I am a 36 year old woman who may not live in "The Big City" but I like the little city I live in and there is a lot that goes on around here too! This is a place where anything can happen..or be written about!!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Healing Journey

Before you start to read this blog post I ask one thing of you, to please close your eyes and take a deep breath...it's good for you, I promise!

For the people who know me than you know I have a degenerative hip disease and that I will be having my hip replaced next week, for those of you who don't know me, well now you know ;) The only reason why I am bringing this up is that this blog post stems from my hip journey and how one way I helped myself is by seeing Karin Johnston of The Healing Journey. Karin has been so helpful in reminding me/ making me aware of how important it is to take a deep breath and find the peace and calmness that is always with me. Something that I may forget with all the stress that life may throw at me or the stress I put upon myself. "Alternative" therapy I have found through all my navigation through the medical world has been the MOST helpful for my body and my mind. Karin is not only a Brennan Healing Science Practitioner she is one of the most calming, genuine, and kind people I have ever met. She oozes peacefulness and serenity and she is so easy to talk to, I feel so lucky our paths crossed in this life.
I feel her wisdom and practice can help everyone out, and that is why I wanted to do this interview. I believe this post will be helpful to anyone who takes the time to read it, because we all want to feel our best and create the life we want to live, so get ready to start your journey...my interview with Karin Johnston of The Healing Journey....

S:Why do you think most people do not take the time to take that deep breath and relax throughout the day?
K:From a very early age we are encouraged to 'do' things, we are not encouraged to 'be' so we don't learn how to stop, we don't learn how to be comfortable with silence or how to be present in the moment. Generally, we are planning the next thing or worrying about the future.  We are caught in our identities that who we are is about what we do. When we take a deep breath and relax, if you notice, it gives us access to an aspect of ourselves that is without definition, it is spacious.  It's like when we contract and tighten up when it's cold outside and we would actually feel warmer if we relaxed and let the blood flow.  It's the same in our daily lives.  We unconsciously tighten up and get 'stressed' when we have lots to do when if we took that deep breath and relaxed we would get things done with more clarity and efficiency.

S:What are ways you would suggest to handle daily stress in a more calming way to  help "our bodies" from stress overload?
K:First of all, it's important to get a good nights sleep.  The body repairs and rejuvenates during sleep and I can't say enough about how basic this is for our overall health.  Then, as you mentioned above, begin a practice of stopping during the day to breathe and relax.  Use some kind of reminder, a note on your mirror or in your car.  Put a small stone in your pocket.  Something to remind you to stop for a moment.  Meditation is great to handle stress and it can help us begin or end our day on a calming note.  However, there are practices that are helpful to learn to understand how to meditate. I find most people struggle with meditation thinking it's about getting our minds to stop and meditation turns into just another stress in the day.  I would encourage each person to reflect on what allows them to let go.  Maybe it's a walk in nature or being with an animal or listening to music.  The point is to really be conscious of what you are doing and appreciate the connection with yourself.

S:When did meditation become important in your life and why? How does it help you?
K:I've been meditating on and off for 30 years - more off than on for most of it!  I would say that it is in the last 10 years that meditation has become fundamental and invaluable to my coping with, understanding, and embracing life as it occurs.  This is really a very big question to answer since what I have learned is that it's not me doing meditation.  There is no amount of perfecting the ego or personality that gets it to meditate perfectly - it isn't a function of the ego.  Meditation (for me) is opening to that spaciousness I mentioned, to the awareness that is witness to all the thoughts and emotions and efforting.  Meditation has become the practice that reminds me of this ever-present background of awareness.  I'm still living my life and doing all the things I do ,but I remember it all emanates from something universal.  There are countless teachings about meditation and many benefits to having a meditation practice.  One of the most important is a commitment to wake up.

S:How can a "Healing Journey" experience with you help someone?
K:Another big question!  What have you forgotten about your true nature?  What behaviors do you continue that don't produce the results you want including having more love and joy?  How can you feel supported in dealing consciously with disease or trauma or loss?  What would it be like for you to feel at home in your body?  The possibilities all depend on the client and their willingness to consider that they are more than who they have come to believe they are.  Some session are very quiet and the client experiences a level of relaxation they forgot existed.  Some sessions are about discovering energetic patterns held in the system - a kind of learned reactivity from early childhood - and doing work to break up the patterns.  I work with people pre- and post-surgery to support the whole system in recovery.  In many ways, however, it is less about 'fixing' someone and more about expanding their sense of themselves so that the things that were concerns seem smaller and more manageable when they have access to their enormous capacities.
S:Why do we as humans tend to block our own flow and repeat patterns even though we must know deep down inside that these behaviors could be hurting oneself?
K:As one of my treasured therapists said, "bad design".  Basically she was addressing the human condition.  We are conditioned from day one to get our needs met.  It is unconscious and primitive. It's all about survival at first.  We learn what gets the caregivers and environment to respond.  We develop our identities and we get mirrored for being a certain way.  Mostly we are going towards pleasure and away from pain.  There are lots of patterns or strategies we create and think we need to survive.  By the time we are adults we say, " this is who I am."  It becomes obvious that our lives are not working in some fundamental way and it's hard to imagine that we have the option to be different.   Again, my work is not therapy in the traditional sense.  I'm not trying to fix you though it's important to bring patterns into our awareness.  My work is a partnership with the client in expanding their awareness, and this is not a mind thing - it's a felt sense - that they are the beauty and strength and joy (and many other qualities) that are always present in the spaciousness. We begin to experience that we are multi-dimensional and notice that it includes the structure of the ego, but is not limited to it.  Then we actually start having a choice about the behaviors that are blocking our flow with life.

S:Maybe this is just me, but why does it take work to actually relax?
K:It's back to the first question.  We think we need to do something.  We're used to efforting and controlling and we think that it is our effort that makes stuff happen.  This is easy to misinterpret.  I'm not saying don't work or make plans or set goals.   Maybe the question is, "what do I think will happen (or won't happen) if I let go?"

S:Why do a lot of people feel "stuck" and why is it so hard to get "unstuck"?
K:Again, I don't think there is one answer to this question.  There can be many reasons.  Maybe life seems overwhelming so we put on a brake.  Maybe we've lost track of what really excites and enlivens us.  Maybe we're afraid of change so we stay with something even though we're unhappy.  One area or dimension of my work is with the 'hara' or intentionality.  It makes a big difference to set an intention if we want to get "unstuck."

