Sweet progress!


Hello, dear readers. It’s time, once again, (long past, really), for a progress update on this year’s resolutions, or experiments, as I like to call them. And what an appropriate time to reflect and take stock than right at the approach of the Autumnal Equinox?

It’s been an interesting year, so far. As always, nothing has been as planned, exactly. But I feel I’ve been pretty consistently making progress on my path – through many self-corrections, re-directions, stumbles, and pauses along the way.

It’s been really interesting to me how, especially in the last few months, I’ve been noticing so many pieces of my past resurfacing in both new and familiar ways, presumably so that I might start addressing those old patterns and emotional residues to allow for more progress and growth in the now.

This does, of course, mean some pretty gnarly pitfalls as I struggle to, first, recognize when one of these ‘opportunities for growth’ is presenting itself, and, secondly, to figure out how to break an old un-serving pattern, then, thirdly, to establish a new and healthy way to handle the situation. Whew! It’s a lot of work, but it tells me that I have chosen some very appropriate experiments for my Self this year. So, let’s check in on my progress, shall we?

Experiment #1: Formally observe the Wheel of the Year. Write blog posts on each. Make videos on each.

Well, I’ve done everything here except make videos. And I’m okay with that. I’m already feeling a closer connection with Mama Nature as a result, and am so glad I’m doing this.

Experiment #2: Try something new. Choose (minimum) 6 new things to try this year.

IMG_4233While I have not as yet been sticking to the list of activities I planned for this experiment – SUP Yoga, solo camping trip, meetup group, aerial dance, sewing from pattern, hang gliding – I have been trying new things … and having a blast! I didn’t get to take an SUP Yoga class, but I did get to do some Stand-Up Paddling, which I’d never done before. It was great fun, and I hope to do more of it again in the future. I also went rock climbing for the first time. I’ve wanted to do this for ages, and finally some friends invited me to be their guests at the rock gym. It was so much fun. I absolutely loved it. And I felt doubly proud of myself for conquering my fear of heights as I conquered the wall. I’ve done some online dating this year. It may not seem as daring as some of the other items on the list, but, for me, it takes a great deal of courage to do it. I’ve put up profiles before, and fielded a few emails, but I’ve never actually let myself go through with any dates … until now. No real luck in finding my Prince Charming, yet, but it’s still something new that takes me [way] out of my comfort zone, so I’m counting it. I am still planning a solo camping trip, and hope to attend a meetup soon. (I had planned to go to one recently, but a terrible headache squashed those plans.) We’ll see what else I can get into by year’s end.

Experiment #3: Start a YouTube channel. Make regular monthly posts.

This experiment has been a bust … so far, at least. We’ll see if I get any traction on it this year. If not, I’ll add it to next year’s list.

Experiment #4: Save some money.

Well, I am managing to do this, but I am also, then, spending that saved money, so it’s been kind of a wash so far. I’m not spending terribly frivolously, a lot of it is my trying to pay down my quarterly taxes and my debt, but I do have a habit of spending mindlessly at times. The entire experiment is forcing me to take a strong look at my relationship with finances, and to seek out and implement new strategies that will work for me. So, progress is happening.

Experiment #5: Volunteer!

Once again, I’m sad to report that I’ve had an epic fail in the volunteering department. I still have a few months left, though, to get organized enough to make this happen on the regular for next year.

Experiment #6: Take a proper vacation.

Done! My trip to Belize took care of this one! You can read about it HERE.


Experiment #7: Go fully raw LFHC vegan for one month, beginning with a 3-day stint on Banana Island.

I’ve not done a straight month, but I’ve been pretty consistently mostly raw low fat vegan for the better part of this year. I’m no longer interested in Banana Island, so that’s not a priority. I have learned that I feel about a million times better when I’m eating low fat raw vegan, but I do occasionally give into emotional/nostalgic cravings. I’m okay with that right now, but I feel like I’m on the road to more and more raw every day. And I think this might have been one of the best goals I have ever set for myself. Yay!

Experiment #8: One month of super productivity.

