The Voice

My Day at 'The Voice' Auditions http://chasingayden.com/the_voice

I have been meaning to write this blog post for weeks, but we have been in the middle of a big move, end of school year, dance recitals, swim lessons, a visit from my mom (and that was just last week!) Needless to say, I am happy to be sitting down in one spot for long enough to type this post!

Some of you know that I recently wrapped a 10 week seminar course on Commitment. It was pretty eye-opening, but I think most importantly, it allowed me to once again, reconnect with parts of myself that I have kept hidden from the world. It always seems to boil down to the fear/doubt/question, ‘who am I to… (__fill-in-the-blank__)? Thankfully I have started to talk back to that voice, (yes, I talk to myself), and answer with, ‘who am I not to?’

I grew up in a music house. My mother being a trained opera singer, music major and music teacher, was constantly singing and playing the piano. We almost always found ourselves gathered around the piano having a sing-along, (if you came over to our house in the 80’s – 90’s, you know this to be true.) Music was our love-language, and there was lots of it to go around.

But something happened as I got older. I became inhibited, and afraid of what you might think about my singing. I knew I could carry a tune and even harmonize at times, but at some point letting you hear my voice just felt way too vulnerable. I developed a ‘stage-fright’, that co-signed a story that I shouldn’t sing for people. And I definitely shouldn’t tell people that I sing, because then they might want to hear me do it, and then they might think I suck.

So what happened? What happened is, I recently grew a (figurative) pair, said ‘eff it’ to the booing crowd in my head, and signed up to audition for ‘The Voice’. I told no one, (not even my husband), for weeks. I think I needed that incubation period to let my impulsive choice set in. With every person I told, I anxiously awaited their judgmental laughter, but it never came. Instead, I was met with encouragement and support. And with each person I told, I felt a little braver and took more ownership of my choice, (and my voice).

The day before the audition, I ‘decided’ not to go about 50 times, each time coming up with a different excuse as to why I couldn’t or shouldn’t go. I waited until the very last minute to print my pass. I told my close group of girlfriends at the eleventh hour. It hit me. Once I told everyone in my life, I would be held accountable to show up for myself. With my pass in my hand, and nothing left standing in my way, I set my alarm for 4am.

The day-of was exhilarating. I pulled in to the LA Convention Center at 6am. The line of musical hopefuls wrapped around the building. At each turn, there were guitars playing, groups of people humming and singing, and lots of nervous chatter. It. Was. Awesome. All of these people had woken up before the sun, and showed up to their lives, that morning. I was already inspired.

Throughout the morning, we were moved in to several different waiting areas, each one filled with more and more electric energy. By this time, our neighbors were our friends. And once we were seated in the largest waiting room with hundreds of chairs, it was a full-blown party. The room would spontaneously and consistently break out in collective song. It was beautiful. It was the morning-sing-alongs from my childhood, a thousand fold. We sang ‘Journey’ classics, ‘The Lion King’, ‘Adele’, and everything in between. It was a collective of fully self-expressed Artists, and it was one of the most moving experiences I have had the honor of being a part of.

To be honest, the audition part of the process felt secondary to everything else. 10 of us waited outside of a room. When we entered the large, empty space, a small Asian man with glasses sat behind a large foldout table. In front of him was a semi-circle of 10 chairs, and a masking tape ‘x’  on the floor in the center of the seats. Enter: every single nerve in my body. I was filled with the feeling of “I don’t wanna’. I had practically forgotten that this is why we were here. I became very present to the fact that I was completely untrained and barely prepared for this. But it was too late, and as he pulled our names lottery-style, I awaited my fate.

After several vocally choreographed and incredible performances, it was my turn. Little old me, who’s recent vocal training consisted of a YouTube warm up tutorial. (Seriously). I got up. I sang (imperfectly), and I sat back down. It was done. I had completed my mission. I knew this wasn’t my best performance, and I didn’t care. The victory was in showing up, staring my fear down in the face and making it my Bitch. No one in my group passed through to the next round, not even the guy who had made it through the two previous years.

Walking back through the convention center, past all the hopeful artists I could not wipe the smile off my face. I felt a sense of pride in myself–in all of us, that I can’t properly put in to words. I think being surrounded by thousands of people honoring their artistic gifts, and choosing to live out loud for that day, filled me with the most beautiful sense of adventure. I wish this feeling for everyone, because it is an unparalleled feeling.

So here is what I am proposing. I am proposing that just for today, you honor that secret gift that no one knows you have been hiding from the world, (we all have them). I propose you affirm to yourself “I am an artist”, and allow yourself to play. I am proposing that you make your fear(s) your Bitch, just for today. Sometimes we feel like we need permission to live from this space, so here it is, I am giving you permission to Play Big, today. And I hope that you will report back to let me know how it goes.

xo, Em

Be Responsible For Your Greatness

Yesterday morning I was on a conference call in correspondence with a 10 week seminar I am in the middle of. It is a course on commitment, but really it is a course on self-discovery. I was working out some ‘stuff’ (I will get to this later) with our seminar leader, when she said something that struck me inspired; “Be responsible for your greatness.”

