Sunday, March 31, 2013

It's a date! Spring Date Night ideas

Spring has sprung! The weather is getting nicer warmer here in the Northeast, beckoning the winter-weary to venture outside and welcome nature's rebirth.

Here are eight great date ideas for you and your love to ring in spring with a little romance and maybe try something new.

1. Plant some flowers together or plan for a garden. Spruce up your abode with a splash of color. No need for landscaping space...a whisky barrel on a porch, a colorful window box, or even a kitchen herb garden can do wonders. And besides, cleaning up after getting dirty in the yard can be a lot of fun.

2. Go for a walk. Daylight savings time provides a wonderful opportunity for a hand-in-hand after-dinner stroll.

3. Picnic...pick up a pizza or pack a couple of sandwiches. Head to a park or meet up after work and soak up the last rays of sun before settling in for the night.

4. Do I know you? Meet up for a drink after work and flirt with your love. Pretend you're meeting for the first time and capitalize on the passion.

5. Play tourist. Companies like Groupon and Living Social offer discounted trolley tours, museum passes and local experiences that allow you to play tourist in your own backyard.

6. Set a fitness goal and get physical. Train for a 5k or 10k. Go on a hike. Go bike riding. Train for a tri. Whatever you like to do, try it together and reap the health benefits along with the together time. It's a win-win.

7. Lighten up. Try an optimum nutrition night of your choosing. Want to try going Paleo? Meatless Monday? Clean eating? Choose and cook your menu together. If the weather allows, dine al fresco.

8. Do it bunny style. Take a cue from our Easter friends and get a little busier. Try something new. Increase the frequency. Mix it up a bit. Again, it's a win-win. 

Happy spring!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Game On!

In the midst of my own March Madness, I am using this spring to renew my commitment to myself. It starts today.

1. If it goes in my mouth, I will write it down and hold myself accountable.

2. At least 30 minutes of effective movement every day. No excuses.

3. At least 5 minutes of intentional deep breathing and meditation every day, in the morning and at night.

I'm ready.

Un beso

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Hump Day Haiku

Buen dia!

I am doubly inspired today.

Two hump day haikus for your reading pleasure.

Let's Go!
The world is open.
Lands unexplored await us.
Pack the bags; we're off!

Wrapped up in your arms,
Solace from the angry day.
Two hearts beat in step.

Unleash your own poetic expression. Link me up so I can read yours as well.

Un beso

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bucket List for Couples...A Bucket List for Us

As I may have mentioned before, I am a list girl. I love making lists and goals and wishes and hopes and dreams. I love it all. And that didn't stop with I do, because now, it's become together, we will.

Many people have bucket lists, but how many of us have goals to accomplish with your partner...a bucket list for love, so to speak. Coming up with hopes and dreams for you as a couple is just as much fun as planning to run a sub 10 mile, for example.

What's on your list? What are some of the hopes and dreams you have for your life together?

My love and I have chatted about this one ourselves and here's what we came up with. This is in no particular order and it's in no way complete.

Together, we will

  • experience sunrise and sunset on the same day, in the same place.
  • walk the entire Camino de Santiago
  • go back to Paris and find our love lock on the bridge
  • drive cross country and really experience the US
  • drive the Pan-American highway in our vintage Mercedes
  • drive the Pacific Coast highway in a convertible
  • dance salsa like it's our job
  • grow our own food
  • experience New Year's Eve in Madrid with our 12 grapes
  • attend a Broadway show
  • attend a World Cup match
  • go on a long bike trip--maybe through Alaska
  • buy a tablet
  • maintain a healthy BMI (I am finally there; he's still working on it.)
  • own an apartment in Paris
  • own income property here in the States.
  • experience Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls
  • slow travel and become location independent
  • renew our vows annually
  • write a love letter to each other
  • and on, and on, and on...
Now, for extra credit, think about what you've already done. What are those romantic things you already have done or still do regularly that warms your heart? What defines you as a couple?

For us, the list is long. And, like our bucket list for love, those things are personalized to us and our interests. Nevertheless, the exercise is a valuable one for anyone. Look at where you've been, what you have now and where you want to go.

Together, the world is yours. All the better to go hand in hand.

Un beso.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hump Day Haiku

Wednesday can be a whatever kind of a day, a workout day, a what's for dinner kind of day, or a what's-on-my-mind kind of day.

How about something new?

After yesterday's post about Tuesday's Thoughts, I was thinking about launching another weekly post...Hump Day Haiku.

So, going back to middle school English, a haiku is an non-rhyming poem of three lines. Line one has five syllables, line two has seven and line three has five...

Here's my first...

Trying something new
can be met with fear and doubt.
Do it anyway.

Your me up and let me read yours too.

The 5 Ws: Change the Script

In beginner journalism, students learn to cover the 5 W's (who, what, when, where, why) plus H for how. Usually those w's and the h give us information that we need to know. They're objective, without judgement.

But what happens when 5 w's and that h become negative and stand in the way of our success or undermine our confidence.

For example,
  • Who do you think you are?
  • What was I thinking?
  • When will I learn?
  • Where is mine?
  • Why can't I figure this out?
  • How could I let this happen again?
What about changing the script? Change the script, change the outcome.

