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embrace your imperfect beautiful life

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*Below is an excerpt from my Mothering with heART e-course that begins tomorrow! You still have time to join us by visiting here.

“We listen best and empathize with our children most accurately when we are relaxed, feel centered, and have a sense of inner peace and well-being.”

~ Harriet Lerner

This quote reminds me why I’ve invited you to join me on this Mothering with heART journey.

It doesn’t have to be said that this job is a hard one. Not always. Sometimes there are moments of effortless flow. And then there are the moments where it feels like the tantrums, the mess, the noise, the problems, the piles, the dishes, the laundry, and the overwhelm will never end.

Our head hits the pillow. And we start. all. over. again.

Mixed within those days where you wonder how you will make it until bedtime, are those moments of pure bliss. Your little one picks a flower for you. He leaves you an “I love you” note. Your teen opens up about school. She thanks you for a great dinner. He looks up at you with that look that completely melts your heart.

And then you remember.

You remember why you started this journey in the first place.

And then you realize.

Being a mother isn’t about perfection. The mess, the heartache, the celebrations, the joy, the laughter, the sadness, the struggle, and the overwhelm are all a part of being a mom.

The gift comes when you can live more presently and peacefully – in ALL the moments that motherhood brings.

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It is true, that when you feel more relaxed and centered, you simply feel better.

When you take care of your needs, it’s easier to stay connected to your children, you think more clearly and you can more smoothly swim through the ever-changing ups and downs that are inevitable in life as a mother.

In Mothering with heART, we use creativity and reflection as a tool to connect to our intuition – the place that is here to guide us.

It’s there, your intuition, that knows when your inner dreams are ready to manifest. It’s there, your intuition, that knows when there’s something wrong, despite what others say. It’s there, your intuition, that knows when you need to get quiet first, before you make that big decision. It’s there, your intuition, that knows when you are letting fear get in your way of living a more fulfilled, joyful life.

Creative activities – like writing, playing with paint, making art (to name just a few) – help you relax and return to FLOW.

As a mom, we are interrupted about every 12 seconds! (I’m making that up, but doesn’t that seem accurate?) And after a while, it’s easy to get caught up in the glorification of busy. But it’s in stillness, quiet, and creative FLOW that help us stay connected to our hearts – our intuition, creative center, the all knowing place – that reminds us of our greater purpose in life.

So today, and for the next three weeks, we will step back into flow. And we will integrate this flow with and alongside our children. Because if we wait until they are napping, distracted, at school, or older – it just may never happen.

There is no perfect moment.

Your kids don’t want a perfect mother, they just want a healthy, happy you.

Mothering with heART is about mothering YOUR heart.

Embracing your imperfect moment, your imperfect children and your imperfect, beautiful life starts NOW.

Mothering with heART Session #2 April 2014 from Shannon Kinney on Vimeo.

 

Mothering with heART starts tomorrow! Give yourself a great gift and join us!

CLICK HERE to register.

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nurturing your mothering soul

Mothering with heART Session #2 April 2014 from Shannon Kinney on Vimeo.

The boys and I made you a short video for you!

How are you today?

It’s been one of those weeks where I’ve had to throw out any concept of a “schedule” and just…go with the flow.

Some days it feels like I want to call it quits.

You know…it’s when the kids get sick (seriously…it’s spring…I’m so done with colds), and you have to cancel the sitter (I only get her for 3 precious hours a week!), and the thought of making one more meal could simply throw you over the edge (I can’t believe how much these little people eat!).

Today I woke up craving a simple week.
Don’t you just love new beginnings?

So I prepped meals for the week, folded clothes, made school lunch and gave myself some much needed rest time.

I can’t control what will happen this week, but I can do little things that help simplify my daily life. And for me I feel lighter and freer when healthy foods are stocked in the fridge. I feel lighter when I know what nights my husband’s putting the kids to bed (tonight…anyone want to come over for a glass of wine?). I feel lighter when I have a few creative projects to work on (like prepping my Mothering with heART e-course & editing our music video I’m making with my sis and bro), and when I carve out time for my own wellness and recharge (I’m getting a pedicure tomorrow…hello, spring toes).

