Everyday Inspirations


~ one year of inspiration ~

Haley (far right) with Angie and mutual skating friend, Amy.
Our next guest blogger is my ever-so-talented friend, Haley Smith. She writes two fabulous blogs, Adventures of Adulthood and My Life as a USOC Intern. We grew up ice skating together from the time she moved to Utah when she was 14. As we get older our mutual love good wine, bedazzling with rhinestones, intellectual conversation and figure skating continues to bring us closer together.

A little about her: Former USOC Intern; Current US Speedskating Intern; Utah Athletics Compliance GA; law student; figure skater; coach. She is one busy girl and definitely an inspiration to me!{angie}


Ten things that inspire me:

My early morning commute to school.  Even though getting my day started at 5:30am has its draw backs {wanting a nap around 11am} it has a couple of advantages, there is less traffic, and the best is the sunrise over the Wasatch mountains.  The sky is a beautiful array of colors and you can’t help but smile.

My job(s).  I have 3, but I love each one and wouldn’t change anything!
Baking. When I feel overwhelmed or have a bad day the first thing I want to do is make a big batch of chocolate chip cookies.  Baking helps me relieve stress and I love bringing treats to my friends!
Synchronized figure skating. I’ll admit I actually never wanted to start synchronized skating.  When my family moved back to Utah my mom encouraged me to try it and at every practice I wanted to quit.  However, Synchronized skating has brought so much to my life, fantastic friends, an unforgettable college experience, and continuing fun as I skate with my old team mates on our “adult” team.  I now can’t imagine my life without this amazing sport that so many have never heard of!
The Future.  As a 3rd year law student there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about what is going to happen in 83 days when I graduate.  I choose to think about the awesome things that could happen instead of worrying about the unknowns.
Traveling. I love seeing the world and experiencing new cultures.  My favorite trip to date was spending 3 weeks in Beijing, China learning about the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.
The Olympic Movement. It is easy for people to say that they love the Olympic Games every 4 years.  It’s not the specific competitions during Games time that inspires me, the thing that drives me everyday is the opportunity to help people achieve something that they have worked incredibly hard and sacrificed their entire lives to accomplish.  It is really hard to explain but not only does it inspire me to work within the Olympic movement it drives me everyday to do the best I can do for the athletes.
Friendships that last a lifetime.  My most dear friends have inspired and pushed me throughout my life and I will be forever grateful to them for making me the person I am today.
Reading.  I don’t get to read for pleasure as much as I would like to {law school gets in the way} but I love getting into a good book.  The places that your imagination can take you in a book are innumerable and rather cost effective
My students.  One of those jobs I mentioned in #2 is teaching skating and my students could not be cuter.  Their love for skating and thirst to learn more is inspiring.

{enter to win}
Psst... don't forget we're giving away a pair of handmade earrings and a handmade apron to our readers (one prize per reader, two prizes total). There are three ways to enter:
1. Tell us what inspires you in the comments section of ANY post, starting today through Wednesday, February 23. 
2. Become our fan on Facebook and write about something that inspires you on our wall.
3. Follow us on Twitter and tweet something that inspires you (make sure to include @365inspirations so we see it!).

We'll be collecting names all week for both prizes, so the more times you comment on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter, the more chances you'll have to win! Bonus--we'll be writing a special tribute post to our readers and your comment may just appear on it (we really want to make you a big deal... because you are).

One prize per reader. Open to U.S. residents only. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook or Twitter.

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~ one year of inspiration ~

Angie and I are excited to introduce the first guest blogger helping us celebrate our one year anniversary: Teri from A Foodie Stays Fit! Teri and I went to the same high school, and over the past year we reconnected on Facebook and through the blog world (I wrote a guest post for her back in September, right after we met up for a fun coffee date). Teri even helped co-host our last #mixermixer party on Twitter in December. She has become a great online friend (if only she lived closer!) and a fabulous person with whom we can share blogging experiences. Thanks for inspiring us today, Teri. {ash}


Hi all! It’s Teri from A Foodie Stays Fit and I’m so happy to help celebrate the blogiversary of Everyday Inspirations! Without further ado, these are some things that inspire me. 

