Tag Archives: inspiration

When Good & Bad Happen at the Same Time

September 2, 2014

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Living in Austin has been wonderful so far.

In a lot of ways, making a big move like this is truly allowing us to set the proverbial “reset button.” As quickly or slowly as we feel like it, we can reincorporate aspects of our old life here and start new habits as well.

One of the new habits I’ve wanted to cultivate in Austin is yoga.

I’ve done it on and off since high school, but wasn’t really digging the workout-focused classes that I went to with friends in Chicago.

Coming here, I knew I wanted to find a class that not only was physically beneficial, but mentally as well.

Thankfully, I happen to live just over a mile away from a fantastic yoga studio with this more spiritually minded slant.

In my first class last week, the teacher discussed the concept ofsantosha, which means contentment, or harmony.

As he went deeper into the term, he explained that santosha involves using the word “and” rather than “but” to describe our circumstances.

Contentment is not achieved, in a santosha sense, by only having “good” things in our lives.

Santosha is about allowing the good and the bad circumstances in our lives to live together without overshadowing one another.

(Finish reading here.)

Hide Your Crazy

June 27, 2014

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You’ve been wronged. Severely wronged. Falsely accused. Judged. Hurt.

You want justice, right? You want to see that person get what’s coming to them. YOU WANT THEM TO SUFFER BECAUSE YOU ARE SUFFERING. I think we’ve all been there-we become defensive, run our mouths, get loud, seek revenge, plot out the oppressor’s demise. It feels grrrrrrreat! Sound the Rocky theme song!

But then what? What gets accomplished? Are you truly satisfied?

In my experience, the eye-for-an-eye/take-off-your-heels-and-arm-yourself method never puts out the fire blazing in my heart, mind and soul. Never. It simply causes a wildfire not only within myself, but it consumes everything and everyone around me. My testimony is ruined. I am simply not a better person. I am not healed. I am not satisfied.

In March, I went through one of the most trying times in my life. Wait, let me correct that- THE most horrible time of my life-especially as a teacher. Wrongly treated is a complete understatement. I never knew that people could be so unjust, prideful, illogical and down right cruel. I definitely experienced a teacher’s worst nightmare-parent/student anonymity, a meme posted on social media taken out of context, unsupportive administration and politics. After the incident happened, I felt my heart sink like the heaviest ship on the sea. Waves were crashing around me. I was drowning. Can’t. Get. Air. Feeling abandoned,I was left out in the cold to defend for my livelihood, my career, and my reputation.

I truly didn’t understand why God was doing this to me-why he was letting it happen. I could understand if I was in the wrong, BUT I WAS NOT. And it SUCKED. I was an amazing teacher (yes, I’m tooting my beautifully-polished horn because it’s true). My evaluations (18 for the year to be exact) were all glowing beacons of light illuminating my success as a teacher in the classroom. I loved my kiddos of all races, backgrounds, personalities and abilities. I simply loved teaching. But sadly, in today’s education world, that isn’t enough.

And if that drama wasn’t enough, my beloved grandma passed away, and I was in a fender-bender-all within the same month. It was just too much. TOO MUCH.

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I had two paths to choose from-the one less traveled or the jam-packed highway of human nature. How I chose to handle this situation at school truly made all the difference-not only in my professional life, but as a person. Was I hurt? YES. Was I angry? YES, YES. Did I want to run up and down the halls revealing the story of my injustice and the truth to every single teacher and student? YES, YES, YES. Did I want to slap the teacher who started running her mouth spreading gossip about something she knew nothing about? YES, YES, YES, YES! But what good would it do for me to allow all of this fuming anger, betrayal and sadness to control me? Nothing. So, I chose to rise above. I chose to handle everything and everyone with dignity and class. I chose to hide my crazy and act like a lady. I chose to trust God with it ALL. I allowed HIM to be my defender, my judge, but more importantly, I allowed Him to be THEIR JUDGE. And you know what?

It was the best decision I’ve ever made.

I finished out the year in a blaze of glory. I was nominated for a teacher celebration event, made the top 10 at the local mall, walked a fashion show and even won (let me tell you-I had to giggle as the odds were stacked against me). It was clear that my actions were being acknowledged and blessed by the Big Man upstairs. After feeling like a failure, my efforts and passion for teaching were applauded. I also received news that the healthy project I had been working on for months for our school was accepted-I helped earn $7000 and an amazing title of Healthy Zone School for my campus (even though I wouldn’t be there to enjoy the new benefits, I was pumped.)

