Water your OWN Grass

Life. It’s hectic. We all have a million things going on. Work, home, pets, friends, family, volunteer, keeping the tiny humans alive. And the relationship that usually suffers the most, the one that we take for granted more than others is our mate. Why? probably because we are the most ‘comfortable’ with them. The most comfotable with our life status quo. But our mates should be nurtered, watered like plants, like the lawn. If not, they will wither up and get all dry and crunchy. There are plenty of sayings about the grass. Some say “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence.” I say ‘the grass is greener where you water it.’  Doesn’t everyone want a nice, green, plush lawn? One that you can take your shoes off and walk on with your bare feet? I sure do!

Now, don’t get it twisted, I am NOT a step ford wife. I am far from Martha Stewart at cleaning, cooking and I can be quite the lazy a$$ on the weekends. And I need to do better at showing (not just telling) my hubby that he is numero uno. I am watering the grass, but I need to turn up the water pressure a little.  Sometimes I look around and see/hear the trials of this person and that person and think “hey, we are doing just fine”. I mean, at least we don’t have separate houses, live in seperate states, we aren’t screaming at each other, he’s not sleeping with my assistant and we sleep in the same bed (for the most part, unless I fall asleep watching trash TV).

So, how? How can you jumpstart, bring a little bit of a spark back, make it better? Because the SECOND anyone says my life/my marriage/my relationship is PERFECT….First, you are lying & probably hiding something. I’m not saying put your business on the street. But, just be real with yourself, boo.  Second, good for you liar. You can stop reading here and go back to your lie of a life because no one is perfect. 😉  Third, for those of us that live in reality, here are some tips from people WAY more qualified than I am.

Oh, and before I hear any… “OMG, I am SO sick of being the one ALWAYS making the effort. Why can’t HE be the one to make plans and take me out? Why can’t HE be the one to see I need more ‘water on my lawn’? Why can’t HE just let me take a dang bath for 15 minutes without all the kids watching???” Well, ladies, because sometimes men just don’t think. There ya have it. You want things to change? Change them. #BeTheChangeYouWantInYourHouse

Now, back to tips to get that grass GREEN-er. You can learn a lot about a person, in as little as an hour of conversation. Take some of these 36 Questions to Bring you Closer together and write them down on slips of paper. Ask them to each other during happy hour, or during the hour before ‘sleep’ time, or during date night. You never know what you can learn about your mate…even after years of being with them.

Talk about the good ‘ole days. Nothing gets those butterflies fluttering like thinking back to what brought you both together! Say something like “I loved that trip we took to ____” or “that dinner you cooked me on our second date, it was amazing”. Don’t go in for a dig like “Why don’t we EVER go on trips any more like we used to?” or “Why don’t you cook like that any more?” That is a SURE way to dry up that grass….

Speak well of each other! There is nothing more of a TURN ON, than when you hear through the grape vine of how nice your spouse/mate was talking about you. Of course, we all have our close friends that we vent too…your deep personal issues need to stay just that–personal. #talknice

Drop your old issues. We all have scars and damage from our dating days, but don’t use an old fight as a weapon in a new one. It’s unfair to throw unresolved issues at one another — drop those sensitivities by avoiding hot button issues that you’ve already discussed (and hopefully resolved). If you’re still having trouble letting it go, consider journaling or talking to a counselor to prevent these bygones from weakening your marriage.

Fight fairly. This one is hard, especially for the ones of us that have Irish/Cajun tempers, LOL. Avoid using absolutes like “always” or “never” to accuse your spouse when you’re revved up and kind of irrational during a particularly bad argument. Within the argument, establish a “take it back” code whenever either of you says something you don’t truly mean. You both need to know when to apologize; love does mean saying “I’m sorry” sometimes.

Be financially responsible. Money is one of the top marriage stressors, especially in challenging financial times. You both need the security of knowing that you’re each paying bills on time, and not making unnecessary purchases. Be honest with one another, no matter what. Don’t show up with a new car…that would be put in the ‘not good’ column.

Don’t stall on each other’s requests. Life is hectic, but if your partner asks you to look up something online or find a piece of paperwork for him, make it a high priority to do so as soon as humanly possible. When you show your spouse that his requests are important to you and you value his needs, that makes your partnership even stronger. Example: I drink my coffee while I check my emails in the mornings, in bed. My husband HATES when I leave my coffee mugs & water cup on the nightstand.  It does not bother me, but really, really, really bothers him….and has for 9 years. Finally, after me realizing that is REALLY does bother him; and after several requests (a final plea rather), I have an alarm set in my phone, every day, reminding me to remove them from my night stand. The alarm is named “CUP”. And if that little thing helps his sanity and helps me to remember, then “cup” alarm it will be.

Accept that you’ll both have bratty moments. Sometimes when we’re stressed, we get snippy. It happens to everyone, and that ultra-bratty response may even be a surprise to you. So if your spouse replies with a crappy comment, don’t come back hot! Just accept it as a sign that maybe he’s stressed and not able to respond more maturely at the moment. Maybe his baby momma just came at him with something? Maybe the boss just gave him an earful, maybe he just had to deal with an unpleasant patient/customer, maybe the kiddo just had a little ‘a-hole moment’….you never know. Try not come back the same way. Yes, that is HARD. #TrustAndBelieveIKnow
And if he blames your bratty remark on PMS, it’s better to walk away than get into a fight over something silly. Apologies can come a little bit later. #DontBiteHisHeadOff #MenCanBeStupidBecauseTheyAREFromMars #WeArentPerfectEither

You get more fly’s with sugar. My grandmother told me this over & over and it is VERY true. IF you want something done, don’t come in hot…(or just do it yourself! ha). There is something to be said about using manners and sweetness to get things done in life. It’s the same things with your mate. But, we take our mates for granted and just ‘expect’ things to just happen…but we shouldn’t. Get out that sugar! Give more sugar and get more sugar! #SugarSugar

What is your love language? There are 5.

  • Gifts
  • Quality Time
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch

If you don’t know yours or your mates…then you really are on Mars & Venus. These are outlined by Gary Chapman in a 1995 book, “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.” Its like $12 on amazon…get it, read it….it will BLOW your mind. My husbands love language is ‘acts of service’. Now what the hell does that mean?? It means he shows LOVE and receives love through acts of service. Doing chores, helping people with handy man stuff, he is a hard worker. This is also how he perceives and receives incoming love. (remember the damn cups on the nightstand? Removing them daily makes him SO happy) Some people have more than one language. I love quality time and physical touch, with some gifts thrown in! (Poor hubby #poorJP) My hubby isn’t my first hubby, got the mistakes out of the way and then found a good one! We are going on 9 years. Are things always lollypops and daisy’s? Hell no. Anyone that says their marriage is perfect…#WhatTheWhat? But, I wouldn’t trade him for anything! (Well, maybe Channing Tatum, he’s single now)

Your L.L. is usually different from your mates; and once you learn what theirs is; your can start communicating to them and giving them what they need.  Example: If your L.L. is quality time and all you are getting is gifts, and NEVER getting quality time with your mate…then you are probably feeling pretty empty. Maybe because your mates L.L. is gifts, and they think that fills you, because that is what fills them. (MIND BLOWN RIGHT!? LOL)  I have read the book and I bought the book for my hubby to read about a month ago…it is still in the plastic wrapper. #HintHintJP

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There is a myth that marriage will just sustain itself…that is more than a myth, it’s a total lie. Marriage is work. Hard work. And like any other work, it takes two people willing to work AT it. Marriage is also an evolution. Two people willing to evolve through the years together.  It’s learning yourself, learning your partner. What you are at 24 is not what you are at 34 and not what you are at 44.  DON’T sweat the small stuff. JP’s says “I never did mind the little things.” He usually says it when there is something that is/was bothering him. LOL. There is nothing more beautiful knowing, that at the end of the day, you have someone that has your back 110%. #YouBetterWork #WaterThatGrass #StayInYourYard 😉

Cheers to Green Grass!

XOXO

KP

 

Why We ALL Need a Girls Trip

Your tribe, your girls, your posse’, your squad. Whatever you call them, there is nothing better than girl time! Don’t get me wrong, we love our family, husband, kids, etc., etc., etc. But, girl time is food for the soul. An absolute necessity for our sanity. It is scientifically proven that a crucial re-boot process happens when we are allowed to let our hair down and be silly around our girlfriends. Internal Windows updates happen when we hear that cork open! Throw in a little sun & sand…and boom! It’s like you are an entire new person!

