Thankful Thursday

Each week we encourage you to tune in, join the discussion and pass on your own thankful thoughts!


We are thankful for green plants!  They make the world a cooler place–literally and figuratively!  Look around you today, look at all the greenery–or look at your lack of greenery… maybe you need to adopt a plant!

We are thankful for seasons–LL in LA doesn’t get them as much as she used to when she lived in NoCal… and Clare misses the steady summer of Cali, but LOVES watching the leaves change.  We hope that where ever you are, you are embracing the change, or the steadyness of the seasons and your life.

Comment below with what you’re thankful for, and post on social media with #thankfulthursday #liveclarelesley

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com We LOVE your feedback!! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

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Celebrating National Waffle and Peach Pie Day

I’ll admit this is a crazy one… but who doesn’t love a sweet treat?  National Waffle Day made me think of not only the actual waffle, but the idea of “waffling” of sitting at a cross roads and making a decision.  I’ve been at may cross roads.  Many took me in a great direction that lead me to where I am, and made me a stronger, better person.  Some left me bruised and hurting–not unlike a peach.  It reminds me of the movie Sweet Home Alabama when the woman playing Reece Witherspoon’s mom is making something with peaches or maybe it was plums, and she says that it is the bruised ones that make the best jam.  Its true… bruised or not–once a decision is made, you’re better for having made it, like I said in my blog about Greatest Mistakes.  Go be sweet to someone!

And if you’re “waffling” over something…. go ahead, take chance and a leap!

LL

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Celebrating National Love Your Feet Day

HA!  This one made me laugh… Its also National Thrift Shop Day, but the feet thing… I’ll admit it: at first I thought “EW!  Why a whole day to celebrate feet?!?”  And I’m not even squeamish  about feet… but then I thought–you know, some people love feet, and some people can’t stand to look at or even think about feet…

This made me liken this thought to that about weight –I’ve been dealing with weight issues my entire life, but I like to eat, and coming from German and Norwegian stock–I’m f*cked.  So, I gave in and bought fat shorts–if you missed that goals blog, you can laugh with me here!

I then went to write a blog about just enjoying the things you enjoy.  For me, its coffee.  But ultimately, its not just about loving your feet–its loving your whole self for exactly who you are in this moment, you beautiful snowflake!  Revisit one of my all time favorites about loving the skin you’re in right now.

Clare

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com   We LOVE your feedback!!   Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

Thankful Thursday

Each week we encourage you to tune in, join the discussion and pass on your own thankful thoughts!


We are thankful for the ability to stop.  How often do you just stop what you’re doing, not because its the end of the day, or because you have to–but because you want to?  Give yourself time.  It is the greatest gift–even if its only 10 minutes.  Stop, and take a moment, or three for yourself today!

We are thankful for fast connection.  It is so easy to talk to people these days–remember 20 years ago when we just had land lines and the internet was just starting to go public?  And now you can talk to anyone or look for anything instantly.  Yes, it has trained us to need things more instantaneously, but it is a lovely thing to be able to connect with so many, so easily.  Today is National Presidential Joke Day AND National Sons and Daughters Day–maybe you should take this as a sign to reach out and share a joke with a friend (so many Trump jokes pop into my brain), or reach out to a son, daughter, or someone who is a son or a daughter!

Comment below with what you’re thankful for, and post on social media with #thankfulthursday #liveclarelesley

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com We LOVE your feedback!! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

Goals #30–2016 LL

I am FLYING right now! I am so stimulated inside and out. I just completed my 3rd module of 4 in “The Work.” As part of my 2016 goals I wanted to complete all 4 modules this year and have fun while doing it! So far I am doing just that.

This week I am digesting all the info I just learned. I am also putting plans into action for my Pilates retreats and other things for 2017. See, around here we have been setting goals up for 2018 and beyond. Yes, this means I am working on goals for today and goals for the future at the same time. But when you love what you do and you know where you want be doing it these goals are magic.

The other exciting thing about being in your goals and really working with them is how much they inspire you to dream even bigger next time. Has this ever happened to you?

Happy Monday! I am off to enjoy the fruits of this weekends goal magic xx~LL

Thankful Thursday

Each week we encourage you to tune in, join the discussion and pass on your own thankful thoughts!


