8.17.2017

Mindful Journey // Why I Stopped Being Self-Depreciating

There was a time in my life where I thought if I was hard on myself, I would improve my mistakes.  I would recite to myself in the mirror (as a grown ass adult) to stop fucking up.  Stop being an idiot.  Don't fuck it up today.  You're so stupid, why the fuck can't you do it.  I'm sorry for the curse words...but literally this is how I talked to myself.  I'm not saying I talked to myself like this in some distant past either....it was quite recent.  I'd say, not even a year ago I'd still talk to myself like this...in the mirror...most days before work.

I'd also express my hatred towards myself every time I made a simple mistake.  Knock something off of the desk when there is no reason I should have even hit it? Of course, I'm so clumsy.  I knock everything over.  Drop something while trying to carry it up the stairs? Of course, why would I think I would be able to do something right.  Screw up at work? Yep, idiot.  Anyone could do anything better than me.
Even in all of that, I still considered myself a pretty positive person...and I'm not sure why.  I'm confident those who interact with me on a daily basis can't believe that I would ever say those things.....let alone to myself.  Because I'd never talk that way to any one else.

In the current journey I've taken towards mindfulness I've realized that self deprecation can be a horrible, horrible pattern to break. (I talk about that a little bit in my Mindful Morning Routine post) Even now I catch myself in the same of course mindset - Knock something over? Why did I even think I'd be able to reach for something or walk somewhere without hitting something.  Why would I think that?  I can tell you at least once a week I do something that makes me instantly say 'Of course you would do that' even now.  

Honestly, I didn't even realize this negative talk was really hurting me until I realized that I'd started to do it less & less.  Once I started realizing when I'd do it....I began to correct it.  Mindfulness is not the absence of all thought & that every. single. movement is always with purpose....it is the act of realizing when your actions, thoughts, and movements aren't serving you.  It is the act of realizing when you aren't moving with purpose...and moving those actions towards purpose.  As soon as you start to see the pattern & identify it....you can correct it!

At first I didn't intend to stop this negative self talk.  It's one of those things where you agree it should be done, it's probably not helpful, but you don't internalize that.  You think that it's for someone else to do, not you....you're fine.  Because, again I considered myself a positive person.  
It wasn't until I started to work with affirmations - and I can't even tell you when I decided that this was going to be a thing I was doing - that I realized the energy I put behind reciting them made me feel good.  I'm pretty sure it was a slippery slope from learning to read Tarot, to wanting to meditate, to finding something to encourage & align my thoughts that I realized a positive quote might help me out here.

Enter affirmations!  This blog post puts it best - an affirmation is a statement which describes a mindset or goal in it's completed state.  An affirmation allows you to align with your goals by stating that you're already there.  You've got an accomplished mindset already in simply stating I am.

The negative lives with us all day in our brains.  That voice of disappointment.  It is constantly there.  It is much easier for us to dwell in the negative...I'm not sure where this comes from but we don't stoke the good things when they happen, we commiserate and complain about the bad things.  I was listening to a podcast recently that challenged us to rave about the good things...even when we're in that negative mood.  You had a horrible day at work. Feel that feeling....but work towards replacing it with a good feeling.  We don't need to drown ourselves, we need to make it back to the surface.  We need that fresh air of positivity.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - the phrase think positive is bullshit.  Positivity is something we must practice.  It is not a switch to flip.  It is a mindset to ease into - like a stretch - the more we practice it the more we can shift into it. 

Self care, meditation, affirmations all of this can help with our positive self talk.  Mercury is currently in retrograde from August 12th, 2017 until September 4th, 2017.  This is a great time for self care. Stress maybe high because of the affect mercury may have on communication but it is a great time for reflection & rekindling.  This past lunar cycle I've been mentioning so much about the Heart Chakra, our own self forgiveness.  Mercury Retrograde also asks us to look with in.  So do the things that make you happy...journal, pick up an old project, take a class on an interest you have....do the things that will give you feelings of pride and accomplishment.
I stopped being self deprecating because it wasn't helpful.  Because it isn't helpful.  As with everything when it comes to our own journeys...my words will mean nothing until your mindset shifts.  I hope one day this article comes to mind as you realize that you're aligning to something different.  I know that's how it always works for me - something is ridiculous until suddenly it isn't.

If you're a part of the $5 Fam on my Patreon Page you'll find a set of positive affirmation digital prints to hang in your office, make into a planner dashboard...anything you'd like to do with these files - except sell them - is up to you.  I've also included a PDF with the three images sized to 3x4 inches to print as journaling cards.

The $5 Fam gains access to an exclusive printable each month + access to all previous months.  If you sign up as a patron of this tier today you'll find that there are 2 prints waiting for you (last month + the current month).  I hope you'll consider supporting the content on this blog by becoming a patron!

Remember, self depreciation is a hard habit to break.  You're not going to turn around in a day.  With practice you can learn to slip into a positive mindset.

How have you stopped negative self talk?  How do you forgive yourself?

xoxo, Moe

8.15.2017

Trend Tuesday // Pattern Mixing - Geometric & Floral

Guys, summer is drawing to a close!  I can't believe we're already in the middle of August.  Kids have already started going back to school, the weather is already getting colder, fall candles are hitting the shelves, craft stores are putting out their Christmas decor (that's a definite marker of the end of Summer!).

