A journey of a thousand miles…

I am addicted to the learning curve- yes seriously- I go through hobbies and interests like people go through paper plates.  I grew up an Army brat moving every 3 years, but have now lived in the same place for 20 years and the only way I can satisfy my need for change is to continuously learn.  While I LOVE it, I know it drives my family crazy because they can never pin down my likes.  Things that have NOT changed in my life, my love of adventure, reading and the color green.  When I fixate on a subject, I am all consumed by it, almost master it, then drop it like a bad habit.  It’s all very normal for me, but to outsiders, I’m sure I come across as flaky.  You want to a list of things I’ve explored?  Here goes…

  • certified beekeeper
  • belly dancing (2 yrs)
  • candle making
  • quilt making
  • beading
  • chickens (yes the ones that lay blue eggs just like Martha Stewart)
  • cooking- I still love this one
  • stone masonry
  • tile
  • remodeling houses
  • camping- still love this too- only it’s starting to feel like a lot of work
  • travelling- love to go, but LOVE to come home
  • costume making (won Halloween couple contest 2 years)
  • reading- never gets old
  • writing- this comes in waves
  • painting
  • stuffed animal making- short lived
  • gardening-flowers
  • gardening-produce
  • gardening-fruit trees
  • archeology
  • tubing
  • rafting
  • horseback riding
  • voice lessons
  • soap making
  • road tripping
  • National Parks

As you can see, the list is diverse and there is no connecting theme.  It’s just the way I’m built.  My current goals are to learn Mandarin & to learn 6 basic chords on the guitar.  I’ve attempted these several times, but want to get serious this time.  So, I’m going to watch Stephen Duneier’s TED Talk and get started.  Please hold me accountable!  I’ve got the Living Language course in Mandarin to follow and a Youtube series for guitar.  I’ll post updates on my progress which I hope you’ll cheer me on!

Why Chinese?  Well, I watched the series Firefly years ago and that started a spark, then just read Crazy Rich Asians and that has now got me fired up to learn.

Why guitar?  Well, let’s just say that when I run into Johnny Depp, I’d like to have something in common to talk about.  AND playing guitar is probably as cool as I will ever get since I am a straight up NERD.

Pretty Little Liars and the Arts Council

Melanie Knight That 70's GalaYes, I am college educated grown woman and I loved loved loved Pretty Little Liars.  I grew up with Scooby Doo and the never ending mysteries to solve, so this glammed up show was right up my alley.  It was the perfect mix of fashion, suspense and uber frenemies.  The young ladies in this American Telenovella are perpetually going to one costume ball or another; basically any excuse to dress up and avoid getting murdered.  Who knew joining the Lancaster County Council of the Arts would feed my PLL soul?

Yes, by joining my local arts community I get to live out loud and fulfill my inner Pretty Little Liars fantasy of hair, nails, makeup & costumes!  Seriously, it is a dream come true.

So here we are at the Black & White Gala last year 2017 and the That 70’s Gala in 2018.  Both were just the right mix fun, food and dancing.  Seriously, I am already planning for 2010, Midnight in Paris.  Really, what does one wear at midnight in Paris?  This will take some time.  If you have any idea- please leave me some advice in the comments!

So, if you are like me and would like to play dress up as an adult, go out and JOIN the arts council of your town.  It’s a fabulous way to support your local art community and have a blast while you do it.

Melanie Knight Black and White Gala
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Luau 101- Father’s Day Feast