We are thankful for chocolate chip cookies!  Its National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!  Not only are the cookies themselves delicious, they’re a lot like life… you have a lot of cookie and a few chips–or a few really sweet yummy moments, but its worth it to eat the whole cookie!!  Here is a link to a FAVORITE Nestle Toll House recipe!!

We are thankful for furbabies!!  LL has two and they make her world a better place.  The love you get from a furbaby is unlike any other!  If you don’t have one, or can’t adopt one of your own–check around with your local adoption agencies–they would love to have volunteers to walk or even just love on their furbabies!!

Comment below with what you’re thankful for, and post on social media with #thankfulthursday #liveclarelesley

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com We LOVE your feedback!! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

Life is too short for bad coffee

If you’ve been reading my goals posts, you’ll know that I’m struggling with my brain not liking my waist–I mean I’m human, so who among us does like our bodies more than three days in a row?

So I’m sitting here this morning, a lovely sunny summer Sunday in NYC, and enjoying my coffee.  There is nowhere I have to be today, I do have a few obligations (phone calls), and errands, but nowhere I have to be.  And I’m taking a lovely sip of my French pressed coffee and as I swallow, I’m realizing for the first time in weeks, I’m actually enjoying my coffee.  Its warmth, its nuttyness, its robust but creamy taste; as the warm and and the caffeine hit my system, I’m slowly awakening into, and becoming a part of the world again.  I’m drinking it out of one of my seven favorite mugs–If you’re an original follower you might remember that I’ve moved six times in three years–so I’ve dwindled down my coffee mug collection, so I have exactly the number of cups (that I LOVE) for the number of days in the week.  I’m drinking out of this beautiful oversized bone china tea cup–I can’t get away from working for three years in a fine china shop–all of my dishes HAVE to be quality!  I’d decided to enjoy my coffee and read a little (my roommate loaned me her copy of Warrior Goddess Training to assist my brain realignment with my body issues) as the sun and the breeze stream into my NYC apartment, and the coffee is bringing me into life and bliss, I’m realizing: this cup of coffee is amazing, and life is too short to drink crappy coffee.


Let me back up a little, and bring you to the pinnacle of why this realization is important.  For the past six weeks or so, I’ve been trying to drink alternative coffee.  As in, I like my coffee lightish and sweetish.  I don’t need it to taste like a Werther’s Original, but I don’t need to suck on coffee grounds, either.  The easy way to deal with this is to buy those presweetened flavored creamers.  Which have a lot of sugar.  I’ve been drinking these for years…. but I decided that a good way to cut my sugar intake was to take the flavored cream out of my life.  So I did.  I tried almond milk.  I tried unsweetened almond milk.  I tried cashew milk.  I tried sugar alternatives.  I tried just milk.  I was so unhappy–I tried to make alternative coffee work… but it just wasn’t the same.  Yeah, yeah, first world problems, I totally know… but its a fine line, isn’t it–the difference between taking care of one’s self well, and what we’ve deemed as a first world problem.  I mean, its one thing to complain about creamer when,  I realize, there are people starving in some countries, and I sit here and complain about finding a creamer that tastes good, but won’t add five pounds to my waist whenever I have a serving.  But this is about me taking care of myself.  Which is also a fine line.  When do we treat ourselves well, or when do we “take care of ourselves”.  


I’ve never been starving–I’ve had an extremely low or a negative amount in my bank account many times.  I’ve lived off of, and stretched food because of poor choices.  However, I also have gone the other direction and found myself eating just to try to make myself happy (aka have been extremely overweight because I was eating because I was depressed).

I’m not the most regimented of people–diets just don’t work for me… I find I become very irritable (aka an extreme bitch) and they never have anywhere close to the results I want (my stomach isn’t much flatter, and my thighs didn’t shrink).  However, I am good at moderation–I’ll happily have a handful of chips and stop.  Or one serving of ice cream.  I’ll have the yummy treat, but then be done.

