Luck Be a Lady

Lady Gaga announced her engagement to her boyfriend, actor Taylor Kinney, on Instagram today…look at her ring! :-)

I. Die.

I. Die.

 

Stunning, right? So. Gorgeous. :-) I love love to pieces, and few things thrill me like a happy couple living a happy life on their own terms. I wish there was more of that to go around! :-)

The Happy Couple :-)

The Happy Couple :-)

 

xxx

Amazing Grace

Did you watch the Grammy awards on Sunday night? It was good, full of performances and interesting attire…exactly what I’m looking for in a music awards show. One of the night’s highlights was the loooooovely Ed Sheeran melting my heart with his performance of “Thinking Out Loud” (one of my favorite songs of all time, no lie), backed by the very handsome John Meyer on a hot pink guitar. Sigh. That was a lot of awesome on that stage at one time. Fantastic! :-) I loved watching my one true love Paul McCartney clapping and dancing along to the music, the divine Sam Smith duetting with Mary J. Blige (holy hell that’s a lot of talent happening there)….there were some really great moments. And then there was this:

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There’s no denying that her body is in tremendous shape, especially for her age. However, there’s something so hard and sinewy about her, don’t you think? Yikes! She doesn’t look like a 56 year old woman – at least not like any 56 year old that I’ve ever seen. As well, whatever she’s done to her face has changed her appearance so much…it just doesn’t look natural. (Ladies – let this be a lesson to you: if a woman like Madonna with all the money and resources possible at her disposal can’t get work done on her face that looks natural, what hope do you have?? Stop messing with your faces!!!) I miss how Madonna used to look…during the Evita years, I thought she was the most stunning woman ever. Her performance on Sunday night didn’t really do it for me, either – which is completely shocking, as I have loved Madonna for 30+ years!! Her music now doesn’t seem to fit for me, either…I’m not sure why. It feels desperate, and like she’s trying way too hard…and she doesn’t need to. She’s Madonna. Needless to say, the entire situation left me wanting a more mature performer, one who has grown and aged as she should have….and thankfully that arrived, in the form of the looooovely Annie Lennox!! She came out to join Hozier on “Take Me To Church“, a song that I love a whole bunch – Annie was bloody radiant, she looked deliriously happy, natural, and LIKE HER SELF. She sounded fantastic, she was appropriately dressed (meaning I didn’t have to see her arse hanging out) – it was such a stark contrast to the image Madonna had painted earlier, of a woman raging and fighting against growing older. There was Annie, laugh lines and wrinkles telling the story of a life well-lived. It was fantastic – and did the heart some good. There’s no shame in getting older, and I’m really bloody tired of the society today that makes it sound like there is. It’s been nearly a year since the Wee One and I went to Paris, and hardly a day goes by that I don’t remember the women that I saw there and the beautiful, natural way that they looked…and I long for it. I don’t spend a whole lot of time fussing with my appearance – it is what it is, and I have come to accept that.  However, I wish that I could head out into the world some days without makeup on…but I don’t dare. I always run in to people that I know, and I can’t  risk frightening them like that! I wish that I lived in a place and time where it was okay to show the grey that exists in the litttle hairs around your temple, the crow’s feet around your eyes, and the shadows that sometimes show up when you haven’t had quite enough sleep.

 

Maybe someday. :-)

 

xxx

 

 

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

This sketch from last night’s Saturday Night Live (with guest host J.K. Simmons) is EVERYTHING – loooove!!!! :-)

Click to see the video! :-)

Click to see the video! :-)

 

Funny, yes? :-) (DISCLAIMER: I’m not advocating any of the hijinks portrayed in this video – I just think it’s really funny. :-) )

 

xxx

Dream On

I subscribe to the daily newsletter from the website Lifehacker, and I kinda love it. There’s usually something in it that speaks to me – but today’s newsletter was more of a holler than a whisper. Behold the post ‘9 Steps To Stop Dreaming And Start Doing’ – I LOVE it!!! :-)

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Having a dream and being a dreamer are two different mindsets. Dreamers are drifters just floating through life with no real plans. One who has a dream, is a doer on the path towards achieving their goal.

Once you decide to remove your head from the clouds, tackle the obstacles that face you, and organize a plan of attack, you become a doer. If you are ready to put in the work, here are 9 steps to stop dreaming and start doing.

1. Accept responsibility for your own actions

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” -Arthur Ashe

It is the most unattractive thing to hear someone constantly whine and complain about their life. Especially when they blame the world for their problems. The whole universe is probably against you, does not care about you, and will deceive you. This does not make any actions, or lack there of, on your behalf their fault. Say this statement out loud, “I am in control of my behavior and choose how to react to circumstances.” Say it everyday. Nothing is more true than that statement.

You can, and need, to start actively controlling your thoughts and emotions. Learn to control your rage when you are angry. When a negative thought slips in, push it right back out. This takes practice because we have been programmed by our environment to behave and think in certain ways. Fight to change your negativity, or you will remain a bitter and miserable person. Use your aggression in a positive way by working out, or put it into your work.

