Saturday, November 26, 2011

Bohemian Hippie Gift Guide 2011

It's that time of year again! The holidays are upon us it's time for us to do a little hippie, bohemian, free-spirit shopping. Whether you are the hippie, bohemian, or free-spirit or the people you buy for are, this guide can help you find all the best gifts for the holidays. You can even do a lot of your shopping directly from this blog! So sit back, relax, & enjoy as I present you with the Bohemian Hippie Gift Guide 2011.


Gift Ideas

Books, Movies, Art, and Music
Leg Warmers
Lava Lamps
Glow in the Dark Stars
Pay for a friend or family member's recycling services for a year
Gift cards
Posters, and wall decals
Pipes, water pieces, vaporizers, one-hitters, grinders, and other "tobacco" paraphernalia
Tickets to a play, musical, art show, concert, festival, etc.
Door beads
Bean bag chairs
A variety of teas and/or coffees
Anything with peace signs on it

Homemade DIY Gift Ideas

Blankets, towels, scarves, purses, socks, hats, sweaters, slippers, etc. (crochet or knit)
Soaps, scrubs, body washes, lip balms, perfumes, etc.
Gift baskets
An original song
Baked goods (sugar cookies, fruitcake, breads, etc.)
and so much more! Be creative!

Great Websites to Shop On

Helpful Resources

Charitable Giving Ideas

It's always a nice idea to give in your own name too. Perhaps you can donate to a local food bank, homeless shelter, or animal rescue this year. You can always donate to your favorite charities as well, during the holiday season and all year round.

I hope that this guide will help you out this holiday season, and I hope everyone enjoys this beautiful season of giving and sharing. Remember, it's not about the tangible gifts you can hold in your hand, but about the gifts of love you share between humanity, family, and friends.
Happy Holidays!

Peace and Love,

Saturday, November 19, 2011's been awhile

Hello friends. Wow... it has been a LONG time since I updated the blog. This is probably for many reasons, some of which include just being super busy living, the fact that my blog was semi-hacked for a bit, & the fact that we have had issues with keeping our internet over the past few months. But I am here now, so I will give you an idea of what life has been like.

Well, back at the beginning of the summer I made an interesting choice to quit my job (with no back-up plan, really) because I was unhappy with the amount of work as compared to compensation, the wear & tear on my car, & the dishonesty that I had to endure (& be a part of) while I was there.  Maybe it wasn't the smartest choice just to pick up & quit, but it is what it is.

So to make ends meet, I donated plasma often, sold a lot of my stuff, taught music lessons, & began modeling for art classes at Michigan State University & for local photographers.  I also took my 403B money from when I was teaching & used it to pay lots of bills. But... I was (& still am) pretty broke anyway.

But even though I had no money & no prospects, I lived a happy existence.  I was in "Annie" at Riverwalk Theatre (as Bonnie Boylan, Cecille the French Maid, a homeless person in Hooverville, & an NYC resident), I made a lot of new friends, & I even entangled myself in a bit of a backstage chemistry with a charming & handsome 37 year old. I also went on an amazing getaway with my mom to The Homestead Resort in northern Michigan. We climbed Sleeping Bear Dunes, got massages at Spa Amira, had an elegant dinner at the fancy dancy restaurant at the resort (where I was charmed by a handsome waiter who looked kinda like Robert Downing Jr.) & visited the Amber Elk Ranch, where we got to feed Elk as we road on a wagon through their habitats. It was awesome.

In addition to all that fun & intrigue, I also became an official member of the band The Sunset Club. So I started gigging with them more & being more involved in the song writing process. (I even got to be on the radio with them for an interview & two live songs. AWESOME!) I also started working on my songs with Will (which we will be recording soon. I'll keep ya posted.)

(The Sunset Club after our radio interview/live set)

So the summer went by nicely, with "Annie" & the trip & The Sunset Club & just getting to hang out with all my new friends at parties, concerts, & incredibly fun (& occasionally wicked) bar nights. But when "Annie" came to a close, the weather began to change, & the 403B money ran out, I started to get a little depressed. It didn't help that Will & I were having problems either...

So what did I do? I broke things off with Will (with the condition that we could still date to try to work things out in the future), I did more modeling, taught more music lessons, & I got a new job as a nanny to two amazing kids!

That kind of gets us up to speed.  I am still working as a nanny, still teaching lessons, & still modeling. I am also taking more responsibility in The Sunset Club & gearing up to audition for another show at Riverwalk. So I am pretty happy, & grateful that I have what I do.  But I am a bohemian... so I simply crave more.

