My New York City Trip in Pictures and Lessons

This past weekend will stay with me forever. For so, so, so many reasons. As a 31-year-old wife, mom, and business owner – I don’t get out much. So when I found myself in New York for an entire weekend, never opening my laptop once, I found a little slice of heaven. I can surely say I’m a little depressed as I sit here typing. I’m happy to be home and see my family, but I’m missing friends, fun, food, and FREEDOM.

I spent an amazing eight hours in the car on Friday driving to Long Island with my best friend, Vicky. We could not have had a better time. Considering we were traveling on a full moon, and a Friday the 13th, we were actually quite lucky. Whether it was swerving away from a tire blow out on a semi the first half hour in, or battling horrible bouts of rain, we made our way to Long Island in one piece. We sang, we talked, we made up radio show characters, we sulked together in traffic, we got to have best friend time that we hadn’t had for far too long.  Lesson One: Don’t forget to be silly with the people who know and love you best. You need them and they need you. More than you both know. 

Myself and Vicky

Myself and Vicky

photo 3photo 2Maybe it’s just me, but I swear the air smells sweeter in New York. We reunited with our best friend and bride-to-be Cindi, and headed out to Famous Dave’s BBQ. There we met some of the other bridesmaids and family, and had an amazing meal!

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Our lovely waitress took this shot of us holding up BBQ flavors. Because, why not? The day was long from all the driving and we headed back to Cindi’s moms where we stayed up like 15 year olds at a sleepover, trying on our shower dresses for the next day, and just being girls. LESSON TWO: Cherish every moment you get to relive any part of your childhood. From staying in your old room, to having your friend’s mom bring you bagels in the morning. When you are the mom or dad, or the career person, you don’t get much of a chance to let people take care of you.

Saturday was shower day! We ate at a place called Spezia, which was PHENOMENAL. From the champagne fruit punch to the three course meal, we were all super full after leaving there.

The ladies at the shower

The ladies at the shower

Before we knew it, we were changing and heading downtown for the PARTY. We stayed in an apartment in Greenwich Village, aphoto 2 (2)nd even though it was tiny, we filled every corner with laughter. We popped champagne, danced, played silly games, and got to know each other. I love all the girls I met on this trip. All unique with killer personalities.
LESSON THREE: Make friends. Sometimes I feel like I’m too old to make friends, or I don’t need any new ones. You should always meet people. I’m so happy to have these girls as part of my memory and hopefully part of my future. 

Vicky, Cindi, and Me

Vicky, Cindi, and Me

We ate another fantastic dinner at Dos Caminos in the Meat Packing District. Food just kept on coming. From salsa and guacamole, to tacos and enchiladas, to salad and rice, to dessert – we again had our fill. And thanks to the generous bachelorette party beside us, some of their leftover tequila shots!

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The girls at dinner

Finally, it was time to dance. We changed out of the dresses into our bachelorette gear and headed to Wicked Willy’s. For the next three hours, we danced our asses off. We had an absolute blast. LESSON FOUR: Never stop dancing. 

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We topped off the fantastic evening with a pizza! Nothing like a New York slice at 4 am. Nothing!

photo 3 (4)Sunday morning rolled around and one by one the girls started making their way home. Whether it was a plane ride away, a short subway trek, or a long drive – then, I was the last to depart. LESSON FIVE: Stay at the party as long as you can. It’s worth it. Make every moment count. 

I got on the Long Island Railroad Monday morning and headed into Penn Station. Fumbling around with two giant bags, a purse, and a nervous mind – I found the “big board” that would tell me how to get home. This was the first time in my life I had ever really traveled alone, so it was a big step for me, and one that I’m pretty proud I was able to accomplish without a full-on panic attack.

photo 4 (4)I made my way to where I needed to be and settled in for a long eight hours of catch-up work. But as fate would have it, the wireless connection wasn’t working, so I found myself on a long track with nothing but time.photo 5 (3)

I struck up a conversation with someone on the train the second half of the trip, and four hours flew by. A fellow writer, blogger, and all-around goofball just like me, he was the unexpected portion of my trip. LESSON SIX: Embrace the unexpected. Serendipity is my favorite word for a reason.