So, why exactly are Girl Trips the best? Wait…back it up. For those that are reading this…going on a Girls Trip does NOT make you a bad wife/mom/girlfriend. Okay? Okay. You can NOT take care of anyone else if you aren’t taking care of yourself. So, take care of you, boo. Take time to recharge. And please, no emails about “I don’t go anywhere unless it’s with my entire family because I love them so much and can’t stand being away from them for one single second. We are an organic, bonded unit.’ (insert eye roll) Ok, good for you. Sometimes mine makes me crazy and they drive me to drink. But, we are an organic too, and I like organic things, like grapes…the fermented kind. #PassTheChampagne #ChampagnePorFavor #FindYourZen
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Back to why Girls Trips are the best! There is NO pressure. When you go away with the entire family, you are STILL WORKING! You are cleaning up after kids, chasing them on the beach, laundry, etc. (I thought this was a vacation?) When you go away with your closest friends, they are in tune with you and how you work, allowing you the most stress free get away. You can go without make-up, bum around, no cares if you have brushed your hair, no one is asking you to wipe them after going to the potty. If someone is asking for help in the potty on a girls trip…that means its been a FUN night! LOL #thankgoodnessforUber #holdmyhair #TMI

Another reason Girls Trips are the best, and we ALL do it;  It doesn’t matter what age you are, if you’re single or taken, married or not, girls talk to girls about boys. Could be the Ex that screwed them over, could be about the guy at three o’clock, or it could actually be something nice that happened to her. But regardless, girls talk about boys. To vent or gripe, to ask for advice, to get comforted…you and your girls have the best and most candid ‘talks’ about boys. #youknowyoudoit #IfYouPutA’BlessHisHeart’AtTheEndItsOk #guysDoItAllTheTime

Another reason to Girl Trip is to reconnect. A lot of the time if you are in a relationship, friendships can suffer. We don’t always intend for that to happen but when you live a busy life and try to balance a lot of items, work, kids, relationships, etc.,…things can get complicated. Leaving all the boys & busy stuff at home will allow you to reconnect and remember what the friendship was like before life got crazy.

Freedom Ladies, Freedom! This is a big one. Friends are understanding. They just get it. And on top of that there are never going to hold you back. There is a certain sense of freedom that comes with girl trips that make them that much better. If you need to sleep for 18 hours because your kids wake you up at 5am every day, then do it! Walk around the condo in just your shoes. Do it. Be free. Mimosas & pizza for breakfast, do it. Brunch 3 times a day, do it! Do what you want. Your girlfriends won’t hold you back, but they will HAVE your back. Another great thing about getting away with friends is that there is a sense of comfort and honesty. Be yourself, others will too. Be free and ENJOY! #mimosasAt6am-heckyeah #befree #VacationPorFavor
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Girl talk! Girl talks are the best. And much cheaper than therapy. Hate your job because your boss is an awful little prick? Decided to get Botox? Haven’t had sex in a month with your boyfriend? Still having issues with that mean girl at 37 yrs old? Your 12 yr old acting like a little sh&t? We got you, boo. Talk it out. Chances are, one of your girlfriends is or has gone through the same thing. #WhineTime

Now, Some people say, ‘married couples should ONLY vacation together’ In some instances, I totally agree. There are some (mostly men) that can’t keep their stuff in their pants. We all know that type and probably know a few in real life. #soClassy! Other than those with the wandering pee pee, there is really no other reason why they should always vaca together. No reason why they shouldn’t, either. If we didn’t do this now and then, each of us would miss out on some things only one of us wants to do. Also it can be good for your perspective on your relationship. But if you don’t want to spend some time together, why are you married? I think it’s great to do both. #absenceMakesTheHeartGrowFonder #KeepYourPantsUp

It can be a week, a weekend or even a night with just the girlfriends; girl time is essential! Man can not live by bread alone and women can not live without her girl time! Make it a road trip. Pack a bag and a case of wine. Need some suggestions? Here are the 20 Best Girlfriend Friendly Getaways you can take…and you don’t even need a Passport.

Once you find your tribe, have fun with them! Embrace your Girl/woman power, take a Girls Trip, leave the drama behind and make some new memories. It doesn’t have to be 2 weeks, first class in Paris…but, take some time and bond with your girls! It’s always a good idea. #ToesInTheSand #OrBootsInTheSnow

Cheers,

KP

Take Time for You & Be a Better You

We all have it. Guilt. Guilt that if we take time, or too much time for our selves, that we aren’t being a good mom, or a good wife, or good ‘whatever’. It is quite the contrary. We can’t be a good anything if we aren’t taking time to re-charge. These days, we are pulled in 1,000 different directions and at the speed of light. Or at the speed of our cell phones. They are attached to us 24/7. I remember the days of waiting until you got home to check the answering machine. And guess what? We all survived! If we were going on a trip, we read maps, actual road maps. PAPER ones. We didn’t have cell phone to map our routes…we had a highlighter. Kids didn’t have to be constantly entertained, they rode bikes and made mud pies. It is a different time now. Everything is instant, in your face…news, people, noise. The time to relax is few and far between.

Some days, it’s nice to just have a day or a few hours to yourself. Take a walk, binge watch your favorite series on Netflix, read a book, exercise, go get yourself ice cream or maybe just spend a day organizing and cleaning. Wait, who are we kidding, how about day drinking with your BFF?! (if you don’t have to drive of course) Sometimes it’s nice just to treat yourself and take a break from the real world and people for a little bit.

Here are some quick tips. Because you are probably trying to reach this fast, or may have a child trying to get your attention:

  • Make Yourself a Priority. First, realize how important it is. YOU have take care of anyone else if you aren’t at 100%.
  • Schedule Your ‘Me’ Time. Make your free time as important as the pediatrician’s.
  • If You Have 5-10 Minutes. Sit on the porch with a cup of coffee and the newspaper. 
  • If You Have 15-30 Minutes. Read one chapter of a book you’ve wanted to make time for.

Make time where you can. It can seem like everything is important, especially when it comes to work and tasks around the house. Delegate some of your responsibility, or cut out what isn’t absolutely necessary to your day to clear your schedule.

  • Ask for help from your family. This can be asking a child to do chores or your spouse to run to the grocery store. Delegating tasks like this can free up twenty minutes to spend on yourself.
  • Find jobs to outsource. This may hurt your budget a little, but find a service to mow your lawn or a cleaning service to help around the house. TRUST ME ON THIS ONE! It will save SO much time and stress.
  • Learn to say no. Don’t keep taking on endless tasks. Understand that you have a limit and learn to say no to things without feeling guilty.

Accept not doing things perfectly. Often people are bogged down the need to get every task just right. This can mean you stay after work, answer work e-mails on the weekend, or simply can’t go to sleep until all of the dishes are done. Accept that you can’t get everything done. At a certain point every night, put everything down and focus on doing something you want. Realize that most things can wait and you’ll have another opportunity to do tasks. Also, taking time away from important tasks can actually improve your performance. I really struggle with this, because I am a little OCD and A-type. #thestruggleisREAL

Put down the electronics. It’s easy to be sucked into a social media app or television show for hours. You may enjoy these activities but they can also consume all of your free time, many times without even seeming like it. For an hour each day, put down your phone, computer, and even your T.V. Get the most of your time by experiencing it radically present, not mindlessly wrapped up in an app.
Spend some time being alone. Get your spouse to go out with their friends. You could also tell them to stay home with you, since there are no kids running around. If you’re a teen, just shut your door or go to the bathroom. It is OK to just be alone. Teens especially are addicted to social media. It won’t kill them to read a book for 20 minutes a day.

Find time to be alone. Take a long, hot bath or sit in a room and think. Sort things out. A time like this can really help you notice somethings and it’s good for you to address your problems or go back to the good times.

  • Cook or order one of your favorite meals. Eat what you like and be yourself. Sometimes during the rush of a work day we might find ourselves grabbing food on the go and eating it in a rush. Make time for yourself to cook something you enjoy and a slow sit-down mean to savor it.

Remember, If everyone else around you is worthy of care and attention, then so are you. You not only deserve this time, but you need it for your own well-being. Lack of time for ourselves often leads to feeling frustrated, tired, overwhelmed and out of balance…then we get a little coo-coo. Without this time for ourselves, we lose sight of what’s important to us. #FindYourZen 

Do not EVER feel guilty for taking time for yourself. EVER. All batteries need to re-charge, if not they lose their power. Find your charging station and get to charging!

XOXO

KP

Limoncello…by Popular Demand.

Let me first start with a STERN warning.  This WILL put hair on your chest.  Sip, do not shoot. Savor, do not chug-a-lug. Or you may wake up having passed out on your rug. Heed these warnings. Yes, do fear. For this limoncello, as smooth as it tastes, contains Everclear. 

