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Celebrate the Beach With Us!

After having to close through COVID, boutique owner, Karen Masters is excited to re-open with an expanded mission. Her lifestyle boutique called Artful Living, located in the Gordon Square Arts District of Cleveland, invites the Northeast Ohio community to celebrate the re-opening on National Beach Day, August 19, 4-8 P.M. Enjoy live music with the Pompous Ass Band, art exhibit by Bruno Casiano and refreshments served up by Luscious!

Masters explains, “Because we’re within walking distance to our beach, we’ve embraced the natural, relaxed beachy lifestyle. At Artful Living we’ve filled our space with positive thinking and a joy of living. We select products to create a relaxing environment in your own home, so that you can recharge and maintain a life balance between work, family, and recreation.”

This local brick and mortar boutique supports the arts by showcasing over 70 local and 40 national artists making the arts accessible to everyone with a casual “beach house” environment. As part of their commitment to a healthy lifestyle, Artful Living offers free classes to the community in Self Care, Plein Air Painting, Yoga, Journaling, and so much more.

We’ve Lost Our “We”

woman with umbrella on beach
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It’s been a tough few years and it sometimes seems that we’ve lost our sense of community, the ability to work together and help each other. Or simply put our, “We”.

Or as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs outlines – our ability to transcend our basic biological and emotional needs in order to live a more altruistic life. Abraham Maslow, one of the great psychologists of the 20th century describes 8 levels of growth that each individual has the potential to achieve.

Each of us begin life craving basic biological and physiological needs including air, food, drink, shelter, and sleep. When we achieve those, we look for safety, protection, order, limits, and stability in our life. As we continue to grow we have a need to belong and be loved, whether within a family, relationship, work or social group. Once we feel stable and loved we can begin to fulfill our needs for esteem(achievement, reputation), self-awareness (knowledge), aesthetic (beauty, balance, art), and self actualization (goal setting and self fulfillment).

Finally as we live our life, gain knowledge and develop, we look for ways that we can help others achieve growth and fulfillment. It’s the moment when you stop thinking and doing for yourself, “Me”, and begin to look at the folks around you with empathy and a need to help them. Many do this through mentoring, volunteering, parenting, and teaching. Anyone can do it. Try to find a way… a”We”… that suits you.

I keep a copy of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in my desk as a reminder to always keep striving for the “We”. We can at the very least help and respect each other. Here’s to all of us finding our “We” out of this.

A Tribute to Artist Terry Masters

Photo by Marilyn Chung/Desert Sun

Just sipping a glass of wine gazing at a painting Terry, my brother-in-law, gave me years ago, remembering the day. We were at the family cabin in Tahoe… he was painting a landscape in the field next to the house. The same field where my little nieces picked wild flowers for my wedding.

It was a beautiful day… bright sun… crisp blue sky… so my mother-in-law and I decided to take a walk to see how Terry was coming along with his latest painting. He had such an eye for light and detail, we were always excited to see his work.

In the forefront, the sand colored field slipped easily into trees of mustard, yellow, and shades of chartreuse, as Fall was just announcing its seasonal change… I’m sure, a much anticipated event for plein air artists.

Pines shot up behind these brightly colored trees and in the air was the slight scent of vanilla mixed with butterscotch wafting from their bark, so you knew they were Jeffery Pines. If you looked closely through the base of the pines a hint of blue peeked out, letting you know that the lake was close.

Unknown to us at the time, Terry decided to paint us into his “Tahoe”. I can’t tell you how amazing it is to have a painting of a moment in time, in your life… a thousand times better than a photo. I look into it often and remember the day. There I am with my cobalt jacket leisurely strolling toward the lake with Patty, my favorite mother-in-law. It was a good day.

Sadly as I look at it today, I realize that my brother-in-law will never paint again. He had a gift. He was, without a doubt, as we say, “one of the good ones.” A decent and kind man… and an incredible talent.

