Finding Time to Meditate

Meditation

Ten years ago, I heard about meditation, it sounded interesting, like something I would enjoy and benefit from. But I hardly had the time to schedule another thing into my busy life. My mornings were a rush out the door, I was always running late, there were no breaks at the office, and by the time I got home I was exhausted. Years passed by, and I went on without meditating. I later learned, that if you can’t find an extra 10 minutes a day to do something for you, it may be time to reevaluate your life.

Fast forward ten years and my life looks very different. It is much more balanced and I am able to prioritize what is important to me, including self-care, personal growth, and awareness. It wasn’t until I began my Yoga Teacher Training course at Shiva Shanti Yoga that the topic of meditation came up again, and this time with an assignment. The assignment was to meditate 20 minutes a day. Well, now that it became an assignment, there were no more excuses, and I had to find a way. And I did. And now that I am able to see the benefits of meditation, now it is the first thing I make time for every day.

So how do you find the time…

If these outrageously successful and busy people including Oprah Winfrey and CEOs of various companies can find time to meditate, so can you. Meditating at the same time every day will help it to become part of your routine more easily.

Here are some examples of when you can find time to meditate. Pick one now, and stick with it for the next month:

  • The first 10 minutes of when you wake up, while still lying in bed.
  • When you get out of the shower in the morning, take 10 minutes to sit in a chair in your robe before getting dressed.
  • Before breakfast, take 10 minutes to sit outside on the porch or deck at home.
  • At work during the first 10 minutes of your lunch break, before eating.
  • When you arrive home at the end of the day, sit on the couch for 10 minutes.
  • In the evening when lying in bed before going to sleep, take 10 minutes to yourself.

If you don’t have 10 minutes, substitute with 5 minutes. If you don’t have 5 minutes, just try a minute. The thing is, just do it. Put it in your calendar and schedule it. Keep doing it so that you can make a commitment, and you can gradually increase the amount of time dedicated as you begin to build a routine.

According to Deepak Chopra, the best time to meditate is as soon as you get up and after you take care of your bodily functions—don’t think about it—just get up and sit down to meditate … even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Morning Detox: Lemon Water with Turmeric, Ginger and Mint

Tumeric-Drink_web

Lately I have been starting the day with a detoxifying beverage of warm filtered water, lemon, ginger, mint and turmeric. Since I gave up coffee, I’ve actually been enjoying the morning ritual of mixing up this special drink. Truth be told, the peppery, bitter taste of the turmeric takes a little getting used to, but the health benefits are worth it. 

Turmeric has long been used as a powerful anti-inflammatory in both the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine. It has been used to treat a wide variety of conditions, including flatulence, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, bloody urine, hemorrhage, toothache, bruises, chest pain, and colic.

According to Dr. Axe, research shows that turmeric benefits go beyond that of these 10 drugs:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Anti-depressants (Prozac)
  • Chemotherapy
  • Anti-coagulants (Aspirin)
  • Pain killers
  • Diabetes drugs (Metformin)
  • Arthritis medications
  • Inflammatory bowel disease drugs
  • Cholesterol drugs (Lipitor)
  • Steroids

Turmeric contains chemical compounds called curcuminoids, of which curcumin is the most beneficial. Curcumin is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory agent and also helps the body to absorb other antioxidants.

So add some turmeric into your diet with this easy drink:

Ingredients

  • One glass of filtered room temperature water
  • 1/2 of a lemon, squeezed
  • 2 thin lemon slices
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp of turmeric
  • 5 fresh mint leaves
  • 2 small slices of fresh ginger (a little goes a long way)

Instructions

Place all ingredients into the glass of water and mix with a spoon. You can add honey if the taste is too potent to start.

Gift for Men: Whiskey and Literature

WhiskyWaxSeal_FinishI thought long and hard about this one for my Husband’s birthday, and settled on two things he loves: whiskey and literature. Now to find a way to make it tie together with beautiful packaging and sentiment.

WhiskeyWaxSeal_1For this project you will need:

  1. Whiskey Bottle: Select a cool bottle of your man’s favorite Whiskey. I used this simple, medicinal looking bottle of local Bourbon Whiskey from Kings County Distillery. You can always choose another type of alcohol if he’s not a Whiskey man. A flat shaped bottled is best for tying it all together.
  2. Book: Is there a book that is meaningful to the two of you? Maybe even a collectors edition if you can find it! I loved the intricate foil-stamped cover design of this version of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. The elongated shape would work perfect under the bottle. Barnes and Noble carries a beautiful Collective Editions set of other book titles following this gorgeous design.
  3. Twine: A spool of twine or hemp can be found at your local craft store.
  4. Wax Seal: To create the seal, you will need a stamp and wax. There are tons of emblems and wax colors to choose from, pick one that represents you and your partner. I chose a classic set using our last name initial “C” and the color red, found it at Nostalgic Impressions.