1. A mug of freshly brewed tea.  The color of tea when it's brewed from loose leaves is so beautiful. [Yeah, I know - I need a mug that says “tea”.]
2. Early mornings. I love the feeling of anything-is-possible and clearheadedness that I feel just as the sky starts to come alive.
3. Music. I love how certain songs can evoke memories, inspire moods, improve workouts and move my soul.

4. My mom and Dad. OK, they aren't "things" but they are wonderful people. They both serve others without a second thought, raised SIX kids who all turned out (relatively) normal and successful, and always tell us kids that they love us and are proud of us.

5. A beautiful pair of heels. There just ain't nothing like 'em.
6. The type of run that makes me feel so ALIVE.

7. People who stay active and fit through all stages of life. I want to be like that

8. Travelling. I love seeing other cultures, new places, experiencing a bit of a different life.
9. Seeing progress in workouts. I love increasing my weight in Body Pump, running faster, running longer, and feeling stronger in cycle.

10. My dog. She never fails to put a smile on my face, whether she’s racing around the yard, cuddling on my lap, or just being blame goofy like boxers often are. And she’s so darn cute!
What inspires you?

Psst... don't forget we're giving away a pair of handmade earrings and a handmade apron to our readers (one prize per reader, two prizes total). There are three ways to enter:
1. Tell us what inspires you in the comments section of ANY post, starting today through Wednesday, February 23.
2. Become our fan on Facebook and write about something that inspires you on our wall.
3. Follow us on Twitter and tweet something that inspires you (make sure to include @365inspirations so we see it!).

We'll be collecting names all week for both prizes, so the more times you comment on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter, the more chances you'll have to win! Bonus--we'll be writing a special tribute post to our readers and your comment may just appear on it (we really want to make you a big deal... because you are).

One prize per reader. Open to U.S. residents only. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook or Twitter.

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~ day 11: home ~

Guest Blogger: Alyssa Kaldahl
Alyssa is the Figure Skating Director and a private coach at The Peaks Ice Arena in Provo, UT. She is also a board member of the Catalystic Cadence Collective, a nonprofit visceral arts company with a mission to educate, serve and entertain while blurring the lines between mediums. Beyond that, she has been my best friend since we were 8 years old. Among her many talents, she also made these adorable gift sets that are perfect for gifts or to use for holiday entertaining. A perfectly elegant gift for your friends or family!

A couple of years ago I found some great recipes in my "Holiday Favorites" cookbook by Williams-Sonoma. I made some really cute oil and vinegar sets to give as Christmas gifts. They are really easy to make and are very tasty! You can find bottles at many different stores. This year Ross has some great sets for a good price. Last time I made these I found some awesome bottles that had light house stickers on the front at a home decor store (my mom's whole kitchen is decorated with light houses = perfect personalize gift). If you find some really cool bottles you want to use you can go to Bed Bath and Beyond to get the stoppers with a pour spout. You can be as simple or as creative as you like.

Olive Oil with Lemon and Bay Leaf

1 large fresh lemon
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 bay leave (the highly aromatic California bay leaves are best)
¼ teaspoon whole peppercorns

Scrub the lemon with an sponge clean, rinse, and dry. Pour the olive oil into a small heavy saucepan and zest the lemon, into the oil. Add the bay leave and peppercorns. Clip a thermometer onto the side of the pan and heat the oil over medium-low it reaches 200 degrees. Cook for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat and cool.

Carefully pour the oil to a clean bottle and cover, sealing tightly. Store at room temperature for up to 2 months. Include a gift tag suggesting brushing this on toasted Italian bread, mixing with pasta and grated romano cheese or tossing it with a salad.

Orange and Rosemary Vinegar

2 fresh rosemary sprigs
About 1 ½ cups red wine vinegar
3 orange zest strips, each 2 inches long and 1 inch wide

Fill a 1 1/2 cup bottle with hot water and set aside. In a small saucepan, warm the vinegar over medium heat until hot. Drain the bottle and while it's still hot, place the rosemary and orange zest strips in it. Carefully pour in the vinegar with a funnel. Cover tightly and let stand at room temperature for at least 2 weeks to let the flavors to mix. Store at room temperature.

Include a gift tag suggesting mixing the oil and vinegar to make an outstanding vinaigrette for fresh greens and vegetables, or for dipping bread.

