Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The strangest massage ever.....

So last week I told you about my Swedish Massage and I was asked a lot of questions about my prior massage having experience which got me thinking about the most bizarre massage I've ever had.... actually my husband thinks I was molested a little. I used to get massages a lot because I worked with dogs and was lifting 5-80 pound dogs all day long which killed my back so I started getting professional massages when I was around 18 years old. For a long time I went to the same woman out of convenience more than anything since she worked at the same place where I had my nails done. One time my ex boyfriend got me a gift certificate for a massage closer to his house...and it was a massage I'll never forget.

Things started to get weird before I even got there, I was about 15 minutes away and the masseuse called me 'to make sure I was still coming' I confirmed that I had the correct appointment time and hung up wondering why she would call since I was not running late and still had 15 minutes before my appointment started.

Right off the bat she told me to get completely it is one thing if a person chooses to remove every item of clothing of their own accord to be more comfortable but to tell me that I need to get nude was very weird and I should have known then that things would only get weirder. Of course I DID NOT take off all my clothes since it is totally unnecessary to remove your underware for a massage!!! The panties were staying on!

And so it began....she started by lathering her hands with oil and THEN PUTTING IT IN MY HAIR!!! Not only had I just taken a shower but how gross to put gobs of oil all over my head!

You know what she did with those oily little fingers next......SHE STUCK THEM IN MY EAR HOLES. A q-tip, yes. A strangers fingers covered in oil-NO, NO, NO! It was so sickening and this is when I started to think that I must be on a candid camera show. I was in shock by what she was doing to and could only wonder what would happen next.

After that, she squeezed my nose, massaged my eyeballs, made weird noises and got so friendly with my bosoms that I'm too embarrassed to talk about it... but the worst thing she did.....

I'm going to start off by saying that LEAVING MY UNDIES ON WAS THE RIGHT CHOICE. And naturally there was a white sheet covering....however what she did was still far from protocol in my book. She spread my butt cheeks. Yes, that's right, no massaging at all, just gratuitous butt cheek spreading. Now, I had my underoos on and there was the sheet so it's not like she could see my parts- so what was the point? Why would a person spread apart another persons butt cheeks?!?!

It was a feeling of pure relief when it was over-not one moment about this massage was enjoyable or NORMAL. I was much younger then- if something like that happened now I would certainly say something...actually I would probably just leave.....and then file a report.

Have you had a similar experience with a "professional" doing things that seemed... peculiar?

Did you like this post? Will you share it below?

Monday, January 28, 2013

A beach to spend a lifetime on

            Aloha kekahi i kekahi 


It is so bitterly cold in Michigan right now, I am enjoying reminiscing about our wonderful trip to Hawaii. I thought that since we woke up this morning to everything covered in ice it would be nice to share some pictures of the exclusive beach at the Kona Village Resort. I think the pictures say it all but I will simply note that this beach was always quiet, clean, extremely private and during our time there in the month of August there was always few people on the beach. The Village offered several activities that complimentary such as snorkeling, kayaking and the use of the paddle boards. They also offered activities for an additional fee such as rib craft rides and surf lessons which we unfortunately did not take advantage of.

Seeing sea turtles on the beach every day was such a bonus for me!

A little further down the beach.

That is the Hale with the pointed roof is where we ate breakfast daily

If I am not mistaken this is the location where the wedding ceremonies are held.

The beach is horseshoe shaped which makes it very easy to get some great photos.

As you can see...there's not a lot of people in the background.

Related posts:

31 magical hours

"What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become”

I think it goes without saying that I discovered that I have a real talent for making flowers out of play dough.

To me, the weekend that I had is what life is all about...I began 3 life list items, connected with lots of wonderful people, started several of my goals for the year and spent the whole weekend with a smile on my face. I intend to write about all of these further when I have some pictures and more stories to tell but I just had to briefly share how a few simple decisions in just one weeks time can really change your life.

