Saturday, December 31, 2011

☺ Goodbye 2011, you were wonderful ☺



I think New Year's is a little cliche, however I also thoroughly enjoy it. Bit contradictory I know. But I don't mind. I think setting resolutions don't usually stick. What I do like to do instead is set personal "self" goals and intentions for the New Year as opposed to resolutions. I think resolutions are too attached to an exact outcome and I've written before about not having expectations (in a good way!), so these intensions leave some openness to what could actually come while still keeping positive goals in mind. 

Before I get to that, I want to take a look at this past year. Why? Because, well, it's fun to reminisce, but also because I want to share some personal experiences as inspiration. My life was pretty "boring" I suppose you could say. I wasn't particularly happy, I was depressed for years, unmotivated, insecure, and had a ton of other personal issues. I've worked through them over the years, and while there have been a ton of breakthroughs I can't say that any year has been quite like this one. I began this New Year with Positive intentions after a disappointing New Year's Eve (and having my own expectations blow up in my face). 
So I started 2011 armed with a Positive Attitude, and the rest seemed to fall into place and come more easily. I began to say Yes to life. I also learned about the Law of Attraction and the power of a Positive Mental Attitude (PMA). These three things made this year incredibly fantastic. I have experienced more new and wonderful things than I swear I have in my whole life. Or at least, that's what it feels like because this year has been absolute bliss and joy. Almost every day was exciting and happy. I still had "bad" days, but they were mostly quick to pass along the road. The difference was I learned how to deal with the bad and see the positive so I could come out with something constructive and to allow myself to grow when the "bad" did rear its face. 
If you haven't, read up on my previous posts; "Be a 'Yes' Person" "The Law of Attraction" and these two posts about having  Positive Attitude: One & Two.

This is what I got up to in the year 2011…

  • Been the Happiest I have ever been in my life.
  • Dyed my hair Blue!
  • …and finally stopped dying my hair. ;)
  • Went to Edmonton for two weeks to visit friends and do photoshoots.
  • Got a few new Tattoos. 
  • Traveled the Oregon Coast with my hubby.
  • Vended for the first time, doing several Markets in Nelson. 
  • Went to my first Shambhala Festival (after manifesting my $300 ticket!).
  • Discovered and used the Law of Attraction to manifest sooooo many things.
  • Met the most amazing friend, who is genuine, like-minded, and wonderful. 
  • Met so many new and amazing friends and people. 
  • Floated down the river for the first time. 
  • Had a bunch of campfires out at Cottonwood lake with friends.
  • Grew our first garden (mostly Cory teaching me ;)). 
  • Went to New York; met Nicole and Jackie, went to Farm Sanctuary and Woodstock Animal Farm Sanctuary. 
  • Camped in the middle of the forest with natural hot springs and wonderful company. 
  • Got a new kitty, Buster. 
  • Got out more! And now have a very active social life. :)
  • Helped friends and family out through hard times.
  • Been reaching and helping more and more people with their lives, through my work <3. You guys are amazing and wonderful! xo 
  • Had the best Birthday ever!
  • Took part in my first protest. 
  • Started driving again. 
  • Had an awesome Halloween! … and punched a guy in the face. 
  • Went Snowboarding for the first time! 
  • Became more active in politics and the elections. 
  • Became more active in changing the world.
  • Started my Jewelry line.
  • Learned how to Silk Screen (which I've wanted to do forever!)
  • Made ReLove Plan.et all that I want it to be, with growing success and love. 

Generally, I discovered, and am continuing to discover, more and more about myself. And discovering more about myself as a woman; giving my body and mind the respect and love it deserves. I've also been learning about getting in touch with the moon cycles. I've grown more than I can say. And I experienced the best year of my life, all because I changed my attitude and committed to that PMA and personal growth. 


So for 2012, these are my new intentions:

  • To have a kick-ass year! Filled with a ton more smiles, laughter, excitement, friendship, love, and silliness. 
  • Experience more new things! 
  • Heal relationships and bonds that need healing and seek out only the positive in my family. 
  • Read more books! 
  • Start my New Silk-Screen line and it become a super success! ;)
  • Make more of a living off ReLove Plan.et.
  • Continue being Vegan and committed to the Earth. 
  • Go back to NY.
  • Visit somewhere outside of North America. 
  • Keep growing, learning, and experiencing all that life has to offer. 
  • Design mine and Cory's dream home. 
  • Move into a new place where we can grow a garden actually in our own yard. 
  • Build our dream home. 
  • Receive money effortlessly. 
  • Smile every single day and appreciate all that is around me. 
  • Continue to affirm Perfect Health. 
  • Sing in a band. And get my voice back up to what I want it to be. 
  • Relearn to play guitar. 
  • Get a dog. And a piggy. 
  • Be open to whatever else is coming into my life. 

