Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Methods For Mindfulness: How To Master The Art of Breathing

Methods For Mindfulness: How To Master The Art of Breathing

In your mindful moments, focus on breath is one of the main techniques that will keep you present. Without breath-awareness, your meditation or yoga practice is far less efficient. There are many benefits of breathing with intention, which relates both to your physical and mental well-being. There are specific methods and techniques that will guide you toward proper practice of mindful breathing. Luckily, via the employment of modern tools and programs, you can build upon what you already know and enact. Here is an overview on the art of breathing, with methods and tips that will inform and enhance your practice of mindfulness:

The Benefits of Breathing

Mindful breathing can help calm your nervous system and bring you increased awareness toward everything that occurs around you. When you aren’t in your meditation practice, you can still breathe mindfully and enjoy everyday things. With enhanced senses, you can take extra pleasure in things like the distinct smells and tastes of the food you eat, the sounds of nature and watching people process the world around them and act in accordance with what they perceive. With this awareness, you are also able to focus more on your thoughts; in turn, this clarity will allow better communication and listening skills. You can easily communicate your deeper feelings and emotions as well as ideas that are more cognitively challenging. For example, if you meditate or have a mindful 10 minutes of breathing before a big meeting at work or a school seminar, you are better able to express yourself verbally and follow the thought processes of your colleagues without getting caught up in any adverse emotions. The focus derived from mindful breathing also increases the attention you have for your work or projects. You will be able to stay on task for longer and go about your day with deliberation. The Eco Institute has completed many studies that link breathing practices with the aforementioned sensations and changes that result within the mind and body.

Proper Practice

Begin your mindful breathing practice in scheduled blocks at first. Plan to do your breathing exercises or meditation at particular times of the day. A consistent schedule will help you build your breathing practice and skill. Utilize a meditation guidance app, like Headspace, which can keep you on the right path, throughout the process. Headspace has 10-minute sessions that will only take a small chunk out of your morning or work time lunch break, but will revitalize your energy for the duration of the day. Once you’ve established your schedule, try and find times throughout the day when you can breathe with awareness so you can reap the benefits more often. Have deep, focused breathing sessions in your car before you start it, immediately when you return home from work or when you wake up from sleep.

Helpful Tools

Have a specialized soundtrack that can set the tone for your bliss. Ambient music is best, as it is instrumental without a patterned melody. If the music had lyrics or a pattern, you’d be more likely to focus on the composition of the song rather than your breathing. YouTube offers many meditation playlists or you can check out Radio Sri Chinmoy for free meditation music. Another useful gadget is Spire — a wearable device that tracks breathing patterns. The app was designed for the iOS system, like that of the iPhone 6s, and provides you with breathing alerts and guided meditations. The wearable will pick up on your physical activity and, in working with the app, will provide real-time results.

Friday, October 14, 2016

5 Common Sports Scholarship Myths Debunked

5 Common Sports Scholarship Myths Debunked

This is the dream for millions of young people: get good grades, practice a sport you love, hope you excel and hopefully get enrolled in a good school where the red carpet will be rolled out and you'll become a huge star on campus overnight.
Unfortunately, getting a sports scholarship isn't as easy as it seems. Many people still have lots of misconceptions about the scholarship process and what it entails. In this article, we're going to debunk some of the most common myths about sports scholarships.

All Athletes Are Eligible for Full Ride Scholarships

Only a certain number of sports are eligible for full ride scholarships. When it comes to the NCAA, only head count sports qualify. For men's, this means only basketball and football players are eligible for full ride scholarships. For women, full ride scholarships are available to volleyball, tennis, basketball and gymnastics athletes. For any other sport, scholarships are divided between a set number of athletes and coaches get to distribute the scholarships however they please.

If You're Good Enough, Coaches Will Find You

This is another common misconception among students seeking scholarships. They assume that just because they excel at an elite level, scouts and coaches will find their way to them. But athletes have to actually go out and present their resumes to coaches if they want to get noticed. Also, producing a highlight reel of your biggest accomplishments and adding it to the National Collegiate Scouting Association’s database would be a great idea if you want to get noticed.

