Wednesday, November 12, 2014

You Can Own a Rare Richard Burns Print, Signed by the Artist

Richard Burns Art Prints are Available Online

*Click any photo to buy the prints at Amazon.com
Richard Burns Snow Leopard
Thru the Pass by Richard Burns


I'm totally biased because he's my husband but I love Richard Burns' art. This year he released a few prints from his archives that are now available at Amazon.

All of the prints are from the 1990's when he did a series of wild animals. Each print was created in a batch of from 500-2000 prints only, and signed and numbered.  After the initial run many of them sold out, but somehow we ended up with around 10-20 prints of some of the animals, so Richard released them this year.

My favorite one is his Snow Leopard perched on a rock. The wound up energy is palpable! It's called Winter's Veil and was one of his most popular prints. His other Snow Leopard is also a best seller called Thru the Pass. (yes we know it's misspelled, but that's how it was printed so we're stuck with it now.) It's the one pictured above. Below is Winter's Veil.


Richard Burns Snow Leopard
Winter's Veil by Richard Burns


We have a friend who has all his "cat prints" as he calls them on one wall of his house. The Snow Leopard ones are my favorite and he has them in the middle of that wall. Then on the end of the wall is a huge print of Tigers, called Icy Courtship. (Another best seller of Rich's.)


Richard Burns Tigers
Icy Courtship by Richard Burns


Rich seems to have a way with animals as the Los Angeles Zoo had him go into the cages to paint these magnificent animals in their habitat, for a series of cards he did for them. He did coyotes and wolves too, and swans and owls. But the cats were the best sellers and continue to be used on calendars, mugs, puzzles, needlework kits, and t shirts.

Still there's nothing like a wonderful art print on your wall to remind you every day of the animals who used to roam  whole continents. You can see all of these at RichardBurnsArt.com and buy original art, but to buy the prints, you would now need to go to Amazon as we sent them all our inventory! So just click on any of the prints you see here if you are interested in purchasing. They won't last, so best to get over there soon.

Which cat print is your favorite?




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Monday, November 10, 2014

Gramma Plans a Bucket List Day Trip to a Mid-Atlantic Ski Resort

"The key to happiness is freedom, and the key to freedom is courage"
Here in the mid-Atlantic, as the local meteorologists begin to vaguely mention the words "cold" and "snow" in the extended forecast, I begin to dread the shoveling, slush, cold, and mess that snow brings. And yet a large part of me welcomes the snow. There is a beauty that snow brings as it covers the earth in a pure, white blanket. And snow brings opportunities for adventures and fun.  A chance for me to continue to participate in checking a bucket list item off as completed.

Gramma learns to snowboard


On December 12th of last year, at age 49, I learned to snowboard.  It was a wondrous experience.  The Mister gave me my first lesson in a nearly empty schoolyard late at night. It was amazing and I regretted that I hadn't tried snowboarding earlier in my life. Yet, I probably wasn't ready at an earlier age in life.  There is a freedom that comes with maturity that brings a different kind of brave.  I was finally courageous enough to try to snowboard.

I continued to practice a few times last year, practicing in schoolyards and on fire lanes in local wooded areas.  While last year was brutally cold and icy, there wasn't much snow that was good for snowboarding. I would have loved more opportunities to practice.

That is why I became excited when the news forecast included talk about the approaching Polar Vortex. I can't wait to go snowboarding again. And I think I will plan a trip to one of the local ski resorts. 

I had never expected there to be ski resorts on the east coast. Before traveling here on a regular basis, I expected the area to be too tropical for snow sports.  Oh, such a silly girl I was. There are ski resorts here.  Nearly every Monday, during the winter season, there is someone at work who talks about having been skiing, tubing, or snowboarding nearby. This year, I hope that I am also talking about snowboarding down a real hill. I am definitely ready to try snowboarding on a slope.

Let's keep in mind that the Mid-Atlantic region is nowhere near the elevation of Telluride, Colorado. But even so, there are plenty of places in the Mid-Atlantic to find a lift to take you to the top and a hill to come down.

A helpful snowboard tutorial.  

It is not as difficult to learn to snowboard as I expected. And not half as scary.  For me, getting up from fastening my bindings was the most difficult part. But this young lady shows a way of getting up that I will try this year.  If you are very nervous and not starting at a ski resort with lessons, I'd advise starting on a smaller hill than in this video. With the right snow, your board will slide on the smallest of hills.  




