Un Momento Da Non Dimenticare Mai

After receiving a number of requests from my Italian family and friends, my mom translated this article for all to read!

L’effetto Sorpresa

Il 2 giugno 2016, è successa la sorpresa dell’anno. L’opportunità di una vita. Un momento da non dimenticare mai.

Con due dei miei fratelli, abbiamo deciso di venire in aereo, dal Canada e dagli Stati Uniti, fino in Italia, e fare una sorpresa ai nostri nonni, durante la celebrazione del loro sessantesimo di matrimonio. Parenti, zii, zie, mamma, papà, sorella e amici di famiglia erano all’oscuro di tutto. Solo gli altri due fratelli lo sapevano. Meno orecchie, più grande e sicura la sorpresa!

La Sorpresa Per il Sessantesimo di Matrimonio

Siamo arrivati un paio di giorni prima, abbastanza per assestarci con il cambio d’ora. Il giorno dell’anniversario ci siamo intrufolati nella sala del rinfresco dove un po’ alla volta entravano gli invitati. I primi sono stati mamma e sorella maggiore, e questo è stato un momento memorabile, lo shock sui loro visi, le lacrime di gioia e il cuore che batteva a cento all’ora dall’emozione mentre ci abbracciavamo. Papà, in genere imperturbabile, stavolta è stato parecchio colpito dalla sorpresa. E la nonna, ammutolita come se avesse visto dei fantasmi: nel suo discorso ufficiale ci ha chiamato i 3 re magi!

Che giornata mitica è stata, e continuerà a ripetersi nella mente e nei pensieri di tutti noi nei giorni a venire.

Riunione di Famiglia

Inutile dire che questo evento è servito anche a farci riunire come famiglia. Visto che siamo in 8 e sparsi per il mondo, ritrovarci è qualcosa di molto speciale. Abbiamo passato i giorni seguenti a parlare, a ridere, ad aggiornarci, e a fare una bella scorpacciata di delizioso cibo italiano.

Non c’è niente di più prezioso della famiglia. E’ lì che la vita ha inizio, e senz’altro è uno dei valori più grandi della vita. Nei momenti difficili, la famiglia ti sta vicino.

Non è facile vivere lontani e senz’altro ne sentiamo la mancanza. Sono però onorata di appartenere a una di quelle famiglie che godono di ogni giorno, minuto e secondo trascorso insieme. Siamo tutti molto diversi e a volte non condividiamo le stesse idee, ma il tempo che passiamo insieme è come l’oro.

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La famiglia: come i rami di un albero, cresciamo in direzioni diverse, ma la radice è unica. (anonimo)

xx Lara

My Sister, My Hero!

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When I first started blogging I wanted to be extremely private, I wanted my articles to motivate, inspire, educate, and to be an encouragement to whoever fancied taking the time to read what I had to say in the first place.

I am a friendly person, but I’m also very shy, sentimental, and private.

Because of that, I was certain I didn’t want to be one of those blogs who gives you regular updates on their personal lives, or delve into private affairs!

To this day, I still have the same fundamental goal in mind.

However, I believe that motivation, inspiration, education, and encouragement doesn’t only come from text-books, or from research. It comes from real life events, personal stories from the heart, experiences from the very core of our existence. There is a reassurance somehow in knowing that you’re not alone, that you’re not the only one in your current struggle, or that you’re only human!

And this leads me to today’s post.

My sister, my hero!

My sister has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, and is, as I am beginning to write this post, going through surgery.

She is a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a strong and very brave woman. I don’t think anything can prepare you for information like that, but she was solid, positive, and courageous upon hearing this news.

I felt many emotions the day she went for her last biopsy – the day it was confirmed to her that she did in fact, have breast cancer. To be honest, I felt silly for being so overwhelmed by my own present worries and insignificant concerns, things that I wasn’t happy with, or wished could be better. For her, this news was the beginning of worry, concern, and decision-making.

P.S I’m pleased to say the surgery went well and she’s in recovery, and is definitely showing this cancer who is boss!

To All The Strong Women

I have very close friends and tribal-soul-sisters that are cancer survivors, or are surviving a chronic illness. Who prove to me that there is nothing you can’t survive if you have the will power and positive outlook to overcome what seems to be the impossible. Who put faith before fear, strength before weakness, humility before pride.

To all you ladies out there, sisters, tribal sisters…you are all my hero’s and influence me on a daily basis to think bigger than my current state! Who know what struggle truly is, and what miracles can be.

