Monday, June 27, 2011

Review: Moon Glow Jewelry

Moon Glow Jewelry

These handcrafted customized pieces of jewelry can help you commemorate any special date or event in your life with a glowing moon matching the phase of the moon on your special date.

Available in necklaces, earrings, anklets or bracelets with either 1, 2, or 3 moons, this jewelry makes the perfect gift for a large variety of occasions.

Moon Glow jewelry is available in silver, pewter or stainless steel with moonstone.

Each piece of jewelry is customized to match the moon phase for the date you requested. Other customizations include adding a birthstone or other stone charm.

When you receive your jewelry, you will also receive a card that gives you a code to use to go back to the website to learn more about your selected moon phase.

Even the artist’s signature logo on the back of the pendants is a beautiful design.

One of the best parts of this jewelry line is it does exactly what the name says – the moons actually glow after they soak up some light, giving this line an extra special touch.

With a vast price range depending on the type of jewelry and the material used, “Moon Glow”, is the perfect gift for yourself or anyone else for any occasion.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Review: Sacred Suds: Soaps with Soul.

Sacred Suds: Soaps with Soul.

Sacred Suds combine natural ingredients with positive intentions to create a spiritual cleansing experience.

Andrea Badgley, owner of Sacred Suds says, “At Sacred Suds, we believe that by giving something our attention, either through prayer, meditation, or the simple ritual of mindful bathing, we give it power to grow and manifest in our lives. Our mission with Sacred Suds is to provide soulful soaps that help channel positive energies into your life.”

Sacred Suds sent three different soaps to be reviewed: Green Man, Spring Witch and Vesta.

The Green Man (Be Wild and Be Happy!) soap is made with olive oil, coconut oil, organic palm oil, patchouli essential oil (earthy, wealth), basil essential oil (peace, happiness, money). This soap is vegan and all natural. The description given by Sacred Suds is: “Reunite with the natural world and revel in its prolific greenness with this soap inspired by the Green Man, Celtic Nature Spirit.

Spring Witch (An ye harm none, do as ye will) soap is made with olive oil, coconut oil, organic palm oil, hemp seed oil, castor oil, rosemary essential oil, pine essential oil, orange essential oil, and cinnamon leaf essential oil. This soap is vegan and all natural. The description given by Sacred Suds is: “Follow the way of the witch! Celebrate life, nature, and your personal intuitive and healing powers with this soap inspired by the witches of the world.”

Vesta “Cook’s Hand Soap” is made with brewed coffee, coconut, organic palm, olive, avocado, wheat germ and castor oils, essential oils of orange and cinnamon leaf. The description provided by Sacred Suds says, “Keep your hands clean and your kitchen blessed with this soap inspired by Vesta, Roman Goddess of the Hearth and Home.”

My favorite of these soaps was the Spring Witch, the scent is just incredible, and leaves you feeling clean and in a spiritual state of mind.

All of the soaps have creamy rich lather and good strong scents that help transport you into a different frame of mind.

Many of the other soaps made by Sacred Suds are named and fashioned after Gods and Goddesses of different pantheons. Soaps sell for $6.00 each on Etsy, or you can buy a pick four pack for $22.00.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Astrology Learning Cards: Self Study Flash Cards

Astrology Learning Cards: Self Study Flash Cards Designed by Jadzia DeForest and Jay GreenMan DeForest. Living Magick Learning Card Series. Living Magick Publishing Company.

This is part three of three reviews from the Living Magick Learning Card Series.

The Astrology Learning Cards: Self Study Flash Cards are a new concept in learning to use the zodiac to plot birth chart, and for other astrological information. These cards are approximately 3.75” X 5.25.

There are several different kinds of cards in this deck. For starters there are the cards that will help you use the actual flash cards. These include cards that are titled as:

How to use the Astrology Deck

Terminology (includes 10 definitions)

Chart Casting (this includes information on what is needed to do a chart and websites that are recommended chart calculators, along with instructions on how to lay out a chart.

There is also a second card that is titled “More about Chart Casting” to give additional information.

