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Every year it is my goal to visit one place I’ve never been. This year it was Mexico City. I’ll start by saying that Mexico is a very poor country. It has beautiful areas for sure, and amazing art, food, and history, but the life of a tourist in Mexico and the life of an actual Mexican is markedly different I believe. The good life is relatively cheap for a visitor, but not necessarily for the people who call Mexico home. This was my impression. Whenever I went somewhere upscale, it was mostly English that I heard. Moi does not go on vacation to rough it, so I want to say that I don’t think I had a proper Mexican experience by any means… but I did have a good one.

Lots of things in Mexico City are very inexpensive compared to the states. For one, Uber is SUUUUUUPER cheap. From the airport to my hotel it cost about $5! The same was true of almost every other ride I took. I didn’t have to worry about public transportation, because at those prices, getting around Mexico City was very hassle free and inexpensive.

Also cheap: Churros. I think out of the 5 days I was in Mexico City, I went to Chuerria El Moro three times. As far as sweet things go, that was my favorite thing I ate. I ordered mine “con canelle“ (with cinnamon). The portion is muy grande. What can I tell you dears? I need the super size portion to match my increasingly fat ass. It’s all about balance. I went to the one closest to my hotel, which is the original, dating back to 1935. Supposedly they are open 24 hours. I tested this, as any intrepid traveller would. Moi tried to get her fix around 6 one morning before hunting for street art, but the doors were locked. Piggy snout pressed against the cold glass, I was forced to return a couple hours later … but return I did. Kind of like a crack addict. Did you know studies show that sugar is more addictive than cocaine? I shit you not.

My hotel was completely fabulous. I stayed in the Historic District at a place called Downtown. It’s a lovely boutique hotel with several restaurants and fancy gift shops centered around a gorgeous open courtyard. My room was minimal with double height ceilings and old world features that went back to the 17th century from when it was originally known as the Palace of the Miravalle. I can’t recommend Downtown enough. The location was great, the rooms and the hotel are stunning, and the free breakfast … like I said, I’m looking very meaty at the moment.

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Frida Kahlo Museum: This was the main reason I wanted to come to Mexico (aside from churros). I wanted to see where my favorite human lived, painted, loved, and died. It was the highlight of my adventure. I loved walking through the same gardens that Frida was photographed in time and time again, but it’s more than that. There is something so intimate about walking through her home, seeing the studio she painted in, the bed that she lay in (it had a mirror affixed to the top so that she could paint self portraits), and her final resting place: an urn in her bedroom. The Casa Azul is a beautiful, colorful, yet elegant home in a lovely region of the city known as Coyocan. Being in her home, imagining her moving through it, entertaining in her dining room, and playing with her animals in her garden… it was just so special to me. I can see why she loved Mexico so much. If I lived at Casa Azul I’d be hard pressed to leave it too. It’s clear why she found New York so dreary coming from a place like this (although she obviously had not had the clafoutis at Le Coucou). There were some beautiful art works of hers on display too, some of which I have not seen before. The experience of being where Frida walked, of touching the structures that she may have touched, it was kind of magical for me.

Later I would go to the Mexican Museum of Modern art just to see what I consider one of her most poignant works: The Two Fridas. Standing right in front of it, I felt so much emotion, I almost cried. That work says so much to me. It’s the Frida who is her true soul’s self (holding a locket of her husband Diego) trying to comfort her second self, the wife, as her heart hemorrhages. Every woman who has ever loved a man, I think, even if she couldn’t put the words to paper, would look at that painting and totally get it. It’s amazing how I’ve seen so many photos of it, yet standing in front of the real thing was such a different experience. It had the power to move me like no photograph could.

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Ballet Folklorico: In the beautiful Palacio de Bellas Artes, every Wednesday and Saturday there is a wonderful performance by the Ballet Folklorico. It typifies what you imagine when you think of Mexico: lots of color, fun, and tons of good energy.  Watching the traditional singing and dancing will definitely make you smile. If you are visiting Mexico City, especially if this is your first time, you must go. I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did, but it was pretty freaking spectacular!

But you guys know the main reason I travel. It’s really all about the food for me. I didn’t ONLY eat churros. No, one only needs to see the way my jeans are bursting at the seams to figure that one out. There was much eating going on. MUCH.

Of all my foodie excursions, I was most excited about dining at Pujol after seeing it on NetFlix’s Chef’s Table. I just HAD to go. Even a month in advance, however, I could not get a table. There were no reservations available online, but after writing them an email, they kindly made room for little piggy Caroline. This was my first experience with a tasting menu. It was wonderful to enjoy so many little bits of deliciousness, and so many layers upon layers of coordinating flavors. It was quite a production, almost theatrical, and surprisingly lengthy, but I enjoyed every bit. This was undoubtedly the biggest extravagance of my trip. I think it cost about $160 USD, but as Pujol is considered one of the highest ranking restaurants in the world,  I feel I got a bargain — well, that’s how I justify it anyway. Let’s just face it, I don’t do dollar menus. Life is too short. Next thing you know I’ll be eating Chef Boyardee out of can — quelle horreur!!

By the way, I want to mention that I was not the only woman eating alone here. I spied at least two other female solo diners. I thought this was so cool. Nod to my sistahs who aren’t afraid to get their chow on all by themselves (I absolutely hate how women eating alone in fine restaurants is so stigmatized! Dismember the patriarchy dollies, one taco at a time!!!).

