Sunday, February 26, 2012

Music I like Today

Lindsey Stirling in her "Crystallize" video
Sometimes you discover a song you love and other times it's the whole kit and kaboodle; the dancing, the music, the look and feel of the video.

This is what I like about today - Listen to Lindsey Stirling on the violin and watch her move to her own music in an icy wonderland. If you've never seen anyone dance while playing the violin, you really need to sit still for a few minutes and watch her.

I was surprised to discover she is an American. I thought the video had an Icelandic feel to it, but it was filmed in Colorado as she explains at the end of the video.

Another one of her songs I love is called Shadows. Her style is unique and vibrant. So refreshing after years of hearing heavy metal (my sons' music choice at one time) or rap, or the Japanese Pop my daughter plays and sings.

I hope she sticks around for a while, I'd like to hear more!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Dancing Poetry Contest - Three Grand Prize Winners Receive $100 Each

One hundred dollars may not seem like much to you, but to a poet, it is a sign that things are looking up.

The Dancing Poetry Festival in San Francisco is calling all poets...if you have a poem or two you'd like to enter, be prepared to win a cash prize and see your poem come to life on the stage at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor. This is a once in a lifetime chance to see your words danced into life on the stage.

The deadline for entries is May 15, 2012. For all the information you need, go to

Be prepared to fight for a top prize. I love a good fight...with words, of course.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Just another Friday night Yappy Hour

Last Friday night, my husband and I had an early dinner on the patio at Bluepointe Oyster Bar & Grill Restaurant. It was actually Yappy Hour from 6 - 8 and we got a kick out of seeing all the dogs walk by on their way to the outdoor plaza. Their owners were just as varied as the breeds, and some of their matching outfits were made by hand and decorated with beads and bells and cockle shells!

I just can't put my trust in some of those larger pit bulls and shepherds around my little patoots, Jasmine and Teddy, so my pets will most likely never get to experience a dogtini on the plaza at sunset. I think they'll survive.


But anyway, the reason for this post is to say how much I enjoy Chef Andy's creations. He's not only an award-winning chef, he's downright friendly with his patrons. He even let me explain what kind of tapas I was looking for one day (one without so many carbs). He listened carefully and said he'd put one together and see if it went over. Wow, thanks! 

This Gazpacho soup with big chunks of shrimp and a dollop of sour cream turned me into a sort of Gazpacho Addict. It's my all-time favorite version of this fresh soup. Thanks Chef Andy, you keep us coming back for more.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What I love about finding new artists

Sometimes I happen upon an artist serendipitously. It could be a singer or a jewelry maker, it could be a writer or a textile crafter. It's exciting to discover talent and also exciting to share my finds.

Here are my two latest and greatest finds this week.

Fabulous Jewelry on Etsy

I love Rachael Mccune's unique creations with leather and metal. Her floral leather flower designs on cuffs and necklaces are stunning and original. Check out her work on LoveCrazy Designs, on Facebook and Etsy. She has the gift!

After looking at her gorgeous variety of colorful cuffs, some with antique brooches, some with buffalo nickels at the center of a leather flower, I contacted her and added her beautiful photo above to an article I was writing about spring fashion trends. Her work definitely embodies the fresh face of spring 2012, wouldn't you say?

My Favorite Music on Youtube Today

Chelsea Chavis, the young American pop star who writes in both English and Japanese, offers this J-Pop ballad called, When You Walk. She makes plenty of people want to get up and dance.

Come on, dance with me...let's dance!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Animal Lovers - Beware, Zebras Know More Than You Think

At dinner this evening at the Island Inn (the oldest restaurant on Sanibel Island, first built in 1895), I was taken by the diversity of stories shared by the seven other diners at our round table facing the sunset and the mellow, rolling waves of the Gulf of Mexico.

There were tales of life in foreign countries, wars, secrets, geniuses who wrote and broke codes

 and haunted houses from the 1700s. I was totally caught off-guard by a safari story told by a gentleman, a father, a grandfather.

He shared a tribute to the wild zebras he observed while on safari recently in Africa with his family, including his young grandchildren.

As they watched in the wild, they happened to see a lion race after a zebra, catch it, rip one of its legs almost completely off, and leave it to die, bleeding to death.

As the family watched in horror, they noticed a group of zebras appear from out of the bush. The zebras surrounded the fatally injured one. And then, one by one, each zebra stepped forward to nuzzle the face of the dying zebra, leaving it to its final end, alone.

I know with all my heart that animals are more fully aware than we give them credit for, and given a moment like this, they are just as able to feel love for each other as humans do. I never really doubted it, but this story reinforced my love for animals. 

I'm officially a pescetarian wannabe. That's the best I can do for today. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

What to Do in Your Garden - Becoming Organic

I've always loved having something edible in my little patch of garden space. In the early years I grew banana trees but really hated that they attracted rodents to my little backyard. Not so great with three little ones and puppies running amok. So I ripped them out after one or two good harvests. It hurt a little. I think we had Bananas Foster to celebrate our final Goodbyes.

My six month old papaya tree has three very large papayas growing on it. It's stunningly beautiful. I photograph the fruit almost weekly. They are busting out, they are bloomin' big!  I'm dying to find out how they taste. I'll definitely keep some seeds, pot them and give to my neighbors.

