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7 Ways to Invite Spirituality

I’ve been in a transition lately, and even good change can be hard. As one of my daily focus goals, I have spirituality. I’m not a religious person but I do believe in a god and wanted to dedicate one of my 7 days to this part of my life, my spirituality.

I was raised Catholic and last year I found out my dominant ancestry is Jewish. I have two little kids and my hubby didn’t grow up with religion. So, thinking about what to do and how to start this journey, I came up with 7 ways to invite more spirituality into my life, my home, and remind me to be thankful.

1. MEDITATION 

You know everyone says this. I’ve tried it before but it never stuck so this time I got the app Headspace and doing their free trial. Maybe after a month, it will be more of a daily habit. I’m going to try to meditate in the morning right after I get up.

I’ve also heard other use the tic-tac method and you meditate while sucking on the candy. Having it be your focus point when your mind drifts. For me, I am starting with 5 minutes and will try to focus on my breathing before I jump into action and start my day.

Maybe even starting with 1 minute to reflect and be thankful is a great start.

2. GRATITUDE

Some friends of mine have a gratitude journal that they use daily to write and reflect. I love how it gets them to spend this time on thinking positive and what all the good is in their life.

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Another strategy is to just wake up and think of one good thing before you jump out of bed. Like I am happy to be alive, or thankful for the person who might be beside you. You could even put a reminder in your phone a few minutes after your alarm goes off to ask you what are you thankful for?

To get your family involved try adding a gratitude question and ask everyone to share one thing they are grateful for while eating dinner.

3. OUTSIDE

Another no-brainer, but getting outside gives you that fresh air and helps one connect with the world around them. That is if you aren’t just sitting on a bench scrolling facebook on your phone. A man might suggest leaving your phone at home while taking a walk, but let’s face it women aren’t as safe and often we have our kids so that isn’t going to happen. That said, I do try to go out for a run and listen to music, or walk the dog, and keep off my phone. Even if it is just for a few minutes at lunch it makes you feel so much better. 53377819_509193476275192_1126708112313548800_n

Even if getting outside can’t happen, I think sitting in the window as the sun shines in on the sofa counts if that is all you can get.

4. SHRINE 

If you don’t already have one maybe consider making one on your fireplace or a small table in your bedroom or office. It doesn’t have to be fancy or big but should be things you like, things that remind you of loved ones and your dreams. I’ve had one for years and it has photos, candles, and a variety of spiritual artifacts. I also have sage and burn it to clean my home. This is called smudging, and it is an ancient practice used for healing and energy clearing for positive vibes. During October I have it out on my fireplace in the living room. Also known as an Ofrenda.

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Maybe this is a good place to pray, reflect, meditate, or write in your gratitude journal. Or write down negative thoughts and burn them!

If a shrine isn’t your thing maybe just add some zen to your home. There are a lot of ways to bring more zen into your home with a new candle, plant, or sand garden.

5. BREATHE

There are so many ways you can incorporate breathing exercises with apps and reminders. Maybe you do this when you meditate. For me, I like to scream. I do it in my car on my way to work with music playing as I drive the highway. I scream to the top of my lungs until all the air is out of me. I do just one but it is a big one and I feel so much better afterward. Of course, this kind of scream at home would make my neighbor call the police so I wouldn’t recommend it in all situations!

I do think breathing and taking the time to breathe will help lower your stress and could bring more spirituality into your life as you reflect and be thankful.

5. DOOR

Your door represents how opportunities come to you. It’s where energy comes into your home, says one zen master. Make your entry look nice because it’s your face to the world. Have a clean and positive doormat for clean and positive energy and bonus if it has your name or number on it.

Feng Shui experts also say when your door can’t completely open that means that you’re stopping the amount of energy that can come into your space.

We can’t all go out and buy new furniture but if you do one thing to your home to be more aligned with positivity and more spirituality it would be the door, to open it up as you open your mind and heart.

6. PEOPLE

Energy comes from a lot of places, including the people around you. Maybe this is a great time to connect with that one friend who is religious, or very spiritual. Maybe get coffee or go dancing with a friend who is always ready for a fun night out. Maybe for this spiritual quest of yours, you need to let go. Negative people, people who are just in your life because of reasons other than they make you happy might not be good enough anymore. You don’t have to say goodbye forever but maybe spend less time with them. You move in the direction of your most dominant thought, so be with people who bring you up. Who have similar goals and want to talk about spirituality with positivity.

7. EDUCATION

I already belong to a book club and do my best to keep up with that, so adding in more books might be a little much for me. That said I do try to add in some podcasts and watch documentaries with my hubby for our sofa dates in the evening once the kids are asleep.

There are a lot of great books on spirituality and there are some great daily 365 books that help you with just one page a day.

If you have more time maybe sign up for a class at your local community college or maybe a local religious or spiritual organization to learn more about different religions.