When I was younger, I had a love-hate relationship with going back to school.  I loved the new clothes, the new supplies, and the chance to see my friends like all day everyday...but I really didn't like the actual first day of school.  Of course, as the days went on I got used to the new routines and now that I'm older I really miss that excitement.  I really do miss the whole move in time of college though.  That was the best....even though I really didn't like the physical act of moving!
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My favorite summer wardrobe is a floral dress (case in point).  Many of my dresses come from LuLaRoe & Forever21.  The plus size section of Forever21 always has a great selection of floral dresses.  I'm going to link a super, super old post here so you can see how long I've been loving floral dresses.  I didn't even know that I'd been wearing floral dresses for as long as I have until I was looking through old posts to update!

Three Tips for Pattern Mixing

  1. All Patterns are Basics - floral goes with stripes, stripes goes with animal prints, animal prints go with geometric prints.
  2. Limit mixing to 2 Patterns - if you throw in too many prints, it may get overwhelming and look disheveled.  You may look like you just walked out of your laundry basket.
  3. Complimentary Colors Work Together - colors opposite each other on the color wheel work wonderfully paired together.   
The great thing about floral dresses is that you can mix & match them with patterns.  I really consider floral to be an easy basic to mix & match.  Floral goes with stripes, solids, and geometric prints easily.  In this post on plus size bathing suits I blend a few different patterns with solids & florals.  Working with pattern mixing can be tricky and you may even feel like you're doing it wrong.  Like, I'm not even sure if this outfit really works but I love it!  I usually go with my intuition when picking patterns that I think work together.

The floral here is more pastel and the geometric Monroe cardigan is more vibrant.  I think the contrast of the colors + prints makes this look work.  Plus, the main color of the Monroe is orange which complimentary to the pastel blue of the floral dress.  These colors are opposite on the color wheel.  Most of the time opposite colors look great together!

Outfit Details

Monroe // LuLaRoe (shop here)
Dress // Forever21 (similar)
Forever21 is also on Ebates! Sign up here to save $$$
Shoes // Walgreen's (similar)
So just because summer is nearly over doesn't mean I'm going to stop wearing floral dresses.  I'm gonna get my leggings and my tights as well as my winter boots and keep the floral going all year round!  You'll catch me in this floral dress in October, December, March, & June....don't you worry.

I hope you all have a great end to the Summer and wind down well into the Fall.  I'm excited for crunchy leaves and boots!  Oh, and Halloween!

Check out more style posts here.

How do you mix prints?  Are you brave enough?

xoxo, Moe

8.14.2017

Make it Monday // 8 Planner DIYs for Back to School

It is time to go back to school!!! Many probably have already started, some are starting in the next few weeks, and some may start after Labor Day...either way, it's time to get some learning on.  When I was younger, our elementary, middle, & high schools didn't go back until after Labor Day.  We went back to college around this time each year though.  Move in day was always my favorite and least favorite time.  You get to see your friends....but you have to move all of your stuff!
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Then you've got that first week or two where you're not quite into doing homework yet and you've still got a bit of the summer brain going.  Man, those were the days.

I have zero kids..so no one I know is really going back to school.  But I still thought it'd be a perfect time to share some planner DIY's to get in you in the school spirit.  The projects use a lot of my favorite tools, two being PicMonkey and the Cricut Explore.  I hope that you have a ball making somethings to get you organized & off to the right start!

Print Your Own Sticky Notes

This is super helpful if you have quite a few repeating tasks but you need to move them around in your planner.  It's also great if you just like to customize and create things!  I love making my own sticky notes!

Stylish Class Schedule with PicMonkey

Go back to school in style!  This DIY is inspired by the Target Dollar Spot weekly notepads.  You can punch this into any planner.  It is designed for a personal size but you can add it to any planner you choose.  Since the original post though, Pic Monkey has added in a grid option.  That means aligning your designs is easier than ever.

Stamped Habit Tracker

If you love the look of stamps but really can't be bothered to whip them out every week, you can create your own weekly habit tracker.  It can even be customized with other stamps.  Learn how to save money on planner stamps here + find my planner stamping playlist on YouTube here.

DIY Planner Stamp Hack

Speaking of planner stamps - if you don't want to dish out the dough for expensive photo-polymer stamps you can DIY your own with some small alpha stamps and washi tape.  These are easy to store and affordable to make!



Custom Clip in Tabs for the Happy Planner

Have something you really don't want to punch but would like to add it to your Happy Planner?  Or maybe you don't have a Happy Planner punch yet...make your own custom clip in tabs with scrapbook paper & your Cricut Explore.

Design a Planner Dashboard with the Rhonna Designs App

The Rhonna Designs app is one of my favorite apps to play with.  It is constantly updated with new overlays, sayings, and textures to help you create the digital design of your dreams.  Use some planner girl inspired images to create a fun planner dashboard.  Customize with your name and you're the real winner here.

Happy Planner Bookmarks + Cricut Cut File

Creating clip in tabs for your planner using the Cricut isn't the only DIY I've got for you - make some awesome bookmarks too.  Mark your place in style and even store your washi where it won't be in the way.  Check out all the Cricut Explore DIYs here.

DIY Shaped Paper Clips

Keeping your papers in order doesn't have to be boring.  Use some pliers and craft wire to make your own shaped clips.  Sometimes they come out perfect and sometimes they give you a laugh!

I hope that you're having fun going back to school and it's not too stressful for you.  DIYing your own supplies is half the fun of the new year.  Gives your stuff a personalized look and you feel like you've got a little bit of home right where you want it.

