31 May 2012

Beauty Drawer

(Handkerchief designed by my dear friend, Abby, of Hi+Low.  It was inspired by a vintage hankie that you can see and read about here.  AND!  That vintage hankie?  I was the lucky, lucky friend that she gave it to.   :)  :)

OK, time for girl talk.  :)

What is your favorite make-up look?  Mine is on those pretty girls at J. Crew.  Their simple make-up with pops of color makes me want to call and ask "And what color exactly is that pink lipstick paired with those tangerine pants?? (and so...well, I went ahead and called them one time.  Why not give it a try?  And yes, within the minute they told me all their secrets.  J. Crew customer service is now my make-up consultant. :) 

So, because I'm all about sharing beauty secrets...here are some of mine.  I've had quite a run of trying products over the years (my husband can attest to that!  haha :)

These are some of my favorites:

MAC Eye Paint - best eye shadow on the planet earth for my eyelids...cause this stuff will actually stay on.  This is the only product I've ever used that will not end up in a creased line.  Never seen anything like it.  I use the Still Life color and sometimes add an eye shadow on top.  (You can also get the MAC paint pots in more colors.)

Clinique Lash Power Mascara - I've scoured the earth looking for a mascara that will not end up on my face.  Cause that's not attractive.  But this mascara is the ONLY ONE I have found that will actually stay put.  Sometimes if I want more volume, I'll use this as a base and then add some Voluminous by L'Oreal.

Laura Mercier Oil-Free Foundation - OK, I've tried all the big shots.  But this oil-free foundation is the ONLY Oil-Free Foundation I have found so far that does not actually accentuate every little patch of dry skin.  Thank you, Bloomingdales, for letting me try out and return foundations until I got it just right.  :)
 Nars Blush (Color: Orgasm) - Blush of the century, apparently.  It's recommended everywhere.

But!  For a shot of pink blush that will stay put ALL DAY....

Revlon ColorStay Lipstick - in Perennial Plum - used as a blush.  I think I prefer this to the Nars blush on most days.  Put a dot on your cheeks and rub it in.  It will brighten you up and won't budge.  It would stay on overnight if you let it.  I learned this trick from one of the most radiant, beautiful girls I know (Andrea Coombs!)
Eyeliner/Eye Brow Pencil - Avon.  Nice & cheap.  Works just fine.  Reminds me of being a little girl when the Avon lady would come over. 

Lipsticks - I have quite a line-up...here are just a few favorites.

RedsRuby Woo by MAC  is bad-a** red.

You know Diva Orange from Vera Moore is my red/orange go to.
Hot Pink:  One of my all-time favorites is Nars Funny Face.  I get loads of compliments on this one every time I wear it.  I really love it.  I also love Carthage.

Soft PinksPink Plaid by MAC.  Just a decent color for non-bright-lipstick days.

Sometimes I wear Pink Plaid mixed with a shot of:  St. Germaine by MAC.

Chapsticks - I've used Avon "Care Deeply" since I was a child and got this in my stocking.  I use it every single night.  If it's full of harmful ingredients, I'm screwed.  :)

On my current wish list:  A peachy lipstick.    

What make-up do you guys wear??  Do you have any favorites you can't live without?  (I am dying to hear!  :)

30 May 2012

Another Tip for Husbands and Wives

Well, here I go again with another hot little tip for husbands and wives.  Why not, right?  :)

It starts with a story....

So I got home the other day...and walked in to a quiet house.  I said, "Honey?"  No answer.  I got myself a slice of chocolate tart (made with gluten free ginger snaps from Trader Joe's, that our friends made for us) and sat at the computer.  I was feeling rather badly that Danny wasn't here to enjoy the tart with me because it was hands down the best chocolate tart I had ever had in my life.

                                                                                                          (photo by smitten kitchen)
"Chocolate tart is awaiting you!!  It is off the charts!!"  I texted.

And then I received a text back......

"I am waiting for YOU!!"

WHAT?!??!  Did this mean Danny was HOME??

Yes, he was home.  He was waiting for me in the bedroom...............

I nearly died before I got down our hallway.

