Slow + Simple :: The colors of the sun


How often do you take note of the "small stuff?" We are so busy rushing through our lives, trying to get to point B from point A, trying to make it to this meeting and that meeting... chasing the kids, pulling the kids, driving the kids, entertaining the kids, working, meeting deadlines, and trying to get done all that needs to get done by day's end that often we're speeding by with such speed and haste that we don't have a moment to look at the simple beauty around us.

I hate to run. I am not a runner. Sometimes I force myself  to run sprints when I'm out for my long morning walks. I feel as though I should - that somehow it's better for me. But I don't enjoy it and I'm so focused on getting to where I need to get that I don't pay attention to much else.

I live in a wonderful, beautiful, peaceful and tranquil part of the country. I am in a small, almost sleepy, coastal Connecticut town just outside of New York City. You might think that such a place doesn't exist. But it does and it's what drew me to this particular area. When I am able - when I have the time and when the weather cooperates - I get out of the gym and onto the street. I have a coastal route that takes me by the harbor and the beach. I can go all 7 miles, or if I haven't the time I can shorten it to 5 or even 2 miles. No matter how many times I travel these paths I notice something different. A new house, a new flower, a small ladybug grazing upon a large delicious leaf...

Last week as we were driving home from Newport along the terribly unromantic I-95, cluttered with many too many trucks, billboards, telephone poles, and the concrete malls and buildings that make up for most of the scenery, I noticed the most magnificent orange sun setting in the distance. I had to pay attention to the road and as much as I wanted to, I could not focus on the sun. My 13 year old son took my camera that was already fitted with my zoom lens and started clicking away.

The next day I came across his images while I was downloading them onto my laptop. I cropped them ever so slightly to remove a building, some telephone poles and wires and saw the incredible detail, bright and fiery colors and incredible textures. I couldn't possibly slow down, I couldn't possibly stop and focus on the incredible sight myself but I had the photograph. The photograph that reminded me just how important it is for us all to slow down and take notice - It's something I make a point of doing regularly. I hope you do too.


Looking back :: The Entertaining House's Humble Beginnings

I'm feeling nostalgic... A lot has happened in the past couple of weeks and so I find myself looking back - at memories, photographs and things. I was looking for a specific photograph that I thought was buried someplace in this blog. It was a photograph of the home we just sold. I never came across the picture, but I did come across my very first blog entry on June 20th, 7 years ago. I read it and smiled. The Entertaining House has come a long way and has morphed into something very different. But I like my attitude and my snarkiness and reliving some of those good ol' days has been a good thing. Boy my kids were little... and pretty cute back then too! ;)

The blog, back then, was called Our Crazy Crowded Home... because it was crazy and it was crowded and we were in the midst of selling it and about to move into the "new" home - The "new" home was the house we sold last week. After the move, and because our home was so much larger, I thought I needed a new name... it was my friend Lorraine who came up with The Entertaining House. And, well, as they say, the rest is history.

The following post was my very first.

"Nothing to Do."

Meet the youngest members of our crazy crowded home







I have nothing to do... nothing whatsoever to do, so I thought I would kill a little time and start my own blog. Why not, everyone's doing it, right? I have no laudry to sort, wash, fold and put away? I have no kids who need and deserve my attention? I have no house I am desperately trying to put on the market? Nope not me -- I have nothing to do!

My cute little button nose (ok crooked and not so little) will magically twinkle and everything in this crazy crowded house will miraculously fall into place!

Instead of actually getting things done I will sit and wish they were done. I will watch my 21 month old son sleep soundly on the couch next to me. This is the (THE) only place he will nap so therefore the world around us must stop so he can get his much needed nap and I can get my much needed break. My two other children have been banished. My 8 year old daughter is in the (gasp) living room watching (gasp) TV... Well, it's not all that bad... she's listening to Radio Disney on TV and dancing. So yes, technically the TV is baby sitting, but she is up and dancing and not sitting and being a couch potato. So all's not completely lost. Now my other son, 6, is upstairs and he probably is being a couch potato and he is probably (gasp) lying on my bed watching some stupid cartoon and most likely he has not taken off his pajamas as I have asked him to do... many times!

It's Wednesday and my older two are on summer vacation. (Why they are calling this a vacation is beyond me. Maybe because it makes me, more than ever, want to vacate the premises!) It's raining and I am delighted. I had promised them we'd go to the beach today, but I am just too lazy and now I do not have to disappoint them nor do I have to go to all the effort that going to the beach with three kids entails. I got off the hook today... wahoo! Instead I shall pay the price with constant bickering and bantering over toys and who gets what and where and when.... Ugh, don't get me started on those danmed things called toys...

