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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Inspirational Places to Visit


Over the years I have learned to be quiet and listen.  It is during these times  that I open my heart and soul to new life experiences.  

It is during this time that I have myself drawn to places that awaken my spirituality and allow me to see the beauty surrounding me.  The times that I have truly stopped and listened I found myself longing to travel to such places as Sedona, Arizona and El Santuario de Chimaya in New Mexico.

Through the incredible photography of  Ansel Adams  - I  found myself longing to travel to Yosemite – reputed to be one of the most peaceful, healing and inspirational places in the world to visit.  Just a few beautiful pictures by Ansel Adams that touched me in such a way that I knew that I had to visit this special place.



  It is not easy to get there – it is about a 200 mile drive east of San Francisco but it is well worth the drive!

On my first visit to Yosemite I was awestruck. You drive up through the mountains which in the beginning are just basic everyday mountains.  But quickly you realize that it is much more.  The deeper you drive into this national park you realize that you are visiting an incredible and spiritual place.    I quickly found myself lulled into a peaceful state where each waterfall that I saw was better than the last.  There are countless waterfalls in Yosemite but I think that my two favorites have to be Bridal Veil Falls and Yosemite Falls.

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I found myself pulling over on numerous occasions to just admire the unbelievable rock formations and the natural beauty of the mountains.  

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If you are traveling to Yosemite I would highly recommend that you stay within the park.  There is just something so inspirational about seeing the stars at night in Yosemite.  Who knows - you may even see a “falling star” and can make a special wish.

There are so many types of accommodations in Yosemite but some of my favorite includes Ahwahnee in the valley of the mountains.  Whatever you do – try to enjoy a meal in their lovely dining room.  I can not tell you what I ate there but I sure can tell you about the view from my table!

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There is also the historic Wawona Hotel.  It is not too far inside the park so it is very easy to get to.  It boasts of a lovely parlor and the porch is – well it is just a place to go with a good book or journal.

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Now if you are a bit more adventurous you can always camp in the Park.  If you prefer some of the rustic life with some of the amenities you can always check out the High Sierra Camp.  It will provide you with a tent cabin and some of the most incredible views of the park that you can imagine.


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If you have a chance to travel to Yosemite – please remember your journal and your camera!  It is my dream to make my 3rd visit to this very special place in the near future.  I hope to let my creativity soar to the heights of the glorious mountains within this beautiful park!

What inspires you?

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Journey to knowing yourself

Several years ago a friend introduced me to Julia Cameron's book "The Artist Way".


The premise behind the book is to use is as a tool that will allow one to find that creativity within and truly find yourself.  It asks that each morning upon rising that you write out three pages - long hand of course - and let the words just flow.  It matters not what you write but rather that you write.  Some days you may write less than 3 pages and other days you may write more than three.  You just follow the flow.

I will admit that it has been years since I have participated in this writing adventure but I feel like it is time to do so again.  I have high hopes that it will unveil some inner most thoughts that will allow me to find that creativity that has been alluding me of late.  I am hoping to find great motivation in my writing.

I look forward to beginning a new journal and writing down my early morning thoughts and then maybe a few months later re-reading them.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

If you truly want to change your life, you must first change your mind.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Things that I love - Saturday - London


Since we have now just experienced the Opening Day ceremony for the 2012 Olympics I think that it is only appropriate to dedicate today’s blog to London.

Last year I had the opportunity to travel to London for the first time.  While it was a very…very short business trip I was determined to make the most of it.  It was also a week after the “Royal Wedding” so much of the city was still reeling from the excitement of the festivities.  

I arrived in London around 8 a.m. on a Wednesday.    After taking one of these

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to my hotel (which  was located in the Hyde Park area) I decided to take a short nap before heading out to see this exciting city.  Here is a picture of my hotel:

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 Would you like to go on the walking tour with me?   I walked right by the Princess Diana Memorial Gardens and could not resist taking a pic!



I almost walked right by this without realizing that this was just not an ordinary Hard Rock Café – this was the London Hard Rock Café!


On my tour I passed one of these who was very friendly and greeted me with a hello.  Do you think that he thought I might be lost?  

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At the end of my walking tour that day I wanted to experience a true English Tea.  And with any proper English tea – once must have scones and clotted cream.  Now I must say the scones in the U.S. are nothing like the scones in England.  While they were totally different I did find them quite tasty.  



On Thursday my day was for the most part all meetings but at the end of the meetings the group decided to reconvene in Covent Garden for some local scenery.  I was quite excited to have the opportunity to experience first hand the “tube”


I do believe that half of London had decided to visit Covent Gardens that evening…well specifically the Punch and Judy Pub.  I actually made it to a real English Pub…mark that off my bucket list!

