Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Well Spent Sunday

Sundays are cherished here. It's a day when we may sleep in, enjoy a cup of coffee in bed, and get some extra quiet time before another week throws us its best. 

As a couple, we have established a tradition of our Sunday coffee date. (You can read more about that here.) It's precious time, and it's something we look forward to, as we explore coffee houses in the area and revisit some of our favorites...sometimes in our own kitchen. 

Road trip...errands and coffee...LOVE!

When you spend your Sunday doing what you want, you set a tone for the upcoming week. You began it on your can conquer your work week on your terms.

If you're at a loss of what to do, or you know what you have to do, but would rather do other things, here are six ideas for making sure your Sunday is well spent.

1. Get some ZZZs. Allow yourself to sleep an extra half hour. For many, an extra half hour seems like a luxury. Likewise, try going to bed an extra half hour early. Not ready to sleep? Read that magazine that's been sitting on your table, or read a chapter in that book you never finished. Try to avoid reading from your phone or tablet though...experts say the light is not conducive to melatonin production, and can impact your sleep.

2. Move your mass. Now that Spring has sprung, hopefully, Mother Nature will be kind and send some warm temperatures our way. 

If April showers are busy building May flowers and you're not up for outside time, consider what you can do inside. See what's available online for videos you can try. Yoga? Planks? There are great, quick workouts on Pinterest that you can try that are invigorating and get your week off to a great start.

3. The proof is in the planning. Sometimes, we make good decisions on the fly, but many of us do better when we plan better. Make a plan for your week. What will you eat? When will you move your mass? What is your to-do list that must get done that week? Make a schedule and keep to it.

4. Check it off your list. Clean your junk drawer. Put the winter clothes into storage. Clean your refrigerator. Organize your desk. Shred old bills. Clean out your wallet and purse. Check one thing off your to-do list. You'll feel better.

5. Veg out. There is no shame in pajama days full of movies, dvr'd shows you haven't had time to watch, reading, napping, and eventually, toast or cereal for dinner. Sunday is your day. If you want to rest, rest. No shame.

6.  Reconnect. There's no need to complicate things. Connect with someone you're missing, or with someone you love. Life is too short for text messages. 

How you spend your Sunday is up to you. Sometimes, commitments and scheduled events take your time, by chance or by choice. But, if you find that you have time on your hands, consider making Sunday your day and create a true Sunday fun day. 

How do you like to spend your Sunday? Do you have any Sunday rituals? Inspire me. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday 5: Five Films that Feed Your Inner Foodie

Last week's Friday 5 fed your wanderlust. This week's Friday 5 will feed your appetite. If you're a foodie or you simply like to eat, then these movies are for you. They are a visual feast. Where the landscape was the star in last week's roundup, the food is another star in these Friday flicks. 

Buen provecho! Bon Appétit 

1. Tortilla Soup

2. Babette's Feast

3. Kings of Pastry

4. Chocolat

5. Like Water for Chocolate

And because you sometimes just have to go for seconds, here's another helping.

6. Eat, Drink, Man, Woman

7. El Bulli

8. Ratatouille

9. Woman on Top

10. Julie and Julia 

Inspire me...what are your favorite foodie movies?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

73 questions with SJP...and me too.

I love, love, love Sarah Jessica Parker.  Yes, she is a style icon and a go-to for all-things Manhattan,  but I also love that she is intelligent and humble. 

So when I saw that she invited Joe Sabia into her home and did this interview for Vogue, I had to watch. 

And, they're fun questions, so I decided to answer them myself...well, most of them. 

1. How long have you been in the area?  All of my life, except for 3 years in South Florida.

2. What’s your favorite season in New York City Boston? Late Spring

3. What’s your favorite activity in New York City Boston? Walking

4. Would you ever leave New York City Boston? makes coming back that much better.

5. What are three words to describe living in New York City Boston? Eclectic, stimulating, familiar

6. What’s your favorite movie? The Way We Were 

7. Favorite movie in past five years? Midnight in Paris

8. Favorite Hitchcock film?

9. Favorite TV show that’s currently on? Scandal or Chopped.

10. What’s a book you plan on reading? A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg

11. A book you read in school that positively shaped you? To Kill a Mockingbird

12. A book you read in school that you never rarely think of? A Tale of Two Cities

13. On a scale of one to ten how excited are you about life right now? 9

14. iPhone or Android? iPhone

15. Twitter or Instagram? Instagram

16. Vine or Snapchat? Neither

17. Who should everyone be following right now? @MindBodyGreen

18. What’s the coolest thing in this room? This picture we got at my bridal shower. It has photos of places with our names and then, in the middle, a sign that says, Share the Road. 

19. What’s your favorite downtown restaurant? In Boston, The Globe Bar and Cafe and in Worcester, The Armsby Abbey.

20. What’s your favorite food? Pizza or the Korma coma. 

21. Least favorite food? Green beans! Yuck!

22. What do you love on your pizza? Onions and mushrooms. Or pineapple.

23. Favorite drink? Coffee, wine, and water.

24. Favorite dessert? Watermelon

25. Dark chocolate or milk chocolate? Dark...or a Creme Egg. YUM!

26. Weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Nothing weird...I'll try almost anything once.

27. What’s the hardest part about being a mom?  I'm not a mom, but I'm guessing the hardest part comes is not being a not-mom. Not-moms have great lives too. 

