Tuesday, May 29, 2007


here i am, with my favorite springtime purse, bought for $5.00 @ target many, many years ago. LOVE the colors, LOVE the plastic tubing handles, LOVE the nylon mesh fabric. the whole bag just says FUN!!

it is, however, a natural disaster (aren't most tote-type bags?!?) here's what we see today:

cellphone (a necessary evil when you manage a business that is *open* 24/7)
notepad (i have many, many brilliant ideas, but can't remember a single one!)
various pens (mostly pilfered from the hampton inn)(tee hee)
three sets of keys (am i the only one? really?)
fiber one bar (gotta snack)
gum (always)
lipliner/lipgloss (about the only makeup i wear - besides spf 50 sunblock on my face!)
books of the bible bookmark (a gift from the sunday school director for jack)
random receipts (i am BAD about keeping receipts organized.(
frogger (left in the car from our recent trip to atlanta?)
ben 10 (i am TOTALLY a mother of a BOY!)
memory stick (for shuffling brilliant ideas between home and work)
loose change (natch)

so, any surprises? did you learn anything new about me? do you face similar "tote-bag trauma?"

Friday, May 25, 2007

spt challenge - what's in your wallet?

easy challenge this week!! the school year is winding down, we're firing up the memorial day grills and the flip flops are on! summer is upon us!

one of my favorite seasonal transitions is to change my everyday purse. i tuck away the dark (p)leather, sensible purses, and start sporting brighter bags. it's cathartic for me to empty out a purse, purge the flotsam and jetsam that has accumulated. a new, clean purse is like a blank page in a journal for me. a summer tote holds more than my wallet and lip gloss, it holds possibility!

i am alarmed at how quickly my fun little purse has filled up with STUFF!! as it tipped over on my car seat the other day, i quickly had the urge to snap a photo, to share with you all just what kinds of junk i'm carrying around! perhaps a picture of the contents of my pocketbook will tell you even more than a picture of me!

i'll show you mine if you'll show me yours.

happy memorial day weekend!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

may 20, 2000

we were married at half past three on a sunny saturday in georgia. harry connick sang "with a wink and a smile" as we twirled around our outdoor dance floor under a canopy of bubbles and well wishes. we had been dating for exactly three years.

we're celebrating seven years of marriage this week. the copper anniversary. let me give you my two cents on the past seven years:

it's been hard. like copper, our marriage has become tarnished by wind and weather. our marriage is not strong, like gold or platinum. it is malleable like copper. there are dings and dents here and there. our arguments travel through our marriage with as much shock and brightness as an electric current traveling along copper wire.

there is a definite patina that has developed on our marriage. we attended three weddings this past year, and at each one, i felt like the old married couple in the corner. [oh, those two? still married, huh?]

we didn't celebrate our anniversary this past sunday, so much as we acknowledged it. i almost didn't blog about it, because i simply felt there was nothing bright and shiny to share. but here it is! through the process of writing this post, i have found this:

In terms of antiques, "Patina is everything that happens to an object over the course of time. The nick in the leg of a table, a scratch on a table top, the loss of moisture in the paint, the crackling of a finish or a glaze in ceramics, the gentle wear patterns on the edge of a plate. All these things add up to create a softer look, subtle color changes, a character. Patina is built from all the effects, natural and man-made, that create a true antique." - Israel Sack

there is beauty yet to be found in our marriage! we may have struggled through each and every day of the past year. it is o.k. we are o.k.

matty, my gift to you on our copper anniversary - my two cents on what the future has yet to hold for us:

we are young and healthy and we are both making important changes in our well-beings;

we have an amazing son and there is still the possibility that one day we will grow our family;

things that are lost may be found again;

i count my lucky pennies that there is always another year ahead, always another anniversary to be celebrated! (i've got my eye on some cool pottery for next year...)

edited to say: don't forget, there IS an spt post below!

spt - friends for life

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one. C.S. Lewis

this statement sums up how i feel about making friends as an adult! i need for there to be that spark, that a-ha moment when i realize that there really is someone out there who gets me.