About a week ago I found an ad for 6 week long 'mommy and me ballet' classes for just $40. I never really had intentions of getting my daughter in ballet but I saw this deal and couldn't pass it up, we had our first class on Saturday morning and it was wonderful!! We had the greatest time, I loved it, Z loved it, the little girls in their tutus were darling and there's no limit to where this dance experience may take my daughter one day.

After the ballet class I went to a reception at the University I graduated from honoring alum from the Department of Arts and Sciences. It was so nice to see some old friends and professors as well as hear speeches from some forward thinkers. This was the first year they held this event and it is possible that it will be held annually from now on which I am so happy about. The college experience for me was a perfect one and this is a great way for me to stay connected to something that was such a huge part of my life.

On Sunday morning I finally started my first volunteer position. I have wanted to volunteer for years and years and have attempted to do so several times but never really worked out. I am volunteering at my church working with the 2 year old kids. It was extremely rewarding and left me feeling like I was making a small difference but a difference none the less. Unfortunately my daughter was sick so she wasn't able to be with me but next week she'll be able to come with me which makes it even better!

After I left the volunteering gig I went to meet with a girl who just moved here from Russia. I signed up to be her 'host family'. She's not moving in with us or anything but I/we will be there to help her get acquainted with the area and act as her family. She doesn't know very many people in Michigan so we will be there for her if she needs anything, spend time together on the holidays or whatever else! I was so nervous about meeting her, this had just come up earlier in the week and I didn't know what to expect-mostly I was worried she wouldn't like me, but we had coffee for 2 and a half hours! She is a LOVELY girl, we have so much in common; we both love languages, have our translation certificates and have a passion for travel and learning new things. They literally could not have matched me with a better person especially since I have a background in Russian. I feel like I've found my calling-taking in foreigners under my wing.

In just 31 hours I indulged in lots of firsts and formed many great new friendship that I hope to last a very long time. In one weekend I feel like my life took off in a different direction, for the better. I feel so great about my life right now and the things that I am becoming a part of. However, unfortunately the only aspect of our weekend was that our little sweetheart was sick....then I woke up this morning sicker than I've been in years!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The best food I've ever had

                         E’AI KAKOU

The very first thing I ate at Kona Village....wasn't exactly a shabby way to begin our vacation.....
A few days ago I told you about my favorite place in the world and decided there was no way I could describe this unique slice of heaven in just one's going to take a few. I chose to start with the food we were fortunate enough to indulge in at the Kona Village Resort. Though, I know I will not be able to convey the absolute deliciousness of the food we enjoyed at the Kona Village Resort on the main island of Hawai'i, but I'm going to give it the ole college try. I guess I ought to start by saying, this was the best food, presentation, and service I've ever had-the bar will forever be set awfully high. I know I will see more beautiful places in my life, eat other meals that are enjoyable and stay at other luxury resorts....but I cannot imagine any of them will surpass the tremendous quality I found here.

Here's how the meal plan worked-(with our package anyhow)
  • All 3 meals were included in the price of our package. 
  • This included an appetizer (for both of us). 2 meals and 2 deserts.
  • If you were going to be out for the day they would pack you a meal or provide you with vouchers for selected restaurants. We preferred to eat at Kona Village since the food and scenery could not be beaten and we had quickly fallen in love with the employees, but at the same time it was nice to be able to experience some restaurants in Hawaii.
Oddly, I have some sort of disorder where I cannot for the life of me sleep while I'm on vacation! While we were in Hawaii, I was ready and rearing to go by 5h a.m. which means that I was easily wide awake by 4h.  I'ts like my body is pumped so full with adrenaline it doesn't want to waste a moment sleeping. Of course I was not going to wake my husband and force him to start having fun so early in the morning. Luckily hot coffee and pastries were prepared and laid out for the early risers. I would grab a cup of coffee and a little treat and sit on the very quiet beach or just leisurely walk around the village. I am always looking for places that would be 'a great place to drink your morning coffee'...clearly sitting on the warm beach in Hawaii watching the waves roll over the sea turtles on the beach is at the very top of the list and I did not take a moment it for granted!

