Tuesday, December 30, 2008


To have a horse in your life is a gift. In the matter of a few short years, a horse can teach a young girl courage, if she chooses to grab mane and hang on for dear life. Even the smallest of ponies is mightier than the tallest of girls. To conquer the fear of falling off, having one's toes crushed, or being publicly humiliated at a horse show is an admirable feat for any child. For that, we can be grateful.

Horses teach us responsibility. Unlike a bicycle or a computer, a horse needs regular care and most of it requires that you get dirty and smelly and up off the couch. Choosing to leave your cozy kitchen to break the crust of ice off the water buckets is to choose responsibility. When our horses dip their noses and drink heartily; we know we've made the right choice.

Learning to care for a horse is both an art and a science. Some are easy keepers, requiring little more than regular turn-out, a flake of hay, and a trough of clean water. Others will test you - you'll struggle to keep them from being too fat or too thin. You'll have their feet shod regularly only to find shoes gone missing. Some are so accident-prone you'll swear they're intentionally finding new ways to injure themselves.

If you weren't raised with horses, you can't know that they have unique personalities. You'd expect this from dogs, but horses? Indeed, there are clever horses, grumpy horses, and even horses with a sense of humor. Those prone to humor will test you by finding new ways to escape from the barn when you least expect it.

Horses can be timid or brave, lazy or athletic, obstinate or willing. You will hit it off with some horses and others will elude you altogether. There are as many "types" of horses as there are people - which makes the whole partnership thing all the more interesting.

If you've never ridden a horse, you probably assume it's a simple thing you can learn in a weekend. You can, in fact, learn the basics on a Sunday, but to truly ride well takes a lifetime. Working with a living being is far more complex than turning a key in the ignition and putting the car or tractor in "drive."

In addition to listening to your instructor, your horse will have a few things to say to you as well. On a good day, he'll be happy to go along with the program and tolerate your mistakes; on a bad day, you'll swear he's trying to kill you. Perhaps he's naughty or perhaps he's fed up with how slowly you're learning his language.

Regardless, the horse will have an opinion. He may choose to challenge you (which can ultimately make you a better rider) or he may carefully carry you over fences - if it suits him. It all depends on the partnership - and partnership is what it's all about.

If you face your fears, swallow your pride, and are willing to work at it, you'll learn lessons in courage, commitment, and compassion in addition to basic survival skills. You'll discover just how hard you're willing to work toward a goal, how little you know, and how much you have to learn.

And, while some people think the horse "does all the work", you'll be challenged physically as well as mentally. Your horse may humble you completely. Or, you may find that sitting on his back is the closest you'll get to heaven.

You can choose to intimidate your horse, but do you really want to? The results may come more quickly, but will your work ever be as graceful as that gained through trust? The best partners choose to listen, as well as to tell. When it works, we experience a sweet sense of accomplishment brought about by smarts, hard work, and mutual understanding between horse and rider. These are the days when you know with absolute certainty that your horse is enjoying his work.

If we make it to adulthood with horses still in our lives, most of us have to squeeze riding into our over saturated schedules; balancing our need for things equine with those of our households and employers. There is never enough time to ride, or to ride as well as we'd like. Hours in the barn are stolen pleasures.

If it is in your blood to love horses, you share your life with them. Our horses know our secrets; we braid our tears into their manes and whisper our hopes into their ears. A barn is a sanctuary in an unsettled world, a sheltered place where life's true priorities are clear: a warm place to sleep, someone who loves us, and the luxury of regular meals. Some of us need these reminders. When you step back, it's not just about horses - it's about love, life, and learning. On any given day, a friend is celebrating the birth of a foal, a blue ribbon, or recovery from an illness. That same day, there is also loss: a broken limb, a case of colic, a decision to sustain a life or end it gently. As horse people, we share the accelerated life cycle of horses: the hurried rush of life, love, loss, and death that caring for these animals brings us. When our partners pass, it is more than a moment of sorrow.

