life curation

Are You Ambitious?

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you all had a safe and fun weekend.

Today’s post is courtesy of a fantastic free workbook that I downloaded from the Tory Burch Foundation website. As a newbie female entrepreneur, I’m constantly on the lookout for information that can help me to successfully grow my businesses. I’m fascinated by how many individual “parts” need to sync in order to create business success. So I read a lot of guides and do any of the associated exercises to ensure that I’m testing the theories and learning – for myself – what works and what doesn’t.

The Tory Burch Foundation’s Ambition Guidebook is a wonderful resource for anyone beginning on the entrepreneur path. The exercises in the booklet lead you through self-discovery, and if you do the exercises, you’ll eventually reveal to yourself the strengths that you possess, potential roadblocks on your path, and actionable steps that you can take to achieve your goals.

That leads me to the title of this post: are you ambitious? Many of us have been taught to shy away from this personality trait, out of fear of offending others. Women, particularly, may have gotten the messaging that ambition is a “masculine” trait and thus undesirable in any authentically “feminine” woman. For those that are still a bit nervous about the word “ambitious”, you can easily substitute the words “passionate” or even “enthusiastic”. When substituting different words, it’s clear that ambition is a good thing: one could even say that ambition is the spice of life!

Yes, so many of the things that we enjoy are the products of extreme ambition. Strong desire is what inspires us to create new things, even in a world where it seems like “everything” has already been created! One of the saddest things I’ve ever seen what someone that no longer had any ambition: a lack of desire leaves a person feeling lost and disinterested in life. Most of us have had brief periods when we don’t feel very ambitious, but that’s not an energy that we want to linger in. We want to always find something to “light us up” and inspire us to do/have/be MORE.

So, I’m going through the exercises in the guidebook and enjoying it so far. I love how user-friendly this is, and the fact that it’s free is definitely a good thing! If you have a few friends that are interested in finding their life’s purposes or rekindling their passions, this booklet would be great for you all to download and complete together as a group. If you decide to download it, let me know how you enjoy it!

life curation · writing

Revising and Republishing My Essays

I think I’ve mentioned it previously, but in case I haven’t, I used to write on my (now defunct) personal blog several years ago. I discussed a variety of topics, but my main focus was life improvement. In short, that blog was a bit of a precursor to this one.

A couple of weeks ago, I talked to to one of my good friends of several years. She specifically mentioned some of my writing and how she wishes that she could view those essays again. As a special favor to her (and because I think that some of those essays have aged VERY well), I will be revising and republishing my essays over here.

I’m excited to revisit the topics that used to interest me, and I’m eager to share those discussions over here! What will really be fun is reflecting on the actions that I planned to take back then and comparing those intentions to the things that I’m currently experiencing. I can comfortably say that I followed a lot of my own advice and those decisions have paid off for me.

Look out for those revised essays starting next week. Also, if you have any topics that you would like to see discussed on this blog, please don’t hesitate to let me know!

art · life curation

For The Love of Letters

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a touching appeal posted by Victorian Senior Care, requesting letters to be sent to their elderly residents. I have a soft spot for the elderly, and writing letters has always been something that I wanted to do more often, so I quickly decided to participate. I mean, why wouldn’t I spend some time connecting with someone older that could use a little conversation?

However, before I could write my letters, I saw that Victorian Senior Care was inundated with letters from other well-meaning folks like myself. This got me to thinking, maybe there are other senior facilities looking for pen pals. And, as it turns out, a simple search of “letter writing to seniors” on Facebook pulls up several different senior facilities that have letter writing campaigns currently. However, you don’t have to go to Facebook: you can always reach out to a local nursing home if you want to connect with isolated seniors.

I’m mailing a bundle of letters this week. I’m looking forward to writing to elders that aren’t able to connect with people outside of the facility. Letter writing, as an art, is dying and I am glad that COVID and the subsequent quarantines have brought to light this precious form of communication and how it can connect unlikely groups of people.

