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Finding Your Happy Place

photo credit here

Do you have your happy place? A mental place, a book, a favorite chair, ritual, favorite hang out, spot in the sun, a cabin in the woods, a hammock, or is your happy place just driving with the windows down and the music up? I have been uninspired as of late (note blog hasn't been touched since December). The lack of inspiration is partly because of life (work, school, house, family, you know... adult responsibilities) and partly because I have been so busy that I am not stopping to take it all in. I am missing the details, the nurturing of friendships, or the just being together family time. My schedule has been off. Coffee shop time has only been in passing (literally only minutes when it use to be at least a half hour of good discussion and connection). Work has caused travel but not the kind that involves lots of fun too, just the work kind. The kind that takes time away from your family, in the field but still keeping up with office. Don't misunderstand, I did get to see some of my favorite people while traveling but I didn't get to fully appreciate my surroundings and those relationships. Office negativeness also adds a component of unnecessary stress but out of the abyss has bloomed stronger bonds with friends and helped us to empower each other and really focus on the positive to diminish the negative. To keep the focus on positive and happy, a couple of my best girlfriends and I are starting our "Happiness Planning" in September in hopes we can all get back to the basics of just living and taking in our surroundings. Putting aside the stresses of life and just enjoying the moment.

Today reminds me of why I need to slow down. I have been traveling and stressed out at work and have been missing my hot yoga class (even though I am running daily). Today I made it back finally and it was rejuvenating. Even though I have missed a couple of weeks, I was able to jump back in and I left feeling invigorated!

But the happiness didn't stop there. It's 64 degrees today! 64 DEGREES! You may not understand the significance, but it's August in Georgia..muggy and hot is an understatement. Today the humidity is low, the wind is blowing, the car windows are down, the music is loud so I can sing like no one is watching (even though every car at every light is watching and probably thinking what is wrong with her).

When I got home from class, my family was amazing with lots of hugs, kisses. Cozy was in a good mood and getting dressed like she should. We had a great drop off to school and straight to Cool Beans. Today I could sit and take in all the laughter and stories from my coffee shop family. I knew I missed them  but didn't realize how much until today. Just to sit and take them all in. Being able to listen to what has been going on in their lives.

Today my heart is full and bursting at the seams from the love of my family and of friends. Friends that really get me and my craziness and my need for cooler weather, hiking in the woods, coffee time, and just spending time together strengthening our bonds. Now I am on a natural high. A high that I am sure to some is super annoying but to my group of friends I spend 40+ hours with a week, they get it and I hope they embrace it. I am bursting on the inside. I haven't felt this way in a long time. Now please don't misunderstand, I have been happy. But I have let all the "to do's" cloud what really makes me happy. My family, my friends, the outdoors, sitting in quiet on the deck, doing yoga, watching my little girl grow up way too fast. My "to-do's" have made me take focus off those things I have been neglecting.  I need to be in my happy place. Not want...but NEED to be in my happy place. To keep my natural high and keep me focused on the people and things that mean the most. Moving forward I intend to maintain this natural high. To love with a passion, nurture my relationships and strengthen bonds, find time to see people, talk to them, and focus more energy on the small details of the short time I have with my wonderful husband and precious daughter. This is what is most important and what creates true happiness.

Where is your happy place and how do you keep your focus?

photo credit here

Brew from a Different Point of View

Trending now....growler stores. You know what I am talking about. Dozens and dozens of taps to choose from, a person behind the counter, what was his name? I don't remember, it doesn't matter. You get a little description of the beer, maybe a taste, select, fill, leave and forget anything but the beer you are enjoying. Great right?

After speaking with Thomas Monti of Schoolhouse Beer and Brewing in Marietta, GA I found something more than the cookie cutter growler shop. Let me take you on a journey. It started with a physical science teacher and adjunct college professor that had a dream. Well lets say, more of a yearning. Finally after 15 years in the "normal" career,  he made the tough decision (after a leap of faith and lots of prayer) to quit the day to day norm and take a chance on his Dream.  Now six months and counting, that dream is becoming more than he could have imagined. His time as a professor is now growing into a senior level class in the culinary program of Kennesaw State University, where students will learn how to brew, the brewing industry and the art and history behind it all. And now the normal trendy growler shop is growing into a family and experience where beer is just a bonus, not the focus.

What was once planned as a 60 tap growler store has grown into a 20 tap and over 350 individual craft beer store that also provides an experience. When you walk in you are greeted like Norm from Cheers. They remember you, they know you, they ask you about your day, your kids, your life. They know what kinds of brews you like and which to avoid. The atmosphere is warm and inviting like a friends house with big comfy leather chairs to melt into while you enjoy of flight of the latest local and regional craft beers. Their sweet golden retriever Ben will nuzzle you for love and provide your kids with a distraction while you enjoy a little adult conversation. You can mix and match a 6 pack for later and walk out with a growler of your favorite pour. But it doesn't end there. You can also plan a brewing night with your friends or as a date. They have classes available where you can brew beer in house and they handle all of the preparation, sterilization, and cleanup.  You just come to brew, learn, and hang out.

