Spring Party Décor

Today I had the pleasure of working a Spring Wedding Shower party with my boss. There is something about spring parties that make me feel all giddy. They say April showers bring May flowers, but we are jumping the gun a little bit and designed beautiful and unique floral arrangements. The bride-to-be was so fabulous to work with. She had a few ideas and really let us run with them to create her lovely spring party. My boss and I really thought out of the box for this party, and it definitely paid off.

I have never worked with animal products, so it was a first using antlers to accent the bright flowers. They surprising turned out really elegant and unique. She brought us a few antlers that she had gotten from a craft store and we painted them white and tied them to little vases with bright roses, daisies, and wildflowers. I would have never thought to add antlers to accent the floral arrangement, but the idea was so unique and they turned out beautiful.

She also wanted coasters for the tables and we really had no idea where to even start. We flipped through countless magazines and websites until we concocted the perfect idea. To go along with the spring and natural theme we made coasters with moss mats and cork coasters. They looked like little bunches of grass on the table. It brought in even more color and earthiness.

To direct guests to the yard with the table, we used old pieces of wood and painted arrows with white paint. We added some floral vines to the signs to really connect the rustic and earthy to the bright and lively spring. We also had big balloons with the vines wrapped around the strings. My boss comes up with the most creative ways to incorporate themes. It is slowly but surely rubbing off on me.

The Spring Wedding Shower Party was a huge success. It was earthy, rustic, yet sweet and delicate with the bright spring flowers. This might be up there with one of my favorite parties. Happy Spring Time! Hope your April showers, bring May flowers,

Nancy

 

 

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Tai Chi Outing

I love living in Florida, the weather is great for outdoor activities year round! This morning my tai chi instructor held class at a new park and after class, we all went out for lunch. I remember being so nervous for my first class and now look at me, I love it. I have become part of our tai chi family.

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I love practicing tai chi outside. The fresh air, the earth beneath my feet, and the beautiful scenery make it so much better than practicing in an indoor studio. After a practice outside I feel rejuvenated and more directly connected with the energy of my surroundings and the world around me. Practicing in the new park today brought a new level of connection, I really enjoyed it.

After our wonderful practice, we all went to this wonderful café for an early lunch. It is amazing how close I have become to some of the women I do tai chi with. They have really become some of my best friends and have made this journey so much easier and much more fun.

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Tai chi has brought so much joy into my life. Every time I practice I feel like I grow and become a better me. I never thought of myself as an active person until I took the initiative some years ago to change my life. It was tough at first but through tai chi, I have been able to excel not only physically, but mentally and emotionally.

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Today made me realize how fortunate I am to have such great friend that have similar goals and values as I do. I have become an entirely new healthy person that I am so proud of. Taichi was the catalyst I needed to catapult my wellness journey.
Have you tried tai chi? I would highly suggest it to anyone who wants to strengthen their body physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Until next time,
Nancy

Being Lazy and Working Out

I have been procrastinating all day so I don’t have to go for a walk or go to the gym. I am just not in the mood for a work out or interactions. I am sure everyone can relate, you just wake up on the wrong side of the bed and don’t feel like doing anything.

One of my good friends called me earlier today and I told her that I was feeling lazy and that I didn’t want to work out or go exercise. She is also going through menopause and working to create a healthy lifestyle for her husband and herself. She said she was also feeling the same way; must be something in the air today. We have a good laugh at ourselves and our complaining and procrastinating. A few minutes after hanging up the phone I received a hilarious photo text message from her… she is so funny.

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After looking at the photo I really needed to get motivated, I looked at my motivation board and a few reminders that help me remember that a workout doesn’t need to be hard or dreadful, all that matters is that you go and give it our all. Here are my easy reminders that help me remember that even “lazy days” I can be healthy.

Workouts don’t need to be long or hard, but they have to be one of them. If I am short on time I give it my all for an intense workout or if I am feeling a little lazy…like today, I will go on a long walk for a slow cardio.

Workouts that incorporate strength, cardio, and mind strength are the best. Yoga and tai chi not only work out your body, but your mind and muscles as well.

