My Writing Process Blog Tour

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Oh, this is exciting! Thank you so much Karmen Lizzul for asking me to be a part of this Blog Tour.  I really enjoyed getting a peek into your creative process & loved learning a whole new side to you! To read Karmen’s post, click here & check out her cool radio show here  ~xo

Ok, let’s do this…

1. What am I working on?

Well, if you’re reading this you’ve found my blog, which is my passion project at the moment. It continues to evolve as life takes its turns, which gives it a living, breathing aspect for me.  I’m toying around with the idea for a collection of short stories from my dating experiences in LA, guaranteed to make you both laugh & cry.  And, of course with being in LA as long as I have, there’s a screenplay idea I may just revive ~ we’re in need of a good rom-com people!

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

To be honest I don’t think my writing is all that different than any other’s, only exception being that it is in my voice.  I write from my experiences, what I was feeling, what my thoughts were, so yes that is unique to me.  My goal is to write as true to myself as I can, so that you feel it’s just you & me having a conversation.  I try to infuse my humor, my sensitivities, my inner thoughts to share an authentic experience.

3. Why do I write what I write?

Such a good question!  Oh, my ‘why’…it goes back to childhood. I loved reading as a kid (still do!), I’d get lost in stories of romance for hours, being whisked away in to these tales of love.  And when I wasn’t reading, I was creating these elaborate stories in my head, sometimes these stories continued for weeks on end.  I was always encouraged to write by my teachers, but I wasn’t ready or confident enough to share my words.  Then a couple of years ago life started to resemble these stories of yesteryear, I felt inspired to start writing my story.  I have always believed in love.  I think that’s why we’re here, to connect, to share feelings, thoughts & experiences with one another.  This is why I write.

4. How does my process work?

I’m sure this will come as a shock ~ it’s all in my head.  I’ll have an experience or get an idea & then it usually marinates in my head for a bit.  The amount of time I sit with it varies, it can be a day, a week, there may be walks around the lake, dancing about my apartment ~ all clearing & fueling my thoughts til they make sense.  Eventually I know when its time to sit down & write, then it just flows…

So there you have it, a lil behind the scenes into my process. Now I’d love to introduce you to 3 writers whose work I enjoy reading & can’t wait to hear how they answer these questions!

First up, the beautiful & talented Jaime Parker Stickle, who always has me laughing!  “Actress,” “Writer,” and “A-Type Spaz” collectively sum up Jaime Parker Stickle. Jaime has a passion for creating comedic content for film, television and the web. She is currently writing & shooting a new web series that promises to have you in stitches, and is working on her first novel: a comedic look at Roommates. You can see many more bits at JaimeParkerStickle.com. If you believe a picture speaks a thousand words, she encourages you to follow her on Instagram @JaimeParkerStickle, and if you like to get the funny in 126 characters or less, follow her on Twitter @JaimeStickle.  Described as a real “Lucy” by directors and coaches alike, you’ll definitely want to stay tuned to witness it for yourself… Oh! And where would any of us learn about each other if not for the O.G. of social media?https://www.facebook.com/JaimeParkerStickle. Whew.

Next is the lovely Stephanie Blumensaat, whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting recently through a writing course & it is always such a treat to read what she writes ~ there’s an openness & vulnerability that inspires me. Stephanie Blumensaat (also known as Daisy Sunshine) is a blogger, photographer and certified life coach. She facilitates the photography group “Life in Focus” and writes a blog titled “In Full Blume”. Through her inspiring and motivating blog she shares how to make joy, whimsy and gratitude a daily part of life. She enjoys encouraging others to utilize writing and photography, to connect with their authentic selves, in the pursuit of true inner peace and contentment. To lighten things up, she occasionally throws in a little sass and silliness!

And, the amazing Elle Sompres rounds out my picks of writer’s who’s process I can’t wait to hear about. I met Elle out socially a while back & knew this lady was special! I have been a follower of her work as a coach, speaker & life guru at Inspired Success with Elle Sompres. She is an active speaker & advocate for several organizations within her community ~ she is truly inspiring. Check out her blog at The Inspiration Station

There you have it ~ the torch is your’s ladies! I look forward to reading your posts! xo

Sitting in the Uncomfortable

My Spring view

Oh my these past couple of weeks have been a lil tough…this growing & stretching phase of practicing vulnerability is NOT comfortable, at all!

