Thursday, July 20, 2017

Ten

There are certain dates, milestones, and years that stand out more than others.  For biblical, mathematical, and sentimental reasons, 10 is one of those numbers.

For me, 10 marks the number of years that I have now lived in New York City.  Not including my hometown, I have lived in NYC longer than any other place (and I have moved often, or atleast I used to).  It's tough to describe New York City.  It's busy, fast, noisy, tough... it can be your worst nightmare.  But in the midst of all the craziness of this city you can also find peace, kindness, opportunities...  it can be your best friend.

10 years ago I moved to NYC from Virginia.  There really was no particular reason to move to NYC, it was more of a why not?  The why not was a strong pull though.  It required the selling of a house and a car and multiple yard sales and still having to move a quarter of my possessions into a storage unit because you can't fit a 2000 square foot home with land into a 1200 square foot apartment with a terrace.

In these 10 years, NYC has been both my worst nightmare and my best friend.  And if I could go back in time and make the decision to move here or not all over again, I am not sure what I would choose.  What I am sure of is that NYC would never have become my best friend if it had not allowed my greatest nightmare to come first.

Much of my story could have been written and shared 4 years ago.  At that time, it seemed to me that it was a good ending place.  But, did you know that the number 10 symbolizes the completion of a cycle?  And waiting to look back on my life over the past 10 years (rather than 6) makes such a remarkable difference.

10 years ago I did not move here alone as my single narration may have implied from above.  I moved here with a family.  Dale and I had been married for nearly 5 years, we had 2 dogs (Argyle and Skye), and I was about 10 weeks pregnant when we moved into our Brooklyn apartment.  Little did we I know, we I actually stepped onto a rollercoaster...

We never found out if it was the stress of the move or if it was genetic, or just not meant to be, but we had a miscarriage two weeks after moving here.  Two years later though, we were blessed with Ewan. Ewan was only 20 months old when Dale left us.  His death was unfathomable and it left Ewan and myself in a city with no family and really no friends.  Yet, I chose to stay.  More than a rational explanation, I stayed on a gut feeling.  A year after Dale's death, our older dog Argyle died.  He wasn't old, he had a tumor that ruptured and had to be put down.  Less than a year later, our other dog Skye became ill as well.  Sadly, she was put down on the same day that my grandmother passed away.

Hopefully both pet lovers and not can understand how a pet becomes not only a part of your family, but they are actually a member.  Dale and I weren't certain that we wanted children and for 8 years prior to having Ewan, those dogs took the place of a human child.  They were our companions that moved from place to place with us and were a part of our adventures, our lives.  So when Skye died in 2013, she marked the end of an era.  Six years after moving to NYC, I was the only one left of the original five.  I had with me the most important addition to our family, but as a baby of only 20 months, he knew very little of the family that we I once had.

With the end of the era six years ago, if I would have stopped and written this story, it would have been one of only sadness and grief, with the only exception being Ewan.  But by letting the cycle run and sharing my tale of NYC at ten years, I have allowed so many more experiences, characters, and stories to be added on.  The main one being of course John, whom I did not meet until November of 2013.

It's funny how, if given the chance, the world balances itself out.  I can see that more clearly now, especially since I have given time and my life a chance to play out.  Although I don't believe that living in NYC helped, it was not the cause of my nightmare.  However, I do have NYC to thank for being a friend during the darkest times.  One thing that I was always sure of in those early days after Dale's death, was that everything that I needed was always right there... a home, a job, a therapist, a babysitter, a day care center, a friend, John, and now a new family.  I am even writing this post now while I should be packing for my  our honeymoon!  (We leave for Hawaii early tomorrow morning!)

So as this post ends and I move on into the 11th year (now as an official New Yorker, according to Carrie Bradshaw) of living in NYC, I cannot end it thinking that what started off as a tragic, sad, and depressing tale is ending on a happy note.  Because, my life has never been sad, tragic, or depressing. My life... is a life.  Life is full of ups and downs.  It is full of wonder and mystery.  It is full of hardships and heartaches.  It is full of all things amazing.  It is a cycle that does not end, until life itself is over.

So whether you look back on your life a week from now, a year, 10 years, or longer... the important thing is to enjoy the small moments in the every day of life because you just don't know how much time you or those around you will have.  10 years goes fast, but it is a long time and so much can happen.  I don't know what the next 10 years hold for me.  But I do know that that there will be sad goodbyes.  I know that there will be the ups and downs (of Ewan's teenage years).  I know there will be worry and confusion.  I know that there will be unbelievable joys and there will be awe.  I know that I don't want to miss a single moment.







