Friday, July 10, 2015

Pocket Full of Sunshine

These lovelies are growing in my flowerbeds.  Profuse petals of sunshine.  It's all my Daddy's doing. He loved sunflowers.  Probably from his time of having a farm as a "hobby."  He'd plant seeds in the backyard and despite the fact that his eyesight was fading to the point of being blind, he would tend to his flowers.

We never got around to planting his seeds in our shared backyard once we moved in together as a combined family.  I suppose I was too busy being a caregiver and not slowing down enough to simply plant a package of seeds.

The first summer after Daddy passed away, a random sunflower plant popped up in the front yard.  A few pretty blooms, but not in a place I really wanted it.  After all, sunflower plants are top-heavy and pretty much fall where they want to.  Seeking perfection, I felt they were out of place for my manicured garden.

One day,  I stared at the toppled over plant and a thought came to me. It was exactly where it needed to be.  Front and center.  That was Daddy's personality.  Always in the middle of everything.  We left the sunflower where it was and cultivated the seeds.

Now, we have five big stalks of flowers in the backyard.  One hot summery evening, I gathered a pocket full of Daddy's sunshine.  His sunflowers and Mother's pair of Cardinals that greet me every morning are reminders of their love and presence everyday.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Buzz on CanvasPop

My friends at CanvasPop contacted me asking if I would be interested in receiving a canvas with their compliments.  The timing was perfect because our family had just had photos taken in the Texas Bluebonnets back in April (before all the rain started).

The process was super easy.  I emailed them the photo file and in about a week I received the most beautiful 16x24 canvas wired and ready to hang (they even include the nails).  I chose to wrap it in white. The high quality canvas is clear and sharp.

 The back was wrapped and hanging hardware was securely attached.

I love how it fits in perfectly with the colors of my office so I hung it right above one of the shelves next to my desk.

CanvasPop was nice enough to send me a coupon to share with my readers.

Use the promo code THEHIVE35 to get 35%  off your own custom canvas.  Be sure to visit CanvasPop to see all the choices.  In three easy steps you can customize any photo into a keepsake.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Summertime Cocktail -- Coconut Mojito

I follow Coastal Living magazine's Instagram feed.  They featured the yummiest cocktail for a Coconut Mojito that I had to try. 
It tastes like a suntan in a glass.  Remember the days when Pina Coladas were all the rage?  Well, this is her younger, hipper sister's drink.

Here's the link to the recipe at Coastal Living where this liquid treasure and other fun cocktail recipes can be found.  I've provided the recipe from their site below.

6 fresh mint leaves
3 lime wedges
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 1/4 ounces (2 1/2 tablespoons) Mount Gay white rum
1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) Malibu coconut rum
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) cream of coconut
1 cup chilled club soda
Garnishes: lime wedge, fresh mint leaves, pinch of grated coconut 

Muddle 6 fresh mint leaves, 3 lime wedges, and brown sugar in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add white rum, coconut rum, and cream of coconut. Fill shaker with ice, and stir vigorously until chilled. Strain mixture into a tall glass, and top with chilled club soda. Garnish, if desired.

Check out my Pinterest board for some other sips, too.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

My Orange Crush

This is my story about one of the greatest cats I've ever known -- Hobbes.  In his short time with me, he had become a good friend.  He went to heaven today and I know made a lot of Saints smile when he swept past Jesus with his cool swagger and gentle head butts.

Hobbes was actually my neighbor's find.  They had been feeding him because he didn't appear to have a home.  We've talked about it over the last few years that, since he was so calm around other pets and never fearful, he must have belonged to someone who moved away and left him behind.

