Do you know your LOVE LANGUAGE?

“There is no surprise more magical than the surprise of BEING LOVED. It is God’s finger on mans shoulder.” ~ Charles Morgan   5ltouch5

Scrumptious, ambrosial cuisine, a spell-bounding novel, our beloved pets, festooning our homes to be cozy, beautiful and treasured havens of respite,ccl8 fabulous movies, a fine wine,bouvier_des_flandres a restorative escape to your favorite spot or playing creative games with loved ones, all bring forth beauty and winsome joy to our lives.   But, how about LOVE? Love brings blithe, buoyancy, cheer, gladness, vivaciousness, fulfillment and mirth to our lives in a way nothing else can.

There are of course different types of love. Passionate love, physical, emotional, spiritual, companionship, friendships as well as the love we possess  for our family and pets. There is also a love for the things we have acquired in life, our homes, jobs, developed, God given talents as well as a love and adoration for the things we so enjoy doing, camping, matinee movies, shopping, museums,horse10 cruising on the white sandy dunes, hiking, cooking, decorating or reading your favorite author’s engaging novella’s.

I think there are more movies, sonnets, poems, songs and books written on this  all- encompassing word ‘love,’ than any other subject in the world.    It most definitely is the most powerful word, and it is said, (from a  tried and true,very trusted resource, 🙂 )  that it alone, covers a multitude of sins.  It truly is a gift from above…There is nothing else that can be likened to love.anne 1 We are born into this world with a ‘need’ for it and we still get that warm fuzzy feeling, deep inside when someone tells us; “I love you,” up until the day we leave this world. I suppose a writer could write book after book on this magnificent subject of love, and still not begin to put a dent in covering its magnitude. 🙂

Why is the word ‘Love’ so intimidating and threatening? Do you remember your Jr. High school days when you’d get a crush on that special someone? It was bliss when you  “heard it through the grapevine,” that they too, ‘liked’ you…Everybody ‘liked’ each other… and we went steady with our treasured saint Christopher’s proudly worn around our  necks, but  when asked, if we were “together,”   we would always say “Yes, we really LIKE each other.” 🙂 As we get older, and we are ‘pretty sure’ we have found that right someone…it feels like your pulling teeth to FINALLY get up the courage to come out and say; “I have fallen in LOVE with you.” It’s okay to safely think it within our hearts, but to come out and say it, is frightening.myhunkI laugh when I think of Kits and my beginning…we met at a fine dining restaurant on the water in Dana Point  Harbor, CA. In working  there together, we began dating, but only as friends…  For six months this very handsome and special man brought me roses, took me to wondrous eateries, wrote me Hallmark cards with sentiments that melted my heart,love (I still have those cards to this day,) 🙂  took me for dreamy, moonlit strolls around the harbor and he even kidnapped me one day from work and took me to Palms springs for Valentines day!  (So Romantic!) He fixed me the most exquisite cuisine,  (he was and still is an excellent cook,) took my mom, sister and I out for brunch every Sunday after church and yet we were ‘just friends.’ (Best-friends at that…) I knew he loved me, but I felt safer saying “like.” 🙂 ( I think that was the fearful ‘little girl’ in me.) 🙂  girls But there came a day I will never forget…all the other available young ladies at work,  (watching kit and I on the side,) came to me one day and said; “Susan, whats the skinny on you and Kit? Are you an item? Is it Serious? He is  such a great guy and a real catch.” I replied with a little bit, (OK, a lot) of  anxious butterflies fluttering within my stomach, as I could see where their questions were going...”No, we’re just good friends.” My fears were confirmed when they all replied; “Well that’s great news because it means that he is fair game for all of us.” Don’t you know I went home and did some serious thinking... 🙂 Soon after, we acknowledged, (OK, I acknowledged,) 🙂 our love and I couldn’t wait to tell all the girls that we were getting married. 🙂 Why are we so leery about saying that word to someone when all  of our thoughts and actions are shouting  out “I love you” so loudly, that it echos in every part of our life. 🙂

I had never heard that we all possess a certain, (and some of us more than one,) love language, until later in my life.  You can no more change the color of your eyes,(well,cosmetically you can,) than you can change the love language that is within your heart. When you discover YOUR LOVE LANGUAGE, you will learn so much about yourself … how you  personally ‘give’ love and ‘receive’ love. After you get your self all summed up, find out your mates, siblings, friends and yes, even your pets love language, so you can understand how they are showing you love, (even if you can’t feel it,) and how they receive love...perhaps the way we are showing our love is not their love language, thus, they are not FEELING fulfilled by our actions like we believe they are. Really, this is not confusing at all…gary Its a wonderful and life changing book I have from the notable author, Gary Chapman. Its called The Five languages of love and the wonderful gems of truth and life-changing knowledge this author shares, are what this vignette is all about… (Don’t worry, it won’t be as long as the book…just a short synopsis.) 🙂

Before we look at the Five languages of love and what they entail, I have a few beautiful, keepsake quotes on this ever popular, powerful and all-encompassing word, LOVE, I’d like to share.

 

 

 

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 “Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problems of human existence.” ~ Eric Fromm

“Love has no desire but to fulfill itself ~ To melt and be like a running brook that sings it’s melody to the night.lily1 To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.” ~ Kahil Gibran

“For you see, each day I love you more today than yesterday and less than tomorrow.” ~ Rosemonde Gerard

“Love one another and you will be happy. Its as simple and difficult as that.” ~ Michael Leuing

“A baby is born with a need for lovelily4 and never outgrows it.” ~ Frank A. Clark

“Love is, above all, the gift of ones self.” ~ Jean Anouilh

 

“Love cures people – both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it.” ~ Karl Menninger

“Love is patient, Love is kind. lily3It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” ~ ! Corinthians 13

“Love is like the dew that falls on both nettles and lilies.” ~ Swedish Prover

 

 

 

You will find as I introduce each love language, that you may give your love with one language and receive with another. You may embody two or three of these love languages and not just have one language. (You can be bi-lingual in your languages of love.) 🙂

“TOUCH HAS A MEMORY.” ~ JOHN KEATS…

The first love language I want to introduce is “Physical touch.” If this is your love language, you personally feel very LOVED and nurtured when a person you love touches you in some way. A big bear hug from a dear friend, a consoling hug from your mate when feeling down, a good morning kiss, a neck massage when tense, holding hands,  body massages and being held. ( You most likely love to hold little babies and can’t get enough hugs and kisses from your dog or cat.)   ( Don’t laugh, but my mom loved to have her feet tickled, and guess who she always asked to do it? 🙂  I think that the majority of us enjoy physical touch and it is always endearing from a loved one, when respectfully shown, but it doesn’t necessarily make us all feel LOVED.

Perhaps you do not receive love through physical touch but you show your love that way…You would be a person who is always hugging, touching someones arm as you are talking, pursuing holding hands with your mate, picking up the little ones to bring them comfort, adore spooning with your mate in bed as you fall asleep at night, wrap your arm around your friend as you are shopping at the mall, or greet all your loved ones with a big kiss on the cheek!    This is one of my husbands love languages and for him, it is both the way he receives love and gives it. Knowing this, I understand him so much better and can see when he is showing me love (his way.) It also educates me and has caused me to show him my love for him through ‘physical touch.’ It was a happy day to discover this about him after reading this book and talking with him to discover his love language… (Though I would have guessed it immediately from all of our years of marriage.) 🙂  It means everything to a person to receive love the way their heart desires to be shown love.

 

Do you remember your wedding ceremony and the honeymoon days that followed? There was hardly a time we weren’t touching, holding hands, hugging and kissing…our lives were so full of pure delight and glorious felicity. 🙂

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There is nothing like the touch of our fathers hand in ours, especially after a treasured day together.

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Your “love of your life,” best friends touch… It is always so comforting, just to know “they are there!”  🙂 200264715-001

Physical touch as an expression of love is not just for humans…its also for the birds! (no pun intended.) 🙂 All human life seems to derive so much from touch!

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As babies, we can’t be touched enough…it’s our comfort, assurance and way we receive nurturing and love. For us big guys… (adults,) a babies touch is like nothing else… they give us love without even trying! 🙂

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“THERE IS NO EXERCISE BETTER FOR THE HEART THAN REACHING DOWN AND LIFTING PEOPLE UP.” ~ JOHN HOLMES

Love Language number two… Words of Affirmation.

This love language seems to be one of the most popular... If you feel loved when someone SPEAKS words of edification such as; ” you are pretty, handsome, smart, creative, admired, doing a great job, are kind and loving, a best friend, have lost weight or gained, (which ever needed,) 🙂 you’re appreciated, your  a person of integrity and great faith, a fabulous cook, “I love you,” or that you have accomplished much in your life, then this is your love language and definitely how you RECEIVE  Love. Again, everyone enjoys hearing a compliment or kind word, but it does not make them feel LOVED like it does someone with this love language.

You may not receive love through this language, but it  could be your way of showing others you love them. Do you find yourself continually  giving compliments, uplifting your spouse, children and friends with your words of encouragement and love? Do you enjoy telling the check out  lady at the grocery store how  pretty she looks that day or e-mailing a friend who is a bit down and spend time trying to cheer them up? Are you one to be the listener in a group and find yourself asking a lot of questions to get people to ‘talk about themselves?’ If so, this could be the language you use to show others your LOVE.

In our marriage this language has been a wonderful blessing as both Kit and I receive and show love with this language . (We are forever building up one another with words of edification , encouragement and love  and it is undoubtedly a huge blessing and fulfills our “love tanks.” 🙂

 

Writing our heart felt sentiments within ‘an old fashioned, handwritten, snail mail- letter’ 🙂 is truly a gift of love to those who own this love language .language3   What a great idea!   5lwordsofenc3

Just three simple words can change a day! 5lwordsofenc

There is nothing like a kind word fitly spoken, no matter our age! 🙂ad21

Did you know that the Briard breed of dogs, when trained, learn only by praise and affirmation? (Kit and I know it firsthand.) 🙂 (We only have one!) 🙂 Bless the family that owns all of these… 🙂 briardenc

WORDS are a a powerful, amazing life giving force. briardenc1

My husband just gave me this for my birthday… I am going to put it right next to my desk. 🙂 Talk about words of affirmation… I will keep it forever!  🙂 IMG_0246

 

 

BECAUSE BUSINESS LIFE IS SO BUSY, MY HOME IS REALLY MY SANCTUARY. THAT IS WHERE I REFLECT AND SPEND QUALITY TIME WITH MY GIRLS.” ~ RACHEL RAY

Love Language number three…Quality Time.

This love language, especially in the the 21st century, is a very difficult love language to own and express, as “our time” is so full, busy and we are beyond exhausted at the end of each day… Because it is so rare to have free time, what better gift to give, than “your undivided and wholehearted time” to the ones you love?  If this love language is the way you show your love to others, you are undoubtedly a planner…always planing dates with special friends, organizing dinners for the family gatherings, taking refreshments to your children’s soccer games, meeting your  spouse for a cup of coffee at Starbucks where there are no phones ringing, TV’s playing, and the two of you can sit, with ‘uninterrupted time,’ to just say “Hi honey, HOW ARE YOU DOING?” 🙂 When you are with your mate, a friend or family member, ‘you are REALLY there,’101%… they are your priority for the time you are giving.

If Quality time is not the way you show your love, but receive love from others, you probably feel ‘love staved’ at times, 🙂 (because of how busy life is these days.)  Your love tank is filled when a friend calls and you have over an hour to catch up with “real talk,” you love it when your mate , with no other distractions , looks at you and wants to hear about your day. Your on cloud nine when you go on vacation and see the family and get a full day with each of your siblings…talking, laughing, sharing and being intimate. Quality time is intimacy to you and there is nothing like it to make you feel loved and cherished. You are probably not one for surface talk and half-hearted relationships as they just do not feel REAL…  Quality time is my love language, both in the way I show love and receive it. It is not an easy love language … and I am learning to receive love from the way others show there love, if it is not quality time, or words of affirmation, (my other love language.) I keep reminding myself, it truly is not personal. I am thankful for these love languages  and I would not change this part of me for anything! 🙂

 

Whether  at Starbucks, or in your home when all the kids are gone, share that intimate, steal-away moment of  time over a delicious cup of coffee…really listening! 5lqualitytime5 There is nothing quite like an afternoon in the park together…pack a picnic lunch, your favorite foods, a cozy blanket and just “TALK,” (sharing in the beauty of nature, the birds singing, fresh air and a gorgeous sunny day!Young happy couple outdoors

“Q” time with the girls is certainly a way to feel loved and cherished and show love…no matter how old we are! 🙂

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Going to an exhilarating celebrity concert together, or a symphony under the stars in New York City’s renowned Central Park, getting out with your mate or friends is a wonderful way to spend quality time together. (Can you guess which concert Kit would choose and which is my pick?)bruce

Lets see….Bruce Hornsby or Usher…hmm! My choice would have to be the performer ‘s G-rated songs , so that should give you a hint! 🙂 Both exceptional artists, (and would be a great outing for quality time together with your mate or friends.)

