Sunday, November 15, 2015


It's a selfie. I admit it. Now, it's my facebook profile picture. As part of humanity, I am in mourning. Not just for Paris. For Syria. For Beirut. For Charleston. For all of us who are breathing, living. It's hard to wrap my head around the hatred that must fill a human being to randomly take the life of another. To stop others from breathing, fulfilling their life's purpose. Hate.

We were just in Paris a few short weeks ago. It could have been us sitting at a cafe sharing a bottle of wine or walking down the streets. Just more proof that we never know when our time will arrive. The world has become a scary place. That does not mean we stop living. Nor does it mean we stay home or stop experiencing life. 

I believe that this is a call to action. Another one. We must begin teaching love in a louder voice. We create environments where our children see love, feel love, experience love. We steer clear of those who are teaching hate. Teaching violence. Again, our future depends upon our children. Love. Is. The. Answer. 

I believe the answer goes WAY beyond religion. It goes straight to the source. Beyond religion to God himself. God is love. He is not violence or anger or hatred but love. Love is what Jesus taught as the answer to all problems. Love. Not religion just love. Not terrorists using religion to explain hate. Love.

I watch my three sons and see so much love. Love is what I wish for them above all else. Love of their significant others, their pets, their future children, their careers, their faith. I see them creating their futures based upon what they love and who and how they love. In my book, there are only two true emotions. Love and hate. If it isn't one, it is the other. Down deep on the nitty-gritty level at the true base of our emotions, it is love or hate. That's it. So to get rid of hate, we must love in abundance. Teach it. Live it. Feel it. Share it.

 I am sending love and light and good wishes and healing energy to Paris, to those suffering, to those who are scared or alone.

No one can do this alone. It will take all of humanity to see that humanity is love, should be love...

Lisa Renée xo

Monday, November 9, 2015

Wanderlust and My Gypsy Spirit

It's Monday. It's raining. Not just sprinkles, either. More like buckets. It's a perfect day to browse, to sit on facebook, catch up on blogs. Dream about being elsewhere. Don't get me wrong! I love my life but staying in one place too long gets me itchy. I really didn't think it was a thing. Until I read this. Now, I know there are other people out there just like me.

Wanderlust. Gypsy Spirit. Adventurer. Traveller. YEEEEEES! How do you know if you have it too? Do your bookshelves look like this...

Or this...

I am SOO grateful for my life. Don't get me wrong on that! Travel is never an escape from my life but it always feels like it's waiting. Just around the corner. The next adventure. And, really, why not? There are so many places to see, so many cuisines to try, people to meet. I only briefly allow myself to ponder this because like I said, I get itchy. I start checking plane fares. Reading Trip Advisor. Looking at reviews. Pondering the next adventure.

I have been know to be in the process of planning one trip while researching the next. Maybe it is a disease but it definitely is an exciting one! I also believe it's in my blood. Some people are designed to be travelers. Others are not. I pack an entire week in Europe in a carry-on duffle. I am not picky about hotels as long as they are clean, without bugs and fairly safe at night. I am picky about food but can always stop in a grocery for a few essentials...fruit, peanut butter, coffee. 

Like I said, it's in my blood. The idea of owning little has ALWAYS appealed to me. We were actually really close to achieving that one and the universe stepped in. So, we bought a house and some new furniture. But, the bottom line is that I like being free to go, not tied down. With kids came less freedom but as they are all getting older, the freedom has returned and we are definitely taking advantage of it. 

Passports opened our world. They are nearly ten years old. Time to be renewed. When we got them, I explained to the mister that the goal was to fill them up. He has been happy to oblige as much as humanly and financially possible. That most definitely has been the goal. 

In our last hometown, it would inevitably hit in January. The need to go that is. We would be snowed in with our six kids and one of us would snap. The internet became our dream world. How much money can we pull together? How far can we actually get with that much? For several years, that was our goal. How far can we go for a little bit of cash....beautiful way to travel, by the way. No big plans. Let the universe guide it all. It worked. We learned so much. So much, that we are now beginning to host our own Italian tours beginning in 2016. Cool, right?