S:What are the "road blocks" in most peoples journeys in healing themselves?
K:I think the biggest road block is admitting that we want or need healing.  Once people have made it to a session with me they are already moving the journey along, they know they want something to be different.  Two big road blocks are beliefs and identities - who do I take myself to be and what is or isn't possible?  These are rich areas of exploration.

For more Info:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Strike A Pose!

Sarah at Zimman's: Photo By Jennifer Shore Photography
I have been looking so forward to writing this post, because it really was one of those days that was a true treasure/pure fun, so it is exciting to share those moments with others! One of my best friends Jaxson and I were very lucky to be asked by our friend  Jennifer "The Queen of Natural Light Photography" Shore to do a recreation photo shoot. Something a little outside of her box of what she normally does for photos, and since she noticed that Jax and I seem to always like to strike a pose (per our facebook pics) that we would be good candidates as models for her project. It was almost a year in the making due to my hip surgery, but the day actually came.
First we decided on the place for the photo shoot. We threw out ideas of Boston, hotel rooms, and then I suggested my dad's store. My father is owner of  an amazing store that has been in my family for over 100 years http://www.zimmans.com/ . Once you walk inside the doors of Zimman's you could describe it as a "Artist's Dream", so colorful and full of life! Fabrics, furniture, trims, accessories, a playground for adults. The great part is that there are two floors of unique furniture that I thought would be a fun place for a photo shoot. We were all on board with this idea and my father was totally cool with us doing it too.... right on!
Jaxson at Zimman's: Photo By Jennifer Shore Photography
First Part: Wardrobe! I had a few discussions with Jaxson about our wardrobe, but in the end it was every man and woman for themselves...AHHHHHHHHH! I couldn't even go shopping! It all came together so fast plus you throw in the fact that I was recovering from hip surgery #4 and was on crutches, so shopping was off the table; so I shopped my closet. I truly felt nothing I had was what I wanted to wear for this photo shoot. In my head I had the perfect outfits, but in reality I had my closet, and I had to work with what I had. I narrowed it down to 5 outfits. The next morning Jaxson helped me narrow it down to three. If I could go back in time I would have like to have worn different clothes..but as they say, " clothes don't make the person a person makes the person" and I was ready for my close up with whatever I had on! ;)
Sarah at Zimman's: Photo By Jennifer Shore Photography
Besides being one of my best friends, Jaxson is also an amazing hair stylist at Karen Sutton Hair Studio (26 Hawkes St Marblehead Ma #781- 631- 7603). After my first go around with my hair on my own Jaxson came over and made the perfect Jaxson touch ups with my straightening iron (like magic my hair all of sudden  rocked...thanks Jaxson xoxo) , and then in a "flash" we were off to Zimman's.

Self Portrait at the end of the evening before I took off my beautiful make-up by Manda of MandaMonium
 Next Up: Make-up! My enchanting friend Manda came in to save the day! Manda is not only a lovely person she is also a true make-up genius! Manda kindly did me a great favor and did my make-up for the photo shoot. No one can do eyes like Manda...just saying:)! http://www.facebook.com/MandaMoniumMakeup
Manda came in and got started right away. We went with my fave look...Big Eyes! Which meant some fun false eyelashes (I wish I could put these on myself because I would wear them everyday;) ), and complimentary colors to go with this photo shoot. 
Honestly I felt like  a movie star with my hair all shiny, sitting in a chair with my make- up artist gossiping about all kinds of stuff, and waiting for my turn for my close up!  Everyone should get themselves a moment like this! It is pure unadulterated pleasure, and why not, we all deserve to be made to feel like a Queen or King for a day!
Sarah and Jaxson at Zimman's: Photo By Jennifer Shore Photography
PHOTO SHOOT! I honestly said at the end of the day to Jennifer and Jaxson "This was by far one of the most perfect days I have ever had". To begin I LOVE everything that has to do with photography! This was the first time where I got to let go of the camera and just have fun on the other side with someone else doing all the work. I can look at photographs for hours on end (and I do) especially photos of people. It was a true adventure getting to be one of those people being captured forever on film by a professional photographer. It hit all my hot buttons; being artistic, being "girly", and playing with pictures!  Jennifer split the photo shoot up into a few different sections (we took about 500 photos that day):
1. Jaxson with "Day Clothes"
2. Sarah with "Day Clothes"
3. Jaxson with "Night Clothes"
4. Sarah with "Night Clothes"
5. Jaxson and Sarah by Day
6. Jaxson and Sarah by Night (or the after hours shots ;)

Sarah at Zimman's: Photo By Jennifer Shore Photography
Sarah at Zimman's: Photo By Jennifer Shore Photography
"Striking a pose" for a day was a lot different than I imagine it to be. How do I hold my body, what do I do with my face, arms, legs, and eyes. What is my most flattering angle.  How do I look more natural in an unnatural setting with out looking too "posey".  How do I work the furniture/scenery around me and how do I pose with someone else. Plus I had the extra issue of my injured hip, so I couldn't swing my body around as much as I would have wanted too (to get different angles and play with the furniture more, but I had to work with what I had working at the time ;). It was interesting, you can actually feel in your body when something was working and when something wasn't; I guess you can call it photography intuition. There were definitely moments during the day where things felt like I couldn't "make it work", and then all of sudden you make a few small changes, and I was making it work and then some ;) By the end of the night I felt Jaxson and I finally hit a stride that was unstoppable...we were in the super zone, and so was Jennifer. The store was closing soon and Jennifer said at that moment, "I could do this all night".. Jaxson and I felt the same way!
Sarah and Jaxson at Zimman's: Photo By Jennifer Shore Photography
To see more photos from this photo shoot you can check my "Jennifer Shore Photography Photo Album" on Facebook (more photos will be added as time goes on:) ): http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sarah-in-The-City/139427642735530

To see this talented photographer in action check out Jennifer Shore Photography's website: http://www.jennifershore.com and http://www.jennifershore.com/blog
Sarah at Zimman's: Photo By Jennifer Shore Photography

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"She Walks In Beauty"

Getting Ready For My Video Close Up (Photo By Sarah)
Delvis: The Star (Photo By Sarah)

I got to be a video vixen for a day...well ok maybe not a video vixen; I was fully clothed, and wasn't rolling around doing gymnastics on top of cars, or shaking "my stuff", BUT I got to be "the girl" in a music video..sweet!!
This post is a little different than my others for two reasons:
1. It will be the first time I am doing a reflective piece plus an interview with two people in one post!
2. It will be the first time an official music video is premiered on my blog..YAY!

