Monday, December 31, 2012

What Will 2013 Bring?

Seriously, can you tell me where 2012 went?

What an interesting and exciting year it has been, with lots of thought given to what it is I really want and need for myself along with what my hopes and dreams are for my family in this upcoming year and beyond. 

I'm looking forward to exploring all the ways 2013 may unfold, 
and sending the best wishes for your fabulous new year!

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Night At the Movies

I simply adore classic movies, and the other night 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner' showed up in a list of recommended titles I might enjoy. Though I'd seen it before many years ago, I decided to hit play and see if it was intriguing enough to watch again.

Within minutes the answer was yes. First of all, any movie set in from San Francisco has my interest, as I loved living in that city for several years and enjoy the opportunity to visit some of my favorite streets. Second, talk about a wonderful cast and a favorite character just had to be the priest who has some memorable and insightful lines. And as a side treat, there is a good collection of retro fashion and a glimpse into another era of interior design. Finally, while perhaps this material of racial relationships is it, completely? 

And something I missed from the first viewing, many of the conversations explore what hopes and expectations each set of parents have for their children; some poignant and timeless stuff there! So, upon this second viewing, thumbs up from me.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Is Anything Better Than A Good Surprise?

Nothing is more fun than surprising someone with a gift they didn't expect...
though a heartfelt reaction comes pretty close.

Enjoy these days!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Have a Very Merry Christmas!

"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"


To my dear blogging friends, hoping you have had the most wonderful day.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Tea Towel Happiness

A nice surprise was awaiting me at the post office yesterday! 
A package of adorable tea towels from Modern Vintage Market
 that will be enjoyed during the holidays.

What a lovely gift! If you're still looking for a hostess gift 
or little treat for someone special to help them welcome in the new year....

Wish You 
Clean Start,
Unblemished Luck,
Pure Love
Happy Messes

Stop on over to this sweet little Etsy Shop.

Wishing you a special Holiday Weekend!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Festive Sangria!

Heading just down the street for a holiday get together last night, 
I decided to mix up a batch of festive Sangria!

'the best red wine sangria'

2 large oranges, washed, one sliced, one juiced
1 large lemon, washed and sliced
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 cup Triple Sec
1 (750 ml) bottle red wine

Add sliced orange, lemon and sugar to large pitcher. Mash gently with wooden spoon until fruit releases its juice, but not totally crushed. After sugar is dissolved, stir in juice of orange, Triple Sec and wine. Refrigerate for at least 2 and up to 8 hours.

Before serving, add ice if desired and stir briskly to distribute settled fruit.

 {for our crowd I basically doubled the recipe...}

Here's to enjoying the season, {and please don't drink and drive...}

recipe via Recipe Girl

Monday, December 17, 2012

My Wish This Holiday Season

{image via here}

My wish this holiday season is for more peace on earth...

My heart goes out to all those whose lives were forever changed last week in Oregon and Connecticut. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

What's On My Mind...

Lately I've been thinking a lot, (and I mean a lot!) about the role of social media in my life. It has brought about wonderful opportunities and many strong friendships, but on the other hand time spend on social media activities and work has come with a price tag. There are only so many minutes in each day, and no one can do it all. I have made some choices that I now realize perhaps weren't the smartest ones, like forgoing that meet up at a coffee shop with a girlfriend in order to finish up a project and blog post.

I was talking about this recently with one of my dear friends I met through this blog and she mentioned a quote she had heard recently, words that hit home for me. They went something along these lines...

"You're a winner online, but a loser in real life."

That stopped me in my tracks, I have to say. I don't want to wake up one day to look around and find that such a description could fit my life. So I promptly started texting friends I hadn't seen in too long, saying I missed them and when could we get together!

{citrus cake via Mint}

This weekend I'm focusing on some baking with my sweet Isabella and holiday preparations for a few parties coming next week. Ah, it's a good life...right here in my own town, offline, and hopefully I won't be forgetting that anytime soon! 

Do you have any thoughts you'd like to share on this topic?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Good Read & Some Travel Planned for the Spring!

This fall I read a great book, 'The Gift of an Ordinary Day.'

It isn't a book I think you can race through in a day or even a week; it gives you too much to think about for that. But I did finally make it to the last chapter, and can I tell you something? My family was happy! Why, you ask? Because of all the questions the reading of this book had me asking, with Isabella finally responding in irritation to apparently one too many questions, "Are you still reading that book?!"

But interesting, a week later - out of the blue - she'd  have an answer to my inquiry 
about what she'd like us to do more of. 

"Hey, you know what I'd like, if we baked more." 

And as a family we've determined to try to focus less on stuff and more on experiences, one of them being more travel. Over the last several years my husband traveled constantly for work, and so that was the last thing anyone wanted to do with our down time. But now that he's working locally, we are itching to travel again as a family!

As a result, we just settled on the dates for our trip to Paris next spring and booked the flights. 
It's been too long since we visited this city and looking forward to returning, this time with the kids!

Travel had a big influence on me growing up, seeing and experiencing new places. It helped me understand there was more to the world than the little corner in which I was born. I'm hoping that over the next several years, while the kids are still home, that I can provide them with those type of experiences as well, fitting in as much travel as we can possible cram into our schedules...and our budget. How many pairs of shoes do I have to forgo to pay for a ticket, ha, that's the question! 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Decorations Are Up, Presents Are Wrapped...And Now I Need A Nap!

The decorations are up, many of the presents have been selected and wrapped,
 with holiday baking and celebrations planned for the weekend. all I need is a nap!

What's the status at your house?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Give the Gift of Art!

A well-loved gift idea at House of Fifty is the gift of art. 
Here are a few of our favorite artists whose work is available in prints. 

And if someone on your list has a beloved pet, consider a custom pet portrait, 
like Charley the boxer seen above.

1. Laura Trevey 'Hunter Boots' 2. Bella Foster 'Still Life with Flowers & Moth'  3. Vivienne Strauss '23 Cats'  4. Anne Harwell 'Hermes Bag'  5. The Pink Pagoda's 'Coral Ming Chinoiserie Ginger Jar'  6. Anne Harwell 'Chanel no 5 in Mint'  7. Bella Foster 'Bookshelf'  8. Lesli Devito 'Charley' Custom Pet Portrait