November 20, 2013

christmas decorating

I pulled out all my Christmas decorations and started working on the tree right after Halloween a few weeks ago. I still have quite of bit to work, but having the tree up, some decorations out, and playing Christmas music around the house is getting me in the spirit of the holidays. 
One of my favorite gifts and decorations is my tree skirt. My mom gave it to me so I cherish it and it has my favorite birds embroidered on it, cardinals and chickadees. I also have these birds and others all sitting on my Christmas tree.

I hope your getting into the spirit of the holidays. A few people have told tell me that they just aren't feeling the spirit of the holidays, and my advice to them is the spirit of the holidays aren't going to just come out of nowhere, you need to make that spirit come to life. Maybe it's listening to music, making holiday cookies, decorating even if you aren't in the mood to. When you do those things you are awakening the spirit of the holidays in you and around you.

November 18, 2013

gold pumpkins

Now that Halloween has past us we are now officially decorating for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I usually will decorate the house for Christmas a few days after Halloween. The more time I can spend in the holiday spirit the better for my spirit.

I will decorate the dinning room table a bit for Thanksgiving, but I don't decorate the house for Thanksgiving too much as I usually spend the day with family at their homes.

This year I wanted to add some gold accents to the table, so I did the simplest and most inexpensive thing; I sprayed our Halloween pumpkins gold.

What you need:

Pumpkins from Halloween
Spray Paint (Craft store)

 I gathered our Halloween pumpkins and placed them over some old cardboard in the garage. You need a large and ventilated area to spray.

I just went ahead and sprayed them.  Each pumpkin needed about two coats of paint. And I let them dry outside for a day.

I added a few cinnamon scented pinecones around the table and will be adding some tea lights. Have a beautiful Thanksgiving with your family, friends, and loved ones! Thanks for stopping by.

November 11, 2013

giving back - thanksgiving baskets

This past weekend we put together some Thanksgiving baskets using non-perishable foods like cans and boxes that we collected from friends to give to families in need.

I started Hermanos this year. Hermanos means "brothers" in Spanish and it can also mean her "hands". Hermanos is a small community service group raising money and donations to give back to people in need.

We were so grateful with the amount of donations we received of cans and boxed foods. Our goal was to make 8-10 baskets of Thanksgiving food to give to local families through the local Community Services department and Food Bank. 

We wanted to include food like stuffing, mash potatoes, corn, peas, gravy, pasta, rice, and a cake mix in each basket. We will also be donating turkeys. I am still working on baskets this week and all the leftover cans and food will be donated to the local Food Bank to also pass out for the holidays. I am looking forward to leaving these off this week.

I am so grateful for all the things in my life. I have a roof over my head and food in my stomach. I have a wonderful family and a very supportive partner in my life. We should all be happy and grateful in life. Sometimes there are things that come up, not good things, things we have experienced and endured and some of us continue to endure. It's normal that these things might get us down, but we have to keep moving forward. Keep positive and remember to always be hopeful, never lose that.

There are always people that are in more need then we are. You might not have a car, but someone else might not have a home to sleep in. You might not have a job, but someone else might not have their health.

Look at the positive things in your life. Those positives don't have to be materials. You have everything you need with you: your mind, spirit, your strength, your will, your personality and with those things you are unstoppable.

This year I want to give back more. I strongly believe the more you give the more you will receive. I give, I receive happiness. I am looking forward to giving these for families to be able to eat this Thanksgiving.

I wish you a beautiful week and remember to be kind to one and other.

November 9, 2013

holiday nails

Using gold striping tape I recently bought from Etsy and gold glitter nail polish from wet n wild that I bought at my local pharmacy I added some fun designs to my nails this weekend. 

The thin striping tape is so easy to use and comes in a variety of colors like blue, silver, purple, and green.

Simply paint a base coat. I used a shimmery navy blue color this time. Wait for your nails to completely dry and then I snipped some of the gold tape in lengths as long as my nails. Some I made criss cross, veritical and horizontal lines. Next rub the tape a few times to make sure it is firmly on the nail. Lastly, add a clear top coat to protect it.
This gets me thinking. I can see this be used in so many different ways. I would love to do a dark chocolate base with gold stripes for Thanksgiving, bright red base and gold stripes for Christmas, and white and gold for New Years. Have fun!

November 6, 2013

quinn popcorn

I love eating popcorn, but when I found out that microwaveable popcorn was filled of not so good stuff for us to digest, I stopped eating it.

A report from the FDA indicates that a chemical coating used in microwave popcorn bags breaks down when heated into a substance called perfluorooctanoic (PFOA). The Environmental Protection Agency has identified PFOA as a “likely carcinogen.”
So, we bought kernels and a Whirley Pop to pop our own popcorn, but the microwave can be so much quicker and easier sometimes.
That all changed when I found Quinn Popcorn a small mom and pop company from my home state of Massachusetts at my local natural food market. Their popcorns bags do not contain PFOA, no plastic, and they are compostable.

