For The Love Of Smoothie Bowls

 

My family loves smoothies.  We drink them almost everyday!  It’s an excellent way to add a nutritious treat as well as a great way to start the day!

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I have been noticing this trend with smoothie bowls, so decided what better time to try one than when pairing Stonyfield Yogurt and Bob’s Red Mill Steel Oats?  Oh my goodness was this good!  I already know we love our Stonyfield, but to pair it in this way just upped the breakfast game.  We added Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats on top for a really yummy oatmeal flavor and texture!  And it looks so pretty!  I highly recommend trying this, you will be so happy!

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Here is the recipe for our Morning Smoothie Bowl (This will make two 16oz bowls):

1 1/2 cup frozen fruit – You can use whatever fruit you want really.  We used a mix of strawberries, bananas, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.

1 whole banana

1 cup Stonyfield Yogurt – we used the French Vanilla Whole Milk organic yogurt

1 cup Almond Milk, or milk of your choice

4 scoops protein powder of your choice

3 drops Young Living Orange Vitality Essential Oil

 

Put all ingredients in blender.  For a smoothie bowl you want it rather thick, so if too thin add a little more frozen fruit or ice cubes will work too!  Once blended, pour into your bowl.  You can add just about anything on top.  We added sliced bananas, strawberries, kiwis, blueberries, raspberries, black chia seeds, golden flax seed, Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats and organic whipped cream.  The whole preparation took about 15 minutes from start to finish.

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Your family will feel special when you set these down in front of them at breakfast, or even for an afternoon snack or dessert!!   And you can always feel good serving Stonyfield to your family.  We will be trying different variations for sure!  Enjoy!

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**The opinions and thoughts contained in this post are 100% mine. I only ever work with companies I support and think you, my readers, will like. Please read my full review and endorsement policy here.

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Tips On How You Can Help

Diverse volunteers sorting food into cardboard boxes for charity

Did you know September is Hunger Action Month?

According to a 2014 study by Feeding America46.5 million Americans utilize a food bank.

Lisa Tomasi, Philanthropy Expert and Founder of e-giving site YouGiveGoods, stresses that while many may feel that a small effort isn’t enough to make a change, every little bit helps someone who is facing hunger. Lisa has provided her insight for those who want to band together and help a good cause.

Tips to Fight Back During Hunger Action Month:

  1. Advocate. Use your voice to spread the word about hunger in your community. Social media has made this quite easy to do. Alert your online community that we are in the midst of Hunger Action Month and about the plight of the hungry in their own backyards. Share quotes and statistics about hunger and ask them to support their local hunger relief organization.
  2. Volunteer. Most food banks, pantries and soup kitchens rely on volunteers to make their operations work. Volunteers can sort donations, stock shelves and help with distribution. Volunteers can also frequently help from home in the form of virtual volunteering. Contact your local hunger relief organization to see if you can utilize your specific skills to help them with business operations like accounting, marketing, website and administration.
  3. Run a food drive. You can really increase your impact by organizing your own food drive. Food drives run in conjunction with your company, school, church or group tend to have the best results. And, always add an online component to your traditional drive (or run your online drive alone). Use YouGiveGoods.com to run an online drive for your local food pantry. The online drive service is free to use, easy to share on social media, and simple for supporters to shop online for brand-new most-needed food items which are shipped directly to the pantry at the close of the drive.
  4. Donate money. Hunger relief organizations need monetary donations to operate. Any size donation will be welcomed.
  5. Donate food. Don’t just walk by the donation bin at your school, store or company. Make a point to donate food whenever the opportunity arises.

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For more ways you can help, see Lisa’s site or contact your local Food Bank.  There is really no reason we should have a hunger problem here in America.

Pack It With Stonyfield and Justin’s For Back-to-School Lunches!

