Category Archives: INTENTIONAL LIVING

intentional living // a practice

workhouseblogThroughout my life there have been many moments when holding an intention has pulled me through. I may not have had the easiest of childhoods but envisioning what kind of life I wanted when I grew up is what kept my spirits up and my heart softened. Often people ask how I’ve created so much peace and calmness around me and my family, holding an intention is the first answer I always give. My one true intention that I have held fast for my entire life is to be happy, to live a happy life. When things were challenging and dark I would switch my focus to what it was that I wanted to desperately feel and held it tight in my heart. I am by no means saying that my life is perfect or without struggles but I will gladly state that I am indeed happy and because of it there is a sweetness that surrounds me and my family.

When searching for what to hold onto be aware of your true self, don’t hold onto any unrealistic expectations that you or others have for you. Dig down deep and listen to your spirit. What do you hear? What do you see? I often ask people to make a list of what they want to change or experience, what does that: feel like, look like, smell like and taste like? What would you value most about your hopes?  What does it mean for you? Hold onto that. Say it aloud. Meditate. Pray. Share it with those who would support you and your intention.

I some times make a list of my values of a particular situation or goal, this can help shed light and give me insight of what it is that I truly desire. Be it hopes for my personal life, work, friendships, creativity, the list could go on and on. Staying mindful to what sort of emotional state or place I am in in my  life at the time can help me center with what is really attainable for me. I try my best to find the simplest thing to hold onto, for example my intention to be happy, it encompasses as a whole and yet is something familiar and easy to connect to. It is not a selfish desire for one’s self but a hope that I have the power to create what is meaningful and important for myself and my family.

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mindful living // no. 04

mindful living // workhouseblogBeing mindful of how we speak to one another is one thing that we really pay attention to in our home (and outside it as well); even when I was pregnant I was aware of the words I used and the kind of energy they held. There are certain words that we choose not to use in our home: ugly, fat, stupid, hate… just to name a few. Words hold a lot of power and even as an adult there are words that still seem to have a hold over me, ‘acknowledgement’ and ‘worthy’ are 2 I struggle with. Other family members have taken note of how our family speaks to each other and know that in our home we generally shoot for loving kindness and empathy.

“Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?”,  is a reminder we use to help of be mindful of how we choose our words, especially when things are frustrating or hard. It helps us be aware of the language we use and give us pause when we need it, to not speak out of anger or to say something spiteful just to be hurtful. It also reminds us of how we talk about others or describe one another. I grew up in a home where words were thrown out like cannon balls only to then later be regretted. I promised to give my family a different expierence to that of my own. I struggled with it in the early stages of my own marriage, especially when things got tough, hurting someone that I truly loved was the worst feeling. And then being married to someone who (then) was being overly cautious of what is said in an argument helped us both realized that we needed to find a balance in communicating. Staying vigilant about how we speak to each other has created harmony and peace in our family. And although we are imperfect and still say things that are hurtful and that need to be taken back, we strive to be clear with our words and the intentions behind them, filling them with honesty and love.

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mindful living // no. 03

sylvia plath |workhouseblog

Being mindful when things go to shit, now that’s the practice, right?! Being sleep deprived might be one of the most insane, unhealthiest, crazy inducing, monster making things that has ever happened in the history of parenting. I am in the deep, dark valley of it. This was the main reason Dave scheduled me a float last weekend, so I could get some rest and reap the benefits for the next few days. But while in my float two words kept coming up for me: jealous and open.

As I lay with those 2 words in the darkness of a tank they began to resonate with me, especially at a time when I am feeling angst about stepping into the next phase of life; the phase were I get to do the kind of work I feel I am called to do (more on that at a different time). I took them in, in the silence, in total darkness, alone. I began to see that I am in fact jealous. My life is filled by mothering, loving and nurturing other beings that I feel like I am sitting on the sidelines watching everyone make their own dreams come true. People who are changing careers or stepping into new transitions in their lives. People that can just go get it done! When are people finding the time to make it happen? How does one focus on oneself and not let other things go by the wayside? I am seeing people in real life, people in blog life, strangers on the internet and friends all around me making things happen for themselves, big things, life changing things.  This is where my jealousy lies. I sat with it, let it penetrate my heart and waited for the answers.

