Friday, August 31, 2012

Get a Leg Up by Living without Regret!

As August draws to a close, I pause to reflect upon the mantra I established for 2012: The year of no regrets

Happily, 2012 (thus far) has largely been a year of living my life without regrets: Launching the blog (after merely talking about doing it for two years prior to this one); beginning work on my second book (an added dream more than a few years old), and securing a for-pay art journaling workshop gig (Yes, you guessed it—yet another long-term desire unrealized until this year.)

As amazing as it is to realize larger dreams, the smaller, seemingly less notable accomplishments have truly had the most impact upon me, though.  My consistent reliance upon my Wise Self, ability to more readily voice my truth (without concern over others' acceptance of me for doing so), and mindful attention to living my life as art are the actions which, collectively, have brought me a greater sense of self-empowerment, comfort and accomplishment. 

Yesterday, after conducting business at Bowling Green State University, I decided to grab a chocolate-banana soy smoothie from the onsite Starbucks and enjoy a brief walk on campus, where an event called, “CampusFest” was taking place.  One of the student organizations was providing free henna tattoos, there.  Watching a couple of students eagerly approach the table and partake, my first thought was, “I’ve always wanted to do that.”  The next one was, “Oh, to be young again—so carefree and fearless!”  Then, I stopped, and thought, “There’s no reason at all that I can’t be carefree and fearless, too.  This is 2012, the year of living life without regret. If I want to get a henna tattoo, I should absolutely go for it!”  As you can see, I did! 

Yes, the leg featured directly above is mine (smile).  You see, when I live without regret, life is never dull, disappointing or barren.  Abundance flows when I am free of regret.  Experiences are rich. And, I shine brightly.

May your Friday be one lived leg up, and totally without regret! xox T.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

One Yogini's Thoughts of Stretching

A new yoga studio recently opened its doors, locally, and I am feeling the need to check it out.  So, tonight, I’m headed that way--treating myself to one of their yoga classes. 

About 13 years ago, I attended a couple of drop-in yoga classes while living in the Dayton, Ohio area.  At that point in time, the experience was one that didn't resonate with me.  As a result, I chose not to move forward with it.

Three years ago, I found myself compelled to enroll myself in a yoga class--give it another try. Yes, I heard the inner call, and promptly answered it!  It was a wise choice on my part, as my yoga journey has been a phenomenal experience (Want to read about my adoration for yoga?  Earlier posts may be accessed here and here). 

I’ve been with the same class (and teacher) ever since that time.  I heart the fellowship, instruction and relaxation I get from these classes; held at a local fitness center, where I am a member.  The class meets only one night a week.  Unfortunately, due to a professional commitment, I’m only able to attend two nights a month.

What I’m toying with is maintaining my current class (at the fitness center) and adding a few others (throughout the month) at the new studio.  I’m feeling the need to expand my practice…maybe even diversify it a bit by exploring other yoga traditions (I practice Hatha at the gym and Vinyasa at home). Attending tonight’s class will hopefully allow me to make an informed decision about this. 

One benefit from being part of a class is it allows me to grow and learn.  Of course, there’s the added bonus of enjoying my practice with other yogis as well.  I do yoga at home; not as often as I would like to, though.  When I’m scheduled for an actual class, I seem to be more inclined to attend it (meaning I'm making time to practice yoga versus doing other things); which equates to another good reason for taking a class.

This little muse originally seemed like it was yoga focused, right?  After having written it, I’ve decided that isn’t the case (at least not totally).  Spreading my wings, gaining new wisdom and collecting enriching experiences…oh, yes, and trusting my intuition; that’s really what this post is all about (at least in my mind).  I'm accrediting the actual "Aha!" to my consistent practice of yoga, nevertheless!

Before I roll up my mat for now (smile)…  If you haven't heard, I will be giving away a brand-new, lovely blue yoga mat (Courtesy of General Electric). The winner will be announced on September 2.  For more information, click here.  

Joy, peace and namaste!  T.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Walks to Remember

Last night, I luxuriated a bit; using a gift certificate I’d stashed away for a one-hour massage.  After last week’s lengthy car sojourns, I was definitely in need of it!

Following a massage, I never engage in anything strenuous.  What this means is there were no workout plans on my agenda--only relaxation, last night, after my massage.  Yup, afterwards, I enjoyed tea on the patio while reading, and later, writing.

Exercise is part of my self-care routine.  Barring illness and unforeseen occurrences, I try to get some form of exercise every day.  I avoid compromising this regimen whenever possible.  On extremely-busy days, my physical activity might solely consist of a 10-minute yoga sequence early in the morning. I believe that some form of motion is better than none! When I exercise, I am healthier.  Plus, I just plain feel better—all over.  In my opinion, that’s empowering.

Yesterday was another busy day at the 9 to 5—plenty of undertakings and two off-site meetings (which is three less than that record-breaking day last week!).  Already knowing last evening would be dedicated to relaxation, I decided to walk to both of my meetings. These jaunts were easy hikes; taking about five minutes for me to walk each way (that’s roughly two sunshine breaks!).

