Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Another year has come and gone . . . where does the time go?  I've been going through a bit of reflection this morning, thinking about where I've been, where I am in life and pondering on what the future has to offer.  New Years Eve always takes me back and moves me forward all at the same time.

Personally, it was one of the most awesome years after almost a decade of awful miserable years since JR died.  This was the year I truly moved on with my life and married my new love, The Captain.  He has changed my life in so many ways . . . and it is all good.  I was blessed with the most perfect man for me!

It was the year that I quit working in the "real world" . . . again.  Next year will be the year I start doing freelance projects . . . again.  Although I loved my last job, it confirmed what I already knew . . . I don't tolerate office politics well!  I'm at my best professionally when I can sit behind my computer and not be bothered with petty stuff that gets in the way of work and productivity.

This was the year that I got confirmation from another specialist that the condition of my knees will not be getting better.  I need knee replacements for both knees.  The sight of needles makes me feel like passing out . . . I'm not looking forward to what is coming up for me . . . two surgeries and two hospital stays . . . rehabilitation and physical therapy.  The good news is that I should be as good as new . . . can you say Bionic Woman?  Of course I am putting it off . . . I can still walk . . .

After more than ten years, I was finally ready for another baby girl to love.  We recently adopted a beautiful little kitty from the animal shelter.  Mimi is settling into her new life very nicely and has added so much to our growing family.  We will be adopting a dog soon . . . hopefully another beagle girl like my sweet Betsy who passed away 12 years ago.  She was so special . . . it took me this long to be ready for another furbaby after losing her.

My plan for the new year is to focus on my home and family . . . it is so awesome to have the chance to start a new life after living a full and happy life that seems like a lifetime ago.  New beginnings all the way around!  Life has come full circle for me . . .

Happy New Year to everyone . . . have a festive and safe holiday!  Don't drink and drive!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Wonderful Christmas Weekend

It was a wonderful Christmas weekend, mainly relaxing . . . except that Mimi brought a little drama into my life that I wasn't ready for!

Mimi is my first cat, except for Willie the neighborhood cat who comes to visit on occasion.  I didn't know that they love to hide.  We left the door open to our office that is more like a storage room at the moment, with boxes and stuff stacked haphazardly here and there with no organization.  Mimi decided to get lost in that room for almost the whole day.  It was Christmas Eve . . . needless to say we didn't make it to the big family Christmas party . . . I was so stressed out over the whole thing and so tired after moving boxes around just to make sure she didn't die in a sea of boxes.  I was having visions of her trapped under boxes.

My knees have not been the same since that day of moving all that stuff around.  The good news is that there is now a path to the back of the room and the door can finally be closed.  Mimi will not be getting lost in that room again!

We spent a very pleasant and relaxing Christmas afternoon with my mom, brother and his family.  

How was your Christmas weekend?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Early Christmas

Today has been a very special day!

The Captain and I decided that it was time to bring
a sweet baby cat into our lives for Christmas.  After
checking out the photos on the local animal shelter
website, we picked out which baby we wanted and
called to make sure she was still available before
driving out there.

The animal shelter was a very busy place today with
all the moms and dads looking to bring a sweet little 
pet home for the holidays.  We were there for hours,
but it was such a pleasant place to be with all the
happy families leaving with their new babies.

It was love at first sight (or was it second sight?) when
they took us to Mimi's cage for a visit.  She came to
us with no problem, didn't mind being handled and
has the cutest little face.  I'll be taking photos and
posting them soon.

Mimi is 1 1/2 years old and has the prettiest green
eyes, black and brown fur with a white chest and feet.
She is a beautiful kitty on the smallish side, very well
behaved and not freaked out with her new surroundings.
I love the way she clung to me on the drive home :)

Christmas definitely came early and we are so
happy with the new addition to our family!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Video Christmas Card from The Captain and Me

Last year's video was very spiritual, so this year I thought I would do something different and focus on the magic of believing in Santa and chose a beautiful non-traditional Christmas song performed by Melanie Thornton, one of my favorite musicians with one of the most beautiful voices I ever heard who left this earth way too soon ten years ago in a plane crash.  Celebrate life . . . it is way too short!

