Category: Advice

Mala, Meditate, Mindful

Advice, DIY, Lifestyle, Mental Health January 10, 2017

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With the world becoming seemingly more and more chaotic, I needed something to slow me down.  As many of you know, I practice mindfulness and meditation regularly and wanted my DIY this week to reflect something that will help my mindfulness journey, a Mala.  A Mala is a necklace of beads that you can use to count mantras or breaths during meditation.  They come in four different lengths 18, 27, 54, or 108.  I figure I need all the mantras possible so I went with a 108 bead Mala.

 

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So, I headed down to The Bead Shop in Laguna to find the perfect beads for my meditation needs.  Ha that rhymed!  Also, I totally recommend that you go to an actual bead shop, don’t just order online.  There’s something so mindful about touching everything and getting a feel for what you’re buying. Anyway, I bought 108 counting beads made of Earth Jasper also known as the “Supreme Nurturer” it reminds us to help one another and brings tranquility into our lives.  Then I grabbed 3 marker beads made from Agate which is a protective stone.  Your marker beads should be a different size so you will know when you’ve passed a particular number of beads.  Then I bought one large Agate guru bead.  The guru bead is the large bead at the apex of the Mala where the tassel hangs.   I also added a pretty little tassel and Ohm symbol.

The spacing can get a little confusing, to keep everything simple I placed a large marker bead every 27 counting beads and the guru at the bottom.  It all came together to form 4 sections of 27 beads.

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Happy meditating my friends!

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Advice, consulting, Lifestyle September 14, 2016


5. Create a writing schedule: dedicate the same span of time per day to writing and creativity. This gets you brain all primed a ready to perform. Give it at least a week to kick in. 

4.  Just 10: set a timer for 10 minutes where you write, edit, or brainstorm with little distraction. 

3. Change your environment: head to a park, coffe shop, maybe even a museum to trigger some motivation.  

2.  Research:  when you take time to read related articles and books it can help you understand your own point of view. Sometimes you can find glaringly missing  perspectives in the literature and you can find your angle in the white spaces. 

1.  Stick with it: when stuck in writer’s block people tend to want to quit, but the more you work the article the more ideas you can get. So, take a breath, get some coffee and get back in there. 

The Art of Gift Giving

Advice, DIY, Lifestyle August 26, 2016

There really is an art to giving a meaningful gift.  I mean nobody’s balking at the ubiquitous gift card or cash, but a gift that really hits home gets remembered.  What do you get for the friend that literally has everything, loves boho chic, and only uses vegan, animal safe, sanctified by God products?  A bag full of stuff!!!

Contrary to popular belief I do believe in using equations (I’ll have to show you lovelies my fashion equation of day, let’s just say Karl Lagerfeld is a fan of a good equation too).  But since we are talking about gifts let’s focus on how to give a proper gift.  Ehem [clears throat…pushes up glasses] the equation is as follows:

Sentiment + Attention to Detail – Shopping for Yourself = An Amazing Gift

File_001.jpegSentiment:

Remember a moment from childhood or when you first met your intended giftee. Integrate those elements into your gift. For example my besties and I would share W Magazines when were were younger.  We would write our dreams and goals in the margins then pass the magazine along to the next lovely lady.  So by giving her a W Mag I’m reminding her to always follow her heart to remember that she can rely on us. We also bough a bottle of wine from the city where she and her forever were married. Adding a libation is always a good reminder of fun days.

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Don’t shop for yourself:

My bestie has a solid Christian faith, hence the gratitude journal with inspirational Bible verse. This purchase may not integrate into my own concept of spirituality but remember GIFTS AREN’T FOR YOU!!!!


Attention to Detail:

Gifts are all about presentation.  Yes of course who cares what the box looks like on the 7 karat diamond but isn’t it just that much better if it comes flying down from the heavens in the mouth of a pure white dove?  So, with that being said find the perfect receptacle. We clearly didn’t find any doves large enough to carry our gift but we did find an H&M.  Why go with a boring basket when you can provide your beach loving bestie with the perfect beach ready tote? Thank you H&M for all of your bounty.


Make sure you add stuffing so your gifts will stand tall.  Yet again I will reinforce the importance of presentation.  As humans we make appraisals within 10 milliseconds of seeing an individual.  I haven’t seen any research on appraisals and gifts yet (I may just publish one), but I’m sure it isn’t much different.  My little trick is paper balled up at the bottom to add that extra height.  Then add that Easter basked grass on top.  I don’t even know what that stuff is called.  Tinsel?

