BlogFest & IdeaWorld: My Thoughts

Pretty short post today, but one I couldn’t wait to share with you! I actually wrote this on the plane on my way home yesterday.
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I sit here on the plane, on my first leg of the journey home after 8 incredible days in Las Vegas. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to share with you. I wrote a couple days ago about the first half of the conference and some of the highlights.
But that’s not really what I want to share with you. Yes, the presentations and workshops were amazing. Yes, the Expo was full of neat items and I tried out some really fun workouts. And I do want to share those with you! But that isn’t what I really got from this conference.
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I got inspired. I got revitalized. But most of all, I was opened up to how I have been holding myself back – fear. Fear of being seen as less than knowledgeable. Fear of trying to build what is in my head for all of you and failing. And fear of sharing myself, my true self, and it not being seen as good enough.
That’s not to say that I’m not honest with what I share with you on here and social media. But I tend to hold myself back from the sillier side of things. I don’t always share things the way I want to, for fear of how it will be seen.
But this conference opened up so much for me. It reminded me that we don’t connect to people because we see them as the most serious on knowledgeable…we connect because they are real! They speak to us and we feel it.
So I’m going to strive to share more, be more vulnerable. Share things the way I want to! Let you see all sides of me, not just the more reserved parts. And I’m going to strive to build what is in my head.
Do I know that it’s all going to work? No, not at all. But it matters to me to share what I think is truly important, what I think will make a difference! So expect to see some changes on here and on social media. I think you are really going to like them!
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5 great podcasts for creatives

Being an artist can be very isolating. Long hours in your studio creating can be wonderful, but also lonely. But podcasts can help with that! They can help you to feel connected with other artists, gain some insight and maybe even some inspiration!

Now, you might remember that I have a serious love of podcasts. I’ve talked about it a couple times (here and here), but today I want to focus solely on podcasts that I feel are helpful to creatives. Creativity in all its forms, it’s ups and it’s downs and how we gain inspiration has been on my mind a lot lately. I plan to talk more on this topic soon, but I thought it would be fun to start off with this!

Enjoy!

Looking for some inspiration, tips or just something to listen to when you are working in your studio? I have just the thing for you! Check out this list of great podcasts for any artist!Read More

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My Journey to Happiness and What I’ve Learned Along the Way (Plus 50 Things that Make me Happy!)

Happiness. That elusive feeling that we search for, strive for, wait for. According to the Merriam-Webster, happiness is defined as

: the state of being happy

: an experience that makes you happy

Full Definition of HAPPINESS

obsolete :  good fortune :  prosperity

a :  a state of well-being and contentment :  joy

   b :  a pleasurable or satisfying experience
For the purposes of this post, I am focusing on the regular definition, along with part 2 of the full definition.
Happiness is a topic that has been coming up a lot in my life lately, from many different sources. There was a replay of a podcast on TEDRadioHour focusing on happiness and a few from OnBeing that were very happiness-centric. Then of course there are the upcoming holidays, which definitely get me thinking about happiness and the quality of my life. A post that first really got me thinking about happiness both in life and in myself came from this Instagram post and is what really got the idea for this post going.
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This is a lesson I have really learned over the past few years. When I was in my younger 20s, a lot of my plans for life…well, they didn’t go exactly as planned. Not even close. It took a long time for me to pull myself out of the emotional hole that I had found myself in, had allowed myself to wallow in. Even longer for me to realize that not only could I be happy again someday, but I could be happy now.
I didn’t have to wait for a new plan or figure all of the pieces beforehand. I could figure out how this new life was going to look and take joy in the life that I had. Building this new life on the basis of joy, of contentment, has been one of the most difficult and rewarding things that I have ever done. And I’m not even close to done or ever really will be done. Building this life is a journey, one of discovery and exploration. I look back at that unhappy, confused and lost girl and don’t even recognize her. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that girl was ever me.
My life may not look anywhere close to what I expected it to at 28, but I am so much happier for that fact than I ever could have imagined. And so, with that, here are some things I have learned about happiness along the way:
  • Don’t wait for happiness to find you. You can find happiness in small things and those things do add up.
  • Along that same line of thought, don’t put your focus on someone else making you happy. That feeling is fleeting if it comes from external sources. I know we have heard it all before, but happiness, at least lasting happiness, comes from within.
  • Make small, manageable goals for yourself. Then go out an achieve them! The feeling from meeting those goals is awesome and can help a lot, especially if you have been having a hard time finding any happiness lately.
    • This is something I did frequently and still do on a regular basis. Large long terms goals are great, but when you are at a place in your life where you are struggling, they can feel more crushing than uplifting. For myself, I had to take myself out of those big goals that were overwhelming me and focus on small things I could do that day. There was a point where those goals were just as simple as shower and cook myself an actual meal.
  • Routines can help a lot! My daily routines center me, give me some normalcy and security, and help me to at least accomplish basic things each day. They also allow me to adapt better to sudden changes and be more spontaneous!
    • If you have a really hard time setting up daily routines, check out FlyLady! I know that some of her early baby steps can seem silly or unimportant, but they really do work! This site and community helped me to graduate college and to keep myself together when my life was falling apart. I don’t follow my routines as strictly as I did then, but the ones I learned there still form the backbone of my daily routines now. And whenever I feel like I need to reset my routines I go back through the baby steps!
  • Make time for yourself! I know, we all have heard this before, but it really holds true and can be so difficult to do. This can be taking the time to workout, read a book, or really anything.
    • Tip: Think of a few things you really enjoy and set aside time to do at least one of them on a regular basis. I’m not talking about the things we do almost out of habit that are enjoyable…I’m talking about the things that really brighten your day, make your week, etc. The things you love!

