17 December 2009

Auld Lang Syne, My Friends!

"May Old Aquaintance Be Forgot...and never called to mind....." We know the tune, but at this juncture in the holiday season, we need to take some time to reconnect, rekindle and renew some old friendships or family connections needing nurturing. The year is closing and a new year is ahead. It seems like just yesterday that we whooped it up as we ushered in the year 2000! The first decade of the 21st century is behind us and we have so much to be grateful for. It's hard to believe how much has transpired over the past ten years and thinking about what is ahead in the next ten is mindboggling. To keep things in perspective, I am spending this holiday with friends and family that mean so much to me. I've cut down on the shoulds and oughta's and I am focusing on their wants and needs. I'm making a short list of goals for the coming year, and I'm keeping it simple so that I can be not only realistic but successful at reaching my goals. This is an excellent time to be making a to-do list for the coming decade. Can't fail here when we give ourselves an entire ten years to accomplish such a list! Of course, by doing this I don't mean to add undue pressure but having goals and maybe even a few dreams isn't so bad. In ten years my children will be grown and I will be an empty nester on a new journey. While my children are still home I am going to focus on nurturing our relationships. They are virtually new people, no longer small children but teens with their own identities, ideas and desires. I sometimes find it difficult to remember they rarely need my daily direction but moreso guidance and encouragement as they make their own decisions and choices. In a few years they will all be out of college and carving their own way which will leave me time to carve mine and I sometimes wonder what my life will be like. We don't have to leave it to chance, we can steer the course ourselves and I am looking forward to where the voyage into the next decade will lead. EDC Weekly Inspiration will be taking a vacation until after the new year to ponder this question, therefore, I will wish you now a wonderful holiday and a very Happy New Year! See you in 2010!

07 December 2009

Ugg Luv!

Friends, I must confess...I'm a slave to my Uggs! I can't take them off! And I am like you, when I first laid eyes on them I thought to myself, these things are aptly named 'cause they are uggggly!!! I succumbed in private by investing in a pair called Coquette, the lug-soled slipper that gets me through my winter! I pop them on when I fumble out of bed in the morning and they are the first things I run to when I'm home again. Off and on they go day in and day out. I'm never too fatigued to unlace my tall boots for a spin in my uggs! Then I thought, well, do as the Romans' do...and I invested the following fall in a pair of the Classic mid-calf. I love how they look rolled down a bit. And let's face it, they aren't all that attractive but neither are my size 9 feet, so I figured when it comes to comfort, what's the dif? Last year I found myself trudging through New York City quite often in undesireable weather and not feeling urban chic enough for my liking. Ugg came to the rescue once again with a platform wedge style perfect with jeans and slacks, also fully lined with the fabulous shearling fur that keeps the tootsies so toastie on a Big Apple power shopping day. By this time my sons had caught onto my love for Uggs and bestowed me with not one but two pair of the sweet fuzzie thong style for Mom's day. I can now wear my Uggs twelve months a year...although you'll never catch me sportin' 'em with a mini or a swimsuit, sorry! My latest investment was a pair of black cardi's! So versatile with the buttoned up relaxed look, I wear them far too often; ask anyone! After 44 years of dancing on my worn out feet, arthritis strikes too often and comfort is my mantra many days. If you've been a holdout because of fear of following a trend, this trend is one worth succumbing to if you love to pamper your tootsies! Nordstrom carries a wide selection of styles and I'm certain you can find something to suit. They also offer occasional online sales, which is how I justified my cardi's...so keep your eyes open! Drop me an email and let me know if you invest in a pair or two, and tell me which you like best! I don't think I've completed by Uggs wardrobe just yet! Thanks for reading! Miriam

25 November 2009

Holiday Uniform....make it simple and chic!

Let's move on here this week to some useful information, shall we? Putting together a sensational outfit for your holiday uniform. Did I say uniform? Yes, I did! I don't always abide by the uniform because I dress according to mood but generally have a small selection that I choose from for holiday set aside anyway. For some people a go-to uniform or two is just the ticket for the hectic schedules they keep with cocktail parties, dinners and holiday events throughout the next couple of months. Very economical too! The color palette these days is so easy to build a small wardrobe around using blacks and grays with pops of colors. Deep purples and plums are all the rage. So are bold colors such as fuchsia, royal blue and emerald greens. Metallics are still showing on the racks big time; silver, gold and copper in metallics, lames and satins! There's so much to chose from! Start with the simple backdrop of a black slack or skirt. Above the knee is a good place to begin with the skirt and grab a couple of pairs of opaques to go with. You can wear a pump, a bootie or a tall boot with this look. Top it with a color, either in a blouse, an embellished or floral ruffle sweater or tee and jacket. Layer strands and strands of beads, pearls and metals and you're good to go. If you need the comfort of a slack there are many cuts seen today. The straight or pencil cut is all the rage but if it's not within your comfort zone don't feel pressured. Anything goes, really. Once piece jumpsuits are back. Can you handle it? Satin, no less! Gorgeous for a holiday party and so chic and comfortable. If this isn't for you, stick with a slack and a terrific flowing white blouse with lots of bling. Scarves and wraps continue to be accent embellishments that add a distinctive look to something simple an do double duty for warmth. Peep toe pumps or a gorgeous satin strappy platform sandal will finish off any outfit and give it a dressy and hip look. There are sales and bargains galore out there. You can pick up some great pieces for less but don't scrimp on your shoes! Standing for a couple of hours in a poorly constructed pair of pumps can do more damage than good if they are killing your feet! When my feet hurt, everything hurts, so shop with longevity in mind with the trendy shoes and don't go over the top trendy, that way you can get more wear per buck and not feel the guilt. Again, strands of pearls, chains and colored stones of all shapes and sizes go. If you're bold pile it on! Make sure you stand in a full length mirror when you dress so you know the balance is right. Even petite women can pull of this look if done right. Add pieces then take off a couple and see what balances your frame the best. Top it all off with a metallic clutch and a stunning black wrap secured with a broach and you've got a uniform! Simple go-to pieces to get you through the next six weeks or so right into the new year. Enjoy the festivities feeling great! Cheers...and thanks for reading! Miriam

09 November 2009

Rain, Rain, Go Away....I've personally had enough, if anyone cares!

Rain, Rain, Go Away....and I don't really care if it comes back another day!!! I can't believe how much precipitation has been dumped on our heads this past month! It was a pretty soggy summer too but come on now?! Rain is good. We all know the benefits of what a good soaking can do, and I truly doubt we'll be in a drought situation next spring because our reservoirs have got to be brimming over like an unattended baby pool! I'm just saying, the wet dog, the muddy feet, the frizzy do! I can't take it anymore. I have been hoping for snow...which I really can't seem to tolerate more than a dusting of as of late...just so it's less messy to get around. Too many fall sporting games have been cancelled to ever try to reschedule. I can't remember the last time I washed my car! I mean, ya know, with real soap and all. Grungy liquid from the polluted sky has had to suffice. The only benefit I can see is that I did manage to get a few extra winter chores accomplished at home that I usually wouldn't have tackled until later in the year. My holiday cards are ordered, the kids playroom is sorted and organized and so is my cedar closet. Don't look in my back yard because fall cleanup has yet to be completed although I could probably pull an entire shrub out with my bare hands, the soil is so soft and pliable. My children have benefited a little from the foul weather. Less play outdoors and more time dedicated to studying and reading. What else is there for them to do? When you can get your kids to voluntarily study? Then let it rain! While it does have it's drawbacks, I'll try to remember that after the the rain comes the sun and along with it, renewal. Springtime rains bring new growth, fragrant blossoms and perfect beauty so I'll try not to complain too much. At the pace this fall is going spring is just moments away. However, for now, look indoors and find a couple of things you can chalk off your to-do list! I don't think we've seen the last of it yet! Thanks for reading! Miriam

31 October 2009

Go Beyond The Bus Stop With Me!

