Usher in the New Year with PAZAZ

2018 is almost gone and with it the experiences accumulate into memories that help weave our story into another chapter of our lives. As the page turns we reflect on our blessings and our hope that this New Year will be even better than the last.

Most of us will have it in our minds eye what changes we’d like to see in ourselves, those we love and care about, and the world around us. In addition to all that we hope and pray that we stay healthy so that we can enjoy the fruits of our labor going where we want, when we want, with whom we want.

The magic of travel and discovery can not be overstated. It is within the core of our being to be dazzled, enraptured, and humbled by the intense joy we find in stretching the boundaries of our comfort zone. It is only then that something inside of us embraces the moment we so rarely live in bringing satisfaction and understanding to our journey through life.

In all of this it must be said that part of our journey is not only the physical travel but the spiritual path widened by our connection through the communication with others. Listening to the stories and the wisdom we take from other people’s experiences enhances the moment and creates that very special memory. Sharing that instant with others brings us to the substance of discovery enriching the story and finding something within us that expands our horizons.

Making a list of things we’d like to accomplish this next year brings power to our thoughts and validity to our quest. Can we make 2019 an epic year that expands every part of our lives? There are three types of people:

      • People that make things happen.
      • People that watch things happen.
      • And people that wonder what happened?

Lets make 2019 a powerful year filled with all the possibilities we deserve enriched by the experiences that build on the story that is our life. I look forward to looking back to see how far we’ve come.

May this New Year be the best ever bringing with it the very special connection you deserve with yourself and all those you love and care about.

This blog is sponsored by PAZAZ™ “The Magic of Cooking” with kitchen products for the discerning chef. Please visit to view these amazing products designed and created to bring PAZAZ™ into your life.

Christmas Cheer and So Much More!

Last weekend we were blessed to spend time in Ashland Oregon with some of our dear friends. This experience highlights the many facets of Christmas and the spirit in which the best part of this holiday continues to thrive.

We were met at the airport by Lisa and Marty and followed “the locals” to our destination, the Winchester Inn. We were to share a joint suite with them and were excited to catch up as we hadn’t seen them in what seems an eternity. What we didn’t know is that Lisa had taken some of her most precious Christmas decorations originating from her mom and other family members and decorated our joint suite.

This was such a precious gift to behold as that gesture set the stage for an amazing weekend. That night we went to Dancin Vineyards for a wine tasting, which was fantastic. The pinot noir and chardonnay were exceptional but this was just the prelude to the much anticipated dinner at the Jacksonville Inn.

Jacksonville is a quaint town highlighted by old but well maintained brick buildings, victorians, restaurants, tasting rooms, antique and gift shops, all decorated elaborately for Christmas and promoted with hand-crafted signs. This is quaint with a capital “Q”.

“Housed in one of gold-rush Jacksonville’s early permanent structures, the Jacksonville Inn perpetuates the nostalgic romances of the era.”

What’s interesting is that this town was the first town in America to be named a National Historic Landmark. Its beautiful to enter a town and feel like you are stepping back in time.

The dinner was wonderful and the conversations even better. The dinning room exhibited the flavor of the past with Victorian lamps, crafted tables and chairs, and of course the old brick fireplace. The food was sourced from local farms with the very special feeling you get when the product is fresh and perfectly prepared.

The next morning we began with a complimentary breakfast at the Winchester Inn located in another beautiful town, Ashland Oregon. Nancy and I have found that most complimentary breakfasts are an afterthought giving no perceived value to the experience. Wow, were we wrong on this one.

The breakfast began with a hand-made pastry with fresh fruit. Then we were offered a choice of four different main course selections. Creme brulee french toast, an omelet filled with artisanal cheeses, a frittata with wild mushrooms and goat cheese, and finally a simple but excellent representation of the classic American breakfast with chicken apple sausage or maple smoked bacon. In addition to these fantastic selections the service was exceptional.

Next we visited our friends home on the Rogue River, the Doc’s office and then it was off for more wine tasting. We also visited a local bee farm, Wild Bee Honey Farms. The proprietor captured a video with her inside a swarm of bees. I’ve never seen anything like the complete trust she had for these bees she loved so much as they almost covered her from head to toe.

After tasting we were quite hungry and so we found a lunch place in Jacksonville called “The Back Porch Bar and Grill”. The reason I mention this place is because they have the best burger I’ve ever tasted. Meat accessed from the local butcher, home-made buns delivered from a bakery in Ashland daily, local cheese and organic produce… AMAZING!!!!

The final tasting of the day turned out to be at the most beautiful winery I’ve ever seen. Belle Fiore Winery is a French Chateau located outside the main town of Ashland.