Be responsoble for your greatness

You see, we were discussing the filters in which we view our worlds; the limitations that our life-long beliefs about ourselves create. I have been working on identifying my hidden motives in life, and even more so, asking myself if they are in line with my true goals and desires and commitments. Many times the answer is ‘no’.

Confused? (I was). Here is an example: I have a desire, a goal, a commitment to being physically fit. Not an uncommon one. But I also have an inclination to Netflix and chill… with a bowl of cereal. Or ice cream. Late at night.

This isn’t exactly in line with my initial intent to be physically fit. Hidden commitment: 1; Actual commitment: 0.

The power is in taking ownership of all of this. To recognize where we are falling short without putting a ‘bad’ label on it. Let’s call it collecting data. If I can identify my hidden commitments, admit that I CHOSE the hidden commitment (taking ownership of it), then I become empowered to make some Real changes that are more in line with my actual commitment.

So back to our conference call, and back to my ‘stuff’ that I promised to tell you about. I have a secret. It’s a doozy–maybe even the biggest secret I have ever kept. Are you ready? Here it is…  Most of my life, I have been playing small. In reality, I have an entire UNIVERSE inside of me that is dying to be seen and heard. I have been holding back and trying not to take up too much Universal space. I have been inauthentic, because I haven’t allowed myself to be fully self-expressed. I have given you a sliver of ME, in fear that the Whole and Real me might be ‘too much’.

The impact of living this way is that I sometimes walk around feeling limited in my relationships, limited creatively, feeling resentful, jealous, envious, self-doubting, angry and aimless.

But. I am deciding–declaring, that it stops today–right now. The new possibility I am inventing and creating for myself and my life, is to Live out Loud, fully self-expressed. I am letting my freak-flag fly high and proud, and I am inviting you to join me. Even more so, I am asking you to hold me accountable to my commitment. I am asking you to hold me to my Greatness.

I am brilliant. I am dynamic. I am an artist. I am empowered. Go on, say it with me… If it makes you uncomfortable, good. But in reality, who is someone as fantastically talented, inspired and GREAT as YOU, to be living an ordinary life?  Live in your greatness, today. Be responsible for your greatness, today.

xo, Em

 

The Truth About Marriage

Marriage is everything and nothing like what I expected it to be. Some people will tell you nothing changes, and some will tell you everything changes; in my experience, they are all correct.

The Truth About Marriage in all of its glory and growing pains. Read the full article at: http://chasingayden.com/marriage

When I married Mike, we had been together nearly 6 years off and on, (but mostly on). We had been through our fair share of ups and downs like any other couple, although ours might have been a bit more unconventional. We had brought a beautiful baby girl in to the world together, lived together, shared bank accounts, shared bills and lived a life similar to that of a married couple. In that way, indeed nothing changed. After marriage, all of those same responsibilities existed and we continued along, business-as-usual.

But what I was unprepared for, was the unspoken shift. Because after we said our ‘I-do;s’, and returned home from our Mini-moon™, our relationship went through some growing pains. I was literally blind-sided by this, as most of my friends at the time were not yet married. And if they were, they failed to mention the challenges that can accompany being a newly-wed. I think maybe the idea of ‘forever’ sunk in, which was both awesome and terrifying.

Check out this Google search of ‘first year of marriage’. Pretty wild, right? Who knew?! I didn’t, that’s for sure. (I will say, that a couple of months in to our marriage when I originally searched the Googles on this topic, I was quite relieved to learn that everything we were going through was completely normal).

I think that there is a misconception that you get married, and then you can finally relax and rest on your laurels (for lack of better words). What I have found is quite the opposite. Marriage does offer a certain feeling of comfort and relaxation, but it is also the marker of the beginning of a whole new journey of growth and discovery and compromise. Marriage is a daily choice. It doesn’t feed itself and it certainly doesn’t evolve or flourish without diligent care and attention.

At the risk of losing your (my) attention span, I have summed up a few things I have learned about marriage, over the last 3 years. Or I guess more specifically, what I have learned about my marriage. (As always, this is my experience, and I am definitely not claiming to be any type of expert in anyone else’s life but my own. And I use the term ‘expert’, very loosely.)

Expect to have the  same conversation over and over

This is in the number one position for a reason. Mike and I used to argue about our arguments. Seriously. Because one of us or both of us believed we shouldn’t have to have this conversation again. Wrong and wrong. What I have learned is, we will revisit many a ‘talk’, because we are human, and talking about something once doesn’t typically fix it or permanently change it. When we both finally reached this understanding, (took about 2.5 years), things got a lot more light-hearted in our home. (cue: ‘why didn’t we think of this sooner!?’)

