Ciao 2017 - A Year that Warmed My Heart

Another year.  Another 365 days of "what did I do with all that time?"  I do recall many moons ago an older person said to me that time goes by faster when you are older.  I didn't quite get it, but now that I am older, I see that it is true.  But I still don't get it. Time flies by quicker now. But how? But why?  Is it because as adults we wish for the weekends to come so we can have some rest? Only to find out that we have cleaning and laundry, errands and bills to attend to.  Is that why time blows past us?  Who knows, except, here it is the end of 2017 and I am still wondering what happened to March!!  What have I done with all that time?

I have accomplished some things but will readily admit that I wasted too much time.  2018 will be about making more of each moment. Well, that was the goal of 2017, so wish me luck... again.

As the year comes to a close some of you will host big parties.  Great.  But if you are like me, and don't make such a huge deal out of New Year's Eve, or feel pressure to do something, or maybe you feel sad because nothing special is happening.   Please remember it's just another night like the one before it and the one after it.  You can choose to how to honor it or not. You can use it to ump start a fresh beginning. But if you don't have big plans, so what.  You can do what JC and I like to do.  Sit quietly, rejoice in what we have now and make a list of our wishes  for the coming year. Without pressure but just gentle reminders of what we would like to reach for.

As we wrap this year, that was filled with tons of emotion for most of us, let me share some moments of just how lovely a year can be.  (Lots of photos, so keep scrolling for another message from me.)

January
Shared time with my sister Jill and nieces, Nikki and Gabrielle, as we cooked together making the original "something from nothing" recipe, Zucchini Orzo Pie and an old family tradition, stuffed breads.

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February
Starting the month with an invite from our family friends, the Marzullos, to kick start a month of eating well.
Celebrated my birthday with my parents in Miami showing them cool restaurants for them to visit, like Prohibition. Then back home to celebrate another Pisces birthday with my 'niece', Lauren, serving up a traditional Spanish tapas lunch.

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March
Stirring it with love with Gabrielle at her workplace, Traditions, in Charlotte, NC promoting my Think...then Jump™ children's book series and reading to the kids. Back home, taking in nature with a walk through our favorite local spot, Rockefeller Park.

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April
Another trip to Italy, because... Well, it's Italy and you can never get enough. And let's not forget this is the land of beauty, love and of course...pasta.  All things I hold dear.

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 My own fresh pasta made in the Tuscan Hills.  Recipe here

My own fresh pasta made in the Tuscan Hills.  Recipe here

 My hubby, falling in love with Cortona in the Tuscan region of Italy.

My hubby, falling in love with Cortona in the Tuscan region of Italy.

May
JC's birthday, celebrated as usual with good food and wine.

 Cucumber, radish, mint salad

Cucumber, radish, mint salad

 Roasted pork loin

Roasted pork loin

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June
A full month of gatherings with family and friends, both in NY and Miami.  

 Us and the Nardolillo Family.  Finally, after many dates were thrown around, we found one in June!

Us and the Nardolillo Family.  Finally, after many dates were thrown around, we found one in June!

 Always love visiting Miami for sun and the warming of my soul.

Always love visiting Miami for sun and the warming of my soul.

 Miami gang,  Marta and Me with JC to celebrate Emilce's Birthday.

Miami gang,  Marta and Me with JC to celebrate Emilce's Birthday.

 Krista and Me.  I babysat for her.  Yes, I did and now she is getting married!

Krista and Me.  I babysat for her.  Yes, I did and now she is getting married!

July
Spent the 4th sharing good times, good food and good fun with dear friends Emily and Lorne at their Bay home.

Rocked a successful event aboard a NYC nighttime cruise that Despaña co-sponsored.  Boy, was I tired after that one.

A NYC visit from my bestie, Dominique, ending a perfect  girl's day with her daughter, Lauren.

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 Despaña Gang AKA Chicas Poderosas = Powerful Girls!

Despaña Gang AKA Chicas Poderosas = Powerful Girls!

 Dominique and Lauren. Don't you love those smiles!

Dominique and Lauren. Don't you love those smiles!

August
Too many photos to even think about sharing from our trip to Northern Spain, but the highlight was spending time with our dear friends, Marcos and Angelica, at their home in Amieva, Asturias.

