Monday, December 31, 2012

More images from New York City

I spent the past day or so editing pictures taken while I was visiting NYC last week and I have a few here to share with you. My goal was to create a video using images taken in the city but it is a huge task, especially when I took 400 pictures and need to edit each and every one. I edit all of the photos you see here because . . . well because they need it. And because I want to.

So without any fanfare, what follows is a hodgepodge of images that I hope you’ll enjoy.


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I’m starting with this one because for some reason, it’s one of my favorites. This canine quartet was waiting for their owner (or walker) outside of a restaurant in the Upper West Side on Amsterdam Avenue. I like everything about them from the mix of breeds, to their attire, but mostly to the expectant and beautiful faces.


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My blogging friend, Janice, and her family waiting for the subway.

They had just gotten into town.


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I took this because I thought the birds on the branches looked like ornaments on a Christmas tree. Beautiful.


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And speaking of beautiful, this is The Plaza Hotel. Click on the link below to their home page and watch as day turns to night at The Plaza. It’s pretty cool.

The Plaza Hotel, NYC


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A fountain outside The Plaza Hotel.

The little trees were lit up but you can’t tell from this image.


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Fendi on Fifth Avenue, all dressed up for the season.


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We did some window shopping along Fifth Avenue on our way to Rockefeller Plaza before we went to the Top of the Rock. The windows here are nothing short of amazing.


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My blogging friend, Daryl, taking images of the windows.

The streets were mobbed but we did just fine.


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One of the windows at Bergdorf Goodman.


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Bulgari had a huge diamond-like snake wrapped around their building.


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Taken from the top level of the Rockefeller Building just before sunset. I edited this image  (and the ones from The Plaza) using a free action I just found on Mandy Faith’s blog. It lends sort of a pastel and pinkish glow.


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Daryl using her new camera to photograph the Empire State Building after she had just willed the lights on it to come on. I think I had more hits on FB on this image alone than any other that I posted from my trip to the city. And it’s one of my favorite shots.


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Westward view from the Top of the Rock overlooking the rooftop of the Worldwide Plaza. Thanks to Daryl for pointing out the name of the building to me.


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My son, Matt, who lives in the city.

Oh! There’s his apartment, down there on the left. Somewhere.


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The George Washington Bridge with its lights glowing. Central Park on the right.


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View from our window table at Robert, on Columbus Circle. So many taxis ~


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A short jaunt through Central Park near Strawberry Fields. Janice had never been to the park, so it was a must, just to do a quick visit. I love love love Central Park.

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And with that, I’ll say “see you next year”. I hope 2013 is a better one ~

and I hope you enjoyed these images. Thanks for stopping by, my friends.

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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hello again

Christmas was a bit sad for us, as my husband’s brother continues his stay in the hospital. I haven’t written about it because it’s not my story to tell and besides, it’s personal. And I’m a big proponent for keeping personal business off the internet – especially when it’s someone else’s business.

I did get to visit him several times however, and Christmas Day was spent with my husband’s family as it has been for as long as we’ve been together. I got to see some of my side of the family as well which is always fun. But I have to say that the most fun was spent during a trip to New York City.

I have been planning this for awhile now and in the end, it was a much-needed getaway. I met up with my blogging friend, Daryl, on the Upper West Side. And Janice came in on the train from Richmond, bringing her two kids. I have been wanting to visit the top of Rockefeller Center and we did it, meeting my son for the trip to the top.


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I timed it so that it would be just around sunset, and we watched as the lights of the city slowly came on, giving the night a special glow. That’s the Empire State Building you see there, dressed up for the holidays.

It was seriously cold up there, let me tell you. The day began with rain, but thankfully it cleared in time for our visit. The wind was whipping at this height and the plexiglass walls helped some as a buffer, but at the very top there was no protection so I couldn’t stay up there that long. I did get several decent shots between the plexiglass walls, though.


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My son took this one of me before the sun went down.

So happy.


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Afterward, we rode the elevator down to the ground floor and went out to see the tree at Rockefeller Center. I was especially enamored with these blue lights on the bare branches of the trees. A beautiful photo of them can be found on Daryl’s blog, {here}.

And, to give you some idea of the crowd, check out {this photo}.