So, again, how do you know if this is truly a part of your make-up? When your mail box is full of these...

and that makes you as giddy as a school girl. That's when you know you are hooked.

An acquaintance of mine once said to me...."You really must have a gypsy spirit. I don't know anyone who is this discontent with their life." I think back to that statement and truly laugh. A deep, hardy belly laugh. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with being discontent with my life and everything to do with loving life itself. I want to experience as much as possible while I am here. Discontent? You've got to be kidding. 

I love my home. I love my life. My husband and kids make me tick. They offer me unconditional love, a purpose and so much joy. Traveling offers me the unexpected, non-routines, the occasional hiccup, and daily challenges. It also offers me new experiences, places and adventures to share with my kids and a love for this vast Earth that God created. Solely to be explored and adored. That's my role. Explore and adore and then, share it all with whomever needs to hear the tales.

As I am writing this, the mister is reserving a rental car and reading Trip Advisor reviews. Why? Well, a week from today we are hopping a plane for our next adventure. And, while he is doing the research......yes, I am checking out a new destination. Why not? Life is short and I am an adventurer!!

Benedizioni e auguri!
Lisa Renée  xo
Oh, and if you are interested in traveling to Italy with us, check out the website here!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Happiness Habits~ Try Them!

Are you on a search for happiness? You do know that YOU have the power to create your own happiness, right? There are days when we all need a boost but knowing we CAN create happiness is a great first step. You don't believe me? Let's talk. Your happiness habits could begin this morning or with the next sunrise...

Forming some new "happiness habits" can make all the difference. These are habits that create happiness, wellness. I don't believe that it matters so much what you do as how you do...You get me? 

Acting mindfully can make all of the difference in the world~deciding to take control of your happiness. So, here are some ideas. Simple things that you can do that can help you create your own happiness. Choose a few. See how they feel. Try them on. If you decide you like them, make them your own happiness habits. Do them every day. Look forward to the routine. Try it!

  • Take a walk. Around the block. Around your back yard. To pick up milk. WALK. 
  • Skip alcohol. Try it for a month.
  • Or, drink a glass of wine each night with dinner. ONE glass. Thoroughly enjoy it. Smell it. Taste it. Savor.
  • Pick up fresh flowers. Each week. Bring God's beauty inside your home.
  • Touch someone. Hugs. Kisses. Whatever. Human contact is important! (with permission, of course)
  • Watch the sunrise.
  • Breathe deeply.
  • When you feel stressed, breath deeply.
  • Walk s-l-o-w-l-y and look at your surroundings.
  • Stand barefoot in the grass and connect to Mother Earth.
  • Drink water. A lot of water. Add limes. Or, lemons.
  • Read a book. A chapter a day. Or, a page depending on time :)
  • Spend a few moments in meditation. Start with 5 minutes.
  • Each Sunday, call someone you care about just to touch base.
  • Once a month, surprise a friend with flowers.
  • Call your mother.
  • Take a deep breath and say what you really feel. Daily.
  • Skip make-up. Allow your skin to breath.
  • Sit under a tree. Feel it's energy.
  • Make bread from scratch.
  • Create affirmations. Put them on sticky notes and repeat often.
  • Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you love yourself. 
  • Skip processed foods. Go natural in the kitchen.
  • Start a picture blog. Post a single moment of gratitude from each day.
  • Turn off the electronics. Begin with two hours on Sunday afternoon.
  • Live by the "No Cell Phones at the Table" rule.
  • Look at each person as they speak to you. Give them your undivided attention.
  • Bake cookies each Saturday.
  • Read bedtime stories to your little ones. Each night.
  • Say good night to the moon. Or, good morning to the sun.
  • Eat more plants. Green ones.
  • Sweat. Every day.
  • Give away things you no longer use.
  • Serve a meal at a food bank.
  • Minimize "stuff". 
  • Maximize experiences.
  • Give time instead of gifts.
  • Sing out loud.
  • Smile. A lot.
  • Take a nap.
  • Get a library card and use it. Weekly.
  • Donate pet food to an animal shelter.
I believe that we are all capable of creating our own happiness. For me, happiness comes from creating positive routines in my life. I look forward to these routines. They make me smile. A lot of this list comes from my own daily routines, past or present. Happiness Habits. They do change over time but it works.