I love my kids. I love being with my kids. I love staying home with my kids (most days).

And along with being a mom, my soul needs ART.

My soul needs connection.
My soul needs to write.
My soul needs play.
My soul needs rest.
My soul needs movement.
My soul needs music.
My soul needs nature.
My soul needs paint.
My soul needs yoga.
My soul needs women friendships.
My soul needs coffee dates.
My soul needs books.
My soul needs rain.
My soul needs sunshine.
My soul needs quiet.
My soul needs adventure.
My soul needs creative exploration.
My soul needs to be vulnerable.
My soul needs to face fears.
My soul needs to take risks.
My soul needs love.

And…my soul needs you.

What does YOUR soul need?

Join us for the next session of Mothering with heART – session #2 – and feed your soul, too. (Registration is now open.)

Embrace your joy and your deep need to nurture your soul while you nurture your kids. Your art, your creative dreams, your wellness…matters.

Seriously, we mothers need to stick together.

(Join us on our private Mothering with heART Facebook page to connect with other mothers from around the world.)

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Give-Aways!

For your chance to win the Simple Parenting & Play Planner, visit HERE.
For your chance to win a spot in Mothering with heART and Season’s Eatings, visit HERE.

The winners of the random drawings are:

Nicola is the winner of a spot in Season’s Eatings.
Katrianna is the winner of a spot in Mothering with heART.
Nina is the winner of the Simple Parenting & Play Planner.

Congratulations!  Winners will be contacted by email. Thanks so much for entering.

celebrating joy in the every day (& two give-aways!)

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I don’t know about you, but cooking three meals a day – every day – can leave me feeling, uh, rather uninspired.

I really do have a passion for healthy eating and cooking.  But doing it day-after-day-after-day in the midst of changing diapers, nursing, schoolwork, piano lessons, cleaning, folding clothes… I know you can relate.

It. gets. old.

So I’m excited to see that my friend, Leah, and creator of the Season’s Eatings e-course, is offering a new session.  I’ve taken Leah’s course in the past and I can honestly say that it’s one of my favorites because not only does she offer fabulous PDF’s full of easy and yummy recipes, but she is in-tune to how to make mealtime more meaningful while connecting more deeply to your children.

Cooking three meals a day doesn’t have to feel like a burden, and Leah, reminds you of that.

Her course will help you get grounded, centered and inspired so you can really enjoy the pleasure that comes from feeding and nourishing your family.

Leah says, “I believe that cooking can be a source of joy, fun, and connection in our lives. I know how good it feels to have a repertoire of delicious dinners you can whip together to feed a few or a crowd. And I believe that one of the secrets to enjoyable family dinners is to include everyone, especially the kids, in the preparations, rituals, and routines of the evening meal.”

Just from re-reading Leah’s course description, I can see that with the addition of our new baby, I’ve fallen into a bit of a rut over the last few months when it comes to mealtime.  I still cook healthy foods and have found ways to simplify my time in the kitchen – like prepping for the week on Sunday, buying similar ingredients for several meals, and making the trusted family favorites that I know everyone will eat.

But…I haven’t necessarily felt as much joy about YET ANOTHER MEAL that has to be prepared. Yes, it’s true, mealtime happens again and again, but rather then dread or lament it, there are ways to make it more fun.  And with Leah’s inspiration, you can bring back a sense of play, laughter, connection and JOY to this daily routine.

Are you ready to be inspired?

To learn more about Leah’s wonderful e-course, visit Season’s Eatings. (If you are ready to sign up for this course, use the discount code: FREESPIRIT.)

The Give-Aways – How to Enter:

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Leah is giving away one spot in her upcoming Season’s Eatings e-course.

