I wanted to post one more time for 2022 to wish you all a beautiful holiday season and a happy & healthy 2023.  And to thank all of you that have reached out to me this year.  And for being here reading my blog, it has meant so much to me and has been such a comfort.  It is greatly appreciated! 

Also, sending warm hugs to all of you in the rest of the country on this beautiful 79 degree day here in Los Angeles.  And to all of you that are living through the bomb blizzard, don't hate me.  On the up side, you're having a white Christmas!  How beautiful all the snowy pictures look on Instagram.  We do go down to the 50's at night so I do have a fire going while I look at your snowy pictures, again, don't hate me. 

It actually started to snow on me at the outdoor mall today.  Seriously, I thought I was having a stroke 😮.  I turned to a person behind me and said "do you see that?"  It turned out to be a snow machine.  Nice fake out.  There was also a guy with a mini horse sitting outside having coffee.  I had seen him walking from a distance and thought it was a really big dog, but it was a horse!  Only in LA.  And although we don't have a White Christmas, we do get pretty festive around here, so I thought I'd share some holiday postcards of pictures I took around town.  Oh, and I'll include the horse.😊

And of course, sending slobbery kisses from my Stella.
From Our Home To Yours
Happy Holidays!


Happy Holiday Season! ~ It's hard to believe the end of the year is quickly approaching.  People have commented to me that I must be glad to be leaving 2022 behind.  Actually, it's quite the contrary.  Leaving behind the year in which my husband died means that it gets pushed further into the past.  In 2023 I'll have to say, my husband died last year, and that just seems so far away.  It will feel like I've been without him so much longer.  But in spite of 2022 holding the saddist event of my life, life continued to hold me up in new and unexpected ways for which I am very grateful.

On a lighter note, girls weekend 2022 happened.  This is an annual tradition for me and my friend Nicola that we have been doing for about 20 years now.  We've missed a few due to Covid but we're back!  It's our time to Reflect, Release and Renew.  This is the first year we decided to do it on Catalina Island. 26 miles across the sea, as the song says, from the Port of San Pedro, CA. 

If you've never done this practice, either with a friend or partner, or by yourself, I really encourage you to try it.  Look through your calendar, reflect on your year, and really notice how you spent your time.  Acknowledge your accomplishments.  So often we just look at what went wrong, when we need to also look at what went right.  Then decide what you will be bringing into 2023 with you, and what you will leave behind.  I plan to leave behind a few lbs. of grief fat. 😝  

Neuroscience has proven that people who write down their goals are 42% more likely to achieve them.  It's so easy to get swept up in the day to day minutia of life, so write down the life you want to live and then live to create that life.  When you commit to something or agree to something, whether it's work or play,  run it through this simple filter, if it's not a hell yeah, then it should be a definite no.  This is the beauty of getting older, we get to answer to ourselves instead of everyone else.

We stayed in the cutest little hotel called the Bellencia and our room was right off the roof deck, so everyone who walked up the steps looked in and there we were on the bed with our journals, and people waved at us, it was so funny.  Also a little weird.  We finally closed the shade.  It's off season now in Catalina so it was not crowded, a bit cold, and really pretty decorated for the holiday season.  

We arrived on Saturday morning just in time for a fabulous breakfast at the Pancake Cottage.  Then did some browsing, checked into our hotel, and hung out on the roof deck.  I brought us some homemade guacamole and other healthy treats.  We had dinner at the Naughty Fox, which was part of our hotel, outside looking at the ocean under a very toasty warm heat lamp.  Then back to our room for more of our reflecting and planning.  The hotel has complementary bikes and we planned to ride first thing in the morning but woke up to rain.  It was fun being on the island in the rain, although bike riding was out.  

Had another great breakfast at Original Jacks Country Kitchen.  Then we decided to rent a golf cart, yes, in the rain.  The golf carts are the best way to get round on Catalina to see all the fabulous views.  Cars are not allowed on the island.  We joked at the cart rental because clearly we were the only ones renting a golf cart in the rain.  But hey, they have a roof top, so why not.  As we started on the path along the ocean and up into the hills the rain stopped and the sun came out.  We kidded around that it was Mike taking care of us, odd things like that pop up in my life all the time now that I attribute to him.  We were talking about him when we stopped for a view picture.  On the right was the ocean, but I looked left, and I had never noticed this before, (and I've been to Catalina a lot over the years), there is an old pet cemetery.  I took a picture but didn't notice anything strange until I got home Sunday night and went through the pictures.  On the retaining wall of the pet cemetery it said Mike L,  L is the first initial of My Mikes middle name and under that was the word Stay.  See the picture below.  Insert chills.  Also, is it just me or do you see the little man in sunglasses popping through the ground?

After our ride, we had lunch at Maggie's Blue Rose, a great Mexican restaurant and then off to a spa called  A Touch of Heaven Day Spa located in the Hotel Metopole.  Most of the spas were closed due to it being off season, and we were lucky to get last minute appointments. 

 It was a small spa and so we were in different spaces.  She was in the building, and I was led to a tent on the roof.  I was a bit skeptical as the woman unzipped it. (Am I really going in there?!)  But wow, to my surprise it was a beautiful sanctuary inside.  It was warm, had a big Buddha, lots of candles, twinkly lights, twigs and aroma therapy.  Did you know the word Spa is derived from the word Ah, as in Spaaaaaa?  OK, I made that up.  But really, it takes so little to make me happy.