Good morning, I'm a little late this week getting an inspirational thought out to you all. It's been one of those weeks and I just couldn't get beyond the bus stop! You know, sick kids, projects, field trips, order form deadlines, cramming for tests. Sometimes it isn't about me, not for one minute; and sometimes it's all about me! I've been searching for a special place that I belong, something just for me for quite a while and I think I've finally found it. It's called Beyond The Bus Stop. Beyond The Bus Stop is a locally "grown" organization created especially for Moms. It has a national impact now with groups popping up all over created for Moms who need and want to look beyond their own bus stops. We do so much every day for our children, and we want to. It's our job description and it's also out of love that we put aside who we are to tend to the kids. Sometimes, however, we get so stuck in our rut of "mommy" that we forget the "me" in mommy! We all know that this is not a good thing, but duty calls and we continue to push the "me" aside. Well, after years of this behavior it can feel like we're drowning in our own goodness! There is not a moment in a mans' day, I'm certain, where his identity of who he is is questioned by himself or others, generally speaking. Beyond The Bus Stop encourages moms everywhere to reach out to each other, to share their experiences, their joys, their pains and their dreams. It allows moms to support, encourage and share in triumphs with each other. Nothing can get someone off the couch like another woman who's been there and done that! Beyond The Bus Stop is looking for H.O.T moms everywhere. H.O.T being Happy, Optimistic, Take Action women! Are you out there? Do you need to move past the bus stop drudgery for yourself? Is there something exciting you'd like to try that you just can't get the courage to do? Have you always dreamed of starting your own business but don't trust yourself to even begin the process? Do you want some motivation to get off the couch and start working out to feel better about you? This is the place! Come share with other women just like you and get inspiration and guidance and love. It's an amazing thing that's happening around the country. Visit www.BeyondTheBusStop.com and look for a chapter near you. If there isn't one, email Suzy Stauffer, founding Mom, and start your own chapter! You won't believe the momentum you can create when you get a room full of likeminded, take action women together. It's awe inspiring! Do it for you...and do it for your kids. Please email me if you have any other questions or want to share your dreams and experiences. I'd love to learn and share with you. Also, if you live in the vicinity our next Chapter Meeting will take place on Thursday,November 5, 2009 from 7-9pm at Bling It On, West Chester, PA. Contact Rosemarie Miller www.BeyondTheBusStop.com, Chester County Chapter Leader for more details!

19 October 2009

Don't Forget the Advil

I've just about pulled out all of my curls, one by one. College Application drudgery, like childbirth, is a memory that I'd most like to bury deep, "Oh, this will be fun! Let's visit 23 college campuses in 8 weeks then submit applications, paperwork, and promise firstborns to half of them! Why not, we have nothing else to do!" I'm going through this life event for the first time with my oldest son and I am thankful that I have a five year reprive before I have to do it again. When I do I will certainly mention to son No. 3 to take notes, I will not repeat myself! With the idea of visiting college after college came the thought of reliving some sweet memories of days gone by. The carefree, independent, world-at-my-fingertips feeling going off as a college student gave. I was so anxious to step back onto a campus full of life, youth and promise. Then I took my teenager with me! Nothing could be more agonizing! Many times he refused to exit the vehicle once we drove the two plus hours, made four wrong turns and with the tank on "E" chugged into the last remaining parking spot on campus 20 mins. late for the welcome session. This is where I'd hear the familiar declaration, "I'm not going in there! This place sucks!" First of all, that word a year ago was not allowed in their vocabulary. Now, it's the definitive vernacular I wait for with baited breath to learn whether he will bestow the honor of his presence and actually make application to this particular institution of higher learning! Well, I anticipated this reaction so we did begin the process early. A year ago exactly...to the day as I write. Now we find ourselves five applications into the process and wondering if it's all worth it. Where will he get accepted? Will he make a mark? Will he thrive and mature and find who he is on this campus? Will he meet his future bride? Many say that life is not fate but all about your choices. I kind of think it's a bit of both. I know from my own experiences that much of what I am today is because of the choices I've made...or didn't make. We are about to help our son make one of these larger than life choices that will determine the fate of, at the minimum, his next four years. Quite possibly and most probably the rest of his life. At this juncture we are just happy we are getting the online applications filled in properly then assembling the stack of required paperwork and delivering it to the appropriate authorities! Can it be more complicated? And FAFSFA..isn't that a Greek Pastry?? I don't know, I'm sure I'm stressing too much and that everything will fall into place beautifully. I'm hoping he has some choices and that he finds the perfect place to bloom and grow. I cherish my collegiate experience and count it as some of the best years of my life. I want that for my son, too. I am hoping that this roll of the dice kind of a process will prove beneficial in the long run. We can only hope that the applicant is presented in the best possible light and that one of these colleges sees something special within him and gives him a shot at building a good foundation for the rest of his life. Heavy stuff when you think about it. Now, back to the checklist. Thanks for reading! Miriam

16 October 2009

HGTV's Inspirational Kristan Cunningham

I have many things in my life that inspire me but now I have a new inspiration! Kristan Cunningham of HGTV's Design on a Dime. Kristan is the newest spokesperson for Raymour and Flanigan furniture stores and I had the lucky pleasure of meeting her recently for an in- store event. Raymour and Flanigan's King of Prussia location on DeKalb Pike hosted two design seminars along with two sweepstakes for an attendee to win a $2,500 room makeover. What fun! I was scheduled for another promotional event so when I arrived at the store the first sweepstakes winner had been selected and was on a whirlwind shopping trip with Kristan around the showroom. I was allowed to join in and get a glimpse of Kristan in action! The first prizewinner, Janice and her husband Phil were working on furnishing their master bedroom in their newly built home. I was happy to hear that with three small kids Janice was making it her priority to create a space for she and her husband; a haven, if you will. Many people spend time and money making the rest of their home a showpiece but leave their bedroom as their last project, which many times takes years to get around to. Personally, I think it's the most important room of the house and was my first project in my home when we moved in. Your bedroom is the first thing you see when you open your eyes in the morning and the place where you lay your head at days' end. It should be cozy, welcoming and a respite for you and your husband. I firmly believe this, especially if you are raising small children and are usually sleep deprived and generally also never without someone tagging along beside you. The aqua blue chaise Kristan selected for the master sitting room is just what the doctor ordered for a quiet place to sit and rejuvenate, and the bolster pillow a perfect rest for reading. I loved the idea of the metallic mirrored bedside table to add a little shabby chic style. Kristan was a breath of fresh air and I had a wonderful opportunity to sit and chat with her for a bit after her design consultation was complete. Not only was she welcoming to me but offered me moments to insert my thoughts and comments. How cool was that? Kristan was born and raised in the south and her comfortable way, her outgoing personality and her relaxed and cool style shows. Design on a Dime, her design show featured on HGTV does the same. Kristan's ideas are ready to go, easy to accomplish and have a unique impact. Her experience at the high end furniture show rooms in Los Angeles helped to guide her style while her desire to create a look that is affordable for everyone turns simple items into looks with pow! Kristan is a busy young woman because she has such a knack for helping her clients be successful with their dreams and their goals. Through her work Kristan has noticed an evolution with her clients. They are no longer interested in having someone come in and drape the home in expensive fabrics and high end furnishings, Kristans' clients are savvy, informed and have opinions and definitely chose to be part of the design process. Kristan finds a give and take and a satisfaction in working closely with someone to help bring their ideas to fruition. People work hard and want their home to be a place of leisure, of comfort and have a style that expresses who they are. My sentiments exactly! Kristan accomplishes this with her own individual flare and trained eye. She is always evolving and changing with her clients and Kristan feels she has found her niche with her work and loves what she does. I am hoping that Kristan's relationship with Raymour and Flanigan is long and rich. The regular mom needs a one stop shopping experience where she can quickly and easily find what she needs, have advice on how to pull it all together affordably and feel confident that her choices are current and stylish. The event was a boon for Janice, who initially arrived baby in stroller! Grandmom came and took the baby home and Phil arrived for the makeover consultation. Janice had definite ideas and desires for her room and she and Kristan worked well with the give and take as they discussed the project and made her ideas come to fruition. It sounds like Janice is very comfortable, once receiving ideas for a foundation, with adding her own personal style to the room. I was also inspired by their relationship and ideas. On behalf of my business, Equilibrium Design and Consulting, I offered Janice a free consultation at her home to help her accessorize her finds and pull her look together once her furnishings are delivered. Keep your eyes on Kristan Cunningham and Raymour and Flanigan. If you've caught her recent commercials she has much more for us to learn through her relationship with the store. We'll look for more Design on a Dime inspiration from you, Kristan! And thank you for reading! Miriam

