Christmas Eve will Find Me . . . where the Lovelight Gleams!



From my first holiday with my husband's family over 38 years ago, our holiday tradition is all about Christmas Eve. We gather family and very close friends and celebrate the season, along with my husband's birthday which just happens to be Christmas Eve.

This day has become so much entwined into our lives, that years ago when my college-age son was invited to a pre-Christmas vacation in St. Thomas, he declined . . . just in case his flight was delayed and he missed our dinner together. It is a time for celebrating our strength and happiness as a whole unit of family and extended family.

I have to admit that some of the Cuban traditions introduced to me on that first Christmas Eve so many years ago were different than what I had been exposed to . . . I still leave the Cuban traditions to our aunt with her secret mojo sauce!  Her fried plantains never make it past the first hour of being together.

Years ago, when dinner was over we would roll up the carpet to dance.  My daughter's friends would come by for salsa lessons. One of my fondest memories is watching my father and mother in law strutting their merengue stuff! "Dancing with the Stars" had nothing over these two!

Okay, so we all cannot fit sitting down for dinner in the dining room, but for a couple of hours we are all in the same place.

Hope this Christmas Eve finds you . . . where the lovelight gleams.

December 24, 2018

My love affair with the beach



Love the beach

When did my love affair with the beach begin?

It started with trips to the Jersey Shore with my parents in the late 60's.  Laying on the beach with my mom and my favorite book while my dad enjoyed fishing in the ocean.  My full-time working mom would spend countless hours preparing the food that would last us our week at the beach.  

As I grew up, the weekends at the beach turned into summer cottages with girlfriends.  As tiny as our summer rental was . . . it was ours . . . at least from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  On one of those summer occasions, I met my husband.

Our dream as a family has always been to have a spot by the sea. My children also now have a love affair with the beach.  While my daughter and I are laying on the beach with our favorite books, my son and husband are exploring the water.  Enter spouses who now also have a love affair with the beach.  The tradition continues.

Most important of all to me, though, is spending time together . . . whether at the beach or not.  


August 23, 2018

Surround Yourself with Happy!


Nautical Decor


Decorate with what makes you happy!  I say if it makes you happy, use it.

For me, too much of a theme is well . . . too much of a theme for me.  

So many ideas and so much advice flowing from social media.  While I value advice, it is my house!  What makes me happy and comfy may not make you happy and comfy.  I just happen to love all things BEACH.  Whether it's my shell chandelier or my retro dive girl over the kitchen sink, all of the items I fill my house with make me feel happy and comfy.  

Let's not even get started on the pillows.  An easy way to update any space.  And, yes, not everyone appreciates the charm of pillows.  Especially when it's time to remove them at night.  To me, though, pillows can bring color and texture to any seating surface.

Here's what I do.  I pick something that inspires me . . . whether it is a wall color, an accent piece . . . or in the room above . . . a picture I took on our local beach that I enlarged and made into a canvas.  For me, whatever piece inspires me gives me a decorating direction.

Ready.  Set.  Decorate with what makes you happy!

July 25, 2018

Beach Music!


Beach Music!

Why is my best nap by the sea?  I think it is the beach music.

Is it the sound of the waves? There's something just so calming about the gentle pounding of the water reaching the sand.

Children chasing each other? The delight children find in building sandcastles is just one of the most beautiful sounds on the beach.

The lifeguard whistle?  Keeping us safe during the day, and a whistle to say good night when their day ends.  There is such a peaceful calm resting on the beach when the summer sun begins to fade.

The seagulls chatting?  Trying to search beach blankets and bags to see who may have left a little piece of something for them.

Yes, I think it is all of the beach music.  I'm not one to bring my music to the beach.  I so enjoy the music I hear there already.  


April 27, 2018

There's Just Something About the Winter Beach


Winter Beach

Boots.  Parka.  Hat.  Gloves.  Yes, this is how I dress to walk my winter beach during the ever changing month of March here in the Northeast.

Walking up my favorite beach path, I am surprised at how calm the wind appears to be.  As I reach the open beach, however, I am confronted by a sea breeze that although chilly this time of year, will bring a welcome relief during the summer.  

The beach is basically open.  Me. And the birds.  The remnant truck tracks of a fisherman spending his time by the water.  

The beach changes so much in the winter.  All of our storms have rearranged our beach and given us a very large sandbar that all of the children will enjoy investigating come summer.  When our children were small, they loved the little ponds that our sandbars created.  It was like their own private lake.

The storms also deliver some lovely shells to our shores.  I am always amazed when I find one of my shells.  It's almost like it was placed there for me to find.  Resting among all the other shells, I wonder how someone passed this one up! 

There's just something about the winter beach.  Maybe it's the solitude.  Maybe it's the anticipation of warm weather to come.  Maybe it's the gifts from the sea I collect as I walk.   

As I tighten my parka hood for the windy walk back to my favorite beach path, I feel the warmth of the bright sun and look forward to the summer days that will be spent here on my favorite beach.


March 19, 2018

I Never Met a Shell I Didn't Love


I spend countless time roaming my favorite beach as often as I can.  It is rare that I leave this spot without at least one shell or other memento from my visit.  

