Window Box Glory

Good morning friends! Last weekend I was in my glory as I planted our window boxes that adorn the front of our little cedar shingled Cape. Tom helped by repairing a couple of the boxes and then hung them up for me. I poured the Miracle Gro soul in and nestled each flower in. This year I’m wondering if I placed enough flowers in and I may add another two Petunias to each box.

Now as I go about my day I can enjoy the deep red geraniums and pinkish purple Petunias smiling at me. Teensy white Bicopas drape over the sides. A growing Spike completes the arrangement. Long ago Tom’s employer Mrs. Geneen had this same flower mix in her boxy planters on her patio. A few years ago she passed away and soon after we moved off her property into our own house. Our first year of planting the boxes Tom and I decided to continue Mrs. G’s tradition every summer. It’s our little remembrance of her, of all the time we spent at her estate and the memories we shared with her over the years.

Today is the last day of May! Therefore bright sunny June days are what I can look forward to. Hopefully we will have pleasant temperatures and copious amounts of sunshine, enough to wear short sleeves and shorts. I have an intense gardening itch that needs to be scratched! In two weeks school is out and I’ll spend every morning working in my vegetable plot and grooming the lovely window boxes.

As we wrap up the month of May let’s remember to show kindness and patience to people who cross our path. Yesterday in SuperWalmart I approached my cashier as I always do, with a wide smile and I spoke kind words. She laid over her register with a painful stance. I guess my positive presence tired her since she said something curt about me being happy. I don’t know her story but I wish I did. I went home thinking of how sad that was, that a cheerful person weighed on her. Then I did all I could do, I prayed for her. This morning I thought of her again. Perhaps she is sick but has to work or her home life is unpleasant. Whatever it is, I do hope eventually a cheerful and positive person will lift her up. ❤️🙏

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💕

All Adventures Lead HOME

Lately I’ve had the travel bug surging through my veins! I think it’s something to do with more time on my hands and the stark fact that I’m turning 50 in a few weeks! Turning this age is a milestone, a bend in the road where one should lean into it and ride with the wind as a motorcycle rider would. I feel it’s a gift, a chance to really live without inhibitions, to cruise through without a care in the world!

If you browse through my recent posts you’ll see photos and recounts of Las Vegas and Dallas. A couple of years ago my husband and I visited family in sunny Florida. Wherever the trip takes us, it can be an adventure. While visiting Florida we saw the ocean on the West coast and alligators and tropical wildlife in Lakeland. In Nevada we saw flashy neon lights, other travelers with a live it up attitude and desert lands coupled with rising western mountains. Once we were lost on a Native American Reservation! All these adventures are tucked away in my memory box, ready to emerge when I glance at photographs.

Although traveling can be stressful, (especially for me since I don’t do it much) it highlights how special home really is.

Experiences away are amazing. These moments make me realize that HOME is a place where I belong, where I breathe easy and rest comfortably. It’s where I am myself the most. It’s my sanctuary in a world of chaos. I love going away and the sensations I feel along the road, yet HOME is where I belong, where I love and will continue to be my greatest adventure!

All adventures eventually lead HOME!

Do you have a memory book of exciting adventures? Even so, isn’t home the best place to be yourself?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️😇

Our Greenhouse & Outside Work

Here we are in May in northern New Hampshire. The air still feels cool yet sometimes the temperature reaches 60 degrees! This afternoon the sun tickled our skin as Tom and I worked on placing the cover on the greenhouse. It took all our patience as we stretched the unforgiving plastic over the frame. As we pulled and tugged, ticks crept up our pants. I must have pulled off close to fifty throughout the day. I got to the point that my skin was crawling and I was itchy, thinking more were invading my space.

Yikes, ticks are a real problem here in spring to mid summer. They hitch a ride on humans, deer, fox, moose and most wildlife. We have them in our tall grass and they burrow under leaves in the flower gardens. I plan to buy some tick deterrent to spray on our clothes so they leaves us alone!