Well, that's all I can think of off the top of my head. Those are my intentions for the New Year, along with a general love for life and continuing Happiness and Positivity in my life. I will see Life as Beautiful every single day! And I hope you do too! Here's to a New Year! What are your Intentions for the New Year?! :) 


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☺ Say Hello to the New Year right! ☺



It's that time of year again, time to set those New Year's resolutions right? 
Saying Goodbye to the past year may be a good thing, but I think many of us do it the wrong way. Somehow we believe that when the clock rings in the new year, the past year somehow just vanishes and we never have to look back at it again. It doesn't work that way. And if you're wondering why you can feel so passionately that it will but then act surprised when the new year comes in and in that very first day you may already be feeling like nothing has changed… well it's because nothing has changed. 
Life is life. You choose what it is going to be at any moment. It doesn't magically change the first day of the new year or because you think you're armed with all these resolutions. Resolutions don't usually work because, one, they come from a place of neglect to the past, and two, a lack of consciousness as to where the things you want to change came from in the first place. Usually bad habits are a result of unhappiness within yourself, and so committing yourself with resolutions to change those bad habits aren't going to be successful unless you first address yourself, your emotions, feelings, and attitude.  

Making Resolutions Successful.
Any change has to come from within yourself, by getting in touch with yourself so that you can make those positive changes. Again, it's not as easy as flipping a switch on New Year's day. Change takes time. Change also takes patience, commitment, perseverance, and love and respect for yourself. What will help your resolutions become reality will be the right attitude and addressing the things you need to address in order for those resolutions to be a success. 

The Right Attitude: If you read ReLove Plan.et at all then you know already the emphasis I place on having a Positive Mental Attitude. I kid you not when I say this is the key to achieving just about anything you want in life. Being Positive means focussing on the good side of things instead of constantly dwelling on the bad. It also means finding the positive in any situation, no matter how negative it may seem. There is Always a Positive side! Always always! You just have to choose to see it. So in order for your Resolutions to be a success, arm yourself with a Positive Mental Attitude (PMA). It will probably take you some time to always seek out the positive so just be patient, keep at it, and give yourself a reminder to seek out the positive. 

Don't be so hard on yourself! Things don't change immediately, these things take time. This isn't because of you, it's simply because change takes time. You are reprogramming old thoughts, habits, and attitudes and these things take time to rebuild. Be realistic; you are going to stumble, fail, make mistakes, feel down, and get emotional. But what you do need to understand is that all of this is okay! Being human and experiencing life requires these things in order for us to grow, learn, and become better people. The part that will make those lows easier will be understanding that they are going to happen but not to hold onto them. Let it go. Feel, experience, learn, and let it go. You will feel fantastic again in no time so long as you allow the low moments to pass by, instead of dwelling on them and beating yourself up over them for happening. Be kind to yourself and be patient. At the end of every day, Just do your Best.  

Address the Source! Bad habits and attitudes come from somewhere! They do, they do! Find out why you feel a certain way, and where the attitude or bad habit comes from. Try to be conscious of when you turn to those bad habits, or feel negatively. I say it time and time again, if you need to see a councillor, do it! In fact, if anything, that should be your New Year's Resolution; see a councillor (or therapist, psychiatrist, etc.)! You won't change anything until you come to peace with your past, and we often need help to do this. It's not a shameful, embarrassing, or self-defeating thing to seek out help from another. And so I will say again, if you want to change anything start by changing yourself. You can't ignore your past or where feelings or habits come from, because they will rear their heads even if you choose to ignore them. Find the source so that you can actually change and live the life you want to live. 


I think at the end of it all, I just want to say that Change comes from Within Yourself. New Year's Day is just a day like any other (usually with a whole lot of partying and excitement around it of course). Changing yourself and making your life awesome has nothing to do with a "New Year." If you want your life to be awesome and amazing, then instead of making New Year's "Resolutions," start by making changes within yourself. Once you do that then those resolutions will probably come about on their own anyway. After all, what more does anyone truly want in life other than to be Happy? 

