Holiday Sadness: ‘Tis the Season

Holiday Sadness: ‘Tis the Season

This woman has a crazy look on her face like she is stressed while holding her hands on her head.

Coping With The Holiday Blues

This is the time of year when our senses are inundated by colorful and stimulating lights, decorations, and media. We are faced with a full schedule of activities and commitments with the assumption that everything–and everyone–must be merry and bright.

Our to-do list continues to grow while our resources–time, energy and finances–shrink. It is often difficult to cope with all of the added expectations, especially if we are feeling sad. Many of us feel down this time of year. As a mental health counselor and someone who struggles with the holiday blues I can attest to this. It is difficult to function at the level we would like to in order to get everything accomplished. And if you already struggle with depression this can be a really difficult time.

The main point I want to make is you are not alone.

 

Why We Struggle

There are reasons why this may be a trying time. Financial difficulties is one. Many of us struggle to make ends meet throughout the year and now try to fit all the seasonal extras into the budget. The added expense of gifts, decorating, travel, and cooking and baking can be quite expensive.

Time and energy both run short. There’s decorating, shopping, wrapping, baking, etc., etc. to take care of.  Fa la la la la. Exhaustion seems to be right around the corner just like all those bell-ringers wanting donations.

Expectations for a Hallmark Channel Christmas often run high. We may see perfection in the media, and then set our sights on having the ideal Christmas. This is unattainable, of course, but we still want it!

 

a black and white photo of a stuffed bear sitting by a lake

 

Everyone looks so happy and loving in all those holiday specials on television. Loneliness can become overwhelming over the holidays. We may not be able to see the people we care about the most for whatever reason. Or thinking about spending time with family actually adds to our stress and sadness. Many of us feel obligated to visit with people we don’t see throughout the year even though there’s a very good reason why we avoid them the rest of the year.

Grief can really make this time of year difficult. If we went through a break up or someone close to us passed away during the year it can be grueling. This year my family had to put down two cats we had for 17 years and I know this will be hard. The holidays often trigger loneliness and sadness. Unresolved grief can make us dread participating in any holiday events. This happens even if it’s not the first holiday without someone.

 

wrapped presents under a christmas tree

Plan of Action

The key is to plan ahead.  Obviously, when you are on a tight budget it helps to start a Christmas fund the day after for next year. However, if you are like me, that never happens. Consider cutting back on gift giving. It is honestly not good or necessary to purchase gifts if it keeps you from paying your bills or puts you further in debt.

Begin early to get as much of your shopping and baking done ahead of time. Research easy recipes, do online shopping, and delegate whatever chores you can to others who are able to help. I know this is tough when you are alone. But ask for help when you can.

Minimize your expectations of yourself. Is mixing up dough, rolling it out, using the cookie cutters, baking and finally decorating cookies something you enjoy? If the answer is no, it’s really not worth your sanity. Reduce your stress by letting go of some of the things you have always done but hate doing. Go to the store and buy cookies already baked just waiting to be decorated. Or buy the ones already decorated. Life is about choices!

 

a plate of christmas cookies

 

Say no to attending events that you dread. That yearly party where everyone gets drunk and obnoxious is a good place to start. If your family gathering turns into a family feud every year, consider calling instead. Or, go early and leave early. Assess all of the possibilities and only do what makes you happy. Your obligation is to yourself.

Talk to someone if you are grieving. Your holiday will be different this year and it doesn’t help to pretend you’re not hurting. Journaling is helpful for processing grief. Writing a letter to the person or animal you lost can also make you feel better. Think about starting a new holiday tradition in honor of your loved one to keep them a part of your holiday celebration.

 

a woman's hand holding a cup of tea

Self-Care

Many of us, myself included, could spend a bit more time and energy on self-care. This is especially true during the holiday season when we have added duties on top of all the usual day-to-day things we do.  I am going to say this as clearly as possible–make self-care a priority.

Go out for a walk to get fresh air and sunshine. Physical activity helps produce feel-good chemicals in the brain. Vitamin D from the sun is difficult to get this time of the year especially in the north. If you have a dog to keep you company on a walk that is an added blessing. Animals are great for reminding us to relax, not worry and enjoy the moment.

 

2 people walking their dog on a trail in the woods.

 

Take a break and enjoy a cup of your favorite tea, call a friend to chat, or take a nap. Read a good book, listen to Christmas carols, or take a warm bath.

You can read our article on why self-care is so important here Calgon, Take Me Away!

Volunteering at the animal shelter, food pantry, or your local nursing home is a wonderful way to curb loneliness. There are plenty of opportunities this time of year to help those in need. When we offer kindness to others what we receive back can make the holiday much brighter.

