Relaxation Techniques for Bedtime

Thursday, March 31, 2011


I've mentioned before the calming, massage-like effects of bedtime yoga. Another relaxing routine in my personal arsenal is a different kind of progressive relaxation. Instead of tensing and un-tensing muscles from the feet to the head, I progressively relax a little more with each exhalation. I take a total of seven breaths and try to relax further and further with each breath.

I also like to look at pictures of my dreams. I sometimes print off motivational pictures that I come across or find in Google Image searches. This brings my awareness and focus back around to important or happy things and away from worries and to-do lists. It can also make for some sweet dreams.

My mom recently dumped off a box of books at my house that I've apparantly been storing at hers for maybe 10 years. Some things never change, like my love for growing things and making homemade beauty products. In the stack, I found a Bath and Body Works at-home beauty book that got me thinking about a refreshing, invigorating morning routine:

1. Try some fired up yoga breathing and gentle stretching before leaving the bedroom. Ease into morning.

2. Drink a glass of ice cold water first thing when you leave the room. Better yet, throw in a slice of orange an enjoy the energizing effects of citrus. I love that sensation in my throat of the first cold drink going down.

3. Dry brush the body with a loofa or use a light body scrub to increase circulation and wake up the nervous system.
4. Give yourself periodic cold spritzes in the shower. The shock can be quite energizing. It will certainly bring you back to life.

5. A little bit later, you might enjoy a glass of tea. Peppermint tea is very refreshing and the minty steam opens up the senses.

Now, say ahhhhhhhhhhhh...

The Mother of Invention

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My mind has recently taken to thinking up inventions and website development ideas. Of course, I don't have the wherewithal to carry most of them out (or maybe I do and don't know it). I just like to think them up. I keep reading about 16-year-olds who started up their own websites and became overnight millionaires. I'm not necessarily looking at this with dollar signs in my eyes, but the concept of coming up with these ideas just fascinates and intrigues me beyond belief.

Some of the websites that I've been thinking about are already out there in cyberspace. And they help me tremendously once I find them, such as this online recipe organizer. I start with the basic concept that the mother of all invention is necessity (I really need a place to store all my favorite recipes online!). Such a simple adage with such profound effects in the world.

I'm working on developing a personalized notebook where you can reload or remove sheets as needed. It would also include and organize a bunch of needs in one place. Mine would have about a million tabs in it for writing ideas, sketches, gratitude lists, books to read lists, things to buy lists and about 999,995 more. Different types of papers and designs would also be required. My notebook would probably be more like something you would find on Etsy. I've been doing a lot of research on quality sketch and watercolor papers and bookbinding techniques to make it just right. If I get good momentum going, I could probably make some others for upcoming gifts and sell them in my own yet-unestablished Etsy store. Here is a peek at some of the designs that are inspiring me right now:

I absolutely love the three-ring laminated designs by Crown Bindery

Monika Wright's mini notebooks and albums are just darling and absolutely perfect.

I am a big fan of repurposing old tattered old books into something new and cherished. I've had my eye on storybook notebooks like this one from BigLittle's shop for awhile now.

My husband has promised to try an experiment with a drill to see if we can bring some of my ideas to fruition. I am at least hopeful that we can "invent" some kind of paper organization system that works for me. I am so tired of seeing my little piles of tattered notes and musings scattered about everywhere. I need a place to keep them all safe and sound.

Plus, I've been on an artsy creation streak for awhile now. I recently made some no-sew applique scarves, fridge menu boards, fabric flowers and other ephemera. I just.can't.sit.still!!!!

Another Success Story

Friday, March 18, 2011

2011 Ford Mustang GT Convertible
Pic from jpowers65's on Flickr

One of my uncles flew in Wednesday from Texas and flew back out early Thursday morning, and in that short time, his presence inspired me in three very influential, perhaps life-changing ways.

First, he bought my grandparents, his parents, two brand-spanking new vehicles. Yes, you heard that right! This has got to be the highlight of the month...winter...perhaps year. My grandma has always always had a dream of owning a little red sports car. Every one of us in the family knows this and has always known this. Well, how about a brand-new, lipstick-red, Ford Mustang convertible? I'm pretty sure that qualifies. I'm pretty sure that would also qualify as Socrates' version of the "perfect form" of little red sports car. My grandpa is also enjoying his fresh-from-the-mint Ford Ranger. To me, this has very little to do with the materialistic aspect of the gifts. It's about one man showing his deepest love, respect and gratitude to his parents. It is the most endearing, generous and lovely thing I have seen in a very long time.

You will never meet two more deserving people of that level of love and respect. I have always said that it would be difficult to demonstrate the level of my appreciation to them for all that they do, but that I just hope I can strive to be as good a parent/grandparent as they have been to their progeny. And this experience has made me want to be the best mom I can be for my son every.single.moment. I want to emulate whatever it is they're doing so right. A mother's level of love for her children is an impossible pinnacle to surpass, and I want my son to experience every morsel of it. I will never suppress it or keep it undercover from him. And I hope that one day, he too will raise a family of all-around good people.

Second, my uncle is an affluent businessman. He radiates an air of utter unerring confidence wherever he is. I only had the opportunity to visit with him for a few hours. But even in that length of time, his aura of dignity and integrity resonated with me. There is not a hint of hesitation in his step or passiveness in his manner. I am constantly trying to evolve and progress in my personal life and profession. And his presence and long-standing success infused me with a fresh surge of inspiration.

Third, I didn't recognize the man when I walked in the door of the dealership. He has lost over 100 lbs and looks amazing. There's definition in his face and a sense of limberness in his body. I'm a complete sucker for a success story. I go scouting for them when I need a boost. And when a success story hits this "close to home" (really!), it is the most potent of all. All I can say is, my grandpa has obviously passed on his diligence and self-discipline to other members of the family, providing other role models for me to revere and success stories to challenge me--and hopefully others as well!

Today's Visual Inspiration

Monday, March 7, 2011

I'm really digging the cover art for JayMay's Autumn Falling. It's very carefree, very lighthearted and "un-stuffy." I love how the equilibrium is juxtaposed with a little bit of unevenness. And I like the muted color combinations. It's chunky, clunky and oh so refreshing.

I've been itchin' to create again lately. And I have loads of design inspiration saved to my desktop. I am definitely going to bookmark this album cover. I've been playing with the idea of breaking out the watercolors with my two-year-old to see what we can accomplish. My favorite art is uncomplicated. And this parallel painting might just inspire something of my very own.

The Clarity of Glass

Studio: Perfume bottles & beakers 1 Image from IlluminatedPerfume

I think I've finally pinpointed my love of glass, crisp empty notebooks, air purifying plants, crisp white clothes (although I don't own many because of a deep-seated fear of bleach), fresh air, lotus flowers, fresh real foods, water, icicles and so much more than I could list. I've even come to embrace the act of spring cleaning recently. The link would've been so blatant, had I compiled a list of some of my favorite things sooner.

These things resonate with my passion for purity and cleanliness, blank canvases and clarity, the wholesome and genuine. My most favorite people are not those with essences of mystery or muddied intentions, but those of trueness and openness. I enjoy the company of authentic people with clear intentions and clear consciences. I bask in tranquility. I have faith in a soul-cleansing God. I treasure honesty. I value sincerity. Following a pure and faultless path is grounds for clarity. And all the things I listed embody that sentiment.