Tag Archives: life

Stop The World ~ I Want To Get Off and Write

26 Apr

Howdy!

It’s been a few weeks.

Beach Day

It’s Almost Time for the Beach

I think if you ask most writers we’ll tell you that, given the opportunity, we’d write all day and night. Too bad <insert life’s demands here> gets in the way.

When I started this blog, it was supposed to be an outlet for new writing. A (hopefully) regular way to keep things fresh and write about whatever was going on in the world or about things that interested me. It was going to be for those times when I was editing/revising/revamping my novels or plays.

Being a creative type, I have lots of outlets to channel that juicy energy. Sometimes it’s writing. Sometimes it’s painting. Sometimes it’s sewing. Sometimes it’s soaking up life for future inspiration.

And so I got away from the regular course of blogging.

Then, I decided to embark on a regular blogging adventure. I created “Pin Me ~ 52 Weeks of Actually Doing Something With My Pins.” My plan was two-fold: blog at least once a week and make something happen with all those pins I have pushed against my virtual cork boards.

I’ve made some delicious recipes, tried some new nail polish and read a good book. And I was also keeping up with the blogging. Until March 14, 2013, when other stuff got in the way.

It’s nothing major. Just home improvement projects here and hockey games there. (Let’s go Devils! Even if you aren’t making the playoffs this year). And a whole bunch of other must dos.

But, alas, that is no excuse to not blog. I made that commitment and, by golly, I will stick to it. (I hope).

I’ve actually been keeping up with my weekly Pin Me stuff. I just haven’t been blogging about it. So what does that mean?

It means I have seven pins to write about and pronto because I don’t want this stretching out to ten, twenty, fifty…

So here’s what you can expect ~ seven blog pieces coming at you fast and furiously. I’ll probably stretch them out over the next few days, but if you follow my blog via email, expect to get a couple o’emails from me back-to-back. I promise once I catch up, that it will go back to once a week. I think that’s a good amount of email to receive. :]

My Happy Thang is that today is Friday! Whoo to the hoo!

PS…what do you think of the new look for the blog? I might be changing it up seasonally. We’ll see how it goes.

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Page Turner Resolution for 2013

1 Jan

I’m pretty sure it was just last week when I was making my 2012 resolutions. Where did the last 365 days go?

Simon & Schuster tweeted a quote from one of my favorite country artists, Brad Paisley. It was a simple little statement but it stopped me in my tracks.

image

And I thought, “Yes!” It’s so true for everyone but especially for a writer. A clean slate. An unfilled notebook. A word of possibilities.

So here goes my New Year’s resolution: stress less.

What does that mean? I’m going to fill my new book with at least one thing every day that makes me happy. I’m going to call it my “happy thang” in honor of Mr. Paisley. While I’d love to say that I’m going to blog about it everyday, the reality is that life is going to get in the way.

BUT…

I will at least try to recap some of my “happy thangs” every week as I am embarking on another project. My 52 weeks of “Pin Me.”

I love me some Pinterest but I find that I pin away and then rarely go back to review or actually do any of the pins. Oh sure, I tend to pick up products I want when I’m out shopping. And I have made a few recipes here and there, but for the amount of things I had to pin because I didn’t want to forget them, I find myself not executing most of them.

That is all going to change in 2013. I promise to once a week do/make/purchase/ponder/engage in at least one of my pins. It might be a DIY project. It could be a new recipe or I may just enjoy a good quote, but I am going to start utilizing my pins.

So, with that said, be sure to visit my blog again where I will be posting my  “Pin Progress.”

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you today’s Happy Thang. Went for a late breakfast (1pm) with some friends and hung out for a couple of hours talking over coffee.

Wishing you a happy and healthy new year!

PS…What is on the first page of your new book?

When In Rome…Enjoy the Moment When You Travel

28 Aug

Dublin

Growing up my mother used to say “Enjoy the Moment.”

I’m pretty sure this was just her way of getting me to sit still. It allowed her to get a few more things done without me fussing about wanting to do something else.

But as I grew up and began to travel, those three little words stuck with me. And it has become my traveling mantra. I don’t wish myself somewhere else. I don’t compare the local pasta dish to my favorite Italian restaurant back home. I don’t wonder why they don’t do things the way we do them in America. I simply enjoy the moment.

So when my mother recently returned from a trip to Key West and I asked, “So how was it?” Her answer had me shaking my head.