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Lunch time is easy when you have Stonyfield squeezers and Justin’s to go butters.  I know my kids are getting a great balance in nutrition, and they love the taste!    The Maple Almond Butter is hands down their favorite!  Easy to open pouches, I can throw these in with some crackers and they are thrilled.  Plus the Justin’s company is full of integrity!  Their values on sustainability, nutritionally sound, all natural products and giving back to the community fall right in line with our family values.   They have a variety of butters and snack items and can be found in your local grocery store.  I highly encourage you to try them and see how easy they are for kids on the go and how yummy they all taste!

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Adding Stonyfield Yogurt Squeezers to the bag makes their lunch even more special.  My youngest daughter loves the Lemonade flavor best.  We also freeze these for tasty after school treats!!  And Stonyfield is full of nothing but goodness for their bodies.  I know they are getting everything they need without all the junk they don’t!

Our newest addition to the back-to-school lunch routine is also our newest favorite!  The PackIt Lunch Cooler is so convenient and fun!  PackIt is the only bag that keeps food and drinks cool for up to 10 hours—no ice packs needed. Its secret sauce? A patented freezable gel that’s built into the walls of the bag.  It’s so simple to use, just throw store it in freezer and when it’s time to pack it, just open it and it’s ready to go!   Plus the patterns are fun and it comes in a huge variety of styles and colors!  We are definitely going to be picking up a couple more of these!  We got the Freezable Lunch Bag and it’s so simple to use.  Folds up neatly to the size of a thick paperback book. It secures with a handy Velcro tab for compact storage.  The entire bag goes in your freezer overnight (12 hours) to activate its built-in freezable gel. By morning, the walls of the bag will be completely frozen and ready to chill just like a fridge.  Everything stays cool and fresh all day!

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With our busy lives, it’s important to make the mornings go as smoothly as possible and these products certainly help!  Check out the PackIt systems here, and grab your Stonyfield and Justin’s products at your local grocery.  Your kids will thank you and your morning will run a bit smoother!!

**The opinions and thoughts contained in this post are 100% mine. I only ever work with companies I support and think you, my readers, will like. Please read my full review and endorsement policy here.

 

Tres Lunas Resort Part 2

(This is the second part of an article on our experience at the Tres Lunas Resort.  For Part 1 please click here.)

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Morning time.  After an amazing meal and dining experience the evening before, we awoke to a beautiful morning full of promise.  I was already trying to push away the feeling of sadness at having to leave this day, I promised myself I would savor every last moment.  Oh what a morning awaited us and I had no idea that the experience there would flourish even more.

We were warned that breakfast would be hearty.  That the morning meal is indeed a true feast.  We were not disappointed!
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When we walked into the main room, the smell of fresh coffee greeted us and the the table was set and ready for us to be seated.  Craig came out with fresh squeezed orange juice and asked us if we could spare some time after eating so we could all chat.  I was looking forward to that!  Within moments he sat before us a beautiful bowl of fresh fruit, yogurt and homemade granola which was followed by eggs cooked to our taste, homemade hashbrowns, bacon and a small skillet of biscuits.  The condiments were just as beautiful as the meal!  We ate until we couldn’t take another bite and after freshening our coffee, Carol came and sat down with us.  This is honestly when the entire experience really began I realized later.

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Carol is a breath of fresh air.  She has this amazingly positive aura about her and her smile just lights up the room.  Craig is a gracious and generous host who makes you laugh and feel at ease immediately.  That is a gift!  We had dozens of questions about how they got started, the history of the property and the resort itself.  Both Carol and Craig have backgrounds in the hospitality business.   Craig has worked for a few gourmet food companies and Carol is an amazing chef having taken classes with some of the top chefs in the world.  When they met, they dreamed of running their own establishment.  They had a few other bed and breakfast establishments before finding this magical piece of property.   The story is that Craig found this and within 30 minutes made an offer.  He knew right away this was the place they had to have.   Both are Hill Country proud and appreciate the history of the area, especially this area.  The original house that was on the foundation the resort now resides upon was a 2 story ranch house that had been damaged in a tornado at one point.  It sat on 100’s of acres that had been divided up by the family over the years.  The moment they saw the views and felt the spirit of the land, they knew this was the place.  It was a stretch with all the renovations they needed to make, basically tearing down the structure to the foundation and starting over.  But their dream was to create a retreat.  A magical place where people could come and feel their spirit renewed.  They want people to experience what they do, to offer them the ultimate in care and are obviously so grateful to be where they are.  It shows on their faces and in their voices.  There is an amazing amount of warmth and love that come from this couple.  It took my breath away to be honest.  So much Peace and gratitude lives in this home.

