Category Archives: love & marriage


A little over four years ago, DB and I took a trip to Chicago to celebrate ten years of spousedom. We jam packed a lot into about 3 1/2 days including seeing the musical Wicked. I was smitten from the opening notes. I’ve only had the pleasure of seeing a handful of musicals performed professionally but I knew before leaving the theatre that night, Wicked had become my favorite.

This past Spring, we got an e-mail notification that gave us access to purchasing tickets for TPAC (Tennessee Performing Arts Center) performances before they went on on sale to the general public. TPAC’s season opener? Wicked! We jumped on that opportunity and purchased tickets right away.

We saw it, for the second time, last night. And it was wicked-ly amazing! I’ll confess, the Chicago performance was better. However, the actors on this tour are a very talented troupe of performers and they did a fabulous job! I enjoyed the show immensely. I was able to follow the storyline a bit better having already seen it once and I picked up on some things I’d missed before.

From what I’ve heard, the show is sold out in Nashville but if you have the opportunity to get tickets either for here or anywhere else, do it! You won’t be disappointed!

wicked collage

Pictured above: the playbill with a partial view of the stage from our seats and my Flying Monkey, the featured cocktail of the evening.

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Filed under love & marriage, Nashville life

Adult Swim

glamour MaliaA couple weeks ago I asked, on Facebook, for some writing topic suggestions. That’s how I ended up with the Neglected Conversations post. There was another suggestion that I have been intending to write about, it came from my friend “C” and was phrased like so:

We have celebrated our 15th anniversary and Mother’s Day and {my husband}’s 41st birthday over the last week. How do YOU, Ms. Malia juggle family time and hubby time? As our kids get older I find myself craving more time alone with {my husband}. Finding the time to do so is frustrating.

Dude, I hear ya! So, here I’ve come to save the day! Or…not. But I’ll give it a shot.

When the kids are younger, fatigue is our biggest nemesis. Most nights, once the kids are in bed, all I want to do is veg out. Sometimes vegging out together (i.e. hanging out in the same room on our respective computers) is sufficient, sometimes it’s not.  When it’s not, I have to be proactive and suggest something other than vegging out. And I don’t just mean, you know, relations, though that certainly can be part of it! Cuddling on the couch together to watch a movie or television program or actually having a face to face conversation are good things, too.

Now, that’s all fine and good and not exactly a creative solution to alone time but I just had to throw it out there. There are, of course, date nights. Again, a bit of a no brainer but you can get creative with them.

First you need is a sitter. We are fortunate to have family nearby and we use (and abuse) their free babysitting as often as we can! Yet, there are times when family members are either not available or we’ve abused used them too often in a short period of time to venture begging asking them again. This is when we call in the reinforcements – friends with children similar in age to ours! We have some friends with whom we have taken to swapping sitting responsibilities. This has worked out fabulously for all involved. Our kids like each other and like being together. We parents get the opportunity to get out without having to pay a sitter. With these particular friends, we usually have the kids spend the night. Double bonus! Now, if you have younger children, you’ll want to limit  your sitting swapping to a few hours at a time. But once they get older, can entertain themselves, and don’t require copious amount of personal care (i.e. bathroom duty) spending the night is a wonderful option.

Next you need a plan. Sometimes you truly have a reason to get out of the house but if you can finagle taking your kids to family or friends houses to be watched over, then consider heading back home yourselves. We do this quite often on the nights when our singles ministry at church hosts Parent’s Night Out.  Our favorite thing to do is drop the kiddos off, grab some take-out and head back home for uninterrupted movie watching (and….) If your budget prohibits take-out, consider cooking something that the two of you like to eat but your kids turn their noses up at.

If you’re really itching to get out of the house, find something that you both enjoy. For DB and I, it’s live music. Specifically we both very much enjoy going to the symphony. For the past couple of years, we’ve been season ticket holders for the Pops Symphony series here in Nashville. For a few reasons we did not renew our membership for next season but living in “Music City, U.S.A.” has it’s perks! On any given night you can find live music being played somewhere! And personally, I’m itching to get down to Arrington Vineyards in Triune. They have free wine tastings and live music on the weekends!

There’s one other thing I can suggest, this will not work for everyone but if it can work for you, I really think that you should try it! Of course with it being summertime and kids out of school it may not even be possible but come fall…  I’m talking about “nooners”, “afternoon delight” if you will. If you can finagle taking lunch breaks together, it can be as simple has meeting at Subway to share a sandwich or it can mean meeting at home to….  Ever since DB has been working from home, we’ve taken advantage of that arrangement. Daytime “dates” are great because you’re not as tired as you are in the evenings, the kids are under the care of guidance of their teachers and the limited time period ensures that you don’t waste precious time with other tasks, instead you focus on each other.

