Kale Quinoa Hummus Salad

Kale Quinoa Hummus Salad Recipe
After a week of yoga and healthy eating in Charleston, SC, I have decided to revamp my diet. 
Recipe
Quinoa
Kale
Spinach
Radishes
Carrots
Cucumber
Green Onions
Mix salad ingredients and top with yogurt dressing, hummus and chili garlic sauce to your liking. Yum!

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Charleston Savannah and The Paris Brocante!

Another trip to LowCountry.  A hearing in Savannah that will afford me the time to travel to Charleston in the evening for yoga class.  It really is a testament to all that Kathryn Peters has created at Seeking Indigo that I will make the drive to Charleston just to soak up the good vibes and yoga on a cool Tuesday night.  I should have time on Wednesday to hi the Paris Brocante shop in Savannah.  This place is heaven to any lover of french and european finery.  I will add pictures to my next post.

 

Last, I have been busily selling my current jewelry on Etsy which led enough money for a purchase of my Kate Middleton inspired La Chameau Rubber Boots.  They are amazing and green no less, and I must say, through some thorough internet searching, such a steal!  I will send photos of me in mountains in my Princess Muck Boots.  For now, here is one of my tree of life necklaces draped over the box.

 

I have been taking class with Deryn Mentock and am amazed how quickly my jewelry is transforming both in artistry and form.  I highly recommend her class.  I am hoping I might be able to take class with Dianne Frey in June.  Crossing my fingers on that one.  Meanwhile, I will be posting photos over the next four weeks of the new designs inspired by her class.  For now how about some Chameau boots dressed in gold and pyrite.

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Spring Mountain – Gateway to the Appalachian Trail Part 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Here is Jinx on his way to the Appalachian Trail after a refreshing splash is some waterfalls!  I wanted to share some photos of the start of the Appalachian Trail, at Springer Mountain in North Georgia.  Every Spring thousands of hikers set off from Springer Mountain in hopes of making the long hike to Maine.  Many will abandon their hike before completion.  In fact, there have been many days while hiking to the top of Blood Mountain, or picking up a snack at Mountain Crossing in Wa La Si, Georgia, that I have met hikers already fatigued from the two to three day trek from Springer Mountain to Blood Mountain.  However long or short of a hike that you make on the AT, the experience will leave you refreshed and re-energized as well as physically challenged.  Here are some photos from the first few miles of the AT just to whet your appetite for adventure!

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My Havanese just loves to hike.  It is so funny to watch him bounding down the trail.  And when he splashes through water he truly goes berserk!  Like a nascar driver spinning around a track, he takes off in a circular pattern barely slowing down as he makes tighter and tighter turns!  It is truly a joy to watch this little white cottonball of a dog so excitedly and spiritedly romp through the trails!

Here is one of the crossings of the Benton McKay Trail and the Appalachian Trail.  The Benton McKay Trail is another wonderful trail system in North Georgia.  

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There are so many spectacular mountain views along the AT in the winter when the leaves are off the trees.  However, being a water person, the water crossings are my favorite.  Within the first mile or so of the AT you come across a wooden footbridge crossing and two rock and water crossings.  As the sun began to set, I felt as if I was in the book Where The Wild Things Are.  The forest was foreboding and inviting at the same time.  We wandered along the trail until the sun had set so low in the sky we felt me must turn back.  Next time I will remember to pack my trusty flashlight.

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It truly brings out my inner child to stomp and splash through river crossings while on a hike.  And I am constantly amazed by the sheer beauty of nature.  I still feel like the six year old little girl, her father dangling her feet over Little Pigeon River, in the Smoky Mountain, ready for an adventure.  I still retain that childlike wonder when I am deep in the woods, climbing and jumping the rocks along a fast moving river bed.  I relished this evening in the mysterious dark of the sheltering Mountain Laurels and Hemlock Trees.  I relished this time as the sun began to set, and the moon began to rise.  Peace, quiet, tranquility, and unimaginable beauty.  Look close in the next few photos.  It was hard to capture.  But as we drove along the winding mountain roads, with majestic vistas laid out before us at every turn, the full moon rose above the mountains tops.  It was the perfect ending to a perfect day.

