Vacation Planning

May 24th, 2015

Later this year- we are celebrating some milestones in our lives-   Marcel is turning 50, diddy is turning 75, and mom and diddy will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.     There is much to be thankful for- plus huge milestones deserve to be celebrated-   so we’re doing so in the form of travel.

Since I’m the ‘official’ family ‘tour guide / planner’ , the search for some great travel destinations has begun.    I have a few ideas, including a couple of cruises, but I need to get all the research done, compile some ideas-   and then share with the rest of the gang.   From there we’ll decide where we want to go and when.

We love being able to share in local customs and culture- plus enjoy the local food- markets and so on.     I would travel for a living- if it paid the bills.      I never get tired of exploring new places.

So tell me-  how do you plan to spend your summer/fall vacation?

Delights in Little Successes

May 21st, 2015

MadelelinesThose of you who know me in my everyday life know how much I love to create.    That subject of creativity is a broad-stroked brush, because there are so many things that really tap into that creative side of me-   painting, writing, making jewelry, gardening, and cooking are just a few of those creative outlets for me.

I’m one of those people who need to be challenged-  according to my mother-  I’ve been that way as long as she can remember, hearing the story of how I came home from school in the first grade saying I wasn’t going back until the teacher started teaching us to read.     The ‘writing’ the  ABC’s was boring because that was something I’d long mastered.

So apparently challenge keeps me from getting bored, but I digress.

Most of you also know that I own a small company-   and I’ve recently expanded and have created a new service- which has it’s debut run next weekend, but again- I digress, even though I’m getting to the point- I promise.

French Madeleines have been on my list to make for quite some time- but since I like to create (see the theme here ? ) my own recipes- I hadn’t done anything with it, because quite honestly I’ve had other irons in the fire.    But here and there I’d read and think about them, but another big downfall was I had no madeleine pan… another big problem.   After all, what’s a Madeleine without the pan?

So I ordered one online-  and since I didn’t have any big plans today-   I decided to put the recipe idea I had in my head to the test- as a ‘possible’ for the menu for my new business expansion venture.

I’ll admit I had no idea how it was going to turn out- but I trust the creative and scientific process of baking- and honestly, I never think about ‘if’ something will turn out- because if it doesn’t- then I’ve learned something and I’ll make adjustments and move on.   That happens to us all.

But in this case- something magical happened-   these little light, buttery treats turned out perfect, and admittedly- I did a little mental happy dance.

There is joy in the little things-  and in creative successes, and this is definitely one of them.

 

 

Great Day to be a Duck

May 16th, 2015

IMG_3144.JPGThis morning I woke up first to the sound of my alarm humming a quiet medley, and at the moment I turned it off, I could hear it…. The sound of rain falling.

We’ve had day upon day of glorious Spring weather, so it’s only fitting that to keep things in balance- sometimes it rains.

I had set the coffee to work it’s morning Magic the night before, so I stumbled half-awake into the kitchen to find a hot cup waiting for me.

I would be lying if I said an unplanned walk in the rain is something I enjoy, but since I’ve had plans for months to go to our first book club meeting- it trumps the rain, even if it means getting a little wet to get there.

Thankfully, by the time I headed out donned in my yellow rain slicker, and umbrella in hand, it had slowed to a fine drizzle- I picked up the pace and managed to say mostly dry by the time I arrived at the train station.

Oh, and I passed quite a few mallards enjoying the weather to the fullest.

There is beauty to be found in every day- even the rainy ones, and even if you aren’t a duck.

Joy in the Little Things

May 13th, 2015

Yesterday afternoon I was enjoying a quiet afternoon when I received a message from diddy-   He rarely messages me unless he has something to share, as was the case yesterday.

He was grilling two slabs of ribs that he’d mentioned him and mom buying-   he sent me a photo of the ribs-   saying he wished we were there to enjoy them with them, plus said he was just starting to put the sauce on them.   We shared a few messages back and forth-    along with a few photos of the new barn kittens, all four of them in a pile of playfulness at his feet.