One of my current happiness habits is instagram. I know. Social media. But, I use instagram to document my meals that create happiness. I love colorful food. I see plates of food as pictures by God. Colors. Textures. Gifts...


It's not for everyone else. It's for me. My instagram account is part of my happiness routine. I document my "pretty plates". When I feel down, I return to those photos and am reminded how loved I am by God that he offers me such beautiful colors and varieties to consume. If you want to follow my account~l.i.s.a.renee

 I encourage you to find your own small ways to create pockets of joy each day. The holidays are nearly upon us and for many, these can be stressful times. Stick to your happiness routines and don't allow stress in! Try creating some Happiness Habits. They work GREAT with kids :)

Blessings for a beautiful Sunday!
Lisa Renée xo

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Salt on Saturday at the Farmers Market!

So, I am thinking some sauteed baby bok choy along with some onions, fresh garlic and a few pieces of pancetta over some brown rice. Or, maybe some fried green tomatoes over cheese grits? The fresh green beans will go with our pork barbecue for dinner tonight....

This was one of those Saturdays where we bounded out of bed, threw on clothes, drug the bikes out of the shed and headed downtown. It's almost a two mile ride and the morning was totally glorious! The mister enjoyed an omelet while I shopped and I visited the Juice Joint for a refreshing limeade.

I can't fully explain the gorgeousness of a crisp November morning in Charleston. I know. I know. My blog seems to be all over the place. But, I warned you. I'm changing. EVERY DAY. So, I am writing what sparks my interest. Today, it was definitely the sunrise, the fresh air and the beauty at the market...

Our amazing Charleston Farmers Market only has three more Saturdays left of this season :( If you have never stopped by, I urge you to do it! Today! Take note, too, that the first three week-ends in December will be the Christmas market. That's fun, too, but different.

I also stumbled upon a local sea salt farmer. Did you know there was such a thing?? Her name is Bertha Booker and I spent a few minutes talking to her this morning. From a job in international shipping to a sea salt farmer....sounds like my kind of adventure! 

I came home with a grinder of Smoked Sea Salt and can't wait to get started with it in my own kitchen. You can check the company out here. Salt is probably one of those things most of us take for granted, right? It's always in our kitchens. We use it. It works and we don't give it a whole lot of thought. At least, I didn't until this morning. Just goes to show you that every day is an adventure! If you want to give salt some more thought, check out this blog post about Salt: A World History.

So, today is going to be a pecan collecting, garden clearing kind of day. I also have to spend some time weeding my herb garden which currently looks like a weed garden. It's been a busy fall. What can I say? And, of course, my kitchen is going to humming with some new recipes. Maybe I will have to share them with you soon?

Have a beautiful Saturday! Enjoy it! Get outside and enjoy the sunshine and the crisp air. Okay, we won't be so crisp here in Charleston as the weather channel says close to 80 degrees with 90% humidity but I'm not complaining. Somewhere, where I used to live...they have already seen the white stuff.

Blessings for a GREAT day!
Lisa Renée xo

Friday, November 6, 2015

Charleston~ A Walkable City??

Like so many other blogs, this blog has evolved as I have. With each new adventure and interest, Charleston Treasures takes on new meaning. The root of all that I write comes from within me so it makes sense that the topics and interests change as I change. Given that fact and the fact that I live in such a busy city, it stands to reason that I take an honest look at transportation and share a few thoughts with you. 

A lot of Charleston is quickly becoming a bike-friendly place. Bike lanes are popping up and bike parking is certainly more accessible than it was five years ago. The mister and I have even joined the biking population...

I love biking as my transportation. It's convenient and many times quicker than my car depending upon the time of day. Every one who lives or drives on the peninsula understands the cross-town at 5:00! However, when it rains, this option is out for me! Unlike those who use their bike as the sole method of transportation, when it rains, I will be found in my car.  

