Monday, May 30, 2011

Manic Monday: Holidays

This is a short Monday post because it's Memorial Day and the sun, deck and BBQ beckon.  I hope you all have some fun holiday plans scheduled for today.

Michele and I will be posting later this week to provide more fun updates but for now, keep enjoying the long weekend!!!

We're curious to know though what you're all doing today to relax?


Friday, May 27, 2011

Happy Hour Dance Party: Let the Sun Shine!

Hope everyone enjoys the beautiful weather (and long weekend!)

Happy Hour Drink Recipe

Sun Kiss
4 oz orange juice
2 oz-amaretto

Add ice, orange juice, and amaretto to tall glass. Mix and enjoy!


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Manic Monday: Conversations

Penises are like snowflakes. This is what I declared to a couple of friends during drinks this weekend. They aren't all the same and should not be compared; each is uniquely made and maintained. My friends listened to my declaration and laughed at me. So, okay, it's not the greatest analogy, but it works.

We didn't start off talking about sex; far from it, we had just come from a work event. We were laughing and talking about different things; somehow, though, our conversation ended up there. In recalling the conversation Sunday, I smiled to myself. Then I did what I often do: I analyzed it. I wondered why conversations inevitably lead to sex. Do they really lead there, or is it just with certain friends? Is it an uncomfortable topic to discuss?

What do you all think? Do you feel comfortable talking about it? And do your conversations with friends eventually lead to topics related to sex? Or is it just my conversations? ;)

I'm curious to read your thoughts!

flower shot using iphone & macro lens


Michele, your opening sentence above still makes me laugh, even though we had this conversation the other morning.  I'm happy you had a great time with your friends and that this hilarious analogy was something you could share with us all.

I too talked about "balls" this weekend, but they were baseballs (sorry for the bad pun!).  I spent the entire weekend at the little league fields.  Regarding conversations, though, I have one that was quite memorable.

Between baseball games on Saturday afternoon, we had less than an hour for the family to eat lunch before my 8 year old son needed to get back to the little league complex for his game.  As soon as we got in the car my 2 year old son fell asleep in his car seat on the way to the local Dairy Queen.  The older boys went inside to eat with their uncle and grandpa. 

Hot, tired, sweaty and hungry, my husband and I sat in the mini-van with our sleeping son and enjoyed a twenty minute lunch together.  Today is our 13 year wedding anniversary and although our DQ lunch wasn't roses, wine, and lobster, we had a great conversation and it became a very memorable moment. 

I hope you all had some fun and romantic conversations this weekend!

And as Michele said above, we'd love to hear your thoughts!


Friday, May 20, 2011

Happy Hour Dance Party: Zumba!

So, I have zumba on the brain. And for some reason, I immediately thought of a tropical drink for the corresponding happy hour recipe... Could be the fact that the weather has been horrible?

Anyway, here's to fun, dancing, and yummy concoctions that come with cute little umbrellas!

Happy Hour Recipe
Tropical Dream

1 part Malibu coconut rum
1 part Blue Curacao liqueur
1 part pineapple juice

Shake the three ingredients together and pour into glass. Garnish with red cherry (& umbrella!)

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Working It Out Wednesday: Preparation

RWA (Romance Writers of America) National conference begins at end of June in NYC.  I am excited about attending this conference for several reasons.  First, my mother will be attending with me.  I rarely get to see my mom because we don't live close to one another so the fact that we will be together for a week is exciting for me.  My mother is a published author who, for the past 20 years, also manages literary marketing/social media/website design for author's via Booktalk / promotion details featured at TalkInk

I'm excited about networking and attending workshops.  I attended a writer's conference on a cruise ship in January and the networking was amazing.  I loved meeting author's, getting editor/agent feedback, and listening to current market insight at the workshops.  I left with such a renewed attitude and energy that's been feeding into my writing this year.  Mid-way through the year, RWA Nationals should propel my writing forward for the remaining months of  2011.

Preparation is key for me right now, though.  I'm in the process of writing the synopsis for two novels, as well as editing one novel and soon to begin editing the second.  I want to attend the conference with some really strong material.

It will be great to dress up, socialize, be in NYC (!!!), and absorb some really great information that can only benefit my attitude and my writing. 

May you all be preparing your novels for success as well.  Wish Michele & I luck!


Friday, May 13, 2011

Happy Hour Dance Party: Time Warp

Happy Hour Drink Recipe

Time Warp
1/2 oz Grand Marnier
1 1/2 oz Rum, light
2 tsp Grenadine
1 dash Lime Juice

Shake ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Work It Out Wednesday: Taking Time

I need help. I admit it. The bf is constantly asking that I not work so much, but I can't help it; I am in a perpetual state of being behind. Don't know how that happens since I'm always working! While I have gotten better, I still find I can't quite stop checking emails when I'm off. That, of course, leads to my wanting to take care of whatever issue or question was detailed in the email, which, then, turns into several more responses and documentation. I'm stressed just typing this out!