A little challenge for the week:  Surprise your spouse.  :)  There is nothing quite like it.   

(I hope you don't mind little posts like this from time to time.  I'm all for making that awesome part of marriage as vibrant and as fun as can be. :)

Any ideas for how to surprise your spouse?  Or have you been surprised before??  Do you dare share? I'm sure most of us need as many fun ideas as we can get.  :)

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29 May 2012

Love Story: Meeting Danny :)

                                                     (all photos by photographer, Melanie Mauer)

Heading into the city to meet Danny was hands down the most thrilling thing I had ever done in my life.  I had never been more in love with someone.  Oh me oh my.  :)

He felt like my soul mate.  I know that sounds crazy, but he really, really did.  We just knew each other's hearts.  And we were so aligned with everything that mattered most to us in this life. 
So here I was, making cookies in my kitchen for the greatest man I had never met while he rode in on a bus coming from Boston. 

And then Danny texted me to say that he was passing the Met Museum.  I about died.  He was already in New York?!?  He was in the city much earlier than I had envisioned as I think the last time he wrote he said he was about 75 miles away.  So you should have seen me scramble to get out the door.  I had gotten my hair cut earlier that day.  I had a new outfit and new Fall boots.  My hair wasn't even curly, but blown out and much darker than normal...so I worried that I looked so different than the photos he was in love with.  I hoped he would still approve.  My apartment had never been cleaner in my whole life.  My fridge was full of ingredients for every kind of food I'd ever made...just in case we were in the mood for anything particular.  My car was washed.  And now all I could do was race to the city to meet Danny for the very first time.

I drove through the Battery Tunnel.  I just remember smiling like crazy.  And kind of shaking in my seat from the thrill of it all.  I didn't feel agony or fear.  Somehow, by some miracle, I felt confident.  I felt happy and excited.  I felt anxious to just embrace this man who had meant so much to me...and to tell him thank you.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for existing.  Thank you for loving me as freely as you did and for letting me love you back.  Thank you for uplifting my life so incredibly and bringing more happiness & hope than I had ever known...even if it was just for 3 weeks.
Danny wrote a few times from the bus, by text.  He was getting so excited that he said:  "I don't know if it's me, but I am just so hot on this bus!"  And I responded and said, "Yep, I bet you're hot on that bus!!  And you're making me hot for you right now!!!"  hahha. 

Off I went up the West Side Highway.   I may have squealed out of excitement a few times as I got closer to him.

I drove to Port Authority at 42nd Street near 8th Avenue and pulled over.  My eyes could not stop scanning every person within sight.  Is that him?  Could that be him??  I was shaking inside.  I texted him once to say, "I'm just west of the corner.  I'm in a black Rover."  But I didn't want to take my eyes off the crowd even for a second to write the text.  I didn't want to miss seeing Danny the very first moment possible.  Just then, a man walked towards the car and my heart stopped.  Was that him??  He didn't resemble Danny at all.  It couldn't be him.  The man walked to the driver's side window and I felt a little shocked at what was happening.  Turns out he wanted some money.  I had to end that conversation quickly to get my eyes back to the crowds.  I didn't want to miss the moment. 

Danny then texted to say he was on the corner.  I was dying.  I just thought, "Oh my, it's happening.  This is it.  Any second now."  I got out of my car to walk towards the corner.  I still didn't see him.  And then......I saw him.  :)  :)  He just appeared out of a crowd of people.  It was honestly like a light was shining on him.  haha.  He just glowed.  He had the biggest, kindest, warmest smile I had ever seen in my life.  My very first thought?  "He's just like me."  Meaning, we were the same kind of person.  I could tell.  He was truly a man with a good heart.  It was all real.  He really was the Danny that felt like my soul mate in our emails.  I could see every ounce of goodness in that man in one glance - even across the crowd as he was walking towards me, even before I heard him say a word.  I knew then and there that this man was one of the best I had ever known.  You see, Danny wears his goodness on the outside.  He doesn't hide it or hold back one bit.  He just had the warmest, kindest energy I had ever felt from anyone in my life.  To me, there is nothing more desirable or attractive.

