Early Birthday Gift- Fitbit

fitbit-fancy-free-nancyMy daughter, Clara decided to come home this morning to have brunch with my husband and me; it was so lovely seeing her. She also surprised me with an early birthday present, a Fitbit. I am so excited! I have been wanting one for quite some time. All the reviews are great and it sounded like something I would really use. Clara even helped me set it up this afternoon!

If you haven’t heard about Fitbit’s, they are awesome little gadgets. The company’s slogan:

“Fitbit is dedicated to helping people lead healthier, more active lives”

… is exactly what I hope it does for me. Fitbit is a physical activity tracker that is supposed to help you become more active, eat a healthier diet, sleep better, and just make you a healthier person in general.

It tracks daily activities throughout the day including the number of steps you take, how far you have walked, and the calories you have burned. It also is able to tell how vigorous the exercises are and how many calories are burnt. What I think is one of the best aspects of the Fitbit, is that is monitors sleep quality. I would love to know how I am sleeping and if it correlates to the days I fell tired.

There is even a feature on it that will send me messages that are supposed to encourage me to keep moving and working hard. A few of my friends from Tai Chi have them too and we are able to become “Fitbit” friends and work together and encourage each other.

The data gets sent to my smart phone when I connect to Wi-Fi, I have gotten pretty darn good at my smartphone since getting it.  Clara showed me how to look at it on the computer and see how much I have walked and all the other features. She is such a digital guru. 😀

I am really excited to start using it and seeing how much I actually exercise and how it compares to what I eat. I am not necessarily looking for it to help me lose weight, but more to help me stay healthy, motivated, and have fun!

I will keep you updated on how I like my early birthday present and how it is working!

Until next time,

Nancy

Everyone Wants Pretty Hands

Unfortunately, no one had found the fountain of youth yet. Today, while I was having my coffee, Clara was “Snap Chatting” me photos of her newly decorated living room. Yes, I said “snap chat”. She downloaded this app on my phone where you can send photos back and forth that only last for a couple seconds. I don’t really understand it, but she loves it. Anyway, I sent her a photo of me holding my cup of coffee and couldn’t get over how “old” my hand looks.
tips-for-pretty-hands-nancy-free-nancy
I have never really spent much time looking at my hands, but I understand why they say your hands show all the signs of aging. I couldn’t stop looking at them in awe. I know I don’t look like I have aged as much as my hands show.  So I jumped on the internet to find some ideas how to get rid of these “aged hands.”

I read that hands really do show the signs of aging more than most parts of the body. The years of sun exposure, the exposure to the elements, hard work, and constant washing and scrubbing really take a toll on our hands. The skin on hands thins with all the exposure to daily life and more veins become visible, age spots appear, and it is common for hands to become dry. All of this information was pretty much common sense to me, and I wanted to know how to reverse that aging.

I found this website saying that taking care of aging hands is similar to the skin care during menopause; a subject I am pretty knowledgeable on. It suggested exfoliating your hands to remove all the dry skin before moisturizing. Buffing your nails also helps make your hands look younger. I never really thought about moisturizing my hands specifically, I just put lotion on them when they are dry, so this was a new concept for me.

The site also said the moisturizing and protection are the most important in having beautiful youthful hands. It said to use a good quality hand cream and apply it throughout the day to rejuvenate your hands.

After reading all of these articles I have decided I need to find a good hand cream to reverse aging. Do you use anti-aging hand creams? If so what kind do you use and is it effective?

Until Next Time,

Nancy

Seasonal Floral Arrangement Fun

Today at the floral shop we were unexpectedly busy in a great way.  We had a ton of people walk in and call to order arrangements to be delivered and picked up later in the day.  My boss and I were scurrying around making fabulous spring and summer arrangements and bouquets.  Today at the floral shop we were unexpectedly busy in a great way.  We had a ton of people walk in and call to order arrangements to be delivered and picked up later in the day.  My boss and I were scurrying around making fabulous spring and summer arrangements and bouquets.

seasonal-flower-arrangement-nancy-bell

I love it when people call or walk in to order because it often gives us the freedom to use flowers that are in season and create a unique seasonal arrangement.  Today was no exception, I created about 7 arrangements that were all seasonal flowers and they turned out so gorgeous.