Thursday, July 13, 2017

Intro to Essential Oils

Last month, Lemongrass Spa offered an Essential Oil Safety Course with a licensed Aromatherapist.  It couldn't have come at a more perfect time since I had recently begun to make bracelets, many with a diffuser to add an essential oil to.  Admittedly over the past year, I had become more personally intrigued and curious about more natural ways to obtain and or maintain both physical and mental health.  The making of the bracelets and researching healing properties of the stones I select was one result of that.  Taking an 8 week course on Mindful Meditation was another.  Needless to say, I took this Essential Oil Safety Class as well... and I just "graduated!"

I am not a guru at this point by any means.  I am not a mixologist either.  But I do have a fundamental base knowledge for understanding what properties different oils have, how best to use them, and most importantly how to use them safely.

I thought what better way to celebrate my completion of this course than to create a Lemongrass Bag based on an essential oil.  So without further adieu, let me introduce to you The August Lemongrass Bag(s)...


Yes, this month, there are 3 Lemongrass Bags to choose from with 3 different price points.  I'll go through each product and give a description on how to use each one.

Organic Lemon Essential Oil:  With each of the 3 bags, I will include some recipes that you can easily make at home.  Cleaning products, air fresheners, etc.  Lemon is a great EO and carries such a clean, uplifting aroma.  Here are some other important things to know...



I do NOT recommend ingesting essential oils of any kind.  


Wool Dryer Ball:  Soften your clothes and reduce wrinkles with a wood dryer ball.  Better yet, add an EO to give a fresh scent at the same time!  Each bag will contain 1 dryer ball.



Personal Inhaler:  The quickest way to get an essential oil into your system is through inhalation.  Steam is the quickest (and I can share more about that if you want) and a personal inhaler is second.  With a personal inhaler, you can plug one nostril and bring the inhaler right up to the other and take in a deep breath.  You can do this up to 3 times.  (I will share a video on how to use this particular inhaler and how to load it up.)  I just started to use this inhaler and I love it.  Each of the 3 bags comes with a personal inhaler and I have 3 colors to choose from...

Teal, Mink, or Black

Lemon Bath Bomb:  After trying a few different recipes, I have finally found a bath bomb that I love.  Because it features Lemon EO, I thought that coconut oil would be a nice summertime partner.  Epson salts are a great stress and inflammatory reliever and the citric acids adds a fun fizz!  Each bag contains one bath bomb as well.

Here's where it gets a bit different...

Bag A:  This bag contains all of the products above and a $5.00 Lemongrass Spa Gift Card.*  If you were to purchase these on their own, it would cost you more than $30... but you can get it from me for only $20 (shipping included).

Bag B:  This bag contains all of the products above PLUS a 2 oz. bottle of unscented Lemongrass Spa Hand & Body Lotion.  Why unscented?  So you can add your own EO oil to it and create a Lemon Lotion (BTW, we used to sell Lemon Lotion at LGS and it was fantastic!)  Be Careful! When you use Lemon EO topically, you have to be very careful not to "overdose."  For this 2 oz. bottle you can add up to 12 drops.  Once you hit 6, I would take it one at a time until you find the right amount for you.  Again, don't go above 12 drops!

This bag also comes with a $5.00 Lemongrass Spa Gift Card.*  If you were to purchase all of these products on their own, it would cost you more than $35... but you can get it from me for only $25 (shipping included).  :)

Bag C:  This bag contains all of the products from Bag A, PLUS a car diffuser.  Do you have a long commute in the morning?  Are you traveling during the summer?  A car diffuser may become your new best friend!  Lemon EO is uplifting and will help wake you up.  (Hint: If you have kids and want to calm them in the car, you may want to invest in Lavender EO.)


This bag also comes with a $5.00 Lemongrass Spa Gift Card.*  If you were to purchase all of these products on their own, it would cost you more than $40... but you can get it from me for only $30 (shipping included).




If you are not interested in any of these bags, but I have plucked some interest in the Lemon Essential Oil, it is on sale now for only $9.00 a bottle.


You can pair that with the car diffuser for only $18.


Lemongrass Spa does carry more than just Lemon EO, and you can check them all out by clicking on the link below.

http://www.ourlemongrassspa.com/AMYMARIE/content/Product_Catalog.aspx#lemongrass2017/page/34-35


**The Gift Cards do have an expiration date, September 30, 2017.


Resources:  Lea Harris, Certified Clinical Aromatherapist:  http://www.usingeossafely.com/

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Tridacna

These tridacna bracelets are now some of my favorites!  The tridacna is etched beautifully and the contrast between the white and the other stones is classic and clean.  (Click onto the images for a clearer view.)





Add a couple of drops of an essential oil to the lave stone and take the scent with you all day!



