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Archive for the ‘Positive Living’ Category

Last year, I recorded my “Year of Gratitude” through pictures on Instagram with the intention of creating a physical scrapbook. I still fully intend to create that scrapbook; however, it may take me some time. In hindsight, I should have scrapbooked by the month to keep up with it. I am a SLOW scrapbooker. HA! It will include all the people, places, things, books, and experiences that I was essentially grateful for in my life during 2021. In all fairness to myself, I was not really sure how my project would evolve or if I’d even keep up with posting a daily picture. Now that the year has ended, I have some ideas.

As part of my #Read21in21 Challenge last year, I read Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness by Ingrid Fetell Lee (December). I realized shortly after reading it that the pictures I posted for my gratitude project were of people, places, and things that brought be a great deal of joy and provided me with lots of happiness boosts. I loved documenting my Year of Gratitude so much, I decided to do another project for 2022, Year of JOY.

Now, I have been taking joyful pictures since the new year started, but I am a bit behind on posting them on Instagram. I will catch up in the coming weeks. I recently read a post, “JOYSPOTTING 101” on Lee’s blog called The Aesthetics of Joy where I downloaded her Joyspotter’s Guide for free. According to Ingrid Fetell Lee, “Joyspotting is a simple practice of tuning your attention to the joy in your surroundings.” Additionally, I joined her 7-day Joy Jumpstart program. It is self-guided, so I can work on it at my own pace which is generally a snail’s pace. Furthermore, I have requested to join Lee’s FaceBook group, The Joyspotters Society. I think this group will add more joy to my year.

In addition to joyspotting, which is physically seeing something you could not see before, I will also be joyfinding. What is the difference? For me, joyspotting is finding joy in the wild. It is unexpected, a joyful surprise. However, the more joy you SPOT, the more noticeable it will become in your life. Whereas joyfinding, in my opinion, is something acquired or that you already own (a physical object); it is already a part of your life (a person, a fur baby, your home), or it is something abstract like love. You basically FIND joy interacting with people, places, or things that already exist in your life or expecting to experience at some point in your day, month, or year. Either way, the goal is to experience more JOY in 2022.

Dear reader, you bring me joy every time you stop by to read my blog posts. I hope your year is off to a spectacular start. It is hard to believe that January is almost over. I finished my time-tracking challenge scheduled for 10 January-16 January but decided to track my time for an additional week which will end tomorrow night. I will share my results with you soon. Also, if anyone is interested, Kelsi and I will be hosting our live discussion on Misery tomorrow 23 January at 2:00 PM CT. Click the link below to set a reminder. In the meantime, I hope you have a joyful weekend. Happiness!

“You have a whole world of joy right at your fingertips. There’s no method you need to learn, no discipline you need to impose on yourself. The only requirement is what you already have: an openness to discovering the joy that surrounds you.” ~ Ingrid Fetell Lee

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Happy New Year, dear reader! Welcome to the beginning of a new year with endless opportunities waiting for us to experience, explore, and embrace. I am excited about 2022 for many reasons which will emerge as this year unfolds.

CHANGE is my word for 2022. I have been craving change for my life for quite some time, and Hurricane Ida has inspired me to engage change. Today, I am enthusiastically embarking on a journey to change several areas of my life.

In addition, I created a 22 for 2022 list with my aims for the new year. Most of the items on my list are new; however, I did carry over six items from last year that I did not complete but feel they will encourage me to make changes this year. Take a look at what I have planned for myself for 2022.

Kat’s 22 for 2022 List

1. Time-track in January.

2. Tweak morning routine.

3. Make consultation appointment with oral surgeon (implant).

4. Learn a 30-60 second monologue.

5. Buy a new vacuum cleaner.

6. Get wedding rings resized.

7. Clean out and organize master closet.

8. Plant new garden in front of the house.

9. Purge paper and organize file cabinet.

10. Go paperless (bills and statements).

11. Scrapbook monthly.

12. Complete Year of Gratitude scrapbook.

13. Have a Year of King (Stephen King).

14. Update theme (layout) for blog.

15. Research video editing software.

16. Complete a puzzle.

17. Write a will.

18. Revisit A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle.

19. Read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.

20. Complete the WordPress Blogging course.

21. Take a WordPress Podcasting course.

22. Take Becky Higgins Classroom: Photo Tips + Work Flow.

Other Plans for 2022:

