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Guest Post – If My Keyboard Could Talk

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Today’s guest post is written by fellow blogger Cathy Graham. Cathy is a creative spirit who is passionate about living each day with joy and gratitude. Her blog, Cattitude and Gratitude, is an eclectic mixture of original poetry, her own inspirational posters combining her photos and favourite quotes, as well as other topics that inspire her. Cathy enjoys being a part of the blogging group Write Tribe where she was fortunate to meet fellow Canadian, Laurel who was kind enough to have her guest post today. Thanks so much, Laurel! Love your blog!

Cat also enjoys writing romance and children’s fiction. She is working on a young adult novel and has had some short stories published as well as a children’s Christmas play.

She loves photography and takes photos of everything from cats to clouds. Cathy has taken on the role as the family archivist, recording all the memories and making them into photo books. Music is another passion of Cathy’s. She sings Alto 2 in a women’s choir, plays flute in a community band and with her harpist friend, Sharon as part of the group Tartan and Tea. She lives out in the country surrounded by cows and cornfields in rural Ottawa with her husband, two sons, two cats, and two dogs.

If My Keyboard Could Talk

I enjoy writing fun poems and rhymes like these. They are a nice change of pace from some of the heavier posts I’ve done. I find the poems fun to write and they seem to flow out of me. Here is a poem from my keyboard’s point of view. I think of her as a female since she is so tough, endures a lot, and keeps on going no matter what gets thrown at her.

If my keyboard could talk, what would she say?
No doubt she’d tell me to go away,
She’d say, I’m tired and need a break
Turn me off, for goodness sake,

Enjoy the summer, it’s going so fast
These longer days are not going to last
Go take some photos, go ride your bike
Go for a beautiful Nature hike

I know you like your Facebook friends
And you like to keep up on all the trends,
Soon Old Man Winter will be at your door
Then you’ll be on here even more,

You’re a bit addicted, Cat, wouldn’t you say?
How about having a computer-free day?
And one more thing before I go
There is something you should know,

I’m not one to complain or have a fit
But could Kobie find another place to sit?

catgraham

~ Cathy Graham, Cattitude and Gratitude

NaBloPoMo July 2014

Thank you for sharing, Cathy!

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Today’s guest post is written by fellow blogger Sanch: 30, Child psychologist, Writer, Imperfect, Bibliophile, Outdoorsy, Feminist, Coffee Snob, Fitness Fanatic, Foodie, Adventurer. Sanch blogs at Living my Imperfect Life, and you can also connect with her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

10 Outdoorsy Things to Do in Sydney, Australia

I love the great outdoors. And I’m fortunate to live in a great country that offers a variety of things to do outdoors and has pretty decent weather most of the time. If you ever decide to visit Sydney, these are the outdoorsy things I’d recommend you do.

1. Walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge

The iconic Harbour Bridge is seen worldwide at the start of every New Year. Most tourists like to do the bridge climb. While this is not something I have done as yet {I find it too expensive!}, I have walked across the bridge from the city to Milson’s Point and back a fair few times. It’s a lovely walk with gorgeous views of the harbour {of course!} and the Opera House. And it can be done in less than an hour.

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2. The Bondi to Coogee Walk

This is a very touristy walk and to be honest, I prefer walks with fewer people around. But back in February, I enjoyed this walk with my friend from the US because we went on a Monday and well, everyone was at work! It’s about a 10 kilometre walk on flat surface overlooking the coast and passes through Tamarama, Clovelly, and Bronte along the way. If you’re lucky, you also get to see some pretty hot surfers!

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3. The Three Sisters

Visiting the Blue Mountains a couple of hours away from the city is a great thing to do. Being an avid hiker, I have been out and about in the mountains a fair bit over the last couple of years. But even if you aren’t a hardcore hiker, you can still walk from the Three Sisters to the Scenic Railway via the Grand Staircase. It’s a spectacular view and if you catch it at sunset, it’s even more special!

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4. Wentworth Falls

Set in the Blue Mountains again, this is a beautiful walk not to be missed. There are a few different hiking tracks in Wentworth Falls, some easy and others not so much. There are some amazing waterfalls and rainforests set among nature and can be completed within 3 hours at a leisurely pace.