Working out with friends makes it more of a social active instead of a chore. I love zumba, tai chi and walking with friends because I am interacting with people and around those that lift me higher.

• I find that setting weekly, monthly, and yearly goals makes a world of difference. I set realistic but a “scary” goals that really make me work towards goals and strive for the best.

Walking to the grocery store, walking to work, or walking to a café are all ways to get in exercise “undercover.”

• I don’t know if this is true but I always feel like when I eat healthy I don’t need to have such a strenuous workout. I see everywhere that 80% of your health is what you eat and 20% of it is exercise.

work out
So after seeing the funny photo from my friend and revisiting what gets me a little motivated, I have decided to take myself to the gym for a nice a slow cardio and a little strength training. Sometimes all it takes is a little motivation and thinking about the ultimate goal!
To the gym I go,
Nancy

Christmas Outfit Shopping

Today after tai chi I decided I wanted to get something nice to wear for our Christmas dinner with the family.  I haven’t been shopping for a while and it was a good excuse to go.  I feel like finding the right outfit for Christmas is always difficult because it is still warm here and a lot of the clothing is for the season is for cooler temperatures.  It is also extra difficult because I am still having hot flashes every once in a while, and I definitely do not want to be caught in a sweater in Florida with a hot flash.  But I decided to take on the challenge and I am glad I did.

For some reason it never dawned on me that the mall would be full of people doing their Christmas shopping.  It was so packed; and when I say it was packed I mean I have never seen so many people in the mall before.  I ventured to a couple stores but I couldn’t fight the crowds.

Instead of just giving up I went to the stores around the perimeter.  The last time Clara went shopping with me we went to TJ Max and I fell in love.  It has so many options and you never know what you are going to find.  I ended up finding this really nice cranberry colored top that is flowy and looks great on me.  I also found this beautiful necklace to wear with it.

I thought I was done shopping and was pleased with what I got, but I couldn’t resist going into Kohl’s right next door.  It was pretty busy in there but not as much as the mall.  I was just browsing around and found these pants that looked so comfortable and dressy.  They looked like dress pants but they had some elastic in them that made the stretchy.  I tried them on and loved them.  So obviously I had to get them too.

While I was there I browed through the sale racks and found this very cute holiday scarf.  I don’t know if I will wear it for Christmas but it was a good deal I couldn’t pass up.  There were so many sale and clearance ranks I couldn’t manage to go through them all and as it got later in the day, more and more people started pouring in.  I got out of there at the perfect timing.

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I am very happy I found an entire outfit to wear for Christmas.  I was really only looking for a shirt but found pants and a necklace, can’t complain.  Next time I go shopping around Christmas I have to remember to avoid the mall and to go early!

Until next time,

Nancy

Christmas Cookie Time

Good bye turkey and thanksgiving, hello to Christmas cookies, caroling, and homemade goodies! To mark the first weekend of the wonderful Christmas season, one of my good friends had a few of us over to have a Christmas cookie bake. We used to do an annual cookie bake every year but after having kids we all had busy schedules and weren’t able to make it. But now that our children are grown we have plenty of time.

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I love that my friend has us over to her wonderful home. Her husband is a chef, so they have a state of the art kitchen with two ovens perfect for baking cookies! We drink cider, listening to Christmas music, laugh, and bake all day! The part I think is ingenious is that we all make 3 different kinds of cookies in big batches then we swap them so we end up leaving with a huge assortment. It is great!
I ended up with so many cookies I can’t wait to send them to Bobby at school before his finals and to Clara and her boyfriend. Here are the three cookies that I shared with my friends!

P.S. These cookies are not the healthiest, but I figured a little treat once in a while won’t hurt.

Peppermint Bark is a staple for anything Christmas related.
Ingredients-
• 1 cup crushed candy canes
• 2 lbs. white chocolate
• Just a few drops of peppermint flavoring
Instructions-
• To crush candy canes, use a candy chopper or place candy canes in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush the candy canes into small chunks.
• Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. When melted add the crushed candy cane and a few drops of peppermint flavoring and stir. (leave a little candy cane to sprinkle on the top)
• Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet and pour the mixture on to the paper. Sprinkle the left over candy cane chunks on the top and refrigerate for about 45 minutes or until firm. Remove from paper and break into delectable chunks!

