10 Quotes from Maya Angelou to Motivate you to Live a Better Life

Sometimes we need a little kick in the butt. Some words to get us out of our heads and back on track. Being a quote junkie, I find this inspiration by collecting quotes and surrounding myself with them.

  1. “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
  2. “My mission in life is not to merely survive, but to thrive, and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”
  3. “We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.”
  4. “Nothing will work unless you do.”
  5. “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”
  6. “All great achievements take time.”
  7. “Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible.”
  8. “Whatever you want to do, if you want to be great at it, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it.”
  9. “I got my own back.”
  10. “Courage – you develop courage by doing small things like just as if you wouldn’t want to pick up a 100-pound weight without preparing yourself.”

5 Easy Ways to Listen to More Podcasts Everyday

I have come across some really awesome, kick-butt podcasts lately…it’s all the buzz right now, and with good reason too. There are so many powerful, amazing, inspiring, empowering podcasts out there! My Castbox subscriptions list is rolling with ones I am eager to listen to – and if I could sit around all day and listen to podcasts, I’m not going to lie, I probably would most days…but time doesn’t quite allow for that. With so many distractions already in the world, in my life, it can be a bit challenging sometimes to find times to listen to podcasts. 

  1. While you’re getting ready in the morning – I love to push play and connect to my wireless speaker and listen to an empowering podcast while I’m getting ready for the day. This is such an awesome way to get pumped up and ready to slay some goals!
  2. In the car on the way to the office – I have an hour commute to the office in the morning so this is a wonderful time to get one of the longer podcasts into my day. I’ll also occasionally pop one on while I’m running errands, just hitting pause in between of being in and out of the car.
  3. While you’re cooking dinner – Instead of turning on the TV for background noise, use this time to listen to the next exciting episode!
  4. At the gym – instead of hyped up music, I use this time to get some self-improvement tips in my mind. I tend to prefer music when I’m running but I like a good podcast while I’m lifting weights.
  5. Taking a bubble bath – wind down after a long day with an inspirational story.

Some Podcasts that are on my playlist right now:

The Lively Show

The Lavendaire Lifestyle

The Mindful Kind

Awesome with Alison

Your Kick Ass Life Podcast

How I Use the #LoveBlog for Self-Growth

This was my second year co-hosting the #LoveBlog. Each year I’ve discovered more about myself through the challenge and have expanded on my writing. The prompts are thought-provoking and motivating. I absolutely love reading the other participants points of views on the topics and seeing other perspectives. It is such a growth opportunity! 

Through participating in the #LoveBlog, I expand my ways of thinking and discover new views on the world, relationships and life. I am pushed to spend time for deeper thoughts and self-discovery. I am inspired to make my writing style more personal and connected. And the deadlines organize me to be more disciplined with my time.

Today I wanted to share some of my favorite posts from this year’s link up. I am looking forward to next year’s #LoveBlog!

Some of my favorite Posts from #loveblog2018 Link-Up:

Solitude; Let your toes burrow the sand from Sarah Nderi

Intent vs. Impact: The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions from Belle Brita

What I love about solitude from The Blonde Pond

Balance from Sarah Nderi

When Life is Unbalanced from Belle Brita

The Six Dimensions of Wellness from The Blonde Pond

When Your Self-Care Routine Looks Different from Enduring All Things

Love & Wellness: Secure Yourself Before Assisting Others from Join Me In Transit

Self-Care: Lessons from a Chronic Illness from Belle Brita

7 Guilty Pleasures That I’m (Mostly) Not Ashamed Of from Provocative Joy

Why I Don’t Feel Guilty about the Small Pleasures in Life from Belle Brita

Is Self-Care Selfish from Mrs. Imperfect

Round-Up of My Favorite Posts (That I wrote) in the 2 years of #LoveBlog:

The Truth in the Vulnerability of a Break-Up: A Story of Loss and Finding

10 Awesome Things I Do for Health, Happiness & Balance

Setting Healthy Boundaries: Simple Tips for a Happy Life

10 Signs of a Healthy & Happy Friendship

How Indulging in Your Guilty Pleasures Keeps You Happy

How Indulging in Your Guilty Pleasures Keep You Happy

Guilty Pleasures.