Well, this was kind of a badly constructed resolution. I didn’t make it very quantifiable, did I? Being a classic Tortoise – slow and steady wins the race! – I will never be as super-productive as those Hares out there who spend every waking hour making things and/or making things happen. That said, though, I’ve been much more productive this year than I have been in many long years. I’ve been trying to create more clarity about what I want my life to look like, and how I want to spend my time, and the clearer that vision gets, the easier it is to set to work making it happen. I still have a lot of work ahead to hone my vision, my desires, and my self-motivational style, but the cogs are turning and things are happening, and that’s a good start.

Experiment #9: Be creative. Have at least 6 finished products by year’s end.

This resolution has been signed, sealed and delivered! I’ve been doing embroidery projects (tea towels, handkerchiefs), made a spirit house for my recently departed four-legged nephew, and making bath salts. I’ve made lavender sachets, a pinecone garland, and dehydrated some citrus slices to be used in a gratitude garland, and, possibly, some homemade tea blends. I made costume accessories for a short film. I’ve made a Bride’s Cross, a pine straw besom, and an altar cloth. And I’ve got several more projects in the works. So, yeah, creativity? I’m on it!

IMG_4201      IMG_4190      IMG_3463_2

Experiment #10: Write an ebook and sell it online.

Well, I have made several starts on some book ideas, but I think the one that might actually get made this year, is a recipe book that I’m currently developing. It will be mostly low fat raw vegan recipes, with some transitional foods recipes, as well. I figured it was best to start simple, and see how the process works. We’ll see whether or not it will be finished by the end of the year.

Experiment #11: Pay off debts by a minimum 50% by year’s end.

Ironically, I did this already, but then I had some unexpected business expenses (and a few personal expenses) that put me right back where I was when I made this resolution. I have a solid plan in place, though, for paying them down, so I’m feeling, again, like I’m making progress. I’m also remembering why having debt sucks so much. It’s a cyclical downward spiraling situation. Debt begets debt, as the payments and interest rates make a small salary evaporate faster than rain on Southern blacktop. I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all. (On the Pollyanna side, though, I’m rebuilding my credit now that I have credit again. So, that’s good, I guess.)

Experiment #12: Reduce consumption, and, therefore, cost of living.

This was another instance of a poorly written resolution. I didn’t leave any hints on how to quantify success here. I can say that just trying to educate myself on the subject has been hugely helpful to me. I’m learning so much … about reducing my footprint, but also about myself, and my relationship to stuff and money. I have managed to make some fairly significant cuts in my budget and am continually looking for more opportunities to streamline my living and minimize my consumerism. It’s a challenge as I came of age in the 80’s, which begat in me a strong nostalgic connection to buying shit. But I’m working through these attachments and trying to find new, more fulfilling ways to address those emotional needs.

All in all, I’m still really happy with the resolutions I’ve chosen for myself this year. And I’m feeling pretty good about my progress. I’m learning so much and feel like I’m improving myself in some really positive and healthy ways. Perhaps some of this work is overdue, but personal growth is a good idea any time, in my book.

How about you? Did you set resolutions this year? Are you keeping to them? Are you learning from them? Are they helping you grow? I hope so.

Happy Equinox!

Resolution Roundup

Argh!  It’s July, already?!?  So much for regular monthly updates.  Luckily for me, that wasn’t one of my resolutions, so I don’t feel tooooo badly about it.  Still, it’s definitely time for a resolution roundup.  Here’s how I’m doing …

1.  Formally Observe the Wheel of the Year.

I’m happy to report that I’m still on point with this experiment.  I don’t always get to celebrate in the exact ways I would like, but, so far, I’ve celebrated every holiday in some way.  And it’s definitely making a beautiful impact on my life.  My connection with the Natural Order is deepening and I’m feeling much more attuned with my relationship to Spirit.

2.  Try Something New.

Just last month I got to take my very first stab at paddle boarding.  It was great fun!  (I’m also in the process of planning a visit to a SUP yoga class.)  I went to Belize – somewhere I’d never been before.  Since late winter, I’ve been exploring lots of new hiking trails here in Durham.  I’ve got more work to do on this experiment, but I’m feeling good about my progress so far.