  1. I am participating in Gretchen Rubin’s #Rest22in22. Basically, you rest for 22 minutes every day in 2022. According to Gretchen Rubin, “Research shows that rest is an essential element of working well and working smart. Working for long stretches without breaks leads to stress and exhaustion. Taking time to rest can refresh the mind, boost productivity and focus, and replenish mental energy.” Rest will look different to me from day to day depending on my schedule for the day; however, rest could be taking a nap, meditating, reading, drinking a cup of coffee while sitting on my front porch, or talking with a friend.
  2. On Goodreads, I joined the 2022 Reading Challenge, and my goal is to read 50 books again this year. Follow me on Goodreads (Katherine Loyacano).
  3. I will continue reading daily (#Read21for21) for at least 21 minutes per day, so no day goes by without having read something for pure enjoyment. Instead of reading nonfiction books during this allotted time, I have chosen to read children’s literature. This will allow me to track the number of books I read during that time frame and read the piles of unread books I currently own in that category.
  4. I will continue participating in the Chills, Thrills, and Kills Book Club.
  5. I will continue doing Collabs with Kelsi. Our collabs can be viewed on her YouTube channel, Slime and Slashers – A Nostalgia & Horror Channel. Consider subscribing to Kelsi’s channel in 2022.
  6. I will continue my walking streak and walk daily for at least 20 minutes (#Walk20in20).
  7. I will participate in Frugal February again. This is a NO spend month.
  8. I plan to keep a TA-DA list for 2022. This list is for goals or activities that I accomplished throughout the year but were not included on my original list. These accomplishments should be celebrated, too. 
  9. In 2021, I did an Instagram project called #yearofgratitude2021 which I plan to scrapbook. I posted a picture every day of someone or something I am grateful for in my life. This year, my Instagram will focus on JOY and is called #yearofjoy2022. Follow me on Instagram (katherineloyacano).

As you can see, dear reader, I have quite a bit planned for this year. What do you have planned in 2022? Have you made some resolutions or a 22 for 2022 list? If you could choose a one-word theme for this year, what word would you choose? I would love to know what your plans are for this year. You can comment on this post or email me at katloyacano@gmail.com. Happiness!

“If you are going to reach your goals and create the life you desire, you will have to make new choices that will lead you to new actions.” ~ Debbie Ford

Note: I do not own the image in this post, nor do I claim to own this image. 

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Many of you know I am a superfan of Gretchen Rubin and her work on happiness and good habits. On her podcast back in September of 2017, she talked about writing a “TA-DA list” if you are feeling dragged down by your to-do list. This year, I decided to keep a TA-DA List of activities I participated in or endeavors I accomplished throughout 2021, so I would not beat myself up too much for not completing everything on my 21 for 2021 list which I reviewed yesterday on my blog.

TA-DA 2021

  • Instagram (Year of Gratitude Project)
  • Collabs with Kelsi (Movie Musicals, Holiday Horror, Zombie Awareness Month, Slashers, Fear Street Trilogy, Halloween, Christmas…check out her fantastic channel for horrorific content)
  • Live Streams with Kelsi (books and horror movies)
  • Became Mr. Mike’s Godmother at the Easter Vigil (attended weekly RCIA classes with him; huge honor)
  • Travel (visited Helen in Colorado in April; visited my Aunt Carolyn and cousins in Utah in July)
  • Scrapbooking (attended TAC Scrapbook Event with Shelly, Heather, and Donna in June)
  • Weekly lunches with friends and family (part of summer fun list)
  • Created the Chills, Thrills, & Kills Book Club with Kelsi (meet and greet was in April; monthly Zoom meetings)
  • Zombie Awareness Month
  • Completed Level 3 Improv Class (in-person in June)
  • Improv Showcase with The Improvables (June)
  • Friday the 13th Date Night with the Hubster (August)
  • Survived Hurricane Ida (still dealing with the aftermath; currently in recovery mode)
  • Survived Tendonitis in my right wrist (finally had to get the shot)
  • Welcomed Ice Cream Bar to the Family
  • Halloween Decor Shopping with Kelsi (October)
  • Vlogs (Hurricane Ida, First Day of Fall, Halloween Decor Shopping/Thematic Fun Day with Kelsi)
  • Halloween ReadaThon
  • Mrs. Slides in the play, The House on Haunted Hill, at the Columbia Theatre (October/November)
  • Successfully throwing Mrs. Billie a surprise 90th birthday party
  • Halloween Fun List
  • Christmas Fun List
  • Christmas Evil Challenge

