Mindfulness: The Move by Abigail Marguerite

IMG_2202.jpg

Home blindness exists. It's when you become so accustomed to the specific ways your house is, that you forget you ever hoped for a fix. Like how when you moved in, it took three weeks of waking startled before you got used to the air vent rattling on in the middle of the night; or how the third drawer in your kitchen sticks open 1/4 of an inch; or how you have to push your bedroom door closed in the summer because it swells with the rising heat. It's how we become comfortable in our living quarters and what gives our homes character. It's why we become nostalgic when a move is on the horizon.

Alex & I moved in together a couple of weeks ago. While I'll miss a handful of things at my old place like the courtyard I exited into each morning before hitting the street, the giant trees that hunched over to one side as if they were frozen like that during a storm, and the 5-minute walk to the natural spring pool, I'm excited to find new reasons to feel at home. There's already the beautiful, bright light streaming in from windows and rousing us with the morning sun before we're ready to start the day; the kitchen, overflowing with dinnerware and cooking utensils and roommates making good food and messier countertops; the cozy love seat in the living room welcoming you to hunker down and read. The neighborhood is filled with sounds like kids squealing in yards playing tag, the metro rail ding-dinging at the crossing, and live music lingering off into the night air at the coffee shop nearby.

We're excited to fill this home with memories. 

Home is where you hear love within the stillness.
— Raquel Franco

Mindfulness: Strip Down by Abigail Marguerite

IMG_5761.jpg

I've gone skinny dipping only once. The experience, with the rush of adrenaline and my limbs treading the silky water, was liberating. That's how I hope 2017 feels: exciting, new, just the right amount of scary, and - most of all - freeing. 

2016 was tough for the world in so many ways; there was such loss and tragedy. By November, we were shaking our heads in disbelief, awe-struck that more unjust could be possible. For most, turning the page to January 1st was a giant sigh of relief. For me, 2016 was about healing. I had my second and final hand surgery and began accepting that my dominant hand would always have a distinct difference to the other. I learned to love myself just a little bit more and, in turn, allowed myself to be seen by someone else. I quit a job that was making me miserable and set out to work on finding a job that aligned with my passions. I decided to dig deep into my savings to pay off my debt. I met special people I didn't know I was missing in my life. I sat with intense feelings of restlessness. 

The beginning of this year has me determined to ease out of these restless feelings. I want to be happier and spend more time on what truly matters; I want to strip down. An advocate of minimalism, I can always get behind giving another box of clothes to the local Goodwill, but this year I'll be focusing more on self-love, giving to others, and rejuvenation. Most of all, I'm allowing myself the freedom of realistic expectations and working towards mental minimalism. I suggest we all indulge in this practice.

1. Instead of sticking to a strict diet or telling ourselves we HAVE to be at the gym 5 out of 7 nights of the week, let's pay attention to the things we put in our bodies, practice portion control, and take more walks.
2. Instead of expecting the weekend to provide us with all the excitement we need to hold ourselves over for an entire week, let's take note of and revel in the simple, 10-second beautiful moments on any given day: when the sun hits our backs on a cold day or how nice a clean apartment smells.
3. Instead of building a mile-long to-do list to keep on track with our personal goals while making progress in our careers, let's planning on trying to relax more. Let's pay attention to our emotions, take a few deep breaths, and decide whether to spend our 45 free minutes napping or working on that project we had in mind. Both are good choices, and there's no reason we should feel guilty for choosing either.

Stripping down to realistic expectations: it's really that simple.

Happy New Year to you and yours. What are your #resolutions? Will you join me in the strip-down to what truly matters? How will you do so? Tell me your goals and aspirations below in the comments! xx

How to be Kind to Yourself when You Think You're Too Busy to Practice Self-Love by Abigail Marguerite

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! December is a mixture of magic, beauty, stress, and anxiety. With Holidays comes so much more - some of it necessary and called for, and some of it terribly unwelcome. While I hope today was filled with joy, happiness, relaxation, and loved ones - this is a reminder in self-love for those of you who felt like strangling your house guests, for those of you who snuck away and locked yourselves in the bathroom during dinner just to get away, and for those of you who are spending this season feeling a little lonely. Now is more a time than ever to show yourselves kindness. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Take a bath

Fill the bathtub with bubbles, put on happy tunes, pour yourself your favorite beverage, and grab a book. Melt into the warm water and let yourself daydream.

2. Go to sleep early

Putting yourself to bed at 8 pm is magical.

3. Give yourself a mani/pedi

Whether you're a guy or gal, your hands and feet will feel 100x better once they're clipped, trimmed, and looking clean.

4. Drink a TON of water

Hydration is huge. Not only will it help you cut back on the not-so-good-for-you snacks, but it will also help keep your energy up, your skin looking on point, and lift your spirits no matter how many rounds of "jingle bells" your grandparents make you sing.

5. Give yourself a break

As an introvert, I can't function if I don't have some time and space to breathe. A few years ago, I read one should give themselves an hour of alone time for every four hours of visiting with friends, family, and loved ones. Hosting this year? Make it a half hour every two!

