Introducing: Souvenir de la Malmaison Rose

Who can’t appreciate the beauty and aroma of a rose?  Souvenir de la Malmaison, originally known as “the Queen of Beauty and Fragrance,  received its new name when someone from the Russian Imperial Court obtained a cutting from the Empress Josephine’s garden at Malmaison. This “antique” rose was bred in 1843, and is a very petite, low-growing push that rarely gets taller than 3-feet.  Mine is probably shorter!  But it’s hard to complain when it produces it’s blush pink blooms that smell so intensely it’s hard to believe it’s real!  I’ve had my bush for over 12-years now, and it’s tucked in between an agave plant and a rosemary bush.  I’ve had no problem incorporating roses into my very low-water-use garden, feeding them and a couple of fruit trees a little supplmental water once a week via a drip system.  I have 4-specimens that I planted and 1-volunteer, each one a different color of the rainbow: yellow, orange, pink, red and purple (or silver as rose enthusiasts refer to purple roses.)  All of my bushes have thrived except for one: my Ingrid Bergman bush perished…I’m not sure why.

What’s your favorite rose?  I’d love to hear!  Be a spark in the world!

An Original Song by Yours Truly

I was inspired to write this song because of an amazing company that I work with.  My friends Chaz and Tim helped me record it and demanded that I put it online, so here it is.  I hope you enjoy it.

I Think I Can

I remember I used to have a lot of dreams,
They were big and bold and boy did I believe,
That I was special and I could do anything I wanted,
Didn’t know how to doubt, didn’t know I could be daunted.

Then I got older and I met a guy named Fear,
Don’t know why I let him in, but it was clear,
That he held me back, but he was really me,
And for many years I simply couldn’t see,

That I think I can, I thought I could
I think I will, I know I should
These are the words that seemed so very far away
I think I can, I think I might, someday

Then I got older still and the mirror was no longer me,
I was strong and powerful and I could see,
That the only one who needed to believe,
Was me and forget them they can’t keep me from my dreams,

Because I think I can, I know I could,
I know I will, I knew I would,
These are the words I say each day,
I think I might, I think I can, here I am today

Because I think I can, I know I could,
I know i will, I knew I would,
These are the words I say each day,
I thought I would, I knew I could, here I am today (x2

(“I Think I Can” music and lyrics by Alegre Ramos, copyright 2015 all rights reserved)

Psych Yourself Up!

Harvard did a study that showed self talk is more powerful when you talk about yourself in 2nd or 3rd person.

I’m going to implement this into my daily affirmations which I say out loud (almost) every morning and evening.

Do you use affirmations? I’d love to hear about your practice. Be a spark in the world!

Plant of the Day: Ornamental Pear Tree

If you live in an area where trees are breaking out in fluffy white blooms, then you are probably looking at an ornamental pear tree.

Where I live in Los Angeles, these plants are popular “street trees” often planted by the city as part of the Million Trees initiative.

I love the fall colors of this deciduous (meaning it loses its leaves in fall) tree, and the way they erupt into a cloud of white flowers in the spring is enchanting. The one downside to this beauty is its fragrance which I find to be unpleasant. My little one always wants to bring in branches of the flowers but I can’t stand it!

Be a spark in the world and plant a tree! Or get a free one from the city if you live in LA!


Craving Busters

I am NOT one of those people who never eat desserts. For me dinner is not complete without a sweet treat to signal my brain that the kitchen is closed! Before I found my “craving buster” my dessert of choice was a cup of rooibos chai tea with honey and almond milk and two pieces of gluten-free toast with butter and honey. If you do the math you’ll see that my dessert was pretty much a meal unto itself.

As the mother of a young child my fitness goal is to stay healthy and fitting in my clothes with the least amount of effort in terms of time expended. So I decided that I needed to find a treat that was satisfying with much fewer calories! I needed a “craving buster.” My other personal health goal is for everything I eat on a regular basis to be as nutritious as possible. I eat well 90% of the time and let loose the other 10%.

My current craving buster is a cup of Vanilla Nut Teeccino and 6-dark-chocolate covered almonds which comes in at 20 and 115 calories respectively. If I don’t have the almonds around my second choice is the Teeccino and 2-squares of Endangered Species Cacao Nib chocolate at 20 and 56 calories. You can find my craving-busters available for purchase here at my Amazon store.

I say “current” craving buster because it took me many steps to get to where I am now. At first I started eliminating the almond milk from my chai and the butter from my toast. Then I started experimenting with alternate drinks that I enjoyed without modifying which is what lead me to Teeccino, an extremely satisfying herbal coffee alternative that has many nutritional benefits. Then I went in search of dark chocolates that I enjoyed (I’m not a big chocolate lover), because I heard that it could be very satisfying in small quantities. I must have tried about 20-different bars before I found the Endangered Species bar that is my current go to. The key with dark chocolate is to make sure it is at least 70% cacao to minimize the amount of dairy and sugar you are getting. Here is an article with some of the health benefits of dark chocolate.

Do you have a treat that helps keep your sweet tooth in check? I’d love to hear about it! Be a spark in the world!

You can find my craving-busters here at my Amazon store.


The Importance of Re-Reading

A brief tip for those of you who, perhaps like an earlier version of myself, loved to jump from book to book. Do yourself a favor and re-read your favorites. Until 5-years ago I had never re-read any book in my entire life except for Emma by Jane Austen. I held the false belief that life was too short to re-read, not realizing the great disservice I was doing to myself!

Then I became a student of Jeff Olson and David Byrd and learned that only by reading or listening to something at least 6-times could I hope to be able to say I had meaningfully grasped the concepts presented. Now just to clarify something, I’m talking about non-fiction books here. While I’m sure there may be a benefit to re-reading fiction books as well, I’m concerned here with books that ask the reader to learn something. If you like the concepts presented in a book, then do yourself a favor and read it at least 6-ties (personally my goal is 10-times as I feel I get about 10% of the message with each reading). The same holds true for audio books or notes you’ve taken from a seminar. This principal has helped me immensely in deepening my understanding of many concepts.

One other little tip: keep a book journal or write in the book itself so you have a sense of WHEN you read (or re-read) the book and your overall impression. I used to keep a book journal, but I now find it easier to just write the dates I read the book and a few sentences about what my major takeaways were in the inside front pages of the book itself.

Enjoy and be a spark in the world!