My lovely husband and I bought this house before we had any children. It was a charming New England Colonial with a little fence and 4 BR so we could plan for kids and entertain guests for overnight, or longer. Nine years later the antiques have found a new home in the attic and these brightly colored plastic items of all shapes and sizes have invaded our turf! We have been taken over by toys. Our family room used to be a haven of sorts -- big comfy couches, a large wide screen television set, a nice stereo system ... what else could you ask for? The couches are no longer comfy or cozy or overstuffed. To our chagrin they have become bouncy castles, playgrounds and trampolines. Ah yes, the children are so imaginative and their creativity will get them far in life... my ass... my children are disruptive noisy beasts, albeit cute disruptive, noisy beasts. My hi def TV is not for viewing movies, it's been taken over by Sponges and Dinosaurs and red muppets and egads, Bob Saget. Yes, that's right... my older two have recently discovered the tall skinny geek I had hoped to leave behind with my paisley prints, shoulder pads and stirrup pants. How many episodes of Full House will I have to endure? None without a nice alcoholic beverage in hand!

So here we are all cooped up in my crazy crowded lounge. I have a 2200 sq ft house and they all want to be in here, on top of me 24/7... add Bob Saget to that and now I am really desperate to move!

My dreamhouse would have a secret, hidden room with four padded walls.... I will, if I must, settle for a finished basement where Mr. Saget and the kids can play, scream, shout, jump, run, kick and bite and never ever pick up their toys!

On children, and summer... and fall



Today's piece is inspired by a touching post on my friend's Facebook page... As the summer ends, chapters of many of our books are ending as well. Some of our little ones are starting school for the first time while many of our older children will be leaving the nest and heading off to college. This time of year brings with it mixed emotions. As we say goodbye to summer and send our children off to be in the care of others we must learn to let go. Our children will be fine. They will be in great hands. They will grow and thrive and become more of who they are destined to become. We have given them love, affection and strong foundations. We now need to let them learn to become their own people. As summer ends and autumn approaches we have so many wonderful things to look forward to. We can still take advantage of these last warm days and yet we can all look forward to all of the wonderful things that fall has to offer... Cooler temperatures that allow us to put on our cashmere sweaters and toss warm blankets over our shoulders... beautiful foliage, apple picking and pumpkin picking... Large mugs of warm spiced cider or mulled wine... Our days will become shorter and we din't have to put down those delicious sink-your-teeth-into paperbacks, instead we will move from beach blankets to warm crackling fireplaces, or outdoor fire pits... To summer we will soon bid adieu, but we know, as with our children, young and old you will return to us before we know it!


.
via Tumblr



On Children
Kahlil Gibran


Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.


You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.


You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.



Have a wonderful, wonderful weekend and I hope you are all able to get out there and take advantage of these wonderful last days of summer!



XOXO




Jessica

inspired by the sea...

It's no secret that I'm a child of the sea. She inspires, awes and moves me. I've grown up on her shores, locally and abroad. She's a part of my past. She's a part of my present, and she will be forever a part of my future. She energizes me and yet she calms me. There's no place I'd rather be.

This morning, dressed in nothing but a T-shirt and a running skirt, with my iPhone to keep me company I trotted off to the water, running slowly, an even, well paced jog. The water was cool but not cold. She felt wonderful underfoot. The soft sand gave way beneath each pounding of my feet. Ordinarily I loathe running. It pains me - literally and figuratively. On harder surfaces lightning-like pain shoots down my knees. On harder surfaces I can feel my bulging disc want to slowly slide out. But running on the soft wet sand feels nice. I love splashing in the water. I don't mind getting wet. It's refreshing. It's fabulous! As I run I can feel the warm rays of the sun shine down on me, warming my face, my neck, my back, my arms while my lower body stays cool. I close my eyes as I run.

I am listening to my music, an eclectic mix of varying artists from Adele, Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, Sheryl Crow, Sting, Tim McGraw, Cee Lo Green, B.o.B, Pink, Joe Jackson and Pitbull... where my Zumba-inspired tunes co-exist melodiously with my Country Music... My pace quickens and slows based on what I'm listening to.

No one is on the beach. It's not yet 9:00 in the morning and I'm the only one here.  I run with my eyes closed focusing on how everything feels - the bright, warm sun on my face, the cool breezes glide past, the cool, wet water splashing up from my feet, slapping my knees and thighs. I can smell her salt. The ocean heightens your senses... and then I open my eyes and I have to slow down. There's just so much to see!

My mind races. I'm inspired. I'm energized. I'm calm. There's so much beauty and I need to capture it. I need to capture the details that we overlook. I need to capture the details that I might ordinarily overlook. I notice the color, the texture, the aromas...

Morning run on the beach


Morning beach run




Beach run



























 













I got off the beach, an hour and a half after I set foot towards the shore, refreshed, and famished... I had to quickly shoot a few pictures of the carnival that was being set up... and into my car I slid just as the skies opened up!

What inspires you?

XOXO


Jessica

{Note: all photographs were taken with my iPhone via Instagram and uploaded on to my Pinterest board. All photographs are the property of The Entertaining House and Jessica Gordon Ryan and may be used only with permission.}

Do you have a word?

What word or words best describe you, your life and how you handle life's little ups and downs?


