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make up
Juice Beauty is a new brand for me + I am absolutely in love! Ingredients are No. 1 on my list when considering a new beauty brand and Juice Beauty represents only the best plant-derived and Organic ingredients in their make-up and skincare products. I decided to go with a gift set to try out a variety of their products. I went with the GP's Faves Gift Set, which is no longer available as of today, this is a total bummer! The set included a satin lip creme in Merlot, mascara, blush, stem cellular CC cream in Natural Glow and Desert, and a liquid lip in Gwyenth. Check out my Vlog below for more feeback on each of these products!

 Thanks for visiting and Happy Holidays!
The Magic of Life
Where has all the bipolar magic gone?! I remember a few months ago feeling like there was magic all around....everywhere! Now, I am craning my neck only to find a desolation of magic in my life. This is where people stop taking their medications. I understand why now. There is this magic in the psychotic. Seeing things in a way that no one else sees things. It makes things feel magical and it makes you feel special. Overall, it is a wonderful "Alice in Wonderland" feeling and experience.

I remember looking at everything through a child-like lens. Everything was new, exciting, and there was something new to discover around every corner. Now, I feel medicated dullness. No wonder I am seeking out shamans for spiritually enlightening experiences. Yes, I want to discover more about the unknown and myself, but I also want to feel more alive. We all do right?!

Before going on medications everything felt more tingly....everything. Sensations were enhanced for every form of my physical existence and emotional for that matter. Right now, I have to accept that I am bipolar and take my medications like a good little lamb. It is, after all, what is best for myself and my family. However, I can miss my previous existence and I often do.

Granted there are things I don't miss like not sleeping and hearing voices, but even those things made me feel unique. Those things made me feel like I had a special ability or something. Now, I am just an ordinary housewife sweeping the floors and scrubbing the toilets like everyone else. I know that is not entirely true, but a part of me feels this way.

Perhaps, I just need to think about magic differently now. Instead of it being this tangible-living and breathing thing, perhaps it is something just below the surface glimmering like waters in the moonlight. This weekend, a little girl captivated me as she was dancing to some LIVE music at a local restaurant. It made me want to dance too! And, we did share a little dancing duet together for a few brief moments. It was a magical, inspirational, and a memorable experience for me. That was a special magical moment. So maybe magic is something we make as well as experience.
Love Note Tees: Eco Fashion
A positive message and a comfortable tee! That is what Love Note Tee has to offer. They have a great variety of messages to include: "I am worthy"! You are worthy, so why not share it with the world!  I just love how comfortable this t-shirt is! Don't take my word for it, however, order one and try them for yourself. Now is the perfect time to stock up on tees for the Fall. Think about it, we will be layering everyday really soon. Love Note Tees are the perfect staple and addition to your Fall wardrobe!
Love Note Tees: Eco Fashion
 Scream 'I am worthy' until the stars collapse upon your brilliance.

go pure naturals with Vitamin C Beauty
Vitamin C! Your skin needs a daily dosage. Go pure naturals offers a new line of serums and a Vitamin C cleanser that will keep your face smooth and bright all-year round! I am truly impressed with these products. I love that the company is also very upfront about their list of ingredients and how much of their product is Organic versus naturally derived. Let's talk about the cleanser first, it is the bread and butter of your facial skincare!

The Vitamin C Cleanser has 10% Vitamin C! It includes Organic aloe and Organic rosehip oil. This is a sulfate free facial wash! 97% Naturally Derived and 72% Organic...those are some strong numbers! There is a slight citrus scent, but it is practically scent-less. The lather is good and very moisturizing. In fact, I did not need a moisturizer after using this cleanser. Afterwards, my face felt bright and very smooth. Go pure naturals also has two serums for you to choose from after cleansing that beautiful face of yours!

First, is the Vitamin C Serum with 20% Vitamin C! You will also find Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin E, and my favorite Jojoba Oil! 100% Natural and 72% Organic ingredients!!! Both of the serums are aloe-based. I love the feel of the application. It feels kinda like a leave-on mask. My skin has been shining like a spot light since using these serums. I use them AM and PM after cleansing my face with the Vitamin C Cleanser.

Next, is the Hyaluronic Acid Serum with 5% Hyaluronic Acid. Hyaluronic acid is a type of carbohydrate that we have naturally occurring in our body. This aloe based serum includes Vitamin C, Green Tea, and Witch Hazel! Both of the serums are fragrance-free. This serum would be great for oily skin types! The witch hazel is perfect for keeping those pesky blemishes at bay. Both serums are a perfect compliment to the Vitamin C Cleanser. I am overwhelmed both with the performance and ingredients contained within these products. These products are a great example of well thought-out and constructed green beauty products!

About Death
Currently, our family has been dealing with some "tough stuff". Death or the talk of death is not one that is readily accepted. We must hide our grief behind closed doors and with immediate family members only. Openly talking about the process of death is both a faux pas and one not deemed necessary.

It is of my personal opinion that we are both lucky and unlucky to see death coming. Lucky in the respect that you have time to "say goodbye" to all your close family and friends. The unlucky part is perhaps the suffering, but even more so is the thought process that you will in fact die. IT is scary. What will become of your soul following the death of your Earthly skin and bones?

Again, it is of my personal opinion and belief that we have somewhere to go following our death. Call it heaven if you will, but there is something. There has to be. I remember this year crying out to God in grief and sadness. I asked him whether or not I should continue writing my book about my breakdown and to give me a sign.

Later that day, I sat in the carpool line waiting for my son when a big black crow perches on a sign next to our car. I thought this is my sign. Then I thought, fly back three times. The crow proceeds to fly back and forth to the sign an exact number of three times and then flew off. I meet with a shaman. She recently scolded me and inquired as to why I stopped writing?

The creative process has died. I simply felt uninspired. Until today, it is both life and death that rekindle these literary flames. Every breath is precious, down till the very last gasping breath. We all have our time and in that time of death we have lessons to learn and things still to do. Our life is carefully orchestrated so that we may learn what is needed and perhaps carry that over into the next life.

