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Art As Style Inspiration: My Collab with the Amazing Mom Edit

cool-birkenstocks-683x1024

If you’re a mom and into fashion, you’ve probably heard of The Mom Edit by now and if you haven’t yet, well, you’re missing out.  I’ve mentioned my love for Shana, the site’s creator, before and shared some of the art collaborations we have done together for The Mom Edit. Last month, we were talking about what direction we should head in this year for our monthly art/style collaborations when Shana suggested doing a mini shoot featuring both my style and my art. We were already at the beach, and a few glasses deep into our bottle of white wine so we figured why the heck not?! And then last night I got a text from my best friend who said she just spotted my feature on The Mom Edit, so I thought I would share some of the photos here too!

best-birkenstocks-683x1024 (1)

fashion-illustration

shoe-illustrations

I’m Wearing:

Top:

a63ee73fd883-333x400

Marylin and Main’s Batwing Oversized Tunic Top, $29.30 on Amazon.

Shorts:

striped shorts

Mango’s Striped Cotton Shorts, $24.99, Amazon.

sandals:

282-Birkenstock-Women-s-Yara-Oiled-Leather-Sandals-1

Birkenstocks’ Yara Leather Thong Sandal from Amazon, $105.99 to $149.99. 

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Harem Jumpers: Stylish & Comfy Style or 80’s Fashion Relic?

harem jumper OOTD

I am a child of the late 80’s/early 90’s and I loved every wacky, bodacious second of it. Although as we reflect back on those years, it is undeniable that an overwhelming majority of our most painfully awkward and embarrassing pop culture moments occurred in the 80’s.  It was a decade that produced some of the most memorable cringeworthy style fads of all time, such as: Acid wash jeans, scrunchies, hairspray and perms, neon colored wind suits and of course harem pants. Inspired by the greats of the era, MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice.


 

(I still firmly believe those were the greatest fashion years of my life. Sometimes I wonder if it was growing up in the late 80’s early 90’s that gave me my flare for the dramatic when it comes to clothes (hence wearing an oversized jumper in 2015 and loving it))

Just recently I saw a picture of everyone’s favorite overgrown man child, Justin Beiber, wearing some serious harem pants and  I literally said outloud: “Hammer did it better.” Bc. how could anyone forget this:

or this:

and while we’re at it, this:

unfortantly, hammer pants were one of the few fashion items my parents refused to purchase for me (along with glittery  pink, fringed cowboy boots). I see now that my parents were doing me a favor because i have a feeling my hammer pants wouldn’t have gone over very well with all the kids at my school in West Texas. So, thanks guys for that.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t fulfill my Hammer Time fantasy as an adult! I am free to make my own bad decisions! Sometimes being an adult IS great, because no one can tell you “no” if you want to buy an oversized diaper jumper and wear it in public!

I was pleasantly surprised with how it fit, although it’s a very thin jersey knit fabric so it attaches its self to unappealing areas (the crutch and the butt). I did wear it on a really windy day which didn’t help with that though. It is really comfortable and I actually really like the styling and draping of the fabric. I had to be careful when I walked because this particular jumper always ended up giving me a wedgie. The jumpsuit I purchased was the cheap version (as usual) which may speak to the thinness of the fabric. Shopbop has a designer brand option which is undoubtably better quality in their  Basic Terrain Harem Jumpsuit, for $158.00:

basic terrain jumpsuit


to wear or not to wear:

It’s not an item I will be wearing very often but it’s really fun to have in my closet for days when I  am feeling bored with everything else in my closet and also because I like to put it on and do the Hammer Time dance in the mirror when I need a quick trip down memory lane. Plus, I bought mine on Amazon for less than $15.00

In conclusion: no one pulls it off like the Hammer but I have a feeling the harem jumper hasn’t had it’s final style moment yet…
harem jumper street styleMy Outfit details: Spaghetti Strap Harem Jumper, $14.95, vintage tooled leather bag, Gottex Women’s Laurent Felt Hat, $79.00 on Amazon, Yara Birkenstock Thongs $120.00

yara birkenstock thongs

 

so the final question is: would you? I am totally okay if your answer is a resounding no.

