An Important Message For My Subscribers

Hello beautiful!

I’m sending you this special message to let you know that My Smiling Heart has moved!

If you love My Smiling Heart as much as I do, and would like to continue receiving blog posts directly into your email inbox, or through RSS, you need to subscribe to the new blog here.

I look forward to continuing this amazing journey with you at our new home!😀

Stay AWESOME!

Jen

New Beginnings: MySmilingHeart.org

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Hello beautiful!

It’s a very AWESOME day for My Smiling Heart! We are officially a website!

Look up there, at the top… Do you see it? Yes! We are now www.mysmilingheart.org! Yay!

I have big plans for this space. It will be here for a long time, always ready to spread the love and see your light.

This is our space. I want you to know that you can be your authentic, wonderful, amazing, magical, awesome self here. You don’t need to hide any part of yourself; you are safe here in our little community of smiling hearts.

So get comfortable, and make yourself at home.

Let me give you the grand tour…

To the left you will see a few buttons. About Me will obviously take you to the about me page. Then there is the Vision Kit button, which will take you to a page with more information about the ekit (which is set to be released sooooo soon!).

The Art button leads to a mini-gallery featuring some of my artwork, which I will update regularly. (Once I’m back in Australia I plan to paint a lot, so if you would love for me to paint your portrait or commission a piece, head to the art page and use the contact form to express your interest.)

The China button is a gallery of all my photos from my travels in China, including Daqing, Harbin, Beijing and Inner Mongolia.

To get all my future posts sent directly to your email inbox, or through RSS, use the subscription options to the right of the page (where it says Email Subscribe). To all those subscribers who are subscribed to the old My Smiling Heart WordPress blog, you will need to re-subscribe here.

On the top menu you will see Press, which lists all the guest posts, interviews, and other contributions I have made to other websites.

Chronicles allows you to explore the archives and find all the headlines, My Smiling Heart interviews and other posts.

The Store is coming soon. We’re still doing some behind-the-scenes work on that one!

The Sponsor page features our wonderful sponsors, and has information about sponsoring My Smiling Heart.

The Contact page is pretty self-explanatory. Come say hi!😀

Inspiration is an AWESOME new addition to My Smiling Heart. There you will find lists of inspirational quotes, websites, movies, books and music. I’m always looking for more things to add to these lists, so feel free to add a comment on the relevant pages leaving your recommendations!

I want the Inspiration section to be an amazing resource for all of us to come to when we feel low and need a boost. In fact, I want all of My Smiling Heart to be a resource of positivity, inspiration, empowerment, and just plain AWESOMENESS!

So that’s the tour, I hope you like it! In the words of the Artful Dodger, “Consider yourself at home!”

My Smiling Heart is as much yours as it is mine.

You make this a community.

You make this a safe place for us to be ourselves and let our lights shine.

You make My Smiling Heart sparkle.

You make my heart smile.

Thank you.

So make yourself a coffee, relax and explore the new My Smiling Heart.

I hope you love it as much as I do!

Happy dances and double rainbows,

Jen ♥

To receive each new My Smiling Heart post in your inbox, click here. Or, subscribe by RSS. You can also become a fan on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.

Share What Makes Your Heart Smile

Hello beautiful!

I hope you are having a magical day!

As I write this I can see thousands of young dragonflies zooming around the freshly green leaves of the trees. Birds are singing, grass is growing, and the lakes have melted into beautiful, flowing water again.

This is me, celebrating the return of the flowing water in the lake.


After the longest, coldest winter I have ever experienced, nature is alive again. And after spending five months surrounded by ice and snow, I feel like I am witnessing spring for the first time.

Not too long ago, the ground was frozen, trees were bare, and everything was still, silent.

Now, the earth is alive, trees are flourishing, and everything has been reborn. Buzzing, blooming, shining, spring has sprung and the time for new beginnings is here.

Spending time in nature makes me realise that miracles occur everyday. It’s mesmerizing, isn’t it?

One of my favourite parts about spring here in Daqing, is the amazing flowers that have been popping up everywhere.

Realising that most of the trees I’ve been walking past during the past ten months are actually cherry blossoms has been a magnificent surprise! I had no idea they grew here, but they are absolutely gorgeous!

I can even see some in the garden under neath my window, so I will definitely be having the window open more now that the sweet smell of cherry blossom will be flowing around.

Here are a few photos I took (there are more on the Facebook page):


Cherry blossoms definitely make my heart smile!

Which brings us to today’s Link Love Friday theme! Yep, now that 30 Days Of Beauty has finished, Link Love Friday is back!

