My monthly inspiration

Here’s my monthly inspiration before Benoit and I fly to Wisconsin on Sunday (Three days away already!?).  Talk about feeling rushed and nervous – we just kind of started packing and still need to clean everything which will happen Saturday night, I’m sure.  Wish us luck! Xx

my Monthly Inspiration

Things I like | People + companies who inspire me 

Simply Earth

This company is based in Wisconsin (which I think is pretty cool), and I found them through Instagram.  They sell essential oils and also offer a subscription box that’s all DIY.  While I can’t give a testimonial to their products as I haven’t yet been able to try them, what sparked my interest and love for them is that they also use their company as a platform for talking about human trafficking, and they donate 13% of their profits to causes that help stop it.

LoveChock Chocolate bars

For my birthday this month I got two chocolate bars from this company.  Not only are they one of my top vegan chocolate bar picks for taste, but also for the environment-their packaging is 100% compostable.  This is so important to think about because plastic is terrible for both our health and the environment (it seeps into the food that’s in it and its chemicals causes harm to our planet and creatures).  So thank you, Lovechock, for spreading the Plastic Pollutes message and coming up with an alternative!  They also have really inventive flavors such as cacao nibs with sea salt, blueberry and hempseed, and almond and baobab.

Baking with vegetables

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I love trying out new recipes, and I’ve recently been interested in using vegetables (squash, sweet potato, beets, etc.) in baking. For the past few years for my birthday I like to kind of go all out with choosing a cake and do something  different.  So when I found a cake on Pinterest that uses beets and chocolate, I knew that it was what I wanted for my cake this year.  I got the recipe here.  Also I should mention the best vegan chocolate frosting I’ve ever made, which has avocados in it! Super creamy and delicious.

The One Part Podcast

I started listening to Jessica Murnane when I was pregnant with Benoit, fell off the podcast bandwagon (how that’s possible I’m not sure) and started up again this month. And now I’ve been listening to this podcast all. Month. Long.  Mainly when cooking.  You know, when you’re home with a baby all day you can go kind of crazy and listening to podcasts bring back a little sanity in me.  Adult conversations and all.  So the hostess, Jessica Murnane, interviews different figures in the wellness (mainly plant-based food) community.  I’ve appreciated being able to listen in on conversations and advice from people who are doing such inspiring things.

Local Milk blog

Another oldie but goodie.  As in, I was totally into her blog back when we were living in Ireland three years ago when I found her through the blog farmette, and all of a sudden (okay, due to her being interviewed on the One Part Podcast) I started reading her blog again and seeing what she’s been up to lately.  She is a food blogger (though not plant based) and now her website is focusing a bit more on life and wellness.  Her moody photography is just gorgeous, and that along with the fact that she makes amazing things is getting me to dapple in the art of food photography.

 

Who or what inspired you this month?

 

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February Reflection and March…goals?

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A little early of a reflection as February isn’t exactly done yet, but seeing as we fly out the 26th I don’t think I’ll have much time the last days of February to write a reflection.

Actually, there isn’t much to reflect upon goals-wise.  It’s kind of been a ‘meh’ month.  I could blame it on going on the week-long vacation as to why I wasn’t able to accomplish or stick to them, but I’m starting to think that maybe this system I have in place isn’t the way I want to go about accomplishing things.

First off it’s my mindset.  I think that I can choose a million goals and get them all done, or that I should be able to get them all done, and then when I don’t I kind of freak.  I realized that back in my January reflection, and so I decided to choose just a few goals for February.  Annnnnd, I still wasn’t able to follow through.

The truth is, I’m in a really up-in-the-air situation at the moment, and have been for the past year.  With the arrival of our baby, and then having the whole of 2016 of not knowing where we’re going to be for at least the next couple of years (we still don’t know), my mind has been pretty clouded, and I’ve been losing steam.  I’ve been overtiring myself mentally with trying to “figure out” what it is I’m going to “do with my life”.  I put quotations on both of these terms because as time goes on I’m finding them both quite ridiculous, actually.  I’ve come to accepting that, despite wanting to find a fulfilling (career) path – and let’s face it, who doesn’t – it doesn’t have to happen right now, and maybe it’s not meant to.  I need to have faith in who I am and as well as in God, that things will work themselves out, with no time expectations.

So with all of that said, I’m devoting this year to self care and development.  And not thinking about extrinsic goals (Deciding on/finding a career or opening a business, impressing others, etc.).

