I Wish I Knew…

Picture courtesy of Word Art World

The other day, I found myself admiring my husband. Of course, he didn’t know…as a matter of fact, as he reads this he probably wants to crawl under a rock and hide; but the truth is- Yes, I was secretly looking at him and admiring his beauty-inside and out. My whimsical brain took me to a place where I rarely visit these days- my teenage years.

I sat there and thought about myself in middle and high school and while I knew we weren’t ready to meet back then, it would have been fun to have him as a high school boyfriend. We would have gone to prom together and to the movies on a Friday night. I would have gone to his baseball games and been his biggest fan. We would have done stuff high school kids did and I think it would’ve been fun.

So, since I didn’t know him back then, I decided we would do stuff now that we would have done back then.

Some of the things on my list are:

  •  Act like crazy teenagers and have carefree fun
  •  Kiss and make out like crazy and then force ourselves to not go any further 😉 Maybe…LOL.
  •  I am gonna drag him to my school’s High School Prom- but as chaperones
  •  Share different memories from way back when-good and bad

I guess I will add to my list as I go…It should be fun. I challenge you to try it out!

I am open to suggestions if you all come up with some.

Blissful Living Friends,

Nicki G. The Blissful Wife

What makes a Lady?

Picture courtesy of Donna Irene Photography

Today I had the unfortunate task of having to drop off Miss Molly Marie to be spayed. On the verge of my little baby becoming a teen, we chose the soundest medical option to protect her in the future- removing her lady-parts. Sitting in the dedicated, yet slightly impersonal Humane Society, I started to ponder, “What makes a lady?” Sure God graced us with curves, breasts and the miraculous ability to bring life to this world, yet does that sum up our womanhood?

I recently attended a Blogging 101 course and witnessed the epitome of femininity and class. A beautiful dark-skinned woman stood up and proudly proclaimed with an incredible amount of self-love, confidence and class- “I have NO breast!” A recent Breast Cancer survivor, this inspiring young woman had lost what many believe “defines” a woman, yet displayed the essence of a lady more than anyone I had ever encountered.

I was so proud of this perfect stranger. She exuded courageousness and beauty. I thought to myself, “Wow, if all women could love themselves as much as she loved herself, then this world would be a much better place.” She inspired me…I felt grateful for my health and my life. I felt blessed to witness such an awe-inspiring moment. So, today as I dropped off my pup, I thought of her and I offered up a prayer for her and all my fellow sisters.

May we always walk proud and practice loving ourselves more; for it is in that we are more able to better love others.

Blissful Love,

Nicki G. The Blissful Wife

P.S. Shout out some prayers for my baby- I will update you all ;).

Blissful Rejuvenations from Paradise


Backdrop- Norman Island where we snorkeled 🙂

We are in the final leg of our island getaway and it has been incredible.  We are still boating to different islands around the British Virgin Islands and we are having a great time.  Our sea-legs are stronger than ever and our tans are super fierce.  Like everything in life, I have learned so much.  Island-life is so different than Miami-life, hell than any type of life.

So here are some of my lessons learned:

  • Never, ever try to rush an Islander!  They are not used to the hustle and bustle as we are, so when you are anxious to eat in the islands- be nice, patient, and drink a few Pina Coladas to hold you over.
  • The world is filled with incredible sites.  The pictures we see on the Internet truly do not lie.  They exist.  I have seen them on this trip and it is hard to describe the beauty in God’s creations.
  • Relaxation is essential and totally necessary.  By nature, I am not a totally relaxed person- until I got to the islands.  They do something to you, perhaps it is in the water…maybe it is in the drinks…but in the islands relax you.
  • Sometimes the water can be choppy and storms casually show up, but they pass and you always weather the storm.
  • I need to find a way to become rich so I can be on vacation in the islands 300 out of the 365 days in the year…Who’s with me? 😉

Blissful Blessings Friends!