This week, head over to the My Smiling Heart Facebook page, and share a photo of something that makes your heart smile. It can be anything! Nature, books, food, people, artwork, – anything that makes your heart smile!

If everyone shares a photo or two, then there will be a super-mega-happy-awesome album on the My Smiling Heart Facebook page made up of everything that makes our hearts smile! What a great resource it will be for those times when we aren’t feeling that great.

I look forward to seeing your photos!

So much LOVE!

Jen ♥

How Osama Bin Laden’s Death Taught Me More About Myself

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“We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.”

~ Paulo Coelho

I wrote this after hearing the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death, and seeing the subsequent celebrations:

“I just don’t understand.

Three days ago, I saw people on facebook saying that they refuse to celebrate the royal wedding, that there were better things to be doing with their time. And today, I see those exact same people rejoicing over a death? Celebrating murder? Making jokes about it, too?

Is it just me, or is that just so completely backwards? Refusing to celebrate love, but celebrating the violent end of a life?

To be clear, I am in no way a sympathiser of Osama Bin Laden, and like everyone, I think he was one of the most vile people to have ever lived, but I will not rejoice in a death, no matter whose it is.

What are we celebrating exactly? Justice? Revenge? Murder? Triumph? Violence?

It was all those things that Osama claimed he was celebrating 10 years ago. I remember seeing footage of Osama’s supporters, they were cheering and dancing in the street on 9/11. I felt disgusted, horrified, and angered that they thought violence was something to celebrate.

Now I see us doing the same thing. 10 years later, so much pain, so many lives lost, and this is what it has come down to? An eye for an eye? Well, as Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

Yes, they were celebrating the mass murder of thousands of innocent people, and today people are celebrating the death of their enemy, the one responsible for so much loss and pain, but it’s still the celebration of violence.

Celebrating violence is not the path to peace. It’s the path to more violence.

This killing doesn’t mean the war is won, it doesn’t even mean the war is over. After all, there are never really any winners in war, or in violence. 

Osama’s death was inevitable and necessary. But even writing that made me feel uneasy, as it well should. The day I find it easy to say that someone needed to die, is the day my humanity is lost. Which is why I am so disturbed to see people cheering and partying and even joking about this. Are we that desensitised that war and murder and violence are now considered funny? Are we that disconnected?

Maybe we are. And maybe we can learn from this. I’ve seen many others who feel the same way I do, who just can’t bring themselves to celebrate this. Maybe this is another moment in which we must choose, and our choice determines whether or not we move forward in love or in fear. I’m choosing love. And love doesn’t grow in violence or revenge.

I will celebrate the end of war, not the end of life.”

I was very angry when I wrote that. Seeing so many news articles, tweets, status updates and facebook pages all rejoicing over violence, joking about it, sharing footage and photos of the violence, made me feel sick to the stomach. For a moment, I completely lost faith in humanity.

Sitting at the computer and being continuously bombarded with so many things that were clashing with my soul (including one very graphic image on the homepage of a news site), I realised that the only way to clear my head and calm down was to get as far away from media as possible. And that’s exactly what I did.

I sat with it for a while, that feeling of anger, trying to figure out how anyone could think violence should be celebrated. I tried to put myself in their shoes, thinking maybe if someone I loved was in those towers…. Would I then be dancing in the street? If I had come face to face with Bin Laden in that room, and if I had been the one to take his life, would I then feel the need to celebrate?

I can’t answer those questions. All I know is, it just doesn’t feel right to be joyful about this. Relieved maybe, and sad that such acts are sometimes necessary in our world, mournful for all the lives that have been lost because of this war and because of that man, and also a feeling of closure, that at least some part of the past can now be let go of for a lot of people, but no joy.

Spending some time away from the media gave me time to reflect on my anger. I realised that I was being unfair to judge others reactions just because they were different to my own. As much as I don’t understand it, I have no right to condemn the behaviour of others. We all deal with things differently, because we are all different.

If I want to live in a world where people are treated equally, and accepted no matter their differences, then I first need to make those qualities a part of who I am. I can’t preach acceptance and then condemn others for doing things differently.

And although I believe that we can’t say we want peace and then cheer at the news of violence, I will accept those whose first reaction is to cheer. They need to do what feels right for them, and I need to do what feels right for me. I respect them for doing what feels right for them, and I love them for living their truth.

The moment I realised this, all my anger dissolved. Letting go of judgement meant I stopped trying to control the actions of others, and it allowed me to feel calm and peaceful again.

