Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Flower Memories


It's a beautiful sunny day today and it's even warm...YAY!!!! It actually feels like summer and that's a wonderful thing since it's felt perpetually like October for weeks and weeks and weeks before this latest bit of warmth. I'm a happy woman :-)

This sunny summer weather has me thinking about being outside a lot more and it has me taking a good look at our yard. What I've noticed is the lack of plants and things this year. There were beautiful pink azaleas a couple of months ago, but that's it. When I look out at the back yard there isn't any color. This plant in the picture above was from a couple of years ago. It hadn't bloomed to its full potential at this point, but later it was so vibrant.

Looking back at this old photo and having all of this warmth has me thinking that I may need to get a plant or two for the back yard to liven up the place a bit. I'm sure that in an overall roundabout way it'll help with my ongoing healing too. I'll be able to see the vibrance of some beautiful flowers every day :-)

Have a wonderful day wherever you are!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Saturday Things



I'm having one of my bookish weekends again. Last week I got out and about so it's nice to have some time around home surrounded by my beloved books ;-) As I've mentioned before here, I'm very aware that I have a tsundoku thing going on, so I'm embracing it while diving into actually getting around to reading my books. Lol. I tell you, I'm finding books that I totally forgot that I had and it's quite exciting for me. I'm easily amused :-)

I'm also finally getting a chance to get back to my book that I am writing. I've fallen off my schedule a bit because I've been sick off and on for weeks. I'm hoping and praying that I stay feeling well. If I can continue to feel as well or better than I feel today then I can get along with things :-)

It's also a sunny day today which is SO welcome! For quite a few summers over the last few years we've had cold summers that feel more like fall, so whenever we get a nice warm day I'm happy as can be. Don't worry. I was out earlier so I'm not missing the nice weather. Even now I'm sitting here where I can feel the warmth of the sun.

Well, that's all for now. I just thought that I would do one of my not quite customary Saturday check-in posts. Every once in a while I'll drop by with some of my Saturday ramblings. Lol. I do love Saturdays, so sometimes I get extra chatty and it spills over onto the blog.

I hope that you're having a wonderful day wherever you are! Have a great weekend!

Friday, June 26, 2015

A Friday Photo and Flowers That Last


Today's Friday photo is a simple one. These are some beautiful flowers that I received several months ago. One of the beauties of photographs is that you can enjoy things or a moment in time long after those particular things are gone from existence. Flowers can live on forever as long as you keep the photos :-) I love that!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Book Spotlight: Closer: Seeing the World in Details


I love photography very much. Capturing a beautiful landscape or a moment in time has always been so intriguing to me. I thoroughly enjoy a photograph that shows an incredible panoramic view, but there's also something to treasure in looking closely at the little things...the details that are all around us. When we allow ourselves to slow down and take in the small details that are there all the time, just waiting to give us a richer, deeper experience of a place and time, I think that our experience as human beings is heightened.


Author/Photographer Michael Clinton
In the new book, Closer: Seeing the World in Details by Michael Clinton, published by Glitterati Incorporated, the photographer/author offers a unique view of the world through his photographs that focus on the small, often overlooked details. Michael Clinton is the president as well as the marketing and publishing director of Hearst Magazines. He is a globetrotter and has visited over 120 countries. He takes readers along on an intriguing journey as he shares photographs depicting the magical details that are all around us every day.

Jaipur, India - From Closer: Seeing the World in Details by Michael Clinton, © 2015, 
published by Glitterati Incorporated www.GlitteratiIncorporated.com


In the following excerpt, the author tells us about the idea behind this wonderful book:

Introduction

We live in a fast world. Click, swipe, ping, touch, tweet, delete. These have become the actions of our lives. As we stay fixated on our devices, we begin to miss the human nuances that can make all the difference to us: a smile, a friend’s hand on your shoulder, a child’s hug. In so many ways, the digital world enhances our lives and in so many ways it endangers the important moments that help to define us.

In The Art of Stillness, writer Pico Iyer reminds us how stillness opens us up in a way that counters the madness of modern life. For me, it is the concept of getting closer, or seeing the world in details, whether it is at home, or while traveling the world. Stay still and look at the world around you.