Truly glad I did, too!  I used the time to be as mindful as possible of all the beauty before me, my own breath, the feel of my shoes upon the sidewalks, my posture, and the wind on my face.  It was a gorgeous, sunny day (high temp’s in the low 80’s). In a word—heavenly

My last meeting took place in the County Courthouse.  It was on the fifth floor.  Afterwards, I stood outside the elevator; waiting to leave the building.  There, I saw a little sign that read, "Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Take the stairs."  So...I did (smile)!

Wanted to share all the awesome sights I encountered along my walk routes (hence the lovely pix scattered throughout this post).  In addition to the fact that I knew I was nurturing my body with these walks, I fully understood I was feeding my soul; which definitely makes them walks to remember! T.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Lovely Little Writing Basket…

Introducing: My lovely little writing basket!

Mail in hand, I adeptly thumb through a small stack; where a pretty, pink, card-sized envelope has readily caught my eye.  Quickly flipping it over, I see my name and address prominently displayed below the postmarked area.  
Admittedly, there is a heightened sense of excitement afoot! 

Who doesn’t enjoy getting a card or letter in the mail? 

What I enjoy most, however, is sending hand-written cards, postcards—and, yes, even letters from time to time to family, friends and even acquaintances.  Lost (or nearly-lost) art or not, I am doing my part to save it from total extinction!

This past weekend, I learned an adored friend got "the job."  Late last week, a mentor unexpectedly sent me a lovely gift. I dropped my youngest son off in Boston for graduate school a few days ago, and began missing him before we had even left the city (plus, he hinted he’d love to get cards and letters from me!).  Although no reason is ever needed to do so, all indicators were definitely encouraging me to write a few notes (smile)!

As a result, this past Sunday afternoon, I lounged on the patio; my lovely little writing basket at hand. Not familiar with her?  Please allow me the honor of introducing you to her!  She’s a soothing shade of sage green; adorned with red apple décor, and is stuffed with cards of various sorts; from birthday to get well to thank you notes to congratulatory to those that are blank inside.  Some I purchased from talented artisans on Etsy or at favorite local venues.  Others were picked up while on impromptu trips to the dollar store.  My little basket also contains postcards, stationary, a selection of return address labels and stickers (a fun bit of whimsy that easily adheres to the back of any envelope!). 

Writing is art.  Life is art.  To me, sending carefully-selected, handwritten notes is one way I mindfully display style and elegance (all part of my strategy to live artfully).  Besides just plain feels good to do it!

Do you love receiving snail mail?  How about sending it?  Would love to hear your thoughts about this elegant art form!  T.

Monday, August 27, 2012

On Countering "the Sundays" + "the Mondays"

An art journal collage (September 2011) entails a plan for a great week!

Ah, Monday!  Or, should I say, "Aw, Monday!"?  Barring vacation and special occasions (e.g. my birthday), Monday is typically not my favorite day of the week.  I'm pretty sure I'm not alone on this viewpoint (hence, the line made famous in that awesome movie, Office Space: "Looks like someone's got a case of the Mondays!").

Ever get a case of the Sundays, though?  You know--that feeling you don't want the weekend to end?  It generally hits late afternoon or early evening on a Sunday.  I'll admit it.  I sometimes do.

I remember one Sunday about a year ago...  Amidst many challenging workplace projects and Mark's departure for a weeklong business trip, I sat down with my art journal in the hopes of sketching out a better coming week for myself--despite many to do's on the agenda and not even the prospect of a couple's date night that week (sigh!).

I entitled it "Ways to Make Next Week Special."  Here's what I came up with:
  • Run outdoors in the p.m.;
  • Toe nail polish change at the salon;
  • Yoga class;
  • Dinner at the vegan cafe;
  • Lunch with Carol (dear friend);
  • Local Zonta Board Lunch;
  • Dollar store buys (a favorite place for purchasing art journaling supplies!);
  • Write;
  • Hot baths with essential oils;
  • Home spa treatments (deep condition hair and feet);
  • Meditation each a.m.;
  • Listen to inspiring podcasts;
  • Journal at Starbucks;
  • Affirm daily;
  • Be mindful!
Although nothing daunting appears to be on the coming week's 9 to 5 calendar, I'm guessing it will be incredibly busy--nevertheless. marks my first day back in the office since last Wednesday. This is always an adjustment for me. As a result, I've crafted (yet another) "Ways to Make This Week Special" list for myself .  Can't hurt, right (smile)?

Some of these plans I'll carry out at lunch or break times taken during my workday.  Others are definitely morning and evening (before and after work) pleasures!
  • Affirm daily;
  • Be as mindful as possible;
  • Write. Write. Write some more;
  • Read my magazines;
  • Savor daily tea breaks at work;
  • Enjoy a lunchtime walk on BGSU's campus;
  • Sip vino on the patio after work Wednesday evening;
  • Attend my Monday night yoga class;
  • Treat myself to a class, Thursday night, at the new yoga studio in town;
  • Use my gift certificate for a one-hour massage on Tuesday night (oh so need this one after last week's car trip to & fro' Boston!);
  • Grab a chocolate banana soy smoothie at lunch on Monday;
  • Delight in after-lunch java daily;
  • Take daily sunshine breaks;
  • Relax in hot baths, each evening, complete with essential oils and candlelight (one night, indulge with a Lush bath bomb!);
  • Relish date night with Mark (Friday);
  • Sport my new black + white polka-dotted infinity scarf!
What are your plans for making your week extra special?  Would love to hear about them!  T.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Creative, Healing Endeavors

Photography, like other creative endeavors, heals me!

