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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What I'm Reading



I’ve read a lot of books lately but haven’t been keeping up with my “What I’m Reading” posts. Now that I’m starting the seventh book since my last review, I thought it was a good time to get back to it.

Right now, I’m reading The Tao of Martha: My Year of LIVING or Why I’m Never Getting All That Glitter Off of the Dog. Before that, I read:

Bossypants by Tina Fey
Everything is Perfect When You’re a Liar by Kelly Oxford
Cemetery Girl by David Bell
Instinct by T.D. Jakes
Defending Jacob by William Landay and
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I’m also working my way through Memoirs of a Geisha and re-reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Really, it depends on what I’m in the mood for when I have extra time to read. With the stress of my world lately, it’s nice to lose myself in someone else’s world for a few minutes or hours.

Thanks to Audible, I can listen on my commute (when I’ve finished listening to my favorite radio shows and podcasts on demand) and work my way through a book in a little over a week. Ah, sweet escapism.

Anyway, let’s get to it. Actually, first, let me say this. The “What I’m Reading” series is not meant as a showcase for newly released books. It is just what it says it is—what I’m reading at the time. Sometimes, what I’m reading will be hot off the presses and sometimes it will be several years old. Sorry. I just read things as I get to them and my list is super long. I will say, I also welcome suggestions if you want me to review something.

Ok, let’s move on with the review.  

Bossypants!! (Pause for applause)

I should start this review by saying I love Tina Fey (hence the applause pause), but who doesn’t?  Well, if you let her tell it, apparently quite a few people.  She includes these gems in Bossypants:

“In my opinion Tina Fey completely ruined SNL. The only reason she’s celebrated is because she’s a woman and an outspoken liberal. She has not a single funny bone in her body.”

“When is Tina going to do something about that hideous scar across her cheek??”

“Tina Fey is an ugly, pear-shaped, bitchy, overrated troll.”

And her responses to each make me love her all the more. 

Bossypants is not so much an autobiography as it is a set of life lessons presented through the humor that made me love Tina in the first place. Rather than an orderly account of her life (though it proceeds in chronological order), the chapters read more like a set of funny skits that highlight important moments (and a few not so important albeit outrageously funny moments) in her life.
Many say the book is written in Liz Lemon’s voice (Tina’s 30 Rock character) and I agree with that in some instances but I don’t mind it. For me the book offers great insight into her path to success whether through the growing pains of her adolescent years or through her journey to head writer at a male dominated SNL.  She doesn’t believe in her own hype but she knows how successful she is and as self deprecating as her humor is, I believe she owns it. 

In the book, you’ll read about her comedic rise through her time with Second City, SNL and 30 Rock. You’ll read about her dealing with the pressures of being the boss. You’ll read about her adventures in marriage and motherhood. And of course you’ll read about the ups and downs of being a woman in comedy. It wouldn’t be Tina without it and I was there for every moment of it. If you’re a fan, I definitely recommend you read Bossypants. If you’re not a fan, first of all, why not? Second, maybe you should pick up a copy too. You might just become one.  




Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday Quotable




























Ash and I have gotten a lot of questions lately about why we think our marriage works. I think it's because we have lots of friends that are either newly married or about to be married. I've responded with all sorts of things. Date night, mutual respect, friendship, allowing each other the space to be an individual and not just half of a couple, etc. But, despite listing the little things, I couldn't quite describe why he still puts a sparkle in my eye after 10 years (6 married).

Then, I came across today's quote. I think it best sums up my feeling towards Ash. In my opinion, choosing a mate shouldn't be about who worships you or who thinks you're attractive. It should be about someone who compels you to be the awesome, strong woman you are. Anyone who thinks you're weak and is content to leave you there, isn't the one for you.

I also think this quote works for other relationships. Every day, we face challenges that we can either hide from or kick down. Who wants to be surrounded by friends and family that don't demand your strongest punch? You need people in your life who demand you move forward, not those who are ok with you taking a wallflower approach to life.

If no one has told you today, you are strong, smart, and courageous. Surround yourself with people--including your partner--who believe that (and help you remember when you're feeling defeated). Happy Monday!! 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Playlist



I'm feeling a sort of Jhené Aiko vibe today so I decided to share this playlist compiled by Jhené S. on YouTube. I highly recommend buying the Souled Out album. Happy Friday!! 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Work.Out.




























