Archive for the ‘Sanctuary’ Category

Book Review: An Eye for Beauty by Beth Webb

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It’s time for holiday shopping to commence and thankfully it’s that time of year when many gorgeous design and architecture books hit stores. I am excited to tell you about the new (and first) book by amazing Atlanta Interior Design Beth Webb and it would make a fabulous stocking stuffer or hostess gift for the design lovers on your list. This book brilliantly highlights her designs as “Rooms That Speak to the Senses”, one of the keystones of Beth’s design philosophy. Evident on the beautiful glossy pages, is that Beth creates homes that evoke timeless style while speaking to the five senses. Throughout this glorious oversized book, Beth walks you through how each design element, both tangible and visible, add to the overall aesthetic of the space as well as the well-being and evolution of those living there. This concept so resonates with my focus on well-being and self care and Beth’s work on these lovely pages gave me a whole new appreciation for softer palettes and layered textures.

Beth is a master with a neutral color palette, blending natural elements that are warm and inviting. Can you imagine sitting in this living room looking out of the beautiful wood double doors to that gorgeous greenery beyond? The mix of texture is so rich and delicious and is such a seamless transition to nature and the outdoors. One couldn’t help but be well and vibrant in Beth’s creations.

I also love how original art is used in Beth’s work throughout the book to infuse spaces with such calm color and unique style! Her rooms provide the perfect backdrop to display carefully curated collections, like this pretty grouping of plates. All of Beth’s designs focus on chic neutral or soft color palettes with meticulously layered textures to keep the space comfortable and natural, while able to withstand the tolls of everyday life.

I’ve known Beth personally for many years, and now with her first book, I’m very excited for you to see more of her work that spans from Atlanta to Costa Rica. I think you will fall in love with her designs as much as I have. Pick up a copy of her book, An Eye for Beauty: Rooms that Speak to the Senses, here for you or the design enthusiast on your shopping list!

xo,

 

 

 

 

 

New Year’s Shopping Guide

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During this, my favorite time of the year, I am busy preparing my goals and resolutions and plans for an exciting 2016. I am giddy with excitement about moving closer to my best self in the coming months. And I am working on making the New Year my best year yet.

To be the best Me I can be, I have a major goal of putting myself first next year. This is something I find really hard to do, do you? Well in that spirit of self-care and healthy living, here is my shopping guide for a fabulously healthy 2016. These are the things I need to be my best and I hope they will help you be your best too!

Meet me back here later this week for my tips on writing resolutions that work, goal setting and my word of the year for 2016.

Happy (and healthy) shopping friends! xo,

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1.Columbia Fleece Vest–Layers are a must for working out in Arkansas weather. It can be 70 degrees at Christmas like this year and 20 degrees in March. You just never know. So having some great Columbia fleece vests in my favorite colors are perfect for layering on cool mornings or freezing afternoons for my walks. I got a white one for Christmas and can’t wait to wear it.

2. Northface Thermal Leggings–To be my best and most healthy self, I have to have a “no excuses” mentality for exercise. And thanks to these awesome Northface leggings, even on cold days I am hoofing it to stay in shape.

3. Fitbit Charge–Take your fitness to a whole new level with the fitbit Charge. I have been using a fitbit for years but this new model has all sorts of amazing features including a clock so you no longer have to double up your fitbit and your watch, they are now all in one. And if you get the Fitbit HR, you can keep track of your Heart rate too so you ensure you are exercising at your optimum level.

4. Nike Leopard or Snakeskin Running Shoes–How do you make exercise fun? Well for me it’s by wearing fun workout clothes and shoes (yes I am a shoe girl even when it comes to athletic ones!) So why not jump on the trend of leopard and Snakeskins we are seeing all over the runway and bring it to our workout gear. They even have the leopard print in sizes for your kids so you can keep them active and healthy too!

5. Massage Bolster–In a moment you will see my great link for an in-home massage table in fabulous fashionable colors. And if you go the route of having a massage room all your own, a bolster for propping up your ankles and knees is the best way to make your at-home experience seem like a professional one.

6. The Best is Yet to Come Journal–Journaling has been a lifesaver for me to relieve stress and get in touch with my innermost self and writing down what I really want out of life. That’s why I love this encouraging quote from old blue eyes himself, Frank Sinatra. Because I really do believe that the best is yet to come for us all, so why not remember that in your daily journaling exercises!

7. Pebble Journal with 3-ring Binder–I love to keep one journal for my thoughts and another for my gratitude for all my many blessings. I am crazy about this 3 ring journal because you can add pages to it. So when you have boundless blessings like I believe we all do, you can add more space to write them down.

8. Pajamas–one of the most important parts of healthy living is getting enough sleep. I think a great pair of Pj’s is the perfect excuse to go to bed earlier this year and these pretty black and white ones will help us sleep stylishly.

