3 Ways to Infuse Your Days With Magic and Meaning

3 Ways to Infuse Your Days With Magic and Meaning


Feel like you’re just going through the motions lately? Wish your days had a little more wonder … a little more magic and meaning in them? Hey, it’s been a CRAZY few years — I think we all feel that way. And, to help, we have a guest post from Minneapolis-based artist Liv Lane to help us all find a little wonder in the every day.

By Liv Lane

The return to work and workout routines still leaves something missing in the equation. Awe is essential to overall wellness, and after a couple years of testing our patience and endurance, it’s a great time to work the muscles responsible for appreciating the magic and meaning in our lives. A recent study by Lifeway Research shows 57 percent of Americans wonder at least once a month how they can find more meaning and purpose in their lives; a full fifth say they grapple with this question every single day.

The good news is there are ways to instantly start experiencing more joy, connection and purpose – and they’re easier than you might expect! Of course, if you’re experiencing frequent anxiety or depression, professional support is critical. The three tactics below can do wonders for one’s outlook, but they can’t replace professional assessments and tools.

Ready to get started?

1. Start choosing beauty.

After a traumatic birth with my firstborn son 19 years ago, I was blindsided by postnatal PTSD and postpartum depression. Instead of being excited about motherhood, I felt joyless, terrified, and alone. It took lots of therapy and medicine, and a daily practice I call “choosing beauty,” to feel like me again.

One of the unsettling things for me during that time was that I could no longer easily access the angels that I’d heard and seen my whole life. Self-doubt and despair blocked my connection to the Other Side. Then, one day after a therapy session, as things were beginning to feel brighter and better for me, I was sitting at a traffic light and a huge rainbow appeared right over the intersection. I adore rainbows, and it felt like such a sweet sign that I was going to be okay.

That evening, I excitedly told my husband about the rainbow and how magical it felt. I’ll never forget what happened next. Standing in our family room, I suddenly heard the angels’ voices again – just long enough to hear them instruct me to start taking a photo of something beautiful every day for a year and write about it. That’s all I got – but I knew I had to follow that guidance!

I started a blog in 2006 to keep me accountable and carried a camera with me everywhere. I began noticing so much beauty that I’d totally missed before – from a ladybug keeping me company at the gas pump to my son’s toy cars lined up neatly to welcome me home from a business trip. Choosing to find and describe the beauty I found in each day – even on days when I didn’t feel like it – opened my eyes and truly healed my heart. And all these years later, I still lean into that practice frequently.

2. Activate your intuition.

We all have intuition that shows up uniquely for each of us – from suddenly getting a strong feeling about a situation to thinking of an old acquaintance who suddenly calls out of the blue. It is an incredibly powerful tool — an inner compass that can help guide our choices and enhance our faith – when we know how to use it and trust it.

In my new collection of WingTips angelic art & guidance, there’s a set devoted to Finding Magic & Meaning. I transcribed the angels’ guidance for each art print, including one on intuition. For that piece, the angels said, “Your intuition is like a flower. It flourishes when you pay attention to it and ensure it gets enough light.”

I love the reminder that our intuition isn’t just an automatic superpower we can take for granted, but something we must lovingly tend to. For instance, if spotting an interesting object or natural wonder immediately feels like a sign from above – like that rainbow I saw after my therapy session – we get to trust that first inkling and not second-guess ourselves. If we feel inexplicably inspired to reach out to someone or take a different route home, we get to follow those nudges and trust there’s a reason for it.

On the back of the intuition art print, the angels further describe how to enhance this inner wisdom, including this: “Your ‘gut’ is the meeting place of grace, guidance and innate knowing. To access its wisdom, you must climb out of the shadows of your fears, opinions and assumptions, and trust the flashes of information that seem to come out of the blue and instantly feel true.”

The more you do this, the easier it becomes to trust this superpower and let it enrich your life.

3. Tell people about it.

That’s right. As you start choosing beauty each day and trusting your intuition more, tell people about it! We need to normalize talking freely about magic and meaning because it’s totally normal!

According to Pew Research, most Americans mix traditional faith with beliefs in things like psychics, reincarnation and a spiritual energy found in nature (from trees to crystals). In fact, 72 percent of Americans believe in angels – and yet I spent years hiding my relationship with them, worried people would think I was nuts.