Hope…
into the sunshine
source unknown



Grace…
Balloons
image via Elena Kalis




Faith…
30 Balloons
images via just it photo



Strength…
balloons
via pinterest, original source unknnown




Acceptance...
balloons
via the neotraditionalists

smile :)
Pinterest, original source unknnown



I was inspired by Hope... by this post over at Dionne Designs...

What are your words?


XOXO


Jessica


For more please follow me over here to Amid Life...

And she goes running for the shelter of her mother's little helper...

I remember singing the lyrics to this song when I was young. My friend Zoe had introduced me to the Rolling Stones. She had much older brothers and sisters and her mother was a fashion designer. And her father was a professor with a very handsome British accent. They were an eccentric family. I say this having grown up in Manhattan in the art world. These people were eccentric. Like Andy Warhol eccentric. But they were cool. And I liked Zoe. She was a bad girl. A Risk taker. An adventurer. I was the good girl. Non adventurous. Non risk taker. Until I met her I had never really gotten into trouble. Zoe was fun. Sneaking in to the Church of the Heavenly Rest, on 90th and Fifth, just blocks away from where we lived was fun. Attempting to climb up the bell tower with hopes that we wouldn't get caught was fun. Skate boarding down a couple of streets (after being chased out!) to get an ice cream from the Good Humor Man parked outside the Guggenheim Museum was fun. Zoe was fun. Hanging out and, listening to The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Lilly Tomlin on her mother's bed was fun. Sneaking one of her mother's cigarettes was fun. Singing along to the records while sneaking cigarettes was fun.

And we'd croon... and the lyrics meant nothing to me in my youth... "what a drag it is getting old..."

And as I wandered into the wonderful Jonathan Adler store on Greenwich Avenue today I was immediately taken by these wonderfully amusing canisters. I stood in front of them for a long time. I smiled at the canisters and thoughts of Zoe and our childhood on the 11th floor of 1136 Fifth Avenue came flooding back to me. I laughed at the thought of two pre-teens singing about mother's little helper!

image via The Entertaining House
taken with Instagram



image via Google









Oh which ones should I get, pray tell??!!

XOXO
Jessica

Bullying. Something to think about.

Pinned Image


As many of you know bullying has hit close to our home.
I was incredibly taken with this. Touched. Moved. Practically to tears.
I copied the photo and the text below from Pinterest.

A teacher in New York was teaching her class about bullying and gave them the following exercise to perform. She had the children take a piece of paper and told them to crumple it up, stamp on it and really mess it up but do not rip it. Then she had them unfold the paper, smooth it out and look at how scarred and dirty is was. She then told them to tell it they’re sorry. Now even though they said they were sorry and tried to fix the paper, she pointed out all the scars they left behind. And that those scars will never go away no matter how hard they tried to fix it. That is what happens when a child bullies another child, they may say they’re sorry but the scars are there forever. The looks on the faces of the children in the classroom told her the message hit home. Pass it on or better yet, if you're a parent or a teacher, do it with your child/children.

I just love this.

XOXO

Jessica

Give the ol' weather the boot!

Many schools here in Southern Connecticut have decided to delay their opening by an hour and a half to two hours. Now, you may think this insignificant... a great excuse to sleep in... a perfect opportunity to let the kids sleep in... make a hearty, warm breakfast, relax a bit and not have to rush out the door. None of this is the case. When school is delayed the phone rings. Early. When school is delayed the children are up. Early. When school is delayed you still don't feel like cooking a full bacon, eggs and toast breakfast. When school is delayed someone still manages to forget something only to remember theveryminute you pull out of the driveway. When school is delayed the children are happy. Read hyper. When school is delayed mothers are in pissy, foul moods. We are easily annoyed. Especially when these 2-hour delays come after a very long (indeed) 4 day weekend. We want to resume our lives. We have work that we want and need to get done. We want our children as far away from us as possible. We even consider dropping them off at the school's front door at the regular start time. We want to enjoy our coffee in peace. We want to go to the gym...

We know a little dusting of snow isn't going to hurt us. We are creating soft children. We are creating lazy children. A little snow, rain and sleet never stopped us as kids. We had to go to school... uphill, without a car... in bare feet! We're tough and our kids are going to be wimps! Offices don't close because there's a dusting of snow on the ground. Can you imagine? Let me tell you some of the conditions in which I had to drive... in my non 4-wheel drive-slip-sliding-cherry-red Red Volkswagen Jetta. Puhleeze! Can you imagine if they did this in Canada?

Seriously, this is insane. I am starting to think that all these school delays and cancellations are the true causes behind the sudden rise in peanut allergies!

I'll quit bitchin'... I'm lucky I do have 4 wheel drive. I feel safe and comfortable in my car... But I'd love to ride in the one below... I'd say it's probably as comfortable as an old pair of boots!



***



And to the kindness of the wonderful and stylish Suze Stephenson of Well To Do You for sharing this picture with me... and to you Suze, cheers to Bubbles in a Boot!



Photo: L.L. Bean, Lincoln Benedict / AP.

Stay warm and dry... and if your kids have a delayed start too, Stay Sane!!!


