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Gratitude and Blog Love

 

Two weeks ago one of my favorite bloggers, Claire at  thecoffeebeanbrain received a Sunshine Blogger award. I was shocked and humbled when she mentioned me along with several other wonderful bloggers in a list of people who she feels are spreading sunshine as well. Although I was surprised I was on her list, I wasn’t surprised Claire shared her special moment. She doesn’t strike me as the type to keep all the accolades to herself. She very much deserves this award.

Every weekend, I look forward to reading her “if we were having coffee” posts along with her regular blog posts. I am grateful for her insights and deep dives into making her way in this world and having the bravery to share it with others. I am grateful for her honesty. Thank you Claire for your comments, encouragement and putting me on your sunshine list with all those other accomplished bloggers. It means more than you could ever know.

Another blogger I am heartily grateful for is Rachel Mankowitz who writes The Cricket Pages and does deep dives of another type. She poses a problem or situation along with her thoughts and opinions and then tells us what she is certain her dogs Cricket and Butterfly would think or do. This is not to say her posts are silly. Somehow she’s tackled topics like yoga class in her synagogue, the pitfalls of health insurance, social anxiety and rescuing a baby squirrel. Rachel is not afraid to tell her truth or how she views life but there’s also a certain levity to her posts because Cricket and Butterfly are so darn cute. To be truthful, I’m not sure how she does it but I’m glad she does!

Thank you Rachel for your support and encouragement and for “liking” every single post I’ve ever written. You are a loyal blogging buddy.

This weekend get to know these kind, generous women through their brilliant and effective writing. They’ll make you think AND make you smile. Enjoy their sunshine and have a HAPPY weekend!

Hugs,

Nancy

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Creating A Space of Your Own

Several days ago, I tried to write a blog post and two hours later when I closed my iPad I laughed and thought, wow, writing that post was the equivalent to wading knee-deep through wet concrete. Somedays the words and the creative spirit don’t sync. Even though none of the words I wrote that day are making it into this post, I’ve been writing long enough to know that no writing is ever wasted. Sometimes the crappy stuff we write is simply a warm-up to something better.

Which reminds me: The intergalactic space mystery with out-of-this-world recipes you wrote three years ago to which you swear no human or alien will ever lay eyes on are NOT wasted words. Why? Because the words, the writing, the effort, the discipline it took for you to write a novel are all there. Any guilt you might have over spending so much time on writing, photography, paper crafting, lettering, etc. when you could have been doing other things should be banished. Now.

Guilt does not serve your creative spirit nor your creative projects. All those words, photographs, oil pastels, whatever it is you’re doing, learning and loving are building blocks for future work, good work. If you’re a maker, continue making, whether you deem it “good” or not. The good stuff is coming. Sometimes you just don’t know when it will show up.

So… stepping off my soap box and into my sunroom this morning

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as I was sitting sipping my coffee, it hit me that although this room is not usable during the winter because there are only screens and no windows, this could be my morning place in spring, summer and early Fall. My morning place. I liked the sound of it.

As the rain pitter-pattered on the roof and a little fox loped across the backyard, my thoughts were far away from my not-so-great writing session. I was fully in the moment of this little world I’d created and nature beckoning me to come play outside. The words, my morning place floated by again and I was suddenly reminded of an article I’d written a few months ago. Before I knew it, I was off and running on my blog post, fingers flying, not a hint of wet cement anywhere in sight.

My morning place.

My morning place.

I’m only including some excerpts from the piece, A Space of Your Own (published in Glo, May 2016) in italics because it would simply be too long to post in it’s entirety. If you’d like to read the whole article, you can go here

Glo (May 2016)

A Space of Your Own – While we’re busy nurturing our careers, relationships with family and friends and transforming our houses into homes we’re often the first to admit we have difficulty finding time to nurture ourselves. Everyone deserves and needs a place to unwind, reset and refill the creative well. If we have no place to go for a moment of solitude, our mental and physical health suffers.

