Monday, January 30, 2012


I just don't understand sometimes. I knew he was sick and I had a gut feeling it wasn't going to be long before I got a call from Mom and Dad telling me that he died, so why am I such a basket case now?

Mom called and said they were going to unplug the machines. His organs were failing, he wasn't "there" anymore. Aunt Jean, what is she going to do? Please someone give her strength. She has been through the worst, she is losing her husband. She has been watching him slowly leave, sometimes catching a break for just a little bit. Dad is going to lose his buddy...someone he admires for his old-fashioned-ness, and his tool store as Dad called it. Uncle Frank has every tool and gadget imaginable. His consideration for everyone - from the slippers he had waiting for Mom and Dad' visits to the glasses holders in the bathroom and guest rooms, there for the comfort of the guest.

He is 83...he still is now no matter what anyone says. Whatever happens tomorrow is something different. This 83 year old man IS selfless, loving - loved my two boys as if they were his grandsons. When he'd go to the flea markets with my aunt, he would make sure to look for toy cars for my boys, knowing how much they loved cars - especially the ones that had numbers on them. He'd wrap them up in a box and send them down with my parents.

He introduced me to stamp collecting. I see the books he passed down to me, sitting on the
hallway desk, every time I pass through. He gave me all of his stamps, taught me about the different markings, how to mount the stamps, where to get more for my new found collection. I remember visiting their house in NJ - playing in the side yard, going through the side door, through the kitchen into the bright (yellow?) room that had the TV we'd watch.

Does he know about tomorrow? What's going to he going to be relieved? Out of pain and at peace? Is it terrible that, although I know deep down inside that this is the best for him, I wish tomorrow would never come for that reason? That Aunt Jean has to watch that, and knows what will happen next? Will he know that she loves him as does everyone
that has met him? Will he know?

Will someone please give Aunt Jean strength, hug her so tight, tell her that it's ok? Will it give her peace as well? Knowing he isn't suffering anymore, that he probably wants her to live her life now...she did everything she could and then some.

I don't know how to end this because I don't want it to "end". I love you Uncle Frank. I love that my boys got to know you as the great man I knew since a little girl. I just wish for a bit longer, but I am glad and thankful for the time I've had.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Quote For the Day

If you know me, you'd know that I love Audrey Hepburn :)  Here is a quote by Audrey to start off the week:

Happy girls are the prettiest :)

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

National Popcorn Day!

I am starting to see a trend here...I seem to like the "National" days that pay homage to food and drink!

In honor of today being National Popcorn Day, I would like to share some history on this delicious snack.  

  • Native Americans in North America discovered popcorn thousands of years ago.  One of the oldest forms of corn, there is even evidence of it from 3600 B.C. in New Mexico (AB-  find out where!!)
  • During the Great Depression, while other businesses failed, the popcorn business did fabulously and became a source of income for struggling farmers.  
  • There are 6 "Popcorn Capitals of the World" - Ridgeway, IL; Valparaiso, IN; Van Buren, IN; Shaller, IO; Marion, OH; and North Loup, NE.  
  • Popcorn is the official state snack food of Illinois - what is your state's official snack food?
  • The world's largest popcorn ball was unveiled in October 2006 in Lake Forest, IL.  It weighed 3,415 pounds (!!!), measured 8 feet in diameter, and had a circumference of 24.6 feet!  Orville must be proud!!
Looking to get a new popcorn bowl to celebrate this glorious day?  Check out this cool gold bowl!  It is available for purchase here.
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There is an organization named The Popcorn Board, a non-profit check-off organization funded by U.S. popcorn processors to raise awareness of popcorn as a versatile, whole grain snack.  They even have a "mascot", Poppy!
Pop away!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Philly Street Art

This past week I was in the Philadelphia area (for work) and thought I saw some street art on our way into the city.  We were driving straight from the airport to experience the infamous Geno's Cheese Steaks and I thought I saw some art splashed on walls (but it was dark).  The cheese steak was great...I got it "provolone wit" (wit means with onions).  

