Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What REALLY Scares me about Halloween... Plus ALTERNATIVES!

This is something for the parents out there who might like a little inspiration in the way of handing out something (anything?!) other than toxin-laden candy this Halloween!

Plus - it includes great ways to get your kids excited for the holiday -
without the need for a candy-binge...

Dig in! There's still time to stock up on NON-candy offerings. Woot!

Healthy Halloween Alternatives

What REALLY Scares Me about Halloween... Plus ALTERNATIVES!

[As posted to my clean-living blog over at The Vitality Lounge.com]

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Shameless Plug - Yet Another New Biz!

For those who follow me already - you know I'm a creative. I'm driven. I'm all about freedom. And - I'm passionate. Well - funnel all that - plus my love of writing - into one space, and you have a new business. (At least that's how it works for me.)You also know how I've had to take my health into my own hands and figure out what my body has been trying to tell me. In that process, I've learned SOOOO much about what is truly healthy, safe, and unsafe - and have incorporated many a trick or tip to living a life of vitality....

FIRST (and continued) Entrepreneurial Pursuit...
Passion for photography (as ART, Fun, Real people, & Real emotion) + a Sentimentalist who loves looking back fondly = Photography Biz. (That's been around since 2007.)

Passion for avoiding toxins, eating & LIVING truly right, digging up the TRUTHS about our foods and personal care products, and sharing what I learn + Writing my brains out = NEWEST Venture! Enter: The Vitality Lounge! http://www.thevitalitylounge.com 

Started this new biz with my nearest & dearest gal-pal, KP - who has a passion for all things "woo" :) She's our resident expert on the metaphysical, & of the mind & soul. She'll be contributing her experience & knowledge about various related topics, including things such as meditation, yoga, and many more!

I know a lot of busy parents out there, who enjoy reading these blogs, will benefit from our learning curve in the way of all things healthy. Please check it out at thevitalitylounge.com & sign-up for our free weekly newsletters... (er, "LoungeLetters") Plus, if you sign up before our official launch (hurry - coming in June) you are automatically entered to win a $100 Whole Foods gift card!

So what are you waiting for? You want the best for your fam, right? Jump in and join us in the (virtual)
'Lounge'! Cheers - and hope to see you there.

(To our vitality. Yay!)

*This may mean I focus even less (what the?) on this here blog... but then again - I may have more time to spill my mommy-brains here in coming months once all is official on the new-biz-front. We shall see!*

One of My BEST Mommy-Decisions EVER!

Oy-yoy-yoy.... You're gonna start to wonder if I write about anything beyond poop & puke on this site.... But I digress. Seems like one of those unavoidable life-scenarios - and so why not find some humor or 'good' within? Show me my silver lining. (Any fans of this here tune by First Aid Kit? I recommend checking it out! Pretty much sums up my approach to life.) :)

So - after our last family-puke-fest some months ago - I decided, "What the hell? I'mma gonna put a bucket into each kiddo's bed. Maybe (JUST maybe) they'll use it." Several months passed. One eve before night-night - The KG'r (Addie) mentioned that her 'tummy hurt'. I thought, "Oh goody. Should be a fun night ahead." Turns out - my instincts were on. BUT - there was a pleasant surprise in the mix. 

'Tis the middle of the night, and I awake to "Mommy, Mommy - - - she's throwing up!!!!" Big sis Myla was on duty for bringing us parents (by that - I mean me) abruptly to Addie's aid. "Oh shit!", was all I could muster as I sprung out of bed and flew into their room. I imagined I'd be spending the remainder of the night bouncing between holding a bucket, and tending to bedding in the laundry.

Whaaaaat? Could this BE???? The clearly-smarter-than-I-give-her-credit-for little munchkin had her head right over her bucket already - funneling the stuff away from bedding - entirely!

I immediately felt a weight off of my shoulders and the idea of sleeping on the couch downstairs and being woken up every half-hour to hour for the next 5 seemed like a pin-drop of a problemo compared to the dreaded puke-laundry. Woot! I'll take it...

As an added bonus - no one else in the house fell victim to the stomach bug.

