Saturday, June 30, 2012

Uncertainty: May It Make Me Stronger

Vacationing, last year, with Mark in Nassau

As mentioned before, uncertainty and me...we don't mix well.  My attempts to be more flexible (in terms of plan adherence) have received a world-class testing this past week.  Tomorrow, we are set to depart for a getaway; flying into Denver, staying in Boulder, and journeying to various points in the area. 

Despite the fires raging out west, we have chosen not to put the brakes on our trip; understanding there might be the possibility our initial plans might need to change at a moment's notice.  My creative attempts to craft the perfect “Plan B” haven't come together so well, either.  When I first learned about evacuations in Boulder, my new plan was to fly into Denver; then venture south into New Mexico to check out Taos and Santa Fe.  The fires appear to be cropping up there as well, though. 

How I prefer to dedicate my energies, right now, is to send out safe, healing thoughts to those who live and work in these devastated areas.  They are the ones facing the real challenges—not me.  Perhaps, life will open up in a whole new way for us (next week) that we had not initially envisioned when we planned our Colorado trip some months ago.  

In the meantime, I’m hanging in (maybe not as loosely as I could be, but more so than ever before).  I will continue to post to the blog next week, and plan to publish "vacay" photos (from wherever we end up) on the Tickled Pink Woman Facebook page (If you haven't "liked" the TPW Facebook page yet, please do!).  Joy & peace, T.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Mid-year Reflections Bring Treasures, Gems & Dreams

Journal, patio, vino, sunset!
(As seen on FacebookTwitter and Instagram)

Earlier this week, I etched out some quality time with myself. It was a weekday evening. The sun was setting. There was a mild chill in the air.  With journal in hand, and vino close by (smile), I eagerly settled in to craft a mid-year assessment of my personal goals and accomplishments. 

Prior to beginning this activity, I took time to think about the many treasured pieces and parts I have enjoyed already in 2012: all the amazing new friends I have made, my trip with Mark to Cincy and Kentucky, a women’s art and fashion luncheon with dear gal pals, the local Women’s Club’s annual tea party, being interviewed by another fab blogger, Zonta’s Summer Solstice Wine Soiree, various special weekends spent with my family in Michigan and Columbus, my contribution of a letter for another author’s soon-to-be-published book...  A walk down memory lane was a great place to kick-off an evaluation of my personal goals and accomplishments.  My gratitude overflowed as a result of my recollection of the past six months. 

My top-five gems (as related to my Tickled Pink ventures) have been:
My top-five dreams for the remainder of 2012 (as related to my Tickled Pink ventures) include:
  • Finalize outline for my book, Tickled Pink Woman
  • Write a book proposal for Tickled Pink Woman
  • Conduct my first women's art journaling workshop
  • Launch Tickled Pink Woman podcast
  • Begin searching for a literary agent
What gems and dreams came from your mid-year reflections?  Would so adore hearing about them!  T.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Flexible Planning = More Authentic Living

My latest plan...of course, I've given myself the permission to tweak where needed (smile).

Uncertainty has never been a comfortable place for me.  I am a planner, an all-the-way-to-the-end-of-the-scale “J” on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.  I like things to go off exactly as envisioned.  And, although I know this way of life has held immeasurable benefits, it has also created a good deal of angst and limitation for me as well over the years.  No doubt, I will always be a planner.  It is simply who I am.  Nevertheless, I know my “J” score needs to be ratcheted down a notch or two.  In other words, I could loosen up a bit in this regard.  

The more frequently I yield to my Wise Self’s (sometimes, momentary) desires, the greater my realization that being firmly concreted to a plan is not always the best (um…) plan for me.  The other day, for instance; I was already headed to Starbucks for a java.  That was the plan.  Until, that is, this sudden “Instead, let’s swing by Dunkin’ Donuts for a java with coconut favoring” urging came over me.  That afternoon, I did something I likely wouldn't have done only a few years ago: honored my on-the-spot longing.  And, I'm quite proud of myself for doing so (This may sound like a bit much, but please realize I am a strong “J.” Even our smallest of plans are, generally, set in stone.).  In addition to being a bit more spontaneous and honoring my own wisdom, other good also came out of my actions.  The drive there was closer for me.  It was likely less crowded at DD (This is based upon my comparison to many previous trips to Starbucks).  Plus, the hint of coconut from the flavoring truly hit the spot that day. 