It takes strong women like you, to be an encouragement to many, even through your most difficult moments. And I am humbled.

To My Sister

I love you sis. I know no matter what, you’re going to beat this. You’re an amazing person, a kind soul. You’re my hero and inspiration, and are stronger than ever! You will come out victorious – a survivor to all those other women out there who are hearing this very same news for a first time.

“You only know how strong you are, when being strong is your only choice.” – Bob Marley

xx Lara

My Penguin And I

marriageI had the pleasure of being at my grandparents 60th Anniversary in Italy a couple of weeks back, and it was beautiful!

Marriage and relationships aren’t always easy, and as with anything good in life, a healthy marriage takes work, and is in essence, the backbone of the house. The honey moon stage in most marriages has a shelf-life, with familiarity creeping in, a growing family, a change of job, this can all put pressure on a relationship, and add troubles to what started out strong.

A healthy marriage doesn’t mean a plateau of emotions, or the absence of arguing and disagreement.  The up’s and down’s can be a roller coaster ride, to say the least, but it’s what makes a marriage stronger. All marriages go through rough patches, some don’t survive long enough, others see it through till death do part.

5 Tips For a Healthy Marriage

I love and treasure my husband through our good times and our bad times. I know our tough times stem from fundamental personality differences – which can get in the way! But I also know that we have something good, something solid, something worth fighting for. It sometimes takes putting things on the back burner, choosing to overlook things, or by making some healthy compromises.

While doing some research into golden advice for a healthy marriage, I came across a few juicy tidbits. Here are a few points that stood out to me:

1. Acknowledge the little things – It’s easy to forget that you were once “man and wife” before earning the title of “mom and dad.” Make it a habit to jump into his or her arms after not seeing each other all day, filling each other with kisses and words of love, instead of jumping to the troubles of the day. Arrange a little date night at home – a special meal just for the two of you while the kids watch a movie in the room.

2. Be mindful of your words – Say thank you for the little things that go unnoticed. Forget the things that went wrong, or were forgotten – they don’t need undesired attention. Tell your significant other she’s beautiful, and she’ll be beautiful. Tell him he’s smart, and he’ll be smart. Tell them how much you appreciate the jobs he/she does, and they’ll do the job even better. Tell her she world to you, and she’ll make your world a better place. Make kindness a priority!

3. Accept that not all problems are solvable Sometimes learning to walk away from a heated discussion, or difference in personality is the smart option. Accepting that certain things about your partner will never change, and there is no point wasting time and patience trying to change them. Instead choosing to move on to what you find as common ground or similar interests will help you overlook a problem or realize it’s not a deal breaker.

4.Take care of your appearance – So much is involved in the courting stages, plenty of time is spent exercising, and working on appearances, so one can look and feel attractive. This often is not the case once the honey moon period passes, or sometimes after having children. The ease of letting go can seem very enticing, and easy to fall into. But exercise and paying attention to your appearance is crucial in a healthy marriage. Exercise also releases tension and stress – one of the main culprits of discord in a relationship.

5. Don’t keep score –  Marriage requires a lot of give and take, and it’s never fair to tally up scores. “I did this, so you need to do that.” Tit for tat is childish and counter productive. A better thing to keep score of is the positive things your partner does – and then thank them for doing it.

To My Penguin:

(My hubby and I started using this term long since we first got together. Penguins are for life – and so are we, or at least we’ll try our best to be.)

As time goes by, we get a little older, a little less patient, a little less tolerant of each others shortcomings. The “little people” in our life sometimes take preference to the once “man and wife” we used to be. But if there is one thing I know, it’s that no matter what life may bring our way, I feel honored to share it with you.  I promise to work my best at this marriage so that our grandchildren can witness our 60th Anniversary, the same way I just witnessed my grandparents 60th.

I love you.

xx Lara

“You don’t love someone because they’re perfect, you love them in spite of the fact they’re not.” – Jodi Picoult

Feed Your Skin – Love Water

#infusedwaterSummer has begun, and I can already feel the potential damage it could impose on my skin.

I do love basking in the warmth of summer, and catching a few healthy rays of sun for a maximum of 15 minutes per day. But what I don’t want to see is leather skin that is dry and withered. After all, leathery skin will not help my anti-ageing quest!

There are a few steps I can take to avoid looking like a shriveled up prune. Top priority for this gal here!

Protect Your Skin

Protecting your skin comes in more ways than one.