This week's workout targets the abs. It is from Women's Health Magazine. You can do 10-15 reps of each or really turn up and go to failure. Whatever you do, enjoy getting closer to your fitness goals. Cheers! 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Love List


1. Loving the coats in the new Scandal collection designed by Kerry Washington. Check out the entire collection here. (Limited)

2. Everyone needs a few tips to getting the best table at great restaurants. I liked this one from Cupcakes & Cashmere. (Cupcakes & Cashmere)

3. You know how you love the crisp, clean look of a new white dress shirt? Well, that all goes out the window when the pit stains set in. There's nothing uglier. Actually, that's a bit dramatic but still, they're pretty gross. Stop the stain of time on your white shirts with these tips. (Who What Wear)

4. I like the impact of the graphic pattern on this painted staircase. (Sketch 42)

5. Every now and then, I need a little reminder of how nice people can be...like every day. This post did just that. I may or may not have gotten a little teary. (Buzzfeed)

6. One Clique gives you the power to design your own shoes with their selection of mix and match shoe separates. How? Check out their site.  (One Clique)

7. When I first saw Emily Blincoe's "Arrangements" series, I was in love. The arrangement of color and shapes was beautiful. Who would have thought the elements from my pre-juicing countertop had art potential. Check out more of her work here. (Emily Blincoe)

8. So, you've undoubtedly heard of Google Glass, but what about having it for your windshield? I'd totally use this. It has to be better than looking down at your built in navigation screen or even up at your Tom Tom. (Washington Post)

9. We know social media has changed the way we communicate but who knew it was changing our brains. This video explains how. (AsapSCIENCE)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Who Do You Talk To?

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What’s the last conversation you had? I don’t mean via text or e-mail. I mean a real conversation that involves your vocal chords, hands or both? What about face to face?

Don’t get annoyed. Me getting all up in your business has a point.

Last night, I was talking to a friend on the phone when she asked me the same questions.  I, like her, realized I talk to the same few people fairly often. I don’t count Ash because we live in the same house. If we didn’t talk everyday, we’d need a little more than contemplative reflection.

Anyway, the point is we realized we’ve sacrificed personal connections for text messages and e-mail. More often than not, I communicate with my closest friends electronically. If someone picks up the phone, it is really important (and too much to text).  Sometimes, it’s worse than that and I find myself only keeping “in touch” by scrolling thorough friends’ latest social media posts.  Isn’t that terrible?
I made a goal earlier in the year to disconnect from my devices and participate in my life more.

Because of that, I started using my commuting time (one way) to catch up with some friends who I don’t text with too much. I also use the time to call my parents and my sister. That said, I am still relying heavily on electronics to maintain my friendships and when I am out and about, so is my phone.   


My recent trip to Nashville with Robyn (from the Weekly Weigh In) inspired me to start seeing people more…and leaving my phone in my bag for the time I’m with them.  Imagine that. I feel like there is no time like the present (while I’m judging myself and feeling bad about it) to start planning dates and gatherings with my “tribe.” Life is too short to exist as a thought bubble in your friends’ phones. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday Quotable

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Today's quotable isn't so much a quote as it is a challenge. During this #100HappyDays journey, I've been talking a lot about what I want out of life. If you're like me, you have desires in your heart that you keep to yourself. You pray about them or make plans to reach those desires but you either won't talk about them OR you get a little judgment shy when you do. It's time to put all of that aside. 

Over the next few days, challenge yourself to talk about your dreams with the people who deserve to know. Trust me. That group is probably small. The people who will try to talk you down or provide what they call a reality check are the people who deserve to know. 

You can also journal about your dreams or hang up notes to remind yourself of what could be possible in your life. Stop being shy. Dream big and then go after your bliss. Happy Monday!! 

p/s If you don't get Danielle LaPorte's Truth Bombs, I highly recommend you subscribe. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Space to Breathe

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As you know, I’ve been working towards a fresh start. Last week was the first part of what I’ve started to call my happiness boot camp. I detoxed with fresh juices during the week and gave myself the weekend off (hence the cotton candy you saw on Instagram). I started the Fresh Start meditation and I started the 100 Happy Days challenge. It’s been going pretty good.

