Botticelli to Braque…with children

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When you go to a museum, there are usually at least a few paintings that take you in and cause your mind to linger amongst the images on canvas that haunt your mind…I love going to the museum and being led by my children. It’s nice to see what artwork they gravitate toward. We seemed to agree that the Lady Agnew, The Ladies Waldegrave and The Reverend Robert Walker were three subjects that we were naturally and happily pulled into. Their portraits were captivating and tremendously enjoyed at the Botticelli to Braque: Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth. When I take my children to the museum, I go with the flow… the plan is not to have a plan and see what you can see as long as they can go.

Lady Agnew of Lochnaw, John Singer Sargent, 1892. Scottish National Gallery.

Lady Agnew’s direct gaze takes the viewer in with her seductive eyes and alabaster skin. The cool blue Chinese fabric and shimmering satin dress have a free and fluid feel that add an air of mystery. Sargent captured Lady Agnew in an informal pose that is striking and hypnotizing. Lady Agnew was about twenty-six-years-old when Sargent captured her. She lived a very extravagant life style and spent most of the Agnew fortune. It was saddening to learn that she had to sell her painting so that she could make some money for herself.

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The Ladies Waldegrave, Reynolds, 1780.  Scottish National Gallery.

Three sisters quietly work together on a piece of embroidery. The sisters were all married shortly after this painting which was commissioned by their great-uncle, Horace Walpole, for his house Strawberry Hill. The Ladies Anna Horatia, Elizabeth Laura, Charlotte Maria Waldegrave, daughters of the second Earl Waldegrave and his wife Maria Walpole, were sure to get some eligible suitors. Their beauty and gentleness were noticed when the painting went on public display at the Royal Academy. This is probably why the sisters were married so soon after the portrait was created.

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The Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch, Sir Henry Raeburn, 1795.  Scottish National Gallery.

The Skating Minister is one of Scotland’s most beloved paintings. Walker was the minister of Canongate church in Edinburgh and participated in founding the first figure skating club of the world…the Edinburgh Skating Club. There’s an amusing and sub plot style humor to this painting by Raeburn. The Reverend Walker is like Santa…he has a twinkle in his eye, rosy red cheeks and a merry stride.  The Reverend’s pose looks effortless as he glides across the slippery ice…showing perfect control. He is poised and keeps his balance without the use of his arms. The mountains in the background look bleak but the Reverend seems to skate with joy.

The skating Minister. Reverend Robert Walker (1755 - 1808) skating on Duddingston Loch *oil on canvas *76.2 x 63.5 cm *circa 1795

I have always believed museums to be powerful learning environments that give children opportunities to explore, observe and experience art. Children get to choose what to look at, and they leave with the pictures stored in their heads. The memories they create are filed away for future reference. Museum experiences help provide children with knowledge and understanding of the world all while gaining an appreciation for art.

The museum shop in the Kimbell is a must see also. Among the array of gifts and remembrances on sale are decks of playing cards that name and reproduce the paintings on display. Much like learning from the use of flash cards, the children playing card games can see the painting, read the title and remember it. What a great souvenir.

Related posts:

Carravaggio…with children

Dega and Pollock…with children

Mary Cassatt: 5 things you might not know

Ice Cream flavors based on your favorite cocktails

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What’s better than an ice cold cocktail on a hot summer day? An ice cream flavor based on your favorite cocktail, of course! In the sizzling month of August, sometimes even a well-chilled and iced glass of Aperol Spritz isn’t enough to cool you down. On those days, it’s best to have a boozy ice cream waiting for you in your freezer.

As someone who eats ice cream nearly every day, I can tell you that it taste so much better when you make it yourself. It’s all worth it when you start scooping.