Please excuse the quality of the picture...I took it on my cell phone :)
Unfortunately, I did not get to experience Philly's street art in person, so I did some research and found out that street art lives in the city of brotherly love!

Street Art By Mundame - Philadelphia (PA)
Street art by Mundame - "Lois in Wonderland"

Get Up , a San Francisco-based DJ and street artist who grew up in Philly, put up a poster of Benjamin Franklin. (CONRAD BENNER)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hot Toddy

Bet you didn't know that today is... National Hot Toddy Day!! 

In honor of this festive occasion, here are some recipes I conjured up (translation: Googled).


yield: Makes 1 drink
active time: 5 min
total time: 10 min
Brandy or Scotch also work well in a toddy, but the vanilla sweetness of good bourbon was our favorite — this time, at least.

1 oz (2 tablespoons) bourbon
1 tablespoon mild honey
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup boiling-hot water
print a shopping list for this recipe

Put bourbon, honey, and lemon juice in a 6-ounce mug. Top off with hot water and stir until honey is dissolved.


Total Time: 35 min
Prep: 5 min
Cook: 30 min
Yield: approximately 13 (4-ounce) servings
Level: Easy
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1 lemon, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup Demerara sugar
1 quart water
2 1/2 cups Scotch whiskey
Freshly grated nutmeg

Combine the lemon, sugar, and water in a small, 2 to 3-quart slow cooker set to high. Cover and heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves completely, 20 to 30 minutes. Add the Scotch whiskey and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and serve warm with lemon slices and freshly grated nutmeg

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Butterfly Dreams

About 5 years ago (I believe, I may be off a bit), my parents brought my family along to a birthday party for their friends' granddaughter, Ashtyn.  I was pregnant with Gabriel at the time, and Leslie with Jesse (wow...time flies!).  Leslie was so nice and welcoming and Adam, her husband, was super nice and funny so we felt comfortable with them right off the bat.  When I first met Ashtyn, she was under the pavilion at the pool, and she was smiling at her Grammy - so sweet!!  Through the years we have gotten to spend some great times with the Montali family.  Whether it was birthday parties, holidays, or a trip to the zoo we'd get the families together and always have fun.  My children love to hang out with Ashy and Jesse whenever they can.  

Ashtyn is a super special little lady.  Her determination, will, perseverance, love, is unmatched - especially for an 8 year old little girl.  Due to a traumatic birth experience, Ashtyn suffered from a lack of sufficient oxygen to her brain.  She has been fighting ever since..."like the bravest, strongest person you ever met, to make it through, to find her place, to give the whole hearted smiles we all desperately need to see that she will be okay. She has been the inspiration for Butterfly Dreams."


Butterfly Dreams assists children with special needs and their families as well as schools and therapy centers that enhance their mental and physical abilities. Their efforts continue to provide necessary equipment as well as financial assistance for families and businesses alike that are in need. 

Leslie just published her first book, Butterfly Dreams, and I love it!  It evokes so many different emotions - I think I smiled while crying many times throughout.  I highly recommend reading this book, it is a great story about a girl and her family overcoming her life challenges with Cerebral Palsy.  You can read more about the book and purchase it at:

Look at her melts me every time!  

If you have any questions or would like to donate to the Butterfly Dreams efforts, please complete this web form.  You would be helping other children just like beautiful Ashy get the care and assistance they need.  

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Innisbrook Golf and Spa Resort Review

A boo boo on my part made way to an interesting New Years weekend getaway for the family (and the Cohens).  

I had purchased a Spa Rah Rah gift certificate for 3 days/2 nights and 4 spa treatments at the Innisbrook Golf and Spa Resort as a Christmas gift for my husband.  I even told my parents about this great gift, saying that we would probably use it sometime in March, and confirmed that they could watch the boys. 