We were always the first to arrive to breakfast which awarded us the best seat in the house...or outside rather. We could chose from the buffet or we could order anything we wanted. I always went with the buffet. I'd get one plate just filled with fresh fruit and then one with eggs and bacon-bacon like I've never had in my life, thick and tasty...then I'd dip it in coconut syrup! On our table was our own coffee pot which was hugged in a Hawaiian floral print fabric. I could have sat there all day drinking coffee, staring at the ocean and listening the peculiar call of the franklins...the goofy little while birds walking around.

This was our view from our table every morning at breakfast.
For lunch there were several options that we took advantage of since we wanted to try out everything. Once or twice we ate at the 'Talk Story' hale (a bar type hut at the Village)-while also enjoying our afternoon mai thais. We preferred this location because while the food and drink were terrific, we also had the pleasure of being entertained by the bartender Chad. 

That's the Hale Talk Story behind Joel.
 On two occasions we used the lunch vouchers given to us by the resort when we were out seeing the island. The first restaurant was a mile outside of Volcano National Park. The restaurant called Kilauea Lodge did not wow me in ambiance but it was on a volcano which was good enough for me. In my opinion, doing anything on a volcano is totally noteworthy. Another time we ate at this very 'Hawaiian' restaurant called Huggos on the Rocks-and it was ON the water. I loved this relaxed atmosphere, the servers were bare footed, wore their bathing suits and definitely exuded the 'Aloha spirit'. 

Just a stunning painting inside the bathroom at Huggos on the biggie.

It was fun to experience these other restaurants but our favorite, as far as the food itself was concerned, was the buffet style lunch on the Village grounds. I have to be honest I am not typically a fan of any sort of buffet....but a Kona Village-it's not a buffet, it's a work of art and an experience rolled into one. Their version of a 'buffet' is one of which every buffet in the world should be modeled after, for theirs includes fresh crab and just picked coconut. I loved the idea of having sliced coconut every day with my lunch and ate as much coconut as I get my hands on while I was there. Not to mention, the very lovely way in which this buffet style meal was prepared adorned with fresh orchids made my heart swoon. As a floral designer I can assure you that it is quite a luxury to decorate your food with one of the most exquisite and expensive flowers in the world....and on a daily basis no less!
Location of the buffet style lunch.
There was also several dinner options, 2 nights were dedicated to the pig roasts with luaus following. Again, the food was out of this world! The buffet was long and offered all sorts of different dishes including a whole table of traditional Hawaiian dishes. My wooden platter was more than full by the time I reached the pig servings but I ended up with a heap of meat that somehow managed to stay on the plate on the walk back to our table. The pork and crab were delicious but forget all that...there was some sort of macaroni salad that was so tasty that I went back more than once for a refill! And then Joel got me some another time. 
The pig roast.

 Then one evening they held a paniolo night was right held on the lawn in front of the ocean. After we ate dinner that evening we got to see manta rays swimming around the rocks on the shore. 

A manta ray.

 We only ate at the more quiet/romantic Hale Samoa once, it was wonderful...however unfortunately that night I was stupidly wearing a pair of linen pants that were a littttttle too tight. So I ate quickly and lite because I eager to get out of my bottoms! 

  These were the frightfully tight pants that did not allow me to enjoy my dinner! Since I've lost so much weight this same pair of pants was actually so big this summer that I ended up just donating them. I completely missed the window where these actually fit! I'm not complaining....I could have worse problems than my pants being too tight while we were at our luxury resort in Hawaii and that I've lost about 25 pounds since then so now they're too loose....yes, I could have problems that were much much worse.

The other two evenings we ate at the same Hale Moana (restaurant on the Village grounds) where we had breakfast each morning. I have had 5 savory meals in my life that are totally UNFORGETTABLE-this is where I had one of them-duck, with a shrimp appetizer. We loved this Hale not only because of the insanely yummy food but the view was-perfect.
Hale Moana 

Kona Village friends-what was your favorite meal/place to eat at the Village?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My favorite place in the world

    Hawaii is not a state of mind but a state of grace.”