Making ice cream is very similar to making a cocktail…both require few ingredients…the flavorings and fruit make it special. It’s fun to get creative and combine ingredients to share for all to enjoy.  Fruity liqueurs like Aperol, Limoncello and crème de cassis can give ice cream a distinctive flavor and personality.  For an added unique flavor, use a fresh vanilla bean. The seeds of a vanilla bean impart a floral aroma that goes well with the liqueurs and the scattering of dark speckles add to the beauty of the ice cream. Try these three summer cocktails to turn into ice cream… Aperol Spritz, Kir Royal, and Limoncello Spritzer

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Aperol Ice Cream

6 large eggs
1 large vanilla bean
4 T Aperol
1 ½ C whole milk
1 ½ C heavy crème
¾ sugar
*optional 1/8 tsp orange oil

Separate the eggs in a bowl. Split vanilla bean, add milk, 1 cup of crème, and sugar to a saucepan with the vanilla bean. Add remaining ½ C crème to the bowl with the egg yolks (I like to save the egg whites for breakfast). Whisk the yolks and crème. Temper the egg yolks (add about ¼ C of the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture so they don’t scramble). Then add it all to the milk mixture. Stir on medium low heat until the back of a wooden spoon is coated. Add Aperol. Strain custard and discard vanilla bean. Cool, chill, then churn.

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Kir Royale Ice Cream

6 large eggs
1 large vanilla bean
4 T crème de cassis             
1 ½ C whole milk
1 ½ C heavy crème
¾ sugar
1 C rasberries, crushed

Separate the eggs in a bowl. Split vanilla bean, add milk, 1 cup of crème, and sugar to a saucepan with the vanilla bean. Add remaining ½ C crème to the bowl with the egg yolks. Whisk the yolks and crème. Temper the egg yolks (add about ¼ C of the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture so they don’t scramble). Then add it all to the milk mixture. Stir on medium low heat until the back of a wooden spoon is coated. Add crème de cassis and rasberries. Strain custard and discard vanilla bean. Cool, chill, then churn.

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Limoncello Ice Cream

6 large eggs
1 large vanilla bean
4 T Limoncello             
1 ½ C whole milk
1 ½ C heavy crème
¾ sugar
*optional 1/8 tsp lemon oil

Separate the eggs in a bowl. Split vanilla bean, add milk, 1 cup of crème, and sugar to a saucepan with the vanilla bean. Add remaining ½ C crème to the bowl with the egg yolks. Whisk the yolks and crème. Temper the egg yolks (add about ¼ C of the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture so they don’t scramble). Then add it all to the milk mixture. Stir on medium low heat until the back of a wooden spoon is coated. Add limoncello. Strain custard and discard vanilla bean. Cool, chill, then churn. Make sure to serve a cordial of limoncello to go with your ice cream. You may even like to pour a tablespoon of limoncello on top of your ice cream.

Summer is about light spirits, fresh fruit and ice cream. Scoop up something cold and boozy and remember that it’s still summer!

 

 

 

Rosemary Beach Celebrates Twenty Years!!

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Rosemary Beach is twenty-years-old this year. It’s easy to see why it’s the best family beach community in the United States.

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Time spent at Rosemary Beach is all about sunshine days full of love, laughter and leisure. Cool coastal colors can’t help but put vacationers in a laid-back frame of mind…the whole reason (no matter the season) for coming to the beach. It’s impossible to resist the pull of the timeless architecture and the easy-going attitude of the stretch of the Florida Panhandle known fondly as Scenic 30A. The colorful emerald coast offers the perfect backdrop for unforgettable days along the Gulf of Mexico.

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This was the year of the pretzel float and sand mermaids. My sister and I couldn’t stop laughing when we pretended that we were mermaids with my daughter.

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It’s exciting to take in the sights and smells of Rosemary Beach just as the sun rises and everyone begins to wake up to a brilliant blue sky, soft clouds and an endless emerald coast shimmering before you…the day is filled with an endless possibility of fun! What should you do? Maybe rent a catamaran, take a family bike ride, look for dolphins, take tennis lessons, stroll through a gallery, yoga class, sandcastle lessons, enjoy a delicious ice cream cone from the Sugar Shak or a refreshing cocktail from the Havana Beach Bar…you can’t go wrong. It has the perfect balance of the serene residential area and a lively Town Center.

One of my best memories of this trip was standing in front one of my favorite Chagall paintings in a bikini and flip flops…only at Rosemary Beach! New River Fine Art and Tommy Crow Studios hosted a very special exhibition: MASTERS Modern to Contemporary featuring original works by Picasso, Miro, Dali, Chagall, Warhol, Stella and more. I visited the gallery every day…it was impossible to pass by so many of my favorite artists and not say hello.

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Rosemary Beach is a tennis lovers paradise. The staff is knowledgeable and ready to help you and your children with great instruction.