Thomas believes that customer service and education are the most important. The beer, surprisingly is last. That is what sets them apart from the other growler shops. They focus on the local and the experience. I asked Thomas where he see's the shop going and his response was "We won't expand until it's truly an experience. We want people to come here for us, not because of the beer."  I think they are well on their way for that (if not already achieving that goal).  Grab a friend or significant other and head over for a tasting, but be prepared to walk out not only with a new craft beer, but also a new friendship.

Schoolhouse Beer and Brewing "Where Education Meets Recess"

200 Mill - the hip side of the square

Pop-up shop: a temporary retail store that appears for a short time, typically for one day to three months or in conjunction with other events.  Usually a brick and mortar building typically found in a high traffic area.

The Marietta Square is full of awesome restaurants, antique shops, trendy boutiques, art galleries and well you know my love of one particular "cool" coffee shop. Now in keeping with the times we now have our first Pop-Up Shop - 200 Mill

The concept is simple: provide local artists a venue to shine. 200 Mill hosts a different set of artists every time its open to maintain a fresh, new store that is constantly changing and evolving. In the little time they have been opened, they have hosted a floral workshop,  a "Help A Guy Out" ladies night, and housed several different artists pieces and goods including items from the owners Dana from Boxtree Designs, Inc., Lindsay from Copper and Torch, and artist Ashley Woodson Bailey.

some features this week include: 

light drawings from rinne allen;

jewelry from gunner and lux, glass wall vases and jewelry from co-owner Lindsay;  

this beautiful clutch from very fine south may have gone on my wish list;

cleaning products from tin cup;

paper products from green tie studio;

beautiful art from co-owner ashley;

more from gunner and lux;

more beautiful bags from very fine south;

goods from reciprocitee;

even the chandelier is for sale (by popular demand)!!!

Here are several other items that would be perfect under your Christmas tree this year:

They are currently "popped-up" through December 13th (closed Sunday December 7th). So if you are in the area, stop by to shop and meet the owners. You will be so happy you did (and probably walk out with something special for yourself like this bracelet I picked up yesterday).

Early Risers Unite!

I read an article this morning that made me smile and giggle...because it was written about me :)
you can check it out here. But this got me thinking. I really need to let you behind the curtain. Let you the reader see what makes me so happy and functional in the morning. I haven't always been a morning person. In my teens and 20s I would sleep the day away. Partly because I stayed up way too late (high school) and partly because I was probably out too late (college and beyond). During my field class in Montana it was a joke that even though we were at the Metlen until late, my roommate and I always awoke with smiles and good mornings for everyone. She joked that I would open my eyes and start a big smile all at the same time I was saying "good morning meeshla" to which she would reply with an equally big smile "good morning jennifer." Super annoying to the non morning people. And still in my late 30s I am surrounded by non-morning people. Some are so genuinely unhappy that even a mere polite good morning puts them over the edge (chris....) but most I have encountered that are non-morning folk are still pleasant and usually amazed at my ability to be so perky in the AM especially when they are still half asleep. So how do I do it you may ask:
drum roll please....

The alarm is set for 5:00 am.
snooze...depending on day (only once - but the clock is set 10 minutes fast).
get up;
play with cat;
check phone;
throw on work out clothes;
depending on day  (m/w/tr/f) go for a minimum of 30 minute run or a walk (distance depends on if I play tennis after work or how I feel in general). if Tuesday be at hot yoga at 5:30 am for hour class;
come back and start waking the family;
throw eggs in a pot of water and begin to boil;
grind coffee;
turn on either NPR or pandora french cafe;
wake child again while hubbie is showering;
empty litter box;
fill water bowls;
let dog out;
brew coffee;
take shower;
turn off eggs;
make waffles for child (unless she has gotten up and started to make them herself);
get coffee ready;
choose clothes for myself;
iron patches on childs pants (every day...she is wearing same pants for a month now - which are washed every night);
provide her "outfit" and waffles on a tray (hey whatever works);
get dressed while chatting with hubs:
grab coffees, empty coffee grounds in composter, clean up coffee area and head to front porch;
enjoy a few minutes while child continues to eat and get dressed;
pull eggs out of hot water and place in ice cold water;
place egg pan in sink after it cools;
make sure all childs things are ready for school;
pack any lunches for the hubs and I plus our eggs;
put the dog up;
walk everyone out the door;
load cars and get buckled in;
say the goodbyes and great days and part ways;
throw on morning blues or NPR;
head to coffee shop;
purchase large latte;
chat for 15-30 minutes depending on time while sipping said latte;
drive around square and by mountain listening to morning blues or NPR;
pull into work and greet co-workers with big smile and good mornings all around :) :)

bottom line, the older I get, the more I appreciate the quiet of the morning, watching the sun rise, being able to enjoy a cup of coffee, exercise and possibly read a little from my book. It's what I look forward to. How do you start your morning? What makes you happy?

