Happy Birthday To Me!!! :-)

This past week was my birthday…and I had one of the very best days! If I had known that turning 40 was going to be so awesome, I’d have done it ages ago!!! Let’s take a look at the festivities, shall we? :-)

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Ta-dah!!! :-)

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Me...I'm 40!!! :-)

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Hahaha!! :-)

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Some smartasses I know toilet papered my house...I love them :-)

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A gift from my boss - she gets me :-)

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Flowers from my lovely coworkers :-)

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My darling friend made this fabulous cake for me - yummy!! :-)

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A Hurricane from Pat O'Brien's :-)

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I wore my moustache glasses pretty much all day - they're still in my purse, let me know if you want me to model them for you :-)

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A gift bag - I so love how some people really get me :-)

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The duelling pianos at Pat O'Brien's...So. Much. Fun. :-)

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The Spazmatics stage at the Bluebonnet Palace :-)

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My boss thinks she's funny with these office decorations...I agree, but shh don't tell her! ;-)

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My new cape...I'm going to wear it for realz!!!

My conclusions from this week? I know the very best people, they care about me a whole big bunch…and I’m the luckiest girl alive. :-) Thanks to all of the cast of characters who made my week so lovely…you’re all the best! :-)

Xxx

Change Your Mind

I’ve had some time recently to take a few quiet moments and take stock of a few things…I’ve been feeling really pensive and introspective – must be the impending Big Birthday (3 weeks to go!). This past week away from work – while action-packed and full of Paris fun – was a beautiful respite in the midst of the busiest, most chaotic – yet amazing – year I’ve ever had. There have been a hell of a lot of changes for me since last summer, and the majority of them have been really great – but all of these wonderful things have left me with little time to myself. The bits of free time I do have are so precious, and I’ve decided that I need to spend that time doing only the stuff I really want to do. I’ve been doing really well at not saying yes to invitations anymore unless I really want to go – I would rather spend those precious few hours at home (I don’t get to spend a lot of time at home anymore – and I miss it). I’m also working on not trying so bloody hard all the time with people in my life who don’t really put the same effort, attention, and energy in to me. For example, I know someone who I consistently text, reach out to, try to make plans with – and all I get in return is whiny text responses full of promises to call and text and get together…which never come to fruition. What’s the bloody point? Forget that nonsense…I’m done trying so hard. I’m also pretty much done sitting around waiting on people to make plans with me, and the plans never come so I sit doing nothing but feeling sorry for myself – I’m famous for always waiting to hear from peeps…which embarrasses me, because it’s so dumb. Why? Why do I wait?? Screw that. I really need to just go on, do my thing…and people can learn how to accommodate me. It’d be a nice change. :-)

Speaking of nice changes, while I was in Paris, I was really struck by the extraordinary beauty of the women I saw. I did see a few well-known fashion models (Paris Fashion Week had just ended the day before we got there) that I recognized, but it was the regular people who blew me away. The women seemed to wear very little – if any – makeup, didn’t fuss much with their hair, yet were breathtaking…and their beauty truly did come from within. That’s a mindset I could really benefit from embracing (couldn’t we all?) – learning to love the stuff inside, and letting that seep through my pores to the outside. I try to avoid going places with no makeup on…because I think I look dreadful – isn’t that silly thinking? Who cares??! Last weekend, a thing was going around Facebook where women nominated other women to post makeup-free hair-not-done selfies – I don’t generally go on Facebook, but when a sweet friend that I love to the moon and back nominated me, I felt compelled to participate. I posted my picture – and I relished seeing everybody else’s pictures, too. One day in Paris, I went out with straight hair – I never do that here…I don’t feel brave enough. I want to, though…sadly, I will never have that glorious, thick, glossy straight hair that lots of women have. Mine is kinda kinky and weird – but I did it. Yaa me! :-) Look:

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Ta-dah! :-)

While we’re in the business of full disclosure, here’s my makeup free picture – and a makeup one. There are a lot of differences:

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Boo!

