Welcome to the blog...
This space is all about seeking
EXCITED CHILLS and creating a
simple, authentic, beautiful life.
I do hope you'll stay a while!
It’s the last day of Write 31 Days 2017. Somehow this final post always sneaks up on me. It’s bittersweet. I love the connection of being in your inbox every morning...but the rest of my life takes a back seat while I type. Thank you for sharing this month with me. Let’s finish this!
I’ve always been a dedicated recycler. I’m careful not to litter. The compost bin in my kitchen is considerably larger than the trash can. But even with a bunch of positive practices in place, my family of five produces A LOT of trash.
I’m not sure where we stand in comparison with the average family in the United States. I’d like to think we’re doing our part to keep it the planet clean, yet I’m beginning to believe that we could do even more.
I honestly never gave much thought to a Zero Waste lifestyle….until recently.
I’ve poked gently around the concept of Zero Waste in the past. Primarily because the stories of people who live a Zero Waste lifestyle are so incredible. Their extreme tales of generating only a tiny amount of trash are eye-opening.
A year’s (or four) worth of trash in a Mason jar?
How is that even possible?
It usually takes a real-life example to nudge me into action. I’m inspired by people I know personally, who are making a ‘big idea’ seem attainable.
As is often the case with a new curiosity, once you begin to ponder it...the Universe begins to connect you with people who can help lead the way.
Since September, I’ve met a few such guides.
After listening to their stories, I’m intrigued.
I’m interested in learning more.
I’m ready to get my feet wet.
Here’s what I know at this early point in my research…
You can do more. There is a more Zero Waste option for basically everything in our daily lives. Granted, those options to further reduce waste might not seem initially appealing or affordable or practical...but they are available.
Small steps matter. I believe that every little thing we can do to reduce the amount of trash we create is a win. Begin with changes that you feel you can manage.
It gets easier. Like most change, once you become comfortable with the ‘new’...it’s hard to imagine any other way. For instance, composting food scraps was completely foreign to me 20 years ago when I stayed with a family in France who kept a compost bin on the kitchen counter. Today, I live in a town where compost is picked up on trash day.
Someone knows the answer. Questioning where to start? There great information available on how and why to live Zero Waste. Spend some time online. Research and learn what shifts might be possible for you and your family.
Fun factor. In the process of adopting new practices, you might discover that you love crafting your own lotions and candles. Maybe you awaken your mad ‘thrifting’ skills and find joy in repurposing second-hand treasures for your home. Your kids might eagerly join the Plastic Police and take pride in pointing out alternatives made of wood, glass or metal.
Being resourceful helps keep our creative juices flowing.
Without really trying, I’ve begun to see our trash differently.
A switch has flipped.
Lately, I find myself evaluating everything as it relates to my trash footprint.
In my beginner enthusiasm, I mentioned to my family that I’d like to try some Zero Waste practices in our home.
There’s been some resistance:-)
They were quick to point out our current Zero Waste practices...
We only use cloth napkins
We store leftovers in glass containers
We actively compost and recycle
We bring our own bags to the grocery store
We consume very few processed foods
I assured them that we’re off to a great start...but challenged that we can do even more.
I'd love to add these…
No more produce bags at the grocery store
Eliminate paper towel use
Use handkerchiefs for basic nose wiping
Non-paper gift wrapping options this holiday season
I tossed out a few others, but according to my family, these Zero Waste options are probably never happening...
Install bidets systems on our toilets
Make our own almond milk and almond butter
Make our own toothpaste
"Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot (and only in that order) is my family’s secret to living waste-free since 2008!"-Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home (note: Bea makes Zero Waste look sexy and chic)
In examining the five R’s in the quote above, I realize that we’ve been taught to recycle and compost...but the more important components are found in the first three steps.
Refuse - don’t take the item in the first place
Reduce - use, buy, toss less
Reuse - always repair and repurpose before replacing
The topic of Zero Waste is super far-reaching. It covers basically all the consumer goods we encounter as humans. There’s too much to explore today...I’ve already begun outlining ideas for future posts:-)
My oldest son believes we're devolving.
I prefer to think that we’re bringing back the lost art of giving a hoot.
I’m discovering that small, simple changes can have a profound effect on our lives and the life of our beautiful planet.