2. Give and receive love and forgiveness

“Learn how to fill your day with POSITIVITY. Think of how your ideas CAN work, not how it won’t work.” -Steve Harvey

Once you harness your inner power of controlling your thoughts and emotions, it is time to start focusing on positivity. The best way to start is by accepting others and forgiving the people who have caused you pain. Giving love and forgiveness really isn’t about giving at all. It is about you healing by letting go of negative relationships. If these people really love and care about you, they will fight for you. If you walk away and never hear from them again, you know they never cared, so why should you? Your grudges make you focus on people who do not deserve your time or attention. Anger leaves you feeling irrational, depressed, deceived, sad, regretful, and lonely. Learning to truly forgive those who hurt you will lift a thousand pounds of burden off your shoulders. You will free your mind and be able to start working on your dream.

dreams-2

3. Accept yourself

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

Now that you are focusing on living a positive life, it is time to look in the mirror and love what you see. Physically and mentally. No one is perfect. It is time to accept that you will never be what society expects you to be. Follow your intuitions. Do not let someone else dictate your life. That only leads to a boring, predictable, miserable, and mediocre life. Do what makes you happy instead of just dreaming about it. Love yourself flaws and all.

4. Choose who you surround yourself with wisely

“We met for a reason, either you’re a blessing or a lesson.” -LoveQuotesPlus.com

This journey will end many relationships in your life. The people who are not supportive, who are negative, and who use you need to go! At first you may feel lonely and insecure. If you focus on you instead of them, these feelings will go away. It is time to move on. It is time to let go. The ones who truly care about you, respect you, and accept you for who you really are will stay. They will support you throughout your journey. These relationships will become more valuable to you than ever before. If you have given your all to a relationship, and they do not give back, stop chasing after them the next time they leave. You will thank yourself in the long run.

5. Learn to ignore the negativity from others

“I don’t know what the key to success is, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.” -Bill Cosby

Now that you are starting on your journey, you will have people who will try their best to pull you down. That’s why the steps above are necessary to complete before starting. If you have prepared yourself for the haters, you will be able to rise above. It is easier to criticize others than work on yourself. Knowing this gives you peace about where you are in life and where they are. You are obviously ahead, even if it doesn’t look like it to others. Keep moving on and let them talk.

dreams_quote_2

6. Carefully lay out your plans

“Failure is not the opposite of success, inaction is.” -Rois Liano

Freeing your mind from your emotional baggage gives you room to focus on your dreams. Now that you have a clear picture, it is time to take action. To be a doer, you need a game plan. Write your end goal at the top of a sheet of paper. Below, write out the steps you plan to take to get there in an organized, realistic fashion. Say your goal is to become a nurse. Your first step should probably be volunteering at your local hospital to see if you would really enjoy it. Next maybe list the schools you are interested in applying to. The third step could be to gather your necessary paperwork to apply to colleges. See what I am doing here? The sum of all the little tasks you do equals your goal. Lay it out in daily, weekly, monthly tasks that will get you closer to your dream.

7. Do SOMETHING, ANYTHING

“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” -Henry David Thoreau

Many people will get to step 6 and stop. Your plan does not come to fruition magically. You have to now take action to get yourself there. So start researching, traveling, volunteering, writing, calling, interviewing, working out, or whatever opportunity you can find to get you moving forward. You may have to take on many different hats to get you there. Start where you can, do whatever you can, this is where the physical work begins.

8. Embrace failures and detours along the way

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” -Thomas Edison

We all have epic failures in life. It is time to stop viewing these failures as an end all. Failure is an inevitable part of success. Ask any highly successful person if they’ve ever failed, and they will tell you they have 100 times. Failure only means to try a different way. Start viewing failures as a positive experience. How can we learn without failing? Failures result from trying. People who avoid failures at all costs are content with a mediocre life. We are not these people. We want true happiness and inner peace. I remember going to work in a past career and absolutely dreading it. I now think about work and feel peaceful and happy. It’s still hard work, it’s just work that I am passionate about.

As you begin the journey of pursuing your dream, it may change a little, or a lot, along the way. Your passion is already programmed inside you. Uncover your God-given gift through this process and keep moving forward no matter what may come.

DreamMeaningDreamInterpretation

9. Network and use resources to your advantage

“Opportunities don’t happen. You create them.” -Chris Grosser

You will realize, eventually, that you need others to help you get to your goal. Whether it is in absorbing information and experience from them, or getting recognized for your talent. Look online for good informative websites, look for classes or lectures where you can learn and connect with others. Drop the pride and shamelessly promote yourself with your work and/or knowledge. Whatever you can find, whoever will help, take it seriously. Opening one door can lead to many more opportunities.

Start at step one. Do not pass go and do not collect $200. If you commit to these 9 steps to stop dreaming and start doing, you are facing your fears head on and taking a leap of faith. Congratulations, your life will now truly begin. Please note this will be hard and sometimes not fun. Stay focused, but don’t forget to take time to clear your mind and relax along the way. I hope you now feel inspired to step out of your comfort zone, and risk being happy.