Until death greets us all, enjoy the roller coaster ride that is life.
How to Find Your Spirit Animal
Photography by Second Ave Photography

"The animals which are our totems are mirrors to us. They reflect lessons we need to learn and abilities we can most easily develop" - Ted Andrews, Animal Speak

What is all this talk about spirit animals?! How do you actually find your spirit or totem animals? This post is for those of you who have absolutely no experience with spirit animals and want to dive right in! First, I want you to imagine yourself as a child at the zoo. Which animal or animals did you have an affinity for? That is a great starting place in discovering your first spirit animal or power animal. Your power animal is your spirit animal that stays with you for life. Secondly, you have many spirit animals that will come and go in your life as you need them.

Do you have any recurring animal dreams or any animals that come to you during meditations? That is a good sign or indication that those animals are a part of your totem! What about nature itself? Did you have a butterfly land on your nose today? Do you have a crow that visits you every morning? Well guess what?! They could also be a part of your animal spirit crew. It could also be as simple as the animal that you have a pure love for. Do you adore wolves or owls? Those animals could be in your totem too!

"Our totems help us to recognize our opportunities in life. They help define who we are and how to succeed. Their individual abilities reflect our own innate ones." - Ted Andrews, Animal Speak

Now that you have a few potential spirit what? Now, you research your animals! Learn about their behaviors. What do they like to eat? How do they socialize? Learn all of their positive and negative traits. All of this information can help you manifest positive things in your life and help you understand "you" better. For more information on spirit animal guides try the book Animal Spirit Guides by Stephen D. Farmer.
Energy Cleanse Bath Salt Recipe
Epsom salts and clay are a great combination for the ultimate detox bath. The salts will pull out and clear any negative energies. Also, try adding specific herbs for their symbolic meanings. I added dried Oregano for joy. Lavender for purity, love, and devotion. I also added dried Calendula for passion and creativity. The clay is great for softening skin, exfoliation, and removing toxins.

Ingredients you need:
2 lbs of Epsom Salts or Sea Salts
1/2 cup Red Moroccan Clay or other natural clay
A Pinch of dried Oregano
A Pinch of dried Lavender
A Pinch of dried Calendula
40 gtts of Lavender essential oil
20 gtts of Rose essential oil

How to scrub-a-dub:
1.) Soak for at least 20 to 30 minutes.

2.) Light some candles.

3.) Take some salts and add some high qualities oils like Argan or Rosehip for a luxuriating scrub. Envision scrubbing away the negativity and soaking up the positive vibes.

4.) Relax and enjoy! Some deep breathing with hands on touch for a bit of Reiki stimulation would be a great addition to this ritual bath time treat!

This is a massive throwback, but I realize that I did not share these amazing photographs last year and they scream Summertime! Second Ave Photography is responsible for these juicy Summer shots. Michael Stars is the featured Eco fashion company. Enjoy these squirt-able photos!

DIY Dried Lavender Potpourri and Incense
There is nothing quite like the fresh wafting scent of lavender in your home. Right now is prime lavender season and perhaps you are lucky enough to have these sturdy herbs in your backyard. If not, get to a lavender farm! You may be interested to know that you should and can use the whole lavender plant...even the stalks. When I trim my lavender for floral arrangements, I am always left with green stalks and lots of them. I thought, "How can I use these highly fragrant, but seemingly throw-away lavender ends?" That's when the thought hit me to simply arrange them in a bowl.

Arranging them in a bowl is so savvy and adorable! It has a very chic and modern look. It looks like stalks of grass, but smells of lavender! Remember, no water in the bowl. Let the lavender stalks dry out naturally. When the stalks dry out, you can use them for your smudge sticks! This is a win win situation. The dried lavender stalks smell just as good as the florets. I even had a tiny ceramic frog to place into the scenery. So, the next time you are trimming your lavender for floral arranging do not throw away the ends. Instead, use them for a lavender potpourri!

Hangin' Tough: A Humorous Lesson in Patience
If you are an 80s child then the New Kids on the Block title reference will not be missed, if not then I am sorry for this three sentence rant that follows. I do suggest you Google "Hangin' Tough by New Kids on the Block" pronto. I will leave their musical genius and video below for nostalgic purposes. Back to the point of this post! What does "hangin' tough" mean and how does it pertain to difficult times? Let's go right to "hang in there man". That's what many people will say to you when you are going through difficult times. They say this because #1.) They have no idea what to say to you and #2.) Your shitty time will eventually pass as all things do....even the really shitty times.

Hangin' tough means waiting it out, having patience, and sobbing all over Mr. Whiskers. However, no one ever tells you how much time you will be waiting for emotional relief during and immediately following hard times. Someone should prepare you and perhaps send a short text message like: "Stock up on whisky" *smiley emoticon* or *crying emoticon* or *smiling-crying emoticon*. I am here to tell you this single truth: You will be waiting for what could be months and seemingly swimming to an open island called "nowhere". There you will get sun burnt until patience carries you through to your next happy moment. All jokes aside, hang in there man.

How do you conquer this patient time period? Patience would be nice, but let's say you have little patience to offer to the world. The next best thing is making plans to keep yourself busy. I am not talking about a business plan, just simply something to do. Travel, having dinner with friends, playing a game with your kids, or even taking a walk around the block. Pass the time. Start watching a new television series...anything other than twiddle your thumbs and thoughts. You will have a moment where you feel like you can breath again or that your chest isn't crushing inwards towards your internal organs. During that moment, you are coming off your island. Perhaps you are ready to come out of your cave and greet the world again. When you are ready, you will know...and don't let your therapist tell you any different! Laugh through the tears. It will get better, but you have to believe it will.

