2012: look how far you have come...

December 28, 2012

Postcard download by hi, i'm francesca.

I can hardly believe a year has gone by. I was just reading back over some of this year's blog posts and thought I would check in and discuss the concept of remembering how far we have come. 

I hear over an over again the sayings "never look back" and "don't dwell on the past" as words of encouragement. While these words are helpful when something difficult has happened and you are a person who tends to obsess about the negatives and never find a way to move on, I have found that they have sometimes lead me far away from valuable information. Sometimes we do need to move on but still periodically look back. To spend time understanding what we have been through and how it influences who we are and who we want to become. To simply acknowledge how far we have come. 

I think one of the primary keys to this is finding the appropriate amount of time that should pass before looking back. With enough distance between you and the emotions of that time there is a clearer picture. Then with an ounce of self awareness you may begin to see yourself as you were and how much you have changed (for the better or worse) since then and find ways to either continue your progress or correct bad behavior.  

(However, if it was a good thing that happened...I say dwell in it for as long as you like. Swim in it for hours, days, months even. If an accomplishment you have made makes you feel stronger and more worthy of that praise, by all means enjoy it! Savor it!

At the beginning of this year I chose one word, one wish and one wonder for 2012. My word, "postitivity" stayed strong through the many ups and downs this year. While it faltered a bit during the last big hit (my foot injury) I reminded myself to keep going and took it at my own pace. I'm happy to say that it did not bring me down. My wish for the year was to be better at follow through. While I think I improved a little, it was definitely not as much as I had hoped. And so...the battle continues. Lastly, my wonder was to look back on 2012 and see if I am ending this year with as much success, passion, and prosperity that I started it out with? My answer to this would be yes, yes, and yes. While 2012 was full of new lessons to be learned (so excited that it wasn't the same lesson over and over like the previous year!) it was still a magical year. I smile because I know the hard stuff that happened and the challenges I faced will keep pushing me forward and make me that much more prepared the next time around. 

So getting back to my thought for today...Look back. Remember who you have been, where you have come from and do not compare your path to anyone else's. We all evolve, whether it be a little or a lot, and there is so much joy to be found in our triumphs and struggles and how they have changed us along the way. It only takes a moment to acknowledge how far you have come. Then accept the good and the bad about yourself and move on with good intentions. I guarantee you will look back in six months, a year, or two years and smile because once again...you have come a long way, baby. 

13 before twenty-13

December 13, 2012

The end of the year is fast approaching and with that comes a "running out of time" feeling. Of course time will continue and the end of the year is no more than a benchmark, but nothing makes a person more productive than last minute.

Even though I am surrounded by cold weather and holiday festivities it's hard for me to believe that the year is almost over. It has been 3 months since I broke my foot and the last quarter of the year seems completely separate from the first three. Everything sort of slowed down for me. My routines changed. My priorities changed. My capabilities changed. And just now I'm getting back into to those things that I left behind.

So, in honor of catching up and starting off on the right "foot" again, I have decided set 13 goals for the last few weeks of the year. I know it's ambitious, but these are all things that I know will help me to find my pace again.

Is there anything you have wandered from that you desire to regain?

Seeking original source. Found on Pinterest.
13 before twenty-13

1. Train myself to get up early...automatically. It's time to change a bad habit.

2. Work out 5-7 days a week. Getting bikini ready for a winter tropical vacation!

3. Complete Unravelling the Year Ahead 2013 in preparation for the new year.

4. Brainstorm and design new products for the joyfullifeshop.

5. Clean house. Can't wait to try this concoction on my bathroom and kitchen tile!

6. Finish my last Real Estate Broker course and prep for the exam in January.

7. Bake "healthy" cookies. There's got to be a recipe on pinterest. :)

8. Finish the book I am currently reading.

9. Blog post brainstorming. I've been WAY to silent this year.

10. Donate lingering piles of items to Goodwill.

11. Organize my desk.

12. Start walking without the big ugly boot. Doc says it's time!

13. Spend time with my family.

Have goals for pre or post new year? I would love to hear more!


December 12, 2012

It's A Good Day Print by wickedpaper

Hi Lovelies! It's 12.12.12 today! Pretty crazy that it's the last time we will have a triple duplicate / repetitive date like this. Make a big wish! It has got to be a lucky day.

So...in honor of this unique date (similar to 10.11.12) I would like to share a roundup of my 12 favorite finds of late. Just a little something to widen your horizons on this special day. en-joy!

1. 6 ways to accept others as they are. Helpful when striving to live positively. 

2. Really enjoying the Iowagirleats blog and the yummy recipes. Lots of healthy smoothies, workout tips, and health information.

3. A great month long series about organization and 31 days of loving where you live

4. Tips on how to fake calligraphy - perfect for your holiday cards!

5. Spark People fitness videos - I stumbled on these while looking for a cardio workout I could do while sitting. They are usually about 10 minutes long, so easy to squeeze one or two into your day. There are tons to choose from and always easy to follow. 

6. Secrets to Success for blogging and creative business - blog series with lots of helpful advice

7. Join 100 New York 9th graders in adding a wish for the future to a 100 year time capsule. I'm still dreaming up my 140 character or less wish, but it will have something to do with the world finding a way to live simply.

