Thursday, February 7, 2013

Wine Pairing

This is a nifty graphic that I picked up from Wine Folly that helps to find the right wine to pair with certain food. I wanted to post it because I had no idea wine pairing was so involved. I mean, I knew that you pair reds with steak and whites with fish, but I didn't know about roasted veggies, carbs, and cured meats. The one thing that I don't agree with is the chocolate because I think that port and chocolate were meant for each other.
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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Gluten Free Chocolate Spice-Nut Donuts with Vanilla Apple Glaze

I have seen recipes for gluten-free, flour-free cake donuts and I REALLY wanted to make them. You see, I have what one might call a weakness for donuts. It's bad. I also have one heck of a sweet tooth and I gotta say I love me some junk food. That's probably why I had so many health problems in the past. Over time I have learned that certain foods were just going to lead to inflammation or all manner of other symptoms.Here recently I have figured out that gluten might be a culprit of a lot of these goings on. So, I am going to try to cook and eat as gluten free as possible. Do you know how many amazingly awesome baked goods are not gluten free? And I don't just mean sweets like cakes and muffins. I'm taking about all kinds of pastas and baked goods, like hot dog buns. This is just awful for me because I love a hotdog. I think that if I am to be honest with you, the hotdog is my favorite food. But I digress. And drool.

Back to the donut. Ok, so I've seen these little guys made on countless blogs. In fact, has a great pumpkin donut recipe I want to try next. The problem was, I didn't have one of that fancy donut machines or a donut pan. Ok, sure I could have whipped them up and plopped them in a mini muffin tin but then they wouldn't have been donuts would they. There is just something magical about a ring of sweet dough with a hole in the middle. So alas I could read and wish, but not bake.

One of my hobbies is thrifting. I love it. I am fortunate that I get to travel a lot with work, so I get to explore thrift shops around the country...the bad news is, I can't always buy stuff and carry it with me when I'm traveling, which I guess could be a good thing too ;) Anyway. The other day I was thrifting and I found a mini donut maker!! It just materialized right then and there for me to find and bring home. And so I did. I decided to do a test run on my new toy and so I went with what I had and made these deliciously satisfying donuts.

Also, this is so super simple you won't even believe it! Low-fat, white flour-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, low-sugar; this donut is pretty awesome if you ask me. Here's the recipe:

Donut Ingredients:
1/4 cup soy flour
1/4 cup really good organic cocoa
1/4 cup granulated sucralose powder blend
1/2 cup liquid egg substitute
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp vanilla

Apple Glaze Recipe
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup vanilla almond milk, more or less depending on desired consistency
1/4 cup granulated sucralose powder
1/4-1/2 cup chopped nuts, your choice nuts and amount
3 tbsp cornstarch, tapioca, or potato starch
1/2 tsp vanilla

For the donuts, combine all the things and mix well. Then place tablespoonfuls of batter into each mold of a preheated donut machine, or into lined mini muffin tin (but they won't be donut's, they will be muffins, the lesser cousin of the donut and the kid sister of the cupcake, I'm just saying.) After about 2 or 3 minutes your mini masterpieces will be piping hot and ready to cool a bit before glazing. Repeat with remaining batter.

In the meantime, as you hold your composure and not sample one of these little morsels, mix together all of the glaze ingredients, except for the nuts, in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Your glaze should thicken. Remember, you can add more or less starch depending on how thick or runny you want your glaze to be. Put the nuts into a small bowl and set aside. Pour the glaze into a small bowl and then dip each donut into the glaze, making sure it is covered well. You can be as generous as you want. While your glaze is still tacky, dip the donut into the chopped nuts to top them. These are moist, not too sweet, and awesome!

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DIY: Vintage Inspired Tiered Tray and Candy Dish

I have seen the projects posted about making tiered trays out of glass plates and candle holders. I loved that idea and I wanted to try it out. I had been traveling around for a long time, and typically when I stay at a place for a while I will use a site like and sublet an apartment or condo for my stay. In this instance I was staying up in this adorably trendy part of Brooklyn in a condo that belongs to this really great lady. Throughout my stay there I became friends with this lady through correspondence and I wanted to leave something nice for her to find once she came back to her home after I left the city. From the looks of her cute little place it seemed like she was into the whole shabby chic look and I immediately thought of this project.

