A Girlfriend Camp Visit to Lily Dale

A Girlfriend Camp Visit to Lily Dale.

This past weekend, a group of girls and I went on our annual “girlfriend camp vacation.”
We’ve gone to various places over the past few years including a beach week at Ocean Isle and having various “camp staycations” at each other’s homes.

One of my BFF’s (who I affectionately named Bubby about 20 years ago when Hubby and I met her and her Hubby on an airplane heading to the same cruise) and I created Girlfriend Camp (or GFC as we have coined it) quite a few years ago for just the two of us to get together.  We would meet up a couple times a year at one or the other’s house or at a destination in between since we live about two hours apart.

Since then, GFC has expanded to some of her friends and some of my friends at different times.  We are now all friends and share a very special GFC bond!

This year, Bubby wanted to visit Lily Dale, NY as part of our vacation.  I had never heard of it, but am always up for an adventure and new experiences.

And that it was!

Lily Dale is a small community  located in southwestern New York.  It has a population of 275, but welcomes approximately 22,000 visitors each year.  The purpose of Lily Dale is to further the science, philosophy, and religion of Spiritualism.

It is a place of pilgrimage for many Spiritualists and others interested in Spiritualism, the paranormal, and New Age topics.  Many medium and Spiritualist healers reside in Lily Dale.

I can’t say that I’ve been convinced to believe that Mediums can communicate with spirits (even though a Medium provided me with the name and spelling of my recently-passed brother), but what I can say is that it is a lovely and loving place.

No matter who we encountered during our visit to Lily Dale – whether they be other guests or Lily Dale residents,  every person was kind and loving.  There is a true sense of peace in this little place on earth.

There are small trails through the woods to walk –  one of which is a “Fairy Trail…”

where lovely little fairy houses and communities are on display,

and room is made for fairies (and visitors) to dance with nature.

Gathering places have been created….

for people to gather, pray, meditate,

and possibly connect with the spirits of their loved ones.

Healing services are held, and ribbons of healing and prayer are tied on a prayer tree in chains to offer continuous remembrances for loved ones.  Guests are offered the opportunity to write a prayer intention or a name on a ribbon.  By the end of each summer, hundreds of ribbons are tied to the prayer tree and sing gently in the breeze. At the end of each summer, healers gather in prayer and respectfully take the ribbons from the tree. They are brought to the closing ceremony, where a final blessing is said over the ribbons for healing and for the world.

Here we are in Lily Dale.  Full of love.  Full of life.  Feeling the peace.  Open to the experience.

And the next day……. in true GFC fashion – we spent the day visiting winerys and breweries and celebrating life and freedom and peace and friendship.

Cheers to girlfriends!  Cheers to friendship!  Cheers to kindness!  Cheers to acceptance!  Cheers to open minds!  Cheers to peace!  Cheers to love!

And finally,

Cheers & Hugs,


Cherish the Moments


I am so fortunate to be surrounded by such wonderful friends.  Earlier this week, my sweet Bubby, who lives two hours away, asked if I wanted to meet the GFC Gang halfway between our homes for a holiday lunch get-together.

Well – invite me to lunch… or coffee… or dinner… or whatever…. with friends, and I’m pretty much one to drop whatever task at hand is on my holiday staycation schedule and do it.

And so I did.

And before I left, I decided to see if my daughter-in-law and granddaughter wanted to join us.  After all, among the many other things my Bubby and I share, we became first-time grandmas only five days apart several weeks ago when each of our eldest children (sons) blessed us with grandchildren.

My daughter-in-law (much like me), said “what time are you leaving?” and happily joined us.

Well – of course Bubby immediately called her daughter-in-law, and invited her and her grandson too.


How sweet to watch these two new moms so lovingly care for our new little loves.  (Though our cute little “C” was not in the mood to pose.  She wanted to sleep.)


What a joy it was to share this time together.  The babies were passed around between all the ladies, and we sure enjoyed the snuggles and squiggles.


Until the phone rang – about halfway through lunch- with the sad, sad news of the passing of my brother, who is just 13 months younger than me.