Luau 101 www.theluckywife.life

By Melanie Knight – posted courtesy of The Lancaster News
It’s blistering hot and the natives are getting restless. Instead of dreaming about a tropical getaway, why not enjoy your own mini “stay-cation” at home and treat dad to the ultimate luau?
Grab a Tiki torch, Hawaiian shirt, pina colada and get ready to limbo. With these simple ideas and recipes, you can host your own backyard luau and hula dance into the sunset.
According to the Polynesian Cultural Center, a traditional luau is the Hawaiian way of celebrating a major event, such as a life milestone, graduation or wedding, by enjoying several days of food, music and dance with family and friends. It was originally a way to unite the guests and with each dish having a symbolic meaning, like strength and virtue.
Your luau doesn’t have to be on an island to harbor the same feelings of goodwill.
Just keep the words of Benny Kai, the PCC “Ambassador of Aloha” in mind.
“Whenever you’re at a Hawaiian luau, you are ohana (family),” he said.
Getting ready
To get guests ready for a “latitude adjustment,” transform your backyard into a tropical paradise with these decorating ideas from ww.eHow.com that use supplies from a party supply store.
– To decorate, use anything with flowers, palm trees, fake parrots, fruit and sea shells. Arrange flowers down the center length of the table and accent with pineapples, coconuts and seashells. Perch a plastic parrot in your chandelier or on top of the refrigerator.
– Make simple leis out of colorful crepe streamers twisted together and taped into individual 30-inch loops.
– Drawstring trash bags become adjustable grass skirts by cutting 1-inch wide strips vertically from the bottom to 10 inches below the drawstring (heavy-duty bags work best). Use several of these to top your patio umbrella, or use them as a grass skirt along the edge of the table.
– Dig out those Christmas lights and string them up around your patio.
– Tiki torches work double duty – adding atmosphere to your party and keeping the mosquitoes away if you use citronella oil.
– Serve frozen cocktails and mocktails (non-alcoholic). Pina coladas and pineapple iced tea will instantly chill out your guests.
– Download some traditional Hawaiian music. Mix it up with some Elvis Presley’s “Blue Hawaii” and Don Ho’s “Gold.”
– Greet each guest as they arrive with a hearty “aloha” (hello/goodbye and love), a “honi” (kiss) on the cheek, and a “lei” (garland of flowers). You can pick up some more Hawaiian words and phrases at http://www.aloha-friendsluau.com. They even have the Lord’s Prayer in Hawaiian.
– Dancing is an integral part of a luau, so get a lively round of limbo going. A bamboo stalk works best for this game, but a broom will do. Two people hold the stick and each person has to bend backward and dance under the stick without touching it. Once everyone goes under, the stick is lowered 2 to 4 inches and the next round starts.
– Give the natives a chance to grab a frozen drink, then round them up again for and see who can hula like a “kama`aina” (true Hawaiian native). Being the host, you should practice before hand by checking out some hula dancing on http://www.youtube.com.
Now that you’ve got the tropical fever, here’s a sample menu to keep get you started. Aloha!

Luau recipes:
1 Grilled Pineapple Pound Cake a la Mode
1 20-ounce can sliced pineapple
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 slices pound cake
Strawberries or raspberries, for topping
Nuts, for topping
Whipped cream, for topping

– Drain pineapple, reserving 1/3 cup juice and six pineapple rings (save remaining juice and pineapple for another use).
– Combine juice, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.
– Brush half of the mixture on both sides of pineapple and cake slices.
– On an uncovered grill over medium heat, cook pineapple and cake for 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown, brushing occasionally with remaining pineapple juice mixture. Top each slice of cake with a pineapple ring. Top with berries, nuts and whipped cream, if desired. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

– By Paula Deen (www.foodnetwork.com)

2 Beef Teriyaki
1 pound steak, cut into 1-inch cubes (round, sirloin or rib-eye will work)
1 15-ounce can pineapple chunks with juice
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
2 teaspoons sesame oil (can substitute olive oil)

– Combine all ingredients, including liquid from pineapple. Marinate, cover and refrigerate for 3 hours.
– Thread beef and pineapple alternately on skewers. Discard leftover marinade. Place on hot grill, turn every 5 minutes so meat cooks evenly. Cook to your preference – rare, medium, well done. Makes 4 servings

– By Rhonda Parkinson (www.about.com)

3 Pineapple Iced Tea
6 tea bags
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups boiling water
Fresh mint
Juice of 3 lemons
5 tablespoons pineapple juice

– Place tea bags and sugar in a 2-quart pitcher. Add 4 cups of boiling water. Steep for 15 minutes. Remove tea bags.
– Steep fresh mint leaves in tea for at least three minutes. Remove mint leaves. Add lemon and pineapple juices.
– Add cold water to the pitcher. Serve over ice. Garnish with pineapple and fresh mint leaves.

