Monthly Archives: June 2009

Cotton, Cotton… Everywhere!

What to wear when visiting Thailand? Lots of cotton- that’s what! Stop by Target and stock up on their fabulously inexpensive ($8!!) “ultimate tee” and their new pocket boyfriend tee. (Pictured left) They come in every color under the sun!

These tee shirts are long and lean and form fitting and maintain their shape after washing and drying. Best- they are all cotton and you can really dress them up or down. Added bonus- they keep your shoulders covered and the v-neck is not too low so they are totally appropriate for visiting Thailand’s Buddhist temples. While you’re there- pick up a white and khaki chino skirt (fits like a pencil skirt) and you’re all set! Tuck the tshirt in with a cute woven belt to match your sandals or leave the tshirt out over the skirt for a more elongated look.
Penny’s also has an affordable high-waisted skirt that looks perfectly polished with a simple t-shirt and sandals. Check out Worthington’s newest skirt collection; high-waisted and belted it looks just fabulous on the curvy gal!
These clothes are so versatile and inexpensive and lightweight- perfect for travel. Get one in every color because the shape and fit is flattering on every figure! Throw on some costume jewelry (perfect for travel if it’s lost, stolen, or breaks), a sun hat, and a pair of sunglasses with a pashmina scarf and you’re a jet setter setting the trends in another country. Bon Voyage!

In it for the long haul….

A long haul flight is any flight that takes over 6 hours to get to your destination… Interesting… so I suppose one would call a 22 hour non-stop flight a really really very super extra ridiculously long haul flight, eh? Oy.

Here are some tips based on my own recent experience flying in coach on a long-haul flight. Happy Trails!
  1. Bring your iPod! What a great chance to catch up on audio books or listen to your meditation music to soothe those frazzled nerves. You can even watch a repeat of The Office or Lost and feel right at home. An iPod is essential if you need your “space” because let’s face it- you’re pretty much on a higher altitude bus ride for the next 24 hours and there’s nowhere in site to be alone just to sit quietly in your own head. iPod = instant alone time. I also bought the earphones that cancel outside noise- so they ensure ultra soothing quietness. A little pricey ($70) but worth it!
  2. Wear glasses and pack your contacts if you want to change into them when you land. Trust me- falling asleep for 5, 6, or 10 hours at a time does not fare well for the ol’ eyeballs. I woke up with one lid glued shut and the other was missing a contact that wiggled its way out somehow. Total rip. Wear the glasses.
  3. Before you leave stop by Burlington Coat Factory (they’ve got a great travel section and accessories believe it or not!) and pick up an eye mask, ear plugs, and an inflatable neck pillow. All very much worth it and easy to pack.
  4. Before you leave stop by AAA. They usually have big discounts on luggage and messenger style travel purses that you can wear across your body. I bought a tan one that really went well with everything in my wardrobe.
  5. Wear shoes to the bathroom! I learned the hard way (in socks) that sharing a bathroom in flight with the opposite sex certainly makes for a wetly decorated floor. What the? It’s like target practice gone wacky. Wear the shoes. Also- the aisles may get wet from people spilling drinks and such – so again- shoe time.
  6. Pack mini toothbrush and paste and freshen up every few hours.
  7. Pack Oil of Olay facial cloths or Johnson baby cloths – just wet with water and you can remove makeup and reapply or just do a freshen up in the airport or on the plane.
  8. Pack aspirin or Tylenol PM. My legs and neck were killing me after 14 hours and I wouldn’t have made it the other 10 without it. Plus it will help you get sleepy if you are wired up or anxious.
  9. Get up and move around… I know. I know… unless you have an aisle seat it is dang near impossible to do this without disturbing your fellow passengers. I tried to time my walks with when my seat neighbor got up to use the restroom… I could have done with a few more walks than he did – but it was good to stay alert and leave at the same time so as not to disturb him by crawling over everyone who is trying to sleep. Take note when someone sitting close by gets up and leave when they do. Find a small area and squat several times, roll your neck, stretch your arms, and shake out your feet.
  10. Please order a drink for your seat neighbor if he or she is sleeping when the drink cart goes by. A little kindness goes a long way when drinks are passed around every 4 hours and your throat is parched. Ask for two drinks and put one on the tray for them. They’ll be so grateful when they wake up and perhaps they’ll return the favor in kind.
  11. Never loose your cool. Everyone gets a pass on long-haul flights- especially if you are traveling with in-laws. Smile, be polite, and turn the other cheek as much as possible. You’ll be glad you did.
  12. Aromatherapy. Do it. Pack a tiny (one ounce) bottle of stress relief essential oil. Apply to temples, insides of wrists, and under nose. Sniff often.
  13. Remember- go easy on yourself and others. You’ll be operating on very little sleep, disrupted circadian rhythms, hormonal imbalances, dehydration, body cramping, and generally – no downtime to speak of… so take some deep breaths, put on that ipod and count your blessings!
> Üdo xoxoxoxoxoxo

