Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Just for Us Women!

Lovely sculpture I spied while at Schedel Gardens

I have a confession to make.  I am inexplicably drawn to those things made “just for us women."  For example, before breakfast, this morning, I faithfully swallowed my lavender-hued One a Day for Women multivitamin (okay, yes, the silver girl’s variety).  Shortly thereafter, I opened my planner/calendar (Franklin Planner’s Her Point of View) to get a handle on my day (I adore the whimsical women’s art and inspiring quotes for and by women!).  Today, at lunch, I’m dining on a Luna bar.  Heart those as well, but will openly concede the pretty packaging proudly touting “Nutrition Bars for Women” is what originally reeled this femme in.  Not sure what this evening will hold, but anything deemed to be a “chick flick,” is a time-honored go-to in my book.  Perhaps I’ll also crack open that bottle of Girls’ Night Out Chardonnay to sip on while I luxuriate.

No, I’m not a victim of targeted marketing (smile).  Rather, I am simply a femme who is proud to showcase both her womanhood and girly-girl status—support the “movement” so to speak.  You see, the color pink so very much speaks to me, I love playing dress up now as much as I ever did, and I am the author a blog that celebrates (at least in part) all things feminine.  And, of course, there is my Twitter handle: @Femspeak.  The crux of the matter is that I am who I am.

What about you?  Do you wear your pink on your sleeve?  Would love to hear about it!  T.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Naturally Blissful

Today, I write. Today, I create.  Today, I sparkle.  Today, I shine.

Blissfulness... Amazing what brings it about, isn't it?  This past weekend, I found an amazing source of bliss in writing and creating; outdoors, from my patio.  

Saturday evening, just before the sun began to set, I poured myself a glass of vino and lit a couple of candles.  A plethora of magazine and other assorted images before me, the joy of crafting art journal collages ensued. Later, as the sun was going down, I wrote my August dreams upon them.  Comfortably, I embraced the overwhelming feelings of sparkle and shine that descended upon me.  

Sunday morning, I savored breakfast on the patio with Mark.  Sunny and mild with a soft breeze skipping about, I couldn't help but to linger there for some time afterwards.  A mug of lavender tea at hand and Pandora tunes playing softly (the Catherine Russell station rocks!), I settled in for a spot of morning journal writing.  Afterwards, with a second mug of tea in hand (green peach, this time), I created another collage in my beloved art journal; where I thereafter wrote several possible titles for my upcoming second book.  My efforts made me smile.

Not sure if it was the act of creating blessed art, engaging in treasured writing forays or simply spending sacred time outdoors that brought such strong feelings of bliss about.  Perhaps, it was the combination of all three.  Nevertheless, I'm deeming this to be a place I'd like to inhabit on a more permanent basis.

Wishing you a naturally blissful week, T.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Joy of Simple Joys

Time spent in my flower garden=one of this week's many simple joys!

Sometimes, the simplest of joys are the most memorable.  Don’t you agree?  This week, my simple joys have included:
  • A delicious gourmet dinner, prepared by Mark (Yay!)
  • Lunchtime sojourn to a local dollar store to buy art journaling goodies
  • A relaxing facial after work…ahhh!
  • Honoring my need for alone time
  • Patio time...complete with my journal and a flock of geese flying overhead
  • Connecting with new friends at a Toastmasters Club meeting
  • Conducting a worthwhile volunteer art journaling workshop for local girls (Girl Power Tween Camp)
  • A lunchtime berry smoothie enjoyed outdoors at a café table
  • Yoga class (including a newly-discovered pose: dolphin!)
  • Candlelight, candlelight and more candlelight…
  • Tea time while working (smile)
  • A Sunday afternoon nap on the sofa with Tabitha (diva pet tabby cat)
Wishing you scads of simple joys!  Have a wonderful weekend, T.

Friday, July 27, 2012

On Living Luxuriously...

My art journal is one of life's sacred luxuries!