So I went shopping for supplies. At first I couldn't find a single glass candle holder, not even one. Then I couldn't find any good large glass plates. Now, my options were to take a train to the nearest Target or Walmart or try to be creative with what I could find in the mom-and-pop shops on the block. I decided to forgo the train and to use a bit of creativity. One store had martini glasses in various sizes, so I picked up a standard size and then one with a teeny stub as a base instead of a stem. Then I found a large glass shallow bowl and a medium sized dessert plate. Finally I picked up some loctite epoxy.

This is what I came up with. I think it turned out alright. Once I made it I realized that I could have gone one step further and added some pearls into the cavity made by the martini glass in the middle, that would have been really pretty. I also would have liked for the base plate to be flat, but alas I could find no such thing.

Now, after this piece was created and dried and set out I had a few days left in Brooklyn so I figured I'd wander around a bit more in between meetings I had there. That's when I found a glass candle holder. Just one! It was sitting on a shelf in a health food market along side votive candle holders and scented candles, it was the last one they had in stock. I grabbed it and bought it impulsively, it was only when I returned to the condo that I remembered, "oh yeah, I already made the project without this dang piece." So, not to be deflated, I decided that I was going to create something, anything with this one single glass candle holder if it was the last thing I do.

I had just finished off a jar of whole fruit preserves that came in a pretty jar. I love reusing pretty glass jars, even if it's just a jelly jar, as long as it has a nice shape or design to it. So, since there was no point in me keeping or reusing the jar myself, since I had been traveling for nearly 4 months at that point and I was going to continue for at least another 2 months, I figured I would reuse it with a secondary project. The lid of the jar was a red checkered pattern, so I took some white enamel paint (read: nail polish) and a paper towel and I distressed the jar lid. Then I attached the candle stick to the bottom of the jar.
I left Brooklyn to head to my next destination which was Chicago. Before I arrived I received a text from my Brooklyn Condo Lady Friend, she loved the gifts and asked me where I got them. I told her I made them and then she called me to express her thanks and to inform me that she uses them as jewelry organizer; bracelets on the bottom tier, earrings on the top tier, and rings in the jelly jar. Now why hadn't I thought of that!
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Friday, January 11, 2013

Noodle Free Zucchini Lasagna

 I have read about noodle free zucchini lasagnas from a lot of blogs, like the one from The Frugal Chef and I thought it was a wonderful idea! I don't like the taste or texture of gluten free noodles so zucchini lasagna seemed like a no-brainer and it really is a fun new way of preparing zucchini. I decided to go for it! I didn't want an Italian style lasagna with cheese and tomato sauce so I went with a fresh approach. Instead of cheese I used some plain greek yogurt and instead of cooked-down tomato sauce I used fresh tomato slices with fresh basil and oregano; it turned out beautifully and delicious!
The first thing I did was slice up some zucchini. I made a small batch, using the loaf pan I typically use for banana nut bread, so I only sliced up 3 zucchinis. Make sure you use a sharp knife for this for this. Don't make the zucchini slices too thin, a nice medium slice is perfect. By the way, now's a good time to preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Next I sauteed kale, mushrooms, crushed garlic, and onions in a small amount of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It made the whole house smell Earthy and Heavenly at the same time! I'm sure my neighbors were jealous, I know I would have been. As the mushroom medley sauteed I sliced up one nice large tomato.
Mmmm look at all that wholesomeness right there. This looks like the making of a salad, right? Nope! It's really the mis en place for a deliciously deceptive noodle free zucchini lasagna that is sure to fool even picky eaters into eating their veggies. So far we have the zucchini and tomato slices, sauteed greens and shrooms, and some fresh basil and oregano; the only thing I left out of the photo was the half cup of greek yogurt.
Now it's time to layer! I lined a loaf pan with parchment for easy clean up, then I sprayed on a little non-stick cooking spray just to help out the cause. Since I'm not using a traditional sauce I started with a layer of zucchini slices then I added slices of tomato. To the tomato I sprinkled chopped fresh basil and oregano as well as salt and pepper. I topped this with a layer of the sauteed kale, mushrooms, and onions. Then I added 1/4 cup of greek yogurt in dollops, you can use more yogurt if you'd like and you can even slather on a whole layer of it if you want (I'm sure it will be delicious!). I chose to use a small amount of yogurt because I'm trying to cut back on my dairy. Salt and pepper this layer. Once this is done, top the yogurt with another layer of zucchini and keep building your masterpiece.