He’s an award-winning artist and was fortunate enough to have his own gallery located in the heart of Palm Springs, CA. He spent most of his time plein air painting in Coachella Valley, eventually earning him the epithet, “The Desert Painter”.

I’m sorry most of you didn’t have the chance to meet him… but if you have time, click on the link below to learn more about him.

https://www.desertsun.com/story/life/entertainment/arts/2015/04/15/terry-masters-plein-air-painting-beautiful-landscapes/25821403/

Discover Your Personal Style

Personal style is generally a byproduct of your lifestyle choices – your occupation, where you live and how you spend your time. For instance, if you work in a bank, what you wear will be much different, than if you coach athletics. And if you live in Alaska, your clothing choices will be different than if you live in Hawaii.

So some of “personal style” is dictated. But today, we’re going to give you some easy steps to discover what fashions reflect your personality and lifestyle! Don’t get lost following trends or in the fleeting satisfaction of an impulse buy.

Here’s a quick and easy way to find your unique personal style:

  1. Decide who inspires you. This can be a celebrity, a mentor, a fictional character… whatever… it’s all about you!
  2. Put a “mood board” together. Pinterest is an easy tool to use for this, just pull outfits that inspire you and add them to your new mood board page. Do a search for your “fashion mentor” and pull your favorite “looks” from their page. Or go through fashion magazines and pull pages of your favorite outfits. Keep them in a notebook, journal, or file as reference. You’ll start noticing trends. Maybe you like plaids… or lace… or metalics. You prefer silk to wool. You like bold color. Then decide if you’re “urban”, “athletic”, “Hollywood glam”, “beachy boho”, “casual chic”, “country”, “traditional”. Anyway, you get the picture… put a label on it!
  3. Most importantly. Find your Signature. This is your constant. It might be an accessory, like a hat, purse, vintage jewelry, sunglasses, or it could be your hair color/style… ’50’s red siren lips… Kylie Jenner neon nails.
  4. Next purge your closet of items that don’t fit your style.
  5. Then the party begins. Put outfits together that fit your style. Review your “mood board” for inspiration.

Voila, personal style demystified!

“Change Your thinking and you’ll change Your world.”

Although I don’t agree with everything Norman Peale authored, I think this particular quote is relevant when you’ve decided to make a lifestyle change. We’ve all heard that we should be positive, rid ourselves of toxic behaviors… but how exactly do we do that? Change your thought processes to change your mind set, ultimately changing your behaviors.

We begin developing thoughts, beliefs and attitudes about ourselves from birth. Your “mind set” is how you’ve habitually responded to a situation. Your life experiences have brought you to this point. If you’re happy with where you’re at in the world, then you’ve probably already learned how to change your thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes in order to succeed. If not… try these simple exercises.

  1. “Change your language and you change your thinking with the use of daily Affirmations and Actions. ” (from Life Coaching Activities & Powerful Questions by Phyllis Reardon
  2. Add “Yes, I can!” to your self-help vernacular. (I can’t thank my gymnastics coach enough for instilling the “yes I can” mindset with me at a very early age! It gave me a “can do” attitude that helped me through life’s challenges and was a fundamental factor in my successes.

Let me know how you’ve changed your world!

Bring Joy to Your Home :)

Now that we’re spending so much time at home it’s even more important to enhance our surroundings, because they effect our mood, so “keeping it positive” should extend to our home!

It’s easy to create a joyful, positive environment for you and your family. For a quick, dynamic, and inexpensive change, try a new accent color… or for the more adventurous, a whole new color scheme! Bright colors add excitement and can bring a smile to your face in an instant. Paint an old chair or table and suddenly it seems new!

Arrange items so that you are regularly surprised and delighted! Put an aromatherapy candle in the front hall closet, so that every time you hang your coat, you are greeted with your favorite scent. Display scarves, purses, and belts so that you can quickly choose the best for your outfit, but also, so that you can enjoy them every day.