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This special community is organized around keeping people happy and it’s easy to do with the places and events that thrill you around every corner. It’s how I imagine the 1950’s were…picture the kind of vacations your grandparent’s may have taken when they were children. Rosemary has a West Indies feel but also a mix of Charleston and Europe (think Italy and Austria) to make the perfect relaxing atmosphere.

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Rosemary Beach has a low-key sophistication and charm that blends well with it’s high-style coastal living. The houses are bright, airy and cheerful for big family get-togethers like ours. This was the second year our whole family met at Rosemary for our summer vacation…coming from California, North Carolina and Texas, Rosemary felt like home.

Rosemary has selected the concept of New Urbanism…the sense of community that encourages friendliness. The special residential structures of the courtyards, Town Hall, carriage houses and pools all contribute to a harmonious experience.

My children always look forward to movie night under the stars (face painting and popcorn included). This year we watched The Muppets. Adults could also enjoy cocktails at “Dive in classic cinema” at The Pearl with movies like Sabrina and Rebel without a Cause.

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This sense of community is especially strong celebrating Independence Day. It’s a dream for a family with young children. The fun begins in the morning and last until it’s firework time! Imagine bike decorating contests, parades, family field day, NOLA-style jazz band and a star spangled fireworks display on the beach..the best on 30A.

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The 30A Farmers Market features locally-grown vegetables, fruits, eggs, honey, cheese, preserves, sauces and much more. The Florida tomatoes at the 30A farmer’s market were bursting with juicy flavor…freshly harvested in the sunshine state to brighten your day.

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This year, my daughter was thrilled to celebrate her birthday at Rosemary Beach. Family birthday celebrations are the best celebrations.

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For our summer family vacation, Rosemary Beach is as good as it gets.

Related posts:

Love goes where my Rosemary goes

Mermaids live at Rosemary Beach

Return to Rosemary

A watercolor of a vacation

 

 

 

 

Marguerite, the Sun-Maid Raisin Girl

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Around the time I was really pregnant, all I craved was raisin bran cereal. It was comforting to me and made my growing belly happy. It’s suiting that both my children love raisin bran today!

Raisins also remind me of my grandmother. That red box was always there…used in oatmeal, granola, cookies, cakes, bread, and salads. Fresh, chewy and plump raisins are perfect on there own too…enjoying raisins in any way can truly give you a nostalgic feeling and a reason to smile.

My children have an even better relationship with the little red box than I do. They will happily skip down the snack aisle at the grocery store to say hello to their distant cousin, Marguerite, the Sun-Maid raisin girl. “Can we go see our cousin and put her in our basket?” It’s makes everyone smile when they open up the pantry and see her kind face.

My husband’s parents have roots in California that run deep. The very first Sun-Maid raisin girl was a great, great, great cousin on my husband’s Mom’s side.

The Sun-Maid raisin girl came about when Marguerite’s Dad (William Banks) invented a new process for drying raisins and began to deal with the Sun-Maid raisin company. William Banks had a picture of his daughter, Marguerite, holding a basket of raisins…Sun-Maid liked it and decided to use the idea of having Marguerite as the spokes person for raisins! The company bought his photo and she became the very first Sun-Maid raisin girl.

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Marguerite Evelyn Cecilia Banks was born in 1888. She would later change her name to Namara, after her Irish mother’s maiden name, McNamara.

Marguerite Namara was a real renaissance women! Her success as the Sun-Maid raisin girl was only the beginning! She was also a famous opera singer, an accomplished pianist, an artist who studied under Claude Monet and a silent screen movie star. Marguerite’s fast-paced life included running with an eclectic group…she was friends with Isadora Duncan, Rudolph Valentino and Charlie Chaplin.

We know her best as the raisin girl. This is a picture of my daughter dressed as Marguerite for culture day.

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Our favorite raisin recipe to make is oatmeal cookies. Raisin cookies are so comforting with there soft and chewy texture and buttery sweet flavor…it’s a bonus that raisins are a great source of vitamins and iron. These old fashioned raisin cookies are easy and quick to make.  Bake them until the centers are still soft and just beginning to turn brown yet their edges are a lovely golden brown color. Think of Marguerite when you enjoy them.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

2 sticks of unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon backing soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups of raisins
1/2 cup pecans

  • preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • cream the butter, sugars, and vanilla in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time and beat until smooth.
  • Mix the flour, baking soada and salt together. Add to the creamed mixture gradually and mix well.
  • Stir in the oats, raisins and nuts.
  • Drop by rouonded teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets.
  • Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Cool on the cookie sheets a few minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Marguerite Namara said in an interview in 1954 that her dream would be “...to live on a farm, preferably somewhere near Monterey. I’ve never before given myself a real vacation, and it would do me a world of good. No telephones ringing, nobody to powder the old nose for, or rouge the lips. Just to go about as is, in old loose clothing, would be close to being in paradise.” 