Even if I don’t understand it, I can accept it, and I can let them express what they need to without judging them. And I hope that those who don’t understand my reactions and beliefs can give me the same acceptance, and the same freedom to express myself without fear of judgement.

Judgement fuels hate, it separates people, turns simple differences into right and wrong, good and evil, and all of that leads to violence, to war.

Acceptance fuels kindness, kindness brings people together, turns simple similarities into understanding and connection, friendship and love, all of that leads to a united world, to peace.

A lot has happened in the world over the last few days, some big ups and downs, and as you can see, I was affected greatly by it all. The death of a man that I only knew as the face of fear, led me to have a very personal realisation, and as a result, gain a new perspective on life.

We really can learn from every experience.

The beautiful Liv at Choosing Beauty wrote this amazing piece that gave me another new perspective on all of this: What Happened To Osama Bin Laden’s Heart?

With a more open mind and heart,

Jen ♥

Be A Force Of Good

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“How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.”

~ Wayne Dyer

Every now and then I come across a nasty comment on a website, see a woe-is-me status update on facebook, a hate-filled tweet, or self-loathing posts on tumblr. Usually I don’t let any of it bother me, but I’ve seen so many the last few days that I just need to say something about it.

If I could get just one message to every single human being on this planet, it would be this:

What you give, comes back to you.

What people don’t realise is, that phrase doesn’t just refer to physical things you give to others, or how you act. It’s everything. Every thought you think, every word you say, and now, every tweet, comment or status update you send out.

What you choose to write online and send out into the world for others to read and absorb, whether it’s positive or negative, that’s your gift to the world. That is the message you are sending to the world. And that’s exactly what you will get back in return.

Everything you put out there matters. Everything you put out there affects your life, as well as the lives of others who see it.

Whether you believe it or not, you have a voice, you have power. You have the power to spread good, to share love, and to make others smile with the click of a mouse, so why would you use it to spread negativity, to share hate, and to make others frown?

One status update, one tweet, one comment, has such a huge ripple effect on the world and the people in it. It’s up to you whether or not your ripple effect spreads love or hate. Think about that every time you’re about to hit send.

I think people forget that there are real human beings with real feelings on the other side of the screen. I’ve seen, and even been the recipient of, online nastiness. People that would never say certain things in real life somehow think it’s okay to say them online. They feel safe and tough behind their keyboards. I’ve seen people join in on cyber bashing me in status updates, only to cower in fear when we crossed paths in real life.

If you wouldn’t say it to a person’s face, don’t write it online. It’s that simple.

In order for this message to spread far and wide, I made these printables and buttons:

Put a button on your blog and link it back to this post, so that everyone will know that you support good vibes, and are committed to inspiring and empowering others instead of beating them down.

Print out the images, stick them above your computer, around the office… anywhere you think this message is needed most.

Ignore those who use their voices to discourage and bring down others. As Wayne Dyer said; that’s their karma. They are the ones filled with hate, fear, and insecurity. Rise above it.

Be a force of good,
Jen ♥


30 Days Of Beauty: Week 4!

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“Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line.”

~ Lucille Ball

This, to me, is the ultimate truth. It’s what it all comes down to, and what everything is built upon. Fall in love with yourself.

Sometimes, I forget this. I was feeling a bit down yesterday, and realised that I had forgotten to love myself. This started me thinking about all the other things I sometimes forget, so I wrote a list.

As you all probably know by now, I prefer to focus on the positives. And this list looked too much like a list of negative affirmations, so I crossed out the ‘forget’s and added ‘remember’, to focus on what I do want and encourage myself to remember these things more often.

Sometimes, I remember how AWESOME I really am.

I remember how beautiful I am, inside and out.

I remember that comparing myself to others only leads to insecurity and disappointment.

I remember what makes me happy, and I remember what I define as success.

I remember how blessed I am, and how much I have to be thankful for every single day.

I remember to recognise how far I have come, and how much I have achieved.

I remember that the little voice in my head is the ego, not love.

I remember that it doesn’t matter what other people think about me, it only matters what I think about me.

I remember to look at the good things in my life.

I remember that I am enough, just as I am.

I remember that I am a Goddess.

I remember that I am connected to everything in this Universe, that the beauty I see in the world is also within me.

I remember that obstacles and doubt can be overcome.

I remember that I am capable of achieving my dreams.

I remember to dream.

I remember to smile.

I remember to take care of myself.

I remember to breathe.

I remember to dance like no-one’s watching.

I remember to let go of guilt for doing what I love.

I remember that people are out to help me, not get me.

I remember that a bad hair day or a blemish is natural, not imperfect.

