Do Unto Others….

Every once in a while, something special happens. You find yourself, surprised, smiling and deeply appreciative. I’m not talking about the typically polite things, such as someone holding the door open for you, or a smile from a stranger (although these are nice gestures), I mean when something happens that makes you realize that you may just be more important or more valued then you thought. Something like this happened to me this week, and the happiness that it resulted in for me will not soon be forgotten.

flower
On a quarantine, rainy summer afternoon, I headed down to our home gym in the basement. It took some internal convincing as I wasn’t feeling too motivated. A blah yucky day can do that to ya! Anyway, I stretched and jumped on to my elliptical and got ready for my 30-minute workout. Not five minutes into my workout, my daughter – who is currently working from home – told me that there was something outside the front door for me. She told me that I should come up and get it. Clearly she was in on this surprise! As I was trudging upstairs, I thought, is it the paper boy? I know I paid him. It’s not my birthday. Amid these covid times,  with limited visiting and social distancing…I was at a loss.

flower
Waiting for me was a folder and envelope with a card inside. I opened the card and read that enclosed in the folder was a painting that a friend had commissioned for ME. Me?? Me!! It was a gorgeous painting of yellow and purple flowers, a painting that we had talked about a few weeks ago and I had loved. I was speechless that she took the time to find someone to paint it specifically for me.

flower

My friend’s card said that I was an “amazing person.” And she wanted to do this for me. I considered that amazing, ME? I was dumbfounded. It was then that I realized that most of us are fortunate enough to receive gifts at Christmas and on our birthdays. But receiving something nice completely out of the blue (I wasn’t even sick or anything) is startling. I immediately texted my friend and asked her why she did this? She said that it was “beautiful like me and that I deserved all the beauty in the world because I sure dish it out to everyone I meet.” She said she was “proud to be my friend and I was a bundle of light energy, and that I am like everyone’s sister, and most of all that she will always have my back even though we may not always be face to face.” Not going to lie, I swallowed a big lump in my throat.

flower
Her gift was timely, timely as my husband and I are soon to be empty nesters – our youngest moves out in a few weeks. I am at the point where I am struggling to figure out what’s next, and at moments I’m feeling lost, and truth be told really not needed anymore. The chapter of child rearing is closing, we did a good job.
Her gift reminded me that there is more to me then I realized and that I have the means and character to do whatever I want to do. Life isn’t over, as they say this is a new chapter. I am grateful that she helped remind me of my worth.

….. as you would do unto yourself 

blessings x

Maryse

Make this your best year ever!

Ahhhh the smell of a brand-new year! Hello 2019!

new year 2019As always, the air is ripe with the scent of almost everyone discussing their resolutions. What are these resolutions? Get fit, lose weight, spend less money, be more patient, make a better effort at staying in touch with friends and family …the list goes on.
I thought about posting a blog on a few of these resolutions and my thoughts on them, especially since I have definitely had many of them as my own resolution at one time or another. But instead I decided that making one big promise is probably not always the best idea. I’m not suggesting that all resolutions are failures. Often, they serve as the one big catalyst that most people need to get important things moving! What I am saying though, is I think it’s important that during our quest to be successful at our resolutions, we remember some things that may seem small. But are actually very important.

sparklerHere are a few:

Live in the moment and be present. How often are we having a conversation with someone, but we are only half listening because we’re caught up in thinking about what we need to do next. Making that mental list of items that are running through our mind like a hamster on a wheel. Take a moment and think about quieting that part of your mind and just being present. Enjoy what you are doing, whether it’s having a cup of tea, chatting with a friend or family member, or enjoying the walk that you are on alone. Which brings me to my next point.
Be kind to yourself. If you’re anything like me, you may still be reviewing the past year and thinking about a few things you should have accomplished. Mistakes were made, projects not completed. It’s all about being human. Moving forward and allowing yourself to set new goals is the best thing you can do for yourself. Maybe at night you lie in bed and think about the day and what you could have said or done differently, consider not doing that anymore. What does it really accomplish? Feelings of anxiety? Regret? Anger or sadness? You don’t deserve that. Being kind to yourself may also mean, heading to the gym, getting that manicure or facial, curling up with a book and a cup of tea. Do it! Don’t feel guilty. Be kind to yourself. Without being kind and taking care of yourself first, how will we ever be kind to others?
Surround yourself with the people that make you feel great, suggest a workout at the gym with someone you enjoy being with or perhaps a coffee or lunch date. There are people out there that naturally exude happiness and positivity and literally feel like a sunny day. Positivity is the name of the game for these folks. Revel in their golden glow! It will rub off on days you can really use it. Heck you may even learn a few of their strategies.