Date Nights Are Mandatory

The power of a date night with my hub, still amazes me. Nothing kills your mojo like kids. Or bills. Or financial stress. Or piles of laundry. Or looming ‘honey-do’ lists. Or picking up dog poo. Catch my drift? It is very easy to become glorified roommates with your spouse, and taking a couple hours out of the routine to reconnect (over sushi), does wonders for a relationship. Date nights often remind me that I actually like my husband. They remind me that I chose him. Pro-tip: I have also found that the times that I feel like I don’t even want a date night with my hub, are the best times to plan one.

Sleep on it

I used to really believe that you shouldn’t go to bed angry, because isn’t that what everyone writes on those cheesy little suggestion cards at bridal showers? It’s total bull-sh*t, in my opinion. You know what is worse than going to bed pissed? Staying up late, arguing in a delirious state of mind and going to bed even more pissed. Sleep is golden, people. Sleep makes us sane. Learning to go to bed pissed has saved me from saying things that I would have surely regretted saying, by morning. There is a reason that people say ‘sleep on it’, when making a big decision. Sleep = perspective.

Ask for what you want

Hey so guess what? Your spouse isn’t a mind-reader. (Even if you believe that by now, he/she should be.) I have spent a lot of time in past relationships, upset that my significant other didn’t live up to my expectation of what my birthday/anniversary/valentines day/xmas/Saturday should look like. The thought process goes something like this:

‘I hope he gets me flowers. He should know that I love getting flowers. He better get me flowers. Of course he will get me flowers–he KNOWS I love flowers. Wait, he didn’t get me flowers? This whole day sucks. I hate my Birthday and I hate him because he didn’t get me flowers. The day is ruined.’

Insanity, I tell ya! Maybe you can’t relate to that at all, maybe you had this conversation with yourself recently. All I know is, when I set my husband up for success, ‘Our anniversary is coming up and I just want to remind you that I love getting flowers’, everyone wins. Expectations are ridiculous, most of the time. Life is not a John Hughes movie (unfortunately), and Jake Ryan is not going to show up with a Birthday cake at the end of the ‘movie’. (Jake Ryan, le sigh.)

It takes two, baby

I think the craziest thing about marriage is that two people from completely different back-stories and life-experiences, decide that they are going to share a life together and find a middle ground to live upon.

Stop and think about that for a minute.

It is the ultimate compromise, and everything that you have learned about survival and decision-making and adulting, is now in question. It’s not just about what exists in your own comfort zone, anymore. Marriage forces you to take an entirely different perspective in to consideration. It challenges you to consider new ideas and foreign thought processes. It asks you to set what you thought you knew aside, and consider another persons viewpoint and feelings. (Ew. Just kidding.)

The truth is, I am learning how to be a wife and how to be married, every day. I could write an entire book on the topic, but then I would probably have to go back and re-write it in a few years. So for now, I will leave you with this blog post, and some photos from our wedding day.

*Photography Credit: Sarah Field Photo

xo, Em

http://chasingayden.com/marriage http://chasingayden.com/marriage http://chasingayden.com/marriage http://chasingayden.com/marriage http://chasingayden.com/marriage http://chasingayden.com/marriage http://chasingayden.com/marriage http://chasingayden.com/marriage http://chasingayden.com/marriage http://chasingayden.com/marriage http://chasingayden.com/marriage http://chasingayden.com/marriage http://chasingayden.com/marriage http://chasingayden.com/marriage http://chasingayden.com/marriage http://chasingayden.com/marriage http://chasingayden.com/marriage http://chasingayden.com/marriage http://chasingayden.com/marriage http://chasingayden.com/marriage http://chasingayden.com/marriagehttp://chasingayden.com/marriage http://chasingayden.com/marriagehttp://chasingayden.com/marriage

 

Discovering Anxiety Isn’t Real

How I discovered that my Anxiety isn't Real. http://chasingayden.com/

What is my anxiety? Like really, WHAT is it?

This past weekend I completed the Landmark Forum, and immersed myself in a world–a realm, of self-exploration. But not just theoretical and intellectual self-exploration. I am talking, go-back-into-your-childhood, soul-digging, bare-naked (not literally), SELF exploration. So to say it was intense, would be putting it mildly.

Anyway. Some of what I discovered was that as humans–or actually, I will keep this to Me; I have sacrificed many happiness’s, relationships and possibilities in my life, all in the name of self-justification. Or put more simply, I have been blind-sided by my need to be Right, my need to Win and ultimately, my need to avoid responsibility for myself.

So you might be asking,  what does this all have to do with anxiety? Well let me tell you; EVERYTHING.

Let’s first break down what anxiety really is. It is a reaction to a perceived threat. Perceived, not real. A reaction to a real threat, is Fear. (Like if your safety is in literal danger). With that in mind, it begs the question of what am I perceiving to be a threat, and maybe even more importantly, what is being threatened??

