keep your peepers open!

keep your peepers open!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

life by numbers

One of the most lasting gifts I received over the holidays was a bulb. Not the kind for screwing into a lamp but one for planting so it flowers. I found this small bundle of mystery to be significant in many ways. One -- I haven’t planted a bulb since I had a daffodil bed in my grandma’s garden way back when, so I am curious as to what will bloom from this one hence the mystery along with a lesson in patience (ah, yes…one of my life struggles!). Two -- it reminded me of growth, a most important aspect of life and one that in some ways for me has been stagnate for a little too long…a nudge that it is indeed time to move onward and upward. Three -- I so love and enjoy the cut flowers that grace my home almost every week. They make me smile, bring life and warmth to the space and this round-ish knob reminds me to keep with my tradition even if it’s just one stem of something. Four -- the thousands of photographs I have and will take of blossoms come to life on my walks and in my travels breaths joyful life into my soul. This tiny globe of inspiration tells me to continue capturing the flowers on my path; it also serves as a gentle push to get on with what is necessary to share my photos with others. Five -- this bulb, any bulb in its simplicity represents new life and because once planted will bloom year after year, also symbolizes rebirth, i.e., the chance to start not again but anew…it’s never too late as long as we’re “on this side of the dirt” (a phrase borrowed from a new friend). So to all my friends known, un and to come…

keep your peepers open!®

...and thank you vp for the gift

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

barista beauty

Though it’s not terribly cold outside, my body is still in the season of winter. Several times each week, it tugs at me for soup, salty caramel hot chocolate or a decaf cappuccino; rarely do I give in to the craving for the latter two. However, I am feeling that I need to go back to the restaurant that whipped up this delicious frothy cup of coffee for several of the folks I was meeting with the other day. I was too content with my pots of tea to switch over but I think I’ll drop by on my way home from insanity to sit still and gaze at a beautiful creamy design created by whomever the barista behind the counter might be.

Just looking at a picture of it chills me out. I’ll let you know if it’s as delicious as it looks, but until then…

keep your peepers open!®

Sunday, January 22, 2012


When I began to once again keep a written and visual journal this past October my intention was to make entries every evening before I went to sleep. I actually took my 12” x 17” book to Italy so I wouldn’t miss that time for me. Though I haven’t kept to writing in it nightly, I do return to it often enough and have continued to use the pages as small canvases for lots of different artistic creations. You see, I also intended using the journal as a personal gallery for my eyes only but it seems that a new series is birthing itself and I am a pleased momma who must show them off! These collages begin with torn paper crowns that are not simple in construction but are completed in one sitting. My challenge truly commences as I work out the face and a storyline unfolds about who is coming to life. Actually this is one of the things that keeps me returning to my journal; it may take weeks before the entire piece fully reveals itself and something inside of me is not at rest until it does. But…I am patient (note to this not one of my life struggles? who knew there was more to this than just a delightful outcome!).

On the 9th of this month, I finished a head piece and foolishly attempted to find a face immediately (did I just say I was patient?). Talk about frustrating, I know there is a process so I’m not sure why I decided to change it. Anyway, I received a new batch of magazines last week. As I flipped through, there before me were things that presented themselves as possibilities for eyes and a mouth so snatch them out I did and left them on my coffee table.

It was cold and snowy when I woke up yesterday morning, a perfect reason to stay in bed, finish reading the magazines and oh yes it is kismet, there within the story of who was to come came as I started constructing a hand from a picture of snow covered pine needles…

…the message that accompanied this zany character when I sent out a Saturday greeting was, “stay snug as a bug on this chilly, snowy day!” Perhaps another message is…

keep your peepers open!®

ah, ha...think I found a name for the series…

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

one pot only

I do love a good bowl of soup when it’s cold out, recently ran across a recipe in Whole Living magazine that I enjoyed so much, I made it two weeks in a row! Of course, I changed it up just a bit, but for once I didn’t stray too far from the original ingredients and I followed the directions for cooking to the letter.

Chicken, Collard Green & Sweet Potato Soup
Serves 6 to 8

2 Tbsp light olive oil (recipe used vegetable oil)
2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (they used breasts)
1 small chopped Vidalia onion (my preference since recipe wasn’t specific)
1 stalk celery, chopped
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 lb. sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 cups coarsely chopped collard greens (I used frozen, recipe fresh)
4 cups low sodium chicken stock
2 cups water
1 ½ cups cooked brown rice
Salt, pepper, garlic powder (recipe didn’t call for garlic powder)

In a heavy bottomed pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Season chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder and sear until cooked through, takes about 6 minutes per side. The chicken will stick to bottom of pot but that’s okay. Remove and set aside.

