~*{Places of Peace}*~

“A very important part of relaxing at the end of the day, or middle of the day, or any time you choose really, is having a relaxing Zen place to do so.  Below are just a few of my favorites, what I consider peaceful spaces. Now, Obviously we all like to relax differently, and in different settings. I am sharing these spaces simply because I adore them! “

 

I love the very natural feel of this room and especially LOVE the view, I am BIG on windows in a space, the more the better.

This bedroom is absolutely gorgeous. And again, the windows and that View!

 

While it looks a bit bare in the photo, I think this room would be perfect for Yoga or Tai chi practice.

 

~*Relaxing at Home Facial*~

“This is the ultimate time / money saver. Two ingredients and you can be reclining in your favorite chair or on your favorite couch, relaxing and beautifying your skin. Biore makes these lovely little strips that clear out your pores, but you’re looking to spend about $8 for 14 strips. Hardly a money wise decision. This little trick does the same exact thing, but with two ingredients, and a lot less impact on your wallet.”

 

2 Ingredient Gelatin Face Mask

1 Tbsp. Unflavored Gelatin
1 1/2 – 2 Tbsp. Milk (any kind of Milk will do)

Combine the Gelatin and the milk until it makes a chunky paste (you can add more milk if you are not sure of the consistency).  Microwave the mixture 10-15 seconds (it will become creamier with the heat, but you don’t want it to be too hot as you’ll have to apply it ASAP).  Promptly remove the mixture from the microwave and apply it immediately, this stuff sets up FAST.  Leave the mask on for 15+ minutes. You will know it’s time to take it off when it feels like you’re going to crack something when you smile. When you are ready to remove it, find an edge that will come up and start peeling!  

“It is really that simple.  Apply this 1-2 times a week for baby-butt soft skin and lovely clean pores! “

~*Keeping Composure*~

7:30 A.M. the obnoxious blare of an ‘old-school’ alarm clock stirs me from what had just been one of the most restful sleeps I have had in a while. I scurry out of bed, clumsily don my clothes, skip the once over in the mirror (bad idea) and bolt for the campus in the heels I have been meaning to break in. It is the last day to pay for classes, and I have no idea if my Pell Grant has cleared.

Four and a half hours later, I leave the campus, having been informed that my grant had not covered all of my tuition, and I would have to wait until May to register for the Summer Semester. On top of the disheartening news, I looked like a reject Medusa, and the high heels I was wearing had transformed into objects of torture strapped to my delicate little tootsies. Needless to say, I was a mess.

And in all of this, it took the pattern of calamity at home to realize that I had allowed my panic to dictate my mood! Certainly not conducive to a stress free, calm environment needed to focus and plan out my next move. In times like these, it’s best to follow these six methods to chill out and refocus.

  1. Put your worries into context:
    It is so easy for us to feel like the world is ending if we don’t accomplish something we have set out to do. But, sure enough, the sun rises on another morning and we have another chance to get it done.
  2. Tune in, stretch and take a few slow breaths:
    Take a moment, stop what you’re doing, and pay attention to how your body is feeling. Tension is a physical manifestation of our stress (I.E. my poor little feet). Melt away tension by doing a few stretches, taking deep, thoughtful breaths and re-centering your focus.
  3. Take some time out:
    Sometimes what we really need are a few minutes to relax and think about something else entirely. Even when we have pressing matters and fast approaching deadlines, it is important to take a breather and give ourselves even a 10 minute rest. It is amazing what we can do, and in what time we can do it when we have had a few moments to just relax.
  4. Be Grateful:
    When we are in a panic, it can be hard to remember the blessings we have. During a time out, it might prove beneficial to think about these things. The roof over our heads, the food in our bellies, friends, family, anything for which we are grateful. A bit of positivity goes a long way.
  5. Acknowledge what you are avoiding:
    Panic can be caused by our subconscious too. My panic was caused by my underlying monetary issues. Delaying my semester meant delaying my career meant delaying monetary stability. Once I recognized this, I felt slightly more relieved. 
  6. Share your concerns:
    Friends, family and significant others are there to provide us with support as they always have been.  Share with them your fears and worries. Collaborate on a solution, or just use it as a time to reflect. Sometimes getting things of our chests is really all we needed. 

And at the end of it all, this leads back to making Solutions, not resolutions.  If you don’t enjoy the journey, you can’t appreciate the destination.

~* An Affirmation for 2012*~

“Today, I accept myself just the way I am.
Today, I accept my body just the way it is.
Today, I accept my mind just the way it is.
Today, I accept my heart just the way it is.
Today, the love that I have for myself is so strong that I embrace all that is me.
Self-love transforms my life from fear to joy, and guides my to healthy decisions.
Today, I share time with others, and easily forgive the injustice I feel in my mind.
Today, all of my relationships are based on respect, love and joy.
Today, I allow the divine wisdom in me to direct all of my thoughts, words, and deeds.
Today, I allow divine love to give me peace and joy.
Today, I remember I am one with all life, and give thanks for being me.”

~*Create Solutions, Not Resolutions*~

Hello, boys and girls!  Today, while relaxing, I came across a rather enlightening article on Tiny Buddah – an absolutely amazing site for those looking for articles on life improvement, life fulfilment or all around a great read on subjects we all face everyday. These articles take a more zen approach while not being too preachy. 