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Maybe a bit better?

I came across this today – and I’m kind of blown away by how very much I love it:
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I could not agree more. There are way too many idiots out there, judging people on their appearance – it’s ridiculous. Why can’t we just be who we wanna be, without all the commentary? For example, I rarely wear pants (maybe once a week, if that) – I’m a dress wearer big time. A lot of people feel it is appropriate to make mention of that. Why? Do I comment on their schleppy appearance and general disdain for attire that fits? Noooo!!!! You do you, friends…and I’ll do me. Let’s say supportive stuff to each other, and compliment our fashion choices instead of dumping on them! It’ll make the world a better place, I promise! :-)

Do me a favor? Go compliment someone – find somebody and say something, anything, nice…and be sincere. It’ll make them feel great – and you will be a rockstar, too. Everybody wins!! :-)

Xxx

Believe

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In his book “Outliers”, Malcolm Gladwell wrote about mastery taking 10,000 hours of practice – makes sense, eh? Practice makes perfect :-) However, there’s a whole other piece at play when it comes to mastering something and becoming successful – belief in yourself. While in Paris, we visited a lot of Ernest Hemingway haunts – Café de Flore, Les Deux Magots, the English bookstore Shakespeare and Company.. I was channeling Papa, calling on his spirit to bless me with even a drop of his writing talent; while in the Latin Quarter, I bought a book called “Paris WIthout End”, about Hemingway’s first wife Hadley Richardson. I read it on the plane on the way home – and it’s fascinating. It chronicles her life prior to meeting him, and their tumultuous years together – mostly in Paris – while he was beginning his writing career. Her unwavering support of her husband and his aspirations are admirable…but so was his steadfast determination. He knew that he and his writing were destined for greatness; he believed it with every inch of his being. It was simply a matter of him doing what he did, and waiting for the rest of the world to get on board and realize his extraordinary talent. It was never ‘if’ – but when.
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Isn’t that just gorgeous thinking? I love it – and I was really struck by that undercurrent of belief throughout the book about Ms. Richardson. (NOTE: It’s an interesting book, if you ever come across it – I liked it a lot) As I’ve written before a zillion times, I’ve been known to suffer a bout or two (hundred) of rather crippling self doubt. I have often struggled to believe that I could be anything more than what I was – which is straight up ridiculous thinking, because apart from a supermodel or a man, there’s not much that I can’t be. However, it has taken a lot of years, a boatload of struggles and false starts to get where I am now…and I’m still not as sure of me as I would like to be. Perhaps someday. :-) Earlier this week, I heard an interview with singer extraordinaire P!nk, from early in her career. She was a guest on Howard Stern’s show, and he had a ton of questions about her childhood, because of a Behind The Music-type program he’d just seen about her. He was inquiring how her parents dealt with finding out that she wanted to be a singer, and her answer included something about how she always knew she would be a singer – and a famous one. Howard asked her how she knew that – and she told him that she knew what she wanted to do, she knew what she needed to do, and that she knew she would be successful…it was just a matter of time. That overwhelming belief in self and confidence in ability is so inspiring to me…I find it so admirable. I wish that I had more of it myself; I can’t imagine where I’d be! :-) I’m happier now than I’ve ever been, but I know that I’m destined for more. I have so many goals, dreams, and aspirations that, while I’ve accomplished a lot already, there is so much left to do. I’m just getting going…and I need to look to some of the most successful people out there and truly start to believe…

it’s just a matter of time. :-)

Xxx

PS:
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When Irish Eyes Are Smiling :-)

I had an opportunity to go to local Irish pub Durty Nelly’s today with some of my very favorite people this afternoon to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day early – it was great! San Antonio does a wonderful river parade down at the Riverwalk, and they even tint the water green (no joke -they take partying mighty seriously in this town)…it’s a lot of fun! :-) Here are some pictures:

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So pretty! :-)

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The floats in the river parade :-)

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The Riverwalk :-)

