Saturday Meanderings

Happy Saturday from Phoenix, Arizona! I am back in the Valley of the Sun and even here, you can feel the shift in temperatures in the mornings and evenings. In order to get in the fall spirit, I am hanging the autumn wreaths and adding seasonal touches to the porch too. Thank you for joining me today for Saturday Meanderings where we chat about all good things this week.

Thinking ahead to Fall

Finally pulled out my paints

Plein air painting in the mountains

I dream about painting outside in beautiful weather (plain air), but I have not taken out a paint brush in months. So on a lovely day this week, my husband sets up a table for me to finally do some painting.

very rough draft

Unfortunately, I am only to do so for a few hours, but here’s my rough (very rough) draft of 4 ducks. More editing to be done, but this small attempt is a reminder how much I enjoy painting. Why can’t I make more time for this??!!

Pool Cleaning

We completely re-did the original pool back in 2001, as part of the property restoration. I didn’t realize that you are supposed to drain the pool, acid wash the walls and clean the tile every 3-4 years. Oops. Here is it 22 years later and we are doing this for the first time.

cleaning the pool

You can see the difference in the calcification on the tile before and after cleaning.

Removing all the calcification

Looking forward to a clean and sparkling pool to use in the late summer.

What are You Watching?

Did you see Guiding Emily last night? We recently dropped Direct TV and am now using Direct TV streaming. Unfortunately, I did not realize that Direct TV streaming doesn’t carry Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. However, after some scrambling I was able to do a free 7 day trial to Philo in order to see the movie.

Guiding Emily on Hallmark

Guiding Emily is really well done! Garth, the guide dog is adorable. Sarah Drew’s outstanding performance as Emily truly conveys the fear, hopelessness and frustration in suddenly losing your sight. If you love movies with a fabulous house, this one is stunning. Hallmark truly elevated their game with this movie.

But what I liked best about this movie is how much I learned about sight impairment. The author, Barbara Hinske, sheds light on the challenges of those who are blind and operating in a sighted world. I highly recommend watching this.

Two Shows on Prime Video

PIe in the Sky

We just finished Pie in the Sky and I didn’t want the 6 seasons series to end. If you like detective mysteries and good food, you will love this enjoyably British mix of character comedy and murder mystery.

Starring Richard Griffiths (Mr. Dursley in Harry Potter) as DI Henry Crabbe, a good cop finally retires from the force and opens his dream restaurant. He hopes to while away his retirement serving up his favorite dishes, but his old boss puts his plans on the back burner. It’s an oldie, but we found it very enjoyable.

All Creatures Great and Small

Just started watching All Creatures Great and Small, based on the books about James Herriot, a veterinarian in 1930s in Yorkshire Dales. The characters, scenery and situations are all so entertaining and visually beautiful. You will find this on PBS or it is free with your subscription to Prime Video, I think.

Live to 100 on Netflix

Live to 100 on Netflix

Everyone needs to see this 5 show series. Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones takes you around the world to investigate the diet and lifestyles of those living the longest lives. It’s fascinating and also sad how the United States has one of the highest rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Did you also know that for the first time the longevity rate in the US is declining? A must see.

What are You Reading?

Lessons in Chemistry

I admit that the reason I wasn’t drawn to this book is the cover. The old adage, don’t judge a book by its cover is exactly what I did. But after hearing great reviews I took the leap and loved it. Lessons in Chemistry is cleverly written, smart, and well worth the read. New York Times is calling it the best book of the year.

French Country Cottage Christmas

French Country Cottage Christmas

Even though my style is not French Country, I do like the work of Courtney Allison. I met Courtney during my visit to Patina Farm (see that post here). Courtney writes the blog, French Country Cottage and has previously published 2 books. I love her first book, but wasn’t wild about her second one.