Finding Peace

Stark revelation today. Peace is not something that God gives you or anyone else. In order to get true peace in your life you must be willing to give it to yourself. As someone who is incredibly hard on themselves, this is easier said than done. At least, I made this revelation for myself. All it took was one little dove sitting on an electrical wire to remind me that PEACE is available to everyone and it is for the taking. So, why can't I just reach out an grab it? Huffing and puffing trying to extend my reach....I cannot get peace today. I feel anxiety in my chest like an anxious balloon filling the oxygen in my lungs. Time for a dose of ativan.

"In order to love who you are, you cannot hate the experiences that shaped you."
-Andrea Dykstra

And quite frankly, I do. I abhor the experiences that got me here. I need to make peace with those experiences before I can feel peace. I am not sure how exactly. The journey through my wretched emotions has only just begun. As I sift through the muck and extract the weeds, I must be patient with myself. However, I feel I must also make progress. The lack of progress in my life is disheartening. Where am I going? I have no clue, but I want to get there now. There goes patience....good bye.

Today, I saw a beautiful blue jay. I rarely see them and this one boldly fluttered right past us. Blue jays symbolize and teach the art of fearlessness, presence, and being in the moment. says, Blue jays are known for driving away much bigger prey to include owls and hawks. Blue jays may also be a sign that it is time to develop and use our inner wisdom. I also saw two Doves simultaneously flutter from our tree today. Doves symbolize peace. According to, the dove is also a spirit messenger between the worlds. The dove is what made me think about peace and my war-like relationship with it. Peace and I need to come together....or actually I need to come together with peace.

The number two has meaning here. I found this interpretation to be quite good at What'

"The symbolic meaning of number Two is kindness, balance, tact, equalization, and duality. The number Two reflects a quiet power of judgment, and the need for planning. Two beckons us to choose. The spiritual meaning of number Two also deals with exchanges made with others, partnerships (both in harmony and rivalry), and communication. Two urges us out of our indecision, calls us to unite with like-minds, and like-ideals. Two asks us to exert our natural flow of judgment to do what is best for our souls."
What does all of this mean? I have felt at a stalemate, roadblock, or impasse with my life. Now, it is time to make a decision and to go forward with my talents. Nursing is still really important to me and now I must take a refresher course to activate my license. My job right now is to be patient, but to feel like I am making progress with my goals of getting back to nursing. I am also looking forward to donating my time to some local charities that I am very fond of such as: One Love Loudoun, Friends of Loudoun, and Carried to Full-Term. It is my hope that you will give yourself peace each and everyday. I will work on it if you will! May peace be with you.

How to naturally dye baby's breath #DIY
Floral arranging is a personal love affair of mine. For me, it is utterly relaxing and soothing to my soul. Home decor stores and floral shops can be outrageously expensive! I am always looking for new ways to decorate or enhance the ambiance of my humble abode. One day, I was staring at a vase full of store bought roses that were surrounded by baby's breath. I thought to myself, "baby's breath would sure look amazing in a different color." Light bulb moment here. Alas, I set out to naturally dye bucket loads of this textural wonder.

How to naturally dye baby's breath #DIY
A Google search turned out to be unhelpful. The methods suggested were ridden with chemicals aka floral dye or required the baby's breath to sit for several hours in a glass full of food coloring. The latter did not work at all. I let the baby's breath sit for 2 full days and it did not change color at all. I even trimmed the stems prior to placing it in the food coloring. Hence, I came up with an entirely new method. Dip, shake, dry, and hang.

How to naturally dye baby's breath #DIY
Get a very large metal or glass bowl. I used India Tree all-natural food colorings! Squirt 1 to 2 tsp of food coloring and mix with 1/4 cup of water. Take a small branch of baby's breath, dip, and swirl. Tap any excess water and dye back into the bowl. Dry your baby's breath lightly with a paper towel and hang upside down in a cool, dry area. That's all folks! So simple, but as you can see the results are stunning!

How to naturally dye baby's breath #DIY
How to naturally dye baby's breath #DIY
How to naturally dye baby's breath #DIY
Dyed baby's breath makes for an amazing gift for loved ones and right now teacher's gifts! I also have bunches around the house in vases. India Tree dye is all-natural and very concentrated. It worked amazingly. See the YouTube video below to see my technique in action. Note that I did not use baby's breath in the video. I was feeling lazy and did not want to go to the I used a weed instead!

The Importance of Staying Grounded: The Root Chakra
If you are on a spiritual or healing journey, it is important to "stay grounded". Being grounded means that you are completely in your body and in the present moment. After many days of meditation, I could not ground myself no matter how hard I was maddening! If you are not grounded, you feel like you are floating, dizzy, and moody. If you are not grounded, you are not fully experiencing life in the present moment. I tried a few different techniques to ground myself.

First, I desperately tried to use Reiki and flow energy from the earth and into my Then, I tried standing with my bare feet on the Earth for some meditation. I still could not ground myself. Next, I tried eating some "grounding" junk food and that did not work either. After that, I tried clearing my vain! Note: If you are not completely grounded, you cannot effectively clear your chakras! Finally...I went to yoga and felt much better, but not entirely.

Desperate to ground myself, I started doing research on "Grounding Techniques"(most of which, I already tried!). That is when I came back to it: meditation. Not just any meditation, however, a spectacular meditation video entitled "Very Powerful Root Chakra Healing". This video is a quick 20- minute meditation. I felt my root chakra open and then I felt energy going up to each of the seven chakras clearing them all! Persistence pays off and I definitely wanted to share this amazing root chakra healing video with you:

What else did I learn this week? To be patient, present, and persistent. Keeping my head in the clouds with existential thoughts was not helping me stay grounded. I stopped blogging for awhile and reading about metaphysical things. I stopped using crystals and tarot cards. Guess what? I felt grounded! If you are looking for some grounding crystals, I recommend Tibetan Quartz, Black Tourmaline, Obsidian, and Tigers Eye. I would love to hear about ways that you keep yourself grounded too! Any ideas, tips, or tricks? Please leave a comment below!