Settling in this morning; after yesterday's lengthy drive back from Boston (I read scads and scads!). Yes, there is unpacking to do (Mark's already done the bulk of it!); but, sitting outside, right now, enjoying breakfast on the patio... I've decided to simply write and relax today. The remaining suitcase and other household issues can wait (smile)!

Many of you may remember that I participated in author Gail McMeekin's online Facebook forum focused upon The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women Journal, last spring (Missed it?  Feel free to read past posts here and here).

Late Friday night, upon returning with Mark, to the hotel, I sat down with my iPad to read a few favorite blogs before we retired to bed.  Paper and Ponder is one of those fab blogs.  There, I discovered not only a wonderful post about the above-mentioned forum, but a mention of my own blog (beyond honored!) in this recent post by blogger, entrepreneur, fellow McMeekin Facebook forum participant and dear friend, Lisa H.

Paper and Ponder is dedicated to the healing aspects of creativity.  This is something I understand, firsthand.

You see, my book, Eternal Presents, was written during my youngest sister's battle with cancer.  I may not have understood it at the time, but that creative endeavor--was my coping strategy.  During those difficult months, it kept me functioning. Provided me an outlet and solace.  Allowed me the ability to delve into places I'd not explored before that point.

Take a moment, today, to check out Paper and Ponder.  Sit outside and enjoy this lovely Sunday.  Do something creative.  Write. Paint. Craft. Take photos (I shot the one above in Boston's North End after dinner on Friday evening!).  Be healed and be whole.

Joy & peace, T.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Strong Ambition+Fab Imagination=No Limits

Sitting under the dryer during a recent visit to the salon, reading Am.BITCH.ous

These last few days have been so very precious to me.  I've spent them in Boston; savoring memorable time with my family.

It's a long drive from Northwest Ohio to Boston, but that's okay as I read scads while en route (smile).  Yup, polished off Debra Condren's Am.BITCH.ous (loved it!) and began reading The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide to Creating Success on your Own Terms (adoring it!) by Danielle La Porte.

The quote, below is from Debra Condren's Am.BITCH.ous.  It speaks volumes to me, so I wanted to pass it along:

"Your only limits are the breadth and depth of your imagination and the strength of your ambition. 
Oh, and let's not forget about self-confidence. 
Above all, remember that you are the kind of woman for whom the sky is the limit."

Have a sky-is-the limit Saturday!  T.

Glad to have had forced reading time en route.  Even happier to be here, in Boston!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Create a Summer Brag List!

My Summer Brag List (August 2011)

Summer is not quite over.  Yet, when it comes to planning ahead, forward-looking thinking can never occur too early; at least, in my opinion.  That's why I'm already thinking of how I will assess my progress in achieving this season's goals.

Late last August, I engaged in a worthwhile art journaling project.  It turned out to be a thoroughly grounding activity, which is why I plan on repeating it again in 2012.

What I did was to create a Summer Brag List, where I noted all the things I was proud of mastering, achieving, or even becoming--last summer.  Here is a sampling of what I included on last year's list:
  • Conducted a volunteer art journaling workshop for girls attending the Girl Power Tween Camp.
  • Re-established my home yoga practice.
  • Participated in the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women photo shoot.
  • Took my first piloga class!
  • Read, read, read...
  • Treated myself to a spa morning, soak in the hot tub, and afternoon writing, poolside, at the Stonebridge Spa.
  • Joined Zonta's committee to build a Golden Z Club for college students attending Bowling Green State University.
  • Grew feistier, stronger, more grounded & self-loving!
What I'll likely do, this year, is carve out dedicated time between now and Labor Day.  Brew some yummy herbal tea.  Light scented candles.  Perhaps, set up an outdoor work studio on my patio, overlooking my backyard.  Dedicate a couple of sacred hours to myself by participating in this glorious activity.

Regardless of what you were taught, I'd highly recommend you brag about this summer's personal accomplishments.   It's an insightful, empowering and oh-so-decadent endeavor!  Joy & peace, T.

NOTE: For added inspiration related to other journaling (and art journaling) prompts, click here.  To access my video which demonstrates the technique I used to create last year's Summer Brag List, click here.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Busy Women: A Formidable Force

Yesterday, I settled into the blessedness of a meeting-free 9 to 5 workday.  Don’t get me wrong.  Meetings are oftentimes essential to what I do.  In fact, there are actually times when I look forward to partaking in them.

This past Tuesday, however, I attended five meetings in the span of eight hours.  One of them was quite welcome: a local Zonta Board meeting, where I gathered, at lunch time, with like-minded femmes to address the advancement of women (locally and worldwide). 

My previous meeting was 9 to 5 related, took place offsite, ended only an hour earlier, and had lasted over two hours.  Arriving back in the office to address various odds and ends before my noontime meeting, I made sure I grabbed my ritual cup of tea (which I am glad to report I sipped mindfully while I worked!).