I’m sitting here eating my third piece of cake this weekend thinking about what I want to write for my #loveblog prompt, guilty pleasures. Yes, third piece of cake. Saturday it was a rollerskating birthday party for my son’s step-cousin with a gorgeous unicorn cake with amazingly delicious fondant and icing, Saturday night it was the fried cheesecake I finished off for my son after his birthday dinner, and tonight it’s the slice of Oreo Blizzard cake to belatedly celebrate my son’s birthday from last week. Yup, I did it all, dove right in. I can’t say I won’t feel the affects of it when I step on the scale tomorrow morning but I’ll say it felt good to let loose this weekend and gobble it up! Guilty pleasures don’t have to be life ending, actually I think it’s healthy to have some guilty pleasures, whether it’s just on special occasions or it’s something that you can make part of your weekly routine, it’s important to have some of those that you can indulge in, something that makes you feel good. I think having a (healthy or not-too-bad) guilty pleasure is good for you. Maybe it’s long, relaxing bubble baths, or allowing yourself to buy that expensive bag you’ve had your eye on for a while (saving up for it of course – I’m not suggesting you skip paying a bill to purchase it), or having that dessert once in awhile, it’s important to allow yourself to have things in your life that really bring you joy. We call them guilty pleasures but do they really need to be? Do we have to feel guilty about something that brings us pleasure? (Now all this goes with saying that it’s not something that is destroying your life…I’m going to be frank here, if it’s harmful to you or others then it has lost its shine and it’s stepped past the boundaries of just being a guilty pleasure.) I’m the kind of person that believes that our lives should be lived with passion, pleasure and joy. We should be setting out to do things that feel rewarding to us, that make us smile, that bring light to our eyes.

I drink way more hot tea than I probably should in one day – like 8-10 cups per day is kind of my normal.

I can Netflix binge for days on if I didn’t ever have to leave the house.

I have a bit of a collection of paintings I’ve done filling corners in my bedroom and I’ll keep on painting and stacking them up.

I love brownie batter…so I just don’t keep the mix in the house too often…like I’ll mix it up just to eat the batter, I am perfectly happy skipping the cooking part.

I collect quotes like it’s nobody’s business…they’re in all of my notebooks, scribbled in my planner, taped on my wall…anywhere I can write or stick a quote I will.

I kind of like the word sh** – maybe it’s because I was a Navy brat and well it was my first word, in context from what my parents have told me (my toy wasn’t working so out of frustration I slammed it down and yelled “sh**”)…it’s just stuck I guess, I’m sorry…come on, it could be worse.

The truth is, my guilty pleasures can vary from day to day or week to week, it depends on what presents itself, it depends on how my day is, or what’s happening in my world. Sometimes after a long week, my guilty pleasure is turning my phone on silent, staying in bed and disappearing from the world for a bit. And I’m okay with that, sometimes I need that to recharge. I need to give into my guilty pleasures now and then, I need to allow myself that freedom, that flexibility to be me and only me.

What guilty pleasures do you have? How often do you allow yourself to give into them, to enjoy them?

Tonight’s post was prompted by my participation in Brita’s #LoveBlog2018! I am so excited to have the opportunity to participate again this year! This series has opened some wonderful thought processes for me in which I was able to learn more about myself and tell my story to my readers in a new light. Check out this year’s prompts here

Meet Your Hosts

Brita from bellabrita.comBrita Long is the pink and sparkly personality behind the Christian feminist lifestyle blog, Belle Brita. While her first love will always be Paris, she lives happily with her husband Daniel Fleck in the Atlanta area.

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Laura from dofivethingsaday.com. Laura is a big dreamer, full time marketing manager, blogger, and part-time artist. She aspires to inspire people in their everyday lives and help them to live towards their dreams and making the most out of every day by sharing her own experiences and stories.

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Ivana from provocativejoy.com. Ivanna is a registered nurse who loves expressing her creative side. She enjoys thrifting, learning about sustainable living, and anything purple. She writes on Provocative Joy about living unconventionally, and loves to inspire people to realize their potential to be world-changers.