 Amieva, a beautiful view

Amieva, a beautiful view

 Marcos, Angelica and JC

Marcos, Angelica and JC

 Angelica and me

Angelica and me

September
How do you celebrate fall with Cuban in-laws?  Roast a pig.
How do you celebrate a friend's birthday? Call and say "I'm coming over with food and cake!"

How do you celebrate a life? By honoring it with memories, laughter and love. Sharing as a family a most beautiful memorial to rejoice in life of my dear Aunt Catherine.

 Porky the pig in La Caja China, the Chinese roasting box

Porky the pig in La Caja China, the Chinese roasting box

 I made a gluten free cake to celebrate Carl's birthday.

I made a gluten free cake to celebrate Carl's birthday.

 Alla familia

Alla familia

 Aunt Catherine's favorite hat and her corn cob pipe.  No button nose here.

Aunt Catherine's favorite hat and her corn cob pipe.  No button nose here.

October
Thanks to my sis, Alys and Mastercard, we got to visit the Chiluly exhibit at the NY Botanical Gardens

Then had a wild production experience as Team Despaña, Angelica and Master Carver Jaume Guerra were slicing up jamón on The Untitled Action Bronson Show appearing on Viceland TV.

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 Angelica & Jaume showing how it's done.

Angelica & Jaume showing how it's done.

 Action Bronson checking out the jamón

Action Bronson checking out the jamón

November
NYC Marathon with my amazing sis, Alys.

 Stats that make her cream of the crop.

Stats that make her cream of the crop.

 Family support after 26.2 miles.  Ready for a meal.

Family support after 26.2 miles.  Ready for a meal.

December
That time of year when spending time with flour, butter and sugar is how I pass my time, baking up a storm. Thankfully, I had one brave soul to help me, my niece, Gianna to the rescue.

 Gianna, directly home from college and before seeing friends, helped me make cookies... all day.

Gianna, directly home from college and before seeing friends, helped me make cookies... all day.

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I also had to say ciao for now to my nephew, John, as he moved away to Colorado.

So as we close the books on 2017, I wish for you all the health and love life has to offer... And there is an abundance of it. There truly is no end to that well.  You can continue to tap it and unearth it's riches.

May you find the path you were searching for.

May the passions you dream of become realities.

May the struggles you have be released and resolved.

May good friends, good food find their way into your home.

May each day bring a wonderful mixture of laughter and smiles, inner peace and joy, satisfaction and accomplishment, confidence and strength.

May you step closer to knowing and loving your true self and rejoice in your essence.

I wish all these and so much more for you.

Happy New Year

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Thankful... Again

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With each passing year my heart grows with more gratitude.  My life filled with more and more blessings, and wonderment.  That's not to say that there aren't speed bumps and detours along the way.  Hell, yeah there are, but in the grand scheme, there is so very much for which to be thankful. And I choose to focus on those, and even view the speed bumps as extra caloric expenditure to pull myself up and over...another benefit! 

I try to count my blessings daily and in every way imaginable.  From the sunshine that warms me up, to crisp Fall air that fills my lungs, to getting a seat on the train away from the person coughing to all the obvious ones of happiness and health friends and family. And so, I especially look to family this year, where accomplishment and joy were the name of the game.  We rejoiced in all things big and small.

Let's get started with my favorites. My nieces and nephew. 

Gabrielle Brooke
Determined to find the right career opportunity, she searched and found a great fit at Traditions in Charlotte. As she finished her first year there, she truly made her mark and presence known including a year long anniversary campaign that showed huge improvements in business, created new exposure and increased revenue for the company. Bringing her own style and smile wherever she goes.  What a difference one rock star can make. 

 Me and G (Proud aunt showed up in Charlotte for support one day!)

Me and G (Proud aunt showed up in Charlotte for support one day!)

John Joseph

Achieving similar professional accomplishments, he turned an internship at Tribute into a job, then took this small start up company by storm.  His adventurous, 'I can do anything' spirit  increased their presence in the marketplace, as he took on new levels of responsibilities, meeting entrepreneurs, movers/shakers, all the while embarking on his own business line, consistently staying true to his social consciousness and gentle spirit.  Truly paving his own path with grace and gumption.

 John, on the right with colleagues meeting entrepreneurs and industry shakers.

John, on the right with colleagues meeting entrepreneurs and industry shakers.

