Ever feel like Ms. Piggy? This might help.

For all of my Toad Kissing Friends – Happy Halloween!

A love song from our favorite little green frog. Thank you, Kermit! I’ve always loved this – maybe that is how I was able to kiss so many toads.   http://youtu.be/Tqj456ImNSY

Enjoy!     Heidi Lee

How did you two meet? A poll on dating

Well friends, yesterday I shared that I met my Prince Charming through #Match.com. I perused a catalog of potential love interests, and I’d had more than my share of blunders, embarrassments and heart breaks. But I also met many wonderful people during my journey. So, honor of the many ways we have to put ourselves out there…here’s a poll for you. Enjoy!

Warm Regards

Heidi Lee

Catalog Dating, Finding Happily Ever After Online

Friends, Good Saturday Afternoon to you.

I realized and I must apologize for dropping an assumptionin yesterday’s post, “I sometimes find it hard to believe that this typeof man exists – and that I literally picked him out of an Online Dating JCPenneys Catalog.” I suppose I get so cozy when writing to you that I assumed you already knew the beginning of my journey to Happily Ever After. Let me back track just a bit to explain…

PC (Prince Charming) is a critical element to completing my Fairy Tale, but more importantly I found that an inner knowledge and love of myself was essential. I realized after 35 years of life that I had no clue of who I was or who I intended to be. After one too many failed relationships, I hadn’trealized that I’d placed my own needs and self-discovery secondary to those of the men in my life. From boyfriends to husbands and even to my son, I defined myself by my role as it related to a man’s better half:  Jeff’s wife, Tom’s fiance, Cole’s mom – never Heidi Lee.

As I started realizing that I am not a secondary person and definitely not a backseat type of gal, I looked to the Internet to find someone who might complement me a bit better. I spent over a year on Online Dating sites, sampling a myriad of tasty (and, surprise, not so tasty) morsels that helped in the Designing of Me. Thus – the title of my blog, The Art of ToadKissing.

These experiences, along with navigating a successful professional career, are why I have self-appointed myself as a Master ToadKisser – I’ve found Happily Ever After in myself. While PC and I have a loving and strong relationship, he and I both are our own persons. We have many shared interests and goals, but we also have our independent strengths and paths.

My path took me into the world of Online Dating. Admittedly, I’d become curious about what type of person goes digital to find a date. I had listened to others talk about desperation, neediness, or the inability to be alone. And haven’t we all listened to acquaintances over Happy Hour talk about the Pervs and Molesters, or reference the latest news story about the missing person presumably abducted by the Internet Menace? That is the stigma of the Online Dater.

The trouble is, we seem to believe that the Stigma is Reality. And what we believe as Urban Legend – that a sincere, trustworthy romantic companion exists – is really what I found to be Actual Reality. The majority of Internet love-seekers joined for the same reason I did: We all want to connect.

And while, yes, these sites provide literally thousands of choices within their catalogs; a little care and attention to detail paired with a healthy sense of caution can provide for a very rich experience within the registries of #Match.com, #eHarmony, and the like.

So there I was, my friends. A divorced mother, a Project Manager, and a College Student who simply wanted to meet someone nice and who had similar interests. I had trouble finding the time, the energy, or the social outlets to meet these people. I appreciated the ability to meet anonymously and to meet on my own terms. And I learned many lessons that I am happy to share – life lessons, online dating tips, tactics to avoid dating disasters. But for today, I’ll just share the overview to my journey.

I literally opened the catalog and trial-purchased several varieties to find the perfect fit. And through this journey, I found that I am actually a pretty cool chick who appreciates good friends and who loves life and family. At 41, I am starting to appreciate quiet moment as much as exciting adventure, and I can love these moments alone or with somebody special.  I am content and excited to start the rest of my life.

And my hope in sharing with each of you would be that you recognize that you have some pretty spectacular qualities as well. Every one’s fingerprints are unique, and they leave that mark on everything they touch.

Questions about Online Dating?  Post here – or send me a private note.

Warm Regards

Heidi Lee

Lovin the mufas, Lovin my life

Hello, my friends.

I must say that journaling my hurdles and successes is really helping me to appreciate little things around me that I may otherwise take for granted.

That being said, here is my accountability from yesterday.

4 meals? Well, no. But at least I got in 3 quality meals – each with a Mufa and 400 calories. And by the end of the evening, I realized I had 400 calories that I could spend – Wine! 400 calories = 4 (5 oz) glasses of red wine. So I could have had 2 more glasses to meet my calorie count.

Wait – I don’t think that is really in the principles of the Flat Belly. But it sure did make the evening with PC a bit cozier 😉

I’ve mentioned yesterday’s blueberry heaven of a breakfast, and I made a healthy Run for the Border over lunch. Dinner was filled with rich flavors balanced by the crispness in the wine. Sound wonderful? Ok, I’ll share my recipe.