XOXO

Jessica

Genius use for really stupid toy!

There are certain toys, that over the years, have caused me more angst than joy. The thought of these mere toys sets my pulse racing, my heart pumping and causes me to break out into hives. I've hurled a few words at these certain little pieces that seem to find themselves not properly put away in tidy boxes or baskets but hiding where you'd never look for them, causing you to scream like a holymotherfckuer when you bare foot accidentally and unwillingly steps down upon it with full force. Simply put there are certain toys I hate.

I love Legos for their sheer creative brilliance but the soles of my feet hate them with unbridled passion.

I dislike everything about those super-sized automated Nerf guns. Everything. But more specifically I hate the tens of thousands of orange foam darts that take hours to pick up and put away and somehow magically reappear theverymoment you leave the room.

I hate the markers that are found without their tops. (Especially when they are mine!)

I hate Polly Pocket. I want to go over and personally slap the person silly who came up with those tiny dolls and tiny dresses, and ohmygodthoseeffingtinyshoes! Ten years later I am still finding random shoes and wigs and purses in my daughter's hot pink flokati rug. Just when you think you've found the last one... Perhaps the dumbest items by far that I have ever come across have also gotten lost and tangled up in that hot pink flokati.

I hate to think of the hundreds of dollars wasted on some stupid pieces of rubber shaped like flowers or cars or animals that my kids just had to have. I curse myself for the wasted dollars. I should have gotten them a rubber band ball instead. I should have told them to be leaders, not followers. I should have told them to start a new trend. Rubber bands come in fab colors as well. Rubber bands look great as bracelets. They're rockin'! I should have told them. But, if I had, someone wouldn't have come up with a most genius idea... and I wouldn't have carried it one step further...







I found this on Pinterest. I thought it was brilliant. I thought I could do better!




Because everything's better with bubbly, right?!




I definitely like the green turtle better! And as I was playing Alexander walked in. He wanted to know what I was doing. So I told him. And he offered a helping hand!




Cheers! And I know you'll all drink happier knowing that you won't need to worry about finding those silly little wine glass markers ever again!

XOXO
Jessica

finding Joy...


                                                                              Source: bhg.com via Jessica on Pinterest



It's a busy and hectic time of year. The pressure to create a perfect holiday season, perfect holiday memories, and perfect holiday decor can see overwhelming and often the joy and merriment of what the holidays should be get lost in the process. Sometimes we lose ourselves and sense of what's truly important this time of year. It's not about perfection. It's not about creating the greatest anything, it's about taking time to enjoy all of what the holiday season has to offer... it's about listening to the music... it's about getting your home ready for the season, but not about trying to strive for perfection because that will take the joy out of the very thing that should cause joy. I've recently let my kids help me and while it may not be to my style or to my taste, it's theirs and it makes them happy and proud. In turn that brings me much happiness. We'll bake our gingerbread and our sugar cookies. And some may be lopsided or perhaps even a little browner than they should be, but we'll fix our mistakes with frosting. The frosting will make it all better, and with frosting I say the more the merrier! I've learned something important over the years. It's ok to strive for perfection with some things, but sometimes we just have to let it go. The best memories are made when things don't necessarily go according to plan. Sometimes mistakes end up being our best gifts.

It's a season of giving. I've had a very hard time this year trying to get into the Holiday Spirit and there are days I have been more Grinch-like than jolly. I am the first to admit this. But I have three children and this holiday means so very much to them. I cannot let them down. I cannot disappoint. This season means the world to them and it's what's at the back of their minds all year long. I simply cannot let them down.

Our home is now almost all dressed in her holiday best. I keep the Christmas music on the radio at all times. The advent calendars come out tonight. The eggnog has been bought.

Tomorrow my children have no school. We'll bake and decorate ornaments and no matter how perfect or imperfect they are, we'll create memories... we'll have fun... we'll experience the joy that is meant to be experienced this time of year!

And I want to thank Wenderly's post on Joy... It was exactly what I needed this morning!

I'm headed out now to buy the rest of the ingredients for my fabulous Eggnog Pound Cake, candy canes, hot cocoa, glass ornaments that we will decorate, and whatever else I find that will bring Joy to everyone tomorrow!

XOXO

Jessica



The Girl with The Pretty Perfume


As many of you know my latest addiction has been my morning Zumba class.  I try to go at least 3 times a week but am happiest when I am there 5 days a week. It's the one thing that keeps me in check both mentally and physically. I love the instructors... I love the women who dance along with me.

A couple of weeks ago I was not in my usual spot (all the way up front - I am blind without my glasses these days and need to be where I can see both the instructor and myself) and found myself standing next to a pretty girl I hadn't seen before. She was about my height, with pretty, thick blond hair pulled back into a neat ponytail. She danced well. She smelled well. In fact, she smelled incredible! Every time she came near me I inhaled the most magical scent. Red and dripping with sweat, I felt anything but pretty on that dance floor, but every time the girl with the blond ponytail came near, I couldn't help but to try to get a whiff!

