Romance: Is it real or a figment of imagination?

Is romance real or is it a figment of our own imagination? Romance is painted across the screen, written in novels, sung to beautiful melodies and penned in sonnets and poems.  Is this an accurate picture of romance or an idealistic one?

Webster defines romance as (1) : a medieval tale based on legend, chivalric love and adventure, or the supernatural (2) : a prose narrative treating imaginary characters involved in events remote in time or place and usually heroic, adventurous, or mysterious(3) : a love story especially in the form of a novel b : a class of such literature

2: something (as an extravagant story or account) that lacks basis in fact

3: an emotional attraction or aura belonging to an especially heroic era, adventure, or activity

4: love affair

Better yet, Wikipedia defines romance as the following:  Romance is the pleasurable feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.

In the context of romantic love relationships, romance usually implies an expression of one’s love, or one’s deep emotional desires to connect with another person.

Historically, the term “romance” originates with the medieval ideal of chivalry as set out in its Romance literature.

So if romance is more than just a legend or a story and truly is a real experience, the question remains how do you make it happen?

It starts with that loving feeling, but the best accelerant to transform those initial feelings into romance is patience.

What? (insert a sound of screeching tires)

Are you kidding me?  Patience causes romance? The idea itself may seem ludicrous.  But waiting offers quite the platform for romance.

 Romance is all about anticipation.

Anticipation of the moment that is helplessly romantic. If you have seen Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea, you know what I am referring to.  You sit through eight hours to finally get the pay off that Gilbert and Anne fall in love.  It is crazy but it is true.  I mean, eight hours is quite a lot of waiting to see if these two will finally discover that they were meant for each other.   Here is a little reminder of the struggle in a six-minute clip.  Please excuse the music, but the visuals are perfect.

Romance is all about the process.

We all tend to get fixated towards the destination rather than enjoying the journey.  Read this story about a couple married seventy-years, you will see that they found their romance in the process.

abcnews.go.com/US/iowa-couple-married-72-years-dies-holding-hands/story?id=14771029

Have you ever watched an elderly couple eating breakfast together?  A couple that sits there, eats slowly and barely talks to each other.    I think Gordon and Norma were far from that picture.  I believe that they honestly made an effort to keep the romance alive in their marriage over 72 years.  Romance is not all about the passionate fire of youth.  It is something that can be likened to a life investment that will pay dividends.

Romance is worth the wait.

We live in a day and age where our culture is more instant gratification rather than allowing room for anticipation. If the line is too long at our coffee shop, we will cross the street to get another latte. We will sacrifice the quality for the quantity.  Quantity does not always make life better.  When you are young an endless supply of candy would be like heaven.  But that quantity would make that child sick to their stomach in spite of their all access pass.  But think how much sweeter the “treat” is when it is truly a “treat”?  If romance was a treat it would be more sweet after awaiting the right dessert rather than constant access to new relationships all for the sake of romance.

Maybe romance is linked to patience after all?  You be the judge. Do you have a romantic story where it was worth the wait?

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Start Something that Matters book review

A few months ago, we posted a blog on Blake Mycoskie about the innovative social business model of TOMS Shoes. Recently, I had the opportunity to read his book Start Something That Matters. Not only was it fun to read the development story of TOMS Shoes from the ground up. It was very inspiring how one simple idea can transform into a tangible business that really makes a difference around the globe. The book is peppered with other business stories who are giving back as well as offering insightful practical steps to take your idea and develop it into a formidable business. A few of the chapter titles are: Tell Your Story, Face your Fears and Keep It Simple, really offer a canvas of empowerment. The simplicity of insights create a practical platform for stepping out and launching your own business. “A lack of resources is no reason to avoid starting a company.” Blake Mycoskie. This book truly eliminates excuses, offers wisdom and gives weight and feet to the ideas running around in your head. If you have an idea or are considering starting a business, I would highly recommend this book. It will be a great motivation for you to Start Something That Matters.

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Get your COOKIE party, ON!

