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Year in Review – My Favorite Photos

A photo is so much more than just a photo. It’s a moment captured. Within one photo, so many memories and thoughts are held. 2017 was a tough year and it had several downs and many lessons learned but it also had many wonderful times. Times of strength, times of when love was discovered and joy was born.

This week I took some time to reflect on the year, sifting through photos that were taken throughout the year and just taking some time to sit and be grateful. Grateful for the people that stuck by my side throughout the year, grateful for the adventures I was able to attend and for the challenges I conquered.

My Year in Review: Photo Style

Photo Shoots & Art

Artistically, this was a big year of growth for me. I painted in more color, pushed boundaries and expanded topics, explored with varied mediums, and was in more art shows this year than ever before. I even painted a “party llama” for my best gal’s birthday! Super fun!

The same goes for my photo shoots. New angles, new styles, and new sides of me. Thank you to my photographer Anthony Machcinski, I was able to capture some of my favorite shots and discover a little bit about myself along the way. A little shout out to him – his photos are definitely worth checking out more @PhotosbyChinski on Facebook. Here’s a little sneak of one of my favorite photos from his collection (which I must note, it is so amazing to be able to have artwork next to his in the local art shows – gives me kind of that “look at us, we’re kind of like rock stars” warm and fuzzy feeling).

 

Food & Drink

Let’s just be honest here, food and drink is a pretty important category for every year. This year I really made a point to try new things though (which you’ll get to see a fun list in a later post “New Things I Tried in 2017). I tried new fish, fell in love with charcuterie boards, had champagne on my birthday, ate at a french restaurant, created amazing vegetarian pizzas for meatless Fridays during Lent, and had my first repin of a restaurant meal! It was kind of a fun foodie kind of year.

Adventures & Bucket List Items

I had one big grand adventure this year that I was able to cross off my bucket list – NOLA Trip!!! But I learned this year that it doesn’t have to be grand or far away to be an adventure. Adventures can happen anywhere, including right in your town or backyard! I crossed off touring the Haines Shoe House (yes it’s a house shaped like a shoe – an actual shoe – read more about it here: ‘What’s Up With That Huge Shoe by Route 30?’), I had a fun day being a big kid and eating lots of ice cream at the Turkey Hill Experience, I ran a 10 mile race in June (yeah, yeah, I know I talk about it all the time – but come on, this was a huge feat for me!), did squats by Inner Harbor in Baltimore for a fitness post, yoga in a bunny costume, bet on a horse race…no matter where you are, you can always find an adventure.

Little Moments & More Favorites

Coming home and seeing that your son made your mannequin dab, realizing that your dad’s old truck makes an awesome black and white photo, being rained out of a local charity race to find fun in grabbing grub at the local market, the beautiful flower in the garden you see in the morning that makes your day, Duck Donuts Mommy and Son Breakfast Dates, watching the pups always bantering on who has what, the cranky snapchat picture you send your BFF after a bad day……

 Finding out your dad has a brain tumor and that he’s going to need surgery but going out as a family and having a wonderful day anyways because you know that together you can make it through, the inspiration on your desk, the new puppy to the family, the moment you realize how much your son is like you, the funny things that happen at work, the beautiful sunrise you catch after an early morning gym appointment, the unconditional love from a pet……

The face you make when you know you have to go to the gym, you’re going to go to the gym, but you don’t want to go to the gym. The first time the puppy gets mail, the Subway lunch you’re having at 7:32 in the morning because you’re day started at 4am for Black Friday Shopping, and of course the SnapChat filters that make you feel pretty and laugh every darn time……

Life can have so many beautiful moments, big and small, sometimes silly, sometimes awakening. Celebrate them all, every day, every week, every month, every year. Celebrate you, your life, and everyone in it. <3 Onward to a new year ahead!

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My Thanksgiving

I sat at the table at the buffet looking around at my family. It was just my son, my parents and myself but it was perfect. The chatter stayed consistent even as we filled our mouths with food. It was wonderful, probably my favorite Thanksgiving. This year was a pretty tough year for me and my family. We were challenged with heartache, medical scares, and a lot of self-discovery this year. It was filled with many highs and many lows…but here we were all together, stronger and closer than we were when we entered the year. I felt proud and I felt loved, filled with a sense of comfort. I couldn’t think of one word to sum up everything I felt thankful for, not even a few words could capture all the gratefulness I felt in that moment.

