Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sweetgrass Baskets by Charmayne




Check out my good friend Charmayne's beautiful sweetgrass baskets. She hand makes each basket in the beautiful lowcountry of South Carolina. Wonderful for your home and as gifts. There is so much wonderful history in the story of the sweetgrass baskets, that you won't be able to resist!

Visit her site at Sweetgrass Baskets by Charmayne


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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Guest Post by Pearce Corbin -- DIYHoliday Decor


The holidays are here and interior designer in-the-making, Pearce Corbin has a few ideas for do-it-yourself Holiday Decor that you can make with your family. ENJOY and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!
BIO:
Pearce Corbin is an interior designer in-the-making and a freelance writer for MyProjectorLamps.Com. He’s a lover of vintage furniture and has a special affinity for spooky couches. In this guest post he shares DIY holiday decorations you can make with your kids!
thegoodielife.com
5 DIY Holiday Decorations

With holidays fast approaching, the desire to decorate for this festive occasion begins. Not
all decorations need to be bought and in fact, many beautiful decorations are simple and
inexpensive to make. Even better, many of these do-it-yourself projects can involve the kids
so they can be taught the holiday spirit as the whole family prepares the decorations. Here
are ideas for five easy holiday decoration projects to complete at home.

1. Garland Trees.
Garland trees with the colorful, bright tones of holiday tinsel are easy to make using
a variety of garlands and Styrofoam cones. Depending on the weight of the tinsel, the
garland might have to be glued to the cone with a hot glue gun. Some garlands are so light,
however, that they can be attached to the cone with pins. Each member of the family can
have a different-sized, different-colored cone to decorate and put around the house.

2. Holiday Wreath.
Yarn-wrapped wreaths continue to be popular and they are incredibly easy to make. You
need to have a metal wreath base in the size you want and then enough yarn in a festive
holiday color to wrap around and completely cover the metal frame, at least two times
around so that no part of the metal shows through. You can add a bow or other holiday
item at the end and you have a wreath. The kids can help you wrap the yarn, since this will
be the most time-consuming part of the project. They can even help choose the additional
decorations to finish the wreath. Other materials can also be used to wrap the base and you
can let the kids choose and experiment with different materials and designs. If the base is
not wrapped, hot glue will be needed to attach the other materials.

3. Table-top Candle Decorations.
Choose your favorite tea light scents and place them in a long dish surrounded by painted
beans or seeds to match the colors you have chosen for your holiday d├ęcor. This is
an instant holiday decoration that can add to the ambiance of your room quickly and
inexpensively.

4. Branch Centerpieces
Collect simple, large bare branches from the backyard or a hiking trip and then use them
to create a beautiful arrangement in a clear, glass vase. To add to the holiday spirit,
hang tiny “holiday accessories” from the branches. These accessories can be small pieces
such as seeds, painted in holiday colors, tiny wooden ornaments or even very small glass
ornaments.

5. Garlands
Garlands are also easy to make and the possibilities are endless. A star garland involves
cutting out stars from holiday colored poster paper and then threading it through at equal
intervals. The kids can each draw their own set of stars and cut them out. The stars can all
be the same color or you can mix and match and then hang the garland around the house.
Similarly, a snowball garland can be just as easily created, using small Styrofoam balls
and needle and thread. After these tiny balls are threaded through at equal intervals, the
snowball garland is ready to be used in the tree or hanging as decoration.



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Thursday, November 22, 2012

My Top Five {Authors, Blogs, Singers and more}

Happy Thanksgiving all!!

