Saturday, November 1, 2014

pre-Holiday gift certificate giveaway!

Were it not for my mom emailing my family in early October to ask about holiday gift ideas, I wouldn't even be thinking about gifts yet, but thanks to the mama, I am, and I really want the holiday, birthday and 'just because' gifts I give to be unique!  Whenever possible I want to spend my money with merchants who are kind and give back. When I find a place that offers all of that, I'm excited!

What's even more exciting?

One of the most interesting places I've found, Uncommon Goods, is offering KOM readers a $100 GIFT CERTIFICATE GIVEAWAY! That takes a bite of the holiday gift-buying budget, right?!  And don't worry, they're definitely a kind place to shop. With every purchase you make, $1 is donated to the non-profit of your choice and many of their gifts are made by hand!

Check out some items that my loved ones will be receiving, as well as full details on how to win the $100 gift certificate!

Hopefully the hubbs isn't reading this post, because I jumped straight to the section with Geek Gifts, for him! My favorite would have to be the Periodic Table of Elements tie!
How much geekier-chic can you get?  

My favorite little guy is turning 6 in January and will start losing teeth soon, so this is going on the birthday list.

When his mommy needs some downtime, but likes to keep things tidy, this yarn bowl set will be perfect!

So, how do you enter for your chance to win a $100 Gift Certificate from Uncommon Goods?

2 Simple Steps:
  1. Like them on Facebook OR sign up for their email
  2. Comment on this post (***include your email address***)

A random winner will be selected on NOVEMBER 15th and I will notify you via email.  Unfortunately comments without email addresses will not be able to be considered, so make sure you follow the 3 easy steps above and I hope you win!

❤, Lara

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Friday, October 31, 2014

No trick, all treat

Have some fun! Feel good! Be silly!

You're never too old or young to have a silly, feel-good day, so consider this the permission or excuse to do just that (and maybe even have some candy)!

Happy Halloween to those who enjoy this day, and a wonderful day to all!  In the mood for some Halloween printables?  Click HERE and enjoy!

❤, Lara

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

All About That Bass… and That Treble

Post by Allie Sheetz for the Love for Love series.

image found on

Now at this point y’all are probably pretty used to me catching up with you once a month to chat about love of all things animal, but today I want to talk about something a little different. Love of all things You, and of all things Me, and of all things We. I want to talk about a different way we give and receive love – through our own bodies.

I know Body Image has been talked to death and back, but with society’s recent focus on that Boom! Boom! I’ve got some (maybe) new thoughts to share. So if you would, please excuse me while I ring the Body Image bell one more time…

Lately society seems to be All About That Bass, which is totally great. I love the song. I love Meghan Trainor. I definitely love the video and I love the message she is sending – for the most part - because it’s great for those who have or want a more voluptuous figure. It makes that bodacious bod cool and sexy again; a classic example of how society dictates what is and what is not desirable. I mean really, the sigh of relief from the millions of girls and women who have been fighting their waistline for decades is all but palpable.

But what isn’t discussed much is how this most recent change in the definition of sexy casts out those who might be, quite naturally or otherwise, bean poles. Of course this isn’t the intention, at least not of most. One would hope that the booty’s surging popularity didn’t come about as a way of shaming or “getting back at” the naturally thin people of the world – people who were once described as “genetically privileged” back when skinny was sexy. Meghan Trainor isn’t sticking it to the “skinny bitches” she refers to in her song. But either way, as the pendulum of popularity swings back towards a fuller figure, someone is left out.

I wasn’t alive in the fabulous days of Marilyn so I can’t speak to what was praised or shamed. I do know that when Skinny took over the mainstream definition of sexy anything but a slim and sleek figure was cast out. Fad diets began their hay day period and liposuction dreams were born. Everyone was desperate to get rid of all the junk in the trunk and trim away muffin tops. Rates of eating disorders began to climb to the unprecedented levels we know them to be at today. Thinspiration took hold. Thigh gaps - all the rage.

Now, please remember that I am not bashing (or praising) the Skinny Era. I am simply recapping what happened when the pendulum swung in the opposite direction. Besides, there were good things that came about from that period too - one being the focus on eating a more balanced diet, another being the consideration and importance of exercise which we all know to be wonderful when approached mindfully and with an eye on overall health & well-being. But at the same time, body image became a serious stressor for anyone who didn’t fit society’s definition of “sexy.”

The same thing is happening now. People don’t talk about it, but it’s there – the insatiable desire and relentless pressure to manipulate one’s body to fill the mold chiseled out, not by your genetics or God or source or whatever you want to call your natural framework, but by popular opinion. People who were once looked upon with envy and jealousy for their (inherent or otherwise) sleek figure are now given the cold shoulder as we turn our collective focus to a curve here and a bam! there.

Again, this doesn’t have to be intentional. I like to believe that it isn’t. No one is to blame; it’s simply part of the human condition that emphasizes duality. This or that. Black or white. But if we’re to experience this life for all it is, we need to embrace all that it is, and all that we are - a return to wholeness, embracing every form and figure. Let us give ourselves permission to fill whatever form we take, as long as we feel vibrant and nourished. Readjust our focus back home, rather than out there. Ultimately it all comes back to self-love (surprise!) and holding yourself accountable for staying true to #1 – yourself.

So here’s to all that bass, and all that treble too, because I personally like a well-rounded piece of music. After all, what would Ave Maria sound like without both hands on the keyboard? Not the same, that’s for sure. XX

Allie is the heart & creator behind Allie’s Grandola, specializing in the fine art of oats & nuts. 

