The Art of Convivial Living

Hello kindred spirits. It’s been a while since my last “inscription.” WARNING: This blog is the mother of all blogs I’ve written. I’m playing catch up to cap off the year so hold tight and hang with me for a moment. I have much to say.

Since announcing my move to Austin, I’ve been quite the gypsy mama, traveling back and forth from Dallas to Austin. My husband and I have been on the house hunt since renting out our home in November and haven’t hit gold yet, but I’m patient and holding out for the most convivial home of them all. It’s out there and I’m ready to plant my feet on the grounds of the State Capitol of Texas, or somewhere close enough.

Changes are brewing on the convivial home front…

This being in limbo, not knowing where my family will hang their hat and call home screws with a lot. With any kind of move you make, there is no way it cannot change you, and it definitely plays tricks on your mind.

I like to know where I’m going, what the plan is, a woman who, as one friend put it, “requires a lot of answers,” and when there are so many unknowns, well, I’m gonna get antsy, uncomfortable, and I’ll do my best to keep my irritability in check, but I can’t guarantee it.

Not knowing where I’m settling causes unsettling feelings about what to plan for, what to talk about, and it’s created some resistance about writing- really just blogging. You see, I’m a perfectionist (I know…I’m working on letting up) and I put these expectations on myself to crank out a “masterpiece” and share something worthwhile, something profound, and eye-opening, with you, every time. And yet it’s a blog. But it’s much more for me. (more…)


In the midst of change, savor the convivial memories

I hope all is going great in your world and that you are facing each new day with the courage to do that ONE THING that your heart is calling you to do.

Today, my heart has me savoring all the good memories I’ve had in my Dallas home since this is the last weekend I will officially reside here.

I’m still in the midst of moving to Austin. Thankfully, I can say it hasn’t been stressful! Finding a home in our new city is taking a tad bit longer, but I know it’s coming. This delay gives me that much more time to consider all the memories my current home offered me.

Everything is falling into place as we say farewell to this space.

This was the home that birthed the idea of a Convivial Society (in my kitchen as I talked to a dear friend), where The Convivial Woman wrote late into the night (as my hard-working husband and sweet boys slept, the place I had many discussions with hubby about creating our family’s future in Austin, where we made our first attempts at cooking Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners…

It’s where I shared the news and sonogram picture with my husband of our first and second baby, where we enjoyed many playdates and visits from family and friends, where I designed the convivial website with the help of some very talented people, where I hosted one unforgettable brunch for some special women in my garden. There’s so much to remember and appreciate…

It’s easy to look ahead and imagine yourself somewhere new, somewhere different, but there is always something to gain from the moment, the current experience, wherever it is spent, with whomever.

With any big change you make, uncertainty is…certain.

I have tons of questions about this next chapter in my life.

Where will I live?

What new friendships await me?

How will my current friendships hold up with the distance?

How will this town proclaiming to keep things weird nurture my convivial spirit?

How’s it going to feel putting “roots down” finally?
(I was so resistant to doing so in Dallas)

How will it feel being three hours away from my parents
(we’ve always been close)?

Who will help me with my kids when on convivial business and hubby’s not available? (Mom was five minutes away!)

How will my husband and I create more romance in this Texas hot spot?

Sometimes it’s hard for me to settle into the now, but I’m working that muscle right NOW by writing. It’s my version of spirituality…the creative kind. This whole business of “being present” of focusing on the “now”-I say, that’s what you call practicing faith. It’s having faith when you don’t know what is ahead and you don’t have all the answers. It’s a conscious choice to find peace and comfort with what is, right now.

When it comes to what you truly desire, your efforts follow a close second behind.

When entering a new phase of life, sharing your writing, your product, your service, simply who you are with the world, be prepared to feel uncertainty for the details of your path won’t always be clear cut, but you can get clear by cutting all that you know is not serving you or bringing you closer to that ONE THING your heart beats for. Only you know what that is…

The world is full of opinions and judgment and everyone is working to figure out their own way. For that reason, concentrate on yourself and make every effort to live according to that convivial vision only you can have for your life.

Here’s to peace, love, and constant change,

P.S. EXTRA EXTRA: I’m writing a book! I would love for you to join me on this new adventure! Join me on The Convivial Woman fanpage so I can share all the juicy details with you as they happen!