“Dreams are like floating down a lazy river. The path to success is like riding a roller coaster. Find the courage to get on the roller coaster, and stay on the ride until you puke.” -Margaux Daughtry

 

Don’t you just LOVE this???! I absolutely do – there are so many good steps there to help guide us along the path. I’m a doer in life, no ifs ands or buts about it. I like to do things, and once I get a notion in me wee noggin, I’m off and running. This usually serves me well – but not always. There have been more than my share of disasters, but I keep on trying. :)  I really love #4, #5, and #6 in particular – let me tell you why. #4 urges you to carefully choose who you surround yourself with…and this is one that I am FINALLY learning. I used to love everybody, see the best in everybody, and be such a bloody Pollyanna that it wasn’t even funny. People would take advantage of me right, left, and center – and you know why? Because I let them. There are people who only know me when they want something (ie: borrow money or ask me to drive them somewhere) – I don’t need that kind of crap and negativity…and neither do you, my dear. Surround yourself with people who think you are the cats pyjamas – it’ll make you feel great! :)

I think #5 is awesome advice, too – and something that I have become REALLY good at lately. I hear all sorts of misery and negativity in a day – and I ignore it. All of it. What other people think of me is NONE of my business – don’t know, don’t care. I seem to find myself surrounded by people who whine and complain all the bloody time about their lives – I’m not interested in hearing it. I know that makes me sound like a real heartless bitch, but I promise that I’m not. When people are having a hard time, I am the first person to show up, casserole in hand, offering to help. However, when people aren’t interested in helping themselves and only want to play the victim – I’m out. I’ve zero interest in that kind of nonsense – life is too damn short!

Finally, #6 is a great idea – write down what you want. Put the words in front of you, on paper – it makes them real, and gives you power to make it happen. I am crazy about creating a list of manageable steps that will help you achieve that dream – I’ve been doing this for a couple of decades now, and this practice has served me verrrrrrrry well. There’ve been times when I’ve had to adjust the steps and make them even smaller and more specific, but I’ve achieved what I was after eventually. SUCH a good strategy! :)

 

I used to work with a lady whose job it was to work with high school seniors and coach them through the college application process – something SUPER important. She had the most amazing gift of walking the line between fostering the wildest dreams of students and keeping their expectations real and manageable. I’ve asked her about that many times, and she says that it’s so important to temper one’s dreams and passions with a bit of reality, but still keep the dream burning and alive because, well….you just never know. Isn’t that magical? You just never know. :) I love it. :)

xxx

Sophia

The Huffington Post is putting together a new feature called ‘Sophia: Life Lessons from Fascinating People’ – and it sounds AWESOME! :) Here’s a description:

o-SOPHIA-PROJECT-facebook

Think of someone you admire — a talented artist or scientist, entrepreneur or adventurer.

Do you know what their great regret in life is? What advice would they share about parenting, or aging, or finding fulfillment? What book has had the greatest impact on their life?

Chances are you don’t know. Which is why we’ve created Sophia, a project to collect life lessons from fascinating people.

Here’s how it works. We’re conducting hundreds of long-form interviews with accomplished individuals, asking them to share stories and advice about topics that are central to a well-lived life — happiness, relationships, aging, work, parenting, habits and routines, to name a few.

We’ll publish these personal conversations on HuffPost, and we’ll also use the lessons our guests share to build a special platform (think of it as ‘Yelp for wisdom’) that organizes their collective insights by topic.

In the coming weeks we’ll feature life lessons from Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners, successful executives, engineers, authors and athletes, dynamic thinkers and doers of all stripes. If you want their practical wisdom delivered straight to you, follow Sophia on Facebook or subscribe to our email newsletter.

The heart of this project is the set of questions we pose to each guest. Some of the questions elicit weighty responses, i.e., Have you had any recent realizations about living a rewarding life?

Other questions are more practical, i.e., What’s the greatest travel journey you’ve taken that you’d recommend to others? What’s the most meaningful gift you’ve received?

Each individual’s answers are personal and unique, but they are all also broadly useful. So follow or subscribe for lessons, ideas and insights you can apply to your own life. Get in touch with us at sophia [at] huffingtonpost.com; we read every note. Also, we’re always on the lookout for new guests. If you have suggestions, including someone wise and insightful in your own life, let us know.

 

 

Sounds cool, eh? I know! I’m SO excited to see who they choose, and the questions themselves are pretty great! :) You can see a complete list here, but I thought we could have some fun and look at a section at a time together – I will put my answers beside each question in bright blue. You in? :)

The first section is…Life lessons, happiness and fulfillment:

  • What are some key beliefs you hold about living a fulfilling and successful life? / Have you had any recent realizations about living a rewarding life? I believe that a fulfilling and successful life is one that is full of laughter and fun, both in the workplace and the home. Being a success means that somehow, somewhere this world is a better place because I’ve been a part of it. I feel fulfilled at the end of the day, when I am lying in bed in the home that I have worked so hard to make for the Muppet and I, I hear her little feet prancing around upstairs, and I feel absolutely content with the world. I have had some realizations about living a rewarding life recently, in fact – the older I get, the less interested I am in measuring my success against that of those around me, or judging my worth in terms of the cost of my latest handbag or the number of jewels on my hands. Personal happiness and fulfillment are mattering more and more to me every day – and I am all about the pursuit of that happiness. It’s kind of liberating – and awesome. :)
  • What is a great regret of your life? I regret that I haven’t always treated people as kindly as I should have. I have been impatient, and judgmental…sometimes downright unkind. That’s unfortunate – shame on me….I’m glad that I know better now. I believe that what Oprah says is true: when you know better, you do better. You should try embracing that phrase as a guiding philosophy for yourself – it’s amazingly freeing, and it makes it easier to forgive those who have done you wrong. Oprah rules! :)
  • How have your efforts to make yourself happy developed and changed? What has worked and what failed? I have only been successful in the area of changing myself and (hopefully) becoming a better person since I quit trying so bloody hard to be all things to all people. I used to continually lose sight of me and who I was because I was so busy becoming who I thought that those around me wanted me to be. Why? What was that all about? I will tell you what it was – a colossal waste of time. There’s nothing at all wrong with me as I am, and anybody who thinks otherwise needs to bugger off, and not let the door catch their arse on the way out. Ridiculous. I’m glad that I turned 40 last year, because, while I had been making strides in this direction for the past 3-5 years or so, it was only when I turned 40 that somehow a magical switch was flipped, and I truly felt free of all that pressure to be someone I’m not. It’s been awesome. :) Yaaa me! :)
  • What is your greatest flaw? Crikey…how much time have you got? I have A LOT of flaws! I think perhaps my greatest flaw is my struggle to believe that I am more than enough as I am. That and my weakness for good food. ;) (check out my considerable arse if you’d like proof of that last one! ;) )
  • As you look at your life so far, were there any turning points, any key events or experiences that changed the course of your life and set you on a different track? What happened and what did you learn? Hmmm….moving out of Grade 7 and in to Grade 8 was extremely impactful on my life (I made new friends that I love with all my heart and I can’t fathom my life without them), my dad being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at such a young age did a lot to change the course of my life (not to mention what it’s done to my outlook on aging and my own mortality), moving to England for awhile was another decision that was an EXTREMELY good idea (I could – and probably should – write volumes about that experience and all that I learned), breaking my left wrist at the age of 12 and having it set wrong has had a massive effect on my life (that I totally could have done without, thankyouverymuch)….there’s been a lot of pivotal moments for me. Not all of them have been good, but each has contributed to making me the kick-ass chick you see before you, so…perhaps they were worth it. :)
  • Memories are an important part of happiness. Do you use any interesting techniques to keep track of your memories? I.e., Do you keep a type of journal or diary? I keep up with a daytimer-type of calendar book – I write in it every day (appointments, things to remember, etc), and I use it as a way to keep track of movies I see, restaurants I try, that type of thing. I also make notes in it about stuff that happens during the day, but I’ve not been keeping a proper journal or diary in recent years…that’s why I have Pretty Thing, y’all! ;) This blog has been an excellent way for me to keep track of my life, to share my thoughts and ideas with all of you – and hearing back from you is pretty much the best stuff EVER! So, thanks! :)
  • Many people have had deeply difficult or stressful experiences but learned valuable lessons from them. Is that true for you? What did you learn? My shitty track record with relationships has been deeply difficult and stressful for me (but apparently my foibles in this department are endlessly amusing to my friends! ;) ), but I have learned a lot of valuable things from them – I think I’ve learned what I want in life, as well as what I don’t want. I’ve had some other life experiences that have run the gamut from difficult to massively traumatic that have been incredible learning experiences as well, so I try to frame them that way when I think about them (which isn’t often – I’m done beating myself up for long ago things….no more digging up bones!). That which hasn’t killed me has made me stronger – I’m about at the point where I could give the Hulk a run for his money! ;)
  • What is something minor or seemingly insignificant in your life that actually contributes greatly to your happiness? Pretty Thing, actually! My wee little blog started in such an innocent way, and it has grown to be a place where I share my thoughts/ideas/feelings/rants/stupid ideas with you…and it fills me with incredible happiness! I love the act of writing – I’ve no idea if I’m any good at it or not, but it makes me happy, so…I guess there’s that. :) I love hearing from each and every one of you, and I treasure and appreciate all of your feedback (even the negative stuff, I promise!). So – thank you. :) You make me happy. :)
  • What characterizes the periods of your life that you felt were most fulfilling, or least fulfilling? Are there any common threads? The most fulfilling period of my life is right now: being a mama to my Wee One is the greatest thing I’ve ever done hands down, and my heart nearly bursts with love and pride when I think of her. She is the most magnificent creature, and I am consistently amazed that she is mine and I get to keep her. She’s glorious! :) I am also exactly where I am meant to be in terms of my career – I have one seriously fabulous job, and I love it more and more each day. I feel like I am making a real difference here, and what is better than that? Not a lot. :)
  • Have you ever been screwed over? What happened and how did you respond? It would probably take less time to tell you how I haven’t been screwed over…the list is far too long to share with you here. What tends to happen is that people mistake my kindness for weakness, and try to take advantage of me…and then I  tend to let them for awhile because I am so bloody polite. Once I’ve had enough (and my threshold for bullshit is higher than most mere mortals, I believe), all hell breaks loose – and then it’s over. I’m not a person that holds a grudge for terribly long (even when I should), so I get mad, I get over it, and I move on. I am sure that I have screwed people over in my time (not usually on purpose – I generally try to be a nice girl), so I guess what goes around comes around, eh?
  • Have you done anything recently for the first time, some unique experience or accomplishment? I don’t know that I’ve had any new experiences recently, but I am looking forward to having some soon! I’m planning to take a road trip with my Muppet this spring, to go and see some new sights, to have some girl time with her. I am hoping that one of these days my girlfriends from home and I can coordinate a trip together somewhere fun – that would be awesome! :) Another big experience that I am working on for myself is that I want to take a major epic trip alone – I think it will be amazing. :)
  • What do you think about when you think about death? The idea of death used to not bother me so much – but then I became a mama, and now it makes me sick. The thought of not seeing my baby girl grow up fills me with such awful dread that I have found myself living so much more carefully these days – it’s kind of comical. I hope that I will live to a ripe old age, but the Alzheimer’s in my family (my Dad) has me frightened. While I know that there is absolutely bugger all that I can do about it, it’s still a fear. I just want to live long enough to see my baby girl find her way in this world – and then every day after that will be a gift. :)
  • Is there anything out of the ordinary you want to accomplish before you die? Hmm. I want to write a book and see it published. I want to do something that is so awesome that somebody somewhere makes a speech about me and how my actions made their life better. :) I want to see Bali, and India, and Thailand, and South America before I am too damn old and can’t enjoy them. I want to do this hike to Machu Picchu VERY SOON (it’s a hike along the Lares Trail to Machu Picchu and the Urubamba Valley, the Sacred Valley of the Incas. I know what you’re thinking…”Since when does that prissy princess want to hike? All she does is wear dresses and pretty shoes every damn day of her life!!!!” However, I think – no, make that I KNOW  – it’ll be an awesome life-changing experience. Who’s in to come with me?!??) Truth be told, there are a MILLION things that I have left to do in this lifetime – and I know that I need to hurry up, as time waits for nobody.