She sells her handmade, gluten-free and vegan granola at

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

It's all part of the process

Post by Laura Summers for the Love for Love series.

Late Fall reflection by Ron Reiring on Flickr

Fall has always been my favorite season for all the obvious reasons; my birthday, Halloween, fuzzy socks and woolly sweaters. I’m happiest with the window open, snuggled under a blanket with a book. Oh! – and the deep orange, red, and ochre leaves that pile on the ground and crunch under my feet.

I live in Salt Lake City, Utah. Weather-wise, it is a winter wonderland for the better part of the year (or it feels that way by February anyway). Sometimes we go from winter to summer with very little transition and we lose the very important spring and fall seasons. I always feel cheated out of fall when that happens. I have always felt uniquely connected to the transitional properties of fall. It is the time I feel intuitively withdrawn. I spend more time with the introverted parts of my personality. Physically and mentally, I slow down - way down. I read more. I write more. I work to create safe and comforting spaces for myself both outside of and within myself. Fall is the time of year I feel most like myself.

Preparing for the coming year, I reflect on the days gone by. Doing this keeps me grounded. Just as the leaves are changing, I am changing. I feel the girl of the past shedding parts of her former self to make room for new growth in the spring. In allowing my bare branches to show, I practice vulnerability. This process is necessary, and completely natural.

As November creeps up on us, the air gets crisp and the dark comes early. As winter approaches it can feel like loss. It can feel like a gradual sadness settling in. The challenge is to embrace the opportunity we get to hibernate.

Go to bed early.
Sleep late.
Layer clothing and stay warm.
Slow the pace of your life.

When you emerge in spring, having shed your winter coat, you’ll realize the change in seasons is all part of the process.

~ Missed the first 4 parts in this series? No problem! 

 Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4 ~

Finding that honesty was ALWAYS the best policy and that forgiveness is a gift she strives to live in line with those values. 

Mama to a college quarterback and a rescue pup, she finds joy in a touchdown pass and go fetch. 

Ever working on improving herself, she'll finally have that bachelors degree in the Spring.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Beauty Bullies

Post by Lynn DeVasto for the Kind Kindred series.

photo courtesy of

I have a friend who had somebody tell her she had fat knees and heavy legs when she was in her mid 20's. As a result, she always wore pants, never skirts or dresses. She was also told that she had to "make it" in her chosen field by the time she was 35 or she would be washed up. These are just a few "stories" that were imposed on her and unfortunately imprinted themselves on her psyche. As a result, when she hit 35, she pretty much gave up. She woke up in the morning, rolled out of bed, put on jeans and her Uggs, with no time or energy for makeup, put her hair in a ponytail and went to work, doing the bare minimum only to come home and start all over again the next day.

I feel for this woman, not only because she is my friend, but because I can relate to her. As somebody who was bullied as a child as well as struggle weight issues all of my adult life, I understand the hiding, the despair, the giving up. I understand how easy it is for body and age issues to beat you down. We are the same age (mid 40's), and STILL, almost every day somebody will make a snide comment about her weight and how she dresses.

Here's her reality, the public face in front of the hidden stories. My friend did a lot of self work, years of counseling, years of self awareness and lots of self love. A decade after she was told she would be washed up, she is a Style and Beauty Expert, has been featured in publications such as WebMD and is a prolific fashion blogger. She is frequently stopped randomly on the street to be photographed for the Style sections of newspapers and magazines. (For some reason this has never happened for me?!?) She is beautiful, both inside and out, the kind of beautiful that rescues animals and the kind of beautiful that is a little intimidating when you first meet her. And so, people tend to stop right there and make up their own stories to diminish her beauty to make themselves feel better.

We all want to be loved for who we are, so it's time for each of us to start doing what we wish others would do with us, which is to look beyond our physical looks, age, race, whatever it may be...and look to our souls to discover the true beauty that we hold deep within our beings.

To healthy and happy,

Lynn DeVasto is the owner of Live and Love Your Life, which helps you deal with the trifecta of Food, Fitness and Feelings. She has taken her experience of losing 90 pounds and her certifications in Personal Training, Holistic Wellness Coaching, Sports Nutrition and Barre to create a premium coaching experience. This allows you manage your health in a way that works for you instead of against you. Click HERE to get her juicy tips to Live and Love Your Life!
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Monday, October 27, 2014

I refuse to be reduced by what happens to me

photo by Jenny Ingalls Nelson

I am privileged to know some people who truly live this saying. Recently, a friend-of-a-friend (someone I'm friends with on Facebook, but have only met a couple of times), posted that his brother was killed. Clearly this is horrific and he received an appropriate outpouring of love and support.

A few weeks later, he posted an update. He said that he was lucky.


Yes, lucky. He wrote a beautiful update about how grateful he was to have had the time he had with his brother, and how the outpouring of love and support from friends was a gift.

I immediately commented and told him that he's awesome. To me, he truly epitomized the kind of person who can be changed by a situation, but not reduced by it. I started thinking how easy, and completely understandable, it would be to be reduced by that situation, but he's choosing to be changed by it. To appreciate things, to be grateful for what was, and to live what is.

That small Facebook post will stick with me for a long time. Quotes are wonderful, and clearly I love them, but to see a real life example of someone living this quote, was something that definitely impacted me.

Thanks for being on this journey with me.
❤, Lara

CLICK TO TWEET today's Monday Motivator: I refuse to be reduced by what happens to me.

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