3.  Start YouTube channel.

Still stalling on this one.  I’m hopeful, though.

4.  Save $.

I have so far been able to implement – and maintain – a regular contribution to savings.  Woo Hoo!  It’s not a super large contribution at present, but the initial challenge of the goal was to just create the habit.  So, I consider this a win!

5.  Volunteer.

Still need to make this one happen.

6.  Take a proper vacation.

DONE!  A week and a half in Placencia, Belize checked this experiment off the list.  Read about it here!

7.  Go fully raw LFHC vegan for one month.

I’m actually making great progress on this.  I am mostly eating LFHC raw vegan all the time now, with only very occasional exceptions for cooked vegan eats.  I already consider this a win, and I hope I will continue to make this way of eating my everyday lifestyle.  I originally was intending to do a 3-day intro stint on Banana Island, but I no longer feel this is a good option for me, so I’m dropping that piece of the resolution.

8.  Have a month of super-productivity (a la Tynan)

Well, this one is tricky.  I’ve certainly had productive runs during this year, but as yet have not managed to go a month being super productive.  I am still working toward that goal, though.  I am noticing benefits from even the short bursts of productive behavior.  Hopefully I can keep adding to the practice and grow it by year’s end.

9.  Be creative.

I feel like I’ve been quite creative in the kitchen lately.  Since I’ve been eating primarily low fat high raw vegan foods, I’ve had to get creative making seasonal dishes that are delicious, nutritious, filing, and pretty.  It’s a fun challenge.  I’m hoping to start a few more artistic/craftsy projects in the coming months, and will keep you posted on that progress.

10.  Write an ebook and sell it online.

I’ve got a partially written book on file.  However, I’m thinking I’m going to scrap it and start all over.  As with many things in my life, I think I’m making it more difficult than it needs to be by starting with a project with a too-large scope.  So, I’m thinking I am going to reconvene with a few smaller undertakings like, perhaps, a recipe book, or some smaller instructional guides as a way of getting my feet wet in this arena.  I’ll let you know what happens!

11.  Pay off debts (50%) by year’s end.

I’m feeling really good about this resolution.  I’ve already managed to pay off about a third of my debts already.  And I’ve made what I think is a pretty solid plan for paying off the rest (save, maybe, my car debt) by year’s end.  It’s astonishing how quickly debt can pile up when I’m not mindful about my spending.  It’s a challenge, but I am up to it!  Financial freedom, here I come … again!

12.  Reduce consumption/cost of living.

This has been an ongoing process all year long, and I’m still working with it.  It’s definitely a worthwhile effort that pays off in more than just financial savings.  I’m still hoping to do a proper write up of some of the things I’m learning and implementing.   It’s an exciting journey!

So, that’s my progress.  Of course, it’s not perfect.  But I’m pretty proud of where I am, nonetheless.  How about you?  Where are you with your resolutions?  What experiments have you been cooking up in your life?  I’d love to hear from you … just drop a line in the comments below.

Until next time … Happy experimenting!



An Overdue Update

Sorry for the ‘quick and dirty’ version, but I’ll work on my timeliness!


Apologies! I’ve been tardy again with my blog updates. It’s been a mad, mad, mad, mad world over here in Melanie-Land lately. But lots of good is growing, and progress is being made. I have made some new decisions, put some plans in action and am feeling really happy about where I’m heading. In fact, as is my wont, it’s a challenge to temper my impatience, and to enjoy the journey of the process of making these new dreams happen. More on the bigger news later in this post. For now, let’s do a check-in with the annual experiments (resolutions), shall we?

So, I’ve managed to make a dent in the creativity department (Experiment no. 9). A friend asked me to help do the costuming for a short film she’s directing. I was tempted to say no, as I wasn’t sure how much time I had to offer…

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New Year’s Experiments 2015 Update

Wow. It’s already the end of January. This year is already off to a brisk start! Thankfully, some of that locomotive energy has been inspiring me to stay motivated this month. Like many people, I, too, feel like there are never really enough hours in the day to do the things I need to do as well as the things I want to do. And so be it. Because, when you get right down to it, most of those things in the first column really belong in the latter. I mean, I only need to work as much as I do to be able to supply enough income for my wants. So, my timing crisis is my choice, and I’ll not bitch about it here. In fact, despite working with this limited docket of free minutes and hours, I have managed to be quite productive this month. TOOT! TOOT! (That’s my own horn, if you were wondering.)

