Good Ol’ New York

Ah, New York. I’ve gotten used to people saying thank you when I hold the door for them (leave it to Jersey). Not the case here! Things to do, places to go, people! Ok, I’m exaggerating. It was one woman. And oh, look, that guy said thank you. He must have read my mind.

I just got off the bus and walked through Port Authority. Meeting up with a friend in Times Square today! Yay! Grown up time!

I just now realized how slow I’ve gotten accustomed to walking. When I used to work in Manhattan, every morning, I was on a mission. Get up, get out, on and off the bus, and book it to my office. There’s just too many people in Times Square. I can’t deal. Gotta get through.

All right, here it comes. I’m picking up the pace. Gotta keep up. Seriously, everyone walks so fast! At least the natives. I did feel like a tourist of some sort rambling my way through leisurely a minute ago. Get in the zone, Diane! You’re still a New Yorker! 

Anyway, now I’m sitting around twiddling my thumbs at Villa, waiting for my friend. We ordered something online together through my Atomy business (learn more on my About page) and I’m delivering her hand creams personally! Also, I’m craving New York pizza. Thank God I can eat wheat again (more on that later).

Oh God. Oh God. They’re playing Call Me, Maybe. I think I’m going to be sick. I think I have to leave. Ahhhh pins and needles. Breathe. Breathe. It’s just a song. It will be over in 3 minutes. Ugh, the horrible part is that eventually you start singing along anyway 🙄.

Ok, this pregster needs to eat! P.S. Whoever loves me the most, please buy me this shirt:

My Philosophy: When you have nothing else to write about, write about Chocolate

Being the sugary goodness connoseuir that I am, I think it’s only fair that I share some of my infinite wisdom with my beloved readers. The fourteen (hard as I tried, I couldn’t narrow it down to ten) best (not surprisingly mostly all chocolate) desserts on the planet:

1. Pecan pie and apple pie by my aunt C (homemade ALWAYS makes the top of the list!)



2. Chocolate chip cookies by my uncle J – top secret recipe (wondering what I have to do to get it out of him!)


3. Tiramisu by my sister in law H


4. Manner Original Neapolitan Wafers (to DIE for Viennese hazelnut chocolate cookies which if you haven’t tried, you absolutely MUST. I think they may actually warrant a trip to Europe, however, you can also find them for a hiked up price on Amazon or an international food market someplace)


5. Coldstone Founder’s Favorite (this founder clearly knows what’s good). Sweet cream ice cream chock full of pecans, brownie bits, chocolate syrup, and caramel syrup. My mouth is watering talking about it… 


6. Ferrero rochers (I mean I hate to be so predictable but I think we can all agree)


7. Glutino gluten free chocolate covered pretzels (where my gluten free folk at?)


8. Godiva everything (practically)


9. Lindt Lindor “Irresistibly Smooth” dark chocolate truffles (though nearly ALL the flavors I’ve tried are pretty darn irresistible!)


10. Those big variety boxes of “specialty”  European chocolate cookies that I’ve seen anywhere from BJs to my local Chinese supermarket 


11. Pepperidge Farm Geneva Dinstinctive cookies (ooh, not just any cookies, distinctive cookies)


12. Entenmann’s rich frosted doughnuts (you may recall). Oh great, they spell them “donuts”. *facepalm


13. Nutella (something about hazelnut with chocolate! Those Europeans know what they’re doing!)


So I first found this image, and then I found this one:


and I thought Thaaat’s more like it 😉 (Found this pic at divyakumar.com – pretty hilarious blog by the way)

14. Riesen chocolates


And that, my friends, concludes my list of all time best (mostly chocolate) sweet tooth satiators! Hope you enjoyed! Comment below if you think I left out something really crucial!

Truth

In this video, Simon Sinek speaks on “Millenials in the Workplace” and the four major problems with this generation: parenting, technology, impatience, and environment. Ironically (but not surprisingly), I initially discovered it on Facebook. 

Simon Sinek Millenials in the Workplace
[I wish I could embed the actual video here, but I think I need a paid subscription for that (something to work up to 😉).]

