Svaha Spirit Series ~ Give a Little bit…

<—- Okay seriously my mustache looks real! Tomorrow for those of you who don’t know, I am wearing it all day for a donation by my friend Drew to Movember. So give a little bit for a great cause!

Give simply because you can! I love when human beings come together and help one another. It makes everyone involved feel good inside. Give a donation, compliment, support, kiss, smile, hug, helping hand to someone who needs it regardless if you know them! Give because you can!

Svaha~

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What Makes YOU Happy?


I just can’t seem to get off the topic of Happiness. What makes YOU happy…I mean realllllly happy? What puts a ((((smile)))) on your face? Is it a person? A place? A hobby? Thing 1 or Thing 2? Exclude health because without good health we have worry in the back of our minds, which can take away from happiness. However, there are those extraordinary individuals who rise above a health set-back and somehow beam with happiness like the sun is shining right through them, somehow making our day better! We can all learn from those individuals, they get it!

I read an article on who the happiest people in the world are and wasn’t surprised that it is those who have less materialistic stuff. Materialistic objects fill a hole when someone isn’t happy within, in my opinion. More stuff doesn’t equal greater happiness. Happiness is a skill that once mastered simply changes your frame of mind, it’s basic! It takes work just like everything else in life.

It’s actually quite hard to wipe the (((((smile)))) off of my face. I try to find the good in everything or everyone. It’s not always easy, after all I am human. Which is what we try to do here on Tara Cronica, “Finding Lyrical Beauty in Everyday Happenings.

I occasionally take a dive into the dark abyss of unhappiness but it never lasts very long. It’s either hormonal, which passes or it’s induced when I have to interact with certain human beings who I describe as Food! (individuals with no clear purpose in life, they’re just here taking up space!) When I come across food a dialogue bubble appears above my head whispering…“I seeeee stupid people” (line from the movie The Sixth Sense…real line is “I see dead people”) and then the energy sucking stupid person disappears and I have my smile back on my face! It’s that simple! 😉 Silly I know but it works!

Finding happiness in yourself is the most important element of being happy, to me. Not everything always goes the way we want.“You can’t always get what you want…but ya get what ya neeeeeed.” Do you buy that? When we don’t get what we want, or what we think we want, is life trying to teach us a lesson? Patience perhaps? I lack patience at times but I am getting better!

The glass is always half full for me! If you can be happy with just the cloths on your back then I think you have found the key to happiness. Let go of everything and see how happy the simple things in life can make you feel. The warm sun on your face, a great tune cranked as you drive, a warm coffee in cold hands, a smile from a stranger, the smell of lilac in the air, the sunset, the mountains, the ocean, nature, love, kisses, hugs, touch, warm feet, great conversation, the list is endless. Happiness is all around us if we stop and open our eyes and just be in it. When you are really happy everything that you thought you needed becomes a want instead, which isn’t nearly as important. We all have wants, but what do you really need to be happy?

Happiness to me is…being loved and grateful for what I have, not what I don’t have!

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Embrace Change ~

“Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.” Dalai Lama

I am not talking about the change of life. I am not there yet but I sense I will sail right through it with flying colours when it does come for me. I greet most change with “I’ve been expecting you.” Change is good, but not all change is welcomed right away. Comfort can sometimes lull us into a false sense of security. I admit I’ve become comfortable at times in my life and it seems that is when change has thrown me off balance, clubbed me right over the head knocking me to the ground! Nothing I can’t handle. I simply need time to process things, get a better understanding of where I am and what I need to do in order to move forward. I take a little time to collect my thoughts, stand back up, brush myself off, get my bearing and off I go. I am a trooper willing to do work and represent who I am to the core.

Every now and then I feel like I am on an island by myself with nothing but the cloths on my back. When I feel like this I try to figure out what lesson I am meant to learn on my own. Sometimes the most valuable ones in life are learned while standing solo. These are the times in life we need to do things on our own, just to be reminded that we can.

Different elements in our life adjust and shift into place, it’s a natural ebb and flow of what must be. Life is about balance, without it we tend to wobble here and there. If we don’t have balance we can’t find our flow. We need change sometimes in order to allow us to evolve and unfold instigating a move in the right direction. We need to step up and face the music so to speak. I have to admit at times I’ve want to turn the music OFF…and then a reallllly good song comes on distracting me and I’m right back to singing along. Look something shiny! Ebb and flow!

