Here’s to Romancing Yourself & Your Beautiful Life

Valentine’s Flowers for You!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Here is a little post I created several years ago because I believe the greatest romance you can have is with yourself and your beautiful life. I post this every year – so you may have already read it – but it bears repeating, I think! I invite you to enjoy some romantic self-care this month, year, and all of your delicious life! 

 

Romance & You (Or…How to Enjoy Delicious Self Care)

The most important relationship you will ever have while you’re here is with your sacred and delightful self. Romance is a way to look at life and a way to experience it that invites love into a relationship – even one with yourself! Here are some ways to invite romance into your life. I’ve divided the suggestions by different definitions of the word “romance”. Choose a few ideas that sound like fun and add them to your life soon!

Love:

  • Write yourself a love letter. What do you love about yourself? What nice things do you say to others that equally apply to you (but you never say them to yourself)? What praise do you long to hear? Give yourself this gift of love and then mail it, sealed with a kiss!
  • Care for yourself with abandon! Get that checkup you’ve been putting off. Take a dance class. Give yourself time to go on a photo shoot or paint in the garden.
  • Say only kind words for a whole day – to everyone, yourself included. At the end of the day how do you feel? If you forgot to be kind at some point – be kind to yourself about that too.
  • Look for love all around you – you’ll find it. Is a gorgeous sunset a love letter from God? How about the care a cook puts into a meal made for you, is that love? A hug from your son, a text from a friend, the smile a stranger gives you – all love.
  • Look at yourself in the mirror, blow kisses, tell your beautiful reflection that you love her.

Idyll (a pleasurable or romantic interlude):

  • Visit a beautiful flower or botanical garden.
  • Take a walk in a lovely place. Soak it in. Saunter, really enjoy yourself.
  • Tour a romantic home (or get Romantic Homes Magazine). How can you make your home more romantic? What’s a romantic home to you? Cozy and sensual, lace and white paint, pink and flowers, velvet and shiny wood, candles and a deep tub? Create romantic home experiences and vignettes for yourself.
  • Visit an art museum and look for the romantic paintings. Which ones make you feel deeply that life is beautiful?
  • Go to a farm market and revel in the colors and fragrances. Buy a beautiful apple – a symbol of love!
  • Indulge in delightful daily rituals like a cup of tea and 20 minutes of quiet, time in nature, a gentle yoga practice, meditation, or connection with a lover or friend.
  • Set your table beautifully for a meal – even if it’s just you eating. Put on music, really relax and enjoy your meal. Create a little romantic interlude!
  • Take time for yourself: make something, take a class on something you love, play an instrument, etc.
  • Enjoy a spa day. It could be at a spa, or you could do it in your own home. I like to give myself an afternoon off each week (sometimes on the weekend, but preferably during the week if I can) to relax, give myself a spa treatment, and attend to my favorite rituals like journaling or creating something.

Love Story:

  • Make a romantic music playlist – beware the sad romance songs, unless that’s what you enjoy. Find songs that make you feel loving, passionate, flirtatious, pleased, empowered, sexy.
  • Read novels or memoirs that tell a story of love that’s uplifting and fun, they don’t need to be about a typical romance, but they may.
  • What are your favorite romantic movies? Make a list and stream them – it could be a marathon! Or watch one a week for a romance injection. Some of mine are: Roman Holiday, Indiscrete, While You Were Sleeping, The Holiday, Mamma Mia, Waitress, Amelie, Moonstruck, About a Boy, Emma, and The Philadelphia Story.
  • Write a poem about some delight or passion. Try a Haiku if you feel concerned about your poetic ability. (Here is a how-to link for Haikus)
  • Write a 6 word memoir. Make it juicy, hot, romantic, sensual, passionate, or loving.
  • Rewrite your sad story (the one you keep telling) as a romance. Often old romance stories were adventure stories as well. Sad things happened, there were villains, and there was excitement, but love and good won out in the end. How can you spin your life experience as a romance? It’s really fun to try this and can make you see your life in a whole new light.

Passion:

  • List your passions. Do you have any? I used to think I’d given all that up to become an adult, but they began to show up little by little as I coaxed them out of hiding. There are often “rules” we start to believe that say we can’t have our passions, or they’re childish, or dangerous. Don’t listen to that voice! We’re going for romance and passion is invited.
  • Look at your passion list then take a small step to engage in one of your passions. Love baking but don’t want to eat it all yourself? Find friends, family, neighbors, etc. who you can delight with your excess deliciousness. Then bake away!
  • Is there something you love to create? A painting, photograph, jewelry, a lovely home, etc. Set aside time to indulge in this beautiful and messy interest. Making things is creative, and sensuous, and life affirming. All good for you! You can make it for you or for someone you love. Perhaps it could become a passionate new income stream.
  • What’s special or meaningful to you and expresses your passions? Treasures you’ve collected on travels? Photos of loved ones? Your favorite jewelry? Display these or take time to enjoy them regularly: wear them, share them, play with them.