As I get older, I’m seeing my metabolism slow.  I’m witnessing that 10 extra pounds of happiness each decade.  I’m probably more healthy than I’ve ever been, as living in New York makes me move and climb and walk much more than I’ve ever done in my life.  And yes, I actually go back and re-read my own blog on loving the skin I’m in now every three months or so.  But the voices in my head, will loudly remind me that I’m not as skinny as I could and hope to be.  Most of the time, I can tell those voices that I’m beautiful no matter what size I am.  Like Warrior Goddess Training, and other books like it I’ve read, tell me that its the size in the person not the size OF the person that matters.  In other words, confidence is what is beautiful/sexy/attractive.  Shape and size are all just perspective.


So back to my coffee–I’m reminded to return from my tangents to the original thought that started this blog because I just got myself a refill.  My mom was in town visiting me last week, and I bought flavored creamer for her–as I was finishing out my round of caramel flavored almond milk–still not a winner.  This delicious Hazelnut International Delight creamer was left over… and so coming from a “don’t waste food” home, I’m drinking it.  And for the first time in weeks, I’m enjoying the coffee.  The interesting thing is that it was too sweet and creamy on the first sip, so I watered it down with milk–and ultimately making it a little healthier.  A little.

Maybe my enjoyment comes from the fact that I’m drinking something I really like. Maybe my enjoyment comes from the fact that two weeks ago, I threw up my arms, went out and bought fat shorts and decided not to give a fuck about my weight.  Maybe the realization comes from the conversation I had with my roommate last night about “overweight” being the line of discomfort that you cross, and not the size of your clothing.  Maybe it comes from the price of happiness is worth wearing a size larger shorts this summer (and the understanding that the last two summers I was doing a lot of hiking and walking for my jobs, so I was more active albeit a smaller waist size). Maybe its something entirely different.  But this morning, in my one size larger shorts, I’m enjoying this cup of coffee and not caring about anything else.  And that’s the point of living, isn’t it–to deal with the ups and downs, and to enjoy and revel in as many moments of goodness as you can.

I’m going to finish this cup of coffee.  Let me know what you like to enjoy and revel in!

–Clare

 

 

 

Perfect for someone

This morning while running around UCLA I was listening to this weeks episode of the “Being Boss” podcast.  They were interviewing artist Brenda Mangalore about her transition from working in the corporate world as a web designer to living as an artist. An artist who gets paid to do what she loves. She would pray that she wouldn’t have to go into work each day. One day this made her wonder. Why do I not want to go to work? It’s a perfectly good job. Great job really. That’s when she realized that this perfectly good job was perfectly good for someone else but not her.

Perfection is very attractive. We tend to all be striving to do something or multiple things perfectly. It’s easy to want to be the best. Perfection is a bright shiny object. It’s like a moth to a flame. But we usually fall for perfection on paper. Because as we know “Perfect” just doesn’t exist.

This all got me thinking. I remember setting my goals about 5ish years ago. I had some great goals about work that I wanted and can now look back and see I have achieved. But some of my personal and health goals. Well they were perfectly good goals. Goals many people would have understood and even supported me on or joined in with me. But, they didn’t really light my fire. I actually kept postponing them, making excuses of why I shouldn’t do them. Which got me wondering…why someone who loves achieving goals is literally shoving goals in a corner. Oh, because these goals were perfectly good for someone but not for me.

Here are a couple of other “perfect” journeys:

Perfect Job: As you know if you have been reading our blog for awhile I have twice left salaried jobs for something else. Something my heart was yearning for. Something bigger than what I was doing. Both times I was expecting people to be as excited as I was for this next adventure. What I found when I told people I was quitting my job was shock, concern and worry. Most people said “Are you sure?” There were only a couple people who were supportive in a way that didn’t feel like they were waiting for the bottom to drop. I even felt like some people thought I would change my mind. Both jobs on paper were pretty awesome. Decent work schedules, good pay, room for growth and the ability to lead others. But both had run their course. Both jobs were perfect for someone else but not for me.

Perfect Mate: Just like in my jobs situation when I left my ex I had more people as me “if I was sure?” Plenty of people reminding me I could always go back. Most people just didn’t understand how I could leave a relationship that was “working.” My ex was a lot of things that many people would want. He has even recently married. He was perfect on paper, a great person but just not the right mate for me.