The highlights of my meal included the “street corn”  –presented in a smoke filled pumpkin– which actually had crushed ants on it (!), and the 1,874 day old Madre mole sauce. If you want to know more about the extravaganza, because it’s honestly quite fascinating and complex, check out Season 2 Episode 4 of Chef’s Table. Otherwise, here are some pictures:

Contramar was another fabulous restaurant I visited. This trendy and upscale seafood restaurant is the place to go for a  fishy feast. I had their house special, Pescado Contramar, which is basically grilled snapper with red and green sauces. It was so spectacularly fresh! This was followed a fabulous fig tart. But the thing I loved most were the tuna tostadas. They may have been my favorite thing I ate while in Mexico.

Another thing I’d totally recommend is the street food tour given by Club Tengo Hombre. Street food is very popular in Mexico City, but as a tourist only familiar with our American verision of Mexican food, I’d walk past the stalls and have no idea what I was looking at. It was actually quite intimidating. It was wonderful going with someone who took us to the best of the best, guiding us through the labyrinth. We made lots of stops which included two markets. My favorite morsel was our last stop at Taqueria Los Cocuyos where I tried a tongue taco. Simply awesome!

Well, I now have my first Latin American stamp in my passport, and I’m looking forward to more. Mexico was a wonderful adventure. I want to end this by mentioning that before going I had people warn me I’d get sick from the food/ water (no such thing happened).  I was also warned that Mexico City is dangerous (I experienced nothing of the sort). If you have any of those fears, put them aside. The only thing I can remember is some guy telling me that our president was an asshole. “Yeah, I’m sorry, I know,” I replied. He asked me for money. I gave him some change. We are lucky they don’t build a wall to keep US out.

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Recently I had a conversation with some random person who told me his ten commandments for life. I decided to come up with my own.
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Rule number one: Show up. If my life had a motto, this wold be it. I have used it to get me through many a tough time. Sometimes life is crazy and scary and completely out of control. Your just want to hide and hope it will go away. Take this magic little pill: just show up. You don’t kneed to know what to do or how to do it. Just put one foot in front of the other, and the path will reveal itself. I can’t tell you how many times  this has gotten me to where I needed to be.

Rule number two:  if it makes you happy, do it. Selfish? Maybe. Is that so bad to put yourself first? I’m not talking about doing something that is going to hurt someone. You are hopefully wise enough to distinguish right from wrong. I’m talking about following your bliss. Care about how you feel. If you don’t, who will?

Rule number three: Do what you can while you can with what you have. Tomorrow the money might not be there, the health might not be there, or the opportunity. The time is now. Don’t waste it. Tell the ones you love you love them while they are still around. Eat the donut(s). Do that thing. You know what I’m talking about: THAT thing. You will never live this moment again.

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Rule number four: Forgive. My dad always used to say, “forgive and forget.” Well I’m not Jesus, nor do I have Alzheimer’s, but I found that forgiveness is actually possible. Learning that was nothing short of a revelation for me. Sure forgiveness the most beautiful, amazing, life-altering, and soul lightening gift I have ever received. Bitterness is poison that only we taste, not the person we are mad it. If time and distance from your situation allows, do it (see rule #3).

I always thought that phrase, “forgiveness is the gift you give yourself,” was a bunch of crap. It’s not.

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Rule number five: Trust that the Universe is working in your favour, and everything is going to be okay. Better than okay my lovelies! There was a time when I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I genuinely thought my life was over. Things were so bad that even if I could have whatever I wished for, my head wasn’t even capable of finding the wish that could right the wrongs. I don’t know how it happened exactly (I think it has a lot to do with rule number one), but I’m ok again. No, it’s not perfect, but it’s beautiful in its imperfection, and I am indeed okay. So will you be.

Number six: Be what you want. If you want love, give love. If you need peace, be a source of peace for someone else. If you need help, help someone. Try it. It will make you feel good in the process.

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Rule number seven: Show gratitude. Become aware of your many blessings. Train your brain to find the good. There will be days when this feels close to impossible, but there is always something. There is the warmth of the sun that shines on your skin, and your two eyes that open every morning. When you can appreciate those things that we often take for granted, life gets a lot sweeter. When you are aware of the good, the universe rewards you with more good.

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Number eight: Know that you are powerful. Yeah, it doesn’t always feel like it, but you are. You are the number one player in this story that is your life, and you decide how things go. Don’t make yourself small, the victim of unfortunate circumstances. Act when you feel inspired. You know what to do, deep down. Do it. Don’t let life just happen to you.

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Number nine: Embrace your weird. It’s okay to be different. The wold would be a pretty boring place if we were all the same. Let your weird light shine so that the other wierdos can find you. Wierd is a side effect of awesome.

Last but not least: Be kind. Sometimes that goodness you need isn’t there, but maybe, in some small way, we can give that goodness to someone else who needs it. I guess this is very much like #6, but it’s more focused on radiating good without the need of getting anything back. The world needs that. Even if you can only do that by giving a kind smile or by telling someone they look pretty today, be that person. You never know what kind of power a small kindness can have. Maybe your small light is the only light someone gets on a really bad day. I can’t tell you how many times a small act of kindness can ripple into something huge.

What about you? What would your rules be?

