Tag Archives: present moment

Candle Remake Again

Candle Remake Again

My love affair with candles continues. The other day, I was in the mood for vanilla soy, not the beverage;  rather, the sweet essence of a vanilla soy candle permeating through the air. But I was all out. I had exhausted my supply.

candles

Instead of heading out to the store, I knew I was long overdue for another candle remake as I did here using all  the candle remnants I acquired over the last few months.

leftover candle remnants

 

When I did my last candle remake, I realized I used the wrong wick resulting in a tunnel burn down the center.

The type of wick matters and although a tunnel burn is good for certain types of candles, it’s not the desired outcome for a jar candle. Fortunately,  I  had purchased  this wood variety  on my last visit to Michaels; they are  especially made for jar candles.

 

wood candle wick

 

The “how to ” instructions on how to reuse your candle remnants can be found here.

candles

Now I have many more candle burning present moments ahead of  me to enjoy. It’s a reminder to appreciate the simpler side of everyday life.
candle remake
Do you share my candle love? Have a favorite candle aroma?

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How Do You Get Into the Zone?

How Do You Get Into the Zone?

book-artforger-shapiro-500

girl with brushes

I wanted to share with you my last read, The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro. I loved it! Even though my book club met two weeks ago, I can’t stop thinking about the main character, Claire Roth, a struggling artist who supplemented her non-existent income by painting reproductions of well known artist to sell on reproduction.com. She lost her credibility in the art community when she made the decision to paint a painting for her married professor boyfriend who was lost in an artistic manic episode in an effort to save his reputation. However, it all backfired propelling her to take part in an illegal forging scheme at the promise of her own art show. Claire struggles with internal and external judgement of being considered a master artist or master forger.

But why can’t I get Claire Roth out of my head? Probably because I can relate to her creative abilities and her intense painting sessions where she could stay in the present moment and create despite all the chaos and drama in her life. Here are a few excerpts:

“The shower cleans the sweat and the odor of fear from my skin, but it does nothing to wash away the residual emotions smoldering inside my body. Once I start painting though, the feelings disappear.”

“As the excitement grows at the thought of working on my own paintings, I push myself even more. I’ve taken to sleeping in multiple, short stretches during both night and day, upsetting my natural circadian rhythms and further cutting myself off from the cadence of the world…………I remain in the zone for longer periods of time than I ever believed possible.”

“When he leaves, I go right back to work. the zone is the safe place for me now.”

I can identify with that zone, that creative place one can go to escape, a place to take a mini break from everyday life and just be, reconnecting with who you are, all the while, filling your internal cup. Like Claire, who gets into her zone when painting, I am in my zone. of course, when I dabble in DIY and pursue my creative pursuits. It’s an important part of who I am. It’s cathartic, my respite and my heaven on earth.

Can you relate? What do you get lost in? How do you get into “the zone”?

My Personal Project Runway Experience

My Personal Project Runway Experience

Last weekend, I had the greatest experience. I  attended a weekend class, Styling for Photography at Fashion Institute of Technology (aka FIT). About 15 minutes into the class, I realized  then content wasn’t quite what I was expecting. As a disappointing feeling started to take over, I quickly reframed my thoughts. As long as there is a take away , a bit of useful information or I walk away inspired, then it will be worth my while. And guess what? The class turned out to be fantastic and I had so much fun!

My reason for taking the class was to learn the art of styling photographs. Although effortless for some,  I find the process daunting. This class was geared toward someone who aspires to be a professional fashion stylist, however,  I walked away with helpful information and direction. There were two teachers, a professional stylist and a professional photographer. The photographer, Maria, was extremely helpful and  steered me in the right direction, suggesting the photography and still life styling classes that are more in line with what I was looking for.  She must of been a comedian in another life because she was soooooo funny.

Our assignment was to come up with a concept and message using the color brown. There were two teams of 6. Each team had to come up with a still life design and two fashion outfits. Everyone collaborated on the still life.Our concept and message was urban nesting with nature. We discussed the look we wanted to portray, decided on the items we needed and the outdoor  location for the shoot.  The next day, we collaborated some more and came up with the final still life shot and the photographer took the photos. And boy are they beautiful!  It will be a while before I will get her shots, so I snapped a few quick ones.  Here’s the still life using some of  the items we brought in.

Still life IMG_9399 copy

The bird  that looks like it’s sitting atop a nest is actually a hat that we will also used in our fashion shoot.