Already the inside of the greenhouse is warm and toasty. We placed our annual flowers in there until next weekend when I’ll make my window boxes. My started plants are in there as well. Some aren’t doing well as I started them too early and they didn’t get enough sun. I have tomatoes, cukes and squashes that will be okay to plant.

Today I’ll work out in my vegetable garden, finishing raking and cleaning up. I should’ve done it last fall but didn’t get to it. Next weekend Tom will add bags of sand and manure and till the plot. Soon after we will plant our garden for the year! I’m beyond excited for this as I wait all winter to tackle this loved hobby of mine!

As I close this post I wonder how you all are doing. Are you immersing yourself in gardening? Does your season start now or have you been at it for awhile? I wish you much happiness with gardening and hope your harvest is amazing!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 🌻

My Nephew’s College Graduation

I love this picture of Spence and I. I had to wear this jacket as my dress was sleeveless and it was so cold!

Hi everyone! I just got back from Dallas, Texas from a four day stay to celebrate my nephew Spencer’s college graduation from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. He graduated with honors and fortunately already has a full time job at Sewell, selling fancy cars in Dallas!

My mom and I traveled together and stayed with my older brother David in the Oak Cliff neighborhood in Dallas. David was a key player in Spencer’s college career, mentoring him throughout. Their relationship is a positive one, one that has benefitted both of them. What a blessing.

I have to say my mom and I were shocked that the weather in Texas was rainy, damp and cool with the temperatures in the fifties. Unfortunately we packed clothes appropriate for warm and pleasant weather. For two days we were wet and cold, going to graduation ceremonies. Needless to say we learned a valuable lesson to bring clothes for cooler weather next time!

The party crew posing in front of the Lamb House.

My brother threw a grand party at his house named The Lamb House from the old days. Spencer’s entire family attended, his mom, stepdad, stepsister, sisters, brother, his dad, grandma, me, and his girlfriend and her family. We all ate delicious food such as asparagus wrapped in prosciutto and shrimp cocktail. A buttercream frosted strawberry sheet cake was scrumptious…calling my name. I devoured two small pieces and some frosting, not feeling too guilty as I really haven’t had cake in months.

There were champagne toasts, a beautiful and proud speech from Spencer, music and dancing and kids playing with David and Farhad’s dogs. What a party it was and a special memory for us all!

David and Farhad’s back yard is a sanctuary in the midst of a nice neighborhood. This peaceful garden is one that I would be in everyday if I could. Upon going out the back door from the kitchen, one spies big terra cotta pots with vivid pink geraniums. Step down into a brick patio with fine metal chairs and flowers lacing the perimeter. High fences enclose you in, with flowing green vines draped over them. ( This gave me inspiration for our back yard near our deck we will build this summer) A grand fountain pool holds a few monstrous goldfish. Ella Kate and her cousin Jackson liked watching them and sitting on its edge. Beyond that stands an enchanting woman statue, plunging you into another time.

Isn’t she beautiful?
From the Botanical Gardens. The theme was focused on children!

There were some difficulties of this trip, especially the weather in different ways. The cool and damp days and our cancelled flight on Mother’s Day. Mom and I were supposed to travel that day back to the east coast so we could catch a bus at Logan Airport in Boston and then I would drive us further north to home. I didn’t check the flight status so we got to the airport to see it was cancelled. The next available flight was landing after midnight, not good for my 75 year old mother. We decided to catch the next mornings flight, one that my sister’s family was booked on.

The extra day turned into a gift, one of copious sunshine and warm temperatures. Farhad had a great idea to take us to the Botancial Gardens in Dallas for Mother’s Day. We fought traffic, cars everywhere…perhaps they all were celebrating too. Acres of stunning colors appealed to the eyes, pinks and yellows, yellows and deep blues and purples that were like clusters of fruity grapes.

My brother David, Farhad, my mom and I had a quiet lunch of quiche, chicken salad nested in a plate of greens and cold water. We sat outside in a courtyard indulging in our lunch and of course we people watched a bit too.