The message is clear and simple, yet eye opening and profound. As it happens, I am a Millenial myself. In my opinion, the realities described in this video need to be understood by all Millenials/young people of today. The points that hit home with me the most are Technology and Impatience. As Simon says, technology can be addictive and can seriously stunt the emotional, social growth of adolescents especially. Facebook is great, but its use should be carefully monitored. Before I was a parent (because being a parent just changes EVERYTHING), I did have a certain attachment to Facebook. On more than one occasion, I found myself a little too quick to log in, almost automatically, as if my mind couldn’t handle 5 idle seconds. I certainly experienced what many experience: As I scrolled, I subconsciously compared my job, my face, my partner, my clothes, my partying (or lack thereof) to those of my friends. As we all probably know, Facebook is completely one sided. The vast majority of posts on Facebook are of the happy moments, the accomplishments, the victories. People don’t post nearly as much about their struggles, their worries, their failures. For the most part, photos are all carefully selected and edited.

I love that this guy suggests removing temptation. One easy way is charging your phone in a room other than your bedroom. Facebook in itself is a harmless, useful tool (or form of entertainment at the least). We just need to pay attention to how we feel when we use it and whether or not we are relying unhealthily on it.

Next, impatience! Instant gratification is the devil. People have got to learn to WAIT. I am so insanely aware of the danger of instant gratification that I keep myself up at night worrying about how I’m going to teach my 4 year old son patience and the necessity and beauty of delayed gratification. Most of this generation’s unhealthy expectation of immediate gratification is a product of the Internet, obviously. The Internet is genius and powerful and freeing and dangerous. As a parent, it is my number one worry.

As I sign off tonight, I want to ask you this: Please don’t be afraid to talk about the ugly, to show the ugly. Life is made up of just as many disappointing moments as joyful moments, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Challenges and failures teach us to be resilient, to be appreciative. Imperfection makes us compassionate, makes us human. Be true to yourself and embrace the people in your life for all their perfect imperfections (Thanks, John Legend 😉).

Blah

So, I’ve been really overwhelmed by a lot of things (some of which I’ll go into at a later time) and this week, everything was just magnified because I have both the kids because of Winter break. I swear I feel like I’ve been non stop screaming. I am trying so hard to teach my four year old patience, respect, and Number One: Refraining-From-Hitting-The-Sister. It is super freaking hard! I’m hoping things will cool off once he’s back at daycare, but it’s like it takes literally two seconds for him to snap at her. I’ll admit, I snap too! So maybe I’m contributing to the problem! Aghhhhh what am I doing with my life?!?! My friends have tried to comfort me, and they’ve helped. “We all go through this”, “You’re a good mom”, “They’re just kids”. And yet I still feel so desperately worried that I am scarring my children for life by doing something wrong.

No solutions today. Just venting. 

Bedtime used to be my favorite time of the day. Y would go down into her crib without a fight while T stayed patiently in the other room playing by himself for 5 minutes. Then, all of a sudden, he decides he WILL NOT stay in the other room. And almost simultaneously Y decides she WILL NOT go down into her crib without a very loud fight. So for a few weeks, I struggled with them and tore my hair out trying to figure out what I should do (my husband works nights, so I’m alone). After some contemplation, I decided I shouldn’t force my son away from me if he just wants to be close to me. So I let him stay with Y and I in her bedroom. Our current set up is just the three of us all lying next to each other on the big bed. T is still pretty calm and falls asleep relatively easily (I miss my sweet alone time with my sweet boy), but Y, oh my God, she is a hot mess when she’s trying to fall asleep (like T used to be…so I guess it’s normal). Just the tossing and turning and rolling on us and the whining and crying UGHHH for like an hour (at about the halfway point, her brother usually falls asleep). And just like that, bedtime is now my LEAST favorite part of the day. I pray to God it changes again (well, yeah, of course it will, but we don’t know when).

I also had a really uncomfortable (ok, infuriating) conversation earlier today with some family members, and I am just so done at this point.

I love parenting. I share many, many inspiring, life giving moments with my children. Today, it’s just really hard.

Sorry for the doom and gloom post… In case you missed it the first couple times, I am having a sh*t day. Just keepin’ it real, folks. Hope y’all are feeling better than I.

Maryland

I just worked out for an hour and a half, so now I can eat chocolate for an hour and a half, right? The math checks out, yes?

It’s so nice to have munchies to eat while you write.

I never got a chance to tell you about my little Mommy Daughter road trip to Maryland to see my bestest friend! C moved to Maryland like a half a year ago, and I have been PSYCHED ever since, counting down the days that I could actually go visit her. Maryland is so much closer than North Carolina!

Little girl and I left the house  bright and early- around 6 am. I was hoping she would fall back to sleep after being in the car for a bit, but no such luck! She wanted to be in on all the action! Thankfully, she was pretty satisfied with the random toys, stickers, snacks and/or animated conversation I threw at her every twenty minutes. Part of the time, she was satisfied just to hear me singing (Yes!).

