Saturday, November 7, 2015

Yoga in Real Life

yoga life mat
image from Pixabay

Continuing with my theme of being realistic with this blog, I wanted to give you some real life yoga tips.

1.  You don't have to sweat your butt off in yoga. I used to do much more flow or power yoga, but these days I argue that slow is better.  In our busy, always connected world, our bodies and minds need time to slow down.

2.  It's Ok to make modifications and use props!  I love my Sunday yoga class.  One lady brings a mini-fan, because she is having hot flashes. Another lady brings her Yoga Jellies because of wrist and knee issues. I prop myself up with blankets to tilt my pelvis forward due to a tailbone injury.  The key is our instructor who makes us feel comfortable and encourages modifications.

yoga meditation
image from Pixabay

3.  Find a qualified instructor who offers modifications.  It is now a pet peeve of mine to go to a class where modifications are not offered - and it happens a lot.  Newsflash - many of us are doing chaturanga wrong.  You have permission to put your knees down to maintain correct form. I now look for teachers who have been teaching a while.  I also have been beginning to look for instructors with  500 hours of training, most have 200 hours.

4.  You don't need to do a full 90 minute class, seven days a week.  If you can - great!  My schedule doesn't allow it these days.  My yoga looks more like one 45 minute home practice and one 90 minute studio class per week.  I will also add a few poses at the end of a walk or run.  

5.  Yoga isn't about the poses anyway.  You can practice yoga all day long by just trying to be mindful.

Saturday, October 31, 2015


A few pics from Fall

...and here are some from the past

photo by Melody Augustin

photo by Melody Augustin

photo by Melody Augustin

photo by Melody Augustin

photo by Melody Augustin

photo by Melody Augustin

photo by Melody Augustin

Saturday, October 24, 2015


flower podcast
picture from Pixabay

My day job has me commuting two hours a day.  After a while Pandora gets old, so I've been using my time to listen to podcasts.  Here are some of my favorites - enjoy:

The Lively Show

The Simple Sophisticate

Tranquility du Jour

On Being

flowers podcast
picture from Pixabay

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Books I'm Reading

books reading flowers
picture from Pixabay
book reading mindset

Here is a taste of what I am reading at the moment:

The Bookseller - Cynthia Swanson
I'm not sure how I found out about this book, but I loved it.  I found the story of a woman living in two alternate worlds to be something I could not put down.

The Four Desires - Rod Stryker
It is taking me a while to get through this book - not because it isn't a good read!  The exercises in the book are beneficial, and are worth taking your time to do thoughtfully.  Rod Stryker uses yoga principles to take a different look at purpose.

Mindset - Carol Dweck
Mindset is a buzzword in the education field at the moment, and my colleagues and I are reading this.  It is a quick read with some interesting ideas.

books, reading, flowers
picture from Pixabay

Other books I like:


Simple Pleasure - Reading

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Display Photos

shutterfly photo album

This past summer we moved my mother into a nursing home.  As part of the process we found photo albums in the back of the closet.  A few years earlier when my parents first moved out their home, we went through boxes and boxes of photos.  I started thinking, what is the point of having all of these photos if no one looks at them?

gallery wall photos

When I got home I made a point of starting to display our photos.  I started with a gallery wall.  I got a variety of black frames and filled them with black and white photos including some cool old photos from the 1920's from our families.

gallery wall photos black and white

The next thing I did was start to take our digital photos and made them into Shutterfly books.  I was thrilled with how these turned out.  I will definitely be scanning some photos and making more books.

shutterfly photo books

Don't keep those photos in boxes.  Display them!  I would love to hear what you do with your photos.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Listen To A Whole Album

music cd album simple pleasure
image from Pixabay

The other night my husband and I watched the making of American Idiot - the musical.  For those of you who don't know,  it is a musical based on an album by Green Day.  We got to talking about really good albums.  (I'm showing my age by calling them albums.)  These days we listen to Pandora or songs on iTunes on our iPhones.  We rarely listen to whole albums.

music album simple pleasure
image from Pixabay

It got me curious to see if American Idiot won a Grammy for album of the year when it was released.  It didn't - Ray Charles won.  Looking back at the list of album of the year was fun.  Here are some highlights:

Links take you to YouTube videos of the whole albums!

1972 - Tapestry - Carol King - definitely worth listening to the whole album
1978 - Fleetwood Mac - Rumours
1979 - Saturday Night Fever - Bee Gees
1981 - Christopher Cross beat out Pink Floyd's The Wall - not sure how that happened.
1984 - Thriller - Michael Jackson...Synchronicity - The Police was also nominated - one of my favs!
1988 - The Joshua Tree - U2
The 90's are a bit of a wash for me except for  Jagged Little Pill - Alanis Morissette
2003 - Norah Jones - Come Away With Me
2012 - Adele - 21

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Simple Pleasure -Flowers

flower pink

This week my suggestion is that you buy flowers.  I don't do this every week, but I know I feel better on the weeks that I do.  It is one little touch that can make your life feel not so ordinary.

flowers pink

My ordinary person/realistic tip is to buy alstomeria.  They last forever!  I used them as my wedding flower for this reason.


What are your favorite flowers?

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Simple Decor - Blending Old With New

home decor kitty
Photo by Melody Augustin

One of the nicest compliments I ever got was, "I have never seen antiques displayed so tastefully, before."  My husband and I both love antiques, but the danger comes in having too many.  I think the key to displaying antiques is to choose your favorites, then mix them in with new items.

home decor
Photo by Melody Augustin

In this picture I mixed an old bottle with a simple, modern vase.  I love the trend of displaying old windows, but they can look too beat up.  The window I have displayed is from Target.  I found it in the frame section.

home decor pennant
Photo by Melody Augustin

In this picture you see a piece of old crown molding.  I got my husband to add some hooks and hang it above our bed.  I made it look more up to date by hanging pennants from it.

Photo by Melody Augustin

We love using old chests as tables.  It looks like our cat does, too.

I leave you with this challenge.  If  you have all brand new decor, try mixing in an old piece.  If you have lots of antiques, try editing a few pieces out.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Simple Pleasure - Candles - Tea Lights

Photo by Melody Augustin

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
 Eleanor Roosevelt

Sometimes after a stressful day, it can be calming to just light some candles.  Candles can get expensive and messy, though.  My tip is to buy tea light candles.  You can switch out scents,  rather than wait for a larger candle to burn out.  Tea lights are also cleaner than votives.  My current favorite scent is from the Threshold brand at Target - Eucalptus.  What are some of your favorite scents?

Photo by Melody Augustin

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 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.

Surviving Ordinary

I took a break from blogging to start a new teaching job.  Blogging was fun for me, and I've decided to start again.  When I asked a friend what I could give to people through a blog, she said tips on "surviving ordinary".  I found that interesting.  I had just seen this quote from Brene Brown:

"When I look at narcissism through the vulnerability lens, I see the shame-based fear of being ordinary.  I see the fear of never being extraordinary enough to be noticed, to be lovable, to belong, or to cultivate a sense of purpose." 

My friend and I read a lot of online content, and much is about lofty goals of finding your passion or making major changes in your life.  I think all this social media, that I enjoy so much, has made me feel guilty for feeling ordinary.  My friend and I started talking about a blog that was more down to earth, and more realistic.

So, with everything out there why should you read this?  I hope to give you a weekly simple tip to try.
That's it.  One tip - once a week.

Check out my first tip.