 

This was SO much fun…I hope that you will take a bit of time, review these questions and think about your answers as well…if you want to share them with me, I’ll be happy to read them and/or listen to you talk about them. It’ll be fun! :) Stay tuned for the next section – I can’t wait! :)

 

xxx

 

Thinking Out Loud – Repost

I originally posted this last September, but wanted to share it again today. This world desperately needs more love…especially the good kind, like this:

 

This is how people should feel about each other when they are in love:

Click video to hear this song performed live

When your legs don’t work like they used to before
And I can’t sweep you off of your feet
Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love?
Will your eyes still smile from your cheeks?

And, darling, I will be loving you ’til we’re 70
And, baby, my heart could still fall as hard at 23
And I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe just the touch of a hand
Well, me—I fall in love with you every single day
And I just wanna tell you I am

So honey now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
I’m thinking out loud
That maybe we found love right where we are

When my hair’s all but gone and my memory fades
And the crowds don’t remember my name
When my hands don’t play the strings the same way
I know you will still love me the same

‘Cause honey your soul could never grow old, it’s evergreen
And, baby, your smile’s forever in my mind and memory
I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe it’s all part of a plan
Well, I’ll just keep on making the same mistakes
Hoping that you’ll understand

But, baby, now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
Thinking out loud
That maybe we found love right where we are

So, baby, now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Oh, darling, place your head on my beating heart
I’m thinking out loud
That maybe we found love right where we are
Oh, baby, we found love right where we are
And we found love right where we are 

 

 

Don’t you just love this song? Me, too…”kiss me under the light of a thousand stars / place your head on my beating heart”? Come on…that’s magic, that is. Love. :-)

I hope you’re finding love right where you are. :-)

 

xxx

The Edge of Glory

While driving home just now, I happened across a replay of Lady Gaga singing “Gypsy” live on the Howard Stern show. I damn near had to pull over as I find this performance so bloody touching it’s not even funny….my eyes fill up with moisture, my heart feels all weird and fuzzy, it just kills me. Kills. Me. Here it is – I hope you enjoy it, too :-)

Click on the image to link to the performance:-)

Click on the image to link to the performance:-)

 

image
Thought that I would be alone forever
But I won’t be tonight
I’m a man without a home
But I think with you I can spend my life
And you’ll be my little gypsy princess
Pack your bags and we can chase the sunset
Bust the rearview and fire up the jets
‘Cause it’s you and me
Baby, for life

 

Gorgeous, eh? Love.  ❤️❤️❤️

 

Xxx

Hot Stuff

How was your Christmas, my lovelies? I hope you had a fab time surrounded by those that make you happiest, and I hope that Santa was super-good to you as well. :-) As we charge towards the end of 2014, I want to do a wee round up of some of my favorite stuff from this past year. Are you ready? Here we go! :-)

1) The LG G3 Phone

LG G3

LG G3

I got the Samsung Galaxy 5 when it was released amidst a flurry of hype and hope in April…and I bloody hated it. Completely. Totally. Hated. It. :-( So, I wasn’t terribly bummed when I tripped and dropped it in August, breaking the screen – with no insurance replacement available. I did some maneuvering and worked my way into a new phone – this time, I let the sales guy talk me into the G3, and I’m pretty glad I did. I kind of LOVE this phone – the camera is awesome, the Bluetooth sound quality is really good, and it’s overall pretty damn decent. I use my phone for EVERYTHING, so I tend to be very hard on them…but this one is holding up remarkably well so far. I’m optimistic, friends! :-)

 

2) The new show “Girl Meets World” (the theme song, in particular)

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I am SO happy that my child can watch this show, that she can revel in the offspring of Cory and Topanga and that she gets to partake in a character with the name of Farkle. Love. ❤️ (PS: Bonus points for the Christmas episode – Shawn and Cory were reunited!!!)