Music has helped me through lots of change in my life because it empowers and lifts my spirit just when I need it. Running is essential for me to feel balance and girlfriends, well they just simply rock my world in a way a man wouldn’t begin to know how. Women naturally nurture and support each other when change steps out unannounced. We can all relate to each other to some degree. We have either been there, done that, bought the T-shirt or we know someone who has. I also love my amazing man-friends who are able to put things into a different perspective for me. Male energy has a way of seeing through the clutter of emotions, getting right down to the nitty gritty of what’s going on. It’s important to have a wide variety of friends both male and female energy, it helps give a more well rounded view of life as we walk through it.

I know I am loved by many and supported in everything I take on in life. It’s nice to know that when you feel like you’re walking on uneven ground there is someone who senses you need a hand. I am grateful for everyone who has given me their support that has ultimately helped me continue down my path in life with a huge smile on my face. (((((smile)))))

Embrace change everyone! I am here if you need a hand to hold, a shoulder to lean on, a giggle, a hug or simply a smile. We are meant to lift one another in life to another level of understanding, embracing the change along the way!

Just keep in mind when change comes knocking at your door, you don’t need to answer it until your ready. If it sneaks up on you, just know that you’re not expected to know what to do right away, but eventually it will all become very clear!

Embrace Change…

“It is not the strongest of the species
that survives, nor the most intelligent,
but the one most responsive to change.”
~ Charles Darwin

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Hello Handsome…

I wrote a post last week called Exploring All Your Senses. I mentioned that sometimes we meet or know people who see us for who we truly are and it’s those individuals who make us strive to be better people. They keep us in check. They are not afraid to call us on things we say or do.

The sun came out this morning almost blinding me as I went through the Tim Hortons drive though to grab a java. I soaked up each ray with a ginormous smile on my face and even said out loud “Hello Sunshine” it felt like spring was in the air. The cashier had an extra big smile when I arrived, saying “your coffee was bought by the gentleman before you…and he was very handsome!” I giggled and said “really?” in my sweetest voice. (I was saying really to the coffee being bought not that he was handsome) I didn’t see him but that’s how she described him! Was it the kind gesture that made him handsome or was it simply his appearance that appealed to the cashier?

Which leads me to the real topic of my post…

So, I apparently describe men I meet more often than not as handsome. (my mind instantly sticks up for me justifying with…”and that’s wrong…why?”) I am only writing about this because it has been brought to my attention on more than one occasion. My initial reaction when it was first pointed out was (I won’t mention her name but she’s known me my entire life) “Well I’m just not going to tell you when I meet someone…handsome” and then the next time by two others (both handsome by the way) I said annoyed in denial “I do NOT say every guy I meet is handsome!” Which lead to a debate…that I sadly lost because of a technicality. I do in-fact describe men as handsome more often than not. One ‘other’ person added that I say “he was actually a really nice guy” but we’ll leave him out of it (he too is handsome!) 😉 HA! How lucky am I to meet so many really nice guys who so happen to be handsome! I know Bonnie is giggling with me right now!

When I describe a man as handsome I think they are but for more than their exterior. You don’t get described as handsome by me just because of how you look. I describe those guys as ‘hot’ (lol) Handsome is much deeper than hot.

I see the eyes first, then smile, then neck, and shoulders, and hands…okay, okay sorry! It’s the warmth that comes from behind a mans eyes that attracts me to him. Our conversation is what makes me want to listen and look longer, if he can make me laugh, bonus! A kind warm open heart is what will get me in the end, not handsome! Throw in intellect and I jump in with wide eyed enthusiasm! That is what makes a man handsome to me. It would have been the kind gesture that made the man who bought my coffee handsome to me. I will admit that when I am with my girlfriends feeling feisty we s-o-m-e-t-i-m-e-s just sit and appreciate the outer shell of men as they stream through the coffee shop because that’s just fun!