Big thanks to Kym Ventola, Founder of NINE for opening my eyes to so many Zero Waste possibilities. FYI...Kym's amazing! You can learn more about her here and here.
Please share your thoughts on Zero Waste or any of the posts from this challenge.
I welcome your comments! I so love seeing you in my inbox!
Hearty thanks for following along. It means the world.
I'll settle back into weekly posts soon. First, I'm taking a breather and beginning work on some exciting changes for the blog and website. Stay tuned...
Sign up here for Weekly Updates!
I took my very first yoga class over 18 years ago when I was about four months pregnant with Greta. I recall welcoming the feeling of being really present in my own body. And I loved the sensation of the baby moving as I did the postures. For many years, I enjoyed strengthening my body, mind and spirit through my yoga practice.
Then something changed.
I found myself checking the clock during class. I was impatient. Hot. Tired. Uncomfortable. I wasn’t flowing with the flow.
I'd hit a wall. Yoga wasn’t doing it for me.
So, I rolled up my mat and hit pause on vinyasas. Thankfully, yoga wasn't my only workout. I'd always relied on multiple types of exercise to keep me from becoming bored. I like lifting weights. I tolerate short runs.
I kept active without yoga. And every so often, I’d revisit my mat and discover my heart still wasn’t in it.
I was irritated with myself for abandoning yoga. I live in Boulder. Everyone here loves yoga!
Then I cut myself some slack and gave myself some grace.
Do you, Kristen.
So I did. I turned my focus to HIIT workouts, weightlifting, TRX and running. All good.
And then ...
I attended an early morning, outdoor yoga class with a Rocky Mountain backdrop. Greta made the arrangements and invited me to go with her...calling it a ‘last weekend before I leave for college, mother-daughter activity’.
No matter how I felt about yoga, I certainly wasn't going to miss that opportunity!
That baby inside my womb when I first unrolled my mat, was now an adult sitting next to me on hers.
That spectacular morning, before my first downward dog...something shifted.
I realized that I missed my mat.
Since then, I’ve been doing a little yoga about once a week. At home. Welcoming YouTube instructors into my bedroom.
My current favorites are...
Sean Vigue - He's a bit wacky, but his yoga is solid. Great workout! And he films outdoors in Colorado!
Five Parks Yoga with Erin Sampson. Great variety of vinyasa flow classes. Erin films outdoors in Costa Rica and Colorado.
Maybe I pick yoga videos based on where they're filmed...
Yoga with Adrienne - She films indoors:-( but her channel is well-organized, making it easy to find a video for every type of yoga.
I’m slowly coming out of my yoga slump.
It feels pretty great.
Do you practice yoga?
Have you ever needed a break?
Oh, my goodness. October is almost over! Tomorrow is the final day of Write 31 Days. I can't thank you enough for following along. I welcome any and all comments about this month-long challenge and any of the topics I've shared.
That's a wrap! Write 31 Days is finished for 2017. This challenge gives me a chance to push myself as a writer. And share myself as a woman. Thank you for welcoming me into your inbox each day.
Here's a complete list of the words. If you missed a day or want to re-read a post, they're all linked below.
Comments always welcome.
I'll return to weekly posts soon...
2. Bullet Journal
4. Coconut Oil
11. Impostor Syndrome
12. Jade Beall
13. Jade Egg
24. Self-care (the sexy kind)
28. Wicked Smaht
31. Zero Waste
To be honest, X words are always tricky. I didn't feel like getting creative to make X fit into this Write 31 Days. So instead, I decided to share a few fairly useless bits about me. However, while doing a little X research, I did find this awesome post on Mental Floss, 40 Words That Start With X. It's actually a fun read. Who knew there were so many cool words that really start with the letter X? Probably my English PhD sister:-)
Here are some facts you might not know about me...
Wooly-bear caterpillars remind me of my dad.
My favorite movie is Pretty Woman.
I think praying mantises are amazing.
I’m really good at the game Headbands.
I’m terrible at Clue.
I spread avocado on every bite of pizza.
I take pizza seriously.
I wish I could do a split.
I loved natural childbirth.
I’m trained as a doula.
March is my least favorite month.
I prefer the aisle seat on airplanes.