06 October 2009

Headache Reduction 101

This may seem like an odd topic but believe me, I hear this complaint so frequently I thought I'd explore it! Soothing an aching head once again I find myself contemplating what it was that brought this one on in the first place. I have had my share of aching heads lately and I usually like to place the blame somewhere so as not to panic, I suppose. Weather? Lack of sustenance? Dehydration? Female crankiness? Too many hangups on the answering machine? I don't know. I don't usually get it's origin correct but I continually try to nail down a cause, doing this, of course, without suffering another one! Something I have learned about the chronic headache is that there are some things I can do in advance to possible keep them at bay. I can make sure the boys don't pollute the entire upstairs with their Ax in the morning for starters! I also like to give myself a couple of moments after the alarm...well, I never seem to actually make it to the alarm, but will awaken by myself just in time. This is usually a good way to avoid the early morning heart palpitations a screeching alarm induces. Headache avoidance 101. I allow myself a few minutes to just lie still, take a few shallow breaths and reflect on what lies ahead. Feeling a rush of to-dos is completely headache inducing so I try not to get all jumbled up over it. If I'm successful here, I meander downstairs for a leisurely cup of coffee and puttering in the kitchen. I like this quiet time. Eating some protein and taking my morning vitamins are two good things I do for myself to take care of my body. This should fend off a head pain or two, shouldn't it? I'm kind of liking that my boys are in three different schools again this year because I can usher them out the door one at a time, avoiding the chaos of years past. Headache fender-off-er number 4! I'm doing ok so far. This is when I like to sit and take a few moments for myself and focus on my meditation. I swear that with a clear mind I can continue my day at a slower pace with a more relaxed state of being. This part hasn't really been happening much of late so I could point the finger at myself. Another remedy recommended to me from my women's health expert is Alpha Lipoic Acid, a natural supplement used to fend off the headaches caused by fluctuating monthly hormone shifts. This can be taken on an as needed basis and does seem to do the trick. Advil not needed. An old remedy that someone recently reminded me of and that my mother always employed was with your hand gently rub the area between your other thumb and forefinger, you know, the kind of webbed area, for a while. Headache gone! Weird but effective! There are many factors that come into play that I can't control but I have decided to make it a goal to help myself start the day right and during the course of the day keep frustrations, conflicts and aggravation at bay. This includes smiling nicely at the road ragers I encounter at 5 pm on the way to baseball and taking a more relaxed viewpoint when the teenage angst gets flung at me again. Let me know if you've found something helpful that you utilize for your own headache calming effects. I'll add it to my arsenal of go-to remedies. Thanks for reading! Miriam

30 September 2009

MomSpace Tending to Details Forum

Please visit www.momspace.com, a fabulous website and magazine for moms that I contribute to regularly. Click on Forums and search for Tending to Details. A newly created forum for Equilibrium Design was designed so that I can answer questions, offer solutions and share details with MomSpace readers and friends of EDC. Visit often where you might find some ideas of interest to inspire, or maybe win a contest! Right now if your submission is selected you can win a 30 minute consultation on a design and style topic of your choosing! Good luck! And thanks for reading! Miriam

Do you Facebook?

I have a love/hate relationship with my Facebook. How 'bout you? While I was initially introduced to it by a contemporary I thought it was merely for college kids and I was not about to entangle myself in their world trying to reclaim my youth. So I resisted. Then my teenager signed on. Hum, should I be "checking in" on him? Then more and more invitations were coming through my email account. I was spending so much time ignoring friends...wasn't this rude of me...that I thought, maybe this would be a useful networking tool for my business. I'm seeing more and more websites with those cute little blue and white "f" icons all over the place. Maybe I should give it a try? I was surprised how simple it was to create my Facebook page. Once the pertinent information was plugged in faces and names were popping up from all over! My life came flooding back in a rush of nostalgia. Friendships permeated my wall from as far back as third grade when I lived in Raleigh, five states away! How can this be? But this is supposed to be about my work, right? I found myself accepting friendships, writing notes and catching up with people I'd lost touch with and had been searching for for years. An old sorority sister, a dear friend from the ballet company. It's amazing! I'm sure most of you reading this now went through the same nostalgic journey as I when you started Facebooking. My problem is I can't stay away; thus the addictive nickname that arose referring to Facebook as "crackbook"! I want to talk to everyone! But how much do I say? How often do I post an update? Do I talk wall-to-wall or inbox? Should I say this or that or will someone read it and think I'm responding to their plight? Will I injure egos? Will I be entertaining? Should I care? My Mom Facebooks; I love it! It's comforting to know where she is and how she's doing when she's on her usual road trip. One of the drawbacks on the walls of Facebook is that people do feel free to comment openingly thinking nobody is looking. Au contraire, everyone is looking and then some, due to the "and so on, and so on, and so on", feature it enables to occur. As a plus, this feature usually enables a conversation to flow between many people who only know each other through a Six Degrees of Separation Group experiment or such. How interesting and fun to receive helpful tips on a perplexing issue when you can reach out in this manner. Facebook has connected me with friends I haven't seen in decades, people that were a big part of my life in some way years ago; old friends from childhood and cousins I missed having in my life when we moved North. Not to mention High School and College friends that slowly faded from my radar as much as we swore to each other we'd never let this happen. I think Facebook is brilliant. I am so grateful to have it in my life and I am going to continue to visit often. I don't care if people think I'm too chatty as my face pops up again and again attached to my little quips. I want my friends to know that I think of them often, value their friendship and always have. Friends are the spice of life! And now that life has gotten to a frantic pace, I'm so glad that I can share a piece of it with them, even if it is only in cyberspace here and there! If you haven't joined, I suggest you give it a try, but be prepared for your own personal blast from the past! Thanks for reading! Miriam

23 September 2009

Mother's Theresa' Inspiration for All

A friend of mine shared this inspiration with me a while back. I know I've layed eyes on it before but it has never resonated with me quite as much as it did this time around. The verse, originally penned by Dr. Kent M. Keith, is titled "The Paradoxical Commandments". Mother Theresa's adaptation was found written on the wall in her home for children in Calcutta. She was an amazing and saintly woman that I was in awe of as I watched her selflessly work for her God and all people. I feel good sharing this with you as I believe it to be a perfect starting point for my journey forward and something my children should learn to understand early. It's taped to my kitchen cabinet and maybe you'd like to do the same. Enjoy and be inspired! The Paradoxical Commandments-Mother Theresa "People are often unreasonable, irrational and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some unfathful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway. If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway. What you spend years creating, others could detroy overnight. Create anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today will often be forgotten. Do good anyway. Give the best you have and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway. In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway." Thanks for reading! Miriam

14 September 2009

Be the best YOU you can be!

Be the best YOU you can be! Present the best you in all ways. How do we accomplish this, you ask? Many times we are rushed, we are stressed, we are tired or sick; the moon is full, the kids are angst-ridden. However, when all is parallel with the universe we can strive to be present in who we are. I was working on this task the other day, actually. With a birthday around the corner I was reassessing who it is that I want to put out there to the world. There are many versions of myself; the friend, the sister, the mother, the volunteer, the business owner. I realized that the image I had in my mind of myself was evolving as I strolled through the aisles of the department store at the mall. I think my inner eye sees a new woman with the arrival of a new decade. Ten years ago I was in a different place and the persona I was visualizing and projecting was a different woman; a younger woman. I am looking ahead to a more refined, mature image for myself without losing my jois de vivre, of course! This concept can be found to be true in every aspect of our lives; as in the business person we choose to project at our jobs; as in the homes we create and how we'd like people to feel while visiting there; as In the parents we choose to be; layed back, helicopter, best buddies, disciplinarians. Most of us do tend to fluctuate between many different versions of ourselves probably in all areas of our lives. Our moods dictate. The company we keep dictates and the phase of our lives dictates. Not to say we should be fickle but I guess what I'm trying to say is that somewhere in there is an ever changing, evolving person who usually needs some grooming and fine tuning as life changes occur. Being flexible is always key in all aspects of life experiences but a rooted identity in who we are, what we represent and how we choose to live our lives day to day should be a solid core that keeps us respectable. Take some time to discover who you put out there to the world. Would you choose yourself as a friend if you were meeting "you" for the first time? Do you act, dress and behave in a manner reflective of your responsibilities, position in your family or business? Do you need some fine tuning? Don't we all? Start on the inside and work out. From words spoken (I mess up here all the time!) to the clothes we wear, speaks volumes as a first impression and there does come a time when less is more. Although now that I've found my "voice" I really feel pretty darn confident that I'm entitled to speak it after decades of feeling stifled by fear, lack of confidence or good ole' southern manners. Manners are important, don't get me wrong! I'm working to strike a balance with the next half century and I'm giving myself permission to refine my entire being and will enjoy the process. So, back to the mall I go; I think I need a new LBD for the new, matured me! Thanks for reading! Miriam

