Coming Soon: The Brilliant Beautiful Blog Course

BBB-Photo SIGNUP

I’m so excited to announce a brand new e-course coming soon to the blog! It’s called Brilliant Beautiful Blog, and it’s an online, multimedia course designed to help you build your website from the ground up.

A while ago, I sent out a survey asking what topics would be most helpful for me to teach through an online workshop or course. I got some great feedback, and have been working on this program intermittently ever since.

The course is made up of video tutorials, worksheets, and a 7-chapter resource manual covering everything from self-hosting your site to creating compelling graphics to writing great blog posts. I poured everything I’ve learned in over 10 years of blogging experience into an easy-to-understand, informative course.

Brilliant Beautiful Blog will be launching in just a few weeks and I wanted to offer a special deal to all of my wonderful readers who might be interested. If you click here and enter your email, you’ll automatically be the first to hear when the course launches and receive a special discount code only available to early signups.

Just a note: if you are already on my newsletter list, you’ll automatically receive the discount code as a token of my appreciation.

Even if you don’t feel like this course is for you, I want to thank you so much for reading and for all your support. Creating anything new is such a labour of love, and the positive encouragement I receive from readers really plays a huge role in keeping me going. So thank you.

And if you are interested in learning more about the course, make sure to sign up to get your discount code right here! You can also learn more about the course right here.

2016 Goals & Intentions

Goals for 2016 >> Life In Limbo

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Time to reflect and hit the reset button. Time to take a good look at what could have gone better and make plans to develop new habits. Time to reset priorities and think about how I can better use my time and money. Time to set goals and make intentions for how I want to live over the next 12 months. I love to set goals at any time of year, but January 1st always feels so fresh and open to me.

This year, unlike last, I know where I’ll be for at least the first 5 months of the year: living in Quito, Ecuador. Having that stability makes it a lot easier to set goals, so I’m feeling inspired for 2016.

We recorded a podcast episode for Guinea Pigging Green about our goals and intentions for 2016 here, if you prefer podcasts to blog posts. You can also see my goals for 2015 here – I was able to complete most of them!

Goals

Daily:

To me, my daily goals are my favourites. When I set them, I ask: by this time next year, what daily habits would I like to have incorporated into my life? It almost feels too easy to frame it that way, but working on something every single day pretty quickly turns it into a habit, or something I do at least most of the time. Last year that was exercising, meditating, flossing, and keeping a gratitude journal. I’m happy to say that all of those are now habits that I do the majority of my days. Last year I started using Elise Joy’s Daily Goal Trackers and I highly recommend them. Seeing your overall progress on a daily habit is so motivational.

This year, I plan to keep up all of my 2015 habits and add some more. My daily goals for 2016 are:

Plan my day

Wake up by 7AM

Do something intentionally creative


Monthly:

Set monthly goals: As in, each month, make a to-do list of things that I either need or want to do that month or that season. Sometimes setting goals for the year doesn’t work out because life changes so much month-by-month. This practice of setting goals for each coming month has really been effective for me in the past.

Buy one thing that sparks joy: I’m an underbuyer, which means I can go for a long time not spending money on little things that could actually improve my life and make me happier. Like a real measuring cup, or socks without holes in the toes, or a pen that writes smoothly (all things I have avoided buying in the past). I plan to keep a list of what happiness-inducing item I’ve intentionally bought each month.

Donate to charity: I donate every month to the Pencils of Promise Passport program, but I’d like to make a supplemental donation too.

Write about my word for 2016: Similar to these reflections on my 2013 word abundance, I want to write a post each month about my 2016 word.


2016:

Read 75 books: My favourite goal of the year, by far. I’ll also be trying to match what I read to the PopSugar 2016 reading challenge that a reader sent me, like I did last year. It’s kind of fun to challenge yourself to read things that you wouldn’t normally, which is fun. I made a fill-in-the-blanks chart for the challenge if you want to play along too! You can find a copy of it here. As always, you can follow my progress on GoodReads.

Travel to one new place a month: This doesn’t necessarily mean get on a plane for a few hours and stay in a hotel, it can be somewhere local enough that we’re home for dinner! But I know how easy it is for me to let a couple months go by without planning anything fun, and it’s so nice to have things to look forward to.

Intentions

  • Be more intentional with my relationships
  • Observe my monkey mind
  • Err on the side of connection
  • Be light with myself and others
  • Cultivate community
  • Trust my intuition
  • Create beautiful rituals
  • Resist the resistance

As I write this, it’s December 31st, 2015, and I’m in an airport waiting for my flight back to Ecuador after two wonderful weeks spent at home with my family. I’m excited to go back, to settle in, to make friends, to tackle goals, and to be a better version of myself in 2016. Wish me luck!