What more could I want you ask? Well... a job that pays better would be nice. Benefits would be nice (especially dental insurance as I need to get pretty much all my teeth capped.) I could really use a different place to live with fewer people coming in & out all the time. (Don't get me wrong... I love having people over. But sometimes it ends up feeling more like a hostel, a cheap motel, or some kind of "magnet house" for all the other poor hippies & it's just too much to handle.) I would also like to do more acting, singing, & modeling & of course finish my book!! I also want a garden someday soon... & a dog, & hopefully in the next few years, a baby. That's right, I said it. A baby. My sister & my best friend are both pregnant right now, so I know I have a bit of baby fever, but honestly I never imagined having my first kid past 30 anyway, & I'm getting close & it's making me worry that I won't ever be stable enough financially & romantically to have kids. So I'm thinking about it a lot.

I'm sure there's more.  But this is getting pretty long winded as it is.

I hope you feel a little more up to date on my crazy Bohemian lifestyle. Come back soon; I promise not too wait as long to write again.

Peace & Love,

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Bohemian Crazy Busy...

I know it has been a long time since I last posted an official blog entry. But the truth is, I have been a very busy bohemian lately. I got a part time job at Guido's Pizza... well, more officially, a Guido's Pizza that offers gluten-free food options! No joke!  It's so cool.  (You can check out the website for our gluten-free stuff here: Guido's Gluten-Free)  In addition to that, I have still been writing (a little), performing with the amazing band The Sunset Club at a lot of gigs, working on Guys & Dolls with the Holt/Dimondale Community Players, having crazy fun nights with friends, donating plasma, etc.

I also did the March for Babies (for the March of Dimes) and as always, it was a great time.  I didn't raise three hundred dollars (my goal amount), but I did raise $95, so I feel good to have contributed.  Thanks again to everyone who donated!

But back to the artsy stuff. hehe Like I said, I've been performing with The Sunset Club, and I have to say, it is a thrilling experience to sing harmonies with such an epic & powerful band! For real.  And singing with Jory (the lead singer) is a dream come true, because he has so much emotion and expression in his voice.  It's so beautiful!  So yeah... I'm loving it!

But at the same time, I still want to get my own stuff going too.  So as much fun as I have with them, they can't get all my musical focus.  I'm actually playing a gig in June or July that will be just me and my ukulele, so that's pretty crazy!  I've been working on a lot of stuff to get ready (and get better!) and so far, I have 5 original songs on the uke to work with, 3 of which you can hear rough cuts of here, and I am pretty good at the following covers:

"Rhythm of Love" -Plain White Ts
"Hey Soul Sister" -Train
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow" -Glee Version

"Down on the Corner" -Creedence Clearwater Revival
"Pricetag" -Jessie J
"I'm Yours" -Jason Mraz
"Let it Be" -The Beatles
"I Will Follow Him" -Little Peggy March
"Get Together" -The Youngbloods
"In My Life" -The Beatles
"Marry Me" -Train

But there's still lots of work to be done.  I have lots of songs I wrote on piano too that I would like to get recorded.  So hopefully, I'll be able to do a little of that this summer.

Water for ElephantsWhat else is there to tell you?  Oh yes, for Mother's Day, my mom, sister, and I went to see "Water for Elephants."  It was really great!  Will's mom says the book is amazing too, so now, especially after seeing the movie, I really want to read the book.  You can buy it for me here: Water for Elephants (Or... you could buy it for yourself I suppose! haha) Has anyone else seen this or read this already?  If so, tell me what your thoughts.

If there's more I forgot to tell you (and I'm sure there is) I will try to get it up in the next few days. For now, I'm outty. :)

Peace & Love to ALL,

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"Money, Money, Money... Must be funny... in a Rich Man's World."

My title comes from an ABBA song about, well... money.  This is because I have money on the brain.  Not that I WANT to have money on the brain.  But when you have no money and need money, money tends to be on the brain.

"Oh... all the things I could do, if I had a little money. It's a rich man's world!"

Why do I NEED money?  Well, the way I live requires that I pay rent, utilities, etc.  Not to mention that I have a car I occasionally drive, debt up the wall, and 2 pets to take care of.  As much as I would sometimes like to give up the house and car and live in some commune somewhere, I know that as a modern bohemian, I need access to my technology to thrive.  And I like living in a house as opposed to a tent or my car again.

So I need money.  This is true.
And it's been frustrating because I have a hard time getting money.  Yes, I am on unemployment.  But I constantly run into problems with getting my money on time.  Like right now?  No unemployment money since mid-January.  Grr...

But I am doing everything I can (legally) do to make money.  I am still writing, I worked with my friend at an Expo for $50, I take back cans and bottles from home (and those I gather), I sell stuff to pawn shops and second hand stores, I advertise with Adsense, Google Affiliates, and Amazon Associates, I have many online stores, including at CafePress and Zazzle, and I recently started donating plasma.  I am still also doing some extra work in television and movies (but those opportunities are few and far between), I still sell on Etsy from time to time, and I am a part of Sponsored Tweets and MyLikes.  But I tell ya... for as much as I do, the money is still hard to come by.

