A Sojourn of Self-Care Through Meditation

My sojourn of self-care through meditation has not been a long one so far, but I have learned so much already.  If you never think you have enough time for meditation or it’s just not for you, think again.  It is your journey and you can go anywhere you want with it.  It can be a short trek or a full-fledged expedition.  I have discovered some wonderful underpinnings, which will help you on your self-care path.

rebekah borucki

I cannot even tell you how much I love this self-care through meditation practitioner.  My first meditation post included her website, but have discovered even more about her since then.  I listened to the Let it Out podcast with Katie Dalebout.  I had already watched some of her Youtube videos so I was a bit familiar with her.  That podcast just sold me 150% because she was so honest, down-to-earth and I felt a real connection to her message.

I signed up for her blog subscription and received an email that her new book was $1.99 (Kindle edition) on Amazon.  For $1.99, who could go wrong??  So glad I spent those pennies because the book is phenomenal!!!  You Have 4 Minutes to Change Your Life (*affiliate link) is a how-to book on meditation including how to sit, hand mudras (positions), guided meditations and everything you need to know to begin your own meditation sojourn.  (The Amazon special is over, but it is definitely a book you should have in your self-care library.)

This is my favorite mantra that is included in one of her Youtube meditations.  I absolutely love the beach and the ocean so this was perfect for me.

MEDITATION cushion

I have trouble sitting criss cross because of a hip issue.  While watching Yoga with Adriene, I got the tip to sit on some blankets so that your tailbone is raised a bit.  WOW!!!  What a difference!  I then went on a search for a yoga/meditation pillow and I am so glad that I did.  Never knew how comfortable it could actually be to sit criss cross…it was a definite A-HA moment for me.

I bought this cushion (not an affiliate link) and I LOVE it.  What is especially great about it is you can unzip the outer cover for washing AND unzip the inner pouch to take out the buckwheat hulls.  This enables you to control the firmness of the cushion.  I took out quite a bit of the hulls and it is perfect for me.  If they eventually flatten out from use, I have the ones I removed to replace them.  I also use yoga blocks to support my knees in the cross-legged position and I am very comfortable and focused during my meditation.

simple habit

One of my awesome readers told me about the Simple Habit app.  I downloaded it from the App Store and I love it.  It is a little pricey, but I feel that when you find something that you really enjoy and that will get you to do whatever it offers, it is totally worth.  This app has short meditations, which are perfect for me.  The person who guides you through the meditations has a wonderful Australian accent, which I personally love, and a calming tone of voice.

As always, I’d love to hear from you with any resources that you cannot live without in terms of meditation.  I LOVE the wealth of ideas I have received from my readers…I appreciate each every one of you.

3 Natural Cleaning and Health Tips That I LOVE (and you will too!)

I try to use natural cleaning and health products whenever I possibly can. The best finds that I LOVE are beauty, health and cleaning products that incorporate natural ingredients and I don’t mind making my own.  I have tried many, many tips/tricks/hacks and some have been successful and some have been fails.   All the work has been done for you by me and I’m posting 3 tips that you will love too!!

clean fresh towels

I don’t know about you, but some of my towels and washcloths get a mildewy smell even after they are washed.  I found a great solution:  Run a load of towels and wash cloths through the washer on a normal cycle using hot water and NO DETERGENT.  Pour 1 CUP VINEGAR on top of the towels and run cycle.  After that cycle is done, pour 1/2 CUP BAKING SODA on top of the towels and run another normal cycle with hot water.  Do NOT USE DETERGENT in this cycle either.  Your towels will smell and feel brand new.  (from Delectable Bake House)

TEA TREE blemish stick

Sometimes I get blemishes on my face and I want nothing more than for them to disappear.  Well, this following recipe does just that.  I use this blemish stick and it works wonders literally overnight.  What is also great about it is it doesn’t irritate the skin like some over-the-counter products do.  Tea Tree Oil is a wonderful, multi use essential oil.

2 Tablespoons apricot oil
1 Tablespoon beeswax
8 drops tea tree essential oil

Melt the beeswax and apricot oils together in a double boiler over low heat.

