Feeling Accomplished on a Friday

There’s this beautiful moment when you’ve been working on a project for months and it finally, suddenly, comes together just so. 

How glorious when that moment happens to coincide with a Friday afternoon! It’s not so often that those two beautiful things pair together so nicely.

This is the project I’ve been working on: thegallerysandiego.org.

It’s the new website for a killer art gallery based in San Diego, CA’s Little Italy district.

About The Client

The Gallery is a non-profit organization in San Diego that provides a community space for the arts. The Gallery features local and nationally renowned artists, a yoga studio and hosts cultural events, fundraisers, lectures, wellness workshops, live music, receptions, group events and much more.

Founded by the Tommy E. Short Charitable Foundation (TESCF) – a global advocate for youth, art, music and the environment – The Gallery furthers TESCF’s mission to enrich lives through educational and inspirational experiences. Through synergistic alliances and associations, the foundation strives to advance these concepts for the greater good.

About the Project

I’m so glad I’ve gotten the chance to work with these fine folks. I love being able to use my talents to help promote and further organizations with heart and purpose.

While, in many ways, this project is still ongoing, it has presented a steep and worthwhile learning curve. While I’ve often prided myself on being able to teach myself practically anything (InDesign, Events Planning, and foreign languages just to name a few examples) this project presented a set of unique challenges.

However, I’ve always believed that by asking the right questions, Googling the right queries and stubbornly persisting in the face of obstacles, you can achieve almost anything.

For this project, I created a basic WordPress premium website, complete with on-page SEO keywords and content and a few backend SEO items. I wrote and edited page content, helped bring clarity and vision to the awesome mission of this nonprofit community space and integrated their site with their Eventbrite and MindBody platforms.

While I’m not a computer scientist or a coder, I’m really good at figuring out how to implement basic website elements on a user-friendly scale. That way I can later pass the editing and upkeep capabilities to other employees who need an approachable and friendly platform from which to spread their message.

I will be continuing my work with The Gallery by maintaining their website and crafting blog posts and feature articles to help spread the word for their upcoming events, exhibits, yoga and wellness offerings. I look forward to connecting more with the leaders, artists and yoga instructors who inhabit that community space.

A Welcome Learning Curve

For this project, I read an entire book on SEO practices for 2017, written by an SEO expert. Now that the bare bones of the website are in place, it’s time to go back through it and review for SEO best practices, based on my notes from reading this book. I look forward to the opportunity to strengthen my knowledge of on-page SEO and how to create wonderful and engaging content so there’s no need to trick search engines because viewers are already looking forward to your next post.

Learning about WordPress Plugins

While I’ve used some WordPress plugins before, this project really expanded my knowledge of how to better implement plugins, as well as better use built-in elements of various online programs, so that I could integrate Eventbrite and Mind Body platforms in ways that better serve my client. As an art gallery and yoga space with tons of weekly classes and events, these two elements were very important to my client. And I want to do whatever I can to help them spread their unique, positive message and get the word out!

Building on Existing Knowledge

This project built nicely upon my current foundation of knowledge. Through this project, I was excited to use my writing skills, my ability to think on my feet, find whatever information I need and quickly adapt to and learn new techniques, skills and projects. Having spent most of my professional life working for nonprofit organizations, I understand the unique challenges these organizations face in today’s world.

Within these do-good organizations, there is more of a need than ever to help promote and spread their positive impact and vision for what the world could look like. They need to be able to better connect with donors, with volunteers, with similar organizations and like-minded businesses, and I’m happy to help them uncover their voice. I’m thrilled that I could use my background in nonprofits to help better understand this company’s unique needs and help them meet their goals.

I look forward to seeing how I can help this organization continue to grow in future.

And…

Happy Friday!

 

 

Meditation Minute

Today, for your meditation, go take a nap.

Yes, that’s right. You heard me. A nap. Take one of those.

Set your timer like you would for meditation – for 20 minutes. Close your eyes.

Even if you don’t sleep, the 20 minutes away from distraction, from looking at a screen, from checking your phone, can feel really refreshing for your body, mind and spirit.

Meditation, after all, is just another form of deep relaxation, just like naps.

So go nap :).

Practical Tips for Managing Stress

I’ve written before about the negative impacts that stress can have on your life, your heart, and your general health.

