Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Happy Autumn, Everybody!



 I love the fall. It’s my favorite season right next to summer, and it’s so convenient that they back up to one another.

I think that specific season change is the most exhilarating and more importantly the most enchanting. The leaves changing, time to pull out sweaters, start fires and wear boots. The sun gets lower in the sky, the trees dance more in the crisp breeze and the black cats seem more romantic than usual. And the colors! Oh the colors, so vibrant, so magical.

I ran across this recipe recently. As you know I love to adapt the recipes I find because stealing stinks and I want to make them my own. The adaptation is after the original recipe.



All Recipes calls it Pumpkin Fluff Dip.


Pumpkin Fluff Dip




Ingredients
  • 1 Regular sized can Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 small sachet of vanilla pudding
  • 16 oz. Cool Whip
  • 1/2 tsp. each of Nutmeg, Ground Cloves and Cinnamon
  • 1 box graham crackers
Instructions
  1. Hollow out pumpkin
  2. Line pumpkin with cellophane
  3. Mix all ingredients together
  4. Pour mix into pumpkin
  5. Serve on a platter with graham crackers
  6. Cover dip with cellophane and store with pumpkin top on in fridge until lready to serve.
Notes
*Adaptation: Change the cool whip to fat free cool whip and change pudding to fat free, sugar free vanilla pudding. You save about 100 calories per serving.






Friday, September 21, 2012

The Book

*If you haven't entered the giveaway you can click here and scroll down to enter. So far, there are no entries. Bummer.


Sooooo......

If you haven't read a little of my novel, you can click on the page to the right, "A Raucous in Rome," and read a little bit of heart and soul.

That's all there is today. I am really wanting to giveaway the jewelry I brought back from Turkey for one lucky reader and I's love some feedback about the book.

I hope you are all Healthy and Happy!
XO
Gwen

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Giveaway - Jewelry From Cadi

I think I may have mentioned that Cadi in Turkish means witch. There is absolutely nothing but magic here at this tiny store in Myndos. The name is apt simply because it is indeed bewitching.

*Scroll down beyond the photos here and enter to win the gold bunny necklace with matching rose quartz earrings. The stipulation is that I must get 20 new faces in the box to the left. But, I would take new Pinterest followers and new Twitter followers too!















I collected this really special bunny necklace in gold on a pink silk cord and matched it to a pair of earrings adorned with golden flowers, cut rose quartz, turquoise crystals and black tourmalineThe earrings hand from french wires.

All you have to do to enter the giveaway is make sure your picture appears in the box to the left or right And leave a comment here (with a usable email address - how else will I notify you when you win?). 


a Rafflecopter giveaway







Monday, September 17, 2012

Turkey and Greece 2012 - Part 6 - Last Installment

So here we are. We've finally made it to the end!

I think I have been so bad with the blogging time frame because I have been sort of dreading this last post. First of all it is always so hard to say goodbye to Turkey; the family, the friends, the spirit of the place not to mention the food. But I also know that after this post I'll have the giveaway and say goodbye to treasures that I hand picked just for you! I want them though...they are really special! Nevertheless, pending 20 new followers, they are for one of my lucky readers...

So, Greece! As soon as we left the harbor in Turgutreis, there was a different feeling in the air. The boat ride was excellent except for the instant coffee which was quite dear at 3 Euro for a tiny 4 oz. cup. (That's like a $6 cuppa!) Still the scenery was sensational and the sea was magnificent. As we pulled into the harbor at Kos, the feeling had changed from whimsical and welcoming to haughty and arrogant. It's strange to feel those things and no smell or sound can really put a concrete finger on things. It's as if in Turkey folks are hard...but not naturally hard. They have to try to be something they aren't to exact an appearance. In Greece however, they have such an arrogant affectation that it was a surprise as we got off the boat. The Greek flag in it's blue and white waved proudly too. And people..wow...the people...I asked a man behind the counter at a travel agent's office for one of his tear off public maps and he smiled behind a cigarette, with a smarmy, sweaty face said,"No." That never would happen in Turkey!

Alas, Kos was simply beautiful. The municipal buildings were clean and kept well and the churches and mosques mingled side by side.

The most interesting thing about Kos was that it was the birthplace of Modern Western Medicine, as in, "Mommy, where do doctors come from?"

We visited the tree of Hippocrates where it is said he taught physicians how to heal patients. We walked the clean cobbled streets and we ate Gyro's at a little Greek cafe. It was a wonderful way to spend the day together. And it was unimaginably and unforgettably Greek. The Greek culture is a proud people who are boastful about several things: being European (even though they are bankrupt), that Christ brought Christianity to them first, that they are better than most and so on. It can be quite alarming. But charming, anyway.

We rode a train to see the wee island and in the middle of the tour...the train broke. We wanted to look at the Lacoste store but they closed for nap time...aiaiaiai!