For more ideas on reducing stress check out our article on Self-Care Tips.

 

orange and white cat peaking out from under a christmas tree

What Really Matters

This is a great time to assess your priorities–not only for the holidays but for your life overall. Who do you want to spend time with and what does this look like? Letting go of that which does not serve you and focusing on the things that bring you peace and joy is a wonderful commitment to yourself for the new year and beyond.

I urge you to go out and look for beauty in the little things. This may be in nature. Or visiting with your neighbor for a few minutes. Take a walk at night and look at the colorful lights. It can be the simplest things that warm our heart and bring peace to the moment.

 

Outdoor christmas tree covered with snow

 

We would love to hear your tips or tricks that help you maintain your sanity during this busy time of year. Please share in the comments below.

Have a Peaceful Holiday Season!

Sandra

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Holiday Survival: Fake It, Don’t Bake It or Make It

Holiday Survival: Fake It, Don’t Bake It or Make It

This holiday advice column is brought to you by Monica Jackson, the heroine in Eliza Daly’s romantic comedy, Under Her Spell.  Monica is a fun, quirky, and creative character with an often unique outlook on life.

 

Fake It, Don’t Bake It or Make It:

A Busy Girl’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays

 

a plate of desserts

 

Stressed is desserts spelled backwards. Appropriate, since baking stresses me out and when I’m stressed I eat massive amounts of chocolate, and gaining weight is stressful. My cousin Hope makes Martha Stewart look like a total slacker, so I figured she’d be playing domestic elf this year—baking, cooking, and decorating our townhouse. But her no-good cheating hubby is giving her a large divorce settlement for Christmas, so she’s celebrating by popping a champagne cork on a two-week cruise. I can’t skip the holidays. I love the holidays and this is one of the busiest times for my romantic event planning company.

 

a plate of christmas cookies

 

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my stressful job, it’s that you need to look like you’ve got it together even when you don’t. I suffered panic attacks a few months back when Reed, a divorce lawyer, moved in next to my business. It wasn’t pretty. However, Reed turned out to be good for my stress. A lot of people experience a high level of stress around the holidays because they are perfectionists and insist on doing everything themselves. So here are my top time management ideas and how I’m going to enjoy a perfectly imperfect holiday.

 

1) The Island of Misfit Cookies. Last year, I bought gingerbread cookie dough for a holiday party, and then I realized I didn’t own cookie cutters or a rolling pin. No time to run to the store, I rolled out the dough with a glass and found a gingerbread cookie cutter online and printed it out. Half of the cookies ended up with frowning faces and I even decapitated a few. So this year I asked Hope to make my cookies before she starts sailing the high seas. Hope owns a cake decorating business and her cookies are a work of art. I can’t pass off perfect cookies as my own, so she made me some skinny Santa cookies with fuchsia colored suits, one-eyed gingerbread men, and reindeer without antlers. Hope’s misfit cookies business is taking off. However, she has to be discreet or her secret will be out and she’ll lose her clients.

 

wrapped presents under a christmas tree

 

2) Recruit Elves. I’ve started over twenty businesses. When I was ten years old, I dressed up as an elf and went around the neighborhood offering my gift wrapping services. I was an awful wrapper and once mistakenly wrapped a centerpiece and salt ‘n pepper shakers that were sitting on a client’s table. I didn’t last more than one season. My wrapping skills haven’t improved and everyone knows this. So I’m hiring a nine-year-old neighbor girl to wrap my presents. I’m also having her wrap the pictures on my walls, which will make festive decorations.

 

 

 

3) Dual-Purpose Cards. Last year my cousin Ellie posted her annual Christmas brag letter on Facebook and asked everyone to share it with friends and family who weren’t on Facebook. Rather than being put out that she wanted us to distribute her letter, we were happy that Ellie wasn’t so perfect after all. This gave me the idea to do e-cards this year. I e-mailed photo cards of my assistant and me dressed as somewhat sexy elves and her cute little Shih Tzu dressed as Santa, standing in front of my business. I posted this photo on Facebook with our business address and a caption reading We can help you be a little naughty, or nice, this season with your significant other. Not sure if it was the cute little dog or our sexy elf outfits, but the promo just went viral on Facebook. You may have already seen it.