Have you or anyone in your family started school yet?  What have you DIYed for your school year?

xoxo, Moe

8.09.2017

Three Side Hustles for Talkative Bloggers

In addition to the 5 zillion other things I like to do....I like to talk.  I like to listen to myself talk, I like to talk to people, I like to talk to myself, I like to talk when I shouldn't (like at work, not at the movies).  Getting in trouble for talking when there were substitutes in school was like my number one offense.  I just like to talk.  So blogging doesn't always do it for me in the way of expressing myself.  Sometimes I just wanna talk.  
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A few years ago I started my YouTube channel and I love uploading videos because I can express myself in a different way.  Most of the time my videos are only a few takes, editing is minimal (unless its a long ass plan with me where I'm flipping through every single sticker I own!)  I feel like I don't have to edit or curate as much.  And the planning is different from planning a blog post.  I don't do as in depth videos as some...but I still think they are informative.

If you like to talk - or want to talk more - here are 3 side hustles for you

Start a YouTube Channel

If you don't already have a YouTube presence, I highly recommend it.  Diversifying your content is enough reason to start!  YouTube is a go-to for a lot of people searching for a lot of things.  So if you have a steady YouTuber presence you'll drive traffic (and income) to your channel but also that traffic will trickle over to your blog.  It is super simple to get started! I use my iPhone, iMovie app + Windows Movie Maker when needed.  Voice overs are done with my iPhone headphones straight into the iMovie app or if I'm doing a screen cast I use my new (super affordable) mic.  Most of the time I'm editing my vids on my lunch break at work.  If I have to, I do a voice over in my car!  Believe me the iPhone headphone mic is perfect.  I've got two videos on how I film for YouTube - this one is an intro to how I film on my phone and this one is my whole set up for filming plan with me videos.  I recently updated my lights to super professional studio lights too.  (They are really affordable on Amazon!)

What I'm trying to say is that it is easy and very affordable to start a YouTube channel.  Consider what you could offer as an extension of your blog/brand or even think about something totally new & exclusive to YouTube for your followers.  The best thing about YouTube is that it sort of promotes itself if you use the right titles and tags.  You can make money by playing ads before your videos & directing others to you site.


Start a Podcast

There are tons of ways to get a podcast out there.  Any medium that will host audio files (or you could film it & upload to YouTube, too) will work.  I just discovered this app called Anchor that you can record an audio file with and share it!  I'm seriously thinking of starting a podcast mainly because I like the idea of talking to myself!  But a podcast is a great way to interview people or host guests with out you all in the same room.  Sometimes I think this is more professional than a group video conference or chat.  You can get a better, more even quality with audio than you can with conference style calls.  So, since I love the way that my iPhone picks up and records sound from my iPhone headphones...I'm assuming recording a podcast can be just as easy as recording a video, you just don't need any lamps or tripods!

If you don't get your podcast on a big platform like iTunes, you will have to do your own promoting.  Anchor does seem to have a social aspect to it but it also seems small in comparison.  However, if you already have a base of followers on social media & your blog you can totally cross promote.  Put a link in your posts or add a call to action somewhere on your blog or website.  Other social media platforms - like Facebook - are a great way to share your podcasts.  You may find it harder to monetize this platform as sponsored casts might not be feasible when you're just starting out.  However, affiliate sales can be a great way to monetize.  I find if I'm talking about what I love & I can link it, that equals some affiliate traffic.  You can also direct listeners to your site, newsletter, freebies, etc in order to gain them as followers & thus more likely to shop your links or products.

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Host a Webinar

Webinars are the new black.  And they are the new way to reach followers!  Webinars are popular because people like to learn.  You can plan a certain class or even re purpose blog content into a new class. Screen casting from your computer is not that hard & it can be free! I use a free software called Open Broadcast Software.  It is compatible with casting to YouTube or to Facebook so you can stream to either platform.  Facebook would be a way to create an exclusive event in a private or closed group but a live webinar on YouTube would be a great way to introduce an established audience to exclusive content you might start offering.  There are other webinar softwares out there but I haven't really researched any for free.  

Webinars are a great thing to monetize especially if you have something super great to offer - how to double your Instagram following, how to do more with Pinterest, etc.  They are great if you're getting into coaching or teaching and want to offer an exclusive community for followers to participate in.




As a seasoned blogger, diversifying your content can help you branch out & earn more.  You may even find a platform your obsessed with!  Remember the old saying 'Don't put all of your eggs in one basket'?  I've got a free ebook on how to revamp your blog while you're at it too.  I have been blogging for nearly 10 years...but there are quite a few things that have slipped through the cracks!  This ebook will help you gain back your blogging mojo if your a veteran & inspire you to keep up the momentum as a new blogger!  Sign up below to grab it!

If you like to talk & you like to plan, these three ways to get your gab on are perfect.  I'm excited to branch out into the last two of these guys.  Podcasts just seem so fun!  More of a conversation, stream of conscious style connecting with followers.  I think it is a great way to connect - I listen to them to sort of get in the head of my favorite bloggers, makers, and creators.  You can also learn a lot from them!

If you've got something more to say, I hope that you start one of these three media outlets.  Do let me know if you do!  I wanna listen!