I’ll note the Fresh Start meditation wakes me up and keeps my mind from wandering. Unfortunately, it’s because my arms are on fire from being in the arrow position at the end of the 9 minutes. That said, I do feel better for doing it and once my arms get used to it, I think I’ll be able to focus on more than the time ticking down.

What the “fresh start” has done is inspire me to give my house a fresh start as well. I read an article the other day that asked “If your house were burning and your family, pets, and purse were already out of harm's way, what else would you want to save? The point was if there are things in your life you wouldn’t save, get rid of them. You don’t need things around you that don’t fit, don’t work, or that don’t get any use.

That sounds really simple but for some reason it was like a revelation for me. I’ve donated tons of clothes over the years but the last major purge I did was before we moved into our current home. And let me tell you, you can’t tell I purged because my house is full. Each closet, the garage and all of the rooms are full of stuff I don’t need.  Don’t get me wrong. I am not a hoarder but I certainly have more items than I need or use. In fact, for what I use, I could have a totally minimal space. Such a space would be perfect in its simplicity. No more rummaging for that one yellow sweater that I loved last Fall or the metal skewers that I put in the pantry…or the silverware drawer…or was it the china cabinet??? And speaking of the china…well, you get it.



So, it’s time to go through my house like things are on fire. Actually, I don’t like that visual. Let’s go with “It’s time to purge like I’m moving to a place half the size of my current house.” I’m not getting rid of the major furniture or the things we absolutely use, but I am getting rid of just about everything else. Goodbye old pots that aren’t as much “seasoned” as they are burnt out. Goodbye four sets of plates I’ve accumulated since college (in addition to my china). Goodbye clothes in every size but my own. Goodbye reusable takeout containers that never seem to have a matching lid. Goodbye piles of mail that I was supposed to shred months ago.


If the next 100 (well, 89) days are supposed to be about finding my happy, I think this is a key part. Paring everything down will make the house a more peaceful place. I am always happy at home but I confess I am happier when everything is put away, surfaces are clean and there are no dishes in the sink. I also think completion of the purge will inspire me to get hyper organized and to keep everything clean…or hire someone to do it. (Confession: I hate to clean. The last major super clean was during Spring Cleaning. Everything since has been basic maintenance--dishes, vacuuming, laundry, sinks, toilets and showers.) I need to do better. The mantra for this week is clear space, clear mind. 

I'll be following some of the steps outlined here. Happy Tuesday!  

Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday Quotable




































I'm re-reading The Alchemist. I read it years ago (it was required reading in high school) but there has been so much talk about it lately, I thought I'd dust it off and read it with a fresh pair of eyes and a lot more life under my belt. 

I'm enjoying the read so imagine my excitement when Oprah had the author, Paulo Coelho on Super Soul Sunday over the last two weeks. After watching, I decided to pull one of his quotes for today's quotable. To me, the quote speaks of the persistence of your instincts/heartsong. 

When I think about persistence, I think about my little Lola. She will sit at my side and stare at me for an hour or more in the hopes that I will pass a treat her way. When I give in, she’s happy and then she will resume her position and stare until I give in again. Right now, as I type this, she is sitting right beside the keyboard staring at me.



The heart is the same way. When you ignore it, you will keep getting messages trying to push you in the direction it wants you to go. Why? Because the heart wants what the heart wants. I think of it as the part of me that doesn’t care what the outside world thinks. It doesn’t care how much money I earn from listening to it. It only cares for what will truly make me happy if I will let it guide me. Not listening causes stress, which does a number on the body. And ultimately, it will persist. The truth of what you are supposed to do with your life, the people you are supposed to have in your life, and the people you are supposed to serve with your life/gifts…all of it comes from your heart.

Today’s quote is a reminder that your heart is in you. It will always be that way. You can’t escape it though you may frequently ignore its messages. Ultimately, it is not in the business of shutting up. Honor yourself. Listen, have faith and move forward. Happy Monday! 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Love List




























1. Alicia Keys released a new song/video this week called We Are Here. The song and the corresponding "#WeAreHere" Instagram movement are all about working towards a world free of war, poverty, and violence. You can see the video here and read more about the project here.

2. Seung-Hwan Oh created his latest series by "implementing microbial growth on film as a means to explore the impermanence of matter as well as the material limitations of photography." Deep message, beautiful pictures.

