Winter Break

December is a busy month.. so many activities, an upcoming vacation to somewhere warm. My parents are flying in at the end of the week for the holidays. I don't think I'll be posting this month. I wanted to wish you all a very happy holiday and a very happy new year from my family to yours.

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lately - Thanksgiving Edition

Happy December everyone.. yup we say it every year and so I'll say it again.. how is it December already?? Seriously!

We had a fantastic Thanksgiving.. it was very nontraditional.. there was no turkey or pie but there was a lot of fun.

We started off Wednesday with a Rangers vs Hurricanes hockey game. M gets these amazing club seat tickets from work every year and we all look forward to going every year. And the fact that the Rangers won 3-2 was just the icing on the cake. We arrived in the city a few hours in advance and wandered around for a bit.. and spotted this big fella in a store.

On Thanksgiving Day we headed to Staten Island to the Lantern Festival.. we had been to one before  many years ago in Montreal when D was little. It was absolutely beautiful.. 

On Friday we had tickets to see Sponge Bob the Musical at the NJ State Theater. But before the show we stopped at our favorite hot dog place, Destination Dogs.

I had the Bangkok Dog and M had the Alderaan Dog which I did not know was a fictional Star Wars planet. So so good.. then off to the show!

The show was fantastic.. we are not a Sponge Bob family.. I have always dissuaded the boys from watching it. But the musical was incredibly colorful and creative. We all enjoyed it. If it comes to a theater near you I'd highly recommend checking it out! 

The weekend was less intense.. H came down with a fever, D went to a birthday party and M and I ran some errands.. 

And here we are back at Monday with me counting down the days to winter break.
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Recent Purchases

So I don't generally talk about my recent purchases... but I am so very pleased with some of my latest ones I feel the need to share.

The first one is a pour over coffee maker. I purchased this one and we are so pleased with it. The coffee is simple to make and simple to clean. I can easily just make one cup just for myself. Now what we are working on is finding the coffee we like the best.. we have tried the common brands, Folgers and Maxwell. Preferred Maxwell. We are currently drinking Wegmans in store brand.. on the fence about that one.. what coffee brand do you drink? We don't do flavors and drink a medium roast. I'd love to hear from you guys so we can try different brands.. yay coffee :)

My second favorite purchase was an Air Fryer. Got this one on a great deal! Love it so much bought another one as a gift. I use it so often.. especially for the kids lunches.. no more using oil.. no more paper towels to blot the oil.. did you know you can even boil an egg in it! We roasted pumpkin seeds in a fraction of the time and they came out perfectly crunchy. 

My third and last purchase were these. I have a lot of trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep. Then I feel sleepy and tired all day long.. I have been taking melatonin for some time now but it hasn't been helping much. I spotted these and have been taking them for a few weeks now and they are a game changer.. I am sleeping so much better.. M even took some and he can feel a difference in his sleep as well.. 

A very Happy Thanksgiving to all those celebrating
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Friday Photography

Red and Blue - A beautiful old red and blue building found in the streets of Victoria on Vancouver Island, Canada here

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Prints also available in larger sizes. Contact for more information and special requests.

I am open to wholesale and licensing opportunities. Get in touch for more information.
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It has been busy.. the boys had two days off for the New Jersey teachers convention and now they have the next four days of half days which I loath.. by the time they leave it's just time for them to come back again..

Many moons ago I had mentioned a powder room remodel.. I never got around to sharing the after pictures with you.. the bathroom is very narrow and taking decent pictures was such a challenge. 

the before

I hand painted the floor.. you can read about it here

A few of the poorly shot afters.. the bathroom shelves are still a little bare.. but I don't want to just go to Home Goods and buy a bunch of stuff.. we like it when the things in our home mean something.. have a story. The faucet we bought in Morocco. The frames on the wall are two of my own photographs.. Frustration and Laughing

The little glass bottle on the top shelf was bought in Venice as was the mask.. the little turtles we got in Mexico and the dried citrus wreath we found in Budapest. 

We have a great big tree in our backyard.. during the first two years in this house it would turn bright red in the fall.. during our second year when H wasn't a few months shy of turning one we gathered the leaves and had some fun.. I posted about it here, at the time we thought we would make this a yearly tradition.  The last few year the leaves seems to be falling before the they get a chance to turn red. But this year the tree is looking bright and beautiful.. and I am on a mission to take some great pictures again.. here's hoping mother nature cooperates.

