Ever-Changing Reflection

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding... It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility.
~ Kahlil Gibran

Monday, November 30, 2009

FMM: A Merry Christmas Survey!

via {aefilkins}
I hope everyone had a happy and blessed Thanksgiving! This is going to be a quick little post because Jed and I are in the middle of our biggest (disaster) DIY project and neither of us can breathe due to bad colds.
Please make sure to link up at Amber's blog if you participate! (Link above)
1. Favorite website? Blogger, duh!
2. Favorite color? Blue
3. Facebook? {Post a link or share your name if you want some new Facebook friends!} Yup... you can find me via my my gadget over there -----> somewhere...
4. Favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night
5. Christmas tree: Real or fake? Real, always, no compromise there!
6. Hottest celebrity? Tom Brady, my #12!
7. Favorite restaurant? Tough one... don't really have one...
8. Favorite magazine? Real Simple
9. Favorite thing to drink around the holidays? Egg nog and spiced hot apple cidar... and lots of wine!
10. Favorite Christmas movie? White Christmas and The Santa Clause
♥ ♥ ♥

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Final day 26: Z

Click here to visit Lindsey at Great Full Day!


I'm gearing up to head back to Mom and Dad's to see the fam and eat turkey with all the trimmings until I can eat no more!

Before I headed out, however, I had to post my last gratitude post for "Z." This one's really fitting this morning...

I'm grateful for quality ZZZ's...

Oh man, nothing beats a good night of sleep, and that is what I had last night. Eight, glorious, uninterrupted hours. Unfortunately, it came at a cost: Jed is sick, so he slept in the guest room with the dog, which meant I didn't have any snoring, kicking, hitting or crowding. I'll take it.

I'm even thankful for those afternoon hours when I can indulge in a blissful nap and wake feeling refreshed for the night ahead. Good sleep just makes you feel better. It allows your body to relax and rejuvenate. It's good for your health. It's good for you mind. Ah... ZZZ's... Looking forward to a few more after turkey fest today!

This isn't part of the "script"...

I want to wish all of you reading this -- and your families -- a day full of blessings, thanksgiving, family, friends, love, hope and good food, from the bottom of my heart. I haven't mentioned it in these 26 posts, but I am soooooo thankful for all of you! I never expected people to "follow" my blog (except for my IRL friends, which, ironically, don't read it), and I never expected to make friends with bloggers I read. Thank you for encouraging me, and thank you for reading!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Days 24-25: XY

I have to say I'm grateful that this journey is coming to an end. While it has been an eye-opening experience, it's been tiring thinking up creative things to be grateful for each day that I'm actually grateful for! And, Lindsey, these tough letters have made it tough to do something different than you!

Lindsey had a great idea for "X": XO -- kisses and hugs. I thought that was really cute, and certainly something we are all thankful for. However, I challenged myself to find something else I was grateful for that began with "X."

Mac OS X!

This has truly changed my world! This is the operating system that stole me away from Windows, perhaps forever. It's intuitive and fun, and it works! Imagine that. It doesn't crash, it doesn't freeze, it doesn't give up on me. Mac + X = true love.

"Y" was easier than I thought it would be; I actually found a couple things I could use, but I chose the one that means the most to me right now: Yoga.

Wouldn't it be great to be able to do this asana? This is years and years of committed Yoga practice right here. This is what I strive for. Look at her: flexible, strong, confident, centered, toned. After ballet and dance, Yoga has been so good for me. It helps me maintain my flexibility and balance while building my strength. Plus, there is such an enlightening spiritual element to it as well. It is the one proven means I have found to relieve my stress and calm my mind, and for that I am thankful.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and the last of these posts! I hope you have enjoyed this November meme, and I noticed quite a few of you posting our own gratitude lists.

I wish you all, and your families, a happy, peaceful, blessed Thanksgiving. Enjoy the time with your families and loved ones.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Announcement: OWN

Call me a middle-aged housewife, but I heart Oprah. I'm not sure how I feel about her as a person -- I know there's many people who can't stand her personally -- but I love her BRAND. And, for building up such an amazing, global brand I give her kudos. That is a feat, and one of the best personal accomplishments I can think of (if you're going the entrepreneur career route).

I mean really, who hasn't heard of Oprah? Who doesn't automatically associate her with delving interviews, happiness, fulfillment, achievement, spirituality and positive thinking? At least, that's how I think of her.

I never really watched her show, minus a few episodes, but I really got hooked on her magazine a few years ago after reading Cathie Black's Basic Black (great book for all you female professionals out there). Cathie single-handedly won Oprah to Hearst Publishing in creating a magazine. She SOLD Oprah on this idea, which I guess puts Cathie higher on my list than Oprah herself in women I admire. So, I decided I would check out the magazine.