She began by telling me this…

Grand Cayman

“I told my travel companions that my daughter has traveled the world and she always tells me to enjoy a place for what it is, not what I want it to be.”

And then she went on to tell me how hot it was (she lives in the South, she knows hot and she went to Key West in AUGUST!) Restaurants didn’t have air conditioning everything was open (um, hello, you’re in a beachy environment, I’d be more upset if things were all closed up). She got bored (one cannot possible be bored when exploring new lands).

I buried my face in my hands as she ended with saying “so it was really good to get home.”

Clearly, she didn’t enjoy the moment.

Oh Mom…

San Francisco

The most wonderful thing about traveling is getting to explore the unknown. Food you don’t normally eat. Activities you wouldn’t normally partake in. Sharing a laugh with new friends you made simply because you said “hello”. 

So as you set out for your Labor Day weekend travels, grab the local paper and see what the town has to offer in the way of activities. Staying at a B&B? Ask your host/hostess where they go when they want to kick back and enjoy a good meal. Spending time with family or friends? Ask them about their farmers market. What better way to say thank you than creating a meal for them with local produce. Get outside and enjoy the fresh air by hiking a trail or strolling through the arts festival. Take time to stop and smell the roses.

Seriously. 

See the roses.

Stop and smell them. 

You’ll be glad you did.

1st Beach Day of the 2012 Season

22 Jun

I couldn’t resist doing this post. I had to bookmark the start of the 2012 beach season. Perhaps it will be one of those things I do every year.

In 2011, the first trip to the beach was June 18.   

In 2012, the first trip to the beach will be June 23.

I’d say we’re right on schedule. Wouldn’t you?

Last year I hadn’t found a new bathing suit. This year, I did. It’s a pretty navy suit that I got on Ruelala. One of the things I wanted to do this year was broaden my fashion horizons and wearing navy (instead of choosing another one in black) is one of those ways I’m growing my wardrobe in new ways.

I also picked up a gorgeous striped hat at TJMaxx on clearance for $10. It’s really wide and floppy and is going to look so vintage travel postcard chic.

And naturally I had to get a fun new beach bag (also from TJMaxx). It’s from the “Life Is Good” collection (how apropos is that)? It’s pink and will go with all my bathing suits (the new navy and the ye olde black suit that is going to make it another season). I should pay attention to who made it because it’s seen lots of sun and salt water and still looks amazing!

Naturally, I have a ton of beach reads including a new book I picked up today “Lunch in Paris. A Love Story with Recipes” by Elizabeth Bard. I read three chapters while having lunch at Barnes & Noble and the story is adorable and the recipes….WOW! Can’t wait to try them out (especially Moelleux au Chocolat “Kitu”) which the author says is the French version of Death by Chocolate.

So tomorrow is kicking off what I hope will be many, many weekends at the shore. And to quote myself…”Any day spent in sand, sun and water is the BEST DAY EVER!”

Happy Weekend!

Mmmm…Heart Shaped Cinnamon Rolls

21 Jan

So right before the holidays, I read Lisa Leonard’s blog and Poppy’s at Play blog both talked about making heart-shaped cinnamon rolls. Wanting to show my man some love on Christmas day, I got up early to make coffee and the rolls.

I should have paid attention to the size of baking dish that Andy Porter (Poppies at Play) used for hers. But since Lisa made her’s on a baking sheet, I figured it didn’t matter so I used my larger glass dish. I thought I would be giving the cinnamon rolls space to grow, but as you will see from the photos below, they could have used smaller quarters.

Here’s what I will do differently next time:
1) keep them in a small square dish so they touch one another
2) put a little extra butter in the middle when I roll the dough so when I pinch the bottoms to make the point of the heart shape, they will stay together

Supplies needed:
1 package of seamless sheet of dough

For the filling:
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
(mix ingredients together)

For the glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons milk (or water)
(mix all ingredients together until smooth)

My sweetheart said the ones that didn’t turn out looking like hearts tasted just as good as the ones that do.

Here goes the recipe and the process:

1) Buy a seamless sheet of dough (mine was from Pillsbury)

2) Mix 1/2 cup packed brown sugar and 1.5 teaspoons of ground cinnamon (Note: I didn’t end up using all of this. I probably had enough to make another batch. I could have also spread a thicker layer on the dough, but I kept it fairly thin on this try).

