Preserving Postcards From Travel and Life

These postcards were collected over time and bound into a book. What a great idea! For more, visit Clabbetravels.com.  http://tipsoftravelling.com//?s=postcard

These postcards were collected over time and bound into a book. What a great idea! For more, visit Clabbetravels.com. http://tipsoftravelling.com//?s=postcard

Postcards are a cheap, easy way to stay in touch that do not involve you being electronically connected (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). But text messages are not something we keep in a scrapbook, hang on the wall, or display in the house. When we travel, sure, we take lots of photographs, but it’s not just the photos that we should remember: it’s the sentiment and stories behind them. A good tip when traveling, especially if you are not one to buy and write in a travel journal, is to buy postcards that represent your travel destinations or special moments in your life. That’s the first step. The second step is to write something about that day or place as a keepsake. Some people recommend writing the postcard and actually mailing it yourself; others offer the suggestion of just using it as a diary of your travels. Either way, you are collecting memories you can keep.

Now…what to do with those memories once you collect them? I scoured online resources and am offering photos of a few of my favorite suggestions.

Vintage postcards are such a great way to capture time. In today’s world where letter writing is a dying art form (much to my dismay), these postcard suggestions offer a sort of happy medium—you don’t have to write too much on them as there is limited space, but you write just enough to capture a memory.

I love the idea of saving postcards as keepsakes. What do you think about this idea, and what have you done to document your own travel journeys?

Collected photos that are displayed in a frame. For more, visit designchalk.wordpress.com

Collected photos that are displayed in a frame. For more, visit designchalk.wordpress.com

Frame your postcards. In this case, buy two...one to display the message, and one to display the image. For more, visit buzzfeed.com.

Frame your postcards. In this case, buy two…one to display the message, and one to display the image. For more, visit buzzfeed.com.

Display an old bundle of postcards or letters artistically. For more, visit gypsypurplehome.tumblr.com.

Display an old bundle of postcards or letters artistically. For more, visit gypsypurplehome.tumblr.com.

I don't know what I'd do if someone made this cake for me. It's absolutely stunning. Old postcards cake. For more, visit Angela Penta Cakes at www-facebook-compagesangela-penta-cakes536210989849901.jpg

I don’t know what I’d do if someone made this cake for me. It’s absolutely stunning. Old postcards cake. For more, visit Angela Penta Cakes at www-facebook-compagesangela-penta-cakes536210989849901.jpg

IMG_1877

Have fun, no matter what. Write your memories on postcards or paper; take photos…write funny captions. It’s all about making and keeping memories, some of which you can pass along for generations to come.

8 Gift Ideas for Housewarmings and Summer Parties

Scenario:

You have been invited over for a summer barbecue, party, or housewarming, and you want to bring a gift, but you are having trouble deciding on that special thing. In a case like this, it’s a good idea to think a little outside the box; while a bottle of wine or Grey Goose may be nice, you may want to offer your host and/or hostess a keepsake to enjoy, or perhaps even offer something that is fun or appropriate to the occasion. I know personally that when I receive a gift from someone, every time I use that particular item when I entertain, I fondly remember who gave it to me. There’s usually some sort of sentimental notion behind it.

Solution:

Instead of that bottle of wine or dessert, here are 8 ideas for you to consider as gifts for your host or hostess. However, the truth is, no matter what you bring, they will be thankful for your kindness and thoughtfulness and appreciative that you took the time to attend their event.