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Even though I look drunk as a skunk, I'm not...just having fun! :-)

May the luck o’the Irish be with you! :-)

Xxx

PS: And may the odds be ever in your favor – I know that the ‘Hunger Games’ has nothing whatsoever to do with St Patrick’s Day, but I feel compelled to say that. :-)

I Love Paris

We are home, safe and sound…and we had the most AMAZING week!! :-) We saw the sights, visited my favorite museums and shared my favorite paintings and sculptures with my baby girl (and yes, I cried over the beautiful art…as usual), we took the métro everywhere, shopped, ate, drank, walked miles and miles…it was perfect! Everything a ‘Fancy Girl Trip’ should be! Yaa!!! :-) I cannot tell you how much we enjoyed the time together, and how much fun we had – it was precisely what my hard-working soul needed to recharge and ready myself for the end of the school year stuff. C’est magnifique! :-)

We did a lot of the things you’d expect to do in Paris: Notre Dame, Sacré-Coeur, the Musée d’Orsay (the best museum ever, in my opinion…the Impressionist collection there just blows my damn mind), the Louvre, the Musée de l’Orangerie (we sat in the two rooms with Monet’s ‘Les Nymphéas’ – Waterlilies – for a long time, letting the majesty and beauty of his work just rain down on us…so incredible to share that beautiful experience with my little Muppet), place de la Concorde, walking beside le Palais Royal, les Jardins des Tuileries, strolling (and shopping!) down l’avenue des Champs Élysées, visiting the top of the Eiffel Tower, sampling macarons at Ladurée, a moonlit cruise on the River Seine, lots of time in the Latin Quarter (where I truly believe, with all my heart, that I lived once upon a time and I will live again :-) ), café after café…but we did other girlie things, too: shopping at famed department store Galeries Lafayette, visiting the flagship Chanel store on the Rue Cambon (I died. Magic!), shopping on Rue St Honoré, visiting the magnificent Shakespeare and Company bookstore and a bunch of other haunts popularized by Ernest Hemingway…the list goes on and on. :-) My words fall short when it comes to describing the magic of this week – I should really let the pictures do the talking:

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Sacré-Coeur


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Notre Dame


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The Rose Window at Notre Dame - gorgeous :-)


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The beautiful métro signs - love :-)


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So pretty :-)


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Heaven :-)


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Yet another stop on my Hemingway tour of Paris :-)


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:-)


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The Chanel pilgrimage :-)


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I'm obsessed with beautiful light fixtures - this one caught my eye :-)


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Isn't this so pretty?


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I could spend a hundred hours perusing these book sellers along the Seine and never tire :-)


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Moules Marinières from Léon de Bruxelles - what heaven tastes like :-)


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The Pont des Arts :-)


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Our lock has been added to the Pont des Arts - and the Wee One tossed the key into the Seine, ensuring that our love will never break and that we will return to Paris together someday :-)


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Stunning :-)

I took about a million other pictures that I will share with you from time to time, since Paris is simply too beautiful not to photograph and pass on. The French people continue to dazzle me, as they always have – there’s no better place for people watching than Paris! I had forgotten how very beautiful the Parisians are – the men, tall and devastatingly handsome with smoldering eyes and bone structure that would nearly make you weep (and the way they dress…I marvel. I’m fairly certain that men in most other places would look ridiculous in the scarves and other fancy finery that French men wear effortlessly…it’s amazing!), while the women are so beautiful and stylish that it rather boggles the mind. How come they can leave their hair undone and loose and it looks artfully disheveled, like they’ve been in bed shagging…but when I try that, my hair resembles a bee’s nest that could (and should) be used to mop floors??! I don’t get it! They can wear very little makeup yet still look as sexy and alluring as humanly possible…while I look like I have a bad case of consumption! It’s almost startling to see how very gorgeous they are, the tremendous beauty that’s found in the simplest of details. ..and I absolutely love their pace of life: lots of time in the day to sit in cafés and savor the exquisite coffee, wine, croissants that were loudly hollering my name everywhere I went; time to sit down somewhere and just read; time to catch up with friends…time. I love it all…and I must figure out how to bring some of that belle vie to my life. I’m fairly certain my sanity depends on it! :-)