I had a revelation the other day concerning self care.  I was kind of confused with why I wasn’t following through with things, such as my morning routine or working out.  I had everything planned out but I would never follow through with it.  It was then that I had my small ephiphany on what can help me with these habits that can help my self growth.

1. Doing an act of self care doesn’t mean you have to like it.  Sure, things like massages and pedicures are great examples of self care, and I would never skip out on one of those appointments, but….. there are many other things that I have a hard time making time for because I’m usually being too lazy and giving in to the weakness of the moment (taking a nap over working out, going on social media rather than reading a book).

2.  Self care is about respecting who I am, mind and body.  And so if I don’t feel like getting up at 5:30am to do my morning routine – well too bad because I want to respect myself enough to know that it is something that betters me as a person and makes me stay sane.  So I’ll do it.

So while I don’t yet have concrete goals for the month of March, these are the things and ideas that are floating around in my mind at the moment:

  1.  Spending less time on social media.  Ever since I got a smart phone (last November) I’ve been spending too much time on it and not doing other things (reading, writing, etc.) that would be more beneficial to me.
  2. Sucking it up and doing the thing that I know will benefit me, even if in the moment I want to be lazy and do something else (like nap. Ahhh, naps).
  3. Not constantly looking at what everyone else is doing – which is often a cause of jealousy, lack of originality and creativity, and can even cause self hate (yes, I’m speaking from experience) and instead shift my focus to what I am doing – and show some self-appreciation for it.
  4. Showing myself a little more understanding, a little more appreciation, and a little more love.  Speaking to myself as I would a friend.

How are your resolutions, intentions, goals, etc. going? And how do you practice self care?

 

January reflection + February goals

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This month marked our third month of living in Berlin.  We have sublet from two apartments already, found out that we will be moving to Hamburg at the beginning of March, and then on to New York City within the coming year.  Exciting and challenging times lie ahead for us.  Adam and I both look forward to settling down somewhere and making a home, even if it is for only half of a year.

This month we’ve been doing all sorts of touristy things (see photo above) before we leave.  Left on my Berlin list are basically food-related things.  If my will is strong (which I think it is), then I’ll see that I get them done before March.

As we’re heading into the month of February, I’d like to pause and reflect on my January goals.  Like many others who makes New Year’s Resolutions, mine started off strong but are now fizzling out a bit.

 

I read an article the other day from Forbes that talks about the 7 secrets of people who keep their New Year’s Resolutions.  One of them is remembering that something is better than nothing.  I’m choosing to have this mindset when looking back on January.  I feel good that I made wise resolutions that will make me a better person and help me grow.  I feel good that I scheduled out a time for most of them, and journaled about them.  That I tried and made some accomplishments.

For February, I am making a promise to myself that I won’t be too hard on myself and if I slip up, I will keep going.  I’ll be choosing three of the total goals I had set for January and see if this makes a difference in how I can accomplish them.

For January, I tried setting out with fifteen goals.

Yes, fifteen.

I guess I got carried away.

 

 

February goals:

My goals for February focus on taking care of myself.  I want to increase my energy levels and appreciate “me” time through my morning routine.  I want to be at my best so I can help others be at their best.

1. Drink six bottles of water a day (from my stainless steel 1/2 liter bottle)

2. Wake up at 5:30am and go through my daily morning routine (workout, reading + notes, gratitude, prayer/meditation, visualizations, affirmations)

3. Write at least 15 minutes a day on my blog and follow through with deadlines I’ve given myself.

 

 

Do you make resolutions?  How do you set yourself up for success?

 

 

 

A creative life: BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert

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I was in the Marseille train station, waiting with my husband to catch our train to Paris.  It was our first trip without our son Benoit, and leaving him that morning was hard to do.  Now that we were at the train station, though, I was starting to feel excited and a bit, well, my own person again.  I had a desire to start making things.  And to read something.  I realized I haven’t done something by myself in over a year.

We walked into the bookshop and I knew I wanted something in the field of creativity. And in the small English book section, I saw this book, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, right alongside the newest Harry Potter book.  As an avid Potter fan I was torn between the two.  But with Big Magic I figured I could at least finish it during the train ride, and besides-it was probably a sign that moments before I was thinking about creativity and then I run into this book that offers advice on the matter?  I would always remember and know where to find the Harry Potter book, but who knows when I would come across this one again? So I chose Big Magic.

Big Magic discusses pushing past certain obstacles in order to live your most creative, inspired life.  Obstacles such as fear, permission, perfectionism.

