Join The Friend-A-Day-In-May 2015 Campaign

Circle of butterflies friend a day 2015

It's that time again… April showers have given way to May flowers, or in this case, friends! This is the third Friend-A-Day-In-May Campaign, and each year I look forward to it all winter. I hope for those who have joined me in the past, you enjoyed this experience, too.

While we might see and speak to friends all year long, this campaign is a chance to proactively appreciate your new, old, and budding friendships. It is one daily to-do that will exceed expectations, and deliver a sense of gratitude at how lucky and liked you are! Check out the tips I use from the original Friend-A-Day launch.

Friends are an important, integral part of a well-lived life. If you want the benefits of friendship, like butterflies drawn to the brightly colored flowers in your garden, these relationships need tending to bloom. In other words, you get out of a friendship what you put into it. 

Yes, friends sometimes fly in and then out of our lives. The ones that stay deserve our time NOW. Swoop in and share your thoughts, hearts, and time with the people in your life today. Find more here on being the butterfly in your friend's garden, fluttering around and making them smile.

May Day is traditionally a day of celebration; make it a month-long one by reaching out to a friend each and every day this May. Like sweet nectar, the rewards are nourishing, free, and easily reaped! Join me… And please share this article with your friends and family, it's a simple way to reach out on day one! ~ Luci


Chick Flick Chat: "Cinderella"

Chick Flick Chat Logo for film reviewsClick HERE to listen to the Chick Flick Chat podcast episode, Cinderella.

If you are a regular Here We Are reader, then you know I don't typically post back to back CFCs, BUT I'd be doing you a disservice to wait because this film deserves to be seen on the big screen. So get in your golden carriage and hurry to see Cinderella in the theater while you can.

If you have to wait for DVD, Netflix, or OnDemand, add this one to your viewing list. Every woman should see this film; it is truly a treat for the eyes and heart! Not only is it a magical movie experience, thankfully, it is a much more thought provoking adaptation than the original Disney animated movie.

It is a WOW type of film in every aspect from the terrific acting, perfect casting, spectacular costumes, amazing lighting, and detailed sets, to the interesting relationships and complex life lessons. In this CFC, I discuss all of these factors as well as the important messages that director Kenneth Branagh's version brings to the screen.

Cinderella pic
 ALWAYS REMEMBER,

HAVE COURAGE AND BE KIND.

~ Cinderella 2015  

Note to readers and listeners: If you enjoy this podcast, please take a minute to review it on iTunes. I appreciate it very much, and it helps other movie lovers discover Chick Flick Chat, thank you!

 


Chick Flick Chat: The Best of Netflix Television Series To Binge Watch NOW!

Chick Flick Chat microphoneClick HERE to LISTEN to the Chick Flick Chat podcast episode, The Best of Netflix Television Series To Binge Watch NOW!

There are so many great options for consuming your favorite shows but none surpasses the Netflix library of television series, both old and new. Wondering how to narrow down the vast selection and decide what to watch on Netflix? Join me as I share my "best for binging" TV series to devour this season. I promise there are NO spoilers, so listen with ease, but there are lots of shows to add to your list after this episode… So grab your pen and paper!

Whether it's Netflix original programming, or television shows produced by other networks now available on Netflix, I cover period pieces, the spy genre, political themes, dark themes, and lighter fare for your binge watching pleasure. My 20+ choices feature strong female characters, great acting, spot on directing, intriguing plots, and more! 

Let me know if you have a series to share or your thoughts on my list. If you like this podcast, please take a minute to review it on iTunes. It is much appreciated and will help other listeners find Chick Flick Chat, thank you!

Now, go pop some popcorn, turn off your phone, and enjoy!! ~ Luci


Peppermint Patties - A Simple, Homemade, Chocolate Covered, Minty Fresh, Sweet Treat Recipe!

Chocolate Covered Heart Shaped Peppermint Patties

This is a fun, easy recipe that I've adapted for Here We Are after much testing and tasting! If you like the traditional York style peppermint patty, then you will enjoy making this eggless, homemade recipe. 

These chocolate covered treats make a great gift in a pretty box or cellophane gift bag; are perfect for a refreshing, cool treat after a hot cup of tea or coffee; served as an after-dinner mint, or plated with a dessert. Or ANYTIME you feel like a treat of minty fresh goodness!! 

Ingredients

❤ 1 Tbsp. Light Corn Syrup

❤ 1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil (let the solid oil melt at room temperature into liquid form)

❤ 4 Tbsp. Fat-Free Half 'N Half

❤ 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice (I used fresh lemon)

❤ 1 1/2 - 2 teaspoons Peppermint Extract (2 tsp. will make a very strong mint flavor, so go easy unless you like it revved up!)