Here I met another new friend, another person that shares this sometimes crazy brain of a writer, and hopefully we will be a contact for each other going forward. Good conversation and train coffee made that trip one for the books. Thank you, Clay.

My wonderful husband was waiting at the train station with flowers and Starbucks for me, and the look on my son’s face knowing mommy was home, was priceless. As much as I loved my girl’s weekend, there’s no two faces in this world I missed more than my boys.

I have a great weekend to add to my memory bank. I hope I brought a little piece of New York home with me, and I can’t wait to get back there in September for the wedding. LESSON SEVEN: Life is beautiful. Every. Single. Day. Never forget that. 

Tell me about your favorite trips!

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Social Media: Glinda vs. The Wicked Witch

I’m obsessed with all things word-related. Analogies, Mnemonic devices, Metaphors, yada, yada. And last night, I was watching something about lions, tigers, and bears, which obviously made me think of The Wizard of Oz. A classic, amazing film, that I could blog about for days, but I’m taking two of the main characters, and making them the two faces of social media. Mainly Facebook and other status-driven sites.

GLINDA AND THE WICKED WITCH…

Glinda shall serve as the GOOD part of social media. Using the letters of her name, here’s my little spiel:

G  is for Good. First and foremost, there is no denying that social media has done a lot of good in this world. It has helped long-lost loves and friends connect; it has helped family members find one another; it has helped people find their beloved pets; it has been a platform to share news, updates and inspiring stories; it has been a place to ask for help, suggestions, and guidance; it’s been a place to find and gather support for fundraisers and worthy causes; and it has helped businesses get their name out there with little to no funds. And it’s given us a place to share those amazing BuzzFeed quiz results! LOL

L is for Love. On a good day, you can find TONS of love all over social media. From people sharing wedding photos and engagement stories; to baby bumps and preschool graduations; to work promotions and awards. I shared a status the other day about opening my own firm and I was overwhelmed at the amount of likes and comments supporting me. It was like getting 50 cards in the mail all at once. The positive opportunities are endless.

I is for Interests. If I want to follow my favorite bands or celebrities, I can do that. If I want to know what events are happening in my City this summer, I can do that, too. We no longer need to search very hard for information. It’s all right there in front of us. Sometimes a little too much, but it’s nice to have the option to see and follow the things that we love with little to no effort.

N is for News. In today’s world, there is no way that the regular news channels and newspapers can keep up with real-time. Social media has saved lives when someone posted about danger. It brings us up to the minute updates and information. Although not always accurate, the fact that we have that platform in place, is pretty awesome.

D is for Distraction. We all need a little distraction in our day, and social media gives us that. How many times have you just scrolled through your feed hoping someone posted a cool article or photos that you could check out, to get you out of your own head for a bit, and just get lost in something else.

A is for Appreciation. Social media shows us both people going through great times of their lives, as well as struggles, and we should come to appreciate what is good in our own lives. Everyone has something difficult happening in the background, and some people have it so much worse than we do. We need to appreciate what we have, and help others in any way we can.

Now the wicked side

W is for WTF! Sometimes there are no other words but those three. It’s disgusting what some people think is ok to post. It’s sad in fact. I know there are regulations in place, but I see things every day that I am amazed are not taken down. Negativity breeds more negativity. Why can’t people see that, and just stop.

I is for Irritating. For me, it’s people that can’t spell. Your for You’re. Their for They’re. I just take a red pen in my head and edit their posts. Everything bothers someone. And you could be really bothering someone, and not even know. So now you are irritating a friend, without even trying. Social media has made it even harder to remain friends with people. It’s giving them more opportunities to see our weaknesses. Maybe they think you post too much about your fitness, or your meals, or your vacations, or take too many selfies. This goes into the E below, but again, you’re never going to please everyone, so stop trying, and just post what you want. You are going to get irritated and you will irritate others. It’s life. Just be ready for consequences and comments. People usually don’t keep their thoughts to themselves.

