"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." - Vincent Van Gogh

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Life Hack for Clutter

I've been fighting a losing battle with clutter.

Perhaps it's because I actually like THINGS. I like to decorate and change for the seasons. I like change and freshness. But I also like peace and minimal interiors. It seems the two don't go together.

I live in an older home built in the 1930's. Actually, I live in half of an older home. When we went to purchased a home in our sleepy town in New England the prices were so high that all we could afford was a half a house. We moved 4 people who used to live in a 2200 square foot house into a 1400 square foot home. 

In many of our former homes, I have had a large walk in closet in the bedroom, compared to the 30 inch closet that I presently have. I don't really have much clothing compared to others but between change of seasons with bulky sweaters and boots verses shoes things add up. To complicate matters, my musty basement combined with serious allergies to mold prevent me from being able to store my clothing there (or anything for that matter). Because of this, my one car garage has become my overflow space. Not only don't I have a place for my car, but my garage is my art studio and now the holder of my beautiful, pink, retro bike.

One day I woke up and it hit me…. build a new closet in your bedroom! I had it all planned… walls, studs, storage options. I wanted it done in one day of course, and my husband tried to discourage me. A trip to Home Depot presented us with many options for organization, none of which I really liked. It was then that I saw the shelves which I use in my basement and garage that it hit me. I can build my own closet organizer! I decided that I could take one of the shelves and run it through the center for my longer clothing and set up spaces inside the shelves for shirts and baskets. If you choose to do this yourself look for the shelves that have a support bar running through the center of the shelf lengthwise. It's the perfect bar for your hangers. We purchased 2 boxes for $170 total and went home and put it together in less than an hour. 

I  thought it looked so beautiful that I didn't even want to build a wall in front of it now! I could hang a curtain to hide the contents, but I rather like looking at my shoes and Vera bags from my bed. Besides, now the bare bones of the room are preserved for future homeowners.

The idea worked so well that 2 weeks later we went out and bought a few more units for my youngest daughter in hopes that we could help her organize better and keep the clothing off the floor. Here are the results. Whether or not it works for the clutter, remains to be seen.

Then I caught the bug!!! My older daughter is getting married in a few months, freeing up her bedroom for other things. (Don't get me wrong, I'm going to miss her terribly, but I always chose to look at the bright side of life - more space for me! Formerly it was going to be just a guest room but considering I have guests about once every 5 years, I wondered if there was a better use of the space. So, even before she had a chance to move out, I erected this wonder - as a home office. Here I can work on my digital work and do some writing. She doesn't know that I did this yet - hope she's not reading the blog… sorry honey!

But I'm not done! My living room needed some help too. For years I've been trying to configure my living space to be a place of conversation and not just TV watching. (We don't really watch TV, we watch things on Hulu and Netflix - a savings of $120 a month!) Anyway, one day I realized that if I contained all my clutter in the useless L-shaped corner of the room, it would open up space for an intimate seating area. I love it!

So there you have it. Now I have peace and space while managing my clutter in an inexpensive and efficient way.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


For those of you that know me, you know I'm sort of a health nut. You maybe wouldn't tell it from looking at me - quite unfortunately - and I don't really know why that is because for the most part my diet is pretty stellar, but this post isn't for complaining about my middle age bulge (s)…. At least I have good skin… lol

Every morning, I make a green smoothie. People have been contacting me to find out what to put in this drink.

I've progressed in my green smoothies over the years. When I started making smoothies I did them in blenders. Every 4 months I burned through a blender that barely chopped the food, so I did my research and purchased a Ninja for $50. With it came large and small pitchers and it works really great. Right now I have a Nutribullet, a Nutribullet Gold and 2 Ninjas. I blend nuts/seeds/flowers and cauliflower mash in them.

My first attempt at smoothies were quite basic. I bought frozen strawberries (not organic) and put orange juice in the blender and bam! Now there's a toxic sugar buzz!

