Monday, January 28, 2013

Baby, it's cold . . .

True to January tradition in the northeast, it's snowing. It's cold, it's getting dark, and it's time to nest. What to do? Try this . . .

1. Canoodling. Grab a blanket big enough to share, snacks and beverages of your choice, and snuggle in front of the tv, jazz on the left side of the radio dial, or simply by candlelight.

2. Feed the wanderlust. Go online and plan your next getaway, even if it's only in your mind. On Pinterest? Create a board, secret or otherwise and feed your need to seek faraway lands.

3. Tapas night. Grab a bottle of wine, some cheese and crackers, light a candle and enjoy finger foods, which happen to be perfect for feeding to the one you love.

4. Channel your inner kid. Do a jigsaw puzzle, play cards, checkers, strip get the idea.

5. Microwave mug snacks . . .check out this pin I found for those late night cravings.

6. Catch up . . .on magazines, mail, cleaning the junk drawer. Knock off that pain in the a** chore you have put off for far too long. Think of how good you'll feel when you're done.

7. Work up a sweat. Cue up a Zumba workout or center yourself with a yoga class. Then . . .

8. Enjoy a hot shower or a soothing bubble bath. Even better if it's for two.

9. Be informed. Hulu offers scores of great free documentaries online. Find on that interests you and give yourself some great conversation starters.

10. Me time. Daylight savings time is on its way. Most of us "lose" an hour when we spring ahead, but what if you took one hour back? What would you do with your hour? It could be different every day. Maybe it's not one hour a day that you can get, but one hour a week. Make a list of all the things you can do for yourself in one hour.

Regardless of how you nest, the time is yours. Hunker down, get some lovin' and enjoy the stillness of the perfect winter night.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Make it yours!

The new week, and a new month is upon us. Go back to January 1st. What were those goals you planned for the year? What were those promises you made to yourself?

How are you doing with them? Do you need to revisit them? Tweak them?

It's not too late. Every morning that you wake up is the opportunity to start over.

Did you eat too much yesterday? Today is a new day.

No time, energy, motivation, whatever . . . to exercise yesterday? Today is a new day.

Forget your vitamins? Not drink enough water? Get to bed too late? Not get that "must-do" item off your to-do list?  It's not too late. Start today.

Today is your day. A do-over. A chance to get out there and make your day a kick-ass day.

This is your life. When all is said and done, despite the energy and interactions with others, it's yours and your choices are yours. It's not too late.

But you are exchanging a day of your life for whatever choices you make today.

Today is a new day! Make it yours and make it fabulous!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Our Galician Top 10

This past summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Spain, the country where my in-laws were born, and the place to which my husband and I will relocate, probably within ten years; a place where we are blessed to have a second home and a wonderful extended family.

Our home is in Galicia, in the northwest corner of Spain. Called "Green Spain", Galicia is rich and verdant with farmland. It is the outdoor lover's paradise, known for its fresh seafood and Santiago de Compostela, a college town with a grand cathedral, which also serves as the destination for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago.

Here's 10 images that capture our trip to Spain this summer:

1. The Cathedrals Beach. We took scores of pictures here. This is just one rock formation. On low tide, you can explore the beach below, but as the tide rolls in, the rocks become submerged. This is a truly spectacular beach in the Rias Altas . . .a definite must-see.

Another shot of hubs and me at the Cathedrals.

2. In the Rias Baixas, we stopped for a view of the spectacular panorama in Pontevedra.
3. Here I am at a church covered in shells on the island of La Toja, also in the Rias Baixas. Every morning, women gather here on the island at low tide to harvest clams.

4. Next, is the city of A Coruña,  the provincial capital and home to the Tower of Hercules, a 1900 year old Roman lighthouse. A Coruña is also the home of the clothing giant, Zara.