More important than all this recognition and success, I accomplished the most amazing thing ever-I chose to be humble. I chose to bite my tongue and keep my mouth shut, extend grace and show respect to people that I felt didn’t even deserve it, and relinquish all human instincts to fight. Through this, I learned so much about myself. It was truly remarkable. It felt like I had won-I had passed the hardest test of my life. I was able to shine like a diamond-separate myself from the norm. I chose to react in a God-like manner and because of that, I was, in essence, victorious. That was my justice.

I FOLLOWED MIRANDA LAMBERT’S ADVICE-I HID MY CRAZY AND ACTED LIKE A LADY-BEST DECISION EVER! I am now living my dream-fashion, fashion, and more fashion! If this unfortunate event hadn’t happened, I would have probably chosen to stay in my comfort zone. I’m about to be 30 and enter a brand new FABULOUS chapter of my life. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. Not a single thing!

Brynlea Cunniff

Handmade Home Wedding

May 13, 2014

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It’s that time of year… I can hear the church bells ringing and see the flower petals floating down the isle before the bride. However, weddings are expensive, and the costs can become overwhelming. If you are planning a wedding, be thankful that handmade, vintage and rustic are all in style.

As I perused one of my favorite wedding photographers, Morgan Trinker, I came upon the perfect combination of simplicity and charm. “Less is more” has never been more true.

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For more pictures and the couple’s story, visit here.

Brittany Windle

Follow Britt on Twitter.

DIY: High Waisted Shorts

April 21, 2014
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Have you ever wondered how to make the summer’s hottest shorts? This how-to, step by step will give you your soon-to-be favorite pair of shorts!

 

www.pinterest.com

Step 1: Find a pair of high waisted jeans. I used Gap in the demo, but Levi’s work the best. (Your local thrift store is filled with vintage Levi’s.)

Step 2: Cut them at an angle, low to high, from your inner thigh to your upper thigh. Make them have a slight V shape. For length: put them on before you cut them, and mark a little spot with a sharpie where you want to start cutting.

Step 3: When you have both sides cut, stick them in the wash on a basic wash cycle. After, dry them in the dryer for the perfect fringe look. Air dry works also.

Step 4: After they are completely dry, they should have fringed on their own in the wash, and you may have to cut/trim the fringe if it’s dragging down and way too long. And now, you should have your own High Waisted Shorts!

Wanting holes? Make a tiny straight line slit wherever you desire the hole to be. Stick in the wash, and it will fringe on its own!

DIY
Click for larger image.
Carolina Grace
Follow Carolina on Twitter.
images 1 & 2: via Pinterest

InstaSEXagram

April 9, 2014

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Since the widespread of Instagram, I’m noticing more and more women showcasing their bodies… and their goodies- not just their fit, toned selves in workout gear, but hyper-sexualized pictures. Take the “fitspo” and “fitnessmotivation” trends and the pictures that accompany them for example. Who wears a thong and lace push-up bra in full hair and makeup while doing tricep kick-backs on a bench in the gym ? NO ONE.

What message are women sending these days? Has vanity overtaken our society? What about the girls of future generations? I fear that the answers to these questions are what women have been fighting against for decades.

What message are women sending these days? These risque pictures (in hopes of getting “likes” and “comments”) are leaving nothing to the imagination; they send universal approval to men to lust and sexualize women. Women of today are adding to the over-sexed hype that our culture has set as a standard. As if it hasn’t gotten bad enough through commercial media, we as women are adding to this standard by means of social media. We are counteracting what we have been wanting for years and years to happen-to be taken seriously, given equal opportunities as men and to not be looked at as a mere sex object. Instagram is a sea of semi-nude women in sexually explicit poses, and we are to blame. Women are posting these.

Has vanity overtaken our society? I get it-I love style and fashion. I post #ootds (not with my face in them) and the occasional “selfie” (rare), and some days, quite frankly, I just feel beautiful! However, my first reaction is not to take 100 photos just to capture that one perfect look to post on Instagram. I have a confidence that came from years and years of experience, self-reflection and self-acceptance. Today, women have become self-absorbed; hovering over their heads is an unhealthy pressure to capture how beautiful their hair looks or how amazingly flawless their makeup is or how tight their booty is getting. Very often it’s captioned with a insightful quote that has nothing to do with the fact that they are posting a picture out of vanity just to get approval.