In what ways do you share new content?  Have you started a new venture?

xoxo, Moe

8.07.2017

Make it Monday // DIY Self Care Bath Soak for Forgiveness

Today marks the Full Moon in this lunar cycle which means any goals and intentions we set at the New Moon should now be realized.  We're entering the time now where we are releasing the things that haven't been working for us.  The waning moon is about releasing & reflecting.
essential oil bath soak
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I'm a professional dweller.  I dwell on things for a long, long time.  Failures, negative emotions, miscommunication....I think about these things way to often, for way to long.  Around this time of the lunar cycle, where I've discovered what's working & what's not working, my emotions tend to be high.  I tend to lose my cool more often and be overwhelmed easily.  A goal of mine is to be more aware of this and when it happens, and to forgive myself more easily.

Now is a great time, if you're feeling these effects or not, to make time to forgive yourself & release negative feelings towards yourself (and others). Earlier this month on Instagram I shared the Essential Oils that were perfect to actively work with the Heart Chakra.  This is our center of love & forgiveness.  In the Five Sixteenths | Live Creatively group I talked a little bit about how the Sanskrit word for the Heart Chakra roughly translates to unstruck.  Forgiveness clears our heart center so that we are open again, fresh & new.

Enter the Forgiveness Blend.
DIY bath soak

Shop Supplies on Amazon

To create the Forgiveness Blend, visit the Five Sixteenths Blog | Live Creatively group to find the exact recipe in the albums or find in on the Essential Oils pin board here.   This is a blend of Cypress, Balance, & Bergamot.  Cypress aids in releasing emotion, it calms & promotes emotional growth.   This has been one of the two oils I've been using this lunar cycle. Balance is a blend of woodsy oils that remind us to stay rooted in the present moment.  And Bergamot is the Oil of Self-Acceptance.  It relieves feelings of self judgment.  All of these oils can be purchased through Doterra.
essential oil bath salts
Combine 1 cup of Himalayan Pink Salt with 1 cup Epsom salt.  Salt & Mineral baths have been used for ages to induce relaxation & ease aching muscles.  Adding the Himalayan salt in this recipe, for me is for color & texture.  However, Himalayan salt is thought to increase circulation & the added minerals increase relaxation.

This is the perfect bath to work with crystals, too - amethyst for relaxation, rose quartz for love & nurturing (perfect for this bath!), green aventurine is also a great heart chakra crystal.  If you don't have any specific crystals a nice chunk of clear quartz can help you out! 


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Essential oils have become a daily part of my life - both in practicality & in my spiritual journey.  I use my intuition + research to develop the best course of action for myself.  If you'd like an introduction to using essential oils both practically & spiritually, please sign up for the newsletter to get access to this FREE beginner's ebook.  You'll get access to a 10 page ebook that goes over the specific aromatic properties of 10 oils as well as their practical & spiritual uses.  Check out the image above.

To the salt mixture add 15 to 20 drops of the Nurturing Sleep blend.  Stir until the oils are well incorporated.  Transfer the salt soak into an air tight jar.  I find adding about 1/2 cup of the mixture into the bath is gives the best aroma & the most relaxation.
essential oils for forgiveness
To create your own bath ritual, gather some fresh towels, light some candles, close the door, and play nurturing music or try a mediation on YouTube.  It is important to give yourself time away from others, personal time is essential for self care.  While in the bath consider repeating a nurturing mantra to support yourself & let the rest go.

I forgive myself. I will continue to be kind to myself. I fully support myself. I let the rest go.

I hope that you make time for yourself whenever you are able.  Working with the lunar cycles has helped me be more aware of when I need to take time for myself and has given me a reason to make the time for myself!

How do you forgive yourself?  What self care rituals do you practice?

xoxo, Moe

8.03.2017

How I Turned my Lunch Hour from Nap Time to Power Hour

If you didn't know, I work a regular ol' 9-5 job Monday through Friday.  All the content for the blog is written on weeknights and weekends while I ignore my cleaning list and laundry.  Yeah, I do that.  But recently I've been trying to step up my game.  I've been blogging for nearly 10 years and I think it's time, now, to take it to the next level.
this post contains affiliate links, please read my full disclosure here.
There are only so many hours in a day right? Correct!  However, I just gained one more that I usually slept through!  My previous lunch break was spent in my car taking a mid-day nap - now it's my Power Hour.  I usually go to lunch from 11:30am - 12:00pm & I try to get a few things done that need to be done for the blog.  Mainly this is promoting!  Here's what I do in the 60 minutes I get for lunch while I sit in our company's break room:

Join in on Facebook threads

I am apart of quite a few blog centered Facebook groups.  During my lunch hour I participate in the various threads per day in the various groups.  Usually this involves adding your own link - blog post, Instagram, Facebook page, twitter account, etc - and the following, commenting, sharing other's links.  This is three fold - One, I'm promoting my own blog.  Two, I've got content to share on my other platforms. Three, I'm connecting & building relationships on my platforms.  I think it's super great to connect with others, share their work and have them share yours.  I'm reminded of the Major Arcana card, the Star, in the After Tarot deck.  In this card a woman is in a pool watering herself & watering the ground beside her.  You can see a few streams of the water that is being poured into the ground heading out in various directions.  One stream, however, makes its way back into the pool where the woman is sitting.  So, spending this time giving to others will make its way back to you! I love this card!


Pin all the things

Part of posting in these Facebook groups means that I can share my Pinterest content but also find great content for my boards.  I am a part of a few group boards on Pinterest which I pin my content to and then pay it forward by pinning content from those boards to my own.  One thing I haven't figured out is how to get my feed to not look all wonky by repinning things multiple times to multiple boards.  Pro tip though - pin your blog posts to one of your boards - mine is called Five Sixteenths Blog posts - and then repin those posts from that board.  That increases your repin count!  Pretty awesome.