~ day 10: fashion ~

Guest Blogger: Susan Cannon
In the last few years, Susan, from FeliciaEvita.blogspot.com, has taken up making jewelry as a hobby. She loves it because not only is it fun to make beautiful stuff to wear, she also uses gems with energy and healing properties. Power bracelets, as they are called, make great gifts, especially as we head into the new year and people are choosing to make changes in their lives. Here is her step-by-step on how to make one or many as gifts for your friends. 

Stone Power. Healing, soothing, energizing, invigorating, and promoting creativity. These among the qualities of semi-precious stones such as lapis lazuli, jasper, amethyst, and coral. And … it's easy to wear stone power on your wrist. Gorgeous stretchy stone bracelets take but a few minutes to make and will be a much loved Christmas gift for many on your list. No special equipment or tools are needed to complete.

6 mm stone beads, available at your local craft store or online
seed beads
1 mm clear stretch beading cord
scissors or wire cutters

Since this type of construction is less secure than with a jeweler's clasp, don't use diamonds! Inexpensive semi-precious stone beads are available at your local craft store, often at a substantial discount if you hit sale day. I nearly always get my beads on sale, with a coupon, online, or at a gem show, so never paying full retail price.

Cut. Cut a length of elastic cord 4” longer than your wrist. This will give you plenty of slack for errors, which inevitably happen.

Design. Select the beads for your bracelet. You may want to add silver or gold colored spacer beads. Lay out on a design board (or … a kitchen cutting board works). A simple design is best, ie two small, one big, two small, one big, etc.

String. I like to build from the middle out so I always put the middle bead on first, then add more beads to the elastic at the left or right. Repeat the design until the bracelet is sufficiently long to tie and have reasonable “give” to be put on and removed. You may have to “test” a few times to get it just right.

Tie. There are several ways to attach the elastic cord. I like to tie a square knot or two (right over left and under, then left over right and under). You can also attach with a crimp bead.

Cut. Careful here! Cut the excess cord.

Secure. Add clear nail polish to the tie spot to ensure that the bracelet will stay intact.

Wear.  Beautiful!

~ day 9: how to ~

Guest blogger: Jessica Trump

I'm a 29-year-old stay-at-home-mom to a wonderful little man named James. I'm married, very happily, to a sweet and wonderful man referred to as E.

I love to craft and have been doing so for as long as I remember. I also adore travel. Some of my favorite experiences I've documented on my blog including traveling to Japan, crossing the ocean on the Queen Mary 2, and having a baby.

My little boy just turned one, and in addition to crafting and blogging, I also love photography, playing outside on warm days, and making my baby boy laugh by doing stupid things in public.

I love homemade children's clothing. Something about it just makes me smile; the little details, the lace, the tiny buttons. But when your baby is a boy there is very little out there that is homemade, not too cutesy, and is within my budget. So being the crafty mama that I am, I decided to come up with my own shirts for my one-year-old son. They were super inexpensive to make, can be made for any age, can be added to any piece of clothing, and are easy.
Here is what I did:

1. Find a plain piece of clothing that you want to embellish. I found a simple navy blue tee for $3.50 (and it is organic cotton!) and a simple burnt orange tee that was $1.00 at a thrift shop.
2. Pick a pattern. This is the most fun and creative step of the entire process. For the owl tee I used an image that was on a baby card that I was given and enlarged it for the shirt freehand. For the polar bear tee I just did a simple Google search for "polar bear silhouettes" and came up with the image. I re-sized the image in Word (yep, you don't need any fancy software) and printed it out.
3. Decide if you want one solid piece of felt or multiple pieces. For the owl I stacked pieces; for the polar bear I used one solid piece.
4. Cut the pattern out on felt in the color of your choosing. I used acrylic felt as it is easy to find and quite inexpensive.
5. Place the felt on the clothing item. Move around until you have the look you are after.

 6. Sew around each piece of felt. This can either be done by hand or machine. I used the machine on both of these projects. For the owl tee I changed the color of thread each time the felt color changed. And on the polar bear tee I went with a fun simple look by just crisscrossing the polar bear with colored thread before sewing him onto the tee.
7. Add any last embellishments. I added a handful of tiny buttons to the toadstool on the owl tee, as well as button eyes. On the polar bear tee I didn't like how the bear was floating in space so I used two simple parallel lines to created the ground.