TIP: Buckets IN Children's BEDS - ALWAYS!!!!!!
A QUOTE: "Few things are brought to a successful issue by impetuous desire, but most by calm and prudent forethought." ~ Thucydides
 quotediaryofficial:  ★★★ more quotes here ★★★

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Out of the Fog, and Into the Fresh!

You ever notice how when you try too hard, your brain turns into a foggy frenzy of gibberish and confusion? Well, I'm still working on that! {Will likely be a life-long work-in-progress, but alas, I'm moving in the right direction!}

I've had a breaky-poo - and now - 'tis time I give this here blog a little attention, and allow my brain-smatterings an opportunity to benefit parents (or generally people) all the world over! Woohoo! 

And with this fresh-appeal, comes a little color-update and general layout-rehab. If you recall (back in October of last year, the only time I wrote here in that span) - I had a drab-looking, rainy-window kind of background, and a deep black center with white type. Kind of fitting considering the ups and downs that were splattered upon these pages (and the lacking time and energy I had to really put into this resource.) 
But now? Now, you see a warm and welcoming center (inner-self, anyone? Refer to previous post!) and a jet-black, blank slate of opportunity surrounding and highlighting the brightly-lit center. Also falls in line with my feminine-with-an-edge appeal. Hmmmm.... Fitting indeed.

And maybe (JUST maybe) you'll see more consistent write-ups again toosies! Now, what more could you ask for? Me thinks I'm going to hone-in on some of the funnies, the freakies, and the "stresserations" - as my heart deems necessary. [Per the little ladies, we sometimes become 'stresserated' around here. Think of it as a cross between 'stressed' and 'frustrated' - mashed together in Kindergarten-friendly lingo.] 

Whatever the mood of the day might be, you'll see a consistent push to move inward. This process of blogging will serve as my online journal... whilst giving other parents and peeps around the globe an opp to see that they are not alone, that they can be a dedicated parent AND fully their own being, and that they can enjoy one more little blurp of 'hope', inspiration, and overflowing ideas to make life easier and more meaningful along their own journey. That's my hope, anyway! I'm also definitely going to be filling your plate with ways to positively substitute unhealthy thoughts, "poisonous" foods (deemed 'safe' by our government, but I'm learning there's more than meets the eye), and toxins in our environment. I'm super passionate about moving away from unnecessary stressers, unnecessary additives and other toxins in our foods, and negative mindsets. 

And - it's my belief that you don't have to be an 'expert' or have to go out-of-your-mind in order to implement little things - one step or day at a a time - to make your life more fulfilling and increase your overall quality of life. {Before it passes us by!}
Maybe simply by sharing more details and tips from my own journey - others will find humor, strength, inspiration, and uplift. Seems like a goal worth moving toward. 'Tis a win-win, after all; We're all here to lift one another up... Mama likey!

Follow my blog by signing-up in the above right-hand-column to stay up-to-date on the happs!

TIP: Fuel yourself - mind, body, and spirit!

WHIDFML: Conspired with a much-loved soul-sista of a friend in finding a shared passion to celebrate with the world! 'Tis a process... baby-steps and all - but forward momentum. (You will likely be hearing more about these things over time, so stay tuned!)
A QUOTE: "Every choice moves us closer to or farther away from something. Where are your choices taking your life? What do your behaviors demonstrate that you are saying yes or no to in life?" ~Eric Allenbaugh

Sabbatical... Er, Hiatus... Hmmm. Both? 'Accidental' Re-charge!

Whatever you wanna call it - it's clear that 2013 wasn't exactly a "year of writing" for this mommy-artist-writer-entrepreneur! I wasn't sure just what I wanted to write, and I didn't feel compelled to - as I often felt like letting it out somehow manifested into more negativity. 

While 2013 wasn't truly a "negative" year - or a "bad" year overall, I have a confession: I was totally in a personal-slump, and it was eating away at me without my even realizing it! Sadly, I let the outside world impact my inner-being far too greatly. I thought I was doing a pretty good job of disallowing that... But, truthfully, I had an 'awakening' that brought me slowly back around to my 'higher state of being'   

Putting off the writing... I'd definitely consider it a sabbatical of sorts. I mean - I did take (almost) an entire year away from it... which makes it official, by true sabbatical standards. It was, in fact, a 'rest or a break from work', as cited by Wikipedia. However, I didn't exactly 'rest' or break away from work at all! Actually, I later realized that I had been trying TOO hard with many aspirations (particularly financial ones, as well as general frustration with some aspects of our culture as a whole)... which broke up the natural flow of things, preventing me from being fully open to opportunity. 

