Lifestyle

Weekend Escapes to the Chesapeake Bay Area

  • 09/20/2015
Weekend Escapes to the Chesapeake Bay Area

The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in North America.  According to Wikipedia "An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea."  The Bay lies between Virginia and Maryland with colonial towns, major cities, fishing villages and farms on both sides. This year we have enjoyed two weekend getaways to the Chesapeake Bay area on Maryland's eastern shore.  Both trips we found our favorite town was St. Michaels...located on the Miles River with restaurants on the harbor.  This small...

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Gettysburg Inspirations

  • 09/07/2015
Gettysburg Inspirations

GETTYSBURG   A Childhood Fascination - and now another Family Trip...nothing uncommon to some maybe...but a Great Time nonetheless. Preceding the family visit was a detailed guided tour of the Battlefield - then followed by son Ryan's Visit - where he said I had my "Full Geek On" as I reiterated  what happened. He got a new grasp of the vast extent of the Gettysburg Battle on all three days - and was struck by what both sides had done. Gettysburg - to us - is the Signature Battle of the Central War of American History. Our thought is that Everyone should go there, think, and absorb. Each...

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Sand Dollars Illustration

  • 08/14/2015
Sand Dollars Illustration

More Than "Sand Dollars" "Sand Dollars" (shown below) is the second in a series of three "coastal" themed illustrations in work for Dixie; my wife.  The completed triptych will include "Pelican Moon", "Sand Dollars" and "Happy Hibiscus" (further below) with Dixie-preferred white-on-black familiar beach subjects. These coastal illustrations will be hanging in our living room. "Sand Dollars" In Explanation: The "Sand Dollars" are three "dollars in the sand"; a natural sand dollar flanked by two 1921 Morgan Silver Dollars; showing the front and back sides of what some hold to be the most...

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Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Trip

  • 07/26/2015
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Trip

We recently made a trip to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge; though a few months later then planned. We were set to visit the refuge in February...when the migratory birds stop by on their way north. However, it snowed several inches in Virginia and Maryland so the trip was postponed. Nevertheless, Eagles, Osprey, Cranes, Ducks, Turtles abounded, and our favorite...Blue Herons. And a special treat: the over-sized Delmarva Peninsula Fox Squirrel...on the endangered species list. This was our first serious time out with Olympus E-M5 Mark IIs and various lenses...a time of gear shake down...

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Coastal Centerpiece lll

  • 04/04/2015
Coastal Centerpiece lll

It's a couple of weeks into Spring here and I'm ready to play in the dirt outside. Today it's very windy and have a few errands to run...so tomorrow after EASTER dinner with Scott; I'll start working in the front flower gardens. We have moved some plants back out on our deck...hoping we're not too early...but sure the plants are happy. I'm late with my Coastal Centerpiece III; but it finally came together. We've been changing out some camera equipment; so I've been learning my new camera and the Olympus menus. Also waiting on Adobe to recognize the RAW files from the new Olympus OM-D E-M5...

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Coastal Centerpiece for February

  • 03/07/2015
Coastal Centerpiece for February

It's March already and I'm just now posting our Coastal Centerpiece for February! We sold our camera on Ebay before I took all the shots I needed for this post.  So...I had to wait until our new camera arrived in March. February is a special month for us! In February we celebrate our wedding anniversary, my dad's birthday, a granddaughter's birthday, and Valentine's Day!  So...here it is... Coastal Centerpiece for February Of course, the black, white, and red is carried over from January's Coastal Centerpiece.  Which can be seen here. The Live, Laugh & Love containers are tea tins...

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Lobster Corn Chowder

  • 02/22/2015
Lobster Corn Chowder

We LOVE Soup, Stews, and Chowders! I can eat them all year around! How about you? I just love how the flavors meld together...and they typically use one pot! My sons and I first discovered Corn Chowder at the "Feast of the Hunter's Moon" in Indiana several years ago when we found a booth serving it. I was totally surprised that the boys liked it...Doc likes it too! So the search began for a recipe...I still continue to make it several times a year.  You may be able to find a couple of Mason Jars full of Cheddar Corn Chowder in our freezer. It's so easy to pull out a jar and send it to work...

