MEN, SURPRISE the one you love with a romantic dinner for two.

“Would you like to know your future – If your answer is yes, think again. Not knowing is the greatest life motivator. So, enjoy, endure, survive each moment as it comes to you in it’s proper sequences, A SURPRISE!candles 3

I think being surprised is one of the most amazing experiences in our lives.  There are so many things in our days and weeks that are routine…fixing three meals, cleaning the house, mowing the lawn, laundry, our jobs, grocery shopping, etc…It’s funny, but I am a daily, weekly and monthly planner lady. 🙂  I just adore sitting at my serene desk,  with my coffee and making plans on paper.  I know everything that will happen that day and it is all written down in my book. 🙂  (I bet there are a lot of you out there, just like me.) 🙂 Whenever something out of the ordinary occurs, (not on our ready made lists,)  it is a beautifully wondrous, unexpected joy…It makes us smile, fills up our ‘hope tanks,’ and renews our hearts that ‘surprises’ still exist. 🙂 I was out of my favorite perfume but didn’t want my husband to know as it’s a little bit more on the expensive side…well, one day, he drove in around dinner time from a meeting in Lewes, and in his hands was a fetching perfume bag with my special fragrance inside. It was not only an ‘endearing surprise,’ but a grand blessing as it deeply touched me that he was so thoughtful in noticing I was out of the fragrance as well as going by the shop to buy it. It made my entire week! 🙂

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

“Love must be as much a light as it is a flame.” ~ Henry David Thoreau.

“There is no surprise more magical than the surprise of being loved . It is God’s finger on man’s shoulder.” ~ Charles Morgan

“Love one another and you will be happy. It is as simple and as difficult as that.” ~ Michael Leunig

“Love is not maximum emotion. Love is maximum commitment.” ~ Sinclair B. Ferguson

“…It’s a blessed thing to love and feel loved in return.” ~ E.A. Bucchianneri

“True love is not a potion one person can swallow and another refuse to drink. It only happens when the souls of two join together to form one.” ~ P.C. Cast

I am amazed at the diversity of ways that we can show our adoration and thoughtfulness to the people we love. Cooking delicious cuisine has always been an important part of my life. (OK, when I moved out of my folks home, into my first apartment and worked two jobs, I never cooked and did not eat healthy, 🙂 ) but there is just something about good food and breaking bread together that is so fulfilling!

In the book by Francis Mayes, “In Tuscany,” an Italian shares his thoughts on what food, (exquisite food,) means to the the people of Italy. (I love his philosophy.) 🙂 “Food is the sun: family, work, friends, the day to day, the extraordinary all in orbit like planets.” There is order in the universe when someone says; “Lets eat.” Italian’s celebrate everything with  robust , flavorful cuisine and some of their fetes and gala’s are celebrations of just the food itself.


What better gift can you give to that special someone in your life than sweet and savory flavors, a warm, gladsome  ambiance, delicious wine and bread, and mellifluous tones to uplift the soul?  (It will always be remembered as an enchanting evening of convivial enjoyment.)

Create  this evening  to be an unforgettable night…surprise the one you love with a homemade, (yes, I said homemade) dinner for two. I have all the “fixings” for you from start to finish. One of the nicest things in life is the element of surprise…So, if there is anyway possible for you to do this secretly, and present it as a complete  ‘marvel and amazement,’ for your loved one,  that would be ideal!

Are you ready to get started? This evening’s meal is a meal that can be prepared early enough for you to leave the Stroganoff on the stove top and fresh greens and shrimp in the  refrigerator, (the bread can be warming about the time they walk in the door, (the aroma will be out of this world.)

G-23Your menu for the evening is quite the crowd- pleaser… (though your only going to be  pleasing one! ) 🙂 (Make sure you check out the end of this blog to “get directions” to your recipes and ingredients needed for the  evening’s cuisine.)

APPETIZER : Fresh shrimp cocktail (served with lemon slices,) accompanied with a chilled glass of sparkling cider .

FIRST COURSE :  Caesar salad with croutons and Parmesan cheese, hot sour dough baguette with butter.

MAIN COURSE : Beef Stroganoff served over  buttery egg noodles.

DESSERT: Haagen-dazs  Vanilla  Swiss almond ice cream with homemade fudge sauce, topped with whip cream .

WINE : I recommend Toasted Head Merlot or Chardonnay…Both excellent wines.

Creating the picture-book ambiance for your captivating and romantic evening is just as important as your menu. Bring forth an ambient atmosphere that is striking to the eyes and pampering to the senses…

Music can enhance your room with melodic reverie and bring froth a soothing, bliss filled  evening. While dining with your appetizer and redolent two courses, I suggest listening to Shardad, ‘The beauty of love’ or  Josh Grobin’s, Live in concert as well as Live at the Greek. All of of these CD’s are quieting , dreamy and will most assuredly relieve any stresses of the day!


 The ambiance of your home, sets the tone for the night…When your special lady walks through the door, have a myriad of candles burning…Perhaps one candle that is scented, (the essence of what ever season of the year it is, ) and then a potpourri of unscented tea lights, (In creative votives) or small round candles,  burning amidst your dining and living room. This will enrich and heighten her first impression of the evening as well as bring forth an awesome aroma throughout the night. (Flickering , glistening candles are very romantic! )  🙂

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The table that you create for your dinner will be the center of attention, so make it a beautiful one…It’s up to you, a more formal table with nice china, linen napkins and  ornate silverware or, a comfortable, more casual setting with your everyday china, silverware and cotton napkins. Either way you chose, remember to always adorn the table with fresh flowers and classy taper or pillar candles… (Fresh flowers dress up a table like nothing else and as women, we love that added touch!) 🙂

These table settings below are your more casual settings…Very lovely, comfortable and cozy!


These ‘Tableau’s” beneath are more on the formal side…Fresh , crisp linens always dress up a table, especially in shades of soft whites. ( I love the yellow roses!)


If the weather is beautiful and not to chilly, Alfresco dining is also another option. That can be formal or informal as well. (I adore these romantic settings!) 🙂

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Another special touch is placing an embellishing and charmingly wrapped gift at the front of her table setting. It does not need to be extravagant….perhaps a striking, decorative writing pen, a Yankee scented candle, two movie passes to a near by theater, a  gift card to her favorite eatery, a popular CD or DVD that you know she loves.


When she arrives, have a glass of chilled Sparkling cider for her as well as the colorful, delicious appetizer. Allow some time to unwind, (both of you ) 🙂 and enjoy the aroma of all the flavors dancing around your home.  (You will find that by the time you sit down to dinner, both of your appetites will be more voluminous and the small wait will be worth it.) 🙂 Allow the contentment to mount up as you both await and imagine that first, mouthwatering bite of salad and the scrumptious beef Stroganoff.