Happy New Year, friends. Thanks for reading.

Coconut Milk >> Life In Limbo

Thoughts on Coconut Milk

Coconut Milk >> Life In Limbo

On Friday night, my boyfriend and I made coconut milk, from scratch, in our kitchen with its beautiful view. In many ways, this moment was exactly what I’d been craving for the last few months: having a home of my own, hanging out with this wonderful person, being domestic, eating fresh homemade food, laughing in the kitchen and listening to good music.

At the same time, I think it was an important lesson for me in getting what you want. A friend once reminded me that a year living abroad somewhere fabulous and exotic is still just a year of your life, and I believe that to be absolutely true. Any adventure is still full of ups and downs, and plenty of moments when you’re stuck in your head and your back is aching and you can’t figure out why you feel so tired all the time.

This recent Ecuadorean adventure has already been so wonderful. I have more love in my life, our space makes me feel peaceful and calm, and I feel supported by an awesome human being. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean my anxiety about the future has disappeared like I so hoped it would, or that I’ve stopped comparing myself to others, or that I don’t almost always feel like I should be doing something more, creating something beautiful, or making something better. In other words: wherever you go, there you and all your anxieties are. 

Coconut Milk >> Life In Limbo

I’m constantly trying to learn how to live a good, rich and satisfying life. So far I know that having such a life means writing your own story (not comparing yourself to others), doing the work that fills you up (not the work that makes the most money or that makes your family the happiest), and cultivating relationships that bring you joy and a chance for personal growth. I’ve learned that it means trying to bring more peace, stillness and fulfillment into every decision and interaction in your life. I know it means getting vulnerable, staying present, practicing gratitude, and working to create beautiful things.

It doesn’t mean that everything will always be easy all the time. It doesn’t mean that you’ll always remember that in this moment, nothing is actually wrong. It doesn’t mean that you won’t ever get worried, or doubt yourself, or feel panicked or confused sometimes. It just means you have to do the work to try and space those moments further apart, and do your best to bounce back from them more quickly.

Coconut Milk >> Life In Limbo

So what does this have to do with coconut milk?

Well, like the pursuit to live your best and most beautiful life, making homemade coconut milk is a true labour of love. You have to lug home some heavy coconuts that will dance around in the trunk of your car. You have to split them open using your hands, a knife and a lot of grit. You have to make a mess. You have to use a butter knife, or a screwdriver, or your fingernails to prise the coconut meat away from its skin. You have to chop it up finely, add the coconut water and some boiling water and overheat your blender by running it for five or more minutes. Then you have to squeeze and strain the pulp by hand until you get your milk.

Also, it takes forever.

Coconut Milk >> Life In Limbo

But, just like the journey to becoming a better and happier human being, the results are totally worth it. Homemade coconut milk, it turns out, is absolutely gorgeous. It’s so creamy it coats the glass, it tastes exactly like fresh coconuts (duh), and it goes well with everything. So far we’ve drunk it straight, mixed it with granola, added it to morning smoothies, and frozen it into ice cubes to save for later. If you’d like to try making your own coconut milk, we followed this recipe to excellent results.

Coconut Milk >> Life In Limbo

As I write this, I’m drinking a glass of our coconut milk, looking out the window and feeling at peace. The writing always helps. Why do I always forget that the writing always helps? New situations are almost always scary and exciting, beautiful and challenging, tiring and invigorating, peaceful and mildly chaotic. It can be stressful to find your groove again, to create a new routine, and to stay humble and aware and grateful amidst all of the change. But then again, that’s our beautiful lifelong labour of love and we are really very lucky to be living it.

Lately: August 2015

Lately August >> Life In Limbo

Enjoying the peace & quiet of my mom’s house in the forest and lots of bonfires.

Listening to a lot of Happier, Magic Lessons, and The Lively Show.

Waiting (impatiently) for Serial season 2 and for visas to get approved.

Watching episodes of Luther.

Reading Tana French, Elin Hilderbrand, and this beautiful stack of great books.

Wanting to read Big Magic and Rising Strong.

Eating a lot of these tacos, peaches, home-grown yellow cherry tomatoes and these veggie hot dogs (the apple sage kind).

Doing my flossing and meditation every day.

Working on product photos for the Red Tent Sisters, new episodes of the podcast, and my posture, always.

Loving on the library, going for walks, being around my family, reading in an armchair, and the power of Skype.

Thrilled to be seeing my friends again, in Toronto and more recently in New York! Yay!

Trying to move more, be less reactive, and be more intentional about my relationships.

Embracing uncertainty + the next stage of my life’s adventure. (This is very hard).

Practicing gratitude every day.