business · life curation · writing

Create Your Vision – A Sneak Peek Into My Latest Guided Journal

I decided to take a break from Writers Wednesdays, since I’m still editing and doing last minute changes. Instead, I want to take a little time to do a deep-dive into my latest journal, Create Your Vision. This was a special request, and I was delighted to do it for one of my wonderful customers.

Two of the Create Your Visions covers available (25 designs in all)

In this journal, I provide my step-by-step formula for lifestyle redesign, using the power of writing. In the video below, I even give an example of how to change a key area of your life (I use the example of changing careers) by journaling. I’ve successfully used these techniques to change my life and get the results that I’ve desired. Every time I feel the need to change something in my life, I refer back to this formula, since it worked so well.

That’s it for today. I hope you can use the information in this video. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below!

This post contains affiliate links.

life curation

Reblog: Rooting 101 – The Importance of Investing in Self

Hello everyone! If you all recall, I mentioned last year that I would start reposting blog entries from my now defunct blog. Here is a post I wrote about investing in self and becoming the “whole” package. I thought it would be relevant at this time, with so much emphasis on leveling up and lifestyle enhancement. Enjoy!

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I wanted to write about investing in yourself, because I’ve noticed that many women fail to do this. These are bright, beautiful women that may be a perfect package in one area of their lives, but the rest is in shambles. Here are a few famous examples:

-Halle Berry is a physically gorgeous woman that bears the emotional scars from paternal abandonment and abusive relationships.

-Paris Hilton has money and is attractive but has a history of poor social interactions with other women and a string of failed relationships.

-Rosie O’Donnell is funny and famous, but has publicly struggled with obesity for years. (Recently, she has been successful in her weight battles- kudos to her!)

-Countless singers (including three of my favorites, Billie Holiday, Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse) had wonderful voices but suffered from drug and alcohol addictions that eventually cost them their lives.

-Countless actresses (including two of my favorites, Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe) were immensely talented but suffered from drug and alcohol addictions, as well as mental health issues.

Each of the women I listed above have/had golden lives: money, fame, beauty, access to the best of everything. Even with all of those perks, they still had messy lives in one or more areas. This is not a bash session: I sympathize with anyone struggling with life-limiting circumstances. But I want it to be clear, NO amount of “stuff” can make up for deficient interior lives. NO amount of stuff can cover over the insufficient coping skills that result from neglecting to invest in self.

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I’ve seen that the only difference between the girl that gets everything she wants and the girl that seems to always come up short is the amount of personal investment. There are a lot of women that are completely average in many ways, but they still live their lives in a way that makes them happy. However, I’ve also seen women that are above average, even extraordinary, in different ways, yet they are always unfulfilled and disgruntled about their lots in life. Many “average” women are proof positive that self investment, along with a positive outlook, WORKS.

I can’t take credit for all of the tips I’ve listed below. I have one friend that has employed most of these tips in order to create her dream life. She is well on her way to accomplishing all of her goals because of the time she has invested in herself. Most of these tips are things that she has recommended to others, especially since some people want to know her “secret”! Then, those same people seem discouraged when she tells them the truth and they realize that it isn’t a “secret” but hard work and self investment LOL! They seem disappointed that they can’t take a “shortcut” to happiness and fulfillment. Oh well: anything worth having is worth working for, right?

Get Therapy

This is a biggie. Too many women refuse to properly address what’s going on with them. There is a stigma associated with getting therapy: some people still believe that only “crazy” people need therapy. I’m convinced that the people promulgating this stigma need therapy more than most LOL! Therapy is a way to get an objective view of your circumstances, habits, and belief system. This is critical, especially when making life changing decisions.

Getting therapy is now easier and more discreet than ever. There are therapists online that accept clients from anywhere. Some people may benefit from having a face-to-face therapist, and that is fine. It’s just a matter of knowing what works and doing whatever is comfortable. If a person just needs to “talk”, there are websites that offer FREE active listeners. Options are available regardless of monetary and time constraints.

Speaking of comfort, therapists are just like any other medical professionals: people should only work with those professionals that make them feel comfortable. While the subject of conversation may be uncomfortable, the therapist should never be callous or cold.

Spend Time on Uplifting/Inspiring Things

How many times do people spend time on activities that make them feel bad? From church sermons that don’t nourish the soul, to family gatherings that leave one’s blood pressure high and spirits low, many people regularly engage in an assortment of discouraging activities. Most of this depressing activities are actually habits that have gone unquestioned and unchecked. It’s time to embrace uplifting and inspiring things only!