6. Find Inspiration

Watch a good movie. Pick up a magazine with pretty pictures. Surf your favorite blogs or Pinterest. Read a captivating book. Listen to a motivating Podcast. If you're in a culture-filled city or town, go to a museum, see a play, or attend the ballet. You can never overdose on inspiration.

7. Write

Putting your thoughts down on paper is extremely cathartic. Whether you're writing a blog post, a journal entry, or a letter to a loved one, chances are you'll feel 100 x lighter once you punctuate the last sentence. 

8. Get outside

Go for a walk, run, or bike ride. Trek that favorite trail in your hometown. Visit the beach and watch the waves roll over themselves. Rake some leaves or shovel the driveway full of snow. Dance at all the Holiday parties you're invited to. Your body is asking for this, so give in!

9. Call a friend

Sometimes practicing self-love is better with a friend. Call someone you haven't talked to in a while and tell her how your life has been lately. Then listen to her advice and give her a chance to spill her own guts to you.

10. Treat Yourself

Buy yourself a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Indulge in a sweet treat. Go to the salon or splurge on a massage. Take yourself out to lunch or dinner or go crazy and buy yourself a ticket to a tropical island weekend getaway. Maybe treating yourself means getting in touch with a counselor who could help set you on the right track. Whatever it is, you deserve it. Go for it.

How do your show yourself kindness? I'd love to hear. Comment below!

For Inspiration by Abigail Marguerite

My favorites on Pinterest lately... 

This bright and cheery entry-way and all these suggestions on how to decorate with plants.

This simple kitchen in the home of Suzie (artist of Trollhagen & Co.) displayed on Reading My Tea Leaves.

These sweet polka-dotted socks from Anthropologie.

This bedroom with open beams.

This reminder from Letterfolk Co. (haha!)

 

Follow me on Pinterest @abbymarguerite. Leave a comment below with your Pinterest Page! I always love losing myself in inspirational photographs.

100 Ways to Be Kind by Abigail Marguerite

IMG_6958.jpg

Kindness is contagious; the world is in dire need of it right about now. It's been a week and a half since the election and people are still feeling scared, hopeless, and fiery. "Hate" is being muttered more than "love" these days, so let's take the initiative to spread the love. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Water your plants
  2. Water your neighbor's plants
  3. Bake cookies for the mailman/trash collector/or neighbors
  4. Volunteer at a local homeless shelter
  5. Go to a bookstore and leave little love notes in between the pages of random books: "your smile is stunning," or "someone, somewhere is thinking about you right now."
  6. Play with your pet
  7. Hold the door open for someone
  8. Send sweet notes in the mail to people you don't know
  9. Buy a cup of coffee for whoever is behind you in line at the café
  10. Give helpful advice to someone who seems like they need it
  11. Give good, long, warm hugs
  12. Bake a cake, add candles, and gift it to someone for no reason at all. Have them wish on it.
  13. Call a friend just to say, "hi"
  14. Bring your loved one coffee or breakfast in bed
  15. Clean the shared office kitchen
  16. Recycle
  17. Give your friend that piece of clothing or jewelry she complimented weeks ago
  18. Stand up for someone else's rights
  19. Pick up & throw away litter your find on the street
  20. Decorate your house for others to take pleasure in
  21. Lend a pen & paper to a co-worker who forgot to bring their own to a meeting
  22. Give a tip that makes the waiter/waitress do a double-take
  23. Give a loved one a massage
  24. Plant flowers, a tree, or a plant in your front yard for others to enjoy
  25. Add change to parking meters that are about to run out
  26. Reach out to an old friend - even if you ended on shaky terms
  27. Read a book to a child
  28. Smile at strangers
  29. Give genuine compliments
  30. Donate that dollar to the charity grocery stores are donating to
  31. Be polite on the road
  32. Have a conversation with the salesperson helping you. Ask questions about his/her life
  33. Take a shorter shower to save water
  34. Measure your carbon footprint and take steps to make it smaller
  35. Help your friend practice for an interview or redesign her resumé
  36. Babysit for friends who need a night out on the town for free
  37. Truly listen when someone is talking to you
  38. Encourage someone who is feeling deflated
  39. Leave a used book on public transportation for someone else to pick up
  40. Grow your hair out and donate a bunch
  41. Donate blood
  42. Return a lone shopping cart that's in the middle of the parking lot back to the store
  43. Do your best to be on time so you don't keep anyone waiting
  44. Share your umbrella
  45. Clean our your closets and donate clothes and toys in good condition
  46. Volunteer at an animal shelter
  47. Become an organ donor if you aren't one already
  48. Share a positive blog post
  49. Take someone to the movies
  50. Send flowers for no special reason to someone you know would love them
  51. Organize a carpool
  52. Keep hand warmers on your person to hand out to the homeless in cold weather
  53. Call a family member who always loves hearing from you
  54. Help someone who is financially hurting if you can afford it. Expect nothing in return
  55. Tell someone why you appreciate them
  56. Tutor a child having a hard time in school
  57. Run an errand for someone who is super busy
  58. Make someone laugh
  59. Leave flowers at a hospital desk for the nurse's to decide who needs it most
  60. Pray or send good, positive thoughts into the universe for someone who needs it
  61. Donate delicious cans of food to a homeless shelter
  62. Make a silly face at a stranger through a window to make him smile
  63. Put a surprise note in your partner's lunch
  64. Cook your partner or friend's favorite meal for him/her
  65. Bring a treat to work for your co-workers to indulge in with you
  66. Help a mom with her cumbersome baby carriage
  67. Let the person in line behind you go ahead of you
  68. Let someone else have the close parking spot
  69. Hold the elevator
  70. Offer to switch seats on an airplane/train/bus for a couple/family trying to sit together
  71. Do your roommate's dishes
  72. Ask the phone rep how their day is going; they likely have been listening to people complain all day
  73. Write to an old teacher/mentor who has made a difference in your life
  74. Tell a manager when you receive impeccable service
  75. Give someone the benefit of the doubt. Don't judge
  76. Follow up on your promises
  77. Invite someone over to dinner
  78. If you print out a coupon before going to the store, print a few extras to give to other shoppers
  79. Let your partner watch their favorite show even if you hate it
  80. Help someone move
  81. Send a care package
  82. Be patient
  83. Stand up for the underdog even if you risk being made fun of
  84. Avoid gossipping
  85. Go to your friend's art opening/band meet/etc
  86. Tape dollar bills to the sidewalk and write a note in chalk stating "just for you" to someone to come across
  87. Be genuinely happy for others
  88. Give a glowing recommendation
  89. Pick a flower for someone
  90. Enter not yourself but your friend into raffles and contests and cross your fingers they'll win
  91. Give your tired girlfriend a manicure or pedicure
  92. If you see someone pulled over on the side of the road, stop to make sure they don't need help
  93. Show up for someone who is counting on you
  94. Answer the phone even if you don't want to. We all hate being sent to voicemail
  95. Give thoughtful advice if it's asked of you
  96. Be a conversation shifter: when the conversation is going south or headed in the direction of gossip, find something related, but uplifting to talk about
  97. Buy an inspirational book for someone
  98. Offer to wallow with someone who's in mourning
  99. Throw someone a surprise party to celebrate them on their birthday or when they've acheived a milestone
  100. Support small businesses

