Top Three Lists For 2012

Forgive the me, me, me format of this final post of 2012 as I reflect on the year. I wish you and yours a healthy, happy, prosperous New Year, and I look forward to entertaining you with this blog of mini-escapes (and occasional venting) and getting to know each of you more through our conversations in 2013. May it be a year of good luck for each of us!

My Top Three Gifts this Christmas:

  1. A heartfelt sentiment from my husband on Christmas morning, a gift of his undying love. I cried.
  2. A wallet from my son, who knows how disorganized I can be with pesky things like cash and credit cards. Even better was learning he “bought” the wallet with points earned at his school for excellent behavior. He could have purchased something for himself, but he didn’t. Yes, I cried.
  3. A red wine glass from my sister-in-law and niece etched with my name. I didn’t cry, but I really appreciated it, and made quick use of it. I needed to test it, right?

My Top Three Quotes for Margarita Moments:

2012-12-30 19.19.421.  The finest amusements are the most pointless ones.

Jacques Chardonne

2.  I would not exchange my leisure hours for all the wealth in the world.


3.  The happiest people are those who decide to use leisure as a means of mental development, who love good music, good books, good pictures, good company, and good conversation. They are not only happy themselves, they are the cause of happiness in others.

William Lyon Phelps

Top Three Margarita Moment Posts:

1.  A Love Story

2.  The Roller Coaster or Merry-Go-Round

3.  On A Serious Note

I’m proud of these little pieces of writing, but what made them successful was your participation through your views, likes, and comments. Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit Margarita Moments each week.

My Three Life (Writing) Lessons:

1. Follow your passion. If you aren’t passionate about writing the story, your readers won’t be passionate about reading it. The caveat to this lesson–write from your soul, not from a marketing standpoint or what you think others expect you to write.

2. Be consistent. I’m good about this one as a parent and at my day job, but when life became overwhelming in other areas this past fall I didn’t post blogs consistently. I may have lost some readers because of this and that makes me sad, for a writer’s joy is sharing her world with others. For 2013, I promise to post on Mondays without fail, even if only to submit an apology or announce a change of plans.

3.  Don’t give up, unless it’s to do something you feel even more strongly about.  This was a difficult lesson to learn. I’m very loyal. However, I wasted spent almost six months toughing it through a story that wasn’t panning out the way I’d expected. I began to lose interest in writing each night. Thankfully, I let go of that story (for now) and this year is ending on a high note as I complete a romantic suspense.

Please share your “My Top Three _____ for 2012″ with us!

Ideas for your Top Threes of 2012:

  • proudest moments
  • books
  • movies
  • songs


Morton’s Toe and Malbec??

Please excuse this interruption to your regularly scheduled programming Moment, which will be posted Thursday, June 7th. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy this special broadcast award announcement.

I recently discovered R. M. Wilburn, author of the Buggy Crenshaw Adventures, a Young Adult series titled In Search of the Nexus.  I was drawn to this author’s wit and fantastical illustrations, a self-described “scrimboodler extraordinaire.” The children in my life adore stories such as Wilburn’s, as do I. See this author’s work here!

Imagine my delight when a writer I admire honored me with The Versatile Blogger Award–a perfect way to kick off Margarita Moments’ second year!

With this honor comes responsibility. I met the first and second by thanking my wonderfully talented nominating blogger and linking back to Wilburn’s blog for all to enjoy.

As for the third, I have to share seven facts about myself. Hmm. That’s challenging. I find it far easier to answer questions, like when I was tagged by Jan Romes. (Speaking of my writer pal, her new light-hearted romantic suspense, Stay Close, Novac! is FREE on Amazon through Friday, June 8th. Order it here if interested.)

After much thought, here are some silly-to-serious facts about me that most people outside of my family wouldn’t know and likely could live without, but what the heck, it’s part of the award rules:

  • I possess Morton’s Toe. No, this isn’t anything gross, unless you think a person whose second toe is longer than her big toe should cover those piggies. Also called Celtic toe, it’s a hereditary trait like having dimples or a widow’s peak hairline.
  • Broccoli is my favorite veggie. I could eat it steamed every day and be quite content.

    Wine party?

  • After many devoted years to Pindar Winter White, a great local wine vintnered here on Long Island, I converted to red wines. My current favorites are Argentinian Malbecs. Love for wine and wineries made research for my Sapphire Falls trilogy a pleasure.
  • Like many authors, I write in more than one genre. I enjoy creating giggle poetry (yet to be published) which satisfies my desire to spout immature potty humor. I’ve also recently outlined a women’s fiction/psychological thriller I can’t wait to write after I finish my current works-in-progress.
  • I love when my husband whispers to me. Enough said?
  • My favorite story is Henry James’ novella, “Beast in the Jungle.” I highly recommend it as a rainy day read. Then tell me if it changed your outlook on life like it did mine.
  • I participated in Girl Scouts from Brownies to Senior Scouts and earned the Gold Award. I credit scouting, and my Junior Scout leader in particular, with helping me believe in myself and my abilities. Amazing how one person can make such a difference in a child’s life.

My fourth and final responsibility as an award recipient is to pay it forward. Nominations will be announced Thursday when I post your Margarita Moment.

Until then…

Please share a silly or serious fact about you! If that doesn’t appeal to you, perhaps suggest a Margarita Moment topic you’re dying to read. After all, this blog is for you.

Please tune in Thursday to learn who won the “surprise” first blogiversary prize for commenting on any of May’s Margarita Moment posts. See you then!

Better Than Sex

Better Than Sex, a dessert-and-wine-only restaurant owned by Len Johnson, is located within a short walk off Duval Street’s upper end in Key West. The idea of an eatery dedicated to consumption of sweets and wine in a romantic atmosphere piques my interest, and I convince my husband to try it on a recent Florida Keys getaway. We doubt it can live up to its name, but we’re eager to give it a chance.