I have written about most of the things we did on our trip to Hawaii in 2009, like seeing the Black Sand Beach, Seeing A Volcano, Snorkeling, Swimming With Sea Turtles, Akaka Falls, Go To A Luau and South Point but I have not written about the fabulous resort we stayed at called the Kona Village Resort. I started my post last night and realized that each component deserves its own post; the food, the beach, the luau, the staff, the hales (huts), and the resort grounds.

This resort is so nice that it has left me with 3 thoughts...

1. I am certain that if we had stayed anywhere else we would not have enjoyed our trip nearly as much.
2. I could easily (and one day hope to) spend at least one week there-and not even leave the grounds.
3. I cannot imagine a more lovely place in the entire world exists.
4. If I could be afforded the luxury of having any job at the Village, we'd pack up in a heartbeat.

When I was reflecting on our time spent at the Kona Village Resort I kept thinking that to describe this place as 'paradise' would not do it justice. Then I looked up the definition: "a place of extreme beauty, delight or happiness"  and "a state of supreme bliss". I reconsidered. Paradise is the exact word to describe the Kona Village Resort.

While we were driving from the airport to the Village, we had passed the entrance and had to stop and ask 2 women walking by if they knew where it was...with a surprised look on their faces they said "oh, that's a very exclusive, private resort". We contained ourselves while they pointed us in the right direction and we drove away feeling on top of the world, with huge smiles feeling even more anxious to see just what we had in store for our week in heaven! We were also laughing at the thought that  these ladies thought we were rich and famous.

* Sadly in 2011 the Kona Village was hit by a tsunami and thus is closed for the time being with talks of re opening sometime in 2014. I am so fortunate and feel so blessed that we were able to experience this unique place and know that one day we will return with our daughter.

My memories from our trip to Hawaii have served me well over the past 4 years-they always put a smile on my face, I think about Hawaii when I'm sad or stressed and it helps calm me down, and every time I wake up after a night of dreaming about my little paradise I am put in the best mood. So for the next week or two I hope you will enjoy the pictures, information, and memories that I share with you about my favorite place in the world.

receiving terrible news

Around the time that we bought our house I started having some issues with my eyes, they were so dry it literally was difficult to keep them open. I could feel EVERY SINGLE blink....for months. I was already so stressed out, and worried this made things more difficult. I had been to the eye doctor several times and the problem kept getting worse-this lasted for over 4 months. It also made me extremely tired and I often had difficulty driving. The other thing was that my vision in my right eye has seemed a little blurry since I had my baby.

So I did what any neurotic does and I went on web MD. Big mistake. My symptoms lined up with graves and thyroid I had just had a full healthy physical a few months before but felt like I needed more blood work to rule out these two diseases. So I made an appointment in September for late October. I wanted to wait until my daughters' birthday was over.

In the mean time I was using lots of VERY expensive eye drops along with taking vitamins including FISH OIL-by the time my appointment came around I was actually feeling much better and no longer really concerned. I kept thinking I should cancel my appointment....ahhh thinking and not never the right way to go! So I went to my appointment, I sat there thinking how silly it was that I was even there as my irrational concerns had dissipated and I didn't feel like anything was really wrong.

I told my doctor why I had come in-dry eyes, blurry vision...."do you get headaches?" he asked "YES ALL THE TIME, Horrible migraines that knock me out for 2 days." This was nothing new-I've always gotten bad headaches so do 3 of my close family members-I kind of wonder if it's genetic.

He told me he would get the blood work I had asked for but then in a concerned tone he told me.....that he wanted to me to get an MRI to scan my brain. It was like being hit by a semi truck. I went in there very light hearted and hearing this was devastating and the worst news I've ever been delivered. I've always thought any kind of brain illness and surgery would be the absolute worst medical thing a person could go through. Maybe I'm wrong...hopefully I never have a conclusion to my assumption.

Years ago one of my brides came into my business and said they had to postpone the wedding because she had a brain tumor. I was so sad for her and I remember assuming that i would not see her again, but much to mu surprise she returned a year later with a large scar on her but seemingly fine and I resumed doing the flowers for her wedding. Knowing that this happened to a girl my age made it seem very real to me.

