My Reason Why

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d13ecb39f28ddf42646c759025d9a785We are each taking a week to reflect on the blog and what we love about it.  I am so happy that the three of us decided to go into this project and work together. And I am even more happy that we have kept it going – even when it was hard and our lives were going in many different directions.

I am a writer. It’s what I studied in school and what I love doing. Whether I am writing in a journal, documenting in a scrapbook or writing a blog post, it’s not just something I do, it’s who I am. Finding the time to write and making it a priority is sometimes challenging, especially after a long day. But knowing that I have two partners that are just as busy and just as dedicated keeps me in the game.

My reasons may differ from the other ladies but that’s what makes this adventure fun.

I write:

  • to tell my story
  • to work that creative muscle
  • to get the thoughts out of my head
  • to document so I don’t forget
  • because I need to
  • to feel the feelings
  • to process my thoughts
  • to understand
  • because it’s what I know

I’m looking forward to sharing some of my favorite posts from this blog this week. Thanks for letting us share our writing with you.

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Gaby Flashback: Me

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This was definitely one of my favorite posts to write. We love Vogue’s 73 Questions videos on Youtube and this was our take.

ORIGINALLY POSTED: April 2016

37 QUESTIONS

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  • What do you like on your pizza? Pepperoni, olives, bell peppers.
  • What’s your favorite season? Fall.
  • What’s the best activity when home on a rainy day? Lay in bed and watch I Love Lucy.
  • If you could have wine with someone in the past, who would it be? Lucille Ball.
  • What’s the last book you read? Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. (Again.)
  • First date idea? Disneyland.
  • What’s your favorite board game? Scrabble.
  • What’s your guilty pleasure? “What’s In My Bag” videos on YouTube.
  • What skill would you like to learn? Playing the harp.
  • If you could go back and visit any decade, which would it be? The 1950s.
  • What’s your favorite breakfast meal? Avocado toast with an egg white.
  • What’s your favorite museum? Musee d’Orsay in Paris.
  • Who was the last person you texted? My dear friend, Rachel, who was coming to visit.
  • What’s for dinner? Pizza. (With pepperoni, olives and bell peppers.)
  • Favorite country you visited? Italy.
  • Last time you danced? This morning. Jessie played our wedding song and we started dancing.
  • Last movie you saw? The Jungle Book. Really enjoyed it.
  • Favorite flavor of ice cream? Cookies and cream.
  • In one word, how would you describe your life? Blessed.
  • Your signature dish? Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and veggies.
  • Favorite app? Instagram.
  • First movie you remember seeing in a movie theater? Star Wars. The original.
  • One thing you need in your fridge at all times? Coffee creamer.
  • Favorite TV show of all time? I Love Lucy.
  • Favorite movie? The Princess Bride.
  • Favorite actor? Alan Rickman.
  • How do you take your coffee? With coconut-flavored creamer.
  • Favorite form of exercise? Yoga.
  • Favorite line from a movie? “Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.” The Imitation Game.
  • Proudest accomplishment so far? Taking my parents to Europe.
  • Last hobby you picked up? Crocheting.
  • Favorite Disney character? Winnie the Pooh.
  • Three things in your purse you can’t live without? Wallet, chapstick, phone.
  • Heels or flats? Flats.
  • Secret dream job? Broadway actress.
  • Favorite show to see at the Hollywood Bowl? John Williams.
  • Sense or serendipity? Serendipity.

Gaby Flashback: Jennifer

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Jennifer is such a funny, yet grounded person. I think one of her main goals is to make everyone around her as happy as they could be. I love this post where she talks about reconnecting those childhood qualities and activities that bring pure joy.

ORIGINALLY POSTED: JULY 2016

RECAPTURE CHILDHOOD BLISS

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If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older. – Tom Stoppard

One of the grooviest things about having kiddos is getting a chance to relive your childhood as they experience theirs for the first time. After all, what’s more blissful than being a kid?! 99% of the time, your only objective is to be happy, have fun and try not to get hit by a car.

My own childhood was filled with bliss over the simplest things. Jumping in piles of autumn leaves, washing my parents’ (totally rad) wood paneled station wagon with the garden hose, playing hide & seek in the front yard till dark, running through the sprinklers on a hot Texas afternoon, and slumber parties with friends where the first person to fall asleep ended up with a frozen training bra. (Sorry about that, Mary Anne.)

