Reminiscing and Dreaming…

Mama Kats strikes again…She offered a topic this week which got me thinking and asking questions.  “If I could be any Disney Princess for the rest of my life, which would I chose?”  So I pondered and thought and then I asked my leading man, because let’s face it- he plays a role in this fairy tale choice too.   I was amused by his easy response- he shrugged, smiled, and quickly answered-“Snow White”.

You see many years ago, when I was just a baby, my parents bravely ventured to the enchanted home of this very princess- Disney World, the place where every child’s dream is only a wish away from coming true.  While there, my daddy bought me a ceramic figurine that to him seemed to fit his blushing baby just perfectly- a delicate Snow White that still graces my days and awaits to be gifted to my own little girl one day.

So when my Prince Charming told me I’d be Snow White, I smiled a simple, content smile.

Snow White loved the kitchen and taking care of the people she loved.  She spent her days dreaming of true love.  She was courageous and strong-willed and knew her daddy was her first prince and soon blissful love would find her when her soul mate would step in and save her days.  She believed in the good in the world and fought against the villains of the world.  Sure, she needed to learn not to talk to strangers, much less take a bite of an apple given to her by said stranger, but those lessons are learned with time.  Snow had a way with people, every type of personality and she believed in Happily Ever-Afters.

Someday my prince will come; Someday we’ll meet again and away to his castle we’ll go to be happy forever, I know. ~Snow White

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An Interview with One Fair Lady-Audrey Hepburn

BlissfulVida is blessed with many sources of inspiration- family, friends, strangers, experiences and oh so much more. So when this random, crazy inspiration popped into my head, I knew I had to share and further motivate my fellow BlissfulVida Friends.

I have often wished for the opportunity to sit and chat with some of our world’s most stimulatingly wise and influential people. The list is long: Jesus, The Dali Lama, Gandhi, Meryl Streep, Ellen, Reese Witherspoon, you know…the usuals ;)… But recently I added someone to my list- Audrey Hepburn.

So…I got creative.

I present you with an interview from one classy lady, using her pearls of wisdom left for us to learn from…Here is my interview with Audrey Hepburn.

Blissful Wife: “Audrey, you didn’t always have the easiest of lives. Growing up during WWII couldn’t have been simple and you’ve often mentioned how that was your motivator to make the world a better place. What was the source behind you getting by?”

Audrey: “I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and I believe in miracles.”

Blissful Wife: “We often hear, ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,’ where do you think a woman’s beauty lies?”

Audrey: “The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a Woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she knows. The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives; the passion that she shows & the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.”

Blissful Wife: “I AM A BLISSFUL WIFE. I truly love being married. It has become the better essence of me. What are your thoughts about marriage?”

Audrey: “If I get married, I want to be very married. The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.”

Blissful Wife: “Enough said. I agree. Audrey, life has its ups and downs. Life radically changes day-in-and-day-out. Most of us need a reminder…a reality check…Give it to us.”

Audrey: “I have learned how to live…how to be in the world and of the world, and not just to stand aside and watch. Nothing is impossible; the word itself says ‘I’m possible’! The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it’s all that matters. I decided, very early on, just to accept life unconditionally; I never expected it to do anything special for me, yet I seemed to accomplish far more than I had ever hoped. Most of the time it just happened to me without my ever seeking it.”

Blissful Wife: “Looking back, what are you most proud of?”

Audrey: “If my world were to cave in tomorrow, I would look back on all the pleasures, excitements and worthwhilenesses I have been lucky enough to have had. Not the sadness, not my miscarriages or my father leaving home, but the joy of everything else. It will have been enough. I have learnt how to live…how to be in the world and of the world, and not just to stand aside and watch. I was asked to act when I couldn’t act. I was asked to sing ‘Funny Face’ when I couldn’t sing, and dance with Fred Astaire when I couldn’t dance – and do all kinds of things I wasn’t prepared for. Then I tried like mad to cope with it.”

Blissful Wife: “Audrey, I want nothing more than to make everyone better- feel loved, appreciated and needed. Especially women. There are Fifty Shades of Books that force beautiful, powerful and influential women to fit a mold. To be a specific type of person. I want to challenge that…I want to challenge them.  How can I help them?”

