Friday Fun…theme parties…and entertaining!

It’s always so much fun to throw a party or event with a theme. Over the years I’ve thrown numerous themed birthday parties for the kids/the was-band, retirement (which also was a surprise party for me…that’s a whole different post), traveling, Paris, NY and many other themed parties.

It was announced this past January that Will and Grace was coming back for a 10-episode reunion…after 10 years away…and I was so excited! Last night was the first episode and it didn’t disappoint!

My sister, Mariellen, and I decided last week that we should watch it together, and of course we’d run with a theme….NYC inspired with gay undertones! Here’s the evening in pictures….

….we collaborated on the menu and I did the cooking (Taylor & Dan made some fabulous NY Pumpernickel bread that I forgot to include on the menu board)….

…but Mariellen came through with the following clever signs & treats….

…and then it was time for dessert….and showtime!

The consensus was that they still had it and their comedic timing was still spot on!….but there were a couple of scenes where they tried a bit too hard (the oval office pillow fight???) I’m excited that Will and Grace is back, that it’s already been picked up for a second season, looking forward to next week and happy to have had the excuse to throw a themed dinner party!!

I know there are many people that say it’s just stressful and hard to throw a dinner party or invite people over. One of my favorite “entertaining” cook books is from Colin Cowie and he basically says that entertaining is about enjoying time with friends and/or family. “You don’t have to prepare everything you serve. You get no medals. Besides, if the baker down the road bakes a better lemon tart than you, you should buy his.” I don’t really like baking, so I usually ask others who love it and are much better at it to take on that part of the meal. Continuing, he says “One thing that has not changed is the reason we entertain. It’s to bring people together and create an opportunity to treat every person around you like royalty…” It’s really just a nice excuse to get together and socialize.

Whether you have a theme or not, invite people over…you’ll be richer for the experience!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

It’s Wednesday…make plans for the weekend!

I haven’t been good about timely blog posts of late. I’ve been a bit distracted by the new love in my life, grandbaby Rowan; her parents, Taylor & Dan; as well as a fun visit from parents-to-be Austin (the birthday boy) & Kate. I never miss a MOTIVATIONAL MONDAY though, cause I have so many daily affirmations to share and hope they inspire everyone at the start of the week!

I did have a chance to do a couple of fun things in the past few weeks that I thought I’d share, in hopes it will motivate you to get out there and do something new on this last weekend in September. It’s supposed to be gorgeous here in SoCal, although a bit warmer than the crispy Fall weather we had this past weekend!

I’ve told you of my love of lighthouses…and I’ve had it on my list for a few years to check out the cool stone lighthouse on the beach in Laguna. Laguna is only about 25-30 minutes from my home and a gorgeous, quaint place to spend a day, but I rarely get down there. Not to self….GO TO LAGUNA MORE! Anyway, getting to the lighthouse is no quick feat. It is located on tiny Victoria Beach…a little gem of sand within a community of tightly packed homes. First you have to find parking in a very limited area…PCH is probably best.

If you do park on PCH make the trek through the neighborhood to a narrow (unmarked) set of stairs down to the beach. It wasn’t crowded ’cause, again, it’s not easy to get to, but it was worth the hike….and the stairs.

I found a spot on the sand, set up my chair and umbrella and set off to find the lighthouse. It’s not visible from where I was sitting, but it was right around a cliff, where there are some tide pools and crashing waves….and there it was!

You’re not supposed to go inside, but the heavy padlock on the door wasn’t latched, so people were up in the turret. I didn’t venture up there, but here’s a view of the winding staircase…so cool….

I sat down, relaxing with some magazines and the gorgeous view and then it was time to go.

OMG…those stairs!! This the first of a few flights, that seem to go on forever and by the time I got to the top I was gasping for air! …and I still had to make the trek uphill back to PCH. It didn’t look that challenging when I went down to the beach! If you feel like an adventure, go to Victoria Beach and bring your parking karma with you.

I’d seen, and loved, the musical Once on Broadway and at the movies, so when I heard it was coming to our local theatre, South Coast Rep, I really wanted to go again. My friends (& neighbors) Jan, Maggie and I bought tickets and decided to go to dinner beforehand. Scott’s Seafood in the Costa Mesa theatre district used to be a neighborhood favorite, but it closed in January 2016. The space was remodeled and reopened about a year ago as The Water Grill. Perfect opportunity to try the new place. First off, let me just say that the remodel is beautiful and the different bars and dining spaces are really cool. The menu leans heavily towards seafood…obviously…but there are steak, salad and other options available. It’s pretty expensive, but we opted for appetizers and a shared bottle of wine to keep our costs down a bit (although it was still $48/per person). I thought it was worth it.

that “chandelier” above the oyster bar is made up of oyster shells strung together…so cool!

We shared the fish tacos, tuna poke, and the goat cheese ravioli with water chestnuts and almonds….and a bottle of pinot.

All were yummy, the service was very good and the complimentary bread was pretty tasty too! I’d go again…even just for the ambience and a glass of wine. It was a happening place!

The musical, Once, is set in Ireland, so you gotta love that….and you can have drinks on stage before the show at the bar, which is part of the set.

It’s not a big musical like Wicked, or Dear Evan Hansen, but it’s a lovely story, with lovely Irish music and it’s a great way to spend an evening. It closes this Saturday, so you’ll have to jump on it, if there are any tickets left, but the theater is small, so all the seats are good, and the tickets are cheaper than anything in NYC.

…..and if you can’t get to Laguna, or tickets to Once….try one of my favorites, a duffy ride in Newport Harbor….always a good idea! Thanks to Mariellen & Peter I get to go much more often than I used to and I never tire of it!

…made better when you celebrate a birthday (this is my brother-in-law’s)

….or cuddle with a new family member (do you like my artsy filters?!)