 

3) The Instagram Stream of Beth Stern, Howard’s Very Lovely Wife

Yoda when they first rescued him - and Yoda now. See the difference love can make? :-)

Yoda when they first rescued him – and Yoda now. See the difference love can make? :-)

My Wee One and I are obsessed with the lovely Beth and her foster kittens – we love their names, the kitten room, their adventures…the whole nine yards. Love. The big love story of the year has been Yoda, a fluffy white cat that they took in; he was abused, sick, in terrible shape, and suffering from a heart condition. The Sterns nursed him back to health, and they gave him a purpose – he raises their foster kittens, giving them baths, caring for them, and showers them with love. It’s just gorgeous to watch via Instagram – Beth wrote a children’s book ‘Yoda: The Story of a Cat and His Kittens’ which my Wee One got for Chistmas. It’s a sweet book, and raises money for the North Shore Animal League, so a very worthy cause. Yoda is straight-up the most adorable cat ever…and Beth’s Intagram is guaranteed to make your heart feel as fuzzy as Yoda’s tummy. :-)

 

4) Andy Cohen and his book “The Andy Cohen Diaries”

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I knew who Andy Cohen was because I watch “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and “Vanderpump Rules” (don’t judge me), but I’ve never seen his show and I knew zero about him. Then I heard an interview with Andy on Howard Stern, and got really interested in him and decided to give the book a read…I friggin’ loved it!! LOVED IT!!! Andy is my spirit animal and has the life that I want!! No lie!! I think he’s got a hell of a gig, his work is varied and so bloody interesting it’s not even funny…and his social life is the stuff of my dreams. For. Real. And don’t even get me started on his dog Wacha. Love. ❤️ (***Note: I watch “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and “Vanderpump Rules” for a very stupid and selfish reason – while these people are much thinner, richer, and more beautiful than I will ever be…the majority of them are DUMB, and very, very ugly on the inside, which brings me unspeakable joy and makes me feel better about myself in a really shallow, superficial way. I’m horrible. I know. Sorry.)

 

5) Trader Joe’s

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I continue to be madly in love with every single thing from Trader Joe’s…the food, the wine, the cleaning products, the everything. Madly. In. Love. It’s ridiculous. The Wee One and I make trips there all the time to stock up on bags of teeny apples (that she worships), bottles of wine (that I worship), and all sorts of goodies. :-) They have magical chocolate, an assortment of appetizers that’ll change your damn life, and don’t even get me started on the cheese. I could live in the cheese cooler there forever and die one happy (though constipated) girl. ;-) If you have a Trader Joe’s nearby, go and check out the affordable goodies – you won’t be disappointed! :-)

 

6) Vinatarta

God bless the Icelander who thought of this!!

God bless the Icelander who thought of this!!

This Icelandic Christmas cake would make the list of my favorite things every single year for the entirety of my life, no exaggeration….I love it THAT much. :-) It’s made of layers of sugar cookie-type rounds, with a slightly sweet prune filling (which sounds gross to people, but SO isn’t – trust me on this one). It also contains the tears of angels, and every good memory of my childhood. Vinatarta was a staple in my largely Icelandic community growing up, and to me, it’s not Christmas without one. Luckily, I got one sent to me from home (yaaaaa!!!!!), and I’ve been eating that bad boy like it was my bloody job (which it should be – I am damn good at it!!). I love vinatarta, and all the beautiful memories that each bite conjures up. Now, if I could just master the art of making the brilliant Icleandic pancakes called ponnokukur, we’d be set! :-)

 

7) Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb Perfume

Heaven :-)

Heaven :-)

I got a bottle of this perfume for Christmas this year, and I had forgotten how much I loved it. I had it a few years ago, and thought it was gorgeous…and I am even more in love with it now than I was before. Beautiful!!! :-) ❤️❤️❤️

 

8) The Documentary ‘REM by MTV ‘

Click on the link for REM's amazing "Losing My Religion" :-)

Click on the link for REM’s amazing “Losing My Religion” :-)

This 2014 documentary, made by MTV, spans the amazing career of music greats REM, a band that’s often overlooked…but really ought not be. They made a lot of great music, including the soundtrack of my life for about ten years, and watching this program took me right back to the late ’80s – late ’90s…and how I longed for it again. The fashion (those bloody baby doll dresses call to me every single night in my dreams, I want them so badly), the hair (although, let’s be real – my hair today is still pretty bloody big, so….perhaps I’m still doing ’80s/’90s hair. But, like I always say, ‘the higher the hair, the closer to God!’), the deep lipstick colors….I bloody love it all. The documentary featured extensive interviews, footage of shows, everything….it was fantastic. You really ought to check it out! :-)

 

9) What I’ve Been Reading

Love the book - LOVE the man! :-)

