Thursday, December 20, 2012

It's the loving



 All right, you guys, just permit me one sentimental moment here, will you? I have something to say. Christmas: it's not the giving, it's not the getting, it's the loving. There, I said it. Now get outta here. 
-Garfield



So true Garfield. So true! This holiday season has been going by so fast and I have been feeling like I've been missing it. I've been more stressed about getting the right gift and getting everything done than really enjoying this time of year. It's my favorite time of year too! I love the music, the twinkle lights, even the shopping. The thing I love most about this season though, is the feeling of Christmas. For me it's the feeling of being surrounded by friends and family you love. It's not about the gifts, (though we all love them) its about the loving and letting folks know you care. 

I was reminded of that today while I was driving to work. The sunrise was so beautiful and I was thinking about how I could help out a friend who is hurting this Christmas. Sometimes people just need to know they are cared about, loved, and not alone. The holiday are wonderful for so many but for the folks in our lives that are having a rough time this season, the holiday can make things seem worse. It's those folks we need the love the most! Gifts are nice but in this case just telling someone they are not alone and are loved can be the best gift. 

I'm so blessed this year in so many ways and I just want to share that feeling with everyone. I want everyone to feel loved and cared about. To know that they are not alone. I was blessed by being born into a big ol' super loving family. We are loud, crazy, and can easily fill up a house when we have a whole family get together. Not to mention all the new family I'm gaining this year! I can't tell you how much I love them all. (friends are family too!) Having all this makes it easy to forget that not everyone does. Not everyone wakes up Christmas morning with folks who love them around. Not everyone has the chance to drive around like crazy to try to hit all the house of folks they love in one day. Not everyone has someone holding their hand beside them doing it all with them. If I could give those folks who don't have this just a smidgen of that feeling of belonging and being cared about, I would and will. That's what I came to realize on my drive to work this morning. My cup filleth over and if I can help someone who's cup might be a little low right now then I'm going to try. Even if it's just by giving them a hug and a shoulder to lean on. 

Blessed. It's the loving. That's what I love most about the holidays. It feels like every ones hearts are just a bit more open than normal. (potentially wine or eggnog induced!) It's beautiful and I wish we could keep that feeling going all year long. Send some love and let some folks know you care. Especially the ones who are struggling. All my love to you over the holidays! Now go get some eggnog!

And if you haven't sent the Garfield Christmas special check it out here.
It's glorious! (even more so with eggnog!)


Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday Motivation


To all the victims and all the families affected by the Sandy Hook shooting, my heart goes out to you. I can't begin to imagine what you are going through at this moment but I hope that one day your hearts will begin to heal. Let's all hug someone we love today. Give them a call, send them a note, even just taking a moment to appreciate all the beautiful folks in your life. Don't hoard your love, let them know!


My good friend Jocelyn wrote a beautiful post on her blog about taking this as an opportunity to do good every day. Its a call to action to put more good in the world, even if it's a just a little thing every day. Check it out here good vs evil Let's send some hugs out people, some ooey gooey hugs of goodness. Lord knows the world could use it!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Grati-Vember Recap


I’m a little behind on end of Grati-vember post but better late than never! This month has been a whirlwind. I can hardly believe that its december already! This grati-Vember was one for the books.Not only chocked full of things to be great-full for but full of some lessons too. So to honor the end of the month and to help keep gratitude as a practice all year long here are the top 5 things I’m great-full for right now.

1) The chance to be loved unconditionally and fully by another person and the opportunity to give that love back. It’s not every day you meet someone who accepts you for exactly who you are, the good, the flaws the everything. It’s not always easy to give that kind of love back but it’s so worth it to give it all you have!

2) Very simply...family. Family that has been there since the beginning and has stayed with you through it all loving you every minute. Family that is is new and accepts you into their ranks as though you’d always been there. Not to mention, family that you choose aka the friends who become your second family, who you love just as much.

3) Self Love. It took me a long time to understand the importance of getting to know yourself and learning to love that person as unconditionally as you would another person. It’s still something I work on every day but just being able to recognize it’s importance and work on it in myself, is a blessing on its own. It’s the first step too!

4) The basics. Im great-full for a roof over my head, water, food, and to be alive. With the aftermath of hurricane sandy being so close to home it brings to light the things we tend to take for granted every day. Just being safe, warm, dry, and having the people I love be safe too is something to be extremely great-full about.

5) The option to make choices. Like the monday motivation post said.. This is your life. I’m great-full to be able to make choices for my life that are right for me. This simple thing isn’t something that everyone has! It could be due to the society they live in, the country, their gender, the people around them, or just a lack of knowledge. Don’t take you chance to make your life what you want it for granted. This is your life and BONUS you get to make choices! Now if that’s not something to be great-full for well I’ll eat my own hat!

Happy Grati-Vember folks! Let’s keep this gratitude going all year!


Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday Motivation



It's been quite a week since my last post and I'll be updating you on everything soon! In the mean time, I saw this quote a few years ago and have kept it on my computer since. It just resonates with me on so many levels! I admit I dont know who designed it or where it came from so if you do please let me know so I can credit them properly.

This is how I want to be able to live my life and what I'm working towards. What do you want your life to look like? What are you doing to get there?



Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday Motivation



Our holiday weekend was filled with wonderful family and friends. Having our first holiday in our new home was amazing. (Not to mention delicious! I'm still full from all the food!) Tom and I also got some extra time over this holiday weekend to finish moving in to our house and get some things situated. I can't tell you how grateful I am for the extra time off work, for family, for good food, and for new couches! So many people made this weekend special for me and I am lucky to have so many lovely folks in my life!  Today we will all head back to our normal routines but while thanksgiving may be over let's not forget to keep being grateful! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Overwhelming Gratitude




It’s been a super light week here on the blog due to the move but I promise we’ll get back to our regular schedule soon! Here is a quick Grati-Vember update in the mean time.

Tom and I are moved into our house and I can’t begin to tell you the amount of ooey gooey love-y great-fullness I feel. This thanksgiving season, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I’m not a big cryer but I was very close to happy tears this past weekend. The move couldn’t have been better. There is just no way to fully thank all the wonderful family and friends who stopped by to help us. They are all such blessings!

Tom and I are both having a love affair with our house. We’re getting to know it and make friends. It has quirks, new sounds, a different key for every door, and I love every bit of it!  The cats are running from window to window all day. It’s just unbelievable that its ours and as a bonus, we get to be close to so many folks that we love.

I have heard about bright faith but this weekend and this last year in general has proven it to me. You have to believe in your dreams. You have to keep getting clear on what you want and have faith that at the right time things will work out. When it does, and its even more amazing than you imagined, you too will be over whelmed by gratitude and the meaning of bright faith. 

I want to share this feeling of intense love, gratitude, and overwhelming joy with everyone. So this is me sending you all the good vibes I have and wishing you all the most amazing Thanksgiving week!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Art of the Surprise



There are so many ways to add gratitude to your life but one that I think is less often thought about is showing someone how much you appreciate them. I love surprises and I love surprising the folks I love. Today I thought I'd share some of my favorite ways to surprise others.

1) The hidden note
  This one started when I was little. I loved my grandparents and when they would watch me, I would go about their house and hide little notes. They would have a smiley face or an "I love you" on them in my little kid handwriting. I'd hide them in coat pockets, drawers, books, behind cushions, under plates... anywhere I thought they would find them. My grandma kept these note and gave some of them to me a few years ago. I still smile at the thought.
  I've been a note writer ever since. Tom gets notes in his work shirts, hidden behind his train pass, under his pillow when I'm going to be out of town. Anywhere I think he will find them, even if its not for a few weeks! He leaves me notes now too! I can't tell you how much I love each one.
  If you want to try this grab a post it note, put a smiley face on it or write a little something special. Then think of some place to hide it that the person your hiding it for goes every day. I've even hidden notes in the shower! Get crafty with it! If you go by your significant others car in the morning stick one on the seat or under the wiper! See what fun places you can find to hide them! (you might just find one for yourself!)

2) Snail mail
 I love, love fun stationary! One of my favorite ways to surprise friends who live a bit farther from me is sending fun cards. We get so much junk mail and bills every day, who doesn't love finding a card from a friend! Email may be faster but wouldn't you love to come home from work to a card that says "hey, just thinking of you".

3) The always popular Flowers
 This one is not only for guys to send girls. I send my mom flowers All. The. Time. (If my dad liked flowers, I'd send him some too!) I send them to friends, to anyone I think would like them. Now here is the thing with this, the Internet makes this way easier! I don't go to the expensive "send flowers anywhere" places. I go local BUT I don't always live local. So for example, say your mom/best friend/ sister lives in another state. Ask them for their work address (or if you can ask someone who knows their work address with out directly asking them, even better for the surprise factor!) Then google local flower shops in that area. Find one that delivers where you can order online and BOOM! Your mom/ best friend/girlfriend/grandma won't know what hit her and will be delighted to be appreciated!
    Bonus: Find out what the person's favorite flower is and take it up a notch!
Double Bonus: Please note most if not all girls LOVE getting flowers AT WORK. (Yea, we like to show off a little and it makes any day better when you have flowers to look at!) Please also note you will get major bonus points for flowers that arrive on a Non-holiday. Don't get me wrong we still want them on holidays (sorry charlie) but the Non-holiday flower says "I love and appreciate you just because your in my life."

4) Tasty Tasty Treats
Okay so girls like flowers but what about the guys? Well here is one that works for everyone. One of my favorite treats to send is cupcakes! Generally I use Crumbs cupcakes because I love the design of the site but there are a ton! All of them deliver!

www.crumbs.com
They have themed cupcake sets! Beware you may start drooling on your computer!

www.ediblearrangements.com
Come on chocolate covered strawberries!

www.saltlickbbq.com
This is Tom recommended! If you want to surprise your guy I'm just sayin' this would be it. Hit the link and go order online, then Bar-B-Que. Beware: he may drop down and ask you to marry him for this.

There is no link for this but the last one is Pizza. I have a friend who ordered her husband a pizza while she was on a business trip, in another state! Come on who doesn't love that!


Send someone some love today! Let them know your grateful you are to have them in your life!
You get what you give folks, go give some smiles!