Another reason for increased flexibility, on my part, relates to the issue of life simply happening.  No plan is foolproof.  Sometimes, life just happens, and plans can’t be carried out as (well…) planned.  For folks like me, this is where the concern and annoyance part comes into play.  I am beginning to realize that if rules were meant to be broken; then, plans can be, too—from time to time.  Goals also can be tweaked, amended to fit arising circumstances. 

Are there any other strong “J’s” out there?  If so, please, introduce yourself as this femme seeks company along her path of reformation!  T.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Moving Forward…

This flower (one from a recent bouquet Mark brought me)
may make her way into my home office!

It’s not filthy or anything of that sort, but my home office is figuratively begging me to carve out some time, this evening, to reorganize it a bit.  All it really needs is a spot of freshening up; to get it back to where it was about a month ago (prior to my recently-wrapped up freelance project’s start). 

Knowing the benefits realized when I heed the call of my Wise Self, that’s exactly what this girl is going to do.  You see, my freelance project is officially over now, but it still seems like there’s something out there (related to this) that I need to be doing.  Ever get that feeling?  I believe my efforts will not only make me work a bit more efficiently (smile); they will also serve as a nice way to symbolically finalize this sizable project in my own mind.  

Funny, but this seems to relate back to a fabulous book I just finished reading last week (Make Your Creative Dreams Real: A Plan for Procrastinators, Perfectionists, Busy People, and People Who Would Really Rather Sleep All Day).  The book’s author, SARK, spoke about a similar time in her life when she needed to move forward, but somehow felt unable to do so.  After a bit of reflection, she began tidying up her workspace; sweeping, reorganizing, even placing a vase of fresh flowers on her desk (This, I can do!). What actualized for her, after carrying out these simple measures, was a state of greater motivation, creativity and happiness.  Who wouldn’t want that, right? 

After this eve's clean up, I plan on luxuriating with another great read, Make a Name for Yourself: 8 Steps Every Woman Needs to Create a Personal Brand Strategy for Success by Robin Fisher Roffer.  I have read this one before, but it was prior to Tickled Pink!’s launch.  As a result, I’m hoping I can glean a few more useful nuggets of wisdom that will apply to the blog and another planned venture I hope to realize in the future.

Wishing you a day filled with much motivation, creativity and happiness!  T.

Learning to Barter with Myself

Can you guess what deal I made with myself?

Following last Sunday’s breakfast on the patio, I found myself lingering there much longer than normal.  From my shaded haven, I enjoyed fresh air, sunshine, perfect temps, and scads of natural beauty.  Quite simply, I didn’t want to leave it.  To do’s beckoned, though (actually, it felt more like a demand than a beckon).  Namely, that morning’s planned tasks were to: 1) draft Thursday’s speech for my Toastmasters’ gathering; and 2) finalize the agenda and materials for an art journaling workshop I volunteered to conduct during the local Girl Power Tween Camp next month.

What made the morning extraordinary was the deal I made with myself: to continue enjoying the outdoors by moving my laptop onto the patio table, and working from there, rather in than my home office.  Turned out to be quite a tradeoff!  Not only was I able to continue enjoying my precious outdoor time, I ended up having a very productive morning; one that felt almost effortless to me.  Actually, the rest of the day seemed to flow pretty smoothly as well.  Another bonus:  two previously-looming projects were completed; which felt so good! 

In my efforts to loosen the reins a bit (will explain more later this week), self-bartering is something I definitely plan to do more of.   Are there any other self-wheeler-dealers out there?  If so, I’d love to hear from you!  T.

Monday, June 25, 2012

On Nature & Personal Fulfillment

A beautiful sight from enchanting Schedel Gardens

Even the thought of spending time in nature evokes a multitude of fab feelings within me:  joy, comfort, inspiration, calm, excitement, relaxation…  Some of my favorite memories have resulted from time spent, mindfully, in natural settings. 

Outdoor experiences are gifts I give myself.  The more I luxuriate along the tickled pink path, the better I get at carving out time for and being fully present during these natural forays I truly heart so dearly!  Even if it is only for a few, precious moments, I consistently seek opportunities to fully relish nature’s majesty whenever I can.  For example, I may be headed into a boutique to browse for a bit, but can I stop and enjoy the lovely flower beds outside before entering the shop?  Or, rather than simply writing in my journal from inside the house, could I move onto the patio where I can also appreciate the feel of the wind on my face, various hues of green (courtesy of the trees), fragrant flowers and a symphony of chirping birds? 