Sunscreen – Some swear by lathering on the 50 SPF sunscreen from head to toe, any time you step out of your house. I personally have a slightly controversial approach to sunscreen, and the other damaging effects this chemical filled product does to the skin. Each to their own though! However, I do apply about a 15 SPF to my face and chest if I’m out for a few hours by the pool, and yes, I wear a hat here in hot Texas! For boat trips, and long day’s on the beach, I would also apply it to my whole body.

Healthy eating habits – Eating a well-balanced diet of juicy and nourishing nutrients, and plenty skin protecting foods will help the skin protect itself from harsh elements. Chocolate offers natural skin protection – just don’t be fooled by the sugary type…that will only send you on a trip to the dentist. Opt for a dark chocolate instead.

What to avoid –  Avoid or minimize drinks that could dehydrate you such as coffee, alcohol, and tea, etc.

One thing is certain on my personal quest for luscious skin – which I will have to put into place effective immediately, and that is to make water my best friend.

If You’re Thirsty Then You Are Already Dehydrated

This is true – thirst equals current dehydration. The idea is to avoid getting to the part where you’re thirsty, and in desperate need of water. It can be tricky at times when busy with jobs at hand, it’s easy forget to drink water. The moment we feel thirst, this is when our body tells us it’s dehydrated.

Learn To Love Water

The best way to keep hydrated is to drink water. And what’s better than water for ultimate absorption? Yes, infused water!

I do love water and drink copious amount of it at times. But there are times when I too forget, or get a bit bored of drinking it. I’m not really a juice or soda girl, unless it’s freshly squeezed juice, or bubbly water.

My kids and I are on a mission to love water and enjoy it. We’ve bought a few fun cups that have a way to infuse fruit into it. It’s nothing fancy, but it does make water a lot less boring. It’s all about doing what works, and getting into it, being obsessed with making new flavor combinations. We put in whatever fruit we have, a slither of lemon, some blueberries, strawberries, a tea bag, chia seeds (that’s a protein shake right there), a cinnamon stick, a piece of ginger, some watermelon.

We typically just put it in our cup first thing in the morning and top it up with water throughout the day. You can also buy jugs especially for infusions, or big water bottes to carry to work. They’re for purchase everywhere these day.

Your Skin Is On You

Summer is a great time to enjoy cocktails, beer, a few glasses of bubbly, and plenty of iced-coffee. Nothing feels better than a cold beer on a hot day, or after working in the garden. My favorite! That’s all good and well, but keeping it in balance with plenty of water is on you.

At the end of the day, drinking water will not only protect your body, but will feed your skin, allowing you to look like a sun-kissed goddess all summer.

You are in charge of how your skin looks.

Drinking plenty of healthy infused concoctions will definitely put the fun back into drinking water, and will keep your skin hydrated and glowing!

What are some fun way’s you have found that works to help you drink more water? Please post comments below…I would love to know!

xx Lara

A Moment Never to be Forgotten

The Element of Surprise

The 2nd of June 2016, brought the surprise of the year. An opportunity of a lifetime. A moment never to be forgotten.

Two of my brothers and I decided to fly from Canada, and the U.S, all the way to Italy, to surprise our grandparents on their 60th Anniversary. Of course, this was an opportunity to surprise the whole family.  The relatives, uncles, aunts, mom, dad, sister, and friends of the family – the only ones in the know were our other 2 brothers. We figured the fewer that knew, the more the surprise!

The 60th Anniversary Surprise

We arrived a day or two before. Just enough to nurse a day of jet lag. On the day of the anniversary we snuck into the refreshment room where one by one each person attending started trickling in. Our mother and sister, were the first faces to walk in – and this is the priceless moment – the look of shock, filled with a teary eye of joy, felt by a pounding heart of excitement as we jumped to hug each other. Dad has always been cool as a cucumber, but he too was touched by the surprise. And Nonna (grandma), she looked like she saw a friendly ghost. In her speech she mentioned we were the 3 kings!

Oh, what an amazing and epic day that was, and will continue to be replayed in our thoughts and minds for day’s to come. Thanks to our others half’s for taking on the job of homestead, enabling us to make this monumental surprise.

The Family Reunion

 

Needless to say this event was doubled up with a family reunion. For a family of 8 to get together from all parts of the world was something to be treasured – and organised. We spent the next few day’s, talking, laughing, catching up on stories, and filled our bellies with delicious Italian food.

There really is nothing like family. Family is where life begins, and one of the most important things in life. Family stands beside you when times are tough.