Nonetheless, it did lead to some form of achievement. A) I learned some things... about myself and about life - including how to manifest the POSITIVE. B) I did further myself in my business as a MN wedding photographer - re-designing the biz to better-suit my life and long-term goals. And - C) I fell upon some amazing teachers and guides - wise in the ways of learning one's way through life, and reaching our fullest potential (through an ongoing and ever-changing journey). 

I literally "found" one of these fab women by 'accident' (Um - actually - I believe there is no such thing!) And, this lead me to another, and another... and there are many more resources that I've come upon! But - here is a list of my top-3-faves - who truly started me back down the right path (the one that is right for ME) - the path to being present, being true to myself and my heart, and opening up to what the Universe (aka: God) might have in store for me, and sending out positivity into the world around me - which in turn breeds more of it in my own life. Sounds magical, doesn't it? Well, let me tell you that I started putting many of these seemingly little things into practice more consistently, shifting my mindset toward letting go, toward trusting the Universe, toward tapping into the abundant energy that I'm already a part of, and toward forgiveness (of others, of the past, of myself)... And POOF! Yep... MAGIC. 

I didn't have to purchase a thing; I simply had to make a little time, and be willing to go within myself - and it was soooo worth it! I think so many people out there can benefit from this... I highly recommend subscribing to their blogs via email - so you'll receive (usually weekly) tid-bits of inspiration and tools to help you fulfill your dreams - one step at a time. Each dose builds upon itself, and before you know it a few drops of water have become a puddle of positivity and momentum! My goal? To see my puddle develop into a winding, evolving, RIVER of love, creativity, and inspiration! 
Okay - so here's that list: [Side-note... I receive nothing to promote this... I just adore these peeps and their provisions! Maybe if my readership grows some more... I could get a kick-back. But for now - just genuinely want to share in the happies!]
~ Marie Forleo/ Marie TV: MarieForleo.com 
Hands-down my top-fave! She's so down-to-earth, genuine, honest and REAL (um - some ways in which I like to describe myself!) But also - she's FUN! (HUGE for me. What is the point of anything unless we are ultimately happy? And what better way to promote happiness than through learning in a FUN manner?? Exactly!) It's extremely valuable insight - in small, digestible doses, and HIGHLY entertaining to boot! OMG - stop reading this already - and go click over there for some fun insights! 
~ Danielle LaPorte: DanielleLaPorte.com
I ADORE this woman! Some may view her in the woo-woo light... I could see that. But, not this chic! I freakin' think her insights - into tapping into self and the greater energy in a  simplistic and tangible way - are amazing! I seriously can't say enough good things! She's super laid-back and collected... I could strive for that ;)
~ Gabrielle Bernstein: GabbyTV.com
MORE super-insightful-amazing-guidance to helping yourself find yourself and listen to yourself (your heart)... Plus, guided-meditation. Okay - you're thinking "woo-woo" again. But really - all mediation is meant to be is a calming/ quieting of the mind - so we can create that space and allow ourselves to hear our own hearts. Our heart is all-knowing. Our mind is logic-based and cluttered. We have to clear away that clutter (ideally daily) to allow ourselves the opp to hear what our hearts have to say. When we lean in the direction of our hearts/ innermost selves - the Universe conspires along with us to guide us along the path. It's about opening up to yourself, and your God. The guided meditations are a great way to start - to figure out what works for you and what you should think about when you're trying NOT to think! 
BONUS! I changed my mind. (See, isn't that in itself a beautiful notion?!)
You get one more...
~ I also happen to like Natalie MacNeil: SheTakesontheWorld.com 
Ideal for entrepreneurs, there's a lot of good mojo happening here, and all these women listed here are interconnected. Imagine that, huh? They all offer very similar teachings, and yet - they aren't cut-throat or back-stabbing. In fact, they recognize that they can boost and promote one another, and by doing so - they are actually promoting themselves in that process - whether directly or indirectly (good karma!) That's what I'm talking about! (It's one of the things that I can't stand about the wedding photography industry. Everyone is so cut-throat and impersonal, and just trying to 'outdo' the next guy.... Ugh. Glad I don't have to deal with it directly... and by choice. I'm choosing to align myself with peeps in the biz who are like-minded and open-hearted - knowing that we all stand to benefit one another by lifting one another! It's one of the top-priorities on my list of things to instill in my little girls! Holla!) 

