Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Cheers!

This past year has brought so many beautiful changes into my life, both personal and professional. Last year, I could've never guessed that 2013 would bring me a new major (Ag Communications!) OR a new position (MI's official blogger/social media and marketing intern!!!!!). I am so grateful for all the opportunities that have been set before me and for all the people that encouraged me to seize them. My life has never been so filled with love and laughter and for that I feel extremely blessed. Although I cannot say what 2014 has in store for me, I CAN with certainty that the best is yet to come.
Tonight, please celebrate responsibly and expect nothing but the best in 2014. Cheers!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Jingle All The Way

Well... maybe we didn't go dashing through any snow, but this "sleigh" ride was one of the most festive things I've enjoyed this holiday season. Complete with Christmas lights, cozy blankets and hot cocoa, this wagon ride was as nostalgic as it was romantic. Our trusty draft horses (seasonally named Snow and White) were even in the holly jolly spirit, wearing their silver-embellished harnesses and bells. The experience made me feel like a little girl again - I even caught myself humming carols as we rode along.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Visit from Santa's Helpers

Each holiday, Madonna Inn employees sacrifice time with their loved ones to make sure that our business runs smoothly. While working on a holiday would bum most people out, the MI staff is never so unified, enthusiastic and loving as they are during the holidays. Melissa, one of our fabulous bartenders, recently shared a story with me that really put me in the holiday spirit, and made me realize how much people appreciate our Madonna Inn team. It was TGD and Melissa was working the Silver Bar when two nice ladies she'd never seen before, Heidi and Holly, sat down in her section. Melissa greeted them with a cheerful, "Happy Thanksgiving!" To this, the ladies responded by thanking her for working... especially on a holiday when she would rather be with her family. They wanted to make sure she knew how much her service meant to them she was not only working on a holiday, but working on a holiday with a gracious heart. Melissa was touched by their words, but didn't chat much with them after that except to check on them and bring them their ticket. As Heidi and Holly were about to leave, they struck up a conversation about early Black Friday shopping. They said they were heading over to Old Navy because they were starting their Black Friday sale early. Melissa told them that because she had to work she probably wouldn't make it, but had had seen a cute Old Navy jacket that she'd been wanting to buy herself. Heidi and Holly questioned her about the jacket, asking what it looked like and what size it was so that they could "stash it in the dressing room for her so it would still be there when she made it out to shop." Melissa went along with it all, thinking their offer was kind and all in good humor. Fast forward about an hour later, and the hostess had walked up to the bar, informing Melissa that there were some ladies at the front desk that were asking to speak with her. Not knowing what was up, Melissa said she was nervous. When she got to the desk, she saw the two familiar faces of Holly and Heidi, who told her to open her hands and close her eyes. When Melissa opened her eyes and realized that the ladies had gotten her the jacket she'd been wanting she could hardly believe what had happened. Excited, surprised and touched, Melissa was teary-eyed and speechless. When she finally found the words to thank her not-so-secret Santa's Helpers, Heidi and Holly simply smiled and told her to consider it an early Christmas gift. Although Melissa hasn't seen Heidi and Holly since that day, each time she wears her new jacket she is reminded of their kindness and the magic of the holiday spirit.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

'Tis the Season

... to eat seasonally fresh produce, that is! "Eating seasonally" by choosing fresh, organic, locally grown produce is a wonderful way to support your local farmers, as well as ensure that your produce is at its peak ripeness. Not only does eating seasonally mean better quality but also more variety. Have fun creating new dishes by incorporating seasonal fruits and veggies into your favorite recipes. Explore and savor the bounty of each season while doing your body and your local farmers a favor.
This month, enjoy grapes, citrus, kiwi, dates, persimmons, kale, brussels sprouts and nuts -- all at the peak of perfection! Inquire online or at your local farmer's market to find out what's in season in your area. {All images were found using Google}

The Art of Pies

For the past few years during the holiday season, I've gotten the opportunity to help out in the bakery. Although the ladies back there work quite a bit faster than I'm able to, they never forget to thank me for helping and always make me feel like part of their little family. I am continually astounded at how quickly they can whip out huge numbers of beautiful desserts. My specialty is cream pies - chocolate, banana and even coconut cream. Although assembling 50 or 60 of the same pie may seem like a bore, I get so lost in my creative groove that the hours end up flying by. It's almost like each pie is a little work of art for me.
Speaking of bananas, did you know that this wonderful fruit comes in over 500 varieties?? That's a lot of 'nanners!