Share things to the Five Sixteenths | Live Creative Facebook group

While I haven't quite figured out the exact direction of the Live Creative Facebook group, I do like to post things that are inspiring or about being creative.  Being a part of these blog centered Facebook groups means that I can find amazing content to share with the group.  Of course, my hope is that individuals will share my content with their groups, pages, social media accounts etc.


Tweet, tweet, & retweet

I'm not that active on Twitter, so in addition to scheduling Tweets through HootSuite, I use this time to retweet others that I follow & share content from the Facebook groups I'm participating in during this hour!  I can build followers, favorites, and my own retweets as I interact with others on the platform.  My twitter account only has around 400 followers...so it's a goal of mine to grow it a little bit.  I also use the GIF function of twitter as my main way of interacting!

Instagram it up

I promote my blog post or YouTube video of the day & try to promote one other image.  It doesn't take too long to write a caption & add some hashtags.  I am thinking about using an Instagram planning app to make sure my images sort of fit in with my theme on my page.  I've never been one for Instagram themes....my instagram is a hodge podge of everything I'm interested in and I'd like to keep it that way!  But I've found that similar photos fit better & are received better on my page.  I also interact with other accounts that are posted in the various Facebook groups I'm in.

*****

Not sleeping isn't always the way I want to spend an hour of my life in the middle of the day...but it has been helpful.  I've found that it is rejuvenating to focus on something I love for a little in the middle of a seemingly monotonous day.  It also breaks up the day nicely!




The other benefit is that I wasn't doing this before.  At home, I wasn't promoting the blog like this...at home I'd write and do my regular Instagram thing.  Now, by adding this Power Hour into my day I'm gaining more exposure and I don't have to worry about it later.  I've seen an increase in my Pins, page views, and comments on my blog.  The way I found these groups was just by searching blogging groups on Facebook!  Once you join a few, Facebook will recommend more to you.  I've joined and left a few that weren't suiting my needs and I'm always on the look out for more to join.  Some will fit you and give you results...others may be a waste of time.  It takes some trial and error to find groups that work for you!

I hope that you find a way to regain an hour in a day - the lunch hour is the best for me - in order to get things done.  In case you're wondering when I actually eat....I make my food at the end of my lunch hour and eat it at my desk.  Luckily, most of the time the half hour after my lunch isn't too busy once I get back to my desk.  The real craziness starts at 1pm!

Have you reclaimed your lunch hour?  What do you do to fit more things into the day?

xoxo, Moe

7.31.2017

Make it Monday // Yummy Banana & Butterscotch Smoothie

If there is one thing I love during the summer (and every other season of the year) is ice cream.  Now I'm not saying this is in anyway the healthy version of ice cream...but there's like 2 to 3 bananas in here....so that's got to count for something.  Isn't it about subbing things out?  So like eat all of the bananas and none of the ice cream, right?  That's a thing right?

And before you say 'Ewwww this sounds like the worst thing ever!', hear me out.  Bananas are a good substitute for ice cream, that is a thing!  There are tons of banana ice cream recipes out there.  Butterscotch milkshakes are a thing too...at least for me.  So if you don't like bananas, or bananas as an ice cream substitute, or butterscotch....might want to skip this post. 
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Anywhoooo...I do try to make banana smoothies when I'm craving something sweet because then I won't eat the ice cream.  In addition to an ice cream weakness, my favorite ice cream topping in butterscotch.  I love butterscotch flavor everything! So I thought I'd try tossing in some butterscotch topping into my banana smoothie.  So that makes it less healthy...but still a good treat.  Better than a big bowl of ice cream, right? right?
Supplies // 2 to 3 bananas, half cup milk, ice cubes, 2 tbsp butterscotch topping (or add to taste), Nutribullet

First off, can we talk about the only thing I've used my Nutribullet for is milkshakes and these smoothies....nothing truly healthy. Whoops!  I really do love this little guy though.  It's perfect for when you want to make a single serving of something as you don't waste ingredients.  When I use my big blender I always over estimate - because really my whole life is just throw it in the blender - so I have too much.  If it's just me, that means I drink more than the serving I need.  If I'm splitting something with Zach, we may still have too much...or not enough to satisfy us!  The Nutribullet makes guessing the perfect way to make a single serving!
Chop up the bananas into the cup, add the half cup of milk (you can use almond milk, cow's milk, whatever milk you like), add the ice, & then blend.  I mean it's really that easy to make a smoothie.
Once it's all blended up, add the 2 tbsp of butterscotch topping & blend.  Taste the concoction & if you need a bit more topping, add it in.  You can get the low sugar topping, or even try adding in butterscotch flavoring.  I love the smoothness of the ice cream topping.
What I love about the Nutribullet is that the cups you use to blend also turn into the cups you can drink from.  You don't have to....but you totally can!  Some of the screw on tops even have handles.  How convenient.  
Now if you need me I'll be out on my porch drinking these guys all day, everyday.  Again...defeats the purpose of being healthy but it's so delicious.
On a serious note....I have been trying to make good substitutions for things in my life.  For example, drinking cold brew coffee has cut out a giant part of the sugar during my day.  I've also been drinking club soda + essential oil concoctions instead of soda (not everyday....but a few times a week.  Ingesting essential oils is a personal preference and personally because of their concentration, I don't suggest ingesting EO's everyday).


So I hope this little recipe inspires you to sub out the ice cream treat for an equally satisfying treat!  I know this meets my sweet tooth when I need it.