8. How to set your intentions for 2013 - Way better than resolutions...make a long term plan.

9. The fool proof way to finish what your start - It's time to be brutally honest.

10. How to let go and make every moment better. 

11. Fun typography wallpapers to fancy up your desktop.

12. 10 tips on making winter wake ups easier - Man, I need this! My favorite part is the link to the article about how to practice getting up right when your alarm goes off. I'm soooooo going to do that.

Now...I'm off to spend the day working, planning and dreaming up personal goals for 2013. I'm pretty sure there's a list of 13 goals before 2013 swirling around in my brain too. Looking forward to sharing a bit more with you soon!

monthly music

December 11, 2012

This month's cover art is from Natural Parallels by Camille Camille
December is here and the weather outside just got colder. For some of you there are mountains of snow, for others like me there's a little bit of rain and clouds. But Christmas lights are popping up all over town and indoors it's cozy and warm with the smell of fir trees and goodies baking. I love this time of year and I feel so blessed to have these experiences.

While the hustle and bustle buzzes around me I find that I tend to take it really easy during the holidays. I strive to make shopping for gifts relaxed and enjoyable...keeping a slow pace. Sitting in a coffee shop and watching the bundled up world stream by is my meditation. There's a simple flow to it and every day has it's own sort of magic.

So today I would like to share with you the first playlist of Delightful December. This is the every day relaxed mix that I will typically play while in the car. Hopefully it is relaxed enough to help you wind down after a busy day of holiday bustle. In a week or so I will bring you a second mix with holiday songs...because what is December without some jolly music.

Have a great day! I will be seeing you soon.

Delightful December 2012
1. Atlas Hands - Benjamin Francis Leftwich
2. Attention - Buckaroo
3. Pretty Face - Soley
4. I Love You More Than You Will Ever Know - Never Shout Never
5. November Was White, December Was Grey - Say Hi
6. Family Glue - Wye Oak
7. High Hope - Glen Hansard
8. Delicate - Damien Rice


November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving is upon us (Where has this year gone?!?!) and it's time to take inventory and remind ourselves of what we are thankful for. Last year, my list seemed somewhat superficial now that I look back, but the nurturing and comfort that each of those things brought me was extremely significant at the time. Last November, I was in my last quarter of night school and I craved moments to myself, simple things that made me smile or feel loved, and any inspiration found outside of textbooks. Of course they were in addition to family, friends, health, happiness, safety, challenges that make us stronger, etc. These items were simply the bits and pieces that brought me joy.

So...this year...here are a few things that I am thankful for.

1. Walking. Come on, you knew I would go there! I'm almost off of my crutches and I am so thankful that all is healing well and quickly.  From this experience I also have a new respect for everyone who deals with this type of struggle daily.

2. Chocolate. It's my vice, but I love it dearly. A day is never better than one that ends with a piece of salted caramel milk chocolate. I am thankful that this simple pleasure is available to me.

3. Brotherhood and Charity. In times of need it is amazing how people come together and help each other. Selfless acts are holding much of our country together this holiday season and I am thankful for those who have stepped forward to help. (P.S. Watch for new items coming to the joyful.life shop soon. A portion of the sales will be donated to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. While the storm has passed there is still a lot of assistance needed for our family & friends on the east coast.)

4. Creativity. I am thankful that I have artistic talents I can share with the world and the world has talents they can share with me. There are so many creative people in the world...correction...everyone has creativity to share and has the ability to be creative in their own way. It is not something you have or don't have. It is a gift that we choose to use and nurture. I'm thankful that I do.

5. Readers. This little blog is a little place for me to share my life and what brings me joy, but it means so much more to me because I have you. Though you may be a quiet bunch,  you are still stopping by to see what I am up to and sharing in my experiences. I am thankful that you find me interesting. I am thankful that I am able to share something positive with you.

I could write a list miles long about all of the little things I am thankful for (chai tea, s'mores, kitties, scarves, hard cider, the color pink, candles, my family, my friends, my coworkers, lessons learned...) but the five "thanks" above are what I feel the strongest lately.

So...enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday. I hope you all have somewhere warm and cozy to go and loving people to spend the day with. I'm going to spend the day cooking, nibbling, watching football, and spending time with my loved ones. It's going to be a wonderful day.

Until next time!

monthly music

November 12, 2012

cover art: landscape by five one nine
Well, here we are in the middle of Never Say Never November. Have you said "Never!" this month? It can be tough sometimes, but I've been trying really hard not to. Every other day I put a little more weight on my healing foot and think..."Ok, that wasn't so hard. In just a few days you can try a little more!" At first I had difficulty even remembering to put my foot down, so I spent one whole day just training myself to keep my foot touching the floor with each step. The next day I started adding a little weight. It's progressing more now and I am gaining some confidence, but it's still hard to believe that in a few weeks I should be fully off my crutches and standing upright again. It's all about baby steps. It's about finding a pace.

Speaking of pace...one of my favorite things in life is the way a song can be a perfect match for an internal beat or mood. That moment when everything clicks because what you hear on the outside melds perfectly with what you are feeling inside. Typically this happens for me while driving. Something about the speed of the car, the blur of trees or buildings passing by, and the tapping of my hands on the steering wheel. Perfect moments. This month...A Sail by Lisa Hannigan is pulling a little of that my way. What songs are resonating with you? Throw out a few titles in the comments section and you never know, they may just show up on Delightful December. After all...never say never...it could definitely happen.