Michella Rae
Rocked it a college firing on all cylinders.  From being a leader in her sorority, to taking no prisoners athletically in lacrosse, to shining academically, and forging her path as on-camera talent.  She's a natural and a powerhouse in all she takes on.  Take a gander at her interviewing skills here.  This was one of her first on camera interviews.  What poise and knowledge.

 Michella interviewing the lacrosse MVP.

Michella interviewing the lacrosse MVP.

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Gianna Marie
In her second year at my alma mater, Binghamton, excelling academically at a school that is among one of the best.  Her caring, gentle spirit and love for animals is steering her in the veterinary direction. She also resurrected her love for dancing, showcasing her talents performing choreography by a senior in the performing arts school.  Check her moves out, front and to the left in the video below.  Talent and emotion that comes from deep within.

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Nicolette Grace
She has become quite the adult and chef. With all Jill's travels, her self reliant style has her cooking meals from Fresh Chef that any adult would envy.  She started High School and finished her first semester of honors classes with straight A's, all the while she continued to kick serious butt as a soccer champ, literally ripping in the winning goal on a free kick from 40 yards out (video below).  A young woman's strength in all areas pushing forward and making her mark!

Melanie
A senior in H.S. with honors and embarking on college while still exploring and excelling her talents in the art world.  She is also a skilled writer and thoughtful young woman.  Her natural talent and skill are impressive.

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Mom/Dad
My mom has a new knee and a new lease on life.  My dad, ever young, helping her through her recovery.  They are our rocks.  They are always there when we need them and ready to show up at any event. Living life fully and with love.

 Seriously, they are amazing.

Seriously, they are amazing.

Robert
My brother came back to NY to accomplish a handful of things. Among them helping my mom with her recovery while he researched and wrote a complete new screenplay.  His writing and creative talents never cease to amaze me. We all loved having him around.  Honoring his no photo policy.  Just know he is as handsome and healthy as ever.

 

Alyssa
My sis, with grit, dedication and determination that boggles my mind, endured her 9th marathon and 7th NYC one. Running with 51K people, she finished with a time that ranked her... Get this:

  • 8% overall, yes out of 51K crazy sweaty peeps
  • Top 3% of ALL women 
  • Top 1.25% in her age group.  Crap this is elite.

Check out the video of her whizzing by.

 

 

Jill
As my other sis climbs the corporate ladder, her work ethic and stamina astounds me. She completed a year at her latest promotion at Estee Lauder, making a difference from here to Europe to Asia.  While she jet sets around, she always putting family first, as her girls know well. She never knew she was such a good juggler. Another huge accomplishment, which might seem insignificant to you all, but was huge around here...

She made it home for dinner one night by 6:30pm. 

 

 
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Juan Carlos
Continues creating branded signage programs for the hospitality industry that stand out as beautiful and unique.  His latest work on the historic landmark property, The Beekman, proudly garnered much acclaim and attention.  Big bonus... he loves me.

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As for me, I count all these joyous moments among my blessings, and being in a family so accomplished.  I also feel fortunate to be part of a great team at Despaña.  We are a diverse group, but right now we are charged with a strong management team made up of WOMEN!  You gotta love that. 

Feeling grateful for the few productions gigs this year which were fun and helpful $$.  My blog fills me with great joy, as you all send me wonderful notes and comments that keep my spirits bright and charge me with motivation to write and share my stories, recipes, entertaining ideas.  My children's books continue to sell. And above all, I am forever and always grateful for the good health of my family and myself.   

So, as we take a moment to reflect on what is truly important in these times when the TV news cycles have our heads spinning and tempers flaring and wondering where morality and decency have gone, I recommend a breath, a moment to inhale deeply and slowly.  Take in all the small milestones. Step back, step within and remember that the external swirling of bull crap will spin away as your inner strength deflects it from landing on our porch.  Speak up when needed, and fight for what you believe to be true and honorable.  Do your part to make a mark in the world.  All the rest is just noise. Don't let it clutter your brain and confuse where you are going and what is your purpose.  There is beauty and goodness all around us.  Just like WonderWoman, we sometimes need a big metal shield to protect us from the flying debris of life.

May you find gratitude in the small things.  May you cull them together and be enveloped in how big and great their sum becomes.  May these tiny moments kiss joy onto your heart and fill you with LOVE.

Happy Gratitude Day... every day.