The final touches were the fresh tulips and some pretty expensive facial serum from the Montage Laguna. Our favorite hotel. Our other bestie was wed there last year in a fabulous ocean view ceremony (link) and we’ve all been drawn there like moths to a flame ever since. It’s really become a special place for our friendship. So, we talked to her hubby and organized with hotel staff and she was presented with her gift after dinner.


I heard she loved it!!! I would love to share the text she sent me, but I still have this weird thing called privacy I hold on to.  So just imagine all the wonderful stuff she said xoxo.

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Party All The Time!

Advice, DIY, Wedding June 22, 2015

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Throwing parties are one of the funniest/most stressful part of being a future bride.  It takes equal parts intense planning and a total “go with the flow” mindset. So needless to say, I had to do a lot of meditating last week.  Here’s a quick walk through engagement party #2 Orange County.

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Fresh flowers were a must.   My favorite DIY floral arrangements include Peonies, lisianthus, hydrangea, hanging amaranthus, and tons of greenery.  Oh and I also spray painted some Starbucks bottles for vases.

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I like to add a little quote to remind everyone why they came.

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Then there was our LOVE table.

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I simply love brunch, so our engagement party was filled with eggs, pancakes, fruit, veggie meat, and all types of confections.  I made some cookies that I will feature in a future post.

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No brunch is complete without mini pancakes and fresh berries.

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Selfie cookies were a must.  Such a great company!

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Just me and my Mommy!  Also, note the floral wall.  This was my favorite project of the event.

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Two of my 7 bridesmaids were able to make it out.  In these days and times we live all across the globe and it’s good to see each other when we can.

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See what they gave me?  Oh it’s nothing, just a basket FULL of cuteness!!!

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There were selfies galore, this was one of my favorites!

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Stevie did some singing, there’s no way he can be within 20 feet of a piano and not take full advantage.

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The party was a day before my Grandma turned 89.  Yup, this lady is 89, Black don’t crack.  I believe that’s what they say.

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Even Erin and Kevin were surprised.

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These women have all known me since before I was even myself.  They have been spectacular guides and wonderful examples.

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We welcome the new additions to our family with open arms.  We were so glad Pastor White, my soon to be Father-in-law made it out.  There’s my flower wall again…it made another appearance.  Embrace it!!!

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Overall, the day was a success.  Aaron and I thank all of you that made it out and those of you who were there in spirit.  XOXOXO

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Pink Healing

Advice, Mental Health June 9, 2014

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My job has been physically, mentally, and spiritually exhausting. I’m sure I’m not the only person to experience the fatigue trifecta. Hence the pink. Pink is such an energetic color, it brings with it laughter and whimsy. So today I’m shrouding myself in pink. These r just a few random pink things I looked at through the day today.

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Passions

Advice, Mental Health April 22, 2014

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My boyfriend and I love to talk, no postulate, on things from gender roles, to religion, to minority issues, to how we can better the world through knowledge. This weekend we found ourselves cuddling on the couch talking about basic principles of evolution, religion, and the limits of human understanding. It served to remind me of how important social interaction is. Exchanging ideas and getting excited about the debate gave me the energy to get half way through this week. So, basically I’m thankful for my completely nerdy boyfriend. We should all find ways to engage in our passions this week. How do you know something is a passion? What gets your blood pressure up, puts a ridiculous smile on your face, and keeps you up at night with ideas? That’s probably your passion. Find yours and thrive.

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10,000 Hours

Advice, Mental Health March 10, 2014

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It’s a pretty well known fact that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at anything, and according to the expert research abilities of Malcolm Gladwell it takes about 10 years to achieve this many hours. Well, there probably aren’t many of us that have spent 10,000 focused hours doing anything but I started thinking we probably have. Let me take a step back for a moment to focused on that great pile of grey and white between your ears. Our brains consists of millions upon millions of connections like roads that are built and destroyed moment by moment. There are lightning fast changes being made all the time based on the things we think, the experiences we have, the food and substances we ingest, and any myriad of genetic predispositions we may have. This random bit of knowledge got me thinking about how many hours we spend doing things that strengthen connections we don’t want or that don’t serve us. 10,000 hours strengthening connections for complaining, bragging, making excuses, watching tv, beating ourselves up, etc… This then got me thinking about the best way to change all of this. After all, I don’t think most of us intend to be experts in putting ourselves down, it just seems to happen.