How do you substitute snacks to make healthier choices?

xoxo, Moe

7.27.2017

Self-Care & Creativity // 7 Ideas for a Self-Care Retreat (at home)

Self care is an important part of a mindful existence.  When we focus on taking care of ourselves we are more aware, more energized, and more inspired to live a creative life.  Self care gives us the ability to work on our well being allowing us to live solely in the moment.  In the Five Sixteenths Blog | Live Creatively Facebook group, you'll find a few mantras in the Mindful Meditations album.  One of these is from a very favorite gentleman of mine, Newt Scamander:
"Worrying means you suffer twice."
Dedicating time to self care means we are dedication time to life with out worry.  We aren't focused on what will happen next, we're not focused on the work we must do tomorrow, we're not focusing on the chores that need to be done.  We're focusing on what we need, in this moment, right now.
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There are a ton of weekend retreats where like minded individuals gather to focus on personal growth & development, relax, and simply leave stress at the door.  We don't always have the time (or the money) to schedule elaborate retreats for ourselves but we can always benefit from the me time that comes from these gatherings.  You can do a simple retreat at your own home, even if you only have a few hours.  If you live by yourself, or maybe with just a partner, you may have an easier time of this.  But if you can organize some child care, maybe send them to their grandparents', or even spend a bit and sneak away to a local hotel - it's definitely worth it.  Check out groupon or other coupon/discount style websites to see if you can get a good deal on a decent hotel down the road!

Here are 7 ways to enjoy a self care retreat at home

Enjoy a long bath or shower

Taking a long, relaxing bath or shower is great me time.  Enjoy a glass of wine and a soak in Epsom or Himalayan Sea Salt bath.  Stir in some essential oil blends for an even more centering effect.  Use Lavender for relaxation or try Wild Orange to feel nurtured and supported.  

Back yard happiness

Going outdoors is good for you!  If you have a back patio or a even a balcony, enjoy time in nature.  You can journal or meditate, but why not slip from your relaxing bath into your back yard for some sunshine and fresh air (clothed, of course!)  Light a few candles or even burn some incense on a side table.  Take in the greenery or even lay in the grass and sunbathe.  

Meditation & journaling

Even if you haven't set aside a room or area in your house as a sacred space, take time to intentionally choose an area that makes you feel the most comfortable.  You personal space like a bedroom or even an outside space where you feel connected to yourself is perfect.  Practice your breathing, focus on your breath, repeat a mantra.  Meditate with a crystal that calls to you.  Or journal your thoughts & feelings.  Art journaling is a good thing to do, too!  Each week in the Five Sixteenths | Live Creatively group you'll find a new journal prompt, too.  In case you need some inspiration!

Sleep in

Who doesn't need a good excuse for a goodnight's rest.  Fall asleep with your favorite essential oils diffusing or make a pillow mist so that you sink into relaxing bliss.  Sleep in the next morning, or if you're a natural riser just enjoy a little more time in bed.  Let yourself be pampered by drinking your coffee or tea surrounded by your comfy pillows.


Eat good foods

You may want to take a trip to a farmer's market by yourself.  Surround yourself with good, healthy foods that make you feel good when you eat them.  Cook yourself your favorite breakfast or lunch if you can't really get away.  Enjoy the meal slowly & with out distraction.


Unplug

The best part about moving to a different place in your house, outside, or to a whole new venue is that you can leave your phone alone.  Unplug from your devices and plug into yourself.  Use this time to plug into your intuition, learn something new, read a spirituality or self development book.  If you do use an iPad or the like to read ebooks, consider turning the data or the wifi off so you're not distracted by notifications that come through.  I like to put my devices in night shift mode if I'm able to do so.

Get creative

Currently were going through a major lunar phase here - we're working through not one, but two lunar cycles where the new moon will fall in Leo.  Leo asks us to be passionate & creative.  Leo asks us to express from the heart! Self care is about working with your self to be your best self.  Take the time during a retreat like this to make something.  Paint, draw, craft, try something new.  Even an art journal can be a great way to work towards self care.  I'm sharing in the Live Creatively Facebook group some journal prompts to get you through this lunar cycle & connect you with your Heart Chakra.  The prompts are based off of the cards in the Connected Chakras Affirmation deck which you can purchase here.  So be sure to jump over to the group for creative inspiration!

A self care retreat can be as elaborate as you need it to be.  I would say if you can't dedicate a whole weekend, dedicate one day or even a solid afternoon.  Don't do this in haste!  Take a good 5 or 6 hours to focus on you.  This is not something you want to rush.

Hopefully a retreat here & there will realign you with yourself and enlighten your creativity.

How do you implement self care?  What routines are important to you?  Share in the comments below or in the Five Sixteenths Blog | Live Creatively Facebook group.

xox, Moe

7.24.2017

Make it Monday // How to Make & Use a Mala Neckalce for Mindfulness

A big part of my personal mediation practice is to use a Mala necklace, or mediation beads, to help reinforce the mantras & vision I've chosen for myself.  Using meditation beads is a great habit to get into especially if you find your mind wanders quite a lot during mediation.  You may find having a manual way to focus your thoughts will help center you better.
How to Make and Use Mala Beads
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While meditation isn't about the absence of thought, sometimes when I find I am very, very busy my mind seriously wants to think about every single thing I need to do.  Counting the beads & repeating a mantra keeps my intentions in line.  You can buy a Mala aligned with your intentions, I have quite a few (because they are both helpful and pretty) or you can take it to the next step and make your own.