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The Bud of Love - Flowers, A Wedding & More

Love... Love... Love  
Love... Love... Love
Love... Love... Love
There's nothing you can't do that can't be done...
All you need is love
Love is all you need

Yes, it was The Beatles who famously sung it, but it is a sentiment that rings true and brings joy wherever and whenever shouted out loud.

Love; a big word indeed, and widely overused for some.  For me, not so much.  I believe that when set forth with full intention it does not matter how often it is used.  As a matter of point, when used in that manner, the more the better.  

 Alyssa and Nikki

Alyssa and Nikki

Love can show up in the big and small flavors of life.

 

I try spinning it throughout the energies I put out in the world, like in my children's books and in this blog. Yet there is nothing more exciting than it's most obvious and most common form; the budding of a new love. The strong and steady build and flourish of a new partnership. The expression of love in all its forms. Stirring life with it and swirling around to envelop all that surrounds it.  Weddings have just that. An enormous capacity to pull you into the swell of that sweet and beautiful and blossoming thing.  Such was the swirl we all felt 5 years ago when my sister, Alyssa married Peter. 

In celebration of their half decade wedding anniversary and the love that continues to flourish each year, travel back with me as I dedicate this post to their wedding love.  

So I shall start with the love story that began years ago when JuanCarlos and I got married at my sister, Alyssa’s home.  An act of love in opening her home to greet  friends and family to rejoice in our union.  There was an abundance of love there.  So it only seemed fitting that when Alyssa and Peter were searching for a wedding venue that we offered up our home.  What loves around comes around.

 Our yard, ready to give and receive LOVE.

Our yard, ready to give and receive LOVE.

As with my wedding, many aspects were home grown, made from scratch.  We aimed to do the same for her wedding.  From JC's design of the invitations to creating living room spaces around the property, and of course the floral arrangements and bouquets.  Even the guests gifts. Boxes upon boxes of home made family recipe cookies, completely stirred and tied up with love.

 Boxes upon boxes of homemade goodness.

Boxes upon boxes of homemade goodness.

Sure having a wedding planner do all the nitty gritty is a lovely luxury anyone would enjoy, but there is a certain sense of satisfaction in creating and offering all of yourself.  All the small touches that mark the difference.

The florals help set the tone and add that special touch to any event.  But wedding flowers can be a huge expense.  It’s one of those items that are needed to complete the picture and enhance the scene but guests may or may not notice them.  Why spend a fortune when you can do it just as beautifully for a fraction of the cost? You don't have to be a professional to get a great look.  Find ideas that appeal to you  and aim to emulate them.  I did it for my wedding, creating all the table arrangements and all the bouquets and so it would be the same for my sister’s big day.  Our plan of attack; get up at the crack of dawn and head into NYC's floral market on 28th street. With a color scheme in mind, and some ideas of flower types, we went on our hunt. The joy of going to a market like this is the sheer abundance.  The additional joy.  Sharing this moment with my sister and her daughter, Gianna, creating a memory to last a lifetime.  
 

Just like with food shopping, you may go in with a plan but it's best to just see what is fresh and vibrant and choose the cream of the crop. We walked away with boxes of glorious color and buds. Once at home, the assembly of our masterpieces began and quickly grew into a floral garden on my dining room table.

 Gianna, always my tried and true helper.  I can always count on her.

Gianna, always my tried and true helper.  I can always count on her.

And then filled the party with bursts of happiness.  Maybe these can serve as an inspiration for your next floral creation.

 Calla lilies, Alliums and Eucalyptus

Calla lilies, Alliums and Eucalyptus

 The bridal bouquet

The bridal bouquet

 Table florals, with another type of earth's bounty. Liquid Grapes.

Table florals, with another type of earth's bounty. Liquid Grapes.

 Roses and Dianthus

Roses and Dianthus

The infusion of magical moments were everywhere, yet none more incredible than seeing my sister emerge stunning and elegant wearing a smile that took your breath away.

 The bride

The bride

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 Our Dad, ever the proud papa doing his duty and looking quite dapper.  (And yes, we needed the fans.  July 7th and 92 degrees!!)

Our Dad, ever the proud papa doing his duty and looking quite dapper.  (And yes, we needed the fans.  July 7th and 92 degrees!!)

 

Love turned up in the obvious and not so obvious places.

