Tag Archives: vacation

Escape (without Leaving the Living Room)

Many of you feel me when I proclaim “I need an escape!”

When packing a bag, searching for the right hotel room or perfect little restaurant, and exploring somewhere new are a few of your favorite things, staying put can be maddening.

I discovered joyous relief in recent weeks and it truly involved an escape.

But I didn’t have to leave my living room.

You may recall my obsession with Downton Abbey a year ago. Late to the party, when I finally discovered it, I binged during every spare moment. This proved challenging because Mark was not similarly enamored. I snuck in episodes when he was busy doing Mark things, like the lawn, the pool, or garage things.

Sure, I could have holed up in the spare room and watched, but the wonderful thing about having a true partner is that when the workday is done you really do want to spend it together. This is still new to me and I savor every minute of the companionship.

He’s a champ! He’ll even get teary-eyed when a singer on America’s Got Talent strikes an emotional chord. And it is so much fun to share episodes of Million Dollar Listing with someone equally jazzed by those New York and LA properties.

Because of Mark, I’ve eyeballed episodes of NOVA and Dirty Jobs – two shows that I previously ignored.

But when you find a binge-worthy show that sucks you in to the point where you discuss the characters as if they are family members and scream together out loud at the cliffhangers?

It’s escapism at its best.

So what is my new obsession? It’s the complete antithesis of Downton Abbey and its high-collared formality and British accents.

It’s Empire.

I know! When it came out in 2015 it broke every record for prime time TV, but I missed it.

But God knew it would be just what I needed NOW.

The Lyon family show is filled with drama, chair-dancing music, true love, and the OUTFITS?

Cookie Lyon is my fashion spirit animal.

Lucious, her bad boy ex (and future) husband played by Terrence Howard is the man you love to hate and always root for, even if he’s on the wrong side of the law.

But Cookie? A fierce mother; a suffer no fools business woman – she is EVERYTHING.

When Lucious fell victim to amnesia, Cookie had NONE of that.

“I’m Cookie Lyon, baby – and I’m unforgettable!”

We are deep into Season Five and shudder to think what will happen when we hit Season Six. The Final Season.

Oh, and we started watching it on free TV but couldn’t wait for a week to pass for the next episode. In all, we’ve spent over $100 just to get our nightly Empire fix.

Considering the money saved on zero flights, hotel rooms, dinners out, and Ubers in 2020, we’re still ahead.

What are we going to do when we can’t pretend we’re at the Lyon dining room surrounded by outrageous chandeliers and art? Oh to be at that huge, ornate table with goblets of fine wine, sumptuous meals (sometimes whipped up by Cookie but always served by help) and followed by impromptu jam sessions?

I shudder to think. These people are embedded in our lives! We have dinner conversations about “Will they or won’t they?” and stream the show’s music during the workday.

Like the song that makes me dance around my office like I’m in a music video:

Hakeem loves the ladies and is a rapper. Jamal owns a silky smooth R & B falsetto and serves as the moral compass of the family. And Andre? A tortured soul with a huge heart.

Yes, he tried to kill his father, but by the next episode they’ve forgiven all. We forgive the Lyons ALL of their transgressions!

Around every corner is new drama and something new to fight about!

Yes, they fight each other fiercely, but like a pack of “Lyons” always pull together to protect the family.

So why do I write this ode to Empire?

Because it accomplished something I sorely needed. An escape from the same old same old life lived each day since COVID-19 descended (and continues) to plague Florida.

This escape also gave me a gift; a new favorite love song. You’ll love it, too.

The best part of this escape? I didn’t have to do it alone.

I could Dream On With You, Mark Roach.

Thank you for putting up with my love for hip-hop, outlandish outfits, and for understanding that there’s a little part of me that longs to be Cookie Lyon.

So if you, like me, crave a getaway, indulge in a little harmless escapism.

It might just be the tonic you need for this oh so strange year we’re having.

And dreams? I speak about them in this week’s video:

One of my favorite quotes:

“It’s not your work to make anything happen. It’s your work to dream it and let it happen.”