Flirtation:

  • Compliment yourself wildly. Tell yourself how fabulous you are. Wink at yourself in the mirror. Laugh at your own jokes. Flirting is playful, light fun. You can share that with yourself.
  • Take yourself on an ideal date. This is probably not dinner and a movie, though it could be. Go on a midnight cruise, skinny dip on a full moon night, wear that sexy dress, take a rumba lesson.
  • Flirt with a new love interest. Is it birdwatching? Pottery? How about learning Italian cookery? Give it a whirl, see if there’s something exciting there.
  • Actually flirt with someone, the UPS guy, the cute barista. Keep it light; flirting is fun, free, and no strings attached.
  • Try the library…really. It’s a great place to find new interests to flirt with! Look for new authors or books full of beautiful images of gardens, fashions, interiors, or art. Browse for new interests. Or you could even look for romance novels. Try the old classics. Here are some of my favorite classic romantic(ish) authors: The Baroness Orczy (The Scarlet Pimpernel), Elizabeth Von Arnim (The Enchanted April), Jane Austen (of course…), Alexandre Dumas (Count of Monte Cristo, Three Musketeers), Miss Read, and Georgette Heyer. You could also read the romantic poets like Robert Burns, John Keats, Thomas Moore, and Elizabeth Barret Browning. Have fun!

An attraction or appeal to the emotions and/or senses:

  • Buy a gorgeous plant or flowers for your office, home, or both; extra points if they smell heavenly.
  • Eat your favorite foods, take time to really enjoy them. This is a special romantic treat, indulge!
  • List some simple, luxurious pleasures you enjoy and then do those things with joy, regularly.
  • Leave little notes around to discover each day. They could be poems you love, or notes of encouragement to yourself, or beautiful images.
  • Wear sensual clothing – clothing that feels really good and looks great on you. Maybe it’s a bit flirtatious or luxurious. That shirt that’s amazing, but too good to wear – put that thing on! Enjoy being a Romantic.
  • What appeals to your senses? The smell of coffee in the morning? Singing birds? Ocean sounds and smells? Add that to your life in some way. Give yourself gifts of the senses: beautiful views, delicious fragrances, luxurious textures. You can even fake it and enjoy it. I don’t have a fireplace in my current home, and I love the ocean, but I live in Iowa. So, I bought a DVD with bonfires on the beach – just high quality images and sounds of fire and ocean. Yummy!
  • What experiences create positive emotions in you? Do those things. Make a list.
  • Set up a romantic haven for yourself in your home: a comfy chair, soft throw, beautiful lighting, flowers and a candle, fresh bedding, a favorite book to read, love notes, etc.

There you are – a fairly comprehensive list of ways to add romance, sensuality, flirtation, enjoyment and love to your life. Go forth and Romance Your Life!! And enjoy it too. Love is the answer (as someone fabulous once said) we tend to forget that, or think it needs to fit in a heart shaped box, but Love is the thing that makes it all work, and of worth.

Lots and lots of Love to you, my dear Reader.

xoxo Cheryl

Decorating for Valentine’s Day

My Hearts for Valentine’s Day

It’s Not Too Late to Create!

I’ve been playing with paper and fabric over the past couple of days. It’s a gift to create things with your hands and play with different materials. A gift I often don’t allow myself time for – how about you? And since the weather here is so bad that I can’t go out, it’s also a great time to practice something I value – and that is using what you have! It’s quite close to Valentine’s Day, but it isn’t too late to make something to decorate your home or to give to a friend for that special day. These little projects cost me very little time and no expense since they were made with things I had around. I like how that forces you to be creative in a different way. Below I’ll be sharing my quick (and free to me) creations This isn’t a how-to post so I will keep it brief, but if you want more information on how I did anything please drop me a line! (You’ll find my email address below.)

Yo-Yos:

I whipped up 6 of these last night after dinner. It was so much fun!! And I remembered how much I enjoy simple sewing. I had to use fabric I had around, which was a bit of a drag as there isn’t much here, but then I saw it as a quick way to decide what to do – those limitations can be useful! I had wanted to make some hand sewn hearts embellished with yo-yos, but as I was completely lacking some vital components I settled for just the yo-yos. And I had a very pleasant evening playing with fabric and making a few pretties to add to my home for Valentine’s Day.

