Monday, March 23, 2015

A-Z Challenge Theme Reveal



Welcome! To the A-Z Challenge Theme Reveal Blog-Hop! It's the day all of us crazy bloggers who are participating the grueling, month long, everyday blog posting marathon the A-Z Challenge gather together and reveal our themes for said challenge. There are a lot of us participating! Stop by the A-Z Challenge site and find the entire list of Theme Reveal participants and, if you up for it, the sign up list for the Challenge itself! We'd love to have you.

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Twenty-six Days of Bringing More LOVELY into Your Life!




Life is beautiful and there are those whose gift is styling, decorating, creating, photographing and sharing it. I don't know about you but I need more beauty in my life, more inspiration, more lovely little things. More excuses to celebrate, smile, create and share. That last part is key and it's exactly what I want to do this A-Z. I do a lot - and I mean a LOT - of online wandering. I LOVE discovering people and places that explore and share the lovely little details of everyday life. I love learning to do what they do: find my passion, make life more beautiful, create gorgeous surroundings and how to record and share all those discoveries.

That's what I'll be doing during the month of April - sharing with you some of the lovely souls and online worlds that have made my world a better place and inspired me to (finally) go after my own passions.

There are bloggers on this list that you may know; others will be new discoveries for you and me both! And believe me when I say this: it was a hard job narrowing down my list of bloggers (especially those I know) to just the few for this challenge!

For 26 days, consider this blog a museum of lifestyle inspiration and me its curator. I'm happy to have you along. All you have to do is read, discover and visit these sites and enjoy their gifts. It promises to be a beautiful journey!






The Challenge begins April 01.
Are you in?


Monday, March 16, 2015

Mondays are for Coffee and Dreams




My dream is to have a house on the beach, even just a little shack somewhere 
so I can wake up, have coffee, look at dolphins, be quiet and breathe the air. 
~ Christina Applegate 



Dreams are pearls and the longer you dream, the longer your string of pearls becomes.
May you dream until you have layers of pearls. Work hard and you'll be able to wear those pearls for all the world to see.

Happy Monday,

Monday, March 9, 2015

idea collector


I'm an idea collector. A magpie of thoughts and dreams. For some camera practice today, I pulled out a stack of old notebooks. Yes, these made it in the move, my pair of black sandals were left behind. This tells you how much I love notebooks.

Flipping through these books I see a metamorphosis of myself. Drops of soul accumulate, mercury-like, in lines of ink and graphite. There are cut outs from magazines and much older sketchbooks. There are drawings and magazine articles, projects I'd love to attempt and dreams I've held for decades.

It does the heart good to romp through rewind. If you're open to what blows by, you'll see bits of the puzzle that wants to assemble. A puzzle that says, "Hey, remember me? I'm your life. The one you always wanted."

Stay open. Reacquaint yourself with those things you enjoyed once upon a time. They may just hold the key to what you're meant to share with the rest of us.

Happy Monday,


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Lessons in the Art of Slow

breathe

This sounds so simple, so natural, yet we tend to clench our faces and our lungs and stop inhaling...

...exhaling...

Our breath is sacred. It gives life. It lets in memories through smell and calms our soul with steady rhythm.

Yoga helps when I forget to breathe.

I run through the poses I have memorized and find myself falling into a flow, letting the poses happen naturally. Sun Salute to Tree Pose to Dancer back to Sun Salutes. A cycle, a wheel.

It's what I like to call physical prayer. I'm not thinking, not praying out loud or even in my mind. I'm just going through the motions, letting my muscle memory take me up, down, side to side.

In

Out

Breathe...

And soon I'm able to see things clearer, hear my own heartbeat and feel, for the first time all day, the rhythm of something besides that of the world.

It's the music of my spirit.

My music.

And that's sacred, worth protecting, and worth honoring every single day.

Namaste,


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Off the Cuff...



Last night I couldn't go to sleep. It was close to midnight, my husband went to bed, and I was left on the sofa with a notebook and a pen.

Guess what happened next?

A story came waltzing by. A completely unexpected story. Something that I'd not thought about previously, contemplated over days or months or years. Something that had not been boiled over and reheated.

Something NEW.

I jotted down what could be called a "back of book blurb" and went to bed.

The next morning I had half an hour before I needed to get ready for work. I pulled out that same little notebook and started writing. I didn't think about it. I just wrote. For thirty wonderful minutes I wrote! And the story came. I clicked my pen closed, put the marker in the notebook and off to work I went.

At lunch I was able to pick up where I'd left off and started scribbling. Things began to solidify. I created tension. I've introduced four characters and hinted at two others. There are only four pages written in this notebook.

I'm not thinking about the story.

I'm simply letting it materialize.

Have you ever had this gift come to you? Have you ever been visited late at night by an idea that brought you such joy that you didn't think about publication, didn't think about plot development or final edits? A story that just said, "Hello. Care to dance?"

And you said yes?

What a marvelous experience! I'm enjoying it, dear Reader. This is a first for me :) Here's to seeing where this goes. 

Happy writing and happy Tuesday!


Monday, March 2, 2015

I Eat, Therefore I'm Curious: Sausage and Kale Soup

There are several reasons I volunteered to champion the blog at work: I love writing, a blog is a really good marketing device, blogs let customers become a larger part of a business, and I'm really, really tired of chicken and rice.

Seriously. Not only did we pare down our living space when we moved, we also lost most of our budget. That's getting better (thank GOD) but if I never see another casserole dish of chicken and rice it will be too soon...

Last night we tried out a recipe for sausage and kale soup. I've never liked kale, tried it in several ways and found it, well, kind of bad. But kale is in season, eating in season is in season, and we have kale shears at work that are rather lonely. I brought a pair home and set them to work.

(They work great, by the way. Shameless plug.)

The original recipe can be found on Martha Stewart's website: Sausage and Kale Soup Recipe. Because I can't leave a recipe alone, I've posted the recipe with my modifications. Click on the link above if you want the milder flavored, original version.

Sausage and Kale Soup 
(serves 4-6, depending on bowl size!)

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons Adobe spice blend
5 small to medium potatoes, peeled and cut into rustic chunks
About 30 oz. chicken stock (play with this amount depending upon how 'soupy' you like your soup)
*Make sure you use low-sodium stock! The Adobe spice is salty.)
1 bunch of kale (about 12 oz.), stemmed and shredded
12 oz. sausage, whatever type you like, sliced into bite-sized pieces



In a large, 6-8 quart pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and 1/2 tsp of Adobe spice. Stir well and cook until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Toss in your garlic and another 1/2 tsp of Adobe spice. Cook for about a minute, until fragrant. Add broth, pat of butter and potatoes, bring to a boil then let simmer until potatoes are soft, about 10-15 minutes.

Check for flavor. If it needs more, add another 1/2 tsp of Adobe spice.

Using an immersion blender, break up some of the larger chunks of potatoes, creaming about half of the soup. You can also remove half the soup and blend in a blender. If you do this, pour the blended half back into the pot before proceeding.

Add the kale and sausage and simmer until kale is wilted. This will take about 10-15 minutes.



Serve with a side of crackers (Saltines down here in the South).

Verdict: I really liked it! Kale isn't as slimy as other cooked greens I've tried and it's full of flavor. Also, it's packed with vitamins C and A and goes down way easier than a handful of pills!

If you try this recipe, let me know how it turns out and how you like it!



Cheers,
Jen
 


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Light


At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.
Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those 
who have lighted the flame within us. ~ Albert Schweitzer