We also have a card “Astrological signs in order” which lists each zodiac sign along with it’s corresponding dates.

The Ascendant/Rising Sign card
tells us:
Theme: Public Image
Keywords: Outward self, public personality, first impression, projected personality, self awareness, drive, ambition, goals, motivation, persona, future personality

We are also given the Ascendent card which explains”

Your ascendant, or rising sign, is the part of your
personality that others first see, this is the first impression
you make on those around you – the sigh that your ascendant
is in also shows your goals and what you are moving
toward in your life. If your sun sign represents your
present self, then your rising sign is your future self
and shows that progression

The actual zodiac sign cards give a variety of information. For example, the Pisces card:

Element: water
Mutable: flexible, adaptable. intellectual
keywords: receptive, intuitive, emotional, romantic, mystical, imaginative, psychic, depressed, impractical, lazy
ruling planet: Neptune
Symbol: The fishes
Phrase: “I believe”
Zodiac birthstone: Amethyst
Opposite sign: Virgo

The other side of the card simple shows the zodiac symbol.

The planetary cards some with the symbol on one side and information on the other. For example the Pluto card:

Theme: transformation
keywords: death, rebirth, regeneration, destruction, change, reincarnation, elimination, insight, revolutions, politics, society, mass consciousness, transition
Pluto: (God of the Underworld) Where Pluto is in your chart shows in which part of your life you will experience sudden change, endings and new beginnings. Pluto is also the planet that influences war, politics and generational movements involving revolution.
Pluto rules: scorpio

The astrological houses information card shows how to use the houses in a birth chart. The house cards contain such information as:

First house
House of the Self
Keywords: personality, mannerisms, temperament, attitude, goals, desires, behaviors, motivations, outward appearance, physical self, first impressions
First house ruler: Aries

The “Conjunction”, “Opposition”, “Trine”, “Square”, and “Sextile” cards all give their degrees and list indications.

Elemental cards are also included with information such as:

Fire Signs
element: fire
keywords: outgoing, spontaneous, optimistic, energetic, creative, warm, impulsive, passionate, arrogant, egotistical, selfish, quick tempered, impatient.
Fire signs: aries, leo, sagittarius

Finally we have separate decks of the zodiac and planetary cards that simply have the symbol on one side and the name on the other side, that can be used for chartings and readings once the information about each card is memorized.

As you can see, there is a lot of information covered in this deck, which I think is just incredible. Having these cards – being able to lay them out, move them around, really makes learning the aspects of birth charts a bit easier. Once the student gets the idea, a lot of the confusion often associated with all of these different concepts can easily be eliminated – everything is right there is front of you, you just need to learn where to put it.

Out of the three sets of self study cards, I liked this one the best, it takes what for me anyhow, is the most difficult to learn (out of the tarot, runes, and astrology) and it makes it much more simple to deal with.

Living Magick will also soon be adding more to their product line, bookmark their page, and add them on Facebook so you can keep up to date on these innovative products that help add some magic to your life.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

New Orleans - gotta go home

Monday, May 30th

Though we were excited we would soon be able to see everyone, Monday morning was quite sad knowing that we would soon be on the plane and headed away from New Orleans. I had figured I would fall in love with the place, and I definitely had, even in just the short amount of time we had been there. Who Knows, maybe if I had to live there all the time I wouldn't like it as much - I doubt it though!

In the morning we packed everything up, loaded up the car and checked out of the hotel. We were going to be spending some time driving around before heading to the car rental place to drop it off. We went back to Audubon park and found the labyrinth - which of course now I want one in my backyard. We tried twice to go by Hanson's Snow Biz as our guide book said it was the best place for "sno- balls" but it was closed both times. We neaded over to City Park and saw the Suicide Tree - this was a rather emotional stop for me and I was disappointed in the state the park was in. Very large park, but in complete disarray. I truly felt bad for this tree that had obviously been through so much.

We ate lunch at a cute little place called Cafe Luna - picked because of the name, but the frapps and food were outstanding!

