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Inspirational Jewelry, Gifts and Gab

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

More on Worrying

The article I wrote on "Imagining the Worst" has been well received. I think it has struck a nerve with many people as we are all worried about the economy and our own financial well being. I've reworked my original article with additional information and thoughts. You can also find it on: http://groovybabyblog.blogspot.com

I recently saw an article about the benefits of not worrying. Not worrying has been something I've worried about for several years. I spent many, many years in knots over money, relationships, pregnancy, interior decorating, siblings, unemployment and more. I had entire conversations with myself about how terrible things were and how they were bound to spiral into catastrophic depths. I imagined bankruptcy, death, firestorms and irreversible choices of kitchen paint colors. I would talk myself into any disaster.

Recently, I've realized that what I imagine is usually much worse that what actually happens.In other words, all the energy I wasted playing horrific imaginary scenes in my head, was just that, wasted energy. That energy could of been placed towards actively working to solve my problems, while still enjoying the present moment. I spent hours using energy, creating stress and feeling bad about events that hadn't happened, and probably never would. What a waste of time! Author, Eckhart Tolle said, "Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose."

In fact, worrying creates stress which can manifest itself in many damaging ways. For myself, worrying caused impatience with my children and husband, a constant sense of anxiety, and even health issues like dizziness and tiredness. Worst of all, worrying and stress are the ultimate cause of aging - creating frown lines, crows feet, bad skin and more. All the expensive face creams and anti-aging concoctions in the world can't, suppress the wrinkly results of stress.

Time is what it took to retrain my brain. Shutting off those bad thoughts was a great effort, and continues to be. I exercise my brain, when I feel worried or stress, by forcing myself to focus on the moment and talking myself through whatever I'm worrying about. For example, with three children, I'm always striving to get somewhere on time - school, soccer, music class, etc. When I feel the worry creeping up to choke me, I take deep breathes and remember that everything will be fine. What is, is. Nearly 100% of the time, by the time I arrive to my destination, I feel better, I'm not yelling at my kids, and no one has even noticed that I'm a little late, because they are too.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Give Yourself A Time-Out

I always find myself counting to my kids… “1…2…” Usually by 2, the one who’s been threatened with a time out, says irritably “okay, okay, Jeeeezzzzz mom.” I don’t understand why they think a time out is so terrible. I would love a time out. As soon as someone got to “one,” I’d be ready to go. “Yippee! I get a time out!"  It would be great replying to my kids with“you don’t like tonight’s dinner? Fine, I'm going to time-out!” or “You’re going to throw a tantrum because you can’t watch more Zac and Cody? Great, give me a time out.”

Time-out for grown ups are actually a very good idea. Research shows that just three minutes of an adult time-out can seriously lower stress, boost your mood and improve your mind. Try this (as recommended by UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center (marc.ucla.edu):

~ In a quiet room, stand, sit upright, or lie in a comfortable place.

~ Close your eyes and notice what’s happening in your body. Do you feel agitated, stressed, etc.

~ Breathe slowly and deeply for a minute. Don’t worry about thoughts that may be drifting in your mind – that’s normal.

~ Listen to the sounds around you. Notice the silences and breathe.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

On The Cover of A Magazine

I'm a proud mama today. My kids are pictured on the cover of the Central Coast Family Newspaper.  It's a really great local paper that includes useful information for local families and businesses. Thank you to Mary Kelting for taking the photo and Stephanie Shehan, the Editor for choosing our photo.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Imagining the Worst

I recently saw an article about the benefits of not worrying. Not worrying has been something I've worried about for several years. I spent many, many years in knots over money, relationships, pregnancy, interior decorating, siblings,  unemployment and more. I had entire conversations with myself about how terrible things were and how they were bound to spiral into catastrophic depths. I imagined bankruptcy, death, firestorms and irreversible choices of kitchen paint colors. I would talk myself into any disaster. 

Finally, about two years ago, I read Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth." One thing Tolle said that really stuck in my brain was that in essence, what you imagine is usually worse that what will actually happen. Imagine that! I spent hours using energy, creating stress and feeling bad about events that hadn't happened, and probably never would. What a waste of time! 

