Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

Because We ALL Matter

February 17th, 2017

A while back I made a decision to delete the Facebook app from my iPhone, which eventually was followed by me deleting it from my iPad.    I kept the messenger app, plus I also kept the business app, but aside from that-  it’s all gone from my ‘devices’.    I still pop in on occasion from the laptop, but the negativity and mean-spiritedness was keeping me up at night.  The divisivness- the name calling-  all things I couldn’t wrap my head around.

Some people have noticed and others haven’t.  I’m perfectly OK with both.      I’m someone who can overlook a lot of things-    when something becomes too much- the unfollow button works wonders, but it became to be ‘too much’.       I don’t agree with A LOT of things I see, read, hear- but I am also open minded enough to know that my thoughts are based on my view to the world.  It’s different than yours, yours or even yours.  That’s how it’s supposed to be.   We are individuals- not cookie-cutter or Stepford versions of each other.

What I DO have, regardless of whether I agree with someone or not-  is respect.   Even when someone is responding to something in hate-    it doesn’t give me (or anyone) a ‘free pass’ to reciprocate with the same.   It fuels the fire.  It ignites more division, it perpetuates more division, more anger, more of the things that I have no intent or desire to feed.

In the March issue of “O Magazine”   Oprah sat down and had a real talk with women.  Women on both sides of the political lines to discuss what’s happening in the United States, to try to understand.    They were different, but at the core they are the same-  as are so many of us.     The things that bind us are far greater than those that divide us.

We need more respectful conversations.    Real, open, authentic conversations-   it’s only then when we will be able to begin to understand and heal.

To the surprise of many-  I don’t watch the news.  I don’t read the news.    I’m extremely selective of what I allow into my grey matter.   For some it seems crazy, but to me it works.    It keeps me from drinking the crazy Kool Aid that seems to be floating around- be it from fear or all the uncertainties.       I don’t believe the media-  any of it.

We all have the ability to be kind.   To show compassion and grace- to not join in the fear mongoring- spewing the rhetoric that the media produces-  but rather, to show love-  to agree to disagree-   to have honest conversations where we respect and care for each other- if for nothing more because we are all human beings and we ALL matter.

Sales Sales Everywhere Sales

February 9th, 2017

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love a good sale, but something about ‘stumbling upon’ a great sale tends to bring me even more joy than one I knew about.     Such was the case and point a few days ago.

Back story-   Late last year I picked up a fully automatic coffee machine as a birthday / Christmas gift for Marcel.  He had been complaining about the  machine we had at the time, saying the coffee was no longer good from that machine.   I disagreed with him, but he was so adamant that I finally decided to surprise him with the machine.     We both agree, we love that it grinds the beans each and every time, plus the cappuccinos and other options are great.   It can pretty much make everything.

The milk container that attaches to the machine had a transparent tube which transported the milk up through to the milk frother.  More times than I remember, I kept thinking-   One day we’re going to lose that tubing.   Well that day came a few weeks ago.  We have searched high and low for it-  and it didn’t get put away where it usually was, so all we can conclude is that it was accidentally tossed in the garbage. (This information has a purpose I promise- bare with me.)

I went on the quest online to find this little rubber hose  and it was to be found NO WHERE!    The only way I could find to replace it was to order the entire contraption again- at a price of more than $30.00, which I didn’t think even remotely necessary.   So the quest began to find a piece of hose that would fit.  Armed with the top of the milk container we went to several stores before we realized that we couldn’t find the exact size we needed, but ended up finding an adapter that would work that we could fit into the tubing and well-   we now have cappuccino again!  HURRAY!     I digress!

If you know us in our everyday life-  you know that we’ve been working on home projects for a year now.   We’ve slowly but surely been checking things off our list- and one thing we’ve wanted to do is paint the doors and trimming inside but hadn’t chosen a paint color yet.    We were walking through the home improvement store and low and behold there was this huge table of discontinued ‘last years’ colors that they had marked down to very cheap.  Usually the colors aren’t fabulous (usually too bright or too dark) but we spotted exactly what we needed that we knew should go great with our walls.    After scouring the table to make sure they had enough (after all we knew we needed several quarts) we grabbed four cans and off we went.    The regular price was more than $22 each and we ended up getting them for around $5.50.     I am really excited about it, as it was not only a steal, it was also a project that we’ve been wanting to get started.   The bonus on top of the great price:   The paint is water based, which means no over the top smells that will drive my allergies bonkers.

I also noticed there were a lot of sales happening, but since we didn’t need anything else, we skipped the rest.

 

Have you found any great home improvement deals lately?

I Am….

February 2nd, 2017

I can’t believe it has almost been a week since I was on here last.     The week has flown by- with last weekend spent in the company of a good friend exploring various inspirational foodie haunts, plus a little trip to the beach.    One of our ‘stops’ during the day was the local camera store, because she needed to get some passport photos made so she could renew her ‘almost’ expired passport.

While this is not a post about Nikon-  I’ve long been a fan of their products and even own several Nikon DSLR cameras.     That being said-   some of my favorite commercials ever are their I AM ads.