Things have been very even and quiet. Nothing monumentally exciting since my birthday post. These days, I’m happy to say, that although there are a few bored days, sad days have declined dramatically, which is completely awesome. Is it because I’m not stressing over any guys anymore? I wonder. As usual, I always try to find happiness where it’s available. I try to relish those those things and immerse myself in them as best I can . Here are some things making me happy at the moment…

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My MacBook Pro. This is my first post written from my very own computer. Although I have yet to get comfortable with all the features, I am loving my new laptop. I was told by a coworker (who used to work at Apple), that what I bought was way too sophisticated for my needs. Whatever dear, whatever. I like knowing that I have the best. It’s a big purchase, so I prefer knowing that by spending extra, I have future proofed my new toy. This little lovely ain’t goin’ nowhere. One of the coolest features is the little strip above the keyboard, the touch bar. Looks the freakin’ business even if I don’t know how to use it too well.

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Retail therapy: yeah, so on that note I do love spending a bit of money. When I’m down, my two go to’s are eating and retail therapy. I get that from my mom. Well hey, at least I’m not smoking crack with Satan, eh? I’m just ringing up charges at Anthropologie. They have some super cute stuff fright now. I got these adoreable chinos for work (which I’ve already worn), plus I bought a dress I liked. I’m waiting for it to arrive in the mail. I hope it fits right. Don’t ask me where I’m going to wear it, that’s irrelevant LOL. Originally it was $228 and I got it on sale for about $80. I adore the cute fish print.

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Rubios fish tacos: speaking of fish, I positively adore the fried fish tacos at Rubio’s. I’d say I’m becoming a regular. Yeah, it’s a chain, but what can I say, when it’s right, it’s right. The Fish Taco Especial? Sooooooooo right. I love the hot and crispy deep fried shell that surrounds the flaky pollock, I love the coolness of the avocado and the sauces they use. I love it how they make everything on the spot and everything is super fresh. Sure, grilled is healthier, and they do that too, but life is short. This is one of my go to’s when I am in need of a delicious treat meal. AND it’s cheap. These are $2 each on Taco Tuesday (though I usually save this for the weekend). These tacos are so much better than what I’ve had in much pricier restaurants. Get these tacos in your belly if this chain exists in your neck of the woods. These really are amazing!!!

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Nail Envy by OPI: I’ve never been one to really care about my nails. I’ve only gotten a manicure once in my life, and probably wouldn’t bother again. I keep my nails kind of short. I wear contact lenses, so it’s not really conducive for putting them in and taking them out. On occasions when I have tried to grow my nails, I haven’t been successful. They aren’t that strong and usually tear when I’m in the shower. Lately, however, I’ve been trying to focus a bit more on self care, and doing my fingernails and toenails is part of that. And you know what? This stuff actually works! It’s not terribly cheap ($18), but this product is definitely worth it. It gives a bit of shine, and my nails have never been stronger or healthier. I don’t intend to grow them long or paint them any colors (I’m not a fan of that look), but they do look very well groomed and kind of elegant. That makes me happy.

Yesterday I went to see Won’t You Be My Neighbor, a beautiful documentary about Fred Rodgers (aka Mr. Rogers), a man whose footsteps of love will echo into time. What an incredibly beautiful soul.  There is a saying I like, “The planet does not need more successful people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of all kinds.” Mr. Rogers was all of those things. His message touched me deeply. I actually cried several times. Despite that,  watching this movie made my heart feel lighter. I was inspired, and I was encouraged by the simple goodness that we all have inside of us. I know we all want to appear all worldly and cool, but if you think of it, isn’t simplicity and love the highest form of sophistication? Isn’t it the paired down, minimalistic truth of what we supposed to be as humans? I think so. I leave you today with my favorite Mr. Rogers quotes. Reading them makes my heart feel giant, happy, and hopeful.

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All is good in the hood. Yeah, I would love a boyfriend and a few million in the bank. Still, things are pretty okay. Sometimes I am suuuuuper bored, and I still suffer with horrible feelings of loneliness (I try to just sit with it, but easier said than done). Overall, however, I’d have to say that life is really alright. Here are some things I’m grateful about at the moment.

Getting my Botox done. It was long overdue. I desperately needed it in order to keep myself looking as serene and peaceful as people who don’t know me too well think I am. People often tell me I exude this aura of peace … little do they know what a total spaz I actually am. It’s my quiet voice and my gentle nature. I think you guys know, however, that under my skin I’m just the slightest bit bat shit.

As I don’t have a love interest in my life, I have been somewhat slack when it comes to maintenance (I love not having to shave!) but gosh, it feels good to get have my face back in order. I been spending just a teensy bit too much lately, so for financial reasons, I held off. Sadly, Botox ain’t cheap- if it was I’d probably tox myself up till I was a waxwork — I really do love the stuff. I realize not all of you will find being poked with a needle and injected with a form of botulism as a form of self care, but for me, it absolutely is.

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Right next to where I get my Botox done is a little restaurant that has been on my radar for several months: The Hummus House in Ft Lauderdale. Good hummus makes me terribly happy. Good hummus with nice pita and two fat triangles of baklava … heaven, and so that’s exactly what I had. I loved this little place. Service was fast and friendly, the place was super cute, but most importantly, the flavors and textures were just completely on point. I will definitely be going back.

So … let’s see… what else is good?