This approach can take on many forms: a family dinner without smartphones, which makes us concentrate on the conversation and hear what is important in our loved ones’ lives, and reminding us that nonverbal cues are as important as verbal ones; noticing that someone at work is struggling a bit, allowing you to lend a quiet and helpful hand; or something as simple as offering a nice gesture to a stressed-out stranger. Being closer to the details of our lives keeps us connected to our world in a way that a digital device never can.


One of my favorite moments is waking up at my house and walking around the yard, looking at the trees and flowers and shrubs. That 20-minute ritual with latte in hand is the magic of the day. It is then that I get to look at the wonders of nature and how they envelop our house in a way that is both comforting and secure. After that walk, it seems that every problem can be solved, once I know that my favorite Atlas tree is thriving and that the peonies will bloom once again.


A friend once asked me, “What brings you joy?” Give a quick response, he said, don’t linger too much on your answer. Well, certainly the people (and animals, too) who are important to me fill me up. But my answer was running in Central Park, skiing down a slope on a crisp winter day, hiking in the hills above Santa Fe, gazing at a sunset in any Western sky, reading great literature, looking at art and photography, finding ways to give random acts of kindness through a foundation that some friends and I started, called Circle of Generosity. They all bring me joy.


My career has afforded me a big New York life with fancy dinners, events, red carpets, and celebrities. And while I wouldn’t trade it for anything, more and more I realize that the simple details of everyday life can bring so much pleasure.


As an adventurer and traveler, I’ve been fortunate enough to visit more than 120 countries, run seven marathons on seven continents, and meet incredible people. Standing atop Mt. Kilimanjaro, in Tiananmen Square, or at the Pyramids of Giza all bring a wonder that stays with us forever.


But as time has gone on, I’ve also come to realize that while the big sweeping views are grand and exhilarating, it is the small details in the world that have made my travels richer over time. Walking past a small shop in Place des Vosges in Paris, my eye caught some small figurines of French dance-hall girls. I pulled out my camera and took some wonderful photos of these girls.While taking the elephant ride to the Red Fort in Jaipur, India presents a scene that is spectacular and chaotic, it is the whimsical multicolors applied to the elephant’s trunk in exquisite detail that will mesmerize you. Plates of food, local posters, statues and their details, signs, flora, local handicrafts—all add up to getting closer to a place, a culture, and its people.


During my travels, I find myself taking in the big picture, but more often I get still in a scene and I take it all in, getting down to the most granular level possible. It adds a completely different level of experience.


You don’t have to travel halfway around the world to do get closer. In fact, you can practice this in your everyday life. Put down your device and concentrate on the people around you, your surroundings, and all of the details that are in your house or neighborhood or office or favorite place to visit. You’ll be surprised at how much depth it adds to your day.


We are surrounded by memories, sensory stimuli, and the specifics of our lives that help to define who we are as people. Seeing the world in details is the message of this book. The photos inside take you on a journey that is closer than most. There are no sweeping landscapes or familiar landmarks and monuments. Instead, there are moments of discovery.


The cover photo is a good example. While walking through a park in Oslo, I came across this small metal sculpture of a man doing something basic in life—simply drinking water, a universal experience that is shared by every other human on the planet. Around me, many people didn’t even notice the statues as they went about their business. For me, it was a beautiful detail in the park that deserved some attention. Using my macro lens allowed me to see it in even greater detail.


As you flip through this book, I hope it will inspire you to take out your own macro lens, literally and figuratively. Get closer to your own life. The rewards will astonish you.


—Michael Clinton

(Excerpt From Closer: Seeing the World in Details by Michael Clinton, © 2015, 
published by Glitterati Incorporated www.GlitteratiIncorporated.com)

Oslo, Norway - From Closer: Seeing the World in Details by Michael Clinton, © 2015, 
published by Glitterati Incorporated www.GlitteratiIncorporated.com

Paris, France - From Closer: Seeing the World in Details by Michael Clinton, © 2015, 
published by Glitterati Incorporated www.GlitteratiIncorporated.com

This is a delightful book that celebrates the little things in order to help us see the big things more clearly.

Closer: Seeing the World in Details can be purchased here.


*Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are mine.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Love


This is what I'm concentrating on today and every single day.
 And I send it out to everyone.

Hate will never win!