Audrey: “I never [thought] of myself as an icon. What [was] in other people’s minds [was] not in my mind. You can even say that I hated myself at certain periods. I was too fat, or maybe too tall, or maybe just plain too ugly … you can say my definiteness stems from underlying feelings of insecurity and inferiority. I couldn’t conquer these feelings by acting indecisive. I found the only way to get the better of them was by adopting a forceful, concentrated drive. Good things aren’t supposed to just fall into your lap. God is very generous, but He expects you to do your part first. I decided, very early on, just to accept life unconditionally; I never expected it to do anything special for me, yet I seemed to accomplish far more than I had ever hoped. Most of the time it just happened to me without my ever seeking it. And the beauty of a woman, with passing years only grows!”

Audrey, a greater power spoke through you…You will always be one of the GREATEST teachers, filled to the brim with wisdom beyond your years!

Even from above you can’t help to inspire and motivate.

Here’s to pearls, miracles, and bliss!

Blissful Love, Nicki G. The Blissful Wife

Slow Cooker Magic-Asian Rib Sensation

As a recent newly-wed I can attest to the “I Want Everything, Put It on My Registry” Syndrome.  Do you know what I am talking about?  You get engaged and start working on your registry; suddenly you have to have every gadget, gizmo, pot and pan that has ever graced the aisle of Bed Bath and Beyond.

This has never rained more true than when I registered for a Slow Cooker.  I was sure I would use this device every day of my married life- that is exactly how I sold it to my husband- “Baby, this is great.  I will set it up the night before, switch it on when I leave to work, and voilà- Dinner when we get home”.  Needless to say, it has never worked that way, until yesterday.

Now if you know me, you know I NEVER follow recipes.  On the contrary, I invent as I go, add as I please, and hope for the best- all the while adding my favorite ingredients-Love, Ground Mustard, and Brown Sugar ;).

Yet, I knew if I was going to learn to use the Slow Cooker, I would need to follow some sort of recipe and I came across the perfect one in the June edition of Family Circle: Asian-Style Ribs.

I knew I had to share this monumental moment with my BlissfulVida Friends, for it certainly isn’t every day I follow a recipe and use a Slow Cooker at the same time!!

Fierce Asian-Style Rib Sensation-courtesy of Family Circle, June 2012 edition

  • 2/3 cup of light brown sugar (yum, my favorite)
  • ½ cup of low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of ground mustard (I added this 😉 )
  • 8 cloves of garlic (recipe calls for 4- I added extra
  • ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1 rack of pork ribs (about 3lbs) cut into sections of 3 to 4 ribs
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 3 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds (I didn’t use them, but the recipe calls for it…ask your taste buds 😉 )

Let the fun begin:

  1.  In a small bowl, blend the sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, ginger, garlic, ground mustard, and red pepper.
  2. Place ribs in slow cooker bowl; add sauce.  Cover; cook on HIGH for 5-6 hours until meat is tender.
  3. Transfer ribs to a platter.  Strain sauce and discard excess fat.  Combine cornstarch and ¼ cup water; blend with sauce in saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 2 minutes, stirring until thickened.
  4. Top ribs with ½ cup of the sauce, the scallions, and the sesame seeds.

Is your mouth watering yet?  This goes great with baked potato, mash potato, any potato- lol.

So, if you’re like me and have kitchen gadgets begging to be opened and used, answer their desperate plea today and whip it out and create some cooking magic.

Blissful Cooking,

Nicki G. The Blissful Wife

P.S. Shout out the NEWLY ENGAGED GIRL IN HEELS, Elizabeth C!

Avocado-Cucumber Summer Medley

It is because of the bravery, dedication and sacrifice made by our American Soldiers that many of us have an extra day off this fine Memorial Day Monday.  Hopefully you are preparing for the traditional American festivities-BBQ’s, pool parties, and fun- but in case you are not and need a yummy recipe to get you going- here is my latest creation.

For my friends living in other parts of the world, please enjoy this delicious and refreshing recipe as well.   There is always room for spontaneous celebrations and this sure-fire recipe will certainly get the party started.

