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

Setting Better Resolutions for 2022

The start of the new year is tomorrow. It goes without saying that most people want to go into the new year making resolutions for self-improvement. They want to lose weight, get healthier, workout more, be kinder, focus more on work, etc, etc… Yet, it has been proven that 80% of new years resolutions fail. Why?

The start of a new year, new month, new week, new day always presents itself as a blank page for beginning again. An opportunity to do better and to be better. A clean slate (yes, I said it : ). The mentality of begin able to start again is hopeful to all of us. it’s an opportunity to make the most of but I believe there are better ways to do it than to make a slew of resolutions that we may not be able to keep. Here are a few ideas:

Make quarterly goals. There are 365 days in 2022. No need to get all of our changes done in January, right? Most people tend to make a list of resolutions (3 or 4) and begin implementing on Jan 1. It goes without saying that making too many changes at once will likely fail. Remember, it takes time to make lasting change and starting everything at once is too much for our brains and our bodies to handle all at once. Why not make quarterly goals? Resolution # 1 is set for Jan – Mar. Resolution #2, Apr – Jun and so on. Focusing on one goal at a time will be easier to achieve and allow you to focus your energies on maintaining that change. During that 3 months, you may need to adjust but at least you are only working on one thing now. Focus on it. Perfect it. Then move on to the next.

Rather than focusing on resolutions of things “to do”, make intentions for 2022. How do you want to be? Do a really thorough self-assessment. What were your triumphs and what were your challenges? We are all human so we’ve all made mistakes. Be kind to yourself but know what your values are. Making resolutions based on values and how you want to “be” is stronger than making them based on how to want to look or what you want to do?

Is there an inspirational person or a role model that you look up to? What traits do you admire about that person? What did they do? It’s good to have someone that you admire that provides inspiration but don’t forget, only you can be you. Each person is unique and comes with his or her own set of gifts and challenges.

Make a vision board. I don’t know about you but I am a visual person. I need to see something to understand it, most of the time. Vision boards are a great way to visually represent what it is your want to accomplish. Take some time to cut out pictures, phrases, projects, people, places, and anything that inspires you. It’s your clean slate to design where you want to be this time next year or in years to come.

Choose your word for the year. I really like this trend. I’ve noticed many people choosing a word for the year that represents what they want more of in their life. I couldn’t choose just one so I have two: Calm and Mindfulness. These are things I need to work on this year. I’ve done lots of learning about mindfulness but when things get chaotic, I struggle with this one. What’s nice about choosing your word for the year is that you can also carry it with you. There are so many bracelets, necklaces, keychains, other products in which you can wear or carry with you your word that you have chosen. In times of doubt and struggle, you can know that it’s with you and refocus your mindset.

I hope that these ideas will not only help you to plan for the upcoming year but also maintain progress towards your goals and intentions. I wish each of you a very Happy New Year!

Holiday Movie List

I don’t think it would be Christmas without at least one night of hot chocolate, popcorn, and a Christmas movie. And even though my kids are getting older, this is still one tradition not to be missed.

Here are a few of our favorites and some inspirational Christmas movies as well:

Polar Express – Has anyone not seen this one? A classic, and the music is wonderful too. Don’t forget the “hot chocolate” when watching this one.

Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas – The first one is good but we like the second one better. Mickey and friends find the meaning of Christmas.

A Christmas Story – Don’t worry about shooting your eye out watching this one. Funny and nostalgic.

Holiday in the Wild – This is one that I usually watch by myself or with my husband. A lovely, inspirational movie about a newly single woman who reinvents herself and finds her passion helping elephants in Africa.

Miracle on 34th Street – My all-time favorite Christmas movie. I watch it every year and it never gets old.

Love Actually – Multiple story lines but ending with the message of friendship and love.

The Nativity Story – The reason for the season. A beautiful movie about the days leading up to the birth of Jesus.

Daddy’s Home 2 – Hysterical and one that often gets left off of the holiday movie list and I have no idea why. Add this one to your list this season and get ready for some serious laughs!

The Star – A sweet and inspirational movie about the birth of baby Jesus. I remember taking my kids to the movie to see this one. Stellar cast and some big stars in this one too.