Screen Shot 2018-05-27 at 4.33.50 PM.pngRetail therapy… that’s been making me happy. I bought a lovely Tory Burch tunic. It looks so classy and sophisticated. I love the mandarin style collar and the deep slit down the front that makes this top ever so slightly sexy. It was pricy, but it was on sale, so whatevaaaa. I also bought a very over priced maxi dress *shrugs shoulders.* Have I ever mentioned how I love maxi dresses?! They are a woman’s best friend because they allow you to eat tons of food but still look very feminine and pretty. If you see a dazzling woman at the buffet with the flowy dress pushing you aside, that would be me dear *smooches.* Don’t hate.

The movie: I Feel Pretty. I saw it with my mom. It’s certainly not going to win any awards, but it was silly and fun, and it made me laugh. Sometimes that’s all you need, a good laugh, some entertainment, and wonderful company.

Triscuits: they seem to be an acquired taste, I’m not sure why. I fucking love those those things. Triscuits, a few squares of cheese, and I am a happy camper.

I’m making more female friends. You have no idea how much I value that. Us women, we get each other. I love being in the company of kind, smart women. Sometimes I forget, in the midst of all the guy drama I’ve encountered, that having fab women around me is just as important as having a man in my life.

Having Memorial Day off. What is more blissful than waking up on a Monday knowing you don’t have to endure the daily grind? Fucking priceless dollies!

Hope all is well with you, and that despite the daily shit blossoms that irreverently rear their ugly heads, that you are also managing to find the good in the mundane and the fabulous.

Tons of love,
Caroline

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Valentine’s Day is about to rear its ugly face again. Please, pass me a Hallmark card. Don’t forget the envelope, that’s for the vomit, don’tcha know. I thought this year on my blog I’d do something different. I don’t want to waste space discussing my lamentable love life. Nah, old news. Instead today’s post is sort of a love letter … to myself. And why not? Rather than waiting for some guy to tell me how special I am, maybe I can just do that for myself, after all, they surely don’t know me the way I know me.

I’m trying to turn over a new leaf. It’s not that I’ve given up looking for a partner. It’s just that it’s gradually sinking in that nobody will ever fit the job description better than I will. And so, I want to treat myself with all the love and kindness that my imaginary perfect boyfriend would. Gloria Steinem hit the nail on the head when she said, “Some of us are becoming the men we wanted to marry.” Is it sad, or is it awesome, that I have more of the qualities I look for in a man inside of me than the men I encounter?

I want to take the time to care about how I feel and do nice little things for myself to make life more beautiful. Should a wonderful man cross my path, well that would be excellent. He could be the cherry on the cake that I baked myself. And should he not come around, well that cake will be damned fine without him. Well that’s what I’m going for anyways.

If I had a partner, I’d love to sit and listen to all the reasons why he loves me. The ego wants what it wants, eh? Who doesn’t like hearing about how awesome they are? Today I write about what I love most about myself, and I kind of recommend you do the same, partner or not. Our partners can be clueless when it comes to knowing how to meet our needs at times. And furthermore, it’s not fair to them to expect them to be mind-readers. Even the best girl/guy won’t be able to accommodate 100% of what we wish from them 100% of the time, so some of that needs to come from ourselves. We all have bad days. They will too. And when we stop giving them the power to effect our mood (easier said than done, for sure), it can be very liberating. I think maybe meeting my own needs isn’t the worst idea I’ve come up with.

Reasons why I love me:

My resilient heart: despite having had my heart broken, time after time, I heal. I heal like a mutha fucka… and I manage to do it without bitterness. I still believe in love, and I will never give up. I leave my heart open to possibilities.

My ability to see the good in people: Some will say it’s naievity, I say it’s anything but. We all have good and bad, we all have beauty. What we find in others is actually a reflection of ourselves, not the person we are observing. I choose to see the good. That’s the way I like my world to be.

My stillness: I like that I am quiet. I like that I can be comfortable not showing off or screaming for attention. I like my soft voice. I think there is beauty in restraint, a peacefulness and an elegance.

My smile: I do have an awesome smile… for real. You would be jealous.

My appreciation for beauty: I love the way my beady little eyes seek out beauty. I think I have an amazing aesthetic. I am able to enjoy all sorts of art from street art to the old masters. I find beauty everywhere I go, and quite frankly, being able to do that makes me feel very wealthy indeed. Maybe it’s because I can appreciate the finer things as well as the simple ones, without the need for ownership. I consider that a very great blessing.

Happy Valentine’s Day to myself, my best girl, my ride or die. I love you.

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… and so the drama continues *sigh*…

Last week was crazy. I bet this first thing I’m going to tell you isn’t going to shock you, but it totally threw me. Birdy has gone MIA… again. I don’t know what happened my lovelies. We didn’t get into a fight. We spent Thanksgiving and Christmas together and it was wonderful. I spent it with him and his family. They made me feel so welcome, and I had the best time. Christmas, when I left his house, there was something about the way he hugged me, that I could FEEL, even without the words, that Birdy did truly love me. Then New Years happened. He started to avoid me. I know he was a little shaken by his grief. A book that he was reading had really triggered him. He wanted to be alone.  Okay, I get it. But that alone stretched. It stretched into complete silence. And so Christmas weekend was the last I saw of him, and there has been absolutely no word. I texted him. I told him I was confused and hurt.  Are we broken up? I asked him. No reply.  I am assuming so, but nobody actually broke up with me.