– By John Fischer (www.about.com)

4 Aloha Sweet Potatoes
1 15-ounce canned yams/sweet potatoes
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup shredded coconut

– Slice sweet potatoes about 1/2-inch thick.
– In a large skillet, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar and water and cook on medium heat about 5 minutes. Reduce heat and add sweet potatoes to skillet. Cook gently; tossing lightly until sweet potatoes are glazed. Sprinkle with coconut before serving. Makes 4 servings.

– From http://www.hisurf.com

5 Huli Huli Chicken
4-6 chicken breasts
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons sherry or white wine
1 piece ginger root, crushed
1 clove garlic, crushed
Grilled pineapple slices and maraschino cherries (optional)

– Combine ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, sherry, ginger root, and garlic. Stir well.
– Place chicken on a hot outdoor grill. Baste the chicken frequently and continue grilling for about 10-15 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Double check by slicing into the thickest part of chicken breast. The inside should be white, not pink. Garnish with grilled pineapple slices and cherries (optional). Makes 4-6 servings.

– By John Fischer (www.about.com)

6 Pina Colada
2.5 ounces light rum
3 ounces pineapple juice
2 ounces cream of coconut
3/4 cup crushed ice
Pineapple chunks (for garnish)

– Place ingredients in blender, reserving pineapple chunks for garnish, and process until smooth, about 10-15 seconds. Pour into a chilled glass and garnish with reserved pineapple chunks, if desired. Leave out rum for a non-alcoholic “mocktail.” Makes 1 serving.


Weight loss in the Upside Down with Boho Beautiful

Boho BeautifulBoho Beautiful

Yes, stranger things have happened, but I can only credit my 14 pound weight loss (in the 1st 13 weeks of 2018) to Juliana & Mark and losing my appetite in the upside down.  Why?  I’ll tell you.

  1. I work in the food industry and have been clean eating for 7 years now, never seen results like this.  I felt better and my cholesterol was down, but no weight loss.
  2. I also QUIT walking 30 minutes a day.  I’ve done it also for 7 years and while I enjoyed it, I was tired of it.  I got to enjoy nature and some great conversations with Barb, but no weight loss from this.
  3. I’ve done aerobics and belly dancing and while these were both strenuous activities and I felt great after each class- stronger even, no sustained weight loss.

Which brings me to yoga.  Everything I’ve know to be steady and stable has gone completely bonkers since last year’s solar eclipse (yes I am being dramatic, but it is still kinda true).  This massive  change in my family, work, social, etc. gave me unprecedented mounts of stress and threw my blood pressure through the roof, so I needed a way to find balance.  I turned to Boho Beautiful

I’ve followed the Boho Beautiful Pilates YouTube videos off and on for a couple of years, mainly as I geared up for a beach trip.  This time, I started to do the yoga videos.  I took Tony Robbin’s advice and created a morning and night ritual.  I do a 10 minute yoga video in the morning, and a 15 minute video at night.  This was the silver bullet to my weight loss.

Once, my doctor told me the best way to lose weight was to eat less.  Yes- this made me laugh hysterically for years too.  Really?  I am a hungry person and if I don’t eat I get a headache.  After adding these yoga videos to my routine, I have to remind myself to eat.  Let me repeat that- I HAVE TO REMIND MYSELF TO EAT.  I’ve even found my self spitting out food after I’ve chewed it up.  Gone is my second breakfast and my mid morning snack.  Gone also is my afternoon snack, pre dinner snack and my after dinner dessert.    Don’t judge, I made up my mind years ago that if I am going to eat food, it would only be delicious- so believe me all of these “snacks” were delicious and nutritious.  What made the difference?  I credit it to the upside down.