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2017 Bucket List Recap & 2018 Bucket List Goals

Whew, what a year 2017 was. Lots of twists and turns came about this year but I’m still proud to say that I was able to get some items crossed off my bucket list!

  1. Visit New Orleans.
  2. Try absinthe (of course this happened in New Orleans in some super cool underground bar).
  3. Put Mentos in Diet Coke. Yes this was on my list, I never did this as a kid so I set out to knock this one off the list with my kiddo.
  4. Make a sun-melted candle.
  5. Go in a sensory deprivation tank.
  6. Bet on a horse race.
  7. Go on a Troeg’s Brewery Tour.
  8. Go to a St.Patrick’s Day Parade.
  9. Try Guinness.
  10. See a tornado. Okay the real bucket list item was to chase a tornado but having a front row (meaning standing at the door outside) seat to one in your office’s parking lot is pretty darn close!
  11. Grow a lemon tree. This one is still in the works, but hey I started it!
  12. Tour the Haines Shoe House in York.
  13. Run a 10 mile race.
  14. Go to a Wine and Paint Nite.
  15. See a broadway show in NYC.

Not too shabby for making some things happen this year! 

Bucket lists help us set a plan to add fulfillment and excitement into our lives. They give us a little structure and help us schedule in adventures that we dream of. I can’t wait to see what all 2018 will bring for me! Here’s some of the things on my list:

  • Ride a train to Philadelphia and NYC.
  • Try a spaghetti donut.
  • Finish my novel and publish it.
  • Go to a roller derby.
  • Go to a Murder-Mystery dinner.
  • Visit New Hope, PA.
  • Take my son to Dylan’s Candy Store in NYC. His name is Dylan so this one is a bit fun and sentimental.
  • Visit the Baltimore Zoo. Can you believe I live so close and have never been?!
  • Master my grandmother’s Sand Tart recipe.
  • Tell a story at Story Slam/Storytellers.
  • Allow myself to be flawed, embrace my flaws.
  • Sleep in a tree house.
  • Go fruit picking.
  • Learn to belly dance.
  • Go to the movies alone.
  • Make a time capsule.
  • Attend a Wanderlust.
  • Go to the Seawitch Festival in Rehoboth Beach, DE.
  • Try Ratatouille.
  • Stay at a bed and breakfast.

What’s on your bucket list for 2018?

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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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5 Top Goals To Get Focused on Self-Improvement

September is National Self-Improvement Month and with a new season ahead of us it’s a great time to get setting some new goals. Here’s the top goals to set for yourself this month. *These are high level goals, over the next few weeks we’ll break them down more with tips, tricks, and ideas to soar to the top! 

1. Get Fit. A healthy body is a gateway to a healthy life and mind. It improves our overall happiness and helps boost our energy day by day. Find ways to add better eating habits and healthy exercise routines into your weeks consistently. 

2. Financial Organization. Set goals to build a budget and to stick to it, set savings goals. This goal is all about building more security and financial freedom into your life. 

3. Focus on Building a Healthy Mind. Daily affirmations and meditation are great ways to building a clear and strong mind and to help you manage stress better. 

4. Make “Me” Time for Yourself. It’s important to have time to yourself to decompress from the stresses of every day life. This helps you recharge and reflect for what’s going on and for what’s to come. 

5. Expand and Keep Growing. Never give up on your dreams. Make a list of things you want to accomplish and go for them. Take classes on topics that intrigue you, visit a new place, keep practicing that craft you love. 

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55 Self-Care Activities to Add to your Schedule

Self-Care can come in many forms. It can be a healthy habit or a relaxing hobby. It can be eating healthy or exercising or it can be spending time with loved ones. Self-Care is showing ourselves love all around and about taking the steps to ensure we are taking time to nurture our mind, body, heart and soul.