Sometimes we have clients ask us what flowers are in season to decide what they want the main focus of their arrangement to be.  Right now is my favorite part of the year for flower availability and the aurora they give off.  The flowers are bright, crisp, and have a wonderful smell…and, in my opinion, the best to work with.In case you were wondering here are the flowers that are in season during mid-June-

• Peonies

• Roses

• Tulips

• Yarrow

• Pomegranates

• Calla Lilies

• Lilies

• Viburnum

• Pincushions

• Veronica

• Chocolate Cosmos

After days like today, I am very grateful to have my couch at home to kick my feet up and relax.    It was such a busy day but I had a great time.  It amazes me how much I can learn each and every day from just working and practicing alongside my boss.

beautiful-flower-shop-arrangements-nancy-bell

Working with flowers all day really puts you in a good mood too.

Until Next Time,

Nancy

Baby Shower Flowers

This week brought, yet another fun event I was able to help create beautiful floral arrangements for. This week my boss and I made arrangements for a baby shower, a girl. After I found out we were doing a baby shower, I connected the dots and realized it was for one of my friend’s daughters. It was an exciting little surprise.

Because I know the family personally it was really easy talking with them deciding what they wanted and how I could make it happen. My boss lets me, partially take the lead, it was really exciting!

Our creations for the baby shower were fun, elegant, and girly 😍

We focused on the simplicity and beautiful aspects of having a child. We used roses, cut off the stems and put them into small glass votive candle holders. They were beautiful. In taller skinny glass vases we put a variety of long stem flowers in shades of pink and white. We also made a large piece for the head table.

table-center-floral-arrangements

Since working quite a few events now, it is clear to me that a well-designed table centerpiece has the ability to pull a whole party theme together. The freshness of floral arrangements adds an element of delicacy from nature into a static indoor setting.

Helping create these beautiful pieces and know that I am actually going to the shower tomorrow makes me reminisce about Bobby and Clara and their baby showers. It seems like it was just yesterday my husband and I got the news we were going to have our first baby girl. Just thinking about it brings a smile to my face. 😊

I love creating arrangements for events like these. The energy and level of happiness that goes into creating them is reflected in the joy it brings to our clients. I can’t wait to find out the next event I’m going to help work.

Until next time,

Nancy

GARLIC, GARLIC, GARLIC -with a recipe!

its-only-garlicIf you know me, you know I love garlic! Thank goodness my husband likes garlic as much as I do or he would never want to kiss my permanent garlic breath or eat my fabulous dinners every night. 😀 Ever since I can remember I have always loved garlic, it was one of the only things that my taste buds never grew out of and I hope never will.

This afternoon I made “Artichoke and roasted garlic” dip for my hubby and his friends that were over and they loved it.

As I grew older garlic became more than just something I loved to add to foods because of the taste, I began adding it for healthy benefits. I consider myself a bit of a garlic enthusiastic and history buff. Way back in the ancient Greek civilizations garlic was prescribed to treat a variety of medical conditions. I agree with the Greeks and believe that garlic can do wonders for your body when you consume it the right way.

Here are some of my favorite benefits of garlic

• Garlic might help fight against hair loss because it has high levels of allicin, a sulfur compound that was found to treat thinning hair. To reap this benefit, rub sliced garlic cloves on your scalp or add it to oil and massage it in.

• I always turn to garlic when I feel a cold coming on. It is full of antioxidants to fight off your illness. I find that eating it raw in a salad or other recipes is the best way for it to boost your immune system. Garlic tea is also a good choice.

