Be Hopeful, Be Humble, and Read All the Time

Only a month behind schedule, but spring has finally arrived in Ontario. The temperatures have been so pleasant and I can’t wait to see how it’s going to continue to improve as we get closer to summer.

It goes without saying that I am hoping with all hope that the summer will be just as nice. Fingers crossed that it won’t get too hot, though nothing will ever beat the summer heat of Florida. Sorry Canadian family, but I can’t complain when the high reaches the low-80s with humidity factored in! I won’t do much complaining anyway after the frigidly cold and too long winter we had. I will be happy to sweat in the heat and squint when the sun is too bright. Bring it on!

Speaking of hope, there have been a lot of people and places that have needed a hefty does of it lately. So many tragic and terrible events have been happening all over the world, but I won’t go into them. This is not a place to rehash the negative, but to grasp and hold onto the positive.

Hope is important. I recall the amount of times that Ginnifer Goodwin’s character, Mary Margaret/Snow White, on Once Upon a Time falls back on it. It’s a powerful, driving force that, when used, can help a person through even the worst situations. I needed a lot of hope these past few months and, while things have improved for my personal well-being, I am still holding it close to me.

Which is why it’s refreshing to wake up with a reminder around my wrist to ‘Be Hopeful’. In contrast, there is also the reminder to ‘Be Humble’.

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When I first saw these bracelets on Instagram, I thought it was the next ‘fad’ that people were going to be wearing. They were originally only in clear, but when I saw the blue ones, my interest was slightly peeked.

Lokai works in partnership with a variety of non-profit charities. In March, to celebrate healthy water for all, they partnered with charity: water. They created this exclusive blue bracelet with 100% of the funds that were donated through the purchase to help bring drinkable water to the less fortunate countries in the world. I am a strong supporter that drinkable and healthy water is not a privilege. I am hopeful that this ideal will be eradicated along with poverty, starvation, and the myriad of complications that exist in our world.

The black and white beads hold mud from the Dead Sea and water from Mt. Everest. The lowest and highest points in the world. “Be Hopeful” and “Be Humble”. The constant reminder that everything will be alright and to never think too highly of one’s self or what you may have. Achieving a perfect balance is difficult, but can be done. This I believe to be 100% true.

Why? Because I’m achieving it.

While my roadblocks in life are not nearly as comparable as the difficulties others have faced, I can say that I am starting to see a smoother path. Much smoother than it had been in quite some time. There are still some bumps, but that is to be expected. The important thing to remember is that you can get over them, albeit a bit slowly, and continue on your way.

Making time for yourself is part of this, which is what I have been doing every morning and every evening.

I recently read an article in Real Simple magazine where a reader got up in the morning, made herself coffee, and then read until she either finished the cup or it went too cold to drink. I started following this routine last week, through the weekend, and I have never felt better. Most people would think waking up at 6:30 AM on a Saturday would be torture…and it is. For the first five minutes. Then I fetch my coffee, open my curtains, and sit in the calming coziness of my bedroom, sipping my coffee, and reading. I missed reading and had challenged myself that I would read a total of 20-50+ books throughout the year.

I was 8 books behind schedule. Unacceptable! That needed to change.

Then I read the article and I realized how amazing it can make you feel. Sure I may be in bed between 9-9:30 PM and asleep by 10:00 PM, but it’s worth it! I suggest others try it, whether you take the time in the morning or evening. I’m fortunate that I can do both! I am finding that I am enjoying the books that I read even more as I am able to take in the content without interruption.

My recent reads included: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and Enclave (#1 in the Razorland Trilogy) by Ann Aguirre. I highly recommend both! I’m currently working on Starcrossed which I am enjoying, but still have a strong sense of skepticism of how I’m going to actually feel once I’m finished.

Be Hopeful, Be Humble, and Keep Smiling! Everything will be alright.

It’s Time to Spring Forward!

This is my own gentle reminder that tonight I need to turn the clocks forward one hour. Don’t forget!

In other news, it’s been far too long since I’ve written a blog post. Shame on me! I have a good reason, though.

Things have been pretty hectic for me on an emotional level, but I am doing a lot to get myself in a good place. It’s important to remember that these things are not immediate. It is a journey and one that will have plenty of ups and downs.

I have had a lot of downs with the onslaught of cold weather. I am ready for winter to be over with!

To try and conquer the winter blues, I have been trying to do some crafts and healthy living. I recently joined Nerd Fitness, which has been such a blessing. Imagine a place where the nerds and geeks of the world gather to support others in their quests for better living, health, and exercise. It’s fantastic! I’m currently working on my first 6 Week Challenge and it’s going very well thus far.

I’ve finally gotten back into crocheting, which has been fabulous! I’m working on a “skinny scarf” in a collection of absolutely gorgeous colors. Photos will be forthcoming!

So, in lieu of this dreary weather, try and keep your head up. Embrace your roadblocks, allow yourself the time to get your emotions out, and let it strengthen you.

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For 40 Days and 40 Nights

Wednesday began the tradition of Lent.

