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Why Love Taylor and Travis

 

In the vast landscape of popular culture, certain figures captivate our attention and hold our fascination. Two who seem to effortlessly command the spotlight are Taylor Swift, the iconic singer-songwriter, and Travis Kelce, the NFL player. What is it about these two seemingly contrasting personalities that ignites our collective obsession?

Taylor Swift: The Evolution of Empowerment

Taylor Swift’s journey from country sweetheart to pop sensation has been nothing short of a cultural phenomenon. Swift’s ability to authentically narrate her personal experiences through music has created an intimate connection with her audience. From teenage love anthems to mature reflections on heartbreak and self-discovery, Swift’s discography resonates across generations.

Her openness about relationships, friendships, and the challenges of fame endears her to fans. She makes them feel like they’re on a journey of self-discovery alongside her.

Additionally, Swift’s skilled use of social media invites fans into her world, fostering a sense of community. Her engagement with fans, candid posts, and witty interactions contribute to the perception that she is not just a megastar.  She is also a relatable individual navigating life’s ups and downs.

Travis Kelce: Beyond the Gridiron

Travis Kelce, known for his exceptional skills on the football field, has transcended the confines of his profession. Beyond his athletic expertise, Kelce’s magnetic personality has made him a favorite in and out of the sports arena. The tight end’s charisma, evident in his touchdown celebrations and post-game interviews, sets him apart. Kelce’s authenticity shines through, showcasing a genuine and approachable side of professional athletes often overlooked by the public.

Kelce’s involvement in philanthropy and community outreach further cements his status as a well-rounded and socially conscious figure. Fans are drawn to his genuine passion for making a positive impact off the field. He creates a deeper connection beyond his achievements in football.

Art Meets Athletics

The convergence of Taylor Swift’s musical prowess and Travis Kelce’s athletic excellence may seem unexpected. However, it underscores a broader truth: our fascination often lies at the crossroads of diverse talents. Swift and Kelce represent more than their respective crafts; they embody resilience, authenticity, and the pursuit of excellence in their chosen fields.

In essence, our obsession with Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce is not merely about their talent; it’s a celebration of their humanity. Through vulnerability, relatability, and a commitment to authenticity, these icons become mirrors reflecting our own desires, struggles, and triumphs. In a social media age of curated personas, the genuine nature of Swift and Kelce becomes our beacon. They are guiding our fascination and deepening our connection to their stories with our own.

 

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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.

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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.

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Gardening Desert

The desert, with its scorching sun, arid climate, and sparse vegetation, may seem like an unlikely place to garden. However, with the right knowledge, techniques, and a touch of creativity, it is possible.  To create a flourishing garden in the midst of a dry landscape like my home in Arizona can be done. Starting a garden in the desert opens up a world of possibilities, and here’s how to start that new world.

One of the basic aspects of desert gardening is water conservation. In arid regions, water is a precious resource that needs to be used efficiently. Drip irrigation systems, which deliver water directly to the plant roots, are particularly effective in minimizing water wastage. Mulching is another essential technique that helps retain moisture in the soil, reducing the need for frequent watering. Using organic mulch such as wood chips or straw not only conserves water but also improves soil quality over time.

The choice of plants is crucial when it comes to desert gardening. Native plants that have adapted to the harsh desert conditions are often the best options. These plants have evolved to withstand extreme temperatures, limited water availability, and high levels of sunlight.

Some popular desert plants include cacti, succulents, desert marigolds, and agaves. These resilient plants not only thrive in the desert but also add a unique beauty to the landscape. Their striking shapes and vibrant colors add so much to a desert garden.

Creating microclimates within the garden can also significantly improve the chances of success. Positioning taller plants or structures strategically can provide shade and create cooler, more sheltered areas. Building raised beds can help improve drainage and prevent waterlogging in the desert’s compacted soils. Additionally, constructing windbreaks using fences or hedges can shield delicate plants from the harsh desert winds. This minimizes water loss through evaporation and reduces plant stress especially in the summer months.

Starting a garden in the desert requires patience, experimentation, and a willingness to adapt. (Kind of like life!) It is essential to monitor the garden regularly, observe how different plants respond to the environment, and adjust. Learning from your successes and failures of each gardening season will help refine your techniques. This will increase your chances of creating a thriving oasis in the desert.

Starting a garden in the desert may seem like a daunting task.  However, with careful planning and using appropriate techniques, it is possible to transform barren landscapes into vibrant havens of life. Focusing on water conservation, suitable desert-adapted plants, and creating microclimates, gardeners can overcome the challenges presented by the dry environment.

Desert gardening allows us to connect with nature. And enables us to appreciate the incredible resilience and beauty of life in even the most challenging conditions. So, roll up your sleeves, grab a shovel, and embark on the journey of creating your desert garden. This a true testament to the triumph of life in adversity!

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Beach Reads 2023

As summer ramps up and vacation calls, it’s the perfect time to read a good book while lounging beachside. As a librarian, here a few “beach read” recommendations sure to please any reader.  Each title promises to transport you to different worlds and capture the heart of this summer season.

Strong Women

Dive into a story of love, self-discovery, and sandy shores with “The Summer of Lost and Found” by Mary Alice Monroe. The story is set in the enchanting coastal town of fictional Sullivan’s Island. This novel brings together the lives of three generations of women as they navigate their personal journeys.

