Ready, Set, Glow! Creative Hosting Ideas, Published In Elegant Lifestyles Magazine Winter 2021

Elegant Lifestyles Magazine, which shut down during the pandemic, debuted its return with a Winter 2021 Holiday Issue. Two of my articles appear in the magazine: “Ready, Set, Glow! Creative Hosting Ideas: Gatherings with Family and Friends” and “Seven Healthy Habits–(Self Care During Stressful Times).”

For the feature article, I thought about how winter holidays appeal to our senses and researched fun ways to add warmth and welcome from the moment guests step in the door. Can you tell I enjoyed coming up with section titles? “Let’s Take an Elfie” = sight. “Happy New Ear” = sound. “Spice it Up” = Scent. “Warm and Toast-y = taste. “Fleece Navidad = Touch. So many ideas to make get-togethers even more inviting and special.

Happy holiday hosting!

Wedding Week: DIY Flowers, Cake, Chuppah

Aline’s bridal bouquet, created by Wildly Floral Co., was a combination of pink anemones, yellow calla lilies, white daisies, craspedia yellow billy balls, and eucalyptus.
Cherie’s boutonnière echoed Aline’s bouquet.
Matching sparkly sneakers.

Aline and Cherie’s flowers, cake and chuppah were as sunny as the day! What made everything even more beautiful? The love and affection flowing from friends and family to the two brides. I loved the flowers–yellow and white with soft green accents, Aline’s lace dress, Cherie’s blue suit, and the couple’s matching sparkly sneakers.

Aline and Cherie’s friends built a chuppah out of birch logs. Wishes from friends and family were printed on green paper, cut into leaves, and laminated. Shout out to Aline’s sister Gavi for sewing the leaves onto the fabric that created the roof of the chuppah.

Aline assembled bouquets to adorn the chuppah.

The gorgeous, rustic-looking, strawberry shortcake wedding cake was baked by Cherie’s sister Cristal. Shout out to Cristal for maintaining her focus and composure while the house and yard buzzed with people setting up and arriving from out of town.

Rattlesnake Sighting!

Unexpected Adventure

There me and my childhood friends were, on our Girls Weekend in New Mexico, walking along a path in Bandelier National Monument, discussing the pretty bird we’d seen (Western Tanager), crossing over water (Rio Grande), and wondering why the trees looked burnt (prescribed burns), when we turned a slight bend in the path and came across a rattlesnake!

My first thought was COOL! I wanted to stop and look, but a) more hikers were coming up behind us and b) Cindy hurried us along saying rattlesnakes can strike far. According to North Dakota Game and Fish, “Rattlesnakes can, at best, strike a distance of two-thirds their total body length. For example, a three foot long snake may be able to strike a distance of two feet.” The snake did look big. COOL!

We were on the opposite side of the path, approximately 6 feet from the rattling rattlesnake. (I’d rattle, too, if a group of giants stopped to gawk at me.) I took some quick pics and we moved on. A second later, we were wondering where Laura was. We looked back and saw her dragging a huge branch that looked like half a tree towards the snake!

“Ha! I get ‘yelled’ at for not walking quickly enough, and she’s approaching a rattlesnake with an enormous branch?!” I said.

“What in the heck are you doing?” Cindy called to Laura.

Talk about provoking an unhappy rattlesnake that was innocently cooling itself off in the shade before being discovered by a group of giants AND scraping the ground with branches and leaves!!

While Laura called back that she and another hiker were attempting to block the path as a warning to other hikers, I wondered if you can die from a rattlesnake bite (I wasn’t worried, just curious.), if you have to cut a bite out (My mini-Swiss Army Knife was confiscated years ago at the Statue of Liberty), or if you can suck out the poison (is that real)?

The Mayo Clinic: First Aid says,

Most snakes aren’t dangerous to humans. Only about 15% worldwide and 20% in the United States are venomous. In North America, these include the rattlesnake, coral snake, water moccasin and copperhead. Their bites can cause severe injuries and sometimes death.

If a venomous snake bites you, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately, especially if the bitten area changes color, begins to swell or is painful. Many emergency rooms stock antivenom drugs, which may help you.

If possible, take these steps while waiting for medical help:

  • Move beyond the snake’s striking distance.
  • Remain still and calm to help slow the spread of venom.
  • Remove jewelry and tight clothing before you start to swell.
  • Position yourself, if possible, so that the bite is at or below the level of your heart.
  • Clean the wound with soap and water. Cover it with a clean, dry dressing.

Caution:

  • Don’t use a tourniquet or apply ice.
  • Don’t cut the wound or attempt to remove the venom.
  • Don’t drink caffeine or alcohol, which could speed your body’s absorption of venom.
  • Don’t try to capture the snake. Try to remember its color and shape so that you can describe it, which will help in your treatment. If you have a smartphone with you and it won’t delay your getting help, take a picture of the snake from a safe distance to help with identification.

Who knew? If you are unfortunate enough to get bitten by a venomous snake, DO NOT drink a cup of caffeinated coffee or soda!

