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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, […]

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 […]

What I Love About Tea

What I Love About Tea

Why I Drink Tea

"Afternoon Tea" by Amy Stebbins. Find more at www.gossamerydreams.com.

I personally don’t drink coffee (I know—a college student and artist who doesn’t drink coffee, unbelievable!).

I have tried a few times through the years, but every time I do, I always feel pretty bad afterwards. So I’m afraid coffee and I will never find a completely happy medium…well, maybe in ice cream and chocolate.

For me, tea is where it’s at! There are so many different herbs and combinations from all over the world that you can make tea with, and every place has a different tradition and type they prefer. I would love to know what you do in your country or home in this regard, so feel free to drop a comment! I’m always looking for new recommendations.

My personal favorite type of tea is herbal tea, and especially in variations of mint. My Current tea mission is to find a ginger and mint tea. It’s been surprisingly hard to find in local stores so I will most likely have to take to the internet to search out this combination, or make it myself!

Health Benefits

"Morning Tea" by Amy Stebbins. Find more at www.gossamerydreams.com.

Other than the great fun of trying new types, another reason I love herbal teas are the health benefits that come from various herbs. I’ve found that tea can greatly assist in the healing process of different health issues, whether that is skin blemishes, upset stomach, or battling a cold. When I was still trying to figure out why I was having such horrible stomach pains (later learning it was caused from eating gluten!), I would drink a cup of mint/spearmint/peppermint tea and it would do wonders to help sooth my beginning symptoms. This is because mint (especially peppermint) is a remedy for digestive problems, easing headaches, stimulating circulation, as well as a cooling herb.

Another favorite herb of mine to find in tea is lemongrass. This one is also great for digestive problems, and acts fairly similarly to mint, which is why you can often find these two together in blends. Lemongrass is also great in other forms such as an essential oil.

Two warming herbs that I love in my teas are ginger and cinnamon. Cinnamon is another good herb for digestive issues as well as stimulating circulation, easing cold symptoms, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger is similar to cinnamon, but also helps to relieve nausea, muscle and menstrual cramps, and in some studies has been shown to improve brain function.

I could easily make a whole list of favorite tea herbs like turmeric, jasmine, orange, hibiscus, pomegranate etc…and list all of their benefits, but there are plenty of books and sites solely dedicated to that!

Are you a Tea fan?

"A Cuppa Magic" by Ciarra Stebbins. Find more at www.gossamerydreams.com or @Ciarra_13.
“A Cuppa Magic” by Ciarra Stebbins.

If you are not a fan of tea, I would encourage you to not completely give up on it, because there are so many different types! Keep experimenting and I’m sure you will find a type that matches your personal tastes. If you are a coffee fan, I would recommend trying some different black teas since these are stronger and often have more caffeine than others.

In the end, no matter what type I happen to be drinking, my favorite way to enjoy a nice cup of tea is relaxing with a good book (or a sketchbook)—either in the company of nature or curled up in a comfy spot watching thunderstorms roll by….How do you prefer to drink your tea and where? 😉

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” -C.S. Lewis

If you are interested in seeing the coloring process of this illustration, then feel free to check out my Youtube channel HERE. I will be posting the process video in the coming week!  

“Summer Style”Series Post #2-Mini Dress & Earrings

“Summer Style”Series Post #2-Mini Dress & Earrings

The “Cosmic Mini Dress” & “Mermaid tears” earrings…. The “Cosmic Mini Dress”….   If you are looking for the perfect dress to wear on your next vacation, date night, or festival…look no further! The “Cosmic Mini dress”, Is backless, and has an alluring corseted detail […]

The “Summer Style” post series….outfit ideas and accessories for the summer season

The “Summer Style” post series….outfit ideas and accessories for the summer season

The Summer Style post series….outfit ideas and accessories for the summer season   The Undine Dress and Gossamery Mermaid Jewelry collection Who doesn’t love summer style? All those flowing sundresses, cute mini dresses, shorts with breezy tops? When the weather turns warm, the carefree clothing […]

SHAPING UP FOR SUMMER SERIES-My favorite ways to get fit for the summer season.

SHAPING UP FOR SUMMER SERIES-My favorite ways to get fit for the summer season.

Shaping up for summer series! Come get fit with me! Visit www.gossamerydreams.com to learn more.