When you serve the first course,  the Casar salad , toss it right before you place it on the plates and bring along side of it, the delectable, hot sourdough baguette and  creamy butter. Now it’s time to open a nice bottle of wine…for this meal I suggest “Toasted Head Merlot.” It is an excellent wine with the Stroganoff and goes nicely with fresh greens as well. If you are a white wine drinker, the Toasted Head Chardonnay is quite delicious as well. If you do not drink at all, then stick with your sparkling,ice cold cider or fresh Raspberry tea. 🙂


Now , (Drum roll please….) it is time to serve up your main meal. When I serve Beef Stroganoff , I usually stir it together before I serve it, but you may want to place your hot , buttery noodles on the plate and spoon the heated sauce on top, right  before you place it on the table. It is a hearty dish and very satisfying! (It’s what my husband and I call a “comfort meal.”)  🙂


As your stomachs are full  and you are both feeling very relaxed , I recommend going into the living room, perhaps having another glass of wine or fresh coffee… (With some of that whipped cream you have for the hot fudge sundaes.)  🙂  If you both are up for it, watch a “girl movie” together… Four wonderful and romantic movies we have enjoyed  together are Bridesmaids, P.S. I love you, New Years Eve and The Holiday.   Bridesmaids is exceedingly  funny… the other three are quite romantic. (All the films have an excellent cast of stars as well!)



About half way through the movie, bring out your delicious ice cream with hot fudge sauce… Maybe some flavored decaf coffee… NOW, JUST ENJOY AND RELAX.


I hope that this evening blesses you both and that it exceeds your expectations! Enjoy, relax, HAVE FUN and leave the dishes for the morning! 🙂

**This dinner is listed in the “Unforgettable Recipes” category under the title; ” Beef Stroganoff and all the fixings.” You will find all the ingredients, recipes and how I prepare this meal at our home. Happy creating and cooking! Let me know how it turns out! 🙂

CREDITS for PHOTOGRAPHS: If you place your computer mouse over any of the the photos or graphics, it will display where it originated from.


Dressing up your porch for the holiday seasons! It’s magical!


After writing my blog, “There are many stories told and memories made on our porches,”  illustrating how meaningful our ‘verandas’ are in our lives, I decided to compose a writing on a variety of wondrous ideas for ‘dressing up” your porch for all the prominent seasons. Decorating is so much fun and it is not only a gift to us and our family but to our friends and neighbors as well.   When we lived in Arizona, we had the cutest cottage home, tucked away in the Historic district, with a wrap around porch. Each autumn season, I created a fall tableau on our porch, with scarecrows, bales of hay, pumpkins, and home made characters amongst an array of motley and bodacious fall foliage.  There were days I would see the cutest little kids outside our home, just staring at the porch, smiling. One day they told me my home was their favorite in the neighborhood… It really touched me that something I loved doing so much, could make someone else so happy! I hope that porches ‘all dressed up for the holidays’ inspires you the whole year through!

It’s winter time. When the nippy autumn squall has become cold and gusty…we know that the coldest months of the year are right around the corner. A-97

Our Porches, the very first ‘impression’ our guests have of our beautiful havens are festooned in a glorious array of wintry and festive Cheer…

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 “Winter came to our home one night, Quietly pirouetting on silvery toed slippers of snow, And we were children once again.” ~ Bill Morgan Jr.

“Winter, when the bold branches bid farewell to rainbow leaves.”

Living on the east coast, (originally from Southern California,) I undoubtedly adore the four seasons, winter being one of my all time favorites. For January, after our beloved Christmas is over, it gives me great joy to create a “wintry – wonderland” within my home and on my porch. (I have a delightful collection of snowmen in all sizes and shapes.) One of my largest snowmen stands uprightly on our front porch, along with  his girlfriend, (my snow lady, Bianca. ) She mirthfully sits in a high back, white wooden rocking chair, charming all the people passing by. I have an authentic,’eye catching’  and very treasured sleigh that my brother surprised me with one Christmas in California that  I ‘load up’ with wintry bears adorned in  motley, warm sweaters.They look like they are ‘having the ride of their life!’ 🙂 I always have a wintery wreath hanging on my front porch door that says “welcome.” (You  guessed it, with snowmen!) And you can’t leave out , the most jolly and impressive snowmen of all…snowmen made out of REAL SNOW! They are not only magical and festive, but they are a ‘wondrous memory’ with you and your family as you created these lifelike, happy and charming characters together. 🙂


Light posts with fresh greens are so gracious and add a refined wintry look…they  are quite welcoming and festive. I adore the lighted birdhouse inside the porch…not only is it creative, and one of a kind but it is also enchanting and sublime. (It makes me want to run over to Micheal’s craft store, and buy all the materials to make one right away! ) 🙂 You can never go wrong with an abundance of firs and cedar branches draped upon your bannisters and front door, and of course, a touch of  magic with twinkling white  lights intertwined within the fresh greens.    January holds all of our resolutions, (successful or not, they are heart -felt,)  hopes and dreams for the year ahead and many visions of white fluffy days, creating snow angels, making snowmen, having snowball fights and enjoying an array of delicious comfort foods cooking in our ovens, helping to keep our homes toasty and warm. (And our tummies!)  🙂



“I don’t understand why Cupid was chosen to represent Valentines day. When I think about romance, the last thing on my mind is a short, chubby toddler coming at me with a weapon.” ~ Author unknown

“Who, being loved, is poor?” ~Oscar Wilde

Valentines day is a colorful, fun day to celebrate and yes, another opportunity to decorate! 🙂 These porches are  bedecked with a classy, yet simple valentines theme and create that ‘feel good’ emotion within. I keep my snowmen up in February, since after all,  it is still winter. I do put hearts on them though! 🙂  I also create a Valentines themed tree and add shimmering hearts intertwined in my garlands upon my hutches.  I love the vivacious and passionate  color of red, so it’s one of my favorite holidays to dress  up the house and porch with. Valentines wreaths and flower baskets are great decor touches to enhance your porches as well. I adore the rose wreath and wouldn’t mind that piece of decor, all year round! 🙂

Ah, finally, Springtime and its array of glorious color has arrived!A-55




“Spring is natures way of saying; “LETS PARTY.” ~ Robin Williams

“Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.”   ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Spring is a season filled to the brim with hope, promises of new life, bright colors and warm, blue skies…(Well, most of spring! ) 🙂 It is a busy time for those of us who love to festoon our havens.  These homes are all so diverse. Nature is the designer of color in the first spring home.. The foliage with it’s many hues of  pinks, reds, and purples is breathtaking , creating an alluring and sightly front porch. The other homes chose a little more inventive and  imaginative decor style,  each host adding their tastes of  spring’s illustrious arrival. I love the garlands, magical rabbits, topiary trees , bright colored eggs and the adorable ceramic bunnies.  Quite unique and a wondrous idea, the porch with the large chalkboard is a ‘keeper’ for future decor ideas. What a portentous  place to wish your neighbors and family a joyous season, no matter the time of the year. (The basket filled with moss, hosting a comfy berth for the  adorable baby chicks is so noble and crafty.) It would be a fun and easy art creation to make with friends.

 “Summer fun has arrived with all it’s many gifts of pleasure, excitement, exploring and the enjoyment of being outdoors in the gorgeous sunshine.