Monday, June 22, 2015

I Pray for Better Days

It's been six days, almost a week since my last post. Sorry for my absence. It's been a rough week for us all.

As everyone knows by now, the horrible shooting happened at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina last Wednesday and I mourn for the lives lost so senselessly because of hate. This terrorist attack on that historic black church was pure evil! As I sit here writing this right now, I'm still at a loss for words.

I still don't know what to say except...RACISM IS ALIVE AND WELL!

Yes, I've experienced it back home in Georgia, but I also experience it right here in the UK and I've experienced it in many other places. Racism doesn't adhere to geographical boundaries.  Sometimes it's been subtle and sometimes it's been glaringly obvious. It doesn't matter about the level...it still sucks every single time. I know I'm not saying anything new or profound here, but I'm just tired. I know that eradicating racism has many layers and it will probably always be a fight, but we have to do our best to try. I don't have any answers, but I do know this...I'm gonna keep on keeping on. I'm committed to doing my part, in whatever way that is, to make things better for my family, my community and this world. It's up to people of every color to fight against the ignorance of racism. I know I can't change this world, but I can do what I can bit by bit. In the end, that's all that I know to do right now.

I pray for better days.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Watching Royal Ascot 2015



Royal Ascot 2015 begins today and goes on each day through Saturday. You can find out all about it here. It's always fun to watch on television. I'll be checking it out this week here and there to see what's going on. I won't be able to watch every bit of it because I need to work on some things, but I'll certainly be catching what I can. In case you're wondering, I'm not really a big horse racing fan. It's interesting, but my main reason for watching is the fashion. What can I say? Lol. I've gotta check it out in person one of these days ;-)
I'll be on the lookout for headpieces like the one above or others that are much, much grander. Some people go all out so it should be fun to watch. Ladies Day will be especially good for fashion watchers like myself. There will be an array of colors and styles to see and I'm really looking forward to it all :-)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Remembering My Trooping the Colour Experience

Today in London, Trooping the Colour is being held. In fact it's happening right now as I'm typing this. I have it on television now. Watching it all has me thinking back to when we attended six years ago. Wow! Time flies! I can't believe that it's been that long ago.

Here's my post from 2009, complete with photos of the day along with a photo of the royal family at the end. I hope you enjoy going down memory lane with me. You can see my post HERE.

Friday, June 12, 2015

A Friday Photo and Huge Trees


Today's Friday photo is one that's a visual representation of what's been on my mind lately. This photo is from sometime in the late 2003/ early 2004 era when I was still back home in Georgia. I can't be more precise than that because that's all that I noted back then. I took this on an old camera that I had back then that took kind of blurry pictures. Lol. So this one is kinda blurry. It's okay though...this one isn't so much about the prettiness of the photo and more about memories and feeling :-)

As I mentioned, this represents what's been going through my mind lately...back home :-) I haven't been home in FIVE years and it would be beyond wonderful to just set foot where I was born again. I like being here in England, but touching base with where you come from from time to time is essential I believe. My staying away for five years isn't because I don't want to go back, it's just that it's expensive and things haven't lined up in my favor lately. I won't bore you with the details ;-) Anyway, I'll get there one day very soon. I know this to be true :-)

I guess you're wondering what this actually is. Well it's the top of the huge magnolia tree that was in my mom's yard. That tree is at least 80 feet tall. It's been huge for as long as I can remember. I always loved that huge tree. I used to climb on it a lot when I was a kid. It made a great hideout.

On the day when I took this photo I guess that I was just taking snapshots of everything just because and I'm glad that I did :-)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Balance


If you've visited my blog before, you know that I love the beauty of nature and sharing photos that I've taken when I'm out enjoying it. Usually I share photos like the one above on Fridays and I'll usually tell a bit about where I took the picture. Well today's post is kind of like that, but I'm gonna veer off a bit if you don't mind :-)

First of all, this photo above is from June 2013 and I took it when we were out taking a nature walk. Walking around in nature is one of my favorite things to do and snapping quick photos while I'm out is the second thing :-)

As I mentioned, I'm going to veer off a bit today. I'm posting this photo above because it reminds me of a beautiful, peaceful day and nature always balances me and clears my head. I thought that I'd post a bit of nature today especially since my mind is on balance today.