Plan Your Escape
It can be as simple as a chair where reading for ten minutes centers your world, or a place where your papers won’t be disturbed. Claiming an entire room for yourself might be difficult but big or small, this spot in your home that’s yours alone should reflect your style, tastes and interests. It can be as simple as a comfy chair in a quiet corner of a larger room or a sleek midcentury desk under a stairwell. Other areas such as the laundry room, basement, spare room, or sun room can be transformed with a little imagination along with a comfortable chair and cozy throw. I’m definitely getting a cozy throw for the sunroom for cool autumn mornings and evenings. Delineating your space with a curtain, screen, shelving, tall plant, or lighting can add some privacy. Pinterest is a terrific place to go for ideas for spaces large, small and teeny-tiny.

Personalize It
Incorporate personal items that have meaning. Photographs with a theme, such as family, pets, travel and girlfriends etc. A future project of mine is a Kick-Ass Women photography display of all the strong, courageous women in my life, past and present. Favorite books, a journal and candles, combined with anything you love and find calming are a must.

Adding things which reflect your interests should be included too. A nature lover might include stones, a beach glass collection or seashells gathered in a small dish. Bird lovers might include a display of new and vintage birding books and some decorative accent pieces. Travel buffs could display a stack of vintage suitcases for visual appeal as well as storage for all those travel books. Old maps or globes would also be fun.

Back in the sunroom…sitting here, watching the rain, thinking how pretty it is now and wondering why the heck I haven’t been doing more of this over the past ten years, brought me the words I needed. Like I said, you never know when or where the ideas will come. Just roll with it!

A space of your own is a good place to go when your creativity feels likes it’s gone on vacation without you. It should be a spot where you just “be” with no judgements. A place to rest, a place to play, surrounded by things you love. You never know, on a rainy, dark day the creative spirit might show up, pull out the chair next to you, take a seat and whisper; “What about trying this?”

And you’ll smile, sit back and say; “Why thank you!” and go back out into the world refreshed, renewed and ready to create.

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Do you have a space of your own? A place to refill the well and moodle over your life’s direction, your projects? Where do you go to reset and nurture yourself? I’d love to hear about your favorite spots.

Have a HAPPY day!
Hugs,
Nancy

Coming next time: Gratitude and some serious blog love. See you then!

 

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Your Dictionary Definition

Hello!

I was doing some guided journaling this morning and my prompt today was this:

What is the dictionary definition of you?

I took this to mean who I am inside, not a bio. Off the top of my head, I wrote:

Nancy E. Gibson: Known to be a funny, kind, loving, book worm, nature girl who is very curious. Also an ardent supporter and protector of children, husband, and animals large and small.

So of course I’m curious (can’t help myself!) What’s your dictionary definition of you? The “you” inside?

Have a HAPPY day!

Hugs,

Nancy

 

Tips for Writing A Personal Essay

Ha! I’m back! I’m doing a happy dance, finally, a normal day after weeks of *&^%$#@!!!! Earl is snoozing and

I’ve been thinking a lot about writing personal essays. Eight years ago I’d written a handful of essays for the back page of a local magazine, enjoyed it immensely but never gave much thought to writing them again once that particular publication closed down. Now, I love reading essay collections especially humor stories by Connie Schultz, Sloane Crosley, Erma Bombeck and Mindy Kaling (yes, The Mindy Project, Mindy Kaling) What I wouldn’t give for a kitchen table discussion with these ladies about their writing craft.

If, like me, you’ve been thinking about writing personal essays and honing your craft here are three terrific links with solid info you can put to use right now.

1) Writing A Personal Reflective Essay

A deep dive into the parts of a personal essay and how to put your words to work:)

2) How To Write A Personal Essay That Will Tell Your Story The Way You Want It To

13 tips with keen insights to take you from draft to finished product

3) 8 Tips For Dazzling An Editor With Your Personal Essay

An editor who is also a writer and teacher offers her tips for writing the personal essay.

How about you? Ever thought about writing personal essays? Any resources. books or authors you’d like to share?

Have a happy afternoon and evening! Earl says;

You should really get back to work now!

