Greetings, blissmakers! It’s September, and while the days are still pretty hot here in Asheville, the nights are getting cooler and Autumn is whispering Her incantations on the breeze.
We are easing our way into the season of sweaters, jewel-toned foliage and chilly walks to coffee shops for hot bevvies.
Virgo opens the show for this season. She is all about getting organized, taking better care of our health and wellness and being of service. This is back-to-school energy. It’s time to get our shit sorted after the free-for-all of Summer’s wildness. Let’s restore a little order to our lives, shall we?
Today I’m sharing my Autumn 2021 Bliss List with you, dear readers, to help inspire you to bring more order, organization, wellness and generosity to your lives in bright and blissful ways. I hope you find some magic here! xo
ORDER + ORGANIZATION:
Clever Fox Planners (Pro Daily) - Full disclosure: I have ordered my planner, but have not yet received it, so this is not a fully formed recommendation. However, I learned about these planners by spying a woman using one in front of me at the grocery check-out queue. It looked so interesting that I had to ask her about it. She raved for a good ten minutes about how it changed her life. This was good enough for me to check it out for myself. The organizational layouts and functional prompts are super inspiring and make the Virgo parts of me (Moon and Ascendant) go all aflutter. And bonus points for the VEGAN leather binding! Elegant and cruelty-free! If you are looking for a tool to help you get more organized, and you like taking actual pen to paper, this might just be for you.
Evernote app - Evernote’s been around for a minute or three, so you’ve probably already heard of it, if you aren’t already using it. However, I was late to the party, and I’m only just getting situated with this super helpful app. It’s a great way to make lists (very Virgo-y), and plan schedules and such. Plus, it syncs across all your devices, which is extra handy if you have several, like I do. Use it alone or in conjunction with an analog planner such as the Clever Fox one mentioned, above.
Le Pens Multicolor set - I have always gone gaga for pens and stationery and stickers and such. Stationery stores will forever be beautiful wonderlands for me where I can get blissfully lost for hours. I always carry a pen and some paper with me wherever I go. And I am very particular about the pens I use. I like a fine nib, a comfortable narrow grip and a wide selection of ink options. Le Pens have been making my list for decades. This multicolor pack is just the thing for making well-organized lists, notes and even writing those long-overdue thank-you notes you meant to send out ages ago. They are smooth and they don’t bleed or smear. They’re just good, pretty pens. Plus, how cute is that flirty french moniker?
HEALTH + WELLNESS:
Jessica Valant Pilates (YouTube) - I was so happy to stumble upon this YouTube channel when searching for good pilates instructional videos. Jessica has a huge variety of video classes to choose from no matter what you’re looking for. (And while her forte is pilates, she has other classes, as well, including stretching and strengthening tutorials.) She is brilliant at explaining the what’s, why’s and how’s of each movement, which I value. I find it much easier to perform a movement if I understand why and how I’m supposed to be doing it. There are beginners classes as well as videos for more experienced viewers. I also love that she has videos of varying length from 5 minutes to 20+ minutes. That allows me to choose what I want to do based on how much time I have. Plus, I can also create my own bespoke experience by mixing and matching classes to target the body parts I need most. She’s not only a pilates instructor, but is also a physical therapist; and she’s a very seasoned practitioner, so she knows what she’s doing. I highly recommend her pilates videos.
Roller Skating - As a kid I loved roller skating. I spent many a weekend at the local rink perfecting my rock + roll skate techniques to the likes of New Edition, Joan Jett and various hair metal bands. I recently got a brand new pair of roller skates (Melanie reference there for those old enough or musically adept enough to catch it), and am rediscovering the joys of this ridiculously simple form of fitness and fun. Sister got some skates, too, and we have been slowly feeling our way into a sense of balance and swagger on wheels. If you haven’t jumped on this nostalgic trend, and you want to get fitter while having a blast, I suggest you do so now!
ARQ loungewear - I’m including this fab loungewear brand under the Health + Wellness heading because I believe that finding beautiful, comfortable clothes to wear [especially] around the house is part of a strong self-care and wellness practice. ARQ is a small, family-owned business that uses sustainable practices and materials, and offers a wide range of styles and sizes for all body types. I have luxuriated in their high rise undies, their crop tank and Cleo leotard. And I love them all. They’re comfortable, cozy and, best of all, flattering. You’re welcome.
Woodstock Fruit Festival - For those of you who don’t already know, I have just recently returned from my third year of attending the Woodstock Fruit Festival. WFF is an annual festival held in New York state offering workshops and lectures around healthy living, food demos for making amazing raw vegan treats, deeply authentic inter- and intra-personal connection, and a celebration of the bounty of beautiful and delicious fruit offered to us by Mama Nature. It’s my very favorite time of the year, and I always look forward to it. The best part about it, for me, is the amazing community of people that attend. Every year I return I get to reunite with my village of weird and wonderful humans as well as meeting more lovely friends to add to my framily. There’s fruit, fitness, fun, friendship and general merriment at this gig. If you think you might be interested in checking it out, get your tickets now. Prices for the next festival are always at their lowest just after the current festival wraps.
