Blessed And Refreshed

Happy Independence Day! I know, today is Monday. During the post, an error occurred and this post didn’t publish correctly. Hubby and I decided to escape for the holiday weekend.

The hotel’s gym has real equipment. Most hotel’s idea of a gym is one treadmill and a few other pieces of equipment, but not this one; it’s the real deal. Yay!!!

I hit some weights this morning and now I am enjoying a delicious quinoa salad on the beach.

For the natural chica’s, to protect my hair from the salt water, I saturated it with my favorite conditioner, VO5 Herbal Escapes.

As I write this post on the beach, I am feeling blessed and refreshed!

Have a fabulous Day!!

🙂

 

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 Above the clouds is so magical.

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 Sitting on the plane before take off in Atlantic City.

 

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Free weights at a hotel gym!  Now that I know it’s possible, I’ll have to add this to my list of necessary hotel amenities.

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I brought this tasty quinoa salad at Starbucks.  This salad was the bomb!  Fresh lettuce,cherry tomatoes, and chicken!  It’s nice to eat healthy on the beach.

 

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What’s better than an ocean front view?  An ocean front view that can be enjoyed from the shower!  Awesome!

 

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I had fun trying to figure out how many different exercises I could do on this baby! Cool!

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After a brief rain, this lovely rainbow brightened the sky.  So pretty. 🙂

 

This little monkey was one of nearly a dozen strolling around the rental agency's parking lot.

This little monkey was one of nearly a dozen strolling around the rental agency’s parking lot.  I’d expect to see monkeys strolling around in another country, but not in Florida.

July 4, 2014 - Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Having a blast on the beach.

 

IMG_6832I love palm trees. I want one in our backyard.  Umm… not in Jersey though.  :0(

 

IMG_0356Selfies on the beach.  For once, we’re both relaxing.

 

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Celebrating Vegas Style

A few days have passed since I returned from Las Vegas, Nevada. I still catch myself laughing ridiculously aloud in public places (work, supermarket, gas station, etc…). Hilarious images and comments keep popping in my head. Could it possibly be a crime to have so much fun? If so, convict me. Lol!!

Fourteen of us boarded a plane to celebrate hubby’s 50th birthday, Vegas style. “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!” Yup, I remember the credo, but I have to say that all work and no play makes for a dull life.

Rather than the typical surprise birthday bash at home, I spiced up his birthday with a few close friends. An outrageous and funky limo ride with 14 friends to dinner and a “surprise” birthday dinner in a private room at the Stratosphere did the trick. Great food, drinks, and laughter was in order. Hubby said, “Momma treated me like a king!” I love it! Lol!

Anyway, no matter how busy you are, you have to make time to unwind. The daily grind of work, cooking, laundry, cleaning, and taking care of the family can take its toll on the most positive soul, so short getaways can rejuvenate the spirit.

Child care for this trip was tricky. Our son stayed in three different homes, including ours, but he was safe and he had fun. Knowing that he was okay, relaxed our minds so that we could thoroughly enjoy ourself. We left him guilt free; in June we traveled with him to Cancun, Mexico and in August we took a family Disney Cruise vacation. He’s done more traveling in ten years than I did when I twice his age.

He asked why he wasn’t joining us on the trip. I explained the trip was for adults with no activities for kids. On the real, if you’ve been to Vegas, you know that the activities are for adults who are kids at heart.

I wanted to share a few of my favorite pictures.  Enjoy!

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New York, New York Casino

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Brooklyn Bridge

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Bellagio Casino – Made with beautiful flowers

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I love the Eiffel Tower!

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Clowning around on the strip…

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Bumble-Bee is my son’s favorite character in the movie Transformer, so I had to take a picture with the big guy.

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I am in love with palm trees. I want one in my back yard.

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Luxor Casino… incredible structure

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A very fine wine tower at THEHotel at Mandalay Bay. Just lock me in there.. pretty please!

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Hubby’s dinner party. I tried so hard to eat this slowly…. Ha! Ha! It was a challenge!

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Wipe the drool from your mouth! Lol! Unbelievable! Bacon wrapped shrimp and jalapeno peppers.

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Hubby and I waiting for friends.

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Beautiful indoor water fall at the Bellagio Casino

 


Chance meeting or not?

I love traveling.  Meeting new folks, acquiring different perspectives about people, places, cultures, and simply learning about the unknowns. The opportunities feed my wish to learn.  The same manner that people share with me, I like to do the same.

I am convinced and believe in destiny. The older I become, the more I understand that there is no such idea of chance.

When I experience a calm mental state of being, my sense of awareness increases. I tend to hear and listen to my instinct and inner voice and avoid external distractions.  The state of being grants me the opportunity to interact with people and to encounter what is meant for me to experience.

As I compose this on my iPoodle (Acer tablet), I am sitting in Orlando, Florida’s airport at Gate 31 waiting to board my plane back to New Jersey.

I strike up a conversation with Laura, who looks to be around my age, sitting next to me.   One pleasantry after another we chat and before I knew it, my son, Tailor chimed in on our conversation. He told her about our puppy Alex.  Pulling out his DS, he showed Laura pictures of Alex.  His animated chatter raised her brow and put a huge warm smile on Laura’s face.