Cheers to (personal, spiritual, emotional, health, relationship, & financial) abundance in 2014! 

TIP: Sometimes you need to slow down to speed up (as suggested by Gabby Bernstein).... I listened to my inner voice and allowed myself a 'break' to refresh!
WHIDFML: I took a REAL sabbatical (a mini-one) - since Friday of last week. I let my mind rest & wander, and I didn't schedule anything... I meditated, and tried to be more 'quiet'. Spent some time as a family in there, and some time as a couple - but overall, it was spontaneous and opportunistic... and fully Zen-licious!
A QUOTE: "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle." ~ James Keller

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Listen, Trust Your Choice....

Actually... I had it written down like this: "Listen, Trust, Your Choice" (all broken up and separated by commas. You know... Three separate thoughts). I've been jotting sketchy little notes-to-self whenever I think of a 'blog' write-up that I'd like to post. One of the more recent notes stems from my realization that my God is trying to reach out to me via my kids... as I desperately reach out to them.

I kept telling my girls over and over again in recent months, "If you would just LISTEN. How much easier would life be? How much more pleasantly would we start our days? How much happier would we all be??" Oh. My. God. I then realized how much I'd been slacking in the "listening" category myself... In particular, I think that intuition is direct communication from above. When we get caught-up in the worldly crapola, it's easy for that instinctive knowing to start to fade. I'd been over-thinking, over-worrying, over-trying, but not nearly enough listening to my inner voice. K - good one, Big Guy. I get it. I'm listening. (Sorry!)

Then there was this whole battle about trust. I was explaining that when they lie, I lose their trust. Though, thankfully, they rarely play that card. The flip side of that coin?? When they don't trust me I about want to scream - because I (rarely) lie to them! (Sometimes, as a parent, it's a prerequisite, and I'm practicing when it is actually necessary. Think, oh - Santa Claus?!) But overall - I've learned early on - that honesty really is the best policy and not just a bunch of bs gibberish. So - I employ it. Hence my need to remind them, "Why can't you just trust your dad and me? Have we lied to you before?? Why won't you just TRUST us?!" Um. Yeaaaah. I get it. Okay. GOT IT... Again. (Sorry!)

Then, I was going on and on about how the consequences become THEIR own choice in the matter. We warn them about what will happen regarding their choices. When they choose poorly, there will be consequences (whether doled out by us, or by fate, depending on the situation.) Here I was saying, "Hey. It's YOUR choice, not mine. You have the choice. YOU make the choice about whether or not to listen, and therefore you make the choice as to whether you'll have to endure the consequences." WOW. Did You.... just do that... AGAIN?! Whew. Okay - yep! MY choice. Got it.

But then as I re-read my little list upon sitting down at my desk, I read it more quickly and without as much thought (over-thinking? Me?? Nah.) and it suddenly read: "Listen, Trust Your Choice." It was like, "Lalalalala" {Insert rays of sunlight beaming down through fluffy clouds.} It hit me differently. I've been questioning myself a little too much lately. And - wallah - once again - via my children (initially) - I'M the one being taught! What can I say? I guess it's fate! And truly - I did need the reminders. So be it far from me to sit here and wallow in hypocrisy, for cryin' out loud! 

TIP: Listen, Trust Your Choice  ;)
A QUOTE: "The more you trust your intuition, the more empowered you become, the stronger you become, and the happier you become." ~ Gisele Bundchen
WHIDFML: Made that massage a "Chakra balancing massage" - and I feel more at ease and much more open to my own instinctive thoughts again. {Yay!}

Intuition...this is true in all stages of your life :)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Island Time. A New Revolution!