My smoothies now have become way more complicated. I put in a nice mix of fruits and vegetables and other important nutrients. Here's what I use:

Organic blueberries, mixed berries, strawberries or a combination. (1/2 cup)
3 stalks of celery
1/2 Avocado (essential fat)
1 inch ginger (detox and stomach calmer)
1 inches tumeric (activated with the flax oil)
2 handfuls of organic mixed greens or spinach or kale
1 tablespoon of collagen (repairs gut and good source of protein and skin/hair builder)
1 tablespoon Macaroot powder (hormone help)
10 walnuts (protein, fat)
2 tbs ground flax seeds (colon fiber)
2 tbs hemp seeds
2 tbs chia seeds
3 tbs flax oil (Omega 3 essential fatty acid - needed for body and brain health)
1 scoop vitagreen phytonutrient powder with probiotics
1/2 cup aloe vera juice or gel (gut lining repair)
3/4 cup coconut milk (made from organic milk in a can added with 4 cups water
lime or lemon juice or a few slices of organic orange with the peel. (vitamin C)

Here's the great thing about this smoothie - it contains 7 out of 10 of the best cancer fighting foods in one small drink!

Sometimes I throw in cacao nibs (yum) …great source of magnesium.
You can also put a few cubes of ice in it if you want more of a light consistency.

Here's the important thing. Technically drinking cold drinks is a shock to the body. So if you let it sit to room temperature, your body will thank you. Also, since digestion starts with the saliva glands, swish it around your mouth a bit to start the digestive process, don't just gulp it down.

Smoothies are a great way to get many healthful foods into your system in a tasty and easy way. If you are trying to be more health conscious - this is a good place to start. I would say the best way to make a smoothie is to buy a Nutribullet and get one of their smoothie books that come in the box - there are many great ideas. In addition, there are tons of resources and recipes for smoothies out there on the internet. If you sign up for the right pages they will pop up on your feed. Green Smoothie Girl or Juice for Life are two good resources.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Conference Junkie

I'm a conference junkie - I LOVE TO LEARN! I love to learn about pretty much anything but art and wellness are my favorite topics. Right now - I'm 100% engaged in learning about my health. It's a great month to be a conference junkie because there are quite a few high quality conferences out there that you can attend for free in the comfort of your living room. Yep, completely free - and so worth it if you have time to absorb some knowledge - some of it may just change your life!

The great thing about listening is that you hear many speakers and if you like what they are saying you can visit their websites for more free knowledge and if you really like them you can buy their books.

If you are into "all things woo woo" or just like to learn about how to live a life with emotional stability and empowerment the Hay House World Summit 2016 is just around the corner. It starts May 7. There will be many inspirational speakers that you can choose from. Here's the link … https://www.hayhouseworldsummit.com

If your health is going down hill or the health of someone you love or if you are just wondering 1 in 3 women and 1 in 2 men are now getting cancer…. or if you wonder what GMO's are and what the ruckus is about, there's a GREAT conference going on right now. Hosted by John and Ocean Robbins, this conference interviews the key names in the food and nutrition industry right now. You will hear about the link from our food to autism (1 in 42 children is now diagnosed) and even mental illness. I can't recommend this conference highly enough. You'll have to sign up for this right now - over 230,000 people are listening and voting to change the declining health of America. https://foodrevolution.org

Speaking of cancer… There will be a natural cancer prevention summit starting on May 16http://thecancersummit.com Now let me just say that cancer is a very complicated thing. Our foods that we currently eat are mostly processed and toxic and our environment is poisoned in so many ways. What we eat today is not what our grandparents ate - or even our parents growing up. Food plays a huge role but it's not the only thing. You can eat perfectly and a trauma out of your control can trigger your cells to go renegade on you. Ok, enough fear. So while none of us can absolutely assure ourselves of not getting the dreaded disease in our lifetime, I've chosen to try to minimize my chances with some of the choices that I've made. If you register for this summit - you will be given a few pre conference speakers to listen to. Kelly Turner PhD and Bruce Lipton PhD. Each interview was fantastic. Dr. Turner spoke about interviewing over 2100 people who were healed of very serious cancers and what 9 things they all did in common. Dr. Lipton spoke of epigenetics and the mind/body connection in illness. I was fascinated with this interview and I'm going to go back and listen again. There was so much to take in.