The holidays are here with the weather shifting and the leaves quickly moving through complimenting hues.  The time has come to light the fire, froth a steaming cup of hot chocolate, curl up on the couch and peruse through your baking cookbook to find the perfect cookie.

It is time to get your game face on and discover the masterpiece that will wow your friends at the next holiday cookie party exchange.  Simply put, if you have no cookie exchange parties on your horizon then you need to host one.  The benefits outweigh the effort you are about to make.  Number one:  you will have many baked goods to choose from to pass on to your neighbors, boss, coworkers, hairdressers, teachers, garbage men, mail men and don’t forget your favorite barista.  Number two:  a fun project will keep you from the blue mood of winter.  Number three:  you will have endless amounts of sweets to keep you laughing and motivate you to attend the gym an extra day a week.  Overall:  it creates ample opportunities to create community and get you out of your comfort zone.

So, how do you host a Holiday Cookie Exchange party?

GUEST LIST

Start with your guest list.  You can base it on the size of the location, the number of cookies that you want to receive or how many friends you have.  Whatever the reason, take out your handy pen and write down a list of names that you would like to invite and make them bake delicious holiday treats.

INVITATION

This part is very important.  Unlike normal invitations that merely state the date, time and location, this invitation will include very specific instructions.  You will need to include the number of treats that they need to bring.  The next part is where you can get creative.  Adding a creative component to the party helps people let down their guard, open up and express themselves.  Last year, we hosted a cookie exchange based on two primary directives.  One being that the cookies had to be beautifully packaged and secondly each attendee had to come wearing their apron.  These two creative challenges took the party to a whole new level.  Not only did it involve creative brainstorming, but it added a hint of fun competition with a nice prize for the two winners.  Here is an invitation sample.

COOKIE IDEAS

Is your mouth watering yet?  These are Red Velvet Cake Balls from bakerella.com.  These yummy treats are delicious.  Here is the recipe from Bakerella to create this yummalicious treats.  You can take it a step further and make Christmas cake pops.

Aren’t these reindeer cute?  Make sure you carve out some time to create these delightful treats.  Here is the recipe.

Martha Stewart always has some delightful recipes to choose from.

The Exchange

Recently, I found this amazing Holiday Cookie exchange template from thebusybudgetingmomma.com.  For 25.00, you can receive the following:

THIS PACKAGE INCLUDES

  • 2 Cookie Ballots on a 8.5×11 PDF
  •   4 Blank…3.5″x4.5″ Tented Cards (4 different styles) on a 8.5×11 PDF
  • (added fee for numbered tented cards…contact for details.)
  • 4 Award Tags on 2, 8.5×11 PDF’s
  • 10 Pencil Flags on a 8.5×11 PDF
  • 6 Favor Gift Tags on a 8.5×11 PDF

:::CUSTOMIZE YOUR ORDER:::

  1. Customize the date
  2. Customize the message! (example: “Happy Valentines’ Day!”….”Happy New Year!” instead of “Merry Christmas
  3. Customize the colors. choose 2.

The Busy Budgeting mama created this design set and it is available on Etsy.

DON’T FORGET THE FAVORS

Put together a little party gift for your guests.  It could be a simple cookie cutter, a beautiful cookie or mocha mix in a mason jar.  I also liked what the busy budgeting momma offered as a suggestion which is pictured above.

Are you inspired yet to discover your cookie, put on your apron, toss flour everywhere in your kitchen and bake a million cookies?  If so, please let me know what cookie or holiday treat that you would choose to bring to the cookie exchange?  Or better yet revisit this post after your party and tell us how it went.  Happy Baking!

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CAPTURE THEIR ATTENTION & IGNITE THEIR MINDS

(Left:) “I am the left brain. I am a scientist. A mathematician. I love the familiar. I categorize. I am accurate. Linear. Analytical. Strategic. I am practical. Always in control. A master of words and language. Realis…tic. I calculate equations and play with numbers. I am order. I am logic. I know exactly who I am.”

