I have been on the other side of this planet twice so far. I’ve been to Japan, Malaysia and Australia (all beautiful countries by the way). I love traveling, but packing can be a real problem and I always feel like I’ve forgotten something, and then there are all those rules on what you can and can’t bring on a flight! I’m also not always able to access my carry on luggage so, I’ve thought of some ways to organize my luggage to make everything easy and accessible to me while on a flight.
Let’s talk about checked luggage first. Usually, this is one big bag. In here, you are going to want to pack all of your clothes, toiletries, your makeup, shoes, swimsuits, an empty purse. DO NOT pack your laptop. You’re not allowed to lock your baggage and with all those hands making sure it gets to your destination, I wouldn’t put anything in there, that I didn’t want to lose. Let me put it this way. If Kris Jenner can have things stolen from her suitcase on the way to Vienna, there’s no promise your stuff won’t get stolen too.
I’ve had this thing ever since I was little and I’d go to camp. I’d have fun for the first couple of days, but once I was past the midpoint of the trip I’d start to get anxiety. I knew in a few days I’d have to go home and there was a lot of stress at home and I felt so GOOD being away from home! This mindset has followed me into adulthood, and my trip to Australia was no exception. About halfway through I started to wonder how I could live in Australia, and not go back to Boston. Honestly. I started thinking how could I make money, and live right here in a little apartment right on Coogee beach? The truth is, home, no matter where I live has been a problem for me because HOME IS A MINDSET! The saying “Home is where your heart is” isn’t too far off actually. The problem was my heart had been hurt a lot at my home in Boston…and I knew very well I couldn’t live at Coogee beach…So I had to start thinking of what I could do to take some of what I was learning back home with me.
In this post, I’m going to be talking about the things you can bring back with you that are going to be more life-changing than anything you can fit into your suitcase!
In the last post, I covered two common reasons why people often don’t take vacations. Now, I’m going to cover what you can do to make the most of your Vacation once you’ve decided to take it. I’m going to use my trip to Australia that I took in December as an example, but I’ve also found an IMMENSE amount of rest in Provincetown which is a two hour drive from where I live, so just because you’re on vacation, doesn’t mean you need to go to the other side of the world to do it. As my therapist has said when I returned from Australia, “Australia experienced you….You didn’t experience Australia”. What that means, is that the happiness, healing and rest came from somewhere within myself, so the location doesn’t really matter much if you have the correct mindset.
School is out for summer!!!! Or at least it’s about to be as summer vacation is on our doorstep here in Massachusetts. That means a lot of kids, and usually, a lot of upturned schedules and vacations abound!
I don’t have kids (yet), but I was raised in a home where my mother cared for everyone (including my father who didn’t really feel the need to support his family, when he had a wife who was so much better at it anyway). The truth is, my mother had to work two jobs at times to keep our home. She homeschooled me until my high school years, she cooked (I rarely remember going out to eat), and cleaned, and shopped for groceries. She was a powerhouse. Truth is, she really really needed a vacation. She was very selfless, and gave so much, but didn’t really have anyone giving back to her. My sisters and I where young and unfortunately kids don’t have the situational awareness that we have as adults. If I knew then what I know now I’d be begging her to take some time off.
That time has passed however, so I’m writing this article for the parents who are giving all they have. You know who you are. You’re running on all cylinders, the last weekend you had to yourself was somewhere before you had kids, and YOU…ARE…EXHAUSTED…and yet, I have noticed you are the last people to go on a vacation! This article is for you guys. You unsung heroes of life. You need time for yourself and I want to if not give you the excuses, then at least the dreams on how you may take a vacation and how to really take it in once you get out there.
Growing up, I spent $30 of my Christmas money, on a Bonsai. I loved it. It was so cute and it gave my “Asian Themed” bedroom (because I was really into martial arts at the time) the perfect touch. However, in Florida, we have these horrible little creatures called sugar ants that seem to find their way into homes every summer to escape the heat. They don’t sting like fire ants, but they are really annoying and seem to get into everything…which is exactly what they did to my poor Bonsai. Overnight it became infested with these little ants. I was young and didn’t know how else to handle an infestation of this manner except to spray my Bonsai quite heavily with an ant killer and it worked! er…kind of. While the ants did die, my Bonsai died too and that was my first introduction to having an indoor house plant.
Social media (like my Instagram) usually shows beautifully styled homes with lush green houseplants everywhere, but more often than not, I hear people complaining about them online. They die, they turn weird colors, remembering to water them seems to be a constant ongoing war and I’m left with the impression that perhaps a houseplant is something you give to someone like a frenemy. The idea seems nice at first, “Oh look at this cute little plant I got you!” but then GAWD FORBID they kill it, and then they’re “the ones who killed the pretty plant you gave them” and even if you don’t say anything, that plant will be hanging like an albatross from around their neck. Trust me, if I give you a houseplant, chances are I’m openly telling you that I don’t like you and I want to give you a really inconvenient gift that now you are responsible for keeping alive.