She did finally start to get restless when we hit like the three quarter mark, so I let her have a nice, long break while I got gas around 8:45.

I arrived at my final destination at 9:30 am! Not bad, I say! C and I went to church together, where I saw lots of people I haven’t seen in a while, so that was really nice.

For the rest of the day, we did what best friends do best- blissfully enjoyed each other’s simple company. We strolled leisurely around adorable downtown Annapolis right by the marina- drinking coffee, listening to the water, taking pictures, picking up trinkets at a street bazaar, and chatting as if not a second had passed since we last saw each other. I couldn’t have thought of a better way to recharge my batteries and “fill my bucket” (If you’re scratching your head, check the children’s book “How Full Is Your Bucket?” out at the library)

My little one was smitten with the dogs at C’s place, but not enough to want to be within 2 feet of them. She seems to like the idea of dogs better than the actual dogs. She enjoys keeping a safe distance and watching them from afar, squealing “Mongmongy mongmongy!” (Doggie, doggie!). Once I shuttled her off to bed, I was able to enjoy a little grown up time with C and her hubby and in laws- playing Bananagrams of course! Super fun. I have so many good memories playing that game. A big thank you to C’s mom in law for a DELICIOUS dinner of veggies and dip (I’m going to text C for that recipe right now!), scalloped potatoes, roast lamb and apple pie!

I honestly want to make this a regular thing! Driving down like once a month or so? Traveling is good for my soul.


Shopping

So another thing I love is shopping. Who knew?! Considering I haven’t actually shopped for myself in let’s see 3 years and 9 months…. (with the exception of my birthdays) Ever since I became a mom, I have bought essentially nothing to treat myself (Full disclosure: I’m talking about clothes, not chocolate!) But back in the day, I used to love strolling the halls of Queens Center Mall with my high school gal pals. I could spend hours there. Everything was beautiful, everything was shiny and new. I wanted it all! Of course, I never had a high paying job in high school, so I could only afford a few choice pieces from H&M or Forever 21, say, but even so, they made me so happy!

I was reminded of this today when I met up with my grown up gal pals (Sigh… MUST we age?) at Garden State Plaza. No kids, no distractions, just good ol’ retail therapy. I snagged some basic necessities like leggings and a shirt from Uniqlo and super cute earrings from Aeropostale (Going out of Business Sale! Had to stop!) Lastly, from Macy’s, an adorable replacement for a particular shirt dress I used to wear all the time that I have been mourning ever since it got a giant hole in the armpit (What?) and I had to lay it to rest. 

So, I decided to play fashion blogger for a day. Those of you who are into fashion, this one’s for you! 

And now, for your viewing pleasure, today’s purchases! (As soon as I started taking these photos, I immediately regretted this post…This stuff is time consuming! Props to all you legit fashion bloggers out there. Also, sorry for the poor lighting and totally unprofessional background and modeling skills. I’ll call it…haphazard chic…)

Red and white plaid shirt dress by Ultra Flirt (Made in China. My people!) from Macy’s $16.99. (Originally $39 what what!) Black Heat Tech Pile Lined leggings (so comfy and soft!) from Uniqlo $14.90. (Is the very best thing about New Jersey no tax on clothes, or what?) Would go great with black or brown booties, but unfortunately I don’t own any, so I had to make due with these knee high boots from Payless (bought these too long ago to remember the price). Necklace: home made! (Oh, whoops, it’s backwards here. See next outfit)



My absolute favorite fall color is maroon (or is this burgundy? Some expert, please correct me) Supima Cotton V Neck Long Sleeve T: Uniqlo $14.90. Jeans: The Gap (also too long ago) Pro Mama Tip: High waisted jeans are your new best friend! Booties: Forever 21 (knowing Forever 21, probably like $20)



Finally, Aeropostale earrings! Each set was $2.99! I better not lose any of these… I am sick and tired of losing my earrings. 



Phew! That’s a wrap! What do you think guyssss?! How’d I do? 

Music

I’m working on the second chocolate bar my friend brought me from Austria. Note to all my admirers: In case you haven’t heard, the way to my heart is through chocolate.

The nice thing about foreign sweets is that you can’t understand the writing describing how much is considered a serving, and therefore can’t be blamed if you go ahead and eat the entire package because you just don’t know any better ☺️ (I wish I were kidding, but I’m not 😬)

I’ve already written about my love affair with chocolate, so I won’t be redundant.

This post is about something else I love: music.