(Right:) “I am the right brain. I am creativity. A free spirit. I am passion. Yearning. Sensuality. I am the sound of roaring laughter. I am taste. The feeling of sand beneath bare feet. I am movement. Vivid colors. I am the urge to paint on an empty canvas. I am boundless imagination. Art. Poetry. I sense. I feel. I am everything I wanted to be.”

 CAPTURE THEIR ATTENTION & IGNITE THEIR MINDS

In Marketing, creativity is key to capturing attention.  What I love about this particular ad is that it takes a common image that we are all universally familiar with and flips it on its head.  If this were a simple image of a brain would it compel you to look at it?  Would it repel you?  Would it cause you to even stop long enough to figure out this was an ad about a Mercedes Benz?  Probably not.

But the beauty of this ad is that it creates an enticing picture that draws you in and then gently reminds you of their brand.  They leave enough ambiguity to allow the reader to discover the branding message within the ad.  Less is more.  Genius creativity.

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How do you eat an elephant?

Most people when confronted with enormous need simply respond by saying to themselves, “I’m just one person, what can I do.”  They feel powerless when measured against the sheer size of the problem.  Many for fear of failure relegate themselves to mere talk instead of effective action because it’s easier to talk about how great the need is and all the possible strategies that could deliver an answer rather than actually stepping out into the uncomfortable and being part of the delivery system.

How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.

Biju Thampy is one man who stepped out.  Biju is from Kerala, which is known for its being India’s most literate state and as well as one of the most prosperous.  At the time, going back and forth between Goa and Mumbai, Biju would see the incredible in-your-face need with fresh eyes but would find himself holding himself back.  Until one day a friend of his told him about a newspaper article that had a picture of a boy lying next to a dog drinking its milk.  The caption on the picture read “This dog is his mother.”  That was it, inaction was no longer tolerable.  Biju felt he must do something.  He couldn’t just go back to his comfortable life in Goa.  He must give of himself in some way to fix this problem.

So, in 2004 Vision Rescue was started to meet the needs of those on the streets of Mumbai.  But where to start and how?  Biju and three others went to Mahim Station, bought a local snack and headed out onto the train platform. They fed six kids.  Only but a drop in the ocean, but that day a ripple was started that has now turned into a large wave.

Soon Vision Rescue began to bring food to Mahim Station daily and every day the numbers of children grew that came seeking a meal.  As the numbers grew so also did Biju’s vision.  Vision Rescue began also delivering food to Matunga Station as well.  As the workers delivered the food each day they noticed that a majority of the kids were addicted to substances and had never received any schooling.  Now feeding these children was not enough.  The cycle had to be broken, so Biju began looking for a space to educate these street children.  It is no small thing to find a place in Mumbai.  Real estate has been on a sky rocket upward trajectory since 2000.  To give an idea, by 2002 the average cost of a home in Mumbai was around 85 times the average annual salary and by 2006 it had climbed to 100 times.  By 2009 Mumbai was the 10th most expensive real estate market in the world barely behind Rome and Singapore.

Instead of, yet again, being overwhelmed by the enormity of the mountain in his path, Biju thought of a creative solution.  That solution was a school bus.  It could be retrofitted into a classroom, where they could also feed the children.  This also delivered another benefit, that of being able to go to multiple locations and reach more kids.  Today Vision Recue has 4 buses that serve as mobile classrooms reaching approximately 1,000 children daily both educating and feeding them.

One of the mobile classrooms/buses

Those early beginnings of giving away some snacks to a few kids on a train platform have now transcended into a veritable need meeting machine all over the city of Mumbai.  Vision Rescue now has several projects that started with Project Darshan, the mobile classroom project, and  now also include Project Jeevandan, a mobile medical and dental clinic, Project Aazadi, that breaks the bondage of addiction through counseling, rehabilitation and skill training, Project Aasra, a daycare for children of sex workers, and Project Aashayein, that gives hope to slum kids through sports.  One man’s generosity has now multiplied multi-dimensionally both in numbers and in ways of meeting individual’s needs.

