Live. Laugh. Sparkle.
Another blog. This one has sparkles.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

"Mediocre people do exceptional things all the time"

The world seems to be getting more and more cutthroat. Sure, there are more opportunities, greater technology to reach a bigger audience, but it also seems more difficult?...daunting?...harder to leave your mark?

Think about it: it seems that everyone has their own etsy shop. Everyone dabbles in photography, art, or making some kind of product. If youre a blogger, someone has already written it (and they wrote it better). I feel like the arts are becoming like Mary Kay. Everyone's selling it, so where's the opportunity for someone to leave their mark?

Ok, so artistic styles differ compared to standard Mary Kay products, but the concept feels the same. The doubts are the same - what's different about what I have to offer? It's enough to make me want to give up before I've even started.

Yet, as human beings, we all have an innate desire - or even a need - to create. Whether it's a piece of art, a photo, a meal, an accessory, an item of clothing, a song, we all want to create something that didn't exist before. We want to leave our mark. But...what do we do when there is no more room on the canvas that is life. Or when all the marks on it seem the same that ours won't even stand out? How do we make our voices heard? How do we continue to create when every message we hear tells us "why bother"?

I think what I want to know most of all is, what even is my voice? What do I want to leave the world? Am I a writer, an artist, a craftsperson, a photographer, a stylist, a chef, a DIY queen?

To echo Sondheim, "what I want most of all is to know what I want."

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Full Circle

Last week was my 33rd birthday, and we celebrated in the best possible way - a weekend in NYC with family and lots of good food.

The weather was beautiful for most all of the trip - it did rain on my birthday, as has been a habit throughout the years, but it held off for most of the day, and we enjoyed a sunny, springtime morning and afternoon.

I'm not sure when during the trip it dawned on me that it was TEN years ago that I spent my 23rd birthday in NYC. It was a rough period of my life, but my brother and sister-in-law invited me to get away for a few days for some fun in the city - and boy, did they spoil me! My brother introduced me to cupcakes and banana pudding at Magnolia Bakery, my sister-in-law and I got TONS of shopping time together (when I got one of the best pairs of shoes I've ever had), and they sent me home with a custom-made birthday cd. It was full of happy, hopeful songs, and I still remember tears streaming down my face as sat facing backwards on thr train, listening to Rascal Flatts' "Bless the broken road." (I also remember the woman sitting a few seats up from me, looking with a concerned look on her face. She must've wondered what was going on.)

And now, ten years later, I spent my birthday again in the city. This time, I was spoiled by ALL of my siblings - my brother, my sister-in-law, and my sisters. My niece and nephew showered me with lots of love, and I had my amazing and adoring husband by my side. I don't think that I could've imagined such a sweet life for myself a decade ago.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Aches and Pains

Feeling 33

Yesterday I woke up feeling a little weirder than usual. It could be because I have a job that utilizes my body nonstop, or because I practiced my contortionist skills as I got our suitcases out of our Jenga storage closet myself (rather than wait for my big, strong husband to do it when he got home from work). Either way, I hurt in ways I've never hurt before. (It probably didn't help that I then proceeded to have a day at work where I essentially wore a 20-30 pound backpack while jumping and dancing around.) Needless to say, I've discovered some new ways of stretching and popping parts of my body (and I mean that in the least dirty and perverted ways possible).

Could it be my body's way of saying, "hey, you're going to be 33, so here's a whole new body ache for you! Think of it as a rite of passage!"

Thanks, body, but I'm too young to feel like this!


Monday, April 20, 2015

Sadie, Sadie

Feeling 33

Today is 7 months exactly that we've been married. I believe all birthdays are special,  however this will be my first birthday as a married lady!!!

It's just the first of many more married birthdays to come.

*Cue twirling.*

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Good Deeds at Wawa

Feeling 33

It might be time to get some new tires for my car. My tire pressure light seems to be coming on more than usual, so I probably should bring it in to the shop soon. Thank goodness for Wawa and it's free air machine. (And it's just another excuse for me to get one of their soft pretzels, which are ah-MAZ-ing, and a drink from the freestyle Coke machine. Soda and carbs, two of the great things in life.)

