Toddlers on Heels

My two year old has been wearing my heels ever since she started walking.  Actually, she’s got her own one-inch heels collection, thanks to the many costumes and costume sets we’ve accumulated here at home.  Role-playing is a favorite activity in this household, especially since my daughter is now recognizing her ability to “pretend” she is someone else. The only problem is my son, who is now a year and a half, has caught on to the trend of wearing heels.  We have an abundance of girl-type costumes and yet no boy-types at all.  So, halloween was a great excuse for creating an outfit for my little boy.  He was Peter Pan and my daughter was Tinkerbell.

Every year, I try to think of something creative for my children to pretend as for their costumes.  This recent holiday inspired me to create again.  My fiancé asked me how come I don’t make clothes for our kids.  I guess the only excuse is really inexcusable, so I’m not even going to mention.  I should, and maybe I would from now on.

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2012 – Wonderwoman
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2013 – Flo the Progressive agent
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2013 – A last minute Ralph Macchio aka The Karate Kid
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2014 – Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, and their Disney friends

 

Here are some other photos of the kids dressing up.

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Superheroes and princesses.  See what I mean about my boy?  Too funny and too cute.

(Also, I just realized I don’t actually have a photo of one of my toddlers on heels.  Oops.)

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That Tugging Feeling

I felt it that morning when I woke.  I had slept through the night.  That meant my toddlers dreamt of nice, silly things.  An uninterrupted night happens rarely as a cry or two usually gets me out of bed around 5 o’clock most days just before dawn.  Or at 3 o’clock.  Or both.  That morning when I awoke after a full night’s sleep, I ran to my kids’ room with that tugging feeling as if something was wrong.  And there they were, peaceful in slumber, motionless yet full of life.

There was a certain uneasiness in my gait that morning, as the thought kept drumming in my head: “You need to work out.  You need to work out.  You need to work out.”  I needed to work out.  I had set that unmotivated goal to burn off some of those lazy calories belting the six pack I’m hiding.  I decided to take it to the treadmill while the kids nap later on that afternoon.  I was trying to bide my time with my coffee when that tugging feeling again started to happen.

It was just a missed phone call.  I heard my phone’s vibrations amidst the noise of the kids and the fiancé and the television and the laundry.  Tug tug.  Two missed calls from my sister.  It’s not that she doesn’t call.  She does.  But most of the time, her phone calls were anticipated.  I almost always know when she’s going to call and for what reason.  And never back to back.  Never.  So, an unanticipated, back-to-back phone call from my sister was definitely interesting.  I automatically knew something was off.  It could’ve been a few things.  Help with their move via some babysitting.  Another typical argument with her husband that led to a getaway drive.  A quick break from the stress of her life, a venting of some sorts.  It could’ve been any of those.

It just wasn’t.  I called her back right away.  And as she said the words, I knew it just wasn’t.  “I have news.”  She said calmly.  I froze.

Later on that afternoon, I found myself staring at an image of a girl in the gym mirrors.  I had just finished running two miles, and I just had to sit down, regroup.  The run was unsuccessful in sorting out my thoughts.  I sat on one of the machine benches, staring at my reflection, seeing not a grown woman with two kids but rather a girl, lost in the confusion of life and its purpose and destination.  I saw a girl drowning in the same tears she cried upon hearing her sister’s voice on the phone.  “I have news.”  She said.  She was crying.  My sister was crying.  She never cried.  At least not in front of me.  I come from a family who spared no emotions to each other.  Unless…the moment was dire.

There was that tug again as I walked back home from the gym.  Thoughts were still racing.  Heart was still being pulled by the gravity of life and all that was beautifully tragic in it.  How fleeting was that moment? How sad was our cause?  How small are we really?  Because at the time this was all chaotically happening before me, I felt so tiny and helpless.

Days later, I finally decided to write again.  I thought of selfishly capitalizing on my newfound, grave emotions, but I had already forgotten the ramblings of my head when I first learned that a person in remission can suddenly, out of the bluest blue, be in the total opposite physical state.  And that is simply NOT in remission, my friends.  After being cancer-worry-free the last few years, my father’s lungs has again betrayed him just as he did them a lifetime ago.

Tug tug.  The tugging baffles me as my relationship with my dad is stoic at best.  Between us stands a whole lot of history and a whole lot of “no-history” at the same time, if that makes any sense.  It leaves oceans of stories for another time.  Maybe it’s the grandkids.  Maybe I’ve just gotten older, softer.  I don’t know what it is.  But this second time around that cancer’s decided to come visit my father, it’s just a tad more threatening.  More frightening.  More sinking.  More affecting.  More heartbreaking.

Definitely so much more heartbreaking.  “Papa’s cancer is back.”  She said.

Heartbreak pang.  Intermittent tugging.  Silent tears.