We mark our loss with words of gratitude for the ways our lives have been blessed. Our memories are of joy, awe, and wonder. Absolute union. We honor our horses for their brave hearts, courage, and willingness to give.

To those outside our circle, it must seem strange. To see us in our muddy boots, who would guess such poetry lives in our hearts? We celebrate our companions with praise worthy of heroes. Indeed, horses have the hearts of warriors and often carry us into and out of fields of battle.

Listen to stories of that once-in-a-lifetime horse; of journeys made and challenges met. The best of horses rise to the challenges we set before them, asking little in return.

Those who know them understand how fully a horse can hold a human heart. Together, we share the pain of sudden loss and the lingering taste of long-term illness. We shoulder the burden of deciding when or whether to end the life of a true companion.

In the end, we're not certain if God entrusts us to our horses--or our horses to us. Does it matter?
We're grateful God loaned us the horse in the first place.

Author Unknown

Monday, December 29, 2008

STOLEN Andalusian

I received this email from a friend and wanted to publicize it as much as possible.

A friend of mine had a young Andalusian stallion stolen from her yard. These men cut a chainlink fence to get to this horse. My friends property is like a maze of stalls and the horse was not visible from the street. It is believed that some men looking to buy a different horse she had for sale, may have come back and stolen Marty. They were very interested in him and tried to get her to sell him to them. He was not for sale. Any info would be appreciated. Thank you
STOLEN Andalusian stallion.........
Mateo- 4 yr old medium gray Andalusian stallion, no white markings on him. aprox 16h very calm and sweet temperament long mane in knots and he may have wire scrape on his left side as there was hair on the cut fence.
He was stolen from Grey Ladies Andalusian Holly Haynes (951) 351-9998, Nuevo, CA.
We may have a description of the truck and trailer used:
White extended cab pick-up, 2 door with a large tank in the bed . The tank takes up most of the bed and is painted white.
The trailer was a bumper pull but what was unique about the white trailer is that it has big dark blue stripes horizontally along the sides. it look to have a big dressing area and be a 2 or 3 horse
3 men main one in the group looks black 5'8" and did most of the talking 2 other men were with him looked to be white. They stopped by to look at horses and used Ray Arris's name claiming to be great friends with him
Holly has spoken to Ray Aris and it is no surprise that he does not know our "persons of interest"
Ray says he makes a habit to always have his guests (potential buyers) sign a guest book and take a picture of them next to one of his horses............. Maybe writing down a Vehicle license plate would be a good idea too as the thieves definitely knew what they were after and were very prepared !!! In our search it was stated that there has been other andalusian horses stolen recently in that area (RIVERSIDE Co., CA.)
Although the search is focused mainly in the southern California area PLEASE send this on to everyone you can as in hopes that someone out there may send this on to someone that may know who is involved
Thank you to everyone for your help and support

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Fire in the alley!

Yesterday Chad and I were getting ready to take the dogs out to visit Mazzy when Chad smelled fire. Next thing I knew he told me to grab the camera because our neighbor's house was on fire! It ended up being their garage that was partially converted in to an apartment, and thankfully the only injury was very minor burns to the guy who was living in the apartment. It was pretty exciting to see Chad's co-workers (and friends) in action. There were 24 fire fighters involved, 3 Fire Engines, 2 Fire Trucks, 1 Rescue Ambulance, 1 Battalion Chief, 1 Investigator.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Eve at the Firehouse

We had delicious tamales for dinner that Stephanie went out to get at 2am from Tamales Liliana on the east side of LA! I guess it is quite a popular thing to do on Christmas Eve in LA. They were very good.

The "White Elephant" Gift Exchange

The guys showing off their matching "house shoes" from Robert

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Yet another Christmas Celebration

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

RCR Christmas

We had a little Christmas fun with our horses....

Santa, Rudolph and his little Elf helper (Murphy & The Knoops):

Oh Christmas Tree (Spot, Sierrah Gonzalez, Sarah Havner, Rachael Sears)

My little snow princess, Kylie

Stacey and her sweet little candy cane, Nikki

Grandma got ran over by a reindeer....

