Gratitude 30April14 Win big or go home

Can anyone tell me how we have arrived at the last day of April 2014 so quickly? This year has already been a whirlwind of activity for me. Mother Nature’s teasing us and jumping back and forth from “It’s still Winter, no it’s Spring” weather has added to that blur. You wake up and look out the window not sure what you’ll see! I was looking at my calendar making notes to make sure May doesn’t get away from me.

One of the best part of this time of year for me is the NBA Playoffs. Every year I patiently go through the season of 82 games in anticipation for this. Some years it is predictable who of the 30 NBA teams will be the final 2 to rise to the top. Then, there is a year like this when the underdogs and least expected rise to the challenge and come out to “Win big or go home.” It is a sad state of affairs that the recent drama of one individual team owner’s ignorance that has taken the focus off of the players and teams who the focus should be on. Last night the message rebounding across the NBA family was unified — We are one. Time to get the focus back on the game where it belongs.

Marilyn HeatBeing a die-hard Miami Heat fan, I am anticipating a triple-peat for them. There is nothing like watching that transfer of power on the floor in a split second or the swoosh as the ball goes through the net as the buzzer sounds. I am hoping for a quick resolution to the rest of bullshit so we can settle into some serious hoop action. With round one done, it is proof — it is going to be an exceptional 2014 play-off season.

Today I am thankful for ..

  • my bouquet of daffodils that are brightening my living room
  • congratulations to the Clippers on their win last night, despite, the drama
  • I have a bottle of Mambo wine waiting for me in my fridge
  • resilience and tenacious. two words in my mantra this week

It isn’t just a basketball metaphor to “Win big or go home,” it’s a life metaphor. There is no other way to live life. Despite the challenges and ups and downs, you give it your all or you’re wasting precious time. A final note .. Please join me in praying for the folks who are in the midst of the storms down south. My heart hurts for their loss.

affectionately yours, Laura


gratitude april14 spring favorite things

Greetings,  A few of my favorite things this Spring. Enjoy!

Hey Mambo California red wine 2011  .. I picked up a bottle of this wine by chance. I liked the look of the bottle label and the name. Go figure, Laura’s wine logic! I tend to like a sweeter and fruity wine and this California red did not disappoint. It goes down smooth, yet, leaves a hint of spice behind. We Speak Wine described it as “Your first sip sits forward with flavors of juicy pomegranate, ripe plum, and boysenberry.” It has become a favorite for sipping with a cheese and crackers snack. I bought mine at MGM Liquor for $9.99.

Hamilton Beach Single Serve Blender .. This little blender’s look will deceive you at first glance. It handles frozen fruits and vegetables like a champ. Unlike other small blenders, it has stainless steel blades that make short work of smoothies. I really like the one button touch feature. It is a bonus that the container also functions as a to-go cup that actually fits in my car cup holder. It is a breeze to clean and doesn’t take up a lot of cabinet space. A note of caution from personal experience  — don’t take off the lid while blending. I am still finding pieces of strawberries and banana in my kitchen! I bought mine on sale at Target for $14.99.

Skinny Cow Snickerdoodle Ice Cream Sandwiches  .. Every now and then Skinny Cow will put out a Limited Edition that is delicious. The Snickerdoodle is one of them. It combines the taste of a Snickerdoodle cinnamon cookie flavor between two oatmeal cookies. You feel like you are indulging in a decedent treat that will require an extra punch to your work-out the next day. However, at only 140 calories, you won’t need to! I bought mine at Cub for $4.50 for a box of 6. They are a limited edition so hurry and get yours while they last.

General Store of Minnetonka .. I always feeling like I am taking a step back in time when I go to this locally owned and operated family store.  It is a two-story eclectic blend of unique items with a restaurant to add to it’s charm. I always plan to be there for several hours! I wind my way through the first level, have lunch at the restaurant (homemade soups, salads, and desserts to die for) then shop the second level.