Since I can remember, I always made an effort to give up something for the tradition and not eat meat on Friday’s. While I have not been to church in quite some time, I remain spiritual.

Religion is not what this post is about, though!

This is about what I am choosing to do for Lent.

Rather than give up something, I have decided to make better what God has given me. That means, taking care of myself and giving myself a better image.

Eating better, not slumming around in pajamas all day, being more active, sparking creativity, challenging myself, and making that climb to a happier and healthier Kellie.

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Here are my steps to getting back on track!

1. Clean eating – This is not as difficult as it sounds. After doing some quick reading, I realized that most of the time, we are already doing this as a family. Now it’s just a matter of being more portion-conscious.

2. Breakfast – I’m really terrible at this. I was making smoothies almost every day and when I was, I was feeling better. This is something I want to get back into doing. They were delicious, filling, and gave me that boost that breakfast gives to you.

3. Drink More Water – I’m pretty good at this, but I could be doing better.

4. A Power Hour – I’m usually getting up with my little brother in the morning, and for a while, I was getting up at 7:00 AM to have coffee and me time before the hustle and bustle of getting off to school started. I need to get back into doing this.

5. Dress With a Smile – It’s important to fill every day with positivity. Smile when you wake up. Tell yourself that you’re beautiful and worth it. Remind yourself that you matter and that people love you.

Keep at it and don’t get discouraged. Everything takes work and if you’re willing to put in the time, the results will be amazing!

Things That Make You Go…and Smile!

I’m still diligently working on my Winter Survival List and I wanted to share things that make me smile!

Dreamcatchers

I have always found them to be both fun to make (and easy!) and beautiful to look at. This one I found via Pinterest and have linked the makers Etsy shop via the photo. Sadly, this particular one has been sold, but the maker has some lovely ones in their store. I would love to start making them along with my other crafting projects this winter!

Irises

I love these flowers so much. They’re a lovely color, appropriate for any season, add brightness, and have a very fresh aroma. I also appreciate the varying colors that you can find them in, though the royal purple is my favorite.

Daffodils

Or Narcissus if we’re being scientifically correct. Again, I love this particular flower. It’s bright, it has such a unique shape, and comes in a variety of colors. Put them with a few irises and greens? You have an arrangement that should bring a smile to your face whenever you see it.

Glitter

Things that sparkle, shimmer, and shine always make me smile. The end.

Sea Turtles

I just love these little guys! Even if they’re not so little.

Fashion Police

Kathy Griffin could never fully replace the magnificent Joan Rivers, but she is fabulous along with Brad Goreski, Kelly Osbourne, and Giuliana Rancic. Even if it’s raw and biting, they always find a way to point out the good assets that the faces of Hollywood bring to the world.

Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives

Out of all the food shows that I watch (and I definitely watch a lot of them!) this one has to be one of my favorites. I love to listen to Guy talk about food and to see how proud the people are to show off their creations.

This clearly does not include everything that makes me smile or laugh, but it’s a start! It’s good to remind yourself of the little and simple things that are out there that can bring that moment of brightness to your day.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Two pairs of socks, a foot warmer, two blankets, and at least two layers of clothing, and I’m still cold.

I saw this on another blogger’s website – Modern Mrs Darcy which I highly recommend – about things that get you through the winter.

Growing up in Maryland, cold weather shouldn’t be new to me. Snow, slush, and ice were expected. Granted, our level of snow was nothing compared to the massive amounts that other areas get. This I know. More often than not were were calling in the National Guard to assist with snow removal and keeping a general sense of order.

Even with the 20+ years of living in that area, the cold bothers me. Where are you, Elsa? Could I borrow a bit of your magic just for a few minutes?

Maybe it was from living in Florida. Even living in the warmer climates for a short period of time has thinned my blood to where I’m cold when it’s a comfortable 10C (50F in case you were wondering!) outside. Either way, -24C (-11F) is very cold.

So how am I getting through the winter? It hasn’t been easy, but I have been relying on these warming necessities:

1. Coffee & Tea

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Coffee in the morning for the initial caffeine boost and tea to maintain the much needed warmth. It definitely makes the day better to sit with my Panda mug that I picked up at the Toronto Zoo and watch morning talk shows. I’m currently loving the Donut Shop Favorites variety pack with International Delight’s Hazelnut creamer. My teas contain a mixture of Tetley Earl Grey Vanilla or Twinings Blackcurrant Black Tea. I’m not a coffee or tea connoisseur, but I use a little sugar in either and I’m as content as can be!

2. Blankets

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You can never have enough blankets. Even if you think you have too many, you don’t. I wrap up in, at least, two and sleep with five. Keep in mind that these are not overly heavy blankets made of pure sheep’s wool. They are your average weight blankets, but the layers are such a comfort.

3. Socks

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The first thing I go for in the morning. Sometimes it’s even two pairs. Either way, they are essential and something that helps keep me warm. The heavy, the better!

4. Music

Depending on the mood of the morning, I go between Spotify.ca’s Have A Great Day! list or the Acoustic Morning list. Either way, good music that makes me smile, is soothing, makes me sing, and has me dancing is a great way to get rid of those wintry blues.