I remember that magazines, media and advertising aren’t real, but I am.

I remember that my thoughts create my life.

I remember that every moment is an opportunity to change what isn’t working, and be grateful for what is.

I remember that the dark parts of myself aren’t meant to be ignored, but embraced as part of my whole.

I remember that everyone is doing the best that they can.

I remember that I am doing the best that I can.

I remember that the good times are meant to be celebrated, and the hard times are meant to be learned from.

I want to remember these things every day. This is my continuous journey to having a never-ending supply of self-love.

Well, it’s the last week of 30 Days Of Beauty. What an amazing experience this has been! My mind has been blown by all the support and encourage we have received during these passed 30 days, and I am so grateful.

My self-worth has improved, and I feel pretty good to know that I can list 30 reasons why I’m beautiful whenever I want to. And then go on to list 30 more.

I can’t believe 30 Days Of Beauty is almost over. But I am so proud to be a part of it.

And the best part is; this week we reached our fundraising goal! We raised $300 for To Write Love On Her Arms! Yay!😀 Thank you so much to everyone who donated, you are a beautiful force of good in this world.

Here are my #imbeautifulbecause tweets from this week:

April 23rd: #imbeautifulbecause I trust my intuition, no matter what.

April 24th: #imbeautifulbecause my heart is open to all the good things coming my way.

April 25th: #imbeautifulbecause I treat others the way I wish to be treated, with kindness, acceptance, love and a smile🙂

April 26th: #imbeautifulbecause I know what my body needs and deserves. I give myself time to rest and refuel, even when all I want to do is work.

April 27th: #imbeautifulbecause I am on a never-ending journey of self-love and self-improvement. I am always better than I used to be.

April 28th: #imbeautifulbecause I trust myself, I trust the Universe, and I know that I am exactly where I need to be.

April 29th: #imbeautifulbecause I am brave enough to be vulnerable.

Here are some of my favourite tweets from you this week:

@frangepanni #imbeautifulbecause no matter how much I wanna give up and no matter how much my mind tells myself I can’t – I’m still gonna do it! #faith

@A_Writing_Mom #imbeautifulbecause I see myself as beautiful❤

@jenfromal #imbeautifulbecause I give in to full-out, crazy dance urges at least once a day. I have moves.

@SparklinTraci #Imbeautifulbecause I give myself permission to not have to be perfect, but to be the best me I can be.

@Zanthi #imbeautifulbecause I am learning to dance in the rain more often.

Thank you for making this world a more beautiful place.           

I’m off to watch the Royal Wedding and blubber like a baby!

Double rainbows and lotus flowers,

Jen ♥

Wise Words: The Mad To Live

This month’s featured amazing woman is Lauren Rains, from The Mad To Live!

An adventurer, entrepreneur, blogger, and all-around life enthusiast, Laur is one inspiring girl! She is on a mission to get people so freakin’ excited about their lives that they explode. Okay, maybe not explode, but live their lives to the fullest!

I gotta say, I love this girl. Her passionate love of life is so contagious, and visiting her blog always gets me excited about my life and everything in it.

So, please welcome this firecracker, and fellow China expat, to My Smiling Heart!

What encouraged you to start The Mad To Live?

Well, it sort of just happened. When I was living in Beijing I started a blog to keep my family updated and to just journal my thoughts while living abroad. After a few months I realized that I wasn’t really writing about travel, but more about things I found inspiring, dreams I wanted to pursue, people I’d met along my journey that had impacted me.

And that’s when I started to investigate the whole blogging, social media thing. Needless to say, I fell in love!

I fell in love with the community of people I’ve connected with that inspire me everyday to be a better person, I fell in love with writing and reading posts, I fell in love with the projects that stem from it. I can honestly say that starting The Mad To Live was one of the best things I’ve ever fallen into in my life.

Do you know what things you need to do on a regular basis in order to maintain your happiness? What are they?

A sense of “exploration” is absolutely key! That’s why I’m addicted to travel and passion projects. I love to experience things for the first time… I feel the most alive when that’s happening. So, I suppose you could say that on a regular basis I must see, experience, or try something… irregular!

What advice would you give to someone who is going through a challenging time?

I would tell them to dig deep within and find out the source and the root of whatever it is that’s creating this challenging time. Oftentimes on the outside it seems like we’re going through a tough time for countless reasons, but when it comes down to it it’s normally something very crucial that we haven’t yet faced.