Yes- all of the other exercise activities I used to do always had me right side up, yoga had me upside down.  I used to hate how my head felt when I did downward dog, now I look forward to it.  I think it has to do with draining my lymph nodes, but I really have no idea.  All I know is my body is toned, my life is balance and I am 14 pounds lighter and I AM NOT HUNGRY.  It’s also inspired me to travel more since their videos are shot on location around the world.  I even did my own sunrise beach yoga at Myrtle Beach and got to live the dream!  Thank you Juliana & Mark from Boho Beautiful!  You guys rock!Sunrise Yoga www.theluckywife.life.jpg


Lucky Me

The Ring www.theluckywife.lifeYes, I’m lucky.  Don’t believe me?  It’s true.  Once we went fishing and as I was standing on the riverbank, I looked down and found a diamond ring.  Talk about a Bilbo Baggins hobbit childhood dream come true.  It wasn’t a big diamond, but it was still a gold ring with a diamond.  I turned it into the park ranger, because I am not only lucky, but I am honest, and since no one claimed it after 2 weeks, it was mine-  my precious.  I keep it on my charm bracelet and I love my lucky charms!

But that isn’t the only reason I’m lucky.  I win things, like raffles and drawings that don’t require any effort.  I won the center piece at the Arts Council Ladies Night Out Tea Party the other weekend.

Ladies Nigth Out Tea www.theluckywife.life

I also find money all the time.  Pennies & dimes mainly, but who’s counting?  Well, me actually.  I’ll let you know when I win the lottery.

It wasn’t always this way, me being lucky.  I take that back, I have always had luck, just not always good luck-  there is a difference.  Things changed as I changed.  It didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen.  Slowly but surely over time, as I quit blaming everyone else for the mess I was in and little by little made better decisions, I found that the harder I worked, the luckier I got.  And now it just comes naturally.

  • I’m lucky to be the mother of 2 healthy intelligent young men who light up every life they touch
  • I’m lucky to live not only in the United States of America, but the sultry dirty south
  • I’m lucky to not only have a college education, but a master’s degree
  • I’m lucky to have an insatiable appetite for learning and trying new things

And the list goes on and on.  But if you ask my husband, who nicknamed me Lucky years ago, I am lucky to be married to a man like him.






Who Burnt Your Cornbread?

Who burnt your cornbread?

The question stopped me mid-rant. What was my 8yr old son talking about? I was telling my husband about some terrible series of unfortunate events that unfolded and how it ruined my whole day when my son sauntered in- in the middle of grown folks talking mind you- and asked me “Who burnt your cornbread?” He said it with, as my grandma would say “sass”. It was such an off-topic question that it snatched my full attention and he got the full effect of my laser focus. He did not flinch.

“What did you say?”

“Who burnt your cornbread?”

“What are you talking about? I’m telling daddy about my bad day. What does that have to do with cornbread?”

“Yeah I know, I could hear you all the way down the hall. That’s how I knew somebody done burnt yo’ cornbread.” (Imagine this last part said with some head swagger and double the sass.)

I got it now. Back in my day the catchphrase was “who pissed in your cornflakes?” but since no one eats cereal anymore- but they still eat cornbread because that will NEVER go out of style- the general sentiment has lived on, even if it has morphed slightly with southern flavor.

This realization quickly evolved into me wanting to learn more, so let me share the wealth of my knowledge.

Common usage and translation:

  • Who burnt your cornbread? / What are you so mad about?
  • He burnt your cornbread! / HA HA he got the last word- this is typically reserved for something hilarious

As a family, this has infiltrated our inside jokes and is always entertaining and useful; especially if someone is cranky for no reason. Even now, as I think back on the first time I heard that phrase, I can’t remember what I was so mad about, but I can remember being snapped out of anger and into a reverse teachable moment. So when you find yourself pissed and ranting like I was, reflect back on my story and imagine me asking with full sass “Who burnt your cornbread?” and then consider my second deeper philosophical question “Why did you let them in your kitchen?”