Today, I wanted to focus on what we CAN do to reduce the stress in our lives. After all, it’s nice to hear sometimes about the power we have over our own situations, other than what can so often feel like a “we’re all screwed!” type of pronouncement. Breathe easier, my friends, because the truth is, we’re NOT all screwed, and we DO have the power to make some changes, however big or small, to improve our lives, reduce our stress, and just plain feel better.

Without further ado, here’s my short list:

  1. Do less. That’s right, I said it. First thing on the list means it’s the MOST important! If even the thought of trying to do less sounds overwhelming, let’s break it down a little more. Think of all the tasks, activities, etc, that fill your day. Now, narrow that list down to all the things that don’t ABSOLUTELY HAVE to be done each day. From that list, choose 2-3 things you could remove from your daily routine. Start small, and build from there. Even freeing up just 5 minutes a day for yourself can be a huge step in the right direction!
  2. Find a community. Find a community of people you can connect with who take your mind off work and the other woes of life. Or even people you can SHARE the woes of life with. Feeling loved and accepted can make a huge difference both in our outlook on life, how we feel about ourselves, and how our body processes and perceives stress. Positive community is important!
  3. Go outside. Sunlight, grass, plants, nature, and fresh air can work wonders. Even better if you can dig in the dirt, take off your shoes, and get off concrete.
  4. Snuggle. A pet, a person, it doesn’t matter. Pick one or both. Snuggling reduces the level of stress hormones in our bodies and the added relaxation helps to reset and regulate our nervous system. Heads up, the nervous system is what regulates our stress levels and stress response. So the healthier our nervous systems, the less stress we experience.
  5. Light exercise. Take 5 minutes to turn off your devices, stretch and move. Choose a gentle exercise, nothing too harsh, just something sweet that makes you feel better.
  6. Meditate, do yoga, or both. The science is out there, all around out there now actually. The benefits are proven. Just find a teacher and a class you enjoy, trust and connect with. Added bonus – meditation and yoga typically come with whole communities of their own. And you don’t have to be super hippie-dippie or a spiritual guru to participate!
  7. Drink water and eat nourishing food. Stress effects our hormones and the way our bodies process nutrients. Interesting to note, sugar and certain foods also impact our hormones. Eating plenty of fruits and veggies and drinking plenty of healthy liquids can help our bellies feel better, and reset and regulate our hormones. Which in turns helps with our stress. So rather than reach for a box of cookies, try a fruit smoothie with spinach and kale and some all natural protein powder instead. That way you can have the sweetness of fruit but with nutrients that will actually give you energy and help you feel better throughout your day. Make sure you SIT STILL while you eat too. Eating when you’re relaxed (AKA sitting) also changes the way your body can digest and process nutrients.

Remember: You don’t have to do everything on this list. Please don’t let this list of options to try become yet another source for stress, frustration, or measuring yourself up and feeling like you’re falling short! Pick one and see how it works for you.

Reducing our stress and rebuilding our life in a healthier way is a lot like climbing a flight of stairs. You have to take each step one at a time. I mean, you could always try to hop a couple steps like kids do sometimes, but I find, especially as we age, skipping steps often leads to more injuries than anything else haha :).

So just try one at a time.

 

Basic Yoga EBook Available NOW!

 

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Do you want to start a yoga practice but have no idea where to begin? Have you taken a yoga class before and felt lost and confused – like you had no idea what was going on? If you answer “yes” to either of these questions, then The Beginner’s Guide to Yoga Basics is the book for you!

The online yoga lessons in this ebook provide yoga classes for beginners that you can practice in the privacy of your own home! No need to worry about how you look at a gym or in a studio, this basic yoga guide brings a simple yoga practice to YOU!

Pick up your copy TODAY!

Through humor, stories from my own practice, good ole fashioned practical tips, and over 2.5 hours worth of online yoga classes for beginners, I guide readers through the fundamentals of a basic yoga practice. In this book geared towards beginner yoga practitioners, learn how to, step by step, set up and practice a set of basic yoga poses. Not to  mention, there’s even a BONUS section that includes some simple instruction for how to do meditation at home!

I’ve been practicing and teaching yoga for 11 years and have over 500 hours of yoga teaching certifications. Through simple, direct and kind descriptions, I can help guide you to setting up your own, best yoga practice. Start your yoga journey now with this easy-to-follow guide!