“You should really get back to work now or bake me a chicken.”

Smooches!
Nancy

The Threefold: Three Authors, Three Books, Three Genres

Welcome to something new at Dancing In My Kitchen.

The Threefold.

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In ancient Celtic wisdom it was also known as the Power of Three. Many Celtic goddesses have three “faces,” or aspects like Brigid, the goddess of healing, poetry and fire.The Celts also believed in three realms: the celestial realm (where gods and goddesses dwell), the earthly realm (home of mortal men and women), and the underworld realm (home of fairy people and human ancestors). I could go on and on with my nerdy knowledge of Celtic Wisdom but I’ll spare you.

Suffice it to say here at Dancing, “good things come in threes” Threefold posts will include three links to things I’ve found around the web which I think are helpful. Today, I’m going to help you with your winter reading (ha!) and introduce you to three of my friends who have new books out.

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I’ve known these ladies for over ten years. Natalie Ellis and I used to make the hundred mile trek to Indianapolis once a month to attend the Indiana Romance Writer’s Association meetings. Time spent in the car and dinner afterward with chapter members provided us with time to brainstorm book ideas, plots and all manner of writing related topics. Natalie has a wicked-smart sense for twisty plots like no other person I know. Even though our writing took different turns and we no longer attend these meetings, we still keep in contact with each other, sharing our lives and our writing/publishing escapades.

Official Bio: Natalie S. Ellis worked behind the scenes in TV news for sixteen years and will always miss the rush of a breaking story. But the seduction of writing a fiery romance with twisty suspense is even harder to resist, especially when she has a new curve-ball for the plot. Natalie enjoys living in her hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and attributes her cheerful attitude to empty nesting, a supportive family, and way too many lattés. Visit www.nataliesellis.com for links to FEAR FOR HIRE and REVENGE FOR HIRE, the second book in the “For Hire” series. Although REVENGE FOR HIRE Natalie’s newest book is a standalone, reading her first book, Fear for Hire is recommended.

Book Blurb: REVENGE FOR HIRE: With a young girl’s life on the line, can Billie and Nolan work together to save her while keeping their attraction to each other at bay?

North West Side Chicago. A man’s phone rings at 3am, and it’s every father’s worst nightmare – his little girl is in danger.

Fort Wayne, Indiana. Belinda ‘Billie’ Chapman is working the overnight shift at WVOX-TV when she’s called away to photograph a car that’s crashed into the second story of a house. But when a little girl is spotted in the house across the street, the aggressive behavior of her guardian piques Billie’s curiosity.

Nolan Voss has come to Fort Wayne to check on WVOX-TV, the station he owns. Rich, uptight and deliciously hot, he can’t keep away from the fiery Billie, and that means being dragged into her plan to help the young girl.

Each step closer to finding the truth leads them to a dangerous plot that has come all the way from Chicago. Will the danger only fuel their irresistible attraction to one another? Or will one of them get burned?

While attending meetings in Indy, I also met D.D. Scott and Oberon Wonch. I instantly connected with these generous, super-smart, witty women. My recent reconnection with them on Facebook has been too fun for words. They are always upbeat and interesting — plus they love dogs, cats and critters, so Earl loves them too.

D.D. has always been full of light, laughter and good vibes — it is no surprise to me that after finding success in fiction she delved into non-fiction and recently published I Am Good Enough One Non-Guru’s Guide To Spiritual Awakening

Official Bio: D. D. Scott is an International Bestselling Author and Spiritual Awakening Ambassador. With over 300,000 books sold, including 35 titles in 6 genres and chart-topping audio books, she treats her readers to loads of laughs and a bunch of love and light. You can get the scoop on her, her books and her adventures as a gluten-free vegan yogi in her cyber home—www.DDScottville.com.

Book Blurb

What if you don’t have to escape into the pages of a novel to find your very own happily-ever-after? What if there are miracles of happily-ever-after waiting for each of us and all we have to do is know where to find them? And better yet, what if we don’t have to find them? What if we already have everything we need inside of us?