In a world where we are constantly ‘plugged in’ –   and where geography doesn’t afford me to spend time with my parents every day-  this was our quality time together-  albeit technically ‘not’ together.

For me, there is much joy in moments like those-   moments that I cherish and treasure.   Moments that I know are fleeting and that I don’t dare take for granted.    I’m so grateful for those moments.  They bring me so much joy.

Musically Gifted

May 13th, 2015

On Mother’s Day- I was watching some videos a friend posted of her performing in front of family and friends at a church event. She’s someone who has musical talent oozing all the way to the tips of her toes- and a voice to match. She can play the piano with ease, and in this particular video she was playing a keyboard using a casio sustain pedal and singing. Another family member was playing the drums, and yet another was singing along beside her. It was beautiful to see such talent in action, and since I’m not in the area and unable to see her musical genius in person- I’m grateful that social media allows me the opportunity.

True Relaxation

May 10th, 2015

IMG_3061“He enjoys true leisure who has time to improve his soul’s estate.” -Henry David Thoreau

I spent the afternoon at one of my favorite beach cafe’s in the company of a dear friend, who happens to be moving very soon.   Moving back to her home, so I’ll definitely miss her, her family and the friendship we’ve built over the past couple of years.

She’s in the midst of a very busy time, but I really wanted to do something for her-   because she’s so loving and giving to others- so I suggested we go to the beach for lunch.    Aloha had recently reopened after a fire had them closed for quite some time, and I thought it the perfect place to spend the afternoon, and have lunch.

After all, I think food tastes better when you have a view and scent of the ocean.   It was a moment for both of us to ‘check out’ of all the hustle and bustle around us-   a time to enjoy a great chat, good company and food-  and amazing views.

Ironically, we talked about how so many of us have forgotten the pure pleasure of letting everything go for a while and really taking the time to enjoy and spend some time in pure relaxation.      We had a wonderful time-   a gift of relaxation for both of us.

I will miss her when she moves, but bigger adventures await her.   While she may not be physically-  I know I’ve made a friend that will continue to thrive across the miles, and I look forward to sharing in her journey and celebrating her successes.  There is great joy in seeing people spreading their wings and living the life they want for themselves.    I’m grateful to be able to witness that.

 

 

 

Beauty in Simplicity

May 3rd, 2015

IMG_3167

Yesterday afternoon I had a cupcake and cake delivery and I happened to be invited to the event, so I stuck around and spent some time with friends, plus afterwards found myself enjoying the picture perfect weather while wandering around the garden.    I came across this gorgeous lilac tree, which was starting to blossom.   I grabbed a few shots, and stood for a few moments allowing the sunbeams shine down upon my shoulders, while admiring the overall beauty of the day.

There is something to be said about taking the time to smell the roses- or in this case, the lilacs.   There is beauty in everything as long as we are open to recognize just that.

What was the beauty in your day?

Catch the Bargain Shopping Bug

May 3rd, 2015

To know me is to know how much I absolutely love a good bargain. Over the years I’ve written about deals I’ve found here and there online, plus doing a quick search and finding a discount code for said items and saving even more. To know me is to also know that I don’t purchase anything online anymore without first doing a quick search at sites like VouchaCodes to see if I can save a little extra. It adds maybe five minutes total to my online shopping time, and it has the potential to save me quite a bit. So who wouldn’t want to do that?

I know some people don’t have a lot of patience for shopping online, much less actually searching for discount codes. My mom is one of those people, but she also knows before she buys- to at least call her favorite (and only) daughter so that I can run a quick search for her, and that little trick has also saved her and diddy quite a bit over the years. I figure it’s the least I can do after all the have done for me in my lifetime, plus I consider it fun! After all, that’s why the sites are there, to help us save a little moolah, and this girl doesn’t want to pay more than I have to.

I’m curious though, what’s the most you’ve ever saved on a single purchase online by taking the time to look for a coupon or voucher code? My biggest was actually this past year- something I’d been eyeing for a long time but wasn’t wanting to pay the price. I kept looking and couldn’t find any codes, but one day I did. I actually thought because it was 100.00 that it would surely not be the ‘real deal’, so when I got home- I added the item to my cart, used said code and voila- 100 discount off my total purchase. Needless to say, that was exactly what I’d been waiting for, and the deciding factor on the purchase. That purchase was also my Christmas gift from Marcel last year, so a double win.