At the end of class I approached The Girl with The Pretty Perfume and said that I hoped I wouldn't come across as sounding strange, but that she smelled absolutely amazing! She thanked me and told me that she was wearing Chloe perfume. We then introduced ourselves. Her name is Anna. Anna smells beautiful. All the time. Even after an hour of high impact, sweat inducing, aerobic dance!


image via Sephora


The next couple of classes came and went and Anna smelled just as fresh, just as amazing after each class. I stood it until I could stand it no more. And then I did it. I broke down and got my own bottle!

Sephora says that Chloé captures the spirit of women and that the Chloé vision is not about one singular woman, but rather about the rich and varied personalities of all Chloé women. This fresh, smooth floral fragrance evokes sublime powdery rose. The effect is chic, comfortable, and entirely addictive.

Top notes of pink peony, freesia, and lychee embody subtle freshness. At the heart, midnotes of magnolia flower, lily of the valley, and rose rise to sublimated femininity. A base of velvety elegance comes to fruition through cedarwood, amber, and honey.

Inspired by the details in Chloé's fashion, the flacon's heavy but softly curved and grooved glass reflects femininity and strength. The plated-silver top is embossed with the Chloé mark and adorned with a hand-tied ribbon.

There's a reason why the classics are the classics and why there's staying power to the tried and true. This fresh, clean, classic scent will easily carry you through the day from morning meetings right through to your evening cocktails. 


The holidays are just around the corner, I'd add this to the top of my list!


XOXO



Jessica


Amid life....




I have decided to start a new blog (as though I really have the time to do so!) where I can chronicle my life, freely and as I wish. I am completely blown away by your words, love and support. And while I have not been able to thank you all, I want you all to know just how much you and your support and love has meant to me. I will be removing all my pieces about divorce from The Entertaining House. I want this to be a happy, fun, inspiring place. I need to keep the two blogs separate. For those of you who wish to follow my personal journey, please feel free to visit me over at Amid Life, for the rest of you, I hope you continue to come to be entertained here at The Entertaining House!

The Morning After

New York City, Monday August 29th, after Hurricane Irene

via Tumblr


Our state got hit hard. There are over 750,000 Connecticut residents without power this morning. The damage, in some areas, is quite extensive with trees down, power lines down and extensive water damage along our coast. For many it could be up to a week without power. I hope for them these estimates are wrong. For those of you who are nearby, we have power, showers and a functioning coffee maker! Please feel free to stop by.

After a hurricane comes a rainbow - Katie Perry

Be well all, XOXO

a new me... an old me...



I decided to change my Twitter handle the other day. I never really loved it and chose it in haste. A good friend of mine urged me to join. She wanted me to join a slew of other lifestyle and design bloggers as guests at the Nate Berkus Show. That was almost a year ago. I wanted something that would tie in with The Entertaining House as this is a brand that I have created, that represents me well. I was blogging as Entertaining Mom. I was hoping that this would be a good handle for me but alas it was too long and all the good variations were taken. Enter the Gimlet. A new favorite drink of mine at the time with a wonderful name. But Gimlet wasn't enough and so I went with GimletMommy. I didn't love it but it was well received. The word Gimlet has a certain ring to it. It's fun and sassy. (Sort of like me!) When I met my Twitter friends in real life, I was introduced as GimletMommy and thus instantly recognized.

But, as many of you know, my world is changing. Rapidly. And while I am very much the same person, I am also redefining myself... growing, maturing, evolving. This is all a natural process in life, but I need to keep in mind that my new future is going to be vastly different from my past. This is not a bad thing at all. I look forward to all the wonder and excitement that lies ahead.Of course, there's that great unknown looming right ahead... the deep abyss, the unpaved roads, the pathless jungle. Yes, this frightens and intimidates me but I can't stop to over-think and worry. I must march on... some days in Wellies, some days in flats, some days in pumps... but I will march on and I will always put my best foot forward. I have three children relying on me. I will have to provide for three children both financially and emotionally. I have been home with them for the past twelve years and I have loved every minute of it. I have been there for them as their mother and I wouldn't have it any other way. But now I need to be there for them in a different way.

I will never stop being their mother. This is a role I will play for the rest of my life. This is part of who I am. But it is not all that I am. I am a mother but I am so much more. Now is the time for me to step out of my flip flops and breezy little sundresses and into pumps and something more stylish and sophisticated. Now is the time to reveal another side of me. I've always liked this side of me and now you all will see more of it.

As I  re-enter the professional world and create a new career and new life for myself I do so with confidence, my familiar effervescence, style and pride. I will be using social media (I really hate that term) as a part of what I do and because of that I really felt it important to drop the Mommy from Gimlet. I tossed out a few ideas on Twitter the other afternoon and asked for some suggestions as well. There were some great ones out there but suddenly GimletStyle hit me. I loved it instantly. Do you? Do I wear it well? Does it make my derriere look too large?


How not to write...