blogging has brought me in contact with women from all over the world (literally!), and has afforded me the opportunity to *meet* many new friends. honestly, before blogging (BB), i don't think i was really aware that i needed these friends. but, oh, i DO! i spend an embarrassing amount of time reading your blogs, commenting on your daily mundane, composing witty notes to you in my head that i might or might not ever mail.

and to my *new* friend, carlo, i have to say, "what! you too? i thought i was the only one."

my old friend has been in my life since we paddled around the shallow end of the pool. we have always lived at least an hour and a half apart (usually more like six or seven.) you see, she stays put, firmly planted in manhattan, while i travel up and down the eastern seaboard. for more than thirty years, our friendship has been a constant. sometimes latent, but always a constant.

my *old* friend, luisa, & her husband, guy, welcomed twin girls, sasha and natalie, on mother's day! i am so happy for her!

in honor of national new friends/old friends week, i promise to get better with the good mail!! nothing says "i heart you" more than fun, random goodness in the mailbox. thank you both for enriching my life in so many ways!!

guilty pleasure: yeah, tessa!!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

spt - the recap

there is simply no way to recap this week's challenge. i have laughed and cried and counted my blessings and sat up straight with my ankles demurely crossed... all of these are gifts from our mothers. the eloquence in this week's posts could never be marketed by hallmark! thank you, thank you for introducing us to your mothers, and for sharing your mother's day photos.

it is FUN to see so many spt posts this week!! i know we are torn with end-of-school-year commitments, exotic trips, crummy spring colds, houses to sell (houses to buy!) i hope you have found time to swing through the blogosphere. leave a comment for your blogging friends. say hello to a new blogger. need graduation gifts? father's day presents? teacher thank-yous? i'm sure someone around here is willing to share an idea or two. you might even be able to support a cottage business along the way!

to kick off my own celebration of national new friends/old friends week, i must direct you to some new additions to the *image consultant* sidebar. it's growing again!!

did you watch the magic garden with paula and carole when you were younger? every day they would look into their magic mirror and welcome their new friends. if i had a magic mirror, today i would say hello to brittney and rebekah and liz and kim and cindy and staci!!

where we live

if you have a sec, run over here and check out something i've been up to lately.

my sister, jen, needed a project. you see, in my family, we suffer from "idle-itis" (no, not IDOL-itis! sheesh, seacrest...)

really, we don't know what to do with ourselves if we don't have a project. so, jen needed a project, and she needed/wanted/agreed to having a partner for this project. in a nutshell, we are hoping to take our enthusiasm and our vision for our little neck of the woods, and make it a beautiful reality!

so, where we live (building better communities), was quietly hatched, duly incorporated, and our premiere project is to raise money to build a new & improved playground at muse park. our fundraising efforts for this project will come primarily from corporate sponsorships and an engraved brick campaign. on saturday, we will host a *fishing pond* at community fun day, sporting cool blue shirts and our flashy new banner.

WWL is obviously in it's infancy. we have very grand plans for a hip logo, and 4,000 projects, classes, swap meets, dinner theatres... you name it! i will keep you updated on it all from right here at my desk at amuse-bouche!

feel free to email me your favorite fund-raising ideas. or your favorite *things to do when visiting a small town.*

oh, and if you get the urge to buy a brick and support a beautiful new playground that will turn generations of kiddies into happy, social monkeys, that's cool, too!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

spt challenge - that's what friends are for

did you know may 20 - 26, 2007 is national new friends/old friends week?

"With the 24/7 increasing demands of work -- because of the constant access through e-mail, cell phones, the Internet, and technological devices -- it's more important than ever to make the time for friends, no matter how busy you are," says Dr. Jan Yager, friendship expert, coach, author and founder of National New Friends, Old Friends Week. "Saying, 'I don't have the time,' has, unfortunately, become as much of a reality as it is an excuse. At least during National New Friends, Old Friends Week, make the time to let your old and new friends know that they matter to you. If you're really too busy to get together, at least send an e-mail, letter or make a phone call."

