Tuesday, May 24, 2016

This over That: The A to Z Edition

Thanks to Lauren at Oh Hey! I Like That! for the fun post idea. 

If given the option, I would choose...

Avocados over mayonnaise 

Big Bang Theory over Modern Family

Coffee houses over Starbucks

David Banner over Bruce Banner

Experiences over stuff

Flying over cruising

Google over Bing...is Bing even still a thing?

Hydrangeas over roses

Independent travel over group tours

Journaling over Snapchatting 

Ketchup over mustard

Little House on the Prairie over The Waltons

Matinees over movies at night

New Year's Day over Halloween

Ocean towns over mountain towns

Podcasts over drive-time radio

Quest Bars over Kind Bars

Rain over snow

Shelters over breeders

Traveling over anything

Uniform over wondering what to wear

Vineyards over breweries

Weights over cardio

Xenodochium over sleeping outside

Yoga over CrossFit

Zucchini over green beans

How about you? What are some of your this over that items? If you do a similar post, please tag me so I can learn more about you. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Lovely Reads #2

Good morning, friends. Happy Sunday. 

The Señor and I are away this weekend, celebrating our anniversary, but here 
is a collection of articles and topics that mattered to me this week. Happy reading!

This is such a fun example of crowdsourcing. Everyone has a story to tell. 

This photo essay, by Mani at A New Life Wandering, is a beautiful look at the faces she has photographed in her travels. 

I consider myself a light packer, but my goodness! What is your one non-negotiable travel item?

I'm not a parent, but as a teacher, I see the effects of forced academics on the youngest of students. This made me want to yell Amen out loud for everyone to hear. 

The Señor believes that meat eating is in our genes. This NPR story references a new book that suggests this belief may be a myth. What say you?

Want to upgrade your next AirB&B experience? Some of these could be fun. 

And finally, this is worth a watch...it's not about the specific journey he takes, but inspiring for anyone who decides to go for it all and make it happen.

What was on your radar this week? Send me a link, if you so desire. 

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everybody. Cheers!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Happy 4th Anniversary to Us!

Today is our anniversary...nine years together, four years married. We are blessed; it feels like yesterday. Time really does fly when you're having fun. 

Here's to another year of love, passion, and laughter...of good health and lightness of heart...of holding hands and stealing kisses...of coffee dates, forever date nights, travel and adventure.

Happy Anniversary to my love, my Señor. Happy Anniversary to us! 

You can read more about how we planned our bilingual, bicultural wedding here

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Lovely Things: A Fourth Anniversary Gift Guide

May is our anniversary month, and this year marks our fourth year married and our ninth year together. We have gone traditional with anniversary gifts for the last three years, and I predict that whenever possible, we will continue that theme. 

At first glance, the traditional fourth anniversary gift of fruits and flowers do not lend themselves to the most romantic of keepsakes, but there is still much opportunity for creativity and romance. Here's what I found. 

Plan a Botanical Garden Date Night
Plan a date or a picnic at a local botanical garden. Not sure where your closest garden is located? Try this helpful locator

Do you live near a local vineyard or orchard? Plan a picnic or a wine tasting. Grapes are fruit. 

And then there's this. 

Cheers to your special day!
Make a pitcher of fruity sangria. We have this set and we use it a lot. 

Need a recipe? This is the best in the world! Trust me. If you don't believe me, ask Peggy

The white one is pretty good too. 

Continuing with the wine is fruit idea, how about a monogrammed wine cork holder? Etsy has some cute ideas here.  

For dinner, prepare citrus grilled tuna steaks and a special fruit tart, like Peggy's lemon blueberry tart for dessert, or a chocolate fondue with fresh fruit for dipping. 

Eat Fresh
A CSA box, a Fruit of the Month or a Wine of the Month subscription is a fun way to try new products you haven't tried before. 

And a new basket will keep that fruit fresh. 

How about a fruit infuser bottle (with recipe bookor a fruit inspired cookbook?

New appliances can be fun. How about a juicer, tying together the traditional with the modern gift ideas. 

And a book that helps you reboot your wellness plan?

Get Crafty
Check your local craft store for a class to create a pretty door wreath or table setting using your favorite dried flowers or dried versions of the flowers you used in your wedding. 

Or find a tutorial for a wreath you love, like this one

Add beauty to the great outdoors.
Plant your favorite flowers around your home or in a container garden.

Maybe you can plant fruit trees; there are some great dwarf varieties available too. Not sure where to start? There are many guides, like this one for growing your favorites. 

If you're a traditionalist, there are plenty of options to help you find the perfect gift for your fourth anniversary, and if fruits and flowers aren't your thing, treat yourself to a new appliance, or donate one you no longer use and reduce your clutter. It's a win-win. 

In the meantime, we'll be celebrating our own amor para siempre.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Lovely Reads #1

Good morning, friends. Happy Sunday. 

If you're like me, you like to read while you drink your coffee. It's quiet time when you can catch up on topics that matter to you. 

Here is a collection of articles and topics that mattered to me this week. Happy reading!

Why Play Matters--No Matter How Old You Are 

Do you allow yourself the opportunity to lose track of time and engage with something you love?