I am so tired of this. I absolutely recognise a pattern. This has happened before. Whenever he gets close to me, he does this. The same happened last year around this same time. Right after introducing me to his parents for the first time at Thanksgiving, he dumped me … for not brushing my teeth.

I don’t know what to tell you. I am confused myself. All I know is that I love that horrible man. My love for him is unconditional.  At the same time, I do know I deserve to be treated with more dignity than this. I am not a wreck of tears like last time. Maybe because I’m used to it? All I feel is a little sad, a little numb, and a little empty.

Now this second thing I’m going tell you? You might want to sit down for this one. After four years of silence, my ex husband and I have made contact.

You see, it all started with a conversation with a co-worker. The subject of my ex came up, and she said, “Why don’t you contact him. It’s the beginning of a new year. Make a fresh start.” And so, at the time, in my head, what I thought was something that I would never EVER do… I did it. I didn’t have his phone number, but I did remember his email address. To make a long story short, that weekend he called me. I heard his voice for the first time in ages.

We had the most wonderful conversation. He apologised to me me. I forgave him. I cried a bit, there were just SO MANY emotions I was feeling. It was the most cathartic, freeing  thing to happen to me in my life. This is the man I spent 18 years of my life with. He was my best friend. He knew me better than anyone has known me before or after. But the way it ended? Well the last time I “saw” him, was in a court room. I couldn’t even look at him. I remember just peaking at his elbow. That elbow that made me sick to my stomach. The elbow that belonged to the man who betrayed me in the ugliest possible way. The elbow that after betraying me, wanted to keep stabbing me until I was thoroughly destroyed… well, that’s how I saw it back then. I was hurting so badly. At the time I was so raw. Every cell of my body was a bloodied burning nerve ending. I could barely inhabit my own skin. I seriously wanted to just die, except I was too angry to die.

That conversation we had… it cooled the fire in my soul.

There is so much to say. But here is the brief synopsis. Life has taken him down quite a few notches, but he is doing okay. He is living in London with his girlfriend (the girl I discovered him cheating on me with). I should mention that surprisingly, this does not sting like you might imagine it would. I guess that means I am well and truly over him. He is living his life in England, and I am living my life in Florida. We are an ocean apart. BUT, we decided that we wanted to be friends. Because really, that’s what we were best at. We were not best at being husband and wife. We were not best at the romantic aspects. But we were best at friendship. And I am so beyond happy to tell you that my very ugly story seems to have a happy ending. My best friend is back. I am crying as I type this because the amount of gratitude that I am feeling right know overwhelms me (and also because I’m a total cry baby).

We grew up together, but we have grown up apart.

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Turns out, the world’s best avocado toast was right on my doorstep. This was f’ing exquisite.

This weekend was about me exercising some much needed self care. I mean, I think I always treat myself pretty well. In fact, I probably verge on self indulgent (but whatever). This weekend was different in that I kind of cocooned myself. It was all about spending some quality alone time with Moi-self. Except for some texts, I didn’t socialise whatsoever. Saturday I don’t remember going out at all. I just watched some gangster series on Netflix cause I thought the lead actor was super hot LOL… way to be discerning Caroline!! I did want to go to the beach, but it was too cold. Sunday afternoon the weather warmed. I spent an ungodly amount of time on Pinterest and leafed through magazines on the porch. I took a bubble bath and listened to guided meditations on YouTube. I had some Godiva chocolate and some organic pasta, but at no point did I binge (yay me). I was good. I stayed in my calorie range.

Another thing I did on Saturday was write out a list of goals for the upcoming year. This has become a new custom of mine. I’m not a fan of New Years resolutions per say, but every year I like to make some goals. If I achieve them, great. If I don’t, no biggie. I just like to have a bit of an outline.

Last year was pretty successful. Although I didn’t make my reading goal (not by a long shot) or my savings goal, I managed to do some pretty cool stuff. I stopped drinking Diet Coke. I achieved my weight goal and my travel goals. The best thing I did this year was buy a car (which is why I didn’t achieve what I had hoped in terms of savings — but I didn’t do too bad either). As far as my car is concerned, I did something that totally freaked me the fuck out. I am so proud of myself for doing it. I’m still mentally high fiving myself for that one. I’ve been driving for about 3 months now, and I’m getting increasingly confident. There are few things I love more than proving to myself that I am capable, and that I can do scary things. Maybe one day in the upcoming year I can do a road trip to the Keys! If I can do that, I feel like I will have conquered something major. I got plenty of space for anyone (brave enough) to join me!

The next year I have quite a few goals, nothing terribly ambitious, just little things that I feel will enhance my life a bit. Some of the goals are just for fun, and some are for improvement. What are your thoughts? Do you make goals? Do you write them down like I do? Do you make resolutions? I’m curious.

Monday was the last day of my three day weekend. I did venture out. I had some errands to take care of. I also had my final IPL treatment. So far, I’d say there is a 75% improvement when it comes to sun spots. I was able to accomplish this for the same price it would cost have me to buy an expensive jar of skin cream that I know would not have produced the same results. While it may not sound particularly pleasant to have lasers zap you in the face, for me, taking care of my skin and making myself beautiful is an act of self care. What else did I do?

I discovered the most amazing coffee shop called R1 Coffee Company, a real gem in my neck of the woods where everything is cookie cutter suburbia. There I had the most sublime avocado toast with all the extras (smoked salmon and poached egg) plus properly brewed tea — nobody in Florida does properly brewed tea! It was expensive, “but I’m worth it,” she said as she brushed her fingers through her hair. I really think I’m ruined from Panera now. I officially declare this as my new breakfast spot/ tea time hang out. A fine lady such as myself has to treat herself, that’s what self care is all about!