What about the girls of future generations? They are the ones most engulfed by this. I teach freshman in high school. I see girls taking selfies in the bathroom, walking to class, and sadly sometimes in my classroom before the bell rings. It’s a norm for them-to post pictures on Instagram, tweet on Twitter and make videos for Vine. The scary thing is, how will they know when to draw the line between innocent pictures and delving into the more sexualized photos? Which picture would get more likes? I think we all know the answer to that question.

My hope for young ladies and women all around the world is for them to know that they don’t have to post pictures of any kind  in order to gain approval. I want them to know that their beauty doesn’t rely on the number of “likes” or “comments” of social media. I want them to find inner-confidence, self-control and more importantly, self-respect.

So, think before you post. Think before you envy that girl in the tiny black bikini working out at the gym. I just have to giggle at those.

~ Brynlea Cunniff

Follow Brynlea on Twitter.

Mental Junk Food

March 12, 2014

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I have a serious problem, a confession, if you will: I watch reality television, specifically the Real Housewives franchise and Keeping Up with the Kardashians. There is so much irony in this.

First, I advocate women empowerment. Heck, I have a blog dedicated to it. Second, I fervently encourage women to accept their bodies, flaws and all. (I’m preaching to the choir here). Third, I believe in cultivating an enriching life that will inspire others.

Reality tv does not promote any of the things true to my heart, yet I almost daily feed my mind with junk food. What’s the big deal? I mean, I only spend an hour or so a night watching it. I even criticize as I watch. (That should count for something, right?)

Let’s go back to my core values:

First, I advocate women empowerment. How does reality television empower women on any level? None of the women get along. They teach other women to be competitive, aggressive, and argumentative. They display bizarre animosity toward one another. Sisterhood is what we should strive for, having female friends to support, encourage and cultivate intellectual conversation.

Much of the behavior and values they project actually set women back. Instead of being recognized for achievements and goodwill, they are recognized for their material gains and outward appearance.

Second, I fervently encourage women to accept their bodies, flaws and all. Apparently, lion is the new look because every time I view the housewives, there is a woman flaunting a newly constructed face, remarkably similar to the face of a feline. Aging does not exist in “reality tv land.”  There appears to be little acceptance of their outward appearance, and extreme measures are taken to achieve whatever ideal they’ve conjured up in their heads.

Third, I believe in cultivating an enriching life that will inspire others. In the lives of these reality tv stars, little is to be seen when it comes to an enriching life. Passion, ideas and intellectual conversation are not paramount of these shows.

By watching these shows, I am advocating the very things I detest. I am supporting women who sell manufactured sex appeal and unnecessary discord with those they should support.

Although it’s a little late to be making a new year’s resolution, I think it’s time for me to reassess and give up my mental junk food. Yes, I’d rather zone out in the evenings, but should I be filling my mind with fruitless material?

Here I am. I confess to being a junkie to reality tv. What are your confessions? Do you think it’s important to self-evaluate often?

Brittany Windle

Follow Britt on Twitter.

Fresh Spaces for Spring

March 7, 2014
Spring is just around the corner and it is time to add some color back into your home. Say goodbye to the drab darks colors, or Christmas decor if it is still hanging around (no judgement, I promise) and say hello to these lovely decorative pieces that can easily be switched in and out for the warmer seasons without breaking the bank!
ML Spring Decor

1. Flowers are the perfect way to add some color and a springtime feel into your home. Whether real or fake, you can’t beat the pretty, feminine element that they add. Peonies are my absolute favorite!

2. Decorative Pillows are one of my favorite ways to decorate my home because I can change them out so easily. I especially love having different pillow covers to throw over the pillows that came with my gray couch because that saves space!

3. Candles are easily moved and swapped. They come in wonderful scents and I just love the ones have pretty packaging. My all time favorite scent is anything pumpkin, cinnamon, or frosting related, but I try to stick to lighter scents for spring and summer.

4. Light Throws are another easy way to add a pop of color without breaking the bank. We have blankets all over our house so it is really easy to transition the out-of-season blankets to the guest room while keeping our pretty, in season blankets in the living room where they will be not only functional, but pretty!

5. Bowls, Trays, and Other Decor are always fun extra elements to add. This bowl is from H&M and was only $10! It’s natural look with a pop of color are perfect for Spring and Summer! It could be used as a serving dish for parties or as decor on the table.

6. Pretty Prints are a bit of an obsession of mine. I love typography and colors. I try to incorporate them into our home whenever I can. This print just makes me happy and screams warmer temperatures!

What is your favorite way to decorate for Spring?

Chelsea Mosley

Visit Chelsea’s blog.