SERVICE + GENEROSITY:
globalteer.com - This website links would-be volunteers with organizations that could use their service. I particularly love that they match volunteers with fully-vetted responsible global wildlife and animal care projects and organizations. If you are looking to [and are able to] travel somewhere while also giving of yourself to help make the world a better place, this is a great resource.
Bat Conservation International - I have only just discovered this amazing organization, but I am so grateful for the work they are doing. I am a big fan of bats. And the fact that many species of bats are in danger of extinction, is a sad state of affairs, both for myself and for the entire human population. Bats are a primary resource for keeping our insect populations in check. They eat mosquitos! Without bats, the mosquito population would balloon to unmanageable proportions, and living in the American South would become practically impossible. I do not wish for that. Bats are also vital for pollination and seed dispersal aiding in the continual growth and evolution of Earth’s ecosystems. Check out Bat Con’s website to learn more and/or to get involved.
The Urban Garden Initiative - This is another organization I just happened upon while surfing the web recently. Their goal is to bring more Nature back into the concrete jungles through teaching kids how to garden and starting garden projects in urban areas. A huge part of their work is not just teaching gardening, but also educating kids on topics of sustainability, empowering them to make better choices for themselves, their communities and the planet.
Animal Haven of Asheville - When I last lived in Asheville—about 3-4 years ago—I volunteered at Animal Haven animal sanctuary. The sanctuary was founded by two women as a labor of love on their own property, and it continues to run in that same love-fueled way to this day. They take in a variety of breeds and species of animals, most who have been treated abominably by negligent or cruel humans. They give these poor creatures safe haven, fresh air, medical attention and loving kindness. As a result the animals are given the opportunity to live out the rest of their lives in health, safety and comfort. Like most animal sanctuaries, they are pretty much always in need of help, whether that be financial support, manual labor or even just spreading their message through word of mouth advertising. If you have either to give, I can vouch for their integrity as an organization.
Charity Navigator - If none of the above organizations are ringing your bell, but you’d still like to find a place to be of service, you can try Charity Navigator. This site vets various charities, so you can know what you’re getting into with each of them. You can search for specific charities to learn more about them, or you can search for charities by category to find an organization that might best match your interests and skills.
Mystical Moments Tarot Deck - This is my newest tarot deck. Some of you will have seen me using it in the Moon Meets and on Instagram. It’s such a beautiful deck, and I love it so much! The art is skillfully rendered with unique, but effective, symbology. The color palette is rich, but subdued enough so that it doesn’t distract from the imagery. And I find it to be really reader-friendly. (Of course, this will always be subjective.) This artist has also produced a deck of oracle cards if you are not so tied to the structure of the tarot.
How To Co-Create Using the Secret Language of the Universe (Pam Gregory) - A friend recently introduced me to this book and to the astrologer, Pam Gregory, who wrote it. I’m so glad she did. Gregory has a unique perspective of astrology and how to apply it. Sometimes her language can get a little convoluted for me—especially in the earlier chapters when she is speaking more thematically—but when she gets down to the practical application, I find her instruction to be very easy to understand and to apply. This book is primarily about the nodal axis in the natal chart, which is a highly informative bit of data that can sometimes get overlooked in traditional readings. The nodes essentially inform us of the soul’s current evolutionary trajectory: It tells us where we’ve been and where we’re meant to go next. Or, in other words, it gives us the outline of our soul’s prime objective/purpose for this lifetime. I’ve been working with my nodal axis for a few years, and I still gained several shiny pearls of practical wisdom from this book.
Moon Meets - Every month, at the New Moon, I host a Moon Meet gathering. These are currently free gatherings in which I and a select few gather together on a Zoom call to explore the current cosmic landscape. We set intentions for the new Moon cycle and I do a tarot divination for each participant to gain a deeper clarity around how to work with their chosen intention during the cycle. We share victories and challenges. We come together in the sacred circle and we hold sacred space for each other as we explore how to live more authentically and more blissfully. I then send out email updates/check-ins at the first quarter, full and last quarter moons to keep us all engaged in the unfolding magick of the full cycle. This practice has been so hugely informative and transformative in my own life. I have opened myself up more to clarity of purpose and of my desires, and as a result I have been experiencing more manifestations and flow in my daily life. It’s beautiful, magickal and powerful. And you’re invited. If this sounds at all dreamy and delicious to you, click the link and sign up to the list. I’d love to share the magick of lunar living with you.
FUN STUFF + MISCELLANY:
Experiments In Bliss Autumn Playlist on Spotify - I created an Autumn playlist just for you, blissmakers! It’s over on Spotify, and HERE’s the link. These are songs that evoke a sense of Autumn for me. It’s certainly not an exhaustive list, and I could have kept falling down that rabbit hole for ages, but I didn’t want to make it too unmanageable. So, this is the short and sweet version. I hope you enjoy it! xoxo