One your zucchini has been layered with love, sprinkle on a little chopped tomato, and more seasonings. Feel free to sprinkle grated parmesan or panko to the top which gives it a nice texture and browns beautifully in the oven. I choose panko. Stick this masterpiece in a nice hot 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes or so. You will be able to smell the seasonings working their magic in the oven.
After about half an hour you are ready to dig into this super delicious and incredibly healthy dish. Sure it looks like you are getting into something bad, but it is really good and good for you too. This small loaf pan made enough zucchini lasagna for 4 servings. I made this for two, so he and I had a lovely meal and we froze the rest the other half into two portions for a quick dinner option during the mid-week hustle. Not bad!

So, here's the recipe:

3 medium sized zucchini - sliced
1 small bunch of kale
1 large tomato - sliced, reserve 2 tbsp chopped
1 cup mushrooms - diced
1/4 cup onions - diced
2 tbsp crushed garlic
fresh basil and oregano - chopped, to taste
salt and pepper - to taste
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt, to taste - divided

Preheat oven to 350degrees. Slice zucchini and tomato and set aside. Saute kale, mushrooms, onion, and garlic. In the bottom of a lined and sprayed loaf pan layer zucchini slices and top with tomato, add basil, oregano, salt, and pepper to taste. Add a layer of the kale-mushroom mixture over this and top with 1/4 cup greek yogurt dollops, then add salt and pepper. Top this with another layer of zucchini slices and continue building each layer. Sprinkle the top of the zucchini lasagna with chopped tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and parmasan or panko to taste. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until the dish is cooked through and the parm/panko has browned. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Makes 4 servings.

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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Homemade Christmas Gifts

I make homemade Christmas gifts most every year. Sometimes these are edible, sometimes they are wearable, and sometimes they are crafty, and sometimes they are just thoughtful cute trinkets that I think the person would like. This year I decided to go with a theme to my gifts and to make them edible. Since I am from the South, and I'd be traveling to visit friends in the North, I thought it would be cute to make gifts that could be packaged or made in glass jars, or Mason jars.Mason jars are the unsung staples of a Southern kitchen; not only are they used for canning and jellies they are also used for drinking, measuring, and storage. As a bonus they are reusable and recyclable, so they are much friendlier to the environment than paper or plastic packaging.

As I mentioned, I was traveling and I didn't have use of my own kitchen, however I wanted to make edible gifts. I could have baked a bunch of stuff and then shipped them ahead, but I was going to be staying for several weeks so I would have had to bake a month ahead of time which would have rendered my creations hard and brittle by Christmas. So I had to think of what I could do in the confines of a hotel room without an oven or stove.I decided to on 3 wonderfully delicious gifts that are edible and made/packaged in jars yet do not require any cooking. I love NON recipes! NON recipes stands for "No Oven Needed" recipes and I just can't get enough of them sometimes, especially on super hot days or in cases like this where I'm traveling a lot and I'm away from my kitchen. Well, here they are, starting from the easiest one.
Hot Cocoa and Mint-choc Chips with Chocolate-Mint Marshmallow stir sticks
The first gift I made was super easy!! I made hot cocoa with mint-chocolate chips served with chocolate-mint lollipop stir sticks. All I had to do was purchase the items and then assemble, no cooking or prep-work involved. It is a sort of "meet me in the middle" type deal, where I assemble the ingredients and they recipient prepares or cooks them. I know you've all heard of "soup in a jar" and "cookies in a jar", well frankly this is where I got the idea. This easy little concoction makes 2 servings in each jar.