May all beings be happy and free from suffering…

What is compassion? When we reflect upon this virtue we often think to ourselves that having compassion means “being nice to others who are suffering” or “showing empathy”. But is that really what compassion is?

Websters defines compassion as: sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it

Look at the last part of that sentence- “together with a desire to alleviate it”. I think that is a part that sometimes we forget. That there is an active and vital part to compassion. There is a call to action with compassion. It is not merely the thinking of sympathetic thoughts or the acknowledging of someone else’s pain… it is coupled with a strong personal desire to alleviate the pain of the other person.

“May all beings be happy and free from suffering.”

Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day! I know it’s a tad early, but by the time Poppa’s Day rolls around I’ll be recovering from a 22 hour nonstop flight to Bangkok and dodging raindrops in Phuket. So Happy Father’s Day and here’s a shout out to the role that fathers play; for there’s no doubt that fathers play a major role in the development of their daughters and I’d say hands-down my dad had the most influence on me regarding motivation, ethics, and leadership.

Some dads are great. Some dads aren’t. Some just do the best they can with what they’ve been dealt. Hey dads are human; and positive or otherwise, all of them have had some influence on us… and I am so grateful for the positive influence my father had on me.

A former rock-band guitarist turned jet-engine mechanic my dad served his country in the Air Force during the Viet Nam war. Later in life he held the number one sales position (for 11 years) with a major retailer and was acknowledged for his expertise with both intrinsic and external rewards. My dad taught me everything I know about motivation, sacrifice, excellence, and ethics. And this is no slight to my mother who taught me everything I need to know about asserting my rights, standing up for myself, and getting my voice heard (did I mention she earned a black belt in karate at the fabulous age of 56? I digress…) Dad also taught me if I want something badly enough and have some capacity to do it- then I better work my arse off to get it.

I grew up overhearing the Jack Canfield success tapes (cassettes! ahaha love those 80s!) that dad would bring home from the conventions his company would send him to. After dinner we’d listen to them together and discuss how the same principles applied not only to his endeavors but also to my 13-year-old world of angst.

Phrases like “Oh what the heck, go for it anyway” and “Fear is fake experiences appearing real” and “I am enough” were the mantras of my childhood. He would stick post-it notes on my mirror that said things like: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore is not an act but a HABIT.” and “Focus on PROGRESS not Perfection.”

Now imagine spouting THAT stuff off to your friends when you’re in ninth grade. Hilarious. But it worked. I, like many adolescents, had a rough go at it during those teenage years. I found a lot of strength in the words my father gave me to reflect upon…

Dad also taught me about love and sacrifice by the way he cared for my mom, my brother, and me. My dad is the one who set the bar for the kind of person I wanted to be… and for the kind of person I would eventually share my life with.

My dad, (like most dads I’m sure) is an extraordinary man. He’s not perfect but he continuously strives to do better. To be better. And isn’t that what life really is about? It’s not about power, money, the accumulation of things, and keeping up with the Jones’s. It’s about evolution. It’s about becoming. It’s about transcending the shallow needs and wants that we are brainwashed to believe will fulfill us and make us whole. Life is about who you become, it’s not about what you have, or what you do. Or to eloquently quote the author Matthew Kelly, “Who you become, is infinitely more important than what you do or what you have.”

My dad is a man of faith. He’s a man of his word. He taught me there is no alternative but to be hopeful in hopeless situations and he taught me to follow through on what I say I’m going to do. It’s hard to sum up in a short post why and how my dad had so much influence on me regarding leadership, motivation and ethics – but suffice it to say- he did… in a major way. So yes, for better or worse, love em or leave em… there’s no getting away from the influence fathers have on their daughters.

Here’s to my amazing dad and here’s to my wonderfully loving dad-in-law. And here’s to my stalwart brother and my brilliant husband- no, they’re not dads (yet) but both have the great potential to be.

