Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Even though we're apart on your birthday,

You're close in heart and mind

Celebrating you today, Mom, with love. 
Happy Birthday!
xoxo



Thursday, July 24, 2014

Coffee Catch Up

Good morning! Happy Thursday! I have my morning coffee. 
Let's catch up.



It's been a while, but not for lack of effort. 

Last Friday, I was called for an interview. Let me back up. 

Over the last year and a half, I have been working toward adding ESL (English as a Second Language) to my teaching license. I am already certified to teach English, from grades 5-12, but I wanted this additional license in the hopes of securing an ESL position for this upcoming school year. 

And so in November, I took and passed my state licensing exam and this spring, completed an internship that would complete my license. 

Okay, so last Friday, I was interviewed and later that day, offered an elementary ESL position in a nearby district. I am so excited...my heart could burst. 

BUT, we're leaving today for Spain and this was leaving one week to get everything done. 

So on Monday, I began packing up and moving out of the classroom I have had for the last nine years. This is bittersweet. I am thrilled for this new opportunity, but it's hard to leave the community where I have so many wonderful friends and colleagues.

I had to tell my administrators (who were always incredibly supportive and knew I was actively seeking this new path) and get the administrative pieces completed in the new district...like meeting with Human Resources to sign a contract and other paperwork, finalize my license, get a physical and fingerprints and resign my current position...all before today.

And so I did. 

I spoke with my administrators and moved out on Monday, had my physical on Tuesday, and got fingerprinted and finalized my license yesterday. And amid all of this, resigned and signed my new paperwork.

I need a nap. Seriously.

And now, today is fly day. 

I am mostly packed. 



I am planning to have breakfast with my Mom and Dad before running last minute errands, like picking up my international driver's license and buying Euros. We leave for the airport at 1:00. No worries. Everything in time, my Dad says. He's right.

We don't have wifi at the house, so August is sure to be spotty, as far as updates go. In finishing my summer classes and getting a new job, there's been little time or focus to schedule posts. But, as time and wifi signal allows, I will update, most likely through Instagram, so if you're not following me, you can follow me here


So, hasta luego, mis amigos. Have a wonderful rest of your week. 

We will catch up soon. 






Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Happy Birthday, Love!

"I have for the first time found what I can truly love -- I have found you. You are my sympathy -- my better self -- my good angel -- I am bound to you with a strong attachment. I think you good, gifted, lovely: a fervent, a solemn passion is conceived in my heart; it leans to you, draws you to my centre and spring of life, wraps my existence about you -- and, kindling in pure, powerful flame, fuses you and me in one."    ~Charlotte Bronte


Happy Birthday, love. 
Un beso.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summer Road Trip Theme Ideas

For many, summer means road trip. Around Memorial Day, I posted this survival guide for keeping your sanity on long road trips. We love road trips. Armed with snacks, coffee or tea and a good play list, we can go for days. 



If you're one of those folks, like us, who loves the open road, here are some theme ideas for your summer travels that may take you someplace unexpected.




1. State park tour. 
Make a goal to visit your state parks. Start here, at America's State Parks or google your own state's parks. Use apps and gps tours to access the best that your state has to offer.

2. Museum tour
If you're a Bank of America card holder, you can get into more than 150 museums in 92 cities in 31 states for FREE on the 1st weekend of every month through the Museums on Us program. This is a great way to see touring exhibits, as well as permanent collections that your favorite museums have curated. 

If you're not a Bank of America card holder, check with your local library for museum passes. This is a lower-cost option and you may discover someplace new. A win-win. 

3. Foodie tour...here are some ideas for seeking out samples of the best in your area and crown your own personal champion.

  • lobster rolls
  • barbecue
  • ice cream 



4. Get your kicks on route 66
Or any other route that works for you. Pick a starting point of any in-state route and follow it from end to end. Or, if you have more time, pick an interstate. Stay off the beaten path and discover main streets and back roads, country stores and roadside attractions. You can always get on the freeway, but you may discover a way from here to there worth revisiting. And if you have a lot of time, consider US-1, from Maine to Key West, Florida. 




5. Flagship pilgrimage
Many beloved companies have flagship stores that are well worth the visit. They may offer tours and outlets where you can find bargains on your favorite products. 

Here in New England, we have 

And I have always wanted to visit Bronner's Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth, Michigan to add to our ornament collection and tradition


And here are ten more ideas for road trip fun. 
  • Mini-golf courses
  • Botanical gardens
  • Historical cemeteries or landmarks 
  • Major league parks
  • Halls of Fame tour 
  • Around-the-world in ethnic restaurants
  • Rail trails of your state or region
  • Waterfalls of your state or region
  • Amusement/theme parks of the United States
  • 4000+ foot mountain peaks of your region or of the United States
  • Microbrew or regional wine tour
Whatever you do, have fun and enjoy the ride. 


What was your best road trip? What is something wonderful that your state has to offer road trippers? 