Never Say Never November 2012
1. A Sail - Lisa Hannigan
2. The Tide Pulls from the Moon - William Fitzsimmons
3. Without a Word - Birdy
4. Toxic - Melanie Martinez (she's amazing!)
5. Anchor - Bess Rogers
6. 1957 - Milo Greene
7. Travelin' On - Norah Jones
8. Rules - Jayme Dee
9. When It All Goes South - Death and a Cure
10. The Waves - Matthew and the Atlas
11. Over and Again - Amiina

p.s. I must have the ocean and traveling on my mind. There seems to be a little theme running through this one. In fact, the theme carries on in the setting of this seaside bonfire video for Home by Lisa Hannigan. She is simply magical. And what a lovely way to spend an evening with friends!

finding my balance and losing my caution

November 5, 2012

In a few days I may be granted use of my left leg again. It's been a little over a month and a half since my foot injury and it's surprising how normal getting around on crutches and a knee scooter is starting to feel. It's still no fun, and a total pain in the you-know-what, but thinking about walking again just seems...well, downright odd to me. My sense of balance has accommodated the use of one leg...balancing to brush my teeth, wash the dishes, feed the cat, lock the door...and hopping up and down the stairs has gotten easier and easier. Now, I wonder how long it will take to switch back to two?

It's going to be gradual...a little weight at a time...so I bet my balance will adjust as I go. Just as it did when I was left with no left. But I have to admit...I'm feeling anxious. While, I'm excited that this may all be over soon, I'm also a bit scared to take that first step. I'm purposely filled with so much caution now! I think through every movement before I make it just to keep safety on my side. So, how do you just turn that off?

How exactly do you throw caution to the wind?

I suppose it's time for me to find out. Somewhere in the next few weeks as I slowly add weight back on to my foot I will give "caution" - or at least anything above a sane person's portion of it - a GIANT shove. It's time to stand on my own again. It's time for Never Say Never November...and all that was backlogged in Outgoing October and Daring September.  It's time to be positively fearless.

Has anyone experienced this type of moment? What fears did you face and how did you navigate your way through? I would love to hear more about how you found your balance again...in either a physical or emotional way. Comment below or email me with your thoughts.


October 13, 2012

Hey there, it's the weekend! I'm sure you have lots of fun things going on, but if you are looking for something to do, or if you just like seeing how creative people can be, here are 12 DIY projects that I think are worth a peek. Many of which require no special creative talents, so there's something for everyone. En-joy and I'll see you next week!

  12 DIYs to DIY   

It's time to get cozy and try new things. Here's some fun projects to try, whether you are decorating for the holidays, having a craft party, or making gifts for your loved ones and friends. Have fun and make beautiful things!

  1. No Sew Fall Table Runner (a little fabric a little paint...tada!) by Poppytalk Handmade
  2. Beautiful Fold Over Clutch (free pattern!) by Pattern Runway
  3. Stone Photo Holder along with a few other how tos at Country Living
  4. Felted Heart Elbow Patches for any sweater by Lucky Pony
  5. Self-watering Planters made from recycled bottles at Design Sponge
  6. Homemade Casserole Carriers for my midwest peeps at taylormade
  7. Skull Treat Boxes for Halloween but made from plastic easter eggs by none other than martha stewart (of course!)
  8. Vintage-style Bookplates from How About Orange. All you have to DO is print!
  9. 2 A-Frame Tent tutorials here and here for the kiddies to play in.
  10. Yummy homemade chocolate syrup and homemade magic shell (no chemicals!) for your ice cream!
  11. A Sisal Rope Bowl by Centsational Girl
  12. Monogrammed Mug (just pick up an oil-based paint sharpie and some mugs at GW and go to town!) from Design Mom


October 12, 2012

I hope you enjoyed yesterday's 10 lovely blog posts on 10/11/12. Today I'd like to share a list of 11 new productivity tools available online. Well, at least they are new to me. I hope one or two of these tools add a little something to your day to day, or at lease helps it run a little bit smoother. See you tomorrow!

   11 Awesome Sites    

I love online tools. Anything that is designed well and helps me to make endless to do lists and hoard the zillions of magical ideas I find online is my new best friend. Here's just a few of what is new to me.

1. ohlife.com makes it easy to journal and jot down your life story. Every day it will send you an email asking "How was your day?" (Awwwww. So cute!) Then, all you have to do is answer!

2. DoItTomorrow touts itself as the online to do list for procrastinators. If you're like me and make tons of to do lists but never seem to get everything done, just click the arrow and move it to another day! (This is close to my other fave teuxdeux.com where undone items are moved automatically to the next day.) Also comes as an app for your phone!

3. Skinnyo is a great place to keep track of your workouts, challenge yourself and others to get healthy. It combines social networking and goal tracking. Get Skinny-yo! My first challenge...cut out sugar. (I know. I know. Good luck with that!)

4. Pocket is a great place to stash everything you don't have time to peruse today. If you find something you want to read later (even if you don't have an internet connection then) just click a button and put it in your pocket! Seriously? They make it so easy. 

5. Feedly is another place to link what you want to read later and follow new posts on your favorite websites. One of the best parts is the Explore feature where you can find links to new websites you may love. 

6. Lots of file sharing options with GE.TTDropboxSugarSync to help you maintain access to files, photos, songs from any computer anywhere or share large files with a friend. I use Dropbox every single day at the office and it's super secure. 

7. Instructables is a great place to post your how-to projects or find new DIYs. Tons of stuff for Halloween on there right now!

