getting rid of january blues

321Cake!image by dthoskins

Since I adore the holiday season, the fact that Christmas is over can send my mood plummeting.  Gray days seem to loom ahead during January and February, so it is very necessary for my to actively work against the gloom.  These are a few of the ways that I try to beat my January blues:

Continue reading getting rid of january blues

start the new year off right

greensmoothiebgtwimage by dthoskins

  • This green smoothie recipe is one of our favorites.  We promise that it is simply delicious (Katherine’s son calls it his “monster smoothie”!)
  • Reduce cellulite and reveal glowing skin with a dry-brushing skincare routine.
  • Need help with organization (don’t we all), try these tips and tricks.
  • Diana swears by this HIIT regimen—doesn’t take any time to get your cardio in!
  • Sometimes eating healthy is best accomplished by having food prepped—we love these recipes here, here and here.
  • This stress-busting yoga moves are sure to get you on the right track!

What are your plans to start the new year off right?  Remember one small change can make a HUGE difference!

BGTsig

last-minute christmas

BGTxmasw

Each year at Christmas, I feel like there is never enough time to do all that I want to do!  It’s actually why I try to do so much early (Christmas shopping, etc.), so that I don’t get overwhelmed in December.  No matter how much I do ahead, ultimately there are extra holiday gatherings and out of town guests that get tossed into the schedule.  It’s important to remember that it doesn’t that you can’t have time for fun holiday activities or decorations.

It may be in the final countdown for Christmas with just 12 days until the big day, but there is still plenty of time to enjoy or make one of these festive holiday goodies!

greenerycenterpieceimage by KGreeneOwens

Need an easy centerpiece?  Fill a rustic bucket with holly or magnolia branches and add a few sparkly Christmas ornaments for a bit of festive flair.  Doesn’t get any easier!  Plus, this alternative to flowers will last a couple of weeks.

JingleBellwimage by dthoskins

Looking for a festive holiday cocktail?  This Jingle Bell is simply delicious and refreshing.  No bartender required.

pwimage by dthoskins

Love to craft?  This fun music pinwheels will add a touch of whimsy to your holiday decor.

 

What are your go-to, last-minute holiday ideas?

BGTsig

transitions {guest post by Meredith Swim}

Super thrilled to have a guest post today from the insanely sweet Meredith Swim about transitioning to the fall season.

_________________________________________

Fall

Summer gives a dramatic, sparkly bow, leaving me a bit sun-dazzled as Fall sweeps onto center stage. The early bloom of a new school year marks an official end to carefree summer frolics, setting in motion a change in routine and signifying a time of transitions.

Though I am not returning back to school, I still feel the familiar flutter of nerves and excitement for a new unfolding chapter. Fall is ripe and ready for creating and implementing a new routine, or spicing a mundane one up to inspire and nurture. My beloved coffee shops fill up with studious college kids and the presence of their textbooks and stuffed backpacks makes me eager to work a little harder. The arrival of the Virgo ruled months plucks me from summer daydreams and pushes me to concentrate on turning those wishes into a reality, so it’s time to buckle down, sweat a little and take care of the practical, nitty-gritty details.

Transitioning. As earth-beings we are in the midst of a seasonal transition. The transition from summer to fall is bittersweet. There’s a tender sadness that accompanies Summer’s bon voyage and the debut of Fall. I’m sensitive to the disappearing sunlight and the too-soon fading splendor of the leaves. As a person prone to daydreams, it’s easy for me to get swept up in the winds of change. I can feel ungrounded and overwhelmed by the longer to-do list.

I lovingly acknowledge my sensitivity to transitions, so I’m adding a few self-care essentials to the to-do list. I’m intending to take time to center and create small, comforting rituals to help me ground and weather this transition with grace and ease. I’m sharing some suggestions, perhaps one will resonate and feel like a big YES.

*Let’s begin with the breath. During the day, if I’m stressing over the future or in multi-task, super-woman mode, my breath becomes quick and shallow. Just bringing awareness to the breath will invite it to naturally deepen and lengthen. Take the time to breathe mindfully, knowing that pausing and having a moment of non-doing will actually create more space and clarity for purposeful action. I use my inhalations to welcome and fully be in the present moment. Fall in Kentucky is vibrant and gorgeous, so as I inhale I bear witness to the unfolding beauty of leaves. As I exhale, I envision sending the out-breath down my legs and out my toes, rooting into my feet and feeling less scattered and more grounded in my body and in this moment.

*Rituals can also be incredibly comforting and grounding during a transition. My mornings always begin with a few mindful breaths and a yoga practice. No matter where I am and no matter what mood I awake in, I commit to that time in the morning to be with my breath and to be with my body. This ritual travels with me and has kept me connected to self as I’ve embarked and undergone transitions. This ritual can simply be sipping coffee and reading the paper, journaling, or taking a stroll after dinner. Decide and commit to having a ritual that grants satisfying “me time.”