3. Trusper is a cool new app where you can get tips on almost any topic.

4. GAP wants you to Wear Something Normal. The...well, the ME in me immediately said "who is GAP to say what's normal?" Then, I read a little more about their message. The idea is "When you're dressing normal, you're really your truest and most confident and authentic self." There is definitely room for argument that people are being their true selves even when dressing "weird" compared to social norms. That said, I'll let GAP slide. I like any campaign pushing for authenticity. See more here.

5. Love the chic look of these 3D printed bottle openers by Second Sun.

6. Drop's Smart Kitchen Scale brings tech to the kitchen. I find stuff like this so cool.

7. I wrote about the #IWokeUpLikeThis movement a couple of months ago. I really like how this article addresses the topic.

8. The mussed glamour of this high volume ponytail is right up my alley. Love the look for date night.

9. I clean my makeup brushes pretty regularly and keep them clean in between with a sanitizing spray made for the job. But what about when I need to get excess powder/eyeshadow off without wetting the brush? This little glove by Sigma is perfect for it. 

Artist Spotlight: Jazmine Sullivan

I've loved Jazmine Sullivan's music for many years. With that voice, I'm not sure why she isn't a mega star. What I am sure of is her talent and I couldn't be more excited about hearing new material from her. I am including her new songs as well as some of my older favorites. Enjoy! Happy Friday!

























Thursday, September 11, 2014

Reflecting

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Every year at this time, we take time to reflect on the life changing events of September 11, 2001 and the grief it spread to generations with its exponential ramifications. The loss of family members to the attack and to the war that followed seems to weigh heaviest on the anniversary.  Though the sadness associated with the day never fades, I decided the most appropriate dedication this year would be one that comes from an uplifting place.  So, I give you For Our World by Mattie J.T. Stepanek. If you don’t know Mattie’s beautiful story, read more about him, his all too brief life and his legacy here.

FOR OUR WORLD
We need to stop.
Just stop.
Stop for a moment…
Before anybody
Says or does anything
That may hurt anyone else.

We need to be silent.
Just silent.
Silent for a moment…
Before we forever lose
The blessing of songs
That grow in our hearts.

We need to notice.
Just notice.
Notice for a moment…
Before the future slips away
Into ashes and dust of humility.
Stop, be silent, and notice…
In so many ways, we are the same.
Our differences are unique treasures.
We have, we are, a mosaic of gifts
To nurture, to offer, to accept.

We need to be.
Just be.
Be for a moment…
Kind and gentle, innocent and trusting,
Like children and lambs,
Never judging or vengeful
Like the judging and vengeful.
And now, let us pray,
Differently, yet together,
Before there is no earth, no life,
No chance for peace.

Mattie J.T. Stepanek ©
September 11, 2001


Hope Through Heartsongs
Hyperion, 2002

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Work.Out.



























This week's workout is focused on your glutes. That's right, your booty. The world seems to be obsessed with surgical enhancement to make that area perfect. Well, you don't need an expensive medical bill to get bootylicious. Just hit the gym. This workout from Lean It Up is all you need. You can get a demonstration of each exercise here.  

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Listen and Messages Will Come

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Yesterday, I kicked off the boot camp phase in my life.  I got up 30 minutes early and did Day One of the Fresh Start meditation. Then I made my juices for the day. I got home last night and my head was clear. After dinner, I wanted to start writing but I decided to watch an episode of Oprah’s Lifeclass from the night before. For a moment, I felt guilty about watching TV but that didn’t last long. Less than 10 minutes into the show, I heard “Your career is what you paid for; Your calling is what you’re made for.” Then, I heard “The two most important days are the day you’re born and the day you find out why.”

My guilt flew out the window. Clearly, there were messages for me in the show. Boom. Happiness moment of the day. I also realized I was meant to watch. I proceeded to get totally wrapped up over the course of the hour. I walked away with inspirational baggage.

Novel concept, huh? So often, baggage is associated with negativity but I think you can pick up some positive baggage along the way. It’s the kind you should keep rather than the kind you shed and leave behind. It’s the lightweight baggage that can serve as fuel during life’s journey.  