Love the book – LOVE the man! :-)

Reading is always awesome, but this has been a great year for books – I’ve read a bunch of awesome ones! A real highlight was the Neil Patrick Harris ‘Choose Your Own Autobiography’ – such a great read, and a seriously clever concept. Written in the style of those choose your own adventure books from your childhood, the book was such good fun, with more than a dose of cheek and great stories. I loved it! I love him and think he is the very best example of what a person should be – such a gentleman, and so much talent! :-) Amy Poehler’s book ‘Yes, Please!’ is great, too…a really good story of the long build to success, and not having your big break happen over night. I also left Amy’s book with a really strong sense of the importance of  believing in yourself – she always knew that she was doing precisely what she was meant to be doing, and she never deviated from that, even when success seemed about a million miles away. I friggin’ LOVE that self-belief, don’t you? I need some of that. :-) Apparently I’m getting old or something, because the bulk of my reading this year was non-fiction: autobiography, biography, that sort of thing. I have ‘The Goldfinch’ ready to go on my Kindle, but haven’t got to it yet….I will. :-) After that, I’ve got nothing lined up to read, so….I’m always looking for great book recommendations – fiction and non, so if you’ve got some great reads to share, send ‘em my way!!! :-)

 

10) What I’ve Seen At The Movies

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I’ve enjoyed some great movies this year – probably because I completely changed up my approach to movie going. I’ve pretty much stopped going to see big budget movies at regular theaters (unless they are based on books I liked – like ‘Gone Girl’ or feature actors that I absolutely adore), and I’ve stuck with going to see smaller movies at the Bijou Theatre here in San Antonio – and I could not be happier with my choice. I’ve seen GREAT movies, there’s no cell service down in the theaters (so nobody bugs me – yaa!!), they serve me wine while I watch the movies (always a good idea), and the place is never crowded. Win win WIN, friends!! I saw ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ there and loved it with every ounce of my being (I just watched it again this week – loved it again), ‘Boyhood’ (a friggin’ filmmaking revelation if ever there was), ‘Birdman’ (so so SO good), and ‘The Theory of Everything’ (Eddie Redmayne’s performance was breathtaking)…I would go there every week if my schedule would allow, I love that place – and the experience it offers – that much. It’s just so bloody pleasant and civilized – something that I find is becoming increasingly rare these days. I’m sure that makes me sound snotty, and forgive me if it does, but it’s true. I was in Starbucks today waiting for my coffee order (Tall Skinny Peppermint Mocha) when two kids started a fistfight in front of me – they weren’t rough housing, they were fighting, while their stupid parent was oblivious. I forgot that I wasn’t at work, put on my educator voice and barked, “Oy!!! What are you doing? Stop it! Now!!” They froze, moved apart, muttered, “Yes, ma’am”, and shuffled back to their parents. Now, while I was pleased that I hadn’t lost my touch in the week away from work, why should I need to sharpen my skills in a coffee shop on a pair of hooligans in training while their parent is stood right there? Uncivilized. I just don’t get it. Sorry…that was a rather long aside. Anyway – if you aren’t checking out the smaller movie scene, do yourself a favor and give them a look. You won’t be disappointed – and if you see me at the Bijou, be sure to wave. :-)

 

So….this was just a sampling of the things I loved about this year – this list could have easily been about 1479 items long, no joke. Not a day has gone by that I’ve not seen a bunch of things to love, I’ve tasted amazing food, consumed insanely delicious drinks, heard gorgeous music, smelled beautiful smells….there’s just a lot of beauty around us, folks. The magic is found in taking the time to look around and notice it. Thank you for taking the time to stop by Pretty Things and share some great moments with me – I treasure and value every second we spend together. :-) I’m looking forward to a brand new, shiny sparkly year full of great things for us to love. :-) Happy New Year, my lovelies!!! :-)

xxx

In The Pink

Do you get embarrassed easily? I don’t….for most things. I am the lethal combination of possessing no filter and zero shame, so…there’s usually all sorts of wreckage smoking by the time each day is over, and I’m rarely bothered about any of it. However, there are certain things that embarrass the living hell out of me – and they are SO weird. Let’s take a look, shall we?

1) Dancing in public

There was a time when I was a public-dancing fool, when I shook my arse (and everything else) at the slightest provocation, and I did that shit like it was my job. I looooved dancing, and it mattered not one iota to me that I had two left feet and no rhythm whatsoever…who cares???! Dancing was awesome!! However, I moved away from my sweet little hometown, home of dancing greats such as Sandy B, Colleen A, and their aerobic Jane Fonda-esque moves…and Lisa L, originator of the great arm roll (a dance move where you lean forward, arse wayyyyyout, bob up and down at the waist like a chicken, and roll your arms over each other like a barrel in front of you – the reality of it is even better than this description, for reals)…and found real people of rhythm. I knew that I was out of my league. I wasn’t at the Community Hall anymore, purposely shaking my groove thang next to these dancing spastics in the hopes that I’d look better by comparison….what was I going to do? I’ll tell you what I did – I quit dancing. Done. No more rump shaking for me (probably a good thing by public safety standards, as I’ve got A LOT of rump and all that shaking could be dangerous). I kind of miss it. When I’m in my house, I jig all over the place, frequently bouncing around the house like Meredith and Cristina from ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ (if those women had jiggly bits)….but in public, I’m the master of the head bob. That’s it. It’s dumb of me, I know, but I think that I resemble Elaine from ‘Seinfeld’ when I dance, so I don’t do it. See Exhibit A:

Click on the image to see what I look like when I dance! :-)

Click on the image to see what I look like when I dance! :-)

 

I think I should embrace this philosophy instead:

Click on the image for the video :-)

Click on the image for the video :-)

 

 

2) Farting in bed

Remember this hellacious momen from ‘Sex and the City’? I do. It scarred me for life…because it’s happened. More than once. To Me. Ugh. I die.