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Coastal Centerpiece for January

  • 01/17/2015
Coastal Centerpiece for January

"2015" WILL be the year for 12 Centerpieces on our Dining Table...One New Each Month... It's January, so I decided this Month's Centerpiece had to have SNOW...to do this; Epsom Salt... WE Love Dining By Candlelight - so I selected 6 Candles; 3 on the Glass Block and 3 in the lower Snow. ~ LOVE ~ The Red-Ticking fabric liner in the Basket set the stage for Red Tulips. Aren't they beautiful? Behind the Black Flower Vase is the Longaberger Basket with the Red-Ticking Fabric Liner and then a White Fabric Napkin tucked inside. You can see the Basket better in the following Photos. I tried...

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Christmas Themed Black & White Painted Bottles and Mason Jar

  • 12/21/2014
Christmas Themed Black & White Painted Bottles and Mason Jar

This Christmas my themed bottles started with Scott suggesting that my bottles of Joy, Hope, and Peace needed Love added to the set.  So I took his suggestion and painted an extra bottle I had saved...the only one left. The three bottles and the Mason jar are painted in black acrylic paint then waxed with clear wax.  The bottles are then painted with white acrylic paint and distressed with sand paper to reveal the black paint.  I printed the word Love on waterslide decal paper using our inkjet printer. The Mason jar is dry brushed with white acrylic paint to create a weathered look. I stopped...

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Happy Hibiscus

  • 10/12/2014
Happy Hibiscus

Happy Hibiscus Done as a gift for my truly wonderful Wife, the white "Happy Hibiscus" was her choice... The single wet white bloom is played against the rain and wind remnants of a passing storm - and is a symbol of the life-challenges we have traversed. We have made it through much!!! This Dramatic Mixed Media Illustration is PERFECT for Tropical/Coastal Decor - and will certainly be hanging in our living room!  Prints are available on Wiley Studio Time Of Execution: 35 Hours Technique / Media: Mixed Media - Graphite, Prismacolor, Gouache, Ink on Charcoal Illustration Board Size:...

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Seychelles Romantic Hotels

  • 10/11/2014
Seychelles Romantic Hotels

Top 10 Romantic Hotels on Seychelles North Island is a tropical island paradise with 11 guest villas. Read the Top 10: Romantic Seychelles Hotels by Tim Ecott Contact Travel Specialist Dixie Wiley 703.347.5224 specialist@realplanz.com We enjoy reading your comments; so if you've visited Seychelles tell us your favorite romantic spot!

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Painted Bottles & Mason Jars

  • 06/08/2014
Painted Bottles & Mason Jars

Hope you have been enjoying Spring or Fall if you're in Australia! Once the weather turned nice we headed outdoors...planting flowers, re-stained the deck, adding a brick path in the backyard, photo shoots, long walks, and  just grillin' and a chillin'. Oh, can't forget about pulling weeds, planting grass seed and fertilizing the lawn. And we wouldn't trade any of this for snow. I have managed to spend a little time painting bottles and Mason jars mainly when it's raining So here a few of my latest ones. Painted Mason jar, Olive Oil bottle and a Water bottle long with my Tropical/Coastal...

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Painted Mason Jars – Radiance and Russian Red

  • 04/30/2014
Painted Mason Jars – Radiance and Russian Red

Spring is finally here!  And I'm loving all the flowering trees.  They're beautiful and fragrant. I think the best time to visit the Washington D.C. Metro area is...Springtime! Bloomin' trees everywhere! Pink, white and magenta are a few of my favorite Springtime colors. So I was excited when Pantone announced  Radiant Orchid as the Color of the Year.  You probably read that "...Radiant Orchid reaches across the color wheel to intrigue the eye and spark the imagination." "An invitation to innovation, Radiant Orchid encourages expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly...

