Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

Alive and Kicking

April 21st, 2017

I know-  I know — it has been a while.    While life has definitely been keeping me busy-  the reality of why I haven’t written is a little more complicated.

My laptop died.    (insert sad music here)

If there is a silver lining to this-  it’s that my beloved was still under warranty-   so it left this week to be repaired (or hopefully replaced) .

It started acting oddly about two months ago-  the screen would randomly go black, even though it was still running.   The only thing I could do was shut it down and restart.    I suspected a video card driver was the problem, but before I could sort that out-  it started shutting down and rebooting randomly.   I checked the activity log- and it would show that it was a critical shut down, but no clear reason why-    so the puzzle continued.

Even though it was under warranty-  I didn’t want to have to send it for warranty work, because I need my computer for work-  so-   I backed everything up- did a reset.

For a few days it worked perfectly and all was well in the world.

But then around the time of the full moon (cue Twilight Zone music here) the thing went HAYWIRE!       It started with the aforementioned ‘issues’ which escalated to my computer having this weird white noise looking screen where I had to restart-  and it said it was updating and then wouldn’t do anything- and finally it went out-   completely out- and wouldn’t start.. (insert sad face here )

I have always loved Toshiba computers– have had quite a few-  plus recommended them to others, but this one has not been as great as the others I’ve owned.

I packaged it up, returned it on Tuesday, so hopefully I’ll have some answers soon.

In the meantime-    My communication may continued to be sporadic- as typing on an iPhone isn’t ideal.

It’s FriYAY though- and that’s worth celebrating!

Weekend Smiles

January 27th, 2017

It’s weekend and I am SO glad. Mostly because I get to spend some girlfriend time with one of my dear friends, plus there has been such a heavy fog of seriousness hanging in the air- that I’m ready for some light-hearted fun with people I love.Smile

So weather permitting- tomorrow will include a trip to the beach, but also some laughter- shopping and good eats. I’ve got mom’s taco soup recipe all prepped and ready to go in the Crock Pot tomorrow morning with the timer on- Plus, I’ll make diddy’s cornbread when I get home. I’ll mix all the dry ingredients in the morning- and all I’ll have to do when we get home is mix it up and put it in the cast iron skillet to bake.

Pure bliss!

One thing that we never need to forget- is to smile.  It doesn’t matter what’s going on in the world, no one can steal our light unless we allow it to happen.     Smiles are free, plus they can work miracles without us even realizing.

 

On Choosing Love

November 20th, 2016

If you have regular contact with me in my everyday life-  then you know that I decided to take a break from Facebook, outside of my business page obligations.    I deleted the app from my phone, the one place where I spent wasted the most time reading and connecting with people.   Leading up to the election, I had a love / hate relationship with Facebook.  More accurately, I had a love/ hate relationship with the thoughts that would swirl in my head after reading various Facebook posts from people I care about, many of which I have loved and admired for a majority of my life.    It’s not Facebook’s fault, nor is it anyone else’s fault how “I” react to the things I see, but I also knew when I was having emotional reactions to so many things I was reading, from people who really don’t know better-  I knew it was time to take a step away.

When I say they don’t know better, I don’t mean they are in any way, shape or form ignorant, uneducated or simple minded.   Nothing could be further from the truth.   At the same time, so many people seem to be drinking the fear Kool-Aid these days, and had forgotten how to give and show love and compassion to anyone who didn’t fit their ‘norm’ that I went into a deep sadness.    In fact, typing this brings tears to my eyes.

There are a LOT of things I see in life that I don’t agree with, but my opinions are based on how I view the world and how I believe.   Does it mean because I don’t agree that it’s ‘wrong’?   No, not at all.  It means it’s different.      I try to shine love in all that I do, to walk the talk, but because I’m human, I also sometimes fall short.    I dust myself off-  forgive myself and move forward.

You know what I struggle with the most?   The fact that so many of us have become judge, jury and executioner over the choices of others.    We don’t have to agree to show respect.   We can agree to disagree and respect each others choices and move on.

I remember when I was in Junior High learning about how as a society the more we are exposed to-  the more it becomes the ‘norm’ and the less it matters because we become desensitized to those ‘things’.   At the time-  I remember understanding it, but having never experienced that desensitization first hand, I didn’t ‘get it’.    Now, 30+ years later, I more than get it.

I hear so much about how people are sick of being ‘politically correct’, as if that is somehow a free pass to treat people with disrespect and lack of compassion (see desensitized above).     I’m not big on labels, because I feel as though you it’s an effort to decide who or what something or someone is based on something small, and we are much more complex human beings than a label.  We grow, we change, we learn (hopefully).    I don’t use PC at all, because it isn’t being PC-  it’s being respectful of others.    Yes, I know that people seem to get offended about everything these days-  and I really have no idea why.