Now, since the disclaimer is out of the way….let’s get to it!!! If you have never had, or prepared, Limoncello; you are in for a treat. It is a long process, but if you start now, it will be ready to sip on just in time for when those precious rugrats get out of school for summer break. And Lord knows, we will need all the help we can get to survive summer break.

First, you will need these ingredients.

Ingredients:
Phase 1- One Bottle (750 ml) Everclear
One Bottle (750 ml) Vodka
20 large lemons
Phase 2 (Finishing)- Four cups sugar
Four cups water

1. Wash the lemons in hot water and clean. Rinse.
2. Peel the lemons making sure not to peel any of the white part under the peel (the pith). Use a super-sharp vegetable peeler. Try to keep the peel in long strips.

peeling
3. Place the lemon peels in a large glass container (a container with lid) with the vodka and Everclear.
4. Place jar in a cool place where it can be undisturbed. Swirl the lemon peel and alcohol mixture daily in the jar. Just a few swirls to mix up the Lemons, will do. This step can last as little as two weeks or up to four months. (sign so that no one in the house touched it)

We started off with a hearty plastic container….but after two weeks, moved it to a glass pitcher and covered with Tin Foil. We also let it ferment/sit for 5 weeks. IMG_1335

Phase 2-Finishing 

1. Remove the bigger peels with a slotted spoon. I keep the peels to the side and bagged them in small pint size freezer bags. They make EXCELLENT garnish to all types of cocktails.
2. Strain the entire mixture through coffee filters or cheesecloth to remove impurities. If you don’t have a cheese cloth, just be careful to pour out ONLY the liquid.
3. Make a syrup by combining the sugar and water in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Let it boil for at least seven minutes. (Day Drinking Tee…thought it was necessary to wear)


4. Let syrup cool to room temperature. VERY important step.
5. Combine cooled syrup with strained lemon/alcohol mixture. The combined mixture will be creamy looking, light yellow in color—this is how it is supposed to look. IMG_1320
6. Bottle, using a funnel. We ordered one dozen 8 oz swing top glass bottles, and it was good.


7. Deliver bottle to me via FedEx… 😉

Bottled mixture should be allowed to rest at room temp for at least one week, allowing the syrup and the alcohol to “marry”.

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After one week, store bottle(s) in the freezer. Keep in the freezer at all times, treat it like gold…trust me on this one. It will not freeze.

HINT: The longer you allow it to ferment/sit with the lemons, the better the lemon taste and less of a bite. It makes a GREAT mixer in a glass of Champagne (just a tablespoon will do) sugar the rim of the glass and use the lemon slice/peel as a garnish.

Remember, this is to SIP….for the love of all things holy, do not pour yourself or your guests full shot glasses of this without proper market research (take it slow)…..and not on a school night. 🙂 You have been warned. Special shout out to Amy W. and Paul M. for keeping the recipe going strong in Louisiana.

Cheers and Enjoy!

KP

 

Curve Ball

So, I had my blog all ready to go for Monday. I really do have them planned out weeks & weeks in advance #OCD. And then my Dad shows up with a book from my Mom. I’m really not a big reader, more of a Podcast while I drive kind of person, multi-tasker!  But as I sat down for my final proof on the previous blog, I looked over and picked up the book my Dad dropped off….. “Perfectly YourselfDiscovering Gods Dream For You” by Matthew Kelly. Really? My son’s name and my name? Ok…I’ll play. So, I cracked the book and WOW. img_4119.jpgLet’s just say this was a CURVE BALL I was not expecting! And for those of you that think I just whip out an entire blog in an hour or so…not the case. But, I was ON a MISSION! ….Mission. Mission. What is your mission? As I was scanning the chapters, Finding a Mission. WHAT IS YOUR MISSION? Good Question.

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People run at full speed; chasing after dreams of money and ‘success’. And forget or loose themselves while they are running.  Or end up being unhappy or faking it in the process.  Having too many responsibilities, too much to lose, and too many things to protect. What are we chasing after? Why are we chasing it? What is my purpose? Why was I put here? What do YOU want your eulogy to consist of? Titles, letters at the end of your name? Or people who you have helped…lives that you have touched. What would your lifetime achievements be? What would matter the most at the end of your life? Is it what you are doing right NOW? What is your MISSION?   #deepthoughts #AreYouHereForYouOrForOthers

The very first thing we ALL need to realize in life is to just be ourselves. Be the very best version that we can be…but some days that is in our PJ’s, with no make-up or having a melt down, and that is OK.

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We don’t wake up one day and say “The JOB is DONE, I am the BEST version of myself!” Really? No, boo. And I want some of whatever you are drinking.  And practice does not make perfect. Practice makes progress! In everything. Life, piano lessons, friendship, work, in being a person, in EVERYTHING. #KeepMakingProgress #BeABetterVersionOfYourYesterdaySelf #BeYourself #EvenIfYouAreAHotMess #ThatIsOkToo

Does your desire to serve and please others make you happy? Serving the needs of others is one way to find ourselves but we can also lose ourselves. Matthew Kelly writes, “It should be driven by the needs of others, not by our own motives.”

IMG_4118 He asks the question ARE YOU HAPPY at seminars and also writes, “for most people the answer is Yes and No or Yes, but I could be happier.”…”Happiness is not achieved by the pursuit of happiness but rather by living right. Just do the next thing right. In every situation, at every juncture, at all crossroads, simply do the next right thing.” Will we make wrong decisions? Of course! We are mortals!  But, if we would all just live like our grandma is watching us, the world would be a little better.

I can not wait to sit down this evening and dig into this book!

I can worry myself into a sick stomach!

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And it does NO good to worry. I know this, but it doesn’t change the fact that I still worry. There are going to be problems in everyone’s life. Some large, some small. Fact. Several years ago, someone shared an analogy with me about dealing with stress/issues. Everyone has a proverbial ‘tea cup’ that they are able to put their stress/issues/worries/daily tasks into. Some people have an espresso sized cup…some people have a 5 gallon sized bucket tea-cup. Either way, when that ‘cup’ gets full, it’s full. They have reached their limit! Some people just have the ability to handle more. My cup area for worrying about my kiddos is very small…that part fills up quick. My area for dealing with work, volunteer tasks is about 3 gallons.  The area when I have a brother that is deployed, about 2 teaspoons.

I love what Matthew Kelly mentions about ‘managing the present & creating the future” and can’t wait to dig in more. Our lives are moving at such a fast pace these days that we make decisions so quick, we don’t take time to stop, reflect, smell the roses…or rose’ (that part was me!).  We, as a society are more likely to react than to reflect. We think “what should I do?” …but we should be thinking more “should I do anything?” Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing. No drama on fb, you don’t have to respond to everything, you don’t have to text or share every bit of gossip you think you may know…sometimes it is better to leave a situation alone. Balance. Allowing action and inaction to coexist.

“It is this calmness and clarity that will allow us to realize what we are called to and what matters most”- Matthew Kelly

Ohhhhh, I can not WAIT to read this entire book! Like I said, I am NOT a big reader, but this is going to be great!

Have a wonderful week and enjoy the kiddos being back in school!

Cheers!

KP

All Rosé is NOT Created Equal…

Spring has sprung and what better way to kick off warmer temps than with a great glass of rosé! This past weekend was not only Easter, but my birthday weekend…so what better time to test out several different rosés and share the findings with you! Don’t get me wrong, the bubbly is my first love…but a good rosé is so nice in the spring and summer. I have slaved all weekend, over several bottles, to bring you my reviews.  It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

What exactly is rosé? Some people just think it’s a Zinfandel ( gross. no) Or a single type of grape. Some think it’s also the same as ‘Pink Champagne’–wrong again. (will get into that more later) Before we begin with the reviews, let’s have Rosé 101. 

First, mixing red and white wine together is not how you make true rosé. Although, we did try that in college–do not recommend.  To make most rosé wines, red grapes are lightly crushed and left to macerate with their red skins for less time than a RED wine (anywhere from a few hours to a few days). After which the juice is strained out from the solid stuff (called “must”) and fermented. The longer the grapes’ skins are left sitting in the wine, the darker the color of the finished rosé.

Rosé isn’t made from a specific grape or region; it’s just a genre of wine, like red or white. The biggest producers by volume are France, Spain (where it’s “rosado”), Italy (“rosato”), and the United States. But there’s also excellent stuff coming from South America (Chile, Uruguay), Germany, and Australia, and more corners of the world.

