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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Heat Wave = Fall Fashions???

In the midst of a midwestern heat wave and threatening drought, can I possibly be thinking about fall fashions and colors? Well, err....yes...I must admit that in my attempt to "keep my cool" this past weekend (see post below about the awesome soccer but brutal heat!), I a). escaped into a Borders to enjoy the AC and peruse the magazines, finally settling on the new Vogue (the "Age-less" issue, of course! LOL!), b). discovered the only grove of trees which provided wonderful shade and at least a -10 degree respite between a couple of matches - a perfect spot to doze, cool down, and see what the pages of Vogue were foretelling for fall.

As I looked through the pages, the key colors that appeared over and over again in ads and features were rich purples/plums/amethysts, highlighted by greens, navy or teal/Caribbean blues (summer carries over to fall!), always classic red, and not-to-be-forgotten neutrals. Beautiful, cool, exciting colors! So, I wondered how "on target" my eye was and checked in with PANTONE FASHION + HOME Color System to see what the projected "hot" colors are for Fall 2008. My "eye" (or I guess I should honestly say the Vogue spread!) was right on -- looking forward to a wonderful season of great colors!

What is "PANTONE" and how do they predict colors for the upcoming seasons?

Monday, July 28, 2008

"Kick-Off" to the 2008-2009 Soccer Season!

It was a steamy weekend for the Ohio Cup Tournament, but our ladies "kicked" off a successful season despite 90+ temps and "don't tell me the humidity!" -- how DO they keep running in that heat? WOW!!! What a weekend! 5 games for each team - yep, 10 games of incredible, non-stop soccer action! You can see more pics at my Flickr site (see the link over in the left column).

Just a preview of what is to come - a winning season, indeed! Each of our teams took second in their divisions ~ CONGRATULATIONS, ladies! You are off to a great start!

(So how did I keep cool in between these sweltering games?? my next post about what's coming for fall colors!! LOL!!)

Monday, July 21, 2008


Not quite "Caribbean" but as close as I get, and I'll take it! :-) Just found out Sarah and Mike will be heading to the condo as well in a few weeks - a great way to end the summer!

Naturally, all that time on the beach was inspiration for these pieces...
Carribbean Dreams Necklace

Carribbean Dreams Earrings

Sunday, July 20, 2008

English Gardens and Beautiful Sunsets!

Well, proof that beautiful sunsets can happen anywhere! :-)

And...some new pieces inspired by the beautiful artisan lampwork beads of DerondaDesigns which made me think of rich, wonderful English gardens...a matching set if you like! Check out the new listings in the shop.
English Garden Necklace
English Garden Bracelet
English Garden Earrings

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tales from Tanzania...'s a real, "live" letter (well - the first paragraph of a 4-pager!) from my "Peace Corps" son, filled with such wonderful details about his first few weeks in Tanzania. As he explains, the "PC" advice is to celebrate the small victories in life -- good advice for us all, huh? So what are the small victories Andrew has to share with us so far?

Victory #1: Completion of his first official week of PC training which he describes mainly as intensive language training and one day of "MATI" (still not sure what that means!) training - Andrew defines that as a day where they get to touch base with other PC volunteers, get more vaccinations (and I thought he already had all his shots before he left the states!), and "doodle while they lectured (us) on important issues such as malaria, evacuation plans...blah, blah, blah." Yep, that's our Andrew!

Victory #2: "Mimi ninajifunza Kiswahili!" (Not sure, but I THINK this means "I can speak Kiswahili" -- don't quote me!). Andrew explains that he's learned more Kiswahili in one week than three years of Russian!

Victory #3: Andrew has a great homestay family - who he will be with in Rudewa until August 20th when he is assigned to his village. His "mama gave (me) a very nice bracelet (kikuku) when (I) arrived and (I) haven't taken it off since." And he tells us that "mama" is a fantastic cook. "Baba" (the father) is helping him a lot with the language, and Abduhli, Andrew's "new" 3 year-old "kaka" (brother) seems very happy to have a "mzungu" living in the house. Andrew explains that "mzungu" simply refers to a white person, literal translation "European" and that he hears it alot when walking around the city - "People here are very excited to see white people and I often hear it ("mzungu") when walking around....but it's not said with ill intent." His host family owns a string of shops along the main road of the city, and his "babu" (grandpa) is the "Bwanakiti wa Kijili" (Village Chairperson) while his uncle owns the school used by the Peace Corps and serves in the government.