 

Christmas dinner table set

 

4) Voila—A Holiday Feast. I’ve been watching Hope cook for the past few months and if there is one thing I’ve learned—the only thing—is that cooking is all about presentation. Hope and her soon-to-be ex owned a restaurant, so she knows the secret of haute cuisine is small portions, stacking and garnishes. I’m going to buy deli turkey with the fixings and reheat the turkey on Christmas Day in a slow cooker so the aroma fills the air. Then all I have to do is place a few spoonfuls of mashed potatoes on a plate, top it with a dollop of stuffing, slap a slice of turkey over it then drizzle with gravy. Garnish the plate with a few cranberries.

 

real snowman

 

5) Indoor-Outdoor Decorations. We recently had a major snowstorm in Milwaukee. Go figure. School was cancelled. When I came home from work, some kids who live in an apartment building without a yard were building a snowman in the dirty snow plowed up on a curb. I offered them my yard. I asked them to take the snow from my sidewalk first, so I didn’t have to shovel, and to decorate the snowmen with red and green attire and to build them in front of my windows, so they could be enjoyed inside or outside. Of course this only works if you have snow.

 

Outdoor christmas tree covered with snow

 

Read Monica’s advice column Deck the Halls with Holiday Stress Balls.

 

Which of Monica’s suggestions do you like the best? What do you do to simplify your holidays?

 

Book Blurb

 

When a series of failed relationships and business ventures have Monica Jackson doubting her self-worth, she turns to spell casting to attract positive energy and the opportunities needed to achieve her goals.  But can Monica’s belief in spells restore her belief in herself?

 

Monica creates a spell to find her soul mate, and one to ensure the success of her new romantic event planning company, Enhance Your Romance.  Monica is confident she has found her niche until divorce lawyer Reed Walker opens a practice next door to her office.  The anti-marriage slogan plastered on his office window, and his down-on-love clients, quickly prove detrimental to Monica’s business.  When his arrival appears to trigger a string of bad luck, Monica fears one of her spells sent negative energy into the universe and it has returned to her threefold.  Although Reed is beyond sexy, and she admires his self-confidence, she’ll do whatever it takes to get the universe back on her side, and Reed out of her life. No way is she losing another business.

 

Reed finds himself attracted to Monica’s beauty and her optimism. His job and his parents’ divorce have made him a pessimist, especially when it comes to love. However, he soon finds that Monica’s pro-love attitude is rubbing off on him, causing him to lose his edge.  If Reed doesn’t distance himself from Monica, he’ll likely destroy his reputation as a pit bull divorce lawyer.

 

Can Monica and Reed look past what they might be losing to realize the love they have found?

 

Under Her Spell is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

 

“Monica is a hoot and I love the steamy interactions between her and sexy divorce attorney Reed! Such a fun read and full of laughs.” – 4 Star Review by Sara, Chick Lit Plus

 

“Quick moving, funny and romantic, you can’t help but love Monica, the characters, and the tangles they get into.” – 8/10 review by Annmarie T., Chicklit Club

 

Author Bio

 

Eliza Daly’s first attempt at creative writing was in fourth grade. She and her friends were huge Charlie’s Angels fans and she would sit in her bedroom at night writing scripts for them to act out at recess the following day. She was Kelly Garrett. Fast forward to the present, she’s still writing stories about women who always get their men.

 

When Eliza isn’t traveling for her job as an event planner, or tracing her ancestry roots through Ireland, she’s at home in Milwaukee working on her next novel, bouncing ideas off her husband Mark, and her cats Quigley, Frankie, and Sammy. She also writes lighthearted women’s fiction under the name Eliza Watson.

 

You can find Eliza on the web at Website, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

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Deck the Halls with Holiday Stress Balls

Deck the Halls with Holiday Stress Balls

This holiday advice column is brought to you by Monica Jackson, the heroine in Eliza Daly’s romantic comedy, Under Her Spell.  Monica is a fun, quirky, and creative character with an often unique outlook on life.

snowman with purple light

How to Bring Inner Peace and Joy to Your Holidays

When you punch out an innocent snowman on the way home from work, it’s time to get a grip, especially if you have a history of panic attacks. I suffered my first attack several months ago when Reed, a divorce lawyer, opened his practice next door to my new romantic event planning company, Enhance Your Romance.

Reed eventually ended up being good for my stress and panic attacks. Then today, my soon-to-be divorced cousin and roomie Hope informed me that she’s spending Christmas on a two-week cruise. Who was going to play domestic elf–baking cookies, decorating, making Christmas dinner, etc.?

Surprisingly, the holidays are a busier time for my company than Valentine’s Day. Everyone who has been naughty all year wants to play nice (or maybe a bit naughty) and romance their significant other. Unlike Hope, I don’t want to avoid the holidays. I love the holidays. So here are a few stress reducers I’ve come up with.