So much could be accomplished if we all chose to do one thing that I’m pretty sure we would all agree on.    Live your life by the golden rule:   Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.     Sounds simple doesn’t it?    Why do we complicate it so much?

Want to grow beyond the four walls of your comfort zone?  Spend time in the company of someone who has had a very different life than you.   You don’t have to ‘get it’, because you won’t.  It’s not possible to understand what someone else has gone through when you haven’t had similar experiences, but what you can do is show them compassion.   You can see them, you can love them, you can offer them dignity and respect.    Most everyone is doing the best that they can with the tools they have at that moment.

It doesn’t mean it will look anything like the life tools you have-   after all, your life has been different and therefore you see things through a different lens.   Even when someone is being angry, nasty, disrespectful-    it’s coming from a place of fear, insecurity, pain.   It isn’t about ‘us’- as much as we’d like to think it was.    It’s about so much more.     Rather than standing in judgment-   we should all try to stand in love-   in compassion- and in understanding that even though we may have no idea what the person has faced and is facing-   that we can still love and respect them where they are.  Not encouraging bad behavior, not being reactive, but standing in love, being love.

I wonder how different the world would be if we let go of fear of what is different than us-   and embraced love, acceptance, forgiveness?

My challenge to myself this coming holiday season, and also to you-  is to give more love.  Not to those who receive it daily, but to those you have to make the extra effort to love.    See what happens.  I’d love to hear about it.

 

Moving Right Along

June 21st, 2016

A few more days (around a week) and this month will be one for the books. In addition, we will also be kissing the first half of this year goodbye and welcoming the last half. Really? I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun.

Our vacation ‘home’ was simply put- amazing. Not only did we celebrate two weddings, we also did a little traveling while we were ‘home’, plus we spent time in the company of people we love.

Since this trip was several weeks shorter than usual and a LOT busier, we didn’t have the opportunity to see very many people at all. I saw a few family members, but there were more that I wanted to see and didn’t get to. The same went for friends. I was unable to see everyone who was on my ‘must see’ list- because there wasn’t enough time in the day to do so.

We do have another trip planned, so next time ‘should’ allow for more visiting time and more time with people we love and admire.

We arrived home with a lot of jet lag and I jumped right into work getting ready for this upcoming weekend which is filled with a wedding I’m doing, plus an anniversary party. I’m grateful for the work and always have fun sharing what I love with others, plus blessed that I can do what I love as my occupation.

I have, however, blocked off next week as some ‘me’ time to regroup and refocus, plus to hopefully get some rest and get past the jet lag. I have quite a few things on my to-do list, which includes getting some more home improvements completed in our home.

July kicks off my birthday month- and what a fun month that is going to be!

Welcome June

May 31st, 2016

I can’t believe that we are only a few hours away from the first day of June. I know I’ve been neglecting this space, but it hasn’t been intentional. As I mentioned before, we’re home for vacation and for a very special wedding.

That special day is a few days from now- and having been there today when the soon to be bride did her bridal photos- I know she’s going to wow not only her future husband come wedding day, but everyone else. She’s gorgeous inside and out & in her dream gown, even more so.

This trip has been much different than most of our trips home. We usually have an abundance of time to visit with everyone, but this trip hasn’t been like that. I miss being able to see everyone, but being here for this wedding- plus the other wedding that I ended up doing when I was here, I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. I’m grateful!

We have several more weeks here and I know they’ll fly. I am embracing and enjoying every single moment and can’t wait to look back on all the wonderful memories I’ve made.

I’ve forgotten how much I miss the coast this time of the year.

Nordic Ware- How I Love Thee

March 29th, 2016

If you know me- then you know that baking is like second nature to me.    Flavor combinations, getting creative in the kitchen is something that I’ve always loved – from the time that mom let me do my thing in the kitchen.       I like to create and the kitchen is one of those spaces where I can do just that-   if it sounds good- I will try it, even if others may look at me as though I’ve lost my marbles- (which happens probably more than people realize, or if you know me in my everyday life- then you can probably ‘get it’).    I like to do things my style even if it means that it doesn’t follow the norm, but I digress- well, sort of.

Nordic Ware is one of my favorite brands for pans.  (No they didn’t pay me to say that- it’s the facts.)   Aside from the fact that they are made in the good ole  U S of A, their quality is second to none.    Le Creuset is another one of my favorites, but right now we’re talking Nordic Ware.

