Being Spontaneous

Monday, July 4, 2016

I'm normally not a very spontaneous person.  I like plans, lists, agendas, a full Outlook calendar that is even color coded based on the type of activity.   My dear husband is the exact oppositive and doesn't like to 'commit' to an agenda or plan because what happens if something better comes along - you never know.  Well today, I threw caution to the wind and said, let's just plan to go for a bike ride and we'll see where it takes us.  Let me tell you it took us all over the place and so many fun little discoveries ... today was a great day with no plan - go figure!

First we took the Historic Whites Ferry across the Potomac River and drove through Poolsville. 


We came upon a pick-your-own farm, Homestead Farm, and blueberries were in season. We spent an hour picking and eating, picking and eating.  We filled a whole bucket full - 6 pounds worth.  Can you tell blueberries are our favorite. 











After blueberry picking we happened across a cute little winery, Rocklands Farm.  We ate lunch under a big tree that kept the sprinkling rain off.  It was magical.  I tried their chardonnay and Dan tried a glass of red.  He liked it so much he bought a bottle.  We fed the ducks that were waddling around their pond as well. 










After lunch, the rain stopped so it was time for our bike ride. We ended up in Seneca Creek State Park and rode our bikes with the Potomac River to one side and the old C&O Canal locks on the other.  It was so pretty and such a nice cool day for a little bike ride.








What a wonderful day we had and all because we just set out to explore.  This area is such a beautiful part of our country!





June favorites

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Some of my favorite things this month ...

The Great Alone

This was an excellent documentary on Netflix.  All about the Alaskan Iditarod and one man's quest to win.

Barkley's Marathon: A Race that Eats It's Young

This was another great documentary on Netflix.  It was fascinating and the creator of the race is so eccentric and interesting.  I know for a fact I would never have any desire to run this, but I am compelled to brush up on my map reading skills.

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water

I use this every evening to take off my eye makeup.  It works great on waterproof mascara as well...

Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Cleanser and Makeup Remover, 13.5 Fluid Ounce

TAG's toner

This is my own creation.  Really easy to make and very effective.  I can tell immediately if I have lapsed in using it every evening.  The recipe is simple:  equal parts water, Apple Cider Vinegar and Rose Water and Glycerin.  I put it in a little spray bottle and use it every night.

St. Tropez Self Bronzer

I've used this self-bronzer for the past two summers and I love it.  It is so easy to use. 

St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse, 8 fl. oz.


Jogger pants from Target

I didn't think I would like these as much as I do ... they are actually very chic on and so comfortable.  I'm wearing them right now, actually!



Mason Pearson Brush

This brush is ridiculously expensive, but so worth it.  I bought mine years ago off of eBay and my husband immediately 'stole' it.  Just recently, we tried it on my daughters outrageously tangled hair - it was so tangled and gnarled that I actually thought gum must have gotten in her hair.  This brush worked miraculously and was pain free.  I may have to purchase another one!


Mason Pearson Handy Mixed Bristle Brush (BN3), Dark Ruby

Crown Vintage Wedges

My niece had these sandals and I loved them.  Went out the very next day to DSW and bought myself a pair, but in brown.  They are surprisingly comfortable and seriously feel like butter on my feet!
Crown Vintage Sigh Wedge Sandal

Stella and Dot Reina Necklace / Bracelet

My neighbor had a Stella and Dot party and I bought this bracelet wrap.  It goes with everything and I can wear it as a necklace as well.

Reina Necklace - Multi

Stella and Dot City Slim Clutch

Also from Stella and Dot is this clutch in black and cream.  I bought the gold chain which makes it both a clutch and a cross body.  It goes with everything and I love it!

City Slim Clutch - Black/Cream Clean Stripe by Stella & Dot. Grab this envelope clutch to complement your fav dress or dress it down and wear it cross body by adding our Versatile Chain in silver that also doubles as a necklace! Toss in your cash, cards and lip gloss and you’re ready for a chic outing!:

Olivia's Goodbye to Nanny

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


This was one of the last pictures Olivia took with her Nanny.  As you can clearly see, Nanny was full of life and such a fun Nanny.  Always up for a good laugh and some fun!

I was so proud of Olivia standing up in church to speak words to remember her Nanny.  She wrote this herself and delivered it flawlessly and with so much heart.  Nanny would have been proud.

Thank you for coming.  This would really mean a lot to my nanny.
My name is Olivia and I would like to share a poem that I wrote for my nanny and to share a memory that I have of her and me.

My nanny was perfect
She was nice and kind and she soured through the sky with her imagination.
She had great style and she always had a smile.
She was very smart and loving, caring and pretty too.
She knew all the birthdays and the family history too.
She knew how to make me laugh and put on a great big smile.
Dear God will you send her this message to her in heaven,
tell her I love and miss her.
Tell her that I know she is gone, but she will never parish from my heart.