[1]  Taste of Italy Basket | Wine Country Gifts | http://www.winecountrygifts.com

$29.95

PewterCrabMalletSilverGifts&Pewter.com

[2]  Pewter Crab Mallet | Silver & Pewter Gifts | http://www.silver&pewtergifts.com

$ 12.50 each

BocceBallPier1

[3]  Bocce Ball Set | Pier 1 Imports | http://www.pier1.com

$17.98

FloralItalianWineGlassesGiftBoxSmartFurniture.com

[4] Floral Italian Wine Glasses Gift Box | Smart Furniture | http://www.smartfurniture.com

$38.00

FranklinAdvancedBadmintonSetMidlandHardware.com

[5] Franklin Advanced Badminton Set | Midland Hardware | http://www.MidlandHardware.com

$35.08

FourthofJulyCookieGiftCollectionEleni'sNew York.com

[6} Fourth of July Cookie Gift Collection| Eleni’s New York | http://www.elenis.com

$65.00

PersonalizedWoodBeerTastingSet with mini pilsnersAgiftpersonalized.com

[7] Personalized Wood Beer Tasting Set with mini Pilsners | A Gift Personalized | http://www.agiftpersonalized.com

$29.95

Homemade Goodies - Sweets & Treats

[8] Homemade Goodies – Sweets & Treats |

www.facebook.com/pages/Goodies-Sweets-Treats

How To Build A Summer Wardrobe That Works

SpringandSummerCapsuleWardrobe* * *

One of the things people used to hire me for when I was a fashion stylist (along the lines of Stacy London), was to visit their closets, see what they had that worked, and recommend new wardrobe possibilities for them. Depending upon whether they stayed at home with children or worked for a living, I had to craft a shopping plan and then help them buy clothes that suited their body types. One woman in particular who recently had twins, was heading back to the work force, but not with the same body she had when she left. She could not fit into any of her old professional clothing, and so with $500 in her wallet, we set out to buy her an entirely new wardrobe. With coupons and imagination, we got her a starter work wardrobe that offered many mix and match possibilities, and I’ll never forget the big hug she gave me at the end of the shopping adventure.

While I may not be working as a fashion consultant any longer, I can still offer some sound advice—or if you prefer to put it in sports talk jargon, a game plan—for building a wardrobe. One of the problems people face is starting anew…how to begin and where to take the wardrobe from that point forward. There are certain staples you will need in your closet, and so this checklist is that starting point. If you already have a pretty decent wardrobe, you can use this checklist to indicate and check-off what you already own that is in good shape, and then make a list of things you might need. Remember: the overall goal of this game plan is to allow you versatility in your wardrobe, meaning that all pieces can mix and match. You will hear this called a wardrobe capsule, and if you search for them on Pinterest, many, many collections will pop up.

Good luck in your shopping endeavor. I’ve provided your checklist below, and the above photo is a sample of what you are aiming for to maximize your wardrobe. Feel free to ask any questions of me here, and I’ll be happy to answer them.

SpringSummerChecklist

Incorporating Whites Into Your Wardrobe

Reese Witherspoon from US Magazine

Reese Witherspoon from US Magazine

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White looks fabulous with a tan. It helps your skin glow and feels carefree and airy during the hot, humid days of summer. Adding white pieces to your wardrobe lightens things up a bit, and if you don’t have a lot of white clothing, you may want to consider getting a few pieces. One tip I learned as stylist and I’ll pass along to you is to always wear nude undergarments instead of white under your white clothing for a more natural look.

I’ve collected some of my favorite celebrities (and some models, too) who wear clothing well to illustrate the perfect use of white clothing. These ladies typically wear clothing that suits their body type—and you will not see them wear a lot of trendy clothing, but rather more up-to-date classics.

Knowing what works best on your body type is the key to putting together effective ensembles. Take some pointers from these classy gals.

JulianneHough

JulianneHough—white blouse, white cropped pants, pointed heels. (great hair).

