During the summer months I admit I don't exercise as nearly as often as I should, which means I have to be more conscientious about what I eat. I eat a lot of salads and fruit during the summer. One of my favorite salads is a simple salad with only three main ingredients: cucumber, tomato and feta cheese.
The thing that's interesting about this salad is that I generally don't like tomatoes but in this light summer salad they are delicious!
I like my salad slightly chilled, so I put the cucumber in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before I use it. I peel the cucumber and cube it; then chop the tomato and crumble the feta over the top. I add cracked pepper and a splash of my favorite salad dressing to finish it off.
To make it more hearty, you can add shrimp or chicken. The great thing about this salad is you can make/mix as little or as much as you want. There is no strict recipe to follow, just toss and enjoy!
What is your favorite summer salad?
Here's an unedited snippet of dialogue from something I've been working on:
“You think you’ll ever get married?” I asked while we were working in his home office.
He turned around in his chair and stared at me. His expression was blank but his eyes expressed shock and a little fear.
“Um, that was out of left field.” He laughed nervously.
“I’m working on an article. I had a conversation with a few female entrepreneurs and many of them are wondering if when they are ready- if they are ever ready- for marriage and children if they will find someone. Given that they’ve achieved some level of success. You know will they be able to find someone in their lane or someone who’s not intimidated by their success.”
“Okay?” he asked still seemingly confused.
"I’m wondering is this just something females are worried about or do men wonder about the future as well? Do you see yourself married with children? And if so, are you looking for a particular female to fill that position? Like does she have to be as successful as you or would you prefer someone who isn’t as ambitious?”
“So are you interviewing me?” he smiled.
I shrugged. “Maybe.”
“Is this just for the article?” he asked softly.
I shrugged again. “Maybe.”
He rolled his chair next to me and sighed. He was quiet for a minute and I was actually afraid of his answer.
“To be honest with you, I never thought about getting married because I never figured it was an option. You know I didn’t grow up with my parents and none of my friends had parents that were married so that wasn’t something I ever even thought of.” He paused and shook his head. “And the kind of girls I used to date. . .” he laughed darkly. “I sure as hell would never wife any of them. So my plan was to just keep trying to build a business, stay out of trouble and just enjoy my life.”
He leaned closer to me and bumped my shoulder.
“And then I met you and for the first time in my life I wanted more.”
I smiled at him. “More what?” I asked wanting him to elaborate.
“More from life. You inspire me. I wanted my business to bigger and better, I wanted to live intentionally and help my community and for the first time- it wasn’t just about sex- I wanted to be with you just to kick it or talk or just sit down and stare up at the sky.” He laughed.
“You sound so whipped.” I teased.
He kissed my lips. “You know I am.”
I kissed him back. “I know. But uh- you still haven’t answered the question.”
He rolled back to his side of the room.
“I’ve thought about it. A woman who has her own thing would be cool and I’d support her in any way that I could as long as I had her support and attention as well. And it would be really cool to one day teach my son or daughter what I know and pass my company to them. I think one of the main issues in our community is the lack of legacy building.”
My heart swelled at his words.
He started typing on his computer before he asked over his shoulder. “What about you? Have you thought about it?”
“I’m not the one being interviewed.” I laughed nervously.
“I’m interviewing you.” He said.
“I don’t know- like you said- I didn’t have an example of what marriage looked like either and over the years I’ve dated some men whose last names I definitely wouldn’t want attached to mine. But I have also been thinking differently since we’ve met.” I said softly.
He turned to look at me.
“I’m just afraid- I’ve heard so many horror stories about expectations and people changing after marriage. I couldn’t be with someone who is going to stifle me and what if you got bored with having sex with one woman for the rest of your life and went out and cheated and-,”
“Whoa- so this is no longer hypothetical?”
“What do you mean?” I frowned.
“You said what if you-,” he said pointing at himself.
“I didn’t mean you- it's hypothetical this entire conversation is hypothetical Michael.” I sighed and went back to work.