new year 2019

I wish you a happy healthy 2019, full of laughter, love and all that makes your heart glow.

Blessings xoxx
Maryse

Happy 1st birthday Maryse’s Pieces!

This year I have celebrated a pretty exciting birthday. Happy Birthday Maryse’s Pieces!! You are officially ONE YEAR OLD!

Shortly after my 50th birthday I wondered where all the other 50 something year old women were in cyber world. I was interested in hearing other perspectives on what they were experiencing now that they were in the 50’s club.

mom-50-cake

I began by looking around on Instagram. I was happy to see that there existed an abundance of other women like myself who were celebrating the 50’s, in fashion, in writing, in food, in religion, in basically any way that appealed to them! Without a moment’s hesitation I created a more social and public account while still maintaining the privacy around my other account which was strictly for family and friends. I was surprised to see the interest and “likes” my pictures generated on my public account.

FullSizeRender (2)

Friends and family encouraged me to start a blog. I had no idea what I was gong to write about or even what I would name it. I could talk your ear off but…write? I was unsure about it. Through research and Facebook groups, I got to know other bloggers who advised me to find a niche and go from there. I remember thinking a niche? As in, write about only one area of me?? That would be like telling me to talk just a little bit. I couldn’t quite do that, there were so many pieces of me that deserved equal time in my blog. As a Wife, Mom, Daughter, Sister, Aunt and Friend. I had more roles in my 50’s then ever before, and I wanted to share them all!

IMG_8003

So, my blog was named “Maryse’s Pieces” and almost immediately I had subscribers and followers! I was floored. I thought that my target audience would be women aged 50 and over, but I was pleasantly surprised that my stats consistently showed a demographic both of men and women, 30 years and older. Here I was worrying about being a boring old lady writing meaningless posts!

cropped-websiteheader.jpg

The support of my blog has been enormous and has come from all sources. My family has been behind me every step of the way, my sister Holly took pics, gave advice and opinions. My daughter was forced to proof read my posts (and still does), she also receives a constant barrage of photos to review to help me decide on the perfect one. Together, they both provided important initial feedback to help me create the casual tone that I wanted in my writing. They quickly let me know if I was sounding too essay like, or too much like a novel. My husband, happily reads my blogs and I will always receive positive feedback from him.msblog-1-2

Friends have continually supported and cheered me on, not just by the customary “like” on Facebook but also by sharing my blogs. I love receiving texts and messages from so many of them who tell me they can relate to something I have posted.

In the coming year, readers will on occasion read a different side of “Maryse’s Pieces” through my posts, as I strive to cover a variety of topics that are requested by different people. I have also decided that this year, I will start publishing posts from fellow guest bloggers!

Thank you for helping my first year be as successful as it has been. Please keep reading, sharing and above all I love hearing from you – so keep your messages coming!

The best is yet to come xo

signature_1

Summer Solstice 2017

Today is officially the first day of summer! Woooo hoooo! Margaritas, sunshine and watermelon!  Also known as summer solstice. What is summer solstice? It is when the sun is at the most northern point and the longest day of 2017.

All I know is today is the day that summer officially starts! And not a moment too soon! Parts of the U.S. are so heated up that flights are being cancelled, however In Ontario and other parts of Canada – our days have had temps below seasonal values and endless rain. So much rain that flooding has been an issue.

Will the arrival of the summer solstice bring us a warm summer? Here’s hoping! Summer is one of the best seasons and promises many exciting things. What kinds of things you ask? Well – let’s take a look at a few of my favourite things!