Currently my favorite is parmesan and rosemary. Recently, for a little fall movie night marathon I made the hickory smoked cheddar and it was delicious.
You simply pop the popcorn in the microwave for a few minutes, pour the sunflower oil in the bag, shake, and then you pour the seasoning in the bag and shake again, and your done.
So easy, so fun, so tasty, and I don't have to worry about digesting chemicals! I can't believe we have to even say that, chemicals in our food shouldn't even be something we should be worried about, but unfortunately it is.

Ever since I started paying attention and reading what ingredients were in my food I have felt so much better and healthier. I can just feel my body functioning the way it's supposed to.

Thanks for stopping by!

November 5, 2013

on my desk - spirituality

This is a bit of a personal post and I am pretty private person naturally. And on my blog I get to share a few things about myself, such as my journey in Tae Kwon Do, my art, my feelings about Day of the Dead, and more. So sharing what's on my desk is a little look inside my head and life; a look I don't let many take. Right now on my desk is my little skeleton nutcrackers holding images and memorial cards of friends and loved ones that have past on, as we just celebrated Dia de los Muertos. Also, on my desk is Every Day a Friday from Joel Osteen.

This book is great for everyone, even if your not religious or practice one. For example, I haven't identified myself with a organized religion. I do consider myself to be spiritual though.

What is spiritual? Coincidentally and recently the editor, Melvin McLeod, of  the Shambhala Sun magazine, a Buddhist magazine explained his thoughts on spirituality and it was the first time someone explained it the way I felt it.
"Except for a few daring freethinkers, that’s the way it was as recently as the 1950s, and that’s still the way it is in most of the world today. It’s the way we’ve related to religion for thousands of years. Until now. Today, a significant and growing number of Americans do not identify themselves as members of any religion.
According to a Pew Research Report, 20 percent of Americans — one-fifth of the adult population — describe themselves as religiously unaffiliated. That’s up from 15 percent just five years ago, and the percentage goes higher the younger you are — up to 72 percent for Generation Y. 
There are many different reasons why people become disenchanted with organized religion — the litany is long and depressing — but most continue to yearn for something more than a life of materialism, for something that gives deeper meaning and happiness, for something they describe as “spiritual.” 
"...some thirty million Americans — maintain some type of spiritual belief and practice, even though they no longer feel at home in a church, synagogue, or mosque. These are the famous “spiritual but not religious,” philosophically the fastest-growing demographic in the U.S. Generally, they’re educated, liberal, and open-minded, with a deep sense of connection to the Earth and a belief that there’s more to life than what appears on the surface." To read more of the article click here.

That's me in a nutshell. Never did I read an article that explained it so well and made me feel not alone in my beliefs. There are so many of us seeking more. We believe in something, something higher, but we just aren't a part of an organized religion.

Joel Osteen is a preacher, and even if I don't practice a religion I don't judge anyone  and I respect and listen to everyone thoughts and beliefs. I enjoy listening to gospels, I love religious icons, there is a lot of beauty in religion and I appreciate it even if I don't practice it. Joel is a really great motivational speaker and I really enjoy what he says as I think he says a lot of good. He's positive and I love positive thinkers and sayers. I started reading his book and  even if you are not religious there are many things and stories that you can relate with from his book.

I caught myself looking forward to weekends, holidays, vacations. I was looking forward to an event, and then the event would come and go and I would find something else I was looking forward to, and I stopped myself from doing that.

It's good to have hopes and dreams, but you can't just be happy looking forward to those. You need to be happy every day. Look forward to everyday. We have to be grateful that we wake up everyday to live one more day on this Earth.

I accidentally found his book when I was shopping at Target and I just was drawn to it and flipped open a random page to find a passage:

"It's good to wake up each day  believing and expecting.  But don't wait for those things to come before you enjoy your life and happiness."

And it was exactly what I was looking for at that time. To me the book is being a better person to yourself, for yourself, to others, and who doesn't want to be happier everyday and who doesn't want to be a better person.

November 1, 2013

happy day of the dead

Happy Day of the Dead. For the next two days (November 1st and 2nd) we celebrate life and we celebrate those who have past on. I made a smaller alter with photos of loved ones and friends who have past on and decorated the alter with flowers like marigolds.

Marigolds have a significant meaning on Day of the Dead, it is said that if you leave a trial of marigolds from the grave to your home that your loved one will be able to follow you home. Traditionally, alters hold favorite foods, clothes, flowers, and other belongings. I added sugar skulls I painted and a few objects that have great meaning to me and always remind me of those who have past, and I burn a few candles.
To our memories and to making new ones. Feliz dia de los muertos!