It inspired me. It motivated me to focus on my personal and spiritual growth, to become a better person (cue the butterflies, hearts and flowers).

So, now that I've been working from home, I've checked out a couple shows. I loved her interview with Patrick Swayze's wife. I was amazed at her candidness. And you can bet I was glued to the screen when she did her first jobs show and revealed footage from her first job as a local television reporter.

Now the show is disappearing... and being replaced by an entire network: OWN. The acronym certainly does fit. I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of material she comes up with. I guess after the publisher win, the networks started courting her.

What do you think of Oprah? Will you miss the show? Are you excited about the network? (Don't worry about offending me if you hate her.)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Giving Thanks!

I may be overdoing this (just like Christmas the day after Halloween), but this is a subject that really irks me. Watching Heroes and it is the THANKSGIVING episode -- not Christmas, not New Year's (ahem Grey's), but Thanksgiving, which is this week and not a month away. I would like to give props to those who celebrate the seasons as they come, rather than rush to the next big commercial holiday.

So, thank you, writers of Heroes, for commemorating Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to the Christmas episode in a few weeks.

Days 20-23

Whoa, I know, I have quite a bit of catching up to do. Thanksgiving is so close, I can taste the turkey, gravy and potatoes! This means I'm feeling especially grateful, so it's kinda nice that I have a few things I can put in this post.

In case you forgot, I started this with Lindsey at Great Full Day. She challenged herself -- and me, indirectly -- to be thankful for one thing beginning with a different letter of the alphabet, each of the 26 days of November leading up to Thanksgiving. All of my posts so far have been tagged as "26 Days of Gratitude," so feel free to read back.

Starting off with T, I'm thankful for Thanksgiving itself. It's been one of my favorite holidays for the food, mostly; my mom makes THE BEST Thanksgiving feast you've ever tasted. Ok, I'm biased. I'm especially grateful this year that Mom is even hosting Thanksgiving at all. We almost lost the holiday to my aunt, who normally does Christmas dinner. However, she will be in Florida this Christmas while my cousin has her baby (she's due Christmas day!), so Mom said she would do Christmas. In turn, my aunt offered to swap and take Thanksgiving. I put my foot down on that one.

Now, Thanksgiving is definitely about the food, but it's also about my family, who is becoming even more important to me that I'm getting older and I've moved out of my parents' house. I get to go back home and hang out with my immediate family, but also see my aunts and uncles and cousins that I don't see as often as I would like. I'm grateful for that opportunity to share a wonderful meal and some good football games with people I love.

University is next on my gratitude list, especially my alma mater, Boston University. For better or for worse, that was the first, major, life-changing decision I made when I chose to go to BU, and it has shaped who I am today. I'm thankful for the education I received, the friends I made, the people I met, the professors who inspired me, and the four wonderful years I was a Boston resident.

Voice is not a concrete thing, and I'm certainly not grateful for my singing voice because it's awful! My gratitude is for another kind of voice: my inner voice and my written voice. I am blessed with the gift of writing, which I've been working on all my life. I am able to express my voice with written words, and that is an ability not everyone possesses. I'm also thankful for my inner voice, my conscience or heart if you will. That voice that knows me inside and out, and guides me throughout the day.

Finally, I'm grateful for wine. Ah, nothing soothes away the stress of a hectic or bad day than a nice glass of wine. I always have a bottle on hand. Not only do I appreciate the comforting qualities, I appreciate the health benefits of a glass of red wine; it is good for your heart. Wine also complements food, and it's opened the doors to a new hobby. Tasting wine, discovering wine, learning about wine, collecting wine and visiting vineyards are all things I love to do, and I'm grateful to have discovered that world.

FMM: Thanksgiving!

This week, it's all about Thanksgiving! Yum!

1. Turkey or Ham? Always turkey. It just wouldn't be Thanksgiving if we did anything else.

2. Favorite side dish? Hands down my mother's candied sweet potatoes.

3. Favorite dessert? Pecan pie!

4. Black Friday: Are you going or not? I spent six years working before the sun rose on Black Friday, I avoid stores like H1N1 the day after Thanksgiving!

5. If so, what's on the top of your list? Well if we do venture out, Jed and I are getting a new big-screen TV and surround-sound system with Blu-Ray (it's our Christmas present to each other).

6. Going out of town or staying close to home? Pretty close to home: going to Mom and Dad's.

7. Hosting or helping? Helping. Took Wednesday off from work to go help Mom.

8. Name one family tradition at Thanksgiving. Dinner at Mom's house. Almost swapped it for Christmas dinner this year, but I wouldn't let her!