On Change, Part 2

It’s crippling.  And it definitely takes a lot for me to admit.  But it’s true.  I have an uncanny disability to stick to something.  I can’t stay on track.  I can’t finish many of the things I start.  I can’t deliver on personal endeavors.  I can’t give myself what I want.  How else can I say it?

The word Everything on a To-Do list on a dry erase board to remiLet’s extrapolate.  First off, I say most because that’s what I meant.  Most.  Not all.  Just many.  I also say personal endeavors because for some reason, if it’s for someone else, I have no problem producing.

I can’t finish that class I keep taking.  I can’t finish that family photo album I keep buying materials for.  I can’t finish that book I keep picking up only to put down.  I can’t finish that song I started to write so long ago.  I can’t finish sewing that dress I was supposed to wear for a special occasion last year.  I can’t finish so many things I think of that I haven’t even begun to produce.  I almost feel like I can’t finish even before I start.

So yeah.  It’s pretty crippling.  Am I juggling too many balls?  Wearing too many hats?

I guess it calls for some type of change, first of which should be learning how to say no.

Step 1: Say no.

Then, I suppose I can pick a project and not do any others until that one is done.

Step 2: Pick one.

Should I give myself a time limit as well?  Yeah.  I suppose I should.

Step 3: Set a time.

What next?  The hardest part then.  I suppose I should just stick to it.

Step 4: Stick to it, but don’t get stuck.

Let’s see how this one works out.  I’m trying to be as optimistic as I could, but there is a looming feeling of defeat and total laxness about it.  If I lose to myself, then it’s my loss.  Totally horrible sentence, but it’s true.  So…

Step 5: Be accountable.

I’ll tell you my personal projects as I go.  Maybe it’s easier to succeed if there’s an audience around.  I won’t add Step 6 on here just yet.  At least not until I finish one project.

 

Plan Your Meals and Save Time

Sesame Chicken and Bok choy
Sesame Chicken and Bok choy

I get it.  Not everyone wants to slave in the kitchen.  I don’t either.  As much as I love to cook, I can’t afford to shell out too much time preparing meals for my family.  The way our lifestyle goes, I really only make dinner.  Not bad, I know.  Breakfast for me typically consists of coffee and something light like a piece of toast or some eggs.  The kids usually get milk and fruits and cereal.  Daddy gets his smoothies for breakfast and lunch, while we eat leftovers for lunch at home.  Very, very simple.

Chicken Pesto Kabobs
Chicken Pesto Kabobs

Now, I understand not everyone has a meal schedule like we do.  However, this simplified eating schedule can really work for most people.  I also want to add that we do snack throughout the day, mostly fruits or cheese or whatever else we have at home.  If you noticed, we try to keep it fairly healthy when we can.  But believe me, I never skimp out on dinner.  Oh yeah!

So, how do we begin?

Mexican Tamales
Mexican Tamales

Start off by examining your current eating lifestyle.  What do you like to eat, and what do you eat most of?  Do you like to experiment with taste culturally?  How many times do you eat a day?  Do you prefer hearty dinners or hearty breakfasts or lunches?  How much time are you willing to spend in the kitchen?  How many days a week are you willing to commit to cooking?

Answer these questions, and you should have a better idea on how your eating week should look like.  I usually print out a weekly menu calendar for my planning.  It helps to look at the amount of time you’re planning for with a bigger perspective, making sure not to have repeats or close encounters.  I typically plan for two weeks at a time.  Also, I find that we are out most weekends, so I don’t plan to cook on those days.  Five meals a week is cake, especially if you’re up to trying new things.  I’ll give you a sampling of what I normally do.

Orange Beef with Broccoli
Orange Beef with Broccoli

American.  Mexican.  Irish.  German.  French.  Filipino.  The beautiful concoction of cultures that is our family.  Mondays are usually Latin night.  Tuesdays are wonderfully Italian (just because we love Italian!).  Wednesdays are our Filipino or anything Asian days.  Thursdays are devoted to experimentation, which includes Irish, French, and German since we aren’t so familiar with their cuisines.  We might go Indian or Arabic depending on my mood, really.  And of course, Fridays are generally American.  Barbecue, anyone?  By the way, I switch the days all the time.  No rules!

After that, the hard part of thinking is really done.  All that’s left to do is some creative recipe research.  I always go online for ideas.  I also like to find recipes that only take about 30 minutes to make, depending on what it is and how much time I’m willing to give.  Short and extremely efficient is how I want to cook.  Some of the websites I use include Yummly, Pinterest, Allrecipes, and the Food Network.  Allrecipes actually has a mobile app that can pinpoint you to the closest store that has the most sales of the ingredients you need.  Impressive shopping tool!