I am grateful for this peaceful Sunday morning, as I sit here with my windows open, feeling the fresh Spring air, smelling the sweet scent of the blooms outside my apartment. I am comfortable here. I feel safe. I am alone and am starting to embrace it.

Lemme roll back the calendar to a couple of weeks ago to when a new match popped into my world. Still not sure if I wanted to dive back in to full swing dating mode, I responded anyways.  We seemed to have some shared interests, I liked his smile, and I guess, why not?, at this point…

It started off slow, a lil conversation via text each day. Not much, dipping a toe. With our interests piqued, we tried to set up a first date. Coordinating busy schedules  proved tough, but possibly by the end of the week.  Then one evening I got a late night text, he wanted to say hi & see how my day was, hoping it wasn’t too late…funny how the Universe sends what you need at the perfect time, as I was plopped on my couch feeling a bit lonely…conversation was exactly what I needed.

Ping ponging questions & answers, likes & dislikes, we chatted via text as the hours passed. He recorded the falling rain & sent me the audio ~ the best soundtrack to intimate conversations. Our questions began to delve deeper, really exploring what each of us longed for, tears streamed down my face as I typed my desires, sharing truthfully what I hoped for, I opened up & began to expose myself. I hadn’t been this vulnerable in a long, long time & I was scared, but it was also the first time I’ve felt safe & heard by a man in a very long time too. We chatted til 3am and could’ve easily kept on going but the reality of the approaching morning loomed and sleep was necessary. I dozed off to sleep with a smile on my face.

When I told a friend about the evening & our conversation, she point blank asked if at any point the thought occurred to pick up the phone & actually talk?! Nooooooo, which yes, sounds silly, I know, but I wouldn’t have shared this information so freely! And, while technically yes, he was still a stranger via text, I felt safer to be me with him in that format. I know I may have been hiding behind the screen but I WAS opening up again.

During the evening, he mentioned a few times about calling me the next day. I looked forward to hearing his voice, wondering what he sounded like. The day floated by with ease, the world seemed brighter, I felt like me again. Its been a while. A mid-day text to see how I was holding up brought a bigger smile to my face. And then that was it, no phone call, no voice message.

I felt so raw & deflated. I put my hopes out there only to be met with silence. I’m a big believer in words & actions matching and I can’t wrap my head around asking repeatedly to do something & not do it? The walls around my heart started coming back up. I could almost physically feel them. BUT I don’t want to hide behind them anymore. How can I stop my automatic response, my safety mechanisms? I kept hearing this lil voice “stay open, be vulnerable” & I just wanted to shout back “why?????! this does not feel good”…but I must try. I promise myself I will try my best to remain open to the process…

I couldn’t rally my heart for a Friday night date, even though work finished in time. I figured Saturday would be better, since he said he’d keep them both open for me. Saturday’s day plans timed out perfectly, leaving me free for a date night & I texted him excitedly, I was ready to dive in again. Oops, except that he had made plans…so much for keeping the night open, or my heart for that matter.  It took another week of reschedules & busy lives to finally meet up. At that point I didn’t know what to expect, or what I was even feeling anymore, I’m just showing up.

From the moment of entering the lounge & sitting down, the date just flowed. Conversation delved more into our beliefs & outlooks on life versus the standard interview questions. It was so lovely to look into his his kind eyes. Then I asked the question I really needed an answer to ~ how long have you been divorced? He paused. Well……   Only a few months separated & in the process.  My heart sank. I can’t do this again. A red flag began to be raised up the pole. He continued to share a little of the situation which I appreciated hearing, but I wanted to shift off this topic for now. Cue the loud bad 80’s hair cover band…we grabbed our martinis & ran for the peace of the patio. Outside we got cozy & enjoyed the rest of our evening. I was definitely looking forward to seeing him again.