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As I mentioned in the first article, the resort caters to weddings and retreats (I will be doing a feature on this for the last installment).  One area that I fell in love with is the yoga patio.  Carol has so much experience in spiritual practices, traveling around the globe to learn from the masters.  She is truly a student of the spirit and freely gives all that she has been taught.  She created a place where yoga enthusiasts can come and practice their craft surrounded by this spirit of peace.  Everything planned to help with the hot Texas sun, to create a sacred space,  all geared towards maximum comfort and serenity.  Listening to her share her stories, I got goosebumps and a bit teary eyed.   If you go visit her, ask her to share with you.  They are her stories to tell, but I promise they will affect you in a way that you won’t expect.   She wants to share her love for life and the spirit with those who come to Tres Lunas and to help them find a restful and healing place in their lives…even if just for a moment.   And she is doing just that.  I can only imagine the healing she has participated in just by providing such a space.

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Our tour continued into their private quarters where I was greeted by beautiful works of art created by friends and Carol herself.  Her mother was an incredible artist and she has a few of her pastels hanging.  One of which was drawn on a piece of brown paper bag while on a picnic in those very same hills decades before.  It was of a beautiful deer found in the Hill Country.  The pastels were so soft and soothing and it looked like you could reach out and feel the softness of that creature.  Carol didn’t know that she would end up finding her home in that same countryside.  What a special gift!

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There is Carol’s office which is filled with prayer flags and a massage table, and yes, more beautiful art pieces.  Even their private quarters were designed for maximum serenity!  And I know with a resort you need a good size laundry room, but their’s made me completely envious!  So bright with windows everywhere….perfect place for Carol to paint as the laundry area only took up a portion of the huge room!

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Craig’s office is the ultimate of man caves!  Jason loved it!  Craig’s father and grandfather were both Texas lawmen and Craig was able to find an old jail cell that he restructured to fit inside his office as a guest quarters for family or friends!  It’s really awesome!  On the wall behind his desk hangs the head of a huge Longhorn.  Craig told us that someone had given the living animal to Carol as a gift at one time and they loved him!  He was their pet who they truly loved, and when he finally died of natural causes they donated 800 pounds of ground beef to the food bank in Mason, TX and mounted their beloved pet’s head on the wall of Craig’s office.  It is an impressive site!

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We talked for a good 2 hours about life, our backgrounds, our love for nature and art.  Carol and I especially found that we have so many similar feelings about our journeys in life.  I felt like I have always known her.  We all found we had so many things in common and I don’t think any of us wanted to conversation to end.  But as all good stories must wind down, so did our time there.

We left with our arms bearing gifts and our hearts filled with the brightness of new friendships.  I can honestly say we both felt renewed and so relaxed.  It was a true healing experience and one we hope to repeat in the future!  I am so grateful for the opportunity and for the compassion that Carol and Craig show to others.  It’s truly remarkable.  I promise if you make a reservation there, you will honestly be able to leave your cares and worries at the front gate.  Once you drive in, the magic begins and the spirit smiles down upon you.  It is a rarity in life to find a place like that.  I am grateful that we did.

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*All photos are credited to myself and Jason Locher.  Some of these were taken on my phone, hence the quality.  Look for Part 3 on weddings and products used at the resort!

Tres Lunas Resort – Part 1

This is not your typical review.  This is not your typical accomodation.  This is a true experience.   Part 1….

