Tag Archives: inspiration

Be Happy!

Looking for the perfect gift for the type-A personality in your life? We’re talking about the ones who have pro/con lists scattered throughout their notebooks, whose weekly planners are more organized than your entire life… you know, the Rory Gilmore identifiers. Well, luckily there’s journal made with exactly them in mind. 52 Lists for Happiness, by Moorea Seal, is a “year-long journey to your own personal joy, one list at a time.”
The book contains four sections: reflect, acknowledge, invest, and transform. It contains 13 listing prompts with extra space to create your own lists. This is enough to last the reader a whole year. The journal also includes challenges for the reader to seek their own happiness and to take action in their life. Some examples of these prompts are as follows:
“List what makes you happy right now.”
“List the simple ways you enjoy being kind to others.”
“List one achievement, big or small, every day this week.”
Personally, we can’t wait to get started making our lists. But, you don’t have to take our word for it! There is a science to this recommendation. Gratitude journaling has been found to make individuals feel happier and more optimistic. It even helps with health and fatigue. If one is suffering from depression or anxiety, a study published in Behavior Modification, states that journaling can decrease symptoms significantly. It can also help improve professional performance and self-awareness in those suffering from burn out, according to Harvard professor Teresa Amabile.
Whether you just love lists and want this book for yourself, or you know someone who is a journaling junky, or you know someone struggling with finding their happiness, this book is a golden opportunity for the perfect, well-thought, holiday gift and it’ll last them entirety of 2017!


Written by Nicole Brobston

Serve It Up Sassy: 2015 Graduation Gathering!


chevron canvasIt was just a few years ago on a bright sunny morning, you held the hand of your six -year old  as a big yellow school bus pulled up in front of your mailbox. It was time to board the bus for their first day of school. Your little darling could hardly reach the first step on the bus but with a gentle nudge from you, the climb to board was easy. As you held back the tears, the excitement and joy in your child’s eyes melted your heart, and a new page in this chapter of life had just been turned. As the pages of time turned year after year, it is now 2015 and graduation day is on the horizon.

It is time to plan a graduation gathering; an after-the-ceremony reception for your graduate. A bright summer color-palette like hot pink, orange, and lime green sets the color scheme for this reception. This ‘graduation gathering’ focuses on her, but colors can be changed to focus on him, such as navy, light blue, and forest green or choose school colors.

Another inspirational idea is a painted wall canvas. This colorful chevron wall canvas provides the perfect back drop for the dessert table and is part of the graduate’s gift, something she will take with her for the college dorm or apartment. For step-by-step instructions on creating a wall canvas in the chevron pattern please go to my blog, www.lizbushong.com.

In keeping with the color scheme, hot pink, orange and lime, large daisy flower heads are arranged in rows by color in a clear acrylic tray. A piece of glass was cut to fit the acrylic tray to serve festive lemonade’s that color-coordinate with the Gerber Daisies.

Graduation candy caps made of miniature peanut butter cups and chocolate covered grahams are served up sassy with a lime green butter cream frosting tassel.

spot on cake loaf with slicesThe spot-on cake* was baked in an 18- inch loaf pan, then covered with a delicious butter cream fondant and decorated with three fresh Gerber Daisies, one of each themed color. Baked inside the cake are three large pre-baked cake balls that carry the same hot pink, orange and lime color scheme for the spot-on look. For instructions and recipe, visit www.lizbushong.com.

Other food on the menu includes easy pick-up fare that can be served so the graduate and guests can visit while eating. Mini pimento cheese sandwiches, chicken salad croissants, small vegetables with jalapeno ranch dressing, assorted chips, chocolate dipped pretzel rods and trail mix with personalized orange M & M’s are small bites you can create the day before the event. You can order personalized M & M’s at www.mymms.com for an extra surprise in the trail mix.

A separate skirted side table should be set up for gifts. Suggested graduation gifts for the college-bound graduate include a camera, an alarm clock, a desk organizer with coordinated desk supplies, monogrammed or personalized notepads and stationary, and gift cards. Of course, cash is golden for all graduates. The Instax Mini 8 camera prints out photos immediately, so creating a scrapbook or photos for a dorm room is quick and easy. This little camera creates 2 x 3- inch photos and comes in several fun colors for teens. After the reception, the graduate could send thank you notes to all the guests for their gifts and include a photo of the graduate using or holding the much appreciated gift.

It’s been a journey to get to this day.  As you reminisce the years gone by, you are entering another new chapter in this book-of -life with your ‘little darling.’ It is graduation day, a time to celebrate a momentous achievement with the anticipation of a bright new future ahead. Look -out graduate, your future is so bright you are going to need shades!!!

graduation candy capsGraduation “Candy” Caps

20 Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups®
20 Keebler Deluxe Grahams®-fudge covered
½ cup Buttercream frosting- divided- chocolate, color of choice for tassel

Unwrap all peanut butter cups and place upside down on a baking sheet. Cut each rectangular graham cracker into a square shape if desired or use as is. Place ¼ cup chocolate frosting in piping bag with small tip and pipe small dot on top of bottom of peanut butter cup. Attach graham cracker on top of frosting to create the graduation cap. Using the remaining ¼ cup of frosting in the school color of choice, place frosting in a piping bag with tip #5.  Create a tassel on one side of the cap. Store in a sealed container until serving.  Can be made one day ahead.

graduation gathering dessert table

Triple Lemonade

3 (12 ounce) cans frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed but cold
2 cups water
2 cups sprite or ginger ale-chilled
1 (12 ounce) can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed but cold
1(16 ounce) jar stemmed maraschino cherries with juice

In a large pitcher, mix lemonade concentrate and cold water. Stir to combine. Divide 2 cups of lemonade into three pitchers evenly. Add to one pitcher, thawed orange juice and set aside. To another pitcher, add cherry juice and to the last pitcher, add 2 cups of ginger ale. Each pitcher should be a different color to go with color scheme. If needed, add a few drops of food coloring to make the intensity of the color desired. Or, if you want to make a large punch, combine all ingredients and serve in a punch bowl.
Garnish:  Slice orange wedges for the orange lemonade, lime wedge with stemmed maraschino cherry for the Cherry lemonade, and a lemon twist for the plain lemonade. Serve in champagne glasses.

