2015, May 25

Leaving Love Laying Around

Last week, in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly, we left love laying around.

That means, I lit a candle, baked cookies and made tea. I left pots-it note love on the fridge, and wrote some Love Letters and left them laying around in the kitchen at work, on the street, under windshield wipers and in a coffee shop.

Having my birthday last Wednesday, I was also on the recipient end of some love. Friends called me, texted, e-mailed and left me sweet comments and messages on Facebook and via Twitter. Dinner was made for me, I received presents, flowers, I got a massage, and was pampered.

It was a good week, and it felt like all the love I left laying around, came pouring back in!

For week 21, the assignment is to Visit a favorite place; send yourself a postcard.
When j decided to write this e-guide, she sent a note to some people she loves asking for ideas. Her friend sent her this idea, and I like it so much! Can’t wait to look at postcards I brought home from places I visited, and maybe even mail one of them to myself!

How was your week? Did you leave love laying around? For your family only, or in public places for strangers to find as well? In case you took pics, too, I’d love to see them!

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

2015, May 19

My Artist’s Date and my Personal Manifesto…

I’m a bit late in posting about my Artist’s Date, which was the assignment for Week 18 in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly.

In my last blog post, I said how great it’d be to take yourself on a date and do something that inspires you. And I was hoping that for me, it would be as simple as a walk in the Botanical Garden which I’ve been meaning to write about (and a relaxing walk through it while taking lots of photos sparks my creativity, and at the end of said walk I’d rush home to put all my thoughts to paper).

Well, needless to say that walk never happened. The Tulips aren’t in bloom anymore, so I put the walk off and haven’t realized it until the week had past.
So my big date turned out to be a Saturday in. I went out to toss the trash and buy bread, and walked back on a different route. Children were outside playing, mom’s were chatting by fences and dads were fixing cars in the background.
After that short walk, I came home to Pixel and started cooking. Nothing fancy, just normal, yummy food to have over the weekend. But I realized it has been way too long since I cooked and baked every weekend. Life is harried on most days, and it’s so easy grabbing a bite at lunch in the city during the week, that it made me all the more happy to just be by myself and cook. It cleared my mind like nothing else could have!

Then, for week 19, the assignment was to Write our Personal Manifestos. From the guide…

“I love manifestos. I love the certainty of them, the optimism of writing out your aspirations as faits accomplis, the boldness of life plans deeply rooted in personal values.

They’re mission statements with personality, business plans for the soul.

This week, write a personal manifesto. Dig deep. Put it all down on paper – where you’re going, how you’re getting there, the beliefs and principles that guide you, consciously or not, every step of the way. Get conscious. Take your time. Add to it daily. This is you, as art.

Even though I initially wanted to flake on writing one, luckily I followed j’s suggestion and typed “manifestos” into Google. The Image results definitely inspired me, made me want to play with image editing – and so, below is my own manifesto:

Estrella's Personal Manifesto

The assignment for week 20, this week, is to Leave Love Lying Around. As j suggests in the guide:
“Choose any (or all) of the options listed below.

Write lipstick messages on the mirror.
Bomb your neighborhood with tear off posters.
Make post-it note art.
Draw love in chalk on the sidewalk.
Leave love notes in surprising places.
Declare yourself (boldly, beautifully).
Leave bookmarks in library books.
Bake something heart-shaped.
Light some candles.
Tuck a flower under a windshield wiper.
Leave a Scrabble note.”

Oh, how much fun I had leaving love notes behind every day for a full month a few years ago. This will be a great week, I just know it!

How were your past two weeks? Did you take yourself on an Artist’s Date? Have you written a Personal Manifesto? Or have you had one written for a while now? I’d love to see!

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

2015, May 4

Taking Daily Walks

After hugging many strangers the week before, the assignment for last week in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly, was to take a daily walk.
So, naturally, the weather was uncooperative. It was windy, chilly and it rained a lot in this corner of the world. I could hardly believe that there I was in my warm jacket, wrapping the shawl around my neck three times less than four days after getting sun-burnt.

Even though it doesn’t count toward the daily walk, I’ll include a two-hour walk we took last Sunday, because it was nice weather that day, and we met up with a friend.
On the way back, we stopped and I learned how to drive! Yes. I can no longer say ‘Oh, no, I can’t drive. I drove only once, in Sicily.’ Yay for that! I can’t wait to do it again!

