I really love coffee. Especially that of Starbucks. There’s something so smooth and a bit smoky to its taste. These pictures were shot at another coffee shop, actually physically the closest to my place, Second Cup. Their coffee is more acidic in my mouth, but their pastries are better. At Starbucks I go for a chocolate chip cookie, the few times I actually buy food, and at Second Cup I fall for their lemon poppy seed scone, even if I usually am not a huge scone lover.
I make it a point to visit my favorite cafes several times a week. My work schedule is very scattered throughout the day. I typically work both in the morning late into the evenings. In the time space between, I try to make the most of my free moments. That includes long walks in the city and its parks as well as lunch or afternoon coffee hangouts. I usually pack some healthy food with me along with a magazine. I read some articles and also write down creative things or just journal on the magazine pages. My glossies are full of handwritten notes, and I love it that way.
Time for myself is my way of centering. My work is very sociable. I am always with students. I take pride in being encouraging and focused. That needs counterbalancing. To be able to give as I wish, I need to upload. Those coffee shop lingerings provide me with a savory way to enjoy life when I can in a simple way.
The beach is my happy place. I love seeing the vast mass of water. There’s hope and dreams and opportunity in all that. I encourage you to find “your beach”. You may not have access to a veritable waterfront, but there are places everywhere where you can retreat for a moment. Connect with yourself, and a higher power, if that’s how you roll. Find that time – and you’ll feel more centered.
A good life is really made of simple things. This week mine has been about working, doing sports and connecting with my husband. Choosing to invest time in people that you value – and doing it generously – pays off. You’ll feel more supported. Someone’s got your back.
My goal for today is to live every passing moment with enthusiasm. I called my mom today. (She’s a faithful reader of this blog, so I know she’ll be reading this.) That conversation was a path of life lived together. It was nothing special yet it was very special. We were open and honest, just sharing life as we had experienced it. No need to sugarcoat or overdo. These kind of moments make the day worthwhile.
We can all invite meaningful moments into our days. By reaching out to others, the ones that our heart is leading us to, we go from a thought to actual action. Who is it that you’ve been meaning to call for a while now?
Before I headed out to Starbucks to savor writing this post, I watched Donald Trump take his first steps down the inauguration parade route in Washington DC. Prior to that, I had watched Barack Obama say good bye to his staff and supporters at Joint Base Andrew. My emotions are shuffled. I don’t quite understand how my country got where it is today.
Nevertheless, I’ve always been a huge believer in positivity. In general, I try to accept the facts as soon as possible, and then see how I can find my happy place within the defining factors I cannot change. Future remains to be seen. Within that, I feel that my place is to keep shining the light of multiculturalism and inclusion. I think that a great deal of our societal problems of today stem from the fact that a part of our society, be it in the USA or elsewhere, doesn’t find their true place in it.
If I on daily basis spread the message of respect to everyone I come across, be it the barista, cleaning lady or bus driver, if I reach out to them with a friendly smile, a few words to acknowledge them being a part of my day, that will help everyone feel like their input is valued and needed. I know that this takes energy. The day isn’t always opportune to breathing out positivity. Yet, if I challenge myself to this task, I am the first one to reap the good fruit. A smile blesses the smiler first and foremost.
Today I inaugurate a mandate of daily positivity. I swear in with a desire to be the voice of encouragement. I am in control of my life. My individual actions matter. They are my precious daily doings – nothing counts more than that. I hope you’re down with me…
This is my beach. This is where I used to hang out. The sand is so fine and powdery. Okay, so there are many gorgeous beaches in Florida. I just happen to have a special relationship with the one in Fort Myers.
Memories are precious. They are like jewels stored in a hideaway box. Yet, what really matters, in the long run in our days, is here and now. Visiting my old beach was fun. I did also realize that since the way back when times, I have discovered other magnificent places as well. I live in Canada now. I can’t get to the beach as often as I used to. I’ve adapted to the new reality. I take joy in other things. When I do get to hang out on the sandy shores, I truly appreciate every moment.
Being joyful really is a question of attitude. Each day brings us things that are nice, and then the ones that aren’t so much so. The way I handle what comes really sets the tone. Life is also about alternation. There’s time to relax, and time to work towards paying for that time to relax. It’s my job to make every step a happy task.
Today I want to talk to you about something really special to my heart. I got to have an exquisite dinner offered by my dear friend Raquel whom I hadn’t seen in way too long. Raquel and her Sicilian-born husband Vince own a restaurant in Cape Coral, Southwestern Florida. Their place is called Gusto Cucina Italiana. Vince is the chef and Raquel welcomes you at the door with the kindest smile ever.
To start with, I savored some garlic bread with a glass Sicilian red wine. I’m somewhat of a wine connoisseur by now, you know my life in Paris and all – and that red was just awesome. After that we enjoyed the perfect size Ceasar salads, followed by the main course which for me was chicken marsala and for Sebastien linguini pescatori, in other words a generous plate of seafood pasta.
The time that I’ve spent watching Food Network has taught me that you know a high quality chef by their sauces. Vince subjugated my taste buds with the marsala sauce that came with my chicken. I had sliced potatoes and sautéed mushrooms along with my chicken. Sebastien finished off his dinner with a crème brulée. The Frenchie knows his desserts. He told me that he likes to finalize a yummy meal with that treat since it is rather light and almost like ice cream.
If you are in the area of Cape Coral, Fort Myers or Naples, I suggest you offer yourself a treat at Raquel and Vince’s little piece of food heaven. I know that I love my friend to the moon and back, but even with that, the food is authentic, real and just lovingly Sicilian.
Vince promised to make Sebastien some cheesecake – so we will definitely be back. Or maybe I’ll get to have them over at our place in Canada.
A new year is always a new, exciting beginning. I’m thankful for each year that rolls along. I’m grateful for little things that line up, one after the other. That’s where true happiness is found.
I went on a journey to find more relaxedness in my life last year. This year the same quest will continue. I long to counter the luring feelings of anxiety that sometimes try to pollute my otherwise happy outlook on life. We each have our challenges – and I know that mine is dealing with the restless thoughts that could hinder me did I not pay attention on dealing with them.
These pics are from the Intercoastal Waterway between Lantana and Lantana Beach, a hop up from Miami. Water is such a powerful element. I need it in my life. I was born in a city by water. I love gazing into the ocean horizon. It lets my dreams fly.
As the new year dawns, dreaming is important as well. Goals and plans push us forward and give us wings. I dream of vacations in the USA – home sweet home with so much to discover – but also important conversations around coffee with friends. I long to learn to appreciate every passing moment be it at work or at play.
Thank you my dear reader! Thank you for all these years of blogging since 2007. Thank you for appreciating what I create. Sharing it with you is what blogging is all about.
Hugs from Florida!