I bought two different kinds of cocoa, a dark chocolate and a milk chocolate. Then I found mini chocolate chips with peppermint swirls, so I had to have those!. I then picked up a bag of Jett Puffed Chocolate Mint Marshmallows and some skewers (I searched for lollipop sticks but that particular grocery store didn't carry them. You could use either one, just remember that skewers have a sharp end.)

Basically I layered a serving of dark chocolate cocoa in the jar, then topped with a layer of chips, then a layer of milk chocolate, and a final topping of chips. As you can see in the picture, the powdered cocoa ended up covering up the layer of chips in the middle, but it'll still taste good :). I thought it would be cute to add a few stir sticks made with a peppermint and chocolate marshmallow, this way the mallow can melt into the hot chocolate as it stirs. Yum! As an aside, I love these particular marshmallows because they aren't as large as normal sized marshmallows yet they aren't tiny either. I placed the jar inside a gift bag and then I taped the stir stick package to the top, along with a cute little instruction tag.
No-Bake Nutella Oatmeal Cookies
The next one took a bit more effort and time, but not by much! I made no-bake oatmeal cookies with nutella. Some of the people I am gifting are allergic to peanuts, some are diabetic, and some have a gluten-free diet so I know that they weren't going to be enjoying all the traditional Christmas cookies that everyone bakes and gives. I can't believe I was able to find a no-bake recipe that could accommodate for all these dietary issues, but I did!! I wanted to make sure their sweet tooth could enjoy the holidays too :) Also, I am in love with this recipe now that I've made it as a gift and I plan on making it for myself as little treats. Can you blame me?

These wholesome little chewy cookies were made with a variation of the recipe from The Vintage Mixer except I used almond butter instead of peanut butter and I used a sucralose sugar-substitute instead of sugar. The final result was deliciously decadent cookies that you can really sink your teeth into and only seem "bad" for you, which is a good thing. I also flattened these out a bit to form jar-sized rounds instead of balls, that way I could stack them neatly in the jar. I was able to fit 6 chewy chocolate cookies into each pint sized jar gift, and I ended up making 4 jars of these. So each individual person with their individual diet limitations were able to get half a dozen scrumptious sweets, handmade for the holidays.
Handmade Christmas: Homemade Lemoncello in a Mason Jar
The last one is a doozy!! I made homemade limoncello! If you've never tasted limoncello, it is a lemon liquor cordial that packs a punch in taste and potency. Sip it, don't shoot it! I had to start this recipe the first day I got into town because it takes a good month to brew. The hardest part was removing the zest from the lemon without getting the pith (the white part) from the skin. It took forever, but that's probably because I had never done it before. Now that I think about it I bet there's a better method out there somewhere, but I just used a paring knife.

I actually caught the episode of Everyday Italian on Food Network which showed this recipe. I was enthralled. I had experienced limoncello at an Italian Bistro as an after dinner cordial and I loved it. I had no idea it could be made like this. All you really need is about a dozen lemons and some 100-proof vodka. 100 proof vodka isn't very easy to find it seems, I had to go to a few stores to get some. You can use regular vodka if you wish, but it will become less potent after the brewing process due to dilution, so just keep that in mind. I altered the recipe from Giada De Laurentiis to use sucralose instead of sugar, and I used a microwave to make the simple syrup instead of a stovetop. After the limoncello had brewed completely I decided to split it up into smaller decorative glass bottles so that each person could have some as a gift. I found the bottles at Pier One. Here's how it looked:
Each person received a nice heavy bag packed with holiday comforts of mint-chocolate hot cocoa for two, chewy nutella cookies, and limoncello. They all were thrilled and none of them every suspected all these nummy gifts were made without a kitchen!
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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tarot Reading

I haven't had an opportunity to do a tarot reading since the last one with Janice. This time I was on my own. I haven't done a reading on myself since I can't even remember. Tonight I did a 3 spread. As I handled the deck I thought of my issue, I have been feeling a niggling feeling that I should do something, I should be doing something, I should be striving or fighting for something. I have a million ideas of "what to do" and "where do I go from here" and a good bit of those ideas are not only good ideas they are also doable...but I feel like a quail, as if when I move I will get shot down, yet I still have this itch to move.

I decided to do my spread as Me, Issue, Outcome to where the 1st card represented myself, the2nd card represented my situation, and the 3rd card represented my outcome.

