Tag Archives: ideas

#MondayBlogs and Leaving My Comfort Zone

This is going to be one of those short and sweet posts because I have words to write. Lots and lots of them.

pexels-photo-235922.jpegWhich leads me chatting about comfort zones and why they need to be crashed through sometimes. I’d read in Canadian Runner about how embracing the discomfort makes a better runner. Speed goes up, the mental outlook improves, and crossing finish lines are easier when someone accepts and ignores the desire to stop.

Tamed by Laura StapletonWhen I sit down to write on my latest story in progress, the article came to mind because Tamed, a paranormal shifter romance, is way way outside of my comfort zone. Not that writing had become easy. I don’t know if telling stories and fretting about my Shatneresc use of commas ever will be. What I’m sure about is researching a new genre to make sure readers’ expectations are met is not my usual work.

The best part about this project is interacting with the other authors in the anthology. I’m an extrovert (ENTP if you’re curious) and love people most of the time. Another enjoyable aspect is “having” to read paranormal romances by the other authors. My job is the best.

So now, while I’m here trying to figure out where the guy’s clothes go when he changes from man to lion and back again, I have a challenge for you. What is a comfort zone for you and how can you break out of the rut? Or add to the activity and make it tougher than usual? Comment below and tell me about your comfort zone.

Love, Sex, and #MondayBlogs

Programming note: FAQ answers have been pushed to next Monday because of VALENTINE’S DAY!!!! OMG!!!

Yes, I am very married and very happily. Thus, I don’t hate the V-Day.

I do remember what it was like to be single and sans romance back then. It sucked until the 15th, aka Cheap Chocolate Day. Then the 16th was horrific because of Migraine Because I Ate Chocolate Day.

By now, my husband and I both know what, when, and how we want our romance. We also talk to death everything and anything. This isn’t as bad as it sounds because even early on in our marriage, no one was ever surprised by a problem. If one of us cleaned out the house and were gone in a U-haul, the other would know exactly why. Something we agreed on before we married was to make communication a priority. Be kind, always, but don’t hold back if something’s going wrong.

So our plans? Earlier, we picked up the dinner for two at Hyvee. Not the deluxe because we already have a couple of lobster tails getting freezer burned. This saves us the time, expense, and irritation over sharing a romantic dinner with several hundred other cranky couples. We’re also verbally duking it out over fresh flowers versus potted plants. He wants to give me roses or at least flowers to put in a vase. I want a couple of Boston ferns to replace the ones I accidentally killed while on a book deadline. (Ferns need water more than once a month, oddly enough.) You and I know who’ll win this argument. Me.

So the bottom line for your own happy Valentine’s Day? Talk about it! Tell your crush they’re not half bad or remind your significant other of why you fell for them in the first place. You’re alone and enjoying the solitude, so nothing applies? Cool! Treat yourself, a family member, and/or a pet. Plan the route to stores you’re going to hit as soon as they open for the discounted candy. Go buy the floral rejects for yourself and enjoy. Or the best ever, take yourself out to dinner on the 15th and enjoy the quiet.

Next Monday, the faqs for reals. Before then, there’s so much going on for me professionally, and I’ll have to write all about it later this week.

#MondayBlogs and New Year’s Romantic Resolutions

In my last blog post, I alluded to the lump in the easy chair you married years ago. With all the Valentine’s Day products in the store, expectations ratchet up to a dizzying height until the hard fall on the day of when nothing happens.

What to do? Is there anything that CAN be done without the help of pharmaceuticals or a cattle prod?

Yes! Lots of things. Here’s a handy list. Not every item will work for every couple, but there are lots of fun things to try. Some will require planning and others can be last minute.

  1. Recreate your first date, especially if it was a good one. If the time was horrible, but your love survived anyway? Great! Recreate the first date you wished you two had had back then.
  2. Flowers are popular and rightly so. But cut bouquets on THE day? Eh, expensive and I’d suggest something with a twist. Planting flowers instead of buying floral arrangements. In some parts of the world, the idea of gardening now is a bad idea. However, planning a flower garden together, visiting a local greenhouse or store’s gardening section, and working together on your flowers in the future is a fun way to bring a couple together.
  3. I personally love going out for dinner on V-Day evening. But the crowds! OMG, no. Not romantic at all. So how do you cope? Cooking together at home! Now, my husband brought home a fondue fountain, but you don’t need to be that fancy. It’s wonderful to fill it with chocolate and dip frozen strawberries. You can bake heart shaped cakes, pink cupcakes, anything you both enjoy eating.
  4. This is a little on the naughty side, but still lots of fun. Mainly because I get embarrassed and crack dumb jokes the entire time, but visit an adult store. No, it’s not something for everyone. If you’d like something a little spicy or way out there sexy, why not give it a try? I secretly want every pair of stripper shoes, but no. I have my limits.
  5. All of the prior suggestions assume you don’t have children or have a sitter in case you do. Thinking you can get someone to watch the kids for the weekend, you two can plan a simple honeymoon weekend. In one of my books, I had the hero do just that. The VERY Best Man, if you’re interested, and it’s free at the moment. Since the hero has a friend who’s a manager at a big name hotel, he arranged some time in the place’s pool and hot tub. Why not take that idea and run with it? The hotel can be as fancy as you want, or not. Room service or pizza delivery for dinner, and a weekend alone, together.