Project Aasra located in Mumbai’s red light district providing daycare for sex workers’ children

Spending the day with Biju in Mumbai I saw this first hand when we were driving through an area known for its population of street drug addicts on our way to one of the mobile classrooms.  Driving down the busy street I noticed a man laid out on the sidewalk with four or five people squatting down around him.  Now this would not normally be something that would catch your attention in Mumbai, but this particular man laid out on the sidewalk had incense burning on his chest.  I said off the cuff, “That guy looks dead.”  Biju promptly told the driver to stop the car and jumped out into the busy street.  I watched as Biju squatted down next to the dead man and his friends talking with them on a city sidewalk.  When he jumped back into the car he let us know, sure enough, the man had passed away that morning from a drug overdose.  Two things struck me about this situation.  One; that there were two policemen that were standing not far from the dead man barely noticing him and doing nothing.  And two; that as busy as Biju is running Vision Rescue he still has time to be generous giving of himself even to those he doesn’t know and may never see again.  Biju doesn’t just run an organization that is generous, he lives generously himself.

What one bite can you take of an elephant?  What need do you see that you could do something about?  Biju started with one small step.  I don’t think Biju could have dreamt where his one small step would take him and who knows where yours might take you.

If you would like to exercise your generosity and give to Vision Rescue please click on the link below and go to the “How I Can Help” page.  Fill out the form and check the box “I Would Like To Help Financially”.

http://www.visionrescue.org.in/

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Remember being Twitterpated?

It is a lovely spring day.  The air is pristine and clear.  The trees are budding about to open.   A girl sits on a bench reading a book.   A boy sits down next to her pretending to look at his phone.   The girl glances up to discover she is not alone.  Her eyes dart back to the page.  Both of their hearts race.  Inching closer the boy slightly grins glancing out the corner of his eye to see if she could be watching.  The girl blushes struggling to focus on the story.  Their surroundings melt away into the love dream bubble that they are creating together.  The bubble has a name and its name is twitterpated.

Are you scratching your head wondering what in the world is “twitterpated”?

The Urban Dictionary defines it as follows:

  • 1)  To be completely enamored with someone/something
  • 2)  The flighty exciting feeling you get when you think about/see the object of your affection
  • 3)  Romantically excited
  • 4)  The ever increasing acceleration of heartbeat and body temperature as a result of being engulfed amidst the exhilaration and joy of being/having a romantic entity is someone’s life.

Then for those of you who need to see a picture of twitterpated to fully grasp it, here is a scene from Bambi.

It was a moment in time of your first crush, first kiss and first love.  Basically, it was that moment where your heart fluttered just to be in the same room as the next person.  That feeling is unmistakable.  It carries us to the heights of happiness.  Colors seem brighter.  The world appears to be friendlier even what used to be mundane is now super exciting.

Twitterpated can be on a mass scale as well.  Think Justin Bieber… but before The Biebs was The Beatles.

It was August 19th, 1964, the Beatles appeared at the Cow Palace in San Francisco for their first American tour. My mom, who was fourteen years old at the time, and her friend bought new matching gray flannel dresses with red checkered shirts to see the Fab Four.  She noted that the flash bulbs from cameras popped so often that it seemed like daylight during the concert.  That day they sang Twist and Shout, Can’t Buy me Love and A Hard Day’s night along with many others.  Many said that they could not hear one note of music because the volume of screaming fans.

My mother reminisced that she must’ve been in a perfect spot because they heard every note.  The atmosphere was so charged that the screams of the girls actually sounded like a constant jet engine running at full blast.  By the time mother and her friend left the concert they were fully drenched in sweat.  The Beatles were uncertain about their following in the States and what they discovered was a significant amount of fluttering hearts so much so that the fans broke down the barriers and rushed the stage.  That is twitterpated on steroids.

Check out this video of the actual concert my mom went to:

This elated feeling still is alive and kicking today.  A fourteen year old pop singer hit the scene belting out a song called “One Time”.  Who could blame them with lyrics like this?