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Fringe Benefits: My Favorite Fringed Pieces for a Boho Update to Any Wardrobe (12 Items under $100!)

fringe skirt ootd

You know those trends that come and go (mom jeans, Birkenstocks, dr. martans, etc) but you can’t let go of? They always hold a special place in your heart and your wardrobe, and no matter how “in” or “out” your beloved trend may become,  you cling stubbornly to it and refuse to let die.

Fringe is that for me. Well, one of many in a long list of fashion faux pas I commit every time I get dressed.

But no matter how ridiculous I may end up looking I pass up a good ole fringed clothing item without picturing myself twirling gaily in the wind wearing said fringed clothing item, ala Buddy the Elf…

elf-buddy-im-in-love

Usually these daydreams involve meadows and music and ponies….but that’s a story for another day.


 

I stumbled upon my new favorite fringed clothing unexpectedly while browsing the boutiques on a mini vacation to Traverse City. I almost passed it up because even for me, I was worried it might be a” bit much” (and for me that’s really saying something) but the imagined twirling I was doing while wearing that skirt was too glorious to pass up.

fringe skirt ootdmy outfit details:Sam Edelman Women’s Faux Suede Fringe Skirt, $53.30, Scoop Neck Woven Camisole, $13.00,

 

So I was inspired to compile an extensive list of some of favorited fringed wardrobe items for even the most conservative of wardrobes:

bcbg drap fringe dress

BCBGMAXAZRIA Women’s Maddie Drape-Front Cocktail Dress (53.00)

topshop fringe sleeveless dress

Top Shop Sleeveless Fringe Dress, available at Nordstroms ($58.00)

freepeople nomad cotton shroud

Free People’s Nomad Cotton Fringe Shawl ($329)

free people suede fringe skirt

 

Also from Free People (the leading authority on boho chic) Free People’s Sedona Leather Skirt, ($329)

asos glamorous wrap cami dress with fringe skirt

Asos’ Glamorous Wrap Cami Dress  ($69.00)

471-Minnetonka-Women-s-Classic-Fringe-Boot-Boots-in-Brown-Suede-Hardsole-1

Minnetonka Women’s Classic Fringe Hardsole Boot $43.00 on Amazon

forever 21 bib necklace

Forever 21’s Fringe Bib Necklace(22.90)

matiko brendan fringe heeled sandals free people

Brentwood Fringe Heels ($150)

fashion union crepe wrap back top with fringe detail asos

Asos’ Fashion Union Crepe Wrap Top($44)

hm fringe bag

H&M’s Black Fringe Bag ($29.90)

french connection spotlight fringe

French Connection Women’s Spotlight Fringe, $90.00 via Amazon

topshop fringe maxi slip dress

topshop maxi slipdress

Topshop Fringe Maxi Slip Dress($90) available at Nordstroms

asos mini suede fringed backpack

Asos’ Mini Suede Fringed Bag ($60.00)

forever 21 tiered fringe midi skirt

Forever 21’s Fringed Midi Skirt ($29.00)

sam edeleman fringe faux suede skirt

Sam Edelman Women’s Faux Suede Fringe Skirt ($61.55)

And just in case you thought I was kidding about the swirling and twirling, a picture that should never see the light of day…

ootd fringe skirt

 

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My First Official Spring OOTD:Look Ma No Pants!

blue dress denim jacket leather backpack

Today when I stepped outside, I smelt spring and was about as happy as this baby and her camel:happpiness

I was outside in a dress, with bare legs and I was starting to believe this day would never come.  I swear if I see a single snowflake before Christmas next year, I will walk all the way back to California.