For example,
  • Who are my mentors/heroes/role models? Learn from them. Pick a character trait to emulate and try it in your own life.
  • What are my goals? Start with one short term and one long term goal.
  • When will I give myself a reward for a job well done? Establish milestones in your action plan to achieve your goals.
  • Where do you go that brings you joy? Peace? Go there in person as often as your world allows. When you can't be there physically, create a vision board or a pinterest board that can bring you respite in the craziness of your day.
  • Why do you want x? Make a list of the benefits of your goal. Knowing why you want it may help clear the pathway to fulfilment.
  • How will you get there? Create an action plan. Step-by-step, achievable goals, that when reached, bring satisfaction and create the feeling of progress.
They say that attitude is everything. Think happy, be happy.

Some days will be harder than others, but with goal setting, you reclaim your power and give yourself a purpose that benefits you. Others, perhaps, may see an indirect benefit, but focus on you, your needs, your joy.

Change that script in your head. No more negative talk. Start talking to yourself the way you would talk to someone you adore. You're worth it.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

4 Ways to Beat the Bad Day Blues

Bad days happen. And when they do, they provide the perfect opportunity to remember what makes the good days so fabulous. A bad day does not mean a bad life; even when it seems like you've had more than your share.

So when the bad days happen, what do you do? How do you pull yourself from your funk? Here's four strategies:

  1. Go for a walk or get some exercise of your choice. Clear your head and get some fresh air. The endorphins kick in and it's a win-win. The problems won't disappear, but for that hour or so in time, it's all about you and your chance to put your wishes out into the universe.
  2. Go into your car, your basement, your bedroom . . .any place you where noise won't be an issue and scream your head off. Make it a horror-movie, primal scream. When I ride roller coasters, I used to hunker down and as a result of the adrenaline rush, ended up nauseous. Then, like countless others, I began to scream my bloody head off. Guess what? No nausea. And I had fun! I have done this in the car...scream, that is. And it helps.
  3. Make a list of what makes you happy. Make a happiness collage. Create a pinterest board dedicated to images of people, places and things that make you smile. Keep it accessible for those days when you need a little something.
  4. Wrap yourself in love. When I'm feeling overwhelmed, nothing is better than being wrapped up in my husband's arms. The problems disappear, but his love and kisses give me strength and energy to keep moving forward.

Bad days are inevitable. We all have them. But, what keeps bad days from contaminating our view on life will be determined by how we tolerate them. We can't always control what happens to us, but we can control how we react. Keep it positive and reach out when you need to. Better days are on the way.  

Friday, March 15, 2013

Porto, Portugal...Friday Photo Flashback

We didn't have 36 hours in Porto, but we did have about twelve in Portugal's second largest city. Porto is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known for its port wine made along the Douro River, which runs through the city.

Here are a few photos of our time in Porto:

There's so much to see and do in this hilly city. Looking forward to exploring more of O'Porto next time.

Até a próxima, Porto.
Um beijo

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Let's Get it On...the Play List

Despite the time we spend listening to NPR, hubs and I still love great, soulful music that becomes the soundtrack for date night, Sunday morning with the paper or feeding the wanderlust.

For many couples, there is a special song that sends the love hormones into overdrive. If you're looking for a soundtrack to set the mood, here's a play list that may set the kindle alight.

In no particular order, with no loyalty to any particular genre, and ranging the pg and beyond rating, here is a list of some of our favorite songs that stoke the smoldering heart.

  1. Just about anything by Sade. Here's a few favorites:
    • Sweetest Taboo
    • Paradise
    • By Your Side
    • No Ordinary Love
  2. Anything by Chris Botti
  3. Anything by Diana Krall
  4. Let's Stay Together--Al Green
  5. Suit and Tie--Justin Timberlake
  6. Candy Shop--50 Cent
  7. Let's Get it On--Marvin Gaye
  8. Sunday Morning--Maroon Five
  9. Crash--Dave Matthews Band
  10. The Island--Barbra Streisand (trust me on this one)
  11. Rise--Herb Alpert (old school disco, but hot)
  12. Wicked Game--Chris Isaak
  13. Don't Cha--Pussycat Dolls
  14. Natural Woman--Aretha Franklin
Have any favorites of your own? Please share. No one likes a stale play list.

Un beso

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Living in Magic

My husband and I are blessed to be able to celebrate the wedding of a dear, long-time friend of mine. She is an "older" bride who often worried why love had so often passed her by, while so many of her friends had found seemingly long-lasting love. And then she met John.

And here we are today.

One morning after we were married, my husband, in a very matter-of-fact manner, pulled me in close, sighed deeply, and said, "It's like we're living in magic."

Indeed, like Dr. Seuss said, when you're in love, reality is better than your dreams. You are living in magic, as my husband so perfectly articulated.

Today, on my dear friend's wedding day, I wish for her a life of magic. It's no less than I wish for us all. To spend your life with the one you love is the magic that makes life worth living.

Un beso.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Winter at Niagara Falls

If you have never been to Niagara Falls, add it to your must-see. If you've never been in the winter, no worries. Here are a few images for you to enjoy, no snow and ice required.

Time to snuggle . . .un beso.