See you soon 😉

Nicki G. The Blissful Wife

Letting Go and Enjoying

Picture courtesy of Pine Designs

During my vacation I have learned a very valuable lesson- Sometimes you just have to let go and enjoy.  I have noticed this is the “island mentality”.  Life is too short to take so seriously and if you are busy controlling its very aspect, you will miss out on all the fun.  I have known many people who go through life controlling the people in their lives, their situations, and/or anything they possibly can.  More often than not, it is done with good intentions.  Yet not anything or anyone enjoys being controlled and eventually resentment forms.  Friends, be secure in your life.  Trust that sometimes life has a silly whimsical way of working itself out.  Even when it doesn’t because sometimes it won’t- I think I just channeled Dr. Seuss ;).  Whatever the outcome results in, IT WILL be something you can handle- trust me.  In the wise words of Woody Allen, “If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans“.

So friends, if you are trying to micro-manage every aspect of your life- stop, take a deep breath, and let it go.

Blissful Blessings,

Nicki G. The Blissful Wife

Little Letters

Picture courtesy of Caicos Sailing

Dear God, Thanks for this amazing vacation with wonderful family, great food and majestic sites.  Dear Blissful Friends, We are off to Virgin Gorda, part of the British Virgin Islands. The sites are truly incredible; the waters are so clear they mirror a swimming pool.  Yesterday we visited The Baths, pictured above.  I will write a post about that adventure later!  Dear Annoying TSA Agent, You are NOT Lebron James, watching you take my brand new bottle of sunscreen and my body cream and attempt to throw a three-pointer straight into the trash was not nice.  Honestly I wanted to tackle you to the floor.  I understand and follow regulations, however that was one slip up.  Dear Family, Thank you for inviting us on this magnificent trip.  We are having the time of our lives.  Dear Family and Friends back at Home, We miss you and we wish we could bring each of you with us.  We will be home soon, but we certainly have no problem with how slow time passes here in the islands.  Dear Molly, the Dog, Please behave with grandma and the Abuelitos.  Promise you will not be a troubled granddaughter.  Cheer them up with your love and personality.  Dear Husband, Seeing all these wonderful sites with you is a gift.  Thank you for being so incredible.  Dear Mom and Dad, Happy 36th Wedding anniversary.  You give us the perfect example and Javy and I know we will one day get there.

Blissful Blessings Friends,

Nicki G.The Blissful Wife

P.S. I will try to write Thursday and Friday, but just in case, I will be back Monday with tons of great stories.

Provencal Summer Vegetable Bake and a little bit of Family History

Picture courtesy of Family Circle

I have often been asked 2 very popular questions all types of chefs are commonly posed with: How did you learn to cook and why do you like it so much? Well, the answers are truly easy. I love to cook because I love to eat, lol. I love to create flavors and I truly show my love through my tasty meals. I have over-salted, under-flavored, and burned many things throughout the process but that is where the fun of learning lies.

Growing up, I spent the better part of my childhood sitting on my abuelo’s kitchen floor watching him create Cuban masterpieces. You see my grandfather cooked daily meals for our family (12 in total) everyday. We would all leave his house with a cantina or tupperwares filled to capacity with his meals. This is how he showed his love- by feeding us. Papa, everyone’s favorite name for him, not only raised his five grandkids, he taught me his trade.

Upon finding this recipe in Family Circle, I knew I had to try it.  After tasting this deliciousness, I knew you all would enjoy it.

Provencal Summer Vegetable Bake:

What you Need: 

  • 2 medium sweet onions
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 15 ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 large eggplant (about 1 pound), ends trimmed, halved lengthwise
  • 3 large summer squash (combination of zucchini and yellow squash), ends trimmed
  • 1/2 pound russet potatoes
  • 3 plum tomatoes
  • 4 ounces goat cheese (Goat cheese can be a very strong flavor, you may want to replace it with Fresh Mozzarella or Feta Cheese)

Let the Fun Begin:

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees . Peel and halve onions; cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a largesaute pan over medium heat. Add onions and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Cook 8 to 10 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in beans, 1/2 teaspoon of the herbes de Provence and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper. Pour mixture into bottom of a 9 x 13 oven-safe casserole.

