So long nasty dogs.

My dogs have been screaming for a pedicure. I really wanted to bust out my flip flops on Monday since it was in the 80s, but I just couldn’t. I didn’t want to subject anyone to my gross feet!

Coming out of hiding

I had some extra time today (which already put me in good mood!), but today’s crankiness crusher is definitely looking at my nicely polished toes. I have a long list of beauty to-dos that I need to address, but this one was top-level priority for me!

I really hope you’re able to do something for yourself today or sometime over the weekend. Take a bike ride, plant some flowers, read a book, subscribe to my blog (hint, hint), or just veg out if that makes you happy. When you tend to yourself, your body and mind are better equipped to tackle anything that may get in your way.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Type, Eavesdrop, Pray.

I work from home but the only time I can really accomplish anything is to actually leave my house. I usually head to Panera Bread or Starbucks (drinking my beloved Caramel Macchiato of course!) where the tables are pretty close together. Whether I want to or not, I often find myself eavesdropping on at least one conversation. I just can’t help myself! I’m easily distracted, I guess (when I want to be).

While I was researching a quiz I’m writing for Lifetime, I overheard two guys chatting about church or something. The one man had an amazing voice, so I wasn’t surprised to learn that he’s a pastor. Based on their exchange, I surmised that he’s new to the church and was getting the low-down from one of the congregants. While they were wrapping up, I heard the pastor suggest they pray. The prayer was short, but powerful. The two men were thankful for many things, but the part that tugged at my heartstrings the most was when they were so grateful for being fathers to their little girls.

You don’t have to be a religious person to appreciate that statement. It’s just nice to be reminded that you’re always surrounded by people who don’t take life–or love–for granted. Who knew eavesdropping would be today’s crankiness crusher? It just goes to show you that you never know when a happy moment will come your way–as long as you’re open to receive it!


Ode to my Caramel Macchiato

Lately, I can’t seem to get to bed before 1 a.m. I’ve always been a night owl, but it’s a lot easier to be that kind of person when you don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn! Today my kids got up at around 5 (UGH!) while my husband was doing some last-minute packing for a business trip and I swear he must have dropped the suitcase about 5 times before heading out the door! (But I’ll miss you, honey!) ๐Ÿ˜‰ Needless to say, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning–and two comments my 4-year-old son made over breakfast certainly didn’t help:

1. “Mommy, what are all those lines under your eyes?” I just stared at him, blinking. And I was kind of annoyed, to be honest. I know I haven’t been getting a lot of sleep lately, but I didn’t think I was that wrinkly!

2. Moving on in our lovely conversation, I told him that our new kitchen chair leg broke, and he blurted out, “Well that’s just ’cause you’re heavy and you’re ruining it.”

Double whammy! Gee, thanks kid.

Anyhow, on dreary days like this where everything and everyone gets under your skin, I suggest turning to something that you know will never disappoint you. For me, it’s my grande skinny Caramel Macchiato. I’m so happy sipping on mine right now, that I decided to write it a poem:

Today's crankiness crusher!

Oh Caramel Macchiato, you warm up my soul

You’re always there when I need you and make me feel whole

You wake up my mind and help me deal with the day

And you’re only 110 calories so on my butt you won’t stay

We’ll meet again tomorrow, you can count on that

But for now, I’ll enjoy you because you’re where it’s at!


Enjoy the day, everyone!


Deli Delight!

Who knew going to the deli counter could be so much fun?