Gifts under the tree

1) Tis the season for giving. Nothing makes you feel better than bringing joy to someone else. After Hope caught her husband Kyle cheating, she donated their Egyptian cotton sheets and his Rolex to charity. Her good deeds made her feel like a new woman. The division of their assets was holding up the divorce thanks to scrooge Kyle. So to expedite things, she placed an ad in the newspaper announcing free Thanksgiving dinner at their steakhouse, and that Kyle’s snowmobile would be auctioned off, the proceeds going to Toys for Tots. Kyle is all about appearances, so when patrons praised him for his generosity he took full credit. Hope had the signed divorce papers the next day. So it doesn’t even have to be your own stuff you give away.

 a plate full of Christmas cookies

2) Make love, not cookies. I once spent an hour, and a half a bag of flour, trying to roll out gingerbread cookie dough. Using a juice glass for a rolling pin probably didn’t help. That was my last cookie experience. To help reduce stress, I’m eliminating anything I don’t enjoy, and increasing what I do find pleasurable. I sometimes get so caught up in my clients’ love lives, I don’t put enough time into my own special events. So I have a special evening planned, which includes something very Reed, I mean red, and very naughty.

two glasses of champagne ready for christmas celebration, on red background

3) Power tool therapy. If you’re partaking in alcoholic holiday beverages, stick with a hammer. A few years ago I caught my boyfriend with another girl under the mistletoe hanging over his bed. After grabbing our presents from under his tree, I headed home where my dad was in the garage building a manger for the church. (Yes, I lived with my parents which added to my holiday stress.) He owns a construction business so everyone always asks him to donate his services during the holidays. He was behind schedule and recruited my assistance. Pounding nails while envisioning driving a stake through my ex’s heart was more Zen than a spa day.

3 red and white gift bags

4) Breathe into a holiday gift bag. When I suffered my first panic attack, my assistant and best friend Jordan had me breathe into a paper bag. I don’t recommend sucking in the aroma of an Egg McMuffin if part of your stress is due to holiday overeating. Sprinkle the inside of a gift bag with essential oils such as lavender or eucalyptus then inhale some deep, calming breaths.

snowglobe with Santa in a sleigh being pulled by reindeer

5) Don’t act your age. Watch Rudolph and Frosty. Read some of your favorite childhood holiday books. Do things that take you back to your youth when Christmas wasn’t stressful. Tear open presents like it’s your first Christmas. After I swiped the presents from my cheating boyfriend’s house, I went home and ripped through them in no time flat. It felt great. I donated the items to charity, like step one recommends.

angel figurine holding a heart in front of a christmas tree

6) Belief, trust, and a little bit of reindeer dust. Cast a holiday inner peace spell. Stay away from negative spells, such as the Dirtbag Spell I cast on Hope’s ex. Keep things positive. Red is the color of energy and enthusiasm, and green represents healing and balance. The perfect holiday spell colors. Use ingredients such as a red silk bag filled with cloves, cinnamon, and items that symbolize joy, harmony, and good cheer. Belief is the core ingredient of a successful spell, and also a happy holiday season.

 

Which of Monica’s suggestions can you relate to the most?

 

Check Eliza Watson’s post Travel Tips and Mishaps.

Book Blurb

When a series of failed relationships and business ventures have Monica Jackson doubting her self-worth, she turns to spell casting to attract positive energy and the opportunities needed to achieve her goals.  But can Monica’s belief in spells restore her belief in herself?

 

Monica creates a spell to find her soul mate, and one to ensure the success of her new romantic event planning company, Enhance Your Romance.  Monica is confident she has found her niche until divorce lawyer Reed Walker opens a practice next door to her office.  The anti-marriage slogan plastered on his office window, and his down-on-love clients, quickly prove detrimental to Monica’s business.  When his arrival appears to trigger a string of bad luck, Monica fears one of her spells sent negative energy into the universe and it has returned to her threefold.  Although Reed is beyond sexy, and she admires his self-confidence, she’ll do whatever it takes to get the universe back on her side, and Reed out of her life. No way is she losing another business.

 

Reed finds himself attracted to Monica’s beauty and her optimism. His job and his parents’ divorce have made him a pessimist, especially when it comes to love. However, he soon finds that Monica’s pro-love attitude is rubbing off on him, causing him to lose his edge.  If Reed doesn’t distance himself from Monica, he’ll likely destroy his reputation as a pit bull divorce lawyer.

 

Can Monica and Reed look past what they might be losing to realize the love they have found?