“Summer. A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing and the lawn mower is broken.” ~ James Dent

“If a June night could talk, it would probably boast it invented romance.” ~Bern Williams

 It’s time for trips to the beach, walking the Boardwalk, enjoying homemade saltwater taffy, sunbathing, picnics, pool parties, scary thunderstorms, camp outs, bonfires, grilling burgers and steaks with our friends and enjoying the performance of  the renowned,  magical, enchanting and lovely fireflies in our yards as the gloaming hours appear.

Our decorating is a little lighter, a bit more colorful and easy to keep up with as our days are now filled to overflowing with busyness and activities. It’s vacation time. The time for sleep overs for the kids, maintaining our gardens in the sweltering heat  and visiting the farmers markets for fetching hanging baskets and a myriad of flowers for our pots. We begin to  cook lighter, ( preparing more healthy inspired cuisine with our garden vegetables and herbs.) It’s a time for the Peach and Apple festivals, eating an abundance of delectable Cold Stone ice cream cones and enjoying one of the best things ever created in this world….Air conditioning!  (Its for the times you  want to escape the heat and  are already wishing  it was our beloved autumn  or winter again!)  🙂

All of these summer porches evoke fun, playfulness, color and rejuvenation. (Exactly what you want your porch to be after long days away, when your only desire upon arriving home is  to kick off your shoes, grab a cold drink and have a few moments of repose before cooking dinner.)

In the midst of our hot summer months, we can’t forget the eventful and meaningful holiday, Independence day, other wise know as the 4th of July!



“Where Liberty dwells, there is my country.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

“Liberty is the breath of life to the nations.” ! George Bernard Shaw

It is funny, within our travels and all the people we have met, the 4th of July is either a ‘really big’ celebration and colossal  event in peoples lives, or it is just a  ‘so-so’ affair.   Growing up, it was a time of family gatherings, homemade fried chicken, freshly fried potatoes, Cole slaw, butter beans and layered biscuits. My mom would create a lovely and  festive red, white and blueberry dessert! 🙂 After our tummies were full, we either all piled into our station wagon, (7 kids) and went to a nearby  college auditorium, the cliffs at Coronal Del Mar  beach or watched the extravaganza from our homes, as the firework’s filled the skies with their magical colors and fantastic display of much appreciated technical and artistic skill. All anyone  could hear were a thousand  ‘oohs and awes.’  It was a time of refection, thankfulness for our freedom and counting how many summer vacation days were left  until school started.  🙂  We could hardly wait to get home so my dad would  give us all some sparkler’s to run around the yard with. (They were like magic wands as they fizzled and glowed in the dark.) Now as an adult, I enjoy this holiday but I  have never been a big fan of decorating for it. After seeing some of these porches and observing such great ideas, I think this summer will be different! 🙂  All these porches are very summery yet simple, highlighted with the patriotic colors of red, white and blue! Very beautiful!

FALL IS IN THE AIR! Can you feel it ?

Fall is my  favorite time of the year for decorating…The autumn season is such a welcomed change from the hot summer days and the warm reds, bright  yellows, smoky browns and purples are back in style. The air is brisk, the fire is always burning in the fireplace and for some reason, there is always a great, scary, but not to scary, suspenseful thriller movie on! 🙂 The magnificent and kaleidoscopic fallen leaves blanket the barren ground…its time to get our bread makers out and find that one savored recipe for homemade chili and cornbread. (Hey, with the cooler temperatures, we will burn off those calories off in no time at all! ) 🙂

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“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” ` Albert Camus

“Delicious Autumn! My very soul is wedded to it and if it were a bird, I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” ~ George Eliot

I find that out of all the season’s, Autumn and Christmas are the two most popular for house and porch decorating.  When my husband and I lived in Alexandria Virginia, I would take Grantham for walks in our neighborhood every evening around twilight, the famous gloaming hour. 🙂Personal photo of Susan and Graham The air was so crisp, the breeze just perfect upon my cheeks as it’s aroma was that of wood burning in a fire place somewhere close by. The golden streets, (from the sun’s descent,)  were filled with homes that exuded the  very essence of the fall season. It was almost as if each home, tried to outdo the one before it and next to it.) (A little competition going on there  🙂 ) I loved that Graham and I got  daily exercise but mostly, I enjoyed the wonderment I beheld of autumn arriving with all of it’s bounty of gifts.  Some homes were very refined, tailored and classy with large pumpkins amongst bales of hay,  charming scarecrows standing throughout the yard,  soft amber  lights twinkling in the trees as well as around the front porch, (hidden in the grapevine garlands as well as the wreath upon the front door.) fall  There were fall leaves everywhere and ample planters filled with beautiful mums in bright yellow and a rich purple. The combination of the cold air and the feelings of fall displayed liberally amongst the street, truly  made me feel like a child again. (Even Graham had a kick in his step. 🙂 )  I could hardly wait to see the next home…There were some homes that had their hearts set on Halloween decor more so than celebrating fall…(Those houses were on the scary side. ) Bone white, (no pun intended 🙂 )  lanky skeletons hung from the trees as pitch black bats were mounted, (upside down of course,) upon a few of the branches on the tree limbs that were bare. There were cobwebs, spiders, a Frankenstein monster as well as the renowned ‘mummy’ and then of course the coffins which had R.I.P.  painted upon them. Graham kind of ‘trotted by those homes,’….He does not go for all the scary stuff! (Except of course if a real black cat just happened to be lurking around in the midst of the  graveyard, then he would be chasing that cat in a flash and be part of their spooky display. 🙂 Trying to catch him would be  even spookier for me! 🙂

These porches are all  stunningly filled with bounteous ideas for your fall porch amidst all the vibrant hues of golds, reds, copper, russet, purples and orange.  How about a Pumpkin carving party along with a ladies Tea on your newly decorated piazza. Maple and pecan scones with fresh unsalted butter, carrot soup, pumpkin bread and a delicious autumn spiced tea?

We can’t forget that in the midst of our celebrating  the autumn harvest with  grateful hearts, the wondrous holiday of THANKSGIVING!C-110

 There is not a whole lot to add to your fall verandah, if you have decorated for the autumn season. It you have festooned your porch for ‘Trick-or-treaters,’ along with a spooky atmosphere, you may want to replace it now with a little fall decor. Scarecrows are so easy to make as well as displaying plenty of plump pumpkins, fall garlands and Pilgrims giving thanks. It is a wonderful holiday and we have so much to celebrate and be thankful for!


IT”S Beginning to look a lot like Christmas…The one magical season that SPEAKS IT”S PRAISE all by itself!

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“Christmas weaves a magic wand over the world and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas time.” ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

Every porch is bedecked with yuletide JOY! At Christmas, the wealth that nature alone sends our way, is more than a bounty to decorate with. We are gifted with the riches of firs, cedar branches, wild berries, mistletoe, ivy, bay and a potpourri of evergreens, cranberries and apples, (of all colors.)  For a polished, refined  look, use cranberry red and  shimmering gold ribbon intertwined in  the garlands hanging around your front door or upon your wreaths and balustrades.  This wintry Christmas garden wreath is exquisite…I can easily see that in front of a large mansion, B&B or even a small cottage!