Over the past few weeks I’ve become friendly with the woman who works in my local grocery store’s deli section. It all started when she began offering me lots of samples to taste. For those of you who don’t know me, I LOVE food. And I always seem to be hungry when I’m there, so thanks to her I don’t slip into a full-blown low blood sugar cranky attack (something I’m prone to, unfortunately). She’ll say, “Oh Tara, you’ve GOT to try our chicken salad today; they just made it and it’s delicious!” When I bring along my 20-month-old daughter, she always gives her free slices of cheese–and pretty much anything she wants as long as she’s smiling and waving at her. ๐Ÿ™‚

She recently turned me on to something I’d never actually choose, but it’s now a staple on my lunch menu: Broccoli Crunch Salad. I’m not exactly sure what’s in it, but it tastes like there’s shredded cabbage, yellow raisins, red onion, crumbled bacon (I think), along with some other good stuff. I really need to find out the recipe. Here’s a pic. Maybe you can help me figure out what’s in TODAY’S CRANKINESS CRUSHER so I can make it all of the time? And once I suss out what’s in it, I’d be happy to share the recipe if you’re interested.

Chock full of crunchy deliciousness. And it seems healthy?

I hope you’re all having a good day!


A play date with a friend.

Liz and me. We used to work together at REDBOOK. Boy our lives are different now!

Hanging out with a friend you haven’t seen in a while is a definite mood-booster (provided you actually like the person!). ๐Ÿ˜‰ My two kids and I just got back from playing at our favorite local park with my friend Liz and her 3 boys. They only live about 45 minutes away from us, but we rarely get to see them, so this was a real treat. Fortunately, Liz and I had a good phone chat yesterday so we weren’t the least bit frustrated by the little creatures impeding our conversation. Ha, ha, ha.ย  It was nice to stand back and watch our kids smiling and playing together while basking in the sun–something Old Man Winter hasn’t allowed us to do for quite some time! Everywhere I looked I saw tree buds blossoming, flowers blooming, and lush green grass. Being outside felt so invigorating.

There was a slight wind, so we attempted to fly the kite that Liz happened to have in her car. We didn’t succeed but it sure was fun trying!

Liz desperately trying to catch some wind.

For those of you who are stuck indoors today, I hope you had a chance to soak up some rays during your lunch break. But even if you didn’t, it’ll still be light by the time you get home, so plan on having dinner al fresco! And while you’re at it, why don’t you call an old friend and try to meet up? I promise it’ll crush your crankiness in a second!


Some people think the world is beautiful.

I was in the liquor store this morning (don’t judge–it’s for the weekend!) and I was listening to an elderly woman complaining about how tired she is of the cold weather as she walked in. After catching herself being a Negative Nelly, she laughed and said, “and I’m sure I’ll be complaining that it’s too hot soon!” I figured that she was kind of crotchety until I ended up in line behind her and she started to make small talk with the cashier about her daughter.

She spoke with pride about how she’s always there for her, what a good girl she is, and how she always helps her carry her grocery bags up three flights of stairs to her apartment. “She just loves the world–except when I steal some of her CDs!” This seemed like an interesting statement (especially since her daughter is probably in her forties), and as the woman left and I checked out, the cashier explained to me that her daughter has Down Syndrome, how she’s a huge music-lover (hence the CD comment), and that when she walks into her store, she “sees the face of God”. Her statement struck an emotional nerve and I started to tear up. And as I apologized for tearing up (which I so often do for some reason?) the cashier went on to tell me how the woman’s daughter’s innocence is what keeps her young and how wonderful it is that she works for The Arc (a national community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families).

As I thought about that woman and her daughter, and all of the challenges they must have faced along life’s path, I felt humbled. I was once again reminded of how lucky I am, and how lucky we all are to have such special, pure people like that woman’s daughter among us. They just breathe in life and savor it: Something we should all aspire to do.

Today’s crankiness crusher was that elderly woman’s pride, and how beautifully her daughter sees the world. I hope someone–or something–encourages you to put aside your troubles for a moment so you can see all of the good stuff that’s right there in front of you.

Happy Friday, everyone. I hope you have a great weekend!


Small achievement. Big smile.

I’m a little ashamed to admit this, but I’m going to put it out there: I loathe putting together Lego-type toys with my son. It might have something to do with my inability to sit still for more than 3 seconds–or maybe I’m just not mechanically inclined. He’s only 4 yet he can follow instructions better than I can! In any case, he was giving me the puppy dog eyes this morning and asked me to help him build a helicopter with his Trio building set. I sort of cringed on the inside (which made me feel guilty and unmom-like), but I decided that it was time to suck it up, sit down, and figure out how to make this thing.

