Thank you and I love you

A thank you letter to the men in my life:

Dad – Thank you for loving your only daughter so wholly and fully, without judgement towards me as a woman or pressure to be something else.  Thank you for allowing and encouraging me to dream big and about whatever I wanted.  Those dreams ranged from being an orthopedic surgeon to being a police officer and you supported all of them in their own right.  Never once did you say that since I am a female, maybe I would be better suited for this or that.  I can’t tell you how much that eternal belief in my ability to succeed and do whatever I wanted has impacted me in every aspect of my life.  I wouldn’t be as strong, independent and proud to be female without having had you as my father.

Hugo – Thank you for loving me as your wife and, more importantly, as your friend and equal partner.  Since joining our lives together at twenty years old, you always look at me as we stand, side by side, as equals.  I was never a woman in your eyes, I was a person who you loved.  As I dreamed of how to proceed professionally in my life, you supported it all, without missing a beat or questioning if I could handle it.  You pushed me to push myself and I thank you for your love and friendship.  As we have watched friends condescend on their spouses through the years, my heart is whole knowing that you have always spoken so proudly of me as your wife and encouraged my success as a strong female in the world.  You are a shining example of how men should treat women and you do it every day without even trying.

To the two men who have loved me for the entirety of my thirty-four years on Earth – one of you picked up where the other one left off.  After Dad raised me, Hugo became my partner in crime after moving out of my childhood home.  Your similarities are great, in that you both have pure, generous hearts, and your love knows no bounds.  I’m not sure how I got so lucky to have the two of you in my circle but I must have done something right in my prior life.

Love, K

You might wonder where all of my thankful, female rambles originated from tonight…well, here is a little back story.  After Hugo and I finished watching The Haunting of Hill House, which is absolutely wonderful by the way, another #MeToo movement moment flashed on the news feed.  We chatted briefly about this never-ending phenomenon and it occurred to me that I have been extraordinarily lucky to have been raised and loved by such genuinely wonderful men.  As I watch so many other women be demeaned, belittled and degraded by those close to them and predators alike, I am grateful for the love and support I have always received.  I only hope that men and women continue to raise their children with a remarkable sense of love, support and purpose.  Then, one day, they can hand their children, now all grown up, off to someone who will continue the good work those parents have done.

With love in my heart and all around me, goodnight ♥

Pumpkin Ice Cream to die for…and awaiting the results of Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake

Spending a warm, Saturday afternoon making use of two leftover apples in our fridge.  We are watching Anchorman on TV as the Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake from Pinch of Yum has twenty-five minutes left on the timer.  It smells amazing so I will advise of the results shortly ♥

Earlier this week, in celebration of my visiting Mom, I made Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream from Chef Nick Holcomb on the Food Network website.  Hugo, Mom and I ate several servings (a day) of this delicious recipe and I am happy to report this just might be the best ice cream I have ever had.  I used Pacific Foods Organic Pumpkin Puree, rather than fresh pumpkin, and it turned out beyond perfect.  Not only did it check the ‘festive’ box, in honor of Halloween this week, but it hit a delicious, perfectly spiced note in our hearts.

Although my Dad doesn’t make too many super sweet desserts anymore, after developing type II diabetes and drastically altering his diet, I carry on his love of cooking, baking and preparing food for the ones you love with your bare hands.  I love the process of baking, love the sweet smells emanating from the kitchen through the entire house and love even more the feeling of making Hugo’s belly full and pleased.  And that is all sure to be accomplished just as soon as this apple cake comes out of the oven.

Frustrated but loved

Just enjoying a beautiful Wednesday afternoon among the best of company – Hugo and my mom.  What could be better.  After so many weeks of sadness, frustration and aching pain, I feel mentally and physically defeated by my chronic knee injuries.  I am off work again for at least six weeks, as my right knee heals from the most recent trauma, my first PRP injection and the cumulative effects of my recent surgery and years of damage.  It has not been an easy road and I have to admit, it is wearing on me.