 

Anyways, after a few hours doing this:

happy kittyI was excited to bust out all the spring/summer clothes I’ve been daydreaming about and this is what I came up with:

 

ootd-blue-dress-knee-high-socks-leather-bag-favorite

This blue dress is MINKPINK Women’s Tiger Trail Dress, might be my new favorite dress for spring. Surprisingly, I found it on Amazon for $57.00.

Also another of my favorites for mild April Weather is my Life in Progress Denim Jacket from Forever 21 ($32.50).

forever21-denim-grey-jersey-jacket

And saving the best for last is my 18″ Genuine Leather Retro Rucksack Backpack College Bag,school Picnic Bag Travel also found on Amazon and bought specifically for all the outdoor activities I told myself I would be doing this summer:

leather retro backpack

What are your spring time essentials?

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OOTD: An Ode to Spring, All the Bright Colors, J.Crew, & My New Style Idol, Monling Lee

monling lee  colorindex jcrew

Her name is Monling Lee and she is my everything.

monling jcrew colorblock

She is an architect and urban designer with a passion for vibrant colors and a sense of style that is one of a kind.  I first discovered her via Instagram @monlinglee fell instantly in love with every single one of her photos.  She combines her unique and brilliantly colored personal style in perfectly coordinated urban environments. moonlingleecolorindex

 

By following her instagram account, I found out that she was teaming up with J. Crew to “Test-drive” Their new spring accessories on their blog: hello.jcrew.com. And was inspired to try to create my own color blocked outfit with my skirt I bought for a penny at Nordstroms Rack. JCrew and Monling Lee are having an instagram contest on how where you wear (and pair, and pile on) your J.Crew accessories with the hashtags #ACCESSORYFIX and #JCREWCONTEST for a chance to win one of three $1,500 shopping sprees. And although I don’t have a new spring accessory to actually join in…here are my outfits:
Processed with VSCOcam with 7 preset

 

color block jcrew spring

 

 

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Current Studio Art Wall Inspiration: A Spring Mood Board Refresh!

Today, the birds were chirping and the sun was out and the snow is melting into muddy lakes, but if that means spring is on it’s way…I’ll take it.

studiowall

Some much needed refreshing of my studio walls and work space. I’d like to try and change my art wall at least once a month but we’ll see how that goes!

art studio work space mood board inspirationThis one day of sunny weather has got me feeling all sorts of alive again.  

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OOTD: Playing with Prints

ootd personal style mixing patterns floral slipit’s that time of the year when I begin to feel even more crazy than usual.I like winter but, a Midwest winter is a different kind of beast. There has been snow on the ground basically since Thanksgiving and by Mid-February the temperatures average below freezing and that doesn’t even include the windchill.

Going outside means putting on every single warm-ish item I can find in my closet and looking like Joey from the Friends episode where he puts on all of Chandler’s clothes: joey-3

and then on top of that, there’s the robber face masks, scarves, gloves and beanies to cover any exposed extremities, like kitty:

winter-is-coming-23184

 


 

I like hunkering down and having an excuse to do nothing, and a snow storm is the ultimate laziness excuse but even that is has gotten old by now and I’ve developed a serious case of cabin fever, going nuts, shuffling around the house, pacing in circles, starting out at the snow for long periods of time, and murmuring unhappily to myself (even more than usual).  My boyfriend took a picture of me while I was peeking in on him just yesterday:

Here's Johnny

har. har.


all that just to say that my already questionable fashion taste is even more questionable than usual, given the previously stated circumstances. But, this led me to mixing prints and layering in a way that I otherwise wouldn’t have out of boredom, coldness, or craziness….

ootd personal style mixing patterns floral slip Details: Floral Print Lace Slip from Dailylook.com, $22.95, Ryan Crewneck Pullover from Free People, $98.00, Stripped Long Sleeve Top, Forever21, $14.90, Bettye by Bettye Zap Booties, Nordstroms, $141.95

oh and here it is with jeans:

ootdprintsfloralstripes1

Floral Print Lace Slip from Dailylook.com, $22.95:

florallaceslip

 

Ryan Crewneck Pullover in Cranberry from Free People, $98.00:

ryancrewneckpullover

 

Stripped Long Sleeve Top, Forever21, $14.90:

stripedcrew

Bettye by Bettye Zap Booties, Nordstroms, $141.95:

wedgecaramelsuedebooties

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20 Original Winter/Holiday Themed Art Journal Ideas

20 artist journal page ideas

I put together a little Holiday Themed Art Journal Idea List, some of the ideas are a bit simple but fun.