Some Nights Call For “Easy” Meals

April 20th, 2015

I spent most of the day away today at a meeting in the city- fun, productive and inspiring are the words that I can use to describe the time. But as with most meetings which involved a good ebb and flow of conversation, ideas and brainstorming- the time flies. (Literally to the point that we completely forgot lunch)

By the time I got back into town, and got to the post office to pick up a package that I’d been waiting on, and did a little grocery shopping- it was time for dinner. Browsing through the grocery store, I asked my husband what he’d like to have- and he didn’t have any great ideas that would mean something ‘quick and easy’.

So I suggested we have nachos- and he agreed..

Easy- peasy and ready in less than a half hour..

It’s loosely based on a friends recipe for Taco Dip-

1 can of black or pinto beans (large can) drained and rinsed,
small jar of salsa (hot or mild)
a little ground cumin
grated cheese of your choice-
a little Velveeta or cheez Whiz of your choice and liking,
1/4 cup or so of Greek Yogurt
8 ounces of cream cheese-
Chipotle chili powder (and some rotel if you’d like)
mix it all together and using a submersion blender- zap and blend it all together. Stir in some chopped green onions- and bake until bubbly-

Serve with tortilla chips- and enjoy! (I also topped mine with some more salsa- plus some fresh avocado. Perfect fast meal- and we ate it outside, which made it almost like a picnic. Perfect bliss!

In the Face of Busy

April 8th, 2015

Busy is one of those terms that seems to be over-glorified these days.   I hear it SO much at times- and I, in fact have also been guilty of responding with, “BUSY” when someone asks how I’ve been.    Over the past month, I’ve decided to remove that response as an answer to any question, and the reason being is: Everyone is busy.     Granted, we all have our different levels of busy, but everyone has their routines- their lives, and we are all busy.

I recently have noticed a trend in people who seem to almost be saying “Look at me-   and how busy I am.  My life is so stressful because I don’t have time for anything I want to do, and I hate it. ”

This is actually what gave me pause in my own reactions to busy-  after hearing from someone I’ve known for quite some time glorifying their ‘busy’, and at the same time complaining about it.    This person is also someone who has choices (as do most of us)-  and they don’t like to say no-   so instead- they say yes- and resent it.    (I’ve been that ‘yes’ person and it doesn’t do anything but make one miserable, plus misrepresents yourself to another party.)

During this same time, I also found myself questioning why it is that I don’t seem to have the ‘time’ to write here on a more regular basis- something that brings me a lot of pleasure, and centers me.

My initial response to myself was-   “Because you are running a company and trying to continue its growth, working on a new business venture with a dear friend,  working on home remodels, helping plan a wedding- plus emails- time with friends, and the list goes on..”

The reality-  Because I’m not always the best at prioritizing outside of my business ventures, and there are times when I’d rather a few extra hours of sleep, so I take them.     But I have time, as long as I structure my days.

What I have noticed- is that when we glorify this whole.. ‘busy’ thing-  that we are also not present in our lives-   we can’t focus on right now- because our mind is already fast-forwarding to the next ‘busy’ on the agenda.   The result?   A day full of busy- and also a lot of disenfranchised people who are ‘checked-out’ of their lives..    Auto pilot at its finest..

I know that the first step to change is recognizing a behavior that you know isn’t working for you.  From there a plan can be made that works for you.    Sometimes (like in my case) it requires baby-steps, but regardless of the size of the steps-  forward motion is momentum in the right direction.

My first step?   I stopped rambling on about how busy I am-  and then got ‘real’ with myself on how I could implement changes in my prioritizing to get the most out of my days, PLUS still have time to focus on all the things that bring joy to my life.

What about you?  Are you tired of the glorification of ‘busy’?   Are you guilty of falling into the trappings of that four-letter word?  What do you do to make the change?

 

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