My Father The Hero

As a little girl, I didn’t get the experience of being “Daddy’s little girl.”

I can’t remember a tender moment between just the two of us, father and daughter until I was about 18 years old. I don’t recall him ever looking sweetly at me and making me feel special. He only knew to wake up every morning and head off to work to provide for me every day.

He made his mistakes with me, but thankfully, as I became a teenager, I came to understand that it wasn’t that he didn’t care or love me; he simply didn’t know how to express his fatherly love toward me.

Luckily, he loved the hell out of my mother and without realizing, he taught me how a man should love a woman. (more…)


On the day you were born…

“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” -Rajneesh

The photo you see is my belly when I was pregnant with my first son back in 2007 (just tilt your head to the left and you’ll see it right!)

I decided to post the photo this way, because it makes me think of the earth, a globe, and to me, that looks like mother nature’s hands keeping the world in tact. ‘Cause you know that’s what us mamas do!



A Convivial Little Christmas

T’was the night before Christmas and all was aglow with the love and light that shined in my heart. It was the first time I was hosting a holiday dinner for my family.

We had the option to spend Christmas in colorful, colonial San Miguel de Allende or the cow tipping mini-country of Odessa,Texas (yeehaw!) where all our relatives would congregate, but we decided to pass on the big holiday gatherings and stay home to bask in the joy and company of just the four of us.

White candles burned brightly throughout my home and it was beginning to smell a lot like… (more…)


A Convivial Love Affair

Today marks the 8th Wedding Anniversary for my husband, Martin and I. To commemorate this sacred day, here’s our story…

We met on Halloween Day 1998. I vaguely recall his face, but clearly remember his spirit. It was convivial. Our first dance was to a song called, Oye Mi Amor (Hey My Love) by the Spanish Rock group, Mana. We jumped wildly and danced together while belting out these lyrics: Hey my love…don’t tell me no…let’s get together…and join our souls…join our bodies…

To listen to the full song, CLICK HERE.

I didn’t want to give him my number, because I had strictly gone out that night with the intention to dance my ass off and walk away with the memory of it all. Fortunately, I broke my own rule. Something in him called something in me. It was never about appearances with us, but instead this sense of being high on life and experiencing an energy so contagious that we couldn’t ignore the potential for more opportunities together. I felt light on my feet as I thought

Hmm…he’s interesting…I’m interesting…we could be interesting together.

The chemistry was there from the get-go. I felt extremely vulnerable around him. I’m not someone to open up so quickly, but Martin broke me of that. He could see me in ways I wasn’t ready for him to see. (more…)


Are You a REAL Woman? – Audio Blog

What makes you a REAL woman? How many times have you been coached on how to be a real woman by other women? What wild and silly things have you been told while growing up and even now as a grown woman that make you question your abilities, intelligence and ultiimately, your worth?

I was inspired to ponder these questions while peeling potatoes. The proof isn’t in the pudding, but the potatoes that inspiration can come from anywhere.

In the following audio blog, I share a few stories and thoughts on how the majority of messages we, as women, get that make us feel inadequate and not enough are, most times, perpetuated by other women.

When it comes to men, I’ve only been made to feel bad when showing my strength and will- as in taking initiative and being assertive, self-directed and passionate (their words: Bossy, Demanding, Controlling, Emotional).

I still need to work on those words pushing my buttons, because it’s just that- someone pushing my buttons because they are uncomfortable with me exercising my power. This is just my experience, but I can’t remember a time when a man literally told me I wasn’t a real women. I don’t mean for this to sound condescending or sarcastic, but what do they know about being a woman, hence the reason the messengers are usually women.

Let’s get to this audio already!

Peeling Potatoes

If you have any similar stories to share, I’d love to hear them so send a comment any time!


Infertility Treatments for Ambitious Women

I was listening to The Diane Rehm Show on National Public Radio (NPR) and the show was about Infertility’s Legal Issues– the technology available to assist women with conception and how the laws are behind the trend when things go wrong.

As I listened, Diane introduced fertility doctor, Dr. Paul Gindoff and he proceeded to talk about what infertility treatments were and started promoting them as a great method for women to use if they wanted to postpone having children solely because of their desire to pursue a career.