Grades Aren't Important, As Long as I Perform

Unfortunately, the NCAA has very strict rules when it comes to academic accomplishments. They require all players to pass certain academic benchmarks each semester or they run the risk of not being able to play on the team. Ultimately, schools and coaches want athletes that will be able to perform well on and off the field.

Only Elite Athletes Get Scholarships

Again, another common myth amongst sports scholarship seekers is that you absolutely have to perform at an elite level to get a sports scholarship. This falls under the misconception that only DI scholarships are worth pursuing. The truth is that most scholarship opportunities for Athletes-USA are outside DI schools, so it's always better to broaden your horizons and see what DII, DIII, NJCAA and NAIA schools have to offer as well.

Scholarships Are 4 Year Deals

That is wrong. Most sports scholarships are not for the whole duration of college. Many circumstances can affect the duration of a scholarship. Some scholarships programs may get withdrawn altogether. Schools and coaches dictate if a certain scholarship will be renewed for the next year. Also, certain academic and athletic requirements have to be met for the scholarship to be renewed.
As you can see, sports scholarships aren’t as simple as they may seem and it would be wise to be well informed on all the ins and outs of getting and maintaining a scholarship. If you need more information on sports scholarship, we recommended that you speak to your coach or browse online where you'll find all sorts of information on the scholarship and recruiting process. On these words, good luck with hopes that you'll find a great scholarship and school to call your own next semester!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Three Ways to Include Diamonds in Your Day to Day Looks

Wearing jewelry as part of your work or other daytime looks can often see you heading for lower end, more fashion pieces like costume jewelry, quirky necklaces, fun earrings and sporty watches rather than luxury stuff like diamonds. However, diamonds don't have to be reserved for when you glam up for a night out or formal occasion, and can be used subtly in your office or day out looks to great effect! Here are just three ways to add diamonds to your day looks without feeling overdressed:

Add a Classic Touch with Diamond Stud Earrings

The simple twinkle of diamond stud earrings adds a pretty, classy touch to workwear and can add some interest to casual jeans and sweaters when you are out shopping without being overly fussy. With your hair down or up, they are still noticeable as they catch the light. Diamond studs on their own can be a good finish to all kinds of daytime outfits, and can be paired with necklaces and other accessories with sparkle to transform your work look into a sophisticated after-work cocktails outfit. Another way to add the prettiness of diamond studs but with an edgier look for daytime is to wear them in secondary or upper ear piercings, or in your nose if you have it pierced. Check out for some beautiful but simple diamond earrings ideal for wearing with your daytime clothing.

Diamond Charms

One of the most fun kinds of casual jewelry you can wear is a charm bracelet, and since they have come back into fashion in a big way in the past few years thanks to covetable brands like Pandora and Trollbeads, there are a huge range of charms on the market – many of them featuring small, pretty inset diamonds. This can be an easy way to add the luxury of diamonds in a way that doesn't look overdressed with your weekend clothes or cute day dresses, and also doesn't feel too 'grown up' to wear outside of the office. From animals and hearts to more sophisticated beads, there are styles of charm with diamonds to suit all personalities and styles, so mixing a few diamond charms in with your regular ones can be a good look.

Tennis Bracelets

If you want some real 'bling' you can sport all the time, then a diamond tennis bracelet is ideal. Glamorous and timeless, it makes everything you wear a little more fabulous, and can give you that smart, preppy look while still being shiny and fun. Of course, that many diamonds can be expensive, but you can recreate the look using crystal or cubic zirconia to get the same effect without needing a big bank balance or a sugar daddy!

These are just three ways to wear diamonds with your favorite daytime looks, so if you love the luxury and style of diamonds, there is no reason to keep them in your jewelry box waiting for your next big night out or black tie event!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Why I Love Uncommon Goods

Crafting has always been one of my favorite hobbies. Over the past year or so, I have been busy with other areas of my life such as taking classes, rebuilding my life post-divorce, and managing day-to-day life. Sitting down to craft is something that I have missed doing dearly and I have been putting more focus on making time for myself to do things that I enjoy such as cross-stitching or being creative.

