Oh #$&^*%(#… It’s December!!

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Wait

Does the calendar say December 8th already??

et moi, without a single post up yet for the month?.

I guess that old kidnapping story won’t fly again.

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or  “the dog ate my computer” excuse.

To tell the truth, the days have flown by and I’m as surprised as anyone that Christmas is just a little more than two weeks away.

I’m out of my sling, driving again and continuing physical therapy but, with no offense (my therapist is adorable) the process alternates between being boring, guilt provoking and painful (insert your old relationship’s name here)

The upside is I’ve found I have a ton of company. I’ve joined a ‘Torn Rotator Cuff Society’ where we all give secret “Live Long and Prosper” salutes, albeit with awkwardly hunched-up shoulders.

Christmas will be different in our home this year. I’m not decorating in our traditional fashion, so unfortunately, I won’t have my usual Christmas fare to share. It would be impossible for me to get on a ladder to dress the tree. Let’s get real, I still can’t even tie up my hair.

OK, let’s get really real, did I mention I gained 10 lbs? NO JOKE, therefore not at all funny so stop laughing!

Who would imagine that months of no exercise, a steady diet of comfort food and a newly acquired penchant for red wine would be so deleterious??

But I don’t really like to talk about weight, diets and yucky things so we’ll leave that there.

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December sunset in Santa Barbara

Changes are afoot for ‘Slim Paley’. Good changes (hopefully)

After 4 years it’s time.

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Somebody forgot to tell my roses it was December.

I’ll be tinkering with my entire format and design, so please bear with me in the following weeks.  I need to address issues such as my crowding columns and “Category Cloud” disappearance.

Let’s face it-”Slim” needs a lift

I’d like to return to shorter, more frequent posts and possibly include some short videos too.

2014 Baby!!

In the meantime, please do visit my past December posts in the Archives,

as well as The Popular Kids,

and my Travel tab which I’ve been updating slowly but surely.

More new travel coming soon!

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Keep your cool in the crowds, don’t let the holidays make you crazy, and remember…

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to breathe.

And feel free to comment with any great holiday tips for us :-)

Happy December!!

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Dog photo via Pinterest

Sunset Style

I haven’t been around lately to enjoy the Autumn sunsets so this one tonight caught me quite off guard. There I was, with my back to the window chatting away on the phone, only to finally stop talking, turn and catch these last vivid streaks.

It never fails to thrill me even though I’ve lived in Santa Barbara almost 20 years.

Matthew Williamson found inspiration in a sunset palette for his Spring 2013 collection

As did Donatella Versace

Stella did a gorgeous sunset clutch

Matthew Williamson

Versace

Burberry

Burberry

Burberry

Dahlias in Santa Fe

Burberry

Roses in Paris

And lastly, a little sunset-y jelly dessert bite for you!

Have a wonderful rest of the week and don’t forget to look up!

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Off to a Good Start…

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As we near the end of this first week of 2012, I’m sharing just a few photos I snapped in Santa Barbara where we’ve been blessed with some of the most incredible January weather I can recall  in many years.

Almost guilt-ifying (but not quite )

I popped over the mountains to beautiful Ojai on Wednesday afternoon and on the drive home felt compelled to pull over to the side of the road and capture the moment.

 I’m afraid I missed the best of the light, due to the driver behind me who was obviously neither a proponent of the “Slow Movement” or a person who appreciates spectacular natural lighting but I guess that’s life in the fast lane (see what I did there?)

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In addition to the spectacular vistas encountered on the pass between Santa Barbara and Ojai,  the copious amount of avocados rolling around on the road at this time of year is almost comical.

 I was mashing guacamole the entire way :)

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and lo & behold the “Golden Arches” (Montecito Style) are out

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Meanwhile, the last batch of Trader Joe’s frozen chocolate croissants were devoured…

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(Sorry, but these just never get old for me. I mean look-they’re jockeying for position off the baking tray for goodness sake!)

