This weekend was my husband’s birthday and our 1 year wedding anniversary. We decided to bypass the plane rides and the one-week vacation plan and do a getaway to Virginia. The plan was to visit Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and find a place to stay around there and have the park be our main attraction. I leave vacation planning to my husband because he’s really great at finding awesome places and vacation planning. It is one thing I do not like. I’d rather pick a place, then you tell me when and where to be there. In the last 11 years we’ve been together, he’s always been able to find beautiful places. This time was no exception.

 

We stayed at the Wayside Inn which is the oldest continuously operating Inn in the country, opened in 1797! A beautiful place full of American Civil War history and charm. They say it is haunted, but I can’t say I had any experiences.

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Hotel Registry Going back to 1910s!

 

First up was the National Park.

We got engaged at the Acadia National Park in Maine so going back to another for our one year anniversary was like coming full circle.

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 What did I pack?

Most women travel with a massive load of outfits, make-up, and “what if” items. I’m much simpler than that. The odds of me needed a ballgown, more than 1 pair of shoes, or a cosmetic counter full of make up possibilities is beyond slim. I manged to get everything I needed into a single Jansport backpack that I’ve owned since High School. (still going strong!)

 

Cosmetics & Toiletries:

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From left: Toothpaste, tooth brush, floss, Caudalie night moisturizer, Caudalie Cleansing Water, Vasseur Skincare Day Moisturizer, Deoderant, Blow Dryer, Hair clamp and tie, Peter Thomas Roth travel shampoo and conditioner, Wet Hair Brush (This thing is magic), Real Techniques brush (for bronzer), IT Cosmetics foundation brush, No.7 mascara, eye lash curler, Anastasia brow definer and Too Faced Chocolate Bronzer.

Clothes:

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The far left is what I wore on the ride down and the first night/day.

Two shirts, One pair of Sketches (these are the most comfortable walking shoes), a tank top for sleeping and a pair of sleep shorts and pants as I was not sure what would be more comfortable.

I also took 1 book which I won’t list because I did not like it at all. It started off good enough but then just went no where. Having a disappointing book is one thing, but having it as your only read on a vacation is quite another…

 

 

 

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[photo credit: powerofpositivity.com]

I’ve been in an odd funk since June. The last few months have been unusually busy. My agenda has been loaded with to-dos, places to go, people to see. In the midst of all of that, my workout motivation has suffered. Not because I don’t want to, but because by the time the day is through I am too physically and mentally exhausted that I simply cannot muster the strength. Even the “it’s only 30 minutes” pep-talk does not work on most days. And, yes, I’ve tried the morning workout concept, but I simply can’t…

The only saving grace in this is the change of seasons which I think is a natural motivator for many.

My tasks lately have been getting the house in order. A few months ago I read the ever popular “Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and truthfully, I gave it a rather harsh review then. I found so much of it to be ridiculous and unrealistic especially when you live with others and have other peoples’ stuff to consider. I think that was the biggest reason for my less-than-positive review for it.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up book cover

However, after this weekend I started to read it again. I skipped the introductory chapters and went right for the “plan.” I think for me, I find motivation through following along with someone on following a step-by-step plan. When I was in school, I loved me a good syllabus and following along with it, crossing out each day or assignment made me feel like I was accomplishing and working toward something. These days, I am missing that goal.

When I went to the “meat” of the Life Changing Magic book, I read a part about seriously considering how you want your life to be. She uses a young woman as an example who wanted to live a more “feminine lifestyle” and asked her to break down exactly what that meant. It got me thinking: I’ve heard that question before but never thought about it seriously, let alone writing it out. I grabbed my journal (one of many) and wrote out a few ideas. The overarching theme was to have my home be a sanctuary and not a place for work. My “work” at home is mostly cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, putting things away, throwing things out, cooking this, clearing that. I want my home to be a place where I can come home and read, create, relax and enjoy my family and the “work” is secondary. Not a place that I come home to after 8 hours of doing and giving for others, but a place to do and give for myself and my family that goes beyond keeping the place clean and clutter free. Sharing a space with someone else who isn’t as organized as I am is challenging, but together I know we can come to happy medium.