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Do you remember as little kids, hanging out at the beach with your older brother? Now that was quality time! Finding enchanting starfish, poking the sea anemones with long twigs as we were so afraid if we used our fingers, they’d eat them up, 🙂 getting sun burnt, running as far away as we could from the jellyfish a drifted on shore, joyfully wading in the oceans waves, listening for the sound of the mysterious sea in the conk shells…peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and walking hand and hand…There was always time for each other! 🙂

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I know that our Grantham’s love language is Quality time…He shows his love as well as receives love this way…) amongst all the four other love languages.) 🙂  Quality time with your pet is what they desire the most, except maybe that steak bone or some fresh grilled salmon! 🙂   A day at the Grand canyon together…now that was hours of blissful “Q” time…what a great memory for Kit and I. west4west1

 

 

“HAPPINESS DOESN’T RESULT FROM WHAT WE GET, BUT FROM WHAT WE GIVE.” ~ BEN CARSON

Love language number 4 ~ GIFT GIVING!

I personally have a few friends that I have known since childhood, who own this love language and shared with me that, “If you take my ability to give gifts away, I would not feel like I was  expressing my love for others.”  WOW! I think everyone enjoys giving gifts and receiving them, but if this is your love language, it carries with it much more meaning within your heart.  If you love shopping for others, picking out ‘just the right’ gift for their home or a hobby they enjoy, or perhaps if you are gifted with creativity, you enjoying making personalized and cherished homemade gifts for others, planning birthday luncheons for your girlfriends, taking your buddy’s out for a beer,  baking  an ambrosial cake for your neighbors or your favorite doctor and his office staff,  taking friends out to brunch or you enjoy bestowing tokens of love at every celebration, this is undeniably your way of showing love and “gift giving” is your love language.

If you FEEL loved when you receive a gift from someone, then this also is your love language, as it is how you personally  receive love. You probably can hardly wait for your birthday when friends and family celebrate your special day with handpicked gifts that they know you will adore. You enjoy and feel loved, being taken out to dinner, receiving surprises from your mate, ( a bouquet of fresh roses, a box of chocolates or a gift certificate to the spa, your favorite classic movie, a new fishing rod, or that elegant watch you’ve had your eye on.) Christmas time is most likely a season of blissfulness as your “love tank” is not only full, but overflowing. 🙂

 

For those whose love language is “Gift-giving”, adding a unique piece to a collection they have going is a wonderful idea to express your love. It shows thoughtfulness and creativity.language11

A homemade gift, right from the heart, showing time and creativity is a delightful way to demonstrate your love. How about renting a cottage in the country, stocking it up with your friends favorite wine, coffee, foods and music and giving it to them as a surprise ‘weekend away?’ Not only would they feel LOVED, but it would be a resplendent, wondrous respite! language10language9

What lady does not love “girly stuff?” My sister sent me the most adorable birthday box filled with different themes of pure enjoyment… nighttime luxuries; ( a new night gown, night cream accompanied by a beautiful hand towel to match,) along with a “feeling pretty” bag, filled with a variety of makeups, lotions, earrings,  anti-wrinkle cream…(YEAH!), and serene melodic CD’s. Creativeness is a gift within itself!language8

Again, if you know your friends or family members china pattern, adding a cup and saucer, soup bowl or dinner plate is an endearing way to show your love. language7

For the special men in your life who own this language, there is nothing like making their favorite cake to bless their palates, buying a manly scented candle for their study or anything that is thoughtful and shows you know what their interests are as well as  care about them.

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Some more ideas for the guys…support their passions, whether its a card that says “I hereby grant you a free weekend by yourself, to go camping, fishing, biking or mountain climbing.”  Always  encourage them to chase their dreams.    How about giving them the gift of a new fishing rod or the latest  bike on the market, with all the ‘bells and whistles.’ Not only will they feel loved but will be eminently touched by your thoughtfulness.

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THOSE WHO ARE HAPPIEST ARE THOSE WHO DO THE MOST FOR OTHERS.” ~ BOOKER T. WASHINGTON

The last, but certainly not least Love language; ACTS OF SERVICE

Acts of service is a lot like gift giving as a love language, except that it is usually the task we are doing for our loved one that makes them feel loved, not so much the gift of our benevolence. If you possess this love language as your way of showing your love, you most likely are a person that is always offering to do the jobs that no one else wants to do, (or won’t admit it, but they are unable to do.) 🙂 Fixing the kitchen sink for your wife, mowing the lawn for your husband, running errands for your friends, helping your friends move on your day off, spending the day cleaning the house and preparing a five star meal  for your husbands boss and his wife, taking the dog out for a walk in the snow, writing letters for the elderly who no longer can write and you love reading stories to children in the pediatric ward. This is your way of demonstrating the love within your heart for others.

If you feel loved when someone does something nice for you, supports your causes and helps makes posters, sends out mail or hands out flyers,  does your Christmas baking for you as you are not one who enjoys getting messy, 🙂 cleans your home for free, fixes your roof, free of charge, washes and waxes your car, and always goes the ‘extra mile” for you in making sure your needs are taken care of…Acts of service is absolutely your love language in the way you receive love.

What spouse would not feel loved when upon arriving home, beholds a beautifully set tableaux and a gourmet meal fit for a king awaiting … (especially if their boss and his wife are coming over for dinner? ) 🙂 Your hard work will be remembered for a long time! 🙂 (And your spouse will feel loved. )language15

During the holidays, we usually see all the moms slaving away in the kitchen, baking sugar cookies for her children’s class of 30, rum balls for the neighbors, Toll house bars for  friends, and fresh pies for her family. What a perfect gift, an awesome “act of service” for the kids to help her with the Christmas baking… (Hey dads, you could be their cheerleader.) 🙂language4

Dress up your kitchen table with an abundance of  kaleidoscopic, joyous colors, brew a pot of coffee or tea, bring out some freshly baked scones or banana bread and ask a friend or neighbor over for the morning. It will make their day!language5

This idea is probably the number one thought that runs through our minds when we think of acts of service…..very simple, easy and yet so deeply appreciated. (Especially in the cold wintry months.) 🙂 I can never say ‘thank you’ enough to Kit when he takes our trash out…no matter the season! 🙂 5lacts2

Another popular act of service, mowing the lawn for your mate. Our lawn takes 2 hours on a riding mower so whether Kit does it for me one weekend, (to give me two extra free hours,) or I do it for him…it truly is a big blessing!5lacts

Walking the dog, at twilight or the crack of dawn,  during the cold and brisk winter months, is one of the most wonderful gifts of service you could possibly give…not only to your mate, but your dog too! 🙂  (I was not kidding when I said Graham embodies all five love languages in both his giving and receiving love..he is a love machine! 🙂snowday

There are not enough words to say “thank you” to a man who knows how to fix “just about anything,” around the house… The plumbing, hang Christmas lights, fix a broken dryer, unclog the kitchen sink, service your car, fix your computer when it is acting crazy, and what would we do without our guys on moving day? 🙂 If this is the love language he demonstrates his love with, be sure to acknowledge just how very much he loves you!  timtool

 

Now that you know the five languages of love, take the time to figure out your language, or languages. Some of you will have just one, others, possibly all five.You may show love with one language and receive love with another…

Once this is done, ask your friends which love language they possess , or in knowing them as well as you do,  look to your intuition as to which Love language they embody.

As you begin showing your love to those in your life that are important to you with their love language, (the way they RECEIVE love,)  you will see what a wonderful difference it makes in the relationship. For instance, If your language is showing  your love through giving a gift, but the recipients love language is “quality time,” mix the two together…take them their gift, but don’t leave in a hurry.  Spend some time with them…

If your love language is words of affirmation and you have a friend who has never complimented you even once, try to understand that it is not personal…learn their love language and receive their love, the way they show it. You may want to share this book with them and tell them what your love language is...(hint, hint.) 🙂  Its not easy at first… but I found this book to not only be life changing, (for the better)  but exceedingly insightful and lots of fun. My relationships have only improved and are richer and fuller, thus bringing more joy, beauty and felicity for living the life I have been given.

I hope you enjoy learning what your LOVE LANGUAGE IS as well as the language your loved ones embody.

*** I do highly recommend this book as I know the author shares this glorious subject more in depth. Its a great read as well as relationship – enhancer. 🙂 (The Five languages of Love, by Gary Chapman. )

 

PHOTOGRAPHS: In placing your computer mouse upon any of the photos or graphics, it will display where the picture originated from.

“Things that make you go HMM.”

“The pondering heart is a thankful heart.” ~ Todd Stocker
things that 11

Besides being a popular dance song released in the early 90’s by artist C+C Music Factory and a fantastic song to do aerobics to,  “Things that make you go hmm,” is a phrase that we often do, (without realizing it,) when we see, feel or hear something that is ‘out of the ordinary’, thus leading us to take the time to ponder…If you are a ‘deep thinker’ as myself, it can get you into trouble, as sometimes I “over think” some of my ‘hmm’s,’ to my detriment…(but I am learning.) 🙂

I am a lover of (most things) that make you go ‘hmm,’ especially the things that are new, thought provoking, controversial to the human mind or case us to  feel hope, magic, faith, wonderment and awe . They bring color to our everyday life, as well as accelerate the blood flow to our brain, increasing brain cells, which  keeps our minds growing . It is also a known fact that when you  exercise your mind, you become a more compassionate, understanding and kind person. (Another reason to challenge your mind with the things that make you stop , think, contemplate and challenge yourself to resolve your questions or embrace your amazement, about the topic at hand.)

things that 55I believe that everyone has stories of things in their life that make them go ‘hmm’. They begin to occur when we are old enough to observe, hear and talk and will continue happening as long as we live. I don’t think we we will ever stop questioning life, world events, human behavior or cease to  fully grasp  the  things that spark our curiosity and cause us to revel, evoking our minds to take the time to arrive to a peaceful conclusion and belief.

There are  a medley of categories for this fun topic... In my research , I was amazed at just how many articles, posts and writings are published about “things that make you go hmm.”  In this blog, I would like to share an array of real life occurrences  that will perhaps cause you to question your own beliefs, laugh, or smile as you find yourself  fully  identifying with their unique “hmm.”  Most of all, I hope this writing brings your day amusement, entertainment and enjoyment as it did for me. ENJOY!

 

things that 109DISTINGUISHED “THOUGHT PROVOKING”CORNER…

 

 

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How many times have you turned on the news, a favorite talk show or seen an article in the Newspaper about children who have talents or knowledge that far surpasses their age? CHILD PRODIGIES… Unfathomable  Hmm’s.

 

I was amazed to learn about Akrit Jaswal, a child surgeon in India. This young boy performed his first surgery at the age of seven years old, operating on the hands of a burn victim. No, Akrit is not a doctor in India but he is  considered a “medical genius” by his native people. At the age of 13, his IQ is 146 .

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Born in the year 2000, this beautiful young singer, with her extraordinary musical talents has already gone Platinum. Jackie Evancho was discovered at a very young age, causing awe and inspiration in her followers, with her unique style of  American Classical Crossover music. Since the age of 9 Jackie has issued five albums including platinum gold, 3 Billboard  and 200 top ten debuts.Great Performances: Jackie Evancho-Dream With Me in Concert

I was first introduced to these two precious  “young ladies” on The Ellen Show. Two pint size Brits, 5 Year old  Rosie McClelland and her cousin, 7 year old Sophia Grace Brownlee. They became an overnight sensation with a video they made that went viral. Now 8 and 10 years old, they not only have their first movie out on Warner Brothers, but will soon have their very own Television show. I can not watch these two little girls longer that 5 seconds without smiling, laughing and just being in complete awe at their captivating, sweet personalities, dancing, singing and acting abilities.  thingsthat10003

 

 This adorable little boy is  Akim Camara. He is a violinist prodigy in Berlin. With an extraordinary memory of musical tunes he’d heard as a toddler, Akim began playing the violin at the early age of two. He began taking lessons twice a week, and within 6 months time was playing the violin far beyond his audiences expectation. At the age of 3,  this little guy made his debut performance in December 2003, at a Christmas concert.

Das Adventsfest der 100.000 Lichter in Suhl - Violinist Akim

 

This very talented  artist, known as “Akiane,” began drawing at the age of 4 and was painting by age 6, using acrylics and oil.  Her mission is to INSPIRE OTHERS, with the subject matter being God and nature. She is now 13 years old. Unbelievable!  thingsthat1000

 

I don’t know about you, but I have always been awestricken by the creatures of the deep sea…There are no two creations alike. The Mystical hmm.

A econometric Scale worm, one of many bio-luminescent inhabitants of the ocean, with its scales glowing in the dark.  (Kind of looks like a alien from outer space?) 🙂

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The mystifying, kaleidoscopic colors of the creatures of the sea are inconceivable.

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Oh my gosh… This little guy looks like a human being, that just tasted something very sour.. The Ghost Hunters of the Ocean call this one a ‘scary deep sea creature.” thingsthat80077

A Hawks-bill Turtle in the warm Egyptian waters. Amazing!thingsthat80045

This Brobdingnagian sea creature makes me think of what the bible says about the leviathans, (sea monsters) playing in the ocean… He’s none other than a “whale Shark,” unbelievable in size.   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

SUPPOSEDLY HAUNTED houses, beaches or hotels…The “spooky, unexplainable, is this for real ” contemplations.

lampost1Everyone , I am sure, has heard at least one ghost story or two of presumably haunted houses,  or about someone who swears they saw a spirit-like presence walk by their door, or that have heard strange noises in the middle of the night, that are still to this day unexplained… Perhaps you are one who has a story to tell.