Thankful for strength.

Thankful for the lesson of patience.

Thankful for my family coming together.

Thankful for my mother, my father, my son, and everyone that helped me survive this year.

Thankful for the friends that stuck by me on my messy days.

Thankful for the roof over my head.

Thankful for life.

My son and I continued the holiday with getting up early and hitting some Black Friday shopping. He wanted to experience a ‘Black Friday’. I think we may have started a little Mommy & Son tradition. I think we made it pretty well – hit the outlets and picked up some new clothes. He loved being able to do something something and I loved being able to make it into some quality time and part of his Christmas gift – with him becoming a teen this coming year, it gets harder to shop for him so…new tradition: Every year for part of his Christmas gift, I’ll take him Black Friday shopping for clothes. We had fun and to be honest the wee early morning shopping was kind of peaceful. I have to give kudos to the kiddo for giving me a new perspective on Black Friday shopping.

Thankful for the time I was able to spend with my son.

Thankful for money to spend.

Thankful for new experiences.

My son headed over to celebrate with Thanksgiving with his Dad, stepmom and his little sister so I took the weekend to catch up on some cleaning and to-dos. I’m feeling pretty accomplished – threw out two bags of trash, finished a few paintings, have floor and dresser space again and crossed quite a few tasks off my list. I have always looked forward to the beginning of a new year and this year even more so. I had been putting things off to include in my ‘New Year Prep’ but realized, why wait until then? This can be the beginning of my new year!

Thankful for my creativity.

Thankful for a roof over my head.

Thankful for the growth and self-realization I’ve had this year.

Thankful for my journey to a simpler life.

Thankful for the opportunity to continue to grow.

 

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A Thoughtful & Grateful Week

Good Morning Beautiful Friday! It’s super cold here but the sun is coming up and I’m looking forward to a wonderful day!

I found myself in deeper thoughts this week, feeling a bit emotional and sensitive. It helped me see some important insight about myself and my life through it this week though. Some good, relaxing painting time last night and a great personal training appointment this morning is helping balance me out again and getting ready for a busy and fun weekend.

Tonight I’ll be heading to a Decked Out Art Show – a super cool local charity event. Local artists (including myself) painted and decorated skateboard decks which will be auctioned off tonight to benefit a local skate park. This show is always a great time and I’m very excited to have my family and friends join me at the event tonight!

What am I thankful for this week?

1.) I’m thankful for the immense growth and development I’ve had in my painting skills and style. I am naturally an eclectic person but I feel like I’ve really come into a nice style that fits me. I have pushed boundaries this year in painting different items and placements, started incorporating different methods, and have been learning to lose myself in the process by letting go and letting it flow.

2.) I’m thankful for my co-workers. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to work with some really talented, hard-working and caring people. I have built some strong friendships through my workplace and I wouldn’t give them away for anything. Thank you co-workers for being so supportive and helpful!

3.) I’m thankful for the patience I am learning to have with myself. I’m learning to enjoy my journey more, take my time to grow, and not feel like I need to rush to the end result. I’m learning to forgive myself more and to be more accepting of my mistakes and the lessons I’m learning as I go and be more proud and excited about progress not perfection.

4.) I’m thankful for my phone. Yeah, I know this is kind of a materialistic thankful thing but the reality is that my phone allows me to multi-task more and to be on the go more which fits my busy lifestyle. I’m thankful for all those folks out there that created the apps that help me stay on track and stay sane.

5.) I’m thankful for my ex-husband and his wife. I’m so proud of how far we’ve come and that we can call each other family and that (to be honest, sometimes I boast) we have built a strong foundation to be the best parents and team that we can be for my son. We had our many struggles as we learned to work together and to let by-gones be by-gones but we did it and we did it together. I’m proud of that and I’m thankful that we have the relationship that we have.

