Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Although the U.S. may be negatively known for Black Friday, a day-after-Thanksgiving day of consumer excess, we also have Small Business Saturday,  sandwiched between Black Friday (in-store excess) and Cyber Monday (internet excess.) (There’s more than a little irony about the URL of the SBS website being prefaced by “American Express”, but…)  In England, Small Business Saturday is Dec. 2.  I’m not sure about elsewhere.

At any rate, on that day we’re encouraged to shop locally or at small businesses via the internet.  I love this idea.  Since I’m not very handy at making things, other than food, I have to fall back on shopping.  I can’t disclose gifts, as my family might be reading my blog (at least I hope so).  But so far, I’ve managed to avoid Amazon, Google, and the other big name giants.  I’ve gotten gifts at art shows, local shops, and from talented individuals.  I’ve also bought some things from bigger places such as Costco, but they don’t threaten to rule the world the way Amazon/Google/Apple do, at least in my eyes.

Of course, where you get things can depend on what you need to buy, but I’d encourage you to buy at least some things from small businesses or individuals this year.  When looking for a gift for someone who has everything, a donation to a charity is a wonderful choice.  And if we struggle with trying to come up with a gift list for those who want to get us something, we are indeed blessed, a priceless gift.

Here are some of my blogger friends or other small businesses (in no particular order) who have something to offer for holiday giving.  If I missed you, please forgive me and add your information and link in the comment section.  I hesitated to do this so that I wouldn’t hurt anyone’s feelings by missing them, but I decided to go ahead, with apologies at the ready.

Wild Ozark

Located in Kingston, Arkansas, Madison and her husband, Rob, sell wild American ginseng (if you can pick it up; see website), shagbark hickory syrup, books, handmade notecards, and more as well as Rob’s gorgeous handmade wooden keepsake boxes.

Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

An accomplished artist and author, Rochelle has written a three-book series that takes her heroine from the pogroms of Eastern Europe to the difficulties faced by Jewish immigrants in 1908 Kansas City.  She also does portraits by commission.

Beth Carter

Beth left the corporate world to write books.  She’s written women’s fiction, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and children’s picture books.

Our French Lifestyle

If you’re in Europe, or France specifically, Susan offers a variety of vintage finds or you might like to contact her about escaping to their luxury cottage for a getaway.

Jan Morrill

Jan is an author and speaker.  Her novel, The Red Kimono, takes place in 1941 and is about the Japanese internment.  She also has several other books, including on of haiku in which I have one haiku.  (Couldn’t resist adding that!)  In addition to writing, she’s available for workshops about writing.

Claire Fuller

Claire’s first book, Our Endless Numbered Days, won the 2015 Desmond Elliott Prize.  She’s published a second and has a third coming out in 2019.  You can find links for buying her books on her website and, although can buy them from Amazon, in the spirit of Small Business Saturday, I’d encourage you to order through your local independent bookstore.

Isadora and Al De La Vega

A former New York policeman, Al makes whimsical copper and brass items, many with a distinctly nautical/ocean theme.  Besides blogging, Isadora makes beautiful jewelry.  Stop by both sites for a look.

Hannah of Bittersweet

Hannah is an amazing vegan cook and food photographer.  She has a new cookbook, Real Food, Really Fast: Delicious Plant-Based Recipes Ready in 10 Minutes or Less, coming out in January and you can preorder it by clicking on the link to her blog.

SereneTeaz

Full disclosure: I worked here for two year and don’t now only because the business is completely online now.  That makes me able to assure you that the commitment to quality and service can’t be bettered.  With close to 140 teas or tisanes (herbal or floral mixes that don’t contain actual tea) and the ability to ship to anywhere in the contiguous US, you can’t go wrong buying from SereneTeaz.

Le Chocolat du Bouchard

If you can’t make it to Paris and you’re anywhere near Naperville, Illinois, stop into Le Chocolat for French ambience, macarons (not macaroons), pastries and chocolate truffles of all sorts, drinks (wine, coffee drinks, or chocolate drinks), or lunch or dinner.  I currently work there, so maybe you’ll even meet me.  🙂

 

 

OK, as I said, if I missed you, I apologize and please leave your link in the comments, along with a short description of your product/book/art/whatever.  Thanks!