I always find myself journaling and sketching a lot over the Christmas and New Years breaks. I think it’s my way of reflecting on everything that happened over the past year as well as gearing up for the new year ahead (also because I usually like to start the new new calendar year off with a fresh journal so I try to fill up the remaining pages in the old one). Also, I am one of those people who religiously comes up with New Years Resolutions every year…The older I get, the more it’s becoming a bucket list and a reminder for me that life is moving fast. I am a big list person too…I just feel better about my lack of organizational skills when I can cross off even the most mundane tasks.

I also rounded up some of my favorite journal pages from this year….they are nothing like some of the pages I see of other artists on pinterest or tumblr…but they make me happy 🙂 Some of them can fit as examples for the Winter themed list so Ill note them if they do…

 

e e cummings mixed media art journal collage page

e e cummings mixed media art journal collage page

One of my favorite things to do is write down  inspiring quotes, passages, poems r song lyrics I come across and then create some sort of art around it.

ink and mixed media watercolor shape collage with inspiring quote
ink and mixed media watercolor shape collage with quote
watercolor flower bouquet and vase
watercolor flower bouquet and vase
succulent and cacti planters
succulent and cacti planters
floral watercolor artist sketchbook page
floral watercolor artist sketchbook page

mixed media artist sketchbook page

abstract watercolor journal page

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Notes on a (blue hair) Scandal.

See what I did there…With the title? Yeah, I need to get out more. Before I start in to my epic blue hair adventures, I just want to thank all of my friends, family and anyone else out there who read my last blog post: “Blessed are The Cracked…” I struggled with posting it for a long time, as it went deeper than I usually go.

But when I posted a link to the article on my Facebook page (in an outright act of shameless self-promotion, and deleted it twice before I left it there) I was so blown away by everyones kind words and encouragement. I was walking around glowing for the entire day and it was such a boost in confidence that Im surprised I didn’t sprout peacock feathers out my bum! So thanks again.

Anyways, onto my latest mishap.

so this happened…

blue hair dye
blue hair, don’t care (but kind of do!)

I have been toying with the idea of dying my hair some crazy color for awhile now…and as a lot of my more hair-brained (pun intended) ideas begin, I was up reeeaaally late on pinterest where I created a board just for my crazy hair color inspirations and pinning away.

Now, I will be the first to tell  you, that I get quickly excited about ideas and don’t always think my them through. I just get caught up in the moment and fail to think clearly.

I convinced myself that I was mentally prepared to dye my hair because I went so far as to create a profile on Taaz.com (a website where you can try out different hair styles and make up using pictures of yourself). My idea of “thinking this through” was to  upload a picture and try out some different hair styles. I promptly found and tried the only blue hair color style available, (on the gorgeous katy Perry). This is the picture they had:

Katy Perry's blue hair
Katy Perry’s blue hair

Gorgeous right? Yeah. Aaaaaaand well, here is how mine turned out….just in case you haven’t laughed today…

hahahahaha
hahahahaha

Me and Katy are practically twins! :/ But really, the website was actually really great and these “virtual makeover” websites have come a long way in the years since they first came out and I did it in high school, a good 15 years ago (and I am glad those photos can never be unearthed). Taaz.com, allowed you to contour the hair style to fit better onto your head (as my head is huge and round like a basketball). but I wasn’t done yet! so my next step was to download a free iPhone app called Make With Beauty that allowed me to take a picture of myself and change the color of my hair already. I couldn’t figure out how manipulate the hair color effectively in the app and my hair always ended up looking like it would glow in the dark. but the idea was to see what  I would look like with a lighter shade of blue:

photo-21

Looks like I dipped my head in some radioactive goo…A little to neon/glow in the dark for me- but still closer to what I wanted.

so by now I was getting pretty pumped up about the idea…Maybe a little too excited because following morning, I woke up and went straight to Ulta, where I hastily picked up a bottle of Jerome Russell’s Punky Colour in turquoise for only $9.99.