It Was Never Random
On the way home from dropping off my eldest son at school, my youngest son and I spotted three crows having an aviary battle. Back and forth they went diving after one another. Playfully or not it was difficult to tell, but they were definitely "fighting". While my son and I continued walking a rather treacherous portion of King St. I felt danger. Like a car backing out of a hidden driveway, unexpected danger.

I had my guard up for several driveways as I stopped cautiously to look several times before proceeding to the next driveway. Suddenly, a loud screeching and high pitched chirping sounds came from a tree to our left. I turned sharply to my left and saw a hawk going after some sparrows in a tree. They were directly beside us. I could practically reach out and touch the hawk.

A sense of danger is what I felt. Trusting your intuition is incredibly important. You feel, sense, and hear something before you can see it...always. Today, breaking news or perhaps un-breaking news has surfaced that anticholinergic medications can possibly and definitively(in some cases) lead to memory loss, brain damage, and eventually dementia. That includes many OTC medication that folks take daily like Benadryl and certain psychiatric medications. Like the one I take, abilify, is on that list.

I am bipolar as of last month. For 30+ years of my life I have been fine, now repressed memories that I have held deep down inside our surfacing. Back in November 2015, I felt some increased anxiety, so I sought the help of a Childhood Trauma Therapist specializing in EMDR(eye movement desensitization and reprocessing). It triggered my first ever manic episode where I needed to be hospitalized for over a week. They put me first on latuda, which gave me terrible side effects to include restlessness. I just could not sit still even if I was incredibly exhausted. Next on the list, abilify.

Abilify is an incredible improvement and has stabilized my mood to the point where I am ready to tackle these repressed memories. I am hopeful with my good intuition and the help of a good therapist that I will be able to stop abilify in the coming months. Now, it is a sense of hope that is my focus. With the support of my family, my dedication to my health, and God, I know all things are possible. Everything happens for a reason.

Fine Art by Adam S. Doyle

A line from this ancient poem reads, “...but the black raven, eager for the doomed ones, as he shall say much to the eagle of what success he had at feeding, when he, with the wolf, plundered the corpses.” Excerpt from Truth and Symbolism: Mythological Perspective of the Crow and Wolf by Karen Bukowick

Crows and ravens will be used interchangeably throughout this post, but please note they are two different birds. Also, the crow and raven symbolism is quite similar from the past through the present, which is why you see them talked about as if they were the same bird. 

Ravens, crows, and wolves depend on one another for survival (also known as a symbiotic relationship). Ravens and Crows need the wolves to rip open the carrion for feeding, whereas, wolves will look to the sky for circling ravens that may indicate a future meal. The raven, crow, and wolf also share many present day and past symbolism's. The death, doom, and gloom of the "ye old tyme" past associated with these animals has slowly been replaced by focusing on their unique skill sets rather than their gruesome killing abilities or sometimes trickster demeanors.  

What about symbolism and can animals communicate messages to humans?

Cause it's all in your head. Animals cannot possibly deliver messages or interact with human beings on a deeper level, right? That's what my analytical mind thinks, but my Native American heart knows there is a deeper connection beyond most human comprehension that allows lessons to be learned and messages received from animals. If a dog has its fur standing up on his back, growling, and barring his teeth then that tells you to back off! Message received.

This week, I had a single crow fly over my head as I was crossing a parking lot. In my mind, I saw it circle back and land on a light post. Moments later, it did just that! The caw this crow cawed put me on was like a warning. Little did I know, this crow was indeed giving me a warning. I have been struggling with my new diagnosis of bipolar disorder. My medications are intense with terrible side effects. That night after the meeting with this crow, I developed rare side effects from my new medication regimen including: a facial mask, involuntary tongue movements, and severe anxiety as a result. These undesired effects led to a complete medication change with my psychiatrist. Crow also signifies change.

This interaction with my crow friend led me to search for more information regarding the crow as a spirit animal guide. I came across a photo and video displaying the deep symbiotic relationship the wolf has with the raven. It was a moment of connection. I no longer wondered why the crow was so familiar and fascinating to me. The crow and I are already friends. The wolf is my power animal spirit guide and the first animal I ever become aware of during deep meditations. My shaman also pointed out the wolf during a guided journey last year. All I know, is that I have a Native American significance in my heritage or elsewhere. Crows and wolves tend to follow each other for food, but it also appears they simply enjoy being in each others company.

Crows and ravens are different, but when it comes to symbolism their similarities are many. I have more interactions with crows, because I live in an urban area where crows like to inhabit. Ravens prefer the wilderness where it can find more carrion and other similar eats. Black symbolizes the void. Their color is nothing and everything at the same moment. Out of the darkness comes the light, and with it the dawning of a new day. Crows are the keeper of sacred law and are thought to walk between our world and the world of spirit, thus delivering important messages from the other side. The crow is a representation of creation and spiritual strength. To the Natives, the crow represent the Great Spirit, which should be treated with the utmost respect.

Ravens are highly intelligent birds that even have facial recognition for humans. Also, they have the ability(like the wolf) to form deep bonds with other animals. This ability to form deep bonds is rare for the predator. Like the tiger or a shark, most predators prefer to take the solo route. Wolf power leads to developing a deep perception and inner knowing about oneself coupled with intuition. Wolves are great hunters with impeccable social skills. They are also great teachers for their offspring and are well known throughout history for their teaching abilities. I feel the wolf with me always and believe that it is my primary power animal along with the crow. With their symbiotic relationship, it makes complete sense that I am utterly fascinated and drawn to them both!