The blizzard pony

Very elaborate gingerbread house

Donna and Tommy as Rudolph
Jenn and The Budweiser Clydesdale, Robbie

and Ranger....

Monday, December 22, 2008

Annual Christmas Cookie Decorating Party

Last night we went to our friend's house for their annual Christmas cookie decorating party. Ave, the host, really goes all out in both home decorating and cooking. She baked thousands of cookies in all shapes and sizes for us to all decorate and take home. She had every color frosting, sprinkle, candy decoration, etc. to create fantastic cookies. There was lots of holiday cheer, and we all had so much fun! I finally felt the Christmas spirit being around the warmth of good friends.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snow in Southern California

Chad took this picture up near Big Bear yesterday when he went snowboarding.

Crazy weather here! Lots of road closures creating massive traffic backups below the passes. Interstate 15 is closed over Cajon Pass east of Los Angeles, I-5 is closed through the Grapevine area and Highway 14 is closed into Palmdale and Lancaster. Snow was even seen late this afternoon in Malibu and the National Weather Service says more severe cold is on the way. Heavy rain fell in parts of Southern California throughout the day.

New snow reports (as of 4pm this afternoon).
Los Angeles County mountains and high deserts

Lake Los Angeles (about 2500 ft).. 8 inches
Malibu Hills (just below 2000 ft). .5 inches
Frazier Park (5000 ft)... ... ... ... 12 inches
Pearblossom (about 3100 ft)... ... . 9 inches
Wrightwood (about 6100 ft)... ... .. 20 inches
*palmdale (about 2200 ft)... ... ... 6 inches
*record snow in Palmdale is 14.3 inches in 1974

No snow at our house, but alot of rain!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This and That

I'm behind in posting. During the day, I've been keeping busy transitioning my responsibilities at work because my project at Yahoo is ending 12/31. I have been there since mid 2003 with a couple of brief assignments at other clients in between. Due the deteriorating economic climate, Yahoo layed off a couple thousand employees this month and is letting the consultants go too (me). Mass layoffs are always traumatic, so it has been a somber place the past week.

In my non-work hours, I have been making jewelry to fill orders I got at my boutique, riding my horse (my sanity), and attending a few Christmas parties. This year I am neglecting Christmas due to my uncertain employment and because my jewelry boutique burnt me out on decorating, cleaning, and entertaining. So this is the first year we are not having a tree or putting out lights on our house.

I have added a sale page to my website. Check it out for some great bargains.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Chad and I went to Disneyland yesterday. Finally used the free tickets I got for Christmas last year from my company. It was fun, but I was pretty much "peopled-out" by the end of the day. The Disneyland side was much more crowded than California Adventure side. The lines weren't too bad, we never waited more than 30 minutes for a ride. If the wait was longer we skipped it. We started out at California Adventure and went on California Screamin' (great roller coaster), Orange Stinger, Mulholland Madness, Soarin' Over California (excellent), The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (free fall ride - very fun), It's Tough to Be a Bug! (cool 3-D show) , and Toy Story Mania. Then over to the Disneyland side where we rode Thunder Mountain Railroad (fun, train roller coaster), Star Tours , Haunted Mansion (decorated Tim Burton style), and Pirates of the Caribbean (best ride).

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Copper Cauldron

I am the winner of a Six Month Soap Subscription Giveaway from The Copper Cauldron...yeah!!! The best part is I know how amazing her soaps are because I recently ordered and received her Brown Sugar and Fig and Sweet Pumpkin Spice soaps and they are fantastic! Each bar of soap comes packaged separately in a lovely reusable organza bag which makes it perfect for a gift or a stocking stuffer (or a nice present for yourself)! She has delicious scents like Oatmeal Milk and Honey, Mango Papaya, Chocolover's Milk, Autumn Walk, Absolute Lavender, Sun Ripened Raspberry, Pomegranate...yum! Right now she is having a sale 10% OFF Your Purchase (excludes cost of shipping and gift certificates). Free shipping for purchases over $25. Head on over and get yourself some soapy goodness!