Shaping up for summer…my favorite ways to get fit for the summer season.

I feel so much gratitude for being gifted the chance to live in an area where there are 4 seasons. Every few months I have new sights, sounds, weather, and foods to look forward to. When spring rolls around, I love to watch the trees, as they begin to explode forth with new green leaves. It’s amazing to watch the tulips and daffodils emerge from the soil, and the dogwood and redbud trees bless us with delicate pink and white blooms. This change of season also signals a reset in my fitness program. It’s time to shed the “winter fluff” that has accumulated on my body, and shred down to show off my hard earned muscle. Usually around October, I begin to add more calories to my daily meals. I love all the hearty warming food fall has to offer, and I enjoy myself thoroughly. I still workout, but my focus is more on building muscle tissue, and less on “getting shredded.” I never allow myself to gain more than 5 to 7 pounds over the autumn/winter season. If I were to gain more than that, it would just make it harder, and take longer to sweat it off, and I have better things to do with my time. LOL!

Summer Shape Up Series! My favorite ways to get fit for summer! Get fit with us at www.gossamerydreams.com
I adore the smell of the woods in summer!! Nothing beats running or biking down the trail!
Summer Shape Up Series! Get fit with us at www.gossamerydreams.com
Biking in autumn is always a pleasure, especially after a nice breakfast!
Summer Shape Up Series! Get fit with us at www.gossamerydreams.com
My family and I love to bike through the woods! We are lucky to live in an area where there are thousands of miles of biking trails like this one!

 

My favorite ways to shed fat for summer…

Hands down, my favorite way to lean out for summer doesn’t require a gym membership! It is free, and anyone, anywhere can do it! All one has to do is step outside! My two favorite ways to get my sweat on in spring are walking/running, or mountain biking. When ever I take to the outdoors for my workout, I actually burn more calories than if I was on an elliptical, treadmill, or other cardio machine. The beauty, and energy all around me, is so motivating and inspiring, that I find I push myself harder and sweat more. Being out on a beautiful trail also eases my stress, and clears my head. It’s so good for the soul to reconnect with the natural world. This week I have started to ramp up my outdoor workouts. I have several trails and areas I like to frequent. I really want to visit some new places I haven’t been before, and review them for this blog. I am so lucky to live in an area with so many options for outdoor exercise. There are thousands of miles of trails all over. It’s just amazing.

Summer Shape Up Series! Get fit with us at www.gossamerydreams.com
One of our favorite trails we frequent. We walk our dog, run, and bike! Its great because it’s paved, so when we don’t feel like getting too dusty on a dirt trail, we come here.
Another common sight along one of our favorite trails. Lots of wildlife!
Summer Shape Up Series! Get fit with us at www.gossamerydreams.com
“The spooky old tree”- one of our favorite trees at the state park we love to bike at!
Summer Shape Up Series! Get fit with us at www.gossamerydreams.com
These bridges can be quite hazardous when they get wet. Lots of slipping and sliding! You can see there is moss on them. It’s like an oil slick!
A lot of people like to go for walks or run on Duke of Gloucester street in Colonial Williamsburg. Sunday’s are great if you have a dog, because everyone walks with their pups then! You can see in this photo I took, there are several people jogging down the road!
Summer Shape Up Series! Get fit with us at www.gossamerydreams.com
Riding off into the sunset!! We adore riding our bikes as a family

 

Weight Training to build muscle and boost metabolism….

I always train with weights, and this does require a gym membership, or purchasing your own equipment. Over the years, we have purchased many pieces of equipment, and have our own gym in our garage. After I had kids, I found the convenience of working out at home, a much easier option….and it also saved us a lot of money (not just in gym fees but gas to get to the gym!) I have worked out at gyms as well, but I prefer not having to wait in line for equipment, or being exposed to germs (YUCK!) as not all people are considerate, and stay at home when ill.

Summer Shape Up Series! Get fit with us at www.gossamerydreams.com
Hit those weights to build muscle mass, and boost your metabolism!

I train with weights 5 days a week for spring/summer training, and in the autumn/winter, I usually cut that down to 3 or 4 days a week (heavy weights). I currently am utilizing a split routine, and work at least two body parts a day. I usually will follow this up with some sort of cardio. If I am not taking my cardio outdoors, I perform HIIT for 10 to 20 minutes on my treadmill, or with a body weight circuit of plyometric exercises.