"Of course it's important to remember and celebrate our close or best friends (and even our casual friends) all year round, but this annual event just helps remind us all how we should never take our old friends for granted or stop developing or cultivating new friends."

so, i had NO idea about this week!! have you heard of it? who is this dr. jan yager? i want to be a friendship expert too!!

can you guess the challenge?!? that's right!! - make new friends and keep the old.

i like this because it is really two challenges in one. you've been challenged to answer the questions: who is an old friend? who is a new friend? how long have you known them? what brought you together? have you drifted then reconnected? where do you meet new friends??

but you are also challenged to do more than just tell us about them. in the spirit of national new friends/old friends week, make the time to let your friends know that they matter to you!! have lunch, send good mail, pick up the phone. this is "just because" connecting at it's finest!!

Monday, May 14, 2007

spt - mother's day

allow me to introduce you to my mom, anne

my mom is the oldest of 7 children. she lived in philadelphia, and attended Catholic school all the way through college. she has instilled in me a true sense of family and of faith;

my mom is a retired high school science teacher. for 20 years of her teaching career, she taught at Catholic schools. my mom was the teacher who would send kids home on *free dress* day if their clothing was inappropriate. she has instilled in me the importance of education and of self-respect;

my mom had four daughters over the course of 7 years. she was able to stay at home with us, and did not go back to teaching until the youngest was in school. while she was home, she taught piano lessons from our living room. she did not teach us however - we took lessons from other teachers. she has instilled in me a true balance of work and family and a love of music.

my mom is a gifted accompanist, and as long as i can remember, she has accompanied choruses, choirs, community theatre productions and talent shows. she has instilled in me a love of choral music and musical theatre;

my mom serves on boards and vestries, giving of her time and talent even when there didn't seem to be any time left to give. she has instilled in me a sense of dedication and community service;

my mom always prepared family dinners and expected us to be present. our dinners always included vegetables. she has instilled in me the importance of good conversation and good nutrition;

my mom is a wonderful hostess, and thoroughly enjoys entertaining at home. over the years, she has welcomed family, neighbors, and strangers from around the world alike. she has instilled in me the belief that life can truly be one big "open house;"

my mom is an eleven year cancer survivor. she has instilled in me the belief that a known enemy is much easier to face than an unknown enemy. she is proof that early detection will truly save a life.

saying thank you for all of this could never be enough. i love you, mom!

i'll give thee fairies to attend on thee

Every man's life is a fairy-tale written by God's fingers.
Hans Christian Andersen

master moth (2005), the leading man in my fairy-tale. without whom, i would not have given myself permission to forego yesterday's pile of laundry for a rare afternoon snooze.

i hope your mother's day was lifted from the pages of a fairy-tale!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

spt challenge - mother's day

we celebrate mother's day on sunday, may 13th this year. i am fortunate that i will get to spend part of the day with my mother. i am truly fortunate that my mother lives in the same town, and i get to spend parts of many days with her.

on sunday, i am going to pay special attention to my mom. i am going to try and see her through your eyes. what would i like you to know about my mom? what lessons has she taught me? what *mom* phrases do i hear coming out of my own mouth?

what would you like us to know about your mom? who is the woman in your life who bandaged your knees, led you to kindergarten, taught you how to play the piano, or how to run a basting stitch, or how to polish silver? maybe she taught you how to plant a garden, or how to take great photographs, or how to ride a bike?

if you could be with her this weekend, what would you say? is "thank you" enough?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

spt - cinco de mayo

between college and marriage, i spent some time working in the restaurant biz. anyone who has ever worked in the business knows that cinco de mayo, like many *holidays* is happily promoted by the alcohol industry. for several years, cinco de mayo meant blending gallons of watery margaritas and refilling endless tiny bowls of so-so salsa.