Once done, these shirts are washer and dryer safe. Have fun crafting! Happy holidays!

Sweet James in his owl tee
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~ day 8: small inspiration ~

Liz and Pearl
Guest blogger: Liz Sproul
Formerly a special education teacher, I have found my true love and happiness in being a wife and mother to my two children, George (3), and Pearl (8 months). Though I lack any real skills [Ash's editorial note: This is not true ;)], I love to create and make things, and I chronicle those successes (and failures), and also document my life and family at lifeupstream.blogspot.com.

Last Christmas I saw a handful of tutorials floating around the Internet for an ornament wreath. I looked through a few of them and then just kind of came up with my own way to do it. There are probably better (less ghetto :)) ways to do this, but what I did worked, was easy (and exceedingly cheap), and I was actually really happy with the final product.

Variety of sizes of ornaments (I bought all of mine at the dollar store)
Wire hanger
Hot glue gun and glue sticks

1. First I unwound the wire hanger and shaped it into a circle. It doesn't have to be perfect, but you will want it to be fairly round (unless you want a hanger-shaped wreath, then by all means, don't make it round).
2. Then I just started stringing the ornaments around the hanger. As I went I was sure to use my hot glue gun to glue the actual bulb part of the ornament to the part that you will hang on to the hanger. I just popped the little metal top off, squeezed some glue in it, and put it back on the ornament. I let it dry for a few seconds before stringing it onto the hanger. Once I knew where I wanted to place it, I used the glue gun to glue it in place. Sometimes I couldn't glue until I had a few ornaments placed where I wanted them so I could glue them all together at once. (I think Step #2 wins the award for most times the word "glue" has ever been used in a paragraph.)

3. I played around with different sizes of ornaments and putting them in different places until I got the look I wanted. I tried to keep my colors pretty evenly spaced out, but you can be as creative as you want with this, using all kinds of different colors, shapes, and sizes of ornaments.

4. Once I had ornaments strung (and glued) around the entire hanger I went back with my trusty glue gun and some miniature ornaments and just glued them in place where there were gaps or spaces.

5. I wrapped the ends of my wire hanger back together, keeping the natural curve in tact to use as the holder for the wreath. I then used the glue gun (naturally) to glue the two ends of the hanger together, and voila, a round little ornament wreath to adorn your front door! If you want to cover up the exposed wire hanger at the top (who knows why anyone would want to do that?), just tie a little ribbon into a bow and glue it down. No one will ever know that your pretty little wreath only cost about 3 dollars to make. :)

More wreath views (click images to enlarge):

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~ day 5: a better you ~

Christine and Ashley
Guest blogger: Christine Hogenson

My cousin Christine is the skin care queen. She is my go-to person every time I have a question about anything from eyebrow shape to dry skin. She is a master esthetician and an experienced instructor. Visit her website if you're in Salt Lake and need some serious pampering!

Today, Christine is sharing winter skincare tips, as well as instructions for creating a facial mask in a jar. Who wouldn't want that for the holidays?

During the cold winter months, skin can become especially dry, itchy, and flaky. Keep your skin healthy and avoid premature aging with these calming and hydrating ideas

Remember that the more your facial cleanser foams up and lathers, the more oil it is stripping away from the skin's protective layer.  Winter is a great time to invest in a milky, non foaming cleanser to avoid over-drying. Also, remember to cleanse skin with warm (not HOT) water to preserve the moisture barrier.

Keeping your face and body free of dead cells will allow your moisturizer to absorb into the skin better. Use an exfoliating product 1-2 times a week.

Your skin may need a different moisturizer than what you use during the spring and summer. Look for a moisturizer that is a 'cream' rather than a 'lotion' for more hydration. It is also important that your moisturizer is labeled non-comedegenic, meaning it won't clog your pores. Apply your moisturizer right after cleansing and while skin is still damp to lock in moisture.

Having the heat on in your home dries out the air, which can be very harsh on your complexion. Put moisture back in the air by running a humidifier at night while you sleep.

