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IMG_6800[1]Meet little Miss. Olive (top pic)… she is full of beans and lots of love and cuddles.  She is a very LOUD purring machine and with just as little as a glance at her will trigger the peculator in her!

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Mr. Taj (bottom pic) is our little lion man… meaning he thinks he rules the house.  Taj loves to catch bugs like moths but tends to run away when the birds come out to play.  I swear he is a cat!

These two gremlins create a whole lot of smiles and laughs in our home and we are so grateful to have them!

xo

Ash

Wise words from Kate Bartolotta, the owner and editor-in-chief of Be You Media Group.  I couldn’t of said better myself…

abs

The covers of most men’s and women’s magazines have similar headlines: get great abs and have amazing sex.

From the looks of it, these two issues have been recycled over and over (with some other stereotypically gender relevant articles thrown in) on every Men’s Health, Maxim, Cosmo and Glamour cover since the dawn of time. In fact, I’d bet that if we could get a better translation of cave drawings, they would read something like “Grok get flat belly; make girl Grok moan with joy.”

And we keep buying them. We keep buying this lie that these things will make us happy. I’ve had washboard abs (past-tense) and I’ve had some pretty phenomenal sex. Neither one made me a better person; neither one completed me or made my life more fulfilling.

We chase this idea of “I will be happy when…”

I will be happy when I have a new car. I will be happy when I get married. I will be happy when I get a better job. I will be happy when I lose five pounds. What if instead we choose to be happy—right now?

If you can read this, your life is pretty awesome.

Setting aside our first world problems and pettiness, if you are online reading this, you have both electricity and wifi or access to them. Odds are you are in a shelter of some sort, or on a smart phone (and then kudos to you for reading this on the go). Life might bump and bruise us, it may not always go the way we plan and I know I get frustrated with mine, but here’s the thing

You are alive.

Because you are alive, everything is possible.

So about those eight tips…

1. Stop believing your bullshit.

All that stuff you tell yourself about how you are a commitment-phobe or a coward or lazy or not creative or unlucky? Stop it. It’s bullshit, and deep down you know it. We are all insecure 14-year-olds at heart. We’re all scared. We all have dreams inside of us that we’ve tucked away because somewhere along the line we tacked on those ideas about who we are that buried that essential brilliant, child-like sense of wonder. The more we stick to these scripts about who we are, the longer we live a fraction of the life we could be living. Let it go. Be who you are beneath the bullshit.

2. Be happy now.

Not because “The Secret” says so. Not because of some shiny happy Oprah crap. But because we can choose to appreciate what is in our lives instead of being angry or regretful about what we lack. It’s a small, significant shift in perspective. It’s easier to look at what’s wrong or missing in our lives and believe that is the big picture—but it isn’t. We can choose to let the beautiful parts set the tone.

3. Look at the stars.

It won’t fix the economy. It won’t stop wars. It won’t give you flat abs, or better sex or even help you figure out your relationship and what you want to do with your life. But it’s important. It helps you remember that you and your problems are both infinitesimally small, and conversely, that you are a piece of an amazing and vast universe. I do it daily; it helps.

4. Let people in.

Truly. Tell people that you trust when you need help, or you’re depressed—or you’re happy and you want to share it with them. Acknowledge that you care about them, and let yourself feel it. Instead of doing that other thing we sometimes do, which is to play it cool and pretend we only care as much as the other person has admitted to caring, and only open up half-way. Go all in—it’s worth it.

5. Stop with the crazy making.

I got to a friend’s doorstep the other day, slightly breathless and nearly in tears after getting a little lost, physically and existentially. She asked what was wrong and I started to explain and then stopped myself and admitted: I’m being stupid and have decided to invent lots of problems in my head. Life is full of obstacles; we don’t need to create extra ones. A great corollary to this one is from The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz : Don’t take things personally. Most of the time, other people’s choices and attitudes have absolutely nothing to do with you. Unless you’ve been behaving like a jerk, in which case…

6. Learn to apologize.

Not the ridiculous, self-deprecating apologizing for who you are and for existing that some people seem to do (what’s up with that, anyway?). The ability to sincerely apologize—without ever interjecting the word “but”—is an essential skill for living around other human beings. If you are going to be around other people, eventually you will need to apologize. It’s an important practice.

7. Practice gratitude.

Practice it out loud to the people around you. Practice it silently when you bless your food. Practice it often. Gratitude is not a first world only virtue. I saw a photo recently, of a girl in abject poverty, surrounded by filth and destruction. Her face was completely lit up with joy and gratitude as she played with a hula hoop she’d been given. Gratitude is what makes what we have enough. Gratitude is the most basic way to connect with that sense of being an integral part of the vastness of the universe; as I mentioned with looking up at the stars, it’s that sense of wonder and humility, contrasted with celebrating our connection to all of life.

8. Be kind.

Kurt Vonnegut said it best (though admittedly, and somewhat ashamedly—I am not a Vonnegut fan):

There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—”God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”

Kindness costs us nothing and pays exponential dividends. I can’t save the whole world. I can’t bring peace to Syria. I can’t fix the environment or the healthcare system, and from the looks of it, I may end up burning my dinner.

But I can be kind.

If the biggest thing we do in life is to extend love and kindness to even one other human being, we have changed the world for the better.

That’s a hell of a lot more important than flat abs in my book.

You can check out Kate’s awesome website at beyoumediagroup.com

xo

Ash

Babe, Defunkify Yourself

Whenever I feel overwhelmed and stressed in day to day life, I tend to think to myself, wouldn’t it be nice to just escape for a bit by jetting off on a getaway.  Well, in an ideal world this would be a great solution to de-stress and get some R&R but unfortunately its not realistic for most of us folks.