WhiskeyWaxSeal_2Inscribe the book to make it even more special. I chose to use an excerpt from Romeo and Juliet:

“My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
my love as deep;
the more I give to thee,
the more I have,
for both are infinite.”

Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare

WhiskeyWaxSeal_3To wrap up the package, unravel the twine along a table, and place the book on top, followed by the bottle. Isn’t it cool how the book cover peeps through the glass bottle! Wrap the twine around the items a few times and tie it in a knot.

WhiskeyWaxSeal_4Next you will apply the wax seal.

  1. Light the taper of the wax candle and hold it at an angle. Let the melted wax drip from about 2 inches above the surface until the drops of wax form a 1 inch circle.
  2. Blow out the candle and stamp in the seal.
  3. Keep it pressed for approximately 1 minute to get a perfect seal.

Voila! The perfect gift for the man in your life.

Ranunculus Flower Arrangement

Ranuculous1_web

My most favorite flower, Ranunculus, meaning “little frog,” in Latin, often come in multiple layers of delicate, crepe paper–thin petals, looking like an origami masterwork. The name probably refers to many species being found near water, like frogs. Whenever I see them in the store, I just can’t walk away without them. They make long-lasting cut flowers and the way their stems wiggle this way and that makes for a lively arrangement.

As often happens when I am flower arranging, a few lovely blooms break loose and snap right at the head. What a shame! No need to throw those away though, grab a shot glass or small vessel and make a tiny display that is just as beautiful.

Ranuculous2_web

The Ultimate Italian Sandwich

Italian-Sub

Enjoy the warm weather by hitting the outdoors equipped with a blanket, picnic food and wine. This amazing Italian sandwich is perfect on the go – just cut up and share with family and friends.

Ingredients

  • 1 ciabatta loaf
  • 1/4 cup prepared basil pesto
  • 1/4 pound each of sliced Italian cold cuts – salami, pepperoni, sopressata, prosciutto
  • 1/4 pound sliced Provolone cheese
  • 1/4 pound sliced fresh Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup fresh arugula
  • Finely chopped green olives with pimento
  • Roasted red pepper

Instructions
Slice bread loaf, spread pesto and layer meats cheese and toppings as desired.

Keys to a Balanced, Happy Life

Balance_perfect
Don’t Try to be Perfect:
Perfection does not exist and striving for it will only make you miserable. Instead celebrate the individual you are. Embrace it all – your talents, quirks and downfalls – and realize now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.

Balance_perspectiveGain Perspective:
It’s important to take part in a cause greater than yourself, to gain some perspective. At times, we can’t help but get consumed in our own problems, and helping other people makes you step outside yourself and see there are other issues in the world.

Balance_quit
Quit, and Quit Often:
When something does not feel right to you, let it go. All too often we are pressured to try our best, endure, and keep going – but sometimes you are just running in a hamster wheel and need to get off. If you are unhappy, don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life. You don’t have to be what everyone else wants you to be, you just have to be you.

Balance_sleep
Get Sleep:
You need to give your body time to properly recharge in order to give every day your best. When we are running on lack of sleep, our energy levels and judgement become impaired.

Balance_eat
Eat Well:
Your body is your temple and you should treat it well. It will be your home for your lifetime so it is important to fuel it with natural, healthy ingredients as best you can.

Balance_helpAsk for Help:
Whether it is something simple like help preparing dinner, or something larger like coping with a loss, asking for help from others is a natural way for humans to connect. In modern society we have grown further apart, and often times struggle with life’s moments alone. Try asking for help the next time you need it, it will liberate you.

Balance_uncomfortable
Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable:
Going outside of your comfort zone is when you grow and experience what life has to offer. The phrase, “Don’t be afraid” is written in the bible 365 times, as a daily reminder from God to live every day being fearless. If something is scary, but also excites you, you should definitely pursue it.

Balance_forgive
Forgive Others:
Don’t hold resentment, frankly it uses up too much of your own thoughts and energy. Forgive people that you want to keep in your life, and rid yourself of toxic people that are not good for you anyway.

Balance_slow
Slow Down:
Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted. Somehow, in our society, leisure time has become associated with being lazy. Don’t let that mindset become your norm. Slow down, wander for a bit, savor life’s little moments – the outdoors, food, music, family. Taking time to live will only inspire you in other areas, and inspiration is important to keep us going. At the end of their life, no one has ever regretted that they didn’t spend more time working.

Sweet Nothings for Valentine’s Day

Found on http://www.hellolucky.com/wordpress

Found on http://www.hellolucky.com/wordpress

Here are some of my favorite tokens of love for your sweetheart this year.

First up, the folks at Hello Lucky teamed up with CreativeLive this Valentine’s Day to offer 4 fun (and free) printables!

Found on http://honestlyyum.com

Found on http://honestlyyum.com

This Valentine’s Day cocktail from Honestly Yum is just what you and your sweetheart need to heat things up! Find the complete recipe here.

Found on cakewhiz.com

Found on cakewhiz.com

For a simple and affordable token of your love, grab a sharpie and write surprise fruit messages to pack in your kid’s lunchboxes.

