Friday, May 29, 2009

two more days and a question

Only two more days until my Summer Sun Salutation and Meditation Challenge will begin. (It's hard to believe June has almost arrived!) I am really exited about focusing in on my home practice this month! Once again, everyone's invited to join the challenge! (Yummy details are on the right).

On another note, I am considering switching from blogspot to wordpress, and I was wondering if any of you have an opinion as to which is better. The only reason I'm wanting to switch is because I really want to have the ability to set up different pages on my blog (more details to come soon as to why I want to do this!), and blogspot doesn't allow me to do this. Other than this reason, I'm very satisfied with blogspot. Thoughts?


Thursday, May 28, 2009

self-esteem 101

Earlier this week, I ran a self-esteem group with a small group of my female sophomore students. Here are a few points we discussed to help build self-esteem and confidence. I think almost everyone can benefit from being reminded of these (no matter what your age):
  • Refuse to let other people fill your mind with negative stuff--surround yourself with positive people who lift you up. If you are in relationships with people who consistently tear you down, it is probably time to find some new friends.
  • Eliminate all the negative stuff you say to yourself every single day--you cerntatinly shouldn't accept negative from other people, so why should you accept it from yourself? Work on noticing negative self-talk, and restating all of it into positives.
  • Make it a point to look for the positive in every situation--you can't control everything in life, but you can control how you respond to it. Every time you respond positiviely, you contribue to building someone else's self-esteem, and that can only help build your own as well.
  • Don't ever tear down someone else's self-esteem--it is possible to confront people without tearing them down personally. It isn't necessary to judge or criticize someone if a mistake is made. Be honest and respectful. Help people see the good in themselves, too!

Don't ever forget you are a unique, wonderful, beautiful soul!



Wednesday, May 27, 2009

yogathought for the day

Here is your yogathought for the day from Marianne Williamson's wonderful book, A Return to Love:

"'The ego bases its perception of reality on what has happened in the past, carries those perceptions into the present and thus creates a future like the past.' If we felt that we were lacking in our past, our thoughts about the future are based on those perceptions. We then enter the present in an effort to compensate for the past. Since that perception is our core belief, we recreate its conditions in the future. 'Past, present and future are not continuous, unless you force continuity upon them.'"


p.s. June is quickly approaching! Join me in my Summer Sun Salutation and Meditation Challenge described on the right side of my blog. Say a little "thank you" to the summer sunshine. It will make your body and soul feel divine!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

taking positive risks...saying "Yes!" to life

In general, I would describe myself as someone who doesn't take a lot of risks in life. As I reflect on this, there are a few factors that probably contribute to my "play it safe," mindset...perfectionism, the way I was raised, and fear of failure are just a few. I would say the most recent big, positive risk I have taken (and this has been almost two years ago now) was agreeing to be the commencement speaker for the graduate program at my graduation. When I was asked, it was one of those moments I didn't overthink, I just said, "Yes." Speaking in front of a large audience was a bit nerve-racking, but hugely rewarding. In fact, one of my dreams growing up was to become a motivational speaker and presenter. This experience gave me a little taste of that, and I am now so thankful I said, "Yes."

Since this risk-taking experience has been two years ago now, I am definitely realizing I need to work on stepping out and taking more positive risks in my life. I recently completed an independent study graduate course and one of the lessons was on being willing to take positive risks. It listed some commonly used excuses to avoid taking a positive risk:
  1. I am not doing that bad.

  2. I am not old enough to worry about that yet.

  3. I can't get help because I have to work to take care of my responsibilities.

  4. If I change, the friends I have won't like me anymore.

  5. The people who have pressured me to be different will think they have won.

  6. I am trying so hard, but I get almost no appreciation for my efforts.

  7. Well, this is just how I am.

While I have mentally used a few of these excuses a time or two, I would say probably the one I find myself thinking the most is: "I don't have the time, energy, or financial resources right now." This excuse is definitely not serving me, so I declare here and now, I am done with it!

My focus word of the year for 2009 was ACTION for a reason. I decided this year I'm going to take ACTION, which includes taking positive risks. I'm going to push myself to make changes and try new things. I am going to say "Yes!" to life more often...

So, all you lovely ladies and gents out there, please help me out here and share how you find the courage to take risks, both big and small, and get out of your comfort zone! How do you say "Yes!" to life?