Living lux…  To me, it’s a frame of mind--living extravagantly in a simple, low- (often no-) cost manner. Let me see if I can clarify this a bit…

Luxury=this $4 bouquet I treated myself to during lunch break the other day.  These little sweets brightened my 9 to 5 office up, while simultaneously serving as a fabulous conversation piece (Three different people stopped me on my way out of the store (and one as I headed back into work) to comment on the lovely shade of pink in the bouquet I was carrying!).

A couple of evenings ago, I tweeted, “Writing my journal from the patio at sunset.  A flock of geese just flew past. This is joy.”  Decidedly, it was scrumptiously luxurious, too!

Last Saturday afternoon, while enjoying my treasured artist’s date, I practiced the principle of dressing for the job I want versus the one I currently have.  That’s right.  This femme wore a chic, black ensemble and scads of faux pearls to the local, small-town coffee house to write.  Nope, I’m not a jet-setting, best-selling author…yet.  Nevertheless, I decided to dress the part anyway--which I truly adored (smile). 

 How do you infuse luxury into your life?  Would love hearing about it!  T.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Excitement? Yes, Please!

A lunchtime smoothie enjoyed outdoors...now, that's what I call exciting!

Ever get excited over something that others might discount as being a tad bit minuscule?  Like having plans to sip a berry smoothie from a café table outdoors at lunchtime?  That was me, yesterday morning.  Working away, I’d occasionally pause to savor the bliss; just thinking about my upcoming mid-day foray. 

In my book, Eternal Presents, I discuss the importance of “always having something on the burner,”  which is basically a laid-back way to recommend consistently having dreams (large and small) before us. I have learned the importance of going out of my way to establish large and small dreams to look forward to.  Often while engaging in an evening journal writing session, I'll ask myself, “How can I make tomorrow special?”  Because, not each and every day is spent relishing a treasured artist’s date, enjoying a vacation with loved ones or  standing center stage while being awarded scads of accolades.  Sometimes life is challenging.  Occasionally, it's just shy of being mundane.  My little doses of excitement—here and there—those are what serve to transform it all, make everything more exhilarating and sparkly. 

Yes, my lunchtime berry smoothie, sipped outdoors, may not be majorly exciting to some.  It was to me, though.  And, that’s what truly counts, right?

Joy & peace!  T.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sacred Solo Time

Yesterday morning, while at the office, I received an invite from a peer to attend a luncheon, downtown.  It was one where various community leaders (many I know well and truly admire) would gather—some of them fellow friends and business colleagues.  Surely, you know the type of event; where the fountain of small talk consistently flows, and the public persona face must be affixed firmly in place.  Don’t get me wrong--there are days that I would genuinely welcome the opportunity for a lunch out--complete with networking opportunities galore.

Just wasn’t feeling it, yesterday, though.  Deep within was a need to escape the hustle and bustle (albeit for a short period of time) as a means of quietly replenishing my own well.  So, I thanked my dear colleague for the invite, politely declined it, and proceeded to take a much-needed solo lunch break.  My little excursion-for-one lacks any special merit; aside from the fact that it was peaceful, uneventful and exactly what I needed.

Ten years ago, I might have pushed forward; attended this event, despite my inner need to spend quiet time alone.  Since that time, much has changed, however.  Today, this woman fully understands the crucial role her wise, intuitive self plays in keeping her safe, healthy, and whole.  This being the case, my Wise Self’s urgings are the ones I now follow.  This means that I'm doing a whole lot more of what I truly want and need versus what I think I "should" do.

Ever feel the need to be solo?  My recommendation is to follow this wise hunch! T.

Monday, July 23, 2012

On Evolving into Completeness

 “The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person 
you were intended to be.” 
--Oprah Winfrey

Life lessons learned from gardening seem to be a common theme for me; at least during the “bloom” seasons.  Featured above, are a few shots of lovely purple coneflowers from my backyard flower garden.  Notice the amazing metamorphosis between the first and last shot (each photo was taken only days apart).