Sweet progress!

Sweet progress!

I am proud to say that I have made some very admirable progress on my new year’s resolutions … which I have decided to call my new year’s experiments from now on, because that makes them sound more fun and enjoyable.

Here is an update on my progress …

Experiment #1 is off to a fine start. The first holiday of the year, as is depicted on the Wheel of the Year is Imbolc. It’s celebrated on February 1st – 2nd. I just posted an article about the holiday on my personal blog. Go here if you’d like to read it. And I will be celebrating with an informal little ritual at home tomorrow evening. I even made a craft in honour of the holiday!

Experiment #4 has also gotten some quality time this month.  I have not only met my target with my savings plan for this month, but I have exceeded it. Yippee!

Experiment #7 is prepped and ready for take off. Tomorrow I begin my month-long experiment of eating fully raw LFHC (low fat high carb) raw vegan in the 80/10/10 style. I’ve been using the past several weeks to work a transition. I’ve already had more than a handful of fully raw days this year, and, despite my doubts, I am not only enjoying the food, but am experiencing improved health even just from this transitional period. I can’t wait to experience the positive effects of a whole month of this fully raw lifestyle. To be honest, I’m not sure I’m going to stick to the 3-day Banana Island intro, but we’ll see. I haven’t ruled it out yet, but I’m thinking I might prefer to finish with that on the last three days of the month, instead. I’ll keep you posted.

While I haven’t officially embarked on Experiment #8’s month of super-productivity, I can tell you that I am doing a good job of prepping for it so far. I have been reorganizing my house and purging a huge hunk of my belongings. I’ve been putting more time and energy into my work. I’ve been doing a ton of research online. I’m reading several books. And I’m spending less and less time vegging on the couch in front of the telly. Being productive feels good!

Hand-stitched pin-up hand towels. What?!

I’m happy to report that I have already ticked off one of my creativity projects for Experiment #9. I have been teaching my Self to stitch (as in decorative hand needlework) since December. This month, I stitched some hand towels to be given as gifts to some friends. Here’s a photo of the final project. While I’m still just beginning to hone this craft, I’m quite pleased with how they turned out.

I started the outline of an ebook late last year. Thus, Experiment #11. I’ve been steadily working on it this month, and am excited to continue fleshing it out as the year progresses.

I’ve really been having some fun with Experiment #12. While I am proud of my savings efforts for Experiment #4, I feel like my work with Experiment #12 is going to allow me much more freedom to be able to stick with my savings plan. In addition to squirrelingl away my allotted savings for the month, I have been culling my belongings and selling things I no longer need on craigslist. So far, I’ve managed to sell a lamp, a collector’s DVD, a Polaroid camera, and an iPod Nano (3rd generation). I still have tons more available for sale, and even more to post. And speaking of culling … I’ve been whittling my budget, too. To date, I have canceled my ZipCar membership, CompostNow membership, Pandora One subscription, and Hulu Plus subscription. I’m researching ways to live more frugally, but with more meaning and true satisfaction. I’ll be posting about this on my personal blog soon, so check there often for updates.

So, that’s my January. I’m on a roll, and it’s feeling absolutely blissful! I’ve got plans in the works for some more upcoming adventures, so stay tuned.

How is your year going so far? I’d love to hear from you. We can support each other as we build lives full of meaning and fulfillment and bliss!  To borrow a phrase from President Obama:  Yes, we can!

Happy February!




It’s that time, again, kiddos! Who’s stepping up in 2015?


imageHere we are again in the doorway of a shiny new year. 2015. Before I start allowing my self to get too comfortable with this new year, I have decided to, once again, take some precautionary measures to ensure that I get the very best out this year. As you know if you’re a regular reader, I have been making a list of resolutions every January for the past several years. And while I am still tweaking my style, I am finding the practice to be a worthy one. For me, at least. The process of ruminating on and organizing intentions for the coming year does several things for me.