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5. Visit the Royal National Park

Set in southern Sydney {close to where I live}, lies the world’s second oldest national park. It is well-known for the Coast Track of 27 kilometres from Otford to Bundeena. But not everyone has to do that walk. There are shorter hikes from Bundeena to Little Marley or even just a day picnicking at Wattamolla or surfing at Garie would suffice.

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6. King Street, Newtown

Newtown is one of my favourite suburbs to visit {apart from where I live}. It’s funky, quirky, has great stores, food, and interesting people. It’s hard to get bored in Newtown whether you visit it during the day or at night. It’s so full of life that it’d be a shame to miss it.

7. Kurnell to Cronulla

Captain Cook’s landing place was Kurnell and there is a beautiful 4 hour leisurely walk from Kurnell to Cronulla along the coast. It involves a bit of rock hopping if you are game and walking along the sand at Cronulla. Kurnell is a great spot for a picnic and a relaxing way to spend summer afternoons while Cronulla just happens to be my favourite {and local} beach!

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8. The Rocks

In the heart of the city, near the harbour is the area known as The Rocks. It has a few alleyways, coffee shops, cafés and restaurants all within walking distance of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera house. The Rocks is also famous for its markets that take place every weekend.

9. The Spit to Manly

Manly is part of the northern beaches of Sydney and while the beach itself isn’t one of my favourites, I have enjoyed a 10 kilometre walk from The Spit bridge to Manly beach. Once again, like most walks I love, this one has fantastic coastal views and additionally, those of the city skyline.

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10. Cronulla

This is me being totally biased but I love Cronulla. The mall, the beach, the walk along the esplanade, the coffee shops, the markets that take place every second Sunday – it’s all worth a visit. I am a Shire local and have been the past 5 years. It’s a beautiful place and I am so very fortunate to call this home!

Sanch-10Cronulla

Sydney is such a huge place that I know there is a lot more for me to explore outdoors. I haven’t even covered half of it! If you ever decide to visit, give me a shout out – maybe we can explore together!

What are some outdoorsy things you like to do?
Or places you like to visit?
Do share!

~ Sanch, Living my Imperfect Life

NaBloPoMo July 2014

Thank you for sharing, Sanch!

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Guest Post – 10 Easy Ways to Buy Happiness

Vidya Sury Happiness 3

Today’s guest post is written by fellow blogger Vidya Sury. Vidya is a Mom, writer, editor and blogger. She loves coffee, books, music, cooking, DIY, people, photography, and collecting smiles. She blogs at Vidya Sury, Coffee With Mi, and Be healthy, Be happy. Connect with her on Google Plus, Twitter, and Facebook.

10 Easy Ways to Buy Happiness

I admire your blog and am honored to be here today sharing your space, Laurel. Thank you for hosting me.

Dear friends, I am here to talk about something close to my heart. Happiness, naturally, because I firmly believe happiness is a choice!

Did you know there’s something called GNH or Gross National Happiness? Bhutan’s fourth king, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, in the mid-1970s, birthed this concept under the belief that “Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product.”

Seeking happiness is a-okay. That quote which compares happiness to a butterfly – elusive when you chase it and yours when you turn your attention to other things (Thoreau) may hold some weight, but often, I’ve realized that sometimes you just have to help yourself. You’ve got to go out and take action when you want to be happy!

And that’s easy.

So maybe no two people have the same definition of happiness but there’s no doubt that almost each one of us seeks it. Who does not want to be happy? Oh, I know there’s retail therapy… and I am yet to meet someone who doesn’t enjoy it – I certainly do – and that brings me to the point of this post – money CAN buy happiness. And it is affordable, as I’ve personally discovered.

Ten easy ways to Buy Happiness

Here are ten ways to buy happiness. And I am talking about long-term, not short-lived.

1. Grow something

Oh, the joy of planting a seed and watching it sprout and flourish! We had some trees felled in our yard recently. We were sad, but they had to go. The roots were weak and with monsoons around the corner, they posed the threat of falling without warning. We pledged to plant new trees and the residents of our apartment complex readily came forward to “adopt” a small space. Small expense for seeds and other stuff. The happiness and sense of pride in nurturing? Immense. And a great way to de-stress.

