Meditation on the Go!

I love the idea of using a set of beads as an abacus for breaths during meditation – I’ve been using different kinds for years! From necklaces, to bracelets, to keychains, let me show you this awesomeness…

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To use meditation beads, you simply start somewhere in the row of beads, close your eyes, and focus on long, deep breaths, moving from bead to bead in between. There are typically different shaped beads on the ends of the rows, to let you know when you’ve reached the end. They can be used to count repetitions of mantras, or positive affirmations, or whatever you want! Larger numbers of beads (like on necklaces) are good for longer meditation sessions, while shorter sections (like bracelets & keychains) are good for quick mindfulness breaks.

20180828_213937_0001My latest set of meditation bracelets are extra special – they all include lava beads, which can be used with a drop of essential oil as a form of aromatherapy! Each of these bracelets are unique, including gemstones such as jasper, rose quartz, moonstone, and more. They can be used during meditation, or worn regularly as a reminder to be mindful! Be sure to check them out individually in the “bracelets” section of my shop

20180828_213957_0001Sitting in my car on break at work one night, in desperate need of some peace, I realized I didn’t have anything to help me focus if I tried to meditate. So, I came up with the idea of a meditation chain key ring, for those times when you need a breather before starting your drive or transitioning into the mindset of wherever you’ve gone. You could even use it with your eyes open in slow traffic or at a stoplight – it may help reduce road rage! ;D

I have other meditation beads in my shop, including this lovely half leather necklace with a handmade tassel!

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Meditation beads are a great reminder to be mindful!

So, if you meditate at all, be sure to try this technique & let me know how it went in the comments!

And be sure to check out all the awesome stuff in store at zen BLITZ

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How to Make Compost on a Budget

Compost is a cheap & easy essential for any home gardener. Making it yourself can save you money on potting mix & fertilizer; and it’s so simple to do, you’ll wonder why you hadn’t tried it yet!

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I’m an “experimental” gardener – I try this & that to see what works. Once I realized how easy it was to make compost, I began researching how to make it in a container so that it wouldn’t attract animals (such as the adorable but meddlesome local family of raccoons!) There are a lot of expensive options out there, but they all include three key features : holes, turn-ability, & an access door.

To make the bin itself, I bought a large, dark colored storage bin, which cost less than $20. Then I stabbed six holes in the lid & another six in the bottom, for drainage, & to allow helpful bugs in & out. Good to go! LOL I’ve found that the snap-on lid has been enough to keep animals out, but if you have some very determined critters in your yard, you may need a bungee cord to help keep the lid on.

Now, what to put in it? I find it helpful to start in autumn, when there are lots of dead leaves littering the lawn – I usually fill my bin completely with them. Any kind of “browns” are good – the drier the better. “Browns” should always account for 2/3-3/4 of the material in your bin (to keep it from smelling terrible), and includes things like the following :

  • dry/dead leaves & grass
  • tea & tea bags
  • coffee & coffee filters
  • cardboard, paper, & newspaper (nothing laminated!)
  • eggshells
  • dirt, old potting soil
  • wood ash

These “browns” break down with the help of “greens” & natural biology. “Greens” add nutrients to the compost, and should only account for 1/3-1/4 of the material in your bin. Only add greens during warmer months, otherwise they won’t break down as well. These “greens” include fruit & vegetable kitchen scraps, & really any living plant material (freshly cut grass, etc). Please note, however, seeds & pits won’t decompose for quite some time, but they are good for aerating the soil (if they don’t grow into a plant first)! I keep a plastic bag in my freezer for my greens, which works perfectly!

Once you have material in your bin, you’ll need to keep it moist & out where it’ll get a lot of sun. Heat & moisture encourage a great environment for helpful organisms to make your compost. Stir it up once a week with a trowel, or whatever works best for you. When you add more greens, dig out a hole in the center, add them there, & bury it!

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Making compost is a cheap & easy way to add some organic love to your garden!

Following these simple guidelines should yield some useful compost, which can then be used as potting soil or can be steeped in water with a coffee filter (like a tea bag) to make plant food! The following spring, it’ll be good to go.

  • Autumn : Collect & add “browns” to the bin (dead leaves are great!)
  • Spring / summer : Collect & add “greens”
  • Autumn : Collect & store more “browns”, separate from your bin
  • Spring : The compost in the bin is ready to use – empty it into a storage bin & add autumn’s “browns” to start a new batch!

Do you garden? Have you made compost before? Let’s chat in the comments!!!