Sarah Jessica Parker in Louis Vuitton from 2002

Sarah Jessica Parker in Louis Vuitton from 2002

Model in Nanette Lepore Sheath from Zappos.com

Model in Nanette Lepore Sheath from Zappos.com

Summer Lace Dress from Bonanza.com

Summer Lace Dress from Bonanza.com

Jennifer Aniston wears sheer blouse on Ellen

Jennifer Aniston wears sheer blouse in Ellen

Courtney Cox in white blouse and white pants (with Jennifer Aniston)

Courtney Cox in white blouse and white pants (with Jennifer Aniston)

White skirt with musical notes from Aliexpress.com

White skirt with musical notes from Aliexpress.com

Publicity portrait of Belgian-born American actress Audrey Hepburn (1929 - 1993) as she wears a wide-brimmed hat and white blouse during the filming of the film 'Funny Face' directed by Stanley Donen, 1957. (Photo by Paramount Pictures/Courtesy of Getty Images)

Publicity portrait of Belgian-born American actress Audrey Hepburn (1929 – 1993) as she wears a wide-brimmed hat and white blouse during the filming of the film ‘Funny Face’ directed by Stanley Donen, 1957. (Photo by Paramount Pictures/Courtesy of Getty Images)

Olivia Palermo Wedding

Olivia Palermo Wedding

White top, white distressed jeans, sandals via Brit.co

White top, white distressed jeans, sandals via Brit.co

Adding Passionate Pops of Pink to Your Decor

The back porch of my own home; a pop of pink in the carnations among tuquoise and greys.

The back porch of my own home; a pop of pink in the carnations.

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According to Empower Yourself with Color Psychology, the color pink “represents compassion, nurturing, and love” and, apparently, the deeper the pink, the more “passion and energy it exhibits.” Many people consider the color pink a very feminine color, but this perception was not true back in the 1920s. According to an article in The Atlantic, men wore suits of pink, even with floral embroidery, and the color had working-class connotations.

Adding some pink into your decor warms things up; it makes your space feel welcoming and compassionate.

In my own home, which consists of lots of blues and greys, adding pink here and there can liven up your space and help set off the rest of the room. I’ve found that pink accents helps showcase everything around that little pop of color.

Here are some images I’ve found online that illustrate just how this vibrant color can add character to your home, including a photo of my own porch (above), where I allowed the rich, magenta color of the carnations to take center stage.

midwestliving.com

midwestliving.com

myhomeideas.com

myhomeideas.com

bhg.com

bhg.com

worthingtoncourtblog.com

worthingtoncourtblog.com

diy.com

diy.com

thenester.com

thenester.com

zuhairah-homeinteriordesign.blogspot.com

zuhairah-homeinteriordesign.blogspot.com

bhg.com

bhg.com

You Don’t Have To Be A Kid To Ride Your Bike

bike* * *

“Every girl needs a turquoise beachcomber,” I said to my husband two nights ago when I convinced him that the turquoise bike featured above is a must-have for my health and well-being.

“But you already have a bike,” he said.

It’s true. I do. But not one that looks as cute and feminine and beachy as this one.

You don’t have to be a kid to ride your bike. In the summertime, I like to ride my bike to the pool or around the neighborhood or on the three-mile path of Kinder Farm Park that is two blocks from our house. I don’t need a fancy bike, just one that feels pretty to ride. I’m a girly-girl, and I like pretty things like crystal chandeliers, lots of red and pink accents, and anything that comes in a Tiffany-blue box. Who doesn’t?

Do you, like me, look at a bike as a symbol of freedom? It means you are not commuting in a car; it means the wind can blow in your hair; it means you probably are not rushing off to do a chore, task, or anything work-related. A bike equals leisurely fun. Your bike is begging you to “slow down and enjoy the ride.”

bikemotto

When I was younger, I hopped on my bicycle and went everywhere—to my friends’ houses, to the boat dock in our neighborhood, or to the beach, where I would lie on my towel in my bathing suit and catch some rays by the river. It allows us a way to get somewhere in a carefree manner.

My husband didn’t put up a fight about adding another bike to our garage; he’s so great like that. My daughter can ride the bike I currently have as she has outgrown hers. Plus, she loves the Nantucket straw basket we put on the front of it last year. Indeed…a basket can make the bike.