I imagine that her red bonnet suited her very well.

 

Get Ready for Rush

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It’s that time of year when incoming college freshmen girls are getting ready to go through rush…what a fun time it is. Going through rush is an exciting and memorable time that you will never forget. This is an experience of a lifetime that will shape your college career in the very best way. Get ready to go with the flow, be yourself and know that you will find your place.

The University of Alabama (my alma mater) has the largest sorority recruitment process…there are over 2,000 students participating in rush. Participates are encouraged to read Greek Chic (a recruitment manual).

These girls need recommendations from alumnae who are in good standing with their sorority. Only a sorority alumna can write a recommendation to her sorority. One or two recommendations for each chapter are helpful for the PMN (potential new member)…recs are like extra credit!

It is customary that the PMN provide the alumna who is writing the recommendation with a photograph, a copy of their academic transcript, a social resume, and a self-addressed stamped envelope. Recommendations are written and sent in by alumnae…most sororities are moving to filing recommendations electronically. These forms help members to get to know you in advance of the formal recruitment.

Good impressions start with a recommendation. This year, I did both…an electronic rec and one that I mailed in. I think it’s nice for the girls getting ready for rush to have something in their hands…pictures, RIF’s (recruitment information forms) and a personal letter of recommendation too. Sorority girls today have twitter and Facebook to look at…it’s important for the PMN to look like a lady on their social media accounts so they’re invited back.

Here are some tips for potential new members. Make sure you take it all in and really appreciate the process, your fellow rushees, and the entire Greek life culture. Best wishes for a successful rush week.

  • DO say something positive and memorable about yourself.
  • DON’T talk about drinking, sex, politics or religion.
  • DO dress like a lady…reveal the very best image of yourself.
  • DON’T gossip about other rushees or sororities.
  • DO act like you care and are happy to be there.
  • DON’T rely on stereotypes. Use your own judgment and go through rush with an open mind.
  • DO be genuine. Be yourself and you will truly end up where you’re meant to be.
  • DON’T have any photos, posts or comments in your social media that wouldn’t put you in a flattering light.
  • DO be kind, polite, respectful, and most of all…be gracious.

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These are pictures of me and my roommate on Preference Night. You can tell we look so happy…I think it’s because we know the next day is Bid Day.

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I fondly remember practicing the beautiful Alpha Chi Omega songs at the University of Alabama before rush began. The last day of rush is the most special because that is when we serenade our hopeful new pledges. This is a picture of some of my sorority sisters during rush week…such happy memories!

Enjoy every moment! Recruitment is a whirlwind of a week but it is filled with so much fun…meeting new people, listening to lots of songs, and at the end you find sisters to call your own. It’s a really exciting process. Take it day by day and just enjoy! Remember that you’re looking for a house where you can be yourself and feel at home.

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The soul selects her society

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A few days ago we watched our wedding video… it’s been fifteen years! For several years we celebrated without even thinking to watch it but in the last three years it has become a tradition to enjoy it on our anniversary with our children. Our two kids always have so many questions and comments…”Why is Grandpa’s hair brown on this DVD?” “Why does Aunt Paige have short hair?” “Who are those flower girls?” “I wish I could go to this party!

Derek and I were married in July of 2000. When we were watching the video, it really doesn’t feel like it’s been fifteen WHOLE years. Didn’t I just put the ring on Derek’s wrong hand just a little while ago?

There were so many beautiful toasts and poems recited for our engagement party, rehearsal dinner and our wedding night. It makes the heart happy to hear and read poetry at celebratory events of our lives…weddings and anniversaries are perfect for love poems.  Everyone should have a few poems memorized. Poetry is a good investment…it’s like buying a beautiful piece of jewelry to wear inside your heart forever and ever. Here are a few of my favorite love poems and one that I wrote for my love…

And you’ll always love me won’t you?
Yes
And the rain won’t make any difference?
No

~Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

The soul selects her own society,
Then shuts the door;
On her divine majority
Obtrude no more.

