New Notecards

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More exciting news, now available in my Etsy Shop, set of 3 Beach notecards with envelopes. These are also blank inside making them perfect to send warm wishes to someone special. Whether they’re well wishes, birthday or uplifting words of encouragement, these notecards are ideal. Professionally printed from my original photographs on heavy cardstock. Each card measures 4.25×5.5 inches and is blank inside for your inspiring sentiments.

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Thoughtful Thursday Tamanu Oil

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Photo by Gary Barnes on Pexels.com

I got an order in from Shea Terra Oragnics and in that package I received a sample of tamanu oil. I had never heard of it before so I decided to do a little research. Tamanu oil is made from the seeds of the tamanu tree which can be found in Africa, Asia and Australia. It has been used in Asian cultures for centuries but in the West, we’re just hearing about this beneficial oil.

It’s a fatty oil that’s pressed from the seeds of the tree and is a greenish/yellow color. The oil is rich in fatty acids including alpha-linoleic, oleic, linoleic, palmitic, arachidonic and stearic. It also contains polyphenols which are anti-inflammatory. All of these compounds are excellent for the skin.

This fatty nut oil contains antioxidants that fight radical damage making it great for the skin. Because of it’s antibacterial properties it’s helpful in treating fungal and wound infections as well as acne and eczema. Plus it helps to relieve joint pain, provide light sun protection and speed up the healing of wounds.

This all sounds pretty amazing but despite it’s many anti-aging properties, it should never be taken internally as the oil is poisonous. Also, if you suffer from nut allergies, this oil does come from a nut so you probably should stay away from it.

This is a rich oil, so a little goes a long way. I like to use a drop or two of the oil on my face. It does wonders in minimizing aging and makes my complexion look great! Plus all the fatty acids in the oil make it an excellent moisturizer.

Hope you have a fabulous day! Thanks for stopping by!!

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“To the mind that is still the whole universe surrenders.” ~Lao Tzu

Photo by Stijn Dijkstra on Pexels.com

Courage – She Blooms in Ink

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This is another painting I created in my Strathmore 11″ x 14″ Watercolor Journal. She was part of the online course from β€œShe Blooms in Ink” taught by the very talented artist, Tamara Laporte atΒ Willowing.org.

The quote reads “Be brave, follow your πŸ’–, live your dream.” I love the bold colors in this painting. May we all find the courage to live more boldly!

Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend.

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Thoughtful Thursday Juicing

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Photo by Toni Cuenca on Pexels.com

Most of us abuse our bodies for years with bad eating habits before an illness shows up. Once it does we chalk it up to “it’s a part of aging.” But I highly disagree. I’ve seen friends and family make dietary changes and either improve their condition or cure the illness completely. I have also experienced these changes.

Juicing is an easy way to supplement your present diet with lots of vitamins and minerals that you normally wouldn’t eat especially if fruits and veggies aren’t your favorite. I can tell you that the juice recipes today are quite delicious and filling and have come a long way since yesteryear. I replaced 1 meal a day with 2 glasses of fresh juice. Depending on what’s in the recipe, I might use the blender or the juicer. The main difference is the blender uses everything you put in while the juicer extracts the juice and discards the pulp or fiber.

I feel my best when I include fresh juices in my diet. When I first started I noticed a lot of changes. I had lots of energy. The brain fog that I didn’t even know I had was gone. Plus all the aches and pains I felt had disappeared. I felt fantastic!

You don’t need to make radical changes to your diet, but at least modify it somewhat and add in fresh vitamins and minerals with juicing. Taking a vitamin may help improve things but it doesn’t come close to fresh nutrients. There are lots of books on juicing but one of my favorites is “The Healthy Green Drink Diet” by Jason Manheim which is available on amazon.

Hope this inspires you to great health!

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“Health is the greatest blessing of human beings.’ ~Hippocrates

Photo by Valeria Ushakova on Pexels.com

Thoughtful Thursday Anna Ruby Falls, Georgia

Anna Ruby Falls photo by Maria Vidaurre

There’s something to be said about slowing down and spending time in nature. This past fall I was fortunate to take a hiking trip to northern Georgia with my husband. One of our visits was to Anna Ruby Falls which is in Unicoi State Park, located just outside of Helen, Georgia. It was a stunning drive to the falls as we drove on the windy road through the forest with accents of mother nature’s foliage of yellow, orange and red leaves glistening in the sunlight.

The hike to the falls is about a half mile on a paved path. Officially it’s .4 of a mile, but my Garmin and phone tracker showed it was a bit more. Nevertheless, it was a majestic hike the entire way as the path followed the creek and you were serenaded by the flowing waters. The path was a little steep but there were plenty of benches along the way to rest if needed.

James H. “Captain” Nichols was a Civil War Colonel who retired and moved to Nacoochee Valley in 1870. Even though he had been promoted to Colonel he was reverently referred to as “Captain.” While out horseback riding one day, Nichols discovered the falls and named them after his daughter, Anna Ruby.

The falls are made up of Curtis and York Creeks that run down the steep slopes of Tray Mountain in 2 falls. In the photo above Curtis Creek Falls is shown on the left and drops 153 feet and York Creek Falls is shown on the right and drops 50 feet. These 2 falls combine to create Smith Creek which is what you see when walking on the path.