So when I came across this list “101 frugal ways to relax” posted by Popsugar, I thought these tip were fantastic!  I’ve already tried a couple out and they’ve helped me feel more chill & in better spirits:-)

I am going to continue to try more of them and report back to you guys with some feedback!

Hope they help you as well…

source: http://www.savvysugar.com/Ways-Relieve-Stress-31075809

The transition between seasons can always feel like a big change, especially when you’re moving from Summer to Fall. Let this be an opportunity to really let go and make an effort to relax this month. Here are some great ways to relax:

  1. Get a good night’s rest.
  2. Close your eyes and breathe in deeply.
  3. Stretch your body and feel your tense muscles loosen.
  4. Cook a meal and enjoy the fruit of your labor.
  5. Create a list of things you were grateful for today; it’ll help you look at things in a positive light.
  6. Have a heart-to-heart talk with your partner or best friend.
  7. Call your family and tell them you miss them if they are far away.
  8. Write a “thinking of you” card to someone you care about.
  9. Watch a nature documentary and marvel at the sheer natural beauty.
  10. Take a walk in the park and enjoy the greenery around you.
  11. Light some candles and enjoy the glow that emanates.
  12. Drink some chamomile tea.
  13. Enjoy the sun shining on your face.
  14. Go outdoors and take a deep breath of the fresh air.
  15. Listen to classical music.
  16. Go to the gym and work off your stress.
  17. Play a sport you enjoy.
  18. Enjoy a swim in the pool and let the water drown out your worries.
  19. Make a delicious smoothie.
  20. Create and eat a dish from your childhood.

Read on for more relaxation ideas.

  1. Indulge in dark chocolate, which relieves stress and lowers blood pressure.
  2. Look at beautiful photos.
  3. Plan your next trip.
  4. Clean up clutter in your home.
  5. Clean your desk.
  6. Squeeze a stress ball.
  7. Check out a free yoga class in your area.
  8. Find a free meditation class.
  9. Take a hot shower.
  10. Draw a bubble bath.
  11. Talk about your stressors to someone positive.
  12. Spend time with animals.
  13. Enjoy a glass of hot milk.
  14. Take a power nap.
  15. Close your eyes and just rest on your bed for a while.
  16. Pretend you’re a kid again and indulge in activities like watching cartoons and eating popsicles.
  17. Visit a museum.
  18. Visit a zoo.
  19. Stargaze.
  20. Turn up the music and dance in your home.
  21. Jump up and down on your bed.
  22. Wear your favorite outfit and look your best.
  23. Give yourself a manicure.
  24. Press your accupressure stress points.
  25. Pick up a fun hobby.
  26. Reread a favorite book.
  27. Go to the library and browse the shelves.
  28. Start a jigsaw puzzle.
  29. Create a collage out of your favorite photos.
  30. Listen to your favorite song.
  31. Sing your favorite song.
  32. Watch a Disney classic.
  33. Journal.
  34. Practice aromatherapy.
  35. Watch a funny YouTube video and laugh.
  36. Watch a video of cute animals.
  37. Massage your temples.
  38. Do a crossword puzzle.
  39. Read your favorite blogs.
  40. Surf Pinterest for pretty DIY projects and cooking inspiration.
  41. Let go of grudges.
  42. Block out negative thoughts.
  43. Hug your partner.
  44. Prep for the next day the night before, giving you more time in the mornings.
  45. Wake up early so you can get more done in the mornings.
  46. Play a board game.
  47. Complete and cross off one item on your to-do list.
  48. Volunteer for a cause.
  49. Take an online personality quiz for fun.
  50. Smile more.
  51. Talk to strangers.
  52. Take a walk.
  53. Do something nice for others, such as running an errand for your partner.
  54. Put your hammock out in your backyard and lie in it.
  55. Take pleasure in looking at art.
  56. Ask for help when you need it.
  57. Visualize your goal.
  58. Meditate on your own at home.
  59. Go for a scenic drive.
  60. Praise other people.
  61. Draw a picture.
  62. Stop worrying about situations that haven’t happened.
  63. When you notice yourself worrying or stressing, yell out “stop!”
  64. Don’t multitask.
  65. Clean out your emails.
  66. Wear loose clothing, so you don’t feel constrained.
  67. Read a poem.
  68. Whistle or hum to your favorite song.
  69. Get some flowers from the pharmacy or supermarket and arrange them artfully.
  70. Feed birds.
  71. Pick up a language.
  72. Ask your partner or friend to give you a massage.
  73. Open the windows in your home to let fresh air in.
  74. Spray air freshener to make your room smell nice.
  75. Organize your closet.
  76. Camp in your backyard.
  77. Enjoy a glass of wine.
  78. Reminisce with friends.
  79. Stay indoors when it’s raining outside while sipping on hot cocoa.
  80. Light incense.
  81. Sleep over at your best friend’s place.

 

Dallas Green hails from my my native land Canada and first got his break in the music scene playing in the post-hardcore band Alexis on Fire.  He has since moved into a solo act under the name City and Colour and what a talent he is.  His music is known to be melodic acoustic rock.  In my opinion he has a voice of a hardcore Angel.

He was in town over the weekend to promote his new album and future tour (The Hurry and the Harm which rocks!) and I had the pleasure of seeing him play a quick intimate show.

I thought it would be sweet to share one of his vintage songs that made me first fall in love with his sound.

It’s the beautiful song called “Comin’ Home” from back in 2006.

xo

Ash