The beauty of dating a couple of guys at once is the compare/contrast, it can get really clear what attracts you & repels you. The following night was movie night at the Canadian Librarian’s. I knew where this could lead & apparently I’m a glutton for punishment (i.e. boundary setting practice). Parking can be tricky in Hollywood & all the visitor spots were filled in his building, so he hopped in my car & we hit the lot across the street. Curious how late they were open, his question to the attendant was “can she get her car out in the morning?” Um, excuse me? That’s very presumptuous! I asked for 10p.  So knowing where he thought this was going, my guard was immediately up. We have built NO intimacy, we barely chat between dates, I’m sorry I’m not going there til I know you better. We share some similar interests & I always learn things when I’m with him, so I keep trying, hoping he’ll grow on me. We settled in for our classic movie & I’ll admit he has one damn comfy couch! And while it was a perfectly okay date, I realized he & I are just surface, fresh from the emotion-delving date the previous night, he didn’t stand a chance…

Fueled by ‘spring’-ing ahead & feeling excited about a man again, I was feeling playful, so when date #2 activity ideas came up, he was game for miniature golf – so fun! Naturally my competitive streak came out, playfully of course…thankfully he dished back all the ‘big game’ smack talk I was throwing his way! While I may have killed it on the greens, he showed me who was boss at Skeeball! That hurt!  All is fair in love & arcade play!

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For as much as I was looking forward to this date & seeing him again, the energy was different. I think it was me. I’m trying my best not to put my guard up, pull away or shut down but I can’t shake the past. I cannot be another divorcee’s training wheels.

I’m trying to quiet the voice that keeps telling me ”I’m not enough”, that he’ll leave me in the search to find a better, funnier, smarter, prettier woman. I know this voice is wrong but somedays she can be loud.

I’m wondering if I’m strong enough to do this again…

Vulnerable

A New Year has Begun…

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My view on my birthday morning along the Santa Barbara pier. The Sun returned after days of glorious rains, the bright blue sky went on for miles & the ocean breeze filled my lungs. Couldn’t have felt more alive!

Its a lil crazy to think that I’m 40. I oddly haven’t had any trouble swallowing the actual number this year, but it still feels kind of abstract. I can remember as a child when my parents hit their 40’s & I couldn’t imagine being that old & yet now I feel so young.

I’m very excited for this new chapter. There’s been a lot of change swirling about & I can’t wait to see what unfolds! Seems to be lots of goodness…

Since it’s a new year, and the last blog title didn’t fit anymore, I figured it was time to jazz up the new blog, get a new host, a new title & a new style ~ a fresh start for 40!

Twirling Skirts is about enjoying life, being in the moment ~ if you feel like ‘twirling’, then twirl! For me, this year is a year of embracing who I am, without worry of the judgement of others. Come along on the ride as I continue my search for love & discover me in the process

To start this off ~ here’s my TOP 40 for 40

  1. Wear RED lipstick
  2. Star gaze (at actual stars in the sky)
  3. Smile at strangers
  4. Take a wine class
  5. Less pants, more dresses
  6. Be open to possibilities
  7. Visit Portland
  8. Laugh daily
  9. Dance in the rain (probably possible while doing #7)
  10. See ART, in any form, each month
  11. Put my toes in the sand more often
  12. Write more
  13. Enjoy nature, go for more hikes
  14. Let miracles happen
  15. Picnic with friends
  16. Dance!
  17. Read a book a month
  18. Make time for doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING
  19. Send out pretty cards for no reason other than I’m thinking of you
  20. Enjoy good chocolate
  21. Hug more often
  22. Talk more, text less
  23. Date fearlessly
  24. Take a cooking class
  25. Get out on a boat, its been way too long!
  26. Keep my body in motion
  27. Share
  28. See more live music
  29. Try learning French (again)
  30. Believe in love
  31. Have faith in God’s plan for me
  32. Enjoy being in my ‘feminine’
  33. Get out of the country, again its been way too long
  34. Trust
  35. Kiss passionately
  36. State my needs
  37. Adopt/rescue a dog
  38. Attend a retreat (yoga, writing, anything) somewhere tranquil
  39. Hold hands
  40. Enjoy delicious things, guilt-free

Let the adventures begin!!  xo

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Gorgeous blooms out on my hotel patio. Everything felt so clean & fresh after the storm. If even for one night, I had the dream ~ being able to be outdoors while at “home”

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Everywhere I walked I saw beauty!