Now I watch my son, Jack, exude that same bliss I so fondly remember. It oozes from every pore. The way he joyously devours a chocolate ice cream cone, his hysterical laughter as the waves chase his feet on the sand, his pleas to stay in the pool longer so he can jump in “just one more time,” and his squeals of delight splashing in the fountains downtown. His joy is utterly infectious and makes me long to be a kid again.

So why don’t we do it? Yes, I’m talking to you. Uh huh, you! Why don’t you and I and all of us promise to make more time to incorporate play into our lives. After all, we’re still kids at heart, right? Those inner children of ours are just begging to come out, come out wherever they are! I believe recapturing the bliss of childhood is not only great for our hearts and minds, but it’s essential for our souls. Here are some swell ideas to get us started:

Host a game night with friends. Serve cocktails and appetizers inspired by some of your childhood favorites. Drink with crazy straws, eat off Star Wars paper plates, dole out Pop Rocks for dessert.

Reread your most beloved childhood books. But skip the Kindle and buy the real deal. (It’s true, they still make books!) Feel the smoothness of the paper in your hands and smell the pages. It will instantly take you back. Plus, as you read children’s books as an adult, you’ll likely rediscover some important principles and lessons about life you’d forgotten.

Throw an “unbirthday” party. Why wait for your actual birthday to come around when you can celebrate “you” any day of the year! Head to your favorite park, spot on the beach or even your very own backyard. Think crazy Mad Hatter-ish hats for your guests, bright colored picnic blankets, different flavored (read: spiked) teas served in funky tea cups, and plenty of those addictive little sandwiches.

Play with toys. You read that right. Toys. Okay, so maybe you don’t pull Barbie out of your bag during a staff meeting, ca-reepy! But pick up a Rubik’s Cube, a Lego inspired nightlight you can redesign every night, a gigantic Jenga, a scooter for adults, make something with kinetic sand, or take your best shot with a rousing game of cornhole.

Go to a theme park. If you don’t have a Disneyland or Six Flags near you, be on the lookout for local fairs and carnivals that come through town. Ride the coasters and scream like a banshee, play the all midway games, and screw that diet for one day – eat corn dogs, fried Oreos and funnel cakes like a boss!

Camp out in the backyard. Do it up, y’all! We’re talking tents, sleeping bags under the stars, creepy-ass ghost stories and of course, oodles of s’mores! Step up your s’mores game by using gourmet chocolate instead of regular old Hershey’s.

Sign up for a messy race. Look into local mud runs or color runs – the messier the better! After all, you’re trying to recapture the spirit of that little kid who once wore dirt and grime as a badge of honor.

Check out Well Played: The Ultimate Guide to Awakening Your Family’s Playful Spirit by Meredith Sinclair. I just started reading it and it has some super creative ideas for adding more playfulness into your life with your kids, your partner and even yourself.

Tag, you’re it! How do you add more play into your life? We’d love to know in the comments below.

Gaby Flashback: Gioconda

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My sister is one of the bravest women I know. But it’s often difficult at times for her to see the strength so many of us see in her. Self-doubt and questions creep in and it happens to all of us. I love this post she wrote from September 2016. She’s been someone I’ve looked up to my whole life and this post like a little whisper saying, “Go ahead, take that chance. You’ve got so many people cheering you on.”

ORIGINALLY POSTED: September 2016

STEPPING OUT OF OUR COMFORT ZONE

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I often find myself at that scary place. That place where I ask what do you want in life? Where I am faced with the decision to play it safe or to take a chance. There are  risks, I know. There could be danger ahead. But there could also be great joy, huge success and no regret. Sometimes that chance is worth it.

At my daughter’s school they have a learner profile, the attributes that we think are important for someone growing and learning in the world today. Students should be principled, balanced and caring as they navigate the issues of the world. They should be reflective, open minded and inquirers as they figure out what they want for themselves. One of the attributes, a very important one, is to be a risk taker. It opens up the world and makes things possible.

Now I will play it safe 9 times out of 10. I will tell my kids to take the known path vs. the unknown. But sometimes it is worth the risk to discover something new, to feel the thrill and to step out of what we feel comfortable with.

