International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day… A day to celebrate women and their contributions to the world. When I think about International Women’s Day, I think of the women who influenced my life – regardless of their level of fame (or infamy) or world-wide contribution. Here are a few of the women I believe heavily influenced who I was, who I am, and who I will be.

Anna with Me (the gypsy in the back) and my little sister (a bandit) and cousin
Marjorie and Me

The Grandmothers… They are Anna and Marjorie. Neither are alive today, but they both made a lasting influence on me while they were here. Both encouraged education, independence, and family. Neither tolerated complacency. And with all they had in common as grandmothers, as women they brought their unique self to the table. Marjorie was feminine and loved to sing and garden, while Anna was a tomboy (even as an adult) who loved to bake, play dominoes, and took no guff off anyone. While Marjorie taught me the power of a smile, Anna taught me silence equates to condoning.

Mum and Me

My mum… She is one of those people who other people gravitate around because she radiates this warm, loving, comfort. Complete strangers have literally asked her for a hug, while it takes her a matter of minutes before she knows the life story of everyone she comes in contact with. She doesn’t have to say a word, they simply share. I’ve seen shoulders ease and a sense of contentment settle upon people. For my little sister and I, she is our bedrock.

George Sand… I’m not sure when I first learned about George Sand (aka Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin), but I know that when I did – I knew I wanted to be her when I grew up. She lived life on her own terms – an independent writer in a time where a noble woman was meant to only marry, look pretty, and have plenty of children. She was smart, independent, wore men’s clothes (because they were more comfortable than all those skirts), cussed up a storm, and loved (and was loved) by brilliant men. While I’m not a fan of her writing (think romance novels from the 1800s) nor would I have made some of the decisions she made, I loved that she lived the life she wanted to live instead of living the life everyone else expected her to live.

Kate Chopin… Unlike George Sand, Kate Chopin is not someone I admire because of her life. Rather, I admire her because of her work. Well, one piece of work she wrote that literally changed my life forever… The Awakening. I first read this book when I was 12 or 13, and it created the weird, wonderful epiphany deep within me: it’s my life. The Awakening tells the profoundly sad story of a women who had two choices – to live the life she wanted or to live the life that society expected of her. She chose the later, and the consequences were profound. It is a story that is rich, textured, and sad. It is a story I’ve held up as my Geiger Counter for regrets.

What about you? What women have played a strong role in your life? What women do you appreciate for their role(s) in your life?

Doing my due diligence and being straight up, it is important I state the links to the above items are links via an affiliate program I’m involved in with Amazon.  While the price, through the program, remains the same for everyone – I do receive a small amount of money based on whether you follow the link and purchase the product.  However, I can verify that I’ve purchased these products and recommend them.

Comfort Time…

There are times when seeking out a little extra comfort is needed.  It is needed to sooth the mind, body, and soul.  How and where someone seeks out that comfort depends on the individual, but I typically do it when I’m ill, exhausted, or simply stressed.  Most recently, I needed a little comfort for stress and exhaustion.  This is where I found my comfort…

My family:  They are always my touchstone.  I can count on them to make me laugh, provide reassurance, and give me the space to settle. 

My bed:  A freshly made bed is always a source of coziness.  Soft bed sheets, layers of blankets, and plush pillows… I’m feeling myself relax just thinking about it!  I admit, there have been times when I wanted to spend all day in bed (and actively tried to finagle my day, so I could) simply because of that warm security my bed brought me.  But even spending a few hours in bed can do wonders for my wellbeing.

Comfy clothes:  Warm and soft are my demands when it comes to comfort.  Typically, flannel pajamas and soft slippers that encase my feet gently.  I recently purchased these slippers because they looked not only soft and warm but provided the flexibility that I could wear them outside when I needed to quickly run out to my car.  However, it didn’t take long before those slippers were claimed by my mum… leaving me with my old slippers (though still warm and soft).

Food:  Comfort food is a term people utilize liberally; however, food can provide a sense of contentment.  For me, it is the basics… warm chocolate chip cookies, blueberry or banana muffins, and English muffins with melted butter sliding into the nooks and crannies.

Books:  The book I recently reached for was the recently purchased, “The Girl Who Drank the Moon” by Kelly Barnhill.  Amazing story that I highly recommend.  The story is layered, sweet, and compelling.

Ultimately, for me, when I feel that need to be comforted, I will put on the softest pajamas I own, crawl into my freshly made bed, and read a stack of books until I fall asleep. Typically, a cup of warm tea keeps me company, while a cookie (or two) keep the tea cup company. It is what I do… What about you? What do you do when you need to carve out comfort time?

Doing my due diligence and being straight up, it is important I state the links to the above items are links via an affiliate program I’m involved in with Amazon.  While the price, through the program, remains the same for everyone – I do receive a small amount of money based on whether you follow the link and purchase the product.  However, I can verify that I’ve purchased these products, and I would not recommend them if I didn’t truly love them.

Massive Clean Out: Tips & Tricks

This time of the year always lights a fire under my bum to start cleaning out the house. This year I’m focusing on purging as much as possible, living lighter and brighter (hopefully). Here are a few tips and tricks I have discovered when it comes to doing a massive clean out…

  • Tackle one room at a time: Looking at the task in terms of your entire home can be over-whelming. So, I always break it down to one room at a time. Once I’ve tackled one room, I go on to the next. Typically, I spend 1-3 days on the room, depending on what it is and what needs to be done.
  • Have extra boxes: These can be used to sort through things such as books, clothes, and even pantry items. I typically use three categories of boxes: keep, donate, and dump. Their titles are pretty self explanatory, but just in case… the “keep” box is things I plan on keeping; the “donate” box is things I plan to donate to charity shops; and, the “dump” box are things that I just plan on tossing because of various reasons (typically broken beyond repair).
  • Use clear totes for storage: It is much easier to see what is inside a clear tote. Labels are great, but they often do not provide the detail needed to determine if it is the box you’re looking for. Utilizing a clear tote lets me get a good idea of what is inside. I like to utilize large totes like these found on Amazon because the lid latches down and provides a higher level of security.
  • Opening windows: Whenever I am using cleaning products, I open at least one window in the room I am using them in. Even when the products are all natural, the smell can get over-whelming. Opening windows not only provides good ventilation, but I find things dry faster. Plus, you cannot beat letting in some fresh air after the house as been sealed up for winter.
  • Six Months Rule: When sorting through clothes, the rule is if I haven’t worn it in six months, it goes into the donation pile. This prevents your home being over-run by clothes and makes it easier to organize and manage your wardrobe.

And those are my golden rules when it comes to cleaning and purging. I hope they are of use to you, but if you have any additional tips – please share in the comments. I’m always looking for great ideas!