I’m not surprised by finding a life lesson on Lifeclass. I mean, that’s kinda the point of the show. I am surprised it was so on point. It’s lovely when you get exactly what you need. It’s such a reminder that each life has a plan and God is constantly giving us messages if we’re willing to listen. Here’s to a little extra nudge towards the leap of faith. Happy Tuesday!

NYFW: Favorite Looks So Far



NYFW calls out to my inner fashionista every year. It’s a glamorous and frenetic time in the city where designers, models and attendees are all creating a fashion moment just by walking down the sidewalk. The street style and runway inspiration is in overdrive and I love every moment. Here are some of my favorite looks from the shows so far. I’m hardly prepared for Fall but next Spring is looking pretty amazing.


Alexander Wang never disappoints. I love the texture on this cute little cocktail dress. For me, it could replace the LBD for spring.

 


Altuzarra presented a strong collection—so strong that I chose 2 favorites. I love the sleek simplicity and contrasting lines of the asymmetrical dress. I also love its counterpoint, whose flowy beauty is edged up by a structured blazer.


If I could include every look from the Cushinie et Ochs show I would. Every single look was drool worthy for me. I ultimately chose this beautiful yellow gown as my favorite because it jumped out at me. The woman in this gown runs the room at whatever event she graces.



Diane von Furstenberg (DVF) consistently puts out beautiful, woman conscious pieces and her latest collection is no exception. Black and white are the stars for Spring 2015 but there are bold pops of color peppered throughout. The green, black and white dress I chose was a winner for the ease and comfort of the silhouette as well as the color (green is my signature color).



Herve Leger’s dresses are super body con so I don’t flock to them automatically. This collection, however, had enough visual interest that I couldn’t turn away. This is what you call the “goal” dress.



This fresh little dress from Milly is perfection. The cutouts, the print and even the bare midriff make it perfect for Spring.



I love the bold color and easy shape of this set from Nonoo. The rest of the show echoed the same sense of ease. I feel like I could relax at a resort or command a cocktail party in this.



I like the simple print and asymmetrical shape of this cute little shift dress by Opening Ceremony. It’s a fun outfit.

The print and detail on this Tracy Reese dress is stunning yet delicate and sweet. I also like the midi length. Perfect Spring/Summer dress.



You know I have a huge crush on maxi dresses. This one by Victoria Beckham is really pretty. The design is simple and chic-which is all I require from my wardrobe.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Monday Quotable

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Today marks the kick off of another “100 days of happiness” challenge. OMG! Like you should totes like do it with me. We could be like happiness BFFs!!

Stop rolling your eyes at my valley girl moment. I’d seriously love you to join me because really, what’s better than focusing on happiness for 100 days? One hundred days from now, we will be close to saying goodbye to 2014. I think focusing on happiness for the next 3+ months is just what I need. I’m willing to bet you could use an infusion of happiness as well. Heck, I think it’s what everyone needs.

To be honest, I’ve had a stretch of days (ok, weeks) where I haven’t been feeling super happy. I have been putting my best foot forward and posting about happier things but inside, I must say, it’s kinda gray. I’m at a crossroads. I know what I want for my life. I can see it. I dream about it constantly and it isn’t in just one area of my life. I need major change on several fronts. I can see it just across the divide yet, I am here afraid to jump.

I know better. I know I should be stepping (or leaping) out on faith. I have a plan but these days, more often than not, I find myself to-do-listing my dreams and spending all of my energy on the things that aren’t on the list. At the end of each day, I am so wiped out from stressing over things I’m not passionate about that I don’t have time for the things that will change my life for the better. I nail myself to the wall at work and when I get home, my brain is fried. I grab dinner and plop down on the couch or the bed and zone out by reading or watching TV.


So, I’ve decided this month marks the start of a boot camp phase (the kick ass phase) in my life.  What’s the plan? Well, I’m starting with the 40 day Fresh Start meditation I posted about last week. I’m layering the 100 Days of Happiness on top of that. I’m also kicking off a two week juice detox (weekends will be free but not a free for all). Once I get my mind and body clear, maybe I will be ready to push my dreams into overdrive. Something has to shake loose. It would be awesome if you’d join me and post about your experiences in the comments section. I’m curious to know how you guys are breaking through. I believe with focus, we can change our lives and change the world. Here’s to a fresh start! 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Artist Spotlight: Lia Mice

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I discovered Lia Mice (Eleanor Logan)’s music after hearing Our Heavy Heart, which is featured on my Love List this week. I liked the somber sound of the song and wanted to hear more. After a little research, I discovered the song was the debut single from her second album. I also  found her story and thought it was interesting. She spent her teen years touring Australia as a member in punk and soul bands. Then, she found her way to Brooklyn where she made a name for herself on the noise scene. 