 

 

Paper Hearts:

These are made from paper, and more paper, and glue or double stick tape. I also used my collection of vintage Valentines to decorate the hearts. I wanted something fun (and fun to make) to hang in my office to celebrate the day of hearts, and flowers, and love. But these could be attached to a card to create a handmade Valentine, or taped onto a gift instead of being used for decoration.

To begin I drew half of a heart on folded card stock and cut that out to make a template for my hearts – then I just traced that onto the paper I wanted to make a heart ornament from and cut it out. To make the scalloped borders I hand drew a larger scalloped heart onto the coordinating paper and cut that out, then I glued the two hearts together. I added a copy of a vintage Valentine (with glitter, of course!) to most of my hearts, though you wouldn’t need to. I also used silver cording to create a hanger for the heart by taping the cording in a loop to the back of the heart. I added another heart to the back to cover the hanger and finish things off.

 

 

The front of one of the decorative hearts, before adding the vintage card.

The back of one of the hearts after adding the hanger loop.

 

Finished heart!

 

Another finished heart – this one with just glitter.

I had a blast making these little projects and it’s fun to share them with you! I only hope they remind you to take time to play and make things with your hands. Happy Tuesday! And I’ll “see” you tomorrow on my 30 Days of Blogging Love challenge. (Oh! And you can reach me at my email address cheryl@theintrepidgoddess.com with any questions or comments – I do love emails from you!)

Love,

Cheryl

PS: You can see close up’s of all of these projects in my Instagram account.

7 Things About Me {right now}

Flowery Feb by Cheryl

I don’t write much about myself here unless it’s related to a practice I want to share. I usually save that for Instagram, but maybe it’s time to share more here too. So below you’ll find 7 things about me right now – off the cuff and unedited!

1)  Flowers – I CRAVE flowers in February! I still enjoy the snow, that glorious white and blue color scheme, the brightness of sun with nothing to shade it, the clarity and super-chilled air. But I need flowers too! So, many of my post images will be flowers this month (digging deep into my old photos). I’m calling it Flowery Feb

2)  Well, you probably know I’m blogging for 30 days but I haven’t shared the main reason for doing this. It’s about making major changes – especially in my business – by listening to myself and allowing myself to do things I love in the way that works best for me. You can be your own worst boss, trust me! You begin with joy and a good balance, but along the way you could get lost. You want to do what everyone says to do – what successful others do (hoping it will rub off?), and you really want be there for everyone, and also to be awesome! Fine, but when you wake up one morning and want to just chuck it all in the trash, then you know it’s not exactly working for you. So, this is a recalibration, and a test, and a checking in. And me being me – for better, or even better.

3)  I began exercising 6 days a week recently – and I’m really pretty into it! I’m mixing free weights with yoga and some sort of movement – like biking, walking, or dance. The variety is key to longevity for me. It’s been a while since I was this dedicated…like a looong while. So, if you hear moaning in the background – well, that’s just me getting in shape.

4)  I’m madly in love…I can’t deny it! And the subject is our girl Gracie. If you’re on Instagram with me you’ve probably seen her – our lovely, calico kitty. She’s almost 2 years old now and still just as much of a minx as ever! She is my loyal office assistant, paper eater, stalker, goofy girl, lap cat, and full of so much energy and fun. When we lost Mulligan I didn’t want another cat, I was too sad, and there are definitely pluses to not having a pet. But my sweet husband finally got me to the shelter to look at the cats, and of course that only ends one way! I’m very, very grateful every day. Even when she eats my stuff.

5)  I spent the last few weeks of January sorting things out. Wow! That always makes me feel better! How about you? I mean, I put it off and put it off, and then it’s fabulous! Well, it’s also quite hard sometimes, but the release is so worth it. In my sorting I found some oracle and tarot decks I no longer want. I’ll be sharing these on Instagram soon because I’d love to give them to someone who would like them. Look for that in a few days!

6)  I have painting to do and it seems the weather refuses to cooperate. I’m just going to have to suck it up! It’s interior painting – so I would like to have the windows open for safety (even with low VOC paints you should have ventilation). This just points out the wisdom of one of my firm design rules – get the painting done BEFORE you move in. Because afterward it is going to be 10 times more annoying and difficult, so you will put it off for 2 years, or so (or maybe that’s just me…it’s my rule after all). But I’m going to get it done. I said it here – you’re holding me to it! Thank you!!