The braver I got about sharing the magic and meaning in my life, from blogging about choosing beauty to sharing spiritual experiences with colleagues, I was shocked how many people were hungry to talk about it all. So many people are also hiding their own experiences, gifts and practices; they just needed to know they were not alone in order to start opening up.

Your life holds so much magic and meaning, just waiting to be uncovered. I hope you’ll start inviting it in by choosing beauty, honoring your intuition and shouting it from the rooftops. –Liv Lane

 

Liv Lane has seen and heard angels all her life. But she hid this gift from most as she built a successful communications career, nervous she’d be ostracized for revealing her unique abilities. But by her early 30s, a series of life-changing events convinced her she was meant to share the angels’ light and love to help and inspire others. Today, Liv paints artwork with their guidance and transcribes their wisdom from her studio near Minneapolis. You can find her work at LivLane.com and follow her and the angels on Instagram (@LivLane). 

 

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Why Athletes Need Pilates Mat Training

Why Athletes Need Pilates Mat Training


One of our favorite fitness experts is Sean Vigue (remember the awesome workouts he’s done for us?). And, guess what?! He has a new book out!

pilates for athletes cover

Pilates for Athletes helps everyday people (no matter their sport or activity they love to do) reach their highest physical and mental levels and improve their conditioning, control, endurance, and more — all through Pilates.

Sean Vigue has taught thousands of classes around the world and has appeared in more than 2,000 health and fitness videos. He’s positive, he knows his stuff, and his workouts are FUN. Basically, he’s the best!

And, we’re super pumped that he’s letting us share an excerpt from his new book. Read on for the top 10 reasons why athletes should add Pilates into their training.

reasons athletes need pilates

Top 10 Reasons Why Athletes Need Pilates Mat Training

By Sean Vigue

Pilates mat training is a bodyweight-only, total body conditioning program which features an exhaustive list of core centered exercises, sequenced together to elevate your mind, body, spirit and athletic ability. Only a Pilates (or yoga) mat is needed to participate. No weights. No machines. Just you and the mat.

Strictly speaking, there are not many workout programs that can deliver to an athlete the vast amount of benefits that Pilates mat can. It is a lifelong program for the well-rounded athlete to practice, absorb and enjoy. The benefits are almost too exhausting to list, and there is no end to the ways Pilates elevates your health, fitness, movement, speed, strength, control, balance, endurance, breath control, focus, power and flexibility.

That said, here are 10 of the top reasons why athletes need Pilates Mat Training.

1. Pilates constructs a strong, durable, flexible and balanced core.

Joseph Pilates referred to the core as your “powerhouse” and “girdle of strength”. It is the center and support of your body. The core is the structural foundation that connects the rest of the body together and develops stability, strength, and control. It begins at the base of the pelvic floor and runs upward to the bottom of the diaphragm, and consists of your abdominals, low back and glutes. Technically speaking, the core is made up of the rectus abdominis (the muscle people mean when they think “abs”), transverse abdominis (the deepest of the abdominal muscles which wraps around your sides and spine), erector spinae (a pair of muscles in your lower back), the internal and external obliques (the muscles located on the sides of your abdomen) and the glutes/bottom/butt (the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus).

A weak core leaves the athlete open to injuries, compromised endurance and becoming easily fatigued from failing posture. Pilates core exercises train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips, glutes and abdomen to work together, leading to improved balance, stability and body control. Every sport from basketball to tennis to throwing darts depends on force radiating from your center (core) outwards into the limbs.

2. Pilates builds a strong, balanced and resilient body.

Athletes of all ages and fitness levels have been incorporating Pilates into their training for improved overall strength, balance and resistance to injury. This is because it is difficult to find a more comprehensive and effective program than a regular Pilates mat practice. Pilates helps athletes improve their everchanging movement patterns with progressive destabilization, meaning the further you journey into your workouts, the more the exercises will work to challenge and force your body to adapt and improve. Once your body adapts you acquire a higher level of skill.

Each exercise is equally balanced on both sides of the body to counteract the imbalances seen in sports such as tennis, golf or baseball, where the dominant side is favored and strengthened while the other side weakens and atrophies. Pilates works to fix muscular imbalances and bring symmetry to the body, bringing with it optimal physical achievement.

3. Pilates improves mobility and ease of movement.

Pilates exercises emphasize healthy, flowing and correct movement. Is your body mobile? How capable are you of moving your body quickly without strain? Are you able to move freely through the day without tightness and discomfort in your body? How well do you move as an athlete? Is your mobility helping or hurting your athletic skill?