AND…

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I’m giving away one spot in my NEW Mothering with heART e-course, that runs April 28th – May 16th. (Registration is NOW open!)

I’m SOOOOO excited to share this journey with mothers who are excited to bring more love, courage and joy into your life with your children while you follow your heart, TRUST your intuition and nurture your creative dreams!

For your chance to win a spot in one of these courses, leave a comment on this blog post and let us know:  Where do you find inspiration in the midst of motherhood?
For an extra chance to win, stop by and “like” A Free Spirit Life Facebook page.

I’ll announce a winner on Monday, April 14th.

Bring on the joy…

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(REMINDER: Visit THIS POST for your chance to win the Simple Parenting & Play Planner!)

it’s time to help your dreams grow

ready for spring

Find the seed at the bottom of your heart and bring forth a flower.

~ Shigenori Kameoka

We are slowly emerging from the dark, cold depths of winter and getting ready to embrace the beauty that comes with spring. Depending on where you live in the world, you may be seeing new signs of life.

Symbolically, spring represents a time for new beginnings.

With new beginnings comes planning, planting and tending to the garden.  And as I make preparations to plant seeds with the boys, I can’t help but recognize how caring for these new seedlings is a lot like the love and care needed when tending to our personal dreams.

You have dreams inside that are waiting to be manifested.

And just like your garden, it is up to YOU to recognize the dreams deep within your heart – to clear the weeds, to create a strong foundation for them to grow, and to nourish them daily so they can thrive and flourish.

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1) Clear & Prepare

When planting a garden you must clear away the weeds and prepare the soil for new growth. The same goes for your own life. Clearing away physical, mental and emotional clutter makes space for new things, thoughts and feelings.  So take time this spring to clean out the closets, organize your cupboards, donate items you no longer use, and let go of the thoughts and behaviors that don’t serve a purpose in your life.  The more clutter you clear, the more peace and clarity you will find.  And being clear about your dreams gets you halfway to actualizing them!

2) Get Still & Breathe 

Life is moving by at a rapid pace and sometimes we truly do forget to stop and smell the flowers. Slow down and find quiet space in your day.  Whether it’s while sweeping the floor, folding clothes, sitting in meditation, taking a bath, or on the floor playing with your kids, you can find stillness by reconnecting to your breath in the present moment.  Take some deep, slow inhales and full, slow exhales.  Notice the quality of your breath.  Enjoying this stillness and letting go of the distractions in your day will reconnect you to what truly matters.

3)  Listen & Observe

When planting a garden you must tend to it daily.  Notice what’s growing, what isn’t seeing the sun, what needs more water and tender loving care.  What dreams and personal interests aren’t being cared for in your own life?  Start to observe your inner voice and stop long enough to really listenThe more you practice listening to the your intuition, the more TRUST you will build to follow its lead.

4)  Play & Explore 

Caring for a garden is a lot of work, but it shouldn’t be all work and no play! Planting, pulling weeds and seeing the results of that hard work can be lots of fun AND it gets you outside. Taking the lead from your children, being light at heart, staying connected to nature and playing more often, helps you tap into that curiosity and wonder – the place where the seeds of your dreams live. 

5) Create & Embrace the Mess

When you choose to plant a garden you get to decide what you will plant.  Will this be a flower garden and if so, what varieties and colors will you choose?  Or are you going to plant a vegetable garden and what kinds of meals will you make with this vibrant, fresh food?  The act of creating is a practice in letting go of perfect, in getting messy and in exploring new ideas. Whether it’s digging in the dirt or playing with paint, find outlets that you enjoy and carve out a little time each day to express yourself.

6)  Journal

Keeping a garden journal offers you a place to learn from past mistakes, as you document your growing conditions and keep track of what worked and what didn’t.  Writing from your heart can work in the same way.  You are more likely to notice patterns that tend to repeat themselves in your life when you write them down.  This type of reflection is a powerful way to gain clarity and is a very freeing practice.  A journal can offer you a safe place to share your feelings, explore your dreams, and find the wisdom it takes to make those dreams real.

