Sunday, December 17, 2017

Pink Saturday Gets a Visit from Saint Nicholas

St. Peter's Church in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan

I started to write this post with the words, "I've spent the better part of an hour trying to load pictures..." But in the interest of accuracy I will say I've spent the most frustrating part of an hour trying to load pictures of the New York Botanical Garden's Holiday Train Show and not one would load. I promise to spend as much time as it takes to load the pictures for another post, because the Train Show may be one of my new most favorite sights in New York City at this time of year.

Luckily, there are pictures freshly taken this afternoon and easily transferred from my phone. I happened to be in the Chelsea neighborhood this afternoon and I walked over to the Christmas Church, St. Peter's.   It was founded in 1831 on land given by Clement Clarke Moore, taken from his estate "Chelsea." It is still very much a functioning congregation and it was beautifully decorated for the season.
After days of gray skies and snow I enjoyed today's bright weather.

This isn't the best photograph, but I took it from a flyer for an event on the church outside bulletin board and it's the Buttercupland tribute to perhaps the most beloved American Christmas poem, by none other than the founder of St. Peter's, Clement Clarke Moore. Unfortunately the reading was last week, but I'm going to make a note to be on the lookout for this event in 2018.

This isn't the post I intended, but like so many things in our lives, it turned out to be just the right post for  Pink Saturday and the nights before Christmas, with a happy pink-cheeked Santa. I hope you think so, too.

As ever, thanks for visiting. Take good care and good wishes for week ahead.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Lies Jane Austen Told Me

Calling All Jane Austen fans

I thought I would be really calm this month. I didn't schedule a lot to do and had almost all of my shopping done by the end of November. But despite all of my pre-planning, somehow the usual holiday season anxiety took hold. Maybe it was too much coffee or too many things on my to-do list, but I was not the calm and carefree woman I had so hoped to be.

But thankfully there is reading and fun romance books to read. Thanks to my friends at Shadow Mountain Publishing I had the pleasure of reading Lies Jane Austen Told Me. It took my mind off my infinite list of errands and it a terrific and fun read.

I am a Jane Austen fan and I've read a good number of the books that use Pride and Prejudice/Emma/Sense and Sensibility as their bases. Lies Jane Austen Told Me does the genre proud. Julie Wright has created a perfect Austen heroine with Los Angeles marketing executive Emma Pierce. She's read every word of Jane Austen, but hasn't found her Mr. Darcy. After discovering her boyfriend with another woman -- not too spicy, dear readers -- she decides to focus on her career and meets her now ex-boyfriend's brother, Lucas. As another British author wrote, "The course of true love never did run smooth," but in Lies Jane Austen Told Me, you will enjoy following its course.

If you're still searching for a gift for a friend who enjoys reading or a book to settle in with on a cold winter day, I highly recommend Lies Jane Austen Told Me.

It's been fun visiting with all of you and chatting about books. I'm going to make a cup of tea -- perhaps peppermint, my new winter favorite -- and devote myself to card writing.

Take good care, dear friends. As ever, thanks for visiting and have a sweet Sunday.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

No Matter How You Spell It...

Happy Hannukkah/Chanukah!

The not-so traditional sufganiyot -- doughnuts -- from my favorite Breads Bakery.
On Tuesday, December 12 -- the 25th of Kislev in the Hebrew calendar - Chanukah began. Chanukah means dedication and this festive holiday commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over Syria. The Temple in Jerusalem was rededicated and there was only enough oil to light the menorah for one day. Miraculously the oil burned for eight days.
There are two traditional foods for Chanukah and both involve oil. One is sufganiyot -- traditionally powdered jelly doughnuts -- but my favorite bakery put a modern spin on their holiday treats and the chocolate sufganiyot is filled with nutella. It was unexpected, but delicious.

The first night of Chanukah
On the first night of Chanukah one candle is lit and on each successive night an additional candle is added. On the last night all eight candles are lit. The candle in the center of the menorah, in a less conventional design, is called the "shammas" or helper candle. It is lit first and is used to light the other candles. On the left is the second traditional food, Latkes, potato pancakes. These were thin, crispy, delicious and worth every calorie.   
It's been a lovely time of celebration -- friends, food, prayer and the traditional songs of Chanukah.
So grateful for this festival that is a celebration of light. 
As ever, thanks for visiting and wishing you joy, light and miracles.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Yesterday was Snowman Sunday...

...And the snow collection had a great time singing and celebrating the season.

Today is Monkey Monday and Pep and friends, all dressed in their holiday best, claimed the new recliner for their holiday festivities. 
Tomorrow is Teddy Tuesday and (from left to right) Snowflake, Miss Fluffy and Paws
are dressed for fun and good times.
There's lots of holiday celebration for Pep and all of his friends. Though despite what I thought was careful planning this year, I am running way behind in getting errands done. I've got almost all of my planned cards to do and lots of wrapping. I'm still optimistic that I will get everything done, but I realized that Christmas is only two weeks away and Chanukah begins tomorrow.
Pep and all of his pals join me in wishes for fun and festivity and sweet dreams!
As ever, thanks for visiting and have a terrific Tuesday. 