1st Card: Where I am Within Myself
King of Pentacles:

The King of Pentacles is a lot like King Midas - everything he touches turns to gold. He is a pillar of financial stability, with wealth and experience to share with everybody. This is the logical conclusion of all the positive ideals of the Pentacles suit: through diligence, responsibility and attention to detail we can and will become like the King of Pentacles. He is always rich materially if not spiritually, and he encourages you to live your life like he would. When this card appears he can either represent a person in your life, or a part of yourself trying to be expressed.
No one has a stronger character than the King of Pentacles. His word is as good as his gold, and certainly just as valuable. He's similar to the Knight in that whatever he says he will do, will get done. But where the Knight takes on responsibility for the sake of responsibility, the King is in it for profit. He's a businessman to the core, the master of the material world. This could be seen as a fault, and it can certainly become so if he lets it get too far out of hand, but this rarely happens. He has too much experience and intelligence to be swept away by the allure of money; he prefers the security and peace of mind that it brings him.
A lot of people see the King of Pentacles as dull and unimaginative, but this is probably because he simply prefers old ways of thinking and acting. This is not to say that he refuses to learn new things; in fact, he likes learning and has a wide variety of skills to call upon. But the old methods usually work best for a King of Pentacles and so he sticks with them. He is relied upon because of his devotion to duty and his trustworthiness. It's rare to see a King of Pentacles get angry, because they have a steady temperament and a very long fuse. But he is unforgiving to those who violate his trust, and for those people he has absolutely no mercy.
Whenever you need the skills to manage your material affairs competently and efficiently, you can call upon the King of Pentacles. Take up all the vast challenges of the material world, and know that you can conquer them all if you work hard. Give generously of your time and resources, because by giving you often receive more, and making more money is something that all Kings of Pentacles love to do! When he appears, know that you have reached the height of achievement and you don't need to take any more risks. Simply watch for the right time to draw money and wealth to yourself. Let the King inspire you to success so you can inspire others in turn.
***I do not believe that I am the King, yet, but I know that it is within me because I do feel that drive and ambition, however I never believed in my own authority or worth as a king would, so I always feel like I should be doing more or something new. I believe that I received this card to remind me that I am doing all that I should, whether I realize it or not, and I can stay in my lane. I needed to know that I can handle life's challenges, just keep doing what I'm doing and work on my behaviors that detract from my goals such as anger and distraction.