I know I wrote a whole piece on country music and I started to wonder if maybe it sounded like that was the ONLY genre of music I like. Not the case at all. I like plenty of pop, alternative rock and something some stations refer to as “easy listening” *eyebrow raise* Always thought that sounded so odd. Also, is Disney considered a genre? 🤓

Here are a few of my current faves outside of the country genre (You may notice that these are not totally “current”. I don’t really listen to the radio that much and I certainly don’t go looking for new music on iTunes – maybe one day when I have more time on my hands.) So, these are songs I’ve come across during my sporatic radio sessions, my random bouts of YouTube browsing, and through my default stations on Hoopla and Amazon Music (que the dish gloves!).

(Ignore all the obnoxious spacing. It’s not for dramatic effect; I’m just writing on my phone again)

One Call Away by Charlie Puth

Obviously Marvin Gaye by Charlie Puth and Meghan Trainor

Then There’s You by Charlie Puth

Ok, pretty much anything by Charlie Puth

Hello by Adele

Stressed Out by Blurryface

What Do You Mean? by Justin Bieber (yeah, that’s right!)

Dear Future Husband by Meghan Trainor

Like I’m Gonna Lose You by Meghan Trainor and John Legend

Stand By You by Rachel Platten

Ex’s and Oh’s by Elle King

I Will Wait by Mumford & Sons

These are in no particular order and are all off the top of my head (also, this is certainly not a list of “all time” favorite songs). Some I love because of the lyrics, some because they motivate me, some because they remind me of something, some because they make me want to dance, and some are just delicious, smooth, rich chocolate to my ears. If any are new to you, give them a listen!

What are some of your current favorite songs?

Country Music

Nothing can give me the feels like country music. 

I spend many a sink load of dishes with country music. I love the depth of the lyrics, the guitar, the imprint it has left on my soul since I first fell in love with it. My current fave is still “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw, but a close second is “She’s Got a Way With Words” by Blake Shelton. The latter is definitely not as meaningful and profound a song, but it’s just catchy and sort of endearing. Also, Blake Shelton

There are scores of country songs that are cathartic for me. At the moment, they’re mostly the ones about missing loved ones because that’s what I relate with most right now. “I Drive Your Truck” by Lee Brice and “You Should Be Here” by Cole Swindell are great. 


This reminds me of my guitarist mama

I used to sing along to songs constantly. As a rule, if a song I knew came on the radio, I would belt it out. It made me feel free and alive and intoxicated. I still do sometimes, but that part of me has changed a little in the last few years. In general, I’ve become a bit more of a listener and a bit less of a vocalizer. Not that I used to be rude and cut people off before, but I’m more reflective and less chatty now. Part of this is about my mom, but I think my husband also taught me to be this way. He has this quiet, reassuring demeanor. It’s very calming. One way that he’s so good for me is that he doesn’t get riled up and explode when he’s angry. He stays really cool and matter of fact, which in turn helps me remain calm and collected. If he were the type to yell and hurl insults at me, I would react very differently. Fighting fire with fire, we would likely burn the house down. See all the impressive insights you can come up with when you listen to this stuff?

Speaking of houses, I’ll throw a couple final suggestions in here: “The House that Built Me” by Miranda Lambert and “Burning House” by Cam.

My people! Whoever you are, wherever you are, whyever you are reading this, if you haven’t yet (or if you’ve only tried a couple times. I think it took me fourteen tries) give country music a chance! If you’re in the NY/NJ area, check out 94.7 NASH FM (This may or may not be the only country station in New York). Or maybe go find someone (even if that means doing some traveling!) who loves it and can enlighten you and enjoy it with you. It just may change your life.

14 Pieces of Advice from Diane: Sage, Prophet, Intellectual, and Overall Genius

I wrote something for you guys. Just to help you out a little in life. And it goes something like this:

1. Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken. (Ok, ok, I stole this one off the Internet. But it’s so profound! Thank you, Oscar Wilde.)

2. If you want to learn a language, marry a man whose mother ONLY speaks that language and live with her for the first year or two of your marriage.

3. If you have sweaty armpits (like me), never wear gray shirts. Better yet, stick to sleeveless shirts.

4. Speaking of armpits, baking soda is THE best deodorant. Pat a little on and Voila! Odor, be gone!

5. Don’t cry right before bed unless you enjoy unseemly puffy eyes that hardly open in the morning.

6. Sometimes you just have to find the way to not CARE. You can’t let every thoughtless, snide comment (about your looks, your cooking, how you’re living your life) and random rude behavior from strangers (or people you know very well!) bring you down. If at all possible, don’t even react. Let it go. Becoming a mom has made this very easy for me. I simply do not have the energy to get bent out of shape over every disappointment thrown my way. Let those annoying instances slide right off your back. They are not worth ruining your day over. That person does not deserve to have that power over you. The reality is that that person is probably having a terrible day (or terrible life?) and just doesn’t know any better than to bring people down with him/her.