Here is how it works, and I will use a quite real example. I was making a phone call that I didn’t particularly want to make. I became present to and aware of a physical feeling in my throat and chest–a feeling I know all too well; anxiety. It typically stops me dead in my tracks, and allows me to retreat from the thing I was setting out to accomplish. It allows me to justify not continuing on, for the simple fact that said event is producing anxiety–must be a sign to stop, right? Wrong. What it must be, is a mechanism for me to dodge responsibility. It allows me to remain in my comfort zone, and it allows me to be ‘right’.

Here is the crazy part; at the very moment that I acknowledged this, the feeling left my body. Truly. I was able to continue on to make what would be a pretty pivotal phone call, and therefor open up an entirely new possibility for myself and my life.

#mindblown

As a person who has struggled with anxiety in the past, this revelation was nothing short of liberating. And I had to laugh at the fact that (subconsciously) I want to be justified so badly, that I will actually produce a physical response, in order to remain that way. Knowing that my anxiety isn’t Real, has empowered me to work through it when it pops up in the future, instead of just accepting it and allowing it to dictate my life. In the words of the Goddess herself, Oprah, “When we know better, we do better.”

Thanks for letting me process in this space…

xo, Em

*** This post speaks about my own experience with anxiety. In no way, shape or form is it an attempt to negate or belittle Anxiety Disorder, or anyone else’s experience in dealing with anxiety.

 

Faux Fireplace DIY

We are renters. There, I said it. Living in Southern, Coastal (expensive) California, we are in good company though. Renting has forced me to get extra-extra creative, when it comes to decorating our home. I have found some clever ways to transform our space, without actually transforming the structure of our place. It is a challenge, but I am typically up for it.

One thing that I have really and truly missed having, is a fireplace. We don’t have what I would qualify as a ‘real’ winter here in SoCal, but it does cool down for a few months, and we even get the occasional rainy day. Let’s just say it becomes winter-like. And during those months I crave nothing more than to curl up with my family, a cup of hot cocoa and a book by our non-existent fireplace.

Faux Fireplace DIY | Create ambience and coziness with this chalkboard fireplace tutorial http://chasingayden.com/faux-fireplace-diy

This year I was determined to make all of my dreams come true, and after some poking around on Pinterest and tapping in to my imagination, I was able to deliver a Christmas Miracle to my self! Here is how you can create your own Faux Fireplace, just in time for the holidays:

What you will need:
-A bare wall
Chalkboard Decal/Contact Paper (I got mine on Amazon for $6.75)
3 ft. Crown Moulding (Home Depot only charges for the amount cut; Lowe’s will charge for the entire piece which runs around 12 ft. The moulding I selected was $1.99 / ft, so I paid $6.00 total.)
-Mounting Tape
-Faux or Real Garland
-Lights
-Chalk
Chachkies

  1. Clean and dry the wall surface you wish to stick your contact paper. You want it to be dust-free, so it will stick nice and evenly.
  2. Cut your contact paper. I cut mine in half length-wise, and stacked the two pieces on the wall to create the desired size for my fireplace. I used my giant Stendig Calendar which hangs above, as a guide for how big the fireplace surface should be. (Across, my fireplace is about 3ft; while the height is around 2ft 2 inches.)
  3. After you have applied your contact paper evenly and without any bubbles, you can draw your fireplace, or lettering or whatever you desire, directly on to it with chalk. (This is my favorite part because I love to draw.) You can find great reference ideas on Pinterest, if you aren’t much of a draw-er.
  4. Line the backside of your moulding with mounting tape. I made sure each corner had a rectangular piece, and then staggered the additional pieces. Once you have the back of your moulding lined, you can just press it against the wall where you like it.
  5. Twist lights in to garland (or buy a pre-lit faux garland), and hang it below moulding, but above fireplace. I used small nails to hold my garland, and attached a bit of bakers twine to the top corners of the garland, so I could easily hook it on and off of the nails. I also strategically placed my fireplace next to an outlet, so I would be able to plug and unplug my lights as needed.
  6. Add chachkies! Another favorite part for me. I love, love, love styling. I ordered these teeny-tiny bottle brush trees from Pick Your Plum during their Black Friday sale, so I scored big time. But these holiday deco-staples are popping up EVERYwhere, and are easy to find. They fit perfectly on top of the teeny ledge of my ‘mantle’. I also added a small, guilded moose figurine I made last year and secured some loose pieces of Christmas Tree branches to make the mantle extra festive.
  7. Hang stockings This part was hard for me. Because the fireplace is faux, it is not scaled to real size. I didn’t want our stockings to over-shadow the fireplace, so I hung them under the calendar, and justified to the left.