It’s hard not living near family and you definitely feel the absence when reunited. I’m blessed to say that I have one of those families that enjoy each day, each minute, each second, spent together. We’re all very different in our own way, and do disagree from time to time, but overall time spent together is pure gold.

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Family, like branches on a tree, we may grow in different directions, but our roots remain as one. –Anonymous

xx Lara

Friends For Life

Friendship

I love travelling the world, experiencing a new life, new surroundings, new work, food, people, shops, nature. Travelling offers a plethora of new beginnings, and is good for the soul and helpful to the body. I wouldn’t change my wanderlust life for the world. I feel lucky and blessed to live the life I live.

Lonely Moments

As with anything amazing there is always a downside. The loss of friendships –not so much a loss of friendship, but rather the sad distance of being physically separated from the touch, scent, or warmth of that special person. Tears inevitably flow at times from the separation anxiety, or the absence of the all-important reassurance of knowing you can meet anytime for a quick coffee and casual chat. When life is tough you know there is a shoulder to cry on, or a gentle listening ear, or simply that they will be there to offer you a few words of comfort…to make you feel important. The absence of a close friend is a hard thing to face when moving to a new country.

New Beginning’s

It’s not all doom and gloom though, as a new dawn arises so do the possibilities of finding new friends. The world is full of like-minded souls ready for paths to meet and start new friendships with. It’s not about having many friends it’s about finding the right friends. And friends are important in life. They keep you feeling safe, settled, and comforted when you are a long way from “home”.

I remember a few years back when my husband and I were looking for a house. The sales agent that was showing us this particular house –for some strange reason –said that this wouldn’t be the house for me as it didn’t have loads of neighbors around to whom I could go out and chat with. He got me thinking to myself, “Hang on, you don’t know me. I’m not the kind of person that needs to be surrounded by busy bodies who want to gossip and chat about what that person up the street is doing. Not that that’s a bad thing, it’s just not what’s important to me. All I need is a real friend. Someone that I feel a connection with. It’s not about how many friends I can have. Just the right ones. And if they happen to be on my street all the better!”

What Does A Friend Mean To You?

I’ve learned a lot about friendships in my recent years –call it maturity or a sudden appreciation for true friendship. I’ve learned that with some it takes years to find common ground with or to even truly get to know. With some you think you know them until suddenly you realise all too soon that you totally misjudged them, their character, and maybe being friends with them will be a bad idea –toxic!  With others I’ve found an immediate bonding with that no distance, nor time, could ever change the connection between us. It could be years between seeing them with only a few words of communication in between, but once reunited the kindred spirits come together as if there were never time or distance. This is true friendship.

Travelling and Friendship

What I have found fascinating in my years of  travelling is the fact that I have friends all over the place who I can reconnect with or who can connect me with good friends of theirs. I find it comforting knowing I’m not entirely alone in a new country, and I embrace the possibilities of making new memories with new like-minded people –always keeping those I hold dear who are far away in my thoughts and close to my heart.

Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive. And it is only by this meeting, that a new world is born. – Anais Nin

xx Lara

Alla Mia Mamma – Happy Mother’s Day

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Cara mamma,

If I could go back in time to when I was young, and thank you for everything you did for me everyday, I would. The 9 months you carried me while I was busy training for the olympics inside your belly making you uncomfortable, and giving you heart burn. The sleepless nights when I was born. The sleepless nights that continued throughout the years! The times you held me when I was sick with my crazy high fevers –the worry and responsibility you felt for me to get better.  The way you saved me so many dentist trips by introducing me to healthy eating. The way you never spoiled me with things, instead taught me how to play and played with me. The way you taught me to be kind and care for others. How you taught me that it was better to give than to receive.

There were so many things you gave up for me selflessly that I could never thank you enough for. Without you I wouldn’t be the person I am today. If I could go back and take away all the things I said to you in childish anger, or teenage rage, I would. The hard times I gave you as a teenager? If I could have only realised then that you were just looking out for me –wanting what was best for me.

It was only when I entered motherhood myself that I started to fully comprehend what it was all about. It’s the best thing I’ve done in my life and I wouldn’t change it for the world. But it is hard. It has day’s of pure joy, and day’s of sorrow, frustration, and worry. It has crazy long hours. It’s a job so often taken for granted. But you keep me going knowing that you’ve done it so I can too.

