Heads Up: Us Bloggers Aren’t Perfect

” I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.” – E.B. White

Hello awesome people! Yes, I’m still here… just stuck in a rut of feeling like I have little to talk about. I promised I wouldn’t turn this page into an ad for my business, but it has been consuming most of my free time lately, so I feel like there is nothing left to talk about. I’m doing other things, of course… I am always doing other things, but nothing which I find interesting enough to write about.

I’m stuck in a rut that I know a lot of you experience. This feeling that I am always too much and too little of everything, all at the same time. It’s exhausting. The criticism I give to my own “flaws” is just ridiculous. And I know that, deep down! I really do. I love who I am and I don’t want to change who I am at all. So why am I acting so crazy?

I’m sure you can all relate to some of these thoughts: I should be giving more time to others. I need to start spending more time taking care of myself. I really spend too much time in the kitchen. I need to stop being so lazy and start making myself healthier lunches. I need to be waking up earlier to do more yoga. I need to be getting more sleep. I need to put more time into my business. I need to give more time to my family. I should be more selfless in my marriage. I should be asking for my needs to be met in my marriage. I’m not smart enough to run a business. I’m not creative enough to sell things, etc. 

It goes on and on. You can all see that everything I continue to beat myself up about is completely contradictory, right? Too much. Too little. And I haven’t wanted to write about anything because I am not feeling all put together lately, like I should be if I am going to write a blog to encourage others.  I should keep my insecurities at bay. Right?

Hmm… Maybe not. I didn’t start this blog to be perfect and teach others perfection. I started this blog to encourage others to love themselves, improve their lives through the little things, and share my passions. I made this blog to be REAL with people.

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Man, what I load off my shoulders. People, listen. I am not perfect! I talk about the importance of a morning schedule, but I oversleep ALL of the time. I talk about eating right, but there are nights I eat chips and guacamole for dinner (with no guilt, it’s delicious). My husband and I have had a rough first year of marriage and my relationship is far from perfect. And that’s all okay!

I  just want to get this point across: the people who write the blogs you follow are human. They have flaws that they probably don’t talk about all the time. For a long time, I compared everything in my life to the bloggers I followed. I would look at their happy, healthy pictures and loathe myself for not being as committed as they are. I would look at their budget plans and panic about our household spending. I became so obsessed with being the “perfect wife” (according to blogs) at the beginning of my marriage, that I soon started attacking my husband for not being a “perfect husband” too.

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I say all this to remind you all that there is no such thing as perfect. It is great to have people we look up to for guidance, but please never let yourself get caught up in what everyone else is telling you to do. Trust yourself and don’t every try to fit into a mold.

You are not too much or too little of anything, especially if you are being yourself. Do not let others, internet and magazines included, define you. EVER. Once the expectations of who we should be are gone, we can strive, as ourselves! No judgment. No guilt. PLEASE!

Wow. See? I already feel better. This is why I blog 🙂

Love y’all, Taryn xoxo

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Quick brag: We sold our first painting on Etsy! Of course, we were ecstatic, but I was mostly excited because our first sale features my personal handwriting, that I have always disliked. See?! We gotta stop hating on ourselves 🙂
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Ready! Set! Meditate!

“Every day, set the simple goal of being more awake and less distracted.” – Russel Simmons

Happy Friday readers! I was not planning on doing a blog post today, but I was very inspired by my sister. She text me today and asked me for some help starting a meditation practice. This got me all sorts of excited and figured this kind of information should be shared with all of you!

First off, what is meditation? Yogi Bhajan said meditation is “when you empty yourself and let the universe come in you.” Through meditation, we become aware of ourselves and aware of the universe. We become a witness, outside of our body and our mind and our emotions. This is where we are able to learn the true nature of who we are, apart from the material suffering that plagues us. Sounds good right? Let’s get started!