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The Power of Hope

The idea of hope came up in a conversation today. I spent part of my hour drive home thinking about it.

Hope. noun – the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. verb – to feel that something desired may happen; to believe, desire, or trust.

The comment made to me was “All we can hold onto is hope.” He was right. We are meant to hold onto hope. Isn’t hope the motivator of so many things that we do in our lives? We buy a lottery ticket because we hope we win. We go to the job interview because we are hoping to get the job. We go on dates hoping to find someone we connect with. We take the medicine hoping to get better. Hope is a big part of our existence. It is why we wake up every morning. It is not an empty thought that we hold onto, it drives us to keep trying every day, to keep at it in our lives.

Isn’t it when we give up hope that we give up? How would we fulfill our lives and our destines without hope? What would drive us to go after our desires and our goals? 

I have a tattoo on my foot that I read to myself quite often, “Faith is hope on fire”. I got the tattoo when I was having a rough time in life. I got it to remind myself to believe; to have faith, to hope, to trust that the best is coming and that everything will work out. Hope is what drives me to work through tough times. It reminds me that things will get better, that rough times are temporary.

In today’s world troubles can be often. Ups and downs are constant in our lives. Hope, faith, and trust will get you through. We must believe in the power of hope. The power that awakens us each morning.

Never give up hope.

 

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A Fall Hike & My Sunday Self-Care Routine

There’s something so healing and soothing about being surrounded by nature. 

Today I got to head out on a hike for a work event…sometimes my job can be so fun! We headed up to Chickies Rock in Columbia. A nice walk through the woods, down the path to a beautiful overlook above the Susquehanna River. We were in the perfect moment of the day between rain and the leaves had just fallen coating the ground with oranges, greens, and reds. There was a group of about eight of us, some of us meeting for the first time. The diversity of conversation as we stood at the overlook and peered at the river rocks was great, filled with chats about movies to kids to more hiking stories.

Prepare for your week by doing something relaxing, enlightening and releasing on Sunday.

Sundays are my favorite day of the week. They’re my day to recharge and prepare for the week.

My #SelfCareSunday Routine:

  1. Go for a hike, do yoga in the park, go for a walk in your neighborhood – Get outside and breathe.
  2. Laundry day.
  3. Facial – a quick at home treatment to refresh for the upcoming week. My favorite right now is Triple Threat Detox Mask from Kalos. I received it in my Summer CauseBox this year and it is amazing!
  4. Paint your nails.
  5. Review your planner and schedule – this helps me prep for the week. I also plan out my exercise routine and blogging schedule for the week.
  6. Journal or Art Journal – this is a great way to release stress, thoughts and emotions from the previous week so you can start a new week with a clear mind.
  7. Pick up clutter and clean up the kitchen – this makes such a difference for me on a Monday morning.
  8. Call your Mom (or a friend) – I love a good chat with my mom. It’s a great way to go through all the “adventures” from the previous week.
  9. Netflix and Chill – I won’t lie, I totally spend part of my day Netflix binging and it chills me out for the upcoming week. My current obsession is Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce.
  10. Have a cup of hot tea – I end every night with a cup of tea…okay actually I drink tea all the time but I always have one in the evening while I’m winding down.

Sundays are a great day for a little pampering, a lot of self care and some self love to prepare yourself for the upcoming week. Make sure to make a little time for you! 

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
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A Letter To My Past Lovers (Dear My Once Called Darling Love)

To All My Past Lovers:

I hope you go out there and find yourself. I hope you explore and experience the world with eyes wide open. Maybe I gave you too much, maybe I didn’t give you enough. Maybe I hurt you, maybe you hurt me, or maybe we hurt each other. Maybe we were too different or maybe we too much of the same. I hope you are learning to let go. I hope you have forgiven. I hope you have moved on. I am ready to forgive. I am ready to let go. I am ready to move on. I want to let go of the pain we had when we were together and when we left each other. I want to start a new relationship with someone else and leave ours behind. Not to be forgotten, but to leave the baggage and take only the lessons learned and the strength grown. I want to have fresh eyes and an open heart again. I want you to have the same. I want us to both be free. 