*note these are my tasks, my husband has his own laundry list of chores he does in morning to make this a well oiled machine (and some tasks may be switched between the two of us)

All Hallows' Eve and Teal Pumpkins

Is everyone excited for tomorrow? One of the best holidays! HALLOWEEN!!! Now to most of us this means candy, candy, more candy, dressing up, candy, fun drinks, candy, tummy aches, candy, you get the picture.

But not for everyone.

Some children suffer from allergies and other health issues that make all the candy and Halloween fun...well...not so much. Imagine being a kid. You chose a costume. It has been sitting in your room for weeks waiting for that day. You stare at it day in and day out. You try it on. Keep it clean for THE DAY. Talk about it with your parents, your friends, your teachers. Then Halloween is FINALLY here! This is the day you get to dress up and not just ask for but expect to fill your plastic pumpkin with LOADS OF CANDY!!! WOOOHOOOOO and why not? It's Halloween. That's what you do. That is what your parents did. But, here is the catch. You can't eat half the ingredients in the candy. Maybe you aren't old enough to understand why or make the connection that if you do maybe at best you get a tummy ache, but at worst you could die. How do you explain that to a small child? We are fortunate that our daughter is like us and not much bothers her. But I can only imagine telling her no, you can't enjoy all the pleasures of Halloween.  Some may balk at this concept. Some may not realize how serious it can be. I'm not even going to get into fair trade candies...that is a totally different but just as important discussion. Read more here from the Art of Simple. But let's get back to our focus. How can we make Halloween just as  much fun for those children? I don't mean shoving a tooth brush in their pumpkin with some horrible Tom's toothpaste. No kid wants that. (I imagine Charlie Brown - "I got a rock"). But you can still make it special for them.

This brings me to the Teal Pumpkin Project. This is a movement to help those kids enjoy Halloween just as much as the kids with no food issues. They should be scared from the ghosts and ghouls, not from potential death. Get me?

The idea is you place a teal pumpkin on your doorstep to let those families know that at your house their kid can trick or treat worry free. Now that house may have some of the items they can't have but that house has made an effort to provide an alternative for your child. How wrong can that be? I mean, glow sticks, toys, other treats that aren't even food (being a geologist I wish "I got a rock" was in my childhood reality - but I digress). And...less cavities! It seems like a no brainer. Most importantly...your child can experience the same excitement and fun as everyone else...and you don't have to worry.

In searching for a teal pumpkin to smack on this post I found this blog. And you know what, it is written from the perspective of a parent who does have to worry. Check it out. If this post (and I'm sure there are others out there) doesn't inspire you to at least consider these kids, then I don't know what will. All I know is that even though we aren't handing candy out at our house tomorrow, my family will be painting a pumpkin and grabbing some non food items to hand out at our friends house.

Happy Halloween.....EVERYONE!!!

Finding Rhythm


Do you have a difficult time being and doing everything and doing any of it well (or even half assed)? Finding your rhythm in daily life?

My mind is maturing in that I see the need to exercise. Not just for health, not just for leading by example to my 4 year old, but mostly because if I don't, I am fully aware I'm not 20 anymore and feel like crap. Back ache, stress, all things that take me over if I don't run or do hot yoga or play tennis. But...once I get in my rhythm with exercise, guess what....I am exhausted.
5 am comes really early.

My ladies at the coffee shop pointed out that by the time I saw them I was already in my third hour of the day. what the?? Now being exhausted causes these issues: inability to focus, not being the wife, mother, employee I want or am expected to be, inability to focus (did you catch that? ha yes I have been up since 5 and did hot yoga this morning - yay me).

Lists, chores, daily tasks that I am expected to complete. Dinner (not always), dishes (cause I am a neat freak now), putting away laundry, making beds, entertaining 4 year old, bath time, teeth brushing, book reading, convincing her a million times to stay in bed...feeding bunny, dog, cat, cat litter..I could continue but pretty sure I just sound like I am bitching. I love all those things as sick as it sounds and my husband is a HUGE help (he has his own laundry list of chores on the "farm"). I actually love having a list of things to do and get bored when I don't. But...how can I get them all done, done well, and not pass out from exhaustion? Toddlers are not the only ones that need schedules. If my todo list or schedule gets messed up..oh boy...

Do you feel that if you excel in one area that you fail in others? What is YOUR trick for doing it all? Being a super mom, super wife, and bringing home the bacon (plus living in a neat, clean organized home)? They say that your house should be messy when kids live there because you should be focused on them and the moments...THEY don't live in my tiny house with 6 heartbeats under one roof) and one bathroom.

I would realllly love your suggestions...before I take a nap under my desk..(almost 8 hours into the day already)...zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

image borrowed from here 

Namaste Ya'll

image borrowed from here

Happy Tuesday!!!