Today I'm sending a special shout out to my favorite woman on the planet: my mom. You see, today is her birthday and I want to thank her. She taught me everything I know. Pretty much. She is the most remarkable, resilient person you could ever hope to meet. First of all, she married my dad, so she might be up for sainthood. And second, she raised me, which is a pretty big feat in itself.

I've talked about her before, she's been through a lot. Today I'm not talking about that. Today I'm talking about what she's taught me. 
How to love 
My mom like most, loves me no matter what. She is there for me in any situation, no matter the circumstance. Like when she caught me smoking in my room in high school. She just looked at me and laughed and I cried like the baby that I am. (I was easy to punish, occasionally) She hugged me and said, did you like it? No I did not. And I've never smoked again. She taught me it's important to love people when they're up AND down. And to not judge people too harshly- everyone has a story or a hardship and you may never know what they've been through. 

Take Chances
I've talked about sneaking into Westminster Abbey with her before. But there are more times than one. Sometimes life's too short to wait in line. Sometimes you're at Disney World and your kid is sick so you cut in line.. Sometimes you bring your wine to the movies. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. She's very street savvy. 

Pick your battles
You may not know this about me, but I am a fiery, passionate person. This can be a good and bad thing. But with the people I'm closest to I tend to react faster than I should. I would probably not be with Michael if it weren't for my mom to tell me: just chill, Helene. That's really what she taught me to do. And I'm still working on that one. 

Travel, as much as you can
I have the travel bug, bad. This is partly because I was a very spoiled child. Did we have fancy cars and expensive clothing? No. But by the time I was 18 I went to London 4 times, Scotland, Ireland and countless other places in the US. This is because my mother knows the value of travel and the places it will take you both physically and mentally. This is how I want to spend my money. 

But most of all, she taught me How to live:

Dance in the rain at Jazz Fest in New Orleans.
Be Yourself, no matter what.
Listen to Good Music. Examples: Etta James, Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Ray Charles.
Trust your gut.
Big parties are the best kind of parties.
Always have wine in case company comes over.
A good thank you note can not be passed up.
Walking the beach at sunset connects you with the world.
Lipstick makes anyone look better instantly. 
Reach for the stars, you are truly capable of anything you set your mind to.

You really won't appreciate her until you're older. 

I hope you know I appreciate you mom. I love you. Happy Birthday!!