Finding My Focus

 photo focus_zpsfdbfae7d.jpgPHOTO BY Nick Miller

If you read the The Weekly on Monday, you may know by now that I’ve been kind of distracted and all over the place with my blog. I’ve been having a difficult time finding the energy and motivation to write blog posts that truly inspire me and because of that my more recent posts seem to lack heart and soul; they lack character and they lack me.

It’s been really bothering me because the whole point of Peace and Chaos is to inspire, motivate and energize – “Learning to live, love and grow through creativity.” – I started this blog to share my experiences as a student, a parent, and someone who’s trying to lead a creative lifestyle full of lovely vintage wares, handmade treasures, vegan delicacies and awesome products that better peoples lives. But the thing is, I haven’t been doing that lately.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be exploring inside of myself through different courses and e-books I’ve purchased but haven’t had time to do. But more importantly, I’m hoping this self-exploration will help me get back in touch with myself and, as a result, the point of Peace and Chaos.

So, what can you expect to see on here over the next little while?

Well, I’ll tell you :)

1. MORE FOCUSED POSTS

The most obvious and important change will be more focused posts. As you can see across the top of my blog there are a list of topics I like to write about: business, creativity, love & family, health & beauty, home & garden and mind & spirit. I don’t want these posts to be rushed or sloppy, which also means I will be taking more time to write detailed, better quality posts that are much more enjoyable and helpful while still remaining honest and raw.

2. DESIGN

I’ll be honest with you right now; I suck at HTML and blog design! But I also don’t have it in my budget to pay a graphic designer. However, even with my lack of skill, I will be making some minor blog design changes. One of the important parts of creating a business is making your brand recognizable and I realize that mine isn’t. My personal style is very punk rock mixed with a little bit of hippie and I want that to shine through my blog design. As a result, I have chosen a select palette of colours to incorporate into my blog design. I also want to add some of my hand-drawn art into my design because I’ve always loved drawing and will even be adding some drawings into my Etsy shop!

3. NEW PRODUCTS

Some of you may have read that I wrote an e-book. It’s true! I did! And it has been sitting in a file on my computer waiting to be released into the world. I’ve been trying to figure out exactly how to much to charge for it and how to launch it for a long time. The good news is, I actually have a real plan now. For real! And I may even be able to launch it by December 1 as planned. I’ll keep you updated though. Deal? I’m also putting some new photos and drawings together to sell in my Etsy shop as digital downloads. I’m really excited to share my artwork with you guys and I hope that by offering them as digital downloads it will make it much easier and more affordable for more people to purchase. In fact, there are already a bunch of photos available in my shop right now. I also want to share other people’s products with you, too, but only products I 100% believe in myself, and will never push things on you guys to buy.

4. BETTER PHOTOS

It’s no secret that I love taking pictures. The unfortunate thing though, is that I haven’t been taking very many pictures lately and I’ve been using some not so great photos on my blog, and even at times no photos. I hate doing that so much, because I do love photography and I want to build a business around my artwork and photographs but how can I do that if I don’t take pictures, and if I have to share crappy photos just to add some visual elements to my blog? The truth is, I can’t. That’s why I’m committing myself to take more pictures and to have more fun with it! This includes more self-portraits.

5. EXCITING PROJECTS

I love working on myself, on my home, my finances and just all-around just bettering my life through courses, books and projects! Because I enjoy doing this so much I do it often. I want to share more of these projects with you guys, to let you know what works, what doesn’t, what the results are and how you can try it, too.

I hope that by re-focusing my blog on what really matters to me, you guys will benefit more from my posts and will enjoy yourselves while visiting Peace and Chaos. This space is supposed to be a space that inspires and motivates all of you guys to live out your best lives the way you want to, not the way society or anyone else tells you. We’re all unique and beautiful in our own ways. So, no matter what your dreams are, your tastes, your hobbies or your personal style, you’re awesome just the way you are and I hope I can help you remain true to yourself.

Stay awesome!

Peace,
Cole

The Weekly #31

Every week I set new goals for myself. You can read last week’s goal here. However, this will be the last I share them on the blog.

It was a good week and a lot has happened. I’ll be giving you guys a quick update later this week on what’s been going on in my crazy-busy life!

But right now, I have to admit, I’m feeling really good. In fact, I’m feeling the best I’ve felt in a really long time.

I’m currently sitting at my kitchen table, drinking coffee and writing this as my husband, Nick, cooks dinner for us. Sidney is up the street playing at a friend’s house. And all of my homework is done, the apartment is spotless, and my little family is just unwinding after a very enjoyable weekend. And what can I say, this peace and quiet is just what I’ve been craving all year long.