The crow has also been ever present in my life. I have learned to pay attention to their caws. Can you receive messages from animals? I believe you can. Not the conversational kind, of course, but the intuitive feeling you receive from their presence. Look, listen, and feel....AND you may indeed learn something new about you.
Inspo: Walking by Faith in the Midst of Suffering
Redirect. Doors closed. Windows opened. Many doors have closed this week, but as with the doors closing I KNOW many windows have blown wide open. In fact, I can feel the breeze and the light on my face more than ever before. Even in the darkness, I feel the light that surrounds me. I am not quite ready to announce to the world the suffering that I have endured over the past week. In my own time coupled with God's incredible strength, I will be ready to share my suffering and triumphs with the world. When we walk with God, we are asked to do so in complete blind faith. However, I do not think this faith has to always be blind. If you ask humbly, God may show you a glimpse of his grace. Walking by faith is incredibly hard at times, especially when you are hurting and enveloped in sadness. In this state, it is almost impossible to see the bigger picture. You might be asking, "Why, why God is this happening to me"? He can see everything and truly has your best long-term interests at heart. But, I can't see you Lord. Why have you chosen this particular path for me? Gideon felt this way and humbly tested the Lord by saying,

"I'll place some wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the wool while all the ground is dry, then I'll know that you will rescue Israel through me, as you said."
(Judges 6:37)

Then Gideon said to God, "Please don't be angry with me, but let me make one more request. Let me use the fleece for one more test. This time let the fleece remain dry while the ground around it is wet with dew." (Judges 6:39)

I feel a bit like Gideon this week. I have never required any proof of God's grace up to this point, but this week I feel particularly weary and unsure. Looking? Sure, but maybe not as hard as I was before. I am not wavering in God's love, but I certainly feel the need to understand more about God's plan for me. Patience, is surely the answer I would receive. Everything will be revealed in its own time. When we feel the hard blow of life, it is normal to ask for help and even to question, "Why am I here"? Sometimes, we simply need to be renewed with a drop of faith and have it fill our cup with the strength we need to endure our day.

God's doors are open 24/7. That is really good to know, because I have been walking through those doors an awful lot lately. I have quit blogging to a certain extent. The "me" I once knew is no longer. You will see me writing here, but I have closed the doors to the Virginia Bloggers Club. I am working up the courage to actually delete the blog altogether. I have been "called" back to nursing and will be pursuing my Master's and PhD to help those in the psychiatric community. It is my path to serve God in this way. I have built the Virginia Bloggers Club over the past three years. It is not easy for me to walk away from blogging, but I believe I must. If we are to invite real positive change in our lives, we must also choose to close some doors to find our open window that God has cracked open.

"After your season of suffering, God in all his grace will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you." (1 Peter 5:10)

How to Gain Clarity through Confusion
Everything happens for a reason. Both the good and the bad. That is a hard pill to swallow some days. I did a tarot reading last week with my Chakra Wisom Oracle deck and do you know which card stood out among the rest? Confusion. A woman standing in a swirling cloud of cool smoke...shivering in the uncertainty. Yep, I am feeling a whole lot of confusion this week. I am frustrated, mildly anxious, and confused all gently rolled into one messy burrito. So...I must "talk the talk and walk the walk" with my own advice this week.

Hey, it's Monday! I bet you are you already thinking ahead to your full week of jam-packed activities and endless hustle? Stop it. Sit with me. Listen and look around you. Take the small amount of time you have to rejuvenate both your mind and body. Someone told me this week, they do not have the time to go to a Reiki class for several weeks because they are too busy. Listen, we all lead busy modern day lives! What you are really saying is that you do not have time to take care of yourself. Dedicate and set aside just a few minutes for yourself, so that you may feel re-energized and ready to give of yourself...not from your excess reserves or(for some of us) no reserves at all.

Be still. Are you able to just sit with your confusion? Sometimes action is required, but when we are confused action can result in even more confusion. Sometimes, we must let our thoughts clarify themselves through good-old-fashioned patience. Patience is something I have a mild to moderate amount of and perhaps this is a lesson in patience for me as well. Regardless, lots of meditation is in my near future. Are you going through a confusing time right now? Please tell me about it! Perhaps together, we can both find clarity.
FEAR: How to drive our way through that scary word.
Fear is something, I myself, have been in denial of for a very long time. "I'm not scared". "I'm not afraid of anything"! About a month ago, when I told my reiki master Bruce Winkle that "I'm not scared of anything"!  He smiled and said, "That's the external talking, look inside". Looking inside was something I did not want to do. Fear. Let's say it again: FEAR. Fear is a terrifying 4-letter word. When I looked inside, that's exactly what I saw.....a shit ton of fear. However, on the bright side, the first step to getting rid of the dreaded fear is acknowledging that it is there in the first place. Hello fear and good bye!

Okay, so the fear is acknowledged. How do you get rid of the darn thing? Sit with it. Meditate with it. Exercise with it. Sleep with it. Think about it. Why do you have so much fear? What are you really afraid of? I bet everything you fear is 100 percent out of your control...most things are. Once you put your faith and trust in the universe, in your ancestors, in your archangels, and in God I bet your fear will start taking residence elsewhere. You know what else will leave next? Anxiety. A to the MEN!

So, where are we driving this fear? Out of our bodies. Peace, happiness, and balance cannot reside simultaneously with fear. This black stain on our aura must be driven out. When we let go of control, we let go of fear. At the same time, we make room for beautiful and positive changes in our lives. For each moment is precious and life is incredibly short. If we give fear the wheel, it will be driving us down to 7-eleven for slurpee's and nasty over-cooked hot dogs. Get on your yoga mat or take a long walk in nature. How do you feel now? For who can have anxiety and fear surrounded by cardinals and tulips?

Before you go to sleep each night, check in with your body. If you feel something like fear or anxiety, I want you to talk to your body. I let go of my fear. I let go of my anxiety. I imagine a hand inside of my body letting go a little at a time. Sounds a little fanciful, but darn it if it works! One day soon, you will say, "I let go of my fear" and it will be so.

