If you're looking for a movie that lifts you up, I've got just the one for you: The Greatest Showman. I walked out of the theatre feeling so empowered I felt unstoppable. I have never felt that way after any movie before.
A couple of disclaimers: This movie is a musical, so if you're not into that, you won't like it. Also, this movie is a non-traditional musical, so if you're expecting classic/typical musical music, you'll walk out disappointed. The music is pop - similar to what you'd hear on a top hits radio station. I wasn't expecting this, and didn't like it at first, but the messages overpowered any immediate reservations I had.
The movie follows the true story of the rise and fall and rise of P.T. Barnum of the Barnum and Bailey Circus. Hugh Jackman plays Barnum and he is a badass. He is surrounded by an amazing cast who are equally badass. The voices, the dancing, the era, the effects - all so good.
But like I said before - it's the messages throughout the movie that put this one over the top for me. Encouraging viewers to dream, to be themselves, to follow their hearts. My soul felt so full afterwards. We downloaded the soundtrack immediately. I can't listen to some of the songs without crying. It was, and still is, so moving.
Five stars. Two thumbs up. All the good reviews from me. I urge you to go watch it especially if you're looking for something to light you up inside. If you go see it - let me know what you thought!
Like so many, I'm a huge fan of essential oils and their benefits. I've shared in previous posts that I like to incorporate them into my meditation and yoga. I also wear them in place of perfume when I'm in need of emotional or physical comfort before I start my day.
I normally apply my oils topically on pulse points - wrists and temples - and on my chest, over my heart. I then inhale from the bottle a few times, passing the bottle back and forth beneath my nose. Although this routine is wonderful and very beneficial to me, I was looking for a way to make the benefits of the oils last all day long. This is where essential oil pendants come in!
Joel and I happened upon an Artist Holiday Pop-Up Shop in Cedar Falls at The Space where I found my first pendant. It is made of lava stone, which absorbs the essential oil, and a quartz crystal, which is a healing stone for a large number of things. I love the combination of the two. Unfortunately, I don't have the artist's information, but here's a lava stone/quartz crystal option from Etsy!
I also found that lava stones have been used for centuries to help reduce anxiety and calm emotions. (AMEN!) Lava stones are a critical element for grounding and stabilizing the root Chakra as well. So when you combine your essential oils with lava stones, you are combining two powerful natural compounds that increase the effectiveness of each other!
The second pendant I have was a gift. A very thoughtful gift because this person didn't know I wanted a clay essential oil pendant option! The pendant I received is from Essential Pendants, LLC. There are so many beautiful options!
When you have your pendant and are ready to use it, you only need to apply one to two drops of your chosen essential oil. The scent from just a couple of drops can last up to three or more days! Wait for the oil to absorb before you put it on, especially if it will rub on your clothing. When you're ready to change oils, wait for the scent of the previous oil to diffuse completely. If your pendant starts to absorb oils slowly, this just means it needs to dry out. Lay the pendant in the sun for two to four days and that should do it!
Are you an essential oil lover, too? Tell me about your favorite oils and how you use them!
With a world full of causes, sometimes it's hard to determine who or what to support. Joel and I have many causes that are close to our hearts, with the Salvation Army being near the top.
This year will be our fourth year ringing bells for their Red Kettle Campaign. We commit at least one night every year during the holidays to do this. It has become an annual tradition that we both look forward to. It's always freezing cold, but we're together, doing good, smiling, using the bells to play Christmas tunes, and feeling the warmth of peoples' generosity as they drop money into the kettle.
The Salvation Army itself does SO MANY wonderful things for our community every single day. Here's just a few of the ways they help those in need:
How awesome is this?! I think it's just wonderful. And is why I always drop something in a red kettle, even if it's a few pennies, because each donation counts.
If you're interested in ringing bells, it's really easy to sign up. You can go through the Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley when the campaign is running. I've found signing up through them is the easiest and fastest way because you are put in touch with a local coordinator. They have lots of dates, times, and locations to choose from.
If you can't donate time, donate your loose change, because like I said before, each donation truly counts and your dollars help make a huge impact in your local community!
