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In Tough Times

When the pawn hits the conflict he thinks like a king
What he knows throws the blows when he goes to the fight
And he’ll win the whole thing ‘fore he enters the ring
There’s nobody to batter when your mind is your might
So when you go solo you hold your own hand
And remember that depth is the greatest of heights
If you know where to stand then you know where to land
And if you fall it won’t matter ‘cuz you’ll know that you’re right

– Fiona Apple (1999)

What looks like a poem at first sight, actually isn’t. This is the title of Fiona Apple’s second album that most people just know as “When the Pawn…” I was and am a really big fan of her songwriting & music… and have even named every Apple iPhone I’ve owned Fiona. I find that all of her music is highly relatable in one way or another, if not many ways all at once. Her word choice is absolutely phenomenal and lucid.

Apart from that is this unique album title. Over the years I have considered it a poem, a mantra, an escape, but never just merely a title. I have found myself saying it out loud, under my breath, during great anxiety, or even writing it over & over when I felt the urge to write for whatever reason. It has broken me out of spells of thinking I am incapable, it has given me confidence when I felt my lowest, and it has motivated me to work against the odds I thought were against me.

All in all. I’m sharing this because everyone deserves to have this kind of outlet. A saying that they know by heart that can ease their brain, take it away from challenge, and rejuvenate your tolerance.

Find one, use this, share what with us what works at alyssablooms@gmail.com for a feature on StayBlooming.com.

Namaskar.

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5-Minute City Clean-up Challenge

Last summer, I featured the 5-Minute Beach Clean-up Challenge to push the environmental agenda while we had free time on the beach. Respectively, there’s now an Instagram to get the same volunteer effort into our cities. An effort that is StayBlooming.com worthy and I want to challenge you guys to get in on it. The 5-Minute City Clean-up Instagram is a project with the very same goal of being green: to encourage social media users to volunteer 5 minutes of their time to clean up their city. Users then post the image and tag @5minutecitycleanup on Instagram for a chance at being featured on their page.

The incentive to be featured is a great way to get people interested. Five minutes goes by quickly too, so it’s easy to devote that time to cleaning up. But the goal is what this challenge (as a whole) can accomplish for the environment.

Share your images with us at alyssablooms@gmail.com if you decide to get involved and we’ll give them a definite feature.

Here are some images that they have inspired from around the world:

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🌞 Schools 🌞 . Where everything was born. Places where we gather together to learn for the better. A second home, if not the first one for so many. Schools were key, are key and mostly within the future should be as key as possible 🙏 . 🌎 Dallas • Texas • The United States • 2017 🔵 @oakclifflove ⚫️#00058 🔴#everymomentcounts 🔴#5minutecitycleanup ⚪️#ipickeditup ⚪️#bettertogether ⚪️#zerowaste ⚪️#solutionsnotpollution . #Repost @oakclifflove (@get_repost) ・・・ ♻️4️⃣♻️ #oakclifflove #keepoakcliffbeautiful #keepoakcliffclean #keepdallasclean #keepdallasbeautiful #5minutecitycleanup #take3forthesea #grabbits #justgrabbits #litterless #litterati #5pieces_a_day #1peaceaday #pickup1million

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By talking with Linda Pierce, she said "oh my son is in Chile so as you". She invited me to his new coffee shop @capsulasantiago inauguration on Saturday and sent tons of love (hey Niles!) 🙌The account from Baltimore says "broad" and I couldn"t help but notice the rhyme with abroad 🌎 . Being abroad means to raise awareness about what belongs to you, what belongs to me and what belongs to us. In order to respect the locals, you merge youself with them. You are respectful and approach the place with kindness. 🎉 . Then you travel somewhere else and you go on and on, keep going. Then you realize you belong to everywhere. And everyplace deserves maximum respect, both socially and absolutely environmentaly 🌍 . Let's get greener guys but greener greener! 🌏 . Baltimore • Maryland • United States • 2017 🔵@baltimore_broad ⚫️#00036 🔴#everymomentcounts 🔴#5minutecitycleanup ⚪️#ipickeditup ⚪️#bettertogether ⚪️#zerowaste ⚪️#SolutionsNotPollution . #Repost @baltimore_broad (@get_repost) ・・・ #5minutecitycleanup #trash #trashwalk #nightlyendeavor #keepyourneighborhoodclean #itsyourbaltimoredonttrashit Been cleaning this neighborhood for many years. Decided to join this instagram share.