So, it may appear to some that I use the word ‘handsome‘ far too often and perhaps I do need to be more specific when describing the really nice men I meet. They are manly, kind, helpful, sarcastic, loving, cute, pleasing, generous, interesting, tempting, irresistibly sexy, alluring, tough, serious, intriguing, talented, intellectually stimulating, hilarious, confident…I could keep going but I am sure you get the point. I may describe men as being handsome but only because it’s a quick way of saying they made me look a little deeper than their surface because of something unique they showed me about who they are.

The man in both the photos I used has been my living example of what handsome truly is. He is my measuring stick, he is my Dad and I think he is the most handsome man EVER to have walked the earth…inside and out! xo (the beautiful woman is my Mom :))

Handsome is as handsome does…Character and behaviour are more important than appearance ~ proverb

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Svaha Spirit Series~The Hidden Power of Smiling


Not  that we need science to tell us what I’m sure we all already know…smiling feels good! But it is interesting to learn about what science has discovered about the simple act of stretching the corners of your mouth to meet your ears.

Ron Gutman reviews a raft of studies about smiling, and reveals some surprising results. Did you know your smile can be a predictor of how long you’ll live — and that a simple smile has a measurable effect on your overall well-being? Prepare to flex a few facial muscles as you learn more about this evolutionary contagious behaviour.

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It Comes With Age ~

We spend much of our youth searching for someone to spend the rest of our lives with, not realizing that it means a VERY long time. 🙂 That’s right THE SAME MAN FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!! That’s obviously a joke. My Mom and Dad have known one another since they were twelve so I have seen first hand what it is like to spend the rest of your life with someone. I don’t remember any time growing up where I felt like that might change. I admire them both for their commitment and vow they took so seriously, not many do.

When we meet our potential partner in our twenties or thirties we naturally want to take the next step towards marriage so we live with and spend every waking moment together, well not every waking moment, but you know what I mean. We live our lives side by side, some on top of one another and others quite far apart but nevertheless we spent most of our time together.

Then we enter middle age and our kids, if we had any, are growing and entering the same cycle that we have, hopefully with less mistakes and more life experience. We grow and unfold and change in all different directions. Some of us grow with our partners and others grow away from them. Ideally if we have a partner who is our best friend, we can at least maintain the friendship. I have never understood even in my teens why two people can’t remain friends just because as a couple they didn’t work out, with the exception of a wrong doing.

As we age and move into different chapters of our lives, things change, we change. Some of us are faced with moving forward in that next chapter independent of anyone else. I think it comes with age, the understanding that being independent is not the same as being alone. In the evolution of a growing relationship this change doesn’t have to be a negative one. It’s how you perceive it, that counts.

I am independent moving ahead in my life, but I am certainly not alone. What I have learned is that although my relationship has been redefined it is far from over and has an entire future ahead of it that is waiting for me to experience and embrace. So my fairy tale romance may not have turned out traditional like my parents, but it has evolved and reached levels most together couples have never come close to. I wouldn’t change that for anything!

Personal growth is a wonderful feeling when you can accept things and move forward without any resentment or regret. That is the part of being in your 40’s, for me, I love the most. As you age you accept changes you might not have in your earlier years. You smile more, trust your heart, love more deeply and accept the things you cannot change. Sinéad O’Connor’s song “Feels So Different” first three lines has stuck with me for year.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change
Courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference”  Reinhold Niebuhr

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Encouragement can be as simple as a smile:)

trayc-wWhen I run I listen to the music of U2 or Cold Play to keep me in the ‘zone’ and inspired to keep going.  While running the other day I found another source that kept me moving quickly along my route.  I noticed that when women smiled at me I felt a burst of energy.  It was their way of saying “you go girl”  with a simple smile.

It’s different when men smile, you still feel the burst of energy but it quite often (not always) has a sexual charge connected to it.  When women smile at me it just feels like it is for no other reason than support.  I am not saying that when every man smiles at me it’s sexually charged (that’s an entirely different post) but I think it’s naturally different.  I know men are also very supportive and their energy is very powerful as well.  I have many male friends who are equally as supportive as my female ones.

