Sunday, June 16, 2013


In years gone by we would go out dancing.  I loved dancing and considered it a much needed work out as much as a way to connect with others.  When I think back, this was a fitting attitude for me to employ since I lacked any rhythmic or dancing talent.  However lack of dancing ability never held me back.  With arms flailing and feet gyrating, in beat or not, I threw myself into the fast moving heat of the moment.  We would dance until we literally worked up a sweat, resting a moment, refreshing ourselves with cocktails and rehydrating with water and then joining back with the other frenzied dancers under the shimmering mirror ball on the dance floor of the disco. 


I wasn’t kidding when I said 'in years gone by’.

On the dance floors there was little to no conversation as I recall as the booming music was deafening loud.  Once we outgrew the discos we would still join others and kick up our heels at a community dance or at a house party. Dancing the night away was a great way to spend time with friends and to work off those extra calories.

Nowadays we don’t go out dancing much however after dinner we do crank up the music and let loose with our uninhibited and unrestrained moves.  Some nights we groove to oldies, other nights we dance close and lovingly sway to old romantic favorites. 

After dinner at our daughter’s home her kitchen also becomes a dance floor and she, her husband and two kids amuse us with their astonishing and exceptional smooth moves.  The songs are often sung or belted out karaoke style, sometimes a budding musician pounds out a mysterious tune on the piano, mostly our daughter chooses pop tunes of her era, and we all shake our booty while the kids command the dance floor and put on the real show. 

We all join in during clean up and perform the quick step as we clear the table, bebop our way to the dishwasher, hip hop as we scrape leftovers into the waste bin, and slow dance by the light of the open refrigerator.

One festive evening not too long ago there was cause to celebrate a birthday.  Following dinner, our son-in-law Rob went into the kitchen to light the abundant candles on the birthday cake.  The dancing music proceeded in full force and young and old were shaking and gyrating with vigour.  Some with more enthusiasm than others, some with smooth moves and others taking calculated risks that involved injuring others.  (Caution, dancing is not a spectator sport and can cause injuries.) 
Meanwhile one song ended, another began.  This new song happened to be a big favorite of Rob’s.  Bohemian Rhapsody with gruesome words such as ‘Mama I Killed a Man’ which has become an all time favorite and is sung at most celebration dinners.  Why that song? Honestly I don’t know or we just can’t remember! 

However, the fully lit cake was abandoned on the counter as Rob wholeheartedly grabbed center stage (a coveted floor space dividing dining room and kitchen) and danced off his entire meal while singing 'Mama I killed A Man' plus amazed us with his innate aptitude at playing air guitar! 

While directly behind him scores of small fires were glowing brightly, smoke was curling upwards, candles were delicately melting and a coconut topped cake was browning.  The aroma of the toasting coconut alerted us to the kitchen being ablaze mere seconds before the fire alarm drowned out the blasting music.  You can see the cake burning brightly in the background of this picture while Rob dances on.  It was a long song...

Much to our hilarity the cake was presented and enjoyed, melted candles, toasted coconut and all. 
A night of dancing long to be remembered!

 Dancing is all about letting go of your inhibitions so don’t try to look cool while dancing because dancing is all about having fun.  Following are my three personal commandments of dancing:

1.      Thou shall let go of all restrictions and allow the music to draw you in

2.      Thou shall just relax, get up off that chair, feel the music and bend your knees, one leg at a time while channelling your natural fun seeking and creative impulses

3.      Thou shall not light the candles until the music ends...

Following is a youtube link that teaches you how to dance to Lip Gloss by Little Mama

author:  Trish Repay (BlackCrowCurios)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Sustainable Style, Weird or Wonderful?

Who thinks about sustainability when they are considering what style they like?  I for one am passionate about style and love the idea of re-using resources that will improve the longevity of our planet and the health of it's inhabitants.

For those of you that have been to my store on Etsy ThisMerryLife, you know that my brand is all about reusing old and broken pieces of jewelry and giving it new life in a different form.  The term we use for this is "Upcycling"; reusing items without breaking them down first. This isn't a brand new concept, it has in fact been around for some time.  What has changed is how mainstream this idea is becoming.  Many designers have eco-friendly and ethical clothing and accessory lines with the focus being not so much about the style itself but how the style is made.

In the past I think eco-friendly / sustainable / recycled / upcycled fashions had a reputation for being a bit... odd.  Clothing and accessories were often unwearable as actual clothing items (or, let's get real, just butt ugly); they were made to display the creativity of the artist rather than actually to be functional.

 Newspaper dresses: in a rainy climate they would melt like like an ice cube on a hot sidewalk. 

Stiletto made with recycled elephant dung.  Wait, what?? 