“Your hair is beautiful!” Laura commented.   I smiled and thanked her.   She shared a picture of her new puppy, which was being held by a curly-haired, adorable little brown-skinned girl.  The adorable five-year old is her daughter, of whom she adopted.

In less than 10 minutes into our conversation, Laura and I discovered that while we looked very different and live poles apart, we share a few commonalities.  Laura Caucasian with pretty blue eyes on her way to Cleveland… me… well you know… brown-skinned, brown-eyed, curly girl from New Jersey…  had several qualities in common.

So what was the purpose of us sitting next to one another?   Laura has no experience in working with curly locks like her daughters.  She wanted to know how I style my hair and the type of products that I use.    I respect her so much for asking.

To be frank with you, I am often disturbed when I see a child of color, whose parents are walking around with untamed locks.  I try not to judge but wonder in frustration why the adult is not maintaining the child’s hair.  Sometimes I assume that they haven’t taken the opportunity to seek out the answers. Assuming is wrong; I know.

I am so impressed by Laura’s wish to seek out the best and healthiest solutions for her adorable bi-racial curly girl’s hair.  I graciously applaud her.

So many woman of color seek out quick solutions and erroneously and prematurely slap the crack (chemical) on what they perceive to be unmanageable hair of very young girls.  Why?  Because it’s easier than the daily battle of pulling through course, tight, and resistant hair. Because they lack the knowledge of the proper hair care curly locks.   Because our daughters see “straight hair” on television, in magazines, and on cereal boxes and want to look like what they are misled to believe is “normal.” Others want their little girl to have the long braided pigtails with a dozen or so colorful dangling bows.

Still Laura has chosen to find better and healthier solutions for her daughter.  I began to share my natural hair care knowledge with Laura.  We lost track of time and before we knew it, her flight was boarding so our chat was abruptly interrupted.  Time did not permit for me to give her the name of the products I use or the websites, etc…  So I gave her my email address and invited her to contact me to get the rest of the information.  I hope to hear from Laura; there is much for us to talk about.

She was happy to connect with someone who may be able to help and I was equally pleased that along my travels that I could help someone.

There is something innate within me that is greatly placated when I help others.   I don’t know what or why, it just does and it feels really good.

I believe that divinity placed Laura and I in the airport together and our meeting was meant to be. Laura’s desire to seek specific knowledge has put her in a place to receive it. She will continue to gain the wisdom simply by way of quest. My life experiences have taught me this; I know.

When we seek answers and knowledge, the process of “seeking” will draw the wisdom that we desire.

        “Use your life as a class.”
-Oprah Winfrey

 


8.5 in the rain

My favorite kicks (Gel Asics)

There is something uniquely special about running in the summer rain.  I left the house early Sunday afternoon with the intent of taking a short run.   I’m chuckling just thinking about it.  Why?  Because my short run turned into 8.51 miles.

As I readied for my run, the sun shined.  Two steps out the front door and the rain was underway.  By the time I walked to the end of the drive way, the sky opened with tiny and fine rain drops.

Since I’m thinking that my run will be short, under 5 miles, I’m not bothered by the rain and I am satisfied just being outside and running.

The rain stopped about two miles into the run and I had mixed feelings about it.  The humidity returned and I could feel my body warming.  I passed a neighbor walking her dog.  “Awe, you got caught in the rain?!”

“Actually, I kind of hope that the rain returns, it keeps me cool.”  She blankly stares at me like she misunderstood my comment.  Shortly afterwards, the sky opened up!  This time, big hard rain drops.  I was nowhere near home and I didn’t care.  I picked up my pace and happily sailed into my zone.

My sweat is replaced by nature’s H2O and the feeling is exhilarating. I’m happy.  I’m laughing, and I’m going to run until I feel like stopping.  I hadn’t run in a week and I was starting to get fidgety.  This run would fix that.

Cars pass me.  I know that they think that  I’m nuts, but I don’t give a hoot. My favorite play list is blaring and I am in a jovial place. Occasionally snapping my fingers and singing along… yup!  All while I’m jogging roadside.

By the time I return home and schlep into the garage, every piece of me is soaking wet! My twisted hair is drenched.  My sneaks squeak.  Water is dripping from my shirts and shorts.  My daughter asks, “How was your run?”  “I had a blast!”   She laughs and so do I.

Everyone should have a happy place; a metaphoric or physical space that brings a sense of peace– A place where exterior forces cannot penetrate the calm  internal state of being.   Worry free.  Care free. Simply free to be. Running is that place for me.

Quick thought provoking reads – http://zentips.org


I was afraid but I did it anyway…

I can swim, but I don’t like deep waters.  To be more specific I don’t like being submerged in water where my feet can’t touch the bottom surface.  The fear is a mental block that I’m working through.

While vacationing in Cancun, Mexico, hubby was fixated on giving our son the opportunity to swim with Dolphins.  We asked him if he wanted to do so and without hesitation, he said, “Yeah!  I wanna swim with the Dolphins!”  I was excited that the two of them would swim together and I would get to take tons of pictures.

