Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

Hello, Musers!

This weekend on Secrets of a Belle, I’ve been doing Last Minute Costume Ideas, and I just couldn’t help myself; I had to do Martha. While the post is quite tongue in cheek, Martha really is one of my heroes. In her book “The Martha Rules,” she talks about mentors in a broad sense. (For example, Martha considers Julia Child a mentor despite the fact that the two did not meet until well into Stewart’s career.) Well, I often find myself looking to Martha for wisdom so today I thought I’d share a few of my other “mentors,” and I hope in the comments section, you’ll share a few of yours!

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“Life is to be lived. If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting. And you don’t do that by sitting around.”

Kate had the right idea. She was fiercely independent.  She was incredibly talented and a hard worker. She had impeccable style that not only went against the grain of the day’s popular fashions, it changed the day’s popular fashions. (Also, who doesn’t love watching her carefree attitude in Bringing Up Baby? It’s impossible not to love Susan.)

Recommended Visit: Dressed for Stage and Screen – an exhibition up now at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

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“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

What do you see in your dreams that should be a reality? Are past failures stopping you in your tracks? What are you allowing to be a roadblock? Don’t talk about your dreams, try them on for size.

Recommended Reading: Walt Disney: Conversations

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“Choose your corner, pick away at it carefully, intensely and to the best of your ability and that way you might change the world.”
-Charles Eames 

What are you best at? What is your gift? How are you going to change the world?

Recommended Viewing: American Masters: The Architect & the Painter

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Until Next Week,

Hannah B.

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Hello English Muse readers! Karen from A Simple Cup of Tea once again. This week I want to talk about tea. Just because that’s how I roll. Kinda.

It’s true.

Okay, maybe it’s not that simple but for me very often just taking my mind off of the problem at hand for a couple of minutes gives me a bit more perspective.

Have a lovely new week!

Categories: Decor | Tags: , | 5 Comments »

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Hello English Muse readers! Karen from A Simple Cup of Tea once again. This week I want to talk about dreams. Big, small, comfortable and incredibly scary and all those in between.

I’ve always been a girl with big dreams and an even bigger sense of direction and drive in my life. Somehow now that I’m coming to an age where those dreams are being set in motion they seem not only even bigger but also a lot scarier. There’s no more time for hiding behind: ‘when I’m older’ or ‘after I graduate’. The time to go for it and succeed is now. Or of course to fall on my face. It still could go either way.

Luckily J.K. Rowling is here with her nearly infinite wisdom to save the day:

And of course she’s right. Much better to say: ‘look, I went for it and it didn’t work’ instead of wishing all of your life that you had the guts to try it. Regret is not something I want to live with.

So go out and take that jump. Whether it be huge and completely life-overturning or small and seemingly not important (it will be, all change is in some way). Go for your thing, your dream, your life.

Have a lovely new week!

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“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird
I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” 
-George Eliot

Fall is my very favorite time of the year… what about you?
I love the colors, the sounds, the smells, everything.
I hope you are taking the time to soak in every second!

xo~ Hannah B. 


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Good Afternoon, English Muse Readers!

Today is a very special day! A little birdie told me that it is Tina’s birthday and so I thought we should use this post to celebrate in style. There are so many birthdays in the month of September, and my own (last week) got me thinking about what a dream grown-up birthday would look like.

What about you? Is there any particular way you’d like to celebrate?
I’d love to hear about it!

Until next week… xo* Hannah B. 

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Hello, Monday!

Jul 16, 2012

I am completely in love with this picture of Jayne Mansfield; if that doesn’t look like a great way to christen a summer afternoon, I don’t know what is! Just a friendly reminder to persevere this week, drink champagne and, when necessary, work those feminine wiles! {wink}

P.S. I got some great reading recommendations last week!
You can check out a full list here: What Are You Reading? 

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Hello English Muse readers! Karen from A Simple Cup of Tea once again. This week I wanted to talk about the summer solstice and how summer is finally here. Belgian weather however decided to sabotage me so instead I wanted to share with you a playlist full of music that makes me long for summer.

