A few years ago I wasn’t much of a traveler. I was kind of scared to venture out and about with a sick kid at home. And we definitely didn’t have much money. For seven years, I didn’t get on a plane.

Divorce is hard. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, but a really beautiful thing happened on the way to the courthouse. I reconnected with an old friend who (spoiler alert) I fell madly in love with. But, before I fell in love with him, he helped me fall in love with traveling again.


A few weeks after we started dating he brought me along on a work trip to Tennessee. I had been to Nashville as a kid, but my only Grand Ole Opry memory was arguing with my mom because I wanted to wear jeans and she wanted me to wear a dress. I think Loretta Lynn was there, but I’m not sure because I was seven, and I WANTED TO WEAR JEANS.

Enter Andy.

So, two years ago, he brought me to Nashville. And, when I write that sentence I get a giant lump in my throat, because it was a turning point on this journey I’ve been on. The lump is so big that I can actually feel it sitting on top of my soul. That’s a really big lump, because my soul is, roughly, right under my diaphragm. Roughly.

I have always loved live music. I’m an experienced concert attendee and have hundreds, if not thousands, of them under my belt. I used to travel all over the country (even the world) to see concerts, but I had never seen anything like Nashville. If you like live music, GET HERE. It’s amazing.

The talent is incomparable. The food is fantastic. The people are good. It’s clean. The weather is perfection. And, they make one hell of a bloody Mary.

But, what Nashville really gave me is a deep love for travel again. It reminded me how much I missed new experiences, and music, and meeting people, and having a spirit free enough to dance. It led to trips to nine more states and Mexico. And, it led to me coming back to Nashville over and over again.

Thank you, Andy and thank you Tennessee. You are both life-changing gifts. I’m just fine with that giant lump. It’s a reminder of how fortunate I am.

Pin It

10 Best Romantic Movie Scenes for Valentine’s Day

posted by Momo Fali on February 14, 2017

I am a big movie fan and though I don’t get out to see them like I used to, I spend my fair share of time on Netflix. So in honor of Valentine’s Day I’m sharing my favorite romantic moments from the big screen. This is your gift from me. You’re so very welcome.

1. The Austrian Lindler Folk Dance from The Sound of Music. This is the moment Maria and Captain Von Trapp realize this is more than your typical governess/naval-captain-whistle-blowing-Nazi-rejector relationship.

2. Carl and Ellie’s love story from Up. There’s very little dialogue in this scene. There doesn’t need to be.

3. A kiss in the rain from The Notebook. All that time apart. All that love. The reconnection. Ryan Gosling.

4. The boombox scene in Say Anything. Show me a girl in 1989 who didn’t want a guy standing outside her window blaring Peter Gabriel and I’ll show you a girl who never saw this movie.

5. I can’t find video of this scene from A Beautiful Mind, but this whole movie wins because a love story that endures mental illness is about as romantic as you can get.

Nash: “You once said that God must be a painter because he gave us so many colors.”
Alicia: “I didn’t think you were listening…”
Nash: “I was listening.”

A man that listens? Swoon.

6. The last few minutes of Good Will Hunting is a happy ending like no other and oh-so-dreamy. It also doesn’t show either member of the couple on whom the romantic story-line is based. This is me, throwing you a romantic curve-ball.

7. I know these are kids, but they grow up and get married. They love each other their WHOLE LIVES, you guys! This scene from Braveheart steals my heart.

8. A love you have to let go. Ouch, Castaway. Just ouch. Also, more rain. I have a thing for water.

9. I’m not a huge Tim Burton fan, but the epic beauty and storytelling in Big Fish is delightful. It’s one of my favorite films and this sweeping romantic gesture and field of daffodils makes me weepy.

10. This scene from Far and Away is the reason I was crushed when Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman got divorced.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! I hope you find the time to curl up and watch a love story.

My Sunshine

posted by Momo Fali on December 29, 2016

Dear Ali,

You didn’t come into the world serenely.

As I was being monitored in a hospital room, 10 weeks before your due date, a team of doctors, nurses and I-don’t-know-what-else came running in. They shoved meds and catheters in, strapped my arms down, and in a matter of minutes my belly had been cut open, You were pulled out and whisked to the NICU where they put a tube down your throat to help you breathe.