While I was very cruel to this cute little book that so many people love, I am giving it a second go. That little section redirected my thoughts and put me on a different path. Sometimes it takes a second look to find what you were looking for during the first look.

One of my favorite YouTubers, Melissa Alexendra, recently posted a video on her Top 10 Feel Good Favs for a Bad Day. I was inspired to share mine. Be sure to leave a comment to let me know some of yours!

 

  1. Movie  It goes without saying that anything with Jim Carrey in it is my feel good go to. Image result for jim carrey 2016I remember when I got an expander (a hunk of metal put in the roof of my mouth to expand it….yeah…) to prep for getting braces, I called my dad crying about how much it hurt, how uncomfortable it was and he said, “Go watch a Jim Carrey movie; you’ll feel better.” So I popped in Ace Ventura 2 in the VCR (Oh yes…) and it took my focus from my mouth discomfort to Jim. He has been my hero since his days on In Living Color and I still love and admire him to this day. He is a talented artist, always gives me a rush of excitement when I see him on TV, and he is also a deep thinker. This talk alone will show you how deep his mind and spirit goes and his amazing talent in painting.  My others are: Weekend at Bernies, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Tommy Boy. Anything that makes me laugh out loud.
  2. Item to Wear: Fitted Tees and tank tops are super comfortable. I also like that I can dress them up for work by wearing a blazer or cardigan, clean, go out and do shopping or tasks. They are not binding and I feel free!
  3. Beverage Cabernet Sauvignon and Coffee. These need no explanation!
  4. Music I listen to a lot of instrumental music that are New Age or international. Right now, my favorite CD (yes, I still use CDs) is Land of Gold by Anoushka Shankar. It is so lovely. I also love Native American flute, Spanish guitar, and house music. My guilty pleasures are still the Spice Girls and Geri Halliwell, No shame                     Image result for anoushka shankarImage result for geri halliwell 2016Image result for native american music
  5. Book When I need a spiritual pick-me-up I go to “The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching” by Thich Nhat Hanh. Is is so detailed and thorough yet so manageable and inspiring. I also recently discovered and love Mindfulness on the Run by Dr. Chantel Hofstee. A very user-friendly guide to daily mindful actions. She really breaks it down in a way that is perfect for everyone. There are drawings and charts and great for all ages                                     .Image result for the heart of the buddha's teachingImage result for mindfulness on the run Image result for just for the record geri halliwellImage result for how to be parisian wherever you areImage result for messages for lightworkers patricia hawse       Others are: “For the Record” by Geri Halliwell; Lessons from Madame Chic / At Home with Madame Chic by Jennifer Scott, “How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are” (this is a tongue-in-cheek book that really made me laugh), “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff at Work” by the late Richard Carlson, Ph.D.  Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl (puts my problems in perspective! What a beautiful spirit she was…); Some brain/science books: “The Mood Cure” and “Your Brain at Work” and “Messages for Lightworkers” by my friend and spiritual mentor Patricia Hawse. As for fiction, “Chocolat” is a book I read every year around Lent/Easter. if you know the story, it will make sense why. 🙂
  6. Activity Drawing and sketching. it puts me into a place of quiet and concentration like nothing else.
  7. Food Cheesecake. That is all. 🙂
  8. Quote I’m not really a “quote person.” I will hear them and think, “That’s nice” but I don’t keep a collection of them. My inspiring quotes are more like mantras or daily thoughts to have a good day or little reminders when things get too “heady.” One is when someone is annoying me I think, “That is THEIR lack of mindfulness.” it reminds me that I am not responsible for their behavior and it should have no direct impact on my mood or thoughts. This isn’t to say people do not piss me off or get on my nerves, but once I realize someone is annoying, I try to remember that.
  9. Candle Anything unscented.
  10. TV Show “Castle” (duh); Poiroit, and Frasier

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As I continue to do a massive decluttering of things, I recently was able to reduce my Keepsakes down to 1 box. This does not include photos which are too down to a single, well organized box.