Add onion and celery, cook about 4 minutes until tender. Add vinegar and deglaze the pot, scraping up any brown bits with a wooden spoon. Add sweet potatoes, collard greens, stock and water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until sweet potatoes are tender.

Shred chicken, add it and rice to pot until both are heated through. Season with salt and pepper and serve!

This soup is not only yummy, tasty but very satisfying and filling hence my desire to make and share it with others weekly. Perhaps I’ll get around to using fresh collards when I feel like spending a little more time prepping but I like the extra flavor that the thighs provide, the sweetness of the Vidalia, and I don’t have or use vegetable oil so those changes will stand. Both times I made it, I stood at the stove and devoured!

This variation on chicken soup tastes great from the first day to the last, takes a short time to make, and once finished doesn’t need anything more than a bowl and spoon. So stir some up, stay warm and…

keep your peepers open!®

Sunday, January 15, 2012


My week back at work after two weeks vacation spun me faster than a whirling dervish! On both a professional and personal level, there were moments when I had to stop the revolve not to catch my breath but to clearly focus; act up, out, on; put things in perspective; then get back in the rotation be it a whirl or a lingering turn. Something about the latter brings to mind a great place to sit it down for a spell and reminds me of benches throughout my travels and during my walks that have called out to me to do just that...

I heard someone say that life is about ups and downs, when it’s a flat line, you’re dead. However, the decision to self-bench, quiet the motion when my world is spinning faster than I can blink or taking me on a heart racing rollercoaster ride is the line I draw so I can get back and stay in the game.

Take a seat so you can…

keep your peepers open!®

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


After two weeks of holiday, I returned to my 9 to 5 this week; I am too exhausted to do anything but peek at you for a hot second…


Closing my eyes until Sunday but, feel free to…

keep your peepers open!®

Sunday, January 8, 2012

bell of the night

One night when I was in Italy last November, I woke up not knowing what time it was. There was no clock in the room (perpetual reminder that I was on vacation which I actually liked), looking at the phone caused that bright light to come on, so I turned over hoping to go back to sleep. I then heard the sound of a bell in the near distance, the reverberation between each soft gong fully heard before the next rang out equally as soft; it was 3:00AM. As I adjusted to the time difference, I found myself awake on other occasions. I listened for the bell, which began to be the thing that lulled me back to sleep, a small comfort that all was well, that I had and needed a few more hours of rest before it was time to get up.

I discovered that the bell had it’s own hourly ritual. It rang on the hour, so three strikes for 3:00; at a quarter past a second bell with a quieter ring sounded once; at 3:30 a resounding three gongs plus two taps from the second bell; and three quiet gongs from the second bell on the 45. I waited for an hour to pass if I woke up just so I could go through an entire cycle of the night clock keeping time somewhere outside of my window.

Over the Christmas holiday, I woke up one night and heard the bell of the church in the near distance ring out. I don’t know if it’s something new or have I been so preoccupied in thought that I never noticed that it sounds out the hour throughout the night. Regardless, hearing it reminds me of the bell in the night across the Mediterranean, one of the things I will remember about my trip to the Amalfi Coast. Though the one outside my bedroom window only rings each hour and is not quite as lovely, it too brings me comfort and let’s me know that I need to turn over and get a little more rest before I have to get up. Speaking of which, I think I’ll catch a quick nap so...

keep your peepers open!®

ps…happy birthday to my niece glw!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

winter garden

A couple of years ago, I decided to keep cut flowers throughout my home on a monthly basis. Nothing fancy or terribly expensive, just simple bunches found at the farmers market or local grocers. Over the holidays, I kept the decorations to a bare minimum opting for beautiful blossoms to bring cheer to each room. Warm red tulips for Christmas…

…and glorious yellow roses for the New Year…

…my very own winter garden!

keep your peepers open!®

Sunday, January 1, 2012

happy new year

twenty twelve
tina lassiter ©

Today is Sunday, New Year's Day
I wake with wonder, yippee, hooray!
So much in store, I just can't wait
for marvels appearing on a bright clean plate
to show me all new pathways and adventure
replacing things that weren’t the clencher.

With knowledge from experience past
I look ahead wide-eyed with sass
bigger, better, bolder, brighter
it's time to rock it like a chic prize fighter!

For sure, there will be time for leisure,
little luxuries, laughter I've got a fever
that tells me slow my busy down,
make more moments to paint the town,
wave my banner often and high
soaring beyond any clouds that drop by
as I thrive while making desires come true
with friends and family and just the right crew!

So as we welcome twenty twelve
pausing briefly just to delve
into this one most simple wish…
be well, do well, live well & flourish!®

happy new year and…

keep your peepers open!®