I firmly believe that growth and change are natural (Yup, I learned this from my flowers!).  As a result, I proclaim Ms. Winfrey as right—evolving into the complete person you were intended to be—it is, indeed, the whole point of being alive!  Personal growth and evolution...they are both a constant and a birthright; things to claim and cherish.

Have a wonderful day, T.

An Artist's Date: Body and Soul

Crafted Tickled Pink Woman book thoughts from a local coffee house!

Saturday afternoon, I eagerly packed up my laptop, various ideas I had previously jotted down on a legal pad, along with a small notebook where my on-the-go creative inspirations also get recorded from time-to-time.  My sole agenda was to begin formatting many pieces and parts into one document, in anticipation of crystalizing a concept for my second book, Tickled Pink Woman.  

A quick drive downtown brought me to a sweet local coffee house where I oftentimes head to browse for (and buy) books, sip tea and grab a java to-go.  I've written my journal from this fab spot on several occasions, but writing (beyond that) from this quaint little haven hasn't happened until now. Writing is truly a personal passion.  So, with iced java at hand, this girl luxuriated for a sacred couple of hours--doing nothing, but writing.

Right now, my second book is merely a jumble of random thoughts all poured into a Word document.  Nevertheless, I hold onto the treasured hope of what is to come.  And...for me, right, now, that is okay.  

My monthly artist's dates... These are truly amongst this woman's most treasured self-care measures.  For July's date, the majority of my sacred time was spent pursuing a dream, exercising my creativity and nurturing myself in a way that was personally empowering.  This is my idea of a soul massage extraordinaire.

Speaking of massages... After writing, I headed to an appointment I truly could not wait to keep--for a much-needed massage.  This month's artist's date was, indeed, splendid--for both body and soul.

Joy and peace, T.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Relaxing Weekend!

Art journal collages dedicated to a relaxation day taken last winter

Happy Saturday!  This may be the first one in over two months that I’m not either: a) traveling; b) scheduled to be somewhere or to do something (smile); or c) hosting guests.  It is a pleasant change of pace that I welcome; especially since I’m planning to take myself out on a well-deserved artist’s date, today, after lunch. 

In an effort to tone down the strong “J” within, my date details are (purposefully) still a bit sketchy.  One thing is for sure, though.  I have a massage calendared for late in the afternoon (which already makes me feel relaxed beyond belief!). 

Would love to hear what your Saturday plans are!  Have a fab weekend!  T.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fashion Principles I Am Learning to Live By

What I wore; minus the jacket.

Yesterday, while conducting business at the local college campus, I received a compliment that made me feel pretty darn good.  Two young women (students, I'm guessing) who were working in the front office of the department I was visiting told me they loved my outfit.  "Very fashionable," one of them noted.  I thanked them, wholeheartedly, for their thoughtfulness.

I realized, driving back to the office, that the skirt I was wearing was nearly 14 years old. The blouse I had on was a consignment shop piece.  My jacket came from a thrift store, and much of the jewelry I had on that day was vintage.

Here's what this 50-year old is learning to live by, fashion-wise:
  • Shun fashion trends.  Instead, I prefer buying things that "speak" to my own personal sense of style.  I loved that long, black skirt 14 years ago when I bought it on a clearance rack.  I am all about assessing and updating my look from time-to-time; however, a well-made black skirt is a timeless classic that is always in vogue.  I am glad I bought this wardrobe staple (which I truly heart wearing), and that I have held onto it!
  • Fashion is all about allowing my inner-artist to come out and play! My black skirt is one which doesn't require a belt.  Yesterday morning, my creative self wanted to belt it, though.  So, I did--with a long gauzy scarf.  Special touches like these allow me to be creative.  Plus, they are, in my opinion, eye-catching.
  • Buying vintage is chic, provides a unique look and helps save our planet (by keeping these wonderful pieces in circulation versus sentencing them to the landfills!).
  • Consignment and thrift shops are an economical source for aspiring fashionistas (such as myself).  They are brimming with quality items of clothing, accessories and jewelry (again, where one can many times find nearly one-of-a-kind pieces, and (most importantly) contribute to the greenness of our environment).
Please share your favorite fashion principles with me!  This life-long learner yearns to keep learning!  T.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Illuminating Thoughts…

“It’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”  --Eleanor Roosevelt

First off, I have to say that I absolutely adore Eleanor Roosevelt.  From everything I’ve read about her; including her own words of wisdom; she appears to have been so very insightful; definitely a woman who was tickled pink! 