Merry Christmas - 'tis the season of giving!
I've been intrigued by Jim Carrey as of late. He has received mixed reviews (and left some wondering about his mental stability) following recent interviews. His answers to basic questions are "out of the norm" and most would think he's acting a little kooky - even for Jim Carrey.
He has a background in Transcendental Meditation and I really feel like his answers are reflective of this practice. Thinking beyond the here and now. To me, he appears to be on his way to enlightenment, but that's because I understand the many stages of meditation and the places it can take you. So to me, he doesn't seem kooky - he seems to "get it."
My feelings towards him only became more positive after watching the documentary "Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond."
The documentary follows Carrey has he portrays Andy Kaufman in the movie "Man on the Moon." He dives so deeply into the character of Andy that Carrey himself disappears completely.
Throughout the movie, there are interview clips with Carrey that were filmed recently. The thoughts he shared were inspiring and reflect many of my thoughts about the human experience. He also opened my mind to several things I hadn't thought about.
I didn't watch this because of the Andy Kaufman content as much as I watched it for the Carrey content. It's a wonderful reflection of his psyche. Very honest. No concern for what others will think. Extremely thought provoking. I hope many walked away having their minds blown in a good way that will stick with them, but I assume more people walked away thinking this guy has completely lost his grip on reality.
There's something really genius in his "madness" that spoke to me. I'll probably watch it again just for the Carrey interviews. I'd recommend this movie to anyone who is into spirituality, meditation, what exists beyond us, and/or has concerns with conforming to social norms. Or of course, if you are a fan of Andy Kaufman!
“No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.” - Aristotle
Joel and I love books. We're usually pretty good about going to the library so we don't accumulate more stuff, but once in awhile we like to buy items that we either plan to keep or donate to the library when we're done.
Half Price Books is one of our favorite used book stores. The one we go to is in Cedar Rapids. It has an amazing selection and the books are as good as new. They also have music as well, which is where you'll find Joel during the bulk of our visits!
We took an impromptu trip to Cedar Rapids last weekend and paid it a visit. Here are some of the items I picked up:
This is one of my favorite books. It is great for reflection and meditation. I gave my last copy away to a friend who I thought would appreciate it, so needed to get another copy for myself.
This is a book on tape (CD) that I bought to listen to in my car. There are six discs and it is read by the author, Shonda Rhimes (if you live under a rock, she's a powerhouse television writer - Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, etc.). It is SO GOOD! I'm already on disc two and I've loved every minute of it. If you are like me - an introvert to the core with anxiety, social anxiety and/or "stage fright" - read (or listen to) this book. She gets it. And she finds a way to overcome it. It's pretty powerful.
To be honest, I was initially drawn to this book because it was hot pink! But after flipping through, it looked like just what I needed at this time in my life. Earlier in the day I had told Joel that life's about having grace on ourselves and others, so it was quite ironic that this book fell into my hands. I've committed to reading one chapter each night. I don't (can't) speed through personal development books. If I try, I lose interest. It has been a pretty easy read and I enjoy the author's point of view. It can also act as a workbook, leaving blanks for you to answer questions along the way to help you check-in with yourself. I reflect vs. writing my answers down because I want to give this to the library so someone else can benefit from it when I'm done!
Yes, I still buy CDs. I was thrilled to find these albums from two of my favorite riot girl bands - Bikini Kill and Le Tigre. Always a punk girl at heart, baby!
Lastly, here's us, happy to be together for an entire day with no other commitments, wandering as we pleased. Doesn't happen at all anymore, so we definitely made the best of our time with each other!
I continue to try getting rid of our stuff, one item, one box, one car load at a time. Most of it goes to a local non-profit or Goodwill, but there are some items that have some value that we feel bad just giving away.
A buying and selling platform I really like is Let Go. It offers both a website and app option. I personally use the app. It is very user friendly and you can easily snap a photo, add details and upload your item for sale.
I have also purchased home decor items from Let Go. The experience has been really positive. You can communicate through the app with the seller about pick-up details and any delays that come up. I bring Joel with me because I'm a paranoid person, but all transactions have been pleasant.
