Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

It's the last day of 2008, and despite the recession, a horrible year in the stock market, global unrest and tons of gloom and doom, I'm feeling pretty hopeful for the new year.


Because every day is a new day, whether it's the first day of a new year or (quite simply) the first day of the rest of your life. Every day you're alive, you have a chance to make the world a better place by just doing your part, no matter how small or how large that part may be.

Let someone go ahead of you in the check-out lane at the grocery store. Smile at the person behind the counter and ask how their day is going. Pay someone you don't know a compliment -tell the clerk at the post office how nice they look today, or mention much you like their hair, sweater, manicure or earrings. Offer to pick up some groceries for your elderly neighbor. Walk somebody's dog. Do somebody's dishes. Spend some time with someone who needs a shoulder. Clean out your closet and take the old clothes to a shelter (and don't forget the socks... they always need socks!). Visit someone in the hospital.

Every day is filled with opportunities to make the world just a teeny bit better, one opportunity at a time. You can't fix global warming, but you can put a smile on someone's face. You can't solve homelessness, but you can help keep someone warm. And if, despite all your trying, you have a bad day and end up discouraged, I offer you this tidbit of wisdom from Ralph Waldo Emerson, which has helped me through many a bad day:

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
May 2009 be a year of wonders for you... wonders that you create for yourself by striving to be a better person in a myriad of tiny little ways that no one even notices but you.

Try it. You might be surprised.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Surviving The Aftermath

So a good time was had by everyone, except maybe the dog. :-)

(Okay, so she didn't really mind. Any attention is good attention, in her book!)

We had a really nice Christmas here in Gatorland, even though it was warm and a bit muggy. No chestnuts roasting on an open fire here, and certainly no snow! No getting up at the crack of dawn, either - my youngest is the only one left at home, and he's long outgrown his belief in Santa Claus. My husband and I got up at our normal time and enjoyed a cup of hot coffee before he drove over to get his mother and bring her over to spend the day with us.

I made turkey with all the trimmings, which cooked while we opened our presents, then our daughter and her family came by for a second round of gift-giving. By the time it was all over, mid-afternoon, we were gorged on turkey, overwhelmed in wrapping paper, and (after taking his mom home and helping me with the dishes) my husband was more than ready for a nap (which he rightly deserved, and enjoyed to the hilt!) Never having been a 'napper', I straightened the house and played video games on my computer (my favorite guilty pleasure!).

It started raining, which was the perfect excuse to change into our jammies way too early in the day, and settle in to watch some movies. What did you do for Christmas?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Last Minute Christmas Shopping

I am the only one who's woefully behind in their Christmas shopping?

Two more days until Christmas, and I haven't gotten anything for the hubby yet (I know what to get him, just haven't gotten it.) Still have toys to buy for the family kidlets, still have packages to wrap. Oh, and for some reason, I'm unable to find the needlepoint stockings that I usually hang by the chimney with care, so I think I'm going to have to buy new ones! (I have no idea which box they got packed into last year, and they're not revealing themselves. Maybe the elves took them.)

I did get all my groceries yesterday for Christmas dinner; a turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, broccoli casserole, rolls, pumpkin pie and cheesecake. :-) I even got some mulling spices to put in the apple cider - even if nobody drinks it, it'll make the house smell great!

Anyway, time to put the blog away, get dressed and head out for some shopping! Hopefully, I'll be done by tonight, get the wrapping done tomorrow, and be ready for jolly old Saint Nick on Christmas morning.

Wait a minute... why does HE get all the credit???

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Women

I didn't think I'd like this movie, but I did. The Women, starring Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Debra Messing and Jada Pinkett was a very nice surprise, in large part due to Annette Bening and a couple of great cameos by Candace Bergen, Carrie Fisher, and Debi Mazar. Eva Mendez was perfect for her role, as was Debra Messing, and if I hadn't gotten distracted by Meg Ryan's overblown hair and lips, I'd give it a solid five stars. :-) As it is, I give it four stars and a solid thumbs up.

A woman's three best friends find out that her husband is being unfaithful - do they tell her? Sure they do, but not before seeing for themselves that the poor schmuck never stood a chance against a hot tamale like Eva, the perfume girl at Saks. Guided by her mother's advice, Meg decides to let her husband have his little fling, knowing he'll get tired of his spicy and demanding chica pretty quickly. He does, and she thinks she's won, until she finds out the affair is still going on. This is a great story about the power of girlfriends, the power of women, and the power of forgiveness.

Wronged wife Meg Ryan copes with the breakup of her marriage with advice from her friends and her mother, and in the process is transformed from a messy haired mess, submerged in nameless Mom-dom, into what she always wanted to be all along. a chic, gorgeous fashion designer who wows the world with her first collection. (This is the only part of the script that bothered me. It was a bit much, just like Meg's hair and lips.) Anyway, this transformation doesn't happen overnight, and along the way, Annette Bening's character absolutely shines as the best friend, who, in a moment of career panic, agrees to publish the messy details of her best friend's divorce. The schmuck is a muckety-muck on Wall Street, you see, and well... sex sells.

The breakup between the best friends is even worse than the breakup of Meg's marriage. You see, the name of this movie is "The Women", and that's what the movie is all about (the breakup of Meg's marriage is basically a side plot). Annette begs for forgiveness, but Meg cuts her off, just like she has her husband. Annette continues to be a friend behind Meg's back by helping her adolescent daughter cope with her parent's impending divorce. They eventually (of course) get back to being best friends in a great scene where they fight, hug, fight some more, and then do some more hugging. Just like real women. :-)

Meanwhile, the poor schmuck of a husband is always in the wings (though we never meet him). Once he knew he was busted, he broke things off with Eva, and seems truly contrite. He's pining for his wife back, begging for a second chance to get to know the "new" Meg.