What I’ve Been Up To:

  1. I’ve been really enjoying my part-time job at the portrait studio! I never really considered doing portrait photography as a job before because I always felt too awkward and shy but it’s a lot of fun.
  2. Only three more weeks of school left until Christmas break and I’m actually very excited!
  3. Nick and I have been cleaning our entire apartment from top to bottom, even our closets, and it feels so nice in here now.
  4. Sleeping! I’ve been doing a lot of sleeping because I’ve been sick all week and I can’t afford to take any time off of work or school.

You May Have Missed:

Creating a Life Worth Living
Brand New Holiday Gift Ideas for Vintage Lovers
16 Kindness Ideas

Last Week’s Goals:

I wanted to get my e-book finished, create a launch-plan and select people to give it away to. I hate to do this, but once again, I don’t feel confident in rushing the launch of it. I know, it sounds so weird and I hate to back-track on what I said I would do, but I really want to take some time for myself and just re-focus my brain on my goals. I’ll be talking about this more later on the blog.

At least I can say that Nick and I have organized most of our apartment now! The only room left is the master bedroom and that shouldn’t be too difficult, seeing it’s the smallest room in our apartment (we actually gave the bigger bedroom to Sidney so she could have a space of her own to play and create art).

I completed my homework on time! And now I have a bunch more to do, ha ha!

This Week’s Goals:

Re-focus my goals for my life and my blog. I feel like I’m all over the map on what it is I really want to do, which direction I want to go and what’s best for me. I can’t seem to decide and it’s really confusing and hard to deal with right now while I’m so involved in my college program. This goal is one of those ones that takes more than just a week, but I will keep you guys posted.

Part of re-focusing includes honing in on my blog brand and cleaning it up: choosing a colour palette, font style and overall image of how I want to be portrayed. And that leads into my last goal for the week…

Go over my blog audit done by Kenzie and work through it.

That’s it!

AND, this will be the last I write The Weekly. It’s not really something I want to do anymore as I plan to expand and grow Peace and Chaos to include more of the topics I want to write about. Also, I want to put more time and energy into my posts and so I will be cutting back to 1-3 posts a week versus 3-5. Quality over quantity, right?

How was your week?

Peace,
Cole

 

16 Kindness Ideas

 photo kindness_zps16e66a1d.jpg

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” —Henry James

It’s World Kindness Day today and what better way to show kindness than to do it randomly.

There are many reasons that being kind is good for you – it releases feel-good dopamine in the brain, it helps build relationships, promotes confidence and optimism, makes you feel good, helps people in need, adds meaning to your life, reduces stress and so much more.

Yes, being kind to others is beneficial the person who is being kind, but it’s not just about helping yourself. The idea to be kind to others.

If you’re stuck on ways you can show kindness today, and every other day, here’s a quick list:

16 Kindness Ideas:

1. Pay for someone’s coffee:

I don’t know about you, but I love drinking coffee! And if I love drinking coffee, chances are many other people do, too! And wouldn’t it be a great start to the day if someone were kind enough to pay for your coffee for you?

2. Donate:

Whether it’s a few non-perishable food items to your local food bank, a few dollars to a charity or dropping off used goods at the thrift store, donating for a cause is a great way to show kindness.

3. Help a friend:

Maybe it’s someone who’s recently had a baby, or a stay-at-mom in desperate need of a break, or even just someone who’s been having a rough time, offer to help them in some way. Clean their kitchen, babysit their kids, take them out for dinner and just talk.

4. Bring dessert into work/school:

Surprise your co-workers or classmates with some freshly baked cookies or cupcakes! And, to make sure everyone can enjoy your delicious treats, try making it vegan and nut-free like this banana bread. Maybe even gluten-free, too, if you know someone has a gluten intolerance or allergy.

5. Pick up litter:

Gran a pair of gloves, a garbage bag and head outside to clean up your neighbourhood or local playground. It’s a great way to help the environment, the neighbourhood families and our friendly animal companions.

6. Genuine compliments:

Try complimenting at least five people today. Something as simple as, “I like your sweater” can actually brighten someones day and who wouldn’t want to be responsible for that?

7.  Help out a neighbour:

Rake their lawn, bring their garbage cans back up the driveway for them, help bring in the groceries – there are so many ways you could easily offer a helping hand to your neighbours.

8. Leave a friendly note:

Another great idea is to write a friendly note on a piece of pretty paper and leave it for someone to find. Maybe add an extra surprise like a Tim Hortons gift card, or a five dollar bill.

9. Flowers:

Either have a bouquet delivered to a friend or family member, or pick some wild flowers and drop them off in person.

10. Organize a pot-luck:

Organize a pot-luck and invite your friends to join you! Everyone can bring something different and enjoy a tasty meal together. Try bringing something that most people can enjoy like this vegetarian soup.

11. Volunteer:

Sign up to volunteer somewhere. It can be at the library, the soup kitchen, a youth program, etc.

12. Spend time outdoors:

Spend a fun afternoon together exploring and appreciating nature. Grab a skipping rope, your bikes, a bucket of chalk, or your gardening tools or pack up the family and hit the trails! There are so many benefits of being outdoors, and doing it as a family or with friends will only increase your joy.