Two days later, I was allowed to hold you. The nurses said I should “kangaroo” you and hold you skin to skin, so I came to the hospital every day and I’d pull the curtain around your isolette and hold your tiny body firmly against mine.

I told you so many stories about the things that awaited you at home. Hours and hours and days and days about our crazy dog, Blue, my Grandma’s rocking chair and your very own room. I sang, “You Are My Sunshine.” Despite my horrible singing voice and your beeping monitors, it was very peaceful.

But, all I wanted was for you to come home.

Of course, in the last couple of years, your definition of home has changed a lot. I’m sorry for that. I hope that by what you have lost, you have also gained understanding, compassion and forgiveness. I’m still working on that last one. Looking for the bright side will serve you well, and when you can’t find the bright side, keep working on it. At least you can say that you tried.

Through your many different homes, and all the chaos into which you’ve been thrust, I hope you have always known how very much you are loved. I can’t really express it by holding you in my lap and singing to you anymore, but if it wouldn’t be odd for me to hold an adult in my lap and belt out tunes, you’re the adult I would pick.

image

And, let that be your constant. In the future, when life starts an uphill portion of its roller coaster ride, remember that you are, and will always be, my sunshine.

Love,

Mom

Life List 41-50 and a Review

posted by Momo Fali on November 20, 2016

In 2010 I started a Life List of items I wanted to accomplish. It took almost five years (and a divorce) for me to mark any of them complete, but as of last August I had crossed five things off. And, as of a couple of weeks ago I’m happy to have made some more progress.

I had to revise the order because some things had to be removed for reasons beyond my control, but that’s okay. I can adapt. Here’s where I stand.

1. Graduate from college. (This is in progress. Also, one of the reasons I never have time to write blog posts anymore.)
2. Run a half marathon.
3. Travel across the United States in an RV.
4. Stand under a Giant Sequoia.

image
5. Hike into the Grand Canyon. (Two weeks ago I hiked around it, but I’m not counting that.)

image
6. Get published.
7. Become a Certified Interior Decorator. (#retirementgoals)
8. Paint a picture.
9. Camp in a tent, on a warm beach.
10. Visit all 50 states.
11. Visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
12. Get a tattoo.
13. Go skinny dipping.
14. Grow my own tomatoes.
15. Take a dance class.
16. Learn how to properly skip a stone.
17. Sample 100 types of beer.
18. Breed a dog and keep one of the puppies.
19. Learn to play guitar. (I bought a guitar, so I’m one step closer!)
20. Go on a winter campout.
21. Hike in Zion National Park. (This right here? Is why this Life List was created. GO THERE. Trust me.)

image
22. Learn to golf. (With some accuracy.)
23. Participate in an adventure race.
24. Learn to paddleboard.
25. Visit the Vatican and attend mass at St. Peter’s Basilica.
26. Float in the Dead Sea.
27. Sit in a natural hot spring.
28. Take a photography class.
29. See the Northern Lights.
30. Ride a snowboard.
33. Go whitewater rafting.
34. Learn to play the drums.
35. See a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater.
36. Ride a Segway.
37. See a Broadway show.
38. Canoe or kayak down the Colorado River. (A couple of weeks ago I saw where they drop the boats in the water. I stood there and cried.)
39. Write a screenplay.
40. Go snowmobiling.

Now for some new additions. Not to be confused with New Edition.

image

41. Visit Chichén Itzá. (I hear it’s awesome.)

42. Hike in Yosemite National Park. (Zion was just the warm-up.)

43. Do 50 push-ups in a row. (Don’t laugh. I can’t even do five.)

44. Learn to knit.

45. Brew my own beer.

46. Visit Chile. (When I was young I saw pictures of Chile and wanted to move there. That hasn’t changed.)

47. Go sailing.

48. Go whale-watching.

49. Watch a baseball game in Fenway Park.

50. See the sunrise from Acadia National Park’s Cadillac Mountain (the first place the sun rises in the United States).

Had I known how amazing some things would be on a recent trip I took out west, I would have included a lot of them on this list. They will have to be bonus items, I suppose. I will be sharing those details soon.

Have you started your list? What are you waiting for?