life is always about the journey...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Let's Get Real.....

Stripped Down & Brutally Honest......

I have had a crazy year...tumultuous you could even say.  Lots of changes hit me all at once along with the fun of being sick and recovering from surgery.  I can't say that 2014 has been a real treat to me and my body...however as always I feel its made me grow and change in positive ways, even through all the pain.

As most of you know I turned 40 this year, saw my daughter graduate high school and head to college, and I have spent many months recovering from illness and surgery.  Its been rough..I'm not going to lie to you and paint a pretty picture.  I know people tell me all the time that I am an inspiration or that I have such a great attitude about the roadblocks I've hit in my life...while I thank you for the praise I can't say that's truthful all the time. 
I am human, I have crappy days and moods and sometimes I put the "pity party" label on myself.  Then of course I usually smack myself and shake it off if I can.  But it does occur...I'm not some super human form of a woman...I'm just like everyone else doing the best I can in each day I've been blessed to be given.  

For me its been a lot of self-reflection on who I am, what I want to do and what can I accomplish in this crazy world. Because for so long I've been "the wife" and "the mother".and "the crafter/blogger"...roles I would never change nor do I regret but roles I have gotten very comfortable in.  And I'm a girl that likes comfort...I struggle with change...I love routines...the sameness of my days is comforting.  
And I've had a lot of changes lately.  With my kids leaving the nest (my son will be a senior in HS next year) I've been really questioning myself. 
When you strip out the mom, wife, daughter, friend, crafter/blogger roles...who am I really?  And I came upon the answer that I just wasn't sure anymore.  I spent years focused on the mom and wife role and was comfortable with it. My husband works late hours and with the kids gone so much of the day now and soon to be for good, I was suddenly left with lots of time with just ME.  Then in my 30's I found blogging and papercrafting and focused on that when I could or while the kids were at school. I've always had art in my life in some form...I'm creative and its always been a great outlet for my spare time.  And for a few years I built my online classroom and traveled teaching art and made it my business and I loved it....until I didn't.  
It hit me that I was filling my extra time with chores, and extreme to-do lists, stressed out craziness and pushing myself constantly to the point that I guess I just broke.  

Yup, Suzanne broke late last year and I knew for my own health I had to make a huge change.  Couple that with turning 40, my kids growing up and my fairweather health it was a HUGE WAKE UP CALL for this girl. And I spent a few months just miserable in pain, depressed in this fog that wouldn't lift.  I had days upon days where I didn't get out of my pjs, could barely brush my teeth and was so physically and mentally exhausted I didn't care if I saw the next day..I really didn't.  So I started taking all that "down-time" analyzing what was happening.  I'm a big fan of psycho-analyzing myself...why do I do this, why do I say this, why, why, why?  And it came down to one clear point for me:


And some may call it a mid-life crisis but it was so much more than that for me.  For my entire life I have focused on being the best at anything and everything put in front of me.  Seeking perfection at every step of life can drive a person mad...its an endless quest that you just may never achieve. And I've been the one that people go to for cheering up, for a laugh, for a good time....grab Suz and we'll have a good'll all be good!  She's the most positive person I know..if she is smiling then its all good....right?? RIGHT?
I've spent so much of my life mediating and trying to make everyone around me happy....but in that quest I lost how to really make myself happy. I literally had no clue who I was and how to be truly happy anymore...and it scared the living day lights out of me.  So how do I find out the answers to those questions while still taking care of those around me...because stopping that wasn't an option for me at any point.

So I set two immediate goals to focus on: 
 (1) focused on planning a beautiful graduation party for my daughter & being present for all her senior moments...because I am very goal oriented and I knew that wasn't about to change.
(2) strip everything off of my to-do list except living and planning the party and enjoying each moment until we sent her off to college

And then along the way I slowly started breathing again....

I had lots of talks with my husband and thank god for him....he's been so supportive, I really can't say enough about how much he has helped me this year with just listening and reasoning. He's always been my rock but this year he really helped me through some tough things.
He said something to me that was so simple yet so profound and really resonated with me.