Once those ingredients are melted together, remove from heat and add the essential oils.  Stir together and pour into a lip balm container.  Let cool. Put a little bit on the blemished area morning and night.  **melting the beeswax and apricot oil together can get a little messy…I bought a pan just to use for DIY projects**

dryer sheets

This is one of my absolute favorites and so easy.  Whether you know it or not, dryer sheets are very toxic.  Simple solution:  get towels or washcloths from the dollar store.  Cut them into small squares.  Pour vinegar and 8-10 drops of your favorite essential oil into a mason jar.  Put the cut up towels/washcloths into the jar and turn the jar upside down.  Let stand about an hour.  Throw a bunch of the squares into your dryer with your laundry and you will have fresh, clean smelling items right out of the dryer.  When the towels squares fray or disintegrate, I just throw them away and cut some more:)

It seems like there are more and more natural products on the market, which is a good thing.  However, some of them can be quite pricey so I hope that these easy DIY natural products will help you out.  Let me know about your favorite DIY natural products, I LOVE hearing from my readers.

 

 

3 Fabulous Meditation Resources for Beginners

Along with my current yoga journey, I have taken corresponding steps on a fabulous meditation journey.  To me, it makes sense because I feel yoga and meditation go together, hand-in-hand.  I have dabbled in meditation over the years, but never really connected with it.  Since I started my yoga journey, I feel more connected to meditation.  The following resources have elevated my journeys to another level.

Calm app

I have had this app for quite a while, but didn’t use it often.  I was listening to a meditation podcast and wanted a little variety so I took another look at the Calm app.  Since starting both of my journeys, I have felt more of a connection when I revisited this app.  I also changed my screen to the ocean, which has a corresponding crashing waves sound and it is perfect.  You can get quite a few free options in the app and there is also a subscription if you want even more of a selection.

Bexlife

I just found this website and Youtube channel and I love it.  Some voices are much more calming and focusing than others and I really like Bex’ voice. She has a very easy going meditation process.  She offers many resources on her website as well as her Youtube channel.

Truth and Dare

Allie from The Journey Junkie and her soul sister Carly have a podcast called Truth and Dare…which stands for speak your truth and dare to change.  I have really been enjoying the podcast so I signed up for the email subscription from their podcast website.  The email I received today had the link to a guided meditation.  It is only one they have so far, but I’m hoping they add more.  Nevertheless, it is a great yoga and meditation resource.


What are your go-to, must have meditation resources?  I’d love to hear from you…I’ve gotten so many great resources from my readers.  One of my readers told me about Allie’s Facebook group, which connected me to all her other great resources.  I love the wonderful bloggers and readers I have met…it’s such an uplifting community.

 

Healthy Body AND Soul

I just changed the header on my blog because I felt like my former header didn’t totally embrace my new focus on a healthy body and soul.   My blog has always been a place of happiness and support for myself and others.  I have recently started a yoga and meditation journey and wanted the blog to convey that added dimension.  So my tag line used to be “happiness, wellness, fitness, nutrition”  and now it is “all things that keep your body and soul healthy, happy, mindful and fit”.  I like the new tagline much better.

I am a bit disappointed that the text is not as bright and readable as the original graphic:(  It still conveys the message that I want to get across with the inclusion of my actual happy place…the beach.  Also, I think that the posts and information written should be the most important aspect of the blog and nice graphics are just the sprinkles and cherry on top.

As for including posts about a healthy soul,  I have been reading some great books on mindfulness and spirituality.  Organized religion is not my jam.  It hasn’t been for a very long time.  I have nothing against anyone who feels a strong bond to organized religion, it just isn’t for me. Spirituality comes in many different wrappers; it isn’t exclusively a belief and worship of God.  I believe that there is a higher power, but I think of it as a positive energy, including guardian angels.  That is my personal belief.

I have read several books by Gabby Bernstein.  I like her books because she basically says that you can call “it” whatever you believe in…God, spirit, guide, energy, etc.  No label is the RIGHT label, it’s whatever you believe.  I love that because everyone does have their own belief system and no one should be telling you that your belief is right or wrong.

Another recent read was You Are a Bad Ass  by Jen Sincero.  Another great book, which also speaks of being spiritual without putting a label on who, what or where you worship.  I grew up going to church every Sunday and always thought it was so strange when my friends did not.  Now that I am older, I have come to the realization that you don’t need to attend a service in a building on Sunday to be spiritual or to be a good person.  I feel it is much more important to be a thoughtful, caring, supportive, loving person.  Sitting in a pew doesn’t write you a ticket to heaven.

So, that is the new and improved My Happier Place blog.  I will be writing a post on the Gabby Bernstein book I am reading, Spirit Junkie, in the near future.  It takes awhile to read her books because she gives you meditations, journal writing and deep thinking exercises to do.  It is definitely worth the time and effort.

What is your go-to mindfulness, good for the soul practice??  I’d love to hear from you.