Check out my latest YouTube video about finding your Life's Path! Stay tuned for the re-branding around here and soon...very soon you will see my Spiritual Life Coaching services. Thank you for being here at Spunky Real Deals on Cardinal Lane.
Art by Maria Jose Mallol

My wisdom regarding spirit animal guides comes from personal experience. I have received a crash course in the basics of spirit animal guides and wanted to share what I have discovered. Over the past several months, more than a dozen animal guides have come to guide me and impart wisdom. You can say, this is a pivotal time in my healing and spiritual growth process. I want to discuss not only how you can find your spirit animal guides, but also how you can decipher the wisdom they are trying to impart. Intuition is a key aspect, but there are other ways you can decipher and keep track of key "talking points" from your animal spirit guides. Keep your heart open and when you need help, if you seek, they will come to you. Remember, all things come when you are ready. Be patient, present, and grounded. Some of the tips below are inspired by my mentor and Reiki Master Bruce Winkle.

Spirit animal guides can come from both internal and external sources. Meaning: do not disregard nature. The wisdom you seek is not always within. That cardinal that always comes to your window has something to say. If it is significant to you, look up the meaning. Perhaps, they have a message for you. Look around you, and above all, use your intuition.

Next, Get a good book on spirit animal guides. I purchased the recommended book Animal Spirit Guides by Steven D. Farmer, PHD and found it to be very informative and concise. However, I go to the blog Shamanic Journey for more in-depth information. Please note: Do not take everything your spirit animal guide book has to say verbatim. Not everything will apply to you. You must use your intuition. Go with the sentence that stands out the most. Do you feel tingling down your back? That's the portions that apply to you.

You have a power animal. A power animal sounds sorta silly, but you do. You have an animal that is with you always. This is my intuitive feeling and belief. It is the animal in which you rely on and that you think about first when you need guidance.

You have more than one animal spirit guide and they will arise as you need their wisdom. I certainly found that out this week. Fox, Robin, Cardinal, Tiger, Lion, Elephant, Fox, Bear, Owl, Wolf, and whew! An entire menagerie for me this week. What do you do if the above happens? See the next tip below.

Buy a journal(A Bruce tip). However, I hate journaling. Writing in a journal is something I have not done since my teenage years, but it has proved to be incredibly helpful! Blogging is how I get my stories out and plus I get to share what is happening with all of you! The point is, you need to get it out and down somewhere. That way you have a point of reference. You will refer back to your journal to make a connection between two seemingly disconnected things.

How to find your animal spirit guides? I do believe they find you when you are ready. Keep your heart open. Trying using a crystal to connect with your animal spirit guides while in meditation. Check out my post about Phantom crystals, they are wonderful crystals for this purpose.

This last bit may seem like a shocker, but your animal spirit guide is not going to give you a definitive answer to your problems. They are supportive spirits and there to guide you. Guide only. You must come to your own conclusions, after all, this is your journey.

Enjoy the journey.

A Mantra of Self-Discovery
Just create a mantra. Easier said than done. A mantra is defined by Merriam-Webster as, "a mystical formula of invocation or incantation (as in Hinduism)." A mantra is a positive saying and something that you resound during prayer or meditation. A few months ago. I sought to create a mantra for myself and found great difficulty in doing so. I researched on Google what typical mantras looked like, but found myself just reciting someone else's, which by the way is completely "missing the point". I stopped and focused on the basics of stillness, staying grounded, and being present. I meditated, cleared my chakras, and went to yoga daily. The focus is balance and caring for myself.

Enlightenment is fraught with challenges, mostly what you create for yourself. I am in the process of "peeling the layers" as my reiki master Brunce Winkle puts it. Layers of stagnation, negativity, and negative thought processes. More than ever, I am thinking about what I do and more importantly WHY I do it. That "why" has led me to a deeper observation of myself....who am I really? To look at yourself: the good, bad, and ugly with clear-open eyes is very difficult and not for the faint of heart. Forgetting who I think that I am and letting go of things I no longer need is necessary to make room for spiritual growth. "Letting go" is a different post altogether!
A Mantra of Self-Discovery
How to create a mantra? Don't. Let it create you. Meaning, when you are ready for your mantra it will come to you. You will think it or say it (inside or out) and say to yourself, "A-ha, that's it!". Your mantra or mantras will resonate with you completely. Your mantra is you, what you stand for, and perhaps (as in my case) a gentle reminder of what you need to be thinking about yourself. "I am" is the strongest combination of two words within the cosmos. So, choose your mantra wisely, gently, and in your own time.

Start with being kind and gentle in your words with regards to yourself and others. Self-love and self-respect come first before you can extend it to people around you. Good Luck with your journey and remember that you are beautiful, indeed one of a kind.

Woodroze Sunglasses Spring Break 2016 Giveaway
Okay, so I'm not actually sitting on a sunny beach in Miami, but that's not important right now. What is important is where are you going for Spring Break and what are you bringing with you? Leave your man at home and let's talk about Spring Break necessities. What do you NEED to pack for Spring Break? Answer: Hot swimsuit and sunglasses. Really(besides your girlfriends), do you need anything else? Okay, maybe a pair of clean underwear for the ride home, but that part is totally optional. Woodroze is your direct source for rad Eco-conscious sunglasses that will have all of your friends saying, "Where did you get your sunglasses" AND "Are those made of wood"? You bet your tight ass they are!
Woodroze Sunglasses Spring Break 2016 Giveaway
Woodroze sunglasses transcend time and place. I love(to the heavens) the retro feel of their new hy-brid series. Joi is the "fashion forward" pair you see me wearing here. The exterior of these sunglasses are layered with blue jean denim. The denim gives these sunglasses a slight texture and lovely "laid-back" mood. The striking blue lenses are constructed with polycarbonate, which makes them shatter-proof and scratch resistant. The most important part is your eyes are 100% protected from the UVA/UVB rays of Spring Break sunshine.

Woodroze Sunglasses Spring Break 2016 Giveaway
 *Dress by Murva Design*

As a college student, I am aware that your sunglasses are going to get smashed into the bottom of your pants pockets, large tote bags, and inevitably sat on. Have no fear my beer guzzling friends, these Eco-conscious wooden frames hold up to the test. I have been a Woodroze user since the Summer of 2012 and I have done all the above several times over(not recommended). These sunglasses are sturdy and made to last! My pair from 2014 is still ticking and looking as retro fabulous as ever.