So, here's the thing. Between the summer of 2013 and the summer of 2014, an estimated 1300 people PER MONTH joined our little city. In fact, there are only four states that have experienced greater population growth since 2010 than South Carolina. Those of us who have chosen to live here, LOVE it here! But, what do we do about the cars and the traffic and the fuel emissions? I really don't have answers but I do know that biking should be on everyone's mind. Granted, it isn't a possibility for everyone. Long commutes. Rainy days. I get it. But, for some, it definitely should be on the list of considerations.

Why am I posting this? Well, I got to thinking about our car issues downtown as I read this article about the 10 Best Cities for People Who Hate Traffic. It also directly correlates to health. People who are biking and walking tend to be healthier. They have lower cholesterol levels, better blood pressure rates, tend to be less obese and also experience lower instances of depression. 

Mix all of that together with healthier air to breath and it seems to me like a win-win solution. That and the fact that I love, love, love some of the European cities mentioned in the article! Walking and biking are great solutions. In fact, in this article, Charleston is named one of the Top 20 Most Walkable Cities in the United States. I LOVE it!

I know that several of our Charleston mayoral candidates have platforms that deal directly with traffic on the peninsula. What if we became a limited car-usage city? What if we had trolleys that funneled people downtown and the cars were left at the perimeters of our city? Just thinking out loud...What if we were pushed into more walking and less driving? The city would not only be controlling a traffic and fuel emission issue but would be increasing our longevity and overall wellness. 

Again, I am just thinking out loud. I like the idea of a city that values health and healthy air. I can respect people who bike even on the rainy days. I am proud to be part of a city that is creating bike lanes and bike parking. 

I also have to say that I love Europe and the progressive ideas that some cities have for health and wellness. All-in-all, we LOVE and adore Charleston. We are striving to bike more and drive less. 

What are your thoughts on car-less cities and cities coming together to truly promote the health of the residents as well as the environment?  I would love to hear your ideas...please comment below!

Hope you are gearing up for a beautiful week-end. If you have the opportunity, go on a bike ride or take a long walk. Get some fresh air and be grateful for your outdoor space!! 

Lisa Renée xo

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Soul Families & The Family Table

Have you given much thought to "soul families"? For some, this may be a strange concept especially for those who do not believe in reincarnation. However, I have been giving this concept a great deal of thought today. I believe in soul families!

Our soul families are those souls who reincarnate with us again and again. Lifetimes. We are with them before we come to Earth and to them we shall return as we move out of these bodies and into our next adventure. Our soul families are bonded through unconditional love. What feels like angst or anger or even hatred in this short lifetime will quickly be replaced again with unconditional love at the time of our passing.

I really believe that our families, either blood related or close friends who act as family, are here on this Earth to help us learn, to help us achieve our goals. Our families are our board games. It is through this group of close-knit people that we learn, challenge ourselves, grow, change, and gain wisdom.

How is it then that so many families are dysfunctional? That answer is simple. Without dysfunction, life would be a breeze. We wouldn't have challenges. We would never have to stretch our definition of unconditional love. We could just exist. But existing is most definitely NOT what we are here to do! We are designed to grow. To change. To evolve.

I have decided to welcome in all aspects of my family's dysfunction. I no longer question that these situations, as painful as they may sometimes be, are directly created by me, for me, and most definitely with me in mind so that I can have every possible, meaningful, experience in this lifetime. I plan to cherish every single situation. The good. The bad. The painful. The brilliant. 

My family is my core. My strength. My daily challenge. I welcome them. We are making a point to cherish this core as much as possible. How? Around our dinner table. The table is the easiest and oldest form of coming together each day. Breaking bread. Sharing a meal. Sharing our days, our challenges, our triumphs.

We think this is the perfect solution. Even in the midst of disagreement, when we come together for a meal, we look each other in the eye. We find solutions. We meet half way. We let discord fall away so that we can once again come back to our core, our most inner strength.

I have posted before on family meals and the importance of the family table. It is through this single act that we join forces, we learn to forgive and healing can begin when needed. Without this daily meal, hurts could be pushed under the table and left unaddressed and triumphs could remain uncelebrated. This is NOT the way life and soul families are meant to exist.

Yes. Soul families. Cherish them. Feed them. Nourish them. Most of all~simply accept your family, the good, the bad and the ugly.