Where does the time go? This year flew by. It seems like yesterday I was creating last year's Video Christmas Card. I think the older one gets, the faster the days go by. What's up with that?

I'll probably be taking on a large freelance project that will take a big chunk of my computer time.  It will be nice to do something different, yet so familiar.  The extra money will come in handy to resurrect The Paradise to its former glory and let someone else do the work.  The second opinion from a specialist was not good and confirmed that I am in need of two knee replacements.  Not a good time to be gardening and re-landscaping this large property.  Oh well, at least I can still walk!

Check out my other blogs for lots of new posts . . . I've been so bad about listing new posts on this blog!  Before taking on the freelance project, I'll be adding RSS feeds to the sidebar.  Setting up advertising on my website and blogs has taken up lots of time . . . and of course I am still playing around with my new computer goodies.

Life is awesome!  What are you guys up to?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Cyber Monday!

Although I really detest shopping at the malls and super stores during the holidays, shopping online is something I love to do.  There is something about getting packages delivered to my door . . . feels like a gift.  

One of the bargains was delivered to my email box from Corel . . . the latest version of video software with lots of extras was 50% off.  The Captain and I were like kids who found a treasure!  I love to buy stuff that we will both use . . . and we both love making videos, so it was a treasure!  

Now I have triple the software to learn since I recently earned the new ultimate version of Corel Paint Shop Pro with extra software as a bonus from Klout Perks.  Then there is the Bamboo Pen/Touch Tablet my wonderful husband bought me . . . it came with more software.  Love love love creative software!  I'll be busy for a while learning how to use all of my new goodies.

Then there was the package I received from Klout Perks today . . . two free quarts of Benjamin Moore paint.  I didn't get to pick the colors and haven't checked it out yet . . . I may be pleasantly surprised!  Creativity of a different kind . . . I love to paint.

My blogs and websites are going through some changes . . . I decided to monitize my webspaces with advertising.  At the same time, I'm making some design changes here and there and creating new pages.  I'll also be selling advertising spots soon since I've been receiving inquiries.  Busy times!

How was everyone's Thanksgiving?  Did you do anything special?

Our Thanksgiving was a bit different this year . . . our first as a married couple.  What was to be a celebration turned into a sad gathering of family and friends.  My sister-in-law's 40-something brother overdosed and died in his sleep as his mom was in the other room preparing the Thanksgiving feast.  It wasn't until the afternoon that it was determined that Thanksgiving dinner would go on as planned, only later . . . until then we weren't sure what we were going to do.  Very odd and sad day . . . his poor mom and dad were so freaked out they could not have dinner after all that cooking.  What a nightmare for them . . .

It concerns me how doctors tend to over medicate and don't have time to educate us about what we are taking.  It has become a personal responsibility world.  Check out your medications online and do research on what has been prescribed to you by the trusted doctor!  Be very careful about drinking alcohol while taking these medications.  I heard on the news that a simple Tylenol can be so dangerous if not taken properly.

All in all, The Captain and I had a wonderful four-day holiday together . . . perhaps a little more grateful for having each other than usual after experiencing another death of a young person.  Parents aren't supposed to grieve the death of a child . . . I have experienced so much young death in my life.  

Celebrate life . . .

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

I'm extra grateful this year
 for so many reasons!

How about you?

What are you giving
 thanks for this year?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Awesome weekend!

It has been one of those awesome weekends that has been pleasant and relaxing, yet we went out with friends and had a great time . . . and I got a new toy!

Computer geeks are so easy to please :)  The Captain got me a really cool touch and pen tablet . . . so now I can begin making my own graphic creations on the computer.  It has been a blast learning how to use this amazing little toy.  A feature that I really like . . . no more mouse!  I can use the pen or my fingers.  Gotta love technology :)  Lots of creative software came with it and I can't wait to dive in and learn everything . . .

