On Self-Care and Taking Yourself on a Date (New Video and Tips to Share)

I’ve read a lot about self-care over the years, and often see the recommendation to get comfortable taking myself out to lunch or to a movie (and doing so while avoiding numbing any discomfort by spending time on my phone to check social media, etc.).  Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, spending time alone can be a healthy and beautiful thing.  Without it, introverts especially can begin to feel depleted.  If you haven’t read Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking or watched “The Power of Introverts” on TED, both would make wonderful additions to your summer personal development list!

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to spend some time alone, and after catching up on my to-do list, I was encouraged by my sweet husband to take some time to reenergize my spirits.  Though I avoided time on my phone, I did bring it out to capture a few video clips for you.  I hope you enjoy this Charleston VLOG and feel inspired to schedule a date with yourself in the near future! I’m sharing a few ideas for YOUR own date far below the video.

chsvlog
An Afternoon Alone – Ideas for Self-Care:

  • Take yourself to see a movie or theatre production that  interests you! You may be surprised to see others like yourself doing the same thing.
  • Go to a new coffee shop or neighborhood restaurant and order something different.  If you feel too vulnerable, bring a book along to read.
  • Visit a museum or art gallery, taking time to sit and enjoy the exhibit.
  • Walk around a historic neighborhood or shopping district.
  • Schedule a massage, skincare session, haircut or manicure.  Options abound on Groupon!
  • Visit a new city and take in the sights! Stay the night in a hotel for another change of scenery.

Light + Bright Updates, a Giveaway, and Thoughts on Everyday Miracles

Hi friends,

I have a new schedule that is keeping me on my toes, one that is reminding me live with intention and in the flow of grace, instead of striving for perfection.  Although I haven’t been able to post as often on my blog, I’m thankful for being able to continue to connect with you here and over on YouTube, where I recently celebrated 275 subscribers and 24,000 views (thank you).  A few light + bright updates today, as well as some far more important items to share!

This Week’s Giveaway + Etsy Update:
I shared a glimpse into my focus for the rest of the year in my last post, which included expanding my gratitude by launching 28 weeks of giveaways.  Mary Elizabeth was my winner last week, and this week I’m giving away an 8 X 10 print of this vegan watercolor.

veganart

I’m keeping the entry method super easy this go-round; for your chance to win, simply leave a comment below, or connect with me on social media by tweeting me @lauracatherineo, following me on Instagram @lauracatherineco, subscribing on YouTube, or “liking” my Facebook page.  Whatever is easiest for you! I’ll draw the winner on Sunday, June 29th.  As always, no purchase is necessary to win (must be 18 years old and a US resident to enter).

instant-download
I have also loaded my Etsy shop with plenty of instant download printable art (a glimpse is above), which means for $5 you are able to download an 8 X 10 high-resolution PDF file that is ready for printing from your personal printer! You could also send the file to Walgreens, Shutterfly, etc. for printing. I have 6 to choose from at this time, and will be adding more as I create them.

Now, onto “Everyday Miracles”…
board5I’ve been blessed to experience several miraculous moments in recent weeks, where it felt as though time stood still.

Kairos is pregnant time, the time of possibility – moments in our day, our week, our month, our year or our lifetime that define us. It is a crossroads. It has the ripe opportunity to make you bitter or better. It is a teachable moment. It is the right or opportune moment. They are rarely neutral and always leave an impact on us.” (source).

In May, I created a prayer/vision board where the header read, “Expect More Everyday Miracles”. In April, I shared my desire with the Charleston Live Your Legend group to seek and experience such encounters. My prayers have been answered, and I’m in amazement of just how quickly I have been blessed with these miraculous moments.

Looking back on your own life, can you identify a Kairos? If you are weary or discouraged, have you considered praying for your eyes to be opened to everyday miracles, and for them to flow into your day with clarity and grace?

Crafty Fun and $5 Off For You…
whimeseybox
After months of keeping my eye on Whimseybox, I took the creative leap and became a subscriber.  With an hour of art + craft time each day on the summer schedule, I wanted to get a creativity booster into their hands.  Instead of being hard on myself for not brainstorming brilliant crafts and purchasing everything during my errands, I’m embracing the ease and excitement Whimseybox will bring to our doorstep.  It will fill a few days and hopefully fuel more ideas for us! And for $15 (shipping is free), it’s something we will enjoy for the summer!

whimseyboxfun

If you want to join in on the fun, they gave me a $5 off coupon to share with you!  This is good for anything in their store, and also valid if you wish to join their monthly subscription box. You can use the coupon to buy craft goodies a la carte as well! Full disclosure: I will receive a Whimseybox credit should you become a subscriber. Thank you!

Thanks for sharing your time with me by reading this update, and for your loving support and encouragement.

Laura

Thoughts on Living in Freedom |28 Weeks of Giveaways | New Watercolor Art

Living | Expanding | Shifting - new Etsy shop listings added

Living | Expanding | Shifting – new Etsy shop listings added

Dear friends, I hope your summer is full of warmth, bliss, generosity and adventures.  I’ve been transitioning to a new schedule and also practicing an expansive mindset.

My sweet husband and I recently completed a course and retreat on Living in Freedom, Think-Differently-Live-Differently-Audiobook-356x356and what that looks like and feels like.  The material we covered was transformational and challenged many of our preconceived notions.  It’s difficult for me to describe everything, since it’s been quite a process, and one that is still rocking our world.  Something that especially shook me was the realization that the hopes and dreams planted deep inside of us are meant to be brought to life, not suppressed or pushed away due to fear of failure, practicality or what society tells us is the expected/normal route.  Perhaps these dreams realized will look differently than we imagined, but what if they come to life in a more vibrant and compassionate way?

