Uses of Customized Pillows

The ability to customize your pillows is considered to a very much welcomed feature in the present. This is quite apparent with their increasing popularity with more and more people choosing to design their pillows to fit their preference and taste. Design aside, what are the uses of customized pillows

Perfect as Gifts

Personalized pillows look distinct and different from each other making them easily stand out from regular pillows. This in turn makes them a very much sought after item. Aside from personal use, customized pillows are perfect as gift ideas. Their huge customizable options make it possible to create dozens of pillows without them looking remotely similar from each other. You can also share customized pillows all throughout the year as this item is not bound by any particular holiday or event. As a result, you can share customizable pillows on a repeated basis without their design getting stale or too predictable.

Great Memorabilia

People loving store precious moments if the opportunity arises. This is the reason why a huge number of individuals always carry around a camera with them to capture these moments. Aside from storing these photos, people have been finding creative ways on how to remember great moments. One of them is by printing the phots to a particular item of choice. Customizable pillows make use of photos during their creation process and as such, customers are free to use their own photos while designing them. This in turn makes customized pillow a great memorabilia. Looking into these pillows will help you fondly remember the experience that comes with the picture.

Helps Provide Inspiration and Relieves Stress

Customized pillows help reinvigorate how you look at pillows making them feel completely different and brand new. This in turn makes them not only pleasing to look at but also are great to use. Customized pillows help provide you with inspiration while at the same time can also relieve stress depending on their designs. Seeing your photos on these pillows can also trigger nostalgia helping you remember the good times you had in the past.

These are some of the many uses of customized pillows. Try designing your very own pillow today as you share the wonderful experience you had with it to your friends. Start by looking for a particular photo you can add to these pillows or mix and match things up by adding some text to your image.

Life: for the love of London!

I haven’t been online much, heck… I haven’t even ordered Christmas cards yet.
We have had company in town for over a month (Dec 8 – Jan 25). Throw in some entertaining, day trips, the santa pub crawl, Christmas, New Years, and a two week trip to England for good measure – I’m exhausted!

Reading: I read a few books on holiday: Friendfluence, The Purple Shroud, Delirium, and The Perks of being a Wallflower.

Running: I ran 67 miles in twelve days! One day on the boat I ran 13 miles, one the deck (three lap = 1.1 miles).  I know this sounds crazy… but running calmed me (rough seas) and kept me busy. OMG… I just realized I ran a half marathon on a boat!

The Trip: I hope to write a separate post for this trip but let’s be honest.. I still haven’t posted on Ireland from last July…. so I’m taking time on my flight home.

My father booked himself a trip on the QM2 last fall, from NYC to Southampton and a month ago I decided to join him. We spent eight days at sea (I ran/walked 10-12 miles every day and survived a week of ‘extremely rough’ seas), followed by three days in Oxford, and three days in London.

London (why I joined him): I fell in love with William Shakespeare in the ninth grade… this is why I had to come to London.

With only three days to explore, we hired a driver once we got settled (by driver I mean cab).  We have the concierge find someone with knowledge of the city, based on the places we want to see that day.  It’s a great way to meet locals, hear stories, and learn about the city.  Bonus… they wait while you run into a Cathedral!  I saw a week’s worth of London in three days, with no stress/pressure (and my father didn’t have to walk).

The Tower of London: I’m related to Anne Boleyn, did you know this about me?  I guess I take this lightly, thinking everyone is related to someone of great historical importance but my assumption may not be true (based on the comment by our driver).  Anyway, I really wanted to see where she lived, was imprisoned, and where her execution took place. I think I will finally commit to reading Wolf Hall, which I bought the day it was released in 2009!

The distance from the London Bridge to the Tower can be measured in strides, and sits right on the Thames.  St Paul’s Cathedral, Castles, and walking the streets of the Great Fire…. it all came to life.  If you haven’t been to London and you enjoy history, this is a must see destination.