Part of spending time on uplifting things includes being far more discriminating about exposure. Limit (or stop spending) time with dysfunctional family members. Stop supporting churches that don’t leave you feeling closer to God. End your newspaper subscription (I’m serious: if the news is too depressing, limited contact is advised. If you *really* need to know something, someone will tell you; if the person that shares dismal news does so too often, cut that person off, too). Read the books that you want to read. Listen to music that excites your ears and heart. Learn what you enjoy and spend time doing those things.

Designate no less than 30 minutes a day to engage in self care

Self care goes beyond manicures, pedicures, and massages (though these are great self care options!) The concept of self care involves engaging in anything that takes care of some aspect of self. It could involve pouring a glass of expensive wine and dancing without abandon. Or, self care could be the “spa day” from heaven. It could be as simple as taking a nap or as complex as attending a retreat halfway around the world. No matter how self care is defined, at least 30 minutes per day should be dedicated to it. That’s just enough time to do something notable and enjoyable.

Those 30 minutes do not include the basic maintenance one engages in regularly (shower, tooth brushing, getting dressed). However, an extra long bath, that relaxes the nerves and soothes the soul, a thorough dental cleaning that makes one’s smile extra bright and clean, or spending some time playing “dress up” and feeding one’s inner child can be considered a form of self care.

Embrace a clean diet

It is possible to invest in self while eating junk food around the clock. But, those investments will be limited, because in order to enjoy them fully, good health (the result of healthy foods and exercise) is needed. This also connects to the concept of  “self care”: the best way to take care of self is to give the body what it needs to function at its maximum potential. “Clean diets” are a fad at the moment, but good, healthy eating habits never go out of style. As far as I can see, any eating regimen that consistently features nutritious food options and consistently eliminates junk or unhealthy foods with low nutritional value is a “clean diet”.

I’ve read and personally know of some people (including myself) that felt a massive energy surge after eliminating certain foods. Generally, food now is different from how it used to be (unless 100% organic or home-raised food items are consumed). So foods that used to be okay or “safe” may no longer be good for the body. Research, experiment, and stay consistent when things work: these are the keys to designing a clean diet that stands the test of time.

Start journaling

An important starting point for self-investment is self analysis. Understanding where a deficit may lie is the first step in fixing it. One of my dearest friends began her transformative journey by writing regularly in a journal, then looking back over her entries and learning what needed to be changed. Keeping a journal-even for a short period of time- can expose lots of inconsistent and damaging behavior and thought patterns.

Try keeping a journal for 30 days. Write in it every single day, and vow to cover at least a full page or two. Writing out frustrations can be extremely cathartic, and preserving happy moments in words can create a wonderful record to read and recreate those feelings. If it works well, then the journal can become a regular habit. Or, journal during unhappy times or exciting times. This can help with giving one a healthy channel to release unpleasant emotions or serve as a medium for capturing happy emotions to be remembered in the future.

Do a social media fast

When I hear of people that are news- and information-weary, I immediately think of how much social media these individuals use. Information overload is exhausting, and social media is rife with both unsettling and useless “news”. Not only does social media wear on the soul, but it is an immense time suck. Consider the concept mentioned in the book “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell (I’m sure I first learned of this book from a BWE blog, just can’t remember which one). It mentions the 10,000 hours to mastery rule. How many of those potential mastery hours are squandered on social media? Unless the goal is to master social media, those hours are wasted and cannot be recaptured. The best solution is to take a break from social media.

The harder it is to disconnect from social media, the more likely that the temporary break is needed. Social media addiction is real! Even fasting in small doses that increase over time (a few hours, then a day, then a few days, then weeks) will work. The best way to make a social media fast more tolerable is to plan something else during the time that the fast will occur. Perhaps some therapy, self care, preparing a clean meal, or journaling should be done during the social media fast. Or, plan to work on that 10,000 hour goal during the social media fast.

In conclusion, I believe that the self-investment is truly the key to a balanced, happy, fulfilled life. Understanding one’s value, and preserving it, is critical to living well. Employing some of the tips above (or any other tips you may have found effective ) should result in a higher quality of life.

life curation · Uncategorized · writing

My Latest Projects

While taking a hiatus from this blog, I decided to delve into some other projects of interest. I decided that the best thing for me would be to figure out what lights me up, and to focus on doing that for a while, even if the joyful feeling faded quickly.

The point of the exercise wasn’t to find a long-term passion project, but to put my energy into whatever made me happy, so that I could be in a better mental space for future creation. As it turns out, this short-term projects were just what I needed to relight the spark in me. And, because I had the spark re-lit, some of these short-term projects will be around a lot longer than I initially thought.

For starters, I worked on revising a book that I originally released late last year. The book was (in my opinion) a fantastic workbook for creating lifestyle changes, but because I titled the book “2020 Vision”, I knew that it wouldn’t be a popular selection for 2021. So I changed the title to more accurately reflect the content, and thus “Create Your Vision” was born.