*The awesome snail mail in the photo above is from a very cute little girl named Liliana and her momma. The flowers were from Tom!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Let It Breathe



Like a fine wine, letting things in life breathe, can make the flavor that much sweeter. This concept has always been hard for me to follow. I want instant results, instant change, instant resolution. That last one is a biggie for me. I can’t handle un-resolved things. They eat at me and I start obsessively thinking about them. If I’ve had a disagreement with someone and we don’t come to a resolution right there, I will stew on it every moment until we do. I’m a compulsive problem solver (half of my job as a designer is to solve graphic problems) so when I can’t find a solution or  “make” one happen fast enough, I stress over it to distraction. This past month and week in particular has brought this concept to the forefront of my consciousness.  (Thank you universe, I hear you, ps mercury retrograde, I hear you too) 

In a little less than a week Tom and I will be moving into our very first house! ( I may have mentioned a few times, can you tell I’m super excited?!) I’m also more than a little stressed about it. Normal closing on a house is 3 months. The folks selling the house we are buying needed to settle in 1 month. (holy cow) This is awesome in that we now get to spend the holidays in our beautiful new home but is a lot to accomplish in a very short time. If you have ever bought a house or are in the process you know that its a LOT of info gathering and feeling like your giving money to everyone. For us, we also have to find a suitable tenant to rent the townhouse we are living in currently so that our landlord will let us out of our lease. Add on getting movers, packing everything, and still doing all the things you have to do in your daily life, all in a one month time frame... well.. you can see why it’s a little crazy over here. 

I found myself having a little mental breakdown at work the other day. I was trying to do my job and thinking about all the things we had to do outside of work. (obviously this is super productive) I was worrying over an over about getting a tenant in by december. What if no one responded to our ad? What if we had to pay rent and mortgage until march? What would we do? Then the movers, what if we couldn’t find someone on short notice? Then I started thinking about insurance and all that goes into that... I had worked myself into an anxiety attack complete with a trip to the bathroom for a small cry. ( don’t feel sorry, thats not where I’m going here!) 

In that bathroom I realized I was worrying about all the “what ifs” and trying to solve all the things that needed worked out, in my own head, at exactly the same time. There is not a person on this earth who can do that! I needed to BREATHE. (you know the faith hill song, “Just Breathe”) I needed to relax, take a breath, and trust that things would work out. I can’t force the universe to send the right tenant to us or the best movers, or the magical box packer to pack our place. Everything has to happen in its own time and I have to believe it will all work out. I mean if I don’t believe it why would the universe or anyone else? 

Just let it breathe. When you get so wrapped up in emotions, its hard to be rational. You know how you get the best ideas when you’re in the shower or vacuuming.. well, it’s the same concept. I needed to let my problems breathe so that I could see the answer. When you stare so hard at the problem, you completely miss the answer waving at you with the giant light up sign behind it!  You also miss the journey of finding the answer. Which is usually where you learn the most and makes the answer that much more beautiful.  I also momentarily lost sight that i am not in this alone. Tom is right there next to me helping every step of the way, as are some wonderful family and friends. 

Tom hugged me when I got home that day and told me he found movers. (He has no idea how much I appreciate him) While we still haven’t found a tenant, we have a contingency plan, and people have started emailing about the place. Some friends helped us pack and made us dinner. We are getting there and I am working on breathing.

I am blessed, grateful, and breathing. I declared this to be Grati-Vember and in just a week, I completely distracted myself and stopped thinking about the things and people I’m grateful for!  Wherever you at right now, whatever you’re thinking about, don’t forget to be grateful for what you have and the journey your on. It’s a journey only you get to take and only you get to make it what you want it to be!


P.S the cats think the box city is spectacular and have been playing king of the castle ever since! and if you want to know more about Mercury Retrograde check out this article from Gala Darling, a blogger I just discovered! How to survive Mercury Retrograde


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Grati-Vember



It's November and I am loving all of the 30 days of gratitude posts on Facebook. Living in the North East and hearing all the stories of loss from Hurricane Sandy, (Half of manhattan NY still doesn't have power!) this seems extra appropriate to be even more great-full for all our blessings. I truly believe focusing on all the things we do have rather than what we don't is part of the key to a happier life. I also believe what you think about most, you attract to yourself. In other words, thinking of all you are grateful for brings more things for which to be grateful. Now, I know that has to be hard for someone who has just lost their house, car, someone they love, or everything. I wish I could help take away that pain but I hope and imagine in those situations, they too are grateful, if even just to be alive.  I cant imagine what and incredible struggle some folks are going through right now but sometimes in the midst of great struggles come the most beautiful things.

"Strength shows not only in the ability to persist, but in the ability to start over."
- F.Scott Fitzgerald

I am thankful for so much in my life and in honor I'd like to dub November "Grati-Vember". I want to work on being more grateful each day and really acknowledging it. So I'm going to theme all of my posts this month on gratitude.  I also want to know what you are thankful for so I'd love for you to grab the badge above and share on your blog what your thankful for! Or just leave a comment, or post on your Facebook page. Heck, even just thinking about what your thankful works! The world needs more thankfulness and love right now so lets get it going! 

Today I am thankful for pumpkin spice coffee, saturday mornings relaxing on the couch with Tom, and bear patterned pants from my mom. 

How about you??

Happy Grati-Vember!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Motivation


Aka Hurricane Sandy can huff and puff but she can't keep us from enjoying a good cup of joe (yet)! In all seriousness, Monday motivation was delayed today because Tom and I were hurricane prepping this weekend. The wind and rain is picking up and we are hunkered down in our living room with every electronic device that we need charged plugged in! (Hey, if the power goes out at least we'll have a few hours of computers and phones!) To anyone in Sandy's path or with friends or relatives in her path, please be safe! It's not worth risking it to go out there!

This hurricane is scary! Power outages and damages everywhere but as always I'm trying to look at the bright side of things. For me the hurricane means a surprise day off from work. Which I'm incredibly thankful for because I really don't want to risk driving my little car in this. I'm also thankful Tom gets to work from home so I get to spend an extra day with him! I'm catching up on house work, blogging, school work and packing up our place to move! (Which if you know anyone looking for a townhouse in Hatboro, pa, let me know!)