 

I personally know of two people who have a haunted house story… Now these are not people who exaggerate the truth for the sake of a ‘good, old scary campfire tale.’ When they shared it with me, they meant it and believed it 100%! I heard these stories  many years ago and I am still thinking about them 🙂

“The Lady in the windows.”

Spending many years  in the deep south, it was not uncommon to hear stories of the supernatural. My mother often spoke of her childhood home where she grew up in the late 1920’s…  Suddenly, out of nowhere, (the air languid and still,) she would see their high back, white rockers, rocking all by themselves on the porch, unexplained noises from the hall closet and creaking sounds coming from their old staircase . She and her little brother would run and hide, spooked by what  they could not explain.  I will always remember this one particular story she told me that has been passed down through many generations in our family.

  Kathryn Winders - Susan's mothers home in Marion South CarolinaThe home that my mother grew up in, was  an Old Victorian home, (which from the outside did look a little spooky, perhaps accented with a tiny bit of Gothic charm.)  (Sorry mom, but it really did.) 🙂  My mom was blessed to live with two generations of her family living in this home,(something very common in the south.)  Her little brother Willie , her mother Virginia, her grandpa, (as well as father figure,) William and their friend and butler, Porter.  My mom recalled an exceedingly vivid dream she had the night her grandpa died.  She dreamed he came to her bedside and gave her a big bear hug, (like he always did) kissed her on the cheek and told her how much he loved her. He then told her that he was going to go away but he would see her again one day. 

The night of her dream, while sleeping,  her grandfather became very ill. His dlampostaughter Virginia, by his side,  asked Porter to get a glass of cold water for William downstairs in the kitchen . When 20 minutes had  passed and Porter had not returned, Virginia went down to the kitchen herself. She saw Porter standing in the dark, the glistening light from the Edwardian lamppost outside highlighting his slender form. As She walked to  turn the light on, she concernedly asked;   “Porter, are you alright?”

Porter , in a trance- like state of mind,  answered back: “Miss Virginia, I don’t know how to tell you this, or if you will believe me,  but when I walked into the kitchen, I saw a woman within the midst of the windows above the  sink. (My moms vintage home had two large, towering encasement  Kitchen windows.)  She was so beautiful…I  know I should have been scared as she was not real…she was more of a spirit, ghost or vision. She was so peaceful, I just couldn’t stop looking at her.”

Virginia, a little awestruck, sat down at the kitchen table and  said;    “Porter what did this woman look like?”

As Porter began to describe the woman, Virginia’s eyes lit up as she continued to listen.

“She looked so  beautiful  dressed in a mauve colored  tailored dress, her hair was up off her neck, softly fastened with a gold clip in a loose bun upon her head. She wore a beautiful silk green scarf that matched her earrings and she was smiling, her lips a deep red color.”

Virginia, feeling bewildered, yet at the same time , comforted, replied;  “Porter you probably won”t believe me either when I tell you who you are describing. The woman you saw was my mother. The very way she wore her hair, her dress, her scarf, her favorite earrings, and she loved her red lipstick. Your description fits her to a “T” of  exactly how she was dressed and looked when we buried her many years ago. You never knew her as she died long  before you came to live with us.”

As they sat together at the kitchen table, they chatted a little more about my mom’s grandmother and then headed back up stairs to see William, trying to grasp and understand this unexplainable occurrence.

In the morning when Virginia woke up and went in to check on  her father, he had died within the night.

When Virginia sat down with my mom and Willie,  to share the news that their beloved Grandpa had died, my mom began to cry. She told her mother about her dream and how  her grandpa had kissed her and told her goodbye. Virginia, hearing about the dream, began to weep as she recalled the night before and the woman Porter saw in the kitchen windows , trying so hard to make sense of it all.

They all came to the conclusion, (and have passed this story down through the generations,) that my great grandmother came to escort her husband William to heaven the very night he died. It gave them all great comfort as they remembered the years William and his wife were together on this earth…they were exceedingly close and shared a love  that was a blessing to everyone who knew them.

merriment18I  am blessed to have at least mamagin1two photographs of these five “very important ” people in my history who lived in this Victorian, ( a little bit Gothic,) 🙂  home of many a ‘Hmm story.’ My mom as a little baby and her mother, Virginia as a young woman. Two amazing and beautiful southern women.

 

“Ghost Soldiers.”

thingsthat7004A friend of mine, Shepherd, who I have always called “Shep”, bought a beautiful Antebellum home in the grandiose and breathtaking city of Charleston  South Carolina. The home had heroically stood through the Civil war, which only made it a home with more stories to tell as well as gave it an extra added charisma…but Shep never knew it was haunted. He and his wife did a wonderful job restoring it to its magical historical charm, and decided to keep the original staircase..thingsthat7001. When finished,  their home was absolutely  breathtaking. Being the night-owl that Shep is, every evening, after his children and wife go to bed, he sits in his study and enjoys an hour of reading. (He is a connoisseur of many diverse books as he loves to learn.)   He tells me that many a time, when the house is still and quiet, he hears the footsteps of heavy boots walking up and down his staircase, creaks in the hardwood flooring upstairs and then begins to hear the men talking. He even knows their names.  They are soldiers who fought in the war. When they speak, they are often talking of the days events on the battle field. When I asked him if it scares him, he said “NO. They actually comfort me, I feel like they they are protecting our home.”

 

The Legend of The Grey man

graymanIn the mysterious , fascinating coast and inlets  of South Carolina, before a hurricane hits the shore,things that10003 the Grey man, (believed to be a  ghost,)  is often times seen on the picturesque shores…his presence is known as a warning to visitors and the residents to leave the island before it is to late. Sure enough, his appearance has saved many a lives. It is also noted that the people who encounter this spirit and heed his warning, are in complete awe as they return to their coastal  homes,  as they have not even been touched by the storm.  This particular “ghost story” is one that many people in the south will tell you is absolutely true and not a myth or fable.

The story of Alice flag and The Hermitage.

alice A tragic story of a refined young woman, who though forbidden by her brother and legal guardian, accepted the marriage proposal of a handsome, young lumber jack in town. She was sent away to a prestigious boarding school in Charleston, where she died suddenly of malaria. When her brother found the engagement ring,(secretly worn as a necklace,) on her body, he threw the ring into the marsh. “People say,” they see Alice, (even 150 years later) at the Hermitage and amongst the family graveyard, looking for her lost ring.  The Hermitage draws in many tourists and Alice still receives flowers and sentiments upon her grave site to this present day. Even now, people are still reporting her visits to this South Carolina Historical, haunted home.

California has a haunted hotel?

thingsthat80030You would never know it as you look at this beautiful, renowned historic hotel on the sandy beaches of San Diego, California, built in 1888, but it has now been officially declared ‘haunted.’ Chris Donovan, the hotels historian has written a book on the young ghost that frequents this grandiose estate by the sea. She was a young woman who checked into the hotel Del Coronado under an alias name, and took her life upon thingsthat80029the steps leading down to the ocean’s shore.  Her ghost has not only been seen but felt in many areas of the hotel, including the beach, her room and the boutiques within this luxury estate. Other guests who have stayed at the  renowned and prestigious, (supposedly haunted,) Del Coronado are Babe Ruth, Bette Davis, Kathryn Hepburn, Ronald Regan and George W. Bush.

 

                                 The “I can’t believe how cute my pet is,” hmm’s.

 

How many times do we catch our precious cargo’s in a Kodak moment?things that1029things that 1030

They are so endearing with their  hearts of ‘boundless love.’ dad56

They surprise us with their comical expressions as well as  their humble, quiet and inquisitive spirits.

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And the “things they get into” brings a smile to our hearts and we love them all the more. (If that is even possible.) 🙂 things that 1009

Love x 2 = ‘more Hmm’s. 🙂  dad50

I didn’t think a little domesticated lamb could get any cuter! (Her handmade sweater is definitely her color.) 🙂 thingsthat1012

 

Natures, “This is too beautiful for words,” reflection.

Arizona’s prize possession of the wondrous Grand Canyon. “Simply amazing.” thingsthat8019

The breathtaking  Marble Cathedral cave in Chile, nestled in the second largest fresh water lake in South America. It’s unique light show is caused by the reflection of the water on the marble walls.  thingsthat8011

The spectacular Aurora Borealis in Canada. This photo was taken at its peak,  when the sky was filled with opalescent sheets of dancing waves of light.  thingsthat8009

Jeita Grotto in Lebanon. “Beyond Implausible.” thingsthat8008

Ha Long Bay has now been accepted as one of the 7 new wonders of nature …They are celebrating in both Hanoi and Quang Ninh Providence for the beautiful phenomena they possess.  thingsthat8006

 

 Man made Wonders that blow our minds.

The gorgeous St. Basils Cathedral, built in 1555 in Moscow, Russia. This beautiful work of art symbolizes the growth of the city since the 14th century. (Reminds me of the magic castle at Disneyland.) thingsthat8005

 The renowned Mount Rushmore in America’s South Dakota…a monument carved in stone. (No matter how many times I see this, I am still speechless.) (My husband told me he bets that George Washington got tired of posing for this explicate work of art.) He’s a funny guy! 🙂 thingsthat8004

“Christ The redeemer in the Tijuca Forest National Park in Rio de Jeniero atop Corcovado Mountain. This cherished statue weighs 635 tons. WOW!thingsthat8001

The spell bounding  Petra. Located on the slopes of Mount Hor in the Arabah section of Jordan, it’s beauty and age is made mostly of red sandstone. Built in 106 AD it is known as “A rose red city half as old as time.” thingsthat8000

Located 1 mile from the shoreline of Portsmouth Harbor, UK, this ingenious , 134 year old Split-bank Fort has been transformed into a luxury Hotel. things that 1000

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 Undomesticated animals and the wild, our “Awestruck Hmm’s.”

What can compare to the majestic elephant and her baby? (The creation of the elephant itself makes me go hmm…everything about them just fascinates me.) 🙂 thingsthat1023

No, these are not created characters from a “Happy feet” movie sequel, they are the eccentric Adelie Penguins…A unique and stunning bird of the antarctic Ocean with a life span of 20 years. So stunning. thingsthat80024

Heart capturing Polar bears… If you are fortunate enough to live in Alaska, Canada, Russia, Greenland or Norway, then your chances of seeing them up close in the wild are much greater. They are beautifully amazing! thingsthat10078

This docile, charming creature and its baby, fills your heart with a hope, that there truly is innocence and enchantment abounding in our world. 🙂thingsthat8023

There is something so regal about the Lion… I could look at them all day long and never quite take in and absorb their stoic beauty and mysterious natures….(from a distance of course.) 🙂

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“Oh the things our children do” Hmm’s.

 

 

Who wants to be the first to take a bath?dad39

Have you two been brushing your teeth or getting ready to shave?dad34

I truly hope those are washable paints!oops1

The wondrous innocence of our kids…they really believe with boundless faith.oops2

Precious moments caught on camera… a toddlers first encounter with a giant sea turtle and a babies first dance moves…what can you say? You just smile and treasure the moment forever. 🙂

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 MIRACLES… The “Is this for real and if it is, WOW”  Hmm.

 

 The Parking Lot

A story shared on ainglkiss.com

I wanted to share my own personal testimony of a miracle God performed in my life a few years ago. I went to cash my check one afternoon. After returning to my car, I was putting my money away and preparing to pull out of the parking lot. A guy approached my car and knocked on my driver’s side window. Startled, I rolled my window down and asked what I could help him with. He asked me a question and pointed behind me. I turned my head to look behind me to see where he was pointing and when I turned my head back towards him there was a gun in my face. Before I could yell or even think, he pulled the trigger 3 times. Not one bullet left the chamber. The gun jammed. He ran off and I took the opportunity to run back in the building and alert the staff who of course called the police. Mind you, when I ran in the building I left all of my money on the front seat of the car, car running, and car door open. He could have at taken anything, more importantly he could have taken my life. There is no other explanation than the fact that God was with me. So anytime I question whether God loves me, or if He’s still with me, even when I’m selfish and disobedient, I think back to how He spared my life and more importantly gave His for little ole me. Thank you Jesus! ~ Taken from the website…. ainglkiss.com

 

 

A Double Revival

thingsthat6000On Christmas Eve, Tracy Hermanstorfer’s heart stopped beating while she was in labor with her third child, a baby boy she and her husband, Mike, had named Coltyn. Just after receiving an epidural for the pain, she lost consciousness and went into full cardiac arrest. Doctors attempted to revive her but couldn’t, and began an emergency C-section to save the baby. But Coltyn was born limp and seemingly lifeless.

“Half of my family was lying there right in front of me, dead,” Mike said at the time. “I lost all feeling.”