If you haven’t ridden your bike lately, I suggest you do. Remember what it feels like to leisurely pedal along, glide along, and pump those pedals. Just ride for the pleasure of it and look around.

Afterwards, let me know what you saw and how you felt.

ashflynnblogspotcom

ashflynn.blogspot.com


tinywhitedaisies.tumblr.com

tinywhitedaisies.tumblr.com


antiquecompanymall.blogspot.com.au

antiquecompanymall.blogspot.com.au


pedalfar.tumblr.com

pedalfar.tumblr.com

A Wrinkle in Time: Fighting Those Dastardly Lines on Your Face

Face&MemoriesI guess you could say I’m somewhat blessed. I come from a long line of Italians and inherited medium olive skin that tends to be oily. The nature of my skin alone helps keep the wrinkles away…a little.

Most of us have to take good care of our skin—myself included, especially as I approach the magic “50”—and if you ask my friends with whom I went away for a weekend and did the “spa thing,” I’m slightly obsessed with keeping my skin as youthful as possible. Mother Nature doesn’t always allow this to happen naturally, so we’ve got to use some products to help us along the way.

Of course, the biggest no-no if you want to keep your skin glowing is to stay out of the sun as much as possible, and if you must bask in it, be sure to wear SPF…the higher the number the better. Also, a hat with a nice brim is also going to be your best friend.

Keeping your skin hydrated is imperative; you must use moisturizer all the time. I’m also the person who wears foundation with SPF in it every day, just in case I take in a little sunshine. You can also put a moisturizer under your foundation with SPF in it as well.

At bedtime, wear the night creams—any that you like will do. I vary mine; right now I’m using Aveda’s hydrating cream. Boots makes some great products as well, and you can find those at more inexpensive prices at Target.Products

Drinking a lot of water also helps—I’m guilty here. I don’t drink as much as I should, but am revving it up this summer. Join me in the fight for healthier skin! Studies have also shown that eating fish oils—particularly salmon—is great for your skin.

B&WFaceAdditionally, natural remedies can help your skin. I’ve provided a link here which will offer you information on olive oil, coconut oil, castor oils, cucumbers, oranges, pineapple, and many other natural remedies that can help keep your skin youthful (click here).

Lastly, according to my esthetician, there are studies being done on heat and aging. When I told her I refuse to go the way of Botox, she agreed, and said, “Put a hot washcloth on your face three times a week for 10-15 minutes. The heat does wonders for wrinkles.”

Playing With Cottage Garden Style

DSC_0978

* * *

One of the things I like to do in my down time—the little bit that I have—is spend time tending to our new cottage-styled garden.

The key to creating cottage style is to mix colors, allowing your flowers to bloom at different times. Additionally, varying plant heights helps give it that effortless look. As you can see from our home, I’ve always loved the casual feel of cottage style, both inside and outside the home. Being able to invite family and friends over and have them feel they can put their feet up on any piece of furniture makes them comfortable, and gives you as the homeowner peace of mind.

The only enemy we have in the garden is nut grass, so I spend time plucking it out and am about to spray for it in the beds. And although cottage style gardens don’t call for nut grass, they do call for a bit of untidiness and randomness. But the weeds and nut grass must get out!

Incorporating other elements such as decorative stones and river rock can help liven it up as well.

Gardens tend to reflect a bit of what is inside the home as well. If the garden feels warm and welcoming on the outside, the same should hold true when you open the front door.

All of these photos are from our front garden, and I just took the shots minutes ago. It’s a work in progress, but our landscaper who helped create the designs got exactly what I told him, and happened to have dabbled in cottage style gardens when he got his degree.DSC_0987DSC_0981DSC_0977DSC_0979DSC_0984DSC_0988gardencottage

I’d Like To Buy Ben Franklin A Drink

BenFranklinBook CoverWhen I was a little girl, my mother bought me a book. It had a brown cover with yellow writing, and I read it over and over again, fascinated by the life of the man on which the book was based. He had grey hair, round spectacles, and a jolly look on his face. He didn’t wear a red and white suit and bring presents to kids; instead, this man was brilliant, flew a kite with a key, helped create our democracy, was a writer and a printer, and said memorable, quotable things.