I know we aren't on the coast getting the worst of the storm and I hope all of those there have evacuated or are somewhere safe. I also hope that something good comes from this for everyone, even if its only getting to spend some extra time with your loved ones. Be safe everyone and try to enjoy some part of this day. Sometimes what we need most is downtime! Don't under estimate the power of relaxing!

And if you need a laugh here is Tom sending a message to Sandy!


"You shall not pass!"







Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cupcake Wars

Every year my friend Jess throws a cupcake wars party at her house. In our group of friends we take this competition seriously! It's "Bring the Rain" time every year with prizes for best tasting, most unique, best decorated, and best vegan cupcake. This year Tom and I's entry was a Triple salted caramel cupcake with a sugar syrup decoration. These puppies took about 4 hours to complete and I'm happy to say we did not burn the house down while making the caramel!

 We used a recipe from a lovely blog called Sprinkle Bakes and modified our decorations. Hit the link for the full recipe! Let me just say the surprise caramel in the middle was my favorite part and the house smelled amazing! I also am claiming these to be a good luck charm because the day we made them was  the same day we found our house! (That's right, big news we are buying a house and will be moving the week of November 16th! I can't begin to tell you how excited we are! ) 

All the cupcakes in the challenge were amazing. The tasting part sent us all into a sugar coma but it was worth it and we won best tasting! Here is to delicious cupcakes, celebrations with friends, and trying new things! 


Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Motivation



The journey is what makes the ending more beautiful. Your scars, your choices, your wins and your falls along the way are what make you beautiful. It's those things that make you stronger, give you confidence to keep going, and get you ready for the greatness coming your way. Embrace the beauty of your journey, you big beautiful butterfly!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

You are going to get there!


This week has been quite a roller coaster. Tom and I are in the process of buying house!  This is a dream come true for both of us and so exciting. The day after we found out we got the house we both came down with a flu. (yuck) I couldn’t help but feel happy though even while sick. I’m just so happy and “great-full” for this life I’ve been blessed with. 

If there is one thing I wish I could go back in time and tell myself a few years ago its this.. I know things are tough right now. You are at the beginning of a journey and its scary! But girl, there is so much good stuff coming your way! You are going to look back on this time in a few years and not believe how blessed you are! Keep going. Keep taking those little steps, you are going to get there!

Its so hard to see past the tough things that are going on to see the beautiful future that is ahead. How different would you feel during those tough times if you knew in your heart that things were going to get better? What would you have the courage to do if you knew it would work out?

I don’t know where you’re at in life or where you want to go but I do know that if you wake up everyday believing you will get there...you will! You are on your way to the most incredible life! Just keep going!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday Motivation


It's not always easy but its so true. You attract what you think about! What are you thankful for today?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Middle Fog


So you have had this epiphany, made a decision, set a goal, AND you’ve even been doing your One Thing a day to take steps toward your decision/goal/ new you. The first few weeks you were pumped, just coasting down the highway of “hell yea, I’m super excited and on my way!”  Let me just say way to be you! Rock on!!

It’s a few weeks out now and your resolve is starting to waver a bit. Little excuses to not keep up with your goal are starting to creep in. I can sneak in a brownie bite.  I don’t need to take a class tonight. I can wait another day on that. I’m too tired. My dog ate my homework, yada yada... and before you know it, you’re stuck! You’re in a passion pit, and in the Middle Fog. (Middle Fog- the time between starting a goal and finishing when you can’t see the beginning or the end but your still moving forward)

You’re not throwing in the towel yet though! When you’re feeling stuck, un-motivated and foggy, take a look back on why you started this journey in the first place. What was your goal? What about it got you excited? What is the end result you want to get to? Think back to when you made this choice, what did you feel in that moment? Was it awesome? Were you so motivated you wanted to start right then? (who doesn’t go for a run at midnight?! or start cleaning out closets at 6am?!)  Grab that feeling and let it take you over! Let that feeling push you forward and re-motivate you! Keep moving forward.

The middle of any journey is tough. Its when you need to dig deep and find the will to keep going. If it helps write down all the reasons you started this journey and keep them somewhere you can read them each day. It’s easy to quit but the feeling you're going to get when you reach that goal is going to be beyond words. You really can do this!


P.S. For further motivation take Dory the fish’s advice “Just keep swimming!”



Monday, October 8, 2012

Monday Motivation



Nicely put, Mrs. Roosevelt. Nicely put.  
What is the thing you think you can't do?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Wanderlust

Art By Molly Jacques*

 I love this quote! Love love it!  Because I truly believe not all people who are wandering on their path are lost. Sometimes you need to wander, to take the road less traveled or the one that goes over the river and under the tree. Sometimes your path isn't going to be straight but a lot of times, that wandering takes you exactly where you needed to be. 


I know my path has curved. It's has taken bumps, roller coaster rides, it has.... rolled around a bit.. And I've lead it there! (Riding that roller coaster with all the joy I could muster!)  I'm sure to the outside looker some of those choices seemed...just crazy. (rash, backwards, unrealistic) BUT in my heart I knew it was the right move for me. It was the right wandering for my life.  It hasn't always been easy but I can't regret it because it's taken me exactly where I wanted to go in the first place.  Even better it took me where my heart and spirit wanted to go. If I had taken that straight path, I know I wouldn't be who I am and where I'm at in my life. 