I recently read a book recommended to me by a friend called God Never Blinks by Regina Brett. I've been struggling with my writing lately and this really struck a chord. This not only applies to writing, but anything that we want to do that for one reason or other we don't - either we never get to it, never have time, or simply just put it off... 

How not to write?
·         Let technology scare you. Postpone writing until you learn how to electronically number all the pages.

·         Get your doctorate in creative writing.
·         Start therapy.
·         Find the right writer’s group.
·         Wait until you get over your fear of rejection or fear of success.
·         Tell yourself the odds of getting published are against you.
·         Worry about how you’ll pay the bills
·         Compare yourself to everyone else.
·         Complain that it’s too hot, too cold, too muggy, or to nice to be able to write.
·         Try hard to add significantly to the world of great literature.
·         Analyze every idea before you write the first sentence.
·         Strive for perfection.
·         Declare yourself the next Shakespeare.
·         Try to write like everyone except yourself.
·         Use only big words to impress people.


How not to write?
·         Sign up for a writers’ conference instead of actually writing.
·         Constantly tell yourself you have nothing to say.
·         Consult your horoscope.
·         Make a list of all the people who think you won’t cut t as a writer.
·         File your nails.
·         Water the plants.
·         Clean the basement.
·         Open an office.
·         Build a hermitage n the backyard or an entire wing on the house to write in.
·         Look for affirmation from everyone around you.
·         Ignore your own sorrows, passions and music.
·         Whine about how nobody understands you.
·         Demand an advance first.
·         Talk to telemarketers.
·         Play solitaire on the computer.
·         Make a to-do list with writing as the top priority.
·         Complain about the English teacher you had who scarred you.
·         The professor who ignored you.
·         The brother who stole your diary.
·         The sister who read your journals.
·         Waste time envying other writers who have it so easy.
·         Edit as you go.
·         Check the rules of grammar and punctuation before you finish every paragraph.
·         Talk about your ideas so much that even you lose interest.


How not to write?
·         Wait until you have children.
·         Wait until your children stop teething, finish soccer and go off to college.
·         Wait until you have two hours of uninterrupted time to write.
·         Wait until you quit smoking, quit drinking, or find the right drink and are stone drunk.
·         Wait until your siblings move and your parents die.
·         Wait until you meet the love of your life.
·         Wait until the divorce is final.
·         Wait until you go on vacation.
·         Wait until vacation is over. Wait until you retire.
·         Wait until you find your music.
·         Wait until you feel inspired.
·         Wait until a doctor says you’ve got six months to live.
·         Then die with your words still inside of you.

****


Ok, what's your excuse for not following your dreams and passions? 

my addiction...

Yes, I know you fully expect me to go off on a tangent about how my day is not complete, that I can not truly relax without my Gimlet/Champagne/Wine/Beer (insert your choice here.) While it's lovely to be able to unwind at the end of the day in such a fashion, I will not fall to pieces without my precious cocktail. I know you find this hard to believe!

But to me, the greatest joy comes from a hot Latin dance craze called Zumba.

I started taking a couple of classes last fall and really enjoyed it. Even though I had many years of ballet as a child this new form of dancing didn't come so naturally to me in the beginning. I found that either my arms or my legs could follow along, and I was not quite coordinated to put the two together. I have grace and flexibility but seemed to lack some of that Latin rhythm.

Despite the initial difficulty I had keeping up, or in step, I was truly enjoying myself. The music was invigorating and there was an energy in the room that I hadn't felt for years. Despite my clumsiness I could not quit. I simply could not. After a little while I found my groove and all the pieces of me started to work together. Suddenly I felt alive! (I still, admittedly, tend to go left initially when others go right and I will blame that on my left handedness!)

Zumba is, for all intents and purposes, a party on the dance floor. It's fun, it's exercise and it's a huge stress release. This amazing total body workout is pure genius. I have joined gyms, taken up running, tried various forms of boot camp, swam and played tennis. I have never participated in any workout program that has left me feeling so satisfied, so good about myself and so invigorated. I can see and feel the difference in my body since I started. Like my morning cup of coffee, I need my Zumba to kick-start my day. I leave my class, dripping with sweat, with a sense of promise, accomplishment and calm. Yes calm.

There's something about the high energy and the music that leaves me with a sense of calm. This work out is so incredible, using every muscle in my body, I can feel the weight of the world melt away from my shoulders. I feel lighter, freer and ready to take on the world.



The girls above are all in my class, many of which I am happy to call my friends. I do not appear in this video which was taken a day or two after my back went out.

It's been a couple of weeks (more?) since I've set foot on the dance floor. I can not begin to describe how much I miss it. I miss the exercise for sure, but I miss the ambiance,the camaraderie and excitement that helps to shape my day. Without it I do not have the same energy. Without it I am not able to shake the stress which has taken a new toll on me. Without it I really feel as though I am not... well, me. I am being good and listening to my body this time. I tend not to and tend to push too hard... but the better I am about taking the time to heal the better I will be when I can get back out there.

