Tuesday, November 22, 2016

There is always something to be thankful for

product Thankful Cards - TurkeyThis is not going to be a long blog because for those of us in the States this is Thanksgiving week.  We are busy prepping, making lists, wondering if politics will be the actual turkey at the table and getting ready to travel or host.  

In all that frantic rush it is so easy for us to start to focus on the "crap the store is out of",  member X of my guests will annoy member Y, am I really going to get all of this done ?  For me I do not really stress it. 

The first Thanksgiving I made was in an apartment I had that was 600 sq feet. Yeah the place was tiny.  It meant my friends who were coming over, as this was for them and it was the week before, were going to find a place and not have to use the bathroom once they sat down if they chose the other side of the table.  The table was actually borrowed folding card tables and pretty much with seats, also borrowed and folding, took up the entire living/dining room.  I asked for no help from my mother, yeah I was 20 so of course I knew it all, and nicely bought a frozen turkey that day.  Did you just gasp ?  I put it in the bathtub w cold water to defrost it -- at least I had a bathtub - after radiating myself by running an old fashioned microwave with the door open and half the turkey in.  I may also have over estimated and thought 2lbs per person so this thing was more of a brontosaurs sized bird than anything else.  

The turkey was made with an oven that had a tendency to go off, help of one of the guests, doused in beer (still think it was delicious) and feast was served at around 10pm.  Somehow it makes for good story and it was filled with laughter and yes people were creative in getting in and out of the room with the table.   

I did not really stress then and I do not stress now.  I am much more organized, I get organic birds at obnoxious per pound prices and of course like everyone I know who is in immigrant have my own take on what goes with Thanksgiving.  The turkey is a staple other things not so much.  

I love Thanksgiving - favorite holiday ever.  I love it because how awesome is it to have a day marked to take a look at what we are grateful for.  This year I realized how grateful I am to my mom. She really is an amazing person.  My mom is really giving and even when we do not see eye to eye through time I have come to appreciate how she gives me wide leeway to have an opinion.  That may not seem like a big deal but it is because it is her way of empowering me.  She is a radical feminist that does not admit it.   

I loved the crazy first Thanksgiving for the same reason I love the current one and future ones.  It gives me a chance to send little notes to people who make my life that much better and tell them I love them, maybe make a date to give them a big ass kiss.  It is a time where I take stock and think while there is so much that breaks me in the world there are so many people who want to make it right.   There is so much beauty, creativity and wonder in the world that I am grateful for - so many super smart people in my life or that I read about that give me hope. 

So go forth and do not wait until the day of to buy your frozen turkey but take a moment this Thanksgiving to appreciate the people you choose to be grateful for. 
HAPPY THANKSGIVING 

PS if you like the image it is from HamptonPaperdesigns.com - it is their thankful cards, helps as folks write down what they are grateful for, usually at least one good chuckle in there from one guest or my sons. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Making a list and checking it twice

I do not know about you all but I need a little break from politics - that does not mean I am not watching and keeping vigilant but it does mean that for a few days I just need to focus on the good to remind myself what is important in life - which is kindness, giving, loving.

To that end it is gift giving season. My favorite - I love finding the perfect gift for someone, the one that makes their eyes light up when they see it.  The perfect gift says I really thought about you, it is not about price but it is about priceless memories.  I used to love Oprah's gift idea show because of the sheer joy she had in finding the things, from the not in my budget but boy do I wish to the I can have that (one of my mine made her list - Hampton Paper Designs - she so wants to be me). 

Here is a list of some of my favorite, some highly frequented, places that I highly recommend and that you can thank me, you know with something from them or just by supporting small businesses, owned by amazing people, creative people who add to the world and who are based in the States.  Red or Blue state you cannot argue with supporting what is already great in America.  The bonus is that these are high quality much like the folks who read this blog. 

The cards, the wrapping paper, the pretty things around your table;

Hampton Paper Designs - Most of us watch all of those shows that have great set tables or amazing wrapping paper and wish we could have something like that too.  Maybe you watch Real Housewives or some other more elegant show and wish you could just have a little of what they have without the drama.  Well you actually can at least have a piece of it.  I mean really you cannot go wrong with anything from this business.   The woman who owns it is truly like Wonder Woman with pizzaz (and a wicked sense of style and humor).  The items range from cards, gift tags, wrapping paper, placemat.  The most popular gift I give is their calendars.  Seriously once I skipped a few people and they actually asked me to order them as soon as they realized they were not part of the gifts they had gotten.  The designs are whimsical yet classy and the quality makes you and the receiver feel all the much more special.   So after you finish buying from all the folks below wrap it up, sign the card in one of the many choices you will have a hard time choosing between. Place orders soon, glittering on calendars is done by hand, and everything is made to order. 
http://www.hamptonpaperdesigns.com/