My top likes {{as of today since this list changes more often than you'd think}}

My Top Five Seven Authors (in no particular order) ---
  1. Karen White
  2. Dorothea Benton Frank
  3. Amy Hale Auker
  4. Rudolfo Anaya
  5. Sunday Larson
  6. Laura Childs
  7. Joseph B. Fussell
My Top Five Singers (in no particular order) ---
  1. George Strait
  2. Adrian Brannan (Buckaroogirl)
  3. Brenn Hill
  4. Reba
  5. Sade
My Top Five Seven US Cities (in no particular order) ---
BTW I prefer small towns! Once lived in a village with a population of 11 and was quite happy!
  1. Charleston / Mount Pleasant, SC
  2. Albuquerque, NM (and most all those cities and town south of there)
  3. Dallas, TX
  4. New York, NY (well, that's where the family reside)
  5. San Juan Capistrano, CA (most all of SoCal)
  6. West Palm Beach, FL
  7. Breaux Bridge, LA (fine people living there)
My top Five Nine Blogs (in no particular order and there are so many more that I love)-- 
  1. Deep South Magazine
  2. Charleston Grit
  3. Frugally Sustainable
  4. The Gracious Girl
  5. Dirt and Martinis
  6. The South Dakota Cowgirl
  7. Guard'n The Planet
  8. Horses & Heels
  9. Fed Well
Places I would like to return to for a holiday (in no particular order) --
  1. Italy
  2. Sweden
  3. Hawaii
  4. Penang
What are your top fives, sixes, threes? ... place you want to go back to ... well you get it, I'm sure!
... What should I consider adding to my lists? ... any thoughts!
~Maria

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Keep it local!


I have many friends who run small businesses and this is how they support themselves and their families. I try to go out of my way to shop from them. Why? Because they are my community, they are a part of my economy and because I can put a face and a story to the products.
Consider buying the things you need, and want from small local businesses and self-employed people. Do you have a neighbor who sells online, is there a local craftsperson in the area who makes jewelry or clothes? I’ll bet there is a local indie bookstore in your area. Just look around. I’ll bet there are some local Authors who would be thrilled to sign their book for you. What about that friend from high school who runs a small local floral shop and shows up each week at the local farmers market to sell fresh flowers and crafts? What is she doing this fall and winter, making garland or wreaths? Do you know the local farmers and ranchers or the people down at the feed store? They’d be happy to sell to you.
Then there is that friend or friend of a friend who does shop at home parties? Can’t beat shopping and socializing at the same time! How about that bakery guy with the delish cookies, those cookie sales help put clothes on his children’s backs. The lady that owns the hair salon, I’ll bet she’ll be happy to sell a gift certificate you can give as a holiday present. I’ll bet you keep driving by that little clothing store in the strip mall thinking, “I should stop there one day.” Do it now!
You know these people will treat you right because they are your neighbors, your friends, you see them going down the road.
Support real people, put the money into your local economy and watch it thrive.

From orgreenheat.blogspot.com



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Friday, November 9, 2012

In the dark


You have to get up early. 
When the sky is still dark.
Let the world unfold before your eyes, 
watch the break of day come over the mountain, 
follow the rays of sunshine that spray over the foothills. 
Listen to the wind, to the sounds of the day ahead. 
You have to get up early. 
  © Maria Norcia Santillanes 
ngm.nationalgeographic.com



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Friday, October 26, 2012

Pretty lips


Hey there!! Save 25% on all Cowgirl Dirt lip products! Order today and use coupon code: save25


Shop now!
Please Tweet this promotion ... and Share on Facebook

Friday, October 19, 2012

Tainted Focus

A degree of confusion has tainted my focus. I've been looking for part-time work in addition to my Contract Sales work with Cowgirl Dirt and I've been putting together a Business Plan for a small retail home show business I am considering.

Today I found a message on my voice mail from the local university stating they would like to offer me a full-time position. Well, that might sound nice but in the same breath the person said the job offer hadn't yet been approved by Human Resources ... say what?

I am really very torn between wanting to following my entrepreneurial instinct, living frugally waiting for 'it' to happen and working for a paycheck with benefits but to build someone else's career.

Sometimes I think being a 'Sagittarius' is just too much mental work ...

What's a girl to do, I say?

From honeyinthesun.com

~~

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Watching the Moon

There will be a full Harvest Moon or as some call it, a Full Corn Moon this weekend, Sept 29/30 so pReParE. This moon corresponds to the fall harvest and is sometimes also called the Barley moon because it is when farmers thresh the ripening barley.

Sweep clean the porches of your home and prepare for the change this full moon will bring! 


