Less is More

Recently I posted several blogs focusing on holiday décor, food, and planning. As we journey deeper into the season, I thought I would present one more festive post.

I am a member of a very large extended family. On top of that I am bi-cultural (.5 Irish .5 Italian). What this means is there is a happy mix of holiday traditions when it comes to festivities and food.

In the past, our holiday table usually accommodated 18 to 25 guests. Over the years, due to relocations and such it decreased to 12 to 14 guests. Most recently, for the somber reasons that life sometime delivers, we border 8 to 10 guests.

Approaching my first smaller venue the number of guests saddened me. My concerns centered around ensuring fun and sufficient social interaction for all. I believed in “the more the merrier.” But as I prepared the feast, partying, and assemble the smaller table setting I began to trust that even in this setting my hosting could be grand.

Now I’m on to my second “petite” holiday setting and I delight in the preparation. I relish in the realization that I no longer need to create an eclectic mix of dinner, glass and flatware. My china, silver flatware and Chrystal glassware for 12 efficiently produces a beautiful, matched setting for the bounty to come. All guests, and especially to the delight of the wee folk, are seated at the main table. Conversation among the mix of generations flows deliciously and laughter fills the room. In this setting I have the distinct pleasure of being a part of the merriment, rather than a frazzled attendant. I am able to sit back, look around and drink in the true meaning of the season. It doesn’t have to be big and loud and crowded to be a holiday; it just has to bring folks together and project love.

As for the menu, this is where I have the opportunity to mix and match ethnic dishes. In years past, Christmas Eve hosted a full fish menu. However, as my guest list varied, I have adjusted the dishes to meet the traditions and tastes of all who join us. But no matter the group Italian Fish Salad is the star of the show. Why? Because it is relatively easy to prepare, light, delish and makes its debut as an appetizer and then proceeds to the dinner table as a spectacular sideshow.


Shrimp, Calamari tubes and tentacles. Chopped celery, parsley and lots of fresh chopped garlic. Sliced and chunked fresh lemons and oranges. EVOO! Boil the fish until just tender. I cut the shrimp into halves to make bite size pieces. Slice the Calamari tubes into rings, tentacles remain whole. Place these ingredients into a large bowl. Add the celery, parsley, garlic and lemon and oranges chunks. Have 1 extra lemon and 1 extra orange on hand to cut and squeeze the fresh juice onto the mixture. Drizzle generously with EVVO. Mix well. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with fresh lemon rings. (this dish tastes best if made the day before serving).

This year the rest of my main dish menu includes:
Filet Mignon, broccoli rabe, oven roasted potatoes and poached salmon. Sauces, red wine infused brown sauce with mushroom caps and onions and a rich hollandaise sauce, which can enhance the beef or the fish. Guests’ choice.

Truly, less is more.

No matter where it takes you, enjoy the journey….



What if I told you the solution to all problems is simply visualization. By nature I’ve always been a visual learner. Now as a special education teacher, it’s my job to teach students how to use visual aids especially in math to solve complex problems. In Reiki, we look to our third eye for wisdom, clarity, and guidance, this is the gateway to visualization.
What if we aligned all of our thoughts and our words to the images we desire? If its success you crave write the word prosperity, hang it up, look at it daily, and align your feelings. Tell yourself I am worthy of success, I am successful. Close your eyes, picture how you would feel, and then smile let your body relax. You have now welcomed positive energy and are in the mind frame to achieve success, and it will come. This can be done for all aspects of your life, love, health, wellness the list goes on. What we focus on we create. Your thoughts and words can affect our nervous, system, our energy, and our entire life experience. We often block ourselves from what we want by the energy we put out into the Universe. Instead, we need to welcome it.

A vision board is a powerful tool in your wellness survival kit. By simply identifying your goals, setting an intention, cutting and gluing words and images that correspond with your desires, you are on your way to achieving what you most desire.


This is a daily practice. The things you want most will not simply come to you because you made a pretty colleague. (lol) You must activate your board and do the daily work. Remember the words you say have power, I am (fill in the blank), I welcome (fill in the blank). Check out @visionworksny on Instagram. They are a new small business based on Long Island. They host vision board workshops and help others learn the secret to becoming the best version of themselves.





Home for the Holidays

(courtesy http://www.twelveonmain.com)

The holiday season is upon us, which always brings with it a cause for reflection and planning.

Winter temps have come early to my neck of the woods.  Each morning the kitchen fireplace hosts a roaring fire creating a cozy environment where my creative thoughts blossom and flow as I sip on morning coffee.


Due to our many travels my husband and I have purchased sculpture, art, and artifacts from places near and far.  As a result, our home is an eclectic mix of Italian, Parisian, Asian, and Mexican style (if you can imagine that!).  Recently, I have fallen in love with Farmhouse simplicity.  Dare I say, “I would like to redecorate?”  I think not.  Rather, I am going to work on implementing touches of what I call, Farmhouse Traditional, and I am going to begin with holiday décor touches.


For our family it is Christmas.  But implementing new décor and/or tradition to any celebration can be fun and fresh.  Whether one celebrates Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah or Winter Solstice the holidays provide a great opportunity to introduce a new style or change in tradition.

solstice (courtesy growingupherbal.com)

I’m beginning my revamping plan by nixing much loved Victorian Christmas wrappings and updating to a Farmhouse theme.  My journey started on Amazon with a purchase of butcher brown paper for gift boxes and continued on with a shopping spree at Michaels’ with items that included brown paper shopping bags in assorted sizes, red and green raffia ribbon, and buffalo plaid tissue paper.  Next, I’m going to adopt the method of placing my Christmas tree with stand inside a thatched woven basket that will soften the design and eliminate the need for a tree skirt.  Awesome!


It’s not an entire redecorating splurge,  but it sure is a new approach that will pave the way to implementing other Farmhouse Traditional touches to my current décor theme.  Taking special care to not overdo and to choose just the right pieces will open up a whole new look where broad and diverse belongings will get along quite nicely.

Happy Decorating, Happy Holidays!