2nd Card: The Situation or Issue at Hand
*** Ok so I picked 1 card, I promise, however these two were stuck together so much so that I thought it was one card. I wasn't sure what to do...then I read both descriptions and it seems these two much be combined.
4 of Cups
Pleasure in excess often leads to the stagnation of that pleasure and the desire for even greater things which are simply impossible. This is the lesson of the Four of Cups, a card that urges moderation in relationships and all matters of the heart. This is an apparently good and innocent card with a nasty sting lying in wait. Usually it signals a person who is surrounded by love and devotion, totally happy with himself and the life he has made. But the danger in this situation is this: if you take love for granted, you start losing it.
This statement makes more sense than you might think. If someone is loved for a long period of time, warmly and unconditionally, then they start to forget what it is like to be unloved and alone. And when you deliberately forget about the darkness, it makes special effort to show itself again. After all, the light cannot be truly appreciated if we have nothing to compare it with. The scary part is that you usually bring about the darkness by yourself, by taking for granted the love and affection you receive. Carelessness sets in and soon everything you cared for - and everyone that cared for you - has slipped away.
When the Four of Cups appears it must be taken as a warning. It bears the message that there is a lot of love in your life - but that it can and will slip away if you are not careful. If you see this card and think that there isn't a lot of love in your life, it is a sign to think again. Take a good long look at your life, and you'll see how much love there is in it. Most of the time, people do not realize the abundance they live in every day. They are too concerned with what they want, and they have no time to look at their lives and see how much they already have.
This is not to say, by any means, that you cannot strive for more in life. When you have no ambitions left, your life will start to stagnate, and you will lose interest in the things that once gave you the greatest pleasure. Having no ambition is worse than having ambitions and standards that are too lofty to reach - but not much worse. A lot of the disappointment in life comes from people who want more, but who already have all that they need. The key to overcoming this disappointment is simply to see all the good that is in your life already, and be thankful for it every day. So open up your eyes and look for yourself!
The Tower
Sometimes, when accepted and welcomed, divine wisdom and enlightenment flow freely like a calm river. The rest of the time, wisdom is blocked until it rages forth like a tidal wave and crushes anything in its path, including the recipient of the wisdom. This is the energy of the Tower card, an energy very similar to Death in that it is both a destructive and a creative force. When a building is old and decrepit, it must be demolished so that a new structure may stand in its place. The same is true of the symbolic Tower. When old attitudes and beliefs are outdated, you will have to let go of them, whether you like it or not.
In most cases, the latter is true - you do not want to give up your ideals, and you cling to them like a child to his preciou security blanket. This attempt at security ensures nothing, really, except a disastrous change that will painfully rip away that which you did not discard of your own volition. But there is a greater purpose at work here. The power of the soul and the mind is far greater than the energy of some physical thing, and it can be taken with you anywhere and always. To extend the security blanket analogy, the blanket must be taken away so the child can find power and security within himself, instead of within some material object.
When you believe material objects are more powerful than spirit and mind, you start building up a Tower of falsehoods on a very unstable foundation. If, by some miracle of engineering, it does not collapse under its own weight, you will eventually push it over yourself. The Tower falls not because Fate says so but because something within can no longer endure the strain it must bear. Sooner or later it will give out. This is a humbling experience because its lesson is that no one is invincible. The problem for most people is that they concentrate on the negatives and ignore the great opportunity that has been given to them.
The fire of the Tower card burns away all that is negative and outdated, but it leaves behind all that is positive, all that is necessary to begin your life again and replace all that was lost. In essence, this is the energy of Death and Temperance combined, because sweeping-away and building-up both happen at about the same time on the Tower. As soon as the tumbling figures on the Rider-Waite card land on the jagged rocks of reality, they are greeted with the influx of wisdom that they need to survive. And with that wisdom in hand, they can take the first step back on the true path to enlightenment: building a mental Tower to Heaven rather than a physical one.
When wisdom must be forced upon you, or when ignorance must be taken away, the Tower will appear to let you prepare yourself. If you choose to let go of what you no longer need, and accept what you do need, things will go much more smoothly and without frustration. If you ignore the warning of the Tower, however, and cling to the status quo, be prpared for a downfall. You have been oversleeping and this is your spiritual wake-up call. When the Tower is in the area, know that anything that seems secure could not really be safe at all. If a change is destined to happen, to not try to fight it, because all change happens because it is needed.
On an inner level, the destruction of Tower is akin to the breaking-down of the fortress called the ego. When you build a wall to hide your secrets or to conceal your true self, you must know that sooner or later the wall will come tumbling down. Fantasies are particularly prone to being shattered by the power of this card; the Tower dissipates them like sunlight burning away fog. Fantasies and daydreams will not help where you are going so it is best to let go of them now. Do not place your faith in illusions of security; the crown on this card must be worn on by a human head, not placed atop a tower of cold stone.
***I believe that I was given these two cards together because the lesson from the Tower, for me, wasn't the loss of my material was the loss of my tower that I built upon my former love and relationship, which has been demolished, and now I must realize that I must not take love for granted, as bricks to a wall, and I must not build my tower on a foundation that is outside myself like material things or other people's love. I already have all I need and I can be secure within myself

