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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Wordless Wednesday Tucson Street Art

I'm having a love affair with Tucson, and thought you would like to take a peek at my photos this Wordless Wednesday. Street art and natural beauty are two of the reasons I fell in love with this city in 2001, and why I love it still.

Shadow on the street, my honey and me in silhouette

Sonoran Desert, Brotherhood, and Natural Beauty

Space and Places to Walk or Hike Outdoors

Mural Painted on the Side of a Building Downtown

My Quote for today is,

"Once a year go some place you've never been before.” Dalai Lama

 I Love Tucson and wish you'd vacation here.
Be well and Enjoy the Winter Holidays.

Please take a moment to comment. Have you ever been to Tucson? What did you like about it? Please explain. 

What do you look for when you travel to a new place? For me, I first consider if there are vegan friendly restaurants (which there are) and natural sights to see (many). Don't you think those are good reasons? 

Please visit my blog again. An upcoming feature is going to be about some of my favorite places to eat. ☝

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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Tips to Boost Gratitude Today!

Scientific research reinforces what life experience suggests; it’s impossible to feel stress and tension when you're feeling grateful. Studies show it's a sound health practice to focus on what you are thankful for, rather than dwell on things you think you lack. 

The calming part of the nervous system is triggered by thoughts and feelings of gratitude, and works to make you feel refreshed and happy. 

American Psychological Association quote adds to this good news. "A grateful heart is a healthier heart and a thankful outlook can lead to improved outcomes in heart-failure patients.” 

Don't you think practicing gratitude is worth a try?

To that End, I Offer Tips to Boost Gratitude Today!

Journal about gratitude and count your blessings. My investigation of the facts indicates gratitude heals, energizes, and transforms lives. Professor Robert A. Emmons from UC Davis, a science of gratitude expert, said expressing gratitude “can lower blood pressure, improve immune function and facilitate more efficient sleep. Gratitude reduces lifetime risk for depression, anxiety and is a key resiliency factor in the prevention of suicide."

Colors of Joy Provides Many Activities to Help You Draw Gratitude into Your Life

Amp up journal writings’ benefits with color. Use colored pens and markers to record your ideas about the goodness in your daily life. Perhaps you feel you have little time to write in a journal daily. Keep it simple. Take a few minutes, night or day, to do a colorful bullet list of things you are thankful about. Another choice is to do a mental gratitude list. Whatever you decide, know that colors bypass reason and work at the sensory level to make journal writing fun and transformative.

Meditate about gratitude. Define the word in your mind's eye and reflect on examples in your life. The definition I like best is an original, "gratitude is the human quality of being thankful, including readiness to show appreciation and kindness toward ourselves and others." How do you define it? 

Pamper yourself to make grateful feelings multiplyShower yourself with kindness. Joy and thankfulness are plentiful, when you are compassionate with yourself. Self-care has a ripple effect, and helps you respond to others in a loving way. See this for additional self-care tips.

Appreciate much and take nothing for granted. Life and the people in it owe you nothing. Treat every person and pleasant thing anyone does for you as an unexpected treasure. Look at your work, play, home, health, and social interactions as blessings in your life.

When you use your eyesight, hearing, sense of smell, taste, and touch, you "come alive" in the present moment, and tend to cherish and accept things just as they are. Do you know what I mean?

As the baseball player Wade Boggs said, "
Our lives are not determined by what happens to us, but how we react to what happens, not by what life brings us, but the attitude we bring to life."

Make the most of every day. Rather than complain the glass is half empty, see the glass as filled with stuff to meet your needs. Don't put off your enjoyment for another day. Reserve time to do fun things like walk or hike in nature, play a favorite sport or game, or undertake a project you’ve been putting off doing. When you complete it, give thanks. Be mindful to balance business and pleasure; it creates warm, fuzzy feelings in you.

Display humility and stand with others. When you have a realistic conception of your assets and strengths, and possess the ability to acknowledge mistakes, imperfections, and gaps in knowledge, you are on the high road to personal satisfaction. Combine this with the aspect of being interested in what others have to say and willingness to learn from them. All add up and make you a gratitude winner.