First and foremost, it sort of forces me to take inventory of how I spent my time and energy in the past year. It allows me to compare that performance against how I hope to spend my time and energies…

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Experiments in … Holding My Self Accountable vs. Allowing My Self To Falter (aka: A Resolution Round-up)

It’s December! Already! How did we come to the closing of the year so quickly? It feels like I was writing out my resolutions just last week. But, I guess, time flies when you’re having experiments in bliss.

What a wild and wonderful year it’s been! While I must confess that I have lagged on my resolutions in this last quarter of the year, I am exuberantly proud of the personal progress I’ve managed to make in 2014. I have completely restructured my lifestyle and my health continues to improve daily. As a direct result, of course, my quality of life is improving. This process, like so many others in my life, and in Nature, is happening at the Tortoise’s pace. The Aries in me can get impatient at times, but I just keep reminding her that most true and lasting positive change takes time. My true nature seems to be more that of the Tortoise than the Hare, anyway, so this pace, in the big picture, suits me just fine.

So, I think I’m going to just dive right into my resolution round-up. Let’s see how I did, shall we?

January was all about organization. Resolution #1: Organize home and life. Considering the fact that I was getting settled into my new loft and starting to fall into a good flow of client retention at work, I feel like this resolution was met. I will pretty much always believe that there can be more organizational improvements made. That’s the Virgo in me.) But I feel very good about my organizational work this year. Yay! One resolution met!

February saw the advent of the elimination diet. Resolution #2: Treat myself to an elimination diet during the month of February. Then adjust everyday diet accordingly to eat for optimal health and not for emotional reasons. This was perhaps the best and most important gift I gave myself this year. In fact, it’s one of the best things I’ve EVER done for my Self. This elimination diet, which ended up lasting through March, was the beginning of my discovery of the low fat high carb vegan lifestyle. And this lifestyle has been and is still creating so much positive change in my health, and in my life, in general. Hooray! Two resolutions met!

Exercise was the theme for March. Resolution #3: Get moving! Exercise regularly and joyously. Physical exertion has been an ongoing topic of scrutiny for me this entire year. I get plenty of exercise. I walk or bike almost everywhere. My job is physical. I stretch and wiggle all the time. And I occasionally even fit in some formal workouts. So, I have no qualms about claiming the prize on this resolution. Would I like to make some changes and improvements in this arena? Yes. But I’m satisfied with where I am until those changes can be made. (More on this in an upcoming post.) Awesome! Three resolutions met!

April was about cultivating creativity. Resolution #4: Do something creative every week. Make actual artist dates a la The Artist’s Way. Have some kind of finished project to show for your efforts at least once a month. Okay, so this is where my footing starts to get a little slippery on the resolution road. While I have managed to participate in many creative endeavors this year – probably more than I have in the past several years – I have not been as consistent as this resolution dictates. So, we’ll call this one a Room For Improvement.

Meditation was the plan for May. Resolution #5: Cultivate a meditation practice. I was doing some really good work on this resolution for a while. Unfortunately, I eventually let Life seep into my practice and suddenly so many excuses seemed to take precedence. However, spiritually speaking, this is what a meditation practice is. It’s not about perfection, but about practice. It takes time to make it a habit. It involves failures as well as successes. And it’s as much a lesson in how the failures are handled, as it is about how many successes are had. So, I’m considering this one a Room For Improvement, as well.

June was an attempt to separate my personal life from my working life. Resolution #6: Give myself days off of work and don’t work on those days! Seems like such a simple aim. Alas, it continues to prove otherwise for me … often to my detriment. I continue to struggle with my own boundaries about how much I can reasonably work. I’m also a sucker for helping out when I am needed. And while this stems from a good place of wanting to be a helpful and contributing member of the work team, my inability to refuse these requests for help most often leave me overwhelmed, overworked, and with a strained immune system. So, while I was doing okay with this resolution during a few months mid-year, overall I am calling this resolution a fail. Or rather, this is an opportunity for more reflection on my personal needs and how to provide for and protect those needs in my own words and deeds. Let’s do it!