Don't be afraid to wander a bit. Test the water, look at things differently. There is nothing wrong with the straight and narrow. Heck, sometimes that is exactly what is called for in the moment but give yourself permission to let go once in a while. If you feel a deep heartfelt pull to do something, Try It. You never know where you heart is trying to lead you. Isn't that the point of this journey? to discover? 

Wander. Experience. Discover. You. :)




*Talk about a fantastic discovery! This beautiful artwork is by a very talented designer and illustrator Molly Jacques. I stumbled across this quote and low and behold found she also did the Judy Garland quote I posted here. I was having trouble finding the original designer so I'm delighted to find its the same person! Check out her other beautiful work here.




Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Visual Sunshine for a Foggy Day



It's a foggy wednesday here in PA today. Though I have to admit that I personally think there is something magical about a grey day in the north east. Being that it's officially Fall now, a grey day means you never know when it could snow! (okay okay yes, its going to be like 80 today, but still! you never know.) It's a sense of anticipation that with a grey days comes so many things I love about this season! Falling beautiful leaves, pumpkin everything, hay rides, fun scarves, crisp air, and it brings us closer to my favorite holiday...Christmas!  Grey days = good things, thats all I'm saying!
However, if you need a little visual sunshine on this foggy grey day check out this video.

It's an app for the iPad and iPhone called Toca Band by Toca Boca. It's for kids but seriously its so much fun for adults too! They also did this amazing music video for it. Seriously, if this doesn't bring some sunshine to your day, I'll eat my own hat!



P.S. seriously considering this as a Halloween costume! And a big thanks to Monica for sharing this awesome video with me!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Monday Motivation: 4 Simple Goals

From Abeautifulmess.com


  Today's Monday Motivation is brought to you by one of my favorite bloggers, Elsie from A Beautiful Mess. A few weeks ago she asked her readers to choose 4 simple goals they could achieve by 2013 and to blog about them. You know I love the idea of simple steps toward a goal and "doing one thing" so this idea was right up my alley!  Click here to read Elsie's post and her rules for your goals.

My 4 simple goals are:

1) Do something creative that doesn't involve the computer. I love my computer and doing creative things on it but I haven't done anything hands on creative in a while. I love painting, drawing, making little things, ect. and I've been craving creating something like that lately. It's time to just do it!

2) Practice Self-Care. I talk all the time about taking time to take care of yourself. Yet, I don't always practice what I preach. I want to walk the talk and start really listening to my body and what it needs.

3) Read more. I have had a book on my night stand for a few weeks now and I haven't read more than 5 pages. It's a really good book too! I want to try to take a few minutes each day to read for fun and relaxation. 

4) Write my about me page. You'd think I would have done this already! I've been focusing on my posts and sort of forgot about the about me page! I really want to take some time to make this happen.


I have to think on the rewards for each goal, though really each goal is a reward in itself! I'll keep you all updated on my progress as I accomplish each goal. What about you? What are your 4 Simple goals?  


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Adventures Around Town



This weekend was a much needed break after finally finishing a big project at work. I didn't realize how stressed I had been until the sense of relief that it was over came over me this weekend. I can feel my stomach unclenching, my body is less achey, and a sense of lightness that I haven't felt in weeks is back. I'm starting to feel like myself again. It. Feels. So. Good. I really believe you need to celebrate things like this and give yourself time to recoupe. That is exactly what I did this weekend!

The weekend started friday with an excellent dinner with some friends we haven't seen in a while. Of course there were some celebratory drinks to it being friday and the big project being over! Saturday was a Tom and I day. With all that's been going on we haven't had much time to ourselves and I personally felt like my mind had been so fixated on work lately that I hadn't been fully present when we were together. Now that I was coming back to myself, I wanted to have some quality time with Tom. (Not to mention letting him know how much I appreciate him and how he helped me keep it together during the stress!)  

So we finally went to a place in Philadelphia that we've been wanting to check out for a while, The Franklin Fountain. It's an old fashioned ice cream parlour that hand makes the ice cream on site and takes serious pride in the presentation of their concoctions! I had the Mt. Vesuvius and Tom had the Franklin Mint. Both were about the size of our heads and beyond delicious. Check out this Man vs Food episode to see more! It was soooo worth it! Then we went next door and checked out Shane Confectionary. It's an old fashioned candy shoppe! So much sweet goodness topped off by a delightfully cool fall day.  I'm so great-full for such a wonderful, relaxing, revitalizing weekend and time to catch up with my guy!

Don't forget to celebrate your accomplishments (big and small) and take time to take care of yourself! What did you celebrate this weekend? Did you take time to catch up with yourself or someone you care about?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Angry Eyes


 I'm packing your extra pair of shoes, and your angry eyes just in case.
-Mrs. Potatohead, Toy Story 2



In committing to being authentic on this blog, I feel I need to come clean on how I've been feeling lately. I'm hoping in sharing it helps someone who might be feeling the same way and is looking for a way to change it.

So lately I've had my "angry eyes" on. Not at anyone in particular but at the loss of life balance and stress. This is busy season at my work and in the last few weeks it's gotten pretty crazy. It's long days, late nights, and a total sense of being overwhelmed. It's the nature of the job. It happens every year at this time. You would think that after 7 years of working in the toy industry I would be use to this. I'm not. This year in particular I'm feeling it more because there is also a lot going on in my personal life.  Being at work so much and coming home exhausted doesn't leave much time to stay on top of the life things I need to accomplish. (I can't imagine how folks with kids feel!) With everyone at my job super stressed it makes tensions a little high. No matter how much you like your co-workers (and I genuinely do!), when you all have on your angry/stress eyes, it can lead to some serious misunderstandings and rough patches.

