Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

This month has been a bit crazy for me, thus … my blog has suffered some.  However, I have been able to keep up with my Facebook page, so if you haven’t signed up for that, please do!  That way, no matter what, you’ll have access to all of my freebies, updates, and info.  I have actually posted quite a few Freebie Fridays there, but you can find all of them on my Pinterest page, so I urge you to follow me on Pinterest so you can look back through all the Freebies I’ve given over the past months.

This month we are learning from Katharine Hepburn.  I have had a wonderful time getting to know her.  She was something else, and an inspiration regarding the strength of women.  Her mother was a Suffragette and her father a physician (urologist) who tried to promote awareness of sexual disease and health.  With this type of liberal and strong background, it’s no wonder that she led such an influential and extraordinary life, filled with fortitude and lack of concern for what “normal” women were supposed to do or not do.  She had no idea that there were boundaries that couldn’t be crossed, or barriers that couldn’t be broken.  And because she believed in herself, she became the number one top screen legend of all time by the American Film Institute in 1999 … quite a tribute!!

So, in honor of Katharine, here is your Freebie Friday (click for the full size, and then right-click to save to your computer … personal use only), I hope you enjoy!!

One of Katharine’s four Oscars (out of 12 nominations) was for the movie “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” – and it is easily one of my favorites, hands down.  So, without further ado, and with Memorial Day (for my American friends) in mind, I thought I’d share a recipe with you that is one of my favorites for summer and cookouts.  I’ll be sharing several recipes over the next several days.  What do you usually have for your Memorial Day or Outdoor gatherings?  Here’s one of our family favorites:
TOMATO BASIL FETA SALAD,
courtesy of Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa:
Ingredients
4 pints grape tomatoes, red or mixed colors
1 1/2 cups small-diced red onion (2 med. onions)
1/4 cup good white wine vinegar
6 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 1/2 pounds feta cheese

Directions

Cut the tomatoes in half and place them in a large bowl. Add the onion, vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, basil, and parsley and toss well. Dice the feta in 1/2 to 3/4-inch cubes, crumbling it as little as possible. Gently fold it into the salad and serve at room temperature.

*In a pinch, because, let’s face it, sometimes we just don’t have time, or are lacking some ingredients, I have done the following with the same spectacular results:
  1. Parsley is not imperative, but you will want to add a little more basil if you don’t use any.  It will have a stronger flavor, but in my opinion, you can never have too much basil (personal preference)
  2. I have used a vidalia onion or green onions in place of the red.  I do not recommend a white or non-sweet onion.  It will be too strong in relation to the other flavors.
  3. I have used Paul Newman’s Balsamic Vinaigrette when I realized I didn’t have enough white wine vinegar from the last time I had made the recipe.  It was still heaven!!
  4. I have used flavored feta with great results.  My favorite:  feta with sun-dried tomatoes in it.
  5. I have tried not cutting the tomatoes when I was in a hurry … wasn’t nearly as good, I promise it’s worth the time, otherwise the flavors of the dressing just don’t do their “thing well enough.”
  6. It is CRUCIAL that you let the salad sit at room temperature for least 30 minutes, if not 45 to an hour.  When serving this for a barbeque, I make this salad first, cover, and just let it sit on the counter until we are ready to eat.
Bon Appetit!!
**For more recipes by Ina, please feel free to go to www.foodnetwork.com

Creating Our Lives

Well, mes amies … how did your weekend go? Did you have time to take a look at your wardrobe and see if comfort still equaled elegance? I hope you did. I have to admit that this is something that I have been working on for the past several months. I happily hauled several bags of clothes off to either the battered women’s shelter, the homeless shelter, or to women in my Church who needed the clothes more than I did. In return, I “had” to get some new clothes. LOL! I then proceeded to only buy clothes that either:

1) I could foresee myself wearing 5 years from now (unless a miracle happened and I lost weight … and then, Quelle Horreur!!! I’d have to go shopping again!!).
2) They were good quality clothing. They would actually last 5 years. With that being said, I refuse to not get a bargain, so this didn’t mean that I’ve spent all my money on clothing either. More about that later … I have some great tips for you clothes horses, but that’s another day.
3) They were truly “me.” They accented my body type to its best advantage and they were colors that looked best on me.
and lastly,
4) They passed the “Do I LOVE it, not “just like it” test.