Popular ski resorts convenient to the Baltimore and DC areas.

I am listing the four resorts that my co-workers and client families most visit:
Here is a complete list of the 34 mid-Atlantic ski resorts as listed in DCSki.  This list also includes resorts in Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina.  

If you have ever wanted to snowboard but have just been too nervous, even if you are my age or older, I recommend that you give it a try.  It is not nearly as scary as it looks.  You can be bashful like I was and start in a yard with the smallest of incline if the snow is right.  Or you can go all out and start at a resort. Either way - be courageous and live your dreams. 


Written by Dawn Rae
Disclosure: In affiliation with AllPosters.com, Dawn Rae is a blogger and content writer who may earn compensation from the sale of AllPosters products.





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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Brad Paisley Takes the Cake on this One!

Brad Paisley on iTunes
If you're a fan of Brad Paisley, you already know that it's his sense of humor that gives him the extra edge over everyone else in Country Music!

Much Needed  Laughter from the Master of Light, Fun Country Songs!

So, there I was, driving in my car with country music blasting as usual, when Mr. Brad comes out blazing a tune from his 2007 Album '5th Gear', called 'Ticks'.

Having not heard the song in a while, I had forgotten how the main lyric causes a hemorrhage of laughter!

If you're not familiar with that lyric, get ready, because no other love song expresses love quite like this one does!  He goes on to sing how, 'the only thing allowed to crawl on you is him' lol!

Country music can be emotional and laughter scores as the big emotion in this comical lyric:
(Lyrics)
'Cause I'd like to see you
Out in the moonlight
I'd like to kiss you
Way back in the sticks
I'd like to walk you
Through a field of wildflowers
And I'd like to check you for ticks

The song was released as the first single for 5th Gear in 2007 and to no surprise, reached the top of the country charts. The song was also a downloadable tune on Guitar Hero World Tour.

When asked about the song, Brad said that 'when you're raised on a farm, 'Ticks' are something you need to think about'. The song is about a funny pick up line a guy uses on a girl he meets in a bar .... 'hey there babe, I wanna check you for ticks' lol. Yep, I'd probably bust a gut if that was said to me.

Anyone who's lived in the country (even the city!) knows that Ticks are a real problem! Thank gawd I've never had to be checked for them personally, but I know some who have! Yikes. In fact, when we planted our Birch Tree in the front yard, we spent sometime reading about 'Ticks' and Birch Trees! Then of course there's the over 50 cedar trees we planted in the backyard that had me thinking as well! So far so good. Fingers crossed.

Enjoy the song!


By Barbara Tremblay Cipak Country Music Reviewer Drageda.com


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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Christmas Party Planning: Reviewing Invitations

It's time to get planning for those Christmas parties. It makes sense to plan your party in several steps. First, the date, then the guest list. Next up is getting your invitations. So let's review some holiday party invitations for different kinds of events.

Ugly Sweater Christmas Party


One of those fun traditions is ugly sweaters for Christmas. How
many of us have those kind of sweaters tucked into our closets? I have a number of them myself. Of course, that tradition gave rise to a party theme. Ugly sweater parties are that chance to wear your most outrageous holiday sweater. 

I have been awarded the Ugliest Sweater prize at several parties over the years. All due to my sweet Aunt Charlotte and the completely outlandish Christmas tree sweater she knitted for me years ago. I had no idea how valuable it would turn out to be!

Holiday Cocktail Party 


The holidays are busy for most of us. Sometimes a full evening event just doesn't fit into either our or our guests schedule. That's when something more simple like a cocktail party is in order. A holiday cocktail party  is limited in time and works great to serve appetizers only.

Your guests can attend your party then head off for another party or for that evening they wanted to just spend at home to relax. Even for your busy schedule, a cocktail party takes less work. But, getting started with getting your invitations ordered is a big help.

Elegant Christmas Party


Of course, there are times when you want that fancy or elegant holiday party. Maybe a full sit-down meal, maybe an event where you have reserved a hall or banquet room. Those are the times to choose elegant Christmas party invitations

You want your guests to know what to expect, how to dress and how to plan for attending your party. Choosing invitations that set the tone for a more elegant event will help your guests know this. 