Even though we live on opposite sides of the world there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of you, your strength, your kindness, and your youthful spirit. You are my superhero, my role model, my friend, my influence in life, you will forever be, the very best.

Ti voglio tanto bene, cara mamma!

“A mother holds her child’s hand for a little while, but holds their heart forever.”

Happy Mothers day!

xx Lara

 

To The Less Than Perfect Mom

I love being a mom, what’s not to love – that morning cuddle and good night kiss. That feeling of being needed by someone that is totally dependant on you, trusting blindly that you will be taking care of them. The laughs of funny words said while learning to talk, funny faces of flavors being tried for a first time. The fact that I get to watch this tiny thing that started out the size of a bean in my belly grow into a gorgeous person. The fact that I feel like a failure at times, but in my child’s mind I’m a super mom! What’s there not to love?

But suddenly there’s the daily routine that starts to get me down, the sleepless nights, the constant cleaning, the nagging…”eat your food”,”stop fighting with your sister”,”hurry you’ll be late for school”,”stop whining”, “no, you can’t have whatever you want from the store shelf”…etc, the list goes on, and I start to feel like a terrible incompetent mother because all I want to do is pass on my job to Supernanny!

Whether you’re a stay-at-home-working mom, or a career-working-mom, the highs and lows are pretty much the same. We feel guilty when those overwhelming feelings of frustration start taking over. I think I can safely say each and every mother out there feels this way at some point! We’re often made to think that just being good mother is not enough. The sooner we sit back and say “I am doing the best I can do” we get that second wind of courage and patience to continue this life long responsibility of motherhood.

To all you moms out there reading this who might be feeling tired, overwhelmed or frustrated…like I have been at times…and who need a little word of encouragement today, you are doing a brilliant job!

Being a mother fills you with joy and happiness, but it’s by far an easy job. The thing is, we can ever be perfect moms, only good moms. It may not be a salaried job, but its payment is pure honest love!

xx Lara

 

Hello From The Other Side

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Sorry I couldn’t resist the title 🙂

Happy New Year!

I know it’s been several months since my last blog post but let me explain why. Some of you may or may not have known that over the summer our little family did a major life changing move. We packed up house in Ireland and moved to Dallas, Texas! New country, new job, new house, new school, new everything.

It was a HUGE change…literally speaking. To name a few of the changes I’ll start with the extreme summer heat, to the 6 lane highways, to driving on the other size of the road, to huge vehicles on the road that look like they should be in a “monster truck show”, the long distances, massive houses, and did I mention tornado’s!!!!!

Welcome to Texas

They didn’t lie when they said everything is big in Texas!! I’ll admit it was slightly overwhelming at first coming from the quaint little Emerald Island to experience the sheer size of all things Texas. We’re getting into the gear of things now and are so excited with our new surroundings and feel blessed that life has steered us in this direction. I can’t get enough of the warm air, bright skies, swimming pools & bbq’s, spacious houses, the gorgeous crimson sunsets, and can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store for us!

Nobody Said It Was Easy

Has it been an easy ride? Not a chance. As with any big change things don’t just fall into place, they require pure dedication to wanting to make the change, the perseverance to make it happen, the courage to see through the hard days, and the patience to go through the settling in phase. Looking back at this year I can safely say it was a hard one but totally worth it. I always find it amazing how you can look back at a period in your life which you found hard and yet only remember the good times. Reminds me of childbirth!:-) A special thanks from me to my husband for putting in the hard work and time into making this move happen!! He’s tough as nails, and I love him for that!

Does Moving Get Any Easier?

I’ve been moving continents and countries since I was a baby. My first birthday was in India, we moved there when I was about 9 months old. From then on the life of a wanderlust/world traveler was my destiny. I love seeing what this gorgeous earth has to offer and to experience as many cultures as I can. You’d think that since I’ve done it my whole life it should be a piece of cake. Not really! I suppose it does come more naturally to me then it would to someone that hasn’t made a big move at all, but it’s still never easy and takes a lot of courage to step out of comfort zones and to start all over again. The hardest thing is leaving friends and family behind. Thank goodness for Facebook and Skype.

Change Is A Good Thing

Change is good for us though. I feel it makes me see things outside of the box. It helps me become a better person as I open myself up to learning something new instead of being stuck in my comfort zone. It makes me feel young and keeps my priorities straight. It has so many exciting benefits and opens up a whole new world with experiences and memories to treasure!

What change will you make this new year? No change is too small or unimportant in making your life or someone else’s a better place!

xxx Lara