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Just brilliant! Art, wine, music…all within block of each other. My kind of hiking!

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One of the stops on my ‘trek’, a converted tire shop with the most delicious wines, cool tunes, along with beautiful photos and art on their walls ~ Oreana Winery is a fave

                   

Realities…

Well…it was good while it lasted…

Let me rewind a couple of weeks back…our year anniversary was coming up & I was tensing up about it…
A year? What does that mean? I’ve never gotten here before.
I mentioned to a coupla friends my hesitation, blaming my “commitment” issues, but than I began to wonder, do I really have those? Or is it really that no one has stuck around long enough for me to commit to something? I had seemed to being doing good up til this point, no moments of feeling the need to flee…what was up???

The more I thought about it I realized I DID want to celebrate this milestone & that the fear in my gut really was “is this milestone something he’d rather not acknowledge?”

I rationalized “its just another day, no reason for him or me to freak out”, enjoy it for what it is & enjoy him for who he is!!
So I did!
(Figuring you read last post, so needless to say I celebrated US)
He also got a cheesy love card in the mail (nothing is better than opening your mailbox to something other than a bill!!)

&

tickets for us to go “Pixar in Concert” @ the Hollywood Bowl
(Ahhhhh the Bowl)

3 things I knew he loved ~ Pixar, movie scores,  & the Bowl


I made peace with being out of town over that weekend, but my heart still hurt a lil that he couldn’t join me ~ visions of a romantic weekend away had danced in my head 😉
I felt a lil uneasy about him not being able to join me, but tried not to read too much into it.

When I got back into town & learned I wouldn’t be able to see him the rest of the week since he had his boys and was on deadline, I was heartbroken ~ no anniversary celebrations happening together, the 4th of July, nothing! 
& it didn’t seem to bother him at all. 
I tried not to show it, but in the end I couldn’t keep it in.

Since I was unable to see him, I wrote an email ~ it felt good to finally say some things I had been holding back on.
I thank him for reading it & actually taking what I said to heart! 
My biggest fear was that he’d just shut down & say “see ya!” ~ but as always, he was a good man (who’s done this relationship-thing before & is forever teaching me how it works).

I couldn’t get a gage where he stood thru our few texts over the week apart, but Saturday was coming & I’d soon find out.

A better question was ~ where did I stand? What did I want going forward?

It was a very tough question for me too! 
I was/am still madly in love with this man, I still get excited when I know I get to see him. 
My heart skips when my phone tweets a text, hoping its from him 🙂
(yes, I know I’m ridiculously sappy)

I was finally beginning to relax into the idea of us as a couple. 
I was having crazy thoughts that I’ve NEVER had before ~ I WANTED to cook delicious meals for this man, I wanted to make his belly happy!
(I seriously looked in to cooking classes…I guess I really should learn anyways…)
I felt comfortable looking ahead to things I wanted to share with him…(i.e. Bowl tickets a few weeks from now)

One thing I knew going into this with a “newly on-the-market” man was that he may want to shop on a few different aisles, taste test a variety before deciding what he likes.
And I’m a true believer in that! 
Lord knows I feel like I’ve taste tested all of Costco getting to this point…
I know the taste I like…I know the man I love.
We just dove in too fast for him to get that chance.
Maybe now is the time to take it…

I’ve feared my expiration date was coming up. 
The year anniversary just reminded him how he wasn’t looking to be in a serious relationship & it reminded me how much I love sharing my life with someone.
Kind of a tough difference to reconcile.

I can’t imagine my days without him in them, nor do I want to try, 
but I also want to be with a man that gets excited to see me too & doesn’t feel the need to find better, different or whatever…

I’ll be getting back on my journey eventually, at least this time I do know love exists
xo

365 days…xo

**Ok, a lil music to view by 🙂
I will never tire of this classic song & its exactly as I feel

A year ago today I was going about my single life as usual, the only slight difference in the pattern was that I had a date that evening at 6p(?) to grab a drink with a new guy I had been emailing for a couple of weeks.
I was excited to meet him, but cautiously so…
I mean, the likelihood of “sparks” was something I was starting to assume was urban legend.
And 6pm??? Best reason I could come up with for that meet-up time was that we could each salvage our evening, if it was a bust after one cocktail (I’ll admit I was kinda in a glass half-empty dating mode)

But I was working on that…the hopeless romantic in me still always wins!!