8. Whichbook helps you to decide what to read next and Hundred Zeros is a great place to find free bestselling ebooks. Or hop on over to What Should I Read Next and enter your favorite author for suggestions. 

9. Wish you could get a wake up call every day? Enter your reminder, phone and date/time for the call and leave it all to wakerupper. Then all you have to do is answer the phone! You can even have it nag other people...or maybe send a love note? (Note: The first 10 calls are free and then it is 5cents/minute.)

10. Coolendar is an intuitive calendar that turns your to do list items into scheduled tasks. Just enter the date, time, and what it is you want to do and it will automatically schedule it and sync it with your google, outlook, or iPhone calendar. It's available as an App too for on the go use. 

11. WorkFlowy will help you make lists within lists within lists...if all you really need is to list it out. It creates an easy and streamlined way to organize anything from notes, brainstorms, shopping lists, journal entries, goals and more.  I wasn't sure about this at first, but after just a few minutes of using it I think it's a keeper. 


October 11, 2012

Good morning boys and girls! Today's post is brought to you by the numbers 10, 11, and 12!

That's right! Today, it is 10/11/12. (So much fun to say!)

Can you believe it?!?!? It's already October 11th and 2012 is rounding the last corner before the finish line. Speaking of corners, have I ever asked you how you view the annual calendar in your mind? I find it fascinating how everyone sees it a bit differently. Maybe I will post about that tomorrow?

So on such a special day, what shall we do to celebrate? Hmmmmm.

How about a roundup? Sound good? Ok, let's do it.

Here are 10 of my favorite October blog posts, tomorrow I will share 11 of my favorite online tools, and Saturday morning some weekend fun with 12 fun DIY projects for you to enjoy.

   10 Lovely Posts   

Fall is here and it seems to me that the blogosphere is spinning faster and fuller than ever. After the summer recharge my bloglovin can hardly keep up with all the posts this month! Here's a few of my favorites so far. 

1. 10 Things We Did Better As Kids on Thought Catalog made me laugh out loud several times. (Warning! Some profanity involved.)
2. Some gentle reminders about how to cope with Wearing Many Hats over at Miss Modish
3. Less Complaining and More Happiness, a challenge over at Treasuring: the blog
4. The Best Bottles of Wine For Under $15 from The Kitchn (Helpful for the holidays!)
5. A Journey Without a Goal from ZenHabits.
6. Are You Living Your Super Awesome Life? guest post at When I Grow Up
7. An inspiring post about 20 Years From Now by Jennifer at giggling in the rain
8. Beautiful and haunting vintage photos of Old Street Scenes of Paris curated by Vintage Everyday
9. For all the bloggers out there...Blogging a Blog is pretty damn funny.
10. How to make space for quality to show up in your life by the amazing Danielle LaPorte

monthly music

October 9, 2012

Today was a good day and now it's time to share some good tunes.

Just got back from the first trip to the doctor since surgery and I get an A+! Everything looks good...cast off, boot on...and in just 4 weeks I should be joining the 2 legged creatures again. The incision looks pretty ugly and my poor calf is about half the normal size now, but it was nice to see my little foot again. It's still there!

Now...it's back to work. Back to the living world. And I am sooooooo ready. 

Tomorrow I will be listening to the Outgoing October playlist from my desk and dashing around on my scooter again. It's time to be outgoing and out going. No more cabin fever! I hope you get a bit of escape from these tunes too. Happy October!

1. All Those Pretty Lights - Andrew Belle
2. October - Broken Bells
3. Emmylou - First Aid Kit
4. Sparrow and the Wolf - James Vincent McMorrow
5. Mountain Sound - Of Monsters and Men
6. I will Wait - Mumford and Sons
7. The Forest - Mirah
8. Featherstone - The Paper Kites
9. Don't Wait for Me - Josh Garrels
10. Coming Home, Pt. II - Skylar Grey

to my charming gardeners:

October 2, 2012

found on outcamethesun on tumblr

To those of  you who visit this little corner of mine. To those of you who listen to my ramblings and wish me well. Thank you for all you do. You are my charming gardeners and I adore you. 

P.S. Surgery went very well, but recovery has been hard. Apparently anesthesia, pain meds, and antibiotics do not do my tummy well. One nurse even said she had never seen anyone react so badly. Figures. But today I am feeling much better and getting ready for everything that comes next. Talk to you soon! Maybe even have some monthly music headed your way tomorrow!

forced to be daring

September 17, 2012

Great post from Workisnotajob about never giving up.
Well, I suppose I inadvertently found my way to be daring this month. It's not my ideal way of pushing myself to greater limits, but I suppose The Universe had to find a way to smack me in the face and say "slow down." And this time I have no choice but to listen...walking with crutches is very solid reason to slow waaaaayyyyy down.

Last Wednesday I fell. Walking through a hallway, headed up a couple of stairs, I slipped on the first step up and fell. Mortified by the moment I sat up and turned to the person walking next to me to admit I was hurt. I wasn't getting up to shake this one off. Shortly after, a trip to the ER, a visit with the orthopedic surgeon confirmed...I am broken.  I have been diagnosed with a 2nd metatarsal fracture in my left foot

Now, for various reasons I won't talk about the details of the injury or the incident, but I will say that I am dreading the inevitable next step of surgery. While the procedure will depend on the outcome of CT scans and my own gut instinct reaction, I am bracing myself for what will likely happen. (Tonight I can thank Google for a few freak outs, but mostly some reassuring words from medical studies and many bloggers out there who have tracked their own experience with this rare, but challenging injury.)