This beautiful yogini is my dear friend Cindy! Follow her insta @cindy_sue_asana
This beautiful yogini is my dear friend Cindy! Follow her insta @cindy_sue_asana

No idea how to get started? I know it can be intimidating. You seriously want me to sit still for that long without thinking about anything? That’s hilarious! Don’t worry; I still struggle with this too. I am no meditation master. AT ALL. My anxious, little thoughts creep in so fast and suddenly I am lost in a world of dinner plans, work drama, and how I should be decorating my meditation space. Start small. Try to start with ten minutes in silence a day. However, finding silence is sometimes difficult, so here are some great ways to get started:

  • Guided meditations. I still do these most mornings to give me something to focus on. There are a number of guided practices on youtube and other websites. You may want to do some research as to which ones fit with your needs. This is also a great way to direct your meditation towards a given theme, such as forgiveness, strength, self-confident, etc. Here are a few links I’ve enjoyed:
    1. Evening mediation by Louise Hay
    2. Meditation for Honoring Yourself by Gabrielle Bernstein
    3. Mindfulness Meditation for Stress Relief 
  • Focus. Focusing all your attention on one thing can help to pave a path to a clear mind and is less intimidating than simply “emptying the mind”. The focus can be place on anything. You can stare at a candle flame or beautiful picture for ten minutes, count your inhales and exhales, or become engulfed in the rhythm of some music. When you lose your concentration, simply forgive yourself and re-focus on whatever you have chosen to give your attention.
  • Guide yourself. Sometimes the best meditations I have were guided by my own needs. Where do I want to be right now and what do I want to be experiencing? I may wonder into a field of flowers with a warm mist of rain, dancing around and laughing in my momentary freedom. Or I may picture myself finishing that goal, receiving the praise I have been craving, or discovering something new. It’s whatever you want it to be. There is no right or wrong way to do meditation.

Create a consistency with your practice. When and where will you meditate?

  • When? I believe the easiest time to practice meditation is first thing in the morning. Our minds are mostly empty from the long sleep from the night before and we are not burdened by the events of the day. I have a hard time not falling asleep if I meditate right away, so I usually take a shower and sometimes practice some yoga prior to taking a seat on my meditation pillow. However, I know others who do not like morning meditation and would rather take the time to meditate right after they get home, as a way to shift from work to home life. Others love to clear their mind before bed, which is especially great for insomniacs like me! I try to meditate for at least five minutes each morning and as needed at night time.
  • Where? Find a place in your home that you can go to that is quiet, clutter-free, and feels right to you. Make your environment comfortable and make it your own. Grab a comfy pillow or blanket you can sit on (a chair is great too!), maybe light your favorite candle and play some calming music (especially if it is difficult to find a peaceful silence within your home). It does not need to be extravagantly decorated with Buddhist sculptures and prayer flags, although you are welcome to do so! You may find in time that you are drawn to certain items in your space that inspire you, but there is no need to rush this.
My meditation space is super simple, but it is my own space in my craft/office/yoga room
My meditation space is super simple, but it is my own space in my craft/office/yoga room

Try active meditation practices. Anything that allows you to become focused and stills your mind can be considered a meditative practice. You could take a quiet morning walk, allowing your mind to focus on the beauty of nature and the gifts that surround you. Maybe you find your meditation in an art practice, by doodling a mandala, painting abstract designs along a canvas, or molding a new figurine. Maybe it is through a new gardening project or whatever it is that suites you! Meditation is merely the act of stepping back and becoming the witness. We experience a meditative state through self-awareness and becoming disengaged from our thoughts, body, and emotions.

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My favorite active meditation: Zentangles

No judgments. You may not get to meditate every day. You may not get that pesky grocery list to disappear in today’s practice. You may not feel connected to any of the guided meditations you’ve tried and are becoming frustrated. I cannot stress this enough: let it go! There is no perfect way to find yourself. If you are trying, let that be enough. Take pride in the fact that you are doing something wonderful for yourself and, in turn, helping those around you. Also, you should never allow yourself to feel guilty when doing something good for you. It is not selfish, because through your transformation you will be able to better assist those around you. Enjoy it. It may not be easy today; it may not be easy tomorrow. It is a journey, and a great one at that!