Check out my yoga ebook, available NOW on Amazon Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XKKSRG9

Please check it out, write a review, and share with your friends! If you have any questions about any of the book content, videos, or other yoga questions in general, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I’m always happy to help people learn how to do yoga, how to set up basic yoga postures, and how to take your yoga practice to the next level!

I look forward to sharing your practice with you!

 

Sleep Better: Simple Tips to Improve Your Rest

In a world of always plugged in, the question of how to rest becomes increasingly more important to answer. With issues such as illness, depression, anxiety, etc., increasing, the need to rest and digest, to relax, and simply to sleep, have become more important than ever.

Just a quick note before you begin – if you are looking for a magic, immediate, instant gratification fix for right this minute then this is probably not the post for you. Adjustments to lifestyle can take a little bit of time! So if you decide to try some of these out, try them out for a least a few nights, maybe even a few weeks, before you give them up and reach for the medicine cabinet. Have patience with yourself and give your body a little time to adjust to new routines!

And please don’t feel the need to try all of these solutions at once! Just pick your favorites and maybe try one or two at a time. That being said, without further ado…

Here are some simple tips you can start today to improve the quality of your sleep:

  1. Turn off the electronics. That’s right. Shocking. I might as well have just told you to cut off your arm, you say? Well if you do nothing else on this list, try this one first. Noises, lights, etc., can all disrupt our nervous system and keep it in an active, panicked state. The sense of quiet and security can help soothe and settle our nervous system, allowing it to switch off to sleep mode. Re-regulating our nervous system can take time though! So again, be patient with this one!
  2. Switch your device screen to night mode. If you need to use an iPad or your phone for any reason, switch it to night mode. Night mode adjusts the color spectrum and brightness of your device screen away from the sleep-preventing blue light to warmer colors. Research now suggests that exposure to the blue light spectrum found in our mobile devices and TVs can disrupt the production of melatonin – an important chemical the body produces to create sleep! So stop disrupting your sleep chemicals! I’ve even started switching my screens to the night mode color spectrum all the time now. I’ve found, for whatever reason, I have way fewer headaches this way!
  3. Use lavender essential oil. Hate lavender oil? Try chamomile essential oil instead. I usually just sprinkle a few drops on my pillow or on the carpet, or you can get a fancy essential oil diffuser and go that route. And hey, it doesn’t hurt to freshen up the smell of your room either! Especially if your husband’s socks are really stinky…But seriously, lavender oil can help with relaxation and inducing sleep.
  4. Drink hot, herbal tea. While I don’t recommend drinking a whole glass of liquid right before bed (since that might make you have to get up in the middle of the night to pee!) I DO recommend wrapping up your day with a nice herbal concoction about 1-2 hours before bedtime. Consider chamomile tea or Celestial Seasoning’s Sleepytime tea. And drink it hot! The hot tea, combined with the fragrant smells and the properties of the herbs can really help settle and soothe your body into a calmer state.
  5. Create a consistent sleep routine. If you constantly change the hours you wake up at or sleep during, this can really throw off your body’s internal clock! Our bodies like a certain rhythm for our days. Try to go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning.
  6. If you don’t exercise, then start! You don’t have to do much. You don’t have to start running marathons. But if you don’t exercise, that could be WHY you can’t sleep! Our bodies are not made to sit all day, all evening, lay down all night, then spend time sitting in a car. We need to move, to release any pent up energy, or to boost our mood with endorphins, and exercise can also help calm our minds! Notice the theme here – when our minds and bodies are quiet, it’s MUCH easier to sleep!
  7. Try meditation. The act of meditating can help calm down our thoughts, improve our ability to relax, and therefore help us to sleep better! The point is not to turn off our thoughts completely, but to learn how to not obsess over our thoughts and keep our minds too busy and frazzled to sleep.
  8. If you want to read something, read ONE book. That’s right. One book. Not your phone. Not an article with links to other articles that lead to links to other articles. Not anything online that can trap us into an ever-spiraling-out-of-control rabbit hole to another world of thoughts and awake-ness. Read something printed in your hands, or turn off your wifi and data so you can ONLY read your online book and NOT surf the internet. Too often we get caught opening tab after tab and hours slip by without our notice! Hours during which we could’ve been sleeping! Keep your book light and easy, nothing too complicated or intense or thought-provoking. Literally just some light bedtime reading.

Try some of these tips out and let me know what you think! What did you find helpful? Is there anything else you’d like to add to this list? Leave me a comment below and let me know!