2. Meanwhile, cut eggplant, squash, potatoes and tomatoes into 1/4-inch thick slices. (To speed things up, use a food processor fitted with a slicing blade or a mandoline.) Toss vegetables with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons herbes de Provence and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Arrange vegetables on top of onion-bean mixture in 1 layer; pack tightly.

3. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove foil and crumble cheese on top. Bake 15 more minutes. Cool slightly and slice into 4 servings.

I am looking forward to hearing how your baking goes.

Much Love,

Nicki G. The Blissful Wife

The Art of the Perfect Argument

Picture courtesy of HubPage

The dynamics between man and woman are simply fascinating.  Our personalities, emotions and outlooks can be drastically different and unique; heck, experts even claim we even come from different planets.  So what happens when we don’t see eye to eye- when Mars and Venus collide and form a catastrophic bang?  How do we react when our sensitive side takes hold of our emotions and our peaceful, Zen relationship erupts in an argument?

Here is the thing: We all react differently.  Some of us scream, others ignore, but everyone gets angry.  Even I, your euphoric idealist whose brain houses sugar plums, fairies, and unicorns, understand that sometimes paradise can be rocky.

So how do you maintain the integrity of your relationship, while dealing with the issue at hand?  One word- Respect.  Aretha certainly knew what she was talking about when she belted those infamous lyrics.  No matter how irrational or silly an argument can be, the problem is important to at least one of you.  Therefore make it a learning experience and then make up quickly because that is ‘happily ever after part’ and quite frankly the best part of an argument.

I will give you my list of do’s and don’ts when arguing.  Follow these and I promise the planets will align at a much quicker rate, peace will be restored and your relationship and feelings will remain blissfully intact.

5 Rules for Arguing:

1.       Respect:  You are in a relationship with this person because a level of admiration, adoration and care exists- if not you shouldn’t be in the relationship.  Don’t let those feelings bail the second tension arises.  Maintain the level of respect your partner deserves and in turn he/she should do the same; this especially includes foul language, any derogatory treatment, and nasty name calling.

2.      Understand your Partner:  I am freakishly sensitive.  I have no tolerance for screaming and I get anxiety attacks when people argue around me. This holds true for any form of bickering. Javy knows this. Like me, Javy can’t stand if someone raises his/her voice at him and gets very quiet when something upsets him. We both like living in a Zen-peaceful world and have a relationship that matches that description.

However, because life isn’t always a mirror image of Pleasantville, we recognize sometimes there are disagreements. So we talk things out…rarely let our voices get louder than our “inside voice” (my fellow teachers are nodding at the ‘inside voice’ reference ;)) and respect each other’s ways. Is it easy? NO. But it is necessary and eventually becomes habitual. I love him more than words can describe. Why would I want to hurt him? After all, when you get down to the heart of the disagreement you realize it is just that- two people not seeing eye to eye. So don’t further deepen the rift by attacking your partner’s sensitive trigger points.

3. Do NOT Ignore: One day, sitting in a Marriage and Families course for my minor in Religious Studies, I saw Jesus. LOL, no just kidding. But I did receive one of the most powerful lessons a girl just shy of 21 could learn- “Ignoring someone is a form of control.” I remember sitting there and pondering that statement as I wrote it down. “Ignoring someone is a form of control”. What did this mean?

All those times I had chosen to ignore my parents because they upset me flooded my mind. Followed by the times I ignored my best friend when I felt she did something bad enough to merit my deathly silence. I knew how I reacted when people upset me- I would ignore. My defense mechanism had always been walk away and give the silent treatment. Did this make me a control freak? Perhaps yes, maybe not. But that day changed my relationships forever. I became aware of my bad behavior and how it affected the people I loved most. It didn’t change immediately and sometimes my ugly habit still rears its little head, but now I am conscious of it. I recognize that by ignoring someone or something I am simply trying to have control over it and friends, let me reiterate, you can’t control people or problems.