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I can guarantee you that if you make the choice to start meditating, the tools you need will come to you. You have to be patient and open to accepting the help of others and the universe.  A Course in Miracles has a great prayer that I have started implementing at the beginning of my practice. It goes as follows:

“Where would you have me go? What would you have me do? What would you have me say? And to whom?”

Trust that if you are truly looking for something, you will find it. Be open minded to the suggestion of others. If a book practically calls out to you, falls into your basket at the bookstore, read it! If someone encouraged you to seek out a great teacher, listen to them. The universe wants to guide you; please be ready to listen.

Have a lovely weekend beautiful people! – Taryn xoxo

Another dear yoga friend and fellow writer, Joseph. You can follow him on instagram @lapis_yoga or click on this picture to find a link to his new book!
Another dear yoga friend and fellow writer, Joseph. You can follow him on instagram @lapis_yoga or click on this picture to find a link to his new book!

Tricks of the Ego: Idols

“A miracle is a shift in perception. The moment that we choose to perceive our life with love, we can create miraculous change.” – Gabrielle Bernstein

I have to share this great book I am reading right now called “Spirit Junkie: A Radical Road to Self-Love and Miracles” by Gabrielle Bernstein (and by reading, I mean listening to her audiobook of course). I’m only a few chapters into the book and I already love it. She has a pretty down-to-earth message about getting in touch with your own spirituality, which she calls “~ing” (inner guide).

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This week, I read one of her chapters which speaks about the ego tricking us into idolizing someone or something, making them “more special” than others in our life. By idolizing others, it makes us feel separate from them, as if there is something within them which is better than whatever is within us. This is not just in people; it can be with jobs, hobbies, fashion, etc. Our ego makes an illusion in our mind that these people or things are better than us or that we cannot live without them. Outward projections convince us that there are those who are “special” and those who aren’t. This separation is a game the ego plays to keep control over us, encouraging the mind to remain critical of others and ourselves.

We forget one important thing: we are all one. There is no “better than” or “worse than”. Not only do we find others to be “more special”, but we identify ourselves that way too when we think of ourselves above anyone else. As long as these messages are filling our mind, it is impossible to believe in equality or oneness with the universe.

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Gabrielle encourages her readers to “out the ego” but admitting to the projections we are placing onto others, weakening the effects the ego has over us. Namaste, a very popular word in the yoga world, means: the divine in me honors the divine within you. Gabrielle uses a similar phrase in her book, stating: “the light I see in her is a reflection of the light within me.” We are all equal. It is so important that we stop idolizing others because we are all the same.

This week, I was very encouraged by this realization. I do have idols. There are some friends I follow on Facebook or other yoga instructors that I find myself idolizing all the time. I think thoughts like, wow! She is so successful and here I am doing nothing with my life. I wish I had what she has. Or similarly, I love what she does with her yoga teaching. She is so creative. I don’t have what it takes to compete with people like her, full of so many good ideas. She’s amazing, and I’m just me.

In thinking these thoughts, I am not only putting people on pedestals they can hardly live up to, but I am reflecting back my personal fears and criticisms of myself. Obviously: not healthy at all! So, I took the challenge to “out the ego” by contacting some of my idols. I even text my husband: “Honey, I am sorry I have idolized you and put you on a pedestal that is hard to live up to.” Of course, he responds with this: “wtf does that mean?” Hahaha! But seriously, stepping out of my comfort zone and reaching out to some of my idols was very empowering.

I sent this email to a yoga teacher-blogger-instagramer I love:

“Okay, this is gonna sound kind of silly but I am trying this new thing where I “let go” of idolizing people so I can start to see more equality among everyone. In doing so, I am challenging myself to reach out to the people I idolize in order to help me get over it. I think your success at such a young age in incredible and I idolize you for it and your ability to help so many people. However, I acknowledge that the same light within your resides within me too and we are the same! Thank you for inspiring me! (Sorry, I know this may be weird because I am a total stranger… hope you don’t mind!)”