If you are looking for a way to really kick the idea of the family table into high gear, allow me to make a suggestion?  Whatever Happened to Sunday Dinner? by Lisa Caponigri....

I am laughing at myself because in my life everything always returns to food or the kitchen! It IS all about the food, right? This book is laid out in 52 menus, one for each Sunday (or whatever day!) of the year. Each menu includes an antipasto, a primo (first course that is usually a pasta dish but could be risotto, polenta or a soup), a secondo with a contorno (main dish with one side) and dessert.

Simple recipes. Not too time consuming. The best part? You can get your entire family involved in some way. Remember that someone has to set the table, make dessert and do the shopping. There are jobs for everyone and in our house, this is the number one way to get everyone excited about a family dinner.

Family dinners. Soul families. They mesh so well together...I hope you will give some thought to ways you can truly promote your family as your core.  Even a family of two can celebrate and invite friends and offer recipes in advance and create a meal that can act as a binder to get everyone unified. Break bread with your soul family. Don't wait....we never know what tomorrow holds!

Blessings for a great evening!
Lisa Renée  xo

Friday, October 30, 2015

I Remember Being Six...

"I remember being six.  Do you?  I remember leaving our house in Ohio and my best friends, Julie and Beth, to start our new life in Chicago.  Julie and Beth were two sisters who lived up the street and I loved them like sisters.  I also remember my new bedroom-bright blue walls and a bedspread to match.  The best part was the wall paper on that single wall beside the bed.  Carnival stripes in red, blue and yellow.  I also remember the pink lamps from my old bedroom that our Mom lovingly painted bright yellow to match my new carnival bedroom.  I remember six.  Do you?

I remember six vividly because of that bedroom.  It was my retreat.  My safe zone.  I needed it in those days because sometimes the voices, the yelling, became so loud.  In that room, I would try to block out a lot of things.  A lot of noise and hatred and commotion. 

 I  dreaded bedtime.  Night-time.  Not only was I always terrified of the dark but night-time was when they would start.  Our parents thought we were in bed.  Sleeping.  The fact was that we were waiting.  I was anyway.  Always waiting. Waiting for the tears and the shouting that would inevitably begin soon after we were tucked in and kissed good-night.  They couldn’t cope.  Couldn’t converse.  But, they could fight.

I remember six because at six, I was finally brave enough to get out of bed one night once their voices had begun to rise.  I remember lying in bed forcing myself to be brave.  Pretend.  Put your feet on the floor.  Just go.  See if she is okay.  I did and she wasn’t.

Their bedroom was down the hall near the stairs.  Probably not more than twenty feet, maybe thirty.  They didn’t hear me get out of bed and pad down the hall but they saw me soon enough.  They simultaneously screamed at me to go back to bed.  And, I did. I turned and ran.  I wasn’t in their doorway for more than four seconds.  It was the amount of time it took for them to see me and yell and me to run.  I ran.  Back to my carnival room.  Back to my bright blue bedspread.  My yellow lamps.  Under the cover, I tried to forget that image.  The image I still can see as clearly as if it was yesterday.

He was screaming and she was crying and he had her by her hair.  He was dragging her out of bed with one hand while he slapped her with the other hand.  And, she was yelling and sobbing and he was yelling and screaming.  I remember the blue flowers on her nightgown.  I remember the anger in his eyes.  I remember it all.  I have never forgotten.  I was six.  

I woke the next day only to find them walking on egg shells and pretending nothing was wrong.  It was wrong.  It has always been wrong but it was NEVER talked about. Why am I sharing this with you?  I was six. I still remember. I wish I didn't."

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you or someone you know, lives with domestic violence, help them. In any way you can. Help them. Be a source of light and love and protection and help. Don't turn a blind eye. Don't pretend that you don't see it. Don't ignore it. It happens to children and adults every, single day. They feel powerless and often times, can't help themselves. Help them.

As adults, we often don't know to help. Really help. These are some websites that offer help to those in need. If you are interested in learning more about Domestic Violence and ways that you can help, visit these sites.

National Network to End Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence Roundtable
National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Domestic Violence Awareness Project

Lisa Renée xo

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