As you can see, dear reader, I kept busy in 2021 even though I did not cross off every item on my 21 for 2021 list. I am absolutely grateful for all of my experiences this year. Every single one of them carried a blessing into my life, making it richer and creating wonderful memories. Although I am a planner by nature and love setting goals and making resolutions, I also enjoy learning and trying new activities. When opportunity knocked, I opened the door and accepted whatever adventure was across the threshold. Life is truly an adventure. Happiness!

Ta-da list: I was surprised to learn that many people get very fired up by making a ta-da list. By reminding themselves of everything they’ve already accomplished, they find the drive to continue.” ~ Gretchen Rubin

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Today is the first day of my much-needed winter break. What a perfect day to reflect on my 21 for 2021 list! I chose FOCUS as my word for 2021, and for most of the year, I did a pretty good job. I completed nine items on my list and sort of completed two others.

  • Manage time. YES (accomplished this item by periodically tracking my time and then scheduling my time weekly)
  • Maintain a regular fitness regimen. YES (accomplished this item by walking at least 20 minutes daily)
  • Create weekly meal plans. SORT OF (only during the nine-week Fast Burn Challenge; beneficial)
  • Eat more vegetables. YES (proud of this accomplishment; tried new recipes; will continue)
  • Try intermittent fasting for one month (Clean & Lean). YES (accomplished with Fast Burn; same author; continued intermittent fasting since the Fast Burn Challenge; beneficial)
  • Declutter and organize each room in my house. NO (too ambitious; need to be more concrete)
  • Write a will. NO (procrastinating and don’t have any clue why)
  • Try one NO spend month. (accomplished this – Frugal February; beneficial; will do this again in 2022)
  • Revisit A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle. NO
  • Complete The Four Tendencies course (Gretchen Rubin). NO
  • Read Atomic Habits by James Clear. YES (accomplished this item; beneficial; recommend to anyone who wants to develop good habits)
  • Read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. NO
  • Create a vision board. NO (procrastinating)
  • Take a WordPress Blogging course. YES (still working on this course; like the P2 community; made a friend across the pond, fellow blogger Rita; beneficial; renewed for 2022)
  • Take a WordPress Podcasting course. NO (did not make the time; renewed for 2022)
  • Purchase podcasting equipment. NO
  • Complete Write a Bestseller course (Jeff Goins). NO
  • Try 12 new restaurants (one per month). YES (not one per month, none in February, September, or December; 18 new restaurants for the entire year; 4-Colorado and 4-Utah)
  • Take Becky Higgins Classroom: Photo Tips + Work Flow. NO (disappointed that I did not accomplish this item; will attempt in 2022, especially since I will be doing another Instagram project)
  • Scrapbook at least two times per month. SORT OF (January, February, March, June; needs to be a priority for 2022)
  • Learn how to use my Cricut Maker. YES (thanks to Shelly; took online workshop; beneficial)

Additionally, I participated in two reading challenges which I am still participating in until the end of December. I joined Gretchen Rubin, her sister Liz, and the rest of the Happier community in the #Read21in21 challenge where I read daily for 21 minutes. I read only nonfiction books for this challenge. I joined the Goodreads Challenge again and set my goal to read 50 books in 2021. The nonfiction books read for #Read21in21 will be included in that total number of books. In addition, I kept a TA-DA list for 2021. I will be sharing more information on all three of these activities in the coming days.

Overall, I think I did pretty well with my 21 for 2021. I knew when I made my list last December that it was a bit ambitious, especially wth all the courses. However, once COVID restrictions relaxed with vaccination numbers increasing, I was not much of a homebody like I was in 2020. In addition, the impact of Hurricane Ida on my home and in my community affected some of my plans. I am still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. Nevertheless, I remain hopeful that our home will be back in order soon (praying for January), and Andrew will be back in his bedroom before the start of the spring semester at SLU. We FINALLY got a new roof last Friday, and sheetrock installation in Andrew’s room happened on Saturday.