Handmade Soap to Wash the "Wicked" Away!


Monday, December 8, 2008

Laura in town

My good friend Laura came into town this weekend and we had a busy, fun filled time. On Friday she flew down from the Bay area and we went out to Cafe Bizou to meet some other friends. The food is always good there and the corkage fee is only $2, can't beat that! Probably drank a too much for the big day I had ahead of me on Saturday.Saturday was my jewelry boutique, see other post.

Sunday, we woke up early to go to the barn and ride. I will leave it at that, I have had better riding days. Then, somehow we coordinated with some other people to all get on the same train but from different train stops to go down to Chinatown for Dim Sum.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Wow, I had a fantastic boutique today. So many wonderful friends came to support me and I really felt so blessed to be surrounded by them today. My fantastic friends helped me host, prepare food and drinks, and then clean it all up. I have an amazing friend, Sandy, who kept track of all my transactions, collected the money, and packaged up the jewels, I couldn't have done it without her. Many, many thanks to everyone who came today!!! Everyone did something to make the day bright for me in some way.

For anyone planning a boutique for the holidays, a few tips that may help...
1) Put up signs at some of the main intersections nearby. We got quite a few people out for a drive that saw our signs, came by and turned into customers.
2) Advertise in your local paper.
3) Offer incentives for your friends to bring their friends. I organized door prizes with additional entries for bringing friends, making purchases, and rsvp-ing early. We did drawings throughout the day for the door prizes.
4) Offer refreshments so your guest feel comfortable to socialize for a while and stay.

I have more, but I am exhausted....

Susan and I

Friday, December 5, 2008

Jewelry Boutique Tomorrow - Pasadena, CA - PLEASE COME!

Please join me tomorrow, December 6th from 10:00am until 4:00pm for a Fabulous Holiday Jewelry Boutique!
Tara Cornelius of Five O’Clock Somewhere and Susan Kelso of Luna Grace Designs present their beautiful handcrafted artisan jewelry…

The holidays are fast approaching, avoid the congested parking lots, crowed stores, and pushy salespeople while shopping for unique one-of-a-kind items.

Drinks & hors d'oeuvres

Plus, great door prizes!

Increase your chances for the door prizes:
Bring friends = 2 tickets for each friend
Make a purchase = 1 ticket for every $25

(cash or check only, please)

for more information

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Favorite Brownie Recipe

These are the quintessential brownies. Nothing special or fancy, no gimmicks. Just pure, rich and fudgy flavor with the chewy texture and that papery-thin, crackled top that all great brownies have.


2 squares unsweetened chocolate

1/4 pound sweet butter (1 stick)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 t. vanilla
1/4 cup flour
1/4 t. salt
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Melt chocolate and butter in a heavy saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Stir vigorously. Add flour, salt and nuts. Mix until incorporated.

Pour into buttered 8 x 8 pan. Bake in 325 degree preheated oven for 40 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting.
No need to frost these moist brownies, eat them plain or dust with powdered sugar

I found an article that I thought was perfect for this time of year to go along with my favorite brownie recipe: 5 Creative Ways to Decorate Brownies for the Holidays

Decorate Brownies with Peppermint Frosting

This one is a must for any chocolate mint ice cream fans and is sure to become a holiday favorite. Just add some peppermint flavoring to your favorite buttercream recipe and top your brownies with a thick layer before freezing the treat for 1-2 hours. If you microwave these before serving, your guests can indulge in a tasty mint chocolate dessert.

Top Brownies with Cinnamon Sugar Streusel

Have some leftover streusel topping from the coffeecake you baked up this season? Use it to top off your basic brownie recipe and then finish with powdered sugar icing for a unique bakery-style treat. Cinnamon and chocolate are a great combination during winter, and this one's best served with a mug of steaming hot chocolate.

Decorate Brownies with 'Snow'

You can dress up any brownie recipe for the holidays by topping it off with frozen whipped topping and red and white chocolate morsels. These are a decadent treat that are sure to please every brownie enthusiast in the family.Pick up the official Nestle Toll House recipe for Snow-Topped Holiday SWIRLED brownies here.