Still life IMG_9403

After we finished with the still life, our team broke off into  two teams of three to create the fashion looks. We had a professional make up artist and model assigned to us for the shoot. Here are some of the fashion accessories we decided to use. I apologize for the horrible photo, Iphone and florescent lighting do not work well together.

fashion accessories IMG_9416 copy

Here’s the first look styled by the other half of my team.

fashion outfit 1 IMG_9428

It was so fun to see a professional model doing her thing up close and personal.

fashion outfit 1 IMG_9431

Natural and effortless.

fashion outfit 1 IMG_9433

 

And here’s the second outfit I helped style.

fashion outfit 2 IMG_9438

 

Never in a million years would I think of putting all these elements together.

fashion outfit 2 IMG_9439

 

Love, love, love the skirt!

fashion outfit 2 IMG_9441

And that’s a crochet bikini top peaking underneath the faux leather jacket.

fashion outfit 2 IMG_9446

By the way, the paper trailing behind her was intentional.

 

fashion outfit 2 IMG_9447

As one of my teammates schooled me, “fashion doesn’t have to make sense”.

This is my favorite pose.

fashion outfit 2 IMG_9448

She was as sweet as she was beautiful.

fashion outfit 2IMG_9437

I plan to take the classes the photographer suggested, one of which concentrates on still life styling, and maybe, just maybe, I will be able pull this off all by myself.

Still life IMG_9403

This was one phenomenal experience! I felt like I was on me-cation/stay-cation. Laughing and learning are a great combo. I walked away elated and inspired.

Do you have natural styling ability or are you like me and struggle with it? Taken a me-cation lately?

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Remember to Play!

Remember to Play!

5 book steps to discovering your personal muse

It is so easy to get entangled in our everyday lives, overwhelmed  by our day to day responsibilities and consumed by the never ending “to do” list.  And if you’re a mom, your job is 24/7, period. So why not make yourself a priority, schedule a few minutes and give yourself permission to play. And by that I mean spending time doing whatever allows you to experience joy. It might mean coffee with a friend that makes you laugh, participating in an activity that keeps us in the present moment or just doing something that deviates from our normal routine. Or, it can be as simple as curling up with a favorite book or magazine and closing the door to everything else. And guess what? The world is not going to stop revolving and the “to do” list will still be waiting for you upon your return;however, it will  be easier to tackle because you took time to care of yourself. It’s not selfish, it’s selfless because now you offer the world a better you.

So my question to you is, how do you play? What is your idea of fun time? For me, in addition to the things I mentioned above, it’s getting into a zone, where I find myself creating and meditating simultaneously. Creativity isn’t limited to producing magnificent works of art – painting an impressive masterpiece, sculpting exquisite pottery or writing a best selling novel; creativity is discovering yourself from the inside out, honing your talents and gifts and using that specialness to make your personal mark on world! How you do that is a manifestation of your uniqueness. So, If you think you’re not creative, please, please, please kick that notion to the curb. I’ve written about this when I first started this blog, here and touched on it again, more recently, here. It’s part of my calling and it’s important that I write about it and put it out there. We’re all creative, just not in the same way; that’s what makes each and every one of us unique. and special beings.

But just in case you have yet to find your creative genre, no problem! You are only 5 book steps away from discovering you personal muse!

Step 1. 344 Questions: The Creative Person’s Do-It-Yourself Guide to Insight, Survival, and Artistic Fulfillment (Voices That Matter) by Stefan G. Bucher, a book full of questions designed to document who you are, where you are and where you want to go.

344 Questions_

Step 2. How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum by Keri Smith prompts you to be observant about your often overlooked surroundings.It provides a fun way to appreciating the tiny details in everyday life.

How To Be An Explorer Of The World_

Step 3. Finish This Book, also by Keri Smith, offers inspiring activities using found objects and writing prompts is perfect for all ages and a great summer activity for children.

Finsish This Book

Step 4. 365: A Daily Creativity Journal: Make Something Every Day and Change Your Life! by Noah Scalin provides 365 simple project ideas; however, they are just that, suggestions. He encourages the reader to incorporate their own interests and passions and/or take a theme approach to ones daily projects.

365 A Daily Creative Journal

Step 5. Living Out Loud by Keri Washington is filed with activities, games, projects and more to begin your journey to creativity and personal discovery.

Living Out Loud

Perhaps, you will find one, or all, of these books helpful in connecting with the creativity that resides within you. Please let me know your thoughts and, remember, don’t forget to play!