So tomorrow I’m back in to work… I’m gritting my teeth already, but I think I can handle it. I’ll close my eyes and think of avocado toast.

One of my favorite posts on my blog  is 100 Things I love. It’s so important to never forget all the good things, of which there are so many. I have been having some very dark days, but I know that everything is going to be okay. I will get through it, and I will come out of this better than ever. This I know. I have to trust that whatever has happened, happened for my greatest good. In the meantime, there are so many good things to focus on. Let’s  start with 100 …

  1. Walking barefoot in the grass
  2. My job. Yep, completely true. I may complain at times, but I know that this is one of my greatest blessings.
  3. The Owl and the Pussycat — something that my grandfather used to read me.
  4. Knowing undoubtedly, that no matter what cruelty there exists, that it is outweighed by kindness. Not just a by a little, but exponentially.
  5. When it’s raining, but I’m dry and cozy.
  6. Binge watching a really excellent series on Netflix. GLOW is my drug of choice at the moment. It’s fun and frivolous with lots of cool songs from the 80s.
  7. Fridays
  8. Making choices from a place of love rather than fear.
  9. Art that makes me feel something
  10. Grilled cheese sandwiches: that moment when you cut it in half and pull the two pieces apart, watching the cheese stretch.
  11. Kind shoulders to cry on for those days that u need one.
  12. Pay checks
  13. When a man holds the door open for me.
  14. Plane journeys
  15. A good conversation. It’s an art. So many people are surprisingly under skilled in it.
  16. The Classic Gateway Theater in Ft Lauderdale, in all its retro chic glory.Screen Shot 2017-08-05 at 10.57.27 AM
  17. When people have a smile in their voice. I wonder if there is a word for that. There should be.
  18. When I get recognition for something I did right at work.
  19. Birthday cake
  20. Accessories, especially shoes. They don’t care if my ass looks less than ideal.
  21. Adventures
  22. Treating myself to an overpriced goodie “just because”
  23. When someone gives me their undivided attention
  24. Leaving my comfort zone and proving to myself I am capable and stronger than I knew
  25. Having choices
  26. Calling in sick from work and going to the mall
  27. Skeletor memes (perhaps you’ve noticed)61564192
  28. When you realize that life goes on despite losing that person who you didn’t think you could live with out.
  29. Smiles from strangers and being brave enough to smile back (for shy people, sometimes this does require bravery).
  30. The Kindness Rock Project. I learned about this from one of my customers. I thought it was such a beautiful concept. I’d love to find one, and I’m inspired to make a few. 
  31. My new friend MJ. I don’t meet friends that often, so our new friendship is very special to me. We have so much in common. She is Birdy’s brother’s widow.  I simply adore her. 
  32. Old friends, the ones that stick around and stand the test of time.
  33. Blackened grouper tacos by the water at Jimbo’s SandbarThe feeling of hope.
  34. Instagram: if you are not following me, what are you waiting for?
  35. When goodies come in the mail
  36. Knowing “I can handle it.” That never used to be the case.
  37. Generosity of spirit
  38. Moments of synchronicity
  39. Chris Rock. I saw him at The HardRock in March. I think he is one of the funniest comedians out there.
  40. Sitting outside on the porch reading a good book or flipping through a magazine
  41. Days when I go shopping and lots of cool clothes fit me … and I have the money to buy them.
  42. The Law of Attraction
  43. Being brave
  44. Letting go
  45. Conversations so enthralling that you don’t even notice the passage of time
  46. Rago shapewear: it hides a multitude of sins. Muffin tops are now a thing of the past. They may not appeal to everyone’s taste lookswise, but these put Spanx to shame.
  47. When the tables turn and you are now in the position of power …. Soooo yummy! 
  48. When I can get away with being a slacker
  49. Gifts with purchase
  50. Authentic connections
  51. Standing up for myself
  52. Fantasizing about my next epic binge Untitled
  53. French toast at the Landmarc in New York
  54. When someone makes me smile so much that I feel like my face is going to crack
  55. The moments when I feel my power, and a secret smile comes over me.
  56. Ice cream sundaes at uber cute The Sugar Bowl in Scottsdale, AZ.
  57. Getting a bargain on something gorgeous. Did I ever tell you that I am a bargain hunting goddess?!?! Yep. Totally true.
  58. Laundry when it is fresh from the drier. It’s clean and warm and it smells so good.
  59. Nice colleagues, it makes the day go by so much better. I’ve been so completely blessed in this department
  60. Florence + the Machine. Florence is a queen.
  61. Getting lost and finding wonderful places in the process. 
  62. My Fitbit. It changed the way I live. I do tons of walking now, I get out into the sunshine, and it even inspired me to start taking vitamins now that I’m going to be all healthy and shit.
  63. Being in a position to give
  64. Uplifting quotes, I collect them.963af50b626ee0bf58bcb455a3cfde0e
  65. I recently discovered the awesomeness that is Carla Harris. The woman is a powerhouse. She has such good, strong, positive energy. She talks a lot about business, but I find that her pearls of wisdom can be used for a lot more than  climbing the corporate ladder.
  66. Getting my hair done at a fancy salon.
  67. The Guerrilla Girls
  68. Those who are brave enough to dream despite having fallen
  69. Feather blankets, one day I shall have one.
  70. Alphonso mangoes — unfortunately not something I’ve ever seen in the US, but it is probably the most Devine fruit I’ve ever tasted.
  71. People who genuinely want to see you do well in life.
  72. Paintings by Edward Hopper — especially his paintings of women.f56e83ede92a459ec8823934fa812bc3
  73. Listening to my horoscope (sometimes I refer to it as my “horrorscope.”) I’m not sure if I believe it, but it sure is amusing to me.
  74. Handsome man candy
  75. Decluttering: my room, my heart, and my head.
  76. Celebrating my birthday in Paris this year with my very dear friend.
  77. Layering my face in tons of $800 face creme at the duty free shop in Paris before returning home on my flight back to America. I’m so naughty … but my skin looked great and hydrated, so not sorry.
  78. Ladybugs
  79. Robert Indiana’s love sculptures. I look for them whenever I travel somewhere new.Screen Shot 2017-08-05 at 10.51.11 AM
  80. That feeling I get when I know I’ve helped someone.
  81. Ralph Smart / Infinite Waters
  82. Moments when I am wrapped in perfect peace
  83. Sing Street, a great movie. 
  84. Butterflies: I asked the Universe for a sign, and she returned me the butterfly I asked to see. Since then I’ve been seeing quite a few. Tons actually.
  85. Bookstores
  86. Airline credit: enough to book a mini getaway to NYC methinks! Fingers are itchy to book my next adventure. This time I think I might explore Brooklyn a little.
  87. Carb loading — and no, I’m not an athlete. I’m just a piggy.
  88. Writing in my gratitude journal.
  89. Kind gestures: making them and receiving them.
  90. When someone from afar reached out to me to remind me that they still have my back.
  91. Seeing the Eiffel Tower glitter in the dark. It’s nothing short of magic.c15bb630ba0733c7685d578f83d7bd4d--eiffel-tower-lights-eiffel-towers
  92. Being able to extract the beautiful memories from my past relationships and learning to focus on those good parts. Inside the pain, you can always find some beauty if you look hard enough.
  93.  Yoga. I used to do it when I lived in London, and now I’m taking it up again. I did my first yoga class yesterday. 
  94. Constantly coming closer to the core of my authenticity. With every year that passes, I become more and more myself, and I really love who that person is.
  95. Jim Carey. Not because he is funny, but because of this
  96. I was issued a corporate credit card … wow, like I’m a business woman or something! I wonder if I’ll get the chance to use it.
  97. Those intrinsic things about individuals that make us unique. They are our special gifts that can never be stolen.
  98. My unbreakable heart.
  99. Over priced candles for bubble bath experiences.
  100. Love