3) Spread out dough and using a pastry brush, cover the entire sheet with melted butter. I melted two tablespoons in the microwave.

4) Next spread the cinnamon/brown sugar mixture all over dough.

5) Now roll the left side up to the middle. Then roll the right side up to meet in the middle. Here’s what it looks like from the top:

and here’s what it looks like from the side:

6) Cut the dough in about 2 inch slices. You want to get 8 or 9 hearts out of it. Pinch the bottom point on each one to form heart. (Note: I plan on brushing a little more butter on the inside of the point next time to see if it makes it stick better). I sprayed a baking dish with some Pam (Note: Next time I am planning on using a smaller dish so the hearts touch) but here’s what they looked like in the larger dish.

7) Follow instructions on package to bake. When done, remove from oven and let cool.

8) For the glaze, mix 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla and 2 teaspoons of milk (you could also use water). Mix all together until smooth and then drizzle on top of cinnamon rolls.

9) Pour yourself a cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate.

10) Enjoy!

Happy Moment of the Day: Knowing that when you make this recipe, you are going to have a sweet day!

Don’t Let Your New Year’s Resolution Set You Up For Failure

3 Jan

My sweetheart and I have a New Year’s Eve tradition. We go for a very, relaxing massage, then it’s time for yummy Thai food and board games with our friends. Sometimes we host. Sometimes they host. But it’s a fun, casual way to spend the evening just enjoying one another’s company.

At the end of the evening (actually, it was the early morning), I asked what their New Year’s resolutions were. She shrugged and said, “I don’t have any.” He made a disgruntled face and said, “I don’t make them anymore because I never keep them anyway.” 

He wasn’t my only friend that wasn’t participating in this yearly tradition. I felt the same way a few years ago, but I think it’s because we set our goals too high. New Year’s resolutions have become extreme edicts whereby we promise to drop 50 pounds by June 1. Where we will no longer eat carbs, drink soda and we promise to get a full eight hours of sleep every night. We’re going to save $10,000 in the next year and we will single-handedly bring about world peace.

Well no wonder we feel defeated before we ever get started.

Two years ago I decided that my New Year’s resolution wasn’t going to be so specific and demanding. I wouldn’t put a strict guideline on what I was or was not going to do. I was going to  make it broad and general and when the moment presented itself, I would make that resolution come true.

In 2009, my new year’s resolution was a quote. “What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?”

On January 1, when I made that declaration, I had no idea what that was. I only knew that in the next 365 days I was going to attempt something.

In August of 2008, a director/actor friend and playwright/producer friend and I sat on my patio furniture and talked about wanting to finally do the work we wanted to do. Yes, we all had success with other theatre companies, directors, producers, etc. and we had enjoyed the work we had done. But we longed to do the things we really wanted to do. The roles we hadn’t played. The shows that we wanted to direct. The venues where we wanted to produce. So in April 2009, I wrote a comedy about the pitfalls of social media. About the same time, the three of us got together again and decided to make it happen.  That year, I wrote, produced and starred in not one, but two of my plays in NYC. Could it have failed? Well, sure. But did it? No. Because I didn’t even let that thought enter my mind. We played to a sold out run.

In 2010, I decided to go the way of the quote again. “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive.  And then go do that.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”  – Harold Whitman

On February 8 of that year, I opened my Etsy shop.  I had been wanting to sell online and Etsy made it so easy. With them doing the nuts and bolts of having an online presence, I could concentrate on my artistic endeavors. This was also the year I was selected to be part of the Estrogenius Art Festival in NYC. I was fortunate enough to have three of my paintings in that art show.

It’s with no surprise, that I have decided to keep with my quote tradition. My 2012 New Year’s Resolution: “She decided to start living the life she had imagined.” (I believe this quote is taken from the book “She” by Kobi Yamada).

I’m excited! I have an entire year to do all the amazing things I have imagined doing. I’ll paint more. I’ll read lots. I’ll go to Metropolitan Museum of Art to sketch. I’ll float in my pool and leave the dusting for tomorrow. I’ll wear more sparkles. I’ll learn to walk in heels. I’ll cook new recipes. And maybe, just maybe, this will be the year I learn to play the cello.

Happy Moment of the Day: That after all those holiday cookies, eggnog and delicious dinners out….I am still 40 pounds thinner than I was 2 years ago!