Top Brownies with a Caramel Toffee Crunch

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to turn basic brownies into a gourmet treat, just melt Kraft caramels in a bowl and pour over your tray of brownies. Then break up pieces of Heath toffee bar or peanut brittle and sprinkle over the caramel for a festive holiday dessert!

Decorate Brownies with Pumpkin Frosting

Pumpkin cream cheese frosting is often used to decorate cakes over holiday season. Enjoy a chocolate-infused holiday treat by topping off your batch of brownies with a thick layer of sweet pumpkin and cream cheese frosting that's sure to brighten up anyone's day! Try this pumpkin cream cheese frosting recipe below from Country Living magazine to make your unique festive treat.

1 package(s) (8-ounce) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup(s) pumpkin purée
1/4 cup(s) (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon(s) fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon(s) grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
4 cup(s) confectioners' sugar, sifted
Blend the cream cheese, pumpkin purée, butter, orange juice, zest, and vanilla in a large bowl using an electric mixer set at medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and creamy -- about 5 more minutes.

Spotted Cow Soaps

Candy Cane Soap

A big congrats to Spotted Cow Soaps! She is our featured Etsy Blogger for the month of December!!!

Spotted Cow features a variety of bath and body products that will make your senses hum with bliss. Spotted Cow Soaps are as delicious looking as they are fragrant. And just in time for the holidays, you can get several limited edition soaps and other bath goodies to give as gifts...or to keep for's okay, we won't tell. Handcrafted in Vermont, she also sells washcloths and bath sponges from organic materials.
Check out her Etsy shop and read more about her at her blog:

Cranberry Whipped Sugar Scrub

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Buy Handmade for the Holidays - Only 23 shopping days left until Christmas!

Buying Handmade makes for better gift-giving.
The giver of a handmade gift has avoided the parking lots and long lines of the big chain stores in favor of something more meaningful. If the giver has purchased the gift, s/he feels the satisfaction of supporting an artist or crafter directly. The recipient of the handmade gift receives something that is one-of-a-kind, and made with care and attention that can be seen and touched. It is the result of skill and craftsmanship that is absent in the world of large-scale manufacturing.
Buying handmade is better for people, better for the environment, and better for giving truly special and well-crafted gifts.

Five O'Clock Somewhere website

Five O'Clock Somewhere - Etsy Shop

Monday, December 1, 2008


ArtFire - Buy Handmade - Sell Handmade

Looking for a new way to promote? Hopefully this will be the next most amazing thing!!! ArtFire calls itself “the premier online marketplace for handmade products designed by artisans around the globe. Our free community is designed for artisans to buy and sell their works, while celebrating unique handmade items and designs. ” Also, according to the site they are already buying advertising online & in print magazines to bring in traffic to the site. (It's already got almost as many hits to the front page as gets per day!) They have already bought ads on the back cover of Craft Magazine! Online they are purchasing ads online on, Craftster, Myspace, Mother Jones, Craft Bits, Craft Gossip and Gala Darling! & MORE IS COMING!

So why ArtFire? Well, for one, ArtFire has STATS for shop views so you know where your customers are coming from! Also, Artfire allows 10 images per listing, a vacation mode, and a markdown manager. With things like auto posting to Google base in the works.

Artfire’s pricing is simple. Right now, you pay $7 a month (for the first 5000 artists) to list & sell as much as you can FOREVER. That’s it. No additional listing fees, no final value fees. I signed up on that alone!

It is important to note, however, that the site is still in beta testing. And because it’s new, it has bugs. And by definition, that’s why its in beta…to test and find and kill the bugs. But, that’s also why the $7 a month offer is in place.. once the kinks are worked out, sellers will pay $20 per month.

If you create an account right now, and then get 10 other people to create accounts by the end of 2008, your shop will be free for life. No monthly fees. Ever!!! If you are interested, click the link below. I’d love it if you used me as your referrer. Then pass along the love. Click here to register at

Register on

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