Oatmeal & Milk Hydrating Mask
2/3 cup dry oatmeal (calming and moisturizing)
3 tablespoons powdered milk (softening)

Combine oatmeal and powdered milk and pour into a cute jar or container from a craft store.  Attach a card with the following directions:

Pour contents of this jar into a bowl and add 2/3 cup water.  Microwave 1 minute 30 seconds and stir. When mask cools enough to touch, massage into skin for 1 minute and allow to sit for 5 additional minutes. Rinse with warm water. 
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~ day 3: fashion ~

Little sleeping princess. What a doll!
Guest blogger: Mary Cook
Today's holiday do-it-yourself project comes from Mary Cook, a stay-at-home mom in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is mama to a beautiful baby girl who is about to turn one. This feminine flower can be made into a clip, headband, or brooch. It is so darling on her little girl, but I would totally wear the same headband! A perfect gift for any girly girl young or young at heart!

You will need:
8-10 squares of fabric, more if you use only very thin fabric
1 strip of synthetic fabric cut to about 2 -2.5” wide and 36-48” long. A heavy satin works well for this. Alternately you can use a matching pre-made headband.
A 2”x12” strip of organdy, tulle or other sheer fabric
1 alligator clip
Length of ribbon to cover alligator clip
Hot glue gun and glue
Lighter. The long nozzle type made for candles is easiest to use
Long taper candle and holder (optional)
Sopping wet sponge
Matching thread

Step 1: Cut square of fabric. Start with squares of fabric in varying colors and textures. Cut the fabric 1-2” larger than you would like your finished flower to be. Make sure to use a combination of natural and synthetic fabrics because they react differently to fire. I like to use silk, satin, organdy, tulle or any other fabric that catches my eye.  An inexpensive way to get different fabrics is to look for scrap bags and your local fabric store. I was able to get 2 scrap bags of bridal fabric for $1.30 each and then added my own fabric choices to these.

Step 2: Cut the squares into circles. This can be done easily by folding a square in half diagonally, then in half again, and again one more time. Hold the triangle with the tip pointing downward and cut straight across. You can also cut a rounded shape to give your circle a bit of a flower petal edge. Don’t worry about making perfect circles. You will be burning the edges which can even (or uneven) them out... and hey, flower petals aren’t perfect circles are they?
Step 3: Burn the edges. Before you begin burning please let me remind you that you are working with fire and it is very hot! (Really? Wow! Who would have thought?) You can burn your hands or your house if you are not careful. Some fabric will melt and take a while to catch fire, but some catch fire and burn FAST! Be prepared! Do this in a well ventilated area because scorched fabric is no fun to breathe. Since it is usually too windy to do this outside and have control over what I’m doing I stand over my stove or sink where I can drop the fabric if need be and it won’t hurt anything. I also lay down a sopping wet sponge to drop my fabric on to put out the flames.

 I use a lighter for burning edges because it is easier to control, but I use an entire lighter for one flower. You could also try using a candle to keep your cost down. Start with a piece of synthetic fabric and hold the flame to the edge of the circle. Singe the entire circle. With a bit of practice you can make the edges curl up by getting the flame close, but not touching, and letting the fabric crinkle. Don’t worry about making the edges a perfect circle, the unevenness adds to the beauty. Next try a piece of silk. The sheer stuff burns REALLY fast so I usually dampen the entire circle so I can have a little bit of control in how it burns. Make some larger and some a little smaller to help with stacking

Step 4: Stack the flower. Once the edges of all the circles are burned, arrange and stack them how you like putting larger pieces in the bottom and a small piece on the top, then sew a little “X” in the middle to hold them together.
Step 5: Add the center. Take a piece of sheer fabric or tulle. In this example I used organdy. Cut a piece about 8-12” long and ¼- ½” smaller than your smallest circle. Fold this piece in ½” folds and cut both ends off in a “V” shape.  Unfold the strip. Thread a needle and tie the ends in a knot. Stitch a seam down the middle and then pull the fabric down the thread tight towards the knot. Put the needle through the center of the flower and pull it through. Cut the needle off the thread and tie a knot tight against the fabric so that it stays scrunched up.