2205826

And here is when things get sketchy…

in my haste/over-excitement… I didn’t read the directions or the label completely and carefully and what I thought was NON permanent was actually SEMI- Permanent (the back says 5-40 washes).Which is a problem because I needed my hair to be back to a natural blonde hair color by the following week for work.

The directions said to leave it in your hair for 20-40 minutes and since I wanted a lighter color of blue (that would wash out quickly) I left it in for only 15 minutes. Little did I know that my hair was the PERFECT type (damaged, bleached, blonde, dry) to absorb and hang on to allll of the turquoise color.

After I washed out the hair dye, I took a look in the mirror and spent the next few hours washing my hair over and over in a blue blur of anxiety attacks and hyper-ventilating. I called out for help from friends on Facebook and Instagram, and read several articles for home hair color lifter remedies (I wasn’t close t0 being able to leave the house). With friends help and a great article on Wikihow (which I highly suggest looking at if you find yourself in the same position as I did) I tried all sorts of home remedies: soaking my hair in crushed vitamin C tablets, adding dish soap to my shampoo, adding laundry detergent to my shampoo, , adding baking soda to dandruff shampoo and again washing. These helped to lighten the color somewhat  but left me with a new and even scarier problem: severe hair breakage!

It was during my cry for help from my friends on social media that my old college roommate introduced me to the amazing Alison and her blog The Alison Show. She had also dyed her hair a similar color, although she went the preferable route: to a hair stylist. She was so kind and reached out to me and said that she too freaked out when she first saw her hair in the mirror but that it washed out so quickly that she wished it had stayed longer.

After 48 hours of locking myself in my house and washing my hair over 10 times, I had resigned myself to my immediate future as a blue-headed smurf.

Within a few days I ended up really liking my mermaid hair and wishing I could keep it longer,

So here are some of my tips for if you want to dye your hair blue, green, pink or any other fabulous combination:

1) always READ THE LABEL carefully!

2) Before doing a semi-permanant or permanent color try something that will wash out in 2 to 3 washes such as:

Garnier Color Styler: Intense Wash Out Color (only $6.99)

Garnier Color Style Temporary Blue Hair Dye
Garnier Color Style Temporary Blue Hair Dye

or a chalk such as:

Temporary Hair Color Chalk
Temporary Hair Color Chalk

3) Try out different styles using a smart phone app or Taaz.com

4) Be emotionally prepared!

5) Consider the damage level that any hair dye does to your hair

 

have fun and dye away. If you have any pictures or stories about your wild hair dye adventures, feel free to email me at ourwildpreciouslives@gmail.com with pictures and your story and I will share it!

Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone! Be safe and have fun!

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blessed are the cracked for they shall let in the light (15 Things You Can Do if You are Struggling with Depression).

A bright light in our world went out and now my heart feels heavy. With everything going on in the world right now: the unending riots in Ferguson, and the constant ISIS terrorist threats, just to name a few, it is Robin Williams’ unexpected suicide that I constantly find myself thinking about. I feel guilty that out of all of the chaos, death, and injustice going on around the world, it is the death of an actor that has affected me most. I asked myself why that is and I think it’s because his suicide was so unexpected and it is sad to think that someone who brought so much joy and happiness to the world, could be so unhappy himself.