Unmoved, she notes the chariot’s pausing
At her low gate;
Unmoved, an emperor is kneeling
Upon her mat.

I’ve known her from an ample nation
Choose one;
Then close the valves of her attention
Like stone.

~Emily Dickinson, 1862

Believe me, if all those endearing young charms,
Which I gaze on so fondly today,
Were to change by tomorrow and fleet in my arms,
Like fairy wings fading away.
Thou wouldst still be adored, as this moment thou art,
Let thy loveliness fade as it will;
And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart
Would entwine itself verdantly still.
It is not while beauty and youth are thine own,
And thy cheeks unprofaned by a tear,
That the fervor and faith of a soul can be known,
To which time will but make thee more dear.
No, the heart that has truly loved never forgets,
But as truly loves on to the close:
As the sunflower turns on her god when he sets
The same look which she turned when he rose.

~Thomas Moore, Believe Me, if all those Endearing Young Charms

When I first met my husband, I told him that he was my missing Pac Man piece. I’ve been an elementary teacher now for seventeen years. Every year that I read Shel Silverstein’s “The Missing Piece Meets the Big O” I think of my husband…he’s my missing piece.

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For Derek

We float together in the sea
Our heads to the clouds as the storms swiftly pass
Mermaids gently protect us
Sway with us

Bathed by the current that cannot break us
Our love for the sea together beautifully binds us
The waves carry our souls
Sway with us

Sanddollars anchor us dreamily
While schools of silver fish kiss our toes
We drift for so long that the fish seem to grow.
Sway with us

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I love you Derek, my missing piece! xx

Related posts:

Love letters

Poetry the greatest of all arts

And then he kissed me 

Galveston Girls Weekend

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There are few things better than a Girl’s Getaway, especially when it’s with a group of ballet dancers who enjoy wine, yoga, Pilates and fine food.

Four friends kicked off the trip shopping at some local treasure troves and then hit up the Tremont House for cocktails on the roof. I’m still dreaming about the mojito! Then we happily walked the strand to The Original. Their chile relleno is my kind of comfort food.

One of the most serendipitous events of our weekend was stumbling upon the Juneteenth parade on our way to dinner…children threw us beads and candy, we saw a corvette caravan and several marching bands that put us in a dancing mood.  This Juneteenth celebration marked one-hundred-fifty years slaves were freed on June 19, 1865 after the Emancipation Proclamation was read on a harbor pier in Galveston, Texas.

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Yoga and Pilates are a great team with a lot in common. Yoga compliments Pilates with breath, flexibility, balance, concentration, and meditation. The two marry well together…four ballet dancers appreciate both.

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The second morning we headed out to practice yoga and Pilates at The Body Space. There were more serendipitous feelings when we found out that not only was our instructor certified in both yoga and Pilates but we were certified under the same Pilates program…Peak Pilates! The owner and instructor, Courtney, gave us vivid imagery cues like “knit your ribs” to help us find our powerhouse. The studio was everything you would imagine a studio at the beach to be…light, bright and airy. I can’t wait to go back.

That afternoon we enjoyed the beach with sangria, the hot tub with chardonnay (this was our favorite), and dinner with a Cabernet.

Our third and last full day was pure indulgence. It happened to be international yoga day…what better day to practice yoga on the beach. It was a truly memorable experience! The sounds of the ocean played the music and the sun warmed us awake as we did several sun salutations. It was nice to close our eyes and feel the sand underneath our mat, the salty air blow our hair back and listen to the sounds of summer.
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Ballet dancers at the beach believe…
 
  • Ballet dancers believe that there’s nothing like the feeling of becoming one with the music…especially when the music is the sound of the ocean.
  • Ballet dancers believe sometimes cookie dough is what’s it’s all about.
  • Ballet dancers believe that Pandora’s Madonna channel is the BEST channel.
  • Ballet dancers believe that wearing lots and lots of layers is ballet chic…even in the summer.
  • Ballet dancers believe that a little arnica can cure anything.
  • Ballet dancers believe that if you truly want to test your balance, sangria and dancer’s pose on the beach will do it.
  • Ballet dancers believe that you can never collect too many seashells.
  • Ballet dancers believe in cocktails that are shaken and stirred.
  • Ballet dancers believe that you can get to know someone better on a road trip than you can backstage half-naked in a dressing room.
  • Ballet dancers believe that practicing yoga and Pilates feels as natural as using salt and pepper in the kitchen.
  • Ballet dancers believe that birds of a feather flock together…because it can be hard to make close friends in your thirties and forties.
  • Ballet dancers believe that we learn by practicing, and we should never stop…no matter what age!!
Time well spent with friends at the beach is a great way to press the reset button. These friends have work, family and a seemingly endless to do list. It was relaxing, reaffirming and inspiring to take the time out…now easier to get back to the to do list. When was the last time you tested your balance at the beach with your friends?