He told me to just take some time off...that just because the kids are leaving the house doesn't mean I have to fill in all that time with STUFF because that's what I thought I should do.  Because that's what I THINK the world is expecting me to do.  He told me to take the time to enjoy it and figure out what it is that I WANT to do with no deadline in place.
PHEW......lightening bolt moment right there folks.
I've been so afraid of losing the "mom" role at home that I was stressing myself out trying to figure out what I would do once they were gone.  What would I do and be?

Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves all the time for this quest to be BUSY...if every minute isn't filled with an activity to produce results we feel defeated.  Not good enough...a loser...lazy...weak...all these toxic words.

I felt so "unaccomplished" many days if I didn't check off everything on my very long, never ending to-do list.  If I didn't finish the laundry, cook a 4 course meal, run errands, reorganize a closet, mop the floors, go through 1000 emails, post 5 blog posts and make 10 projects in a day I felt I was worthless.  I didn't succeed in my day.  Sounds crazy right?  Sure it does...but that's how I've lived my life since I was 10 years old...perform, perform, perform, perfect everything and get results.  I'm just surprised that my body and mind survived the craziness the past 30 years...I have not been very kind to myself and now I was paying for it.

So I started doing CRAZY things every day just to test the waters!  Yup I did crazy stuff y'all! 
I sat down to read a book in the middle of the day, I didn't fold my laundry the day it was washed, I called for takeout food for dinner, I didn't vacuum everyday, I didn't produce 10 projects, I ignored some emails, my to-do list got lost....and you know what?  
My life didn't change for the worse...the world didn't stop one really cared that I didn't do those things.  At first I apologized to my family..."I'm sorry but I just don't have dinner ready tonight"..."I'm sorry but the laundry won't be done today"..."I'm sorry there is cat hair on the stairs".  And my husband looked at me one night and asked me why I kept one was mad at me, everyone knew that I would probably get those things done at some point...NO ONE was punishing me except for myself.  
I still was punishing myself.....

Again another light bulb moment! DING DING DING.....
I started reminding myself that no one that matters to me will punish ME for taking some time to be find things that make me just take time to breathe and enjoy.
And that's when everything started to change for me....right there in that moment I knew I could change and not make it a race to the happiness finish line.  Its not a marathon for me to find ME or find what makes me happy...its all about the journey because its meant to be a journey throughout my life till the very end. I'm so used to rushing from one chore to the next, one thought to the next that I never really focused on each thing put in front of me. 

So I'm still on a quest to find myself and to just be happy.  So much unhappiness in this world and I was contributing to it unknowingly.  NO MORE!  So I still keep my house clean but I try not to apologize or stress because a few kitty-fur-balls are rolling on the floor or some dust is on my dining room table.  If dinner isn't perfect and just consists of eggs and pancakes, well that's fun too. Instead of rushing through dinner prep I started listening to music and taking my time enjoying the act of cooking.  If I want to go on a long walk and take photographs and then come back and read my book...I do it.  I started listening to what my body AND mind needed.   And some days I still rush around and yes I'm still stressed about certain things because that's just part of life...but I know that in the next moment or day I can attempt to quiet everything again.  

Slow & steady is my mantra these days.  Be present....breathe....relax...enjoy.

I'm exercising without stressing about it so much these days.  I found that I enjoy working out because its time I can focus on myself...that time is spent of making my body healthy..that body has taken a beating and it needs this time and commitment.  To learn that I'm not being selfish for taking that time...because if I'm relaxed and happy each day I am only making the day BETTER for those around me as well.  Yoga has become more than a fun thing to try...its become a way of life for me at a moment in my life when I really needed it. Perhaps yoga won't be your outlet but for me its helped me really focus and be a little selfish.  I meditate before yoga and I clear out the negative thoughts, I breathe, I check in with myself and work through the issues in a mindful manner.

I ignored by body and mental health for so long that I cannot expect it to all change over night...I have to relax and know that I can change one day at a time.

And I cleaned out the toxic things that were cluttering up my life the best I more toxic people, no toxic activities whatever it may be,  and no more toxic thoughts.  Reading the news without becoming consumed with the bad news.  Supporting friends and family without taking on their load completely.  Loving my family with all my heart but not obliterating my soul while doing it.  Getting rid of all the darn to-do lists and just getting done what gets done without any crazy expectations. Taking some time each day to focus on things that are important to me.

