“Oh Girls, They Just Wanna Have Fun!” — Bringing Playfulness Back

“Oh Girls, They Just Wanna Have Fun!” — Bringing Playfulness Back

I’m not sure what happened, but I’ve noticed that my tone about life has taken a road towards serious-ville. Perhaps it’s getting married, having a kid, and edging closer towards the BIG 4-0. Whatever IT is, I can’t say that I like it.

Winter really gets to me, I still haven’t totally shaken my Florida roots. Being cooped up inside for months on end with darkness looming at 4:30p.m. makes me retreat. But I need to find fun, even in the darkness.

I’ve noticed a sense of restlessness and a rumbling for more fun and adventure within me. I can tell I’m ready for some change. I’m also craving deeper, meaningful connections within my community as well.

I’ve been working as a solo-entrepreneur for ten years now, and while I’m an introvert by nature, I absolutely love people. I find my most meaningful moments are shared with others, not by myself. Lately I can’t help but notice I’m feeling this sense to be even more connected.

Diverse experiences, Global connections

I’m yearning for more diverse life experiences and to get out of the day-to-day ruts and to-do’s that seem to dominate most of my time. I’m wondering what festivals I can attend this year, or what holiday’s I can celebrate from other cultures? I want to paint my hands with henna, I want to dress in a sari, I want to visit a mosque. I want to celebrate all of life with the many diverse people on this planet. I want to travel. I want to journey around the world through reading and playing when I can’t be on a plane. I want to sing and dance and chant. I want to be in nature. I want to see the world. I want to meet the world’s people.

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My sense of playfulness has seemed to escape me for the sake of “doing what needs to be done.” I’m making this my commitment to myself to be more playful, not just in 2016, although that will be a big focus, but ongoing as well. I want to step away from this serious-ness that I’ve succumbed to and get out there and really enjoy the richness of life.

This year, and on, I’m committing to inviting a more playful approach to how I live.

  • Playfulness in my parenting
  • Playfulness in my marriage
  • Playfulness in my work
  • Playfulness in my life and relationships
  • Playfulness in just plain playing

So, if you are out there having fun and being playful, I want to join in. Please invite me. Or, if you have some ideas on how I can bring more joyfulness to my days, I’d love to hear. Now, let’s go out and have some fun together!

Share what you are doing to have more fun, joy, and playfulness in your life in the comments below.

Adventure word cloud on a white background.

Let’s Work Together to Eradicate Childhood Hunger

Let’s Work Together to Eradicate Childhood Hunger

I’ve always loved to cook and feed people, it’s a part of who I am. So, it’s no surprise that I love cooking and baking for my son, Rawley. Watching his taste develop over the last year has been a fun part of parenting for me. I’ve spent many hours on Pinterest searching for new recipes, freezable foods, and healthy meals. Figuring out what things he really likes (muffins, salmon cakes, ketchup) and things he won’t touch (olives) has been an interesting journey.

Hearing him say “hungry” when he’s ready to eat tugs at my heart. It’s my pleasure to fill his belly with yummy (and mostly healthy) foods and to watch him enjoy eating as much as I enjoy cooking (okay, I enjoy eating a lot too!)

As I sit across from him at the table, in all my gratitude for all the foods I get to feed him, I can’t help but be reminded of all the stuff that’s happening around the world with children. There are refugee families who are fleeing their countries and starving along the way, and here in our own backyard in America, children are hungry as well. It’s estimated that 1 in 5 children don’t have enough food in their homes on a regularly basis, and 3 out of 5 kids are showing up to school hungry. Hearing this, and knowing this… it just breaks my heart.

When I look over at Rawley with a plate full of (healthy) options—I imagine HIM not having enough food. I imagine him telling me the word “hungry” and me not being able to give him enough to fill his belly. It’s unbearable to think like that, yet it’s true for so many children in our country.

My son, Rawley, eating breakfast in his "Captain Awesome" PJs ("Mini whole wheat pita's stuffed with scrambled eggs, bananas and blueberries.)
My son, Rawley, eating breakfast in his “Captain Awesome” PJs (“Mini whole wheat pita’s stuffed with scrambled eggs, bananas and blueberries.)

And while I may be able to feed him, I have to ask myself, what can I do for all of these other children?

Every time I become aware of something like this, I know I have to do something, even if it’s a little something. And I remind myself that sometimes those “little somethings” add up to bigger pieces that collectively make an impact. That’s why I love when everyday places where I shop to keep food on my own table, give me a chance to provide food on someone else’s table. That’s what’s happening at Safeway during their Hunger Is campaign right now until September 30th.

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When I don’t have time to cook, or I’m out for the evening, I love meals like this P.F. Chang’s Orange Chicken that my husband will actually “cook” for Rawley and himself!

During the Hunger Is campaign, all you need to do is shop for your regular groceries and be sure to pick up a few participating items from O Organics, Campbells, Kelloggs, CocaCola, Marie Calendar and even PF Changs brands (see the entire list here!). Each of these items purchased earns money towards a meal through Hunger Is! Plus, during check out you can easily add a donation of a $1, $3, $5 or $??? (how generous can we be?!)