The blessing in disguise is that I was surrounded with love…
surrounded with support…
allowed to process the shock, the grief, the anger, the sadness, the anxiety…
by being with some of the people
who have grown to become family to me,
who understand the circumstances,
who help make up for the family I’ve lost.

Friendship is truly a gift to cherish.

And I sure do cherish
these sweet special ladies.

I believe life is truly all about relationships.
Please take the time to cherish the ones you love,
the ones you call friends,
the moments you share.

Those moments can be taken away from you
in a blink…
in a moment.

Today is my birthday.
I am cherishing the moments.
I hope you will too.


Cheers & Hugs,

Girlfriend Camp Misadventures in Chagrin Falls

chagrin falls 3

It all began with a day trip to Cleveland this past weekend…

Hubby was going to help our friends’ son and DIL (you may recall them from My First Jewish Wedding post a few months ago) with some electrical work in their new home.

I, on the other hand, was going to “play” with one of my BFs and her girls and our GFC friends.

chagrin falls gfc

It was a gorgeous, unseasonably sunny, not-so-frigid February day that started with lots of hugs and kisses, a new home tour, a delicious steaming breakfast casserole loaded with eggs and bacon and potatoes, fresh chewy bagels in pumpernickel and cinnamon raisin and sesame seed with generous shmears of cream cheese, and mugs of hot coffee with french vanilla cream.

After all the hugging and kissing and eating was done, the guys went to work, and the girls went to play!

bub chagrin falls

We took a ride to a quaint little village called Chagrin Falls.  The scenery was stunning, the shops were eclectic, and the restaurants were yummy!  The streets were bustling with girlfriends and couples and families and even lots of dogs strolling the streets with their moms and dads.  (Sssshhh!  Don’t tell Charlie!)

chagrin falls 2

After we found a parking space (that allowed for us to accumulate some steps on our Fitbits), I threw my camera in my purse, and we were off.  The views were breathtaking, and we giggled and chatted and wandered while we waited for a text from the restaurant we chose (with a 45 minute wait) to let us know a table for six was ready.

chagrin falls 4

After about – oh – maybe 42 seconds down the road, I noticed my cell phone was missing.  A bit discombobulated, I decided I was with my friends and didn’t need it.  “Let it go, Jodi,” I told myself.  “I’m sure I left it in the car, and I don’t need to be attached to it while with these people I love and don’t get to see nearly enough.”  So I mentioned it to the gang – ok – maybe 2 or 212 times – but “let it go.”

chagrin falls 1

After a bit of strolling and photo-taking and giggling and selfie-ing and posting on Facebook, we got our text that our table was ready for lunch.

chagrin falls fb

If you are ever in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, be sure to check out Flip Side!  We had the sweetest waitress, the most amazing cocktails, and to-die-for burgers!  My One Red Door Burger was topped with melted brie cheese, crispy shallots, and date and applewood bacon aioli (O. M. G!!!)

After we ordered our drinks, I checked my purse one more time for my phone.  When I couldn’t find it, I decided it was worth a walk to the car to get it and put my mind at ease.

I looked in the car, under the seat, under the car, on top of the car, around the car.

No cell phone.

Well – maybe it is really in my purse.

So back to the restaurant I walked.

After pulling pretty much every item out of my purse, I realized I didn’t have it, and it wasn’t in the car.  Still not too concerned, I asked my “Bub” to dial my number and see if we could hear it ring.

Well – much to our surprise – a deep, gentlemanly voice answered my phone!

It seems my phone was at the local police station – dropped off by a kind gentleman who found it.

Mystery solved, we toasted friendship and the fact that there truly ARE still good, good people in this world.

We enjoyed our cocktail(s) and lunch, laughing and joking with our waitress about the fact that we might be stumbling a bit intoxicated to the police station to retrieve the phone after we finished every morsel of burger, sweet potato fries, crispy onion rings, and every last drop of Hendricks gin loaded with thinly sliced cucumbers over ice.  (Okay – maybe that was just for me!)

Wiggling and wobbling through the streets and practically skipping with joy in the fact that good people do still exist, we got to the local police station where we found the door locked….