Then, to his astonishment, Tracy’s pulse returned, and moments later, Coltyn began to breathe. “I’m not big-time religious,” says Tracy, “but I know this was in God’s hands.” Within a few days, mother and son were sent home with a clean bill of health.

Hospital staff commented;“We did a thorough evaluation and can’t find anything that explains why this happened.”

Mike Hermanstorfer credits “the hand of God.”

 

 

  The Dog, The Chicken, and The Bomb

thingsthat6001When David Newkirk, now a youth pastor at Church of the Open Door in Glendora, California, woke up in the middle of the night, he was still exhausted from a college basketball victory the day before.

“Twenty minutes after my head hit the pillow, I was catapulted out of the deepest sleep,” he writes in the book. Along with his mother and sister, he was jerked awake to pray for his brother Dan.

Dan was in Israel. Running out of money, he had chosen to sleep on a park bench for the night. In the wee hours of the morning, a snarling dog woke him up, battling with a chicken under the bench.

Unable to break up the animals, Dan found another bench and resumed his rest. The next morning, a bomb exploded right next to the first bench, hurtling it through the air, leaving “a mess of tangled metal and concrete.”    WOW!

 

 

 Renowned Doctor comes back from the dead.

 ANS NEWS STORY , Reported by Dan Wooding

things that 10009 Dr. Sean Thomas George, an Indian born doctor who is now a consultant physician in a West Australian hospital, told his extraordinary story before more than 220 Christian medics on the first day of the 8th Annual International Christian Medical Conference called “Spirituality and Medicine” that was held June 11-12, 2011 in Brisbane, Australia and organized by the World Christian Doctors Network.

“I was dead for 1 hour and 25 minutes, but came back to life after my wife prayed a simple prayer,” said Dr. George, who provided all kinds of medical data that he put on a large screen for the other doctors to check out.

He said that on October 24, 2008, he returned from the dead to amaze colleagues who had battled for almost 55 minutes to revive his lifeless heart.

Later in the article  it was noted,  that Dr. George spoke regarding his wife,

“Holding my hand, she prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, he is only 39, I am only 38 and we have a ten year boy. I need a miracle.’

“As soon as she said this it was as though someone had breathed life into me again and my heartbeat came back.”

The Lost Wedding Ring.

OK, I know this is not a headline breaker or a story that would ever be on the 5:O’clock news, but it was a MIRACLE to me. 🙂  (And before I experienced this miracle and had shared with others my loss, I was surprised to hear so many “miraculous” accounts of their lost wedding rings being found against all odds.) 🙂

thingsthat80039Never being a jewelry box kind of girl, I took my rings off when I would get ready for bed. I always put them in Kits bathroom drawer, (as ladies you’ll understand this,) my drawer had so much “stuff” in it, my rings could easily get lost.  One morning, when I went to put my rings on, I noticed my wedding ring was not in the drawer… I was a little jolted, but felt assured, it was somewhere in the house…thus for the next week,  and ample uncounted hours, I tore  our house a part to find it. My frustration and sadness grew daily as truly, there was no place left to look within our home, the vacuum cleaner, trashes, car etc…    I asked many people  to pray for me and received  a medley of helpful thoughts on where it could be. After about a month, exceedingly disheartened, as my wedding ring was hand designed by Kit and a jeweler with his family’s precious gems, I  felt I would never see my wedding ring again… Every time I thought about it or looked at my ring finger, it just broke my heart. I prayed so many times it would just show up, but it didn’t…

I remember a friend of mine saying, “Susan, I bet it will show up one day in place that you have already looked..” The thought comforted me as I truly do believe in miracles.

Months later, while preparing for a birthday dinner my husband was cooking in my honor, I went to our dining room hutch to get my beloved (inherited from my mom,) wisteria crystal sugar and creamer. As I took the sugar bowl from the shelf, there in the bottom of the crystal bowl was my wedding ring. I was absolutely ecstatic and began yelling out to Kit “Oh my gosh…you’ll never believe it, I found my ring.” (He too had given up hope.)  OK, the answer to the question you’re thinking? Yes, I had looked in the sugar and creamer months before ...and no it was not there. I truly believe it was a birthday gift from the Lord and that He gave me back my wedding ring.I never take it off anymore, not even when I sleep. 🙂

 I asked a few  friends te share five things that  personally makes them go “Hmm?”

Bob, A Delawarean ,(No picture please.)

1.People who wear their pajamas to shop at wall-mart. 2. People who show up at your home, unannounced, morning, noon and night, 3. O.J. Simpson, (everything about him.) 4.Randy Jackson on American Idol. Why did he say the same thing over an over for 9 years?  “YOUR IN IT TO WIN IT.”   5. Why  cat owners in my neighborhood allow their cats to roam free and pee on my porch rugs all the time.

dad206Patrick, Dana Point  California

1.  Flying squirrels   2. Oxymoron’s (actually, any moron)   3. Paradigm shifts   4. Patterns in nature – like a spider’s web,  the human brain,  or  a black hole.     5. Technology

 

neillNeill, Belfonte Pennsylvania

1. The phrase; ” This is gonna hurt me more than it will hurt you.”    2. Spiritual, but not religious (SBNR)   3. It’s absolutely free, no obligation…for the first x months, year, etc.    4. Wars on Terror (WOT?!)–everybody’s got one.    5. Processed cheese food substitute (even if edible, why would you want to?)

graham102Sir Grantham, Delaware

1. How come mom and dad get to go “potty” inside and I have to go outdoors? 2. Why do the adorable little kitties always run away from me, I just want to play? 3. Why do mom and dad sing Happy birthday all day, then make me a yummy steak, (with a big bone) and then, it takes sooooooooo long until they do it again? Every day,  I keep waiting for them to say the word “Birthday” again  4. Why doesn’t everyone love my big kisses? 5. Why does that man in the big brown truck come over to our house and bring great big boxes? (He makes me bark so hard, I almost loose my voice.)

 

formal6Susan, Delaware

1.God has no beginning and no end.(I get into real trouble if I ponder that to long.) 🙂 2. Strangers who drive by your house very slowly, turn around and do it again, and then do it again.  3.To God, a thousand YEARS is as a day, and a day, a thousand years. (Baffles my mind.) 4. Rainbows! 5. That a woman can actually carry 6 babies in her womb at one time, bring them to  full term, with all of them born healthy…(I guess that is really two Hmm’s .) 🙂

I hope you have enjoyed this vignette and that you have at least once, shaken your head and said “HMM” 🙂 In closing I will ask you the same question I asked my friends and myself, “Can you think of at least 5 things lately that have made you go hmm?”

PHOTOGRAPHS: In placing your computer mouse upon any of the photos or graphics, it will display where the picture originated from.

“IF ONLY FOR ONE NIGHT……”

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YOU are entering into an oasis of pure revery and  comfort…  your five senses are sublimely heightened as you begin sauntering through this magical and animated dining room…  The lovely banqueting table, IMG_0700set for eight, is dressed with scintillating  textures and sophisticated dinnerware , in a mixture of quill, yet stirring shades, with personalized place cards, creatively tucked into Lilliputian, shimmering silver teapots,  creating a phenomenally welcoming ambiance for an enchanted evening, shared with guests.

The beautifully bedecked, light oak dining table,  embellished with  a crisp, white Batten-burg lace, linen cloth and formal napkins, provides the perfect backdrop for the elaborate vintage silver candelabra , boastfully holding five lit, IFOnly200red taper candles with an inspiring arrangement of while  lilies, soft babies-breath and red roses …  Competing for your attention is the antiquated, heirloom silverware, and the glistening Waterford crystal framing each Lenox china dinner plate…

The aroma of fresh ginger, cinnamon, tart apples and nutmeg fills the room as a scrumptious  dutch apple pie is baking in the oven…Soft melodic tunes fill the room with a soothing, joyous calmness…Is that Michael Buble singing?

The room has a magical, elfin glow…Every tabletop alight with romantic tea light candles and  enlivened votive’s, amidst a cozy fire burning in the hearth… SUDDENLY, YOU WAKE UP, realizing this resplendent vision was only but a dream… What are you feeling right now?

Are you in 7th heaven, thinking of an occasion to celebrate, so you can invite a few friends over and create an awe-inspiring , magical dinner party? Are you looking for  a pen and paper, so you can  begin planning your menu, guest list and motif for your blithesome event?   OR…Do you feel as if you have just had a BAD nightmare, are beginning to sweat profusely ,  and are eminently relieved  when you remind yourself…It is not real… “We are not having a house full of dinner guests… it was just a dream.” 🙂

I have a handful of close friends, (men and women,) who absolutely adore  hosting parties, entertaining and blessing others with their special niche of hospitality…and I also know plenty of people who would rather go to the dentist and get a cavity filled , than attend or be a part of hosting a festive event at their home… 🙂

I was surprised to read  in the New York Times,  that the “dinner party” amongst the wealthy , socialite community,  is now  becoming extinct!  (Not quite sure why,) but I felt a bit wistful as I began the article…I don’t think it was because of all the expense these people go to , or their decadent menus and extravagant decor, (or even their intriguing, galvanizing guests lists,) IFOnly5000 but because dinner parties,  (or any type of a gathering surrounded by delicious food,) brings forth such a wondrous  opportunity for people to meet and mingle. Many a great friendship has begun from a social gathering as well as memories that last a life time. Recollections filled with an abundance of  laughter, excellent cuisine, fabulous conversations and exhilarating entertainment.  It’s hard to understand as for myself, hosting a fete within our home is something I have never fallen out of love with…My husband tells me I “look” for an occasion, (a holiday,  birthday, a  new season or even a small victory) to throw a shindig in our little haven 🙂 (And both of us still love going to gatherings at our friends homes.)

 

I have always felt thatElegantly lit holiday dinner table with white ribbon gift hosting a gala at our home is a way of expressing our love towards our family or friends…I liken it to a large box, beautifully wrapped…  Inside of this box is a medley of enjoyment, pampering, regale, enchantment, bliss, laughter, a little recreation, camaraderie and  a splendid diversion from the hectic days of the work week that so many of us need…

winterscape40Whenever I go to a ladies luncheon,  an afternoon Tea, birthday celebration or dinner at a friends, I am eminently blessed  by all the “special touches,” the hosts have gone out of their way to create for us, their guests. Whether it is the charming, beautiful and warm ambiance,  the scrumptious menu, the party favors they have so thoughtfully chosen or the cordiality and rapport   between friends… I  hate for the gathering to come to an end.

If you are one that loves to entertain, (or loves being entertained,) 🙂  is there a certain ‘celebratory event’ that is at the top of of your list? Perhaps one that is your least adored to host or attend? 🙂   There are so many special moments in life to CELEBRATE! I love them all…

 

A Baby shower I think out of all the jubilant events  within our lives, a new life and ‘longed for’  arrival, has to be one of the greatest reasons to PARTY!    Give your “new mom to be”   the center spotlight in your home, pampering her with an abundance of attention, felicitous games, delicious foods and a spectacular cake, to end all cakes… Decorating with a rainbow of pastel colors and the splendorous motif of BABIES would be so much fun!if only 16

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CELEBRATE ACHIEVEMENT. Whether from Preschool, Elementary school, High school or College… What a wonderful time of merriment for your GRADUATE! Perhaps  a big bash with a large crowd and a DJ,  or a small gathering with their favorite dance music,  friends and  family…they won’t remember the SIZE of the party… only the honor, attention and love. Give them the acclaim and acknowledgement  they deserve while  adding  a few more “Kodak moments” to their scrapbook of life. 🙂

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Light up  the grill,  turn your outside stereo speakers on high, put on the steaks, burgers, brats-worth and corn on the cob… play some touch football , throw a few frisbee’s. After dinner, enjoy telling a few (not to scary)  ghost stories around the bonfire… What is more  relaxing, and  enjoyable  than a savory meal from the grill and being outdoors with your best friends?
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There is nothing quite like celebrating friendship with our girlfriends, than gathering for an afternoon tea.  A few hours of delicious cuisine, sweet confections, herbal teas, (coffee too) 🙂 and ‘much needed,’ pampering for the soul. Whether inside , during the wintry months, (a Christmas theme is divine,) or outdoors, amidst the spring blooms, blue sky and bright sunshine, an afternoon tea is one of my favorite parties to create and host. if only 20If only 2

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A traditional Christmas drop in for your close friends and family… Does it get any better than this?  The magic of Christmas really does do all the work, as your home is beautifully decked out for the glorious season with its stellar and alluring ambiance.  Everyone is already feeling an abundance of mirth, joy and festivity…sharing delicious cookie recipes, freshly made eggnog and kisses under the mistletoe. 🙂 I think its safe to say, it is one of all of our “all time favorite occasions” to celebrate within our home.

