30
Sep

Bottle Wraps!

by Tiffany in Green Holidays

A cool new product I saw this week… personalized reusable water bottles! I buy coffee mugs with a my kids pictures on them every couple of years for my folks… these just might be in their xmas stockings this year. I have no personal experience with them yet… but I look forward to trying…

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

4 Comments on Bottle Wraps!

29
Sep

Grab Life By the Disco Balls and Dance

by Tiffany in Health & Healing

disco girl

This is my one and only life, and its a great and terrible and short and endless thing, and none of us come out of it alive. – Holly – P.S. I Love You

The above movie is one of the most profound I have ever seen I think. It is one of those movies that teaches and inspires you as much as it entertains you. From the opening seen when Holly and Gerry are fighting I recognized that this Holly chick and I have a lot in common. Gerry wants to start a family and Holly is putting everything off until they have better jobs, more money, a nicer apartment, and all that jazz. She said she is waiting for those things so their life can “begin”. This kind of baffles Gerry as he recognizes that this… here and now.. IS their life and he wants to live in the moment and not put off living until conditions are perfect, which they may never be. Like Holly I have often thought in those terms.. when this happens or when that happens.. life will really get started then.

Holly recognized her mistake only 2 years later when her husband died of a brain tumor. Suddenly all the stuff she had put off and all the things she said or didn’t say haunted her. The above quote was made after a long journey following his death, when she realized that there is no perfect life to be had.

When you look at what you want your future to be is it dependent on things changing… aka you’ll be happy when you… have a better job, get married, have a baby, have more money, lose weight, get out of debt, etc? Are you putting true happiness on hold while you imagine what things will be like when things are better or different? How can you live in the here and now and make the most of each and every day?

Learn Something New – One of the most rewarding things about life is that we get to keep learning. What can you learn? Maybe you could take a photography class, a cooking class, or a sewing class. Maybe you could read a book on home improvement or web design. In 2003 I started teaching myself web design, graphic design, and Internet Marketing. It was more of a hobby than anything else but I thought it would be kinda cool to earn $400 a month for play money. By the end of year one I was already making that and in year five I now make way more than that. What started as a hobby was transformative for me. Now I see my latest interest in photography the same way. Wanting to take pretty pictures gives me incentive to go out and do fun things and see pretty places… just because I can. Oh, its 6:00 on a Thursday.. lets go the lake.. I want to see the fading light on the water.

You just never know where things will lead if you follow your interests and learn new things.

Get active – Whether you want to lose weight or get in shape or not, getting active makes you happier. Its those yummy endorphins. It boosts your mood and gives you energy. I still remember the total high I used to get from running a mile or two each day… there is nothing like it. If you think exercise is a dirty word then start with stuff that is just as fun as it is active. Get a Wii and play video game tennis (price just dropped $50!), go bowling, walk your kids to school, take a hike on a beginner’s trail. Don’t let a day go by without doing something that gets your heart rate up.

Take a Trip – Many us have dreams of traveling but money and time are often roadblocks. It may just be that you need to set your sites smaller until the opportunity to travel as you would like presents itself. I would love to dash off to Italy right now and spend a couple months scouring museums and churches, looking at the art and relishing in the history. Realistically though I can’t do that right now. I can however, learn a new language if I want to. I can put on some Italian music and snuggle up with a travel memoir like Bella Tuscany. I can try a new ethnic restaurant or host a party with an ethnic theme. I can take day trips or go to a day spa for a mini vacation. I can download some nature sounds like a gushing waterfall, waves crashing, or exotic birds chirping and be transported. There are many things that can ease the wandering heart.

Challenge Yourself – Do something scary and out of your comfort zone often. Make a dramatic lifestyle change as a social experiment like No Impact Man. Just give yourself over to new and exciting things and see what happens. If you are an introvert make it a priority to go out and speak to at least three strangers a couple times a week.  Join a book club or a quilting club so you will be forced to talk and interact. If you are so out of shape that you are embarrassed to join a gym… just do it. Join and make yourself go every day, even if you just walk a lap or two on the track and then go home. Join a fitness boot camp where the instructor will give you a butt kicking. Put an ad on Craigslist looking for a walking buddy. Take risks and try new things.