It is the time of year where a little extra light is needed as the days are short and the nights long. Topiary trees, outdoor Christmas trees or garland around our outside bannisters, interlaced and weaved with glittering white lights is festive and fairy tale like, evoking a CELEBRATION!

If you are blessed with a home on the water,  and a dock that  travels out to your boat, decorating your walkway with lights and a small tree is stunning!  Having a beautifully festooned Christmas porch is not only a feast for the eyes but a respite for the soul. By the time you accomplish all of your ‘holiday To Do list,’ ( the boat parade, caroling, sledding with your kids, making snowmen, baking, parties, shopping, wrapping, guests and your  church candle light service,) your body and soul will gladly appreciate that wicker chair, warm Christmas throw,  apple cinnamon candle burning, twinkling white lights, the smell of fresh greens and a big mug of hot cocoa.) (And of course a space heater to warm your toes! 🙂

“MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT! ” (And be inspired to dress up your porches! 🙂  ~ The chubby guy all dressed in red with a long beard. 🙂


Credits for Photographs.  If you place your computer mouse on any photo or graphic, it will display where it originated from.

Charming and alluring hutches!


If there is one piece of furniture that never goes out of style,  is diverse in all it’s many purposes and can be embellished with a cornucopia of fresh, creative decor, it is the ever famous, beloved and charming HUTCH!   For me, our hutches speak loudly of home history, collections and hobbies, create the MOOD of our room, display delectable hot cuisine, celebrate the joyous wealth of our adored seasons, create great conversations, bring froth “the perfect lighting,” to add to the ambiance of our rooms, and say, WELCOME, take your shoes off, get comfy and stay awhile! 🙂


There is nothing quite as warm , inviting and cozy as a ‘Country Cottage Hutch.” 🙂

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

Home is where somebody notices when you are no longer there.” ~ Alek Sander Hemon

“Winter is the time for comfort, good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for talking beside the fire: It is the TIME FOR HOME.” ~ Edith Smith…. (Talking beside the hutch is warm and cozy too! 🙂

Home is the nicest word there is.” ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

“A man travels the world over, in search of what he needs and returns HOME to find it.” ~ George Augustus Moore

” If ever I go looking for my hearts desire again, I will not look any further than my own backyard . Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.” ~ L. Frank Baum, The wonderful Wizard of Oz.

“There is no place like home.”  ~ L. Frank Baum

It is so true…Home is where the heart is. Whether it is your favorite hutch bedecked with all the things you love, your romantic or blue and white bedroom, the cozy kitchen, luxurious bathroom or the person or people who reside there with you that have captured your heart... they all are your HOME. I love the movie under the Tuscan Sun by Francis Mayes. In the end of the film, Diane Lane, (playing Francis in the movie,) makes a comment I will never forget.She says, ( as she is summing up her life in her new home in Tuscany, Italy; “What are four walls anyway? They are what they contain…the house protects the dreamer, unthinkable things can happen, even if it is late in the game. It is such a surprise.”  If you saw the movie you would know that yes, it was the romantic Villa that caught her eye, but it was the people who helped her renovate it along with her neighbors and new friends who became her family and made her house her home.  Just seeing that movie and reading the novella makes me want to live in Tuscany…especially the way Italians celebrate such wondrous  cuisine and  camaraderie. ( I just do not care for all the scorpions!)  🙂

Though our homes  truly are the people we love and abide with, it is also a place where our joys and memories tarry… Some of our felicity and blissfulness linger  in the very things we have picked up a long the way…Each piece of furniture my husband and I have, has either come from an inheritance, (thus bringing back many cherished memories from our family and origins,) or pieces we have chosen and purchased together. Our havens  are a  delightful hodgepodge of collections, a mixture of the old and new…and for me, our hutches, (we have three of them,) have so much history and are so diverse within their architecture, they are some of my favorite pieces of furniture in our home.. ) And oh- so- much- fun to decorate.) 🙂 Remember I shared with you that for some, “Less is more?”  Then there are those where “More is more.” OK, I am  one of the More is more people. 🙂  (Just a heads up!) 🙂

Here is one of my favorite hutches within our home…This is it ” Before.” 🙂J-41

This is the hutch “After.” Spanish5

This antique Spanish hutch is nestled in our “romantic style” bedroom. It is a hutch that sets the mood for our room...  I inherited  it from a family member. Because so much of my decor style is Victorian and country-cottage, I took the ‘vision’ I had inside of my heart, and created the hutch the way I wanted it to look. (Spanish architecture is not my decor style.)  For others, their style would be completely different, creating their inner ‘expression’ that makes them happy, revealing their personality. That is why decorating is so personal.


This next hutch brings forth the great idea of displaying beloved heirlooms... Our hutch is a showcase for all of our treasured gifts from gladsome travels. It is also the perfect place to show off our collections, whether it be antique tea sets, family silver, crystal stemware, sea shell collections or antediluvian and timeless china. Whatever makes you happy, dauntlessly take it out of your boxes and display it for every eye to behold. I guarantee you that you will find yourself smiling and remembering many happy and endearing memories everyday.




These next hutches are definitely  a conversation piece  and will have everyone asking you the questions, (where did you get this? How old is it? Is it European? French?)  Whether you have one item displayed upon it’s stunning and elegant shelves or a myriad of countless, treasured trinkets, it will be ‘the center of attention’ in any room you place it.   The regal woods, articulate designs, and appearance is anything but simple and ordinary…both hutches are exceedingly ornate and stunning! Perfect in a dining room or Living room. I would display topiary trees, dishes, photographs, or my collection of coffee table books on these exquisite  hutches.





This lovely hutch is an ideal way to add cozy lighting in your room. Many hutches have lights built within them and lowering the wattage creates a softer, more romantic glow. Candle light is very cozy and heartwarming. I always place votive or tea light candles on my hutches and not only do they enhance the charm of the hutch, but our entire room. For a different look, interlace tiny, miniature white lights within grapevine or floral garlands draped upon  your hutch to create a soft, amber glow and create a fairy- tale-like ambiance.




One of my favorite ways to display and embellish our hutches is to decorate them for each of  the four glorious seasons. Every winter, summer, autumn and spring, I can hardly wait to get out my seasonal decor and work away, creating and  bringing the season to life, enhancing the beautify of our hutches as well as our rooms.  I still have not decided my favorite holiday to decorate our hutches. My decision changes every season. 🙂 It is so hard to compare the beauty and majesty of Christmas to the the time of harvest, changing leaves and kaleidoscopic colors when autumn arrives in all it’s charm with so many fabulous and creative ideas. 🙂

For summer, fresh flowers, blue and white china, ivory tea pots, topiary trees, candles and decorative items that are light and airy are ideal for dressing up our hutches. Also, seasonal fruits, a summer wreath, crystal stemware with your favorite Chardonnay tucked away in a Tera-cotta wine holder, sea shells, or great summer novellas make for great decor.  Create summer and it’s buoyant and canty beauty  upon your hutches lovely and intricate shelves.