As soon as we returned to the Visitor’s Center, Cindy and Laura alerted the park staff.

Their reaction? YAWN.

In Memory–Aleta

A dear ceramics class friend died this week, and a large group of teachers and students at the Visual Arts Center of NJ are devastated. In a year of compromised health, Aleta contracted Covid-19. Amazingly she recovered and, at a recent ceramics class social distance picnic, she declared herself, “The luckiest girl in the world!” We were beyond thrilled she had beaten the virus. Was her heart attack related to the illness? Research shows it may have been.

Aleta was incredibly smart, becoming a lawyer and professor of law at time when women were just making inroads into those professions. She was funny, curious, creative, talented, encouraging, kind, and a joy to be around. When I tell friends that I love my ceramics class because of the people in it, and because I can make a thimble and it’s still celebrated, I think of Aleta showering us all with, “It’s beautiful! Just beautiful!”

She loved her dog Gracie, had a thing for owls, always wore a Mets baseball hat, was ecstatic about the recent purchase of a dream vacation home, asked for and received an anniversary gift of a home pottery studio, loved to travel and, after a trip to Amsterdam, created hand-built tilting houses. She dispensed jokes and funny stories, shared family lore, talked politics and policies, and always expressed how much she loved her family. Her openness to learning, studying, and practicing was an inspiration. There will be an imprint in the atmosphere surrounding her favorite wheel.

I will always remember Aleta’s smile, laugh, and how she called all of us, “Honey.” My heart is heavy and my mind swirls with memories.

Sources: The Harvard Gazette, Oregon State University’s Jack Dymond

Tragedy and Tribute

Hon, Bmore Energy is a place for discovery, whether it be a story, new recipe, DIY project, photography or anything else I find interesting. As I pursue my writing dreams, Bmore Energy is where I “stretch before I exercise.” Sometimes, though, I break from my blog’s purpose to share heavier emotions. Then again, since this is a “lifestyle blog” and, in our lives, we will be faced with and have to deal with the best and worst situations, maybe emotional posts are actually parts of the whole.

Jaime Guttenberg

Our families are connected.

I didn’t know her, but her dad and my husband grew up doors apart. Her uncle was the best man at our wedding. Her aunt was my sister-in-law’s best friend. The families were neighbors and friends for years. She went to the same sleep-away camp as my children.

Tragedy. There aren’t enough words or the right words or any words for the evil that Jaime Guttenberg and 16 other people faced this past week.

Jaime’s funeral is today.

In Anderson Cooper’s tribute to the victims on CNN, he said each person’s name and “We will remember.”

In memory of Jaime’s love of dance, Misty Copeland, American ballet dancer for American Ballet Theatre, posted this on Instagram.

This one is for you, Jaime 🧡 We honor your life in tonight’s performance. This weekend dancer’s across America will wear orange ribbons to honor Jaime Guttenburg, a 14-year old dancer who was killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, FL. Tonight’s performance is for her 🧡#OrangeRibbonsForJaime

Dancers all over the world are wearing orange ribbons in Jaime’s honor, as was reported on ABC News.We’re with my husband’s family friends in spirit. Unfortunately, nothing anyone does will ever be enough.

The resource NCTSN or The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has written guidelines on how to talk to kids about this and other tragedies.

Amazing Marathon! New York City Marathon Video, Redux, too.

NYC Marathon course, bib, .and mile marker bracelet
NYC Marathon course, bib, and mile marker bracelet.

Hubby and Teen Daughter.
Hubby at Mile 22 and Teen Daughter.

Happy New York Marathon Day!

I’m re-posting this video from last year in honor of the big event today, the New York Marathon. This year, Hubby is running in the Philadelphia Marathon. I bet the enthusiasm will be the same. I know I made it, but I just love this video. The excitement is palpable and contagious!  Hon, thanks for watching.

November 2, 2014, I got high.

Not from drugs, drinks or too much sugar, but from witnessing Hubby and 49,599 other marathoners reach their goal–running the New York Marathon. Thanks to one of my college girfriends, (shout out to Kim) Hubby and I arranged meeting points along the route. It was her hubby’s third marathon (shout out to Oliver–Woohoo!) At our first meeting spot in Brooklyn,Teen Daughter and I were joined by Pratt Daughter and her roommate. Then Teen Daughter and I rode the rails all over the city. Seeing Hubby during the Marathon was unbelievable. So much training, discipline and hard work.  In other words, AMAZING!

Hon, I hope my 3 minute 53 second video gives you a taste of the day.

Click here to watch:  New York Marathon Video

Cancun Chaos

Are we headed to Cancun on Spring Break or a Girl Band named "Big Hair & Denim"?
College Girls.  Are we headed to Cancun on Spring Break or a Girl Band named “Big Hair & Denim”?

 Who can forget Spring Break?

My son and his college buddies recently returned from Spring Break in Cancun, a tourist destination known for beautiful beaches, turquoise water, and American students having a lot of fun.

When I told my college girl friends where my son vacationed, they all remembered our Spring Break in Cancun.  How could we forget it, especially our last night there?

