Monday, March 11, 2019

Eye Gel Magic

Found a great new product for helping with dark circles and puffiness under our eyes.  I was looking more for help in reducing wrinkles and have seen results.  The product intrigued me with its Manuka tree honey as I dovetail off the benefits I see from Argan oils and Rose Oil and Castor Oil (eyebrows).  Then the roller ball applicators were reminding me of the jade facial rollers that make some sense as they smooth out wrinkles. Just think - clothes irons without the heat or steam and smaller and no electricity needed....just go with me. 

This stuff is really amazing.  I have used it for just three days and can notice a difference.  Apply at night after washing your face and applying serums and night cream.  Then again in the morning between serum/moisturizer and foundation.  The rollerball wand cools and smooths while applying the gel.  It's really quite refreshing!  I have already seen a difference in eye wrinkles and my eyes look brighter.  Please note: I even saw the benefit on the first workday after Daylight-Saving-Time-Spring-Ahead-Lose-An-Hour-Need-More-Coffee_Monday.

I purchased at Ulta paying $25.00+ but have found it on Amazon and Target for $10.00 less.  Live and learn! So for $15.00 +tax, this is a definite gotta-try product.

I also like the little deep amber bottle sitting on my vanity tray along with all the other bottles and jars.  It glows among them. 

If you try, let me know if you see results.  In other words, let me know if you think I am crazy or genius (latter preferred). 

Thanks for stopping by moonlight lane.


Monday, February 18, 2019

Blueberry Scones

Today we celebrate President's Day 
but I am not one that is celebrating the current one in office. 
I am offended, embarrassed and exhausted by his behavior.
Just keep telling myself,
"IT's not a matter of 'IF' but 'WHEN'."
And I won't elaborate on what IT is....

Moving on to something far!

Found this recipe for Creamy Blueberry Scones
on Shannon Ables fabulous blog
It is one of the best blogs out there.
She has written a couple of books as well and I have both.
Do drop by.  Better still, subscribe while there 
and you will have a treat in your in-box nearly every day.  

Scones tend to be dry and heavy 
sucking all moisture from the inside of your mouth. 
People fawn over Starbucks but I am not very impressed by their baked goods.
Even their lemon loaf - shocking, I know. 
This recipe is so darn quick and easy it is hard to beat. 
I only made one change and that is a 
"Flexible Measurement".

1 cup all-purpose flour (plus more for board).  I use King Arthur flour
1.5 tsp baking powder  *
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar (plus more for dusting)
1/2 cup fresh blueberries (I make that a rounded measurement)  *
1/2 - 3/4 cup heavy cream (here is where my Flexible Measurement came in)  *
2 tbs melted unsalted butter  *
(* notes product from Trader Joe's)

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees (350 convection).

Mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar with a whisk. Gently add blueberries taking care not to bruise or break them but ensure they are all dusted with the flour mixture. 

Changing to a rubber spatula, add cream and gently fold to combine.  If too dry, add more cream a dribble at a time until it just can hold itself together but is not too wet. 

Not too pretty right now, all lumps and bumps, but then we know the story of the Ugly Duckling. Flour your work surface and turn out the dough.  Once again, gently work into a round disk about an inch thick.  Try not to overwork the dough.  

With a pastry scrapper, divide into six wedges and slip onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Now that looks better....  Keep in mind...Perfect edges and widths are not necessary.  I would say, uniform in size so they all bake at the same rate.

Brush with the melted butter and give a dusting of sugar over top - you are the best judge as to how much sugar for your audience.

Pop into the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes.  I gave mine a half-turn for the last two to three minutes to evenly golden their caps.

You know they are done when they are golden and the berries are oozing over to their neighbors.  Patience is key at this point as you let them cool just a bit.  Then get comfy with a cup of good coffee or tea and enjoy on a Sunday or just about any day as they are such a quick cook.

Just need to clean up and start on a slow-cooker stew for dinner.