Most rosé wines are blends of multiple grapes. Some of the most common grape varieties used in dry/European-style rosé are Grenache, Sangiovese, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Cinsault, and Pinot Noir. The 4 most popular varieties are below. The flavor notes can be REALLLLLY yummy. When you find a good rosé, that isn’t to sweet (or you may like that), try it with the food paring suggested below. It can be totally amazing when you hit the right note on a wine/food pairing.  #DaBombIMG_3853

Quick PINK Champagne sidebar. How exactly does rosé Champagne come to be? By mixing red and white, of course. In fact, the Champagne Region in France is the only region in the world where you can legally blend red wine and white wine to create a rosé. Crazy! (Time for a field trip!) To make pink/rosé Champagne, wine makers are allowed to use the following three grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, the last two of which are red grapes. Champagne is usually white because the flesh and juice inside red grapes are free of pigment, so once the grapes are pressed and removed from the skins, the final product is white. In the Champagne region, many of these red wine grapes are harvested to produce still red wines, which are then added to the sparkling wine to create a lightly pigmented sparkling rosé. Though light in color, these wines are often more powerful in flavor than your regular Champagne, thanks to the punch packed by the still red wine. winemaker generally blend 15 percent of still red wine into the final sparkling rosé wine production.

Another way that rosé Champagne is produced is via the saignée method, a winemaking process commonly used around the world to create still rosés. I do NOT understand much about this, other than they ‘mix it’… and it’s considered NOT a true method for ‘still’ rosés….so that is all we will talk about that. LOL #movingon

Rosé, unlike red wine & Christie Brinkley, does not improve over the years — so don’t hoard it in your cellar for half a century. There’s no shame in drinking something with last year printed on the label. You shouldn’t drink anything that’s dated more than two or three years back. And if you find something dated over several years back…it will probably taste like rubber bands and/or vinegar. #drinkItNow

You can totally use Rosé to make cocktails & spritzers….1/2 & 1/2 Rosé & club soda, a squeeze of lemon juice and crushed fresh strawberries. OMG…so good.  Want Rosé lemonade with a kick? 5 parts Rosé, one part vodka, top off with 1/2 fresh squeezed lemon (or 3 tbsp lemon juice, stir and garnish with a lemon slice). Serve both over ice.

Now let’s get into the reviews of my weekend of Rosé

First, let me start by saying that NONE of the Rosé on this BLOG is more than $27.00 a bottle. Click on the photo or the name of the Rosé, and it will take you to the product page of each.   #GoodDoesNOThaveToBeExpensive #IAmNOTGettingPaidToReviewANY #IJustLOVERosé #TipsForMyReaders #YouAreWelcome 🙂

Friday was my 39th birthday…again. The BFF and I enjoyed Whispering Angel on the patio at one of our local favorite spots, Spirits. This Rosé is from estate Chateau d’Esclans in the region of Provence, France, close to the Mediterranean coast. She & I REALLY both liked this one. The main grape is Grenache and it has Syrah as well. Not tart and not to sweet either. VERY light hints of mango, honey, strawberry…even lighter notes of pink grapefruit & cherry. I’m not a fan of cherry or honey and I LOVED this. The French know their grapes y’all. #WhisperToMeOneMoreTime #corkedTop

NOTORIOUS PINK Rosé

Well, well, well. Not only was this NOTORIOUS PINK Rosé SUPER yummy, but it has the COOLEST bottle and a GLASS cork! FANCY! I got watermelon, strawberry, peach & pear. This is a 100% Grenache grape Rosé from the south of France. The hubby and I enjoyed this and we will be getting this one again & again. It had a crisp, fresh this is probably the most versatile of the ones I’ve tried this weekend. REALLY ENJOYED! #GlassCork

Yes, for you…I even tried Rosé …..In a Can. JillHammer

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Oh my. Where to begin? There is a reason that Champagne and Rosé come in a bottle and not a can. I will have to try this one in the bottle form so that I can give a review of the taste of the Rosé. My grandmother always said if you don’t have anything nice to say, keep your mouth shut. #MovingOn

IMG_3809 And Why am I MR. PINK. I could not find this anywhere on-line to direct you their web site…maybe my stalking skills are lacking. (doubtful, LOL) This Rosé is about $11-$15 a bottle, one of the less expensive ones. It is from Washington State and from the Sangiovese grape- a dark-berried vine, is the most widely planted grape variety in Italy.  It was ‘ok’. Would I drink it again? Yes, in a pinch. Would be good for large parties, if you had to buy a lot of bottles. It is pretty dry…AKA tart af. If you like sweet…this is your Rosé! 

 

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Don’t cry for me Argentina and there is no crying for this one either, I mean in a good way, it’s pretty good. El Libre Rosé is from the Mendoza region. It’s by far the largest wine region in Argentina. Located on a high-altitude plateau at the edge of the Andes Mountains and considered a “rare blend” is a term Wine-Searcher uses to identify rosé wines made from unusual or rarely seen combinations of grape varieties. Indicative Blend: Torrontes, Chardonnay & Malbec. Vanilla, berry and a little spice with this one. Rich and fruity. Not my top pick of the weekend….but not bad. I would drink it again.

Meiomi Rosé This is from pinot noir grapes from California. My favorite red EVER is from Cali, so I had very high hopes for this Rosé. It opens with flavors of watermelon and orange. It was nice.  I didn’t get any rose or strawberry (as the wine maker boasts). Maybe my palate isn’t as heightened as it should be. I know I like it and that is all that matters.

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Vie Vite’ Rosé 

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Vie Vite’ is 30% each Sinsault, Grenache, Syrah, and 10% Carignan grapes from the Provence region in France, 21 km from Saint Tropez.  I tell ya….the French;  they know how to relax AND how to make wine. Which came first, the relaxing or the wine? This Rosé was one of my favorites. And it just wasn’t because of the view on the balcony with my cute hubby. It was VERY nice, crisp, soft & fruity (mostly berries) but was not tart or overly sweet. #AlreadyBoughtBottleNumber2

Well, I hope this list of my Rosé picks and reviews…including a few that were ‘so so’, helps you navigate the spring selection stress! Picking out new wines can be intimating at times. At the least, this can help you get through spring break.

While most wine makers and wine regions treat Rosé as icing on the cake, the Provence region, in the south of France, treats it like the MAIN DEAL….it’s NOT second fiddle to Red or White, Rosé is big business. If you are ever in the French Rivera…check out the top 12 Rosé to Drink in the Rivera.  …..And take me with you, lol

Cheers!

KP

I Do NOT Plan On Aging Gracefully…

So, today kicks off my BIRTHDAY WEEK! Another year, another birthday. Turning 39, again. Some days I feel my age. Most days I don’t look my age…and thanks to modern science and Botox, I will fight looking my age every step of the way. When men get older, they become more distinguished looking. Salt and pepper hair, rugged. Very James Bond-ish. But, when women get older; they just get older. NO THANK YOU.

I follow a lot of these tips, not all. I am only human, and not going to lie. I love me some junk food every now and then. When my husband reads this blog he is going to ROLL his eyes to a few of the tips. #onlyhuman

My grandmother, who’s skin never looked her age, used Oil of Olay for ever! I use it, (it has 50 spf in it now), every morning before I put on my foundation. #NotPaidToSayThat There are a lot of things we, as women can do. There are a lot of things we do because our moms, grandmothers did. But somethings we can do new, or do better. Because who doesn’t want to feel better or look better?

First, tip. Homage to my Grandmother “GaGa”….Always use sunscreen. UV rays cause an extremely big percentage of wrinkles and other signs of ageing. Use it daily on face, neck, even your ears if you have short hair.  Pay special attention to protect your skin from sun damage when you go on holidays & if you are playing sports…and PUT sunscreen on those KIDDOS! It pains me to see all those summer pool and ball field photos with beat red faces and shoulders. Remember my “Take care of Yo Self” BLOG a few months ago? The Dermatologist told me that some people are just genetically predisposed and it’s NOT just people over 30. The youngest melanoma she has treated was a 17-year-old male. 17 years old!!! It can come from years of sun exposure.

Second, Keep the same weight all the time. One of my favorite actresses Christie Brinkley is the great example of woman who looks absolutely stunning and gorgeous, even though she is like 60 now.