Now back to the daily walks.
I walk about two blocks (I assume that’s how much I walk… I couldn’t find a clear enough explanation of how much a block is as a unit of distance, due to each city’s different layout) to work every morning, and about the same distance back downtown when I go meet up with my boyfriend to go home.

Carolina Alba Fortress

Carolina Alba Fortress

So with this daily walk already set and the terrible weather this past week, I decided to change things up a bit.
On different mornings I walked to the bank before work, bought myself a croissant and a fresh juice from the places which fall outside my usual route, and went shopping after work.
Then, because May 1st was a bank holiday here and we had a long weekend ahead, on Saturday we took a little road trip to Alba Iulia, to see the Carolina Alba Fortress. The weather was still being weird, drizzling quite a bit, but since it didn’t pour to destroy our moods, it was still a nice outing. We got there at around half past ten, and short of a lunch break, we visited and walked all day long!

The assignment for week 18 is to Take Yourself on an Artist’s Date. Either you practice your art every day or only on weekends, or when ever you find five minutes to yourself, it’s important to fill your creative well from time to time. So this week, take yourself on a date and do something that inspires you. It can be as easy as a museum visit to explore the works of other artists, and as simple as a walk in the Botanical Garden which you’ve been meaning to write about (and a relaxing walk through it while taking lots of photos sparks your creativity, and at the end of said walk you’ll rush home to put all your thoughts to paper).

How was your week? Did you go for daily walks? Or did you go for a weekend road trip, like we did? How was the weather over at your end? Could you enjoy your walks, or did you resent having to walk your dog in the rain, for example?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

2015, April 27

Practice Hugging Daily

Last week, I very conveniently got a cold, so for the first few days I spared strangers of making them sick, too. I can’t necessarily say that I feel bad about it, hugging total strangers feels weird to me; especially since I’m someone who doesn’t really like kissing people or shaking hands either.

That all came crashing down when we found out a friend had died. Every day we met up with friends to organize our trip to the funeral, talked with his family to see what we could help with, hugged and cried together…

By today, I lost count of how many people I’ve hugged. But every single hug I gave this week was full of meaning. They were the expression of all the millions of things I wanted to say and couldn’t find the words to.
I am still short of words in expressing everything I feel at the moment about our friend’s death, so I’ll end talking about my week here.

The assignment for week 17 is to Take a Daily Walk. I will definitely do this every day this week, probably during my lunch break most often. It is a good idea to stop and clear my head for about an hour anyways, right? I’ll definitely need the alone time.

How was your week? Did you hug people? Strangers, or only people you know personally? Was it something which came to you naturally, or do you usually feel weird about and avoid hugging?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

2015, April 20

Do One Thing That Scares You

In the year of loving ourselves fearlessly during week 15, the assignment was to Do One Thing That Scares You. To be quite honest, for my very introverted self that was easier said than done. Mainly, because in the beginning I kept thinking of one big scary thing I should do come up and graciously I would slay that dragon…

In my blog post last week, I added a few suggestions for you off the top of my head. They included: pet a squirrel, buy shoes by yourself, say I love You first, have lunch alone, try cooking dinner, buy a new type of plant, leave the house without makeup on, go dancing, say “no” to someone you love.
Now, not all of these things are scary for me, but I know that real or imagined, many different things scare us on a daily basis. And the easiest is to start small in conquering our fear, and as we go on living our life, our fear diminishes. This won’t include *everything* that scares us, of course, but by doing it progressively we will become more daring.

On the other hand, after two days in which I thought “Nothing scary came up so far, what will I do if things still won’t appear by the end of the week?” I decided to think of all these small things and make a note of how I do something that scares me, every day. Below is my list for last week:

  • I dared to eat in public, though the food wasn’t from the place we were at.
  • I took a chance on editing documents the way it seemed best, to me.
  • I mastered using Styles in Word.
  • I stayed in a coffee shop even though a friend of my ex boyfriend was there, too.
  • I stopped avoiding sitting next to people I don’t know, at work during lunch.
  • I accepted compliments for my job well done.
  • I reached out to a dear friend and had a short talk over Facebook when I felt a bit depressed.