Now lest you think I'm gullible (and honestly, sometimes I can be extra trusting), these people are not quack jobs - they are the real deal - Bruce Lipton taught med school for years. He has backed everything up he says with great amounts of research. The voices in these conferences are the voices that are unheard by the masses. They are not the people making money through their message - like the large food corporations or the patent holders of Big Farma. These are people who care about people and our health. So, if you have the time and inclination, you owe it to yourself to listen.

If you want to work on your yoga - there's a yoga conference coming up….https://yogainternational.com/guide/spring-digital-conference/
This conference is May 6-8.

NOW….Finally, if you are single and feeling the need to attract a "soulmate", The Art of Love is having a conference on "Attracting Your Soulmate". They actually have a pretty good lineup of speakers, but the bad news is that you will be getting in on the tail end of the conference. The good news is that it goes through Wednesday and if you really like what you are hearing and want to hear more - you can still buy the package at the reduced price of $97. http://evolvingwisdom.com/artoflove/free-online-class/

I heard this seminar a few years ago and remember feeling very inspired. No I'm not actually single - but I listen in order to be helpful when girlfriends want to talk. I figure you can never know enough about relationships and I like to keep my finger on the pulse. I think that many of the speakers at this conference may be showing up at the Hay House Summit too so don't despair if you miss this.

Now - when you sign up for these conferences you will have to give your email address. If you hate bogging down your email, make a separate one just for conferences. Or, if you like, after the conference you can unsubscribe and wipe the slate clean again. It's a small inconvenience for such a great opportunity!

Ok, that's if for today…. Happy Learning!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Three Years

Yes, it's been three years since my last post. I honestly didn't know if I would ever pick this blog up again. The death of my father left me spinning. I couldn't write the blog knowing that he would never read it again for he was my most faithful reader. Dad's death changed my life. It changed me.

In three years much has happened. My oldest daughter is graduating from college, getting married and going on to grad school. She has plans of getting her PhD, which I'm sure she will. My youngest daughter is completing her first year of college. She's a trooper who deals with some major issues that no 20 year old should have to deal with (or anyone for that matter). Maybe I'll write about them sometime because I too deal with the fall out of them and that has also changed my life. But that's a story for another day.

In the past three years, I applied to an MFA program, was accepted and have graduated with my Masters of Fine Arts in Visual Arts in Photography. I thought I was going to go to school to learn how to make pretty pictures, but was I ever wrong! The MFA program taught me how to think critically. I learned about myself through my art, what I was saying and how I was saying it. I learned about how others would perceive it. And yes, it changed me. I have finally learned how to live without seeking other people's approval and that's HUGE!

I started this blog 4 years ago this very time of year. I was doing some spring cleaning.  As I cleaned out the clutter in my closets, drawers and basement, I was also learning how to clean the clutter out of my life. To live more simply, to be more vulnerable.

It's easy to stay hidden while still being in the open these days. Although we post on Facebook, we select what we want others to see. We all know that Facebook is more of a show and tell then reality. We show our trips to distant lands or tropical paradises. We show babies and pets and we brag about accomplishments. I love Facebook however. for it's a great way to keep in touch with friends all over the world, or even make new friends.

Facebook can be used as a great support system too. I'm in a few closed groups where people can feel free to be vulnerable and it's great to meet up with so many people with similar walks.

But it's not all that life can offer. Again, it's too easy to stay hidden and just show what you want to show. It's easy to get lost and forgotten. Sometimes you need a REAL hug - not a Facebook hug.

I'm concerned that we are all becoming too isolated in our electronics. We are becoming more of an embodiment of the matrix, lying in a pod, being hooked up to a machine where we live vicariously. I know it's not a new thought, but I want to throw it out there today because this blog is about being more vulnerable and real. For those who choose to read it and enter in, I hope that it lends encouragement.

So, once again I'm cleaning out the cobwebs of my life. I'm throwing away things that no longer serve me, in order to make room for silence, contemplation and new experiences and people. I hope you'll join me on my new adventure into health of the body, mind and soul (and yes, maybe a little art too!)