Monday, May 25, 2009

balanced yogi

According to yoga journal's "Yoga Snob Quiz," I am a balanced yogi. For all you yogis out there
who'd like to take the quiz, go to:
p.s. I originally found this quiz through Nadine Fawell's blog. You can check it out here:

weekend festivities

Extended weekends are always so yummy. This one has been especially nice. Friday night my sweet husband and I went out for sushi to celebrate his last day of school. Summer has officially arrived for him. I have one week and two days until my summer is here. I think it's so important to find reasons to have celebrations on a regular basis!
Saturday I took the pups on a long walk. We then went to Westlakes, and I bought another pot for planting. I filled it with a canna and sweet potato vines in green and black (this is my first year to purchase sweet potato vines, and I really, really like them already). So, I am officially done planting for the summer now--really. I definitely haven't been practicing much brahmacharya when it comes to purchasing flowers this year. I need to work on this. They just make me so darn happy!

I also spent some time on our two computers Saturday afternoon. I have a bunch of files on the old one that I need to get transferred to our new one. You can see my pup, Ziggy and my gigantic cat (yes, I know he's huge), Zak are finally starting to tolerate one another. They aren't friends, but at least they are occassionally able to relax around one another! Sat. evening we went to a BBQ at friends' house. Then we came back home and met up with my Mom and step-dad. Mom and I went to the mall and I found the baragain of the year! The dress was originally $70.00, and I got it for the bargain price of $4.98. Yes, $4.98. Upon inspection, I noticed the belt is missing a few rhinestones, so I'll either try to fix it or buy a new belt.

Yesterday was another BBQ. This time with my entire family at my Grandpa's lake home. It's a little retreat into the woods and nature.

I also painted my nails a bright, sweet pink color. It's always nice to have a splash of color on my hands!

Today I will be spending the majority of my time at a coffee shop working on my graduate class. I hope your weekend was filled with fun, relaxation, and family, too!


p.s. Don't forget the Summer Sun Salutation and Meditation Challenge is quickly approaching! (See details on the side of the blog.) Also, be checking in regularly as I just might be changing my blog title and/or location soon. Exciting change is in the air for me...more details to follow!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

the journey

I discovered this fabulous poem by Mary Oliver at Sarah Moran's blog, This poem very much resonates with me (it literally gave me goose bumps the first time I read it) especially at this point in my life. I hope you enjoy it, too!

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.

"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.

You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.

It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.

But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

a lil' self-care

I am very excited to be going with two friends tonight to get pedicures and a bite to eat. Some self-care is definitely needed. I hope you have some time to get in a little self-care soon!

Here is your yogathought for the day:

"We're like the spokes on a wheel, all radiating out from the same center. If you define us according to our position on the rim, we seem separate and distinct from one another. But if you define us according to our starting point, our source--the center of the wheel--we're a shared identity. If you dig deep enough into your mind, and deep enough into mine, the picture is the same: at the bottom of it all, what we are is love." --Marianne Williamson


p.s. For all you yogis and yoginis out there, if you haven't already: Make sure to check out the Summer Sun Salutation and Meditation challenge for the month of June! (It's on the right of this post.)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

pure potential

Change is in the air. I'm reminding myself: when one door closes, another always opens. We just have to make sure we're looking for it, not stuck staring at the door that just shut!

I'm very excited about the potential for great things to come.

Here is the yogathought for the day:

"You are pur pure potential." --Maat


Monday, May 18, 2009

beyond happy

Today my June issue of Body + Soul magazine arrived and one of the articles really stood out to me. It's titled "Beyond Happy," and it states that, "those who experience more positive emotions cope with stress better, find creative solutions to problems, enjoy better health and relationships, and even negotiate more effectively." Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D. is quoted as saying, ""Rather than just signal an absence of negativity, positivity can produce success and health.'"

I am not exactly sure what my parents did to instill in me a positive attitude, but it is definitely one of the things I am most thankful for from them. Some of the tips in the article for cultivating positve emotions include:
  • "Be here now. The most direct way to boost positivity is to live in the moment."
  • "Don't overthink. It's one thing to savor the present but quite another to analyze it to death."
  • "Make positive thoughts stick. Work to pay the positives more attention. Make them 'stick' by actively registering them in your mind."
  • "Assume the best. Thinking about what you want in life may get your positive emotions circulating."
  • "Ritualize gratitude. The ultimate positive gear shifter? Seeing the good in every situation. Search for reasons to feel and experience gratitude."