7. If you want to learn true patience, have children.

8. While I’m at it, if you want to have every last limit tested and button pushed, and be brought to the point of really questioning your resolve, intelligence, decision making abilities, and competence over all, have children (bonus for multiple children!).

9. A final one just to be fair: If you want to discover just how much love you are actually capable of, have children.

10. Be more efficient: to answer calls while washing dishes, tap the receive button with your nose.

11. Don’t sleep with wet hair unless you want to catch a cold (at the very least, put a towel under your head).

12. Have zero expectations. That way, you are never disappointed.

13. Wear that dress you’ve been saving for a special occasion. What if that occasion never comes?

14. Don’t type out blog posts on your phone. This is unnecessarily time consuming and rather frustrating (fix your bugs, please, WordPress app!)

Speaking of Always Changing

So, back in the early days of Facebook (or at least my early days of Facebook), they put more emphasis on the “About Me” section, so I put together what I thought was a poetic little list. I’ve changed it a few times over the years, and I thought what better time than now to do it again! (I just turned 27 if you didn’t get the memo)

And now, for your viewing pleasure, presenting my “About Me” which was last updated I dunno 3 years ago?, along with my italicized comments 😉

I am:
a mom     yup, pretty sure I’m still a mom
creative     yup
friendly     yup
shy initially     yup
silly     ok, so maybe not so much has changed yet…
spontaneous     scrolling down…
emotional
sensitive
random
always changing, learning, and growing
open to new ideas
a dark chocolate addict
a klutz
not pierced     AHA! This one’s changed 😉
deathly afraid of sharks
psychic ☺️     definitely still psychic 😉

I can’t:
speak another language     I think I’m allowed to say I’m a beginner in Korean now! Thanks, husband! 
afford Prada     If I reeeeally wanted to, maybe just one purse…
consume lactose     I think I’ve built up a tolerance somehow
dance     haha this one’s debatable…shall we take a vote?
whistle     I can do a pretty pathetic one. Like on a scale of 1 to 10, maybe a 3
go a day without singing     This will always be true 

I have:
a bad memory     It may have even gotten worse if that’s possible. Of course I’m going to whip out the Mommy Brain excuse
a big heart
weird feet     Ugh don’t remind me
freckles
fast metabolism     It has slowed a bit since having children…

I wish:
I had all the answers 
I really knew God
I had brothers and sisters
there were no such things as goodbyes
we had more time
I spoke korean     (See first I Can’t!)
the weather would behave
I weren’t so gullible
I weren’t such a pushover     Check! (Becoming a daughter in law and mom helped me a lot with this)
Superman were real     hahaha foreverrrrr
there weren’t so much pain in the world
I had the confidence to see the beauty in myself     Getting there!
we could communicate our thoughts and our passions instantly without speaking a word I think this is what the Spirit World is like…

I love:
God
Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon
my husband and son!     I have a daughter too now! 😄 Yay!
my friends and family
being accepted and loved
sunrises
waking up to the sound of birds chirping
the South!
guitar
piano
children
making people happy
grapefruit soda
Calvin and Hobbes!
avocado
feeling a connection without words
everything about rain – the feel, the smell, the sound
irises
roses!     and sunflowers!
oldies (101.1 CBS fm! haha)
kittens
thunderstorms
fantastic memories (like living with my best friends’ family ten years ago)
song
laughter!
driving
red     and green! and blue!
reunions with old friends
sincerity
rice milk     and anything that contains coconut milk!
macarons! (not to be confused with macaroons)
moonlight
attempting (key word) to play volleyball, soccer, racquetball and pingpong
dreaming (in both senses of the word)
overcoming obstacles
hugs!
the change in the atmosphere at the transition between seasons
huge open spaces that go on as far as the eye can see in all directions (I’ve never been lucky enough to encounter any)
cherries
mangoes
Founder’s Favorite at Coldstone
Pinterest!     Meh. It’s changed.
being alive
you (probably) (As I mentioned this is originally from Facebook, so that’s why this is here)

I don’t see how it’s possible that I didn’t put chocolate on this list. Perhaps I thought it was obvious. Oh! That’s right! It’s in the I Am list 😉

Here’s to year 27!! Gahh only a matter of time before I start lying about my age… 😁