We all have a favorite shell and I am always on the hunt for mine.  The moon shell is mine.  Big, little, I love them all.  I don't mind if the bottom half of the shell is missing when I reach down to scoop it up . . . just makes me think of the journey this shell may have taken to arrive here in New Jersey. 

When my children were little, they were always in search of the largest clam shell they could find.  We would take a few back to the house and let their creative juices flow with some paint.  Waterproof, of course.  Yes, after our week's vacation, we would pack them up to bring back home.  Nothing like a painted shell to a five-year old as a remembrance of the beach.  Definitely lasts longer than the always asked for hermit crab.

My children are grown now, but they do keep their eyes out for shells.  When they are on the beach with me and happen upon a shell they know I would love, they still bring it to me silently and drop it in my beach bag. 

I fill my planters with my beach finds, so there is always room for more.  Or I just go get another planter!

March 01, 2018

Be Thankful. Always.

Be thankful.  Always

I originally wrote this blog post in 2010 . . . amazingly to me, that was 7 years ago.  We buried my dear "father-in-law" yesterday.  His name is in quotes because although that was his official title, to me he was Dad.  We will miss him terribly, but will be forever grateful and blessed to have had this journey through life with him.  

Our table has grown. My son (in college in my earlier post) and "daughter-in-law" are hosting, and all I have to do is make the stuffing.  Although, I do not have my Mom's exact recipe, I do remember most of it, but will add my own twist and hopefully, this will become our new favorite.

I hope that your Thanksgiving brings you together with those you love.  And don't forget to wear your stretchy pants!

I have always enjoyed our Thanksgiving together.

I have to admit, as our children grew and went off to college, having them home for Thanksgiving break was, well, a blessing! Never mind the laundry they brought home and the fact they slept half the day away, it is wonderful to have our house noisy again. With our son still away at college, we eagerly awaited Thanksgiving break.

Our daughter has become a better cook than I am and is making most of the meal today. She is using ingredients that need to be explained to me! She loves to experiment and we love to try everything! The chocolate chip cookies she made from a Martha Stewart recipe were hands-down the best I ever tasted!

Displayed on our Thanksgiving table since my son was in 5th grade is a simple CCD project . . . a 8 1/2" x 11" piece of paper sitting in a frame is what Thanksgiving meant to him at that time . . . you know the project where you have to come up with a word for each letter in Thanksgiving . . . from his "H" word (helping others) to "I" (I love my family) . . . we smile whenever we read it. My son, who thought the role of a writing project at that time was to see who finished first, well he actually spent some of his 9 year old mind on this project.

My Mom is disabled and due to health reasons, will not be able to join us here for our Thanksgiving tradition. So we have decided to create a "moveable feast" . . . we will bring the cooked turkey, my daughter's new found mashed potato recipe, the dinnerware, silverware and napkins to her and my Dad. I have just packed up my son's 5th grade CCD project, because, well, it just wouldn't be the same without that on the table.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

November 23, 2017

One Shovel. One Pail.

We recently had young families come to the beach to visit and I simply smiled to myself while I watched them trudge through the sand laden down with the same things I used to bring to the beach.  So many memories came flooding back.

Yes, when my children were little, we lugged beach bags filled with different sized pails, shovels, trucks, balls and sand castle molds.  Not to mention beach umbrellas, enough snacks to last for days and yes, those miniature chairs our children never sat in.  All of this way before the beach buggy carts were a staple on the beach.

Most of the varying sizes of pails and shovels went right back into our beach bags as we left the beach.  Our children chose their one favorite pail and shovel to use all day long.  And the miniature chairs . . . never to be brought back to the beach again.  Not to mention the sand castle molds.  Seashells and seaweed adorned their creations.

Now it's every person for themselves.  My beach bag has my towel, my book, sunglasses and one water.  My now adult children bring what makes them happy whether it's a book, football or a bocci ball set.  

And, yes, when the grandchildren arrive, we will come full circle.  My beach bag will be filled with countless sand toys.  And, yes, I will be buying more of those miniature chairs.

October 26, 2017

A Beach for all Seasons

Walking barefoot along the shoreline in a pair of shorts and my favorite fleece, I am always in awe of just how amazing the beach is in any season.  A slightly cool autumn breeze warmed by the abundant sunshine made for a wonderful stroll.

The beach was pretty much empty except for an adorable older couple reading their books by the dunes, a few beachcombers looking for treasures, oh and these birds having lunch on the water!

What is it that soothes our soul so much by being here?  Is it the soft sand hugging our toes?  Or the steady rhythm of the waves?  Or the anticipation and hope of finding your favorite shell?  Personally, I think it is the quiet of autumn. 

Knowing that winter will eventually roll in, I will remind myself that with winter comes spring and summer to follow.  Just as the waves hit the shore, the beach awaits all of the seasons.

October 08, 2017

My Faded Blue Sofa

There is a faded blue sofa in our family room at the beach that I cannot part with. It started out a saturated calming blue color, but has turned into a pastel shade of blue. 
September 15, 2017