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I have become very cautious of writing about men on this blog. I hate writing about someone and then the following week they are gone, but I have found someone who has become very special to me in a very short time, and I’m dying to spill the beans. Grab your barf bags, because I going to get sappy. I can’t help it. This one does that to me.  In the post before this one, you may noticed that I was getting pretty disgusted by the opposite sex. I always prided myself on keeping an open heart and not allowing myself to become jaded, but I think little icicles were starting to form. Back in the day when a man was acting less than gentlemanly, I’d laugh it off and continue chatting … I stopped doing that shit. I started standing my ground once I concluded that these men weren’t worth my time or the dignity I lost by sharing space with them. Life is too short to breathe the same air as a mysoginist fucktard who thinks a woman’s only purpose is to look hot in a selfie. Besides, who do these guys think they are with their receding hairlines, dad bods, and exorbitant child support payments? Fuck no.

I wanted more. And though I had hoped that I’d find it, I also had to accept that I might not. I’d have to make peace with the loneliness. I’d have to be okay that all the love in my heart might never be shared. It wasn’t okay, but I knew I’d have to put on my big girl panties and deal with it. I wasn’t going to give up, but I wasn’t going to settle.

And when I started to let go of my dream, to love and be loved by someone I respected and admired, it happened. It’s very much in the early stages, but I feel strongly that when you know, you just know. And this time, I know. For the purposes of this blog, I shall refer to this someone as Prince.

I’ll start by saying that I knew I liked him before we met. I can’t remember enjoying talking with someone so much. Our conversation just flowed so effortlessly. God that man can talk for England LOL. My nickname for him is Teddy Ruxpin because he never shuts off. He was fun, engaging, and he told interesting stories in a somewhat swoon worthy South African accent. But after meeting him in person, I knew this man was going to be someone very special in my life. I was definitely attracted to him. He is 6’1, athletic (he played division 1 hockey and polo on a professional level), and he has such a boyish, youthful face. The only give away to his age is the color of his hair. He held my hand and made a lot of physical contact with me in a way that was affectionate but completely undemanding. In fact, we didn’t kiss that night. He was a true gentleman. After that night he asked me if I believed at love at first sight. I never thought I would believe in something so ridiculous… until now.

We are very much alike, despite coming from very different backgrounds. His is one of privilege. He went to the same boarding school as JFK and Ivanka Trump. He was raised by au pairs, not parents, and every activity he was involved in was calculated to make him a success. All he knew was about performing. At ten he already spoke three languages. So what could hippie dippie unicorn riding Caroline possibly have in common with such a man? Well, despite our very different lives, we somehow think the same thoughts, react the same way, and share the same kind of crazy (the batshit variety… let’s call it like it is, shall we?). He has a very soft heart that he only allows only me to see me. He is a well respected equine surgeon and when one of his horses has to be put down, it’s me that he lets wipe his tears.

He is a romantic. He sends me the most beautiful texts. He devotes so much of his time to me— which is absolutely unheard of in my experiences. I’m used to men who avoid communication at all costs. But we spend hours talking and texting throughout the day. Teddy Ruxpin, I tell you, always on… even when I’m ready to close my eyes, especially when I’m ready to close my eyes, and sometimes when my eyes are closed! I love it how he makes me feel like I’m part of something bigger. He has talked about me to his mom, and I have met his dad during a very vulnerable time (Prince’s dad has stage 4 cancer). That he’s incorporated me into his life like this, it makes me feel safe. It makes me feel like I’m not going to be tossed away without a care, as I’ve experienced in the past.

I’d like to think that now will begin the next stages of this blog, in which I no longer write about my shitty encounters with men children. It may have been funny, but it wasn’t fun. It was lonely and disheartening. I hope the next part of my blog is about my adventures with Prince, and relearning what it feels like to love and be loved.

Today is our one month anniversary. Yeah, its not huge, but for me it’s a major milestone. We’ve had a couple hiccups in that time, I won’t lie, but I am unfazed. I don’t want Prince to be perfect. I want him to be human and flawed, just like I am. What matters, when you boil things down to its true essence, despite any roadblocks, Prince is still here. He hasn’t let go of my hand. Consistency. Friendship. Love. It’s everything I wanted. Not perfection, but happiness.

Maybe there is hope for me yet. Watch this space.

 

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?