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How does she do it? :-/

It’s unbelievable! She shared one of the secrets of her beauty – maintain the same weight all the time. Often people have a habit of eating 3 big meals a day, but when you desire to maintain, it’s better to appropriate right habits of eating – try to eat smaller portions, but more often than only 3 times a day, (eat 5-6 smaller meals) this way you will boost your metabolism and it will be a lot easier to maintain great figure. And I’m not saying ‘skinny’…ALL shapes are beautiful! Just try to maintain the same weight, whatever it is, too much change does a number of your skin, muscles, etc. Another easy trick is to drink one glass of water before or after you eat, depending on your preference. Water will make you feel satisfied, and your body will stay very hydrated!  Maintaining the same weight is harder the older we get…..trust me. #birthdayweek ;-/

 

3-Exfoliate your skin regularly. Exfoliation is one of the most important secrets of youthful appearance! I do this EVERY day. It has many benefits: it’s the best way to keep your skin soft and glowing, it helps to keep your pores from clogging (keeps acne under control), helps with uneven skin tone, keeps lines and wrinkles in check. It does not have to be expensive, just find what works for you. I use St. Ives Apricot scrub and it works like a charm and doesn’t make me break out.

4-Focus on Positive Things. Being happy really does have an impact on how you look! Have you noticed, maybe walking around in a store, that some people just look miserable? Well, being happy does make you look and feel younger and puts you in a good positive mood. This is why it’s so important to cultivate positive mental attitude, laugh a lot and chose to be happy. thBE1P0XA0

Look at the glass half full instead of half empty, notice all the great and positive things that happen to you and be thankful for them and remember to smile often. Be a Do-er, a problem solver, someone who figures things out…not just fussed about them. This will help you stay younger looking and feeling for longer. Plus, people want to be around fun, positive people! #PurgeTheNegative

5- Eat Healthy. Stay away from processed foods. I admit, I LOVE me some drive thru every once in a while…I can’t help it! (Ok, more often than every once in a while) But, this is one of the crucial habits we have to work on in order to stay youthful for a long time. I suffer from some pretty bad ‘gastro issues’ (I know, TMI). So, we really do try to eat healthy home cooked dinners. Researches suggest that healthy diet can fend off your skin’s top enemies. So, include fruits, vegetables and fish into your diet! Eating healthy also makes you feel better. Good gas in the tank makes the car run well! (at the end of this blog, there are some food tips)

6- Beauty Sleep. Getting enough sleep regularly can help you to boost your energy levels, relief stress and keep your weight down/maintained. You have to recharge. Your body needs it. Getting at least 6-7 hours of sleep every night can help you to feel and look a lot younger than your real age. This would be great for me if I didn’t suffer from Insomnia…I think I may have found a recent solution to it. (more on that in an upcoming BLOG). If you are able to sleep…I am JEALOUS. People that can lay their heads down and be to sleep in 5, 10 minutes…..I wish, wish, wish that was me. I need a night cream that hides the fact that I haven’t had a good nights sleep since 1996. Any suggestions?

7- Get into the gym. Exercising is proved to be a great mood booster, it can help you to reduce stress and to keep your skin looking healthy. So, don’t neglect this “friend of your beauty” – sport. Now, I hate, yes hate, the gym and working out. I have tried running, yoga, walking, spin, group classes, with a trainer, without a trainer, working out with a friend, solo, weights, cardio….I just don’t like it. The last “round” of me attempting to get fit…after a few months; I threw out my back, couldn’t move for 5 days, ended up with shots in my back and an MRI. Omg, SO MUCH FUN! But, for everyone else, I think it’s a great idea. LOL  (and when I finish this blog, I will, for real, get my iPad out and do a slow flow, stretching yoga session, with my dog)

8- You time. Meditate, soak in the tub, pamper, TV time, go for a walk, read a book. Whatever you need to do to decompress…do it. It is NOT selfish, you have to take care of yourself before you can help anyone else. It will relax and make you feel better.

9-The last thing ,Physical intimacy is good! Great and healthy love life can also help you to stay younger looking and younger for a long time. While doing “it” – your body cultivates the “hormone of happiness” which not only strengthens your immune system and boosts your happiness, but also helps you stay younger for longer. Some researches show that people who have happy relationship and regular satisfying intimacy look about 10 years younger than their physical age. Yes, Jonathan…I know you are laughing you butt off reading this part too! It’s my birthday week, not yours, LOL!!!!

A few heart and age helping foods...because I am ALL about two birds, one stone. The oil found in avocados works to toughen your skin while also hydrating it. Another perk? Avocados are full of monounsaturated fatty acids. This is the healthiest type of fat for the cardiovascular system because it doesn’t promote inflammation.

Foods high in water content, such as cucumbers, watermelon, apples, peaches, melons, and celery, are some of the best hydration solutions for your skin. They keep away wrinkles and therefore keep you looking fresh-faced. #SugarTownMellons #IcanEatMyWeight 53af242d95f37_-_rby-33-foods-stay-young-watermelon-de

Stock up, choose foods like chicken, lean beef, walnuts, chickpeas, and dried fruits. Zinc is essential for a healthy immune system, and selenium helps your skin retain its natural elasticity.

53af242a0fdf0_-_rby-33-foods-stay-young-broccoli-red-cabbage-deCabbage, broccoli; are natural detoxifiers that minimize toxicities that build up in out blood stream and dull out complexion.

Eating kiwi will not only help maintain clear skin, it will also promote healthy bones. One cup peeled kiwifruit contains more vitamin C than the equivalent amount of oranges.

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Rosemary is rich in phytochemical, this increased levels of ceramide in the skin which helps to retain moisture and elasticity. #GoodForCooking #GoodasADrinkGarnish

Resveratorol and flavanols. These two compounds are the good stuff in dark chocolate that promote circulation and can even protect against moderate sun damage. Just make sure to choose dark chocolate over milk, as the dark chocolate is more beneficial to your health. #IKnewIt! 53af242a5a656_-_rby-33-foods-stay-young-dark-chocolate-de

Spinach has an exceptional lutein content which helps keep our eyes healthy and bright. Spinach also has tons of vitamins, including folate (vitamin B9), which aids in the production and maintenance, of new cells, including red blood cells.

Pink Grapefruit Juice for Smoother Skin Pink grapefruit gets its pink-red hue from lycopene, a carotenoid that’ll keep your skin smooth according to a study published in the European Journal of Pharmaceuticals and Biopharmaceutics. Make a mojito out of it…Pink-Grapefruit-Mojito-yes

Alcohol to Ward Off Alzheimer’s Disease
Drinking alcohol—moderately, which is one glass a day for women and two daily for men—may ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. As we age, brain cells die, leading to gaps that slow nerve transmission within the brain and between the brain and the rest of the body. Moderate drinking appears to somehow prevent these “potholes.”  (Scientists aren’t sure why.)    I would like to shake those scientists hands and say “thank you!” I will pour a glass, or three, of Champagne and stay healthy! #WhatIsModeration?

I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter and drink some birthday champs for me on Good Friday!

Cheers!
KP

Sticks & Stones

We have all been there. Being called 4-eyes, fat, ugly, told….”you don’t belong here”, ” you sound funny”, “you are stupid”…and worse. Thinking back, we were each one of three kids on the playground. The bully, the one getting bullied or the one on the sidelines. Each a different dynamic. Each stirring up a different image, a different memory in your mind. Maybe you were the bully and won’t (or can’t) bring yourself to admit it. Maybe you were the one that stood on the sidelines and watched someone get bullied. You may have wanted to intervene, but couldn’t. And then there was the one that was being bullied.  The feeling is probably still raw, even after 10 or 30 years.  Moving schools and getting new friends may have put a Band-Aid on it…but you swore to never inflict that kind of pain on another person. Hopefully you, like myself, promised to be an advocate, and never to be a ‘hurter’ or one that stood on the sidelines and allowed another person to be treated poorly.

So, fast forward 30+ years and you are an adult. High school and college complete and so is the drama. You are probably married, with kids. Adulting! Yeah! Something that we should NOT be dealing with is bullying! But alas, we are. I am and you may have too! But it’s not the playground kind 4-eyes kind. Oh, this, my friends is serious passive-aggressive, covert bullying. Top notch shit. Things that make you go “did that just really happen?” Yeah, holy balls, that just really happened. Are we in junior high again?

This covert form is the most insidious. With many bullies, you can see them coming from a mile away because they are quick to make their intimidating presence known. A covert bully, however, behaves appropriately on the surface, is bubbly, fun, things are always GREAT….“I’m great, things are great, how are you? hey girlfriend, Love those shoes!”…and they take you down behind your back. Examples of passive-aggressive, covert bullying include gossip, negative joking at someone’s expense, sarcasm, condescending eye contact, mimicking, deliberately causing embarrassment, ignoring, social exclusion, professional isolation, and deliberately sabotaging someone’s well-being, happiness, and success, overlooking for promotions on purpose, “black balling”.