I’m D. D. Scott, an Amazon Top 100 and International Bestselling Author. I’ve topped bestselling book lists with over thirty contemporary romances, humorous mysteries and on-writing books. Almost one million copies of my books have been downloaded. But how do these accomplishments qualify me to write books on spiritual awakening? It’s okay to wonder that. I pondered the same thing—for months!

What I discovered was that throughout my publishing career, I’ve written stories filled with love and laughter, the basic ingredients of the genres I excelled in. But what I hadn’t figured out, until my own spiritual awakening adventure began was that my life purpose was to leave fiction behind for awhile and to explore love and laughter as it applies to our very-real, everyday lives. I asked myself, “What if I could find a way to give people a happily-ever-after in their own lives instead of providing them with a few hours of escape into the fictional worlds I create?”

Hooked? I thought so! You can read the remainder of D.D.’s book blurb at I Am Good Enough

Years ago at an autumn writer’s retreat, Oberon read a passage of her work in progress and I clearly remember being awed by her lyrical writing and historical voice. Come To Me is Oberon’s debut novel with Engtangled Publishing.

Oberon’s Official Bio:
Oberon Wonch has engaged in a love affair with books for as long as she can remember. Penning her own stories from an early age, she later earned a degree in World Literature while studying several languages–all in order to learn what makes a tale endure the ages, but really just to read more books. Her very favorite stories–both to read and write–are those that celebrate the happily-ever-after.

An avid gardener and armchair archaeologist, she grew up in northeast Ohio but now lives in Indiana with her college sweetheart husband and two very joyful little dogs. She enjoys connecting with readers. Contact her through her website at www.oberonwonch.com or follow her on Twitter @OberonWonch and on Facebook at Oberon Wonch, Author.

Come To Me
Book Blurb
A maiden’s duty becomes a woman’s desire…
Comte Grégoire FitzHenri, the new Earl of Shyleburgh, is known for his prowess as one of the Norman conqueror’s most favored warriors…but not for his romantic sensibility or his command of the English language. Grégoire looks forward to his imminent marriage with his seneschal’s beautiful daughter, his longtime betrothed. But as a rough-hewn soldier, he wishes to enchant the elegant lady before taking their wedding vows—which means an interpreter…and much-needed lessons in courtly love.

The clever Bridget of Shyleburgh has been secretly in love with Grégoire since his visit as a dashing young warrior—when he was promised in marriage to her sister. But when he returns five years later as their new earl, Bridget is tasked with translating for him—including his love letters and somewhat awkward attempts to woo her sister. Mortified at first, Bridget soon finds herself completely charmed by his whispers of love and desire. She never expected such tenderness…or such wicked temptation… from a man like him. Grégoire’s heated missives tempt a fair maiden to stray down a path filled with forbidden pleasures. But his words are meant for another… aren’t they?

Oberon’s “unofficial” book blurb:
Come to Me is a new take on the Cyrano De Bergerac story, with a little bit of the Sound of Music mixed in.

Fun and Romance in a historical novel? Count me in!

So there you have it, my Threefold for the week and my task of helping you with your winter reading complete. Yay!

Thank you Oberon, D.D. and Natalie for all your kindnesses over the years. I wish you all much success now and in the future.

And to my readers…Hugs and Smooches!

Nancy and Earl

Tasting Stars: How To Choose Champagne

 
I enjoy writing feature articles for our local HOME Living Indoor Outdoor Magazine and Glo Magazine for Women. I love the wide range of topics I’m assigned and have a tendency to over research because I’m a nerd at heart. My rough drafts start out at around 700-800 words and have to be cut to 500 for the final edit so of course I have lots of goodies that don’t make the final cut.
 
What to do with these goodies? Welcome to Behind the Article which I plan on making a monthly feature here at Dancing In My Kitchen. Basically, you get the gist of the article I wrote but with the fun tidbits, links I couldn’t use, along with a wee bit of snark and commentary.
 