Ready. Set. Summer. from simplecupoftea on 8tracks.

You can be sure that these songs will be blasted on my trip to Rotterdam with the bestie (only three more weeks!!!).

What’s your favourite summer music?

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Be the change

Jun 18, 2012

Hello English Muse readers! Karen from A Simple Cup of Tea again. This week I’ll be talking about change and how important it is to embrace it.

There’s this thing about life. It is constantly changing. It moves, reinvents itself and gets reborn. Life is never static.

Now let’s be very honest here. Change is scary. Sometimes it’s downright terrifying. But if I think about the scariest changes I’ve allowed to happen in my life they are the ones I’m the most grateful for. They are the ones that make my life as wonderful and beautiful as it is.

The best things lie just outside of your comfort zone.

So go out there. Take that leap and make that change.

It’s your life. It’s your day. Go for it.


Picture credits: 1 & 2.

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Hello English Muse readers! Karen from A Simple Cup of Tea again. After a week of moving apartments with my family and another week jetting off to Cardiff to audition there I’m finally back with a post. This week I’m talking about traveling – again.


You can buy this lovely print by Kristen Vasgaard right here in her Etsy shop.

Is there such a thing as talking about traveling too much? Personally I think not. The thing I was thinking about today as I sat in Cardiff airport waiting for my flight – at a way too early hour if you ask me – was that every single of my traveling experiences have brought something to my life.

It didn’t matter whether I was on the road with my family as a kid to camp in the mountains of France, taking the Eurostar to London on my very first solo trip abroad for a summer school or having a luxurious weekend in Cologne for some serious mother-daughter quality time.

Travel enriches the mind and gladdens the soul.

It can cost a fortune or next to nothing. That doesn’t matter: the world is a wonderful and interesting place. See as much of is as you can: your next-door town or a country at the other end of the world.

The sky is the only limit.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Here’s to a lovely start of the week!


Picture credits: 1, 2 & 3.

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Hello English Muse readers! Karen from A Simple Cup of Tea once again. This week I’m talking about traveling. I spent the entire week in Wroclaw, Poland. There’s nothing I love more than exploring new countries, meeting new people and learning about new cultures.

“The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.” – Samuel Johnson

I love this quote by Samuel Johnson. He is absolutely right: seeing things as they are is one of the best things about travel. But the thing I like most is that when you’re traveling you discover parts of yourself you never knew or never recognized before. It’s as if being somewhere else unlocks something. It’s more than discovering a new place, it’s also discovering a bit of yourself.

Well, as we’re talking about travel I thought it might as well share the following video with you. I posted it on my blog a couple of weeks ago but it is fabulous. Makes me want to jump on a couple of planes tomorrow or even tonight.


What about you? What do you love most about travelling?

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As we speak, my husband is making his way around Santiago on the other end of the globe as part of his MBA courses. It may be the fact that he’s thousands of miles away studying the wine & chocolate industry (without his wife who would really be able to appreciate such things) or it may be a bad case of Spring Fever. Either way, this week I’m going to get get my passport so that I am always ready for a jaunt around the globe. Who’s with me?

Hope you have a *lovely* week!
xo ~ Hannah B.

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Mum’s the word

May 13, 2012

Hello English Muse readers! Karen from A Simple Cup of Tea once again. It’s Mother’s Day here in Belgium and I wanted to share a poem by Julia Kasdorf with you all.

