me mountains

mountain girl

mountain girl

there is no place on earth like the mountains of north carolina.  i will always yearn for the beauty + power of these great, ancient hills. and i will always carry their mystery + magic with me. they are a part of me.

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onwards + upwards! xoxo

 

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empowered :: find your word for 2015|part 2.

yesterday i shared with you all my word for 2015: empowered! and, i also invited you to take part in choosing your own for for the upcoming year. if you haven’t seen yesterday’s post, or haven’t had a chance to begin think about your word for 2015, then click {here} to get started with yesterday’s post.

the beauty of choosing a word for the year is how it helps to bring a sense of focus + purpose to everything, if we let it. for me, throughout the past years that i’ve had a special for the year, i have just let it sit in the back of my mind or pop up when + wherever it may. but, this year i plan to do a bit more with my word. i want to have it in front of my face often, so that i don’t forget about it. this is especially important to me because i believe 2015 to be a year that calls for a lot of action, a lot of taking the bull by the horns, so to speak. and, i’m all ready for that. but, in order to make sure that i stay focused + active + motivated, i need that word of mine slapping me in the face day in and day out.

so, i started off by making a pinterest board. now, i’m not a pinterest freak, but i do love it for finding quotes + inspiration. so, i have created a board called empowered : 2015. in it i plan to gather all quotes + images that make me feel empowered, that remind me to be fearless and make shit happen. it’s gonna be my little pep talk place. cause we all need a little pep talk now + then, don’t we?

here are a few of the things that i have included in my pinterest board so far:

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i also plan to keep a list of quotes in my moleskin notebook for the year. perhaps, i’ll even have a whole notebook set aside just for empowered inspiration – a place where i can write quotes, thoughts, post photos, make a collage, and document little anecdotes. you know, an old school way of keeping a journal/scrapbook. hmm… now that i’ve written this, i think i will actually do this. my love got me a moleskin notebook for christmas, and it’ll be perfect for that! 

so, if you decide to join me in choosing a word, i’ve got a few suggestions for you to consider to help you keep your word in the front of your mind:

  • create a pinterest board: you can find mine {here} or in the sidebar to the left of this page.
  • dedicate a journal to your word: include quotes, photos, images, stories, anything that reminds you of your word
  • make your word your phone background image or desktop wallpaper
  • leave post-it notes with your word written on it in different places
  • set a schedule to check in with yourself at the beginning of each month, checking on your progress + setting intentions for the upcoming month
  • any other ideas? share them in the comments below!

 

finding your word: part two

now, let’s finish up finding your word for 2015 – if you haven’t settled on one yet.

if you read yesterday’s post, you may have had a word bubble up and just come to you. it’s totally possible that you already discovered your word just by thinking about it a bit. however, you may also no know exactly what word to settle on or need a bit more time to figure it out. no worries. we’ll deal with that today.

  1. ponder this again for just a second: what would the perfect day in 2015 look like to you? what would you do? who and what would you see? where would you be? what are your intentions + dreams for the upcoming year?
  2. if you followed yesterday’s activities, then you should have about 3-5  possible words written somewhere. hopefully you were able to write them down + set them aside until now.  go ahead and pull out those words and look over the list again.
  3. think about them and notice if they are passive or active words. have you chosen which type of word you feel that you need for 2015? do you need to focus more inwardly, on your self and your spirit/soul? or do you need to get things done and focus on things that are outside of you?
  4. using the 3-5 words that you wrote down… think about the meaning of each one. how would you define each word? how does the dictionary define each word? what are other words (synonyms or related words) that come to mind for each word?
  5. now that you’ve gathered your list of words + thought about their meanings, see how they feel. which one seems to make you feel warm? which one inspires you or energizes you? which one brings you a sense of calm and peace? which one feels like a gift that you have received that you’d been longing for?
  6. you’re looking for that word that you have fallen in love with. perhaps one just seems to fit. trust that, and go with it. let that be your word. however, perhaps you are stuck between 2 words. well, flip a coin, assigning one word to “heads” and one word to “tails”. flip the coin and see what your immediate reaction is when you see which word the coin lands on. were you disappointed? or excited?
  7. there is no absolute perfect word. but, it should make you giggle and feel excited, at least more than your other words. so, which word is it? which word feels just right to you? no explanation, it just feels… well, right.
  8. but, remember this: your word may even change in the middle of the year. let it grow and move and be fluid. give yourself permission to change you mind, if you need or want to. this is for you. there is no right or wrong.
  9. write your word down. look at it. feel it. runnier fingers over the letter. trust that your soul has given you exactly what you need.
  10. take a deep breath and soak it in. le the word become part of you.
  11. over the next few days, explore ways to use your word + to make it part of your life. (don’t forget the tips i gave you above!)