Avocado-Cucumber Summer Medley  

What You Need:

  • 3 Hass avocadoes
  • 2 large cucumbers
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 can of sweet corn (about 15 ounces)
  • 3 juicy limes
  • Brown sugar to taste-about 1 tbsp
  • 1 tbsp of Balsamic Vinegar
  • Kosher Salt to taste
  • Ground mustard to taste (be generous)
  • Freshly ground pepper

Let the Fun Begin:

*Best suggestion:  The most amazing gift for this blissful chef is the Vidalia Chop Wizard.  This is truly the best tool for this recipe.

1.  Dice cucumbers and onion into small squares.  Mix well.

2.  Open can of corn and drain.  Mix corn into medley.

3.  Dice avocadoes into squares and mix in.

4.  Freshly squeeze limes into the medley

5.  Add salt, brown sugar, ground mustard and pepper (remember, taste as you go…that is always the fun part 😉 )

6.  Add the Balsamic vinegar and mix well

7.  Refrigerate until you are ready to chow down!

The Avocado-Cucumber Medley is incredibly refreshing and enjoyed by all!! This delectable success is great with Tostitos, crackers, mixed into a salad or can even be eaten alone.  Trust me; you can’t go wrong with this Memorial Day recipe.

As I sign off, I want to take a minute to thank our solidiers past and present for the selfless love they dedicate(d) each and every day to our country.  It is because of you all we live the life we do.  God bless you always!

Blissful Cooking,

Nicki G. The Blissful Wife

Friday’s Rejuvenating Revelations

  • You are stronger than you think.  Your mind has more power than you give it credit for.  Your heart heals quicker than you realize.  Give yourself the merit you deserve.
  • “I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.” ~ Audrey Hepburn

 

  • God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today.  Have you used one to say ‘thank you?’  ~William Arthur Ward ~  To my US Friends, please give a silent salute for our military women and men who have sacrificed their time, lives, families and happiness for us.
  • “I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” ~ Marilyn Monroe 
  • Today: Believe in yourself; trust in yourself; love yourself.  Even if it is hard, even if you’re busy- MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF.  You deserve it.

This One Time…My Heart Got Duped…

~Photo courtesy of Alina M. Photography 

Upon entering the world of blogging, I came across an incredibly witty and hilarious young mom, Mama Kat, who blogs about her life as a mom, love and all the fun that comes along this blissful journey we are all on.  Every week Mama Kat offers the fellow bloggers of the world the challenge to think beyond every day norms and focus on writing about some pretty imaginative topics.

This week’s prompt-challenge got me thinking pretty outside the box.

Describe a time you were duped. 

As I spoke to my husband about this week’s topic, I reminisced with him about the first time my heart was duped.  At one point or another everyone reading this entry has been fooled by love, perhaps more times than you can count and while you can probably recall each and every time your little heart was broken, nothing can compare to the first time you felt that stab of heartache as a teen.

For me, it was my junior year of high school and I was in love…or so I thought, with my best friend.  It was the perfect little story:  two best friends fall in love, get married and live happily ever after.  That is where my inventive mind had taken me all those years ago.  I thought for sure I was destined to love this boy forever.  Until that fateful day when I was betrayed by a so called friend who decided to disregard my heart’s desire and start dating the boy of my dreams, my best friend.

I couldn’t believe it.  Upon finding out, I started to sob, heave and eventually hurl out all the contents of my stomach.  My poor mom was beside herself…looking back I am sure her heart probably hurt more than mine did that night.  Seeing her baby girl duped by not just a boy but a girl-friend as well, was surely a mother’s nightmare.

She ferociously tried to console me; promising that the pain would eventually go away and that he wasn’t my soul mate- simply a stupid boy who didn’t deserve my love and devotion.  I remember praying and praying every night to God begging and pleading with him to please let me marry this boy.  God certainly answered my prayers, but not with a “Yes Dear”, rather with a resounding, echoing “NO CHANCE BABY”.

Eventually, I did get over my heart break.  My strong little soul mended itself and lived through that terrible ordeal and like you know, I did get my happily-ever-after; I did marry my best friend; and my mommy’s promises certainly came true.

Ready for the curve ball though?  That boy who duped me all those years ago was named Javy…So when I would pray to The Man Upstairs, I would say, “God, please, please let me marry Javy”.  Are you seeing where I am going with this????