Bon apetit and merci to Shannon...…

Thanks for dropping in!  xx-hb

Sunday, February 3, 2019


It has been especially wintery here in Southern California.  Ok, no Polar Vortex, but wintery by our standards.  Cold and rainy.  While we welcome the rain, we are not a tolerant people for prolonged days of gray skies and precipitation.  Hey folks, it's expensive to live here.  We "affectionately" call it our Sunshine Tax but We.Want.Sunshine.Now.  Feeling sorry for myself late yesterday afternoon, with the babies snoring around me, I started cleaning out my in-box and surfing Instagram.  I discovered a new-to-me IG-er and Blogger - Lindsey Dickson, author of The Eating Tree.  She has created a lovely place to visit with her easy to follow recipes and gardens at her home east of London.  She has a whole library of excellent recipes from the UK and France.  A real bonus on IG, she is hosting a February Photo Challenge that I started participating in.  It's only day three so hop in!  No judging, just fun and tickles your creative side. Just post, don't boast. 

This recipe stopped me in my scroll...Tartiflette.  Hmmmm.  Must be French with the -ette on it so I clicked on her entry and was gobsmacked.  I would have made it last night but I was a glass (or couple) into a bottle of wine, comfy clothes on and binging The Innocent Man on Netflix.  Hello...John Grisham, double murders, who-done-it.  Excellent and πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ».  

Off to Trader Joes I went this morning.  Did you know they were voted America's favorite food market?  Any-ta-hoo - needed cheese, more cream, and bacon bits.  Unfortunately they don't carry Roblochon cheese and no Raclette on the shelves, holiday seasonal, I suspect.  Aha!  Brie!    

So this rainy Superbowl Sunday held a Super French Comfort Food Lunch that will keep us happy until kick-off time.

Prep time: 30 minutes; bake time: 20-30.
Serves 2

2-4 waxy potatoes, skin on, medium dice
1 cup bacon ends and pieces, chopped to bite-size
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, smashed
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 wedge Brie cheese
chives and parsley for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Put your Brie in the freezer...this will help make it easier to cut up
  3. Boil diced potatoes in lightly salted water until soft when pierced with a knife.
  4. Meanwhile, melt "nob of butter" (I just love how Lindsey says that) in saute pan and add bacon.  Get it all hopping to a good sizzle then add onion.  Cook until done but not crispy and onion is translucent.  Add garlic and cook another minute.  Add cream, stir to combine and move to waiting dish.  Note:  at this point the fetching aroma is wafting through the house.  Husbands arrive with "what are you making?" and dogs pawing for a nibble.
  5. Add another nob of butter to pan, get it sizzling and add drained potatoes.  Continue to saute until potatoes begin to brown. 
  6. Cut up cheese into large chunks, rind on or off.  (Easier to do when well chilled.)
  7. Put half of potatoes in baking dish.  Top with bacon hash and half the cheese pieces.  Add remaining potatoes and final top off of cheese.
  8. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until cheese is bubbly.
I garnished with chives and flat-leaf parsley from my herb garden.  Serve with green salad and white wine.

Next Time I Might Try:  

  1. adding a little salt & pepper
  2. maybe add an over-easy egg on top of each serving
  3. maybe an Italian version with pancetta and fontina all dusted with parmesan before baking.  More parmesan to pass at the table.

This was perfect for two and had just a bit for lunch tomorrow.  I bet the Hubs tops it with an egg!  I hope you try this on a cold wintery Sunday, go for a walk and hop over to Lindsey's blog in front of the fire.  

Bon Apetit & thank you for stopping by moonlight lane......xx-hb

Monday, January 21, 2019

The Habit of Light

The Habit of Light

In the early evening she liked to switch on the lamps
in corners, on low tables, to show off her brass,
her polished furniture, her silver and glass.
At dawn she'd draw all the curtains back for a glimpse
of the cloud-lit sea. Her oak floors flickered
in an opulence of beeswax and light.
In the kitchen, saucepans danced their lids, 
the kettle purred on the Aga, supper on its breath 
and the buttery melt of a pie, 
and beyond the swimming glass of old windows,
in the deep perspective of the garden, 
a blackbird singing,
she'd come through the bean rows in tottering shoes,
her pinny full of strawberries, 
a lettuce, bringing the palest potatoes in a colander, 
her red hair bright with her habit of colour, 
her habit of light.

Gillian Clarke

It has a way of getting into you.


Saturday, January 12, 2019

Happy Birthday John Singer Sargent

John Singer Sargent, 1903

So today marks the 163th anniversary of the 
birth of John Singer Sargent.  
He is a favorite of mine.
His portraits of Edwardian era aristocracy paid the bills,
to say the very least.