When I began my decluttering/organizing last summer I had 2 shopping bags and a larger tote box full of birthday cards, yearbooks, and books. I went through each box and bag and looked though every single item that was in them and decided whether or not to keep them. During round 1, I was able to get the tote down to a size where the lid could be put back on correctly rather than teetering on top of my college graduation cap and a large Pre-K graduation diploma. I put the box back in the closet and left it to simmer for a few months. I went back in about a month ago and went for round 2.

 

I am happy to report this is my only box full of keepsakes and each item holds a very personal and positive feeling and memory.

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If you are looking to reduce your keepsakes to a manageable side, here are a few ideas. Also remember, you can do a few “rounds” like I did, but the key is to really think about it. Just because you are getting rid of an item, does not mean you are dishonoring the memory or the person who gave it to you. In fact, it is the opposite! You are making room for more memories and no one can declutter your brain. It’s a lot harder to throw out a box of memories in your brain than it is in your home.

  1. Let Go of Old Birthday, Holidays, etc. Cards : Over the years we have all been given hundreds of cards. I still give and receive them to this day, of course, but to keep every single one is a waste of precious space. My first round I had at least 50 cards going back to high school graduation from 2003.  I took each one out, read them all, and decided if they were worth keeping. I had a ton from my parents and I decided to keep 2 of each. I also kept ones from my step-grandparents. And all of the notes and cards from my husband since we met in 2005. Yes – those fit in this box too!
  2. Do you still know the person who gave you the item : This is a big one. Aside from those who have passed away, holding on to stuff from ex-relationships or friends from elementary school are no-brainer give-a-ways in my opinion. I found random stuff from people I kind of remember, but couldn’t tell you their last names or even where they are today. If that is the case, I say toss it. Odds are you aren’t going to run into them again and if you do I doubt your conversation will include the empty pack of M&Ms you saved when you both had a sleep over for the first time.keepsakebox2_edits
  3. Does it matter if it is one-of-a-kind? Sometimes we hang on to gifts that we didn’t like then and don’t like now. Going off of #2, if you no longer know the person and it has no use in your current life, toss it. There are exceptions of course, but the key here is to get really honest with yourself. You don’t need the half of a tarnished “Be Fri” friendship necklace from 8th grade…even if you know the person now. Also, if it is a one-of-a-kind knick-knack, is it something you’d put on display in your home now?
  4. Does it bring you a positive memory? As I was going through things I found some things that didn’t bring me much of a positive feeling. If you look at the item and your first thought is sadness or pain, get rid of it. Don’t keep it. Another hard thing to get rid of are those memorial cards from those who have passed. These I had a hard time getting rid of. The truth is, keeping it or getting rid of it does not have any direct impact on that person, their memory, or the relationship you had with them. If you can part with it, please do. It may feel icky and disrespectful on some level, but after it is gone, the memory and honor of that person is not.
  5. Is this something you’d want to go through or look at again? This goes for things like yearbooks, letter notebooks (remember those where you passed a notebook back and forth between a friend where you wrote and replied to each others’ letters?), etc. If it is something you take pleasure in looking at one last time and do not feel any real desire to look at it again, it may be time to part with it. Some suggest taking pictures of things, but I think that is another way of holding on to something that, on some honest level, you want to part with. And truly: are you ever going to go through pictures of your old stuff? Probably not.

The Keepsakes are one of the hardest to part with and declutter. By nature, I am not a hugely sentimental person so getting rid of things is easier for me than others. If you are like me, the steps above will be quite easy. if you are the opposite and worry about getting rid of memory items: sort through everything in “rounds” and do it over a period of time. There is no due date for any of this. But do be really honest with yourself as you go through things and make room for new keepsakes rather than hold on to ones that only serve a purpose of dust collecting and space hogging.