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Winding down a dirt road through groves of old Oak and Mesquite, you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere.  Cell service is in and out, forget about internet on the phone.  It’s just you and the red dirt and trees traveling to what you hope to be an oasis.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful in this part of the country.  Grasses blowing in the breeze at the foot of trees that have seen history.  Every so often a grove of cacti pops up, then all of a sudden the terrain changes.  There is water, springs rising from the ground.  Wild flowers take the place of much of the grassland.  As you come around a corner, a field of hay wheels stretches out before you.  This land is fertile and the greenery speaks volumes.  And then, you see the sign, “Tres Lunas” and you turn down an even narrower dirt road that runs straight through the ranch lands surrounding you.  This road is hillier and wild.  Just as you think you must have missed it, there she is…the gates marking the entrance to a place I can only describe as magical.  Tres Lunas Resort.

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The resort is small and very quiet.  We pull up and first thing we notice off to the side is the little stone chapel.  I comment about looking forward to wandering up there after we check in.  A farm cat greets us with a lazy “meow” and we walk inside.  First thing I felt is a sense of real peace.  This isn’t going to be just any overnight trip I realize.  This is an experience.  The Tres Lunas Resort Experience.  The dedication that went into creating a sacred space for guests is evident in every detail.  The Resort caters to not only couples such as ourselves, but true retreats.  A Wellness Retreat package, complete with yoga, massage and all your meals, is available as well as wedding packages and even a “build your own retreat” experience.  A welcome letter is waiting, directing us to our room for the night.  As we walk through the common room, Carol Conlee comes out from behind a curtain of beads in the far corner of the room.  Her smile is warm and inviting.  She greets us with such grace and explains more in detail what the letter tells us.  We look forward to sitting down with her later in our stay.  We walk into our room and immediately feel at home.  Every detail is taken care of from pool towels, to robes, to extra blankets and even coffee, tea and wine.  The bathroom is equipped with all the soaps and shampoos we need along with a stack of snow white towels and washcloths.

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Immediately outside our door is the pool so we waste no time in changing and going for a swim.  The infinity edge of the pool looks out across a valley of trees, cow fields and awe inspiring nature.  And as if specially ordered for our stay, dragonflies dance across the surface of the water with their wings shimmering in the sunlight.  A Sycamore tree shades a seating area off to one side and the wind blows through the leaves like music for the dragonflies to flit about to.  It’s almost like a dream staying cool in the blue water, looking at panoramic views and no one else around.  Quiet and peaceful.

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After a couple hours we head inside to change for dinner.  The dining area is in the same common room we passed through when we came in.  As we walk in, the smells from the kitchen hit us.  Something good is cooking in there and we realize we are the only ones dining in tonight.  There is one other couple staying but we so far have only seen them briefly as they are out exploring.  Classical music plays softly and we hear the sounds of happy conversation coming from the kitchen as the husband and wife team work together to create something tasty for us.  They are obviously very content.

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Craig Conlee comes out with a big grin and a cutting board with a steaming loaf of fresh baked sourdough bread.  First course has arrived.  He apologizes for dinner starting a few minutes late, they were waiting for the bread to finish baking.  Yes, this is for real.  As we sit down at the table, he comes back out with the salad.  Delicate greens drizzled with homemade balsamic dressing, cohita cheese and buttery prawns.  The prawns were surprisingly sweet and complimented the tang from the dressing and the richness of the cheese.  I could live off this plate everyday and be perfectly happy.

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The main course arrives and I think we both gasped.  There, sitting majestically atop a bed of jasmine rice was a beautiful salmon fillet covered in a cilantro, tomatillo butter sauce and accompanied by a side of poblano peppers, mushrooms and corn cooked to perfect texture in a spicy vinegar sauce.  The textures and spices worked in perfect harmony and each bite was better than the first.

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We watched the sun set, giving our stomachs a rest before dessert.  I have had the privilege of living in many places that held some of the most spectacular sunsets, this one was in the top percentile.  Looking out over that valley, we learned that the resort was built in relation to the summer solstice.  So on the actual soltice day, the sun sets almost dead center to the pool.  Every detail…..