Needless to say I was terrified. I made my appointment to have an MRI for a month in advance. In that month I cancelled and remade the appointment 3 times. Part of me didn't think there was anything wrong, part of me was scared to death of hearing negative results, and I also knew that there would be an ENORMOUS cost out of my pocket for the exam itself. I was sick to my stomach with worry and angst and the morning of I cancelled. I felt so worried still and kept thinking how much it will bother me for the next months and years to wonder if there's something seriously wrong with me. I called back a few hours later to see if they had filled my slot and she told me that she had never even taken me out off the schedule so I said I would come in. The nurse told me she was glad because 'it might be nothing....but it might very well be something.'

The MRI itself was no fun at all but I think that's mostly because I was just so scared of the possibility that my life could drastically change within the next week.

The day before Thanksgiving the Doctor called......everything from my MRI and blood work was totally normal.

I could not have heard better news on the day before Thanksgiving. Second to giving birth to a healthy baby, I have never been so grateful to God.

As it turns out I'm perfectly healthy...that's what the doctors keep saying anyways.

I've realized something about myself in the past year-there is something wrong with me....I'm nuts! And I may have some hyper erratic anxieties related to anything involving my health. The definition of 'neurotic'
Why? Why do I let these things plague me and cause me so much angst? Then it hit me-I'm 29 years old and I've broken my pelvis, 3 ribs and my arm, I've had a collapsed lung, been in a coma, I've had 3 major surgeries, including a pin in my arm, 3 minor outpatients, I've had cells that were pre cancerous removed, I was viciously attacked by a dog, ruptured cysts, and one time a doctor told me I had shingles (I didn't...I had hives from being told that I had shingles)- I'm just waiting for the next thing to happen! Are these things that bad-no, not really. Much, much worse has happened to many more people in the world. I know lots of people who never worry about things and have the 'what are the odds of that happening to me'....I have the opposite mentality...I hear something and instantly ASSUME that it will happen to me mentality. When I heard about Jack Osborne having MS....I went online and googled the symptoms. Last week while skyping my friend Shannon in Chile she told me about Bethany Frankel nearly dying from having a pill stuck in her throat..days later I popped some dayquil, it didn't feel like it went down all the way so I emailed Shannon for the details on Bethany Frankel's esophagal lodge. This morning my dad called me and told me about his 42 year friend who died of a heart now there's that to worry about.

I always say that if I was super rich, in stead of having a butler or housekeeper...I'd have a live in medical doctor. My husband says I already have's called 911.

Now, if I worry that much about myself can you imagine how much I worry about my daughter.....
I'm working on this though. I just have to force myself to not look things up online, change the channel when something pops up on tv, urgently decline when someone says "wanna hear something strange...." I am also going to resist the urge to go to the doctor this year every time I have a sniffle or tickle in my least for one year.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Buying A House Part 3

47 things I love about my house

As I have mentioned...or rather beaten to the ground...that our house buying experience was a terrible one. Most people are thrilled to buy a house and cannot wait-I however was very apprehensive and you can read the reasons why in this post HERE.

When we first moved in I would take my daughter for a walk every day and we would pass by these beautiful condos. They are very unique, lovely and they just look incredible. So every day each time I passed by I would dream about moving into them and would devise a plan of how I could convince my husband to sell our house and buy this condo instead. I was longing to move into this Victorian style condo.

One day when after we got home from our walk I realized that I had walked passed the condo and didn't even look at, let alone dream of a life inside it, and that's when I knew I had fallen in love with our house. We had fixed our issues with the house and started fixing it up and that has made owning a home such a treat.

I think now that perhaps my attachment to apartment living was connected to the fact that we lived in our former apartment complex for 5 years-which is the longest amount of time I have ever lived in the same place. We did live in 2 different units in the same building while we were there but essentially it was place and I had become comfortable, but now I couldn't be happier and wish I would have been more open sooner-although we wouldn't have had THIS house. In the end it was perfect timing.

