Sunday, November 12, 2017

Diner En Blanc - Tres Magnifique

We had another amazing time at the annual Diner En Blanc this year- put on by JAGA Productions! Diner En Blanc is a pop-up dinner set in a secret location with over 1000 invite only attendees that started in Paris and has spread across the world in recent years.

JAGA Productions outdid themselves for the 2nd annual one in Central Florida this past Friday night by hosting the event at the amazing Lake Eola in downtown Orlando.  The beautiful atmosphere was enlightened by all of the white clothed lucky attendees and elegant white decorated tables and the sounds of corks popping and musical performances and the glow of sparklers and happy friends- both new and old.  Click here for: Sparkler Time video! #DEBORL2017

Here is another brief video clip of the traditionally dinner knapkin waving time! Click here: Knapkin time #DEBOrl3017

Check out some of the highlights we got to experience this year... and if you want to be invited next year post a comment and I will select someone to receive an invite.

Look at some of these gorgeous table setups and delectable foods:

The Cannoli cake on top tire of our table

Some of our appetizers

Me at our table

En Blanc, en magnifique

We had a tres magnifique time!

Looking forward already to #DEBOrl2018

Check out more about Diner En Blanc at

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Journey

Today, unexpectedly went uphill so far it started in my heart and then hit the sky.  It's been a year since I've posted here, only posting occasionally on my Facebook version of my blog page -because, well- life happened- and someone reminded me today that those obstacles-those ARE what make my life, MY life.

Today, THIS happened.

I nonchalantly got the mail... and a delightful surprise card, a package, and 2 simple yet profound red balloons fell out.  

A quote from the heartfelt letter inside the card, "... The enclosed gift jumped out and into my hands with only you in mind.  Tell Robert to buy you a helium tank and an unending supply of red balloons... choose to be happy every single day... we all love you."

At first the wave of tears was what the 2 red balloons reminded me of and how on earth could this sweet friend and former co-worker (who has lived in another state for a few years) even know what it symbolized to me.  And then....then- I opened this original artwork she sent to me because it "spoke to her..."!

I am sure my neighbors could hear me bawling for what seemed like a lifetime.  Of course!  Two balloons can help me fly, seek happiness, find and spread my wings when I feel like I cannot go. Imagine what 99 red balloons can do for me?  For you?  Imagine what sharing some balloons with someone else can do for them?!!  (Imagine if there are penguins involved too....... WOW!)

And then, the symbolism on top of it.  As many of you may know my mother in law and father in law both passed away last fall within 3 months of each other.  We loved them dearly- she truly was the mother I didn't get to have in my 30s when I needed advice or to vent about certain things.  I was lucky to have multiple mothers in my lifetime and still have one very special mother- Robert's mom.   For me, Michele though as my (step) mother-in-law was a confidant a lover of all family no matter what you said or did and a reality checker (in a BIG WAY, which you'd easily know if you knew her).

This is the perfect example..... you see, when Michele was ill with leukemia last year in her final month in all practicality she was making jokes and also trying to make plans for all of us for the future.  She was adamant with a smile on her face....."The only way I'd agree to a funeral is a celebration of life, first of all here take this- I have a coupon (and SERIOUSLY she pulled out a Banfield Coupon for a discount off of cremation services!)...(insert shock and awe for all of us 'kids' who were sitting there at that moment!). Apparently the Banfield Veterinarian hospital shares the same name with the Banfield Funeral Home in their suburb.... yet another hilarity).  THEN, she said, "...And the ONLY way you are going to have a celebration of MY life is if you get those red blow up crazy waving flying balloon guys that gets your attention outside of a car dealership!"  Well.......... 

Needless to say, not only did we use her coupon but...... she got her RED balloon guy!  
Actual red balloon guy outside of Michele Billoni's celebration of life October 2016
And so, as I dry my tears and focus on the blessings I have like my remaining family, my friends and loved ones and people like my friend Sandy who go out of their way to think about others, pray for others, support them through and during and AFTER the tough times..... giving that extra time or sending that extra card or gift or call, including a penguin in it on top of everything.... it gives me renewed faith and belief that happier times are to come.  They may not always be with the same old friends, same old best friends even, same old company, same ole family members even.... but during the times I am down and out,

I will learn to LOVE the skies that I am under.

Thank you Sandy for reminding me that the sky is not the limit, the door is never closed, the day is never done and those gone are not forever.  There are always the red balloons, the red cardinals, the butterflies, the dimes, the breeze that lets you know that you aren't alone and you can always find a way to fly.  I do believe I can.  Thank you!

Cathy 2016