God did eventually answer my prayers by taking away the “wrong Javy” and giving me the most amazing gift ever, marrying my husband JAVY, not that boy who broke my heart all the years ago, rather, the man who loves me better than anyone ever could.  The “Right Javy”…so who got duped after all?

For I know the plans I have for you; plans to prosper you and not harm you; plans to give you hope and a future.  ~Jeremiah 29:11

Get-What-You-Want Guava Cupcakes

As a high school teacher I have adopted the most fantastic classroom management skill to control rowdy teens- BRIBERY.  While some of you may be shaking your disapproving fingers, others perhaps are giving me two thumbs up for my effective and creative practice.  You see, the only way to coerce teens to do what you want, especially with 2 weeks of school left, is to bribe them.

How do I bribe them?  Well, the way to their precious little hearts is simply through their stomach, so I bake yummy treats.  Trust me people- THEY WILL WORK FOR FOOD! 

My latest tactical move- Guava Cupcakes. 

Enjoy this blissful creation, my dear readers. Feed these moist little cakes to anyone who needs a little coercing.

Get-What-You-Want Guava Cupcakes

Cake:

 Frosting:

  • 16 oz of Cream Cheese
  • 2-3 sticks of real butter
  • ½ can of Guava Marmalade
  • 1 ½ cups of powdered sugar

 Essentials:

  •  Cupcake cups
  •  Cupcake pan

Get to Work:

  1. Preheat oven (I bake them at 350 for large cupcakes)
  2. Combine the cake mix, 3 eggs, cream cheese, butter, and can of marmalade.  Beat the ingredients until mixture is smooth and has no bumps.  Use the box instructions for temperature and time.
  3. Let sit for a few minutes while you prepare the cupcake tray.
  4. Place in the oven and you are set.

Frosting:

  1. I like to use my food processor for the frosting because it gives you an extra fluffy texture- a mixer also works.  Combine cream cheese and guava marmalade beat until it is mixed well.
  2. Slowly add the powdered sugar and continue to mix well. 
  3. Add butter mix well.  This is what gives you the frosting consistency and flavor. 
  4. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Once cupcakes are baked and cooled, frost and BRIBE!!

Enjoy my friends,

Nicki G. The Blissful Wife

Hollywood Dreams

I always thought I was destined for Hollywood.  Growing up, I dreamed of one day being Samy’s nemeses on Days of Our Lives, managing to save the day with my wit, intelligence and beauty.  I also fancied thoughts of stealing Katie Holmes’ role on Dawson’s Creek as Joey Potter.  After all, I personified “the girl next door” part simply perfect if I didn’t say so myself.

I can’t exactly tell you what was the running force behind my wanting to be a famous Hollywood starlet. Maybe it was the thrill of the glitzy and glamorous lifestyle; perhaps it was the fun that must exist in getting paid to be someone else for a bit, escaping reality just long enough to miss it.  I don’t quite know why I dreamed such fantasies; all I knew is that I wanted to be rich and famous, living in Hollywood, knowing there was a star out there donning my legendary name.

My dreams have since evolved into more mature, realistic aspirations.  However, as I sit next to my wonderful husband driving up the coast from San Diego to Hollywood, CA, I reminisce on my childhood desires.

We all had them…these whimsical thoughts of what we thought we would have wanted our careers to be.    When money wasn’t a factor and opportunity wasn’t an issue, we let our dreams wander to places with flashy lights and people cheering us on.  So, while the flashy lights and perhaps the money maybe more difficult to conjure up, the fanfare isn’t.  Today, make sure you reflect on your biggest fans, those supporters who have always been alongside you chanting your name, believing in you.  Their love is certainly more valuable than any Academy Award.

Friday Rejuvenating Revelations

As the work week comes to a close for most, here are some Rejuvenating Revelations for this promising Friday!  Enjoy!

  • God isn’t Kanye West; he won’t interrupt you so make sure you make time to listen.

 

  • A light heart lives long ~  William Shakespeare

 

  • A #2 pencil and a dream can take you anywhere ~Joyce A Myers
  • If things start happening, don’t worry, don’t stew, just go right along and you’ll start happening too ~ Dr. Suess

 

  • How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours ~ Wayne Dyer

The Adventures of Molly Marie

If you have kept up with BlissfulVida you know, Javy and I ventured into parenthood not too long ago when we adopted of our four-legged daughter-Molly Marie.  Since then, life has been a beautiful mess.  PeePee Pads, laughs, messes, delicious canine love and more have since been running themes in our days.  Until Sunday.