Next: Open. I feel like I am an open book, ask anyone who knows me, or maybe the fact that I have a blog speaks to that. But what I realized I was being closed off to was what  it is I am actually doing right now. I am making my dreams come true by being the kind of woman I have always envisioned and desired for my family. I am able to give them my time, fully and am learning a lot about myself through the process.I am doing some of the most important work of my life, letting my children discover who they are and meant to be. I already have this answer for myself. It may be not the way I have always defined success for myself, I tend to value notoriety and money as a measurement of achievement, but I can say with total conviction that I am a good mom, the kind of mom my children need me to be. I was being asked to be open to that fact that things take time, that this is part of my process. To be open to my family, to my baby who screams-because not only is she trying to figure out this world, she is trying to figure out who these people in her family are, what they mean and what the heck are they doing? To be kind to myself and to open myself to love, the kind of love that can only come from me. To be an open spirit and to let who I am now permeate through my entire being, letting it be enough.

When I take a look back and see the bigger picture of life- how certain things have lead me to where I am today, the lessons I’ve learned, the people I have helped and the folks around me that fully love and support me- I realize that yes, I am making my dreams come true. They may feel like baby steps right now but there have been some big fearless leaps that I should pride myself in taking. And sometimes one task cannot be done till the other is complete.

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gratitude // unplugging

workhouseblogTaking a bit of a sabbatical from the outside world for the next few days, using this much needed time to focus on this blog, a new project and to just to enjoy my family. On Wednesday I set up an away message for my email account, changed my voicemail message: I directed people to Dave incase of emergencies and set up a text message for incoming calls if needed. I logged out of EVERY social site (with the exception of Instagram, cause photography is a lifeline for me) and am refraining from reading anything non-essenstinal to my focus. I can tell you, now a few days in, its like a breath of fresh air, my mind is clearer, less cluttered and I am being productive…along with catching up on all my favorite shows at night with the mister.

Its amazing how so much of the outside world is right at our finger tips all the time, our phones give us so much information about the lives of strangers, what’s going on without us, what others’ are pursuing and making happen that I somehow forget to do those things for myself. Unplugging is my way of connecting. Its surprising how taking a bit of time to slow down and maybe even scraping the to-do list for a day can actually make me more productive when its time to work. I am also taken aback to see how quickly the dynamic of my family changes when we have more time together to just be,  there’s more of an ease in our daily routines.

So this weekend, we will take it in slow (the rest of my family is recovering from the flu), I will take Lucy on a date for hot cocoa and a trip to a favorite book store. We’ll draw, read books, cook together, laugh and play with no status updates, no tweets, no pins, no calls to distract us or emails to tie us down but there will be the occasional photo and hopefully you’ll sense our undying love and euphoria.

Have a wonderful weekend. What do you to do to slow down? How do let go of all the mind clutter and engage with the life? I’d love to hear your tips and gain some new tools.  (The beautiful crystal grid pictured above was a recent anniversary gift and was handmade by Lauren over at Stone and Violet)

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mindful living // no. 2

mindful living | workhouseblog
Mindful Living: nurturing the relationships that nurture you

This is a biggie, especially because I am a super social person by nature, I love hearing other peoples experiences and stories and just plain love to chat. I will talk to anyone and will most likely invite you over for dinner if we really hit it off, no matter where we meet. Being married to someone who is the complete opposite of that reminds me to be mindful of where I am putting my emotional energy: does it nurture me, does it feed my soul, is it necessary?

A couple years ago I made a resolution to nurture the relationships that nurtured me. To put a conscious effort in connecting with those already around me who are important to me, to let them know they are important to me and worth the work of maintaining a healthy friendship. Its as simple as calling every Monday, writing an email when my heart calls, sending a text for no other reason than letting them know I was thinking of them and more importantly making time for them. The benefits have blessed me more than I can count, it has made those relationships that much more stronger and beautiful. It has allowed me to be vulnerable with those closest to me, showing my imperfections and letting others, that I truly trust, to hold me up in time of need. I am ever thankful for the open conversations that have occurred, the amount of honest living that has been obtained and for the friendships that are now more like family. I have realized that I cannot spend time with everyone I come across but I can make time for the people in my life that I want to keep close and love. And still occasionally invite a welcomed stranger to meet over coffee or cocktails.