  1. I can walk to the downtown area to local shops, restaurants, grocery stores and town parades
  2. I'm close to the highway
  3. I have a fireplace
  4. We have recycling pick up-WHICH I LOVE as our former city did not even have a recycling center
  5. Everything I need is within walking distance
  6. Our neighbors are AMAZING, GENEROUS AND HELPFUL!!!
  7. We can paint and change whatever we want
  8. We have a big basement 
  9. I live in my favorite town in the world
  10. I get to drive/walk down my favorite street in America every day
  11. I feel safe
  12. My husband can fix everything-he has totally surprised and impressed me
  13. I LOVE unique light fixtures and outlet covers and now I can finally buy them!
  14. We have lots of privacy
  15. We have ceiling fans so we only had to use the air conditioning 4 times last summer
  16. I get to plant flowers and a pumpkin patch this summer!
  17. We have a big deck
  18. We have a garage so I don't have to scrape snow off the car ever again
  19. It was quite a distance from our apartment door to the parking lot so it was pain to unload groceries and impossible to do with a baby-now it's just right outside our door.
  20. The city we used to live in was NOT attractive and the roads under construction-the town we live in now is DARLING, clean and well kept
  21. We have the small town charm and feel part of a community-there was NOTHING like that in our previous city.
  22. Our house is older, so it needs some updating but it also has a lot of charm- like crystal door knobs, a laundry shoot and curved ceilings
  23. I can actually buy furniture! When we lived in a 500 square foot studio apartment we literally had to sell half of what we owned and did not have the option to buy anything because there was NO WHERE to put it!
  24. I have the most beautiful blossoming tree in my back yard-I feel like I hit the lottery with that!
  25. I see deer every day sitting on my couch......I'm on the couch-not the deer.
  26. In the summer at any given time there is at least one bunny in the yard.
  27. It's quiet-there are NEVER any neighbor disturbances-in our apartment life I can't count how many time I had to complain or call the police on my neighbors for major disturbances.
  28. I can listen to my music as loud as I want and I know no body can hear it.
  29. We don't have to worry about our daughter being loud-she can run, jump, and yell as much as she wants!
  30. We live within a 15 minute drive from our 4 sets of parents.
  31. We don't have the long walk to the dumpster.
  32. We have PLENTY of storage space.
  33. We have PLENTY of space in general.
  34. Our house has already gone up in value since we bought it just 7 months ago.
  35. We got an incredible deal on our house.
  36. We can have a cat, dog, bird and whatever other pet we want without it costing $100 more/month.
  37. We have 2 bathrooms with 2 showers which seriously comes in handy.
  38. We have the perfect floorplan for entertaining.
  39. Our street is aesthetically very beautiful and all the homes and yards are always WELL maintained.
  40. I used to have to allow 45 minutes to drive to all our doctors/dentists-now I could literally walk there if I wanted.
  41. We have a big yard with endless possibilities to make it our sanctuary.
  42. We can put up Christmas lights!
  43. Whilst living in an apartment-everything kind of revolved around an impending move-storage, finances,  future planning-it is such a weight off my shoulders to know that I don't ever have to move again and I DO NOT WANT TO EVER MOVE AGAIN IN MY LIFE!
  44. It's a nice to know that one day we will own this house-completely own it.
  45. I feel a MAJOR SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT in being a home owner. I feel like an adult and like I am living the American dream.
  46. I feel very proud. Proud of what my life has become, proud of my husband for making this happen and for his talents being able to fix and fix up everything.
  47. I was worried that owning a house would suck up all our money but it's actually the opposite- our mortgage is significantly less than what our monthly payment was.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Brazilians

7 months ago, right before we moved into our new house, I took my daughter for our daily walk to the playground at our apartment complex. I saw a mom and dad taking pictures with their son and daughter so I offered to take one for them. My daughter who was only a year and a half at the time was immediately smitten with the mother and the kids. She grabbed them by the hands and started pulling them around the playground. It made me a little uneasy since we didn't know them but obviously I stayed right next to them and started talking.

