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The Beauty of the Human Condition.


Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  182 Hits

My salad days.


When I was a university student in Bordeaux in the 80s, I lived off three things more or less: shop-bought Moussaka which I shared with my neighbour, Yves, washed down with bottles of beer and followed by numerous Camel cigarettes. The other favourite was Carbonara from the local Italian restaurant where the owner would start ladling extra sauce onto the spaghetti as I walked through the door. For the princely sum of 26 francs, I could eat a huge bowl of Carbonara laden with crispy lardons, a green salad and half a carafe of red wine. The owner was very generous  and ensured that my Carbonara was swimming in the egg sauce although it has remained a mystery to me how a large vat of the sauce ...
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  171 Hits

6 Holiday Travel Hacks to Save Your Sanity

(BPT) - Follow these tips to save time, money and your sanity this holiday season. 1. Avoid busy travel days If you're willing to be flexible, there are a few ways to avoid the madness of popular holiday travel days. If your plans permit, take a red-eye, which is the last flight out each night. Red-eye flights are typically cheaper and less crowded. Traveling on the actual day of the holiday can also help you avoid airport congestion. 2. Clear your browser history, cookies and cache before searching flights Are you waiting for flight prices to drop and they just won't budge? Make sure to clear your browser history, cookies and cache before searching. Airlines and travel websites can track ho...
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  171 Hits

5 Ways to Treat Your Family (and yourself) and Save Money This Holiday

(BPT) - The holidays are a cheerful time of year, but the season also comes with increased spending - from purchasing gifts to holiday gatherings and travel. And, while most are shopping for gifts for others, recent research shows that more than half of shoppers are also buying for themselves, adding further to the shopping list. There's no better time than now to plan for holiday gift shopping in order to scoop up the best deals. Commit to doing the holidays differently this year with some quick season's saving tips, so you can treat yourself and your loved ones without breaking the bank! 1. Hold a secret gift exchange: Encouraging a secret gift exchange is a fun, festive way to embrace the...
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  182 Hits

5 Ways to Host a No-Hassle Holiday Celebration This Season

(BPT) - The holidays are supposed to be a joyous occasion, filled with warm memories of family and friends. When it's your turn to host, however, the holidays can quickly turn into a stressful blur that involves cleaning, decorating and cooking all before the guests even arrive! Hosting loved ones doesn't have to be this way. Try these five tips for a no-hassle holiday celebration and enjoy being fully present for the fun this season. 1. Cater in or stock up on pre-cooked holiday favorites Kick back and relax with the rest of your guests while you enjoy a hot and ready-to-eat delicious catered meal. Or, for those who are looking for a little holiday dinner help but prefer to have a hand in t...
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  161 Hits

3 Tips for Making Gifting Easier This Holiday Season

(BPT) - From shopping for gifts, planning holiday travel or parties and wrapping up work projects, the weeks leading up to the holidays can be full of activity. For those tackling their shopping list, finding the perfect gift for a special loved one may sometimes feel overwhelming. However, for savvy shoppers who leverage the following tried-and-true tips, holiday shopping can be stress-free, fun and convenient. Find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. There's no better feeling than watching a loved one open your gift and knowing they're going to love it. Take a step back and think about what the perfect gift looks like for everyone on your list. Whether that person values gifts that...
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  177 Hits

Deck the halls with cherry preserves! Give Your Holidays a Healthy Twist

(BPT) - Bring the gift of nutrition to holiday gatherings by incorporating sweet cherries into your favorite menu. It may not seem the season for cherries, but this is the time to raid the summer stash that has been frozen, dried or canned. Adding a bright, festive touch, sweet cherries will provide a boost of flavor and nutrition to power you into the new year. "The holidays are a perfect time to unleash the goodness locked into preserved sweet cherries to help stay in peak health during the busy season," said Mia Syn, a registered dietitian nutritionist. "Change up traditional cranberry sauce with a cherry-cranberry version - it's low in sugar, quick, easy and versatile. Add some ginger or...
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  178 Hits

How to assemble a holiday cheeseboard guaranteed to impress

(BPT) - 'Tis the season for getting together with friends and family to celebrate. Food is at the heart of the holidays, so whether you're hosting an event or attending as a guest, you'll want to whip up something to impress a wide variety of taste buds. The perfect solution: A holiday cheeseboard. Creating a cheeseboard like the ones you see in food magazines might seem intimidating, but it's actually surprisingly simple. With a little planning and a few flairs, you'll put together a cheeseboard that guests will nosh on until every last crumb is devoured. Just follow these five steps to a delicious holiday cheeseboard that's guaranteed to get rave reviews. 1. Select a serving tray: A wood c...
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  164 Hits

Five Show House Trends to Inspire Your Renovation

(BPT) - When it's time to remodel and renovate your home, you're no doubt on the lookout for the freshest takes in design and color choices, so you can ensure your renovation is a lasting investment. To go about your home refresh in a thoughtful way, it can help to turn to the top experts in the industry for their ideas and insight. With more than 145 years of leadership in the kitchen and bath space, Kohler Co. has worked side by side with the top designers to showcase the most inspired designs for the kitchen, bath and other areas of the home. To help you come up with looks you'll love for years, here are five head-turning trends that led the way in 2018. Make a statement with plants: Humi...
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  159 Hits

Slippery Season:

(BPT) - With the winter season approaching, you may need to pay closer attention to watching your step. Even if you're active, healthy and full of life, statistics show that you have a greater chance of taking a debilitating fall as you age. Mayo Clinic notes that some 400,000 "fragility fractures" occur annually due to falls injuring osteoporosis-weakened bones. "We get injured when we try to do things beyond our abilities," notes Kim Lombard, an injury prevention coordinator at Mayo Clinic. "Often I hear 'I knew I shouldn't have done it, but I did' or 'I knew I should have asked for help.' People are so afraid to lose their independence they don't want to ask for help, but asking for help ...
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  168 Hits

4 Tips to Keep Pantry Pests off Your Holiday Invite List This Year

(BPT) - When it comes time to plan your holiday guest list, your invitees generally fall into one of two groups: those you want to invite, and those you feel you must. There is a third group, however, that's never intentionally included on any guest list: pests. Whether by box or by bag, pantry pests such as Indian meal moths, merchant grain beetles, cockroaches and ants can invade your home without your knowledge and wreak havoc on your holiday cheer. Suddenly, your "must-invite" list doesn't look too bad. Pantry pests can infest common baking ingredients such as flour, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate and more. They flock to secluded food sources like your pantry and can become major nuisances...
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  158 Hits

Happy Thanksgiving!


Thought I’d write a small Thanksgiving post about mindfulness and gratitude. After all, I live in California, home to the Hollywood lifestyle. A place where not too many people take things seriously anymore. I look around at the way people dress for work or even church and it’s obvious this is the land of casual living. We also know that Hollywood is the land of Max Factor cosmetics, face-lifts and plastic surgery central. I feel sorry for those movie stars because even though they look slim, all they want to do is portray regular humans like us. And we rock!! Yes us--the regular people with lives filled with real drama. Real lives that have tension and excitement. Lives that are impossible ...
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  199 Hits

Happiness is...


...sharing your dreams together. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  172 Hits

Surf Torture

Navy SEALs - Surf Torture
“Stretch it out. Lock arms. Make that line straight! Walk into the water ankle deep. Look seaward. Keep that line straight! Drop and give me 50! (pushups)” The water is 55 degrees. Cold. SEAL candidates facing hours of shivering. And… quitting. Just swimsuits. Hell Week is 3 weeks away. 25% will survive…. By choice. Life has little value if there is no choice. Other nations and regimes with false doctrines denying freedoms are fake and painful. Freedom of choice. Choice is a gift from God. Permission to set your own course. You see, without God, there is no choice… Godless societies and Godless relationships bear no fruit worth tasting. So it is our choice as to whether or not to choose. Get...
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  166 Hits

World War I Armistice

WWI ARMISTICE
World War I 9 Million dead; 29 Million wounded. “The war to end all wars”. Except that it wasn’t. All the king’s politicians and all the king’s senators still could not put lasting peace together again. So here we are with Iran, China, and Russia and others threatening our call to freedom. In memorial cemeteries around the world WWI headstones shine in the sun and glisten in the rain. They are the keyboards of our past. Each soul lost in its final keystroke… Serving the future with their Truths. Sacrifice entries in the journals of family pain. It is our Flag that must continue to fly high in honor of all lives lost in all our past wars. Let Freedom Ring. What is right is not left. What is r...
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  178 Hits

Walk your blues away.


My favourite way to clear my head is to walk. Now, who would argue that not only does this view inspire but it relaxes too. Win, win all round and free! Walk it off in Beautiful Britain! Severn Trent Draycote Water, Rugby,Warwickshire. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  183 Hits

Throw away your cookbooks...


Good food that nourishes is not entertainment. They say in Hollywood that there are only seven stories but the interpretation of each is different. Cue to The Star Is Born, a perfect example of the same story told a different way. Cooking is no different. Forget celebrity chefs who are retelling a story you could discover yourself. This recipe is from my love who likes fish and wants easy peasy preparation which still allows for the ingredients and flavours to shine through. Fish with kale,  onions and garlic, roasted in an open dish in a very hot oven. Really delicious and easy. Salt, pepper, olive oil and the fish of your choice. Simples. Photos copyright SvD. Original link
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  186 Hits

Never Forgive

Never Forgive
It feels good to say “I will never forgive you”. Never Forgive. It is a threat and an empowering statement. Don’t mess with me. But it is also too late if the act to be forgiven has already done its harm. “You slandered my family!” “You desecrated my flag.” “You mocked my God.” “I will never forgive.” “You stole my money.” “You wrecked my car.” “You killed my dog.” “You are history.” “I am coming for you in the night.” Red lines must be red lines. Someone must draw them. Otherwise there is nothing to fear if you are evil. Punishment must be more than words. Sometimes it must be violent and massively deadly. Innocent bystanders getting consumed in the flames. Their families will never forgive...
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  206 Hits

Have a boule....


....I've  written before about my dislike of supermarket bread which is why I make bread once a week. A boule lasts me 6-7 days. Ok, so this takes a couple of hours from start to finish but it's worth knowing what you're eating, isn't it? I think so. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  189 Hits

Beautiful Britain


Photo copyright SvD. What a shame that we Brits constantly complain about the weather as if it's a curse. Every twenty years or so we get an outstanding Summer where the vegetables actually mature rather than rot and the tomatoes go red in the fields. This year's Summer was glorious and the Autumn has not been too shabby either. I spend my weekends driving around the countryside, stopping at pubs with my love and our two dogs. We've hardly had to seek out the roaring fire indoors except once and usually will sit outside or finish our lagers and head off with the hounds for a casual stroll along the canals. Have you caught the clue as to where this photo could be? It's not on the Continent th...
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  111 Hits