…..and relish in the warmth of having friends and family to share time with…

Such a fun “Bun in the “pizza” oven, 30th birthday bash” with A&K (I’m too young to have a 30 yr old son!)
loved having the old gang over for Pizza Monday
matching Pizza Monday outfits

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday….Fall

Love this quote my sister, Mariellen, sent me….

on my friend, Dennie’s, gorgeous farm in Sonoma

Anyone who thinks Autumn leaves are dead has never watched them dancing on a windy day…Shira Tamir

vineyards on the way to Mendocino

I’ve said it before….Fall is my favorite time of year….spectacular color show from the Fall leaves, pumpkins, football, scarves, boots, a little more crisp weather (hopefully!), curling up with a good book by the fireplace…it’s all good…it’s all HYGGE! I can’t wait to head back east in a couple of weeks to visit with A&K and bask in the Fall weather (sorry, it’s just not the same here in SoCal)

Enjoy the first week of Fall

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday….DO IT!

Apply for that job. Date that person. Buy that plane ticket. Move to that city. Do all the things that scare you, because they’re worth it….and so are you!! (Nice tag-line Nike!)

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday…Stupid stuff

Life is too short to worry about stupid stuff. Have fun. Fall in love. Regret nothing, and don’t let people bring you down.

AMEN!!…You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday

Every time you get upset at something, ask yourself if you were to die tomorrow, was it worth wasting your time to be angry? …. Robert Tew

Happy Labor Day!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

I wanna be Betty White..or Iris Apfel…when I grow up!

So, I was watching a reincarnation of “To Tell the Truth”, a very popular show back in the 60’s & 70’s, and one of the judges is Betty White.  She’s f*&%#ing amazing, funny and so talented. Halfway through the show I decide to ask my phone “how old is Betty White?” I knew she was up there in years, but I was SHOCKED to find out that she’s 94…WHAT??!  I thought she was in her mid/late 80’s!  She is the true definition of someone who is as young as she feels.  She is so sharp and witty and has a comeback line for everyone & everything on this very fast moving show. We should all have that joie de vivre in life…but she has carried it through for 94 years.

I’ve mentioned before how weird it is when so many similar things seem to come into one’s consciousness all at the same time…not a coincidence! I’m sure it’s because I’ve recently become a grandma (jammy will be the name for me…originally it was yaya, but this one fits me more), but it’s happening again (I’ll try not to bore you too much in the coming weeks and months with stories and pics of precious Rowan and the yet-to-be-born grandbaby coming in January).

Back in July, my friend, Barrie, gave me a book by Lesley Stahl titled Becoming Grandma and I’m loving and savoring it as I step into that role. There are so many great stories, scientific references and just fun uplifting information about becoming a grandparent. Back in June there was a Sunday morning show with Carl Reiner about a documentary on HBO called “If You’re not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast“, and finally, I stumbled upon an article about a show on Netflix titled “Impossible Dreamers.”

“If you’re in the Obit…” is an uplifting, funny journal of the lives of nonagenarians, people aged 90-99, and those over 100. When you think “I don’t want to live that long!” and then you watch this show, it changes your perception of what being that old means…and the possibility of it happening in your own life. I gleaned a few quotes from a few of those featured….

  • Dan Buettner, author of Blue Zones said the capacity of the human body is age 90, a little higher for women, but life expectancy is 78…why? His book sets out to answer the question why. It’s on my “to-read” list.
  • the legendary, extremely prolific Carl Reiner says, among other things, there must be humor.
  • Stan Lee says that being old is like a whole new adventure, you can’t explain it to younger people.
  • Iris Apfel, whom I love, says just take advantage of being alive.
  • Dick Van Dyke says to keep moving
  • Jerry Seinfeld (who’s not old, but his mom lived to the ripe old age of 99 and she was one of those that inspired the show) says you must have love…and he goes on to say “love of anything”…love your coffee in the morning…whatever it is “love it!”
  • …and lastly, Tao Porchon-Lynch (featured in both documentaries) says that when you get up in the morning think “this is going to be the best day of your life” not about what you can’t do

“Impossible Dreamers” is the chronicling and interviewing of amazing senior athletes. You’ll feel a bit inadequate, but also truly inspired all at the same time by these strong, older athletes. Their determination and love of sport is infectious. It made me think, “WOW, I might still have 35+ years left in me!” I need to start exercising more!!

I have a couple of friends who really dread birthdays. I love them and always remind people when they get bummed about getting older that the alternative is worse! Enjoy your life while you still have it! Okay, we may not all live as long as the inspirational seniors and nonagenarians in these two documentaries, but, as Abraham Lincoln said “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years!”

….and all this thinking about babies, aging and grandparents made me miss my mom a bit. This song didn’t help…but it’s beautiful…take a listen (get tissues)!!

forgot to add this pic in last Monday’s post of these fabulous girls, that I’ve been friends with for over 40 years….I cherish their friendship & the history we have together!

Have a FABULOUS weekend!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Meaningful Monday…Family and Friends

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are charming gardeners who make our souls blossom…Marcel Proust

…thanks to all these peeps for their friendship, love and support. I don’t have pics of all of you…but you know who you are…and I’m grateful everyday to have you in my life!
….and the newest blessing in my life…baby Rowan

….my cup runneth over
You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Emotional Monday….Grandparent LOVE

Welcome Rowan Joan Collery….thank you for this beautiful gift Taylor & Dan!

This is the only time in our lives we fall madly in love before we know what the person is like…Ellen Goodman

I’m not sure I completely agree with Ellen, because I think I fell pretty madly in love with my children the day they were born….but the difference is that you’re so tired you don’t even realize it!

Happy Monday Everyone!!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!