Friday, January 30, 2009

Who is Saint Valentine?

So who is Saint Valentine? He actually is the the patron saint of love, young people and happy marriages. Valentine, a holy priest in Rome, was executed on February 14th about the year 270 for refusing to give up his Christian faith. He was caught marrying Christian couples and was arrested. And, when he tried to convert the Emperor, he was condemned to death. One legend says that on the eve of his death, he gave a farewell note to the jailer's daughter, signing it "From your Valentine".

Somewhere along the way Hallmark made February 14th a day that I guess men dread and hopefully most of them embrace as a way of expressing their love. Women generally are romantics and look forward to the gifts they receive on this special day from something as simple as a card to an extravagant piece of jewelry. My husband thinks that Brussels is all about Valentine's Day. As you walk along the streets you will see chocolate shops everywhere and next to almost all of them is a lingerie store. I think the people in Belgium are very romantic indeed!

These pictures were taken at a favorite chocolate shop in Brussels

Find your inner Valentine and remember someone special in your life. Nothing says I love you more than a simple note stuck on a windshield and signed "from your Valentine".

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Jazzy Valentine from WhatEver Accessories

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My City By the Bay

Originally uploaded by WhatEver4Me
Boy, am I missing my city by the Bay!

If this snow and cold continues I'm gonna go CRAZY! Don't get me wrong - Chicago is a great place. But this has been the hardest winter because the snow and cold started in early December and hasn't let up. Now, what is a girl to do? Some people may say San Francisco is pretty cold, and, it is. But I will take foggy damp days over dangerously cold temps and slippery, sliding snow. So, I'm enjoying my pictures of my last trip to my city by the Bay and California Dreamin'.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Big Glop of Snow

When I was a little girl growing up in sunny California I would wonder at the gingerbread houses glopped with white stuff that was supposed to represent snow. I thought, snow isn't like that, it should be "dusted" on the trees and the gingerbread house. As I look out my dining room window and see the snow "glopped" on my Blue Spruce I wonder how I have never noticed this in the 22 years I have lived in Illinois.

I don't actually think I've seen this much snow since we have been living here. It really is beautiful and now the "glopping" makes sense. But, do you see that incredible blue sky? It's very deceiving as it is dangerously cold outside. Without the windchill factor it is 20 below. Brrrrrrrr!

So what do you do on such cold days? You stay inside and watch the Travel channel and dream of warm beaches, you shop on-line, you read a good book, catch up on magazines and wish books and enjoy a nice big glass of red wine. And, if you have kids at home because school was called off and it's too cold to send them outside - well, have a bigger glass of wine and hang in there, Spring has to be just around the corner!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Murano Glass: The Island of Murano

Murano, Italy is an island that is the home of Venice, Italy's murano glassmaking industry. The glass making was moved to this island in the year 1291 because the production of this beautiful murano glass was a fire hazard for Venice as her buildings were constructed of mostly wood (see note below). Murano is just a short boat ride away on the vaporatto which is a water taxi from St. Mark's Square in Venice. On this trip we stayed huddled inside the vaporatto as it was quite cool and choppy out on the water.

My first visit to Murano was in the Fall of 2006. The canals are quite this time of the year which allowed us to experience the peaceful, everyday life of the people here. With few tourists, we were able to take our time and really explore this island. Murano is a quite peaceful island in late November. We found ourselves walking through a residential area that was a step back in time. I loved seeing the laundry hanging from balconies. The streets of Murano are as quaint and charming as those in Venice but more deserted which had a few locals wondering if we were lost. In the Fall you notice the everyday activities such as the man selling produce off of his boat.

It was interesting to find out that the people of Murano were held in high esteem for their glass making abilities. Daughters were allowed to marry into Venetian nobility and Murano artisans were immuned from prosecution in the earlier centuries. In later centuries, the people of Venice began to build homes on Murano because it was believed that the fires from the kilns provided healthy benefits to those living on the island.

Note: For a great read, check out The City of Falling Angels, by John Berendt (author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil). This book has great architectural facts and interesting facts about Murano glass blowers. It's a great fictional story that takes place during a great fire in Venice, Italy.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Dreaming of Paris in Springtime

I remember taking this picture while in Paris. We were walking around Montmartre and I just fell in love with this little shop. I'm ready to go back to Paris in the springtime. It was wonderful! I was amazed at how easy it was to get around and I really think Montmartre was my favorite little spot with the artists and interesting little restaurants and shops. I bought a couple of pictures from the local artists and love looking at them and remembering this special time, as this was my first visit to Paris.

With it snowing outside, I am definitely dreaming of Paris in Springtime. In my dreams I will not only make it back to Montmarte and hopefully find my favorite artist, but I will spend more time sitting in the outdoor cafes watching the world go by. It seems Parisians do a lot of "people watching" while eating and drinking. It's almost like a sport! I wish we had more outdoor cafes where I live. We have a few, but I have never seen anyone just sitting back and watching the world. People are hunched over, hurrying to finish their meal because they feel they need to move on.

Where are you dreaming of being this Spring? Check out my Miche Bag for your travels. You can take a purse for everyday in a small amount of space.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Three, Two, One....GO!

Well, here we are in a new year.

A very important year for me. I can hardly believe I will be 60 this year - WOW! How come I don't feel 60?

They say you are only as old as you feel. Well, I feel like I should not be any older than 38. But, 60 is a real wake-up call. I have so much more to do and accomplish - I need to get going.

So, it's time to seriously sit down and write the "bucket list". Not just where I want to travel to, but what else I want to learn and do. Oh, and there is so much I want to learn.

I'm looking forward to this year and all it will offer me. My on-line store has come a long way and still brings me joy and now I'm learning Staging for homeowners that want to sell their home in a really slow market. I want to help give them that edge. And, travel will always be at the top of my list. So, three, two, I go!

Note: picture taken by Todd Bates