I feel defeated about having a chronic injury and the negative stigma that injury brings with it for work purposes.  Despite everyone telling me to just not care about what other people think, it is not always easy.  I have never been concerned or consumed with what others think about me but for some reason, when it comes to work and my reputation, I take it a little too seriously.  I have worked really hard over the past eleven years, not for others but for myself.  I pride myself on being a hard worker and busting my butt for my work product.  Then, being hurt repeatedly over the years, which is always a result of work itself, I feel as if I am viewed like a chronic issue, despite the injuries not being my fault.  If you work hard and put yourself out there in my line of work, injuries are sometimes inevitable.  Ever since my first knee trauma, my knees have turned into my weak point.  I always seem to hurt them and as my injuries and surgeries have progressed over the years, my knees have weakened even further.

I know I shouldn’t be concerned with what others think.  I know I should just focus on myself and continue to work as hard as I can, within the parameters of an injured body part and a partially defeated heart.  I know I am stronger than anyone who doubts me.  But I am human and sometimes, our feelings feel deflated and our souls long to have others truly understand our position.  When I feel as if I am being unfairly judged about my condition, I just wish I could have an honest conversation with whomever is doubting me.  I long to show them that I am hurt and just trying my best to navigate through life, like everyone else, with my own personal baggage.

After days and weeks of mulling over these feelings, I break down from time to time.  Hugo is always there to lift me up with kind words and strong hugs whenever I need him.  I am forever grateful for his unwavering love.  Just last night, during a moment of tears and frustration, I told Hugo I was feeling depressed over the situation.  Alone with Hugo in the living room, as my visiting mom was upstairs momentarily, Hugo replied, “Don’t be sad, you have your loved ones around you.”  He couldn’t be more right.

Glowing skin

One of my favorite daily rituals (that sometimes occurs several times a day) is washing my face and caring for my skin.  My process begins with removing my makeup, if it happens to be the end of a long work day, by way of a cleaning towel or makeup remover.  Then, I scrub my face with whatever cleanser I happen to have in my rotation that month.  I tend to buy different cleaners, from either Origins, Whole Foods or Amazon, but they always fall under the same category of being chemical-free and possessing as many organic ingredients as possible.  I am always sure to thoroughly read the ingredients on every label, as well as the fine print.  This is an important step that I feel a lot of women tend to overlook since they may be more concerned with a desired outcome, such as anti-aging or acne, than what is actually in the product.  My philosophy has always been to value the quality of skin products just as highly as you value the quality of the food going into your mouth.  After all, your skin is your largest organ so it should be treated with love and respect.

After cleaning, I pat my skin dry and sometimes (yes, only sometimes), I use a light toner to remove excess dirt and grimy makeup residue.  Then it’s on to my favorite part – moisturizing!  I can’t tell you how many times, especially in recent years, I have found myself yelling to Hugo in the house about how much I am enjoying applying moisturizer to my face and neck (I will get back to the importance of moisturizing your neck in a minute).  There’s just something so enjoyable about cleansing and properly moisturizing a clean face that brings joy to my heart ♥  It makes me feel refreshed and beautiful – who couldn’t ask for a better way to start or end every day.

Keeping up with my healthy skin regimen really improves my glow and overall complexion.  Over the past month, several women that I work with have told me that my skin is glowing and it looks beautiful.  It feels really nice to be told that and I normally attribute my clear skin to what I am eating (organic, balanced diet) and my skincare regimen.  But tonight it occurred to me, I have been doing one other little thing that I completely forgot about – using argan oil mixed in with my moisturizer.

I bought a little bottle of organic argan oil about six months ago, after hearing about its beneficial applications for skin, hair and nails.  At times I will rub a few drops in my palms and finger-comb it through my hair, rub it over my eyebrows and massage the rest into my hands and fingernail beds.  It feels nice but it makes you look as if you have super oily, un-showered hair.  That’s normally alright though because I will just do it right before bed and then wake up to shower it out.

Since I have had this same bottle of argan oil hanging around on the bathroom counter for months, slowly chipping away at it, I decided to start mixing it with my tried-and-true Alba hawaiian facial moisturizer.  Hugo and I have been using that face cream for years and it is truly fabulous – lightweight, clean and refreshing.  Now, I cranked it up a notch with a few drops of argan oil and the results have been noticeable to those around me.