*A big thank you to my friend Lisa for organizing such a fantastic weekend! xx

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Summertime Birthday Inspiration

Summertime is the most popular time to have a baby. Chances are you know many people who have summer birthdays coming up. Here are a few of my favorite people who have inspired me to create the perfect summer birthday party…recipes, music and gift inspirations for each special person. Bonne fête!!

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Inspiration for your Taurus childhood best friend who is playful, fun‑loving, adventuresome, and rebellious (mostly when she was sixteen).  We grew up on Pretty in Pink and Desperately Seeking Susan. If Madonna’s Get in to the Groove comes on, it’s time for disco dancing and glitter make-up!

Jen’s birthday fun…

DRINK: the perfect summer cocktail

GIFTS: Birchbox, It’s All Good: recipes by Gwyneth Paltrowpretty earrings

MUSIC PARTY MIX:

1. P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)/ Michael Jackson

2. Head to Toe/ Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam

3. 1999/ Prince

sharoncooley1

Inspiration for your Gemini mother-in-law who is energetic, quick-witted, and super systematic. Her recipe for a happy life might go like this…read a good book, love your job and cook with gas!

Mother-in-law birthday fun…

SALAD: Green Goddess

GIFTS: a really good cookbook, flowers every month, houndstooth clutch (because she’s a really big Alabama fan)

MUSIC PARTY MIX:

1. You Send Me/ Sam Cooke

2. When I Fall in Love/ Nat King Cole

3. All I have to do is Dream/ The Everly Brothers

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Inspiration for your Leo Dad who is truth‑loving, loyal and passionate. My children call him “Coach” because he coached most of the teams my brother and sister and I played on…my daughter’s soccer team too. He will encourage you to give great effort, sing a song for fun, and always cheer on your favorite team.

Dad’s birthday fun…

SIDE DISH: Green rice with nectarines and corn

GIFTS: pinhole press photomy son wants to give him a new golf “stick”, Birchbox for men

MUSIC PARTY MIX:

1. Sherry Baby/ Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons

2. Where Did Our Love Go/ The Supremes

3. Louie Louie/ The Kingsmen

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Inspiration for your Gemini Mom who loves copper, entertaining and majolica. She’s patient, charismatic and immensely creative.

Mom’s birthday fun…

ENTREE: Sausage and roasted peppers

GIFTS: Dinner Diaries, sun and sea necklace, a pretty phone case

MUSIC PARTY MIX:

1. Somebody to Love/ Queen

2. One/ Three Dog Night

3. Suspecious Minds/ Elvis

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Inspiration for your Gemini husband who makes the best cocktails, lives for Alabama football, and is a huge Beatles fan. He’s positive, diligent, charming and resourceful.
Derek’s birthday fun…

DESSERT: chocolate cake with m&m’s like this! 

GIFTS: beard trimmerThe Beatles LyricsBose Quiet Comfort Noise Canceling Headphones

MUSIC PARTY MIX:

1. King for a day/ XTC

2. 2112/ Rush

3. Women in Love/ Van Halen

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Inspiration for your Cancer daughter who is artistic, imaginative and fantasy‑rich.

GIFTS for your daughter: American Girl Doll, heart sunglassessnowball machine

Your Cancer son who is daring, exciting and athletic.

GIFTS for your son: Lego airplane, PokemonLED light up football

DESSERT: cinnamon ice cream

MUSIC PARTY MIX:

1. Blame it on the Boogie/ Michael Jackson

2. Chicken Dance

3. Starchild/ Jamiroquai

 

Wishing all your summer birthday celebrations to be fun and festive. Bonne fête!!