Planning with Party Invitations


Since I use the party invitations to help me with themes, decor and even menus, I like to choose and order my invitations as early as possible. Personally, the invites from Zazzle.com are my favorite. I have so many choices for styles, sizes and customization that I've never gone wrong. All the Christmas party invitations reviewed on this page are from Zazzle. 

If you know of other great holiday party invitations, please include them in a comment below. I would love to review more.



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Friday, November 7, 2014

The Thanksgiving Turkey ~ Part I of Thanksgiving Recipes on Review This!

CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 ~ Photo by Julie on Flickr.com

I absolutely love Thanksgiving and all of the Thanksgiving dinner recipes!  For as long as I can remember, Thanksgiving has been a family gathering time.  

My mother and I always prepare our traditional Thanksgiving recipes in anticipation of the family members flying, driving or riding in for the Thanksgiving holiday.  We never know exactly what to expect or what will happen when everyone is together, but we know what we will eat.


Preparing for Thanksgiving

The week before Thanksgiving, I go to the grocery store with my list.  The holidays are probably the only time of the year that I really enjoy grocery shopping.  Not because of the food I am buying, but because I know that food will be prepared for the holiday celebration and the people who make it all worthwhile.

My Grandmother & Brother ~ Holidays Past


Sometimes things get hectic and I get a little stressed, but I do try very hard to make the holidays easier by adhering to my own advice offered  in my article, Ten Ways to Make the Holiday Easier.

I want to enjoy the time I get to spend with my whole family and I want to have wonderful memories to reflect on throughout the years.  I also want them to enjoy the holidays in our home and to have fond, pleasant memories of time well spent.


The Main Course

When I was growing up, my grandmother and mother prepared the Thanksgiving meal.   Now, my mother and I cook the dinner.  Occasionally, my sister or one of my sisters-in-law will arrive in town early enough to help.  That is always guaranteed to be amusing and entertaining!

http://cookingfortheholidays.com/bake-a-turkey/

It is my job to prepare and cook the turkey.  I try to beat everyone else out of bed so I can shower and dress for the day.  By the time I am in the kitchen to start washing the turkey, Mom and Dad are usually here to chat with me while I get started.  Once the turkey is in the oven, Mom joins me and we work together for hours of cooking, laughing, cutting up and sometimes just talking.  It is a fabulous day.  I have always maintained that it is my favorite day of the year.  Sure, we get tired, but I wouldn't change a thing.

I share my recipe and tips for How to Bake a Turkey here:  Cooking for the Holidays


What's Next

Now that we have the turkey out of the way, be sure to join us here again next week.  We will be sharing the side dishes and desserts for the Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes Menu on Review This!


Be sure to check out additional Thanksgiving tips on Traveling Food - Holidays and Potlucks




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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Photographing in the Early Morning- A Beautiful Time of Day


On a recent fall morning, my husband and I took an early morning drive out to August A Busch Memorial Conservation area.  We are fortunate to live only a few miles from this great recreation area. This area is a great place for hiking, biking, fishing and hunting.  It has 32 lakes and miles of trails.  It is also a great place for a photographer.  On this particular morning we arrived just after sunrise and I was delighted to see a heavy misty fog floating just above the water.  The wind was calm so the waters were still and it was great for reflections of the fall colors.

In the photo above I used the lone tree for a focal point with just the tips of the trees basked in the early morning sun.
At the second lake we stopped at there was an aluminum boat tied on the shore but the early morning sun was giving it a golden glow.  I crouched down low on the shoreline so I could capture the colorful brush in the foreground and the boat and reflection behind it.
The next lake had a marshy area with lots of grasses.  I again got down low and photographed this area with the misty lake behind it.

Creative Processing

When I got back home I loaded my photos into the computer and tried some creative presets on the photos using my Lightroom program.  I like the way the lone tree looked in this black and white preset.

Zazzle Cards and Products

Stop by my Zazzle store to see some of my photgraphs on different cards and products. www.zazzle.com/mbgphoto
Fog on the Lake
Fog on the Lake by mbgphoto
Create card designs on Zazzle



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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Meet Tsu: The New Player in Social Media

On October 25, 2014, I joined Tsu.co (pronouned Sue). Tsu is a brand new social media network and it is growing by leaps and bounds. In two weeks, Tsu's Alexa rating in the US has jumped from around 11,000 to almost 3,200. That's some pretty phenomenal growth on the Internet.