So Let The Fun Begin! Rock On!

S: How did this song come to be?
Delvis: Sometimes I write songs that are inspired by title's of books or poems. This song was one of them. I was reading Lord Byron's" She Walks In Beauty", and it resonated with my song writing instincts. I then Googled "She Walks In Beauty" and discovered there are many other people who were just as inspired as I was to write a song around that title ;).  I wrote this song in 2005 and recorded it in 2006. It really is cool to see it in a video format now after all this time. I actually was going to leave this song off the album, because I was self conscious of my falsetto voice in it, but then my friend Fran always said it was his favorite song from the recording session (Fran McConville Jr
plays lead guitar on this track, as well as the other songs on my album), so it went on as the last song...glad it did!
Delvis in the video "She Walks In Beauty"

S:Why did you want to make this video Gary?
Gary: I heard Delvis’ album and really enjoyed it. There was something in particular about “She Walks in Beauty” that struck a nerve with me. It carries so much emotion and has a universality to it that works well as a visual story. That being said, I have to give credit where it’s due: I think it was my brother who actually suggested I make the music video. I contacted Delvis…and well… here we are. 

Sarah and Gary in "She Walks In Beauty" videoGary: Director and the "other man" in the video
S: Can you tell my readers what this music video is about?
Gary: It’s about the relationship between a guy and his girlfriend that falls apart. The girlfriend gets into an accident, and needs to be taken care of while she recovers. He stays with her at first, but gets tired of the responsibility, and misses out on the freedoms that other people have.  He finally decides to leave her, and ends up deeply regretting it. Unfortunately, it’s too late since she is with someone else, and would probably not forgive him for leaving her at such a difficult time. 

Gary Filming! (Photo By Sarah)

Doing this video was such an exciting project for D, because he could put his music out there in another creative art form. It was exciting for me, because I was proud/excited for D to put his music in a video format. I felt truly honored when D asked me to be a part of it (thank you so much D...you are the sweetest xoxo)! I also felt Gary "our leader" into the video world was also excited about this adventure. It was a fun creative trio, and it was really all laughs making this video, which makes the creative process even more enjoyable! Of course I toted my camera around to capture these moments!
Gary: The Leader/Director
Kitchen Scene  (Photo By Sarah)

Gary and D spent two days shooting footage of D singing around Salem (I didn't get to see what they did until the first viewing, and they rocked it). I came in on the third day of the shoot, which we spent all day working on.We shot in quite a few locations.One location was in front of Salem Hospital (accident scene), but you won't see the hospital in the video, but just know it was there ;).We shot at D's parent's house in Salem (the bedroom scene..LOL ;) ). We also shot the "kitchen scene" and our "fight scene" (where D and I had to put on our acting chops, because we never fight ;)) at our apt in Salem (now it is our old apt since we moved, but it will always be there to see on film..Awww!) . This is also where I cooked an actual full on tofu and mixed vegetable meal for the video (so appreciate the 3 seconds of footage of it ;)), but we all did get to have dinner that night!
It was a loooooooong day, but an unbelievably enjoyable day too! I got my first chance at acting (which was so much freaking fun..don't worry I am not going to go all "Hollywood" on you guys.....yet! ;)), and doing it with my boyfriend just made it even more delightful (even though I wasn't allowed to hardly wear make-up for this shoot..talk about stress ;))! We also made a new friend (shout- out to Gary), and just had a truly enjoyable artistic day!
My favorite video still moment from "She Walks In Beauty"

S:How did you start being a filmmaker?
Gary: I always had a thing for entertainment and the arts. I guess I watched a lot of TV as a kid and grew up having visions of doing creative work. When I was around ten years old, I set up a makeshift studio in my living room and taped fake newscasts about the breaking “news” happening in my family life. During high school, I filmed shows and edited documentaries using the school’s equipment and continued to do so throughout college. After I graduated, I briefly lived in New York City where I interned for The Colbert Report.

Me Rockin With The Wind! (Photo By Sarah)
(Photo By Sarah)
The Boys Getting Their Shot! (Photo By Sarah)
The second shoot I did with them was 3 months later, and we got a perfect day, sunshine and all. Devereux Beach in Marblehead was the location (it was my first time there since last summer). The water was sparkling, the sky was so blue, and there was a lot of wind which ended up making for some good video footage, as well as some fun photo's ops for me too :).  The last part of the video actually didn't take that long to film. We have been talking about it for months, so we pretty much new the shots we were looking for. Lets just put it this way, it took longer for me to do my own hair and make-up than it took to film on our last day of shooting. ;) I was so impressed how this footage came out...especially the very last scene in the video!!!

S:What did you learn from making this video?           
Gary: First, you don’t need a huge budget to make a quality piece of work, just some smoke and mirrors! Honestly, I’m proud to say we got this project done for just under $100,000! Seriously though,  I definitely learned to take advantage of the serendipitous moments of the process. When we were filming at the beach, it was so windy that I was getting sand blown in my eye every two seconds, and was nervous about having the sand get in the camera. But in the end,  it turned out great, the wind made the scene more alive and interesting!

S:What are your goals with your film making?
Gary: I would love to have more chances to get projects made and work with creative and talented people .  I can’t really expect much more.  Trying to get “famous” is like saying you want to learn to be charismatic;  you have no control over how your work is received by the public.   The best you can do is produce and create as much as you can and stay true to the vision.  If something big happens along the way, it’s a great reward, but more like a by-product of hard work.

Waiting for my turn on camera...no trailer (yet) just a Toyota Corolla ;) (Photo By Sarah)

Me and D (Photo By Sarah)
The process to make this video started in January 2011, but due to a very crazy snowy winter we didn't finish the video shoot until April 2011. In the end the change of seasons in the video make it even cooler, so it was worth the wait for the sunshine (and for the ALL the snow to melt). It really helped show the passage of time.

Gary came over the apt a few days ago with the finished video and I think I watched it eight times in a row (I could have watched it a lot more, but I think the boys had enough of the replay). I was so impressed with the creative talents of D and Gary, and felt very proud to be a part of the process.

It was funny after watching the video numerous times I realized
"Music Baby"
my brown sweatshirt I wear in a few scenes says "Music Baby". I literally had no idea it said that. I just grabbed an old sweatshirt, because they said to be as "un-glamourous" as I can be, just like if I was really going to the hospital. On another note before all my hip surgeries I have always made it a point to get my hair done the day before. I don't think going to the hospital means you always have to look awful ;)! I ended up giving a shout out to music, while in a music video, without even knowing it!