Dessert didn’t disappoint!  Mexican bread pudding, homemade vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries drizzled with chocolate sauce.  By the time we were finished I wasn’t sure if I could even move!  I was super relaxed, incredibly full and very content.  The memory foam king size bed was beckoning and we slept very well that night.

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Between swimming and dinner, we made a little trek to see the chapel.  Tres Lunas is a destination wedding venue when not spoiling travelers such as ourselves.  They cater to full service weddings as well as a romantic Elopement Retreat.  The chapel is simple and beautiful.   Small and intimate, I could imagine it lit up with candlelight and a beautiful night time wedding taking place in that wild land.  Romance for sure!  I could also feel the peaceful spirituality there.  What a place to bless a new couple!  I felt like we had been there before.  I was amazed that such a place even existed, yet felt so at home and happy.  Magic indeed!  I didn’t know what the morning would bring, but I felt something good was waiting….and I wasn’t wrong….  Next post will let you know how our morning went and how friendships sometimes start with magic.

To be continued…..

The opinions and thoughts contained in this post are 100% mine. I only ever work with companies I support and think you, my readers, will like. Please read my full review and endorsement policy here.

*Photo credits are mine, Jason Locher and Tres Lunas website.

An Interview With Shirley Nolan

This is a combined review and interview with someone not only very near and dear to me, but who is also a very talented writer.  I am so pleased to introduce you to my mom, Shirley Nolan Amador and her new novel, Lotus.

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My mom grew up in Indio, California during the 50’s.  Her parents were small business owners and very well known in this, then small community.  She was an avid reader and had a huge imagination.  But like for most young girls in that era, opportunity wasn’t as plentiful as it is now.  Mom had many interests and aspirations, however, as most girls did then, she married young and within a couple years was a mother…to me as it so happens..;)  I am aging myself now…ha!  She really loved becoming a mom though….:)

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I know my mother was happy with her new role as housewife and stay at home mom.  She went on the have 6 children in all, loving all of us for our own special gifts.  Putting her hobbies and interests aside, or at least gearing them to benefit all of us (she could sew a wardrobe for each of us in no time!), she did what every other mother does…she did her best.  No matter what happened in our world, mom always tried to make it seem like she was the happiest woman ever.  And I believe for a time she really was!  She certainly loves children, she is a wonderful grandmother to all our kids now!  But I also know my mom had dreams that didn’t really involve any of us.  Back in those days, to want to follow your dreams was considered in popular society to be selfish.  She grew up in an era where you took care of your husband and children, and didn’t always aspire to do more.  Those women that did were viewed by many as rebels.  That dirty word was born, feminists!  I know this caused her some dissatisfaction in life for a time. But even though she was a dutiful wife and mother, she still taught all of us to follow our dreams, no matter what that meant.  I remember her saying as long as we were happy and not hurting anyone, that was the goal.

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As times changed and opportunities opened up to women, so did my mom’s world.  After most of us were raised and on our own, she only had my two youngest sisters left at home.   So she decided to go back to school.  She worked hard and graduated with her Associate’s degree in Paralegal Studies.  She started working in criminal law and was extremely good at it.  She was part of some of the biggest cases in Southern California during those years.  I was so proud of her being on the front page of several newspapers after a particular difficult and grueling case was finished.  During these years she has been threatened, even carried a small gun for awhile for protection, seen cases defeated, had her heart broken by her young clients (she treated most of them as if they were her own children), but she continued fighting for what she believed in.  This little Irish woman is tough!

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(my mom and youngest sister)

After several years and a move to Texas, she started working at a major chain bookstore.  Happy in her little town, close to her grandkids and making new friends, her love of reading and books were once again opened up to her.  She met authors, organized literary events,  and read everything she could during those years.  During this time, she felt something growing inside of her.  Something she had put away for years.  It was her imagination.  It was back and she had a story to tell.

Lotus was born through my mom’s imagination and dreams.  It is a story, very symbolically close to her own, about a young woman learning to find her inner strength and balance both her great loves…her desire to be the best mom as well as to follow her dreams.  I am so proud of my mom.  She is a true inspiration and a shining example of it never being too late to discover yourself completely.  I am proud to be her daughter and can only pray that I become half the woman she is.  Thank you mom for this gift….