His name was Ben Franklin, and he’s one of my favorite historical figures.

Several years ago, my husband bought me another book. This one is small, with a sketch of Ben Franklin on the cover wearing more rectangular spectacles, but still looking rather jolly. Knowing my love for quotes, my husband’s gift was a thoughtful one. The book is filled with Franklin’s quotes—so many of them, you’ll have a tough time keeping up.Ben Franklin Wit&Wisdom

How can one man have so much talent in his bones? A thinker, philosopher, dreamer, inventor, printer, innovator, statesman, newspaper man, and writer. He paved the way for the first subscription library. He made sure streets were lighted and clean.

I have nothing but respect for this gentleman. You know when you play the game with your friends—the one where you ask the following: “If you could spend the day with anyone dead or alive, who would it be?” My historical figure would be Ben. I’d like to buy him a drink. You see, he would be very happy if I bought him a beer (see below).

BenFranklinBeer quote

At this point in the blog post, I need not go on any longer about my affinity for the genius of this man. Instead, I’d like to just post a sampling of my favorite quotes that Ben Franklin said so you can see for yourself just how witty and wise he actually was, and how his thoughts and ideals still hold true today.

* * *

In marriage without love, there will be love without marriage.

If you would keep your secret from an enemy, tell it not to a friend.

Search others for their virtues, thyself for thy vices.

The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.

When you speak to a man, look on his eyes; when he speaks to thee, look on his mouth.

Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor.

Fish and visitors stink after three days.Ben Franklin pay. jpg

Well done is better than well said.

No better relations than a prudent and faithful friend.

Silence is not always a sign of wisdom, but babbling is ever a folly.

Work as if you were to live 100 years; pray as if you were to die tomorrow.

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain — and most fools do.

The wise and brave dares own that he was wrong.

Trust thyself, and another shall not betray thee.

When You Get The Urge, Listen to Nike and JUST DO IT

stephaniehair2The first thing on your checklist this summer: cut your hair.

The second thing on your checklist this summer: get in shape.

The third thing on your checklist this summer: read some books.

YOUR INSPIRATION PHOTO:  Julianne Hough...even though she's in her twenties and I am clearly not in my twenties, her cut has a lot of style. Plus, her texture is a lot like my own. Sometimes, she wears it wavy.

YOUR INSPIRATION PHOTO: Julianne Hough…even though she’s in her twenties and you are clearly not in your twenties, her cut has a lot of style. Plus, her texture is a lot like your own. Sometimes, she wears it wavy.

You’ve been thinking about cutting your hair for a while. Namely, this type of thought comes into your head when you’re about to turn the BIG ONE. You thought it was time you stopped trying to look like your students…trying to have long hair when all it looked was like a hot mess most of the time. It did nothing for you, so you decide to perk yourself up with a little bob.

You pinned about 500 images of Julianne Hough’s adorable bob (though she is a bleached blonde, something you will never be), but you notice the texture of her hair is similar to your own, and you decide to … as Nike says … JUST DO IT.StephHeadShotShortHair

You can feel the weight coming off your shoulders (literally) as you watch the hair fall to the ground and you feel nothing but happiness. Cutting your hair is liberating. It’s another form of letting go. You’ve let go of a lot of things over the last few years, and typically when you do, you don’t miss it when it’s gone (whatever that thing was). The same holds true with your hair. You watched it fall to the ground and felt your whole body shift.

And you stood up straighter.stephaniehair1

Stories I Left Out of Baseball Girl

facts:fiction

* * *

The book’s been out for over two months now. The typical questions I get are as follows:

1) How true is this story?

2) Did you marry a reporter?

3) Did you date a ballplayer?

4) Did all these things happen to you?