7)  I’m so happy it is February!! The days are noticeably longer. I don’t like to will away time, and I don’t hate Winter, but by February I’m thinking of Spring. And I can see it from here! It seems strange to begin a year in the middle of Winter, or Summer. Maybe it really begins with the first Spring flower that peeks out of the soil, or the first day you can go to work and come home in daylight, or perhaps when you can actually feel the sun warm on your shoulders. Of course my “New Year’s Day” would be quite specific to where I live and the weather there. It would change each year. Chaos! But I think I will still declare my own first day of a new year (and of Spring) with flowers and warmth. And I can still celebrate the traditional one – the more celebrating the better I say! Right now, I will be joyful that I have a fireplace, and lots of candles, and warm food because an ice storm is coming. I’ll be staying inside soaking up all the cozy Winter offers me.

Well, there we go!! That wasn’t so bad! I’d love to learn more about you and how you are today too. Drop me a line at cheryl@theintrepidgoddess.com or post your 7 Things About You on Instagram.

And speaking of new years – Happy Chinese New Year!

Love,

Cheryl

 

Letting Go (A Simple Tool for End of the Year Releasing)

Fireplace by Pavan Trikutam via Unsplash

Today I’m preparing for a whole new year!! It’s exciting and I’m thinking about how I want this next year to be as I say goodbye to 2018. How about you? Are you thinking of all of the fun you can have next year? Isn’t it lovely to have a whole new blank slate to dream and create upon?

I always like to stop before the end of the old year and also think about what I don’t want to bring into the fresh, clean new year. A quick little tool you can use to transition from year to year is to consider what you really don’t want to drag along from the past. It helps you know what you don’t want, and also be clear about what you do want as you move ahead to 2019!

I begin with a little collage, or a drawing of flames. You can see my collage for this year below. And then I made a list of the things I want to burn off, release, let go of, not carry forward as I move into the new year. You can write this list on the flames (a paint marker works great for this), or use small scraps of paper to write each item to release on and adhere them to the flames. Now, imagine those old habits, things, thoughts, ways of being just burning away and leaving you with a whole new world! I also list these on a piece of paper or write them in my journal and then with each one I use this prompt: “When I release ________ then I can ________.” It’s a really great way to envision my life without these things.

For example, One of the things I don’t want to bring forward into a new year is envy (or compare and despair). For this I wrote, “When I release envy I can…See everyone’s beauty and celebrate it. I can be as thrilled and happy for them as I would be for myself. I also don’t limit myself (or them) because I accept that anything is possible for everyone – even me! I can see the glory that is available to all of us.” This tells me what I want and how my life can be now, without envy. Pretty delicious!! You can do this quick practice with each of your words and see what is available to you when you release the things you no longer want.

My “Burn it” Collage for 2018

I want to wish you all a really wonderful New Year!! I hope you find this little tool as helpful as I do. It’s such a great way to clear the decks and dream of a new way of being – one that fits who you are now, and helps you to create a life that you adore and that empowers your dreams!

Lots of Love,

Cheryl 

 

 

A Tale of 3 Trees (a story of holiday decor)

This is a story about Christmas and the changes in life that can lead to changes in your Christmas celebration and hence your décor. I feel that outward things can signal changes that are already bubbling up inside you (or even raging!). What we perceive is inside of us, and then projected outside into the lives we live – or so some say. I tend to agree. It’s my experience that when I see something upsetting, blissful, or even funny, that I have been preparing for that experience already via my thoughts and choices. Especially, the thoughts and choices I’m not paying much attention to!

Over the last 10 years or so I’ve changed residences 3 times (that’s actually kind of slow for me) and Christmas trees at least that many times. There was a time before this when no matter how often I moved I re-created, as much as I could, the holiday before – a fresh tree we cut ourselves, decorations in the same color scheme (many handmade), and similar traditions – after all it was a traditional time of year and that thread of sameness was delicious and special to me. Then a few things happened…

The first was that my mom died. Who knew that she was (at least a large part of) the Spirit of Christmas to me? I can’t even recall that Christmas. Then several years later my husband of many years asked me for a divorce at Thanksgiving. At that point I had been with him more of my life than I had been with my mother, or family, or by myself. And the final change was that my son grew up. A wonderful event that I had been expecting but, oh, how that alters the holidays for you. And, you know, I’ve also recently remarried! Big changes are bound to have an impact on how you do things in your life – even how you decorate for Christmas!

Gradually, since these life transformations, I’ve been changing it up in the holiday decoration and celebration department. I’ve been finding a new me inside who wants what she wants, and that can change from year to year – even using the same cherished decorations! Below you’ll find 3 trees, 2 houses and the Christmas décor that went with them. My point here is that things change, you change, the world changes, and Christmas can stay the same – but it probably won’t, and that can be perfect! Below you’ll find my decorating story. I hope you’ll enjoy seeing my holiday decorating. I’d really love to see yours too – post it on Instagram and tag me @the_intrepid_goddess so I can take a look!! Or send me an email at cheryl@theintrepidgoddess.com. Wishing you the most wonderful holiday season ever and sending lots of love your way! Many thanks, as always, for reading my posts!!

