{ Joie de vivre! } A fresh start? I promise!!!

JOIE DE VIVRE!!

Vivre la joie (Live the joy)
La joie de vivre (The joy of life)
Ivre de joie (Drunk from joy)
Ivre de vie (Drunk from life)
Joyeux de vivre de joy (How joyful to live with joy)
Viva la vie (Long life to life)

I don’t know how to change a tire. I probably should but I don’t. I know what I want the end result to be – a nice new tire that runs well – but I don’t know what to do to come to that new tire on my car.

This is exactly how I feel with most self-improvement books that I pick up. I know what I want the end result to be – clarity, motivation, greater focus on my goals, etc. – but, for the life of me, I rarely know how to get there. That is what self-improvement books are for, right? Yes but… most self-improvement books that I read tell me that my thinking needs to change but that is a lot easier said than done. If I have approximately 70,000 thoughts each day, how am I to know how to change or control them so that I can come to the clarity, focus, motivation, or whatever it is that I want to accomplish?

Honestly, I have no idea.

Enter The Fresh Start Promise. I’ve recently had the pleasure of reading this book and was so refreshed to see that it doesn’t expect me to ‘just know’. This book, written by Edwige Gilbert, a brilliant Frenchwoman with a personable writing style and uncanny insights, actually tells you how to bring about the change you desire. This book leads the reader through a 28-day program to bring about change in one’s mind and life. It doesn’t just say “change your thinking”; this book describes, in detail, countless different actions to take – morning and night – so that your mind will change, so that your thinking will change, so that your outlook will change. Among these practices:

  • Different meditations
  • Energizing and cleansing rituals
  • Breathing practices
  • Chi massage
  • Walking meditation
  • Music and touch therapy
  • Journaling
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Mindfulness
  • Visualization
  • Nutrition
  • … and more!

This is actually a program that the reader can touch, feel, put into practice. You aren’t left wondering how to change your thinking; you know what to do! How refreshing!

The Fresh Start Promise is the only self-improvement book you will need. This book beautifully and effectively combines so many of the best tenants from other self-improvement books out there including The Secret, The Power of Intention, The Art of Happiness and more. These concepts – combined with countless others that Gilbert herself has developed over the years as her work as a wellness and energy coach – are woven in a fun, ambitious, motivational way to create a very defined series of actions to take, life changes to make.

As always, it is incredibly hard to adequately explain all the wonderful things about this wonderful book without giving away too much of it! You really just need to read it and enjoy it as much as I have.

You’d like to, you say? Well, you are in luck. Leave a comment on this post between now and next Sunday night and I will draw for someone to send this amazing book to. This giveaway* is open to anyone, not just regular readers of my blog. Feel free to tell others, post it on your blog, send the word around. I’d love for as many people as possible to be exposed to this program.

Others interested in a copy of The Fresh Start Promise? Visit this link to buy a copy.

Anyone interested in spending 28-days to make significant changes in your life? I’d love to host a group to go through this book together. It is a short but profound program; it really shows you how to live your life! If you want to join in this journey, let me know!

Allow me now to give you a taste of a delicious little French dish: it’s called joie de vivre, and it’s the most wonderful recipe for finding and fully experiencing life’s most simple joys simply by paying appreciative attention to the ordinary events and moments of the day. Joie de vivre is really just about fostering and encouraging in you a sense of wonder, playfulness, and curiosity about life’s little things. Your experience of joie de vivre today will be quite straightforward, actually, but I can assure you that it will lead to some quite fantastic new experiences!

Intrigued? Curious? Convinced? Join me and put a bit of joie de vivre into your life. Make a fresh start!

* One book – a brand new copy – to one winner. Signup ends on May 25 at midnight. Anyone eligible. Entries will only be taken from comments left on this post. One entry per person. Winner will be drawn at random. I will pay for shipping via Media Mail; will also ship Internationally. Any questions? Use the contact link to contact me! Have fun!

Ten on Tuesday – What I’m good at…

From Ten on Tuesday

Ten things I’m really good at:

  1. Memorizing phone numbers – most of the time, if I hear it once, I’ll remember it always.
  2. Remembering useless bits of information – like, which celebrity has an auctioneer for a wife.
  3. Picking out the best bits of junk in a thrift store – evidenced here.
  4. Googling.
  5. Arguing a point or making valid points in support or contradiction of an issue – I would make a very good lawyer if I was tilted in such a direction.
  6. Writing – as in creative writing.
  7. Being dramatic.
  8. Making things aesthetically pleasing – rooms, people, outfits, Christmas trees, whatever.
  9. Spelling.
  10. Seeing the beauty and possibility in really old and worn-out things – I can see an old, rundown, boarded up house and see what it could be with a bit of renovation.  Same with clothes, knick-knacks, etc.

