Amidst the plethora of 2017 resolutions and “decide who you want to be this year” and how you can “change everything about yourself” articles, I find that this post will be severely out of place. However, that’s why it actually matters. It isn’t about changing everything about yourself or letting something go or accepting a past failure or turning over a new leaf. It is about continuing to evolve with every day we are blessed with, even when it is depressing, lonely, and hard to breathe. It is about forever forging forward despite all the difficulties and challenges we face in order to grow and achieve our dreams.
So far, we went to Rome, Assisi, Orvieto, Spello, Florence and Venice together. I suppose it’s now time to introduce to you Padua, Verona and Milano before concluding with Lake Como.
I realize this is my second post today but I’m feeling fairly prolific at the moment. And this moment won’t be denied. So here it is.
The little things in life sometimes mean more than the more obvious and seemingly more important things. Let me illustrate.
My sister is an amazing person. She works hard, thinks deep, could probably win Jeopardy, loves pandas and the outdoors, takes amazing photographs and has a tendency to be a night owl. All of these things and many more make her who she is. She is also so very kind and generous that she has had to build a wall to protect herself from the cruelty of a world that tramples kindness and takes great advantage of generosity.
But the little things she does for me really mean so much to me. She brightens up my days with a series of little surprises that keep me grateful for having a sister like her. She did it again today and really brought a smile to my face. I would like to share some of these little things she has gotten me that nean so much to me with all of you.
Let me start with this:
This, my friends, is the sweet little terrarium my sister built especially for me. I absolutely adore it! Just look at that vibrant cactus flower and the other artistically arranged cacti! Totally love it (and her of course).
Going further, I present to you exhibit B:
She was so generous she bought me both the 11th Doctor from Doctor Who and Deadpool!!!! As is apparent, I am a bug fan of both the characters and the people who portray them. I was incredibly delighted to receive both!
Today, she surprised me with these beauties:
I am seriously in love with journals and notebooks and pens and nice paper…you get the picture. However, I don’t normally splurge on any of it because I am practical enough to realize that I don’t use it on a normal basis. I love leather bound journals and unique and artistic notebooks, so this was the best of surprises. Pictured on the left above is a gorgeous little notebook bound in thick embroidered cloth and held together by a wooden spine. The pages inside are good quality as well. I am going to preserve it forever. It’s soooo cute.
Next to the fantastically gorgeous notebook above is a little storybook about a kitten that didn’t want to let the owner knit mittens. I swear I died and went to soft kitty heaven. It’s so skdhrieokngueomgn Adorable!!!! 😄
All of these little things are Things, but I see all the love and care and thoughtfulness put into each and every one of these and today I just wanted to appreciate all she does and is. There are many other things she has gifted me with but, for me, the greatest gift of all will always be having her for a sister. Love you 4everzzzz lil sis! ❤
I had a really long, tough day at work today. I got home feeling like a zombie, run over and killed and then run over again for good measure. I got home ready to collapse into a grumpy mess. But a really sweet gesture from a really wonderful friend turned my night around in an instant.
I present to you my friend Monique Pham’s blog, a testament to her culinary poweress and a great place for amazing recipes!
In my head, she is the Baking Queen, a sweet sister and an extremely thoughtful friend. Today, when I was ready for my horrible day to stretch into a horrible night, she did something incredibly sweet – she brought me a cake she had baked earlier today. And it wasn’t just any cake either. I give you the Spring Cake, as beautiful as it is delicious!
This gorgeous creation is one in a long line of many innovative, delicious, aesthetically outstanding culinary achievements.
She has made many cakes, tarts, truffles and macaroons in the years I have had the pleasure of her company but occasionally she out does herself as evidenced below by the few I have stopped to take a picture of before diving headfirst into the bliss that is her baking.
I simply don’t enjoy anyone else’s cake as much anymore. I have good reason not to. Look at all these goodies in this screenshot from her Instagram @momobakescake. Please do show her some love if you love what you see as much as I do!