Tridacna is a large saltwater clam, a giant actually.  Despite having a brightly colored mantle, tridacna is the "most white substance in the world."
http://www.zjoyfashions.com/news/white-tridacna-calm-shell-meaning-and-healing-properties-8612.html  

Tridacna:  Wearing tridacna can help enhance your magnetic field.  It can help to relieve annoyances, increase wisdom, and protect you from evil spirits (Buddhist belief).

Purple Titanium:  Titanium Quart is aka “The Stone of Universal Light."  Titanium (Flame) Aura allows for one to go deep into meditation to receive spiritual attunement. Overall this crystal is one that brings insight, compassion, energy, excitement and joy into life’s experiences.  
https://mycrystalpedia.wordpress.com/t/titanium-flame-aura-quartz/

Onyx:  Onyx is believed to help with the challenges in life.  It helps to get rid of unwanted energies that can drain you.  It's a root chakra.  It's the zodiac birthstone for Leos.  
http://meanings.crystalsandjewelry.com/onyx

Pink Amethyst:  It offers all of the qualities of amethyst (peace, warmth, and harmony) but also adds in love and tolerance.  Amethyst is a crown chakra.  It's a birthstone for February and a zodiac birthstone for Pisces.  
https://exemplore.com/healing/Pink-Amethyst-Meaning

Lava Stones:  Lava is known for grounding and calming emotions.  It comes from the core of the earth and is a Root Chakra.  Because of its unique and porous texture, it can be used as a natural diffuser.  Essential oils can easily be absorbed by the lava stones, allowing you to carry its scent with you all day.  


Fashion?
Meaning?
Charity?

Those are my 3 birds... which one are you?






Other Resources:  
https://www.gemrockauctions.com/learn/additional-gemstone-information/a-list-of-gemstone-birthstones-and-astrology





















Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Rebecca


Please click onto the image for a clearer view.


The Rebecca is the first bracelet that I have incorporated Lava Stones into and I am excited for the person who makes this one theirs!  As with all of my bracelets, a great deal of effort was put into the thought process of combining different stones not just for aesthetic purposes, but to build a collaboration of meaning behind them.

Lava Stones:  Lava is known for grounding and calming emotions.  It comes from the core of the earth and is a Root Chakra.  Because of its unique and porous texture, it can be used as a natural diffuser.  Essential oils can easily be absorbed by the lava stones, allowing you to carry its scent with you all day.  

Carnelian:  Carnelian is "known as a stone of motivation and endurance, leadership and courage."
It is also a stabilizing crystal to help improve concentration and creativity.  It's an energy booster. Orange Carnelian stimulates the Sacral Chakra.  It is the birthstone for August and for Virgos.  

Black Tourmaline:  It is known to be a protective stone; to protect one from negative energies including one's own thoughts and feelings and to protect one from environmental pollutants.  
It is grounding stone and a Base or Root Chakra.  It is also a Capricorn birthstone.

This bracelet may appeal to anyone who is looking to ground themselves and rid themselves of negativity to make room for creativity, confidence, and energy.  Depression.  

This bracelet can be worn with or without adding an essential oil to the lava stones.  Sweet Orange has a fresh and sweet scent.  It is great to use to uplift your mind and body.  *If using an EO, please add one drop at a time until you find the perfect amount for you.  Add the EO prior to wearing the bracelet and give it a few minutes to absorb so as to diminish the amount of contact the EO has on your skin.  


Please click onto the images for a clearer view.


Interested in the Sweet Orange Essential Oil?


http://www.ourlemongrassspa.com/AMYMARIE/content/Product_Catalog.aspx#lemongrass2017/page/34-35

Fashion?
Meaning?
Charity?

My 3 Birds... which one are you?




Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Julia

Please click onto the image for a clearer viewing.



The Julia bracelet is one of my favorites.  I love it so much that for the first time, I made more than one of the same bracelet.  The only two differences are the length and the clasps, which you can see in the images below.

Rather than referring to each bracelet as an item number, I decided that I preferred to call them by a name.  As soon as I finished the first of the two, Julia immediately came to find.  Beautiful, classic, elegant... Julia.  

The Julia bracelet is made with tourmaline stones.  When I created these bracelets I did so not only with the intent of creating an attractive piece of jewelry that anyone would love, but did so with the meaning of the stones in mind.  

Black Tourmaline:  It is known to be a protective stone; to protect one from negative energies including one's own thoughts and feelings and to protect one from environmental pollutants.  
It is grounding stone and a Base or Root Chakra.  It is also a Capricorn birthstone.

Quartz Tourmaline:  The combination of clear quartz and black tourmaline is "believed to create the perfect polarity of energies." They compliment one another aesthetically and purposefully.  Clear Quartz is known as a healing stone.  It is a Crown Chakra.  Tourmilated Quartz is a Libra birthstone.  