Final Shot Of Video! (Photo By Sarah)

S:How did you feel after seeing your video for the first time?

Delvis  (Photo By Sarah)
Delvis: It seemed surreal! It was like I was watching an MTV video, because the quality was excellent! For those of you under the age of 25 MTV actually use to have videos instead of all "un-reality" TV;). Perhaps you will be the new "Video Vixen" who will bring back the love of music videos. ;) I felt really proud of it, and of the whole experience. I felt really grateful that Gary wanted to make my song into a video!

S: How did you feel working with Gary as a Director/Filmmaker?
Delvis: It was a pleasure to work with him, because he was very open-minded to suggestions, and just had a very easy going attitude throughout the process. He understood the importance of letting the creativity flow naturally. 

S:How was it working with Delvis and I ;)?
Gary: Spectacular!  We did a couple days just with Delvis, and a couple with the two of you (and Sky, the dog).  I had a good time with you guys, and everything went smoothly!

S:Delvis do you have anything else to say to the world before people click on the link below to see your first music video :)!
Delvis:I would like to thank Sarah, Gary, Sky, and Vadim for devoting their time and energy to make this video happen. I would also like to give a special thanks to Lord Byron, because without him the song would not have been written and the video would not have been shot. May his spirit continue to walk in beauty. Oh yeah, you can also click on the iTunes link below and make "She Walks In Beauty" the #1 single on iTunes...hey why not! ;)

Well gang that's a wrap! Another thing I can check off of my bucket list..."Video Vixen"; Check! ;) Congratulations D on your first music video!!!

Lights, Camera, Action! (Photo By Sarah)

Me And The Director (Photo By Sarah)

*TO SEE THE VIDEO "SHE WALKS IN BEAUTY" CLICK HERE! http://vimeo.com/23670585
*To hear Delvis's Song "She Walks in Beauty" and the rest of his "The Road Is My Home" Cd you can find it on iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-road-is-my-home/id389712354 
*You can also find Delvis's music, gigs, and live videos on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/DELVIS/129241610441998

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Isaaks of Salem/ The Mead Man Of Salem Massachusetts!

Ian Bennett The Mead Man Of Salem (photo from Isaaks Of Salem)
After a long day at work or relaxing on a beautiful summer's night, spending a night out or in with friends, or snuggling up with someone special by a fireplace, whatever the situation might be most of the time having a really nice glass of wine is a nice way to cap off these moments. It isn't always easy to find that right wine let alone find it being made in the city/town you live in, but here in Salem we don't have to look any further for that really good bottle of wine..I have found it! ;) Isaaks Of Salem is a local wine that is also quite delightful to the taste!

Meet Ian Bennett the "Mead Man" of  Salem, Massachusetts! Ian is originally from Rhode Island, but now he is a Salem man!  After learning about honey wine in college, he decided someday he would try to learn how to make it.  The opportunity came up for Ian around the time he moved to Salem and started making it in his basement. 

This was 5 years ago, but soon the hobby grew to be much larger than he wanted to handle at home.  So after his first few larger batches, the winery was founded on October 30th 2009.  He searched for all of the equipment, searched for a good space to produce the wine, and searched for the perfect honey for their local honey wines all winter of 2009 and 2010.  He finally found a space in March of 2010 that was perfect for his small micro winery in Beverly MA just by the train station.

Ian With His Mead!(photo from Isaaks Of Salem)
He then scoured all of Massachusetts for the best Honey he could find. He  opened up a Partnership with MVABeepunchers, and they get all of their honey from this exclusive source.  There bee's forage in the Merrimack Valley and produce a wonderfully delightful sweet honey that he turn's into Isaaks Of Salem.

With honey and all the other ingredients required for wine making at hand, his first fermentation started on June 30th 2010.  It was their Dry Honey Wine and it went great.  Isaaks Of Salem was ready in November 2010 for distribution.

So lets raise a glass... my interview with the mead man is here!!! Meet the man behind the wine....my interview with Ian Bennett!

Having A Delicious Glass Of Isaaks Of Salem Dry Honey Wine (Photo By Sarah)
S:How did your love affair with wine first begin?

I:When I was in college I read A LOT of fantasy novels.  Lord of the Rings, A Game of Thrones (way before the tv show), and many other books.  They almost always had Mead or Honey Wine in the stories's as a way for the characters to celebrate.  I wondered what this beverage was, because I could never find it anywhere.  Then one night it was on the menu at an English Pub in Rochester NY called The Old Toad.  It was being served mulled (hot), but I was so excited to try it!  However I was REALLY disappointed.  After all these mentions of mead in the books I read, and the references to mead being a drink of the gods, I couldn't believe the drink I had was even from the same planet as what was written in my books that I loved.  I then learned how to make my own from "GotMead.com" (It's a homebrew site, but dedicated completely to mead), and after my first Joe's Ancient Orange, I was 100% hooked on the hobby.

Isaaks Of Salem Dry Honey Wine is a big white wine. It is dominated by big honey overtones to create a real white wine with substance. (Photo By Sarah)

Me and My Isaaks Of Salem Wine (Photo By Sarah)

S:What is the different in taste between honey wine vs grape wine?
 I:Honey Wine has a distinctly stronger flavor in most cases.  Grape wine (especially white-style grape wine) is usually a light, crisp, flavor profile.  Honey Wine can be made cleanly, but it does have a stronger flavor than grape wine.  The comparison can be similar to the nationally distributed beer like Bud Light and Sam AdamsSam Adams has more flavor than Bud Light.  The same thing can be said (in general) about honey wine vs grape wine. 
S: What made you decide to move to Salem?
I:My wife and I have been living in Salem for 4.5 years now.  We purchased our home on Cross St., because of it's proximity to the ocean, and the great downtown atmosphere.  There is just so much going on in Salem, and we wanted to be part of it all. 
S:What was the turning point for you in your head where your hobby of making honey wine became more than just a hobby?
I: I actually wrote a blog post about this, and you should be able to find it here: http://content.corkd.com/2010/03/03/from-hobby-to-career-the-journey-of-a-honey-wine-producer/ . Somehow I just knew I wanted to try and show more than a few family friends what could be done with local New England fruit and honey.  The slogan of our company or it's catch phrase is on all our business cards.  "Turning the Fruit and Honey of New England into local wine".  It is taking what New England has to offer, and making it into something truly special that you can preserve, treasure, and enjoy with friends.
Relaxing while taste testing the wine! :) (Photo By Sarah)
S:This may be a "silly" question, but what made you decide that  "Isaaks Of Salem" would become your winery name? Picking a name for anything I find is more challenging than one may think...
I:That is a good question.  We were sitting around the living room in October of 2009 trying to name the company.  My mom was there and she pitched out Isaaks of Salem, because my great grandfathers middle name was Isaac.  I thought that was a great idea, and named the company after his middle name.  I was then on the phone a few weeks later (after doing a lot of the paperwork) with my grandmother, and when I shared the good news that we named the company Isaaks of Salem after Pop (my grandfather) she said "Pop's middle name was not Isaac, it was Isiah."  I almost died laughing, and just rolled with it.  So, that is how we got our name, it's no one in my family, it's not anyone I know, but it has stuck around.