The message I get from the quote featured above is to be a part of the solution; not the problem.  Until now, I had never really thought of a candle as a solution.  I do now, though. 

You see, I love lighting candles.  Candlelight at bath time is a nightly ritual, but I also light them when I write, read, dine, prepare meals, tackle household chores.  I lit a candle last evening while enjoying journal writing from my patio.  How very awesome that was; savoring the day's end--in nature and by candlelight.

Candles bring me joy, comfort, calm.  Be it a gifted soy candle from a loved one or a scented jar votive from the dollar store, when I light candles, I feel pampered.  So, it’s easy to see why the simple act of lighting a candle can be elevated to a personal solution of sorts. 

What about you?  What solutions do you seek to keep the “darkness” at bay?  T.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Women Building Greatness

“Women are the architects of society.”  --Harriet Beecher Stowe

Yesterday, I gathered with a fab group of women friends to lunch and strategize during the local Zonta Club’s annual retreat.  Aside from catching up with fellow femmes who came together to improve the status of women (both locally and worldwide), our chats included ways in which we would mentor a recently-formed women’s advocacy group comprised of local college students.  We also discussed our future plans to assemble birthing kits for shipment to Cambodia and various ways to improve upon established fundraising activities designed to raise scholarships for local, non-traditional women students (like I once was).  We Zontians are helping to build community by constructing proverbial bridges for those who encounter barriers, and by forging paths which will allow others to experience new, empowering horizons.

Today, I’m meeting a dear friend for lunch.  My time with her is always treasured. Both of us being busy professionals, our monthly lunches serve as the added “support” we each require to remain standing tall, both personally and professionally. Sometimes, the other’s simple act of listening is all that is truly needed and given.  Whereas, at other times, a snippet of advice from one to the other is as good as gold. Funny how we each seem to know what the other needs. We, as supportive friends, assist in building each other up time and time again.

Next week, I’m meeting with a wonderful business colleague; yup, for yet another lunch (smile).  During our lunches, we never discuss business matters.  No, it’s strictly about fun.  This sparkling soul, she always makes me laugh.  Hopefully, she would say the same about me.  It’s hard not to join in on the fun when one is around her.  Her charming stories are ones I love to remember and share with others—in the hopes of bringing a smile to their faces as well.  The way I see it, this type of building is of the expansion variety.  A good laugh or cute story…well, it’s something that gets passed along—helps to broaden everyone’s good times.

Whether lunching or not, I am convinced that we women are, indeed, society’s architects.  Aren't you? T.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Shining Brightly

Lovely stained-glass window I spied during a tour of 
Billie Creek Village (Parke County, Indiana) in July 2007.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross once said, “People are like stained-glass windows.  They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”  How very insightful! 

Sadly, I think for some (and, too often it’s amongst women), there’s a hesitation to shine boldly and brightly.  There’s this fear of worrying that others will not approve, or that it’s too self-serving.

I, however, subscribe to another train of thought.  The one that believes it is not only each person’s right, but responsibility, to shine.  My rationale coincides with Kuber-Ross’s statement.  Here goes:  Whether it is through our art, the celebrations we orchestrate or the love we send out to others, we, as women, love making this world a beautiful place.  Part of this splendor is that inner light we allow to shine so brightly.  It illuminates the path for others; brightens their day; enables them to transcend whatever it is that blocks their own way.   In essence, when shining, we become that lovely stained-glass window for others to enjoy—to be inspired by. 

Consider it as a responsibility of sorts.  Shine on!  T.  