At this moment I have to be daring. I have to get out of bed each day (knowing that there may be 180 more just like it in my future) balance on my crutches and carry on.

While daring is normally reserved for those who choose to go one step further than bravery...those who seek out risks and adventure...I am choosing to apply it to my situation. I need to harness this situation in someway. I need to take back control of what is happening and be bold. I need to stand on my own two (metaphorical) feet in order to face the next challenge before me and simply carry on. It would be way to easy to just lay down and quit (and I'll admit...have another crutch-throwing fit), but I don't want to go out like that. So it has been decided...I will be daring.

I WILL be daring.

I will figure it all out as I go and be daring. I'm even rocking a teal knee scooter with a basket on the front and a cup holder at work so I can still do my job with freedom and not literally be attached to my desk. (Big step today as I travelled to the ladies room alone - through 6 doors - and grabbed a soda on my way back without assistance or the use of a backpack!) At the least it has been entertaining for my coworkers to see me rallying around today - the first day on my scooter - slinging paperwork from my basket and bumping into office furniture left and right. Soon my wheels will be tricked out with handlebar streamers, a bell, and some cushion covers. (Yes, I'm serious.) So, look out world! I've got my sassy scooter ready and I'm on a roll!

So without deliberation and planning I will be daring this Daring September. I will set aside reservation and fear and keep moving. Of course, here in this little space of mine, I'm sure you will learn more about the challenges I face during the healing process, and I sincerely hope those words are inspiring to anyone else facing injury, illness, or challenges in their life.

Until next time, plant your feet firmly, slow down, and take care of your lovely self.

monthly music

September 6, 2012

This month it's about finding a way to be daring. Since I'm not exactly wearing my confident "daring" pants at the moment I'm seeking calm-laden, soul-filling, peace-charged moments where I can seek out that person inside me. The one that just grabs hold of my life and drives me forward...dares me to be more...pushes me to the next level.

Music is a big part of what inspires me. All phases of my life have soundtracks that match my mood. Every once in a while I hear a song from my past and I am taken back to whatever feeling I was processing at the time, project I was working on, or place I was experiencing. Not necessarily through the lyrics, but the mood and emotion I feel through the music. When I find the right songs to listen to, I find my creativity elevates, my attention focused, and I dance through projects without effort. I love and crave that about music.

This month here are a few songs that I am feeling the mood of today. I think these few songs will get me to that "daring" place. The playlist starts out a little bit meditative, bleeds into powerhouse voices that feed my inner fire, shakes it up with bits of toe tapping, and then backs off into the basic melodies that relax my soul. The lyrical highlights are...

"Tomorrow mountains we will climb. tonight the stars and fire shines in our eyes. In the woods we're alive."
"...Darling if you answer, oh we'll wander, down the garden where it's cool." 
"...Don't let your soul lose control, let you roll down the mountain you climbed."

So, I hope you enjoy this month's 10 tracks. Have a listen and see if any of them resonate with you.

Daring September 2012
1. Fire By Night - Josh Garrels
2. Early in the Morning, I'll Come Calling - James Vincent McMorrow
3. Head or Your Heart - Mat Kearnty
4. Hey Lover - Keri Noble
5. Criminal - ZZ Ward
6. Stay - Sarah Bareilles
7. Oasis - Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
8. Home - Phillip Phillips (had to do it)
9. The Ladder - Andrew Belle
10. Oceans - Death and a Cure

August 31st - finding peace

August 31, 2012

relaxing view from a cabin - a place to get away

So August hasn't exactly gone as planned...

but...it has been challenging, exhausting, exciting, enlightening, pressing, rejuvenating, and fun. I can't believe it all happened in 31 days.

I started out this month optimistic and ready to take August Break by storm, and soak up the rest of summer, but The Universe had other plans.

Warning: This is going to be a long and likely rambling post as I find my blog-legs again.

Shortly after the beginning of the month I went through a very trying experience at work. I can't go into specifics of the event, but I will say that I am very thankful everything is turning out well in the end. While the first few days of the month were more stressful than normal, one particular day sent everyone at our office into a high-speed tailspin. We were in shock. We were unsure where to place our next step. We were broken. But it is absolutely amazing to think back to what happened next. Everyone pulled together, covered the bases, asked for help, and pushed toward becoming a healthier company. Each person determined their role and ran with it. We became a stronger team than we could have ever hoped to be.

It has taken a while to get back into the groove of things. My routines were off from working late nights. A few more curve balls were thrown our way. But all in all the world is setting itself right again. I'm finally at a point where I felt I could come and put a few things out into the blogosphere.

I've learned a lot about myself in the past 31 days. For one, I always knew that I was relatively calm in a crisis, which came in handy on that infamous day, but I also know that I am not calm when the crisis is ME. When a lot of tasks or demands are put on my plate and I can't process them as fast as I want I simply freak out. (College buds...you've seen this first hand.) However, when the crisis is outside of ME and my little brain bubble I can hold it together better than I ought. It's amazing to know how different kinds of pressure affect me. I think I've secretly known this for a while, but never could really categorize it in this way. Internal Crisis = Freak Out, but External Crisis = Cool as a Cucumber.