He made it sound easy to consider this route by saying any woman could wait to have a baby, that she could have it whenever she wanted, and she could do it this way. “Was this a commercial break?!” I thought. Definitely not. This was a guest, a medical doctor making it seem the control was all in the woman’s hands, that the timing didn’t matter and these technologies could guarantee her the desired outcome which was a baby.

I was immediately reminded of the book by Silvia Ann Hewlett called Creating A Life: What Every Woman Needs To Know About Having a Career and a Baby. Here’s a brief excerpt from the book which tells you why it came to mind:

The plain fact is, if you are a career woman who has had the tenacity to nurture both a career and a long-term loving relationship, you might well be on the wrong side of 35 before you have time to draw breath and contemplate having a child- exactly the point in life when infertility rears its ugly head. Media hype notwithstanding, the new reproductive technologies have not solved fertility problems for forty-something women.

I’d add that the reproductive technologies have not solved the problems for thirty-something and even late twenty-something women either. I’ve known many women who sought medical intervention to conceive a child because nature simply wasn’t cooperating with their bodies, not because they held off too long due to career aspirations.

The stories and statistics given in Creating A Life about women who went this route and couldn’t conceive, even after years of infertility treatment show a different side of this reality. It’s not as easy, yet media doesn’t talk about those women and their stories. Hearts are broken, relationships are strained, bank accounts are stressed and no baby results. When it comes to what is reported on infertility treatment, there’s lots of coverage on Hollywood actresses and singers having babies in their 40’s, and of course, OctoMom’s latest shenanigans or Kate Gosselin and her 8 kids she supposedly doesn’t care for because she has desires to dance.

Trouble on the conception front is far too common nowadays, so for this doctor to make it sound like getting pregnant has never been easier for women, well, I’m just a tad bit annoyed by the misinformation. I’m sure there are women out there he may be speaking to, but I would find it hard to see them as the majority of interested clients.

This may have also hit a nerve for me, because I had trouble initially conceiving both my children. The reasons behind this were potentially related to stress, unhealthy eating, a non-active lifestyle, therefore causing an imbalance in hormones, possible endometriosis, and resulting in infertility. I never found out if I had endometriosis, because I took a different path to conceive my children by first trying to get to the root of my problem and correcting the imbalance.

Then I explored Mayan Abdominal Massage via The Arvigo Technique which is a non-invasive massage for the female reproductive organs and it worked for me. I highly recommend it as a first resort solution to infertility and overall women’s health. I drove from Dallas to Austin to have it done by Elizabeth Quigg of Sirisage and firmly believe it helped me get pregnant with both my boys. The timing was too impeccable not to believe in it. And although I didn’t go the invitro route doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have considered it. I just never made it to that point and I’m thankful for that.

Like Dr. Rosita Arvigo of The Arvigo Technique once said,
“Give nature half the chance and she has a miracle in store for you.”

In my case, it was two miracles.


Permission to be a Woman

Over the weekend, I went to a family gathering and met a couple and their daughter for the first time. While sitting at the table conversing, their 8-year-old little girl came from upstairs to tell her parents the other girls she was playing with were not being nice to her, saying things like they didn’t want to be her friend anymore and then she began crying when she said one of the girls had slapped her. Errr! Put the needle back on the record!

I was sitting next to the mother hearing bits and pieces of the discussion and what really threw me overboard was when the girl’s father, who seemed uncomfortable with her crying, asked her, “Well, did it hurt?” I thought, “What?!” Was he insinuating, “If it didn’t hurt enough or leave a mark on you, then hush up and take it like a man.” Was this his idea of tough love? I didn’t hear if the mother said anything about the slap, but that comment didn’t sound good to me. I don’t believe they didn’t care about their daughter, but it didn’t appear that they took her negative experience seriously.

I’m reminded of a friend who shared with me and a few others how she cries too easily and feels weak when it happens in front of her kids and husband, but she says she can’t help it, it’s just how she is. Another friend sitting next to her said, “Oh, that makes me feel so much better, because I am the SAME way! I cry so easily too and hate it.” That same friend brought up crying on another occasion and asked me, “When was the last time you cried?” I went blank. You see, I have trouble crying. I feel the emotions building up within me and wanting to burst out like a volcano, but throughout my life, I had experiences like the 8-year-old little girl and learned to tame my emotions to a flaw. It’s even affected me when it comes to showing excitement at times. I feel this blockage. I base my reaction on logic versus emotion in most instances.