What did I forget? Let me know in the comments below how you spread kindness into the world around you.

Confessions: Things I Love Doing Recently by Abigail Marguerite

1. Barre Class

Do y'all know about the wonders of Barre? I've been going to the classes every other day for about three months. They're a mix of yoga, pilates, and ballet barre practices. I always leave the studio feeling rejuvenated and I'm always sore the day after -- something I love after a good workout; it reminds me that I'm working hard to improve myself. The classes are a good mix of cardio and muscle-building. Here in Austin, a popular place is Barre 3. Here's what Barre 3 says about their services: "Barre3 is for everyone. We don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to exercise. Instead, we empower each individual to modify postures and develop body awareness for lasting results. Our signature approach to teaching gives clients a rewarding endorphin high and a deep muscle burn—without pain in areas of the body prone to injury." Check out if they're in your area. 

2. Baking

And by baking, I mean adding 1 cup water, 1/2 cup oil, and 2 large eggs to Trader Joe's Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread Mix. Whether it's because there's been a chill in the air every morning and night, or because Halloween is right around the corner, I've simply been in the mood for fresh-baked smells to come wafting out of my oven. Lately, these s'mores chocolate chip cookie sandwiches look scrumptious. On a recent trip home to Cape Cod, my mom made the most delicious pumpkin pie with molasses inside. Makes me want to try some more unconventional pumpkin treats such as this brown butter confection. With the help of Home Chef, my boyfriend, Alex and I are cooking more often. Would love to try this yummy breakfast treat one lazy Sunday morning. Though I'm proud of this recent #adulting, with most baked goods' primary ingredients consisting of sugar and carbs, I should probably start taking some notes from this Minimalist Wellness blog.

3. Listening Walks

When my mind is cluttered, as it so often is, walking tends to help calm my nerves. Vitamin D must be a real thing ;) When I was a kid, I'd wake up to the sounds of my parents in the kitchen making breakfast and watching the news. Ever since then, it's become a habit to live with constant background noise (probably not the healthiest life model?). My favorite background noise recently isn't Pandora or Spotify, but a few select Podcasts. I find myself tuning in and out as I walk past streets and weave in and out of neighborhoods, but it provides a familiar nostalgic feeling I haven't yet learned to give up. My preferred podcasts these days are Dear Sugar, My Favorite Murder, and Modern Love. I so miss Serial (did you listen to season 2? I couldn't get into it).

4. Going to Sleep Earlier

I know, I know, I'm rolling my eyes at my own lameness. I still stay up late from time to time if I'm working in the studio or watching the new episode of Westworld or catching up on the latest Kinfolk Issue, but when I go to bed before midnight, I actually wake up feeling refreshed and ready to conquer the day. Imagine that!

 

What are some things you've been loving recently? Any great podcasts or music or movies to recommend? I'm always on a mad hunt!