Yesterday, we ran into someone we know here in San Antonio – the Wee One was telling her that we’d just returned from Paris. She stared at me, shocked that just the two of us went, and asked, “But weren’t you scared?” I answered with a resounding hell no, and inside shook my head at the close-mindedness that exists around us. Why should we ever fear the world? It’s a large, beautiful place full of miracles and opportunity…which we will never find if we stay at home being scared to explore. Let’s go see what we can find!!! :-)

Xxx

La Vie en Rose

And so it begins…our trip to Paris!!! :-) Somehow I managed to get through this week – I’ve been sick, fighting a dreadful ear infection, 14 hour work days, last-minute passport issues, late night work events, raging insomnia…it has been ridiculous, but we made it through. We are on our way to Paris! I will be posting updates as I can throughout the week – but you can count on a some good posts full of pictures upon our return. Yaaa!!! Vive la France!!! :-)

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Waiting at our gate :-)

xxx

Little Moments

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Muppets!!!! :-)

It was my brother’s birthday last week, so the Wee One and I called him to sing and wish him a happy day. During our chat, I was telling him about our upcoming trip to Paris and all the things I’m excited to show the Wee One. As usual, he started making fun of me and how much I spoil her – which is kind of true, but I don’t believe that she is a brat. I try to give her every thing and opportunity that I didn’t have, and I smother that kid with love love LOVE…which isn’t a bad thing. I know that my brother is happy and excited for us – but his remarks got me thinking about the beauty of the simple things in life. :-) I’m a person who needs to stop, unplug, and reboot every so often as I seem to lose track of the simple pleasures around me – between my 12-16 hour work days, the number of nighttime duties and events that I have, my Wee One and her busy little life…it’s no wonder I sometimes lose my way a bit. Let’s make a list of the sweetest things we can think of…that’s guaranteed to make us feel better, right? :-) Here we go! :-)

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Great coffee :-)

-Drinking a good cup of coffee in bed :-)
-Sitting at the piano, placing your hands on the keys, and listening to the pretty tinkling as you start playing
-Audrey Hepburn singing “Moon River“, or Cristin Milioti singing “La Vie En Rose“…perfection :-)
-Pancakes
-Going for a walk
-The smell of oranges, vanilla, and rain :-)
-Waking up in the morning to the sound of silence, no obnoxious alarm clock in sight
-The smell of bacon cooking – yum :-)
-Holding hands
-Fresh flowers in a vase on a table
-The first sip of an icy cold beer on a hot day – bonus points if you’re drinking it in a delightfully trashy dive bar :-)
-The sound of a laughing child
-The Muppets. All of ‘em. :-)
-Falling asleep with the TV on
-Sheep…such adorable, awesome animals :-)
-Sushi!!
-Comfortable shoes
-Warm blankies on a cold night
-Spooning :-)
-A perfect cocktail with lime in it :-)
-The song “Dream A Little Dream Of Me”…in English and in French :-) Bonus for this Mama Cass version…the best ever: Dream A Little Dream Of Me

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Yummy!

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The perfect mojito :-)

I could go on and on, listing all of the silly things I love…and I will be watching my inbox if you fancy sending me what’s on your list! I know that at times (a lot of the time) I make my life wayyyyy more complicated than it needs to be. I’m not the only one who does that, I know…it seems to be a sign of the times. With all of today’s modern conveniences, we also make things exponentially more complex. Every so often it’s good to turn off, to shut down all of the noise, and just be alone with yourself and your thoughts (frightening though they may be) – luckily my warped little mind and I get along pretty well…we’re both easily amused. :-)