  1. At-home facial mask
  2. Read a book
  3. Paint a self-portrait
  4. Go to a wine tasting
  5. Deep condition your hair
  6. Get a massage
  7. Do a cleansing detox
  8. Practice Chakra Balancing Meditations
  9. Have a movie night
  10. Go on a brewery tour
  11. Get a pedicure
  12. Yoga
  13. Go to a spa
  14. Finger paint
  15. Bake goodies
  16. Visit an art museum or gallery
  17. Drink green tea
  18. Write a letter/send a card to a friend
  19. Go hiking
  20. Go for a bike ride
  21. Go to the beach
  22. Run a 5k for charity
  23. Practice tarot card reading
  24. Meditate
  25. Make a craft
  26. Color
  27. Take a nap
  28. Go to a comedy show
  29. Take a bubble bath
  30. Enroll in a class to learn a new skill
  31. Go to a sauna
  32. Listen to inspiring podcasts
  33. Plant flowers or an herb garden
  34. Cook a new recipe
  35. Clean out your closet
  36. Make a terrarium
  37. Buy yourself flowers
  38. Make a playlist
  39. Go on a picnic in the park
  40. Indulge in a sweet treat
  41. Go to bed early
  42. Make a smashbook all about you
  43. Sit in the sun’s rays and soak up the warmth
  44. Join a supportive Facebook Group
  45. Start Dry Body Brushing
  46. Create a vision board
  47. Read comic books
  48. Hang out with your pets
  49. Look at the stars
  50. Go to brunch and have a mimosa
  51. Use essential oils
  52. Have a take-out night from your favorite restaurant
  53. Journal
  54. Buy a new outfit
  55. Start a quote wall
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How Yoga Changed My Life

I awoke that morning filled with energy. I climbed out of bed without the aches and pains I had felt so many mornings before. I could stretch my arms above my head without feeling sharpness in my neck, standing tall without the soreness in my knees. I stood in front of my closet that morning trying to find something to wear, none of my clothes fit……they were too big.

Two years ago, I would wake up in pure pain all through out my body. Each day I started exhausted and filled with anxiety about the day ahead. Then I found myself without a job. The main stress driver in my life had been lifted off my shoulders. Without all of that in front of me I saw what I had become. I was 50 pounds heavier, worn out and my Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia had stripped me of some many things in my life. That’s when I knew it was time. I had the chance to reinvent my life, my body and how I chose to feel every day.

I had bought a yoga mat a several years back and it sat stored on the top shelf in my closet, still in the wrapping. I started doing yoga at home twice a day, in the morning and in the evening before bed. I started with just 10 minutes a day using a Yoga app I found and downloaded to my phone. A month later I attended my first class at a yoga studio. I was amazed I could do tree pose without completely falling over, though I still wobbled (and still do today). Six months later, I was down 40 pounds and off the pills and injections for my Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia. I found myself filled with more energy and happier. I had a thirst for life and adventure again.

Today I’m two and a half years into Yoga, still learning, still growing, still consider myself a newer yogi. I have fallen in and out of daily routine and each time I tell myself the story of how Yoga changed my life to remind myself why I practice.

Photo Credit: Anthony Machcinski. Check out more of his work here – Photos by Anthony Machcinski. His work is beautiful and each photo has a story behind it.

12 Powerful Ways Meditation Benefits You

Meditation quiets the mind, opens the heart, and lets the soul speak. It is a place where we can find answers, heal our hearts, souls and minds, and a place where we can find peace away from the chaos of our worlds. 

– Helps you with focus and awareness.

– Helps you manage stress and anxiety.

– Increases your energy levels.

– Clears you mind.

– Teaches  patience, discipline, and self-control.

– Can increase your creativity.

– Improves sleep.

– Makes you happier.

– Teaches you how to control your breath.

– Helps you manage pain better.

– Increases self-discovery and self-awareness.

– It strengthens your senses.

Meditation can come in many forms. 

12 Ways I Meditate:

-Sitting still for moments and focusing on only my breath-

-During Yoga-

-Art Journaling-

-Earthing-

-Laying with my crystals placed and listening to meditation music-

-Singing along to my favorite songs-

-Moon Bathing-

-Coloring Mandalas-

-Laying in the grass looking at the sky-

-Guided Meditation Series-

-Mountain Pose in the shower-

-Painting-