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Perhaps your love for suspense, intrigue, and “drama~drama” inspires you to host a Murder Mystery Dinner for your close friends and family! Setting the stage is exciting, choosing the plot is euphoric and everyone playing their part amidst delicious cuisine, and festive snacks, is something you can’t wait to do each year…if only7if only 60

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A Bridal shower for your best friend? Another honor… Marriage  is at the top of my list for a jubilant celebration! Surround the  “bride to be”  with a kaleidoscope of charismatic color, sweet indulgences, exciting games, gifts and an elegant, (to beautiful to cut into,) cake for her parties Grand Finale. 🙂  IFOnly5010

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How about a romantic dinner for those few “couple friends” that  you and your mate are so blessed to have in your life. Bestow  each guest with a stellar meal, candlelight, romantic music and create an evening they will never forget. (How about sharing how you all met your mate and the “moment” you knew you were in love with them. 😉1night

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There is always that relished moment, when your phone rings and it is one of your close siblings or a dear friend from your youth?  They have never been to your part of the country and want to come and stay for a few days?

 How much fun is it to set up your guest room with fresh flowers, a bottle of their favorite wine, your luxurious  linens, eiderdown comforters, a box of Sees candy and a freshly scented candle for the season.. I Love all the late night chats in P’J’s, sharing memories of our childhood days, (even though we both remember them ‘ so differently.’ 🙂 There is something so special about having them with you, to share in your daily  life, as your worlds seems so far apart with the geographical distance between you. (Kind of makes you feel all warm and cozy inside…) 🙂
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There are so many landmarks within our lives to celebrate and if you are one that adores entertaining, it is such a special gift that only you, with your signature style, can give to the world!
I began thinking …what would SPARK UP the desire for “everyone ” to put their best foot forward and really get excited about planning a menu, table scape and a  memorable  motif, happily creating one of the most unforgettable evenings  of your life… Here is my challenge, (as well as enjoyable endeavor) for you in this vignette…
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 WHAT IF, “FOR ONLY ONE NIGHT,”  YOU COULD ASK 5 FAMOUS CELEBRITIES, (THAT ARE LIVING TODAY) TO COME TO YOUR HOME FOR A DINNER PARTY? IT’S ALREADY A GIVEN THAT THEY WILL ALL SAY YES…(THIS IS YOUR DREAM,THUS ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.)
First off,  WHO would your five dinner guests be? (BTW, your spouse/sweetheart is already included, so they don’t count as your top Five.)
WHY these five in particular?
What would  your MENU be? (Dessert? Appetizers?)
 What would your table-scape presentation and AMBIANCE be? Formal? Casual?
What would you WEAR?
What dinner MUSIC would you play?
Lastly, what would your delightful, creatively wrapped PARTY FAVOR be for each guest? The same bestowal  for everyone or a specialized gift for each celebrity?

 

 

Before you begin envisioning your “If only for one night” dream dinner, lets look at  a few thoughts from a diversity of people on “celebrating delicious food,  good friends and convivial spirit.”

 

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“The ornaments of your house will be the guests who frequent it. “ ~Author Unknown

“Hospitality is making your guests feel at home, even if you wish they were. ” ~Author Unknown

“If I were invited to a dinner partyIFOnly5008 with my characters, I wouldn’t show up.”
– Dr. Seuss
“I try to greet my friends with a drink in my hand, a warm smile on my face, and great music in the background, because that’s what gets a dinner party off to a fun start.” ~  Ina Garten
“At a formal dinner party, the person nearest death should always be seated closest to the bathroom.” ~ George Carlin
“That’s the secret of entertaining. You
make your guests feel welcome and at home. If you do that honestly, the rest takes care of itself.” ~  Barbara Hall
IFOnly5005“I can get a better grasp of what is going on in the world from one good Washington dinner party, than from all the background information NBC piles on my desk.” ~ Barbara Walters
“My doctor told me I had to stop throwing intimate dinners for four unless there are three other people.” ~ Orson Welles
“If more of us valued food andIFonly5017 cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” — J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
“There is no sincerer love than the love of food.”
~ George Bernard Shaw

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“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart.”~ Cesar Chavez

 For your “IF only for one night” dream dinner , are you a person who loves to create a formal atmosphere, really “Putin-on-the-Ritz,” for your guests, using your fine china, silver, crystal and finding just the right centerpiece with an elaborate pizzazz?

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Or, are you more of a “casual” person, favoring simplicity, home cooking, a cozy , warm and welcoming ambiance?

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What would your “eye catching” centerpiece be on your dining Table?

A colorful, fetching, elaborate,  formal  centerpiece or something  very easy on the eyes, simple and casual? Or perhaps you may choose your centerpiece to be a medley of glistening candles, creating a simple, ethereal  table. Here are few ideas for both formal as well as casual, seasonal centerpieces for your table-scape.

For the magical season of WINTER…

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Spring is in the air with these two elegant and classy, diverse table-scape ideas.

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Summer has never looked more inviting… Its a great time to celebrate with ambrosial food, festive drinks amongst wonderful people.

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Autumns vibrant colors of  nature provide ample ideas for your festive gathering’s table!

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What would you serve? Would you have it catered? Hire a professional chef for the evening? Cook your favorite recipes for your guests? Would it be a Buffet style or formal , sit down or a 5 course meal? How about wine or hordevoires?

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What is your ideal “dinner music?”  Country Western? Pop? R&B? Symphony music, flute and guitar? Perhaps you adore Opera, Piano tunes, romantic melodies or the magical sounds of Mannheim Steamroller…    You can always create a playlist for when your guests are arriving, (with a medley of artists,)  and choose a softer dinner music while dining.

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What would you serve  for dessert?

Something fancy, delectable and memorable,  like Bananas Foster, chocolate suicide cake, chocolate mousse with fresh red raspberry’s, or scrumptious coconut carrot cake? You can never go wrong with freshly baked hot apple pie, a la mode, fresh berries with whipped cream, cheesecake and strawberries or or a good, old fashioned, American favorite, a hot fudge sundae.

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IMHO….You have got to have some candle light going on…a few taper or column candles,  votive’s and tea lights to create a warm, convivial spirit.. and at least one soft scented Yankee candle,(or another brand you enjoy,)  to give your home a delicious fragrance, all night long..

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Have you decided what your Party Favor gift would be at each guests table setting? It can be the smallest thing, to the grandest gift that is within your heart to give them… How would you wrap it?

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I decided to interview a few special people in my life with this same challenge I am giving to you, (as well as myself.) Our  “If only for one night” dream dinner…They all surprised me with things I never knew about them, (especially with who their top five would be.)  I started thinking,  this challenge would be a great “Icebreaker” at any  party to get to know your guests better. 🙂

I know when I envisioned and created  my “If only for one night,” will-o-the-wisp,   It was like a dream..dreams7 I envisioned  what it would feel like, as each guest arrived and entered into our home. How special it would feel to get to meet 5 people I admire and  have received so much joy and smiles from.  Even though it is through our television, my computer,  the radio or the Big Screen,  these five  people have brought my life an abundance of heartfelt emotions,  richness, inspiration, enjoyment and of course LAUGHTER!  Getting to meet them in person and share a meal and evening together was a great “Chimera”… I felt excited, feeling that I could actually bless them, by giving them something no one else could…my cooking, our home embellished with festive colors, warmth and enchantment as well  as sharing how much each of them have touched my life through their amazing talents and giving  hearts. I chose each one of them for a specific reason… It truly was a lot of fun. Some of the people I interviewed asked me; “Susan, can I have more than five guests? Can I do it twice? (They couldn’t decide who they would ask, with a choice of only five and enjoyed the challenge  of creating their  “If only for one night” dream evening.”  🙂

Lets take a look at a  what a few special people, ( with diverse backgrounds,)  chose for there “If only for one night” dinner or gala…(as it can be whatever you imagine it to be…)

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#1. Patrick, an incredible high school  Counselor who lives on the coast, in Southern California.

“MY Five dinner guest would be: Brad Pitt, Diane Ravitch, Meryl Streep, Anderson Cooper and Bill Gates. My interest is about Education.”

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I choose these particular five guests, BECAUSE: ( IN ORDER of photos)  Brad Pitt has a great heart and has a lot of influence in the Media. Diane Ravitch is very well known in the field of Education and has studied trends in this particular field and she’s leaning toward public schools…although at one time,  she was an advocate for charter schools.   Meryl Streep is just a person I really like. Anderson Cooper has an investigative mind and influence in the news world. Bill Gates has the money to finance ideas and he’s leaning toward charter schools.

MY MENU?

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Broiled scallops wrapped in figs or bacon as an appetizer,  a fresh made tomato soup from a local restaurant, (that I love),  broiled salmon in a mustard-dill sauce with asparagus lightly broiled with garlic, and a creme Brulee for dessert, that has a hint of lavender. Fresh roasted bean coffee would be served in the living room by the fireplace with dessert. Wine served  upon request.

MY AMBIANCE AND TABLE-SCAPE.

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My patina would be a bit on the formal side. I would use my  formal china along with red taper candles.    My Table would be set with a white lace linen from Slovenia, linen napkins, crystal Waterford candle holders, Wedgwood china, crystal water and wine glasses.

 I WOULD WEAR something casual and comfortable, my khakis and a nice, light yellow sweater, made out of a soft wool. IN MY HOME…no one can wear any shoes. 🙂

MY DINNER MUSIC?

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The melodic music of  Eva Cassidy as well as Contemporary Jazz music and  Jazz singers.

PARTY FAVOR?

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My  special gift to each guest would be a book of poetry or the book , “The smartest kids in the world.” Maybe a different book for each guest.

 

#2. KIT!  A great Website designer who lives in Delaware  🙂IFOnly5025

 

“My top  five would be: Tom Clancy, Bill Cosby, Condoleezza  Rice, Mrs. Ronald Regan and Justin Timberlake.”

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I chose these dinner guests BECAUSE: Author Tom Clancy has such a wonderful background, has done an abundance of research and has a very interesting story to tell. Bill Cosby is extremely intelligent with such a diverse background. I would love to hear about his insights on people, his life and the world. Condoleezza Rice is a strong woman who has survived in the political world. She has a great perspective on the government, our leaders and other countries. Mrs. Regan is a woman who has served at a high level in politics, has a great perspective about the TRUTHS that have taken place in our country as well as the truth about what is happening in our country today. Justin Timberlake is very down to earth in his approach to respecting people, extremely intelligent and talented on many levels and doesn’t act like he’s rich and famous.

MY MENU?

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I would serve Coho salmon, steamed in a white wine and dill sauce, served over  brown rice with sweet peas, steamed asparagus with Hollandaise sauce, and for dessert, a flour-less chocolate tart with fresh strawberries.

MY AMBIANCE?

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MY AMBIANCEwould be very casual…with a autumn motif, our blue and white china, water glasses, a medley of fall, linen napkins,  and a few candles. Very simple.

I WOULD WEAR my black jeans with a long sleeve shirt, very comfortable and relaxed.

 

Dinner Music?

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“There’s going to be some changes made” DVD with Bruce Hornsby and friends.

 

Party Favor?

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Lastly, my gift to each guest? A very nice picture frame.  I would bring out my  camera that takes instant photos..I would ask each of my guest to have a photo taken with me…and ask each of them to sign their name…  They  would each take home a photo of themselves with me, and I would have 5 treasured photos of myself with each guest. Great memories to last a life time of this special and memorable  evening.

 

only110#3 Ellie.  A beautiful lady, happily living in Delaware after a fascinating career at the Patton office in Washington DC.

“MY GUESTS OF HONOR WOULD BE, Charles Krauthammer , George W. Bush, Reverend Billy Graham, Ben Carson and Donald Trump.”

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 Charles Krauthammer, (famous on Fox news,) holds many degrees and is greatly  studied in Politics.I admire and respect his opinions and think he is awesome. George W. Bush is just a very classy man!  Reverend Billy Graham I have always looked up to him as a true Christian who loves the Lord.  Ben Carson, is the top Brain Surgeon at Jon Hopkins in Baltimore. His life story is amazing. His mother is his hero.  He came from a poor family and his mother brought him up with love and taught him that just because your poor does not mean you will fail in life. Donald Trump, I would ask him what stock to buy. 🙂

MY Menu?

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I would serve a traditional American meal.  Roast beef, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls and salad with cheesecake for desert. Coffee and wine upon request.

MY AMBIANCE

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I would like to set a casual table but elegant too.  A beautiful linen table cloth with matching napkins, water and wine glasses as well as a baronial service plate. For my centerpiece, I would chose a colorful, welcoming fresh flower arrangement  that is the perfect height, (not to tall) so we can all see one another across the table. 🙂

 

I would wear a long sleeved,  black dress with stockings and a pair of low heels, accented with just a touch of gold jewelry.

Dinner Music?

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Nothing with a vocalist, just quiet, calming music, maybe a CD of piano music, bass and violin.

Party Favor?

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It  would be something with the names of the guest’s and the date, maybe a gold key chain.

 

IFonly500Gin. A lovely, creative, artistic lady who lives in the Midwest.

MY FIVE SPECIAL GUESTS? Reverend Billy Graham, Presidents; Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton and George Bush SR.

 

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Billy Graham has counseled all of the presidents of The United States and would have a great input on what is happening in our country today. I would invite the four previous presidents, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton and George Bush SR. to have an informative  discussion, ( with their much appreciated  opinions) on where we are at now as a country , the White House, economy and foreign policy.

MY MENU?