It happens that I collect cookbooks although I can’t follow a recipe to save my life. I use them for inspiration rather than instruction. Last night I was thumbing through #RachelRay’s Book of 10 for new twists to put on the every day boneless skinless. I happened across a yummy little number on Page 14 for Mediterranean chicken with Saffron CousCous and decided this was a great place to start. The challenge was the the recipe was too heavy in Mufas – you have to watch your intake because they really do lump on the calories if used in excess. Her version used 2 Mufas; olive oil and kalamata olives. I had to cut back.

In pie plate – mix together 1/2 C flour with a pinch of salt and a whole lot of pepper. Top it off with a sprinkle of Cayenne pepper and you’re all set. Lightly dredge your 4 breasts and give them a little shake. The recipe calls for 2 tbsps of heated olive oil, but I cut it back to 1 tbsp to allow for extra olives. Brown the breasts on each side until golden and crispy, then turn the heat down and cook thru (about 10 minutes). Remove and set aside. (If your guy seems to be sneaking a couple peeks into the kitchen, dab a little flour on your cheek. He’ll appreciate you a little later)

Now comes the fun! And here is how I avoided adding sodium rich powdered chicken broth and water. Deglaze your pan with 1 cup of water and get all that good, rich gunk up off the bottom of the pan. Pour off and set aside.

(Start Couscous – I use a Hodgkin Mill brand for time saving – basil and garlic flavored. I added 1 cup of frozen peas to the water before I followed the package directions. helps cut down on doing dishes)

Add a tad more oil to the pan, and saute 1 chopped red onion and 5 cloves of minced garlic. Sprinkle in 1 tbsp of dried thyme. Like Ms Ray, I also like to use fresh herbs – just didn’t have any.

Hopefully you notice a little bit of sticking to the pan, right? No worries – grab a bottle of white wine, and deglaze again using the wine (just over 1 cup). Wow – smell that? Add the broth back in, and toss in about 20 kalamata olives; halved. Throw in 1 cup of grape tomatoes and return the chicken to the gravy. Heat through (about 5 minutes for the perfect doneness in your tomatoes).

As I finished up dinner prep, I started to set the table. The sounds of Alex Trebec gave way to a light jazz – Huh? PC noticed all of the work I put into dinner, and he decided to set the mood for relaxation with the right background noise. I sometimes find it hard to believe that this type of man exists – and that I literally picked him out of an Online Dating JC Penneys Catalog. But here he is – over a year into our relationship and still bringing the romance and the thought. I truly am lucky.

As a family, PC, Cole and I sat around the table just a little longer than usual last night. Very nice. Then we all moved back into the dining room where the soft music was replaced by a Thursday night favorite – The #BigBangTheory. It seems both PC and Cole find me remarkably similar to Sheldon in my nerd-dom. Wow.

So how did I do yesterday in meeting my goals? I came close on the eating, and I completely missed the mark on the exercise. I did spend more quality time with my family and managed to turn work off for the evening. The good news is – PC decided to help me out with the vigorous activity a little later so I could even up my goals 😉

Cheers!

Heidi Lee

Ode to a Mufa and the Flat Belly in each of us

Here I am, coming to the confessional again and I’m not even Catholic. Is that allowed?

I’ve not kept to my commitments towards better health – Yet. And the good news is that I am starting to understand why I haven’t put this personal goal first on my list – I’m too busy for me.

We can start out by defining the Mufa and why I’ve chosen to incorporate it into my eating rituals. Then I’ll dive into owning up to my mistakes as well as my little victories – sound good?

“MUFAs (pronounced moo-fah) are monounsaturated fatty acids, plant-based fats found in some of the world’s most delicious foods–avocado, nuts and seeds, oils, olives, and dark chocolate!” (Prevention Magazine) The Mufa is also a principle built into Prevention’s Flat Belly Diet – we will spend more time with these principles as the weeks progress, but the concept is to target the fat where it hurts us the most – The Belly. Not only does a flatter belly make us feel more confident in a tight pair of jeans, but it also helps in the battles against diabetes and other killers.

So here goes – my journal through the quest for good health

Last week in my Pot & Kettle declaration of guilt I made the commitment to:

  • Eat my 4 small meals per day – A Mufa in every meal
  • Do 2 miles of vigorous in-home walking
  • Have dinner with my family
  • Take care of me first

Let’s break this down a bit so I can celebrate any little success while also identifying Opportunities to be better.

I have successfully taken time out with my family – Prince Charming and my son, Cole. Last night we went out for Wings and Beer after Cole’s guitar lesson. Success! Dinner with the fam.

Oh crap – wings and beer? Nothing close to a Mufa in there – just a great big dish of high cholesterol and a little extra padding being added  around the middle. But it was fun, and we all had a moment to appreciate.

I’ve fit in my in-home walking twice this week, and PC (short for Prince Charming) and I took a brisk stroll through NYC. Hooray! Fitness and Activity!