Warned by the manager at our guesthouse that this new restaurant is very popular and often packed after 7:30, we arrive at opening on Sunday and hope for the best. We are fine. Only three other couples are there. It’s private, and, in my opinion, very relaxing.

Luxurious red satin curtains separate the dining area into cozy halves and champagne-colored satin with nostalgic wedding photos line the walls. Our friendly hostess leads us through the dark, candlelit room to a table for two. She introduces the menu and explains that the self-taught chef, Dani, creates all items daily with the exception of ice cream–which is shipped from France.

Our dining area--darker than this in real-life

She then hands me a mini-flashlight to help read the wine menu. Since it’s early yet and we’re next to a window, the flashlight is a cute touch but unnecessary. My husband inquires about the chocolate-dipped wine glasses he’s heard me raving about, and we learn the glass can be rimmed with milk chocolate, white chocolate, or dark chocolate. They all sound delicious to me, but she suggests we order milk chocolate since we’re both having red wine.

As we wait for our drinks, we giggle as we explore the Suggested Sex Games book at our table. It’s there, why not? Quirky pre-WWII era music filters through hidden speakers. I had imagined jazz or classical tunes playing in the background when I’d envisioned this restaurant, so this selection is a surprise. But the book is fun and I’m getting a kick out of talking with my husband about something other than dentist bills, our kids, or the need for a new refrigerator. You know what I mean. We get consumed by the daily concerns and forget to focus on each other.

Chocolate and Merlot Heavenly

I find myself more playful with him, and everything becomes a double entendre, encouraged by the dessert names on our menu. He decides on “Cookie Nookie Pie” while I consider “Between My Red Velvet Sheets” cheesecake and “Tongue Bath Truffle.”

Cookie Nookie Pie

Our wine arrives and I have to admit, that first lick of sweet milk chocolate with a smooth Merlot chaser almost undoes me. It may not be better than sex, but that first taste rivals it. I enjoy watching my husband consume his drink, both of us flirting with each other as we haven’t done in years–and certainly not in public. The hostess breezes by to check on us and makes a suggestive remark about our finesse with the chocolate. It all adds to the sexy ambiance. Soon, we’ve licked and sipped our way to the bottom of our glasses.

Truffle & Sorbet Dessert

My truffle and sorbet dessert is delicious. We share with each other, adding to our intimacy. His selection tastes even more decadent than mine. Leisurely, we nibble away at our plates until our sweet-tooth is satiated.

The sugar rush ensues as we stroll hand-in-hand down Duval Street a while later, wide awake and ready to enjoy the rest of our evening. I joke about one of the suggested games we’d discovered between the pages of the well-worn book at the restaurant. My husband’s eyes light up. I think Better Than Sex Restaurant is onto something.

What foods and environments do you find romantic?


Sunset Sail View

Today was one of those days. You know, the kind where you hit the floor running and don’t stop until your body and mind scream for relief. Prone to anxiety, I do my utmost to prevent days like this. I prioritize errands and am a faithful To-Do Lister and Completer. In spite of my best efforts, the occasional, overwhelmingly busy day still catches me by surprise. And, like today, I struggle to squeeze in a little “me” time, if only to curtail internal combustion.

My next-to-last errand today was a mani-pedi. I know, I know, this sounds more like a luxury than a chore, but when a writing deadline is looming, sitting still for two hours without a laptop propped in front of me is tantamount to torture for me. To alleviate the nerve-wrecking experience of watching a ticking clock as my nails are buffed, filed, painted, and dried, I daydream. (Yeah, we writers are good at that.)

If you’ve read earlier posts, you know I’m fond of the Florida Keys, and specifically Key West. What started as a three-night getaway years ago has turned into an annual escape. Among other things, Conch Republic is renowned for its beautiful sunsets. On previous trips, my husband and I reveled in the midst of celebratory crowds at Mallory Square and enjoyed our sunset dinner at a table for two on the Hot Tin Roof patio. For our third trip, we asked the manager of our little B&B his recommendation. Without a moment’s hesitation, he suggested taking the Wind & Wine Sunset Sail. We did, and the evening that followed was the stuff dreams are made of. Or daydreams, as the case may be.

As I sat in the nail salon this afternoon, instead of customers and chairs I saw gently flapping ivory sails above and velvet blue water beyond. Instead of the cash register’s ring and nail dryers’ hum, my mind heard waves lapping against our sailing vessel’s bow, wine glasses clinking, and seagulls calling softly as they flew overhead. I didn’t detect the slightest odor of polish remover or hand creams. No, I inhaled salt-scented sea breezes and my husband’s understated cologne as he leaned close to whisper sweet nothings in my ear.

I felt the rocking to-and-fro as we sailed through the evening waters within sight of Westin Marina and savored the taste of a merlot wine recently poured for me, its smoothly tart notes of black cherry, cinnamon, and oak swirling around on my tongue between bites of gouda cheese and spicy sausage stacked on water table crackers. Mmmm. This is the life.

And then I was asked to pay.

My nails were done, and I’d taken a break from reality. So the moral of the story is, getting a mani-pedi can be relaxing, even for someone who worries about the time-suck like me. I was rejuvenated enough upon returning home to complete my final “to-do” of the day–writing this week’s blog.

Enjoy your daydreams. (But please, for goodness sake, not during activities like cutting people’s hair, operating heavy machinery, or supervising children. That could turn your daydream into a nightmare rather quickly.)

Ahhh, time to go. I hear the whirring of a certain kind of blender and its calling my name.

Enjoy a glimpse into my daydream, if you’d like:

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