Danny just came right towards me to hug me.  My next thought was, "He's a real man :) :)"  The way he just walked towards me without hesitation.  The way he didn't hold back his love and affection for a second.  He was tall and strong.  He just had 100% confidence.  And all of it was oh, oh so appealing.   I should add that he was drop dead handsome.  I mean, more handsome to me than anyone.  I really couldn't believe it.  I didn't realize that he was as handsome as he was.  He was even more handsome than I had dreamed up during those three weeks of emailing.  I seriously was dying.

I was now a good distance from the car at this point.  It was left on the curb illegally and running.  But nothing else in the world mattered to me in that moment.  We just hugged and hugged.  We were both just beaming and glowing and laughing and smiling.  I remember making all kinds of "ohhhh - it's really you!" kinds of sounds.  We stood back once or twice to lay eyes on each other.  People walked by and stared.  It's not everyday that you see so much happiness on the streets of New York.

It was the most exciting moment of my life....
P.S.  In addition to the kind heart, Danny smelled amaaaaazing.  And his voice was as sexy as I'd ever heard.  And he had great style.  How did this happen to me?  :)

(We just love all these photos by photographer, Melanie Mauer.  She was so kind to photograph us.  We met up with Melanie and her assistant on the street corner of 42nd & 8th Ave. to see if we could recapture the magic of that first meeting....and I'd say she just nailed it.  I just love looking at these so much and feel so lucky we got to work with her.  I can't say enough good about her.  Thank you, thank you, Melanie!)

Addition:  Outfits were by J.Crew (Top, skirt, bangles, vest, tie.)  Danny's jeans were from his fav. store ever: Uniqlo (he loves the fit.)  My shoes were from Target.  I was wearing Danny's belt.  Lipstick by Vera Moore in Diva Orange, nail polish by H&M.

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28 May 2012

Marimekko Dresses

I've been eyeing Marimekko patterns and clothing for awhile now.  The graphic patterns and color combinations are so great.

I recently got to meet a graphic designer I admire, Erin Jang, and I was so drawn to the top she was wearing.  It turns out it was by Marimekko (she's also wearing it here.)

                                                                                                                         (photo by Erin Jang)

Here are my top Marimekko dress picks right now....(and they are all on sale!)....if I was going to buy a new little dress for spring, I'd love to get one of these:

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25 May 2012

Love Announcements

-Hopefully by now you've seen this adorable new series called "Olive Us".  It's produced by a very talented mom & dad and it's starring their adorable 6 children.  They've created a culture within their family that focuses on being a good sibling.  And now they have some beautiful little videos to share with the world to show what being a good sibling might look like (above is just the first video, but you can click here to see the rest.)  I just love what they're doing.  And seeing this beautiful family makes me look forward to being a mom.

-This is a great article on marriage from the Huffington Post:  15 Ways to Stay Married for 15 Years.  I loved it.  While I didn't agree with everything, there is still a lot of wisdom here.  The comments are amazing to read, too. 

-And here's a note from a reader that I thought I'd share.  It was so moving to me.  She's struggling with infertility but starting to change her perspective on the trial she's experiencing.  This is truly amazing...truly a miracle that is happening.  And these miracles are happening everyday with so many of you.  I applaud you all for doing the work.  I know you all have it in you.  This note I share with you today is done so with the hope that it can inspire others, too.  I send all of the love and encouragement in the world to each one of you.....

"Mara, thank you!!  You have changed my life.  I found your article Mother’s day weekend.  You have given me the answer I have been praying for!  My husband and I have not been handling the years of infertility very well.  I hate Mother’s day, yet I know that it’s not all about me.  My husband and I are very grateful and respectful and celebrate our mothers and the women in our lives the best that we can.  But the day before Mother’s day was worse for me this year than the actual day itself…the anticipation…I even sent text messages to some auxillary leaders in my congregation telling them I would be absent and asking them not to drop off the customary Mother’s Day gift.  As I was doing this I kept thinking “this is not me, I am not this person…I endure my trials well…why is this so hard?  God doesn’t want me to be so sad and most definitely does not want me to wallow.”