28. What’s your favorite band? Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefers 

Taken during Meeting of the Minds in Key West, Florida

29. Favorite solo artist? Jack Johnson 

30. Favorite lyrics? You say it best when you say nothing at all.

31. If your life were a song, what would the title be? Happy

32. If you could sing a duet with anyone, who would it be? Barbra Streisand

33. If you could master one instrument, what would it be? Guitar

34. If you had a tattoo, where would it be? Ankle? Not sure. 

35. To be or not to be? To be.

36. What’s Oprah like in person?  

37. What number of question was this? 

38. Dogs or cats? Both

39. Kittens or puppies? Both

40. Dolphins or koalas? Both

41. Bird-watching or whale-watching? Whale watching

42. What’s your spirit animal? Manatee

43. Best gift you’ve ever received? My life and all the blessings that come with it

44. Last gift you gave a friend? Wine

45. A person you want to have coffee tea with? My Nana (who died in 1997)

46. A historical figure you’d love to have coffee with? Pablo Picasso

47. How do you like your coffee? 2 Truvia or Splenda and a tablespoon of sugar-free French vanilla coffeemate. If it's iced, extra skim and 3 Splenda. 

48. Can I play a note on this piano?

49. What’s your favorite curse word? 

50. What’s your favorite board game? Scrabble

51. What’s your favorite country to visit? All of them.

52. What’s the last country you visited? Spain

53. What country do you wish to visit? All of them.

54. What do you see in this image right here?

55. Can you write down your favorite word that starts and ends with the same vowel? Evolve

56. What’s your favorite color? Blue

57. Least favorite color? Brown

58. What color dress did you wear to your prom? Red

59. Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds, but pearls too, because they're my birthstone

60. Cheap shampoo or expensive? Affordable

61. Blow-dry or air-dry? Both

62. Heels or flats? Flats

63. Can you give an impersonation of someone?

64. Can you do the same impersonation with a British accent?

65. My friend outside this window would love to ask you a question?

66. [Holding two different colored dresses] Which should I give my girlfriend?

67. Pilates or yoga? Yoga

68. Jogging or swimming? Jogging

69. Best way to decompress? Quiet time

70. If you had one superpower, what would it be? Teleporting

71. Can you describe an experience you felt most nervous? I always get nervous speaking in front of parents at Open House. I can speak in front of hundreds of problem. But parents in a classroom? Yikes!

72. What’s the weirdest word in the English language? The spelling of colonel.

73. Last question: Is this the strangest interview you’ve ever had? Yup

Pick a question(s) and share your answers with me. I love learning about my readers!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sangría de la sangría ever

When we have people over, or even when we go to a party, we bring the wine. My husband has a knack for picking good ones. 

In the spring or summer, I bring the sangria. Where the original recipe came from, I'm not sure, but I change it up a bit every time I make it and it is the best. 

And since Spring has arrived, (seemingly everywhere but in our yard) sangria season is on its way. Better to be prepared.

Like spaghetti sauce and beef stew, sangria is always better after the flavors have time to cozy up and marry. 

And, don't feel like you have to go out and get an expensive red wine. Use what you have on hand. That's what the restaurants do. I promise you...they're not using their finest reds to throw into a decanter with some fruit. Sangria is all about repurposing. It's the leftovers of the cocktail world. 

Here are the basics. 

From Kelly's Kitchen...Sangría de la gringa

2 bottles of chilled red wine (if you want Spanish wine, try Rioja.)
1 cup of brandy...just plain brandy
1 cup of orange juice
1/4 cup of superfine sugar
1/2 cup of sweet red vermouth
2 cups club soda (added at the last minute)  Optional...I don't always use it.
2 oranges
2 lemons
2 limes
2 apples

That's it. After you mix it up, give it a little privacy in the corner of your fridge and let the magic happen. You can mix it up before work and let it be. It will be fabulous when you get home. 


Come back and let me know what you think. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Identity after Weight Loss: New Definitions

This was a tough post to write. 

Anyone who has battled weight understands the fear, and at times, the demon that lurks around every corner, tempting you with bad choices, and taunting you with your fear of regain and failure. 

For anyone who has known or battled obesity, there is almost always an underlying fear. At least for me, there was...a fear that I would eventually die...that like an addict, I was digging my own grave...with a fork. And while my head knew I had to do something and that I could do something, my repeated failures were resulting in a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I have lost and gained back hundreds of pounds throughout my life. When I lost the weight this last time and hit "normal," I had a bit of an identity crisis, because who was I if I wasn’t defined by fat? 
I never knew a healthy weight before. I never knew normal. I didn't see myself as normal. My head never quite caught up, despite what the scale, and others, had to say.

Now that I was a healthy weight, I had to reevaluate who I was, how others perceived me, and how I perceived myself. It was new territory, for sure.
Here’s what I learned.
  1. I am neither defined, nor valued, by the shape of my body or the number on the scale. In the same way I don’t think of my friends and family by their body size or shape, I will not think of myself in those terms either. 