Give to others to multiply gratitude. Make a donation to your favorite charity or prepare a meal for someone less fortunate than yourself. Sharing your money, time, food, and clothing with others helps you open your heart more fully, than if you used your resources all on yourself.

Be generous with kind words and gestures too. Let your thoughts be intentionally appreciative, and give others the benefit of the doubt. In the long run, it helps you be peaceful and empathetic, instead of judgmental.

Thank you dear reader for your visit. I’m grateful to be alive, and realize none of us know what tomorrow will bring. That's why I set the intention to celebrate gratitude today, and I wish you would too!

My quote for today is "I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver." Maya Angelou  

Please take a moment to comment below. What people, places, and things are you grateful for? Do you participate in things that help you feel more grateful? What are they? Please re-share this post if you enjoyed reading it, and pick up your copy of Colors of Joy today. 

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Monday, October 30, 2017

Ideas to Help You Stay on Track this Holiday Season

Is your stress level rising? Are you living in the future, projecting about ways to create the perfect holiday season for loved ones and yourself?  

When I used to try to people-please family and friends, it made me feel overwhelmed and anxious. I've learned that my desire to make everyone else happy at my own expense is unrealistic and impossible. Getting bent out of shape about a situation I can't control is fruitless. Instead, this is how I let go of my expectations about having the "perfect" holiday and find Easy, Economical Ways to Really Relax.

Fear not. I also share tips that can help you re-set priorities for work, health, and social time this holiday season and beyond. My suggestions are designed to cut through magical thinking and see the goodness the holiday season has to offer. 

While you're reading, take into account that each idea has changed my behavior in a positive way. Scientific research indicates that when we engage in positive thinking, it helps change our perspective. Whenever we feel we're making progress, we're better able to recognize what's working and let go of those things that aren't.

If you're a person who's on the brink of doing too much, or has already overextended your resources doing things or being with people that actually don't add to your sense of well-being, listen up. 

Even those who sail through the holidays and maintain their balance despite the holiday craziness around them, may learn a new thing or two about staying healthy and happy right now. 

Practical Ideas to Help You Stay on Track this Holiday Season

Eat more meals at home. You’ll be less tempted to overload on salty, fatty, sugary foods. Prepare simple plant based whole foods instead. Make double batches of food. Freeze half and serve it on a night you’re too tired to cook. Plan to eat out and attend parties, but be careful with your selections. Limit outside food functions to one a day. In the long run, it’s better to prevent unhealthy eating and weight gain than try to cure it. 

Read How to Use Your Journal to Create Self-compassion. This post shows you why journal writing can help you identify and process troubling emotions. When you're able to write things out on the page, it helps you feel less vulnerable and overwhelmed. Knowing what emotions come up about a situation or person is the first step in resolving conflict within yourself. For tips that help you develop self compassion, click the link above.

Allow for down time every day. Give yourself permission to nurture yourself, before you feel hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. Practicing self-care habits like meditation, yoga, or chatting with a friend, is a requisite that restores your sense of well-being. See more at Self-care Activities to Encourage Optimal Health and 6 Ways to Shower Yourself with Kindness. 

Schedule short spurts of physical activity before breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Small doses of exercise like bike riding, hiking, walking, and swimming are pleasurable and good for you. Time spent away from the kitchen and chips and dips reduces snacking. Exercise speeds up metabolism, and helps to improve circulation, digestion, and elimination. It also helps stave off moodiness.

Reserve Time to Socialize. Attend a concert, movie, or participate in a spiritual or religious function with friends or family, rather than focus on food as the activity for the day. 

Say “no” when you need to by bowing out of tasks you really don't want or need to do. Target and follow through on what’s most important to you. In the long run, setting boundaries with others and yourself by understanding you have a finite amount of time, energy, and money to work with, avoids building up resentments and stress about holiday visiting and gifting.

Get Adequate Sleep. The American Heart Association encourages you to “Try to get six to eight hours of sleep each night. If you can't sleep, take steps to help reduce stress and depression. Learn to use the color indigo and the third-eye chakra to help you get sounder sleep.. Also note, physical activity may improve the quality of sleep and life in general.