9. Sleep Mask and Memory Foam Pillow–Being comfy and relaxed is an important part of your sleep routine too. How about this fabulous Memory Foam pillow so you are comfy and wake up feeling great? And it’s paired with this fab sleep mask with built-in headphones. They’ll keep it dark in your space any time of day and allow you to listen to relaxation yoga or meditation tunes so you drift off easily to your happy place and stay there all night long.

10. Yoga Bolster–Yoga has been a life saver to me. Particularly Yin-style yoga. I get my cardio by walking out in nature and breathing in fresh air and for me yoga is about stretching and restoration. So for that I need great props like this oversized rectangular bolster.

11. Yoga Blocks–Getting into some of my favorite Yin yoga poses require the help of yoga blocks. So add these to your tools for staying healthy this year. You can also do some amazing before bed stretches and release all the tension from your neck with a great yoga block ensuring you get a restful night’s sleep.

12. Yogitoes Yoga Mat Towel–Nothing annoys me more than slipping on my yoga mat. That’s why I love my Yogitoes Yoga Mat Terry Towel. It makes your mat comfy and slip resistant all at once. So now you can Nama-“stay” on your mat!

13. Calypso Massage Table–Massage is a must for my healthy lifestyle. I try to get at least one a month and more if time and budget allow. Having an in-home massage table and home massage space is one of the ways I squeeze massage into my busy lifestyle. So when I can’t get to the spa, my massage therapist can come to me.

14. Yoga Strap–To really get deep stretches for my hamstrings to counteract all the sitting at the computer that I do (and sitting on airplanes too) a great yoga strap can really help. I’m not as young and flexible as I used to be so my yoga strap is one of my BFF’s these days! 

15. Personalized Yoga Mat–And to add a little fun to your yoga time, how about a personalized yoga mat. I love the idea of having my name on it, but even better an inspirational quote that makes me want to be on my mat everyday. Whatever it takes, right?

16. Yoga Blankets–If restorative yoga sounds good to you, creating a sanctuary for your practice is a must. For me that means a lovely and quiet place, lots of candles and several cozy blankets for helping with stretches or covering up during Savasana and lingering just a little bit longer than usual.

17. Massage Table Sheets–Making your massage table especially soft can help you get to your happy and relaxed place faster that normal. I love these high thread count massage sheets from Wamsutta that really help me have sweet dreams while getting my massage on!

18. Massage Table Electric Warmer–I don’t know about you but I get chilly easily. I am known to use an electric blanket on a chilly summer night (even if it’s chilly because my hubby is blasting the A/C), and I am the same way during my massages. So having an electric warmer for your at-home massage table is the perfect way to make sure you are cozy and relaxed every time.

19.Fitbit Scale–I’ve been using a Fitbit cardio step counter for years. But now I am ready to take Fitbit’s capabilities to the next level with their scale that measures weight, body fat and BMI. It can be programmed for up to 8 different users so my family can use it too. I am thinking this might be one of the things that keeps me most accountable in the new year!

20. Vitamix Blender–Oh how I love my Vitamix. It’s the way I get my fruits and veggies in everyday with my regular morning Green Smoothies. I have tried other blenders and trust me, there is no comparison with the Vitamix. So if you haven’t tried this amazing blending machine, I highly suggest you do. It will help you get your smoothie on all year long.

 

 

 

 

Christmas Here We Come and I’m Rested, Relaxed and Ready! Are you?

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Hello Friends! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I have to say that mine was low-key and perfect. I am now rested and ready to take on the Christmas season. And speaking of rest and Christmas, I have a different sort of wish list this year.

Believe it or not, this Work-a-holic REALLY took some days off last week. Shocker, right! Yes, I just had a 6 day reprieve from the hectic schedule I have been keeping all of 2014 and boy did I ever need it!

IMG_5362And though I wasn’t working, I did lots of other things I love, like cooking the Thanksgiving meal with my mom and sister-in-law. Here’s a great Autumn Chopped Salad that I made just before I tossed it.  It was beautiful and delicious!

IMG_5368And I spent a lot of quality time with my family–cuddling with my girl, making Rice Crispy treats, playing games with my niece and nephew and watching lots of football with my hubby, my dad and my brother. Oh the furry family members watched football with us too.

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I am so glad that I took the time to remember that these are the important things in life. There have been many holiday seasons that I didn’t. We all say we know what’s important, but how many times do we make excuses for why we can’t focus on the important things?  We have that laundry list of excuses like “I can’t afford to” or “I don’t have time to” or “I have to work” or “there’s so much to do to get ready for”… and the list goes on and on all the while we are missing time and things that we can’t get back. And work will always be there now won’t it? So why not make “the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” really wonderful this year!

