monthly music

January 31, 2011

Last day of the month and you know what time it is! Monthly music time!

The "New Beginnings January" mix has something for everyone, but sadly I hit a little glitch when uploading it to Grooveshark. For some reason, the system won't let me upload 5 of the songs I wanted to share. 

So frustrating! 

So below you will find the list of all tracks I intended to put on the album, but the actual playlist on Grooveshark will be missing a few. I have marked the songs that are missing below with an * in case you wanted to check them out. I have also put the playlist up on iTunes if you would like to purchase one or all of the songs. To listen, click the "actual playlist" link above and select "Play All".

Playlist Cover Art by MarianneLoMonaco on Etsy.
  1. With Her Weels Again - This Is the Kit
  2. Don't Carry It All - The Decemberists*
  3. Intermission - Senator & The New Republic*
  4. Rolling In the Deep - Adele
  5. Parachute - Ingrid Michaelson
  6. Make It Through - Sherwood*
  7. January White - Sleeping At Last
  8. In a Tree - Priscilla Ahn*
  9. Marathon - Tennis
  10. Where the Road Meets the Sun - Katie Herzig & Matthew Perryman
  11. Regret - Wye Oak
  12. One Whole Hour - Scarlett Johansson*

tutorial thursday

January 27, 2011

Did you enjoy yesterday's post? I hope so.

Today I want to talk about goals. One of the suggestions on the 50 Ways to Cope With Stress document from yesterday was to "Have goals for yourself...and don't put a time limit on them." The first part was from the original list, but I added the second half. There's a very important reason for that addition. Goals with deadlines create stress, and in some cases punishment.

I used to make lists of goals. Each one had an expiration date, like "Things I'm going to do by the time I'm 21", or "Things I'm going to do by the time I'm 25"...I know...creative, huh? I'm sure you can guess how many things on those lists were actually checked off as complete. About 5 on each list of about 30 goals. While I should have been proud of those 5 things, as they were often the most important to me, I felt extremely disappointed when I would find the list buried somewhere in my stuff (usually way after the deadline) and see only a small portion completed.

One day I started to make another list, but when I went to assign a timeline I cringed. It was time to start celebrating my accomplishments no matter how many (or few) I could check off each year. The other thing about goal lists is that they can seem so overwhelming. While I believe that everyone should have a list of goals that never runs dry (because goals can be as small as taking a vitamin every morning to renovating an old house) I am definitely someone that can feel the need to take on too much all at once. To solve these two issues I modified the natural form of the list.

Behold...The 3x5 Card

ink on 3x5 card art by JonHiokiArt

Why not break the mega goal list into bite sized pieces (Hmmm....wasn't that in the Stress Doc too?) and pick and choose what to pay attention too next?

To help alleviate the stress of a long goal list and my tendency to beat myself up over unfinished projects, I decided to write single goals on single 3x5 cards and focus on just one or two at a time.
Once I had written each goal on the blank side of the 3x5, I turned them over and wrote the steps I would need to complete to fully accomplish that goal. That way, I would have the choice to take baby steps or go all out once I was ready to tackle that item. Next, I sorted the cards into two stacks: Long-term goals and Short-term goals...and sorted each stack into order of which could be completed now and which needed time, planning, or additional resources.

Once all the sorting was complete, I drew two from each pile...that I could start working on. Since the first two were somewhat in the works, I started with the top 3 short-term goals and the top long-term goal and hung all four on the inside of my front door. Every day as I left the house I was reminded of what I was working on. Instead of finding an unfinished list that had buried a long time ago, I was reminded daily of what was important to me.

Today, I have accomplished over half of the stack and I have 2 goals hanging on the back of my door. One is "Clear out the Clutter" and the other is "Achieve A's in all my classes and master each subject". With one year left of college courses, I can't wait to take that second one down and rip it to shreds! Some of them I keep to remind myself of what I have gotten done, but that one...THAT one will be symbolically destroyed in celebration.

Do you have a goal accomplishing plan that works for you? I'd love to hear about it! If not, I hope you will consider this little project and let me know how it goes.

textbook revelations #1

January 26, 2011

Stress Print by Michele Littlefield
Good morning, class! Everybody put your thinking cap's time for's textbook revelations.