The Children of Edward Darley Boit, 1882

Theodore Roosevelt, 1903

But it was the paintings of his travels throughout
Europe, the Middle East and the US that resonate most with me.
Those of the "everyday" people.
Born to American parents in Florence, Italy
he studied in Paris and then took up residence in London.
Fluent in English, French, Italian and German,
he was able to travel and study throughout Europe.
He loved landscapes but turned to portraits 
which grew with his ease of languages and
steadiness and lasted for 25 years.  

Here is a portrait of Capri beauty, Rosina Ferrrara.

El Jaleo, 1879-1882

Then it was his portrait of Madam X, 1884-1885,
(Madam Gautreau)
said to be his favorite and probably his most famous.  
He had expected rave reviews but generated severe negative reaction.
It was just a little too risquΓ© for the times
revealing a plunging neckline and bare shoulders.

Originally painted with the right strap slipping off her shoulder, 
he repainted to put the strap to a more respectable place
on her shoulder in hopes 
of repairing the "damage", but to no avail.
It was just after that he moved to London.

Sargent traveled to the US and painted in New York and Boston 
where he painted several portraits and
had his first solo exhibition.
He returned to London where he garnered up to 
$5000 per portrait, handsome sum in those times.
In 1807 he closed his studio having grown tired of 
portraiture and turned to watercolor landscapes. 
Here is a favorite of Venice.
Scuola  Di San Rocco, 1807
He was even offered a knighthood, which he turned down as to 
keep his US citizenship.
He continued to paint until his death of heart disease in 1925.

But it is this one - truly my very favourite of all.
It leaves me breathless . . .
Fumee D'ambre Gris, 1880

It always makes me feel like.....
Nonchalor, 1911

Hope you enjoyed some of his "stuff".
Google to see more of this incredible painters works.
Portraits of Monet painting in his garden, 
presidential portrait of Woodrow Wilson,
alligators in Florida, snoozing Gondoliers of Venice, 
his works are amazing.

Thanks for dropping in to Moonlight Lane....

xx - holly

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The Urge to Purge and Other New Year Ideas

We are now into the first week of 2019.
I am hungry for chocolate 🍫
& thirsty for wine 🍷 but I sit with 
my water 🍢  reading through my favorite blogs.  
Four of them extolling the virtues 
of starting the New Year with a
Whole House / Whole Head purge. 
There is even great fanfare for a full reality show 
Tidying Up with Marie Kondo 🧹 on Netflix

I am here to tell everyone to 🚦slow down a bit.

Over the summer πŸ– my sister sent three boxes πŸ“¦ of
items my mother carefully saved πŸ› over the years.
My sister did not want the “clutter” any longer.
The boxes were full of Grandmother Eleanor's glassware πŸ₯›πŸ·πŸ₯‚ 
wrapped in yellowed newsprint πŸ—ž from 09/21/2003, long after her death.
There were photos of my Grandmother Jenny, whom I never knew
 and of her mother left in Sweden πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ͺ when Jenny immigrated.
There was a teacup and saucer ☕️.
Then shoes ---
Mine ….

And my mothers

These treasures I shall never purge. 

So go to your closets, junk drawers, garages and proceed 
with . great . care.

I will purge the need to purge and eat my πŸ₯¦ instead.

XO ~ holly

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

🎡 When I'm 64 🎡 & Other Notes

So where the heck have I been?
Along with you, a million reasons/excuses under that ⛱ known as everyday life. 
No matter the age, there are tugs at attention / time / activities 
that we lack the will to say "No" to.

This past year has been a struggle, to put it kindly,
but bearing silver linings as well.

Work: a πŸ’©-show.  New systems that didn't communicate. 
Management that didn't communicate well either. 
Long hours that filled my bank account but drained my endurance.

Marriage:  πŸ‘« 37 years and finally off to counseling. 
We pushed and pulled our way through and learned to
talk with each other instead of at each other.

Children: πŸ‘¨‍πŸ‘©‍πŸ‘§‍πŸ‘§  both our girls on their own for some years.
Eldest, now mother of three πŸ‘¨‍πŸ‘©‍πŸ‘§‍πŸ‘¦ + πŸ‘ΆπŸ» and a move to Arizona
for a great career opportunity.
Youngest, just south in the city and planning her March wedding. πŸ‘°πŸ»πŸ€΅πŸ».

Yoga 🧘🏻‍♀️, two dogs 🐢, reading πŸ“–, gardening πŸ‘©πŸ»‍🌾,
errand-running πŸš—, cooking πŸ₯§, journaling πŸ““,
you know … life.