Faux Fireplace DIY | Create ambience and coziness with this chalkboard fireplace tutorial http://chasingayden.com/faux-fireplace-diy Faux Fireplace DIY | Create ambience and coziness with this chalkboard fireplace tutorial http://chasingayden.com/faux-fireplace-diy Faux Fireplace DIY | Create ambience and coziness with this chalkboard fireplace tutorial http://chasingayden.com/faux-fireplace-diy Faux Fireplace DIY | Create ambience and coziness with this chalkboard fireplace tutorial http://chasingayden.com/faux-fireplace-diy Faux Fireplace DIY | Create ambience and coziness with this chalkboard fireplace tutorial http://chasingayden.com/faux-fireplace-diy Faux Fireplace DIY | Create ambience and coziness with this chalkboard fireplace tutorial http://chasingayden.com/faux-fireplace-diy

Viola! Fireplace goals achieved, and I couldn’t be happier! If you make a faux fireplace, I would love to see it, so be sure to tag me on social media!

xo, Em

Who Am I to Live Creatively?

Have you ever held back from doing something that makes you feel good because of self-doubt, or fear about what others might think or say? Have you ever felt like the job you currently hold is not what your actual passion is, but rather a means to and end? I think if we are being honest, most of us can say ‘yes’ to both of these questions. I know I can.

'Who Am I to Live Creatively? A blog post about living your life to your fullest creative potential, and the magic that happens when you do. Featuring photos by: Milk & Honey Photo Shoppe https://facebook.com/milkandhoneyshoppe

I think many of us have or have had this creative ‘block’, let’s call it, that stops us from pursuing the things that make us really feel alive. Maybe it’s because society tells us that we need to pick one thing; one job, and do that in order to make money. In order to survive.

But that poses the question of what survival actually is? Is it just a means to an end? Is it just the ability to pay our bills? Granted these are all important factors, but for me, survival has much more to do with fulfillment, inspiration and joy. Why shouldn’t we be able to have it all?

As human beings, I believe that we tell ourselves the lie that we can have one or the other; financial security or creative freedom. I think that a lot of the time we operate from fear, rather than trusting that if we pursue those things that truly inspire us, we will attract abundance. And when we are stuck in that fear-space, it is painful to watch others flourish creatively, because secretly we wish we were doing the same. I believe that this is where jealousy, negativity and envy are bred.

So if you are asking yourself (consciously or subconsciously), ‘who am I to live creatively?”; I am asking you, who are you not to be?

My life over the last few years has been an unfolding and peeling back of creative blockage and layers. And as I continue to follow passion after passion, the possibilities continue to expand. Fear is often there, but I would rather move forward despite it, than never try because of it. Because of this mentality–this shift, creative doors have flung wide open for me lately. The self-created voices that tell me I must fit in to one tiny box and stop exploring so many passions, have started to quiet down.

I don’t share this to brag. I share this in hopes that maybe my experience, will empower someone else to pursue the things that they love.

My most recent creative endeavor is my photography, a passion that I have sat on for many, many years. Finally, I am dedicating myself and my time to learning this beautiful art form, as well as sharing it with the world. Feel free to follow my journey:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/milkandhoneyshoppe/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/milkandhoneyphotoshoppe

xo, Em

W'Who Am I to Be Living Creatively' : a blog post about living your life in an inspiring and creative way, rather than how society tells us we are supposed to be living. Milk & Honey Photo Shoppe via http://chasingayden.com/who-am-i-to-live-creatively W'Who Am I to Be Living Creatively' : a blog post about living your life in an inspiring and creative way, rather than how society tells us we are supposed to be living. Milk & Honey Photo Shoppe via http://chasingayden.com/who-am-i-to-live-creatively W'Who Am I to Be Living Creatively' : a blog post about living your life in an inspiring and creative way, rather than how society tells us we are supposed to be living. Milk & Honey Photo Shoppe via http://chasingayden.com/who-am-i-to-live-creatively W'Who Am I to Be Living Creatively' : a blog post about living your life in an inspiring and creative way, rather than how society tells us we are supposed to be living. Milk & Honey Photo Shoppe via http://chasingayden.com/who-am-i-to-live-creatively W'Who Am I to Be Living Creatively' : a blog post about living your life in an inspiring and creative way, rather than how society tells us we are supposed to be living. Milk & Honey Photo Shoppe via http://chasingayden.com/who-am-i-to-live-creatively W'Who Am I to Be Living Creatively' : a blog post about living your life in an inspiring and creative way, rather than how society tells us we are supposed to be living. Milk & Honey Photo Shoppe via http://chasingayden.com/who-am-i-to-live-creatively W'Who Am I to Be Living Creatively' : a blog post about living your life in an inspiring and creative way, rather than how society tells us we are supposed to be living. Milk & Honey Photo Shoppe via http://chasingayden.com/who-am-i-to-live-creatively W'Who Am I to Be Living Creatively' : a blog post about living your life in an inspiring and creative way, rather than how society tells us we are supposed to be living. Milk & Honey Photo Shoppe via http://chasingayden.com/who-am-i-to-live-creatively

Little Messengers

Gooooood morning ladies and gents!