robin williams

The loss of any human life is painful, but something about Robin Williams’ suicide saddens me to the very core of my being. I have first hand experience with depression and feelings of hopelessness that Robin must have been feeling in order to take his life. And while I struggle with being “real” and transparent about anything serious on my blog (or any other of my social media outlets) about my life but I realized that writing posts like this were the reason I started blogging in the first place about 10 years ago and that is: 

to reach out and connect to someone (anyone) who like me, often feels “different,” struggles with depression or anxiety, feels hopeless, like they don’t fit in, that are depressed…

and although I try to hide my struggle from friends and family, I think it’s pretty obvious to the people in my “World,” who try to get to know me, (my friends, family, co-workers, ect), know there is something “different” about me. I’m the friend who falls off the planet for days, weeks, months at a time, the friend who cancels plans and no one hears from, who isolates themselves, sleeps too much… my family and other loved ones kindly skirt around the issue but I struggle with depression and have since I was 15 years old. 

What saddens me so much about Robin’s death is that…no one really saw it coming and I hope that he had people he could trust in his life and who loved him unconditionally- his wife, his daughter and I hope he knows he was loved.

and now finally I am getting to the point of this post….

it’s okay. I promise. I swear. It gets better. I know that’s not much, but I have been there in that dark, hopeless place where there is no light, no exit.

And while I never contemplated suicide, there were so many times in my life that I thought I could never be happy in life- where sleeping was always a better option for me than living life- that the drain of just being awake and conscious was sometimes to much-

just keep going. one foot in front of the other, baby steps. Don’t stop striving to be happy, develop your passions (no matter what they are), and when things get hard or tough, try to remember that (and this is what I wish I could tell the 12 year old version of myself, for the 16 year old version of my self, the 23 year old version of myself):

you are not alone. however helpless or alone you might feel. I can tell you because I have been in that place- a place I never thought I could leave- and I did.

I have come up with a list of 15 things I hope will be helpful for anyone who has ever been depressed:

1. Talk to someone, anyone. A friend, family member, co-worker, or anyone you feel you can trust. It is important to get your thoughts out of your head and also a welcome relief to feel that you no longer have to struggle completely alone. Don’t feel that you have anyone to talk too? There are hotlines and chatrooms created with the sole purpose of helping people struggling with depression: http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=urgent_crisis_hotline has a list of resources. Still unsure? My email address is ourwildpreciouslives@gmail.com, I am here.

2. Laugh. I could (and do) watch hours  of funny youtube animal videos at a time..There is about a 95% chance that if I am laughing while on my phone or laptop, I am probably watching a cat in a shark costume, on a roomba, chasing a duck, or a dog with a bad case of the Mondays.

my dog, Henri, in a shark costume
my dog, Henri, in a shark costume

Whatever makes you laugh, do it: silly dancing, corny jokes, baby kittens…find your happy place and visit it often. Laughing is not only a quick way to boost your mood, but the neurological process of laughing also releases endorphins and gives your body a boost of adrenaline (much like exercising), leaving you in a better mental place.

3. Stop comparing yourself to others. In today’s society, with all of our social media outlets, it is hard for me to NOT constantly be comparing myself to other people. Be content with where you are in life and who you are..stay focused on your own hopes and dreams and remain true to what makes you happy. I am not Kim Kardashian and I may not be at the same point in life where it seems many of peers are, but thats okay and I have to constantly remind myself that it is ok. This is your life, and your journey, no one else’s! One of the hardest things for me to do is to change my negative thinking patterns. I noticed that for me, most days I struggle with starting a new day with a positive frame of mind and I used to find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning…once I realized this about myself (and it took longer than you would think!) I had to start forcing myself to think positively in the morning and started coming up with (or borrowing) little phrases or mantras to “trick” myself into thinking positively. To this day, I still go back to one of my favorite mental health spokespersons:

I'm Sailing!
I’m Sailing!

and his favorite phrases: “I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful” and “Baby steps.” Interestingly enough, when I tell myself this in the morning before I get out of bed, I end up feeling better, greater and more wonderful. 