 I did not find out until months later that this was this family's very first day in the United States. They told me they were from Brazil and because I do speak a minuscule amount of Portuguese, I was able to make a connection with them. I only learned Portuguese because my friend Shannon who just moved to Chile dated a Brazilian when we were like 15 and he taught us a bit of Portuguese. I do not think this connection would be made had it not been those few little phrases I learned so many years ago. So much can be derived from those phrases and I was able to pull them apart and plug in the words when necessary. The family was very nice and my daughter loved their kids so we decided to meet the next day at the play ground at the same time. As it turned out Priscilla did not understand the agreement we had made but we ended up finding each other again anyhow. Over the course of a week we spent a substantial amount of time with this family and every day I learned just how little English they spoke. The children who were 7 and 6 years old did not speak one word of English, the father spoke VERY little and the mother, Priscilla, spoke enough for us to communicate VERY BASIC sentences. She smiled a lot and said 'yes' a lot which I just assumed she really liked what I had to say! The more time that passed I realized that she didn't have a clue what I was talking about! Though with the aid of Google translate and Google images we were able to exchange simple ideas. I would usually go on youtube every morning to learn how to say a few things so we could talk a little more.

Come on-there's a lot to see and do before it snows.
 I felt terrible when I had to tell her we would be moving soon which I tried to translate into Portuguese but-she didn't seem to mind-she'd smile and say 'ah'. I didn't think she understood, naturally I assumed a more devastated response, so one day I went to her apartment and told them to get in my car and I was taking them to my apartment...can you imagine what they were thinking...but I wanted to show her pictures of my new house and for her to see the boxes. I could tell the moment she saw everything packed up that it broke her heart. I realized that we (me and my 1 year old) were the ONLY people in America that they knew. This was one of the reasons I did not leave my apartment so easily. Very quickly I became attached to this darling little family. Even though we could barely communicate with each other I was totally in my element helping them navigate the area, filling out college applications, reading their documents for them and telling them all about the greatest state in this country. I'm glad they fell into my hands and not some location loathing Michigander. My daughter is demonstrating sound qualities of an Ambassador at large, I am finally able to fill the shoes of a tour guide or rather a 'smitten with the mitten' docent, and my husband is enjoying the international expressions of Priscilla's husband Marcelo.

I think about myself- the worlds biggest adult baby, and how I had the most difficult time moving to a new place in the same county. I know that they had a difficult time adjusting-how could they not? But it was so delightful for me to watch the children pick up on things I would say to we would pick up on things the mother would say to them. What I loved was that since her children (6 & 7) didn't speak English and my 1 year old was not yet speaking more than a handful of words-there was really NO language barrier. I always thought 'how neat, my little girl doesn't even know that they don't speak English!' It has been the most amazing thing to watch this family develop here in every way. The most incredible element is how our children who have a large age gap are parallel in developing their verbal skills. It is so cool to see this happen. Every time we see them my daughter is speaking so much more and Priscilla's kids are quickly becoming proficient English speakers. As a linguist this has been one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. This is ART to me.

This family celebrated my 29th birthday with me, we introduced them to the 4th of July in the most traditional way by taking them to a parade and having a cookout in our back yard, celebrated our daughters birthdays and we decided to host Thanksgiving so that we could show them what this American holiday is all about- which easily became the best Thanksgiving I've ever had and my family agreed. We would have spent Christmas with them had they not been in Disney World. I saw them last night after my massage and our visits keep getting easier and funnier. I might have to do an entire post about the funny things they the time Priscilla had me thinking her husband had Lupus disease-but she was actually just trying to tell me that they had 'icy hot' bandaids if I needed one. We are getting to know them slowly and we are starting to piece together their story-although there is a few things we cannot figure the way that they got here! And 6 months ago they moved to a new apartment after only 3 months in their first home-we could not for the life of us figure out why until she told me the reason this week!

I have only known this family a short amount of time and they are quickly becoming some of the closest friends we have. They are so thoughtful, sweet, funny and a true joy in our lives. Actually their whole family (whom we've obviously never met)  frequently send gifts to my daughter from Brazil and emails to me.

 This family is gift from heaven to us.

