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Thanksgiving To Remember

As the holiday season approaches, I think of memories of past Thanksgivings. My family would spend time cooking and filling our home with laughter. Yet, this year, there is a subtle but undeniable shift in the air—a desire to change our Thanksgiving. Is it time to embrace new experiences?

When do you make those changes to your traditions? How do you create lasting memories that reflect your evolving values and priorities?

Coming Together

For me, Thanksgiving has always been about coming together with family and friends. We share a feast  (usually turkey and my cornbread stuffing) and express gratitude for the blessings in our lives.

These familiar customs have been an anchor, a comforting thread that connects us to generations past. However, as life unfolds and circumstances change, it becomes important to adapt and find new ways to celebrate and connect.

The decision to change our Thanksgiving traditions was not made lightly. It involved open and honest conversations with family, each expressing their expectations. We acknowledged that traditions should not be stagnant but should grow and evolve with us.

We collectively embraced the idea of including fresh elements that reflected our shared values. We want to enjoy the holiday and respect one another’s different ideas of togetherness that Thanksgiving represents.

Community Service

This year, we decided to organize a community service project as part of our Thanksgiving festivities. Instead of spending the entire day in the kitchen, we will dedicate time to serve others at a community home.

Our family’s aim is to extend our gratitude to the wider community and make a positive impact who need it. The joy of giving back will undoubtedly deepen our sense of gratitude and reinforce the spirit of Thanksgiving.

Core Traditions

While service is a new addition to our Thanksgiving, we remain committed to preserving the core holiday traditions. The gathering of loved ones around a table with traditional family recipes will always be at the heart of our celebration.

We will continue to savor the flavors that evoke childhood memories and ignite conversations about family history. Again, I’m referring to my Grandma’s stuffing recipe, that I make only once a year.

The idea of changing Thanksgiving traditions may initially stir mixed emotions.  As we bid farewell to familiar routines and ideas of what the holiday should, it’s time to discover something new.

However, the essence of Thanksgiving lies not in the specific rituals, but in the deep connections we have and the love we share. By embracing change, we open ourselves up to the possibility of discovering new traditions that resonate with our present selves. Will you be making any changes this year? A new host or maybe try a community project?

Ultimately, changing Thanksgiving traditions is an opportunity to deepen the bonds we share with our loved ones. Making sure to honor values and embrace the spirit of gratitude in new and meaningful ways for your current lifestyle. Here’s an invitation to create lasting memories that reflect who we are today.

As I embark on this journey of change, I am filled with excitement and a little anticipation. I know that our Thanksgiving celebration will continue to evolve and grow. Be sure whatever our plans, you foster a sense of belonging, love, and gratitude. This will remain with your family and friends long after the holiday season fades away.

For more self-care inspiration check out: KathyHusserTempe.com

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Halloween 2023

 

Halloween is just around the corner this year.  Planning the perfect costume that is safe, non-political, and easy to pull together can be a challenge in 2023. Fear not! Here are four suggestions that will spark your imagination and ensure a memorable Halloween experience for all.

Classic Movie Characters

Step into the magical world of cinema by dressing up as a beloved character from a classic movie. Whether you choose Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz,” Indiana Jones, or the iconic Charlie Chaplin, these costumes are timeless. With a little creativity and items from your own closet, you can recreate these characters easily.

Add some finishing touches with props like Dorothy’s ruby slippers or Indiana Jones’ fedora hat, you’re good to go! Get ready to transport yourself into movie land with these costumes

Mythical Creatures

Embrace the magic and mystique of legends by dressing up as a mythical creature. From fairies and unicorns to dragons and mermaids, the options are endless. Tap into your imagination and create a costume that brings these creatures to life. You can use colorful fabrics, sparkly accessories, and face paint to enhance the fantastical elements.

Let your creativity soar as you craft wings for a fairy or design scales for a mermaid. These enchanting costumes are sure to inspire wonder and awe, making them perfect for all ages.

Book Characters

Pay homage to the beloved characters from your favorite books by bringing them to life this Halloween. Whether it’s Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter, or the mischievous Cat in the Hat. These literary icons offer a world of possibilities for creative costumes.

 

Browse your local thrift stores or search your own closet for clothing items that resemble the characters’ signature styles. Add some key accessories, such as Alice’s headband or Harry Potter’s round glasses, to complete the look. Not only will you celebrate your love for books, but you’ll inspire others to dive into the world of reading.