I do a lot of volunteering at both of the kids’ schools. I enjoy giving my time to the places where my kids spend so much time and seeing that it makes a difference. A few nights ago I had to get up in front of 200 women to introduce myself and talk about a committee I am in charge of,  a committee that I think is doing great work. I was terrified and couldn’t wait for it to be over. I didn’t have any time to write out what I wanted to say and rehearse it 2 20 times before getting up there. I just spoke. I couldn’t tell you what I said but once it was over ladies came up to me and thanked me for what I was doing, I even had a few that wanted to join my committee. Hey, it wasn’t that bad after all.

Last night my sister and I went to see Carrie Underwood in concert. It was awesome and man, that girl has an amazing voice. At one point during the night she talked about taking the chance and getting on a  plane by herself to head to LA and audition for American Idol. That leap of faith, and not standing in her own way, led her to be on that stage last night singing in front of all of us. It led to her success, her marriage and her son. That was an example of what is possible on the other side of fear.

As I am getting older I find that moving down that unknown path is not as scary as it used to be. The job I do now is way out of my comfort zone. I am learning everyday and asking a lot of questions, figuring things out as I go. But I also found that I know more than I give myself credit for. That it’s ok to say, I don’t know the answer to that and then go and figure it out. Over the last year I have learned that I don’t have to have it figured out in order to do it. That realization itself is comforting.

As I was sitting down to write this I tried to think of steps you can take or a guide to stepping out of your comfort zone. For me my word FORWARD has been instrumental in getting me moving. It’s a trigger. It reminds me that the way I want to go is ahead not backwards and certainly not staying in one place. Move forward. Take a little step than another.

We all love being where it’s comfortable. It’s happy and safe there and there are times when that makes perfect sense. But then we are faced with deciding to be brave, to get a little uncomfortable. Maybe it’s the moment when you know you need to say something to someone but your battling with yourself to speak up. Maybe it’s making a bigger change in your life, your work, your relationship, your health. Maybe it’s just being truthful with yourself. Any of these can be a scary place. But taking that chance and making that leap could be the best thing for you. And you will find yourself in a better place or look back and think, now I know.

Your comfort zone just suddenly got bigger.

 

Flashback Favorites

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flash•back

a memory; a vivid recurrence of a past experience; a transition in a story to an earlier time, that interrupts the normal chronological order of events

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This week kicks off our flashback series. It’s hard to believe we started this blog over a year-and-a-half ago. It’s been a learning process, a challenge, an expression of our creativity, a work in progress, a push to write and so much more. But more than anything, it’s been a labor of love between the three of us that allows us to grow.

As we each take a week to reflect and revisit the posts we’ve loved from each of us, it’s also an opportunity to celebrate what we’ve been able to accomplish in this past year-and-a-half. Over 400 posts! That’s pretty amazing.

These two ladies are my best friends, my partners and my fellow writers. Gioconda, or Betty to me, you are not only my sister but someone I look up to as a strong woman, a talented writer, an exemplary mother and my absolute best friend. Jen, you are one of the funniest people I know, a true example of what a friend is, a wonderful mother and wife, and a gifted writer.

We’ve had so many great adventures together. Thank you both for going on this journey with me!

Momes of Apreesh

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Happy Friday! We hope your week was a great one. Here are some moments from ours that warmed our hearts, made us happy and gave us a laugh.

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Our son, Jack, is such a goofball and I love seeing his sense of humor develop more and more each day. This week, my husband and I were haunted by the super spooky “ghost of the picnic blanket.” Take that, Annabelle!

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A local movie theater is showing “flashback movies” and Jessie took me on a date to see my favorite movie, The Princess Bride! I’ve watched it a hundred times but I’d never seen in an actual theater and I was so excited. There was a good turn out of people who were also big fans and a few who had never seen it before. We all laughed and cheered, and you could here a few respectfully whispering lines here and there. It was wonderful!

Gioconda

Camping this week was amazing.  We stayed in a campground in a redwood forest. Sitting by the campfire every night reminded me what an amazing family I have. Then getting to San Francisco to shower and eat food cooked by someone else was a nice change.  My family makes me so happy and I am grateful to go on adventures with them.

Wishing all of you a fabulous weekend! See you back here on Monday!

 

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Savory & Sweet To-Die-For Dishes

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photo: Iowa Girl Eats

Now, that we’re moved into our new house and are starting to having friends over for dinner, I’m trying to expand my cooking repertoire. When thinking about creative meals to make, I quickly realized my favorite dishes are usually ones that perfectly marry the contrast between savory and sweet. It’s the reason I love putting M&M’s in my buttery popcorn at the movies, y’all – yum!