(photo from Isaaks Of Salem)
S: Now that is funny!  
S:Where would you like to see Isaaks Of Salem..5 years from now?What is your main goal for your wine/winery?What would be your dream future for you and your wine?

I:The goal of the winery in 5 years is to be my full-time job.  Now that I have said that, let's get to the 'but'....it appears that the 5 year plan may be closer to achieving than I thought, and also further away than I thought.  Every hour I put into the winery right now, comes out of time I could have spent with my wife and son. They are the #1 priority in my life, and so if I were to make a go at doing the winery full-time, I need to consider how hard that would be on them.  How much time I would loose from my family.  The success of the winery is very important to me, I think I have the skills, experience and capabilities to make the winery my full-time job, but it is the time that's required to make that happen that has me wondering what may happen to me and my family in 5 years.
Love This Wine! (Photo By Sarah)
S:Why should people pick up a bottle of your wine over another bottle of wine?
I:The reason anyone buys a bottle of wine is to have a good time and explore new flavors.  Sharing that bottle with friends, sitting by a campfire, breathing in the hot summer night, that is my perfect 'good-time'.  A bottle of Isaaks of Salem gives our friends and fans a great local story to tell.  It is not well known, and not many people have tried any of our wine yet. The local story, and the passion for exploring new wines is why people pick up a bottle of Isaaks of Salem.  It is something you have never had before. The local story of honey from Massachusetts,and all the hard work the bee's and the bee-keepers do, and then comes my part. All of us together make the wine truly enjoyable.
S:What has been your biggest challenge with starting a winery?
The Three Meads! (photo from Isaaks Of Salem)
I:The biggest challenge in starting the winery was finding equipment with very little money.  If you want to buy our setup from a retailer of wine making equipment it would cost around 14,000 dollars.  That is a pretty nice used car, or a solid NEW car.  Never-mind the rent money and all the little costs that creep up, or finding honey from a reliable local supplier.  We needed to get all that equipment to make 800 gallons of wine for around 4,000 dollars. Our equipment is all hand assembled and hand-built.  We have an Window AC-Unit that was converted into a chiller for our tank.  A commercial one with the same capabilities costs about $3,000.  We had a guy on a PC-Overclocking forum build ours (custom EVERYTHING) for around $900.  All our equipment is like that.  We picked up a 1k gallon stainless steel tank for $1000 at a scrap yard, and then I spent 3 months inside the tank (think giant bell) grinding away at the steel with palm sander to make it sanitary again.  We use recycled HDPE tanks that were once used to ship natural flavors and mineral oils for bulk storage containers.  It takes a lot of careful planning to find all this equipment, because no one else makes mead, no one else has the equipment (at least not anyone within 600 miles).

I really like how on the back of the wine bottles it
give you food pairing and glassware recommendations
as well as a description of the wine
(photo from Isaaks Of Salem)
S:What has been your biggest reward so far from opening up your own winery (what has made you feel the most successful so far)?

I:The biggest reward so far, was having my wife join me in the company to help improve our communication with our Facebook fans.  Working with her, learning more about how well she communicates (and how poorly I do it) has been incredibly rewarding.  Probably the best part!
The second best reward is a project we are doing with The Gathering in Salem.  Phil the pastor of the church asked me to come in and do a mead day in the church.  So we helped people in the church make their own batch of mead at Christmas time, and we are cracked open the first bottles after the Easter Sunday service for the congregation.  The whole batch was made, fermented, aged, and bottled all in the church. It was a GREAT time for everyone, and very rewarding for me to be able to share my knowledge and experience with the members of the congregation.

CHEERS!!!! (Photo By Sarah)

(Photo By Sarah)

http://blog.isaaksofsalem.com     (the most general information)
http://blog.isaaksofsalem.com/p/video.html   (video work that we have done)
http://isaaksofsalem.myshopify.com    (our digital tasting room and online store)
http://www.facebook.com/isaaksofsalem  (our facebook account)
http://www.twitter.com/isaaksofsalem    (our twitter account)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

North Shore Folk Festival: SALEM!

Bring on the music!!! This year I am lucky to be able to be a part of the North Shore Folk Festival here in Salem Massachusetts! Pretty much everyone who knows me knows I have a passion for music (and musicians as well; wink wink). I was so excited when my friend John Kane asked me if I would like to help out as a volunteer this year for the 3rd annual folk festival here in Salem. I truly jumped at the chance. It is fun to be a part of something in your community..especially something you feel animated about!
I met the gifted artist/musician John Kane through my BF the also quite talented musician Delvis. Actually the first time I met John Kane I was just recovering from my 2nd hip surgery, and I was going to see Delvis's gig at the Front Street Coffeehouse .I was only a few weeks post surgery, so I was still on crutches and this kind guy open the door for me. Not only did he offer to keep the door open, but he offered to carry me in as well, and that is what started off a very lovely friendship (D told him I will be the girl on crutches, so he knew ahead of time it was me). Since then D and I have joined John and his beautiful and quite witty wife Jennifer to the holy lands of Bethel NY to the site of the Festival of all Festivals Woodstock (I blogged about this in a previous post..you can go check out that "crazy/fun" experience under Peace, Love, and now some more Understanding!"). 
There is nothing like a day of music to help bring a community together, a place where families can share the love of music with their children, where friends can meet up, a place to discover new musicians who may become your new faves. It's always fun to have a celebration and that truly what this festival is all about...a celebration of music, art, and community....something we should do more of! 

So I am very excited for May 7th to let festivities begin! So lets the get to the interview with the man behind the curtain, the guy who puts festive in festival...John Kane!