I think it’s important for us all to take time to do inventory in our lives and see where we are keeping things because they are perfect on paper or because they are “perfect” for you.

Do you wake up and dreading doing something you used to love?

Do you find yourself wishing you would wake up sick so you don’t have to work?

Do you sometimes wish your significant other would break up with you?

Are you making excuses for not doing something you say you want?

It’s not easy to give up with “perfect on paper” situation. But, what if you could? What would it take to give it up? Do you have to save up money, take a class or classes, move somewhere? Vision your life doing what’s right for you instead of doing what’s right for someone else. Then take that leap of faith! I promise from our end you’ll get lots of high-fives.

I left that perfect job and perfect mate and am thousands times happier. Life would have been fine if I stayed. Life is so much fuller because I did me. I through out that perfect paper and just trusted my vision. It’s so worth it.

I highly recommend listening to the full podcast episode. It’s always incredible to hear how someone went from the 9-5 job to rocking their bliss. We all have our own journey. I’ll repeat that, we all have our own journey. Enjoy yours!

xx~LL

7 Life Habits I Learned in Acting Class

I look back fondly, and with a spoonful of laughter at one of my first required classes I took for my acting degree. My school called it “Voice and Movement,” but every acting program has a similar class. Before they’ll allow you to tackle text (or scripts), you have to learn how to effectively use your instrument (your body) and how to be kind to yourself. As a “kid” in her early 20s, I’ll admit I scoffed at some of the things we did. I called the class “kindergarten for actors” which I still do. And I still chuckle to myself at people lying on the floor doing “Dying Cockroach.” (Lay on your back. Put your arms and legs in the air and “tremor” or shake your arms and legs, while vocalizing (moaning out loud). It’s very silly looking, but it does help you relax your body and help yourself get a good deep breath.)

While we did many silly things, walked around the room with different parts of our body leading, said poems or tongue twisters while on all fours pretending to be animals, and other things that seemed silly then and now, but I’m sure helped embed technique into my soul. But the basics of acting, and life, really, were retaught to me in that class. I try to do these things daily, but sometimes they don’t happen–and honestly, my “bad days” are the ones I didn’t prep for. I’m not saying: do all of these things daily and everyday will be perfect. I’m just saying that if you go into every day “warmed up” you’ll have a much better chance at dealing with any crisis that arises.
1. Breathe— if you regularly read my posts, you’ll see a theme. I probably honed breathing in college, because it is the best way to conquer nerves, but my mother has been preaching deep breaths to me from day one. A good deep breath relaxes and centers you. It’s great to support your speaking voice. When I’m nervous, I think of my breath as those little scrubbing bubble dudes for my stomach butterflies and nerves; breath goes in and scrubs the stomach releasing the butterflies, who get caught in the bubbles and are released with an out breath. Laying flat on the floor and taking a deep breath in is also magical. It allows anything that you’re holding, to just release out. I should write a whole blog on breath and breathing…stay tuned!

2. Stretching–warm up that body. If you’ve been following my goals blog, I’ve been doing at least 4 Sun Salutations every morning. We did lots of yoga and Pilates when I was in Voice and Movement. Stretching was highly encouraged: every morning, before shows, and always at the start of class. Even if you’re just reaching high up to the sky and then down to your toes a few times and then twisting at the waist a little back and forth. Do your stretching after you’ve moved around a little. As in, pee, wash your face, put the kettle or coffee on and then stretch. I have truly gotten to the point where I miss stretching. I have a couple of jobs that require me to be very physical, and I make sure that I do some extra stretching on those days. I really can tell the difference.

3. Vocalizing–Everyone should make a little bit of noise upon waking up. Your vocal chords are a muscle, too! They need stretching. Do a gentle hum while making coffee or in the shower–the best place!! Just five minutes of gentle vocalization first thing in the morning–more if you want–will help. You’ll find you’ll clear your throat much less, you’ll be able to talk for longer and louder, and not be so vocally tired at the end of the day. Stretching your lips and face are good too. It’s ok. Make the funny noises and faces–no one is watching. (And if they are, charge admission!)