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See it? Just rising above the tree tops like a giant white orb?

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How special to find this open field.  It afforded a perfect view of the setting sun to the West and the rising moon to the East.

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Happy Trails until the next time.  I hope to see you on the AT!

 

Springer Mountain – Gateway to the Appalachian Trail Part 1

A few weeks ago, my how time flies these days, I decided to hike the Appalachian Trail from its starting point, Springer Mountain. For anyone who has read the book, A Walk In The Woods by Bill Bryson, or are otherwise familiar with the AT as it is affectionately referred to around here, the AT is a trail system that runs from Georgia to Maine. Thousands of people set out from Springer Mountain in March, April, and perhaps as late as May, to make the approximately four to six month hike from one end of the country to another via a well maintained trail system. The AT, to me, is a great accomplishment, a preservation of nature for those who want to, and have the time, to spend the months it takes to traverse its trails.

I have hiked several smaller sections of the trail in Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia but I had never hiked from Springer Mountain. So a few Sundays ago, me and my beau, and trusty havanese Jinx set out on winding forest service roads north of Amicalola Falls to hike this several miles of the AT. Before arriving at the start of the trail, we were lucky enough to find some fast moving creeks and waterfalls spilling forth from all of the recent rains in North Georgia.Image

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I just love this photograph of the water splashing down from the waterfall. The colors, the movement, the shear energy captured in still life. It has inspired me to create a waterfall necklace which I will be sharing photos of as it progresses.

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Within a few minutes you are greeted by lovely mountain vistas, and then wind down to mountain laurels and running creeks of crystal clear water.

And then there are the colors of the winter forest. The forest floor is alive with color even in the winter. Yes many of the trees are bare, although in Georgia we have the pines that provide some greenery even in the grayest of winter months, but the forest floor is full of vibrant greens and sea foam blues of various mosses growing along the river banks and forest floors.

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Green is my favorite color. All greens, particularly the mossy forest greens and the watery aqua blue greens. In regard to gemstones it translates to vesuvianite, emerald and peridot, as well as aquamarine, moss aquamarine and aqua chalcedony to name a few. How can you not look at the colors of moss and fungus on this tree and not be inspired? The colors of nature cannot be replicated by human hands.

Next post, the Trail.

 

 

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Charleston Revisited Part 3 – Hidden Alleys

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Nestled among the secret gardens, magnificent iron gates, and hidden in plain view amongst the cobblestone streets, you will find charming alleys in Charleston that I find to be even more delightful to stroll down than the main avenues.  Particularly at night.  I must emphasize here that Charleston at night offers some of its most magical walks only to be uncovered by the nighttime explorer.  And particularly enchanting are the alleys.  Day or night they offer a glimpse back into history, before automobiles, when strolling along alleys was a way to navigate your way to the market or docks along the river.

Lined in brick, cobblestone, or flagstone, wandering these alleys will take you to the heart of Charleston.  Stoll’s Alley is the quintessential Charleston alley.  At only seventeen bricks wide, it is a narrow alley with a high crumbling fortress of a wall on the North side of the alley.  Wandering this Alley at night sends shivers up my spine.  Dark, damp, and foreboding, the wall rises well over eight feet in height, and as I glide along the narrow brick path, my imagination runs wild and I feel the ghosts of Charleston’s past traveling the alley with me.  Just over five feet wide, the space is confining, particularly in the dark of night.  I imagine pirates wandering Stoll’s Alley at night, searching for the next person or place to plunder.

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By day, the Alley looks quite different, yet still magical.  The Alley opens up to a narrow brick road that showcases a stunning arbor, that in the Spring, when the Wisteria is blooming, is a masterpiece of gardening architecture!

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Another one of my favorite Alleys is Bedon’s Alley.  This is a wide alley but no less charming, due to the Black Owl with the glowing green eyes keeping watch over the resident cat at one of the all brick homes.