Rather than giving your partner the silent treatment, force yourself out of your comfort zone and talk it out. Start off by saying something like, “My initial reaction is to not want to talk this out and give you the silent treatment, but I realize that will not fix our problem so can we discuss this?” Remember to replace any explicits you may want to include with sweet words like “Baby, My Love, and Sweetheart” 😉

4. Don’t Invite Technology into It: So much of our world revolves around this new age phenomenon. We are more connected than ever to social media and are a few steps shy of surgically attaching our cell phones to our hips for easier access. Yet, at times we are so totally disconnected with the world around us. This paradox makes it easy to ‘text and fight’ or ‘send an angry e-mail’. Sound familiar? We are emotional creatures and are accustomed to instant gratification and even quicker responses. These factors may drive us to act and react in ways that are simply not healthy for our relationships.

Always remember, words gets minced and lost in translations- I should know, I am a writer. They are also forever…they don’t go away. Whatever you write in a text and/or e-mail will be interpreted by your partner however he or she deems fit and this can cause much pain. Remember: Sticks and Stones may break your bones, but words may break your heart.

5. Alway find a Fair, Quick Solution and APOLOGIZE: Don’t let the argument last too long. I am willing to bet a winning Lotto ticket neither one of you enjoys being bothered or angry. So work through it and come to a fair solution to the problem. Put aside your ego and replace it with your partner’s feelings; after all, that is more important. Give a sincere and genuine apology when necessary and just the same, learn to forgive. None of us are perfect and we all strive to be the best form of ourselves; start with yourself and then your partner.

Blissful Love Friends,

Nicki G. The Blissful Wife

3 Summer Revelations

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One of the perks of being a teacher is the fact you always have “Summer Mode” to look forward to. No matter how trying the school year becomes, June, July and some of August are always a sure bet. It is probably one of the few factors why people envy teachers. Hell, we certainly know it isn’t our salaries. LOL.

So, as I write you from the airport preparing to fly to the beautiful island of St. Thomas and then take a cruise throughout the US Virgin Islands, I am toatlly in Summer Mode; hence today’s Revelations.

These are dedicated to ‘your Summer Mode’. Whether it be a week, weekend, or a few months long. Reminisce on your childhood summer memories or your favorite vacations. It is sure to bring a smile to your face.

1. One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter ~Abraham Lincoln

2. “It’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip of wine…it’s summertime” ~ Kenny Chesney

3. Live, Laugh, Love…all throughout the year.

Friends, I bid you adeu for a bit. I promise to post as soon as I can.

Blissful Blessings,

Nicki G. The Blissful Wife

Meeting the Parents

Our People 😉

The first time I met Javy’s family I was nervous.  Boy was I nervous.  I have always been good with people and I seem to have a way with them…but this was different. I wanted to marry this guy.  I wanted these people to be my peoplemy family– What if they didn’t like me?

Two years ago tomorrow will be the anniversary of us meeting and I have to say it has been as blissful as my relationship with Javy.  However, I am not just talking about his biological family- when I say “family” I am also referring to his work family, his friends, all of ‘his people’.

Meeting the family is always nerve wrecking.  These are your partner’s “people”.  Whether biological or not, there opinion of you matters.  A LOT.  Those ominous questions haunt you- Will they like me? Do I look OK?

You want to make a good impression because you’re really into your partner.  I have a few tips on making a good impression:

  • Bring Something:  I remember on the way to meeting Javy’s family, I begged him to stop at a Windixee to buy his grandmother a potted plant, his mom flowers, and his grandpa lotto tickets.  Was I trying to buy their love?  Yes.  Plain and Simple.  LOL, I wanted to impress them and people love gifts, so why not?  But honestly speaking, by bringing something whether it be a gift, a bottle of wine, a desert you are showing the importance this meeting merits.  Take from the Indians and Pilgrims, always bring something.
  • Be Yourself:  Your guy or girl loves you just the way you are.  They want their family to meet that cool person they have been dating, not a fake.  So make sure you are yourself.  I am willing to bet if you are reading this you are hot, funny, witty, and simply perfect- so you will have no problem rocking it.
  • Don’t Let your Nerves Get the Best of You:  Nerves make you sweat in places I would rather not mention. They make your voice hit a pitch you really don’t recognize and sometimes they make you say things that just aren’t you.  So relax, breathe easy and just be you.

