This One’s For Amanda de Cadenet

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Thank you for sparking conversation.

Thank you for sparking a dialogue among women.

Thank you for showing us that a strong woman is a process.

Thank you for putting a premium on strong opinions. On female leadership. On community.

Dear readers, I have a confession to make. I have no idea what I’m doing. I never know what’s in store in the world, or in my thoughts. I still feel like a kid, a sponge, trying to absorb as much as I can so that I can one day say I have it figured out. I have a feeling that day will never come, but it’s the journey that counts, right?

The one thing I do know is that I’ve always relied on those wiser than me to guide the way. I seek them out constantly so as not to miss a single lesson. When I was a kid it was my teachers, my family, a close friend. As I got older, and was exposed to more of the world through books and television, I began to realize that there were wise people everywhere! What kid of the 90s wasn’t inspired by Judy Blume, Rosie O’Donnell or any and every segment of Reading Rainbow?

These days I’m especially drawn to women who are paving their own path, and at the same time, in a way, paving the way for me. In the last few years I’m finding these women everywhere, practically chanting for the rest of us to follow suit. I love it. Authors, actresses, business women, hosts, professionals in any field, and even women in my own life are inspiring me every single day. It’s exciting.

I discovered Amanda de Cadenet a couple of years ago on Youtube. After watching one episode of The Conversation I was forever hooked on her passion, her straightforwardness and her honesty. I immediately wanted to talk to her and learn from her, and to be honest, I really wanted to do what she did! How amazing would it be to go to work every day and just chat with inspiring people about topics that affect us all. Even cooler, how amazing would it be to be able to help others by doing something you truly love. That idea really stuck with me, and I’ve been a follower ever since.

This interview with Chelsea Handler is perhaps one of my favorites. Two powerhouse women speaking honestly about love,  life and careers. No pretense, no one worrying about their image, and sincerity all around. If you’re not hooked after this I don’t know what’s wrong with you ;)

Tonight, Amanda premieres her new talk show on Lifetime Television. This time it’s live and it’s called #Undone. I really can’t wait. As we all know, Chelsea Handler is leaving late night at the end of August and I can’t think of a better woman to take the torch! #TeamUndone is going to inspire a new generation of smart ladies and gents and I can’t wait to see what we all do next!

Amanda, I thank you :)

#Undone premieres tonight on Lifetime Television at 10:30pm EST/9:30pm PST

 

 

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Elaine Stritch – A Legend

STRITCH-2-obit-articleLarge The dear and talented Elaine Stritch passed away last week. Imagine my surprise when I logged onto my blog after 10 months to find this post I had been working on. I usually have 4 to 5 posts in my drafts folder but this time it was only this one. A bare draft of only a title and two clips of this legendary performer.

This feels like a sign. I have been thinking for months of reuniting with my blog to share with (all three of) you some of the people, places and things that have been making their way into my mind and soul, changing how I think and how I want to live. From the very beginning Elaine Stritch was one of those things.

This puts a smile on my face. It feels like things might be aligning. Perhaps my intuition isn’t that bad. Perhaps I should listen to it more often instead ignoring it over the drone of everyone else’s thoughts on Twitter and Instagram (I am too in love with it).

I think this post about Ms. Stritch will be the first of a series of posts. A series of people who have made a deep impact on my thoughts, my heart and my actions. Even if I’ve never met them, even if you think it’s silly, I’ll tell you about them. I’ll own it, and I will celebrate everything they offer me. I truly feel you never know what can happen if you just put it out there into the universe. I think Elaine would approve :)

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20 Things About Me

There’s this hashtag thing going around twitter right now, #20ThingsAboutMe, and since I have SO MUCH to do today before a three week trip tomorrow, I decided that creating a blog post about it would be the logical thing to do. Sometimes I surprise myself with my logical thinking.

I don’t really feel like any deep thinking today so this list will be a random cluster of facts and things I love. I’m pretty sure about 3 people in the entire world will care AT ALL about this list, but I am not selfish, so, I will put the effort in just for them. You’re welcome.

20. I can’t resist lists like this. It reminds me of the old days of Facebook….before it got annoying. (twitter is still cool in my books).

19. I am very loyal to my favorite things. They don’t tend to change (because I’m super stubborn) and I will defend them to the end. Like this:

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18. My favorite Singer: Gloria Estefan…I mean…come on.

