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.

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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.

art · reading list

What I’m Reading Right Now

I’ve been reading a LOT recently. This has been a great time for me to get through my tremendous book list (which I’ve been mindful to NOT add to during this time). I’ve read several Agatha Christie novels that I’ve had for a long time, but now I want to get back to my first love: self-improvement/life-enhancement books.

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I started reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron as a way to tap into my creativity and to consistently feel inspired. I began reading it in 2018, but I never got past the first few pages (I don’t think it was the right time to embark upon this journey: this was when I was trying to figure out the status of my health and my creativity wasn’t a priority). But now that I have a better handle on my physical health, now seemed like a good time to pick this book up again. I am seeking to access my creativity on new levels, and after reading the introduction and reviews of The Artist’s Way, I was convinced that this would be the perfect book to kick-start my creative endeavors.

The Artist’s Way takes would-be creatives through 12 weeks of exercises and guidance to set up a “framework” that encourages the pursuit of artistic endeavors. I’m in week 1 right now, and I’m excited to see where I’ll be at the end of the process.

Have any of you read The Artist’s Way? I’d love to hear about your experience with the book!

(this post has affiliate links)

health · life curation · relaxation

Take a Moment to Feel the Sun

The sun is such a blessing. I feel very connected with sun energy, and I embrace the times where I can go outside and simply feel the sun on my skin. My good friend Diana mentioned more than once that I need to intentionally connect with sun energy, and that’s why I’m devoting this post to her. I’m listening, chica. I’m choosing to regularly connect with this incredible energy source.

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Enjoy the sunshine

This life-sustaining ball of fire continues to remind me of all of the good things about life. Delicious fresh fruit and vegetables grow because THE SUN IS. My skin grows to a deeper chocolate hue every summer because THE SUN IS. Time and all things that we use to measure the span of our lives is possible because THE SUN IS.

So, if you can, take a moment, step outside and feel the sun. Let the rays kiss your skin and serve as a reminder that every day is magical. And then, embrace the other magic that shows up for you: it surrounds you, and it is waiting for you to see it.

culture · life curation

Celebrating Podcasts: My Favorite Way to Learn!

Today is International Podcast Day and I’m thrilled to be able to share and reshare some of my favorite podcasts with you all! I didn’t know this day even existed prior to this weekend (I’m just as surprised as you are!) but I’m delighted that I can do my part to show support for some of the fantastic content creators that provide excellent, timely information on their podcasts.

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Listening to podcasts is a great way to pass the time while exercising

On the top of my list is LOA Recon with Jeannette Maw. I love her simple way of explaining Law of Attraction and providing wonderful stories illustrating her point.

The Mind Your Business podcast with James Wedmore has great interviews and combines left brain logic with right brain principles as a way to have a balanced approach to business building.

In Other Words gives me my weekly fix of art and museum news and discussions.

Abiola Abrams’s Spiritpreneur School gives tips on how to create a thriving business that incorporates your passion and spiritual gifts. Abiola also has a great YouTube channel that you may want to check out.

The Side Hustle Show with Nick Loper is an excellent resource for aspiring business owners that are looking for ideas and inspiration.

The OWN Network has amazing Super Soul Sunday interviews from a slew of thought leaders and innovators.

And last but not least, Entrepreneurs on Fire with John Lee Dumas is great for learning about the art of podcasting and building a business around it.

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I love listen to podcasts as I unwind, too

Let’s show our love for our favorite podcasters by:

  • Encouraging someone to listen to podcasts and giving them your personal recommendations
  • Giving great ratings and reviews of your favorite podcasters on podcasting platforms (iTunes/Apple, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher, etc.,)
  • Send a word of encouragement or a monetary donation to your faves, just to show them how much you appreciate the work that they do

These gestures can go a LONG way in supporting your favorite podcasters.

Do you have any favorite podcasters that you want to share? Please leave a comment below telling us all about them!