This week, I requested Monday and Tuesday off for doctor appointments. Last week was very busy, so it felt good to not have to rush from work to the doctor's offices. But I still found myself working. How do I stop? Should I reward myself with a sticker for every hour I don't log on or check voice messages? At the end of the weekend, I could treat myself with a prize if I've collected enough stickers? I don't know but I have to stop. There is too much going on in my head. Monday night, I was so distracted as I rushed down the stairs into the basement, that I slipped and fell. Luckily, I am only sporting the beginnings of some nasty bruises and am a bit sore in certain places, but this mishap only illustrates that I am too busy rushing from place to place, activity to activity. 

Last week, I attended a work-related workshop that was inspiring, as I relayed here. It made me think about the journey I had started when I was younger: the journey of discovering what life had to offer- what I had to offer. Somehow, I veered off the path and wandered off. The workshop was the start of my re-thinking how I prioritized my time and this weekend added to my feelings. Sure, work is important and I pride myself on my work ethic; still, life is not all about work. It's about taking the time to stop and smell the flowers along the path, watch the sunset, go for walk, create something spectacular. 

Seen during walk along river
Yesterday, after my appointment, I went for a walk along the river. It was a beautiful day and I stopped to take pictures along the way and to listen to the rushing river. I want more days like that. Yes, I was up at midnight checking my emails, but I didn't log in the entire day. It was an amazing feeling. Plus, I was able to spend time writing, so that made me feel good.
Hayley during walk

cherry-scented stickers
I'm going to make it a point to take the signs- the workshop, falling down stairs- and slow down. Make time for the writing, creating, enjoying, seeing. Maybe I'll have to start with earning a sticker for every hour I don't work? I just got some Hello Kitty ones (they are scented). So even if I don't have any flowers to stop and smell, I can smell my stickers. :)

Are you finding yourself consumed by work duties? What do you do to ensure your time off is used effectively?

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Manic Monday: Connections

Mother's Day project from my youngest
Mother's Day: Sunday, May 8th, 2011.  Restaurants were busy, flowers were being delivered, phone calls were made to long-distance-Mother's, and people were spending time with their mom's.  I was at the zoo with my family, including my older brother and my father-in-law.  We all had a great day. I'd had a great conversation on the phone with my own mother who lives out of state.

Connections - my weekend was all about connections.  Sunday was a great day connecting with the family and focusing on relationships within the family.  Saturday I met with Michele and attended a meeting at our local writer's chapter and learned a bevy of information about book trailers (ours will be out later this year!!).  Before the meeting (which is held at a community center) we connected with our inner-Diva's in a morning Zumba class, what fun!!!  After the chapter meeting we connected at Ikea, brainstorming about our book & blog while we shopped.   Finally, Saturday night my family was invited to a friend's house for a BBQ, another connection that I was happy about.

My Mother's Day cards
Did I mention my brother from NYC was visiting too for my sons weekend baseball games?  More connections, family & baseball (my oldest son finally got out of his hitting slump & "connected" on a pitch and his run kept the inning going, ending with 2 runs for his team).

I hope you all had some great connections yourself this Mother's Day weekend. 



I started my weekend off high from an amazing workshop I had attended most of the week for work. The workshop was offered to my co-workers and I to enhance our work skills; however, we got so much more- especially on a personal level. It was extremely interactive and explored our journeys and dreams. It also provided us the opportunity to really spend time with one another since we only really see each other a maximum of twice per month. Plus, we made connections with others in our field with whom we are looking forward to attending more events.

The gifts I possess, as uncovered by my team. *Sniff*
During my "session" at the workshop, my team helped me explore my dreams by sharing a few personal stories, uncovering my gifts, and- ultimately- agreeing to action steps. The best part about it was learning how to visually record with images which was a great deal of fun (I now want to play with pastels!) One of the action steps I set and which will lead me closer to my dream is completing my work-in-progress books. Are you surprised writing came up?  

So on Saturday, as Elena mentioned, we learned about book trailers. The wonderful guest speaker repeated the fact that thinking in images was important, which can be difficult for authors. This was an interesting connection to me, that this presentation and my workshop dealt with thinking in images. Hmmm...coincidence? I'm going to enjoy working on our book trailer when the time comes!

After our meeting, we went to Ikea, which I love; it's like Disneyland to me. So we had to take pictures! (Who am I kidding? I take pictures in the produce section of the supermarket).

Elena being quiet at Ikea
Even at Ikea, you can find time to read!
Elena and I want this library.

The weekend ended with my connecting with my inner child. While at the bf's family's home, I spent time with his nieces, enjoying the beautiful day and then playing with Legos, matchbox cars, and our imaginations. 
Great ending to a fabulous weekend.

Happy Monday!


Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy Hour Dance Party: Celebrating Mothers!

A toast to all mothers, including those on our playlist!

Happy Hour Drink Recipe

Bellini Mimosa
Fresh peach slices
Chilled peach nectar
Sparkling rose wine, prosecco, or champagne, well-chilled
Grenadine syrup

Put fresh peach slices in wine glass and add chilled peach nectar to cover. Top with well-chilled sparkling rose wine, prosecco, or champagne. Add a drop of grenadine syrup to each glass.