• There was also a study done a while ago that said that garlic could help control your weight. Even if it is just an idea, I am going to try it.  😛

• Raw garlic or garlic extract can help reduce blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels lowing the risk of heart disease.

• Garlic is very nutritious and it has very few calories…so start eating your garlic!

There are so many benefits from garlic, I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to eat it every day!

Here is my favorite Artichoke and Roasted Garlic Dip recipe-garlic-recipe

Ingredients-
• 2 heads of roasted garlic
• 6 oz. frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and drained, and chopped
• 4 oz. cream cheese
• ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
• ¼ cup mayonnaise
• ½ tsp. pepper
• 1 ½ cups shredded cheese, I like to use a blend of parmesan, asiago, and provolone

Instructions-
• Preheat the oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.
• In a large bowl or baking dish, mash the garlic until it becomes a thick paste then add and mix all the ingredients together, setting aside ½ cup of cheese for the top. After the mixture is thoroughly combined, top with the remaining ½ cup of cheese and pepper to taste.
• Bake for about 25-30 minutes and broil for about 5 minutes until the top is browned. Serve and enjoy your wonderful garlic dip!

What is your favorite garlic dish or side?
Until Next Time,
Nancy

4th of July Fun!

Happy Fourth of July! This year with the fourth landing on a Monday, all of our parties and fireworks were on weekend. We were pretty busy the last weekend so, today will be nice just hanging out and relaxing on the day off. We attended two fabulous Fourth of July parties at my husband’s coworker’s home and my sisters. It was a really fun weekend party hopping and helping my sister decorate and cook for her barbecue.
happy-independence-day

My sister asked if I would help her decorate and make some of the food, of course I said yes. Over the past year or so I have really become quite the party decorator. It is always fun when I get to spend time with my sister, especially when it is something I am better at than her.

We came up with some simple party decoration ideas that wouldn’t cost a lot of money and were simple enough to keep the party relaxed. I had these big red and white buckets from a party I had a while ago for Bobby that we made into coolers for the drinks. We just filled them up with ice and put the pop in them. I also made cute little vases with red and white tulips for the tables. Tulips are very clean and crisp flowers that worked perfect for what my sister was going for. My sister insisted on using overhanging lights with red and blue bulbs to really give it a cozy feeling. It ended up looking very cute and patriotic.

After we decided on the decorations and got them all hung up and situated we began our kitchen fun! My sister assigned me to making desserts and snacky foods, my favorite. I made the cutest American flag fruit pizza, it look fabulous and tasted even better. I also made a grape salad, frozen watermelon drinks, and fresh salsa. Here are my super easy recipes I used for my Fourth of July concoctions.

Easy Grape Salad
easy-grape-saladIngredients-
• 1 lbs. seedless green grapes, stems removed, washed and halved
• 1 lbs. seedless red grapes
• 1, 8 oz. package of softened cream cheese
• 1, 7 oz. jar marshmallow crème
• 1, 6 oz. package of almonds, chopped or slivered

Instructions-
• Stir the cream cheese and marshmallow crème together until smooth and creamy. Add the grapes to the mixture and stir in. Fold in the almonds and stir until grapes and almonds are coated with the cream cheese mixture.
• Serve chilled, enjoy!

Frozen Watermelon Drinkseasy-watermelon-drink
Ingredients-
• 4 cups seedless watermelon chunks
• ½ cup sugar
• 1 lemon, juiced

Instructions-
• Combine all the ingredients together in a food processor and puree until smooth. Pout into a pan and freeze, about 1 hour. Rake the mixture with a fork and freeze for another hour, and repeat one more time. Then rake and serve in cups for a delicious refreshing watermelon drink, Enjoy!

Very Easy Salsa easy-salsa
Ingredients-
• 4 large tomatoes, diced
• ¼ cup chopped white onion
• 3 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
• 2 tsp. jalapeno, minced
• 1 ½ tsp. fresh lime juice
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• Salt to taste

Instructions-
• Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to let the flavors mix, and enjoy!