I plan in building more to this list and will be sharing new additions are they come.

What are some of your favorite things that help you get through the cold months?

Keep Going

By now, there are probably a lot of people who have given up on their New Year’s resolutions for a variety of reasons. I am one of those people who, in the past, would have just thrown in the towel.

Not this year.

With the month half over, I have only started to conquer a quarter of the things I wanted to really delve into this year. That’s okay! Even if the year was half over, I believe you should never feel that it’s too late to start. It’s only too late to start if you don’t do it at all.

I’m staying positive and I’m going to continue to tell myself that I can do it.

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” – Confucius

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

(I really wish I knew who made this gif. It’s one of my favorites!)

Have you ever had one of those days when you wake up and everything clicks? You feel motivated, determined, and you want to accomplish things that you’ve been telling yourself to do for years.

I had that feeling this morning.

It was a sluggish morning since insomnia continues to rear it’s ugly head. When you don’t fall asleep until almost 4 AM, 7 AM comes entirely too early. Nevertheless, I rolled out of bed (albeit at 7:15) to get my step-brother up and off to school.

9 AM and all was quite in the house. Don’t get me wrong! I love my family, but I understand why my Mom loves those moments of peace and quiet. I made myself some coffee and proceeded to clean-up the DVR of my various ghost hunting shows. This morning it was an episode of Ghost Adventures. While I sat sipping my coffee and playing Candy Crush, I was also watching it snow. I don’t know why snowfall suddenly made me think about finally coming to terms with my adulthood, but it did.

It’s a scary thought when you take the time to really think on it. Too much of it has to be bad for your health.

Whatever it was in the falling snow, though, triggered something in my conscious. Or maybe it was my subconscious? Either way, rather than just saying that I’m going to make this year my year, I’m going to do it. For far too long I’ve said I’m going to do this and eventually do that. What do I have standing in my way? Nothing but myself.

Now is the time to stop being afraid and do it. Have fun and laugh! Enjoy life and love what has been given to you. No one can live your life for you, so unless you do it, no one will.

Life is Too Short to Not Enjoy the Little Things

Who knew that Facebook games could feel so fulfilling and give someone such excitement?

Yes, I am one of those people who plays a few of those silly Facebook games that drive most people crazy on their feeds. It use to make me so self-conscious and worried that my friends would get so frustrated with me.

You know what I say now? Life is too short. Enjoy the little things!

Which is why I have a separate Facebook account for games. Queue the sad trombone music.

In any case, I really enjoy playing City Girl Life, which is a simplified Sim-like game allowing the player to live in the busy city while pursuing a plethora of fun jobs. You buy fun clothing for a variety of occasions, have quests, make requests for items to complete said quests, and win!

You also spend real money. If you want to, of course.

Of course, today, the “Daily Deal” surrounded a number of items with peacock feathers.

I fully believe in protecting these beautiful creatures and would never use actual peacock feathers, but I do love the color palettes that they give to the world.

I also exhibit a similar reaction as the one above when I see most (read: any) things with peacocks decorating it.

Unfortunately, as I am without my own income, spending money to obtain these items wasn’t a top priority on my list. Enter my mother, who also enjoys these games as much as I do.

“Buy yourself the pack. You love peacocks. Life it too short to not enjoy it!”

This coming from the woman who is on disability, but would give you every last penny she had to help a person out or make someone happy.

I’m happy to say that I was able to win all the items, which made this cold and rainy day much brighter, but that’s not the point of all of this.

The point is that sometimes you have to enjoy those little, simple things that bring a smile to your face. What someone may find ridiculous may be just what someone needs to really make their day better.

“It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.” – Charles Spurgeon

Page One of A Never-ending Journey

I’m not very good at opening posts. The first post is usually where you talk about yourself, what you’re going to write, and your reasons behind doing what you’re doing.

For starters, I’m terrible at writing about myself. Talking myself up has never been a strong suit of mine, which is something I am working to better. There is a difference between being self-confident and self-centered, and I have never wanted to be the latter.

Secondly, my subject matter could vary! The initial purpose for starting a blog was to promote a positive outlook on life, happiness, calm, and good health. My hope is to stay on that route, but we’re all human. Emotions are always changing. There are good days, there are bad days, and there are days when we just want to hide under the blankets and stay there. Those are the days that I want to make better. For me, myself, and I, but also for my friends and family. Laughing is the best medicine after all, and it takes more muscles to frown than to smile.

Lastly, my reasons. I’m sure I could probably write up some deep paragraph as to why I want to do this. If I had the background in emotional studies, I could cite these reasons as to why you should take them to heart. However, since I have neither the background or the need to go into a lengthy description, the reason is simple: I want to. I want people to have something happy to read when most news feeds are filled with the constant reminder of the hurt happening in the world.

That said, this is my comfort corner. This is my spot in the cybernetic world of the internet that should bring a grin to your gray, a laugh to your lackluster, and a bit of happiness to your ho hum.

Kellie