I hope you enjoyed this little travel tidbit. Anna Ruby Falls was a beautiful place to visit and I hope you’ll be able to visit it too!

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“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” ~ Lao Tzu

All photos were taken by Maria Vidaurre

Thoughtful Thursday – The Magic of Autumn

Photo taken by Maria Vidaurre

Summer is officially coming to an end on September 22nd as we welcome the Autumn Equinox. Here in South Florida, we don’t really experience a change in scenery. The weather cools a bit but there is no major change in season visually.

This was a photo I had taken while hiking 10 miles on the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia with my husband. The air was cool and crisp on the morning we embarked on our hike and the scent of wet leaves permeated the air. Mother nature had graciously painted a stunning canvas of yellow, red, orange and brown for us to enjoy. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking on the trail.

It was a magical hike where I found myself again and remembered what I was made of. There were parts of the trail where I had to dig deep to find courage and endurance to push on. One section had a small brook covered with leaves which were very slippery. Even though I was super careful, I ended up taking a fall but luckily it was nothing major and just ended up with a bruised knee.

The most treacherous part of the trail was a section that was covered with large boulders from an avalanche that wobbled and moved as we crossed them. This part slowed us down considerably and the sun was setting soon.

To say the least, I wasn’t too keen on the idea of getting stuck on the mountain, at night, out in the cold. I much preferred my warm bed that was calling my name back at the lodge. So with all the grit and determination I could muster, I forged on to reach the end of our hike.

As the sun started to set in the horizon, the temperature began to drop pretty fast and darkness was setting in. Just when I thought we wouldn’t make, we came to the end of the trail. I was so happy and soooo relieved. We did it πŸ˜…

Looking back on our hike I felt a sense of accomplishment and pride. It was quite the adventure and I loved every minute I spent with my husband. Time on the trail renewed my energy and sense of wonder. It was a great recharge for my mind, body and soul.

We’re going on another hiking trip on the Appalachian Trail this fall but it will be at a different section of the trail and a shorter hike. Really looking forward to seeing all the beautiful colors again!

What do you like most about autumn?

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“Notice how autumn is more the season of the soul than of nature.” ~Freidrich Nietzsche

Photos taken by Maria Vidaurre

Thoughtful Thursday – ALT Sandwich

Photo by Lisa on Pexels.com

One of my favorite sandwiches used to be the BLT (bacon, lettuce, tomato). But now that I’ve gone vegan, those sandwiches are off the menu. Years ago I tried avocados. I wasn’t too crazy about them because they have a bit of a bland flavor but that can be a good thing.

The other day I wanted to make a really good sandwich and thought I’d try an ALT, avocado, lettuce and tomato. I was pleasantly surprised at how good it tasted and satisfied my hunger. It was even easier to make than a BLT because I didn’t have to cook the bacon. Plus I felt great after eating it.

I simply used 2 slices of Ezekiel bread, lightly toasted and spread with vegan mayonnaise. Then I added the avocado slices, lettuce, tomato and a little Himalayan sea salt. Voila! I had a delicious, healthy, satisfying sandwich!

Thanks for stopping by and hope you give this a try!

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“Health is not about the weight you lose, but about the life you gain.” ~Dr. Josh Axe

Photo by Matthias Oben on Pexels.com

Believe in Magic – She Blooms in Ink

I finished another segment in the online course from β€œShe Blooms in Ink” taught by the very talented artist, Tamara Laporte atΒ Willowing.org.

She’s painted in my Strathmore 11β€³ x 14β€³ Watercolor Journal. The quote reads “Magic is all around, you just have to Believe!”

This one was challenging because it was a limited palette, something that I don’t normally do. But I fell in love with her once she was done and hope you do too πŸ’–

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Thoughtful Thursday – A Day at Lion Country Safari

Lion Country Safari located in West Palm Beach, Florida was established in 1967 and sits on a whopping 320 acres. I remember my parents taking me when I was about 8 years old. And no, I’m not telling how many years ago that was, lol. But I remember thinking how cool it was that the animals got to roam free while we drove through the park in our car. They could come right up to us, and many did.

In March of this year, we did a family road trip and visited Lion Country Safari. It’s changed quite a bit since I was there last. Now they have an audio that we listened to through my cell phone that gave information about each group of animals we were seeing. The park is home to over 1,000 wild animals including lions, rhinos, zebras, giraffes, wildebeests, ostriches, and so many more.

The way it’s set up is each group of animals is in a different section, separated by a fence. This way the predators can’t get to their prey and everyone lives happily ever after 😊 Cars slowly drive through on the road and get to enjoy all the animals. As the cars exited the one section, they were all greeted by an ostrich who tapped each car’s windshield as if he were saying good bye. It was pretty funny watching him do this. Apparently, ostriches are attracted to shiny objects and the windshields were reflecting the sun that day.

Once you finish the drive through safari, you can enjoy the walk through section of the park with shops, food and more animals to see. You can even feed the lorikeets which my daughter and I did. They’re so beautiful with their bright colors.

If you have the chance to visit Florida, I highly recommend stopping at Lion Country Safari. It’s a beautiful and unique place to visit!

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“The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.” ~Charles Darwin