. Add the chili on top.
  6. Sprinkle on the cheddar cheese.
  7. Add a dollop of sour cream.
  8. Top with chopped green onions.
  9. Add a side on the side.

Viola! Dinner is served and you won’t have to tell them twice that it’s time to eat.

Dole Whip Delight

The iconic Disney Pineapple Dole Whip, a pineapple flavored soft serve ice cream, can easily be made at home with only a few simple ingredients. This sweet, frosty fruit treat is the perfect dessert to cool off on a hot summer day or especially when in the Disney parks.

Dole Whip was originally created by the fruit company, Dole, but became available at Disneyland’s Tiki Bar in 1986. It has become a staple at Disney parks and fans will wait in a very long line just to get one on a hot day. Disney has now added different flavors to this dessert including raspberry, cherry, and mango.


  • 4 ounces pineapple juice
  • 1 big scoop vanilla ice cream (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 cups frozen pineapple chunks
  • 2 tablespoons sugar , optional
  • splash of lemon juice


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and ultra creamy.
  2. At this point you can pour into dessert cups or freeze the mixture for 30-40 minutes. Once frozen, then transfer to a piping bag with a 1M “star” tip (to get that iconic Dole Whip swirl.)
  3. Swirl into glasses or freeze in Popsicle molds.


Summer Movie Binge

I’ve seen more movies in the the theater this summer than the past two years combined and I’m sure quite a few people can say that as well. I’m a firm believer in choosing the big screen over watching a ‘new release’ at home on my own TV. I love nothing more than seeing one on the big screen, snuggled up in the recliner chair and with a popcorn, ice cold Coke, and some candy.

Here are a few of the ones that we’ve seen or plan to see this summer.

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

I cannot wait to see this one. Based on the 1958 book, The Poseidon Adventure, this movie follows Mrs. Harris as she, after learning the fate of her missing husband of 10 years, chases a dream of owning a haute-couture Dior dress from Paris. But, after arriving, she realizes her dream of owning one it’s not as easy as she’d imagined. This movie provides hope for those who have worked too hard or who may be thinking that they are too old to have a dream or purchase nice things. Nonsense. Do as Mrs. Harris and follow that dream!

Top Gun: Maverick

Has anyone not heard of this movie? No way. To be honest, I didn’t think this would be a keeper for me but I was pleasantly surprised. Not being a huge Tom Cruise fan, I thought he did a good job reprising the role of Maverick. It was nice to see Val Kilmer as Iceman again too. This movie has done so well at the box office which makes me believe that people just want to see a good action movie, with a feel good, happy ending without all of the sex, violence, and some agenda begin through at us. Keep on making’em like this.

Jurassic World Dominion

I don’t know why this movie received such negative reviews. I liked the fact that this film brought both casts, Jurassic Park/Jurassic World, together for the final movie. I do think it started off a bit slow but quickly picked up in the middle and towards the end with lots of dinosaur action. I also liked that the movie shows how we need to learn to live with nature even when we’ve created the environment that is less than ideal. I enjoyed seeing Chris Pratt, Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Jeff Goldblum together fighting to save the dinosaurs, and each other, from man made greed threatening to ruin the planet.

Downton Abbey: A New Era

The Crawley’s are setting out for a new adventure. The family travels to the south of France to learn the reasoning behind why the dowager countess has inherited a villa from a man she knew briefly in her younger days. This movie is like being welcomed back home by family and I enjoyed the escape to a time when manners and decorum still meant something. The scenery alone makes this movie worth watching and leaves us all wishing we could inherit a villa in France.

Thor: Love and Thunder

Did someone say Thor? Yes, I’ll watch please! Having followed the MCU since the inception of Captain America and the Avengers, this one is a must see. Thor, who is seeking inner peace and retirement, has a rude awakening as Gorr the God Butcher seeks to rid the universe of gods. He must recruit Valkyrie, Korg, and Jane Foster, who can now wield his magical hammer, to defeat Gorr and restore peace.

These are my summer movie picks. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort

Wilderness Lodge is an escape to the Pacific Northwest and draws inspiration from some of America’s national parks. This resort is considered a deluxe resort and like everything Disney created, the attention to detail here is incredible and immense. The lobby is massive with its totem poles, stately fireplace, plush sofas, and old fashioned rocking chairs.

Totem Pole – Wilderness Lodge lobby
Flower arrangement details
Lobby fireplace
Mercantile gift shop

Room with a View

The rooms at this resort have recently been updated with hardwood floors, bright colors, contemporary bathrooms, and modern amenities. I was happy that our room had a balcony with a castle view and a coffee machine.

Room with a view

Park Access

Wilderness Lodge is located closet to the Magic Kingdom, which can be accessed via bus or boat. This resort is very convenient in that regard. A walk to the back of the resort, along an elevated boardwalk and through the trees, lands you at the dock where you board a ferry for a quick 15 minute ride to MK.

Beautiful walk to the ferry
Boardwalk to catch the ferry to MK

The lagoon


There are multiple restaurants at Wilderness Lodge including Whispering Canyon Cafe, Geyser Point Bar and Grill, Artist Point/ Storybook Dining with Snow White, and Roaring Fork. We chose to eat dinner at Whispering Canyon Cafe and what a delicious meal it was.

For anyone familiar with Whispering Canyons Cafe, you will remember that it was a lively restaurant with lots of ketchup bottle throwing shenanigans. We didn’t see much of that going on during out visit but it was still very loud and very kid friendly. I especially liked the kids parade through the dining room while riding their pony sticks. The highlight was when half of the kids decided to go left rather than right and the servers had to get them and redirect them back into the dining room… a bit like herding cats : )

My salmon and farro was excellent and we especially enjoyed the brownie and ice cream dessert.