Hope you all had an awesome weekend as well :)

One of my first creations . . . don't laugh . . . we all have to begin somewhere :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The internet obsession

The internet has quickly evolved due to great minds dreaming up new ways for us to socially interact, ushering in numerous websites to keep us obsessed with our computers.  It is truly amazing and wonderful how many new concepts have been born in the course of a very few years.

My favorite is the blogging concept which I first discovered on Yahoo 360.  The internet obsession initially caught me with MSN Communities, where I started a gardening community that grew to over 1000 members.  We swapped plants and seeds through the mail and local members got together for the plant swaps.   

Both websites are long gone and it is equally amazing to me how fast they come and go.  Of course they go as soon as you get all comfy in the obsession . . . then you have to start all over again somewhere else, finding those friends you made.  Many scatter to different websites and we lose track.  When an "old friend" is found again, it is like bumping into someone you haven't seen in a while at the grocery store.

When I first heard of Twitter, I really didn't get it, but I dove in anyway . . . same with Facebook.  You almost have to participate in both since they have been interwoven into new concepts where they interact together.

My newest discovery is Pinterest . . . and I will admit that within a few days of joining, I'm obsessed.

If you haven't heard about it yet . . . I'll use most of the words from their website . . . Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard which lets you organize and share all those inspirational things that you find on the internet. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes. You can browse and follow the pinboards of other members with similar interests for inspiration and an awesome way to discover new websites and blogs.

Pinterest also interacts with your Twitter and Facebook account . . . check it out if you haven't already!

Follow Me on Pinterest

Through the years I've been obsessed with different aspects of the internet and it has been interesting to think about all the different stages I've gone through.  When I first started blogging, I remember making the observation that I make a living online, pay my bills, play games, chat and communicate with friends, order pizza delivery . . . I even found my husband online!

What are some of your online obsessions and thoughts on your internet experience?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

To Halloween or not Halloween . . .

Happy Halloween weekend!

I'm still very preoccupied with different projects going on around here . . . my blogs have been a bit neglected!

The Captain and I took off for one of our adventures on Friday to MacDill AFB.  Although we took the camera, it is was gloomy and rainy day, so we didn't take any pictures.  It was an awesome day out!  

Unless it is a very rainy day tomorrow, we plan to visit Busch Gardens to take photos of the new Cheetah exhibits.  Got the camera charged up and ready to go!

I have lots of photos that I haven't had time to go through of our past adventures through Tampa for My Florida Paradise blog posts.  There aren't enough hours in the day!

Is everyone ready for Halloween?  Any special plans?  

Would you believe that we don't have plans . . . I'm not fond of participating in the trick or treating thing at home anymore.  We've had some dubious looking characters show up around here in the past that made me a bit nervous . . . too easy for home invasions to happen.  It is a shame . . . it was one of my favorite times of the year . . . not anymore!  Times sure have changed through the years.

Hope everyone is having an awesome weekend!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fall in the air

The air is cooler and the humidity is way down :)  It is an awesome time of year in Central Florida.

We are still in the midst of what I am calling fall cleaning.  Furniture has been rearranged here, there and everywhere . . . and needs to be moved again!  So we will continue until it feels right.

My computer time continues to be a fraction of what it usually is . . . it feels good to get out of my routine.  There is such a thing as "too much of a good thing" . . . my computer is a good escape from those things that are not my favorite thing.  I'm finally getting a grip on my procrastination habit!

Halloween is here, which means the holiday season has already begun.  It seems to come earlier every year.  Maybe I'm just getting old and cranky about the commercialism of it all.  The true meaning of the holidays gets more convoluted as the years go by.  

What's up in your world?