The prices are usually pretty reasonable, they have many categories to choose from and there is also a free section that sometimes has some good items.
I also like this site as a source of inspiration. There are several people that sell unique handmade items like the bench below that I want to duplicate immediately after seeing.
The format reminds me a lot of Pinterest. Just what I need - a second Pinterest to consume all of my time!
Happy buying and selling! With hopes of more selling than buying, at least in my case!
Hi. I'm Augusta. A 32-year-old woman. Wife. Dog mom. Aunt. And I have a confession to make...
I'm in love with Harry Styles.
I was hesitant to make this post because I'm a little embarrassed by my fan girl enthusiasm for this man. But we can't help who we love. Right?
Joel knows the true reason why I'm obsessed with him - he's a young clone of my ultimate crush - Mick Jagger. And you know what, I'm alright with that! It only means that once Mick Jagger leaves us, I'll have Harry to take his place!
Let me make one thing clear (because I somehow think this makes things less embarrassing) - I was NOT a One Direction fan. I discovered Harry as a solo artist, which is so, so much better than his boy band days.
His lyrics are mature, his music is just the right balance of chill and upbeat, and he's cute as heck! What I really like is that his live, acoustic sets sound just as wonderful as the fully produced music you hear on his album. No frills. I have his current album on vinyl for home and on iTunes for when I'm on the go. It's my life's current soundtrack.
I couldn't choose one song that was my favorite...so I picked three. Take a listen and good luck not getting hooked! :-)
I owe a whole lot to Adriene Mishler. A woman I've never met (but hope to) who feels like one of my oldest friends. She is one of the biggest reasons I got into and continue doing yoga.
If you are interested in starting an at home yoga practice, Adriene's your girl. She has a YouTube channel and website with countless FREE(!) yoga and meditation videos. From yoga for beginners to 30-day programs and five minute simple stretches to 60 minute flows.
Her motto is "Find What Feels Good." That means no "yoga robots" - go at your own pace, move the way your body needs you to move (even if it looks silly). It's not about the perfect pose with Adriene. It's about showing up on your mat in whatever form you bring in that moment.
She's pretty darn funny, too. There hasn't been a video yet where I haven't laughed out loud at an adorable thing she's said!
Here's one of my favorite practices. I reserve it for times when I am in a place that feels uncertain and sad. I end the practice at peace and in tears because I release so much emotion.
I hope you'll give Adriene a try. She's one of the best yogis out there who I love very much!
This show won my heart immediately! I happened upon it while searching for a new series to watch when I got ready in the morning and I'm so glad I took a chance on it. I ended up watching it in the morning, on lunch break, and at night - whenever I had the chance!
The show follows a teenage boy, Sam, who is on the Autism spectrum, and his family. It presents a very honest reflection of the joys and challenges that come with having a child with Autism, along with other complications that exist within families. I felt the storylines were very well done, complex, and the ending of each episode left me anxious for the next one.
"Charming" is the word I'd use to describe this show. The actor that plays Sam does a great job, as do the actors that play his family members. Autism is a sensitive topic, but they managed to navigate it respectfully and in a way that provided a form of education about this condition. I did not know much about Autism before watching this show, so appreciated gaining insight on what it is and its affects.
This series is a Netflix original and is available for watching now. Binge away!
I've been on the search for a daily reflection book and was lucky enough to run across this gem in a used bookstore we frequent!
The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo contains a reflection for every single day of the year. There are no days or years tied to the dates, so it can be reused over and over again!
The topic of each passage varies - some are personal stories from Mark, others are stories from or about people he knows. Each one is very brief yet insightful. A consistent theme at the end of each entry is a focus on three mindfulness activities. You're asked to focus, to breathe, to silence your mind, to release anything you're holding onto.
Taking time in the morning for daily reflection has been a great addition to my routine. So far, I haven't missed a day. It's become very important to me to start the day in the right state-of-mind. It takes just a few minutes. Whether or not you personally connect to the message that day, at the very least you can feel good knowing you took some time to be still and focus on your personal growth. Namaste, my friends!