Ginger Cookies are delicious year round, but even better during the holidays.

person flattening dough with rolling pin
Ingredients-
• 2 ½ cups flour
• 1 tsp. baking soda
• 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
• 1 ½ tsp. ground cloves
• ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
• ½ tsp. ground ginger
• ¼ tsp. salt
• 1 cup dark brown sugar
• ¼ cup vegetable oil
• 1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
• 1 egg, room temp
• 1 ¼ cup chopped crystallized ginger
• Sugar to roll the cookies in
Instructions-
• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
• In a large bowl mix together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.
• In an electric mixer bowl beat the brown sugar, oil, and molasses on medium speed for about 5 minutes then turn to low. Add the egg and beat for about two minutes. Keep the mixer on low and slowly add the dry ingredient mixture and the crystallized ginger to the mixer and once combined, mix on medium for another 2 minutes.
• Scoop the dough and roll in your hands to make a 1 ¾ in ball and flatten with your fingers. Sprinkle/press the cooking in the granulated sugar on both sides and put on to the prepared baking sheet.
• Bake for 13 minutes until the cookies crack on the top and are soft on the inside. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for a few minutes then transfer to wire racks to fully cool. Enjoy!

And who doesn’t love Snickerdoodles
Ingredients-
• 2 ¾ cup flour
• 2 tsp. cream of tartar
• 1 tsp. baking soda
• ¼ tsp. salt
• 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
• 1 ½ cups sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• 3 tbsp. sugar
• 1 tbsp. cinnamon
Instructions-
• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and line two baking sheets with parchment paper and chill in the refrigerator
• In a medium bowl mix together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.
• In another bowl cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy then add the eggs and vanilla and beat together well. Slowly stir in the flour mixture using an electric mixer until the flour is combined. Chill the dough for about 30 minutes.
• While chilling mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl.
• After chilling the dough scoop 1 inch balls and roll in the cinnamon sugar. Place the balls on the baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes.
• Let the cookies cook on the sheet for 2-3 minutes before transferring them to wire racks to cool. Enjoy!

Christmas is the best time of year in my opinion. The cookies, the happiness, and the loving spirit is in the air. I can’t wait to share my Christmas cookie assortment with everyone!

Happy holiday season everyone!

Until next time,
Nancy

First Zumba Class!

Well last night was my very first zumba class, and boy oh boy was it an incredible workout. It is completely polar opposite of tai chi but I loved it. I have always loved to dance…I am terrible but it was so fun.

The instructor was incredible, she made me so welcome in the class. There were three other ladies about the same age as me that were new to zumba as well. She really took time to make us feel comfortable. Before we started the class she said something that really stuck with me and made me feel comfortable, “even if you think you don’t know what you are doing, keep moving, keep shaking, and you are doing it perfect.”
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The ladies who are “regulars” with zumba were really nice too. While we were waiting for the instructor to arrive they were chatting with us and helping us feel welcomed. They talked about how long they had be doing zumba and how much they loved it. The group of women called themselves a zumba family, it really felt like they were too. It was such an awesome environment to be in.

The music was very different than I am used to but it was a great change of pace for me. It was a mix of Latin, hip hop, and pop to keep the energy high. Zumba is a mix of all sorts of dance; Latin, jazz, rhythm, and everything in-between. For me it was mostly jiggling around but somehow I felt get doing it. Even though I love dancing I don’t have any rhythm to keep my on beat but the instructor would call out cue’s to move and it was really easy watching her in the mirror.

After class everyone kind of hung around and chatted about each other’s families and just daily life. It was really neat seeing how this group of women started out taking the same class and now are great friends. They were so kind, asking me questions and getting to know me. A few ladies had just become empty nesters this year, so I was able to give them a little advice!

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I laughed and had so much fun the entire 55 minutes of zumba my abs were sore from moving and laughing so much.  The women who come regularly were so good, they knew all the moves and what came next. I am not worried though, I will be like them soon enough; I will be making zumba a part of my weekly routine for sure.