Recycled Stiletto

More recently as being kind to our earth becomes more mainstream, there has been more demand for eco-friendly and ethical fashions.  Clothing is made with earth friendly dye, organic materials, in factories that use sustainable processing methods, in ways that do not harm animals and made locally by designers that pay their workers appropriate wages.  This picture below shows just how fair eco-friendly fashion has come; many mainstream designers have an eco-friendly line, and some designers specialize exclusively in eco-friendly fashion. ... designers that specialize in ethical fashion

In the present world you will find beautiful recycled fashion in many of your favorite stores.  H&M is a great example of this with their Conscious and Conscious Exclusive collection; Etsy is another fantastic place to find earth friendly fashion and accessories.  My store happens to be one of them and it is one of the reasons I am so passionate about this topic, however there are literally hundreds of other amazing sellers that use sustainable principles to design and make their items. 

Sustainable style can be very cool, hip and wearable and I encourage all those that have a passion for sustainability and style to look for items in your favorite stores that are made with ethical principles... you will be amazed at what you find!

Thanks for reading...

Merry W

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Virgin Islands Anyone?!?!

Well folks we just took us a little trip to paradise and I wanted to share our experience!

Where are the Virgin Islands you ask? Once you travel to the southern tip of Florida head southeast past the Bahamas, Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and finally you've reached the British and US Virgin Islands!! It is about a 2 hour flight from Miami to Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas.

We arrived around 8pm and were immediately served a shot of the the Cruzan Rum!! Which they make in the neighboring island of St. Croix. Hailed a taxi and headed to our first hotel called The Galleon. This cute hillside place overlooking the ocean is a hidden gem! The price was right, a bit older and the linens were worn but clean, the staff was excellent and the included breakfast was yummy! The following day they even let us store our luggage nearly all day after checkout while we explored, shopped and drank while waiting for  another couple to fly in and meet us.

Once we "cheers"ed with Rum Punches when our friends arrived, we hit another taxi, pocketbook drain for sure, and arrived at the Red Hook Ferry. Naturally we all ordered Frozen Bushwacker drinks at the ferry bar. Have I mentioned this is a vacation in a tropical location, hence the drink in hand at all times:) The ferry took us to Cruz Bay, St. John, a perfect 20 minutes away. We arrived at our destination, a 2 bedroom 2 bathroom hotel/condo at the Westin! Oh did I mention they greeted us with Rum Punch?!
Here are a few of our adventures that week:
Trunk Bay, we had to stop for this picture because...well.... just look at this place!

Cinnamon Bay, where we were pelted with sand and wind and got rejected by the Wind Surfing Rental Nazi Guy. He told us we would scare away the customers due to our inexperience....our thought was we ARE the customers and the only ones in line. Oh well the beach was still beautiful and the snorkeling was fun.

Deep Sea fishing on the Mixed Bag II, we have used this sea vessel before and had great luck catching huge Tuna for dinner. This time not so much due to high winds and having to fish near the island for risk of our lives. But it was still an adventure! This a picture of a previous more successful adventure.

Sugar Mill tour and hike was so worth the money. It included the taxi ride up the hill and commentary from a park ranger. We hiked about 3-4 miles down to the ruins and petroglyphs!! Ate our packed lunch and then we got to swim out to the two deck boat that took us around the island and home, this was also included!

Chartered Catamaran to the British Jost Van Dyke Island. We chose the smallest chartered catamaran, a 27 ft, 6 person with 2 crew. They naturally served us drinks and snacks, we snorkeled in a beautiful bay and even saw a shark!!! Okay well it was only a nurse shark but I was still a bit cautious and our tour guide kept us all safe. Amazing fish and coral, so very worth it.
From there we made the 45 minute sail to Jost Van Dyke and to the famous bars Foxys and the Soggy Dollar. We spent a good few hours on the beach and or in the bar drinking Pain Killers and eating but most of all people watching!! People watching is my favorite.

A few places we frequented in the tiny relaxing downtown Cruz Bay, St. John:
The Tap Room Brewery with great mexican pizza and Ginger Root Beer, like Root Beer but better
Margarita Phil's with 20 oz frozen margaritas and nachos
Banana Deck with their Lime and de Coconut frozen drinks and famous banana splits
Woody's bar and grill with fried calamari and delicious burgers, a kind of hole in the wall dive but you just can't pass it up!

 High Tide, by far my favorite, because of the sunset view right on the water, the staff, amazing salads and of course the yummy Bushwacker drinks!

Needless to say we hemorrhaged money, drank too much and gained weight from all the yummy food. But we made amazing memories and had way too much fun!
Thanks for reading-Vikki

Rum Punch Recipe:
Splash of lemon juice 
2 Cups Cruzan light rum 
2 liters ginger ale 1 qt. fruit punch 1 qt. orange juice or pineapple juice

Pain Killer Recipe:

  • 2 ounces Pusser's® dark rum (or any brand)
  • 1 ounce cream of coconut
  • 4 ounces pineapple juice
  • 1 ounces orange juice
Bushwacker Recipe:
4 oz cream of coconut
2 oz Kahlua® coffee liqueur
1 oz Bacardi® black rum
1 oz dark creme de cacao
4 oz milk