Then I found your article.  As I started reading I could not believe your attitude!  It was so refreshing! As I read the tears streamed down my cheeks and I kept thinking “Good for her!!!…..but, I’m not there yet.  She gets it!!….but, I’m not there yet.  WOW!!!  She is amazing and 100% correct…but I’m not there yet.”

Over the last week and a half I have really mulled over the things that you spoke of.  I thought I had been handling things well, most of the time, but the pain is still so overwhelming at times that I can’t breathe.  I’ve had an extra rough time lately, but I know that I can’t live like this.  I have things to do and a life to live!  I have come to this conclusion several times over the years and I have pulled myself up by the boot straps and moved on…but then something happens (pregnancy of someone close to me or a birth, etc) and I crumble.  I don’t want to be ok most of the time to just crash and burn unexpectedly.  I want to be the outgoing, bright, loving person I truly am all of the time.  I know that there has to be a better way of thinking about and dealing with our trials.  It is my choice!  I choose to set a good example for my future children, and endure my trials well.  I choose to take that pain and transform it into something productive.  I am glad that you said that it takes PRACTICE because I know that it will, but you have changed my perspective.  I have shared your story and perspective with my husband (who has an even harder time with our infertility than me) and I hope that he will join me, especially as he sees me putting it into practice.

I know that you have been able to get to the point you are at because of your faith in God and the strength He as given you has you have put your faith into practice.  THANK YOU for sharing your beautiful story with my husband and I.

'Overcoming trials is no easy feat.  But doing so is a gift to the world.  It’s a gift to your spouse, your children (born or unborn) and really, all humanity.'  It is my goal to share this gift with the world in the way that you have.  You will be a WONDERFUL mother!  From the bottom of my heart, thank you!"

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend!  Danny and I will be spending time with a dear friend who will be in town (she was just in Egypt as a news reporter covering the elections!)  AND - she just started a wonderful blog!  You can read about her adventures here.)

Love to all,


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24 May 2012

We Want the Scoop on Parenting and MARRIAGE

Recently I was on a walk at the park with my walking partner (hopefully she remembers me....it's been awhile :) and we were talking about parenting styles...and marriage! 

This is a topic I am so very interested in as it seems a difference in parenting styles could just be a breeding ground for disagreements between a husband and a wife.  Have you experienced this?  Are we in for a big surprise when we have kids?  I think Danny and I are on the same page with things.  But I'm still curious, what are the hot spots that came up when you had kids?  I'd love to hear.  I'm sure there are so many things we haven't thought of...  

(This photo make me melt.  These are some of our favorite Brooklyn kids.  One Sunday Danny was a substitute teacher in the nursery class.) 

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23 May 2012

We're Still Here!

Dear Readers,

Maybe you've noticed some new ads on our site?  haha!  oh dear. 
Thank you for bearing with us while we're in the process of getting the sponsor end of this blog worked out.  So far this blog has been a complete labor of love.  And it will continue to be, oh my.  But we had an opportunity to work with a company that wants to help us get some ads on our site.  To be honest, we haven't had any time at all to work on this ourselves.  You see, we put every last drop we've got into writing posts for the blog, preparing our on-line classes, meeting with readers at the park, emailing our readers, writing posts for the Equals Record and now Babble!  (Yes, I'll have my own column on Babble starting June 1!  :)  Sharing inspiring messages really is where our heart is.  And so, we're excited to have a company help manage the ads on our site for us so we can continue to do what we care about the most.  We do need to change a few things design wise so these ads don't interfere too much as they are now (I don't know the first thing about HTML otherwise I'd clean the site up myself).  We hope to get some design help soon.  In the meantime, know that it's still just Danny & Mara here writing away on our homegrown blog.  We love you guys and thank you for all your support in our efforts!

Danny & Mara

P.S.  There we are at the park reviewing notes for our class.  I think it's time I put away my tall boots and start wearing summer shoes, don't you think?  I have only one pair of summer shoes that aren't worn to shreds (New York is rough on shoes!)  But as you can see, that one pair I have is not very New York saavy.  So....I may be looking around for some summer shoes before Brazil....
P.P.S.  A few more things:

-THANKS for all the wonderful comments that have come in the last few days - particularly on the post about announcing a pregnancy.  You guys are wonderful - and I appreciate all your insights.
-Here's my latest post on The Equals Record, I Thought I Was A Good Lover.