Arriving at my Board meeting, I informed my fellow Zontians that I could only stay for about 40 minutes as I had to get back in time to conduct a public meeting. Several nodded in total understanding.  One club mate shared with me that she, too, had to leave early in order to attend another meeting.  We laughed, shared stories, and conducted meaningful business.

Several women arrived late. And…yes, you got it!  They, too, were fresh out of (drum roll, please) other meetings. One latecomer friend stood in front of her chair and said, “I just need to take a deep breath before I sit down.” I encouraged her to take several! 

Yes, the day was a bit action packed (for many of us it seems).  Nevertheless, it was a good one.

Tapping into my breath to ground myself, in conjunction with other simple strategies such as needed breaks (e.g. tea!), ensures I am more fully present in each given moment.  This equates to me not worrying (quite as much) about where I have been, or which direction I’m headed in next (beyond making sure I do make it to where I need to go in a timely fashion, of course).  It also makes for things not seeming quite as complicated or challenging as they might actually be—which is fabulous in my estimation!  That busy day, I was taking deep breaths and giving myself needed care along the way.  It all made a difference in how the day resulted.

On a separate, yet related, matter… The photo above is from my planner/calendar on August 21 (the infamous meeting day I noted above).  On the right hand side of the page (dedicated for notes, etc.) was a quote from Norwegian diplomat Gro Harlem Brundtland, “Women power is a formidable force.”  When I think about my lunchtime meeting—why we gathered—how we supported each other amidst our meeting-packed lives—I know we women do own the capacity to be a formidable force! 

Joy & peace, T.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Live Pink. Be Green.

Pinkly living green!

Today, I'm donning pink and black; greenly, though...

In addition to my quest to live pink (a.k.a Tickled Pink), I strive to be more green; not only by recycling, however.  You see, I am a green shopper (smile).  Missed past blog posts about my ongoing efforts to make green contributions to our planet through shopping? If so, feel free to check them out by clicking here and here.

Pictured above, are two recent eco-buys I absolutely had to share on the blog.  The pink and white polka-dotted blouse is 100 percent silk, Jones New York and appears to have never been worn.  I snagged this little lovely at a local Goodwill Store last Friday afternoon for $5!  My favorite pairing of it  (so far) is with my "go to" black pencil skirt.

The chic, endless strand of faux pearls were purchased from a sweet woman, for $5, at a community yard sale.  Mark and I happened upon it while spending the day wandering several charming sites along Lake Erie a few weeks ago.  Mark even noted, "What a find!"

These items are unique (which is artistic expression in the making!).  They scream, "me" (Yay for authenticity!).  They did not break my bank (Hip hip hooray for being responsible with my greenbacks!).  And, best yet, I kept them from being tossed into a landfill, which helps our environment (Overjoyed beyond words!!!)!!!

Have you had the good fortune of an amazing eco-buy lately?  Please share as I heart hearing about these!  Hugs, T.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Beautiful Moments…

Art journaling=beautiful moments!

I like to say that, “Beauty is an inside job.”  It's a nice companion to that old adage “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”  My thought is that I hold the responsibility for not only seeing life’s beauty, but creating it as well.

Here are a few moments of beauty I’ve recently given myself (and…as a result to others, too!):
  • Being fully present while enjoying time with my youngest son, who is headed to Boston (in a few days) to attend graduate school;
  • Carving out five minutes of stillness on Sunday morning (meditated outdoors);
  • Gave gratitude while driving to the 9 to 5 on Monday morning (this truly made a difference in how I felt walking into the building that morning!);
  • Contributed my volunteer efforts (throughout the last few weeks) toward a worthy cause I hold near and dear (local Zonta Golden Z Club);
  • Read and fed my mind (Reading am.BITCH.ous. LOVE it!);
  • Played “ball” in the parlor with Tabitha (resident diva tabby cat);
  • Created art on the patio while enjoying the sun on my face;
  • Sipped tea and listened to inspirational podcasts while cleaning my house;
  • Laughed heartily and mused playfully while preparing dinner with Mark;
  • Mapped out the next level of action steps for my latest book writing endeavor;
  • Wrote a rough draft of the introduction to the first section of my new book!
 Have a beautiful day!  T.

Proud mom (me) posing with my recently-graduated Magna Cum Laude son, Patrick!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Amazing August!

Daisy mums I spied on a recent sunshine break!

It's been an interesting summer so far...

July felt more like August, and August (to me) feels more like September.  Just for the record (smile), I'm still happy to be, right here, (fully present) in August.

Where I live (Northwest Ohio), signs of fall have already begun to emerge.  This past week we've recorded morning and evening temps in the 50's on several days, mums are starting to bloom, the autumn blaze are past their prime, and colorful foliage is making its debut--here and there.  Amazing!  Nevertheless, I'm still in the present moment--despite my joyful anticipation of what's to come (fall, my favorite season!).

The autumn blaze is already past its prime.

Even though, I am living in the now (August), I did recently splurge on a statement wardrobe piece that screams, "Fall!"  It's a lovely faux fur leopard vest; something I envision myself donning for years to come.  Plus, I bought it (on Etsy) from a woman who designs and sews clothing (As you may remember from past posts (here and here), I adore supporting independent, woman-owned businesses whenever possible!).