Do Something For Others – Make it a habit to do something nice and unexpected for someone each day. Send them a card, pick them some wildflowers, write I love you somewhere were they will see it, call them just to say hi, stop by unexpectedly with some hot cocoa or tea. Spend time daily on your relationships. And don’t forget to do something nice for yourself too… you deserve it!

Make a plan– Sit down with a journal and figure out what our long and short term goals are and make workable action plan. While living in the present is a must, you can also plan for the future… just don’t let it feel so daunting and unattainable that you give up. Think about what you can do every week to get an inch or two closer to your dreams while not becoming obsessive about it. If you want to travel for instance, research ways get travel reward points on your credit card or debit cards so you can be saving for travel when you pay every day expenses. Last week I was trolling around my bank’s online system and realized that if I stopped cashing in my debit rewards points for Amazon gift certificates or gas cards each month I could save them and get a free night at a hotel chain every six months or so. I guessimated that in two years I could come pretty darn close to having a full week at a hotel anywhere in the country… for free. If I could get my landlord to let me pay my rent via debit card I could trim to that one year. Next year when our lease is up… it may be the incentive we need to move.

Plan for Emergencies – One of the biggest obstacles for most people in achieving their dreams is money. Things come up and our reserves get drained or we get so tapped that we end up living paycheck to paycheck and/or go in debt. A good plan for the future involves being prepared for the unexpected and having an emergency fund to fall back on. Having that cushion will give you greater peace of mind and much less stress. When you need new tires for your car or your hot water heater goes out, you won’t have to worry.

Act Like a Kid Again – You can play to, you just may have forgotten how. Lay on the grass and daydream, jump in puddles, play hopscotch with our kids, and draw on the sidewalk with chalk. Last week I was at the grocery store and my son wanted to jump in the puddles that we passed. At first I resisted and then I just let him go… he played for quite awhile in the puddles in the nearly empty parking lot and I jumped in a few myself. We got some dirty looks from passersby who clearly thought this was BAD parenting but who had the sour face… them or me? My daughter informed me of her school’s extensive “puddle rules”. They basically do not allow a child to get wet in ANY way, shape, or form. Do YOU have puddle rules?

Use The Law of Attraction– I know a lot of people think it is rather new age and bizarre but there is a lot we can learn about how we attract negative or positive things in our life. I think is is less about being rewarded by the universe as it is about being open to finding peace and happiness and then finding it because we were open. A few months back I joined an Internet group about using the LOA in relationships and after a few weeks I saw a big improvement. I recognized that I was putting alot of energy and negative effort into trying to get other people to change rather than just accepting that this is who they are… period. Then once I accepted that, I saw it was a choice for me to be mad and upset when they did something totally within their character. Being angry and upset was a choice I was making and holding on to anger is like holding on to a hot coal… you’re the one who gets burned. I could get mad that someone filled up the sink with dirty dishes and then went to bed or I can pull up some Maroon 5 or Green Day on my iPod sound dock and do them myself. Then after I see my gleaming kitchen I can curl up with a good book and be peaceful… not fuming.

Don’t Wait for Special Occasions – This is your life and it is special already. Use the good China now, wear that little black dress to the movies, make that special holiday dish for an average Tuesday, use the fluffy towels and smelly soaps you save for company, bake Christmas cookies in September, and treat yourself NOW.. not some later date. Be good to yourself and your family each and every day and don’t wait for special occasions.

We don’t want to be in our sixties wondering… gee when is it going to get good? It should have happened by now. Realization will hit that things were pretty darn good back then.. it only we had realized it at the time. Take charge now, not later.