The list above is just a few things that I have learned over the past few years. While I know none of them are particularly new ideas, they are ones that I had a really hard time fully understanding or internalizing. Sometimes we can here those “life lessons” so many times but they don’t really click until much later. That was how these lessons were for me.

Now, to finish this post off, my 50 things (in no particular order) that make me happy. This is inspired by this post from Brey over at Ordinary Adventures. If you haven’t checked out her blog before, you should definitely head over there! She has so many awesome posts!

  1. Date nights with Boyfriend
  2. Getting greeted by our dogs when we get home
  3. Cooking a new recipe
  4. Spending time with my parents and extended familyDSCN0224_picmonkeyed
  5. Creating a new mosaicDSCN0051
  6. Making a new piece of decor for our houseDSCN0453
  7. Working with my dad on the house remodel (he does most of the work, but I like to pretend I’m a help :-P)
  8. Curling up with a favorite book
  9. Reading a new book
  10. When I’m writing a blog post and it’s just flowing wonderfully
  11. When I get a like or comment on one of my posts or pictures
  12. Working with my camera
  13. The smell of Lemon Garlic Chicken cooking (This smell just takes me back to my childhood)
  14. Watching our dogs play
  15. Seeing the house slowly coming together
  16. Watching a favorite TV show
  17. Watching Disney and Pixar movies
  18. Listening to jazz
  19. Horseback riding
  20. Hiking in the woodsDSCN0640_picmonkeyed
  21. Seeing a play liveIMG_2202
  22. Pretty much any time I’m hanging out with my momDSCN0420_picmonkeyed_picmonkeyed
  23. Cuddling with Boyfriend watching movies
  24. Making fused glass jewelryDSCN0480_picmonkeyed
  25. Going to bed with freshly washed sheets
  26. Listening to podcasts
  27. My workouts DSCN1222_picmonkeyed
  28. The BBG community on Instagram
  29. When I get a new hairstyle down
  30. Getting a haircut and style
  31. Doing hennaDSCN0281_picmonkeyed
  32. Watching my flowers growDSCN0931_picmonkeyed
  33. Growing my own vegetablesDSCN0590_picmonkeyed
  34. Cooking with vegetables and herbs from my garden
  35. My new craft space
  36. Watching the leaves turn in the fallDSCN1208_picmonkeyed
  37. Petting my dogs
  38. Cleaning my house
  39. New workout clothes
  40. Changing out decorations as the seasons changeDSCN0841_picmonkeyed
  41. Taking a walk with the dogs and BoyfriendIMG_2170
  42. Playing MarioKart
  43. Trying new foods
  44. Seeing friends I haven’t seen in a long time
  45. Making new friends (made even more exciting because I’m not great at this)
  46. Seeing my physical capabilities improve as I work on my fitness
  47. Wearing my favorite pieces of jewelry
  48. Dressing up for a date night with Boyfriend
  49. Traveling
  50. Yoga practice

What lessons or truths have you learned about happiness so far in your life? What things make you happy?

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