Zumba was the most fun I have had working out in a really long time. It felt great changing up my routine and letting lose a little.

Until next time, zumba away!

Nancy

Thanksgiving Planning

It is the weekend before Thanksgiving, which means I need to get most of my grocery shopping done and ready to go on Thursday. I know the holidays aren’t an excuse to give up the healthy lifestyle I have created, but it is one of my favorite holidays and I do allow myself to indulge just a little bit. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and give thanks for everything we have and how we have grown.

This year is going to be a really special Thanksgiving. Bobby and Clara are coming home…YAY, and Clara’s boyfriend, my parents, my husband’s parents, and a couple my husband and I are friends with. Our friend’s child moved out years ago and always came back for the holidays, this year she is working in abroad and can’t make it home for the holidays so we welcomed them with open arms. I am excited to have a full house!

Luckily everyone offered to bring a dish or a dessert so I don’t have to cook and bake everything; Clara even offered again for the second year in a row.  I am making the turkey, three sides, and the drinks. It doesn’t seem like that much, but once I started writing down everything I need my list grew very fast!

I am excited to share some of our yummy family recipes with our friends this year.

This afternoon I ran to the store to pick up my list, I was surprised that is wasn’t that busy. I assumed it was going to be packed with people buying everything for Thanksgiving. I was in and out of the store in less than an hour, and that even including a little chat with a client I saw.

To stay organized with the ingredients I separated everything by dish and if it needed to be refrigerated. I saw this idea on Pinterest and gave it a try, hopefully when it comes time to start preparing all the dishes it will be easier!

With all this food in the house and knowing what we are going to be eating for Thanksgiving, I am going to make sure I eat healthy and exercise this week! Now I need to come up with something for dinner for tonight, wish me luck! 🙂
Until Next Time,

happy-thanksgiving
Nancy

Keeping up with Tai Chi

I have been practicing tai chi for nearly 4 years and couldn’t be happier with how it has changed my outlook and wellbeing. I began only taking one class a week, now I am in two classes a week and practice at home almost every day. It was the catalyst I needed to jump start my physical activity and wellbeing of becoming an empty nester.

I have been able to witness my body change through lifestyle changes in addition to my tai chi regimen. Tai chi works with the internal energy and channels it to be useful in physically ways. It physically works your muscles and joints to unify the breathing and improves circulation of the blood and lymphatic glands to increase the effectiveness of the immune system.

I have felt my physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing increase through tai chi. I never expected it to impact my life so much, I am so happy with who it has helped me become. I try practicing it as often as I can at home even when I don’t have much time.

I have learned a few techniques through tai chi that I use when I am stressed and feel my body and emotions acting up where ever I am.

• When I have feeling stressed or can feel a hot flash coming on, I simply sit down and relax by taking deep breaths. Breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth has been a tai chi technique that has benefited me in countless ways.

• When I need to release tension or frustration I tense up my entire body, from my toes to my forehead. I hold it for a few seconds then release my muscles and my tension and frustration.

• While I am waiting for water to boil, the oven to preheat, or a timer I do a few opening movements to open my body and my mind. It is really simple and when practiced with the breathing, can really help focus and clear my mind.

Tai chi has inspired me to try some other group fitness classes because of how much I enjoy being around others and working towards a goal together. I have heard so much about jazzercise from you lovely readers, I set out to find one. I found out my gym doesn’t offer it but I signed up for a zumba class instead. The woman at the gym said it was very similar and that they had replaced the jazzercise class with it. The first class is next week and can’t wait to see how I feel after it.

Until next time,

Nancy

Halloween Party Flowers

Happy Halloween all you spooky readers! 🙂
There is something about Halloween that brings out the child in me.  Every year my husband and I decorate our front porch for all the little goblins to come up and get treats for some tricks!  I love seeing the little kids dressed up and so excited about the treats.  To make this Halloween a little better, my floral shop made some spook-tacular floral arrangements for a Halloween party.