Darn-It. Our brisk walk landed us right at an Italian wedding reception with the most delectable dishes I’ve experienced in ages – pastas, appetizers, filet mignon – and plenty of the liquid grape. But there is a light in there somewhere….<thinking…thinking> Yup – found it – my pasta salad had wonderfully salty kalamata olives. My Mufa, my friend. I had roughly two tablespoons of olives which is just the right amount for healthful eating. Unfortunately, I squeezed way too many calories around the Mufa so I probably diluted the benefits.

And goodness knows I did enough dancing to work off the second piece of cake I had to eat since PC seemed to opt for the Gin & Tonic instead of the sweet stuff.

So I’ve had a few successes, and I’ve seen where my social calendar has stepped in the way of my path to a healthy lifestyle. But let’s look for a moment at those other 168 hours or so since I made myself the promise – I still haven’t gotten myself on board and I’ve allowed:

  1. Work to occupy more than 11 hours per day – cramming pretzels in between conference calls to stop the hunger pains
  2. Professional deadlines to come before personal commitments
  3. Business-related stress to excuse adding in an extra glass of red wine in my evenings
  4. Colleagues and peers to consume my family time rather than cutting off my work day at 5:00 (well, ok, 7:00 until we get this proposal written).

As I look above, I’m proud of my little milestones, but I see I need to strengthen my back bone a little to master my own objectives. I need to crack down on my calendar and develop a little bit more will power. I can do this!

And as for my Mufa, I miss you, my friend. When you and I are together as nature intended, I have more energy. I feel better and I have a clear focus. When I invite you into my diet, my relationship with PC is better (he loves you as much as I do). When I allow you, my Mufa, to mingle with my first meal of the day – I sail through the rest of the hours with renewed commitment.

This morning’s first light is with you, and my chosed form is The Cashew. My breakfast – 1 whole grain organic waffle topped with 1 cup of warm blueberries and 2 tablespoons of chopped cashews. Delightful. Wash it down with a glass of Almond Milk for calcium, and I’m ready to conquer the world.

Thank you, #FlatBellyDiet, for introducing me to my new friend.

xoxo

Heidi Lee

Reference: http://www.prevention.com/flatbellymufaslideshow/

Wedding Wisdom – From a Teenaged Boy – Seriously

“I’m supposed to give tips on how to have a long and happy marriage – but honestly I’m too young to know what marriage really is. All I can say is: If my Dad turns out to be as loving and supportive a husband to Pam as he is a father to me, then we will all live a very blessed life” the under-aged Best Man lifted his glass of champagne as a tear welled up in the groom’s eye. The bride stood, stunningly sweet in her exquisitely laced soft pink gown and moved toward her 15 year old new step-son. They hugged. And the wedding guests applauded with sincerity and warmth.

Wow – what a weekend I’ve had. My own Prince Charming and I traveled to New York City this past weekend to attend a wedding of his former submarine buddy. While I did have to bring a little of my day job with me, we still managed to cram in three days full of love and excitement. And the Best Man toast was the most memorable 90 seconds of the trip.

I am so excited to share more of the details of the trip – the Sunday afternoon wedding reception rescheduled after the hurricane; the cab dash to find a Broadway Show; the reunion dinner of sailors who sailed Russian waters during the Cold War; and the hand in hand stroll through New York in the fall.

Can I beg for your patience as I catch up on life? I promise to share a piece of this adventure one NYC sized bite at a time. But today, I have a boss back home nagging to me to close a big deal.

For today, though, pay attention to the kids. They are smarter than we were – of this I am quite certain. I’m beginning to think if we took a little bit more time out of our busy lives to hear them, they may just share a couple of pearls of youthful hope that otherwise is overshadowed by the traditional arrogance found in teenage angst.

And thank you, Jim & Pam Mattiello, for letting us share a moment in time with you and your family.

Loving Regards,

Heidi

Moxie – For You

My Dear Friend,

Today my message is especially for you, and inspired by simply knowing you.

You once gave me a book of quotes to help me find focus and encouragement in your absence. This book sits front and center on my desk and in my world.

This morning as I read through the wisdom in this book of “Moxie”, your inner spirit jumps out to me yet again. I see your strength shine through as I read what I hope you begin to understand:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. As we ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of the universe. You were born to manifest the glory of the universe that is within us. It’s not in nust some of us; it’s in everyone.” (#mariannewilliamson as quoted in Moxie)

This, my sincere friend, this is how I see you. This is how others that matter in life see you. This is how I hope you see yourself.

Please own the talent within you that others seek to takeaway. They likely are afraid that once you know this in yourself, they will lose control. Please recognize your inner strength, your intelligence, and your incomparable beauty. Learn to soar. Learn that you are magnificent.

This is my wish for you. I ask only one favor in return. Please go and stand in front of the mirror and repeat to yourself the words of Margaret Thatcher – because you can!

“If it’s me against 48, I feel sorry for the 48!”

And know that you are admired and you are loved. Most importantly, you are not alone.

Love always and with lots of Moxie,

Heidi

PS…Please feel free to share these words with someone who may need to hear them. And remember to thank the people who inspire you – always!