Taylor and Travis

Yes, I went there! Why not mix the best of both worlds and go as two of our most popular icons in 2023? Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift “look a likes” would make a perfect Halloween couple’s costume.  Football and pop music blend seamlessly and talk about easy costumes to gather.

A Kansas City football jersey and some “Swiftie” swag and you are both set for Halloween!  You could also add those personal touches of hair color, beard, microphone, and #13 for effect.  Have fun this year with our most watched couple of the fall season.

Choosing a safe, non-political, and easy-to-pull-together Halloween costume may seem like a challenge. But, these suggestions provide a perfect starting point. Whether you opt for a classic movie character, pop icons, or a beloved book character, the key is creativity people!

Remember, safety should always come first.  Also make sure your costume is comfortable, allows for easy movement, and doesn’t block your vision. And don’t forget to add your own personal flair and unique touches to make the costume truly yours.

As Halloween approaches, let your imagination run wild and create a costume that brings joy to those around you. Whether you’re trick-or-treating, attending a party, or simply celebrating at home, these ideas will help you shine.

Keeping the focus on the fun and festive spirit of Halloween is the main point.  So, unleash your inner creative spirit, gather your materials, and get ready for a Halloween filled with magic this year!

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Barbie Taught Me About Work

Did you see the Barbie movie?  I did, mainly because I had the doll growing up. I loved Barbie. And here’s why this movie and its message for us all is so popular now.

Work Hard – Nothing is Perfect

Barbie has always lived in a perfect world. Pink, plastic, and perfect, the marketing machine has families buy her “accessories” for their children constantly. From the dream house, to the car, to her pet dog, Barbie had it all and little girls were supposed to aspire to that life. But, like me many families we couldn’t really afford Barbies or her perfect world.

I had one new Malibu Barbie, the one with the deep tan, gifted to me for my birthday.  I never had a Ken doll, or her sidekick Skippy, so was my imagination stilted?  Nope, never! I was able to earn my college degree (with no loans) and a masters degree after having children to meet my professional goals. I worked hard and reached high.

Improvise and Use your Creativity

Like any good kid with little resources, I improvised. I made Barbie’s furniture from old margarine tub lids and thread spools. She didn’t have a “dream house.” My tanned beauty had a shoe box, covered with a kitchen towel “patio” with a green washcloth lawn.

My doll,and the all the Saturday morning commercials, gave me permission to use my imagination! I improvised to envision my own “apartment” when I grew up.  (I had a few when I was older as well…living the dream in my own way!)

And the career choices I had, from Advertising Executive to Astronaut, I could live through Barbie.  I didn’t need a man to make my dreams come true. I had my drive and work ethic to make things happen for myself.

As a young girl, Barbie really inspired me to succeed to do whatever I dreamed.  And dreamed I did…I moved away from home out of state and started a career that helped me grow other skills that use today to be happy and succeed.

Movie’s Message is Clear 

I see that same message in the movie; Be yourself…whoever you are! No one is perfect or fits a certain mold.  Sometimes we hold ourselves up to unrealistic standards to those around us. Whether it’s in work, school, or even motherhood women have to navigate so many other societal obstacles, that men do not.

When we can truly all be accepted as we are, without limitations or prejudices, then we can all rest easy.  The world has a long way to go to get there.

Even Mattel admittedly has only had one female CEO in the company’s 78-year history. Go figure… but we keep striving, learning, and being better for those that come after us and help them succeed!

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Self Care

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s easy to get caught up in demands and responsibilities surrounding us. As I’ve journeyed through my own life experiences, I’ve come to realize the importance of self-care and power of meditation.

Taking the time to prioritize my well-being and cultivating a regular meditation practice has been nothing short of life-changing. Here are some insights I’d like to share with you about embracing self-care and the art of meditation.

Self-Care

First, self-care is about acknowledging and honoring your own needs. It’s not selfish; it’s an act of self-love and preservation. Begin by carving out dedicated time for self-care activities that resonate with you. It could be as simple as taking a warm bath, reading a good book, or taking a walk in nature.

Whatever it may be, the key is to make it a regular practice. This ensures it becomes a non-negotiable part of your daily routine.

Meditation

Meditation is an incredible tool for finding stillness amidst the chaos and noise of the outside world. It doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Start by setting aside just a few minutes each day to sit quietly, focusing on your breath.

Allow yourself to observe your thoughts without judgment, letting them come and go like passing clouds. Gradually increase the duration of your practice as you feel comfortable. Through regular meditation, you’ll experience a profound sense of calm, clarity, and inner peace.