07 September 2009

Let's Hit the Mall....Denim Fever

The kids got back on the bus last week for yet another year of books and learnin'. The weather is still delightful but along with the sounds of the bus braking at the corner I get a sense of the pending weather change. My mind turns to the mall and shopping for some new duds! What connotes a relaxed and stressfree attitude more than some new denim for fall! Everyone loves denim. I've been a jeans gal all my life. I was built for them before they were $200 a pair custom designer duds. I was a Levis girl and today I'm an almost anything goes girl! Still love my jeans! While visiting the website of one of my favorite magazines not long ago, www.more.com, I found a great article chock full of ideas that I thought I'd pass along to you. It pertains to just this little fall project, denim shopping. There were many wonderful options for women, specifically selected for forty plus. Now, if you're not yet there, that's ok, these styles are not your grammies jeans; no offense to mailorder. These styles are to die for!My favs have to be one pair that I already own, the J. Crew Boyfriends @ $108! So comfy and cool looking. CJ by Cookie Johnson at $196 are cropped and cuffed for dressing up or down and terrific for right now. For some bargains you can't ignore in your wardrobe Old Navy offers quite a selection this fall, as does Gap, in every cut and style you can imagine. Featured in this layout were a pair of Old Navy drawstring. A little too retro for you? That's ok, but I think everyone needs one pair of "let it be" jeans for those particular days when you just can't bear to be all tucked in! Let's face it we all have them. We will at times become victims to fashion instead of succumbing to comfort. These are for those days when we just can't any longer...and so cool! Gap's Boyfriend jeans will do the same thing; relaxed, slouchy but a little more definition. I own both! Tory Burch offers a really sharp pair of wide legs for dressing it up with platform pumps and probably would meet the requirements of Friday dressdown to after hour work days. So chic! Of course, there's always the trendsetters such as David Kahn, Paige Premium Denim, 7 for All Mankind, Rock n' Republic and the like. Joe Jeans have a style and shape to fit every figure with cute sassy monikers and you can't go wrong with Not Your Mother's Jeans if you happen to be trying to widen the gap between your closet and your teenagers'! So happy shopping; just remember to take a couple things with you, a good attitude and a large bottle of water, jean shopping is a marathon when you have such vast selections! Thanks for reading! Miriam

01 September 2009

Please vote for EDC on Divine Caroline!

Hi Friends of EDC! Thank you for visiting here at my blog, my little part of the cyberworld...and thank you for reading! I hope that what inspires me inspires you too! I am also hoping that you like what you read and that you will vote for my website, Equilibrium Design and Consulting, and this blog, for the 2009 DivineCaroline Love This Site Award. Please click on the Badge for Divine Caroline to the left and vote often! Or visit the site, vote and read about many other sites and stories! Contest ends December 4th! Thank you for helping me put my business and my thoughts out there, I love what I do! Creatively yours, Miriam

How I Got Beyond the Rain

Well, we set out once more for a last hurrah a week or so ago, a nice quiet relaxing week at the beach with family and some friends; something we always look forward to; the familiar, the rest, the reconnections. We usually want the beach experience to be perfection because if it's not, what else is there to do! I do not go to the beach to watch Netflix! Well, what happens when it's not perfection? Can we easily put aside any disruptions and missteps in our plans? Sometimes I do better than other times. I think I have finally learned to put the fluctuating weather patterns in someone else's hands, as much as I love the warmth and sunshine. I no longer look ahead to our destination for weather because there is not a darned thing I can do to change it. I pack accordingly, for all elements and hope for the best climate the surroundings can offer us on our journey. If I anticipate disaster, does it help me to accept it better? Not really! So, while I might whisper my little "come on sunshine" mantra at the start of our week, I let it be. Then I can be oh so pleased when it's a perfect sunkissed day. This said you'd think, well, what else is there then? How about Hurricane Bill with it's whipping winds and rain, two guests who had to cancel visits after I had shopped accordingly, being covered in a horrible case of poison ivy, among only a couple of unexpected setbacks. When things like this occur I try to run a loop of that sometimes annoying little jingle from Monty Python that John DiBella has adapted as his mantra, "Always look on the bright side of life!" Ba....humbug, I say. But really, once the storm passed, so to speak, I had adjusted to the demands made on me and my family due to weather, sickness, cancellations and it really wasn't that bad. After I was once again feeling more like myself after being loaded up with heavy medications, creams and potions, I was able to get over that hump in the road and the sun did shine. Beautifully! The best of the best was a phone call from a friend back home that let us know things would move ahead in a positive way! My youngest, for his last year in elementary school, got the teacher of his dreams! Nothing can spoil that! We will return home and life will be good, rain, shine, broken bones and all! Thanks for reading! Miriam

28 August 2009

Friendships Missed

Well, we did it again! We let another entire year pass before we were able to commit to a date with some wonderful, old friends from days gone by. Old as in, yes, we were together to celebrate my husbands' advanced age (jk Joe!)...and old in that the older we get the older the friendships become. This is a wonderful thing. While these friendships are formed because we trudged to class together and commiserated about our college professors, or shared a cubicle at our first job, these friendships last because we see something special in our friends and want them in our lives. Sometimes other things prevent us from keeping the lines of communication constant and the get togethers frequent. Sometimes it's distance, sometimes it's work, sometimes it's children and their hectic little lives. But one thing's for sure, time seems to have stood still when we get together...finally...after that long year of trying and waiting! It's so familiar, so comfortable and so wonderful we ask ourselves, how do we let this happen? How do we manage to let the year grow into 2, 3, 5...more? How does a dear, wonderful friend leave this world and our lives before we find the time? How do we even stand ourselves for allowing this to happen? We don't intend for it to happen, but it can...and it does. I know we all are guilty of it. But before we know it we're old. Yes, here we are. Not really THAT old, but certainly feeling it when we sit together over dinner and multiple glasses of wine and look at the children who in those 365 days can change so dramatically. We wonder where the time goes. And when we reminisce together and laugh until we cry, we wonder where the time goes? And then we loose one of us far too soon and we regret the time we lost. This is the kick in the pants I know I needed to get me to think quick and realize that I can not let this happen again. It prompted me to call one of my dearest (she'd kill me if I said oldest!) friends, a confidante in thought and deed...whom I haven't seen in 2 1/2 yrs! I invite her to join us on our vacation for a while because I just can't let another day go by. Why don't you pick up the phone today, or if you can't do that, make yourself a short to-do list of people that you miss and one by one be with them. A quick lunch, a cup of coffee and a chat, or if you can a long weekend together. What more joy is there than living, loving and laughing! Thanks for reading! Miriam

18 August 2009

All in a Days' Meditation

While nestled amongst the green mountains of Vermont I always feel a sense of inner peace and the power and majesty of something bigger than myself. I have been hoping to introduce meditation into my life for some time, however, I always seem to jeopardize my attempts before I get far enough to call it routine.

This time was different. While on vacation I saw listed an introduction to meditation class and I knew I had to try it out. So glad I did, the instructor was wonderfully inspiringl a world traveler and student of budism, yogis of India and Thailand and a calming presence immediately. I knew she would inspire me and finally I would understand the process. After an hour and a half of conversation, practice and instruction I began to be able to find the calm that many people, including this instructor, have told me would be life changing.

Mind you, I'm a fantastic multitasker, I could easily follow my breath, think about her instructions to the class and also catagorize my "to-do" list! Not the intention, however! I've been doing this since first grade when I'd constantly be reprimanded by my teacher for chatting during class instruction time. "No problem, I heard you, lady!" Still, always found myself at recess spending days upon days walking up and down the parochial school sidewalks as my punishment.

You would think this would have been a good time to practice being alone and focusing my thoughts on one thing at a time. instead, I continued to nurture my multitasking skills and over the years have even shaped my business around this theme.

Time to stop. For me slow my thoughts and my brain, focusing my breath and just "being" is very difficult. We started small and hoped to be successful in five minute incriments; pushing the thoughts away as they fought their way back. Five minutes is a long time in meditation when you are new at the practice. Trust me, it's worth it. I know that it is going to take me many, many weeks of practice to find meditation to be easy, but it is a test of wills and I always enjoy that type of challenge.

