4.30.2014





:: Lovely Things ::
  • that earthy smell after rainfall
  • double rainbows 
  • watching tulips push themselves from the frozen ground
  • when you realize the sun is shining on your face and it makes you feel beautiful
  • messy I-could-care-less-hair
  • freckles
  • falling asleep with moonlight on your face
  • lazy rainy days of spring watching movies and napping
  • going to movies with friends
  • hugs from people we love
  • warm cookies and milk before bed
  • giggling children
  • suddenly feeling happy and hopeful out of the blue
  • kisses
  • warm, just out of the dryer sheets 
  • bubbles

4.29.2014



Spring inspirations...

riding vintage bikes on new roads in front of old buildings, delicious wine, fields, bare legs under skirts, sitting on a bench in a park, kissing, sunlight streaming through big windows into a small room, row boats, sketch books and water color sets, chocolate croissant, loose dresses, grapes, empty rooms, laughter, vintage jewelry, people watching, pigeons, poetry that you keep getting distracted from reading, absent minded crocheting, fresh flowers, white lace, trees hanging over a pond, roof top gardens, love notes, paint brushes, open air markets, window shopping {especially desserts}, treats wrapped in paper, soft cheese, baskets that hold picnics, sudden questions, french music, feelings that come in pictures or music rather than words, vines growing up old buildings, lipstick, paper bag of candy, shopping bags and packages, baskets on bikes, sandals, history that never went away and is still living on.



Spring {observations}

cold bare legs
puddles
floral
new scents
strawberries
waking up to sunlight
tulips
fresh breezes
Easter
babies
cleaning and airing out
vacation plans
eyes closed, just feeling
call of the outdoors
white pearl buttons
hope
daffodils
young plants
flowering trees
crocuses 




4.28.2014




Really? Someone please remind me to take my own advice and never go grocery shopping when you're hungry. 
Yes, I really did that. And yes, it shows. That bag of pizza rolls did not slip into the cart by mistake this time. 
And, there are quite a lot of chips in the cupboard, and also, did you guys know that Twinkies are back? Sigh. 
On the bright side, I will be really getting my monies worth out of my gym membership this week as I work off 
this mistake. Also, on the bright side.... I do believe that I will also start tanning while I am there.  And make 
use of the massage chairs. There, see... I did it - I took a mistake and made it better! Whoo whoo! 
{I know, but please don't burst my bubble}



So, here it is... Amy's list for eating better...

1. Never shop when you are hungry {this does not bear repeating does it?}
2. Shop the outside perimeters of the store {All the junk is in the middle}
3. Ask for a to go box {When eating out-pack half of it away immediately}
4. Prep some nutritious snacks ahead of time {I like to cut up fruit and veggies and boil eggs}
5. Always try to eat dinner at home {Honestly, most meals can be made fast and delicious}
6. Take your favorite foods and make them better { add fruit to cereal, use lower fat ingredients}
7. The best advice of all... drink lots of water {water makes you feel full and washes out toxins}

That's it. This was more of a reminder for me than it was for you. {Obviously} But, I think that
 everyone could use a little reminder of the simple things that help get you where you want to be.




4.27.2014



In my flowery dreams there’s always you. 
I do not regret it one bit.


— Alfred De Musset, Complete Writing 




a small retreat...




Yesterday was a day filled with much-needed time for solitude and introspection. After weeks of appointments and obligations, I cleared my schedule and enjoyed a day-long retreat from the world. My day included many cups of tea, many pages written in my journal, a new craft in the works, and a leisurely trip to the grocery taken at a snails pace that allowed me to savor the process of choosing nourishing and wholesome foods for the weekend. I used this space and time I created to turn my focus toward myself - to hear my own voice amidst the chaos of the outside world - and it didn't let me down. I felt restored.

Not sure if its my third cup of coffee {I do love me some coffee} or the crispness in the air, but I am feeling so alive and alert today. Every fiber of my being is so eager to soak in some new possibilities. Ah, well luckily, the day is young. It feels as though an adventure is in order.... I'll let you know what an interesting day I'm hoping  today will have turned out to be...




4.26.2014








The lawn has been mowed for the first time and it smells wonderful. Lilacs and 
Lily of the Valley's will be opening any day now. Do you remember that feeling? 
Soon, it will be summer.  A few things that I'm looking forward to:


∂ sitting outside with my cup of coffee and watching. 
∂ antiques and yard sales spilling onto sidewalks.
∂ sunglasses and big floppy hats.
∂ photo walks everywhere, anywhere. 
∂ freckles.
∂ painted toes and sandals.
∂ the cool side of my pillow at night.

