Recent Posts

The 12 Zodiac: Leo!

The 12 Zodiac: Leo!

Hello everyone, and today will begin my 12 zodiac series of illustrations and blog posts! I have had these illustration ideas waiting for their final phase for quite a while now, so I’m excited to finally be sharing these with you. I spent a lot […]

Anniversary Celebration- Visiting The Wineries Of The Monticello Wine trail

Anniversary Celebration- Visiting The Wineries Of The Monticello Wine trail

This year, to celebrate our 23rdwedding anniversary, my husband, kids, and I decided to head out to visit some wineries on the Monticello Wine Trail here in Virginia. If you have not visited a winery (or now cideries!) in Virginia, we highly recommend them! Not […]

My Favorites for July & Wrap-up!  

My Favorites for July & Wrap-up!  

Hello everyone! We have officially wrapped up the month of July, so it’s time to recap some of my favorite things from this month!


Books I Read…

My 4 Favorite Graphic Novels for July! Read about it at

Over the past few months I haven’t done much traditional novel reading, and I still have a number of unread novels on my bookshelf that I hope to get to in the month of August. On the other hand I have read a number of graphic novels which I do pretty much every month. In a recent blog post I shared the 4 that are my favorite for this month, which you can read HERE.


Art Wrap-up…

At the beginning of the month I did a lot of experiments and challenges which was a nice break before hunkering down to work on some new series, organize, finish some older works, and make plans for future pieces. At the end of this month I also officially opened up commissions! So if you would be interested in commissioning me, please go to my Instagram to find my email or contact me through a message.

Some of the challenges I did were the 1 hue challenge, emoji challenge (which I still have some more to finish), and emotion challenges with some of my original characters! You can see all of these at my Instagram HERE.

Here are some of my favorites from the month!

Geode, by Ciarra Stebbins. Find more at or @ciarra_13.


The Kelpie, by Ciarra Stebbins. Find more at or @ciarra_13.
The Kelpie


Enlightenment, by Ciarra Stebbins. Find more at or @Ciarra_13.


Star Dust, by Ciarra Stebbins. Find more at or @Ciarra_13.
Star Dust


Potion Practice, by Ciarra Stebbins. Find more at or @Ciarra_13.
Potion Practice


Galactic Sweet-tooth, by Ciarra Stebbins. Find more at or @Ciarra_13.
Galactic Sweet-tooth


Also, one of the art challenges doing its rounds on social media is the #drawthisinyourstyle, which I created my own edition for! Feel free to give it a try and post it on Instagram with the hashtag #pastelgalaxygirl so I can see it! Don’t forget to tag me too! 😉

Pastel Galaxy Girl, by Ciarra Stebbins. Find more at or @Ciarra_13.
Pastel Galaxy Girl


Since I didn’t get a chance to share it for June, here is my favorite art piece from that month!

The Little Mermaid, by Ciarra Stebbins. Find more at or @ciarra_13.
The Little Mermaid


New Photography Account…

A big part of July for me wasn’t just organizing my personal work space, but also my Art Instagram which led me to create a new account just for photography! I’m really happy I made this new account since it has revitalized my enjoyment for taking pictures for the things that catch my attention!

I’m also going to be taking a photography class this fall so its good to get some practice in before then!

My Favorites for July & Wrap-up, read about it at

If you would like to see more please follow my photography account HERE.


So What’s the Plan for August?

August will be my last few weeks of summer before heading into my final semester at my current college! I will definitely be jamming in as much reading, drawing, and general fun before I need to prepare everything for my classes. This semester will definitely be very busy but also very exciting, since I will be putting together my final senior art exhibition!

I will share more about that in the coming months!


Thanks for reading and I hope you all had a great July!

What were some of your favorites from July? Let me know in the comments down below!

The Chakra Series-The Root Chakra

The Chakra Series-The Root Chakra

THE ROOT CHAKRA Back in February I wrote about how meditation had changed my life for the better (Click here to read). Today I am going to share with you my favorite type of meditation focus-The chakras. According to Liz Simpson, the author of ‘The […]

My 4 Favorite Graphic Novels for July!

My 4 Favorite Graphic Novels for July!

Hello again everyone! Now that we are well into the summer season, I thought it would be fun to share with you 4 of my favorite graphic novels that I have read for the month of July (so far!). Being both a lover of art […]

All about Succulents & Cacti: What I’ve learned so far (Part 1)…Moon Cactus!

All about Succulents & Cacti: What I’ve learned so far (Part 1)…Moon Cactus!