So here we are at today - it is the first day of the 
Sparkly New Year
(I Love sparkly things πŸ’)
It's my Birthday! πŸŽ‚
So I dedicate this way too long post πŸ“to looking towards 
the future, drawing on the past year(s) to shape and mold this 
2019 that lays before me.

I am borrowing from a list created several 
years ago by a favorite blogger, Sharon Santoni.  
I am just using her bullet points as inspiration, the dialog that follows is my own.
So here are my resolutions and like you all....this time they are going to stick.

1. Kindness. 
This past year has found us assaulted by someone who is cruel, belligerent, 
and definitely not a good example of how adults should behave.  
My endeavor is to counterbalance his behavior 
with my own dose of gentleness and kindness. 
Say "Good Morning" with optimism.
Pay a sincere compliment daily.
Wave to my neighbors.
Answer the phone when someone calls.  They are calling for a reason.
Reply to all texts with a happy tone.
Send Birthday cards, notes of thanks or thinking of you via snail-mail.
Fine tune my Hug-giving.
Listen.  Don't talk or interrupt.  Just listen.
You never know what sharing in this free commodity 
of simple kindness can do for someone else.

2. Health
I have been slightly and more than slightly over-weight over the past years.  
I will finally stop looking at the scale and start looking at overall health.  
Get the annual check-up, follow the doctor's suggestions
and get the tests done as recommended.
Wear the orthotics in my shoes all.the.time.
Swim laps. Take walks. Eat more vegetables.
Use my standing desk at the office at least twice a day.
Get off my bottom and use this body as it is meant to be used.

3. Beauty
Notice something beautiful every day. Cuddle my Abundant Life. 
Continue to note it all in my daily Gratitude Journal.
Create a home of comfort and joy all year with soft surroundings and
delightful meals to share with my husband, family and friends.

4. Creativity
Sign up for those ceramics classes.
Create something new for our home, a pillow cover, paint those last doors,
touch-up and patch boo boos in finishes.
Knit or crochet --- a gift from my mother.
Cook a new recipe, even if it is fish.
Read blogs and IG posts that coax the creative juices to flow.

5. Fun
We have lived in northern San Diego county for 20 years 
and know so little about the city and surrounding areas.
So adventure, explore, kick some tires and just wander 
through new places that are just a short drive away.
Eat the pie.  Drink the wine. Feel the ocean breeze.
Create memories.

6. Time to Reflect
Do my morning ritual of rising early to journal, 
center with my Yoga practice of Sun Salutations,
share lessons learned on this blog and
savor a good moment when I see it.

7. A Good Read
Over this past summer I have rediscovered reading as a great escape.
I have stacks of books to read on shelves and bedside baskets.  
Take the time each day, even if just one chapter, to adventure along in the stories.  
I promise me, my life will be richer for it.

8. Digging in the Dirt
Although my garden is small, it is coming along nicely.
A new composter is cooking right now to help create "brown gold".
Tend to roses and veggies.  Water regularly.
Rake, weed and talk to those lovely plants that provide
beauty, sustenance and shelter for birds and bunnies.

9. Family Love
With the wedding in March, family will gather to celebrate my 
daughter's marriage to a great fellow. This is a great time to dance, 
laugh, embrace those I have loved for years and 
others that I am just discovering are lovable too.
Continue to embrace the remade man I married. 
He has come a long way over this past year transforming himself
away from seriously bad habits and behaviors
to a kind and thoughtful man.  
Then....follow his lead. 

10. Personal Self-Care
Continue to take good care of my skin with weekly home facials and a manicure.
Soak my feet in Epsom salt baths and slough away callouses and cares.
Before buying new, finally use up all those lotions/shampoos/
sample bottles/compacts/lipsticks cluttering drawers and shelves.
Toss out the ones that I just.will.not.use … ever.
Donate those items that I will "Wear again someday" 
but it has been two years since the last time worn.
Those items will provide warmth and enjoyment 
for someone who really will wear them someday.
Stop complaining.
Let go of the past.  I am no longer that person.
Then Breathe again.

That's the lot of it.  A good list to return to monthly or more often
should the waters get rough or too muddy to keep moving.

I wish for you to have the finest year of all. 
Create your own list using these topics or your own. 
Just don't start the New Year without goals to challenge and inspire.  
You don't have to revamp your life …
just enhance it.

Love and Kindness,

XX - holly