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20 Things That Make Me Smile

Happy Positive Thinking Day!!!

A good day starts with a good thought. Wake up every morning and think happy things to get your day going. To celebrate Positive Thinking Day I made a list of twenty things that make me smile. A simple trick but a trick that works – If you’re feeling a little down, think of something wonderful in your life. Gratitude is a gateway to happiness. Train your mind to see the bright side of everything. 

  1. Having breakfast with my son.
  2. Flowers.
  3. A good laugh.
  4. Talking on the phone with my mom.
  5. Having a beer and chatting life stuff with my best friends.
  6. A hot cup of tea.
  7. Snuggling with my pup.
  8. Getting my nails done.
  9. Brownie batter. Yum!
  10. Making my loved ones smile.
  11. Having my artwork in an art show.
  12. Looking at the stars in the night sky.
  13. Laying on the beach.
  14. When my favorite song comes on the radio.
  15. Dancing in the kitchen.
  16. A good Netflix binge.
  17. The sunset.
  18. Curling up under a cozy blanket with a book.
  19. A long hike.
  20. Crossing something off my bucket list!

“Being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect. It means you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.” ~ anonymous

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7 Ways to Build a Strong & Healthy Mind

Building a strong and healthy mind is a key factor in leading a happy and healthy life. We must constantly be challenging our mind to expand to new ideas and new ways of thinking to keep growing. The saying goes, “Life is what we make it”, and that all starts in the mind. Here are seven ways that you can expand, challenge and teach your mind to be strong and healthy. 

  1. Read and practice daily affirmations. – Reading and reciting daily affirmations or mantras will help you train your min to perceive the world from a positive view.
  2. Journal and brain dump. – Journaling helps you release thoughts and feelings from swirling in your head. This helps you process them so you don’t get stuck in one spot. Brain dumping (or list making) is a great way to get racing ideas out onto paper. I find doing this every night before bed helps me fall asleep quicker and get a better night’s rest.
  3. Listen to podcasts. – There are so many podcasts out there that you can tap into. I find these are a great place to learn new things and new, positive ways of thinking.
  4. Read. – Reading not only is a great mind-strengthening task but it can expand your imagination and grow your thought process.
  5. Minimize negativity in your life. – When you minimize negativity in your life you give your mind the space to focus on more positive and progressive things. Unfollow those Facebook naggers.
  6. Try something new routinely. – Take a class, try new foods, visit somewhere you’ve never been.
  7. Meet new people. – Meeting new people opens you up to new points of views and new ideas.
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Speaking to the Artist’s Soul & Emerging in the Progress

Creating art is a therapy for me…when I pick up a paintbrush or open my sketchbook I immediately feel a wave of calmness enter me. The stress of the world melts away. I become the center of the balance beam. 

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” ~ Thomas Merton

It frees me. It allows stubborn emotions to flow out of me, whether it is trauma or joy, the feelings can pour freely from my soul, leaving my heart and my mind clear. 

“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher

It opens a space for me to heal.

“Art opens the closets, airs out the cellars & attics. It brings healing.” ~ Julia Cameron

I used to rush my paintings, feeling the need to bring them to completion in one sitting. I found that through my patience they became so much more. I have learned to allow them to be works in progress. I allow them to grow as I grow through them. Letting them layer upon layer as life does, creating a story to be told. And in that they give back to me as what I put into them.

Art is beautiful to the eyes, but it is compelling to the soul. 

 

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Growing in 2017: Reading List for Personal Development

So many of us are out to grab the world by the horns this year, myself included. I’m currently finishing up You Are A Badass: How To Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero which has given me some wonderful revelations, especially the chapters about Fear and Money. I just ordered Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert which I’m super psyched to get started on, especially after listening to her TED Talks Podcast. I’ve said before that I really feel 2017 has a lot of magic to give this year and I am excited to be moving forward, at a really fast pace too. My blog is growing faster than I imagined, I have many business projects on the horizon, and overall I just feel like I am growing into this incredible role in my life, a role of leadership and inspiration, and it feels amazing! I know though, with all that in mind, that it is my responsibility to take advantage of the opportunities being presented to me and to make things happen. 