I was so shocked to hear back from this busy entrepreneur. Her response was:

“Hi Taryn, Not silly at all! I actually love this… So, so true that we’re all the same and I’m so honored to hear from you on this endeavor 🙂 Thank you for the kind words, for getting in touch, and of course, for doing yoga with me. It makes my day! Big love, Erin”

I seriously feel better already and I encourage y’all to step out of your comfort zone and admit that you wrongly idolize others too!

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Namaste y’all! ❤ Taryn xoxo

Weekend Recap: Sibling Sleepover

“To the outside world, we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other’s hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time.” – Clara Ortega

Finally recovered from a long, successful, and fun-packed weekend. It was a great reminder of how blessed I am to have my family, who believe in me enough to start new ventures with me, who make me laugh so hard my abs hurt, and who love me so deeply that a single smile can bring me to tears. Honestly, they’re that great!

Sadly, we lost a small family member this week. Blondie, our sweetest hen is no longer chasing me down for salad scraps and our other hen, Pepper, spent a couple nights alone (sorry for the dramatics, I was devastated). Thankfully, we were able to find a new, young hen to join the coop and befriend Pepper. Our new addition, a 3 month old white maran I named Elsa. She is adorable!

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I’m super bummed my mom, step-dad, and young siblings are moving to Oregon in just over a week. I feel like half of me is leaving (especially because my other sister and her boyfriend moved to Seattle a few months ago)! Desperate to spend more time with the little ones before they move far away, my other sister, Sierra, and I decided to host the ultimate sleepover with my five-year-old sister, Brea, and four-year-old brother, Andreas. They were pretty excited about taking the fun adventure to my house:

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Knowing this would be one of our few chances to have a good time with the kids, Sierra and I wanted to go ALL OUT for this sleepover. We bought a spin art tool for the kids and canvases to paint. The spin art tool was a hit (and pretty inexpensive too)! A friend of mine stopped by to visit with her four-year-old daughter, Gracie. We decided a tea party was in order. They were delighted to have a “real” tea party, complete with cookies and fancy dishes. After Gracie headed home, we painted some canvases, decorating them with foam stickers, gave the kids a bath, and tucked in to watch a movie. We kicked my poor husband out of bed and the four of us snuggled up to sleep in our big California king size bed. In the morning, we made waffles and brought the little ones home to mom, eager to show off their art work and brag about their evening.

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It was definitely a good time, but man was I exhausted! I can’t imagine doing that every night! I applaud you moms for working miracles into every day life. I am seriously impressed, but as fun as it was, I think I am good waiting a few more years to have my own!

I also mentioned in the beginning of this post that I had a successful weekend: Sierra and I have begun the process of licensing our business and starting our etsy page (stay tuned for more on that). We also put together some ideas for a logo I can use for my yoga business (I cannot wait to share that too). It feels great to know I am developing in my word for 2015 already: Growth. I am also grateful to be reminded to count my blessings, like family!

Thanks for reading y’all. I would love to hear about your weekend fun and successes! Comments are always welcome.

Yours truly, Taryn  xoxo

My Little Word for 2015: GROWTH

“There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder.” – Ronald Reagan

Ok y’all! I have a ton to get you caught up on but today is not that day… I am working diligently to turn in my yoga graduation packet this weekend and then I will fill you all in on the past month of my life! However, real quick I wanted to share my first entry for my “One Little Word” notebook for 2015. If you have never heard one One Little Word, I encourage you to check out Ali Edward’s website: aliedwards.com. More important, watch THIS VIDEO to get motivated to make your own word for 2015.

I created journals and inspirational collages for myself and each of my co-workers who wished to join me on this venture. I told them I would give them ideas (hopefully weekly) to journal about, reflect upon, etc. so they can really embody their chosen words this year and have a notebook that was uniquely theirs.

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For today’s entry, I emailed the group the following: “Take the time to write out your little word and reflect upon it. Why did you pick it? What draws you to this word? How do you hope this word changes your life this year or reflects throughout your daily life? Whatever inspired you, write it down. This will be a great page to reflect back on when you are not feeling connected with your word or have doubts. Have fun!”