What I learned from my mother
by Julia Kasdorf

I learned from my mother how to love
the living, to have plenty of vases on hand
in case you have to rush to the hospital
with peonies cut from the lawn, black ants
still stuck to the buds. I learned to save jars
large enough to hold fruit salad for a whole
grieving household, to cube home-canned pears
and peaches, to slice through maroon grape skins
and flick out the sexual seeds with a knife point.
I learned to attend viewing even if I didn’t know
the deceased, to press the moist hands
of the living, to look in their eyes and offer
sympathy, as though I understood loss even then.
I learned that whatever we say means nothing,
what anyone will remember is that we came.
I learned to believe I had the power to ease
awful pains materially like an angel.
Like a doctor, I learned to create
from another’s suffering my own usefulness, and once
you know how to do this, you can never refuse.
To every house you enter, you must offer
healing: a chocolate cake you baked yourself,
the blessing of your voice, your chaste touch.
My mum’s a strong woman. She knows what she wants, she’s a great leader and is incredible in motivating and supporting people. She’s the kind of mother that I hope to one day be for my future children: strong, kind, always there when you need her.
My mum’s not someone for grand gestures, big or expensive presents. She loves to just be around family so I had a huge breakfast delivered and invited my grandpa over so he could join my mum and brother in the eating of it.
Have a lovely Sunday and a fabulous start to the week!

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Hello hello!

It’s Marthe again, the weeks go by SO FAST! Let me share some inspirational quotes with you this week – hope you enjoy!

Source: via Marthe on Pinterest

Source: via Marthe on Pinterest

What is your favourite quote?

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Hello May!

May 06, 2012

Hello English Muse readers! Karen from A Simple Cup of Tea once again. This week I’m talking about spring. I can’t be the only one happy to be done with April, can I?

I love spring. There is something of a promise in the season. The promise of better weather, more daylight, everyone is in a better mood. Of course in Belgium the temperatures are more winter-like, it rains a lot and it still gets dark too quickly to my taste.

But the promise is there.

So today is a bit of an excercise in thankfulness for me. These are the things I’m thankful for:

  • A nice cup of tea after a long day of working for school
  • Friends who can listen to your exciting and less exciting tales
  • A brilliant song. Currently I’m loving Jan Swerts’ album Weg (it’s available on Spotify)
  • The promise of new days and new adventures

Your turn. What are you thankful for? What are you looking forward to in May?

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Hello English Muse readers! It’s Karen from A Simple Cup of Tea again. This Sunday I’ll be talking about the art of doing nothing.

Let’s get real here: I am awful at doing nothing. I get restless, I start fidgeting and then as if to make up for a bit of doing nothing I watch a movie and surf blogs, answer email and listen to music all at once. It’s not a pretty sight.

So for this weekend I’ve decided to chill out. Yes, I’m in Glasgow and yes, there’s loads to see. But I didn’t want to be running around like a madwoman trying to see everything in the two half days I actually have here. Yesterday I had a lovely (and sunny) wander around the shopping district and Merchant City and then I decided to do nothing in the evening.

This morning was… nothing again really. It was so refreshing to be lounging around doing nothing in particular without that nagging in the back of my mind telling me that I should get up and DO SOMETHING. Yes, my mind often shouts at me in capital letters.

I’m sure that one day with a bit of an epiphany isn’t going to make me much better at the art of doing nothing so I tried to think of ways to make this easier for me. My game plan, so to speak.

  • Spend five minutes each day doing nothing. No music, no computer, no tv. Just sitting and breathing.
  • Whenever your mind wanders to things you’re ‘supposed’ to be doing focus on breathing and close off.
  • Smile. A lot.

That last bit is important. Really, it is.

I hope you all have a wonderful – and relaxed – weekend.

Picture credit: 1 & 2.

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Happy Wednesday! It’s Marthe from The Freedom Experiment again, this week with another visually stimulating (and hopefully inspiring) post! As so many else, I’m hooked on Pinterest, and I’ve spent hours and hours pinning images of dream homes and beautiful cakes (who hasn’t?). However, Pinterest can be used in so many ways, and I thought I’d give you my favourite creative and alternative ways of using Pinterest:

1. Gather inspiring quotes and make it a habit to go on Pinterest and read them every time you need a pick-me-up.

Here’s a little secret for you: I’m struggling with a nasty mental disorder and Pinterest is actually on my emotional crisis safety plan. Yes, you hear it right. When faced with the question “how can you help yourself when you’re feeling emotionally stressed and overwhelmed?” I answered “Pinterest.” Because reading uplifting quotes really helps to lift my spirits. Maybe reading quotes can help you too?