Final note – always moisturize your neck!  I will never forget reading a short article years ago about the importance for women, and men for that matter, to always give love to their neck skin throughout their lives.  Point being that we tend to give a lot of attention to our face in general, eye area and crows feet, and mouth and smile lines, yet the neck sometimes get forgotten.  Then, in later years, there may be a stark contrast between the face and neck skin.  I am firmly committed to always thoroughly moisturizing my neck and I am sure to remind Hugo that one day in the future, when I am a svelte seventy-five year old vixen, my neck will be flawless to match!

What is love

What is love

Not a question really, more of a statement

 

His hands roughly massage the arch of my bare right foot

He does it because he loves me, he does it because he wants to make me feel good, relax, at ease

He does it because he is a beautiful soul who cares more about his wife than anyone or anything else

And he would do it forever, without having to be asked

 

The feelings of love, that have grown from small sprouts of attraction into stalks of the deepest bond

Eternal, life-devouring, my other half

Some search their whole lives to find this or feel a fraction of it on any given day

 

On this Tuesday night, I am unapologetically drowning in it

I never want it to fade, we never want it to subside

All I can be is thankful for him

Diligent in loving him back

Careful to never take it for granted.

Why do we love leggings, ladies? I think I have the answer

Because they’re awesome!  I could wear leggings every day, all day.  Even to bed.  Form-fitting, soft, snug and figure-flattering, who doesn’t enjoy a sexy pair of well-made, skin-tight pants?  Leggings are cute and easy, two things working women need in their lives.

After seeing the television ads for Kate Hudson’s company, Fabletics, I finally decided to visit their website a couple of months ago.  I fell right into their VIP offer that includes 2 pairs of leggings for $24 as an introductory offer.  The only catch is that you have to either keep or cancel their VIP membership after capitalizing on the offer.  Despite what you do with the VIP status, the leggings and that price are excellent.  I would recommend that everyone, or every lady, checks out these hot pants.  For $24, you really won’t be disappointed.  In fact, you may react like me on a recent laundry day.  When taking my clean laundry out of the dryer, I had a full-blown meltdown when I realized I forgot to remove the leggings from the full dryer cycle, exposing my new spandex to roughly fifty minutes of hot temps.  Despite my oversight, the leggings fared fine in the heat so I dried my tears and lived to wear my jet black leggings another day.

Unhappy but determined

It’s funny how you can’t deny or change who you are at your core, despite how hard you try.  That can be both a good and a bad thing, sometimes at the same time.  My current work environment does not make me happy and I don’t feel appreciated by my supervisors.  I am a skilled and determined employee.  I pour my heart into my assignments and genuinely care about doing a thorough, respectable job, for myself and the organization that I serve.  The most frustrating thing I am finding as of recently is not feeling like my authentic self is not appreciated.

Now, don’t misinterpret what I am saying as I have no intention of appearing conceited or needy for attention.  I take pride in my work ethic and am fully conscious of the high percentage of sub-par employees with whom I populate our office with.  I know my worth and I am not afraid to say it.  I am proud of how far I have progressed in my organization in the short eleven years of my employment.  I am also fully aware of how many coworkers put out a mediocre product, it is no shock to anyone as they are transparent with their lack of interest or hustle on the job.

So, given that I bust my hump, day in and day out, routinely coming into work with aches and pains, even limping at times, one can see how I would be frustrated when my upper management lacks any empathy for my recurring injuries, given my undying dedication I routinely exhibit in my workplace.  If one of my bosses called me at 2am and needed a favor, I would be there and they know it.  When someone has a complicated task that they need to entrust to someone they know will deliver, on time and well-done, I am the one they call.  So it is reasonable that I feel let down by the very people who employ me.

But it’s not personal, it’s business.  And even I have to remember that at times.  Hugo is constantly telling me that I need to distance myself from caring so intently about my career because, in the end, it is just a job.  None of the people I work with will be there fifty years from now, when I am waddling around after knee replacement surgery, which is inevitable, needing a hand up the stairs.  You know who will be there, my Hugo.  My eternal best friend and the love of my life.

Despite feeling unhappy at times and frustrated with things that I definitely can’t change, it helps to put pen to paper and vent.  It also helps to take a moment to realize that despite how certain individuals treat me, I will continue fighting on.  I can’t change my devotion and my intense interest in doing a good job.  That drive is inherent and honestly, I don’t want it to change.  I will always work hard and be determined to be the best because that is in my blood.  And deep down I know that one day I will settle into a position with like-minded people where I am appreciated for who I am.