Golf – A Challenge Worth Taking

I have been on vacation in South Carolina this week.  The weather has been absolutely perfect and I love just relaxing on the beach.  My husband and son always golf, which is fine with me because then I don’t have to worry about them complaining about being bored on the beach.  This year, however, I felt like I wanted to give golf a try because I had a little FOMO (fear of missing out) going on.

My husband and son were taking a lesson so I asked my husband to sign me up too.  Why not??  As the day of the lesson came closer, I wanted to cancel it.  I thought my time would be better spent on the beach. Cancellation fees would probably apply so I bit the bullet and went to the lesson.  I am really glad that I did.  My instructor Ali was awesome; she was very supportive, down-to-Earth, and easy going.  She gave me a lot of great tips and I felt really good about myself when I left the lesson.  The Steve Dresser Golf Academy is one of the best in the Myrtle Beach area.  My husband and son also learned a lot in their advanced lessons and club fittings.

At home, I had been to the driving range a total of ONE time before my lesson.  I had taken other lessons years and years ago.  The thought of actually playing a round of golf scared me.  I didn’t think I had enough skill to get out there.  Well, I decided that there was no time like the present to give it a try.  I am in one of the most popular golf locations in the US and there are golfers of all levels getting out there every day.

 

There is a par 3 course, Tupelo Bay, which is not far from the condo we are staying in.  My husband said it was only 9 holes and I wouldn’t need to hit it very far, being that it was a par 3.  Again, I figured we’re here in one of the largest golf meccas so no time like the present to give it a try.  Since the par 3 was just “mini golf on steroids”, we decided to do the executive course, which was a par 3 and 4 course.  Nerves set in as we pulled up to the first hole, but when I saw others who hit the ball like me, I felt a lot better.  I didn’t do great, but I hit the ball and I have my first round 9 holes under my belt.  I, again, felt pretty good about myself walking off that course.

Golf is on the television all the time at my house.  I have been to PGA tournaments.  I hear my husband and son say how much you need to practice and how aggravating it can be.  So why do I want to get into this aggravating yet fulfilling hobby?  It is something we can do as a family and I can go out with friends who golf.  When I posted that I was taking a lesson on Facebook, a friend commented that she was in a beginner league at home and why don’t I join?  I told her ABSOLUTELY.  She said it was a lot of fun and a lot of laughs.  I may not improve my game, but fun and laughing are good for the soul.

So next step is getting some gear and just getting out there and doing it.  I am proud of myself because I am taking on a challenge of learning something completely new to me.  I have been writing a lot lately about my yoga journey and mindfulness, and this post may seem out of place.  However, I feel that taking on this challenge and being present in the moment of just concentrating on hitting the ball is just another way to be mindful.  Not letting every day worries and cares get in the way of my present purpose.

What is a challenge that you have taken on that has become a success for you??

5 Mantras I Have Learned from author Jen Sincero

I just finished reading YOU ARE A BAD ASS by Jen Sincero.  It’s subtitle is “How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life”.  I have read a lot about personal mantras and You Are a Bad Ass is a book in which I have found daily mantras in order to start doubting my greatness and start living an awesome life.

Mantra #1

“This is about believing, even when things are at their most uncertain or absolute crappiest, that there is a bright shiny flipside within your reach.”  (Sincero, 2013, p.34)

When we are in our darkest moments, it can be very hard to believe that we will ever drag ourselves out and be positive again.  Hence, my first mantra should  be…There is ALWAYS a shiny flipside.

Mantra #2

“It never ceases to amaze me the precious time we spend chasing the squirrels around our brains,…dissecting the lives of idiots, when we are sitting in the middle of a full-blown miracle that is happening right here, right now.”  (Sincero, 2013, p.36)

I am so guilty of this, especially with the onslaught of posts on our Facebook feed each day.  I have unfollowed a lot of “friends” because they made me feel jealous or out of shape or wishing I had more money.  STOP!!!  Those people’s lives are not important and comparison to them is ridiculous.  I feel so much better now and I am working on being more present in what is what is happening to me right now.  “Comparison is the fastest way to take all the fun out of life.” (Sincero, 2013, p.61) is an especially relevant mantra.

Mantra #3

“Holding on to my bad feelings about this is doing nothing but harming me, and everyone else, preventing me from enjoying my life fully.  I am an awesome person. I choose to enjoy life.  I choose to let this go.”  (Sincero, 2013, p. 62)

Just like the song in Frozen…Let it go!!  Let it go!!! Festering on something that is happening just saps your energy, makes you grumpy and unhappy and, hence, makes those around you uncomfortable.  You ARE a good person and I AM a good person, therefore, a suitable mantra probably should be…Let it go and enjoy life!