Since my PDP is all about stress reduction, I thought it would be fun to share some stress reduction techniques that everyone can apply, regardless of your stress level. One thing to know about stress reduction is that it is more common for people to use reactive stress strategies (like taking a deep breath or chocolate gluttony) rather than proactive strategies, such as a workout routine or defining what is most important to you. With proactive strategies your stress level will be naturally reduced and give your mind and body the opportunity to develop resilience. I don't know about you...but I am in some desperate need of resilience. get you started...take a moment to think about the top 5 things in your life that create stress. My top 5 are 1) time - not enough for completing tasks at work and projects at home, 2) money - I am so busy I forget to manage it, 3) stupid people - I know that's mean, but sadly it's true, 4) bad/distracted drivers - because they create unnecessary danger and frustration, and 5) technology - it's a love/hate relationship.

Now, make a list of things that you can do to help reduce or eliminate those items. Note that some stress is good and some can never be eliminated. Evaluate each one for it's potential and develop a plan for improvement. For mine I plan to create some schedule guidelines to help manage my time effectively and develop a personal statement that will help me to determine if a task is important. If the task doesn't align with my personal statement it is not considered important and its priority is reduced. For money I will automate as many payments as possible and set reoccurring reminders for all other bills. For stupid people and bad/distracted drivers, well, those are stresses that can't be eliminated. For those, I will react to them with a deep breath, a smile, and move on. For technology, I can use the skills I have for troubleshooting, and the rest we'll leave up to the experts.

It is here where we encounter the hardest and most time consuming part. Implementation. Once you have identified the problem, developed multiple solutions (always come up with at least 3 options no matter how crazy they may be), and selected the best one, it is time to implement your plan. This can take some time, but it should always be worth it in the end. My issue will undoubtedly be maintenance of said plans, but through self-awareness I have identified that weakness and can avoid the downward spiral.

Lastly, I will leave you with a list of 50 Ways to Cope With Stress that I found somewhere online (my apologies to the author), which you can also download to check off those that you have mastered.

Remember: Live Simply, Breathe Deeply, and Think Happy.

now on tuesdays

January 25, 2011

"Sense of Scale" print by NestaHome

This quarter we are working on a personal development project in my managing employees class and it has me thinking a lot lately about growth. About how we all (hopefully) improve and bloom as the years go by and how each year has seasons that affect each one of us in different ways. Some of us constantly reach higher and stay strong and full of life through every season, and and others go through gradual changes, each with its own beauty, and come out on the other side more magnificent than before.

For my project, I am working on growth through reducing stress and developing resilience, so hopefully I will become one of those "trees" who is consistently strong, but still graceful, rather than the one I am now who is constantly struggling with her environment.

Are you tired of the "tree" metaphors yet?

Ok...on to why I am here. I have decided that my lovely little space on this blog creates two things in my life: 1) A little stress when I feel like there is an expectation for me to be creative and write daily posts... and 2) a place for me to grow. I realized the other day that this venue has been a huge outlet in my life and has helped me find my voice. Because thing #2 is way more desirable than thing #1 I am attempting to reduce the stress I feel to come up with new post ideas by creating a weekly schedule. So, from now on, here is the post lineup I will loosely follow. (I say loosely because you never know when inspiration will strike and I may have a way more brilliant post idea.)

Monday: Hello Week post
Tuesday: Crushin' on Etsy
Wednesday: Textbook Revelations
Thursday: Tutorials or Inspiration
Friday: Video Friday!

Sound good to you? Me too! But suggestions are always welcome.

And now...since it's are some of my Etsy crushes.

This week's theme? Trees.

I love shrinky-dink jewelry, especially this tree top ring...
Forest Ring by DillonDesigns

There's something about the tree lined path photo 
that looks like you could follow it deep within...
Silent Path necklace by wearableartbyjude 

A nature themed cover for an electronic book...
A kindle cover by handmadebysima.