What do you do to bring more spirituality into your everyday life? * Liana


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Titles & Tangents Book Reviews

As a working mom, I find reading time comes in waves. I get most of my reading done while traveling for work or once my kids have gone to bed. I’m thankful my friend invited me to her book club Titles and Tangents so I could be more accountable for finishing the books and made some great friendships along the way. The 7 of us in the book club all have 2 kids and are moms, but other than that we are a diverse group with really different backgrounds and it makes for very interesting discussions and tangents.

Here are 6 of the books I read, what I thought of them, and maybe a little slice of what the other ladies in the book club had to say about them.

THE POWER

Part of me really liked this book. The first part really captured me and I loved how premise. What would the world look like if women had all the power? What I liked the most about the book was how it made me question how I think and gave me a moment in time to wonder what if. Great book for conversation and really enjoyed hearing what others in the book club thought about the book. About half the ladies didn’t like the book and found the middle section hard to get past. If you find this to be true, skip ahead and read the last 20% and you will be fine. Great topic and good thought-provoking ideas but overall I would give the book only 2 out of 5.

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THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT

I really got into this book. I love to travel and I enjoyed hearing about the places the main character went and what she saw and did there. It was a captivating mystery and I really wanted to know what happened and got halfway through the book quickly. Then about at this point, I started to really not like the main character, she was so self-destructive and was a total mess. I was a little disappointed with the story and found it very stereotypical and not very realistic. Then, in the end, they try to wrap it all up with other typical women like ended. Makes me wonder about the man who wrote it and who are the women in his life? This gets a 1 out of 5 even if the first half is great, not worth the time.

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EDUCATED

This memoir about a girls family, her upbringing, and the journey she took to gain formal education and the price she paid when she took off the sunglasses that shaped her whole life. I really enjoyed getting this peek into her life and I see how it reminds readers of Glass Castle. Both ladies came from really hard situations and made it out. One thing that is very different about them is Tara’s family was very religious. This is a story about love, commitment, but there is also a lot of abuse, enablement, and damage that cannot be undone. It is heartbreaking but also a good reminder that we all take different journeys in life, we all belong, and to be humble as we never really know everything behind the face of the people we interact with. This book gets 4 out of 5. Great story but I would have liked to see more tied together like the horses that take up a lot of the story and could have been blended better to enhance the underline meaning.

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KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL

This book was something my husband had started and didn’t finish so it was fun reading it and telling him all about it as I had moments that made me wonder if I would ever eat out again or to remind him to not let me order the Sunday Special ever!!! Hubby and I are foodies so this book was interesting to hear the behind the scenes of the kitchen but to be totally honest ignorance is bliss and maybe it is just better to not know.  As a vegetarian, it is clear Anthony isn’t a fan and I too wasn’t a fan of the details on some of his meat dished. Just TMI if you ask me, even if you like meat. In the end, I do feel more educated and will avoid lemons on my drink and other dishes as a result of reading this book. So I give it a 2 out of 5 and might suggest listening to the audio version with Anthony narrating.

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NINE PERFECT STRANGERS

I really enjoyed this book, and not just because I met the author with my book club. The story really captured me and I loved the mini stories around each person and how they all got this place. It is really about people, love, connections, and what we are all looking for in life. Liane is a great writer and I couldn’t put this book down as I wanted to know what was next in their journey or how they might manage the situation they didn’t realize they would be in. As a mom some parts even made me cry and I was sad the book was over. I give it a 5 out of 5 and would suggest others to read it.

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SADIE

I was recently on a long road trip and heard Sadie was a great audiobook. It was the BEST I have ever heard. In fact, it was as if it was designed to be an audiobook since the story is about a podcast. Looking back at the book (at book club) it reads more like a script and that seems kind of annoying so totally recommend the audio version. Loved the story about Sadie and her journey with the what life tosses at her. It is a story about bravery, about love, family, and how dark the world can be. Even thou I wasn’t a huge fan for how it ended I will only give it a 4 out of 5 since there was a big flaw in how Sadie got to stalk people to then find them at the bar without a cellphone or access to the internet. So the book only gets 4, but a 5 for it being an audiobook.

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See what I am currently reading on my Two Working Mom Highlights and let me know what you are reading and if you have any recommendations. * L


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LOVE for all the Seasons of Your Life

Today is Valentine’s Day and I just love, love!!! Life is how you see it, so I wanted to share several ways I share love, in the different seasons of life. Perhaps something will inspire you to bring more love and happiness in yours.

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SINGLE LADIES 

When I was single I hosted a Glanetine’s brunch at my little San Francisco home. For several years we gathered with bubbly, flowers, and yummy brunch dishes. One year I got all the ladies corsage and every year it was a drunken haze after everyone left with my heart feeling full. Even when I had a boyfriend I made sure to leave February 14th brunch window open for my girls. Friends are so important, not only when you are single and need a buddy, but as we change our seasons, grown, and be there for you on life’s journey.