There is so much to love. I am making myself ready to be able to love even more. That’s partly why I exist I think: to love, to appreciate and take joy in all these wonderful things, and then to discover even more to love. I can think of nothing better. Truly.

What do you love? I invite all my readers to take up this challenge with me and name 100 things that you love too. You would be surprised by the magic that results. I genuinely believe if we are greatful, we attract more things to be greatful for. It’s basic Law of Attraction daaahlings, and this stuff works. Send me a link so I can check yours out if you decide to do a list of your own.

I don’t remember if I mentioned it on my blog, but I keep a gratitude journal. It’s not a journal per se, it’s an app. Every day I try to write at least three things I’m thankful for. On a good day, I can have loads of entries. On a bad day, it can be hard to think of even one. Why do I keep a gratitude journal? Well, I once read that if you do something for 28 days it becomes a habit. I wanted to make it a habit to see the good in life. We are so trained to detail all the negative aspects of our day while taking the good things for granted. I don’t want to do that. I wanted to train my brain to do the opposite. I’ve been doing this more than 28 days, I think it’s closer to a year now, and I know that this practice has helped me greatly. I’d recommend this to anyone and everyone.

I think my gratitude journal really sums up my experience in Paris, so I thought I would share my entries with you.

Day 1

  • The Universe most definitely has my back. I am so blessed to have such an amazing friend to share this adventure with.
  • Our apartment is completely lovely. Crazy Kat and I are staying in such a perfect location in Saint-Germain-des-Prés , my favorite part of Paris. We each have our own bathroom, and a tiny little kitchen that has everything we need. I love the details: the little cubby holes, the little Hobbit door on the ground floor near the entryway, the wood beamed ceilings, and the little pillow on the couch with the gentleman wolf smoking a cigarette (note: we later found the pillow at a store, and each took one home a souvenir).

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  • We had a delicious dinner at a place that has always been on my radar, but I had completely forgotten about: Le Relais de l’Entrecôte. They only serve one dinner item, steak frites, and they do it so right. I love the secret sauce!
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Le Relais de l’Entrecôte, steak frites. Photo is from the website. In my pictures, the special sauce was terribly unphotogenic, but this picture does it justice, so voilà.

Day 2

  • Waking up in Paris on my birthday. How lucky am I?
  • Pierre Herme‘s Ispahan croissants. This is what I want to be the last thing I eat before I die. They are that amazing, truly unsurpassed.

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Breakfast is served. Are you feeling the love???
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The money shot.