He rolled his chair next to me again but this time he turned me around to face him.
“Well let’s get specific for a minute. First of all, I would never cheat on you. And second let’s drop the bullshit. Do you want to get married one day?”
I shrugged. “I want a family. I want stability. I want love. Everything I never had growing up.” I started tearfully.
“I want that too.” He assured me. “Is that something you can see yourself having with me?” he asked.
I shrugged playfully. “I guess you’ll do.” I laughed.
“Okay, you got jokes.” He laughed.
“I’d consider myself extremely lucky to have that with you.” I said sincerely.
“I feel the same. I mean I know it’s only been a year and a half but I’m not going anywhere, I’m here unless you send me away. So let’s just keep learning and growing together and know that we’re on the same page. Okay?”
He kissed me again and turned away before quickly turning back to me.
“Wait- how many kids?”
“No more than two.”
“Good. I thought you’d want a bunch of kids since you were an only child. I draw the line at three.”
I don't know if this will be a part of my next novel or not. . .but it will definitely make an appearance in a future book!
One of the challenging things about having the kids home for summer is making sure they still stay engaged with the world around them. As opposed to sleeping all day and playing video games.
I always plan art days on our summer calendar because my kids and I love to draw and color. But this time I bought canvases and acrylic paint. I never imagined it would turn out to be their most favorite activity. They loved it so much we did it three days in a row!
The kids are super talented and creative. They decided to do art walls in their rooms. Here are the masterpieces they painted:
I purchased a combo pack of canvases that included brushes and five small tubes of acrylic paint from Michael's but ended up going to Walmart for more canvases and paint after we decided to paint for two more days.
My eight year old daughter actually Googled some ideas on her own and followed step by step instructions from artists on YouTube. I was so impressed at how her canvases turned out without any help! My son loves drawing pop art characters and images; he did a great job of painting his images on canvas!
My advice is to make sure you have enough brushes, paint and canvases for everyone. Find a big work space like a big dining table and cover it with a tarp or old bed sheet in case there are spills. We used empty water bottles to clean brushes when we changed paint colors. Also make sure everyone has fun and encourage your kids to be creative!
I purchased the book, In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney, it is a “coffee table” style book that includes inspiration and advice from over 100 female makers, artists and entrepreneurs. The book is amazing and offers priceless advice from some badass girl bosses.
I love how each woman was asked a series of questions to give the reader insight about them, their craft and their path to success. The questions also make you think about your own journey and what legacy you want to leave. I decided to pretend I was one of the women in the book (maybe one day!) and provide answers to some of the questions that were asked:
What did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. I loved school and I wanted to be in charge, so I thought it would be the perfect fit. But the reality of teaching “Internet Kids” who were smarter and sassier than I was at eight years old made me rethink things!
What does success mean to you? Success to me is peace of mind, good health, financial freedom and the love of family and friends.
How do you find motivation? My mortality gives me motivation. We are only here on Earth for a limited time, so I try to do the things I want to do while I still can.
What is your favorite quote? Currently it’s “Every day is a new opportunity to change your life and be who you want to be.” - Demi Lovato
Biggest lesson you’ve learned on your journey? That nothing lasts forever. Whether good or bad; things (and sometimes people) are only temporary so we shouldn’t allow stuff to affect us in such a profound or negative way. Live, learn and move on!
Name a woman you look up to? Michelle Obama is a goddess. Period. The way she handled herself during her time as First Lady was stellar and she set an example on how to just be authentically yourself regardless to what other people say or think.
How do you overcome personal adversity? I’m human so my first inclination when I’m faced with personal adversity is to shut down or feel sorry for myself. But I can’t allow myself the luxury of wallowing too long. I have two young children and a husband who rely on me and not to mention I know wallowing in misery has never solved any of my problems. So I beat myself up a little, then apologize and promise to be better and try harder and work smarter next time. Every day is a new opportunity!
Writer. Reader. Designer. Creative Spirit.
“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.”