Saturday we went to the Met Life Stadium to watch the Jets vs Giants game.. I don't care much about sports but being at a live event is something I am always up for.. it's a lot of fun whether you understand the sport of not (except for baseball.. been to a game once.. major snoozefest) My boys were rooting for the Giants... they lost.. but it was still a fun day.

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Friday Photography

Forgotten - A beautiful but old and now unused outdoor water basin found in a Turkish garden. Read more about our Turkey here.

You can buy this print here. Get Free Shipping with code BLOGGER

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Happy Halloween

Hope everyone had great weekend.. We celebrated Halloween on Thursday, rain was on the forecast but with lost of wishing and praying it turned out to be a beautiful night.

The kids scored a ton of candy..

On Saturday we had our annual Halloween party.. it was our third year hosting. M and the kids really love to get crafty with the decor. We didn't add much to our last years outdoor decorations..

They made these milk jug lights last year.


The boys decorated the brownie balls I made. 

I made a red juice with floating lychee eye balls.. didn't get a picture of the juice but here are some of the leftover eye balls and some green pistachio zombie ice cream.. as well as other non Halloween themed food.

M and I completely forgot to get a selfie.. so here's a cropped group shot of us..

We had a wonderful time.. lots of laughs.. the only little snafu was the morning of the party we realized our dishwasher was leaking and I spent half the day washing dishes. :/

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I had a feel bad days last week.. nothing bad happened.. life was going on as usual but to me it felt unbearable.. In fact we had a great weekend, took the boys to a haunted house and they did not freak out. M and I had a date night.. but I just couldn't push away the dark thoughts.. and then I felt so ungrateful.. I am so blessed.. what could I possibly be upset about. If you are out there feeling blue.. you are not the only one.. we all have our moments, days..  

I'm good now.. just thought I'd check in and share. 

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Friday Photography

Allah - Taken inside the famous Hagia Sofia in Istanbul, Turkey Read more about our trip to Turkey here

You can buy this print here. Get Free Shipping with code BLOGGER

Prints also available in larger sizes. Contact for more information and special requests.

I am open to wholesale and licensing opportunities. Get in touch for more information.  
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Reading lately

Deeper Than the Dead by Tami Hoag

Synopsis - California, 1985. Four children, running in the woods behind their school, stumble upon a partially buried female body, eyes and mouth glued shut. Close behind the children is their teacher, Anne Navarre. Detective Tony Mendez, fresh from a law enforcement course at FBI headquarters, is charged with interpreting those now revealed secrets. He’s using a new technique—profiling—to develop a theory of the case. As new victims are found and the media scrutiny of the investigation bears down on them, both Mendez and Navarre are unsure if those who suffer most are the victims themselves—or the family and friends of the killer, blissfully unaware that someone very close to them is a brutal, calculating psychopath.

Thoughts - This was my first book by Ms Hoag and I just added a few more to my TBR list. It was a great page turner with well developed characters. I have been watching Netflix's Mindhunter and it is about the birth of the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit which is prominently featured in this book.

Sweet Lake by Christine Nolfi

Synopsis - Linnie Wayfair knows just how many people are counting on her. Everyone in Sweet Lake, Ohio, wants her to muster all her business sense and return the Wayfair Inn to its former glory. Her parents hope she’ll forgive her scoundrel of a brother and reconcile the family. The eccentric Sweet Lake Sirens want her to open the inn—and her heart—to new possibilities. And her hilarious lifelong friends Jada and Cat are dropping none-too-subtle hints for her to ignite a romance with Daniel Kettering, the sexy attorney who’s been pining for her for years… Now a shocking turn of events will open old wounds and upend the world Linnie has carefully built. She has to make changes quickly—and the results, though not entirely what she expected, might be what she’s been yearning for all along.

Thoughts - If you like Hallmark and Lifetime movies you will love this book. I do not.. so this was a big miss for me. Too cheesy and predictable.

The Smiling Man by Joseph Knox

Synopsis - Disconnected from his history and careless of his future, Detective Aidan Waits has resigned himself to the night shift. An endless cycle of meaningless emergency calls and lonely dead ends. Until he and his partner, Detective Inspector Peter ‘Sutty’ Sutcliffe, are summoned to The Palace, a vast disused hotel in the centre of a restless, simmering city. There they find the body of a man. He is dead. And he is smiling. The tags have been removed from the man’s clothes. His teeth filed down and replaced. Even his fingertips are not his own. Only a patch sewn into the inside of his trousers gives any indication as to who he was, and to the desperate last act of his life… But even as Waits puts together the pieces of this stranger’s life, someone is sifting through the shards of his own. When the mysterious fires, anonymous phone calls and outright threats escalate, he realises that a ghost from his own past haunts his every move. And to discover the smiling man’s identity, he must finally confront his own.