Most of you know, and some of you may not, that my business is also making life a little sweeter for others.   I have a small baking company, which feeds my passion to learn, to be challenged, to create, and to bring joy to others.    All things that are important to me.  Despite my love of pans and gorgeous cookware, I try to not be an impulse shopper when it comes to products, including baking tools, pans and the like.   What I do- is I make a list of things that I really want and I let it sit and percolate if you will.      Over time, I’ll realize that some things really were impulses and I scratch them off the list, while others linger.

The Nordic Ware Heritage pans were amongst the items that lingered, in this case for more than a year.     Last week, I decided to take the plunge and order the Heritage bunt pan, leaving the Heritage bundtlet pan behind.    Two days later, I caved and ordered those too.    I couldn’t help myself.    It’s been on the list for more than a year.   Some things you know you are meant to have.

The Heritage bundt pan arrived today and I will admit I felt joyous opening the box.   After I ooohed and ahhed over the pan, I immediately started thinking about cakes I wanted to bake and who I wanted to bake them for.    Plus how gorgeous and impressive they would be for my customers.

A new pan is a great muse for inspiration, especially when it’s Nordic Ware.     As far as that first cake— I’m still deciding, but a lemon-ginger-cardamon flavor combination is swimming in my head.      The big decision now is –   do I experiment now, or do I wait until my Whole 30 is complete, so I can enjoy the fruits of my labor?   Decisions, decisions!    Thank you Nordic Ware for making an amazing product.

Oh- and just as the Heritage fell of my ‘list’, now the new crown pan has made it to the list.   It is even more impressive than the Heritage-   What’s a girl to do?

Whole 30- Day 15

March 29th, 2016

I made it to the half way point!   Yay Me!   Ironically, today is also a day that I’m struggling.   I’ve eaten well, that’s for sure, but at the same time- I’ve found myself really wanting ‘something’.       It isn’t that I’m hungry, but in pausing to really stop and think about the ‘why’ I’m feeling this way-  I feel it to be more of an emotional thing.

I haven’t figured out ‘why’ I am feeling emotional, yet I am.      Hormones?  Possibly-    I don’t know-   and being one who likes to be in the ‘know’ of things-   that bugs me.   I’m riding the wave and I suspect that I’ll eventually figure out why I’m feeling the way I am.     I still have a lot of energy-  life is good-  right now the sun is shining- the daylight hours are longer-   tomorrow I’ll spend time with one of my favorite people- I see a touch of green starting to appear on the trees outside the window I’m looking out of.   All this good and the list goes on… yet today I am ‘off’.     We all have those days, and I  know it’s not anything but me- and I also know it will pass.     I’m making sure that I’m extra good to myself, and while at one point I would have equated that with some sort of ‘junk’-  I know now that isn’t what I want to do.    So I won’t.

IMG_1282Instead, I’ll talk about my food for today-   I’ve had a banana, two mandarins and two dates.    In addition-  for breakfast I had a half sweet potato, two eggs, bacon (check your labels if you’re doing whole 30), and some coconut.  Have I mentioned how much I LOVE coconut at the moment?   I’ve always been a fan- but I could eat it all day.   Not that I am, mind you, but I could.

You may be thinking this combination sounds atrocious- but I can assure you that it’s anything but.

The plus is-  I have leftover bacon, which means tomorrow I’ll be having pretty much the same thing.   I can’t wait!

Good food that fuels my body.

IMG_1280Tonight’s dinner was a weird combination, but I actually loved it.   Marcel was kind of skeptical, said he didn’t love it-   but he also went back for seconds, so not sure what that says.

I made a sort shepherds pie with lean ground beef-  a puree from potatoes and parsnips-    I layered some of the potato mixture on bottom-  then added some steamed kale-  sour kraut, ground beef- one apple sliced thinly- and then more of the puree on top.    Yes-it’s an odd combination, but it worked and I enjoyed it.     The great thing was I was full with what you see in the photo- and even forgot to eat my 1/4 avocado.    That also means more leftovers-  and not having to think about cooking for tomorrow.     Having something ready makes life much easier.

 

So to summarize today-   I continue to feel great, but at the same time I’m having an off day, which I think has nothing at all to do with Whole30, but myself.      I’m trying to talk Marcel into trying a Whole30 as well, but thus far he is resisting.   I believe it would make a huge difference in his life- and I will continue to gently bring it up between now and the time we return from vacation, which is at the point I believe I’ll be ready to start another one.

 

 

 

Whole 30- Day’s 12 and 13

March 27th, 2016

I forgot to post yesterday.  I had company for part of the day and I had been buzzing around most of the morning getting a cake finished before it was picked up.   I got all that done, talked to my family and before I knew it the day was over.