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The timing  of this week of R & R was perfect to get me relaxed and re-focused so I can finish the year strong and get ready for 2015. The New Year may just be my favorite time of year. I love the fresh start, the setting of goals and intentions and all the excitement that comes with wrapping up one year while celebrating our successes and then moving our focus to the next year full of hope and opportunity for greatness. I was getting a bit over-tired and I needed more stamina to take on all that planning and goals setting that will soon be at hand. Now that I filled myself back up, I am ready to go. Bring it on Christmas and 2015! I’ve got this.

instagramchallengeSo I know this isn’t Self-care Saturday, but let’s make it Self-care Sunday instead. I think it’s important for me to remind all of you that if you don’t take care of Y-O-U, you can’t possibly take care of anyone else. If you don’t get some R & R you may just find yourself in a heap of exhaustion under the Tree. So put those excuses away and work in some time for you this busy time of year. Don’t skip your work-outs. Make time for Yoga. Get plenty of sleep. Spend time with Friends. Get a massage. Drink lots of water. Yes, I sound like your mother but I am speaking to myself too. To help us out, there is even a Holiday Self-care challenge happening on Instagram using #holidayselfcare as the tag.

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This is a time to be kind to those we love and who better to love first than yourself. Treat yourself like you are your best friend. Set yourself up for success. Plan self-care in today while you are writing out your Christmas Shopping List. Plan it now before your schedule fills up. There IS time for self-care if you plan it in the schedule and if you believe you have time for it. It’s all a mindset. Taking an hour or two out of your day to take care of  YOU won’t keep you from getting everything done. It will give you the stamina to get it all done. There are lots of tips online for surviving the holidays. Here are a few simple tips for taking care of yourself this holiday season and remembering what’s really important.

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And what about being healthy during this super sugary time of year? Just this weekend I was finishing up Tory Johnson’s great book called The Shift. There were many amazing parts of this book. My copy is all marked up and underlined and highlighted. But the biggest Ah-ha moment in the book for me was this…Preference or Priority. I know it may be your preference to just sit around and watch TV after a long day, but if your health is a priority, go to yoga class instead. Preference–eating all those holiday sweets. Priority–being healthy in the New Year so make healthy choices this Christmas instead. I know it may not sound fun now, but come January your blood pressure and your waistline will thank you. You will be well on your way to making 2015 your healthiest year yet.

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So there you have it friends, my reminder to you (but actually I’m speaking to myself) that the busiest time of the year is the time that it’s most important not to fall off the wagon of all the things that make us feel joyful, healthy and great. Will you join me in making this Christmas Happy AND Healthy. We can do this together.

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Merry Christmas and Happy Healthy Holidays Y’all! xo,

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Self-care Saturday: Inspired Giving

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Happy Saturday Everyone!

Today is that one day of the week that you should relax and enjoy yourself. It’s self-care Saturday! I spent this morning having coffee with gorgeous views of the Little Red River and walking with my pup in the sunshine on an unseasonably cool July morning enjoying the sights and sounds of nature. For me, this is the epitome of self-care and self-love.

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As so many of my favorite gurus teach, if you don’t love yourself, how can you ever love anyone else? And to take that a step further, part of loving ourselves involves making sure we allow ourselves to live our passion.

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So just this morning while reading Marianne Williamson‘s A Return to love, I had an epiphany about my passion being my gift to the world and it brought me full circle to today’s blog post about my 5th resolution recap for 2013.

Back in January, my final resolution for this year said this…”I want to will give back to others in a way that inspires them and inspires me too. I have been so very blessed by many in my life. And it’s time to Pay it Forward. I will incorporate a component of giving back into my daily life and my work life. It’s my responsibility and my inspiration. It fills my soul and the souls of others. Inspired Giving.”

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And my intention was to give my time and money to help those less fortunate than me through my church, charity organizations and other sources. I planned to take time away from work to make this happen. I have done that and have big plans to do more by year’s end. But what Marianne helped me see this morning in her book was this–“The key to a successful career is realizing that it’s not separate from the rest of your life, but is rather an extension of your most basic self. And your most basic self is love….People don’t normally associate business with kindness, because business has come to be regarded as simply a tool for making money. Miracle-workers are not in business only to make money; they’re in business to inject love into the world”

And she goes on to say that if you “stop blessing the universe (with your gift), the universe will stop blessing you. Whatever your activity, just ask that it be used to bless the world.”

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So what am I saying? I am saying that maybe the giving back that I am supposed to do is my life’s work and my passion. Maybe MY giving back isn’t separate from my work, but rather IS my work. And that instead of trying to find ways to “give back” outside of and separate from what I do, maybe the way to really accomplish inspired giving, is by doing what I do best. WOW!