Get a GLAM Dress on Sale and Give Bick

1 Nov

The only thing I like better than finding a GLAM dress is finding one on sale!

And if you want icing on that cake, getting said dress from a company that gives back to the world—well, come on! What a win-win. 

Shabby Apple is an online dress boutique that covers the gamut of adorable dresses, skirts and women’s apparel. You can shop by style or body type and their website is a visual feast! 

They also believe in helping women worldwide. They donate 5% of their net sales to help women across the globe live well.

With the holidays coming up, they just announced their new Tinsel Town collection, a gorgeous array of fun, flirty and fantastic dresses.

Click on this link http://www.push44.com/syxdngqe to check them out and enjoy 15% off your purchase and free shipping through November 24, 2011.

Happy Shopping Ladies!

Happy Moment of the Day: Getting this skirt  from Shabby Apple!

In Anticipation of NaNoWriMo 2011

31 Oct

Today is October 31, which means tomorrow begins November and the mad month of writing a 50,000 word novel during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

I remember my first NaNoWriMo like it was yesterday. Actually, it was two years ago. A friend of mine had told me about ScriptFrenzy. The challenge: to write 100 pages of scripted material during the month of April. Being a writer who needs a hard deadline, and having an idea for a new play, I jumped for joy at finding this wicked cool website. One of the plays that I wrote during the 2009 ScriptFrenzy challenge was produced in NYC later that summer.   

Having accomplished that feat and always saying I was going to put hands to keyboard and write that great novel, I gleefully looked forward to that year’s NaNoWriMo challenge. I remember getting my participant t-shirt in the mail and wearing it on November 1, announcing to the world that in less than 30 days, I was going to have that first rough draft.

I wrote fast and furious on that first day. I wrote so much that I didn’t actually need to write the next two days because I had already reached those daily goals. So I used that time to stew on some thoughts of what my characters would do next. On the fourth day life got in the way and before you knew it, most of the weekend had passed and I hadn’t added to my word count.

Ut-oh.

No worries I said. I will simply try my best during the week and hammer out copious amounts of wordage on the weekends.

‘Twas not a bad plan. I had it all worked out on the calendar. Ah, those well laid plans of mice and (wo)men.

You see, life kept getting in the way and I was writing a weekly column at that time. While NaNoWriMo filled my soul, the column filled my wallet.

Somewhere around the third week mark, I started to panic. Laundry didn’t get done. Dinner consisted of crackers and whatever leftovers didn’t look too fuzzy. At least I made time for brushing my teeth.

Then, by Chris Baty’s brilliant design, Thanksgiving day arrived. Whew! I wrote until my Tofurky induced haze made me nap. The following day, I arose early and wrote feverishly for 19 hours straight. Only stopping to get more caffeine, take a potty break or move from the desk, to the bed, to the couch. At 2:22am on November 28, I wrote the words THE END and then burst into tears.

Tears of unbelievable pride, joy and accomplishment.

I had done it! I wrote 64,420 words. And it felt good.

If I could conquer ScriptFrenzy and NaNoWriMo in the same year, I could do anything!

And so I did it again in 2010 and here I am in 2011.

I learned a few things along the way:

1) You need only write 1,667 words a day to accomplish this goal. However, when you got your groove thang on, write! write! write! Because life will get in the way and there will be at least one (and actually more than that) when you simply won’t be able to pump out that word count.

2) In order to not alienate your loved ones, co-workers, friends, set aside a time every day that is an interruption free zone. For me, it’s one hour. For that one hour, I write and don’t have conversations be it in person, email or text. Then when that hour is done, be done and make time for others. Unless of course, your others are busy doing something then write! write! write!

3) One needs to be able to let the creative juices flow and you can’t do that on fast food or left-overs alone nor can you in the same clothes. So make time to eat, sleep and do laundry. You’re characters will thank you for it.

4) Tell everyone you meet that you are writing a novel in just 30 days. The words of encouragement will help fuel you on.

5) Lastly, have fun! If writing is a chore, then don’t do it. You have to love writing in order to do this marathon. But if you do, the finish line awaits you with cheers, confetti and glory.

Happy Moment of the Day: Due to the snow, we may not get that many trick-or-treaters this year which means those Butterfingers might be all mine. Muhahahaha!

You Can Quote Them On That

22 Aug

One of my oldest and dearest friends is celebrating her birthday at the end of this month.