7) Take a Chance

I’m really new to gardening.  A few years ago we started with a 10 x 10 foot space and had so much fun that we expanded to a 10 x 25 foot on our community garden plot.  We had great success with cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and beets.  We struggled with watermelon and failed miserably with peas.  Had we not taken risks by trying new things we would never have learned what changes we need to make this year.  So apply this same idea to your dreams.  I bet there’s a dream or two living within you that is ready to emerge, but you might be feeling some resistance or fear around them. Allow yourself to take more healthy risks (even especially when you feel scared) and watch your confidence and courage reach for the sun.

8)  Connect & Find Support

There are so many experienced gardeners and green thumb gurus out there – so don’t think you have to tend to your garden alone! Sometimes we can feel isolated and think we are the only ones having these feelings or experiences.  Reach out to a friend or local group that can help you stay connected and build power in your dreams.  Maybe that means joining a new knitting group or starting an art night with your friends.  There are tons of supportive, wonderful communities on-line, too.  (Like my Mothering with heART group!)  Connecting, sharing and relating with other like-minded souls is a wonderful way to ensure your dreams expand and grow beyond measure.

So as you embrace the change of seasons, take time to reflect on what seeds and dreams want to be planted this year.

Create the best conditions that will support this new growth and allow your inner garden and your heart to open, expand and flourish.  Start with the best foundation and tend to your dreams daily, and one day in the near future you will get to sit back and relish in their beauty.

Happy growing!

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blossom magazine (& winners announced!)

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I am beyond thrilled to be a contributor for the lovely magazine, Blossom, created by Amy Butler!

Issue #2 went LIVE today.  You can view it using the link below:

Blossom Magazine Issue #2

The intention of Blossom Magazine is to celebrate your authentic journey and to inspire you to live the life you’re meant to by creating love, expressing beauty and being kind.  You will find it is 230 pages FULL of that love, beauty and kindness through amazing photography, creative inspiration and personal reflections.  Truly, this magazine is a complete work of art and I’m honored to be included (see me on pages 206 – 213).  (And check out the beautiful ad my awesome graphic designer and friend created on page 213!)

final-mothering-with-heart-ecourse-200 I’m also SO excited about the launch of my Mothering with heART e-book that I’m offering 5 free copies in a random drawing!

To enter this simple give-away:

THE GIVE-AWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

 

 

 

The 5 winners of the random drawing for a FREE copy of Mothering with heART are:

 

Caroline, Amy, Tophat, Lori and Noelle!

(Email me for details on how to receive your free copy.)

 

You can also purchase your own copy of Mothering with heART.  I’m extending the special price going on now through March 15th, 2014.  Visit HERE for details.

Be well and keep creating a life YOU love!

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NEW mothering with heart e-book special!

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Sometimes when you pick up your child you can feel the map of your own bones beneath your hands, or smell the scent of your skin in the nape of his neck. This is the most extraordinary thing about motherhood – finding a piece of yourself separate and apart that all the same you could not live without.

~ Jodi Picoult

Happy HEART day!

I really do love Valentine’s Day.

I always have.  Ever since childhood, when we decorated our cardboard boxes for party day.  Oh, the anticipation of getting cards and sweets from your friends and family.  SO much fun.

What I love about this day, in particular, is it gives us a lovely reminder to stop…and CELEBRATE LOVE.

So today, I am celebrating my wonderful family.  I have to keep this post short because we are making chocolate dipped strawberries and heart-shaped pizzas for dinner.

In celebration of YOU and my deep-seated passion to inspire, connect with and enrich the lives of mamas everywhere, I am launching the release of my brand NEW Mothering with heART e-book!

The 30-day e-course that I offered last spring is now its own activity and inspirational guide – to celebrate the mother in YOU.

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You can see all the details here:

Mothering with heART E-book

From Valentine’s Day – February 28th, 2014, I am offering this downloadable PDF e-book for a special price.