So … if you’re like me, you probably didn’t finish the challenge I gave you over the weekend. That’s okay. I still have drawers I haven’t gone through. So, let’s keep going, shall we? Only, now, let’s add the four (4) new challenges I’ve just given you to the mix.

If you did try my challenge and looked for comfort and elegance (you can even change that out to excellence if you can’t perceive yourself as elegant yet, but we’re going to work on that, I promise!), then I congratulate you, and I also hope that you’ll share your experiences. Please, when you can, share your triumphs, challenges, and stories. We can all learn from and help each other!

In the meantime, I’m giving you another Coco’s Pearl. It’s a graphic I created for the Graphic’s Fairy’s Brag Monday party that I always take part in. I used her “freely given” label at the bottom of the graphic to highlight Coco’s pearl. I hope that you’ll really take her wisdom to heart. Let’s go forth and create our lives!!

Bonjour mes amies, and have a wonderful week!!!

P.S. As always, please feel free to click on the picture and then right-click to save to your computer. No mass production, please. However, please feel free to share via Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus so that others can get their own copy and join us in our quest.

Life’s Lessons for Women April 2013: Coco Chanel

Well, mes amies, it’s taken me a little longer than I had hoped but I am confident that you’ll feel it was as worth it as I do. I’m so excited to announce our new journey to feeling beautiful by learning from successful women who have already forged the path ahead of us. And, as my loves of vintage fashion and all things french are so strong, I had to start of with Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, herself. What an amazing woman. What a path she blazed at a time when women had very few rights and very few comforts … especially in the way of dressing. I don’t know about you, but the thought of being trussed up like a Christmas turkey every day in order to wear my clothes, and then to try to get in and out of my vehicle with said clothes, while still breathing, is absolutely mind-boggling. I created the above graphic to get us started. Please feel free to download and print it out or save to your computer as a wallpaper. Many thanks to Karen at the Graphics Fairy for the beautiful french frame that I used in the background.

I know you all have a very busy life, so today’s post will just be an introduction. But, if you do have time, please following this link HERE to a great, but not long, bio of her. It’s in written or video form, and really quite lovely!

What is even more amazing about this woman, is that she was born in 1883 and lived until 1971, yet she still inspires fashion to this very day. Over the course of this next month, I’ll be sharing little snippets of what made this woman so memorable. And, I hope it will inspire you to believe and know that you are memorable. You carry within you, all that she had. We’re going to learn from her success, her mistakes, and her witty words of wisdom. It’s going to Coco Heaven!! So hop on board, girls … let’s take this crazy ride!!

Before I close … I have what I’ve been asked for, and promised, for quite some time to share with you … a TUTORIAL!!!!! I know many of you think that you are not crafty. Many women think that you either have “it” whatever “it” is, that can magically make you creative, or you don’t. Well, I don’t believe that for a minute. I have found the most wonderful crafter who has hopped on board and will be taking this trip with us … all the way. Her name is Tevis, and she will be offering 2 tutorials every month.

For those of you who are intimidated by crafts, there is Paper Crafting 101, which will be offered the first (1) week of every month. For those of you who are crafty, but want to learn something new, different, and maybe a little challenging, we will be offering Paper Crafting 2.0 (offered the 3rd week of every month). Each month the craft will correspond with the icon from whom we will be learning from. So, this month’s craft is inspired by Coco.

This picture was taken when she was younger, but if you notice the bracelet she has on … it could be just as popular today. So, you can click HERE to go to our tutorial page and meet Tevis. Or, you can click on the Paper Crafting 101 button.

Also, be sure and join either my facebook page, or my twitter as I will be sharing little bits of wisdom over the next month regarding Coco. If you’re not a huge Facebook fan, but love Twitter, that’s the way to go. If you don’t tweet, but like to check in on Facebook, then that’s best. Of course, you can join all of my buttons and just have a complete Chanel fest if you’d like. Anyway you want to … come join us as we learn from one of the top 30 women listed as Women Who Changed the World!!