Their website boosts “we provide our customers with an incredible shopping experience of more than 15,000 square feet of an unparalleled selection of home décor, special gifts and old time classics.”  In addition, they are one of the few Pandora bracelet charm dealers in the Twin Cities. I usually go out around a holiday when I treat myself to a Pandora charm. A fun way to spend time with a friend.

Caribou Coffee K-Cup Morning Blend .. The challenge of my Keurig experience was finding the right K-Cup for my morning coffee. Daybreak Morning Blend gets me moving and ready for the day. I like the light blend, taste and although it is caffeinated, it doesn’t give you that hyper feeling. Unlike some of my friends, I re-use for a second cup. It’s just as good just a shade lighter. I buy mine at Bed, Bath and Beyond (BBB) when on sale for $10.99 for a box of 24 with my 20% off BBB coupon. At .45 a cup, it’s still a whole lot less than the coffee shop and just as good.

Life is short ~Live it well.

affectionately yours, Laura

gratitude 28april14 rainy day blues


The picture above is the view out of my kitchen window this morning. Rain with a pop of color in my stain glass musical notes. While waiting for my trusty Keurig to brew my cup of coffee, I wondered “Why is it we always want the opposite of what is?” Like today, I really wanted the sun. Instead, I am greeted with rain. I am reminded of a quote — “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” by Vivian Greenehe. I am reminded of the Rolling Stones “You can’t always get want you want.” We really do need this rain. It not only cleans away dirt from winter, it softens the earth for all that has laid dormant for those cold winter months. While I deal with these rainy day blues, I keep close to my heart, the excitement of putting on my rain boot’s to go dancing in the rain and rainbows to come.

Today I am thankful for ..

  • I slept so good last night
  • my May budget is coming into focus
  • the smell of my Philosophy Coconut body wash

Today I am listening to .. Sunday Kind of Love by Etta James

affectionately yours, Laura


Gratitude 27April14 But I Like That

“There will always be a part of me that is dirty and sloppy,
but I like that, just like all the other parts of myself.
I can forgive. Can you say the same for yourself, fucker?
Can you forgive? Are you capable of that?”

Silver Lining Playbook is my go-to movie when I am angry with depression. It puts mental illness in perspective. The story is about everyday people who struggle through the multi-dimensional layers of mental illness.



It paints a realistic picture of how mental illness reflected in the eyes of society; those how love you, friends, even employment. Mental illness is that one drop in the pond that begins an endless ripple of waves. The movie adds a positive perspective of being a survivor and everyday coping skills.

The movie reflects some true aspects. People do discuss their medication like the weather. You sit in a group or a hospital and look around at others thinking “Whoa; they are way crazier than me.” It shows situations where a person gets on what I call the “crazy train” and can’t get off. We see Pat get in a wave of panic for his wedding video and the song that triggers him. The look on his face as he stares at the pills in his hand and takes them. The reality of the need for those medications to remain balanced.

For me, the Tiffany quote I started this blog with is key. It’s about coming to terms with the totality of your life experiences. It is a process to accept any life changing illness. You come to terms with the effects on you and your life. You learn to forgive yourself for crazy train moments and love yourself for who you are. And like Tiffany, I like that about myself.

Today I am thankful ..
A wonderful thunderstorm
Yummy chicken salad
My fake fireplace

So, I ask you ” Can you forgive? Are you capable of that?”

affectionately yours, Laura

gratitude 25april14 blessings and consequences

be careful of what you wish for. wishes do come true and they come with blessings and consequences. i wish i was younger — then you would have to relive all of your time over again. being true to yourself means you would probably make the same choices all over again. i wish i was richer — if you are unhappy or don’t like yourself , it would just mean you’d get to be unhappy in a more expensive way. more financial responsibilities and taxes to pay. more people around you who are there possibly with questionable motives. you get my drift.

via pinterst / wild sisterhood

via pinterst / wild sisterhood

i truly believe that unless you are happy and content where you are in your life right now, it would be very difficult to be happy and content with more. i have written about money can’t buy it. we read about the stories every day in the media about people who have it all, yet, have nothing. so, as i look around my studio apartment, i am grateful for what i have and where i am at this time in my life. i am at this place in time for a reason.



today i am thankful for ..