This e-book includes:

  • reflections and inspiration on creativity & intuitive mothering
  • weekly art projects to do with and alongside your children (of any age)
  • videos from me
  • connection to a private, ongoing community with other mothers from all over the world
  • personal essays, interviews, stories, tips and inspiration from artists, writers, life coaches, stay-at-home moms and more…

Whether you are expecting your first baby, you are a mom of young children, your kids are teens or just went off to college, NOW is the time to take better care of YOU, so you can keep being the mother and woman you want to be in the world.

Mothering with heART will give you the inspiration, time for reflection and connection to community that will enliven your life in more ways than you can even imagine.

Thanks for checking it out!

Ok…off to snuggle with my boys.

With deep appreciation for you…

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you are the creator of your life

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Inside Out: A Creative Adventure of Self-Discovery starts Monday, January 27th, 2014!

JOIN US for art journaling, gentle yoga, guided meditation and connection to an international community of women – where we let go of perfect, make messes, play with paint, embrace our unique brilliance and build courage to create a life we love.

For more information, visit:

Inside Out

Be well and thanks for your support!

See you in class…

xo-shannon-blue

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celebrating a new year

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If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.

~ Pema Chödrön

2014…really!? I so vividly remember the whole Y2K scare…and now here we are already 14 years later. I know we say it all. the. time. But seriously…life zooooooooms by, doesn’t it?

I guess that’s why I’m feeling a big urge to LIVE LIFE NOW.
Because, time keeps on flying.

So I might as well be doing what I love, or at least walking in that direction, right? Time simply moves on…regardless…

Last year, my mantra for 2013 was the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote, “Wherever you go, go with your whole heart.” And man, that intention sure came to fruition when I gave birth to my sweet baby Grayson in September.

This year I definitely will carry the intention of opening my heart more and more. And the words I’m really drawn to in this moment are meditation and mindful action. I’ve been reading Pema Chodron’s lovely book, When Things Fall Apart, and she reminds us to stop filling up all the spaces. It’s in the space – the quiet, the stillness – where we really learn about our life and ourselves. Yet, so often we fill up that space before we ever hear the quiet. We stay busy. And it’s that busyness that keeps us out of touch and disconnected to our real purpose in life.

As I continue on my life’s path in 2014, I am setting an intention to meditate more often, to stop filling up all the spaces, and to walk forward taking mindful action along the way.

Here are my 5 tips on creating New Year’s intentions that last:

1) Get Quiet

It’s hard to really know what you need when you never stop to listen.  Make space in your daily life to get quiet.  It might be taking a few moments before you get up for the day or during the quiet time of night right before bed.  Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths in and out. Feel the tension release from your body.  Softly smile.  Let your thoughts float in and out, as though they were clouds.  And simply sit in the stillness.  Pay attention to the words or phrases that speak to you.  Listen to the messages of your heart.

2) Journal

Writing in a journal helps you clear the chatter in your mind.  It also gives your inner most thoughts a safe place to go.  Writing your thoughts, feelings and dreams help you sift through and decipher what sometimes feel utterly confusing.  When you journal, write from the heart, without editing, and see what comes out.  If you feel blocked and don’t know what to write, simply start with writing how you feel about the day.  Keep your pen moving.  It’s helpful to read your journal posts several days later to gain clarity about your true feelings.  Taking the time to write helps bring you in touch with what needs your attention.

3) Make Art

Creativity is one great way to reconnect to your intuition.  And it’s there, your intuition, that guides you on your path in life.  When you feed your creative spirit through playful art, you remember that there is no right or wrong way to be creative.  It’s about the process of stepping into the flow that comes from being creative.  Making art, without rules or desired outcomes, allows you to let go of perfect, embrace messy and play – which all help you step outside of your critical mind and into your loving heart.  Making art and expressing your creativity gives you the courage needed to listen to, trust and follow your intuition.