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Working It Out Wednesday: Tracking Events

I forgot my son's birthday today.  OK, it technically isn't until the end of the month, but I forgot to add it to my Google calendar.  No big deal, right?  Actually, to him it was. 

Near the end of 2010 I finally sat down at the computer and began to add appointments, meetings, school events, kids sports schedules, and even bill due dates to my Google calendar.  I love the email notifications I get on my Blackberry for each event I create, thus, no late or missed events and it keeps all the information so organized and at my fingertips (gotta love the Smartphones).

However, today my son checked to see what weekday his birthday fell on, only to realize I hadn't made a notation about it on the calendar.  I'm methodical about updating it and printing it out and tacking it on our kitchen bulletin board so the whole family can track the events instead of constantly asking me what's going on.  BTW, I love adding my husband's email address to the events so he too can be updated on appointments and such.  Although, he's told me several times how annoying these emails are.  Oh well.

It got me thinking though, how others manage the 24 hours we all have each day.  On Monday I blogged about spontaneity and ignoring the to-do list, but my calendar isn't a to-do list.  It consists of appointments and scheduled events that need to be attended.  With so many Apps & online tools there's probably a zillion ways to track these events.

Our Kitchen Bulletin Board
 As I've said, I've been happy with my Google calendar but obviously, in the case of my son's birthday and my own wedding anniversary (I realized afterwards that I didn't record that either for May!), it's not perfect.  Plus, I've added a photo of our kitchen bulletin board where we still hang school schedules, school lunch menus, sports schedules, etc. for reference as well.  Yikes, Kid Clutter, you're all probably thinking (see photo) but this works for our family.  We're not late to events and my family knows where to look for the information instead of me being the gatekeeper of it all.

If you have a better suggestion, please do share, but for now I'll just update my Google calendar with my son's birthday and my wedding anniversary (and set them as "reoccurring").

Enjoy the rest of your week!


Monday, May 2, 2011

Manic Monday: Spontaneity

Spontaneity Leads to Great Things: A Spontaneous Wedding

I grew up with lots of spontaneity in my life. I remember waking up on a Saturday morning and discovering that my parents were taking us on an impromptu trip. It could be to Disney World or Key West or another fun place kids like to go. It was exciting and adventurous. 

As I grew up, spontaneity became more difficult. I started planning and coordinating my life. I have a job where I am ultimately planning and coordinating things. While life is still exciting and adventurous, there aren't too many spontaneous moments. 

I think I equated spontaneity with childhood and felt that there was no place for it in my adult life. A couple of days ago, I got a call. A co-worker who has been with his partner for thirteen years was going to get married. He had talked about the two of them uniting privately, but at the last minute, they decided to have the ceremony at our boss's home. 

We arrived at her home on Saturday to find the two of them in their tuxedos, looking handsome and completely happy. Our boss had a cherry blossom tree in her yard that was blooming and it provided the perfect backdrop for their union. An ex-co-worker of ours officiated the ceremony and I, who have never been teary-eyed at a wedding, found myself misty-eyed while watching them profess their love for one another. It was a touching moment that was completely spontaneous. They didn't have any plans; all they had was one another. That was enough. 

I feel blessed to have been there to witness their ceremony and am thankful for spontaneity. It was a beautiful day that was made even more beautiful by their love. 


Hope you have an adventurous week!

Be Spontaneous & Forget the "To-Do List" 

Two of my personal goals can be tracked daily by either word-count or a pedometer. Tracking is consuming my life.  Tracking equates to planning and planning takes preparation.  All of this tracking, planning and preparation is making my life VERY structured. 

Sunday I woke up with loads of laundry to conquer, a lawn to mow, and a baseball game at noon to attend.  Plus, I wanted to write AND walk before the game.  What to do??? 

I was happy I had spontaneously chosen to take a walk that morning instead of doing the laundry.  Moreover, I didn't read the Sunday paper with my morning coffee.  Instead I wrote a few pages before the baseball game while sipping my coffee.  I could read the Sunday paper in the evening if I still wished to, but at least my writing goal was accomplished.

My husband and oldest son had been spontaneous about mowing the lawn because when I returned from my morning walk, I was happy to find the two of them mowing (yay!!! That got crossed off my list too!!).  Come to think of it, our family had spontaneously gone out for pizza on Saturday night and then went to a nearby park to walk around the lake.  The kids loved seeing the baby ducks in the water and playing on the playground at sunset.  All spontaneous fun that made the day memorable.

I'm going to remain spontaneous about walking & writing and will continue to take advantage of opportunities to accomplish these daily goals, all the while putting aside other less important tasks. 

Overall, I feel satisfied at the end of the day knowing I walked and wrote, regardless of the other things that didn't get accomplished.  I know I wouldn't have had the same feeling of satisfaction had I only cleaned the house and done the laundry. 

Go ahead and do what you feel is most important to do for the day - and be spontaneous about accomplishing it - and  then do anything else that needs to be done if time permits. 

Have a great week!