Financial health was the name of the game in July. Resolution #7: Save some money. Well, I did manage to save some money this year. However, I also managed to spend most of it in these last few months. I don’t regret putting the money where I did, but I’m eager to start saving again. This time, I hope I can manage to create a more substantial nest egg. Another growth opportunity. It’s on!

August asked me to indulge my social side. Resolution #8: Be more social. I think my failing with this resolution was that I didn’t designate any specific parameters to be met, so I have no real concrete way of gaging how successful I was at achieving it. That said, I feel like I gave a decent showing out in the world. I even hosted a couple of parties. I’m still fairly hermity, but I managed to get myself outside much more often than I have in years past, so I’m calling this a win. Alright! Another resolution met!

September was about taking care of my Self. Resolution #9: Make room for some kind of Self care every week. Well, while I didn’t get too caught up in documenting how often I was doing things for my Self, I can say that I practice Self care regularly. Whether it be meditation, hydrotherapy, yoga, time in sunshine, cuddles with my best bunny friend, or sundry other delightful treats, I treat my Self often. So, this resolution is one that can be happily checked as accomplished. Heck yeah! Five resolutions met!

October wasn’t about me. It was about others. Resolution #10: Volunteer at least once a month. I am very sad to admit that this resolution got lost in the shuffle of end-of-the-year busyness. It’s a downright fail. I mean, er, another opportunity to work harder in 2015! I’m looking forward to it!

November urged novelty. Resolution #11: Try something new at least once a month. While this is a notion I support, I admit that I wasn’t specific enough in it’s phrasing. I’m sure there were many new things I tried at many times throughout this year, but I did not always take note of them. So, I think I’m going to consider this a faulty resolution. Maybe I will try to tweak it into something more measurable and specific, perhaps, for next year?

December was all about spirit. Resolution #12: Cultivate a spiritual practice and attune to Nature by observing the Wheel of the Year, Esbats and Astors. I’m afraid I didn’t do very well on this one, either. While I was almost always aware of when these events were taking place, I was not good about formally (or informally, if I’m being honest) acknowledging and honoring them. We’ll be seeing this resolution again, dear readers. Be ready.

So that’s it. Five resolutions met. Two resolutions partially met with Room For Improvement. One faulty resolution. And four resolutions unmet leaving opportunities for new growth. It’s not perfect, but it’s decent. And I’m happy with this progress. I’m looking forward to setting some new resolutions for 2015. I suppose I will have to get busy with that really soon. Still, it’s gonna have to wait until another entry.

Happy New Year, lovelies! 2014 has been a wild and wonderful ride. Thanks for sharing it with me! If you’d like to share how you did on your resolutions this year, I’d love to hear from you. Just leave a comment below (or message me directly if you tend toward a more private nature). May 2015 bring you health, wealth, bliss and love!


August/September/October: Playing Catchup!!

Hello gentle readers! Many apologies for the extended absence. So much has been happening in my world, and I have been working very hard to remain unburied by it all. Sadly, that didn’t translate into my prioritizing the blog updates. Sometimes you just have to remove yourself and take care of your Self before you can jump back into the game, you know?

Anyway, here I am, and I’m going to jump straight in with my resolution progress reports for these three months past.

At my last writing, I was working with July’s resolution of “Saving Some Money.” It was going decently until I used my money to pay off all my debt, including an old forgotten debt that was marring my credit report. So, I’m back at Square 1. Actually, it’s more like Square 2, as I have a plan already in place for saving money every month. So, I’m on my way. And, as is one of my favorite personal mottoes: Slow and steady wins the race!

August’s resolution was to Be More Social. If I’m being honest, I wasn’t thinking about my resolutions during this month at all. However, I managed to keep this resolution nonetheless! I managed to make several dinner dates with friends as well as general social meetings with friends I don’t get to see in the course of my everyday life. And these meet-ups have continued through to the present, and will, hopefully, continue indefinitely. So, good on me!