Based upon my own, more recent, observations, nature’s call is one that seems to resonate with many femmes—not just me.  Be it the blogs I read, comments from my own blog’s readers or chats I have had with fellow femmes, we women seem to gravitate toward all things natural.  That’s because nature provides us with the great things I mentioned above (and more!).

This past weekend, Mark and I ventured out to Schedel Gardens, a botanical delight about 30 minutes from where we live.  Our afternoon in this charming setting felt like a mini vacation (See more photos at Tickled Pink Woman's Facebook page.)!

What little ways can you incorporate (either by scheduling time to enjoy it or being more mindful of your time in it) nature into your life?   Please share your thoughts!  T.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Mindfully Blooming

“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence.  
When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”  --Thich Nhat Hanh

Since it references two of my favorite things (mindfulness and flowers), there is no doubt I heart the quote above!  

Today, Mark and I will sojourn, about 30 minutes from home, to lovely Schedel Gardens.  I have meant to visit this enchanting botanical garden for some time now, but never did.  Being that 2012 is the year of no regrets, I included this worthwhile endeavor as one of my personal goals for the month of June.

While at the gardens, today, this girl hopes to make like a flower and bloom (mindfully, of course!).  I will include plenty of photos on the Tickled Pink Woman Facebook page (I've already posted a few pics from this week's Zonta Summer Solstice Wine Soiree there)!  Oh, and the lovely lily featured above, she's from my own garden (smile).

Enjoy your weekend!  T.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Reads That Feed My Mind

“There is no frigate like a book, to take us lands away.” –Emily Dickinson

Reading to feed the mind is a concept this femme adheres to in the hopes of living a Tickled Pink life.  I’ve always been an avid reader.  As a little girl, I would read pretty much anything I could get my hands on.  In college, I gravitated toward the classics.  About 12 years ago, following my attendance at leadership training held in San Francisco, my preferences shifted toward anything that was related to self-care, personal development or motivation.  These days, I’m a self-proclaimed self-help junkie, but I also enjoy reading biographies/autobiographies (especially about fascinating women), how to’s related to those things I seek to learn more about (art, crafts, yoga, writing, etc.), or works focused on zen/healthy living.

Some years ago, I began building a home library of favorites.  Below, are some of the mind-feeding reads I find myself referring to time and time again:

Tea Celebrations by Alexandra Stoddard

A Woman’s Worth by Marianne Williamson

Do you have any reads that beckon you again and again?  Please share! T.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Celebrating Summer’s Solstice

Summer has officially arrived; along with the lilies!

Her arrival is now official. Yes, it is our lovely Summer I am speaking of.  Yesterday marked the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. 

My celebration begins tonight (smile).  Mark and I have tickets to attend Zonta’s annual Summer Solstice Wine Soiree.  It’s been a yearly tradition we have enjoyed observing since 2006.  Delectable foods, excellent wines, wonderful fellowship, a lovely, natural setting and a to-die-for silent auction; all benefitting the local Zonta Club’s Women’s Scholarship Program.  What’s not to love, right? 

Sara Avant Stover wrote a wonderful book, The Way the Happy Woman: Living the Best Year of Your Life; which provides scads of seasonal inspiration for living abundantly, the feminine way.  Summer is now underway; making it the perfect time for me to engage in the mid-year activity she recommends on pp. 179-180 of her book (It's a definite desire item on this weekend's personal agenda.).  The questions raised by Stover include these and various others:
  1. From my list of what I longed to see, be or, experience this year, ___ has come to fruition, and I (did or will) celebrate this by ___.
  2. Of my top three spiritual goals for this year, I have (or would still like to) ___, and I (did or will) celebrate this by ___.
  3. Of my top three professional goals for this year, I have (or would still like to) ___, and I (did or will) celebrate this by ___.
 What about you; how are you celebrating summer’s arrival?  Would certainly love to hear about it!  T.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Art Journal Painting: Demonstration

Painting in my art journal is all about having fun!

As promised, today’s blog post includes yet another video on art journal painting.  This second one features an actual demonstration.  In the event you missed the precursor post/video or simply wish to refer to it again, please click here

The photo above is my finished art journal product.  It was based upon this recent blog post.

Enjoy!  T.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Worthy Commitments

My art journal is a place where I make commitments with myself.

In April, I began participating in Gail McMeekin's online forum, which aligns with her book, The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women Journal (see past mentions of this herehere and here).  As a result of my participation, I have gained a much greater understanding of myself; not only from my journal writing efforts and interactions with Gail, but from working with the talented other women also a part of this artistic circle.  Most unexpectedly; I have formed treasured new friendships and connections as a result of this endeavor.  Truly, it has been a remarkable three-month journey!  Next Monday will mark the group’s last online session (definitely, a prime example of how all good things come to an end).

