Ahh, to be 9! Our little one wished for a Pearl Princess slumber party and, sure enough, the 3-day birthday festivities kicked off with her friends celebrating her special weekend: the magic garden, hibachi dinner, Barbie mermaids for each child, The Pearl Princess movie, m&m smiley pancakes, a midnight dance party & 3am pillow fight. There were sparkle tattoos, buckets of slime, arts & crafts and a surprise party at the aquarium – a favorite place for our budding marine biologist. Can I be 9 again??
The Bright SpotTM – The whole birthday party weekend!! I went to sleep just before the 3am pillow fight and left Phillip on the couch asleep with one of our kitty cats. The girls each wrote their “observations” of him. So funny and so 9!!
Nothing says Caribbean like the freeing feeling of music & dance in the evening breezes of the islands! From high in the sky…
to underwater exploration, our 8-year-old reveled in every adventure at the gorgeous Barcelo, an all-inclusive resort in the beautiful Dominican Republic.
Tropical paradise & pristine waters,
Phillip’s favorite place…the swim-up bar,
where our daughter bounced around in a giant beach ball
plus, elegant dining on the beach,
and, of course, Brenda, the monkey, who wondered why our little one had a tail just like hers !
We booked the getaway the night before & left 26 hours later.
The trip started with smoked salmon & the latest edition of Sparkle World magazine…
and went full swing into shopping when we realized we forgot hats & sunglasses.
Snorkeling in the Caribbean,
sunsets & full moons made for the perfect setting.
Barcelo’s food was as beautiful as it was delicious
and chess was a must.
If you are looking for a place to flip over on your next vacation, Barcelo is it!
From the glass-bottomed boats to pool lounges, there’s something for everyone.
So come here and make your sand turtles a reality,
The Bright SpotTM - The Caribbean. Enough said.
…………………………………….47 & 14
Having always been a big animal lover, my favorite childhood activity was horseback riding. Now years later, one of my favorite date nights was when my husband surprised me with horseback riding at sunset.
I love them big. I love them small. And I love them fast.
I dream one day of owning a sanctuary for rescued horses & ponies.
Summers in England attending Newmarket & Royal Ascot were a favorite pastime. Being picked up in a Rolls Royce with a personal chauffeur (his name happened to be Arthur), enjoying strawberries & cream, endive-wrapped smoked goat cheese and escargot in a private box within the Royal Enclosure & my own personal winning streaks at Ascot in years gone by are fond memories.
I took our little one to the Belmont Stakes a few summers ago. The only differences were that the courses I attended in England were grass, and the track at Belmont is the largest thoroughbred dirt racecourse in the world, plus, we did not go via Rolls, but instead in our Mom supermobile minivan, chauffeured by yours truly .
It rained that day but it didn’t dampen our spirit. Our daughter watched with awe as the horses thundered past.
And guess who called the winning horse, race after race?
Yup, our little one. It became quite the topic of conversation as folks heard about the streak of winners.
What surprised everyone was how the horses were chosen ~ she picked her favorite color of the saddle pad in the current race lineup. As the horses pranced by, she would say, “That’s the prettiest blanket, Mommy, that’s the one I think will win.”
And sure enough, as luck would have it, horse after horse with the pretty-colored blanket would cross the finish line.
The Bright SpotTM - I would have had a bit of fun placing a bet but I never had the chance to since each choice was made just as the race was about to start…but the best part of the day was sharing Mommy/Daughter time and visiting the jockeys and horses after the races.
Today the Triple Crown trophy was boxed up once more when California Chrome – the Double Crown winner – didn’t clinch the coveted title at the Belmont Stakes. The last time the Triple Crown was won was 36 years ago. But the colt did a splendid job, as did all the beautiful horses running their best in today’s championship marathon.
An interesting turn of events 26 years ago would wind & wiggle and eventually lead me to my dream man. I lived in England with a woman who would not only become one of my very best friends in the world…like a sister, but who would introduce me to my husband. I am the Godmother of her sweet daughter (seen here in her arms which also happens to be her 1st birthday) and my sister is Godmother to one of her sons. I’m indebted to her forever for my amazing husband & darling children.
So when I received the phone call that she had had sudden hemorrhaging in her brain and was in the hospital’s acute stroke ward, we immediately booked a flight to England. As I stared out the window, I felt a rush of emotions & memories flood my mind.
I thought about the day we met under bizarre circumstances that led me to live in her house for 6 weeks; even though she had just gotten married.
It was supposed to be an overnight. Both she and her husband said I could stay as long as I’d like.
So I did.
I remember them taking me sightseeing around England (above: York) and I took them apple picking in Vermont (left), trips to the City, and tours through the colonial towns of Connecticut.