 Punch and Judy Pub
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On Friday after finishing meetings I struck out on my own and took one of these

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to see some of  these exciting places:

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 Big Ben
London Bridge
 Westminster Abbey
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St Paul's Cathedral
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Once the double decker returned to my originating location I walked through Hyde Park back to my hotel.  I decided to have an early dinner in the hotel restaurant since I would be flying out on a very early morning flight the next day.   Imagine my surprise when my table was right next to the window and this was I could see from my table.
 Buckingham Palace
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It was truly a dream trip and one that I will never forget.  I would love to return one day soon and spend more time in this lovely and historical country.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Things that I Love - Friday


I love beginning each morning with a daily meditation.  I find it a very peaceful start to my day.

While I have more than a couple of meditation books I keep going back to one particular book.  “Journey to the Heart” by Melody Beattie. 


 I started reading this book daily many years ago and I am now on my 2nd copy.  I love how her written words present such a visual and powerful journey of her life.  Her words come to life and create a calming effect as I read of her picturesque journey.  I find her words taking me to that tranquil place that ultimately prepares me for the craziness of the day ahead.

I have found myself longing to travel to some of the meditative and serene places that she writes about in her meditations. 

Do you have a favorite meditation book?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Things that I love - Thursday

Please listen very carefully or should I say read this very carefully  

I.LOVE.CHEESE!

Oh yes – I am a cheeseaholic!

As a result of my journey to find the best of the best recipes with cheese as the primary ingredient – I think that I have found one that will rate up there with Southern Cheese straws.  Now if you haven’t had real Southern cheese straws – what are you waiting for?  They are a staple of every Southern gathering!  Oh wait – I digress.  The topic today is not about cheese straws but about cheese olivettes.  WHAT?  OLIVES?   Yes indeed dear readers.  I am here to introduce you to a delicacy that might surpass good Southern Cheese straws…maybe?  

Along with cheese – I also love green olives.  You can read more about my love of olives 
 Here

So this past week-end I was craving some cheese olives and voila I had all the ingredients in my kitchen to make these delicious gems.  My favorite recipe follows:

8 ounces – grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 stick soft butter (trust me here – use butter!)
Dash of garlic salt (I use garlic powder so not to have a very salty end product)
1 ½ cups of flour (I only had self-rising in my pantry)
½ teaspoon of Tabasco sauce (I may have used twice or three times the amount called for in this recipe – I do like spicy!)
Jar of green olives drained.

I tossed the shredded cheese and the softened butter into my trusty mixer and let it do the work.

Once it formed a nice doughy ball I began to add the flour – a bit at a time.
I then proceeded to add the garlic powder and tabasco.

At this point if the dough is too dry – add a bit (just a bit of water)  

THEN – once the dough is prepared – it is time to roll about a teaspoon and a half around a green olive and place on a cooking sheet.  Of course the amount of cheese mixture that you use will depend on the size of your olives.  I had small olives this day.

Once you have “wrapped” all the olives in the cheese dough – place in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until the bottom of the olivette has a nice brown crust.

After removing them from the oven I may or may not have had a handful of these delicious morsels.  Well – I did have to confirm that they tasted okay…you know?

If you are like me and love cheese and green olives – you owe it to yourself to try this recipe.  TRUST ME…you will love it!



Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Things that I love - Sunsets!

There is nothing more serene than a beautiful sunset.

It is a reminder that it is time for the heart and soul to rest at the end of the day.

I think that the first sunset that truly spoke to me was when I was in high school and was at an "Up With People" conference on David's Island in New York.  Several of us were sitting on the rocks on the beach reflecting about the great week we had just spent on this island and we all sat in awe as we saw the most incredible sunset.  So today's blog is all about sunsets that I have had the honor of seeing in my travels!

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Sunset in New York

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Sunset in Banff, Alberta Canada



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Sunset in London

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Sunset in San Francisco

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Sunset in Lake Louise, Alberta Canada

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Sunset in Key West, Florida


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And last but not least - sunset in Tuscaloosa, Alabama!

May your day be blessed with the colors of a glorious sunset!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Things that I Love

Today I decided to write about something that I LOVE...LOVE...LOVE!

That would anything lavender...


There is something about the fragrant scent of lavender that automatically erases all stress of my day.  As soon as the glorious scent teases my senses I find my mind and body slipping to that peaceful place that I crave after a crazy day.

There is nothing like taking one of these - 

With a few drops of this:


To add to the your calming lavender bath - do not forget to light a few candles!

 

And follow-up with this - 

 If you still crave some of that luscious lavender scent to lull you to sleep - you can also add a few drops of the lavender oil to your pillow or place a drop or two on your light bulb.  

Wishing you sweet lavender dreams with these last two pictures




Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday's Life Lesson



Satisfaction is not always the fulfillment of what you want.  It is the realization of how blessed you are for what you have.  It’s not that everything will be easy or exactly as you had expected, but you must choose to be grateful for all that you have, and happy that you got a chance to live this life, no matter how it turns out.



thank you Marc and Angel Hack