I AM looking for a part time job too! (For all you haters out there who think hippies, bohemians, and free-spirits are just lazy...) But the problem is that I am "unqualified" to do a lot of the jobs available.  (Funny, since I have a college degree and 12 years of work experience...) When I DO get interviews, they always go with the person with "more experience." IE: NOT ME.  Frustration!!!

It's awful that a lot of people (friends even) don't understand the stress I am feeling or how desperate things can get around here.  Most of them don't truly seem to realize that I can't really go many places because a.) I can't afford to drive there b.) I can't afford to spend money once there and c.) I am not a person who easily accepts others' offers to "cover it" because I have been burned BAD in the past.  I just want them to understand.

I love my friends and family, but I am in a tough spot.  And until I can somehow dig myself out of it (and I WILL) I hope that they can provide me with a little more understanding.

Anyone else struggling to get by?  What are you doing to pay your bills? Let's help each other out!!

For now, I have to go try to make some more money.

"I work all night, I work all day, to pay the bills I have to pay... ain't it sad?"
Yes, ABBA.  It is sad.

But positivity still rules the day (for now) so I am off to make it happen!!!
Peace and Love,

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My Hippie, Bohemian, Free-Spirit Lifestyle in 2011

Happy New Year everyone!  How is 2011 treating you so far?  This modern day hippie/bohemian/free-spirit is doing pretty well so far this year.  I was a little worried there at the end of December, when January 1st was rolling around and I still didn't have rent money... but just as things usually do for me, it worked out somehow!  Now I am actually getting unemployment money, making a little more money with my online writing, and I am able to actually have the time to seek other employment that is suitable for me.  (Though... I am still not sure what kind of employment is suitable for me!)
Most importantly though, I am making sure that I am continuing to become a better person in 2011.  And I'm starting close to home; with the people who I always seem to hurt the most: my family.  In 2010, I missed birthdays, I cancelled things at the last minute, and I didn't communicate with my mom, dad, sister, and bro-in-law more than once a week sometimes.  That is simply unacceptable!
My biggest problem is that I tend to give and give and give to friends and strangers and then there is simply not much left for my family, and this isn't fair.  So I need to find some balance (something that is VERY hard for me.)
I am improving already though; I celebrated my mom's birthday with my whole family, I have talked to my mom and dad on the phone and in person several times, and I just went to a game night at my sister's house, hosted by her and my new bro-in-law.  So.... it's progress.
Even though my family doesn't quite understand that I would rather live out of my car than move home (it's something about the crazy bohemian belief in freedom, creativity, and the "open spirit" I think) or that I don't want to work just for money but to feel empowered, creative, and fulfilled; or why exactly I dress the way I do; I know that my family loves me and I need to show them my love in return.
This does not mean that I am going to stop giving to friends and strangers.  I couldn't stop that either!  I am of the belief that I have a life mission to spread peace, love, and creativity to this world, so I cannot give up on that ever! Ever!!
So it comes back to balance.  Perhaps if I get back into Pilates, I can find a little balance (and keep my bod smokin'!)
What else am I working on besides this "balance?"  Well, I would like to see some of my art reach the world on a bigger scale. (My "art" being my writing, my music, my acting, modeling, and performing, and my actual art and arts and crafts.)  How to do that is the next question!!
I mean... "art" is very important to a modern day hippie, bohemian, and/or free-spirit, and I am no exception to this.  As Laren Stover said in Bohemian Manifesto: A Field Guide to Living on the Edge (this is NOT verbatim) bohemians want to be known for their work, for their "art," even if it is not until later in life or after death (though most want a bit of fame while they are young and really able to live it up and enjoy it!)  I am not an exception to this either.  From a young age I had dreams of fame.  I wanted to be a country singer, then a Broadway star, then a top selling author, a poet, an artist, a pop singer, a model, an Oscar winner, a famous blogger, a world peacemaker, etc... the only "non-fame" role I have ever pursued was "teacher."  But even teachers can go on to become famous! (Sheryl Crow and Tim Gunn anyone?)
So what am I really after here?  Recognition for my art? Money? Fame? Acceptance? Peace and love?  I think it may be a combination of all of the above.
So we'll see what 2011 has to offer this modern hippie, bohemian, free-spirit.  Will I gain balance?  Will I make a difference in the world?  Will I become rich and famous and bigger than Justin Bieber? (Probably not...) We'll see...
Peace and Love,

By the way, speaking of Tim Gunn (as I did above)... I am reading Gunn's Golden Rules: Life's Little Lessons for Making It Work and really enjoying it.  His point of view is interesting, but actually pretty basic: people should be good to one another (and have good manners!)  So if you're looking for another book to add to your reading list, I would suggest checking this one out.