Here are some savory and sweet dishes on my must-cook list for fall:

Steak with Spicy Blueberry Reduction & Blue Cheese
Imagine combining the savoryness of a delicious New York strip steak and blue cheese with the sweetness of a sauce made from fresh blueberries. Check out the recipe here.

Maple Fennel Bacon
My favorite restaurant for brunch in Palm Springs is Cheeky’s whose known for their mouthwatering and super inventive bacon flights – nom, nom, nom. This reminds be of something you’d definitely find on the Cheeky’s menu and would take be a perfect addition when hosting pals for Sunday breakfast.

Snickers Chex Mix
Okay, this is not a dish you’re going to make all the time, but for the holidays or an Oscar party, it’s the perfect salty and sweet treat – and did I mention indulgent? Oooo yes, child, it’s indulgent indeed!

Apple Cinnamon Swirl Grilled Cheese
There’s nothing more cozy and comforting for the upcoming fall than a delicious grilled cheese sandwich. Until now. Take your grilled cheese up a notch by making it with cinnamon bread and fresh apple slices. Yep, that dripping you hear is your mouth watering.

Balsamic Strawberry Pizza
I would never ever have imagined topping a chicken pizza with strawberries, but as soon as I tracked down this recipe, I knew I’d have to add it to my list. It looks beyond fantastic!

Baked Brie with Raspberry Jam
I have made this time and time again for gatherings with family and friends. Why? Because it’s always a hit and is always scarfed up! Also, it’s super easy to throw together for any shindig. I love serving the brie with cracked pepper water crackers – Mmmm…

What are your fave savory sweet combos? Have any recipes you’d like to share! Give us the scoop on the comments below!

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Savoring the Moments

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It’s vacation time for us and although our plans have changed a bit over the last few weeks I am excited to have this time and this trip to hang out with my family and just be.  Our trip will be in 3 parts. We will travel from San Luis Obispo to the Redwoods of Santa Cruz and then to a city I  love, San Francisco.

This trip comes at a time when there is a bit of chaos in our lives. Some say the worst time to go away and some would say it’s the best. I am looking forward to using this time to clear my head, be with the people I love the most and experience a different pace and atmosphere.  I’ll be savoring every minute of it.

I’ll savor time with family.  We will be visiting with Bobby’s cousins who have little ones.  I know my kids will enjoy being with them and we will meet the newest little one in the family. I’m already in love.

I’ll savor the moments we’ll share as a family. Just the five of us. Laughing, working together, experiencing something new.  These moments are the ones I want them to remember, and I hope they will want to continue sharing when they are no longer at home.

I’ll savor the nature. We are returning to a campground that the kids love.  As we were deciding where to go this year, the Redwoods was always at the top of their list. It’s absolutely beautiful, surrounded by trees and nature. We will take hikes, camp in tents and make s’mores. I won’t savor the bug bites though.

I’ll savor being off the grid. At least for a little while. It’s one of the best parts of camping.  Not listening to the news. Not getting all those emails.  Not instagramming every moment.  I’ll do that when I get back to town. We need a break every once in a while.

I’ll savor visiting San Francisco.  Especially after camping for four days. It’s one of my favorite places.  The clam chowder at the wharf, the trolley cars, the art and people. I have visited as a young girl, as a college student with friends, as a couple with my husband and as a family.  Each time there is something new to discover.

I’ll savor walking.  I’ll be wearing my fitbit and tracking those steps.  I’m excited to spend most of the daytime outside but hopefully not in the heat.

I’ll savor the coffee. I’ll savor the hot coffee, warm shower and soft bed when we get to SF.

I’ll savor reading. Vacations give me plenty of time to rest my mind, open a book and be taken away.

I’ll savor taking photos with my big camera. Something I don’t do quite as often these days, not with my iPhone always in my pocket. I’ll get to know the settings again, play with the focus and shoot away.  I hope I will be able to capture the details that will make this trip special.

I’ll savor this time away from the business and busyness of life.  School starts for the kids in a month. Work will be crazy when I get back. I have volunteer responsibilities that will start up again. We will be getting ready to send our boy off to college. Our calendar will be full.  Full of wonderful challenges and wonderful experiences. I need this time to get ready for all of that. So I can savor that too.

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