❤ 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

❤ 3 3/4 cups Powered (Confectioner's) Sugar

❤ Melting Chocolate of your choice (I used Ghirardelli Dark Melting Wafers for Candy Making & Dipping, 12 oz. bag)

❤ Optional: Peppermint Candy Canes for decoration 

Instructions

1. Lightly beat corn syrup, coconut oil, half 'n half, lemon juice, peppermint extract, and vanilla together in a large bowl.

2. Working slowly using a fork, mix in about a cup of powered sugar to the wet ingredients. Continue until all sugar is combined.

Peppermint Patty Nouget Dough3. Using your hands, work the peppermint "dough" or "nougat" into a ball. It is a very dry dough, so you may want to knead it a bit to get it to take shape. With a rolling pin, roll the dough on to a non-stick cookie sheet or on a silicone baking mat. The result should be thin but not breaking (when you handle the dough), so try for an even circumference of less than a 1/2 inch thick. 

4. Freeze the dough for 30 minutes. I covered it with a sheet of wax paper to avoid condensation.

Peppermint Patty Dough with cookie cutters5. With a cookie cutter, make the shapes out of the nougat. (As you can see, I used heart-shaped cookie cutters for Valentine's Day, but round, oval, or square will work just fine, too.) Re-roll the excess until there is very little left. After 4 times re-rolling the dough, it made about 70 hearts in total. TIP: The smaller sized cookie cutter worked better when dipping into the melted chocolate.

Peppermint Patties on Cookie Sheet6. Return the cut dough/nougat to the freezer covered with wax paper for an additional 30 minutes or so. 

7. While the shapes are re-freezing, prepare the chocolate for dipping. 

8. Working quickly, dip the frozen shapes into the chocolate and place on wax paper to dry. TIP: The dipping process is a bit messy (but worth it!) so keep a bunch of the cut dough in the freezer as you dip small batches into the chocolate. NOTE: The dough becomes a bit flimsy in the chocolate but then firms up when cooled.

Peppermint candy cane9. Decorate while chocolate is still a bit melted. I used regular candy canes and crushed them. TIP: Crush them in the bag - see picture - or else the candy shoots all over - LOL, I took one out of the wrapper to break and had to pick up pieces of candy cane everywhere. 

Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks - IF they last that long! Enjoy! BONUS: The kitchen smells great while you are making this recipe!!

 


DIY Soothing Shower Vapor Disks For Cold and Flu Season OR An Anytime Spa Treat

Shower Vapor Disks
DIY Shower Vapor Disks

Cold and flu season calls for extra relief of stuffed up noses and sore sinuses. Besides using a Neti Pot, another all natural, easy way to help move things along is to add homemade, inexpensive, melting shower disks to your hot shower. Scented with essential oils, these puck-like soothers release beneficial aromatherapeutic vapors into the steam from the hot water as they dissolve. You may have seen similar, pricey aromatherapy shower tablets in the store; now you can save money and make your own!

I've practiced a bit and here is my simple, cost-effective, DIY recipe; the entire process takes about an hour... Worth trying during harsh winter months or for an anytime spa treat!

Ingredients / Tools 

2 cups of baking soda (any brand)

Shower disk ingredients
basic shower vapor disk ingredients

4 tablespoons corn starch

1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon of water

Essential Oil(s) of choice: I use lavender, eucalyptus (which provides the menthol or "Vicks" scent we grew up with) and spearmint EOs

12 count muffin pan

foil muffin/cupcake baking cups (remove paper liners)

1 bowl

1 mixing spoon

ice cream scooper or a deep spoon

Instructions

1. Pre-heat oven to 350℉ 

2. Add baking soda, water, and cornstarch (some recipes don't call for cornstarch but it helps bind the disks together) to the bowl. TIP: I discovered my container of cornstarch was out of date and it worked fine in all my tests for this project - good chance to repurpose instead of tossing it out! 

3. Mix ingredients together, creating a "wet sand" feeling. HINT: It will look dry; touch it to be sure it feels like cold wet sand, if so, you are good to go!

4. Line muffin pan with foil liners. (No muffin pan? Just put the foil liners on

Shower disks in muffin pan
Filling the muffin pan with mixture into foil liners

a cookie sheet.) TIP: Remove the paper cupcake cups from the foil ones, otherwise the vapor disks will stick to the paper only to fall apart when you try to remove the paper liner. Trust me on this!

5. Using the ice cream scooper, add a scoop to each muffin cup distributing the entire batch. PRESS down on each one with back of scooper.

6. Bake in oven for 20 minutes ONLY. 

7. Cool completely in muffin pan on wire rack (or elevated) for about 30 minutes. Add essential oil(s) to top of each disk, estimate a 1/4 teaspoon OR 20 eye-drops of EO per disk. Gently remove foil liners, they should easily peel away.

Packaging TIP: You can also leave them in the liner and remove before use.