I love House of Cards, Ray Donovan and Homeland.
My father pierced my ears with a #14 sewing machine needle.
I don’t take enough baths.
I was a cheerleader.
I dream of speaking French fluently. (Here's where I need the X word- XENOGLOSSY. The ability to speak a language that you’ve apparently never learnt.)
I enjoy chocolate cake most when it's in a bowl with milk.
I'm excellent at covering text books with paper bags.
I love olives!
Okay, your turn. Please share something about yourself!
Thanks for being here. Only two more letters....
Today’s post has no particular value. It’s more of a mother’s stream of consciousness. For some reason W made me think of a t-shirt I saw in Logan Airport recently. Printed on the front of the shirt was “Wicked Smaht”...as in Casey Affleck’s line from the incredible film, Good Will Hunting…’My boy’s wicked smaht”.
I love a thick Boston accent. If you crave a dose, I highly recommend an episode or ten of Ray Donovan. Followed by a whiskey.
Once you’ve heard a great Boston accent, it’s impossible to read the words ‘Wicked Smaht’ and not smile a little. If you haven’t seen Good Will Hunting with Matt Damon and the Affleck brothers, I urge you to watch it. Superb flick.
Anyway...13 months ago, I took at trip to the east coast with my daughter Greta. This kid who’d always dreamed of attending college in NYC had exercised her womanly prerogative and changed her mind.
After completing an internship in the Big Apple, she realized that NYC wasn’t her place.
As a high school senior, it was crunch time.
Greta needed new options.
Our 'east coast college tour' began in Boston. The first night of this adventure that was stretching us both well beyond our comfort zone, I introduced her to the above mentioned classic. Good Will Hunting. As we snuggled up on the sofa at our Airbnb and watched this powerful story unfold, I had a sense that Boston would soon become her home.
Fast forward to now. Greta lives in Beantown.
She lights up when she talks about her new city. And though homesickness sometimes makes her heart hurt, she’s happy and she’s where she belongs.
I have two teenage sons at home. One sixteen and one fourteen.
Next year I’ll have a high school senior again.
There will be college tours and decisions.
Peter will pick his town.
There will be stretching and homesickness.
And then there will be one.
We’ll do it all over again.
We’ll know the drill,
but there will still be stretching and homesickness.
I’d love to think it will get easier each time one of my kids leaves home. But the tears streaming down my cheeks as I type this tell me otherwise.
Motherhood is not for sissies.
Greta chose the land of Wicked Smaht.
Right now, I’m not sure where my boys will end up...but I’m sure we’ll find a film that highlights their new place. And I’ll learn the lingo and practice the accent until it makes me smile.
Here’s to stretching and growing and manageable bouts of homesickness.
Okay, mamas...where are you in the process?
What tips can you offer to help us all be Wicked Smaht when it comes to letting our kids go?
Thanks for being here. More tomorrow...
Many decades ago, I first heard the Beach Boy’s song ‘Good Vibrations’. Even as I type this, I can hear the tune in my head:-) The lyrics tell of the good vibrations being given off by a certain girl...and the way the sunlight plays upon her hair.
Today, I’m more aware than ever of the importance of maintaining ‘good vibrations’.
Since I’ve already revealed my current obsession with Abraham Hicks, it shouldn’t surprise you that I pay close attention to my vibration.
Our vibration, or the frequency of our personal energy, has everything to do with our mood and well-being
And if you subscribe to the Law of Attraction, you believe that these vibrations are directly responsible for what's present in your life.
We create our circumstances based on our vibration.
It all comes down to feelings. At any given moment, what we're feeling corresponds with a vibrational frequency.
Feeling crummy = Low level vibration
Feeling awesome = High level vibration
The full-on, deep dive into how our frequency creates our reality is for another post. For now, the image below will give you the basics....
Can you focus in and identify where you’re currently vibrating?
My first real lessons about vibration came from a woman named Christie Marie Sheldon. She hosted a webinar on the importance of learning to raise your personal vibration.
Christie Marie Sheldon's website, Love or Above is named after her belief that we should all strive to operate at the vibrational frequency of love or above.