People are always fascinated by writers and where they get their ideas. Even friends with whom I’m close are probably wondering if aspects of the book are true and what I’ve held back from them. (Nothing…well, maybe…)

What is more interesting, as the person who wrote the story, is how many stories I left out of the book (of course to protect the innocent). Seriously, I could tell some tales, but the beauty of Baseball Girl is that it is actually fiction, loosely based on real occurrences that took place while I worked in the sport. There were more stories that I could have told, but some of those stories are treasured ones that I didn’t want to morph into fiction. Some of those need to remain standing as nonfiction.

The driving force behind Francesca’s need to secure the job with a baseball team is that she is getting over the loss of her father; he dies at a very young age, and she is left as a 19-year-old who cannot seem to let him go. Francesca’s story is quite different from my own. My father and I just hung out with my mother on Friday. In fact, when I was about to release the book, my father asked me jokingly why the dad had to die. “Someone had to go,” I told him. I needed a starting point for the story, and didn’t want it to mimic my life too closely. I didn’t want people wondering if it was a memoir. It’s not. I started my career at the Orioles when I, too, was 19, but it was because I wanted to try working in public relations while I was in college. I happened to luck into working for a Major League baseball team. Francesca secures the job as a form of therapy.baseball-backgrounds_89141-1600x1200.jpg

When we read stories, we are always looking for the truth on the pages. But the fact is, there is truth in everything we write, or we wouldn’t write it. Even when we write fiction, there are still stories to be told and lessons to be learned, even if it happens in a fictitious place like Bay City with a team called the Blackbirds.

As for what I left out of the book, I admit, I did leave some juicy things out. Perhaps I’ll save them for the sequel.

It’s Not Bragging. It’s Marketing.

BaseballGirlFinalCover50StarIt’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and if you don’t toot your own horn now and then, you will get buried in the monstrous pile of authors who are all doing the same thing you are doing. The life of an independent author is not a glamorous one, unless of course, you are Amanda Hocking. The world of the independent author who participates in this craft is one of resilience, determination, boundless creativity, and an unwillingness to stop promoting a product you think is decent work (at least good enough to share with the public).

Therefore, when you get a 5-Star Review from a reputable organization such as Readers’ Favorite, you want to tell everyone that your reviewer thinks you did pretty well. Jack Magnus’s review of Baseball Girl captures the notion that you did a 5-Star job at telling your story to your intended audience.

Don’t be fooled. This does not mean that receiving this nod causes book sales go through the roof when you are recognized. However, what comes from it is personal satisfaction. Your story is well-written enough to garner a 5-Star award. Think of the recreational athletes who participates in 5K, 10K or half-marathon or marathon runs. They are not doing it for fame or fortune; they become involved in the races because of personal growth and satisfaction. Sometimes, that’s all they are looking to accomplish. The same is true for writers, even independent ones. Receiving this type of positive commentary is something that makes you proud.

Furthermore, it’s another opportunity to share some good news on your blog and tell people a few additional things about the nature of your novel. You want readers to understand the following:

1-You don’t have to like or have an interest in baseball to read the book. Baseball is merely the backdrop for which this story of love, loss, and passion are rolled into the plot.

2-It’s a contemporary romance, and a man liked it. That’s promising!

3-Don’t let the title fool you. It’s not about a girl who plays baseball. It’s about a woman who works in the professional sport and who dabbles in love while simultaneously navigating her career and the loss of her father.Support Independ Authors Button.indd

Additionally, Charles Steinberg of the Boston Red Sox had this to say about Baseball Girl:It’s a vivid, accurate portrait of life in baseball—as authentic a description as you’ll find of the lifestyle in the public relations and community relations departments of a ballclub. ”

Authors do write for themselves, but it’s pointless if you can’t get others to read your work. I hope if you have not picked up your copy of Baseball Girl today, you will consider doing so in the near future. I would love to hear if you think Jack Magnus got it right.