C is for Controversy. This is a biggie. I have seen comment wars erupt between “friends” because of this. Sometimes, people post or share without really thinking about it. If you have any qualms at all, don’t post it. It’s not worth it. You don’t have to share every single one of your beliefs with your friend list. You may alienate someone who you truly like, just because of one post. I have friends who have completely different beliefs than me, and that is just fine. We are human. We are different. And that’s what makes our world go ’round. I have seen people “unfriend” each other over the Presidential election. I have seen people argue over issues in a comment feed. That is getting you nowhere.  Everyone is brave when it’s only words. What happens when you will have to face that person in “real” life. It goes back to the old adage, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Can you imagine if we all just spread positive vibes? What a better place our world would be. There’s nothing wrong with a little debate here and there, but often it can turn ugly fast.

K is for Konnections. I’m cheating on my K here, but what I mean, is that kids and younger generations, lack SOCIAL SKILLS. When we were in junior high, we had to CALL our crush’s HOME phone to talk to them. We didn’t have text or email or cell phones yet. We had to buck up and do it. Kids today don’t even know that life. They never really have to talk to someone. They live in a virtual, unrealistic, non-social (social) world. It’s really sad. I wish we could do a technology detox on these kids for a year of their lives, and make them actually talk to one another. The cyber bullying, the trying to embarrass their peers with photos and videos, it’s horrible. I’m glad I’m not a kid today. And I fear for my son, as he will grow up in this world.

E is for Envy. More often than not, people are jealous of what they see. If you’re sitting in your office on a hot July day, and your friend is partying at the beach, you will be envious. Before social media, we might have known our friend was going on vacation, but the pictures and posts weren’t thrown in our face. It’s hard to be happy for others, if you are down on yourself. But hey, when it’s YOUR turn on vacation, don’t you want people to see what you are doing. You gotta give some to get some. And that party-er at the beach, might be jealous of a part of your life, that you think is mundane and normal.

D is for Demand. When we sign up for a social media profile, we are inadvertently telling “the world” that they are allowed to peek into our windows and become a small part of our lives. I was recently talking to a pregnant friend and she was very fearful of putting her pregnancy online. She knew she would be inundated with “where’s the bump pics” and “are you going to find out the sex?” She said although she wanted to share part of the journey with everyone, she didn’t want to share it all. And I think a lot of people feel the same way. How do we just share a little? I don’t know if we can. As soon as you put something out there, people will want to follow your progress. They will expect updates. It’s human interest. Pregnancy. Planning a wedding. Weight loss. And although most of your friends just genuinely care and want to support you, there will be people on the other side of the spectrum, as well.

All in all, social media is a needed evil. And sometimes I kick myself for not checking in to that cool restaurant I went to, or posting a cute picture, or sharing my good news. If I’m letting people peek in, they should know what I’m up to. It’s our chance to share our experiences with the world, and let them know us a little better. We all have stories. We’ve all been through hard times and good times, and the support that we can get from our online network can be overwhelmingly pure and beautiful.

Let’s just keep it positive everyone!

How do you feel? Are you on social media? If not, do you feel left out? If you are, do you share a lot, or try to keep some things private? 

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How I Met Your Mother Series Finale – My New Ending

How I Met Your Mother has been a staple show in our household for the past nine years. My husband and I stumbled upon the show early on in the first season and we were instantly hooked. We have literally grown up with this show. We met the same year it started, we got engaged, got married, had a child – and this show was right there for us, every Monday, like an old friend.

After watching the Series Finale last night, I feel lost. Not only has one of my favorite shows ended, but as many of you would agree, I feel jilted and upset at the ending we witnessed.

Stop reading if you haven’t watched yet. SPOILERS.

First of all, my favorite part about this show is the undying friendship, the love, this group of people have always felt for each other. I want to have friends like that. I want to go to MacLaren’s and have a drink. They made it through so many obstacles, and despite five very different personalities, there was no doubt that Marshall, Lily, Robin, Ted, and Barney were in it for the long haul. Yet in the finale, we find out quickly that everyone basically fell apart. They lost touch, they became distant. Unrealistic to me. These people spent so much of their adult lives together. I don’t believe they would let these precious relationships die. It almost invalidated the entire show, the central theme. And haven’t we seen numerous clips into the future with the group together (college reunion, Lily and Robin in the hats drinking the wine, etc.)