The next morning mom and I said our goodbyes and headed back home on our Southwest flight. The trip flew by so fast! I’m so proud of my nephew and thrilled that my mom and I could go to witness him graduate and to celebrate too!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Las Vegas Vacation Part 2

The Paris Hotel and Casino Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas.

In this post I continue to share details from my recent Las Vegas vacation. After seeing the amazing Bellagio Fountains, we ventured over across the boulevard to see the Paris Hotel and Casino with the Eiffel Tower observation deck. Like the other casinos we toured, there were colorful fancy carpets, a slew of slot machines and people everywhere.

The inside of the Hotel leading to the elevator of the Eiffel Tower observation deck.

We both decided we would enjoy going up in the elevator in the Eiffel Tower to see the lit up city at night. We paid for our tickets and walked up the stairs and through this enchanting walkway mimicking a French bridge. The wait was only a few minutes and then we boarded the elevator. In only 30 seconds we were whisked up with fleeting sights of the neon signs that lined the strip.

Through metal bars one could gaze at the vibrant lights…what the Las Vegas strip is known for. A heavy screen held the observer back but lets in the cool night air. Every few feet there was a square hole( a break in the bars to take pictures) where you could fit your phone in to snap photos. Walking around the deck, you could get a different perspective of the city every few feet. The Flamingo, Caesar’s Palace and the High Roller at the Linq all glowed with an alluring radiance.

You can stay up on the observation deck as long as you wish. We stayed about twenty minutes and then joined the line of people that wrapped around the deck headed back down. I must admit that I panicked slightly when I saw how long the line was for the elevator. I asked myself, “ What do we do if we NEED to go down as soon as possible?” Then I calmed myself just as quickly. All is well. God is good.

I grew up in the seventies and used to watch the Donny and Marie Osmond show every Friday night. Marie was a little bit country and Donny a little bit rock and roll, I remember these lyrics from one of their songs. They are presently playing at the Flamingo. I had to snap this photo of them…they look the very same as they did so long ago!

This is where we stayed, Harrah’s.

I took this photograph from one of the many pedestrian walking bridges overlooking the strip. At just about each block an escalator goes up to a walking bridge. With all the energetic walking, we were relieved to rest our legs on the moving escalators!

A lovely sight at Caesar’s Palace

On Wednesday morning we took the bus southbound to The Luxor Hotel. There was the Titanic Exhibit our niece Bri had told us about. If you are interested in this history of the Titanic that sunk near Halifax, you must not miss this! I couldn’t get photos as they are not allowed. As we started for the bus, this adorable fountain in front of Caesar’s Palace caught my eye. Isn’t it gorgeous?

At the beginning of the Titanic experience you are handed a boarding card with a passenger’s name on it. As you follow the exhibit you may read about your person and a short biography of his/ her life. The last display of the exhibit reveals all the passengers’ names and if they survived or not. My female passenger was 22 and newly married. She survived but sadly her husband did not. Tom’s passenger, a male captain, died. Many men died as mostly women and children were saved on the few life boats.

While walking through the exhibit, I felt sorrow consume me as broken dishes and teacups were on display. A comb, a mirror with an ivory handle, a chamber pot all brought me back in time. Many objects from bedrooms and the kitchen showed their age as well as the underwater damage.

In front of the Luxor


The cost of the Titanic tickets was worth it…even though seeing the monstrous part of the mid ship was devastating, it brought us to a place of understanding. It was humbling to learn more and see discovered artifacts from the shipwreck. I should have said a prayer for peace while we were there, but didn’t think of it.

My next post I’ll share my thoughts on Circus Du Soleil The Beatles Love show as well as our trip to Hoover Dam.

I hope you all are having an amazing week!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 😘

Where Do You See Yourself Next Year?

I think it’s a healthy habit to plan annual goals for yourself and your personal growth. Do you ask yourself where do I see myself next year? I’m asking this loaded question for the first time. I guess I wish to progress with building my self esteem into a stable fortress, one that peoples’ opinions or comments won’t crumble my walls. Now that my sons are raised, I’ve found time to focus more on my marriage of 23 years and myself.