One activity, I completed only a few weeks ago, enabled me to hone in on the areas where I most seek to keep the commitments I make with myself.  Of course, so many of the activities in the book/journal have brought me tremendous insight. But, because so many of us women seem to struggle with keeping the commitments we make with ourselves, I believe this one merits special attention. 

McMeekin urges readers (on page 147 of The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women Journal), "Learn to keep your commitments to yourself in the same way that you keep your promises to others." One aspect of this journal activity includes readers recording their own commitments to themselves. 

Listed below are the commitments that I most seek to keep with myself: 
               Write and carry out monthly goals that support my self-identified top priorities;
               Never hesitate to use my voice to speak my truth;
               Affirm daily;
               Honor my Wise Self;
               Remember to tap into the healing power of my own deep breathing;
               Seek a mindfully-present existence;
               Treat my body as a temple; and
               Live my life as art!

In an effort to figuratively tie a lovely pink bow around this project, I decided to incorporate these sacred self-vows in my cherished art journal.  For those who read this blog frequently, I’m guessing this comes as no surprise, right?  I'll feature the finished product in the near future...along with a video demonstration focused on painting in the art journal.

What are the commitments you most wish to keep with yourself?  Please share!  T.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Learning from Living

“What matters most is that we learn from living.”  --Margaret Mitchell

I adore the above quote!  Lately, it seems to be speaking to me quite clearly.  

You see, last Thursday, I delivered my first Toastmasters speech, a four- to six-minute icebreaker presentation entitled, “Tickled Pink!”  It turned out to be a great experience.  Yet, I still have far to go before realizing my goal of becoming skilled in the art of public speaking.  There are three key points, though, I learned from this valuable endeavor.  All have broad application to life in general:
  1. Whenever possible, be prepared.  This strategy aligns with the “putting my best foot forward” concept I seek to more consistently utilize in order to live tickled pink.  Being well-versed, beforehand, assisted me in rendering a relatively smooth delivery.  Plus, through the act of preparation, I know I gained valuable skills from actually writing and rehearsing a speech—rather than simply delivering it “off the cuff.”
  2.  Live in the moment.  Our speaker’s club met in a room where two of the walls were nearly floor-to-ceiling glass windows.  What a fabulous feeling it was, as I looked out upon the audience’s (fellow club members') supportive smiling faces, to see natural beauty (trees, shrubs, landscaped flower beds and a lovely green lawn) before me as well.  I even used the word of the day (prevaricate) in my speech’s closing sentence; something I would never have been able to do if not fully mindful of my actions. 
  3. Challenging experiences build character.  A few years ago, I never would have (voluntarily) agreed to do something that felt uncomfortable; even if it meant I was taking steps to actualize a much-desired dream.  I realize I have far to go in terms of achieving my desire of becoming an accomplished public speaker.  However, today’s experience taught me that, with perseverance, personal pride and strength are gained. 
Lifelong learning is something I truly treasure.  Sometimes, however, the best classroom is simply life's experiences.  The important thing is to acknowledge these insights, and understand the role they play in moving me forward.

Wishing you a fabulous Monday! Cheers,  T.

Please note:  The photo, above, was taken on a visit to my favorite institution of higher learning (Indiana University) where I proudly earned my undergraduate degree. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Triumphs Rock!

This art journal creation was inspired by one of this week's blog posts!

This was, yet another, busy week; complete with a challenge or two along the way.  That's okay, though.  Challenges makes me appreciate my triumphs all the more.  This week’s personal triumphs include:
  • Having my self-care interview featured on These Peas Taste Funny;
  • Presenting my first, official Toastmasters speech (Yay!);
  • Finalizing a three-week freelance project;
  • Reading the remainder of Living a Beautiful Life;
  • Savoring journal writing on the patio at sunset one gorgeous, unseasonably-cool evening;
  • Creating an art journal entry based upon this blog post; and
  • Saving the lovely items pictured below from a landfill (a.k.a. I went yummy vintage and reused shopping…and scored!).
Lucky Brand lace blouse, Oscar De La Renta silk scarf + Weiss pink sparkly brooch!

What triumphs rocked your week?  Wishing you a weekend laden with pink panache! T.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Giving Thanks for R&R Insights

R&R is always well-deserved!