This entire season we’ve spent our time at the wedding weekend of our beloved Robin and Barney, a couple I have been rooting for – for a LONG time. And I have LOVED this season, every single episode. We witnessed the evolution of Barney (or so we THOUGHT). We watched him finally realize that this was it, Robin was the girl. These two were perfect for one another. Robin with her tough exterior and “bro” like mentality, and Barney with his need to be with a woman like Robin, someone to keep him in line, but someone who he could still be Barney with. I mean he got rid of the Playbook for her, really? Then in the first 20 minutes we find out they lasted a measly three years and just gave up??? Just because Robin became successful and traveled the world? What a joke!

We witnessed Ted finally letting Robin go (or so we THOUGHT), realizing that she would always be a part of his life, but he wasn’t in love with her anymore.

And why the hell was Josh Radnor narrating and not Bob Saget? Another strange twist.

Marshall and Lily have always been my ideal couple, but I HATE that they left the apartment. Why did we have to see our favorite place empty? Just rip out my heart and stomp on it, writers! They could have at least celebrated inside, hung up the Intervention sign, watched some Robin Sparkles videos, anything, to bring us back to the good old days. Why not a party with some of our old favorites? The Doppelgangers, James Van Der Beek, anyone!!

Barney. A perfect month, getting number 31 pregnant? Way to take all we loved about Barney and ruin it for us. We all knew deep down he was a good guy, and then we turn him into a further womanizer, randomly getting a girl pregnant (whom we never even meet, they could have at least found love). Neil Patrick Harris did have an awesome scene with his little girl, which I loved, but I don’t like the way Barney was ultimately represented.

As for our mother character, Tracy, don’t even get me started. We wait nine seasons to meet her. We wait with bated breath each episode, gathering clues over the past nine years, getting excited when the clues make sense, when we can tie it all together, and then we literally have less than 15 minutes of screen time with her when it matters.

Tracy had been an integral part in each of the gang’s lives before finding Ted, meeting each and every one, and offering them advice, and Ted never even got to realize that. I wanted him to have that moment, to see that each of his best friends (even Robin) had been affected by this mystery woman, his future.

And there’s no way that Ted and Tracy would have two kids and wait five years before actually tying the knot. Getting married, finding the one, that was Ted’s main goal in life. I hated that his traditional and ultra-romantic life suddenly became non-traditional and all over the place. That’s not our Ted. Oh, and let’s have us finally fall in love with Tracy, and then let’s tell us that she DIED. So Ted spent most of his life looking for the one, and gets like what, 10 years with her??

And his kids seem way too anxious for him to go find Aunt Robin. And six years later? If you’re going to take us in that direction, I don’t think Ted would have waited THAT long. And if we had to go down that road, couldn’t we have at least seen him talk to her, and see the moment. See the two of them become something, see a little of their future?

And are we just to assume that Robin never got married? Robin was just still beautiful and perfect and single and waiting for Ted all this time? I wasn’t invested in Robin and Ted anymore. I was invested in Tracy. We all were.

Everything felt rushed, everything felt cold, everything felt wrong. I will have nothing but love for this show though, because every single episode and season leading up to this, was fantastic.

Here’s the ending – my way:

Tracy and Ted meet at the wedding and of course, instantly fall in love. They get engaged and are married within a year. They still have their two kids, but they grow old and gray together with all their best friends around them. Tracy is a music teacher and Ted a very successful architect. The yellow umbrella is hanging on their wall inside a picture frame.

Robin and Barney stay together, adopt a few children, and start a business together “Bro” cast news. Robin as the anchor, Barney as – well whatever Barney does. His signature sign off – Stinson out.

Marshmallow and Lily-pad go to Rome, but come home to New York. They still live in the apartment, and have a rooftop deck party every year that’s LEGEN – wait for it – DARY. Marshall is a judge, and Lily illustrates children’s books. They still have the gang over every year for Thanksgiving, and you know another slap bet will be brewing soon.

The last scene is far into the future, the gang is at MacLaren’s having a beer. When Marshall turns to the young kids (a scene they totally could have done more with) he says, “You know what happened in this bar? Looks back at the gang, nods, looks back and says…Everything.”

THE END.

Whether it’s a show or not, we felt like we were best friends with Marshall, Lily, Ted, Robin, and Barney. I will miss them. I’m sure we all will. So in honor of them right now, and a kick-ass nine years – “self-five!”