Fall foliage (already) + unseasonably cool temps + faux leopard fur=Amazing August!

Would love to hear how your August has been amazing--thus far.  Please share! xox T.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Me, Too...I Believe in Pink...

"I believe in manicures.
I believe in overdressing.
I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick.
I believe in pink.
I believe happy girls are the prettiest girls.
I believe tomorrow is another day, and...
I believe in miracles."
-Audrey Hepburn

This may be my all-time favorite quote.  It speaks to me so very clearly; affirms my right to not only claim my authentic self, but to hand her the reins...allow her to reign.

Wishing you an empowered, feeling pretty-in-pink weekend!  T.

Friday, August 17, 2012

An Ideal Day Brightener...

I met a friend at a local restaurant for lunch yesterday.  Temperate, mostly sunny and slightly breezy; it was the epitome of a picture perfect day for outdoor dining.  As a result, that’s exactly where we enjoyed our salads—outside, at a café table, amidst sunshine and fresh air.  I even heard carillon bells chiming in the distance at some point as we ate and talked.  It was wonderful!

We were both marveling at the perfection of our dining atmosphere (especially as it related to getting needed “rays” (a.k.a. vitamin D)), when she shared with me a fabulous idea that I absolutely had to pass along.  Her son, a college student, recently took a part-time job in the art industry during his summer break from classes.  His employer insists that all employees take a 10-minute sunshine break; twice a day.  Isn’t that great? Here’s what’s even better… Her son has noticed a markedly positive impact as a result of doing so—on his energy levels, motivational capacity and creativity. 

I absolutely LOVE this idea--a sunshine break!  Of course, the issue (for me) is being disciplined enough to actually follow through and do it.  That is the tough part…    

I did step outdoors for a few minutes yesterday afternoon (Yes, I snapped the photo above while enjoying a breath of fresh air!).  Nevertheless, I am not going to pretend that I will faithfully pull myself away from my 9 to 5 duties—twice a day—at ten minutes per stretch to take a sunshine break.  I can certainly strive to, though. 

I wrote a post (a few days ago) about my real versus ideal morning routines.  Writing things down somehow helps me better manifest what I want in my life.  So, what might serve me best is to list practices that would allow me to experience my vision of an ideal day.  Certainly, on those days where I am indoors much of the time (with nose to grindstone); an idyllic practice, on my part, would be to carve out a couple of sunshine breaks.  Even a five-minute sunshine break is more beneficial than none, right?

Wishing you joy, brightness and a fab Friday!  T.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Luxuriously Heady Perspectives...

Our crowning glory is less about hair & more about the choices we make!

A few years ago, I heard someone say a visit to the salon didn’t count as a luxury.  I think they called it “basic maintenance.”  Not me, though.  I treat a visit to the salon as if it were a full-blown spa day (regardless of what I’m having done there!). 

This evening, I am headed to the salon for a trim, wash, and highlights.  I schedule a trim at every 5 to 6 weeks, and highlights at 6 to 8 weeks; depending on how things are holding up (smile).  Every now and again, I’ll treat myself to a deep conditioning or some other type of restorative hair treatment in between trims. 

You see, it’s all in how I view things…  I can choose to deem a visit to the salon as “basic maintenance” or I can treat it like the wonderfully indulgent experience that it is.  I adore visiting with my talented stylist, and the salon I patronize has the most relaxing, aesthetically-pleasing environment imaginable.  It truly has “spa” written all over it--figuratively.  Having my hair combed, touched and washed; well, it’s like a mini-scalp massage!  I absolutely love it!  And, sitting under a dryer with a good magazine and a cup of tea…oh, my! 

I have come to realize that it is my choice how I view each and every moment in my life.  Clearing the dinner table, responding to business emails on the 9 to 5, waiting in line at the post office…these activities can easily be written off as “mundane.”  They could also be treated as precious pockets of stillness, opportunities for me to savor divinely-present moments, or time for silent affirmation.  It is all up to me.

So, guess what I'm choosing?  Yup, it's luxury for me...nothing less than luxury! ;) T.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My A.M. Routine: Real vs. Ideal

The beauty of a day is often defined by the morning routine...

Last month, I made a case for how important the first and last five minutes of the day are (Didn’t read this past post?  Click here.).  There’s been much written to support the establishment of morning and evening routines.  Although my real and ideal morning routines haven't quite yet meshed (smile), there is always the promise that they someday will.

Below, are my “real” versus “ideal” morning routines (as they stand, currently):

My real:
  • Wake, “good morning’s” to Mark (hubby) and Tabitha (diva pet tabby cat);
  • Silently affirm while dressing;
  • Breakfast + java;
  • Meditate (sporadically);
  • Blog;
  • Dash off to work.
My ideal:
  • Wake, “good morning’s” to Mark (hubby) and Tabitha (diva pet tabby cat);
  • Silently affirm while dressing;
  • Yoga;
  • Meditation;
  • Breakfast + java;
  • Enjoy a walk outdoors;
  • Blog;
  • Begin my workday.
If you haven't already engaged in this practice, consider writing down your real and ideal morning routines.  It is truly an eye-opening experience. ;) T.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Life’s Moments=Creative Inspiration

These lovely phlox inspire me! 
I spied them during last week's herb garden tour.