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17. My favorite Musical Theatre Performer: The one and only Bernadette Peters

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16. My current favorite all-around human being: Chelsea Handler (ok, so I was late to the CH party, but now I am a loyal follower).

chelsea-handlerAnd I have to include all of these geniuses:

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15. Favorite Musical? Ohhh it’s a toss up between Gypsy and Into The Woods

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14. Favorite Genius? Stephen Sondheim. Beyond genius.

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13. Favorite Movie: I want to say The Wizard of Oz….but there are so many!

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12. My most favorite place in the world is the coast of Lima, Peru. So many memories.

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11. My sister and could not be more different. I mean, it’s pretty crazy.

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10. I moved to Canada the day I turned 7. I think at this point I’ve recovered. I think…

9. I’m obsessed with my friends. I could not have asked for a better group of people in my life. In every corner of my life. I feel so lucky to have always enjoyed school and all of my friends during those years!

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8. I’d be pretty ok if the only season was SUMMER. And if I spent the rest of my life on a beach.

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7. NYC is maybe the greatest city in the world. The energy I feel when I’m there is ridiculous. It makes you feel like you can do anything.

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6. Oh, Aaron Sorkin is another Genius. And don’t even get me started with Jason Katims. The West Wing and Parenthood, anyone?

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5. If you haven’t noticed I love anything to do with acting, film/tv and theatre. Yay theatre school!

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4. Reading is probably one of my favorite things to do. It does nothing for my social life;)

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3. I’m obsessed with beautiful things like this:

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2. Sometimes when I’m alone in the car I feel the need sing through the entire cast recording of In The Heights. This also happens when I work out, and occasionally when I’m alone in the house. You should hear me do the opening rap.

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1. I’m so excited for a whole new adventure to begin tomorrow…..:)

My Most Favorite, My Carter Girls

tumblr_lm7wgiZmG41qz4d4bo1_500 I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my friends. I have a lot of them. I don’t mean that in an obnoxious way at all. I kind of have a problem, actually. I get very invested and very attached quickly. I’m actually not good with strangers at all, but if I meet people at work or through an activity I pretty much assume we’re friends for life. Also, I’m hispanic, so pretty much anyone I meet more than twice is instantly family.

Don’t get me wrong, I definitely am not a perfect friend. I like too much ‘me time’ so that doesn’t make me available all too often. I am kind of a dork, so I’m not the friend to call if you want to have a crazy night on the town. However, I think all my friends know that I will be there for them in any way I possibly can….as long as it does not involve a club. I have my limitations.

I’m pretty sure I have OCD, and that translates to my relationships with my friends. I have them all compartmentalized. I have my school friends, I have sports friends, I have my University friends, my theatre school friends, my show friends, my family friends, my work friends, my other work friends, you get the idea. I don’t generally mix friends…much like you should not mix your liquors. I like them neatly in their place where I can keep track of them and tell them apart. It can get confusing sometimes.

I recently went to the wedding of one of my best friends, Melissa, from High School. She married the man of her dreams after having had some not so stellar relationships/experiences in the past. I could not have been happier for her. There are 7 of us from school that are still very close, and all of us were there to see our beautiful friend walk down the aisle to marry her best friend (well, WE’RE her best friends, obviously, but you know what I mean).

That whole evening I couldn’t stop smiling. I had sort of forgotten how amazing it felt to have us all together. We have separate lives now and we’re all pursuing our own dreams, so to have us all together is rare. I also got a little giddy and my friend Christina and I might have taken it a little too far at the photo booth, but that’s a whole other story.

The point it I was reminded of how lucky I am to have this group of women in my life. We are all so different that I’m sure people wonder how we can all be friends. I don’t know what it is, but our differences might be the thing that brings us together. We appreciate each other and our quirks.

I know I’ve been horrible at telling them how much I love and appreciate them these last few years so I thought this would be the best way to do it. In this post, showing this picture from the wedding, and embarrassing them. I love you, girls.

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(Ginny….I wish you were in this picture…love you too!)

I Want To Go To There – NYC

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New York City – I want to go to there. I saw this picture on Tumblr and I immediately almost started crying. It was that feeling that you get in the pit of your stomach but at the same time it’s in your throat, and if you try to speak you know you will break down. I’m not sure what that says about me or my feelings about NYC since last night I cried at ‘Ice Age – Continental Drift’, but I digress.