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We walked and walked, and when I could walk no more, we took cabs.


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And the subway.


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Janice’s son and daughter were wonderful to have along.


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We went to Central Park, just for a quick visit.


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That’s the Dakota on the right side of the photo above.

We had wonderful food. I could do an entire post of food pictures. On Friday evening, we met up with Lauren and her beautiful daughter, Emma at one of our favorite places to eat – Robert, on the 9th floor of the Museum of Art & Design at Columbus Circle. My son joined us there as well.


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Daryl scored us a window seat reservation. This is my cocktail. It’s called The Redford and is made with Kanon organic vodka, cucumber and mint. Yummy.

But the best part of all was coming home to someone who really missed me. And to my husband.

(Got you there, didn’t I? Actually, my husband and my dog missed me equally as much, I believe).



This was my view coming up the driveway this afternoon.

Shot with my camera phone.

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More photos to come. Too tired to edit much more tonight.

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays

From the manor house on the hill to all of my readers, my family, and my friends.

Thank you for your constant support over the years. This blog of mine sure keeps me sane sometimes.


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I’ll be taking a short holiday break from blogging to visit with family and friends and will return later in the week. Enjoy your holiday, all.

And to those who are suffering, my heart goes out to you. I wish it didn’t have to be this way.

One of my favorite holiday tunes for you below.


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Sunday, December 23, 2012

With scarves of red tied 'round their throats

I sat on my front porch this morning in the cold air and the warm sunshine and counted all of my blessings while I drank my morning coffee. Do you know that at this time of year, the sun comes up just to the right of that big tree there and it sets not much further to the right? That means that at this time of year, my little front porch is in the sunlight for nearly the entire day. And starting yesterday, the arch of the sun gets longer and longer.

It’s only like this in the wintertime. And I love it.

I can’t believe another year is coming to an end. Can you?


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And I can’t believe how wonderful it is just to see and feel the sun again, after several days of gray and gloomy weather.


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George is glad, too.

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It’s wonderful having our two sons under our roof again, and all seems right with the world again. Well, for the most part anyway.


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Went to see Silver Linings Playbook tonight with my one son. Loved it. Jennifer Lawrence is, hands down, my favorite actress at the moment. And Bradley Cooper along with Jennifer Lawrence and a little De Niro thrown in is just magical. In a crazy kinda way.

Which is what it’s all about.

Well, that and the Eagles.


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I think this is my family’s favorite Christmas cookie.

You need to add these to your repertoire. They are light and lovely, and they speak of Christmas softly. They are Orange-Iced Cranberry Cookies. And when everything’s right and they are cooked to perfection, the outsides are golden crispy, the insides are like cake, and the orange frosting is well . . . it’s icing on the cake.

I always use extra orange rind.

    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup butter, softened
    • 1/2 cup sour cream
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 1/4 cup flour
    • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped
    • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • Combine sugars, butter, sour cream, vanilla, and eggs.
  • Add flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
  • Gently stir in cranberries and nuts. Don’t overmix.
  • Spoon by tablespoon 2” apart on lightly greased cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 11-13 minutes until golden brown.
  • Let cool, then frost with icing (below).


  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp. melted butter
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • 2-3 tbsp. orange juice

Combine all to spreading consistency.

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So, please do tell what’s going on in your world . . . inquiring minds want to know.

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Another holiday tune for you. This one a bit off the beaten track. It’s Fleet Foxes’ White Winter Hymnal and I think it’s kinda cool.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Quiet here

It’s been a quiet few days here at the manor house on the hill. I can’t believe how much snow some parts of the country have right now. Not that I want THAT much, I tell you. Too much snow here means the driveway is shut off and we become snowbound.

I don’t really feel like being snowbound just yet.


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I took this picture out my living room window this morning through the rain-spotted glass. It’s 43 degrees here in Maryland but the rain has stopped and it’s very windy. The wind and rain (and George) woke me last night and I came downstairs when George asked to go outside. George never did go outside. He took one look at the weather, and backed away from the door.


Florabella Snowflake Sticker


Somebody had a Christmas bath.


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My son went with me to the pet wash

and I did the shampooing while he did the rinsing.