For my birthday in July I asked my dad for a gift card to JoAnn Fabrics so that I could sign up for a quilting class or cake baking class. I have yet to sign up for a course, but this is on my to-do list!

I have started to cross-stitch an adorable memento, as seen below, to commemorate this time in my life. After completion, I plan to hang in my house on my family wall or somewhere that will make me smile when remembering to enjoy the journey that I am on!

my current project

Recently, a catalog arrived in the mail from UncommonGoods. I typically toss catalogs into the recycle bin instantly but this catalog struck me as different and I was immediately intrigued by the description of “handmade, organic, and unique items” and the idea of being responsible and sustainable in all business efforts. At first I was a bit confused as to how a company could state these claims when sending out a mail order catalog but as I began to look closer, I learned that the company uses 30% post-consumer recycled waste or paper from FSC certified forests to make the catalogs.

The cover of the catalog intrigued me enough to open it and view the contents. I was delighted to find unique, handmade, organic items that a consumer cannot find at your local Target or big box store. 
Make a wish, light it on fire, and watch it fly! Check out the video!
I was even more pleased to see truly creative craft ideas for kids and adults, one-of- a- kind gifts for anyone in my family, and even silly items that I never knew existed!
marble coaster madness!

Next time you are in the market for a great craft, unique gift for anyone, or something you never imagined, check out Uncommon Goods!
This is on my wish list!  hint! hint!

Sign up for the email updates and receive a $5 gift certificate right away! 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Divorce Series Part 2: Independant and Empowered, Yet Alone

So I told a tall tale. I said that my divorce post series would be completed in May. May was a great month, so great that I couldn't pull myself away from the fun I was having to sit down to write.

But, I am here and back with the second installment to the series. This post is one that I am particularly excited to write because it is all about me breaking out of the trap I had been caught up in for years. The trap being the suffocating marriage I had found myself in.

Perhaps the most terrifying aspect of my separation and divorce experience was the independence I had gained over night after moving out. But what a relief and breath of fresh air! Freedom in so many forms!
Move-in Day! 
Decorating my own place, doing what I wanted when I wanted, focusing on me and my goals instead of living for someone else and their goals and desires. Don't get me wrong, had our goals been along the same wave length, I may not have felt this way. I realized that my ex-husband and I were just too different, we didn't get each other. He used to tell me all the time that we were never on the same page or I just didn't get him. At the time these words stung deep. But now I see what he meant. My way of living life did not at all mesh with his life ideals or lifestyle. I knew this all along. I just ignored the red flags.
So much space to decorate in my family room!
But this post isn't about what I didn't do or who is at fault. This post is about the wonderful growth and change that occurred in me while living independently. The first thing that I did when I moved in to my apartment, was go out and buy Lauren Conrad bedding at Kohl's that I had been eyeing for quite some time. It was more expensive than I could have afforded at the time but it was so exciting and exhilarating to buy pretty bedding. I remember how excited I was to go home and wash my new linens and make my new bed. I took a bath that night and lit a candle by my bed and read a good book. It was so wonderful to snuggle with Polo and wake up in my own place.
My cozy bed with Lauren Conrad bedding
Over time the excitement of living alone wore off and many times I found myself feeling lonely and missing the company that I once had.
Polo checking out his new digs!
Even if it was horrible company; it was still company! I found Saturday nights to be particularly difficult for some reason and I tried to keep busy by making plans with friends or taking myself out on dates. That was fun! I took myself out to dinner, shopping, to the movies, or to the coffee shop.

Sometimes I didn't have plans and I would take a bath and read a book and try not to feel sorry for myself that I was all alone. (Don't get me wrong, I did have a couple pity parties from time to time but found them to be therapeutic and relieving to let out negative energy.) I found that focusing on how wonderful it was that I was strong and resilient and had the tenacity to be on my own, gave me hope for the great future I had ahead of me. Over time the loneliness wore off and I relished in my alone time. I set goals for myself and accomplished them. I went back to school to continue to challenge myself and to keep me from being too bored.

