Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Travel-inspired world map printable

Hey all my fellow wanderlusters!

Tomorrow is the first official day of summer, and my summertime blues have set it a little early. I believe this is directly related to the fact that a frosty drink is NOT in my hand, and sand is NOT between my toes. Everyone else is on vacation but me ( I feel!) so my travel envy is stirred up. We are taking a few small trips this year in anticipation for next summer's European tour with my rock star sister. (We get to be her roadies! Wahoo!)

So, a girl can dream of being a world traveler, right? Your honey by your side, laughing with the locals, having an adventure.....ahhh I can already feel it!

I've been on a world map kick lately and have been decorating the new place with lots of travel-related art.
Thought I'd share some of the love with you dreamers!

Enjoy this free printable! (Just open, save to your computer and print to 8x10.) And remember, it's not where you go, it's who you're with that really matters. ;)



Linking up here:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mind. Body. Soul.

I'm on a mission.

After the crazy long semester I've had (yes, I still think in semesters because working at a college will make you do that!) I'm on a mission to find some inner peace.

I got to a place I didn't like. I got so busy that I couldn't enjoy the life I was building for myself. As you'll see in this post, I was on a never-ending cycle of busy. Saying yes to others, even though I really did WANT to help them, was eating away at my quality of life. I was eating like crap, not exercising, drinking too much wine to reduce stress, and was completely exhausted all day long. Geez, just writing that out makes me cringe.

SO, after making a commitment to focus on my well being, we're off to a great start! Here are some of my tricks that have me on the road to peace.

1. YOGA! 

I must confess, I've always hated exercise. Well, and sweating. I've tried so hard to actually like running, Zumba, kickboxing, but they never stuck. Now yoga is another story. I looooooove love yoga. I actually look forward to it! It's so therapeutic on your mind and body. A sense of calm and strength envelops you as you move through the poses. And it's non-competitive or judgmental, so it's good for everyone!It's also such a spiritual endeavor for me.

Enjoying some sunrise yoga. So peaceful! (Photos by Kati Van Dunk)

This is my yoga instructor Amy. Maybe one day I'll look like this!

2. Eating whole foods. 

I'm not gonna lie, this takes some getting used to. I grew up in the "Bagel Bites and Poptarts" convenience food days with a single mom and a busy life. I think so many of us carry those bad eating habits into adulthood and pass them on to the next generation.

My husband studied nutrition and health in college and has really made me conscious of the things I put into my body. One of his tips is "If you can't pronounce the ingredients in the food, you shouldn't eat it."

We have a great farmer's market in town that we frequent, and it not only makes you feel good about eating natural food, but also you support your local economy and hard working folks. And that gives you warm fuzzies all around! And, I didn't know what was missing in my life until I had a juicy, sweet, homegrown tomato and giant East Texas blueberries. O.M.G.

Love me some farmers market goodness!

3.) Less TV, more music.

This step was so important for me. Just think of all the wasted time you spend mindless zoning out in front of the tube and the productive things you could be doing instead. Quality programming is so hard to find these days anyway, so why do we spend precious moments of our lives listening to Snooki's baby mama drama? Cut it out, it's toxic.

Instead, I've decided to fill my time with listening to awesome new music and discovering new artists. I love the feeling of finding a song that speaks to your soul. Here are a few of good ones I have on my current playlist:

"My Better Self" - Tennis
"Big Black Car" - Gregory Alan Isakov
"Up Against the Wall" - Peter Bjorn and John
"You're a Wolf" - Sea Wolf
"North by North" - Faded Paper Figures
"New World"- Devotchka
"Rome" - Phoenix

If you have any good ones, share with me in the comments! I love finding new music.

4.) Pray.

There's nothing more relaxing than giving it all to God at the end of the day. An overwhelming peace comes over you when you just talk to God like an old friend. Try it every night for a week. Don't forget to be thankful for all your blessings, too. Closing your eyes may open your eyes to how lucky you really are.

5.) Create.

This is what makes me really tick. For me, making things with my hands is the ultimate form of therapy.  Putting on a record, painting, sewing, drawing, making things....ahhhh. My studio is my happy place. A tip to making it stay this way is to designate an area and keep it organized. A cluttered craft room isn't conducive to happy crafting!

6.) Enjoy now.

Kiss your husband deeply. Hug your puppies when you get in the door, and accept all those sloppy kisses. Be playful. Be kind. Don't let negativity have a place in your heart. And for heaven sakes, say no. And keep on saying it. I read this awesome article on Zen Habits about saying no. It's not as scary as you may think.

In fact all of Zen Habits posts are amazingly insightful if you're looking for a more simple life. Go browse around and take all that advice to heart! It includes everything from escaping materialism to slowing your life down. Read more here.

So take some time to make a conscious effort to focus on what makes you truly happy and what feeds your mind, body and soul. I promise you'll reap the benefits in so many other aspects of your life!

Friday, June 8, 2012

My Sister, The Rock Star

As I woke up this morning to the sound of the radio, a familiar voice came over the airwaves. My humble house guest made a call to a local morning show to talk about her upcoming performances in her favorite place to play-here in Nacogdoches.

My new sister, Season Ammons, is an incredibly talented singer/ songwriter who is currently on tour in Texas. I'm so blessed to have this blacktop blazin', true-blue rebel road sista in my life!

She recently moved to Destin, Fla., and has been showcasing her talent at beach-side venues, no doubt making a name for herself in her new locale. Her songs are an intoxicating mix of blues and soul, mixed with a some serious Texas attitude and sultry vocals. Basically, the first time I heard her sing, I got chills from head to toe. She is an award-winning songwriter, whose songs speak from the heart about life and love, heartache and hard times.

I'll never forget sitting around her kitchen table, coming up with melodies and crafting the perfect line of a song. She really pours her heart and soul into every performance and it is quite a refreshing sight to see. She also does a MEAN Rihanna remix....sista's got some SOUL for real!

So, on the first leg of her tour, she'll be playing here at the Texas Blueberry Festival AND, as if she wasn't talented enough, she also is an accomplished chef and she'll be doing a cooking demonstration at "Cooking up the Blues." She's "The Singing Chef," so she'll be multitasking! How cool is that?

To top it off, she'll be performing at the Hotel Fredonia and having a video premiere party! You can watch her music video to "I'm Alive" here. It was filmed in my old cottage and around my town. And, yes, that's our broke-down truck she's talking about!

So, do yourself a favor, go check out her music at seasonammons.com, I promise you won't be disappointed! And like her on facebook while you're at it!
Can't wait to hang out with the more than 15 outlaw in-laws of mine this weekend. They sure know how to have a good time. Sure am blessed to have married into such an incredible family. :)

Love y'all and support your local musicians! It makes ya feel good!


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

DIY Potluck Recipe Holder | Guest Blog

Hi Friends!

I'm super excited to guest blog today at my friend Katie's blog Building a House of Love! She is one of my real life friends who just happens to have an awesome blog about family, life and fun crafty stuff. We go waaaay back to middle school days and I'm excited to share my DIY Potluck Recipe Holder there today. Go check it out and visit her other great posts, too. She is one awesome blogger, wife, mom and friend!