Time is what it took to retrain my brain. Shutting off those bad thoughts was a great effort, and continues to be. However, without a doubt, I feel freer. A weight has been lifted. The weight of worry. My mom always said "things usually work out for the best." Of course, she was right. Moms always are.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Christmas Photos By the Barn

A few months ago, my friend and photographer extraordinaire, Mary Kelting, came up with a great idea to use our little red barn as a background for her yearly Christmas photos. Before we knew it, we were decorating the barn with dainty white lights, a freshly cut holiday tree, bales of hay and an amazingly beautiful wreath. Aimee Lithwin was instrumental in putting together the details of the decorations. The day was uncharacteristically hot and we were all sweating as we trimmed the tree. A memorable morning. 
I love Mary's style of photography. She is so talented at capturing a child's spirit and personality. Thank you, Mary, for amazing photos that will last a lifetime.  www.marykeltingphotography.com

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Scary Good Deals this week

There are some amazing deals on food this week that I just had to share.

RALPHS: 8 Hour Sale on Thursday, Oct. 30th only:
Capri Sun .99 for a box of 10
Tombstone Pizza $1.99
Oscar Mayer Hot Dogs $1.50 each
Avocados .88 each

Gala Apples .88 lb.
Red Grapes .99 lb
Saturday, Nov. 1 only: Betty Crocker Cake Mix .59 and Yoplait 8 packs $2.99

If you're still looking for a Halloween Costume, my friend Holly recommended Castaways Thrift Store in Morro Bay. She was just there and said they have lots of cheap costumes and ideas for Halloween.

Monday, October 27, 2008

La Familia Pumpkin Patch

On Sunday I took the kids to La Familia Pumpkin Patch on Los Osos Valley Road. We had such a good time. It was a beautiful day and the kids had a ball (despite the look on Charlie's face) finding their way through the maze and picking out their Halloween pumpkins. 

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Is the Economic Crisis Just What We Needed?

The last two weeks, have been like a big clonk on the head to most Americans. We have been spending money that we never had and it is finally biting us in the butt. I am guilty of it. When we bought our current house, we took on a mortgage that was out of our comfort zone. However, since the bank was more than happy to give us the money, we thought we could afford it. After all, the bank should know, right? Wrong!

Many are putting the blame on banks, middle class Americans, poor Americans, BIG company executives, etc., but I blame the 1980's TV Show "Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous." Every week Robin Leach showed us what it was like to have a load of money. We gazed upon 24k gold chandeliers, staggering fleets of Lamborghinis and Rolls Royces, and bathroom fixtures that cost more than most people make in a year. Suddenly our Buick didn't look so great, our fluorescent kitchen light looked cheap and our rusty bathroom faucet was disgusting. We realized what we didn't have, and then had to have it, whatever the cost. 

Now we are all learning the lesson that our grandparent knew, but we refused to believe. My grandma saved everything in plastic and secured it with a rubber band. I'm beginning to stock pile my rubber bands. "Champagne wishes and Caviar Dreams?" I say "Corona whims  and potato chip aspirations." In other words, live simply and be happy.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Frugal Fryer's Fabulous Finds #2

My friend Leah, who owns Fiona Bleu in Morro Bay, gave some great tips about buying Halloween costumes. She wrote "Here's a money saving tip for Kids Halloween costumes.If you have looked online it is so pricy plus you pay shipping!! Plus this way you are being First. I went to Merry Go Round in Slo (their new location is by Applebee's) and found a Brand new mermaid costume for my 2 yr old, it still had the tags on..only $20!!It's a little big on her and i know she'll wear it for dress up play a lot so it's a deal! Then we went to the Goodwill on Higuera in Slo and they have a ton of Halloween costumes for kids and big kids too!! My 5 yr old boy found a skeleton costume that he loved!! and I loved the price only $5! !They also had some new in package wigs and accessories too! My advice is to shop early for the best deals!! Happy Halloween"

Aimee also reminded me about our friend Karen Graham, who is a licensed Esthetician and great at shaping and waxing eyebrows. She is a true bargain at only $10 for an eyebrow wax. She also does facials that are amazing and half the price of most salons. Call Karen at: 704-9105.

Pears 3 lbs. for $1 AMAZING Bargain!
Gala apples: .88 per lb.
Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie Mix: .79 (they are good too)

Green grapes: .88 lb.
Cantaloupes: 10 lbs. for $10

BAD BARGAIN: Has anyone else noticed how Dreyer's Ice Cream got a lot smaller, but is the SAME price. What's up with that?  
Happy Shopping and please leave a comment!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What's Your Mantra?