Happy New Year none-the-less! If nothing else, mark the New Year as the beginning of a change in You. Make it the beginning of excitement and amazement with changes and progress that comes from within. Because everything you need to live the life you want and to be the person you want to be already exist within yourself. 


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Thursday, December 29, 2011

☺ Dear Life ☺


Dear Life,
You may not always seem kind, 
Because we don't see the beauty you provide.
You send us where we need to be, 
To find the lessons for us to feel free. 
The paths we endure, both high and low,
Take us on a journey through life's shadow. 
You give us smiles, happiness, and light, 
So why only see the darkness, sadness, and fight?
Life, you are beautiful, wonderful, and kind, 
But that is our choice to walk through life blind. 
We could open our eyes, let light shine, 
And embrace the wonders that could be mine.  
To make sure we endure, persevere, and learn, 
You lead us on bridges that we must ourselves burn. 
Laughter is on our tongues, bliss in our hearts, 
For us to grasp and to hold, and let the darkness depart.  
Thank you life for being hard,
And helping us to live and grow through scars, 
Like a mother, you know what's best, 
to help us gain knowledge and love through tests. 
You are not evil, miserable, or unkind, 
These are simply passages to life that we must find.  
Engaging our minds, creating mysteries for us to discern, 
You make life fun, adventurous, challenging for us to learn.
Dear Life, Thank you for all that you give, 
I know now to be grateful, to love and to live.   


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♥ In my Closet: Lil Jungle Monkey Crochet ♥



I got a lovely gift in the mail today that has me ecstatic! I mean, not only are surprises in the mail absolutely wonderful, but it was from a very talented lady and a person I adore. Stacy has been a customer of mine for some time, so I have gotten to know her through the lovely online world (and hopefully will get to meet her one day!) and she rocks! She also has an etsy shop (Lil Jungle Monkey Crochet) and makes beautiful crochet items. As soon as I saw the package from her I had a huge grin on my face and got a warm fuzzy feeling inside. :) I seriously have the best customers in the world, you guys are amazing and I am so incredibly grateful to have you in my life. 
When I opened up the package I was even more excited. There was a lovely heart-warming card and two crochet items. A beautiful purple and white dolly with cute little beads, and an awesome beanie (in Canada we call them toques but since most of you would have no idea what I'm talking about, beanie will do ;)). The beanie is amazing! It's black and purple (which just so happen to be my favourite colour combination!) with "Vegan" and a heart on it! It is so absolutely adorable! And I have to say, Stacy's craftsmanship is amazing! She is super talented and this beanie is super cozy and comfy. I love it!! Thank you so much Stacy! You are so lovely and wonderful! You're the best!
   
Now go check out her etsy shop and buy yourself something special! 
Oh, right, and of course, this lovely vegan lady doesn't use wool in her work so you can have a peaceful conscious ;). 






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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Words from the Dalai Lama..


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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

☺ Live in your Heart's World, Not in your Stuff's World ☺


"We are not consumers. We are human-Beings. Our needs are unique and cannot be met with products." 
~The Unconsumer Manifesto.

We live in a society that teaches us social status in the form of fashion, Happiness in the form of possessions, love in the form of physical gifts, and worth in the form of high-trending anything. However, more and more people are awakening from this dream-like illusion. More and more people are realizing that all that "stuff" does not make them Happy. In fact, quite the opposite. 
What these "things" are are distractions from reality, from Happiness and from actually Living. They are not Life. They are not Happiness. They do not fulfil any inherent desire that cannot be filled by what's already inside us. 
Does this mean burn all your things and go live in the forest? Perhaps not quite. But you would be surprised by what you could discover about yourself, about life, and about true Happiness if you actually did. 

In the words of John Lennon, "Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can?" 