Highgate Cemetery: Let’s blame Audrey Neffenegger for this fascination. I have wanted to visit Highgate since reading Her Fearful Symmetry. This was a highlight of the trip! It’s spooky (in a good way) – walking down paths of overgrowth, exploring the stones, occasionally hearing blackbird wings whipping in the air high above you, the sounds of an owl, and the voices of children from a park blocks away. I’m going to listen to this book again, can’t wait!

photo: don’t the headstones on the far right look like ghosts?

We hired one a driver on our last day to bring us to a few places, including Notting Hill, seeing the dragons that protect the ‘city of London’… we were also lucky enough to see the changing of the guard (completely unexpected).  Then to Heathrow for an evening flight home, which isn’t anything like what we saw in the Bourne movie series (ha).

Life: when it rains, it pours

… thank goodness I love rain 🙂

A quick update from Washington Valley: I’m off to the home gym (upstairs) to watch the latest episode of Parenthood on the tread, and I have to work this evening.

Did you notice the header change ~ the running princess photo ~ love!

Health: It seems like a month ago that I got this news, but it was only five days ago.  I’m closing the chapter on the Lyme Virus.

Like I mentioned in August… I considered this training for something.  We are planning a big adventure for 2013, these past few months will help prepare for the mental strength I will need.

This weekend: started major project at home (time consuming) ~ still holiday decorating ~ finished a book ~ bought Mrs Claus outfit for pub crawl ~ Project Clover interviews & research ~ adventure 2013 research ~ worked (big deadline this Tuesday) ~ shopped… a bunch ~ shampooed carpet… at midnight ~ cleaned out closet drawers ~ and so much more.

Just a typical, never sit weekend!

Listening: free fallin’ acoustic (Pandora)
Loving: I haven’t watched Glee in a few years, forgot how much fun it is!
Thinking: life… never a dull moment
Wanting: to bake, but know better
Needing: more time
Reading: I finished a book last night, next up Friendfluence
Excited about: a new kitchen faucet will be installed this week
Today: cleaning, shopping, working, running
Planning: my week, deadlines, guests coming, a trip to NYC..
Grateful: for the home gym – joined a club last week but it’s hard to get there when it takes an hour round trip in commuting – excited for yoga though

How was your week?  I hope a little more relaxing than mine – I have just one more weekend to get a bunch of stuff done at home, then seven weeks with company!  I have to pack it all into two weekends but I am so excited for Dec 13 – Jan 30.

Life: the countdown begins

… the home invasion begins in three days!   I’m busy planning a weekend in the city, day trips to Pennsylvania, Connecticut and more.

Do you have any exciting plans over the holiday’s? Traveling somewhere?  Do you have any gifts you really want?

I asked for Rosetta Stone.  I hope to get this, the timing will be good since I will be on vacation for ten days in January (plenty of down time).



History: We continue to be amazed with the history surrounding us.  Last night we had dinner at Sammy’s, a restaurant that looks like a home (no signage) is actually a tavern dating back to prohibition.  We are planning to go back in a week/two, AWP will love it.

Making: Look what I found on Pinterest.  I’m making one of these bowls today, hoping it’s as easy as it looks.  If successful, everyone who visits my this holiday season will get one!
Listening: my dogs playing in the other room… and silence.
Loving: just about everything on Pinterest right now

Reading: The Song Remains the Same (Winn Scotch).  I’m only on page thirty… plot is setting up nicely!

Excited about: one of my closest friends arrives this week, watch out world!

Today: the tree is up… I should decorate but I’m heading to the mall.  I NEED two things (not really but I want them badly and I have a coupon). HA!

Grateful: for everything… our son will be home in eight days!

Review: The Underside of Joy


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Why I Picked It: The rarely explored theme of stepmotherhood captured my interest, and I wanted to see how it was tackled in this “not a fairy tale” book by Seré Prince Halverson.