Some of my (additional to the above) top books to assist in my growth this year and to keep me motivated and inspired:

Adventures For Your Soul: 21 Ways to Transform Your Habits And Reach Your Full Potential by Shannon Kaiser

 

 

 

Make It Happen: Surrender Your Fear, Take The Leap, Live On Purpose by Lara Casey

 

 

 

 

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

 

 

Check out all 12 of my picks and get reading, discovering, and growing! 2017 Reading List: Personal Development & Growth

All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive payments for leads/sales. For more information please reference my disclosure page

Being Powerful & Inspired: My Quote Wall & Making The Bed

I believe in surrounding myself with inspiration and motivation that fuels me throughout my day. I build my bedroom with the same idea. Every task I complete I want to inspire me…including making my bed… I am given a gift every morning that I awake. I am given the ability to go make my day any way I want it to be, the opportunity to make it an amazing day. I will admit some mornings are tough, sometimes the bed is too warm and the day is too cold, or I’m too tired and I know a long day awaits me, but each day I push myself out of bed.

I’ve been spending some time listening to Motivational Podcasts Every Woman Must Hear by TED Talks and some of the things I hear seem to be speaking right to me. It’s amazing how the Universe will put the message we need to hear right in front of us, all we have to do is be open to receive that message. One of the things that keep sticking out to me is that we can’t accomplish anything if we don’t set out to do it. I listened to one in particular on the way to work today that has really been ringing in my head  How To Stop Screwing Yourself Over . She speaks of how we condition ourselves to think everything is fine even when we aren’t satisfied. I spent the last year learning how to be more accepting of things in life, things beyond my control. I loved that I learned a great amount of patience through that and I learned how to not be angry (or not to hold onto anger) and that I believe has made me such a stronger and happier person but I think I also allowed myself to become complacent in some ways and that is a block. There is a difference between being accepting and rolling over and just letting things be. We must learn to create a balance between the two – allow ourselves to accept what we cannot change but to push ourselves to change what we can. Go after what you want in life!

Well now that I’ve gotten a bit off track in my tangent of motivation and podcasts… I made a decision to surround myself with things and thoughts of inspiration and motivation a while back and I began to build my quote wall. My quote wall lies right behind my bed. Each morning that I push myself out of my warm cozy bed (winter is not really my thing) I in turn get to make my bed and inhale in all the beautiful words I have put among myself. It is invigorating and amazing how my eyes always seem to fall upon the right quote at the right time. Some days, in those moments that I may be feeling challenged, I will come sit on my bed facing the wall and just breathe and let the quotes flow into me. My quotes come from all over, an eclectic collection for each day, for each challenge, that spoke to me in any such moment…

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

“I’m scared of failure all the time, but I’m not scared enough to stop trying.” ~ Ronda Rousey

“Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

“Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.” ~ Dalai Lama

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up with more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never have enough.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

“Go for your dreams, and don’t let anything hold you back. Keep going no matter what it is you want to do in life.” ~ Layla Ali

How To Keep Joy In Your Life

My ex says to me, “You just want to go and be seen all the time.” His comment really irked me. It made me feel as if he was implying I was a show-off which doesn’t really fit my personality or my values and it bugged me. The comment stuck with me, it kept nagging at me and I kept analyzing it over and over. Driving home from the grocery store, laying down to sleep at night – I’d think of it. Such a simple comment that had become ever-so annoying to me, sticking in my mind. Last night it hit me, he was right – in a way.

I do want to be seen, and I want to be recognized not because I’m proud but because I eagerly want to be a part of this world. We should all want that, being together brings us joy. We were created to connect and to unite and to help each other. And yeah, I want a part in that, a chance to be part of something great, a part of our great humanity. But to understand that I had to change my perspective of his comment. After thinking that out I made a list of my rules for keeping joy in my life around the thought of how we should be living in this world, as part of this world, rules I live by every day. If you want to be truly joyful, you need to shine your light where ever you go, let that bright ray of sunshine from in you fall upon the world! 

2016 In Review

2016 was about finding inspiration and motivation in my life, 2017 will be about making things happen. I put building blocks in place, started gathering my tools for success, started pulling together my tribe – 2016 had its struggles and its sorrows but it has amazingly putting me right where I need to be to enter 2017 and that is such an inspiring feeling. Wonderful things came into play last year (so weird to say that already!) which helped shape me to where I am today, the first day of a beautiful and magical New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recap of some of my adventures:

  • Rode in a bi-plane! – Check out my thoughts on my experience here: The Feeling of Flight
  • Hiked and Biked the beautiful Rail Trail in Marietta
  • Started enjoying craft beers (this sounds like a silly one but I was so anti-beer lol)
  • Made some really awesome friends
  • Had my artwork in three shows – and sold two pieces this year!
  • Learned to find beauty in everything
  • Went to a ComicCon
  • Went to see the Harlem Globetrotters
  • Saw a bunch of great plays
  • Dove back into my blog and am going at it with major serious business
    • Went from 212 monthly views/138 visitors to 2,126 views/1,226 visitors
    • Switched to a web hosting site, which was a much surprised smooth & pleasant switch with Siteground
    • Started exploring sponsorship opportunities and affiliate marketing. I’ve found that ShareaSale has great opportunities.