I’d also tell them to gather a group of their closest friends and go out for a wild, crazy night on the town filled with laughs and ridiculousness. Sometimes a little break from a mental-block, bad mood, drama etc helps us to get out of our heads and remember that despite the challenges we can still enjoy life! Besides, who doesn’t love a few (too many!) glasses of wine with your closest friends?

Why do you think it is so important that we make our own paths in life rather than follow the paths of others?

There are so many reasons that it’s essential to follow your own path. But for me, what it comes down to is that if one isn’t following their true path in life then simply stated, they aren’t really living. They aren’t being who they are meant to be, doing what they’re meant to do, seeing what they’re meant to see. It is when we follow our own paths that we discover the unique talents and gifts we have to offer the world. And you know what? The world needs us to do that. The world needs people who are blazing their own trails, following their passion, finding happiness.

If you aren’t doing that… you aren’t really living. You’re just existing.

What has creating your own path in life taught you most?

It’s taught me the importance of true, authentic, hard work combined with being my true, authentic self. It’s been so clear to me based on my own experiences and watching the success of some of the amazing people I get to talk with everyday that if you put in 120% true, authentic effort you can achieve whatever you set out to do. And I mean that… 90% isn’t enough… you have to put in 120%. You have to really WANT it. You have to really DREAM it.

From where I sit today I can look back on the past year and say to myself that I lived in Beijing, China for a year where I worked for an adventure company doing all their web work and started a popular hiking club for Expats and locals. I’m now in the process of starting my own web design business so I can move abroad again and support myself 100%. Has any of this been a walk in the park? Hell no! I’ve worked my ass off! But it has been a blast! I have learned so much from both the great days and the worst days whether it have to do with culture shock or business shock.

If you give 120% you can follow whatever path in life your wildest imagination can dream of.🙂

What wise words do you live by?

Okay, the best way I can explain this is the self-talk I give myself when I’m about to jump into a freezing cold pool or ocean. You see.. I hate cold water… loathe it! But I LOVE it after that first second of terrible pain. And so every time I’m about to jump in I say to myself something along the lines of, “Okay Lauren… this is it… you only live once and you just have to do it. You just have to jump in. And during that 1 second don’t think about the pain of it, but think about the fact that you’re alive and feeling it! I’m feeling, seeing, touching, BEING.” So then I jump, and I’m so happy and I stand up in the water and I feel really alive in that moment.

I know, I know… it sounds kind of strange… but that’s how I try to live my life. Whatever it may be… good or bad – I just like to jump in and enjoy, learn from, and recognize every tiny little aspect of it.

What is something you are really proud of?

I’m really proud to have the friends in my life that I do, and I’m so proud of the fact that I love them like they are my family. I’m proud that there are people in my life that I can’t live without and that complete me and they feel the same way about me.

It seems to me that some of us get so caught up in our lives that we forget about our friends… the very people that help to make us who we are, the ones that pull us up when we’re down, the one’s that give it to us straight when we’re being complete and utter morons, the ones that we can act like complete and utter morons with!

The value of friendship… it seems to me people put this one on the backburner too much as they get older. But I know that my personal growth would be impossible without these people, and I’m really proud to have friendship as one of my greatest values.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given? Who gave it to you?

“Get out of your head, Lauren.”, said my oldest friend since 3rd grade Jaime. I had been going on and on and on about all these things that I’d been thinking about over and over again FOREVER. I had let all these things pile up and make me anxious, worried, stressed, and essentially depressed. And finally she laid down the law for me without sugar coating it and just told me to get out of my head.

It was at that moment that I realized I had been so caught up in my own self-talk that I had forgotten to enjoy life, to remember the bigger picture, to recognize there are thousands of positive things I could be thinking about instead of the 5 negatives.

The second you get out of your head is the second you’ve set yourself free to do whatever it is you’re meant to do.

What are you most grateful for?

I’m most grateful to my friends of course as I mentioned above. But in addition to that I’m most grateful for the people in my life believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself. I’m not sure if without their push and their encouragement I would have ever gotten out of the limbo I had been stuck in.

I’m also extremely grateful for warm summer nights + cold drinks + good music + great friends & good stories. I live for those nights… that’s when I’m most happy.

How do you want to inspire people?

I want to inspire people to truly, deeply LIVE. I guess that’s why I ultimately named my blog ‘The Mad To Live’. I want to see everyone around me feel ALIVE… not just being or doing or living… but BEING, DOING, LIVING. I know differentiating the two between caps and lowercase doesn’t say much but if you read between the lines there is such a big difference between the two.

I want to see people reach the age of 85 and look back on their life and say, “Damn… 85…. and I lived each of them with more life and passion than the last.”

What makes your heart smile?