Monique, I know this blog wasn’t written with your knowledge but I just had to tell the world how amazing you are. Thank you dear friend, you and your love of food have really brought so much light into my life. Your love and caring really makes our lives so much brighter. Thank you!
For all you foodies, order a cake or two from her. She bakes a large variety of other desserts too. I promise you won’t be disappointed!
A couple of weekends ago, I had the good fortune of having a day off on a beautiful spring day. As everyone who has ever lived in Houston will tell you, days like that are few and far between. Deciding to take advantage of the day, I had the pleasure of visiting the First Saturday Arts Market located in our Heights area. The outdoor market hosts different vendors each month, though many are repeat offenders and have become as familiar to us as we have to them with our frequent visits.
I have been a lover of the arts for a very long time and visit art related events whenever time and my budget allow me to. This visit was one of the most rewarding ones I have ever had.
On that beautiful day, I enjoyed a wonderful and unique flavor of shaved ice (I had the pomegranate and Blackberrys, with actual Blackberry chunks visible!) It was delicious, it was in an attractive cup, and it was a great conversation starter and attention grabber for myself and my companion. Many of the vendors wanted to know where we had gotten the shaved ice, how it tasted, what flavors we got, and if we would be holding on to the flower shaped plastic cups, and what we would make out of these cups…the conversation was lively and long and thoroughly enjoyable!
We browsed through several shoes, admiring their work and I was even able to take pictures of several of the pieces (with permission from the artists of course). While I couldn’t bring most of them home with me, I would like to promote their work in my own small way here, so here are a few of my loves from that day!
The red abstract was titled “Birds of Paradise” by LeeAnne Domangue and completely took my breath away! I really wish I could have brought that one home with me
The work with raised medium of flower on blue background was done by Joella Guaraglia Wheeler as was the painting of the flower in four tiles. I loved chatting with her and finding out about the different mediums she has been working with. Incredible person and an incredible artist!
The elephant was titled “Layered Beauty” and was done by the same artist that made the painting of the Wolf, Christina Todaro. Every artwork by her was exquisite both in detail and in imagery. She had journals covered in this beautiful art as well as several prints. For anyone who likes this art, I definitely recommend her.
I also had the chance to admire and eventually purchase some lovely pottery that day. I bought a gift for a friend and brought the rest home for the family. These beautiful pieces are all handmade and look great on my kitchen table! Thank you Delafield Pottery!
The crowning achievement of the day’s adventure to the market came after all this uplifting beauty. I became the proud owner of an absolutely inspiring painting titled the “Uphill Climb” by C.S. Ellington.
The story behind this painting is quite intriguing. I first saw the painting back in November, loved it and couldn’t afford it. The artist told me how someone had approached her for that painting asking her what it meant shortly after that but she hadon’t been able to reply simply because she didn’t yet know. After contemplating for a few weeks and taking the painting with her to several markets she realized what it meant to her: choosing the hard path because it is the correct one even when a different path would have been easier.
In her own words, “It is about choosing the more difficult things in life and how that is often the right thing (to do).”
Now, I had agreed to purchase the painting long before she explained any of its history to me. When she did tell me all the history and meaning behind it, I fell even more in love with the painting that seemed to portray everything that had come to pass and the crossroads I was at at that point in time. I just knew then that the painting had been mine all long. It was just waiting for me to reach out and take ownership of it. The connection was real.
It inspired me so much that I ended up writing a post on it on a different blog titled Uphill Climb. If you are interested, please do take a look at the story of my Uphill Climb.
We didn’t end the day there but the rest is a story for another day and another blog post. Needless to say, it was quite the invigorating and refreshing experience. For all of you out there that love art, please explore the local art culture in your community. I guarantee it will infuse you with the most creative and intense of thoughts. For those of you who are new to the world of art appreciation or are still on the fence about whether or not looking at these works is worth your time, just give it a try. I did and I have never looked back.
Though I am not an artist in any way, shape or form, the art world continues to be one of the most rewarding experiences life has to offer. Inspiration is everywhere. Art displays often become my muses.
Here is to art, to outdoor markets and to amazing memories! Cheers!