9. What do you do after dinner? Watch football and nap by the fire before dessert.

10. What are you most thankful for this year? My new home, my new job and my dad's health.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Song that Spoke to Me Today

Live high

Live mighty

Live righteously

Taking it easy

Live high, live mighty

Live righteously

~ Jason Mraz, Live High

It's the little random things that make me giggle

I just had to share this.

I'm sitting in the HO (home office), working away, and I hear a motorcycle coming down the street. I glance out the window and see something similar to this:

A beefed up bike with an old biker dude on it -- long beard and all. He stops at the stop sign at the end of the street, in front of my house. All of a sudden, I hear this, blasting...

Hard-core biker dude is rocking out to C&C on his Harley! LMAO! You don't normally hear those two sounds together.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day 19: S

Click here to visit Lindsey's blog.

Please bear in mind, that when I think of what I am grateful for in these posts, it is a spur-of-the-moment thing. The first thing that pops into my mind, beginning with the day's letter, that positively affects my life, is what I write about.

That said, I couldn't help it today... I am so thankful for my sweatpants!

Lately, this is the picture of me daily. Every night, I cuddle with my couch and write my posts and catch up on your blogs while watching TV. Now that fall has settled into New England, I couldn't be more comfortable than in my sweatpants. They are warm, cozy, comforting, relaxing and soft. They are forgiving.

via ae.com

These are this year's version of my favorite sweatpants. Last year, I splurged on not one, not two, but THREE pairs of these pants in black, gray and maroon. Now that I work from home most of the time, these are my dress code. I am so thankful that I bought multiple pairs last year.

What I love about them is that they are so comfy around the house, but the tailored boot-cut fit makes me feel less sloppy when I wear them out for a grocery store run or even to the movies {I know, *gasp*}. They're also great for an impromptu Yoga workout in my living room or for dancing along with So You Think You Can Dance.

Dear bloggers:

Better to write for yourself and have no public,
than to write for the public and have no self.

~ Cyril Connolly

A giant THANK YOU to Nordstrom!

No, Nordi's didn't cross of my Christmas list for free.

No, I didn't find my dream {insert clothing/accessory item here} at Nordstrom.

Nah, they didn't hire me (although I'm sure they would if I wished to work there).

My parents, who are not really into designers or trends but value quality and good service, have always told me how great Nordstrom is. Not Macy's, not Sears, not Filene's, not even Lord & Taylor.

My dad, when an airline lost his luggage on a business trip once, went to Nordstrom and bought an entire new wardrobe for his trip. Everything from that one store. My mother applied to work there (she works at the Gap), and was so close to accepting their generous offer to be a manager.

Well, I now see why my parents respect Nordstrom because I now respect them too.

FINALLY! A retailer that GETS it! You won't see a wreath or tree, or hear holiday tunes in a Nordstrom store the day after Halloween. Whew. For this, just for this (are you listening every other store in the mall?), I am now considering doing ALL of my Christmas shopping at Nordstrom. {This is going to be a pricey holiday...}

P.S. Do you like the shameless promotion of Nordstrom in this post? I think they've earned it.

Celebrity Collage by MyHeritage

MyHeritage: Family tree - Genealogy - Celebrity - Collage - Morph

Celebrity Collage by MyHeritage

MyHeritage: Family tree - Genealogy - Celebrity - Collage - Morph

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day 18: R

Click here to visit Lindsey's blog, my inspiration.

Well, we are winding down on our 26 days of gratitude, but we still have several more to go! I think I shall be sad when these postings stop {what will I write about???}, but I'll keep them near and dear to my heart, looking forward to next year.

Today I am grateful for roses -- especially the roses Jed has been sending me for Valentine's Day every year. He has been really good about giving me flowers since we started dating again and he knows I love them, and he's been even better about sending me roses for Valentine's Day. This is the bouquet he sent me two years ago (18 GORGEOUS roses in three colors! I couldn't even fit them all in the vase).

I know he doesn't quite understand why they make me so happy, but I'm grateful for them anyway. Roses are a romantic flower; they are probably the most common flower used for weddings. They're delicate but complex and multi-layered. They come in such beautiful, vibrant colors. All of these are reasons I love roses, and that they are my favorite flower.

Nothing cheers me up more than receiving roses. Even if it's only a single red stem. A rose always puts a smile on my face. I stop and smell them in the grocery store or at florist shops. I admire them growing in the wild. They are, simply, stunning.

{All images via weheartit.com, except for top two.}

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day 17: Q

Apologies, but I can't seem to upload images tonight, so this is going to be a rather text-heavy post.