Spend a little extra time thinking about where you’re putting your energy in your friendships. Which relationships are feeding you and are you able to give back to them in return? Pay attention to spreading yourself too thin and focus on the people that really make life what it is. Taking note of what makes those around you feel special and then take the time to do it.

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merry christmas // a gift for you

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 (image via pinterest)

I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful entrance into 2014! I have a little gift for all of my readers as we say goodbye to 2013 and welcome the world of possiblities in the New Year. After being gifted a similar workbook and having read several books this year, I have been inspired to write a workbook of my own to help release the old and invite the new through setting some goals and intentions.  Please download a free copy of The Workbook 2014 and fill out the pages that speak to you and feel free to pay it forward to anyone. I hope it gives you some sort of insight to what you envision for yourself as we move onto another year.

Have a wonderful Holiday Season, may it be filled with light and surround you in love. I will be taking some time off from blogging to spend time with my family and some very special friends but I will return in the new year with a bit of a new look and a new portrait project. Till then! xo

 

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holiday // coquito

coquito / workhouseblogThis is the time of year when the Christmas music is on all the time, we start our mornings sitting by the fire doing our early day reading. At night we turn on the outside lights whose warm twinkle makes everything a bit more beautiful and festive. Its a wonderful time of year, a time to reflect on the abundance that we already have: our family who keeps us humble and in check, our friends who fill our hearts and spirits with joy, the comforts of life that we take for granted on a daily basis- a warm home, choices on what and when we eat, acknowledging the love in our lives, the blessing in knowing that our children will not be without. Let this be a time to look at the stuff we have acquired and a chance to assess what our needs really are. With the gift giving season upon us, take a moment to listen to what would be special and meaningful for those you love, let there be a shift in what you buy and give. Honor the blessings that are already before you and use this time to fill hearts and souls wisely.

With that off my heart, I wanted to share one of my most favorite holiday drinks with you, coquitio. Its the Puerto Rican cousin to egg nog and its by far our seasonal go to! I have tried many recipes over the years, some are too over spiced, some too too sweet and some plain, blah. This year I set out early to search for the perfect recipe and came upon the one below, its a little bit more time consuming but well worth the effort. I made the recipe a bit simpler by omitting the whole coconuts for dried flakes and replace the fennel seeds for a few spice berries for a bit of a different flavor.

 Coquito (recipe adapted from Saveur)

4c dried unsweetened coconut flakes
2c premium coconut water
1 cinnamon stick
1 whole star anise
6 whole allspice berries
4 egg yolks
1 13.5-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
½ tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
⅛ tsp. Kosher salt
1½ cups dark rum

Directions

Place coconut water in a small pot; add cinnamon stick, star anise, and allspice berries. Bring to a boil in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium and cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat and steep 10 minutes. Strain and discard spices; set aside.Combine liquid and half of coconut meat in a blender; mix on high speed until finely pureed and thickened, about 30 seconds. Pour through a cheesecloth-lined  fine mesh sieve or a milk nut bag into a measuring cup; , twisting tightly to extract liquid. Discard coconut solids and return strained liquid to blender with remaining coconut meat. Repeat blending and straining process (you should have 2-3 cups coconut milk, add water so that it equals to at least 2c); rinse blender .Combine coconut milk, yolks, condensed milk, evaporated milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in blender; mix on high speed until frothy, 30-60 seconds. Whisk in rum and refrigerate until ready to use.

We usually make ours without the rum unless we are having guests or a party, this way its kid friendly and the adults can spike their drink as needed.  Enjoy!

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mindful living // no. 1


mindful
Mindful Living: putting my phone in its place 

My phone lives next to me (you can sadly see the charger by my bed in the photo above), I can access emails any time, I text my partner throughout the day when I have spare moments and for down time I read blogs, pin things or watch some thing I find amusing and then theres the FB. Why? I can’t tell you, I surely don’t need all this sort of information in an instant and within an arm’s reach. I surely don’t need to be carrying around something that distracts me from real life. Peeking into other peoples edited lives doesn’t feed any need or want, I can actually find it kind of paralyzing. It sucks the creativity right out of me. I find that when I am on my phone I can’t tell you what is going on around me in real time, its like getting sucked into a vortex and after I’ve come out of my daze coming up for air feels refreshing. And I am just as guilty in participating in all the fish bowl sort of stuff that fills the social network life that we have all become accustom to.