So you think you can dance (and sing and play an instrument);

Mike Risko Music School - for those of you in an around the Hudson River towns who either have budding Beethovens or want to unleash that Rock Band Hero from beyond the TV this is a great place to go.  This is a family owned business, who has won numerous awards, and knows how to bring out the music in all of us.  They sell instruments and they give lessons in what is possible - to share an art form that though heard with the ears is felt with all of the senses and the soul.   Buy gift certificates and watch the smiles of those who receive them as they realize they can be the star that their shower may already know they are.
http://www.mikeriskomusicschool.com/

To be or not to be that is the question;


Theater O - also for those of you around the Hudson River towns.   Anyone who has children wants to leave the drama to the professionals so why not help your kids, or maybe even yourself, channel that talent they seem to have with their expressions of angst and curiosity of spirit with the gift certificate for lessons here.  The family who owns this prides themselves on their dedication to the craft and even more to their dedication to making children love the craft as much as they like to see their own names on the programs for the plays they put on.  I want honorable mention and an invite to any Oscar nominees of the future. 

http://www.theatero.org/

Knit one purl two;


Nelly Rose Designs
- knitting went from frumpy to super cool.  This is owned and run by a mom in Florida who is truly creative in multiple ways.  She will make you the traditional scarf, that you can pass off as your own if you must but that you will want to share where you got it from since there might be request for additional items.  The items range from the whimsical, think Yoda hat, to the more traditional, think nice cozy scarves.   She ships all over the US but place those orders soon as all these are handmade. 

https://www.etsy.com/shop/NellyRoseDesigns

For the folks that you are friends with on Goodreads or in Book Club with;

Or for anyone who likes to read here are two that are written by full time moms, with other jobs, who just happen to be oh you know able to crank out novels that sell on Amazon. 

The French Twist series (French Twist, French Toast & French Fry) is the real-life French fairy tale written by Ossining resident Glynis Astie.  This story of how she met and married her French husband is so epic, it too her three books to tell it.   It is fun, funny and most of all you will look for (hint, hint) the next installment when you are done;
https://smile.amazon.com/French-Twist-Book-ebook/dp/B00EUF203Q/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1479255146&sr=8-2&keywords=glynis+astie

To Face the Fire by Nicola Noble - want to take a trip through the New York boroughs? Meet Donna Giannino , the main character,   "By day, she’s an editor at a publishing company in Manhattan. By night, she’s a Brooklynite shut in. The only variances are scheduled ahead of time and only happen if they involve her family or one of her close friends. It’s the only way she feels safe.  But is living a half-life really living? How do you make yourself whole again? How do you learn to trust again? How do you overcome the fear left behind after a brutal attack?"
https://smile.amazon.com/Face-Fire-Boroughs-Nicola-Noble/dp/0997494611/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479255176&sr=8-1&keywords=nicola+noble

Dahhling you look fabulous;

Finally as you get ready to host, to attend or just to have a new look (those roots, those ends, that head massage -- ok at least one of those got to you) what better to visit, and while there get some gift certificates cause after all looking amazing is to be shared, than two fashion forward salons.  They treat you like the star (oh you are star if you followed all of the above. Now you can act, sing, have amazing personalized stationery, are well read with a fabulous custom made knitted accessory) that we all are to someone.

VaZa - they converted me from the slave to the round brush that this girl was, pulling, yanking, heating, ironing her curls (because they were not the curls you see on tv according to me) to a believer who has not blown out her hair in over 6 months, who gets stopped more than she ever has to be told how much people like those curls and who frankly has embraced her curly self.  Their color service is amazing, the chairs where you get your hair cut and the head massage may lend themselves to a nap (ok they will lend themselves to a nap).  If you are not a curly girl they will give you a cut to help you swing that great mane of hair that we all practiced since we saw a tv ad for shampoo.    Owned by 2 sisters and in the heart of Ossining it is an elegant salon that makes you feel special - so go fab up and get gift certificates for all. 
http://www.vazasalon.com/

NuMe Salon - another high end salon for those of you in the Hudson Rivertown area. Make an appointment with Kim Flood and tell her how you want to have the hair you see in some magazine, online, on a friend and she will tell you what version of it will make you the one that people take pictures of to bring to her to ask to look "just like that".   Go alone, go with a friend, buy a gift certificate and pamper yourself too.   You will love and so will those that love you. 
https://www.facebook.com/numehairsalonossining/




Making a list and checking it twice

I do not know about you all but I need a little break from politics - that does not mean I am not watching and keeping vigilant but it does mean that for a few days I just need to focus on the good to remind myself what is important in life - which is kindness, giving, loving.