These are just a few things you can do, and the idea is to remember why you fell for this person in the first place. No matter what you try, the primary goal is you do them together. My husband loves surprising me with a small bouquet from the grocery store and a mushy card. I like surprising him by forgetting the day entirely or even better, buying him a card and misplacing it until July. I did mention he’s the romantic one of us two, right?

Which makes this a good time for reminding everyone to make time for your relationship. Nothing says you have to spend only one day out of the year for romance. It’s not as tough as you might think to plan the occasional date night. My husband and I do this, and we don’t go all fancy most of the time. We’ll find a new walking trail to explore, get a Groupon to a new restaurant, or just order a pizza and have a Netflix binge night. The main goal is to spend an evening or two together to reconnect and remember why you started liking this person to begin with.

(I had lovely photos planned but scrapped it because part of showing your love for someone is hanging around, cleaning, until the DirectTv guy shows up to fix the broken thingy so your someone can watch the game on the biggest tv in the house.)

 

Valentine’s Day in December? #MondayBlogs

Oh. My. God. This year is already on greased skids. We went to the grocery store the day after Christmas, and some proactive goobers had the Valentine’s Day merchandise on shelves. Seriously?

Happy New Year!

By the time this posts, I’ll be up five pounds and face down recovering from New Year’s wine. There’s so much pressure out there to make every second count, to share every moment with a special someone. Even worse? Society expects people to create this perfection on as little sleep and food as possible.

I happen to know a couple of people who can accomplish the feat of a sparkling life. The talent is natural to them. For all of us with tarnished lives, keep reading, and I’ll share some ideas for coping with the romantic pressure.

The crafter side of me understands the need to be on top of the next holiday. Nothing is more fun than knitting Christmas gifts on Boxing Day. I’m working on a gift for someone’s 2016 Christmas. I know, I know. As close to being done as I am, he’ll get his gift Christmas 2018 for sure.

The side who had spent a bunch of Valentine’s alone still feels that “No,” feeling when the aisles start filling with red hearts, roses, and sappy everything. It’s hitting all the lonely buttons when the whole world seems to be full of happy couples, and you’re a sad single. If you’re not glum and want a significant other for February 14th, I’ve written the solution already. Click here.

My solution for when you want to spend the holiday alone but not lonely? Don’t, because you don’t have to. Everyone has a single friend. Have a Valentine’s celebration with your best unattached pals. If I weren’t married, I’d call up my knit group friends first. They’re all fantastic people, Happy New Yearand each one makes everything much more fun. Dinner, clubbing, going on a yarn store crawl, whatever you all enjoy will work.

What if, like one of my V Days (because ‘my’ and VD don’t go together, sorry), you’re in a new town with zero single friends? Be your own date. Do something fun and esoteric just for you. Every married person knows that nine times out of ten, you’re compromising with your spouse over where to go, what to eat, what you watch on tv or movies. Enjoy your singlehood by being as wild or mild as you’d like for the day.

Bottom line? Plan now to eat all of the chocolates and toss the yucky ones without guilt. Drink all the bottle of wine whether it’s sparkling juice or the hard stuff. Watch the sappy or action-packed movie you enjoy. Go to a fancy place for dinner and dress up for the occasion. Treat yourself like the great person you are.

Next week? What to do when you’re stuck with the anti-romantic spouse on Valentine’s Day and how it’s probably too late to ask for a refund on them.

Make Time for Love

It’s Christmas! No matter if it’s the most wonderful time of the year or a colossal bah humbug to you, I know everyone’s busy with gifts, parties, and end of the year activities.Laura StapletonIn all the craziness, my husband and I made time to reconnect and remind ourselves of what’s truly important.