Though I haven’t started reading her third and newest book, French Country Cottage Christmas, but the photos do look stunning. There is a section on 25 Inspiring Trees and DIYs for a handmade natural Christmas. If you love Christmas like I do and want ideas, you can find her book here. I have the hard copy vs. a Kindle version, and cannot wait to study all the gorgeous photos.

Enjoy the Weekend

Blooms in the yard

If you missed any posts this week, please read about the Fall Styling Workshop we will be holding here at Bella Terra in October. We’d love for you to join us.

Thinking about wallpapering a room in your home? See how I use Peel & Stick wallpaper in a bathroom at our cabin here.

It’s homemade tomato sauce time. Today I am picking up 100 lbs. of Roma tomatoes from the Uptown Farmers Market. Since I am getting ready to head to the ocean for a few days, canning will take place next week.

Have a splendid weekend, friends!

Saturday Meanderings

After 26 days of straight inferno temperatures, the Valley of the Sun finally got some rain. We are out of town but according to friends, the storm came in like a tornado. Many homes lost power and there is lots of debris due to high winds. But a change in the weather is a welcomed break. We are up in the mountains where the weather is cooler in the mornings and the days are nice, albeit warmer than usual. No air-conditioning up here but I’ll take high 80s over 116 degrees any day. Welcome to Saturday Meanderings where we chat about all good things this week. Let’s get started!

Deck is complete!

Our new Trex deck

As you may recall last summer we embarked on replacing the front deck to the cabin. Long story short, the licensed contractor did the worst job and the entire deck had to be removed and replaced by another contractor. Finally, the deck is complete, and it looks fabulous. So happy this project is behind us and now we can concentrate on it being a positive and good thing.

Cabin Life

Front path to our cabin

We are so blessed to have a place to escape the hot Phoenix summers. However, ever since we’ve owned the cabin, I confess we have not used it as much as possible. Now that the children are off on the their own, it’s easier to come up here for longer periods of time. One of the reasons I love it here is that it is SO quiet. You can actually hear silence. It’s amazing how noisy our world has become with sirens, airplanes, traffic, etc. There are far less cell and radio towers and you can actually feel the difference. Do you think the world is becoming louder? What do you do to “turn off” all the noise?

Deadheading Geraniums

Geraniums in need of deadheading

My large potted geraniums are in dire need of deadheading. Since I haven’t been here since mid-June, they are filled with sad looking blooms. If you have geraniums, you must read this post by my friend, Rachel. In her Best Tips to Keep Geraniums Blooming from Spring to Fall, there is everything you need to know about growing and maintaining geraniums. It took me 3 days to deadhead all of mine this trip and each and every bloom and dried leaf I removed, I thought of Rachel! Now they look healthy and happy.

Let’s Support Barbara

My dear friend and neighbor, Barbara Hinske recently left a law practice to become a full-time novelist. Her novel Guiding Emily was conceived during a tour of The Foundation for Blind Children, an amazing facility located here in Phoenix. She now has 4 books in the Guiding Emily series and Hallmark is airing her first book, Guiding Emily on September 8th. If the Nielsen ratings are high enough, then Hallmark will more than likely make this into a series.

Guiding Emily by Barbara Hinske

Please mark your calendars and tune into the movie on September 8 (I’ll try and send a reminder). Why is this important? If you haven’t read Guiding Emily, I strongly suggest you do. These novels shed light on blindness and its debilitating impact on one’s life. You will fall in love with Garth, her seeing eye dog and get his perspective too. Here is the description from Hallmark:

Emily’s life changes after losing her eyesight, while a guide dog struggles with training. Through a series of missed encounters both overcome their obstacles and find each other. Stars Sarah Drew, Antonio Cupo, Eric McCormack.

On location with Owen, the real-life guide-dog-in-training, who plays Garth
Barbara on location with Owen who plays Garth in the movie

Let’s support Barbara in getting her Guiding Emily books into a worthwhile television series!

Speaking of Books..

Andrea from Design Morsels, asks this question in her recent blog post, what are the 5 Books I Wish I Could Read Again for the First Time.