3rd Card: The Outcome of the Situation
Ace of Cups
Everything starts with love, so they say, and this is certainly true of the Cups suit. The Ace of Cups is the initial flow of emotion that could become a mighty river is given time and attention. It is the planted - but still dormant - seed of great love and affection in the future, the first stirrings of passion, joy and insight. The Cup on this Ace is often said to represent the Holy Grail, and just as Joseph of Arimathea was sustained by the wafer placed in the Grail each day, so too does love and emotional balance sustain our everyday lives.
Often, the Ace of Cups will predict the start of a relationship, one that is full of potential and may eventually lead to true love and happiness. But you must always remember that the Ace can show only potential, not the final result of a situation. If a relationship starts out well, it is up to the two people involved to keep it that way, and improve upon it in any possible manner. The Ace of Cups is not a guarantee of happiness, but a guarantee that you will have the chance to make happiness for yourself if you want to. If you want to develop an existing relationship, the Ace cannot help you.
In situations not involving relationships, the Ace of Cups still shows the power of love that is necessary in the situation. But love in this sense does not always refer to romance. Love is a plant with many flowers: generosity, forgiveness, peace, honesty or simply letting your feelings show. Ask your Inner Voice which kind of love you will need, and you will surely get an answer because the Ace of Cups is the card of the awakening intuition. All of these things associated with emotion and intuition run high when the Ace of Cups makes an appearance.
This is indeed a very spiritual card, not only because of its ties to the intuition and its resemblance to the Holy Grail, but because it shows the first step down a path of enlightenment and understanding. This is a period where the Inner Voice will actively manifest in your life, and your hidden dreams and desires have a chance to be realized. As with the relationship issue, now is your time to pursue those ambitions if you so choose. In the best cases the Ace of Cups will represent a powerful spiritual awakening that you must accept and embrace. Allow the light of the Universe to touch you, and allow the power of love to flow out of your heart. 
***Wow, there's a lot of the "LOVE" theme to this reading. But it makes sense given the major life changes I am still reeling from. I believe that I received this card to remind me that I should love myself. I have proven that I am devoted and I love with all I am, I have seen that I am worthy of unconditional love, I have nothing else to prove. I think that as much as I have been focused on my career, I should instead be turning inward and learn to love myself. I am prepared to go on the journey to enlightenment that is laid out in front of me.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Living Alone.

I find it hard to be alone. I miss hearing someone else rustling around the house, breathing, living, just being there. Growing up I never had a room to myself nor any privacy really until well into college, then for just stints during roomate changes. I liked having people around, I still do. Josh and I had my brother live with us, then my cousin and her three babies...all in our two bedroom house in SC. Then we moved to NC where we lived with another couple and then Mia. Plus we had our menagerie of animals, which is why our home was called the Ark. Now I'm in a 1 bedroom apartment with no pets; it is quite a different lifestyle that I've fallen into. Not bad. Just very different.

It is hard for me to come home to an empty house. I don't know if I will ever be happy with this. This is the price that I have to pay for the direction life has taken me. It's one thing to talk to Big on the phone while he's traveling, but the the phone thing doesn't happen every day especially when there is a time difference or our work schedules clash. It's not his fault, nor does it strain our relationship, it's just doesn't help the situation.

It gets super lonely at the end of those days when I can't talk to Big because that's when I realize that, at the end of the day,  I have no one with whom to share my day. It is a very lonely feeling to not have some family member already right there or some warm pet to snuggle. I am definitely a tribal type and the lack of someone's heart beating, breathing, and rustling really takes a toll sometimes.

I find it is a double-edged sword. When I am busy I have less time to realize I am alone, however I have more things I would like to share with a loved one at the end of said busy days though no one is there which is depressing. When I am not busy I have more time to realize I am alone which is depressing though no real pressing urge to share any news with them at the end of those slow days and no real distraction from the depressing feeling. I do not rely on others for my happiness, don't get me wrong, but honestly I'm simply not used to such abundance of oppressive silence.

It's not even about being social, necessarily, in fact I would much rather not go out. A great evening to me would be to stay in and cook and enjoy wonderful conversation and laughs, whether it's at my place or a friend's. And I know that I can talk to Big the next day if I can't reach him at night...but that is not the point. It isn't enough for me to have a phone call, even if it is daily. It is ironic that after I spent so long in an open marriage surrounded by people, now my monogamous boyfriend would be the type who makes his living traveling. Serves me right. But at least in a way it is forcing me to learn how to live with just me and my heartbeats and my breathing and no one else's. I love my mom and I look up to her, but I do see the struggles she is going through now that she is living alone. She and I are independent, we do what we do, but we are not used to being alone. It is very hard for her, and I guess maybe there is some truth to the old saying, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks," so in a way I am grateful for this lesson in living alone.

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