This week I have decided that I will charge my phone some where else, leave it behind or in another room more often and unplug as much as possible on the weekends. It won’t be the first thing I look at in the mornings or that last thing I do at night, it will be put in its place along with all the other devices. I will try my best to not rush to it when it rings, chimes or dings, nothing is that pressing, remember when there was just home phones and answering machines, everyone seemed to survive then. That way my children are able to experience me without this rectangular object in front of my face and I them. There are so many more things to distract me, to fill my time and make me a much more productive and plugged in as a person.

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So I found this mail organizer at at thrift store, painted it black and cut some holes in the back to accomodate our chargers. Its in the kitchen so it won’t emit harmful energy close to where we sleep and makes it inconvenient enough to were I find myself letting my phone ring, chime or ding when I am in another part of the house. And not being concerned to where my phone is all. the. time. is starting to feel like a relief.

charging station // workhouseblog

charging station // workhouseblog
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personal note | re-collect

wild child | workhouseblogafter asking for support on my blog, my mind started racing, spinning into an internal abyss. this idea of who i am and what i really want this blog to be. i am not a lifestyle blogger wanting people to covet the way i live (which is simple by any means), i by no means am fashion blogger, i wear my favorite outfits over and over again until they are no longer. i am not a food blogger, i try to create meals that are as delicious as nourishing to my family, i am happy to pass those recipes along as if you were a friend. in the night i lay in bed nursing my babe and think about what it is i want this space to hold. it was then i realized.

it has taken the night, the sweet moonlike cheeks that belong to my newest daughter to give me the answer, it has taken two children to give me the power to claim motherhood as mine. i am first most dedicated to my life with dave, a promise to grow and nurture one another and to love wholeheartedly. secondly, i committed my life to raise these women, to take them in my heart and hands and to do the best i can to feed their souls. i have claimed motherhood. i have had to birth two humans to birth my own self. i have been writing this blog for a while now, talking about things in a manner that leaves a lot of things left unsaid, edited or just what i think people will enjoy and come back for more.

if you met me in person, you would know that i am an open book. i strive in being honest and as transparent as i can be in my life. i will talk to you about anything, personal or not. i would share my stories with you, listen to yours and hope that we both found some way to inspire or heal each other. i have walked away from my career a bit because the love i felt for it was no longer there. it has taken me days of doing nothing but care for my children to strike that passion again in me. i see beauty in my life everyday, i still compose my memories like i would in a camera; portraits, landscapes, still lifes. documenting my life as i would for anyone else who was paying me but yesterday i picked up my camera and took photos with a passion that has not been there for a while. i was ready for my eye to return, i gave it permission to be so. my mind wasn’t flooded with the countless photos i have looked at for inspiration or the numerous blog posts that i have read to see what other photographers (and bloggers) have been doing. i just shot. wildly like i did in my childhood and twenties. it took the beauty of motherhood to bring it out in me again, i felt relieved, like getting acquainted with an old friend, no time had passed, we just picked up where we left off.

i have found the courage to re-collect the things that have brought me meaning and to explore some things that have been speaking to me for a long while. the quest of my journey is to continue to find my truth and to give my daughters freedom to do the same for themselves. to run wild, be free, feel worthy and to live a genuine life. this is my purpose. this is where it will start anew, fresh and with meaning.

so in saying this to you, you may find that my voice will change here on this blog. i will write about my life in a way that is honest as i move about this earth, mostly likely about motherhood because that is what encompasses me. i hope to inspire but not in ways that makes one wish that they had my life but in ways that your life holds the same beauty and fulfillment. i will talk about life, motherhood, what works for me and what i struggle with. this will be a testament of who i am and the life that i hold. you may find that i sill may post things that strike my fancy as i love a good curated collection of things found online but i will no longer be posting meaningless fillers just to keep interest or entertain. i hope that this all finds you well.
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