(Note: If you refer back to the rainbow chart, you'll see that the vibration of Love is 500. Over halfway to Enlightenment:-)
I listened to Christie Marie Sheldon's meditations on repeat. I quickly began to identify my own vibrations by paying close attention to how I felt throughout the day.
At the time, I was struggling with intense anger and fear. I was allowing circumstances to keep me in doubt and worry. I was a mess.
Opening up to the idea that I could (and do) control my vibrations was liberating. I now understand that when I’m stuck in a feeling on the scale anywhere below love...I’m not good.
The easiest way to start shifting your vibration is to reach for hope. Find something to feel hopeful about and you'll be vibrating around 400.
If you can cultivate a solid practice of gratitude, you'll find your frequency move way up the scale. Gratitude has a vibration of 900!
By visualizing the actual vibrational scale, I began to relate how I feel to a place on the chart.
The goal is to hang in the range of love or above. The sweet spot.
I’ve since discovered another way to really identify where I’m vibrating.
Be aware that this method seems a little wacky. But, please don't judge until you try it for yourself:-)
Intrigued by the idea of truly being able to ‘see’ and ‘feel’ where I’m vibrating, I grabbed a wire hanger and two plastic drinking straws.
This video will show you how to make your own.
Here’s what I know about my energy wand practice…
It is impossible for me to move the wires when holding the straws. The wire hanger spins freely inside the straw.
When I use this device to check in with my energy...I can physically ‘feel’ how much better it is to operate at a higher vibration.
By ‘testing’ my mood, thoughts, attitude against the energy wands, I can easily tell (both by the direction of the wands and by how I feel internally) what’s going on with my energy.
I’m not sure I’d have believed it without trying it for myself. It’s the coolest thing! Like a grown-up science experiment.
Please try this one out for yourself and share what you discover! I really, really want to hear about your experience...
Thanks for reading. Write 31 Days is winding down. Only a few more letters.
If you haven't already, you can sign up here to continue receiving weekly posts in your inbox after the challenge wraps up.
Have an amazing day! More tomorrow...
Oh, where to even begin. I’m so utterly and completely intrigued by the Universe that it often hurts my brain to ponder the great unknown. I’m in awe. I love the idea of being a part of something so immense that it has no end. The mystery of the cosmos truly takes my breath away.
I can’t recall a time when I wasn’t mesmerized by the vastness of the Universe.
Since I don't have any plans to travel into outer space, how do I get my fix?
Visit a Planetarium- I’m lucky enough to have an incredible planetarium on the college campus right in my town. I welcome any opportunity to lean back, look up and learn more about the great beyond. Next on my list? A Black Holes show!
Books- I’ve been known to announce that in my next life I’ll be an astronomer or a professor of Quantum Physics. I’m fascinated by all the science surrounding a space I can’t even fathom.
Recently, I read...
The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein. This book isn't specifically cosmic, but instead explores the idea that there is a Universal force always at work to help us out, if we let it. I love that!
You Are the Universe- discovering your cosmic self and why it matters by Deepak Chopra and Menas Kafatos. This one is filled with incredibly cool facts and explanations! I felt like I was in school again, in all the best ways!
The Milky Way - There aren’t many things I love more than the Milky Way. I vividly recall the first time I experienced this natural wonder. Even though I was shivering in the frigid night air, I couldn’t make myself go inside. As I stood gazing upwards...I was dumbfounded. Breathless and forever changed.
Few things have the power to affect me this deeply. The Milky Way gets me every time. (So does Paris, the view from the summit of a 14er and witnessing the birth of a baby)
If you haven't had the opportunity to see the Milky Way in person, go follow @milkywaychasers on Instagram. Or opt outside. Find a spot far away from city lights. Settle in and tip your eyes up. Prepare for a jaw drop:-)
Wish on a star - How long have I been doing this? Since I was a little girl. How long will I continue? Forever. There’s something magical about sending your wish out into the dark sky and placing your faith in the Universe. Like the classic song from Pinocchio..."When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are...anything your heart desires will come to you."
How do you feel about the Universe?
Thanks for reading. More tomorrow...
All things holiday are starting to arrive at Anthropologie. This week, we’ve been unpacking ornaments, stockings and lots of great gift merchandise. As I scanned a cart of new stuff before it hit the sales floor, my eyes stopped on a familiar book. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Felt like I was seeing an old friend. I immediately remembered embracing this small but powerful read in July, 2014.
