Wednesday, December 29, 2010

snow ...

Heading back to California today, but before we do, the girls are out sledding. Sort of a last hurrah in the snow before we get back to the sandy beach. It's been between 6 and 20 degrees here in PA almost our whole trip, so I'm looking forward to a little warmth. I heard it's been raining most of the time we've been gone, but it's got to be above 20 degrees back I right??!

I'll post a photo or some video lateer. We've been catching a stray signal the whole time we've been in this small town in PA, so thanks to whoever's been providing that :) Hopefully it'll still be available after the sledding fun.

Here's to a beachy week, my friends ~ wherever you are (and a Happy New Year too!)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas NY style

Took a nearly spur of the moment trip to NYC yesterday. We've only been once previously so decided to check out The Big Apple at Christmastime. In 8 hours we ate at Europa Cafe, toured The Plaza (looking for Eloise, naturally), and waded through the crowd at Dylan's. The girls also ice skated beneath the 65+ ft. Christmas tree in Rockefeller Ctr. and my college boy ate 3 vendor dogs (aka 'dirty water dogs). We topped it off with dinner at Juniors (yes, we had the cheesecake) and a train ride back to Jersey where we'd left our rental car.

Oh! And Al Roker strolled past us, his hat-topped head down. I wanted to say, "Hey Al, it's just me, Jewel!" But then I realized it was biting cold, so i didn't take it personally ...;)

Have a beachy week, my friends ~ wherever you are ...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The kids and I flew to Pennsylvania last week to attend my mother in law, Alice's, funeral. My husband had already been here a week. We arrived to lots and lots of SNOW. Yes, our first white Christmas as a family. Too bad it couldn't have been under happier circumstances.

The second photo is of my niece, Sam, and my son, Matt. In one day they put together a beautiful tribute to Grandma and sang "It is Well" followed by "Heaven Song." I had never heard that second one before, but now I can't get it out of my head :). No doubt Grandma loved it, as we all did.

In the midst of the sadness, God has been so very apparent. My husband has four brothers and they were all here, with their families, supporting Grandpa and hugging on each other. She's left quite a legacy with those boys...and I'm honored to have known her.

More snow is coming in ... I'll try to post some photos (but don't expect me to wear my flip flops ;-)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Truffles by the Sea giveaway

Sorry to be so AWOL, my friends. Our family has been riding a coaster of emotions all week due to my mother in law's serious illness. We may be leaving sunny California soon for snowy Pennsylvania. If we do, I'll try to post from there. God is good and we've all been praying for his will in this situation. So glad we can find comfort in Him!

Looking forward to a relaxing dinner tonight after a week of worry and work. Before I go, wanted to let you know about a giveaway happening over at J. Timothy King's blog. Tim picked up a couple of my older chocolaty books at my beach shop ... and he's giving them away. He already held a drawing for Chocolate Beach, and this week he's holding one for Truffles by the Sea. The heroine of the book, Gaby Flores, holds a special place in my heart. I based her on someone I know...and I don't even think she suspects (sshhh...don't tell anyone ;)

If you like truffles and the sea, stop by J. Timothy's Blog and enter.

And here's another secret for you: soon both of these novels will be available for download with bonus material. Stay tuned ... and have a beachy and blessed weekend, my friends ~ wherever you are!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Christmas Glee

I knew I'd enjoy this week's episode of GLEE when they opened with that song about misfit toys from Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. My dad always put the Christmas tree together while we kids watched that and other Christmas classics, so to this day I can sing most of those songs off the top of my noggin. I realize now that he planned it that way, not just for our enjoyment, but also so we couldn't bug him as much while he struggled with our plastic tree. Lol ...

Anyhoo, there wasn't much (okay, nothing) about Jesus in the episode, but in addition to the standard Santa stuff (Brittany still believes in him ~ shocker), there was a sweet spirit to the episode. Especially in regards to that shrew Sue. How fun to see her dressed up like the Grinch and trying to convince Cindy Lu Who (Brittany) that she was trashing her living room so she could replace a burnt out bulb on the Christmas tree ...

Classic stuff. One of the final scenes, when the cast sings to the faculty, was sweet and poignant. It represented the spirit of giving inspired by the best Giver of all. Loved it.

Be Merry, my friends ~ wherever you are ...

Monday, December 06, 2010

Great holiday reading continues!

Last week I picked up Leanna Ellis' newest release, Facelift. Sooo good, my friends! I love the tagline: In life and love, we could all stand a few nips and tucks . . . I know, right? Leanna dedicated this novel To all the women who feel like they don't measure up to the "Proverbs 31 Woman" Guess this means I've finally had a book dedicated to me.

The story's about Kaye Redmond, a "can do" single mom whose aggravating ex-mother-law lands on her doorstep after a botched facelift. Add to that little inconvenience an angry teenager, an ex-husband who's hard to figure, a hairy, sloppy dog to care for ~ and a possible prince charming! As the back of the book asks, How's a woman supposed to find happily-ever-after with all that going on?

I loved the twists and turns in this story, and the way Leanna wove faith into the characters' lives. I even had to fight tears during some all-too real poignant scenes. In Facelift , Leanna Ellis has written an entertaining read with lots of heart.

Learn more about my southern friend Leanna at her website. Have a beachy week, my friends ~ wherever you are :-)

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

A day in a garden

Mom and I spent yesterday wandering the gardens and sipping champagne at The Huntington in San Marino. Lovely dah-ling, just lovely.

When we took my girls last time, we all fell in love with the subtropical gardens where ducks followed us around like we were loaves of bread. Today my favorite spot was the Japanese Garden. Truly bucolic (without the shepherds). We wandered around bends, across bridges, through a bamboo forest, and alongside an authentic Japanese home. The Huntington is usually closed on Tuesdays, but they opened for a special members-only Christmas bash with lush gardens, concerts, fancy wares for sale, and free champagne. Very grey-poupon ;) Good thing Mom's a member or I'd never get in, Lol

Here's to playing hooky. May your holidays be filled with oodles of down time, my friends ~ wherever you are.