Nothing makes my heart smile more than seeing someone doing something that brings them to life. My heart smiles when people tell me about the things they’re passionate about and suddenly their face is glowing, their talk is eager and excited, their aura is alive. I love that.. partially because I’m selfish… I find it contagious!

Also, beautiful websites make my heart smile, as well as cute boys (especially Spanish ones hehe), lemonade on a hot summer day, finding a book I love so much I read it in one weekend, seeing the skyline of the city I’m about to land in within a country I’ve never been to, and last but not least, long bike rides at sunset while I listen to music.

Check out Lauren’s site, The Mad To Live, and follow her on twitter and facebook.

Go smile at yourself,

Jen ♥

*A huge THANK YOU to everyone who has supported and donated to our 30 Days Of Beauty fundraiser – we have reached our goal of raising $300 for To Write Love On Her Arms! WOOHOO!😀

My Smiling Heart Gets A Makeover!

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“Then the time came when the risk it took to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom.”

 ~ Anais Nin

Hello beaYOUtiful!

Is your day covered in Awesome sauce? I hope so!😀

As you can see, I’ve been having fun creating a brand new look for My Smiling Heart! What do you think? I’m kinda in love with it!

I’ll be making a few other changes to it this week, figuring out what works and what no longer serves us.

I was a bit worried at first, about changing the look of My Smiling Heart. But in the end, I realised the only thing stopping me was fear. Fear of change, fear of what others will think, fear that you, all the beautiful souls in our community, wouldn’t like the changes. In the past, I would have let that fear stop me from changing anything, and I would have stayed stuck, where it was safe.

But I won’t do that anymore. Not only is change necessary and an unavoidable part of life, but it is so good for us. Change moves us forward, helps us grow, and forces us to become who we are meant to be.

No longer will I refrain from doing something just because it scares me, even if it’s just designing a new look for My Smiling Heart.

Also, the My Smiling Heart Vision Kit will be released very soon! If you want to be one of the first to know when it’s available, send an email to jenartist@live.com.au with “ebook list” in the subject line. I will send a notification email to that list as soon as it’s released!

So, I hope you love this new look as much as I do! It’s the beginning of much AWESOMENESS coming our way! I’d love for you to leave a comment to let me know what you think😀

SO much LOVE and RAINBOWS!

Jen ♥

30 Days Of Beauty: Week 3

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“I want to know if you can see beauty

even when it’s not pretty,

every day, and if you can source your

own life from its presence.”

~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Hello beautiful!

Are you seeing beauty everywhere?

Do you see it in the simplest of things, from your head to your toes?

Do you see it in things that were always right under your nose?

I see beauty. I see it in me, in you, in the world.

It’s always there, patiently waiting for that moment, the one in which you pause long enough to see it sparkle, and to recognise that same sparkle within yourself.

Here’s what I know for sure. All the beauty you see in the world, is also in you.

If your breath is taken away by a flower, a cool breeze, a warm sunset, the sparkle of the ocean, then all of that beauty and magic is in you, too. It’s who you are.

Believe it.

Here are all the reasons why I’m beautiful this week:


April 16th: #imbeautifulbecause I believe in love, dreams, and myself.

April 17th: #imbeautifulbecause I wear as many colours as possible so I can always feel like I’m a rainbow🙂

April 18th: #imbeautifulbecause I am doing the best that I can, and I know that’s enough.

April 19th: #imbeautifulbecause I don’t believe in failure, just lessons learned.

April 20th: #imbeautifulbecause I snort when I laugh🙂 It’s pretty cute/hysterical😛

April 21st: #imbeautifulbecause I’ll never really be a ‘grown-up’. I’m always the first one to the swing set🙂

April 22nd: #imbeautifulbecause I don’t follow the trends; I follow my heart.

And here are my favourite tweets from all you wonderful souls:

@jessica_morrow #imbeautifulbecause I am a woman to be reckoned with!

@IncaMaia #imbeautifulbecause I am realising my worth, and getting braver in proclaiming it and standing for it.

@SparklinTraci #imbeautifulbecause I see the positive in what I do & I feel good about what is at hand. I try my very best & I smile.

@jenfromal #imbeautifulbecause I’m sitting in the trade winds with a glass (or three) of wine thoroughly enjoying my life.

@BonnieHenna #imbeautifulbecause I give without fear of lacking !

@Becca_Lewis_MI #imbeautifulbecause i am always on the look for the positive!

@Zanthi #imbeautifulbecause I wake up every morning knowing something wonderful is going to happen and make me smile

@VTurnerArt #imbeautifulbecause I’m not afraid to live with passion.