I am currently working on my 22 for 2022 list and will reveal it and my new word for the year in January 2022. In the meantime, dear reader, for the rest of today, I will read, go for a walk, watch television, basically enjoy the first day of my winter break. Happiness!

“Aim at the sun, and you may not reach it, but your arrow may fly far higher than if aimed at an object on a level with yourself.” ~ J. Howes

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On the first Saturday of October, Kelsi and I spent the entire day together (which spilled over into the evening) hanging out and participating in many Halloween-related activities.

We created a vlog of our jam-packed day, and I want to share it with you today, dear reader. It includes us enjoying a scrumptious lunch at La Madeleine: French Bakery and Cafe, shopping for Halloween decor, baking cookies, and so much more.

Kelsi and I are collaborating on a few more Halloween activities. In fact, tomorrow, 09 October at 3:00 p.m. Central Time, we will be having a LIVE CHAT on Kelsi’s YouTube channel. Our discussion will be about Stephen King’s book, Cycle of the Werewolf and a review of its movie adaptation, Silver Bullet. Of course, we will also sprinkle in all things related to Halloween. I’ve included the link to remind you to join us. It should be a lively discussion.

I am having an awesome time vlogging. I loved working in television, and vlogging is a wonderful opportunity to incorporate my television knowledge and skills in creating content. One of my goals in the near future is to get editing software, so I can edit my own vlogs. Kelsi has been sweet enough to help me out with the ones I have done solo which I am extremely grateful; however, she is super busy between her day job, Halloween-related activities, and creating content for her YouTube channel. It is the logical next step in my creative journey.

As I am wrapping up, a special shout out to Simon, mon frere, who is having a birthday today. He and I have been friends since the 10th grade. What a blessing he is to me! And, later this weekend, I will reveal some exciting news. No, I am not pregnant. Yes, it has something to do with my creative journey. Enjoy your weekend, dear reader. Happiness!

“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.” ~ Anthony J. D’Angelo

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What a busy week! So many adventures, surprises, and milestones happened throughout the past week. I had to take my car to the dealership to check on an emissions leak that turned out to be nonexistant. I received an Easter surprise from my dear friends, the Picone family. I hit the one year mark of walking daily for at least 20 minutes per day (walking streak). Kelsi and I had a ZOOM meeting to finalize details before we launch our virtual book club on April 1st. I got my 2nd COVID shot. And, Sophie, my German Shepherd, turned 13 years old. What a blessed life!

Not only has the past week been busy and a blessing, but the first quarter of the year has also proven to be stellar. I have some PROPS and FLOPS for the first three months. As you know, dear reader, I created a 21 for 2021 list with goals, activities, and courses that I want to accomplish this year. For the first quarter, I chose seven items to work on during January, February, and March. I’m happy to report that I get props for six of the items on my list with only one item being a flop.

PROPS

First of all, I completed #11 (Read Atomic Habits by James Clear) and #8 (One NO spend month). I picked up some great strategies to build good habits from Atomic Habits and saved some money during Frugal February. I now subscribe to Clear’s weekly newsletter to continue receiving terrific information and inspiration about habits, and I plan to do another NO spend month later in the year since it was a vast victory.

#1 (Manage Time) is going well. I schedule my time weekly, and it has been quite effective. #4 (Eat more vegetables) has been a huge success thanks to my hubster. He enjoys cooking way more than I enjoy it, so he has been the one cooking the new veggie recipes. He definitely deserves the props for this item. #14 (Take a WordPress Blogging Course) is going smoothly. I am half way through the course and have picked up some helpful tips. I anticipate completing the course next quarter. #20 (Scrapbook at least two times per month) has been a delightful way to spend my time. I’ve been catching up on the journaling portion of Andrew’s Ireland scrapbook. All of these items are ongoing, so they will appear again on my 2nd quarter list.

I’m happy to report that the various schedules that I created back in January, with the exception of one, have been working really well. I’ve been wholeheartedly sticking to my housekeeping schedule and course schedule. As for my self-care schedule, I have (for the most part) been sticking to everything in that category. My daily routine (#Read21in21, Walk 20 for 2021, gratitude journal, and daily Instagram photo) is an enormous happiness boost, and I look forward to it every day.