Are you a water sports enthusiast, fisherman, or a crazy BMX rider? Woodroze sunglasses are for you: the seekers, shakers, and movers of the world. Don't just sit there, get out and explore. And if you drop them in the water during your adventures, don't fret they float!

Woodroze Sunglasses Spring Break 2016 Giveaway
You know what, Woodroze wants to help you pack your bags for Spring Break 2016. One US winner will win a pair of Joi(yep, the one I'm wearing)! I am truly jumping for joy on your behalf. You are welcome, now go enter below!

Ghost Quartz for a Spiritual & Healing Journey
Recently, my new Red Ghost Quartz crystal(or formally known as a Red Phantom Quartz crystal) came in the mail Friday from GemGemRock on Etsy. This crystal is utterly fascinating! There is a growth starting and stopping process that allows another mineral to start forming inside. According to Kacha Stones, The red phantom quartz contains properties of limonite, kaolinite and hematite. These are supposedly rare phantom crystals. The rarity is not nearly as important to me as the way the phantom crystal grows or pauses in growth. The initiating and ceasing of growth reminds me of my own spiritual healing journey. You will have challenges or places you must stop and rest along the way, but then you have opportunities for huge personal and spiritual growth to form. 

Why would you use a Red Phantom crystal? Red Phantom crystals will help to re-connect the body with the soul for emotional healing and clearing, assists with meditation, and connecting with your spiritual guides.

Another thing of note, is the Red Ghost Quartz crystal works with the lower chakras. So, if you are having grounding issues or particular stagnation with the first three chakras then this is an amazing crystal to add to your arsenal. I thought this next portion by Healing with Crystals was particularly important information on the Red Phantom crystal: 
"Opens and releases memories. feelings and pictures of past traumas and emotional pain in this life; heals and releases anger, rage, resentment, terror, fear and confusion; aids the recovery process for sexual abuse survivors and those who were abandoned or abused as children; heals a hurt inner child by awakening your ability to feel and process what had to be blocked to survive; heals the emotional body."
Red Ghost Quartz fun facts via Cassandra Eason's Healing Crystals guide book: A traditional ghost hunter tool. Apparently, you can see benign ghosts or spirits while looking through the crystal. Thought to be a home to fairies, angels, or earth spirits. This is a stone of the earth. I have heard two ways to re-energize these crystals. First, use hot steam. The second method, I believe, is the way to go. Take your Phantom Quartz outside and set it in the earth. Let the sun re-energize this truly important healing crystal.

If you on a journey for self-healing and spiritual enlightenment, then I highly suggest investing in a Ghost Quartz crystal. If you need assistance selecting the right crystals for your personal needs, please visit my Etsy shop the Crystal Estuary for a personal crystal consultation.

Find your Perfect Healing Crystal for this Moment
If finding the perfect healing crystals were as easy as looking into a crystal ball, then we would be done here. Although, it is not terribly complex either...if you follow your intuition. My journey with crystals is one of respect, love, and utter fascination. It all started with Southwest turquoise and an heirloom tiger eye necklace...the rest they say is history. Now, I want to help others discover the beautiful energy within each crystal and gemstone. Not all crystals, but the one that is right for you...right now.

Find your Perfect Healing Crystal for this Moment
Each crystal has magical properties and energy that you can use for your present needs. Perhaps, you are a worrier or need more serenity in your life. There is a gemstone or crystal for whatever is ailing you most in your present life. As I say, "There's a crystal for that!" It is my job to use my intuition to guide you on your quest to find the best crystals for your present day needs. Simply call me your personal crystal consultant.

If you are just getting started with healing crystals, I have a few recommendation to help you find and learn to use your personal healing crystals. First, invest in a good reference book. I recommend Cassandra Eason's Healing Crystals guide book to get you started. Next, find a local crystal shop on Etsy. Preferably, an Etsy shop that has a real eclectic array of crystals(meaning they travel to find these beauties). My favorites are GemGemRock and One With Gems. Seek out a crystal consultant(*cough* me) for real-time advice on crystals that you need in your life right now. Finally, use the "Google" to locate upcoming crystal fairs or expos. Visit the Crystal Estuary to get your crystal consultation today and to find your perfect crystal. The crystal you seek also seeks you.
Winds of Change
Photography by Second Ave Photography

Somehow I knew that I would write this post today. It all started on Sunday. Sunday I had my 2nd Reiki session with Heather from Heavenly Skincare, LLC. She knows her stuff and has been a great mentor and friend on my spiritual journey. I have come to a single conclusion. Yes, I am an Empath. I feel very deeply for others and can "sense" a situation before words are exchanged. Also, I believe in signs and angels. That is basically where I stand. Many things I mention here on the blog can seem far out there. Even for an open person like me. But when you get down to the root of things, you must trust yourself and your intuition. Without it, you can never really know if anything is certain.

Bat flying into a cave. Heather said during the session she saw a bat flying into a cave. Here is a brief explanation from the Universe of Symbolism:
The cave is like a secret womb, deep within the sacred cave in where your powers grow and develop.When you venture out of the cave you experiment with your powers, knowing that you will return to the cave to find solace and renewal to venture out yet another day.
After our session, the weather dramatically changed. It got dark and very windy. It knocked our power out for several hours. To me, I felt deep in my bones the winds of change. On my way home, I came across a sprig of rosemary lying on the ground. Naturally, I picked it up, sniffed it, and placed it in my hat. It felt special. I have been told that little beings of light are within me...apparently a very happy bunch. That evening the family and I went to dinner. My stomach felt unsettled all evening...slightly nauseous.

The Eyes of Horus says rosemary is used for purification, cleansing rituals, blessings, transformation, and meditation. Prior to this knowledge, I took a ritual detox bath with the sprig of rosemary and asked for blessings. Right after my bath, I meditated with the rosemary close by. Rosemary evidently invokes faeries and elves(also a tidbit from Eyes of Horus).