And now, a short interview with my mom….Welcome Shirley….thank you so much for agreeing to do this.  Let’s dive in!

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Where can my readers buy or see Lotus?

Lotus is available at Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com as well as select B and N stores, and at my website!

Tell us a little bit about the story.

This is a story of a young Chinese woman who comes to America from China on the verge of becoming a mother. She and her young husband settle in San Francisco Chinatown and she is stalked for the slave-trade.  She is a stranger in this country and unsure of what her role is in her new life.

Give us an insight into your main idea. What inspired you to come up with the theme?

I have always loved San Francisco and greatly admire the Asian culture. I heard a story when I was a child from a friend of my Mom’s. Her mother disappeared in Chinatown and was never found. This story stuck with me.  Lotus is my version of this and similar stories.

What are you working on at the moment? Any other books in the works?

Yes, I’m working on a sequel to Lotus, it will be called Violet. I also have a children’s book that I wrote and have done nothing with yet, however I eventually will get that out and work on it. It is a story of a ranch and a horse and is based on a period of time in my own life.  Lotus took on a life of it’s own in my imagination and so had to be written and published first…;)

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Did you always see yourself as an author?

Not really, although I have always loved to write. After a career as a criminal paralegal and investigator in California I feel I have stories in my head that need to be told.

How did you do the research for this story?

I am familiar with San Francisco and have visited many times. I did most of the research on line. I researched the earthquake and places that existed at that time as well as Chinese culture and immigration.  I would like to return to San Francisco before finishing Violet for more inspiration.

Do you have any other cultural influences you are exploring for future books?

In Violet the missing girl is Korean, not Chinese.  And will pick up a few years after Lotus ends.

What are your other interests?

I have a degree in Paralegal Studies from Fullerton College. I worked for many years as a Court Appointed paralegal and investigator in California handling high profile murder cases. After moving to Texas I worked for a major bookstore for eight years. Reading is a passion of mine. I started reading before I started school and have been an avid reader ever since. I also enjoy sewing, knitting and other crafts. I love to travel and enjoy spending time with my grandchildren.

Anything else you would like to add?

Although this book was written as adult fiction, I think young girls would enjoy it. I would say 12 and older. It sends an important message to young girls on issues as trust and being aware of your surroundings.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

I have just launched my new website Shirley Nolan Amador

Facebook: Shirley Amador

Twitter:  Shirley Amador

My review

I was captivated with Lotus from the first chapter.  During the climax of the book I literally cried with worry about the fate of the main character.  I could not put the book down and read it in just a couple days.  Highly recommended!  And this isn’t just because the author happens to be my mom, but because it’s a good story!  So don’t wait….do yourself a favor and pick up a copy…

Peace!

Thieves!

Thieves

Thieves Essential Oil is an excellent blend of essential oils that is specifically designed to support the body’s natural defenses. This proprietary essential oil blend was universally tested for its cleansing abilities. It includes Eucalyptus radiata essential oil, which may help maintain a healthy respiratory system.

Did you know that Thieves oil was developed based on the ingredients found in the “Four Thieves Vinegar” or “Marseilles Vinegar”?  The vinegar was first prepared by thieves that worked in the spice industry and robbed the dead and dying to generate income in the 15th century.  Some nasty things going around then.  Crazy time of history!

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The oils in Thieves are Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus and Rosemary.  Remember last month talking about ORAC values?  If you need a refresher course, Lisa Greco Lopez wrote an excellent article about ORAC values and what they actually mean to us.  Check it out!

The ORAC value of these individual oils are as follows:

Clove – 1,078,700 µTE/100g (that is NOT a typo!  good stuff!)