This place is not quaint and quiet so if that is what you are seeking, I’d look elsewhere. The food was very good and the menu focused on Western themed food with lots of skillets.

Whispering Canyon Cafe
Salmon with farro and arugula

Recreation and Grounds

There are numerous recreational activities here including 2 pools, fishing excursions, a shooting geyser (just like Yellowstone), ping pong tables, corn hole, movies under the stars, and a campfire for smore’s roasting.

Fire Rock Geyser is located just behind Copper Creek Pool and erupts every hour starting at 7:00am – 10:00pm.

One of my favorite things to do was to walk the grounds of this lovely resort and talk in the views. I especially liked the river and water views. This is an excellent place to grab a drink and relax a little at one of the outdoor tables next to the water.

Copper Creek Springs Pool

Wanna go fishing?
Fire Rock Geyser
Fire Rock Geyser

Fireworks and Electric Water Pageant

An additional bonus to staying at this resort includes viewing the Electric Water Pageant right from the resort. You can also view Magic Kingdom fireworks from your balcony if you have one facing the castle. I found the absolute best firework viewing location was from the ferry taking us back to the resort as we were leaving MK. It was a beautiful night and from the boat, we could see the entire show.

Balcony view


This was my first time staying at this resort and I highly recommend it. Yes, you will pay a little more for it than other resorts on property but I found that the rustic theming, proximity to MK, and variety of restaurants and amenities to be well worth the cost. It was a magical stay.

Summer Newsletter

“Summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English Language.” ~ Henry James

Is it hot where you are? Here in Florida, we are well into the long, sunny summer days. Sleeping late. Afternoons at the beach. Crisp, summer salads. Sandals and summer dresses. It’s a time to relax and unwind. Its SUMMERTIME!

Tribute to Tucker

When I started writing this post, my dog Tucker, was right next to me on the sofa as i typed. I started the post, saved it as a draft, and thought I would finish it the next day. Except the next day, Tucker had an emergency and had to be taken to the ER. We do not know what happened as he wasn’t even 4 years old. He died that evening, June 22nd, and left us devastated. I had no idea that afternoon would be my last with him. We still have no idea what went wrong as I was with him all day. We believe it was something internal that we did not know about, an immune reaction to something perhaps? Still, it was like someone reached in and ripped my heart out. I did not want to believe it.

Needless to say, I cried for days. Everywhere I looked and still look, I still see my beautiful, loving dog. I’ve made tributes to him on Rainbow’s Bridge, bought a wind chime with his name engraved, gave donations to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in his honor but it still hurts. I love and miss my dog. I believe he is in heaven and that we will see him again one day. Until then, he will be our guardian angel watching over us.

We love and miss you, Tucker but I know you are chasing tennis balls and frisbee’s over the Rainbow Bridge.

July 4th

Independence Day is almost here and like most folks, hot dogs and hamburgers are the star of our July 4th menu. Patriotic bunting and sunflowers add to the festive look and what summer holiday would be complete without watermelon? Add in some sangria, strawberries, and triple berry crisps for dessert and we are all set. Let the fireworks begin!

Heading out to a July 4th BBQ? Here are a few patriotic, yet comfortable looks for the summer holiday.

Lou and Grey Star V Neck Sweater and Cotton Terry Shorts – Ann Taylor Loft

Clip Strappy Button Midi Dress – Ann Taylor Loft

Star and Stripes Shell – Talbots


The sporting event that I most look forward to watching in summertime is, without a doubt, Wimbledon. The grandeur of this venue, the level of play, the strawberries and cream, what’s not to love about Wimbledon? This year Wimbledon will be celebrating 100 years of Centre Court. Incredible when you stop and think about how many tennis champions have been crowned in this marvelous stadium.

Please check Wimbledon for more info on news, players, scores, and schedules.

Summer Reads

Don’t forget your book when you head out to the beach or the pool. Here are a few that I recommend.

The Couple at Table Six – I read this one for my book group. If you enjoy a good whodunit with a twist, I recommend this one.

All the Flowers in Paris – I bought this book yesterday and plan to read it on my cruise. Set in World War II Paris, this romantic tale tells the story of love and loss.

One Italian Summer – Set in stunning Italy, this is a story about unconditional love and finding a way forward.

Summer Decor

The coastal grandmother look seems to be the decor of choice at the moment. Living in Florida, it’s a style that is easily achievable all year round. Here are a few ideas to add some coastal decor to your home.

Throw Pillows

One of the easiest ways to change your decor with the seasons is to upgrade your throw pillows. Check out some of these sites below:

Linen and Cloth

Pottery Barn

McGee & Company


Create a calm, refreshing atmosphere by allowing the scents of summer to waft through your house. Here are some of my favorites:

Pottery Barn – Seagrass

One of my favorites candle scents.

Jo Malone – Lime Basil & Mandarin Home Candle

Yankee Candle Company – Mediterranean Breeze

Wicker Furniture and Trays

Wicker anything speaks volumes for summer entertaining and relaxation. Here are a few ideas for upgrading your wicker collection:

Wayfair – Wicker Trays

Serena and Lily – Outdoor Sofa and Swivel Chairs

Grandin Road – Wicker Lounge Chair

I hope these ideas provide some summertime inspiration for you. Enjoy your summer and Happy July 4th!