of course, this was in suburban Hotlanta, where "mexican restaurants" were cheerfully placed on every other corner. (and, by "mexican restaurants" i mean the big corporate brands: rio bravo, on the border, etc. not so much "mexican," i guess, but that's a topic for a different post.)

we have two family owned mexican restaurants in southport. they are carbon copies of each other, offering quick service, affordable food, entertainment for the the family. this past cinco de mayo, we headed out with my sister and brother-in-law, expecting the place to be packed. apparantly, the alcohol industry has not infiltrated our little community so much. there were no vinyl banners with technocolor parrots advertising corona specials, no blinking plastic margarita glasses, no one passed out on the bar from too many cheap tequila shots. wow! refreshing, actually!

all this is to say, i'm celebrating a different cinco de mayo this year. here are cinco things that have graced my mailbox this mayo:

except, apparantly, i can't count, because this is siete! siete wonderful gifts from michelle a., annalisa, lisa, barb, amanda s., jen, bridget, andy, natasha & carlo.

muchas gracias!!

Monday, May 07, 2007

spt - smaller than a deck of cards

first tomato, june 2005

remember the rebel blogger who was going to post her spt on friday? you know, *breakin' the rules*!! how freeing!!

yeah, i totally ran with that idea. so, now it's monday, and i grabbed an older pic from my desktop, and there's no self in it (well, except if you count the "self" who created those little hands.)

this is one of the first photos i ever took after i had been reading blogs for a while. even though i wasn't reading photography blogs, per se, i had already picked up on the nuance of shooting photos that really captured more feeling. coincidentally, one aspect of the conference i just attended was the concept of making a good frame into a great frame. (dewitt jones, national geographic)

the subject? my son jack, then 4, and the first tomato picked from our vine. it was a hot and humid day, and after we picked the tomato, he posed for shot after shot, as i tried to capture the feeling of picking the first tomato. we sat on my bed (good light? neutral background?), and when i was finally satisfied, we ate that tomato right then and there.

what does this have to do with the challenge? i'm not sure (there she is, that *rebel* again!) his hands cupped together were probably the size of a deck of cards. the tomato surely was smaller.

what i treasure about this photo is that it captures a moment. a moment with a child. a moment in the summer. a moment of dirty fingernails and possibilities. (when the photo was taken, we would not know that it would be the only tomato that grew on that vine.)

the photo of my son with his tomato is a good frame. the photo of my sons hands cradling something he grew himself is a great frame.


i am home!

my trip to d.c. was fast and furious, and, as is typical with corporate functions, there was ZERO time for sightseeing, meeting bloggers, etc! and for that, i am sad. it's been 20 years since i had a chance to live near our nation's capital. i felt like a total stranger being shuttled through a city i no longer recognize!! instead, i found comfort in forging better friendships with the dozen or so other general managers (out of about 2,100) that i have come to know over my past seven years with hampton.

i am full of motivation, and brimming with possibilities as i leverage my strengths every day. (nothing says conference like a few choice buzzwords!)

i also had a chance to meet a new mentor of mine, marcus buckingham. he was featured recently on the today show, and matt lauer referred to marcus as the *rockstar* of corporate america . he is total rockstar material. and? i really dig what he has to say (i ASSURE you, those rumours about the restraining order against me?? TOTALLY unfounded!)

i came home with lots of fun gifts, including... a digital camera!! not exactly a cannon rebel, but it works well enough to get me back into the swing of spt!! here's a quick shot just for you guys!

i am so eager to get back into blogging, and to catch up with everyone! it was maddening to be so close to kristi and anne and others, and that i could not make it work to actually meet you guys!! maybe next time we can meet up at the cinnabon near gate E45 at national airport. let's say, around 4:54 a.m.?? totally works for me!

one of my favorite quotes from the trip: k.c. and the sunshine band rocked the party on our last night. k.c. addressed our group - some of whom are a bit younger than i am - and said, "some of you don't know who we are. well, we are your mother's n*sync!" he was waaay more entertaining than n*sync, if you ask me!