UPDATE:  August 2, 2016 TSU CLOSED  

What's all the talk about?

You'll find that Tsu is very similar to Facebook. People share content, tell stories, and post pictures. Tsu is also very different from Facebook. Tsu shares its advertising revenue with its members. Yes, you heard me right. Tsu offers a revenue sharing program that is similar to the revenue sharing model used on YouTube.

While I think it's pretty cool that Tsu pays its users to post content, there's something that I find even cooler. From the beginning, Tsu has provided spam reporting tools to its members. Members are encouraged to report spammers because Tsu and the Tsu Community want a place that is filled with content that is unique, useful, and updated.

That's right! At Tsu, it's all about quality content and engaging readers. And in less than 2 weeks, I'm pleased with my personal results. Yes, I have a few dimes in my Tsu Bank. But more important, I have seen a significant increase in traffic to my blogs, have met some incredibly talented individuals, and people I've met at Tsu are now following me on Google+ and Pinterest.

Yes, I am having a great time, meeting new people, and regaining the enthusiasm I lost after the demise of Squidoo.

I make no guarantees about the future of Tsu. There are no guarantees on the Internet. What I do know is that their business plan is solid, they have adequate funding to finance their growth, and they are tough on spam.

Tsu isn't without its growing pains. Every evening I can expect the platform to shutdown for maintenance and during the day I may have the occasional problem posting. But these things are expected on a new site that is experiencing rapid growth. What I can say, the Tsu technical staff is dedicated to delivering a site that users will enjoy.

If you'd like to give Tsu a try, you'll need an invitation. And here is my invitation to you. Please join me on Tsu. It's a community that is fighting for a spam-free Internet, taking back control of their content, and filled with creative people.

Click Here to Join Me On Tsu




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Monday, November 3, 2014

Traveling Food - Holidays and Potlucks

Autumn Welcome by Stephanie Marrott
As soon as Halloween passes, I begin to think of travel in a slightly different way.  I think of traveling with food.  I do not entertain for the Holidays and I am not a good cook.  On Thanksgiving, I either travel up the road to the Mister's mom and dad's home for the day or I travel back home to Indiana for my huge family reunion.  Combining "bring a dish" with a one to ten hour road trip is often challenging.

When I go up the road for Thanksgiving, the Mister's mom prepares a mini-feast. We tend to help with the things she's preparing and help with cleanup. And we try to bring a little something along to add to the meal.  When I go back home, the family meets together and we gorge ourselves with good food and conversation.  

My dilemma is being able to prepare dishes that will travel well or that can be prepared very easily once I arrive.  The biggest dilemma is that I am not good in the kitchen.  I have to have reliable recipes that even I can't mess up. 

I am thrilled that this year I have a Pumpkin Snickerdoodle recipe to try.  Our favorite cookies are Snickerdoodles.  I can usually bake cookies without incident.  This year, I will likely bring these little treats along.  

Last year,  my Snickerdoodle Cookie Pie was a big hit. It begins with packaged cookie mix and ends in a nice and thick "pie" shape.  The Mister asked me to make this over and over.  It was easy enough that I was happy to oblige. 

Harvest by Stephanie Marrott
The Mister and I eat quite a bit of baked yams, drizzled with a tiny bit of maple syrup and sprinkled with a pepper spice called "hot shots".   I'd love to serve our yams at a gathering but could not figure out the logistics of travel and oven issues. I believe I have found the solution with this  mashed yams in the slow cooker recipe. A slow cooker will allow me to serve my "hot dish" at the family reunion potluck.   

Finally, I can't think about potlucks without craving a 7 layer salad.  I always use the lettuce, frozen pea, and mayonnaise recipe. But you can substitute ingredients to suit your tastes. This year, I may use spinach instead. 

Wherever you go and whatever you do for the upcoming holiday season, I wish you safe travels and plenty of good food and good company.




Written by Dawn Rae
Disclosure: In affiliation with AllPosters.com, Dawn Rae is a blogger and content writer who may earn compensation from the sale of AllPosters products.  