My first Mothers’ Day began simply sensational.  My little girl, with the help of her wonderful father, ran up to me dragging a little Pandora bag around her neck, gifting me with a precious dog house charm.  The day followed with a wonderful BBQ hosted by yours truly.  Cinco de Mayo Margaritas, shish-ko-bobs, burgers, hot dogs, and tons of yummy appetizers were served up and plenty of pool fun was enjoyed.  Molly’s Grandma’s, our moms, had a blissful day, as did we.  Molly swam; Molly ran; Molly ate; Molly had a ball.

By the end of the day, we were pooped-no pun intended.  We arrived home around 8:00ish and Molly Marie, like her parents, was exhausted.  However, being such a small pup, we decided to give her some Nutri-Cal (God’s gift to small puppies) to make sure she didn’t stroke out on us with a sugar low.  Upon waking her, our little angel was seemingly unwilling to open her eyes.  At first, we thought she was so sleepy she didn’t want to be bothered.  It didn’t take long to realize something was truly wrong.

Molly could barely open her eyes and her little legs couldn’t hold her 3.5 lb weight.  Her head bobbed and her body trembled.  Recognizing we had a serious problem, Javy and I quickly dress and begin the mission getting her to an emergency clinic.  Despite arriving within the appropriate hours of operation, the first clinic we drove to was closed.  Our only option was a clinic 30 minutes away.

After taking three red lights and driving at an ungodly speed, we arrived at the clinic where Molly was immediately seen.  Javy and I were put in a room and asked to patiently wait for a doctor.  Our nerves were on edge: We were truly scared parents.

We expected a lecture on caring for an inordinately small dog.  We expected stern faces for letting her swim in the pool.  We expected many things; but what came, we never expected.

A sweet, hippy-like vet enters the room about an hour later, sans Molly and asked us to describe her day.  I quickly began to spat out Molly’s Sunday adventure, taking full responsibility for what I thought was a sugar drop.  Until the quaint doctor interrupts and says, “I am not required to report this to the authorities and I won’t; however…”

At this point, I am perplexed…I am confused…I am-SHOCKED.

…“Molly seems to be experiencing symptoms of a puppy who has been intoxicated by Marijuana.”

WHAT?  WAS THIS LADY SERIOUSLY SAYING OUR BEAUTIFUL, SWEET CANINE WAS HIGH?  There was no way!  Literally- NO WAY.

While I don’t knock anyone who does or has tried Marijuana- let’s face it, you are probably much more Zen then me– neither Javy nor I have ever done it.  So when the woman, who held our baby’s life in her hands, suspected we “perhaps baked brownies or had drug-paraphernalia around” our precious daughter, I went neurotic-crazy like only Nicki G. The Blissful Wife could.

I began to defend our case, which I suspect only made her more suspicious.  Maybe it was something I said, probably it was something my calm-natured husband responded, but finally- the doctor began to believe us.

…but we still needed a diagnosis.

So, Dr. Accuse-a-Tor, Javy, and I began to brain storm.  We replayed the day all over and finally it hit us- MOLLY MARIE GARCIA, WONDERFUL, INNOCENT MOLLY MARIE GARCIA, WAS DRUNK ON CINCO DE MAYO MARGARITAS!

Yes, you read right!  Turns out the three spilled Margaritas made their way from to the floor to her stomach and our puppy was not high as a kite, rather drunk as a sailor.

Little Drunk-a-Lina spent the night in the hospital, nursing a hangover with IV’s flushing fluids through her petite body and the following morning, $450 later, we were able to bring her home.

Javy and I had never been more relieved and embarrassed at the same time.

I didn’t dream of sharing this story until I realized, this could happen to anyone.  Hell, according to the Veterinarian, it has happens countless times.

So, the next time you sip on a margarita or for that matter, take a shot of tequila, promise me you will think of Molly Marie’s adventures and laugh.

Blissful Drinking Friends,
Nicki G. The Blissful Wife