Hope you had a fabulous Fourth of July “pre-weekend!”

Until Next Time,

Nancy

Happy Father’s Day

happy-fathers-dayHappy Father’s Day to all the daddy’s out there! I think it is important to celebrate our mothers and fathers everyday but especially on these days. Bobby and Clara got their father the greatest gift imaginable last year, so I had no idea how they would be able to top that. I don’t know how they did it, but they came up with a great idea that their father absolutely loved.

Last year we got him a brand new infrared grill and a cookbook and he was the most surprised I have ever seen him. Bobby and Clara are so cleaver and good at surprising both of us. This year I helped them brain storm a little but let them take the reins. We decided since we went with such a huge gift last year, we are going to keep the gift thoughtful and more realistic.

To go along with last year’s gift, Bobby and Clara wanted to get him some new grill tools. I thought it was such a good idea. They found a good deal on a grilling set and got him some “man” spices and sauces that he can use.

This morning we made him breakfast in bed and brought the paper up to him. Bobby and Clara always laugh at the little things that make their father so happy. It is just a reminder to them that it is the little things that really matter.

Because it is Father’s Day and we usually always cook for him, he told us last week that he wants to grill a big juicy steak his way. He is so funny sometimes. I am sure he will love his gift and the spices and sauces and will use them for dinner. Obviously we weren’t opposed to that, it makes it easier for us.

It is going to be a great rest of the afternoon spending Father’s Day relaxing and then having my husband grill dinner 😀
Happy Father’s Day!
Nancy

Sparking the Romance

78-heart-valetineThis next week is one of the busiest out of the entire year at the floral shop because of Valentine’s Day. Although it is very busy, I love it so much. There is so much love and beauty in the air it is hard not to be romantic. I will have to work on Valentine’s Day so my husband and I decided to celebrate our love this weekend. I didn’t want to do anything extravagant, just spend time together, and that is just what we did 🙂

Yesterday we spent all day walking around town and to the beach. It was so great being active and romantic with the love of my life. When we got home we sat outside and enjoyed the sunset setting and our beautiful back yard. It has had quite the makeover in the past year.

Once the sun was down we continued our romantic day in the kitchen. We made a wonderful dinner together; crab rigatoni…YUMMY! It is so much fun when we are both in the kitchen, he is so goofy. Even when we are trying to be intimate he always says something so funny we both end up cracking up. His humor is what keeps our marriage always growing.

78-crab-rigatoni

Our dinner was so delicious and hilarious….my husband cooked the noodles a little too “al dente” and nearly burnt them to the pot. Luckily I remembered and the pasta wasn’t a total loss. We were laughing too hard to even care. 🙂 I had made chocolate covered strawberries for desert and frozen raspberries to put into our champagne for the evening. Our meal is incredible.

78-tom-hanks-me-ryan-sleepless-in-seattleAfter we finally calmed down from laughing we watched one of our favorite romantic movies, Sleepless in Seattle. I forgot how much I loved it. I don’t think we sat down to watch a movie since Christmas when the kids were home. It was nice snuggling with a blanket, sipping our champagne, and enjoying each other’s company.

We won’t be able to spend much time together this week but this weekend definitely made up for it. I love my husband so much and each moment we spend laughing makes me remember why I fell in love with him.

Our pre-Valentine’s Day date was perfect!

Until next time,

Nancy

Post-Christmas Recap

xmas-660694_640Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends! We had a wonderful dinner and couple days with Bobby, Clara and her boyfriend.  It felt like we were constantly on the move and running around.  It was a great Christmas but I am very happy to sit and finally relax.

Having an extra “family member” home for the holidays made me want to really make sure everything was clean and tidy.  I spent the days leading up to Christmas cleaning and making sure I had everything I needed for dinner and snacks for the kids.  Bobby and Clara got home the day before Christmas Eve and they were out of the house almost all day and night hanging out with their friends.  Clara had fun introducing her boyfriend to all of her friends from high school.