And you know what the interesting thing about my week was? Before it, I haven’t consciously paid attention to just how many things that scare me I already do on a daily basis. It pumped me up for what is yet to overcome!

 The assignment for week 16 is to Practice Hugging Daily. In the 52-52 e-mail, j sums up this suggestion perfectly, so I’ll leave you with her words for this one:
“This week, you don’t have to hug strangers if you don’t want to. You can hug people you know, but do it consciously. Be aware of your heart and theirs and all the magic that exists in a hug; there’s a lot. And the best thing about hugs is that the love flows both ways.”

How was your week? Did you do one thing that scares you? Or more than one? Was it difficult, or was it made easier if you re-framed how you thought about it?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

2015, April 13

Seven days, Seven pictures

For last week in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly the assignment was to take a picture every day. And my first thought is that I hope you joined in, because I’d love to see a picture of you everyday life!

I really enjoy taking pictures, as you all know, so this was an easy and fun task. Since around April 2013, I have been taking pictures nearly every day, and do share one picture on Instagram daily. (You don’t necessarily have to be a follower to see my postings there.)

What was my week of taking pictures like? I marveled in a beautiful decoupage egg decoration I received from a friend last year, loved my Easter presents from the BF, ate lots of yummy desserts, reveled in fragrant beauties in the form of Hyacinths, saw a whole family worth-of/-sized bikes on my way to work, glanced out at a view I used to look at with my dad sometimes and enjoyed a day in with Pixel purr, purr, purring away on top of me.
And because pictures are said to be worth a thousand words, here’s it all in pictures:

seven days seven pictures

The assignment for week 15 is to Do One Thing That Scares You. It’s not too hard, I think, to do something incredibly brave.
A few suggestions for you, off the top of my head: pet a squirrel, buy shoes by yourself, say I love You first, have lunch alone, try cooking dinner, buy a new type of plant, leave the house without makeup on, go dancing, say “no” to someone you love.
Even if you’re the only one who knows just how daring you are doing one of these things or something similar, I have a feeling it’ll help you try new things more often.

How was your week? Did take pictures every day? Did you post them somewhere online so that I can see them, too? :)

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

2015, April 8

Read and Recite Mantras Daily

The assignment for this past week of the year of loving ourselves fearlessly was to read and recite mantras daily. It referred to the love mantras we’ve solicited (or not) during week 12 of this year.
I was so, so touched when I read the love mantra my dear friend wrote me! I talked about this, and a couple of my worries in last week’s blog post.

So this past week, every night before going to bed, I looked up my friend’s comment, and read it to myself. Most nights to myself, some nights to Pixel, and some nights out loud.
It was challenging. Because most nights I forgot, so I ended up reading it literally before closing my eyes for the day.

Reading her thoughts about me, and her encouragement, her belief in me was eye-opening in the sense that the week before I wasn’t quite as sure of myself as I am now after this little exercise.
It was such a good thing to have her kind words floating around in my head as I fell asleep, I woke up more confident and was more patient with myself during the day.

In her e-mail to us love warriors this week, j had a thought to share with anyone who might have fallen behind. I’m quoting her below, because she phrased it perfectly:

Join in now.
You don’t have to catch up. There are no prerequisites; earlier weeks do not have to be completed before the current week is.
Isn’t that great?
And, better, that applies all year long. It is never a valid excuse to not join in simply because you’ve fallen behind. No worries! Join in where you are. You have these emails, or the 52-52 guide, so you can do past weeks whenever you feel like it or not at all. No guilt and no excuses necessary. This is your self-love year. Do it your way.”

The assignment for week 14 is to Take a Picture Every Day.
You know I love taking pictures, I really like the pictures my new phone’s camera takes, so I can’t wait to take more!

As you may know, I already take pictures nearly daily, and share one picture on Instagram daily, so I don’t think that it will be too hard to follow this week’s suggestion.
I will save them, maybe even make a collage or something fun, and post the seven photos here, in next week’s blog post, so you can see them all in one place.

I hope you will join in, too. I’d love to see a picture of you everyday life!

How was your week? Did you solicit Love Mantras from other people last week so you’d have something to read? How did you feel reading them every day?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

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