Oh my gosh... I can't believe how long it's been since I've blogged here! Some days things just have to be put on the old 'back-burner' until time permits. Alas, this was one of those things. For many days. While I allowed life's demands to pull me out of my Island Time mentality.

Honestly, sometimes I'd think, "I don't need to blog about it. I'm just too busy to care, and why pressure myself." Other days I'd think, "But I WANT to blog about it. It's such a great record of my evolution (I imagine myself reminiscing in my rocking chair on the porch when we're in our 80's), and a creative outlet as well as an emotional one." Whatever the case, I just didn't feel motivated or inspired often times, to actually sit down and write. I have a theory on that....
Running and updating a photography business. Writing for income via an at-home-job-opp. Tending to children's continual needs. Laundry. Bills. Groceries. Grocery shopping. Children's continual needs. Making lunches for husband. Playing husband's secretary. Making lunches for children. Organizing dinner (and helping to cook & then cleaning up afterward). Keeping up house. Tending to children's continual needs. Did I mention children's continual needs? Because, well, they are continual. "Mommy" "Mommy" "Mommy" - the soundtrack to my life ;)

Ironically though, my lack of 'motivation' began with something much more positive and inspiring than being 'too busy'... It was my adoption of the concept of "Island Time'. For TWO full months after returning home from our amazing opportunity to visit the island of St. Kitts in the Caribbean, I felt this inward sense of peace and serenity - even in the face of day-to-day challenges that life may present. For those of you who have not (YET; If you dream it, it can happen) had the pleasure of visiting a Caribbean island... allow me to expand on this intrinsically beautiful, and simple concept that can be implemented into anyone's life at will. I highly recommend it too! Basically, it can be summed up like this: "Ah yes. We're here. We're working on it. We're all in this together. It'll GET done. Eventually." There you have it in plain old, upper-mid-western-life-constantly-on-the-go-go-go- translated-English... Island Time!

Actually, we had read about this other-worldly phenomenon during our research prior to arriving on the island. Sadly, it was portrayed as a very negative thing - in a number of restaurant reviews, in particular... "blah blah blah... and you'll probably wait at least 45 mins to get your food.... blah blah blah..." I was like, "WHO CARES?! Seriously - that is how our culture is? We're even in a 'hurry' to 'eat and run' while on vacation on a distant island?? Are you in a hurry to get back to - oh - I dunno - the BEACH? UM.... It'll still be there. Additionally, most of the restaurants are on or very near a beach. We ate on a sandy beach every evening! I can't understand why people are so incapable of just enjoying themselves leisurely any more, without the need to find something negative to remark on, or continually be in a hurry. It's got to be exhausting and disappointing to require such perfection and high expectations from people and from life.

Anyway - I see it purely as a positive thing, and - something I really needed - to help me maintain a more care-free way of life going forward. Now, when I begin to lose my grip on my "I'm not a robot" and "no need to be running constantly like mutated chickens without heads" approach to life, inevitably getting sucked back into the whirlwinds that constantly surround me, I conveniently remind myself, "Hey! It'll get done. On Island Time. 'S'all good."

It's not always easy. I did get unwittingly yanked back into the ol' hamster wheel for a while there... But, at least I have felt this basic, innate human inclination to slow down and actually ENJOY life in the process of living it! I know this way of life exists, and is absolutely beneficial to our overall well-being and health. I know, too, how to summon it again, and I even have a name for it now; Cheers to Island Time!

TIP: If your kiddo won't eat her sandwich at school because it gets a little bit 'icky' from condensation (due to a cold pack)... Try just a PB sandwich and 'sides' that don't require refrigeration. We use Santa Cruz Organic - in GLASS jars-  PB (My fave ingredient list EVER: "Peanuts, salt"!), and include things like dried fruits, plantain chips, organic crackers... You can also include whole apples or bananas without the need for a cold pack.
WHIDFML: Scheduled my first massage in many moons... Can't WAIT!!!!!!!!!
A QUOTE: "Beware the barrenness of a busy life." ~ Socrates
A PIN: Notebooks for sale! {Just remember, there are really only so many things that you HAVE to get done.... Island Time!}
i want to sell these at my store, I can think of 100s of people who would buy them LOL