Gina's Italian Kitchen

Chicken Enchiladas


Kitchen Inspiration

Red In The Kitchen

Satin Flower Comb

Open Shelves In The Kitchen

Gathered Fabric Flower

Six Pack Carrier

Gina's Music Memories

Happy Birthday Daryl Hall

Subtropical Gardening

Fall Gardening Checklist

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Are you into photography or graphics design?

I've been using @CorelSoftware PSP X4 Pro I got through @Klout perks and I LOVE IT :) Great for graphics creation and editing as well as photo-editing!

Click on the link for a free 30-day trial version download.

I was given a free product because I'm a Klout influencer. I was under no obligation to receive the product or talk about this company. I get no additional benefits for talking about the product or company.
Discover the photo-editing software that gives passionate photographers more to love! This release extends the legendary photo-editing power of PaintShop Pro with 75 new and enhanced features based on the needs of real photographers like you.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Rearranging my life

The Captain and I have been moving furniture around and everything is scrambled around . . . but it is progress!

Call it a phase, but I'm going through blogging boredom again.  With all that needs to be done around the house with redecorating and rearranging, I'm not going to have the extra time to spend on the computer.  So, I'm rearranging my life too and concentrate more on life away from the computer.  I'll still be blogging and participating on Entrecard and Adgetize, just not as much.

I'm really getting into making plans on painting and coming up with unique storage ideas . . . my blog LaBelladiva will be seeing more action on my own projects as well as those that peak my interest in Bloggerville.  It is what has caught my attention . . . maybe it is spring fever a couple of seasons off.

A thought occurred to me today as we were moving stuff around . . . isn't it ironic how one chore leads to another?  I've written at length at how bad of a procrastinator I am.  With all the research I have done on the subject, the one thing that came up over and over is "just do it."  Just getting the projects started is all the motivation I needed.

My next post will include a listing of new posts . . . 

Hope everyone is having a fabulous weekend :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Rainy days and weekends

It equates to awesome weekends with no particular thing to do . . . wonderful lazy days!

The sound of rain hitting the window awnings is one of the most wonderful, hypnotic and relaxing sounds to catch up on sleep.  There is sleep that is much like no sleep and then there is restful sleep . . . awww I feel awesome today after a weekend of napping, total relaxation and much needed restful sleep.

Regular readers of my blogs know that I love all types of creating . . . crafts, DIY, sewing, etc.  While my blog LaBelladiva mainly features these type of posts, I have started another Daily Newspaper . . . Crafting News by Gina.  I'm loving these dailies . . . they pack a lot of articles found through Bloggerville into a nicely summarized newspaper.  Click on the graphic to get the latest edition of the paper.

How was your weekend?
Did you do anything special?  

Hope it was an awesome weekend for you all!


Gina's Italian Kitchen

Angel Hair Pasta with Spicy Shrimp

Peace, Love, Happiness

Great Expectations

Gina's Music Memories

No Doubt - Sunday Morning

Babyboomer Flashback

Gidget ~ The Taco Bell Dog

Subtropical Gardening

Fall Gardening

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What's going on!

After all these years, I've been called for jury duty.  I'm not sure how I feel about this.  For one thing, I have been disappointed with our judicial system for a very long time, and feel like it will be an enormous waste of time and way too much effort.  We'll see what happens with my new adventure . . . I would love to participate in it.  All that said . . . I'm not real happy about it since I have not been feeling well and don't know if I am even up to it.  The Wall Street protests have spread to Tampa and I will be right in the middle of it . . . ugh!

RIP Steve Jobs . . . another life taken way too soon.  His amazing contributions to technology and society in general left their mark on the world.  Who knows what could have been if he would have lived a long and healthy life . . . he will be missed.

The Wall Street protesters have started something that is growing like a rampant disease, spreading from one city to the next.  It may have started off peacefully, but this is not going to end well . . . especially now that the unions are participating.  Scary times we are living in!

What a relief that the media has finally resigned to the fact that Sarah Palin and Chris Christie will not be presidential candidates.  The media have been like a very nosy woman trying to find out a secret, rather than focusing on what is really going on.  Looking forward to Chris Christie as a presidential candidate in the future . . . love his style!