Plan to work early and balance it with play. Work in spurts by learning how to practice a 20-20-20 pattern. Every 20 minutes disengage from your computer screen or desk by standing up and looking at what’s going on 20 feet away from you. Do this for at least 20 seconds. Then get back to work for another 20 minutes. This habit saves eyesight, prevents eye and body strain, and keeps you at the top of your game. Also see4 Ways to Find Work-Life Balance During the Holidays.” 

Reward Yourself by Saving Room for Healthy Treats, those that don’t contain empty calories from additives and fillers. Try out this delicious recipe from Ilene Godofsky at the Colorful Vegan Kitchen, Vegan, Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Banana Sweet Potato Bread. When all else fails, keep calm and carry dark chocolate. It helps every situation, has nutritional value, and it's place in my life needs no explanation.

Beat the holiday blues, and know when they're something major. I've discovered through my own missteps and pain from experiencing the holiday blues, to be diligent with self-care. When I'm consistent with exercise, don’t skip or overindulge at mealtimes, follow through on work requirements, and meet personal needs for relaxation, it’s easier to prioritize my time. If I remember to don't have to do everything to perfection or by myself (I can ask for help), I'll maintain a positive outlook and have time and energy to connect with others.

How do you deal with stress and maintain balance during the holidays?

What holiday activities do you enjoy and which ones could you do without?

Do you have tips to help us stay on track this holiday season? Please share them in the comment section below. If you feel this post can help others, please re-share. I'm sending my best wishes for a HAPPY, HEALTHY, HOLIDAY SEASON!

The Quote for today is from Joyce Meyer"I believe that the greatest gift you can give your family and the world is a healthy you."  

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Affirmations and the Law of Attraction

Ever wish you knew a secret that would help you improve your sense of well-being, and even draw abundance into your life? Stay tuned and I'll explain.

The Law of Attraction is a belief that "like attracts like," and can be applied to your thoughts, both conscious and unconscious. What you think about or dwell on multiples, and colors your emotions, beliefs, and actions. What you project is going to happen in the future, affects how you respond to life experiences. Saying affirmations aloud and using the law of attraction may help even those with doom and gloom outlooks, and convert negative attitudes to much more positive ones.

Wayne Dyer knew this. An excerpt from his book, The Power of Intention, published through Hay House on the Belief net Website explains:

Step 1: See the world as an abundant, providing, friendly place.  

Step 2: Affirm: I attract success and abundance into my life because that is who I am. 
Step 3: Stay in an attitude of allowing. 

Step 4: Use your present moments to activate thoughts that are in harmony with the seven faces of intention: creativity, kindness, love, beauty, expansion, abundance, and peaceful receptivity. 

I agree with Dyer and use affirmations and the law of attraction in my life and work with much success. I have seen others make strides using them and scientific studies show this to be true. 
I notice that as soon as I sit down to create new affirmations, it helps ground, center, and nurture me. Saying affirmations aloud nourishes those vulnerable, tender spots in me that need attention. It also helps me focus on the blessings in my life, and set the intention to aim for the very best that life has to offer. 
Affirmations reinforce our resolve, and suggest those things we want and long for are already manifested in our lives. That's why I write or recite affirmations often... to look at the richness, love, and beauty that already exists in daily living. 
Affirmations are a good way for me to reduce fear of the unknown, doubts, overwhelm, and "not good enough feelings" that come up on occasion. 

Here's powerful affirmations just for you dear readers...

"I learn new things about myself daily, and realize personal growth is a grand adventure."

"My relationships are fluid and rewarding."

"I respect and treasure others."

"Each person I know helps expand my understanding and knowledge of what I want to allow in my life."

"I am emotionally available to others and listen with an attentive ear and open heart."

"I see and appreciate the goodness in each moment." 

"I take time to slow down, meditate, and participate in self-care activities daily."

"I treat myself with lovingkindness every day."

"I take excellent care of my mind, body, and spirit and I live happy and free." 

Take a moment to order Colors of Joy on my Website. It guides you through activities that use the law of attraction. It supplies instructions for composing and using affirmations for self care and life enrichment. 