  2. People’s ideas about who you are or who you should be come from their own places of self worth…it’s not about you. I received mostly support from my family and friends as the weight came off. 

    But the closer I got to “normal,” the comments shifted from compliments about my appearance to “concern” that I was getting too thin. 

    A few began to analyze my food with suspicion and made comments about what I chose to eat or didn’t eat. 

    What I realized was that the comments were about where people were in their own life with their own feelings of self worth or the choices they made. People like the idea of change, but the reality of it? Not so much. Once you stop unhealthy behaviors, some see it see it as an indictment of their own.

  3. I am me. Whether I am fat or thin, I am me. 

    At a normal weight, I may be a more active me. I may be a more educated me when it comes to making healthy choices, but I am still me. 

    Chances are, I still have the same hopes and dreams I had when I was fat. I still love the same. I still hug the same. I still laugh at most of the same things. 

    If you loved me then, love me now. And if you don’t, I love me enough to let you go.

Getting to a healthy weight did not make me a better person. 

I was kind then. I was intelligent then. And, as hard as it was to accept then...I was beautiful then. Just not as "healthy."

I accomplished so much more then, trying to prove myself, than I have done so far at this healthy weight. 

And when I "was fat" I did so much more. And I lost over 100 pounds. 

That’s a tough act to follow. 

What can this new me do?

The good news is, I’m still me. And I will move mountains.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday 5: Movies to inspire your wanderlust

There are movies that tug at your heart, giving voice to your spirit of adventure. They show you a part of the world that you may have considered visiting, and bring it to life in a way that makes you want to pack your bag and head for the airport. 

It's not always the story that speaks to you, but the landscape that becomes a character you want to know better. 

If you're someone with a nomadic spirit, or someone in need of a new adventure, here are five movies that will feed your wanderlust and give you escape, if only for a rainy afternoon.

1. The Way

2. A Good Year

3. The Motorcycle Diaries

4. Out of Africa

5. Midnight in Paris

And 5 more because you can never have too much wanderlust...

6. Mama Mia

7. Vicki Christina Barcelona

8. Roman Holiday

9. Dan Brown Movies...The DaVinci Code or Angels and Demons

10. Under the Tuscan Sun

What are your favorite flicks that feed your wanderlust? Inspire me. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Big Buts

There are big buts and I cannot lie. 

Nope, it's not a typo. 

Sir Mix-a-lot may like big butts, but these buts...maybe not so much. I know I don't. And it has nothing to do with my derriere. 
Here we are. It's Spring. Por fin! And it was the longest winter ever here in the Northeast. 

Just a few months ago, many of us made goals to welcome the new year. We were so optimistic. We made resolutions to add a good habit, to stop a bad one, or to change our life for the better. 

Let's review. How is it going? Did you stall? Did your goals get pushed on to the back burner? If so, what has gotten in your way? Is it your but?

Change is fabulous. It's a way to start fresh and plan for the future. But, one challenge that continues to superimpose its face into the windows of our dreams is our but . . . .the "Yeah, but . . ."  

And it's a big but. 

Big butts may be fine for some folks, like Sir Mix-a-lot, but when these buts stand in the way of our dreams, it's time to trim the fat and show them who's boss.

For example, when my husband and I contemplate our desire to travel around-the-world travel, the "Yeah, buts" shake their tail feather right in the face of our dream:

For example, we want to travel, but . . .

  • how will we afford this?
  • how will we find the time to do this?
  • our parents are getting older, and you know we can't leave XYZ to take care of them.
  • what about our retirement income?
  • what happens if we give up our job/house/car and we can't find/get another one easily?
  • what about our friends and family? How will we stay in touch? 
  • what about our nieces and nephews? Will they think we have abandoned them? Forgotten them?
  • what about health insurance? What if we get sick? What if we get hurt?
  • what about language barriers? 
  • what about crime? What if it's dangerous?
  • can we make money on the road?
  • what if we lose our passport? get mugged? get kidnapped? get killed?

There's countless others that pop up as quickly as one disappears. And many of them are valid. And many are just silly. They become excuses.

When contemplating big change, can you plan enough or can you over-plan? Is there a right time? Can you just throw caution to the wind and just do it?

As Winter turns to Spring, these questions (and more) become knockers on the door of my brain, like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory when he's looking for know what I mean...

Kelly (knock, knock, knock)
Kelly (knock, knock, knock)
Kelly (knock, knock, knock)
Answer me (knock, knock, knock)
Answer me (knock, knock, knock)
Answer me.

You get the point.

Then there's the wonderful changes that change brings. When it comes to travel, the benefits are endless . . .and when you're blessed to be able to do it with the one you love, what is there to stop you? 

Only your big but. And maybe a few logistics.

But (here it is again) we're only here for a short time. Do we want our time here to be spent tied to a job/mortgage/debt/lifestyle that keeps us from who we are truly meant to be?

So yes, there are questions and challenges. And there always will be. But, if you don't take a chance on your dream of choice, what's left?

What are your big buts? How do you resolve them?