With needle and thread start from the back side of the flower and go through the center. Place one sequin, then one bead over the needle and pull them down the thread towards the flower. Place one more bead over the needle and go back through the bead again in the same direction to make a loop around the bead. Take the needle back through the other bead and the sequin, and then back through the flower. Work the beads and sequin down tight against the flower, pull out all slack in the thread and then tie a knot on the back. If you like you can put a drop of fabric glue on the back of the flower to help secure the thread. It’s not necessary but if you’re not that confident in your sewing skills, by all means go for it.
Step 6: Make the headband. If you are using a pre-made headband, you can skip ahead to the final step. Take the long strip of fabric. Using the same method as before singe the edges to seal them. Try to keep the melting and burning to a minimum for this piece so the edges will maintain flexibility and not snap and break when tied around the head.

Step 7: Attach it to a clip or pin. Take the alligator clip or pin and wrap the ribbon all the way around the clip, including the inside and the space covering the spring, then cut to fit. Hot glue the ribbon to the clip. After the glue is set Sew the top piece of the clip to the bottom of the flower. Clip the flower on to your headband or you can put it directly in your hair or even on a blouse or jacket.

~ small inspiration ~

Guest Blogger: Daniel Iverson

Daniel is a public relations specialist for a Montana state agency, a former reporter for a daily newspaper, and occasionally a blogger. Daniel's free time is spent with family, friends, technology, and planning his December wedding.

Every morning, I wake up to the scene of a beach my grandmother painted from behind the bay windows of her Anacortes, Washington, house. My brother and I used to visit her there until my family moved to Utah (I was 10 years old then). I don’t know exactly how I ended up with the painting, but it’s my favorite relic of my grandmother.

A couple weeks ago, I returned to Washington for the first time since 1998 for a vacation with my fiancée. While we were there, I retraced the footsteps of my childhood by visiting the places I used to go with my family. One of my goals was to locate my grandmother’s old house and photograph the scene she painted all those years ago.

The problem with doing so was remembering where the house is. I was only a child then, and after close to a decade and a half, my parents didn’t remember either. Anacortes isn’t the biggest city ever, but searching 14.2 square miles with nothing to guide us but a painting and distant memories of a yellow house was still going to be a challenge.

Surprisingly, after only a few minutes of driving around the area, we were successful.

The house was landscaped and renovated and no longer yellow, but the bay windows and interesting design of the roof across the street confirmed the location. After climbing the steep driveway (my apologies to the current residents), I turned around to behold the familiar scene. The view, similar to the house, had changed with time. But we’d definitely found the right spot. I did my best to recreate the scene from the painting and enjoyed the nostalgia for a moment, and then I bid farewell to the house once again.

I saw a lot of memorable things while visiting Washington, but finding my grandmother’s old house is the probably the first thing I’ll remember about the trip years from now. If you ever get the chance to retrace the footsteps of your childhood too, it’s definitely worth experiencing.

~ a better you ~

Guest Blogger: Elaine Pace
Having traveled to more than 35 countries, Elaine finds the textures, tastes, and traditions of different cultures inspiring whether she is at home or abroad.  Elaine lives part-time in Mexico, working with a toxin-free, organic, accredited healing retreat, and part-time in the Wasatch Mountain foothills where a giraffe watches over the Pace family garden. Learn more about Elaine and Sanoviv Medical Institute at www.sanoviv.com, www.twitter.com/sanoviv, www.twitter.com/elainepace, and www.facebook.com/sanoviv .

Reduce Stress
Your face is the first place someone’s eyes rest when they meet you.  It is the mirror of your internal experiences--housing your smile, tears, and the words you use to communicate with others.

Your face is also a primary resting place for stress.  To keep your smile genuine and your brow unfurrowed, try this easy exercise. 

Rest all four of your fingertips on your cheekbones, feeling the beautiful structure of your face.  Press in--hard. S-L-O-W-L-Y drag your fingers toward your scalp, up over your ears, and come to rest at the spot in your upper neck where your spine meets your skull.Keep up the pressure, and bring your hands down the side of your neck, over your shoulders, and brush that stress off your pecs and into the universe.  You do not need to carry it around with you. 

Try this movement three times, inhaling deeply as you move your hands, exhaling completely as you brush off the tension.  Inhale peace.  Exhale stress.  And when you’re done, close your eyes, tilt your head up, and envision that light at the end of the tunnel.  It IS there, and you will reach it.