  • My mother called to wish me a happy birthday.
  • I found a few space invaders.
  • I had my birthday dinner at my favorite restaurant in the world: Benoit. This was truly special for me. There was a time when I thought I’d never get to go again, well here I am, and it was truly as fabulous as I remembered.
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As you look at this pictures, imagine angels singing. That is how glorious this meal was.
  • Walking through the Maris after dinner and stumbling into a gay pride celebration. There was so much good energy. You could feel it.

Day 3

  • Starting my day off with another Ispahan Croissant … okay, two croissants. I’m on vacation so whatevaaaa.
  • Browsing Le Bon Marche and its adjacent foodie super store, La Grande Epicerie
  • The Palais Garnier, the stunning opera house in the center of Paris. It has always been a dream of mine to see a performance there. Today I saw La Cenerentola, an Italian version of Cinderella. It was certainly the most fun and cheeky opera I’ve been to thus far. The music was great, thoroughly entertaining.

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  • Grom gelato and their otherworldly whipped cream.

Day 4

  • Today I was the first customer to walk inside the sliding glass doors of Pierre Herme for my croissants. It’s true love.
  • Buly – an amazing little shop selling beautiful bath and body products and little treats for the home. The store itself is so beautiful, it’s like going back in time — an absolute gem with loads of special treats.

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  • Eating the same chocolates Marie Antoinette ate at Debauve & Gallais, the oldest chocolate shop in Paris.

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  • Tonight Crazy Kat and I had another wonderful meal. This time it was at Cafe Constant. I had the beef stew, which was so tender you could cut the meat with a spoon … and then there were the profiteroles …

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Day 5

  • Breakfast at Angelina and their infamous hot chocolate. There is nothing else like it. It is so thick and rich, but surprisingly not overly sweet. It is like drinking melted chocolate bars.
  • Tracking down more space invaders and catching Invader’s “Hello My Name Is” exhibit at the Musee en Herbe.

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  • Dinner at Laduree on the Champs Elyesee. Nobody does omelettes like the French. It was pure perfection, and the restaurant itself is like sitting in an old fashioned jewelry box.

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  • Seeing the Eiffel Tower glitter. Magic. Pure magic.

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Day 6

  • Scarfing down Ispahan croissants like a boss!
  • Finding some very cool space invader pieces. This one is my favorite of the trip:

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  • Sitting at a cafe at the Place de Vosges waiting for the rain to subside.
  • The famous falafel at L’As du Fallafel.

Day 7

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Le Parc by Gustav Klimt
  • The anticipation of seeing Birdy again when he offered to pick me up from MIA.
  • Having an awesome friend to share this special time with.

Thank you so much Crazy Kat, for everything. You are the best! I had the most wonderful time in Paris. I will never forget it.

Yeah, so you see, the Universe does have my back. For more pictures of this trip, please visit my Instagram page, and do follow me if you are so inclined. 

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It was my first week of work (again) at my new job. I guess it’s going pretty well. Sometimes it can be hard to tell. The first day was really nothing like what I thought it would be. Instead of the standard one day of introduction where they tell you how great the company is and go through benefits, we only had about an hour’s worth of discussion with our trainers, and then we were shown to our desk. We were issued booklets to study for something called a 6-20 (Company Adjuster) insurance license. It is dry as fuck, and filled with a bunch of gobbledygook. Nevertheless, I have a licensing test next week, and I desperately want to pass it.

It was also during my first day that I was struck by a mini panic attack. This consisted of me crying in a rather putrid Wendy’s bathroom during my lunch break. I was overwhelmed. I often have these moments where I really doubt myself and my abilities. The truth is, there is only one job I ever felt that I truly excelled at: being a housewife. Now life is about creating something new for myself, something that involves a paycheck. It has been a struggle. Since returning to the US two years ago, this is my 4th job. I am desperate to make a success of this one. The thing is, I have fears. Can I handle it? Am I smart enough? Being fired from job #2 really dented my confidence. Three out of five days this week I went home with a stress headache, but today I’m feeling pretty good… yeah, I got this Martha Falker nailed.

Yes, I have fears aplenty. At first I had planned to write all about them, but I changed my mind. Instead of writing a sonnet to my worries, I am going to tell you the good stuff.

  •  The supply closet is stocked full of goodies… and it is left unlocked. Obviously they do not know me and my love of free stuff.
  •  Nobody pays attention to when you take a break or notices how long you are gone for. Maybe it’s going to bite me in the ass later, but I’m having fun with it while I can. I have never been given this much freedom before, and I like it. I like it a lot.
  •  The people here are lovely. They are easy to chat to, and I am making the effort to be sociable. When I was a housewife, I could go for days without speaking to another soul. I suffered with severe isolation. Now my life is the opposite. Though I still have to push myself, I find interacting with others to be extremely rewarding, and it has done marvels for my self-esteem.
  • As of today, and for the first time since I’ve been back in the US, I have medical insurance. I hate spending money for the sole purpose of waiting for a catastrophe to happen, but in this country, it is a necessity. I enrolled today, and I’m feeling very adult about the whole thing.
  •  And now my lovelies, I am going to tell you the best part: we have two weeks of training in Arizona. I am so super excited about that! If you read my blog regularly, you will know that there are few things I love more than an adventure. Watch this space … if you know me at all, there is going to be a food orgy of epic proportions!
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For once, wouldn’t it be cool if I had an orgy of eligible bachelors? Why does it always have to be food? Damn my thunder thighs!

Let the weekend commence!