How well you move your body through multiple planes of movement determines your athletic success. Pilates training moves your body through every angle and plane of movement while focusing on building strength and flexibility in your core. Having a body which can easily adapt to the unpredictable demands of a sport—quick changes of direction in tennis, explosive speed in hockey, driving to the basket in basketball — will give you a huge edge over your opponents and prolong your career.

4. Pilates improves overall flexibility.

Joseph Pilates once said, “True flexibility can be achieved only when all muscles are uniformly developed.” For this reason, Pilates doesn’t increase flexibility (defined as the range of motion in a joint or group of joints and moving them through a full range of motion) just based on the popular “hot spots” of the body, such as the hamstrings and low back. Rather, Pilates works through constant flows and movements which stretch, lengthen and expand the whole body.

Where many workouts isolate muscles and compress the body and spine, Pilates does just the opposite: every Pilates exercise is designed to lengthen and expand your body through a myriad of flows and angles. It is flowing, dynamic movement which stretches and strengthens the muscles simultaneously. You will smoothly and gracefully flow from one threshold to the next, moving your body with precision and control through as full a range of motion as possible.

5. Pilates is a great tool for rehabbing your body during injury and fixing problems associated with muscular imbalance.

Pilates mat practice is low impact on the joints, making it the ideal exercise when rehabbing your body and recovering from an injury. You can also structure your Pilates workouts to your individual needs — there is no one-size-fits-all approach to Pilates. You are in control of your training, not the exercises. They exist to serve you and your specific physical, mental and conditioning needs.

6. Pilates mat only uses your bodyweight, so you can train anywhere and anytime.

Efficient and easily adaptable to your current training program, Pilates can fit into the busiest of schedules. No weights, equipment or machines of any kind means you can rely exclusively on the greatest gym you will ever have: your body.

Your workouts can last from 10 to 60 minutes depending on how much strength, flexibility and focus you need at that moment, and you can train every day, mixing up your workouts so you are consistently hitting new areas.

7. Pilates provides an everchanging, never-ending supply of exercises and sequences to keep you constantly challenged.

Athletes needs to be challenged to force their bodies to adapt and improve. Pilates training is a journey of progressive destabilization with every workout. The exercises become more challenging and integrative as you progress, and with each new exercise, you integrate new parts of your body into the movements. Once the exercise becomes too “easy”, we add a movement which forces your body to adapt and improve in real time. No matter what the athlete needs, Pilates can supply it.

8. Pilates builds and reinforces proper posture and alignment.

Having proper body alignment — how the head, shoulders, spine, hips, knees and ankles relate and line up with each other — improves your posture and reduces the stress and strain on the spine. Standing, sitting and moving with proper postural alignment will decrease strain on your muscles and ligaments and increase your ability to flow with more efficiency and precision. For athletes, the foundation of control begins with good posture. From this foundation comes the big movements such as jumping, tackling, swinging, throwing, catching and sprinting … but if your body is not aligned correctly, these movements will be compromised and weak.

Good posture, working in tandem with a strong core, helps stabilize the body and support the athlete’s need for speed, power, rotational force and quick changes of direction. Pilates will help reinforce good posture and alignment during every phase of your sport.

9. Pilates improves your ability to breathe.

Too often, we breathe in a shallow method, draining our energy and focus and crippling our posture. Deep Pilates breathing strengthens the core and lifts our bodies into a strong, aligned posture.

Pilates teaches deep lateral thoracic breathing, which draws the breath upward out of the low belly and bring it into the sides and the low back. This style of breathing drenches the lungs and muscles in oxygen and increases your ability to bring in and process the breath with efficiency. It helps you take advantage of every breath cycle, drawing fresh oxygen into the lungs and squeezing every atom of breath out, filling and emptying the lungs with every breath.

Improving your ability to breathe will drastically increase your athletic performance and abilities. Effective breathing requires thoracic mobility, core strength and a pliable diaphragm for pumping the breath in and out of the lungs. An athlete who is utilizing their full breathing potential will experience increased energy, more blood flow, sharper focus, and improvement when facing stressful and unpredictable situations. Pilates also teaches the athlete how to breathe into the movement, which helps the exercises flow smoother through the full range of motion and with more control. Deeper breathing and increased awareness of the breath translates into better form and power with swings, jumps, sprints, changes of directions and throws. Connect your breath with movement and decrease the wear and tear while elevating your ability to move — a win-win-win.