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Plastkill. . Kills. Easy as that. It kills. . 🌎 The Netherlands• 2018 🔵 @zwerfinator ⚫️#00104 🔴#everymomentcounts 🔴#5minutecitycleanup ⚪️#ipickeditup ⚪️#zerowaste ⚪️#solutionsnotpollution . . . #Repost @zwerfinator with @get_repost ・・・ Tie wraps. Or tie rips. Whatever. Keep finding them everywhere. And there are better alternatives. . . . . #zwerfie #litterati #plasticsoup #justoneperday #grabbits #pickitup #aquickpick #LeaveItCleanerThanYouFoundIt #LeaveNoTrace #1pieceofrubbish #sidewalksweep #binit #pickabag #exposingtrash #plasticpollutes #alitterwalk #packyourtrash #TrashFreeEarth #BeTheChange #MakeItFun #PowerOfFun #trashhunting #yeswetrash

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Our 2018 Message

I’m so delighted to be entering the new year and still be writing for StayBlooming.com. I didn’t get a chance to finish off 2017 with a post that showed how grateful I feel but it’s never too late for gratitude. Writing has always been my #1 passion and wanting to educate others through sharing my thoughts/ideas influences my will to find the words. I am so very appreciative of the support I’ve received in the last year and I am happy at the growth I’ve acquired thus far. One thing I’ve realized about following my heart, no matter the passion, is that it can be but so planned out. Every new journey is unfamiliar, causes discomfort, requires adjustment (and readjustment) and brings much change. But those are all signs of genuine growth and something to be proud of coming soon. So that’s our 2018 message to you. Always move forward, even when things are different than what you’re used to, that usually means you’re reaching a new destination. And that is nothing but great news!

Namaskar.

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Real Trees vs. Artificial Trees

We are officially 20 days away from the Christmas holiday and, of course, the environmental conversation continues. I want to address our thoughts on real Christmas trees versus artificial ones. At first thought, you would think that artificial trees dominate because they can be reused over & over, year after year, but that’s actually wrong. I know it seems daunting but real trees are recyclable… and I’ll tell you why.

A good amount of artificial Christmas trees are made of polyvinyl chloride, in a much simpler term, PVC. And yes, PVC is a plastic. Although we’re already familiar with this plastic, it’s detrimental to the environment. As soon as it has fulfilled its purpose of being your family’s Christmas tree, the tree still has a long life ahead after you’ve trashed it. PVC can only be quickly decomposed by incineration. Not to say that it cannot decompose in other natural ways, but those ways require much more time than we humans have in an average lifespan. The issue with burning polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is the toxins that are emitted into the atmosphere. Dioxins are found, carcinogens are found. Both huge health concerns in manufacturing pesticides and cigarette smoking.

I know it doesn’t seem imminent because there aren’t mass piles of artificial Christmas trees everywhere you look. But when thinking sustainably, garbage simply does not exist. The environment encompasses our reality everyday in everything that we do, so everything we do must be in accordance with creating sustainability. If you haven’t put up your tree yet, consider buying a real one. Benefits include a great smelling home now & a greener earth later!

Feel free to leave questions or comments below or email me at alyssablooms@gmail.com.

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Back to Nature

I had an amazing opportunity over this past weekend (which was also my birthday weekend) to go to the mountains in Catskill, NY. I’m a nature lover as it is so I was excited to say the least. I only stood for 3 days and 3 nights but that was more than enough time to realize I’d love to go back again. It also made me realize how important it is to unplug and connect with nature.

From having limited cellphone service to being completely alone within vast natural spaces. I found myself truly mesmerized by the tranquility it provided. Most people would pick a warm climate to vacation but this was totally ideal for me. The crisp mountain air made it all the more inviting, rejuvenating, and peaceful. If my descriptions aren’t enough… here are some photos from the creek where we stood and the pond at Kaaterskill Wild Forest.

This weekend has encouraged me to make more time for outdoor activities in nature. So I’m encouraging you guys to do the same! Not only does it help to alleviate stress and anxiety, it also grounds you. Having a sense of self in a natural environment really connects you to the bigger picture that you’re apart of. Go outside! Go hiking, take a walk by the beach, collect rocks with your kids, meditate on a park bench… whether it’s local or not… connecting to nature has too many benefits to not make time for!

Have any special places that really provide that nature connection?
Share them with us at alyssa@stayblooming.com.