Marble Notebooks Mean the World to Me

Marble Notebooks Mean the World to Me

Journaling has become a favorite part of my life which has served me well. It has allowed me to vent, release the bad and spot joy so much more easily. Although I remember having a diary as a little girl, however,  daily journaling  was a mandatory requirement for one of my high school English classes. That was the real beginning of my journey into journaling and it has changed my life in significantly awesome ways. The funny thing is I was so brutally honest, as you should be, but I can only imagine what my teacher was thinking when she read my entries. LOL Seriously, it is the one place that you can let it all out, clear your head and vow to start anew. It is a place to hang and just be, all the while getting in touch with your most authentic and raw thoughts unedited.

Today, my entries range from autobiographical to stream of consciousness with a lot of gratitude and affirmations thrown in. Stream of consciousness is writing anything that pops into your mind uncensored – words, incomplete thoughts, fragments of anything and everything. It’s all good. You’d be surprise what you can learn about yourself. I find I no longer carry around excess baggage or burden myself with the icky stuff in life. Instead, I write it out and let it go instead of harboring things that don’t serve my best interests.

I have had many different journals, and have even amassed a small unused collection waiting for their turn. I am drawn to books with empty pages to fill. If one catches my eye in the store, I just can’t help myself. But for some reason, I keep going back to marble notebooks, which is what I used in high school – perhaps a nod back to my journaling roots. I find it’s the perfect size – not too bulky to stick it in my bag. Yes, I love to journal everywhere, at a diner, on a plane, out in nature. I know I am dating myself but remember when marble notebooks just came in one black and white color pattern?

marble notebook

But today, they come in every color and pattern imaginable.

Marble-Composition-Book assorted colors

Yes, folks, I drool over marble notebooks; they make my heart skip a beat each and every time. I hope your heart skipping a beat too!

composition noteboook assortment

As I said earlier, joy often comes easy to me. Even for something as small as a marble composition notebook! Name changes when they sport a pretty pattern. That’s why I always look forward to school supply shopping each and every year, as I will be doing for No. 2 Son in the next couple of days. I can’t wait to see the new colors and patterns. Sometimes, I buy and extra one just for me. Why? Because they’re pretty and they make me smile! I also have a thing for erasable pens too but I’m not going to get into that here:)

However, when I saw these Ms Mudpie Boutique on Etsy, I just gasped.
MSMudpieBoutique
They are available in so many colors and patterns and you can even have them monogramed. Oh wow!!! Aren’t they gorgeous! Journaling can’t get any prettier than this. Don’t you think? Now that I hang out at Etsy a lot these days maintaining my shop, I find so many neat products. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, I stumbled upon this baby at Jounals by Ginny. It’s a journal cover for marble notebooks! And that quote is a testament to my life.

JounalsbyGinny

It’s the little things in life that can make all the difference. How about you? Do you journal? Is there something small that means the world to you? Please leave a comment and let me know you stopped by. I really would love to know your thoughts. And, just in case you didn’t know, your comments mean the world to me too:)

New Mexico

New Mexico

I had the pleasure of traveling to New Mexico this summer. After reading this post, I decided to rely on my point and shoot camera and limit the picture taking overall. I wanted this trip to be more of an “present moment” experience. And you really can’t be in present moment if you are busy taking pictures.

My family and I spent a week in Taos, Santa Fe and Albuquerque. As I write this, I am on the flight home and I am so proud of myself now that I can finally spell Albuquerque effortlessly:) Although I found New Mexico to be a little too touristy, we focused on it’s cultural attractions – museums, landmark churches, Native American cultural centers and toured the Taos Pueblo (an intense history lesson).

But what I was truly smitten with was the open roads and wide open spaces. The drive from Albuquerque to Santa Fe

ABQ to Santa Fe IMG_6823

was just as scenic as views along The Turquoise Trail, a 54 mile stretch along Highway 14.

Turquoise Trail  open road IMG_6912

That was really special. We passed a few ranches

Turquoise Trail  Ranch IMG_6915

and lone houses.

Turquoise Trail  House IMG_6894

The towns are quaint and just take you back in time. Isn’t this just darling?

Turquoise Trail  mail boxes IMG_6908

It was a leisurely drive. A couple of times, in between towns, Mr. DIY pulled off on the side of the road so that I could snap a few pics. During one of the stops, I heard Mr. DIY and the boys quietly, trying to quickly lure me back into the car and I couldn’t understand why.
Then they pointed out a huge snake camouflaged on a rock very close to where I was standing. Yikes!

IMG_6905 snake
As we drove off I started thinking all the “what ifs” as Mr. DIY started joking about how he would have come to my rescue by applying a tourniquet, sucking out the venom and rushing me to the nearest hospital. While his humor stopped the “what ifs”, after the laughter died down, I kept repeating my most favorite prayer, thank you, thank you, thank you…….
Turquoise Trail IMG_6904

Snake and all, it was all breathtakingly beautiful. If I’m ever in the area again, I would stop in each town along the Turquoise Trail for sure. Have you ever visited a place that has taken you back in time?