Physical Well-Being

One aspect of self-care that often gets overlooked is nurturing your physical body. Engaging in activities that promote physical well-being is an integral part of self-care. Whether it’s practicing yoga, going for a run, or dancing to your favorite music. You need to find an exercise routine that brings you joy and makes you feel alive.

Additionally, pay attention to your nutritional needs. Fuel your body with nourishing foods that provide energy and support overall health. Remember to stay hydrated, get enough sleep, and listen to what your body is telling you it needs.

Connections

Another powerful self-care practice is cultivating meaningful connections and setting healthy boundaries. Surround yourself with individuals who uplift and inspire you, and who truly care about your well-being. Learn to say no when necessary and honor your own limits.

Setting boundaries allows you to preserve your energy and protect your mental and emotional health. Prioritize activities and relationships that bring you joy and fulfillment. Also, remember to gracefully let go of those people that no longer serve your growth and happiness.

I’ve discovered that self-care and meditation are not merely acts of indulgence but components of a fulfilling and balanced life. They provide the foundation for personal growth, inner peace, and resilience in the face of life’s challenges. Embracing self-care and making space for meditation allows us to tap into our true selves. It nurtures our mind, body, and soul, to live authentically happy lives.

So, I invite you to embark on this beautiful journey of self-care and meditation. Start small, be gentle with yourself, and be open to the transformation that awaits. Prioritize your well-being, and watch as your inner light shines brighter, radiating love, peace, and harmony into the world. Remember, you deserve every moment of self-care and the deep nourishment it brings

For more living well, tips check out: KathyHusserTempe.com

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Gardening Is Like Life

Gardening is like life in many ways. What I’ve learned about life, I learned from my gardening experience outdoors and here’s why.

Time Will Tell 

A garden, a really solid variety of flowers (vegetables are a different story) takes about 2 years to establish. Like life, any new relationship, job, or new subject you’re trying to learn takes about 2 years to master. It’s two years before Gerbera Daisies take hold and bloom. The blanket flowers and periwinkles need a few years to take root and really blossom…just like in life.

Having two years of experience in a new job or with a new partner shows you different situations and effects. These “seasons” show you the good, the bad and ugly of that job or person. After about two years, patterns repeat themselves and habits are formed.  Just like your garden where seeds germinate and come back season after season. Time will tell you what you need to know and what direction to take, so listen.

Believe What You See

Flowers especially some bulb varieties are difficult to take root and thrive. Some flowers bloom easily with a little water and care. Others, take so much time to nurture, even “baby along,” until you’ve done very your best and can’t be successful.

Believe what you see, and know that some people, like flowers, will never bloom (like you expect them too.) People’s actions, just like flowers, are who they really are…don’t believe words, believe their actions. Actions tell you someone’s true character, if they’re honest, and trust worthy…just like a hearty garden that grows with care and love.

Can’t Change Mother Nature

In a garden some flowers and plants will only grow in a certain environment, think zone gardening. I live in the desert, zone 9b. The climate is dry and very hot in the summer months. Like some people in your life, some relationships won’t last or thrive. It all comes down to what you want in your life and who you let into your circle. You can’t change someone like you can’t change Mother Nature.

Work especially exposes you to different personalities. Some of these folks will help you grow in your career and support your goals. Others won’t, whether it’s their motivation, the environment, or your personal boundaries. Some people (like plants in your garden) are not meant for you.  Find your peace and people and live like your garden…in abundance.

 

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Desert Gardening

I garden to relax and unwind, but I also live in Arizona. Planting a vegetable garden in a desert zone 9B can be intimidating. The hot, dry climate can present unique challenges for growing vegetables. With some planning and preparation, a bountiful harvest is possible in a few months.

Garden Location

The first step in planting a desert vegetable garden is to choose the right location. Look for a spot that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. The soil must be well-draining and not too clay-like. If your soil is heavy or clay-like, consider adding compost or other organic matter to improve drainage and fertility.

Best Vegetable Type

Next, choose vegetables that are well-suited to the dry climate. Some good plating options include tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, beans, and okra. These vegetables thrive in hot, dry weather and are relatively low-maintenance.

When planting your vegetables, be sure to space them out properly to allow for adequate air flow and sunlight. This can help prevent disease and promote healthy growth. Additionally, consider using mulch to help retain moisture in the soil and prevent weed growth.

Watering

Watering is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to gardening in a desert climate. To conserve water and promote healthy growth, consider using a drip irrigation system. This will allow you to water your plants directly at the root zone, minimizing evaporation and runoff. You can also try using a soaker hose or watering by hand. However, be sure to water deeply and infrequently to encourage deep root growth.

