MOTIVATION MONDAY:

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Welcome first Monday of 2017! And let's face it, this has to be the most naturally motivating Monday of the year. A clean slate, 365 blank pages to write your own story and that's so exciting!

New Years Day is also my birthday so it's a double reflection time for me. I hope that you had a wonderful weekend ringing in the new year and also took some time to reflect on the past year. What was it about 2016 that worked for you and what didn't? What are you carrying into the new year and what have you chosen to let go of and most importantly what are your dreams for a fabulous 2017?

I'm making sure my 2017 is full of adventures so we started this first day of the year hiking up to Mt. Baldy for my birthday. We climbed in the snow, 3 miles up and back, jumped over creeks and I only slid on my butt once! (OK, twice if you count the black ice I didn't notice in the parking lot, ouch).

We ate lunch at the coziest throw back lodge with a roaring fire and chili just as hot. My favorite thing about living in California is how you can drive in any direction an hour or two and be in a completely different word. In this case from our sunny back yard to the snow in and hour and a half. Sharing some pics below.

In keeping with the theme of the blog this year, taking the everyday from drabulous to fabulous, I want to focus on the simple things that are so transformative. Sometimes it's just a matter of stepping out of our front doors and taking a walk. Never underestimate the power of Mother Nature, it's such a refreshing way to re-boot.
 
 
Happy 2017! May All Your Dreams Come True!


ROAD TRIP CHRONICLES: HOLIDAY WEEKEND IN ARIZONA

Helloooo ~ I hope you all had a lovely holiday weekend! Yikes it's already Thursday, and the count down is on to say goodbye to this very weird 2016. So much left to do, but first a little play back of our holiday weekend.
It was bright and early last Friday, 6 AM to be exact, when we loaded up the car, and I mean loaded, and headed to Arizona. My daughter, my husband, our dog Daisy and our grandogter Penelope. (I longed for my old gas guzzling SUV). Let me start by saying that we've never taken the dogs on a road trip before so we had no idea how this six hour road trip from LA - AZ was going to go. The magical thing about dogs though, and you know this if you're a dog person, is their instinct, it's such perfection, they just know what's happening. Daisy has never been farther than the 15 minute ride to the vet and that trip has her foaming at the mouth, shedding enough fur to make another dog, and stinking up the car enough to the point where I have to drive with my head out the window. But when we got in the car for this trip she instinctively knew it was a good thing, no foaming, no shedding, and no stinking! I'm thrilled to report that aside from a mess at the first rest stop when Penelope stepped in tar, (more human error than dog error), her and Daisy were complete angels, real road warriors. As for us humans, we sang Christmas songs and stuffed our faces with travel snacks and had a grand ol' time. Our destination, an airbnb that my awesome sister-in-laws found that accepted dogs. My in-laws live in AZ for the winter and their complex doesn't allow dogs so instead we all got to stay together in a cute little dog friendly condo.
Penelope chose not to sign autographs at Chriraco Summit
 Daisy chose to sleep to avoid listening to my singing.
Are we there yet?
Grateful for safe travels and to be out of the car!

We decided to move Christmas Eve up to Friday night and have Christmas and Hanukkah on Saturday.  Having Hanukkah and Christmas fall on the same day was extra special and I brought along our prettiest Menorah. Latkas were our appetizer to the wonderful Christmas dinner my sister-in-law made, she could really give Martha Stewart a run for her money! And we watched Adam Sandlers original debut of his Hanukkah song on SNL which I adore and is my tradition to play on the first night of Hanukkah every year. After dinner and our white elephant gift exchange we even got into a hot game of dreidel!

Stockings made years ago, my sister-in-law, (Martha Stewart), she thought of everything!
Even The Elf on The Shelf made it.
And Penelope made the cutest reindeer who needs a hair cut.

Photo bombing of the Latka maker.
Yummmm.
Girls rule after an overly competitive game of Catch Phrase where the guys cheated, hahaha. I'd hear about that but they don't read my blog heehee.
Daisy tolerating me and her Christmas outfits.

On Saturday morning we headed up to Superstition Mountains, dogs and all. I figured I'd go as far as Daisy could. But to our surprise she tramped up that mountain and did the three miles like a real trouper. I stopped just short of the top with her because it got very rocky and steep so I was afraid she'd slip, (OK I was afraid I'd slip), so I didn't get to take a picture of the petroglyphs at the top but I have one below taken my one of my sister-in-laws. Pretty amazing. Legend has it that in 1891 gold was found on the trail.

That's one of my sister-in-laws being hoisted by my brother-in-law, that's the part that scared me.
So we sat it out across the way.
These are the dare devils. Including handsome, not shown, because he was off with my niece hanging from a cliff somewhere.
Credit to my sister-in-law for braving the top for this picture.
Just chillin' on a mountain top.
A storm started to move in on our way down. 