Socializing! BBQ’s, picnics, pool parties and family get togethers typically happen in the sunny and warm summer months. For me, there is no better way to spend a nice warm evening than with a few cold drinks and some great company!

evan-kirby-123696

Travelling! With the kids who are out of school for the summer, this is the best time to plan trips of any kind. Day trips, overnights or even a few weeks! Plane, train or automobile! A quick little getaway is sometimes all you need to reboot and refresh.

efe-kurnaz-242515 Happiness! Everyone is happy in the summer have you ever noticed that? There is something about that dose of Vitamin D that just puts everyone in a good mood. Positivity and smiles are everywhere. Embrace it and soak it up! Hey, why not smile at a stranger – you never know how it might change their day!

IMG_4806

Relaxation! In the summer, you can find bits and pieces of relaxation almost everywhere. Sitting around a campfire, stretched out on the back deck, swinging in a hammock, or dangling your feet in the water at the end of the dock at the cottage. Give your mind and body a well-deserved rest.

chris-thompson-137484

Memories! The kids on their bikes, making a fancy cocktail, hanging out at the beach, a water balloon fight or sitting outside under a blanket of beautiful stars. Summer time is a beautiful time in many ways.

jake-givens-576

.Welcome back Summer! I hope you stay a while! We missed you xoxx

signature_1

 

Live long and Socialize

Eat your vegetables and exercise. Seems simple and has been the so called secret to a long and healthy life. Last spring, I watched an interesting program on parts of the world where the most centenarians are located. Of course, I had assumed they were eating vegetables and exercising. They were…but there was more.

In Okinawa, Japan lives an incredibly high amount of people who are 100 years or older. Amazing! What is it about that part of the world? The climate? The water? I sat open mouthed and watched this program about many healthy active Okinawans 100 years or older, gardening, walking and chatting. I wanted in on the secret so I did some digging.

Their diet is important and probably a huge part of their health. They do not eat anything processed. So there goes that low fat sliced cheese I assumed was best for me because it was low in calories. They consume a plant based diet of plenty of vegetables and fruit, legumes and nuts.  Fish and all the omega 3 it has to offer at least 3-4 times a week. Animal protein is limited or non-existent. They also do not indulge in alcohol very frequently (uh oh my wine may be in jeopardy). Exercise is an important part of their day. Technically, no big surprises. It’s almost as though we seem to know the keys to a long life, it’s just the practicing of it, can sometimes be the challenge. But…there’s more.

heder-neves-177219.jpg

This is where things got interesting to me. There is more then just healthy eating. They practice “ikigai” basically that is the reason why you wake up in the morning. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you should always have a role in life.  It’s a reason for living. A reason for living…think about that. I think that’s amazing, everyone is important to someone. You are a wife or husband, father or mother, daughter or son. We all have a role. This brings me to Moai.

“Moai” is another area of Okinawan life. Pronounced “mo-eye”. This is a group of friends that you see or visit with on a regular basis. It could just be to talk or share or have tea with. It is an important group because it relieves stress and provides companionship. I thought this was fascinating. This social support network is established at a young age as Okinawans are placed in their Moai around the age of 5 by their parents. Often, they refer to their Moai as their Ikigai. They can go through life knowing that they have people who will always be there. An awesome concept, a group of people to share your concerns or stresses with rather then just relying on one or two friends or just one significant other which can place undue stress on them.

redd-angelo-157515

I think the idea is absolutely amazing, I kinda wish we had a similar process here in North America.  Having said that there are probably cultures within North America that do have a similar set up. Then I considered it, and thought hey maybe we do have that key to longevity. When I look closely I think that perhaps we all have a group of sort, or several people that we may connect with on a regular basis. Maybe we all belong to a Moai and we don’t even know it.

Every month I meet up with a group of friends at a local place in town and we have dinner. We share stories, we give advice and we listen. It is honestly a wonderful time, if one of us can’t make it – no hard feelings, they catch us the next month! This is my Moai. The picture depicted of our hands was amusing to take, we had a good time and there were lots of laughs as they wondered “what the heck Maryse was up to now?”

