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.
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.
Happy meditating my friends!
I rarely get serious on Cigars and Cupcakes but with our country more fractured than I’ve seen in my lifetime; it’s time to grow. Not just grow as individuals but together as a race, the human race. I know that’s so corny and over used but so acurate. It’s time to focus on our similarities, learn about and love our differences, and empathize with eachoher’s pain. Acknowledging one persons pain does not disregard the pain of another. It just allows us an opportunity to show empathy and love.
Let’s unite, Black, White, whatever! It’s time to grow together as a planet and spread love and kindness wherever we go!
Every time you see a flower growing amid other plants think about the beauty of diversity. Look at that flower and remind yourself that it was once a seed just like every other plant. Seeds grow into different sized plants and have different colors or shapes but ultimately they all grow together to create a beautifully complex ecosystem. I love sharing my ecosystem with each of you.
Sometimes a girl just wants something pretty and sometimes there’s more to the art of making something beautiful. In honor of May being Mental Health Month I want to talk about how crafting can help your mental state. You’re probably thinking “what!?!” “How does crafting help me mentally?” Well, engaging in an activity that you enjoy and find yourself lost in helps you reach a state of alpha brain activity called, Flow. This researcher named Mihaly Csikszentminalyi-try saying that 3 times fast-found that we experience less depression and more joy when we engage in activities that require focus and attention. This does wonders for brain neuroconnectivity which can have an impact on our general outlook on life. So, Dr Ally is writing you a script for one craft this week. Let’s get to it!
What will you need?
A piece of marble (mine was a little thick and heavy, I’d recommend something a little lighter).
2 drawer pulls
Clear round bumpers
Metallic spray paint (mine was rose gold)
Spray your drawer pulls. I used about 3 layers of paint.
Stick your round bumpers to the underside of your marble. These will keep your tray from sitting directly on a surface.
Measure how far you want your handles to go from the edge. Can you believe I’ve been using a centimeter ruler all these years and wasn’t even paying attention. Yes metric!!!
Add a drop of glue. This stuff is serious and goes a long way. You may also ways a mask, the fumes are pretty intense.
Wipe away any excess.
And there’s your stunning marble tray! Happy crafting!!!
We all have that overpacked junk drawer filled with pens, rubber bands, candles and I guess mine has a ton of unused old journals. What do we do with these long forgotten relics? Repurpose them!!!! Let me show you a quick DIY that will have your old throwaway journal looking better than new.
To start you will need an old journal, some contact paper and scissors.
Lay the contact paper flat and trace around the outside of the journal.
Don’t forget to open up the journal and trace around the whole thing. Also give some extra space so you can fold the contact paper over later.
Cut it out.
Peel the backing from the paper.
Attach it to the journal
Fold the excess paper to the inside of the journal’s cover.
Here’s the finished journal!!! Now,what to write; gratitude, poetry, a novel? Only time will tell. What are some things you would write? Tell me everything!
The little tiny hungry girl inside of me couldn’t let this moment pass quietly into the night. I LOOOVE macaroons! They are just so simple a chic. Truly the perfect snack.
And if you like macaroons then you have to get them from Bottega Louie. It is downtown LA’s little window into delicious French snackerie…yup snackerie, I made that up.
I mean look at this absolute perfection. Packaging isn’t just about putting a great product in a box. It’s about creating and tapping into the emotions of consumers. A lot of thought and research goes into creating these iconic designs. Different colors evoke different feelings, some may even make you want to purchase more goodies. I think that’s the goal.
Pink is the color of gentleness and love and evokes feelings of calm. It doesn’t make me hungry but since it’s my favorite color it encourages me to buy, buy, buy. Some of the effects of color are due to personal factors and preferences but there are definitely effects that impact all of us. It’s just evolution baby! For example, colors like red and orange get our attention because they have historically signaled danger. Thus, stop lights and road cones.
I’m so sure you didn’t sign up for this little lesson in color theory, you just wanted to look at pictures of macaroons. But now that I’m done forcing you to learn some random information, go and see how colors make you feel today. Ciao!
So, my online shopping obsession continues with a totally adorbs bow ear cuff. Sarah Munsey, of Wired for Freedom left me a little message “You are loved, valued, unique, and beautiful you can do anything.” I mean amazing. Then she explained how she was a cutter and crafts freed her from emotional pain. It was definitely more than I expected and much appreciated.
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.
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.
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.
This past Tuesday I had the awesome opportunity to see the 14th Dalai Lama in the flesh…yes, in the flesh. Of course there were about 400 people between him and myself, but it never felt that way. His broken English added a sense of mystique to his simple yet profound statements. I was deeply touched by his words on happiness, trust, and transparency. Seems simple, happiness is dependent of trust and trust cannot exist without transparency, but there are deeper implications.
Trust is a complex phenomena, according to the Dalai Lama, it is a fundamental component of human connection and as social creatures connection is survival. This triggered some of my personal obsessions with neurotransmitters and brain function. So, I instantly thought of how much oxytocin does to enhance bonding, thus, impacting human survival. It is released during intimate interactions like touch and when women give birth and breastfeed. This neurotransmitter is so important that if a child isn’t touched in the first few months of life they literally die, can you believe that. We need others so much, without them we literally cannot survive. That adds a whole new power to the pain after a break up. Well, back to the Dalai Lama and his perspective on transparency. In my mind transparency is a fundamental necessity for trust. You can’t trust someone that doesn’t show you who they are. But true transparency is difficult especially if you’ve ever been hurt before, and who hasn’t been there.
My basic take away was that all humans are chemically connected and we need each other to survive. Since this is the case, what can you do today to improve the life of another person? After all, if we are all connected, then their happiness impacts your happiness in some way…right? I hope you find away to be transparent, trust, and be happy!
Thanx Middlebury Magazine for the picture!