In the month of September I was to Make Room For Some Kind of Self Care Every Week. Did I do it? Yes, actually. Once again, without actually paying any attention to my resolutions, I was subconsciously fulfilling them. (Yeah!) I have a standing weekly appointment with my acupuncturist. We do any combination of acupuncture, tui na massage therapy, and/or cupping every Tuesday. So, my resolution is covered. On top of that, however, I’ve also been trying to get more regular massage sessions as well as the odd facial service here and there. I’ve also been working in more yoga classes where I can be a student and practice rather than just teach. It’s wonderful. I’ve discovered two really wonderful studios in town – one where I have been practicing and already feel a kindred connection with the community of practitioners, and another where I am eagerly awaiting the opportunity to attend some classes. I actually spent much of September on the treadmill and in my bedroom doing some muscular endurance, cardio, and flexibility training. Woot! However, as my body has been shifting these last several months, and continual working on concrete floors, walking on concrete sidewalks, and living at home with concrete floors, some of my old postural injuries have started reappearing. I consider this good progress – which may be strange for some folks to understand – but I am also taking things much easier right now as I try to work through these injuries in a holistic and safe way. All in all, a resolution met.

October’s resolution is to Volunteer At Least Once a Month. While I am very excited about this resolution, I am feeling like it’s not going to be met this month. I’m not even sure if it will be met this year, if I’m being really realistic with my Self. However! Regardless of what happens with this beautiful resolution this year, I will be recycling into 2015’s list. So, get ready for some good giving back soon. And even if I’m not able to actively do much volunteering right now, I am donating services to deserving organizations in the area, so I guess this might be a half-fulfilled resolution with a promise of more to come.

So, that’s got us up to date for now. How about you? Have you managed to keep any resolutions? Or have you evolved any resolutions to work in a better or more authentic way for you as you’ve grown this year? I’d love to hear your stories and experiences.

I’m hoping to carve out more time for writing in the last phase of this year, so keep checking back here and on my personal blog (Experiments In Bliss) for more news.

Have a beautiful Autumn, a happy Halloween, a powerful Samhain, and gorgeous Life of living your Light!


July: Save Some Money

Well, it seems I’ve dropped the ball a bit on my update this month. You can’t see it, but I’m blushing with embarrassment. But, to my credit, it’s been a very unusual four weeks, including a three week stint of a summer cold whose symptoms are still lingering in a very inconvenient way. So, hopefully, dear reader, you will forgive me.


As you may recall, last month’s resolution was to carve out days off of work and to actually not work on those days. It was a pretty easy resolution for me to keep. A couple months ago I had dabbled with taking on more workdays, and that proved to be just too much for me physically, so the lesson was learned … again. Now, despite sometimes wanting to make a little extra cash, I am unwilling to add extra workdays to my schedule. It’s just a personal boundary that I’m unwilling to breach.


So … let’s move on to July. It’s only appropriate since the month is already almost over, yeah?


July’s resolution is about saving some money. And while I’m not going to disclose the particulars of this resolution, I will let you in on the fact that I have been working on my budget pretty diligently of late. I am close to laying all the puzzle pieces together so I’m building up some savings on a regular basis. This may seem like a small feat, but I’ve never been good at saving, so it’s actually a big deal. There are several special purchases that I am saving for, at present, so it will be a little slow-going at first, but I’m optimistic. Plus, work is always much slower in the summer, so I am expecting things to get a lot easier come autumn.


In any case, I feel like I’m in a decent place in relation to my goals right now. Things aren’t perfect, but I’d never expect them to be. All I am hoping is that this resolution experiment will help me to make some good healthy progress on my life journey.


How about you? How’s your year progressing? Are you keeping resolutions? Breaking them? Rewriting them? Pretending they never existed in the first place?


Good luck, whatever your path!