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For my guests appetizer, I would serve a homemade Oxtail soup with sour cream. For dinner, Beef Stroganoff, A Bib lettuce salad with mushrooms, orange slices and almonds, with a sweet vinaigrette, along with hot croissants and butter. I would serve either a nice bottle of Merlot or a rich, red Zinfandel. For dessert , a chocolate mousse cake with an amaretto sour cream sauce, served with champagne or a glass of  sherry.

MY AMBIANCE?

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My patina would be formal. An Irish linen table cloth with napkins, my Crown Emerald Green China, green crystal goblets, tall, white taper candles, a flower arrangement of blush pink roses with white iris’s, and champagne and sherry glasses for each guests choice of  an after dinner drink with dessert.

I WOULD WEAR a cashmere sweater with a long black skirt.

Dinner Music?

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George Winston Piano melodies… soothing and enchanting.

Party favors?

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Each guest would receive a different, beautifully photographed, coffee-table book about the White House.

 

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My top five… Patrick, Cheryl, Ellie, and Susan and Kit. (We are “celebrities” in his eyes.) 🙂

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I would ask these special guests to my dinner party because Patrick ‘actually gets down on the floor and plays with me for longer than 10 minutes.’ Cheryl , when she spent the night, stays awake with me in the middle of the night, talks to me and pets me…(so I don’t feel lonely, when Kit and Susan are sleeping.)  Ellie, because she always gives me treats…ham bones, beef bones, bacon strips, “you name it.” …and last but not least, Susan and Kit because THEY ARE MY HEART &  HOME!

MY MENU?

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Grilled Porter house steaks for everyone, but I  get ALL the bones!

MY AMBIANCE?

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I’m easy… just throw a red check table cloth on the floor, we’ll use dad’s china plates and for my centerpiece, a bright, fire engine red, (highlighted with white rawhide bones,) doggy biscuit holder.

 

I I-98AM WEARING my fur coat as my red sweater is way to small for me now!

 

 

My Dinner music?

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Its always a toss up between my two favorite CD’s…maybe everyone will stay long enough for me to play both!

MY parting Gift?

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I would give each of my guests a choice of something special to remember me buy. 🙂

Susanhat Susan… The blog writer… who is hoping that you are enjoying this ” IF, Only for one night,” vignette. 🙂

 

My Five  guests would be, T.D Jakes, Justin Timberlake, (No I did not copy Kit,) Tyler Perry, (and he can come as Medea if he would like to,) Usher and Denzel Washington.

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I would invite T.D. Jakes for his beautiful spirit and love for the Lord, (as well as his keeping Justin and Usher in line,) 🙂 (Just joshing.)  Justin Timberlake because he is funny, exceedingly talented and a GREAT  dancer and musician. (I secretly hope he and Usher will sing a few  duets and teach us some great dance steps after dinner.)  Tyler Perry / Medea because I think he is a brilliant man, producer, actor and is tremendously  entertaining, as well as hilarious.  In hearing about his challenging life as a child and witnessing what he has done with his life, I am very impressed and inspired!  Usher, because he too is a great singer, dancer and has a big heart. He seems to be a genuinely NICE person, (in watching him as a judge on The Voice.) Lastly, My all time favorite actor is Denzel...his  biography is endless and I  would love to hear about  all the people he has met and worked with as well as his views on life.

My Menu?

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I would serve my BBQ pulled pork nachos for an appetizer…For the entree, A Caesar salad, Prime Rib (Medium rare) with  creamy horseradish sauce, baked potato, asparagus and hollandaise sauce, pumpernickel bread with fresh butter (stars) 🙂   and homemade coconut carrot cake for dessert with coffee. Wine upon request!

Ambiance?

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I would serve a formal dinner with my antique china, lace tablecloth, crystal water and wine glasses, if any of my guests would like a glass of wine, candle light everywhere, 🙂 and dessert and coffee served in the living room, (where Justin and Usher will be entertaining us, (and maybe Medea too) 🙂

I would wear my long black velvet dress with black pumps, pearl earrings and necklace to match.

 

Dinner Music?

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Dinner music? While everyone is arriving and we are having appetizers, I’d have a  play-list on with a little Bebe Winan gospel-contemporary Christian music,  and Justin and Usher, (clean) tunes playing…while we are dining, I’d switch to Victoria Secrets London symphony orchestra melodic CD..

Party Favor?

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A digital camera.. I would place their gift on their salad plate and have everyone open it at the same time…(I would have my own camera already out…) and invite everyone to take as many photos as they want during the evening…(I know I will be a camera hog the entire night.) 🙂 Its true what they say…  “A picture says a thousand words and the memories it brings,  lasts a lifetime.”

I hope you have enjoyed spending some time thinking about what your evening would be like with the famous and renowned people you chose to invite…celebrity1 Did it surprise you at all when you decided who your top five would be? Did your choices surprise others? It definitely gives you an insight into your life as well as reveals what you are  interested in, during this season of your life. (Politics? Americas’ future? Input on where Education is going within our country? A hunger for knowledge in areas of interest within your life from someone who is an expertise ?  A desire to learn more about human nature, ones travels and experiences? Or perhaps, to just be entertained, laugh abundantly and dance? 🙂

My last challenge to you… Keep  the dinner you have planned for your five renowned celebrities within your heart. ( All of  the decor ideas, presentation, menu, music, lighting, gifts,)  and invite Five of your favorite people in this entire world, and bestow upon  them the very same evening…  If some of your favorite people live out of state, plan the party for next year , or better yet, Christmas 2014…give them time to save up for their airfare, or long road trip.  🙂  Take some time to plan who those five people would be… after all, they are the real stars of your life:) (Sounds corny, I know, but you know its true!) 🙂

 

And always keep dreaming , for our dreams really can and often do, come true. 🙂

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PHOTOGRAPHS: In placing your computer mouse upon any of the photos or graphics, it will display where the picture originated from.

A Summer Time of Blithe.

SUMMER TIME AND THE LIVIN’ IS EASY… FISH ARE JUMPIN’ AND THE COTTON IS HIGH…  ~ George Gershwin, Porgy and Bess.

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THE DISTINGUISHED QUOTE CORNER:Adorable Baby Boy in Suit on Cellphone

“Each fairy breathe of summer, as it blows with loveliness, inspires  the blushing rose. ” ~ Author Unknown

” In summer, the SONG SINGS ITSELF.” ~ William Carlos Williams

“The Summer night is like a perfection of thought.” ~ Wallace Stevens

“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.” ~  Sam Kean

“Oh the summer night, a smile of light and she sits on a sapphire throne.” ~ Barry Cornwall

Summer is one of the few seasons that actually begins calling out to you, before it’s glorious arrival. The very word, gives our hearts a friendly wave and gestures us  to come and enjoy all of our felicitious expectations, that we hope to fulfill within the next three months. It is our ‘last hurrah’ before the chilly breezes of autumn knock upon our doors.

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Summer is a time where we eagerly leave the beauty and quietness of  the inside of our desired, charming havens and venture outside to the long awaited, sun filled, warm, breezy days…The garden is nodding, motioning us to; “Come and play, create, daydream and unwind in the fresh air.”  Our picnic baskets are taken out of the attic, dusted off and we are already looking on the internet for the perfect place to go fishing, hiking and enjoy an ambrosial meal beneath the inviting and serene, blue sky. It’s an occasion of celebration for our little ones as they are on vacation for what seems to them, an eternity, but when fall arrives, they will look back and think, “How quickly our summer zoomed by….where did the time go.” 🙂   It is also a season of travel, visiting dear friends and family, summer BBQ’s, an abundance of beach days, excursions to amusement parks, a retreat to a beach cottage, alfresco dining,  boating, crabbing, dressing our homes in a lighter attire, changing our own wardrobes to shorts, flip flops and short sleeved shirts… There is so much to do in only three months…read our favorite novels, clean out our storage sheds and garage’s, give our yards a makeover, go boutique shopping or garage – ‘sailing’ 🙂 for special summer finds and of course, celebrating our nations glorious birthday. Don’t you just love Summer and all of it’s magic? I hope this vignette inspires you to “get out in the fresh air,” be creative, adventuresome, (walk barefoot in the grass….)  but most of all, JUST HAVE FUN!S-400

 

“Our beautiful Porches.” Summer is the perfect time to bask amongst your magnificent and resplendent flowers, refreshing cool breezes and enjoy chatting the hours away with a dear friend over sweet tea with fresh mint sprigs on your verandah. To feel really pampered, maybe bring out your antique crystal glasses from your great grandmother with some fresh sliced lemon cake, sweet blueberries and in-season melon.

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What is more appealing than white wicker furniture embellished with bright, cheerful pillows in the summer. Bringing some fresh cut flowers from your garden to enjoy as you relax upon your porch, along with animating hanging flower or fern baskets above the balustrades, is another cozy and alluring decorative touch for one of your favorite summer retreats.  Our front porches are such a gift, especially in the spring and summer months.

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There is nothing like a summer sunset on your front porch!SL-419

Summer whites, bright flowers, warm sunshine and our beloved piazza swings speak clamorously that the wondrous season has arrived.

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Summer time is beach time… Everyone loves the ocean, sea shells, the smell of fresh  blue, briny water, creating enchanting sand castles, ‘people watching’, sauntering along the  Boardwalk enjoying fresh salt water taffy or a delightfully cold ice cream cone. There are so many exciting andtk5 blissful things to do at the beach…It feels as if you have escaped to another world as you sit under your umbrella, cold drink and best selling novel in hand, listening to the soothing sounds of the gulls squawking, children laughing and the roaring of the waves. It is a very inexpensive reprieve from the hustle and bustle of life. If you do not live close to a beach, your summer vacation may be to travel to some of our countries most  renowned  seashores such as; Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, Newport Beach, California, The outer Banks in North Carolina or our very own, prestigious and renowned Rehoboth Beach in Delaware, (right next to Ocean City, Maryland.)   A week at the beach in a summer rental is a short novella, all in itself. 🙂 My husband and I feel exceedingly blessed as Delaware is probably the grandest maritime state we have ever lived in. Water surrounds us at every corner… We are a twenty-five minute drive from Rehoboth or Lewes beach and we have Slaughter Beach, (I never have liked that name,) 🙂   only ten minutes away.  (A remote, quiet strand with ample natural beauty surrounding its shore line, as well as home to many of the famous horseshoe crabs.) In the winter and autumn seasons, the lifeless shells cover the beaches, resembling helmet shaped, cobble stoned steps. It truly is a sight to see.  It is said that if you go to this remote beach on a  bright, moonlit night in the summer, you will see the beach full of horseshoe crabs mating and laying their eggs upon the sand. (We will have to do that one night. I’ll take some photos and post them so you can share in this magical phenomena.)  My family, while visiting from California said they had never seen anything quite like it!  A great eatery if you come our way is The Buttery in Lewes, Delaware. A quaint, historic restaurant where you will experience succulent seafood, gourmet cooking and an ambiance that is so alluring, you won’t want to leave.

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The Buttery in Lewes Delaware…Our favorite pick for fine dining! S-51

The renowned, famous horseshoe crabs… The first photo is when the cute critters are alive and kicking…swimming the ocean blue and loving life. The second photo is taken during the winter season, many of them are no longer alive and their helmet shaped shells cover the  sandy shores of Slaughter Beach.

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There is nothing quite like going clamming in the magnificent  ocean or hushed and peaceful bay. It is a blast! We took Graham, (our Brobdingnagian Briard dog ) with us in the boat at Bethany beach as we ventured into the clear, blue waters. He loved it!  The wondrous thing about clamming is that you get to enjoy a ‘quick reward for all your fun work,’ 🙂  Clams casino  made on the grill the very night you catch them…The clams accompanied by a fresh salad and hot loaf  of sourdough bead with melted butter is a wonderful, maritime meal.

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Camping, whether inside your home, ( a children’s enchanting sleep over,) on the beach, in your backyard, or up in the mountains is another Summer favorite. I love camping out as it brings forth a great measure of  creativity in everyone…no TV’s, (OK, maybe a laptop with a DVD,) no phones, (OK, maybe a cell phone or two,) 🙂  but, their is no electric coffee pot, curling irons, hot water, or many of our presumed ‘necessities of life’…Instead we have conversations, an abundance of stories told around the camp fires, flash lights, fresh fish cooked over the open flames and a brilliant show of the night sky with its cream cheese moon and glistening stars every evening before we fall sleep.  We go hiking, (pray there are no bears,) enjoy fishing, crabbing, shrimping or reading our long abandoned novels that we finally have some  free time to read. 🙂 Our kids? They have all the magic and supplies they need…their best friends, great snack foods, flashlights, books and their abundant imaginations! :

Aren’t these homemade, enchanting and magical tents creative?

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For the times where we are all vacationed-out or to sun burnt to go back to the beach, it is a great time to do a “summer-makeover ‘ within your home.  I adore using an abundance of whites during this warm season…somehow, it makes me feel cooler! 🙂  I enjoy creating and decorating with all shades of whites, soft pastels, fresh flowers and cheery, light, throw pillows. White slip covers for your couch or chairs are quite  refreshing and very striking. Invite a few friends over for a sure-to-please, light meal. Maybe  serve a potpourri of salads, fresh shrimp or French bread baguette with homemade crab dip, and an angel food cake with whipped cream and decadent, sweet strawberries for a tempting dessert. (Set your dining room table with a variety of textures and shades of whites and don’t forget the fresh flowers.)    Lighten up your bedroom for the season with a mixture of soft , creamy yellows, amidst soothing and serene blues and whites. (Duvets are a great and inexpensive way to makeover your bedrooms.)