Hobbes kept hopping the fence to visit with us while we were in the yard.  Easily fitting into our pack, lowering his head at each dog for a little touch of hello.  Slowly, I started feeding him, too.  He'd always be waiting by the backdoor in the morning to be fed and eventually he spent more time at our house than the neighbors. Then winter came. It got cold and I asked Mr. Bee if Hobbes could come in at night.  His response was always the same, "He has a fur coat, he will be fine.  We don't need anymore cats in the house."  Then, one week Mr. Bee went out of town.  When he came home, I had the fire roaring in the fireplace with Hobbes snuggled up on the couch.  Mr. Bee asked why Hobbes was in the house?  I replied, "He said he was cold."  Mr. Bee didn't protest and from that day on, Hobbes was another member of our family.

Hobbes didn't mind being in the house at night, but he loved to spend his days in the backyard.  Under the bench, in the grass, sleeping on the porch in a chair.  Sometimes, he'd venture into the neighborhood.  On occasion he'd walk me down the street to my Bible study, wait on the porch for me until I was finished, then walk me home.  He always came when I called him, especially at night when it was time to go to bed.  His calling card was the bell and pink collar around his neck.  He was secure enough in his manhood to wear pink and wear it well.  I could hear his bell get closer and closer as I would call to him.  It always made me smile.

Back in the summer I noticed he was losing weight.  We took him to the vet and all his lab work came back normal.  We attributed his weight loss to a loss of appetite from the heat.  So, I started having him come inside during the hottest time of the day.  The next month, he looked even thinner.  This time his labs showed an increase in white blood cells and a decrease in his red blood cells.  We started him on antibiotics and steroids.  This plan went on throughout the fall.  His weight seemed to stabilize, his appetite was better and we got through the winter.

By the time Valentine's Day rolled around, he was down to nine pounds from 13 and we were back into the vet's office.  He was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, similar to Lupus in humans.  The vet explained that with a strong dose of daily steroids we could stabilize his condition, but he would never recover from it and likely his body would start shutting down rejecting the regimen.  Only time would tell how long that would take.

So, for the next four months, Hobbes allowed me to give him four doses of medication every morning and night.  I wrapped him like a baby and he swallowed each pill.  He never scratched me, hissed or tried to bite me.  He usually purred at first because I always started this routine with "I love you, Buddy." About two weeks ago, he was laying on the rug and I laid down on the floor next to him.  I cried and for about 20 minutes I placed my hand on this body and just felt his breathing.  I told him all I needed to say which was basically he was the best cat ever and I loved him the best. 

In the last few days, he lost interest in eating and couldn't keep it down.  He had no energy and was just bones.  He looked like a stuffed animal without the stuffing.  I couldn't bear the thought of him wandering off to die in someone's flower bed and me never knowing what happened to him.  But, I kept feeling like I was giving up on him.  Did he know I had done all I could for him?  I hoped so.

I was with him when the vet euthanized him.  He was purring the loudest purr I had ever heard come from him.  Probably because he was trying to comfort me.  I was whispering in his ears, "I love you, Buddy.  I love you the best."  I loved feeling the softness of his ears against my lips one last time.  When it was over, he looked like he was sleeping.  No more pain.  I knew Earnie and Ray had already scooped him up to show him off to their friends.  He can do all the things he loved to do and didn't have the energy for anymore -- eat birds, chase squirrels and climb trees.  His favorite place to sit was under the bench in the backyard, the perfect place to stalk his prey.  It will be the place we bury his ashes.
As we were leaving the vet's office, one of my favorite songs was playing "Bright" by Echosmith...

"Did you see that shooting star tonight?
Were you dazzled by the same constellation?
Did you and Jupiter conspire to get me?
I think you and the Moon and Neptune got it right
'Cause now I'm shining bright, so bright.

I love you, Buddy.  I love you the best.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Buzzworthy: Ponds 2-Week Challenge

Ponds.  I used to see it on my Grandmother's night stand.  I used to watch her smooth it on her face at the end of the day to remove her makeup.  Ponds has a new spokesperson to promote their line of products to make it relevant to women in 2015.  Jordana Brewster.  Aka John Ross's/Christopher's/Nicholas's girlfriend from Dallas.