We live in a world that teaches us absolute attachment to possessions. Ironically, it also teaches us absolute disregard for possessions, that these things are absolutely disposable--that is, so long as you have another "thing" to replace the one to be discarded. In that sense, possessions have passing value, so the distraction maintains our mind's attention constantly on whatever's new and "exciting." We never stop to look within ourselves for fulfillment and true happiness. 
Perhaps first we must also look at why our society teaches us this so that we can understand why it is flawed and why it is best to move away from this mentality. 
"Stuff" means the economy is supposedly booming. "Stuff" means money is being spent and that keeps those with the most money and power in control. Now, it is important to see that it is those people--with the billion dollar pockets that spend billions of dollars on advertising-- that are constantly and consistently putting the idea in our heads that all that "stuff" will buy you happiness. The message tells us that we need "things" to find self-worth, by shoving the notion into our brains that we are not worthy, beautiful, or wonderful as we are. The world wants to change you, and constantly at that, so that you will need to change your appearance and demeanour with clothing, new gadgets, cars, and whatever else they can use to make you spend money. And if everything around us is subliminally and obviously telling us to consume and that materialism is everything, who is going to question the lie? 
But that's exactly what it is, a lie. If nothing more, I hope you can become aware of the lie so you can be Happy without it. 
You are not your possessions. You are not the things you own. Your life is not made up of the things you buy. Your worth is not measured by possessions. "Stuff" does not make you happy or valuable. Advertising and media will make you want to buy, consume, and rely on materialism. But you do not need it. And the sooner you can see this the sooner you can start loving yourself and your life as well.


Live in your Heart's world, not your "Stuff's" world.  Stop attachment to possessions and instead rediscover the true joy of living simply, living in harmony with the Natural Way of Things. Love and Happiness come from within, from the heart, not from "stuff." Your life is not what it is because of the possessions in it. Your life is not rich because of possessions. Your life is rich because of the people around you, because of the love experienced, and because of the memories shared. Your life is rich because of the air we breathe, the soil at our feet, the gifts of the natural world. Your life is rich and valuable, not because of "stuff" and possessions but because of connectedness and love. 
A "rich" life is not one with millions of dollars worth of "things." A rich life is one filled with happiness in your heart. You don't need "Stuff" to be Happy. Get away from consumerism and materialism and you will give yourself the chance to discover yourself, people, simplicity, and the beauty of the world untouched by society and possessions. 


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Monday, December 26, 2011

☺ Motivational Mondays! Last of 2011!☺


The day after Christmas! Wow, it went by fast ;p. Hope you all had a lovely time however you celebrated the Holiday season. More importantly, however, the New Year is fast approaching! I have some exciting things coming along very soon that I can't wait to share with you all. I mean I am literally jumping in my seat with excitement. Are you?! ;) Anyway, more on that later, now is time for the last Motivational Monday post of 2011!!! Whooooaaaaa sayyyy whattttt?!!! ;D And so because of this, I am setting the tone of this week to welcome the New Year off Right! 

Reflect… upon this past year. Revisit memories, events, emotions, lessons. What would you do differently? Learn from the past but don't get stuck in it. "Mistakes" are only experiences that help us learn, so regret absolutely Nothing! All of life's experiences are there to learn from so that you can live better in this moment today. So, revisit the past to learn from it and so that you can tell yourself what you want to do differently in the coming year. And remember the importance of the Now and always return to it.      
Learn to Laugh at Yourself! And don't take life so seriously. I think they are amazing words of advice that have helped me out time and time again. Life is meant to be enjoyed, to laugh and to smile. No matter what happens in life remember to laugh at yourself and have a sense of humour. Life should not be taken seriously. Being silly is a ton more fun than being serious. Come on, you know you enjoy my silliness, you simply must get in on this silliness as well! It's nice to act the way you want and not care what others think. So be yourself and enjoy every bit of it, stop caring what others think, and stop taking yourself and life so seriously.      
Be Honest with Yourself… Deep down you know exactly what it is you want, so start listening to your heart more. Be honest with yourself and do whatever it is you need to do without fear or resistance. If there are changes you need to make in your life then now is the time to get on it so you can start the new year Fresh and Alive and full of Happiness!   
Get Clear about what you Want! Kind of to go along with the above, but this is the time to get clear about what it is you want in life. Once you are clear about What you want, the answers as to how those things will come about will naturally begin to show themselves to you. 
Read up on the Law of Attraction! It works it works it works! If you are still skeptic, get over it and get in touch with the Law of Attraction--after all, it is happening whether you believe in it or not. I have had so many personal experiences where the Law of Attraction works, and heard many other stories of it in action, both online and people I know in real life. So learn about it so that you can use it to your advantage and actually get what you want out of life instead of being an eternal pessimist. 
Don't be so Hard on Yourself! Just do your best! Life is life, everyone stumbles, climbs up high, stumbles some more, has ups and downs, gets emotional, and experiences heart-breaks. But everyone also can experience blissful happiness, joys, smiling, laughter, and love. Success comes from trying and stumbling and going up and down along the path of life. Don't be so hard on yourself when things don't go as you wanted, planned, or hoped more. You a beautiful success no matter what you do in life. Have patience and be easy on yourself. 
Pick up the 365 Day Bucketlist! This is something that I am very excited about and will have available at ReLove Plan.et hopefully in the next couple days :). It will be a list of 365 things that you should complete this year, from minimal small things to larger step-out-of-your-comfort-zone type tasks. ;) It will be very exciting and my way of giving you an extra kick this year towards blissful fun and Happiness. 