Mantra #4

“Do not fall prey to the false belief that by forgiving someone you’re letting them off the hook.  Because when you forgive someone you let yourself off the hook.”  (Sincero, 2013, p.123)

I know that this is absolutely true and it is the best thing that I can do for myself.  Holding on to negative energy can make you sick, stressed out, unhappy, lethargic…in addition to other ailments.  As I am typing this, I just had a huge A-HA moment.  It says to forgive, but it doesn’t say you have to forget about what happened.  This is definitely something that I struggle with. I know that the resentment I feel isn’t good for my soul.  Consequently, I can forgive, but I will not forget.  As a result, a fitting mantra is…Let yourself off the hook.

Mantra #5

“Set honest goals that are just outside your comfort zone and build from there.”  (Sincero, 2013, p.238)  I LOVE this.  Don’t make these HUGE, hard to attain goals.  Move forward in small increments and you will reach those goals and feel a sense of success.  Finally, a mantra for this quote should be…Go just outside your comfort zone.

In conclusion, no compensation or products have been exchanged for this post.  I enjoyed this book and wanted to share it with others since it was helpful to me.  What books are you reading that have given you an A-HA moment?  I’d love to hear from you.

Here is author Jen Sincero letting it go and enjoying life:)

My Yoga Journey

I have wanted start a yoga journey for quite awhile.  I took some yoga classes years ago and never went back to it due to, now realizing in hindsight, I wasn’t quite ready for the full journey.  It will be good for my body and soul, therefore, I have decided to dip my toe into the yoga pool. I cannot remember many of the poses so I feel that I am a beginning beginner.

One of the reasons that I haven’t been to a yoga class in forever is because I will feel embarrassment.  What if EVERYONE in the class knows all the poses hence I am the only one who doesn’t know them?  When I give it a second thought, however, I know that most yogis want to spread their love and knowledge of yoga so I shouldn’t be embarrassed.  If any group can be understanding of a beginner, it would be this group.

When I look for local classes, I have seen some beginning beginner classes, but they don’t fit into my schedule.  I want to start this journey NOW so I decided to do some research and take the first step.  Much needed information and supplies are a click or stretch away.  As a result of said research, I discovered some wonderful realities.

EVERY JOURNEY STARTS WITH THE FIRST STEP.

What do I need to start this wonderful journey?

Versatile clothes?  Yes!

Informational books?  Yes!

For the mind:  True Yoga: Practicing with the Yoga Sutras for Happiness & Spiritual Fulfillment

For the body:  Mindfulness Yoga

Especially relevant…helpful videos?  Yes!

Do Yoga With Me

My Yoga Journey Click To Tweet

Okay…no more excuses and full speed ahead.

Finally, I would love to know any resources that you cannot live without in regards to yoga.  Please tell me about any music you listen to,  essential oils you use, videos you follow…I want to hear about all your yoga non-negotiables.  A yoga journey update will be forthcoming.  Namaste.

OOTD: Affordable Fitness Style

I LOVE new workout clothes.  There is so much fun fitness style out there now and I get motivated to do my workouts when I have a new fitness OOTD.  Many brands of workout clothes are quite expensive and not worth their price.  There are also brands that are cheap, and there is a reason why they cheap…they just don’t last.  I have found some quality workout clothes that look great and don’t break the bank.

SNEAKERS

My absolute favorite brand of sneakers is Asics.  They fit my foot the best and are great quality.  There are so many great styles and colors to choose from.  Almost all of my sneakers have come from the Asics website.  They have an unbelievable clearance section with a great range of sizes.  I wear an 11 or 11-1/2 women’s sneaker and they always have my size in stock. Most noteworthy, free shipping and returns.

LEGGINGS/TIGHTS and SPORTS BRAS

Athleta is my absolute favorite place to get leggings.  The quality is fabulous.  There is a huge selection of prints, colors, thicknesses, lengths and sizes.  I have an Athleta store near me and they always have items on their clearance rack.  If you have a GAP, Old Navy, Banana Republic or Athleta charge card, you can earn reward points for purchases.  The reward points accumulate into $5 credits that you can use at any of that family of stores.  If you find something on the clearance rack AND, in addition, use the credits you earn, you can get quite a deal.  I recently found the cutest sports bra on the sale rack, too.  The website also has a sale section, but sometimes there isn’t a huge selection of sizes.  You can also find plus and petite sizes on the website.