"Officially, the crest of the full Harvest Moon will happen on September 29, 2012 at 10:19 p.m. CDT (3:19 on September 30 Universal Time). Depending upon your time zone, the full moon will be September 29 or 30. But the moon will appear round and full on all the nights around this full moon." ~ EarthSky
Photo credit: Harvest Moon by scienceduck from the blog Golempoem 


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Thursday, September 27, 2012

I'm walking, yes indeed, I'm talking 'bout ... Race for the Cure

Cancer is such a horrible disease. One I wish could be stamped out for good, but until then I'm walking ... won't you join me by donating to the cause in any amount comfortable for you.

Susan G. Komen banner with logo
Dear Friends and Family,
I recently accepted the challenge to raise funds to support the Central New Mexico Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure in its efforts to end breast cancer forever. I will also take part in the Komen Central New Mexico Race for the Cure® as part of this program.
Please help support me in this important project by contributing generously to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Central New Mexico Affiliate. Your tax-deductible contribution will fund breast cancer education, screening, and research programs. It is faster and easier than ever to support this great cause - you can make your donation online by simply clicking on the link at the bottom of this message. More information on Komen Central New Mexico and its programs can be found at www.komencnm.org.
Whatever you can give will help, it all adds up! I greatly appreciate your support!
Sincerely,
Maria
To donate online, click here.



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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hey Frangelico, meet me after dinner!!

Sofia has been at it again! This time she sent me a wonderful bottle of Frangelico. I was pleased to learn that Frangelico, in conjunction with celebrity Chocolatier MarieBelle, is set to unveil a limited edition truffle for the holiday season. The indulgent truffle, made with Frangelico Hazelnut Liqueur, will feature a special design and proceeds will benefit pet charity Bide-A-Wee. The charitable confections, featuring adorable puppy and kitten logos, will be available in addition to the traditional Frangelico truffles.


I wanted to learn a bit more about this liqueur, one that made a home in my Dad's liquor cabinet for years but one that I had never really embraced before this time. "Frangelico is produced in the Piedmont region of northern Italy, its origins date back more than 300 years to the presence of early Christian monks living in the hills of the area. The Frangelico bottle is an immediate reminder of this distinctive history; shaped like a monk’s habit, with a traditional rope belt around its waist. To make Frangelico, local Piedmont hazelnuts are roasted and infused in a solution of water and alcohol. A number of natural extracts – including cocoa and vanilla - are blended with the hazelnut infusion and hazelnut distillate to create the Frangelico concentrate. The mixture is then left to mature in vats for 6 to 8 weeks. The resulting liqueur is pale gold in color, a rich texture, and a pronounced hazelnut flavor with hints of vanilla and dark chocolate. As a classic liqueur, it’s perfect after a meal - either with coffee or in coffee, or pour it over ice in a chunky tumbler." ~ Manga Bene Pasta


Piedmont is a large mountainous region in the northwest corner of Italy, ringed on three sides by the Alps, and also contains one of the country’s most famous lakes. It’s justifiably well-known for its wines and is the region which gave birth to the Slow Food movement. And although it didn’t last long, Piedmont was also home to the first capital of a unified Italy in 1861.


The confections will be available at the MarieBelle chocolate boutique in NYC and online at www.mariebelle.com and the truffles will be on sale beginning November 2012 through January 2013.

It's a winner!!
 As you might already know, Bide-A-Wee is a humane organization that provides shelter, care and compassion to homeless animals. During the 2012 / 2013 holiday season, a portion of the proceeds from the Frangelico Charity truffle will benefit the Bide-A-Wee organization.
   


I enjoyed this liqueur a good deal. It has a nice taste of Hazelnut and chocolate and I think it would make a very fine after dinner drink during the holidays or really, anytime.

Here is a nice cocktail recipe you can try for yourself::
Frangelico Truffle Cocktail
1 oz Frangelico
1 oz SKYY vodka
3/4 oz of espresso
Shake with ice and serve in a cocktail or martini glass.
Dust with chocolate shavings


For those who may not have espresso on a regular basis, you can try this simpler recipe that is really delicious!

Frangelico on the Rocks
- 2 oz Frangelico® Hazelnut Liqueur
- 2 oz Citrus Vodka 
Add both ingredients in a shaker, shake and strain into a sugar rimmed glass filled with ice. Garnish with a sugar covered lemon wedge. 


Enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Rule # 1

Good morning,

It's not often that I feel I must add a rule to this blog but in the last week I have received several 'odd' comments where it is very obvious the commenter does not read this blog nor do they engage in the particular story for which they are leaving a comment. It seems clear to me, these commenters are making an attempt to post blind links to other websites.

Please know that I will not open the links nor will I approve the comment for publication to not only protect this site but to protect those who do check in on this blog regularly from clicking on a potentially bad link.

~Maria



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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A nice review ...

Such a nice review ...

Click here to visit Cowgirl Dirt



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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Are you interested?


Cowgirl Dirt is expanding into retail stores. If you are a retailer and would like to carry Cowgirl Dirt Cosmetics in your shop, contact Maria @ 505.506.5079 or maria@cowgirldirt.com .
Totally Western ∙ Totally Natural ∙ Pure Cosmetics


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Monday, July 23, 2012

It's a fiasco ...

Well, it's the 23rd and still the moving truck has not arrived. It's a fiasco and I'm getting a bit perturbed.

Sorry for being away so long but it's pretty difficult being without your stuff ...

What would you do if it happened to you?

~M

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Oh Boy!!!


Well, I am in New Mexico ... I'm not quite settled yet ... because ........

I . am . still . waiting . for . the . moving . truck . to . arrive!!!!!!!!!!

Which is making it hard to get anything done. I may not be posting often during this transition but I will return once all is running smoothly.


~Maria 

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

I'll be back!!!

I am in the midst of moving from one state to another so I will be away for a bit while I settle in but continue to check back and browse posts ... I'll be back!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Horses & Heels has her say!

I'd like to thank Raquel, the gal behind Horses & Heels blog for writing a review of Cowgirl Dirt Cosmetics. Visit her post to read all about it and follow her blog too. Raquel writes a neat blog about living in the cross-hairs of the city and the country. She loves cowboy boots ... I can only imagine how many pairs she actually owns and every Monday, she showcases a new pair. She also has great recipes and chats it up when it comes to fashion, cosmetics and horses.
I'm Raquel; I live where the city meets the country. One day I'm wearing stilettos, next day it's spurs. I have an obsession with cowboy boots, Christian Louboutin, cooking & cosmetics.


~M

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Unfinished stories

She woke to the sound of a harsh wind through the cottonwoods. Grayness enveloped her and a tingle of ice crept up her spine. The dream, still present in her minds eye, punching her in her gut. The scream, the deafening sound of hooves beating against dirt, the acrid smell of smoke and the lingering taste of ashes caught in her throat. The familiar name formed on her lips, "Cole." It was always that way. The dreams were always there, time after time since she was small girl. She'd never told anyone about them. As much as the dreams made her weep, they were hers and hers alone. 
Georgia O’Keeffe Cottonwood III (1944) Oil on canvas (49.53 x 74.30 cm.)
Unsigned, The Butler Institute of American Art. 
As she lay in bed, somewhere in that nether region that is dreaming and being awake, her lips formed the name again, "Cole," this time a warmth rose in her stomach and she closed her eyes again to bring the dream back.
...
...

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Where's the party?

The party was at my brother-in-law's last weekend for a combination celebration of my nieces 30th birthday and Father's day and it was a perfect time to have a Cognac Party! Ever have one?
Miss Sophi sent me a very nice bottle of Camus' Cognac Borderies XO to try and review* and that's just what we did as we all enjoyed the warm, sunny day in my BIL's backyard.
If you know a bit about cognac, then you know that it is exclusively produced in the cognac region of France. Think medieval town, cobblestone streets, beautiful Renaissance facades. Five generations of the Camus family, back to 1863 have been producing in the Cognac region. They have a worldwide presence and have won several awards including the Ultimate Spirits Challenge in March 2011 with a score of 93 points and achieving the "Excellent, Highly Recommended" category