Lately I’ve been immersed in self help books, articles ( especially in Maria Shriver’s Sunday paper) and pod casts, in search of multiple ways I can empower my spirit, grow and reach to new heights and affect my corner of the world in a positive way. I’m reading You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero, I’ve Been Thinking by Maria Shriver and listening to Gwyenth Paltro’s podcast the Goop. All these materials have fed my brain with great inspirational food, ideas and thoughts for me to chomp on in order to be the best that I can be!

One important point that I have learned is that I can’t find happiness in any one person but myself. I’m working hard at this, at depending on myself and not my husband or grown sons. I also understand that investing in myself isn’t an indulgence ( that I believed as a busy mom and wife) but a necessity.

Next year I hope to have continued my stay fit lifestyle and explored more with medicinal herbs. I foresee that I’ll be stronger in personal growth and confidence. I know that this will fuel my marriage even more and that our love story will continue to play out.

As I wrap up this post I challenge you to look ahead to the future and question your long range goals. What goal would you like to achieve? Is it personal, career or family based? Once you journal about your goal create a vision board of the results you wish to achieve. Place your written goal on the fridge so that you can see it everyday. Pray about it and for guidance to work towards it.

My next post will be Las Vegas Part 2!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 🌈🥰

Hello, Las Vegas! Part I

In the past I didn’t have any desire to see Las Vegas…especially since I’m not a gambler nor a glitzy girl. Then when I started planning a special trip to celebrate my 50th birthday ( really in June but this is when we could travel), a sudden interest in exploring Las Vegas was born inside my inner core. I ambitiously browsed through Pinterest and saw all the enticing sights and activities in the city and then I was hooked. The pleasant weather appealed to me as well as the location in the west. Neither Tom nor I have ever been this west before. It would be a new and exciting adventure!

Two weeks ago Tom and I boarded a Southwest flight to Chicago in exciting anticipation of a new adventure! We connected to another flight in Las Vegas to arrive four hours later. We arrived in the “ City of lights” a few minutes of 9pm. Although we were tired and haggard from traveling from the East coast, we quickly checked in, stowed our luggage and explored where we stayed, Harrah’s on the strip. Every casino has a theme, Harrah’s being the carnival and Mardi Gras focus. That first night was perfect as we stumbled upon a little bar, Toby Keith’s Bar and Grill. With a festive atmosphere, country music and the appeal of a friendly crowd, Tom and I soaked it all in….we were actually in Las Vegas and over a thousand miles from home!

The view from our room in the Valley Tower of Harrah’s Hotel. Look at those mountains beyond the city! Wow!

The first morning we took in a quiet delicious breakfast in the hotel. The food was outstanding as well as the service. It amazed me throughout the week how kind people were! We met so many nice people to chat with and that made me happy as I seem to thrive on connecting with others. I talked with a man from Ohio on his adventure and a woman named Alexis ( which is my daughter- in- law’s name so I liked her right away) from Chicago. These sweet people are a perfect example of how much good there is in this world!

Tom enjoying our delicious breakfast!

The first day we explored nearby hotels and casinos like the fancy and dazzling Venetian. It was peaceful to gawk at the murals that sprawled in the grand entrance and throughout the hotel. Glitzy chandeliers hung with an elegance of Venice. A lovely fountain with statues greeted visitors, enticing perfect photo opportunities! I asked a lady and her daughter to snap a picture of us, as selfies aren’t our thing. They were willing to do this, bearing smiles and pleasantries.

At the Venetian

After exploring the Grand Canal shops, this awe struck couple walked to the adjoining Palazzo. Again charming decor and sights were on the menu. From there we walked down the strip going South towards the Flamingo.