And be sure to check out my Etsy shop at zen BLITZ

Rock & Reggae at Spring Lake Winery

As last-minute weekend plans, Hubby stumbled across a “rock and reggae” concert at Spring Lake Winery in Lockport NY. He was just looking for a wine tasting, but when he mentioned this little festival, I puked rainbows!! πŸ˜„

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Ballyhoo!, my new favorite band xD

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Everyone was directed in through a dirt road. Which turned into a brutal mud road the night before the event, so I was pretty glad we brought Hubby’s truck. And then, to get from the parking lot to the festival site, you had to walk through their vineyard. Which was really cool except for the gash I got in the side of my foot from a stabby piece of grass.

 

 

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Ms Judi’s Italian Beef

It was a lot of fun. Food & drink prices weren’t absurd. We had brunch (Chimche? I think it was called) and dinner (Italian Beef) at Ms Judi’s International Food Truck; both were super good, as was (mama) Loose Cannon‘s Hippie Bread (Hubby bought 3 slices!! lol)! The event also included a few lawn games (giant Jenga & Kan Jam being the ones I saw), and the freedom to wander their trail by the lake & through some trees (my back was bothering me too much to adventure off on it, but I really wanted to).

 

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They also offered hot air balloon rides for a little while. They were a little bit pricey in my opinion, considering they were stationery (only went up & down), but I’m sure I’m just cheap & it really wasn’t a bad price, lol! ($20 / person). Still a super cool thing to see, and quite a few people went up in it too!

 

 

Starting with my favorite band of the show…

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Ballyhoo! Before the show even started, we were scoping out their merch stand & chatting with their merch dude (wish I remembered his name!) We ended up buying him drinks cuz he was pretty cool. The band itself was, in my opinion, the best act that night. Fun, ska-punk inspired music, & lots of audience interaction. After their set, Hubby wanted to go meet them, so we did. Apparently the lead singer is also a huge Green Day fan, & they played a song off Insomniac during their set, & I even had my 21CB tote bag with me, & it matched one of his tattoos!! LOL (Sorry, I geeked out a little there!) So… he took that awesome pic of us at the beginning of this post. And it was awesome. I’m sold on Ballyhoo. Rock on, gentlemen! lol

Tropidelic was pretty fun, too. They were my second favorite act.

Badfish comes in third, tying with these last couple of bands. I seen them years ago, & I wasn’t impressed; nothing’s really changed. They cover Sublime’s music really well, but I just never vibe any enthusiasm except for the trombone player, & he has enough to do lol. They were the final act of the evening, of course, & it was nice ending the night singing along to Sublime.

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Badfish

Keith James, a cool local dude who was apparently on The Voice, was really good, despite the tiny audience. He did, like, rock covers of Backstreet Boys & TLC. He’s got a great voice, & I wish more people would’ve seen his set!

Besides Badfish, Handsome Jack was the only band name I recognized before the show. And I have no clue why, except that he’s local. I wasn’t really feelin’ most of their seemingly more rock influenced songs, but they were alright. The chick at their merch stand was cool!

To finish the event, starting at the end of Badfish’s encore, the winery blew off fireworks in a clearing outside the vineyard. It was a perfect end to the evening!

SKA LIVES!!

It was a really awesome day, especially for the $25 ticket price. I love the vibe of ska shows – the people are always super awesome!! Spring Lake Winery was a great host for this type of event, & I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on them from now on, lol!

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cool sunset beside the stage

What concerts have you been to this summer? Let’s chat in the comments!

And don’t forget to check out the new items popping up in my shop!!!

Back From My Siesta…!!

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Hi folks, long time no see! I decided to take a breather on the store front (though I’ve been keeping an eye on it!), so that I could focus on experimenting with different creative media. Check out some of my new items (& questionable experiments! lol)

20180716_160701My cousin bought foreclosure land out by his campsite, & there were a few sheds full of random things. The previous owners had time to take what they wanted, & so I helped sort through some of the rest. Hubby & I found a whole cart full of cool stuff, including deer antlers, turkey feathers, & sand dollars! We also just acquired a shoebox full of sea findings, from seahorses to oyster shells, at an estate sale! So, I’ll be working with all these awesome & honored natural pieces a bit in the future.