Lemon – 660 µTE/100g

Cinnamon Bark – 10,340 µTE/100g

Eucalyptus – 2,400 µTE/100g

Rosemary – 330 µTE/100g

Also, Thieves is Kosher Certified.  Being kosher-certified means that a product is fit to use in any application in a manner that conforms to the kosher laws rooted in Biblical and Rabbinic traditions. These products and the facilities that produce them have been inspected and found to meet strict kosher requirements.

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Thieves essential oil is definitely one of my favorite essential oil blends and I will not leave home without it! A day doesn’t go by that I don’t use Thieves for something.  And it’s found in so many YL products!  Might want to try it….just saying…

rrp-18   thieves-cleaner

Peace!

Shae

Today I am excited to introduce guest blogger Matt Riemann, founder of ph360 and Shae, a new techology coming out this year that can help you make better health choices tailored to your personal needs and in real time.

Matt is a personalized health expert and has addressed both the United Nations and the World Health Organization at their request, advised the US Army and recently did a TED Talk on personalized health in Los Angeles.

“My Healthy Habits were Making me Sick”: Three People Share Their Stories

By Matt Riemann, founder of ph360, entrepreneur, changemaker

If you’ve ever had symptoms that won’t go away no matter what you try, prescribed or over-the-counter, physical or mental, big or small, then I think you’ll enjoy reading the stories of Janna and Diana. Though their stories are very different, they have something very important in common: each woman, either suddenly or over time, was faced with a slew of physical symptoms that persisted despite her leading what she considered a healthy lifestyle – eating right, exercising, and managing her stress. More importantly, what these women’s stories share is a triumphant conclusion! Read on.

Janna

My life. I‘m a 63-years young proud mom of two beautiful daughters who love to travel the world. I spend a lot of time on my own, with my nose in a book, my arms deep in soil while I garden in the sun, or discovering new places, cultures and foods on my own travels to far off lands.

My challenges. Just a few years ago, I went for my annual physical. One week, one biopsy, and many tests later, it was confirmed: I had inflammatory breast cancer, Stage 3. Immediate chemotherapy, a full mastectomy, radiation; my body went through it all. I felt extremely weak and constantly ill. My hair and nails were gone, as was the sensation in my hands and feet from the nerve damage. And to top that off, all the treatment was also killing my liver. All I wanted was the strength to complete treatment and regain my strong body.

My triumph. I was blessed to be given personalized lifestyle recommendations via a health program my daughter discovered and suggested to me. Little by little, I changed what I was eating, and slowly, my liver values returned to normal. All I knew was that I was happy to have my liver and my body back. To be feeling new, and that I had personalized health to thank for it. I notice that when I follow my diet closely, my lymph flows freely and the swelling that sometimes shows up in my arm (a function of several lymph nodes being removed along with my left breast as part of cancer treatment), goes down.

Diana

My life. I’m 49 years old, an avid skiing, hiking, and health enthusiast. I have three daughters and three grandchildren who are my world. My life’s passion is helping others get healthy, which I’ve done as a health coach for the last twenty years.

My challenges. Out of my 49 years of life, I’ve been extremely healthy for 48 of them, maintaining a slim, strong figure with only a few grey hairs visible on my head. That all changed a few years ago, when I began to get aches and pains, and soon after muscle weakness, joint pain, memory loss, mental fog, ringing in my head, sinus issues, extreme hand dryness, shingles, fatigue and constant heart palpitations. If that wasn’t enough, I was waking up with nosebleeds and rarely did a severe headache pass up the opportunity to greet my afternoon. The vibrant, energetic woman I considered myself to be was all of a sudden physically debilitated and unenthusiastic about life.

My triumph. I sought help from various health professionals and, though well-intentioned, none could tell me what was going on with my body. Then came the long-awaited solution that at first threw me for a loop. I discovered, thanks to personalized health solutions recommended to me by a friend, that my particular bodily constitution benefits from living at low altitudes and warm, dry climates. I also discovered that kale, touted as the nutrient-rich “superfood,” was good for me in very small quantities or not at all. Here I was living in the cold, windy mountains, drinking green smoothies packed with kale every day for the past two years. Pessimistic yet hopeful, I went to stay with my daughter, who lived in an environment that mimicked what I was being told was ideal for my body, to give this latest recommendation a try. After nearly 3 weeks, all of my symptoms were gone! My soft hands, supple joints, and clear head and sinuses were back! I felt like a completely new woman! One who was and is so grateful for finding the right things for her body when she did! Thanks to personalized health.