I remember blasting their stereo to my Madonna cassettes I toted to England in my plastic pink cassette case – it was the 80s, you know. They worked by day & I danced in long t-shirts around their house to Bon Jovi, Def Leppard and the Talking Heads.
I’d jog around their little village and chit chat with the neighbors, shop owners and the folks gardening along my way. By evening, I was all abuzz with the latest goings on.
Then back in the States, I remember the train ride to New York City to see a George Michael concert – gotta love those glasses!
And I was so happy my friend & her husband were there the night I earned the Miss Connecticut title heading to the Miss America competition & at the party for my parent’s 25th wedding anniversary.
I remember the excited but weary phone call from England the moment her 1st son was born…he’s now 22 and lived with us for 7 weeks this past year. I was thrilled when she requested I be there for the birth of her daughter. Long story for another day…
And after my dear friend suffered several miscarriages & was experiencing a very high-risk pregnancy, she still boarded a plane immediately to be by my side the day my beloved father died (click this link for pictorial: Daddy).
So there was no way I was not going to get on a plane as soon possible so I could hug a woman I admire and love so much.
………….Home with us relaxing My friend, Goddaughter, sister & me in England
The Bright SpotTM - Cherish those you love. Give all of your heart to those who love you. Don’t waste time with people who aren’t sincere. There’s an expiration date on life, don’t miss any opportunities to hug those you love.
Doctors say they cannot operate on my dear friend because the bleeding is too close to the stem and one wrong move would end her life. Later today she undergoes another MRI. Prayers needed. With 3 children and a great husband, she’s taking life one day at a time. Doctors say the best thing she can do now is slow down. Perhaps a lesson for us all…to slow down…look around & give thanks for who you have in your life. I am grateful to have such wonderful friends. xo~b
Is he a kite-flyer? Is he a trampoline-flipper? Is he a bike-fixer? Yes, he’s Superhero Big Brother!!
A hurricane protector, a shoe-tier, a cookie dough-maker, a tree climber, a boo-boo fixer, an Easter egg opener, a stuck zipper fixer, a skating racer, a perfect-pumpkin-picker, a snuggly dude, a super swing-pusher, the best storyteller, the technology teacher, the family-endorsed official opener of all packaged holiday toys, and, of course, an honorary member of the stroller posse! But most importantly, the kindest big brother who nurtures and protects his baby sister.
People often ask how we got such phenomenally-bonded children. As parents, when you show love, tenderness and respect to each other and to your children, it filters through the family, growing and bonding it together with immeasurable strength.
And from that strength, the freedom to love and express kindness and thoughtfulness is just natural.
Our son was 13 when our daughter was born. He was a part of the whole pregnancy journey, from building the crib and changing table with Dad, to using the zapper at Babies-R-Us to register for the baby. The baby shower was a huge party, not just for ladies, but for all friends, young and old, male and female, and our son was center stage as the new Superhero-in-the-making!
We put him in charge of opening the gifts which he unwrapped with great zeal seeing all the items he had zapped weeks earlier. He was an integral part of every step. And the day his baby sister was born, she gave him an I-pod, so, of course, she was just the coolest!
When he held her that 1st day, he marveled, “She can’t even lift her own head.” I looked at him wearily and smiled, “No, she depends on us for everything, and she will look to you to teach her the most amazing things.
She will always look at you as her Superhero for the rest of her life. We are very proud of you.”
The Bright SpotTM – Our daughter just turned 9 last week. Our son turned 22. He is a Superhero in our daughter’s eyes…and ours.
Many of our parenting shows leave me feeling profoundly grateful – visits by WishKids from the Make-a-Wish Foundation or interviews with the volunteers of orphaned children in hosting programs. Some shows make me feel enlightened by our expert guests on the subjects of hypnobirthing, equine-assisted therapy for children, boomerang kids, and conscious parenting.
After more than 400 interviews during our 15 seasons on-air, I can honestly say I get in the car on the way home from the radio station with a mix of emotions and I hope that our program affects our listeners the same way (after airing, the “Let’s Talk!” shows are archived on this site).
One guest, in particular, struck a chord with me. Busy working mom of three, Julie Zeff, MSW, CPCC, author of Vivid Living for Busy Moms: Coach Yourself to an Extraordinary Life, uses yoga and sensations in the body in her work as a life coach for the past 14 years. According to Julie, “she teaches her clients to access the wisdom of their body and mind to help them transform their lives.” She teaches about heart truths and ogres. Heart truths – what you truly desire; ogres – negativity replaying in your mind/burdens/negative patterns or should have’s/would have’s/must do’s!