I read in a magazine that the Ponds towelettes were perfect for traveling so while I was shopping for them recently, I thought I'd get a tub-o-Ponds and try the 2-week Ponds Challenge.  I purchased the Anti-wrinkle formula which comes with a "wrinkle calculator."  It gives you two applicators -- one for when you start using it and the second for when your 2-weeks is up.  You press the powdered applicator along the outside of your eye where your "crows feet" "laugh lines" are.  Then you smile real big like and press the sticky applicator on, pull it off and compare your results with the reference guide.

Good news -- I was on the far right with smooth skin as my start.  Bad news, I don't think I smiled as big as I was supposed to, so I may end of up with more wrinkles after the two weeks is up.

Nevertheless, when I put the cream on at night, I am transported back to my childhood.  The smell is light and very distinctive of the Ponds I remember back in the 60s as I spent time with my Grandmother.  Maybe she's who inspired me to be interested in taking good care of my skin.

The other coolio thing is that designer Jonathan Adler has designed new packaging perfect to leave out on your vanity.

Check back in two weeks for the low down.  You can go to Ponds and there's a $1 off coupon and other beauty information to check out.  Give it a try yourself and let me know what you think.

*I am not being compensated for this post.  Just my own buzz.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Pucker Up for Limoncello Cupcakes

Thanks to A Night Owl Blog for posting the most delicious Limoncello Cupcake recipe.  My friend (and trusted CPA) Mrs. Schumacher brought me back the cutest bottle of Limoncello from Italy.  I think she wanted to help me redeem my efforts when I made a Limoncello Prosecco drink that looked like barf...
I since learned you are supposed to use regular Limoncello in this drink, not a creme based Limoncello.

So, when I saw the recipe for the cupcakes I knew I had to give them a try.
They don't look like the finished product featured on A Night Owl Blog, but I'm pretty sure they taste just as great.  There is no doubt these have lemon in them, very puckerish (I made this word up), but in a good way.  And, the frosting.  Well, I may put Mascarpone, an Italian cheese made from cream, in all my frosting recipes.  In fact, you could easily substitute Mascarpone on your breads like biscuits and muffins as it has fewer calories and less fat than butter.

I put just a light spread of the home-made lemon curd on the tops of the cooled cupcakes, then iced them with the Mascarpone powdered sugar frosting.  A few cupcakes indented slightly when they cooled so with those I added a little more curd.  When you took a bite, the curd just flowed out to make the prettiest presentation.
These are worth the effort and mess I made in the kitchen.  Have a sweet Friday!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Try it Tuesday: Revlon HD Lipcolor

I have a new favorite lipstick in my makeup bag.  It's Revlon's new HD lipcolor.  I follow Revlon on Instagram and I saw Emma Stone sporting the Tulip color.  I always pick up new makeup to try at CVS because they have great sales and I can use coupons to save even more.

In 20 beautiful shades, it boasts a wax-free gel technology and one application gives you intense color.  So if you are looking for a light gloss, this one is not for you. I like it because when I want to have color on my lips, this does the trick. It goes on creamy and has a nice vanilla taste.
During a recent BOGO sale at CVS I scored several colors...Tulip, Gladiolus, Poppy, Poinsettia, and Petunia.  One makeup tip I picked up years ago from a makeup artist was the rule of thumb for choosing the right color for your skin and hair color and I have found it to be true.  If you have dark hair and eyes you need a bright color to match the intensity of your hair color contrast to your skin tone.  Have you noticed that in magazines most blonde models use muted lip colors light soft pinks?  I have tried soft pinks and while I am attracted to them, I always look washed out. Give this trick a try sometime!

Oh, and I have launched a Facebook page -- Buzz in the Hive.  I would love it if you "liked" my page.  I'm linking up my blog stories on FB so you won't miss any new updates.  Have a terrific Tuesday!