Ultimately, just like she gave her friend Annette Bening a second chance at friendship, Meg gives her husband a second chance in their marriage. They're two different people now and we, as viewers, are supposed to believe that this couple is going to live happily ever after, despite his infidelity. Meg is no longer the mousy little mom who was willing to put up with an affair, and her husband has learned that the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence.

'd say that the lesson of this movie was that we have to love ourselves before other people can love us. That if we love people, we forgive them, even if they've hurt us badly. Definitely a great chick flick movie (I enjoyed it much more than I did the last Sex In The City), and (shhh....don't tell anybody) but my husband actually enjoyed it, too.

Friday, December 19, 2008

In Search of the Perfect Little Black Dress

I have to go to a Christmas party tonight, and I'm beginning to panic.

My repertoire of party clothes is limited, I'm afraid. I have three floor-length "special occasion" dresses, but they're too dressy for a Christmas cocktail party. I have a couple of cute Christmas sweaters, but they're too casual. I have three "fancy" cocktail dresses, but they're all halter dresses and I'm worried they're a bit too skimpy for a December party, even one in Florida. (Also, I won't know a lot of people at this party, and first impressions are important - I don't want anyone whispering about the "flashy blond in the halter dress".) :-)

Or maybe I do. I'm not sure. LOL

I have business clothes, but they're too business-y. I searched my closet twice, and the main conclusion I've come to is that I need to get rid of some things I haven't worn in years and never will again!

So today, I find myself wishing for the mythical "perfect little black dress". We've all heard of it, often seen it on other women, but I - personally - have yet to find it. You know the one... the black dress that fits you perfectly, covers everything that needs to be covered without looking matronly, shows everything you want to show without being too revealing, a hemline that hits just where it needs to hit, a waistline that flatters and fabric that doesn't wrinkle. Oh, and it has to look great with heels that aren't too high.

Take a look at all the different styles here: I did, and I STILL don't see it. I see too short, too tight, too glittery, too sexy, too boring, too asymmetrical, too young, too old. (I know, I know. Right now you're saying "too picky".) LOL

Does the perfect little black dress actually exist, or (like Santa) is it just a fable, told to little girls everywhere? *sigh* Either way, I'm afraid I'm going to have to head to the mall today in search of it. Maybe I'll get a Christmas miracle, and find it. :-) Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Avon Authors Holiday Recipe Ring

Join the Avon Authors for a special Holiday! Some of the Avon Ladies are celebrating the season with recipes for mouthwatering munchies perfect for any dessert table. Go from author to author and find new treats to try. Start with Lorraine Heath's Devilish Divinity and then stop by the Avon Discussion Board to tell which one was your favorite.

Kathryn Caskie's Sinfully Delicious Pecan Tartlets with Praline Topping?
Miranda Neville's Irresistible Mocha Toffee Bars?
Kerrelyn Sparks’ Orange Slice Cookies?
Gayle Callen's Chocolate Bark?

Which would you choose? (I'm leaning towards all of 'em.) :-)

It's a fun idea, with lots of great holiday recipes. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Invest In Yourself, Not Wall Street

My husband has worked in the securities industry for twenty-four years. He's made a living all that time by giving sound financial advice, walking his clients through the the '87 crash, the decline after the Internet bubble, and the 2008 financial crisis, and all the ups and downs in between. He's a very smart guy. :-)

The recent turmoil in the markets prompted him to do something he'd been wanting to do for a long time, which was leave the bureaucracy to the big lending institutions, and focus on what he does best, which is give good advice. :-) So, he went independent, and formed Tampa Asset Management. He resigned from Wachovia Securities, and asked his clients to trust him with the private management their assets, away from corporate pressures, rumors of buy-outs, bail-outs and mergers.

It was a gutsy move, and quite frankly made me a little nervous at first. Resign from his job? Becoming an independently registered investment advisor is a complicated process, and so is starting up your own business in a time of recession. Three full-time employees means salaries, benefits, office space, equipment, all the overhead costs of doing business - all so my husband could do his job as objectively as possible. You see, it was obvious to him that his clients didn't really need to be so dependent on the big banks. If he went independent, he could put their money to work where it would do the most good, in an impartial way, minus commissions. No money-lending institution looming over his shoulder, no wondering what the higher-ups might be up to. He IS the higher-up. Bob Garey, CEO of Tampa Asset Management.

(Sorry, honey... you're only the boss while you're at the office, just to be clear.) :-)

In case you couldn't tell, I'm very proud of my husband, both for achieving his dream of independence, and for truly wanting to do the right thing for his clients, most of whom he's worked with for years, and consider to be his friends.

His new company motto is "Independent, objective investment advice. Invest in yourself, not Wall Street." Check out his website at

Monday, December 01, 2008

Win An ARC of You're the One That I Haunt!

Advance Reader Copies of the next Nicki Styx tale are now available, and I've got a couple extra to give away!

Be the first to find out what kind of spooky trouble Nicki's got herself into this time, and how she's going to handle Sammy Divine, the horny devil who's hot on her trail!

Read the newest Nicki Styx adventure before everyone else does, and see what happens when Nicki ends up the prize in a sizzling battle between good and evil.

All you have to do is who correctly answer the question "Who does Nicki really love?"

You can find the answer by reading an excerpt, which is HERE.

Then send me an EMAIL with the answer.

(This contest runs for two months, through the end of January 2009, with one winner chosen each month. One entry makes you eligible for both drawings. Entering this contest automatically adds you to my mailing list, but your information will never be shared with anyone else.)