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Life’s Epic Journeys – Australia – Caribbean – Hawaii – Plus More

  • 03/11/2014
Life’s Epic Journeys – Australia – Caribbean – Hawaii – Plus More

Enjoy Future Travel Credit up to $500 with Life's Epic Journeys - reserve by March 31 Island Decadence | Complete Serenity | Indulgent Cuisine | Secluded Relaxation Secrets Puerto Los Cabos Golf & Spa Resort | Los Cabos, Mexico Read the latest RealPlanz Travel eNewsletter for Epic Journeys to Australia, Caribbean, Europe, Mexico, Tahiti, and Hawaii. If the link to the newsletter does not work then the offers have expired. Contact Travel Specialist Dixie Wiley 703.347.5224 dixie.wiley@realplanz.com Zoetry Agua Punta Cana  | Punta Cana, Dominican Republic Zoetry Agua Punta Cana ...

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Chocolate Chip Mousse in Mason Jars

  • 03/02/2014
Chocolate Chip Mousse in Mason Jars

Chocolate Mousse is my favorite dessert!  The first time I tasted chocolate mousse was on my honeymoon...many moons ago.  I don't remember my mom making mousse, her specialty was brownies and grandma typically made cherry pie.  So I never experienced mousse until I was dinning at the hotel restaurant. I especially like mousse when layered with chocolate cake...like the Chocolate Tower Truffle Cake at The Cheesecake Factory!  When I treat myself to this cake I normally get it to go...so I can just eat a few bites of it each day until it's gone.  It is heavenly!!! I've  made chocolate mousse...

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Mason Jars – Weathered Look

  • 02/24/2014
Mason Jars – Weathered Look

Weathered Look on 4 pint sized Mason Jars with 3 shades of gray and then dry brushed with white! This is my first set using a Weathered Look...also my first with shades of gray instead of my typical black and white paint. Soon I will be working with more acrylic paint colors and possibly additional chalk paint colors. Right now I am trying to decide if I like working with one type of paint over the other one.  We'll see in the next few weeks. We do enjoy reading your comments!  More of my painted bottles, Mason Jars, baskets, and tins can be seen along the right side and also on our etsy...

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Painted Mason Jar with a Heart Cutout

  • 01/24/2014
Painted Mason Jar with a Heart Cutout

Valentine's Day is just around the corner...as well as our wedding anniversary!   As a romantic I always equate certain things with romance...candlelight, chocolate, flowers, champagne, a special dinner, wood fire, soft music, and hearts!  Did I miss anything?  Ok, I would also prefer warm weather, a white sandy beach, palm trees swaying, and the sounds of the ocean lapping on the shore. Painted black & white Mason Jar with Heart cutout! The tin with hearts, the Love wood sign, the clear heart necklace, the silver box and the white sea glass are gifts I have received throughout my life. We...

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Black & White Painted Mason Jars, Basket & Bottles

  • 01/06/2014
Black & White Painted Mason Jars, Basket & Bottles

Baby, It's Cold Outside! So it's been a perfect time to paint, photograph, write, plan, read, and be inspired. I've been ask if I like color...since my home is mainly black & white. Yes, I love color...cool colors...like purple, magenta, red with blue undertone, lime green, blue, and cool gray!  If you've been following my Coastal/Tropical Decor - Bottle Art, our black & white decorating evolved starting with all white Coastal decor.  I just love a white background and contrast it with black...also white and red...and white with navy.  Scott loves color also...after all, he has a PHD in art education....

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Dried-Cherry Chutney

  • 12/19/2013
Dried-Cherry Chutney

I discovered the recipe for Dried-Cherry Chutney a few years ago...Cooking Light's magazine showed a Port Tenderloin with Dried-Cherry Chutney and Caramelized Onions.  So I cooked all three...it was so good that I continue to make it once or twice a year.  The chutney goes perfect with pork,  ham or beef.  I will be serving the chutney with ham for our family Christmas dinner this year. One year I was ask to prepare a ham for my co-workers.  So I placed the ham in my crockpot and put in the ingredients for the Dried-Cherry Chutney and let all the flavors meld together overnight.  It was so delicious...