Getting Oily

From the desk of: Erin



Regarding “natural” living, I’d like to think of myself as “practically and skeptically crunchy”. For instance, I see the benefit of whole, unprocessed foods, but I’m not entirely sure that pumping supplements in addition to eating real food is the way to go. We diaper(ed) our babies in cloth diapers, but for bedtime they wear/wore  disposable because they stay drier. And I’m not anti-medicine, but if there is an alternative that might be cheaper, safer, and has been used successfully for centuries, I’ll give it a try.

I recently took up an interest in essential oils and aromatherapy. I follow a number of blogs about clean/green/natural living and those that use essential oils are kind of evangelical about it. Eventually, their sermons wiggled into my brain and I decided to try some out for myself. If it doesn’t do harm, why not?

I didn’t want to drop a boatload of money on this venture, so I limited myself to four oils and a diffuser (bought for a discount on Groupon). After doing some reading and inquiring on an essential oil forum, I decided on lavender, lemon, tea tree, and a “Germ Fighter” blend that includes clove, cinnamon, rosemary, lemon and eucalyptus. I also happened to have rosemary, lemongrass, eucalyptus, sweet orange and peppermint on hand from some attempts at cold remedies, homemade cleaning recipes, and bug spray.

So it has been two weeks and a whole lot of learning and reading. Here is what I have tried and the results.

  • FOR CONGESTION – BigKid has allergies and the congestion is back. I diffused eucalyptus and tea tree oil.  A few hours after each diffusion, his congestion decreased noticeably. After 24-hours (4 diffusion sessions), he could breathe easily through his nose, though he wasn’t entirely cleared up. I can probably couple this with something topical, but I am hesitant to use topical treatments often.  FINAL VERDICT: I think that he would still be stuffy otherwise. I say yes, this worked.
  • FOR RUNNY NOSE – Babe is teething hard and drippy, drippy, drippy. I mixed 1 drop each of lemon, lavender, and tea tree oil into 3 Tbs. coconut oil and have been rubbing it on his back twice a day. I would say the drips go away within an hour, but come back a few hours later. Maybe the snot-volume is less? In 24-hours, he is not nearly as runny as before. FINAL VERDICT: Maybe. I’ll definitely keep trying this.
  • FOR TEETHING – Teething!!! ARGH!! This guy suffers big time. I can’t find the recipe for a homemade teething balm that I used, but this is similar. Instead of clove oil, I used “Germ Fighter”. When he gets extra chewy on his hands, I rub some of this on his gums. I try to do it only once a day. It really seems to bring him relief, until the next day, that is. FINAL VERDICT: Works.
  • ACNE – I was blessed with two lovely zits on my forehead, just millimeters away from each other. Though I would have preferred to not have any zits, these couldn’t have been better placed for a more scientific approach to experimentation. They were so close that they would be treated the same way and they showed up on the same day. I rubbed one drop of undiluted tea tree oil on one and left the other alone. A week later, they were both diminished and still matched each other. FINAL VERDICT: This did not work.
  • BEDTIME CALM – I diffused lavender in BigKid’s bedroom during our bedtime routine to help calm him. He seemed to be staying up later and playing more actively than before. I went to an essential oil forum and asked about kids having an opposite reaction to lavender and a handful of people said that they had a kid who was energized by the scent (while a second kid in the same family was not). Interesting. So I stopped diffusing lavender and suddenly he was going to sleep an hour earlier. I was running the diffuser in our room at night, too. I’m not sure we slept better, but I haven’t done it consistently enough to know for sure.  FINAL VERDICT: NOT FOR THE KID. Maybe try again for the adults.
  • MOSQUITO BITES – We recently went camping and came back home with a healthy dose of mosquito bites. I rubbed lavender on them instead of suffering through the itch. Usually, for all of us, the itch seemed to go away within minutes and seemed to last fewer days. FINAL VERDICT: Do it again.
  • FOCUS – Currently, I am diffusing orange and lemon in the office for some focus and maybe a little energy. I have finished this post without too much mental effort, but I am still looking forward to a nap. FINAL VERDICT: Maybe try again? Maybe try a different oil?

It has only been two weeks, but I”m kind of liking the experimentation. So far, many things have worked. I’ll continue to learn and read and maybe report back.

Have you ever used EOs? What for? Did they work?