Change is never easy, at times it seem antithetical to the human experience. Millions of years of evolution proved to us that when change arises many of us don’t make the cut, only the strong survive. So, in order to create this change in our own lives and not feel like a finch with the wrong beak length (Darwin in the Galapagos joke) we need to find ways to adapt. First, let’s find out what specific thing you want to master by setting some goals. You business majors may remember SMART goals, the gold standard for goal setting. SMART stands for Specific (what do you want, spell it out), Measurable (how will you know you are getting close to your goal, create a metric), Achievable (make sure this is doable but just challenging enough to leave you feeling accomplished), Realistic (does it make sense for your life), and Time limited (when can you accomplish this).

Next, we may want to raise our awareness to the problems and solutions. In order to raise your awareness you need to look into mindfulness. The more you can exist in the hear and now the more likely you are to change and shape your future. That may seem a little strange but you create your future every moment. If you aren’t fully in that moment your future won’t fully be what you want. Then finally, tenacity, this is huge. We will always fall and make mistakes in our journey toward 10,000 but remember practice makes permanent. The more you practice the way you want things to be done the easier it will be to do just that. On your wonderful journey always remember to keep going.

Thanks for the picture inkstained on we heart it, it was just perfect.

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Transcendent Tuesday

Advice January 28, 2014

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We all know that life can be utterly out of control, and us humans love to think we can change the unchangeable and move the immoveable, but alas we cannot. This morning Deepak Chopra, via a quote app, reminded me of how holding on to things we cannot change is a suffocating force. He said, “Holding on to anything is like holding on to your breath. You will suffocate. The only way to get anything in the physical universe is by letting go of it. Let go and it will be yours forever.” Isn’t he just amazing. This reminds me to take perspective on the little immovable objects in my path, to take a deep breath as I look at my view, and to love those around me with flexibility.

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Balancing Act

Advice January 10, 2014

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Happy New Year C&C readers! December was an eventful month for your dear Cupcakes. I lost friends to eternal rest, completed steps toward a future desired, and found a special someone to breath my breaths with. All in all, an emotional roller coaster. Without going into detail, I’ve been pretty physically, mentally, and spiritually overwhelmed. To remain sane I had to keep one word in mind “balance.” I found balance in mentally stimulating conversation, laughter, meditation, and knowledge. Find what helps give you balance in this new year hone in on it and practice it as often as possible.

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Emotional Strength

Advice, Health, Mental Health December 3, 2013

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So, I’ve had a pretty difficult month. Nothing life threatening but emotional pain is pain all the same. I mournfully found myself writing a tearful treatise about the loss of love and how, poor victim cupcakes is doomed to a life of unyielding loneliness. After some time passed and I found myself atop a tear soaked pillow; I became utterly exhausted with my champagne problems and took a realistic look at my life. What a novel notion; look at the reality, the facts, instead of focusing on my wild emotions. Reality becomes so easily distorted during moments of extreme emotion that we begin to buy the goods our emotions are selling. Yes, emotions are helpful but we need to understand their purpose. Emotions do three things-thank you Marsha Linehan, Ph.D.:

Provide us information about our environment: Our emotions are little beacons, indicating things happening around us. Anxiety is a good example. When the anxiety response is working properly it is triggered by a threat, say a wild animal, we respond with anxiety, which tells us something isn’t right.

Provide our environment information about us: Emotions also send signals to others. For example if something makes you angry that something…or someone…will know when you raise your voice and start balling up your fists. So that something can take cover or attempt to soothe you.

Motivate us to act: Finally, emotions motivate us to make behavioral changes. Say that animal comes back and you experience anxiety, hopefully that anxiety will motivate you to get out of there.

Aren’t our emotions just wonderful. They offer us so much information but we just manage to misinterpret and over estimate their power. Yes, negative emotions feel bad but when you break it down, look at what your emotions are communicating, everything starts to look a bit different. Sometimes we have to distract ourselves a little before we can take this realistic look inward, but the search is worth it. I tend to distract with crafts or TED talks. Nothing like trying to feel smart to help you forget your problems.

Be strong and inquisitive my readers and friends.

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