Monday, July 16, 2012

When the Going Gets Tough, Create!

Creating this little "baby" instantly made me smile!

Last week presented a variety of interesting challenges.  No doubt, when this past Saturday arrived, I was fully ready for it.

Problem was, I couldn't put my finger on how to get myself back into the "space" I truly wanted to inhabit (on a figurative level, of course).  Mid-afternoon, I was reading Paper and Ponder, a phenomenal blog, and came upon this fabulous post; which was all about the healing aspects of creative pursuits.  It was exactly what I needed...

Automatically, without even a thought of what I'd do next, I pulled my beloved art journal from its perch atop my desk; along with a bundle of glitter glue pens that were resting in my craft basket.  The next thing I knew, I'd created a lovely flower in preparation for Kimberly Wilson's Summer 2012 Seasonal Podcast, which I had previously purchased and hoped to savor at some point last Saturday afternoon.

Wow! How transformational that simple act of creating something personally special to me was!  It served as the shift I needed to finally (at least on the emotional level) begin my weekend (in the way I needed and wanted).

The next time you're in a rut, funk or any other place you don't want to be in, consider grabbing a pen and paper, your art journal or a coloring book and crayons.  I can say, firsthand, that it's a highly effective, very positive change mechanism.

Joy and peace!  T.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

At Second Glance, "Rising Above It All" Fits Best

Enjoyed a walk in a local park one evening this week!

It has been my first week back from a super-great vacation.  At first glance, if I had to place a theme on this past week, it might be “Reality Bites.”  Where to begin? Seasonal allergies, hoards of to do’s with too few hours in each day, ongoing 9 to 5 stuff, crabbiness (my own)… 

Yet, in retrospect, the week’s joys far outweigh the difficulties; when I step back and truly assess it all.  What really stands out at the close of this, well…, trying week are the times I countered life’s less-than-luxurious challenges with moments of mindful self-nurturing:
  • Rested when I felt headachy and tired;
  • Despite many, many to do’s, carved out time to attend a Toastmasters meeting (where I ended up snagging the “Best Table Topics” award);
  • Tapped into the power of my own breathing when encountering assorted 9 to 5 issues; and
  • Rather than dwell upon being (at times) less-than-graceful, gave myself needed space to enjoy time spent in nature and reflect (a.k.a. scads of journal writing in the evening).
At second glance, I think “Rising Above It All” is a far better theme for the week that is now drawing to a close. It is honestly more reflective of and positive than the first one I chose.  And, that's where I now want to be; in a state of healthier perspective and brighter choices. Smile.

Wishing you the best of weekends, T.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Yoga Reflections…

From my art journal...

My love of yoga is certainly no secret.  It’s a spiritual practice I cherish dearly; primarily due to the following reasons:
  • Yoga has increased my flexibility in body, mind and spirit.  
  • It has taught me how to use my breath to both relax and focus myself; which also allows me to live more often in the present moment.  
  • Every time I am on my mat, I fully understand that I am spending quality time with myself.  
Recently, I returned to yoga class after being away from it for nearly three weeks.  In my opinion, that is far too long.  However, I did sprinkle a bit of home-based yoga practice in--along the way. 

I have been practicing yoga for almost three years now (Hatha tradition).  Although I’ve stayed with the same teacher and class this entire time, I have also independently explored other traditions as well (mostly Yin and Vinyasa).  Attending drop-in classes, while traveling, has always turned out to be a pleasant experience.  I have also used added resources to further my practice; buying myself a variety of books, videos and CDs.  My favorite between videos and CDs is CDs as they enable me to rely on myself rather than something in front of me (video screen).  That’s been quite empowering… 

A few weeks ago, I rendered my second speech at a Toastmasters Club meeting.  It was entitled, "My Yoga Journey: Past, Present and Future."  Public speaking or not, I really had fun with it.  Yoga is a topic I am passionate about; making it easy to talk about it publicly.