Victory #4: Andrew is happy that he has read 2 books of the many he brought along -- World War Z (he now says he is ready for the inevitable zombie invasion - LOL!) and Slaughterhouse V.

While the host family has electricity, internet access is limited to whenever Andrew (and the other volunteers) can get to an internet cafe in Rudewa or to the Peace Corps office - time is limited. When he can, he will be updating his blog about his experiences, so be sure to check it out and see what might be new!

As for me, I'll be waiting anxiously for the next email and/or letter! And, I'll try to remember to keep celebrating the small victories.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Final Sunset...

Too good not to share (our last night on the beach) ~ enjoy! Tomorrow - news from TANZANIA! Yes, I've had a very "newsy" letter from the Peace Corps "boy"! :-)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

South Beach! A Day to Remember...

Our planned trip to South Beach was as wonderful as we could have hoped ~ an almost empty beach, crystal clear water with an incredibly quiet surf today which allowed us to actually do some more shell-seeking in the ocean. Not having any goggles or snorkeling gear, we simply relied on our sunglasses and scanned the sandy ocean floor which today was so clearly visible. Getting to the "treasures" was quite a workout as neither one of us wanted to take a "full dunk" (planning to head up to the restaurant later for lunch) so once we found what looked like a "good shell," we needed to keep our balance against any incoming surf, using our toes and feet to grab and bring the shell up to the surface without falling over -- we were quite the sight! But, as I said, I think we've come up with a new exercise routine that's quite fun! LOL!! Here's a peek at the "treasures" we found...

After a morning of sunning and "surfing" for shells, we were more than ready for our grouper treats at the South Beach Grille -- and we were sure to call Grandma and Grandpa to let them know how much we were enjoying it (since it IS their favorite place, too!).

As Hannah drove us home through Boca Grande, we took some quick stops to grab pics of some favorites sites and then headed for our beach at the condo for one more late afternoon nap. We were surprised by the surf at Englewood though and ended up spending the time body surfing instead ~ great fun, indeed!
Tonight will be one more Gulf sunset and then tomorrow we "hit the road," heading first for South Carolina tomorrow night and then North Carolina on Saturday for Hannah's camp on Saturday. It's been a great week!

Beach Walking

One last early morning walk on the beach ~ so peaceful and quiet, no sounds except the steady surf and occasional gulls in the early sun and I was alone but for a fisherman and one other shell-seeker walking the shore. You never know what the sea will deliver - my favorites are the "kittycat paw" shells - white, pink bumpy exteriors - and I also picked up some beautiful polished pieces of shell which I hope will challenge me with some wireworking when I get home.
I always look for one special rock or stone, but this time, I found an unusual "metamorphasis" of tiny shells, stones, and sand which the surf brought to my feet on the walk back....I couldn't let it go. Everytime I look at it, I see something new.

2 Girls on the Road ~ Final Day in Paradise

Well, since it's after midnight, it is the beginning of our final full day in "paradise" ~ what a great week it has's a quick tour ~ beach, pool, Barefoot Trader (the best souvenir shack on Manasota Key), fried gator bites (yummy - and yes, they taste just like chicken - LOL! - a first for both of us!), more beach, more pool...

...Gulf sunsets, early beach walks for Mom (runs for Hannah - who then decided that running to the Lemon Bay drawbridge was better :-) ), yep - more beach & pool (what can we say!), lobster tails! (we shared - Hannah's first - she loved it!), dolphin-spotting from the balcony (Hannah did the "spotting" and Mom did her best to catch them at the right time with the camera!), AWESOME tans - we are such beach beauties - LOL!!... nights - alternating action thrillers with chick flicks - saw some great DVD's (Live Free or Die Hard, Mad Money, Vantage Point, 27 Dresses) and a venture out on a late afternoon during a typical late-day sudden SW Florida rainstorm to see "Hancock"...