Have a wonderful last week of 2011! Hope you all have a fantastic New Year and set some positive intentions for 2012! Thank you for your continued love, support, and visiting ReLove Plan.et! Much Love and Positivity! 


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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

☆ 6 Reasons America needs to say "No" to the Keystone XL Pipeline! ☆


This is a "guest spot" so to speak. I wanted to share this article written over at Care2 which summarizes nicely and directly why the KeyStone XL Pipeline should not be approved. There are related links at the bottom as well as Petitions to sign that I highly encourage you to do so to let your voice be heard on this dire issue. 
Thank you for your love for Earth! xo


by Susan Casey-Lefkowitz
Director, International Program, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council)
Legislation headed to the House this week gives President Obama 60 days to decide whether to approve construction of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, which would carry the dirtiest oil on the planet mined and drilled from under the forests of Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. That’s ridiculous. The Obama administration is on the case and has said it will take another year to conduct a thorough review of the economic, national security and environmental facets of this project. It’s irresponsible for Congress to insist that review be eliminated as a gift to Big Oil. It leaves the administration no choice but to bury this boondoggle for good — and we don’t need 60 days to figure out why.
Take 60 seconds to read six reasons why it’s time to say “No” to the risky and reckless Keystone XL tar sands pipeline now.
1. It would transport the dirtiest oil on the planet.
It takes two tons of tar sands — strip-mined or drilled from the forest floor — to produce a single barrel of bitumen, a low-grade, high-sulfur crude oil that must be extensively refined to be turned into fuel. Producing bitumen generates three times the carbon pollution of producing conventional North American crude oil. And the additional refining required to turn this crud into fuel only makes matters worse.
2. It would kill more jobs than it would create.
House Republicans claim the pipeline will create tens of thousands of jobs. It won’t. The pipeline would create, at most, 6,500 temporary construction jobs, very few of which would be local hires, according to the U.S. State Department. After that, it would leave only “hundreds” of permanent jobs, according to TransCanada, the Canadian company that wants to build the pipeline. A Cornell University study concludes the pipeline would actually kill more jobs than it would create by reducing investment in the clean energy economy that already employs 2.7 million Americans.
3. It would make us more oil-dependent, not more secure.
The pipeline would terminate at Texas refineries and ports along the Gulf of Mexico. From there, tar sands crude could be exported anywhere in the world. Indeed, that’s part of the business plan for some of the companies that have promised to buy the oil. Military experts advise that the Keystone XL pipeline would perpetuate our deadly oil dependence and will not make us more secure.
4. It would require Americans to take on a risk to benefit oil companies that Canadians themselves are not willing to take.
Even Canada has put the brakes on their new proposed tar sands pipelines (the Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline to the West coast and the Trailbreaker tar sands pipeline to the East) due to the need to take more time to listen to public concerns about water and safety. Why should Americans carry a risk that Canadians themselves are not willing to take?
5. It would threaten America’s breadbasket and U.S. waterways.
The pipeline would cut through the heart of the Great Plains, land of more than 250,000 ranches and farms, putting our croplands and food producers at risk of oil spills across the American heartland. Republican leaders want an approval of the pipeline despite the fact that Nebraska has not even settled on a route to avoid the precious Ogallala Aquifer, where millions of Americans get their drinking water. Further, Keystone XL would cross more than 1,500 waterways, from the Yellowstone River in Montana to Pine Island Bayou in Texas, threatening them with the kind of accident that dumped 42,000 gallons of oil in the Yellowstone River last summer and put 20 times that much tar sands oil in Michigan’s Kalamazoo River in 2010 — a spill that still has yet to be cleaned up.
6. It would lay waste to Canada’s Boreal forest, home of our backyard birds.
Tar sands producers have already destroyed an area of Canada’s Boreal forest the size of Chicago, creating an industrial wasteland of toxic sludge dams in the heart of the Boreal. The forest is a critical nesting region for America’s backyard birds and one of the last truly wild places on Earth. If the destruction continues, the total sacrifice area will be as large as the state of Florida.
The pipeline is a conduit to the past. Rather than deepening our addiction to fossil fuels, it’s time we did what presidents reaching back to Richard Nixon have called on us to do and reduce our dangerous dependence on oil.
It’s time to invest in wind, solar and other renewable fuels and the energy-efficient cars, workplaces and homes of tomorrow.
Go to http://www.stoptar.org to take action now.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ⓥ Vegan Kitchen: Berry Green Smoothie Ⓥ