What is a Mala?

A Mala is a string of 108 beads + one guru bead (or a fraction of this number). Usually strung into a certain pattern, the Mala is used to pace & count off the recitation of a mantra during mediation.  They can be made for specific intentions - Rose Quartz beads for love, Howlite for calming & awareness, etc - or can be made & programmed for your own intentions.  Most often there is a knot between each bead so if the Mala breaks beads don't scatter.  It's also a good sign if your Mala breaks.  You've made a breakthrough & have been seeing through your intention.


How to make a Mala

In this case we won't be tying a knot between each bead.  This Mala DIY is made to be simple yet elegant to get you into reciting and working towards your intentions.  I plan on sharing a more focused DIY Mala in the future.  But the whole point here is that you don't have to do these long drawn out things to start with your spiritual & mindful practice.
DIY Tassel Necklace
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supplies // 2 skeins embroidery thread, 104 wooden beads, 4 glass beads, 1 large wooden bead, scissors, needle

Cut a length of the embroidery thread about 36 inches long, thread the needle and double over the entire length of the string.  Leaving about a 4 inch section empty, begin threading the beads onto the string in the following pattern:
How to Bead a Mala Necklace
6 wooden beads, 1 glass bead, 20 wooden beads, 1 glass bead, 52 wooden beads, 1 glass bead, 20 wooden beads, 1 glass bead, 6 wooden beads
Thread the larger bead on both ends of the string and tie an overhand knot.  Depending on the opening on the larger bead you may need to tie a few knots.
How to make a tassel necklace
DIY Tassel Necklace
Take the other skein of embroidery thread and fold it over on itself to create a tassel.  Tie the middle of the loop to the end of the larger bead using the two strands hanging from the bead.  Wrap the two long strands around the tassel to gather it together.  Using the needle. thread the end behind the wrapped string leaving a small loop.  Pass the needle through the loop to secure.  Tie a not to ensure it does not unravel.


How to Program & Use your Mala

To cleanse your Mala, you can start off with the same idea behind the Energy Clearing kit.  Choose the intention you'd like to set - this can be different for each time you meditate if you wish.  Again, this ritual can be as involved or as simple as you'd like.

You don't need anything special to do this. In fact, the ritual should be unique to you and be what you feel most connected to.  Here is my simple ritual -

Cup the Mala in your hands as if you are praying & hold it up as if you are offering it.  I tend to bow my head and place the thumbs of my folded hands against my crown chakra.  Imagine a white light enveloping the beads, cleansing them of past energies and aligning them for your highest good.  Take a few deep breaths during this process.  Recite aloud or in your mind an intention you'd like to work towards for your highest good.  As an example:
I cleanse this Mala to use for my highest good as I work towards self love.
Substitute self love for any intention - I wish to be open to abundance, I wish to express my authentic self, etc.  As you pass your folded hands from your Crown Chakra to your Heart Chakra breath out and across your beads.  Sweeping away the negative energy.  Pull your folded hands towards your chest and lift your head towards the sky to be open to receive the guidance you wish for.
Charge a Mala Necklace
I find that I do this often with crystals as well...and it's something I just fell into once during a crystal meditation.  I hadn't brought any of my crystals to this class (silly me!) so I was able to work with a beautiful Aqua Aura Quartz that belonged to the teacher.  After I picked it up I just imagined clearing it that way....and that's what I did.  Clearing & connecting with your spiritual tools is a personal journey.  There's no right or wrong way to work with what you feel drawn to.

So, now during your meditation you can pick up your Mala and count off your recitations.  Hold the Mala in the hand your feel comfortable and as you recite your mantra (aloud or in your mind) pass a bead between your fingers.  I usually hold the remaining beads in the hand that isn't counting so they don't rattle, fall, or get tangled. If you're not sure of a mantra to use consider printing out the Positive Affirmation Deck for free on the blog or you can even purchase my new Chakra Affirmation deck here!


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Your meditation practice should be unique to you.  I chose to create this Mala DIY with wooden beads as they can be the most receptive to your intentions.  If you choose to work with a certain crystal or even a certain color tassel to align with your Chakras, that is completely up to you!  I also use essential oils when I'm meditating.  There are certain oils that correspond to our Chakras but there is also some intuitive work that can be done.  Check out the free getting started guide above to learn how to use Essential Oils Spiritually.

Making this little guy should be a mindful and exciting experience.  If you'd like to diffuse some Essential Oils while you're reciting your mantras - maybe your on the go and have just sneaked off for a little me time - make this diffuser bracelet with Howlite and Lava beads!  Find some inspirational blends here & don't forget to join the Five Sixteenths Blog | Live Creatively Facebook group for more positive inspiration!

How do you practice mindfulness and self improvement?

xoxo, Moe

7.20.2017

Total Newbie's Guide to the Natal Chart (+ a Workbook!)

A natal chart - or birth chart - is an astrological snapshot of where the planets were (in relation to earth) on the day of your birth.  Analyzing your natal chart can give you an in depth look at who you are & tell you where you may want to focus your efforts in order to become the best person you can be.  You'll learn that you have these little quirks for a reason and may figure out the hidden meaning behind a certain habit of yours.  I know I'm learning a lot from mine
Newbies Guide to Reading a Natal Chart
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One of the best things about the internet is you can generate your birth chart, for free, on quite a few different sites (this is the one I used).  These sites will give you all sorts of in depth information on your chart but it can be hard to sort through.  Two of my favorite resources are Cafe Astrology & Dark Pixie Astrology.  You can also get a chart reading by a professional - that is the route I went when I was first interested in my natal chart.  I worked with Madeleine Jones.