Fertilize

In addition to watering, it’s important to fertilize your plants regularly. In a dry climate, nutrients can be quickly depleted from the soil. Consider using organic fertilizers or compost to provide a slow-release source of nutrients. I use Arizona’s Best which is a solid multi-purpose fertilizer available at garden centers.

Pests

Finally, be prepared to deal with pests and diseases. Common pests in a desert garden include aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites. Consider using natural pest control methods. These include ways to naturally deter common pests, like companion planting or insecticidal soap, to keep these pests at bay. If you do notice signs of disease or infestation, be sure to act quickly to prevent the problem from spreading.

Planting a vegetable garden in zone 9B can be challenging. Be sure to check climate charts, against your seeds so they root during your season. Or you might need to use a green house or inside germination for your sprouts.

With the right planning and preparation, it can be a very rewarding experience. Choose the right location, select well-suited vegetables, space them out properly, conserve water, fertilize regularly, and deal with pests regularly. With a little patience and persistence, you’ll be enjoying a bountiful harvest of fresh, delicious vegetables all season long.

Happy gardening!  And be sure to check for more tips at: KathyHusserTempe.com

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Picking A Puppy

 

Picking the right puppy is a big decision for any family, as the choice you make will be with you for many years. When selecting a puppy, it’s important to consider a variety of factors. Here are few tips to get you started on your puppy research.

Right Age?

First and foremost, it’s important to choose a puppy that is the right age for your family. Puppies require a lot of attention and training. Very young children may not be equipped to handle the responsibilities of caring for a young puppy. It’s generally recommended that children be at least 6-8 years old before bringing a puppy into the home.

Dog Breed

When it comes to selecting a dog breed, there are many factors to consider. Some breeds are better suited to families with children than others. Dogs have different temperaments, sizes, and energy levels. For example, breeds such as Labrador Retrievers and Beagles are known for being friendly, loyal, and good with children.

On the other hand, breeds such as Chihuahuas and Dalmatians may not be as well-suited for families with young children.  These breeds high energy might not be a good fit for young family members.

It’s also important to consider the energy level of the breed. Some breeds, such as Border Collies and Australian Shepherds, require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. While others, such as Bulldogs and Basset Hounds, are more laid-back and don’t need as much activity.

Another important consideration is the size of the dog. Larger breeds may not be suitable for families with small children. These dogs may accidentally knock kids over or be too rough playing. Smaller breeds, on the other hand, may be more fragile and may not be as well-suited for active families.

Allergies

When selecting a puppy, it’s also important to consider any allergies or sensitivities that family members may have. Breeds that shed less, such as Poodles and Bichon Frises, may be better suited for families with allergies.  There are many versions of “doodle” dog breeds that have poodle DNA to help with the shedding too.

Plus, don’t forget about checking with your local dog shelter, for your next furry friend either. All great companions can come from many different places. You save a life when you rescue any animal.

Ultimately, the most important factor when selecting a puppy is to choose a dog that is a good match for your family. Your lifestyle and other factors play into keeping and caring for a pet for many years.

Take the time to research different breeds. Also visit with potential puppies to get a sense of their temperament and energy level. With careful consideration and planning, you can find the perfect puppy to become a beloved member of your family.

For more lifestyle tips check out my website: KathyHusserTempe.com

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Life Lessons

 

As a librarian, I love reading the latest books. Tom Hanks’ first novel is out and follows the story of how a fictional motion picture is made. The story has many life lessons that apply to real life too, and I thought I’d share a few.

The Right Partner

Finding the right “partner in life” will lift you up, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. The main characters have extensive backstories. From surviving abuse and war trauma to fulfilling your creative dreams, these folks have seen it all. The thread tying them together is the passion to enjoy life and finding their partner for success, (however that’s defined.) Whether it’s a career, spouse, or creative channel to express yourself, find the right partner to get you there.

Strength

The author brings to life each character from their childhood to their interaction together as adults. All of these characters have a solid inner strength and “will” to go on.  When you read fiction like this, you experience these lives first hand. Reading about others’ stories of strength, you realize you have it as well. Inner strength is tested all the time, and sometimes we don’t even realize it.

Some call it “the grind,” grit, or just plain tenacity.  The lesson learned, is we all have something heavy we carry and don’t necessarily share. Consistently strong people grow from those tough life experiences and flourish.

Fate

Call it fate or divine intervention, but things do happen for a reason. It might be to protect you and direct you to a different life path. Fate is there for you, to help you be your best self.