2016 was about learning to feel things again, to live life fully, go beyond fear and go after what I want to happen in my life. The year taught me how to be strong again, stand on my own, and be true to myself. I learned that I have a story for everything and that I am actually a very interesting person and I have a lot to share with the world.

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2016:

  1.   Tidying Up For A New Year
  2.  Angel of Strength
  3.  My Guilty Pleasure – Shopping For A Cause – Winter 2016 Causebox Review
  4.  A Snowy Holiday Photo Shoot With Anthony Machcinski
  5.  Lazy, Cozy, and Chill Fashion Picks
  6.  How To Use Your Emotions To Heal: Feel It, Relish It, Then Let It Go
  7.  “Dream Within Meditation” Remembered and Reflected Upon
  8.  I Do Not Want To Be Finished…I Want To Be The Mess
  9.  10 Simple Morning Self-Care Routines For A Great Day
  10.  Despite All Odds: Inspiration From Kylie Travers

 I am so excited to continue to grow in 2017, I just know that wonderful things are awaiting me on my path! Thank you to all of my readers, my friends, my mother, and my son for being so amazingly supportive and motivating!

Cheers to a Magical and Marvelous New Year!

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information please reference my disclosure page. All opinions are my own.

2017 Magical Manifesting Diary Review

One of the things I love so much about blogging is the opportunity to meet so many like and loving souls. I met Shan – I felt an instant connection to just in the little bit of time we’ve chatted. I feel like we are kin spirits, aligned in our journeys, with paralleled thoughts. She gave me the wonderful freedom of reviewing her 2017 Magical Manifesting Diary. It really is a magic-making book! 

I absolutely love the theme of this diary, adventure. That is my own theme of life as well, spread love and adventure all throughout your life.

The illustrations are wonderful, simple yet crafty. I truly enjoyed the positive direction of the planner. It is very motivating and uplifting. She keeps the instruction thorough yet simple and easy to follow. I really found myself connecting and relating to what shew was saying. This diary gently guides the reader into a wondrous world of thought and discovery. The poetry of the words make me follow my imagination, feeling like a little kid again filled with enthusiasm and ambition.

I love how she includes great spiritual tips, habits, and practices throughout the diary. They were spread out wisely so not to be overwhelming. This diary is set up perfectly to unleash creativity in anyone, positioning so many great images and space to color and doodle but in a way that creates balance between release and organization. Wonderful list of resources at the end as well for soul-reading throughout the year.

This is a great diary and I am very much looking forward to diving into it!

Get your own copy here – https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/ErthnAustralia

And check out more beautiful things from Shan at – http://www.erthn.com.au/blog/ or on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/erthn

 

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My Guilty Pleasure – Shopping For A Cause – Winter 2016 Causebox Review

Why do I love getting the Causebox? Because it brings me so much joy to know I am helping support the world, helping to give a job to someone, helping someone get back on their feet…and I get really cool stuff to use in this beautiful life and show my support. I keep telling myself I am going to go minimalist and I do have good intentions and I have downsized quite a bit in my opinion but my struggle is that I love to shop…hmm, tough one, so my balance is by shopping for a cause, giving back with my purchases, shopping for support – this is my mental balance, and it feels good and fills me with joy. This season’s Causebox has amazing stuff too! I’ve only received two so far (just signed up in the Fall) but this is my favorite so far.

So without further ado, my review.

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information please reference my disclosure page. All opinions are my own. 

L’Occitane En Provence Shea Butter Hand Cream – This is beyond one of my favorite lotions. It is so velvety and easy to rub in and the scents from it are amazing. With the dry, cold air among us this is great to have handy (no pun intended!). The perfect size to tuck in my purse to have with me day in and night out. This cream has naturally derived shea butter that is hand-harvested from Burkina Faso in West Africa and provides jobs to over 17,000 local women.

 
Tribe Alive Scarf Designed by Erin Locchner exclusively for Causebox 
– I adore this scarf…helps that I am a huge fan and collector of scarves but this one makes me feel so much warmer knowing that I am helping support Indian artisans by having it. This scarf helps to provide fair trade wages and working conditions for 42 individuals in Jaipur and Panipat. The colors in this scarf are the perfect neutral and the scarf has an amazing simple texture to it. A great wrap for any season.

Inspirational Print by Courtney Pilgrim – These prints included in the Causebox always brighten my day! Abstract artist Courtney Pilgrim, who once was an elementary school teacher, created this beauty. “Everything You Can Imagine Is Real.” Seeing this at the start of my day reminds me that I can make anything happen.