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The Love of the Challenge

The Love of the Challenge

I participated in the Walk the Walk America Moonwalk NYC last weekend.

Walk the walk crowd
I’m somewhere in that crowd of 1500 women and men walking the streets of NYC during the moonlight hours in our decorated bras. When I made the decision to participate, I kept toying with bustier cover up ideas but my attempts at producing a design worthy of Project Runway fell short. I decided to go bold and be daring and stick to the suggested “bra only” attire realizing that it was not about vanity and everything about the cause. The proceeds from this marathon will help support the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Care Center located in Harlem, New York.

It was the most amazing experience! I challenged myself and I met the challenge, completing a half marathon – 13.1 miles. Even when my legs were feeling a little heavy towards he end, I kept going, strong and confident. I was proud of myself and the months of preparation I endured to get myself physically and mentally ready. Using the Map My Run app, (love it!), it was so easy to stay on point with my training schedule and keep track of my mileage. I walked 136.58 miles prior to the marathon. Wow!

It all started back in April when I asked my friend, Andrea, if she would be interested in walking with me. I didn’t think she would be receptive and was so pleasantly surprised when she agreed to take on the challenge as well. Thank you Andrea! She was just as dedicated as I was and it was so nice to share the training regimen with her.

team-pic-small
The actual marathon was the final destination but the journey included so much more; I gained a lot. Seeing things from a walking point of view was new, fresh and exciting. I noticed things on foot that went overlooked driving in my car – whether it be a landscaped garden, a local business or decorative ceramic cats whimsically mounted on a roof of a house – little things that made me do a double take, keeping me in the present moment. I developed a greater love for walking, equally gratifying with company or alone with music pumping from my phone. I gained a deeper appreciation for my community and the surrounding neighborhoods as well. I lost a few too. Although not my intention, I dropped eight pounds as a result of the regimented power walking sessions and went up a notch on my belt.

So now what remains are the remnants from this defining moment in my life.

marathon remnants_9065

A metal presented upon completion Olympic style, the official T-shirt with the cutest graphic and, of course, my decorated bra I wore proudly.

decorated-bra_9042

Have you challenged yourself lately? Please share.

Have You Taken a Me-cation Lately?

Have You Taken a Me-cation Lately?

Me-cation, I thought I was being original and made up this word. But then I googled it and learned that someone had beat me to it.
So here’s my personal take on the definition; Me-cation - an outing  or experience for oneself, by oneself for the sole purpose of restoring ones inner spirit. Little or no planning is required and the execution is up to you.  Easier than a vacation or staycation, it can be purely spontaneous and the duration can last minutes, hours or even a day. The when, where and how is solely up to you but the why is an opportunity for one to (re)connect and (re)acquaint oneself with the essence of who we are. Life can be extremely busy and often overwhelming; some me-time is in necessary to nourish our soul.

So, off I went to the Arboretum Planting Fields, in Oyster Bay, New York.

Meandering through acres of lush freshly mowed greenery and trees,

I could hear Julie Andrews singing “The hills are alive with the sound of music ….”

Here, strict rules prevail encouraging solitude, quiet thoughts and appreciation for all nature and it’s beauty.

I was so happy to spend a couple of hours observing and snapping pictures of whatever caught my eye. Like this magnificent tree, for example.

It has such presence, don’t you think?

And the beautiful flowers still holding their own.

Oh look, a frog taking his/her own me-cation as well. :-)

Hmmmmm, what’s down this path?

Wow, the gates are open!

How did anyone even know I was coming? :-)

Look at all the magnificent beauty!

It made my heart sing!

On my way back to the car, I noticed pinecones trailing along the path.

They were so pretty, I picked one up, still sticky with sap, and it smelled sooooooo good! Thinking ahead to the holidays, I got a bag from the car and filled it up, just as I was filled up from this experience.

So on this day, I took the “Road Less Traveled”

“……and that has made all the difference” A great me-cation and I am a better me. My cup now runneth over.

I’m hoping you had some fun me-cation experiences? I would love to hear about them.

Candle Magic

Candle Magic

I have been taking mini breaks from blogging for some time now. I am taking time instead to assess my life and focus on identifying my true calling and what I was put on this earth to do. I have many passions, some I act on while others are put on the back burner out of necessity. After all, there are only 24 hours in a day and wife, mother and life responsibilities have to be fulfilled, right?