"All that we are is the result of what we have thought." -Buddha 

 I have visualized my life's goals since my early 20's. Back then, I called it "setting goals for myself." After much contemplation, I would decide on a distinct goal, imagine it and figure out how to achieve it. 

One of the greatest experiences of my life was working for Disneyland in Paris after graduating from college. Two years before, I was studying in France and took a bus tour that passed the massive site where EuroDisney was being constructed. It was barren, muddy and cold. I remember looking out the bus window, thinking to myself "I will work there someday. That is what I want to do." For two years, I pictured myself working there, traveling, and making international friends. That job changed my life because it was where I met my husband of nearly 15 years (the photo is of us two years ago at our reunion in Disneyland Paris).

My best friend Deb has known me for 20 years and has witnessed my thoughts become reality. She recently wrote the following to a friend: "My friend, Paula always always always wanted to be married by a certain age, wanted a house, dogs, then children by 30.  Guess what?  She has all of these things in the time line she gave herself.  Thoughts become things."

Deb wanted to set her own goals for her life. I suggested she name what she wanted. Perhaps some people don't know what they want, or just don't know how to say what they want. I say, shout it at the top of your lungs!!! Be concise, clear and make them all positive. For example:
I want:
1. to be independently successful
2. to be philanthropic.
3. to earn at least $5,000 per month
After you have listed what you want, make a movie in your head visualizing your achievements. In this scenario, my "movie" would include running a business that is lucrative. I can see myself sitting in my home office, confident and professional. My business would include an aspect that touches the community and makes a difference in people's families. In my "movie" I have a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. My "movie" runs through my head often. I can actually feel myself being in that situation. 

Need more proof that this works? For years I imagined my dream house. It was a big ranch house on a corner lot, surrounded by trees on a large piece of property. Guess what? I live in that house. The one I visualized was brick and mine is wood siding and stucco, but I can live with that. 

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Frugal Fryer's Fabulous Finds

 My friends tease me that I can be cheap. Admittedly,  I do enjoy a good bargain and am always searching for ways to save money.  Instead of resisting my "frugal" ways, I have decided to embrace them and share some of my tips and knowledge. After all, with the economy in the pits, we can all benefit from a little extra cash. 

I hope this will become a forum for all of us Los Osos patrons to share ideas, discounts and bargains. If you have any info. on local stores, restaurants, whatever, please scroll to the end of this article, click on "comment" and enter your hot tip.

VONS: Did you know our sorry little Vons is getting a facelift? It will soon have hardwood floors, a florist, and an entire new look to bring it into the new millennium. 
-Right now they have baskets full of "clearance" items that they are trying to get rid of. I bought pull ups for $5, dog treats for $1.75 and cereal for $1.75.  
Other weekly bargains include:
-Red and green grapes for .88 per pound 
-Jennie-O Lean Ground Turkey is buy one get one free.

-Gala Apples 2 lbs. for $1
- Russet Potatoes - 2 lbs. for $1, 
-Campbell's Soup - 4 cans for $3

Last tip for the week - my friend Erin told me that from Monday thru Thursday, Round Table has a large 2 topping pizza for just $10.99. Guess what we're having for dinner tonight!

Happy Eating and don't forget to leave your shopping tips in the comment section. 

Thursday, September 25, 2008

In The Moment

Worrying about the economy, home prices, and our own finances feels overwhelming. Today Charlie and I went outside and found a beautiful white spidery seed. We watched it blow in the wind and chased it around the yard. After catching it, we settled 
in the hammock watching the trees move while we sang our own imaginary songs. Time stood still.

"Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry — all forms of fear — are cause by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence."
-Eckhart Tolle

Monday, September 22, 2008

Seven Deadly Zins

"Seven Deadly Zins" was the winner of the First Annual Salzman Vineyards wine tasting party. The winemaker's website describes our fav as having "A vibrant, sweet bouquet of raspberry jam, molasses and cinnamon toast that evokes the senses of carefree youthful nights." "Carefree youthful nights?" That explains a lot!

Congratulations to Jessica and her husband for bringing the winning

 bottle and receiving A Little Gratitude's Wine Bottle Necklace!  

Thank you to Holly and Larry for hosting a memorable evening. We can hardly wait for the next one! 