In this age of social media, who would have thought that letter writing would bring us together? I could have never seen it coming, but I’m glad that it’s happening. I hope you all join me in writing to the elderly.

life curation · travel

Throwback Thursday Travel: New Orleans, Part Deux

As promised, I’m sharing the second part of my photos taken during my trip to New Orleans several years ago. These photos were taken at Woldenberg Park, which is on the Mississippi riverfront. I loved the statues and beautiful setting. The only thing I wish could be improved was the cleanliness of the Mississippi River. Such a striking body of water deserves to be cleaner and beautified. However, only time will tell if this is possible. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these pictures!

life curation

Feeling Uninspired?

During this time, I’ve seen a myriad of articles (heck, I’ve even written a few posts!) that assume that being in quarantine automatically means that we have both time and inspiration to finally go after the things that light us up. It’s assumed that (prior to COVID-19) the only thing that was missing from our big dreams was the time to pursue them. And, for some of us, that is true.

However, there is a far more insidious culprit that many of us face when it comes to pursuing our dreams. There is a not-so-small group of us that have lots of time due to being quarantined but almost ZERO inspiration. Oh sure, we see something cool and inspiring online, or we get fired up when we listen to our favorite podcasts. But, when it comes to actually implementing our OWN ideas, we find ourselves feeling stuck and not particularly interested in walking that path just yet.

Some of us aren’t feeling very inspired at all.

I have a couple of theories on why that is, and I’ll share those in a moment. But first, let me state that even though I’m currently working on a side project that I adore, I did not feel inspired when quarantines were first implemented. I was still dealing with managing my fibro symptoms (which were intense at the time) and trying to find a compromise between my need to earn a living and my physical limitations. To say that I was uninspired would be an understatement.

But, something changed. My grandmother and her sister began staying with me, so that I could care for them while the world dealt with coronavirus. I found myself hearing stories that I’d heard before, but I was hearing them as an adult, and gleaning new lessons from them. In the midst of these conversations, I found my new inspiration. The unexpected effect has to be the single most motivating thing that has occurred in the past few years.

Now, back to why many of us aren’t motivated. Most of us are TIRED! Think of the intense schedules that most of us had pre-COVID; we needed some time to decompress and finally BREATHE after living hectic lifestyles. At this point, the only thing that can lead us to inspiration is giving ourselves room to rest and just take care of ourselves. If you are taking care of yourself, you are already doing enough. Give yourself credit and don’t worry about “inspiration”: inspiration comes in when you have room for it. It’s difficult to make room when your basic biological needs (like rest) haven’t been properly met for an extended period of time.

Exhaustion can impact our ability to create and be inspired

Another reason why many of us aren’t motivated and inspired is due to the fact that we feel anxious about the current state of the world as well as our personal well-being. This goes back to biological needs (think Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid): security is a basic need. If we don’t feel secure, it can be challenging to ascend to those higher levels of the hierarchal pyramid (which is the space where inspiration usually resides).

Yes, it is possible to be inspired by feelings of insecurity and exhaustion. There have been many products developed out of these emotions, and those products have been wildly successful. But it’s important to note that inspiration – the spark that makes you want to get up and do something incredible every day – doesn’t play well in spaces of insecurity, exhaustion, anger or depression. Not to mention, these emotions tend to deplete your energy, while inspiration tends to fuel it. Basically, the energy of inspiration runs counter to the “lower” feelings that you may experience. I’ve found that I’m more inspired when I’m feeling calm, healthy, and secure. However, that’s been my personal experience: if you’ve experienced something different, then completely disregard when I’ve stated and continue doing what works for you.

So, if you haven’t feel feeling inspired, give yourself a break and a little grace. We’re all doing the best we can. Eventually, our world will return back to the hectic, exhausting place that it was before (albeit with additional safety precautions) and we may not have another opportunity to truly GO SLOWER and take time to appreciate what really matters. So enjoy this time and continue doing your best: that’s inspiring enough.

life curation

Another New Family Member

Meet Dory, our newest family member!

Blue betta fish are so striking, so we’re excited that he’s now part of our family. He’s so pretty!

That’s all for today (I know, it’s a brief post!). I don’t have any updates from the weekend, but no news is good news, right? I’m glad that things are calm on my end. I hope you all had a relaxing and enjoyable weekend!

Talk to you all tomorrow!

food · life curation · luxury

Learn About Tea – For Free!