 

Click the video and prepare to giggle. If you don't, there's something wrong with you.

Click the video and prepare to giggle. If you don’t, there’s something wrong with you.

 

3) People you don’t know serenading you with music

There are restaurants in San Antonio that I avoid because, despite their good food, they also have roving mariachi bands…and I don’t know what to do when they come near. Do I look at them? For how long? Do I continue eating? Talking? Drinking? I don’t know what to do and it stresses me out!!! Argh!!! A few years ago, a former student invited me to a concert she was doing – she performed with a mariachi band, and sang beautifully (she had CDs and everything!). While at the performance, she announced that she had a special guest of honor there – her teacher and her family! The crowd cheered, I gave a little wave and wanted to die of embarrassment, and tried to get back to chowing down on my flauta. However, the surprises weren’t over – she announced that brand new band singer Juan was going to celebrate my honored attendance by singing a song to me.  I didn’t know what to do, or where to go…so I sat, smile frozen on my face, and prayed it would be over soon. Juan was about 14 years old, dressed in mariachi finery, and on bended knee in front of me singing a romantic song….me, old enough to have birthed him. It was mortifying, I didn’t know where to look – and I didn’t have a hot clue what he was singing about because it was en espagnol. The worst part was that the bloody song lasted 12 minutes (could have been the Spanish version of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ perhaps?). It was torturous….but bless Juan’s heart for having the fortitude to keep staring romantically at me for all that time, and for not falling over whilst on bended knee. I bet that Juan will make a kick-ass husband some day! :-)

Not Juan, sadly.

Not Juan, sadly.

 

4) Bad manners

I find poor manners to be so totally embarrassing….I can hardly stand it. I get really irritated when people exhibit no manners or class, but then I get so embarrassed if they are with me and do it in front of others. Argh! Case in point – a number of years ago, I invited someone that I knew to spend a holiday dinner with my family and I. This person exhibited such a complete and utter lack of manners that I was totally appalled, and SO embarrassed. No explanation was offered…nothing. I eventually wrote the following email to this offender (this is an excerpt – there’s far more to it):

I have been waiting to see how long it would take you to reach out and talk to me about things, and I have come to the conclusion that the answer is a very long time to never, so…I guess I will take the initiative.
I was really hurt by what went down when you came over to my house. Do you know why I told you that I preferred to do the cooking myself? It was because you had been so critical of me and my ideas for dinner whenever I shared them with you. I spend most of my days being critical of myself – I don’t need to hear it from you. I was pretty embarrassed, I will tell you honestly, with things that day. Did you happen to notice that no matter what I asked you, offered you, etc , that you NOT ONCE said ‘please’ or ‘thank you’? You did the same to my parents…and guess what? I noticed – as did everyone else. I simply don’t know what to say about a lack of manners…I don’t get it. I understand that as a Canadian I am probably more obsessed with etiquette and manners than the regular person, but…you know that about me already. Is it so hard to be polite? I’m doubtful. Perhaps you don’t feel that I deserve thank yous, is that it? I paid for a dinner that we had shared a couple of days before this family gathering…and you said nothing. I thanked you for having dinner with me – and you said NOTHING. You didn’t even have the decency to say thank you for dinner.  I was so shocked that I couldn’t leave quick enough – I’m sure you noticed. I just don’t get it.

The funny thing about this email? I never sent it. I didn’t see the point…but I kept it to remind myself of how this felt. Truthfully, anyone who exhibits such a complete and utter lack of class wasn’t worthy of my attention or thought. Grr. Whatever. This taught me to be thoughtful – and only reinforced my idea that manners are important, and that people without them are not the kind of people that I want to be around. Ick.

 

5) Looking stupid

I get very embarrassed when I think that I look stupid and that people are laughing at me.  I don’t mean all the time….I mean when I’m sharing emotions or the few rare times that I’m actually being serious. Most of the time, I act kind of silly and goofy, using lightheartedness and humor to mask what I’m really feeling. Very rarely, however, I will lay my heart out on the table….and look out if I think I’m being mocked.  I get so embarrassed, shut down completely, and try desperately to hide (not unlike Carrie when she burrowed under the blankets in shame post-fart up there in that video). This is very stupid thinking, I rationally know….I need to learn to own my emotions and be up front about it all, but….I’m pretty sure I need years of therapy to get to that place. Anyone interested in taking on a new patient??! ;-)

 

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Now….how about you? What gets you blushing, friends? :)

 

xxx