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2. Play

I am a child of the sixties and grew up in the non-digital age. “Play” meant going to the park, to the beach with a bucket and a paddle to create sand castles. And board games when we had to stay indoors. There was “Snakes and ladders,” “Ludo,” Chinese Checkers, Chess, Monopoly, Carom, Jigsaw puzzles – the list is endless. Most times I was happy with a drawing surface and chalk or pencils. Cheap investments that pay off big time in the form of happy family hours or time with friends. I love to play with children, too. Added bonus? Another great way to bust stress after a busy day.

3. Sponsor a meal

This has to be one of my favorites. I support my local welfare home for girls. In fact, all my blog earnings and part of my monthly earnings, such as they are, is dedicated to them. The happiness that comes with helping those in need is unparalleled. Try it.

4. Write

Writing in a diary, or journaling, is good for the soul! Invest in a nice solid book – made of paper. I know we are in the digital age, but there’s something very satisfying about picking up a pen or pencil and writing the words. Express yourself on paper. Write about what’s bothering you, what’s making you ecstatic. Free your mind. Sometime later, when you go back and read it, you’ll find it easier to understand yourself and feel better about a lot of things you didn’t at the time. Beats therapy any day!

5. Take up a hobby

Ask Laurel. She “tangles” and does such a fabulous job of it she has her own store. If you have a passion or hobby you’ve always wanted to pursue, do it now. There’s music, photography… you name it! I enjoy painting and sketching. Rather than do it randomly, I focus and create so I can gift them. Handmade is valuable, right? I enjoy recycling and have a knack for creating “wealth from waste.” Think carry bags from cartons and DIY projects. It is fun to be environmentally conscious and reduce the stuff that goes to that landfill. Satisfaction? Guaranteed!

Ten easy ways to Buy Happiness

6. Bring home a pet

I have friends who are rescuers and crusaders for animal shelters. The work they do is deeply fulfilling to them. For your part, why not adopt a pet from a shelter? There’s research to prove that people with pets are happier and live longer, healthier lives.

And that, naturally, brings us to…

7. Exercise

Exercise is the key to good health. When you exercise regularly, you are healthy. When you’re healthy, you’re happy. Believe me, you won’t miss those visits to the health care center. And no, you don’t have to enroll in an expensive gym. Just invest in a pair of good walking shoes and you’re good to go. Walking, jogging, or whatever you are comfortable with. (Do consult your doctor if you have any health issues to find out what works best for you.) I am usually active, but since being diagnosed with diabetes early this year, I’ve pledged to walk for at least an hour every day. It has helped balance my blood sugar, brought down my cholesterol levels, helped me drop a dress size (Yay!) and halved my medication dosage (double Yay!). The sense of well-being is wonderful. You also eat better and sleep better! If that is not happiness, I don’t know what is!

8. Read

Enough said, eh? Books, like travel, broaden the mind. Join a library. Borrow a book (and don’t forget to return it). There’s nothing like getting lost in a great book by your favorite author.

Ten easy ways to Buy Happiness

9. Visit an out-of-town friend

My childhood friend (who now lives in Canada) and I, enjoy marathon phone calls every weekend. I mentioned that my husband was visiting Calgary. She insisted we accompany him and visit her. The thought of a trip abroad sounded impossible but the more we thought about it, the more attractive it was. Finally, we took the plunge and made the trip. My first trip overseas. I cannot describe the happiness I felt on seeing her after 15 years. We’ve been close for over 40+ years now. But you know you don’t have to make a trip overseas. You can simply hop into a cab and go visit a friend for a coffee or lunch or dinner and a long chat to make you happy!

10. Do something that makes you happy

Reward yourself. Doesn’t have to be expensive. Get that haircut, those pretty earrings, or that dress that looks as though it were made for you. Yes, “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Buddha

Happiness, as you can see, is a journey and a lifelong one!

I’d love to hear if you’ve tried one or more of these. How did you feel?

Got a tip to add? Go on, make my day!

~ Vidya Sury, Vidya Sury, Coffee With Mi, and Be healthy, Be happy

NaBloPoMo July 2014

Thank you for sharing, Vidya!

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Tangled Tuesday No. 12

A to Z Tangle Sampler - April, 2014

This has been a rather fun week of tangling, due in part to a last-minute pre-BlogHer ’14 creative project that was sparked by a link (along with a not-so-subtle suggestion!) sent my way by a friend and taken on by yours truly. I can’t share it with you just yet, as I’m not quite finished… but [click to continue…]

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Welcome, guest posters!