We visited the activity desk to schedule a date and time.  “How many?” the agent asked.  Simultaneous responses…  Me:  “2”  Hubby: “3”

“You have enough credits to include all three of you!”  Hubby says, “Okay great!”  I think, “Sh**!  Somehow I’m getting out of this.”

Fast forward three days later…  We’re still confirmed for three.

An inner voice in one ear says, “run!”  Another voice whispers, “don’t be a chicken___!  Go for it!” With great apprehension, I listen to the voice that tells me to go for it.

First we are suited with a life vest and wait.  I’m a little nervous at this point, but I’m sitting so my fingers tightly grip the bench.  I look around the waiting area hoping to connect with another set of nervous and fearful eyes.  I don’t find any. Maybe they’re faking it like me.

“Group 3!”  Oh my goodness, that’s us!  There are eight in our group. After we’re instructed to douse our hands with hand sanitizer, we’re escorted down to the next level. Thankfully I’m distracted by my son.  He is so excited that he doesn’t hear some of the instructions, so I repeat them to him.

We walk until we approach the dolphin tank.  Looks like an over-sized pool surrounded by concrete. We’re instructed to remove our footwear and place them in a box.  As we do this, we begin to receive instructions on the do’s and don’ts of interacting with the dolphins.

“Can everyone swim?” the instructor asks.  Umm…  “Should I tell her that I can swim, but am terribly afraid of deep waters?”  “No… I am wearing a life vest. I think!”  I’m so darn nervous I cannot think straight.  “Hun, this is a life vest, right?”  He looks at me oddly like I just spoke in French.

Our guide says, “You’ll be swimming into the center where the water is 15 feet.”  My thoughts are, “15 feet!!!!!  No!!!!  I don’t do deep waters!!”  I want to just scream, “get me the hell out of here!” but I don’t want to embarrass my family or make a spectacle of myself.  I tell myself, “don’t punk out girl, just listen and breathe!”

In a single line, we step down into a wading area. The water is about five feet deep. Our feet touch the ground, I am happy.  We’re all situated and are instructed to swim toward the middle and place ourselves shoulder to shoulder in a straight line.

I look to the right of me and my hubby and son are already out.  I step out and my heart is racing harder than I think it’s every done before.  Although I am wearing the vest and I can swim, I’m still fearful of drowning, but I try to remember the techniques to swim and slowly catch up to hubby and son.

When I turn around and see how far I am away from the platform, I quietly panic.  “Scream for help, they will get you out!”  “I don’t want to die this way!”  I know my eyes are probably bulging like they’re about to pop out.  I am so scared!

I look over and my son loves it and is full of excitement!  “Breathe girl breathe!  Come on!  You can do this!  Breathe!”  I calm myself down a bit by talking myself through it and by doing some serious breathing.

Our group placed our hands out face down and the dolphin swam slowly just beneath our palms so that we could feel his smooth and slippery skin.  Touching the dolphin also helped to calm me.  After a few more minutes we swam back to the wading area.

I’m thinking to myself, “okay great, we’re done, I’ m ready to get out.”  Lol!  Nope!  Not yet, a few more tricks!  “Is she kidding? I’m happy with what we just did.”

Six of the eight in our group were brave enough to take a ride on the dolphin’s belly.  I was one of the two who passed on that opportunity. My son was the first to volunteer.  I was amazed at how he swam out to the middle of the tank and eagerly waited as the dolphin swam out to him.  As instructed he grabbed on to the dolphin’s fins and enjoyed the wild and speedy ride to the waiting area. Hubby then took his turn riding the dolphin’s belly.

Our son riding the dolphin’s belly!

Hubby’s ride on the dolphin’s belly.

I did take part in two other cool tricks with my family. Since I didn’t do the belly swim, I was given the chance to do something else.

Our guide instructed me to swim away from the wading area again.  I swam out a little ways by myself.  I felt more at ease this time.

Out of nowhere, the dolphin swims around to my left side and kisses me on my cheek.

My first kiss by a dolphin!

I’m frozen!   “Turn and kiss him” she says.  My eyes glance left first and I can see him right there!  I slowly turn my face to the left and kiss him on the mouth as instructed.  Oh wow!  That was the coolest thing that I’ve ever done!  At that moment, I forgot that my feet didn’t touch the ground and finally relaxed.

Would I do it again?  Undoubtedly yes!!!

I am so glad that I pushed myself through my fear and anxiety and did not give up.  I think I was more afraid of the deep waters than I was of the dolphin.

So often in life, we give up when it matters most.  Running away from our fears instead of facing them head on and ultimately missing wonderful opportunities.

Swimming with the dolphin was a reminder of the rewards of pushing myself beyond my comfort zone.  Kissing the dolphin on the mouth was something that I never imagined doing and, aside from watching my hubby and son ride the dolphin’s belly, the kiss but was the most thrilling part of my trip.

If you get the opportunity to swim with a dolphin, I highly recommend that you give it a try; surprisingly you might like it.