One year I made mimosa wedges!!! It was a lot of work but would love to make these again. I also miss hosting my girlfriends now that my life has changed but might try to fit this back in next year.

I don’t have a lot of guy friends but I did at one time. Another fun option to include everyone is to have a gender-mixed Pajama Party with all your best friends. Play Truth or Dare, watch a movie, play games and maybe even bake cookies or decorate them together.

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If you are not able to host a party here are some fun ideas if you want to do something fun with your favorite pals this Valentine’s Day:

  1. Make a “date night” where the two of you head out to a favorite restaurant and bring along a sentimental gift to mark the friendship celebration.
  2. Why not do a Couples’ Massage, with your BFFs. Enjoy the luxury of a spa visit with your BFF and you won’t care how bad your hair looks after the massage. You can make a day of it and just relax.
  3. If massage isn’t for you, do a Mani/Pedi. Choose a fun place that lets you bring a bottle of bubbly and fun treats to share.
  4. Create an adventure – whether you choose skydiving, a spa, private yoga lesson, hike, or a day/weekend trip to NYC, San Francisco, Seattle or some other great destination for the day. Do something with a friend that you’ve both always wanted to do, but don’t have the courage to do on your own.
  5. Binge on Netflix and your favorite snacks.
  6. You could sign up for a class, like one of the paint and wine ones, or the new ones that let you make a terrarium or new personalized sign to hang up.

LADIES WITH A PARTNER 

I had a first date on February 12th and when he asked if I wanted to go out again 2 days later for Valentine’s Day I knew he was the one. We went to some local sushi restaurant in San Franciso and we have been together ever since. New relationships are always so much fun.

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2 years later, my boyfriend proposed to me on Valentine’s Day in Tahoe CA while on vacation, and it was super special. We snowboarded all day, got massages, and had a nice dinner. The couple next to us got a bottle of champagne to help us celebrate. As a couple, not all valentine’s need to be this extravagant but it really did make me feel special.

Having a new love is so much fun and here are a few fun and exciting things you might want to consider this Valentine’s day with your new love:

  1. Go shopping for something fun to wear that night. Go bold and see who can top each other with their wild sexy gift.
  2. Plan a fun day trip or a weekend get-a-way.
  3. Do something to stretch yourself, dare to do something new, romantic, or wild. Why not, you only live ones and you are in love!!!
  4. Create something together or go on a tour.
  5. Create a fun game for your new love. A scavenger hunt, or a blindfold adventure.
  6. Or be you, and just treat your new love to breakfast in bed, a massage, or a special meal made by you.

MARRIED LADIES 

Having a partner to spoil is so much fun! Our first year married hubby made me a special dinner at home. He got new fancy serving plates and made my favorite dish, chocolate covered strawberries (along with other stuff). We hung out at home and watched a movie together.

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Being married doesn’t mean you don’t go out, but these days I do love staying home. Here are some fun things to do with your old time favorite love:

  1. Bing on your new favorite show and eat junk food in your new matching PJs.
  2. Recreate your first date. Maybe you can’t actually go there but you can try your best to redo it at home with the same dishes and maybe music.
  3. Take a blood test and find out your DNA, or go donate blood and feel good about saving someone’s life.
  4. Volunteer at an animal shelter or deliver meals. Sharing you care for others is a fun way to build the love for one another.
  5. Make the love last longer and give your partner a series of dates all year long with a fun membership or already planned dates with gift cards or reservations.
  6. If you can’t be with each other text them, send them fun videos, or memes to make the day fun and special and plan something at another time.

MAMA LADIES 

Having a partner to spoil is so much fun, but having kids to spoil might be more fun! My son is 6 and my daughter is 3 and I love giving them making them a little gift bag to celebrate the day.  For my kindergartener, I do a fun valentine’s day bento box lunch with heart cut apples and all. Then at dinner, we do heart-shaped personalized pizzas. It’s a lot of fun making the day special for them.

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Some other fun stuff I might do with them one day:

  1. Dad and daughter date, while mom and son go out too.
  2. Pamper night at home, with nail painting, face painting, and maybe a fun movie while drinking kids spa water (aka lemonade).
  3. Do a dance party with music, balloons, and fun snacks.
  4. Have the kids make valentines for others. I love crafts and this is a kind way to have little ones give back.
  5. Make a love obstacle course for your little ones. You can have the bag of gifts at the end as the reward.
  6. Find a bunch or valentine related love books for kids at the library and have a quiet day of love at home with hot cocoa, cookies, and books.

Also never forget to love yourself. Self-care is super important so you can be there for not only yourself but for all the ones you love.

Happy Valentine’s Day and let me know if you have other fun ways to celebrate the season of love. * L