S: What inspired you to start this festival 3 years ago?
J: "I had always envisioned myself facilitating an event like this,one that combines both art, music and literary elements. Being a musician and visual artist... it just seemed like a natural extension of my talents"

S: Why did you choose Salem as the location?
J:"I love Salem! Old Town Hall seemed like the perfect venue for this caliper of music. Hopefully if  NSFF grows I may expand it to a larger ,outdoor, or even expanded mulit-day experience. I called it the North Shore Folk Festival for a reason as we may see it surface in other towns on the North Shore"

S: In your eyes what makes this festival special?
J:"I don't know...maybe my love for good storytelling, as well as American  and traditional folk music? Storytelling is so important in music...people forget that. I also pay extra special attention to the talent of the performers and I hope that shows. I really want families to enjoy themselves without having to spend a ton of money ...as we all know you can't see a show these days under $50.00"

S: What can we expect this year from the 3rd annual festival?
J:"Well we have Mike and Ruthy as headliners. They are both two very talented individuals from Woodstock NY.We also have two strong local acts with a fair following...the Willows and Delvis. Adam Rothenberg is also another amazing addition this year"

S:Can you share some moments from previous NSFF festivals that stand out in your mind that make you excited to keep on doing this?
J:"Last year one act decided to play extremely drunk and plugged in..not cool...but what can you do? On a much more positive note...the response from musicians and festival goers letting me know how much they enjoy the event...there are so many who want to play"

S:What are your long term goals for this festival in the future?
J:"To have it be an outdoor three day festival...I would at least like to try it out!! I would also like to see it impact the community on a much larger scale. For example this year we are hosting a food can drive for LifeBridge of Salem (formerly Salem Mission) if folks bring 2 cans of non-perishables to the event they get $2 off of admission.

S:What do you personally love about music? 
 J:"Its deep connections to the human psyche" 

S:How did you go about choosing the acts this year to perform?
J:"Extensive listening... its a one day show so its tough" 

S:Why should people attend the festival this year?
J:"To support local arts and music...what would we do without these two elements in our community? NSFF is a family friendly event we are proud of that as well. Its also a fun and memorable event"

S: What does it take to put on a festival like this? 
 J:"One guy....me...John Kane"
Its a labor of love...that's all I have to say.Although I have a few very nice people helping NSFF along the way!  Thank You to our Sponsors: Boston Web Studio, Zimman's Fabric and Furniture, Kappys of Peabody, Modern Millies, The Howling Wolf, and Creative Ink.

Performers This Year:
Mike and Ruthy
Mark Mandeville and Rianne Richards
The Willows
Avi Jacob
Adam Rothenberg
Thea Hopkins
Doug Kwartler
Maggie Mackay
Outrageous Fortune
US Sam (MC)
George Jack (Poet)

**Also For all things NSFF (the official website): http://www.northshorefolkfestival.com

You can also purchase Tickets through me (Sarah) by shooting me an email at delvisbooking@gmail.com

You can "Friend" Northshore FolkFestival on Facebook

More about John Kane: http://johnkanestudios.wordpress.com/

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Lucky Amy!

G'Day Mates! I am so excited about this blog post! Not only do we all get to live vicariously through my good friend's amazing and life changing experience,  but I believe she will truly inspire you with her story...it absolutely inspired me!

"Lucky Country" is one of the nicknames for Australia, so I decided to call this post "Lucky Amy", because she got to go to her dream destination of Australia.......with OPRAH!

There are not many people in this world who are given an all expense paid trip to Australia, let alone during this trip be put up in some of the most stunning hotels, go swimming at the Great Barrier Reef, get to see U2 Live in concert, as well as get served dinner by the famous Australian chef Curtis Stone and a large group of handsome men in their swimsuits on the heavenly Whitehaven Beach, as well as hold a koala bear, beat world records, and get to meet Academy Award winning actors like Russel Crowe, and so much more .....and do all of this with Oprah Winfrey! Well "I kid you not", my good friend Amy Strike got to do just that, and being her friend for almost 14 years I can say without a doubt  that she deserved a trip like this! Amy is a truly lovely, thoughtful, easy-going, and fun person; I like it when exceptional things happen to exceptional people!

There will be no "croc" in this conversation! I am so looking forward to "chew the fat" with an "ace" of a friend who got to have a real adventure in the land of Oz! So throw on your ruby slippers and get ready to live vicariously through this "sheila"! My interview with Amy Strike one of the 302 people who got to go on Oprah's Ultimate Australian Adventure!

S:How did you get to go to Australia with Oprah?
A:One of my BFF’s, Erika is a huge Oprah fan - she really takes the Oprah message to heart in her day to day life. Once I had my girls, I found that I couldn’t watch the show as religiously as I once had, but I could always count on Erika to let me know when there were “not to be missed episodes” sitting in my DVR. When Oprah announced her search for her “Ultimate Viewers.” I knew Erika had to apply. When I thought of someone who had truly “gotten it” - Erika was it. I was delighted when I heard she had finally submitted her essay, a “thank you” to the woman who had been a mentor to her. I was even more delighted when I heard she had been invited to the show in Chicago and could bring a guest. She had invited her friend, who had also spent hours watching Oprah, living the message and sharing the joy. I was so incredibly happy for them to be heading to Chicago and loved hearing the story of the producers calling them.
While we were in Australia, Oprah said, “None of you are here by accident.” She was referring to the hours her team had spent reviewing the submissions from Ultimate Viewers (we refer to ourselves as UV’s!!!), but I knew at that point, we were all there for a reason. Erika’s friend could not go to Chicago with her and with just over a week to plan, Erika asked if I would consider a 3 day trip to the windy city. Would I???? A chance to sit in those red seats was something I could never pass up. When I got my own call from the producer, I literally jumped up and down on my bed - I’m pretty much convinced this will be my then-3-year old daughters first memory of me!!!
Erika and I chose to stay at the Hilton Hotel, where President Obama spent election night and we knew the moment we walked into that historical hotel, that we were in the middle of an amazing journey. We thought that journey was two haggard Moms getting away for a couple of days….little did we know……
The night before the taping (at this point, we had no idea that the taping was anything other than a “regular show”), Erika and I were about to board a boat tour of Chicago. We were dreaming that we might be going to a “give-away” show. I asked Erika, if she offers to make a dream come true, what will you choose?” Erika said she would choose to go to Asia. I said I would choose to go the Great Barrier Reef. Hmmmmm….