On Facebook, I recently saw an ad from The Republic of Tea, offering a free email course about tea. Tea 101: An Educational Email Series promised to deliver, over a 6 day period, information about the “nuances and complexities of premium tea”.

I’m a sucker for nuance and complexity, so I happily dove into the emails as they arrived.

Mustard and Olive Chic Lifestyle Blogger Blog Post Social Media Graphics

The lessons cover the different aspects of distinguishing between and enjoying tea. The lessons are brief and to the point, so they are perfect for busy people.

I especially enjoyed the emphasis on the fact that herbal teas aren’t true “teas” (the only true “tea” is the leaf of the camellia sinensis plant). However, the company still took time to explain the benefits of herbal “teas” and blends. I also liked the description that Republic of Tea provided, regarding the caffeine levels in varying tea varieties. It was good to see which teas provide light, medium and heavy caffeine.

 

life curation

Meet My New Love!

Recently, I’ve entered a relationship so wonderful and rewarding that I can hardly believe it! This love is so true and I’m so happy to share my new love with you. . .

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Meet Chewy, my shih tzu! He’s 4 years old, and he was re-homed with me after my best friend discovered that he wasn’t a good fit for her family (they needed a more active dog for their lifestyle). I had a shih tzu many years ago, so I was familiar with the breed and their temperament, so I was comfortable inviting this little boy to our home.

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My sweet boy before he visited my groomer

I love this sweet boy so much! He’s very quiet, easygoing and affectionate. He is such a sweetheart! He’s been with me for a week and it’s been a lot of fun having this new personality in my home.

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My cuddle bug after his first grooming session

Chewy has made my heart feel so full: I’m thrilled that we have him in our family. I’m looking forward to sharing more about him in upcoming posts!

life curation · Uncategorized

How to Support Small Businesses During the Pandemic

One of the things that continues to come to my mind is the well-being of small business owners, especially those that are not able to do business in person (“nonessential” businesses). As individuals, we may not be able to save every small business, but we can definitely do something to help support these businesses.

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Buying local and buying from small businesses can make a big impact

Seek out Etsy sellers – Etsy is full of creatives that make and sell all sorts of amazing stuff.If you’re looking for something specific, try Etsy first. You may be able to quickly locate the perfect item, and (as a plus!) you’ll be able to support a small business owner.

Use local food delivery – If you’re tired of cooking, or maybe you just want to get your grocery items delivered to your front door, then local food delivery services are just what you need. Seek out small (non-chain) restaurants for your meals, and if you use a grocery delivery service, then make sure to tip your delivery person. That money can make a huge difference to the “gig economy” workers that may be working in these services to help cover expenses during this crisis.

Use Amazon to help you – Amazon has set up a portal specifically for handmade items from every state in the US. If you want to ensure that the money you spend goes directly to sellers living near you, you can click on your region and then select your state to find vendors. I recently purchased these darling Cinderella earrings for a special little one in my life. They’re so cute, I may end up buying the Belle earrings for myself!


Charming Cinderella earrings

Ask family and friends to give you referrals – Of course, if you’re at a loss for businesses to support, ask your family and friends to make suggestions. Some of them may themselves be business owners that you can support directly, or they may know some business owners that would appreciate having a new customer.

Do you have any ideas for supporting small and local businesses that I didn’t mention? Let me know all about it in the comments below!

 

 

 

(this post contains affiliate links)

beauty · life curation

Embracing Natural Beauty

With all of this “free” time at home, I have been concentrating on slowing down and enjoying the simple pleasures around me. The main pleasure I’ve indulged in regularly is taking in the stunning beauty of the flowers and trees surrounding my home. Here are a few of my favorite photos. Enjoy!

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My hot pink azaleas

A yellow rose bush that is beginning to bloom

Baby pink rhododendrons

My Japanese maple (the leaves are stunning!)

I find that spending a little time walking the perimeter of my home does wonders for my mood and my energy. Embracing natural beauty has such a calming effect on me. I also planted some irises, tigridias, and gladiolus bulbs that I’m patiently waiting to bloom. When those flowers bloom, I’ll take more pictures and share them with you all.