*Go easy, too. A wild and wide variety of emotions can appear during a transition: excitement for pursing passion, or fear of the unknown to name just a few. As the Sufi poet Rumi says about emotions, “Welcome and entertain them all for each has been sent as a guide from beyond.” Breathing mindfully and having a ritual allows for emotions to be acknowledged. Let this inner listening be one freed of any judgment. There is no right or wrong way to feel. Just be with the feelings present and let them be invitations to better understand self. If there’s need, take action or just be aware. Be gentle during this time. Maybe even be a bit indulgent and fully relish and savor those indulgences, a pumpkin cookie from a local bakery or a new stellar purchase to rock out Fall fashion.

Transitions can be smooth and easy. They can be a time of great self-discovery and a beautiful opportunity for growth, a shedding of the old and radiant emergence. Take it one breath at a time. Be present in the unfolding journey.

 

 

Meredith

Meredith Swim is a sparkly daydreamer who adores heart shaped sunglasses and impromptu dance sessions. Passionate yoga instructor, free-spirited writer, a Gemini on a life-loving quest for self-discovery and radical self-acceptance.

**All images were provided by guest writer**

 

 

new year’s resolutions

image by dthoskins
image by dthoskins

These are a few of our favorite tips and tricks for starting the New Year organized and healthy!

  • A great HIIT cardio workout that doesn’t take up too much time.
  • An organized desk is a great way to get work done and keep a clear head
  • Clear your winter sinuses with this neti routine
  • These stress-busting yoga moves will help you shake off the post-holiday slump
  • Start your day off with an easy, healthy breakfast parfait
  • Combat winter skin with this amazing routine
  • Plan your weekly meals and grocery shop ahead to avoid the take-out temptation.  We love simple slow cooker meals (even slow cooker desserts!)

What are your New Year’s goals?

BGTsig

BEING GRACIOUS AND GRATEFUL {guest post by Alice Greene}

BEING GRACIOUS AND GRATEFUL :

The importance of a thank-you note

nivothankyouimage by dthoskins

Okay – so the presents have all been opened, the toys have been assembled and Santa has eaten the cookies left on his special plate – now it’s time for the THANK YOU NOTES!

That’s right, the thank you note is not dead.  Why is a little note so important?  Well, for those folks who were not present when you opened your gift, it acknowledges that you received the gift no matter if it came by mail, another delivery service or via Aunt Susan.  In addition, it recognizes someone who has done something nice for you.  Did you ever stop to realize the time, effort and expense that goes into giving a thoughtful gift?  Surely you can spend several minutes writing a note of thanks to the giver.

Thank you notes and general note cards are so beautiful these days and relatively inexpensive if you shop at places like TJMaxx, Homegoods and Marshalls.  Add a beautiful stamp and you have a piece of mail that will make someone smile upon receipt.  Whether right or wrong, many people expect a thank you note when they give a gift and many others read their note numerous times as it reminds them that they and their gift were appreciated.

So – you don’t know how to begin to write a note of thanks?  Check out a book from the library or purchase one from your local bookstore on the topic.  I have owned On A Personal Note – A Guide to Writing Notes with Style by Angela Ensminger and Keely Chace for several years and have even given copies as gifts for high school and college graduates and brides and grooms.  It will help you find just the right words for whatever you need to express.  Don’t use this as an excuse for not writing a note of appreciation.  If all else fails, just thank the giver for the gift and tell them how it will be used or that when using it you will be reminded of them.  Isn’t that all anyone really wants to hear?

So in this quintessential season of giving, don’t forget to actually thank those who gave.  You’ll thank me later!

-Alice

Lexington, Kentucky

MomBGT

Alice is a native Lexingtonian and quintessential southern lady, who enjoys cooking, baking and entertaining. 

 

Thanks, Alice!  If you have something you’d like to share with our readers about bluegrass living and style, send us an email at katherine@bluegrassthreadsky.com or diana@bluegrassthreadsky.com.

 

your christmas organized

SG4image by dthoskins

Hello, my name is Katherine and I have an addiction to Christmas.

How do I know this?  Because when I tell people that…

  • I was done Christmas shopping in September
  • I began Christmas shopping for 2013 on December 26, 2012.
  • I keep a detailed Christmas spreadsheet of what I spent on each gift vs. the actual retail value.
  • In said spreadsheet binder, I have records of what I have given as gifts for the last 10 years (to avoid duplication).
  • I already have my Christmas cards completed.
  • I am ready to decorate my house the day after Halloween.
  • I have an annual Christmas Open House, as soon as we get through Thanksgiving.
  • I don’t use gift tags, I just wrap in coordinating papers to identify the receiver.  (All of my husbands gifts are in penguin paper.  All of my son’s in reindeer, etc.)
  • I could keep adding to this list

…they look at me like I am crazy.

I do, however, have a method to my madness.  I actually enjoy the entire Christmas season because I am not trying to cram all of these stressful delightful Christmas tasks into a couple of weeks.  I can attend parties, holiday concerts, shop at the mall for fun without worrying about getting my Christmas cards out or finishing my holiday wrapping.

Want in on the crazy?  Here is the fabulous Holiday Gift Organizer that I use each year.  I am an avid list maker and so I love having a hardcopy to make notes on.  For those that would prefer an online organizer, Gift Elephant is a great place to start.

Happy organizing!

katherine Greene

Christmas revisited

These are a few of our favorite holiday things…

The countdown to Christmas is on!  Are you ready?