Thank you so much, ladies, for sharing your beauty with the world.

Another big thank you to all the absolutely amazing women who contributed to the 30 Days Of Beauty group post! I am still blown away by your beauty, wisdom and love, and I will always feel honoured to be in your company.

And the icing on this rainbow cake of AWESOMENESS, we are only $40 away from reaching our fundraising goal for To Write Love On Her Arms! Yay! Thank you so much to everyone who has donated, you are supporting an amazing cause.

Double rainbows and flutterbys,

Jen ♥

Wise Words: Putting the YOU in beaYOUtiful

via tree of life

What does beauty mean to you? Where is it found?

Is it in the face, the smile, the eyes? Or is it the personality, the humour, the kindness, the courage? Or is it all of that and so much more?

When I think of beauty, I see strength, courage, wisdom, and authenticity. I see a woman who loves herself unconditionally, believes in her dreams, and creates her own path in life. I see a woman who smiles with her heart.

To celebrate 30 Days Of Beauty, I asked some of the most beautiful women I know to write about what makes them beautiful, by answering one question:

What puts the YOU in beaYOUtiful?

I am very excited and honoured to be able to bring you this post today. There is so much beauty and wisdom here, and all my gratitude goes to all the amazing women who shared their beauty so authentically and openly.

Here’s what these amazing women had to say:

Amanda | Kind Over Matter | @kindovermatter

I am beautiful because I’m silly, laugh a lot, breakout in dance at least 5 times a day & teach my children what Joy is by example. I am beautiful because I am doing what I love & encouraging others that they can do the same.  I’ve got a few businesses under my belt that did make it off the ground but they didn’t fly for very long. Even after those failings (lessons), I didn’t give up. I stitched up my wings, let them heal & took off again, creating something that brings people together in a positive & loving way. I created something that constitutes as heartwork & also provides for my family. I am beautiful because I believe in everybody.  I believe that you can overcome most anything & ride the wind smiling, in the flight pattern of your choice, no matter how heavy your baggage is. I am beautiful because I trust & believe in the potency of love.

Brianne | I Want Her Job | @iwantherjob

What makes me beautiful?

If you would have asked me this question in high school, I would have said my eyes. If you would have asked me in college, I would have said my drive. And asking myself this question now, I have a completely different answer. (Of course!)

It’s my light.

There are so many facets of a person that can make them beautiful. It can be your smile, your heart, your kind eyes, your humor … But I feel our personalities are like a river. We’re always moving, sometimes changing direction, at times rising (and falling), but at the end of it we are always there. We have the force, over time, to change rocks and the ability to carry others.

But most importantly, we sparkle in the light. We become a brighter, more inviting version of ourselves. Just like a river, it’s when people are drawn to us the most.

So next time you’re feeling down, and not-so-beautiful, remember: We always have beauty within us, but it’s our light that can change the appearance of everything around us.

Cinda | ROAR! With Cinda | ROAR! Facebook

I believe there are two of us within each of us. There is our Human side, which the world sees. It represents our physical experience. It is packed full of emotions, passions, hunger, dreams, and competition. A body and a mind designed to make mistakes, to learn, to grow. It is where anger, vanity, sadness, hopelessness resides.

The other side is our Spirit side. This is where pure joy and love resides. The laughter, the songs, the energy that lights up a room. It is the magnet that draws people in. The love of mother and child and best friends. Our Spirit side is our truth, our extreme knowledge and wisdom of all that is. It is forgiveness and peace. It is who we really are – the very essence of our Being.

I am BeaYOUtiful because I am aware that my Spirit side is alive within me, ALWAYS. When I tap into my Spirit, I tap into an energy of love source more powerful and more important than me, because it is connected to YOU.

Dani | Positively Present | @positivepresent

For me, being beautiful is about being in love with the person you are. Self-love and self-acceptance are the two most important things when it comes to true beauty. The more you love yourself — the more beauty you possess, both inside and out.

What makes me beautiful is the fact that I accept who and what I am and do what I can to focus on the positive aspects of me. Dwelling on the negative only brings you down. Focus on what you love about yourself and your true beauty will always shine through!

Jenn | Roots Of She | @rootsofshe

Most people don’t think of beauty when they’re hot and sweaty, but I do. I’m a yogi, I practice Baptiste yoga, which is vinyasa yoga done in a 95-100 degree room. I’m slick with sweat by the time we’re ten minutes in and feeling so very powerful. It’s hard and I try so hard, this is what makes me beautiful.