To that end it is gift giving season. My favorite - I love finding the perfect gift for someone, the one that makes their eyes light up when they see it.  The perfect gift says I really thought about you, it is not about price but it is about priceless memories.  I used to love Oprah's gift idea show because of the sheer joy she had in finding the things, from the not in my budget but boy do I wish to the I can have that (one of my mine made her list - Hampton Paper Designs - she so wants to be me). 

Here is a list of some of my favorite, some highly frequented, places that I highly recommend and that you can thank me, you know with something from them or just by supporting small businesses, owned by amazing people, creative people who add to the world and who are based in the States.  Red or Blue state you cannot argue with supporting what is already great in America.  The bonus is that these are high quality much like the folks who read this blog. 

The cards, the wrapping paper, the pretty things around your table;

Hampton Paper Designs - Most of us watch all of those shows that have great set tables or amazing wrapping paper and wish we could have something like that too.  Maybe you watch Real Housewives or some other more elegant show and wish you could just have a little of what they have without the drama.  Well you actually can at least have a piece of it.  I mean really you cannot go wrong with anything from this business.   The woman who owns it is truly like Wonder Woman with pizzaz (and a wicked sense of style and humor).  The items range from cards, gift tags, wrapping paper, placemat.  The most popular gift I give is their calendars.  Seriously once I skipped a few people and they actually asked me to order them as soon as they realized they were not part of the gifts they had gotten.  The designs are whimsical yet classy and the quality makes you and the receiver feel all the much more special.   So after you finish buying from all the folks below wrap it up, sign the card in one of the many choices you will have a hard time choosing between. Place orders soon, glittering on calendars is done by hand, and everything is made to order. 
http://www.hamptonpaperdesigns.com/

So you think you can dance (and sing and play an instrument);

Mike Risko Music School - for those of you in an around the Hudson River towns who either have budding Beethovens or want to unleash that Rock Band Hero from beyond the TV this is a great place to go.  This is a family owned business, who has won numerous awards, and knows how to bring out the music in all of us.  They sell instruments and they give lessons in what is possible - to share an art form that though heard with the ears is felt with all of the senses and the soul.   Buy gift certificates and watch the smiles of those who receive them as they realize they can be the star that their shower may already know they are.
http://www.mikeriskomusicschool.com/

To be or not to be that is the question;


Theater O - also for those of you around the Hudson River towns.   Anyone who has children wants to leave the drama to the professionals so why not help your kids, or maybe even yourself, channel that talent they seem to have with their expressions of angst and curiosity of spirit with the gift certificate for lessons here.  The family who owns this prides themselves on their dedication to the craft and even more to their dedication to making children love the craft as much as they like to see their own names on the programs for the plays they put on.  I want honorable mention and an invite to any Oscar nominees of the future. 

http://www.theatero.org/

Knit one purl two;


Nelly Rose Designs
- knitting went from frumpy to super cool.  This is owned and run by a mom in Florida who is truly creative in multiple ways.  She will make you the traditional scarf, that you can pass off as your own if you must but that you will want to share where you got it from since there might be request for additional items.  The items range from the whimsical, think Yoda hat, to the more traditional, think nice cozy scarves.   She ships all over the US but place those orders soon as all these are handmade. 

https://www.etsy.com/shop/NellyRoseDesigns

For the folks that you are friends with on Goodreads or in Book Club with;

Or for anyone who likes to read here are two that are written by full time moms, with other jobs, who just happen to be oh you know able to crank out novels that sell on Amazon. 