I would say I use each of these strategies on a daily basis. Don't get me wrong, I do have negative thoughts (and the resulting feelings) creep in now and then. The main thing is that I realize how toxic negative thoughts are, and so most of the time when I have them, I am very aware I've slipped into negativity. Because of this awareness, I'm able to make a conscious effort to replace the negative thought or self-talk with the positve. At that point, I work to make the positive thoughts stick. Sometimes this is easier said than done, but I always try!

I find ritualizing gratitude is something that has helped me the most. I have so many things to be thankful for. So, to end this post on a positive note, here is my gratitude list for today. I am thankful for:
  • beautiful spring weather
  • my sweet husband
  • the smell of fresh cut grass
  • blogging
  • my blogging friends

I'd love to hear what you're grateful for, or how you cultivate an upbeat attitude in your life. (And even if you don't post about it, definitely think about it. You'll feel a bit better by doing so!)



Sunday, May 17, 2009

a few more photos

Here are a few more photos of my pups from this weekends at my Mom's house. Ziggy matches the furniture and likes to pose. He also likes to steal shoes--luckily, he usually doesn't chew them up or ruin them. He just likes to carry them around and lay by them.

My mom also finished making my zafu (meditation cushion) and eye pillow this week. I fell in love with this fabric and decided it would be perfect. These will both come in very handy during my Sun Salutation and Meditation Challenge in June!
Here is your yogathought for the day from Marianne Williamson:
"I certainly don't pretend to consistently achieve a loving perspective of every situation in my own life. One thing I'm very clear about, however, is that when I do, life works beautifully. And when I don't, things stay stuck."

Saturday, May 16, 2009

puppy love

These are my two pups. I love, love, love them. Ziggy is a cockapoo and came from a breeder. Olivia is a rescue dog from Second Chance. They are both the sweetest dogs ever, and they both very definitely have unique personalities all their own. Olivia is very well-mannered and always does as she is told. Ziggy, on the other hand, has a bit of ADHD and an ornery streak occasionally. He is incredibly smart, but only follows directions if a treat is involved! I know I've posted this before, but the energy pets bring to a house is wonderful. While they can be a lot of work and expensive (if taken care of well), they are definitely worth it. There's nothing like puppy love!

Wishing you a fabulous weekend.

p.s. If you haven't already, check out the Summer Sunsalutation and Meditation Challenge (on the right). I'd love to have you join me!

Friday, May 15, 2009

rain and a word on creativity

It is pouring down rain right now. Since I'm inside with no where to go, I don't mind the rain showers at all. I have our two screen doors open and the sound of it is rather soothing. The pups are a bit freaked out because of the occasional burst of thunder. And, sadly my sweet husband is a bit preoccupied because he's not able to get his truck (or girlfriend as I like to refer to it, but that's another story) in the garage because we had a massive pile of mulch delivered in our driveway today, and he's worried it might hail.

Earlier this afternoon we started mulching our flower beds. We finished the one in the front of our house, which is the largest, before the storm moved in. Mulching is such a dirty job. I was covered from head to toe.
I know I've posted quite a bit about flowers recently. Truly, planting flowers is one of my creative outlets, and I enjoy them all summer long. Last week, while flower shopping with a friend, she was amused at how I arrange the flowers on my flat in the way I intend to plant them, so I can visualize and design my pots just as I want them to look. This year, my color theme for the flowers in my pots is mainly pinks and purples.
Here is your yogathought for the day on creativity from the creativity guru herself, Julia Cameron:
"We are all creative. Creativity is a natural life force that all can experience in one form or another. Just as blood is part of our physical body and is nothing we must invent, creativity is part of us and we each can tap into the greater creative energies of the universe and pull from that vast, powerful sprirtual wellspring to amplify our own individual creativity.
As a culture we tend to define creativity too narrowly and to think of it in elitist terms, as something belonging to a small chosen tribe of 'real artists.' But in reality everything we do requires making creative choices, although we seldom recognize that fact. The ways in which we dress, set up our homes, do our jobs, the movies we see, and even the people we involve ouselves with--these all are expressions of our creativity. It is our erroneuos beliefs about creativity, our cultural mythology about artists ('All artists are broke, crazy, promiscuous, self-centered, single or they have trust funds') that encourage us to leave our dreams unfulfilled. These myths most often involve matters of money, time, and other people's agendas for us. We we clear these blocks away, we can become more creative."
(photo by on flickr)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

flowers and opportunities to blossom

I love flowers. I think my deep flower love started when we bought our home, and we could begin planting them in our own yard. There is something wonderful about seeing flowers bloom. Their vibrant colors and unique and beautiful shapes make me happy. Some of my favorite flowers planted around our home include poppies, zennias, and daisies. This afternoon when I got home from work, I was delighted to see my poppies are just beginning to blossom. (I immediately jumped out of my car and snapped an iphone photo to share.)

