Bargain shopping, Blogging, favorite things, flowers, gardening, happiness

Flower power! Best bloomin deals

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Even when shopping for flowers, I’m looking for the best deal. Admittedly, I was a bit late to the game in purchasing flowers for our cottage this year. A cool, late spring and surprise vacation to Ireland put me a week or two behind. I set out last Friday on a quest to find flowers to fill my pots, and the best deal.

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First stop was Talma’s Celery Farm, a small family-owned flower spot with what seems like an endless amount of greenhouses. Typically, they have the best prices to be found and incredible selection of hanging baskets and fillers for pots. Strolling through the greenhouses, the hanging baskets were positively amazing, and at 3 for $30, the prices could not be beat. I picked up 3 baskets, even though I only have hanging space for two. The selection of flowers for pots was rather slim, unfortunately. I picked up as much as possible, but not enough.

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To fill all of my pots, a trip to another flower source was required. Local choices include Walmart, Menards, Home Depot and Meijer. I opted for Meijer, which had an impressive collection of flowers on a visit earlier in the season.

At this point, Meijer’s selection was rather slim, too. I managed to gather enough odds and ends to fill my pots. One good thing about waiting to buy flowers, prices are reduced.

A few years ago, I challenged myself to filling my pots and hanging baskets for $100. It was rather late in season then, too. The result was some of the most beautiful flowers I’d planted in years. I ended up a bit over $100 this year. I’m optimistic my pots will flourish into a gorgeous display this year, too. I’d love to hear about and see your flowers this year. Please share your photos and best deals in comments.

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Blogging, facebook, happiness, Wine, Wine Tasting

First tasting generates smiles, not just due to wine

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I attended the first wine tasting of Mt. Town Wine Club last night, the group I launched recently on behalf of Jim Holton, owner of Mountain Town Station in Mt. Pleasant. The gathering was small, but a big success. Every one of the 10 people attending left feeling happy … and not just from the wine! The smiles were a reflection of exceeding expectations.

Luckily my task was only to promote the event, helping encourage people to come mostly through the Facebook Group page, and other various social media channels. The details associated with ensuring the event was a smashing success were the job of Hillary Williams, and she hit it out of the park with our first event. From the informative tasting placemats, the generous pours, easy to fill out wine order forms and the outstanding appetizer spread … everything was above and beyond.

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Together Hillary and I have partnered to gather a community of wine lovers, generate conversation and camaraderie, offer opportunities to come together, get to know each other and learn about and drink wine. The Facebook Group community is our chance to communicate and share interesting, fun things related to wine. These tastings are our chance to actually meet each other face-to-face, expand our knowledge and share a glass.

Last night Wine Club members gathered around a table inside Camille’s on the River with a shared love for wine. an interest in tasting some new varietals and becoming a bit more educated about wine. We introduced ourselves as we took our seats and we raised a glass, sharing a toast as the inaugural Mt. Town Wine Tasting group. Sommelier Belinda Ladouce of Fabiano Brothers walked us through the four wines and shared her wealth of knowledge about winemaking in Washington State as well as all things wine. The intimate setting allowed for lots of questions and conversation.

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From the exceptional selection of wines to the incredible spread of appetizers, which paired beautifully with the wines, everyone walked away happy to be part of the inaugural Mt. Town Wine Tasting group, and looking forward to the next tasting. Here are just a few of the take aways from last night’s event (some wine related, some wine club friend related):

Wine Notes:

  • There are more than 600 wineries in Washington State, it is the nation’s second largest wine producer with 50,000 acres planted.
  • Washington has 13  American Viticultural Areas (AVA), federally designated wine grape-growing region in the United States all but one located in Eastern Washington.
  • Washington Ranks 2nd nationally in premium wine production.
  • White Riesling among most popular wine produced in Washington.

Wine Club Members Chatter:

  • Red wine lovers surprisingly liked the Riesling from Ryan Patrick Vineyards. “Who knew we could like a sweet white?” “Light … nice for summer.”
  • The grilled Halloumi cheese on top of piece of grilled biscotti, followed by taste of the Chardonnay described as “an explosion in your mouth.” (it really was yummy, my first taste of Halloumi cheese ever. I loved it.)
  • Best for last … the 2009 Red Wine from Shining Hill was definitely worth the wait. “This tops off the night.”

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Blogging, Habits, happiness, learning, Personal growth, Resolutions

5 habits for personal happiness every day

With all of content related to being happy hitting my radar lately, I’m feeling prompted to write about happiness. I’ve come across a few bloggers who’ve selected a “word for the year.” Perhaps happiness should be mine.

I shared a post on my Facebook page recently — 7 Habits of Incredibly Happy People — and it caused me to consider my happiness habits. Looking at the list, I’m not in bad shape. Admittedly, I need to work on a few listed such as no. 4 exercise and no. 7 ignoring my itches. I tend to be a half-full person, and I’m told it’s contagious. I’ve learned you need to guard your happiness and never allow it to be determined by external sources. So, I guess I’m good on no. 3 .

The next article to hit my news feed was this one  from Fast Company6 Simple Habits to Keep You Consistently Happy Every day. While I am an optimist, being consistently happy every day isn’t always the case. However, I like the sound of it. In reviewing writer and founder/CEO of Buffer Joel Gascoigne‘s list of habits, I related to some and came to the conclusion that maybe daily happiness is possible.

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In order for me to experience happiness everyday, I decided I ought make my own list of habits to help me get there. Here’s my personal list of happiness habits. It may not be possible to do each of these on a daily basis, but I’m confident practicing a few of them every day can make for more happiness.

  • Share yourself. I learned a number of years ago that my skills are gifts, and these gifts were given for a purpose. Sharing what I know and have learned over the years to help others grow their business or navigate life is the right thing to do. And when you’re doing the right thing, that makes you happy. At times I even get goose bumps, which confirms that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be and doing what I’m supposed to be doing. That always makes me smile.
  • Smile. Smiling represents happiness and smiles are contagious. Flash a smile at someone and you’re sure to get one in return. And once you’ve received a smile from someone else, just try to not smile back. I wrote a post about smiling a few years back and just like Buddy the Elf, smiling is still my favorite.

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  • Surround yourself with happy people. I believe “you are the people you surround yourself with.” Like it or not we are influenced by the company we keep. Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you. So choose carefully. And be willing to weed out the Debbie Downers in your life. Kicking off this year I shared a post vowing to surround myself with more creative people in 2014. Happy to report I’ve been making strides on this New Year’s goal. Creative people are also happy people!

“Your mind may be the closest thing to the Holy Grail of longevity and happiness. Education has been widely documented by researchers as the single variable tied most directly to improved health and longevity. And when people are intensely engaged in doing and learning new things, their well-being and happiness can blossom.”

  • Learn something new. Your mind is the Holy Grail of longevity and happiness, according to the U.S. News ebook, How to Live to 100, “When people are intensely engaged in doing and learning new things, their well-being and happiness can blossom.”  I find I’m in a happy place when I’m engrossed in learning, which of course doesn’t just happen in classroom these days rather online, in a book, an article or best… in a conversation.
  • Pray. Forgetting to practice all of the above can potentially impact the happiness of a day. Neglecting this one is guaranteed to diminish the possibility of any true happiness. I try to start every day by handing the reins over to the one who’s truly in charge. I tend to encounter the greatest challenges when I try to takeover the reins. Keeping myself clearly focused on my “true north” leads to happiness. It’s not always the path I’d planned, but it gets me there if I continue to follow.

Do you have habits that lead to your happiness every day? I’d love to hear them and possibly add them to my list.

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