Chicken Tikka Masala
Chicken Tikka Masala

Try shopping for days ahead of time.  I wish I can do food shopping for a whole week, but with two babies on my side all the time, I find that I really can only do two to three days worth of shopping when I go.  The amount of time you will save from thinking to shopping to executing in the kitchen will surprise you when you plan ahead of time.  It sure has helped with managing my schedule between taking care of the family, my business, and everything else in between!

Good luck to you and hope this helps!  If you’d like any more ideas, feel free to ask! 🙂

10 Best Relationship Types

Besides the small percentage of the world that practices common polygamy, people are really subject to be engaged in a couple-type relationship at some point in their lives.  Even religious ministers or those who devote themselves to some parochial standard see themselves as having a partner in God himself.  In your lifetime, you might’ve been involved in one, two, or even more out of this list.  It’s interesting to see how we categorize ourselves among our peers whether in comparison or not.  Here’s just a fun way to look at how we see ourselves as couples in a relationship.  Enjoy!

  1. The Book Lovers.  They quote Vonnegut when they’re pissed.  They shower each other with Shakespearean compliments on a good day.  When they cuddle, it’s with a book and not each other.  They don’t talk much.  But when they do, they talk about the latest novel they’ve read.  A good date for these lovers consists of sitting on the floor at Barnes and Noble, surrounded by their favorites, sipping a macchiato, and perusing titles they’ve missed.couple-reading-books
  2. The Ones Who Love To Eat.  The main question these lovers ask is, “What’sfor dinner?”  They know all the best places to eat in town, and whenthey take trips, they go on “food trips.”  They take photos of everything they’re about to consume and make sure that the social world knows about it.  They have member cards to their favorite restaurants and know all the specials from Monday to Friday.  A good date is nothing but a nice meal at a restaurant they haven’t been to…..in a while.1058915.large
  3. The Risky Types.  When you’re risky, you’re risky with everything.  They’re the adventurous type; the ones who like to go 90 on a 45 mph street.  They constantly compete with each other as to who can do the more dangerous thing.  They’ll eat frog legs.  They’ll jump out of planes.  They’ll go hiking on an unmarked trail with nothing but a compass and some jerky.  A good date for this couple is a neck-to-neck speedway race around the track.  Maybe with no helmets on.Jumping Into the Sea
  4. The Theatricals.  They just suddenly burst into song.  For no apparentreason.  Actually, they speak in songs.  Overly dramatic, their clothes mostly often match.  They’re sponsors at the local opera house, and they would pay their membership fees first before they pay their student loan amassed from the theater degree they got from Yale.  Yes.  They went to Yale and got degrees in theater.  A good date for the theatrical couple is a trip to see an off-Broadway show, in which one of them is actually acting in.valentines-18c648d5415d75f1b9c3abc3d26487acf426146e-s6-c30
  5. The Smarty Pants.  They like playing trivial board games because theybeat everyone else.  They have the latest technological gadgets and know when the next upgrade’s coming in.  These smarty pants go to school “just cause” even though they already have three PhDs and two MBAs between the two of them.  They constantly correct each other and hold political debate night for their equally smarty friends.  A good date is staying in and working together on their Coursera classes that are, just ’cause, on track for unnecessary certification.couple
  6. The Nightlife-ers.  They party hard.  All night.  Tuesdays to Sundays.  The social butterflies that they are, they’re in every VIP list they can get in to.  They like the occasional switch up.  So instead of going to a regular bar or club, they go to someone’s party.  They don’t even really like to dance; they just like to mingle.  At night.  A good date for the nightlife couple is a good day spent shopping for what they would wear that night.red-flush-vip-couple
  7. The Nomads.  They’re neither here nor there.  They’re everywhere.  One day you’ll just see a random Facebook post from Aruba, and then next day, you see them posting photos from Jamaica.  Then all of a sudden, they’re in Bermuda.  Traveling literally makes their world go ’round, and they hate to travel without the other.  A good date for these two is a dinner on top of the Eiffel tower, on top of a mountain somewhere, or just anywhere…on top of the world.0-cover-640x410
  8. The Couch Potatoes.  They love to lounge.  The television is their third wheel.  They’re also known as homebodies.  They don’t go out much.  They have three, maybe even four, external hard drives amounting to a terabyte each full of movies and shows they don’t even get to watch.  Our couch potatoes have watched “Lost” several times and still gets shocked every time Juliet dies.  A good date for this couple is nothing but a nice On Demand rental with a bowl of popcorn to devour while sharing a double Snuggie.lau022_blue_double_slanket
  9. The Emos.  They write each other songs and not the “lucky I’m in love with my best friend” types.  They tend to get unreasonably jealous over silly things.  Say, for example, the girl somehow found a new pet cat; guy becomes way too miserable because he isn’t getting the affection he used to get.  So he writes a song about it.  The emos wear their emotions on their sleeves and also think that the world is really against the two of them.  A good date for this couple is nice picnic by the beach during sunset where they each have their own guitars, and they take turns belting out sad tunes for each other.cute-couple-guitar-play-boy-girl
  10. The Workaholics.  These guys are crazy.  It’s hard to imagine how they even keep up with a relationship.  They literally have to pencil each other in.  They make up for it by buying each other stuff with all the money they each make on their own.  They’re powerhouses, and neither of them take no for an answer.  So it’s either they are super compatible that they agree on absolutely everything, or it’s never going to work.  A good date for our workaholics involve some type of lavishness…like a yacht and an extremely expensive bottle of wine, cruising over the Pacific while they both answer emails on their Blackberries.bigstock_Couple_Working_On_Laptop_3989992