Bonjour Mes Amies … I hope you enjoy draping yourselves with Coco’s pearls this month.

Lorraine

Happy Pre-Easter

Well, it has been a little bit since I posted. In the meantime I drove to Albuquerque and back to help my son and his lovely new wife move here to live in the town where my husband and I reside. They will be starting school again in the fall, and so decided to get a head start on finding employment before the rest of the college crowd try to compete for summer jobs.

AND … yesterday was my birthday, and I will admit that I turned 49 … my last year of my 40’s. So I plan to enjoy this year as much as possible before I roll into my 50’s. And, while aging might be a problem for some women, it truly doesn’t bother me at all … at least not yet. Now while that’s being said … I still color my hair, so I guess the correct response would be that aging without gray hair doesn’t bother me! The most wonderful part of my birthday was realizing that ALL of my children were here to celebrate it with me. That hasn’t happened in years, and it truly was the best present I could have asked for (besides the homemade lemon cake that my husband made me!).

So … here are my juicy updates that I have waited with bated breath to share with you!! Many of you (my lovely and much loved facebook followers) have asked for tutorials on how to use some of the graphics that I create. Well … they’re coming, they’re coming, they’re coming!!! I’m so excited. I have been working on the evolution of my blog for several months, and spent hours upon hours working on what I wanted to share with you. All of the effort is finally paying off. So, I’m going to give you a little teaser … you will definitely want to check in the beginning of April (and this is no joke, mes amies) as it will be the beginning of all of my plans coming together. I can’t wait to share them with you.

So … here are some teasers:

  • Coco Chanel
  • Life’s Lessons for Women
  • A Craft Tutorial for Beginners (or those who think that they can’t make anything …)
  • A Craft Tutorial for Crafters (something to tempt even those who think they’ve done everything)
  • Give Aways
  • Contests
  • Reviews about things that we all want, know, or love!
  • A continuation of Freebie Fridays, but most of all …
  • Motivation that you ARE beautiful. You ARE special. You HAVE value. You ARE WORTH IT!!!

I hope you know that I care for each of you who reads my blog. I want you to feel what has taken me so many years to discover for myself: life is too short to spend any more time feeling doubts about your own unique beauty or self-worth. So, if you’ll stick with me … we’re going to make sure that you do!

In the meantime, I created a graphic for my Brag Monday. For those who are new, I create something each Monday using one of the Graphic Fairy’s beautiful vintage images. You’ll find her link to left. I wanted (SO BADLY) to jump the gun and share next week’s graphic, but I restrained myself and focused on Easter so I wouldn’t fudge and ruin my surprises.

I hope you enjoy this graphic. Please feel free to use it in a non-commercial way. You are more than welcome to click on the picture and then right-click to save to your computer. You might use it as a desktop wallpaper, print it out to frame and decorate for Easter, or even create cards or crafts with it. I only ask that you not mass produce it. You may, however, send anyone my way to get their own copy.

And while we’re talking about sharing … if you haven’t signed up for my facebook page, please do so. That is where you’ll find past Freebie Fridays, some that weren’t shared here, although you can always click on the Freebie Friday button to the right for the ones that were posted here. I try to switch things up between my followers. So, to make sure that you don’t miss anything, you’ll want to follow me in both places. I promise, some are truly treasures (at least that’s what I think, as well as many of my followers). Last Friday’s … well … does the name Audrey Hepburn mean anything to you? I don’t think I need to say more! LOL!

Mes Amies … have a very lovely week. I hope it is filled with beautiful thoughts and wonderful happenings for you and your life.

Warm Regards,

Lorraine

Image

La La La La La … But …

So, today’s post is a rant. Not a political rant. Not a rant about here, or a rant about there, nor a rant about anywhere (for you Dr. Suess fans out there). I promise, it won’t be too big of a Debbie Downer, but still I need to rant.

Why is it that we, as women, find it necessary to tear each other down in order to feel better about ourselves? I, for the life of me, do not understand this cultural anomaly. We, as women, have a hard road to trod. One would think that we would be as supportive of each other as possible. But, sadly, that isn’t so.

