Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

The End

I hope you all had a wonderful 2011 and here's to a creative, happy and whimsical 2012! Remember it's never the end, but always a new beginning! xo

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Saying Yes to the Muse in 2012

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! Shh..listen. Do you here that? 2012 is right around the corner. She is peeking out behind the holiday decorations, whispering "are you ready?" in a voice of quiet determination. She want us to be ready. Ready for the next creative adventure. Ready to say YES to the muse. And that will be my slogan for 2012...Say Yes to the Muse!

Have you reviewed 2011 yet and made your creative goals for 2012? Here is my review of 2011 and my goals for 2012. It's good to put it out into the Universe, either on a blog or on a dream board.

My dream board for 2012

Jill Badonsky, author of  The Awe-manac: A Daily Dose of Wonder and The Nine Modern Day Muses (and a Bodyguard) Third Edition talks about finding out what worked for you the previous year and doing it just 5% more. When I look back on 2011, I see that the first half of the year was much more creative for me in terms of output. I did my best photography, digital art, traditional art and writing the first few months of the year. Of course, I had three personal losses the last half of the year so that did kind of side-line me from feeling motivated and creative. It wasn't a complete loss however. I had more monetary success in the last half of the year with images selected by Urban Outfitters, Country Living Magazine and the Somerset Department of Tourism. I won first place in a photo contest for the theme Abstract and I licensed images through Getty and for the third year in a row, Ziti Publishing, a greeting card company.

Art Journals

What worked for me last year was having time set aside everyday for my creative self. This year, I'm going to do that again. I'll set creative appointments for myself and show up every day ready to say YES to the muse. The difference this year is that I'm going to do it EVERY DAY regardless of where I am, or what is happening. I can surely fit in 15 minutes for writing or art journaling if nothing else, right? I'm ready to once again be inspired by The Awe-Manac (OMG...she is working on a new book! I can hardly wait!) and also A Writer's Book of Days: A Spirited Companion and Lively Muse for the Writing Life by Judy Reeves. I'm ready to say YES to the muse!

In 2012 I'll finish projects started, attend my first artist retreat and hop over the pond for a bit of relaxation and inspiration. I'll once again make the commitment to carry my camera with me everywhere I go and to spend some time with my vintage film cameras. I'll continue the iPhone missions, my Exploration Tasks and to inspire and motivate all of you. I'm looking forward to entering more photo contests, getting more stock sold, showing up in more national publications, learning new skills, improving techniques and reconnecting with my inner spirit through yoga and nature. I'm looking forward to spending time with friends and family in new locations and familiar surroundings. I'm looking forward to saying YES to the muse!

2012 can stop all the whispering and subtle hints now. I'm ready. Are you??

Sunday, December 25, 2011

iPhoneography Mission #17

Mission #17: Grant yourself permission to make a self-portrait every day this week only.


I had grand plans for this self-portrait mission being Christmas week and all. But alas,
I had not anticipated the unexpected guest that showed up to put a damper on things.
As a kid living in Kansas, it seemed I had bronchitis every year but as an adult living in warmer climates for the last 28 years? Hardly at all, if ever. And it had to come this week. Needless to say, I didn't feel like moving much less take a self portrait. I tried though, only missing one day. Not bad considering I definitely did not want my picture taken! I used various apps such as Photo Toaster and Arista Oil as well as the good old stand-by, the Hipstamatic.

Needing some Magic


On Christmas Eve day, Charlie still had wrapping of gifts to do and so I decided to put on the disguise of a well-person (make-up) and head to B&N. I actually felt pretty good this day and didn't have a hacking fit until right when I was checking out (of course!). We had plans to go to dinner and I had been craving my celebratory mojitos but I wasn't sure if I could make it through in such a public place without hacking. Then, I decided what the hell...if I start coughing at least I can act like a piece of food went down the windpipe. :) 

Shower of Light

Bookstores always make me feel better. But look at my eyes...that's how you can tell I'm sick, droopy eyes.

Happy Reindeer (before and during the two mojitos...and maybe for a while after and then...not so much!)