I saw this ad in the store and I couldn’t help but pause and soak up not only the image, but also the text and what it means.

I do believe that what we focus on in our lives is what we not only see more of, but also what we manifest.  Yes, life is full of ups and downs- but when I think of some of lifes’ darkest moments in my life-  I also can find the beauty in them.     I would prefer that life had no sadness or tragedy, but to be able to find something beautiful in the midst of pain is important, at least to me.

I was reading an article earlier today talking about life defining moments, and how some of them are moments that have brought us the deepest sorrow.    I was reminded of a moment where I felt a deep amount of pain and in the beginning wasn’t quite sure how I would make it through- as it was something I’d never experienced before.

Rather than becoming angry and bitter- as it would have been easy to do-   I allowed myself to feel what I was feeling, also made a few choices that I wasn’t extremely proud of, as a knee-jerk reaction to the pain, but on the whole-  I took the time to grieve, then I wanted to be aware of what the pain could teach me, and what lessons I could take away from the entire situation.

Through that-  I learned SO much.   It was one of lifes’ biggest gifts and because of the experience, I was able to carry what I learned with me- so that I can apply it to life as needed.   That embodies the above photo-  and the …. beauty of life.

We are all different.    It seems now more than ever there is a focus on how different we really are, but at the core-   it really isn’t us versus them-   we are all very much the same.    We all bleed, we all have hopes- dreams- fears- uncertainties.   We all love- believe in something-  laugh-  sleep- and the list goes on.     The truth is-  we are far more alike than we are different.

Fill in the blank-    I am.. ______  As for me-   I believe the one word I’ll  put above all others for what I AM-    LOVE.   I am LOVE.    Don’t you want to join me in striving to be love in all that we do?     While one person doesn’t have the power to change the world-  we do have the power to change ourselves- to be a shining light-  the proverbial North Star in the night sky-   to leave a ripple of love, respect, inspiration and positivity so large that it creates a tidal wave of the aforementioned and brings something beautiful and positive to every one in it’s path.

That, my friends is how beautiful things happen.    Love!

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.

 

Comforts of Winter

January 23rd, 2017

I am one of those people who absolutely loves each season for their own uniqueness.    During the winter months, I could eat soup every single day, but of course that doesn’t happen, as I do believe my dearly beloved would not approve.     My favorite winter weather?   FullSizeRenderIcy cold temps (preferably snow- but we can’t have everything all the time), blue skies and sunshine.  It makes me happy and despite the temps, I don’t mind being outside in the cold (often without a coat- but my favorite blanket scarf and a thick sweater), in fact, I love it!

Yesterday I cashed in on that exact weather and took a long walk in the late afternoon.   I’d planned to go earlier in the day, but a friend stopped in for coffee, which is so worth delaying the walk for.   She was limited on her visit time- as she had other plans, but we spent a little more than an hour catching up and enjoying some good girl talk.

As I was out walking with my favorite canine-  I couldn’t help but notice the afternoon sun reflecting on the frozen canal, the ducks gathered at the edge of the one spot in the shadows of the bare willow tree where the water was still accessible.   I took a moment to soak up the beauty and snapped a few shots before moving on.

I couldn’t see the photo very well- because of the glare on my iPhone screen, but the photo you see is what I found when I got home and into the light.    It captures the mood of winter and when I look at it I smile.    Some may find it dreary, but I see beauty of the season.

I came home and curled up with a cup of my favorite Chai tea, a cookbook that had been on my ‘to read’ list, an old quilt (you know- the ones that wear like your favorite pair of jeans)  and the always magestic, Mister Mistoffelees.

 

Joy in the Simple Things

January 20th, 2017

There are times in life when no words are necessary-  Instead, we have to pause, breathe deeply and appreciate a moment for what it is.    Those ‘little’ things are bigger than we realize.  IMG_3245  My weekend advice to you is:   Take the time to notice.    Forget the endless ‘to do’ lists and the things you ‘need’ to do, but instead take a little time to ‘be present’ in a moment.     Soak it up-  be grateful-  appreciate every single bit.

 

My weekend will be spent in the company of people I love.   I hope yours is as well.

 

The Missing Pieces

November 21st, 2016

As a storm rages outside-   minimal hurricane force winds, rain and the occasional hail –  I’m tucked away comfortably behind the laptop, a very content Mister Mistoffelees beside me.    For quite some time now, I’ve had this ebb and flow of feeling discombobulated.   I ‘feel’ good-  but I seem to have this consistent inability to land on any one thought for a very long period of time, before my head races off to something else.

Something has been not exactly right- but I haven’t been able to piece together what is keeping my thought process so busy.    I don’t watch the news, haven’t for years.  I am not using Facebook at the moment outside of my business page, but what could it be?

I have daily contact with my parents, regular contact with most of my favorite people-   yet, while I feel content in many areas of my life-  I still feel as though my head is a constant spinning of thoughts and ideas that never seem to come to a standstill.