As for me, I fell in love with it.  And it got my ass in gear.  All of the excuses I’ve been giving myself for why I’m not doing something, anything-this book kicked to the curb.   I won’t say too much, but here are some of my favorite quotes that were “aha” moments for me, and perhaps you may also find them helpful:

On drawing negative, destructive conclusions (rather than positive ones):

“People convince themselves they’ve been robbed when they have not, in fact, been robbed.  Such thinking comes from a wretched allegiance to the notion of scarcity-from the belief that the world is a place of dearth, and that there will never be enough to go around.”

On taking your life into your own hands:

“I think it’s a mighty act of human love to remind somebody that they can accomplish things by themselves, and that the world does not automatically owe them any reward, and that they are not as weak and hobbled as they may believe.”

On perfectionism:

“Perfectionism stops people from completing their work, yes-but even worse, it often stops people from beginning their work.  Perfectionists often decide in advance that the end product is never going to be satisfactory, so they don’t even bother trying to be creative in the first place.”

 

 

My Monthly Inspiration (#1)

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Welcome to My Monthly Inspiration, one of my favorite posts I do in which I look back at the month and share people, groups, things, podcasts-you name it-that have inspired me in some way or other.  And I think they might inspire you, too!

There are people or things that can inspire us every day, and this month I had the brilliant idea of finally taking notes in my bullet journal so I don’t forget them!  I also keep a notebook handy when I go out in case I see something while on-the-go and I can quick write it down.

My Monthly Inspiration (#1):

The Slow Home Podcast 

It was either  when I was doing an online search on all things minimalism or through someone on Instagram that I found this podcast.  I am just starting to listen to Podcasts and I’m happy that this is one of the first that I’ve discovered.  Brooke and Ben talk about slowing down your life and focusing on things that are truly important to you.  They interview many fascinating people who are also choosing to live this way.  As a plus, Brooke’s voice is incredibly calming and I could listen to it all day (weird? Maybe).

Making (instead of buying) your own whipped body lotion

I stopped buying lotion a couple years ago.  I now prefer oils, shea butter, or coconut oil and they all work very well.  But I was intrigued by the whipped body lotion recipes I’ve found and decided this month I would give it a go.  I loosely followed a recipe from Wellness Mama, mixing coconut oil, shea butter, and olive oil, beating it for 10 minutes, then storing it in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.  I prefer this texture over straight-up oils, which can leave your skin feeling greasy for awhile after application.

Hannah Theisen of Life + Style + Justice

While doing a search on fast fashion and what happens behind the scenes in the clothing industry, I came across Life Style Justice.  Hannah’s blog discusses all things ethical as well as social justice.  What got me excited was that she chooses to write more than about ethical clothing but articles that shine light on important topics such as worker exploitation in the fashion industry, as well. This year she says she wants to focus more on human trafficking, which I find to be an underserved focus. Brava, Hannah!

Amanda Schenkenberger of Move the Mountains

Amanda has a brilliant blog and store all about Bible journaling.  What I find especially inspiring is the fact that she offers FREE monthly Bible journaling prompts and guides for you to follow along with or work at your own pace.  She also makes and sells Bible journals, supplies and Bible studies.  For the month of February she’s offering a journaling series called Worship is more than a song – you have until the end of January to sign up on her website if you’d like to participate!

Kelly of Copper Moon Mama and the Sacred Legacy Arts team

I follow Kelly on Instagram and I adore reading her thoughtful posts that encourage women to be their best.  She also shares on all things conscious consumerism and minimalism.  She also is the founder of Sacred Legacy Arts, an online store that specializes in creating jewelry from your most treasured memories (breast milk, flowers, fabric, and more).

And last, but not least…

the Red Kuri (or Red Hokkaido) Squash

OK, so I didn’t discover find out about this squash this month, but as it’s winter and pumpkins are in season and all I’ve been using it a lot.  I saw it for the first time about a year ago when we were living in France, but didn’t really cook with it until about five months ago – basically because I wasn’t sure what to do with it!  In France it’s called potimarron and it’s very popular.  My favorite way to use it is in soups.  It has a really creamy texture to it and you can even leave the skin on, if you like (make sure it’s organic).  My all-time favorite recipe for it is from Half Baked Harvest, called Thai Pumpkin Laksa.  I have a picture of it posted on my Instagram account if you want to go see it.  YUM.

What inspired you this month?