It is (in Cognac) that the fabled nectar has been created since the 17" century and that the very air one breathes is permeated by the heavy scent of spirits evaporating from oak casks held in storage: this aroma is referred to as the "angels's share'.  http://www.westernfrancetouristboard.com/cognac.html  
Cognac can be enjoyed in cocktails, on the rocks or sipped neat. Although, we had cocktail recipes to try and there are several listed below, it was a unanimous decision to try the cognac sipped neat. This was a good idea because everyone took time to savor and think about the taste in their mouth. They swirled the cognac in their glasses, watched the legs drip, looked at the color, savored the finish. Personally, the thing I thought very interesting was the difference between the genders. The men were so impressed with the physical bottle. It is lovely, large and commanding. The woman were more interested in the drink itself. I would have thought just the opposite. 
The Camus Cognac Borderies XO was elegant. The flavor refined and smooth. The men spoke about "bite." Some said there was a bite and they felt that was a good thing, most said there was no bite and they also felt that was a good thing. Ahhh! The human palate, so distinct, so individualized. I personally enjoyed the cognac. I thought it had a very buttery taste and quite nice for sipping and a cognac that I will certainly have and serve again ... and I'm interested in several of their other products.

Nice color!

The birthday girl! This little lady and her baby to be could not participate** in the cognac tasting but enjoyed the party just as well.

Good friends!


Cheers!!




I enjoyed mine and I love my new nail polish!

Try a .....
CAMUS-Rita
2 oz CAMUS VS Elegance Cognac
1 oz sweet & sour Mix
1 oz Grand Marnier
Combine all in a shaker with ice; strain into a small rocks glass with salted rim. Garnish with a lime wedge




This sounds like a delicious drink to have: 
CAMUS Cosmo
1.5 oz CAMUS VS Elegance Cognac
0.75 oz Cointreau
0.75 oz cranberry juice
0.25 oz lime juice
Combine ingredients with ice and shake..Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a lime twist


This is different!
CAMUS Honey
2 oz CAMUS VS Elegance Cognac
0.5 oz honey syrup*
1 oz grapefruit juice
Combine ingredients with ice and shake with ice.  Strain into a short rocks glass fresh ice.
*The honey syrup is a 3:1 ratio of honey and water



and this one ....
CAMUS Passion Fruit Mousse
1.5 oz CAMUS Cognac
0.75 oz sweetened condensed milk
0.75 oz passion fruit concentrate
Combine all ingredients with ice and shake. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with an edible flower.


 I like this ...
CAMUS Sazerac
2 oz CAMUS VSOP Elegance Cognac
1 white sugar cube
3-4 Dashes of Peychaud's Bitters
0.25 oz Lucid Absinthe
Saturate sugar cubes with bitters and gently muddle. Add the CAMUS VSOP Elegance Cognac and stir with ice. Strain into a short rocks glass that has been coated with absinthe. Spray the glass with the lemon peel zest and rest the peel on the rim as garnish.  




This was a lot of fun and a great opportunity to learn more about Cognac and the region in which it's produced. We all enjoyed a little bit of the history and a very nice drink!
Next time you are out, ask to be served  Camus' Cognac Borderies XO and try it for yourself. I think you will like it!


The host of the party ... my brother-in-law!
What are you doing this weekend?
~Maria

* I am not paid to review products marketed by Deussen and my opinions are mine and take into consideration the opinions of those who may have also tried the products.
** “GOVERNMENT WARNING: (1) According to the Surgeon General, women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects. (2) Consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery, and may cause health problems” Underage drinking is prohibited.
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Thursday, June 21, 2012

A visit with our newest guest poster ... JoEllen Krauss

I would like to introduce JoEllen Krauss, our newest guest poster. JoEllen is a freelance writer for Providian Medical and a specialist in OB/GYN ultrasounds. She loves to read and write about books she has read.  In the following post she shares interesting reads for moms who need that much-deserved break in the land of pages and letters.