When I tell you all how proud I am of this book . . . It really was a labor of love. I poured my best intentions into this text. And my author’s proof was so pretty, I knew that it would give someone a lot of joy! If you’re interested in getting a copy for yourself, you can click here or on the photo above. I created 25 different covers for this book, so if you’d like to see another design, you can visit my shop at Bronze Butterfly Books, or my shop available through this blog (just click here).

Along with re-releasing my book, I got inspired to work on a series of books that address a need that I (and many other women) have. I’m keeping the details under wraps for now, as I flesh out the concept more and figure out if I will need collaborators on this project. I will be announcing more details soon, so look out for that.

During the past few weeks, I also started a YouTube channel. I’d been wanting to do this for a while, but I finally had the time and energy to start on it, and I’ve been loving it so far! It’s an extension of the ideals of this blog, and I’m very excited to share it with you. Here’s one of my favorite videos, where I share some easy ways to be more like the Duchess of Sussex herself, Meghan Markle.

So those were my major projects for the past couple of months, and it looks like these projects are becoming a permanent part of my life. I’m excited to see where these take me, though if I feel overwhelmed, I will have no problem reducing or eliminating these projects to help maintain a sense of balance in my life.

So that’s what I was up to while I was gone. I have a few other things in the works, but I’ll share those in the weeks to come. Until tomorrow, take care!

*This post contains affiliate links.

art · life curation · reading list · relaxation

What I’ve Been Working On. . .

Let’s just take a moment to smile at the fact that we’ve made it to April. How blessed are we to see a new month and to know that things will only get better from here!

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I know that I’ve taken a couple of mini-hiatuses from the blog. As you all know, I’ve been nurturing my body after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia last year, but I haven’t allowed my diagnosis to stop me from pursuing my passions. At the beginning, this diagnosis felt like a hard stop: I had to relearn so many things and find a new normal.

I’ve had to adjust the pace at which I work toward my goals, but I am happy to report that, as I get better, I have more energy to work on the things that delight me. I still struggle with chronic pain, fatigue, and the mental fog that comes along with fibro, but those symptoms are not as pronounced as they used to be, which is such a blessing!

One of the biggest projects that has given me joy in the past year has been my publishing company, Bronze Butterfly Books. This precious project has allowed me to channel my creativity into designing beautiful notebooks and journals. I would love if you check out my website and let me know what you think.

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The bookstore is open!

I’ll have more special things coming from the book shop in the weeks to come. Thank you all for your continued love, support, and good vibes. Have a great day!

 

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Resuming My Gratitude Practice

I didn’t mention this at all on the blog last year, but I meant to, because I was eager to resume one of the practices that made 2016 and 2017 especially magical years for me. Several years ago, I kept a gratitude journal. This journal is good for capturing the little things that I appreciate throughout the day. I got away from this practice because, life being what it is, I got distracted. I really wanted to resume the practice, and even begin using my journal again in August 2018. But, soon I found myself again skipping days and forgetting to do my entries. So my journal went unused for most of last year.

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This year, I wanted to start things on a different note. I decided to begin using my gratitude journal again because well, why not? I don’t have many pages left in this particular journal but I will use it until it’s full, then I’ll start a new one. I focus on capturing the great things that happen each day. I don’t worry too much about expressing gratitude for the same thing multiple times within a week. If there’s something great that I appreciate on more than one day during any given week, I take no issue with noting this more than once. I do, however, try to focus on what truly makes me happy each day and I make an effort to find the moments that made me smile, no matter how small. 

So we’re eight days into the new year, and I’ve  already know that more than 24 things that I can be grateful for this month. I’m happy to be recording the things that I appreciate, because I tend to lose sight of what’s important. Now, I like to think that I am very appreciative on a daily basis. But, I am human and I’m not always as mindful as I’d like to be. Sometimes, I forget how much I have to be grateful for. So this exercise has been great for getting me to focus on what really matters.

Are any of you keep a gratitude journal? If so, let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear more about your personal practice as well as how long you’ve been doing this.

That’s it for today. I hope you all are enjoying your day. Have a great afternoon and take care!

life curation

Making Joy a Daily Practice

I’m still buzzing a bit from the Joy Challenge that I talked about incessantly last month. Mindfully choosing joy daily is going to be a never-ending exercise for me, and that’s okay: it’s worth the effort. Fortunately, I have a little tool to help me to keep the joy going during the months ahead!

joy

Amina Makhdoom Lynch, the creator of the Joy Challenge, generously gifted participants a copy of Rebecca Kochenderfer’s book, Joy Journal. The book is designed to engage you in joyful practices for 12 full weeks (3 solid months!) as you move from accidental/occasional joy practitioner to consistent joy creator.