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Black & White Painted Bottles and Mason Jar – Christmas Theme

  • 11/17/2013
Black & White Painted Bottles and Mason Jar – Christmas Theme

Just finished shooting my Christmas Themed Black & White Painted Bottles and Mason Jar! So here they are!! It is hard to believe that Christmas and winter is here again in the US...this year has gone fast.  I look at photos from friends in Australia who are enjoying sunshine and warmer temperatures.  I am very HOPEFUL that we will move from Virginia when we enter our next phase of life...our plan is warmer temperatures all year around!  As I am typing this post I look out the window at a squirrel digging in my flower pots on our deck.  The flowers have long died off and the squirrels...

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Coastal/Tropical Decor – Black and White Painted Mason Jars and Bottles

  • 11/08/2013
Coastal/Tropical Decor – Black and White Painted Mason Jars and Bottles

It's chilly and windy here today...most of the leaves have blown off the trees in the woods behind our house.  Allowing us to see a couple of beautiful sunsets...looking forward to more this fall and winter!  Really missing the warm weather as I enjoy walking but not so much during colder weather. I have finished painting more bottles...here is a water bottle I keep on my nightstand. I get thirsty during the night...so I keep water close at hand. I painted a salad dressing glass bottle...black, white then distressed with a Water decal.  I had a plastic water bottle and decided I wanted something...

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Luxury Rental Villa in Mexico

  • 09/21/2013
Luxury Rental Villa in Mexico

The Riviera Maya extends along the Caribbean coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.  It is just an exceptional vacation choice for a luxury villa rental. The villas are located in charming seaside towns from Playa del Carmen to Tulum, on the picturesque island of Isla Mujeres, and Cancun itself. Choose a totally private villa or a villa associated with a hotel and have complete access to resort amenities. The Riviera Maya has some of the most stunningly beautiful beaches of powdery white sand and clear turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.  Just off the coast there is an expansive coral reef...

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Coastal Decor – More Painted Bottles & Tins

  • 09/14/2013
Coastal Decor – More Painted Bottles & Tins

So happy to have finished a few more bottles and tins for our black and white coastal/tropical decor! As a little girl my mother had me in art classes on Saturday mornings where I enjoyed painting and being creative.  Since that time I still love being creative as I have worked as a professional sign painter and later as a house painter plus graphic artist...so I've always enjoyed dabbling in paint including painting furniture.  I have drawn inspiration from lot's of bottles, Mason Jars, tins, wood pieces, pillows and furniture on Pinterest, websites including Dream Factory, facebook and catalogs...and...

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Celebrate the Holidays in Villa Rentals around the World

  • 08/28/2013
Celebrate the Holidays in Villa Rentals around the World

We all enjoy spending the holidays with family and loved ones..we do.  And travel brings generations together, forges closer bonds and creates memories that last forever. So what better way than to spend the holiday season in a luxury villa rental in the Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico or even the Tuscan countryside. Make your reservations now before they get taken by someone else. Here are a few villas I am highlighting today! Contact Dixie Wiley at 703.347.5224 dixie.wiley@realplanz.com for additional details, pricing and more photos of these villas or to inquire about other properties. First up is this...

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Travel Brings Generations Together – Celebrate at this Rental Villa on St Thomas

  • 08/28/2013
Travel Brings Generations Together – Celebrate at this Rental Villa on St Thomas

"Travel brings generations together, forges closer bonds and creates memories that last forever." From destination weddings to reunions to corporate retreats, we can plan the ultimate group experience. Celebrate your special event at Great View Villa...located on St. Thomas's east end.  6 bedrooms, 6 baths - sleeps 14 - 2 levels. Large pool area with ocean views Kitchen One of the eating areas along with sitting area Look at the views out the doors One of the sitting areas This villa is surrounded by lush, manicured tropical landscaping.  And is a short drive to The Ritz-Carlton...

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