Back then, I rallied the troops at my house and we carefully followed the KonMari Method as we performed our giant tidying event. My enthusiasm was met with groans and complaints as we made our way through every single drawer, closet and cupboard.
In the end, I discovered there is pure magic in the method.
My kids and I worked the KonMari Method through our entire home. Once we finished, the initial impact was hard to ignore.
Everything was tidy.
We had less stuff.
The stuff we kept, sparked joy.
Our belongings had a specific home.
Over the year that followed, I noticed some areas of our home were beginning to gather junk. I felt myself becoming discouraged. Ugh...was this just another method that didn't really work?
As I looked more closely, I realized three issues were causing the new clutter:
Then, since the Universe always has your back...we moved. Our lease was up and it was time to move.
There’s nothing like the prospect of packing everything you own into boxes, schlepping it and then unpacking it...to make you strongly consider what stuff you truly love!
So...we put KonMari to work for a second time.
And you know what?
This round was much easier. We had less stuff!
Less emotional attachment to things.
Less effort to decide what sparks joy.
Maybe there was something to this method after all. My faith in Marie Kondo was restored:-)
We’ve now lived in our current home for 21 months. I recently began to see some areas (linen closet, kitchen, basement) that needed some KonMari love.
So, one recent Saturday morning, I accepted that my entire day would be spent decluttering and tidying. I set my timer and started with linens…
Then something amazing happened...
I finished each area much faster than I’d planned. We have so much less stuff, that tidying what we do have...takes a fraction of the time it took before!
If you haven’t yet jumped on the bandwagon of this delightful, pint-sized Japanese guru. Don’t wait!
I’m an organized person. I’ve built my business around helping women become more organized with their wardrobes and their lives.
The KonMari Method works.
Better than everything else I’ve tried.
What seemed like a crazy big claim...Life-Changing Magic...has proved to be just that.
Questions about how to get started?
Stuck on a certain category?
Thank you so much for following along this month. Writing for 31 days straight is indeed a challenge for me. It helps to know you're here:-)
If you aren't already signed up, don't miss the last week of Write 31 Days.
I’ve written plenty on the act of decluttering and tidying your surroundings using Marie Kondo's instructions. Get a glimpse of my experience here and here. And for a chuckle, check out my very first YouTube videos...on the KonMari Method.
I’ve been pretty good at incorporating elements of self-care into my life since my children were small. I’ve always made workouts a priority. I’m an excellent and regular napper. I’ve even been know to treat myself to a mani/pedi for no reason. But I’ve recently been ‘turned on’ to a whole new world of self-care. One I've been desperately seeking...
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a very hard time seeing myself as sexy or even sensual. Despite an active, wonderful sex life, I've struggled to really identify with my sexy, feminine side.
Sure, there were times when I’d feel a wave of ‘sexy’ wash over me but they were fleeting and infrequent.
In an effort to understand (and eager to shift) my thoughts and feelings in this area, I began looking at the 'story' in my mind. I now recognize the history that created the limiting beliefs I held about my body and its lack of apparent sexiness.
In no particular order...
I’m not curvy
I was considered a prude in high school
I’ve always been angular
My lips are thin
My breasts are small
I’ve had only a handful of lovers
I had no healthy, sexy role models
And so, for the past several years, I’ve been working to discover, claim, invent and unearth the sexy side of Kristen.
What a long road...littered with lots of negative self-talk.
One very helpful experience was a photo shoot with a loving boudoir photographer. That giant step outside of my comfort zone and the resulting images, enabled me to see myself and my body through fresh eyes.
I’ve been blessed to know some very sexy women. Women who always seem wrapped in a soft, sensual cocoon. Without trying, everything about them is sexy. Not blatant, overt, tacky sexy...but that genuine...'I want some of whatever she has' kind of sexy.
The funny thing is, I know sexy women who have the same physical qualities that I feel are holding me back...small breasts, angular bodies, or thin lips.
I once asked my husband if I was ever sexy and if so, when?
His reply says it all…”Yes. When you think you are.”
Thankfully, I think I finally get it!
A sexy self-care practice has been helping me see myself differently. I highly recommend it, especially if you'd like to rewrite your story.