Found on theyallhateus.com

Found on theyallhateus.com

Sometimes a dinner in is more romantic than going out to an overcrowded, overpriced restaurant. Here is inspiration or an ombre flower arrangement to set the mood!

What are you doing for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day? xoxo

Serene Gender Neutral Nursery Design

Photo credit: Julia Elizabeth Photography, julia-elizabeth.com

Photo credit: Julia Elizabeth Photography, julia-elizabeth.com

A small, unfinished room previously used as storage/office space was transformed into a serene baby nursery with careful space planning, a smart use of functional furniture, a mix of bold patterns and neutral color choices.

The vision for this nursery design was to create a peaceful space for my little boy to relax and sleep. The serene, gray color scheme paired with a graphic rug and loft covering gives the room a balance of interest and subtlety. I made a conscious effort to focus on non-gender specific colors, the design could be equally fitting for either boy or girl.

Photo credit: Julia Elizabeth Photography, julia-elizabeth.com

Photo credit: Julia Elizabeth Photography, julia-elizabeth.com

I wanted to give the baby some points of interest in the room without over stimulating, as the overall purpose of the room is to induce sleep. The simple, yet engaging animal wall prints were the perfect solution. Created by artist Sharon Montrose at theanimalprintshop.com, her definitive photographic style is both sophisticated and playful. What I love most is through this series, they help support several organizations devoted to animal rescue, educational programs, and nurturing wildlife.

Nursery3

Photo credit: Julia Elizabeth Photography, julia-elizabeth.com

It was important for the pieces and space to be functional as well, so the furniture purchases were extensively thought out. The rug is in anticipation for crawling, the glider for bedtime stories, and storage ottoman for easy clean up of books and toys. Instead of the typical changing table, I opted for an actual full-sized dresser. It has deep drawers that pack a lot of storage so I always feel like I have adequate space, and the height is fine for changing baby. The crib is convertible so that it can grow with the baby into his toddler years. The large mirror sits across from the window and helps keep the nursery bright and airy as it reflects natural sunlight. As an added bonus, my son likes to look at his reflection in the mirror as he is getting changed, which was unexpected and sweet.

Photo credit: Julia Elizabeth Photography, julia-elizabeth.com

Photo credit: Julia Elizabeth Photography, julia-elizabeth.com

Nursery4

Photo credit: Julia Elizabeth Photography, julia-elizabeth.com

Photo credit: Julia Elizabeth Photography, julia-elizabeth.com

Photo credit: Julia Elizabeth Photography, julia-elizabeth.com

Nursery5

Photo credit: Julia Elizabeth Photography, julia-elizabeth.com

Photo credit: Julia Elizabeth Photography, julia-elizabeth.com

Photo credit: Julia Elizabeth Photography, julia-elizabeth.com

Photo credit: Julia Elizabeth Photography, julia-elizabeth.com

Here is a breakdown of the room elements:

Wall Paint: Benjamin Moore
Silver Satin

Rug: Pottery Barn Kids
Herringbone Rug (Gray) 5×8′

Crib: Babyletto
Hudson 3-in-1 Convertible Crib with Toddler Rail, White

Mattress: buybuyBaby
Classica II Deluxe 2-Stage Foam Crib Mattress by Colgate

Bedding: Pottery Barn Kids
Mini Dot Fitted Sheet, Gray

Wall Art: Animal Print Shop
Baby Monkey, Baby Elephant, Baby White Tiger, Baby Giraffe

Wall Art Frames: Pottery Barn
Wood Gallery Picture Frame, 8 x 10″, Modern White

Glider: Babyletto
Madison Swivel Glider, Ecru

Ottoman: Target
Threshold™ Tufted Round Storage Ottoman

Dresser: Ikea
HEMNES 8-Drawer Dresser, White

Changing Pad Cover: Pottery Barn Kids
Harper Changing Pad Cover, Gray

Mirror: Local Homegoods find

Laundry Basket: Local Homegoods find

Plush Animals: Restoration Hardware
Chambray Lion, Chambray Elephant, Chambray Giraffe

Curtains: Pottery Barn Kids
Harper Valance, Gray

Romantic Rose Flower Arrangement

ValentineBoquet2 ValentineBoquet1

Share your love this Valentine’s day with a DIY rose flower arrangement. It’s a perfect gift for your sweetheart, a friend, or yourself!

Roses signify love and romance, so there is no better flower choice on this special day. This unexpected combination of red and hot pink hues will make your heart sing, and the mix of full-sized roses and spray roses create movement and balance within the arrangement.

I used a low, round vase for this arrangement, found at a local Michaels craft store for a couple bucks. Believe it or not, I bought the flowers at my local grocery store – Shoprite! Putting it all together is a cinch, just cut the flower stems to the height of the vase, and mix up the flowers and colors for a beautiful finished piece.

What will you be gifting to your Valentine this holiday?