-Our 5th online class is tonight, How to Create a Better/Happier Marriage.  You better believe we've been busting our tails.  :)

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22 May 2012

Love Story: Our VERY LAST emails before seeing each other.

                                                                                                         (Photo by Melanie Mauer)

Today is the day - - here are our very last emails from the last few hours.  After these emails end, I race off to Manhattan.  A few hot texts go back and forth in between lots of laughing and heart pounding as we get closer and closer to each other.  And then....we lay eyes on each other for the very first time.  We hear each other's voices for the very first time.  (I am dying just thinking about it.)
For now, let's finish off these emails..........Danny is on that bus headed to NYC!  :)

21 May 2012

When To Announce a Pregnancy or IVF? (No, not pregnant)

                                                   (photo by one of my favorite bloggers & one of the very first I ever knew about, Kelly McCaleb)

Today, I'm very curious about how you all feel about something......
What are your thoughts on announcing a pregnancy or an IVF cycle?

Did you tell anyone early on?  Just a few?  Or did you share the exciting news with every breathing human being that crossed your path? 

I've had 8 years to think about announcing a pregnancy.  And I tell ya, I think I'll just want to tell everyone if it happens.  Yes, at my age and with my unknown fertility issues, the risk for miscarriage would be very high.  But you know what, I don't really fear a miscarriage.  (That ship sailed a long time ago.)  It would just be exciting to be pregnant - even if it was for a few weeks.  And it seems it would just be a shame to not share that exciting news if it happened.

I'd LOVE to hear any of your thoughts or experiences about this!



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18 May 2012

Love Announcements: Behind the Scenes at ABAL

                                                                                               (Photo by the lovely Rebecca Baust)

-Waiting for visas for Brazil.  Did you know the post office under Rockefeller Center is the best one in town?  At lunch time, the place had no line whatsoever.  Never seen anything like it.  It's like finding buried gold under New York City.

-My hen & chick succulent already had 15 baby chicks.  How on earth?  15!

-Meeting with one of my mentors tomorrow.  She's wonderful.  And she's doing wonderful things for the world.  I will watch & listen.  And we have lots to discuss.

-Feeling extremely, extremely blessed to do what I do.  I had no idea where this experience would take me but so far it has been so rewarding.  You all make it so.  Thank you, thank you for your wonderful notes and emails.  They truly mean the world.  Always working on responding to each & every one.  Though there are huge chunks I've missed.  I hope so much to get to you. 

-Did you know that I'm on Pinterest?  I'm pretty new to it. 

                                                                                          (Photo by the lovely Rebecca Baust)

-Last Christmas Danny got what my friend calls "Sexy Socks".  I always thought I didn't need great looking socks.  (Just the gold toes from Costco in bulk.)  But well, those stripes on Danny do it for me.

-We're gearing up for our next class which is dedicated to Marriage & Relationships!  Very excited for this one, of course.

-The next few months are going to be momentous for the Kofoed family.  Family planning is on the schedule.  We'll keep you posted!

-Want a sneak peak at our street corner photo shoot?  :)

Happy Weekend!



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17 May 2012

Love Story: Danny's Packed & Ready to Go. More Emails from the DAY WE MEET!

                                                                                (Photo by Melanie Mauer)

Hello dear readers -

We hope you've enjoyed hearing about our 'Love Story' and reading the emails we wrote to each other sight unseen in the 3 weeks before we met.  It's been fun to share them with you.  We just wanted to share what love can feel like when two people come together with their own individual peace & happiness.  It's really amazing.  You guys, it's better than the movies.  :)  It's better than romance novels.  It's the best kind of love I've ever experienced.  And...it makes for a really amazing marriage.  We couldn't be more grateful for the union that we have.  And it's only because we chose to do the inner work first - the work needed to heal and have self-worth.  The work needed to be vulnerable enough to LOVE for the sake of loving.  And the work needed to truly be at peace & happy with our lives - even in the state they were in, with divorces and infertility in our recent past.  If we can do this, we know that you can, too!!  Little by little.  Whether you are married yet or not, we just know it's possible!  :)  It's important to note that every story will look different.  Some will not have what you would call a storybook ending.  It may not even be close to that.  But even then - so much beauty & liberation awaits you individually as you try to heal and be at peace with your lives.  And we hope you feel our support and love every step of the way as you try to get there.