Today is going to be a fun and exciting day! I have teamed up with the fabulous babes over at Little Messengers, and I will not only be taking over their colorful Instagram for the day, butttt we also have a rad giveaway for you. Before we get to any of that, I want to tell you a little bit about the backstory of Little Messengers, because it is truly a unique and inspiring story.

A look inside the shop Little Messengers, and Instagram Takeover and a Giveaway! Click here to learn more.

In March of 2013, Mercedes (founder), and husband Andy, began the adoption process. After a Mission Trip to an orphanage for children with special needs in Haiti, Mercedes felt moved and spiritually-driven, to adopt a child with Down Syndrome. Andy was on board, and 4 months later in June, they met their sweet baby girl, Sunflower.

Initially, Little Messengers was created to help raise funds for the adoption of Sunflower. It has evolved, with the help of amazing business partner, Paige, in to a full-fledged, mama-operated, successful small business. Little Messengers continues to be inspired by colorful, bubbly, beautiful Sunflower, (Sunny for short), and each vibrant blanket carries a piece of her incredible spirit. You can follow Sunny on instagram, where she uses her beautiful life to bring joy and Down Syndrome awareness, to others.

Watch this vide for the full, beautiful story. (Prepare to cry your eyes out).

AYDEN & SUNNY GIVEAWAY:

Win this Turquoise Risa Blanket, and this Multi-colored PomPom Boho Hoop!

Win this turquoise Serape blanket here! http://chasingayden.com/LittleMessengersWin this Multi-colored, boho PomPom banner here! http://chasingayden.com/LittleMessengers

How to Enter:
Follow:
@LittleMessengers
@hooray4Sunny
@aydensmommyy
@shopaydensrose

Comment on this post that you have followed ALL Instagram pages, (we will be checking). *Include your Instagram name in your comment.

bonus: Regram a photo from any of the above feeds and hash tag with: #AydenAndSunny for 5 extra entries

Contest ends Monday, October 26 at midnight PST

(Winner announced Tuesday)

***Keep an eye out for additional ways to enter on Instagram.

xo, Em

 

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Essential Oils + A Giveaway!

Everything you EVER wanted to know about #EssentialOils || Young Living Essential Oils Premium Starter Kit CHEAT SHEET

Hi, I am Tiffaney, I am a retired esthetician and I used to run a small skin-care practice in Newport Beach, Ca. Today, I’m a mom, a wife, a fitness guru (#TAMily) and I adore food. I am also a specialist in the education of essential oils and its my passion and mission to not only get these oils into every home (because of their benefits), but to TEACH everyone how to use them. Friends would describe me like this:, “Tiffaney is kind of flighty. She works out a ton and eats a lot of food and drinks a lot of wine. She is obsessed with essential oil education; oh, and I think she home schools her kids.” They would be right. I love my family and like every other mother, I want what’s best for my children. I want them to grow up healthy, realistically happy and wise. if you read this until the end, you’re amazing, I love you and I have a gift for you.

Everything you EVER wanted to know about #EssentialOils || Young Living Essential Oils Premium Starter Kit CHEAT SHEET

When you think of “natural remedies,” what comes to mind? For some, its popping a dye-free Tylenol capsule into their mouth, or soaking in a bath full of salts and herbs, or shopping at Mother’s Market. As I stated previously, I’m a retired esthetician and health-nut, so choosing natural foods and products is important to me. This post isn’t about natural living though, its about Essential Oils.

I have used essential oils for over a decade. I used them on my clients during my skin therapy sessions, on myself and my children to promote relaxation. I used them for all sorts of things because I just loved the way they smelled, but I was unaware of the benefits essential oils brought to the body.

I’m a realist. I love what’s real and honest. My favorite type of people are the ones that come into my home looking a hot-mess with their kids going crazy, and they look at me and say, “You have got to be kidding me. Is this seriously what I signed up for?!” My favorite type of people are the ones who own their mess. That’s my tribe. They are my friends..

This type of transparency is equally important to me, in the products I choose to expose my family to. I started my research and discovered that not all essential oils are made equally. Some, if not created the right way could actually have harmful effects on the body. (See: Tea Tree Oil Issue.) It is not the tea tree plant’s fault, however, it’s the oil company that doesn’t properly distill the oil. (This is the same rule with essential oils and pregnancy. Its important to research which oils do what, but the majority of essential oils are safe to use during pregnancy.) This was alarming for me! I wanted to know more, so being the researcher I am, I explored and studied and learned.

I will not use this post as a platform to tear down other oil companies, (if a company is SURE about the purity of their product, there is no reason to ever put down another),  but I will tell you why I chose the company I did and the many ways that essential oils can benefit you.