A friend recently noted, “You are blogging like crazy.” She then asked, “Where do all your ideas come from?”  On the spot, it was initially hard to put my finger on an answer.  Yet, a few moments later I responded, “From pretty much everything.”  It wasn’t a “perfect formula” of an answer, but it was what I felt from deep within.

In retrospect, that statement was about as “spot on” as it could be.  Every thing, each situation can inspire—if so allowed. 

Below, are 10 yummy ways I get creatively inspired:
  • Take photos of beautiful, natural things as you discover them.
  • Listen to music that sways your spirit. Allow it to take hold of you.
  • Go for an early morning walk, and be present for it.
  • Affirm, “My life is art.” Afterwards, act as if.
  • Spend your next tea or coffee break outdoors—observing nature.
  • Pull out old photo albums and pore through them.
  • Utilize methods that enable you to get in touch with your spirit: yoga, meditation, stillness, journal writing.
  • Honor your Wise Self’s urgings. It whispers inspirational hints to you incessantly! 
  • Remember a time when someone taught you something important through their words and/or actions.
  • View art (both yours and others).
 What inspires you creatively?  Would heart hearing about it!  T.

Monday, August 13, 2012

“All is Well”

A recent art journal tribute to a fave affirmation

During my lifetime, I have talked myself into believing many things.  Doing so has not always been in my best interest.  A perfect example?  When my perspective has been somewhat skewed.  In the past few years, however, I've begun tapping into a much more positive aspect of self talk--those lovely, nurturing statements known as "affirmations."

Ever have those times something seems to be tugging at you? Feel that something just isn’t quite right? Yet, you haven’t a notion as to what it is?  I do.

Generally, a good journal writing session works wonders, for me, in resolving these unsettled feelings.  Unfortunately, I don’t always have instant access to my dear Sweet (such a pity!).  It’s in those times that I’ll think to myself “All is well. All is well. All is well…”  Remarkably, before I know it, I do attain a greater sense of well being. 

Ninety-nine percent of the time, turns out I am right after all.  All is, indeed, quite well. 

Every now and again, I’ll learn that (oops) I forgot to do or pack something I’ll need for that day.  But, you know what?  In the grand scheme of things, is that truly the end of the world?  Not by a landslide.  So, even in those instances, guess all was well (for the most part) after all.

"All is well" is a real “go to” affirmation for me.  How about you?  Do you affirm?  Would love to hear your reflections on this!  T. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sip Tea. Own Your Pink. Live Without Regret.

From Thursday's tea at the Wood County Historical Center & Museum...

A few months ago, I posted the following thoughts on Twitter

Sip herbal tea, sport a French-knotted vintage scarf, create beautiful things,
wear your pink on your sleeve & live each day without regret.

Having mindfully enjoyed a tea party, wrote scads, created art, sported vintage scarves on several occasions, proudly showcased my tickled pinkness, and made every effort to live my life without regret this week, I think it’s a worthy post for this lovely Saturday. 

Enjoy your weekend!  T.

Me, happily headed out to Thursday's tea + brunch + herb garden tour!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Surprise! Yourself.

Aren't they lovely?  Mark brought these back from a jaunt to the grocery store a few evenings ago.

There's something about receiving a simple surprise gift or gesture that transports me to a state of almost child-like excitement.  What I've come to understand, though, is that I also have the ability to bestow surprises upon myself.  That's right, and doing so results in these same feelings of exuberance .

No, I'm not necessarily talking about buying myself flowers (which I, without a doubt, love to do). What I'm referring to are those times when I get an on-the-spot inkling to act upon something...and I honor it.  Taking a different route home from work, granting myself a quick break from duties to step outdoors and view a lovely flower garden, calling someone I've been thinking about...  These are some of the many gifts I give myself by simply trusting and following my own inner wisdom.  Surprise!

See if you can't surprise yourself, today.  Trust me, it's a totally fab experience!  T.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

An Artist's Date, August Style

“It’s quite possible to leave your home for a walk in the early morning air and 
return a different person—beguilded, enchanted.” –Mary Chase

Today, I treated myself to an early-morning walk; enjoying the August air upon my face, soft gray skies and near stillness.  And, yes, I did return home feeling somewhat charmed. 

You see…I actually scheduled vacation time away (for today) from the 9 to 5.  That’s right, today is all mine!  Just shy of three weeks, and I am already embarking on, yet another, artist’s date. 

Sometimes, a girl’s just gotta do stuff like this; especially given that it’s been a busy past few months, and I am in the process of crafting an outline for my second book.  If I can dedicate a day, half-day, hour, or even a block of a few minutes (here and there) to replenishing my own spirit, I get it back tenfold.  Those around me do as well; since, when I am feeling relaxed and revitalized, I am wholly able to put my best self forward. 

In addition to this morning’s early a.m. walk in nature, I secured a ticket to a late morning/early afternoon tea/brunch/herb garden tour at a local museum. Going to dress up, wear a hat, carry my vintage straw bag--the whole shebang.  I plan on wrapping the afternoon up by reading in bed; which Tabitha (my lovely diva tabby cat) will likely partake in as well. 