Today I present more emails from the day we met.  :) :) :)  Part of me wants to just give them all to you today at once - every last one.  But that would still be one loooong post.  You know me, my posts are long enough (like this one)!  So, I'll still break up the last bits of these emails into I think 1 (maybe 2?) additional posts.  But I'm too anxious now so expect these to be posted sooner than later.

And, very soon we have some special photos to share with you.  We were so incredibly lucky to have a reader and photographer from Kentucky (Melanie Mauer) come to New York to photograph us in the very spot where we met.  The photographs are just beautiful and we cherish them so, so much!  And the woman behind that camera was unreal.  She really could be one of the kindest, most lovely people we've ever met.  We loved her assistant, too.  They won our hearts big time and we are so thankful to them for their loveliness, cute New York saaviness (they got a cabbie to hang out for a photo!), and generosity.

And here we go - the first bit of love emails after the jump......

16 May 2012

If Your Wife is Infertile...

I've had two husbands during my years of infertility.

I know very well what it's like to interact with a husband over these kinds of issues.

Luckily Danny could not be more positive about the entire experience, which is contagious let me tell you.

May I present to you.......some things that Danny does that rocks my world:
  •  He knows what time of the month it is.  He keeps good track of these things.  He seems to always have a clue about when I'm fertile.  I always think, "Does he write it on a calendar like I do or what?"  I don't think he does.  But he knows.  I barely have to think about it.  And it means the world to me.
    • He doesn't hesitate to initiate.  There isn't any tension.  Never a need for awkward reminders.  Never a moment of thinking, "I'm the only one running this show."  There are few things worse than feeling like you're the only one on top of things.  (ha, no pun intended :) 
    • He talks openly about fertility as if it's a family issue.  Meaning, he doesn't just sit there like it's not his deal & look to me to do all the talking if it comes up.  He has stayed in tune with doctor appointments and knows the answers to questions that come up from family and friends.  I love his involvement and co-ownership of those discussions. 
    • He supports everything we're doing to assist the process.  I mean, everything.  He's willing to try all kinds of things.  Even the really crazy ones.  And he's always checking menus & labels for me for gluten-free & dairy-free foods.
    • He has no fear about adoption.  None.  He'd do it in a heartbeat.  His open mind about that is a blessing to me. 
    • He tells me often what a good mom I am.  Yep, he talks about the mom that "I am."  He always wants to give me confidence that I already have everything I need to possess that role.  Never, ever, ever has he given me reason to think otherwise.  He just exudes 100% confidence in me & tells me so often.
    • And well, he enjoys the process....I mean, we are talking about baby-making.  :)  Plus he just loves the idea of a family and he's grateful to be working towards that.  
      Hopefully this list is helpful to any husbands out there.  I know you guys want to do anything you can to make things go smoothly.  You're awesome for all you are trying to do.

      Do you have anything else to add?  Any great things your husband did or didn't do when you were trying to get pregnant??  I'd so love to hear.  And I'm sure other husbands would appreciate it, too :)


      P.S.  Here's a link to another post I wrote for the Equals Record.  It's about a topic I haven't yet shared on the blog & it's about something I did when my first marriage was at it's lowest point...

      P.S.  Sending a lot of love to "K.H." - thank you for your life.  You're a beautiful and wonderful person with so much to give.  Thank you for your email.  We love you.

      (Photo source:  Eye Poetry.)

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      15 May 2012

      Danny's Forte

      Our butts have officially been kicked.

      6 classes in 6 weeks = laaaate nights, survival by non-perishables (or take-out, if we're lucky), and a sink full of every fork & glass & plate we own.  But it's worth it.  It's been an extraordinary experience so far.