Hello everyone and in today’s post I’m going to be starting a new series with you where I talk about what I’ve learned about succulents and cacti…so far! I’m still very much a beginner, but I’m always learning more about these fun plants and how to care for them. If you also care for these plants or have been curious about them, please join me in this new series!


Bad Luck, but getting better!

I will start by saying that I’ve never had the greatest of luck with house plants, mostly because I didn’t do my research first! This usually resulted in me choosing plants that would get bad pests, I would under or over water, or not give enough sunlight too. I was always intrigued by cacti with their unique biology and looks, and most importantly…the reputation of actually being hard to kill.

This led me to finally purchasing my first cacti! A gymnocalycium mihanovichii! Or in simpler terms, a Moon Cactus!  Which leads me into my first topic about succulents and cacti….


What is your name?

All about Succulents & Cacti, find more at

You walk into your local hardware & Gardening store, and in their garden section you are presented with a fair selection of succulents and cacti. One catches your eye and you bring it home. Later, you admire your new prickly friend when a question arises, “What type are you exactly?” Which leads to more important questions of caring for your new plant, but the tag just says Succulent with the same generic care directions that you find on almost all other plants of this type.

If this sounds familiar to my fellow beginners, I was and still am there with you. While the popularity of these plants have skyrocketed in the last few years, most places that sell these guys, don’t really tell you what exactly you are buying. And when you start searching online it can be even more confusing since you almost always see the scientific name. This is important because some plants can share a similar common name, but actually be two different types.

It takes a little searching and some decent photo identification, but I was finally able to identify (or nearly identify) all of the succulents in my collection! Not all plants have the same care. Yes, they all need sunlight, good draining soil, and watering, but these things can differ from plant-to-plant.


Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii (Aka – Moon Cactus or Hibotan Cactus)

Moon Cactus. Read about it at

So not only was this my first ever cactus, but it has also been the one I’ve learned the most from. Boy! I had no idea what I was getting into!

To explain, this is an extremely common cactus that you find in stores, and a lot of people purchase them since they are often colorful and seem easy to care for–simple enough. What I’m sure many causal buyers don’t know (And I certainly did not know this when I first bought this little guy), is that you are actually purchasing two different cacti for the price of one! Say what?

There is a common practice within the art of cacti propagation (aka growing more cacti or succulents from pieces of the mother plant) called grafting, and it’s basically what it sounds like. You have one type that is essentially the host body and another type that is grown on top of the host. This is what makes the classic look of a Moon Cactus. The part that is actually the Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii is the distinctive red, yellow, or orange head. The green stock is usually something in the Hylocereus genus (More to come on this!).

There is a reason why you often see this cacti grafted to a host, and that is because the Moon Cactus cannot actually produce its own chlorophyll! How wild is that?

And sadly, I have to be the massager for some sad news to all my owners of these cute guys, but even with the best care possible, these cacti have pretty short life spans, which was sadly my experience with my yellow/orange Moon Cactus.


A Common Problem

One day when I was checking on my cacti and succulent family, I noticed that there was something wrong with my Moon Cactus. The neon bright yellow head was turning brown at its base (the space between the head and the green stem). I wasn’t sure what was happening but I knew it wasn’t good.

I quickly learned that the common problem with these plants is rot in the rootstock, but mine was having rot in the head only. After more online searching I did find others having a similar rot problem to mine! This rot is most likely caused by a bacterial infection between the two grafted pieces. I didn’t want to lose the whole cacti and according to what I was reading, if the rot hadn’t reached the stock, that piece could be saved.

I did some more reading…and came to the conclusion that the moon cactus had to be cut from the stock. With a sterile knife I beheaded the poor mushy cactus from the stock, and luckily I saw no more of the infection. In my research during this ordeal, I learned that when you cut a cactus in this way, you can put a type of sulfur powder on the cut to help close the wound and keep out more bacteria. This powder can be tricky to find though, but an alternative is actually cinnamon! This is what I used in this situation and on all my other emergency cuttings, and it works perfectly so far! The rootstock has survived, and in fact it’s thrived!

All about Succulents & Cacti. Find more at

Hylocereus Undatus (aka – Night-blooming Cactus)

 All About Succulents & Cacti, find more at

I believe that this is the exact species of my rootstock, which is actually a vining cactus! After cutting away the rotted Moon Cactus, this guy just took off. It has grown many off shoots, which is why I needed to desperately remove it from its original overcrowded pot (consisting of all the first succulents I got, which at the time I thought it was a good idea, making them all roommates–I’ve learned to more careful now).

As you can see from the photo, it has a number of areal roots, which is typically a sign that it needs more water, just another reason for it to be transplanted. I wanted to maximize drainage this time, so as a bottom layer I placed some pebbles, and then sand (about ½ inch) to top its new soil. I definitely foresee needing to put it in a much bigger and deeper pot in another year or two.