This book is designed to get you into the habit of engaging a daily intention, reflecting on positive experiences and expressing gratitude. Each week opens with a few thoughts on the week’s theme, stories, encouragement, and examples to assist you in completing the week’s prompts.

I’m so thankful that Amina sent me a paperback copy: these are the kind of tools that I don’t enjoy when digitized. The act of writing (with pen and paper) and reflecting on my thoughts as I write has always been magical for me. So this lines up perfectly with my preferences.

If you need something to help you with staying in joy, this could be a great resource for you. Make sure you check it out!

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The Best Year of Your Life: the Dream It Section Follow-up

A few weeks ago, I gave a brief recap of my revelations while working through the book, The Best Year of Your Life by Debbie Ford. I completed my notes on Chapter 1, but I hadn’t finished fleshing out my thoughts on Chapters 2 and 3. Here, I’ll follow up on what I learned from doing the work outlined in those chapters.

Doing the Work to Create my

 

Chapter 2: Exposing the Fantasy -I thought deeper about the feelings I associate with my “fantasy” life: I often fantasize that I will feel joy, eagerness (happily looking forward to the good stuff to come) and calm. Activating joy will be easy, since I’m doing the Joy Challenge and will be regularly activating that emotion on a daily basis. Eagerness will come from taking more chances and affirming the goodness of everything that comes across my path. I can engage the feeling of calm by instituting relaxation practices for different scenarios. Right now, I can only think of two situations that would greatly benefit from the relaxation practice: I’ll need one for when I feel stressed about work, and one that I can engage to set the tone for a good night’s sleep. Once I finalize the details of those practices, I’ll make another post describing them. That takes care of Chapter 2’s exercises!

Chapter 3: Stepping Into Greatness – I allowed inspiration to come to me, and I created my vision for this year: I will become a well-known influencer, using my reach to encourage people to supporting the arts, move past relationship disappointments, and create the most enjoyable, luxurious lives that they can experience.  The traits I mentioned in the previous post – discipline and boldness (extroversion) – still apply. Creativity is also required, as is excellent communication skills. Focus will be big for me: I tend to get sidetracked. I could easily list about 5 – 10 additional realms that I want to influence, but my primary love is the arts, so I’m going to focus on that, with healing from relationship trauma and living high-quality lives as secondary and tertiary goals.

I’m glad I got a chance to review these chapters and get clear on what I’m dreaming up in 2018. I’ll be sharing more on how I plan out this year’s activities in a future post. Ciao for now!

life curation

My Favorite Organization Tools

Happy Tuesday, friends! This is a post that I meant to do before the beginning of the new year, but life got in the way . . . And I forgot about it. But better late than never, right? And let’s look on the bright side – it *did* arrive before the end of January. That’s a good thing, no?

Look, staying organized is HARD. It’s hard to stay on top of everything that we have to do daily, to accurately project how much time we’ll have for upcoming obligations, and to remain cool and calm while we knock out everything that needs to be done. It’s a lot for one person, much less those that have to manage the calendar of others (administrative staff, parents, and event coordinators come to mind).

mariafresanet - Edited

(image courtesy of MariaFresa.net)

Organization tools have been so important for me, because managing my life isn’t easy. Here are some of my favorite tools for staying organized and efficient:

A desk calendar/blotter : I love being able to see my entire month at a glance. Regardless of how much I have going on, being able to see my plans in large, clearly defined squares helps me visually comprehend whether I need to lighten my load or decline additional activities/plans. I’m a fan of colorful calendars, so this one by Amazon perfectly suits me.

A personal planner : I rely on these heavily, especially since I don’t put every little task on my calendar. Personal planners hold my daily to-do lists and reminders for things to be done on future dates. The prettier the planner, the better I like it, with one stipulation: it must be small enough to fit into my purse, but large enough to capture my thoughts. I always have it with me, so portability is a big thing. My current planner is by Eccolo, and I’m including a link to one of their beautiful options below:

A refillable day planner : So it seems that a desk calendar and a personal planner would be enough, right? Well, not for me LOL! Some days require even more time management, and I’m a huge fan of fillable day planners to help me get through everything that needs to be done. These allow you to measure your time in 30 minute increments and has space for jotting down the most important items to handle through the day. Since these are undated, you only use pages as you need them (allowing you to have this planner for much longer than a year or two). The planner is also refillable, so you can add more pages as needed. I prefer this one by Blueline:


My phone apps : Who doesn’t love a cell phone? These are the best way for me to keep up with my repeated to-dos, especially since I can set how frequent I would like my reminders to be. I love my phone apps for those reminders that are time-sensitive (for example, having my alarm go off 5 minutes before I’m able to reserve tickets for an in-demand event). I’m #TeamiPhone, but every brand of smart phone has apps that can help you manage your time.