Over the last few weeks, I have embarked on a spiritual journey in order to get reacquainted with my authentic self. No stranger to self-assessment and journaling, I have taken pen to paper, yes folks the old school way, to document my journey and chart the course ahead of me. Journaling, gratitude, affirmations and prayer are how I start my days. I wake up before my family so that I can have the quiet and stillness to effectively nourish my soul. It has been wonderful. Don’t get me wrong, the process requires discipline and hard work, but I am up for the challenge.

I have been journaling since I was a teenager, conducting gratitude sessions in my head since Oprah’s “Finding Your Spirit” season, and prayer has always been a significant part of my life; however, this journey is somewhat different. It includes dialog, exchange and guidance as I find my way. It is exciting and a little scary at the because it requires you to be brutally honest with yourself as you assess your life experiences, both good and bad. That means reliving painful feelings and memories that you thought you buried repressed or reconciled in the past. Although a significant undertaking, it is just the right thing for me to do at this time.

Who started me along on my journey? Ms. Alana Foy, a Life Coach and Reiki Master and all around beautiful person. You can learn more about her at Solitude or at Get WOWD on Twitter. She is on a mission to spread positivity in the world. She exudes such goodness that envelops, inspires and encourages me to take the steps necessary to live my best life. Her weekly assignments are helping me to focus and concentrate on what I am truly passionate about, connect with my inner being and to document my thoughts, feelings and emotions along the way. And then there are fun tasks like spending 15 minutes doing something you like every day.

So why did I call this post Candle Magic? Because lighting a candle each morning has become part of my morning ritual. It helps me relax and focus while journaling. My love affair with candles began last winter when I purchased a vanilla citrus scented soy candle. I used it until it could burn no more. Then I found an Essential Elements vanilla sandalwood candle, also soy, which I love as well.

I have come to the conclusion that anything vanilla seems to work for me. So in honor of my magic candle, I used my 15 minute “me time” to pen this poem which sums up my spiritual journey thus far:

Candle candle burning bright
May the entire world see your light

Comfort, Peace, that’s what you bring
Watching your flame makes my heart sing

As the sun rises early dawn
Look forward to you each and every morn

Pen to paper, the words just flow
Every thought helpful, I just know

Taking the time to record my gratitude
One step closer to my best attitude

Contemplating and acknowledging who I am
Finding the best me, that’s my plan

Written words easier than those we say
When I am done, I am open to pray

The universe is ready for me to make my move
With conscious living, I have nothing to prove

Poof you’re out, I’ve done my work
This special time is one great perk

Off I go to start my day
In a most exciting and fresh new way!

by Joselyn Smith-Greene

So, I guess it’s official. I now consider myself a published poet.
Do you have any candle magic of your own? Can you relate to my spiritual journey?

It’s the Little Things in Life…..

It’s the Little Things in Life…..

It’s a another dreary day. When will this rain ever end? After dropping off No. 2 Son, I decided to head over to my favorite bakery, Buttercooky, to treat myself to a coffee latte and a brioche. As I was waiting for my order, I heard someone say “Joselyn”. My neck whipped around so fast I almost caused myself whiplash. I thought it was someone I knew. Turns out, one of their employees shares my name.

Of course, I just had to verify it for myself. I approached the counter and asked “is your name Joselyn?” “Yes” she replied. “With an “s” or a “c”", I immediately responded. “An “s”", she said. Simultaneously, we gasped, our eyes lit up and very excitedly and in unison, we said “I never met anyone with “s” before and started laughing. It was a special moment.

You have to understand, after a lifetime of people butchering my name especially in school, both teachers and students alike, this was a big deal. When I was in elementary school, Alice, Sharon, Lisa and Renay were the norm. I would shudder every time attendance was called for the first time, wondering how it was going to be pronounced. Slowly sliding down in my seat, I would hear things like “Johnston, Jaclyn, Jackson” while thinking to myself, how can they get that pronounciation from “Joselyn” as the other children snickered at my unusual name.

As I got older, I heard of people with my name, but never actually met anyone until recent years. Not too long ago, I was taking a class and the teacher said “Joselyn” and myself and another person responded together and we looked at each other with great surprise and smiled. She spelled it with a “c” though. And no matter how many times I spell my name or say Joselyn with an “s”, people will still spell it with a “c”. So encountering anyone who shares my name spelled with an “s” is a major deal.

As I was leaving the store, I waived as we made eye contact, both of us grinning from ear to ear. It’s those little things that can brighten up even the dreariest of days. Life is so full of wonderful little surprises that just make you smile.

Has your name ever caused you angst? Have any wonderful little surprises to share?

Have a wonderful weekend!