I was all excited to print up the certificate and creatively wrap it for Rich, when my eye wandered to the expiration date.  WHAAAA!!!!!  Yeah, it said JANUARY 12, 2012!!  Do you think I would have thought to check the expiration date...nahhhh.  I figured we could call them and see if they would extend the time frame.  I tried calling Spa Rah Rah customer service - left messages 2x and emailed them - no response.  When I gave the certificate to Rich, I noted my lack of attention to detail.  Luckily, I came up with the brilliant idea of calling to see if they had availability during the weekend of New Years, which they did!  So this wasn't going to turn out to be the romantic weekend get away that I envisioned, but it would be a fun family weekend, right?

Golf tee times booked - check.  Spa booked - check.  We arrived Saturday morning all set for a fun weekend.  Check in was super fast.  Dan, our welcoming committee guy from the resort was really friendly and I was so proud of N when he went up to Dan and put out his hand to shake.  So cute.  The room was laid out interestingly - it was 800 sq. ft, had a kitchenette, bathroom, and basically one large room with two queen beds, separated by an accordion separator from the living room.  The balcony was my favorite as it overlooked the golf course - so beautiful!

New Years Eve was a relaxing and fun.  We ate at the Grille in the Osprey Clubhouse.  Besides the slow service, it was a nice meal.  There was a fire pit with comfy outdoor couches calling our name, so after dinner we ran over there to grab our spot!  The kids ran around and played their video games.  We hung out and talked, enjoying the weather and the fire pit.  By 10:30 we were all in bed sleeping LOL.  
Sunday the boys played Copperhead while we ate a terrible breakfast at the clubhouse and then walked the nature trail (more like a nature jump, skip and a hop).  N recognized a North American Vulture (all those visits to the zoo have paid off!).  After that we were off to the Loch Ness pool!  They had 2 water slides, a beach entry pool (that was not temperature controlled as advertised) and a gazillion bees.  :(  We stayed for a little bit and after N started hysterical crying about the bees, we were forced to leave.  The resort offers rental of these cool bikes...they have a basket-like seat in the front and a long bench "main" seat, where two people peddle to get the bike going.  THAT was so much fun!!  We put the little ones in the basket and the older ones sat between us on the bench seat.  After 20 minutes, we were ready to return the bicycle - not because it wasn't fun, but because I am totally out of shape and my legs were burning :)

Lunch wasn't the best - I think the bees followed us from the pool because we had to leave lunch early to get away from them.  

Spa time at last!  That was my most favorite part of the weekend.  I had what I think was the best massage ever - I even caught myself nodding off a few times!  The coco-licious body scrub was nice, but a bit icky.  I was so excited for the time that we would have after the treatments - to lay in the relaxation room, drink a glass of wine and just chill.  Well, that thought was shattered when the receptionist came to the relaxation room to find me because my husband came in inquiring if my spa treatments were over because he didn't want to miss his next tee time.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME??????????  I am still super bitter about that.  

Dinner was off-property that night (not messing with the resort food anymore) and we were in bed by 9pm.  Monday morning R woke up with a sneezing attack and we were more than glad to get back on the road.  Packed and out the door by 8:30am, we were on our way back to Sadie!

Spring 2012 Collection Debuts Tonight!!

Stella & Dot's Spring 2012 collection debuts tonight!  Home office says that the collection should be available a bit after 8pm EST.  I have already ordered my look books - so excited!! Below are some sneak peeks that my fellow stylists shared:

That tassel necklace is MINE at 8!!  LOL....I love it :)

So what do you think?  In honor of this fun event, I am going to give away a $50 gift certificate once I reach 1,000 fans on my Facebook page:

FUN!  Now what am I going to do until 8pm?  (hahahaha  I have so much to do that I hope it makes the day go by super fast!!)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Matchbook Magazine


I have to tell you about my favorite online magazine.  I don't remember how I stumbled upon it, but I LOVE IT!  Matchbook magazine is an online lifestyle magazine that I have been loving since its launch in January 2011.  As their website states:


From lipstick to letterpress, gelato to 

grosgrain, and paris to peru, consider

us your field guide to a charmed life"

Check it out for yourself...I think you will agree!!!