Side note: Speaking of Cucumbers! The garden continues to amaze me. We are harvesting left and right and gearing up for an end of summer feast. Nature is amazing!

So...mixing together doctor visits & healing from a fender bender back in June, working overtime and learning more than I would ever like to know about workplace safety (Ignorance is bliss, right? Well I suppose it is until something happens), and a house in disarray it has been quite the trying month. But, on the bright side, I also got to experience a wine country ladies road trip, a relaxing overnight at a cozy cabin on the river, a lot of meditation time in the garden, and finally some quality time with close friends, in the end it has turned into a balanced (albeit roller coaster) month.

Now...it's time to turn my sights toward September, my birthday month. (The joyfullifeshop's birthday on etsy as well! Keep your eye out for new items and an anniversary sale!) It's time to start anew with another year under my belt. Let's hope the ride continues to improve. I am pushing myself to stay positive and keep moving forward. It will get better. I will find my groove again. Besides, it's time to celebrate!

Are you going through anything trying lately? Feel free to add a comment or email me if you would like to simply share an experience or put out positive vibes into The Universe. My ears and little corner of the blogosphere are always open.

august 3

August 3, 2012

He's a big boy now. Just over a year old. But he still plays like a kitten. Sneak attacks from under the chair. Unexpecting prey receives a quick swat with a paw that swiftly tucks away again undetected. Oh, to see the world through the eyes of a cat. Pouncing. Purring. Loving us so much. Our little kitten all grown up. 

august 2

August 2, 2012

My name lies at the heart of the city. Where thousands of people every day taste new flavors, find new treasures, and feel the buzz of the energy around them. Where fresh baked breads, catch of the day, sun ripened fruit, and colorful blossoms fragrant the air. People from around the world flock here. Talented artists of music, art, and handmade start their journeys here. My family brought me here. My family placed me here among the beats. My little corner of Pike Place Market. One of the most important corners to me. My heart lies in this city. In this place. My city. My home. Seattle.

*My big sister has her own little corner too. Her name is in the bottom right corner of this shot. Hey sis!

monthly music & august breaking

August 1, 2012

Happy Adventuresome August 1st! Today I have a double dose of August for you. First, we are kicking off the month with a new set of tunes. This month I included a special song by Grace Potter that was one of my favorite parts seeing her live a few weeks ago (She is BY FAR one of my favorite artists!) and another from ZZ Ward who opened up for Grace and hails from nearby Portland, Oregon. She was fantastic to watch and I recommend seeing either of them live if you ever have the chance. These playlists can't compare to seeing these talented individuals in person. There's just something about live music, dancing in a crowd, the moments with the artist between songs, and taking home a piece of their energy with you. Not to mention tucking away a memory that will come out and join you every time you hear your favorite song.

Second, is the first photo post for August Break. The above album cover was created from a recent Instagram post about those hot pink heels. They are just one of the many personalities that I tried on at the thrift store in late July. It's funny (or weird) and ties in a little bit with this month's theme of Adventure. Sometimes when I am perusing the racks I get the urge to try on items I would never buy or normally wear...well...because you never know what you might find out about yourself when you walk in someone else's shoes or tip another person's hat. These lovelies let me dabble for a bit in the girlie-girl world, ooooh and ahhh over my favorite shade of pink and exaggerated bows, pretend that I wouldn't twist an ankle during high pressure days trotting around in trendy platforms, and then slide back down to earth before I literally fall down. It's nice to test the waters, to push my style boundaries, and wonder how I would carry myself in these items. Part of my self exploration I guess. 

So, until tomorrow. Enjoy some new music and think about new ways to step just outside your comfort zone. Sometimes even a quick baby step can bring a world of adventure. 

1. Nothing But the Water - Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
2. It's All Okay - Julia Stone
3. All Through August - Death and a Cure
4. The Walls Are Coming Down - Fanfarlo
5. Hammer - Dry the River
6. Fast Fast - Let's Buy Happiness
7. Might Find It Cheap - Blitzen Trapper
8. Put the Gun Down - ZZ Ward
9. 99 Problems - Hugo
10. Hold On - Alabama Shakes
11. Skinny Love - Birdy

august break

July 31, 2012

It's that time again! I've been having so much fun with my new camera lens and droid instagram app that I decided to join in on August Break 2012. Many of you may remember this from a few years ago, but for those who don't, August Break is a one-month challenge created by Susannah Conway that encourages us to stop and capture moments around us through the camera lens. These images are then shared through the August Break Flickr page or by using #Augustbreak on instagram. If you have a camera phone, or want to get more practice with photography, I encourage you to  join in. It all starts tomorrow, so stay tuned!

Until then...here is a list of my favorite things about August. 
1. So many fruits and veggies are in season this month. It makes me excited for rich flavors, new recipes, and thoughtful inspired cooking. 
2. It's when I start dreaming about fall. The weather is still warm and I still long to be outside, but in my mind I am daydreaming of cozy sweaters and boots and craving Thanksgiving dinner.  It's nice to have something so delicious and holidays to look forward to. 
3. It's Panini Month, Happiness Happens month, and Audio Appreciation month, and I love me some happiness, music, and paninis. Not necessarily together, but that would be pretty great too!
4. It is one of the 7 months of the year that has 31 days, which means one more day of summer!
5. It's the month before my birthday and I get to start my wish list! This book, this book, and this item are definitely in the mix. And I think I may need one of these or one of these

What do you love about this lovely summer month? 

monthly mix

July 13, 2012

Well hello summer! Seattle is getting a blast of warm weather (and some exciting thunder storms) and I am ready to soak up some sun this weekend!