...retail therapy at the Ellenton outlet mall - we "behaved" but had great fun! :-), more beach, more pool - including, of course, a night swim - a little chilly even for mid-July in Florida but fun! Ask Hannah about her tea parties and hand stands - LOL!, what have we saved for our "final" day in paradise -- a trip to one of our favorite places -- SOUTH BEACH! This wonderful "tucked away" haven is a short drive and just south of Boca Grande (home to some of the most incredible architecture - and, according to Hannah - the expert on these things, of course, - the site of one of Tom Cruise's residences - who knows? Anyways, gorgeous homes!)....and the beach there is spectacular and quiet AND to make things even better, right there on the beach is the BEST place to eat lunch in all SW Florida (at least in our opinion!) -- just lay in the sun, romp in the Gulf all morning, then wrap a towel around you and walk up to the South Beach restaurant for incredible grouper -- Hannah's going for the grouper basket -- think I might have to stick with my grouper reuben (yep, a grouper reuben - it is awesome!)....and then, you just go right back to the beach for more sun and surf! What could be better!

It's been a great trip - we'll definitely add to the picture collection with our outing tomorrow :-)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Road Trip ~ Independence Day

We arrived at the condo in plenty of time to settle in, catch our first Gulf sunset, and join the July 4th celebration on the beach...and indeed, there can be no better place to enjoy the 4th. The beach sky was literally lit for hours just as Cindy had promised. As we toasted to the beginning of our "official" vacation (mojito for me, Gatorade for Hannah!), Hannah said, "This is our independence day."

It was an awesome night!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

2 Girls on the Road - Day 2...

Ok ~ confession time, lest family and friends out there start to panic that we've gone off the deep end :-) ~ our GORGEOUS tattoos from Day 1 are henna tattoos and will last up to 3 weeks....but they are quite sweet. Hannah is trying desperately to convince Mom that the "discreet" Chinese peace character needs to become a permanent fixture below the back nape of Mom's neck, but so far Mom's not buying into it! :-)

Day 2 found us "landing" in Tallahassee with Aunt Donna and being hosted by cousin Cindy and family for a wonderful dinner - seeing the kids was a wonderful treat! Lauren is such a sweetie and Taber is all-Winslow for sure! Catching up with Aunt Donna was terrific - we live too far away, indeed!

AND...we were a bit delayed in arriving Donna's condo as we made a quick stop at the outlet mall in Georgia to do my first MIMI SHOPPING ~ that's right, I'm going to be a MIMI (while I am absolutely THRILLED with the news, I'm just not quite ready to accept the "g-word"!!) :-) Sarah and Mike are expecting "Ima Little Connolly" (as he or she is now affectionately called -- thanks, Jack and Dad!) in February!! Such exciting news! So, yes, we did stop and pick up just a few "gender-neutral" ADORABLE items for my first grandbaby! WOW - that's a big word, isn't it?!

Next stop....condo at the beach! YAY!

OH...must not forget ~ QUOTE OF THE DAY:

Hannah: "Oh, look, a puppy! Is that a puppy?!"
Mom: "No, it's a girl with really big hair."

It's an interesting trip, no doubt! :-) Pics are almost impossible to load via dial-up here so we are adding them as we go in the "SUMMER ROAD TRIP" album here on the blog - check it out!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

First Day of Vacation...2 Girls on the Road :-)

Mom and daughter heading south for a full week in the Florida sun, with the biggest decision being whether to relax on the Gulf beach or by the condo pool -- ahh! Theme quotes for vacay:

Freedom is the oxygen of the soul.
— Moshe Dayan

AND - a repeat of a favorite so we don't forget :-)
If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies.
— Anonymous

So, in our first day of traveling, what did we do to celebrate our first official day of vacation? Why, get tattoos, of course -- what a silly question!
Here's Hannah's ~
And, here's Mom's (the Chinese symbol for "peace" - naturally!) ~

Manasota Key ~ here we come! :-)