Synopsis: Set against the backdrop of redwood forests and shimmering vineyards, Seré Prince Halverson’s compelling debut tells the story of two women, bound by an unspeakable loss, who each claims to be the mother of the same two children.

To Ella Beene, happiness means living in the northern California river town of Elbow with her husband, Joe, and his two young children. Yet one summer day Joe breaks his own rule–never turn your back on the ocean–and a sleeper wave strikes him down, drowning not only the man but his many secrets.

For three years, Ella has been the only mother the kids have known and has believed that their biological mother, Paige, abandoned them. But when Paige shows up at the funeral, intent on reclaiming the children, Ella soon realizes there may be more to Paige and Joe’s story. “Ella’s the best thing that’s happened to this family,” say her Italian-American in-laws, for generations the proprietors of a local market. But their devotion quickly falters when the custody fight between mother and stepmother urgently and powerfully collides with Ella’s quest for truth.

The Underside of Joy is not a fairy-tale version of stepmotherhood pitting good Ella against evil Paige, but an exploration of the complex relationship of two mothers. Their conflict uncovers a map of scars–both physical and emotional–to the families’ deeply buried tragedies, including Italian internment camps during World War II and postpartum psychosis.

Weaving a rich fictional tapestry abundantly alive with the natural beauty of the novel’s setting, Halverson is a captivating guide through the flora and fauna of human emotions.

Type: Fiction

Quick Take: Reading this book made me feel like I was watching one of our local afternoon soap operas. What drama (and I don’t mean that in a bad way)! I admire how the author was able to deliver the intense emotions with just words – I was already crying within the first quarter of the book. If you think the story is too cheesy for you, it is. But reading this will be totally worth your time; it’s great to once in a while get in touch with your inner drama queen (or king).

Rating: 4/5 stars
Source: Library


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Do you believe in New Year’s Resolutions?  If yes, 2012 is just five days away… have you made your list?

I have signed up for the DailyMile 1,000 mile challenge. That’s it… so far.

Can I start a resolution Feb 1? I am interested in trying to run 365 consecutive days but realistically… I can’t do this until Feb 1 (previous commitments rule this out before the year starts).

My Checkpoint! for the week:

–  Last week: I had a light week, running just 17 miles.  I ate too many sweets and tortured myself Christmas day by getting on the scale only to discover that I didn’t gain one pound (woohoo).
–  DailyMile December 100 mile challenge: 87 miles
–  Stretching: fair
–  Nutrition: Surprisingly well considering it’s Christmas week.  That said, I can’t wait to get all the sweets and snacks out of the house.

Fitness challenges:  I need to find a way to fit in 15-30 minutes of stretching.  I’m only in week two of training and my left hipflexor is extremely tight (the entire leg actually).

This week: Training officially kicks off this week.  Training plan: 4, 5, 6, 8, 5

This is a weekly post through March (race day is March 24th).  Leave a comment with an update on your week or leave your blog/post link below.  I will cheer you on!

A Virtual Cookie Exchange


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I have been joyfully busy this holiday season, spending time with friends, meeting for lunch, shopping, trips to the city, running, spa days, entertaining, hosting…  having a wonderful time.

While I have been enjoying life, I have forgotten to bake!

We have been invited to friend’s for Christmas Eve this year. I would like to bring some homemade cookies with us, I would also like to deliver some to our neighbors to celebrate the holiday’s.

I need ideas – cookies, bars, any favorite treat!

When: December 12 – 20

Bloggers: Post a recipe to your blog and add your post link below.
Email readers: Please join in by simply replying with a cookie recipe. I will gather the recipes for a weekend post to share with everyone.

For those who don’t like to bake, the best part is that you don’t have to bake anything, just post a favorite cookie recipe. I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with!

Be sure to look at the comments, tons of recipes have posted there.  ~Enjoy!

My families favorite holiday cookie: The frosted sugar cookie.  The World Traveler likes them lightly sugared while our son enjoys them ‘smashed’ with every topping available.  I pass on this cookie.