congratulations, friend! you have listened to your life + to your soul. now, if you’d like, share your word with me. send me an email (use the contact button at the top of the page) or leave me a comment below. i am so excited to have shared this process with you. and i’d love to stay up to date with you on how your year + our word unfolds. i’ll most definitely keep you updated on how my empowered 2015 goes.

for now, it’s time to embark on the last day of 2014. i wish you peace + calm + a centered being as you bid farewell to this year and welcome a new year filled with new opportunities + adventures, just waiting for you. enjoy your new year’s eve!

 

light + love xoxo

liz & lina’s tips for a cozy balcony makeover in a day.

sometime last week i mention to my love that i thought we should “redo” our balcony. what i meant was that, now that it is april, it’s time to get our balcony all ready for the outdoor season. we are in love with our apartment and where we live, and that fact that we have a balcony is even more amazing. we’ve used it quite a bit, even during the winter. and we most definitely had it decorated for the the holiday seasons. but, now it’s time to turn it into an outdoor living space, as i know we will be using it more than almost any other room.

so, since the weather was incredibly warm and sunny this past week, and we found ourselves out there as much as possible, we decided that this weekend would be our balcony makeover weekend – as cheaply as possible, of course.

here’s how the balcony has looked in the past:

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breakfast on the balcony

totally comfy and cozy. but, our design idea was to make it even more comfy and cozy. so here’s what the plan was:

  1. buy some plants – nothing difficult to take care of, because neither one of us have a green thumb.
  2. make a more cozy sitting area in the corner – perhaps with some stools in an l-shape, with some cushions to sit on and pillows against the wall to lean on.
  3. more seating space – but we’d have our two chairs left over, so the idea was to have place for about 5 people
  4. but the main goal, was to decorate and make more comfy seating!
  5. and we wanted all of this by spending as little money as possible.

liz & lina’s tips for a small, cozy, comfy balcony makeover in a day:

1. dream away and find inspiration!

i talked with lina about my ideas, and she shared hers. we agreed on the above list, and then we spent some time looking through pinterest, getting some inspiration.

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2. clear out and clean up

first up: clean the balcony. meh. i did not want to do that at all, but my love cleaned the chairs and the railing and the windows. i ended up skipping some of the cleaning because i made french toast for breakfast. hehe. after that, we pulled the rug inside for lina to vacuum. and i swept the entire balcony. then, a quick little time taking measurements of the balcony & our current chairs, and we were ready to go!

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3. start with second-hand

 we visited a few different places around asheville, beginning with the habitat for humanity re-store, a place where you can find cheap items which have been donated, and all of the money you spend goes to support habitat for humanity, helping other people get low-income house. a win-win situation. the only thing was, they did not have any outdoor furniture available. they didn’t even have any cute decorative things we could use. but, if we wanted sinks, toilets, tiles, or sofas, we were in luck.

4. be ready to be surprised and disappointed all at the same time

on to the next store: a local home improvement store. we parked near the garden center and were bursting with excitement about being surrounded by all of the plants and flowers! everything was so gorgeous and springy. and everyone else in asheville seemed to have the same idea that we did. we walked through the greenhouse area and toward to outdoor furniture, hoping to find some stools and cushions. but, no luck.

we did, however, stumble upon a great bistro table and two chairs. i mean, it was really  great. we loved it and immediately could imagine using it on the balcony. so, since we had done some measuring, we pulled out our notes & compared them to the the table set. it seemed like it would be the perfect fit. yes! only buying a table and chairs was not at all on our list of ideas. so, what to do?