I'm almost ready to jump on the CainTrain :)  

Check out my blog, My Florida Paradise, for a series of posts featuring our adventures in Tampa.  The Captain is discovering his new home and all that it has to offer through my memories and getting out there experiencing my diverse hometown.  We have been all over the place and have only just begun!  

My series on Vintage Disney is still in the works and coming soon, but it is taking lots of time going through decades of photos.

Hope you are all smiling about something . . . peace, love and happiness to all :)


Gina's Italian Kitchen

Gina's Cuban Fried Rice

Southern Style Creamy Chicken Casserole

Chicken Empanadas

Spicy Penne Tossed with Chicken

Linguine with Roasted Red Peppers

Country Corn Casserole

Shrimp Gumbo

Mexican Skillet Rice

Peace Love Happiness

Dreams and Moral Support

Dreams and the Big Picture

Nasty Habits and Motivation

The Day The World Changed

Anything is Possible

Embrace Self-World and Self-Worth

Great Love, Wishes and Miracles

Foundation of a Great Relationship

Follow Your Bliss

Finding The Key


Crocheted Denim Rag Bag

Dish Towels That Stay Put

Be Colorful

Recycled Sweater Hats

Jar Lantern

Organize Your Spices

Vintage Inspired Dinner Roll Holder

Hanging Jewelry Holder

Recycled Butterfly Windchime

Lots of Headband Tutorials

Fabulous Frugalista

Keep Fresh Cut Flowers Fresher Longer

Organize Your Hair Accessories

Gina's Music Memories

Michael Jackson ~ This Is It

The Beatles/Paul McCartney ~ Til There Was You

Falco ~ Rock Me Amadeus

Madonna ~ Sticky and Sweet Tour

Diana Ross ~ Do You Know Where You Are Going To

My Florida Paradise

Our Fishing Adventure at Ballast Point Park ~ Tampa

Ballast Point Park ~ Tampa, Florida

Discover Tampa Through Our Eyes

Ft. DeSoto Park ~ St. Petersburg, Florida

Subtropical Gardening

Nasty Grasshoppers in the Garden

Summer Reflections

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Back to normal?

Finally . . . yesterday was the first day in a long time that I feel great . . . health wise, that is.  Otherwise . . . married life is treating me good and I am so happy!

What is "normal" anyway?  I've pondered this question through the years and the definition keeps changing!

Today, the definition of "normal" is not feeling sick which really makes me happy.

It has been a while since I've updated a listing of my recent blog posts . . . I'll include that with my next post.  

Since getting married last month, The Captain and I have been all over town getting new IDs, changing records, blah blah blah.  However, to make the ponderous tasks fun, we decided to take the camera and visit cool places in Tampa and turn them into blog posts for "My Florida Paradise."  I've already done a few if you want to check them out . . .

There is so much more to do as far as the name change, but sitting in offices for hours at a time while feeling sick has made me tend to put so many of those tasks off.  So . . . now that I'm feeling better, we will be finishing that up . . . and taking more photos of the Tampa area.

Being the foodie that I am (and so is The Captain), I love kitchen gadgets in general.  While we were visiting MacDill Air Force Base's Veteran Appreciation Day, we stopped off at the BX to do some shopping.  Much to our delight, a representative from the infamous infomercial kitchen knives company was giving a presentation of a new line of goodies that are being featured on QVC.  We got some free kitchen gadgets, but the best was getting the most awesome deal on a bunch of knife goodies including one of those garnishing tools for a very small fraction of the price.  Gotta love a great deal!

Hope everyone is having a terrific Tuesday!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Silly me . . .

I'm celebrating my first week as The Captain's wife :-) . . . yes, it is ok to call me a romantic fool because I am!

We have spent most of the week sitting in governmental agency offices . . . officially changing my name.  WOW I had forgotten about all the bureaucratic red tape involved with getting married.  And we still aren't done.