The autumn season with  it’s abundance of golden hues of reds, yellows, gilded golds, browns and purple, remind every guest as well as your family that fall has finally arrived. Cooler nights, natures bounty of color returning to our neighborhoods and pumpkin carving parties, trips to the Renaissance Fair, visits to the Apple festivals and Oktoberfest gala’s are right around the corner.

I  decorate our hutches with pumpkins, fall garlands, autumn scented candles, warm rich china of golds and sage or hunter green, scarecrows, red apples, cranberry-red roses, fresh green garlands with shimmering  lights and miniature pumpkins placed within the hanging greens. Petite gourds and  dried autumn flowers are also decor that will create  coziness and catch the eye of your family and guests.G-70





In the delightful winter season, Christmas is my all out ‘celebration time’ of the year so I go absolutely crazy with my decor. These next hutches are both subtle and jubilant as they gesture to our hearts to greet the arrival of the new season of joy and glad tidings. Whether with creamy Lenox china, bright bows, fresh greens, candle lights, small topiary trees, wintry holiday themed plates, Christmas china or red berries, display all of your favorite Christmas collections upon your august and  enchanting hutch.








Lastly, our beloved Spring! There is an abundance of decor for spring time. These hutches invite this awesome season in and persuades all of it’s colorful beauty to stay around for awhile. You can never go wrong with ceramic bunnies, (whether in white, pastel or earthy, rich colors,)  topiary trees, fresh flowers, blue and white china, an abundance of fresh greens and the mixture of yellows and whites. Why are the colors yellow and white, when mixed together so alluring and beautiful? White is representative of purity, goodness, innocence, and considered to be the color of perfection. Yellow is cheerful, jovial, warm and represents hope…combine them together and you can feel this duo’s  gracious gift of serenity to the soul.






Have you ever thought or heard of a ‘hutch for the garden?’ Yes, now there are hutches to place outside for garden tools and accessories.  They really are quite charming.  Of course the  number one decor item for these quaint creations are natures bounty, fresh flowers… (Maybe sneak in a few bunnies, ducks or squirrels. 🙂





Another purpose for the ingenious creation of the ‘hutch’ is a place for our men to place some of their favorite things, trophies, photographs or maybe even a TV? Yes, It is going to be in their study or ‘man cave’ so leave it up to them to create and decorate in their own style…(In our home, my husbands study is off limits to my fingers 🙂 )





One of my favorite types of hutches is the kitchen nook hutch…It adds so much warmth and coziness to the kitchen. Some great decorative ideas are cookbooks, everyday china, adorable ceramic chefs, dried flowers, decorative tea towels, hot cocoa mugs, colorful candies in authentic candy jars…the list goes on and on. These hutches are not only decorative, but very useful!






The Dining room hutch is probably  the most popular, as many of the dining room sets that you purchase are accompanied by a matching hutch.  This hutch is another prosaic piece of furniture and is usually filled with fine china’s, leaded crystal,  china tea pots, and family silver. I enhance my hutch with bunnies, winsome wreaths, a “Bistro” throw, decorative painted plates as well as votive and tea light candles.

Another popular dining room addition to the hutch or in some cases, within your hutch, is the old fashioned sideboard. This is a place to display all of your cuisine before and while you are dining.







The hutch in this photograph is in back of this gorgeous table!



All of your hutches in the dining room that have a bottom shelf that is not glassed in or closely connected with an upper-shelf, can be used as a sideboard. You have two other options.Go shopping and purchase  for yourself, a new, authentic and gallant sideboard, (that would make for a  ‘supper-fun’ shopping day,) 🙂 or you can also add a ‘homemade’ sideboard to your dining room. I am blessed to have a  hutch that has a ample sized lower shelf that I use as a sideboard. I also use an ornate, cherry wood, antique dresser that I inherited from my parents, (the first piece of furniture they bought when they got married in 1945.)  It is covered with an elegant, embroidered table runner and lends me extra space so that I may display my side-dishes, casseroles, salads, bread, coffee carafe, ice tea and desserts. These hutches above are very classy , cozy as well as  convenient.

Here are just a few of the foods you can place on your hutch (or sideboard,)  to help you with serving…Have fun! (And take time to enjoy your cuisine, company and newly embellished hutch.)  🙂


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Whether you are out looking for that perfect hutch, have one that needs restoration out in the garage, (maybe it’s perfect for your garden hutch,) or you have several hutches that need a ‘little dressing up’, I hope that this blog has brought you inspiration and some wonderful ideas. It has for me!

Happy Hutch Creating!

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

LINKS: will be arriving soon.


















Gentle Giants!

chubby baby

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

“The dog was created specially for children. He is the god of frolic.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher

“There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.” ~ Ben Williams

“My friend, my partner, my defender, my dog.” ~Author unknown

If your dog doesn’t like someone, you probably shouldn’t either.  Love Me. Love my dog. To err is human, to forgive, canine. I’m dead in dog years. A dog is nothing but a ‘furry person.’  ~ From ‘Just Dog Stuff,’ by Deb Grogan.

“A dog says “I love you” with his tail.” Author unknown.

Our heartbeat, forever-faithful- companion, best friend, our “babies,” our family,  bodyguard and guardian, our joy, great love and better than a movie night’s entertainment…OUR BELOVED DOGS!

In this blog, I want to share how much dogs bring an abundance of love, felicity and beauty to our lives.  I can’t even imagine life without our Grantham now…He brings more love and joy to our hearts, lives and home than I ever imagined possible. We even have him on our  “Who are the five people you would take with you on a deserted island?” list. (That only leaves room for three more humans! )  🙂 As you may  have guessed by now,  my husband and I are both connoisseurs of canines. (Hey that sounds like a great name for a  fan club.) 🙂

Our first dog was Patch, a black Lab – Springer Spaniel mix that we got at eight weeks old and he was with us for ten wondrous years… He was not “my hearts dream-dog,” but the ‘hearts dream part’ usually happens after we bring them into our homes and get to know them…You know what I mean?  🙂 He was loving, forgiving, humorous, stubborn and he stole our hearts…My husbands first, then mine. The ten years he was with us , I could not imagine loving a dog more than him…let alone getting another dog…but when he died , we knew inside, we had too much love in our hearts to not bring another one into our home.


Can you guess in this Christmas photo of my husband, Patch and I, what my dream dog was? An English Sheep dog…. (I was very hopeful.) 🙂 Little did I know there was a breed of dog that I would even love more than the Sheepdog out there in this world, that I had never even heard of!)


Within months after Patch died, we welcomed our new dog into our home and hearts…The breeder said we were buying a Chesapeake Bay retriever, AKA a “Chessie,’ mix…All I knew was when we walked into that country home in Maryland and Graham and I laid eyes upon each other, it was love at first sight. He was 2 months old and THE CUTEST PUPPY I had ever seen.


(Grantham in our home in Alexandria VA. shortly after we  brought him to live with us.)

It was not until Grantham, (Graham for short,)  began his first ‘growing spurt’  that we found out what breed he REALLY WAS… (He in no-way resembled a Chessie mix.)  I tried to call the breeder but her phone was disconnected, so we began researching… Graham was a Briard, part of the Sheepdog family…and it was a good thing we found out exactly what his origin was as the way you train and raise a Briard is totally different that how we raised Patch.