We all learn from a very young age that encouragement is vital to success.  We can succeed without it, but it certainly helps.  We start with encouraging our babies to talk, walk and learn.  Encouragement is what gets them to take that first step or say their first word.  As our kids grow we continue to encourage them in school and sports and they flourish and learn so quickly.  Kids thrive on encouragement, so do adults.

As adults I think we don’t encourage one another as much as we should.  We have stopped giving those words of encouragement to our colleagues, possibly because of our competitive nature.  I know for myself when I get encouraging words from both of my partners I work harder and push myself more.  If your girlfriend tells you that you look like you’ve lost weight, you don’t go grab a cupcake for lunch, you go for a run.  Encouragement!  If your boyfriend tells you that you look like you’ve dropped a few (not in those exact words) you feel sexy, wink.  Let’s be clear though that manipulative encouragement can totally backfire!

It’s all about positive energy.  You get back what you put out there.  I never thought of a smile before as a form of encouragement.  But I believe it is.  Bonnie wrote a great post on ‘The Power of a Smile’ which is so true.  Encouragement is a gift that is free to give to anyone, anywhere, anytime that, as I learned running, can be as simple as a smile  🙂  Have you encouraged anyone today?  I hope I inspired you to 🙂

Tracy

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Girlfriends Youthful Secrets

Tracy’s take~

As I age it gets harder and harder to look young and fresh.  Some days it’s hard to look in the 10X mirror, but I wouldn’t live without it or all hell would break  loose!  I want to age gracefully!  I have been told my entire life I have never looked my age  (or was it never acted my age? hmmm)  so I guess what I am doing is working.  We’re here today to share with you what we do to try to maintain a certain level of youthfulness.

1~ I think you need to start from within, for sure, by drinking water all day long.  I don’t know about you but I see the difference in my skin Tracy moisturizingwhen I am not hydrated.  It looks similar to an orange peel.  Drink water!

2~ I also run and get exercise at least 4-5 days a week.  It gives you a natural glow and brings fresh blood to the surface of your skin so you look healthy.  You feel good which definitely shows in your attitude and you have energized your mind, body and soul.

3~ I ALWAYS take off my make-up before bed and moisturize day and night. I wish now I had listened to the lady in the mall years back when she said make sure you also do your neck…curses!! Do your neck, too.  You’ll wish you had!

So Bonnie, what’s your secret to looking so great over the years?

~Tracy

Bonnie’s two cents~

Why, thank you, Tracy.  Assuming, as you all now must because you can’t really see me, that I do look good for my age, here are some things I’ve learned:

1~ I recently learned, through my hair dresser (thanks Meeshala!), that I should take about 15 minutes and blow dry my hair properly.   What this means is that one hand must pull my hair through a large round brush while the other hand holds the dryer on it.  This results in my hair having more body but it eliminates frizz.  Wow! I can’t believe how much better I look without the frizz and more importantly I can’t believe I went for so many years not knowing this simple beauty tip.  I must have missed that issue in one of my magazines!

2~ Have you ever noticed that older people lose their whiteness?  No, they don’t suddenly dance well.  The whites of their eyes dull and their teeth do, too.  I don’t recommend doing this every day but on special occasions I always use eye drops to brighten my eyes up.  I also don’t recommend over whitening your teeth (George Hamilton/Tracy) but I’ve found using a good whitening toothpaste for everyday works well (I use Arm and Hammers Extra Whitening and also rinse with Listerine Extra with Whitenol).

3~ The very best beauty secret I know of is to smile.  Seek joy in your life and you can’t help but smile and then you automatically look beautiful.  You can’t help it, it radiates out of you.

I know what Tracy means about the neck.  We’re now entering the era of…turtlenecks.  It will be a little uncomfortable this summer.  Whatcha got for us Jacquie?

Jacquie weighs in…

Are you guys for real?!!!!  Seriously?

OK… exfoliation is key, I’d say.  At least once or twice a month I strip down to my undies , tie my hair up in a ponytail and roll down the length of my asphalt driveway a few times.  Great way to smooth down those rough elbows and knees.

I love going out for sushi and I always ask for extra wasabi (green Japanese horseradish) on the side to bring home.  Makes a great toner when my blonde highlights begin to look a bit faded and coppery and a little bit mixed into my foundation and dabbed under my eyes corrects the bluish dark circles I get after late nights boozin’ with the gals.

