Saturday, August 29, 2015

My Five Favorite FREE Yoga Classes Online

Yoga fence light

Why not try to do some yoga at home?  I would love to be able to go to a studio class every day, but I don't always have time. That's when I do a home practice. Sometimes I want some guidance, and use these videos.  If you have never done yoga, I suggest numbers 1, 3, and 4.  Enjoy!
  1. Prepare for Meditation - 25 minutes
  2. Vinyasa - 45 minutes - My go to practice!
  3. Relaxation - 20 minutes
  4. Yin Yoga / Restorative - 50 minutes - great Sunday/rest day practice
  5. Flow - 50 minutes

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Simple Food

godiva chocolate blackberries
Photo by Melody Augustin

I'm not much of a cook, which is OK.  Sometimes the simplest foods are the best.  The other night I ate some fresh blackberries with a piece of Godiva dark chocolate.  Yum.  The flavors complimented each other.

red peppers grill
Photo by Melody Augustin

Another simple staple for me is red peppers on the grill.  I slice the peppers into similar size pieces and put in tinfoil with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  My husband throws them on the grill for twenty minutes.  Delish!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Find Your Passion - A Realistic View

free ocean beach passion

“I’m so sick of hearing about how we should be living our passion,” said my friend.  "I’m not even a passionate person!”  I replied.  I’ve had many discussions like this over the last few years. It seems like everyone I know is feeling the pressure to live their passion. 

I have read a lot about finding your passion. The articles and books usually ask questions like this:

“What did you love to do when you were a child?”  
My answer:  “Run around with my friends and pretend I was one of Charlie’s Angels."
I’m not sure that is a marketable skill.

“If money were no object what would you do?” 
My answer:   “Umm, well money is an object if I want food and a roof over my head.” 

“How do you spend your free time?”  

My answer:  “Binge watching Orange is the New Black.”

work office passion

The other day my husband came home from work in his normal stressful state.  “I just want to pet puppies,”  he lamented. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in some part of finding your passion, and am constantly striving to bring my life into alignment with my values and desires. I also think that it’s time we are honest with ourselves. I’m just not sure that we can all make a living petting puppies. I think there is place for a little reality.

cute puppy passion

I argue that we all are not going to get rich when living our passion.  Do we need to be rich, though?  Research shows that the happiness from having more money drops off at about $75,000 for a household.  Maybe we need to stop striving for the six figure salary.  On the flip side, research also shows that the average person will need $1,000,000 saved for retirement. I believe that while it is good to live our passion today, we should also look out for tomorrow. 

Where does this leave us?  I suggest that we keep thinking about what it is that brings us happiness and fulfillment.  Yes, start looking for what you enjoy doing outside of work, and by all means, try to do more of it.  Also, look at your current job.  Are there some things in your current job that do bring you some fulfillment?  Is there a way to focus on this more? 

You might decided that it is time to make a move from your current job.  The move doesn’t have to mean packing up the house and moving to Bali, though.  Maybe you are just out of alignment with your current employer.  I know for me, as a teacher,  I was becoming more and more frustrated by the importance being placed on standardized testing in public school.  I moved to a private school, and now feel more in line with my current school’s vision.

I will continue to explore ways to put more passion into my life. You should, too. There is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with a little realism, either.  

Then again, I wouldn’t mind making $1,000,000 for petting puppies… or kitties.

cute kittens

Thursday, August 6, 2015

A Charming Weekend in Savannah

Picture by Melody Augustin

My husband and I just spent an extended weekend in Savannah, and loved it! The square system, on which Savannah's historical district was designed, lends itself to cute neighborhoods and great walking.  If you haven't read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, or even if you have, I recommend reading it before you go.  It really highlights Savannah's feel.  I also recommend taking the trolley tour when you arrive.  It gives you some history and helps to get yourself oriented to the city.  You can get on and off all day.  

Picture by Melody Augustin

Picture by Melody Augustin

Picture by Melody Augustin

Savannah cat shabby
Picture by Melody Augustin

There were some great restaurants and stores.  Some I would recommend:

Savannah Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Picture by Melody Augustin

Savannah Paris Market
Picture by Melody Augustin

Savannah Beaufort Lowcountry Produce
Picture by Melody Augustin

It is worth it to take a few side trips outside of Savannah.  We went to Tybee Island to walk on the beach and climb the lighthouse.  We also went to Hunting Island State Park and walked on the beach and boardwalk. 

Savannah Tybee lighthouse
Picture by Melody Augustin

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Restorative Yoga - Child's Pose with Pillows

Sometimes we just don't have time for all the things we need to do, especially when it comes to health and wellness.  It could be a full time job just to keep up with the recommendations - weight training, cardio, yoga, meditation, etc. I do not do a full yoga class every day, but I do try to get ten minutes of "something" in everyday. I think we can all find ten minutes in our day for some yoga, stress relief, or meditation.  Many times I will add something to the end of a more traditional workout.  Today's suggestion is child's pose with a bolster or pillows.

I purposely chose a link that shows the pose with pillows as I realize most people don't own a bolster.  There are some other great postures with pillows here as well.  You can also use blankets.  Use as many pillows and/or blankets as needed to feel comfortable.

No fancy meditation technique is needed.  Just put on some soothing music.  I recommend spending 5-10 minutes in this poses, switching the position of your head half way through.   I highly recommend resting for the full ten minutes.  At a restorative yoga retreat I attended, they stated that it didn't matter which restorative pose you did, the key was the ten minutes.  It takes our bodies that long to really relax.

Take ten minutes this week to try it.  Let me know how you feel after trying this!

Saturday, July 25, 2015


books home decor shabby

This week try to find some time to read.  I try to disconnect from technology and TV for at least 30 minutes before bed.  I find this relaxing.  I choose to still read real books.  I find that the light from my I Pad keeps me awake.  There is research behind this.

coffee magazine pretty

My ordinary person/real tip this week is Read What You Want!  It is Ok to read fluff.  This includes magazines like People.  I have found two great apps for magazines that include FREE reading material.



I still read books, too.  Here is what I am currently reading.

Better Than Before - from the author of The Happiness Project.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - since I'm going to Savannah soon.

At the Water's Edge - from the author of Water for Elephants.

I wrote about some of my favorite books here.

Here's another tip for you avid readers.  I like to keep track of what I want to read in Goodreads.
Then, to save money, I reserve books from my local library.

coffee magazines home decor pretty

Monday, July 20, 2015

Essential Oils

One way to make your life a little less ordinary is to use essential oils.  You will be surprised by how a little essential oil can change your mood in just seconds.  You can inhale essential oils, apply them to skin when combined with an oil like jojoba, or use a diffuser.

You could spend hours trying to research the best essential oil companies.  Remember, this blog is about making small changes, so I am not going to overwhelm you with all of that information.  I will tell you that from my research, I chose to order from Rocky Mountain Oils.  I have also used doTERRA.  For the sake of ease and price, many times I will just go to Earth Fare or Whole Foods and buy Aura Cacia.

Here is how I use my oils:
I love my diffuser!!!  I don't even remember what brand it is, but I bought it off of Amazon. This might be the one.  For use on your skin, mix with an oil like jojoba, or I have even heard of mixing with vodka for use as perfume.  I have not had luck with this, as the scent seems to disappear quickly.  For that reason, I usually buy a premade rollerball from the store.  You will find them by the essential oils at your health food store.  My current scent is Dharma.

So, tip for the week - Try an essential oil!  I'll post another time about the benefits of different oils.