This past few weeks have been a bit work-ridden…  Not only due to responsibilities associated with the 9 to 5, but during those hours I normally carve out for beloved personal time.  As I wrap up a worthwhile freelance project (which occupied a noted portion of one weekend and many of my evenings the last couple of weeks), it feels good to reflect on those recent instances when I granted myself much-needed moments of rest and relaxation (taking daily lunch breaks, enjoying an evening off to savor an art gallery reception/exhibit and dinner out, keeping to my normal exercise routines, journal writing before bedtime, a cherished half hour creating with my art journal, infusing tea and stretch breaks into my freelance work sessions…).  My biggest takeaway: I am thankful for my own understanding of how very essential these peaceful, rejuvenating actions would be for my well-being—prior to me ever embarking upon them.

There was a time in my life (as recently as 10 years ago), that I often worked nonstop; without any regard to my own needs and wants. You see, a few years back, there was this personal perception that I always had to push myself—as far as I could. 

These days, much has changed. As I’ve come to trust my own self’s inner whisperings and listen more often to what my body advises me it requires, those days have begun to dwindle significantly. I strive to always put my best foot forward. However, giving my best includes my adherence to balances.  For me, this change is not an issue of slowing down.  Quite simply, it is about living well.  And, happily, I’m no longer embarrassed to do so!

Below, are a few pics I snapped, last week, during a sacred outdoor lunch break taken one exceptionally to-do-ridden day (And, yes, I had a chocolate-banana soy smoothie in hand!).  These short, albeit relished, little moments of zen (along with my own insights to engage in them) are what I most remember about these busy past few workday weeks (smile).

Wishing you a restful, relaxing day!  T.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

My Comfort Haven

A bouquet of flowers on my desk=tranquility!

Here’s a scene from my workplace office one particularly (uh) interesting day earlier this week: As a cup of lavender tea steeps, I savor a few deep breaths.  In my left hand, I enjoy the feel of a polished, pink quartz crystal; so refreshingly smooth and cool.  Before me, sits a small vase of flowers; remnants from a bouquet Mark brought me a few weeks ago.  It is visually pleasing.  Within a matter of minutes, I realize a greater sense of calm, and feel tremendously grateful.

That morning (okay, maybe the last few weeks) held some challenges.  But, when I create the opportunity to get myself into the current moment, and mindfully render thanks for even the smallest of things… Well, my heart simply surrenders to the fact that all is truly well. 

Calm and comfort are essential to my well-being.  I often accredit my breathwork as being the foundation for these necessities.  That’s because deep breathing serves as my “transport” mode—so to speak.  In addition to my beloved breathing techniques, I also like having little props handy to assist me.  Some of these serve to get me into a state of relaxation a bit quicker.  Others will help keep me there longer (smile). 

Tea time in my office

In my office at work, I display scads of photos of my loved ones as well as art and other objects of beauty.  I also have one desk drawer designated solely for housing comfort items.  I refer to it as “The Haven.”  The Haven’s contents will vary from time to time; nevertheless, here’s what’s currently residing there:
  • A tea cup;
  • A yummy assortment of teas;
  • An organic lavender sachet;
  • Several varieties of scented hand lotions;
  • A polished rose quartz crystal;
  • An array of scented hand sanitizers (from Bath & Body Works!);
  • A folder containing inspiring articles, information related to office ergonomics and yoga reference materials (for an “at my desk” practice);
  • A spongy stress ball for squeezing;
  • A small rubber ball for desktop bouncing;
  • Various beauty items (mirror, comb, hair clips); and
  • Photos on CD commemorating a leadership academy I attended locally a few years ago (brings back fond memories!).
A peek inside "The Haven"

I know others out there must have a similar set up.  If so, please let me know what’s included in your soothing goodies stash.  I heart borrowing added inspirations from others!  T.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Luxurious June Soul Massages

Art journaling is one of my many soul massage techniques!

Engaging in no less than one soul massage daily is an important aspect of living my life in true tickled pink fashion.  Soul massages are those things that enliven my spirit and joyfully renew me.  A soul massage can be as simple as lighting a candle before I write, seeking beauty in daily life, or bringing to mind the day's gratitude items.  These luscious extravagances, along with those listed below, are among my favorites:
·     Play dress up.  Sometimes, I'll simply try on different pieces of vintage or costume jewelry; discovering unique ways to style them.
·      Browse...bookstores, consignment boutiques, antique shops, thrift stores.  It's the highest form of therapy--in my opinion.
·      Take a walk in the woods (This time of year, I love to take notice of the wildflowers while strolling.).
·      Read in bed.
·      Listen to bygone era jazz tunes while art journaling.
·      Sit outdoors and eagerly listen to nature's symphonies (birds calling, the wind in the trees, crickets chirping, etc., etc., etc.).
·      Practice yoga at home. Establish an intention AND dedicate my practice to someone in need.
·      Relax in a hot bath laced with essential oils (My practice is to use different types of oils depending upon what I need most that day.  For example, I'll use lavender to soothe or peppermint to energize myself.).
·      Nap.
·      Throw myself a tea party for one.