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And at the corner of Elliot Street and Bedons Alley is Charleston’s version of a parking lot.  Try maneuvering an SUV through this space?  And lo and behold, as I snapped the photo, another cat darted out in front of me.  Perfection!

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Also not to be missed on your walking tour are Zigzag Alley (love the name) and Longitude Lane, which narrows from long flagstones to a brick path only accessible by foot traffic.  One of my favorites due to its history is Philadelphia Alley.  Once known as Dueler’s Alley, it was a place off the beaten path to settle disputes by sword!  It is a narrow alley, often missed by locals and visitors alike.  Find it off Queen Street.  Speaking of Queen Street.  I found a delightful shop on my last visit, Curiosity.  The proprietress scours the LowCountry for antiques she sells in her shop.  I found so many items I wanted to bring home.  I settled on some antique keys which I will be incorporating in to necklaces.  I just love the entrance to her shop.

ImageAs dusk descended on the city on my final evening, I tried to capture a few remaining images to share.  Enjoy!ImageImage

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Charleston in Early Spring.  Is there a place more lovely? More charming? I think not.

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Next time, a hike along the gateway to the Appalachian Trail, Springer Mountain, Georgia.

Until next time…

xx

Midnight Treasure – A Gift From Nature For A Wandering Heart

Sun gave way to blustery clouds last night.  So many blustery, rainy, chilly nights this Winter.  As I took Jinx, my Havanese for a walk last night, silently cursing Mother Nature in my head for yet another bone chillingly damp evening, I stumbled upon a midnight treasure!  What at first appeared to be a tumbleweed of pine straw and sticks, that I at first walked past, turned out to be the charming bird’s nest pictured below.  It was like Mother Nature had left this little gift for me to find as a reward for braving the elements to take Jinx for his late night walk.  It reminded me that even in this cold, blustery weather, Mother Nature, and the birds and other wildlife, are preparing for Spring.  It won’t be long now… The daffodils are blooming, the hyacinths have poked out from their hibernation under the soil.  Hopefully the little bird that built this nest has already replaced it in time for baby birds.  This afternoon a Red Tailed Hawk perched just outside my office window, and I could hear a woodpecker pecking and crows cawing.  Nature is around me, even in the suburbs. I hope you enjoy this little gift from nature, that it brings you some peace and tranquility on this quiet chilly afternoon.Image

The next two pictures show it with little lovebirds I purchased from a local boutique, and Jinx sniffing the birds.  Always curious, that little fellow is.ImageImage

And last, for this quick post today is a sign that captures how I have been feeling lately, as my mind wanders to sunny climates, with mountains, and rivers, and oceans… Costa Rica… where I left a part of my heart years ago… California… sunny and warm even in February…. and Charleston…. where the flowers bloom all year round in those glorious gardens.  More on Charleston soon.  Until then… a little inspiration…Image

Charleston Revisited Part II

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than anything I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.”  Charles Dickens

It may sound morbid, but quite a bit of a visitor’s time in Charleston will be spent wandering around, and through, various cemetery plots within the historic district.  They are tucked away next to resplendent gardens and follow winding paths through some of the most famous churches of Charleston.

There are numerous churches in Charleston that are absolutely breathtaking houses of worship.  One that can’t be missed with its white steeple rising above the Charleston skyline, is St. Michaels Episcopal Church at the corner of Broad and Meeting Street.  The bells ring out, as do the bells from other churches in the historic district, every half hour and on the hour.  Adjacent to the church is the cemetery.  It is a quiet, peaceful place that can quickly leave me feeling very small as I read the tombstones dated back to the 18th century.  These photographs capture at least a sense of the serenity within these walled grounds which help me to put into perspective my trivial worries and concerns when confronted with mortality.  The cemeteries of Charleston remind me to savor my life, and enjoy all of the beauty that surrounds me whether near or far from home.

St. Michael's Episcopal Church Cemetery

St. Michael’s Episcopal Church Cemetery

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Lily of the Valley if I am not mistaken.  Simply lovely.