Hubby made me give in to my urges about playing with polymer clay, & it’s been a lot of fun! It’s a LOT harder than it looks! LOL And it’s pretty time consuming, but it’s been fun! My incense holder turned out pretty well- it’s functional, but I like having a large tray for my incense. Since this was just an experiment piece, I tested how it would react to acrylic sealer… & now it’s all sticky. (Lesson learned!) I tried making a jewelry tray & bowl, both which turned out pretty cool! My flower canes look like a Kindergartener’s drawing though, lol! Wanting to test molding with this clay, I made a “goddess doll” (which my young cousin promptly broke, but it turned out surprisingly decent), then a meditating doll (with scraps), & then I tried a mage doll tutorial (which turned out fricken awesome!). So…I’m getting better…LOL.. and this will help open my store up to a lot of product possibilities!!

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I also finally decorated the hiking stick I’ve had in my car trunk since last summer. It’s soo overdone, but not, at the same time. I love it! (I just hope I don’t fuck it up when I try to add the polymer clay piece.) So, that’s still a work in progress, since I’m trying to incorporate all of my crafty skills into this one piece x)

 

 

 

Made a series of new products to add to the store soon, including a wine glass lanyard, meditation bracelets, & meditation keychains. So keep an eye out!!

Normal life has kept me pretty busy too, of course. From housework to parties & craft shows (to scope out ideas, haha!), it’s been a pretty busy summer for me. But it’s been good. I hope yours has been awesome ❀

New items in store soon!!!

Check out my current listings, & watch the shop grow at zen BLITZ

Tell me in the comments : What projects have you finished or are you working on this summer?

On Productivity and Useful Apps

While I continue to recover from that dirty ol swish, I’d like to take a moment to discuss productivity. Different things work for different people, so I’ll share what works for me, hoping that it might give you an idea of something that’ll help you.

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I wasn’t really taught how to organize anything as a kid, especially my time, but I always craved some sort of structure outside of school. So, I started reading books about it as a kid, & I’ve gotten pretty good at it over the years! This article is mostly about my business, but covers my personal time as well. Please note- I’m not getting paid to mention the following apps, I just find them that useful!

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My most useful tool isn’t an app at all, & it will have its own post in the future. I highlighted my business notebook in a previous post, and mentioned that it works better for my business needs than a “bullet journal“; but I’ve been using bullet journals for my personal needs for 3-4 years now! I use it to keep track of monthly events & appointments, plan my dinners for the week, track my bills & checking account, maintain daily to do lists & habits, and more! I even made a separate bullet journal for my recipes. So, visit the website and keep an eye out on my blog here to get an idea of how this system might work for you!

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I used to use a very visually pleasing notepad app on my Nook, but something happened & they discontinued the app, suggesting that users try either Google docs or Evernote as a replacement. I opted to transfer my old notes to Evernote, & have been using it ever since. Evernote is almost as awesome as the old app, just not as visually impressive as the old app, as far as organizing notes goes. There are some restrictions with the free service (which is what I use), but it’s still super useful. You can save almost any type of media (including personal notes), organize everything by tags & categories, and access everything either through their app or their website. I use it for my business to maintain checklists, bookmark things from the web, & organize ideas.

To keep myself moving, I use a method commonly known as “time blocking” – setting aside specific times to do specific things, & nothing else. Kind of like making appointments to do certain things. I’m a little lenient with these blocks, however, in that I tend to set periods of time to do things (such as doing housework or creating products for the shop, for an hour straight), but I use a stopwatch to monitor myself. If something comes up while I’m doing something, I stop the clock.

Breaks are important so that you don’t burn yourself out, physically and/or mentally. So, between tasks, I tend to play a couple games on my tablet or do some yoga & meditation for set periods of time, depending on how long I’d kept myself busy.

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I also use a time-tracking app called Jiffy. With Jiffy, you can either use it as a stopwatch or log your activities after. With the free version, you can create 3 categories, which can be divided into “work” & “non-work”; you can also add notes to each entry. Jiffy takes the information you entered & creates graphs, so you have a more visual representation of how you’ve spent your time.

Just DO it!

The hardest part of doing anything is getting started; but if you just get started, momentum will eventually get you where you want to be. Make time for whatever is important to you, and just DO it, if even for only 5 minutes! Stay as organized as possible, reevaluate when you feel stuck, and take worthwhile breaks once in a while. You’ll thank yourself.

