|Kayumanis Villa, Bali|
Italy: A Thousand Days in Tuscany
Reading A Thousand Days in Tuscany by Marlena De Blasi with a glass of white wine is the perfect way to take myself back to that summer in Italy. The memoir recorded a couple's audacious relocation to the town of San Casciano in Tuscany. The memoir contains page after page of vividly descriptive writing filled with nostalgia of Italian flavors. In less than two pages into the book, I already feel like I have been transported to Tuscany and is sitting along side the author, satiating the crunch of a just fried up zucchini flower. In addition, the recipes included at the end of each chapter allows me to take a little part of that dream life into reality as I experiment with them on my own time.
Bali: Herb infused bath
Bali, an island known for its ancient Buddhist temples and endowment of natural beauty, is also renown for its world class spa treatments. After a hectic week, what I wouldn't give to jet set to Bali and soak in a tub filled with rose petals and get an hour long Balinese massage. But lets keep it real with some compromises. For a bath inspired by the floating rose petal pool in Bali (picture shown above), I would draw a bath and add in herbs freshly plucked from my little herb garden. My favorite herbs to add if winding down for the night: lavender and lemon verbena leafs. The aroma of the lavender is so relaxing, while the lemon verbena leaves my skin smelling fresh with a barely there scent of citrus. On a hot summer day, I soak in lukewarm water infused with mint leafs and cucumber for a lingering cooling effect. A bath tub and a little herb garden is all I need to have a little piece of Bali.
Mexico: Salsa night
Not all escapes involve ditching the kids. For Salsa nights, I prepare 3 different kinds of salsa/dips with freshly baked tortilla chips while the kids are dancing and playing to the Mariachi music blasting from the speaker. I usually make a pico de gallo, a bean or cheese dip, and depending on the season, one of the many varieties of mango salsa. The array of vibrant colors adorned by fresh cilantro is delightfully refreshing on a humid summer night. If in the mood for something more filling, sear up some chicken strips or pork chops and pile on left over salsa. Not only is it easy to make (with a food processor) but the kids love snacking on them!
Europe: Wine and Cheese
What I really miss about Europe is the wine culture. Wine is everywhere and for any occasion. You have it with meals, for happy hour, as dessert, with cheese, while listening to soothing music, reading a good book, or just for the heck of it. I usually stock up on my favorites (dessert wines and sweet reds) for those occasions when the kids go to bed early and my husband and I have time to ourselves. We then retrieve the wine glasses from its hiding place, cut up some fruit and cheese, lay out the crackers and enjoy a quiet evening of us time. I'm not sure if it's the effect of the wine but...I do enjoy these moments immensely because it allows us to chat and laugh like newly weds again.Who needs to go to a lounge bar...
World: Around the World in 80 Days
Even before I knew what traveling around the world entails, or how many continents there are in the world, Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days always consoled my curiosity of exotic destinations and opened my world to heart racing adventures. Ever since I read the second grade version of this classic 20 years ago, I have never stopped dreaming of one day traveling the world; exposing myself to the possibilities and wonders it has to offer. Until then, I read the book from time to time to remind myself of that childhood dream, in which I'm determined to see come true. From time to time, I would sit in a quiet corner, re-read the words of Jules Verne and daydream of what the day would be like when I set off on my own epic journey. But on days when I'm too exhausted to read, the movie version starred by Jackie Chan is just as enticing and entertaining.
I hope this post would be encouraging for those who suffers from mommy burnout. Do not despair. Stay positive and remember that a Shangri-la is always within your reach. Happy Mother's Day!