Unemployment is down. Gas prices are low. Why isn't America shopping? 

Have people begun to trade stuff for experiences?

Reflections on the Camino
The Señor and I plan to do the Camino once we're in Spain full time. I enjoyed reading Dave's reflection on his Camino experience. 

Eat, Pray, Love, and Travel
An interview with Liz Gilbert about the 10th anniversary of Eat, Pray, Love and the collection of essays in the the new Eat, Pray, Love Made Me Do It. 

And in case you missed it...
Are you excited for this windowless plane?

No need for mansplaining. Can this stop already?

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everybody. Cheers!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Weekending: Hemingway, Toast, and Mother's Day

We had great plans to go out on Friday night, but with the rain and long week behind us, we opted to stay local, shop for a new laptop for the Señor, and have dinner at one of our local old-school favorites. 

Saturday found us running errands, like getting one of the cars serviced and getting the food shopping done for the week. 

On Saturday afternoon, we went to the BirchTree Bread Company, a wonderful local bakery that specializes in all things toast and coffee. The bakery is located in a great old building that houses a weekend farmers' market and the cutest collection of curated boutique items, antiques and handmade goodies. 

A lovely courtyard for al fresco enjoyment. 

The Señor tried an olive and herb toast spread with whipped feta and drizzled with olive oil...SO good!! 

I had my regular: local wheat toast with cultured butter, local honey, and sea salt. 

Then, it was a movie for date night, and we opted for the biographical drama, Papa: Hemingway in Cuba. 

Yesterday began with some playtime with Gracie. 

Then, we had the wonderful opportunity to take my parents and my mother-in-law out for lunch in honor of Mother's Day. 

We went to a traditional Portuguese restaurant, featuring food from Portugal and the Azores. The Señor and I had been there before, but it was a first for our parents. The restaurant and staff did not disappoint, and we all had a great time. 

Appetizers of cured cheese and prosciutto and 
above that, morcela (blood sausage) with sweet potato.
My husband and father took care of the morcela...it's not for me. 

Grilled octopus was one of the entrees. I opted for arroz marisco...a Portuguese paella of sorts.

Mom and me doing our annual backseat selfie. 

Backseat selfies with my mother-in-law. 

My Mom and Dad. 

I'm still my Dad's girl. 

An emotional mother and her son. 

And one with my Señor. 

And after what feels like weeks of rain, the sun came out, which seems to have brought a strong, cold wind. I'm grateful nonetheless because it was a lovely weekend, indeed. 

How was your weekend? 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day!

am so blessed to have the most amazing mother. I have been wrapped in her love from the beginning and I still am today. 

And, I am doubly blessed to have a mother-in-law, who I love and adore.

And this year, I am blessed to be a mom to this beautiful pup. 

Sweet Gracie Rae, 8 months

I am surrounded by strong, loving, amazing women, who happen to be mothers.  

And I am surrounded by strong, loving, amazing women, who, by choice or circumstance, are not mothers.

For those for whom Mother's Day is a day filled with joy, I wish you more of the same. 

And for those who struggle with this day, because of circumstances of loss or biology, or unfulfilled expectations, I wish you peace. 

Today is a day I will celebrate the mothers in my world and the amazing people who choose to mother in their own way.  

Today I choose to be present in the blessings I have in my life today. I wish the same for you. 

Happy Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Ahora: May

May is such a great month for me. It means warmer temperatures, flowers in full bloom, celebrating the amazing women in my life, opening up the pool, a long weekend away, and celebrating our anniversary. 

Here's what is on my radar this month. 

I joined up with a challenge group that is mixing wellness goals with a book club model. This book is what we're reading. Admittedly, I am an emotional eater. I'm looking forward to reading her take on the subject.

Sesame almond maple crisps. The Señor and I paid a visit to the Second Street Bakery, where they have the most delightful cookie. They're made with sesame seeds, almonds, and maple syrup; I think that's it. When we go, we buy whatever they have left. They're delicious!

Applying for...
Global Entry. With all of the news reports about lines and stress at the airports this summer, we decided to apply for Global Entry. If you're approved, you are included in the TSA PreCheck program as well. In my opinion, the convenience makes it worth the $100. 

New strategies in English language learning. May is the month for the annual MATSOL conference

The Massachusetts Educators of English Language Learners is an organization that promotes excellence and equity in the education of English learners. It's a nice opportunity to connect with other educators, learn promising practices (as keynote Sonia Nieto calls them) and recharge the vision. 

Thinking about...
Adding a CELTA certification. I am certified in ESL and in English, but I do not have a certificate in teaching English as a foreign language. It seems that CELTA is the gold standard in TOEFL certifications, and as luck would have it, there's a program in Boston. This could open new options. We'll see. 

How to get into the online adjunct pool. Any tips? 

A winter parka, heavy sweaters, and rain gear. I'm ready for Spring. Now that we're approaching the second week in March May, I think it's a reasonable request. I mean no disrespect to areas that are suffering from drought, but we're all set for a while. 


Also on my radar...

What's happening ahora in your world?