What productivity apps and/or techniques do you use?? Let’s chat in the comments below! πŸ˜„

And don’t forget to check out my shop at zen BLITZ πŸ’šπŸ•‰πŸ’œ

Dirty Ol’ Swish…

Hi friends! ❀ I’ve hardly been around the past couple weeks, but I want you to know that I haven’t disappeared!! I’ve been pretty crazy sick, & this is why… πŸ˜·πŸ€’πŸ˜­

Memorial Day weekend. Friday evening. Hubby & I were waiting at our “campout spot” for my cousin. In the meantime, he made us delicious slushies with a bottle of wine. Once that was gone, I cracked a beer, and then my cousin showed…almost 2 hours later than he predicted. He brought with him some of his homemade apple pie moonshine, and insisted we have some shots. Now, I know better than to have shots of anything after beer & wine, but I still had a few shots with him. And holy shit that’s some nasty stuff. Cruddy flavor, and way too strong. But I’d had an annoying week, so I insisted on partying. Well! I’m pretty sure the moonshine dissolved the protective lining in my throat and then the mixture of alcohols infected the hell out of my throat on the way back up, because I got a weird taste in my throat after I puked the first time. For a couple days after that, my throat got more sore and I grew increasingly lethargic. By Wednesday (when it got up to 92Β° outside), my throat was super swollen, covered in white spots, my body ached constantly, and I had a fever for at least 24 hours. Thursday wasn’t much better, so hubby took me to the doctor on Friday, who was shocked over the state of me and gave me some steroids to lessen the inflammation in my throat (which helped immensely). Saturday, we ran out to the campout for a little bit. My cousin was there, but he sure didn’t bother seeing how I was doing. So, I’m pissed. We now have beeves (multiple beefs, lol!)

The results from my throat culture came back as bacterial strep throat. Yet I was fine until I puked that shit up. Now, I’m still a mess! I’ve finished the steroids, & I have some antibiotics. My throat is still red & a little sore, but it’s a lot less swollen and the white spots are all almost gone. My sinuses are bothering me like crazy with this wonky weather, so I’m really hoping I don’t develop a sinus infection. And I hope I heal up soon.

So, when I’ve been capable, I’ve been working on a few ideas. I’m mostly trying to take care of myself, but I’m still checking in on things in the zen BLITZ world. So keep an eye out for me, and send me some good healing vibes!! ❀

What is zen BLITZ all about?

zen BLITZ is still in its baby phase, & it’s been quite an adventure so far!

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I think it’s important to reevaluate everything in your business as you go along, including your brand identity! This post is to share a little more about who I am, my brand’s themes, and the projects I work on.

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As for me… I really love that wig; it’s just too cute, lol! I have a history of being a caregiver in my family, for my parents & grandparents; currently for my father. I also have an employment & education history in healthcare. ALS runs heavily in my mother’s family, so I’d like to be able to donate some of the profits from my shop toward treatment & research one day! I’m currently engaged to a super awesome guy whose love has set me free; the only thing really holding me back is myself.

 

I have a bit of a problem sticking with themes, lol! I’m a Libra, so I have a bitch of a time making decisions in general. Themes varying from vague (fun, spiritual, classy) to more specific (witchcraft, buddhism, steampunk, rave, hippie boho). I know I need to pick specialties & focus on a certain audience, but…that’s not me! That’s not very zen BLITZ. zen BLITZ is calm & crazy, spiritual & steampunk, yin & yang. Right now, I’m just testing what works well, & what doesn’t.

Another problem I have is sticking with any one project. Really, I’m “in too deep” with my jewelry making, especially since that’s what my fiance has been supporting most. However I’ve always been into all kinds of crafts, because my mother was super craftsy. I tend to have a few different types of projects going on at once, but I do also tend to finish one thing before adding another. So far, my shop is mostly jewelry – necklaces, bracelets, rings, & earrings. I also added some wine glass charms. I’m currently working on a set of crochet wine glass and water bottle lanyards, & then I’ll start working on some more jewelry. I just finished a set of ATCs (which were a bit of a flop…learning experience), & have been working on woodburning a plaque for my sweet deceased kitty.

Seeing as jewelry is a very saturated market, I figure it wise to venture into other handmade markets wherever my talents lie. The only constant in life is change. It’ll be fun to watch my shop evolve over time!

“It’s important to reevaluate everything as you go along”

That’s advice I carry throughout all areas in my life. It’s always a good time to shed things that weigh you down, & change the things that aren’t working for you. “Every day is a holiday…”

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That’s my brand identity!

What are YOU all about? Freewrite some random words, & let’s chat in the comments below!

And be sure to check out all the fun stuff in my Etsy shop at zen BLITZ