Cooking TIP: Do NOT put the oil on the mixture and then bake!! Your oven will smell like the essential oil for a long time; plus, the heat depletes the aromatherapeutic benefits of the oils that you want to experience in the shower.

8. TO USE: Place the disk on the floor of the shower, making sure it is located to the side of the direct water stream. Find the right spot by testing with a few discs around your tub or shower floor; you want to prevent them from melting right down your drain and allow them to "dissolve" slowly. BONUS: If they aren't dissolved during the first shower, the bathroom will be pleasantly scented… It's baking soda so it won't hurt anything hanging around a day or two! 

Pamper yourself by experimenting with any combination of oils or just your favorite one for a spa shower experience when

Vapor disks in jar
Scented Vapor Disks stored in Mason Jar - Smells sooooo good when opened!!

cold and flu season ends or anytime you need a treat. I made a batch using only the spearmint and it is very refreshing. Store them in a glass jar or zipper bag, the sooner you use them the more effective they will be but they will last a long time in a sealed container.

This is a fun, fast do-it-yourself project that allows you to choose the best scent for your family... You'll wonder why you haven't made these before! Enjoy! Let me know if you try this recipe and your favorite oil combinations.

 

 

[The claims made about specific products or procedures on or through this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. The reviews and opinions provided are for informational purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. Please consult with a health-care professional before taking or administering any new product or treatment to yourself or anyone else.] 

 


2015: Be The Person You Want To Be

Part 19 of the Here We Are Series: 

Live Your Life Out Loud

White gerber daisy closeup

Another year, another month, another day to get this journey called life "right." Is there a right way? Maybe, or maybe not.

We know that the manifestation of one's life is directly reflected by the choices they make in all aspects of life. So I suppose the answer is in making the choices that will manifest the best outcome for who you want to be. Each new day is a chance to begin again, no matter what yesterday held... BUT there is no better, brighter, or easier time than at the start of a new year to make definite, bold, and conscious choices that produce results.

Since time is truly the only luxury - fleeting and indefinite - each day offers the moments to shape who you are, and hopefully, become the person you want to be. Think on it if it isn't clear just yet. What are you doing or not doing that allows you to step on or off a path to being the best person you can be in your life, and in the world? 

While we all have different lives, but as human beings we are also very similar. Whatever your choices are, pick a few and apply them every day instead of a typical New Year's resolution. In this early HWA article, I wrote about "defined intentions with detailed direction." That is really what this is about, and the intentions can be simple, you just have to apply them, adjust, and repeat. 

Still wondering? I am sharing my top ten with you in hopes that they will get you going to make your own list. Feel free to join me on any and all! 

1. Say Thank You!

2. Make time for yourself: do a beauty treatment, exercise, meditate, read... Doesn't matter what it is, just do it!

3. Set boundaries and stick to them. Struggling with this concept? Then start with this easy suggestion: Not Today, A Quote for All Seasons and All Women

4. Say what you mean, and mean what you say (my personal motto)

5. Laugh!... as much as you can, it's good medicine without bad side-effects

6. Smile a lot; as my grandmother, Lucy, would say, "No one likes a sourpuss!"

7. Connect with a friend, or work on cultivating a new one - you can never have too many friends

8. Say, "SO WHAT?!"... It's amazing how this helps put stressful issues into perspective

9. Don't "Shrink" for ANYONE. If you don't know what I mean by this then read Our Deepest Fear: Stepping Into Your Power, it will change your life

10. Always be kind to yourself and others; the good comes back to you. Remember, no one can hide from bad Karma - it eventually finds you.

So you see that this isn't about your job, a to-do list, running the house, conquering the world, raising your kids, etc. The idea is to have a base-line of definitive actions that demonstrates who you are and what you stand for. Let me know what you would add or follow; please share with me, I'm curious to hear from you. AND thank you for being part of Here We Are, I'm grateful for you, truly... My best wishes for a Happy, Healthy 2015! ~ Luci

🌸🌸🌸

Note: The picture above of the white Gerber Daisy arrived in a beautiful mixed bouquet of flowers I received. I learned that white flowers mean clarity, purity, illumination, and healing. Since I enjoy learning the meaning of things I wanted to share this tidbit with you. For more about flowers, read The Meaning of Flowers: Petal Picking With A Message, and the Color of Roses, Sending The Right Meaning


There Is Good In Life Every Day!

image from http://s3.amazonaws.com/hires.aviary.com/k/mr6i2hifk4wxt1dp/14121520/6dc2b3e0-9388-4aa5-9a9b-e7ff35bd70c3.png

 

"Every day, be full of awareness of the beauty around you.

Be full of gratitude for friends and family, for the goodness you find in others, for your health and all you're capable of.