Anyhow, I felt like I needed to introduce you to my Brazilians since they are part of our family and lives now and subsequently will be a part of all our holidays and events now.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


“To me luxury is to be at home with my daughter…and the occasional massage doesn't hurt.” Olivia Newton-John


When: January 15, 2013

Cost: I used a gift certificate I got for my birthday from my husband (back in June!) $50-$100

Why this is on my list? I LOVE a massage and I like to try all different types, I usually go for the deep tissue which really doesn't feel all that good but is supposed to have lasting results. Right now my back is killing me so I just wanted it to feel totally soothing!

Will I do it again? Well, I was actually a little upset with Massage Heights and swore I would not return to them after I used up this gift certificate but it ended up being the BEST massage I've ever had! I use to get them pretty consistently at a number of different places and I even had one massage that still leaves me to think that I must have been on a hidden camera show. Seeings how this was the best massage I've had in my 11 years experience of being rubbed down I have to say they won me over, I will return-even though I think they're overpriced and I was more than unimpressed with the sign posted at the front desk about gratuities. A sign which I scoffed at when I walked in- I really don't like being asked for tips...but as I said this kid deserved it so I happily relented.

Last year when I had my hot stone massage I wound up in the hospital the next day with vertigo so I was a little leery to be massaged again.

Something I would recommend? Yes, it was wonderful! This was also my first time being massage by a male and I have to say even though it was a little awkward (as I've been married for 8 years now) to be almost nude in a room with a strange man. Though I have to say-I think I prefer it-men do not talk as much and I think because of the male/female dynamic he was exceptionally professional.

Was it life changing? I guess I learned that there's something to be said for giving someone a second chance.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

20 awesome things

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” Thomas Jefferson

I happy to say that I have a lot of new readers here at THE ULTIMATE LIFE LIST and I wanted to share some of my older post that some of you may not have seen before. I chose these because these are some of my favorite experiences...that I've written about anyhow. Click on the links below to see pictures, get information and read about my experience of each of these LIFE LIST adventures.


Half way there!!

I've had my braces for 6 months???? I'm half way towards reaching my life goal of having straight teeth! I cannot believe it, and I cannot tell you how glad I am that I finally went through with it! My decision to get braces was not an easy one- you can read about it HERE.

This week I had to go to my regular dentist because my teeth have moved so much in the last month that one tooth-the tooth that was THE most crooked- has a stain on it. This is the first time in my life I can actually see the whole tooth! My dentist not only reassured me that it was not decay or a cavity and will easily be removed with bleaching once the brackets are removed, but he also started off by paying me one of the nicest compliments by saying, "Firstly, let me say that you are the poster child for excellent dental care, I wish I could take a picture and show it to my other patients." I cannot describe what this meant to me because I live in angst worrying about whether or not I'm taking proper care of them. I've seen some horrific cases of people who did not take care of their braces and it's terrible...and permanent. With the high cost of the braces, the time and effort involved I'm super paranoid about ending up with straight teeth that have calcium stains. So for me to have this reassurance was music to my ears. I originally said I had wished that my parents would have made me get braces when I was younger...I no longer feel that way. I am glad I got them as an adult because I don't think I would have taken proper care of them when I was younger-not to mention that I used to smoke so it worked out for the best.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

2012 highlights in Photos

I was organizing my photos from the year and it was so cool to see that we did so many neat things this year and I had to share some of my favorite photos from 2012-to read about any of these 'adventures' you can find the links HERE in my 2012 highlights post.  

I bought a giant lobster.

We bought a house.

I made these flowers for someone's wedding.

We went to Gettysburg. 

We started Hula class and danced in a recital.
We took a tour of the Betsy Ross house.
Carriage ride around Philly.
Ran up the famous Rocky steps in Philadelphia.

Ate at the well known Genos.

Went to Valley Forge - twice.

Toured the Haines Shoe House.

Rode the Strasburg Railroad.

I got braces.

We took an Amish Buggy ride.

Spent  whole wonderful month in beautiful Pennsylvania. 

Had an awesome Christmas.

And even got to see Santa's Reindeer.

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