I could go on and on....
are you a summer lover?



4.25.2014



"They say" that negative brings negativity and positive brings positivity and, 
 I have to say, after looking back on recent events, that really does ring true.


Whoever "they" are... "they" are right. I was recently told to work on my negativity. Me? Negative?
Never in my whole life have I ever been told that. Then again, never in my whole life have I ever suffered 
from high blood pressure either. You know that wonderful job I took simply because it made me feel good to help people? 
Well, it seems it is slowly killing me. Not the job itself. Just a certain person. It seems that it only takes one. 
And it is the tone, the manner, and the actions that speak the loudest when relating to people. 

 
All day long this controlling and hurtful negativity goes on. I'm just not used to that. But, then, 
neither are the other people I work with either. At various times during the day, 
my co - workers will actually stop by my desk just to tell me they are sorry, 
they can hear her and just don't understand how I can put up with that. 
Well, I guess I'm not doing such a good job with handling her after all. 
It seems that her own negativity is rubbing off on me, and affecting my own mood, 
and even my health... And that folks, is simply not acceptable. 
Things have been shaken up now over this at work because I have brought this to the forefront {again}. 
And hopefully, with a few suggested minor changes, things will begin to calm down 
and I can get back to being my happy, caring self... without stress and worry. We shall see. 









Taco salad, one of my favorite meals. And really, there is so much you can do to it. I change it up all the time, but really, this is my favorite. I'll bet you're wondering... what is the special dressing? Well, because you asked, here it is!

I use two different recipes actually... the first is very easy and requires no measuring. Just fill a 16 oz canning jar halfway with salsa and top with mayo. Shake to combine. Yes, that really is it.


The next, a delicious simple recipe you will enjoy as well. It makes about 2 cups and best of all, it's only 22 calories for 2 tablespoons! That's right! Two! Nice. 

 


Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup low fat mayonnaise
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 2 tablespoons of your favorite taco seasoning packet
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients into a jar with a lid and shake until well combined.
  2. Refrigerate 1 hour before serving to allow the dressing to thicken.
 HINT: This is not a thick dressing. If you want a thicker dressing add more low fat mayonnaise.




Versatility Tips~

*Use ground turkey or another meat besides beef. This salad is so flavorful that any meat that doesn't have a strong flavor itself could be substituted for the beef.

*Go meatless. Skip the meat and add beans~ pinto, kidney, black. You name the bean.

*Try a variety of onions. The red onion gives this salad a nice little spice, add a bit of sweet with Vidalia or do a combination. Sweet and Spicy Taco Salad!

*Add more veggies. Corn would be easy, even in the winter; just use a small handful of frozen corn. What about chopped bell peppers? The garden's the limit.

*Use a different cheese, perhaps pepper jack.

*Try some other herbs and seasonings. Cilantro would be terrific. Or some fresh roasted garlic.

 

I'm beginning to drool. Happy Eating!

4.24.2014




I BLOG: to steer you in a better direction, hoping that you take a path better than the one I chose.
I DANCE: spontaneously, whenever the feeling comes over me.
I NEED: music, books, solitude, creativity, special words, and my camera.
I AM: A woman who wants to travel around the world.
I SAID: I've had quite enough, it is my time now. 
I WANT: To create, and wander aimlessly {with camera in hand}, and take each day as it comes.
I WISH: I could except and love myself.
I HATE: that I do not speak up for myself because I'm afraid.
I MISS: my youth, and I am not happy with where I am right now.
I FEAR: that I will hide forever, never really living life to it's fullest.
I HEAR: my dad. He is calling my name and telling me now is the time.
I WONDER: what it would be like to fall in love really.
I REGRET: the moments I chose to stay home instead of being a part of this world.
I AM NOT: going to allow myself to be mistreated ever again.
I AM NOT ALWAYS: proud of how I behave.
I WRITE: To remember. To dream
I SHOULD: let go of the shoulda, woulda, coulda and live in the now.
I START: over each day. Every morning that I wake up is the promise of a new beginning.
I BELIEVE: everything I need to survive is already inside me.
I KNOW: that things change everyday,  and I want to grow and change with it.
I CAN: live on my own, with myself, and trust myself to know what's good and what's right.
I CAN’T: put things off any longer, I must give myself the gift of freedom.
I SEE: myself clearly. I have possibility.
I READ: because it takes me to a far away place and time
I AM AROUSED BY: bodies of water and the warm sunshine.
I FIND: comfort in the peace and quiet of an early morning walk.
I LIKE: the way Yoga makes me come alive and feel whole
I LOVE: myself. I am learning to love myself.
I MADE: this promise to myself.  