 

Under Her Spell is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

 

“Monica is a hoot and I love the steamy interactions between her and sexy divorce attorney Reed! Such a fun read and full of laughs.” – 4 Star Review by Sara, Chick Lit Plus

 

“Quick moving, funny and romantic, you can’t help but love Monica, the characters, and the tangles they get into.” – 8/10 review by Annmarie T., Chicklit Club

 

Author Bio

Eliza Daly’s first attempt at creative writing was in fourth grade. She and her friends were huge Charlie’s Angels fans and she would sit in her bedroom at night writing scripts for them to act out at recess the following day. She was Kelly Garrett. Fast forward to the present, she’s still writing stories about women who always get their men.

 

When Eliza isn’t traveling for her job as an event planner, or tracing her ancestry roots through Ireland, she’s at home in Milwaukee working on her next novel, bouncing ideas off her husband Mark, and her cats Quigley, Frankie, and Sammy. She also writes lighthearted women’s fiction under the name Eliza Watson.

 

You can find Eliza on the web at Website, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads

Check out our post on keeping your pet safe this holiday.

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Nature is My Sanctuary: Quotes to Inspire & Heal

Nature is My Sanctuary: Quotes to Inspire & Heal

Nature is My Sanctuary

Nature provides a place of comfort and solitude–an escape from the pressures of life. When I am in the woods, all societal norms and influences are far away, along with the day-to-day stresses of life. The wilderness offers me a deep, peaceful sense of connection to something much larger and greater than myself.

 

A cliff by the ocean with the quote The earth has music for those who listen.

 

William Shakespeare (1564-1616), the best-selling fiction author of all time. He wrote plays and poems about human emotions and conflict–his view on nature shows his level of observation, insight, and intelligence.

“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”  – William Shakespeare

 

The quote The Ocean Calms My Restless Soul on a blue background

 

The ocean, woods, and mountains–anywhere in nature, really– has an almost sedating effect on the psyche. Turning to nature is a holistic healing tool available to any of us is we choose. 

“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”

-Jacques Yves Cousteau

 

The quote If you truly love nature you will find beauty everywhere with poppies.

 

The great artist, Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) appreciated the beauty found in nature. Flowers, trees, and the outdoors were often the subjects of his paintings. 

“In nature nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.” – Alice Walker

 

The quote Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you, with a picture of lavender.

 

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) was a great architect, writer, and fellow Wisconsinite. He displayed a deep respect for the beauty of nature.

“I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.” – Frank Lloyd Wright

 

The quote In wilderness lies the hope of the world with a picture of a waterfall

 

John Muir (1838-1914) was a naturalist, writer, and environmental philosopher. He was also known as John of the Mountains. He worked to protect wilderness in the United States.

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”

– John Muir

 

A picture of mountains with the quote The mountains are calling and I must go.

 

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”  – John Muir

 

A picture of the woods with the quote Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.

John Muir is also known as Wilderness Prophet and The Father of Our National Parks. I consider him a true hero of our environment and national park system.

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir

 

a forest with the quote and into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul by John Muir.

 

 

“An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”

– Henry David Thoreau

 

A monarch butterfly on a small white flower with the quote I go to nature to be soothed & healed & have my senses put in order.

 

John Burroughs (1837-1921)  was an American naturalist and nature essayist, active in the U.S. conservation movement.  He met Walt Whitman in 1864 and they mentored one another as writers.

“How beautiful the leaves grow old. How full of light

and color are their last days.” – John Burroughs

 

A picture in the woods with the quotes Only in nature was all at rest with me, my soul became still & full of power.

 

Knut Hamsun (1859-1952) was a Norwegian writer. In 1920 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Hamsun wrote on a variety of subjects, with naturalism and spirituality being two of his favorites.

“To walk in nature is to witness a thousand miracles.” – Mary Davis

 

The quote Look Deep Into Nature

 

George Gordon Byron, also known as Lord Byron (1788-1824), was an English poet, politician, and a leading force in the Romantic movement. 

“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.” – Eleonora Duse

 

There is something of the marvelous in all things of nature with an aqua lake and mountains.

 

Aristotle (384 B.C.- 322 B.C.) was an ancient Greek philosopher and scientist. His intellect was vast and he is still considered one of the greatest thinkers in politics, psychology, metaphysics and ethics.

“The silence of nature is very real. It surrounds you . . . you can feel it.”

 – Ted Trueblood

 

A picture of a fern with the quote Look Look Look deep into nature and you will understand everything.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) was a theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity. He received honorary doctorate degrees in science, medicine and philosophy from European and American universities.

“We do not see nature with our eyes, but with our

understandings and our hearts.” – William Hazlitt

 

Come forth into the light of things let nature be your teacher quotes with mountains and the sun setting

 

William Wordsworth (1770-1850) was a major English Romantic poet and nature lover.  He viewed nature as spiritual and healing, often writing about this love and respect in his work.