By far the biggest nightmare was updating my driver's license.  OMG . . . it took HOURS of sitting and waiting and then the process itself was very ponderous.  Good thing I'm organized and was ready with more than enough paperwork . . . each piece of paper was scrutinized and then verified by yet another person.  By the time they took my photo for the new license, I felt like a criminal taking a mug shot.

Trying to get a fishing license proved to be yet another ponderous procedure although it was the same office, same computer system . . . however, being that only SOME of my paperwork is in my new name and their database had not yet updated . . . NO FISHING LICENSE after sitting and waiting for another period of time and then trying to get it processed.

We spent all afternoon in that one office . . . and I'm not the most patient person, especially without a cigarette all that time!

I would do it all again . . . I love being The Captain's wife :)  

Have an awesome Labor Day weekend everybody!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Our new beginning!

The Captain and I were married yesterday . . . now I can finally relax.  It was a beautiful and spiritual wedding ceremony at my mom's house in the presence of immediate family and long time friends who are considered family.  We wrote our own vows and my Aunt Sandra read the blessings.  My brother came well stocked with champagne and the toasts went on for a while . . . very special and touching!

The theme was tropical . . . everyone was dressed in mainly hawaiian shirts . . . the wedding cake was so cute, complete with palm trees and colorful flip flops that are refrigerator magnets.  

Although I quit drinking liquor a year or so ago, when I arrived at my mom's house, I had to have a drink to calm down a bit.  My legs were shaking so badly . . . being the center of attention makes me very nervous.  Having to speak in front of a group is a form of torture.  But I made sure that the vows I wrote were short and sweet.

All in all, it was a very special day, one of the most beautiful days of my life.  It was really awesome to see those friends and family I hadn't seen in a while . . . and the most awesome is being The Captain's wife!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sensational news and hurricanes

Bless their hearts, they can't help it . . . the news people at The Weather Channel have been salivating over  Hurricane Irene . . . they can't hide that gleam in their eyes.  It is what they are all about . . . they live for bad weather!  The Captain and I found their elation amusing the other day as I left it on the channel to monitor the storm since I was so worried it would cancel our wedding plans.

Really, this is a serious storm!  I've been through many hurricanes and tropical storms and have had to endure DAYS without power . . . if you are in the path of this storm, please be prepared.  Don't stay home if you are advised to evacuate!

Back to the Weather Channel . . . this morning Al Roker and his sidekick are reporting from the beach IN THE DARK.  I didn't catch exactly where they are reporting from, but I'm assuming somewhere on the coast of North Carolina.  Why not the Bahamas where the storm is relentless at the moment?  Perhaps it was already too dangerous to travel to that area.  

On a serious note, I'm really concerned for the Bahamas and hope the residents had somewhere else to go.  My prayers have been with them . . .

All this brings back memories of Dan Rather (many many years ago) clinging to a pole as a hurricane literally swept him off his feet . . . anything for a sensational story.  I'm wondering if he ever did that again . . . can't remember!

The countdown is on for our wedding and the jitters have gotten the best of me!  In a few days I'll be a wife again :)  I'm so happy!!

Peace, love and happiness to all . . . if you are in the path of the storm, please take care!


Gina's Italian Kitchen

Buttery Pastry Dough

Black Bean Hummus

Garlic and Sun Dried Tomato Hummus

Falafel Sandwich

Ham and Cheese Spirals

Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes

Apple Walnut Sticky Buns

Crispy Cornmeal Shrimp

Peace Love Happiness

Intentions Without Energy

Indescribable Joy

The Journey Within


Recycled Newspaper Coasters

Man Shirt Messenger Bag

Beachy Shell Frame

Fabulous Frugalista

Free Mr. Food EBook

Free Quilt Patterns

Gina's Music Memories

Michael Jackson ~ Behind The Mask

Love Songs From The 80's Movies

One ~ The Bee Gees

Subtropical Gardening

Nature's Miracle ~ Composting