S:What is Oprah really like? Anything surprise you about her?
A:When I got back from Chicago, I remember telling people, “she is just real.” In between taping, she spoke to us, and was just a real person. Bottom line….she is amazing! In Australia, when we were at events with Oprah, some people were really assertive about meeting her, I wasn’t comfortable with that, so I definitely held back and didn’t push for the face time. However, each time she spoke to us, whether as a small group or all 302 of us, she was inspirational. I will cherish those memories of seeing her in person and I know that each speech changed me in some way. Erika is a lot like me and didn’t want to push and “bother” Oprah. We were blessed to meet Joann, who among our group of Ultimate Viewers, was the Ultimate Mom, and she pulled Erika over to Oprah to take a photo. I was privileged to be the “official photographer!” It was the least I could do for my friend who made my Australian dream come true!
The day we were flying back, about half of us headed to the airport in Sydney. I have to say, I was “all-in” during the trip and had given 110% to every activity, not willing to let a single moment of this opportunity pass me by, but by the time I got to the airport, I was done. We were taken to an area outside of our gate and there was tons of security and airport “brass” wandering around. The airport chaplain started a conversation with Erika and ended it with, “you are about to get a very special visitor.” Okay, time to put on some lipstick and see if I can rally!!!
Sure enough, Oprah arrives and stands at our gate so that as each of us is boarding the plane, we get a few minutes to speak with her. Why is this amazing? She had made it clear the night before that her “work” part of the trip was done. She was heading to Fiji with Steadman and was officially on vacation. I felt as though she was there for us, not for the show.
What surprised me is how much she affected me. I guardedly tell people that this trip was an almost "religious experience" for me. The reason for this is that bottom line, I want to be a better person. When I say I “guardedly” tell people this, it is because I know not everyone gets the whole “Oprah” thing (my husband included). One of the times she spoke to us, she talked about how we all have a “talk show.” Her message was, if you’re a teacher, let your classroom be your talk show. If you are a home maker, let your home be your talk show. We all have something to share and something to give. It had been a while since I remembered that and this is the beauty of Oprah. She isn’t making this stuff up - she is a conduit for all of us, including a mom from NH, to be reminded of the beauty and the power of each of our lives. For one hour each day, she feeds us the best of what is out there in personal growth and gives us the opportunity to move on and make dinner, or hold on to what she said and change our lives a little bit.

S: What were your top 3 favorite things about Australia?
A: 1. By far the people! Beginning with our flight attendant on Qantas, a lovely woman from Melbourne who told us to make sure we didn’t refer to our “fanny” while in Australia (in Aussie speak, this is a part of the female anatomy, to quote Seinfeld, it rhymes with Mulva….). Even the guys in the pub who “heckled” us as we were on our boutique shopping tour, yelling out “you go, girl!” everyone was just delightful. At times I was convinced they were hiring people to be around us, there is no way that people are that nice and that good looking!
2. The Beauty! I got to see one of the natural wonders of the world, and I am forever changed by it. In addition to the Great Barrier Reef, we were at this phenomenal beach (Whitehaven Beach) which is so clearly a protected resource, there were no houses lining the shore, the water was pristine and you felt that it was a point of pride for the Australian people. One of the things I really want to pay forward is that sense of pride in the natural resources that we have. This was even evident in Sydney, which despite being a bustling city is immaculately clean and crowned by the Taronga Zoo which celebrates the wildlife of Oz.
3. Attitude! One of the things that got air time on the shows was the quote about Australians “working to live, not living to work.” I think that the Australian people take themselves a lot less seriously than we do and put their “me time" first. One way this was evident was in how much they enjoyed the beauty around them, they were so proud to be where they were. I think there is also a live and let live attitude. When we finished the regatta, we went to a beautiful harbor-side restaurant for a brunch. As Russell Crowe was leaving, he stopped and chatted with a few of us and was just so friendly and real. And then, he just walked home…..can you imagine that happening in LA? This also happened with Olivia Newton-John who was on our flight home, even at LAX, she was waiting at the baggage carousel with the rest of us!

S:What were your top 3 favorite moments of your trip and why?
1.Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef - simply because it was a dream come true. I was like a child that day. I could not wait to get into the water and literally only came out long enough to eat a quick lunch. The reef is amazing, my favorite memory of that day (aside from the sea turtles and "Nemo fish"), is snorkeling over a part of the reef where I looked down and felt like I was looking over the Grand Canyon. It just went on forever, it was truly amazing!
2.Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb- Who wouldn’t love to break a world record??? I was so glad that we got to do this activity, it was amazing to see Sydney from that vantage point. I was a bit nervous (that bridge is high), but a lot of people had real fears of heights that they overcame to be a part of this event, and that was really inspirational.
3.Regatta - I loved stepping outside of my comfort zone and doing something that I hadn’t done before. It was really fun to help sail the boat, and being in a small group with those awesome UV’s was always a treat.

S:What do you feel that you took away from this experience that will stay with you forever?
A:Oprah told us (and I’m quoting from memory here so bear with me) “Don’t let this be the best thing that has ever happened to you.” This was a huge A-HA moment for me. I have had a string of tough things happen in the past few years and this trip was a true miracle for me, a reset button to remind me that good things really do happen. Once she said that, I realized that it was just the beginning. It reminded me of when I graduated from college and felt that anything was possible. Here I was, a mom of two girls who works from home (I literally live in my sweat pants), and I am on the other side of the world with Oprah. It reminded me of how powerful we all are when we believe in who we are. I don’t yet know what this experience means for me, but I know that Australia was just the beginning of something!

S: Did you get to"live like a celebrity"? And if yes, how so?
A:Yes! One thing that was kind of strange was that we were followed by papparazi. Australian paparazzi is very tame compared to American paparazzi, but it was still bizarre to be followed by cameras wherever we went. My family back home was finding me in news clips that I did not even know were being broadcast! Another thing that made me feel like a celeb was the fact that I was able to jump off the treadmill of my life for a full 8 days. Any adult can relate to this, but especially moms - I did not have to make a single decision for the entire trip. I had people lined up at the airport telling me which way to turn. I had buses lined up to bring me to my next destination. I never had to decide which restaurant to eat at, which activity to attend…it was all done for me. We had a group from “Event Architects” (we called them Blue Shirts, not very original, this is what they were wearing) who literally handled every single decision for us…amazing! This was the part of the experience that could really never be replicated, for those mom’s who are reading this, I think you can appreciate how priceless this is!!! My friend Debbie summed it up perfectly, “This is what our kids must feel like when we take them on vacation!”
That said, we were on the run the entire time we were there. We were bussed everywhere and while on the bus, the “Blue Shirts” would tell us what our next stop would be, how we should dress, and where to meet in the hotel. To give you an idea of this, my bus cheered the one time we were told we had 15 minutes to get ready for our next event! And for those of you fashionistas, remember, these are Oprah events!!!! Can you imagine doing hair and make up in less than 5 minutes! The night of the “Garden Party” at the Botanical Gardens, we were coming back from Hamilton Island. We were told that this was “The Event” to wear our best outfit, but we had to wear it on the plane! We didn’t even have time to change at the hotel before heading over there! It is actually kind of a fun memory for me, running though the airport in my little black dress and hiking sandals, only to end up in the group at the Botanical Gardens that is going to walk the red carpet with Gayle!!!!

