Through My Lens: February

February is possibly my favorite month of the year, for many reasons. First off, it is my birthday in February, the weather is still beautiful and it is a month full of love. I’d like to share a few snapshots that made my February feel extra special this year.

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I started off the month with the amazing opportunity to hear one of my favorite authors, Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, speak at a Trauma Stewardship Retreat hosted by the Joyful Heart Foundation. The presentation revolved around secondary trauma and the impact it has on our mind and body. It may seem that yes, hearing stories of suffering and people in crisis day in and day out is common sense, but it was so interesting to hear about the toll it takes on our health. She was able to provide some concrete ways to alleviate this toll and did an excellent job at explaining the importance of wellness. She is the author of Trauma Stewardship, a book I definitely recommend to anybody and everybody, no matter the profession. And here I am totally fangirl-ing taking a picture with her and her book during one of our breaks. 

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Speaking of wellness…am I right? The weekend of my birthday my little sister and my best friend and I hiked my favorite trail in Austin. It is called the Hill Of Life and is one of the toughest entrances to the Austin Greenbelt. I have not hiked this trail in a year since I broke my ankle and wow, was it tough! There are literally no words to describe the river we encounter at the bottom of the hill. It is gorgeous and peaceful and I am so glad it will become a weekly adventure. If you are ever in Austin, I definitely recommend you check it out. Just make sure to follow the trail as my sister and I found out the hard way a few years ago (we were lost for three hours lol).

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Definitely a smart cookie. Here is my not so baby nephew wearing a shirt I bought him from my college bookstore 6 years ago! I cannot believe it still fits him and I just love that he wore it special the day I arrived for a visit. I spent a nice and relaxing weekend up in Denton with my sister, nephew, her husband and their cat, Naruto. It was a really quick trip but I was so grateful to be with them and I hope I can make another trip up there again soon.

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Happy 59th Birthday John Travolta! My celebrity crush is also an Aquarius celebrating his birthday on February 18th. I snapped a photo of this light switch inside one of my favorite local shops on South Congress, Monkey See Monkey Do. The first time I saw this switch is perhaps one of the funniest moments of my adult life. I was walking out along with a few friends when they heard me scream, IS THAT JOHN TRAVOLTA! After I made a scene and thoroughly embarrassed my friends, I continued to ask the cashier if it was for sale. See, I love JT and I love Saturday Night Fever. After he checked with his manager I found out a friend hand painted the design (whoa!) and it was not for sale. Sigh. I will settle for the instagram version. 

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And finally, one of my favorite manicures up to now. I have been wanting to give this fishtail braid manicure a try for a while now and so glad I did. It is an easy technique with such a big impact. I followed a video tutorial by Miss Jen Fabulous of polishandpearls.com I hope to try different color combinations but this coral, turquoise and gold combo was perfect for the week!

And that is my February, in just a few photos. February really flew by, but I am excited for March and the adventures it will bring. Fun fact: I found out that each day is identical in both February and March. For example, my birthday was on Friday the 8th so that means the 8th will fall on a Friday in March. Isn’t that cool? This is true every year, except for leap year. 

Anyhoo, how did everyone enjoy their February days?

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DIY: Make Your Own Pom Poms

I recently inherited a few leftover balls of yarn from my good friend who has become a knitting master. Knitting is such a great flow activity because it allows you to reach a state of full concentration on one activity while managing another. Basically helps you master the art that is multi-tasking. This activity is encouraged at my job as part of our wellness curriculum. Unfortunately, I cannot knit to save my life! I have taken classes, joined knitting circles, watched countless video tutorials with no such luck. Despite my numerous attempts and failures, I decided to find a new way to use up the yarn I have collected over the years along with the scraps from my friend to create something just as fulfilling as a flow activity and creative.

I found so many different ways to use yarn to make pom poms. This is not anything new. Pom poms are used very often around the holidays to top off a present, as garland for decorating, or as a makeshift flower. I decided to give these a try today! 

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I came into work and found all these little beauties! I was so excited to give this tutorial a try.

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Step One:

  • Wrap the yarn around your fingers (two to three fingers at a time, depending on the size you are looking for.
  • I wrapped each little ball approximately 50-65 times. I was not paying close attention to each ball as I was practicing my ability to master the art of flow activities and tried to simply stay in the zone and focus on the end result.

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Step Two:

  • Cut the wrapped pieces off the rest of the ball along with another string about 8 inches long
  • Wrap the yarn around the ball as close to the center as you can get it and tie a double knot
  • Start chopping! Cut each round of yarn to start poofing it out (I think I just made up a word)

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Step Three:

  • Trim away! Give your new little pom a haircut. 
  • Cut as much off as you can to make sure it is in fact a pom and not a fur ball
  • Left: Un-trimmed shaggy ball / Right: Trimmed up pom pom

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Step Five:

  • Admire!

These are a few poms I managed to finish tonight. I am excited to tackle the rest of the yarn and then finally reveal where these babies are going to settle in. 

As far as flow goes, I think I hit it. I was definitely content as I was wrapping and trimming and putting this yarn to good use. And simultaneously satisfied as I finished each pom. I encourage everyone to find a flow activity they enjoy to promote their daily wellness practices. For me, 2013 has been all about wellness. I hope to be able to share more of that aspect of my life with y’all here in the coming months. 

Til then, Hope everyone had a great hump day!