I think I have decided making floral arrangements for fall and Halloween parties are my favorite.  I love mixing beautiful flowers with gourds and pumpkins to create a unique and almost dark feel.  This event was really fun because the client was a close friend of my boss so we had a lot of freedom to design haunted creations! 🙂

I made one of my favorite decorations thus far for the Halloween event.  We put small pumpkins into large fish bowls and wrapped red garland and black calla lilies around the interior of the fish bowls.  They somehow looked “spooky chic.”

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We also made an arrangement using yellow roses, greens, and purple leaves to create an old eerie feeling.  My boss has this spray she uses often in Halloween decorations and flowers.  It makes the flowers look aged and grungy, I love it!

Another customer just wanted one centerpiece for a Halloween party.  I was able to get creative with this arrangement.  I used some bright flowers, cat tails, wheat twigs, and other grasses to create an almost mystical looking combination.  To make it more fitting for a Halloween party I put the arrangement in a skull vase.  It looked even better than I thought it would.

I am so happy I found my passion working with flowers and helping decorate for events.  It makes my life so much fun and each day is a new adventure.  Like the saying by Confucius goes, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

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I have yet to work a day.

🙂

Happy Halloween!

Until Next Time,

Nancy

Day with the Hubby

Today I got to spend all day bumming around town with my hubby.  I love lazy days spent together!

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Instead of our normal coffee at home we went to a local café to relax and start our day with a little pizazz. I love this café, they have such a great coffee menu that offers such a wide variety and it is low calorie and fat.  After we finished our coffee and catching up with the daily news we went for a walk in the park nearby and enjoyed the beautiful fall colors and each other’s company.

We had a few errands to run after we left the park. My husband wanted to the hardware store to look at a new set of tools that were on sale. He is such a handy man and uses his equipment all the time so he really needed a new set. The set that was on sale was exactly what he was looking for, he was like a kid in a candy shop.

We also went to the grocery store where he insisted on having beef for dinner. I am not a huge fan of beef but I figured I could find a good healthy recipe in one of my cook books at home. He also wanted apple crisps for dessert. He thought it was “his day” to decide what to eat!

I ended up finding a really good recipe for Beef Stir-Fry and Avocado Salad, here is the recipe. I made it so that we will have left overs so this recipe can feed four.

selective focus photography of beef steak with sauce
Ingredients-
• 12 oz. beef tenderloin, cutting strips
• ¼ cup fresh lime juice
• 1 tbsp. and ½ tsp. chili powder
• 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
• 1 medium onion, sliced
• 1 red bell pepper, chopped in slices
• 1 poblano pepper, sliced
• ½ tsp. salt
• ½ tsp. pepper
• 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
• 1 avocado, diced
• ¼ cup Cotija cheese, crumbled
• ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
• Tortillas to eat the stir fry with, or whatever you prefer

Instructions-
• Mix the beef, lime juice, and 1 tbsp. chili powder in a bowl and let marinate.
• In a large skillet heat the oil and sauté the onion, bell pepper, and poblano for about 5 minutes. Add the beef mixture to the skillet, season with salt and pepper, cook for about 5 more minutes.
• Combine the beans, avocado, cheese, cilantro, remaining chili powder, and a splash of lime juice in another bowl.
• Serve the beef stir fry on the tortillas and top with the avocado salad. I hope you enjoy it as much as my husband did!

Here is my recipe for apple crisps is so delicious and easy, I make them individual size so we don’t eat too much.  This recipe makes 4 individual apple crisps.

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APPLE CRISPS

Ingredients-
• 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
• 1 tbsp. sugar
• 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
• ¾ cup rolled oats
• ¼ cup flour
• 2 tbsp. brown sugar
• 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
• ¼ tsp. salt
• 2 tbsp. melted butter
• 1 cup low-fat whipped cream

Instructions-
• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
• In a bowl toss the apples with the sugar and lemon juice, separate into four oven safe bowls
• In another bowl mix the oat, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and butter together until it becomes a crumb-like texture. Sprinkle over the apples and bake for about 10 minutes, let cool, and top with whipped cream. Enjoy!

I hope you had as great of a Saturday as we did!

Until Next Time,

Nancy