S:What famous people did you meet on this trip besides Oprah? Anything you can share about them?
A:Curtis Stone is my new favorite celebrity chef. He is kind and, oh, so handsome! The event at the beach was over the top, 2,000 pounds of seafood, lamb kabobs, fresh fruit cocktails, ice sculptures and of course, shrimp on the barbie. Yet, he made me feel like I was back in my waitressing days, hanging out with the chef after a tough shift! He was THAT friendly. He is dating Lindsay Price of 90210 and Lipstick Jungle fame, and while I didn’t speak with her on the beach, those who did said she was lovely. I was standing next to his parents on the boat ride home and they were giving one of the UV’s their email address, because they didn’t bring their camera! Real people, the story of Oz!
I know some people who are die-hard Gayle King fans. I always liked it when she was on Oprah but I never took it to the next level. Not anymore….I’m watching her show on OWN, listening to her on XM-Radio - I am an official fan. Why? Because she will nudge you in the buffet line and tell you to try the corn. She is that kind of person. She literally flew onto the beach in a helicopter next to Oprah and is real enough to say, “try the corn.” I like that!
Since "SITC" is such a music lover, I have to give props to Guy Sebastian. He is the Australian Idol winner and he performed for us in Sydney. I came home with one of his CD’s and I love that my kids are always putting it in the CD player. Please check out his music, he is phenomenal! If you have kiddo’s “Like it Like That” will make them dance their pants off- and maybe, just maybe, you too! It is my new favorite shower CD!!!

S:What was the group of people who went with you like? 
A:The first word that comes to mind is “powerful”!  I’m saying this because we now keep in touch regularly and morphed what started as a reunion, into a day of service and powerhouse of community giving. We have helped people network for jobs. We have set times for group prayers for people who really needed it. We have fund-raised for the flood victims in Australia. We are trying to harness the collective “power” of our group and it is amazing. This is an “after-effect.” When I was there, the people I was with were FUN!!! I had so much fun with each and every person I met.
When we were standing in line at Harpo Studios for the show, we met a mother and daughter from St. Louis, and two good friends from California. We instantly connected with these women once we knew we would be heading to the other side of the world with them, I could not wait to see them again!
In addition to these women, I made friends...Real friends. Friends who I hope will come to NH some day and hike with me. Friends who I hope will take me to their favorite pizza joint when Tom and I finally get to Chicago for that Cubs game. Every time I was with one of my UV’s, I felt like I belonged.
The night before the “show tapings” we had a surprise event. The rumors for this event were swirling, Bon Jovi concert, Beyonce, the possibilities were endless. We all lined up in the Treasury Room of the Intercontinental Hotel (our usual meeting place) and were handed boxed dinners (…ummmm boxed dinners are not what I have become accustomed to….). As I got to the door, I was told by a “blue shirt to go board the next bus.” I politely told him that I was with my friend, Erika, and did not want to be separated from her. He told me, not to worry, we would be re-united at our rendevous point!
Okay, I’m on the bus, alone. I’m sitting next to a woman I have met before and who is lovely. Her daughter is behind us, along with another woman who is a teacher and a true inspiration. The Harpo film crew boards the bus. Now I know why I had to separate from my BFF, they needed to fill these seats….Oprah comes on the TV and announces we are headed to a Jay-Z and U2 Concert, the bus goes wild (this is the bus you saw on TV)! Now, I love going to concerts, it is one of my favorite things in the world, but I’m kinda on my own…hmmm… at least the blue shirts said we would meet up at the end.
Well, they were wrong. We were handed tickets as we got off the bus so I was rows behind Erika, and here is the beauty of the UV experience, I was okay with this. I was with two women who I “kind of” knew at a once-in-a life-time experience. HOLY COW, I’m watching Jay-Z and U2 at the Olympic Stadium in Sydney Australia…..
It went beyond this, I never felt bad separating from Erika to make this trip my own. During the regatta, we were given options of which boat we wanted to be on. Erika had a bout with sea sickness and really wanted to be on the biggest possible boat. I had never actually sailed and the idea of tacking and raising the sails on a boat were really exciting to me. It felt amazing that during the session where we decided who would go on which boat, I could look around and know that there was no guilt in doing my “own thing” and letting Erika do hers. It was so powerful to know that even though we were there together, we could do our own thing and always be buoyed by the amazing group of people we were with.

S:Any life lessons you learned from this unique experience?
A: I was reminded of the law of attraction, and that when you put positive things into the world, positive things will come back to you. I have always tried to live this way, but since being back I have made a full-blown effort to project a positive attitude each and every day, regardless of how negative I’m feeling! I am amazed by the results this is producing for me!
I am trying to live with intention, but this is new for me so it is taking some practice! Each day I try to set an intention for myself, mostly around the kind of wife and mother I want to be. I’m finding that saying something aloud is a powerful way to frame my day.

S:You know how much I LOVE animals... what are Koala bears really like?
A:Ugh….I sooo want to have a Koala bear in my house! They sleep for about 20 hours per day, so they are lazy little buggers! I went to Queensland which is the only state in Australia where you can still handle Koala’s (I don’t know too much about why this is). The koala’s I met seemed fine with being snuggled (and god knows I loved it), but they did get tired and would need to be switched out from time to time. Their fur is coarse and they have long claws, but they didn’t hurt at all.

S: The Great Barrier Reef (a complete dream destination of mine..just for the sharks alone! ;) ) What was it like to swim at the most amazing reef in the world?
A:I loved every minute of it! We did not see any sharks though (thank goodness!). The fish were beautiful, and I loved being able to see those amazing sea turtles! I snorkeled the entire time we were at the reef, I never wanted to come out of the water!  I think a trip to Australia should be on everyone's bucket list!

"Hoo-roo" for now!