If you plan on visiting this area, be aware that you will be probably be walking a lot. In a few days time Tom and I probably walked a good 25 miles or so. I loved it and was energized and ready for it! I wore my walking sneakers and good socks. Tom usually loves walking but wore work sneakers so they started bothering him on the second day. My advice is wear comfortable walking sneakers and have bottled water at all times. Try to download a good Vegas walking map to reference as you stroll. It helped us and we gained our bearing two days in. Take sitting breaks if your feet are bothering you. Many casinos and hotels have sitting accommodations and welcome everyone inside. There are bathrooms everywhere in the hotels so that’s not an issue.

Besides walking, there is the Deuce bus system that you can buy a 24 hour pass for that has stops along the strip. We rode on it south to the Luxor for the Titanic Exhibit. It was convenient and a nice ride. We also took two taxi rides, one from the airport and one to. It was costly but we thought it would be the best option, not knowing much about Uber.

The Flamingo Wildlife Habitat was an area of waterfalls, stretching palm trees towering above, ducks swimming up the man made brooks, pelicans grouped together in the shade, and cawing tropical birds hiding in branches. Fountains bubbled on display as people walked, laughed and snapped selfies in the sun. Benches were here and there as well as a Buddha to rub his belly for good fortune. I did this…I could use good fortune and luck for my life, although my prayers to God satisfy me.

Despite jet lag, we enjoyed our first day! Here we sat in the Flamingo wildlife habitat.

Tom at the Flamingo Wildlife Habitat, right on the strip.

A fountain we made a wish at.
Ah, a refreshing change from the pines we have in the Northeast!

That afternoon was a perfect day ( 86 degrees F) to rest in the sun at the pool. It was difficult finding two beach chairs that we didn’t need to pay for it but we managed finally. After a long and frigid winter in New Hampshire, I was content to soak up the heat and close my eyes a bit. Tom sat too but doesn’t love the sun so went back to the room to rest for our night outing.

That first night I convinced Tom that we had to take in the infamous Bellagio buffet. What man can refuse a good buffet? Walking down the strip in the sun, I people watched…something a writer always does and has ample material in places like Vegas. We went early around 5:30 and got right in. The food stretched throughout the banquet room with delicious aromas floating everywhere. There was a fresh roast beef about two feet high and as thick around and we watched the woman carve it with unfaltering ease as our mouths watered. There was a roast turkey, prime rib, and ham station. Fresh salmon, shrimp, mussels and crab legs were ready for the hungry crowd. Pasta, roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes steamed in the chafing dishes. There was all kinds of colorful salads, roasted vegetables such as asparagus, eggplant and summer squash, which got added to my plate. Rolls and breads were available as well as soups. A dessert station overwhelmed me, as I went to Vegas with a mission to treat myself but maintain my weight. Chocolate mousse cups, peach parfaits, little Canolis, chocolate fudge brownies, mini pecan pies and much more were on a delightful display. I chose a mini canoli and a fudge brownie and enjoyed every last bite! That’s what you do on vacation, am I right? haven’t experienced Vegas until you visit a buffet! Some other good ones are Flavors at Harrah’s and the one at the Flamingo.

The Bellagio

After filling our plates( I chose beef brisket, roasted vegetables and salad with blue cheese) and eating with content, but not being too full, Tom and I explored the Bellagio. More beauty, sights to see and these vibrant butterflies and umbrellas beckoned to have photos taken.

To close this long post ( I hope I didn’t bore you but possibly enlighten you) that evening we stayed to watch the Bellagio Fountains. There is a show every half hour during the day but every fifteen minutes at night. I can show you photos and describe it to you, but nothing will match being there live. The lit fountains swirl and dance with lovely music playing as the crowds watch. We were fortunate enough to hear Con te Patiro by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion. Goosebumps went up and down my arms as I gazed and heard this magical show. It lasted a few amazing minutes and after, Tom and I looked at each other with love. Words couldn’t express how I felt…just that we had witnessed magic. The show is free as well but it’s best to get there early so you can see.

I hope you all have vacationed recently and enjoyed some time sightseeing. It filled my cup to the brim, to experience this lively city with my husband. My next post, part 2 will cover the Paris Casino and Eiffel Tower as well as Hoover Dam and the Nevada mountains.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💕🥰