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So truth is that I had a shitty week. Really shitty. My mom hasn’t been well (I kind of loathe to get into it, I find it kind of scary and embarrassing to talk about), work has been breaking my back (nothing earth shattering, but you know that can suck), and I have been feeling overlooked. I know we all feel this way sometimes. Different problems of course, but we all have moments where we need a pick me up. We all need to be reminded of who we REALLY are: powerful, beautiful, and limitless beings. 

Here are five ways that I tried to work on that today:

Awesome music: I have music that suits all my moods. There is some stuff that I listen to that’s totally hard and kick ass, some that’s goth and moody, and some that makes me feel very feminine and spiritual. We all have different tastes and different sides to our personality. One thing is the same for all of us though: music is some powerful ass magic. Sometimes you gotta put on your headphones (Bose, dear), block out the rest of the world, and loose yourself in sound. Just totally feel it. Immerse yourself into it. FEEL it. BE it. Dance if your wishes move you. Take your music out for walk or a run in nature if you are feeling it.  It’s all good.

I ate good food: Now, I’m not talking about bingeing, though we all know I am not averse to that (goddesses don’t regulate themselves, after all). What I’m talking about eating food that is good for you, but also delicious. A coconut macaroon won’t kill ya either dollies, not when they are from Godiva. Aside from my sugar laden Scooby Snack of choice though, today I also indulged in thick Greek yogurt covered in  a luxurious sweet honey that I’ve been saving for something special, and some incredibly tasty avocado toast with juicy tomatoes. Who doesn’t love avocados, right? I drink my special tea that I adore, and I just savor the flavors. 

I was selfish with my time: There are moments where everyone needs to kinda fuck off. They might be fabulous, but fuck off they must. And then there are people who really don’t deserve your energies. You know who I’m talking about. You are totally thinking about someone right now, aren’t you LOL? Sometimes you need to be selfish and be all about you, because we both know, nobody else will do this for you. Turn off your phone. Maybe lock the door to your room. Or maybe just get out. Today I became invisible for a while (though honestly, I don’t think anyone noticed–that sorta sucks, but whatevs).

I took a bath. Maybe it is because I’m a water sign, but there are few things so soothing as a nice bath (with a ridiculously overpriced scented candle—Walmart can kiss my ass. Frugality has no place when it comes to self care.) Bubbles or bath oil. It’s all good. Sometimes I lie there, just kind of motionless and feel the warm water around me. Sometimes I listen to guided meditations on YouTube. Just follow whatever your heart wants. Maybe some cookies? I don’t know, just sayin.’ If the crumbs get in the tub, it’s no biggie, they will all just go down the drain, so actually, it’s really pretty genius.

I made a face mask. When I was in NYC I stopped in one of my favorite little shops: Kalustyan’s. I’m not sure how I describe the place. It’s kind of like a witch’s cupboard of the weird and wonderful. It is a food store, but it sells these magical ingredients that you just won’t find anywhere else. This time, one of the unusual ingredients I purchased was Organic Rose Petal Powder… Now what would I do what that? Well I’m kind of obsessed with rose as a flavor, so I bought it, and I decided I’d figure it out later. After doing a bit of research I decided to make a face mask out of it. Supposedly, it is a natural skin toner. I mixed the rose petal powder and honey (full of antioxidants) to form a thick dark colored paste and slathered it onto my skin (after I tried to taste it … yeah, really). I left it on for a good 20 minutes, and then washed it off. Rinsing it off with water is a bit messy. But do you know what? It actually produced great results. I wouldn’t lie to you on this. My skin felt felt very soft and looked very fresh and healthy in a way that it does not normally. I am going to make this a weekly habit, as it feels quite indulgent, and I adore self care. If you can find this crazy ingredient, try it out for yourself. 

I want to also try adding little spoon of the powder into hot chocolate. Would it be as yummy as I imagine? Watch this space.

I think its super important to discuss how we pull ourselves out of negativity rather than wallow in it. Feelings are like visitors, they come and go, but sometimes the yucky ones will want to hang out just a bit too long if you invite them to tea. So let’s talk about this my lovelies, how do you vanquish the nasties?

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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Today is the day I turn 43. All is well, and I am happy. Deliriously happy? No. I’d say I’m content and at peace. It’s been nice. Since my last drama filled post, there have been no crazy emotions. I’m feeling very even. I’m finally starting to relax and enjoy the stillness. Sometimes in a public place I might hear a phone text. I check my phone secretly hoping it is for me… it’s not, but I’ve gotten better at that part. Acceptance. One day, when the time is right, it will be for me.