The French Twist series (French Twist, French Toast & French Fry) is the real-life French fairy tale written by Ossining resident Glynis Astie.  This story of how she met and married her French husband is so epic, it too her three books to tell it.   It is fun, funny and most of all you will look for (hint, hint) the next installment when you are done;
https://smile.amazon.com/French-Twist-Book-ebook/dp/B00EUF203Q/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1479255146&sr=8-2&keywords=glynis+astie

To Face the Fire by Nicola Noble - want to take a trip through the New York boroughs? Meet Donna Giannino , the main character,   "By day, she’s an editor at a publishing company in Manhattan. By night, she’s a Brooklynite shut in. The only variances are scheduled ahead of time and only happen if they involve her family or one of her close friends. It’s the only way she feels safe.  But is living a half-life really living? How do you make yourself whole again? How do you learn to trust again? How do you overcome the fear left behind after a brutal attack?"
https://smile.amazon.com/Face-Fire-Boroughs-Nicola-Noble/dp/0997494611/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479255176&sr=8-1&keywords=nicola+noble

Dahhling you look fabulous;

Finally as you get ready to host, to attend or just to have a new look (those roots, those ends, that head massage -- ok at least one of those got to you) what better to visit, and while there get some gift certificates cause after all looking amazing is to be shared, than two fashion forward salons.  They treat you like the star (oh you are star if you followed all of the above. Now you can act, sing, have amazing personalized stationery, are well read with a fabulous custom made knitted accessory) that we all are to someone.

VaZa - they converted me from the slave to the round brush that this girl was, pulling, yanking, heating, ironing her curls (because they were not the curls you see on tv according to me) to a believer who has not blown out her hair in over 6 months, who gets stopped more than she ever has to be told how much people like those curls and who frankly has embraced her curly self.  Their color service is amazing, the chairs where you get your hair cut and the head massage may lend themselves to a nap (ok they will lend themselves to a nap).  If you are not a curly girl they will give you a cut to help you swing that great mane of hair that we all practiced since we saw a tv ad for shampoo.    Owned by 2 sisters and in the heart of Ossining it is an elegant salon that makes you feel special - so go fab up and get gift certificates for all. 
http://www.vazasalon.com/

NuMe Salon - another high end salon for those of you in the Hudson Rivertown area. Make an appointment with Kim Flood and tell her how you want to have the hair you see in some magazine, online, on a friend and she will tell you what version of it will make you the one that people take pictures of to bring to her to ask to look "just like that".   Go alone, go with a friend, buy a gift certificate and pamper yourself too.   You will love and so will those that love you. 
https://www.facebook.com/numehairsalonossining/

SaraNicole.com  - because we all overindulge and most of us make those promises post holiday, some call them goals and some call them resolutions, others sigh and just call them necessary.   You know what I am talking about the dreaded or maybe beloved (yeah I know those people too) exercise.  Whatever your particular sport of choice is most of us want to look good doing it, yet be comfortable and most of all we want to be worrying about increasing our reps not whether or not the quality of the clothes we are wearing will hold up.   There are so many amazing big name brands that supply this but in the spirit of this blog how about giving SaraNicole.com a try.  They have everything you need to get yourself to the gym, maybe that's a motivator you get to buy and wear new cool looking clothes.  For those days where the only exercise you have the inclination for is eye rolls at Netflix binging well they have stay at home and feel good in their pjs and sweatpants wear.  
http://saranicole.com/




Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Marathon Time

Image result for marathon images       In the dictionary the word "marathon" is defined as;


            • a long-distance running race, strictly one of 26 miles and 385 yards (42.195 km).
            • a long-lasting or difficult task or operation of a specified kind
This past weekend the NYC Marathon took place.   This year and in years past I had been on the sidelines cheering friends on in the marathon, I had been on the sidelines just cheering people on even when I did not know anyone running. I am always torn between a few emotions.  The first I must confess is a bit of a bewildered musing on why would anyone do this?  It is brutal, takes a lot of time, takes a lot of training and discipline and looks frankly exhausting.  That thought says nothing about the race or the racers but everything about me.  I do not like any exercise that much - I love my tennis and I love my walking but that is where this ends.  The second thought is humility in the face of these runners who do all of the above and manage to complete the race, never mind the ones that do it like the Flash, just the people for who this not a profession. I am truly am in awe of your accomplishment. The third thought is one that makes me weepy.  I love the sea of humanity that is the NYC marathon.  It is the world, the world with common goals, the world with the pains and aches it takes to achieve, the world with the smiles on the faces of the runners and the grimaces on those who suffer.  The world literally in terms of who is there.  It is the world showing that in a competitive sport people whose governments have convinced us cannot possibly inhabit the same planet are able to compete without violence alongside a 26.2 mile stretch.  It is the wave of cheers coming in different languages, different races, different everything united in their support for these runners.