I urge you all to get out there and give it a try!
The girls in my class range from 60 to high school age.
You can tailor your workout to meet your health needs - as I do with my neck, shoulder and now lower back)


  • Zumba may contain one or a combination of all of the following dances: the Merengue, Cha-Cha, Salsa, Tango, Flamenco, Belly Dance, the Cumbia, Reggaeton, and Hip-Hop.
  • Zumba can burn between 500 and 1000 calories an hour
  • Zumba is a different type of workout that is fun, easy and effective that appeals to all fitness levels. 
  • Zumba uses interval training techniques to burn excess calories. During a one-hour Zumba session, you have the opportunity to work at a higher intensity, increasing your cardio endurance. Zumba is an efficient workout for someone with limited time.
  •  Zumba is a dynamic core workout requiring high control of the midsection, translating to a tighter, more defined torso. Zumba enables you to learn new dance moves in an easy-to-follow, party format. You can lose weight if Zumba is combined with a proper nutritional program and performed on a regular basis (three times a week).

For more information you can also check out the official Zumba website


Celebrate... for no reason at all!

We have our good days and bad. I believe that it takes a bad day to truly appreciate a good one. Like we need the rain to appreciate the sun. And the sun to appreciate the rain. Without disappointment and failure we cannot experience joy and success. I know this. I absolutely know this. I'm having a bad day. Seeing as it's still morning, I'm hoping that this is simply a bad moment! But I am frustrated. I am frustrated at the seeming lack of control I have over my own life even though I have been working so hard to take charge, to be a top player and not a spectator. Yet, I find myself sidelined once again. It's hard to watch your life pass you by... to take a route you would not have chosen for yourself. I often feel as though I am in the driver's seat, and yet the car is driving itself. I hate feeling as though I cannot control my life. (Must be why I hate to fly!) Sometimes I feel as though I should sit back and let things happen - let them just fall into place and then the puzzle that is my life will all come together.

I've been living with pain and injury for well over a year now. In addition to the complicated mess my life seems to be at the moment, I have been living in pain. There are days I feel almost 100% and there are days where I know I just have to slow down. Then, there are those days when I want nothing more than to charge full steam ahead, and yet life forces me down, against my will. Now I have disc issues to contend with. Out of nowhere, it seems, I hurt my back. I woke one morning to sheer agony. I called my orthopedic surgeon who immediately, based on my symptoms, ordered me MRI and sent me to the chiropractor. With the help of the chiropractor, physical therapy and whatever else it takes, I am determined to get back on my feet again. I am determined. And when this happens I will run full steam ahead. (With doctor's permission, of course!)

Meantime I am sidelined. And admittedly today I am feeling a bit sorry for myself. I am having one of those moments when life seems too large... when the weight of the world is simply too much for my small shoulders.

Life is too short to sit back and feel sorry for myself. (Ok, I spent a better part of the morning doing that... now it's time to move on.) Now's time to but my best face forward (coral lipstick)... Now's the time for me to put on my big girl panties (black, lace perhaps?)... Now's the time to step out (very carefully) out of bed and put my best foot forward (Essie 'too too hot' a rich red coral)... Now's the time to celebrate life and the GOOD that it all has to offer.



I don't need an excuse and neither do you... go ahead and pamper yourself... go ahead and celebrate... celebrate life... your life as it is now or your life as it will be in the future.



You never need permission to
Indulge in a bottle of champagne... or Prosecco or Cava
Treat yourself to a decadent lunch, dinner, patisserie treat
Paint your toes a fabulous happy color
Paint your fingers a fabulous happy color
Buy yourself a pretty dress
Buy yourself some pretty underwear
Buy yourself a piece of jewelry
Go away someplace on impulse... even if just for one night
Take yourself on an adventure
Get a scoop of ice cream. No make that three scoops!
Pick out the biggest, sugariest, pinkest cupcake and eat it on the spot!
Get a haircut
Change your hair color
Toss on a pair of sexy heels... even with your shorts on
Download some happy songs on iTunes and dance like a preteen in your underwear
Take a long soothing, luxurious soak with a glass of bubbly
Order takeout and watch a movie
Bake some chocolate chip cookies and enjoy the batter out of the bowl as you go along
Throw a party for no reason
Call your old best college friend for a pick me up
Do whatever it takes to put that spring back into your step!




Happy Weekend Everyone...
It's never too late to celebrate!

xoxo

August



August really is my favorite month. It's a gentle reminder letting us know that while September is just around the corner summer is not yet over. Her days can be hot and humid yet they can be gentle and soft. Early morning breezes make sipping coffee on the porch a pure delight. The sun is slower to wake now, her rays less jarring than a month ago. She reaches through the trees to warm my stiff shoulders. Gentle breezes dance gracefully in the air while a chorus of crickets, birds, peepers and cicadas sing melodiously. The day will grow humid and the sun will hide behind darkening clouds as torrential summer rains pour down to nourish the ground beneath us. It has been a hot and dry summer. Our grasses, no longer emerald-like as they were in the spring, were on the verge of turning hay-like. But Mother Nature stepped in to lend a helping hand. At this very moment all is right with the world. At least my corner of the world in Southwestern Connecticut.