Nail Polish in L.A. Smog by Lauren B. Beauty – I love nail polishes but I hate all the awful chemicals most of them contain, but this polish saves the day. I love this muted gray color too, perfect for the Winter. A passionate nail-polish lover herself, Lauren created a line of vegan- and eco-friendly products. Her products are never tested on animals and contain no harsh chemicals. Lauren B. also donates part of her proceeds to their non-profit partner Chrysalis, an organization that helps create pathways to self-sufficiency for the homeless, helping them with second chances to rebuild their lives through employment. What a great cause!

 

Krochet Kids INT’L Gift Card – Krochet Kids International empowers women in Uganda and Peru by providing skills, education, and resources to help their artisans rise above poverty. Each item is hand signed by the woman who made it. There are so many items to chose from too, for men, women, and for children. I think the “Wild and Free” tee may be on my shopping list! https://www.krochetkids.org/shop/wild-and-free-tee/

Leather Clutch by Parker Clay – Handmade in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Parker Clay makes all of their products by hand in Ethiopia. This clutch was made exclusively for Causebox. It is a premium leather product, made by hand out of some of the world’s finest leather. This clutch was created even during a declaration of state of martial law by the Ethiopian government. This clutch holds such an amazing story. “This clutch is a representation of resilience, strength, pride, and hope.”

Trees For The Future 2017 Block Desk Calendar – A multi-functional keep forever desk calendar. Once the calendar pages are used, the block can be used to show off photos (and inspirational prints!). The wood was sourced from reclaimed Fender guitar overages and each block was created in Los Angeles and finished by hand. For every block made, a tree was planted. Causebox partnered with Trees For The Future to plant trees in their Forest Garden Program providing essential gardening resources and education to families in Sub Saharan Africa. Their program helps provide sustainable food sources, livestock feed, products to sell, wood for fuel, and a 500% increase in annual income – Wow, that is awesome! Trees For Future also provides training, mentoring, seeds, and nursery supplies to families and farmers. I am so excited to showcase this calendar and inspiring, do amazing good piece on my desk this year!

Causebox asked us to pick our favorite item this season…at first glance, I was sure it was the scarf. But after reading the wonderful stories behind each piece it became evident to me that this was a tougher choice than it appeared. I love each item in my Winter Causebox. Each item adding joy and inspiration to everyone of my days. Knowing that by shopping my Causebox I am helping to support so many communities makes me feel empowered myself. We can make a change in the world. Get your own Causebox here – Learn More About CauseBox

 

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ~ Mahatma Ghandi

FLOW

A friend of mine that I chat art with quite often recently pointed out to me the other day that I seem to not like to illustrate faces. My initial response was yeah, I’m not very good at faces so I avoid them…but after pondering like I do (being a Virgo naturally makes me overthink everything! Sometimes this can have it’s advantages though leading to deeper meanings) I realized it goes much deeper than just not being good at drawing faces. That was a superficial response. I could take the time and the practice to develop my talent in illustrating faces but I don’t. As I continued to think about it, the truth became evident to me, that really I am holding back in my artwork. This was an emotional obstruction for me. The process of making art for me is personal, it is emotional, it is expression, reflections of how I see myself and how I see the world…and how much of that perception I want to share with the world. “Artists are people driven by the tension between the desire to communicate and the desire to hide.” ~ D.W. Winnicott 

I find it hard to share my emotions with people unless I am able to present it in a logical format, or in that of teaching a lesson. I push myself daily to be open with the ever-flowing emotions that travel through my mind and though I appear as open as a book, really I hold much back. I don’t like to share my deepest feelings (not that any of us really do), I don’t like to show the deep-down ugly or sorrow. The face can be a wide-open book spilling the words of our heart, our mind, our soul unto the world at any given moment. So my questions of thought became “Do I avoid illustrating faces to preserve myself, to hold back just enough to hide?” and “Does my artwork suffer because of this? Could my art be so much greater if I let all of it flow out of me onto the canvas?”

My friend says to me, “Your artwork feels very open to interpretation”. My response being, “My artwork is an expression of my inner-workings without being outright”. This conversation struck a chord with me. As much as of an upfront type of person I am, yet in my most beloved activity I hold back. I paint and draw to feel free but I have set limits for myself within that sense of freedom, where is the truth in that? 

As we enter the end of the year, we reflect on how we will live differently in 2017. In 2017, I am going to learn to let go more. I am going to let my heart pour into my artwork, both literally and figuratively. I want to show the rawness that we each hold in being human, the ups and the downs that we see in life, both the beauty and pain that is in the eye of the beholder, because without each, life isn’t true.