Love, Cheryl

The White Tree

The White Tree:

This tree was the choice of my son years ago. We had always gone to a tree farm and chosen a gorgeous tree and cut it down, dragged it home, let it sit outside on the porch for a week to get the bugs off, and then began the placing of the tree, lights, and ornaments inside our home. A fresh tree is so lovely! But one year we went to fabulous Frankenmuth, MI and visited the amazing Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland store there. This is truly a place you need to go if you love Christmas, and it’s open almost ALL of the time. This is where Jon discovered white Christmas trees and the holiday was never the same! Mostly, I won’t lie, in a good way! The bliss of a pre-lit, bug-free tree can’t be exaggerated. You can also see here I switched over the years to mostly vintage ornaments. I still kept the ones Jon made and that we had made together, but many ornaments stayed in boxes and that was OK. Below are some more decorations from the White Tree years.

Moo Moo likes the White Tree

 

My Vintage Ornaments

 

The Green Tree: (Last Year ’17)

This was the first tree of my new marriage and a new house, and I really wanted a fresh tree. But I also wanted a new kitten. The two together didn’t seem like a good idea until I knew more about this new family member (and those of you who have had kittens will know what I mean!). The White Tree had been given away by now, so we got a nice, smaller fake tree to use – and I really liked it. I also didn’t want to take the chance of losing my vintage ornaments in a tree fall (due to aforementioned kitten…) as I’m still collecting to make up for a previous tree fall and massive breakage. So, I dug out the old ornaments I had saved from before the White Tree. What a beautiful trip down memory lane that was, really special, and both sad and delightful. I loved how the tree and décor turned out – much more in my old gold and burgundy theme, and I thought it was pretty and traditional. We loved it and it felt very much like old times! Photos of the tree and some of it’s accompanying decorations are below, and our new home – Maple Tree Cottage.

The Green Tree

Handmade Ornament (by Jon and me years ago)

In the Kitchen

 

 

The Silver Tree (This Year ‘18):

This tree actually debuted a couple of years before at our old house when the White Tree was gone. That year I got a real tree, but we left it on the screened-in porch where we could see it and enjoy it. Still I wanted something to put my lovely old glass ornaments on so I got this little Silver Tree for inside. This year the Green Tree from last year was gone, sold in the frenzy of my summer Yard Sale, so I got out the Silver Tree and the vintage ornaments came out again too! As much as I loved the look last year, and enjoyed the memories, this is more “me” now. I think the traditional décor was better with the house and fireplace but – I don’t really care – I love the brighter, whimsical, and even silly vintage items I have! This year is all about lots of little trees all over the place. I miss having a bigger tree – it feels like Christmas-lite without one – but I’m enjoying the colors and sparkle! Who knows what the tree next year will be? I certainly don’t! And that is fine with me.

The Silver Tree

Mom’s China

A Christmas Vignette

 

 

 

For the Love of Holiday Movies

Beautiful snow at my house

There may be 12 days of Christmas, and 24 days in an advent calendar, but there are at least 20 required holiday movies to watch in my world – and I wanted to share my favorites with you!

For me it all begins with movies that aren’t actual Christmas movies, but have great Christmas scenes. The next phase of viewing includes movies that occur at Christmas time. And finally as it get closer to Christmas I watch the classic holiday movies that I’ve loved for year (and years…). Mixed in are a few fun movies that I may still watch (even though my son is an adult now). My fave movie lists are below – maybe you’ll see one of your own favorites, or find a new fave! Each movie has a link to more information in case you’re interested. If the weather outside is frightful, or you’re wrapping gifts, or just want to relax into the holiday spirit, movies about Christmas are one of my favorite parts of the season!

Movies with awesome Christmas/Holiday scenes:

Christmastime movies:

Christmas Classics:

Fun Movies to enjoy with, or without, children:

And even a couple for the New Year!:

{ Note: Because many of these movies are from a different time period than ours they aren’t all what some would call acceptable viewing. So, of course,exercise your freedom to choose and don’t watch anything that upsets your own sensibilities.}

I wish for you the most delicious holiday season!! Drop me a line at cheryl@theintrepidgoddess.com and let me know your favorite movies of the season! Or share your love of one of the movies mentioned here. I’d love to hear from you!

Happy Holidays!!

Love,

Cheryl