This past week I’ve had to “let go” of some comments that an extended family member directed toward me. Is this new behavior? No. Is it an unusual dynamic in our relationship? No. However, it still cuts like a knife, no matter how much I try to “let it go.” Maybe it’s because I’m an oldest child, but I really expect people to like me. I don’t expect everyone to think I’m the “cat’s meow.” However, I have sufficient evidence to support that for the most part, I’m a very nice person, and people, in general think I’m a nice person. So, how come I get dumped on by someone who should be part of my support system?

Well … I happen to know that the truth is … [insert drum roll here] … she is intimidated by me and the small amount of success that I’ve had in my life. The sad part is, I would be the first person jumping up and down cheerleading for her if she were to allow herself to have the same types of experiences.

Long ago I read the book by Stephen Covey entitled “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People.” He talked about the Zero Sum game. “If you are winning then I am losing. If I am winning, then you must lose.” HOW COME WE CAN’T ALL WIN? I’d like to know. As far as I’m concerned you are all winners. I don’t always win, but I’m moving forward, none the same, and for me, that is winning. I would bet that you could say the same thing as well.

So … girls (I still like to think of myself as a girl, even though I’m in my late 40’s) … let’s be a little more supportive and help everyone around us to feel like winners. You know … it doesn’t really take a whole lot of effort, either to do that. A small compliment, a smile at the store to someone who looks like they are having a bad day, a “congratulations” when someone gets a promotion or a raise, or a job, or, or, or, etc.

In the meantime, I’ve created a Freebie Friday for you that is definitely “Tongue in Cheek.” I saw this vintage painting of 1840’s fashion and the sarcasm of the moment just sprung out of my brain and onto the page. You’ll see what I mean when you click on it and read the commentary. I promise … it will either get a chuckle out of you, or it may sting a little. Because, you see, many times we as women do our best “Catty” impersonations under the “guise” of being supportive or “helpful.” Well sisters … that doesn’t cut it either. And, don’t you find it always seems to be that this “helpfulness” is usually couched by starting out as a positive statement, followed by the word “BUT” and then the knife comes out!

Okay … thank you for letting me get my rant out. I feel so much better and I hope you will too when you think about how much of a “winner” you are (and please, please, please, do not think about Charlie Sheen’s rant about “winning” – I promise you shouldn’t go there either!).

So, sweet amies … here is your free printable. As always, feel free to click on the picture and save to your computer or print out. It might just help you accept my challenge to be more supportive of the women in your life this week. Let me know how you do, and I will too.

Bonsoir, and have a WONDERFUL weekend!!

Lorraine

Beauty Within, Without, or Not at All

I believe I may have mentioned earlier that I have been really working hard on finishing up some projects in my home. It is truly coming together, and I’m so excited about how I feel when I open my door, walk into my home, and just feel … aaaahhhhhh … I’m truly home. Not only is this transformation the result of trying to create a beautiful home, but it is also an internal transformation … a realization of who I am and what makes me happy — what “speaks” to my soul.

I’m in my late 40’s and it has taken some time for me to figure out what truly is me, what truly makes me happy, what truly speaks to my soul. There have been several times in my life when I thought I had figured it out.  However, what “spoke” to me at 20, isn’t what speaks to me at 48. Too much life has happened in the meantime.

I’m reminded of the analogy of us starting out as lumps of coal, and through life, God creates a diamond … something that He saw in us from the very beginning, but that we aren’t able to see in ourselves. At least for many, it takes a long time, for others, they never see their full glorious worth. How incredibly sad that is.

So, today, for my Brag Monday, I’ve created a free printable to help remind us that we have to carry the beauty within to see the beauty outwardly. I particularly hope that it will inspire you to remember how beautiful you are … and that you will believe it!

I love this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson. I created the printable using a peacock graphic (with many thanks) by the Graphics Fairy. As always, feel free to click on the printable and right-click to save to your computer. It is for personal use and you may not mass-produce or use in any commercial way. Please feel free to send people my way so that they may download their own copy.

Au Revoir mes amies … have a wonderful week!!

Lorraine