Stay tuned for the next installment of relationship types!

Photo sources:
o5.com
care2.com
dailymail.co.uk
npr.org
bostonmagazine.com
redflushcasino.eu
autocarvietnam.vn
findmeagift.co.uk
2.bp.blogspot.com
telecommutenews.com

If You Liked It Then You Should’ve Put An Egg On It

Runny.  Yolky.  Yellow.  It just makes everything so much better.  Here are 10 of the many dishes that are just so much better when topped off with an egg.  Enjoy!

  1. Salads.  Sprinkle that with some chopped up hard-boiled egg.SA7563A
  2. Sandwiches.  Make it over-medium for a juicy bite.Open-faced-Barbecue-Sandwich-with-Fried-Egg
  3. Classic burger.  Nice and over-easy will never go wrong.pic002-L
  4. Fried rice.  Sunny side up and runny all the way.fried-rice-egg-bowl
  5. Ramen noodles.  Crack a raw one into that steamy broth and let it poach itself to perfection.img_3112
  6. Steak.  Any which way you have an egg with a steak is sublime.54493412
  7. Pancakes.  Eliminate the butter and syrup and replace them with a runny egg.  Delicious!piece-de-resistance-pancakes-eggs-dawn-on-the-amazon-cafe
  8. Tacos.  Top off that taco with some crumbled hard-boiled yolk and savor the silkiness.  Or just scramble it up.SpinachBreakfastTaco_0073
  9. Pasta carbonara.  With a poached egg, it almost should be part of the recipe.20110317-127355-dinner-tonight-poached-egg-carbonara-thumb-518xauto-147566
  10. Fried chicken.  What came first, the chicken or the egg?  Either way, they belong together naturally.jalapeno-cheddar-waffles-fried-chicken-recipe-egg-on-top

Photos courtesy of the following sites:
eatingwell.com
blog.yummly.com
gusandgabriel.com
pbs.org
tokyoterrace.com
steak-enthusiast.com
dawnontheamazon.com
aeb.org
seriouseats.com
betsylife.com

In the World of Success

The intimidation I felt today was innocent, almost childlike.  Palms damp from overactive pores.  Body tingly from rabid nerve endings.  Pulse rate just a tad elevated from the anticipation.  I have to admit I was nervous in a way that I hadn’t felt in a while.

I was invited by a friend to attend her monthly business networking meeting.  I wasn’t sure what to expect as I’d never associated myself with anything “business,” at least not until I started my own not too long ago.  I constantly have to tell my brain, “You’re a business woman now, so start being business-savvy.”  The group’s morning chatter was all work and no play; it was deliberate and surprisingly light-hearted.  People were damn serious about what they did and genuinely interested in what I had to offer.  I was expected to stand and deliver a quick overview of my business, and as each well-dressed person spoke their spiel, I started growing smaller and smaller by the minute.  It was literally the round table of successful and established women, and somehow, I found myself in the middle surrounded by attorneys and health care professionals and financial advisors.

freelance_writer_during_the_day_tshirt-r4d61dac4c449472f843e94550102df59_8nhm8_324I sucked it up as I usually do.  “Hi.  My name is Jennifer, and I’m a freelance writer.”

I think it was pretty much met with equal awe and nonchalance, if that makes any sense.  Never mind dabbling into the web market bit of my business; I sat next to a pretty made web designer.  Goodness.  I don’t even have a writing degree.  Yeah.  I laughed at myself on the inside for a second.

Then I allowed myself to revel at the fact that I was there, surrounded by success.  Maybe success intimidates me a little.  Fear of success.  It boggles my mind.  Humbles me to the very core.  It was inspiring, motivating.  When you find yourself shadowed by the greats, take as much from it as you can.  Learn.  Allow yourself to be small.  All great things start that way.

So next month, I might find myself in the same meeting with a better sense of how much I can offer, which is really quite a bit.  I may have taken twenty business cards today, but I gave away just as much.  Who knows?  Maybe I made a lasting impression.  I guess I’ll find out when I get that phone call.

Photo courtesy of zazzle.com & brainleadersandlearners.com