About 37% of adults get bullied at work (or in a professional setting i.e. ) and 40% of adults have been cyber bullied. The statistics for kids upset me…but as adults, we should know better and DO BETTER!  When I started to do research for this blog several weeks ago,  I had almost forgotten about a trip to Mississippi for a special occasion; the 95th birthday party of my Aunt Ella Mae!  If you looked up “strong, loving, classy, southern belle” in Webster’s, her photo would be there. (yes, I went old school with an actual dictionary reference) . I spent Saturday evening surrounded with family and I was yet again reminded that there is NOTHING more important than family and God. Cousins that I hadn’t seen since they were in diapers, from all over the south, came in to celebrate! New babies, old cousins, it was a great evening.  It hurt me to think, of the sweet teens & baby cousins and the current statistics. 4 out of 10 children will drop out of high school this year because they are being bullied at school.

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Aunt Ella Mae with her GREAT-grand babies

Now let me be clear. Having a bad experience, or a disagreement with someone or a heated discussion with a group or people is NOT bullying. That is called LIFE. It’s not all lollipops and daisies 100% of the time. This term “bullying” is thrown out WAY too much these days, I think. The American Psychological Association defines bullying as “a form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort. If the SAME person or group of people are targeting you over and over….and over, that my friend, is bullying. Bullying can take the form of physical contact, words, or more subtle actions.” A bully can be an aggressive juvenile, an intimidating boss or colleague, a controlling partner, an unruly neighbor, a family member, a shaming social acquaintance, or those in a variety of other types of abusive relationships. Either way it is NOT cool. As adults and as a WOMEN, we should not tolerate any type of bullying. Also, as women, we also should not be DOING any of the bullying, but that is a far cry of hope. Let’s face it…some people are just plain mean. For some reason or the other, someone just may not like you. No matter what you do, how much you kiss their a$$. You could be mother Teresa…they just may have it out for you. That is when their true colors of passive-aggressive, Cruella Deville-ish, covert bullying will show true. Not everyone will see it…but sooner or later it still stick out like a sore thumb and will eventually shine like Kim Kardashians diamond ring. (and that is big). #LeopardsSpotsWillShow

After the 95th birthday celebration, my mom and I headed down to New Orleans for a catholic conference.  (and no, the building didn’t bust into flames when I walked in) And wait, let me be more specific…not New Orleans…Metairie, so I did NOT get my Nola ‘fix’ and the bar across from the hotel…I think I heard gunshots, just saying. (thanks mom! LOL)

The conference, which had speakers with the gift of a healing ministry, was what I was HOPING for grace from. Some of you may think it is far-fetched, but not having slept in-Rx-aided in 20 years and having it affect so many other health issues…well, I was willing to go to a conference with my mom, in Metairie, and hope that someone would lay hands on me. And it was a pretty awesome conference, if I do say so.

 To be real, I have suffered from migraines and insomnia for decades. Someone told me once “you always look so cute”. My response; “thank you, but honey, I’m kind of a hot mess on the inside.”  IBS, migraines, insomnia….I can keep going and we all have issues and mine are NOT a big deal compared to what some other face. But, it would be SO nice to get to sleep before 1, 2, 3am. #CountingSheepEVERYDangNight

Father Mark Goring gave the sermon and y’all he was a trip! Serious northern accent… but I liked to think of it as more Irish, LOL (he’s Canadian).  He spoke about God’s ‘selective memory’. How he/God let’s go of the past and would NEVER throw the past in our face.  (So, why do we throw the past in the face of our partners, friends, kids? In the faces of those we are trying to belittle? Those we are trying to control? Those that are being bullied?) Father Mark went on to mention judging…’at the gates, you will be judged as you have judged.’ This was heavy… I was like DUDE, you been hacking into my BLOG page?

Matthew 7:1-5  .…Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Romans 14:1-13….You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister ? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat….Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.

I mean WOW, if it was ONLY that easy, for us to follow what the Lord says about gossiping …and heck, I think the Lord was kind of even talking about bullying too! If only overnight, we could change the world…stop the ugliness and grow in grace. But, the truth is, once you are hurt, it is hard to forget. God has ‘selective memory’…maybe we should all work on that.  Letting go of the bad and keeping the good. I know SOOOOO many “good Christians” that would fall short in the ‘throw the first stone’ department. Myself included at times. The difference is, I am not afraid to say INCLUDE myself in the ‘falling short department.’ Heck, I run that department! I restock that department on the daily. It is the ones that can’t admit that…well, I guess we just have to pray for. #RestockOnIsle4

Another little nugget he mentioned…How do you weed a garden? You pull one weed at a time and change comes one step at a time. I feel that Much time and effort have been spent trying to discover what motivates a person to bully others, especially in childhood, where this type of behavior usually begins. On-the-spot amateur psychology, however, probably won’t spare you any hurt when a bully comes-a-knocking. Remember, if you find yourself the victim of bullying, a bully’s bad behavior is entirely his or her responsibility, not yours, no matter what the bully may tell you. Also remember that change can happen in small steps. If you are an adult, and find yourself accepting the fact, that you were or still are a bully…it is not to late to stop the cycle. Just take one step at a time.

Proverbs 21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

I know I got a little #holy in this Blog. But, sometimes, you just have to go there.

Peace, Love & Cheers

KP

 

 

Find Your Tribe

Your tribe. Your support system. The ones you vent to, laugh with, cry to, drink with. If you have found these ladies (or guys) count your blessings. Your tribe may be large or small. But either way, once you’ve got them…hold them tight and cherish them.

Years ago, I had a ‘tribe member’ that I tried desperately to be a good friend to. However, in the end, she was not a good friend to me…and I had to cut ties. Friendship should never make you feel bad, or hurt, be a one way street, or leave you feeling unfulfilled. I had school friends that took dark paths in life…and those friends…well, I had to let them go. It is never easy. You miss the good times, but the bad times remind you that you did the right thing. I’m sure we can each think back to a time where we had to break up with a friend. We had to part ways. It may have been easy because maybe they were holding a HUGE “I AM CRAZY” sign. Maybe the two of you were on totally different paths in life…and you could not go down their path.  Maybe lifestyle, relocation or marriage happened and y’all just grew apart. Either way, they were not meant to be in your tribe.

The past few weeks I have realized that my ‘tribe’ and extended tribe is amazing and I am truly blessed and very lucky. I apologize for being a little MIA, but life gets in the way…real life.

I have said before, I am a sucker for my family, friends….and 4 legged fur babies. One of my besties, Kristie is a huge dog lover too. She rescues (I am new to the rescue thing, only have rescued cats, but have helped coordinated lost dogs in my neighborhood, but this adventure was new).  I saw a post on a FB group about lost pets in the area and this young family posted about this dog that kept showing up at their house, skinny, sweet, loves on them, good with their other dogs & kids, hungry, etc. A guy posted on her post that he wanted him. SOOOO, I facebook stalked the guy. HECK NO….that guy runs his dogs for hunting wild boars. I have seen what a wild boar can do to a dog. NO SIR. My momma bear kicked in and ‘operation rescue’ was in effect. One problem. This dog was a large dog. And it was a breed I had zero experience with. Pit bull. (I must be freaking crazy) I started messaging all of my rescue friends that re-home, help at shelters, foster dogs. Not many people want to foster a pit. #badrep   After a lot of hard work and determination, I had a re-home rescue set up and a sponsor (my bestie) for the pup! Now all we have to do is go get him…right?! Thank goodness my husband is out of town for all of this insanity.  Kristie comes to the house bright & early, we load up and head to Satan’s playground (AKA Wal-mart) to get dog food, leash, collar, treats, bones, water & food dish…we drive 20 min and park to wait for the little family to call that he is at their door for his morning meal. After waiting for 45 min…I start to get restless and we drive the next few minutes and see if we can spot him around where the family lives. I don’t think the other neighbors around the dirt roads liked us driving slow and looking around. I think one may have called the cops on us, as a parish cop showed up and parked shortly after. (I promise we aren’t trying to buy meth!)

So, back home we go to wait for the call. AND IT HAPPENS! We get the call! As we are running out of the door I also get a FaceTime from my son…I answer it to him holding up a bloody hand…”Mom I need to Urgent Care, can you pay for my visit, I cut my Finger”. Sure. Not..”hey mom, the bone is showing…HELP me”. So, I stop by urgent care and give them my card, tell them I will be back..on the way to rescue a dog. Then we head to rescue this Pit Bull. (Please sweet baby Jesus, don’t let this dog be triggered by car rides).