Graham has been with us through every thing imaginable and truly is what they call the Briard breed, “A heart wrapped in fur.”  He is the love of our lives… funny, winsome, loving, protective, loyal, obedient and so adorable and cuddly, I just want to pinch his cheeks… (He doesn’t like that when I do it though) 🙂

He just turned twelve years old and I pray all the time that we have many more years with him as he truly is “our baby.”  (They become that you know? )



In this blog, I want to share with you a few breeds that I read up on that have sweet, loving temperaments and though  they are all large dogs, (like Graham,)  they really are ‘little kids’ at heart!  Yes, these are all “gentle giant,” breeds…  ENJOY!


The first dog I want to introduce you to is the Bouvier des Flanders, and can be easily mistaken for a black bear in the woods! 🙂  He is so cuddly yet very handsome.

The Bouvier is a herding dog originating in Flanders. They were bread originally as a work dog, having both the strength and temperament to herd sheep and cattle, and help the farmers with their work load.

This dog, besides being gorgeous, is rational, gentle, loyal, protective, a great family pet, sophisticated, smart and accountable. Owners say that the Bouvier is an obedient dog, very calm and gentle, an excellent guard dog , fearless and easy to train.

Bouvier’s need to be trained and socialized at an early age and if not kept active, do tend to get bored. (I would hate for this breed to get bored at my house.)  🙂 Thank goodness for Doggy-parks and long-brisk walks!


Breed number two…this one is quite a sight to see…(also a new breed of dog to me), the Bergamasco.


Okay, I admit…The hair on this dog scares me, 🙂 but he sure is adorable isn’t he? A Bergamasco  is “yours just as much as you are theirs.” They are also a herding dog and will herd you around the house 24/7. (Graham does it to us all the time.) It is part of their nature… (It is a charming trait, and after 12 years, we are use to it and still know how to be ‘the boss’, even though at times, it gets challenging!) 🙂

This breed is patient, vigilant, determined and very intelligent. They adore children… They love human companionship but are wary of newcomers and will bark at them  like crazy, until they have become friends. They have a NEED to communicate their love to you within your relationship with one another. ( That is a wonderful trait.)  They like direct communication through eye contact.  They are not the most obedient dog but love to think and resolve problems. It is your intimate personal relationship with this breed that will cause them to be obedient , as they desire to please you. I have never see  one of these in Delaware, or any state I have lived in for that matter…They are unique and a challenge to bathe. (I can only imagine. 🙂  It is  recommended that you give them sponge baths in between their full baths…it makes it easier. 🙂 Beautiful dog!


If you are looking for a camping, hiking and fishing buddy, this next dog is for you! The Newfoundland, otherwise known as a ‘Newphie.’


I have met this sweet, gentle breed and have to say, it is a dog we would love to have … The ‘Newphie’ is extremely intelligent, genial, and able to discern the slightest emotions from humans and other animals alike. Their large body creates a slow, kind of lazy disposition… so taking those long hikes, (in the cooler weather ) would be great!

The AKC standard reports that ‘the sweetness of temperament is the hallmark of the Newfoundland.  I believe it …They are lovers of people, want to be included in every family activity, adore the outdoors, especially cold weather and the white fluffy snow. (You will see them pulling the kids in their sleigh in the winter.)  They are great with children as they love to snuggle and (get this,) they even allow the little ones to jump up on their  backs… (Maybe they are part pony?)  🙂 They are a great babysitter and you don’t have to pay them a dime!

‘Newphies’  need to be trained young and  they respond best to praise and treats…do not be harsh with this dog or you will get nowhere.  They need a few daily walks and would love to go to the doggy park. (We started taking Graham to the Doggy-park when he was young, to socialize him and it worked great!) Pets Mart is another wonderful place to socialize your dog and introduce them to all types of breeds. This dog is definitely on our list! Absolutely breathtaking!

Breed number four is the Hollywood star, bouncy and full of energy English Sheepdog!

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Yes, ever since I was a little girl and a loyal fan of “Please don’t eat the Daisies,” (and their camera loving sheepdog, Lad,)  I have dreamed of one day owning an English Sheepdog. My husband would always tell me; “One day, when we have a really big house and yard, you can have your sheepdog…” (Little did he know Graham would be as big! ) 🙂

This beautiful breed is very protective, has strong herding instincts, (their family is their flock,)  playful, adaptable, bubbly, smart, loving and very social. They are another dog that would be a great walking, hiking or camping buddy… They do not like to be alone, are a challenge to train but you have to be firm with this dog. They also need about an hour of exercise a day.

When my husband and I were visiting family in California, we went to Dana Point Harbor to have lunch by the water. As we were leaving, a couple with an English Sheepdog were sitting on the patio enjoying a cup of coffee. We walked over to meet “Oscar” and he was so loving, full of peace and so cute, I could hardly stand it…(I wanted one of those that day as well! 🙂


This next dog is known specifically as “The Gentle Giant.”    The very regal and handsome St. Bernard.


When I read about this breed, I was quite taken aback and have a new respect and admiration for this dog. The St. Bernard is most famous for their rescue abilities. In the Swiss Alps, the St. Bernard dogs that lived at The Saint Bernard de Menthon Hospice, were responsible for saving 2,000 humans who were trapped in Avalanches. They would go out in twos for the rescue… one dog would stay and lay with  the injured person, (to keep them warm,) and the other would go back home to the Hospice to get help. (That is so touching.)

They are a very sociable dog, lovable and do need training at an early age, which is no easy task as they can be stubborn, willful, and independent.   As puppies, they are quite clumsy but as they  grow up, they become docile and love to take afternoon naps. They are a ‘companion’ dog…a breed that adores children and being a part of the family. They favor the cold weather and snow, and like the ‘Newphie’, they also can be seen pulling the kids in their magical sleighs in the wintry weather. (That would make a great Christmas card photo.) 🙂 They need two walks a day and a place to run a few days a week.

We almost got a St. Bernard puppy at a rescue adoption but when we went back to get him, he was already taken. I think Graham would have loved him as large breeds are drawn to other big dogs .


Lastly, (and of course our favorite breed of all)…The Briard, A French herding dog. (And boy, can they herd YOU.) 🙂

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I have only seen two other Briards, (in person,) and that was in Alexandria Virginia. It is not a dog that you normally see, thus being the reason  why so many people stop my husband and I when we are out with Graham and ask,”What kid of dog is that? (Besides the fact that he is so cute.) 🙂 I definitely feel Graham belongs under the gentle giant category as he is just that… Tender, light hearted and mellow in spirit, but has a Brobdingnagian and grand, sturdy build. I have to laugh… We had a  narrow home in Virginia, (as a lot of the homes in the Alexandria and DC area are built that way.) As Graham began growing, and we finally knew what breed he really was, we were a little nervous as if you knew me, you would know I love stuff and no table is bare. 🙂 Well, truth be told, Graham got huge and  a lot of things got knocked off tables and walls as he would saunter through the rooms and wag his ever-loving  tail… but… I did not care one bit as I loved him so much!