What are your favorite soul massages?  Take time, today, to enjoy at least one!  T.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Answering the Wise Self’s Call…

My art journal is a place where I often pay homage to my Wise Self!

She’s at it again (smile).  I’m speaking of my Wise Self; that still, calm presence deep within who, with her loving nudges and whispers, leads me to live more authentically, creatively and well.  It’s taken some time, but I’ve learned how very critical it is to fully trust her; never discount the knowledge she brings me.

As of late, I’ve felt this reoccurring “itch” to do certain things.  I know it’s just my Wise Self encouraging me—urging me onward.  Making note of it all; in due time, I will proceed in scratching (no pun intended) these various, assorted desires off my list.  At this point, all noted below are certainly on my radar:
·      Redecorate/reorganize my home office;
·      Replace the ottoman in the master bedroom;
·      Redecorate my work office;
·      Finalize the concept for my second book, Tickled Pink Woman;
·      Further weed out my wardrobe closet (This one is a bit perplexing to me since I just reorganized my closet this past spring!);
·      Explore freelance article writing for women’s publications;
·      Write a letter of encouragement to my uncle;
·      Find meaningful ways to recognize dear girlfriends who served as inspirations for my first book;
·      Send postcards to friends who have been in mind, recently; and
·      Check out the new yoga studio that opened locally.

What is it you are itching to do?  Please do share!  T.

Monday, June 11, 2012

My Recent Interview on Self-Care... so very essential!

Please read my recent interview on These Peas Taste Funny.  It's all about self-care and I know you'll enjoy it!  Thanks, all!  T.

Doing Differently=An Adventuresome Weekend!

Switching up routines=new adventures!

I love routines! My routines keep me grounded, while also serving as some of the key ways in which I nurture myself most.  Savoring affirmations, mid-morning tea breaks, attending yoga classes, writing in my journal, soaking in a bath with essential oils after a long day…these are among the various rituals that feed my soul.    

There are some routines, however, that serve to lock me into a quasi "going through the motions" state .  I'm talking about the ones that make me feel comfy; yet, in actuality, only serve to limit my existence.  For example, always taking the same route to work, or continuously selecting a favorite nail polish shade (even though a fabulous new shade seems to be calling my name). 

How very different this past weekend was than the one before it.  I was thankful for the opportunity to rest and relax with family (truly, one of my greatest joys).  Mark and I ventured off to Columbus for an overnighter, which was exactly what I needed; given the past few weeks’ super-heavy workload. 

We have visited the Columbus area many times before.  This time, though, our travel agenda purposefully focused on exploring places we’d never been to before.  This decision turned out to be a real gem!  In our quest to “do differently,” we discovered the quaint, historic town of Canal Winchester, a charming coffee house, countryside wineries with excellent wines (as well as lakeside views and rose gardens!), and a lovely lakefront restaurant. It was an awesome experience!

Yes, I have those near and dear places I frequently love to visit, dine at, etc.  And, of course, there are certain things I mindfully do, each day, in order to life a richer life.  As a result, it just makes sense that routines will make up a big part of my life.  However, switching things up a bit from time to time… It really does force me to experience so much more than I would have otherwise.  

What little changes can you make to your routines?  Wishing you fabulous new adventures as you do so. T.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Once Written...

Back in the late 90's and early 2000's, I freelanced (and moonlighted) as a journalist for the Dayton Daily News.  More recently (December 2009 through October 2010), I enjoyed a brief stint as a freelance journalist for The Examiner, where I was featured as Toledo’s Women’s Issues Examiner. Um, yes, that served as  a spot of moonlighting for me as well (smile).

All of  my past Examiner articles are online.  Feel free to peruse them at your leisure.  If you do, please let me know if you uncover a subject matter you would like to see more fully presented on this blog. In fact, I'd relish any suggestions you may have for future posts.  Your inspirations are always welcome here!  