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Here is my entry:

GROWTH

My biggest goal for 2015 is to grow into more of the person I want to be, which I know is already hidden within me. This year, I will embrace the mud, allowing my personality to blossom above the ground and blooming for everyone to see. I want to embrace this quote that inspired me to pick the word growth:

“The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud – the obstacles of life and its suffering… The mud speaks of the common ground that humans share, no matter what our stations in life… whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying and death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness, and more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus and open each petal one by one.” – Goldie Hawn

I have big dreams for my life and I must learn to accept that with big dreams come big changes. It takes wisdom, passion, faith, and support to step out of the comforts of the grounded earth in order to reach higher and higher – to fly. Growth is not a choice; it is inevitable. However, I get to choose my environment. I get to choose the soil and the amount of sun and the food. I get to choose how tall I grow, how far I expand, how radiantly I wish to shine.

          This is my goal for 2015.

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Thanks for reading! xoxo Taryn

A week of gratitude

“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our Thanksgiving.” – W.T. Purkiser

Whoa! Has the end of November has been a blur! Thankfully, we have gotten so much done in the past two weeks and I have been very eager to share everything with you.

Check! Holiday photos are done and holiday postcards have been ordered.

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Thanksgiving was awesome! I have been working really hard lately on expressing gratitude and appreciating everything I have, so I went a little over the top this year with favors and gifting and what not. I brought my in-laws some mulled wine for hosting. I woke Tanner to a fun list of reasons why I am grateful for him and brought my gratitude cork board to dinner for everyone to get involved. My favorite thing I did was make everyone some spiced maple nuts in little treat bags with a note that said: “I am so thankful for you.” The nuts were a hit! I highly suggest the recipe by Table for Two blog and I found the free printable tags here.

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I had to share another incredible recipe I used this year: Melted Brie with Cranberry sauce by The Kitchn. This was delicious! I used the cranberry sauce recipe which they had suggested, but exchanged the hazelnuts for pecans. I will definitely be adding this to my Christmas party appetizers this year. Here are some more fun pictures of Thanksgiving:

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My favorite way I enjoyed showing Thanksgiving this weekend was spending a lot of time doing things for and with my husband. Friday, we spent time together watching the ASU vs UofA game (the only game we care about all year) and Tanner enjoyed my company in the garage with him. He even taught me how to reload shot gun shells with him. On Saturday, I surprised him while he was out fishing with a friend by organizing and cleaning his garage (something that had been on the top of his to-do list for months). His appreciation made me very happy, but I was already so joyous I was able to do something nice for him. To top it off, I went out hunting with him and a friend Sunday morning which turned into a 6.5 hour event which left me by myself quite often. It was a struggle, but I didn’t complain once about being bored or cold or uncomfortable. He told me after getting home that he was very impressed with me for not complaining and he was thankful for everything I had done.
I often forget how much it means to Tanner when I spend time with him doing the things he enjoys. Sometimes, I do not even need to participate, but just sit and watch him do his thing. It energizes him and makes him feel adored and worthy of my time, something I look forward to doing more often.

How do you show gratitude to those you love most?

xoxo Taryn

Seattle Trip

“Travel brings power and love back to your life.” – Rumi

My older sister, Cheyanne, is absolutely wonderful, but had regretfully moved away from me a few months ago to Seattle, WA. She is such a great friend and knew how crushed I was by her move, so she bought me plane tickets to come visit her and her boyfriend, Josh. It was such a joy to spend time with her this past weekend, see her new life, and embrace the new culture she gets to call home.

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Let me give you a short list that summarizes my trip:

– Food: amazing seafood. everything is good!

– Coffee & Tea: like 3 a day…

– Booze: wine. cider. cocktails. wine.

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That’s pretty much the bulk of what we did. There was a lot of walking around town. EVERYTHING is within walking distance and it was fun to be apart of such an active city. The food is superb. Absolutely all the dishes we tried were delicious, minus the clams… And every single place we went to served beer and wine, even the coffee shops, tea shops, sweet shops, etc. It was such a culture shock. And, of course, the coffee was splendid.

