Sunday, January 19, 2014


   Celebrating New Year's Eve with a loved one is great. Spending it in a beautiful locale with fireworks and spectacular activities is even better. Here is a list of the top ten places to celebrate New Year's Eve in, and the reasons why you should be here in one of these cities.

London, England
Celebrate New Year's Eve with splash of history at the London Eye, and enjoy a wonderful 10-minute public fireworks display. This year is organized by the Mayor of London and put on by the renowned pyrotechnical Christophe Berthonneau. It will be a jam-packed event making the entire downtown area busy  with crowds of people. Here you can bring in the New Year along the banks of the Thames.

Rome, Italy

The Piazza del Popolo is an historic and lovely spot for the festivities. Here you can listen to concerts and view fireworks throughout the evening. There is something magical about bringing in the new year in the twin churches of Santa Maria in Montesanto and Santa Maria dei Miracoli.

Sydney, Australia

Why not have New Year's Eve Down Under watching exciting fireworks at the Sydney Harbour? This year will have lots of bright lights filling up the sky as the city will be the place for some of the best fireworks in the world. The barges located in the harbor will shoot off amazing pyrotechnic works of art, making it a New Year's Eve to remember.

Times Square, New York, USA

Watching the Times Square New Years Eve Ball drop in New York is something many Americans view on the television each year as they celebrate New Year's Eve at home. Watching the Ball drop is one thing; being there to watch it drop in person live is something else entirely. This year, the famous Ball will be 12 feet around covered in beautiful Waterford Crystals. Over 32,000 LED lights will fully light the Times Square New Years Eve Ball making the countdown worth waiting for.

Paris, France

   Paris brings visions of romance and wine. Bring your special someone and celebrate New Year's Eve at the Eiffel Tower. In this city, love fills the air and French Champagne flows mightily so why catch a piece of both in Paris. Watching beautiful fireworks at the historic Eiffel Tower after an intimate dinner with wine or Champagne will be a highlight for years to come for any couple.

Barcelona, Spain

Spend New Year's Eve, Noche Vieja, in Barcelona this year and bring in the new year with family and friends. Traditions and superstitions abound in Spain, and one has it if you eat twelve grapes with the twelve tolls of the Puerta del Sol clock, you will have twelve months of prosperity brought to you in the new year. Instead of drinking Champagne, in Spain Cava is the drink of choice. In any plaza you are in when celebrating New Year's Eve in Spain, you are bound to have a great time.

Seattle, Washington, USA

   The Pacific Northwest is a gem of the USA and is green and magical. But if you think celebrations are quiet, think again. This year there parties will abound all over the city. Celebrate New Year's Eve with 5,000 other people in the waterfront area in downtown Seattle. From dancing to live comedy performances, there will be something for everyone.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

   Celebrate Oudjaarsavond, or New Year's Eve, in Amsterdam. This is where you can enjoy fireworks and partying in the streets. If you like a free showing of everyone partaking in the fireworks display, this is the place as everyone will be doing the same by setting off their own fireworks.

Berlin, Germany

   The streets of Berlin come alive during New Year's Eve. Watch fireworks and celebrate the evening in the open air with about a million or so of your closest friends. New Year's Eve in Berlin, or Silvester, is one of Europe's biggest bashes with lights, dancing and entertainment with a crowning show of breathtaking fireworks.

Copacabana Beach, Rio de Jeneiro, Brazil

   Dress in your whites and celebrate New Year's Eve on the famous Copacabana Beach. One of the best fireworks displays in the world is held here. Not many places can fireworks be enjoyed on the beach which makes it that much more spectacular.
If you haven't decided yet where to go this New Year's Eve, check out one of the places above and make it one to remember.


   Every year on January 17th, the people of San Bartolome de Pinares, Spain, celebrate St. Anthony's by riding their horese, donkeys and mules through piles of burning tree branches.

    The unique tradition of leaping over and through flames dates back 500 years, but the men and women of San Bartolome de Pinares still celebrate it religiously. They gather all the branches they can find in the days leading up to the festivities, and when dusk falls on the eve of Saint Anthony's, they light the branches into a bonfire. Riders jump and run their mounts through the burning piles of the branches in the middle of the village, accompanied by sound of drums and Spanish bagpipes.

Drinking wine during the purification festival

    Jumping through the flames is said to bring the animals the protection of St. Anthony Abad, acknowledged as the patron saint of domestic animals, ever since the Middle Ages. Locals believe the fire purifies their animals and protects them against illnesses, all year long. So far as I know none of the horses we hurt during this festival.


Fueling my neon obsession but still wanting a fun fall accent, Jodi of One Simple Dream and I brainstormed this AWESOME plaster dipped leaf garland. And I love the way it turned out!
I'll be honest, plaster of paris gives me a little bit of anxiety for some reason but rest assured, this is as easy and manageable as Jodi told me it would be. Sigh.
Here's what you need:
First, you will want to cut the leaves from the garland. Make sure the stem is long enough for you to hold onto for dipping and to tie onto for the garland.
Mix the plaster of paris according to the directions on the package. (We used 1 cup of plaster to a 1/2 cup of cold water which allowed us to dip 20 leaves.) Mix well until all clumps are gone. Also, remember that plaster of paris does not come out of clothing or dish cloths! (Eek! This must have been where my anxiety was?!?)
Dip the leaf in plaster and set on wax paper. Repeat for all leaves and let dry overnight.
If you would like to dip in paint (please do! it looks so much cooler...), we recommend using quart-size cans so that you are able to dip the entire leaf if desired. Make sure the paint is stirred REALLY well. And keep in mind that the leaves are very delicate and no longer bendable.
Dip the leaf was far as you would like and again place on wax paper. Let dry at least 2 hours between colors.
Once you are finished dipping all of your favorite color combinations, I suggest allowing 24 hours for the leaves to completely dry before stringing. Then string the dry, painted leaves onto twine with a knot around the stem. You can also use as a tag for a bottle of wine - or even a gift or place setting! (Chalk paint worked great too!)
Ahhh...I love this fresh take on fall decor!