I've mentioned here recently that I've been under the weather and I'm not healing as quickly as I'd like. However, I know that these things take time. I'm doing better today than I have in a while so I'm grateful for that. As I've been concentrating on healing and getting myself back to a good place physically, I've also been thinking a lot about my balance between my mind, body, and spirit. As I've been thinking about all of this, I've realized that in slowing down to get physically well I'm also faced with the reminder that I need more balance in my life. I have a tendency to go, go, go all the time and I've realized that taking a breath is a good thing. I know these things intellectually, but while I've been forced to slow down in order to heal, I'm being reminded within my heart and whole self.

Since I've been sharing my nature photos on Fridays a lot recently, I've had another realization. All of these photos were taken two or more years ago. I'm astonished when I see the dates sometimes :-) So I think that it's high time that I added some recent photos to my collection. I'm no great photographer by any stretch. I'm just a person who loves taking pictures of the beauty of nature and I like to share what I see.

I know it's a cliche, but I need to stop and smell the roses more and take some pictures while I'm at it ;-) Lol. I hope you'll return to see what I find.

Have a great day!

Monday, June 08, 2015

Book Spotlight: The Sound of Music FAQ


Photo credit: The Sound of Music FAQ

I love musicals and one of my favorite musicals of all-time is The Sound of Music. I've enjoyed see it over the years on television every time that it's shown. It's one of those films that just takes me away and lets me escape into another world. The songs are iconic and that opening scene of Maria (Julie Andrews) twirling around on the mountain and singing as the music swells just gets me every time.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music and I think that it's the perfect time to revisit the magic of this wonderful film. In the new book, The Sound of Music FAQ - All That's Left to Know About Maria, The Von Trapps, and Our Favorite Things by Barry Monush, readers are given a great resource in order to look at this iconic film in great detail. It's an encyclopedia-like reference that looks at the 1965 Oscar-winning film from many angles, such as examining the real Von Trapp family story and the original run as a Broadway musical. This wonderful book is chocked full of facts and trivia. An interesting element that I enjoyed was the charting of the original run in cinemas, a run which went on for an astoundingly long period of time. The Sound of Music became the highest grossing movie of the 1960s.

You can tell that this fantastic book is a labor of love. The author Barry Monush writes a wonderful introduction that tells of his first time seeing the film in a theatre with his cousin, aunt, and sister in October 1965. He gives readers a glimpse of what began his love for the movie that continues to this day.

The book is a good hefty 488 pages and is loaded with really intriguing facts that are wonderfully detailed and entertaining. The author has created a great guide for diehard fans of the movie, but I think that it's a fun read for any film buff or anyone who fondly remembers The Sound of Music. This book is a real treasure.

The Sound of Music FAQ is available in the USA on Amazon here and on Amazon UK here.

 *Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are mine.

Friday, June 05, 2015

A Friday Photo and A Stormy Sky


Today's Friday photo is one from late July 2013. It was taken in our backyard. The reason why I took it is because the sky looks stormy and I love that kind of sky, as long as no terrible storm comes from it. I know...it's kooky. I like the look but I hate a crazy storm. There must be a meaning in there somewhere. Lol.

This is a shortish Friday post because I'm not feeling too energetic today. I guess that I'm still not 100% better, but I'm getting there :-)

I'm going to try to get some rest this weekend and if I feel a bit better I may take a short walk to get some fresh air. I'll probably scribble some more of my book down...I write bits and pieces on paper when they come to me sometimes and then later I type them into the computer. I'm also going to continue to read that intriguing book that I mentioned before. I promise to tell all about it once I've finished. I got a bit sidetracked when I was sick, so I'm gonna do some catching up.

What are your plans for the weekend? Whatever you do, I hope that it's lots of fun! :-)

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Chilly June



This is a short observational post. Okay...it's June right? So why is it so cold? Lol. I'm hoping that my little corner of Wiltshire will warm up for a while soon. Thankfully it was a bit warmer yesterday and there was a good bit of sun later in the day. Therefore, I'm holding onto the hope that a warm summer is around the corner :-)

And it's not just me, my other half is cold too and he's from here so it's not just my Georgia DNA getting the best of me. Lol. I've acclimated a lot, but I'm still not good buddies with the chill all the time  ;-)

It's sunny out there now, so I hope that just grows as the day goes on. While I'm waiting for a little bit of a heatwave I'll just keep my blanket and a warm beverage nearby ;-) Lol!