ABRAHAM HICKS

Great marching orders for the coming weeks! Enjoy!

Love,
Brenda

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Adventures in Greece

Me on the Aegean Sea!

I’m back from my adventures in Santorini, Greece, and it was fabulous. I could talk to you about the historical sites, the amazing vistas of the Aegean sea, the kindness of the Greek people or the holiness of Good Friday’s lantern ceremony, but today I’ve got one thing on my mind.

Food.

I’d been on a special eating plan since November. I called it my “Santorini Bikini” mission, and by avoiding sugar and carbs I lost 25 pounds.

I was ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille, and planned to say YES to every sugary and decadent opportunity that came my way from London to Pyrgos.

After all, this was vacation – and for someone who enjoys food like me, I wasn’t about to deny myself gastronomic adventures on a trip of a lifetime.

Each morning, a breakfast tray of pastries – both sweet and savory – were delivered to our little villa, with dips of honey and chocolate and jam. Like the Cookie Monster, I devoured them; crumbs flying over the bedsheets.

In America, there’s a Wawa or CVS on every corner. In Santorini, there’s a bakery.

I made Mark stop at EVERY SINGLE ONE, from Pyrgos to Kamari, to Fira and Oia. Sticky, gooey, flaky treats abounded. These Greeks love their sweets, and coupled with rich, dark coffee – oh my!

Aside from the pastry shops, dinner was never complete without dessert. They have a traditional “orange pie” which is really more like a cake; warm and covered with ice cream. Oy! Mark’s favorite was cream cheese baked in phyllo that literally had us groaning out loud.

I came. I saw. I ate.

Upon my return, I said, “Brenda, don’t get on the scale. Give yourself a week or so to eat normally so you don’t have scale-shock and its accompanying depression.”

But I couldn’t help myself.

Eyes winced, I stepped on, prepared for the worst. I was braced to see that eight or so pounds had been packed on during my eating adventures.

One.

Just one pound!

How in the world?????? I ate everything! I ate Mark’s leftovers!

But I walked EVERYWHERE.

We walked up to the Parthenon. We hiked to the top of the Akrotiri lighthouse. We trekked the entire stretch of waterfront in Oia, Fira, and Kamari. Once we parked our car, there was no option but to tackle the terrain one step at a time.

It didn’t feel like exercise. It felt like…an adventure.

Most days I sit at my computer for a minimum of eight hours, and too often (when it’s not a Zumba night) I go right to the dinner table or settle in for the American Idol results.

Methinks moving more will be part of my daily routine. Especially if it means I can eat cake!

More on adventures and the new WOW, coming right up!

https://youtu.be/OXW2zNJt_g0

I love an invitation from the universe to ENJOY. So if you’re looking for a sign, this is it!

Happy Mothers Day and love to you all –

Brenda

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A Post-Vacation Week WOW

As I mention in the video this week, I pre-recorded this week’s WOW so I could completely unplug and be inspired on vacation.

I hope as you are reading this that you are surrounding yourself with inspiring things and people.  I read somewhere that whatever you have in your home that doesn’t bring you joy should GO.

Imagine de-cluttering our lives of anything that doesn’t make us happy?

That’s not totally realistic since on a bad day, I feel like kicking some good things (and people) to the curb.  And those less-than-inspiring parts of our lives are marvelous tools for growth, aren’t they?

But filling our lives with more that inspires us is a very good thing.  Sunsets, John Russo’s singing, a good chat with my sister or one of my besties and that strong cup of coffee first thing in the morning?  I’m smiling just thinking about them.

So getting back to life after vacation is always a bit jolting – and so is the new Word of the Week!:

Now, I’m not suggesting that we become those who look sideways at everyone and everything. (I’ve got my husband to do that for me!)

Maybe it’s simply a matter of a second opinion.

DISCERNMENT is a team sport.

May we call on reinforcements where necessary this week and make wise decisions; not ignoring our respective guts, but getting all the facts and insights at our disposal before taking a leap.

Have a beautiful week, friends!

xoxoxox

Brenda

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