Due to a recommendation from my friend, Tricia, I watched the Secret and really began to look forward to my future instead of dwelling on my past and how horrible the last few years had been. I began focusing on being grateful for my life and the challenges I had overcome and the bright future that I had ahead of me. The Secret played a part in changing my life. I will share a bit more about this in a future post.

Have you seen The Secret?

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Divorce Series Part 1: How I Got the Courage to Leave

Dear Reader,

This post is dedicated to those of you who may want to leave an unhappy marriage but don't know how. You may be dealing with many conflicting and challenging thoughts about leaving and the implications that it may cause you in the short term and long term. I write this post to share my experience with you in hopes that it will help you find that inner strength that has brought you to these crossroads. I realize that there is no one size fits all way to handle separation or divorce but my hope is that by sharing parts of my story and things I have learned in the process, that it will help you on your journey.
I had contemplated leaving for quite some time but always got hung up on the what if's. I was miserable but would mask my sadness in activities outside of the home; running, blogging, social media, selling Thirty-One and Jamberry, working long hours, doing whatever I could to keep busy and focus on things in my life in which I felt I had positive control over. Full disclosure here, I did NOT know this at the time. I learned this all in retrospect and in months of self reflection and therapy.

I can recall so many times that I struggled with even the idea that maybe I should consider leaving. I struggled with the thought of being ashamed, feeling like I had failed, and the suffocating thought of how on earth would I be able to afford to live on my own with all of the bills that I had.

You may not know what you are doing or why. You just may feel that leaving is the right thing to do. That is okay. I found that although I knew I could no longer be in a relationship or married to D, it was still an internal struggle because I felt like I was

1) giving up on my marriage. Being from a divorced family, I had always told myself and others that I did not believe in divorce for myself. I was confident that who I chose to marry would be the only person I would be married to forever. I laugh at this now as this was just a way of trying to convince myself that I was marrying the right person even when my gut was feeling otherwise.

2) going back on my word (aka my vowes). I knew the vowes I had taken at our wedding. I knew that I had agreed to the good, bad, and the ugly. I KNEW what I was getting in to when I got married. So why did I do it? Over and over I told myself that I had made this bed, I need to suck it up and lay in it.

3) Failure. I felt like I had failed my family, myself, my fur kids, the list goes on. My biggest fear in life is failure. The idea of saying I give up and I fail was worse than anything.

Over time my unhappiness began to take over and all I could think about was how to get out and move on with my life. I began to talk to friends and family about my thoughts and I began to realize several things. Over time I finally came to the conclusion that I was strong enough to do this. I realized that leaving required more strength on my part than staying. With support from friends and family, I began to feel empowered and proud of who I was becoming. I was no longer in the shadows of someone else. I was strong enough to take the steps necessary to begin creating a life that I knew that I deserved. A happy life. Even if that meant pain, turmoil, confusion, and lots of healing in the process. 

Life is too short. I did not have to stay in an unhappy marriage when I knew I could be happier by myself. The idea of having my own place was so exciting, yet terrifying. No longer was I spending my mental energy thinking of HOW to get out but rather on all the possibilities of the new life that lie ahead.  The idea of starting a new life where I had a say was the focus of my thoughts and was exhilarating.

I realized that it was my life to live. Not someone else's life to control.
words of wisdom from instagram was a way I found validation for how I was feeling

I realized that there was no point in staying in an unhappy marriage even though I knew that I had ignored the red flags that led me to where I was in the first place. I realized that everyone makes mistakes and I was not a failure for doing so. In fact, I was the opposite. I was strong and resilient for facing these dark feelings and owning up to the truth.
I also found validation through pinterest Check out my board to see more empowering sayings and works of art. 
Are you experiencing the idea of separation? Have you gone through this? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comment box below or send me an email. 

Stay tuned for the next post in my Divorce Series. Part 2: Independent and Empowered. Yet Alone. Feelings of independence through bouts of loneliness. 
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