I want to know what you thought of the show, please comment!!!

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When Staples Become Paperclips (not what you think)

In one of my strange 3 am wake up sessions, I wrote this blog in my head while trying to get back to sleep. I was thinking about a show I watched earlier and one of the characters saying that a certain person had been a “staple” in their lives, and I came up with this crazy office supply analogy of how people and things can go from staples to paperclips.
Let me try to explain this…

When you think of a staple, you think of a couple of facts. 1. They hold things together, or fasten something in place. 2. They are strong and very reliable. They do their job 99% of the time. 3. They are usually permanent, and it takes a great effort to remove them, barely ever escaping without leaving a tear in the paper.

“Staples” in our lives can consist of many things. Friends, family, an addiction (good or bad), the list goes on and on. For sake of the blog, let’s stick with people. Just like staples, these folks hold things together, they are supportive of us, strong, reliable. You know you can call them in the middle of the night, and they will do their job of piecing you back together. And hopefully, they are permanent. If they do exit our lives for whatever reason, it will leave a scar. Just like the tear in the paper, this tear will be in our hearts.

These “staples” – well sometimes they become “paperclips.” Now what do we think about when we think of those little buggers. 1. They are flimsy and bend easily. 2. They get caught on things, papers get separated. 3. They are not reliable and we use them with caution, knowing full-well that they fail at their job, most of the time.

When people enter into the paperclip realm, it means we have lost the “connection.” The fastening together. They become distant, unreliable. They often don’t help us keep it together, maybe not even knowing what is happening in our lives. And we don’t feel the safety and support from them that we need. But a good thing about paperclips, they come off easily. Our papers (our hearts) are rarely torn when these are removed. You know why? Because they probably weren’t the right fit in the first place.

As years go by and people change, you will figure out who your staples are. And as for your paperclips, eventually, you will separate, but you will be okay. Pay attention to those staples and appreciate the reliable people in your life. We meet everyone for a reason. So whether they are there for one moment, or there for them all, it was meant to happen that way.

To all my staples: I love you all so much. :) You know who you are.

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“Inside” the inside joke

We all have them. We all love/hate them. We love them if we a part of them, we hate them if we’re not.

You know how it goes. You’re with an old friend, and the memories start flying and the jokes start coming. You can actually see the annoyed faces of the “outsiders” who weren’t there. Rolling their eyes as you lay on the floor with laughter. “You HAD to be there,” barely escaping your lips as you hiccup in hysterics.

Why do we love these little inside jokes so much? Because we are human, and we want to feel special, and when we have something like this with someone, or a group of people, we feel accepted, important, and like we fit in.

Inside jokes usually stem from some of the best times/events of our lives, as well. I know I can call my girl Vicky and say “I’m sad because I’m flying,” and she will burst out into laughter. No one else would understand. And that’s just fine by us. If you know what this sentence means, please comment. I would love to know how many of you know what that’s from…

If I’m with my best friends and we’ve all just grabbed a drink and I look around making sure no one takes a sip, they all know why. We’ve been doing a certain toast for the past 12 years, and it’s bad luck if we don’t say it before that first drink. And after the toast, we even say the people’s names that aren’t there, paying homage to all our gals, near and far. If you know me, you know this toast. And you know that Bon Jovi is part of the context. Rock on. (This toast gets more eye rolls than anything.)

Inside jokes never die. They can take you out of an awkward situation, like seeing someone from high school you haven’t seen in years, and you can’t think of much to say. Just start off “remember when…” and you’ll be laughing in no time.

Memories and bonding are two amazingly important elements for most people. We all want to have a bank in our heads, to which we can withdraw or deposit memories. And we want access to them anytime. We also want to be able to relive them, and share them with the people who mean the most.

And bonding, well how good does it feel when you meet a new person and you instantly click? There’s really nothing better. Except the best feeling in the world, which is being in good company. Being with the people you’ve known for what seems like a lifetime, the ones that have your back, love you for you, would do anything for you, support you…and they are the ones to which the inside joke bank is overflowing.

Inside jokes make life a little easier. They take us back. They connect us. They make us smile. So call or text someone today with something only they would understand. It will brighten their day, and you’ll remember how lucky you are to have such awesome people with which to share this journey of life.