I’ve been spending a lot of time in quiet self indulgence. I light my Diptyque jasmine candle, listen to soothing music, and concentrate on self care. I’ve been paying attention to my nails (something I’ve never done before), I have been using hair masks (another thing I never do), and I just do whatever it takes to show myself that I care for love me. I do things like waking up early in the morning to see the sun rise for the summer solstice. I’ve been spending more time in the company of women. I am learning. I am unfurling.

Slowly.

All is well. What I care most about these days is being happy. That’s my number one. So, today, on my birthday, I made a collage for you of little pictures I’ve been saving on Pinterest. Just things that put a smile on my face. I hope they make you smile too.

So what of the birthday festivities? Well, Friday was super sweet because at work my boss brought in cupcakes and balloons. My team sang me happy birthday and everyone gave me a hug. I felt so incredibly special. On Saturday I just kind of relaxed, did my hair, ate fish tacos and ice cream with my mom. And now it’s Sunday, my actual birthday. My mom special ordered me a strawberry and vanilla Carvel cake. In my family, there is no birthday without an ice cream cake. I ordered my Macbook Pro online. The big 15 inch one I wanted (to balance out the thighs, of course LOL). I’ll be going to pick it up at the Apple store at the mall, have a browse, and then its birthday dinner at my grandmother’s. She’s making ribs, a favourite of mine. She called me today to tell me how much she loves me. How lucky am I?

I may not have romance, but I am surrounded by love. My family, my colleagues, a few dear friends … the Universe has got my back!!! I have everything I need and so much of what I want. I know it will continue to deliver that which is for my greatest good and happiness.

*Birthday kisses to you all*

I love you.

Okay, so yeah, I have written about visiting NYC maaaaaany many times. Maybe you even got your barf bag ready, cause here Caroline goes again. But whateva, cause the place is just so beyond fabulous, dollies. I will never get sick of it, I will never stop going, and I’ll never stop writing about it. It is a constantly evolving city, and there are always new and wonderful things to eat, see, explore, and do. Still, I’m going to be easy on you and just share the highlights.

Pancakes. As per usual, I gorged myself on all manner of goodies, from my Levain cookies, to Grom gelato,  to the deservedly infamous lobster roll at Pearl Oyster Bar, and I finally managed to try the incredible pineapple linzer cookies at Te Company. But what completely blew my mind (or belly) into the cosmos was two delicious types of pancakes I discovered for the first time.

  • Exhibit A: The blubbery calfoutis at Le Coucou. Le Coucou is a very fancy French restaurant in the downtown area. I’d love to have dinner there but I’d feel a little self conscious going on my own for a larger meal — I’ll get over that, but CrazyKat, we have a date, okay? That, and Lobster Rumble,  girlie. The restaurant itself is stunning and sumptuous. It requires you to get a bit dressed up (but I imagine breakfast is more casual than dinner, and also you don’t have to make a reservation then). I sat my fat ass down on a velvet tuffet as the most beautiful pancake ever was set before my beady little eyes.  Oh, and do you know dollies, it was just as delicious as it looked. I loved the added touches of the cream quenelle dusted in lime zest.

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  • Exhibit B: The pancakes at Chez Ma Tante were completely the opposite. The didn’t win the pancake beauty contest like the one at Le Coucou, as they were much more rustic looking, but ooooooooh. And oooooooooooh. Okay so these had the most incredible texture for a pancake that I have yet to encounter (and yes, I did try the ones at Cinton Street Baking Company… good, but meh in comparison). These were crunchy on the outsides, fluffy on the inside, with the faintest hint of lemon, covered in maple syrup and a healthy pat of buttah (it’s good for the skin dont’cha know). And it happened to be just DEVINE. Yep, totally freaking swoon-worthy. Okay, so I should mention that technically these are in Williamsburg, not NYC, but go. Gooooooooooooo!

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Seeing an artist at work. As you know I love street art. I happened to be in Williamsburg while the Moniker Art Fair was in progress (which I went to). In conjunction with the fair, a very famous street artist known as D*Face was finishing up a piece, and I happened to see him action, which was very special for me.

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Speaking of art, another highlight of my trip was taking part in an exhibit by Candy Chang. I am a huge fan of hers, I have been ever since I saw her Ted Talk. I always wanted to write on one of her “Before I Die” walls, but I have never encountered one in my travels thus far. This, however, was just as cool, if not cooler. The exhibit was at a lesser known NYC museum, The Rubin Museum of Art. The exhibit was called “A Monument for the Anxious and Hopeful.” There were two walls. On one wall people were invited to write  one of their hopes and include it with the other contributors. On the other wall, visitors wrote their anxieties. What people wrote ran the gamut from funny to very deep and real. It struck a very personal cord with me. I loved being able to share my own and be a tiny part of this beautiful collective.