I have found some soothing instrumental musical selections and downloaded them onto my ipod. Right now this helps to put me in a more meditative state but eventually I hope to be able to find this place just about any time. I'm proud to say I am finding the minutes are flying by. Five minutes isn't that difficult and ten minutes is more suitable, hoping twenty to thirty will soon follow. Finding the time to sit down is harder but I am really working to make that a priority. The calm and sense of peace that I feel afterwards is evident. When my mind wanders during the day and I begin to feel stressed I let myself think back to my mornings' meditation and redirect the calm. It is a process and a decisive mental practice.

Take some time today for yourself and explore your calm. Thanks for reading! Miriam

11 August 2009

Packing to travel can be both cathartic and headache inducing. One thing is a must; be organized. I can't pack any other way. It's not a free-for-all since if we're traveling by plane the weight restrictions for luggage with the overage charges can deplete your margarita reserve before you even leave the tarmac!

I find packing small very difficult because I never know what kind of mood I'm going to be in on any given day, what type of social events I will partake in or if I'll be feeling extra bloated at some point. How do you pack small with that kind of uncertainty?

Of course, once I do determine the clothing items, there's accessories! I could do without the clothes...well, you know what I mean; I buy clothes to go with my great accessories; love my bags, shoes and jewels; and I'm totally half dressed without them.

Stress as I may, I generally do ok. I've learned that when I'm heading to the mountains I certainly don't need Jimmy Choos! If you know you'll have the option of doing laundry, pack for half as many days as you'll be traveling. Lay out your outfits and see how much mixing and matching you can do. Right now the styles are shown in tones like gray, tan, navy and black with bright color accents. Bring along the minimum knowing you can always launder.

Keep in mind, depending on your destination, that there may be a chilly night or two so a versatile jacket or cardigan is a must. One pair of jeans and one long sleeved top for an extra chilly or rainy day needs to be tucked in just in case. Here's the hard part, keep the shoe selection small. Pack the flat sandals and wear the one pair of wedges that you can make work with anything.

Underpinnings and swimsuits can be hand washed and hung to dry so you don't need too much variety here, contrary to what we might see, it's should not be a fashion show at the pool. What I do at this point is then look at everything I've set aside and remove what I really and truly can live without. Then I probably am ready to accessorize. Two handbags, one for day, one for going out, that's it! This is difficult for me, as is packing the shoes. I am still working on great restraint in this regard.

The jewelry accessories can usually be paired down too-another tough job for me. One long strand of beads for a night or two out that can be doubled or layered with shorter strands to give a different look. Add some chunky bangles that can make less look like more and a pair of earrings in each style; dangle, bangle, hoop and stud; that's about it!

If you plan to get some exercise throw in workout gear and sneakers but hey, you're on vacation...so you needn't stress over this if you can't make it fit. Happy travels all! Thanks for reading! Miriam

09 August 2009

Wishing I Had Never Left

Upon returning from vacation in a very different part of the country than we live, I find myself having difficulty with re-entry. We had a very therapeutic and relaxing visit to the mountains of Vermont and oh, how I didn't want to return to the hustle bustle of life in a hurry. There is just something so soothing about seeing rolling hill and dale on the green mountainsides; the coolness in the night and the gentle breeze of the day. The sounds around us were usually of kids laughing with friends and having fun. The events of the evening are always wholesome and simple family activities, finishing off our busy days with joy so that we tumbled into our beds exhausted and without a care. Once home there's laundry, picking up the dog from her "staycation" and sorting the mail. Of course, tending to the overgrowth in the yard and catching up on phonecalls. Not long from now we'll be packing up the backpacks again so while I'm re-acclimating to life as usual I'm going to let my memories linger on the sunny Green Mountain days once again. I journal when I'm away because I want to remember it all. It helps to create those family dinnertime conversations where everyone has a different recall of a comical moment years from now when we're all old and gray. I try very hard to create memories for my boys when I plan our summer getaways and I know that on these vacations they create their own fondest of memories too; each cherishing something different. I always hope that when they are grown they will revisit these destinations with their families, or maybe find work and move to an area that holds a special meaning for them. There is so much more to life than our little neck of the woods. I hope they appreciate the differences and what these wonderful experiences offer. Of course, I'll visit often!

02 August 2009

Guys and Dolls....We Are Who We Are!

Communicating with the opposite sex is difficult at best, impossible at worst. Finding a guy that I can relate to in my household is like finding Waldo at the Louvre! (needle in a haystack...ok, an overused cliche...but...true!) I have had a small handful of male friends in my lifetime who I really think "get me". That's a great reassurance knowing that I am understood. I know alot about the guys in my house, but do they "get" me? Do they care? I am sure they do in their own discombobulated way...but I don't know sometimes. I have to settle for the presumption that maybe, when I start on a rant that some of it might be absorbed. I guess the black and the white of it probably are, but I see things in such muted tones of the above and I get frustrated when they don't register anything more than a blank quizical stare. Whhhhaaaatt? I really won't know for sure if my messages and life lessons are heard until long after they have grown and go on to shape their identities apart from our family. My girlfriends are so much easier to read. They are happy to have a visitor or they aren't right now. They feel like listening or they'd rather talk. It's going to be a hootin' good time out or we'd better get our tissues and be in for the long haul. Simple. But persist we must. We need to work hard to find methods of reaching out to people who don't really think, process or maybe even have the same daily insights and understandings that we have. This gets more difficult as the days pass for me. I have one tween, one young teen and a young adult in my home...oh yes, and the hubby, he counts also because he too is missing an integral communication chromosome. Oops! I guess I've learned that while we think differently, I don't have to expect them to think exactly like me, I just wish for them to know why I am feeling strongly about my convictions. I want to know that they will grow up, marry and have a sympathetic ear and a strong shoulder for their wives and not shake their heads and walk away. That's why I just keep talking and hoping. Am I doing it right? Time will tell. I do know that I have an exciting, funny, cerebral and energetic household and there is never a dull moment and I never know what to expect from one day to the next. At least I know they're alive and livin' large. I must be doing something right so I'll just keep on communicating! Thanks for reading...and thanks too for all of your terrific feedback! Miriam

Find Your Own Inspirations

I was at the beach a week or so ago, on one of the most glorious days of the summer. Warm but not sweltering temperatures, a gentle breeze and a glowing sun. I decided to take a walk along the surf and took my camera along just in case I was inspired. What I found was more than inspiration, it was a genuine connection with life and the simplicity of happiness. As I was focusing my lense on the crashing waves against the dark jetty rocks I realized just how spectacular and authentic the natural beauty is around us. Things that we see every day, day in and day out. How many times each twenty-four hours do those waves crash upon those same boulders? The curl of the foam curls in a different shape with each impact, the sparkle in the blue waters and the glistening surface of the wet rock was so moving and beautiful I thought, my goodness, I'm going to cry and the men in white coats are going to come for me right here in front of thousands of sunbathing strangers! How is it that we can miss the perfection around us? We set out each day to be entertained, occupied and exhilirated, either by the internet, athletic challenges or simple gossip. The ironic thing was the next day I received my Miracle Thought for the Day podcast from Marianne Williamson's blog and she too was marveling at the very same thing; the simplicity and beauty of a single blossom or chirping bird. Rediculous that we miss so much because we are in a hurry, late to somewhere important that we will forget about by next week. We need to take the time when there is so much activity around us and revel in life's presence, simplicity and sheer beauty. This stuff is free! We need to stop what we are doing and study the detail of the sights and sounds that are everywhere, take it in and realize how much life gives us if we just stop and take the time to notice. I really am finding myself doing just this every day. It might not be right away, might need a small reminder, but it is so rewarding. Make the effort once each day to note something small and wonderous. I encourage you to share these things with your children too, teach them to pause now. I'm thinking I may go moongazing tonight? Care to join me? Thanks for reading! Miriam

Create a Cairn this Summer

Build a Cairn in tribute. To a pet, to a loved one, to your country. Cairns have been seen throughout the world for centuries either built as a tribute in memorium or as a way to set a path for travelers hiking trails and mountains. They are today used as landmarks but are also used for astronomical purposes, although depending on their country of origin, have various meanings.