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Alfresco dining is a lovely gesture for the summer season…whether formal with fancy desserts and gourmet cuisine, ( I love these delicate, creative cakes adorned with fresh roses,) or a lay back BBQ with fresh fruits, ice cream and corn grilled to perfection with hot, melted butter…  Great food, wondrous company, laughter, fulfilling conversations and a convivial ambiance, makes for a wonderful  summer get-together with friends or family.

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Summer would not be summer without a trip or two to one of the countries renowned Amusement parks… Disneyland, Disney world, Sea World, San Diego Zoo, Knots-berry Farm, Six Flags or Marine land…Children, (even the youngster inside of us,) 🙂  love the awe and wonder of animated characters, exhilarating rides, enchanting and mysterious sea life, and exploring old mines after a thrilling ride upon one of the scariest roller coasters in the world. (Somebody in the crowd always has to “dare you” to ride…  🙂   I accepted the dare years ago and thought I was going to be departing for heaven a little early…) never again! (Somehow, the kids have no fear whatsoever…oh to be a child again!) 🙂

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(I want one of these!) 🙂 He is so cute and cuddly!

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Escaping to your Beach cottage for a few weeks is like a little taste of heaven… Pack up your car with some groceries, the kids, your dog, a variety of your favorite DVD’s, books and extra candles. Prepare  to have a wondrous time away from your normal, everyday life. (Yes, our dogs want to be a part of every family excursion as well!) 🙂

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This  special time away will be a bonding as well as  intimate time with you and your family. Enjoy the breathtaking sunsets on the shore line, collecting seashells for a craft project with your kids, wading in the ocean waves, (watching your little ones run in as the water recedes …and then run out as the frisky waves chase after them.) 🙂 With all the superb eateries, there is a myriad of fresh seafood to choose from, (the kids can always get a cheeseburger or chicken tenders,) 🙂 and then there is always an afternoon spent at the neighborhood fun zone at the beach. (You always see the most interesting people there as you enjoy your popcorn, cotton candy and salted peanuts.) Relish each and every bonfire you share on the beach, sharing a potpourri of stories with your kids. (Childhood only happens once…) Take a few of their favorite movies for a movie night, some table games, a few extra candles and allow it to be a time of “treating yourselves and your family.” with all the things you love to do, eat and don’t allow any guilt to get in the way. 🙂  It’s your families special time… When the kids are asleep, maybe take a  romantic stroll along the beach with your husband… enjoy the quiet and soothing  sounds of the night birds singing and the soft, ocean waves crashing against the sandy shore, the fragrance of the fresh sea air and allow yourself to get back to that peaceful place you may have lost in the busyness of everyday life, back home. I adore trips to a beach cottage…there’ s nothing like it’s charm and magic.

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Summer is also the season that hosts one of America’s biggest days of celebration! Independence day…other wise known as the 4th of July. This is a time for BBQ’s on the beach, watching resplendent displays of fireworks, (whether on the shore or in the big city,)  and sharing great and wondrous new memories with your friends and family. It’s America’s birthday and if ever there was a time for jubilee and gladsome hearts, it’s this beloved holiday! Summer would not be summer without it!

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I love the garden quote by Abram L. Urban; “In my garden, there is a large place of sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers and the dreams are as beautiful.”   Gardens are a “good thing” (like Martha Stewart always says…) for a multitude of reasons. They teach us, provide a place to nurture and be nurtured, create beauty and restore our souls. My favorite garden flower is the rose…but there has yet to be a flower that I do not enjoy…Vegetable gardens are also a lot of fun, (as long as you don’t have ground hogs and deer near by. 🙂 (They enjoyed our  romaine lettuce and eggplant way to much! ) Spring and Summer are the season that our gardens ‘explode’ with a bounty of color and bring so much majestic beauty to our lives, (outside of the home as well as within.)  A summer garden has been the muse for many a poet and novelist!  It is a wondrous gift of this beloved season.

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Lastly, as I wind up this vignette on having a blithesome summer, two of my ‘all time  favorite’ summer joys is beholding the illuminating and captivating fireflies, as well asS-2  watching and partaking in an awesomely majestic thunder storm. The dancing, twinkling  fireflies flutter from one tree to another … for some reason, they make me smile.  I love it when they create a frame around our window panes, bringing forth the nostalgic feelings of being on my favorite ride at Disneyland. ( My beloved  Pirates of the Caribbean…)  They are a beautiful creation and bring  forth an exceeding amount of mystery and enchantment as well as excitement to our souls.  There is nothing like catching lightning bugs in a jar as a child…With tiny holes placed on the top, they preform their magic just  for you and they put on a  phenomenal one man show.  🙂

There is an abundance of mystique and wonder in a summer rain storm accompanied by the rumbling thunder as the heavens light up with each bolt of lightning. I feel like a child again, ready for a suspense, (not to scary) movie, a big bowl of buttered popcorn with all my siblings huddled together with me, biting our nails as we wait  for the next jolting moment to happen. At this time in my life, I am happy to be with Grantham and my husband, in the midst of the storm…(still watching the suspense movie and sharing popcorn, but now it’s without salt, less butter and we don’t bite our nails!) 🙂 Have you ever just sat on your porch and actually allowed yourself to become a part of the storm? Feeling the tepid breezes, smelling the fresh, damp air as the rain falls hard upon the roof top…watching the sky get darker and darker. It’s not quite a light shade of black or a dark tint of grey, it’s baronial, grandiose and a little frightening.  As you hear the thunder in the distance,  you know that soon, the storm will be right at your front door. Its an experience for sure…and one of my greatest and  most looked forward to, summer joys!

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May your summer time be a season of lightheartedness, gladsome get-a-ways, new adventures , great pleasure and ridiculously filled with FUN! 🙂

PHOTOGRAPHS: In placing your computer mouse upon any photo or graphic, it will display where the picture originated from.

 

 

 

 

“All Aboard” the maritime home.

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“The sea  is emotion incarnate. It loves, hates and weeps. It defies all attempts to capture it with words and rejects shackles. No matter what you say about it, there is always that which you can’t.” ~ Christopher Paolini

“Hark, now hear the sailors cry, Smell the sea and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic…” ~ Van Morrison

“Waves are the voices of the tides. Tides are life. They bring new food for shore creatures and take ships out to sea. They are the oceans pulse and your own heartbeat.”  ~ Tamora Pierce

What is it about  “life on the sea” that captivates and thrills our hearts? Is it the sound of the waves crashing upon the rocky shores? The nostalgic fragrance of the damp, briny air? Hearing the halcyon and untroubled seagulls, coasting above the crystal blue waters, cooing, squawking, creating serene, melodic melodies for our ears and souls? Perhaps, the romance of the sea is made up of all the seafaring tales that  have been passed down by sailors, fishermen and sea captions.  The legends of the mermaids, stories of “old ghost ships,” abandoned by their crew and fables of the dangerous  pirates, rum runners, frighting Leviathans of the deep and buried treasures? Perchance it is the myths and tales of the ominous, colossal storms they weathered at sea and lived to tell about. How about the legends like old Alias, a sailor lost at sea, who comes back to haunt  his maritime home on the water. It is  a Folklore told in the renowned  movie Mystic Pizza…

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(The imagined ghost of  Alias visits his home on stormy nights, causing the floorboards to creak as he paces back and forth upon the back balcony, overlooking the sea.)  There are so many mystifying fables that allure our hearts and create within us an abounding love and desire for the arcane sea , filled with all of it’s Brobdingnagian and countless enigma.

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  Two irrefutable stories that are uncanny and a bit haunting, are the two schooner ships that truly were abandoned by their crews mysteriously. One ship, The Carroll A. Deering was found run aground in 1921 off of Cape Haterus, North Carolina. Investigators propose that the cause was possibly rum runners or ship pirates. In 1969, The Teignmouth Electron was also  found adrift, deserted and forgotten in the Atlantic Ocean.  These two stories are not folklore and they are not of old. 🙂 (Spooky!)  The sea embodies an abundance of  intrigue,  mystery and impeccable  beauty…  It is fabulously romantic, inspirational and is popular as ‘the perfect muse’ for many prestigious novels such as, The Old man and The Sea, The Phantom Island and The Mermaid. It is also the galvanizing influence of  countless, famous paintings such as, Monet’s La Terrace de’ Sainte Adresse and Niebenkorn’s Ocean Harbor, as well as  the classic and memorable films, The Titanic, Life of Pi and Lifeboat. (And, for many, a MUSE to inspire the decorating and creating of their lovely homes.)

 

It has always been one of my husband’s and my lifelong dreams to one day live by the sea and host a Bed and Breakfast for people who are in need of a retreat away from their everyday lives… a  convivial respite. 🙂 We adore the foggy mists that come in over the water in the early mornings… the diverse sea birds gliding above the glistening water as the sunshine breaks through mid-morning,  the breathtaking sunsets that gloriously arrive at dusk, (the enchanting ‘gloaming hour,’) and listening to the waves, softly flowing into shore as the day ends and the stars have announced their  brilliant presence.  SL-60SL-64corbiere  pic david ferguson

 

 

In creating your maritime home, remember, you may not live on a rocky cliff, over looking the ocean or upon a sandy marsh where you watch the tides roll in and out, BUT, You can create the inside of your berth to look as if you do! 🙂 Capture a part of the romance of the sea, it’s legends and fables, it’s mystery and beauty by bringing forth the decor of a seafaring  home.S-183

Most of the maritime homes that I have visited are dressed in soothing blues and whites and embellished with an abundance of maritime ornamental decor. It is not surprising as the colors of blue and white represent serenity, peace, clarity of mind, fresh beginnings and relaxation. All these qualities make for an exceedingly inviting and cozy homestead.

 

Our first stop will be the main room of your home, which is the Living room…It is the room that sets the mood and theme for the rest of your resplendent abode. As with any decor that you choose, there is always the ‘formal rendition’ as well as the relaxing, laid back. I have chosen both of these looks for inspiration to begin creating the  Nautical home of your dreams. Lets start off with the living rooms that are a tad bit more “dressy.”I-15

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The living rooms in the next few photographs, are still a beauteous and striking maritime  look, but are a bit more on the masculine side. I think all of these living rooms are inviting, galvanic and cozy…It truly depends on your taste and the colors you choose to create with. These rooms are less formal and more on the “comfy” side. 🙂  H-85

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I simply adore this antique fireplace festooned in a maritime theme… It is breathtaking and exceedingly CREATIVE! It would certainly be the “conversation piece” in any home. 🙂

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One of my favorite nautical decor displays thus far! The whimsical  grapevine wreath amidst the two enchanting topiary trees is prizewinning. I adore this decorators bethnic extravaganza of the life-like and animated ‘sea bird’ amongst all the starfish, sand dollar and weathered beach wood. Her tableaux upon the green wooden chest, creates not only a magical ambiance but exudes charm and  class. I love it! 🙂

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Our next stopover will be another renowned and important room in your home …The Dining room. The room where you gather with friends and family over ambrosial cuisine, fine wines, laughter, sharing and story telling in a convivial and warm ambiance.   I think it is fun to mix up your rooms a little bit, still carrying the nautical theme throughout the house, but perhaps in different styles.

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The advantage you have with a seagoing look, is that you can create any room in your home, using a variety of shades of white…(eggshell, opalescent pearl, butter cream, off white, even tones of light greys or brown for your keystone.) Once your furniture and color pallet is established, you can begin adding the blue decor along with  alluring benthic ornaments such as lighthouses, old ship compasses, sublime fresco’s or photographs of  sea captains, nautically shaped stars, seagulls, pelicans, sea shells or whatever treasured collectables you desire to display.  You can do the same thing with establishing your primary color pallet in a shade of blue that you love… Then highlight your room with a variety of hues and textures of white. ENJOY the creativity within you and remember, don’t hesitate to bring forth the dream inside your heart and make it reality! 🙂

 

Here are some decorative ideas to ‘add to your rooms’ for that nautical, cozy look, along with some beautiful blues…I absolutely dote on the color combination of blue and white… Whether in a bedroom, my wardrobe, a fresh flower arrangement, decorative throws or the paint colors on our walls. There is nothing quite as soothing, eye catching and picturesque! (Adding creamy, soft yellows to this famous color combination is an enlivening warm touch as well.)

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A ‘nautically themed tree’ is a welcomed sight all year round. It adds a rustic seafaring ambiance to any room… It’s twinkling white lights create charm and appeal as well as ‘romance’ within your room and brings forth added texture and dimension to your colorful haven.