Another lovely smoothie I just made this morning and felt was worth sharing. ;) Gotta love how easy and delicious and packed-full of nutrition smoothies can be. This one has a healthy serving of protein to get you going in the morning too.  

Berry Green Smoothie

1 cup frozen Blueberries
1/4 cup frozen Strawberries
1/4 cup frozen Mangos
1/2 cup Spinach
5 pitted Dates
1 Tbsp Peanut Butter (or other nut butter)
2 Tbsp Hemp Protein Powder
1/3 cup Water
1/2-3/4 cup Almond Milk (or other non-dairy milk)


Soak the Dates if you have the time for at least 10 minutes or longer. And defrost the frozen fruit a bit too. It's just a little easier to blend and get super creamy and smoothie.  

Throw all the ingredients together in a food processor or high-speed blender and blend until well blended and creamy. 
Add less or more almond milk to get your desired consistency. 
This smoothie won't be completely smooth, it's got a wonderful texture with the nuts and dates and the taste is simply sublime! And no, you won't notice the taste of spinach in there and it's a great way to add some greens to your day!

Makes 1 large serving. 

Enjoy! :) 

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Monday, December 19, 2011

☺ Motivational Mondays! ☺


Tis the season to be jolly! Falalalala lalalala...
One week until Christmas!!! Who's excited? ;) Well it has come to my attention that, really, Christmas is just one day, a day like any other… or at least it should be. Every day should feel like Christmas. Every day should be filled with joy and kindness and giving. Every day should be magical!
Here are some ways to add a little extra magic to your week! xo

Be a Kid! Because it's fun to act your shoe size for a change and do fun "kid" things. My recommendations for the week? Get out some paper that needs to be recycled and make pretty snowflakes like when you were a kid and hang them all over your home! Make and decorate (vegan) cookies with icing and sprinkles and cut them out in cute holiday shapes! Then give those cookies out to your friends and neighbours! And, hey, while you're at it, be sure to have those cute Holiday cartoons playing the background. ;)
Make New Mistakes… because, really, there is no such thing as a "mistake," they are just experiences. Without mistakes we don't grow and learn. Doing something and getting it wrong is far more productive than doing nothing at all. Remember; every success has a trail of failures behind it, and every failure is leading towards success. Plus, you end up regretting the things you did NOT do far more than the things you did. So make new mistakes, or at the very least, don't inhibit doing something because you're afraid of making a mistake.    
Give Strangers Gifts! I keep hearing about these wonderful stories of strangers handing out money to those who need it, paying off layaway accounts, and more inspiring stories. So give to those in need. Whether you can afford to handout hundred dollar bills, be a secret santa, or give old toys and items to those less fortunate. Give a little and warm some hearts.  
Have a Solstice Party! December 22nd is the shortest day of the year, but it is also the Winter Solstice. Celebrate life and light with a Solstice Party, respecting each other and nature and the natural cycles of life and the world. Have a vegan potluck, a bonfire, get outside and enjoy the starry night. Play in the snow if you have some. And, taking my sister's words for the Solstice party she's hosting; "winter solstice is the shortest day of the year so we are celebrating by adding light into our lives (each other!)" 
Make Presents! If you're still not sure what you're making people for gifts this year then time to get creative and get "hands-on!" This is easier on the pockets and far more thoughtful. Nothing is more special than a present that you personally made for someone. Even if you make something small, like a cute handmade card, there's care, thought, time, and love that goes into it, and there's nothing more special than that. 
Take care of Yourself! I know it's the time of year when we tend to drink more, eat foods we shouldn't, splurge, and generally neglect actually caring for ourselves a bit (or a lot). I'm not saying don't enjoy those things, but remember to do everything in moderation and to take special care to balance things out when you do. Don't act like those things won't effect your health. I like to recommend taking these extra steps to maintain health of your body and your mind; exercise daily (even if its taking a walk), take a multi-vitamin (extra attention to Vitamin D and B Vitamins), drink Lots of water, smile lots (I call this smile therapy, more on this later ;)), and balance out your eating habits by consuming extra veggies, greens, healthy proteins, and fresh juice when you can. 
Rely on YourSelf for Happiness! Remember that no one is responsible for your own happiness but You. Happiness is not something to chase after or that you "achieve." It is not something that can be bought, found in expensive "things" you don't need. And you certainly should not or cannot rely on another person for your Happiness. Only You are responsible for making yourself Happy, because Happiness comes from within. And because Happiness is a Choice. 