You are my one love
My one heart
My one life for sure
Let me tell you one time (girl, I love, girl, I love you)
I am tell you one time (girl, I love, girl, I love you)
And I am your number one guy
You’ll be my number one girl always makin’ time for you
I’ma tell you one time (girl, I love, girl, I love you)
I’ma tell you one time (girl, I love, girl, I love you)

This little ditty of a chorus set many young hearts into a twitterpated fever.  Namely Bieber fever.

Granted, love is not all about being twitterpated 24/7, however thanks to love stories, love songs and movie moments you can tap into that emotion and reminisce about days gone by.  Twitterpated is a nice little reminder that it is good to be in love.

Tell us about your first twitterpated moment?

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Meet Kate!

Meet Kate

A little over a year ago, Kate walked into our house.  She walked in with a lot of energy, charisma and charm but found herself in a conundrum.  Only in her late twenties, Kate owned her own catering business and even had her own full kitchen trailer.  It would seem as though not only had she attained a dream, but was living it.

Her company was called Seasonal Palate and she had a 28 foot kitchen on wheels custom built from a Wells Cargo trailer that she went and hauled back to Seattle, WA from Tampa, FL.  Kate was busy providing weekly pre-made meals for families, working farmer’s markets and catering weddings, charity events, films sets and private parties.  Even though she was buying local, supporting local business and leaving a smaller supply chain carbon footprint, Kate still felt that she could do more.

The reason she walked into our house was to go through the Inspire Workshop.  In spite of her success with her small business, she had reached a place where it did not excite her as it once had.  She liked cooking, yes!  But she felt like there were other parts that were missing.  She really didn’t know what she wanted to do.  Like so many others, she had fought to climb a mountain to only find herself atop asking herself why she had chosen that peak to ascend.

Each week of the Inspire Workshop Kate completed each project with the uncertainty of what she wanted to do with her future.  Until one evening, per the project, she painted her dream.

She was a little disheartened because she didn’t know what to do.  So, she drew a picture of the cityscape just to fulfill the project assignment.  Sometimes just doing something helps you find the “one” thing.

In true Kate fashion she held the reveal of the second picture only sharing the mildly disheartening first picture.  Pulling out the second drawing dramatically Kate told her story of the rush of inspiration that lead her to draw it.   She had drawn a room where she could cook and teach.  She felt a spark of inspiration that she had a desire to educate and mentor kids about life skills.  All of the sudden, the once conundrum turned into a fresh new idea.

This happened in the third week of the Inspire Workshop in 2009.  As she went through the subsequent five weeks of the Inspire Workshop that single spark of inspiration began to grab ahold of her.  Now Kate is a girl of action.  Remember, she was only in her late twenties and owned her own business.  So Kate made the decision to go back to school so she could obtain her certification to teach.  Just this summer we received this email from her.

I got hired on at (a local) High School as the Culinary Arts instructor, about 2 weeks before school started!  

I have been flying by the seat of my pants ever since.  Dream Job, but so intense, so much to do, it is a brand new program….

This has got to be what God has been lining me up for all my career.  All my industry experience not only comes into play, but got me the job.  The schooling that I have been doing full time for about a year is exactly what I needed for this job and I will be done with that in December.

They gave me a beautiful Huge room that has a commercial kitchen on one side and a classroom on the other.  Last week I had a delivery of tools and equipment that filled 9 pallets, we are still working on unpacking it all!  The district and school has invested so much in this program and they are very excited about it.  They have given me lots of support, but it’s still on me because no one has ever started a program like this or worked in a kitchen like this.  I love being with the students…  I have 10th, 11th and 12th graders and right now they are all culinary arts 1 students, next semester I will have culinary 2 students as well as culinary 1 students.  

this is all your doing, you know!!!

I will always blame this on inspire!  Life changing.  -Kate

Now you may be asking what exactly is the Inspire workshop.  Well, it is this:  http://inspiredstar.com/inspire/

If you would like to participate in an Inspire Workshop please contact jen@inspiredstar.com

Who knows it may change your life…

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