Wishing you a relaxing, peaceful weekend.  T.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Safe + Secure = Confining

I like feeling safe and secure.  Quite frankly; who doesn’t?  Over time, however, I grew to like it far too much.  You see, feeling safe has oftentimes kept me from pursuing what I really wanted in life.  That's right.  It was much easier, for me to exist; rather uneventfully, than it was to face rejection or (Dare I say it?) failure. 

But, 2012 is the self-proclaimed year of living my life without regret.  As a result, I have begun making changes.  For example, I am now establishing monthly goals that are regularly revisited for progress.  And, I’m tackling the things that I want so badly to do, yet still feel so very uncomfortable to me (e.g. public speaking vis-à-vis Toastmasters). 

Okay… There’s no way to know if my participation in Toastmasters will improve my public speaking skills.  I have to believe it will though—if I fully participate—truly put my best foot forward... At least, I will have tried; which is much less regrettable than have never done so.

Writing and assessing my personal goals each month, though; well…that works.  This, I can say having just completed my fifth month of consistently engaging in the practice.  Writing monthly personal goals (and thereafter monitoring for progress made) has forced me to step out of the illusionary comfort zone I’ve enjoyed for far too long. 

The gift is found in my newfound realization that the cocoon isn’t quite as cozy as I once fancied it to be.  I have discovered that being a butterfly means I chart my own course, consistently venture into glorious new realms, and assuredly climb higher each day.  And, believe me, I’m realizing that is much, much better that the limited confinement I experienced for far too long in the “safe and secure” cocoon. 

As stated, so eloquently, in a fave, vintage Elton John tune, “Butterflies are free to fly…”  With that in mind, join in with me and let’s get ready to soar!  T.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Celebrating Feminine Camaraderie!

Female Solidarity = Girl Power!

With age, I’m steadily gaining wisdom.  This, I know most assuredly.  The strongest example I can provide is my more recent realization of how very, very much feminine camaraderie there is in the world.

My discovery of this was reached as a result of my online interactions; where the encouragement and kindness I have found has been remarkably amazing.  Sure, some of my contacts are from beloved family and dear friends (which are every bit as valuable to me!).  What has opened my eyes, though, is how folks, who I have only met via the online sphere, can touch my soul so deeply through their ongoing, extraordinary expressions of friendship and support of my artistic endeavors.  Most are women on journeys similar to mine who are expressing themselves creatively, yearning to live a more mindful life and seeking the joy found within a community of women who truly embody the term “sisterhood.” 

I try to focus on the positive.  But, historically, when asked the question of whether or not women stand in solidarity, my mind has generally raced toward those isolated instances of interactions that were less than pleasant.  Many have been encountered in the workplace, and, most sadly, too many of them have been with fellow femmes. I have worked in corporate, government and non-profit settings.  And, although most of the unsavory stuff occurred in the corporate realm, I have experienced a spot of unpleasantness in all three settings (along with others as well, of course). 

When I stop and ponder the issue further, though; I know the reality of the situation is quite different.  Over the years, there have been far more occasions of fellowship, support and joy experienced than not—and the lion’s share of this has most definitely come from other women.  In fact, some of my closest friends are women I have met as a result of my professional undertakings.  My “aha” comes from a realization that there are many, many more of us women willing to be allies to one another than not.  This understanding has become more visible to me as a result of the wonderful things I have witnessed in these past few months via this blog and over the last several years on Twitter.  It has exceeded my most ideal of expectations.

The action I am taking, now, is to banish the small number of negative memories I am holding onto—no longer give them importance.  Yup, I am replacing them with the abundantly present, brighter ones—granting them the weight they so rightly deserve.  By doing so, I am acknowledging the strong predominance of feminine camaraderie in this world.  The impetus for this comes from the assortment of splendid things that have happened, right here, online.  

Thanks, Friends, for your part in this!  Joy, peace and happy "little Friday!" T.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Minimum Requirements for Self-Care

A recent art journal entry houses my minimum requirements for self-care.

Author Jennifer Louden encourages women to identify their three to five minimum requirements for self-care.  Louden notes these requirements will vary from person to person. And, she defines "minimum requirements for self-care" as being those most basic of things we need to do in order to stay in touch with our inner selves.

A few evenings ago, I carved out time to identify my own "absolute's."  After a bit of reflection, I identified these five items as my minimum requirements for self-care:
1) Self-affirmations;
2) Drinking plenty of water;
3) Being well-rested;
4) Engaging in some type of reflective practice (journal writing, blogging, art journaling, yoga or meditation); and
5) Expressing myself creatively (this could be via art, writing or simply selecting the day's outfit in a manner that authentically reflects my unique style).