Have a beautiful wonderful magical week! And remember to smile and laugh every single day! 



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Saturday, December 17, 2011

☮ Be the Change: Holiday Season Green Tips! ☮


A little late in the holiday season I know, but better late than never right? And there are still changes you can make every to be greener and kinder to mother earth and the living creatures that live here. So, without further further ado… 


Holiday Season Green Tips:
☮ Buy Handmade! Not only is buying handmade a sure way to make sure you're buying ethical fair-trade products, but you also get that special care, skill and craftsmanship that you just don't see in mega corporations and "brand" name products. And you get to support just that, an individual making a living away from the corporate society. Oh yeah, and you're not supporting those greedy corporations, child labour, and the environmental catastrophe that goes along with large-scale manufacturing that pollutes our air, soil, and waterways. 

☮ Pick a Green Tree! Your greenest option for a Christmas tree (other than not having one) is to buy a real tree from a local organic grower. Artificial ones may seem green since they can be reused year after year, but they are usually made from super harmful PVC, and you can't exactly recycle them after your done with them. Of course, if you have one already, there's no sense in tossing it out now. On the other hand, many christmas tree farmers do use harmful pesticides and chemicals (some growers use up to 40 different types of pesticides, as well as chemical colorants!) so should also be approached with a note of caution. Choose Organic and choose Local, rather than having a tree shipped miles and miles to get to you. Tree farms are sustainable by nature, all those trees turning carbon dioxide into oxygen, providing habitat for animals, and the trees are replanted every year. But, again, I emphasize the important of organic and local. Organic and Local! Got it? ;)

☮ Recycle your Christmas Tree! I think this is the part that often gets neglected, but what happens to all those trees after Christmas is over? Well, sadly 10 million trees end up in the landfill every year. 10 Million!!! Many cities now have recycling programs for trees, so be sure to call and find out. And if they don't then look to compost it yourself instead. They make great mulch for your garden once the snow melts! Or, your greenest option altogether; get a tree with roots so that you can plant it afterwards! Make sure you look into the proper care etc. of course though first. 

☮ Wrapping Presents: Most mass-produced wrapping paper is not actually recyclable so just ends up in the landfill, and then there's all the trees that get clear cut, bleached, and coloured with chemicals just to wrap a present in and look pretty for a short while. I think my favourite, and your greenest option, is to wrap your presents in whatever you have handy at home that's ready to be recycled. Newspaper and cereal boxes are a good route, and you can always spice them up a bit by colouring on them or wrapping a bow around them. Make it fun and crafty! If you're stuck on wrapping presents with that traditional look then there are recycled wrapping paper options out there too, such as Green Field Paper.  

☮ Buy Less, Enjoy More! The Holiday season is Not about presents. Or at least it shouldn't be. What's the point of stressing out over buying gifts when you don't have money? I'm sure the people who matter in your life would rather you not be a stress case and actually enjoy the holidays and your company instead of getting a present. Learn to buy less and enjoy the company of people more. That's where true joy in the holiday season is anyway. Make presents, or make cute cards, or breakfast, or something along those lines if you really want to do something but aren't sure what. Get creative and thoughtful! 

☮ Buy Energy Saving Holiday Lights!  Long answer short; it'll save you money and it will save the environment a heavy toll. LED lights are now pretty easily available and use 90% less energy and can save your family up to $50 on your energy bills during the holiday season! Win!

☮ Choose Organic, Local, and Vegan for your Holiday Feast! Or at least try your hardest to incorporate these ideals into your feast. Support local farmers for your produce. If you absolutely have to have turkey then at least choose a local organic free-range and visit the farm yourself to know it's legit--and thank the turkey for being your dinner. But really you should be choosing the Vegan option. Remember, Meat is Not Green! The industry has a huge whopping toll on the environment, as well as wildlife, and of course the poor suffering animals being farmed. If your stuck for what to make, don't be! There are TONS of amazing Vegan dishes you can make! I will be sharing some this week and in the mean time this blog has tons of delicious options to choose from: http://www.findingvegan.com/.   