This last one is my personal fave.  I hired a very talented and discreet lighting director to follow me around holding up soft focus gels and filters so that I’m only ever seen it the best possible light.   Smoke and mirrors ( slathered in Vaseline, of course) works well, too.

~Jacquie

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What I find funny

Yesterday I was reading the latest post I had written to ‘a really good friend of mine’ and he said to me “you need to write something funny'”  If  you know me, I am all about the funny, the laugh out loud, the guffaw!!  It is the number one quality I look for in a man.  Without laughter in my life I think I would seriously think of shooting myself.

I think,  in general, people have a hard time taking me seriously because of my quirky sense of humor and I almost always have a ridiculously large smile on my face.

Here are a few things I find funny.  ‘Why We Suck’ by Denis Leary. Now that’s funny !Denis Leary

This book is  “Part memoir, part self help tome but definitely a full-time funny assault on all the posers, politicians and pop culture icons who have sucked in public for far too long, this book is a call to arms for everyone who feels the way the good doctor does:  Skinny jeans are for skinny people.  Men will never change.  Not even into clean underwear”.

Denis warns you right from the get go that if you are a woman , you will soon be livid.  If you are a man, you are going to be filled with a burning rage.  This book is a parody, satire and simply pokes fun at a variety of different topic.

I love men who can confidently stand up and say exactly how they feel with no filter whatsoever!  That is freedom of speech!  I also love ‘Rescue Me’ the television series where Leary is co-creator, co-writer, producer as well as being the lead.  It’s brilliantly written.  You never really know what to expect. You can be laughing at the content one minute and crying the next.

If you’re not in the mood for a book then I recommend the movie “Burn after reading” with Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Frances McDormand.  Brad’s character is an 80’s personal trainer from a local gym.  I am an 80’s girl Brad Pittso it was a great flashback.  He’s not the gorgeous Brad Pitt we’re used to,  but as I said before, humor is the number one quality I look for in a man.  I laughed out loud in this movie.  I was glad it was a rental  so I could keep rewinding it and, seriously, I couldn’t stop laughing for days! You have to check it out !

So, although I don’t feel like writing anything funny at this particular moment in time,   I do have a gut laugh out loud almost everyday.  I think one of the most important things in life is that you’re able to laugh at yourself, not take anything too seriously, and remember this too will pass.  I have decided to just go with the flow and be true to my voice; what ever I am feeling is what you’ll be reading.

George & Brad

I know this picture isn’t funny, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do… ; )

Tracy

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The Power of a smile

big smileI recently read a lovely comment about how offering a smile to someone was like blowing them a kiss from your soul.

I wish I could remember the exact quote but it certainly made me smile when I read it.

Later that day while I was out running some errands, I watched a few people smiling at each other and the reactions they received. Whoever was offered a smile always smiled back and their spirit seemed lifted. It made me think about how the energy of one persons smile seems to transfer to the person being smiled at. It was obvious that in those moments of ‘smile sharing’ everyone felt uplifted and happy. What a wonderful gift!

I decided to play with this a little. I went to my gym. I had noticed in the past that most of the women go about their workouts without looking at each other eye to eye. Oh, we all check each other out and assess the latest workout wear etc., but not many look each other in the eye and offer a smile. I made a deliberate choice to look directly at everyone who crossed my path that day and smile at them. The response was great! Everyone smiled back and some offered “hello’s” and “how are you today’s”. Then it struck me! There may have been lots of smiling going on before but I wasn’t participating. Now that I’m smiling at everyone I meet I’m receiving that great energy too.

It is so simple and yet so powerful.

Here is a wonderful piece I found that really sums it up beautifully.

“A SMILE costs nothing, but gives much. It enriches those who receive, without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None is so rich or mighty that he can get along without it, and none is so poor but that he can not be made rich by it. A smile creates happiness in the home, fosters good will in business, and is the countersign of friendship. It brings rest to the weary, cheer to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and is nature’s best antidote for trouble. Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away. Some people are too tired to give you a smile. Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give.”

— believed to be based on the writings of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch

smile– Bonnie : )

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