Fellow yoginis, I'd love to hear your personal reflections on this subject so near & dear!  T.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Day's First and Last Five Minutes

My art journal celebrates how I love to end each day!

A few evenings ago, I listened to a teleclass hosted by Robin Palmer, entitled Change Your Life with the First and Last Five Minutes of the Day.  It was the subject matter which led me to tune in that night.  You see, I have long believed that the method in which we begin and end each day plays a huge part in how the present or coming day will result for us.  Turns out, research indicates this as well.

Since the first and last five minutes of the day are transition periods between consciousness and unconsciousness, they are the most beneficial periods of time for programming the mind.  In addition to providing this information, Palmer shared luscious ways that several notable authors begin and end their days:
  • Dr. Wayne Dyer uses morning meditation to visualize his ideal day;
  • Jack Canfield begins every day with an "hour of power;" where he spends 20 minutes dedicated to his physical well-being, 20 minutes meditating and 20 minutes reading (I really like this one. Think I'd choose yoga for my physical activity.  Now, if only I could get up an hour earlier!);
  • Marianne Willliamson begins each day with a spiritual practice;
  • Marci Shimoff rubs lavender essential oil onto her feet before bedtime (Yum!); and
  • Palmer, herself, reflects upon the day about to end as well as envisioning the one to come.
No, my morning routine isn't perfect--yet (smile).  But, I do begin every morning with silent, positive affirmations after "Good morning's" to both Mark and Tabitha (Okay, yes, our diva tabby cat sleeps with us...).  I accredit my morning affirmations to many positive changes in my life; to include tackling those things I once never would have dared to do (e.g. public speaking, voluntarily).  

Most of the time, my day ends with a relaxing hot soak in the bathtub.  What makes this extra-special is that every bath comes complete with candlelight as well as plenty of bubbles, essential oils, salts or some other heavenly-scented product.  It is my time to totally chill; making this practice about as good as it gets!  

How do you spend the first and last minutes of each day?  Please share!  T.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Love Lace: Part Deux!

A Cool Urban Outfitters Along Pearl Street in Boulder!

My love of lace continues!  Hence, I've decided a "Part Deux" was necessary as a follow-up to last week's Love Lace! post.

One afternoon, during our recent vacation, we dropped, into the coolest Urban Outfitters ever.  Yes, it's the one pictured above.  You see, Boulder, Colorado does a fabulous job recycling old buildings; making them into viable, esthetically-pleasing places to shop, dine, work from, live in and visit.  This Urban Outfitters appears to be an old armory building (How fab  is that?)!

While there, I browsed books, looked at TOMS shoes (just looked--didn't buy...sigh) and perused a rack of lovely lace camisoles (2 for $20!).  Mark treated (smile); so I picked two up: a blush (pinkish beige) and black one.

Getting ready to lunch at The Stanley Hotel

As you can see from the photo above, I paired my black one with a solid color cami for a casual, outdoor mountain adventure.  What's really nice is that I can throw a blazer over this same ensemble and be totally office appropriate (plus, get my lace fix and be a bit stylish, too!).

Love lace or not... Hopefully, Boulder's focus on recycling as well as the lovely Rocky Mountains have brought you a bit of inspiration today! Smiles, T.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Recent Travel Insights...

Guess who didn't want us to leave for Colorado?  
That's right.  Our adorable diva, Tabitha.  
The good news is she had her own, personal sitter drop by 
to cuddle and play with her daily!

Having recently returned from vacation, I've given some afterthought as to what worked and what didn't; at least in terms of packing (smile).