Monday, July 14, 2014

Reverse Bucket List

At some point, most of us have written a bucket list...a wish-list of items we want to accomplish before the "kick the bucket" and make the celestial transfer, as my dad likes to call it. 

This is fun for someone like me, who is motivated by goals and dreams. 


But, there is an inherent danger to bucket lists. One could lose sight of what has already been accomplished while on the chase for bucket list adventures. 

So, here's an idea. 

What about a reverse bucket list?



Instead of brainstorming all of the things you want to accomplish, sit and think about all of the things you have accomplished. 

For example...

1997...Jumping from 11,000 feet 


By doing a reverse bucket list, you can take pride in the life you have lived already. 

You can reflect on your opportunities with a spirit of gratitude. 


You may inspire others to pursue similar dreams, and as a result, you may become a mentor because you have accomplished these things. 


In recognizing what we have accomplished, we can acknowledge the drive and the passion and the skills we already have to continue on that path...to set bigger goals...to chase bigger dreams. 

What's on your reverse bucket list? What makes you proud? Please share and inspire us all. 




Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday 5: Motivational Morning Mantras

Every day is a new chance to make good choices. In many cases, you can't control what happens to you, but you can certainly control your reaction. Choose well. 

Here are five mantras you can try on to set your morning off on a positive note. 










Do you have a favorite mantra that inspires you or challenges you? Please share and inspire us all. 







Thursday, July 10, 2014

Tune in. Tune Up.

I am a longtime subscriber of O Magazine, and I love reading the contributors' questionnaire at the beginning of every issue, which relates to the monthly theme. 

Last month, the theme was on aging. You can read my thoughts on that in this post here

This month, the theme is upgrading your life. Here is how I answered the Contributors' questionnaire. 


I recently upgraded...
We recently upgraded our mattress to a memory foam mattress. Life is grand. 
And, through special savings and a birthday gift, I recently upgraded my technology. I converted everything to Apple and have loved everything about it. It's intuitive and very user friendly...so far, well worth the investment.




But I'll never change...
I will never change my commitment to quiet time. Recently, I was asked about how I make time for myself and my own needsI enjoy my quiet, alone time. If my husband is watching soccer or the news, I may go upstairs and read, or catch up on my Netflix favorites. I retreat to recharge and I emerge rejuvenated. 



When I need an attitude upgrade, I ...
Whenever I need an attitude upgrade, I head for the beach. There is a restorative quality to the sea that is unmatched in any other locale. For me, it's sea-therapy. 

The coast of Muxia, Spain


I was inspired to improve my...
I was inspired to improve my strength. As a woman, I know the importance of strength for long-term bone health, and so I made the investment this spring to personal training, with a focus on strength. I am continually pleased by the results. There is not much change, if anything, in the number on the scale, but I am stronger, in body and in mind. I have more confidence to accomplish gym feats that before I never would have attempted. It's been a wonderful upgrade.  


 



How would you answer these same questions? Please share and inspire me. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Packing for Spain: Want vs. Need

When we travel, we like to travel light, but since we're staying primarily at our home in Galicia, we have the luxury of carrying a bit more weight, since it will stay at the house. My husband leaves clothes there every year, so his packing becomes easier and easier with each trip.


Home, sweet home.

I, on the other hand, don't have that many clothes, so what I bring is what I wear...here and there. 

Last year, I wrote a piece about how I was planning to pack. And each year that I go, it gets a bit easier. Weighing my bag at home helps alleviate most of the concern. But still, undoubtedly, I will be holding my breath at Iberia's check-in with fingers crossed that I am not overweight.

Iberia allows 50 pounds for a piece of checked luggage. Even with that allowed weight, I still have to think about what I want to bring, versus what I need to bring, which brings up an even bigger conversation about my own first world problems and the idea of creature comforts. 

Regardless, here's what is making the trans-Atlantic journey. I usually bring one checked bag and one carry-on (for books, electronics, and my daypack).



Food
  • CoffeeMate Sugar Free French Vanilla Powdered Creamer--This is for my morning coffee at home only (We have instant coffee...dreadful.) Otherwise, it's cafĂ© con leche all the way, baby.
  • Quest Bars--These protein bars are my go-to snacks. They are not coated, so I don't have to worry about them melting and they're chewy, so I don't have to worry about crushing them. And you can't beat the nutrition. It's a win-win. Quest Bars are still my go-to protein bar (and a nutritional security blanket), but this year, I am leaving them behind and eating like a local. My husband will be thrilled. 
  • PB2. I bring a bottle because I like it with my bananas. 
  • Splenda. I can get Truvia in Spain. 