It’s one of those birthdays that Hallmark makes special cards for (notice I’m not saying what her actual age is) so I wanted to give her a meaningful gift.

I adore phenomenal quotes. I write the best ones in a little quote book that I take out from time to time and read for fun and inspiration.  

So I thought wouldn’t it be nice to give her something with her favorite quote. There are so many wonderful Etsyians that do cool things with quotes that I was having a hard time choosing.

In the meantime, I asked her about her favorite quote. This is what she said: “Unfortunately I’m not that sophisticated.  I currently have not quotes…”

Which is actually a great quote.

So it got me to thinking what are some of my favorite quotes. I have lots and lots and lots of them, but I think these may top the list.

“What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” –Robert Schuller

“The adventure you’re ready for is the one you get. Life is short. Go For It.” –Joseph Campbell

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” –George Bernard Shaw

How about you? What are your favorite quotes?

Happy Moment of the Day: Having all the windows open and letting the cool summer breeze blow the curtains.

The Downsized Bag Lady…Sort Of

27 Jul

For years I have hauled around more than I needed to, at one point, I had an entire change of clothes. Why? Not sure. Guess I figured if I ever spilled coffee down the front of me, I could change in a flash.

A few months ago I decided to downsize.

No longer would I carry a big ass purse, a jumbo day planner, and a tote bag the size of Texas. No from now on I was going to be a single, small purse toting gurl. If it couldn’t fit in my purse, I probably didn’t need to carry it around with me. I moved to a smaller calendar (free, courtesy of Benefit cosmetics with a purchase I made in January). I purchased a tiny, pencil-case sized cosmetic bag that only held my lipstick and blush. I even reduced the size of my pen, carrying one half the size of a regular size pen (again, free, thanks to my man purchasing an entire packet of Pilot pens).

I had reduced my baggage and it felt good. 

And then, today, as I struggled to get from my car to my office, I noticed I had once again become a bag lady. 

Oh, I was still carrying a small purse, but it was now overflowing to the point where I couldn’t zip it shut. And instead of a big ole Texas sized tote, I was carrying a re-usable shopping bag from Whole Foods.

 Once I finally made it to my desk, I decided to see what was so important that I felt the need to lug another 10 lbs with me.

 Here is what was in my Whole Foods bag:

–a sweatshirt (it’s 85 degrees today, I did not need a sweatshirt. Then I remembered I took it with me the other day to see Harry Potter. I put it in the bag to bring into the house, but I never took it out)

 –tennis shoes (ok, this was actually a good thing. I brought them with me so I would take a lunch time walk. Only problem is I went to lunch today and no, I didn’t walk there)

 –my netbook (ok, this too was necessary as I brought it to do more novel editing and boy did I ever! Blog post coming up tomorrow on what I noticed about my writing)

 –the brown paper Whole Foods bag from yesterday’s lunch trip

 –another re-usable shopping bag from a trip to Turks and Caicos (why am I carrying a re-usable bag full of re-usable bags?)

 –the Uncommon Goods catalog (so I thought I might look at this on a 5 minute break today, but alas today was super busy so I never took that sunshine/reading break)

 –a two page print out on the details of the upcoming Enter the Haggis tour in Ireland which I got the other night at the concert. You know, I think that was supposed to get unloaded into the house, too)

–a Ghirardelli dark chocolate square (I am pleased to report, that will not be traveling home with me. Whew! Got rid of one thing)

–the July/August and September issues of Writer’s Digest magazine (oh, yeah, I definitely remember putting them in this bag at the beach house)

–the latest book from Gail Carriger “Heartless” (see aforementioned statement about magazines)

–a 25% off shopping pass good for this weekend at CVS (ut-oh…we know what happened last time I had some “free” money at CVS)

–and one Allegra (gosh darn it! I needed that sucker yesterday! You know you’re officially carrying too much when you bring something you need and then forget that you brought it)

So out of all that stuff, the only two things I actually needed to bring in with me were the tennis shoes, which as you now know, didn’t get used so maybe I should have left them in the car and walked out to get them if I had the opportunity to put them on.

And the Ghirardelli. Cause, come on, who doesn’t need to have a little piece of chocolate? And good chocolate like that is worth its weight in gold.

Happy Moment of the Day: My co-worker bringing in a six-pack of Diet Coke to share.