Regarding my carry-on bag, I'm glad I brought:
  • lip gloss and tissues (These I never seem to forget.  Gold star, perhaps?); 
  • a wrap for the plane trip there and back.  It got a bit chilly after take off; especially on the flight out to Colorado. My wrap kept me comfy; and
  • several good books, magazines, my journal and iPad.  I devoured both books I planned to read on the flight out and back before the plane even landed (both legs of the trip).  Having assorted "back-up" goodies truly came in handy.
My carry on bag, however, could have used a few extras; namely:
  • a thin throw that I could roll and use to cushion my lower back.  Fortunately, I was able to get one onboard both the "getting there" and return flights.  Next time, I'll just plan on bringing one from home (have my own back--so to speak); and
  • my favorite water bottle.  I drank scads of bottled water while in Colorado.  In retrospect, I realize I could have used my own water bottle during the flights to and fro' as well as on the trip...a much greener (and more economical) way to travel. Lesson learned.
In regard to my suitcase, I am happy to report I packed both sunglasses and sunscreen (and faithfully used both).  What I'm not so proud to say is that I (once again) over-packed.  I was so thrilled with my original "pack stack." I even tweeted "Life lesson learned from packing: The less "baggage" I carry, the lighter my load."  Then, I proceeded to add "one more item;" more than several times over.  Hmmm...

The good news is that although I didn't observe my own tweet in a literal sense, I did figuratively. This vacation, I left behind the concerns and "what if's" regarding 9 to 5 responsibilities and issues. Doing so may have been a first for me.  Despite a few packing lessons learned, a major milestone was actually achieved (This one truly is "gold star" worthy!).

What about you?  Got great travel advice?  I'd love to hear it!  T.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Hot or Not, I Heart Tea Time!

Photo courtesy of Boulder's fabulous Dushambe Tea House

Yes, I know it's unbearably hot, but I still love my tea!  Despite the temps outside, teatime even factored into last week's Colorado vacation.  Yup, I sipped hot green tea at both the Detroit and Denver airports before takeoff (a great way to begin and end my journey).

Our first night in Boulder, we stopped into a  fun little coffee house (OZO Coffee Co.) after dinner.  There, I savored some hot jasmine tea...

Last Monday evening, Mark and I dined at Boulder's fabulous Dushambe Tea House; a gift to that city from Tajikistan.  What a treat!  It is an authentic Central Asia tea house with a to-die-for atmosphere and wonderful cuisine.  I enjoyed delicious strawberry-hibicus iced tea with dinner; plus, purchased a tin of their Rocky Mountain Mint Herbal Tea.  Sounds like the perfect thing to sip after a long day, doesn't it?

While walking Boulder's lovely Pearl Street Mall, I happened upon a wonderful tea parlor, Ku Cha House of Tea.  After an delectable spot of browsing there, I bought a tin of their organic green chrysanthemum tea; which I cannot wait to crack open!

Besides some great used books and organic bath products, tea buying was the only true shopping splurge I partook in out west.  No, I didn't do the factory tour, but I did enjoy shopping at the Celestial Seasonings Tea Shop.  Eight boxes and one complimentary tote bag later, I wondered how I'd get my assortment of goods into the suitcases for the flight back home (smile).  It took some thoughtful planning on my part; which was totally worth it.

A snapshot featuring my coveted tea loot!

Today will mark the first day back at the 9 to 5 since June 29.  One thing is for sure: Aside from this evening's yoga class, my mid-morning tea break is one sure pleasure I know this day will bring!

Joy & peace, T.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Vacation = A Nap for the Soul!

Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado

Mark and I just arrived back from five days of sheer bliss in Colorado.  And, even though we didn’t do much resting (There was too much to see and do!), I have arrived back feeling so very refreshed, relaxed.  That’s why I’ve decided that vacations are like naps for the soul (certainly justifies us taking more of them, right?).

Of course, I can't take a vacation any old time I choose, but days off--here and there...  That, I can do.  Observing dedicated me time daily (even if only for minutes at a stretch)... Sure, it is doable.  And, weekends...ensuring I carve out spots to rest and create art...you bet I'm in for that!

I thought I’d share a few snaps taken this past week.  I hope they serve to bring you that restful, relaxed feeling I’m still savoring right now.

Have a wonderful weekend!  T.

Friday, July 6, 2012

On Feeling Personally Pampered

Chocolate + relaxation + nature = pampered!