What’s your next artist’s date look like?  Would love to hear about it!  T.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Budded Blooms, Awesomeness & Philosophizing

Let your life be like a budded flower—bursting with joy over what you know will unfold.

While recently admiring a vase of pink carnations atop my workplace desk, I found myself lost in the true beauty (both real and symbolic) of a budded flower.  This led me to reach a conclusion.  Life is best enjoyed when I embrace the fact that awesomeness is always within reach. Meeting gal pals for lunch, creating an art journal collage, achieving a treasured goal… What I term as “awesome” can certainly vary from day-to-day, minute-to-minute.   The key is to joyfully anticipate and fully savor awesomeness--at that point when it comes into being.

My tips for living life like a budded flower include:

Like a budded flower, always have something to look forward to: This recent blog post provides added thoughts about the importance of having dreams (even the smallest of ones!).

Make sure your environment allows you to blossom:  The woman who nurtures herself, no doubt, blooms versus withers. Great ideas on how self-nurture yourself are found in this past post.

Don't miss the joy of budding or blooming! Be fully present:  Awesomeness is best when I am fully present in experiencing it.  Mindfulness takes scads of practice, and is something I still struggle to attain as often as I would like.  Through yoga and meditation, however, I am learning to live much more mindfully.  Sue Patton Thoele’s book, The Mindful Woman: Gentle Practices for Restoring Calm, Finding Balance, and Opening Your Heart has also served as a valuable resource for me.

Know that a bud is every bit as lovely as a blossom:  Being evolved, complete is an ongoing process that occurs throughout a lifetime.  When I am in tune with this, it’s more likely I am living in the present versus for the future. My goal is to always be joyous for the future; however to live within the present!

Bloom boldly by celebrating your uniqueness:  Each bud, every blossom is a one-of-a-kind.  Honoring and celebrating your uniqueness honors and celebrates you!  Do it loudly and do it proudly! I think of it as "flower power."

What are your thoughts on living life like a budded flower?  Would certainly welcome them! T.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Soul Soothers…

 The catnip is blooming in my flower garden! Flower gardening=soul soothing.

Our neighbors have a small water feature nestled into one of their flower beds. Often, when I’m flower gardening, I can hear the glorious babbling; softly in the distance.  It makes me imagine that a charming little brook runs alongside my house.  Soothes me, too…

Here are a few of my other fave soothers:
  • Clutching a rose quartz crystal (polished smooth, of course);
  • Taking a quiet walk in nature;
  • Relaxing in a hot bath; complete with lavender bath salts;
  • Sipping white rose tea from my favorite teacup;
  • Lighting candles; savoring their glow;
  • Writing in my journal outdoors at sunset;
  • Sporting cashmere (anything);
  • Deep, yogic breathing…
  • Saying affirmations (any of them!);
  • Moments of gratitude reflection;
  • Petal pink (simply the sight of it!);
  • Resting, on my yoga mat, in child’s pose;
Day trips to Lake Erie (like the one I took this past weekend) also soothe me!

 So… What soothes you?  Would love to hear about it!  T.

Monday, August 6, 2012

It’s August, and I’m Fine with That!

Outside my window, I hear the crickets chirping as the wind rustles the leaves in the pear tree.  Summer is still very much with us.  Yet, every year at this time, I yearn for the arrival of fall (what I’ve always proclaimed to be my favorite season).  Not this year, though.

Hmmm… Generally, I cannot wait for the first chill in the air, falling leaves, or sight of potted mums.  This August, however, I’m contented to be exactly where I am—in August—dry, hot, sticky August. 

Could it be I’m learning the joy of each moment’s presence? Is it simply that the thought of impending snow, ice and sub-zero temps are already making me shudder a tad bit? 

Guess I won’t truly know if what I’m feeling, this August, is simply the joy of where I am, presently or not until January.  I’m willing to wait and see on that one (smile).

Throughout this post, I’ve sprinkled photos I snapped a few days ago, while enjoying a day trip to Lake Erie for shop browsing and wine tasting. August, 90+ degrees and all, it’s exactly where I want to be—relishing the beauty of right now.

Experience the wonder of this day!  Joy & peace, T.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Get Tickled Pink! Maybe Win a Yoga Mat

She's high quality, a lovely shade of blue & could possibly become yours!

On behalf of their tres chic HealthyShare program, General Electric, a Twitter follower, recently sent me two lovely yoga mats.  One for me (smile) and one for a friend.  Like and/or follow this blog between August 4 and August 31, 2012, and you might be the friend I randomly pick to send this fab yoga mat to!  Those completing both of the aforementioned between the dates noted will have two chances to be selected.

Living healthy is part of this femme's overall self-care plan.  So, no doubt, I heart HealthyShare!    Operating on the principle that friends are good for one's health, it includes daily fitness challenges, plans for eating healthier, ways to "get moving," and scads more. Learn more about HealthyShare at  or

In the meantime, "like" or "follow" moi as noted above, s'il vous plaît?  T.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Never Too Late

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” 
–George Eliot (pen name for author Mary Anne Evans)

With the quote above firmly implanted in my psyche, I know it’s not too late for me to:
  • Write a best-selling book;
  • Become an accomplished public speaker;
  • Live a mindful life;
  • Establish a flourishing enterprise;
  • Learn to speak French;
  • Read a roadmap proficiently;
  • Enjoy an unplanned vacation (This one’s a biggie for a planner extraordinaire!);
  • Visit the various sites recorded on my bucket list.
Knowing it's never too late, what do you want to do or be?  Have a fab weekend! T.