When we headed back to LA on Sunday we stopped in Palm Springs to snap a few pics of the snow on the mountain tops and the windmills, a fun sight especially for Christmas weekend! Palm trees and snow, now there's a juxtaposition. I love you California! 


A great time was had by all and to all a good night.



LAST MINUTE GIFT IDEAS:

Helloooo! Happy almost holidays, or holidaze for those of us still saying how can this be!?!

It's no secret that I love a good shopping spree at Target, and around this time of year especially, when they really up their game on style!  So I wanted to pull together a few last minute gift ideas, at working girl friendly prices ~ for the snuggler, the host/hostess and the spa girl in your life. It helps to know the passions of those you're shopping for ;)

MOVIE CRITIC MONDAY:

OK so I'm no movie critic but when someone in your family is on the SAG nominating committee and they get invited to screenings with a plus one ~ (take me, take me!) And tons of DVDs cram your mailbox every day from October - December you end up watching a lot of movies! Now this is just my opinion and here's my criteria to keep in mind; I happen to like happy endings, I like comedy, I like true stories, I won't watch anything where there is graphic violence against women. That being said, here are my picks and ekks.
LION - My favorite so far, an incredible true story and an extraordinary piece of film making. The actor who plays the little boy will steal your heart as will Dev Patel. The cinematography is stunning. See it on the big screen.

RULES DON'T APPLY - We saw this one at Fox Studio and Warren Beatty and Annette Bening did the Q & A after which was very cool, they were funny and told stories about each other on set that only a husband and wife could tell. He wrote, stared in and directed the film. It's a fictional story but it revolves around the real world of Howard Hughes and old Hollywood. It's funny, poignant and it has a happy ending although not the way you'd expect, so I'm not spoiling it for you. Definitely see on the big screen.

DEEP WATER HORIZON - This is the true story about the BP oil spill off the coast of Texas. It's a shocking eye opener and I think a must see due to the subject matter. It was done with such authenticity that we felt like we were actually watching it happen. We also saw this one at a screening. Kurt Russell did the Q & A after. Definitely the big screen!

MISS SLOAN - This is a great movie but I don't want to spoil it for you, so I can't say much, just that Jessica Chastain plays a Washington lobbyist and if you like a political thriller you'll love it. Big screen or when it's out on Netflix.

DORIS - This one's for girls night, a sweet and funny little story of an eccentric older women played by Sally Field who sets her sights on a 20 something co-worker. Small screen.

BRIDGET JONES BABY - Also girls night. OK, it's not a masterpiece of film making but if you're a Bridget Jones lover, and I am, it's a must see. Small screen OK.

SULLY - Going to give you my husband's opinion on this one. He says it's great, and I have heard that from a lot of people and although it has a happy ending, as it did in life, it's the true story of the airplane that lost both of it's engines on take off due to birds in the engines. I won't see it because I love to travel but I'm not a great flyer ~ enough said.

20TH CENTURY WOMEN - I found this to be very depressing, I almost turned it off about 5 times in the beginning.  It got better in the middle. Acting was great but other than that a disappointment.

NOCTURNAL ANIMALS - I love Jake Gyllenhaal and I wanted to see this because it's a Tom Ford film but once I watched the trailer I knew I couldn't watch it due to the inciting incident.

LA LA LAND - This was really interesting. It's a musical but neither Emma Stone or Ryan Gosling can really sing. It's funny and oddly shot, with bright colors and musical numbers in the beginning which almost disappear in the middle and change into a drama at the end. It just won a critics choice award and it's definitely worth seeing on the big screen.

LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP -  This film just totally missed whatever it was trying to be. Big boring Ekk.

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA - Another film that's getting rave reviews that we thought was very depressing.  The characters had no arc, the main character played by Casey Afleck never evolves, he's just flat from beginning to end and although the cinematography of a frigid Manchester is shot beautifully it's extremely depressing looking. Ekk

HELL IN HIGH WATER - One of those moves that you ask 'why did anyone make this?'  It wasn't bad, it wasn't good, It's a guy flick, small screen.

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC - The title has really nothing to do with the movie, it's a sweet story about a guy trying to raise his kids in the wild. There's a scene in the beginning that shows them hunting for food, and it's very graphic, I left the room for it, that's just a heads up if you're a fellow animal lover. Small screen OK.

JACKIE - This is really a biopic about the assassination of John F. Kennedy from Jackie Kennedy's point of view, step by step. Small screen.

I haven't made a dent in the pile of movies yet but that's my 2 cents so far.

And if you're in the mood to cozy up with a great Christmas movie, my all time favorite picks are The Holiday and Love Actually.