In all my searching, I came to the belief that Young Living made me feel the most secure. I love their oil distilling practices and their dignity and class when it comes to representing their product. The oil speaks for itself. Young Living has been a company for over 20 years and the distilling practices have not changed. This is important. The FDA does not regulate the production or claims of essential oils. This means that there are no standards to be met, and why it’s so important to trust the company you get oils from and really understand how distillation works. If that’s not something you have time to research for yourself, at least talk to someone you do trust, who DOES know about these things, like me. 😉

 The reason all of this is important is because essential oils have the ability to reach the blood stream in 20 minutes or less and they have the ability to improve the cellular level of the body. So when I put a drop of thieves on my child’s feet to protect and support their immune system, these oils are actually going INTO her body to promote health and wellness for her immune system. When I place a drop of Frankincense on my face, I am actually penetrating the deepest level of the skin to improve skin texture and promote graceful aging. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have pure oils.

Everything you EVER wanted to know about #EssentialOils || Young Living Essential Oils Premium Starter Kit CHEAT SHEET Everything you EVER wanted to know about #EssentialOils || Young Living Essential Oils Premium Starter Kit CHEAT SHEET

A product cannot be useful without knowledge, which is where I come in. It is important to have someone there to teach you and guide you when beginning your journey with essential oil use. Essential oils are incredible wonderful masterpieces in creation, and they benefit so much more than could be conveyed in one blog post. The uses of essential oils are endless and include, (but are not limited to): skin care, hair care, sleep-aid, energy-boosts, weight loss, baby needs, nursing needs, pregnancy needs, cleaning products, etc.

Essential Oils Cheat Sheet:

Everything you EVER wanted to know about #EssentialOils || Young Living Essential Oils Premium Starter Kit CHEAT SHEET

If you purchase a premium starter kit through me, (which comes with the above 11 essential oils, a diffuser, an aroma glide roller cap and ningxia red supplement drinks), you’ll get a free bottle of Orange as a gift from me. I am also available to answer any question you might have regarding essential oils. If you purchase a starter kit, you will be added into my Facebook group where you will have access to my monthly seminars and minute-by-minute help on the uses of essential oils, and ideas on how to use them.

I have loved being able to be a part of this wonderful Blog by my long time friend, Emily. And I hope you learned something new after reading this. Thank you so much for allowing me to teach you a little bit about these wonderful little bottles.

Love,

Tiffaney (and With Love, From Creation)

Everything you EVER wanted to know about #EssentialOils || Young Living Essential Oils Premium Starter Kit CHEAT SHEET

Instagram Giveaway!

From now until October 31st, we will be giving away 1 bottle of Cedarwood Essential oil, and a $10 Starbucks Gift Card.

*This oil promotes hair health (any husbands need this?), better sleep, a calm / peaceful mind, (good for when those babies have a hard time leaving their mamas for a short period of time). This maintains urinary tract health and it supports the appearance of smooth, healthy, supple skin.
*The Starbucks Card provides caffeinated happiness. 🙂

How to Enter:

Follow Tiffaney & Emily on Instagram, look for the contest graphic, and tag 3 friends in the comments on either or both accounts. Yep! It’s That simple.
@tiffaney_ann
@aydensmommyy

Winner Picked November 1!

Good luck!

xo, Em

 

Upcycled Bar Stool DIY

Something about this time of year makes me feel seriously inspired. Maybe it’s the barrage of Fall-time Pinterest DIYs that flood my feed. Or maybe the pumpkin-flavored everything has magical, creative powers. Does it really matter why? Probably not. Fall is here (despite the lingering hot weather in Southern California), and I am excited.

Let’s talk about this project, and more importantly the art of ‘upcycling’. Upcycling is simply taking a piece(s) of furniture that you already have, and revamping it, thus creating a new piece of furniture. It is a growing art-form, and not only does it save boat-loads of money (cue cheering section), but it allows you to create a completely one-of-a-kind, custom piece of furniture. Needless to say, I am a huge fan.

Bar stool Upcycle DIY || Learn how to convert an old chair or stool in to a beautiful piece of modern furniture via http://chasingayden.com/upcycled-barstool-diy

Mike and I have had these bar stools since we first moved in together like 8 years ago. They were free, (from a friends garage). They have always been just sort of blah; there to just serve their purpose of hosting people’s bums. I have recently been in a ‘cleaning house’ tizzy, meaning, if I don’t love it or need it; it goes. It is actually very therapeutic. I highly recommend inventorying the items and clothing in your house, and gutting anything that you don’t love. But I digress, (thank you a.d.d.) So the stools. The stools and I came to a crossroads. I certainly did not love them, but I also didn’t want to just get rid of perfectly usable seating. Conundrum!

And then this DIY hit me like a ton of bricks. A simple upcycle-project would save these stools from imminent banishment. The stools and I sighed with relief, which brings us to this bar stool makeover project.