Finally, “lighten up”! Open the drapes, blinds, shutters and let the light in. Enjoy the stress relieving benefits of natural light and health benefits of vitamin D. Then purge what you’re not using anymore, studies show that clutter increases stress levels. Remember, if you haven’t used it in 6 months… let someone else… it’s a win-win, and a nice way to start the new year 🙂

Stay Healthy Holiday Recipe

I love the Holidays! But there can be a lot of added stress… especially this year. Give yourself an added layer of protection for the Holidays by taking full advantage of Essential Oils. I use orange essential oil, a known stress reliever and mood enhancer in this recipe. It not only punches up the flavor, it leaves an uplifting citrus aroma in the air for all to enjoy.

Cranberry Orange Bread

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1-2 drops orange essential oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a medium bowl stir together dry ingredients. In a large measuring cup, measure out the oil and orange juice, add egg and stir. Pour liquid ingredients into the dry mixture, stir just to combine, add zest, chopped cranberries and essential oil, fold gently. To avoid tough bread do not over stir, just combine to moisten. Grease bottom of pans only. Bake in loaf pan 8 1/2″ x 4″ or divide into 2 smaller loaf pans. Bake 45 minutes and check with a toothpick (can take up to 60 minutes). Cool slightly and tip out of pan onto cooling rack to cool completely.

Happy Holidays! Enjoy!

Use Covid for Self Help

During Covid I’ve taken the time to indulge in a few “self help” exercises. One of my favorites is developing a list of things I want to do… personally, professionally, spiritually… or whatever. You might call it “goal setting”… or a “bucket list”… it’s a quick and easy way to keep your life moving forward in a healthy and robust way. It’s not a new idea, just one that we need to be reminded of from time to time.

Years ago, I was reminded of it at a book signing (yes, I’m a nerd and love a good book signing) for “2Do Before I Die”, by Michael Ogden and Chris Day. I had recently lost my husband to cancer and was looking for something to help guide me through the obvious pitfalls and lend purpose to this new unanticipated life of mine.

The book is a sort of “self help” book. The authors documented life changing experiences as examples of what is possible and ask a series of thought provoking questions to start you on your personal journey. At the end of the book, there are a few blank pages for you to enter your own personalized “2 do List”. It might help to think of your “List” in categories:

Explore – Some place you’d love to visit, hike, live?

Challenge – Break a habit, get fit, skydive?

Give – Volunteer at a charity, mentor a child?

Roots – Look up an old friend, trace your ancestory?

Legacy – Continue a family tradition, build something that lasts?

Work – Change careers, teach?

Love – Fall in love, throw a surprise party for a friend?

Express – Paint on canvas, write, stage a play?

Learn – Learn to fly a plane, dance, or cook a meal?

If you’ve faced death, you realize how permanent it is, and how important it is to “live your best life” now. So during this very difficult time, I picked up “2Do Before I Die” and reviewed my “List”. I found that I accomplished some things, discarded a few, and now I’m adding new “things to do”. It’s a living document, so changes with me… and the process gives me a much needed lift and injection of positive action! My hope is that you’ll create your own list and enjoy the process!

Channel Your Inner Movie Star

Not just a fashion statement… sunglasses protect your eyes! The skin around your eyes is some of the thinnest, allowing UVA and UVB rays to damage your cornea, lens, and more. Look for “broad spectrum coverage” when purchasing your next pair to help protect against cancer and vision loss. Enjoy the limelight and the sunlight, in your movie star sunglasses… the bigger the better!

Natural Hand Sanitizer Recipe

3/4 cup of isopropyl or rubbing alcohol (99 percent)

1/4 cup of aloe vera gel (to help keep your hands smooth and to counteract the harshness of alcohol)

10 drops of essential oil, such as lavender oil or lemon oil

Directions: Pour all ingredients into a bowl, ideally one with a pouring spout like a glass measuring container. Mix with a spoon and then beat with a whisk to turn the sanitizer into a gel. Pour the ingredients into an empty bottle for easy use, and label it!