Finally, I must mention that I have engaged in some additional fun and fulfilling activities this first quarter. I completed one movie marathon in February and started another one in March that will conclude in April. I am participating in RCIA at St. Margaret Church where I am sponsoring Mr. Mike (Shelly’s step-dad). He will become a member of the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil, and I will become his Godmother. I’ve been involved in a project called Tranquility by Tuesday with the author, Laura Vanderkam, who writes about time management. And, last but not least, I’ve been working with Kelsi to create a Horror Book Club which will launch this upcoming Thursday. There is still time to take a survey (deadline on March 31st) and help us choose our book club name.

FLOPS

My one flop this quarter was #6 (Declutter and organize each room in my house). I created a decluttering schedule back in January that would have me decluttering and organizing one room in my house each month. Needless to say, it was ambitious and unrealistic to think I could tackle such a monumental item, even broken down into smaller tasks, with everything else I want to accomplish this year while also working a day job. Does that mean I am abandoning this item on my 21 for 2021 list? Absolutely NOT! However, I have set it aside for the time being until I can shed some of my other responsibilities.

My other flop is minor but still needs to be addressed. Since Daylight Saving Time has started, I have not been going to bed on time. I can now walk later in the evenings which puts more pep in my step, and I stay up later doing all sorts of wonderful things. Thus on Friday evenings, I am in bed and asleep by 8:00 p.m. because I basically run out of steam. I need to practice better self-care and adhere to my bedtime, so I do not get sick.


Not too shabby, dear reader. I am pleased with my progress and productivity. So many activities and adventures await me in April. The second quarter will mean the end of some events and the beginning of others, including a book club, Easter break, and summer break. Anticipation, what a glorious feeling! Happiness!

Easter Surprise from Jeff, Joanna, and Jackson

“The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more.” ~ Jonas Salk

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SPRING

Haiku by Katherine Walters Loyacano

Flowers blossoming.

Sun-kissed days amidst chirping,

renew my spirit.

Spring officially arrived yesterday. While temperatures were slightly cooler than preferred, nature welcomed the new season with open arms amid a vast array of beautiful blossoms. To my delight, the sun even made a brief appearance. I spent a good chunk of the day at Fairview Riverside State Park in Madisonville, enjoying nature, the company of friends (socially distanced, of course), and boiled crawfish. It was my first crawfish feast of the season, and those mudbugs were seasoned to perfection.

Spring is a time of renewal, dear reader. It is a perfect time to clear out the clutter (physically and mentally), develop healthy habits, and create some change. Although this can be done other times throughout the year, taking action in the spring feels fitting. For me, it is about completing first quarter of the year goals, wrapping up a commitment, and the excitement of starting something new. I’m more energized and ready to make changes. And, I love spending more time outside surrounded by nature, especially taking longer walks in the evening. How about you, dear reader? What does the spring season mean to you? Happiness!

“There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature-the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” ~ Rachel Carson 

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The day has FINALLY arrived! It is the first day of Daylight Saving Time, and I cannot be more elated. For me, springing forward one hour is a game changer. During this period of time, I am more enthusiastic, energetic, and effective in all of my endeavors.

The time change is not the only celebration for this weekend. Yesterday, Son #1, his girlfriend Kayla, and I celebrated my hubby’s 55th birthday at The Steakhouse located in downtown Hammond. This is also my second new restaurant of the year (#18 on my 21 for 2021 list). We enjoyed a splendid dining experience which included a terrific meal, excellent service, a relaxed atmosphere, and awesome conversation.