Be full of acceptance of yourself and others - without conditions or judging - knowing that differences and changes make life interesting.

Appreciate the gifts of laughter and fun in your life, and find contentment in knowing that you can always control your ability to look on the bright side." By Barbara Cage.

❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

"There is good in life every day.

Take a few minutes to distract yourself from your concerns; long enough to draw strength from a tree or to find pleasure in a bird's song.

Return a smile; realize that life is a series of levels, cycles of ups and downs; some easy, some challenging.

Through it all, you will learn; you will grow strong in faith; you will mature in understanding.

The difficult times are often the best teachers, and there is good to be found in every situation.

Reach for the good.

Be positive,and don't give up." By Pamela Owens Renfro

via billvanloan.typepad.com

Thank you to Communications Strategist and fellow blogger, Bill Van Loan for sharing these wonderful words of wisdom, and to the smart women who wrote them. After reading these sentiments, I am compelled to share them with the Here We Are readers. I needed to hear them today, and I hope they will benefit you, too! ~ Luci


Cranberry Butter: Whip Those Extra Cranberries Into A Sweet Butter Spread

Cranberry Butter Recipe Steps

Thanksgiving is over and the last of the cranberry sauce is gone. Now what to do with those extra cranberries that didn't make it into the sauce? Freeze them... Right? Except six months later we find the Ziploc bag of berries in the freezer - uncertain if they are any good - we wastefully toss them. No more!

Sure you could bake up a batch of oatmeal cookies or muffins, but what else can you do with them? How about trying my Cranberry Butter recipe? It's EASY and very tasty. Plus, it's pretty on the table AND a decedent way to reap the potent health benefits cranberries pack.

To test my recipe, the ingredient list below made the small amount pictured above in the Butter Keeper and the three shaped butter pats. This recipe could be doubled or tripled to make a larger batch. TIP: Butter can be frozen. Store any extra in an air-tight container.

In order to make the shaped butter pats with this recipe, I used the same leaf shaped candy mold I used for sugar shaping projects. Freeze the cranberry butter overnight to shape it; once popped out of the mold, they softened up quickly on the plate with no change in flavor or texture. The cold cranberry butter mixture has the same consistency as room-temperature butter or a soft spread. NOTE: Even though I transferred the mixture into a butter keeper, this mixture is best kept in the refrigerator.

Cranberry Butter Recipe 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of cranberries (thaw frozen berries on a plate for an hour)

1 stick [8 Tbsp.] butter (room temperature/softened)

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Zest of 1 orange (optional; but I like to make the orange naked!)

1 oz. orange juice

1 Tbsp. water

2 Tbsp. sugar (cut in half to make less sweet)

Mix together the cranberries, cinnamon, orange zest, orange juice, water, and sugar in a high walled pot. Cover and bring to a quick boil, then simmer on low until the mixture thickens (approx. 15 minutes); stir frequently throughout cooking process. 

Transfer berry mixture to a glass bowl; allow to completely cool. Once cool, add to softened butter. Whip with hand-mixer on high for 30 seconds to combine. Put finished butter into serving container and refrigerate.

Spread on toast, crackers, bagels, muffins, and enjoy! Try it with a small amount, then go back and make a bigger batch... Serve it at your next holiday brunch or dinner. Package it in a pretty container and bring to a friends to share!

 

 


#KindredComments: Think Before You Type

 

#KindredComments, bit.ly/1t2Fkn4 www.HereWeAreWithLuci.com
Share this graphic!

 

What is going on with the negative commenting on the Internet? Is there a solution? Are typed words the new bullets we must dodge living on the Wild Wild Web?

Here We Are Podcast LOGOIf you run a website, use social media, or comment on others' sites, then this Here We Are Talk Show podcast #KindredComments: Think Before You Type is for you! {Clicking the link directly above will bring you to the podcast.}

Join me and my guest, Staci Price Kresser, author of The Mom Squad articles on Here We Are, and social media consultant, as we discuss her experience after asking a question on Raising Natural Kids and how we can all be part of the solution. [Kudos to how the Raising Natural Kids site's moderator handled an abusive commenter.]

In this podcast, we talk about options for the best approach to commenting, using kindness, finding your voice, self-expression, anonymity, life online and off, and the vital importance of thinking before you type. Plus, the unlikey crew of Kim Kardashian, President Obama, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Dr. Masaru Emoto, and Renée Zellweger all found their way into our discussion, lending an interesting aspect to this online debate.  

In the graphic above, you will see the hashtag, #KindredComments. Please feel free to use this on your own site as a graphic, and begin to use it on your comment guidelines page and around the web on social networking sites. 

Let's get the message of #KindredComments out there by reminding commenters to use:

KIND Respectful Educational Diplomatic Comments!

Won't you join us? Comment below and let us know where you are using #KindredComments, thanks!!