Mamas deserve to Get Lost in a Good Book
Summer is the time when many school-aged kids enjoy not having to pick up a book, but it is the complete opposite for many moms. Without the need to rush children to and from school, lessons, practices, and other late August through June obligations, summer can be a time for moms to relax with a good book or two. Whether reading from the comfort of an air conditioned home or outside on the beach, moms have many choices when it comes to what they select to read. Although every person's preferences are different, the following books are sure to entertain. 
For the romantic at heart, "Crossing the Borders of Time" by LeslieMaitland is a post-war story showcasing a daughter's desire to find her mother's former love. "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand" by HelenSimonson takes readers back to an English village and tells a very sweet love story at the same time.
At Bookworks
Moms looking for a bit of adventure should pick up a book like "Blonde," by Joyce Carol Oates. About the unseen life of Marilyn Monroe, this book may help those women who feel overwhelmed with their busy lives cope. Another option is "The Magus" by John Fowles. Stuck at home with their kids for the summer, women can easily lose themselves in the story of a man that simply wanted life more interesting. 
Those who want a bit more of a long term commitment in the form of a series of books have their choices between fantasy in the likes of "The DarkTower" series by Stephen King, which is a series of six novels that tell a continuing story, or a gratuitous series that started out as fan fiction with the "Fifty Shades of Grey" trilogy. This trilogy has gained so much popularity over the last few months that there are few who have not heard of it, but it is a quick read, perfect for a long day out by the pool - if you feel comfortable reading it in public, that is. A third trilogy, StiegLarsson's "Millennium" series includes "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," which has already been adapted into more than one successful movie.
Supernatural themes are quite popular these days, but so are autobiographies and memoirs. These exist for  education, like the books written about Presidential candidates like Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, and Barack Obama. With an election coming up this fall, moms can stay educated during the summer months, or choose to read more frivolous and fun memoirs, like any of comedienne Chelsea Handler's works, Jenny McCarthy's book, or even that of Ellen Degeneres. 
Spending the day outside and relaxing does not mean that a mom has to neglect her duties around the home, because there are books that can provide ideas for crafts, projects, and recipes that can be used in the home long after the summer months have passed. Although cookbooks by The Food Network stars like Guy Fieri and Giada De Laurentiis aren't exactly something that can be read end to end, and "Dress Your Best" by Clinton Kelly and Stacy London may only provide some helpful tips and advice, they can keep even the busiest moms intrigued. 
It simply depends on personal preference, but there are books out there to suit every taste. From fantasy novels to tell-all works about the lives of celebrities, the choices are endless, and with the ease of portable e-readers, books have become as portable as cell phones. Despite having kids home for three months, moms deserve a summer break as well. Though this list is by no means exhaustive, sometimes all it takes is picking one title, and going from there. The subject of one book may be similar to that of another, and moving from book to book can provide entertainment as well as define tastes. Whether falling in love with Christian Grey or learning more about the tragic life of Marilyn Monroe this summer, mamas definitely deserve the right to lose themselves in a good book.
 ~

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer make-up

Have a look at the latest edition of Cowgirls in Style magazine, page 14, where Cowgirl Dirt's Miss Sarah writes about great summer make-up tips, then visit our site and use the coupon code on page 19::

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Do NOT feed the Trolls ...

Today, after almost four years of blogging, a "troll" showed up on the blog. If you don't know, a troll is someone who comments in an inflammatory way, is completely off topic, their claims make no sense to the posting and who's purpose is ... well, I don't really know what their purpose is at all. Oh! and they are most always anonymous, as this one was today.
The "trollface", first appearing in 2008, is often used to indicate trolling in contemporary internet culture.[1] Modern usage of the word itself dates from 1980s. From Wikipedia
This troll commented about how awful (say what?) this blog was and then wrote "Check out my website at blahblah dot com" ... it was one of those loan companies that charge crazy interest to people in dire need.
Are you kidding me! This is not even a smart troll! 
I'm sure the whole purpose was to incite me to open the link and most likely be smacked with a nasty virus.
The nice thing about the blog moderation feature is that I don't have to include that comment. I can and do approve comments that contribute something to me, to the post or the blog in general. 
After all, it is my party, so to speak! 
I write this blog because I like to write, because it's a record of what interests me. It's not a serious or intellectual blog ... it's for fun, easy reading. Sure, I want people to read it and if they have constructive criticism, I'd be happy to hear it but I don't have to accept hateful comments. 
Not on my blog, not in my life!