The Briard breed is loving, totally devoted, loyal, faithful, fun loving, smart, intuitive to every single emotion happening around him, loves people but is very protective of those he feels are his “flock.”  They are playful, love to be a a part of the family, enjoy chasing squirrels, deer, bunnies, birds and groundhogs… they just love to play! They can be very willful and stubborn and do need training and socialization at an early age…Their training , much like some of the other gentle giants is only successful with praise and treats…they do not like the words “bad dog” one bit and will retreat from you with hurt feelings if you use that term in your training process…(they are very sensitive.)  🙂   They adore the snow and cold weather and do not like the word bath either! 🙂

The Briards acute  hearing is one of their gifts. During the Napoleonic wars, when the battles had ended and the officers needed to begin the rescue mission of the soldiers who were still alive, they would send the Briards out amongst the injured. The dogs would pass by every soldier that had died, yet all those who were still breathing, they would stop and wait for someone to bring help. This breed would search with their hearing as well as strong, emotional intuitions and instincts.  They are an exceedingly intelligent breed and capable of learning up to 200 words.  For my husband and I, this breed is our number one pick and recommendation if you are looking for a  loving addition to your family …They truly are a “heart wrapped in fur.”



All of these dog breeds can be bought through breeders and of course, rescued …I have inclosed an E-mail address that helps place these dogs (and many others) in loving homes, that I hope is helpful to you if you are interested. Here is their website, and the info is under Puppies for sale, Dogs for sale, Dog Breeders, Breeder’s listings. They also have a rescue sign in on their site.

I also want to enclose the name of the artist who does beautiful artwork…I bought my husband her piece called “just Dog stuff” for his office and it has the cutest quotes about canines on it and is a striking piece of wall decor. Her name is Deb Grogin and she has pictures of her work online … just type in Deb Grogan on the internet/Google.

I hope you enjoyed this blog as much as I did…if we did have that “big home in the country,” I would go out and get one of each! (Graham would not know what to do with himself! 🙂

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







Blithesome Music for a melodic repose.


“Music is the MOONLIGHT in the gloomy night of life.” ~ Jean Paul Ritcher



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

“A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence.” ~ Leopold Stokowski

” Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons. You will find it is to the soul what a water bath is to the body.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

“Music is what FEELINGS sound like.” ~ Author Unknown

“Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.” ~ Ludwig Van Beethoven


What would life be like without song and music in our lives? As I reminisce over all the special times of my life, it seems that right there, next to that ‘fortuitous memory’, is a song… When I hear famous lullaby’s, I am filled with  gladsome memories of my mom…The Beatles, precious times spent with friends in High school… The wedding song always makes me smile as I think about  the day I got married.  Whether R&B, Jazz, Country western, Opera, Easy listening, Orchestra, Pop, children’s music, Worship or Song Tunes from  classic movies we have grown up with and adore, music truly  is the gift that “keeps on giving.”

In the causerie “Lady Make Believe,” by Jenny Walton, I admire the thought she shared as part of  her magazine article . ‘A fleeting melody, a whiff of perfume-the slightest sensation can trigger a lovely memory long forgotten.’

It is so true… we never realize some of our long and vacant memories until something, ( a song, smell, sight or sound,) quickens it to our minds and awakens it deep within our souls..   Music just happens to be one of those gifts in life that brings back happy and redolent memories as opalescent as light… as if it happened ‘just yesterday,’ instead of 30 years ago!

Every time I hear this one particular song, I recall a very special and cherished memory. (A memory I had tucked away and almost forgotten.) I was at Disneyland in California with friends and family. I-95 My older brother, (by one year,) Jim,  AKA ‘ my close comrade  and connoisseur of  mischief’ and I, jetted out to the parking lot to grab our jackets as the evening was turning chilly… (and I think he may have been sneaking a cigarette, ciggies as we called them.) 🙂  As we sat in the car for a moment to get warm,  he turned the ignition on and  the song by Carly Simon, “That’s the way I’ve always heard it should be” was playing. As we listened to the words, (both feeling a bit haunted, the young, happy-go-lucky teens we were,)  thought how very sad her song was. We just kept listening…after the song ended, we both just looked at each other, and began sharing our fears about relationships and  how we  each hoped that when we grew up and got married to that ‘special someone,’ our lives would be much happier than the couple Carly was singing about.  I love that memory, especially now after unexpectedly loosing Jim a few years ago. I think I took for granted that those times of sharing would be there until we were in our  80’s or 90’s.   I miss him beyond what words can express and those simple times of experiencing life’s moments together. So, when I hear that song, or purposefully play it on You Tube, I don’t think of the sad words. Instead, I think of Jim and I, our night at Disneyland and what a wonderful person he was. A once forgotten memory, always present now, awakened by Carly Simon. Isn’t if funny how that works?

I can’t imagine what Christmas would be like without all the amazing, melodic carols that fill the brisk, cheerful air. Each holiday  song creating an abundance of warmth, hope and joy within our hearts and home. What would worship be like if we could not express our hearts of love to God through music and praise? Then there is music for dancing… We are so blessed to be gifted with all different genres of music for every kind of dance move that fulfills us and  adds so much delight, felicity and pleasure to our lives. I can’t even imagine what it would be like without watching The Voice, American Idol or So you think you can  dance?   Life would be unbearable! 🙂 (Just joshing.)  I am just so very thankful for the gift of song and music and find that as I have gotten older, the appreciation for it within my life has grown in leaps and bounds.

I am not sure exactly when my musical taste began to broaden and change a little bit. I will always be a lover of soul and R&B, (I can’t help it, when I hear soulful artists who sing that captivating and romantic falsetto, I go crazy!) 🙂  But I have learned to deeply appreciate music that is soothing and tranquilizing  to the soul, relaxes me on a stressful day or creates a  mood that brings beauty to my family’s daily  lives.

This blog is about the music that I have found to be sensational as well as inspiring and  calming. (Almost like a sedative…)  🙂  I thought about each CD, the songs, instrumentals and overall “feeling” each one  brings to it’s listener and placed with the CD, a ‘picturesque setting’ accompanied by a small synopsis and some ideas that go hand and hand with the mood of the music. If you feel drawn to a particular CD, you can always go on YOU TUBE and listen to music of that artist.

Magical sounds of the Arctic, Glacier Bay.



My all time favorite…Glacier Bay. The artist is  Dennis Hysom. This music is all about the incomparable natural beauty and the  boundless wilderness of Alaska’s Glacier Bay, all brought to life by the exhilarating combination of original music as well as natural sounds.  Imagine the cries of the undomesticated  wolves, the eloquent whistles of the great whales as they play in the deep waters, a potpourri  of birds and their beautiful melodies as well as the magical sounds of the Arctic ice and water amongst soothing and lulling music.


The perfect setting for this CD is definitely one of relaxation… whether laying on your couch, reading a  great novella, sitting on the front porch swing with your dog, sunbathing at the beach or by your pool… or in the winter time, sitting by the fire, enjoying  a fine wine and  gourmet cheeses. I always feel like I enter a different world with all these exotic sounds… a world of imagination and dreaming. (Yes, it would be great for napping as well!)