13. Make something:

If you’re crafty try making something to give away: scarves for the homeless, thank you cards for friends, cookies for you classmates, a piece of art for a family member or offer to take someone’s family photos for free. When someone is deeply involved in a craft or creative hobby they enjoy they enter a state of flow. This is good for you, and by giving away the finished product, you’re making someone else’s day, too.

14. Support small businesses:

If you have a blogging friend, or someone with their own business, try and support them and their business rather than a large company! Shopping online? Go through their affiliate links so they get commission. Buying holiday gifts? Look through small businesses first.

15. Don’t complain for an entire day:

Nothing can bring a persons mood down like someone else complaining. I know from experience, whether it’s me complaining and bringing Nick down, or Nick complaining and bringing me down. Spending an entire day without complaining can really change the atmosphere and is a great way to show kindness.

16. Smile:

Try smiling often. Smile for yourself, and at other people. Smiling really does lift your spirits and is known to be contagious. :)

What are your favourite ways to show kindness?

Peace,
Cole

Brand New Holiday Gift Ideas For Vintage Lovers

Walk into our home and there will be no doubt in your mind that Nick and I are obsessed with vintage decor! From our retro davenport, to our Formica table, our home is a living collection of mid-century scores that we’ve managed to find over the past year. While our collection will never quite be complete, we are proud to say that we have managed to buy quite a bit of authentic peices.

But, here’s the deal – it’s not always easy to find the perfect vintage gift during the holiday season. Or any time of that year for that matter! It takes a lot of time, or quite a bit of money, to find great vintage items.

Luckily, we have ModCloth and their 2014 Holiday Gift Guide to help us find that perfect holiday present with that groovy  retro flare most other brand new items lack.

For example:

Can someone please buy me this ornament? If not, I’ll just have to buy it myself! Every year Nick and I buy ornaments for one another, and one for Sidney. It’s a little family tradition we’ve been doing since Sidney celebrated her first Christmas. And since Nick and I can’t afford a real vintage Caravan, this ornament will have to do.

Mobile Home for the Holidays Ornament

I love Polaroids! I even have one, but I can’t always afford the film. Since Nick is also an amateur photographer and vintage enthusiast, I clearly need to buy this for him:

Developing Your Decor Toilet Tissue Holder

 This classic 1971 film is one of Nick’s favourite movies and favourite books (1962), so clearly he needs this tote for when he grabs groceries at the market.

Bookshelf Bandit Tote in Alex

These were just a few of the many items I saw in the ModCloth 2014 Holiday Gift Guide that I want to buy for Nick and Sidney. I never realized how many awesome items they had before!

What would you buy from ModCloth and for whom?

Peace,
Cole

Creating a Life Worth Living

 photo lifeworthliving_zps55e4059a.jpg

For as long as I can remember I’ve had an idea of what kind of life I wanted to live.

My life would be full of delicious and nutritious vegan food I would bake and cook with my husband and daughter. We would have a luscious garden we could eat out of and would enjoy maintaining it. Our home would be full of lovely vintage finds and homemade treasures. Our days would be spent learning, creating, cleaning, organizing and going on adventures both near and far. Our friends would stop by to join in on the fun that we’d undoubtedly be having.

But sadly, this isn’t the life we have been living.

It’s been nothing more than a vision, a dream, a goal, one that has often come close to reality but I’ve never been able to quite maintain it.

When Nick and I first moved into our current apartment, a century-old duplex in a quiet neighbourhood, I thought for sure that our fantasy life could finally exist, that we could begin building the life we’ve always talked about, the life we wanted for our daughter.

Unfortunately so much of our lives has been out of our control. Sometimes when you try to help someone else your own goals and aspirations get put on hold. And I have to admit, as an introvert, I found it both emotionally and physically draining, which left me unmotivated and depressed. And although I can’t explain in detail what we’ve been through over the past few years, I can say  that it’s over now. Whatever it was we were dealing with is gone and I feel like I can finally breath.

I once wrote that sometimes we can’t share certain parts of our lives because they involve other people. This is one of those times, and it kills me to not be able to open up on Peace and Chaos, a blog that was created with the intentions of releasing my fears, my struggles and my successes, but I need to respect those who are involved.

Putting that aside, I can say that Nick, Sidney and I have made a commitment to ourselves to finally live the life we want.

That’s not to say that I think every day will be perfect. I know that there will be meltdowns, tantrums, stress – real life problems don’t just go away just because you’re living your ideal lifestyle – but for the most part, we can be happy and create a life worth living.

And I can’t wait to share it with you!

Over the next little while I’ll be talking more about this idea – creating a life worth living – and what that means to me and the ways that Nick, Sidney and I are going to do that. I’m so excited!

What about you, are you living the life you want?

Peace,
Cole