Weekend In Paris…

Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened. ~Dr. Suess

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I have always wanted to visit Paris. This was the promised gift to myself when I hung up my student cap after years and years of continuous studies. Then the workaholic that I am, saw 4 years go by in a flash embarking on community initiatives, writing, and more.

A month ago my oldest surprised me with a Birthday Weekend trip to Paris. But how can I visit Paris for just a weekend? That’s when my youngest ‘scolded’ me. “Go”, she said. “You have always wanted to do it. Just go.” I agreed and made it into a long weekend. Wonder of wonders! I discovered I even had time to spare. Time to watch the rain, the people, and the waves of the Seine River go by at sunset.

Travel Across Continents

The flight was long but it was far from boring. I read. I wrote. I watched movies. I chatted with my oldest, slept, and I ate. Before we knew it, the descent was upon us.

Travel’s Cultural Differences

Cultural differences are everywhere. In Paris the hotel rooms are tiny spaces. Just enough to get by, yet absolutely comfortable.  TV channels are in le francais. Plugs for chargers, electrical items and such differ. Disappointed, frustrated for sure I was at first, but then it’s not about me. I travel for new experiences and that’s what I got.

A polite society…bonjour, merci, pardon,  were among the basics to know in that language and will serve as the basic entre to service. They are curt and offer no apologies. So do your research before you go and you’ll be just fine (smile).

Travel’s Cuisine

Food in Paris is divine. Delicious. Sumptuous. Absolutely satisfying. But don’t rush….it ain’t fast food. When you visit the unique restaurants among which my fav is the Cafe, you dine, taste the delectables, and chill. No rush for the check. You ask, you eventually receive.

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Transportation

Getting around you have the choice of the cabs, buses, the metro. But may God help you if you do not understand the linguistic pronunciation of the place where you are going. When you arrive at your stop, you may not even know. So ask, ask, ask information before you board. Then read as you progress at each stop.

Speaking from experience…do I need to say more? Hint…frustration (smile)

Notre Dame

Paris Sites To See

You haven’t been to Paris if you haven’t visited La Tour Eiffel, Notre-Dame, Le Louvre and smiled with Mona Lisa. Sites …beautiful. Historically meaningful. Mesmerizing. Long walks. Tired feet, but worth every minute.

The Eiffel Tower

So that’s a tiny glimpse into my Parisian journey for the first time. The trip was memorable. The photos provide the stillness of the moment.  A dream come through. Would I go back? Yessss definitely!

I encourage you to take the time to step out and achieve your own dreams. Big or small, they will come through despite the odds.

Cheers!

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On A Budget? 9 Gifts That Cost Nothing But Is Invaluable….

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For it is in Giving that we receive

My personal joy is to give! I treasure any opportunity to give! The act of giving has always brought me even more satisfaction than the recipients of my gifts.  These days being on a strict budget has brought with it the stance to be even more creative than I was in the past when giving high-priced gifts. I ran a search for gift ideas to still meet my giving needs to others. I pounced upon LiZ Evans Huffington Post’s article 20 Gifts That Cost Nothing To Make But Might Be Priceless. From the list my top 9 Favs are:

Birthdays, Christmas, Graduation…Gifts That Cost Nothing

1.When Skies are Gray.  Give this to anyone in your life who may be going through a tough time. Give them a stack of cards or books with inspirational quotes that will help them ride the wave during difficulty times. They can read when the going gets tough.

2. A Tell-Me Notebook. Give a blank spiral notebook to a parent, grandparent or other and ask them to write in the notebook any stories they would like to share. LiZ suggests that they do not need to worry about good writing. It’s just to write their stories when they feel like it. I’d add it’s also a way to leave their legacy. Can’t tell how many times I wish I had captured stories from my mother and grandmother.

3. 50 Things I learned by… Capture 10, 30, 50, or any number you would like of the things you learnt from someone celebrating a birthday milestone or other such occasion. I am certain this will be a wow moment as they reflect on the difference they had made in shaping your life.

4. Magic Car Wash.  Spouse birthday? Steal away the car and take it for a detail while they are at work. Then return it after without their knowledge. Tons of smiles will shine for sure.

5. Freedom From Responsibility. Take the kids and give them the night off. Nicely decorate this gift in a card, box and deliver with a specific agreed date included. Did this for my daughter and her husband. They were elated!

6. Read This When... This gift is for a college kid who is away. Write a series of short letters and label them, read when you’re home-sick, fail an exam, think you’re in love etc. Of course there are paid services to help you to do this but why go that route when with a little effort, you can do it.

7. Park Tour Permit. Select 3-5 parks and throughout the year, plan park tours. Give this gift to your young kids and at the end of the month, summer, or year, together decide which park was the best and rate what they liked most. For sure this journey with the kids will be exciting!

8. I Love you Now and Later Letters. LiZ encourages you to write 2 letters to your intended recipients sharing why you love them. Then ask them to read one now and then later at an agreed time to open the other. It could be a year or two, depending on your intention. For me it could be a letter to my daughter when she starts college and then again when she’s graduating.