Then, a few days ago it hit me.  A dear friend mentioned a few struggles she was having, and another friend suggested she ‘write it out’.   I immediately chimed in at how helpful it is for me-   and how ‘writing it out’ had helped me through numerous obstacles in life.  I even suggested she check out 750 words if she wanted to have a purging of emotions without anyone reading it outside of her.      That had been particularly helpful to me years ago when I went through a very difficult struggle dealing with the expectations of a few others.

It didn’t hit me at that moment, but as I was having a cup of tea yesterday-   I realized the one thing that I wasn’t doing now that I’d done for as long a I could remember-   I’d stopped writing.

I have always loved writing for as long as I can remember.    Long before computer days,  I would write my deepest thoughts in my diary.  Long before all the constant distractions of the digital world.   Before blogs were a ‘thing’-  I had a blog.    It was back in 2003-2004 when it first came to be.   It was a wonderful outlet to share about my life, and at the same time-   connect with others who were also doing the same thing.     In that time- some of us formed friendships that I still have to this day.

The missing pieces- have been that I’m not ‘writing it out’.     The good-  The bad- the ugly- the beautiful.    Foodie ideas, photography ideas, life ideas-   how to be a better me ideas-   and the list goes on.     SO much has been spinning in my head-   bouncing from one list to another- as one gets checked off- always five more things waiting to jump on a list.

The missing pieces–  writing it out..      As Glenda the Good Witch once said to Dorothy-   You’ve had the power all along ..  and so have I.

I am excited to see where this new realization takes me.  My head feels lighter already!

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.

 

Sunday Salads & Sunshine

October 16th, 2016

It is no secret that I love all seasons, but if I was asked to choose an all time favorite, I believe it would be fall. Granted, if you ask me in the Spring, my response may be Spring, or if you asked me in Summer, and so on. I am a lover of all seasons for the uniqueness and their individuality, but there is something about Fall or Autumn, depending on what you prefer.

Often in Neverland, the weather this time of the year isn’t pleasant. Truth is, it bothers many people, but not me. It is like everything else- it has it’s plus and min points, but we have to take things as they come. Fortunately, the weather has been amazing. Sure, we’ve had a few grey days, but on the whole, thus far it’s amazing. This morning- despite the crispness to the air that only Fall brings, summer also decided to show up and give us yet another kiss. It is although she wasn’t quite finished with us yet for this year, so it’s a beautiful 64 degrees, blue skies with not a cloud to be seen.

img_0404I put on my running shoes, grabbed JJ and went out for a long walk. Truth is, I could still be walking if Marcel hadn’t had other ideas, or if JJ wouldn’t have given out, or my stomach hadn’t started grumbling, reminding me that I wasn’t hungry when I woke up this morning and hadn’t eaten.

Despite having a few projects I needed to do inside, I knew that I couldn’t spend anymore time inside than necessary as those days will come soon enough. Right now, we’ve been given one of those rare Autumn days where it’s pure weather perfection and I plan to enjoy it to the fullest. My rumbling stomach took me to the kitchen where I whipped up a Fall salad, filled with delicious seasonal gems, such as pomegranates, beets, pear, avocado, almonds, plus I sliced some fresh chevre I picked up at a market and crusted it with almond flour- then slowly let it toast in the pan, creating a delicious nutty crust and a delciously warm cheesy center. I topped the salad with a mixture of champagne and cranberry balsamic, plus a little Vanini Osvoldo EVOO that I picked up last fall in Lenno, Italy. Not only was the salad flavorful, being able to eat it Al Fresco this time of the year was a huge bonus.

Even now as I type this- I’m sitting outside. I can’t bring myself to stay inside. I did dinner preps, grabbed the laptop, a cappuccino and a glass of water and here I sit- feeling the kiss of the wind in my hair, the sunshine on my shoulders,, and a wink from summer letting me know she is never far away.

Home Painting Projects

April 24th, 2016

With our vacation pending, our home improvements have come to a screeching halt for the time being, but the inspiration continues to flow as I look at Hingham painters and see what great work they do. As much as I would love to be a do-it-yourself person for everything, truth is- we just don’t have the time, inclination or skills, so we’ve decided to leave a lot of things to the professionals.

As most of you know who visit this space regularly, we had a professional come in to do our living room a while back. We did all the prep work (which wasn’t necessary, but something we wanted to do to help the professionals), so it made for a very smooth day of painting. Later, Marcel decided to do the painting in the hallways himself, but some he ended up having to redo, as he just couldn’t get the coverage in one go the way the pros did, despite using the same type of paint. It was then when we realized that it makes sense to let someone else take care of things for us, so upon our return from vacation we will get an estimate for the rest of the rooms that need painting and go from there.

That will mean more time for other things we are good in, such as decorating and such. What’s your preferred method? Are you a do-it-yourselfer or do you prefer to pay a professional to come in and take care of things and get it done properly the first time? Also, what are your favorite color schemes to use? I’ve been browsing some of the newest color trends from Southern Living magazine, and there are quite a few that catch my eye. I love how inspiration can be found in so many little things.

  • Digg
  • Delicious
  • Furl
  • Stumble
  • Technorati
  • Yahoo