Saturday, March 8, 2014

Let It Thaw, Let It Thaw, Let It Thaw!

It doesn't have the same ring to it as that sweet, December song, but I swear I could feel everyone humming this very idea today as we were out and about in the sunshine, running a few Saturday errands. One cashier even said to as we checked out, "Enjoy the day... tomorrow!" Yes, we're all waiting for the promised day ABOVE freezing tomorrow! We'll ignore that part about the forecasted, "mostly cloudy," and just concentrate on the thawing to come over the next couple of days.

The sunshine and 30's today seems to have put a spring in everyone's step. And tomorrow is Daylight Saving day! HOORAY! Oh, I know so many complain about losing the hour, but I LOVE daylight savings time, because I love daylight! :) Longer days mean we get to get outside and walk later in the day, for one. That will be a huge bonus for my husband who, because of the nature of his work, has to work in a windowless room all day. Ugh. It's hard enough keeping an upbeat attitude during the challenging winter months, but not even seeing outside during the day would drive me a little bit batty.

I know that winter is not through yet, but the reprieve is most welcome and it's  
for me! Woo hoo! So, let's see, we have: warmer temperatures, a sunny day, daylight saving time, and spring break all coming together. I don't have spring fever just yet, but I can feel my temperature rising!

That sun coming in the kitchen shone on the stove and illuminated some of that grease and dust that had collected in some areas that I miss in my regular cleaning. I can tell that spring cleaning itch is going to be getting to me soon.

And that sunshine has made me begin thinking that the color I want my (basement) bedroom to be is a sunny yellow. I have been thinking about it for a few weeks now, as that is where I do my yoga practice now and while I practice I have been imagining the kind of environment I would like it to be in there. For a while I thought a pale blue would be nice, as it is the bedroom and blue is such a peaceful color, but the winters get so long here that I don't think that would lift my mood as much. Honestly, I don't have trouble being peaceful; that is a more natural characteristic of my nature I believe. But I do crave outside stimulus to lift my mood frequently in winter and so I think yellow will be a good choice. So now I'm trying to think of a color palette. Have you ever noticed how yellow and gray is so huge on Pintrest? I like those colors together, but I wouldn't be able to have that exclusively in my bedroom.

I do like this one that I found via Real Simple's website, here.

And Better Homes and Gardens offered this one here.

I like the yellow with the green and gray and I also like the dark rose color in the bedspread directly above. My husband doesn't like anything too feminine, so I have to keep that in mind. But the colors of the Ranunculus flowers in my blog banner are inspiring me right now.

The colors of my bedroom will surely give me a lift when it's completed sometime this spring. In the meantime, I continue to practice little things to help throughout the day. I really believe in being intentional about my attitude. Some days, like today, bless me with a natural happiness. But many things play into that. Usually those things are: a good night's sleep, having my quiet time in the morning with God, a day off (!), sunshine, etc. But we all know those days are fewer than we'd like. Many days are cloudy and gray, stressful, and ask more than we sometimes want to give. So choosing joy has to be a choice! We don't want to sink under our circumstances all the time, for we would very quickly be sunk and we'd likely take others along with us. You don't want to be the one at work or in your family that is the dark cloud, the wet blanket, the one others don't want to see coming because of your sour or bad mood. Obviously, everyone has a bad day from time to time, but maintaining a generally positive mood is a gift to those around you. But it's HARD, isn't it? I have commented a few times this winter to a couple of people that I really sympathize with those who are struggling with depression or seasonal depression, because I am a healthy person and I find it hard too!

So, what helps? Well, feeding my senses is huge! I will never be a person of complete practicality when it comes to my surroundings. PRETTY MATTERS. That's all there is to it. Pretty doesn't have to be expensive, but it matters! Aesthetics are powerful. Property values rise in areas that are well-tended and groomed. People want to congregate in pretty spaces. It's simple; I'm not telling you anything new, but visually speaking your home should have things in it that your eye likes to fall upon. Rearranging your space or counter. Or just dusting off a desktop and replacing your things in an orderly or different, pleasing arrangement can actually lift your spirit.

Keeping with the visual sense, color therapy is powerful. That's why I'm putting so much thought into the color of my bedroom. I also like to change colors of things with the seasons too, so switching out a tablecloth, choosing a seasonal candle color or different color napkins or throw pillows can make a difference. We are on a pretty strict budget around here, so all my changes have to be what fits into my budget. Recently, I purchased a pair of pink taper candles that had never been used from the thrift store for a dollar. I put one into my milk glass candle holder and set it on my vanity and I burn it when I'm getting ready for the day and when I get a chance to do yoga. It's a very small thing, but it makes me surprisingly happy. It makes me feel pampered, as if someone has paid attention to me and indeed, someone has: me! :) I'm going to burn through that candle and the other one and then it will be time to find more, this time in a new color - maybe yellow or spring green! By then I will notice the new color and small change and that will raise my spirits again.

The past few times I was at Trader Joe's I picked up a single, inexpensive flower bouquet. I divide it up among rooms with a few blossoms here and there, adding color. Isn't it amazing how your eye goes right to the flowers in a room when you walk in? Even if there is a very small vase with a stem or two on a dresser, bathroom counter, or vanity table, it makes such a difference.

Paying attention to my appearance gives me a lift too. I'm not talking about being vain, but I am a girl who enjoys getting dressed and my daughters feel the same way. I don't spend much money at all on clothes. 90% of my wardrobe comes from the thrift store. But that doesn't keep me from having fun with what I wear. Yes, I have the occasional day that I just want to be comfortable and I have a couple of sweatshirts for days like that. But for the most part, dressing nicely - "pulling myself together" - is an effort I make that helps with my attitude.

Music is a powerful tool for mood as well. With my longing for spring, I play a Pandora channel called "Nature Wilderness," with the sounds of running water and birds in most of the songs. I've also found that station to be helpful when I am doing my homework.

Smell is something I am aware of too. I have a very strong sense of smell. It kind of drives my kids crazy, because I wrinkle my nose at things pretty easily, which keeps me on top of the litter box cleaning schedule! Citrus really does lift my mood. Sweet Orange essential oil is one I picked up at the co-op about a month ago. It was just over $2.00 for the bottle! A couple of drops of that is wonderful in the mineral oil I use after my showers for a lift!

Mmm... speaking of orange...

Isn't that gorgeous?!

I got a great deal on organic carrots at Costco the other day and could think only of a Bunny Smoothie! I don't use a recipe, really, just an ingredients list that I got from Sara when she visited me in Florida a few years ago on her Live Lightly Tour. We made these then and I still make them now, but my recipe isn't exact. The only measurements I have are for the carrot juice and almond milk.

Bunny Smoothie

1 c almond milk
1 c fresh carrot juice
approximately 2 frozen bananas
3/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t ginger (powdered, but you can also juice some fresh ginger to taste - even better! Mmmm... ginger!)
1/4 t nutmeg
1/8 t ground cloves

My list has cardamom on there, but I never seem to have that in the house. I do have pumpkin pie spice and I threw 1/4 t of that in too, but it's not absolutely necessary. Blend in a blender and drink! Oh, it's so good! It's a taste and color sensation all in one!

Well, I'd best get on with my day. The sun that was beginning to set as I began my post has gone down now and I need to get something to eat (I totally want one of those smoothies, but I don't want to get out my juicer again...). I hope it is - or was - sunny in your part of the world today and if it wasn't maybe you've found an idea or two here to make your mood sunnier in any event. Enjoy the rest of the weekend and I'll talk with you again soon!

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