pick-me-ups

bouquetbgtimage by dthoskins

Unfortunately, I have been battling illness for the last month (3 doctors  visits, 2 antibiotics), so my kick-off to summer has been less than smooth.  The usual excitement I feel for the start of the summer season simply hasn’t been there.  My sweet family has been great about trying to provide some pick-me-ups while I’m on the mend.  Here are some of my favorites:

  • Fresh flowers: I love having fresh flowers around the house!  An arrangement on the dining room table.  A small vase placed in the bathroom on a silver tray.  I’ll take them anywhere!  Summer lends itself to bright color palettes.  The bouquet my mom brought me is so vibrant and lush,
  • A bath: I love a steamy bath with any LUSH products and lit candles.  I especially love soothing bath time meditations.
  • Fragrance: Those that know me well know I love perfume!  Spritzing some on, even on these days I’ve barely left the house goes a long way to improving my mood.
  • Exercise: A little walk or a quick workout can certainly be a boost.  Even when I didn’t feel up to it at the time, a walk to our neighborhood park was just what I needed.

What are your favorite pick-me-ups?

katherine Greene

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?

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thankful

falltablescapeimage by KGreeneOwens

As we busily prep our houses and work furiously to whip up a fantastic feast, it is easy to stop being thankful and only feel the stress of the holiday season.  We wanted to press pause on the chaos and take a quick moment to thank our sweet readers for sharing Bluegrass Threads’ with your family and friends.  We are thankful for each of you!  Our dear readers are what make this worthwhile.

Other things that we are truly thankful for:

-safe and healthy family

-good friends and laughter

-lovely bluegrass fall days and gorgeous leaves

-delightful Christmas music to boost the spirit

 

What are you thankful for?  How will you celebrate tomorrow?

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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.

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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**

 

 

beat holiday stress with yoga {guest post by Laura Whitaker}

hotyoga
image by dthoskins

 

It’s November and the holiday season is basically here…can you believe it? While this is typically a beloved time of year, it also tends to be the time when we invite lot of stresses (shopping, eating, spending, traveling, hosting, etc.) into our lives. I’m just as guilty of this as the next person, but I’m here to offer some ideas for slowing down and managing the stress that we all experience in one form or another. And we’ll focus on a topic I know and love: yoga.

 

My favorite definition of yoga is “the settling of the mind into stillness” (Patanjali). It may seem kind of new-agey, but don’t let this intimidate you. This is actually good news, since it means yoga is not about becoming a human pretzel or standing on your head (although that’s fun stuff to try out, too). Instead, yoga is about learning to notice your thoughts as they move all over the place – from holiday shopping lists to travel plans – then using your body and breath awareness to stay present and relaxed.

 

Before we launch into a few of my favorite stress-management yoga poses, pause a moment, close your eyes, and send your attention to each individual part of your body from the crown of the head down to the toes. Is there a place (or several places) that feels tighter than the others? If so, this is probably where you hold your stress. Maybe it’s your shoulders, your neck, your low back. Wherever it is, make a commitment to give some extra love to that part of your body throughout the following poses and the coming months. Exchange shoulder massages with your significant other while cooking Thanksgiving dinner, or take some slow neck circles while you’re in line with your kids to see Santa.

 

Now, on to the yoga poses. Read on:

 

– Supported & reclined bound angle (supta baddha konasana)
This is a great restorative pose, meaning it helps the body slow down and rest. For obvious reasons, restorative poses are super important in counter-balancing the hectic stress of holiday errands. Visit Yoga Journal for the “how-to”. I also recommend placing a rolled-up blanket tightly over the insides of your feet and under your ankles/shins. This provides some extra grounding support. Take this pose mid-day to open your hips and settle your mind.

 

Legs-up-the-wall (viparita karani)
This is another yummy restorative pose. It’s great for nighttime, helping you settle your mind for sleep. It’s also fabulous for headaches, which are often triggered by physical, mental, and emotional stress. Again, Yoga Journal has a great “how-to”.

 

Sun salutations (surya namaskar)
While restorative poses are some of the best stress relievers, it’s important to keep a healthy balance of slowing down and staying active. If you find yourself skipping workouts to make time for wrapping presents, sneak in a sun salutation. It will increase your heart rate for un-stressful reasons, and it has a good mix of forward folds (which are very relaxing, by the way), backbends, strength, and flexibility. Here’s a Yoga Journal video of a beginner-friendly sun salutation.

 

I hope this helps you slow down so you can better enjoy the coming holidays with your loved ones. Remember that you don’t have to commit to an hour-long yoga class in order to reap the benefits. Just a few minutes for a couple of poses a day will help beat the stress as you move through your holiday season!

 
 

*Laura Whitaker is a registered yoga teacher in Lexington, KY. She currently teaches at Barefoot Works Yoga on Richmond Road. If you have any yoga questions, feel free to email her at laurabwhitaker (at) gmail (dot) com. 

summer scents

Wearing perfume is one of my favorite, easy mood boosters.  I adore Beachy by Lily Pulitzer.    It was a seasonal perfume in 2008, so I try to stock up whenever I find some at an outlet or clearance store.  (Don’t you just hate when your favorite product is discontinued—-its always my luck!)

lily

image by KGreeneOwens

Beachy has been my go-to summer scent for several years now, with its delightful citrus aroma.  Anything citrus reminds me of the fun of summer.

Do you have a favorite summer scent?  Why do you wear it?

katherine Greene

 

 

 

crazy christmas lady

photo 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 July
  • I began Christmas shopping for 2012 on December 26, 2011.
  • 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 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.

However, I do 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!