Does anyone else have creative ways of finding time to spend with your spouse, especially if you have children in your home?


Filed under by Malia, love & marriage

The Five Percent Rule

glamour MaliaI published an article from a guest author this week on Wedded Bliss that I just keep thinking about. The author, Wendy Strgar, is the founder of a company called Good Clean Love. Her company makes intimacy enhancing products that are also “green” or eco-friendly. I found out about her company from the blog, The Fun Times Guide to Living Green, which is written by Nashville resident, Jeffrey Davis. When I read about Wendy and her company, I became an instant fan! And then when I contacted her and she sent me some articles she’s written, well, I was practically smitten!

happy-marriages-5-percentBut back to the article. Wendy writes about what she calls, “the five percent rule”.

Someone told me a long time ago that if you can change any area of your life by a consistent five percent, the effects will be remarkable. … This 5% rule applies to our personal ecosystems as well. The smallest of changes in how we communicate in, show up for, and think about our relationship can and does alter its course.

So often we think that we have to make big changes in our lives to see a difference. But really, it’s the little changes that can make a large impact. Getting up a few minutes early each day, taking a little extra time to set aside items for recycling rather than putting them in the trash, cutting out one unhealthy item from your diet each day, drinking one more glass of water, planting an extra kiss on your husband before he walks out the door for work, sticking one little note into your child’s lunchbox, smiling at your neighbor. It takes just a little bit more time but each of those makes a difference either in your life, your family’s life or the world around you.

Please be sure to read the whole article. It really spoke to me this week, I think it will bless you, too!

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Filed under Blissfully Domestic, by Malia, love & marriage

Stay At Home Date Night

glamour MaliaAround here Valentine’s Day is pretty low key. For the most part, we like to celebrate as a family. Our long standing tradition is the heart shaped strawberry cake that I make every year. And, when we can, David and I try to have lunch together on Valentine’s Day instead of going out for dinner (which is, IMO, insane!)

This year we changed things up a bit. One of my Wedded Bliss contributors wrote a post about cheap Valentine’s date ideas. One suggestion was to eat a late dinner together after the children were in bed. I thought that sounded like a great idea and so we gave it a shot. (You can read about it in my post at Wedded Bliss today!)

PhotobucketWhat I really want to share here is the recipe for the Shrimp & Crab Gratin that I made for our dinner. It was so yummy…mouthwatering even! And since this is Mouthwatering Monday, I think it fits the bill. (Plus Rachel will be really mad at me if I don’t give her the recipe.)

I came across this recipe at Publix grocery store through their Apron’s Meals program.

Shrimp and Crab Gratin

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup Bakery Parmesan bread chips (I used pre-prepared breadcrumbs. ~1/2 cup is sufficient)
1/3 cup shredded Italian-blend cheese
8 oz Deli spinach artichoke dip
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
8 oz pasteurized lump crab meat
cooking spray
8 jumbo shrimp (peeled/deveined, tails on; thawed, if needed)


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut butter into 4 pieces and place in medium bowl to soften. Place bread chips in food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add the crumbs to butter; sprinkle with cheese and set aside.
  2. Place spinach artichoke dip and hot pepper sauce in medium bowl. Add crab meat, checking for any shell or cartilage pieces (wash hands); combine mixture until well-blended, taking care not to break up large lumps of crab.
  3. Coat 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Spread one-half of the crab mixture in baking dish. Arrange shrimp around edge of baking dish, with tails up; top with remaining one-half of crab mixture, spreading mixture evenly over shrimp, leaving only tails exposed.
  4. Mix crumb topping, using fingertips, until well blended. Spread topping over crab mixture. Bake 10–15 minutes or until topping is golden and sauce bubbles around edge of dish. Serve.

img_2526The gratin was served with pan grilled NY strip steaks and parmesan aspargus. We picked out our favorite adult beverages and had a  tonguegasmic meal!


I forgot to link to The Challenge last week. Have you been keeping up with it? I really like this week’s challenge, it sorta goes with the whole “tonguegasmic” theme 😉 Be sure to check it out!


Filed under by Malia, life as a domestic goddess, love & marriage

Apps for Dinner

PhotobucketThis week’s Mouthwatering Monday is brought to you by the Super Bowl. Even though we had no glamorous party plans for last  night’s event, I still wanted a party-like atmosphere at the house and, to me, that means party food! Our Super Bowl Sunday Night dinner menu was:

  • Spinach Artichoke Dip
  • Fried Pickles
  • Sausage Cheese Balls – Bisquick biscuit recipe (mix+milk), 1 lb ground sausage, 1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, mix together, bake @ 400 until sausage is browned and biscuit done.
  • Mozzarella Cheese Bites – these were the only non-homemade item. I picked some up in the grocer’s frozen section and served them with leftover marinara from our spaghetti lunch.