Late last week (before embarking on a much-needed vacation), I parked my car and took a quick hike into the local college campus (read of my previous adventures from this lovely site herehere and here) to grab a lunchtime smoothie.  The path I walked was tree-lined, shaded and oh-so-scenic.  I savored every step to and fro’.   The café table I dined from (or rather, sipped from) overlooked a welcoming vista of trees and planters over-spilling with floral arrangements.  When I arrived back in the office, I felt both refreshed and pampered.  Quite simply, I adore feeling this way!

How can you pamper yourself, today?  Whatever it is, I highly recommend you do it! T.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Love Lace!

One thing I’m truly lovin’ this summer is lace tights!  They are the perfect solution for those times when it is too hot for opaque tights, but bare legs just aren’t calling me (e.g. when a high-profile workplace presentation is planned). 

In the snap above, I’ve paired my lace tights with a long, lace-like scarf (thrown over my shoulders).  Below, is a lovely lace top I picked up a few weeks ago, while visiting a favorite local consignment shop (gotta love it…Jones New York and less than $10!).

Lace is refined, oh-so-feminine and I love it!  What about you? Do you love lace?  T.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

First Lady Insights

Celebrating Independence Day with Mark (July 4, 2011) 

According to the calendar insert in my Franklin planner (smile), Martha Washington once said “The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not our circumstances.”  More than 200 years later, this premier first lady's statement is every bit as sage, today, as it was back then.  What an awesome testimony of wisdom this is! 

Have a wonderful day (or, if you’re in the U.S.A., Independence Day)!  T.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Feeding the Mind, Classically

My reading preferences have been locked into the “read to feed the mind” zone for some time now.  It's a journey that began immediately following my attendance at a leadership retreat in San Francisco about 12 years ago.  Prior to that, I had enjoyed a long run of reading the classics; especially works written by the Bronte sisters, Nathanial Hawthorne and James Joyce. 

This longstanding, self-proclaimed, personal-development junkie hasn’t read a classic work of literature in some time, though.  As a result, during the month of July, I hope to savor three classic, non-fiction reads: 
Two of the three reads (A Room of One’s Own and A Gift from the Sea) were written by women authors and for a feminine audience.  To some extent, both deal with the importance of women having dedicated time for solitude.  Sounds yummy, yes?

Dale Carnegie’s The Art of Public Speaking ties to my current endeavor to become a more accomplished public speaker—practical; yet, it relates to a personal dream of mine. There’s a definite deliciousness to that as well! 

What’s the last classic you read?  Any classic non-fiction? Would enjoy hearing about it!  T.

Monday, July 2, 2012

July Dreamin'

July's goals...sketched into my beloved art journal!

Vacation, flags flying, flowers in full bloom; that’s a teensy glimpse into how I view July from my mind's eye.  My vision for the month also includes personal growth, mindful living and exercising my full creative capacity...  Girl’s got dream big, right?

My dreams for this month are to:
  • Read Virginia Woolfe’s A Room of One’s Own (Read, yesterday, during the plane trip. Loved it!)
  • Assess progress with my public speaking skill building plan (by 7/31)
  • Get my “relax” on via a facial
  • Treat myself to an artist’s date 
  • Read Anne Morrow Lindburgh’s A Gift from the Sea  
  • Finalize Tickled Pink Woman book outline
  • Attend/participate in Zonta Board planning retreat
  • Enjoy a pedi
  • Relish a massage
  • Read + journal with Lynne Franks’ Bloom
  • Conduct volunteer art journaling workshop at the local Girl Power Tween Camp
  • Attend/participate in Toastmasters
  • Read Podcasting for Dummies
  • Assess + refine Podcast Action Plan
  • Read Dale Carnegie’s The Art of Public Speaking
  • Vacation in Colorado (Currently, a reality!)
June’s dreams were all realized.  Some of them were definitely more challenging to achieve than others.  Through it all, I have learned that added insight, triumph and strength result when difficulties are met. 

Wishing you a joyous, dream-filled July!  T.