What’s really great about this campaign is that it’s a local-driven campaign, anytime you make a contribution in your neighborhood, you are helping LOCAL children get access to healthy food!

I love when we can shop for what we need for our own households while also doing good for other people at the same time—and especially helping children combat hunger.

I’ve always believed that when we come together, we have the ability to create massive change. By myself I cannot feed all the children who are hungry, but together we can feed enough to create change, to break the cycle of hunger, and to help children in America feel fullness in their bellies and warmth in their hearts.

#hungerisUS
#hungerisUS #safeway

I think of all the children out there like my Rawley, wishing that they all have food for their little tummies, hoping they never have to go to school, to bed, or a day without enough food… and I ask myself again, what can I do to make an impact?

To learn more about Hunger Is, to find out how you can donate, volunteer, or make a difference with childhood hunger, visit http://www.hungeris.org/

Be sure to visit Safeway (I go to Cherry Creek or Colorado Blvd) to participate this month. What you do matters. Every little action surmounts to big results when we pull our efforts together! Never forget that!

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Albertsons Safeway . The opinions and text are all mine.

 

Global Grubbing – A Journey to Venezuela through Food

Global Grubbing – A Journey to Venezuela through Food

Last night we had our first Global Grubbing experience at Elote’s Café in Golden, Colorado. We had a smaller, intimate group, and it was a perfect start to a blossoming idea.

Dining on Venezuelan food with Global Grubbing
Dining on Venezuelan food with Global Grubbing

The owner, Luis, was at the restaurant when we arrived and he greeted us and shared about the Latin American specials they had prepared that day. Each month they integrate different specials into the menu to offer a wider range of Latin cuisine. Luis is a jovial man, who you can tell is passionate about his restaurant and the food he serves.

Our group kicked off the evening with a delicious juice made from Soursop. This is a fruit I’d only seen once before in Thailand and had never tried. We all ordered one, except for Addison, our junior guest, she requested pineapple. However, once the drinks arrived she swapped out her pineapple for her mother’s Soursop.

Soursop Juice! A refreshing and delightful drink.

Next we got started with ordering a variety of foods. We ordered tostones, yucca, empanadas, chacapas, and areapas in various flavors (beef, chicken, beans).

Then our guests, Endy and Neil, who are originally from Venezuela, shared information with us about the country, the people, the culture, and the differences of things here in America.

We learned some fun things, like in Venezuela a hamburger is not a hamburger like we know it here. It’s stacked 6” high and can have more than one type of meat. It has so many things on it, it’s hard to bite into it. Plus, you can get one of these monstrous treats until 6am down on “Hungry Street.” Even their hotdogs are done differently and with HUGE amounts of additions, like avocados. It seems as though America doesn’t own the hamburger and hotdog market and perhaps Venezuela is showing us how to really indulge these foods!

We also learned some of the harsher truths of the country right now as well. People are in crisis there. There are major food shortages, too much crime, very little money, and a government that is controlling everything.

Now, back to the food.

When the food arrived, the plates were all passed so that we all received a sampling of each of the menu items. I think everyone had their own favorites, Addison (our junior guest), loved the yucca fries. She was adventurous and did try all the dishes. Others of us loved the cachapas, myself included. And who doesn’t love an empanada?!

Yucca Fries
Tostones (Fried Plantains)
Arepas!
Empanadas (a crowd favorite!)
Cachapas – the surprise treat!

Overall, it was a great night of traveling to Venezuela right here in our own backyard in Golden, Colorado. We had a fun evening of sharing, learning, growing, and trying something new. I can’t wait to do it again next week when we travel all the way to Southeast Asia – Cambodia, here we come!

Do you have a favorite food from Venezuela? Do any of these things tempt your taste buds? Let me know, I’d love to hear what you are eager to try or what foods you already love.

Do I Really Have to Ask?

Do I Really Have to Ask?

Making a difference, Get out and act!We’ve all been there. The place when you really need or want something so badly and yet your partner (friend, sibling, parent, boss, co-worker) just isn’t getting it. They aren’t stepping up to the plate and doing what you need them to do.

And you think to yourself, DO I REALLY HAVE TO ASK YOU TO DO THIS FOR ME? You should know that I need/want this–shouldn’t you?

But what if I didn’t ask the question? What if I never made the request? Is that person still responsible for complying with my wishes?

Yesterday, I spent my day volunteering with Wish for Wheels, a local Denver-based non-profit that builds brand new bikes and gets them in the hands of kids in need. The company we worked with yesterday brought in Wish for Wheels and raised enough money to build over 100 bikes for kids in their community.

As we delivered the bikes to Wheeling Elementary in Aurora yesterday afternoon, the Principal spoke to the group. He said something that really struck a chord in me. He said, “You all just did something for the people in your community without being ASKED to do it.”

Building bikes for Kids, donating bikes, Denver, Charity, Wish for Wheels
Click on this image to see more photos from the day!

It made me realize how much we DEPEND on people ASKING us to do something. How often do we simply take the initiative to perform that random act of kindness?

What NEEDS or WANTS exist in your community right now that you quite possibly haven’t paid attention to because no one has asked you to do anything about it?

Don’t wait to be asked. Get out and act. Find the need. Fill the void. Do good. Make a difference.

Don’t wait to be asked.