Friday, August 3, 2012

August is for Repairing, Replenishing.

Last evening, I packed up a lovely vintage strand of comingled faux pearls and black beads that I’ve meant to have restrung for far too long.  Today, I’m finally taking them to a sweet little jewelry shop, downtown, during my lunch break.  Yesterday morning, before my ritual tea time, I took a moment to freshen the water in the vase of lovely pink carnations sitting atop my desk (these little sweeties seem to have infinite life—which I do so love!).  This simple task of nourishing a thing of beauty made me smile. 

Repairing.  Replenishing.  Funny how what relates to the tangible so truly ties back to that which lies within. 

June brought her challenges.  July… Well (barring vacation and time spent with loved ones), let’s just say she’s one I wouldn’t want to repeat. 

August, however, she seems to be urging me to address my own needs.  Repair.  Replenish.  And, I’m not just speaking of my little “to do’s;” like replacing a button on a fave cardigan.  The insistence I’m feeling also includes what my soul craves--self-nurturance at the most basic of levels. 

I already affirm daily.  I also carve out moments of gratitude; from time-to-time.  A few days ago, though, I stepped up the affirmations a bit; strove for more mindfulness while silently practicing them.  Began making it a must that I reflect in gratitude on my way to and fro’ work, too.  You know what?  I’m already beginning to feel a tad more repaired and replenished, after just a few days in. 

What about you?  Feeling the need for a soul overhaul?   Affirm (or, like me, affirm a bit more).  Give gratitude.  Before you know it, I’m guessing you will also begin to feel somewhat more repaired and replenished.  I am.  Joy & peace, T.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Asked. Received. Hmmm... It Works.

Ever get tired of making do?  Settling for less?  I do.  Enough so, it spurred me to action a few days ago.

I am writing a grant.  No big thing--just a part of what I do on the 9 to 5.  In fact, it is an application I complete annually.  This year, however, the Excel file (application) was locked; making it impossible to enlarge the cells sufficiently enough to craft a decent budget justification.  Well...allow me (please) to back up a bit...I could write it in--it just didn't show up (in its entirety) on a printed copy of the application--only on the electronic version.

This was problematic for several reasons.  The hard copies are what my staff and I refer to throughout the year while administering the grant.  They are also what we share with the auditors.  And, of course, a working hard copy is  essential to have on hand should a citizen request a viewing of the document.  Grrr!

The issue one likes to make special requests from the funders.  It is never pretty--so to speak.  A few afternoons ago, as I toyed with how to handle my dilemma, I thought back to an older episode of The Office.  The character named Pam confided to the rolling cameras that she was tired of never getting what she wanted.  She vowed to thereafter let others know exactly what she needed versus putting up with what she received.  A few minutes later while standing at a bar, a bartender hands her a beer.  At first she looks down at it; somewhat dismayed.  Then, she faces the bartender (with determination) and says, "No, I'm sorry. This was supposed to be a lite beer."  "Sorry about that.  Here you go," said the bartender, handing her a lite beer.  She smiles, and tells the camera, "Well, what do you know?  It works!"

That little flashback from television world (which I so very infrequently visit) led me to send out a a quick email asking the funder for assistance in modifying the spreadsheet because the cells could not be enlarged.  The first response I received directed me to simply "not worry," they (the funder) would adjust it when they received it.  Hmmm...

I "sat" on this email for a day; then, went in for "round two."  This time, I was clearer in presenting my case.  Very concisely, my email message placed the focus on how the modification would benefit my staff, auditors and the public.  Within a few minutes, I received a response back indicating, "Send me the spreadsheet.  I'll make the adjustments and get it right back to you."  He did.

It still wasn't right, though. Rather than lengthening the columns, he had widened them--which made a printed copy something difficult for most to make any sort of sense of.  I emailed right back, and politely asked him if he could make the adjustment lengthwise versus in width format; explaining the readability issue.  Within fifteen minutes, he emailed back, saying, "Sorry about that.  Here you go."  Amazing!  It worked!  And...pretty much the same way it did for good ole' Pammy girl (that aforementioned, inspiring character from The Office).

I definitely think there's something to this letting others know exactly what you need jazz--versus just putting up with stuff.  Enough so that I'm willing to keep trying it (smile). T.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

This August, I Dream...

My art journal and my heart... Currently, where my August dreams reside

This month, I not only dream for the realization of my goals... I wish for a bit more stability, and a lot fewer uh oh's.  But, life doesn't always work that way, does it?  Perhaps, that's not so bad.  These little uh oh's, maybe they are what make me stronger, build my character, teach moi the lessons I most need to learn.  

So, regardless of whatever August throws me, I can handle it...along with these lovely luxuries--I call my dreams:
This August, I'm dreaming a little dream or two.  I hope you will join me and do the same! Hugs, T.