Last night was a particularly rough night and to top it off Tom was away for buisness. (He's my calmer-downer, recenter-er) As I was laying in bed trying not to be pissed at the world I realized how exhausted I was. Not only from the day but from holding on to this anger. Being angry was affecting how I looked at every situation at work and every person.  At that moment I knew I needed to make a change. I can't change the nature of the business and I can't change other people but I can change my outlook. I can change my reaction. So I started trying to look at the situation differently. Yes, I even recited "It's not forever, It's just for now" and I made a promise to myself that tomorrow I would try to be positive. I made a promise to try to look at things through my "happy eyes" and not let my anger cloud me. 

I still slept like crap (dang you stress!) But when I got to work in the morning, I didn't feel angry. I chose to go into it with renewed energy knowing that no matter what happened that day, I was going to get through it. I was going to be caring with co-workers (because hey, I understand why they are stressed, we're in this boat together!) And no matter what this day brought, I was going to come home to a house I love and people who loved me. This time of year is always going to be stressful at this job. I just need to keep in mind all the other good days, all the things I'm grateful for, and all the things I have to look forward too. 

You can't always change the situation but you can change the way you look at it and the way you react to it. Heck, that might even be the lesson the universe wants you to learn. 

So if you can, try to put your angry eyes away.. your happy eyes are more fun anyway!

PS all of the stress is going to pay off when our company showrooms look awesome this year!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday Motivation


By now you probably know I’m all about living in the moment and being positive.... but what if the moment your living in is...well...a crappy one. I had a great talk this weekend with a friend of mine and the question came up “how do you stay positive in a moment that’s just really crappy?”

You know, I’m studying to become a life coach and I write a blog focused on positivity BUT I still don’t have that question totally figured out. Some days are a struggle to stay positive. Some days I think “Man, I just need to go back to bed and start this one over tomorrow”  So while I cant tell you exactly how to do it here are a few tips that I try on rough days....

1) First and foremost, put on some tunes that make you feel better. Whatever you want as long as it give you a good feeling. I admit that on really rough days, I put on my favorite Christmas albums. (Seriously!)

2) Try thinking about 5 things you are grateful for in your life. Write them out if you can or simply list them in your head. I like to try to do this before bed so even if my day sucked the whole way through, I go to sleep thinking something positive.

3) If you can, try to step back and observe the situation as if you were an outsider. Is there anything that you can learn from and use to grow? Is there a simple solution that you couldn’t see because you were so deep in it?

4) Take a walk. If you can get outside, great. If not just walk around your desk or house. Give yourself a moment to get away from whatever is bothering you.

5) The best advice I’ve ever gotten on how to stay positive in a tough situation is this... Breathe. Take some deep breaths and know that this moment is not forever. It is just for now. 

Whatever is stressing you in this moment, It’s not forever. Tomorrow is another day and you can do this. You can make it! You can take steps to change it.  It isn’t always easy to stay positive in a tough moment. When all else fails remember this, Heck, make it your mantra.. This moment is not forever, its just for now, and I am moving towards something so much better! Even if you don’t know what that is, believe it, and it will bring you closer to that better thing!



Friday, September 21, 2012

Surprise Smile


You know how I know the universe is friendly? Because it smiles at me!  I forget sometimes to appreciate the little things in life. I forget to look at my surroundings and see the beauty around me. Life gets tough, things get busy, yada yada! But then all the sudden I look down and BAM a surprise smile! A smile on the sidewalk, in my food, or a random piece of a kids potato wedge on the ground! It can be anywhere! When it happens, I smile back and know that things are gonna start looking up! 

Take a minute today to look around see if there isn't a surprise smile looking back at you!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Celebrate, You!


 So did you do your One Thing yet? What was it? Now, Did you celebrate afterwards? Get on it! Celebrate that step no matter how small!

It's so easy to appreciate and acknowledge the things we see other people doing that are good. It can be hard to recognize and appreciate ourselves! You worry that you're being cocky or full of yourself.  Don't! When you are making steps for yourself and working on a goal, celebrate it! It's part of what keeps you going on that path. Not to mention, you deserve it!  Doesn't it feel awesome when you accomplish even a small part of your goal?  Give yourself credit! Get excited! Let it drive you to take the next step!

 So from me to you for whatever journey your on...WHOOP WHOOP! WAY TO BE YOU!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Even a 5th grader can "Do one thing"

 It's a super exciting Monday Motivation post today! A few weeks back I did this post  about doing one thing to get you closer to your dream or goal. Well, if you didn't do it then, you're gonna want to after reading this!

 My very good friend Christina Mann is an excellent 5th grade teacher at Pocono Mountain School District. She took the "Do One Thing" post and challenged not only herself but her students! She made a bulletin board and asked the students to post one thing they could do to help themselves set the tone for their whole school year. She even put her own up there!

   Here is a bit from Christina herself about her one thing.... "My ONE THING to help set the tone for the whole year was to email all the parents I had contact info for.. For one reason or another, parent communication is always what I see as my weakest teaching skill... I finally made that email a reality this morning and got tons of positive messages back from parents who were glad to be kept "in the loop" :)....from the kids' side, I had many "I will do my homework" cards but lots of others that went outside of the box and made it personal."





This week they start a new board of "Do One Things". I can't wait to see what else they say!