Purchase Colors of Joy at These Fine Shops

If you're anything like I am, you appreciate knowing affirmations are always available to you. You deserve to feel good, so reserve a few moments to say them. That's why I keep my copy of Colors of Joy handy. It's packed full of self-empowering affirmations that transform thinking. Read what journal owners say about this interactive journal by clicking on the following link and scrolling down to the middle of the page. Colors of Joy.

Then, please comment below. Do you use affirmations to help you? Do you have any you'd like to share with me? Please share your concerns, questions, and tips about the law of attraction and affirmations. I love to hear from you. 💖

The quote for today is from Wayne Dyer. "How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours."

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Friday, August 25, 2017

Great Ways to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

You and your family can recycle, reuse, and reduce more than you think! If you care about family and planetary wellness, take simple steps to reduce your carbon footprint. Each positive action helps protect our environment, and contributes to worldwide efforts to keep the planet inhabitable for our children’s children.

Great Eco-friendly Ways to Live Greener and Greener Each Minute

For More Ideas See the Five Points Below...

1. Bring reusable bags and containers when you shop, travel, or pack lunches. Choose products that are returnable (like library books, CD’s, and DVD’s), and refillable (bring your own doggie bag container to restaurants). Don’t rely on single-use items like plastic bags and containers to pack leftovers. Avoid individually wrapped items, snack packs, and all plastic water bottles. Use biodegradable containers and bottles made from glass, stainless steel, or pottery instead.

2. Retrain yourself and your children to conserve resources like water and electricity. Encourage all family members to turn off water while brushing their teeth, and switch off lights when they are not in a room. Unplug your appliances like your toaster, when it's not in use. Use cloth napkins and cloth diapers, instead of disposables. This will help in a BIG way to cut down on junk in the landfill. Reasons Why it's Smart to Use Cloth Diapers.

3. Cut down on gas usage by turning off your vehicle while waiting in line at the drive through coffee (bring your own cup) place or when picking up kids from school.

4. Buy in bulk whenever it's practical, because packaging materials are greatly reduced this way. It will save time shopping and save some green too. Bulk items are usually less expensive than individual portions of stuff.

5. Figure out how to minimize your waste. Use less water by watering your garden early or late in the day. Use eco-friendly forms of transportation like buses and bikes. Support companies whose products conserve natural resources, don't pollute the environment, and are manufactured with recycled materials that are minimally packaged. It doesn’t take much to go greener this year. All you have to do is think and act green.

And here's additional green reading ----- 




Divest-from-Fossil-Fuels-Reinvest-in-Eco-friendly Investments,


The quote for today follows: "Don't blow it - good planets are hard to find." ~Quoted in Time Magazine

How many of these things do you do now and which new eco-friendly steps are you willing to adopt in the future? Please comment directly on this post in the space provided below. Sharing is caring and I thank you in advance for your support.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Dirty Rice with Collards, Chickpeas, and Savory and Spicy Seasonings

I like to search for delicious recipes and often adapt ones I see on the Internet to satisfy my culinary and health needs. Several months ago I had the good fortune to convert a Cajun/Southern Dirty Rice Dish which originally featured animal protein into a Plant-based, Gluten Free, Main Dish Delight. The ingredients I use are top-notch, rich in plant-based calcium, protein, flavor, and antioxidants.

I’d never heard of “Dirty Rice,” until I spotted a vegan rendition from Letty's Kitchen. She eats this dish as a simple supper with a salad.

My hubby and I have made several changes to the basic recipe, and use it as a go to dish when we crave spicy, wholesome, and filling. Please let me know what you think about my version.


3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup long grain brown rice (I used brown Basmati for the aroma and taste)
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) approximately 1 ¾ cups
1 bunch collards greens (about ten leaves) middle stalk (stem) removed from each piece
1 chopped red or yellow onion, or a bunch of scallions to equal 1 cup
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup raw shelled pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos or low sodium non-GMO gluten free soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper up to 1/4 teaspoon depending on how hot you like it
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast

What to do:

1. In a sauce pan, bring 2 cups vegetable stock to a boil. Add the rice, bay leaf, and turmeric. Cover and return to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 30 to 40 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed. Let the rice sit for a few minutes. Then, fluff it with a fork.