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From 1 to 7… my journey thus far

Three years ago, terrified, I left my corporate good-paying job to stay home with my then 4 month old son (who was in need of lots of care after his premature birth) and I had ONE client. My former employees were amazing and gave me the opportunity to continue my marketing and social media job from home, something I am still doing to this day.

Today, I was making an Excel sheet for taxes and I realized that my little one client business has grown to seven. I work for folks in three different states, handle everything from ghostwriting, resume writing, and web content, to social media, video editing, and email campaigns, and my life has gone from busy to BUSY.

My son still has therapy twice a week (OT and Speech) and is doing AWESOME. He inspires me everyday. And my husband, there aren’t even words for him. He is always sacrificing his relaxation time to make dinner, give the baby a bath, throw in laundry, whatever he can do to help out.

I’ve realized over these last three years, that weekends no longer exist. I never have a day off, and if I take one off, I’ll pay for it later. And that conference calls at 9 pm or editing at midnight should be expected and embraced.

Sometimes I love the quiet hours of the night, when my boys are asleep, and the only sound is the click-clack of my keys going a mile a minute.

Sure, some days I want to run away. I can’t imagine writing one more thing, or posting any more content, or being creative. But I am truly blessed to live this life, to do exactly what I have wanted to do my whole life, and to be with my son all day, every day.

I do go into the office once a week on Mondays at my old full-time position, and those days are great, too. I miss my little one, miss my morning coffee and breakfast, miss the laptop on my lap sitting on the comfy couch, but it also gives me time to get away. To focus. To appreciate.

This life isn’t easy, it’s different. It’s stressful and lonely at times, but it’s mine.

Thank you to everyone I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, and to all my future clients. I hope someday to grow that seven to many, many more. Thank you to my family and friends for your continued support. I know my purpose on this Earth.
To love and to write.

To add some lightheartedness to this blog, the entire time I was typing this, my son was grabbing my arm, throwing milk at me, making me turn 15 different songs on the radio, and now he’s pulling me to get up and dance. 

SUCH IS LIFE!

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How Lighting A Match Inspired My Blog Today

Sometimes the fact that I write for a living, and spend so much time making sure I’m creative for everyone else’s posts, that I can’t seem to get into the groove of my own.

I literally started three different blogs today and just kept staring at the blinking cursor a few sentences in. I wasn’t feeling any of them.

I figured I would just start typing, as I often do, and see what happens…

5 minutes go by

I love the smell of matches. I was just looking at the candle I had burning earlier, and was thinking back to the smell when I first lit it. I usually just buy long lighters for my candles, but after venturing into an aisle I’m rarely in at Walmart, I found a box of matches and realized that for 97 cents, it was almost criminal not to buy them.

My son thinks they are amazing, too. One minute it’s a piece of wood, the next, a giant flame. He likes to blow them out, asking for “mo, mo,” which means more in toddler language, amused by such a simple concept.

A match is the quintessential definition of simple. It serves one purpose, it never fails (unless the box side gets gritty), and its shelf life is eternity. They never go bad, you never have to clean them or update them. They are just there, ready to go, whenever you are.

If you’re like me, you probably have an old matchbox from some random restaurant or wedding long ago in your purse. I don’t smoke, and can’t think of a time I would need a match out in the world, but I guess if I get lost in the wilderness, I’m set.

You know what’s going to happen every time you light a match, which can’t be said for every other appliance, vehicle, computer, phone, etc. you use every day. My Bluetooth in my car connected me to Verizon support for no reason the other day; my laptop decided I needed to update my browser before I could log in to anything this morning; my phone kept freezing when ads came up during my “I’m bored, I’ll waste some time on Flappy Bird,” moment; and my toaster decided that the “bagel” setting meant “burn” today.

But my trusty match will never give me grief. Finding the simple things that work in your life, is key. If a cup of tea and a candle make your night, then make those things happen.

This might not be the most prolific blog I’ve ever done. It’s really quite simple. But just like a match serves its purpose, if you needed five minutes of distraction, to clear your head or refresh, and my blog did that for you, then it’s done its job. Simply.

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
-Confucius

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