This is one of my absolute favorite things; today I'm thankful for quotes.

As a writer, even more as a reporter, I've learned to value quotes. All through college, I collected them as if they were rare antiques, jotting them in my journal whenever I found one that inspired me or described how I was thinking or feeling. Some came in handy when I was at a loss for words in an assignment for class. Others inspired me to start that assignment, or just to keep going. Some encouraged hope, others comforted in times of pain and sorrow.

It's amazing what others' words can do for us, to us. So, I'd like to share some quotes from back then with you. I hope they touch you as they have touched me.

There is a voice inside you, that whispers all day long. I feel this is right for me, I know this is wrong. No teacher, preacher, parent, friend, or wise man can decide, what's right for you -- just listen to the voice that speaks inside.
~ Shel Silverstein

Sometimes is never quite enough
If you're flawless, then you'll win my love
Don't forget to win first place
Don't forget to keep that smile on your face
~ Alanis Morissette

Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive,
and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.
~ Anais Nin

The stars they shine
In an empty void
Life is not to fear
Life is to enjoy
~ Third Eye Blind


You have built castles in the air,
now put foundations under them.
~ Thoreau

It's all right letting yourself go as long as you can get yourself back.
~ Mick Jagger

We should be careful
to get out of an experience
only the wisdom that is in it.
~ Mark Twain

You gain strength, courage and confidence
by every experience by which you really stop to look fear in the face.
You are able to say to yourself,
"I lived through this horror.
I can take the next thing that comes along."
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Whatever you are doing, love yourself for doing it. Whatever you are feeling, love yourself for feeling it.
~ Thadeus Golas

Try to find your voice and your art,
because it comes from your own experiences,
your own pain.
~ Amy Tan

Monday, November 16, 2009

Days 14,15,16: N, O & P

Click the image to visit Lindsey's blog

This is my catch-up post. I was tempted to be lazy and skip it, but I didn't want to fall THAT far behind! Plus, I like to think that sharing my gratitudes with you helps you as well as me.

Ok, so I'm watching the Pats game from yesterday now -- had to DVR it since I had plans last night. I heard the score on the radio this morning when the alarm went off, so I knew how it ended, but watching it, I honestly couldn't figure out how they got there... until about two minutes ago. I called the plays for the rest of the game; let's see if I'm right.

{Update: I was right.}

So, obviously, despite their loss, I'm grateful for my New England Patriots (this counts as "N"). Without them, countless Sundays and Monday nights would have been such a bore. {Don't even say I could have done something more valuable with them; it would have been boring in comparison!} They give me something to be passionate about when I'm at a loss for passion. They inspire me to be great. To work out. To learn about the game and speak intelligently with fellow followers. And then there's the men. Oh the men...

For "O," I chose oceanside.

I now consider myself lucky to live in the Ocean State because I love the ocean. I'm not quite oceanside, but it's never far in this state... or in most of New England really. Within an hour, I'm strolling on seaside sand, hearing the waves caress the shore. I could never live in the middle of the U.S. where I'm miles and miles and miles from the ocean.

While I love tropical beaches the best, there is something to be said for the New England shoreline. It's not the warmest water or the softest sand or the cleanest beaches, but it's calm. Especially this time of year, the seashore is such a serene place.

Finally, for "P" I'm choosing paperbacks.

Where would we readers be without paperbacks? They have made literature and non-fiction available to the masses. They are cheap. They are dispensable should you regret your selection. They are ultra-portable. They are easy to hold and read nearly anywhere. I'll invest in a quality hard-cover for a book I'm going to keep forever, but the majority of my library is paperbacks picked up on a whim.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Do it now!

Got your attention, didn't I?

Well, this is important.

Seems like Perricone giveaways are all the rage these days.

And, in case you've missed out, I'm letting you know about a great one.

Appropriate for all ages and skin types.

So, go ahead, click the image.

You know you want to.

Days 12 & 13: L & M

Happy Friday the 13th fellow bloggers! I hope you are all having a good day and not feeling the curse. These are always good days for me, and today is no exception.

I missed out on yesterday's Thanksgiving post, so I'm doing two-in-one today!

Click the image to visit Lindsey's grateful posts!

As for me I'd like to thank my lucky stars that
I'm alive and well... ("I'm Alive" by Kenny Chesney, featuring Dave Matthews)

I am so thankful for life; like health, I often forget what a precious gift it is. As the song above states, it's not always easy, it's not always pretty, it's not always fun, but that doesn't mean it is not something to be treasured and thankful for.

So when life gets hard, do as Kenny does, and just be grateful that you're alive... and well.