“There is no such thing as death,

In nature, nothing dies:

From each sad moment of decay,

Some forms of life arise.”    Charles Mackay

And from this short, solemn few moments I spent in the cemetery to the glorious sunset that awaited me at the Battery.  I could not capture it with my camera, but a school of dolphins were playing just 30 or so feet from the river wall.  Jumping, splashing and carrying on.  They looked like they were having great fun while fishing for their evening meal!  An elderly man, who I saw every evening at the Battery, informed me that the dolphins are there quite often at sunset, teaching their babies how to fish along the wall.  Perhaps if you are in Charleston at sunset, you can take a stroll down to the Battery and say hello to the dolphins for me…

It was most fortuitous that just as the sun was setting like a giant golden orb over the Ashley River, a sailboat glided by, allowing me to capture this beautiful moment to share.

Ashley River Sailboat

Ashley River Sailboat

Sailing into the Sunset!

Sailing into the Sunset!

Two of my evenings, I was able to take yoga class at Seeking Indigo.  I can’t think of a more relaxing and spiritual space to practice yoga than behind the Balinese walls of Seeking Indigo’s spa and yoga space.  After class I was charmed by the lovely statue showcasing containers for holding worries or fears in the store window.  Once again, I was inspired by these containers to create a few necklaces that will feature prayer/wish boxes.  A place to tuck a tiny note, or perhaps a single word, that expresses a fear, worry or concern, that you can then turn over to a higher being to resolve for you.  Thereby allowing you to move forward in the direction of your dreams!

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In case it is difficult to read, it states, “The Ability to Turn Worries Over To Our Creator Eludes Many.  This Vessel Helps.  Simply Focus On Your Concern, Write A Few Words About It and Place Inside.  Then Release It and Turn The Matter Over To God.”  I am reminded by the Chinese word for crisis, wei ji, composed of the character wei, which means danger, and ji, which means opportunity.  An opportunity to let go, move on, embrace life, and to remember that out of every crisis, arises opportunity and that if we can set aside all of the needless worry about things that may, or may not happen, we can give our concerns over to our creator and set about living.  One of my favorite yoga teachers often says that worry is a waste of energy because we don’t know what will happen in the future.

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Tomorrow we will explore some of my favorite Alleys in Charleston.  Until then I end with a quote.

“The great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Charleston Revisited Part 1

I returned to Charleston for the greater part of a week for work.  Although my days were spent in a drab building on the outskirts of town, my evenings were filled with the sights, sounds and smells of the Charleston historic district.  I was also able to indulge my inner yogi by attending yoga classes at Holy Cow Yoga and Seeking Indigo.  I was nursing a bit of a knee injury so I skipped the more strenuous classes at Charleston Power Yoga.  It rained for part of every day while there, but the skies would clear every day just in time for an evening stroll.  I just love to watch the lawyers leave their offices in their bowties and briefcases, as well as the children dressed in suits and dresses off to various functions at historic societies or churches, the little girls in white gloves and flouncing taffeta dresses, and the boys with ties and jackets, skipping and prancing along the city streets looking as if they don’t have a care in the world.  As I would stroll the streets in the early evenings, before dusk, I marveled at the luxurious window boxes and walled gardens, so beautifully and lovingly maintained even in winter.  I was particularly taken with all of the small cherubs and angels that I discovered and have been inspired to design a few necklaces in the coming weeks that are inspired by these darling guardians as they watch over their gardens and owners.Image

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I happened upon the next Cherub in a garden on Queen Street just before dusk.Image

And this window box bursting with Spring Color!  Glorious, riotous flowers tumbling forth from their containers to bring a smile to all who pass.Image

There are numerous architectural wonders as well in this beguiling city.  Around every corner is a cobblestone street, flagstone sidewalk, crumbling stuccoed wall, wrought iron gates and magnificent homes with so many stories to tell.  A lover of history could lose him or herself for days just reading the plaques on most buildings giving a short history of the inhabitants.  Of course, these offer just a glimpse into the dramatic narrative of Charleston. Looking up in wonder at all of this magnificent architecture I am reminded of this quote..