I hope you are all enjoying Friday the 13th and things are looking sunny for you too! 

Here's some monthly tunes to put on in the background while you are doin' your thing. Whatever your special thing may be. 

Lovely ocean background for this month's cover art is "Carefree" by Carolyn Cochrane ~ found on Etsy as always! You can see more of her beautiful prints here.

1. I Understand - Heidi Happy
2. Down and Around - A B & The Sea
3. Tighten Up - Jack and White
4. We Are Stars - The Pierces
5. Steal His Heart - Emily and The Woods
6. Good As New - Vacationer
7. That Wasn't Me - Brandi Carlile
8. Hello My Old Heart - The Oh Hello's
9. The Only Night - Ian Love
10. You're the One That I Want - Julia Stone

attract positivity

July 6, 2012

Hi Everyone -

Just wanted to stop by to say Happy Friday and wish you all a magical, spectacular, utterly lovely weekend. May it bring everything you need to rejuvenate your soul and recharge your energy.

Until then, soak up the summer sun and shine positively.

following through

June 27, 2012

Stay Positive by johnwgolden
Back in January while resolutions were flooding the blogosphere I made a promise to myself. I set out a plan for the coming year and I chose one word, one wish, and one wonder that I wanted to focus on in 2012. Now that we are approaching the first days of July (half way through the year!?!?) I thought it would be good time for a quick review. Where have I been, how have I been doing, and where am I headed from here? Have I been practicing more positivity (my word), do I follow through more (my wish), and what will be the outcome (my wonder)?

So often I get so busy that I forget to check in with myself and have that moment of brutal honesty to set me back on track. (I think this is pretty common among the everyday busy-busies...) In the past, this honesty leaned toward a negative tone and now I am finding it is a little more positive. I cut myself some slack (as we all should) and remind myself that I am human. I have my own habits. I have my own quirks. I would say overall that is an improvement. Beyond that, I am trying harder not to complain at the office (Let's say 80/20 on that one) and search for the positive spin on "problems". Funny that the 20% of that equation is getting a "bad cop" reputation, but I remind myself that in every effective duo (affective? oh, dear me...) there's a good cop AND a bad cop. Maybe that is a good thing? Hey...what can I say...I play by the rules and like it when others do too.

When it comes to the wish I have a little more work to do. Following through is not my strong suit, but if you've ever stopped by you already knew that. Here is where I have started digging around. What is the root of this? Instead of getting angry because projects are unfinished, posts are lacking on JL, and my house is constantly in a state of mess, I have been searching around for triggers. So far, my explanation is INSPIRATION. Lack of it...or too much of it. With a lack of inspiration I veer away from my corner of the blogosphere (it's quality not quantity, right?) and with too much inspiration I pile on the projects and find myself with a case of BADD. (Refresher: BADD = Busy + A.D.D) In that case, nothing gets finished because there's...just...too...much.

So...now that I know a little bit more about myself...the plan must evolve. But with the importance of not overwhelming myself (I swear I need a BADD meter with a clown horn alarm) I will take baby steps.

First, every morning I will make my bed. Why? Because evidence/reviews (seriously...click the link and read on!) suggest that making your bed every morning is boosts productivity, strengthens budgeting skills, and boosts happiness. Well, sign me up for all of that positive goodness!

Second, I will start reading Charles Duhigg's book The Power of Habit (I recommend the video!). Duhigg says "studies have shown that if you can diagnose your habits you can change them in whichever way you want." It sounds like I have already begun diagnosing, but I am interested in finding out more. The rule of 19 times breaks a habit rings through my head any time I desire to change my behavior, but honestly...honestly...I never make it to 19 times, so I have no idea if it is really true.

And there you have it...my two baby steps. The second will guide me from there, and maybe, just maybe, I will have enough inspiration to jam pack this blog with quality posts.

Until then...stay positive...and make your bed.

Make Your Bed by johnwgolden

video friday

June 22, 2012

Happy Friday!

Just a few lovely music videos to start off the weekend. Apparently these lovely lady artists are catching my eye today. See you next week!

summer solstice

June 20, 2012

Happy Solstice!

Here's to finding new ways to enjoy the many hours of the day.
Source: flickr.com via Joyful on Pinterest
Source: here

Source: here

multiple identities

June 19, 2012

Over time...
So many things.

Flight Attendant
Rock Star
Personal Banker
Graphic Designer
Property Manager
Life Coach
Fashion Designer
Business Owner

At some point I realized that I could be more than one thing at a time. That improving each piece so they blend together seamlessly was in fact possible. I'm still working on a few of them, but remind myself to embrace self exploration and personal development as processes which thrive in the state of being unfinished. 

Remember who you wanted to be.

It's never too late to be a ballerina/baker/artist/farmer. 

bundles of joy

June 15, 2012

Many of you may already know...I spend a lot of time on the internet. Generally I am just looking around for new inspirations, checking FB/Pinterest/Bloglovin posts, and listening to music. In my cyber travels, I find lots of little bundles of joy. Many of them are pinned/posted/bookmarked, simply archived for later and others emailed to family or friends who I know will enjoy them. Often, these little bundles are found in lists (what are often called "roundups") on other blogs. So today...I would like to start my own.