So I looked at the picture in the instruction manual (there aren’t any written directions so KIDS can do this!) and while it took longer than my son wanted it to, I conquered that beast of a helicopter!

Today's crankiness crusher!

Rising to the challenge (although small) made me feel like a better person. Go forth today and tackle things that you normally don’t have the energy to deal with. It may be annoying at first, but I promise that it will bring you some sort of satisfaction.

Enjoy the day!



Cranky Crusher.

I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out a name for my blog. In an effort to keep things simple, I’m thinking that “The Crankiness Crusher” might work since my goal is to stomp on anything that messes with your happy place. Think that’ll work? If you guys have some other ideas, please feel free to throw them my way. My blog, like me, is a work-in-progress.

Today’s crankiness crusher: Kickboxing!

Whose face am I imagining? You'll never know!

Apparently I’ve got a lot of pent-up frustration/anger, because I feel a zillion times better after going four rounds of pretend fights. I’m a lot more relaxed when I exercise. It’s “me-time” that happens to benefit my entire family (since I’m less likely to have one of my freakouts).

What do you do to release tension? Feel free to share your G-rated solutionsย  in the “Comments” section. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hope you have a stress-free evening!



Chipper Chirper.

Despite dealing with a few minor setbacks yesterday, I’ve managed to keep my Zen bubble intact. Woo-hoo! I’m sure the half bottle of wine I drank last night didn’t hurt. ๐Ÿ˜‰ (Sidenote: Have you ever tried Simi Sauvignon Blanc? I’m not a huge white wine drinker, but this is quite refreshing)!

Did you find time be kind to yourself yesterday? If so, what did you do to help get yourself through the day? Please feel free to share your tips towards happiness in the “comments” section below. Cranky minds want to know your secrets!

Today’s happiness for me was listening to a cardinal sing as he perched on a tree branch near my deck and pecked at some bread this morning. (Thankfully the chunky squirrel didn’t steal it all last night!) I’m always warmed by the sound of birds chirping. And it’s yet another reminder that spring is on its way!

The pic is a little blurry but you get the idea...

My chipper chirper.


Let’s all try to enjoy the little joyful moments that life has to offer today.


Please Don’t Burst My Zen Bubble!

I had a really enlightening weekend at Deerfield Spa. It feels like FOREVER since I last had a chance to nurture myself, and this was the type of place where everyone had one goal in mind: a journey towards wellness.

To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, here are the only things I had to “worry about” on Saturday: 1:) Get up 2.) Eat the three healthy meals and two snacks they put out for me 3.) Figure out my exercise schedule and 4.) Enjoy my warm stone massage.ย  Rough day, huh? ๐Ÿ˜‰

After some rest, healthy yet tasty meals, and some intensely fun & challenging workouts, I was floating high in my cozy “Zen bubble” (a term I think my friend Rachel and I may have coined this weekend???). Since I was so chill–which believe me is very rare!–I decided it was best to take a break from the iPhone and truly live and breathe in the moment. I often find myself worrying more about capturing a great moment on camera or how I’m going to write about how happy it made me rather than just taking it all in.

While we all can’t get away and enclose ourselves in a Zen bubble, this get-away reminded me of the importance of making time each day to take care of yourself and create your own Zen moments:

Take the time to eat the right foods to fuel your body, try to squeeze in a good stretch in the morning, become more aware of what it is that makes you feel good–whether it’s exercising, listening to good, inspirational music (my friend Rachel certainly disappoint me with her iPod play list, btw!), or taking a few moments to pat yourself on the back for something you did instead of beating yourself up for all the things you didn’t do.

My friends, please find some happiness and peace today: Declare your own Zen bubble and don’t you dare let anyone pop it!

Make time for Zen moments.



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