I'm going to be ticked off if I'm still sick come January. I've got so many creative plans (stay tuned for tomorrow's blog post on that!) and I really want to feel my dear readers, send your warm thoughts and healing lights my way...I could use them right now. :)

Oh, and here is our next mission:

Mission #18: Study the texture of natural objects. (Originally it said "at the beach" but I found that might be limiting to some so let's just go for what's around us). Have fun!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Joy is in My Heart...but not my lungs. :(

Christmas Joy is in My Heart
(A very special ornament made for me by Missy Trent )

I've been saddled this week with bronchitis. I'm going to be sick on Christmas. :(
Which means my usual surge of festive photography has shorted out. Still, that won't stop me from enjoying the holiday with my handsome hubby, sipping a couple of mojitos and tearing into some prettily wrapped gifts from family and friends. And it won't stop me from posting here on my blog in order to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas! Enjoy the weekend with those you love and I hope Santa brings you something special. ♥

Sunday, December 18, 2011

iPhoneography Mission #16

Mission #16: Record words and phrases that speak to you in public places.
I thought this mission was going to be a piece of's the holiday season and I figured the mall would have all sorts of signs, window displays and decorations with wonderful words of cheer and joy. So, I waited until yesterday for the mission since I was meeting my friend Loraine at the mall. Obviously times are tough for even businesses because there weren't any decorations save for the same Christmas tree filled with years-old ornaments. None of the stores had their windows was a far cry from when I was in London and every store, window and building was decked to the nines. I did manage to find a few that spoke to me however...

Wonderful Everyday

 I Am Powerful

Carry On 

 Water, earth and sky, sing the song of life. Sing.


And here's the next one, which I've altered from "weekly basis" to "this week only". It should be fun to do this one during the week of Christmas...sneaking in a shot during the busiest time could be challenging so everyone just do your best!
Mission #17: Grant yourself permission to make a self-portrait every day this week only.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Healthy Recipe: Honeycrisp Apple Salad Stack

In the most recent store magazine for The Fresh Market I found a recipe for a Honeycrisp Apple Salad Stack which looked so delicious, I picked up the ingredients and promptly made it for lunch! It was so yummy and I thought I would share it all with you. It was easy to make and packed full of healthy flavor.

Honeycrisp Apple Salad Stack


  • 2 Honeycrisp Apples, thinly sliced

  • 2 pears, thinly sliced

  • 1 fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced

  • 1 cup baby arugula leaves

  • 4 ounces blue cheese

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
In a large bowl, combine water and juice of one lemon. Thinly slice the apples, pear and fennel and place the slices in lemon-water immediately after to avoid oxidation. To make the vinaigrette, whisk together dressing ingredients. Stack the sliced fruits, layering blue cheese and arugula between pieces and garnish with arugula leaves. Drizzle vinaigrette over top. Salt and pepper to taste.

I skipped the lemon-water as I wasn't making a bunch of them, just one for me. I also just topped it with olive oil instead of making the dressing and it was just the right amount of added flavor. I can see this being a wonderful light lunch to serve or even cutting the size in half and serving them as appetizers. Either way, this recipe is a keeper!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

iPhoneography Mission #15

Mission #15: Find something blue.

This is the first mission with my new iPhone 4s which has an 8MP camera! Yippee! I shot all these "blue" pics on the day we picked out and decorated our Christmas tree. I used the Hipstamatic's newest camera/lens combo: The Loftus lens with DC film. I like this combo which captures true colors and vignettes the edges with a bit of blur. 
Ready to Brew

Blue Umbrellas

Looking out the sunroof


Under the Big Blue Tent

My newest orchids! Purchased last week on an outing with Lita. Aren't they simply gorgeous? 


Rock Painting

 Blue Light



No better way to end a day than with a cup of tea from a pretty teapot and teacup! 
Now, onto the next mission!

Mission #16: Record words and phrases that speak to you in public places.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sunday, December 4, 2011

iPhoneography Mission #14

Mission #14: Study the color and shape of your breakfast.

"All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast." ~ John Gunther

I love that quote and totally agree. I love going out for breakfast, meeting my friends over coffee and Eggs Benedict and stuffing myself with a big English spread before a long day of trekking. However, the reality at home is most of the time, because I'm an early eater of lunch, my breakfast consists of two cups of coffee or a Starbucks Venti Latte. Luckily, since it's the holiday season, I had several opportunities to eat breakfast with those I love.

Morning Fruit

Homemade Latte

Biscuits & Gravy

 Doubled Up

Hash Brown Potatoes

Creme d' Menthe Latte


"Give me a little ham and egg and let me be alone I beg.
Give me my tea, hot, sweet & weak.
Bring me The Times and do not speak.
~A.P. Herbert, A Book of Ballads 1931

Eggs Benedict (My ultimate fave!) 

Keep Calm and Carry the next mission!

Mission #15: Find something blue.