Cairns have been found from the Canadian Arctic to the United Kingdom. They can be simple towers of graduated stone or large, complex structures of many pebbles and rocks. They are a tribute to Hermes, the God of overland travel, according to Greek Mythology.

I love to search for cairns along the trails we hike in Sedona. Many of these are markers for a Vortex. Vortex are found along particular trails and are felt to have healing mystical powers. When we are hiking and come upon a Cairn I feel a part of something bigger than myself when I add my stone to the tower as we pass.

I felt so connected to these structures, and so moved by their aesthetic beauty that I have constructed two of my own in my backyard. I enjoy sitting on my porch and gazing at the flowerbed where I have a cairn built from rocks that each member of our family contributed to shape our Cairn.

The stone at the top is a very special contribution, it is the stone found on Long Bay, a picturesque beach in French St. Martin, on our honeymoon twenty years ago. I thought it a fitting symbolism of what we have built together, the five of us, starting and ending with a commitment made by two. Thanks for reading! Miriam

07 July 2009

Godwinks are Worth Noting!

Did you ever experience a Godwink? I do all the time. Sometimes they are few and far between. The other day I had four! Four distinct Godwinks directed to me with clarity. They were all good messages to steer me in the proper direction at the time and made me realize my choices were right for me. I wonder sometimes why I get redirected like that, from what seems to be a higher force or being watching over me. One of my boys was in the car with me when I had my fourth Godwink of the day. He couldn't understand why I was so excited! I had to try to explain to him how by chance it is that we are going down a particular path and something just talks to us, so clear and distinct it is impossible to ignore. I pointed out that I was going to make a particular decision and I was redirected. We don't understand how or why but we definitely attribute these things to a higher power. I do believe in God. I do believe that while I might fumble along day in and day out, that when I'm really screwing up or about to make a choice that will not bring an outcome with a lesson or better result for all, that someone jumps in. Sometimes these lessons are abrupt and create a 180 turn for what seems like no apparent reason. This is a Godwink. I really like when it happens because sometimes I don't even realize that I'm traveling the improper path. Sometimes I'm guided only by emotion or a focused mind wearing a familiar pair of blinders. Two Godwinks on this particular day were created to minimize my overly burdened schedule and keep me on track as opposed to making me late and giving me more stress than I could handle (and believe me, I can handle alot!!). Another was a quick "meeting" with my husband at a traffic light at the intersection of the 202 exit ramp. I paid attention to a beeping horn for once and there he was smiling at me! Luckily, we had a second to communicate a message that I had hoped to give him regarding not forgetting to pick up one of my kids and to grab another so he wasn't alone. When I left the house I was on autopilot towards the baseball fields, which was the wrong way today, so I did a little jog and got back on track....just at the point where I met up with my husband exiting the highway! What an opportunity and a Godwink! They just make my day! I hope God winks at you today and helps you gain clarity, stumble upon a friend that you need to share some special words with or maybe a surprise carpool pops up so you might stay home and pour a glass of wine to catch up with a neighbor who might really need a chat. Write them down and take notice, you will soon realize that maybe it wasn't you but something bigger that helps guide you! Miriam

04 July 2009

Celebrate our Nation!

It's July 4, and on this day 233 years ago our countrys' Independence was solidified for all Americans. Take time today during your picnic, seed spitting contests and firework displays to read our nations' Constitution. I'm sure you have a copy somewhere. It is impressive and inspiring. I have three sons and I make sure that they read and decipher what is implicitly stated therein. Living near Philadelphia we can visit Independence Hall as often as needed to remember. We used to be able to touch the Liberty Bell, now it is a replica but suffices to remind us of our forefathers' commitment to their legacy. Celebrate this great nation that we live in today and every day thereafter. Happy 4th of July America, and to all my friends who support my American Dream! Miriam

30 June 2009

Mourning the Loses of our Memories

How do we pay tribute to someone who was so much a part of our lives but that we didn't even know? I am struggling with this yet again after the third American icon passes away in the past week. Ed McMahon, who entered our living rooms every Saturday night with Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show. Farrah Fawcett whose poster adorned the walls of every guy we knew, weren't we girls tired of looking at that poster? It was everywhere! And then of course the amazing Michael Jackson. I guess I am totally revealing my age because there are so many young people who had absolutely no effect whatsoever by these three American Icons. I am struggling with how to mourn the loss. Why do I feel such grief and sadness? This is ridiculous, I didn't ever come remotely close to meeting Michael Jackson. This is the power of celebrity. They are embedded in our memories from so many life events that come rushing back to us when we hear a song or a video or watch a rerun or a movie. Their lives braid themselves into our lives, into memories of proms, of Saturday night dates. Of dances and graduations. Of first dates and last dates. Of life's milestone, accomplishments and failures. They were imperfect souls, as are we, but they were amazingly talented superstars... bazaar lifestyles and faults aside, sensational news stories behind us. We need to make sure we allow ourselves the time we deserve to mourn a memory and a portion of our lives as we lose these icons too soon. While doing this we also need to cherish those that we do have close to us, that we have deep friendships and familial bonds with. We need to remember to tell them often how much they mean to us, how they've impacted our lives and how we cherish the memories we share. Life is fleeting and this we are reminded of each day.

23 June 2009

Focusing on Ways to Move Forward

I was at lunch last week with some of my dear friends and we were talking about our lives, not complaining, just talking about how things seem to get so out of control this time of year and how much focus is needed to get back in control. Well, control is not the best usage of words here. Control is not always a good thing...but focus is better. While in discussion, my friend Sharon and I finished each others' sentence with the following thought: "You can't change your hardware but you can reprogram your software". How true is that?

We are all downshifting a bit right now. School is over and our focus is changing for a couple of months. We have to make it all good. While I review where I've been and where I would like to see my life go in the coming months, I've decided to give myself focus and incentive. Look at my approach and do a little self evaluation. Is there a way to do things differently in my life?

For instance, here's a way to start small, something so simple, yet effective. Each week throughout the summer I have jotted a note in my calendar on Monday. I am giving myself five days' leeway. If it doesn't happen on Monday, no problem, I have four more days to accomplish my goal. I will rest on Saturday and Sunday, something I never did during the school year. When I say rest, I mean no to-do list!

Each Monday is assigned a task of importance to me. It might be as simple as cleaning out the fridge. Not real important to my kids but a great need right now! It might be a more involved task, such as motivating my new high school senior to start on his college essays. Whatever it is, it will get done!

I am not setting myself up for failure, I am setting myself up for success by setting a goal, focusing on it and giving myself multiple opportunities to begin and reach completion. I am certain that the success I will achieve will be greater than if I set an unattainable goal for myself or my kids and feel defeat before I even begin. This is true no matter how simple the task. A positive approach will help me to be successful. This message can be a good motivator for us all, both to have not only a relaxing and fun summer, but a useful and productive one that will help set the tone for the fall. I'm feeling motivated already! Miriam

15 June 2009

Advocate for Your Family

Taking our healthcare into our own hands has risen to new levels and I have recently experienced this firsthand and feel compelled to impart this information to you. While we experience rising healthcare costs, physicians deal with over scheduling, medical malpractice and regulations that prevent us from obtaining the best medical care for ourselves and our families. I, in years past, have felt confident and secure knowing that we have some of the country's best medical facilities and as a result, excellent practitioners at our disposal here in the Philadelphia suburban area. Last week, due to overloaded schedules, rushing and probably great distraction, once again, I had to push the issue to find a diagnosis for symptoms one of my children has been struggling with for the better part of four months. I had respectfully asked for additional testing at the last visit with the specialist but either his ego or his ticking clock left him with a curt answer and no time to really listen and diagnose. I almost feel lucky that I have been plagued with such a vast assortment of health issues with my children, (did I just say that?), since I am aware of probably more implications than your average mom. Not only did I have information, symptoms and evidence to prove myself to be probably more than 90% correct, but I had a gut instinct that nagged at me leaving me with more than a few sleepless nights. My frustrations got the best of me and I went to another source, our pediatrician, who has come to trust me and my deep knowledge of my children. What I am telling you is do not discount a hunch, an instinct or nagging feeling that you might have whenever it comes to your kids. Make calls, research and persist to the point of annoyance if necessary. There is no better advocate for your child than you. And this brings me to my next problem. How do the elderly advocate for themselves unless they have family that is close by who knows their health and habits well and can represent them? It frightens me to think of the mishaps that must occur constantly! While I understand that these doctors do have the knowledge and the experience and more often than not do their job exceedingly well, and generally, are respectful of my concerns and my children's health, they are only human and they certainly can and do make mistakes. My thought to you is to be aware, question and listen to your heart. It's generally an excellent barometer that something is amiss! Miriam