10. Pilates increase your explosive speed and power.

The Pilates combo of deep, expanded breathing, a stronger core, improved flexibility in the entire body, increased strength and efficient movement combine to create a body which can move quicker, faster and with more force behind it. It’s pretty straightforward: the looser and more in control you are of your body, the faster your speed and more functional your strength.

Whether it means moving quicker with more precision when rolling out for a football pass, maneuvering around the defense en route to the goal in hockey, or planting, jumping and spiking the ball in volleyball with explosive power, Pilates provides the tools to do it.

Bottom line: the benefits of Pilates are powerful and transcend all sports. Every breath you take and every move you make enhances your physical and mental performance, combining to create a deep-rooted love of bettering yourself each and every day. In this, Pilates is a constant and dedicated companion. Try it!

Excerpted  from Pilates for Athletes with permission from Hatherleigh Press.

A huge thanks to Sean for letting us share this gem of an excerpt! Be sure to pick up his latest book here! Jenn

 

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How to Make Your Own Butterscotch “Beer”

How to Make Your Own Butterscotch “Beer”


Every fall we get the urge to binge watch all of the Harry Potter movies. Anyone else?

There’s just a lot of fall vibes in those movies, and we are here for it! Which, seeing that it’s basically September and all, is exactly why this cookbook caught our attention (HP fans unite!):

Fifty magically simple, spellbinding recipes for young witches and wizards? Yes, please! From breakfasts to desserts to snacks to main dishes, The Unofficial Hogwarts Cookbook for Kids is so, SO fun and educational. You and your kiddos will learn new cooking terms and kitchen skills with recipes that range in complexity so that all kid chefs and their potions masters (AKA parents) can whip up something amazing.

One simple and fun recipe that caught our attention was for Butterscotch “Beer” — which, because this is for kids — isn’t really beer at all. Instead, it’s a mug full of butterscotch-y goodness that you can sip while pretending to be at the Three Broomsticks Inn or any other imaginary wizarding bar you fancy.

butterscotch beer in a mug

Photo courtesy of Ulysses Press

Looks delicious, right?! So frothy and fun. And we want you to try it!

Thankfully, we’ve been given permission from the publisher to share this tasty Butterscotch “Beer” recipe with you. So, grab your best wizard or witch hat, your robes, and your large mugs, and let’s cheers to butterbeer!

Butterscotch “Beer” Recipe

A wizarding world favorite, this “beer” recipe allows you to enjoy a cup full of butterscotch-y goodness whenever you’d like, even if you aren’t at a wizarding bar.

Course: Drinks

Keyword: beer, butterscotch

Servings: 4

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 20 oz lemon lime soda
  • ice
  • In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter.

  • When the butter is melted, add the brown sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine.

  • Cook the mixture for 5 minutes, until the brown sugar is completely dissolved.

  • Whisk in the heavy whipping cream and continue to cook for 1 minute.

  • Allow this mixture to cool to room temperature, 15 minutes.

  • When cool, divide between 4 large glasses filled halfway up with ice.

  • Slowly top with soda, but be careful not to overfill, as the mixture will bubble and foam! Stir to blend and enjoy.

 

A huge thanks to Alana Al-Hatlani and Ulysses Press for allowing us to share this Butterscotch “Beer” recipe. What are some of your other family fall favorite recipes? This is definitely gonna be one of our new faves! —Jenn

Excerpted from The Unofficial Hogwarts Cookbook for Kids by Alana Al-Hatlani. Copyright © 2021 Ulysses Press. Reprinted with permission from Ulysses Press. New York, NY. All rights reserved.

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4 Ways to Make Your Home a More Positive Space

4 Ways to Make Your Home a More Positive Space


Take a quick look around you home. How relaxed, recharged, and happy does your space make you feel?

Because we’re all still (groan, we know!) spending a lot of time at home these days, we’ve got some great ways to make your home a more positive space from Laura May, digital editor at Just Another Magazine.

woman in home smiling

Your home environment should be a sanctuary where you can relax, recharge, and be most at peace. But this isn’t always the case. Many home environments feel cramped, creating a negative atmosphere that induces symptoms of stress.