Our waiter for the evening was Lance, who was super sweet. We started our evening off with drinks. The Barrys ordered Blue Moon (beer), and Kayla ordered a Coke. I ordered a Watermelon Martini which contains fresh watermelon, house-made simple syrup, and Luksusowa Vodka with a touch of mint. Yum-Yum! We all skipped an appetizer in favor of dessert at the end of the meal. I tried to order one of the specials for the evening, BBQ Shrimp and Grits, but it was unavailable. Instead, I ordered Grilled Salmon, which is seared with their rub and glazed with local honey, and a side salad with honey mustard dressing. Barry, Sr. ordered a 6 ounce Filet Mignon, a cup of mushroom soup, and a loaded baked potato. Barry, Jr. ordered an 8 ounce Ribe-Eye, a house salad, and a loaded baked potato. I ate some of his baked potato. Kayla ordered a 6 ounce Rib-Eye, corn and crab bisque (which she gave to Barry, Jr.), macaroni and cheese, and french fries. We all enjoyed our meals. Finally, to end our delightful evening, Barry, Sr. and I shared The Steakhouse Bread Pudding, and Kayla chose the Louisiana Creole Creamcheese Cake. Both were great choices.

It’s hard to believe, dear reader, that we are a full year into this pandemic. Thankfully, the future is looking brighter. Tomorrow begins the final quarter of the school year which means summer break is just around the corner. I’m optimistic it will be a much better summer break than last summer with more opportunities for me to stretch my creative wings. In the meantime, I will revel in more daylight. Happiness!

“With the coming of spring, I am calm again.” ~ Gustav Mahler

Photo Credit: Alarm Clock photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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Photo by Gabby K on Pexels.com

Since February is a short month, I have chosen it as a “no spend month” which is #8 on my 21 for 2021 list. Basically, this means that my family and I will not spend money on wants (non-essential spending) but rather only on needs. We will temporarily freeze spending in entertainment/hobby/social related categories (movies, eating out, books, etc.) and hold off on major purchases until after February. This also means NO impulse buying! In addition, I generally cover non-essential items for Andrew (mostly books); however, this month he and I agreed that if he didn’t need it and couldn’t wait until March, he would have to pay for it himself. Psst, he only made it until Wednesday evening. HA! I jest because Andrew is pretty good about saving money, so I don’t anticipate this occurring again this month.

The purpose of me wanting to try this for one month is to evaluate our spending habits, get an idea of what we really need to spend monthly, and help us see how little we can get by with in a month. Additionally, with all the uncertainty surrounding us with the pandemic, if something changes with our household income, we know where we can adjust our spending habits and concentrate on the bare necessities.

Another aspect of this financial experiment is taking the time during the month to audit our monthly bills and track our spending at the grocery store with revamping our budget in mind. This will help us reflect on and revise our financial goals for the remainder of the year. With regard to spending money at the grocery store, we can examine ways of saving money throughout the month by taking advantage of sales, coupons, or using up excess food in the freezer. In fact, I already have a recipe to use up the ham left over from Christmas dinner.

With all that being said, I have found one loophole to dining out this month (#18 on my 21 for 2021 list: try one new restaurant per month). For Christmas, my hubby and I received a gift card for a restaurant that happens to be one that we have never tried; therefore, we will be able to try a new restaurant this month without spending any money allotted for February. Last month, I included extra money with the gift card to cover the tip. By doing this, the money for the tip was technically spent last month and not in February. I call that planning.

Even though this item on my 21 for 2021 may not seem fun on the surface, dear reader, I do think that it will give me a happiness boost when I see how much money we saved at the end of the month. And, I say this because I got a glimpse of the potential savings last spring when everything shut down due to the pandemic. Thus, I plan to approach this month of frugal living as an adventure. Happiness!

“By sowing frugality we reap liberty, a golden harvest.” ~ Agesilaus

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Happy Birthday to Me! My birthday was this past Monday (11 January), and I’m officially 52 years old. I do not feel it mentally or physically although I’m sure I look it. No matter, because I’m happy and grateful to be alive another day and can celebrate another year of life. Despite my special day being brutally cold (thankfully, no carpool duty) and having to work, it was a terrific birthday. I received cards from my fabulous co-workers, a gift and card from my fantastic roommate Julia, and lunch was provided for me by two of my fab friends who work in the school library, Kathryn and Debbie. Throughout the day, I received numerous happy birthday messages, texts, and emails. I even received cards in the mail.

When I arrived home from work later in the afternoon, I had a Desert Beauty plant (succulents and cacti) and a card waiting for me from my sweet friend Denise. Andrew and I had our regular take-out dinner Monday evening from Kirin (sushi for me and ramen for him). My gift from Andrew was a book that I have been wanting by Mary Higgins Clark called Piece of My Heart. (Barry, Jr. is getting me Spellbound by Estée Lauder, my favorite perfume.) I relaxed for the remainder of the evening, reading and responding to birthday wishes. I thoroughly enjoyed celebrating the day of my birth. However, since my birthday fell on a Monday, and my hubby was out of town, my birthday celebration extended into this weekend.