When I heard Eve Ensler of The Vagina Monologues once say, “We are emotional creatures,” I was relieved beyond belief. It was the first time someone had validated my nature. Somewhere along the way, I became a victim to the myriad messages I heard in times of extreme vulnerability telling me to be strong, tough it out, to save it for later, hold it in, don’t start, not now, I don’t want to hear it, suck it up, and the times my tears were questioned. I was being questioned for just being…a girl.

Here’s what Eve Ensler thinks about being a girl:

I think the whole world essentially has been brought up NOT to be a girl. To be a boy really means NOT to be a girl. To be a man means NOT to be a girl. To be a woman means NOT to be a girl. To be strong means NOT to be a girl. To be a leader means NOT to be a girl. I actually think that being a girl is so powerful that we’ve had to train everyone NOT to be that.

We come into this world crying; it’s how the doctor stimulates us to confirm that we are alive. But once we leave, we are encouraged for the rest of our lives to repress our tears, our emotions, hence our very nature. Being an emotional creature is the very essence of being a woman. I would be a man otherwise! I’ll admit that I have been much more in touch with my masculine side than my feminine side for a long time. It’s a form of self-preservation and protection and has served me well, but I am trying to find balance and embrace the more vulnerable aspects of myself.

Thankfully, becoming a mother to two boys has helped me release my tears easier. It happens at unexpected moments, like when my oldest took a ride on his first bike and called out to everyone standing watch to see what he was doing. I was filled with such joy that the tears just flowed and felt good. My husband is a wonderful example of an emotional creature who happens to be a man.:) Tears flowed from his eyes before he could get the words out of his mouth the day he said he was in love with me. I remember wiping all the tears from his cheeks. I can’t help to think life paired us together for a good reason. I wouldn’t doubt it. There are so many opportunities to learn a new way to be, to reverse the blocked pathways in my memory so pure emotions can flow once again. And I’m open…open to them all. I admire tears and vulnerability and humility. I want to experience it all with abandon myself. I want to make it a life long practice.

Quote taken from Eve Ensler’s Embrace Your Inner Girl talk on


The Convivial Asshole

Over the weekend, I took my son to get his hair cut and got to talking with a man who was waiting to do the same with his two kids. He was a fit man with salt and pepper hair, stylishly dressed in khaki shorts and sandals, possibly in his late thirties.

Our young ones began coloring together, so Fit Dad and I chatted about raising boys and girls. He mentioned how he’d noticed an immediate difference when his daughter was born, how she set the tone for that gender distinction. Referring to their nature, he put it simply,

“Boys have physical needs and girls emotional ones.”

DING! I heard a light bulb go off in my head. Ain’t that the truth? Boys have the need for rough play, sports, action movies, sound effects and (shhh) S-E-X while girls need to talk, relate, connect, be made to feel special, protected, and especially need to be heard. Hello! Raising my hand here. It’s a must.

At one point in the conversation, one of the hairdressers was finishing up with a client, so Fit Dad stopped in mid-sentence and called out to her, saying, “Do you think we’ll be outta here in the next ten minutes?” She looked confused and slightly offended that he appeared to be rushing her. “You told me it’d be 20 minutes and it’s now been 35 minutes. We have somewhere to be,” he continued. The stylists glanced at each other, then returned to their scissors, customers hid behind their magazines, and I kicked back to enjoy the show.

We continued talking and it turned out Fit Dad was from Austin, Texas and it’s no surprise to me that his face lit up when I asked him, “So, how was it growing up there?” He had nothing but great things to say and I was intrigued to continue the conversation, but we were interrupted when the stylist called his number. He shuffled his son over and began telling her how he wanted his son’s hair cut, pointing to particular areas around his head to communicate his request.

When I heard and saw this man taking charge of the situation, you better believe he had my attention. My eyes remained fixed on him as I thought, Those ladies probably think he’s being an asshole. The others waiting probably think so too, but he doesn’t give a shit. As a straight shooter myself, I appreciated him for his ways. I was convinced that this man was “The Man” at home and at work, because he didn’t mince words.

He spoke with authority, was straight to the point and non-apologetic about it. I liked that, liked it a lot; in fact, it made me all tingly inside. Now now, before you get ahead of yourself, here’s why. I’m a gal who respects people who give it to me straight, who are real, to the point.