IMG_3848

I have another group, on my phone. We are spread out in different directions across the city but you would not even know it. We all group chat every single day. No lie.  We have the best conversations, share advice, laughter, recipes or sometimes we just say hi. Both of these groups make me very happy, appreciated and loved. So, I understand the feeling that Okinawans must get when they meet up with their group. We may not all live to 100 but we sure can try. Eat well, exercise, and socialize. If you don’t belong to a group, start one, your Moai may be right in front of you. It’s a key to a healthy HAPPY long life. In the meantime,… I’ll work on the wine.

signature_1

 Post credit

https://www.caring.com/articles/centenarian-foods-and-okinawan-study

                  http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/04/150412-longevity-health-blue-zones-obesity-

 

 

 

Happy Galentines Day!

I have a confession to make. Up until recently I didn’t know what Galentines Day was *hangs head* But!! I’ve been doing some research and to be honest I expected to learn that it was something like a holiday devoted to those who did not have or want significant others. Maybe recent divorcees who want to keep celebrating? Well it’s more then that!

Apparently, it’s a day created by Amy Poehler’s character Leslie Knope on her TV show Parks and Recreations and it’s celebrated every February 13th. This is a day that you celebrate with your best gal friends doing what ever makes you happy. This intrigues me and I have to say I think it’s a great idea! I knew I loved Amy Poehler for a reason!

It’s always awesome to celebrate actual Valentines with your significant other. Don’t get me wrong. Hubby and I will be celebrating our 34th Valentines this year. However, it’s always important to celebrate the friendships that you have with your girlfriends as well. Let’s face it the sisterhood is important. They raise you up, listen to you and sometimes deliver to you hard truths that you need to hear. For this I can say I’m grateful. So, let’s look at someways that we can celebrate Galentines Day this February 13th 2017:

fdywsfh8n6y-rachel-walker

Spa­ – Get your nails done together, or a facial or even a massage. A great way to relax and catch up. There are many spas that will accommodate a few girlfriends at once if you call in advance.

Brunch – Catching up over pancakes and waffles is the perfect way to unwind and chat. There are brunch spots out there that will happily bring out the mimosas as well!

drgf7doee-o-roman-kraft

Gym – I have one good friend who would suggest a workout! She would suggest a few hours in the cardio room, a Pilates class and a walk. ALL IN ONE DAY.

Shopping – Maybe a different place then your local big city mall. A drive out to a small town to check out the are is great idea.

Casino- A fun spot anytime! One of my girlfriend’s loves the casino and she is always a lucky charm.

Lunch – Choose wisely and remember that there are soooo many places that now offer half priced bottles of wine at lunch! Yee haaaaa!! Check it out.

e6hjqab7uea-dan-gold

Dinner – A potluck at one of the houses would be great. The pressure is off the host and everyone participates. Make it thematic, everyone wears pink and brings pink food or something like that.

Movies – Nothing better then hitting up a chick flick that would have you either sobbing or laughing uncontrollably. Who better to do that with then a close group of girlfriends.

bjvinspxooc-bonnie-kittle-1

Whatever you choose to do, throw a party or even meet up with a friend for coffee (translation glass of wine). Remember your Gal Friends, this February 13th. No one says you have to get all caught up with the marketing aspect and spend oodles of dollars. But heck if there is a day that reminds us to touch base with the sisterhood. I’m all for it.

Love and Laughter

M

My Cousin my Friend

They say that cousins are you first friends. Since both my parents come from big families I have a lot of cousins.  My cousin Sheryl Ann (Sher) and I are very close. We became fast friends at an early age as my family would holiday in Trinidad and this is where Sher lived. I was a particularly shy child and Sher was not. She was older then me and I was in awe of her. I was drawn to her dynamic and engaging personality and her love of adventure. As the summers passed we got into all kinds of innocent teen aged mischief and adventures that Sher managed to talk me into. Truth be told, I loved every single one of them!