The memory I would like to share is this:

I remember every time I would see nanny, I would grow a little taller.  First I was barely past her shoulders and the last time I saw her I was past her eyes.

I never got to outgrow my nanny, but that's ok.  Isn't it supposed to be that way?  Anyway, all I'm trying to say here is nanny you came in my life and filled my heart with love.  You were an amazing nanny and someday I hope I will be as good as you.





My Eulogy to My Mother

Wednesday, June 22, 2016




This is the last selfie that I took of my mom and I.  It was in February 2015 (one month later she was gone) and we were getting ready to watch a play in Hendersonville, NC.  My mom was always up for a selfie - she was so fun and I miss her.

This is the eulogy I gave at her funeral.

Constance Lynn Hamlin-Palmer
3/9/1934 - 3/18/2015

"My first thought when I learned my mom had passed, was who am I going to call for advice or help with something or tell me how to figure something out?

My mom was a wealth of information, sound advice, basically an Encyclopedia Britannica of anything you would need to know.  Throughout my childhood and well into my adulthood I would call my mom ...

Mom - I'm planning a dinner party what should I cook?  Two hours later, my email would be filled with receipe ideas.

Mom - we are planning a trip to Utah, what should we see?  The next morning, an entire iternery of a trip my mom and dad took years earlier would show up in my email.

Mom - my pet rabbit fell off the deck, what do I do?  Grant it it's 2am in the morning and I'm 400 miles away .. but she helped me find an 24 hour emergency vet.

Mom - I need a tinsel dress for the school holiday show.  My mom asks when I needed it ... tomorrow morning!  Sure enough I had the best tinsel dress in town.

Mom - Olivia won't take her bottle, what do I do?  The next morning, mom and I went to Babies R Us and bought no less than ten different bottles to experiment with.

My mom never did anything half-heartedly or without passion.  We would often joke that mom was tiny, but oh was she mighty.  Mighty in spirit, mighty in gumption, mighty in her opinions and mighty in her love.

My mom and dad thrived in their retirement years .. they entered the world of square dancing and round dancing and met so many wonderful and lasting friends.  My favorite memory was coming home to visit and watching them dance together in the garage - showing me the latest dances they learned.  Every child should have a memory like this - I was blessed.

After my dad passed, I worried about my mom, as any daughter would.  I wanted her to find happiness again. She spent a few months with my husband and I in Texas.  She would spend a long time on the computer and Dan and I would joke about needing to teach my mom internest safety!  I would ask her what she was doing and she would reply, 'a friend is teaching me to play bridge'.  I later learned this friend's name was Bill.

A short time later, I was walking her down the aisle to marry this man named Bill.  I was thankful that my mother once again found happiness and opened her heart to love once more.  We thank you Bill for loving our mother so fiercely, unselfishly and beautifylly.  Bill just joked the other day that he served in the airforce for 20 years and then served a Queen for 15. 

My mother has had many chapters in her life ... all vibrant, colorful, full of life, some painful, some hard, and some easy and free .. all the elements of a life lived to it's fullest, just as it should be, just as we all should strive for.  My mother used to tell me when one door closes, a window is opened.

So as this door closes on my mother's life, a window has opened for her children, her grandchildren and great-grandchilldren to carry on her legacy and to continue to pay it forward. 



Memorial Day

Friday, June 10, 2016

We had such an awesome Memorial Day with both old friends and new this year.  The weather held out as it was calling for rain all day - but thankfully the day was beautiful with a cool breeze.  Dan smoked ribs all day and they were delicious - everyone raved about them.  He is getting really good with this smoker thing - yum!! 
 
 
 


16 Suggestions for Midlife

Friday, June 3, 2016

I just finished a wonderful book called Life Reimagined: The Science Art and Opportunity at Midlife by Barbara Bradley Hargerty.   I resisted reading this book because I didn't want to admit that indeed I was at midlife - defined as the decades between 40's, 50's, and 60's ... so yep, although I am in just the beginning midlife stage, at least I can claim that. 

I thoroughly enjoyed each chapter and thought I would share what the author concludes with -

16 suggestions for a flourishing midlife:
  1. Your most joyous years are ahead of you. 
  2. Aim for meaning, not just happiness and you will find both.
  3. Ask yourself how will I use my life for it's best purpose.
  4. Challenge your brain regularly.
  5. Be a rookie at something.
  6. Goals will energize your days.
  7. It's harder to hurt when you're laughing.
  8. Pay attention; the biggest threat to a seasoned marriage is neglect.
  9. Take trouble in stride.
  10. A few setbacks are just what the doctor ordered.
  11. There is danger on the periphery.
  12. Your thinking shapes your experience.
  13. Pivoting on your strengths beats starting from scratch.
  14. Redefine success on your values, not that of the rest of the world.
  15. If possible go for plan A.
  16. Happiness is love.