P.S. My birthday is in the summer too! xx

Mother’s Day: Dancing with my girl

 

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My Mom was a dancer, I’m a dancer.  It seems completely natural that my daughter grows up with a love for dance too.

My parents put me in a creative dance class when I was three…all three of us started dancing very early in life. I remember several occasions when music would be on in the living room and I’d hop up on the coffee table in my swimsuit and put on a dance performance.

Like my Mom, I majored in dance. She graduated from Texas Woman’s University and had hopes of opening up a dance studio. I graduated from the University of Alabama with dreams to dance professionally. We are both students of the dance of life.

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My Mom and I have always had similar tastes in fashion, food and dance. We share a love for the dance company Hubbard Street. My daughter is content to watch the big girls at her dance studio and is gaining appreciation with each performance that we see. On rainy days, we like to watch The Red Shoes. It’s a joy for three generations to share a love for dance.

It was the best Mother’s Day gift to share the stage with my daughter in a recent dance performance. How perfect that the name of the dance piece was, Dream within a Dream. Being on stage with someone who you love so much, doing what you love to do…it’s unbelievably gratifying. My Mom, proudly watching in the audience, never missed a performance.

My little girl was so light in my arms, following with her soft steps, and nerves you could not see! Each performance before the curtain opened, my daughter would say, “Mommy, I’m nervous!” The curtain would open and she turned into a performer and we got lost in the dream together! After it was over, she cried because she didn’t want it to end.

My favorite part of the dance was when I caught her in my arms…climbing stairs made of dancers. Princess Diana said, A mother’s arms are more comforting than anyone else’s.” I feel great comfort and contentment when she’s in my arms…dancing or not. 

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Three generations of dancers wishing you a Happy Mother’s Day! We’re never too old or too young to dance. “You dance love, and you dance joy, and you dance dreams.” ~Gene Kelly

Related post:

Ten things I’ve learned from my Mom

*Photos by PJP

Paquita: LakeCities Ballet Theatre

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Saturday night, on our way to the MCL Grand Theatre my daughter urged me to, “hurry up Mom!” She was excited to participate in the pre-performance workshop that LakeCities Ballet Theatre was offering for children. It was a joy to watch her learn and dance the children’s mazurka from the ballet Paquita.  After a mini performance of the newly learned mazurka, my daughter and I enjoyed watching LakeCities Ballet Theatre perform their spring show, Music in Motion…a variety of works (the balcony pas de deux from Romeo and Juliet, Giselle variation and our favorite Paquita) staged by artistic director, Kelly Lannin.

If you are a fan of Romanticism and have an obsession for exotic cultures and faraway places, then Paquita is the ballet for you! The mazurka is a traditional folk dance that was performed during celebrations…popular with Hungarians and the Spanish. Music from Ludwig Minkus and choreography from Marius Petipa sets the stage to travel to nineteenth-century Spain.

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Olivia Lambert

The wedding-party for the beautiful Paquita (Mackenna Pieper) and Lucien (Steven Loch) was a joyful celebration of a Spanish gypsy named Paquita, who saves the life of Lucien, a French aristocrat. When she discovers that she is herself of noble blood, they marry in a big celebration. The children`s mazurka opened the happy celebration of the couple.

Paquita’s friends demonstrated virtuosity in their solo dances. I especially enjoyed Olivia Lambert’s powerful dynamics and Carley Denton’s Spanish confidence that was thrillingly full of detail. Ali Honchell, Michelle Lawyer and Shannon Beacham captured the lightness and controlled noble presence in their pas de trois.

Paquita (Pieper) was expressive through every single fingertip (it was as if her fingers were passing through water) and epitomized the Spanish dance manner by using her head and her eyes to speak to the audience.  Loch (from Pacific Northwest Ballet) was spontaneous and impressive to watch. He responded to the music with a wild pleasure…I shiver to think how it would have looked if the music was live! Gasp!!

Pieper and Loch

The LBT company reflected the aristocratic elegance of nineteenth-century Spain. The classicism and Spanish-styled épaulement captured the aura of the romantic period. The dancers of LBT are elegant in presentation, and the level of technique is exceptionally skillful and professional. My daughter said it best at the end with her little arms over her head, she shouted a sweet Whoo-hoo!!

Photo credit: Nancy Loch Photography

Related posts:

LakeCities Ballet Theatre: Le Ballet de Dracula

LakeCities Ballet Theatre: Nutcracker