Here's what I've been incorporating into my life...
Foot massage - I do this at least once a day, as a result I've developed a profound gratitude for my feet. My entire body is more relaxed after a foot rub. I'm working sensuality in from the ground up:-)
Morning sexy cat-cow - First thing out of bed...I drop to the floor and do a few slightly R-rated cat-cow stretches...moving my hips and chest with each breath. (Another take-away from Nine Revolution. Thank you, Morgan Day Cecil:-)
Breast massage - Once a day, in candlelight with a skin-friendly oil (I use Jojoba Oil). This practice already feels life-changing. I didn't realize how much my bad attitude towards my small breasts was affecting my body image. This incredibly simple massage practice has completely shifted my thinking. I now accept the size and shape of my breasts as a beautiful trade off for years spent nursing my three children. I see my body in a brand new way! Want to try? Here's more info. (And more wisdom from my One-on-One with Morgan at Nine Revolution...follow this goddess on IG:-)
Essential oils - Get yourself a diffuser and fill your home with a scent you love. I'm still a beginner, but I'm discovering that a sensual scent filling the air goes a long way to changing how I feel.
Body love - Gratitude and a full-length mirror. Get naked and offer yourself some kind words. Look past what you don't like and give thanks for all that your body can do. Having trouble with this? Check out Jade Beall's- A Beautiful Body Project.
How do you practice sexy self-care?
I welcome your thoughts and ideas.
Questions? Comment below or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for following along this month. As you may have noticed, I'm not holding back. Authenticity seems more important than ever. Thank you for letting me share. I sincerely that hope my words are helpful to you.
Catch every day of Write 31 Days. Sign up here.
I’ve always been a romantic at heart. I believe in epic love and grand gestures. However, I also subscribe to the notion that romance can (and should) be present in the smallest slivers of our daily lives. The Old English Dictionary defines Romance as ... A feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love. I’m all for finding that feeling as often as possible.
There was a period in my adult life...during the baby, toddler, elementary school years of my three children, when Matthew and I discovered that finding the time and energy for standard romance was a big ask.
With a trio of little people in the mix, what we previously knew as ‘romance’ was often pushed to the back burner in exchange for tending to the seemingly endless needs of our small children.
Thankfully, we still found ways to be romantic...
dry erase marker notes on the bathroom mirror
dates to the grocery store or Home Depot
nightly adult dinner with candles
periodic overnight getaways
Now that we have three teenagers, our schedule is more flexible. We have more time and energy to spend on romance. Yet, sometimes it still slips through the cracks.
I love the idea of living a romantic life. I believe in bringing a sense of romance to places, objects and people...not just in the space of being a couple.
I’m currently intrigued by this concept of infusing romance into all areas of my life.
One of my very favorite Instagram accounts belongs Morgan Day Cecil. I recently had the pleasure of meeting Morgan in person at Nine Revolution. I'm now honored to call this beautiful soul my friend. If you don’t already follow her...you should! Morgan and her husband Ron are walking the walk. They consciously choose a life of Romance and Adventure every single day…and they inspire others to do the same.
Last April, Morgan posted about 'living life as foreplay'. Her words really hit home. I absolutely love that idea.
I’m actively working to infuse all areas of my life with a little romance and adventure. Within the seemingly mundane, there can almost always be a sense of foreplay. Arousal of the mind and heart, not just the body.
How am I doing that? Good question…
I’m incorporating elements into my everyday life that make me feel playful and romantic. Things like...
I feel best when I approach my days with enthusiasm and excitement. I'm able to break up the monotony by tapping into an internal desire to spice up my life.
Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change- Dr. Wayne Dyer
A fresh outlook is all it takes.
Imagine how your normally dull day would feel if you were sharing it with a new lover. Go ahead and play along...
Unloading the dishwasher would be foreplay. Folding warm laundry would be sensual. Sharing a simple meal would seem like romance.
I challenge you to bring those feelings into your current life...exactly where you are today!
Dive into 'life as foreplay' and wake up your sense of romance.
I’d love your thoughts on living a life of foreplay...do you think it’s possible?
How can you begin today?
Thanks for being here.
Catch the final week of Write 31 Days. Right here.