In 2012, after a European tour to promote her first album, Happy New Year, she got stranded in France due to Hurricane Sandy. She ultimately decided to stay. I kinda love the “everything happens for a reason” sentiment behind that. Now, she is ready to promote her second effort, I Love You, which comes out in October. Here are some of her songs. You can pre-order her album here



Fresh Start Meditation
















If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you know I have been trying to work meditation into my daily spiritual practice for a couple of years now. When I first started, the hardest thing for me was silencing my thoughts. My mind races at 100 mph at all times. I always found prayer to be easier because I’m actually articulating sentences (albeit silently). When meditating, I would get into lotus pose, close my eyes and promptly start thinking about everything from my grocery list to who pissed me off that day. I felt defeated a lot of the time and certainly didn’t feel relaxed.

When I started doing yoga, that helped a lot. I would concentrate so hard on getting the moves right, I had to zone out my constant, extraneous mental dialogue. By the time class ended and we got to shavasana (corpse pose), my mind was totally silent. I could lay there and zone out for 10 minutes. Afterward, I felt so refreshed. In an effort to hold onto that, I incorporated more yoga into my week. I also started doing guided meditations using various mantras. Voila! Mental silence…and on the off occasion I can't get silent, I let the thoughts come but don't focus on them. I also make sure I have a mantra/positive affirmation to recite.

Because guided meditations worked so well for me, I am always trying to find new ones. I just finished Oprah and Deepak’s Expanding You Happiness 21-Day Meditation Experience (I’ve done all of the other 21-day series as well). Once the series are over however, I tend to get lazy and trade meditation for a little extra sleep in the morning. I’m determined not to let that happen this time.
In searching for something new, I happened upon Gabby Bernstein’s “Fresh Start” (or the “Liberation Kriya”) meditation.  It spans 40 days and requires 9 minutes a day. It seems doable for me considering the Oprah/Deepak meditations average about 20 minutes (some for the explanation of the day’s topic and some for actual meditation). If you’re interested in joining me, here are the instructions (video and written):


The suggested commitment is 9 minutes a day for 40 days.
Raise your right arm up and cross your thumb over your fist.
Project your index finger upward.
Do the same thing with your left hand.
Your arms become an arrow.
Close your eyes and breathe long and deep.
After 3 minutes change the mudra by releasing the pinkie finger and continue meditating for the next 3 minutes.
After 6 minutes you will release all your fingers and lift your heart up.
After 9 minutes inhale deeply and exhale completely.
Then let your hands come down and rest.
Do not go past 9 minutes. If you cannot do the full 9 minutes you can work up to it.
It is suggested that you practice this meditation for 40 days to create a new habit. If you skip a day, begin again. This meditation benefits every area of your life.
Enjoy the renewal and liberation.
Now, I know some of this is too hippy-dippy-crunchy-granola for some of you. And that’s ok. I used to feel the same way. Then I tried it and it added a new level of balance and peace to my life. My mood is even and I’m able to find a slice of calm in almost any situation. It gets me focused for the day and helps me sleep better at night. So, here’s to a fresh start/reset/liberation.

If you’re doing it with me, let me know how it’s going. I’ll be sharing my thoughts as I go through the process. Ok…I feel like I should say Namaste or Peace be with you but that’s not me loves. Instead I’ll say Happy Friday and get peace however you can.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Work. Out.




































This week's workout is all about your bottom half. Yay! Leg day!! (That's me trying to motivate myself...and you to the extent you need it.)

Tip: If you are unfamiliar with any of the exercises, check Google or YouTube. You can find a demo of each one in either location. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Love List


1. I don't need a reason to go on vacation but it is nice to know all the benefits it has on your happiness. It's also great for relationships. (Huffington Post/Happify)

2. I'm intrigued by the various "teatox" products on the market because making tea seems less time consuming than juicing (though I love my fresh juice combos). Haven't tried one yet but I am considering it. We'll put this in the love to consider category. (MateFit)

3. I used to keep a gratitude journal. I still have one but haven't been disciplined about writing in it lately. Instead, I mentally catalog the things I'm thankful for each day. The Happier app helps because you can catalog on the go. (Happier, Inc.)