** Side note: C9 leggings/tights from Target were voted #1 by Good Housekeeping for durability, quality and fit.

SPORTS BRAS

If you want a no-nonsense, supportive, long-lasting sports bra, you should go to Old Navy.   In addition, I love that they have removable padding….key feature.  They have gotten cuter styles recently, but a lot of the cuter styles have low support.  I have had some of these bras for several years and they have held up very well.  I have no complaints whatsoever.  Furthermore, you can also use those reward credits for these purchases.

TANKS

I recently went shopping at the GAP and I love the GapFit section.  The fabric that the tanks are made of is so soft and hangs well on the body…not too clingy, not too loose.  LOVE them.  Again, hit that clearance rack and got some tanks for a STEAL.  I will definitely be visiting that clearance rack when I need, or WANT, some new tanks.  Reward credits can be use here too.

Most of all, I hope you found some useful finds in this post.  I am so happy to share fabulous finds with others and  I’d love to hear about your go-to workout wear brands…brick and mortar locations OR online merchandisers.

Finally, here is an Athleta link for $20 off $100 if you want to receive an even bigger discount.  ***affiliate link***

Healthy Living: Grove Collaborative

There are so many chemicals that we are exposed to on a daily basis…chemicals that we don’t even know and, therefore, don’t know how they are affecting us.  I have been trying to change my cleaning products in order to lessen the chemical load on my family.  Many times, these products are more expensive, but I have found a place to buy them and actually save money.  I’d like to introduce Grove Collaborative.

I have fallen in love with the Mrs. Meyers products.  I use the honeysuckle cleaner in my bathroom and it smells wonderful for several days.  It smells clean, not like chemicals.  I use the honeysuckle and lemon verbena scents and love both of them.  I have used the surface cleaner, dish soap and powder cleanser and have also ordered the tub and tile cleaner and toilet cleaner; can’t wait to try them out.

Grove Collaborative is a website that has all natural cleaners and personal hygiene products.  You can join and get free VIP shipping AND the products are cheaper than buying them in the store.  I haven’t been able to find some of the products in my food store or big box store so this is a great one stop shop to get all the products I need.  You can also set up a recurring subscription so the products are sent to you monthly, bimonthly, etc.  The customer service has been great too.

Use this link to get a $10 credit and start your Grove Collaborative journey today.  Anyone who is a member of the collaborative gets their own link in order to spread the word about the service and then they can get their own $10 credit if anyone signs up.  I have ordered from this site for several months and have had a great experience so I wanted to share with others.

Gym Shaming…Got It All Wrong

I’ve been away for a while, but I’ve done a lot of soul-searching and thinking and I feel like I have more to share so here I am.  Quite a while ago, I wrote a post about gym shaming and said that I felt not quite supported at a workout studio where I had a membership.  I haven’t gone there in over a year, but recently returned and feel really great about it.

First of all, I had taken 99 classes at this studio and at class 100, you get a special reward.  I got several emails reminding me that I only needed that one class to reach the 100 milestone.  They also offered me a free class to get to 100 along with several other enticements.  At the time, I wasn’t ready to go back so I didn’t take them up on their offer.

Fast forward to 10 months after the last class I took, I got another email from the new manager of the studio.  She was very upbeat and really wanted to help me reach the 100 milestone, I decided that it was time to go back and reach that goal.  During the time I was away from that studio, I found that when I took other classes at other studios or gyms, I always used the strategies I learned at that studio.  I also realized that they had a much more personalized approach because if you were doing a move incorrectly or were using the wrong form, they would help you with your form or help you modify if you couldn’t do a particular move.  Instructors at other studios and gyms didn’t always do that.  I also felt that I had much better form when doing the other classes because of methods I was taught at that studio.

I went back for my 100th class several weeks ago and I was welcomed back with open arms.  Instructors that were there when I last took classes were still there and they were happy to see me.  I told them that it was almost a year since I was there and they couldn’t believe it.  My husband bought me a gift card for the studio for Valentine’s Day and when he was buying it, another instructor asked where I had been and told him to say hello to me.  It made me feel so happy and supported.  I think that it was a great decision to return both for my body health and mental health.

I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I left and returned.  I didn’t realize how supported I actually was until I went elsewhere and didn’t get any type of feedback.  I also realized that my workout is MY workout and as long as I am feeling good about what I am doing, it doesn’t matter what others think.  Seeking outside approval gives others all the power and then you become dependent on outside sources for validation.  Your self-worth is all up to you and you need to embrace what you are doing, live in the moment and be grateful for all you can do.