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I love this painting… It would go perfectly in a living room filled with blues and accented with a hint of the grandeur color of red…This little girl looks identical to my brother’s daughter when she was about 3 years old, with her bright, gorgeous auburn hair, running into the waves  of the ocean. Now she is a  beautiful young woman, (still loving the sea,) but gosh, does this bring back happy memories of my younger days as she brought so much joy, laughter and smiles to our lives…(And still does.) 🙂

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Bring the natural things of the sea, to the inside your home…sea shells, star fish, sea horses, anchors, old ship compasses, and a diversity of mason jars filled with fresh sand from the shore,  topped with a tea light candle. Tie a blue and white  decorative ribbon around  the jar and display it upon your hutch.  (If you make a half dozen of these homemade candles, and light them all in the evening, it will add charm and pizzazz to your room.) 🙂

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The next ‘layover’  is the most certain and sure place for rest and relaxation that  I know of...Our bedrooms. There are so many beautiful blue and white linens, duvets, Eiderdown  comforters, decorative pillows and blue and white collectables, that this room should be an easy room to make over or to newly create. Your bedroom is your sanctuary, place of retreat, hide-a-way and wondrous place of slumber.  Embellish this room with  serene, blissful and soothing decor…soft candle light and subtle, yet enlivening  scented fragrances. When I wash our linens and  make up our bed,  I love to spray our sheets  with an ambrosial, redolent scent. (For some reason, I think it helps us to sleep better.) 🙂 They even have ocean scented sprays, decorative candles and scented oils with reed diffusers available in the stores now a days… What a perfect idea to enhance your oceangoing decor style. (Wow, with the nostalgic fragrances of the beach filling your room, all you would need is a sound machine that has the inviting calls of the sea birds, along with the roaring waves…you could close your eyes and be right on oceans shore.) 🙂  SL-408

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This bedroom is a little different with its shades of pale, light green amidst the soft, pristine whites, yet It still brings forth a feeling that ‘the soothing ocean breeze and sound of the crashing waves could come through the window at anytime.’ 🙂  A few ideas of some winsome additives are  a lighthouse tapestry for the wall, an engaging Thomas Kincaid nautical throw, a seahorse pillow and a sea shell frame, displaying one of your most cherished ‘beach memories.’

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This is my dear friend Ellie’s guest bedroom in her lovely nautical home in Delaware. She just finished painting her contrast wall in a fetching, wispy, gossamer, pastel blue. It adds an exceedingly stunning  and visual ambiance amongst her white walls. She made her  own creative and bethnic lampshade.  Isn’t it adorable?  Yes, Ellie, you have “quite the creative touch.” 🙂 This room is not only soothing, but filled with warmth and charm. Eleanor1

With the warm and inviting, navy blue stripes upon the comforters, the ocean blue carpet and the freshly painted pastel blue wall,  she highlighted this maritime room with a  mixture of vintage and country-cottage, captivating white wooden dressers, adorned with a potpourri of her sail boats and merchant ship collection. Great job Ellie! 🙂 This room beckons our hearts to go and  spend a day amongst the ocean shores. 🙂   Eleanor-Dressers

 

Now, we enter the room that is the most popular…You have heard the saying, “No  matter where I serve my guests, it seems they like my kitchen best.” 🙂  Kitchens are the place we “CREATE.” Whether it’s a fanciful confection for a loved ones birthday, a savory and spicy pasta dish with sweet Italian sausage and fresh herbs from our gardens, or we are baking Christmas cookies with our kids…there are so many wonderful conversations that take place within our kitchens…(Along with delicious cuisine and some great aromas that fill our home…) This truly is one of my most cherished rooms of all!

These first few kitchens are all bedecked in blissful blues and whites… all they would need to awaken the pelagic feeling  throughout the room would be a few pieces of nautical decor; a framed photograph of a famous lighthouse, an ornate helm from a schooner ship,  decorative anchors as well as accent towels evoking the emotions of life by the water.

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In these next photos, I got a little inventive and imaginative. 🙂 These kitchens are not the standard, maritime colors of blue and white, but with dressing these rooms up, adding the  right decor, they would bring forth the nautical look  in a charming, elfin kind of way.   Below each photo are some ideas that I hope will inspire you and get your ‘creative juices flowing.’

For this kitchen, I  thought the perfect accent colors would be red, white and blue… all the eye-catching, maritime  decor items would fill up the mantle above this fabulous, eccentric stove, except the accent towels. 🙂  (The rooster is adorable, but for now, he has to find a new home! ) 🙂

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This Kitchen already has an ideal foundation with it’s rustic, warm Faux painted walls accompanied by the rich navy blue…By adding a maritime picture on the far wall, some Lighthouse plates, blue and white dish towels and a lighthouse canister set, your kitchen would come alive with the romance and mystique of the ocean..

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These two kitchens would look great with a few starfish, a lighthouse spice rack, blue and white accent towels as well as a diverse collection of seashells. I would leave the warm hues of the yellow…It’s very cozy and inviting.

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This has got to be one of my all time favorite Cucinos, (as the Italians would say!) 🙂 It’s soft white structure and delicate woods, accompanied by a combination of blue and white china, maritime plates and homemade, sand filled mason jars with a potpourri of taper and tea light candles along with intricate, motley  seashells, would make for a beautiful, enchanting and notable kitchen. (Maybe add a blue and white runner on the stunning wood floor to tie in the mixture of blues and whites. )

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This white kitchen would  look wonderful with a highlight of green and soft hues of tan to bring forth your nautical theme. A lovely ship for your counter top, tan linen accent towels with the nautical star, a topiary star and once again, the beautiful soft light of candles burning in your mason-jar, sand filled candle creations.

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Lastly, one more ‘White kitchen” to bring into our theme… How about some blue flowers on the counter top, blue and white china as well as light house plates to fill the ‘show stopping’ window-paned cabinets, an enchanting lighthouse and nautical pillows to top your bar stools? A bright, beach themed painting would be a spectacular addition to bring out your vibrant colors that you’ve chosen.  Add a few blue and white accent towels and your set to go!

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Here is a back splash tile mural with a maritime theme for the back of your kitchen stove. I love these new ideas…. What will they think of next? 🙂

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We will take a short stop at our next room…the bathroom, Ladies room, powder and Mens  room as we call it!  Because it is the smallest room in your home, ( and no, I do not plan on illustrating a nautical walk in closet, ) 🙂  this room is very simple and  easy to create… I love our bathroom as it is the place that houses one of my favorite things in all the world… OK, two of my most cherished….A bath tub and luxurious bubble-bath… 🙂

Here are a few ideas to inspire you with the ‘soul’  colors  of your room, blue and white.

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These decorative ideas are all fabulously soothing and festive highlights for ‘this very important’ room! 🙂 I especially like the greyish-blue tinted walls amidst all the creamy white sea shells and shelves, (The 4th photo.) This unique color is definitely a stunning and impressive maritime color…

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Here are a few SEAFARING “powder rooms” already finished! 🙂

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We can’t forget the passages that take us to our beloved rooms…our foyer and hallways… Here are a few inspirations for you..Some of these are quite formal, others very cozy and inviting…again, add some of your own touches amongst the blues and whites to bring forth your personal, signature touch and  theme within your own home.

There are not many foyers like this one… It’s extremely formal and regal, but it presents the  idea of how wondrous and appealing mixing different shades of blue amongst the white can look.

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I adore this color of blue mixed with this butter cream white, not to mention the breathtaking structure of this foyer. I can just imagine how majestic it would look with seafaring decorations.

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This foyer is simple, yet elegant…again, the soft tans amidst the white is resplendent.

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This hallway is immense…it’s charm reminds me of the South… I love the soft blues amongst pearly white.

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This passageway to the porch speaks it’s own fabulous introduction. 🙂

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Lastly, the mixture of the blues, pastel green and sunny yellow is so charming in this foyer. It is not only refreshing, but sure to make everyone who enters this home feel ‘very welcomed.’

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Our second to last stop is the land that surrounds our homes. If you are blessed to live on the ocean, (and don’t have to dream that you are, 🙂 your views alone will be captivating. If you do not live by or on the ocean, these are still some great ideas to enhance the natural loveliness of your yard and bring forth an abundance of beauty, peace and serene days to your lives. Alfresco dining , creating a floral arbor in your garden, sitting on your porch watching the sunset, and adding seafaring decor to your outside piazza with decorative sea shells and fresh, crisp, white lace table runners.

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I love the wildflowers, straw basket, (great for gathering your sea shells,) summer hat and maritime throw amidst the weathered wooden fence. It goes to show you that almost every place on our property can use a little touch of love and ‘fixing up’ to bring forth charm and warmth.

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OKAY….our seafaring journey has just about come to an end…I feel like I have been to the beach and back! 🙂 I wanted to leave you with a few ideas for a magical, dreamy, Maritime and “Merry -Time” 🙂  Christmas! 🙂  (I just got that as I was writing.) 🙂    I am amazed at how many ideas there are for a nautical Christmas theme… Not only is it a beautiful decor style for everyday life, but it is eminently eye catching at the most wonderful time of the year. ENJOY even though Christmas is a ways away…( But…have you heard of “Christmas in July?”) (“Just saying”…) 🙂

Welcome your guests with a beautiful, fetching alfresco Christmas tree, adorned with starfish, sand dollars, as well as ocean blue, silver and white decorative balls. (Don’t forget the enchanting, twinkling white lights! ) 🙂

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This certainly would  change the memories of the traditional festivity of “Bringing Home The Tree,” (the day after Thanksgiving,) wouldn’t it?   Yes, Christmas by the sea is very romantic, magical and sublime.

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I love these very ‘unique and informal’ Christmas stockings hanging from the mantle, all homemade in alluring red, white and blue. SL-410

This mantle is much more formal, yet very refreshing, taking a turn from the norm. These photos and ideas make me want to rent a cottage at the beach for Christmas… (Or change my whole house for the holidays to create this enchanting seafaring ambiance.) 🙂

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A beautiful nautical Christmas tree…I love the mixture of the light blues and whites…and the tree topper is gorgeous!

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This table top tree is adorable and accents the color of the walls to a “T.” (And it would be an easy decorative addition to create.)

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I love the traditional Christmas tree, but this one gives you a little magic and awe of both styles…the decorative shells yet ample decorations of the glorious reds and greens… A very festive and picturesque tree, evoking the joy inside of us as we think of Christmas’ past. (As children, we always wondered how Santa could get down that fireplace chimney…) 🙂

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This nautical tree is  not only striking but magically kaleidoscopic. It’s  abundance of sea shells amongst the colorful ornaments, (I love the purple added in,) is very alluring. (The mermaid tree topper is so unique and definitely brings this tree to life.)

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Rustic and enchanting garlands with miniature white lights to bedeck the outdoor porch for the holidays…How about adding a string of sea shells, intertwining them within the greens and berries? What a great idea for the enchanting season.

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WOW, a white Christmas dream come true, right on the ocean! I still find it miraculous to see a fresh snowfall on the sandy shore of the beaches. This charming tree, the warm fire burning, and the inviting alfresco dining, is a wondrous Idea for a cozy Holiday evening.   (Bundle up and make some homemade beef stew with a loaf of hot bread …That would be the perfect, wintry dinner.) 🙂C-71

For the front porch, decorating the balustrades with this picture-book, festive cheer is breathtaking.  The decor is traditional, yet against the soft yellows and whites of this regal home, it looks incredibly stunning. For a more nautical look, you could add some starfish and lighthouse ornaments amongst the  lush greens. What a great way to welcome home your loved ones for the holidays!

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Celebrating the season in a rustic, yet a bit formal wintry wonderland style, with the feel of the sea being close by would be heavenly.  Winter whites are hard to beat in setting a festive, holiday table and the tree, adorned with shells and sand dollars combined with  the pearl like strands, is very Victorian, lovely and elegant.

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A cozy summer, beach house, embellished with Christmas cheer! (Though it doesn’t look like snow is in store for this Balboa Island, CA. cottage home. ) The blue and white home bedecked with the festive and cheery red is so lovely…

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A very simple and  beautiful Christmas wreath for your front door! (I think I will make one of these  for this upcoming Christmas…) Very soothing and calming. This wreath reminds me of  my childhood years … You know the days  when you’d  lay in the freshly mowed grass and look up at the sky, mesmerized by the wonder of the stars and bright lit moon, on the clear, balmy summer nights?

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This home went all out with it’s maritime decor… I love how all the colors chosen in this festive garland go PERFECTLY with the sandy brown paint color of the home, accented by the bold whites and the rich, dark wood of the front doors . (The decor even draws in the color of the shudders! ) Very Classy!

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Lastly, a tranquil, serene and festive holiday table … Again, there is nothing like the combination of  the color and textures of blue and white, sea shells, accompanied by natures beloved hue of green. (I would have never thought up the idea of a bench painted blue and white….it’s so pretty!)

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OK, I am  now ready for a hot, freshly brewed, cup of coffee and something to eat after this home tour! 🙂 Happy house creating….Enjoy bringing forth your individual and magical nautical  home as you add some new ideas to your abode. Whether you  decide to just change one room or change them all, treat yourself to the house decor that fulfills YOU and surround yourself with all the things YOU LOVE!

( And no, I do not think that mermaids are real! 🙂   Well maybe in the dreams and imaginations of  our children… 🙂

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