Feb 23, 2018

Host a Chocolate Tasting






"We've got hot chocolate. Chocolate mousse, chocolate drops and chocolate-covered  pretzels."
"Julia chose the menu," Laura put in.
"Butch did." Setting the box down, Julia opened it. "And he's going to really go for these. Have a seat, Naomi, and pull up some calories."



Ian @ MacGregor's Grooms




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Gather your closest girlfriends for a sweet weekend. Sip, swirl, and savor new takes on an age-old classic -- chocolate. 
Follow our no-fail tasting guide to kick-start your sweet escapade.  








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 Oh, she would treasure that, Naomi thought, closing her eyes. She would remember this single foolish afternoon all of her life.


Ian @ MacGregor's Grooms





Feb 22, 2018

A Garden Story






He walked to the windows, looked out over her gardens. “It’s like an illustration out of a book of fairy tales.” 


Face the Fire




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A landscape can be a narrative offering a beginning, a middle, and an end










Feb 21, 2018

Hug . Love . Kiss . your loved ones. Everyday.






Theo and Maddy sprang from opposite doors of the limo. The rush of emotion had him dropping his briefcase as he lunged toward them. He grabbed Maddy with his good arm, then had a line of pain spurting through his shoulder as he tried to hug Theo. "Sorry, bad wing."
When Theo kissed him, surprise and pleasure flustered him. He couldn't remember the last time this boy, this young man, had done so. "God, I'm glad to see you." He pressed his lips to his daughter's hair, leaned into his son. "So glad to see you."
"Don't ever do that again." Maddy kept her face pressed against his chest. She could smell him, feel his heart beat. "Not ever again."
"That's a deal. Don't cry, baby. Everything's okay now."
Afraid he was going to blubber as well, Theo pulled himself back, cleared his throat. 


The Villa




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By Frankie Fouganthin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 
(https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons





“Him and I had never really connected and now it’s like a whole new relationship,” Sam Zeif said. “I have this unreal appreciation for him that I never felt before and it’s amazing because I never realized how life could take him away from me. I never thought we could be in a situation where we would have to worry about that.”








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Nearly blind with terror and relief, David bolted out of the house. Even as the police car braked, he scooped Maddy out, held her cradled in his arms as he would a baby.
"You're okay." He pressed his lips to her cheeks, her hair. Breathed her in, as the shakes he'd held off since the call took over. 
"You're okay." He said it a half dozen times as she curled into him.
"I'm all right. I'm not hurt or anything." But when she wrapped her arms around his neck, her world came all the way right again. "Sophie drove like one of those guys you and Theo like to watch on the raceway. It was kinda cool."
"Kinda cool. Yeah." Rocking now, calming himself, he kept his face buried in the curve of her throat while Theo awkwardly patted her back.
"Bet it was some ride." Theo manfully swallowed the prickly lump in his throat. There was a jittering inside his chest that came as much from seeing his father break apart as from anxiety over Maddy. 


The Villa





Feb 20, 2018

Science of kissing: why a kiss is not just a kiss







"Let's call it a draw," he suggested, lowering his head.
Her hand shot out, wedged between them. "There can be no mouth on mouth. This is not permitted."
"Kisses are illegal in your world?"
"A kiss is a gift." 
Now it was she who was breathless, from the press of his body, from the knowledge that his lips were nearly upon hers. 
"One given in promise between those who mate."


A World Apart




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By KoS - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, 
https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1280529





In early human societies, it is believed mothers weaned their babies by chewing up their food and then passing it to their babies by lip-to-lip contact. Evolutionary biologists suggest that erotic kissing is a so-called relic gesture, passed down through cultures from these early practices of the mother’s deep kissing and the infant’s searching tongue movements.
“If young lovers exploring each other’s mouths with their tongues feel the ancient comfort of parental mouth feeding, this may help them to increase their mutual trust and thereby their pair-bonding,” 




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She rubbed her lips together, experimenting. His taste was still there-his flesh, yes-
but it was more. His mouth, the intimacy of the kiss that had been like- feeding each other. 
She hadn't known such matters could have such heat, and yet be tender.
She had never known tenderness, nor had she believed she required it.
Small wonder that in the world she knew, a mouth kiss was reserved for lifemates and
 was part of the sacred vows that stretched for all time.


A World Apart





Feb 19, 2018

Winter Bird Photos






A movement caught her eye, and as she turned to follow it she saw the cardinal take its perch on the snow-covered branch of a maple. It sat, a single spot of vivid red, and sang. Mac crouched, zoomed in rather than risk going closer and losing the shot. Was it the same bird who’d smacked into her kitchen window? she wondered. If so, he certainly seemed undamaged and unruffled as he sat like a single flame on the white-laced branch. She caught the moment then, taking three shots in rapid succession, slight changes in angles that coated her jeans with snow as she inched left. Then the bird took wing, swooped over the frozen sea, through the bright light, and was gone. Emmaline, beautiful Emmaline in her old navy coat, white cap and scarf trudged toward her through the snow. 
“I wondered how long I’d have to stand there until you finished or the damn bird took off. It’s cold out here.”



Vision in White 




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As temperatures dip, look no further than your backyard 

to see how full of life this blustery season truly is.







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He opened it carefully, peeling up the tape and flapped ends. And took out the photograph matted in a simple black frame. Against the black and white of snow and winter trees, the cardinal sat like a living flame. 
“It’s wonderful.” 
“It’s nice.” She studied it with him. “One of those lucky breaks. I took it early yesterday morning. It’s no bellycrested whopado, but it’s our bird, after all.” 


Vision in White






Feb 18, 2018

Power Naps






She chose the corner of the sofa and thought she might rest her eyes until she heard Sam coming back. 
Johanna stifled a yawn, shut her eyes and was asleep in seconds.
She awoke the same way, instantly. 
Somehow she'd snuggled down and had pulled an afghan up to her chin. 
Sitting up, Johanna dragged her hands through her hair just before she spotted Sam sitting across from her drinking coffee.
"I'm sorry." She cleared the huskiness out of her voice. "I must have dozed off."
She'd slept like a rock for half an hour. He'd tucked her up himself.


The Name of the Game 




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By Stougard (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or 
CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons






How Long Should Naps Be? 

Science Says 30 Minutes Is The Sweet Spot








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She started to stretch, then her gaze landed on the bedside clock.
“What! Is that clock right?”
 “I don’t know. Who cares?”
“But . . . Did I fall asleep? For an hour ? That’s like a nap.”
“Fee, that is a nap.”
“But I never take naps.”
“Welcome to my world.”


The Search





Feb 17, 2018

Gold and Silver- Images and illusions of the gold rush






There had been nights, many nights, when Sarah had cried herself to sleep from missing him. Then, as the years had passed, she’d had to take out the faded daguerreotype to remember his face. 


Lawless




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Through captivating and largely unedited images ranging from scenes of California’s rivers to the snow-capped peaks of Yukon, this exhibition follows the hopes, dreams and illusions of an entire generation of prospectors who took to the road in search of gold. It also tells the story of two major developments in the history of photography: single images on metal and multiple images on glass and paper.