Not to worry though! In this article we explore the following four ways you can make your home a more positive place to live:

  1. Clear the clutter
  2. Embrace structured simplicity
  3. Make neutrals pop (and let in the sunshine)
  4. Bring the outdoors inside

Read on as we explore these tips and help you create a more positive home space.

1. Bring the Outdoors Inside

Caring for plants and flowers has lots of relaxing properties — but have you dabbled with the idea of creating your very own indoor garden? Bringing the outdoors inside is a chance to get creative and be at one with nature.

According to an article by Forbes, greenery in your home reduces stress and can make you feel better. This is because indoor plants improve concentration, naturally purify the air around you, as well as improve your overall mood.

Best of all, many plant species require little fuss to look after, meaning you don’t have to be an experienced gardener to experience the benefits. With simplicity firmly in mind, here are some popular and widely recommended house plants:

  • Japanese peace lily
  • Blue star fern
  • Fishbone cactus
  • Spider plant
  • Aloe Vera

While being aesthetically pleasing, these various options are well adapted to home living and are particularly resilient, which means you can create a positive, nature-filled environment without the stress or worry of a more difficult species.

2. Clear the Clutter

Clear space, clear mind — a mantra that pairs a clean home with living a stress-free life.

Sometimes decluttering your home environment is all you need to make a more positive space. After all, trying to do work surrounded by a mess or tucking into a good book amongst yesterday’s laundry is enough to distract anybody.

While organized mess might benefit some personalities, unwieldy clutter is claustrophobic and overwhelming to many others. Spending time clearing the clutter around your home (home office included) makes your space feel calmer and more purposeful.

With this in mind, it pays to be clever with storage, especially if you’re dealing with confined areas like a long narrow living room, given you have less space to hide the mess. Instead of sweeping it all under the carpet, however, you’ll find many interior decorator experts (as in this article from FurnitureBox, for instance) recommend you make use of vertical space — this is because bookcases, shelves, and other cabinets can store and display anything you want without taking up much surface area.

3. Embrace Structured Simplicity

Cleared the clutter and still feel restricted? After months of lockdown living and working from home, you’ve likely grown tired of the same old scenery.

Monotony certainly doesn’t nourish the soul or mind, so now is the time to redecorate while still being mindful of a stripped-back, minimalist style. After all, loud accents and busy furniture aren’t conducive to creating a positive space either. Instead, you should embrace a trendy approach to home-living known as structured simplicity.

Structured simplicity refers to a popular Nordic design that adopts one core principle: create a refreshing, positive space devoid of clutter you can proudly call home.

Hence the name, structured simplicity places composition at the heart of design; your space should not feel crowded or loud, but rather well-planned and heartfelt. You should look to incorporate personal, happy memories like family pictures, cozy sinking sofas, and faded tones to help create a positive, relaxing environment.

4. Make Neutrals Pop (and Let in the Sunshine)

The aforementioned structured simplicity is at the heart of a clutter-free, positive home environment. But that is not to say you shouldn’t look to add a splash of color to brighten your day. After all, experts such as Healthline document that natural color and light increase the release of serotonin in your body, otherwise known as the happy hormone.

Picture nature and what do you see? Crisp blue skies, lush green forests, and white-capped mountain ranges? Neutral and pastel colours are the best way to represent nature in the composition of your home environment — so do your best to make them pop.

You can achieve this by incorporating lots of greens and blues into your layout: paint the walls, embrace accessories like pillows and throws, as well as take inspiration from what you see outside. But don’t overlook neutral tones either. Whites and greys are fantastic neutral colors that open up space for a classic, clean finish — this provides the illusion of a larger canvas in what may otherwise feel like a small, cramped environment.

Moreover, you should also look to let in the sunshine and a little fresh air by drawing curtains and opening a window or two. Ample access to sunlight and fresh air can alleviate depression symptoms, helping you feel brighter and more positive at home.

Making your home a more positive space is a great idea, especially after months of lockdown living. From clearing the clutter and embracing structured simplicity to making neutrals pop and adding some greenery — this is how you reclaim your home and make it a more positive space. —Laura May

Laura May is Digital Editor at Just Another Magazine. At Just Another Magazine they write about beauty, fashion, lifestyle, travel, trends and anything else that matters to their readers. Name throwing you off? Don’t take it too seriously — they intend to stand out from the crowd whilst creating content in their unique style.

 

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