4. Spend time outdoors/ be Active.

photo 2

Research has shown that sunlight is a natural mood booster and one of the easiest ways to fight depression by boosting serotonin levels in the brain. The sun is also is a rich source of Vitamin D and is also shown to help in bone health, heart health and to reduce the chance of strokes. I enjoy spend time outdoors: hiking in the woods, doing yoga or simply taking the time to be in awe of Nature by listening and looking. I have a habit of collecting leaves, feathers, branches, twigs, stones, seashells..ect…

photo 3

and keep a couple of my favorite ones in a vase by my bed. I sincerely feel that spending time outdoors as one of the best ways to re-focus on whats important and to remember that beauty and life is all around me, all I have to do is pay attention to it. 

5. Keep a journal. 

a page from one of my old journals
a page from one of my old journals

I find this especially helpful, if you are like me and tend to be more introverted and have trouble opening up. It helps me to look back on my journals and to reflect on how far I have come. It is also a great way to motivate yourself and a place to channel your inspirations. It also gives you a place to write down positive quotes, bucket lists, and to keep track of happy memories such as: concert tickets stubs and photos. 

6. Keep a daily routine. If you are like me, or the dog in the video in #`1with a case of the Mondays, this is not easy. I confess, This is one of the HARDEST things for me to do. The idea of a consistent, daily routine always scared me and I still struggle with it every day. I always made excuses for why I didn’t need a daily routine…but sometimes this is a very important step for those who struggle with depression. I love sleeping, I always have and used to put off getting up until the very last moment. But as a result, I never gave myself time to wake up, reflect on the day, focus on what i wanted to get done and to have a general sense of well-being. Even though the initial half an hour or so after I am up is a struggle, I feel better, more calm and more prepared for the day when I have given myself time in the morning before rushing off. 

7. Consider meditation/yoga. (dwell in the moment)

namaste1

 This one fits in with many of the other tips. Giving yourself time to reflect on life, or even to be still and think about nothing but your breath, helps to clear your head and give you a sense of well-being. I scoffed at the idea of quiet meditation for a long time, thinking it sounded to new age or something for me. I also have very little patience and always thought “There is no way I could ever sit still for an hour thinking about nothing.” And that thought is still true! I lowered my expectations and started timing myself of how long I could just “be still.” I don’t think I have ever made it past 60 seconds until my mind has wandered. But if you are intentional in trying and most of all, patient with yourself, you will get better at it and be better for it. 

8. Make plans for the future. Have an old friend you want to visit? (Cassie, I’m coming for you!) or have you always wanted to take a road trip, visit the Lourve, eat real soul food? While spending too much time thinking about the future and not enough time in the present is not healthy, it is important to have something in your life to look forward too. It could be that you are unhappy in your career or with your health. Maybe you have always wanted to write a novel or take an art class. It could be as simple as thinking about something different and fun you always wanted to cook for dinner- just give yourself something to look forward to every day! 

9. Weed out negative influences/people from your life.

photo 4-3

easier said then done right? If you are human, chances are you come in contact with unhappy people or negative situations SEVERAL times a day. At my current customer service job, I deal with many unhappy people and even when I try to remain positive, negativity is draining and wears you down.  There is a difference from coming in contact with negative people or situations and ALLOWING negative people/influences space in your life and brain. Do your best when you must deal with these situations. Be your best self and you will leave the situation with confidence and self-assurance, knowing that you did your best. But, unhappy people, generally don’t like happy  people and may try to bring you down with them (misery loves company). Don’t let them- shrug them off and go your own way (frolic in the fields, hug your dog, laugh with a friend) and don’t waste any more of your time or brain space on them than is absolutely necessary. Most importantly don’t feel guilty about being happy. 

10. Create something. 

DSC02025

You don’t have to have graduated from art school to create something beautiful that brings you and others joy and happiness. Maybe you love baking cookies or always wanted to build a bird house. There is something very satisfying in creating something that took a lot of hard work and being able to look at with a sense of pride (even if it didn’t turn out the way you thought it would when you started) and thinking “I made this.” Even better if you can share it with the people in your life. 