Everyone knows what it’s like to feel the burden of the should have’s and must do’s, but Julie says everything is a choice. We either deal with those things with positive energy or a burden of responsibility. What you truly and absolutely love or wish to do is your heart truth. Your body knows it, your gut feels it, and yet so many of us, particularly the busy moms I know, stuff away what we really wish we could do in lieu of everything else we think we have to do.
So when I left the show the day of Julie’s interview, I listened to my body and felt the regular sensations of the day-to-day responsibilities I needed to get done: household tasks, family & school obligations, you know the drill.
But Julie suggested our listeners think about what they really love to do and then feel the difference in the body. I love to write. And when I thought about it, it made my heart beat a little faster and swell with joy. And yet it’s usually the first thing that I put on the back burner as I greet each day and my tidy list of things to do. I wanted my “Mom Super Cape” to soar ever higher; it was starting to feel dampened by mortgages & meetings, lighting bills & laundry. It needed airing & fluffing!
So I decided for my own personal growth it would be wise to spend time with Julie off air and see how her guidance and expertise would lead me to a continued vivid and extraordinary life – just on a higher level.
From Julie’s website: “Live a balanced, present, and passionate life on your terms at work, with your family and with friends.
• Know who you are at your core
• Uncover your life purpose
• Leap over self-sabotaging tangles
• Trust the unique wisdom of your body
• See clearly where your life is in or out of balance
• Bring on the “me time”
• Know what to do to transform your life into one you love
The Bright SpotTM - Julie spent an hour and a half with me and can with you, too, her details are below. When I hung up the phone with her, I felt such a renewed sense of excitement that I started working on a chapter of a manuscript I shelved a while back. Because there lies my heart truth for work & having spent time this morning with Julie, I know it is time for that book to come to fruition.
Julie Zeff, MSW, CPCC, www.vividliving.net, email@example.com
Helping stressed/tired moms live vivid lives they love!
FREE Report Top 10 Tips to Vivid Living at: http://www.vividliving.net
Vivid Living for Busy Moms: Coach Yourself to an Extraordinary Life – https://www.createspace.com/3581207
Soaked, but not forgotten, each foot was paid “Wet Pay” for standing in snow for hours.
The thought fondly came to me as I looked out the window now and saw snow on our roof, flurries blowing in the wind. I remembered the April Fool’s Blizzard of ’97 when a Nor’easter blasted through New England dumping nearly 3 feet of heavy snow. Not many took it seriously because of the April 1st date, but if you lived through it, that storm became definitely one to remember!
Especially for me. I had been cast as an extra in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming film Amistad (DreamWorks SKG), a true story of mutiny and justice in 1839. Filming had just moved from nearby New Haven, Connecticut to Newport, Rhode Island and I was excited to be a part of an epic film starring Djimon Hounsou, Anthony Hopkins, Morgan Freeman & Matthew McConaughey.
As I packed my car to leave, the snow just started to move in. My Dad said, “What on Earth would make you drive in this blizzard? I cannot understand this entertainment industry pull.” In the words of Ethel Merman, “There’s no people like show people,” honestly, there’s just no explaining us. My father knew I was a determined free spirit, just like him, and when I had a desire, nothing was going to stop me from doing it.
My parents never stopped us from pursuing anything. My travels around the globe on a ship, climbing the Great Wall of China or the pyramids of Egypt, soaking in the romantic history of the Taj Mahal, flying off to Europe a week after graduation for my 1st job, or saying “yes” to my beloved after 4 days in his presence. So really, how’s a blizzard going to stop me??
It didn’t. I hopped in my car and set off for Rhode Island. The 2.5 hour trip took nearly 7 hours.
A little slide off the interstate didn’t deter me; 3 cute officers pushed me back on the highway, later requesting an autographed Miss Connecticut photo each (it was on my licence plate).
I had 5 hours sleep and reported for wardrobe at 4:30am. Excited and ready to go, after hair & makeup, I found myself standing in snow for hours…with joy! Even the newspaper photo caption under my picture says, “Undaunted.” Yup.
Changing the face of Newport (above) (above right) The photo from the Miss America parade that got me the job with Amistad
Interestingly, the entire earlier part of the movie’s outdoor scenes that had been filmed in previous weeks did so with NO snow. So the outdoor snowy scene that took days to film had to be edited out. But the memories are incredible as are the people I met throughout the experience.
The Bright SpotTM – Remember, if there’s something you really want to do, nothing can stop you. And just imagine the amazing people you’ll meet!
Long before Facebook, Twitter, email, Smartphones & Androids, there was the regular land line.
I made a phone call to my Uncle in London that I was in Lancashire for the summer. “You must come and visit, we’ll pick you up.” He and my Auntie drove 4 hours north to get me. They had 5 girls and the summer was one I’ll never forget!