Here’s the lowdown on the slowdown that  caused Cancun Chaos! 

Who:  Approximately 200 college students.

What:  Departure of a charter flight back to the U.S.

Where:  Cancun International Airport.

When:  8 pm (late ’80’s–could you tell from the hair?)

Why:  Good Question!

What Happened?

Shortly after arriving at Cancun International Airport, the shops brought down their gates.  Then, some airport employees left.  Then THEY ALL left!  Two hundred college kids were like, “What just happened?” and “Where’s our plane?” and “Holy Moly–we’re locked in!”

Apparently, our flight was cancelled or postponed or whatever!  So, the airline workers went home.  Guess what we didn’t have?  Cell phones (gasp!).  I remember being tired and angry.  If we’d known the flight was cancelled, we could have either stayed at our hotel another night or hung out with my childhood friend, who also happened to be in Cancun.  Ugh!

We had no way of letting anyone know we were stuck and no way of finding out when we might leave.  It was chaos!  Those who had bought Mexican blankets were in high demand.  The rest of us climbed on top of X-Ray scanner belts, pretended to be airline attendants and, basically, got delirious wondering if and when a plane would arrive.

And then?

Around 8 am, airline workers unlocked the airport doors.  They weren’t in a hurry and they didn’t apologize.  What did they care if a couple hundred American students had practically eaten their sombreros in desparation?

At 9 am, a charter plane arrived. What I don’t remember is if we all cheered upon takeoff or immediately fell asleep!

Open air market.
Open air market.

Hair and high-cut swimsuit--so Eighties!
Lots of hair and high-cut swimsuit–so Eighties!

Tanning in turquoise water.
Tanning in turquoise water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shout out to my childhood friend
Shout out to my childhood friend.

Hanging out on the X-Ray belt and, yes, crawling, through the machine.
Hanging out on the X-Ray scanner belt and, yes, crawling, through the machine at Cancun International Airport.

 Hon, do you have a ridiculous travel experience?  I’d love to hear about it.

Amazing Marathon! New York City Marathon Video

NYC Marathon course, bib, .and mile marker bracelet
NYC Marathon course, bib, and mile marker bracelet.

Hubby and Teen Daughter.
Hubby at Mile 22 and Teen Daughter.

November 2, 2014, I got high.

Not from drugs, drinks or too much sugar, but from witnessing Hubby and 49,599 other marathoners reach their goal–running the New York Marathon. Thanks to one of my college girfriends, (shout out to Kim) Hubby and I arranged meeting points along the route. It was her hubby’s third marathon (shout out to Oliver–Woohoo!) At our first meeting spot in Brooklyn,Teen Daughter and I were joined by Pratt Daughter and her roommate. Then Teen Daughter and I rode the rails all over the city. Seeing Hubby during the Marathon was unbelievable. So much training, discipline and hard work.  In other words, AMAZING!

Hon, I hope my 3 minute 53 second video gives you a taste of the day.

Click here to watch:  New York Marathon Video

Flags, Friends and Family

Moo-Flag!
Moo-Flag!

Happy Fourth of July!  

I’m still cleaning up and catching up from our Big Family Event but I wanted to share pics that make me as happy as Pharrell Williams’ song. While looking up the link for the song, guess what I found?  The Baltimore Police Department made their own “Happy” video!  It made me smile because I’m from Bmore and the folks in it are, well, happy!  

Enjoy the day,  hon!

Monument Valley, Utah
Monument Valley, Utah

Optical illusion of a flag from the Top of the Rock, NYC.
Optical illusion of a flag from the Top of the Rock, NYC.

At a July 4th bbq a bunch of years ago, my college girlfriends and I had a blast getting our kids together.

"Push me!"
“Push me!”

"Higher!"
“Higher!”

"Wheee!"
“Wheee!”

"Hold on tight!"
“Hold on tight!”

I came across these precious pics of my triplets when they were almost 7 years old and my “plus one” was a newborn.

"Say cheese!"
“Say cheese!”

Check out my son's body language.  It says more words!
Check out my son’s body language. It says more than words!

 

 

 

 

 

 

December Defined (A Short Video)

DSC_3682

Happy New Year!

December 1, the term “December Defined” popped into my head.  Children’s book author Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo had challenged me to come up with a new picture book idea every day for a month.  I did it!  And I felt like my new ideas defined the beginning of the month.

piboidmo2013-winnerbadge-700x700

Then, as I’m sure is true for all of you, December surged forward like a crowd of screaming teenage girls trying to get closer to a pop singer.  I thought about December now and in the past, and created a photo montage of family and friends. Mining photos, I included December photos plus a couple others.

My tween came home from middle school chorus practice singing “Simple Gifts,” so the video is set to that Shaker classic as well as a few seconds of the middle school chorus singing “Winterlight” and “Seasons of Love.” I hope you enjoy the 3 minute plus video.  I’m raising my virtual glass of champagne in a toast to a wonderful 2014.  Clink!

Hon, what defines December for you?

Credit for the beautiful version of “Simple Gifts” must be given to the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, in a video posted by James Roman.