Most of all....just learning to be a friend to myself.  
I'd lost my friend to the craziness of life and I have to say I'm really enjoying finding her again...I missed her.
Because she's important, she's really fun, she is stronger than she thought, she is loyal and loving, she is finding peace, she is enjoying both the bad & good moments, she is creative and she has learned how to breathe again.

She is ME.
And she continues to be a work in progress.....



Monday, October 27, 2014

Healthy Helpers....


I'm on week 8 of my healthy living, exercising and eating and I'm down 15 lbs...whoot whoot!  Slow & steady and I'm feeling so much stronger.  I've increased the time of my workouts and the pace...but still doing cardio/weights 6 times a week and yoga 7 days a week.  I can see muscles in my arms and I'm soooo LOVING that...these arms can hold a plank and do push-ups for a long time now.  Remember meal plans for each week are linked under the HEALTHY LIVING tab at top of my blog (I have to add in last week & this week's...I promise to have it done this week lol).

I thought I'd share a couple of my "helpers" that I've found enable me to put in the best workout I can and some videos/workouts I'm loving right now.

I got these gloves after several recommendations from yoga instructors and I must admit they weren't cheap but they were worth every dang penny.  I have funky joints especially in my hands and wrists and sometimes I simply couldn't hold a pose because my wrists were in so much pain.  Well these babies have a gel insert in them that keep your wrists from overextending themselves and makes holding the poses a bit easier...they don't decrease the amount of strength you can get..they simply help your wrists FEEL better.  So if you have any issue like me, they are worth the investment.  And they can be used for any workout...I don't just use them for yoga but for pilates and any floor/core work.  (they also help with grip issues if you are sweaty or on a slippery surface)

There are ALL kinds of yoga socks and wraps out there...just research what works best for you.  I alternated between the wraps and socks but figured I'd START with the socks and see how they do.  I got them for grip reasons, not to hold in my ankles or anything.  I slide even on my Gaiam yoga mat so thought these would help a bit.  They are only $16 and come in all different colors and styles (and full-toe versions too).  The Nike studio wraps are here if you want to compare.

I have a weird quirk...I have a few actually but we'll only talk about one today LOL!  I hate drining out of anything plastic..HATE IT!  If its the only choice then I will deal with it but I prefer glass.  (hate that crinkling noise & I know those bottles are made with all kinds of chemicals..yucky)  My family knows that I will only drink out of our glass glasses and my older water bottles were stainless steel which isn't terrible but I don't like it much either.  So a few months ago I saw these in one of my exercise magazines and knew I had to order it.  I drink A LOT of water these days and I love that this is a glass bottle and you can use a straw, I just pour it in my mouth lol..I keep it filled up all day with ice-cold water.  They come in different colors and what not...but I really do love it.

Empower Fingertip Grip Medicine Ball with DVD 
 I also am really liking adding a medicine ball routine to my workout 1-2 times a week along with the kettle bell.  The medicine ball really works your core out and is great lo-impact exercise to get you in shape fast. This ball comes with a DVD and I went with the 6lbs (they have 4 & 8 lbs as well).  You can find lots of other medicine ball workouts on Youtube and Amazon to mix it up.  I like to use different videos regularly so I don't get bored and my body doesn't get complacent...its a win/win!


YouTube has some amazing workout videos...and they're FREE..nothing better than that.  Make sure you read the reviews on the videos and make sure that they are getting fairly good feed back.  You don't want to watch a video where the wrong form is used or they do something that isn't safe for your body.  

Right now I'm loving the short 15-30 minute yoga videos put out by Meera Hoffman and Erica on youtube...both are certified yoga instructors. They have great, lean bodies..nice voices..and good explanations of all the moves and range from beginner to intermediate.  I do 30 minutes of stretch & energizing yoga in the morning and another 30-45 minutes of calorie burning yoga in the afternoons. Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown is on youtube too and its a workout.  But just enter yoga, beginner yoga, 30 minute yoga and go through the videos.  Everyone likes different versions, voices and techniques so you have to find one you really like.