{ The book giveaway is coming VERY SOON!  I promise!  I’ve been behind with blog posting and away from home a bit these past couple of days… excuses, excuses.  Book giveaway coming SOOOOOOOOOON! }

Holgaroid by Futurowoman

Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. The moment you know how, you die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.

~ Agnes de Mille, choreographer

Ten on Tuesday – Wanderlust

My future SIL has joined in this fun meme called Ten on Tuesday and since I like memes and numerical lists and thinking about places I’d like to go, I thought I’d do it too. It is an every-Tuesday thing so we will see if I do it every Tuesday or not. I guess it depends on what the questions are.

For today…

Ten places that I’d love to travel to… places that I’ve not gone yet:

  1. Australia
  2. Bohemia
  3. Côte d’Azur
  4. English countryside… anywhere really…
  5. Greece
  6. Hawaii
  7. Ireland
  8. Morocco
  9. Provence
  10. Tuscany

I really like to travel anywhere and there are lots of places I’ve been that I’d LOVE to re-visit. For example, I’d go to New York City or Paris anyday I could! No problem! But, the ten listed above are all places I’d really love to see.

Speaking of travel, check out these beautiful travel photos from Etsy:

pAris by labokoff

Manhattan Skyline by Butcher

bridges of Prague by jacqphoto

Morrocan Bicycle by EmmaJane

Poppies, No. 1 (Umbria, Italy) by BarbaraCarter

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So, I know after all these beautiful photos and talk of wonderful destinations, you are getting
a hefty dose of wanderlust. Tell me… where do you want to go?

Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe. ~Anatole France

{ Stay tuned for a book giveaway here at Zazazu later in the week… }

Thrifting Mojo

I have a very fond love and affection for thrift stores. As Rebecca says, I have very good “thrifting mojo” and I would be inclined to agree. I seem to be able to go into a thrift store and walk right to the needle in the proverbial haystack. It is a gift, a talent, very similar to my ability (sometimes) to predict the future. Of course, I also like to think that I know what to DO with the amazing items that I find at thrift. I guess that is in the eye of the beholder.

I’ve seen other blogs that feature their thrift finds ever-so-often and I just love it – such FUN! – so I thought I would do the same since I just recently went a’thrifting. So, without further delay, here are a few of the goodies from my recent haul:

These are some uber-hot vintage 9 West boho heels – size 10. They sold very quickly on Etsy so sadly, they are no longer available.

Amazing vintage carpet bag

One of the COOLEST bags I’ve ever found… this is honestly the PERFECT black bag

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is just a sampling of the things I found to list in my Etsy store. I really scored big with these three items though. They – like the other things I got – are SO fab! I wish I could translate their fab-ness in the listings but it is hard.

The things I found for moi? Well, actually I only found one thing that I’m keeping.

When I actually have a kitchen of my own, I don’t have a china set. I have and use mix-n-match vintage dishes. These are very carefully chosen dishes and have been collected over years. I know which patterns I like and which work best together for the look that I like. It is a very eclectic look that I absolutely LOVE. You can’t find it in a readymade store anywhere; it is one-of-a-kind “Zazazu“.

The main pattern in my dishware is Golden Meadow from Sheffield. I love this pattern. It is a cream background with delicate mustard yellow wildflower silhouettes on the front. Just gorgeous – so understated and elegant.

Well, I found a plate when I was thrifting the other day. It was a steal at 45-cents and in mint vintage condition! Yay!

I’m very geeked up… yes, over a 45-cent plate. It’s the little things that count, right?

A cultivated style would be like a mask. Everybody knows it’s a mask, and sooner or later you must show yourself—or at least, you show yourself as someone who could not afford to show himself, and so created something to hide behind…. You do not create a style. You work, and develop yourself; your style is an emanation from your own being. – Katherine Anne Porter

In other news, if you have time, please sign this petition to help save Mississippi’s Wetlands… and tell your friends too! This area is such an important ecological and wildlife area and we need to do what we can to save it. Please help!

And just to overwhelm you a bit more, here are some wonderful linkies for you to visit:

One change.

HAPPY EARTH DAY, EARTHLINGS!!

I’m an Earth-lover, a tree-hugger, I want to be green! I try to recycle and pay attention to where my waste goes, what goes into my body and onto my skin. I like to think that I’m eco-conscious but I don’t even scratch the surface. Nowhere near it.

But, even the smallest things count so I’m challenging all of you to one small thing and this is it:

Cut out plastic bags from your shopping trips.

What? Yes, you read correctly.

Taking your own bags to the store with you is so easy and really makes a big impact. And you look SO cool doing it! I was shopping just the other day and saw the chic-est girl toting her groceries out in the chic-est jumbo canvas totes. Oh la la. Loved it.