Summer Shape Up Series! Get fit with us at www.gossamerydreams.com
last year’s summer shape up photo. I wonder what this year’s will look like!
Summer Shape Up Series! Get fit with us at www.gossamerydreams.com
                                 Sun’s out! Guns Out! 😉

 

My body type….

For my body type, I absolutely need to do regular cardio. I gain muscle fairly easy, especially in my upper body. I hold my body fat in my lower abdomen and legs, and regular cardio is what melts it off in those areas. If you have stubborn body fat on your lower body, then sprints are your best friend, I highly recommend them, especially if you have a hill you can get at! Sprint up the hill, then walk back down. This will also work for a long flight of stairs.

Summer Shape Up Series! Get fit with us at www.gossamerydreams.com
I couldn’t imagine not being able to be out in nature! It’s the best way to get a sweat on!

I also do well with a more moderate carbohydrate intake. If I eat too many carbs, I bloat. I will literally gain a pound or two in water weight overnight! This being said, if I am going to load up on carbs, I make sure to burn them off. If I know I am going to mountain bike all day with my family, I consume those carbs.

Summer Shape Up Series! Get fit with us at www.gossamerydreams.com
One of my many workout outfits.

And so it begins….

I have now started my summer fitness program. It will be interesting to see how fast or slow I will lean out. We spend a lot of time out on our boat, so I am always wearing swimwear. Who doesn’t want to look their best in a bikini? I will be updating my progress as time goes on here. If you want an idea of what type of weight training I do, just click HERE. What are your favorite ways to get in shape for summer? Are you ready to join me in my fitness quest? Comment below and join the conversation!

Have a wonderful week everyone! Stay fit and healthy!

“beautiful mornings and sweet dreams” love Amy and Ciarra-Come be a part of our community @www.gossamerydreams.com

 

 

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SUNFLOWERS IN WINTER- Photoshoot for the “Sunny Sunflowers” maxi dress

SUNFLOWERS IN WINTER- Photoshoot for the “Sunny Sunflowers” maxi dress

SUNFLOWERS IN WINTER… We just wanted to share with you some of the photos we took for the “Sunny Sunflower Dress” from the “Gossamery Gardens”collection.   To learn all about this dress in detail, please click HERE. This style of dress is going to be […]

Current Art Updates & Future Projects

Current Art Updates & Future Projects

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” –Pablo Picasso   My Art courses this spring   Last semester I dipped my toes into the realm of printmaking and painting, and I am continuing that this […]

How meditation has changed my life, and how it can change yours-learn about the health benefits, and my favorite meditation app!

How meditation has changed my life, and how it can change yours-learn about the health benefits, and my favorite meditation app!

HOW MEDITATION CHANGED MY LIFE, AND HOW IT CAN CHANGE YOURS! LEARN ABOUT THE HEALTH BENEFITS, AND MY FAVORITE MEDITATION APP @www.gossamerydreams.com

Meditation is the key….

Meditation practice is on the rise these days, and everyone from seniors to children are giving it a go! This really comes as no surprise. Life isn’t always easy with the constant stress, deadlines, and traffic….not to mention the absolute absurdity that is thrown at us constantly from various media sources. We all deserve to distress, unwind, and to achieve a level of calm and serenity. Meditation is the key to achieving this goal. Meditation enhances physical and emotional well being. It’s a wonderful and free “mind-body complementary medicine” according the Mayo Clinic, and I have to say I agree. The best part of this medicine, is the positive side effects it brings! I know since I have started my meditation practice, it has changed my life for the better, and it can change yours too! Before I get into how it has changed me, lets take a look at what health benefits it can deliver….

Health benefits of meditation

Meditation can help with emotional well being, as well as illness. Some of the emotional well being benefits are:

  • Gaining new perspective- areas can include life, career, view points etc. it can even help solve problems!
  • Helps to build the skills needed to manage stress -we ALL can use this!
  • Increases self awareness
  • Helps to focus on the present-you learn to live in the moment! This is a key to happy life.
  • Can reduce, or even remove negative emotions-(YES!)
  • Can increase imagination and creativity!-this one is a great reason for anyone working in a creative field! (Like me!)
  • Increases patience and tolerance-this one is GREAT! (Good for all millennials)