      We teach class #4 tonight.  For married people & single people alike.

      This one is Danny's forte.

      It's going to be awesome.

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      14 May 2012

      Friends. Picnic. Best Location in all of NYC.

      Our weekend could not have been better.  Saturday we went to our favorite place in all of NYC:  Brooklyn Bridge Park. (See the link for their summer schedule of events.)

      It's the best place ever for us friends to gather and picnic with the most spectacular views of the city and the Brooklyn & Manhattan Bridges as our back drop.  Talk about feeling really, really lucky to call this place home. :)

      See my hat there?  It was completely crumpled earlier that day.  It had gotten trapped under a heavy pile of clothes and had lost it's shape.  I thought it was a goner, but had to try something.  So I...

      1.  Used a water sprayer to lightly mist it.
      2.  Took a blow dryer to it while trying to hold it's correct shape.

      Bam.  Worked like a charm.  Though unfortunately that hat won't due for all of summer.  This year I've decided to get smart and get one of these with more coverage (thanks, Gabrielle for the great suggestions!)  I'm loving the color blocked one from Forever 21 or the Panama hat.
      And see this cutie pinata?  Who knew that Amazon had pinatas.  Well, my friend did.  :)  And she completely talked me into getting Amazon Prime.  Do you guys have Amazon Prime?  It think it's time we go for it.  Even with the minimal things we order, I think it would still save us money on shipping.  

      And here's my dear husband at the corner store on Saturday night.  We were walking home when he dashed inside to "buy a few things for breakfast."  :)  (Even though we hardly ever have a real breakfast before church on Sundays. )  He collected items.  I stood by and smiled, feeling completely spoiled.  And the next morning I woke up to him cooking away in the kitchen.  He said he wanted to do something sweet for the future mother of his kids.....and it certainly was something sweet.  I had the perfect day.  I hope you did, too.

      Hope you all have a wonderful week!!  We'll be thinking of you all, for sure.
      In fact, right now I am going to close this post cause I've got work to do - - -
      Our next 'Class About Love' is this Tuesday at 8 pm.  So we're hopping around here.  This class is called "How to Develop the Language of Love" and it's all about the nitty gritty part of being vulnerable.  We hope you like it. 


      P.S.  This post just helped me figure out what to get Danny for Father's Day.  And it's not a pinata :)

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      11 May 2012

      To Birth a Soul

      Today I will write about one of my favorite days of the year........

      Mother's Day.

      And I will attempt to do my feelings on this subject justice. 

      I have not yet been able to birth another soul, but in the process of learning how to be at peace with this experience and many others, I have birthed my own soul. There is nothing more miraculous that I have done in my whole life.

      Right now I am sitting in my friend's home while her children are sleeping and she is at the movie theater with her husband. I just heard a little cough from her sleeping, curly haired daughter and it sounded oh so cute. My friend is a super mom of two. I just raided her cupboards for a bite to eat, like a 14-year old babysitter, and saw labels on shelves: "baking supplies", "snacks", "spices & condiments". This place is the tightest ship I've seen. And yet her world is not feeling so tight these days.

      After many years of trying to have a 3rd child, she just got diagnosed with breast cancer. We are all stunned. She's my age. And she couldn't have a healthier lifestyle. Her surgery is soon and tonight was the last night they could fit in for a date night.

      Her situation reminds me of the tragedies that we all face - in various forms. It's amazing how none of us are immune. Things seem to pop up all around us.

      I can't help but think of what power these tragedies have in our lives.

      I am reminded why my own tragedies got carved down from being the worst experiences of my whole life, into something so beautiful that I can hardly even describe it.

      And it began because I wanted to be a mother. 

      Not being able to get pregnant that first year, so long ago, started me on a journey that hasn't wavered in the 7 years that have followed. I began deliberately living my life in a better way out of love for the children that I hoped to have.

      There is great beauty in mothering and caring for a life. And while giving birth to a child could be the greatest physical miracle, I think giving birth to your own soul could be one of the greatest spiritual miracles.