Such conversations call me, lure me, tickle my fanny.

Being frank is my best form of communication and many times, I’ve been made to feel bad about this strength (YES, it’s a strength because its me at my strongest) and I’ll admit to playing small at times and holding back my true kaboom for the sake of someone else’s weakness.

In a non-convivial world, it’s being bitchy, bossy, unappealing, worth ignoring. It’s where women aren’t encouraged to be loose with their tongue and therefore inadvertently try to avoid it to appease and please. Fuck that. We’ve got a lot to say.

In my world, speaking out means freedom.

There’s a great sense of confidence that accompanies one’s ability to be assertive. It takes time and guts to come as you are and not care what people think.

When all is said and done, that’s exactly how you get what you want in life. That’s how you get the life you want. It takes practice, faith in yourself, and permission. Who’s doing the permitting? You are! So go ahead and permit it, want it, speak it, live it.

Cheers to a great day of telling it like it is,


What’s the Occasion?

Last night, I made a Ricotta Orange Pound Cake with Strawberries courtesy of the recipe by Food Network star, Giada De Laurentiis. Eager to share this experience, I decided to invite my parents over to enjoy cake and ice cream with my family. Sounds like a party! Indeed, it was. So, what was the occasion? Life. Plain and simple, I had a craving for something sweet, had all the tools and ingredients to create it, along with the best of intentions and love, so I didn’t hesitate to get my hands a little dirty. I took my time, followed instructions, and had faith that my efforts would pay off. And they did! Something as basic as my desire to bake turned into a deeper desire to “break bread” with the people I love. Now, that is an occasion to live for and the very essence of convivial living. It’s merry-making, having a fondness of feasting, drinking, and good company. That was my intention, and therefore my experience last night with the two people who gave me life, as well as the man and two sons who I love and with whom I share every bit of my world. Life is meant to be a convivial occasion, so the next time you think you need a specific reason to have a good time, think again. The occasion is your life and everyone in it. That’s reason enough to put on your convivial party dress (or apron) and get convivial with it!


A Convivial Sense of Security

A man walks into the doctor’s office carrying his daughter who was about ten years old and took a seat next to me. Glancing over at the young girl in his arms, I saw scraped knees and additional bruising and cuts on her knuckles and imagined a pretty good fall had occurred. After seeing her wounds, I met eyes with the girl and saw her bruised spirit as tears began to well up in her eyes. Her eyes communicated a girl who was hurt, vulnerable and fragile. And now, here she was cradled in her Daddy’s strong arms. It seemed all was going to be just fine.

I wondered what that did for her soul, for the future woman in her.

Instantly, I was transported back to a rare moment when I found myself in my own father’s embrace. I was about four years old and attending a church service for a family friend’s brother who had passed away. I had fallen asleep and my father picked me up to carry me out of the church. I remember waking up to see our friend’s son looking up at me. I pretended I was still asleep and rested my head back on my father’s shoulder.

I recall the feeling of security I got in my Dad’s arms. I felt protected, cared for. The memory makes me realize how important it is for a young girl to experience a father’s love and the security that comes with that love. Nothing is perfect, but there is a dynamic between father and daughter that sets the tone for how a girl may feel about herself and conduct herself in relationships with men later on in life. Many girls nowadays are growing up without the experience of a father’s love and it is my conclusion that this is a key factor as to why many women are giving away so much of their power in male/female relationships.

We have so much value and power yet so many of us women don’t realize it.

And when we do know, there are moments when we can forget. When that happens, it shows in our behavior, in our relationships, in our appearance, in our homes, in our families, in the decisions we make and most importantly, the decisions we don’t make. It shows in the ways we look for love.

In January 2008, I had the pleasure and privilege of meeting Michael J. Lockwood, author of the book Women Have All The Power, Too Bad They Don’t Know It, and I want to share something he said that stayed with me after our meeting:

Women are a prize to be won.

It’s one thing to say it, and hear it, but how many of us believe it? Demonstrate it in our actions? In the way we teach people to treat us? To value our wants? Our time? In order to be the change you wish to see in your world…it starts with believing you are a prize and finding security in that belief.

But it doesn’t end there. You must then go out and…

Live according to that belief,

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