These stones may appeal to anyone who is in need of mental clarity, stability, and a release of negative energies or depression.  

Fashion?
Meaning?
Charity?

My 3 Birds... which one are you?


P.S.  If the 7.25 inch doesn't go by Monday... I have a meditation class and it's all mine.  ;)




Please click onto images for a clearer view.






Resource:  https://www.crystalvaults.com/crystal-encyclopedia/quartz














Tuesday, April 25, 2017

My New Adventure

I'm super excited to introduce to you a little project that I have been working on!  I've been antsy lately, looking for something more to do.  It's not that I am not busy, but I've been looking for something more fulfilling to do with my spare time outside of being a mother, wife, and teacher.  So I thought about the things that I love... photography, nature, pieces of positivity... and I thought about the things that I am intrigued by... health and natural products.  So I did some research.  I did some shopping.  And what I came up with was...








Each piece was carefully created with particular stones to promote a more vibrant well-being.  Some have a diffuser charm which can be used for adding essential oils that you can carry with you all day long.  Some have lava stones, which are also great carriers for essential oils.  Some have larger stones that can be used as a worry stone to help ease angst and stress.  The stones themselves also have meaning and healing elements to them.  Amethyst, tourmaline, quartz, carenelian, ametrine, tiger's eye, and titanium are just a few of the stones that I have started to work with.  

I am not a doctor and am not promoting my bracelets to cure any one's illnesses.  However, I personally am intrigued by the connection that we have with nature.  I am intrigued by the beliefs and practices that can be more commonly found in the eastern cultures.  I am also intrigued by the power of the mind and positivity.  Wouldn't it be great if rubbing the quartz stone on a bracelet during a long meeting helped to alleviate anxiety?  Or the lavender essential oil in the diffuser on your bracelet helped to calm you during a hectic day?  Or the tourmaline and the magnets in your bracelet helped to ground you?  But if nothing else... you have a handmade, unique, and fashionable accessory!

My goal, to create a piece of jewelry that does make a statement, 3 actually.  
1.  Fashionable
2.  Meaningful
3.  Charitable

Did I mention that 75% of the profits will go to various charities?  :)

So... what do you think?  Please give me any feedback and opinions on any of the bracelets you see above!  

💜









Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Call Me Mrs. Vein

Confession:  I had a cosmetic procedure done yesterday.  😲

Face lift?  Tummy tuck?  Breast implants?  Nah... there's actually a limit to what I am willing to do. However, when the opportunity was given to me to to have a simple procedure done to zap away my spider veins, I took it.

I've been growing my little garden patch of spider veins on my upper right thigh for years now.  I can't blame it on being pregnant or on even getting older (although I'm sure they didn't help) because I started to notice them in my twenties.  As time went on, my patch started to grow and expand. Admittedly, they didn't stop me from wearing skirts and shorts or even bathing suits, but over the past couple of years, I had become more aware and self-conscious of them.  Being fair skinned only enhanced their appearance too.  Tanning (the little color I do get) and even tanning balms and sprays only covered them slightly.  So my veiny legs were now apart of my appearance.  Until yesterday.

Before going on, let me say that more fortunately for me than being able to have this procedure done, is that my legs are healthy!  Prior to the sclerotherapy, I had first visited a doctor and had a sonogram done on my legs.  The doctor somberly told me the "good" news and I should have taken that as a sign that he was not the doctor for me because... I was happy that my legs were healthy!!!! even if that meant that if I followed through on the procedure it was purely for cosmetic purposes (and insurance won't cover that).

I decided to swallow that vain pill and went for it.  I pulled off about 12 cotton balls this morning, so my sclerotherapy included 12 injections.  My (new) doctor told me the needles were about the size used for acupuncture.  The biggest difference is that there's a burning sensation from the saline being injected into the veins.  She used a laser for some of the smaller veins near the surface and I think that was more annoying than the injections.  But overall, the procedure took about 30 minutes and it was completely doable.  I was even able to drive myself home afterwards.  The most annoying part now is that I have to wear compression socks for 3 days.

Before...



After...

Before...

After...

Initially, the bruising looks pretty bad, but I was pleasantly surprised this morning because I bruise very easily and I was expected my legs to be black and blue all over.  The best part is, is that I can already see a difference!!!

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a rather simple, natural person.  I do wear makeup.  I do dress well.  But I don't overdo it and I am not egotistical or self absorbed or obsessed with  my looks. However, my legs were aging me (even more so than the lines on my forehead) and... why not?  I took a noninvasive route that didn't jeopardize my health in any way.  In fact, I feel like I need to make sure to get the rest of my body in better shape to match what will soon be my more youthful legs.  

How far are you willing to go to retain your youthful appearance?