Housewarming Party: Inspiration + Drink Menus

We are finally getting settled in our new home and had a wonderful housewarming party over Memorial Day weekend. I was trying to find inspiration for a simple theme since the main attraction was the house. I had bought a bunch of polka dot napkins a while back in Chicago that I had yet to use and realized they would be perfect! I found coordinating plates and more napkins. I love the bright colors and the circles and squares.

Just for fun, I decided to make signs for the cocktails, beer, and wine that we would be serving. I thought this would be helpful since my husband and I might be busy doing house tours.

I tried to match the colors to the plates and napkins and had a lot of fun creating these signs.

Finally, I had to make some of these “Watch Your Step” signs because our new home has a few steps that no one seems to see. We kept stumbling during our walk-throughs before buying and my aunt took a tumble during her first visit. 🙁 I also put strips of patterned washi tape on each step to help make them stand out more.

The party was a blast and I did not sit down the whole time! I will start sharing some “before” photos of the house next week. It is really a neat and unique place!

Breathe In, Breathe Out – Breathing Tips for Holiday Stress

A couple of weeks ago I was flying from Chicago to Phoenix with my 18-month-old to find a house for our upcoming move. The whole morning was going great and we even ended up with an empty seat beside us on the plane. A dream come true for a mama flying with a toddler on her lap. About 10 minutes after boarding we found out that the flight was delayed. It continued to get delayed for a total of three hours. We were not allowed off the plane. The woman in front of me was freaking out and got off the plane with her two children. I realized that this was a perfect opportunity to take some of my own advice that I offer in my yoga classes. Breathe in positivity, breathe out negativity. Breathe in things I can control, breathe out things I cannot control.

I went into the bathroom to change my son’s diaper, looked in the mirror and said the above mantra out loud. Then I made it fit my current situation. I said, “Breathe in what I can control, like my attitude about being delayed, breathe out what I cannot control like when this plane takes off.” I will admit that I smiled and laughed at my reflection but that moment made the rest of the delay, flight, and day so much better and even enjoyable.

It occurred to me later that my situation was similar to what people start to experience during the holiday season. I wanted to share my experience and create a reminder that even though you cannot control your situation you can control your reaction to it. (just click on the above images to print out the cards!)

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and learn to inhale the positive and exhale the negative. For help on some deep breathing be sure to check out these two short videos I made: Deep BreathsUjjayi Breath.

Happy Thanksgiving – Free Gratitude Cards Printables

Happy Thanksgiving! I have spent this month noting what I am thankful for and wanted to share with you. I also created these cards that can be used all year round. Feel free to cut them out to use for Thanksgiving. Each card can be read on it’s own or be used as a prompt to expand on what you are thankful for in your life.

I am thankful for the seasons: Living in Chicago I feel that I have always been aware of the seasons and thankful for them (sometimes hard in the winter). This fall has felt extra special now that we are moving to Arizona where the change of seasons is not quite as drastic. I love how the way we feel, how we dress and our activities change with each season. Something I hope I always embrace!

I am thankful for family: This is a common one around the holidays but with our pending move I have been very grateful for the family I have gained by moving to Chicago and marrying my husband. I will miss them all very much and look forward to finding fun ways to stay in touch. I am also very grateful for my family in Arizona that I have not seen regularly in over a decade and for the opportunity to grow closer. (Can’t wait for another hug from my mom!)

I am thankful for memories: I have spent a lot of time lately with Chicago friends reminiscing about good times spent to together over the years. I feel so blessed to have so many wonderful memories!

I am thankful for now: Being a yoga teacher I have learned the power of being in the present moment and the happiness that it can bring. This is very challenging for most people including myself. All we have is the present moment and I am happy for all of the wonderful people and opportunities in my life right now.

I am thankful for passion: Everyday through my work on Handmade Success I am surrounded by people who are passionate about their work and their community. I am so inspired by them. I hope to use this blog to help discover and share my passions with you!

I am thankful for kindness: Whenever I turn on the news I feel overwhelmed by the negative events going on in the world but I am always uplifted by the kindness shown for the people in these horrible situations. Everyone benefits from kindess and I love seeing it shared.

I am thankful for imagination: This one is dedicated to my 4 1/2 year old son, Simon. I am SO thankful for his imagination! He created a whole bunch of projects while he was home sick a couple of weeks ago that included a jack-o-lantern dressed up as Santa Claus, a zebra zoo, and Star Wars at the beach. Talk about thinking outside of the box! I am grateful for his creativity and will continue to nurture it.

