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.

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!

February Favorites

When I think of February, I can’t help but think of hearts. Candy hearts, chocolate hearts, my own heart and the hearts of loved ones. And with Valentine’s Day just a week away, I thought we could check out some very fun ideas to help celebrate. Remember, you don’t need to be in a romantic relationship to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Celebrate with anyone that you love, including your kids, your family, your friends, your pet, and yes… YOU. What better day to include a little self care as an act of love. True love starts with loving yourself first.

Valentine’s Day Ideas

Gifts for Teens I have 2 teenage boys and the buying of cute books about love and stuffed animals are definitely over. So, how can we show them some love in a cool, and teen approved way? Here are some ideas.

A pancake breakfast: Start a little earlier this morning with some chocolate-chip, heart shaped pancakes with a strawberry topping. Check out Pioneer Women’s Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Pancakes.

4 healthy Valentine's Day recipes
Image: Food Network

T-shirts: My boys go through clothes pretty quickly these days and I am constantly in need of buying new ones. T-shirts are an easy go-to in our house. This year, I picked up several tees at Target that I thought they would like.

Boys' 'Slam Dunk' Short Sleeve Graphic T-Shirt - Cat & Jack™ Charcoal Heather

Water bottles: How many times has your son gone to sports practice and forgot his water bottle or left it there? This is always something they can use. We like this Pogo Sport 32 oz Tritan Straw (and it’s BPA free).

Pogo Sport 32oz Tritan Straw
Pogo Sport 32oz Tritan Straw

New Board Games: I was going through my son’s closet the other day pulling out old clothes and toys and I noticed that some of the board games from elementary school. We loved playing these games and there are good memories associated with them but it’s time to upgrade to games that they will actually want to play with mom NOW.

Here are a few suggestions:

Speed Charades – A fun twist on a family favorite. Players compete head-to-head in a race to act out words for their teams to guess. Starting at the same time, the first team to guess 4 of the 5 words on their card wins the round and scores a point. The team with the most points after ten rounds wins!

Kids Against Maturity– Who’s the funniest? This instant classic was made and played by parents like you. With age-appropriate toilet humor and funny innuendos for the adults, it can be enjoyed by all ages. 

It’s in the Bag – Party Game Will Have You Laughing Hysterically – Like Charades on Steroids for Family and Adults – Easy to Learn Team Game for Groups

Sweet Treats: I still give my kids some sweet treats and small buckets of candy. I try to add in some of their favorites along with their card. Anything gummy or chocolate-y are usually included.

American Heart Health Month

Since we are talking hearts this month, let’s not forget to give our actual heart some love and care. February is American Heart Health Month. Sign up through the American Heart Association to get the latest in heart health and prevention information, invitations to hear experts speak, and healthy living tips.


I love watching the Olympics and I’m excited to see the events in skiing, ice skating, and snowboarding. My husband and I end up watching every night and there are some events that we would otherwise never get to see. Curling, anyone? It’s amazing what these athletes can do. We only see some of them for a short time on TV, competing in their event. What we don’t see is the years of hard work it took to get here. Good luck to all of the Athletes and Go Team USA!

February Finds

Book: Good Morning, I Love You. “Discovering the transformative effects of being kind to yourself.” I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I have been looking for a book that explains mindfulness in practical terms and this book does just that. Dr Shapiro’s approach to mindfulness, kindness, and self-compassion is down to earth, easy to understand, and provides hope. Our brains are not hard wired as some may think. With this roadmap, and of course, practice, we can change our brain circuitry for better calm, happiness, and joy. I highly recommend this one.

Outfit: Love this outfit that I found at Loft. Who doesn’t love a good jean jacket? I love the pink pants and navy stripes.


Recipe: Raspberry- Chocolate parfaits A quick and easy Valentine’s day dessert with lots of flavor and of course….chocolate!

Image: Food Network

Toss 1/2 cup raspberries with 1 tablespoon chocolate liqueur such as Godiva. Layer with crumbled brownies and chocolate ice cream in 2 glasses. Top with whipped cream and more raspberries.