She's 13!

Thursday, June 2, 2016


Olivia turned 13 on June 2nd.  We could not be more proud of the young lady she is growing into.  As I do every year, I'm going to share 13 things about my sweet, smart beautiful daughter.  Heck if a mama bear can't brag about her cub, who can, so humor me for a moment!  

1. Olivia's 7th grade year has been remarkable!  Honor Roll - awesome grades, teacher kudos' with letters home to us saying what a bright and respectful young lady she is, asked to accompany her teachers on a European Student Leadership trip to Germany and Italy in 2017, winner of the 3rd quarter Perseverance Impact Award, and accepted into the 10th congressional young leaders program. She has just excelled this year and we are so proud of her! 

2. She has found a passion in competitive dance.  She is on the Creative Dance Center competitive dance team and just loves it.  When I pick her up from practice she has so much energy and has a huge smile on her face.  So unlike how gymnastics used to be.  I'm glad she has found a sport she loves and her team is so awesome and supportive.

3. She is a 'late bloomer'.  Sometimes this is a cause of stress for her, more in the area that she wants to dress in the cool styles - she has a hard time finding clothes in the 'cooler' stores that fit her.  I keep reminding her that she is growing at exactly the rate that was intended and all will even out in a few years.  She is also not to happy that she's usually the shortest in her class.

4. She has a very independent personality.  She is not one to go along with the crowd.  I hate to say it, but I wouldn't want to cross her path if I did her wrong - lol - she may be tiny, but she is mighty. 

5. She loves quotes.  Just like her mother. She has a notebook that she keeps full of her favorite ones. 

6. She likes her down time to just chill ... she doesn't always have to have a 'band' playing.

7. She has a very sweet and sensitive soul.  She is very kind and there has been many examples this year of her telling me about helping a special needs child at school or talking to someone who seemed down.  She notices those in need and it tugs on her heart strings.  

8. She is not a big talker and sometimes people perceive her as being shy, but she really isn't.  She just has a more introverted nature.  Despite this, she excels in public speaking.  She loves it and doesn't get nervous at all. She spoke at her Nanny's funeral last year and I was so proud of her.  She was so eloquent and poised.

9. She makes her bed every morning without me asking her to do so, but still leaves wet towels on the bathroom floor - ugh!  She loves to organize her room.

10.  She still loves hanging with mom and dad, which I'm so grateful for because I know our time is limited before she's off to college and on with her own life.

11. She loves crafting and making things.  She's currently into sewing and making home made lotions, sugar scrubs and lip balms. 

12. She is self-assured and confident. Of course she has her moments as any middle schooler would, but day in and day out she goes through life with her head held high. 

13.  She is a comedian. She is always making us laugh and doing funny things.  






Monday Musings - My Monday Reboot Walk

Monday, May 23, 2016

On most Monday mornings, before work, I take Rosie for a walk.  I'm fortunate that a lovely path through the woods is right behind my house and within 30 minutes I can be at a Starbucks.  The best part of my walk is catching up on Podcasts - view my favorite podcasts here.  The best part of my walk is the fact that every Monday, a new episode of the Rob Bell podcast is uploaded.  This is why I call this walk my Monday Reboot.  His podcasts are so inspirational and sets my mind on the right track for the week.  My husband and I saw him talk live last year at his Everything is Spiritual Tour.  You can watch the full episode on YouTube now and I highly recommend it.   

My Monday Reboot walks puts me in a place of being grateful for my life and makes me stop to literally 'smell the roses'. Even though I have walked this path a hundred times before, there is always something that catches my eye that inspires me to think differently or something beautiful that I have to stop to take a picture.  It's a time to reboot and recharge before the urgencies of a typical Monday take hold. 






France!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Ive been telling Olivia for years that we would take her to Paris when she turns 13.  Well it's happening. So excited for our summer vacation. 

Mother's Day

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

I had a wonderful Mother's Day.  Dan and Olivia always make it so special for me.  I woke up to breakfast in bed, balloons and flowers waiting for me downstairs.  I even was blessed by my friend, Amy, who sent me flowers too.   We had a picnic at our favorite winery, Stone Tower.  Olivia gave me the sweetest hand made gifts.  The first was a jar full of slips of paper each with a reason why she loves me.  I'm supposed to open one each day.  Also, she made me three different lip balms.  She loves those DIYs on YouTube and is always coming up hand made item - she is very creative. I seriously could not be more blessed with such a loving and caring daughter.  I can't believe she's almost 13 - I'm actually looking forward to her teen years.  I am so excited to see her grow into a lovely, strong, smart young lady .... I love being her Mom!! 



 









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