 Nicolette Grace performing her flower girl duties with  grace .  (That wicker basket was used by Gianna & Michella when they were flower girls in my wedding.  Truly, what loves around comes around. Yes, I kept them for 11 years.  You never know when you may need something.  Hehe)

Nicolette Grace performing her flower girl duties with grace.  (That wicker basket was used by Gianna & Michella when they were flower girls in my wedding.  Truly, what loves around comes around. Yes, I kept them for 11 years.  You never know when you may need something.  Hehe)

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 Having the time of her life as Gabrielle, our niece looks smashing in black and gold.

Having the time of her life as Gabrielle, our niece looks smashing in black and gold.

 Cousins gathered together having a blast. Gianna, Michella, John and Gabrielle.

Cousins gathered together having a blast. Gianna, Michella, John and Gabrielle.

 Gifts for the ones she loves.

Gifts for the ones she loves.

 Bulgarian Bread Ceremony

Bulgarian Bread Ceremony

 The candle lighting bearers of light.

The candle lighting bearers of light.

 Peter, and his son Denis

Peter, and his son Denis

 No matter what the task, Jill, Alyssa's twin sister, is always there to help.

No matter what the task, Jill, Alyssa's twin sister, is always there to help.

LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED

 A family full of love and joy.

A family full of love and joy.

Our home, the flowers and decor in all their beauty were just the backdrop to what was the true beauty of the day;  the bud of love between Alyssa and Peter. 

 

Happy Anniversary, may Love always light the way.

Note:  All photos in this post were taken by my talented husband, JuanCarlos.  Check out more of his work here. 

Prohibition - Restaurant & Speakeasy

Miami is like a second home to us.  As many of you know, JuanCarlos and I met there, got engaged there, honeymooned there and have an apartment there.   So, naturally we like to visit there. Of late, instead of cooking at home as much we have been testing out Miami's restaurant scene, which is really upping its game. 

On our last visit to the sunny city while my parents were visiting at the same time, one of our intentions was to show them a few new restaurants to try.  I immediately thought of Prohibition, a vibe-y hot spot in the Midtown district of Miami.  Don't let the name fool you.  The only thing prohibited here is to not have a good time.  I thought they might enjoy it too.   It's a throw back to the Speakeasy lounges of the Prohibition days, hence the name and offering all the energy of that era. It's interior decor is moody yet inviting.  It's a mix of Hollywood glam and Miami chic.  The crowd is a cool combo of both young and old alike, where everyone feels right at home.  

This was not my first visit. The first two times I frequented this cool hangout was for drinks and snacks at the bar. Both times I thoroughly enjoyed the food, drink and atmosphere.  This time we were there to check out the joint for a sit down, relaxed dinner.   We were hoping for a good meal and good vibe.  And it didn't disappoint.

The menu seems to follow a new style of offerings.  Small and large plates for sharing.  What I do love about this concept is that with so many interesting items on the menu you don't have to just choose just one entree and hope you chose wisely. You can choose several, share them and enjoy the tastes of all.  

We started off with the fresh Sea Bass Ceviche and Shrimp Cocktail.  The ceviche was fresh indeed, beautiful balance of Sriracha sauce and citrus, served with a generous portion of plantain chips.  The shrimp cocktail was classic and good.

 Sea Bass Ceviche with the right amount of heat and citrus. And a generous amount of crunchy plantains.

Sea Bass Ceviche with the right amount of heat and citrus. And a generous amount of crunchy plantains.

 Shrimp Cocktail, fresh and yummy.

Shrimp Cocktail, fresh and yummy.

Then came the homemade Spicy Meatballs with parmesan crostini.  The meatballs, made of beef and veal, were tender and flavorful.  The sauce had a sweet note provided by the caramelized onions followed by a spicy hit. Both team Perri and Casas enjoyed them, however given the traditional Italian roots of the former, felt that the sauce was a bit too spicy, yet ate them up just the same.

On to the larger plates.  We ordered two from this category to share.  Out came two stunning dishes. 

Lamb Chops, which my mom loves, were tasty and tender.  A smooth red wine reduction pooled around a heaping helping of chunky mashed potatoes scented with a bouquet of rosemary.  Just the bones were left.

 Lamb Chops were finger licking good.

Lamb Chops were finger licking good.

Pan Roasted Salmon was cooked perfectly and set atop a bed of warm potato and crab salad. The salmon had a gorgeous crust of spice rub. The salad was flavor power-packed with a well balanced combo of potatoes, crab, grape tomatoes, scallions and herbs.  I really enjoyed this unique salad mix. 