Last night, my stomach was still feeling queasy. I thought I might be coming down with something. It is not normal for my stomach to feel slightly upset. I work up in the middle of the night with that minor nausea. Instinctively, I placed my hands to my stomach. I could feel the heat, light, and love. Within a matter of moments, I felt fine. I think this was my initiation of sorts. It showed me that I can indeed an do have the power to heal myself.

Today, I saw robins flying everywhere as far as the eyes could see. I took a small video for you. It is really hard to see them, but you can definitely hear them tweeting with delight. Here is a brief explanation from Shamanic Journey:
Robins have a powerful significance in ancient myth and lore. One tale has its origins in European mythology, in which the bird of Spring is linked with the New Year and symbolizes divine sacrifice and the rebirth of the spirit...When we let go of our past – a lot of which stems from childhood experiences – we are refreshed and renewed, thus unburdened and free to nurture and serve ourselves as well as others.
 This last sign brings me both great joy and hope. I will meditate on the Robin next go around.

2015 has been a huge learning experience from the inside-out. I have learned that I need to stay grounded and be completely present, I should immerse myself in nature, and I could use a wee bit more patience for myself as well as those around me. I feel that I have learned a great deal about myself and last week I went even deeper when I met up with a Shaman to go on a shamanic healing journey. Going deep inside yourself is nothing short of terrifying, at least it was for me. Below is my personal journey and notes verbatim from Shaman Beatrice Pouligny, PHD. Here are the notes I was given by Beatrice Pouligny, PHD from Allowing the Light:

I first find Heather in the dark, trying to hold on things, as the ground seems to be falling apart under her feet. I go in and realize that a powerful river is actually carrying her away. The river seems to be leading to a big waterfall. We can’t see the end of it. I take Heather with me on a raft, just letting the flow carry us. Heather is very tense. I tell her: “I am here, don’t worry, and I am guiding the raft.” She says: “But we are going to fall and we can’t even see where!” At that point, everything stops and we reach an even darker place where there seems to be nothing. Heather runs around, her hands in front of her, trying to find something that she can touch. I tell her: “There is nothing. Just come here and seat with me.” She continues and starts having a tantrum. I let her be while I remain seated, waiting.
The scenery changes. Heather has fallen asleep or lost consciousness and we are lifting her on a rope, up to a higher dimension. My guides are all around, as well as a crowd of little beings made of pure Light. They all look super excited to see somebody new arriving. The little beings are as excited as little kids would be. Once we have reached the highest vibration, Heather wakes up. She asks what that place is. Nobody answers. She asks: “Where am I? Where is my family? I cannot stay here!” and she starts panicking again.
The scene changes again and Heather appears on a cliff above the ocean and then on a beach. She is yelling: “What is that? What is happening?” I say: “It is all illusion, everything is illusion.” She yells: “Get me out of here! I don’t want this, I did not ask for any of this!” I am sitting on the beach, waiting. I say: “Come here, and sit with me.” After a while, she finally comes. As soon as she sits down, everything starts shaking around us as if there was an earthquake. Heather starts panicking again. I say: “Stay.” She says: “How can you be so calm when everything is falling apart? We are falling apart!” I say: “Stay!” As everything keeps shaking, outer layers of Heather are falling. I keep saying: “Stay! Stay!” and then: “Forget! Forget! Now is the time to be forgetting everything you think you know, all the stories.” I see images of her past and her current life. I repeat: “Forget! Forget!”
After a while, everything quiets down. Heather is lying down, exhausted. I let her rest. When she wakes up, I help her up and ask: “Are you ready to come?” She says: “Yes!” We start climbing a hill (symbol of spiritual growth?). I am ahead of her but slightly on the side. I don’t “guide” her per se. She asks: “Where are we going?” I say: “I don’t know. This is your path, not mine. Don’t worry, I am here; I am not going anywhere. But I won’t decide your path for you. Just look around, follow the signs, feel the support all around you.” She looks around her and starts seeing Beings of Light but way smaller than my guides; they are still behaving like very excited little children. She says: “But those are your guides, not mine.” I say: “Look, keep looking.” I see a Native American chief on the side with a wolf at his feet, as well as other people, some of them probably from Heather’s genealogy. I say: “Just feel, in your body. Take your time. Now is the time for you to forget everything you think you know, including about yourself, including about what you have persuaded yourself to be your perfect life for now. Now is the time to forget, so that you can start seeing with other eyes and look at reality differently. The only thing I can tell you is that you are not alone on that path.” She keeps walking, slowly, and I stay a little bit ahead, but on the side of the path, observing, ready to interfere if needed. I look like a monk. I am wearing a long hooded cloak.
As the drums are calling me back, I see Heather ready to start walking on a rope, high above. It is very bright all around her. And all the spiritual guides are still around. She turns her head, looks at me, smiles, and then starts walking towards an open horizon. She can’t see where the rope is ending and I can’t either. That last scene is full of lightness and pure Joy.
This is the end of the journey.

I want everyone to know that I did not see much during the journey. I remember feeling scared initially and then I did see the wolf at one point. The wolf is with me always and I believe he is my spirit guide. This whole experience has kick started my interest in my own genealogy. I will be getting a DNA test done soon to indeed see if I have some Native American in my blood. I am drawn to Native American jewelry and have worn turquoise for as long as I can remember. The picture above is an old piece I recently received from a very dear friend. She has no idea where it came from, but she thought I should have it. The cuff has many symbols stamped on it including: arrows for protection, crossed arrows for friendship, feathers for a connection with the heavens, and a thunder bird spirit for help on shamanic journeys. You are waiting for the vulture tidbit aren't you?

Driving home from Waterford, VA last week we passed an old graveyard. Perched on nearly every grave(this is not a joke) was a vulture. Large numbers of vultures everywhere as far as the eyes can see. When I looked up Native American symbolism for vultures, it was a sign of patience. Patience it shall be. Thank you for being here.

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