4. Use different tactics–one of my favorite exercises in class was using a technique created by Michael Chekhov–who has several technique books if you’re interested. One day my teacher walked in and while we were stretching and warming up, she wrote the following words on the board:

  • push
  • pull
  • lift
  • drag
  • penetrate
  • throw
  • cut
  • collect

The activity was to say our prepared monologue for the class that sat in a circle around us and during the monologue the teacher would shout out one of these words. We were to physically or vocally engage in the action without stopping our monologue. At first this was hard, but I now do it with any text I work on. This activity requires you to stop your already focused mind into doing something different.  It makes you change the idea that you’re working with and head in a different direction.  Switching up a tactic will do two things: give you a different perspective, and get you out of your rut.

When you are doing the same thing over and over, you get the same or similar results. When you do the same thing with a different tactic, even if it’s only inside you, there will be a shift or change. As I’m not one for drudgery or repeating the same things over and over and over the same way, I love using different tactics in life. Right now, I’m unhappy with my weight. On any given day I can push myself to eat more veggies, pull myself to work out more, and lift my spirits by telling myself that is only temporary. If I was only pushing myself, I’d give up.

5. Leave it outside–theater people are dramatic. Very dramatic. We were told that any time we had any emotional pull in our lives that it was to be left outside the door so for the 90 minutes we were in class, we had to focus on class, and not the emotional pull of our lives. This one was surprisingly easy–and I had a lot of drama back then, or what seemed like a lot of drama. We were to come in with open minds and hearts so we could do good work. This might not necessarily work for those of you who are at a desk for 8 hours, but giving yourself time limits for emotions is a good way to control them. Allow yourself to only be emotional on bathroom breaks. Or lunch time. Or only with specific people at designated times.  A coffee run can be a great kvetch session.  Again, it’s not for all people, but taking control of your emotions by allowing them at specific times is something I found very helpful to focus on other things. #savethedramaforyomama

6. Show up–first rule of my class was, sick or not, sad or happy, tired or awake, we were to show up for acting class.   This was required for two reasons, other than the “you should attend class” rule.  First–we all have a partner or someone we depend on.  If I couldn’t work, my partner would suffer my absence as well as me.  Sometimes if I wasn’t physically able to do my scene, just sitting and reading the script with my partner would make all the difference.

Second–most of the time showing up makes you feel better.  We were told that if we just showed up to class that we would get credit. If we were feeling too crummy to participate, we could just watch. If we were feeling death-warmed-up, we were dismissed. Most of the time, I felt better for just going. And twice I was allowed to leave without being counted absent. Maybe it’s only me, but perfect attendance feels pretty darn awesome.

7. Judge kindly–yourself or the work and creativity of others. We were told we should critique others work. It helps us see what we liked and didn’t like, and what works and doesn’t work.  Although you shouldn’t judge, critically looking at the work of others will help you understand the work.

Inversely, it also taught us how to take a critique or compliment. HOWEVER, when we were critiquing, if it was a negative–we were to use “I wish…” So instead of saying “you should have known your lines better” we were to say “I wish you would have been more familiar with the text.” Instead of “wow, you were over dramatic at one point” we would say “I wish you would have taken it down a notch in the middle, because everything on one note was grating.” Anything negatively can be said constructively. I find I get more results with everyone in my life if I ask or reply in a positive way.

It’s amazing that a class I took when I was 19-20 years old has rippled it’s way through my life. Little changes, little adjustments in your life and attitude make so much difference. Try some of these for a week or two. They really don’t take a lot of effort. Make a new habit and see how you feel!

–Clare

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com We LOVE your feedback!! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

Thankful Thursday

Inspired by one of Clare’s friends who posts what she is thankful for daily, we want to inspire you!

Each week we encourage you to tune in, join the discussion and pass on your own thankful thoughts!


We are thankful for love.  It truly conquers all.  Everyone deserves it.  Everyone can give it.  It is hard to understand but easy to feel.  It grows as you give it.  The more you give love, the more you receive.

We are thankful for support.  In these insane times, it is lovely to have a shoulder to lean on, no matter if its across the globe, or just next door. #weareorlando #pride

Comment below with what you’re thankful for, and post on social media with #thankfulthursday #liveclarelesley

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com We LOVE your feedback!! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!