When we arrived back at the villa, I climbed the stairs to refresh myself. After my shower I found my husband on the terrace with reading materials in his lap and a furrowed brow. I asked him what he was doing. He said, "I am trying to figure out a way we can move to Kos!"








Our Last Day in Turkey. The Grand Bazaar!



My word! I've been to 3 of the worlds 7 continents and I ask you who wants to go to Antarctica and freeze their butts off...? So let's say I have been to half the worlds continents and on them I have been to 22 countries, I can say that I have seen some things. Not lots of things (I have a friend who has seen 6 continents and like 60 countries) but I have seen some things. But, nothing and I mean nothing is like The Grand Bazaar! If you never go anywhere in your life...GO TO THE GRAND BAZAAR! I am not being dramatic here either! I am being honest and as emphatic as possible. (I found the above book at Ruby Press)

The Grand Bazaar is like The Arabian Nights come to life, It's like Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves at High Tide,  it's like the history of the world is shown to you on a silver platter and there is no escaping it. From awed curiosity alone there is nothing that can take your eyes away from the wonders of this place. The covered ladies bartering jewelry, the chime of the call to prayer from the Blue Mosque, the lingering scent of fresh Simit in the air, the street food that is more delectable than most anything you've tasted so savory and sumptuous. The touch of the silk, the cool metal on a hookah, the bumpy facade of a painted bowl and the haggling Western Ladies you see wanting to drown themselves in gold. The smells of the coffee, the old men smoking with Chai and playing okey as they shout at the TV for their beloved Galata Saray soccer team. It's so dreamy. like walking on the beach at sunrise or your nerves on a first date. It's like the Turkish people have taken  the energy of New York City and concentrated it into one small place. There is a very real and energetic live current in this place! A man peddling Bulgari watches said, "You, come here, Amigo!" He was talking to my Turkish husband!

I have my very own favorite store at the Grand Bazaar. I was passing a window after we ate a delectable meal at Aynen Durum (Taste the Difference - it's their motto).  In the window, I saw a tiny silver chair on it was a pathway leading to it's tiny door. It had me hooked and I had to go in. A wonderful gentleman stood behind the counter. His countenance was sweet and patient as I exclaimed, "That one, that one, that one!" The entire store screamed at me. I finally settled on a little cherub candle holder for me and one for my mother. Then I spied a little magnifying glass pendant and I was sold and the final purchase was the sweet little chair. How could I go home without it? The store's name is Hagar Gumus. And if your ever lucky enough to shop at The Grand Bazaar, please visit this kind and honest man.

Eating at Aynen Durum


Hagar Gumus



The tiny magnifying glass.




The day was bitter sweet though. I love my sister in law, Berrin, my neice Ecem and her Dad, Necdet, the trip they made for us was Epic - Sensational, Wonderful, Fun, Crazy, Amazing and truly, truly Lovely. Thank you, guys. We love you.

Friday, September 14, 2012

A New Hair Stylist and New Hair


Tired of Poaca? Yeah. Me too.

I need to tell you, in the words of Bill and Ted, "Strange things are a foot at the Circle K." Life has been less than cooperative and I am so sorry to have delayed this and my final Turkey/Greece post. Rest assured I will get back to things soon. And then A GIVEAWAY. But until I carve out some time to pay close attention to you guys, you get my new hair!


I needed to get my hair done something awful before the onset of the school year. The hair was looking 60 years old while I remain 29. That was a no go....especially when I've lost lots of weight and haven't seen co-workers for 8 weeks. I wanted to look like a million bucks...well, at least a hundred.

I yelped, "Hair Salons in Sacramento Open on Mondays." I'm a "Get Things Done on Monday," kind of gal. Groceries, Dry Cleaning, Nails and, you guessed it, Hair. My former stylist, while good, is so very busy she could never get me in. So I decided to start fresh.

Luxe Salon and Spa was 3rd on the list. I read the reviews for the first...4 stars. I read the review for the second, 4 stars and then I read the review for Luxe! And while all these salons had a comparable star rating, Luxe had something the other two didn't. It had a response to a review from the owner that was sweet and sincere. She was all about fixing the problem for the customer who was dissatisfied. It spoke to me and that is how I met Albina.

When I sat in Albina's chair she asked me questions about what I wanted. I asked her to bring her "A Game" and did she ever. I haven't been this satisfied with a cut and color perhaps ever! She did exactly what I asked her to do. She was so good natured and fun. She had no airs of superiority as some stylists do. She worked hard but smart and styled my hair not the way she wanted, but the way I wanted her to.

This is how my hair looked when she was done with me...


Needless to say, I got a new stylist. I feel feverishly loyal to Albina now and for the first time in my life I look forward to seeing the salon every month!