Sunday, December 10, 2017

My Vote for the Most Iconic Christmas Experience in New York City

The winner is: Rockefeller Center
I've got a list of must do experiences for December in New York City. I love the department store windows on Fifth Avenue, the decorations at Macy's and the Christmas tree and crèche at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I rarely miss a visit to Saint Patrick's Cathedral and a stroll along Madison Avenue to see the store windows. Holiday must-do entertainment is a visit to Radio City to see the Rockettes and the holiday show and the New York City Ballet perform the Nutcracker. To round off the list is a visit to one of the holiday markets -- Union Square is my favorite -- and a trip to Brooklyn to see the fabulously decorated houses in Dyker Heights and Bay Ridge. But at the very top of my list is a trip to Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree and the ice skating.
The view from dinner -- dazzling and magical 
I've visited Rockefeller Center every year since I moved to New York City in 1975. I enjoy it every year and thought it couldn't get better. But my visit this year was better. In fact, it was magical. Last Thursday I was searching for a restaurant for dinner on Friday. I had a tried and true where I often went with my work colleagues when we got together. But I wanted to see if there was somewhere we hadn't gone before. I came across the Rock Center Café in Rockefeller Center. Amazingly, on a Friday night before Christmas, there was availability for six people at six o'clock. I quickly looked at the menu and booked the reservation before the opportunity was lost.

I'm wary of "tourist" restaurants, not just in New York City, but anywhere I travel. Generally -- and I am generalizing -- the food is unremarkable and the space is crowded. The Rock Center Café had the magnificent view of the Rockefeller Center skating rink, the food was good and the service, from our waitperson to the people who greeted us, was terrific.     

After dinner we joined, what seemed like, thousands of people who had come to see this year's tree. 

I've seen this scene more times than I can count, but each year it grows more special and this year it became magical. I wouldn't have expected magic after all of these years, but that's the joy of magic. It finds you when you least expect it. It found me this year at Rockefeller Center and that's why it has my vote for the most iconic Christmas Experience in New York City.     
What's your magical Christmas moment, past or present? 

Thanks for joining me for this wonderful experience. Wishing you many moments of joy and magic.  

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Pink Saturday Goes Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Broadway and West 73rd Street, Manhattan
 I was walking along Broadway after study group this afternoon with my friend, Nora. It was twilight and I looked to the right and saw this tiny park brightly lit and glowing. I asked if we could stop for a minute so I could take a picture. She replied yes, and added "I expect I'll see this in your blog." I told her I hadn't thought of using it, but since she asked for it, I would. As I continued home, I thought, "Why not?" I've been focused on capturing the iconic Christmas scenes in New York and was overlooking the beauty close at hand. So, tonight we take a Pink Saturday in my New York neighborhood.    

When I got home tonight it had gone from twilight to evening and the snow covered the street divider on Broadway. It set off the white lights that decorate the trees and made for a very local winter wonderland.

I took this picture on Friday at West 86th Street and Broadway, just a few blocks from the photograph above. I've probably walked by this store a dozen times in the last few weeks, but didn't notice the goodies in the window. But as I waited for the traffic light to change the t-shirt in the center caught my eye, "I'm only a morning person on December 25th." It's definitely true for me. Is this the case for my friends in Buttercupland?

"But the prettiest sight you'll see is the holly that will be
On your own front door."

When I started to write this post this phrase from "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" kept going through my mind. So I close this post with a photograph of holly from the grocery a few blocks from my house. It's not quite my own front door, but it's in a corner of my heart and world.

Tomorrow we return to the iconic sights of New York City with perhaps the most iconic. Any guesses?

As ever, thanks for visiting and have a weekend filled with blessings at your own front door.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

It's Time for the Buttercupland Fair

When I started blogging in 2009 I quickly discovered that my newly found blog buddies were wildly talented. In addition to writers there were candle makers, jewelry makers and soap makers. There were artists and authors of books. If I took a poll I'm sure I'd find expertise far beyond this list.

I'm a big fan of local. My favorite coffee place has just a few spots and they're in Manhattan. My favorite apples come from orchards in New York state and I've found some of my favorite gifts come from my friends in Buttercupland. In order to showcase "local" shopping ideas I enjoy featuring the talented citizens that I've met in Blogland.

We're changing the Fair just a bit and dropping by what may be the cutest store on the Eastern seaboard, Pebbles and Lace in Strasburg, Pa. It's run by three generations of talented and charming women, including my dear blogger buddy,  Becky at Hospitality Lane. I've written about Becky's fabulous soy candles in the past -- a link is included in her blog page -- but since she, her mother and daughter opened Pebbles and Lace in 2017 I'm featuring her store this year. Alas, I haven't had a chance to visit, but I've followed the Facebook page from the first day of business. It's lucky for my pocketbook that I'm not closer, but I would love to be able to visit and to shop there. It's a wonderful mix of the whimsical and the practical and I adore just about everything in the store. 
 Could the Pebbles and Lace Christmas array be any cuter!
I'm also featuring one of my favorite books, A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts, which includes writing by my talented blog buddy, Terra of Terra Garden. This is a wonderful book to give to a friend or give to yourself. In a season when the world seems to be spinning too fast with too much to do, this book is a great guide to how to find calm and joy in this time of year.

I hope you've enjoyed your visit to the Buttercupland Fair. We'll be back again for more gifts to give and to keep by talented citizens of Buttercupland.

Today was chilly, but bright, and I zipped around doing errands. We may get a little snow tomorrow and I hope it's just enough to be pretty and festive, but not slippery.

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care!