I would love to see the shadows created by these wispy tree silhouettes... 
"Reaching Branches" votive holders by daydreemdesigns

These pillows look comfy and relaxing with the calm winter tree-scape...
Traditions pillow covers by Quiltpedaler

This is one of those journals that I would buy and love
but would be afraid to write in it and mess it up! I know...weird.
Shadow Pods moleskin journal from shoofly

I love birch trees and I would like to try produce 
bags, so these would be a win-win situation.
Reusable Organic Birch Tree produce bags by ohlittlerabbit

See you tomorrow!

good morning monday

January 24, 2011

Hello Lovelies and Happy Monday!

Just stopping in to wish you a wonderful week and remind you that...
Print from AlisaBobzien on Etsy

En-joy your damn fine Monday! 

have a joyful weekend!

January 21, 2011

Haven't you heard? It's video Friday!

Today, I would like to share this video of two very talented artists and their crazy steady hands. Little known fact about me...I am jealous of anyone who can draw without a shaky hand. Why? I think it goes back to the 6th grade when a classmate told me that I was the worst "tracer" she had ever seen. She wasn't trying to be a bully, but that comment has stuck with me for 20 years, and now every time I have to draw a smooth curve or straight line I psych myself out. The human mind is crazy that way.

Ok...enough about my the video. en-joy!


Crushin on Etsy

January 20, 2011

How can there be so many different things that I like all in one place?

I suppose creative souls stick together, and these lovely souls have created something that speaks to mine. Granted there are several sellers on Etsy that I just don't understand, but we won't go into that here.

So, bring on the pictures, right?

Let me show what I'm crushin on...

These rustic stag pillows from Helkatdesign

Rocks for jewelry at LAccentNou?!? I am so there. 

Indeed! A great message tee by happyfamily.

Unique nature jewelry from mamaslittlebabies.

Vintagey insect papercut by tinatarnoff. Check out her jewelry too!

 A to-die-for feather pendant necklace from nobletownvintage.

What are some of your favorite things these days?

tutorial friday - posting a comment

January 14, 2011

Welcome to Tutorial Friday with today's host, joyful.mara. Today, I will teach you how to post a comment on my blog, just in case you answered "#3" to yesterday's convo post

For those of you who receive my blog posts via an email announcement, I encourage you to click on the "" link at the bottom of this email. Trust's worth it. 

Now, you should have gone from seeing something like this...

To seeing something like this!

See how much prettier that is?!?! Now, you can see how I have decorated my blog, the extra links on the side bar, and all the photos in the post...which hopefully means they will make more sense. (I can't imagine reading my ramblings and not seeing the photos I am referring to.) Here's the best part. From the blog, you can also post a comment! There doesn't seem to be a way to do this from the email, so I hope you will consider exercising your "clicking" finger with one more rep and joining me here on the page once in a while. I seriously would LOVE to hear from you! 

Now...ever since I added the "Link Within" widget to the blog I, myself, have had issues finding the comment link for each post. So, here's the tutorial part. First, scroll down to the bottom of the post you would like to comment on. Then, look for the "comment" link that I have circled in Pink! in the photo below. 

Click on the link and get ready for the crazy comment madness! 

The post will reopen on it's very own page...which basically means the rest of the posts above and below it will go away temporarily. Now, scroll down to the bottom and there should be a big white "comment" box...your own personal canvas. Type in your comment. Then, using the drop down box below the comment box, select the account profile you would like to post as (your identity) or Anonymous. If you don't  have your own blog, website, or google account...anonymous is probably the best fit. You can then preview your comment before you post, or select "post comment". The page will reload and you will see your comment on the page, just above the "comment" box. This is also where you can read what others have said...which can be a lot of fun. that you have found where the comment link was hiding, we can start our convo. Don't worry...I'll start. "Hi. How are you?"

I am giddy with excitement and can't wait to hear from you! 

join the convo

January 13, 2011

This week hasn't exactly gone as planned. In fact, every thing I thought I would be doing and planned at the beginning of the week was somehow lost in the translation. I'm definitely far behind on posting here on the blog and a little disappointed that I didn't keep up the motivation I had from last week. Instead, it's late Thursday night and here I am trying to have a conversation with all of you out there in blog world.