09 June 2009

Green Is The Season

"Go green"! This is something that I do not tire of hearing; and it's something that I feel I can truly make a difference with. It's so easy but sometimes we need some gentle reminders so I am writing to inspire you to be more mindful and live green! Sophie Uliano, Author of Gorgeously Green and The Gorgeously Green Diet offers up some guilt-free ways to identify our Green-ness which definitely helps us to feel like we are contributing without having to totally recommit our lives and rebuild our homes before we can announce ourselves Eco-friendly. Reducing our own carbon footprint at our house has really been an ongoing process and it is something that I sometimes need little reminders for in some areas. Most of the obvious things we've all been doing for years. Lights off if nobody in the room, open windows instead of the A/C. Drive with your window's up on highways to conserve gas. Change to CFC lightbulbs. Recycle...everything you can. Snip soda sixpack holders for the fishes. Carry multi-use canvas totes for groceries. You get the drift. But Sophie mentions a couple of different ways to chose your Green-ness without guilt. Light Green, Bright Green and Deep Green. You can shift between the three and always feel like you are making a contribution. Light Green means, becoming eco-friendly sounds good to you in theory but you aren't interested in giving up your fav foods for flax seed and you'd rather use bleach than go slightly off white! You think you'd like to try it but will start small for now. Bright Green, means you're on the right page but you really want to do more. You already use a reusable bottle at the gym and canvas totes for shopping and your family recycles. You are ready to change the foods you purchase, even if it means spending a bit more to do so. You realize that it's a good idea to go it 100% but, unfortunately, life with your busy family doesn't allow it completely although you're willing to continue to work towards that goal to help both your family, your community and your globe. Deep Green means you are probably a vegan. You buy organic clothing, shoes and cosmetics. You grow your own heirloom vegetables and leave your car at home (which is a hybrid!) as much as possible. You compost and are searching out new ways to introduce healthier, locally grown foods to your family. You buy gifts for people that are trade free, organic or are donations to assist third world countries to become more self sufficient. I tend to fluctuate between Medium and Dark, depending on my free time. I'm considering composting this summer. I am thinking that with the boys home we can work on notching it up a bit as a family and live a little more in the Deep Green. You can too; give it a try! Visit www.gorgeouslygreen.com and find some tips that you can incorporate into your lifestyle. I'm hoping that you are doing your part already but if not...get busy! You owe it to yourself, your kids and your community! Miriam

02 June 2009

Judge Sotomayor a Rolemodel for All!

What you make of yourself is totally up to you...and the alignment of the stars! Anything is possible! I tell that to my boys all the time and I would have liked to have had a daughter that I could tell that to also. Sonia Sotomayor, a young woman raised in the South Bronx, rose to fame and power on a wing and a prayer...and ALOT of hard work! She bravely ventured out of her comfort zone in the Bronx to attend Princeton University. Her stars were definitely in alignment as she paved her way from Princeton to Yale. With hard work, dedication and a dream, she is the first Hispanic nomination for Supreme Court Justice of the United States of America. Fantastic! No pixie dust needed here! What next? What can we hope for from our young women? Will they reach goals unimaginable as did Sotomayor? Will they dream bigger because of her? Does she inspire our young men as well? I hope so! While some of her rulings have been overturned, and I believe one is awaiting a decision in the courts now, she set a precedent and it is a good one. And hey, she saved Baseball! What young boy isn't thankful to her for that! I would love to have lived her dream. It took dedication and a mindset unwaivering. She insists on being noted for her ordinary life and ordinary self. I find her to be extraordinary and I am inspired, whether I fully support her ideals or not. She had something inside her that lit a passion to make a difference and I hope that our young people who are moving into the workforce during these hard economic times can feel a passion to make a difference too. I hope they can see through the glare and the fog and have a vision for themselves as she did. I am inspired and I hope that you are too. Inspire yourself to do something new and bold. Take a chance. Risk something even if it is only to try a new sport or a class in oil painting. Who knows where it will lead! There is no statute of limitations on dreaming dreams and setting goals! Miriam

23 May 2009

Spring Has Finally Shown its Face?

The sun is finally shinning upon us and I, for one, am totally and completely invigorated by it! I am thinking that maybe, just maybe, it's here to stay! Living in Pennsylvania the springtime season is anticipated like the last lap of the Kentucky Derby. We know it's inevitable but the final result is any one's guess. Growing up in North Carolina as a young child I took the climate for granted. Little did I know that one day I'd be living in the Northeast reluctantly peeling the layers one month at a time anticipating and hoping for the sun and the warmth that follows. We are teased constantly, with 90 degree days in April followed by freezing temps and frost in May when we should be completely confident in the thought that our newly planted seedlings will soon bring us joyful color and tasty vegetables. Instead, we are mandated to bring the pots inside for the night and cover the delicate blooms with burlap and hope for the best. Just when we think spring is here to stay, we're hit with the heat and humidity traditional to the deep south like some child took a wild spin of the globe and shifted the latitudinal lines just enough to make us think, maybe we really are in Kansas, Dorothy! That said, what will you do with your free time these next few weeks before the sweltering heat descends and the A/C switch is flipped 'til Trick or Treat? Here's a list of my hopefuls. While my to-do list will, of course, involve obligations relating to my first job of wife and mother and my second job here with Equilibrium Design, if I had 24/7 this is what I'd squeeze in between the sunbeams. Bike rides, shrub pruning, evening walks, home-made ice cream, strolls on the footpath at the park, dining al fresco, evenings in the city window shopping, bulb transferring, hammock swinging, splashing in a pool, floating on a raft, fishing in a stream, laying on the beach, reading a huge novel, painting the shutters, attending an outdoor concert, watching fireworks, visiting the winery, re caning my chairs, visiting Limerick Outlets, Hershey Park at night, skateboarding with my kids...oh, you get the idea... Make your personal summer "bucket list" and get busy! I think very soon, while we might get rained on here and there the warmer weather is here and I am going to do all I can to cherish every minute. You do the same! Miriam

17 May 2009

Clear Your Calendar for Celebrations

This time of year is a time busier than no other, it seems. May, one of my favorite months, where life blooms around us, the sun shines more often than not and we begin to peel the layers and enjoy the warmth and the fun. There are graduations, weddings, baby showers, proms, recitals and parties galore. My calendar is brimming with commitments to just such occasions. These are life's milestones that must be and deserve to be celebrated. What tends to happen is we get on this fast paced treadmill of life and neglect to stop and focus on the occasion and it's pomp and circumstance. We also juggle the rapidly growing lawns and yard cleanup, the spring sporting schedules and anything else that we might have volunteered for six months ago that is now the catalyst for our sleepless nights; where we lay wide awake puzzling over why we've once again over-extended ourselves! I did learn the meaning of the word "no" a long time ago, however, I think the lack of it's usage is what got me into a frenzy this month! What I am going to do is take it one day at a time and I suggest you do the same. We have these wonderful life events to witness and joyously celebrate with friends and family. While the hub bub to getting us there can sometimes rob us of it's meaning, we need to make our arrival prompt and leave everything else behind. We must be present for our children, family and friends and celebrate with abandon. If we respond to an invitation to be a participant we must be present and mindful of the event and it's deeper meaning while we are there. Unfortunately, there are only twenty-four hours to each day, so sometimes we do have to juggle more than one event on any given day, but while you are in attendance, be mindful and represent your part in the happening. You were invited because you play an important part in some one's life and they wish to have you with them to witness their day. Do not take this responsibility lightly. You are creating a lasting memory for someone to whom you are very special. Enjoy your May festivities and honor the graduates, the newlyweds and the novice pianists! They will follow the footprints you have left ahead.