Meeting the parents is a significant step in your relationship.  It is important to make a great impression, but don’t be fake.  You have one shot at making a first impression and what better way to do it than to be yourself.  Trust me, all they want more than anything is for their son or daughter to be loved and respected, so if you do that then you are a shoe in…Unless they are crazy, but that is a totally different article. 😉

Blissful Love,
Nicki G. The Blissful Wife

P.S. Kudos to Mama Kats who was the inspiration behind this entry.  Please feel free to share your stories…I would love to hear them! 😉

Recipes Sure to Cause Fireworks in Your Mouth

Today we honor this beautiful country many of us have the pleasures of living in. For my friends around the world, July 4th is the day we celebrate the United States birthday and if you are an avid follower of BlissfulVida you know how much I love birthdays! So one of this magnitude simply blows my socks off- well really my flip flops because I am getting ready to head to a BBQ!! 😉

I have decided to share some of our menu for today in hopes you may equally enjoy, no matter what nationality you are or where you live.

Sensational BBQ Skewers:

Picture doesn’t do it justice!

What You’ll Need

• 2 onions

• 3 bell peppers

• 2 1/2 pounds steak, 1 inch thick (Can alternate with chicken chunks, shrimp, or even Mahi Mahi)

• Skewers (if using wood skewers, soak in water) – Very important, you don’t want the fireworks starting early lol!

• Adobo seasoning by Goya (any ‘Sazon’ will do, but this is my favorite)

• EVOO- Extra Virgin Olive Oil

• Ground pepper

Optional Ingredients:

• Pineapple

• Grape tomatoes

• Worcestershire Sauce (for chicken or beef)

• Old Bay seasoning (for shrimp or Mahi)

Let the Fun Begin:

1. Cut onions and peppers into 1-inch pieces and put them in a bowl (if using tomatoes, include those in the mix). Generously douse vegetables with EVOO, Adobo and ground pepper. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

2. Cut steak into 1-inch cubes.- I usually buy the beef chunks pre-cut. If using chicken, shrimp or Mahi follow the same steps. Once desired meat is ready for seasoning, once again generously douse with EVOO, Adobo and pepper. Depending on the protein you are using you may want to add Worcestershire Sauce for chicken or meat or Old Bay seasoning for fish or shrimp. Once again allow to marinate (the longer, the better)

3. Place protein, onions and peppers on skewer, alternating varieties. If you would like to include the tomatoes and pineapple, continuing to alternate. Because fish and shrimp cook much quicker and chicken needs to be cooked completely, do not mix proteins.

4. Grill on the BBQ.

Note:

• Fish and shrimp will cook much quicker

• Beef cooking time will vary depending on the personal temperature desired.

• Chicken MUST be completely cooked (no pink on the inside)

Enjoy!

On the Drink Menu:

Because I am not a mixologist, I try and find recipes on the web that are delicious and are the perfect fit for my meal.

So today we are serving:

Frozen Mango Rum Cocktail courtesy of Yummly Recipes

What You’ll Need:

• 2 cups of white rum

• ½ cup of coconut rum

• ½ cup of fresh lime juice

• 3 cups of fresh mango

• 1 tablespoon of sugar, depending on the sweetness of the mango

• 2 cups of ice

Let the Fun Begin:

1. Blend all of the ingredients except the ice in a blender until the mango is pureed.

2. Gradually add the ice and continue to blend the drink until the ice is crushed and all of the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.

3. Pour into glass and Enjoy

*Optional: If desired, pour the blended drink to a container and freeze for one hour.

Also on the Menu:

Cinco de Mayo Margaritas

Slow Cooker Magic- Asian Rib Sensation

*A little bit of magic from all around the world 😉

Friends,

On a serious note:  Have a blast but be safe!

Blissful Celebrations,

Nicki G. The Blissful Wife