Mom's In Motion

Saturday morning was glorious as I spent some time running, walking and talking with a great group of women. We all participate in an organization called Mom's In Motion.  The founder, Jamie Allison, joined us for the beautiful run in Montana de Oro.  She started the club just seven years ago, and it's now up to 5,000 members. Jamie was an inspiration to me because she had a vision of beginning a business that fulfilled her need to exercise, meet people and be philanthropic. She stressed the importance of making time for yourself, which so many busy women put last on their agenda. As the leaders of our households (you know we are!), we are constantly fulfilling the needs of our families and all the responsibilities that encompass a busy household. Thanks to Jamie, and our fearless local leader Liz, for giving us the encouragement and venue to take care of ourselves!

Liz, our team leader, is really great at motivating. I made her this necklace that fit her personality and drive perfectly. It says "Passion, Strength and Focus." It's great for any athlete, or Wogger (walker/jogger), like me. This necklace is not on my website, but please feel free to contact me, if you're interested in purchasing a necklace at: paula@a-little-gratitude.com

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Too Skinny Gwinny

I adore the Oprah Winfrey Show. It can be inspiring, funny, and informational. However, yesterdays Oprah got me talking on my soap box.  Gwyneth Paltrow's new "super-body" made me really think about how women view their bodies and what is labeled beautiful in society. 
Gwyneth works out two hours a day, six days a week with a personal "exercise genius". Oprah absolutely ogled over her body, like it was what all women should strive for. The time, money and dedication needed to achieve Gwyneth's body is ludicrous. To get her sinewy-look Gwyneth has a climate controlled workout room full of custom exercise resistance bands that work her muscles while stretching them. So, why is Gwyneth's body beautiful to people if  it is, for the most part, unachievable? Is it really beautiful? I found it a little unworldly, in an alien sort of way. 
As a mom of two young girls, I want more role models who are healthy and happy. Wouldn't it be nice if we weren't so obsessed with "food" and "working out", but just living a life full of healthy exercise, playing hide and go seek, jumping on trampolines, and nourishing our body when it's hungry? 

Monday, September 15, 2008

Cute Babies and Pretty Candles

I had the privilege of babysitting my bff's 4 month old today. Little Zane is so sweet and has a laugh that is pure goodness. Aimee, Zane's mom is such a good friend. We can talk a blue streak on any subject from politics to lip gloss. Aimee's husband, Jerry, is great and a really good contractor. If you need your bathroom remodeled, call Jerry!

These candles smell wonderful and make a perfect gift. One tag says
"gratitude," the other says "dream" and both tags include a hand-wrapped fresh water pearl. If you would like to order a candle, please email me at: 

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Soccer and Shots

Starting last Saturday, I became an official soccer mom. It's a hard pill to swallow.  I always associated "soccer mom" with the kind of mom who throws away her own life for one dedicated to her kid's social calendar. That's not me! While loving my kids, I also value my own time and make it a priority to take care of myself and have fun doing it. Having said all of that... Soccer Saturday is Spectacular! We get to see friends and neighbors, spend quality time with our kids and be outside getting lots of exercise and fresh air. It's better than I imagined, and I have a new appreciation for the proverbial "soccer mom."

I was so happy and excited to get new head shots taken.  It's something that I have wanted to do for a very long time. Expert photographer, Mary Kelting was kind enough to take photos of me a few weeks ago out by our little red barn. I was happy with the result. Of course, being a woman, I picked apart my crows feet (I prefer laugh lines), and the gray roots that I put off dying for just a little too long, but overall I'm really pleased with the photo. Thanks Mary!

Lastly, I wanted to introduce a new product to my company, A Little Gratitude. A few people had requested that I make key chains for them. It seemed like a great way for a daily reminder to enjoy the moment. I have made a few of them so far, and have been very well received.  The key chains can be purchased on my on line store at the Etsy site.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


On Sunday our family decided to take a short road trip to Harmony Cellars Winery  where my good friend Holly works.  Harmony is located between Morro Bay and Cambria.  The town has a population of 18 and is adorable.  The kids played outside, while Stuart and I sipped wine and ate cheese.  - Coastal living at it's best!

I wore a necklace that I recently designed.  I love that it is so simple, yet flows nicely.  It also looks really modern with a pair of jeans.  I named it "Circles of Appreciation." A lot of my customers want to say "thank you" to a teacher or friend, and this is a nice way to do it.