4) Look at What’s Not Working

Getting honest with what isn’t working in your life allows you to awaken.  Rather than numbing or stuffing or denying your true feelings, it’s time to see your life in this very moment.  What are the repeated patterns you notice in your life? (Journaling helps you discover this, too.)  What frustrates you?  What do you find yourself complaining about regularly?  Pay attention to the things that aren’t working out so well right now – relationships, work-life balance, finances, personal health, food habits etc.  What are you ready to let go of so that you can make space for a better life?  When you are clear about what isn’t working in your life you can get clear about what changes you need to make.

5) Celebrate What IS

It’s so easy to focus on what we don’t have and then we miss seeing and fully experiencing what we do have.  Become more aware of what you are thankful for every day.   Starting a gratitude practice cultivates loving kindness towards others and to yourself.  When your intentions come from a place of kindness, you know they are true.  Celebrating your life as it IS in this very moment allows you to be more open and receptive to where you are being guided to next.  

Getting quiet, journaling, making art, being honest about what isn’t working and celebrating what IS will help you become more aware of the inner voice that is sending you authentic messages to follow.

Rather than jumping into the next diet craze, or setting unrealistic goals to workout 10 times a week, or resolving to never eat sweets again, creating New Year’s intentions from the guidance of your intuition, will set you on a course where you feel the inner motivation, inspiration and excitement that comes from living the life you are meant to live.  And living in-line with your authentic way of being will make your intentions last way beyond the New Year!

This is your one life.
Walk mindfully.
Play and laugh a lot.
And be yourself…always.
Wishing you a New Year full of adventure and happiness!

xo-shannon-blue

 

 

 

 

 

Inside Out Logo Now is your time to live a life you love.

 

Registration for Inside Out: A Creative Adventure of Self-Discovery is now open.

JOIN US!

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you are enough

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inside out registration is now open!

Inside Out 2014 from Shannon Kinney on Vimeo.

You have to grow from the Inside Out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.

~ Swami Vivekananda

I’ve created a video for you!  Use the password: befree.

This is my first video since having my sweet newborn and I’m thrilled to be back sharing with you!

Inside Out LogoRegistration for the next session of Inside Out: A Creative Adventure of Self-Discovery is now open! Session dates for 2014: January 27th – February 28th.  Join us for an incredible creative adventure and make this YOUR year of abundance, flow and transformation.

When you sign-up for this 5-week e-course you will receive my NEW Inside Out Take Action e-book for FREE!

Visit HERE for all the details.

Awaken to the wisdom of YOUR own soul and set yourself free.

xo-shannon-green

 

 

 

 

Here’s what past Inside Out graduates are saying:

I participated in the inaugural Inside Out e-course in January, 2010. I was still in the midst of undiagnosed, untreated postpartum depression (which I’ve really only fully understood from the other side).  Inside Out helped me see that I am capable of anything that I put my heart and soul into. The “realness” of everything Shannon teaches and shares, along with her ability to bring that out in others, helped me really see that extraordinary people are just people. They don’t have some special gift. They have a whole host of gifts, just like everyone does. What sets them apart is the action they take, putting themselves out into the world, taking risks, and moving forward. This idea is a value I hold very close to my heart.

~Kelly, Ohio  ~Perched to Fly

I had a fabulous time in Inside Out and it gave me the courage to start taking small steps.  I began with some e-courses to explore my creativity and to find out what I enjoyed. I have now started dancing classes and am having great fun.  I have also found an art course to participate in locally.  Yay!  Living in the moment and exploring my inner child is fun!  Without Inside Out I would not have started this journey and I love it.  Thank you so much.

~Victoria, Finland

The Inside Out e-course was an incredible, joyful, fun-filled experience where I got to make art like a child again. No rules, no outcome, just creating and seeing what happens. I have learned so much about myself, learned to enjoy creating in ways I never thought possible, and feel that I have loosened up creatively! 

~Jennifer, UK

Visit HERE to read more raves.