Are you ready to learn fun stuff about champagne? Are you ready to be obnoxious regale your friends and family with nerdy goodness on New Year’s Eve? I thought so! Come closer my nerdy friends…
 
Technically, champagne is wine with bubbles. The finest champagnes and sparkling wines are prized for their bubbles and traditionally, finer bubbles indicate a good champagne. A ring of bubbles on the surface of fine champagne is referred to as collier de perles or “pearl necklace.” Isn’t this a wonderful French phrase and description? Click here to learn how to pronounce it.
 
When 17th century monk Dom Perignon discovered champagne he called out to his fellow monks to ‘come quickly, I am tasting the stars!’ I think this is a lovely bit of history, no wonder we choose champagne to mark life’s special events! Need more famous quotes about champagne from people like Charles Dickens,Oscar Wilde and other literary superstars? Of course you do! Glass of Bubbly has them all. Click here
 
How the bubbles get there and where the wine originates is what sets champagne apart. In France only champagne from the Champagne district in northeastern France is allowed to carry the name champagne. Most winemakers outside of France play along and here in the States U.S. producers call it sparkling wine. In Italy it’s called Proscecco, Cava in Spain, and Sekt in Germany.
 
Body is how heavy the champagne feels in your mouth. Each champagne house has it’s own house style. A winemaker determines the style by adjusting the proportion of white wine (Chardonnay) to red wine grapes (Pinot Noir and/or Pinot Meunier) in the final blend.
 
Light body champagnes would typically have a high proportion of Chardonnay. Some light bodied brands to try would be Perrier-Jouet, Taittinger and Pommery. Bollinger, Krug and Louis Roederer are examples of full-bodied champagnes. Mumm, Moet and Chandon and Charles Heidsieck fall into the medium range. Blanc des Blancs means one hundred percent Chardonnay grapes are used and Blanc Noir indicates a mix of white and red.
 
Are you still with me? Are you anxious to buy your own bottle of stars? Just a couple more hundred words. Promise. My editor will be so proud!
 
Look for the words that indicate sweetness on the label. Extra Brut is “extra” dry and least sweet, Brut is dry and the most common one we see here in the States. Extra Dry is confusing in that it’s not as dry as Brut. Yeah I know, I found myself a little lost on the terminology too. Sec/Demi Sec is fairly sweet with Doux is the sweetest. Whew! Just write it down so you’ll remember.
 
The champagne most of us encounter is NV or nonvintage which generally costs between fifteen and forty-five dollars. It’s NV because the champagne is blended from grapes harvested over several vintages. Vintage champagne or vintage sparkling wine will display a year on the label which indicates grapes grown and harvested that year. Entry level vintage champagne will cost around thirty-five to sixty-five dollars. Try 2000 Ployez Jacquemart Extra Brut. Your friends will thank you.
 
Prestige vintage champagnes include the well known names we’ve all heard of such as Moet and Chandon’s Dom Perignon (yes, there he is again, the little star taster:) and Roederer’s Cristal which cost seventy-five to one hundred dollars and above. Your friends will really, really thank you.
 
The world of champagne is vast and one of the best places to get advice and recommendations is from your local wine merchant. If you’re a little more experienced and don’t require personalized service, Costco also carries a terrific variety, range and price point of fine sparkling wines and champagnes. We’ve only had Costco in our area for a couple of years (hey I live in the Midwest, don’t judge me) and I have to say, I was blown away by the selection of wine and champagne at reasonable prices.
 
There are myths surrounding champagne…who knew? Go to First We Feast to learn if champagne really makes you more drunk and gives you a worse hangover than other wines. Seriously dude and dudette you need this info.This site is an added bonus because you’ll be gifted with even more myths and nerdy facts to make your friends, families and dogs or cats eyes glaze over.
 
As if serving them champagne isn’t enough…
Earl, my fun-loving family and I wish you all a Happy New Year! Let’s pop the cork, taste the stars and let the merriment of a healthy, happy 2016 begin. *clink*
 
Smooches!
Nancy and Earl
Do you have a favorite champagne? Any fascinating facts you’d like to add? Please share in the comments.