All About Succulents & Cacti, find more at

Final Fun fact–another name for this guy is actually a Dragon Fruit, which is so cool! Yes, I do mean those strange fruits you can find in some grocery stores to eat! I really hope this guy continues to grow big because I would love to see it bloom and possibly produce some of these fruits!

All about Succulents & Cacti. Find more at



Thank you so much for reading! If you like this new series of blog posts then do let me know in the comments below!

Moon Cactus by Ciarra Stebbins (@Ciarra_13). Find more at
Moon Cactus by Ciarra Stebbins (@Ciarra_13).

Do you have any succulent or Cacti care recommendations? What are your favorite types? 🙂


Quick and Easy Gluten-free Ramen!

Quick and Easy Gluten-free Ramen!

Quick and Easy Gluten free Ramen Hello again everyone, and today I will be sharing with you my quick and easy gluten free ramen! This recipe came to be from an afternoon when I really wanted some soup, but I didn’t necessarily have all of […]

Hephaestus’s Story by Guest Blogger Soren Stebbins

Hephaestus’s Story by Guest Blogger Soren Stebbins

Hephaestus’s Story Hello, my name is Soren Stebbins and I am today’s guest blogger. Every now and then, I will return here to share stories from all across the world, from Mythology to fairy tales. Today I will be telling the story of Hephaestus, one […]

Fitness and life update

Fitness and life update

Fitness and life update

Fitness and Life Update

Hello again everyone,

I thought I would check in with everyone with a fitness and life update today. If you recall in this blog post, I stated I was about to start my summer fitness shape up. All was fine at first, and then I hit a bump in the road….

Surprise Surgery and Recovery

I have been battling a weird health issue involving one of my upper molars (which had a root canal done years ago) This problem would come and go for several years. I have been to multiple dentists, endodontists, and oral surgeons, and no one could say without a doubt what the problem was, or where exactly it was.

Was it the tooth?or was it sinus? It was very difficult to to tell. Finally I found an excellent MD/Surgeon who was able to remedy the problem. He was able to determine that the ligaments surrounding the tooth was where the infection was located. The tooth has to be surgically removed. Once he took the tooth out, he was able to see a mass above one of the roots, not visible in any X-ray. There was most likely a microscopic crack in the root of the tooth, which was constantly causing infection.

Once I was home and on the mend, I noticed several interesting things that happened. One was that my vision improved a bit! I actually realized I had been watching TV all day with out my glasses, and could see! My right sinus, which had been so swollen and blocked for months, became more clear. Needless to say, all of this had thrown a big wrench into my workout routine. I didn’t workout at all for two weeks (because I couldn’t! I felt horrible for one of them, and the second I was waiting until I was off antibiotics) I am happy to say I am feeling much better now, and have started up with my eating and workout routine again.


Right now I am on a four day split with weights, and am enjoying cardio outdoors as much as possible. Ciarra and I were running daily before I had surgery, and now we are back at it, along with bike rides. I like to add plyometric style cardio between weight sets occasionally as well. I also have started up with stretching, foam rolling, and yoga.

What I eat in a day…

To give you an idea of what I eat on a normal day, I thought I would share with you all the meals I am having today…

Fitness and life update @
I start my day off with a tablespoon of ACV in water, and to it I add a little flavored stevia
Fitness and life update @
Flavored stevia drink mix I add to my ACV and water.
Fitness and Life update
Flavored ACV water
Fitness and life update @
Breakfast is almond poppy seed kodiak cakes, with veggie sausage, eggs, fresh fruit and coffee
Fitness and life update @
Lunch is ground turkey tacos with shredded cabbage, tomatoes, cheese and some franks red hot! YUM
Fitness and life update @
The snack I had quickly today was some almond gluten free crackers with hummus.
Fitness and life update @
Dinner was a yummy shredded chicken salad, with seeds, dried cranberries, cucumber, tomato and dressing. I had some flavored sparkling water with it.
Fitness and life update @
For dessert I had two of these Oreo thins (which is a half serving I believe)

I will post up another fitness update in about a month to update my progress, thoughts, and routine.

I hope everyone is having a healthy and happy June!

Until next time,





A family tradition-Picking strawberries at Holly Fork Farm-from two different perspectives

A family tradition-Picking strawberries at Holly Fork Farm-from two different perspectives

A family tradition-Picking strawberries at Holly Fork Farm-from two different perspectives Ciarra’s Perspective…. I look forward to the different seasons we have here in Virginia, because they mark the start of fun family traditions like this! Going to our local farms and orchards is something […]