We also found a spot finally, where we could drive out to see Lake Ponchatrain. What a HUGE lake. Though the lake itself was beautiful, we saw the same problem with the park area - a lot of garbage all over the place and what seemed to be a lack of care. To have these resources and waste them was disenchanting to say the least. I hope we just happened to catch both of these parks on bad days and that this wasn't the norm for the parks in the area.

After all of that, we dropped off the car, got shuttled to the airport and ended our vacation. However...I already have a few ideas for our next one.

New Orleans Day 5

Sunday, May 29th

Sunday we drove out of New Orleans and into a whole different world once again. On our way to Cajun Encounters for our swamp tour we past by Irish Bayou - a place I could probably live quite happily - as long as I was living in the miniature castle that was there!
The drive took us past a whole lot of water, and it was a lot easier to start picturing what it had been like when everything was under water! There was already so much water all around us, it didn't seem like it would take much for a massive flood.

Once at Cajun Encounters I had to bite back my fear of boats (especially smaller ones) and hop on board to go on our swamp tour. We did see several alligators and I did get to hold a tiny baby one - well he was a year old, but he still looked very babyish to me. Took a ton of pictures out on the swamp, saw more damage done by Katrina, and again, found another place I thought I could be completely happy living in. Mike didn't agree. Thought I think throwing marshmallows out my window in the morning to check for gators might be kind of fun.

Once that tour was over, we got back on the road and headed back towards and then pass new orleans headed west to make it to Destrehan Manor Plantation. This home had once run an indigo plantation - I had no idea indigo plantations had even existed. The home was also used in the Anne Rice movie, "Interview with a Vampire".

After we returned back at the hotel, we finished up left overs from our other meals out and decided since this was a vacation of "firsts" we would head over to Harrah's and try our hands at the slot machines. We played some penny slots, and though I won about $55 off of a sea monkey slot machine, I did end up loosing about $20 of that before we decided to head home and make our plans for what to get in before catching our plane home the next day.

New Orleans Day 4

Saturday, May 28, 2011

We started off the day driving down to the RiverFront for our ride on the steamboat Natchez. We had lunch on the boat and road up and down the mississippi River for two hours. It was a great time and the breeze was really relaxing and appreciated!

We were able to see some things from a "different" point of view, including the lower 9th ward and some of the destruction still quite visable from the river. Even though the river was above it's normal level, it was just so difficult to imagine what it must have been like when 80% of the city was underwater.

After our trip on the steamboat, we headed over to the free shuttle to Mardi Gras world and went on that tour. WOW! The tour guide explained that none of the props used on the Mardi Gras floats gets thrown away. They are repainted or redecorated in other ways and eventually reused. Mardi Gras World does 80% of the props for the parades, and the warehouse we toured was just one of twenty. The props were just incredible, and it really made me want to be able to see a Mardi Gras parade in the flesh someday instead of just watching one on the internet. Just don't know if I can handle that many people in one location at a time!

After Mardi Gras world, we made it back to our car, then back to the hotel and took a taxi out for our dinner at Arnaud's at the corner of Bienville and Bourbon Streets. I had Oysters Kathryn with wild mushrooms and gazpacho soup, while Mike had Black drum fish Mitchell and Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce.

We hadn't been there long when we were approached by a waiter who had heard about a search for a specific coffee we were on. Mike's sister had sent us a text message requesting we bring back some "Wake the Fuck up" coffee and said it was on St Phillip street. It wasn't. This waiter was able to give us a better idea of where we could find it though, in a store on Decatur street, NEAR St. Phillip street -- that had a bunch of cajun spices and an alligator in the store. Once you've been to New Orleans, you realize that describes about one half of the actual stores. We made our way to Decatur street (Mike with a hand grenade) and did indeed find the elusive coffee at a store called Jazz Funeral. After stopping for daiquiris, we made it further down to decatur, finally to a cab and back to the hotel for the night.