I am thankful for change: I am sharing this as a way to look at a difficult situation or one that is not satisfying. I do yoga to change the way I feel, I am moving to change the environment that I live in, I constantly change my attitude about the things that are not in my control. Ah, the power of change!

I am thankful for enthusiasm: This one is dedicated to my 18 month old, Isaak. He does everything with such enthusiasm that it always puts a smile on my face. He has enthusiasm for bananas, me understanding that he is telling me he needs a new diaper, being picked up from daycare, seeing his daddy and brother, and playing with the kitties. He has such excitement for everything in his life and I am so thankful for that because it brings me joy and reminds me to have a little more enthusiasm too!

I am thankful for friends: In good times and bad, it feels so good to have friends who you can talk to or hang hang out with to make you feel that all is right with the world. I am blessed for all of my friends near and far.

I am thankful for support: I receive support from everyone in my life. The support I have experienced over the years from my yoga students has really been amazing. I have a different perspective about the relationship between a yoga teacher and students after working with so many of the same wonderful people over the years. I am so thankful for this unique relationship.

I am thankful for dreams: I am a total dreamer! Sometimes I have beat myself up over being more of a dreamer and less of a doer but the moments I spend dreaming are the ones that fill my heart with joy and make me happy to be alive!

I am thankful for courage: Each day my two little boys show me the courage to learn something new and the feelings of pride that can come from overcoming your fears.

I am thankful for love: Love comes in so many forms but I want to dedicate this one to my husband. I am very grateful for his love for me. He is so amazing, caring, smart, funny, and loving. He loves me and I love him. Perfect!

I am thankful for health: Both of my parents and my brothers had varying degrees of health issues in the last year. I am so thankful for their current good health and the good health of everyone I know including me. This can easily be taken for granted until we do not have it. I try to be aware of all of the things I am capable of everyday because of my good health.

I am thankful for laughter: Ah, yes! Life without laughter would be so dull. I am at that wonderful stage in which there are tickle parties everyday in my house and I love the house filling up with giggles. Laughter carries my worries away makes me feel alive. I am very thankful for that!

I hope you find the time to reflect on the many blessings in your life. Please know that I am very thankful for you and the support I receive by you reading my blog. Just click on the images above to print them out. Enjoy!

Yummy Vegan Flatbread for Thanksgiving

I am so happy to have my sister-in-law, Krissy, contribute a recipe here! She is vegan and loves finding yummy recipes so I asked her to share a favorite of her’s for Thanksgiving. I have tried this one and it is SO yummy!

Autumn Flatbread
You will need:
Store bought pizza dough
Small butternut squash
1 medium red onion
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Small bunch kale
Medium apple
White bean spread:
Can white beans
1/4 c olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1. Heat oven to 375.
2. Peel butternut squash and cut into 1/2″ cubes.
3. Cut red onion into slices.
4. Put onions and squash on baking dish. Coat with olive oil, s&p, and thyme.
5. Bake for 30-40 minutes until squash is tender.
6. In the meantime, make the bean spread.
7. Put garlic in food processor or blender and process until finely diced.
8. Add beans, olive oil, lemon juice, thyme. Process until smooth.
9. Chop kale and saute in olive oil for 3 minutes until soft.
10. Chop apples into small slices.
11. Assemble pizza. Spread bean spread onto pizza dough. Add butternut squash, onion slices, apple slices and kale. Spread evenly throughout.
12. Bake 10 minutes.

Help from my awesome nephew, Rileigh.

Help from my adorable nephew, Sage.

She also made one with cheese for the kids (hence 2 different pizzas.) Just added shredded mozzarella.

Doesn’t it look delicious?

Ujjayi Breath: Learn + Benefit

I am sharing one of my favorite breathing techniques with you today! It is commonly used during yoga practice and meditation. It can also be a great way to start your day, recharge midday, and to unwind at the end of the day. It is the Ujjayi Breath or Victorious Breath. Make sure you scroll down to catch a peek of my 4 year old Simon sharing his own little video too!

I created two printables that include how to do the breath and list the benefits. I put two on each page so you could have one by your bed and the other at your work space or purse or anywhere! I also created to colorways in case you are not a huge fan of pink. Just click on the image and print! Please let me know if it is easy to read. Also, if you want to do this from your computer without the video just zoom in on the image below or after you open the printable so you can read it on your screen.

After I finished filming this video my son, Simon, came downstairs and asked if he could make a video too. Please check it out, he will be so thrilled!

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