Here’s to our troops and our servicemen and our President. Here’s to men of integrity, men of faith, men with hearts of courage who honor their wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters everywhere- because even on the days when nobody is looking, these men are protectors, nurturers, and providers of so many things to so many people. Do you know a man like this? A brother, a father, a friend? Let him know today how much you value him. Because Father’s day isn’t just about being a father…

It’s about what being a father stands for.

Happy Father’s Day to you!

Dinner Thyme!

It’s hot here today and little relief is to be had from a circulating floor fan or heck even a stationary one pointed right at you. Yep. No relief. So what’s a way to beat the heat? Distract yourself with a tasty tingly treat! (of course)
Our trip to Thailand is little more than two weeks away and I’ve been amping up the Thai cüisine in the ol’ Üdo palace. Tonight’s delight was coconüt shrimp soüp. What? Soup on such a steamy day? Oh yeahhhh. If we can’t beat the heat- we might as well let it best us and take our tastebüds on a tango to boot!
Üdo’s Coconüt Shrimp Soup

  • 12 oz bag of fresh wild caught frozen shrimp (we do the smaller sized ones)
  • 1 can of light coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch (mixed with 2 tablespoons water and set aside)
  • 4 oz of angel hair pasta
  • 1/4 cup of lime juice
  • 3 or 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon of grated peeled fresh ginger (to save time I used the stuff that comes in the small jar minced and wet like how they sell garlic sometimes)
  • a bunch of scallions (the green parts)
  • sea salt to flavor
Ok. So here are the easy three steps to culinary pizazz!
  • Heat the oil in a large pot (saucepan) over low heat and add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Stir this for about a minute or so and make sure the heat is low. What you are trying to do here is create aroma. Breathe in that luscious yumminess and let your senses be steeped in the peace that can only be found in the fragrant lullaby of sauteed garlic and ginger… ::exhales:: ahhhhhhh….
  • Next you are going to add your light coconut milk (13.5 oz can) and add 3 cups of water. If you haven’t already done so, take a small bowl and mix the cornstarch with the 2 tablespoons of water and once that’s all melded together toss it into the soup pot. Bring this concoction to a boil. *Sidenote: if you prefer not to use cornstarch you can eliminate it by using regular coconüt milk instead of the light coconüt milk or you can increase the water by 1/4 cup and reduce the soup for 20-25 minutes on medium (a low rumble but not a full boil).
  • Break the pasta in half and add it to the pot. Return the pot to a boil and reduce the heat to medium. Now toss in the shrimp. The pasta should be al dente (angel hair cooks very quickly). Stir the pot (love that phrase!) until the shrimp are opaque and add the lime juice. Ladle into little bowls and garnish with sea salt and scallions. Serve immediately and ennnnjjjoooyyyyy!
So delicoüs I forgot I was roasting.
xoxoxoxo ❤>Üdo

Sarah Haskins…

OMG!!! Who is this amazing, funny, bright young star!?! And why did I only just hear of her? Is she on cable or am I just way out of the loop lately?

Y’all know I don’t watch tv and cable is a no-no when there are so many books to read and old films to watch… I digress… what I mean to say is Sarah Haskins is FANTASTIC!!!! The last time I laughed this hard was when John Henson hosted Talk Soup… I swear they’ve been cut from the same cloth!

And check out her commentaries on marketing, cosmetics, voting, and female stereotypes. RAWR!!!! Hilarious and spot-on!!! Snarky at its BEST.

Lilly McElroy…

Ever hear of Lilly McElroy? I looooove Lilly. Love. Love. LOVE. Her. Why? Because she rocks.

:: blows kisses to Lilly::

Lilly is hüman ümami. She’s tender and tough. She’s cute, quirky. She kicks arse. She’s authentic. She’s a performance artist with humility, grace, courage, and fortitude.

She creates and shares with us hilarious, heart breaking and thought provoking pieces on human behavioür. Read her intro on her site’s home page to get a better understanding of her take on things… it’s all about connecting and making connections. Then check out the photos of her literally throwing herself at men, sleeping on a crowded city street, taking and giving uncountable pünches in “one for one”, watch her randomly give”hugs” to strangers and keep passersby out of “the Square” or watch her secrets unfold in”two anecdotes”.




Completely fab.
Check her out.

xoxoxox ❤>Üdo