Christmas at Grand Cayman

Happy Travel Bug Tuesday!

I’m one of those peeps who loves collecting Christmas mementos when I travel. 20141209_194055There’s something about holding an ornament that, when gathered on a special trip, evokes some pretty powerful memories.

This one was picked up in Grand Cayman several years ago. Even now, I feel the warmth of the water as we played with sting rays on a sand bar….I taste the turtle burger we had for lunch….I feel the Caribbean breeze caressing us as we walked the dock. And it all makes me smile.

Travel mementos are beautiful reminders of happy times. For me, they’re also the promise of what can always be: a lifetime of collecting special memories.

Happy travels,

Oh, Christmas Tree!

Admittedly, there are times during the holidays when it all becomes a bit overwhelming and just too much. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen very often. Mainly because I truly love all that comes with this time of year: the lights, the baking, the time together with family and friends, and, of course, the tree.

There’s something about the Christmas tree that touches a part of me. Maybe it’s the wonder that once came with awakening on Christmas day to find Santa delivered a present! (If you knew the child-me, you’d know why this was *always* a surprise. Ask my siblings…. On second thought, don’t!) Whatever it was, I’ve always adored Christmas trees.

This one caught my eye on a recent trip to Vegas.

DSC_1046It was the perfect height and was decorated with all sorts of fun ornaments! I was in heaven as I stared at it, imagining what it would be like in a grand hall instead of a Las Vegas boutique….On Christmas morning….With little kids gathered around it….Singing Christmas carols or opening their gifts….Or both! Yep, the possibilities were endless.

And the longer I stared at it, the more relaxed I became. Schedules and deadlines and baking and sending Christmas cards….none of it mattered. All I cared about at that moment in time was the beauty of this tree.

Really, the holidays can be pretty chill. If you let it. And with as crazy our lives are, isn’t it nice to let go and just “be” every now and then? What better time than around a Christmas tree somewhere in Vegas, right?

Happy Mash-Up Monday,

Christmas Catnip

Welcome to Take Me Back Thursday!

Like most cat lovers, we give our fur babies Christmas prezzies. Their most fave is catnip – natch. I’m thoroughly convinced kitties can smell catnip even through extra-thick layers of plastic. And once a kitty gets his hands on it, watch out! It’s instant kitty love! 🙂 These pics from last year’s Christmas is the latest in a long list of examples.

Memories like these are what make life so much fun!

Are your fur babies on your Christmas list?

Happy almost-Friday,

The Battle of the Gingerbread House

Welcome to Food and Wine Wednesday!

‘Tis the season of celebrating the beauty and wonder that is life, and those people and things we hold most dear. Not the least of which is the gingerbread house.

Tonight, Niece 2 decided that the two of us would face-off in a gingerbread decorating contest, one whose winner will hold bragging rights (of nearly unbearable proportions!). that clearly means more to one participant than the other (the other being me. Ha!).

We spent a fabulous evening together, talking. I learned that 1) Niece 2 has decided she’s no longer vegetarian, but will not consume a large amount of animal protein; 2) According to Niece 2, Nash Grier is still super-hot! (way more than I needed to know. Trust me on this…) 3) There’s not nearly enough candy that comes in the enclosed packets when a fifteen year-old is swiping at them while decorating (and when you’re not looking!). Just sayin’…

At the end of the evening, care to guess which side had been decorated by moi?

Gingerbread houses – yay or nay? Tell us what you think!

Happy gingerbread decorating,














Operation Christmas 2014

The holidays are finally here!

I love traditions. Especially the festive kinds. So on a cold, Sunday afternoon (the wet kind of cold that seeps down to the bones and begs for us to stay indoors) we decorated our Christmas tree. Yay! Okay, so I was the only one excited, but I know the girls had a blast, too. That’s my story and I’m writing it that way! 🙂

Anyhoo, the nieces and I dragged out the ornaments, indulged in mugs of yummy, steaming hot chocolate, listened to Christmas carols, and spent a wonderful afternoon together. By the time dinner rolled around, we had this:

DSC_0344Next step in Operation Christmas 2014, platters of cookies and loaves of cake that will make the house smell yummy! It’s the next step in bringing the holiday spirit into Domicile Alexander. And I know both Niece and Niece 2 will love doing that with me, too. *snort*

In whatever tradition you follow, this holiday season, celebrate well!

Happy Mash-Up Monday,

Roses at Play

I’m so lucky to be part of an awesome RWA chapter, the Rose City Romance Writers. Not only are these gals (and guys!) some of the most supportive, creative, talented group of writers, they also know how to have fun. 🙂

As the Christmas season comes to a close, here are a few pics from our holiday get-together.

Our buffet table - NOM!
Our buffet table – NOM!
Love that smile, Susan Lute!
Love that smile, Susan Lute!
Delilah Marvelle proudly displays her tummy tuck!
Delilah Marvelle proudly displays her tummy tuck!
Jessa Slade autographs her book as a gift to one of my day job peeps.
Jessa Slade autographs her book as a gift to one of my day job peeps.
Collette Cameron, Jessa, and Delilah - one of several poses that day. :-)
Collette Cameron, Jessa, and Delilah – one of several poses that day.
The lovely Anna Brentwood with her debut book, The Songbird with Sapphire Eyes.
The lovely Anna Brentwood with her debut book, The Songbird with Sapphire Eyes.
The wonderfully talented Betty Booher and me. We finally did some catching up!
The wonderfully talented Betty Booher and me. We finally did some catching up!

Sometimes, things get so intense that we forget that writing, like life, should be fun, and the creative process a discovery of self as much as storytelling. On this particular day, taking the time to talk shop, family, challenges, and just being together did wonders for re-filling the creative well. Love when that happens!

So this year, one of my personal challenges will be to take some time out to hang with my fellow roses!

Enjoy life,

Holiday Traditions – Christmas Ornaments

So. Hubby and I decided that the girls (our two beautiful, talented nieces) should each choose an ornament every year they’re with us.  so that by the time they’re on their own, they’d have a few to start them out. Well, okay, so it was my idea and Hubby was smart enough to go along with it! 🙂

It struck me as I looked at our tree this morning that our girls were so different in so many ways. Right down to the ornaments they chose. Take a peek.



A ballerina and a bottle of mustard. Care to guess which one belongs to the 21-year-old (Niece) versus the 14-year-old (Niece 2)?

Happy guessing,

Holiday Hanging – Bennett Style

We took a cue this Christmas from Bennett.

Bennett chilling with the fam!
Bennett chilling with the fam!

After all, there’s something to be said for a Christmas filled with chill-time. You know the one: no guests. . .. dinner whenevs. . .. And staying in jammies all day. My kind of holiday! (So glad Bennett’s one smart kitty!)

Hope the rest of your holiday’s everything you want – and then some! 🙂


The Greatest Gift

This time of year brings a ton of excitement to the Alexander household. Between the presents, the food, and the company of family, what’s not to love?


Bennett hunting through packages
Bennett hunting through packages
From Niece 2 :-)
From Niece 2 – totally made me crack up!

The greatest gift comes from the memories made with family and close friends, from the sense of community, and the belief that, even if for a brief time, all is right in this world.

Or maybe that’s just me. . .. *shrugs*

In whatever way you celebrate, the Alexander family wishes you and yours the happiest of holidays!

Merry Christmas!