2. Gather visual inspiration for a creative project (and share it with your tribe)

The photos above are from my Inspiring Photos board, and I’m using these images to design the new layout on my website. I find that having an online inspiration board makes it all a lot easier – you can share it with your tribe and ask for feedback, inspiration and thoughts. Also, if you’re working with a designer, being able to show him/her what you’re after and what kind of style you like is invaluable! Which brings us to the next tip;

3. Gather inspiration for a new haircolour (or tattoo maybe?) and show it to your hairdresser

I actually loaded this board on my iPad and brought it along for my appointment. I showed my hairdresser what kind of look I was after, and she totally nailed it! This approach is so much better than telling someone that you want a “brownish red, not too bright, not too orangy and not to signal red”…  So much easier, and so much more fun!

4. Pin the images from your website and promote yourself and your work

Pinterest can be used for promotion too, just do it with style and grace. For example, you can pin your own images (once) to your own board so that your followers can decide if they want to re-pin or not. It’s also a great resource if you want to get an overview of the visual image you have on your site! Seeing all the images together can show how your readers perceive your style. Do you like how the images go together, or do you need to change your direction?

5. Make a board and pin images that represent your dream

Speaking of changing directions… A great way of using pinterest is to make a board that represents your dream life, your values or who you want to grow into. Took at it often and feel the rush of energy! As you can see, my dream is to live in New York City. Every time I come upon a nice picture of NY that I like – I pin it. And then I use it as inspiration to make it happen! This summer, I’m going to make it my Freedom Experiment to live in NYC for 4-6 weeks. Will I see you there?

6. Pin some recipes that aren’t just visually stunning, but something that you’d actually make. Try one new recipe every week!

There are lots of tempting cakes and visually stunning food photographs out there, but instead of pinning what looks good – try to pin something that you could actually make! And do it! I’ve tried lots of reciped from Pinterest, but I find that the best looking pictures don’t always result it the best food. Make it a habit to look for food, not cakes. This way you’ll never run out of dinner ideas!

7. Make a wishlist and share the link to your board with friends and family

Wishlists are great, but the written ones are so boring to look at! I’m sure your friends and family will love having a visual list in good time before your  birthday comes up. Make a board and start adding too it right away! Whenever you buy or receive something – delete the pin or write a comment underneath with details.

8. Gather images of things you find comforting and soothing. Have a look at your board every now and then to make sure you remember what you need when harder times hit.

This is another approach I’ve been using together with my emotional crisis plan. I have identified that I can easier help myself through challenging times if I’m wearing warm socks, drinking tea and lighting candles. Anyone else feel the same way? Well, the thing is – I tend to forget all this when I’m in the middle of a difficult situation. I find visual reminders work better than a list telling me to” do this or do that”. Pinterest is the solution! Oh, and in case you wonder – I’m not an emotional mess all the time, I promise. 😉

How do you use Pinterest?

ps. if any of the images above strike your fancy, you can find me on Pinterest here.

Categories: photographs, tech geeks | Tags: , , , | 22 Comments »

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Hello English Muse readers! I’m Karen from A Simple Cup of Tea and while Tina’s off now and then for work I’ll be doing the honours here as Sunday guest blogger.

Another week has passed and I’ve really enjoyed the posts by my fellow guest bloggers. However my Easter break is over now and I’m off to school again tomorrow. To end this week and start the next one I wanted to share these two E.E. Cummings quotes.

I like E.E. Cumming’s poetry as well but it’s these two quotes that really caught my eye.

It really takes courage to be truly and genuinely yourself. It gives you a vulnerability that can be quite unnerving at times. At the same time it’s only through being vulnerable that people can get to know you. For me it’s a kind of symbiosis: the more genuine you are with people, the more they will return that attitude.

So for this week (and definitely with my big audition coming up on Saturday) that will be my extra work-point: be genuine and vulnerable. Scary but so worth it.

Have a great week!

Picture credits: 1 & 2.

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