So what works for you? How do you make the conscious decision to live in the moment and be happy NOW?

25
Sep

Friday Wrap – Makeovers and Travel

by Tiffany in Tidbits

friday wrap upTGIF! Have an awesome weekend everyone!

I am am taking off later today for the whole weekend. We will be heading up north to visit family and some apple orchards if it doesn’t rain. Also hoping I can sneak out and see Fame this weekend.

It has been a stressful couple of weeks. I won’t go into details but the new school is NOT working out well for my son. We need to get away for the weekend and have some fun. I am just sick inside with how stressed he is over this school. I have some meetings coming up with them soon and if things don’t turn around fast I will be homeschooling again.. which actually kind of thrills me… except we are not in the same place we were last year. I am using the time the kids are away at school to work  from home and we are relying on my income now and will be much more so in the upcoming months when my husband’s work slows and temporary lay-offs may start. Working is not the optional thing it was last year, so homeschooling will be problematic.

Well enough about that.. I have some link love for you.

Food Renegade has an AWESOME article about why soy is B-A-D for you. We avoid all soy in this house unless it is fermented… like Miso and Tamari. We used to eat Edaname but now don’t even eat that anymore. Take a look at the article for a very comprehensive list of reasons you should just say no. Did you know “an infant taking the recommended amount of soy formula is consuming a hormone load equivalent of 4 birth control pills a day”? Yikes!!

I also really enjoyed Beth’s Fake Plastic Fish this week with her Tale of Two Laundry Baskets and her review of Living in the Age of Stupid, a limited release movie I REALLY wanted to see. :(

This week I also discovered The Best of Your Before and Afters. LOVE it!! They showcase recycled furniture and housewares showing the before and after pictures. It shows how you can make something rather trashy into a treasure and is no doubt inspiring others to recycle before the buy new.

For a few weeks I have been enjoying Ceilydh Sets Sail. It is a blog that follows a family who lives on a boat and I find it quite fascinating.

Another thing that has long fascinated me is families who travel for months or years at a time via motor home or travel trailer. Since my plan to escape out of the country has met with so much resistance from family I have started a slush fund to purchase one of these recreational vehicles so we can start with getaways closer to home and maybe only a few weeks to a couple months at a time. My parents will be retiring in a couple years and plan to do this themselves so it would be awesome if we could all go together. Anyway I saw a fabulous Winnebago makeover this week. Is it not incredible?? I could sooo live in something like that! Also the family who did this makeover actually sold it a few weeks later and bought a huge motor home so they could travel full time. I love blogs where people are really living their wildest dreams!

And sending love and positive vibes to Kristen this weekend who is on an important journey.

Have a fabulous weekend!

24
Sep

In LOVE with this Face…

by Tiffany in Photography

In love with this face AND the new lens I just got only moments ago to capture this face. She really is sugar and spice and everything nice. Those eyes, those lashes, that dimple, those natural curls…. they do me in every time.

Beautiful Face

Gorgeous Smile

This is my first prime lens and it rocks.. can’t wait to break it in this weekend at the Apple Festival!

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

5 Comments on In LOVE with this Face…

22
Sep

Goodbye to Summer…

by Tiffany in Photography

Goodbye to summer 2009, we enjoyed you so…

The little songs of summer are all gone today.
The little insect instruments are all packed away:
The bumblebee’s snare drum, the grasshopper’s guitar,
The katydid’s banjo, the cricket’s violin,
The dragonfly’s cello have ceased their merry din.
Oh, where is the orchestra?  From harpist down to drummer
They’ve all disappeared with the passing of the summer.

~ by Rowena Bennett

Fresh Strawberries

In the Pool

Playing Outside

Eating Popsicles

Skipping Stones

Martini Bar

Hey how did THAT get in here?

Rocks

Playing

Hammock

In the Garden

Radishes

Summer by the Lake

Covered Bridge

Walking Among Wildflowers

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

7 Comments on Goodbye to Summer…