Our Decembers tend to be like everyone else’s, rushed and focused on others instead of each other. So how do we cope? There are several ideas and here are just a few:

  1. Go on a date night! Ideally, couples should already be doing this. Even if it’s wandering around looking at Christmas lights or going for a twilight stroll in the park, anytime can be a date night with the right attitude.
  2. No time for even a dinner out? Shop together! My husband and I do all the time. It’s a great way to make sure we get milk AND butter. Two brains are better than one when it comes to remembering to pick up cat food. Plus, he buys snacks, and I buy produce, providing balance in our pantry and fridge.
  3. You have to sleep sometime. Even if you’re too tired to tango, go to bed together for quality pillow talk. Laura StapletonSet aside the devices for better sleep unless you’re like my guy and me. We go to my Twitter feed, getting angry or laughing together at what people post online. A mutual foot massage would be terrific, too. Bath and Body Works has some wonderful anti-biotic lotions available. I went on a shopping spree several years ago and still have some stocked up.

These are my favorite things to stay connected with my guy. How about you? What are ways you keep the bond going with your significant other during this time of the year?

 

My Husband Wears The Romantic Pants in This House.

You’d think the resident romance writer would be the one remembering anniversaries, wouldn’t you?

Nope!

Every year since 1993, I forget the day my husband proposed to me. Every. Single. Year. So I wake up on December 10th to flowers and a mushy card about how he’s glad I said, “Yes!” He doesn’t wake up to anything but my snoring.

Maybe I need to get all of us “It’s what day???” people in a huddle and talk about ways to remember significant events.  I asked my husband just now how he remembers and he said, “I just do. It was a big step in my life.” He adds he’d be traumatized if I’d said no. I can imagine since he had us fly to Magic Mountain ski resort to ask me. Best proposal ever and he’s such a romantic.

For the rest of us in the memory challenged department, I have some hints and helps.

  1. The obvious: Put it on your calendar. Not the pretty one on your fridge, but the one where you grab all your social media birthdays. Set it up to reoccur every year and voila! You’re set.
  2. See #1. Kidding! Mostly. I have Cortana as my assistant, thanks to Microsoft. No matter what your assistant’s name is, you can set up a reminder for the occasional dates. I’d use this feature for anniversary dinner reservations, but not for the day itself.
  3. Make it special. Plan ahead, plan for every year to have the same fun tradition and you won’t forget the day again. I need to pick an extraordinary thing to do for my husband on our proposal anniversary beyond the usual, “Oh crap! It’s 12/10!”

Now that I have an idea of what to do next year, how about you? Do you remember special days in a way I’ve not listed? Comment below and tell us how it worked or works for you because I could use the help. ❤

Hey baby, in the mood for a quickie #MondayBlog ?

This is the US’s Thanksgiving holiday week and National Novel Writing Month. How are those two related? One is a time for family, and the other is time for a panicked meltdown.

Okay, maybe they’re a lot more related than I thought. If you’re single and staring at the green Jell-O salad with carrot strips, wondering if your mom is right and you should settle down with someone, anyone, I have your solution.

Before you ask, no. This fix, though as powerful as, does NOT involve duct tape. Leave it at home this time. Instead, I’m giving you something to guarantee you have a significant other by Valentines Day if that’s what you want.

What do you do for this matchmaking miracle?

Write a list of what you want in a partner. Be specific. Be greedy. List every attribute that’s important to you. Does your person need to like dogs, or cats, or both? Write it down. Do they have brown eyes, blue eyes, or one of each? They’ll be a little tougher to find, sure, but list it. The list is more powerful when handwritten, but typing is fine, too.

I know you’re tempted to blow this off as all mythical hoo-ha stuff and I totally understand. Write the list and magic happens? Whatever. The science and psychology behind writing down the attributes you want in a forever or even temporary partner is real. What happens is when you come up with what you need, this action gives your brain a pattern to match.

Don’t believe me? What about when you start researching a new car? You want a red Honda and what happens? They’re everywhere now and more so than ever. Actually, no they’re not. You notice more of them now because that pattern is in your head. There’s a quick way to break that because now that’s all you see out there, and it’s not by saying, “I want to stop seeing red Hondas everywhere, dammit!” Just think of green Land Rovers or yellow Ford Mustangs. There! Fixed!

In seriousness, this list idea works for more things than silencing the, “Who are you dating now, dear?” crowd. Writing a list for anything you desire helps lock in what you want and tells your brain to start looking around for what you’ve listed. It’s pretty awesome and powerful as well.

Comment below if you’ve used this technique and it’s worked. Follow this blog if you want more romantic #MondayBlog posts in the future.