And, for today, I am thankful for Morris!

My little Lhasa Apso puppy is hiding from you in a blanket on the couch. Hehehe... it's not really a puppy anymore, but I still call him one.

I was NEVER a dog person; I didn't grow up with one because my mother is deathly allergic. My friends had dogs, but I always felt they were dirty, and secretly, I was slightly afraid of them. That is, until this little guy came along. Funny how he MADE me a dog person; I am SUCH a dog person now. I stop every dog I walk by to say hi and pet him. I get excited when I see dogs as I'm driving along. I ignore the dirt, and Morris goes on the couch, sleeps in my bed, and licks my face. I love doggy kisses.

So, I guess while I'm so grateful for Morris coming into my life, I'm also so thankful that he opened up my world to dogs in general. I still don't like shedding, and I still don't appreciate drooling, but I do love dogs.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Grateful Day 11: K

Click the image to visit Lindsey's blog

Today I am thankful for my kitchen.

The kitchen is what sold me on our house. I liked the rest of the house, but I LOVED the kitchen. As far as a first-home-buying experience goes, this kitchen was perfect. The cabinets and hardware are beautiful but simple. The color of the countertops complement the wood perfectly. The island, which the previous owners left for us, fits in just right and offers some extra prep space (not that I really need any) and storage. The professional series stainless steel appliances all match, and they have all the bells and whistles Jed was looking for. The "hardwood" floor isn't really hardwood, but laminate, which stands up to liquid spills and cleans much easier.

The double window over the sink faces East, letting in the morning sunlight, and the opposite side opens to the dining room on one side and the living room on the other -- perfect for entertaining. We have more cabinet space than we can use, and there's room to put a small cafe table, if we wanted an eat-in kitchen.

See the border on the backsplash? Those roosters? That is the only thing I want to change. It will, eventually, be redone with glass tiles. And maybe granite countertops. Maybe.

What are some things I would look for in my next kitchen? First of all, more light. While we get some light through the window, that is the only window in the room, and I like a bright kitchen. I'd also like a pantry so all the food is in one place, which means I could do with less cabinets, but I love all my counter space, so I wouldn't want to lose that. I'd also have a professional stove hood with a powerful (but quiet) fan. The fan we have above our stove is in the bottom of the microwave, and it kinda sucks. Or not... not the way it's supposed to. I think that's about it though. Oh, and maybe a double sink. That would be cool.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Grateful Day 10: J

Click the image to check in with Lindsey

I have been waiting for this day since I started this little journey with Lindsey. This is one thing that I need to remind myself to be thankful for every moment because it is so precious, and unfortunately, to easy to take for granted. It hasn't been easy all the time, but it's definitely something worth fighting for.

I am thankful for Jed -- my boyfriend. Doesn't he look cute in that suit? The only way I could get his picture was to sneak when he wasn't looking.

One of my favorite things about him is that I can be myself around him. I've known him for over 10 years, and there's a certain comfort and familiarity that comes with that. He's seen my goofy side, my depressed side, my angry side, my frustrated side, my determined side, my loving side, and sometimes I think he sees sides of me that even I don't see.

He is my travel buddy. We've been on so many adventures together: trips across the country, cruises, business trips, weekend trips, road trips. I'm looking forward to so many more!

And it's so fun to share new experiences with him. He's convinced me to try things I never thought I would: see ATV trek above and riding a Segway (which I was actually better at than he was!).

There's a special bond between us that I don't think either of us can let go of; it keeps bringing us together.

He is, and has been for a long time, my best friend. He's showed me the light when I was in the dark, he takes care of me when I'm sick, he teaches me new things, he listens to me and gives me advice, and he confides in me. The only thing he doesn't do is hold my hair back when I'm sick... eek.

Yeah, he's my lover boy too. *wink* *giggle* He's not the most romantic guy you've ever met, but he's sweet in his own subtle way, and he'll surprise me with those dreamy romantic moments when I least expect them.

And let's not forget the families. My mother has been rooting for him from day one, and the rest of my fam really loves him too. His parents are wonderful to me, and they are always there for us when we need some help around the house or someone to watch the dog while we sail away to paradise.

And let's not forget the things he does for me that he HATES! For instance, not only buying me tickets to see Kenny Chesney for my birthday, but coming with me to an entire country music festival... and sorta pretending to enjoy it... = )

He hates humoring me, but there are times when he'll "do it for me." Like helping me clean the house, or cuddling with me before we go to bed, or rubbing my back when it's sore.

To my Jed: You're my man, my love, my best friend. You're my one and only from day one. I love you with all my heart -- even when I'm yelling at you.