With Mother’s Day being a focus I decided to add one more post about a book I just finished that has really spoken to my soul as a woman.
I wasn’t taught how to embrace being a woman. I was raised to be quiet. I was raised to care for everyone else but me. I was raised that when people treated me badly, I should “just ignore it”, “get over it” and just accept it. I was taught that having any emotion other than happy and obedient was wrong, and I wanted to be a good girl…so I took that hook line and sinker.
Now at the age of 34, I realized that part of me really wanted to embrace being a woman, but not in the way that I was taught. I didn’t really know what that looked liked or where to even start remaking myself not just as a woman, but as a strong woman. I can’t tell you how frustrating it was to go on Google and not really find much on how to go about finding what it means to be a woman. It was like women knew something I didn’t and it was that “something” I wanted to learn about…but that something turned out to be that I hadn’t been programmed to embrace myself, and it was going to take a lot more than self-love and self-care bubble baths to do that!
While browsing the bookstore before a session with my therapist, I was drawn to this book called “Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D.” (which you can buy with a click on the affiliate link below). Not to sound dramatic, but it was a bit like pulling a sword from a certain enchanted stone. I knew in my heart that I had to get this and read it, and so I did and I was surprised at the deep levels this book spoke to me.
One of my favorite childhood memories was coloring Easter eggs with my sister in the backyard under our maple tree which was much smaller back then. I remember my mother setting up little-colored plastic cups, and filling them with water and vinegar and then we’d watch as the little fizzy color tabs would dye the water. I’d scribble flowers, hearts, and lines on my little egg and then pop it into one of the six colors. Eventually, though, all the eggs seemed to end up the same kind of greenish khaki color from being dipped in too many additional colors. We would then put stickers on them of bunnies, chicks, and flowers and present them proudly to our mother who would say how pretty they are. She would politely ignore multicolor dyed hands of her children in favor of our smiles, and she would dutifully clean up the mess of spilled dye and leftover sticker remnants on the little table outside. As an adult, the smell of vinegar still reminds me of those days.
Oh man! I know some people HATE cleaning but for me, I really enjoy it ESPECIALLY if it’s spring cleaning. To say I just “hate” winter would be an understatement. I absolutely loathe and at times have actual panic around the season. It’s miserable. Everything is dead and it’s so cold that while I don’t want to be stuck in my home, the idea of going out is not all that appealing either. If I’m not careful I can actually get depressed. I sleep longer, it’s harder to get out of bed, my goals can suffer, and it just sucks (sorry for those who love winter).
So the day that it’s warm enough that I can throw all the windows open, it’s like a spiritual experience. I am so in the moment when I feel that first, slightly chilly breeze run through the home. I make a real event of it. I’ll play upbeat music, and really take note of how happy my soul feels even if I know next week is going to bring a cold snap. That first “thawed out” day is as a reminder that better days are ahead, and that things don’t stay bad forever, every season has its end.
February may be a cold month (at least for this ex-southerner) but it’s got a heartwarming holiday to look forward to! While a box of chocolates and a rose are great classic ideas, I’ve sifted through the internet to find some really special meals that are a little more out of the box. Hopefully, this inspires you to try something a little different for that special someone! If you do something cool that isn’t listed and you’d like me to check it out, please tell me about it in the comments!
There is nothing wrong with taking your sweetie out for something sweet to eat, but there’s something special about having your S/O cook for you. I usually cook at home, but when Amin cooks for me, especially if it’s something he knew I would like (seafood or pasta instead of chicken) it’s an easy way to make me swoon. I get to chill out and relax or just talk to him and watch him run around the kitchen (extra points if he cleans up the kitchen after). P.S. It doesn’t have to be valentines for this to happen…just sayn’ but if you’re low on ideas, here are some valentines themed recipes that look as good as they taste!
I am a self-taught artist. My parents were both artists, but that doesn’t mean they were supportive. To be honest, they were only supportive if I was helping out my dad finish his commissions. While I’ve been drawing all my life, I didn’t really see it as anything to be invested in until I moved here to Massachusetts. I’ve come a long way since my first bottle of Acrylic craft paint from my local craft store. I’ve learned about perspective, lighting, and color theory, but there was something that isn’t really taught.
Being an artist is a highly emotional endeavor and if all you’ve been told over and over is “it’s not a real job” or that you’re going to be the proverbial “starving artist” then you’re going to feel fear despite enjoying your passion. I am no different.