Yesterday’s breakfast was the same thing I’d been having for a while-   and lunch was a banana, some nuts and a mandarin orange.    Not ideal, but it worked.    When dinner rolled around, I wasn’t feeling overly hungry, so I made myself a salad with mixed greens, chicken breast, a few walnuts, tomato, olives, a mandarin orange and a little balsamic.  That was it-  It was delicious.

IMG_1182Energy wise- I’ve still been feeling great.   Today (Easter-  Happy Easter, y’all), was much of the same-   Today, I wanted to make something special for Easter breakfast, so that I would feel the festivities.

Marcel was working today- so I made this omelette for myself for brunch.    It is very simple-   eggs, chicken breast, arugula, tomatoes, chives and a few spices.  That’s it.

It was delicious!

I made a roast today in the Crock-Pot with the intention of it being dinner, but I was not in the mood- so I had a salad, with half an apple, 1/4 avocado, plus mixed greens, chicken and a few walnuts.  I added a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic.  It hit the spot perfectly.    Tomorrow I’ll plan to have leftover roast.

It is hard for me to believe that I’m a few days from being at the halfway point of this Whole 30.    I’ve been thinking a lot about how much energy it gives me, and also about how much more I know I would have if I were doing regular cardio (which I’m not).

I am very curious as the journey continues- but even more so, I’m excited to see how I will implement this into part of my lifestyle.

For me, it hasn’t been hard-     I can imagine if you eat more processed foods, it would be harder.   The hardest part for me is making sure I am prepared for meals and have the right things on hand to eat.   That’s it.   Oh, and making sure I stay on top of the water.

My face, which I reported breaking out horribly, still isn’t 100% better.  It is much better than it was, but I still feel as though there is room for improvement there.    We’ll see how that happens as the days continue to unfold.

 

If you asked me right now if I would do it again-   Without hesitation:  YES!

 

The journey continues…

We Love You, Brussels

March 22nd, 2016

Today has been a difficult day-    The tragic attacks in Brussels, Belgium has me reeling with sadness and even more uncertainty at the continued downward spiral of some of the people in this world.     As long as I live, I’ll never be able to comprehend how or why anyone could hurt another, much less take their life, simply because they don’t believe the same as someone else.      In the name of religion?  I don’t buy it for one second.   It isn’t about religion, it’s about hate-    pure and simple.

I have friends across the spectrum from Christian to Atheist, with many beliefs in between.  I respect them ALL, even if I don’t believe or feel the same that they do.    It’s not hard for me, I don’t need to prove anything, because I believe that a persons belief is their own, and that’s between them and God, and not for me to judge.

IMG_1069Today, as an act of love and solidarity I made this meme for the lifestyle blog that I co-own with a dear friend.  I saw the heart shaped stone and photographed it while in a store a few weeks ago.
I loved the colors.  It had been in my ‘camera roll’ since that day.   At the time the colors reminded me of the world-  and today it seemed fitting for this meme, showing not only support, but love for Brussels and everyone affected by the tragedy.

Darkness will NEVER win against the light.   May these tragic moments be a wake-up call to us to love each other where we are, show respect and continue forward together.     Us -vs- Them will never be the solution.  #prayersforbrussels

 

Signs of Spring

March 19th, 2016

Since I was feeling so energized today- I wanted to cash in on that and take some time to get out and enjoy some walking.   I know ‘not’ exercising has only fed into me perpetuating no energy, but it was bad enough that I really couldn’t seem to push through and force myself, so I didn’t beat myself up, rather showed myself compassion and love- allowing me to give my body what it needed right then.

Now it seems to be business as usual and that makes me HAPPY!   IMG_1037It was a grey and cold day, but yet it felt so good to be out and about.    JJ even seems happier now that the daylight hours are longer.   I loved walking along and seeing signs of spring everywhere I looked.

I spotted these little flowers growing in a huge cluster in the middle of a wooded area, so I trekked off the beaten path and grabbed a few snaps of them.   Granted, they aren’t the best photos I’ve ever taken, but seeing nature come to life again brings me a lot of joy, which makes it all worth it in my eyes.

IMG_1038Seeing everything come to life again after Winter reminds me to pause and be even more observant of my surroundings, to see what gifts nature is giving us all to be discovered.     It will happen whether I (or you) notice, but it never ceases to amaze me the tiny gifts that surround us each and every day.

What have you taken the time to notice today?  If you can’t think of anything, it’s not too late to take a moment to pause for a moment, focus on the sounds around you, and really look.    What do you see?   I’m certain there’s a gift from nature waiting to be discovered.

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