And I WAS excited, something about him intrigued me. 
I laughed out loud when I read his emails!
With a fresh manicure (blowing my still wet nails), I raced to the bar.
Giddiness in the air
Butterflies in my stomach…
I spotted him right away as he headed to the bar
&
unfortunately, he witnessed some of my crazy driving skills in reverse as I tried to find parking (damn my red hair for giving me away!)

 The beauty of the 6p date is you have the whooooole place to yourself, so we tried out several seating situations 😉


SIX HOURS later we strolled out of the bar not wanting the night to end, but knowing work would come too early… 


Oh those moments as everything about the other is new…awwwww




This man is something special – that much I knew right away!!

 And guess what??? Sparks really do exist!!!


You don’t know how excited I was to have confirmation of this, as it’d been quite a while since my heart skipped a beat for a guy 😉


It didn’t take long to know there’d be fireworks!!


Date #3 – 4th of July!!!


Ok, ok I won’t bore you with the play by play of every day…but I’m gonna celebrate this past year of laughter, love & smiles 


❤ ❤ ❤

 Summer fun with music, art, & my babe…

And then there was the SUPER FUN DISNEYLAND DATE DAY!!!
(I do owe a full entry on the day, cuz my babe has it down to a wonderful science of pure fun!)

**SURPRISE** date night – an Aimee Mann concert – whaaaat??!!!
XOXOXO









Our 1st lil get-away to Las Vegas at the beginning of the year…
What is it about water dancing to Sinatra???
Everything seems magical in his arms
(schmoopy overload!!! I know it, I love it!!!)





Day-trippin to Santa Barbara over Memorial Day, my darlin woke up with a lil adventure streak that day & we had a wonderful time exploring.
I love learning new things about my man 😉

Babe, I just want to raise a glass & thank you for an amazing year I could never have foreseen!! You have taught me how to love, how to grow, to share my thoughts, & my needs without fear.


I’m sorry I’m not in town to cheers you in person & celebrate, so I dedicate this blog to you & a wonderful 365!!!

My handsome man, thank you for who you are!! For all the thoughtful things you do, you bring a smile to my face each day!! I appreciate your warmth, your kindness, your quick wit & humor, your ability to challenge my thoughts (you’re so smart!)…oh my gosh I could go on & on butI’ll save that for in person!!! 
I love you!!
xoxoxo
red

All There Is

It all started with a Friday morning commute to work, day one on a new gig.
I was creeping along the 5 freeway, heading towards my Bermuda triangle area of Burbank, when I caught myself smiling, laughing out loud & welling up with tears as I listened to this couple’s love story.
I knew I needed to be paying attention to directions, but I was so drawn in by their words.
As they wrapped up the segment, they mentioned the author would be doing a reading at a local bookstore that evening, I sooooo wanted to go ~ if that story was any example of what the book held, I knew it was going to be a great event!

We were planning a “date nite” but hadn’t quite made our plans, so I threw it out there 😉
Sent him to the link online, he listened & was hooked – yay!

If you’re familiar with StoryCorps you know how fabulous it is & if you’re not, check it out www.storycorp.org!
Its an amazing idea ~ a facilitated interview process with loved one’s in your life, asking the questions you really want to know about that person, but never seem to stop & take the time to ask in daily life. It’s recorded & preserved so generations down the line can hear your story ~ super cool!

So, this evening’s event was the book release/reading of a collection of love stories told in the StoryCorp booth.
Held in a local neighborhood book shop, the setting was quaint & perfect. No giant mega-store, pumping bad muzac, but quietly tucked in among the books we listened to the voices tell their stories of love.
Such warmth came from their words as we journeyed along with them.
Of course, I was brought to tears with almost each one! Thankfully we were standing towards back & he just held me close.

It reconfirmed for me our purpose here, it truly is to relate & BE with each other, find love for each other. That’s what makes us rich & fulfilled, not working insane hours and missing time with family & friends. 
Being present to the moment & who you’re with, which can seem utterly impossible to do these days as we race around.

