Forgive Yourself

Bianca Sparacino has written some of the most deeply moving and BAM, in your face, wake up and live your life! words I have ever read. The following is a passage which has profoundly affected me and I read it every morning before getting out of bed. Some days it simply helps to reassure me that I’m on the right track and other days it reminds me to accept my past, accept the fact I did the best I could at the time, and forgive myself.

“I hope you have the courage to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, from anything that fails to inspire your mind. I hope you have the courage to grow, to change, to do things differently than what is expected of you, to step back and seek out the kinds of things that ignite passion and excitement within your very bones. But most of all, I hope you have the courage to forgive yourself, for all of the times you did not have the courage to believe that you deserved more than the kind of life you were settling for.”


Searching for the Holy Grail of Skin Care

Like most women, especially women of a certain age, I am constantly on the hunt for the best and most effective skin care products on the market today. And while costly, I have found for my red, dry and easily irritated facial skin, La Mer to be the best. Yes, I know, I know, it ain’t cheap but sometimes you have to bite the bullet and go with what works.


That doesn’t mean I don’t still try samples from other product lines. And while some work, the majority don’t and I go running back to that simple, yet elegant white glass jar.

Recently I have discovered a fantastic facial mask from Fresh, their Fresh Rose Face Mask. Received as a sample, it has been sitting unused in my bathroom cabinet until I decided it was time to clean out all those “free” mini bottles, jars and plastic sachet packets that seem to accumulate on their own. The samples are usually so small they don’t include usage directions so I headed to the Fresh website where in addition to the Rose Face Mask description, there was also an ingredients list, how to use section and plenty of helpful reviews. After washing my face I gave it a try. My face tingled a bit when first applied but then I felt a nice cooling sensation. I left it on about 7 to 10 minutes then rinsed my face thoroughly, patted it dry and continued with the rest of my nightly skin care regiment. The next morning I was amazed at how good my skin looked and felt. While Fresh does say their Rose Face Mask is gentle enough to be used daily, given how temperamental my skin is, for now I will probably only use it perhaps twice a week, mainly on those days when I’m feeling really dry. I also received a small bottle of Rose Floral Toner, which I didn’t care for and a couple Rose Deep Hydration Face Cream sachets which I have been using on my neck and like a great deal.

rose face mask

Continue reading “Searching for the Holy Grail of Skin Care”

Mango Black Tea Lemonade!

We all are aware of AA for alcoholics, NA for those dependent on drugs, Gambler’s Anonymous is for people who can’t leave the cards, lottery and horses alone, but what about us Starbucks addicts? If SA (Starbucks Anonymous) isn’t a thing it should be!

Obviously the financial impact of Starbucks does add up quickly…especially if your daily trip turns into daily trips. Plus, unless you actually work at Starbucks, it does take time out of your day to drive or walk to get your fix. Then there is that pesky habit Starbucks has of introducing a new beverage only to discontinue it.

One of their latest offerings which I really enjoyed was the Starbucks mango black tea lemonade. But alas, it is now just a distant Starbucks memory. And unlike many of their other syrups, mango was not available for sale online or at any of their stores, unless you were tight with a barista or store manager and they were willing to slip you a bottle.

Not one to do without something that makes me happy I went on a quest to make my own. That led to spending a little too much time online searching for just the perfect recipe which doesn’t exist. So I took a little bit from this one, a little bit from that one, and came up with my own, which IMHO tastes even better than what Starbucks offered. Plus it’s a heck of a lot cheaper and more convenient. Now when my craving hits all I have to do is wander into the kitchen and in less than 5 minutes I start sipping away.

Mango Black Tea Lemonade 

  • Family sized Tazo iced true black tea bags*
  • Tazo passion tea concentrate**
  • lemonade***
  • mango syrup****

Brew one family sized bag of Tazo iced true black tea in 32 oz of water. DO NOT follow the recipe on the box which calls for 64 oz of water since you will be adding other ingredients.

After the tea is steeped here are the additional ingredients needed for approximately a venti-sized (24 oz) mango black tea lemonade.

  • 6 pumps mango syrup
  • 2 oz passion tea concentrate
  • 8 oz black tea
  • 8 oz lemonade

Add ice, stir or shake to blend, drink up, then drop me a line with your thoughts!

tea 6

*The only place I have been able to purchase Tazo iced true black tea family sized bags is at Target. It is available on Amazon but is more expensive. Other bloggers have suggested using Tazo Awake English Breakfast Tea but I prefer the true black since it has less caffeine. If you look closely at the box the small circles indicate the caffeine level.