05 May 2009

Mom's Day Should be Everyday

Well, now....Mother's Day is right around the corner and while it can be just another holiday to exploit in the retail business, it really has a significance if you don't get to see your mother every day and make every day Mother's Day, as it should be. When you're a mom and you are busy with the daily ins and outs of raising your family, dinners, carpools, doctors' appointments, play dates and squabbles, yes, I do agree that every day is, and should be Mothers' Day. But not in the way of constant mani/pedi's that you're thinking. Shower me with hugs and kisses; that's my gift. My cherished, warm, heartfelt hug that I get each morning, times trois, when my boys awake and again when they climb into bed is all I need to sustain me each day. Nothing compares. Sometimes I have to remember this when they are throwing living animals and sharp objects at each other. Well, it's not quite THAT bad but there are times during most days that I wonder how I got myself into this. Then I tuck them into bed at night and get that amazing hug and see the deep love in their eyes and I am reminded again. For those of us who don't get to give that hug each day to our mothers, this day is important. And it has to be important for just that reason. I won't see my mother on Mother's Day this year but I am sending her the love, the thanks and the warm hug via snailmail. I know she'll feel it. She's a mom. I don't think it's a feeling that you can ever forget because it comes from a love that you can't custom select from an online website or a personal classified. I love my husband, I did choose him. He's a great guy and he'll get his accolades on Fathers' Day. But those children...well, there is nothing that compares to the gift I receive each and every day from being their mother. So you Moms out there, if they shower you with flowers, breakfast in bed and oodles of trinkets, cherish it all with enthusiasm but make sure you garner your share of bear hugs and hold on tight for all you've got. There will probably come a day you'll need that memory to pull from when you're far from your children and they want you to feel it. Like I do this Mothers' Day. Love ya, Mom! Miriam

24 April 2009

Celebrate Earth Day Every Day!

Earth Day is behind us, but we can continue to celebrate our great Earth everyday! Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil offered a free roll on Earth Day for their new product, 100% recycled foil! That promotion is over but you can still visit their site, http://www.reynoldswrap.com/ and get a coupon for $50 cents off! Every bit helps. Do your part to shop eco-friendly. Also, don't forget the simple things; pick up somebody else's trash that gathers at your curb, plant a tree every year in your yard. There is a variety of natural, eco-friendly cleaning products available at your regular grocer or Target store. Look for Bright Green home products now, also Seventh Generation and Method, http://www.seventhgeneration.com/, are all great products that you can start stocking your cleaning cabinets with today. Swap for those awesome compact fluorescent bulbs when your regular bulbs burn out! Pay it forward and your wallet will benefit later. Sophie Uliano has her new book on the shelves, The Gorgeously Green Diet Book, and I love her way of thinking, I think you will too. Grab a copy for yourself. Got to http://www.qvc.com/ where she visited earlier this week and order your copy. You can also find it at your local bookstore. Take time each day as the weather is beginning to change and new life is blooming before your eyes and breath in the air and appreciate fully what this fine globe of ours offers. Respect it and remember to teach your children to respect it too. They learn by doing and seeing you show your kindness towards our environment will only make them want to help out more. We have alot of work to do but these simple things are easy to incorporate now into our hectic lives. Let your kids be in charge of the home recycling. They can easily sort and bind the cans, bottles and paper for disposal. Give them a charge that makes them feel responsible. Responsibility learned early on will build on and they will achieve great things. Have fun, because every day should be Earth Day! Miriam

20 April 2009

Closing in on Fifty and I Like It!

Well, I think I can state with certainty, today anyway, that it has helped me to face my reality by journaling about my aging anxiety....

02 April 2009

How to Downsize a Roadtrip.

I'm about to take yet another road trip with the guys...and it's not around the corner. Nine hours. In a lovely new, but downsized vehicle. Between gas prices, environmental needs and the fact that I'll be down one passenger soon who is hopefully college bound, it was logical. However, not only will the kids not be separated by more than an arms' length but the available square footage for our (friendly term here) "belongings" is limiting. Well, it's actually ample for normal people. I guess my genetic quirks dictate that we're not your normal traveling family. I'm not really a pack rat, I just value the potential future use of an item that might need to sit pensively on the shelf for a year or six before being called back into active duty. I hate waste. My husband will buy something because he needs it, use it, save it a couple of months and throw it away, only to repurchase the same item again when needed. Just plain wasteful. "There are people in East Podunk that are pruning their shrubs by hand, don't throw away that electric trimmer!" So, when we travel, I kind of have the desire to carry everything I might possibly need at my fingertips. I have three kids, ya never know what might transpire. And trust me, with three boys there is a broad spectrum of possibility. That said, I'm thinking, how am I going to get all that stuff in that little "trunk" as it is fondly referred to? Well, I'm trying something new and radical! One thing I have learned is when we travel to our timeshare there is the opportunity to do laundry. Sacreligious when vacationing because, let's face it, it IS supposed to be a vacation; but if we pack three sets of clothing instead of seven, we carry half the load! Spending a few extra dollars on travel sized toiletries and medicinal aids consolidates the variety of toothpastes and pain relievers. Why can't everyone use the same brand of toothpaste, I ask? They will this week. Layering clothing is a great way to avoid taking bulky outerwear. Take a little longer to plan what you'll wear and make sure everything you take has multiple uses. Do I really need a separate pair of shoes for each outfit? Is anyone really looking at me anyway? Another thing I've decided we can live without is the vast DVD and CD selection. If I do my math correctly, nine hours of driving divided by two hour movies at the most will require four DVD's. Can one watch nine hours of consecutive movies? Doubt it. Choice is not an option. This also goes for books, snacks, magazines, sports cap collections, etc. I invested in a Kindle not long ago and I am carrying all my reading material in one book- sized object. I'm pretty proud of myself. My ipod can play through my car speakers so a case full of CD's is a waste of space, too. I will allow room for headphones since N.E.R.D. I can only listen to for so long. Or so short, really. We're going skiing, we don't need to take our skis and our snowboards. One or the other. We can rent the alternative if need be. We're going to a ski resort, their equipment is maintained and updated seasonally. We're good. Considering the time of year I'm gambling on some rain anyway so the time on the slopes will probably be limited so the percentile of usage is definitely decreasing. My cellphone has a pretty decent camera so I can take all my family photos with that and download and print them as if it were from my digital. Maybe I'll take a picture and post it next time of my efficiently packed vehicle and all the empty space I've saved for us. Maybe. Happy trails! Thanks for reading, Miriam

23 March 2009

Spring Has Sprung...or Has It?

Well, I know by the date on the calendar that spring has arrived but you could fool me this morning when the thermometer read 29 and holding! In general, the number 29 makes me smile. I remember being 29; married that year, a new house...my entire life ahead of me! When we're talking temperatures and spring is the word, it doesn't do anything to my step except make me walk faster to get inside! I am hearing the chirping as I type, I do see the bulbs forcing their way through the remaining mulch, just peeking out to check to see if it's safe. I say, go back to bed for a few. While waiting for the mercury to rise...and just a tad, I do LOVE summer but really get a jolt from springtime, I am going to pump up my bike tires and dig out my riding apparel. Other things that we tend to do while welcoming spring and warmer weather is clear out the flower beds of debris. I don't know about where you are but the March winds have been whipping and my yard is full of oddities. G-2 bottles, deflated snow tubes, newspapers, all promptly delivered overnight via the March winds. It gets trapped in my fencing so it's becoming a daily chore to clear out the beds. While I'm there I'll grab a bagful of dead leaves and such too. Might speed things up for me in a few weeks when the mulch arrives. Al Fresco dining is my favorite and there's a short period of time when my husband will join me. It's now. Once it gets too hot for this non-southern boy (being a southern belle, I thrive on the heat!) he's A/C bound 24/7. It goes on in May and stays on through October if he has anything to say about it, and, of course, he does. So I spend much of my time when I'm home out on my back porch. I start my day with my coffee and paperwork there. I usually will have a friend or two stop by for a chat and a glass of wine and then dinner will be served to the family al fresco. Meet me there or dine alone inside, doesn't matter to me! Early morning walks are again a possibility as it's not quite so cold and dark. With longer daylight hours I've been seen out back tossing a baseball with my sons, and even finessing a lacrosse stick on occasion after dinner. Love the early evening outdoor family time and I miss that in the dead of winter. I think the dog feels it too! She's definitely got the same spring in her step and enjoys her more frequent walks. She has her own little cleanup efforts, retrieving any bones she's buried over the winter months. I'm thankful for that happening before the mulching, not after! So, take advantage of the calendars' proclamation, even if it means adding a layer and mittens. It won't be much longer before we're sitting poolside sipping cocktails and these next few weeks shouldn't be missed. Enjoy the bloomin' day! Miriam