Thelma and Louise…another adventure. On our way to pick up Brad. Brad Pit. We named him on our way to get him. We pull up and out strolled the prettiest brown dog with green eyes. Tail wagging like he won the lotto. The little family is so happy that he was going to be helped, my heart is pounding; not just for Brad but for my son who is at Urgent care! (perfect timing) We open the back door of Kristie’s SUV, and in jumps Brad like he owns the place. I give he a McDonald’s biscuit…yes, I know not good for dogs, but It was the first meeting and I didn’t know how he would be acting. So, chill. It’s not the end of the world. Biscuit ate…he lays down and falls asleep like a baby. THANK YOU BABY JESUS. We get to the Vet, drop off Brad for his shots. I head to Urgent Care…and guess what. My son needs surgery. So off to the ER we go for pre-Op…yes, like FULL go under surgery to clean and reconstruct his finger. As we are in the ER, I am getting texts from my Tribe checking in on us.

Out of surgery (all went well) , pick up dog from Vet….and the fun continues. Brad does not like it outside by himself and I find out he knows how open to latch handle doors. (my small dog does not like Brad) But Brad does like car rides and walks. Long story short. After a few days, I found him a FOREVER home! He has a new family that spoils him rotten, he has a sister his same age and loves snuggles….and is a toy and pillow hog.

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Yes, That is Brad laying ON a pillow in bed. #spoiled

He is a big baby. To think someone could have had this sweet boy running wild boar. How would not have survived one hunt. My heart is so happy and I could NOT have done this without help from my TRIBE.

Fast forward to Moe Champs photoshoot….talk about some good looking Tribe members! I am so thankful for these ladies. Each of them have hearts of gold! They are as amazing on the inside as they are on the outside. Tiff and Chelsea are a younger, MUCH taller version of Kristie and I. It’s funny to see and watch their dynamic. Tiff is the bossy/OCD one (that’s me) and Chels is the more laid back one (that’s Kristie). Ying and Yang. I think this photo was when Chels & Kristie were discussing just that!

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This day reminded me that sometimes your tribe may roll their eyes at you…but at the end of the day, your tribe has your back. #RealHousewivesOfRose’Mar08MoeChamps-0049.jpg

mar08moechamps-0373.jpgFind your tribe. Hold them tight. There will be ups and downs and times when you will roll your eyes at them. That is OK. That is REAL… but real queens share crowns and fix each other’s crowns. #ThatIsAFact

I hope your past few days/week has been less of a hot mess express/ER visit/surgery/dog rescue than mine has. If it has been crazy too…well, bless your heart and pour yourself a glass of champs! You deserve it. #timeChangeIsntHelping

May your week be calm and full of Champagne,

KP

The Stepford Wife, The Stepford Life

Nip this, Tuck that, clean this, bake that. At the end of the day and all through life, we make ourselves feel so inadequate. We need to be thinner, prettier, smarter. But for who? For what purpose? Once we tackle one ‘goal’, once we get that golden trophy, the items that we thought for SURE would make us happy, we still have that empty hole.  That huge house on the hill, that brand new SUV….we finally got it! But, why…why aren’t we happy? Still feeling unfulfilled? We aren’t happy because there is a huge hole missing where faith should be, where love should be, where family should be….where the Lord should be.

I have had this reflection a few times in life.  I even had this weeks blog all planned out (because that is what OCD brains do)…but then my hubby dropped a truth bomb last night and it was amazing.   Things do NOT always go your way. We loose friends, loved ones, and parents. I can’t even imagine. Sometimes it takes you 30+ years to process things, too get them to make sense.  I have been thru some crappy stuff in my adult life and I pray some day I will be as brave as this man is to be able to give his full personal story of faith.  Until then, I will be real as I have promised to be.

I encourage you to take a few minutes and read his words below.

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Today in church our pastor, Rev. Ashley McGuire, urged us to write our personal story of faith. So here goes.
I was born, 1973, in Alexandria, LA to my mother Susan Johns Peyton and father Rev. Thomas Bridgers Peyton, III. As the son of a passionate Methodist minister I recall even my earliest memories revolving around life in a church. My father, “Da-Da”, took my ever present “blankie” and I to all things church related. We were in Alexandria until 1976 when we then moved to Dallas, TX and my father was the minister of worship & arts at First United Methodist until 1979.

I have only a few memories from Dallas. During that time my father was diagnosed with colon cancer and I have vague memories of hospital visits and his I.V. that I named “Charlie”. Oddly enough, one of the memories that does stand-out was a hit and run incident where someone sideswiped my dad’s car on the street and I ran with him to the front passenger seat and we took off in hot pursuit (no seat belt I’m sure – what was I, 5 years old??) – the only real thing I remember from the event was seeing a rubber band underneath the accelerator pedal (funny the things that stick in your head…). There was probably some profanity involved in the sideswiping incident. I recall sleeping with sticks and bats in my bed because I was afraid of witches and I was ready for them if they came for me! And there was the time I was playing on a construction pile across the street in sandals and I stepped on a rusty nail which when through my foot – I remember the nail and the tetanus shot thereafter – NOT FUN! In the church daycare we had all kinds of good things going down – my best friend & I sat on the sink in the bathroom and broke it off the wall and flooded the daycare room. I “fixed” the record player by placing a soaked tissue on the AC cord and sticking it in the wall blowing the fuse for several rooms. my “girlfriend”, Frederique, and I would sit on the playground and kiss each other – her dad was a French chef at a fancy restaurant. Good times.

My dad was an avid piano player & opera fan (my mom not so much on the opera) – I remember waking up in the a.m. to the sound of piano music. I recall helping to assemble church banners – some of which are probably still hanging somewhere. When dad was not around I recall my mom being very attentive – an enduring trait to this day.
Unclear on the date, but I recall going to a Methodist retreat with just my dad & I. There was a lake and a lady with a Polaroid camera and I was fascinated with the flashbulbs – it was the coolest thing. I ran all over that place and that night I was so tired that when I woke up the next morning I remember my dad saying: “Jonathan you were so tired you didn’t even move – look at the bed!” – the sheets were practically untouched.
And while I am putting all this history out there, my mom will contest this fact to this day but at some point in my childhood I was in a field with an Indian – it was cold and there was coffee involved – if it didn’t happen I had a vision or something along those lines. True story.

We moved to Shreveport in 1979 and I became best friends with Jonathan Ford who was my same age and lived directly across the street on Pennsylvania. Shreveport was good – I spent a tremendous amount of time with my grandparents & cousins. My grandfather had a ladies’ apparel store – “Peyton’s” – lots of great memories there – mainly building enormous bows in the wrapping machine and of course all the ladies in the store paying attention to me. We would travel over to Monroe on a regular basis to see my other set of grandparents – CeCe & Roy – two fine individuals.

I think overall by the time I was 6 years old I had received all kinds of good programming – old school family values from grandparents, aunts, uncles – and at least a hundred thousand trips to church & Sunday school (or so it seemed).
Coming back to Louisiana from Texas put me a year behind so I repeated one of my earlier grades – I think it was pre-K or K. School was fun but man did I have an active imagination – this is what they called probably every modern-day diagnosis back then – “active imagination” – and I got in trouble in those early years – a few times pretty good – especially when I “locked” myself in the classroom bathroom and claimed I could not escape, throwing myself against the door screaming “Superman!” – classmates were loving it; teacher – not so much…. Pretty sure I remember a visit to the head of school office on that one.

I can’t recall who came and got me that morning in January 1980 from Jonathan Ford’s house – we had a sleepover the night prior, but I remember walking across the street to our house and sitting in the backseat of my grandparent’s blue Oldsmobile and crying uncontrollably when I was told my dad had died.
My “Da-Da” was gone.
Breather…

Still hard to think about even now. There is not one scene of a movie or a TV show about a dying parent talking to their young child where this entire scene does not replay – even 38 years later. I wish I could recall a final moment with him – I’m sure there is one deep down, and if I had to guess I know it was filled with his love. Last night we finally watched the final episodes of “This is Us” – it’s literally been on pause for weeks now because we just couldn’t muster the courage to watch Jack die. That was difficult to watch for me – probably a lot harder than Kellie realizes – I am all covered up in blankets on the opposite end of the couch with my heart torn out and Kellie is thinking I’m falling asleep… It’s hard to be emotional and vulnerable – I’m not the only person reading this that understands that truth. There is some divine power involved in the timing of all of this with Ashley’s call for stories of faith today – I have no doubt.
At 6 years old I don’t think you have a lot of things figured out. For me, I recall having a whole lot of questions for God and Jesus about why my dad had to die. Honestly, I don’t think things started to come into perspective until many years later when I had my own child – more on that later.