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Friday, December 16, 2011

☆ New "Go Veg" Campaign Ads! ☆



I heard about this  BeVeg.ca campaign by the Toronto Vegetarian Association a little while ago, and how it's been grabbing Toronto subway riders' attention with a positive impact thus far. I finally saw the ads today and felt they were worth sharing… and they should be plastered everywhere so my task for you today is to print some off and slap them all over your city. ;)


 I think the approach is incredibly powerful, comparing factory farmed animals to your pets at home--it's an argument I always come back to and try to convey to others. I also like these ads because of its overall positive approach. The campaign isn't trying to make people feel badly about what they eat, simply shedding light on the reality of it. The bright colourful images of the animals that first grab your attention is also, to me, something that grabs your attention in a positive manner. Yes, there are darker images of the reality of factory farming below, which I think are necessary for people to see to really understand the cruelty, but I think that because the initial grab for attention is cute and warm that the rest of the ad is more effective and paints a realistic yet hopeful picture, and because of all this has a bigger impact on people's decisions. The ads that are dark right off the bat give you a depressing feeling immediately and don't really want to make you stick around to hear the story. Not only that, but those dark ads most people just dismiss as another crazy vegan/vegetarian being pushy and demeaning. 
My only complaint about the ads is the choice of the words "Be Vegetarian" and "Go Veg." While, yes, becoming vegetarian is a fantastic start, I feel that the message should be "Go Vegan." After all, the cruelty experienced by dairy cows is just as excruciating and horrifying as that of animals in the meat industry. I know one of the ads does mention the cruelty that goes on in the dairy industry, which is why I find it extra baffling for the choice of words "Go Veg." Perhaps because it seems easier to go vegetarian than to go vegan (it's ridiculously easy to be vegetarian) or is less intimidating or pushy. One step at a time I suppose. 
In any case, I think the ads overall are fantastic and have been a long time coming. It's nice to see these kinds of ads finally being put out there. 


What are your thoughts? Are you as excited as I am to see these ads popping up?  


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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

♥ What's in My Closet; Amigurumi Piglet and Mini Bat by Twisty Fishies ♥


 

These little guys were back on my wish list in November. I bought them as a birthday present to myself, what can I saw? I just couldn't refuse. Look at how cute they are!! 

They are from a cute little Etsy store named "Twisty Fishies." They are super well made, neat and perfect, and super adorable. The quality is superb and the detail beautiful. There are a number of adorable characters to choose from in the shop in cute vibrant colours as well. I got the Purple Mini Bat and the adorable Pink Piglet. :)



The only complaint I have is that there is a small amount of wool felt used that I somehow missed until just now. :( Their bodies are made out of acrylic yarn which made me miss the wool I think. I also usually skip right to reading the materials list on etsy too and there is no wool listed there. However I should have fully read the item description, I usually do, but I think as soon as I saw the words "acrylic yarn" I felt like there wouldn't be wool. Fail on my part. They are still super adorable though and I absolutely love them. 

Website:


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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

☆ Year-End Matching Donations to Farm Sanctuary! ☆


I wanted to share and pass on this awesome opportunity from Farm Sanctuary. There are three days left where your donations will be matched dollar for dollar to make a difference for suffering farm animals. 

Just to recap, I got to visit Farm Sanctuary with my awesome friend Nicole during my trip to New York. It was fantastic! 


Which is why I have to share my support for this wonderful place. Getting to play and visit with the animals there and seeing the lives Farm Sanctuary has saved and changed is just so inspiring. 

"Your gift will save more animals like Lawrence — one of three newborn male dairy calves rescued from the brink of death. With your support in 2011, we were able to nurse Lawrence back to good health so he could begin his new life at Farm Sanctuary.
But as we end 2011, cows, pigs, chickens, sheep, and other special farm animals remain among the most abused animals on the planet.
Show you care by making a year-end gift today. 
Your support will help Farm Sanctuary come to the urgent rescue of farm animals in dire need … care for rescued farm animals at our three shelters … complete construction on a state-of-the-art Small Animal Hospital … speak out against the grotesque abuses that go on day after day in America’s factory farms … continue our education and outreach efforts across the nation … and more."


So if you want to give a little extra this holiday season please do so and have double the impact! You can help the lives of these cuties! 



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