How often when something is hard or it hurts do we stop? We shy away from the discomfort, we take the easier path.

For me, the motivating factor is always fear, I’m afraid it’ll hurt, I’m afraid that I can’t do it.

I’m afraid of what it will mean if I can do it.

That’s the one that always trips me up, I’m afraid of what it will mean if I actually can do it.

When you work towards something, even when it hurts, even if you’re scared, that’s such a lovely thing.

I’m beautiful because I like to ignore the voice that starts sentences with “I’m afraid…”

I’m beautiful because every time I say yes to trying, I’m saying no to self-doubt.

I’m beautiful because I choose to live with a fearless heart.

Karen | A Peaceful Path | A Peaceful Path Facebook

The other day I was giving some unrequested “sage mother” advice to my daughter – that kindness is the most important quality in life. When you think about it, what situation is not made better by kindness?

I think of kindness as that gentleness that allows others their own space, their own lives and frees me from judgment. It’s the choice to look for the best intentionally.

It’s coming from the soft space inside that opens to kindness like a rose opening to the sun.

I know my beauty is in my kindness, in the gentleness of my spirit, in my choice to embrace the best.

This is when I am beautiful.

Leonie | Goddess Guidebook | @GoddessLeonie

Liv | Choosing Beauty | @ChoosingBeauty

The beauty industry has most people convinced that if we don’t use special creams and pricey injections to ward off the aging process, we could all shrivel up like raisins in the blink of an eye. But I think those who say “beauty is only skin deep” are wrong.

Natural, ageless beauty is actually soul deep. We age from the inside out, not the outside in. Science has proven that people who are genuinely happy live longer, more fulfilling lives.

To boost my own happiness, I have learned to appreciate the beauty and blessings in each day – even the hard ones. In fact, I think I’ve become so good at celebrating the beauty surrounding me that it’s translated into seeing the beauty in me. Every laugh line has become a badge of honor, every gray hair a treasured souvenir from this journey I’m on. Each morning, I wake up to the ultimate gift: another 24 hours to live this beautiful life. Turns out the Fountain of Youth is right there in my own backyard.

Lori | Tiny Buddha | @tinybuddha

I believe my vulnerability makes me beautiful.

Throughout my life, I have spent a lot of time obsessing over the things I felt were wrong with me. I never felt pretty enough, thin enough, smart enough, talented enough, or good enough in general. Everything I did was an attempt to make people like me.

One day I realized that this pursuit of other people’s approval was precisely what hindered me from earning my own. My neediness and desperation made it hard to respect myself, and at the end of the day, that’s what I really wanted.

I wanted to believe that I could put my head on my pillow at night knowing I am a good, valuable person and I deserve the peace of mind that only I can give me.

I wanted to love myself, knowing fully that I have darkness and light within me—that I have strengths and weaknesses, struggles and successes. I wanted to accept my humanity, even while growing and improving a little every day.

And I wanted to authentically share myself to hopefully help other people do the same. That I am willing to be seen in good days and bad, in strength and vulnerability, makes me feel both proud and beautiful.

Tess | The Bold Life | @theboldlife

I feel beautiful

I feel beautiful as I listen to the whispers of my heart,

slow down, breathe deeply, savoring all of life.

In this moment nothing else exists

but the beauty of everything, everywhere.

I feel beautiful when I understand my purpose,

my desire to create, to serve, to do something

for me, for you, for all of humanity, for now, forever,

empowered by the light that lies within us all.

I feel beautiful when I quiet my mind and

as a peacemaker, I behold a compassionate vision

for millions and billions and trillions

stretching to infinity and limitless horizons.

I feel beautiful when we are connected heart-to-heart.

I see your soul through the window of my eyes.

I sense your joy, I see your delight,

engulfed in the magnificence of now and always.

I feel beautiful when I reflect your

inherent beauty and goodness

and emerge with you into ‘I Am’

lost in the dance, experiencing the extraordinary,

knowing that we never walk alone.

Come as you are to the bounty of love.

We are in full blossom now, we are infinite.

Deep into our souls we travel,

A radical and social transformation,

spinning together on our illusionary planet.

May we all feel beautiful.

via Pinterest

Now that you have read about what makes these women beautiful, we pass the talking stick to you.

Leave a comment answering this question:

What puts the YOU in beaYOUtiful?

Thanks to you, with 11 days left of the 30 Days Of Beauty Challenge, we have raised $220 for To Write Love On Her Arms! We are SO close to our goal of $300! Thank you so much to everyone who has donated and shared the love with others! You ROCK!

Shine Your Light,

Jen ♥