What the Hanks does in his story is intertwines each character’s experiences into one successful finale. Will we all be successful or happy?  How do YOU define success or happiness? It depends, just like in life…it all depends on you and how you react.

Finally, I’d recommend The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece,” to help understand human nature. The story helps define the realities of war, trauma, relationships, and yes, especially movie making. I’m a diehard movie fan.  I love the happenstance method the author shows the reader the filmmaking process is in Hollywood. I’m looking forward to Hanks’ next novel.

Happy Reading!

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I Loved Barbie!

Did you see the Barbie movie? I did, mainly because I had the doll growing up. I loved Barbie. And here’s why this movie and its message for us all is so popular now.

Perfect World

Barbie has always lived in a perfect world. Pink, plastic, and perfect, the marketing machine has families buy her “accessories” for their children constantly. From the dream house, to the car, to her pet dog, Barbie had it all and little girls were supposed to aspire to that life.

But, like me many families we couldn’t really afford Barbies or her perfect world. I had one new Malibu Barbie, the one with the deep (cancerous) tan, gifted to me for my birthday. I never had a Ken doll, or her sidekick Skipper, so was my imagination stilted?

Improvise

No, like any good kid with little resources, I improvised. I made Barbie’s furniture from old margarine tub lids and thread spools. She didn’t have a “dream house.” My tanned beauty had a shoe box, covered with a kitchen towel “patio” with a green washcloth lawn. My doll and the all the Saturday morning commercials gave me permission to use my imagination! I improvised to envision my own “apartment” when I grew up and had a career of my very own.

And the career choices I had, from Advertising Executive to Astronaut, I could live through Barbie and her friends. I didn’t need a man to make my dreams come true. I had my drive and work ethic to make things happen for myself. As a young girl, Barbie really inspired me to succeed to do whatever I dreamed of with integrity.

Movie’s Message

Photo by Priyanka Arora on Unsplash

I see that same message in the movie; Be yourself…whoever you are! No one is perfect or fits a certain mold. Sometimes we hold ourselves up to unrealistic standards to those around us. Whether it’s in work, school, or even motherhood women have to navigate so many other societal obstacles, that men do not.

When we can truly all be accepted as we are, without limitations or prejudices, then we can all rest easy. The world has a long way to go to get there. Even Mattel admittedly has only had three female CEO’s in the company’s 78-year history. One being the founder herself, Ruth Handler.  Where are my pink Birkenstocks?

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Health Retreats

Going on a health retreat by yourself can be a great way to take some time for yourself. You can focus on your physical and mental well-being. However, it’s important to do your research and choose a retreat that meets your specific needs and goals. Here are some things to look for when going on a health retreat solo.

The program

Make sure that the retreat offers a program that aligns with your goals. If you’re looking to lose weight, a retreat that focuses on yoga and meditation may not be the best fit. Also, if you’re looking to detox and cleanse your body, a retreat that focuses on clean eating is a better fit.

Location

The location of the retreat can have a big impact on your overall experience. If you’re looking for a peaceful and secluded retreat, consider a remote location. A location that is far from the hustle and bustle of daily life is a good match.  If you’re looking for a more active retreat, consider a location offering outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, or swimming.

The staff

The staff at the retreat can make or break your experience. Look for a program that has experienced and qualified staff who are dedicated to helping you achieve your goals. Read reviews and testimonials from past guests. These will give you an idea of the level of care and attention you can expect from the staff.

Accommodations

The accommodations at the retreat can affect your overall experience. Look for a retreat that offers comfortable and clean rooms that will help you feel relaxed and rejuvenated. Consider the type of space that best suits your needs, such as a private suite or a shared room.

Your Budget

Look for a program that fits your budget. Retreats can vary widely in price, so it’s important to find one that meets your financial needs. Keep in mind that a higher cost doesn’t always guarantee a better experience. Do your research…always!

Length of Your Stay

Look for a schedule that offers the length of stay that best fits your individual needs. Some retreats offer a day, a weekend, or a week-long program.  Consider the success (and joy) you’ve had on similar trips. You are the best judge to know your limits, so don’t push it.

Finally, look for a retreat that offers follow-up care, such as coaching or support groups. This is to help you maintain the progress you make during the retreat. Sustainable habits will last a lifetime and so will your memories.

Remember, taking care of yourself is a lifelong commitment. Your first health retreat can be an excellent step towards that goal.

For more living well, tips check out: KathyHusserTempe.com