Here’s what I started with:

Bar stool Upcycle DIY || Learn how to convert an old chair or stool in to a beautiful, modern piece of furniture

(Not great, right?) Obviously, these chairs were just screaming for a makeover, and here is how I gave them a second–actually, third life…

Find the FULL DIY at Shoes Off Please, for The Bannerie.

And here is the finished product:

Bar stool Upcycle DIY || Learn how to convert an old chair or stool in to a beautiful, modern piece of furniture Bar stool Upcycle DIY || Learn how to convert an old chair or stool in to a beautiful, modern piece of furniture Bar stool Upcycle DIY || Learn how to convert an old chair or stool in to a beautiful, modern piece of furniture Bar stool Upcycle DIY || Learn how to convert an old chair or stool in to a beautiful, modern piece of furniture Bar stool Upcycle DIY || Learn how to convert an old chair or stool in to a beautiful, modern piece of furniture Bar stool Upcycle DIY || Learn how to convert an old chair or stool in to a beautiful, modern piece of furniture Bar stool Upcycle DIY || Learn how to convert an old chair or stool in to a beautiful, modern piece of furniture

 

Did you like this DIY? If so, please share it with a friend, because sharing is caring! Also, are you an upcycling goddess? I want to hear about your favorite upcycle project, and I may just feature you! As always, thanks so much for reading and following along in my blogging/creating journey!

xo, Em

 

A Letter To New Moms

Dear New Mom,

Hi. It’s me, your future self. I come in peace, but even better yet, I come with something maybe more valuable than peace; hindsight. I want to talk to you about this Mr.-Toad’s-Wild-Ride-of-an-experience that we call Motherhood. And I want to tell you that while you really, really may not believe it in this very moment; You got this. (I promise).

A letter from one mom to all new or expecting moms. Words of wisdom, experience and inspiration. Http://chasingayden.com/a-letter-to-new-moms

I want you to know that regardless of what social media might have you believe, every new mother struggles. I mean that–every last one of them. Regardless of how ‘easy’ or ‘good’ a baby is, it is still a baby. Which makes them 100% dependent and unable to meet their own needs. That is a lot of pressure, even for the rock-starriest of moms. Pictures say a thousand words, but pictures also lie. Remember that the next time you get caught up in a social media scroll-a-thon.

I want you to know that I see you struggling to just make it out of the house so that you can feel like a sliver of a human, despite many, many lost hours of sleep. Has anyone commended you today for even attempting to leave the ease of your nest? I am here to say, kudos to you. The reality is that the tinier the human, the more stuff they require. It may not ever get easy to leave the house with your child, but the load will eventually lighten.

Transitioning, (let’s call it what it is) in to motherhood is a spiritual and wonderful experience, but it can also be incredibly lonely. (Have you noticed that?) I used to wonder why women didn’t ‘warn’ me about matters like this before my baby came. What I have concluded is that I wouldn’t have heard them, even if they had. (Maybe they did!?) I want you to know that you are not alone. Call it a right of passage, if you will.

Perhaps physically you are alone with your baby in the middle of the night, while the rest of the people and pets in your home sleep peacefully. (I’m campaigning to change the saying from ‘sleeping like a baby’; to ‘sleeping like a husband’.) But rest assure, you are in fantastic company. You are part of a Mama Wolfpack, many of whom haven’t truly slept in months, (maybe even years). Thoughts of self-doubt and even feelings of mourning your ‘old life’ (before baby), are completely normal, but ride it out mama, because it will pass.

Speaking of self-doubt, I want to talk to you about the way you’ve been talking to yourself lately–especially the way you talk about your post-baby body. Knock that off. That very body we speak of grew and housed an entire other person. Just marinate on that for a minute. Pretty incredible, right? What is more important than bringing a life in to this world? I honestly can’t think of one thing; not a flat stomach, smooth skin, sexy bikini, narrow hips–none of it. So when your mind wanders to that dark place of self-criticism, (because let’s be honest, it will at times), remember how fantastically capable and beautiful your body is.

The last thing I want to say to you is this: Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for being imperfect, but also know that there is no one more perfect than you, to be your child’s mother. Forgive yourself for learning as you go, because that is what motherhood is. Forgive yourself for losing your patience sometimes, because we all do. Forgive yourself for the hard moments and celebrate the beautiful ones. Forgive your messy house, dirty dishes and mountains of laundry that seem to accumulate faster than you can fold. Forgive your husband or partner for also being imperfect, (they are learning as they go, too).

The days are long, but the months are fast. Just as you think you have it all figured out, your sweet baby will change the plans on you. Expect it. Embrace it. Laugh about it. Celebrate it.

Motherhood may not be or look exactly like you though it would, but this is it. You have arrived. You were meant for this. But most importantly, you got this.

 xo, Em

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