With vivid descriptions of the beach and an exploration of family dynamics, this book is a perfect beach read. For those seeking an emotional and touching summer read about family, chose this story. 

Thriller

If you’re craving a suspenseful thriller, “The Woman in the Window” by A.J. Finn is sure to keep you riveted. Set in the bustling city of New York during a hot summer, this psychological thriller follows an agoraphobic woman. (She’s deathly afraid of going outside of her home.)

She believes she witnesses a disturbing event in her neighbor’s house. As secrets unravel and tensions rise, the story will keep you on the edge of your seat, turning the pages.

Hollywood Glitz

If you want a blend of romance, history, and exotic settings, “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” is for you.  By Taylor Jenkins Reid (author of Daisy Jones & the Six) this book is a must-read! A captivating novel taking readers on a journey through the glamorous and wild life of Evelyn Hugo a fictional movie star. With its rich character development and fascinating narrative, this book brings you into the world of Hollywood and forbidden love.

Self-Discovery

If you’re in the mood for a light-hearted and delightful summer read, “Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman is an excellent choice. Meet Eleanor, a socially awkward woman with a strictly structured life. Join her on a heartwarming journey of self-discovery and unexpected connections.

This uplifting novel explores themes of loneliness, friendship, and the transformative power of compassion. This book makes a perfect companion for lazy days by the seaside.

No matter which book you choose for your summer adventures, find one that speaks to you. A book’s well-crafted story has the power to transport you to far-off places, stir your emotions, and leave lasting impressions.

So, grab your beach towel, slather on some sunscreen, and lose yourself in the pages of an enthralling summer read. Whether it’s a tale of romance, mystery, or self-discovery, these book recommendations are sure to boost your beachside bliss. Make your summer even more memorable and check out a book today from your local library!

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The Good Life

I just finished a new library book focused on happiness; The Good Life: Lessons from the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness. Two doctors relate through short stories the simple ways to increase your happiness, based on an 80-year scientific Harvard study. Here are the simple, proven ways to find happiness in your life every day.

Increase Positive Relationships

It goes without saying, that when you feel good physically, you feel good mentally. You need to increase the frequency and quality of the positive relationships in your life to be happy.  It doesn’t have to be friends or family either that make you happy.

The authors relate the positive interaction with a bus driver who makes your commute easier daily. Or how about the teacher who helps your child overcome learning obstacles, which helps you and your family. When you interact and connect with others that “lift you up,” your happiness increases.

Get Rid of Distractions

A distracted mind is unhealthy for your mental well-being and physical health. For example, have you ever worried so much about something that has never happened? You wasted time and energy for nothing. The authors suggest keep your focus by clearing your mind of past mistakes and future worries with meditation.

Meditation calms your heart rate, breathing, and allows your mind to focus on the present and to be in the moment. Being in nature helps with focus as does removing yourself from negative people. (An overlap from the first point made about increasing your quality relationships.) The authors remind us that the more you practice, the easier it becomes.

Social Media Engagement

Finally, the authors don’t dismiss social media, but rather supply the research to back up the positive engagement of online platforms. The 2020 pandemic is a perfect example of the damaging social isolation we all experienced.

When we lack the social (in person) interaction with others it is damaging to our well-being. Studies have proven (in Norway) that when children engaged on social media they were happier. This versus just scrolling through and “liking” a post. Social engagement even online benefits your health and happiness for all ages.

Simple but proven ways to keep your mind and relationships healthy and active throughout your life. Finally, staying curious and continuing to learn is a simple way to be happy, no matter your age. Money does not make you happy, but being grateful does. The insights in Robert Waldinger and Marc Schulz’s book showed me how happy I really am too!

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Benefits of Pets

Working and learning a new job have changed dramatically for some industries. If you are fortunate enough to work from home, how do you maintain a healthy work life balance? I’ve found caring for a pet, especially a dog has many advantages. Below are a few tips to consider if you’d like to be a pet owner.

Cat or Dog, Ferret?

Remembering why you are getting a new pet is the first step. Is it for company while working remotely?  Do you need something to care for to help you deal with remote working and the culture change?

Knowing that a cat is much more independent than a dog is your first lesson. Most cats don’t seek out your attention and don’t require daily maintenance. Furthermore, cats do not need to be let out for potty breaks.  Hello kitty litter and a different way of living.

Dogs, on the other hand, require a great deal more individualized care and attention. As a puppy, you have an infant dog for two to nine months. You will need to teach them about walking, playing safely and potty training. Living with a yard, is also much more ideal for a dog than a cat.

Think about your home, lifestyle, and reasons for a pet, before deciding on a cat or dog.  You might even consider a more unconventional pet, such a gerbil or ferret. Please do your research on these pets before making a trip to PetsMart.

Lifetime commitment

Committing to a pet is for their lifetime. This could be anywhere from 10-20 years depending upon the animal and breed. There is a cost involved with that commitment. Not only a monetary cost but a huge time commitment on your part. Think about your flexibility and ability to care for a pet, even when your life and job need attention.

Do you have someone to care for your pet while on vacation or the resources to board them? Are you willing to forgo vacations in lieu of having a four-legged family member?

Think long and hard of the benefits and your expectations before you commit to a pet long term. Consider pet sitting before you adopt or contact pet agencies.

A pet is a great stress reliever as research has shown us. However, you need to be prepared to welcome your pet into your family with open arms and sound expectations.

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