5. Perpaps the most loved dish of Galicia is pulpo Gallego, or boiled octopus.
This dish is everywhere. Cooked in giant copper pots with red wine, the octopus is then cut up with scissors and served with olive oil, sea salt and paprika on a wooden plate. Paired with rustic bread and red wine or Galician beer, like Estrella Galicia, this delicacy thrills Galicians of all ages. Me? Not so much.
6. Finisterre . . .the end of the world. Yup . . .looks that way.
7. And absolutely gorgeous amid incoming clouds.
8. Santiago de Compestela is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the final destination for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago, the Way of Saint James. The cathedral of this college town is said to contain the remains of St. James himself and also boasts a giant Botafumeiro incense burner, which swings the length of the cathedral during special Masses.
9. The horreo is found everywhere in Galicia. Once a place to store grain and crops away from animals, they are now mostly ornamental and considered good luck.
10. And finally, a sunset shot from one of the upstairs bedrooms of our home. It just never gets old. We are truly blessed.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday's Letters

Dear Ashley, thanks for this fabulous new tradition.

Dear Husband, thank you for being the most amazing, supportive partner and love. I am so blessed to be your wife.

Dear Mother Nature, thank you for the super bright sunshine you offer in winter, but please, give us about 20 more degrees to warm our skin. These 20 degree days are brutal.

Dear God, thank you for blessing me with a warm house, warm clothes and food to warm my belly. Please protect those who are not so lucky.

Dear Kelly (a.k.a. Me), thank you for the courage you show in pushing outside your comfort zone to pursue things that may be scary right now, but in the long run, will prove to be great decisions.

Dear Followers, thank you for reading my blog. I am so thankful for you and your feedback. You inspire me to be a better writer, a better reader and a better person, as I also learn from your words and your experiences. You rock!

Until next time,

Abrazos y besos (xoxo),


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Play Date

Last weekend, my husband and I had the wonderful opportunity to spend the weekend in New York, and, lucky for us, during a January thaw, with temperatures around 50. When a friend of his couldn't use his weekend reservation, my husband jumped on the chance to score a hotel just outside Times Square.

It was a wonderful weekend! We played tourist and saw a powerful black and white Picasso exhibit at the Guggenheim and we explored Greenwich Village. We bought tasty treats at the Chelsea Food Market and we chatted over cappuccinos and croissants in the Flatiron district. We reminisced over our time in Paris at a cute French bistro in Hell's Kitchen and we discussed what we might want to see and do while we are on vacation this summer in Spain. We held hands while we walked Gotham's streets and avenues and we stole kisses while waiting for street crossing signs and stop lights.

We enjoy our weekends away, and they all are special; this one included. In spite of the hustle and bustle of the city, at times, like when strolling down 5th Avenue alongside Central Park, it seemed like we were the only two people in the world.

Play dates are important for all relationships. It doesn't have to be a weekend away. It can be a movie matinee or a quiet, late night dinner.

My husband and I have a tradition of Sunday coffee. After lunch (our main meal of the day) we go out for coffee and sometimes, a little something sweet. It may be to a quirky coffeehouse in a nearby college town or down the street to the local Starbucks tucked inside a Barnes and Noble. Regardless of the locale, it's us time, a play date, when we can find respite from the day-to-day business of our daily life and simply be together.

Take time to play, to connect, to be in a moment of love with your partner. Channel the excitement you felt when you first fell in love. Your time is yours. Your other life will be waiting for you when you come home.



Thursday, January 10, 2013

That's love

My husband and I met getting ice cream.

While we both have a seemingly insatiable sweet tooth, we did not share a love of coffee ice cream, one of my husband's favorite go-to flavors. To this day, while I greatly enjoy my cup of joe, coffee flavored ice cream is nowhere near the realm of flavors I am willing to try.

That fateful night, when discussing flavors and favorite combinations, this new, handsome stranger, with whom I flirted, pledged that he would not get coffee ice cream, on the off chance that I may want a bite.

That sweet sacrifice was not a one shot deal. To this day, nearly six years later, he still does not order flavors or foods, for that matter, which I don't like, on the off chance that I may want a bite. That's love.

Love is about the little things. Of course, there are also those grand gestures of love. I'm sure you can think of your favorites, but when I think of ice cream and sharing a bite with the one I love, that simple gesture warms my heart and makes me feel like a lucky girl all over again.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Talking about Infertility: Where does the love go?

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am barren . . .as in the Biblical sense. My body will never bear life and my husband and I will never be parents. I don't know if it's the fact that my world suddenly seems saturated with pregnant friends, co-workers and acquaintances, or whether it's the aftermath of the holiday mine field, but these days, I have been overwhelmed with feelings of emptiness. I know in my head what is true and what is a reality, but these days my mind is wondering, where does the love go?