This reminds me of something that I learned about myself this week. While taking a self-assessment for  class I answered a very simple question and found an much bigger answer than expected. The question was part of a series that related to how I deal with social and emotional situations with 3 options for an answer.  It asked how I would react if I approached someone to start a conversation and they did not respond. My answer was obvious. I would move on and try to talk to someone else. When I tallied my results I found that my answer was worth 0 points...and points was what I wanted. (The other options were worth 5 and 10 points.) I was pretty shocked that this answer resulted in NO points and that it wasn't the proper way to respond. What would you do?

The reason I bring it up here is because the two other answers implied that there should be an open dialog about why the person did not respond...that I should try again. So, right now, at this moment, I am going to try to start the conversation with all of you again.

I'll be honest. Some days when I post and I don't receive any comments I wonder if anyone out there is reading. Yes...I'm whining. I mean...many of you know that I like to talk to myself a lot, but not always. I would LOVE to hear from you! (Do I sound desperate? Jeez.) The funny thing is, I know there are people out there reading, but I still wonder if it's just me and the void. Sometimes that is why I lose motivation to post. So I began to wonder...why do some people post comments and not others? I came up with 3 potential answers...1) Sometimes we are too busy to post or are still taking in what was said so we don't feel motivated to comment. I read a lot of blogs and I do this A LOT. 2) Sometimes we feel vulnerable posting to the void because we are uncomfortable putting ourselves out there or our reaction is too personal for a public space. Again, I do this a lot. 3) Sometimes we are not sure how to comment on a blog because each page is different than the last. I find this frustrating sometimes. So...I am going to give my readers a few solutions to hopefully help you feel comfortable joining the conversation.

For those who identify with #1...I know what it's like to be busy or not motivated to react. But, if you ever feel like you want to reply, remember, I would LOVE to hear from you! For option #2...I don't want to push you out of your comfort zone, but again I would LOVE to hear from you and encourage you to post within those boundaries. You can also opt to post anonymously. (*whispering* "No one will ever know it was you.") If you have more to say, or still don't feel comfortable, feel free to send me an email response that you know only I will see. It will be our own personal convo. And behind Door #3... Congratulations! We have an exciting tutorial! But because this post is growing WAY too long, tomorrow will be dubbed "Tutorial Friday". Stay tuned.

P.S. I fixed the link for the Delightful December playlist. I sincerely hope you will check it out and listen to a few of the tunes that made that month magical for me.

have a joyful weekend!

January 7, 2011

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you have a lovely weekend and find many ways to pass the joy recieve in your life on to others. To help inspire you, here is a video by Peter Naylor (courtesy of Vimeo) entitled "Endeavor" which I think is absolutely lovely. It helped to remind me that I have the power to share things that I cherish with the feeling I get when I find a treasure unexpectedly. (Or when it finds me.)

ENDEAVOUR from Peter Naylor on Vimeo.
You're mission for the weekend...identify one thing or moment that makes you happy and find a way to pay it forward. I will see you back here next week.

Making it look "Etsy"

January 6, 2011

As you have probably noticed I try to showcase artwork found on Etsy that is related to my blog posts as much as possible. Yet, there is so much more that can be found on Etsy that is creative and lovely. Things that I wish I could make or am jealous that I didn't think of it first!

So each week or a couple of times a month I would like to bring you a quick roundup of items that were just posted (maybe for the first time ever or to replenish shop stock) and are different from the artwork I generally use to supplement my posts.

Part of my reason for this is to get you used to seeing that type of post on my blog. Why? Well, I'm so glad you asked! Because hopefully *fingers crossed* this year I will be opening up my own little Etsy shop with items made by me especially for "you". WHEN (I'm avoiding "if" here) that happens I will be regularly featuring new items that I add to my shop on

And's the goods.

This lovely bag by CrazyBoy
She has tons to choose from!
These adorable wooden deer by Star House. Lots of designs to
pick from, but these would be fun for Valentine's Day!

Of course this White Rabbit glass pendant by
Dandelion's Valley is a fave. The whole gang is there!

These flats by Hydra Heart fascinate me.
Love this tote by the Bold Banana. Did you know? Beards are Sexy.