Like I said before I was never a yoga lover...but at this moment in my life its exactly what I needed. I cannot express how much better I feel after I do body feels stretched, relaxed and out of pain and my mind is lighter and freer.  The hubs asked me the other day if I was going to turn into a yogi because everytime he's around I say "I gotta go do some more yoga" hahaha!  I'm committed to it now and if I miss a workout I feel slightly out of sorts. So no matter what I get in at least 30 mins of yoga and 30 mins of cardio/weights six times a week whenever I can.

Do you have any exercising helpers to share??


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Let's Play a Game......

Let's play a game.....

if you copy and paste the questions at bottom of post and leave answers in the COMMENTS section...
you will be entered to win a Library Paddywax Candle from me.  
I'm obsessed with these soy candles and have them all over my house...they have long burn hours and are gorgeous too!  

my new fave is "Mark Twain"

So c'mon...take a minute and play!  And please leave your email in your comments too please!  

Have a wonderful weekend!


Here are my answers for you:

Best gift you’ve received:  my kids, my dogs and my Tiffany earrings from the hubs
Last book you read:  Goodnight June by Sarah Jio
Last movie you saw:  Chef (LOVED it)
Last time you laughed: at my dog using the cat's litter box..seriously
Last song you listened to:  Florida Georgia Line's new album
Last thing you did for YOURSELF:  took a walk in the woods with my dogs 
Something on today’s to do list:  visit apple orchard & trim back rosebushes
Something you’re really bad at: going to bed at a decent hour & procrastinating
If you came back as a famous person who would it be:  Oprah or Jennifer Garner
Enter Deadline is Oct 31st!
So copy & paste the questions below to the COMMENTS section & fill in the answers. Don't forget your email too please!
Best gift you’ve ever received:  
Last book you read:  
Last movie you saw:  
Last time you laughed: 
Last song you listened to:  
Last thing you did for YOURSELF:  
Something on today’s to-do list: 
Something you’re really bad at: 
If you came back as a famous person who would it be:


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Paper Scrap Pumpkins..DIY!

This is a fun little project to do in your spare time to dress up your home this Fall.  You can use things found around (and outside) the house.  Everything I used were scraps from my craftroom...a great way to recycle and reuse!  And just by changing the colors/patterns of your papers you can change the theme of your pumpkins.  So if you want creepy scary, bright & sassy or rustic and vintage...that's all up to you!  Have fun with it!

I went with more rustic colors and papers that fit in well with my home decor so I could move them from room to room if I wished.  


Empty Toilet paper or Papertowel rolls (OR) rolled construction/craft paper 
Strips of scrapbook paper or other papers 
(use a paper with a good weight)
Glue for paper (I use Scotch 3M Quick Adhesive)
Embellishments or accessories of your choice
Tree bark, thick sticks, or some other item for the stem

If you are squeamish about using toilet paper rolls for any reason just use a paper-towel roll or create a tube roll with thick construction paper.  I don't have any issues with using toilet paper rolls from my son's however, ummmm!

Cut a "trial" strip of paper to see how long you want each for your pumpkins.  If you want a more squat pumpkin then make the strips longer, for a taller/thinner pumpkin cut them shorter.

I made two different sizes of pumpkins...for the smaller one I cut about 1/3 off the toilet paper roll.
I used the whole roll for the larger pumpkin.  I wrapped both rolls with coordinating paper so that it looks nicely through the strips of paper.

All my papers were from an older My Minds Eye line...I used a mix of Halloween papers and just regular everyday patterns that fit my scheme.  Because I used two patterns per pumpkin I spaced the strips out as I worked and then filled in varying the pattern so it was even around the pumpkin.  When you use a thicker paper it holds the "curve" of the pumpkin better than a lighter weighted paper will.

I cut a circle of paper for the bottom of each pumpkin and glued it once I was done adding all my strips.  This gives the pumpkin a nice base to stand on evenly when you are finished.

Then you add your decorations as you see fit.  I got sticks and thick bark pieces from my woods for my stems...I liked the more rustic look.  And I used burlap and tulle for the "leaves".  The toilet paper roll give you a nice area to add you elements to...I stuffed the bottom of the roll with tissue paper and then added the stem and burlap/tulle to the top so it didn't sink.


I love the way they turned out & they cost me a total sum of $0.00...can't beat that!!

Also a fun project to make with your kids....pre-cut the strips of paper and let them have fun with it!

Happy Scrappy Fall!!