This week's bundles:

1. Mahogony Sessions - Music is one of my great loves. Here you can see acoustic recordings of many of my favorite bands (much like the Black Cab Sessions) and find new ones of your own.

2. Calm.com - Need 2 or 10 minutes to relax? Log on to Calm.com, pick a calming scene, set the time, turn the music & guidance on or off, and get to the relaxing. I found it really peaceful and a great way to help me slow it down.

3. Eshakti.com - Ladies...Do you love classic clothes? Do you hate how short dresses are lately? Do you love certain styles, but want to cover up trouble areas or customize them to your figure? This website may be the answer.  I stumbled upon this and immediately ordered a few dresses - customized to knee length - and cute tops. They even let me add straps to one of the strapless dresses! I am eagerly awaiting them in hopes that they fit well. If so, I know there will many more Eshakti frocks to come.

4. The Goldielocks Paradox - I suffer from this everyday. Just when I think I've got it all together...here we go again!

5. This What If? post by Jen at My Smiling Heart. It really made me stop and think for a bit, to wonder along with her, and get excited about my own moments/revelations to come. Ah, Summer...let's slow it down and daydream for a bit, shall we?

6. And it wouldn't be Video Friday without a video. This week I am loving this series of videos. What would be your answer?

Fifty People, One Question: New York from Fifty People, One Question on Vimeo.

Well that's it for now, lovely readers. I will see you all soon. Until then...have a joyful weekend and seek out a few bundles of your own. The world is your oyster.

Summer Manifesto

June 7, 2012

Can you feel it? Summer is coming.

I can hardly wait for campfires under the stars, barbecues and picnics, hiking trips and people watching, bike rides and s'mores. Bring on the horseshoes, sand in my toes, sunshine through the trees, sandals and skirts, and homemade popsicles. I'm ready to experiment, to wander, to slow it down.

Over the past few days, summer manifestos started popping up around the blogosphere. I run across a few of them every year, (here's an inspiring favorite from Scout circa 2009) but have yet to write one of my own. This year, with my recent acknowledgement that I need to relax, I thought it would be a good idea to give myself some activities to focus on. This is my summer manifesto. A simple list of my desires for this summer.

What's yours?

monthly music

June 6, 2012

Here's the hits of the month all wrapped up in one convenient playlist. Listen directly from the player embedded below or head to my 8tracks page to stream this playlist and more. As I was uploading these to 8tracks, I noticed that the theme seems to go from peppy and upbeat to moody and deep. By no means was this intentional, it's just how the music flowed for me this month.

Highlighted lyrics/moments include "and baby the birds knew", "and I let my stories be whispered when I am gone", "there's no reasons, no excuses, there's no second hand alibis, just some black ink on some blue lines" and "oh, how pretty is the middle of June." There's something about those bits and pieces ~ maybe the vocals or the meaning ~ that make me smile.

Something new to this month's lineup...if there is an artist made video available for the song or a great live version, you can now link to it by clicking on the song title in the playlist.

Talk to you soon! Until then, listen well and dance often.

background for cover image sampled from the Spring Flower photograph by EyePoetryPhotography

Rejuvenation June 2012
1. Everything's Okay ~ Lenka
2. Fresh Feeling ~ Eels
3. Dirt ~ Sayde Price
4. Sweeter ~ Jess Penner
5. As It Seems ~ Lily Kershaw
6. July & June ~ Jillian Edwards
7. 20 Years ~ The Civil Wars
8. No One's Aware ~ Jack Savoretti
9. Middle of June ~ Noah Gundersen
10. Come Away to the Water ~ Maroon 5
11. Come Undone ~ Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan

bring on the bounty

May 31, 2012

Image from ohpioneer

Here we are on the eve of June and quickly headed towards solstice. Tonight as I was frantically trying to finish up my spring cleaning and gauge what is left to toss, stash, and donate before it is no longer Spring, I realized that I am longing for time to savor life...to enjoy the passing minutes...to sit and relax with a bottle of wine on a long summer night and stare at the sunset. 

In my mind, summer has already begun. Mostly because the weather here in Seattle has been spectacular for the season, but also because a new (and unexpected) garden is in my life and I am getting a late start on sowing. Honestly I think I am just in too big of a hurry. All of a sudden my calendar switched to "days until harvest" mode and I felt in a rush to get it all done. Thankfully, I spent a few minutes on the Tilth website and there are plenty of crop windows still wide open. Not to mention the overwinter possibilities for garlic, kale, and collards (some of our favorites!). 

So, as I breathe a sigh of relief and remind myself to stock up on wine and go slowly in the garden, I wish you all a bountiful start to Rejuvenation June. 

monthly music

May 14, 2012

Looking for some fun music for May? I've decided to switch around my monthly playlists to be a soundtrack for the current month, rather than a soundtrack from the previous month. I hope you enjoy these songs as much as I am right now!

Confident May 2012
1. Magic Girl by Sleepy Rebels
2. Bookends and Silent Pages by Kiersten Holine
3. This Is What I Said by Cloud Control
4. Strange Attractor by Animal Kingdom
5. Free by Graffiti6
6. Seeing Stars by Meg Hutchinson
7. Save Me by JJ Heller
8. Songbird by Jillian Edwards
9. Kingdom Come by The Civil Wars
10. Smokescreen by Willis