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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Your Best Days Are Ahead of You

My Best Days, Album
In a world of constant change, sometimes it takes a dose of musical medicine to help us move forward with the times

Well, take 2 teaspoons of My Best Days are Ahead of Me by Danny Gokey every four hours as needed! The lyrics remind us that 'age ain't nothing but a number'...'I can be whatever I wanna be'. So you think that's cliche do ya!...well you'll enjoy this list of people who didn't 'make it' in life until after 50!
  1. Ray Kroc founded the McDonald's Corporation when he was 52 
  2. Laura Ingalls Wilder published her Little House on the Prairie Books in her 60s 
  3. Raymond Chandler didn't publish his first novel 'The Big Sleep' until he was 51 years old
  4. Charles Darwin published his Theory of Evolution at 50
  5. The Inventor of the Thesaurus, Peter Roget, was 73!
  6. KFC's Secret Recipe didn't happen until Colonel Sanders was 50
  7. Grandma Moses (Anna Mary Robinson born in 1860), gave up embroidery at 76 years old because of painful arthritis and thus began her painting career - She lived and painted for 25 years (you do the math) and in 2006 her 1943 painting called 'Sugaring Off' sold for a record $1.2 Million.
So if you're thinking, you're on your way out in terms of dreams, think again! These seven examples clearly
Sugaring Off by Grandma Moses
show us that the only cliche in life is this one true quote 'it ain't over til it's over'.

When we're tempted to close the door and call it quits, we should put away those debbie-downer thoughts, and open a window instead. Or we could just listen to what Morgan Freeman said in the movie Shawshank Redemption, 'Get busy living or get busy dying'. Grandma Moses sure the heck decided to get busy living...at 76! 'You went girl!'.

The Lyrics say it well:

"Age ain't nothing but a number
Sometimes I have to wonder what does it really mean
Hey, I'm still putting it together
I keep getting better, if I keep getting better
I can be whatever I wanna be
My best days are ahead of me"

Here's Danny Gokey's song, enjoy!


By Barbara Tremblay Cipak, Country Music Reviewer
Drageda.com - The Heart of Country


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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Reviewing Chocolate Smoothies

Enjoying your chocolate is easy when you make it into a smoothie. Yes, I have gotten into smoothies lately. And since I can't not have chocolate as part of my day, a chocolate smoothie sounded great. So I went searching for the best recipes.

We'll start with the basic, high calorie, indulgent kind. Then move through some of the great options to make your chocolate smoothie healthy and nutritional beneficial.


Basic Chocolate Smoothie, or Dessert Time


It's Food.com that has the easiest and best basic recipe for a chocolate smoothie. Ice, yogurt and chocolate syrup all blended together.

Go even a step further to make the basic recipe into a full chocolate dessert. Instead of yogurt, add in ice cream. This chocoholic made a "Death by Chocolate" smoothie with chocolate ice cream, instant chocolate pudding mix and chocolate syrup. Delicious and high calorie.


Healthy Chocolate Smoothie



Get Lecithin here
The good thing about smoothies is that you can easily convert them from dessert style to nutritious style with just a few ingredients. SmoothieWeb has a yummy recipe for an Almond Joy chocolate smoothie. Not made with those candy bars, but with plenty of coconut and chocolate. The way this recipe is made, you end up with a healthy protein smoothie.

They also feature a great recipe called Help Me Study Smoothie. Besides chocolate, it includes strawberries, peanut butter and lecithin. Lecithin is a brain boosting nutrient that every cell in our body needs.


Power Chocolate Smoothies



So far, we have been talking about simple smoothies with few ingredients. But it's time to go with the power versions of chocolate smoothies. Healthy Smoothie HQ offers up recipes for more elaborate ingredients and more nutrient-rich results. 

One of my favorites is Chocolate Blueberry Spirulina Smoothie. This one is chock full of plenty of those superfoods that we can all benefit from. Not only cacao (which is the chocolate part), blueberries and spirulina (a complete protein with plenty of other nutrients), but also avocado and tahini. 

The good part about healthy smoothies is that you can basically put in any ingredients you want to end up with a powerfully nutritious and filling drink. Even if the name ends up as not truly telling what's in it, like Sexy Chocolate Smoothie, you can still enjoy the great benefits.




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