Entering in these Linky Parties:


Monday, October 20, 2014

Look Ma, NO Electricity......

Happy, Happy Monday Y'all!  

I'm headed to my mom's for the day to see my Aunt who is in town.  I haven't seen her in almost 10 years and she's my favorite Aunt...soooo I'm taking the day off to visit!  I will share Pumpkin Patch pictures with you all this week along with a fun project I finally finished up!


I had to share this with you all in case you haven't yet seen or heard about them.  I thought it was such a cool invention with so many uses, that I couldn't not share it on the blog.

It's called the Wonderbag....and you can get your own at!
Why is it so cool?

Its basically like a crock pot but without the electricity.  It cooks & keeps foods warm for up to 12 hours.  
And best part is...if you buy one, they donate one to someone in need in Africa.

So if you are like me and afraid to leave your crockpot plugged in while you are gone this is a great solution.
Or if you like to camp and RV...boil your food in your pot and place in Wonderbag to cook while you enjoy the day doing other things.
Use it to take to dinners and BBQs to keep your food warm...or on a buffet when you don't want to or can't plug anything in.
Like to Tailgate? This is great for keeping the food warm while heading to your game so its ready before kick-off!
Or you may just like to save electricity and help out Mother Earth


It comes in 3 color/pattern options I, blue and yellow.

"One Wonderbag per year saves 1.7 trees, 1000 liters of water, and 1,248 hours not spent collecting firewood."

And I love that one is donated to a family in need in Africa for every one bought here in the US.

Get Your Own Wonderbag HERE!


Friday, October 17, 2014

TGIFall Friday!

Happy Fall Friday everyone!  Just thought I'd pop in here and say HI and hope everyone has a great weekend.  We are having sunny, blue skies and temps in the low 70's today and all weekend...I'm taking advantage of every moment too.  Walks with the dogs & hubs, taking photographs in the woods and our annual trip to the Pumpkin Patch and wine tasting tour.  I'm not a winter girl so I take every advantage of the nicer weather before the cold hits us...then I hibernate like a bear lol!

Thought I'd share a few pics I took the other day from my walks in the woods after it had rained.  Still working on learning my camera and all its functions and getting the right lighting and mood framed in my photos.  One thing about photography is how much it relaxes me...almost like meditating...perfect for those days when I'm feeling a little burnt out.

The colors of these leaves are so vibrant...they just made me so happy!

I loved that all these leaves were in 3 different color stages...the green of summer, the yellow of fall and finally some in the end stages of brown before they fall down to the ground.

One of the last blooms & buds on my rose bushes....loved catching it with the raindrops poised on each petal

One of my favorite photographs I've ever taken...this old tree trunk has Father Claus waiting for folks to find.  So cool right?

Both photos taken with my camera from the same exact how the change of colors/tones goes from a gorgeous & bright Fall image to a bit more mysterious and secluded view.  The woods behind my house are gorgeously littered with fallen trees and huge rocks covered in can you not love it?

Yes, this is the photo I made the other wordy version out of :)

Found a few berry bushes still clinging to the warmth....

And I had to snap one of my Baylee....yes she's looking shaggy but always so cute!

Have a Wonderful Weekend!


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Healthy Eats!

Well its Week 6 and I've got my Meal Plan below for you!  
You can find them all by clicking on the HEALTHY LIVING tab at top of blog or on my sidebar.  And most of the recipes are on my Pinterest board HERE too!

I've stumbled upon a blog that I've fallen in love with...I MEAN I LOVE IT! 
It's called "" and she has the best recipes for those looking for healthy alternatives to their meals.  I've used mostly her recipes for this week's Meal Plan as many yuumy choices.  And the food photography is outta this world...I can only aspire to take some luscious photos of food!

So I'm looking forward to trying out some new recipes and flavors over the coming months.  There are so many filling and yummy recipes that are good for you if you look hard enough and are willing to try.  These Turkey Picadillo Stuffed Plantains above are on the plan for this week...they sound delicious and nothing I've ever made before but I'm sure willing to give it a go.

So anywho I hope you hop on over to that blog and have fun perusing all the fabulous recipes and pictures.


Monday, October 13, 2014

A Spooky Package!!

It's getting close to that time of the month...yup HALLOWEEN!  