...And this is the max amount of time I will give to this subject ... my "This is Spam" button took care of the problem and now on to fun stuff like my post about our weekend Cognac party coming up soon!


~Maria


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Friday, June 15, 2012

{from the archives} Night Lights ... a short story

Photo from the Internet  findfreegraphics.com   
Night Lights
A thousand-word short story using the prompts rain, sailboat and shame. Picked up by Cleaver Fiction and featured on Bloggy Moms!
Kara woke to the sound of thunder and the branches of the tree outside her window slapping against the clapboard. She walked to the window to close it and saw a light in the distance. Glancing at the clock on her side table, she knew it couldn’t be a light in the dock office. Ben had already locked up for the night after tying up and securing all the boats. He certainly wouldn’t be doing paperwork at 2:30 in the morning. The storm, although loud, was not serious enough to be a concern.  She strained to see better through the rain that poured in sheets, something most people in the South were quite used to enduring. She thought she could make out a mast but wasn’t sure. She just knew something was out of the ordinary for the middle of the night.

Kara’s curiosity got the better of her. She went downstairs, pulled on her wellies, threw her rain slicker over her nightgown and headed out in the rain and down to the dock.  As she got closer, she could make out the shape of a sailboat, looked to be about a 20 footer. She stood at the edge of the dock in the rain watching the boat. It looked like it was listing a bit. She thought about calling Ben but remembered she didn’t grab her cell phone from the foyer table where it was charging. She started to wave her hands hoping someone on the boat would see her. She was startled by a voice from behind her.

“No one’s on the boat”, the voice softly said.

She turned around quickly, fearful all of a sudden that maybe this was a bad idea. She saw him walking toward her then and was stopped by the image of a man, about her age, sopping wet with no shoes. His eyes were a striking blue, piercing her.

“I sprung a leak. Stayed with it as long as I could, tried to guide her as close in as possible. Took the dingy in all the way but when I got to the dock, I slipped and fell into the water. I’m about as wet as I can be”, he said.

Stunned by his piercing eyes and athletic body, she could see the outline of his six-pack abs as his shirt clung close to his body. She still couldn’t speak.

“My names Jake, Jake Johnson. Do you know the dock master by any chance?”

Kara paused a second to find her voice. “Uh, yes! Yes, Ben is the dock master. I was going to call him when I saw the sailboat listing but I forgot my cell phone at the house. Sorry.”

“That’s OK”, Blue eyes said. “I’m surprised to be seeing anyone this time of night. I thought I’d have to wait it out, catch my death from the wet. What made you come out here in the middle of the night and get drenched?”

It was then Kara looked down to see her slicker wide open and her nightgown completely wet from the rain and knew he was looking at her wet clinging nightgown. What was she thinking? She pulled the slicker close but it was too late. Her face was burning with embarrassment and regret. If her mamma was still around, she would have told Kara she should know better, ‘cause she was raised right and you don’t bring any shame on the family, no matter how little bitty it really was. Well, she thought, was a gorgeous man seeing her in her nightgown shameful?

“Well, I saw a light in the distance and my curiosity got to me. I thought maybe someone was in trouble.”

He watched her pull her slicker close and wondered if she had caught him enjoying the view. He was amazed to see her on the dock wearing a pair of rubber boots, and a slicker over her long nightgown that was really nothing but a thin wisp of cotton. He had better think about his predicament and not about how her wet hair fell onto her shoulders or the frame of her face and well, the rest of her too. He needed help and a place to dry out.

“Do you think you could help me out? I need a place to dry out until I can get some help with my boat.”

“Oh, uh sure, I just live up there. I’ll call Ben; he’ll be able to help you. Follow me and while I’m calling, you can wait on the porch.”

She felt bad making him stay on the porch but she didn’t want to take a chance just in case. Not that he couldn’t just grab her now if he was the serial killer type.

He was disappointed he couldn’t get into the house to dry off and the more he looked at her the more he wanted to know her. Maybe this was a place he could disconnect from his hell of a job in New York. The boat was just the start, the freedom he was looking for, and maybe fate brought him here with the tide.

Kara came to the porch with a tray of hot coffee and some cookies. She had changed into jeans and a tee shirt and ran a brush through her hair. The rain had stopped and the humidity was settling in. It wasn’t unusual for the temperatures to remain in the 70’s during the night.