My favorite cookie: I love Biscotti, so does my family.  It’s also a great gift.

Confession: I’ve never made Biscotti before so I’m looking to Martha Stewart for help. 

I will try a few different versions but… with my new found love for figs (thanks to my vacation in Australia earlier this year) I plan to try this recipe:

Holiday Fig Walnut Biscotti


1 cup whole-wheat flour (spooned and leveled)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
3/4 teaspoon anise seed, chopped
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest (from 1 large orange)
1 cup coarsely chopped dried Calimyrna figs (6 ounces)
1 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
Nonstick cooking spray


1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and anise. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until they’re pale yellow and hold a ribbon for 1 second when whisk is lifted, about 5 minutes. Whisk in zest.

2.Fold egg mixture into flour mixture until combined. Fold in figs and walnuts. Lightly spray a parchment-lined baking sheet with cooking spray. Divide dough in half on parchment. Spray hands with cooking spray; form each piece of dough into a 2 1/2-inch-wide log. Bake until dough is firm but gives slightly when pressed, about 25 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack and let logs cool 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.

3.Cut each log on the diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices; place slices, cut side up, on sheet. Bake 7 minutes, flip biscotti, and bake 7 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Review: Emily and Einstein

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Why I picked it:  I picked this book up at the library, thinking it would be a great book to listen to while commuting to work last month.

Synopsis: Emily and her husband Sandy Portman seemed to live a gracious if busy life in an old-world, Upper West Side apartment in the famous Dakota building. But one night on the way to meet Emily, Sandy dies in a tragic accident. The funeral isn’t even over before Emily learns she is on the verge of being evicted from their apartment. But worse than the possibility of losing her home, Emily is stunned when she discovers that her marriage was made up of lies.

Suddenly Emily is forced on a journey to find out who her husband really was . . . all the while feeling that somehow he isn’t really gone. Angry, hurt, and sometimes betrayed by loving memories of the man she lost, Emily finds comfort in a scruffy dog named Einstein. But is Einstein’s seemingly odd determination that she save herself enough to make Emily confront her own past? Can he help her find a future—even after she meets a new man?

Type: Fiction

Quick Take: What a delightful story, unexpected.

Sandy’s born into a wealthy family and is used to getting what he wants in life. Emily is a sweet woman with a big heart, all she wants is to build a life for herself and to love someone. Sandy is killed in an accident and is given a second chance when he comes back to life as a dog, Einstein. This story is told by both Emily and Sandy/Einstein. It’s more than chick-lit, it’s filled with funny moments as Sandy adjusts to Einstein’s four legged body, seeing Emily grieve, discover secrets about Sandy and rebuilt her life.

Emily adopts Einstein and starts talking to him, not realizing that Einstein is Sandy. I enjoyed the banter with all of the characters and the personal growth that Emily experiences. This is a fun, quick read that I’m happy I read.

Rating: 4/5 stars
Source: Library, Audiobook

Review: Jerusalem Maiden

Why I picked it: This is my kind of book.  I enjoy reading about new cultures, making this a good choice for me.

From author’s website: Inspired by my ten-generation family roots in Jerusalem, I wrote a “what-if” alternate life for my grandmother and her untapped artistic genius. Please read “The Story Behind The Story.

Synopsis: Esther Kaminsky knows that her duty is to marry young and produce many sons to help hasten the Messiah’s arrival: that is what is expected of young ultra-Orthodox women in Jerusalem at the end of the Ottoman Empire’s rule. But when her French teacher catches Esther’s extraordinary doodling and gives her colored pencils and art lessons, Esther wonders if God has a special destiny for her: maybe she is meant to be an artist, not a mother; maybe she is meant to travel to Paris, not stay in Jerusalem.

In the coming years, as Esther sacrifices her yearning for painting and devotes herself instead to following God’s path as an obedient “Jerusalem maiden,” she suppresses her desires—until a surprising opportunity forces itself into her pre-ordained path. When her beliefs clash with the surging passions she has staved off her entire life, Esther must confront the hard questions: What is faith? Is there such a thing as destiny? And to whom must she be true, to God or to herself?