I found this to be a revealing and useful activity (which I carried out in my beloved art journal!).  A free MP3 discussing minimum self-care requirements is available on Louden's website.  It's the same one I used for this exercise.

What are your minimum requirements for self-care?  Understanding what mine are, I'm hoping, will ultimately enable me to better access my own inner wisdom.

Take good care, T.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Sharing a few things I'm adoring this June...

 Sending out hand-written notes and letters to family and friends is a favorite practice of mine.  Featured above, are lovely cards I recently purchased from Plumeria Papercraft's Etsy Shop.  They are so fun and elegant that I can’t wait to use them!

I adore lilies!  Featured, above, are a few from my own garden.  This month, I hope to visit several public gardens during the lilies’ peak blooming season. What a month!

Anything written by Alexandra Stoddard…  Right now, I’m reading “Living a Beautiful Life: 500 Ways to Add Elegance, Order, Beauty and Joy to Every Day of Your Life.”  As always, when reading one of Ms. Alexandra’s books, I am in a state of blissful enlightenment.
Photo courtesy of

Letting my avant garde side come out to play!  Pictured above is a first time for me--dark green finger and toe nails--from this past weekend's mani + pedi.  Venturing out and doing things differently...I must say keeps life fresh.

Potted blooms (Okay, I love all blooms—even those sans pots.)!  Recently, I potted scads of annuals for our front porch, flower beds and patio.  A few are shown in the above snapshot.  Every time I see them, I feel so happy! 

Love candlelight!  Be it while dining, bathing, enjoying patio time (pictured above); candlelight is a luxury I don daily. 

What's on your June adoration list?  I'd love to hear!  T.

Monday, June 4, 2012

To Do's Aren't Always Glam...

An infusion of natural beauty (from my garden) lightens the day's load.

Not everything in my life is always as glam, exciting or tranquil as I would like it to be…  For example, I enjoy and am grateful to have my job as a municipal grants administrator. However (let’s face it), I deal with numbers, regulations and outcomes for (sometimes) forty-plus hours a week; which is not always sexy stuff (smile).  At times, it seems pretty daunting, actually.

All is okay, though; because I’m learning to use a little trick I refer to as “infusion.”  Infusion can take many forms: fun, calm, creativity, nature, adventure, pampering, etc.  What I’ve begun to do is infuse whatever my Wise Self seems to need most into any day or situation.  My mid-morning weekday tea breaks are one way I accomplish this.  Along about 10 o’clock, this femme is usually ready for a spot of calm.  My mini-tea party for one grants me this—a few sacred moments of serenity. Yes, it's just a cup of tea, but to me, it truly makes each workweek morning more special.

This past weekend, I had two grants to review and score for the Senior Corps Peer Review project I will be participating in over the next few weeks. Of course, there were plenty of household tasks on my agenda as well (things I just couldn't put off any longer!).  Anyone who knows me, understands how blessedly coveted my weekends are—most especially when I am able to enjoy time outdoors. 

Friday evening, with journal in hand, I pondered what might make my busy weekend more zen, pleasurable and lux; despite the many "to do's" before me.  My resolution was to infuse some pampering, outdoors and adventure into it while also meeting the challenges at hand.

Saturday morning, I treated myself to a mani + pedi and a bit of browsing downtown at a favorite consignment boutique before tackling household chores.  This was exactly the type of balance I needed that day.  Sunday morning, following cherished time flower gardening, I was able to take on a sizable piece of that grant review project with renewed energy and enthusiasm thanks to a much-needed infusion beforehand. And, yes, I took a few tea breaks as well throughout the day; which made the project seem a bit more palatable.

No, life isn't always glamourous, exciting or tranquil. But, I am learning there are ways to make it more so.

Joy & peace, T.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Saturday Inspiration

"There is always music in the garden, but one must be very still to hear it."
--Author Unknown

Last weekend, I savored a wonderful, relaxing getaway to visit with family.  One of the charming sites we ventured to was Inniswood Metro Gardens, just outside of Columbus, Ohio.

While there, we happened upon an almost magical little garden, tucked away from the park's grander displays. It was there that I discovered the inspiring wisdom noted above.  Hopefully it speaks (or sings) to you as clearly as it did me.

From my beloved art journal...

Below, is added inspiration from lovely Inniswood Metro Gardens.  Enjoy your weekend!  T.