There’s an artist working to get a project funded on kickstarter.com to publish a book of love stories of couples who have been together over 50 years in New York. 
Inspired by finding her grandfather’s love letters to her grandma from World War II, she’s begun this journey to learn what makes love work. I so look forward to reading this & wish her much success! The images she’s captured are palpable with love, the friendship, the kindness, the companionship, the passion of lives shared.


Back to date nite…from the book shop we strolled down the street to the Dresden, you may be familiar with it from “Swingers”. Shockingly my babe had not experienced the fabulousness of this place, along with musical stylings of Marty & Elayne.

I love these two! A dying breed I fear. Their lounge act is beyond bad that its great!
We snagged a booth, cocktailed it up & made friends with Marty, who even did a lil Sinatra number for us 😉
The perfect night cap to date nite!






I’ve included a bit of a sample of what you’d experience on a night with Marty & Elayne ~ enjoy!
Its their “signature” number by the Bee Gees ~ really you tell me, who does it better? 😉

**A lil footnote** 
As a Valentine’s day gift, my babe surprised me with the CD of “All There Is” & I keep falling in love with their stories as I listen in traffic.


And since I can’t get this song outta my head, I share it with you here

The Beatles

Lennon/McCartney
Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love.
There's nothing you can do that can't be done.
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung.
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It's easy.
There's nothing you can make that can't be made.
No one you can save that can't be saved.
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you
in time - It's easy.

All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.
Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.
There's nothing you can know that isn't known.
Nothing you can see that isn't shown.
Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be.
It's easy.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.
All you need is love (all together now)
All you need is love (everybody)
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.
xo

V-day – schmoopy, sappy, silly?

Oh my gosh, it feels like I have fallen off the face of the earth for the beginning here of 2012, definitely all with good reasons 🙂
Finally coming up for air & I’m feeling inspired!

I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated our story & there’s much to tell, but bear with me as I skip ahead in celebration of St. Valentine 😉
(I promise to rewind & fill ya in)

The day honoring LOVE is upon us & for the 1st time I’m excited to acknowledge it.
As far back as I can remember, my best friend & I donned all black to show our disdain for the “commercial” holiday ~ sure, yeah that’s what we were protesting 😉 Guaranteed if our prince had shown up on & or around Feb 14th, we’d be more than happy to jump on the red heart bandwagon.

Even as she moved on, got married & started a family, I’ve continued on with the all-black wardrobe tradition. 
Well, okay with the exception of the occasional attempt to outsmart the universe with wearing heart decorated tops, jewelry, etc in hopes to convince the powers-that-be that I was ready, willing, & open for love ~ yeah the universe saw right through that ploy…back to all black I went.

Even with all the work I’ve done on myself, my love issues & trying to believe it exists, I still find myself being afraid to get my hopes too high.
I realized this just this evening as I walked in to find a beautiful bouquet sitting in my hotel room

My surprise 😉

I thought my babydoll may be up to something when he asked my room number, but I would not let myself get any wild ideas of what he may be up to – crazy, right?
But I didn’t want to be let down & I also didn’t want to pressure him for anything either, since I don’t need it, but the un-required, unrequested  gesture melted my heart & helped me realize I still need to keep working on opening up & believing in his goodness & his love for me!

I am feeling like a very lucky girl & I want to make sure I keep remembering this fact.
I have been beyond spoiled lately by my babe & its throwing me off on how to react. Accepting goodness is hard. I want to give it but receiving it is awkward.

Knowing how hard I’ve been working lately & the stress I’ve been under, my babe took it upon himself to take a lil care of me.
After winding down last week with a 16 hour workday on Friday, I arrived home to a warmth in my kitchen & the delicious scent of chocolate in the air…molten chocolate lava cake baking…

…candles illuminating the whole apartment…

…leading me to the hot bubble bath awaiting me…
Billie Holiday playing in the background, a glass of red & chatting with my love = the BEST way to wind down the day!!! xxox

Here’s to celebrating LOVE!! 
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!!
XO
(P.S. I’m wearing leopard today ~ no black!)