I love seeing how Bobby and Clara have stayed so close with their friends from high school and when they are together it seems like not even a moment has pasted.  I seemed like they had a great night out, they slept in a Christmas Eve until the afternoon.  Those crazy kids.

Instead of celebrating on Christmas Day we decided to mix things up and have dinner on Christmas Eve.  The food was so incredible I even surprised myself!  Clara’s boyfriend was so helpful in the kitchen…I like him a lot, good choice Clara.  After dinner we all curled up in our living room and watched OUR favorite movie, It’s a Wonderful Life.  It was a great way to digest all the delicious food we just consumed.

On Christmas Day we opened up presents…and yes we still wait for Santa to put them under the tree on Christmas Eve.  I loved that we all stayed in our PJ’s and sat around the tree laughing and exchanging gifts.

After we opened gifts we all helped make a Christmas brunch.  It was so so so much fun!  There may have been too many cooks in the kitchen but we had a blast laughing and cooking.  We used some leftovers from the Christmas dinner and made some fresh fruits and veggies to kick start the day.  I think I like our new tradition!

After brunch the kids hung out for a while and then left to go to their homes in the evening.  It was so much fun having the house full and making new traditions.  I think making these new traditions make being an empty nester easier.  We are not dwelling on what used to be, but what is.  I am so thankful for my wonderful family and can’t wait to make more memories and create even more new traditions.

Happy Holidays,

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Merry Chistmas & Happy New Year!

Nancy

October Already? (Soup recipes here) :D

Happy October! I still can’t believe that it is officially fall and OCTOBER; time has flow this year. I love fall so much. Working at the floral shop has given me a little taste of fall already working at a few fall themed events already. Fall gives off such a warm feeling with all the rich colors, sweaters, and spices. Oh how I love a pumpkin spiced latte… 😀 SHHHH don’t tell, I know they are not good for my healthy lifestyle.

This month I want to set some more goals to work towards to keep my healthy lifestyle. I want to continue my tai chi practices and zumba whenever I am able to make it. I will continue to eat healthy and adventure out of my comfort zone with foods. I want to make as many soups as I can this month because October and fall are the best time of the year to make soup. I want to take my husband on a date and keep our romance burning. I don’t think my goals are too difficult, I have confidence I will be able to achieve all of them. 😀
I found two soup recipes I really want to try this fall…here they are.
Fall Chicken Stew

chicken-stew

Ingredients-
• 5 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
• 1 lbs. chicken tenders, cut into small pieces
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 4 medium parsnips, peeled and chopped
• ½ tsp. dried rosemary
• ½ tsp. salt
• ¼ tsp. ground pepper
• 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
• 2 granny smith apples, peeled and chopped
• 2 tsp. cider vinegar
Instructions-
• Heat 2 tsp. of oil in a pan and add chicken and cook through. Set on the side covered.
• In a pot add the remaining 3 tsp. oil, onion, parsnips, carrots, rosemary, salt and pepper; cook until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the broth and apples and bring to a simmer stirring often until the vegetables are tender. Add the chicken and vinegar to the pot and enjoy!

Cream of Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

rice-soup

Ingredients-
• 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 cups sliced mushrooms
• ¾ cup chopped celery
• ¼ cup chopped shallots
• ¼ cup all-purpose flour
• ¼ tsp. salt
• ¼ tsp. ground pepper
• 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
• 1 cup instant wild rice
• 3 cups shredded cooked chicken
• ½ cup reduced fat sour cream
• 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
Instructions
• Heat the oil in a saucepan then add the mushrooms, celery, carrots, and shallots and cook until softened. Add the flour, salt, pepper and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil.
• Add the rice to the saucepan and heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until the rice is cooked through. Stir in the chicken, sour cream, and parsley and heat for about 2 minutes. Enjoy!

I hope you all are ready for a fabulous fall full of fun! 😀 What are you planning to do during October?

Until next time,
Nancy