      To all of you who are mothers and all who are not - may your tragedies and challenges become opportunities for you to begin caring for yourselves. May they be the kindling you need to start staring at life in the face and deciding that you want to be at peace with it, just as it is.  

      May your tragedies inspire you to love in a way that maybe you've never loved before: by doing the work to heal yourself. Do it out of love for others, so that you can offer the best of yourself to your children (born or unborn), your spouse, & every person that is ever in touch with you. This is the greatest offering of love I can think of - there is no greater gift to the world than this level of love.  

      May you let your tragedies be a reason to decide to pursue a virtue as you face them (forgiveness, patience, kindness, hope, love, etc.). There is no greater happiness & liberation found than in the pursuit of virtues...and it's a pursuit we all can choose no matter what we are faced with.  It is the key to choosing (& having) the most long-term, have-at-any-moment, best-ever-in-the world kind of happiness.

      And ultimately, may your tragedies lead to the greatest birth you could ever have - the birth of your own soul.

      As I celebrate Mother's Day as a symbol of what my desire for motherhood has done to me, if you need a reason to celebrate this day, may you...

      Celebrate the beauty of beginning a journey to heal yourself out of love for your children. Celebrate the beauty of the challenge of motherhood and the amazing lessons & transformations available to you because of it. Celebrate the beauty of waiting for a child and the time that you will have to heal yourself before you even become a mother. Celebrate the beauty of the preparation, excitement, and hope of having a child or of meeting your future spouse & companion.  

      Hold your head high and celebrate birth, in all it's forms, as we transform and become the best women & mothers we can be.

      Sending much love and honor to all of you,


      P.S.  In case you'd like to read it, I edited an old post of mine called "Mother's Day for an Infertile Woman" and it was just published on the Equals Record.  

      P.P.S.  Favorite snack of the night: Freeze dried strawberries from Trader Joe's. Haha. So good.  :)  

      10 May 2012

      Feeling Lots of Gratitude

      I'm writing this on Wednesday night and we just finished our 3rd on-line class.  It felt good.  Whew.  The minute we went off the air we just looked at each other, smiled big, gave each other high fives and sighed in relief.  I still can't believe we're really doing this.  haha.  But it has been such an amazing way to interact with our readers that we're loving it.  And I'll admit, after three classes it's feeling more & more interactive and less "I'm just talking to a screen." 

      (Pictures are from our anniversary!  We spent a night at home planning our class like crazy people.  Ha!  But we spoiled ourselves with some great take-out from one of our favorite restaurants in Park Slope, Talde.  And toasted with our favorite drink.  And since we still have the shirts that we wore when we first met each other on a street corner, we wore those, too.) 

      In case you're interested in what people had to say about the class:

      "This class exceeded my expectations... how is that even possible?! :)"

      "Thanks!  That helped a lot, and I could feel the truth and power of your experience.  I feel excited to integrate the process."

      "This was amazing.  Thank you so much." 

      "Thank you so much for all you did to prepare for tonight. It has helped so much and give some perspective to a life's journey. I took time out of grad school finals to participate tonight... and I am so glad I did."

      "Thank you Danny & Mara, you always seem to be able to explain these principles in ways that are really meaningful and helpful for me."

      "I can't wait to share all that I have learned with friends and family."

      "See you next week! :)"

      "thank you for this class, i loved it!"

      "Thanks for such a great class. Very, very enjoyable. :)"

      "Thanks so much for taking your time and energy to speak to all of us so openly and thoroughly.  I loved every minute, and can't wait for tomorrow's opportunities to show love."

      "Thanks for putting your shower, cleaning, etc on hold for doing this!! you guys are AWESOME! :)"

       "Thank you ... a pleasure to have spent the last hour with you..."

      "Thank you so much for your wisdom and your time to share with us!!"

      "You are both awesome."

      "thx thx thx!"

      "A wonderful hour... thank you!"

      "You guys are so cute and kind and positive.  I love it.  I am striving to learn to be this way."


      The warmest thanks to all of you.  Big smiles & lots of gratitude here at the Kofoed house.  :)

      And now I must admit, I'm ready to call it an early night.  And I wish a housekeeping fairy would visit us in our sleep.  :)

      With love,


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