*Cake was inspired by Surprise-Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion–with a Little Something Extra Inside by Amada Rettke.

Make a Statement, Make it Sassy, Make it Yours! ®
Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. For more information about Liz and Serve it up Sassy go to Liz’s blog www.lizbushong.com and website, www.serveitupsassy.com like and share www.facebook.com/lizbushong, and pin www.pinterest.com/lizbushong.

Women’s History Month: A moment of recognition

March is Women’s History Month, marked by International Women’s Day on March 8.
Sometimes, as women, it is hard to remember that we are defined by so much more than our size, the way we wear our hair, and if we wear the right makeup.
What defines us, and what actually matters is something much deeper. It is our desire to make a positive change in our own lives and the lives of others. It is our willingness to listen when we need to and lead with our hearts when the opportunity arises.
Last year, we highlighted some extraordinary local women in our magazine and on our website for our 100th issue. We feel fortunate to work with and live alongside those women, and look forward to a future that is better because of them. 
Throughout the year, we will continue to introduce you to women in our area doing amazing things. After all, our publication is a celebration of you, our readers— the things that inspire you, make you healthy, and confident to pursue your dreams. We want to encourage you to reach out to the women in your life who have helped you achieve your goals or simply gave you a shoulder to cry on when times were tough. 
Take your mother, sister, or friend out to lunch. Remind someone you care by sending them chocolate or flowers if you cannot meet up with them. And if none of these are an option, call them or send them a text to let them know you care. We all need that every once in a while.
On that note, we would like to take the opportunity to recognize one important woman who has influenced each of our lives. Narrowing it down to one was hard— we have all known some very incredible ladies! 
We hope this inspires you to share a photo of yourself and a woman you would like to recognize with us by emailing editorial@beckmediagroup.com. We may give you a shout out on our Facebook page!

New ImageHayleigh: I know some pretty amazing women, but my mom is definitely the most important one in my life! As an adult, I feel fortunate to call her my best friend. I have so much to learn, and she is an inspiration every time I have to get up, dust off, and try again.






joeyJoey: Valerie became my “big sister” when I turned 12 as part of the Big Brother, Big Sister program. With no mother figure in my life, she became that and so much more. Today, we remain the best of friends. Even though we live miles apart– and through husbands, children, careers and daily lives– our friendship is stronger than ever.





cheryl2Cheryl: I know I have tried to model myself after my parents in many ways because I think they have done many things right. The way I live my life has been influenced by them; my faith, my hard work and determination. The simple values of life such as love, goodness, sympathy, and respect for others.





danielleandmollyDanielle: My aunt Mollie has been the most influential woman in my life. She is a selfless and beautiful person whom I hope to be like someday.  Because of her, I know how to garden, stay strong, and love. And she was the first person to make me realize my beauty and capabilities.

Get Organized!

Keeping track of appointments by recording them in a planner allows us to see our lives from a more holistic point of view and reflect on our goals both accomplished and left unfinished.

With that in mind, we compiled a list of our favorite planners to help you stay both organized and focused:
The Emily Ley Simplified Planner features bright covers and rainbow monthly tabs that will keep a smile on your face during hectic times. Each day has its own full page, which is divided into an hour-by-hour planner, a to-do list, a notes section, and a place to record the dinner menu. The planner comes with an attached notepad with pages that easily tear out. For the busy mom, there is a place for weekly prep each Sunday, and a box to fill with short memories from the week that transform this planner from a simple agenda to a beautiful memory book.

Mom Agenda is full of organizational solutions that can take your life from chaotic to condensed in just minutes. The planner features full monthly views as well as yearly views and is bound in soft leather. However, the most unique feature of this planner is its daily layout. Each day has its own full page with space for an hourly schedule, specific appointments for up to three children, a spot to list dinner plans, and room for a to-do list. The planner comes in a full desk size as well as the Mini Daily size, which is perfect to slip into a purse or diaper bag.

New ImageThe Day Designer provides an innovative layout for women of all ages. Each day has its own full page, with plenty of space to write out hour-by-hour commitments. It has a “top three” to-do-list at the top of the page so that you never forget your most important tasks. There is also space for a running to-do-list, and a place to record a daily gratitude. Each day has an inspirational quote to keep you going if the gold corner protectors, brass spiral, and beautiful thick pages aren’t enough inspiration.

Editor’s Note: The Day Designer Planner is currently sold out on her Etsy website until September 15. However, if you can be patient and remember to order it at that time– it will be worth it!

Use your new planner to stay organized during the school year, professional life, or at home with your family! Let us know your favorites in the comments below.

Written by Eleanor Haeg

Extraordinary Women

We all know at least one extraordinary woman who deserves recognition. We are currently working on something BIG to help you recognize the women in our area who are making a difference in the lives of others. Please send your nomination, their photo and 100 words describing them to bella@beckmediagroup.com. Include your name and phone number in the email so we can reach you with questions. They could be included in an upcoming issue of Bella Magazine!