Can you relate to Janna and Diana? I can. In 2006, I awoke in severe and excruciating pain – a sensation that felt like I was being stabbed in the chest and soon enough in my spine too. I was doing everything I thought I was supposed to be doing – eating right, exercising every day, managing my stress, spending time with loving, supportive family and close friends, and leading a passionate career as a physical therapist working with Olympic athletes. Needless to say, I was surprised by the constant, severe pain I was all of a sudden having. I tried every available treatment option. Everything from physical and hydro therapy to pain and anti-inflammatory medication. Nothing helped. After months of confusion and frustration, I found out I had familial amyloid polyneuropathy. A condition caused by a mutation in my TTR gene. I was told that l would be alive for a maximum of 9 more years, most of which I’d spend in a wheelchair.

I spent the following year researching and meeting with clinical geneticists and genetics researchers and I learned something life changing. Our genes, like my TTR gene, can be activated or deactivated by way of our lifestyle and environment. All I had to do was find out and enact the lifestyle and environment that were right for me. The solution recommended for my unique biology and genetics by some of the greatest minds in the world, led me to making some unexpected changes to my diet and lifestyle. Soon enough I was completely pain free!

You too can triumph over your health challenges. That’s because we now know that our genes, whether for illness or health, obesity or thinness, acne or clear skin, can be activated or deactivated, turned on or off. Our environment and lifestyle is what controls the switch. What Janna and Diana have in common is that the cause of their triumph was personalized. They each made changes specific to them.

The wisdom of epigenetics has revived in society a new hope that each one of us can get and stay optimally healthy by learning to operate our personal epigenetic on/off switch. That’s why the real triumph for me wasn’t in becoming pain-free myself but in creating a way for everyone in the world to have their unique epigenetic wisdom work for them. Developed alongside a global team of doctors, researchers and scientists, it’s a wellness platform known as Personal Health 360 that applies personalized health to give each person insights specific to their unique body, from the point of view of the many facets of epigenetics.

The solution to your quest for optimal health lies in the ways you eat, exercise, think and sleep. The ways you socialize, work, and live, and anywhere in between. So I hope you’ll join Janna and Diana and thousands of other men and women all around the world who are reclaiming their health and wellness by discovering what is right for them with Shae™, the next generation of ph360 and the very first application to customize health specifically for your unique body and circumstances in real time.”

I am looking forward to trying out my own device this Fall.  (Shae has a Kickstarter campaign you can check out here.)  Here’s to better health for all of us!

A Few Beautiful Blogs

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I wanted to share a few blogs on my blog roll this week.  With rainy days all week, these are a few of the places I am visiting when baby is napping.  All are beautiful in their own way.  Relax and enjoy!

Attic 24 – Oh the color!  The yarn!  The patterns!  The crochet!  I absolutely adore this one so very much!  Lucy is most inspiring!

Sew Liberated – After a hiatus, Meg McElwee is back with a revamped blog that I adore!! I have both her sewing books, Sew Liberated and Growing Up Sew Liberated, and love every pattern.  Definitely one of my favorites!

A Beautiful Mess – Talk about inspiring, Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman have created a gorgeous lifestyle blog that is beyond beautiful!  I want every photo to be my life!

Design Mom – Another lifestyle blog that I could stare at for hours.  Gabrielle Blair created a gorgeous blog full of gorgeous things.

Magic Onions – This is a sweet Waldorf Blog I have been perusing for years.  I love all the crafts and ideas!  Many of these have been created in our home when the girls were young.  I love all things Waldorf.

So there you have it….a few blogs I am reading this week!  Grab a cup of coffee and a snack, you may be here awhile!

Enjoy!!

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