I also got to see some extended family while I was in town. My second cousin was having a baby dedication and then we spent all day Sunday watching football (and I forgot to bring a book)! It was such a blessing to be surrounded by family I do not get to see very often.

Here is a video with all the pictures of the trip (sorry, mostly food and building… the important stuff!):

I seriously had such a great time being around my sister and Josh (who is practically my brother already). I cannot wait to go back and visit again.

Much love, Taryn xoxo

Modern Day Saucha: Insta Cleanse

“Through simplicity and continual refinement (Saucha), the body, thoughts, and emotions become clear reflections of the Self within. Saucha reveals our joyful nature, and the yearning for knowing the Self blossoms.”  ~ Yoga Sutras 2.40-2.41
Last night in yoga teacher training, we learned techniques on cleansing the body. While there are many radical ways to cleanse the body, Jala Neti practice is becoming a common practice with Western yogis. This practice is great for clearing the sinuses, removing access dirt and bacteria, and can give a cooling sensation to the brain. A few of us practices this ancient tradition in class last night:
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I left the practice feeling energized about learning something new and eager to implement new aspects of Saucha into my life. Saucha is the Sanskrit term for purity and cleanliness. It is one of five niyamas (restraints) practiced in the eight limbs of yoga. Saucha can represent cleanliness in all aspects of life, internally and externally.
Here are some examples of practicing Saucha:
– Keeping your surroundings clean: let’s clear the clutter, clean our mats, dust the cobwebs, whatever needs to be done so your environment feels welcoming
– Keeping our bodies clean: this includes what we put into our bodies and how we take care of ourselves.
– keeping our thoughts clean: eliminate the thoughts that don’t serve us like negativity, judgment, etc.
In the modern world, we are becoming overwhelmed with social media clutter. I am super guilty of getting caught up in the world of buzzfeed videos, instagrama celebrities, and silly “Did you know?” articles. It can be a serious distraction from my goals and I find myself being rather critical of myself when I play the comparisons game.
So, I am challenging myself and anyone else who would like to join me to take an “Insta Cleanse”! Or a Facebook cleanse, twitter cleanse, email cleanse or whatever. I am not deleting my account (which is a great options if you really feel a certain social media is distracting you from actually living), but I am cleaning it out. I follow too many celebrities I do not care about or “negative nancy” type people. I don’t have time for that and it is not doing anything to better who I am and encourage me to become a better version of me. I want to follow users who dare me to dream!
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I would love to hear about the ways y’all practice Saucha, or clean living in your lives!
xoxo Taryn

Update: From Burnt Out to On Fire!

“Be who you were created to be and you will set the world on fire” – St. Catherine of Sienna

I am so excited to give you all an update on how I have been doing since my posted titled: Confession, I am burnt outI had such an out pour of support from family, good friends, and acquaintances and I felt so loved and understood. Getting everything off my stress and admitting how I felt really gave me the courage and motivation to lay it all out and let it all go. I did not beat myself up or let shame dwell inside me; I simply walked away. I thank you all for letting me use this as a platform for my transformation.

It’s been a few weeks, so obviously, life isn’t perfectly transformed. However, I feel so different. I feel excited for the future and eager to grab a hold of every opportunity that crosses my path. Let me tell ya, that’s huge improvement!

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I read this great article today: 10 Simple Act of Radical Self-Care by Mind Body Green. I just read this a few hours ago, but it perfectly sums up some of the commitments I have made to myself and it is a good read for anyone needing some motivation. (It is funny; just last week I had a co-worker tell me that the concept of “self-love” was for hippies, so I have been sharing these articles with her. This one is perfect)

#6 on the list has been HUGE for me! It isn’t just about forgiving myself, it’s about letting go of my high expectations. Can I tell you something crazy? As soon as I let go of my desire to complete my yoga teacher training by the end of this year, it suddenly became possible. Letting go of the expectation removed the negative energy I had directed at my yoga homework and practice. Now, I am eager to get homework done and learn more things. I have stopped finding excuses for why I can’t get things done or try something new and I am finding many reasons for why I can and should! I feel like I am on fire about yoga again, especially after taking the time to expand my horizons and try something new: acro yoga! I am in love!