This next CD;  AN ANGELS NOEL is again, one of my VERY FAVORITE in all the world.


The artists are The Ware – Patterson Duo. It is a charming and elfin Christmas CD that I play year round… It is filled with the gracious sounds of the flute and guitar bringing forth cheerful and melodic, instrumental carols.  It is almost magical…there is something about the combination of the flute and strings that is mesmerizing, add that to our beloved Christmas carols and it is stupendous!


The ideal stetting for this musical extravaganza is most definitely, a roaring fire, a breathtaking  Christmas tree with twinkling white lights, a hot cup of cocoa, a latte, cappuccino or glass of wine. Maybe bring out a few table games, deck of cards and some delectable, hot appetizers. It would also be a delightful milieu to a scrumptious Sunday brunch around the fire… Crab Eggs Benedict, fresh apple wood smoked bacon, sweet strawberries and  home fries.



The music of Shardad… Very beautiful, gentle, amiable and ROMANTIC!


This artist is Shardad Rohan.  His music contains a beautiful blend of piano, instrumental and violin. When I listen to this CD, it evokes emotions of serenity and romance. Like the title says, it is a “journey to Romance.”


The classic setting for this musical journey would be putting your feet up on the couch, reading the Newspaper with the one you love, sipping on a cup of hot, freshly brewed coffee or tea,  enjoying pastries from the bakery and fresh fruit. It is also a wonderful CD to listen to in the background of a special, romantic celebration. ( Valentines day, a special anniversary, an intimate, quiet dinner with your mate, or sitting by a cozy fire together.)




This next artist is beyond sensational, world renown and began his career when he was a young man. (He still is so young!) 🙂  His CD as well as DVD, (that accompanies His LIVE CD,) is breathtaking.  It’s none other than Josh Grobin. 🙂


Josh Grobin’s music is spell bounding.  His voice alone is enough to entertain his fans, yet with all of his songs, he is accompanied by beautiful piano and instrumental music, and in some of the tunes, a full, regal orchestra. His music is thought provoking, dreamy, emotional and always makes me “FEEL.”  I especially love his song, ‘To where you are.’ It is a song that ministers to the heart of anyone who has lost someone they love. It not only brings the healing tears, it brings HOPE!  His music is also quite romantic and entertaining at the same time.You are graced in these CD’s  with inspirational music not only in English, but in Italian, French and Spanish. There is nothing like it that I have found!


The picture perfect ambiance for this lovely  and amazing music would be a romantic dinner  for two…maybe some pasta, freshly baked bread, and fresh greens, or a wonderful “movie night’ with his Live DVD…  While enjoying his DVD, enjoy some buttered popcorn, cheese and crackers, a glass of wine, cold beer and candle light. (If your not to full  from dinner. 🙂 )



Artist and musician number five, (though these are not in any order as far as ‘favorite pics,’) is an artist who has gone gold with this next CD…He is known as a songwriter of pop and romantic piano music and also graces us with the lovely cello music that accompanies some of his pianos songs. He is artist-musician, Jim Brickman with his award winning CD, ‘By heart.’


Have you ever been to a Live Concert where the music of a pianist memorizes your soul? There is no other sound that compares to that of a concert piano and a Gold wining artist, creating winsome and blissful melody that enraptures our senses. Jim Brickman makes the piano come alive. You feel as if you are right there along side of him as he plays each gladsome note, captivated by his outstanding and stellar performance.


The place I envision to really enjoy Jim Brickman’s music, would be  taking a Sunday drive on a Romantic country road. Perhaps down a back road where you will see sights you’ve never seen before such as old, deserted  barns where at one time life was flourishing, placid creeks with small boats laying still upon the tranquil water or Antebellum homes with their colossal Oak trees adorned with Spanish moss, (hanging beards as we called them.) 🙂 Bring your favorite picnic basket filled with homemade chicken salad on rye bread, fresh fruits and cheeses, pasta salad and a bottle of Sparkling cider.  Turn your Cd player up in your car and allow each song’s, beautiful, melodic piano refrains fill your soul with serenity and reverie.


Second to last, this next artist is unique, creative, exceedingly talented and his music is as much  storytelling as it is celebratory. I thoroughly enjoy both of his CD’s and couldn’t decide between them, so I am introducing them both. 🙂  Mr. James Galway’s,  ‘A Childhood Remembered,’ and ‘The Enchanted Forest.’


James Galway’s Enchanted Forest, is just that! It’s fairy-tale like, magical and alluring with it’s  spell bounding melodies. I didn’t know this until I read up on him, but did you know he is known as “Sir James Galway,” and he preformed the title song in the Oscar winning movie, ‘The Lord of the Rings’ with his flute and orchestra? This CD is also filled with his famous flute music accompanied by an orchestra with drums, horns and violins mixed with some exotic, Japanese style music as well. A Childhood remembered is filled with songs created with 12 Narada artists who aided in composing pieces inspired by works of Childhood literature. It is adventuresome, beguiling, mysterious and soothing. I adore both of these CD’s.


For Sir Galway’s music, I suggest a couch potato day…snuggled up on the couch with your Ipod, beloved novella or a cross word puzzle. This CD makes for a wonderful background for cooking your family’s favorite dinner or a day of baking.  It would also be the perfect mise-en-scene for propping your self up in bed, snuggled in an Eiderdown comforter, lighting some candles and working on your laptop or reading up on the news. (You may end up even falling asleep, his music is so  calming!)

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The last artist, singer – musician I want to share with you, (who is also world renowned and really needs no introduction as his name speaks for itself,)  is Andrea Bocelli. His music is classic, sophisticated, regal, and he is incredibly talented, gracing us with his majestic and influential orchestra and exquisite, glorious voice.


This CD “Sacred Arias” is unforgettable. As a listener, you feel as if you are  dressed in formal attire, at an historic cathedral, as you take in this angelic masterpiece. He combines Christmas Carols with renowned and adored religious songs. I love his version of “Ave Maria.”  Accompanying Andrea on this CD is the very talented Myung-Whun Chung as well as an entire, august and baronial, full Orchestra. I listen to this CD at Christmas time as well as all year through as Andrea’s music and voice carries me away from this world of hustle and bustle, sad news and stressful times. He is exceedingly refreshing!


For me, I would enjoy his CD as the background to a formal Christmas dinner amongst friends. I would dress up our dining table to the hilt, filled with flickering candlelight, a roaring fire, a gourmet meal with  fine wines, along with a breathtaking, mouthwatering dessert, enjoying an embellished Christmas tree and a house full of gladsome decorations for the magical season.


Make time to “take a music bath” as  Oliver Wendall Holmes says… See  for your self just how much music makes such a difference to your life and your soul! Relax…enjoy…you might be surprised at what you feel and remember.

*** Besides YOU TUBE and listening Bars set up in Music stores such as Borders and Barnes and Nobles, many libraries carry large selections of CD’s of all genres. Our library allows you to check them out for weeks at a time. This would be a great way to know if you enjoy a CD well enough, to purchase it.

Happy Listening! 🙂

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