I was too buy cooking to pick up my camera and take any pictures but I can assure you, it was all good! My personal favorite was the Spinach Artichoke Dip! And upon tasting it, DB said, “We never have to order this at a restaurant again!” Yes folks, it’s that good! Some  might even say, “Tonguegasmic!”


Are you keeping up with The Challenge? So far, we are. The only thing I still haven’t managed to do is get our bedroom cleaned up, though I did get the bathroom cleaned up on Saturday! (w00t) This week’s challenge is about the ladies taking control. (another w00t!)


Filed under by Malia, life as a domestic goddess, love & marriage

All Things Blissful

In addition to life being the normal buzz of craziness and busyness and utter chaos, there are also times of bliss.

Last weekend, DB and I went to New Orleans to celebrate, albeit belatedly, our thirteenth wedding anniversary. Four days of just being together, enjoying food, music and culture was indeed, very blissful. You can see pictures from the trip on Flickr. Our best meal, by far, was at Nola’s. The beignets at Cafe Du Monde did not disappoint. We got to take a carriage ride tour of the French Quarter and we visited The Audobon Aquarium of the Americas. It was a very needed and very good trip.

Yesterday, after our traditional family jaunt to the pumpkin farm, I spent my day in the presence of so many talented, witty, intelligent, savvy, beautiful women. It was BlissDom ’08, the first conference held by! You may remember from some of my earlier ramblings, that is the online magazine that I am an editor and writer for. It was an incredible conference and so indulgent! Not only did I get to spend hours and hours with old and new friends but we were treated like queens! Great food, yummy drinks (including the now infamous Bliss-tini!), overflowing swag bags and amazing giveaways. Here’s a picture of me with the “Blissful Chicks” – some of the editors & writers and our fearless founder:

Many, many thanks to Alli & Karla and to the wonderful sponsors, Epson and One2One! It was truly a blissful event! And if you couldn’t come to BlissDom ’08, or if you’re just now hearing about BlissDom we’re doing it again in February so stay tuned for more details!!


Filed under Blissfully Domestic, by Malia, love & marriage

Blissfully Wed

Overnight a change was made! MarriageHacks has moved to the Blissfully Domestic website! Please be sure and update your feed readers and bookmarks. You can find us here: Wedded Bliss.

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Filed under by Malia, life as a domestic goddess, love & marriage

Marriage in Real Life

Movies and television and books that feature marriages just don’t compare to the real thing. Marriage can look pretty fabulous on screen and paper but it’s not, well, real. Sure the directors, producers, writers, etc take elements of real life marriage to create fictional marriage but it’s always lacking something. Marriage in real life is so much better. Sure, our fights aren’t resolved in 24 minutes and our house isn’t perfectly clean and s-e-x doesn’t usually get the benefit of flattering lighting and a well chosen soundtrack. But, we are continually growing in love. We are always learning things about each other.  We mature together and challenge each to be better people. We rest in the comfort of living our lives with someone we can be wholly intimate with.

Marriage in real life is having a partner, not a poster boy.

Marriage in real life is trying to change yourself for the better, not make your partner change.

Marriage in real life is about compromise, patience, honesty and a whole lot of forgiveness.

Marriage in real life means sometimes you will go to bed angry.

Marriage in real life has lots of tears. Some from sadness and many more from laughter.

Marriage is real life is wonderfully, truly…real!


Filed under by Malia, love & marriage

I’m a Marriage Hack!

The most beautiful and wise, Mrs. Fussypants, has accepted me as a contributor to her MarriageHacks site. I’ll be posting on Thursdays so go visit me there! And if you’re a lady (sorry, no boyz allowed!) you are invited to join The League of Extraordinary Wives so that you can get in on the discussions.

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Filed under by Malia, love & marriage

Turning Thirteen

The telltale signs have all been there. We’ve known it was coming for awhile now. First the moodiness. Then the eye-rolling and sighing. There have been the occasional outbursts complete with stomping out of the room. A blemish or two here and there. And don’t get me started about the hormones! Dear me, where’d those come from? Puberty can be so confusing and angst ridden. I mean, thirteen is a milestone right? I hope we make it through these teen years. I’m sure it’ll be fun for the most part. Branching out with new responsibilities, facing unforeseen challenges and learning to be flexible are all apart of growing up.

And growing in love.

So Happy 13th Birthday to our marriage! I hear the teen years are a wild ride. All I can say is, “Bring it on!”


Filed under by Malia, love & marriage