“With an eye made quiet with the power of harmony and the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things.” – William Wordsworth

“Nature never did betray the heart that loves her.” – William Wordsworth

 

The forest makes your heart gentle. You become one with it... No place for greed or anger there. Pha Pachak with a picture of a river in the forest.

 

It was difficult to find any information on Pha Pachack’s history. He is/was an ecology monk of the Thai Buddhist monastics, and felt compelled to protect the environment as part of his religious duty to help relieve suffering.

“The poetry of the earth is never dead.”  – John Keats

 

A picture of 3 men on horseback with the quote Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) was an American Transcendentalist poet, philosopher, and poet. He lectured on the topics of spirituality and ethical living. 

“Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

A deep pink rose with the quote the earth laughs in flowers.

I feel sentimental when I am in the wilderness–it offers me a place to ground myself, just as it did for my ancestors. There is a commonality with those who have gone before us when we give ourselves the time and opportunity to connect with nature. 

“Nature is full of infinite causes that have never occurred in experience.”

– Leonardo da Vinci

 

 

Check out our post on how to Mindfully Enjoy Fall.

 

Share with us what nature offers you in the comments below.

 

Peace and Love, Sandra

 

Turn your nature photos into a gorgeous work of art with Drawberry!

 

ad for Canvas photo art

 

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Use Your Five Senses to Mindfully Enjoy Fall

Use Your Five Senses to Mindfully Enjoy Fall

Fall Provides an Array of Stimuli for Our Senses

Nature produces a wide variety of sensory stimuli this time of year. Many people choose this season as their favorite, for good reason!

Autumn provides us with many opportunities to practice mindfulness. By slowing down and focusing with our senses, we can enjoy fall at a deeper level. 

 

Sights

With the turning of the leaves, the colors of Mother Nature’s palette are gorgeous this time of year. Take in the abundance of bright reds, oranges and yellows. I understand why this is such a popular season for road trips and photography. What’s not to love? 

You can check out our article on the Best Road Trips  to enjoy this fall.

bright red leaves on a branch

 

Smells

Take a whiff of the smell of a fresh autumn day. Nothing is more grounding than the earthy scent of fall. As a child, my sisters and I jumped in the leaf piles, burying ourselves, and  throwing handfuls of leaves at each other.

Who can forget the distinct scent of burning leaves once the raking and playing comes to an end? After a long day outside, it’s divine to enter a warm home to the wondrous aroma (and eventually the taste) of spiced apple cider, hot cocoa, and pumpkin pie.   . 

 

Sounds

The brisk autumn breeze beckoning the leaves to finally let go of their hold on the tree branches. The crunch of fallen leaves under foot. Crackling leaves and branches in the back yard fire-pit. And how about “Trick-or-Treat” ringing through the air as children celebrate Halloween at the end of October?

 

Halloween's pumpkins with autumn leaves on wooden table

Touch

The house where I grew up had a maple tree and two huge pine trees in the front yard.  I recall the feel of the pine needles and leaves in my hands as we used them to make layouts of our “homes” on the grass.

Putting on a warm pair of gloves after the heat of summer is gone. The feel of the rake in your hands.  Rubbing your hands together by the fire to warm them. Cleaning out the pumpkin in order to carve a jack-o-lantern. I have yet to find this last one enjoyable!

 

piece of pumpkin pie and two pumpkins

Taste

Everything’s coming up pumpkins! The recipes for what to do with the abundance of pumpkins this time of year seem endless. Pumpkin pie, of course, is the first thing I think of. There’s pumpkin soup, punch, and desserts galore.

There certainly is no scarcity of apples this season either. Spiced apple cider, caramel apples, and, my personal favorite, home-made apple crisp. 

You can check out a couple of our fall recipes here:

Easy Pumpkin Dessert

Pumpkin Spice Punch Recipe

 

Spend time in nature and enjoy this fall season with all of your senses. Mindfulness makes the experience so much more pleasurable and memorable.

Share with us what you enjoy most about this season in the comments below!

Till next time, Sandra

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We were Nominated for the Sunshine Award!

We were Nominated for the Sunshine Award!

What an Honor!

I want to thank Jojo Reyes at Jesus the Messiah Ministry for nominating Boom2Bloom for the 2017 Sunshine Award. I am grateful you feel we meet the criteria!

The Rules:
  1. Thank the person that nominated you.
  2. Display the Sunshine Blogger Award
  3. Answer the questions from the person that nominated you.
  4. Nominate 10 other bloggers for this award. List their websites with a link in your post.
  5. Write the 10 questions for the bloggers you have nominated.
  6. Notify the bloggers you have nominated.