Isn't this eye-opening? Now, you try it.




4.23.2014



I took Lilly out for pancakes. She said it was her favorite place. I don't really think that she was
in the mood to go out to eat. Actually, she wasn't in a very good mood at all. She wavered in-
between crying, to laughing... then coloring a bit, then anger over waiting for her food, then,
she was showing me her doll, folks, by the time the waitress came with the food, it was all
over. And she wanted no part of any of it. She barely ate two bites. Sigh. It's always a really
good time with Lily.




4.22.2014


::: Moments are little things too...


:: Finding a random recipe that turns out ridiculously delicious.
:: The sound of Buddy running to greet me after I’ve been gone for 10 minutes.
:: Waking up feeling good and well rested even before my alarm goes off.
:: The feeling of fresh new clean sheets on my bed.
:: The smell of a home cooked meal when I get home after a long day at work.

 
:: That moment when I sink into a hot bubble bath.
:: Hearing an old, favorite song on the radio.
:: The first autumn breeze after a hot summer.
:: The sound of the rain outside while I fall asleep.
:: A wintry afternoon, hunkered down with hot tea and a great book.


:: Watching the sun rise from my porch with a hot cup of coffee in hand.
:: Cold water on a hot summer day.
:: When the creativity within me, simply flows in all directions.
:: The look on someone's face, as they open my gift.
:: A new town, hours to wander, my camera in my hand.


:: When a simple kindness I did, comes back to me three-fold.
:: An accidental picture, that turns out to be my best picture of the day.
:: Quiet and solitude after I've been surrounded by crowds.
:: An afternoon nap on a cold, and drizzly winter's day.
:: Slipping into an old pair of comfortable jeans.


 :: Road trips. To anywhere.
:: When the conversation is better than good.
:: Following my intuition and being right.
:: Knowing that it's true; when one door closes, a better one opens up.
:: My beautiful life. All of it. The whole thing is nothing short of a miracle.

 What are some of your favorite moments?




4.21.2014





" Mindfulness is the idea of being aware of what is going on around you {and inside you}."


So often we go through life just going, going, going -- and we don't stop to look, touch, smell, listen, or even think. When you start becoming mindful of the world around you, the world around you begins to look a lot different.  I am beginning to really apply this to every aspect of my life right now.

Instead of focusing on all of those thoughts rushing and racing through your mind about all the things you have to do, or don't want to forget, stop, and focus on your five senses. Ask yourself, "What do I hear? What do I see ? What am I feeling? What do I smell?" This will ground you and put you back into the here and now, not yesterday, and not tomorrow. Now. Slow down. Breathe.

You have to think about your thoughts in order to make them productive.  So, one by one, simply write down your thought, and the action you would like to take to make it positive and productive for you. Do this for each thing that comes to mind that requires some sort of action on your part. Then, one by one complete them. That is all. Do not allow simple little things to overwhelm you.

Being mindful isn't easy, but it's worth trying out -- even on the small things. It's important to be present, to be in the moment, and mindfulness is a tactic that makes this not only easier, but more interesting. Are you stuck in a boring meeting? Try being mindful of the people around you, all the things in the room, or the thoughts you're having. Stuck in traffic? Then take some time to think about a strong emotion you had recently and why you felt the way you did. Productivity is very important to me, and mindfulness is not only a way to better connect with yourself and the people around you, but it's also a way to make use of time that otherwise seems wasted. Try it.



4.20.2014



Currently I am...






Life will always be a struggle, and there will also be the presence of pain from time to time. You will have bad days, and you will experience one let down after another as you move forward in this life.

But that's if you take the easy route. Let's not take the easy way. Instead, lets just admit all of this is true but... still be positive about it. Life isn't perfect. Life isn't a dream. Life is real, and it isn't often a perfect paradise is it? But, if we realize and accept this, and continue to strive to do the very best that we can, in a positive, cheerful way, I really think that not only do we make a real difference in our own lives, but also in the lives of those around us as well. Perception is important. If we spend more time thinking about our climb up that mountain, and how to help everyone around us get up it as well, and be positive in everything around us {good or bad} we may just find that those mountains are simply hills, and our journey much smoother, now, wouldn't want that?  



4.19.2014






Looking forward to experiencing some sunshine and nature this weekend with my camera in tow. 
Everywhere I look nature is blooming and I can't wait to take the time to enjoy it up close. 
A first-of-the-year journey to my favorite nearby nature scenes to see 
the abundant flowers bursting out in bloom is a must.