We explored things like our true identity, our fears, and challenging our way of thinking.  Stepping into a new reality with a new mindset.  If this sounds like something you’re hungry for, definitely check out Bob Hamp’s book, Think Differently, Live Differently.

What childhood dreams have you felt like you had to push aside or silence? Are they so quiet now that you can’t even remember what they once were? How can you awaken them? Could there perhaps be a way to bring that life into your present situation? It doesn’t have to mean quitting your day job or moving across the country. How can you bring those hopes to life in new and exciting ways?

One of my longtime dreams has been to step into life as an artist.  I’ve wrestled with feelings of insignificance, failure and hopelessness when it comes to my art.  Attaching my perceived success with how well my art is received, and whether or not it sells.  Quite a vicious cycle, but one I’m ready to break!  One of the best ways I’ve found to bust through blocks is to crank up production with a determined spirit, and to release myself from the opinion others, since I’m connected to my heavenly Father and following His prompts.

In the spirit of stepping out and expanding, I’ve added several new listings to my Etsy shop, ones that I’ve been anxious to release before today.   For even bigger news that brings free goodness to YOU, keep reading!

Etsy-Shop28 Weeks of Giveaways
I’ve resolved to dedicate myself to giving away an art print, original painting, piece of jewelry or other beautiful thing every week for the rest of the year, no strings attached.  Generosity has been on my heart for the year, and this will allow me to practice and share it! I’d like to bless the youth I work with, the women around me, my sweet blog readers and online friends, and strangers.  Sometimes I’ll host the giveaway here, other times I’ll be taking it offline and into my community, and overall I want to enjoy the playfulness of it all!

I’m kicking off my first art giveaway with a print that was inspired by the Chosen Women’s Conference theme from 2013.  It was my first time attending, and the scenery was so lush, so loving, so enchanting.  Moss, purple, candles, gorgeousness all around!

Here’s the print I’m giving away to a sweet blog reader (it just might be YOU!):

For your chance to win, please enter on my Facebook page.  I’m running a giveaway software over there to make it easy for everyone. Please do let me know if you have any trouble with it, since it’s new to me. Giveaway runs now through June 14, 2014! Thank you in advance for entering and sharing with your FB friends.

Contest disclaimer:
No purchase necessary to win. 8″ X 10″ watercolor print value is $14. Must be at least 18 years of age and a US resident to enter. Limit one entry per household. A Facebook “Like” is not required to enter. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. The information you provide will be used to notify you if you are the winner (to request your mailing address for shipping purposes). Your email address and information will not be sold or shared, and you can one-click unsubscribe from Laura’s eNewsletter at any time. By entering, you are providing your name and email address to LauraCatherine.co, not to Facebook. Winner will be drawn Saturday, June 14, 2014 at midnight EST and announced on this Facebook page on June 15, 2014.

Good Luck, and thank you for your love and support!

Decadent Vegan Breadmaker Recipe ~ Dairy-free and Delicious!

vegan bread recipe

I’m sharing the most delicious bread recipe with you today, one that is dairy-free and absolutely divine! Watch the video with instructions, and keep reading for easy copy/paste recipe.

vegan bread thumbnail

I prepared this bread for a recent book club gathering with some of my favorite friends, and the aroma was incredibly inviting.  There is something about the smell of bread baking that sends a message of hospitality and love.  This recipe is fluffy, easy to cut, perfect for sandwiches, as a compliment to a meal, or even as French toast.   You’ll need a breadmaker for this recipe; I found mine at Goodwill for $10 and noticed they often have them in stock.  It’s one of those appliances that many people buy and don’t make time to use.  But with this recipe, I promise you’ll keep yours busy.

Decadent Vegan Breadmaker Recipe ~ Dairy-free and Delicious!

Here are your ingredients:

  • 3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (I modified this recipe from their classic sandwich bread recipe posted on their website, making substitutions to “veganize” it)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk or for an even sweeter treat, ½ cup So Delicious brand Coconut Milk Creamer, barista style in vanilla (I found this at Earthfare and used it in a pinch. It was wonderful in the recipe!)
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup hot water
  • 4 tablespoons melted Earth Balance butter.  I opted for their soy-free blend.
  • 2 tablespoons organic sugar
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 packet active dry yeast dissolved in 1 tablespoon warm water

To prepare your bread,

  • First, mix the cold-from-the-refrigerator coconut milk or coconut creamer with 1/2 cup of the hot-from-the-tap water to make a lukewarm liquid.
  • Next, in a separate mixing bowl, combine your dry ingredients (the flour, sugar, and salt) and then add your wet ingredients (the melted Earth Balance, water and coconut milk liquid).
  • Last, dissolve your packet of active dry yeast into 1 tablespoon warm water and add this into the mixing bowl.  Give it a few good stirs and transfer into your breadmaker.
  • I bake mine on the “basic” setting, which defaults to 4 hours.  But, I typically remove the loaf at 3 hours and 50 minutes. This is just my personal preference, so the crust isn’t too hard. Your bread maker settings may vary, so just check your manual if you’re unsure.

Additional tips:
One thing you don’t want to do is leave the bread in the breadmaker overnight, so when you bake it, have a timer set on your phone to be home and ready to remove from the breadmaker 10 or so minutes early.  Another tip is to allow the bread to fully cool before attempting to slice it, and remember to use a bread knife for the perfect technique.

Enjoy!