Here is a yogathought for today I also wanted to share with you about our opportunities to blossom:

"When we're truly honest with ourselves, our problem is not that opportunities for success haven't appeared. God is always expanding our possibilities. We are given plenty of opportunities, but we tend to undermine them. Our conflicted energies sabotage everything. To ask for another relationship, or another job, is not particularly helpful if we're going to show up in the new situtation exactly as we showed up in the last one. Until we're healed of our internal demons, our fearful mental habits, we will turn every situation into the same painful drama as the one before. Everything we do is infused with the energy with which we do it. It we're frantic, life will be frantic. If we're peaceful, life will be peaceful. And so our goal in any situation becomes inner peace. Our internal state determines our experience of our lives; our experiences do not determine our internal state." --A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson

Peace, love, and lots of blossoming flowers!


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

summer list

Today, I spent a bit of time brainstorming how I'll fill my time during the summer days. (I often get asked the question of what I'll be doing since I don't work during June and July. I am definitely not one to get bored. I can always find something to do!) Here's what I came up with:

  • retreat to a cabin in the woods for a weekend floating trip with husband, family, and friends

  • do lots of yoga
  • spend time with sweet husband

  • teach yoga

  • go to the 2nd annual girls weekend with my fabulous girlfriends

  • have a father's day bbq

  • complete my summer sun salutation and meditation challenge

  • lounge by the pool with great summer reads

  • go to the farmer's market

  • eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies

  • visit local coffee joints to chill, read, and write

  • take a shopping trip to st. louis

  • eat breakfast with my husband at different locations throughout town

  • walk to starbucks early mornings with my husband and pups

  • spend time with grandparents

  • take pups to dog park

  • visit local parks and hike on trails

  • remodel master bath

  • get a garage keypad

  • learn more about blogging...maybe even try a vlog entry or two

  • clean and organize closets

  • make t-shirts with fun, creative, zen sayings

  • take a 3 credit hour graduate course

  • make jewelry

  • make creative inspiration folders--home, fashion, & lifestyle

  • renew my AFAA certification

  • spend time reconnecting with friends
  • browse in bookstores
  • take short afternoon cat naps

  • clean out file cabinet

  • transfer i tunes to new computer

  • get external hard drive and back up computers

So, this is some of what I'll be doing this sacred summer. I'd love to hear if you have any summer plans.


(photo by laughing dog on flickr).

Sunday, May 10, 2009

divamom's day

In honor of Mother's Day, I want to post about my fabulous Divamom. She is one of the most beautiful people I know and has made a huge impact on my life. She is incredibly creatively talented and thus the go-to-woman for family and friends who need any sort of sewing, decorative, bow-tying, flower arranging project done. She is so smart, kind, thoughtful, and humble. She raised me with strong values and morals and always made being a mom seem easy. She truly is a divamom. (This is a photo I took of us with my i-phone before the Celine Dion concert).

I also want to honor my divagrandmothers today. I have two of the sweetest, smartest, most creative grandma's ever!

If you'd like to read why yoga's so good for moms, check out the Pink Heels blog:
Happy Mother's Day to all mothers out there. Relish in some extra self-care today!

p.s. Check out the summer sun salutation and meditation challenge on the right. All you yogis and yoginis out there, make a commitment to get your yoga and meditation on during the month of June!

Friday, May 8, 2009


As you've probably noticed, I decided it was time for a little blog layout and color change. Change is good. (I'm mainly reminding myself of this as I tend to resist change much of the time.) Sometimes it's just good to mix things up, right? So, I'm going to be experimenting a bit with my blog layout and colors this weekend. Right now, however, I'm hearing my big, comfy bed calling my name. It's time to get some Zzzz's.

Sweet dreams.


summer sun salutation and meditation challenge

I haven't blogged much this week, mainly because I haven't felt well. Wednesday, I had a headache and neckache and yesterday my stomach was hurting. Today, thankfully, thankfully, thankfully, I feel back to my normal self, which is wonderful after two days of aches and pains. Good health always feels so yummy after being ill.