But, eventually, Autumn came and I headed back to the States and into my routine. Days turned into months and months into years. Before I knew it, 23 years had flown by.
In that time, my 5 cousins had married and everyone had moved, even their parents; some to other parts of London, others to California & Florida.
I was reminiscing one evening about that summer and my son asked why I didn’t get in touch with them.
“How? We lost touch more than 20 years ago.” He asked me their names and worked his Facebook magic. I didn’t use Facebook at the time and was skeptical.
Within 24 hours, one of my cousins who had moved out West responded and we were on the phone for ages!
A short while later, our family was reunited in London with 2 of the sisters who had stayed in England. I was just bursting with joy! An event to remember forever!
The Bright SpotTM – I am so thankful to my Uncle & Auntie for making that visit one of the most treasured summers of my life. Interestingly, that summer would cause a chain of events that would lead me to my husband more than a decade later. Amazing how our lives are so intertwined then, now and always.
The girls now with their parents & one of my favorites of them when they were little. I love you all, my dear family!! xoxo
(Below) With my Uncle 23 years ago and Uncle’s portrait over my Cousin’s & my shoulder
Our son came home & announced he’s taking off his clothes and jumping in frigid waters.
Freezin’ for a Reason’s Penguin Plunge challenge supports Special Olympics Connecticut.
Participants will strip down to their swim trunks or bathing suits and run into the icy waters of The Sound on March 8th.
This year’s goal is $90,000.
As of this post, $21,000 has been raised.
Every dollar counts and your donation is tax deductible.
If you would like to contribute, please send me a message at Bianca@BiancaTyler.com and I will forward you the direct link to this Special Olympics project.
We are very proud of our son. At 19 years old, he was the Captain of his team in the Relay for Life American Cancer Society fundraiser. He and his team walked the full 24-hours through day and night and day again raising thousands.
The Bright SpotTM - Not quite sure how our little boy grew up so fast, time surely flies, but one thing is for sure, we are proud of his dedication to great causes and hope you decide to help as he prepares to take the bitterly cold Penguin Plunge for Special Olympics Connecticut!
The Positively Me program offered to 3rd grade girls to boost confidence, teach assertiveness & expression, and offer strategies to prevent bullying was positively fantastic!
Offered free by the Junior League of Greenwich, this intensive 2-day event encourages new friendships while the girls develop strength and resilience through skits & role playing, dance, journaling & thoughtful conversations about the painful consequences of bullying.
Why 3rd grade?
Unfortunately, bullying is starting earlier & earlier; it’s a topic Phillip & I have covered often over the past 15 Seasons on our parenting radio show “Let’s Talk!” currently on WGCH, formerly on WSTC & WNLK. (All shows are (All shows are archived on this site.)
One of our popular recurrent guests and parenting experts, Dr. Michelle Anthony, experienced something similar with her little 2nd grade daughter. That painful situation prompted her to co-author Little Girls Can Be Mean – 4 Steps to Bully-Proof Girls in the Early Grades.
Positively Me: only 4 sessions per year, 36 girls per session. The program has run for 5 years and waiting lists get longer year after year. It was marvelous to see the girls beaming each evening at pick-up, full of laughter and stories and joy.
They brought home beautiful button bracelets that matched button cards where each color represented something special, drawings/writings/self-portraits in their special journals, t-shirts with signatures of each participant, water bottles, sparkly feather pens, tote bags with the adorable Positively Me logo and mountains of coping skills to nip future snafus in the bud!
The program taught them to take pride in themselves and their accomplishments; achieve great things; stand up for what they believe in and to be Positively Me!
The girls had a special visit from a martial arts Sensei (master) who had them write their greatest fear on a wooden board and then he taught each girl how to smash through that wood with their bare hands…breaking through their fear. That was a popular activity! Other events included a yoga class, pajama party and crafting dog toys to donate to Adopt-A-Dog.
It is no wonder this program continues to grow and expand.
The Bright SpotTM - A poem – with permission from our 8-year-old - to share with you written in her Positively Me journal:
LOVE is my Guardian
When Days like Today Get in my Way,
I’ll STAND STRONG!
Positively Me Snippet
Superhero Big Brother & Adoring Little Sister ages 2 & 15 & ages 8 & 21…
No one has to tell you time flies. But sometimes we need reminders that making every moment count does not mean filling those moments with endless, scheduled activities.
Sometimes the best memories are the quiet ones, just chilling on the trampoline with your brother or sister, stuffed animal or dearest friends.
Listening to the birds chirp, watching an airplane fly by, smelling freshly-cut grass, discovering shapes in white, puffy clouds.
The Bright SpotTM - Life is fast enough. Slow down & enjoy the simple pleasures all around you.