My dad typed his own worship service. A short excerpt: “In this service I have attempted to reflect through scripture, liturgy, and hymnody my personal affirmation of faith. The central ideas are: the eternal presence of God in our lives; the joy that the knowledge of that presence brings; the power for victorious living that faith in God brings. The dominant mood should be one of JOY. It is my firm belief that death is not final, but a natural part of life that brings one to the greater fulfillment and purpose in God’s kingdom. While grief is real, and words of comfort and assurance can be spoken, it is, finally, the eternal presence of God that should be affirmed at a Christian funeral. Therefore, I desire no eulogy, no trappings of despair; rather there should be a joyous celebration of the on-goingness of life under the gentle and loving guidance of God, our creator and sustainer. – Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Later that year we moved to Alexandria. I started 2nd grade at Alexandria Country Day School and made friends that I still have today. We attended church regularly at First United Methodist Alexandria on Jackson Street. Most Sundays consisted of me kicking and screaming over wardrobe and about 1,000 church bulletins converted into origami spaceships.

In March of 1980 the church arts festival was renamed in my father’s memory to the “Tom Peyton Memorial Arts Festival.” As a kid I attended the festival on a regular basis but other than acknowledging the namesake and the artwork it never connected to what the show was about. Later in life I’ve become more involved with the festival and am proud to be associated with such a unique ministry. In my father’s words from 1975 “The arts are about people – persons responding to another person’s creative spriits… a celebration of the commonplace. We are all ‘artists’ in the sense that our lives are an expression of the ideas, feelings, and images which we project through our work, our speech, our actions, our play. As men and women made in the image of God we must acknowledge the ‘creator’ that is part of us. To affirm life is to be part of the creative process.”
Every April the arts festival is held at First United Methodist Church in Alexandria. The hallways of the church are filled with beautiful and though-provoking artwork. Periodically a pastor will pick one of the permanent pieces as a focus for the weekly message and that is always very special to me. At some point in my life I am going to create a volume on my personal interpretation of each piece of artwork -there are so many good and thought-provoking subjects! If you are in the area I encourage you to visit.

Moving on… ACDS wrapped up, I moved on to Brame for 7th & 8th grade, then ASH, did some college at Centenary and LSUA and then started working. Fast forward 24 years with just some minimal attachment to anything spiritual – church on Easter & Christmas on a good year and that was about it.
During those 24 years I spent so much time trying to understand why my dad had been taken – I don’t think the average person that knows me understands how much time I spent on this.

This is where my story of faith begins.
In January 2004 John Thomas Peyton joined us and has been a shining light in my life ever since. I’ve tried to set a good example, offer guidance and wisdom, teach the power of forgiveness, love, helping others, and much more. His journey is ongoing; I pray that he will lead a life of service and compassion, while making good decisions along the way.
While there are plenty of positive and fortunate milestones in my life it seems like I’ve spent the most time focusing on the difficult ones. Our prior pastor, Donnie Wilkinson, preached one of the best sermons I’ve ever heard on the nature of the human spirit to focus on the ink-spot on the piece of paper. I’ve actually used this in a number of situations as it is indeed a truth of our humanity – we gravitate toward the small amount of bad when we are surrounded by an abundance of good.

Shannon and I separated in September of 2006 – I remember walking out of our house in a total and complete daze not fully understanding what was going on. John Thomas was taking a bath in our bathroom – the image is just burned in – I remember him all smiles and playing with bath toys – no clue what was happening. The next few months were very challenging for me – I was sad, angry, confused – my entire world just got turned upside down – why was this happening?

I recall one afternoon after lunch walking into the sanctuary at First United Methodist Alexandria and sitting in the pew where it seems I had been connected for my entire life. I hung my head down, cried, and prayed to God for help. It would be awesome at this point to tell everyone that I heard God’s voice speak to me or Jesus appeared on the cross, but nothing of the sort happened. But if I was not spoken to, I was compelled to act. I knew I had to move forward and I could not do so harboring resentment toward my son’s mother. In forgiveness there is strength, in hatred there is weakness. Things didn’t improve immediately – things take time to heal, but people when an olive branch is extended and forgiveness is genuine I can assure you things get better for all parties – please think about this if you are struggling – I’m happy to discuss this with anyone in need. I’m not a religious scholar or evangelist, but looking back 9 years after this moment I believe God was there for me when I needed him – he provided a path and hope.

In May 2009 Kellie & I met and 90 days later we were married. We joke that it was like the red & the white ninja in some cheesy Kung-Fu-Theatre flick – two people just drawn to one another. We are a couple like any other, trying to plug along through life, making mistakes here and there, loving each other, arguing (I mean communicating sometimes loudly), dealing with kids, work challenges, and a million other things. I’m proud of her compassionate giving, and artistic spirit. Kellie’s son Matthew is like my own son and I pray that he will find a peaceful place in life.

Kellie, Shannon, and myself are in a good place and we would all agree that this is the best possible scenario when it comes to providing an environment where children can move forward. I came home the other day and Kellie had Shannon on facetime asking questions about the new pressure cooker (strategic move here – get the same pressure cooker the ex-wife has, instant resource available for troubleshooting and recipes).
This past Thanksgiving, we all celebrated lunch together, myself & Kellie, Shannon & Doug, John Thomas, Tucker, and Doug’s children. This meant something to me – it was not superficial or fake, not a big lavish gathering, just a genuine celebration of thankfulness. It was good to see Tucker (Shannon’s son) – he has remained in a special place in my heart and I wish him success and happiness wherever life takes him. God’s hand is in here somewhere.

My mother-in-law, Mary Wilson, is about the most humble and persevering servant of God you will ever meet – a pleasure to be around and unwavering Catholic faith (well it may waver from time to time in the presence of lizards -she’ll probably have to answer some tough questions someday on her declaration of war on small green reptiles and their mass genocide at her hands…).

Throughout everything my mom has been there for me. If anyone can remember the story, “The Giving Tree” – I can most directly relate my relationship with my mom to that story – she’s been there for me through thick and thin. I’ve helped her, she’s helped me. She would give me anything I asked for without regret or hesitation. I love you mom.
At some point throughout all of this I came to realize that in all my years of searching for answers, I was asking the wrong question. I shouldn’t have been selfishly asking “Why did my dad get taken away from me?” – I should have been asking “Why was my dad here in the first place?”.
Had I been asking God the right question earlier would he have given me answers or compelled me to act sooner? – I don’t’ know I can’t answer that question. What I can say is that when I frame the question up as “Why was my dad put on this earth?” – that answer is crystal clear: To embody faith and validate our creation and creator.
The answers were written down in 1975 by my own father as it related to his own personal affirmation of faith: “The eternal presence of God in our lives; the joy that the knowledge of that presence brings; the power for victorious living that faith in God brings.”

Countless times I’ve heard “Your dad was so special – he impacted so many people” – he was 33 when he died – I’m now 11 years older than he lived to be and it seems that his legacy was a lifetime. But isn’t that one of the most important elements of faith? – Eternity? Some things are timeless.
Personally, I find it challenging to be faithful all the time. It takes effort – and when I think about this I find myself listening to the same advice I give my own children: “It’s easy to have a hard life, it’s hard to have an easy life.” I’m a big believer in that mantra – I haven’t researched the phrase to see if it’s original, but as far as I’m concerned it makes perfect sense and I’ve come to realize that through 44 years of trials and tribulations. I think faith falls into that category because there are so many distractions and situations in the world that make us question things. We find ourselves having to be intentional and deliberate in our faith and that takes effort. I think for the 24 years or so that I was just going through life without any defined path that effort was actually “easy” but if I had to classify the quality of life I would definitely say “hard” – and that’s the whole point of the saying – it is hard to have an easy life, but if you slack off and take it easy life gets very hard on multiple dimensions. Total transparency, this is an ongoing challenge – there are plenty of days where I fall short or miss the mark.

As I reflect on my life and the people around me, their actions and the impact on others, I have no doubt there is a God and He is working daily to right many wrongs and lead us all to salvation. Ask yourself today if you choose the path of the righteous and bring the light to those around you through your actions and your words. Live in His way, set yourself and others on a course for immortality.

Jonathan H. Peyton – February 25, 2018

p.s. – Ashley this is like super extra bonus points. In all seriousness, thank you for your service!

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This man. We almost crossed paths so many times over the past 25 years missing each other by minutes. It wasn’t our time. 2009 it was time, we were ready for Kung Fu Panda. He is my rock and I pray that everyone that reads this finds some hope, strength…and spreads some LOVE!  Relationships take effort, work, patience understanding and compromise. We aren’t Stepford wives and this isn’t a Stepford life. This also isn’t my typical blog post, but this hasn’t been the typical past few days…and I told you, this blog was going to be REAL.

However, me and Frederique…got a bone to pick with her. #HesMineNow 🙂

Cheers & Peace

KP