Where does the love go for a child I never met? A child I never felt . . .well, outside of my heart anyway?

Where does the need to love go? The need to nurture, to hold, to comfort?

It's funny because all of a sudden, a litter of puppies (1/2 golden labs, 1/2 golden retrievers) have been born and will soon ready for adoption. I am crumbling with the need to take one of these pups and love this little fur-baby. But my husband sees only the responsibility of pet parenthood and the conundrum of what to do with the dog when we travel. It's a valid concern.

But my heart is imploding. This love that I have that I cannot express feels like it's breaking me. Where will this love go? Will it dry up? Fizzle out? I have a difficult time thinking this could ever be a good thing.

For those who understand, how do you move past it? Is it just a phase? Is it simply part of the grieving process? Where does the love go?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Recharging the Vision

Like a hamster in a wheel, many of us travel through our days with the same schedule, broken up only by the errands of our weekends and the minute-by-minute activities of our limited vacation time. We do the best we can with what we have, but our batteries wear down. In the details of our day to day responsibilities, we begin to lose sight of our dreams; we nostalgically remember what once made us smile, and at those crazy times, it all seems like worlds away.

So what do we do? How do we get it back? How do we recharge our batteries when it seems like all of our chargers are plugged in somewhere else?

We regroup and we visualize.

It's time for an arts and crafts project.

Some rainy Sunday or maybe a quiet Tuesday night, clear off the kitchen table and channel your inner kindergartner. 

It's time to make yourself a vision board.

For this project, you need a big piece of paper. Posterboard works well. You also need scissors and a glue stick.

Scour your house for magazines. If you don't have magazines, you can ask your friends for theirs or you can ask the local doctor's or dentist's office. If you have access to a printer, you can also print images.
What makes you smile? What do you want more of in your life? Where do you want to go? What do you want to do?

  • Want to travel to Paris? Find yourself an Eiffel Tower (or some other Parisian icon).
  • Want to run a half marathon? Find a picture of a runner with a physique that is appealing to you.
  • Want a new car? Find your car of choice and paste it on the board.
  • Want to try kayaking? Add that too.
  • Want to get married? Find yourself a bride and groom. If you have someone in mind, add a picture of the two of you.
  • Want to learn how to cook some fabulous Indian dishes? You get the idea.
Arrange your images in any way you want. You can organize them by theme or in any way the spirit moves you. You can also add words and phrases. This is your board. Your vision. Anything goes.

Now, find a place to put your vision board. It should be someplace where you can see it everyday. It should be in a place where you can ask the universe to deliver all that your heart desires.

And it should be in a place to give you the motivation to seek all that your heart desires. Don't leave it all up to the universe; give her a little help.

Try to update your vision board at least once a year. Keep those images of what still makes your heart pitter patter, and remove those images of dreams you may have outgrown.

Will creating a vision board rescue you from life's stress?

Probably not.

But can it recharge your batteries and give you what you need to get through another week? Another month? Another year?


Especially if those images start to become a reality.

What do you have to lose?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year, New Energy

Happy New Year, friends! Here we are . . .a brand new opportunity for the year of our lives. Let's clean out the stale energy of 2012 and make room for the positive energy of 2013.

If resolutions aren't your thing, how about a "Word of the Year" to guide your choices? I have seen others do this for the past few years and it's a nice idea. It can be a noun or a verb . . .it's up to you and how you spin it.

After giving it some thought, my word for 2013 is . . .

Over the next year, I want to
  • Stretch my body . . . flexibility is a marker of good health.
  • Stretch my thinking . . .continue to explore ideas that stretch my understanding of the world and how it works. This will make me a better teacher, a better writer and a more informed consumer.
  • Stretch my dollars . . .I want to buy less "stuff" and make a very conscious effort to spend less, use less and live more.
  • Stretch my comfort zone . . .challenge myself to try new things and break the rut of the day to day minutia.
  • Stretch my palate . . .I want to try to adhere to a more plant-based, non-processed diet. This will push me to experiment with new vegetarian recipes and home-cooked meals . . .a win-win.
  • Stretch my boundaries . . . there are always new places to explore, both in the area where I live and around the world.

So that's my idea for 2013. What's yours? Cheers!