So what is your One Thing going to be today? Because if a 5th grader can do it so can you! What is going to help you set the tone for this week? This month? This year!



Thursday, September 13, 2012

It's a "Keys on the Light Switch" Kind of Day

This week can best be described by this picture... (I started laughing so hard I was crying when Tom pointed this out! I really had no idea I did this.)


So today's post will be some visual inspiration for your Thursday! I found this image on Pinterest, the quote and the typography are just beautiful. It's so true too. It's easy to get lost in trying to fit someone else's mold, when the best fit is the mold you make. ( or break!)



And this is some visual sunshine straight from the Canadian Rockies thanks to Aimee Good for this awesome picture! Talk about appreciating the beauty in the world!



Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday Motivation



I may have mentioned a few times how much I love the fall. Love. It. I love the smell of fireplaces and crisp morning air. The changing colors of the leaves. the delicious spices in pumpkin latte’s and the building excitement for all the holidays!  Even as a kid, I loved the fall.  I loved new pencils and paper, back to school shopping, and seriously I loved going to school. (Even now I get excited about school supplies in Target!) The fall and “back to school” felt like a fresh start. A new year and a new beginning. To this day, even though the new year starts in January, I still feel like it starts in September.

  Yesterday we woke up to a delightfully crisp morning and it just fueled my Fall season fire. It feels like time for a new start or more a restart. In a little under a year Tom and I will be getting married. (“Today I met the boy I’m gonna marry....” sing it!) I want to get in shape and accomplish some other goals before then. Its not that I haven’t been trying to accomplish these goals before now I just feel like I may have started slacking a bit over the summer. It’s fall now though, and today is a new day!

Whatever you’ve been trying to accomplish, or wherever you want to go, let the fall give you a boost! No matter what happened yesterday, last week, or 20 minutes ago, it’s a new day, folks! You can’t go back and change the past but you can make a new start today. What I loved about back to school growing up was that it was a blank slate where anything could happen that was full of new opportunities. Consider this Monday your first day back at school... It’s a new day! clean your slate, restart or simply start.

It’s a bright shiny fresh new day! What are you going to do with it?


Friday, September 7, 2012

Shame, Shame, Know Your Name




I made a discovery yesterday that has me really doing some “soul work”. I discovered a TED talk by Brene Brown about listening to shame. If you haven’t heard of TED talks I highly suggest checking them out. They are 20 minute talks with a variety of inspiring folks on a wide array of topics that are just...awesome. (not to mention free and addicting) 

In her talk Brene distinguished shame from guilt in this way: Guilt comes from “I made a mistake”, Shame comes from “I am a mistake.”   

This particular topic hit home with me in the part where she talks about shame as the feeling of not being good enough. The feeling of not deserving. The feeling of “who do you think you are to go for your dreams?” The feeling of not fitting the societal standards . (I know thats getting lofty...don’t worry I’m going somewhere good!) I see extremely excellent folks let themselves believe they aren’t good enough simply based on someone else’s opinion. I understand it because I have done and still do it sometimes.  You let yourself get talked out of good ideas and dreams. You feel bad about your body because it’s not the way the movies and magazines say it should be. I think the worst though is not letting yourself be who you are because you want to please someone else or someone has said that the true version of you isn’t good enough. 

Don’t be ashamed to be who you are. Don’t let shame hold you back from going for it. 
In the talk Brene says “Vulnerability is the birth place for creativity”.  It’s the antidote to shame. When you are feeling that you aren’t good enough, look that shame in the face and push through it. Be vulnerable because you do have what it takes. You are good enough and you do deserve to go for it. 

Be vulnerable. Let it move you forward.



PS check out Brene's Blog and website for more info and insight from her here.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Visual Sunshine from Target

 So I haven't done much posting on the design side of my life but over the weekend I discovered Orla Kiely at Target again!  I love her simple fun patterns! She teamed up with Method this time for some fantastic bottle patterns!


Seriously, How great are these patterns! Pick some up while you can!


I was also delighted to see Campbell's soup coming out with a Tribute to Andy Warhol! (only at Target) Is it any wonder that I love Target so much? So much great design every where!
 I now get soem visual sunshine and inspiration every time I wash my hands or my dishes! 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Weekend Fun

 I hope everyone had a great weekend full of living in the moment!I know I did. It was a weekend full of family, fun, adventure. Tom and I lived in the moment and took a detour that lead us to a fantastic hot dog place on the way to the beach. If you happen to be in Middletown, DE check out DogTown. We had a Coney dog, a Philly dog, and a Memphis dog. All three were delicious! Plus we got some fun pics with the hot dog man. After some fun time with the family on the beach and eating crabs (I could sit and pick crabs for hours), We took a detour to the boardwalk in Ocean City, MD. I haven't been there in years and it was so much fun! We ate Thrashers Fries and Atlantic Stand burgers then rocked some skee ball! We even made a spur of the moment stop to see Tom's family and had some serious laughs about butter noodles and sweater vests. It was such a fun weekend and I really tried to appreciate each moment. I can honestly say I felt lighter by the end of the weekend. I wasn't worrying about all the usual stuff, just enjoying. So how about you? Did you have some adventurous fun?



Friday, August 31, 2012

Swig O Pup Shine



There is no better way to learn about living in the moment than to spend a little time with a dog. Today's visual swig o sunshine is brought to you by my friend Will and his adorable dog Oakley. Look at that pup, if that is not enjoying the moment to it's fullest, I just don't know what is! 
Nice picture, Will!