New Orleans Day 3

Friday, May 27th

We started the day off bright and early arriving early for the start of the Cemetaey tour so we had time to shop a little first. Our tour took us into St. Louis Cemetery #1, home to the tomb of Marie Laveau and future tomb of Nicholas Cage. It was pretty obvious that our tour guide was not a fan of Nicholas Cage (since she stated that he probably bought the tomb just so the government couldn't take it back). We spent plenty of time walking around the cemetery that truly was an interesting experience. At the back of the cemetery she shouwed us where the Protestants were allowed to be buried since it is a Catholic cemetery.

After the cemetery tour, we ate at The Old Coffee Pot. I had crayfish etouffee and Mike had catfish and jambalaya.

We spent a lot of the day walking and shopping. Some of the places we went to include:

Erzulies - 807 Rue Royal

Witchy Living -v2109 Decatur Street

Boutique du Vampyre - 633 Toulouse

Glass Magick - 713 Toulouse

Rev Zombie's House of VooDoo - 723 St. Peter Street

Voodoo Museum - 724 Dumaine Street

Jackson Square

St. Louis Cathedral

VooDoo Spiritual Temple - 828 N. Rampart

La Laurie mansion - 1140 Rue Royal

We took some time to drive through the 9th ward and see what kind of destruction was still left from hurricane Katrina. It was shocking to see how many houses were still boarded up and abandoned. Some of them it looked like people had just recently returned and were just now starting to clean out the debris left behind. We saw several homes with tons of garbage piled how outside by the road, while other homes looked to be full restored. There were a lot of homes though - way too many - that had obviously not been touched at all yet. It was a real shame to see the destruction and imagine what it had been like there when the storm had hit.

After leaving the 9th Ward, we went to dinner at Coop's Kitchen - 1109 Decatur - A small restaurant that often has a line going out the door because there are so few tables to sit at. Mike got the fried chicken, I got a platter of several different items and we also had a couple different appetizers -- including their version of the crab stuffed jalapenos - they weren't near as good as the ones at the chinese restaurant. The food was ok, but we really liked the food at the Old Coffee Pot better.

Friday was a very long day with a whole lot packed into it, we got far more done than we had imagined we would be able to in one day, but needless to say, by the end of it, we were wiped out.

New Orleans day 2

Thursday, May 26th

Our next self guided tour of the day, we headed uptown to see another different side of New Orleans. This was something that really was impressed upon me, from Tulane University to the lower 9th ward, the area of New Orleans has vast differences in such a small geographic area.

While on our uptown tour, we again found a spot were we could park and got out to do a lot of walking. On this walking tour we saw:

1) Loyola University - 6363 St. Charles Avenue

2) Holy Name of Jesus Church - 6367 St. Charles Avenue

3) Tulane University - 6823 St. Charles Avenue - What a beautiful school!

4) Gibson Hall - 6823 St, Charles Avenue

5) Zemurray Mansion - 7000 St. Charles Avenue

6) Parkview Guesthouse - 7004 St. Charles Avenue

7) Audubon Park - across from Tulane and Loyola

8) Auduborn Park Oak - the trunk measures more than 35 feet around.

After the park, we stopped by Guy's at 5259 Magazine Street to pick up some shrimp po boy sandwiches which we took back to our hotel to eat.

SInce it was still early, we hopped on the St. Charles trolley and headed back into the French Quarter and then to the Canal Street Trolley to the RiverFront.

We stopped by Cafe du monde (finally) and got our chickory coffee and beignets. We did some more walking around, checked out Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral and the took the trolley back to the hotel. We walked over to Voodoo Barbeque for take out. We could have missed eating there, and we wouldn't have really missed eating there - not the best food we had.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

New Orleans Day 1 part 1

Thursday, May 26th
After out continental breakfast at the hotel (this really
helped save some money!), we grabbed our Frommer's New Orleans
Day by Day Guidebook, and headed off to do some self guided tours.
Since our hotel was in the Garden District on Prytania Street, and the first
stop on the self guided tour was also on Prytania Street we didn't have far to go.
Though we didn't necessarily hit everything listed on the tour, and we did end up taking

a ton of pictures of places not listed, it was a great starting point for us to springboard off of. Some of the sites we saw on our drive and walk through the Garden District included some of the most beautiful gardens, incredible wrought iron fences, gates and even bars on windows, trees that were just shocking in size (and then later we saw the REAL big trees), and homes that just made us drool and want to win a hefty lottery. Also on the Garden District tour we saw:

1) Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 (established in 1833 - 1400 block of Washington Ave)

2) The Musson-Bell House - 1331 Third Street

3) Robinson House - 1415 Third Street

4) Davis House - 2504 Prytania street (built in 1858 it belongs to the Women's Guild of the New Oleans Opera Association)

5) Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel - 2521 Prytania Street. Built in 1858, this home
was owned for a while by author Anne Rice and more recently Nicholas Cage until he lost it in a foreclosure. In the pictures, the beautiful statue of Mary and the baby Jesus are homed at this location in a side garden.

6) Bradish Johnson House - 2343 Prytania Street.

7) Toby's Corner - 2340 Pyrtania Street - built in 1838,
this is the oldest house in the Garden District.

8) Rosegate - 1239 First Street. Another former home of Anne
Rice and also the setting for her "Witching Hour" series.

9) Payne - Strachan house -- 1134 First Street.

New Orleans take me away

Over the next few days I( will posting about our trip to New Orleans - a sort of day by day play by play. I am writing all of this up to include in our trip scrapbook (which is almost done - thank goodness!), and figured I should be sharing it along here as well since I should have done a whole lot more writing before I left!

So lets get started with arriving in N'Awlins

Wednesday night, we arrived in New Orleans by plane, made it to our car rental and then hotel with a few hours to kill before crashing for the night.

We had decided earlier to head to Cafe du Monde since it it open 24 hours a day. After unloading in the hotel, we hopped back into the rental car, looked up Cafe Du monde in the Tom Tom - as a point of interest, not an address - and promptly got lost.

I'm positive that n'awlins has a deal with the makers of Tom Tom. If you are in N'awlins and say you want coffee --- you will be directed directly to alcohol on Bourbon Street instead.

So though we really never had any intention of walking Bourbon Street, much less at night, that's exactly where we found ourselves our first night in the Big Easy.

Parking in New Orleans is almost unheard of, it's very difficult to find a place, but we finally did on Iberville and decided to start hoofing it around the French Quarter. We didn't have our maps with us, only our currently unreliable Tom Tom, so we noted where the car was and took off on our own. I was trying to navigate from memory and we realized after we got back to our hotel that we had made it within a couple of blocks of Cafe du Monde, but I had seen something bright and shiny and turned the other way. The bright and shiny we saw was actually the entrance to Louis Armstrong Park on the exact opposite side of the quarter. But it was a beautiful night and just being out and about in the quarter was a rush.

Though I never felt threatened by any of the actual residents, there were a few times some of the tourists we came acorss made me a bit uncomfortable. Even though New Orleans has a pretty high crime rate, the drunks were far scarier to me than any of the "natives".

We made it back to our car, and on our way back to the hotel decided we needed some food. Oddly enough, our first night, we had a difficult time finding a place to eat, instead of trying to find something in the French Quarter, we decided to opt for something closer to out hotel. Problem was as we got closer to our hotel, just about everything was closed or closing. We actually ended up at a Chinese food restaurant!

It wasn't quite what we would considered a "normal" Chinese restaurant though.
We ordered a few different appetizers to share for our dinner. These included California Sushi rolls, egg rolls --- with alligator meat, and what they called "J-pops". These were incredible! HUGE jalapeno peppers halved, and stuffed with a crab meat/cream cheese mixture. They were drizzled with 2 different kinds of sauces, and both were just to die for. Would sure love to find a place closer that served those!

The egg rolls were smaller than what we were used to - probably about 1/3 the size of egg rolls served near us, and though they were good, I wouldn't say the alligator had any real distinctive flavor, but they were pretty good.

Back at our hotel, we got things planned out for the next morning - our first full day in New Orleans. Since we had the cemetery tour scheduled for Friday already, we didn't plan on heading back to the French Quarter 'til then. Thursday would be all about the Garden District and Uptown.