11. Take time for yourself. Again, this ties in to many of the other tips. But I just want to re-affirm that it is okay to take time for yourself, doing something that makes you happy. Many of us have spouses, children, parents, friends, co-workers that we spend most of our time and energy on and that is a good and healthy thing (see #13). But at the same time, you shouldn’t  be walking around feeling like a zombie, drained of emotional and physical energy. You are your able to be your best version of yourself for others, and for you when you are re-charged and re-energized. I would love nothing more than an hour long massage by a professional massage therapist (complete with the aromatherapy candles, oils, and whale nosies playing in the background) every few days if time and money allowed. Maybe it’s getting a manicure or having a glass of wine and reading a good book for 30 minutes after everyone else in the house is asleep. These little moments will re-charge you. 

12. renew your sense of purpose in life. All of us have hopes and dreams and desires for our lives. And as we get older, our lives our shaping up to be very different than what we imagined they would be when we were young and carefree (and that’s okay). While I wouldn’t change anything that has happened to me in my life (the good and the bad), because it made me who I am today..rememembering what I am passionate about gives me a greater sense of purpose in life. Don’t sell yourself short of your daydreams and don’t let anyone talk to you out of what you know you want (unless you’ve always wanted to be a gas station attendant or a tool booth worker…then we made need to talk). 

13. give back/ invest in relationships.

photo 1

Balance in life is so important. Too much time spent on only on yourself will cause imbalance, just as much as too much time spent on others (and not enough time for yourself) will leave you completely drained. I promise there is someone out there who feels lost and who could use you in their life. I also guarantee that there is someone out there that YOU are important to and who would love to hear from you. Maybe you are not ready to open up to people which brings me to my next point…

14. Adopt a Pet.

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The best thing I did when i first moved in to my own place 8 years ago and was feeling particularly alone and easily sad was adopting my dog Henri. There is something so wonderful about always coming home and knowing that my dog missed me and is happy to see me. I don’t argue that pets are a big responsibility and you should always consider your realistic limitations (such as money, time away from home, space). If you are not in the position for a bigger animal, how about a bird, or hamster, or even a fish! 

15. Don’t ever give up. Finally, and most importantly, don’t forget that there is ALWAYS hope. You can and will be happy. Life is a gift. I mean it. We have all made mistakes, but that is what it means to be alive and to be human. Today is a new day. Trust me, I know this mushy positive talk is annoying when you are depressed. But please, if you take one thing away from this post, let it be that, I know you will make it through this and you can be happy. Chances are, if you are like me, dealing with depression will likely be something I struggle seriously with again at some point- but even when that happens, there is hope. 

And I leave you with this beautiful tribute to Robin Williams and his thoughts on the beauty of life: 

“Please, don’t worry so much. Because in the end, none of us have very long on this earth. Life is fleeting. And if you are ever distressed, cast your eyes to the summer sky, and the stars that are strung across the velvety night. And when a shooting start streaks through the blackness, turning night into day, make a wish. Think of me. Make your life spectacular. I know I did.” 

– Robin Williams

All photos used in this post are mine, unless otherwise noted. If you want to use, just please credit me and link back to my blog. Thank you so much! 

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a mirthful minute.

Just getting back into the swing of things…ready to start up art classes again.

One of my students said something that made me laugh the other day. We were discussing writing topics, specifically, writing a funny story about someone you knew. Most of the students started offering up suggestions like their little brothers or their grandpa’s. One student raised their hand and said they could write a funny store about Mrs. Sheffield. When asked why they thought they could write a story about me the student replied, “because she makes really funny faces.” :/ Well, at least they are entertained!

Here are some pictures I have found that have entertained me lately:

One of my favorite books, this is the face I make when I read it too!

sleepy!

“Help me baby Jesus!” hahaha
sharing is good! 

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a mirthful minute pt. 3

I am really in need of a good laugh today. Thought maybe others might feel the same way. And just to warn you I am a sucker for wiener dogs and cat pictures