After some thought, here are a few of mine.

The Once and Future King by T.H.White

The Once and Future King by T.H. White. Several years ago, I acquired this book from a stranger sitting next to me on a plane ride. He finished reading it and gave it to me. Not only did I love the book but his generous gesture is something I will always remember and appreciate, even 35 years later!

Several Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon

All the Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon. This book series is now an award-winning 6 seasons series on STARZ.

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins. One summer we read this 3 book series to our children and I loved them as much as they did. I believe there are now 5 in the series. But if you have children or grandchildren between the ages of 8 and 11, these are fabulous summer books for them to read.

I’ll keep pondering this as there are many books I love but it’s reading them again for the first time that gives me pause. What would be your answer to this question?

Recipe I want to make

Peach Brussels Sprout Crunch Salad

Salads seem to be a mainstay during the summer and here is one I will definitely make this weekend. As per the description on Ambitious Kitchen’s website, doesn’t this sound delicious?

Gorgeous peach brussels sprouts salad with sweet & salty nuts and a creamy tahini poppy seed dressing. This vegetarian brussels sprouts peach salad is filled with a wonderful mix of textures and flavors. Enjoy it for the perfect summer lunch or side dish on its own or with your favorite protein!

See the recipe here.

How to Freeze Fresh Herbs

How to Freeze Fresh Herbs by Ambitious Kitchen

With the summer bounty comes a wide array of fresh herbs. Of course, there are dried herbs but nothing can replace the flavor of fresh basil, rosemary, thyme and chives to name a few. Whether in a recipe, salad or cocktail, fresh herbs have the highest concentration of flavor.

Here is a great blog post from Ambitious Kitchen on How to Freeze Fresh Herbs using either olive oil or water. I am definitely doing this!

Feeling Blah?

Shutterstock photo

With this oppressive weather here and around the country, it may contribute to feeling blah. I noticed earlier in the week I was feeling a bit listless and aimless. It’s called languishing. A state of languishing can leave you with a neutral or flat mindset, one where you have few strong emotions. Instead of feeling sadness, joy, anger, or enthusiasm, you simply remain in a state of “meh.”

We all get moments like this in our lives, but what can be done to help get rid of the blahs? According to Psych Central, here are 5 tips to overcoming the blahs.

Calm app

  1. Practice mindfulness. Tuning into what your body and mind are experiencing through mindfulness brings you back to the present moment and helps cultivate gratitude and connection. I love the Calm app which has several ways to practice mindfulness, in addition to improving sleep and focus, reducing stress or anxiety, and sharing self-improvement exercises. You can also try it for free.
  2. Feel your Feelings. Try and pin point the source of feeling in a funk.
  3. Get Outside. Easier said than done when it is SO hot and the awful daily ozone reports don’t help. Maybe watching a National Geographic show or listening to outdoor sounds, like crashing waves, might help. For me a trip to the mountains and a change of scenery elevates the mood. Try an early morning walk when the temperatures are more acceptable.
  4. Reach out for support. This week I was telling my friend, Christine that I was feeling blah. Come to find out she was too! Christine is a great friend who would be the first one there to help get you out of the doldrums. So reach out. You are likely to find others are feeling the same way and together you can turn languishing into laughter.
  5. Engage with your Community. Volunteer to help others either through time or treasure.

What do you do to turn your feelings of blah into more joyful moments? Please share any valuable tips.

Christmas in July

WM Design House-love this fresh lambs ear “ribbon”

If you missed my blog post on Tuesday, I am happy to share Christmas in July inspiration with 16 other bloggers. Not ready for Christmas yet? Bookmark it for later. There is a lot of good holiday tips you don’t want to miss!

Wishing you a wonderful weekend! As I write this, we have dark, moody skies with the wind blowing through the pine trees. Hoping for a nice rain storm as we need it here in Arizona. I’ll be doing a bit more bike riding and pulling out the paints this weekend! Always seeking moments of joy…