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Another major practice I have implemented into my life is meditation (#1 on the Mind Body Green list). Not that I never meditated before, but I never made it a priority. I meditated maybe once a week, and felt terribly guilty about how terrible I was for not being yogi enough. Again, as soon as I let go of that expectation and reminded myself that it is just as important as brushing my  teeth in the morning, it became easier. I’m not gonna say I have sat down every morning, but almost!

Changing my perspective about everything has been such a game changer for me. I am working hard to remove negative words from my vocabulary and find the good in my life. I am practicing gratitude and acceptance. I am putting my health first, because I can’t take care of anyone else if I am not taking care of myself.

However, I swear the best change I have made is #10 on the list: Do what you LOVE. It is such a simple concept, but it is making such a difference in my life. Let me give you some examples of the silly, fun, and positive activities I have been adding to my life:

Audio books: I feel sad about the lack of time in my life to sit down and read a book, but audio books are perfect for my long drives. I am absolutely in love with Amazon’s Audible membership. I suggest reading Brene Brown. Her audio book The Power of Vulnerability is just amazing!

Singing and dancing: If I am not listening to an audiobook in the car, I am singing. AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS! I am jamming to Glee, passionately bellowing love songs (to myself!), and my animation goes through the roof when I start playing my Disney tunes. I am not embarrassed by passer-byers, I am thriving in my courage to do whatever the f*** I want! (safely of course!) I also dance in the kitchen and sing to my dogs, which I think really annoys them…

Doodling and journaling: About nothing, about everything, zentangles, alphabets, you name its.

Smiling. For. No. Reason.

Calling friends: This is one of my all time favorite activities, as most of my friends are really far away.

Baking. New Recipes. Documentaries. The list goes on and one. Actually, I have made myself a fun list of things I can do when I need a pick-me-up:

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I wish I could explain to everyone how different I feel. I hope you can hear a change of tone in my writing, as those around me are seeing. I even had a fellow classmate tell me I was “glowing love and happiness” the other day. Who? ME? YES!!! I am dreaming. I am making goals. I am optimistic. I feel connected with my husband more than I have in months. I feel confident. I hope you are all feeling confident too. Radical self-care is soooo important!

I love you all. Keep dreaming and keep doing the silly things you love.

xoxo Taryn

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Veteran’s Day Cookies

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy

It was such an honor to spend some quality time with veterans today, serving at an appreciation luncheon through work. Living in a small town, it is truly humbling to see a community come together to support each other. Businesses all over town donated food, coffee, water, etc. and gave their time to host former and current military members, their families, and supporters today. There were moving speeches, a few tears, and plenty of laughter as we gathered around picnic tables and playgrounds.

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I spent last night baking twelve dozen cookies for the event. I found some incredible cookie recipes on Pinterest and applaud the expertise of these recipes. DELICIOUS. I had to share. (I apologize for the poor quality of the photos; it was past midnight by the time I finished and the lighting was minimal.)

Host the Toast- The Best Chewy Cafe-Style Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is the best chocolate chip cookie recipe I have ever used (and I have made plenty of homemade cookies)!

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I really enjoy making spritz cookies during the holidays because I can make a TON really quickly and they’re perfectly shaped and flavored for each season. I found this awesome Pumpkin Spice Spritz Cookie Recipe that was simple and had just the right amount of spice. I was fortunate enough to find a pumpkin shaped press among my baking stuff which made it even more fun. Yum!

Diethood — Pumpkin Spice Spritz Cookies

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I would definitely suggest these recipes to anyone looking for a big hit at your holiday event. Even my hubby said the chocolate chips were his favorite I have ever made. I’m very impressed with the recipes and so were the veterans today!

My contribution to the Veterans Day Picnic
My contribution to the Veterans Day Picnic

What did you do to show appreciation to those who served? Comment below! Also, if you try these recipes out, let me know what you think!

xoxo Taryn

Added bonus: Got to bring some cookies over to my new neighbors.
Added bonus: Got to bring some cookies over to my new neighbors.