This most recent trip to Wawa started off great - there was no line for the free air, so I got right to work. I was on my way to meet up with my mom and stepfather, and since I had an hour's drive ahead of me, I wanted to get on the road as soon as possible. I'd just started filling tire #2, when I heard a lady's voice ask, "Are you gonna be much longer?"

Standing on the other side of my car was a middle-aged woman, with a cane and a wrist brace. My first reaction was to be annoyed. Filling up my tires wasn't what I wanted to be doing in the first place, and the heat didn't make it any more fun. Now there was somebody looking over my shoulder, wanting me to hurry. Ugh.

But this woman didn't look like she could exactly fill up her tires easily, what with the cane and wrist brace...

"Do you need some help? I could check your tires for you." I said, not really thinking about it. You would've thought I'd offered to wash her car inside and out, she was so grateful.

She ended up telling me all about how her son was supposed to take care of her car for her, but he kept forgetting. We chatted about our different cars, the Florida traffic, our families...the whole interaction took less than 10 minutes,  but as we got into our cars to leave, she thanked me, and told me to "thank [my] mom for raising such a sweet daughter."

I didn't exactly feel like I could pat myself on the back, as I thought about the episode of "Friends" when Joey tries to prove to Phoebe that there are no truly selfless good deeds. I felt so good that I was able to help that lady, I definitely felt like it wasn't any sacrifice to help her because I was riding high on endorphins.

It was with a twinge of guilt that I left the Wawa. I thought of all the times that I could've helped someone, but was in too much of a hurry, or too oblivious. I realize that we can't help everyone, and there definitely are (unfortunately) people in the world who will take advantage of someone's generosity. But I think that, as we try to keep our hearts in tune to those little nudges from the Holy Spirit (or from whatever higher power you may believe in), we'll find those opportunities like I had at the Wawa, to lend a hand that will make someone's day - and make yours as well.

Monday, April 13, 2015


Feeling 33

How have I gone almost 33 years without making a homemade steak??

Since my hubby is such a good sport about eating so many vegetable-based dinners that I make, I wanted to put some love in his tummy by making an old-fashioned steak-and-potatoes dinner that he'd been craving. And what says love better than meat?

Here's the recipe to the steaks. I just got some 5-oz sirloins at Target, and seared them with some steak seasonings, olive oil, and butter. Hubby said they turned out tasty, and if our awful stove can cook up a good steak, then anybody can do it!

The potatoes were a big hit. I grabbed some russet potatoes that were on sale, sliced them in wedges, then cooked them according to this recipe. Soooo easy, I'll be making them again soon!

No pictures made it (we were too busy eating to take any), but here's a picture of the aftermath.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Dancing in the rain

Recently I was talking to a friend of mine, and she was recounting the latest chick flick she'd seen. It was a Nicholas Sparks-soft-filtered-everyone's-a-model kind of love story, one that goes for every romantic cliché. Don't get me wrong, I'm a sucker for chick flicks, but sometimes I get so frustrated by those romance stories that try to tell us that they are the ONLY kind of romantic stories out there.

When I was thinking about what I wanted to do for Feeling 33, one of the things that I thought would be cool would be to slow dance in the rain with my beloved. I've never done that before, and it's one of those clichés that seems to have snuck its way into my proverbial bucket list.

I haven't made it happen yet. Maybe because I'm either at work when it rains, or it's like a monsoon-hurricane when it rains here (as was the case last night). Maybe someday we'll make it happen.  Meanwhile, I think about the things that do happen on a weekly basis - like talking together on the couch that leads to laughing-so-hard-I'm-crying-and-stop-my-stomach-hurts-I-can't-breathe, or lip syncing / playing air instruments to music in the car - that I feel makes our love story pretty much perfect.

Sorry, Nicholas Sparks, but my life beats The Notebook any day.