Kara hadn’t been attracted to a man in a very long time; maybe fate was working to her advantage. She knew it was crazy to think what she was thinking.

“I called Ben; he’ll be here in a bit. He making some calls to get you help with the boat and he’s bringing work clothes for you to change into.”

She watched as he wrapped his hands around his coffee mug and wondered why not. She leaned in and smiled, “By the way, my name is Kara.”

© Beachwalkermari 2011


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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Books now ... let's chat!

What books are you reading now? 
I recently read Wild Penance by Sandi Ault. I've read a few of her books and the stories are always good, always set in New Mexico, always a mystery that takes in a bit of the New Mexico landscape, culture and folklore. Wild Penance, while good was missing something. The book dragged in parts, some subplots and characters could have been expanded upon, and the end was a "hurry up and finish" plus it was obvious who the villain was early on. If I had to rate this book on a 1 ~ 5 scale, I'd give it a 2.5.
Now that won't stop me from reading this author, she does have a style that is engaging and her subjects are always interesting.

I also read Agony of the Leaves by a favorite author Laura Childs. I adore her Tea Shop Mystery books, have read every single one, all set in Charleston SC, and the beautiful Lowcountry, an area of which I am very familiar. Loved the story! The protagonist of the Tea Shop Mystery books always surrounds herself with interesting characters, my favorite is Drayton, and generally places herself in gracious social situations. There is a cast of potential villains that you would least suspect and a typical mystery cozy climax.  However, I was thrown for a loop with the twist at the end of this book which was very abrupt ... so unlike the authors usual style. However, I highly recommend this author and in particular this series. On a 1 ~ 5 scale, I'd give it a 4.75.

Not batting a hundred here ... haven't hit any "love, love, love this book" fuzzy feelings but I don't give up on authors easily.

Just finished Dancing Naked in Dixie by Lauren Clark, a new author for me. I picked it up because how can you not love the title of the book. I liked the story, it was easy and fun, a fast, cozy read. The characters were engaging though not deep and the main characters traits were a bit overdone but overall, a good southern chick-lit read. I don't think you can truly judge an author by one book so I'll probably read more from this author. It's a 4 on my scale.


In my hands now is Sea Change by Karen White. I truly enjoy her books and am always engaged by her style of writing. Her characters are always deeply defined, always working something out, which makes it so easy to identify with the individual characters in some way. The stories are nicely climactic and thus far, I've never been let down. I've met the author several times at book signings and she is a very delightful person, incredibly interesting and engaging. I've only just started the book so I'll have to report later but I expect it will be as good as all her others and I might just get the "love, love, love fuzzy feelings!

On my TBR (to be read) list, I have: 
Unbroke Horses by D.B Jackson

Porch Lights by Dorothea Benton Frank

Unbridled Cowboy by Joseph B. Fussell

And ... Hard Country by Michael McGarrity


Leave a comment and let us know what you are reading so we can all add to our TBR list!

* All photos are from Amazon.com

~Maria

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A proper note for a proper time ...

If you have been following this blog for a while, you have probably figured out that I like to hand write notes and I like all sorts of papers and pens. Well one of my favorite paper companies, Crane & Co has just gone live with their new American collection. A lot of great designs! My favorite is the Land Of The Free Correspondence Card  ... yep, it's a rifle!!! and yes, I'll purchase these correspondence cards!

And for those who like to make a political statement, you can hand write a note to your favorite friend who holds opposing views with the Red State Correspondence Card and Blue State Correspondence Card

Photo from  http://www.crane.com/ 

Photo from  http://www.crane.com/ 

Can't decide or prefer to stay politically correct? Then have a look at the Party Animals Correspondence Card

Photo from  http://www.crane.com/   
Crane & Co papers are really ideal and top my list. I worked for a fine stationer when I lived in CT, Crane & Co was a best seller in all categories. They have a fine and long history dating back to the 1700's and they continue to be the supplier of currency paper for the US Government having been awarded the contract for more than 130 years. Pretty neat huh?? Do you still send hand written notes?


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