June 25, 2013

Craft: That Special Gift

When it comes to gift giving, I like to believe that it's one of my specialties. There is no greater feeling than seeing someones face light up after receiving something they would never expect (but 100% love). This past Christmas I took on the task of making presents for my loved ones, and now I'm addicted. What a better way to make gift giving more special then saying, "I hand made this for you."?
With the passing of Mother's Day and Father's Day, I thought it would be a great time to share some of the heartfelt items I made for my parents.

Mother's Day: Mason Jar Soap Dispensers
After recently moving into a new house, my mother had been looking for the perfect matching soap dispenser to set beside her sink. Home decor stores were falling short, so I grabbed some pale green paint and solved the problem. All of my materials were found around the house, with only one exception, Triple Thick Gloss. Being that the soap dispenser will be near water, I thought it was necessary to provide a protective finish. It matches perfectly!

Father's Day: "Farmers First Garden" Framed Pictures
Every birthday and holiday that I can remember, my father says the same thing: "I don't need anything, I've got you!". Which is why I always surprise him with something custom. This year, he has taken on the task of starting his first garden; tomatoes being the star of the play. He was too busy digging in the dirt to track the growth process, so I did it for him. With the help of my camera, Kinkos, and Target picture frames, I gave my dad close up shots of his first two tomatoes. 

Prayer of the Woods

Have you ever stopped to think about how much the woods has given to you?

June 24, 2013

Playlist: Lord Heron, Lonesome Dreams

A perfect musical discovery on a hot summer morning. Enjoy.

Quote: Inner Fire

“In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” 
-Albert Schweitzer

June 17, 2013

Quote: Benjamin Franklin

Well done is better than well said.

-Benjamin Franklin

(Me outside of Benjamin and Deborah Franklin's burial site in Philadelphia)

June 13, 2013

Stairway to Heaven

An absolutely beautiful rendition of Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin, performed by Heart. It even makes Robert Plant cry.

June 12, 2013


This is a quote from an article titled, "What to Know at 25(ish)", by Shauna Nequist found on A well traveled woman. I was so happy to read this quote/article because it was another way for me to feel secure with the decision I made at 24: leave the job I was unhappy with and for the first time realize that I have time to figure it all out. The next few years will be spent reading, traveling, being inspired, cooking, learning and doing all things that my heart desires.

Don’t get stuck. Move, travel, take a class, take a risk. There is a season for wildness and a season for settledness, and this is neither. This season is about becoming. Don’t lose yourself at happy hour, but don’t lose yourself on the corporate ladder either. Stop every once in a while and go out to coffee or climb in bed with your journal. Now is your time. Walk closely with people you love. Don’t get stuck in the past, and don’t try to fast-forward yourself into a future you haven’t yet earned. Give today all the love and intensity and courage you can, and keep travelling honestly along life’s path

June 10, 2013

Thought: What is Loyalty?

At what point is it ok to forget about the loyalty you have to another and truly be loyal to yourself? 

While I struggle with the answer to that question when it comes to making decisions, I believe that deep down I do know what my wise mind tells me: You must be loyal to yourself before you can be loyal to anything else.

It's been a struggle of mine to learn to be loyal to myself. I'm the type of person who is always saying "I have to do this, I have to do that" when in reality, I don't. I've learned that I need to see what is in my best interest. Doing what is in your best interest isn't always exactly what you would like to be doing, but most of the time it can help you make decisions easier and with less worry. 

So, maybe the answer to the question is balance. 

I do believe that while you're young it is important to be selfishly loyayl to ourselves and dedicated to the cause of understanding ourselves. It is only after we are fully aware of what makes us happy and where our passions lie, that we can begin to understand loyalty to another individual or cause. Then que the balanc. 

June 6, 2013

One Wild & Precious Life

The Summer Day
by Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Jane Goodall: Roots & Shoots & Change

During my most recent trip to Whole Foods, I came across this magazine, Shambhala Sun, while I was checking out. I decided to pick it up because I was craving some form of spiritual reading. It turns out that I picked up one of todays best-selling and widely-read Buddhist magazine. The July 2013 issue's main focus was on "Your Body", which fell right into place with journey that I'm embarking on in life; truly learning to be in touch with my body both physically, and mentally.

While flipping through the pages I stopped at a Q&A with Jane Goodall, best known for her extensive work with chimpanzees and for being a pioneer of environmental conservation and animal welfare issues. In "For Love of Nature," author Andrea Miller starts off by asking Goodall how she maintains hope. She answered with a beautiful explanation as to why her youth program is called Roots and Shoots.

"My reason for hope is - first of all - my youth program, Roots and Shoots. This is the way I explain why it's called that: children are like plants. They start out as a tiny seed. Then wee roots and shoots appear. They're weak at first, but the power within the seed is so magical that the little roots reach water and the little shoots reach the sun. Eventually, they can push rocks aside and work through cracks in a brick wall. They can even knock a wall down. The rocks and the walls are the problems we've inflicted on the planet - environmental and social - but roots and shoots surround the world. Plants can change the world; they can undo a spot of the damage we've created. And young people are definitely going to change the world" 

While I may not be a child, I am still young and can relate to this description of growing and overcoming obstacles. I think it's important in life that as we get older we still embrace the thinking of a child; the world is theirs and nothing is impossible! Unfortunately today, some people have the attitude that their one little contribution won't make a difference. Later on in the article, Goodall makes an argument as to why individuals shouldn't believe this.

"The big problem today is that so many people feel insignificant. They feel that the problems facing the world are so huge that there's nothing they can do, so they do nothing. And as an individual maybe there really isn't that much, but when you get thousands, and then millions of individuals all doing the best they can every day for the environment and for other beings, then you get huge change" 

So, take a step back and think about what changes you'd wish to see in the world except this time, don't feel discouraged. Find a group or a foundation who shares the same beliefs and volunteer. As Jane ends the article, "It's all a question of how you go about trying to create change."

For more information about Jane Goodall and the Jane Goodall Institute, check out www.janegoodall.org.