Fifth of July and Feeling Grateful

Watch out now! Here comes a rambling post, but there will be some goodies for you here too.

Focusing On The Positive

above the cloudsI think most of us feel independent after the 5th of July, like the Eddie From Ohio song (especially if you happen to live in the United States), however today I feel grateful. The opposite of how I usually feel when I come to this blog and realize that it’s been a month since I last wrote something.  Oof! But, hey, it’s OK.

Can we all agree that there is enough negativity in this world? So let’s focus on the positive things in our life and show some gratitude as it is much more nourishing.  This exercise can be a little difficult when you’re in the thick of it and the stress of everyday life is just raining down.  I feel you, brother/sister.

But let’s try this together:

  1. Give yourself permission to take a deep breath. And by “deep breath” we’re talking about filling up your lungs and diaphragm so much so that you feel your shoulders lift up.
  2. Slowly exhale and allow the air to leave your lungs first and then your diaphragm.
  3. Take as many deep breaths as you need.
  4. Remind yourself that each breath is a gift and so are you.  Go further and, silently, tell yourself that you are grateful for you.

If that is too hokey for you, no worries, try this one on for size. Start a running list (either write it down or think of them) of the things you are grateful in your life.  It can be anything from serious things to silly things.

Littlest Martha’s List Of Things She’s Grateful For:

    • Myself: my mind, body and spirit.
    • My health: that I am strong, I can see, hear and walk.
    • My husband: the person I am most myself with.
    • My family: near or far but always in my heart.
    • My dogs: their unconditional love and never ending shedding.
    • My friends: the new ones that you can share life’s stories and the old ones where you can begin where you left off.
    • My home: a safe place to be ourselves and enjoy our mementos from past adventures.
    • Where I live: the beauty of the desert with her vast sky and bright colors, if you know where to look.
    • The country I live in: the freedoms I can enjoy here that might otherwise be denied to me.
    • My job: not just the security that I can provide for myself and my family but that I enjoy the work I do.
    • Yoga: the lessons in breathing and loving myself (a big inspiration for this blog post).
    • Acupuncture: the reminder to return to balance.
    • Dancing: the joy I feel when I move my body to the music.
    • My creativity: for never shutting out the importance of creating something; anything.
    • Vegetables: for their variety, flavor, nutrients and keeping me satisfied.
    • Flash fiction:  a medium I didn’t know existed until recently and enabled me to publish my first story, Calaveras On The Coffee Table.

desert in bloom


What are you grateful for?

Doing What You Like First

Eat your dinner first and then you can have dessert. Clean your room and then you can play. I’m not sure if this behavior of doing what is out of obligation before you can reward yourself with something you want to do is still strong with you but I fight with this one. All. The. Time.

Today was a prime example. There are chores that I want to get done every weekend and I’ve become quite efficient at completing within two hours, but I can go down the rabbit hole of cleaning and if I don’t catch myself (like setting a timer) I will be organizing the pantry or garage (which are much larger projects).  I’ve noticed that that these obligatory tasks, feel great when done, are distractions from the things I really want to do.

So, if you’re like me, try doing the things you like first. Play before you work, especially if you’re at risk of never making time for play. Play time may look different for adults (for me it’s writing this blog post), but play time is certainly not just for children.


Saving The Best For Last

I am grateful for you, dear reader. Maybe you don’t post comments (and that’s alright), but I’m glad that you’ve found something on this blog that you enjoyed, read and shared.

Thank you, or as they say after each yoga class, Namaste. 

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Classy & Trashy Birthday Party

For the party-hostess who can’t decide on a theme and wants her guests to be comfortable in getting down however it is most comfortable for him or her, might I suggest the Classy & Trashy Party.  In this case, it was a birthday party. For moi.  Last year. And man, did we have fun!

Drinks, The Cornerstone Of A Good Party

“I drink to make other people more interesting.” ~  Ernest Hemingway.

Perhaps we could take it a step further and add that drinking also can make oneself more interesting or reduce inhibitions to the point of making a limbo contest seem like a good idea.  Oh yeah, that happened.

While I’m certainly not advocating drinking to excess, this was a special occasion and I wanted the libations to flow jiggle freely. And what says “trashy” like jello shots? Dress them up with chalkboard signs and fun names.  The signs were purchased on but can likely also be found at a craft store.



IMG_3257For those classy drinkers, also consider creating white and red sangrias with fresh fruit like kiwis, peaches, apples, oranges, lemons and limes. These glass jars were found at Wal-Mart which continues our trend of trashy-meets-classy.



Booze. Let’s call it what it is.

IMG_3270Hey, it’s the birthday cake. Birthday cake shots.

IMG_3258For those who don’t want to drink alcohol, don’t chide them. Instead, keep your guests hydrated with some infused water. Infused with limes, lemons, oranges. Or try cucumber and lemon.  As an aside, I’m very pleased with my guests who all had a designated driver to ensure they got home safe.

Food, Delicious aperitifs and grub

IMG_3261Sweet treats for a sweet group of folks.  Classy and trashy really came to play here with an elaborate trifle bowl with pound cake, cream and strawberries (a classy dessert) and individually wrapped cakes and goodies you could find at a gas station.  Sweet is in tastebud of the eater.


Savory dishes are usually things like a cheese plate with grapes, or little caprese bites , grilled zucchini with mint chutney roll ups, or it could also mean Easy Cheese. There’s  no judgement at a Classy & Trashy Party.


Decorations – The Difference Between A Get Together & A Party


Having little decorative details can set the mood of your party from a casual get together.  I was lucky to find my chalice (mason jar on a stick) and the adorable blue pig at Goodwill. They were both spray painted teal blue to match the color scheme.  Inside the other mason jars were plastic utensils (that looked like pretty decent silverware!), and straws with paper mustaches. The chevron fabric was a steal from at $7/yard. IMG_3265


Something about fresh popcorn makes you happy. Makes me happy. This is just a regular fixture in my household and I wanted guests to enjoy some hot buttery goodness. The talking fish was also a Goodwill find and I wish it would find it’s way out of my house. Unfortunately, hubbs and I have found a new game of hiding this sensor-tripped fish behind doors, inside closets … etc. so as to startle the other person.

Photo booth! Oh man, each party should have one of these and they are not hard to make. Get your fabric and using twine, as we have, suspend it from the wall.  Then you can either make props, as I did with construction paper or purchase some at a dollar store.




Don’t forget to encourage your guests to dress to their level of comfort or interest.

The Aftermath or Clean Up


It’s the day after and my head is throbbing.  Unfortunately the last thing you want to do is clean up the mess from such an epic party.  After drinking some water try to look at the aftermath as a sign of how good of a time everyone had, how much they enjoyed the sweets and savory treats and the drinks.

IMG_3289This is also a great time to procrastinate the clean up as the dishes aren’t going anywhere and dress the pups in all the props and take some great photos in the photo booth.

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