Any links that are just to blog posts or blogs and not relevant to Small Business Saturday will be deleted.

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I know many of us love Christmas.  It’s my favorite holiday, for both religious and family reasons.  But. Just. STOP!!!  You’re missing the holiday chance of a lifetime, a chance to both enjoy family a/o friends, food, and an opportunity to count your blessings.

Before you dive into the appetizers, the drinks, the turkey, the mashed potatoes, or whatever food you prefer (my family tends to like my homemade ravioli for every holiday), take a minute to think about what you’re thankful for.  You might go around the table and do this, make your own lists, take a moment of silence to think about it, but PLEASE, make that list! And put aside thoughts of Christmas just for the day.  By rushing Christmas, you miss the chance to take a just to be thankful.  I think that’s something that in this day and age of negativity, we dearly need!

We have so much for which to be thankful.  Having an “attitude of gratitude” every day and not just on Thanksgiving (which, if you live in the US, is today) makes all the difference.  If you blog, you have a computer and internet access, a blessing in itself. But if you start listing your blessings, you’ll find you won’t have time to dwell as much on the less positive things in your life.

Our family won’t be together until Christmas.  Today it’s just my husband and me,  recovering either from a cold (me) or sinus infection (him.)  But to be able to simply take a day to relax and recover, sleep, read, watch TV, take a walk, or whatever else, together, is blessing enough.  And of course, I’m thankful for each and every one of you who reads and comments on my blog, a daily source of joy.  Thanks to each of you and may God richly bless you, today and every day!

© janet m. webb

It’s mother-daughter time, so I’m flying my favorite airlines, Southwest, to Philadelphia for a few days.  Enjoy yourselves while I’m gone, because I’ll be enjoying myself.  See you Tuesday.

© janet m. webb

​In the mid-seventies when my dad came home one day talking about an opportunity to buy a cabin in Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains, I heard the words “mountains” and “horses” together. That’s all I needed to know. My vote was “Yes.”

© janet m. webb

Do you ride?  If not, don’t worry.  Among the almost 50 horses are plenty of gentle ones and I can give you pointers.  We ride Western, with cowboy-style saddles, and up here, we can ride for miles and miles, usually without encountering another person or rider. Western saddles are built for comfort and riding long distances and the saddle horn, used by cowboys to tie one end of a rope is great for holding on to if needed. Just remember the rule:  if you go through a gate that’s open, leave it open.  If it was closed, close it.  There are cattle in some places and letting them out from where they should be and into where they shouldn’t is a big no-no.

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Alisa’s travel theme this week is animal companions.  You know I love horses from my gravatar photo.  However, some years ago, we fostered several rescue pit bulls, a wonderful experience.  Janie, our first dog, had been rescued from being chained outside a crack house in downtown Cleveland.  Despite her experiences, she was a dog filled with love and fun, capable of amazing feats of athleticism and of creating games.  She also loved her Kong filled with peanut butter bread, chewing on a mini tire, or this “bone.”  Her favorite thing was sitting on your lap.  🙂

© janet m. webb

By the time many of you read this, I’ll be in my van on the road to Wyoming.  So it’s the start of a three-week blogging break for me.  Our internet connection at 7,000′ is quite slow, which is fine, as I’ll be spending my time riding, reading, hiking, and relaxing.  My parents will also be visiting for about a week, although unfortunately, my husband can’t make it. But I imagine I’ll be popping in to Instagram from time to time.  In the meantime, have a wonderful time wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.  When I get back, I’ll have lots of information and photos for posts, although I haven’t finished with France yet.  Isn’t travel grand?  Blessings to all of you and I’ll be back soon.

Headed toward this view…

© janet m. webb

If you watch track and field, you’ll find all sorts of running events: sprints, middle-distance, long-distance, marathons, and ultra-marathons.  But this summer I was introduced to something I’d never seen or heard of, a vertical kilometer.  My b-i-l was participating, so we all rolled out of bed early, heading for the mountains near Gérardmer, France.  As you can see from his photo below, it was cold and foggy when we arrived very early and no inviting place nearby to get a hot drink.  My s-i-l and I decided we’d leave after the race started to get some coffee or tea and a pastry.  🙂

© janet m. webb

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