  • my uncle philie .. he is a wonderful man
  • the sun is out today and sending rainbows into my space through my crystals
  • fresh strawberries — delicious!

affectionately yours, Laura

Gratitude 24April14 Nothing Left to Lose




In my lifetime, I have run a gamut of experiences, emotions and my share of life lessons. I have always been a person who did not want to be thinking “I wish I would have.” At times, this line of thinking has placed me in unhealthy situations. It also gave me positive life experiences that have taught me survival skills. When confronted with a challenging situation; I ask myself this question, “What is the worst thing that could happen to me?” On those lessons, I take heed to when I ask myself that crucial question.

I am finding more and more my response to “What is the worst thing” is, I have been there and done that before. I once read a person who has nothing left to lose is a dangerous person. I understand that. I have very little fear left within myself. That’s not to say I don’t hurt or am unaffected by people or situations. It simply means I have lost my fear of facing them. I have lived through the worst of what anyone or thing can send my way. It is freeing to be able to stand strong and comfortable in that knowledge.

Today I am thankful ..

  • The rain is cleaning the winter dirt away, and the world is turning green
  • Banana popsicles .. yummy
  • I am this [ ] close to being able to snap my goal jeans
  • After yoga and working with my trainer, Epsom salt is my friend

Always color outside of the lines. Is there something in your life you are avoiding or afraid? Truly, look in the mirror and ask yourself “What is the worst case scenario?” If the answer is anything but causing you physical harm, take the risk — push your boundaries. Life is best when you color outside of the lines.

affectionately yours, Laura

gratitude 23april14 negativity firewall


via / jay z

words are powerful. i am learning to guard my words carefully. words have the potential to cause good or bad. they leave lasting impressions in the minds of people who hear them. when words of gossip are spoken, they form impressions that are not truth. they are based on opinions. often what is said is more about the other person than the person being talked about. how you feel about others often reflects one’s own fears and prejudices.

yet, if you think about it, if someone you trust tells you their version about a situation, your tendency is to believe that perception of events without much thought to the other side of the event. leaving you with a belief of another that may not be accurate. my granny always said “there are two sides to every story. somewhere in the middle is the truth.”

the life lesson i have taken to heart is .. if someone will share gossip with you — they will gossip about you to others. the thing i am beginning to focus on is in this quote by jay-z. what image am i portraying that would make someone comfortable to talk negativity into my world. how do i change that? i have begun to build what i think of as a negativity firewall around myself. kind of like how a computer has a firewall to ward off viruses. when something comes into my brain that triggers that “oh, not cool” thought within, i am acting upon it quickly like teflon — i want to reflect it away from me.

i have become very selfish about my emotional energy. i guard it with fierce passion. it motivates me to stay around positive and uplifting people, things and events. i don’t want anyone to feel comfortable to talk bullshit, gossip or drama into my world. there is enough of my own i use my emotional reserve to sort out without adding someone else’s. in the same line of thought, i don’t spend much time or energy on those who pre-judge me based on the gossip or opinion of others. call me a dreamer, but, i still hold on to the belief that the truth will always come forth. much like i have learned no matter how dark my world gets; the light will come again. and that i know without a doubt.

today i am thankful for ..

  • for the first time ever, i am hooked on a reality show, the voice! love it.
  • i now have my set-up .. thank you to my brother
  • i hit my 10,000 steps today 🙂
  • love. love. love. my life

today i am listening to .. one more night by maroon 5

today you will come across someone who needs a kind word or a smile. doesn’t cost a thing but a moment of your time. pay it forward and life will return it to you.

affectionately yours, Laura