I really love organic pesticide control but sometimes it seems like you're using lace to harness your wild boar. You can spritz lemon water on your weeds all you want but they will pretty much laugh in your face. Silently, for sure, but they seem to have the upper hand. If you have success with lemon water on your weeds, please let me know what your secret is!

To discourage pests, try this homemade garden pest spray that I heard about through a friend and then please let me know if it works for you. It could bring your weeds to their knees or it could slap you down once again.

Homemade Garden Pest Spray

  • 1 full gallon water jug
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic paste
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  1. Try wiping mixture on a few leaves to see if pests leave and leaves do not burn. If no action, add more cayenne pepper and crushed garlic in small amounts. 
  2. Place mixture in spritzer bottles when the amounts seem to work for you. Spritz on affected leaves and then please share your success or failure here!
I love chemical-free gardening. I have so much more to learn. Please share your comments!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Show Your Valentine a Little Love With a Cherry Cheesecake Parfait

Fresh Bing Cherry Cheesecake Parfait

  • 4 oz Neufchatel cheese, softened*
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4-6 gingersnaps, crushed
  • 1-1/2 cups of pitted Bing cherries

  1. Combine cheese and sour cream in bowl. Beat with mixer on high until smooth. Add sugar and vanilla extract and beat until well blended. Set aside four teaspoons in a small bowl for topping.
  2. Fill four small parfait glasses (or wine glasses) with layers of ingredients. Start with 2 Tblsp on cheese mixture. Next, add cookie crumbs, then fruit. Finish with 1 tsp of reserved cheese mixture on top. Garnish with ginger snap crumbs and a Bing Cherry on top.
  3. Chill for half hour before serving.

*French Neufchatel Cheese

This is a soft, slightly crumbly cheese often sold in heart shapes or logs which can be substituted with American Neufchatel. 

According to legend, a New York dairyman created cream cheese in a botched attempt to make Neufchatel. If the French or American Neufchatel can't be located, use low-fat cream cheese instead for a perfectly creamy parfait.

While this parfait recipe sounds rich and over-the-top, it holds its own at 200 calories per person. Substitutions for ingredients include non-fat cream cheese instead of low-fat, Oreo cookies or other chocolate cookies instead of the ginger snaps, and any other fruit in season instead of cherries. 

The really fun part of making this dish is the variety of fruits and cookies that can be used to make it original each and every time.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Foods That Heal Us - FAST!

I'm a longtime vitamin and supplement-taker/lover. Whether or not these products are actually doing what they claim to do, I can't say for sure.

Last week I was in the process of waiting to get my first colonoscopy.  I was told I couldn't take any of my daily vitamins or anti-inflammatory nutrients/drugs such as advil, vitamin E, omega-3, etc...okay, I was on-board.

But then...

I noticed I had a canker sore (or two or three) blooming in my mouth (most likely due to the stress) and wasn't allowed to take anything for it.

So I decided to do a major juicefest. I threw the following organic, fresh items into my juicer:
  • one whole beet, including the greens
  • 1 carrot 
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach 
  • one apple 
  • three large leaves of kale, stems removed
  • a handful of watercress 
  • three strawberries

Within 3 hours my canker sores were gone. Completely gone and they stayed gone. This is miraculous. Really, it is. I've taken drugs, anti-inflammatory agents, multivitamins and more to aid in fighting this kind of stress-related reaction. Nothing ever made much of a difference except Red Marine Algae, which seemed to help reduce inflammation from seven days down to three. Exceptional, right?

But this fresh juice REMOVED the blooming canker sores and KEPT them away. This was a first for me. I was stunned by the speed of my body's reaction. I'll never doubt the strength of juicing again.

I'm a real juicer. And proud of it.

But multivitamins, I'm still watching you. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

How Flying in a Biplane Healed My Soul

It's an old story. I survived a horrific plane crash in 1985 at DFW. I was one of the 12 walking wounded. Fifteen other survivors made it but were not ambulatory. 137 were killed instantly. I never imagined I would live through something like it or live with the memories which kept me from living fully for several decades.

Fast forward to 2011. Becky Morley, a local counselor, recommended I take my crash baggage to Mark Chidley, a Rapid Resolution Therapist. She had heard he was having some amazing success with patients suffering from longtime PTSD. I said I'd give it a whirl, never considering it would be a real success.

Several months after meeting with Mark I got to test the process. I flew on a commercial jet from SWFL to DCA. I felt nothing of the old rising fear, the flight-or-fight sensations or the impending sense of doom. The chains had really been broken. The healing was real.

And yet, in my mind, there needed to be one more test.

So, I asked my oldest son to go with me on a biplane ride. He agreed to go, but I'm sure he wondered if his mom had finally lost her mind. Nothing prepared us for this ride. The biplane was an original 1941 WACO refurbished prop named the SuzyQ. She was the real deal.

Our ride lasted 45 minutes and took us out over Cape Coral, Captiva Island, Sanibel Island, Ft. Myers Beach and Estero for the most stunning view of SW Florida we could imagine. The smile never left our faces. At one point I remember saying to my son, "I feel like we're in a movie!"

And as real life goes, while my son was unfolding his 6'1" frame from the open cockpit, he scratched his leg on a rusty piece of metal. This metal was OLD, folks! So, off to the doc to get a tetanus shot for my sweet son, the practical one. "And this time," he said, "I'll never forget the date of my last tetanus shot!" It was the day he flew in a biplane with his mom.

I'm still smiling. I may never stop.