After the spa we found out that all the boats that day had been cancelled due to the storm, but our boat, leaving at 6 PM, luckily was still on.  Did it occur to either of us that a boat after a storm could be a challenge?  Nope, it did not.  In fact we had even been in a drug store earlier but did it occur to either of us to get some Dramamine?  Nope, it did not.  

From the minute that boat took off, after the captain braced us for swells up to 6 ft, we were tossed around like salad.  The ships crew started passing out plastic bags 5 minutes in and people were already throwing up.  Nicola was super nauseous.  I felt so bad for her.  I was better.  I knew I wasn't going throw up, but I was scared.  It was like bad turbulence on an airplane but you're in the cold, dark, freezing ocean.  Where are the life jackets again?!?  45 minutes later, we pulled into the port of San Pedro and the Captain came on and broke the silence by saying "well, that was fun".  Gotta appreciate a good sense of humor. 

      Beautiful Avalon Harbor 


View from the hotel roof deck.
Breakfast is always a good idea.
The cutest couple.
These pictures are not filtered, it's just that pretty.
Here is the Pet Cemetery I mentioned, see the "Mike L Stay" in the lower right, and the little man with sunglasses popping up in the foreground?
The entrance to the Wrigly mansion.
My favorite house on the island.
Endless views.
Entrance to the Bell Tower.
The Casino which is no longer a casino, but a place for entertainment, including a movie theater, was built in 1929.
The Casino lit up for Christmas.
The sky was putting on a dramatic show all day.
The Catalina Express about to toss us around like salad for 45 minutes. 😳 In spite of that, another great annual girls weekend on the books. 


Lots of firsts happen when you lose your partner, and here we are at my first Thanksgiving without My Mike.  For those of you that know me, or have been reading my blog in past years, you know that TG was our huge holiday.  We hosted every year and we each made a turkey, yup two turkeys, we always went a little crazy.  Then we'd force our guests to choose the best turkey with a blind taste test, and we also both cheated trying to influence the win in our own direction, haha.  And everything had to be made from scratch, according to Mike.  This was because our first TG together revealed that I had grown up on canned cranberry sauce and Stove Top stuffing (I still love Stove Top). Who knew real cranberry sauce didn't come in a jelly log with can lines!? 

Anyway, it would be too sad for me to host this year so it will be a different kind of Thanksgiving for me.  I'll report back. 

But in case you're hosting and need some last minute ideas for your table, here are a few of my own favorites from past years, pictures 1 - 4 are mine and pictures 5 - 8 are some inspiration from my Holidaze board on pinterest.

1. These were my all time favorite center pieces.  All stuff my daughter and I foraged from a walk in my neighborhood.  Branches, berries and pine cones.  We also told our family and friends to brings some of the same from their neighborhood and we had fun putting them together.  The buckets were from the Dollar store.

 2. I always have a hard time throwing away perfectly good pumpkins, so I paint them.  One year they made it to Valentines Day so I painted them pink, that was weird.

3. And you can never go wrong with a charcuterie board! I like to make a few different ones on different boards and line them up.

4. These are so cute and easy, mini rolls that look like pumpkins.  All you need are store bought rolls, score then with a knife to look like a pumpkin and put a pecan in for the stem.  These were a big hit.

 And here's a few ideas from my Holidaze Pinterest Board.

5. Turn a carved out pumpkin into an ice bucket or a flower pot. Love this idea!

6. Never underestimate the power of some greenery from your yard and lots of candles.

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7. Put a candle in a vase and surround it with cranberries.

8. Tie up your napkins with twine, add a sprig of rosemary or any pretty plant cutting and a cinnamon stick. 

 This contains an image of: Cinnamon Napkin Stylings

Happy Thanksgiving



Did you know that last Friday was Ageism Awareness Day?  I posted a picture of myself on my instagram page and said I was 63, but in my mind I'm 45 and holding.  It got me thinking....why are people of the same age sometimes so different?  Did you ever meet someone that you thought was so much older than you only to find out you're the same age?  Or the opposite, someone you find out is your age that you thought was much younger than you?  Let's say neither has any health issues, so what's the difference?  

Well, it can be a lot of factors, self care, diet, exercise, how you manage trauma and stress, (I'm an expert on that 🙄).  I think the most important thing is your state of mind.  How old you think you are, and how old you really feel.  There's now scientific evidence that backs up the fact that people who don't see themselves as old don't act old.  It's not about our chronological age, it's about our thoughts, so what's going on in your head?  How do you talk to yourself?  Do you say things like "I'm too old for that" or "it's too late for me to try something new".  Do you focus on aliments that you think are coming with age that you don't even have yet!?  

Ageless living doesn't mean you can make time stand still, it means that when you live life to the fullest, you realize that age really is just a number.  When it's all in your head, make sure you know what's going on in there!  In the words of Mark Twain ~ Age is an issue of mind over matter.  If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.

Do you have my Top 10 Tips & Tricks for Ageless Living?  If not, what the heck!  Get it here, it's free.