9. Remember This Book.  Capture anecdotes, inside jokes, and stories of your loved one’s journey and read together at intervals. Certainly will keep the love alive.

So there you have it. A little creativity and effort makes such a difference when giving gifts. Personally, one occasion comes to mind. A coworker during a pixie gift exchange asked for a handsome, rich, loving man for her pixie gift. Luckily I had her name (yikes)! I set to work. Got on the computer and searched for all those criteria. Found the ideal guy for her (per the search engine..smile), printed it and wrapped it in a huge gift box with a Big Bow! You can just imagine the laughter it brought to the entire team! Memories shared year after year!

So go ahead! Give the gift of creativity, smiles and function. They are the absolute best!

Are there any experiences you remember? Do share. We would love to hear!

Cheers!

 

Life’s Interesting Interests…

People with many interests live, not only the longest but the happiest. ~George Matthew Allen

If you could pursue any new hobby, what would it be? That was the question Brian Tracey asked in a public forum. Hobby Dreamers chimed in telling all.  Here I share excerpts:

  • Ride a motorcycle
  • Reading more books
  • Learn to swim, study chinese and french
  • Skydiving
  • Playing the piano
  • Play an instrument
  • Cooking
  • Flying
  • Photography
  • Horse riding
  • Kickboxing
  • Surfing
  • Music and learning languages
  • Traveling the world
  • Drawing
  • Dance
  • Fix cars
  • Interior designing
  • Bull riding
  • Song writing
  • Martial arts
  • Pottery
  • Kite surfing
  • Implementing good habits
  • Have a dog rescue kennel
  • Writing blogs
  • Making dolls
  • Art, oil paint and travel
  • Fashion and art
  • Woodworking
  • Collecting coins
  • Golf
  • Hand-lettering
  • Hiking
  • Boxing
  • Gardening
  • Sewing
  • Cake decorating
  • Public speaking
  • Book binding
  • Stained glass
  • Making shoes
  • Acting

Does any resonate? Any missing? Do share. We would love to hear.

Cheers!

Stress: 5 Things To Do When Things Converge…

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A Family Cruise; a 21st Birthday getaway celebration; the Complication of a relative’s sudden brain surgery; overseas family rush in; pickups, accommodations, and much more in the midst of the busiest time at work resulting in late nights and early mornings. Whew!! Naturally an ensuing period of high stress.

So how can we manage it all when everything converge? It is then that we need to take a step back and breathe. Do other things. Here are 5.

5 Things To Manage Converging Stress

  1. Walk away. Relax.
  2. Sleep. It’s important to rest to improve your memory and quality of life
  3. Exercise. It increases your body’s metabolism
  4. Be careful of what Eat. Replace food such as caffeine, alcohol, sugar with fruits, and  vegetables to rid your body to regulate your stress hormone levels
  5. Learn to Say No

In our stressful world when things converge all at once like a world wind, it is important to take a step back and relax. Accept the help of others and ride the waves until things slow down.

Cheers!

The Ravishing Benefits of Going To The Beach…

Live near the beach? Grab your swimsuits and go enjoy the slow swooshing sound of the waves as they crash against the shore.

Anne Gherini shared in this INC article research about the benefits of going to the beach (as if we needed another reason …smile). From the points listed, here I share my top 3.

  • Listen to the crashing waves puts your brain at ease
  • Feel the sand between your toes as it stimulates your mind
  • Remove the Blues. Stare at the ocean and get to that relaxing meditative State.

In this world of mad rush, stress and strain, plan a trip or two to the beach for a quick getaway. Then bask in the Benefits to relax, unwind, reboot. Your Brain cells are sure to recharge pushing you further along the Skewed productivity chain.

Cheers!

Selfcare: How Does One Engage In Self-Care?

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Do Whatever it Takes

We shared the  17 Self-Care Activities… Then one reader asked how does one find the time to engage in self-care activities? Naturally, most of us struggle with that too. So here’s what I do.

Make it Important

First of all I make it important. Then based on my schedule , I decide which I can do. Some can be done on a daily basis like stealing away to the restroom or my car to Just Breathe even for a minute or two while on the job. That helps to manage the daily stress. Find that Rivulet. Simply walk away.

Schedule It

Another Notable option …if it’s something that I like to do such as going to the beach, I schedule it once a week, or it might just be bi-weekly. Some activities may even be once a month. Whatever works.

Team Up With Others

I may also team up with people who are stronger than me. For example I need to exercise. So I ask for an accountability partner. I don’t pressure myself. I start with a little at a time such as walking up the stairs to the parking garage. For other things like travel, I team up with people like my daughter who likes to travel (for pleasure). I have done vast amount of business travel and it’s not the same. We may even travel somewhere for a night or two with friends or family (as in a weekend getaway), and that helps to take care of that activity.

Do Not Beat Yourself Up

For me personally, my passion is writing but finding the time is hard. For starters I do not throw a Tantrum or pressure myself. Sad as it is, I face my reality and reduce my time to whatever I have available and get it done.

So there you have it. Hope it helps. Do any of the above resonate? Can you add any? Do share! We want to hear!

Cheers!