4. OWN has a new web series called Who Am I? I've been enjoying it so far for its candid look into what makes the featured celebrities tick. (OWN)

5. Love the haunting sound of Lia Mice's Our Heavy Heart. (Soundcloud)

6. I love the ingredients in this homemade body spray and and was surprised by how refreshing it is. I plan to put it to good use in these final (tear drops) days of Summer. (The Chic)

7. I wore chokers in the 90s so I hesitate to go back to the trend but these beautiful pieces make me want to change my mind...and they don't remind me at all of the daisy patterned variety I wore back in middle school. (Snob Essentials)

8. I'm having a love affair with African printed, full circle skirts. I know, I know. Very specific but it's an obsession at the moment. I'm specifically stalking this one. (Anna Teiko)

9. When I put my hair  up, I need pins and clips to keep it under control. I think it's pretty cool that I can now have a hair clip that doubles as a multi tool. Take that Swiss Army Knife. (Clippa)


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Maxi Dress Refresh



One of my favorite Summer staples is the maxi dress. They are as comfy as pajamas and provide an easy way to look chic without much effort. Naturally, when packing for a weekend getaway last weekend, I packed a couple of maxi dresses (in addition to one shorter dress, two pairs of jeans and a few tops. Yes, we only went for 3 days but a girl needs options). 

On the first day away, I palled around town in my maxi dress loving the sun on my skin. As the day went on, however, it got breezy and a little chilly. I threw on an infinity scarf and a cardigan (always prepared) and continued about my day. All day, I kept noticing how comfy I was and decided adapting my maxis for Fall (and maybe even buying a couple of Fall appropriate maxis) was totally on the To Do list. Its a way to hold on to the fashion of Summer even if I can't hold on to the high temperatures. Here are some of the looks I am using for inspiration:

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*Photo credit for original header photo. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Monday Quotable



























I am coming off of a hectic period in my life. Over the past several weeks, I've felt like I didn't have time to breathe on most days. My TO DO list kept growing and so did my stress level. Last Friday, I saw a break in the work flow so I promptly excused myself from the rat race and headed out of town. Though I was on call and had to work a bit, I was able to unplug for significant periods of time. It was the best thing for me. I'm all refreshed and ready to get back to life (and Nicole's Curated Life). 

I think the importance of disconnecting is overlooked. We all focus on the need for vacation because travel commercials are constantly on. Social media is filled with photos of people at beaches, theme parks and campgrounds. The message is go, go, go. When we're able to "go," our time is generally booked to capacity so we can "take advantage" of each minute away. When we return, we need a vacation from our vacation. At least, that's usually the way it works for me. 

At least it worked that way until now. The vacation Ash and I took this past weekend was so last minute (we booked the day before we left) that I didn't have time to plan a thing. We didn't have a dinner reservation to speak of. We didn't make a list of sights to see or download city maps onto our phones. We just went. We were free to do whatever...to follow the wind, so to speak. We got lost and found great restaurants. We walked and dreamed of relocating. We ate in the park and played with the dog. It was so low key it was almost like being home but with a greater appreciation of the present. And sometimes, that is all that is needed.  

If you need to disconnect, I highly recommend it--even if you just take a day long stay-cation. 

Before I go, I want to share the rest of today's quote:

“To live on a day-to-day basis is insufficient for human beings; we need to transcend, transport, escape; we need meaning, understanding, and explanation; we need to see over-all patterns in our lives. We need hope, the sense of a future. And we need freedom (or, at least, the illusion of freedom) to get beyond ourselves, whether with telescopes and microscopes and our ever-burgeoning technology, or in states of mind that allow us to travel to other worlds, to rise above our immediate surroundings.

We may seek, too, a relaxing of inhibitions that makes it easier to bond with each other, or transports that make our consciousness of time and mortality easier to bear. We seek a holiday from our inner and outer restrictions, a more intense sense of the here and now, the beauty and value of the world we live in.” -Oliver Sacks