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I love knowing that somewhere in this picture, is one of my own.

Treating myself. Well, the truth is, all of my vacations are about indulgence in some way. Food, art, and sometimes (but not always) there are goodies involved. I’m not really one to collect souvenirs, but I did see something quite special at Bergdorf Goodman that I could not resist. It was a bit of an extravagance, but you only live once. I am a great believer in treating oneself to the finer things, when and if it is possible, because we are the only one we can truly count on at the end of the day.  My mom always says, “I buy myself flowers, because if I have to wait for a man to do it, I might grow a beard.” Yeah well, I bought myself the moon, and strung it along my neck. I have always wanted a pretty moon necklace. I’m a Cancer, so it’s my sign. The moon is also supposed to be a representation of feminine energy/power. Who would have guessed? Me, Caroline, that’s who.

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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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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.

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Sometimes a woman needs to date herself. This was the case even when I was married. I lived a very solitary life as a housewife. My ex was often busy, and was not around much (I wonder why…). I learned that if I wanted to do something I had a choice: I could go alone or not go at all. It wasn’t a hard decision for me. My sister in law would tell me that it was “sad” that I’d do all these things by myself. I would always reply, “What’s sadder, me going alone, or you staying home?” I would go to nice restaurants on my own, shopping, see shows, and even spend a few days in Paris all by myself. It was surprisingly empowering. Believe it or not I have grown to love my little solo adventures. Sure, doing what you love with someone you love is the best, but doing what you love on your own really isn’t that bad… actually it’s kind of awesome. There is something very self indulgent about it. I can do exactly what I want without having to worry about what someone else thinks. I don’t need to care if someone is having a good time. I don’t need to worry about what restaurant someone else wants to eat at, or what kind of schedule they are on. I can spend all my time looking at ballgowns and fantasizing if that’s what I choose. It’s all about me. I have to say, I’m totally ok with that. It’s come to a point that I’m so used to having my solo adventures, that these days, doing things with someone else sometimes feels outside of my comfort zone. I’m not a loner by any means, but my alone time is special to me. I treasure it.

Friday I took the day off from work and got to fulfill a wish of mine: seeing Dita Von Teese perform in one is her burlesque show, The Art of the Teese. I am such a big fan. I love her for her grace, style, talent, her cheeky elegance, not to mention her exceptional beauty. When I found out she was going to be in Miami at The Fillmore, there was nothing that could keep me away. I desperately wanted to go with Birdy, but that didn’t work out. Still, I was going. No man is going to suck the joy out of my life. Yeah, I get hurt and upset (and the truth is I miss him terribly), but ultimately I realize that I do have a say in how happy I get to be. Despite some bad days, I will always choose happiness. ALWAYS.

It’s no secret that I like to treat myself well when I can, so that’s exactly what I did. First stop was a late lunch at The Dutch in the W Hotel in South Beach. I had a yummy spicy  Korean fried chicken sandwich with fries, followed by what I’m guessing is the world’s best key lime pie. It is godly my dears. The holy grail of key lime pie, and believe me, I’ve had a few.  These thighs don’t lie.

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I walked along Lincoln Road Mall, but in all honesty that wasn’t doing it for me. It was 96 degrees out, and I was melting. I persevered. I was going to see Dita.

Just waiting on line at The Filmore was an experience. Some people were dressed to the nines, a la Dita. How I wish I knew how to do my hair Dita style. Note to self: must watch hair tutorials on YouTube. Just people watching was entertaining. But the show itself? It was everything. Dita was glorious!!! Wonderful costumes, dancing, humor… and get this, there was even a real live marriage proposal on stage. My favorite act was the opener where Dita does her famous champagne glass routine. There were also some other awesome burlesque dancers (which I guess gave Dita the chance to rest between sets), and there was a super funny and fabulous master of ceremonies who kept us laughing the whole time. Dita certainly had an awesome “Vontorage.” It was an evening of rhinestones, glamour, and fun. It was something I will never forget, and I’m so glad I went. If you have the opportunity to go, GO! That’s all I can say.

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The moral of this post: don’t be afraid or intimidated from doing things alone. It’s better than doing nothing at all. In fact, you may find yourself in a storm of Swarovski and Louboutins with a supremely delicious key lime pie in your belly. I think we can all agree, there ain’t nothing wrong with that.

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.