“The reality of the building does not consist in the roof and walls, but in the space within to be lived in.” Lao-Tzu

Ahh, if only these walls could talk.  What stories would they tell us?Image

Church Street below Water Street.  One of my favorites for early morning, or late evening strolls.  I just love the crumbling stucco giving way to exposed brick and all co-mingled with moss.  I feel transported back in time by these magnificent walls.Image

If only these walls could talk….. what would they say… what stories would they tell of wars, and celebrations, deprivation and jubilation….Image

Several years ago, as I ambled down King Street toward the Battery on a hot and hazy afternoon, I caught a few words of one of the local horse and buggy tour guides discussing one of the majestic and startling homes in Charleston.  From what I could gather, this home, which housed the Union Troops for a time during the Civil War, was surrounded by rather ominous spikes of wrought iron in hopes of fending off a slave rebellion in the 1800s.  The spikes are ominous and foreboding twisting and stabbing toward the sky.  I particularly liked this photograph of the wall with a tiny welcoming green plant that had made a home in a tiny nook. Quite the juxtaposition. Image

I will be back tomorrow with more glorious photographs of my beloved Charleston.  I close with a quote.

“A building is a string of events belonging together.” Chris Fawcett

Lovely Day For A Drive

A couple of Sundays ago, when it wasn’t raining… I was able to spend a chilly but sunny day traversing backroads of North Georgia.  There is something so relaxing about getting lost on a forest service road, high in the mountains with no cellphone service, to feel like you are getting away, yet you are only a couple of hours from home.  We wandered along the ridge line of the Blue Ridge Mountains for hours, stopping to visit tiny cemeteries, rustling streams and waterfalls and were lucky enough to come just over the ridge in time for a spectacular sunset only visible due to the trees having shed their leaves last fall, providing spectacular vistas for anyone willing to get off the beaten path and explore the natural wonders of the North Georgia mountains.  I am including several pictures taken on this short, yet relaxing excursion.  There is nothing like the feeling of “getting lost” in your own backyard playground, when that playground is the Blue Ridge mountains!

Cooper Creek

Cooper Creek

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Gorgeous Sunset!

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Last, the lush greenery and abundant rain that has been falling in North Georgia, inspired the lovely mint green druzy necklace that is now listed in my Etsy shop.  The link to my shop is at the top of the page.  The minty green leaf shaped druzy is truly a harbinger of Spring!

 

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Next post…. Charleston!

 

 

Snowy Wonderland and Amethyst Druzy Necklace

Some years we get several snowfalls in North Georgia and other years we are not so lucky.  This year we have had plenty of rain, but have only been teased a couple of times with a few flurries of snow.  So when my trusty weather app was reporting snow in the North Georgia mountains Saturday evening, I bundled up the kids and headed for the mountains in our trusty Jeep.  As we travelled North towards Blue Ridge, Georgia, we were delighted to find the driving rain quickly turn to fat fluffy snowflakes!  It was just before dusk, and the roads were turning icy, so we quickly found an abandoned log trading post along the road and stopped for snowball fights, snow baby making and a few dusky photographs of our newly discovered winter wonderland.

Snowy Country Road

Snowy Country Road

Here our are charming snow babies made hastily before we had to depart due to road conditions.  My daughter made a snowball just the right size for tasting!

Snow Babies

Snow Babies

 

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It has been raining since dawn today.  Weather that has been quite common in North Georgia for the past month or so, which keeps me indoors and out of Nature.  Alas, I have brought nature to me with my new Amethyst Druzy Necklace.  I thought I would post it here after listing it in my Etsy shop, Abhaya Boutique.  This necklace is proof man cannot produce anything as beautiful as mother nature.  Here it is.  I hope seeing this natural beauty brightens your day!

Amethyst Druzy Necklace

Amethyst Druzy Necklace

 

Love this Purple

Love this Purple

I am scheduled to return to my beloved Charleston next week.  This dreary weather will make the colors of Charleston, with it’s ever blooming walled gardens all the sweeter in sight and smell.

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