In the States we have all been living the 2nd definition, training and feeling the pain, wishing at times we can give up but knowing it is still a while to the finish line in this election cycle.  Today is the finish line, you are in Central Park.  We are tired, we are looking at those blankets they give out at the end and the medals with fatigue.  If we were running the marathon though we would not stop right before that gate of balloons!!  Not unless we passed out or were physically unable.   So as tired as we may all be today is the Finish Line we have to vote, to cast our voice.

The 2 events could in some ways also not be more different - one is about the celebration of the human spirit, unity, diversity, the best that we can achieve and the other has been all about pointing out the blisters, the sweat and some frankly cheap shots and tripping.

I would like to think I have not yet succumbed to cynicism and believe that we all are more like the NYC marathon runners and cheering crowd.  People were there to encourage their fellow human beings, they were handing out water, cheers, hugs and applauding their efforts.   Runners are there to show that when you really try, even with obstacles, you can accomplish your goals.

Marathons started in the same place that gave us the budding notion of democracy.  We are all fatigued if not physically from the marathon than emotionally from the election process.  I want to see that spirit of unity that I saw in the NYC marathon happen after the election even if my candidates do not win and I do not want to see the camp that wins treat it like bullying rights over the camp that doesn't.  I am hoping that we all hand each other a virtual blanket and smile that we accomplished something great - democracy never promises to be easy, but unlike any other system especially those we see with Putin and his ilk, it does give us promise of hope and possibility.



Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Taking a step back

Image result for taking a breatherIn a world that appears to constantly rushing forward, where 15 min of fame has turned into 15 min to get your point across and have it appear as fact whether it is or not.  A place where technology moves at the speed of light and we more often than not find ourselves wondering why we agreed to that one more thing I think we need a Take A Breath Day.

Not an add on to a scheduled time, or a few hours, but a whole day where we can sit back and not be caught in the frenzy.  

As a woman who works outside the home and has two rapidly growing boys I find myself more often than I like just wondering where the day, week, month, year went.   I am looking at the things I just accomplished and the things still to be scheduled and done.  I am claiming a day soon where I just focus on the here and now.

It is so easy to think 1) that everything is new 2) that we have to partake in it all 3) that we will always have the time to do all of it.

Let's look at the political news cycle -  no this is not our first, nor even just the US election history's, candidate that has spoken of the things we all shudder to hear uttered.   She is not novel in having ties and history with people who we wish would not be near our elected officials.  We have survived worse and we have thrived with better.  We will do that also this time around.  What is sad is that we forget this and allow this much power and attention to be given to people who frankly should be given none.   The attention we lavish on them is not even new it is just is happening faster.  If we took a moment to look at the candidates, to really research them and to apply a measured review we would vote for what is best not what answers our emotions. Take a breath - take a step back - then vote. 

If you look at our children people are freaking out over screen time, the way they interact, the fact that they have access to infinite information yet choose to watch YouTube videos.   If we took a step back this would not seem remotely new to any of us.   These are different technologies but exactly the same behaviors.  We had it with TV, our parents had it with phones, and so on.  Each generation changes to the evolution of the media available to them.  This does  not make any of it right or wrong it just makes it a point to think about. Take a breath - take a step back - you survived Bugs Bunny and learned opera from it, they will learn from this and be amazing for the skills they learn. 

The idea of taking a step back is so that you can propel yourself forward.  Taking a moment to look at what you read and find out if it is real is easier today than ever before.  Sending a message is easier but should not be done with less thought that it has in years past - the technology does not make bad behavior acceptable. Take a breath - read the message before you send it out loud in your voice in your head - then send it if it still accomplishes what you hope it would. 

The things that give us pleasure should not be rushed through.  Being present with your children instead of worrying, examining, planning is a gift for them and for us.  Enjoying sex, food, music, faith, exercise, reading, creativity or whatever it is that is done for pleasure, happiness should be done not as another thing to check off but given time, attention.  Take a deep breath - have more of those things - go on you can come back to this blog. 

I once was hurt tremendously by someone who "fit me" in, who thought he complimented me by saying he thought I was so accommodating by making the time we spent together convenient.  He hurt me because I realized he would never step back to make me a priority, to step back like you would with a painting and see it from a different perspective and that perspective was how the picture of me should have been seen whole to ensure that I was a priority.  I was not the tv ad you skip by, I should have been the masterpiece that he wanted to contribute to.  It took me years to learn that and I am thankful for the experience.  Took a deep breath - went to therapy - think of him fondly for helping me realize this. 

So take a step back, close your eyes, deep breathe and take some time to appreciate the now while it is still the present instead of admiring it as part of a history you just captured on social media while you were hurling to the next thing.