I hope that it's warm wherever you are! Have a wonderful day :-)

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Having Fun With a Pogo Stick

I have fond memories of playing outside for hours during the summer when I was a kid. I played a bit of everything and I especially loved roller skating, hula hooping, riding my bike, and bouncing along on a pogo stick. I always got lots of good exercise, but I didn't really care about that as a kid. I just knew that I was having fun. Pogo sticks were especially fun because you could go from here to there on it and it didn't have wheels at all.

Did you know that the pogo stick was invented by Hans Pohlig and Ernst Gottschall, from Germany? Their German patent was registered in Hanover on March 1920. They called their invention a 'spring end hopping stilt'. It is believed that the beginning two letters in their last names is where the name pogo comes from. Interesting huh?


Now that the warmer days of summer are here, it's a great time to introduce the kids in your life to the fun of a pogo stick. The Super Fun Pogo King Pogo Stick is a good place to start. It's ideal for children nine years old and up and supports up to 160 lbs (72 kg).


The height of the pogo stick is approximately 41.5 inches (106cm). It's built with sturdy foam-covered metal construction and features anti-slip safety handles and foot pads. This pogo stick is  something that many members of the family can enjoy! Remember...always wear a helmet and protective equipment for safety.


A pogo stick is a great way to improve balance and just to have fun! I absolutely loved mine when I was growing up. I'll admit, it took me a tiny bit of practice to get the hang of it, but once I got it I was hooked. It was one of those things like learning to ride a bike. Learning to jump around on the pogo stick taught me a lot about the importance of learning new skills. It gave me a sense of accomplishment and it was good exercise.


This is a wonderful way to have fun outside and to just get moving!

You can purchased your own pogo stick here and it is also available in the EU here.


*sponsored post

Monday, June 01, 2015

Hello June...Sunshine and Bits of Green



Hi!

I hope that your weekend was great. Mine was very nice. I took it easy, but got out a little bit to get a breath of fresh air.

The two photos above were taken over the last few days. I thought that I would share them to let you see what I saw. Pardon that they're not exceptional, but they were taken from the passenger seat as we sped along in the car. Lol.

We've had some sunny bits along with some overcast skies over the last few days, so I thought that I'd capture the sunny part while we had it :-)

These photos were taken further off the beaten path here in Wiltshire. I love nature as you know, so I was loving all of the green everywhere! I hope you enjoy taking a look!

Have a great day and Happy June! :-)

I Love This Cool Remote Control Robot

I love to have fun and I'm always on the lookout for ways to do just that. Every since I was a kid I've always been intrigued by robots. Whenever I watched a television show where they had a robot running around I was instantly hooked. I used to love watching Lost in Space reruns that ran in syndication when I was a kid. One of my favorite bits about that show was the robot and how he would shout "Warning, warning!" I guess that that was where my interest in robots began and it continues to this day.

Recently I've found out about a cool remote control robot called the Robo Shooter Robot which fires discs and dances too. It also has loads of other fun features.




First of all, when you turn him on he says, "Greetings Master...I await your command!" He is run by remote control and can walk to the left, right, forwards, and backwards. He's about 30 cm tall (roughly 12 inches). This is the perfect size I think. It's big enough to have fun with, but there's also no problem with storage. The robot appeals to the kid in me that wanted a robot, but as an adult I also think it's fun for the whole family and is suitable for ages 3 and up. All that you need to get going are 6 AA batteries, which are not included.

Check out this close up look at him here:


 
This fun robot is easy to operate through the remote control that's included. You can also program him so that he moves on his own. I love the programmable feature, because you can set him up and then surprise your friends and family as he puts on a show for them.


Another cool feature is that he can fire foam discs at super speed from his chest. Once he's fired all of his discs, just simply collect them and pop them back into the chamber and he's ready to go again!

Check out the video here that shows him in action.



This is a fun and unique gift for anyone in your family that loves robots or anyone who just wants to have a good time. My Lost In Space dream of having my very own robot is now within my grasp!

You can purchased your own remote control robot here and it is also available in the EU from Amazon France here

*sponsored post