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5. be spontaneous, but not too impulsive

we decided to leave the table behind and head to target to see what they had in the way of stools and cushions. they didn’t have anything either. gaaah.

we did know, however, that ikea (in charlotte or atlanta) had exactly what we wanted, for pretty cheap. but, we didn’t want to drive to ikea and now we also had this amazing table set we loved. spending money on the ikea furniture and the table set was not at all what we had in mind! but, we considered it – we even called my mom to get her advice.

6. if an opportunity presents itself, take it! (= live in the present moment)

we decided to table (haha!) the idea of the furniture at ikea – we could go tomorrow, if we wanted and go back to the home improvement store and buy the table set. we knew that we would get a lot of use out of the table – certain that we would eat many, if not every, meal out there, weather permitting. plus, it would be a great space to work at as well. so, we bought it! come to find out, the comfy cushions were included in the set, so yay! it turned out to be quite affordable.

7. always return to look over the original plan

on our way home, we stopped off to buy a couple of green plants. we knew we wanted ferns. they are so big, beautiful, and easy to keep alive. so, two big ferns and two planter pots were also added to our purchases.

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8. a good team makes all the difference

we got home, lugged everything upstairs, and began the process of putting it all together. ok – again, lina did the hard work. i was busy buying us tickets to see les miserables on broadway for lina’s birthday trip to new york city. see? i was doing something important too!

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9. live in the moment. enjoy!

then, it was time for our premiere meal at our new table. we did a little staging and decorating, first though. the ferns were in place, the two chairs that we had before were still there, and we put a candle on our bistro table. time for dinner together! it was perfect, just absolutely perfect.

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10. keep an open mind – you never know how things will turn out

then, lina suggested that we skip the furniture at ikea = no cozy stools & pillows in the corner. we should just keep our chairs and perhaps buy a little puffy footrest/ottoman, which could also double as a seat, if needed. i was not convinced, but willing to try it. we decided to see how things felt after a week.

but, i wanted things to be settled, so we headed back to target to find a footrest/ottoman and perhaps some cushions for our chairs. in the outdoor section, we found the perfect footrest! it was funky and the colors were perfect. we both loved it. then, i happened to look up and saw two dar gray seat cushions, we decided to get them, knowing that if they didn’t work, we could return them. they were also on super duper sale – like 75% off and only $5.00 a piece. score us!

back home again, before dark, and we added the cushions and footrest to the balcony. i was overwhelmed… it was absolutely perfect. better than i had ever imagined. and we both agreed that there was no need to even think about the ikea furniture again.

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now, how did we do with our original goals?

  1. plants. check! ferns – cheap and easy to take care of.
  2. cozy corner space. yes and no. completely cozy, though not a corner of stools, as we thought. instead, it turned out to be a bistro table and chairs – a good buy which will be used every single day, i am certain.
  3. more seating. check! we now have space for 5 people, which was our original goal.
  4. cozy & comfy. yes! times a thousand!
  5. budget-friendly. check! we spent the same amount of money on the table set as we would have on the ikea furniture. we searched for second-hand things, but nothing was there. the plants were simple and cheap. and our little decorations were things we already owned, we just moved things around. a very easy way to get a new look without spending any money

all in all, we ended up creating a cozy and comfy balcony, but not at all how we had originally imagined it. of course, i am know that it is even better than we had planned. and, i am so thankful and grateful for an amazingly fun day spent with my love.

the final result:

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so, come on over for a glass of lemonade or a glass of wine. we’ve got beer and sweet tea, too, if you’d prefer that. and when, the sun sets, our cozy twinkling lights will light up the space, so we can talk until the wee hours of the morning.

love and peace. xx