I think what struck me about this picture is that it captures a moment in time when you’re young, you have little to no responsibility, you can call up a friend, who clearly also has nothing much to do, and you both board a greyhound for a weekend in the city. In my case it’s a 12 hour bus ride, but if we were lucky we got one of our parent’s cars and we could make it down there in 10 hours tops!

A memory is coming back to me….there were 4 of us and we might have been cutting it a bit close. We left Toronto at about 10am and we were trying to get to NY before an 8pm curtain of a broadway show. We made it in time, but barely. Those little adventurous moments are the kind I live for (in moderation), and my friends never disappoint! However, it’s all fun and games until someone gets me to a broadway show late. Especially a show by Stephen Sondheim. Remember that lesson.

NYC has held a special place in heart for many, many years, and now that my moving there is pretty much a done deal I find myself reflecting on how it all started. When did I suddenly become obsessed with the city that never sleeps? I love sleeping, so that part of it isn’t even that appealing to me. Besides, NYC is full of people, and I hate big crowds. Sometimes on the subway people make eye contact with me and I’m sure they’re about to spit in my eye. The germaphobe in me finds the thought terrifying. Renting an apartment costs more than I will ever be worth…so that’s not it either. None of these things ever enter my mind when I tell people why I NEED to live there. I guess I’m just really amazing at spinning a story that works for my purposes. I’m an actor, after all. I can act like I love EVERYTHING about NYC and maybe I’ll believe myself. Those acting classes don’t cost a fortune for nothing (especially in NY)!

The longest period of time I’ve spent down there is 3 months. I did that two summers in a row, actually. Looking back on it there were moments that I definitely hated. If I think really hard and I let myself remember I recall crying every day for the first week of my very first 3 month stint. I had no money, I didn’t really know anyone, and I was living in a tiny room in an apartment with 3 other girls whom I’m pretty sure were all clinically insane. It also didn’t help that it rained every single day and anything I thought to do would have cost money. My parents of course thought I was having the best time because that’s what I told them. Thankfully, the skies cleared, and so did my crappy mood, and I quickly made lots of friends and wonderful memories. Every trip since then has been amazing. I mean, life’s never perfect so neither were my trips, but they were amazing enough that I could make myself believe they were perfect!

I don’t know what it is but I love the vibe of that city. I love the architecture, I love the streets, and I love the people. New Yorkers are not mean or rude, I just think they’re focused on a goal and they’re not interested in people that will get in their way. Tourists, unfortunately, are usually in the way. I have gotten so much help and good vibes from strangers in that city that I will defend them to anyone. Try me.

As I sit here right now typing this I am a nervous wreck. What if this move that I’ve been wanting for so long doesn’t actually happen? Even worse, what if it does and it’s nothing like I expected? Am I THAT good of an actor/liar that I can convince myself everything’s ok? Will I die alone of malnutrition and loneliness in my little corner of the studio apartment I share with 5 other girls because I decided to go see ‘Matilda’ instead of buying any food for a month straight?? Oh, did I mention I’m really dramatic sometimes. Surprise!

Ok, I know it will never be that bad, but I write this in an effort to put out into the universe the idea that this will be a whole new wonderful chapter in my life. I hope it brings me great adventures, lots of inspiration, and an embarrassing amount of new friends and experiences. I want to be able to walk down the street, to work, to brunch, to a show, and feel lucky and excited every step of the way. I want to create a life for myself that I am proud of, excited about, and that I can become successful at. MY idea of success, that I will not compare against any ideal or expectation set by anyone. A success that will allow me to bring along my friends and family, and give me the freedom and opportunity to help out as many people as I can along the way.

As I read this back it sounds like I have my s**t together much more than I actually do! I don’t, but if I write it, and I believe it, maybe it will come true! I read ‘The Secret’ once and that has something to do with it, right? (mental note to pull that book out again, and not tell anyone).

Dear NY, I don’t know what it is about you, or when it started, but I am in love. There, I said it.

Random Inspiration To Get You Through The Day

All things that are inspiring me at the moment. I couldn’t decide what to include but this is a random cluster of my inspirational fuel for the past little while. There is a lot more where this came from….but I hate long blogs ;)

I tend to draw a lot of my creative fuel from books, but I also love quotations and beautiful design. Also, who doesn’t love a good Stephen Sondheim quote or song. The Weepies will never let you down, Bernadette Peters will get anyone through anything…..And Chelsea Handler is just the most honest hilarious woman in the world. Period.