While I waited, my Bubby opened the box next to the door and picked up the phone to call “inside.”  The dispatcher assured us someone would be right there to let us in.

A minute or two passed while we laughed and chatted about our good fortune.  Then five minutes passed.  Bubby stayed by my side, while the rest of the gang gathered at the front of the building near the street.  Ten minutes or so passed, and Bubby and I were beginning to wonder if the people “inside” forgot about us….

A police car pulled up and a young officer drew near the door.  “YAY,” we thought, we can slip in with him to the people inside who are waiting for us.

When the young officer approached, Bubby shared with him that “we have been waiting here for a long time!”  We were relieved to be let in.

“No you haven’t,” he replied.

“Oh – YES – we have,” my dear Bubby retorted in true “Bubby-style.”

“Well – I was only a few minutes away, and I came right over….” declared the officer.

Jaws dropped….


“Sorry Officer!”

“We were waiting for someone to show up from inside!”

“We didn’t realize…..”

Backtrack.  Butt-kissing.  Apologies….   OOOOPS!  (and this is not our first experience involving the police at a GFC activity...)

Thank goodness for the kind officer who forgave us, who laughed at with us, who gave me the name and phone number of the kind gentleman who turned in my phone so I could call and thank him (which I did!), who noticed a selfie posted on Facebook while in the possession of my cell phone and responded with a private message to my Bubby (under a code name we are still peeing our pants laughing about!), and who waved at us with a grin when we crossed paths AGAIN at the intersection leaving town that day.

If you ever doubted, there STILL ARE good good people in this world.  We only need to relax, to trust, to believe, and to embrace.

I’ll never forget you Chagrin Falls….

for your kind citizens (thank you Mr. A for taking the time to pick up my phone, ask people around you, and then walk it to the police department, so it could be returned to me),

your amazing police department (we’ll not soon forget you Officer J – and we’re guessing you won’t soon forget us),

your beautiful sites (the waterfalls and walking paths and old-town feel),

your delicious burgers (thank you Flip Side for your hospitality – can you PLEASE deliver to Mars?),

your popcorn shop (which made for a fun snack on the ride home while hubby and I sang along to oldies with the radio blasting),

your jeni’s ice cream parlor (whose name we first thought was “penis”),

and your friends and friendship (to all the people and dogs we couldn’t resist stopping to chat with along the street).

chagrin falls gfc

Oh the laughs we had joking about Officer Naughty and Officer Nyce.  That’s all I’m going to say about that….

My GFC girls will understand.

And they know how much I love them.

And isn’t that just about all that matters?

Cheers & Hugs,

Girlfriend Camp 2015

gfcoib15 group shot beach

L-R: Pam (aka Bubby), Renee, Jodi, Joan

Last week I had the pleasure of spending a luxurious, relaxing, fun-filled week at the beach with some girlfriends.

We call it GFC…
Girl Friend Camp…
And this year, we got to take it to the beach – Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina.

We set out with a fully-packed car… smiles….. and plenty of road trip snacks!  (after all – a 12-hour drive requires snacks!)

gfcoib15 roadtripIt was fun taking turns driving, playing silly road trip games, and singing to 70s tunes we haven’t listened to in years – everything from Led Zeplin, Queen, and The Eagles to Bobby Sherman, The Village People, Cher, and Barry Manilow!

Once there, this is how we spent most of our afternoons…

our feet in the warm sand in the bright sunshine with the cool ocean breeze – books and Kindles in tow, deep (and not so deep) conversations, frozen drinks, and lots and lots of sunscreen.

gfcoib15 beach bumsWhen we weren’t sitting at the beach, we were walking the beach – Fitbits on our wrists.

It was a two-mile walk to the pier and back, so we did that at least once a day….

because peanut M&Ms, pretzels, and cocktails were awaiting us back at the condo – and none came back home with us!

pier 1We collected sea shells some days – discussing why some of us pick up perfectly shaped ones… and others (ok – just me) like the imperfect ones…

I say they have more character.

shells on deck GFCOIB15We cooked in…

Bubby loves cooking breakfast, and I just love cooking…..