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So for the rest of this year, I will focus on using my design and consulting talents, my blog, and my other business ventures in a way that really helps to change the world. I can hardly wait to get started. And speaking of self-care, nothing feels more loving to my soul than knowing that my talents and my passion can be used to give back more than I ever have before!

How about you…can you imagine how doing what fills your cup the most could be the very biggest and best way you could give back to the world? Leave a comment below and tell me how you will use your gifts and talentes to love yourself and others.

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Let’s start today changing the world together! Happy Self-care Saturday.

xo,

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Resolutions Recap…Living in the Present

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So as promised, this week I want to take a look at my 2013 New Year’s Resolutions and see how I am measuring up so far. Am I better than I was yesterday? Well, for the next 5 days, we will look at each of my resolutions for 2013 and see what my report card looks like so far. And I’ll share with you my tips for success with each of my resolutions, so maybe you can have success in these areas too.

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My first resolution for living an “Inspired 2013” was to savor the moment, every moment. And believe me, I have moved into this one more than I can even believe myself. My mom even complimented me in front of a group of people just last week about how I really am living in the present more than ever before. WOOHOO! People are starting to notice, so I must be making progress, right?

Back in January my resolution was “I want to will savor the moment. Every moment. I want to slow down. Be in the present and truly experience and remember every meal, every sunset, every workout, every word my daughter says. Presence. Enlightenment. Inspired Living!”

Now don’t get me wrong…this one is definitely a practice and practice is never perfect, but I’m making great strides for sure! It is one I have to recommit to every single day. But the payoff is HUGE so I am willing to make it a priority every day. 

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So maybe you are struggling with this one and want to know how am I doing this? Well one way is to journal each day. I started a habit of journaling during my weight loss journey last year, and it gets me centered to start each day. I put any fears or distractions there on paper and out of my head so I don’t spend time worrying about the past or the future instead of living right now. Once I close that book for the morning, those worries are locked up tight and don’t interfere with me having an amazing day!

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And then I journal again each night before bedtime. This is where I practice gratitude by writing down all the amazing things that happened that day and giving thanks for them. Adorable things my daughter said, special moments I had, sunsets I watched, time in my hammock, a wet kiss from my pups, I write them all down so I will embrace and remember them and how special they are. It makes for happy thoughts for a good night’s sleep too!
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I know, I know…who has time to journal twice a day, right? Well I do and you do too if it’s a priority. I just keep a gorgeous journal by my bed with a pen tucked inside so I have no excuses. At first I was inspired to write because the book was pretty (who doesn’t love a gorgeous journal) and the pen was great…my favorite gel version–yes, I’m a geek. But over time, I saw the MAJOR benefits of a happier life, fewer worries and better sleep that journaling brought to me and I was hooked. Now, it is a habit that I just can’t live without. Why worry when I can leave it all to God or the Universe to figure out while I am out having an amazing life?!?

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We all know that the only time we can really control is the present. The past is gone and the future may never be. So living in the now, is the best way I have found to live a happy life. And it’s when we create the life of our dreams too!

So how will I finish strong in this area for the rest of 2013?  Well my plan is to amp up this area even more. Six months from now, maybe I’ll be so present I won’t even recognize myself.

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And one way I will do this is ask myself daily, “if this were my last day, am I spending it the way I would want–living and enjoying the now? Or am I trapped in the past rehashing problems or the future worrying about new ones, both wasting precious time?” Asking this question has a way of making me really Live My Bliss right now, while I can. And isn’t that what we all want? Thinking of death may sound morbid to you, but let’s get real…we are all going to die sometime, so why not spend less time worrying about it and get on with living it.

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Just last weekend, my daily email from Brian Johnson at en*theos said this…

“As it is with a play, so it is with life–what matters is not how long the acting lasts, but how good it is”. –Seneca from Letters from a Stoic.

Same with our lives!!! Let’s quit worrying just how long it’s gonna be and focus on how well we play our part, shall we?

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So I hope you are making great strides living in the present too. And to make the present even better, I hope you will start to think about what kind of home, or Sanctuary, can best support you in living in the now. Here are a few space with the kind of creature comforts that help me do just that…I would love to curl up and journal or relax and meditate in any of these gorgeous spaces. How about you? Where are you most at peace and living in the present?

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Design: Jennifer Worts
Featured: _House & Home_ July 2010

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Photo from blog.decoratrix.com

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Dirk Denson in Architectural Digest

Designer: Dirk Denson
Featured: _Architectural Digest_, January 2011

See you soon for another resolutions recap and helpful hints for living your bliss. I’m off to journal and maybe a bit of meditation too. 🙂

xo,

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p.s. Find all these gorgeous and inspiring photos on my Pinterest boards here.