Enjoy and use as needed :)

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To Live a Creative Life….

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This is one of my favorite quotes about creativity, or ever, actually. This design is also one of the most girly, whimsical and pretty things I’ve seen. Who doesn’t love when words and design collide to create something like this? Brilliant.

Here are some more quotes about creativity to remind us that a creative path is the only path. Use them as needed.

“The chief enemy of creativity is good sense” – Pablo Picasso

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try” – Dr. Seuss

“True intelligence operates silently. Stillness is where creativity and solutions to problems are found” – Eckhart Tolle

“Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it” – Dee Hock

“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney

“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up” – Pablo Picasso

“You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not’?” – George Bernard Shaw

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” – Scott Adams

There is no use trying,” said Alice. “One can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” – Lewis Carroll

“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” – Vincent van Gogh

“Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it” – Salvador Dali

“Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts” – Rita Mae Brown

“Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people” – Leo Burnett

“The world is but a canvas to the imagination.” — Henry David Thoreau

“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things” – Ray Bradbury

“We will discover the nature of our particular genius when we stop trying to conform to our own and other people’s models, learn to be ourselves and allow our natural channel to open.” — Shakti Gawain

“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last, you create what you will” – George Bernard Shaw

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” — Maya Angelou

“The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.” — John Maynard Keynes

“From 30,000 feet, creating looks like art. From ground level, it’s a to-do list” – Ben Arment

“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working” – Pablo Picasso

“You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star” – Nietzsche

“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources” – Albert Einstein

“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.” – Osho

Three sites that will get you excited about being a girl…or woman…(or whichever you’re feeling like on any particular day)

This is what happens when I don’t have to go to work. I spend copious amounts of time online reading everything and anything that will entertain my ADD (I’ll never admit it) mind. I can’t just sleep in all day or watch countless hours of Breaking Bad so I can finally catch up! No. No, I have to fuel my restless brain and fill it up with the thoughts and ponderings of some of the most creative and inspiring minds on the internet. To be fair, I actually KNOW men and women who are incredibly bright and amazing….but they don’t have blogs. And they can’t always meet me at my favorite coffee shop. So, I’m left with finding my fix on the world wide web.

In the last few years there have been 3 websites that have never failed to amuse, educate and inspire me. They each satisfy my various moods and they each have a unique point of view. I’d be a jerk if I didn’t admit that they inspired me to start my little blog.

You need to check them out for yourself, but here is a little taste of what they each have to offer! In no particular order:

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HelloGiggles is my go-to site when I want to smile. It’s a self-proclaimed positive online community for women, although men are always welcome. They cover a variety of topics like fashion, love, DYI, pop culture and friendship…but the special thing about them is that they’re alway positive. Even the reader comments couldn’t be more lovely. I consider myself to be a nice person but hellogiggles reminds me that I can always be nicer…and less cynical! The site was founded by  Zooey Deschanel, Molly McAleer and Sophia Rossi…and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for the daily giggles.

Check out one of my recent favorite posts: Who doesn’t like a good Top 10 List?

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Allison Janney For President

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Ok. Not literally, people. Come on, the woman doesn’t even like politics. She doesn’t trust it (neither do I. Except Obama, of course). When I say ‘Allison Janney For President’ I mean it symbolically. As a compliment paid to a distinguished artist who is making the world a little better through her art and her life.

Truth be told, I stole that line from my sister. I did not stop laughing for hours after hearing her say ‘Anita For President’, in response to my friend Michelle’s portrayal of Anita in 1st Broadway National Tour of West Side Story. My sister was so taken with that performance that she just believed Anita was real was going to conquer the world one Jet at a time. It also helped that, as a person, Michelle is the coolest girl around.

That’s how I feel about Allison Janney. Forget the fact that she played one of the most powerful and memorable characters on television (CJ Cregg). Or the fact that she transforms herself for every role (think Drop Dead Gorgeous or Juno). Or even the fact that she stands out even while sharing screen time with some of hollywood’s greatest, like Meryl Streep. The really outstanding thing is the honesty and humanity she brings to everything she does. That’s the part that makes people think they know her, love her and want to be like her.