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As we settled in and were enjoying all our selections, we chatted it up with the manager Amin, who is Iranian.  JuanCarlos immediately perked up to tell him how much he loves making Iranian rice dishes. To which Amin then informed us that the chef is also Iranian and one of his specialities is the Cilantro Rice dish.  He graciously offered us a plate to try.  As we each took forkfuls of the fluffy herb scented rice, we tried to figure out all the flavors but were told that the chef is secretive about the ingredients.  That said, I am pretty sure there was dill, and of course, as the name aptly states, cilantro.

Although we were all stuffed and completely content, Amin said we couldn't leave without a dessert.   Bring on the Tres Leches Cake that was lovingly soaked in 3 milks. Some versions of this cake can be very sweet due to the condensed milk addition but this one was not.  It was just the right amount of sweet topped with bananas and toasted marshmallow for an extra special touch.  Even though we thought we couldn't eat another bite after our magnificent meal, we polished off the entire thing.  

 Tres Leches Cake... before.

Tres Leches Cake... before.

 Tres Leches Cake... after.

Tres Leches Cake... after.

As our meal came to a close, we sat back to enjoy the some soulful sax tunes while sipping on Port 20, a fortified wine of tawny, nutty flavors. I noticed the table next to us had a large group that seemed to be equally enjoying themselves. I asked the woman what she thought of her meal.  As expected, her group thoroughly savored all their choices.  And although she doesn't normally eat octopus she ordered it.  Much to her pleasant surprise, she absolutely loved it.   Now that says a lot.

The days of prohibition may be a thing of the past, but visiting Prohibition Restaurant & Speakeasy should be high on your list to enjoy the great, food, drink and cool atmosphere of this happening addition to the Miami restaurant scene.

For more info on all that Prohibition has to offer visit them at:

3404 N Miami Ave
Midtown Miami  33127
(305) 438-9199
info@prohibitionmiami.com

 

 

 

 

The Powerful, Pounding Pacific & My Year of Gratitude

I know you are wondering, where is the food image?  I get it, that has been the mainstay of this blog.  And although food takes the front seat, the real driver is LOVE.  From an appetizer, to table setting, from floral design to a restaurant review, from traveling and inhaling life, it's about living fully and stirring it all with love.  And so I share a moment of exactly that in celebration of the BIRTHday of this blog.  

A little over a year ago JC and I made our first trip to Chile.  We were so grateful for this opportunity as it was a relatively unplanned vacation that was spurred on by a generous invite from our friends. We felt even more blessed upon learning that this was not only the first time they were receiving guests in their Chilean country home, but actually the first time THEY were staying in their own home after renovations.  What an enormous honor and treat. 

 The breathtaking view from our guest room of their home.

The breathtaking view from our guest room of their home.

The home is perched atop the cliffside with the pounding Pacific below. Pounding being the understatement, as the ever constant rush of waves beats against the shore every minute, every second of the day and night.  To some this persistent commotion might be vexing but to me it was a soothing calm. I am a Pisces and a water lover. I love hearing it, seeing it, being near it, and most definitely being IN it.  I am in awe of water, and even more so of the Pacific.  She is relentless.

Her mighty force roars; crashing, smashing into the rocks, into beaches, into whatever it pleases. Raging with a haunting 'grito' (translation: yell)  "I, more powerful than you".  A roar of hisses, a roar of crashes, a whisper of foam.  

She screams out "Surrender to me, feel my might. I will wear you down."  But the rocks simply stand, and stand taller and stronger.  Not blinking or twitching or with the slightest concern.  They make no sound against the rushing rage. Stand strong. Stand your ground. Rock solid, now and forever.

I share this beauty of nature and my profound sense of appreciation for a year of adventure for the things I love and of being grateful.  Grateful for all of life's opportunities. Grateful to have loyal readers. Grateful for that moment in Chile,  listening to the mighty water as I sat and wrote and wrote and wrote, anticipating the launch of my blog.  Breathing in strength and belief in myself. So today in honor of the exact one year anniversary posting of this blog, a birthday on many levels, I say;  
May each of us stand tall in whatever force charges our way. With calming love and in full celebration, I wish for you to be as forceful as water and as solid as rock in all your life's journeys.