I have thought these words many times yet there is still a deep part of me that holds on. This is a lesson of detachment I must learn, one of many lessons I am learning. I allowed my heart to harden from pain and disappointment from past relationships. Though I in many ways have moved on, there are still fragments that I cling to. I am ready to leave these behind. I am ready to start anew with someone new. When we allow those little fragments to stay within us we drag them everywhere we go and into new relationships. This can be weighing over time. I am sharing these words to set them free, to push them into the vast airs of the worlds. These words come from my heart. I do not wish ill to any of my lost relationships or friendships. I hope that we have all learned and grown from all of our experiences. I truly believe there is a lesson in everything but today I am choosing to take the lesson but leave the resent and the pain. Today I set myself free.

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A Day in My Life – Weekend Bliss & Tasks

Get To Know Your Blogger

What’s a day in my life like? Well I make sure I have at least a little adventure in each day. I focus on finding beauty and peace in each of my days. I make sure to do at least three things to help me get closer to my goals. I include some self-care practices into every day. And I like to have a little fun each day.

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

Before everyone woke up, I was able to get some quiet time at the kitchen table with my planner. I used this time to work on some editorial planning for my blog while I drank my morning cup of tea. 

Well the kiddo is up…the interesting sound effects that are coming from the living room…I let my son play some video games in the morning while I worked on wrapping up some chores.

The pups take a late morning nap while I finish putting my clean clothes away. 

Finding inspiration and peace in watering my lemon tree plant. 

 

Trying out our crafty sides, my son and I made a sun-melted candle…it wasn’t too hot today though so it hasn’t melted yet but we’re looking forward to a hot day to see the finished project! 

Checked off my to-do list making all natural dog shampoo and soap for a local dog shop. 

Took a few minutes to add some ideas/blog posts to my editorial calendar…yeah I pretty much keep my computer open all day for intermittent tasks…not the best habit but it’s working for me for now. 

Post bath time pic of the pups, washed up with all natural doggie shampoo with lemon and lavender pure essential oils. 

In my thirties and I had never done the Diet Coke & Mentos Experiement. Well I can check that off my bucket list now! You can see a snippet of the go-down on YouTube here

Celebrating Memorial Day with a picnic food dinner. Hamburgers, Hotdogs, Homemade Pickles, Pasta Salad, and more, yum! 

Cookie Cake is my favorite (aside Chocolate Torte). I eat (several) small pieces to psych myself into believing I’m not actually eating almost the whole thing. 

Starting a Tarot Card Journaling Challenge this week – I’ll pull a card each day and write how it is relevant to my life and what my intentions are after considering my reading. Tarot Card Reading is a great way to pursue intuition reading and reflection. 

Back to some blogging tasks – adding tasks to my CoSchedule calender…which I am finding a blessing of a service for organizing and managing my blog. 

Some evening Yoga & Meditation to relax and decompress from the day. Shameless plug – I absolutely love the stuff I get from ProSource and love their prices too – if you’re a yogi, or even an all around fitness enthusiast, this place is worth checking out. 

Winding down with a cup of hot tea (I easily drink 5 cups of tea a day) and a movie with the fam. 

The Feeling of Flight

Today I did something unexpected, something that would surprise the folks that have known me for so long. Today I climbed into a bi-plane, a plane that had no windows or doors on it today, and I went for a flight. The feelings of freedom I had being in the air overcame my fear of heights. There was no fear of anything being up among the clouds. I felt invigorated, I felt calm, I felt at home. My mind was filled with amazement, my heart filled with courage and strength. It was breathtaking, bringing tears to my eyes. I had never felt so free and alive in my life as I did in those fifteen minutes! I knew in those moments that I had made the change, turned the leaf that I had been fighting to do for so many years. In the air I was struck with the idea, the thought, that this is the life I want to life, the life I’m living, the life in which I can seize every day and love every moment of the rest of my life. This was my freedom. Today I was a bird, flying high and above any troubles. Today I was a warrior. Today I was reminded how beautiful adventure is. The feeling of flight is freedom and freedom is my life!

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