So, do you accept my challenge then? If you aren’t yet convinced, check out these wonderful eco-friendly market totes available on Etsy.

by Fuzzyandwarm – $5.00

By Jenhintz – $14.00 for two

By EveryLittleCounts – $15.00

By everythingok – $18.00
:: Bag reads practice mindful consumerism ::

By MelissaVest – $24.00
:: This seller has tons of designs for her totes, even customizable ones! She is also offering 15% off for Earth Day and makes donations from her proceeds to environmental charities. ::

By LazyTCrochet – $24.00

And for those bulk items that you normally get the flimsy plastic baggies for? You know… the rice, beans, fruit, nuts, etc.? No worries… the Kootsac is here! It’s nylon, totally washable and reusable!

By Kootsac – $4.00

So, I have a feeling that some of you are very eco-friendly – much moreso than me – and have your own eco-chic, reusable bags already, right? Well, for you or for those of you eager to take on more than one Earth Day challenge, here are some more things you can do to help make our planet healthier:

  • Find out whatever you can about the recycling facilities in your area and use them to the maximum! Whatever you can recycle – whether at the facilities in your area or within your home – DO IT! (Remember, buying and wearing / using vintage is recycling too!)
  • Shop at a farmer’s market or farm stand. For that matter, shop locally whenever you can. Support handmade, independent, local or nearby families and artisans.
  • Plant something. Anything. Okay wait…not ANYTHING.
  • Buy recycled and recyclable items – help make a market for it!
  • Reuse water when you can to water your plants. Catch rainwater in containers outside or save the water that you boil vegetables in to water your plants with. It is far better than running water from the hose and probably has more nutrients for the plants too.
  • Shop at home before you buy. Have a gift to buy for someone? Look around your house at what you might could MAKE for them instead. Not only does this help the environment but it fosters creativity and is fun too.
  • For things you use often, buy in bulk. For other things, consider buying “investment pieces”. Quality over quantity is a good rule of thumb and helps you to buy fewer things.
  • When possible, ride a bike or walk.
  • Make the switch to compact florescent light bulbs. But seriously, remember to turn the lights off whenever you are out of a room.

There are TONS of good tips out there that you could put into practicing starting NOW. These are just a few. And always be thinking about what you will do next, what change you will tackle next to help the environment. A ban on plastic today, buying in bulk tomorrow, composting after that? Who knows? By next year, you might be driving an electric car!

Only when the last tree is cut
Only when the last river is polluted
Only when the last fish is caught
Only then will they realize that you cannot eat money.
~ Cree Indian Proverb

a-live.

It is no secret that I have very generous friends. I get goodies all the time by way of email, mail, phone, warm fuzzy vibes, blogs, all different ways. Indeed I have been so very blessed by the people I have come into contact with both in real life and through the wonderful world wide web.

Not long ago, I was blessed with one of the most wonderful gifts I could imagine: a poem written especially for me by a very creative, thoughtful and talented writer and friend who has a way with words, a grasp on language and a feel for people that is uncanny. Despite having never met me, Leonie was able to capture so aptly in so many lines so much of what my spirit has been feeling. I’m not sure how she did it but I’m glad she did.

“Honey, it’s your poem, you can do what you like with it…” is what Leonie said so I’m taking that as permission to reprint it here. I hope you all love it as much as I do.

‘live your best life’
the page-title bids me,
but how do i know
what that is…

when i feel like i’ve
always been a shadow,
a finger-puppet,
a wallflower,
passed by unnoticed.

a jumbled facsimile creation -
an assortment of random
personality traits, borrowed
snatched, copied
from others along the way -

countless years spent
wandering around, not
living my life at all, instead
trying each borrowed
trait on like a garment,
testing for texture and size.

each time i dwell on what
someone else should be
doing (or not doing),
thinking (or not thinking),
feeling (or not feeling),
i lose another tiny piece of
my own precious cloth.

where do they go, all my
own discarded fabrics? do they drop
to the ground – like the crumbs
left by hansel and gretel -
to guide me home to
myself when i finally
realise i have lost my way?

[by Leonie – originally posted at chocolate covered musings]

A million thanks to you again and again, dear. xo…

Speaking of being a-live… it is bursting all around me here. As is somewhat customary, I’ve taken some pictures of the Spring-time wonder around here. I’ve spared you the pictures of the snake we found yesterday, the tick that was securely nestled on my thigh this morning and the smorgasbord of moles, voles, mice, moths, and other sundry headless things that the cats have drug to the back doorstep. I guess those really aren’t a-live but it is a sign of the Springtime all the same.