Thoughts - It took me a while to get into this book.. it took a while to understand the main character Detective Waits. There were two stories happening simultaneously.. things did start to come together around the half way point of the book and I did eventually enjoy it.. Not sure if I'd read more books by the author though.

Milady by Laura L Sullivan

Synopsis - She was the greatest nemesis of d'Artagnan and the Three Musketeers--but Milady de Winter was so much more than just a villain in their swashbuckling adventures. I've gone by many names though you know me as Milady de Winter: Villainess, seductress, a secondary player in The Three Musketeers story. But we all know history was written by men, and they so often get things wrong. So before you cast judgment, let me tell you of how a girl from the countryside became the most feared woman in all of Europe. A target for antipathy, a name whispered in fear or loathing. I don't need you to like me. I just need to be free. It's finally time I tell my own story. The truth isn't tidy or convenient, but it's certainly more interesting.      

Thoughts - I haven't read much about the Three Musketeers and I had never heard of Milady but this was a fun read.. there were a few throw the book across the room moments but all in all a fun historical tale. 

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

Synopsis - In a small town in Maine, recently widowed Eveleth "Evvie" Drake rarely leaves her house. Everyone in town, including her best friend, Andy, thinks grief keeps her locked inside, and she doesn't correct them. In New York, Dean Tenney, former major-league pitcher and Andy's childhood friend, is struggling with a case of the "yips": he can't throw straight anymore, and he can't figure out why. An invitation from Andy to stay in Maine for a few months seems like the perfect chance to hit the reset button. When Dean moves into an apartment at the back of Evvie's house, the two make a deal: Dean won't ask about Evvie's late husband, and Evvie won't ask about Dean's baseball career. Rules, though, have a funny way of being broken--and what starts as an unexpected friendship soon turns into something more. But before they can find out what might lie ahead, they'll have to wrestle a few demons: the bonds they've broken, the plans they've changed, and the secrets they've kept.

Thoughts -  I like to try to squeeze in a light contemporary read here and there between all the crime thrillers and historical fictions. And unlike the slightly cliched Sweet Lake this one was sweeter and funnier. It dealt with mental health, friendship and having starting a new chapter in your life when you thought you had so many more pages to go. It wasn't an amazing read but it did what I had need it to do.. lighten things up without being to airy.

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A Few Hours in Glasgow

We said goodbye to the Isle of Skye and made our way south to Glasgow.. our city of departure. We feel entering and departing from different cities is usually a time saver and makes more sense when you are city hopping. When booking a flight instead of a round trip we opt for a multi city. We also don't tend to have much airline loyalty.. we book the flight that makes the most sense in regard to time and money.

Before we got to Glasgow we made a quick stop at the Eilean Donan Castle. Eilean Donan is a small tidal island where three sea lochs meet, Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh, in the western Highlands of Scotland. A picturesque castle that frequently appears in photographs, film and television dominates the island, which lies about 1 kilometre from the village of Dornie. We didn't go inside but just stopping to walk around was worth it.. another breathtakingly stunning spot right out of a fairy tale. 

It was a four hour drive to Glasgow and it rainy almost the whole time.. we pulled over in to the Glenco Ski lodge to grab some lunches to go and kept driving. 

We arrived in Glasgow around 3:30pm and after parking in the Princes Street Shopping Center we just walked around.. it was raining on and off again so we ducked into shops.

In George's Square

We had dinner at Thairiffic. It was good.. but the thai food we had in York was just so so good. 
It had started to pour outside.. we quickly ran into Desserts Gelateria for our last dessert of the trip.. we don't indulge as much when we are home.. so on vacation we like to go a little crazy.  

It was still pouring and even with out rain jackets and our umbrellas by the time we made it back to the car we were drenched. 

Our hotel, Ashtree Hotel was in Paisley.. very close to the airport.. the manager was so nice that when she heard we had an extremely early flight she left out some breakfast for us. And that was it.. our adventure came to an end. 

It was such a great summer.. something we'll remember for years to come. Now we're just counting down the days till we are off to our next destination. 

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