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George is getting more used to the pet wash. I took these images with my cell phone.

It’s not every day you get to visit a blog where the owner posts pictures of her dog getting a bath, is it? Please try to contain your excitement over this.


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Blow dry.

George detests the blow dryer.


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Here he is almost dry.

He’s just had a snowman dog yummy for being such a good dog.



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And this morning, taken with the big camera. Add a red bow and he’s ready for a Christmas party.

So how are things in your neck of the woods? I’ve got cleaning on my agenda today so I’d better get in gear here. Until tomorrow, then ~

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Holiday song for you here ~


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Your favorite holiday movies

It’s that time of year to break out the films that get you in the mood for the holidays. Thanks to all who answered my question last week when I asked readers to list their favorite holiday films.

Mine range from the classic to the newer contemporary films and I’ve seen several of my favorites already this season. If you haven’t seen The Family Man, I recommend it. Nicolas Cage and Tea Leoni are perfect in this film about a guy who seemingly ‘has it all’ and is given a glimpse of what could have been had he made a different choice 13 years prior. It’s just not Christmas until I see it each year. I also highly recommend the Disney version of A Christmas Carol featuring Jim Carrey. The animation is beautiful in this movie, which is almost a thrill ride through the old streets of London. And The Bishop’s Wife with Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven - a classic that my sister, Charlotte, told me about several years ago. It’s a beautiful film.


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Below, in alphabetical order, are your favorite holiday films. There are several here which I’ve never seen or heard of, so I thank you for the recommendations. I’ve marked my favorites with asterisks.


  • A Charlie Brown Christmas
  • A Christmas Carol (1951) – with Alastair Sim
  • A Christmas Carol (2009) – Disney version with Jim Carrey *
  • A Christmas Story
  • Amahl and the Night Visitors
  • Christmas With the Kranks
  • Courage Mountain
  • Elf
  • Emmett Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas
  • Frosty the Snowman
  • Holiday Inn
  • Home Alone
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • It’s a Wonderful Life *
  • Jack Frost
  • Love Actually *
  • Miracle on 34th Street
  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  • Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer
  • Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town
  • Scrooge (1970) - with Albert Finney
  • Scrooged *
  • The Bishop’s Wife *
  • The Family Man *
  • The Family Stone *
  • The Holiday *
  • The Polar Express
  • The Santa Clause
  • White Christmas *



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I’ve been enjoying my time off from work and getting some things done around the house.

My favorite thing to do is wrapping presents.

But I have to be in the right mood.

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I’ve got a thing about wrapping presents.

Until tomorrow, my friends ~

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Much ado

Oh, I have been away for awhile, haven’t I? That tragedy in CT really broke my heart and I just didn’t have much to say. I’ve been trying to get into the Christmas spirit, and have also been a little busy but managed to capture a few photos along the way.

The weather has been unseasonably warm lately and until mid-morning today, we’ve had some incredible fog. I could have gotten some wonderful photos but something was always coming up, or I was rushing out and not taking the camera, so I think I pretty much missed out on that great fog.

We’ll have more, I’m sure.

Photos of Miss Blackie chilling out here in the warm weather.


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She’s such a softie.


I also made cookies.


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Orange-iced cranberry cookies – my specialty. They are such a treat for the holidays.

Orange-Iced Cranberry Cookies

I made 7 dozen.



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Then I wrapped them by dozens in individual boxes, and took them to a cookie exchange on Sunday. Fun!


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I found another new tea I love, too. Bought it here:

Red Velvet Chocolate Tea – The Republic of Tea

The mug is Starbucks and is several years old. It’s been my favorite since the day I bought it.



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Made this awesome dish on Saturday night. It was so yummy.

Baked Ziti

I used penne rather than ziti because that’s what I had in the house.



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I’m going to call this Approach to Philadelphia because that’s where that airliner is heading. What? You can’t see the plane?



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I’m still taking macro shots of my holiday things.

I got the little frame ornament at Pottery Barn years ago. In it is one of my favorite pictures taken of my husband with our then-new puppy (George) back in August 2007.


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Found a new acorn ornament over the weekend.


Life doesn’t feel so bad right now.


Hope all is well with you ~

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