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I Want To Go To There – Paris

There are a few cities on my bucket list that I am incredibly sure I am going to love as soon as I set foot on their culturally and historically rich streets. Paris might be on the top of this list. It’s either Paris or Barcelona. The only reason New York City isn’t on this list is because I have been there so many times it’s almost my home away from home.

This incredibly visual and artsy video was created by Land of Nod Inc. and its founding members Robert Kolodny and Bennett Elliot. The amazing song is by Les Sans Cullottes. It captures what I hope one day will be my whirlwind adventures in that incredible city.

My mom lived in Paris for a couple of years when she was a teenager and I have loved growing up listening to her stories. In the last few years everyone in my family has made the trip and I can’t help but wonder when it will be my turn! I cannot wait to experience the museums, the food, the culture, and yes, the shopping. Mostly, I can’t wait to sit in some obscure Parisian cafe and people watch, read a book…and write. Bliss.

Inspiration Blitz – What Are You Waiting For?

I have these on my desktop and read them almost daily. It’s my daily mantra of sorts. I also have a poster in my room that says ‘What Are You Waiting For’. I stare at it as I fall asleep.

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Sesame Street – Best Thing Ever, Maybe?

This exploded online yesterday and I couldn’t resist. I love the cleverness of people. I have to celebrate it. I also love Sesame Street and Cookie Monster…and Elmo.

When I was growing up in Peru I knew it as Plaza Sesamo. If I remember correctly, when I got paid after doing a commercial (I think I was 5), my parents let me take some of the money and buy anything I wanted. I ended up with a board game set that was, I think, 4 games in one, and it was all Plaza Sesamo. Elmo didn’t even exist yet, I don’t think!

I recently had the pleasure of putting together an audition tape for Sesame Street and one of the scenes I had to tape was with Elmo. A very talented friend of mine read the scene with me and I couldn’t believe what was happening. It’s one of those moments when I pinch myself and think – is this really my life? Did I really leave work early today to come home and record an audition with Elmo? For Sesame Street? Craziness.

Enjoy these little pieces of magic. I promise they will put a smile on your face, and perhaps take you back to a time when all you had to worry about was how to get to Sesame Street.

Lena Dunham On Knowing Nora Ephron (And Our Relief That These Two Geniuses Met)

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”

                                                                                                            -Nora Ephron  

Is Lena Dunham the Nora Ephron of our generation?

After Mrs. Ephron died last month I wanted to write about her on this blog. Stupidly, I thought that night I would get in bed, reread some of her essays, get some inspiration and write a brilliant tribute. I wanted to, I thought I needed to, and I thought it would help me put into words why I admired her so much. Instead, I just sat there, stared at my computer screen and ultimately succumbed to reading what everyone else had to say about her on the internet.

In the last couple of weeks I’ve thought about her a lot. I read her works and I went on a mad hunt across Toronto to buy ‘I Feel Bad About My Neck’, a book I had read a few years ago but never owned. It wasn’t until I started rereading the book that I was able to BEGIN to articulate why I admired her so much. I was also able to understand how people like Nora, visionaries, wonder women, thinkers, shape our lives over the years in such subtle sneaky ways that we don’t even realize it’s happening until they’re gone and we feel the hole left in our heart and spirit.

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The Wise Words Of Dr. Seuss

My favorite Dr. Seuss book is ‘Oh The Places You’ll Go‘. It was given to me by a good friend when we graduated High School. Actually, she had written a short play about it which we performed for our final Drama class project.

I haven’t thought about that in so long! It was a great script. I have such talented friends.

The book has such a positive message and it came at a time when I had no idea of where I was going. I was heading to University, I wasn’t going to know anyone, I wasn’t sure if I had picked the right course of study. So many questions! Dr. Seuss has a way of shifting that fear into excitement for the future….and for that I am grateful! The book is never far from my sight and I try to share it with friends whenever possible.

It’s a great graduation gift for a student who is heading off into the world. It makes the adventure that much more exciting!

The picture below is another reason why we all love Dr. Seuss. His message is universal and one that we should be sharing with kids as early as possible. How incredible to see a small child holding this sign. Good job parents. Good job.

My Fantasy Home Library

There are few things I like more than books.  There are a few more things I like more than being alone….but not many!

All kidding aside, I really love books and one day will have a library in my home just like this. A loving family. A house on the beach. A library. The simple things.