On a different and very exciting note, I've been thinking a lot about summer--as are all those out there who work in public education. One of the teachers I work with said the other day this time of the year is like the eighth month of pregnancy. Since I've never been pregnant, I don't know about that, but I do know I'm counting the days till summer birth--16 more work days to go! As I've been contemplating some of the creative and fun things I want to do this summer, I've decided I'm going to do a personal Summer Sun Salutation and Meditation Challenge. And for all those yogis and yoginis out there who would like to join me on this journey, I'd love to have you along for the ride.

So, what exactly is the challenge? Here is the jest of it:

For each day of the month of June, I will do exactly that number of sun salutations (A or B). June 1, 1 sun salutation (minimum). June 2, 2 sun salutations...June 25, 25 sun salutations. You get the point. After the sun salutations, I will practice as many yoga postures as my body feels like doing. No time limit, number of poses, or requirements here except to let my body lead, not my mind. Then, I will end the practice by meditating for half the time of how many sun salutations I did. For example, if it was a 10 sun salutation day, I will set my meditation alarm for 5 minutes. The meditation part will be the biggest challenge to me. It is also the part I'm most excited about. (I have my mom making me a zafu, which I will need to try to gently encourage her to get done for me before June 1!)

I think this is definitely a great way to welcome the summer sunshine. Anyone else up for the challenge?

Here is your yogathought for the day:

"The most ravishing experience you can have is of the mysterious, of living in consecrated curiosity, with the symphony of the universe playing through you and the still point laying claim to your heart." --Jennifer Louden


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

desire to be inspired

Here is your yogathought for the day from Wayne Dyer:

"When you feel uninspired, you recognize that you need to make a vibrational adjustment that puts your thoughts and behaviors back in alignment with the desire to be inspired."


Sunday, May 3, 2009

my hgtv

It is so important to create a home you consider a sacred space: a place you feel is a reflection of you, a place you can relax, and a place that makes you feel calm and joyful. I am a true believer this can be done on any budget and in any home! My first home was a condo and almost everything in it was hand-me-downs or from garage sales, and in my humble opinion, it was an eclectic, chic lil' place. Now my sweet husband and I, and our pups and kitties, live in a little bit bigger home and we've made it into place we look forward to coming home to every day (notice the little touches of Zen in almost every room). Here are a few photos:

To go along with my HGTV theme, I also shot some photos of some of my recent gardening projects...only 3 more pots to go, and I'm finished planting for this year:

Here is your yogathought for the day:
Let your creative juices flow.
Boycott white walls.
Fill your home with only those things your truly love.
Plant flowers.
Create a sacred space.

Friday, May 1, 2009

sunshine personal days and surprises

Today I took a personal day (we get two personal days per school year and I had one left). My original plan was to go to Strawberry Hill Farms, one of the greatest plant and flower places in town, buy some beautiful flowers and spend the rest of the day in the sun planting them. It seems the sunshine has been taking some personal days, too, as it hasn't been working much at all lately. Today was cloudy, rainy, and cold, so my personal day plan has been postponed. I ended up doing some laundry, running some errands, and then pretty much vegging out most of the day.

On a much more exciting note, earlier in the week, I was also thinking how much I would like to get a massage on my personal day, as I haven't had one in a few months; however, because I'm saving my mula to pay for some graduate classes I'll be taking this summer, I decided the massage was something I could live without--eventhough I had a deep yearning to get one. Then...literally, the day after I was thinking about craving a massage, I got a text message from one of my fabulous friend's husband, asking what I was doing this Saturday because he wanted to surprise his wife and buy us both lunch and massages at Spa Shiki. I almost fell out of my chair when I read the text. It worked out perfectly because the May schedule for yoga hadn't been sent out yet, so I was able to take the morning off. I was waiting to post about this until my friend found out about the surprise. I just got off the phone with her to finalize the details, and I cannot wait until tomorrow! I will be rising early, showering, swinging by Starbuck's drive-through, and heading out of town for a great day filled with girl-time fun and relaxation! Thank you my fabulous friend's hubby!!!

Hope your weekend has some fun and relaxation in it, too. And, I hope the sunshine gets back to work, soon. :)

p.s. The photo is from Spa Shiki's website and is of the hot tub at Spa Shiki.

this i believe

Here is your yogathought for Friday, by 7-year old Tarek McClain. (If you're able, I highly suggest listening to this rather than just reading it.)

I believe children are amazing.


p.s. Check out the yama of the month for May on the right side of this post.