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My first time attending a BlogHer conference was for BlogHer ’12 in New York City. The conference fell smack dab in the middle of my attempt to stick to a daily blogging schedule for the entire year, and you know what? I did it! Yes, even in the midst of a hectic conference schedule I managed to [click to continue…]

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gratitude

Welcome to the BlogHer ’14 edition of the Gratitude Linkup! While normally our linkups are open for just one week, this special “accommodate Laurel’s travel schedule” edition will run for two full weeks of gratitude sharing goodness… so keep checking back for new links! [click to continue…]

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On the path to a goal

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Pursuit:
tackling with enthusiasm the gradual, uphill climb
clear of vision, destination, desires
energy expended bringing joyful successes
earning, receiving, deserving
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Photo Friday: Solitude

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My choice for today’s Photo Friday prompt – Solitude – is a picture I took last December from the ferry deck as Peter and I traveled back to Victoria, BC for a reunion with my family over the holidays.
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On living the Golden Rule

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Several years ago while reading The Mindful Woman, a thoughtful book written by Sue Patton Thoele, I came across a meditation on the Golden Rule that both struck and stayed with me. The following is an excerpt from that book.
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Photo A Day Challenge – July 1-16, 2014

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So it’s now mid-month (yes, ALREADY!), which means that it’s time for me to gather up and post the first batch of my July Photo A Day Challenge efforts.

I’ve been sharing my photos on Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, and [click to continue…]

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Tangled Tuesday No. 11

A to Z Tangle Sampler - April, 2014

There is definitely a LOT to be said for being open and honest about your struggles – whether to yourself, either in thought or written in a private journal… or perhaps to a partner or friend… or, as I did in last week’s post, to a very supportive blog readership. :)
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The Cab Ride – A Sweet Lesson on Patience

Taxi Sitting in a Blur of Traffic

A friend posted this story on Facebook awhile back, titled A Sweet Lesson on Patience, and it moved me so much that I decided to revisit and share it on Alphabet Salad once again. (For those who may wonder, I’ve checked Snopes and confirmed its veracity.)
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Today’s Gratitude List – Linkup No. 38

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At the top of today’s gratitude list is BlogHer ’14… because I’ve been anticipating the event for almost a year, and now it’s finally time to start counting down for real! I’m so grateful for being able to attend the conference for the third year in a row, for the chance to catch up with dear friends [click to continue…]

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Date Night

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You know, it really doesn’t have to be fancy. It needn’t involve classy restaurants or expensive tickets or getting dressed up to the nines. And it doesn’t necessarily require a lot of pre-planning or sweating the details.
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Photo Friday: Black and White

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There were several pictures I could have used for today’s Photo Friday “Black and White” prompt – after all, we are blessed with two gorgeous black and white cats (who happen to be VERY photogenic)! In the end, though, I decided to go a different route and share bit of whimsical poetry, created [click to continue…]

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I should have been a Millennial

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Inspired by NaBloPoMo writing prompt for Thursday, July 10, 2014:

Do you think you were born in the “right” decade, or do you feel like you belong to a different time period? [click to continue…]

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The dreaded elevator pitch

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So, what do you blog about?”

You know, for “nicheless” life blogs such as Alphabet Salad written by non-specialist bloggers like yours truly, that can be a rather daunting question! When your blog has no specific theme or [click to continue…]

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Tangled Tuesday No. 10

A to Z Tangle Sampler - April, 2014

Although I’ve done a decent amount of tangling this week, I’m afraid I’m approaching today’s Tangled Tuesday post from a place of slight discouragement. Oh, I’m still deeply in love with tangling… but lately I’ve found myself becoming “stuck” more and more – stuck for ideas, stuck for inspiration, [click to continue…]

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My 1970s childhood memories

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Inspired by NaBloPoMo writing prompt for Monday, July 7, 2014:

Which former decade do you wish you could time travel and visit? Why?
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Today’s Gratitude List – Linkup No. 37

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Over the past couple of months we’ve been financially stretched due to a whole bunch of extraordinary expenses – some planned, some unexpected… some good, some bad… some fabulous, some terrible. From a large-ish (for us) household investment in a new barbecue and outdoor patio set, to vet bills [click to continue…]

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