If you're down to learn a bit on your own, here are the three sections of your chart that can help you get started understanding this snapshot of yourself:

Sun, Moon, & Rising Signs

If you've ever read your horoscope, you've probably read for your Sun sign.  This is the sign that is based off of the month you were born.  For example, I was born 12/15 so my sign is Sagittarius because that date falls with in the range of November 22 - December 21.  You may not know your moon or rising sign.  Generating your birth chart will tell you both of these by utilizing the exact time of your birth as well as your location.
Sun Moon and Rising Signs
This gives you a better idea of your whole self. If you just rely on your Sun sign you're getting a limited view of who you are.  Your sun sign is how you feel about yourself.  It is the key essence of who you are.  Your moon sign represents your passions & emotions.  Your rising sign represents what you aspire to be & is how others see you.  Your rising sign is what you try to present to the world.  All three of these signs have traits that make up our whole selves and when reading 

Wheel of Houses

There are 12 astrological houses that correspond to the same signs as the zodiac.  However, the zodiac wheel and the wheel of houses are two different things - The Wheel of houses in your birth chart is based on the earths rotation on it's axis in a 24 hour period.  Your personal Wheel of Houses is determined by your birth time and location.  It is a map of the sky at the time and area of your birth.  
Wheel of Houses Birth Chart
Various planets fall in your houses on your birth chart - the planets (including planets like Mars, Jupiter, etc + the Sun and the Moon) of the chart show how the signs in the houses express themselves.  The houses show in what area this will play out.

So for example - I have Aries on the seventh house cusp + Jupiter in the 7th house, therefore Jupiter shows how the sign of Aries plays in my house of Marriage & Relationships.   The 12 houses are:
  1. Self
  2. Possessions
  3. Communication
  4. Home
  5. Creativity
  6. Service & Health
  7. Marriage & Relationships
  8. Death & Regeneration
  9. Mental Exploration
  10. Career
  11. Community & Goals
  12. Inner or Hidden Self
If you imagine your birth chart as a clock, the first house falls below the 9 o'clock position.  Then you work counter clockwise around.  The 12 house then falls in the 10 o'clock position.  These houses are the main sections of your life.  The planets that fall in these houses or specifically rule these houses have an impact on those areas of your life.
Reading a Birth Chart

Planetary Relationships

The relationships of the planets to each other is another key part of reading your natal chart.  These are degrees of separation between the planets.  These relationships allow for more fined tuned understanding of the planets and show us where positive or negative or ease or difficulty expressed in these relationships.  This is also an important layer of your chart, just like only reading your sun sign gives you a limited view, ignoring these aspects gives you a limited view of how your planets interact.  

*****

Now, this obviously isn't all there is to know about natal charts.  I'm just a newb sharing what I've learned so far, in the easiest way possible.  So you may be wondering how you should put this into action for yourself.  I suggest starting with your Sun, Moon and Rising signs as well as the characteristics of each of your houses.  For example - my house of Communication (the third house) has Sagittarius on the cusp, so I'm talkative (check) and love to learn (check).  My moon sign is Libra which speaks to how I have a desire for a calm and balanced life.  Libra as a moon sign also apparently leans towards an extreme dislike of manual labor and I truly hate yard work...so there's got to be some validity here.
Creating a Natal Chart
Learn these guys and how the relate to you, first.  The first step here is to gain a better understanding of yourself.  I've seen that working with your natal chart can help you discover the small tidbits of yourself you can't put into words or, even better, the tidbits of yourself that seem contradictory. These small sections will help you get a good snapshot of who you are.  If you assemble this and think 'hey, this is cool!' you may be pointed into the next steps to take to work with more parts of your natal chart.

You don't have to do it all at once.


My current trajectory with my natal chart is to work the rising new moon energies into the house it is currently rising in.  For example, in May the new moon rose in Gemini.  Gemini is my house of Mental Exploration.  Gemini is also about communication.  So my work that month was in listening & learning and working with the Throat Chakra.  However you feel called to work with this chart is how you should work with it.  I plan to continue this work in the foreseeable future and then work in the aspects and planetary relationships when I am ready.
Lunar Newsletter

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I've put together a little workbook here for you to assemble all this knowledge & get to know yourself better through your natal chart.  If you sign up for the newsletter above you not only get the monthly newsletter but you'll also get New & Full moon emails!  We'll work together during the moon phases to manifest our goals & release what isn't serving us.  Most of the time we'll work with a chakra that corresponds to the sign the moon is rising in.  You can follow along with your own natal chart or just work with our collective goals for the month.


This little workbook is sized perfectly to fit into an A5 planner.  These guys can print back to front (refer to your printer's instructions for duplex printing) on a standard letter size page.  Trim down the center & then punch it into your binder.  Then get to know yourself!

I hope this loooooonnnnggg post has helped you learn more about reading your natal chart.  Like I mentioned, this is not a comprehensive guide...just something to dip your toes in!  Just like me!  If you haven't joined the Five Sixteenths Blog | Live Creatively group on Facebook...c'mon over there too!

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Looking for the Tarot deck used in the post?  It's the After Tarot & you can find it here.  Planner is from Simple Stories, find it here.

Are you interested in your natal chart?  Do you read your horoscopes?

xoxo, Moe