Happy weekend to you!


4.18.2014









So as we sit, life flows and churns. In our household, we are in the midst of spring cleaning, 
prepping for gardening,  painting the porch,  and sighing over life's daily demands that make 
it so difficult to do everything we want to do. It's a pretty day, flowing along like any other 
and I'm so happy that it's Friday... just get through this day and the weekend is here! 

It's to early to plant. I don't trust the weather quite yet... same goes for trying to paint outside. 
I am going to go through the attic again early in the morning on Saturday... 
but after that I'm thinking that I might like to...

Ξ take a photo walk through nature and capture spring as it's happening.
Ξ lay in the sunshine and finish my book "Dark Places". It's really good.
Ξ make some new playlists for the new season.
Ξ power walk/run by the river.
Ξ watch a spring-time feeling movie...any ideas?
Ξ take a silly selfie and post it on my Facebook.
Ξ plant some herbs in the kitchen.
Ξ do one new craft... something springy!
Ξ re-create my inspiration board.
Ξ go through my clothes again. Donate what's not staying.
Ξ start planning a getaway.
Ξ write down a list of things I'm really grateful for.
Ξ fill a goodie box and mail it to the kids.
Ξ take a friend out to lunch and catch up.


Whew! lots of things that I'd really like to do. But, with some careful planning, 
I really think that I can accomplish most, if not all of what's on my list.  
How about you? What are your plans?



 

4.17.2014



Daffodils and an afternoon snow flurry - the wonders of the Midwest. But, really, 
it will be warming right up again very quickly and there are lots of things that I 
find myself looking forward to...

:: planting things {flowers, gardens, porch plants, hanging baskets}
:: seeing all the blossoming trees and plants
:: riding my bike along the river
:: playing a round of mini golf
:: roasting a bunch of fresh asparagus
:: visiting the farmers market
:: berry picking! strawberries first!
:: eating Peeps
:: listening to the first rain
:: watching the bumblebees hard at work
:: wearing capris and shorts
:: feeling the warm sun on my skin
:: opening all the windows and airing out the house
:: flip-flops!
:: go hiking
:: decorate eggs... fun!

What are you looking forward to most this spring?





4.16.2014





 It's a great time of year. Spring is upon us. Then... it snows again. Really? forget gardening at least until I'm sure it's not going to freeze again, and at this rate, I'm just not sure when that will be. This winter has been terrible. Worse, I'm sick of all my music. I just can't bear to hear the top 10 on the radio again. They call that music do they? And forget talk radio... I hear enough bad news all day long thank you. That leaves soap operas. Yea, right. Not going to happen. So, what's a girl to do? I've got it all figured out! We are not out of options yet! Discover podcasts -- I have! It's the perfect companion to the lone artist. Or, while your driving to or from work, anytime really! There is no better way to pass your time than listening to an engaging, educational, inspirational, and informative podcast. I discovered lots of great pod-casts and I look forward to listening and learning while I work. I have heard interviews with well-respected politicians, doctors, authors, and listened to inspiring conversations with folks living creative and artful lives. I've learned what goes on behind the scenes of my favorite blogs and websites, and I've been schooled time and again in photography and the secrets they reveal to make better pictures. The topics are endless, and the benefits are boundless. You can play most podcasts online or subscribe to a podcast via a feed or on iTunes. Try it sometime. You sure won't be sorry.

4.15.2014







I think that creativity is a recurrent process don't you? It has its seasons as well. The appearance of the first buds of inspiration as the thaw from a bitter winter of nothingness begins. Tender leaves unfurling as the ideas of a project emerges. And then the summer, glorious summer when ideas simply flow from us like honey, and butterflies gather all around and the whole world is alive with color. And then comes autumn, wonderful autumn, time of gathering the harvest. Seeing the fruits of my labors ripe and full.

But then winter comes once more. Desolate and bitter, unasked for. But most times it is simply a time of quiet, of rest, of retreat... a repose, where we can allow the magic of evolution to happen.

4.14.2014




Spring is very slowly showing itself around here.  I have heard a lot of frustration with the weather lately.  I am not a hot weather person, but, snow again in April is a bit much even for me as well. However, it's certainly providing a good, {even if it's unwanted,} lesson in patience.  Maybe that's our cue to remind us to slow down a bit and appreciate the here and now a little more. Watch, as nature wakes up from her long winters sleep. Patience. A trait that requires a lot of effort on my part.