Crafted inlayed tile, black wrought iron staircases enhanced by mahogany and elaborate chandeliers paint a picture of opulence balanced by taste and fortified by expertly crafted wines. This winery is a must see when your visiting southern Oregon.

The main reason we booked this trip was not only to see our dear friends but to experience the “Charles Dickens” dinner (a once a year event) at the Winchester Inn. Prior to our arrival we were asked for our entree selection and what hobbies we enjoyed.

Upon arrival for our much anticipated dinner the dinning room was decorated in a charming display of Dickens Christmas with the servers dressed in period clothing. Not only was the food elegant and tasteful but the over all experience can not be fully communicated.

In between courses appeared a quartet of singers dressed in period clothing singing fanciful carols outside the parameters of your established standard Christmas carols. Funny, serious, and classic carols all performed at the highest artistic level. Needless to say this added a dimension of sensory experience elevating everything around the Dickens dinner.

The coup de gras was Santa… of course. Santa went to each person at each table giving a personalized gift with a funny message that had the entire room engaged and captured within the best part of all of us… the spirit of Christmas.

This blog is sponsored by PAZAZ™and the “Magic of Cooking” with kitchen tools for the discerning chef. Please visit my website at

The Tapestry of Life

As time marches on we connect the dots that bring this season to life. Now I understand the beautiful smiles from my parents as they planned for the Christmas Holiday Season. Every gesture was the bountiful expression of love and the joy that produced the memories woven into the tapestry of life.

There was an extra bounce in our step when this season came along. As a child in the first grade I remember sticking cinnamon cloves into an apple to produce a scent I now always associate with Christmas.

At Deer Park elementary school the teachers were blessed with the knowledge of the past to create a present that would someday be etched in our hearts forever. We’d paint pictures of Santa or other holiday mystical figures that represented the fantasy and the power of belief that anything was possible.

We believed that if Santa could deliver gifts all over the world in a sleigh guided by a reindeer with a red nose then we could achieve anything.

It was those days that television was just beginning to be adopted by the masses. Thousands upon thousands of families around the country would gather on Sunday night for the “The Wonderful World of Disney”, hosted by Walt Disney (the creator of Disneyland and the empire that would soon be known as “Disney”).

We would all be engaged by the family stories told by the master of imagery taking us down a path that would exemplify the simplicity of the day. Christmas was Disney’s favorite time of the year because it was the perfect canvas to paint the pictures of joyful expressions he brought to life with all the charismatic and bewitching characters he created.

With technology comes convenience but seems to further distance ourselves from humanity. However, somewhere in our passing of traditions and the bright light that shines from the past we hold the magic of Christmas dear to our hearts as it is woven into the tapestry of our lives.

This blog is sponsored by PAZAZ™ “The Magic of Cooking”, kitchen tools for the discerning chef. Please go to to order the finest cooking tools in the industry today perfect for that very special gift.

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Memories Make the Best Christmas Gift

Unwrapping a gift can be synonymous with the memories we hold dear that makes this season so special. As a child we live in the best part of us, our imagination.

We imagine Santa being guided by a reindeer with a red nose bringing the joy of giving to all the children in the world. We are amazed at the beautiful lights and decorations that bring the spirit of happiness to our city, town, or village. Many receive cards and presents from those we only hear from during the holiday season. That gift or card triggers a fond memory that brings a wonderful smile to our face.

As we get older we relive the memories of Christmas past. At the time we seemingly took for granted the socks our moms bought us for Christmas but now we cherish those simple gestures as part of a very special story we connect to this magical season.

Its not about the gifts as we get older but the smiles and laughter we shared with family and friends. We hold dear the traditions created by our family that we honor, guard, and protect for that very special compartment we open once a year.

And then we pass those traditions on as they become a testimonial to the advent calendar our grandparents and parents so carefully orchestrated for this enchanting season. As each generation passes we share stories of previous Christmas events that helped shape the conviction to be stewards of the most important aspect of this holiday season, “The Season of Giving”.

Two traditions that stand out for me as a child I’d like to share:

On Christmas eve my mom started a tradition of serving onion soup and a shrimp salad with home-made thousand island dressing. This would usher in our opening of the gifts on Christmas Eve. We would gather around the fireplace and I would play Santa distributing the gifts to my mom, dad, and grandmother. I enjoyed so much their expression of happiness when they opened the gift I had given them. This was really the best part of Christmas for me, seeing that expression of joy which provided the magic I will never forget.

The second tradition was waiting for Santa to bring that very special gift you’d been asking for all year. My parents would assemble or provide that gift working silently into the night with an unconditional love that was woven into the fabric of our family.

I feel blessed to have such a fortunate experience from parents that I will remember for as long as forever is.

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