 Q&As

1.What is your favorite part about blogging? The ability to have a creative outlet.

2. What makes you happy? Spending time with my dogs in nature.

3. Where is the coolest place you have traveled to? Ireland

4. What is the biggest frustration in your life right now? Balancing full time work and creating good content for my blog.

5. Do you have any pets? Yes, 2 dogs and 4 cats.

6. What is your favorite thing to cook? Vegan Chili

7. What is a weird/interesting fact about you that most people don’t know? I was once in the Air Force.

8. What are 5 things on your bucket list? To visit the top ten art museums of the world/ To operate a sanctuary for senior pets/ To own horses/ To visit all 32 counties in Ireland/ To make a living blogging.

9. How do you handle stress? I spend time with my animals!

10. What inspired you to start a blog? I want to help people.

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are inspiring and bring sunshine into the lives of their readers and fellow bloggers. It is such an honor to receive!

Who brings sunshine into your day? Let me know in the comments below. It doesn’t have to be a blogger!

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My Liebster Award 2017 Nomination

My Liebster Award 2017 Nomination

What an Honor!

I want to thank Joe at Joe Travel Blogs for nominating Boom2Bloom for the 2017 Liebster Award. The Liebster Award exists only on the internet, and is given to bloggers by other bloggers. 

Joe’s website offers blogs on travel tips, his own travels, and on travel tales. He has had quite an array of travel experience for a 21-year-old! Please visit his website to find out more.

Click Here to Learn About the Liebster Award!

The Liebster award is a fun way to recognize up and coming bloggers.

My Nomination Answers:

  • What are you most proud of in your life? Successfully raising my two children as a single mother is by far my biggest accomplishment.
  • Where is your favourite city you have been to? Dublin, Ireland
  • Which TV show is your guilty pleasure? I don’t watch any television.
  • What is your favourite form of social media? Facebook
  • Can you speak any other languages? Unfortunately, no. I have hopes of learning Spanish and French one day!

10 Random Facts About Me:

  • I have two children, Zach and Kyleigh. They are both in their twenties.
  • I raised my kids as a single parent.
  • I love animals, and hope to open a shelter for senior animals one day.
  • Besides blogging, I work as a mental health counselor and a teacher.
  • I am an artist and I also refurbish furniture. 
  • I love to travel. I am incredibly fortunate–my sister owns a home in Ireland!
  • Number one on  my Bucket List is to visit the top ten art museums of the world. 
  • Nature is my sanctuary.
  • Boom2Bloom is a collaborative effort with Janet, my friend since 5th grade.
  • I am 54 years old.

My Favorite Blog that is Not My Own:

Eliza Watson is a writer and blogger who draws you in with her easygoing wit and charm. Her characters are real and raw–I easily develop a connection with each one as I read. The story-line of her current series, The Travel Mishaps of Caity Shaw, offers lighthearted humor, and has a number of lessons on interpersonal insight and relationships woven through. 

The Travel Mishaps of Caity Shaw series begins with Caity’s first trip abroad when she travels to Dublin in Flying by the Seat of My Knickers and then Paris in Up the Seine Without a Paddle. Now, she is off to Ireland for the holidays in My Christmas Goose Is Almost Cooked. She has no clue where her journeys will take her. She’s just hoping to find herself along the way.

I find Eliza’s blog posts and newsletter to be a fun read as well, offering travel tips and mishaps from Caity, the main character in the series. 

Check Out Eliza’s Website Here!

 

I Nominate the Following Blogs:

Girl Lost in the World – This is a travel blog that offers so much more. Kimberly Luepo takes us into her travel adventures with amazing images and insight into the local culture experienced throughout Europe, Asia, and beyond.  

Belle out of Hell – Alternative fun at it’s best. Mel offers rock n’ roll fashion tips, photo shoots, and stories of her escapades that are unique and make me think “how I wish I’d done the same when I was her age.”

The Daily Grind – Here you will find movie and game reviews, recipes, and personal insights. Tim writes from the heart, he allows you into his world by sharing his experiences. I love his openness to vulnerability!

Gingham & Gardenias – This is a fresh and lovely website. Emily Barton blogs on Texas happenings, recipes, and decorating ideas.

The Quiet Cruiser – You will find everything you need to know about taking a cruise here. From the beginnings of researching, booking, packing, through actually taking a cruise, Kathy offers you this one-stop website for information. 

