Monday, September 22, 2014


So, sometime around the middle of July, I received an invitation from a floral company to order some free flowers from them and post a review here.

I know, right?? How cool is that?

However, it was the middle of July and life was crazy, and I didn't get back to them until August, and even though it took me over a month to get back to them, they were still willing to give me the flowers. Yippee!

And so it was that a few weeks ago, I found myself perusing the selection of flower bouquets over at  I chose the Desperado Bouquet, partially because they remind me of the gorgeous flower bouquet that Eric gave me back during the Valentine's Day of our engagement, and partially because I just really really liked them. I placed my order and waited for my flowers.

The website told me to expect them in six days. I received a Federal Express tracking number via e-mail and tracked my flowers as they left their home on the side of a volcano in Quito, Ecuador and arrived in Miami Florida.

And apparently that was where they stayed.

After four days of watching them sit in Miami, I sent my good friends at an e-mail explaining that the flowers had never arrived, and did they really want me to post a review about non-existent flowers? Almost immediately I had a response, asking me to select again, which I did. Six days later, I came home to a note on my front door stating that Federal Express had a package for me that they hadn't been able to deliver without a signature. This was a surprise to me, because I had specifically checked the "let someone else like a neighbor or something sign for this package" box when I ordered, but oh well.

I waited for the time to come when the note said my package would be at the Federal Express Office and drove over there--only to find that the package wasn't there, that Fed Ex had called the Bouq Company and received permission to leave the package on the doorstep, and that the driver was now taking the flowers back to my house.

I'm not gonna lie, that whole rigmarole was kind of frustrating. However, they were free flowers, so it was hard to get too indignant about it all.

Later that evening, I returned home to a large box containing gorgeous flowers, flower food, and instructions on how to set them up and care for them. It was a glorious day in Casa de Cantwell, no question about it.

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The website promises fresh, high quality flowers, and as you can see, that this is exactly what they delivered. These flowers were beautiful on the day we received them, and they stayed beautiful for many many more days--more days than I'm accustomed to, frankly.

So, for my overall review:  The flowers are gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous. At $40 per arrangement (including shipping), I feel like they provide good value for the money. Having said that, the delivery issues I encountered (while understandable--they are coming from the other side of the world, remember) would make me very wary of sending these for any special occasion for which a specific date of delivery would be important, i.e. an anniversary, birthday, show opening, etc. However, if you are the kind of person who likes to send flowers "just because", this might be the perfect company for you.

The Bouqs - Premium Farm Direct FlowersIt's fun to think of roses growing on the side of a Volcano as well, don't you think? Definitely a perk.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Zoo Lions, City Lions, International Lions. We've got it all!!

Heidi and Eden are the major contributors to this lion collection, but we do have a few cameos from by Lyn & Cherie.

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Hogle Zoo

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extra ZANY at Hogle Zoo!

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Ogden (Thanks, Lyn!)

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 Ma Shan Tai Hu, the Big Buddha Statue (China)--Thanks Cherie!

Monday, September 08, 2014

Presto Pesto!!

Are any of you basil growers out there? Do you sometimes have a little more basil than you know what to do with? Have you tried your hand at pesto only to find that it's a little too sharp, a little prone to going brown before you can eat it all, a little unsatisfactory in other ways?

Have I got a recipe for you!

My mother-in-law gave this to me last year. She got it from my sister-in-law, who got it from a guy she used to date--a guy who used to be one of my neighbors at the exact time that they were dating, and yet she and I still never met (weird).

Anyway, we call it "Marks' Delight" after him, and it really is a delight.

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Mark's Delight on fried polenta--deelicious!

Fresh Basil/pesto sauce (Mark’s Delight)

½ bunch or bag of spinach
5-6 stems of basil—leaves only (discard stems)
1-2 cloves garlic
½ cup almonds
½ cup grated pecorino or romano cheese (parmesan works great as well)
1/3 cup olive oil (I usually just use 1/4 cup here and it works fine)
Juice of one lime or ½ lemon juiced
Salt to taste

Cook spinach in a little salted water-set aside to cool. Blend almonds in food processor to desired consistency—leave a little chunky-set aside

In a blender or food processor, blend until smooth:
Spinach with water
Olive oil
Lemon juice

Add grated cheese blend a little, taste, add a little salt if needed.
Add almonds and just stir in
If it’s too thick add a little water

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This pesto is quite versatile, you can have it on rice, pasta, bread, eggs, all kinds of things. My personal favorite though is to spread it on fresh crusty bread, top with fresh mozzarella, and then toast (or even microwave if you're in a hurry) just to get the cheese a little melty. Then top with sliced garden tomatoes. Put a dash of salt over the top and prepare yourself for something amazing. Seriously, out of this world amazing.  

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