School begins in just a month's time. There is still time to roast marshmallows and chase fireflies. There is time for homemade lemonade and Sun Tea. There is time to visit the beach... to dash through sprinklers... to wash the cars... there is time to dash around in cut off shorts and bathing suits and lounge around and do nothing. Summer is forgiving. It allows us to slow down and relax and take it all in. Summer is about county fairs and carnivals and ice cream cones and flip flops. Summer is about sleeping in and going for long walks or runs and swimming and playing tennis. Summer is about indulgence and relaxation. Summer is about letting go...

I love the sound of lawnmowers. I love the smell of freshly mowed grass. I love the smell of the ocean and the feel of the sand under my feet. I love the shrieks of delight as my little ones run through the sprinkler. I love their little cold and wet bodies - even when the sun is scorching. I love playing in the sand with my children and collecting shells and rocks and sticks.

This summer has been very different. In many ways it has proved to be challenging. It has been a juxtaposition this year. It has given me a reason to relax and enjoy, but yet my own fear of the future has at times caused me to stop dead in my tracks. There are many things I have yet to do what I had want to. This is why I love August. August is, to me, is a second chance at summer. It's a reminder that all good things do come to an end. It's a reminder that time does fly. It's a reminder that we must seize the day.

Summer is also a wonderful time of year for a foodie. Summer's bounty is abundant and sublime. My children and I share a love of cooking and food. There's nothing like sitting outside on a warm summer night as the sun sets, right before the stars take flight... Fresh fruits and vegetables... accompanied by warm hearth-baked breads... succulent meat grilled to perfection...accompanied by a refreshing cold beer or crisp chilled wine.

My funds are limited this year, more than they have ever been in the past, but I will not sacrifice good food and flavor. I am fortunate to live in a town where there are as many farms as people. (Ok, slight exaggeration!) Our soil is rich and produce is abundant. I have a favorite farm, I admit. It is just about a mile up the road from me. A two minute drive. Yes, I could walk but I drive. I would not be able to tote back all the wonderful goodies on foot! Sport Hill Farm, in Easton, Connecticut, should be on your map if you happen to be in the 'hood. She has her own chickens who produce the most magnificent eggs... and all the vegetables your heart desires. Her treasures are spectacular... wandering through with my camera I marveled at how farms are nature's jewelry stores!

Visit your local farmer, farm stand or farmer's market... buy locally. It's better for you. Better for the economy and better for our environment. Nothing tastes as wonderful as homegrown.







And while August is my month to enjoy summer and all that it has to offer to the fullest, I plan on getting back into my kitchen and taking advantage of all the garden delights it has to offer too!










Happy August!

XOXO

Solitude

I have so much to catch up on! I have the Angela Moore fashion show to tell you about as well as all the wonderful, fabulous new finds to share with you... I recently drove to southern New Jersey. All by myself. I have never done a road trip all by myself through un-chartered territory. I have never driven long distance to attend a party where I knew just two people. This is all in my year of firsts. I am learning to step outside my comfort zone. I am not about to let my life pass me by. Life is a highway and I want to ride it... all night long!

I miss my children terribly. I am saddened and disappointed by the fact that it is now 8:30 and they have yet to reach out to me. I don't care how busy their day there is time for a phone call. There is always time for a phone call.

I have decided to turn loneliness into solitude. Solitude is a lovely thing.

I am home and now comfortable with the fact that the house will be mine alone all week. I can come and go and do as I please. I will allow myself to take advantage of this. I have done a pretty good job of this so far.

Today I have:
* Cleaned the kitchen and not had to yell at anyone to stay off the wet floors
* Turned on the television. And watched what I wanted to! I needed to relax after a long drive to and from New Jersey and very little sleep.
* I then made lunch. I made something for myself (Italian tuna on a ciabatta roll) and there were no little ones around to have to share with!
* I took a two hour nap. In my bed. And there were no little children coming in to ask me if they could have this, that or the other. No little children telling me that it was time to wake up. No little children coming in to tell me that their brother (sister) is the biggest brat in the world.
* I had a few Hershey's Kisses and didn't have to share one!
* I walked around wearing nothing but T shirt and my underwear. So liberating.
* I made salad for dinner. My way. With the things I like...
* I brought my salad up to my bedroom... ate it on my bed... in front of TV! (While watching The Food Network)
* I am going to take a bath and turn on the jets. There are no children around to ask "Momma, are you done yet?"
* I'll go to bed early and maybe take an Ambien. Perhaps since no one is around I might actually sleep through the night. (I have not slept through the night in well over a year.)
* I have made plans for every day this week. I have made plans for almost every evening this week.
* I am well rested now and relaxed.
* I still miss my children. I hope they call.

I do wish I could kiss them and tuck them into bed, however.

I saw this quote on Twitter earlier. I need to remind myself of this sometimes. I believe we all do.

God has a reason for allowing things to happen
We may never understand his wisdom, 
but we simply have to trust His will.

XOXO