I requested that Barry take me to the movies and then dinner afterwards at a new restaurant. Yesterday, he and I went to the afternoon screening of Wonder Woman 1984. While it was not as good as Wonder Woman, the first movie in the franchise featuring Gal Gadot, Barry and I still enjoyed it. After the movie, we went to dinner. Originally, I wanted to try One Thirteen in Hammond. Unfortunately, we did not make our reservations soon enough to dine inside, and neither one of us had the desire to dine outside in the cold. Therefore, we did a little research and ended up dining at Paolo’s Restaurant and Wine Bar located on East Pine Street in Ponchatoula. Paolo’s features northern Italian cuisine. This is my first new restaurant of the year (#18 on my 21 for 2021 list). What an excellent choice! A terrific atmosphere, a friendly and experienced restaurant staff, and delicious food made for a wonderful dining experience.

Our waitress for the evening was Haylee. Since it was our first visit, I asked her for recommendations before I ordered anything, and everything she recommended was AWESOME. I wanted a birthday cocktail and couldn’t decide between the Blood Orange Cosmopolitan and the Moscow Mule. Haylee recommended the Blood Orange Cosmopolitan which contains Vodka, Blood Orange Liqueur, Cranberry Juice, Triple Sec, and Fresh Lime Juice. Yummy! Barry ordered a Bud Light. Barry and I skipped an appetizer, so that we could save room for dessert. I ordered one of the specials for the evening, Grilled Atlantic Salmon over braised brussels sprouts, and Barry ordered the Blue Crab Ravioli. Both of our entrées were scrumptious. Of course, we had to try each other’s entrée. Finally, to end a perfect evening, we ordered the Crème Brûlée which we shared. It was heavenly! Furthermore, since we were celebrating my birthday, our dessert was complimentary which made it even sweeter.

In Other News

I am still tracking my time for the week. Weekends are also tracked even though they look differently from the rest of the week, Monday through Friday. My week technically ends at 4:30 tomorrow morning (Monday, 18 January). I will analyze my time log to see what it reveals and share my findings with you, dear reader. I have already started jotting down some ideas of how I am going to divvy up my time based on the first few days of my log. I have to be realistic.

Also, the room in my house that I am focusing on this month is my office. Andrew and I share this room. I use it to write/blog, and he uses it for school work. The office has furniture in place and one framed print hung up closest to the door. The goal is to clear out the piles of paperwork on top of my desk and in a couple of boxes under my desk. I also have a box of memorabilia that needs to find a home in my house. Eventually, I will hang a bulletin board in this room and possibly a white board. The ultimate goal is to declutter and organize each room in my house by the end of the year (#6 on my 21 for 2021 list).

There is not much else to share at this point, dear reader. I’m grateful to have tomorrow off (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day). Andrew and I both have eye appointments with a new eye doctor in Ponchatoula. In the meantime, I will enjoy the rest of today which includes catching a live stream of Kelsi on Twitch at 2:00 this afternoon. I hope you enjoy the rest of the weekend. Happiness!

Be happy and enjoy your sacred time on earth.” ~ Lailah Gifty Akita

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Creative personal growth toward better health and happiness

Keto Zeal

Living A Keto Lifestyle

Movy

Watch New Movies

Health Matters

Health matters at your finger tips

The Kat Files

Finding Adventure in Everyday Life

Never Alone

Empowering Oneself

Creating Websites From Scratch

HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript

Get On With It

Writing and drawings about work, family and the stuff in-between

theleadlesspencil

Musings on the 3Rs: Reading, Running and t-Ravelling. Or anything else that makes me ponder.

Daniel J Bockman

Businessman, Author and Speaker

Li. A. Wake

Author and Screenwriter

dastardly.reads

procrastination.queen

This West London Life

Attempting to live a better story ... and scrapbooking it.

Ask Dr S.

Lifestyle, Performance, Physical Medicine

ilovemyhomebusiness.wordpress.com/

Helping families one family at a time.