Type: Historical Fiction

Quick Take: In one word, I would describe this book as riveting.  I learned so much about a culture and time I knew nothing about… something I love to do while reading.

Esther isn’t comfortable with the cultural expectations put on her as a young girl approaching adulthood, creating an internal struggle that is explored throughout the novel.

She makes life challenging for her parents as she pushes the boundaries of that is expected of a young girl living in the time and faith she was born into. Esther feels responsible for something that happens at her family home while she’s off enjoying her secret hobby, forcing her life to head in a different direction… one she may not have chosen for herself.

If you enjoyed The Red Tent, or The Diva and the Doctor you will love this book.  I couldn’t put it down, and the ending left me wanting more.

Rating: 5/5 stars
Country: Israel/France
Source: NetGalley

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Meme: books, books and more books!

I’m enjoying a quiet weekend, catching up on email and all things ‘book related’ while hiding out inside to escape the heatwave. I have written eight reviews, secured a few books for the MMBC and am feeling a sense of accomplishment.  I’m catching up and it feels great!

Early June I read the questionnaire below on Helen’s Book Blog – I love reading her blog and thought it would be fun to share my answers.

I would love to hear your answers to any/all of the questions below, leave a comment or link (if you decide to share your answers on your blog).

Here we go!
Which book has been on your shelf the longest? Good to a Fault (2008 release).  I bought this novel while traveling to Canada a few years ago, I find the best books when I travel to Canada (well written/crafted).  It’s a cancer story, M was in remission when I bought it but I haven’t been able to read it.  I hope to read it one day since I hear it’s beautifully written.

What is your current read, your last read and the book you’ll read next? I’m reading Rules of Civility (enjoying it), just finished Jerusalem Maiden (loved it), and can’t wait to read A Year and Six Seconds (memoir, sequel to Happens Every Day).

What book did everyone like and you hated? This may surprise you but I didn’t finish Cutting for Stone.  I wish I didn’t waste my time reading One Day but will most likely see the movie, I’m interested to see how they tell a story told just one day a year, over years and years…. I can’t imagine how they will do it and stay true to the book.

Which book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t? I have been meaning to read all of Jane Austen’s novels but after reading Sense and Sensibility…. I don’t think I will read more. A book needs more than beautiful writing to keep me engaged and since I have seen the movies… I’m just not interested. Gasp!

Last page: read it first or wait till the end? I have never thought to read the last page first.  I knew a gal from book club who always read the last page before starting a book.  I never understood why and she wasn’t able to explain it to me. 🙂

Acknowledgements: waste of ink and paper or interesting aside? I read the acknowledgments and often discover something about the author or novel along the way.

Which book character would you switch places with? It’s a nonfiction book so… she’s not a character.  I admire Lisa Shannon from A Thousand Sisters.   I hope when I look back on life that I’m am to say I made a difference in someones life.

Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life (a person, a place, a time)? I have strong emotions to books with mothers who leave/abandon families, something I don’t need to relive again and again. I also had a strong reaction to the first several chapters of The Pilot’s Wife, which I read just after a traumatic experience in my family.

Which book has been with you to the most places?Words to Live By travels with me everywhere. My copy is five/six years old, stuffed with notes and photos.  A treasure that keeps me grounded.

Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad ten years later? Since I have only reread one book, The Poisonwood Bible, I can’t answer this question but I can tell you that I didn’t enjoy Animal Farm one bit.  I’m sure I would still feel the same way today.

Used or brand new? I prefer new but will read gently used.

Stephen King: Literary genius or opiate of the masses? I haven’t read any of his novels, or watched his movies….

Have you ever seen a movie you liked better than the book? Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  Gasp… dare I say I loved the latest version with Keira Knightly so much more that the version with Colin Firth!

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