Being that it is officially 2012, I know we’re all making “resolutions”. But as this particular blogger (Laura Fenamore) would write: “The literal definition of the word resolution is a firm decision to do or not to do something”. Now, if you’re like me, not everything is so black and white. In fact, most of my decisions come in techni-color.  Instead, she suggests making “Solutions” not “resolutions” 

By creating a solution, you are, rather than making a firm yes or no, setting up habits that not only accomplish your goal, but allow you to maintain the results long term.  She shares a situation I am sure we are all familiar with, weight loss, and makes a very valid point!

So, boys and girls, how about this year we make New Year Solutions!  And also give this woman a read, it is well worth the two minutes it will take you.

~A New Year, A New Body~

 

In keeping in the spirit of the traditional New Year’s Resolution, I recently sat down and decided to do some brainstorming on what my future goals are, and how to accomplish them.  Thankfully, in this day and age, we have access to all sorts of tools to keep us on track. Seeing as I spend a good portion of my life around my computer, I decided to turn it into a lean, mean Resolution accomplishing machine. And with Google Chrome apps, like Skinnyo and Pocketsmith,  I am well on my way to getting things in order!

Skinnyo is a UK based site, started by a couple who were tired of trying to lose the weight on their own.  This site engages its viewers in weight loss “challenges”. The challenges  can either be set by yourself, or you are free to join others’ challenges.  The interface is easy and setting up your profile is quick. They even make it possible to post your challenges and accomplishments to twitter, Facebook and blogspot. They also have links to their own blogs, but sadly it seems the links are broken (a small oversight I am sure they will be quick to fix).

Pocketsmith helps keep your finances and monetary goals in check.  It is a bit long to set up if you don’t already have online bank statements.  The interface allows you to upload your online statements to the site and then the program sorts out your spending based on vendors; you can go in later and categorize the vendors based on what you purchase there (groceries, recreation, fuel etc). Pocketsmith allows for you to set specific goals, record the date you’d like to have said goals accomplished and then gives you a value to save out of each paycheck.  You can add bills and other payments you make on a regular basis, and your paycheck amount each month, and based on previous monetary activities, Pocketsmith creates a cash flow chart to keep you on the right track to monetary zen! I just started using this program and I already feel at ease each day when I open it up.

And the added bonus: These programs can be set in little widgets on your Google Chrome speed dialer!  It is streamlined, easy to use, and their designers were great at keeping both programs simple and pretty to look at while maintaining functionality! 

Night Time Sanctuary

“Hormones, weight gain/loss, focus, energy; our sleep patterns affect so much of our lives that it’s no wonder we feel so off when we don’t have a restful night’s sleep.  In a busy day to day life, however, it is not always easy to get your full eight (8) hours.  I know that often times, I don’t get anywhere near the amount of sleep I need.  The best way to handle this, is to make the most of the sleep you DO get (if it is impossible to switch around your habits to get more sleep). Turning your bedroom into a night time sanctuary is the best remedy I have found.”

~Clear any and all clutter from the room, especially around the bed. Fill it,instead, with things that delight and relax you.

~There is nothing like taking some time out of your day to relax and pamper your self before bed.  Turn a drawer in your bedside table into a mini-spa. Include nail clippers, cuticle nippers, rich balms for lips, hands and feet,  and don’t forget the silk eye mask to help soothe and cool tired eyes. A little TLC each night before bed not only relaxes you, but makes you softer and more refreshed when you wake! 

~Before bed, I, personally, like to have a cup of herbal tea. Speaking of filling your area with things that relax and delight you, my teapot, cup and saucer are a prime example! I keep herbal tea bags on a neat little tray inside my spa drawer. Boiling water and refilling my teapot is a cinch and in no time I am enjoying my herbal tea whilst pampering my tired little feet. Even if you’re not a tea drinker, keeping a decanter of water (or whatever you prefer to drink before bed) and a pretty glass can add convenience to your nightly routine.

~Sometimes, especially if the day has been particularly eventful, it helps to get it down onto paper. Studies have also shown that journaling can not only help clear your mind of worries, but also relieve stress!  However, some days are not as eventful as others, and it can leave the page looking a little empty.  One-Line-A-Day (5 year journal) was created with people like us in mind.  It is just enough room for you to jot down your most pressing thoughts, without the obligation of filling up an entire page. I found mine on Urban Outfitters, and I LOVE it.

~Along with your teacup and teapot, or decanter and glass, the top of your bedside table should be filled with sights, scents and sounds that relax and lull you.  Linen sprays are a must, candles, pictures of loved ones even a small music station with soothing music or sounds should be found here.

~When you climb into bed, nothing feels better than clean, cool sheets pillowy soft blankets and a pillow that is just begging for you to lay your head down.  Natural fibers for sheets and comforters, and a mattress pad will give your bed new life; and replacing your pillow every 1-2 years will help keep you sleeping on cloud 9.

~Keeping a clean organized room doesn’t always mean that everything has to be stashed away or hidden from site.  Choosing pieces that make you smile and look pretty means that you won’t be ashamed to display them, which also makes them more readily available. Some of these items :

~Robe – Stray from the typical bath-time terrycloth material and pick something soft and pretty that you can lounge in.
~Slippers – You spend all day on your feet, so once you get home slipping into little slippers that feel like clouds is a treat. Make sure they look as pretty as they make you feel.
~Pajamas – These should definitely make you smile when you see yourself in them.
~Linen Spray – Setting the mood for sleep is just as important as the act itself. Linen spray helps calm you by filling the room with a soft relaxing scent.
~ Blankets and throws – for those cold winter nights, or sick days, when you just want something plush to cuddle up in.