I made my famous guacamole one late afternoon.  Bubby said she did not like guacamole, but she would try it…

She is now a guacamole LOVER!  🙂  We even shared it with our neighbors.

I also made my Copy Cat Chick Fil A Chicken one evening for my chicas.  It was a hit!

gfcoib15 kitchen

L-R: Bubby, Renee, Joan

We ate out too.  I had a fabulous local fish called Cobia at The Ocean Isle Fish Company.  Our awesome waiter, Morgan, recommended it, and he did not steer me wrong.  It was served with a tropical mango salsa, rice pilaf and steamed broccoli.  YUM!

Of course we had a few margaritas too.

GFCOIB15 dinner and drinks out

We played games.

I always lost…

I’m lucky in love – not in games…  but I still love to play.

And there were always cocktails involved.

gfcoib15 drunk dominoe

We even got tattoos…
Ok… so they are a bit temporary… written with Sharpie markers.   #GFCOIB15

(Are we 50 or 15?)  🙂

gfcoib15 tattoo feet

And we wore our GFC Jammies from last year…

Gfc0ib15 jammiesand toasted and missed our GFC buddies that couldn’t join us this year – Buzzed, Loaded, and Toasted.

gfc 2014 girlsWe even allowed for some alone and down time, where we each enjoyed doing what we love doing best alone.
I brought my traveling water color paint kit and did some plein air painting.

Some of the neighbors called me “the artist…”   How funny and cool is that?!?!  🙂

plein air painting

We couldn’t have asked for a better week…
weather…. food… drinks… conversations (that cannot be shared here)… laughs…
an amazing celebration of friendship.

Everyone needs to do this if you can – celebrate, reflect, discover, embrace, enjoy….

GFCOIB15 last morning Joan walking

It was so great to go…

gfcoib15 in the sand

but it was also great to come home.

You know… there really is no place like home.

A handsome hubby picked me up…
A delicious dinner awaited…
A glass of wine, a warm shower, and a king-sized bed.

My message to you is as always…

Cherish the moments…
at life in between.

Cheers & Hugs,

Hello Friday!

Blended Bloom Hi There in Yello and Denim

HELLLLOOOO Friday! Always happy to see you!  And especially this Friday, because tomorrow is Girlfriend Camp (GFC) with a few of my favorite “girls” coming to the house.  I guess thinking of GFC got me in a crafty mood (though I probably should have been cleaning or cooking for the girls this week!)  I thought a sunny hello with a yellow and orange SU Blended Blossom and a denim bow was fun, and liked how this card turned out.

Since I was feeling “crafty” – I have a “Three-fer” this week on my usual Friday card posting.


This card was a fun new technique to try for my stamping and crafting friends.  I first sponged some pink and blue and brown on whisper white card stock.  Then I chose a fun chevron embossing folder, which I spritzed with water (on the side that does not have the print of the name on it), pressed my sponged paper in – ink against water – briefly – then dried to give this fun effect.  I then layered it on with complimentary colored card stock, added my favorite “Hello” stamp from my StampinUp “Hi There” set by inking with Versamark and then embossing in gold.  Finished it off with a bow of soft twine and a couple sparkly sequins.

Whats Your Type and Just Sayin

This third one was totally just winged out of trying some new stamps.  I got the Stampinup What’s Your Line and Just Sayin sets, so just started goofing around here.  I stamped some of the random shapes in Crisp Cantaloupe, Pear Pizazz and Crumb Cake inks (are you hungry now?) on SU Watercolor paper (I have to say – I was trying to just use some cheaper stuff I had and can’t believe the difference in quality!).  I then spritzed it all with water and put some coarse sea salt on top while it dried.  I then embossed the Hey There in Gold on translucent parchment and again embellished with some soft twine – the thinner this time and gold sequins with a dab of crystal effects.  Layered it up and even put a strip of the water color paper on the inside.  I kind like it.  It is a softer style.

Just for fun – which one do you like best?  No right answer – just curious…

And just havin’ fun….

at Life in Between.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Cheers & Hugs,