**Some recipes I found didn’t include the passion tea while others did but suggested adding a small single serving passion tea bag to the larger black tea bag while steeping. I couldn’t find any small iced passion tea bags so I bought the concentrate and played around with the amount. Feel free to adjust depending on your taste.

***Since the mango syrup is already sweetened I didn’t want to add a lot more sugar. The Florida’s Natural brand is the only one I found which did not have sugar or HFCS as the first ingredient.

tea 2

tea 3








****Now let’s talk about the mango syrup. As I mentioned previously, Starbucks doesn’t sell their brand but both Monin and Torani offer a mango flavor. I ordered a bottle of Monin from Amazon and it is very good but doesn’t come with a pump like the Starbucks syrups do. I have probably a dozen extra Starbucks pumps and so rather than spend six more dollars on a Monin pump, I tried to use a Starbucks pump on a Monin bottle but it wouldn’t screw on. Blue painter’s tape to the rescue! I taped that bad boy to the top of the bottle and it works like a charm…except for the fact the pump doesn’t go all the way to the bottom of the bottle. I solved THAT problem by always keeping an extra bottle on hand. Now when the first bottle’s level gets low I just fill it back up with the new bottle. Easy-peasy!

tea 8

As much as I like the Monin brand, I am planning on trying Torani since it is less expensive and will let ya’ll know what I think.

Baking it Old School Today

Here in sunny South Carolina in the middle of July it is HOT, HOT, HOT! But for some reason I still have an urge to get in the kitchen and create something sweet. That’s when my tried and true No Bake Chocolate Cookie recipe, which I’ve been making for more years than I care to admit, comes in so handy. And they are the perfect summer cookie since you don’t use your oven. Perhaps you’ve never heard of this recipe or have just forgotten about how easy and yummy these little chocolate, peanut butter, oatmeal morsels are. No matter what the reason, when it’s 93 degrees outside, humidity hovering around 60 percent and you are craving some homemade chocolate goodness,  grab these pantry and fridge staples and get started!

No Bake Chocolate Cookies 

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked quick oats

Combine sugar, cocoa, butter and milk in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to boil while stirring constantly. Once boiling, let cook for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the peanut butter and vanilla. Continue stirring until peanut butter is melted. Then quickly add the uncooked quick oats. Stir until all the oats are mixed in. Add raisins if you want to be daring. Then spray a teaspoon with non-stick cooking spray, wiping off any excess. Drop a mounded teaspoon of the mixture onto waxed or parchment paper. Depending on size, the recipe should make 36 cookies though the best I’ve ever gotten is 32. Let the cookies set until cool and then store in air-tight container. Trust me…it may be easier to not even put the lid on the container…that’s how fast they go in my house!

And now for your viewing (and drooling) pleasure!




Still Cracks Me Up

(from Tumblr)

Ya’ll remember that terribly horrible, how in the fuck did that bitch get published and make all that fucking money, S&M book, Fifty Shades of Gray? It was SO bad people (ie: other writers who actually can write) had to create parody accounts simply to be able to wrap their heads around the fact the book was a success. One of these accounts, 50 Shades of Suck, is the genius behind the following:

“Suddenly, Christian grabs me around my waist and launches me into the air, letting me fall into the water and sink beneath the weaves to the soft sand below. I surface, coughing, spluttering and giggling.” –Fifty Shades Freed, Chapter 1

 bitch, he just tried to kill you 

(via 50shadesofsuck)

Cracks me the fuck up EVERY TIME!


Want to read more? Here you go!


Feelings versus Actions

(from Tumblr)

Why is it so very hard for most of us to live life to the fullest? Perhaps it’s human nature. Maybe everyone feels this way but no one wants to talk about it for fear of sounding lazy or weak.

When a loss occurs it’s a reminder that life is both short and precious and not one minute should be wasted. But then reality creeps in and before you know it time has once again been spent on petty things that don’t warrant the time or attention just wasted.

Several years ago a dear friend from our sailing days died suddenly at the age of 37. His widow began posting photos on Facebook of their years together including one of him walking up the dock towards her. She captioned it “…I would give anything…” (This photo is on my blog.)

Earlier that evening I got irritated with Marc over something silly. We didn’t go to bed angry, just not happy. I woke up the next morning, saw my friend’s post and immediately felt ashamed of myself.

Life is so short. It’s hard to fathom how quickly time is passing. And while I vow  everyday not to waste a minute, at the end of each day I still wonder where the hours went.