Those cats… my sweet little critters. Here are a couple of pictures of them:

Top: Bella frolicking in the grass.

Bottom: Bella and Cuddles playing, or I think they are just playing. Who knows.

[Just for clarity… I only have one cat, Delali Dipstick. The other cats you see in my blog are those of my Mother, Father and sister. I love them all dearly though and love to feature them here as they are so awfully cute and fetching. There has been some confusion about this in the past.]

And of course, as you guessed, the flowers, trees, berries and everything else is in full bud or bloom here. Not great for the allergies but really very beautiful… a sight to see.

I always post a picture of my blueberry plant and this year should be no exception. The flowers are just as pretty as the berries, don’t you think?

I love it when Etsy finds correlate with things that have recently inspired me in nature. I’m in love with this beautiful shot that I captured of a dandelion in my front yard and also in love with this amazing painting by EarthArt, one of my favorite artists on Etsy.

I love the lovely dogwood… vintage red dogwood tablecloth and napkin set by ModishVintage

Soon, there will be even more delightful things springing up around here. I have beautiful, tiny nettle seeds here that look like bits of dirt ready to be planted. Nettle soup, anyone? And my Dad ordered some wonderful ranunculus to set out – quite a passle of them, I think – just because they are my new favorite flower. So incredibly delicate and beautiful – I’m oh-so-very-excited! And my Aunt is starting a basil plant for me – hooray! Mine died over the winter and she, having quite the green thumb, brought hers through. So, she is getting one good and strong for me in the hopes that I won’t kill it. Fingers crossed.

Spring is in the air… the world is a-live all around me!

Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

No rhyme… no reason…

Once again, I feel like there is much I want to write and yet, I can’t write it or I can’t remember it all to write it down. I fear that it is a jumbled mess up there, in my brain. Things go up there and rarely come down.

Luckily, I have some wonderful friends who talk to me and discuss things with me and generally give me wonderful insight. Some of that insight comes in the form of carefully chosen quotations like the one that Melissa gave me this week:

Do not let your fears choose your destiny. {Author Unknown}

Mmmmmm… savor that one for awhile. Yummy.

Another delightful thing to savor is the free bracelet being offered by my friend digitalteacup on Etsy. Okay folks… not many things in this world are free anymore but this really is! It is truly FREE! Just send her your address and she will send you this adorable crocheted bracelet. FREE! How much more uber-cool could you get than that?

A woman especially if she has the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can. {Jane Austen}

Last weekend, I watched Becoming Jane with Anne Hathaway and James McAvoy (No. 60). I’ve been excited to see this movie since I heard the title of it, since it even hit theaters. I love Jane Austen, everything about her and the very concept of her life. I devour it, dream about it, and think everything to do with it – even the dank houses and unfortunate fashions – are just so magical and romantic.

But… the movie leaves something to be desired.

Anne Hathaway made a surprisingly decent Jane. I don’t think there is any actress out there who could really do Jane Austen any justice at all. Honestly, I don’t even think that Jane could play Jane. But, Anne holds her own. James McAvoy is cute and his accent is dreamy but he oozes cocky, even more than his character called for. The supporting roles did VERY little more than just that.

The storyline was forgettable, quite literally. I’m sitting here exactly one week later and can only remember the high points to write this review. I remember none of the nuances that should have captured my attention enough to recall. I remember the ending (which I shall not giveaway) and that is about all. I can’t say much for a movie when I’m disappointed in an ending that I’m glad to see come about.

See it once and judge for yourself. You might like it. Anything regarding Jane is worth a see.

The remarkable thing about Jane Austen is that her work, her life and her person continue to be ‘done’ over and over and over and over and over and many renditions are not very good at all. In fact, more are bad than are good. And yet, she stands her own. Her work, her life and her person speak for themselves, through the bad re-makes that are yielded hundreds of years after her death. Everyone wants a stab at her, everyone wants a piece of her, everyone wants to try their hand at doing their version of Miss Austen.

But, only Miss Austen is Miss Austen. And, so she lives by her pen. Her ultimate goal in life, her dream… to live by her pen. If only she knew how very well she is doing it.

What is right to be done cannot be done too soon. {Jane Austen}

janeaustenosidewatercolor.jpg

Short & sweet…

My good friend and constant source of support and inspiration Rebecca directed me to a very cool site today. The site is called Zen Habits and is actually a blog that you can subscribe to. Very cool, very information and VERY inspirational. Check it out! So many wonderful articles there to read!In still other news, The Artist’s Way group will begin in just a short while – on Valentine’s Day. We are still welcoming people to join us so hop on over and check it out. We would love to have you participate in the journey with us.

Seems like there was something else I was going to mention but I can’t remember what. Oh well…

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
The Queen, Alice in Wonderland