Clothes
Luckily, we have a washing machine (but no dryer, as what seems to be the norm in Spain), so this greatly reduces the amount of clothes I need to pack to be comfortable. 
  • One maxi dress
  • One black cardigan
  • One colored cardigan
  • One pair of jeans with belt
  • One white button down shirt. 
  • Oversized hoodie sweatshirt
  • Hooded rain jacket jacket.
  • Light Columbia Omni-Heat jacket
  • Fleece zip-up jacket
  • Two long-sleeve t-shirts
  • Three pairs of capris 
  • One pair of black yoga pants
  • Three white tank tops
  • Two scarves
  • One pair of flip flops
  • One pair of dressy sandals
  • One pair of walking shoes or sneakers
  • Bathing suit
  • Two pairs of pajamas
  • Seven pairs of underwear
  • Two pair of Ex-Officio performance underwear...trying these out. 
  • Five pair of no-show socks
  • Fleece throw

Toiletries, blow-dryer, and vitamins, Euros and my Spanish bank ATM card.

Luxuries/Technology
  • iPhone, using wifi access only...the camera is great!
  • My phone-friendly gorilla pod, remote and extra lenses. 


  • iPad, with downloaded books, bluetooth keyboard, and wifi access only 
  • My MacBook Pro...tentative...depending on wifi access for publishing.
  • Nikon Coolpix L120 camera with 2 8gb SD cards
  • Chargers and USB cords for all of the tech with adapters
  • 2 paperback books 
  • A notebook
  • My international driver's license

If we forget anything, we'll get it there. 

The countdown is on!





Galicia is spectacular. Consider adding this corner of the world to your must-see list.


The view from the upstairs bedrooms at sunset.


How do you decide what makes the cut when you pack? Any non-negotiables?




Monday, July 7, 2014

Stepping Out

So much is written about the journey to become our authentic selves. They say that as we move along, we discover more and evolve into who we are meant to become. 

But what if we're already there? 

What if this journey is not about coming into who we are, but taking off what we're not?

All our lives, we are shaped by others' views, perceptions, and labels of who they think we are. We may bend to accommodate those ideas, based on where we are in our lives. 

But as we get older, we start to remove some of those ideas. We realize that these old ideas and notions may not fit who we are at the core. 

And so we step out. 

And people say we have changed. 

But is it that we are changing, or simply letting who we already are finally emerge?

Maybe a little of both. 


In the same way that we rid ourselves of clothes that are stained, unflattering or, simply, no longer fit, so must we rid ourselves of those ideas (and, at times, those people) that stain our spirit, those who are not flattering to who we are and who we want to be, and those ideas that no longer fit what we think. 

It's time find the confidence to step of that shell and let who we are emerge. 

Is it changing?

Maybe. 

But changing to become happy with who we are...that's a change for the better. 



Have you ever had to let go of anything or anyone to let your true self emerge?






Saturday, July 5, 2014

Wanderlust



Such is life for those of us blissfully afflicted with wanderlust.



Where's your next trip? 
If you have nothing planned right now, where would you go, if you could?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Ahora 2: July

Happy July! 

I love seeing what others are up to every month and the items that cross their radar. Naturally, I thought it would be fun to do my own. 

Ahora, meaning Now in Spanish, is a monthly series that gives you the highlights of what's going on in my life each month. 



July is a great month.
  • Summer is here. 
  • There is less traffic as people enjoy much deserved vacation time.
  • Happy Birthday, USA! 

What I'm reading...
And my favorite blogs this month:

What I'm watching


  • World Cup



  • Jaws...a local theatre is bring it back to the big screen this month. Best summer movie ever! 

What I'm eating
  • All things grilled...tis the season. 
  • Ice cream!
  • And cherries...stone fruit season is upon us. And a splendid season it is. 




What I'm drinking
  • Sangria. All summer. Need a recipe? Here's one for a red



What I'm wearing
  • Maxi dresses. Comfortable and practical. 


What I'm doing
  • Traveling! We leave for Spain later this month. I'm ready to return to my home away from home and see this sunset every night.

  • Finishing grad classes. In an effort to amass post-Masters level credits (and an eventual lane change for a salary increase), I am taking two online grad classes this semester. One is almost done and one needs to be started. Both must be finished before I leave on vacation. It's on.
At least my home office has a view. 

What I'm listening to
  • World Cup announcers...GOOOOOOAAAAALLL! 
  • The Boston Pops Orchestra play the 1812 Overture at the 4th of July extravaganza on the Esplanade.
  • And fireworks! Happy 4th of July!

Making my heart smile
  • The U.S. Men's National Team's performance at World Cup. Tim Howard is amazing...best...goal keeper...ever. 
My goals for LAST month
  • Write, write, write...with the end of school and life craziness, I came up empty on this one. Here's to summer and more time to write.
  • Use sunscreen. I tan easily, but a tan is not worth skin cancer. Better, but not 100%. No excuses this month. 
  • Get outside. Better. Does sipping wine and doing homework by the pool count?



My goals for this month
  • Write a media kit and order my business cards. 
  • Create a fall editorial calendar. 
  • Finish my online grad class....this NEEDS to be done before we leave for Spain in a couple of weeks. 

And there you have it...what is happening Ahora in my world. 

Your turn...what is happening in your world these days?