sher-and-maryse-kids

She always had an eye out for something fun to do! We stayed awake at night and would talk for hours and hours. We shared hopes, secrets and dreams. Some of those summers were the best summers of my life. Sher eventually came to Ontario to further her education at University. I was thrilled because it meant I could hang out with my cool, older cousin all the time. I remember the Summer of 1982 when Sher declared one of her ideas. She decided that we would go visit a boy from her class. She was sure I would like him. I told her I was not up for her cupid stuff and really resisted. She insisted and told me that she was sure I would like this guy. In true Sher form, this adventure turned out to be amazing and it hasn’t ended! Sher was right about that guy because later this year we will celebrate our 29th wedding anniversary! As the years passed we remained friends but life handed us responsibilities, marriage and kids. Sher encountered a few set backs as she pursued her dreams with her husband. Some of these setbacks may have knocked many of us on our asses and there we would have stayed. I admire my dearest friend and cousin for finding the life that would make her and her family happy. It even meant moving countries a few times and trying out different occupations a few times. Her enigmatic and adventurous personality never kept her down. With the everlasting love and support of her hubby and children, Sher is now a successful lawyer and professor of law in England. I admire her for her determination and courage and never taking no for an answer. England may be far away but we are always in touch and manage to see each other quite regularly. We even joke that we were probably sisters in another life. I honestly do think there may be truth to that. Next week, Sher’s sense of adventure is taking her temporarily a little farther away from me. I’m excited that she will share her next adventure with me through Skype, Facebook and WhatsApp. I wish her happiness and success. I’m lucky to have such a wonderful friend in my cousin Sher. Another part of the world gets to experience Sher and oh how lucky they are.

img_3787

The sun sets on 2016

We’re days away from the end of 2016, and when a new year approaches so do the reviews of the previous year. Who was the top newsmaker of the year? What was the top song of the year? Who was the athlete of the year? As a kid growing up it was always interesting to listen to this info. As an adult, I think about the previous year in a more important way. How did it go? What would I do differently? When I look back on 2016 I have mixed reviews. It had ups and downs, could I have spent more time on my fitness? Should I have read more books? Set better personal goals? Hell ya!

I definitely do not think that this is the time of year to lament about what went wrong or what we should have done better, but instead an opportunity to celebrate us! Whatever the challenges the year brought us we are still here. If making some resolutions helps you in anyway. Go for it. I believe we should live in the moment and work hard at what is important to us. It may be spending time with our family, personal development, getting that promotion or solidifying relationships with friends and family. Whatever it may be, you don’t have to declare it a resolution on Jan1 2017. Setting goals can happen any time of the year. One thing is for sure it’s taken me to the ripe old age of 50 to realize that it’s not worth being tough on yourself if you made decisions that were wrong this year, or didn’t complete goals or resolutions. Believe it or not, that’s ok.  Be kind to yourself. 2017 is a blank page, colour it YOUR way. As Henry David Thoreau said “never look back unless you are planning on going that way”.

Love and laughter,

M

fullsizerender

https://rcm-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?t=wwwmarysesane-20&o=15&p=12&l=bn1&mode=beauty-ca&browse=6344635011&fc1=000000&lt1=_blank&lc1=3366FF&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

50 candles on the cake

I turned 50 recently. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen when I woke up on the morning of my birthday. Would the skies open? Would angels sing and then drop adult diapers and hearing aids from the sky? Nah! It was all good. I reached and accepted this milestone very well.  A milestone it is! Officially well past middle age yet at an age that a few of my friends did not make it to and for that I am grateful.

Something I have noticed is that conversations are different at 50 in comparison to what was important at 30. Now, we’re talking more about health and wellness, our adult or teenaged children, finding jeans that look great and for my female friends the challenges of getting through menopause with sanity.  Many are telling me it’s a new beginning for them. A time to focus on themselves and/or significant other, make a career change or set new goals.  Maybe even reinvent themselves.

So I created this blog with the hopes of sharing some information for those of us in our fifties and beyond, or at the very least hopefully I can just simply entertain you. From time to time you may even see a fabulous recipe I tried, or a picture of me modeling something I purchased that just rocks! It’s going to be fun! Stay with me.

Love and Laughter

M

maryse-turns-50