2.While the rice is cooking, prepare the collard greens, (one cup contains 10% of the RDA of protein and 27% for calcium). For additional information about health benefits see What's New and Beneficial About Collards. Wash collards in cool water. Place one leaf on your cutting board at a time. Remove the tough stalk that runs down the leaf by slicing down each side of the stalk. Save the stalks for your compost pile. Stack the collard leaves one on top of each other, with the leaf tips all at the same end. Roll the stack tightly in a long tube. Starting at the thick end, slice the collards as thinly as possible to make spaghetti like strands. Then cut the strands across into ½ in. pieces.

3.Place raw pumpkin seeds in a roasting pan in the oven. Pumpkin Seed Health Benefits from Medical News Today. Set temperature to 450° F. When that temp is reached, remove the seeds from oven and let sit.

4.Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion or scallions. Sauté until tender, which will take approximately 5-7 minutes. Stir in the minced garlic and grated ginger and sauté another two minutes.

5.Pour in the last cup of vegetable broth and add chickpeas into the mixture. I enjoy eating chickpeas as this pulse is full of flavor. Half a cup provides 6g of protein, 6 g of fiber, and 10% of the DV for Iron. Then, stir in the collard strands and cover the skillet. Cook over medium-heat about 15 minutes, until the collards are just tender and chickpeas are hot. Transfer to a colander and drain well.

6.Combine collards, chickpeas, roasted pumpkin seeds, Bragg Liquid Aminos, cayenne, and nutritional yeast with the rice and mix well. Grind in a generous amount of black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve piping hot or at room temperature. This recipe will serve 4-6 hungry people. The picture below illustrates this fabulous dish being served with a tossed green salad, one topped with beets and creamy bean dressing.

Notes About this Recipe: 

I grow and shop for organic ingredients and prepare them as often as I can. I usually don't label food as organic in the recipes I post, but want you to know organic foods taste better and are better for you than conventional ones. Read Organic Oven Baked Cottage Fries and a Full Explanation About Why Organic is Best.
The first time I made a dirty rice recipe, I used a leek instead of an onion (see Letty’s recipe at the link above). It tasted delightful, though it was labor intensive and more expensive than using onion. Leeks require a lot of prep, as dirt hides in every layer. I like simple and cost effective so I tried onion the next time I tested my recipe, and scallions the third. Feel free to use what you like as the flavor is good each way.
Nutritional yeast is inactive yeast, most often enriched with Vitamin B-12. It adds a savory layer of flavor and contributes to the pleasing golden yellow color of the dish. Nutritional yeast is available in the bulk section of most markets.
Bragg Liquid Aminos is a non-GMO Project Verified liquid protein concentrate  and 1/2 teaspoon supplies 290 mg of soy protein. It can replace soy sauce or tamari sauce in many recipes. I like its bold flavor, and feel good that it doesn’t contain gluten, MSG, or ingredients that are genetically modified.

Ginger helps digestion and acts as a stomach aide. It adds a kick, a spicy, pungent yet invigorating note to dishes. Facts About Ginger. 

Turmeric (especially an element in it called curcumin) is a miracle spice that adds tang, color, and powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties to foods. My research and cooking experience shows that it heightens flavor and increases the meals’ health benefits. Be mindful to use it in recipes where you can also use black pepper and oils like those found in flax, olives, or avocados to increase the body’s ability to absorb it. See Therapeutic Roles of Curcumin: Lessons Learned from Clinical Trials. Also see What's New and Beneficial About Turmeric.

Please don't forget to let me know whether you're going to try this recipe. Do you often experiment with new recipes? Are you willing to learn something new, as well as take advantage of a meals' good taste and health enhancing benefits? After you comment below, please remember to click on the word publish.

Our quote for the day follows: "My mom's collard greens. No one else in the world can make them like hers. I'm not just saying that because she's my mom. She's got some Mississippi secret. I could seriously eat them every day." Santigold at Brainy Quotes.

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Thanks for Visiting

Hope you enjoyed your visit and will return again. Be well. Live well. Lead a colorful life! Warm regards, Nan