This is the closest I will ever come to baking like Martha Stewart.

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I grabbed nice long hugs before I sent my cubs back to school

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…I did not win the first Scrabble game of the year, despite a last minute “Qi” on a triple point letter square, but did manage to keep several New Year’s “Intentions” in tact, including pulling out my art supplies and reading a non-fiction book ( resolution #4; learn something new everyday and write it down).

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Although I didn’t get a yoga practice in, I intend to this weekend.

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from the book “Bitter with Baggage”

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Lastly, the second season of “Downton Abbey” starts on Sunday night- I can hardly wait!

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and this was the view from my desk most nights this first week in January.

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The world is indeed a wondrous place to live.

Slow down, look around and pick up the free avocados

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Thanks again for all your lovely comments on my New Year’s Post, I truly appreciate each and every one.

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Happy Weekend All!

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Soups On, Fires On, Hockey’s On!

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Sunset, Lake Tahoe, NO FILTER , LK's Grab BagPhoto of Lake Tahoe by L.K.

It’s pouring rain again today in Santa Barbara and a perfect day for a nice hearty soup!   A few weeks ago, we went to stay with some great friends of ours who live in Lake Tahoe and they served this fantastic soup one afternoon.  I ate it and promptly fell asleep on the sofa in the same room where everyone was watching a rambunctious football game.

Now THAT’S a hearty soup!   We tried it again when we got home and I must say- it’s a keeper.

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Mountain Comfort Soup

(Original recipe created by Khalil el Zein)

Serves 6-8

1/2 cup butter (doesn’t it sound good already?!)

4 chopped shallots

3/4 cup flour

8 cups chicken broth

3 bunches spinach leaves (aprox. 1/2 lb.)  shredded

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 cup cream (plus a tiny bit more :)  )

1 egg yolk

A tablespoon or so of chopped basil for garnish

+ Add to taste; chopped up roasted chicken pieces (smallish cubes), mini shell pasta, very thinly sliced shitake mushrooms, roasted pine nuts (we added all of these, I suggest you do the same)

Heat butter and saute shallots for a few seconds.  Add flour and whisk continuously.  Gradually add chicken broth and continue to whisk until mixture is smooth.  Boil for 1 minute.  Add spinach, chicken, white pepper, mushrooms and any or all of the other embellishments above and cook for an additional minute (the pasta should be already boiled)

Just before serving, mix together cream and the egg yolk and fold gently into the soup and stir.    Garnish with a little chopped basil

Enjoy and Nighty Night!!

This was breakfast just a few hours earlier…which could explain the complete soup coma I went into after lunch.  But don’t they say you should eat every few hours???

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In addition to sharing the recipe for the soup, our friends introduced us to “Good Earth” Original Sweet & Spicy Herbal Tea;  No SUGAR, no caffeine, and no artificial colour or ingredients (Ingredients
Red Rooibos, Chicory Root, Artificial Flavor, Rosehips, Cinnamon, Peppermint, Lemongrass, Papaya, Chamomile, Panax Ginseng Leaves, Anise Seed, Ginger Root, Dandelion Root, Orange Peel and Orange Oil)
Honestly- it is SO GOOD.  I’m totally addicted- I’m drinking at least two cups a day, and so is everyone else in our house.  I just can’t believe how sweet it is with no sugar whatsoever.  My friend is UNBELIEVABLY healthy and…oh, let’s just leave it at that for the moment because I don’t want to make you feel badly about yourself. I’ll take that one for the team.  I’ve just spent 5 minutes trying to think of something wrong with her…so far, I’ve got nothing.  Let’s just say that if she drinks the tea, we should all be drinking it too.    Available on Amazon Grocery.

Oh, wait… I do think she had a couple of hangnails-  and something tells me she’s probably crap at ironing.

Slim Paley Photo……………..Hurry!  Soups ON!!

Slim Paley Photo………Anyone care to have a word with that Ground hog again??

Go Team Canada!  :)

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