It's Friday folks and for those in the US it's a holiday weekend! My challenge for you this weekend is to enjoy every moment the way a dog does. They love with every thing they have. They live each moment to its fullest. They stay in the moment and don't worry about work while playing with their family. They don't care about getting dirty if its for some good fun and they will eat whatever makes them happy. Enjoy this weekend. Spend some quality time with people you care about. Have some serious fun and eat some delicious food. Give yourself permission to leave stress behind so you can share your sunshine!

P.S. If you have any visual sunshine pictures you'd like to share, send them my way!



Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Vacation Part 2


Wednesday seems like a good day for round 2 of vacation photos. Call it some visual sunshine!
Here is some sight seeing in Aruba!


This is the Natural Bridge. It's even more beautiful in person 
and incredible that it's totally made by mother nature!



This is me feeding an ostrich! and being slightly afraid of his crazy pecking!



Fantastically, there was a guy selling coconuts! He opened them with a machete so we could drink the juice and then chops it open for you so you can eat the meat too! So cool!



Hiking down to the Natural Pool, Being a tourist in an I love Aruba shirt!



One of the best parts of our sight seeing trip was the Natural Pool. To get there we did some serious off roading in a land rover. So. Much. Fun. See below pic for images of the great crew we were with. The picture above isn't the Natural Pool but its of the pretty sight next too it. It's tough to get a natural pool shot with out a camera that can get wet.





We met some great new friends from our neck of the woods too. We had some delicious Mexican food that night. Here is to the delicious drink called a "Pink Iguana"!




The very last night we were there we had a wonderful dinner on the beach. Beautiful sunset, good food, sand beneath our feet! Couldn't ask for a better way to end a vacation!




Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Motivation : Be the Wind



 It has been quite a week since vacation, busy, crazy and full of things to do. I have been in need of some inspiration myself and came across this quote. I couldn't find who said it but it rang so true for me. I have felt like a leaf this week. Blown from one direction to another with what felt like no control.

Taking classes, working, blogging, wedding planning, and still trying to get exercise or "me time" in one day has been taking its tole. I had a great conversation with Tom about how I was feeling overwhelmed and he helped me figure out how to be the wind again. To do that, I'm going to adjust my schedule a bit and work on accepting that I can't always do everything in a day (which is OKAY). I can't control everything but I can control how I react to things. Instead of feeling frustrated that I'm not getting any down time, I'm actively rearranging my schedule to make time. Instead of letting the little things bother me that I can't get too or fix, I'm going to work on adjusting my reaction to them.

I'm going to work on being the wind no matter if it's reactions to people, circumstances, or myself. It's pro-active time folks. No more leaves! Let's all be the wind together!

P.S. is anyone as excited as I am that Fall is almost here? I bought pumpkin spice coffee at the grocery store last week and it has been glorious!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Mindfulness


Have you ever driven home after a long day and realized when you got home that you didn’t remember the drive?  Scary right? 


I just started taking a class on mindfulness. It’s all about being present in the now. It’s about being aware of your surroundings, yourself, and your feelings as they happen. In this world where being a good multitasker is a must, mindfulness is about focus and being in the moment. Being on vacation last week gave me a chance to take a breather and be mindful. I mean, really, when you’re in a beautiful place it’s hard not to be mindful of the gorgeous surroundings! It also gave me the downtime to focus on how my body felt and gave me some time to let my creative juices flow. 


It’s amazing how much being mindful can make a difference. When you are mindful of how you react to things you can then get a better understanding of why you react that way. Say your in a stressful situation, try to be aware of what your feeling in that moment. Don’t judge it or deny it just notice it. Write it down if you have too. Then when you’ve calmed a bit take a moment to think about why you felt that way. Maybe its obvious but really delve in and see if there are any underlying issues you’re bringing to the table.


Be mindful in your relationships. Really notice how you feel around others. Are you happy, light, motivated, sad, full, excited, angry, stressed, put off? Maybe your intuition is telling you something. 


Being present in the moment, being mindful, also lets you open up the creative flood gates. Ever wonder why your best ideas come in the bathroom? or while your driving? When we switch from multitasking everything to focusing on one task our mind finally has a chance to focus. Then poof, break through! 


Try out being mindful today. Notice what’s happening around you, heck you might see something amazing on the way home from work today! Plus it’s Friday! 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Vacation part 1

I promised vacation pics so here is part one! We stayed at the Westin Resort and Casino where everyone was super helpful and really nice!
 This was the sunset our first night there.
It rained just before we landed which provided the gorgeous clouds!
Every day after it was sunny and nice.


Seriously the water was so clear and so perfectly turquoise that Tom and I kept asking each other if it was real! That big blue thing in the middle was once a shore marker with a light on it. Now its a fun thing to jump off for swimmers!
 

This was the view from our palapa. The sun was hot but the constant breeze and the escape from the heat under the palapa made it perfect!



It is hard to beat a sunset with  beautiful water and palm trees!




In Aruba the word Dushi means sweetheart or "something good."
In the US its slang for something else... Here is Tom's take on that at Dushi Bagels.



We went on a few excursions and one of them was a catamaran ride to snorkel. We also got to Snuba. Which is like scuba but your tank is on a raft at the surface and you only go down 20 feet. Still so cool and we now have pics under water!



This is the bottle of champagne Frank the crazy bellman sent up to us as a surprise for getting engaged. So sweet!


Mr & Mrs Good :)



And we'll end the slide show with me feeling a bit bubbly myself!

Happy Thursday Folks! More images later!