Finnoy Travel – Niko and Ceaser offer travel tips, information, and articles on their own travels throughout Finland. This is a site for other travels to also post blogs they have written. Articles on this website are written and published in English and Finnish.

My Questions for Nominees:

  • Why did you start a blog?
  • What inspires you?
  • If you could wake up anywhere tomorrow morning, where would it be?
  • Who is your role model?
  • What one thing would you change regarding humanity to make our world a better place?

 

I took the task of nominating these blogs quite seriously. I invested time into thoroughly  checking out the nominee’s website, reading their blogs, and developing an understanding of their purpose.

Congratulations to all of you!

Happy blogging! Sandra

 

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Throwback to My Teens: Eddie Money

Throwback to My Teens: Eddie Money

Eddie Money, the billboard advertised, was coming to the Central Wisconsin State Fair in Marshfield over Labor Day weekend. I immediately started singing Baby Hold On to Me, while exchanging a nostalgic look with my sister, Penny, who was riding in the car with me.  We knew this was one concert we couldn’t miss!

An image of big, brown, bedroom eyes and that gorgeous sexy mane of hair flashed through my head. Eddie Money–I remember, I was in 8th grade when his first album came out-making me 14 years old at the time.

Over Labor Day weekend, Penny and I drove over to Marshfield to our friend Kathy’s house, conveniently located one house down from the fair grounds. I appreciated not having to park with the crowd, as busy parking lots stress me out. 

It was the perfect evening for an outdoor concert, with a bit of a fall chill in the air. We each dished out $9 and entered the grounds. Maneuvering our way through the horse trailers parked at that end, we made our way toward the grandstand, careful not to step in anything. 

All of the food stands were conveniently located everywhere. The delicious smell of deep fired food and sugary goodies floated through the air. As a firm believer that you can’t attend an outdoor event without eating deep fried cheese curds, buying some was a top priority for me. them. Festivals and fairs seem to have the best there are to offer!

We settled onto the bleachers about an hour before the show.  Penny purchased a t-shirt, large being the smallest size available. As you can see, she has herself a new nightdress.

Two Tickets to Paradise, I Think I’m in Love, and Take Me Home Tonight–we were cruising down memory lane! Eddie put on a fabulous show, singing for an hour and a half straight. 

Eddie also entertained the crowd by playing the sax, tambourine, and harmonica.  He joked about his age and his relationship with his wife of 30+ years between songs. I was amazed by his stamina; of course 68 is the new 58, right?

What a kind man he is; Eddie informed us proceeds from the sales of one of the t-shirts, the one Penny had purchased, would be donated to a program that helps military veterans adopt rescue dogs.

Eddie admitted the ’80s were a blur for him, and the picture on the shirt “was me three rehabs ago.”

The show ended with Shakin’ and I Wanna Go Back. What a fun evening, hanging out with friends and reminiscing about our youth, all on a gorgeous summer night. 

Tell us about your throwback experiences in the comments below!

Till next time,

Sandra

Eddie Money Fan Page

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T.J. Maxx: Functional Art for Pennies

T.J. Maxx: Functional Art for Pennies

I am obsessed with T.J. Maxx; anyone who knows me at all will attest to this. As many of you know, my store carries a wide range of unique items for low prices. Case in point: these gorgeous bags for 99¢ each!

The first thing I do each time I happen to stop at the store, is to check out what new design of shopping bag has been added since my last visit. This is a simple task, as they are conveniently located right by the check out lane.

Frugal shoppers unite: you just can’t go wrong stocking up on these aesthetically pleasing bags. They last forever, especially when you own several dozen.

Not only can I then fill the bag with the treasures I find shopping at T.J. Maxx, but they are stylish to take to the grocery store, traveling, or to the gym (if I went to one). My cats are thrilled when I come home with a new bag. They make marvelous cat beds, and are also fun to sneak inside of and push around the house.

Black and white cat sitting on a shopping bag
Ella simply can’t decide on her favorite. She loves them all!

 

I could frame these artistic creations and hang them on the walls in my home! The vibrant peacock bag, in particular, ties right in with my home decor.  As an artist, peacocks are one of my favorite subjects to paint, and my home is filled with art portraying these stunning birds.

Right now, my mind is actively creating ideas on using these bags to decoupage furniture, possibly on the seat of a chair or on the top of a small dresser or table? Or, perhaps, use one as the basis for a mixed-media collage?

 

white chair with a bag decoupaged onto the seat

 

Check out my post on refurbishing a chair with a T.J. Maxx bag!

Something, anything, to give me reason to purchase more of these fun bags!  More blog posts to come on this topic, so please stay tuned…

 

Till next time, Sandra

 

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