Xxx
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A Real Canadian Girl

As I’m sure you’re well aware, today is the last day of the Sochi Olympics – have you been watching? I have seen a lot of the coverage – I love the winter sports. There’s been nothing better than starting my work days with curling and hockey…Yaa! :-)

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you must know that there’s been a bit of hockey action going on lately: between the Canada-US Women’s gold medal final game on Thursday, the Canada-US Men’s semifinal on Friday, and then the gold medal game at 6:00am this morning…hockey lovers have been in heaven! :-) Now, I don’t wish to be an arrogant arsehole about how the results have turned out, but I simply want to share some of the funny pictures that have come my way recently:

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I LOVE this! :-)

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Pretty much ;-)

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Preach

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:-)

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Heehee! :-)

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The bars in the homeland opened up at 6am (Central Time) today and served alcohol - #proud :-)

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Hahaha! For the record, I love Sweden and the Swedish people are amazing - but I'm really really happy that things turned out the way they did :-)

So…congratulations to the Men’s and Women’s gold medal winning hockey teams from Canada!!! :-) Ditto that for the Men’s and Women’s gold medal winning curling teams!! Yaaa!!! :-)

I can’t be certain, but I do think that Canadians are the coolest things on ice. ;-)

O Canada!!! :-)

Xxx

River Of Dreams

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As we get closer and closer to our Paris departure date, the Wee One and I are getting SO excited!!! It’s been a decade since I stepped foot in the City of Lights, and I’m anticipating a mix of change and my old favorites. That’s one of the greatest things about a city that’s been around so long – while some establishments may change, there’s still so much that stays the same…and there’s comfort in the familiar. :-) I’m excited to have moules marinières (which, if you’re a regular reader, you will know is one of my faaavvvooorriitteee meals!), steak-frites, and more bread and cheese than one human ought to consume in a lifetime (you hear that brie and croissants???! I’m coming for you!!!). I’m going to hit up Ladurée and make those macarons my bitches, I’m going to walk and walk and walk until my feet are ready to weep…and then I will walk some more. I’m going to drink my share (and about a dozen other people’s shares) of fabulous French wine, visit my favorite museums to show my Wee One the best Impressionist art she will ever see, and I’m going to lap up so much coffee that I’m vibrating on the way home. I. Can’t. Wait!!!! :-) I so hope my sweet baby girl loves la belle ville as much as I do!!! :-)
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After this trip, it’ll be fun to start thinking about my/our next voyages. We will go home to Canada, of course, at some point…I want to go to San Francisco before too long, and I am ALWAYS ready for New York any day of the year!! :-) My next big thing that I really, really want to do for myself is go to Bali. I don’t know that this will be a trip for the Wee One – as much as I figure she’d LOVE it, that plane ride is brutal long…so we will have to wait and see how the Paris plane trip goes. :-) I, however, need to get my hiney to Bali and SOON. I need to enjoy the calm, swim a lot, see the sights, enjoy the food…and take some time with my thoughts. I can’t imagine!!! It would be blissful, don’t you think? :-) When I go to Bali (you’ll notice that I’m saying when, not if), I plan to shut off all of my technology, not turn on a TV or computer, and just be with my thoughts. I know that I’ve become far too dependent on the devices in my life…part of it is necessity from my job, but the bulk of it is me and this compulsive need of mine to feel connected to those around me. I think that the time without anything will do magical things for my soul, I can be alone with my thoughts, I can listen to the silence, and perhaps find answers for all of those questions of mine. It sounds so beautiful…I can’t wait. :-)
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Where would you like to visit? My list of places is long…there’s so much to see in this world, and nowhere near enough time to see it. I want to see as much as I can during my stint here on earth…and I want to instill in my Wee One a love of travel and respect for different cultures. There is no better way to learn about the world around you than to get out there and taste it for yourself. :-) I don’t understand people who choose to never venture far from their homes…there’s so much to see and do, why wouldn’t you want to give that a shot??! I’ll help you plan the trip of your dreams, if you want – it’d be my pleasure. :-)