This skirt by Les Enfants Sauvages sold out before I could post.
Isn't it fabulous!?!? I'm crossing my fingers we will see another.

So that's it for my Etsy post today. I hope you en-joyed the items and I will see you soon!

live simply

January 5, 2011

It didn't take me long to find something to share with all of you from my college course. Before class on Monday I cracked the text book (Developing Management Skills) to get started on the first chapter and was sucked in by a particular quote. As I warned you, it is long, but so much of it resonates with how I feel about our world right now, with things I have learned over the past few years, and it spoke to the changes I wish to make in my life or values I want to live by.

We have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways but narrower viewpoints; we spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less.We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time; we have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, but more problems; more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too seldom, watch TV too much...We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.
We talk too much, love too seldom, and lie too often.
We've learned how to make a living, but not a life; we've added years to life, not life to years.
We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor.
We've conquered outer space, but not inner space; we've done larger things, but not better things; we've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul; we've split the atom, but not our prejudice; we write more, but learn less; plan more, but accomplish less; we've learned to rush, but not to wait; we have higher incomes, but lower morals; more food, but less appeasement; more acquaintances, but fewer friends; more effort, but less success.
We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication; we've become long on quantity, but short on quality.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; tall men and short character; steep profits and shallow relationships.
These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure and less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition.
These are the days of two incomes, but more divorce; of fancier houses, but broken homes.
These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one-night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer to quiet to kill.
It is a time where there is much in the show window and nothing in the stockroom.

The quote comes from an essay by a former Seattle pastor and is clearly inspired by words by the Dalai Lama. Because of controversies surrounding the pastor, and because this is not a religious blog, I have decided to omit one line in the quote and refrain from providing the pastor's name. This is mostly in the effort to retain the impact of the words above. I believe these statements to be true, at least they are for me and for what I see in our society in general, regardless of the fact that they are over 15 years old. I hope you enjoy this quote as much as I do and are as inspired as I am to correct these contradictions. To build patience. To take pride in what we have. To slow down. To deepen relationships. To live simply. To en-joy life.

can't stop listening to...

January 4, 2011

Today, I can't stop listening to the new Decemberists album, The King Is Dead, which is streaming live on until its release on January 18th.

If you enjoy the Decemberists, I hope you will check it out and then let me know which of the new songs should be featured on my Monthly Music playlist for January. Right now I'm leaning towards the first song, "Don't Carry It All", but I would like to put it to a vote. Tell me what your favorite is.
Until tomorrow!

and so it begins...

January 3, 2011

Tonight was the first class of winter quarter and I am actually curious to see what happens in my Monday/Wednesday class. I am enrolled in "Managing Employees" and it seems that the class will be more about managing myself and developing my weaknesses into strengths in order to be an effective manager. I can definitely see some valuable information coming out of this class. Whether for a business position or for my dream job, Life Coach. After all, this is part of the training process for that dream career. I have to cultivate my strengths and learn how to assist others through that type of process. Experience is the best teacher.

On the way home from class I started to think about this. If I would like a career in inspiring and helping others to achieve their goals, if I want to hone my ability to share valuable information, and if I am going to learn interesting things that could possibly aid in helping someone with these things, why not share it now? So, I have decided to form a regular post on this little blog of mine to gift that knowledge. I am hoping it will be weekly, but it will depend on my homework load and definitely on available inspiration. I assume I will be learning something new and interesting every week, but you never know.

So...tune in on Wednesday for the first brain food post. I'll give you a's a quote...but it's a little too long to include here, so it will become your Wednesday "something to look forward to". (Because I know you all sit on pins and needles waiting for me to post!)

Speaking of "pins and needles", I have also joined the Project Restyle challenge on A Beautiful Mess and I am hoping my New Year's Resolution of crafting once a week will allow me to pass that challenge with flying colors. Watch for "before" and "after" posts on those recycle/reuse craft projects and hopefully some "how to's" if those ventures turn out well.

So that's a whole lot of "Coming Soon!" to promise, but I plan to follow through and I will see you soon. Even if I get busy and it's just to post a quick hello.