I've always loved the holiday and everything that goes along with it...candy, costumes, creepy decorations, candy...did I say candy yet?? LOL!  One of my most favorite memories was of drawing all kinds of fun Haunted Houses & coloring them...ohh I loved to color and draw when I was young...still do, hence the papercrafting & Copics!  I'm usually big into decorating the outside of our house too...fog machine, spooky noises, skeletons, name it!  
However this year we will be visiting Alexa at UofSC that weekend along with celebrating our wedding anniversary.  So I won't be doing too many decorations this year but I will have a few up...I can't resist!

The kids..ahem teens and I always loved Halloween. We'd rush to get them in their costumes every year, something healthy in their tummies before meeting groups of friends to go Trick-or Treating. When they were younger we'd have big potluck dinners beforehand with neighbors and friends and then the dads would take the kids out to go house-2-house.  I sure do miss those days!  Last year we had a Halloween Party (see HERE) for Alexa and her friends and that was a lot of fun.  Maybe I can talk Riley into having one next year when he's a Senior too..hmmm? 

So I decided that I would put a box of Halloween fun for Alexa & her friends/dorm-mates!  They may be in college but who doesn't like to decorate, eat treats and have some spooktacular fun right?
This was her box all packed up and ready to mail!

I like to call this the Halloween Spooktacular Fun Box...because that's its purpose. To give the kids some smiles and some Halloween fun.  I added more than what I've shown in the pictures but you get the idea of what kind of things are inside.

So what did I pack in the box?
I got some temporary tattoos in all different styles..including some fun mustachio's lol!
I also picked up son fun googly-eye glasses from the Dollar Spot at Target.
And a Martha Stewart Halloween banner to decorate the walls.

I thought the girls would like to have some fun decorating their nails & giving manicures as well.
So I bought some Orange (Essie-Fear of Desire) and Gray Opi-Exactly My Pointe) nail polishes along with fun Halloween Nail Decals.  My BFF Shannon also gave me a set of nail items from Mary Kay to include for the girls...including their awesome Satin Hands set. So these gal's nails should be Boo-tiful!  (yeah couldn't help myself)

And you gotta have the colored hairsprays and gels that last until you wash your hair.
Always fun right?

I also included items for them to have a Sugar-Cookie Decorating Party.  A couple Sugar Cookie mixes, Halloween cookie-cutters and things to decorate them with.  I also included a Brownie box mix...easy things for them to make in their dorm apartment.

Then for Alexa and her roomie Taylor I decided to make up some special tins filled with some of their favorite treats.  These little black tins are from Target's Dollar Spot and they are chalkboard-like so you can write messages on them in chalk.  I added some raffia mix and made fun tags for each of the tins.  I also added a bit of black tulle to the mix...just because I love it and it always adds a creeptastic edge to everything!  Alexa's tin is the one with the pumpkin :)

I apologize for photo quality...I took this with my iPhone and forgot to follow up with my camera.  But this shows them the best...I used a mix of My Minds Eye paper, accents and some fun pearls & buttons.  And you always have to add some Bakers Twine to the mix.  The edges were inked well to age them up a bit.

I also made up a few bags for Alexa to give to friends and tied them off with twine & burlap. I included a couple bags of candy in the box too..gotta have candy right?

3 Halloween Lighted Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkins
I also added these to the mix....cute LED lighted pumpkins.  Safe to use in the dorms and also not use a lot of energy (She's in the Green Quad so they are supposed to conserve & recycle).  And at $13 for all three I thought it was a good bargain too.

And I found this t-shirt at our Target for Disney-obsessed & Mickey loving Alexa lol!
It even glows in the dark...I know she will love it!

Then I packed it all up and added a bunch of foam bats that they can stick to their dorm walls as well.
And I added a fun card that included directions for how the box was to be used....for fun of course!

This was the front of the Halloween card I got Alexa...LOL!  It looks like our fatty cat Winston so I knew she'd get a kick out of it!

Just a fun way to include the kids at college during this Halloween Month!
(and yes I've started planning the Christmas box already)


Entering in the following Link Parties:

Monday Funday Link Party

That DIY Party

Amaze Me Monday

Hit Me With Your Best Shot

Wow Us Wednesdays

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