Xxx

I Choose You

The Sara Bareilles song “I Choose You” is pretty much destroying me these days – it’s just too magical for words. Click here to give it a listen – I’m going to post the lyrics here in case you want to sing along (which I heartily recommend):

Let the bough break, let it come down crashing
Let the sun fade out to a dark sky
I can’t say I’d even notice it was absent
Cause I could live by the light in your eyes

I’ll unfold before you
Would have strung together
The very first words
Of a lifelong love letter

Tell the world that we finally got it all right
I choose you
I will become yours and you will become mine
I choose you
I choose you
(Yeah)

There was a time when I would have believed them
If they told me you could not come true
Just love’s illusion
But then you found me and everything changed
And I believe in something again

My whole heart
Will be yours forever
This is a beautiful start
To a lifelong love letter

Tell the world that we finally got it all right
I choose you
I will become yours and you will become mine
I choose you
I choose you

We are not perfect
We’ll learn from our mistakes
And as long as it takes
I will prove my love to you

I am not scared of the elements
I am under-prepared, but I am willing
And even better
I get to be the other half of you

Tell the world that we finally got it all right
I choose you
I will become yours and you will become mine
I choose you
I choose you
I choose you

Don’t you love it? Me, too – I think that song is perfect. :-) (Sidenote: Why is Sara not the biggest, most popular artist in music today? She’s so bloody talented, smart, witty, and just all that is right about music these days – she deserves all the prizes.) Anyway – back to the song…I’ve really been thinking about the whole concept of choice lately – in my mind, I find it so liberating, in kind of a Lord of the Manor/Master of my own Destiny kind of way. There are a lot of things that I do every day because I have to – that’s life, the albatross of obligation that all of us wear around our necks…but I am really trying to focus on spending my off work time doing precisely what I want, and only the things that I choose to do. I used to hang out with some people because I felt obligated – but I don’t do that anymore. What’s the point? Doing that made me miserable, and I felt really fake – even if I didn’t particularly fancy their company, that doesn’t mean that they didn’t deserve better than me, acting like the Crown Princess of Hypocrite Island. Gross. :-( So I don’t do that anymore. I haven’t taken to being unkind and mean to people, I just don’t see them…And I leave it at that. I have a hard time finding things in common with a lot of people – I can usually find something on a surface level to talk about, but in terms of making a real connection, it just happens so rarely. Recently, someone at work very unkindly described me as ‘dingy’ and ‘weird’ – and while I think she needs to get on her broom and bugger off, she is sorta right. I am weird – and thank goodness for that! I like unusual things (case in point: I’ve been up in the middle of the night to watch curling this week – and it has been bloody awesome :-) ), I do things a little differently, and that’s just fine with me. I don’t expect people who want to be part of my life to share my strange and unusual passions and behaviors, but I do gravitate towards people with whom I can find some common ground, and common interests. Don’t you? If you didn’t, what would you ever find to talk about?

This weekend, I chose to celebrate Valentine’s Day and love by taking the Wee One on a date – it was great! :-) We had a gorgeous dinner on the patio outside at Beto’s On Broadway (which I highly recommend – our food was fabulous!), and then we went to the ballet. We saw Ballet San Antonio’s production of “Firebird” – a gorgeous show, featuring a lot of the dancers from “The Nutcracker” at Christmas. It was such a lovely evening, and we had a blast – here are some pictures:

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I choose this right here :-)

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Al Pastor Taco and Chicken Poblano Empanada - heaven :-)

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The Wee One's dinner of a grilled chicken taco and fries :-)

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Sugar the Teddy Bear tied one on ;-)

We had a whole lot of fun, which was just the best! :-) The Wee One and I are off to spend a week in Paris in a few weeks, and we are SO excited! :-) Paris is a magnificent place, and I can hardly wait to show her all of my favorite things in the city I love so much. :-) The best part, however, will be the time spent with my girl. There ain’t nothin’ better – I will always choose that. :-)

Xxx