Meditation a can also be great for those suffering from illnesses. They can enhance your health, and boost any treatments or protocols you are currently following. Some illnesses it can help with are:

  • Anxiety-there are so many people with anxiety these days (and social media hasn’t helped much with this unfortunately)
  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Depression
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • IBS
  • Sleep problems
  • Tension headaches

There is no real wrong way to meditate, so if the thought of giving it a try stresses you out because you area afraid you might do it incorrectly…don’t worry! There are several ways to engage your mind in meditation. Some types of meditation include:

  • Guided
  • Mantra
  • Mindfulness
  • Qi gong
  • Tai Chi
  • Transcendental
  • Yoga

As you can see there are many types,(a description of each HERE) so there is something for everyone! Some are active, some you can sit, some you are laying down….you can even practice meditation while walking, running, or riding a bike!

How meditation changed my life

The first thing I learned was acceptance of my current state. some people might get frustrated when they first start but that is ok! Don’t give up! Accept where you are in your journey. Meditation is all about letting go of what you no longer need, and this doesn’t happen all at once.

Meditation has definitely surprised me. I knew it would bring relaxation when I was feeling stressed, but I had no idea it would bring about a chain of events that has changed me for the better. I am not only more calm, but I don’t get upset as quickly as I used to. I am slowly learning to “let thoughts pass without judgement” and my heart feels lighter. My sleep has improved dramatically. I achieve deep sleep easily, and awaken with more energy. I also don’t wake up in the middle of the night like I used to.

Slowly but surely, I am beginning to be able to express my feelings better verbally. (before it was so hard to put into words exactly what I was feeling…INFJ problems! LOL) My intuition is getting even stronger, and I am beginning to look at the world in a different way….Everything seems to be becoming even more obvious, and “crystal clear” so to speak. I swear I feel like Sherlock when he goes into his “mind palace.”

before meditation, my mind palace would like the party scene from the movie Weird Science….

 

now it is something like this….

 

 I make sure to meditate for at least 10 minutes in the morning, and in the evening when I get into bed, I meditate for at least 20 minutes. I actually look forward to this time each day.

The mediation app I use….

While you do not need to use an app for meditation, I downloaded mine originally just for the timer it contained, but as it turns out, it is so much more!

The app I use is called Insight timer. I love it! There are so many cool features such as guided meditations, music, talks, and even a social aspect. You can add friends, and also message people, as well as hit a button to “thank” people for meditating with you.

HOW MEDITATION CHANGED MY LIFE, AND HOW IT CAN CHANGE YOURS! come learn more at www.gossamerydreams.com

HOW MEDITATION CHANGED MY LIFE, AND HOW IT CAN CHANGE YOURS! come learn more at www.gossamerydreams.com

HOW MEDITATION CHANGED MY LIFE, AND HOW IT CAN CHANGE YOURS! come learn more at www.gossamerydreams.com

 

When you open up the app, There is a map of the world, and it shows all of the people currently meditating with insight timer. I love knowing that so many people in the world are meditating at the same exact time. Very cool.

HOW MEDITATION CHANGED MY LIFE, AND HOW IT CAN CHANGE YOURS! come learn more at www.gossamerydreams.com

The timer itself has various sounds you can set for your opening, and closing bells, as well as various intervals during your meditation.

HOW MEDITATION CHANGED MY LIFE, AND HOW IT CAN CHANGE YOURS! come learn more at www.gossamerydreams.com

You have the option to choose silence, various nature sounds, or music to play the duration of your meditation. My favorite sound is “secret garden”. It sounds like a beautiful garden scene with birds chirping, a water fountain bubbling, and wind chimes. Very relaxing…

HOW MEDITATION CHANGED MY LIFE, AND HOW IT CAN CHANGE YOURS! come learn more at www.gossamerydreams.com

Some of my favorite guided meditations are for sleep, manifestation, chakras, and relaxation.

HOW MEDITATION CHANGED MY LIFE, AND HOW IT CAN CHANGE YOURS! come learn more at www.gossamerydreams.com

HOW MEDITATION CHANGED MY LIFE, AND HOW IT CAN CHANGE YOURS! come learn more at www.gossamerydreams.com

There are even groups you can join, where you can discuss a variety of subjects! It’s such a great app for community.

HOW MEDITATION CHANGED MY LIFE, AND HOW IT CAN CHANGE YOURS! come learn more at www.gossamerydreams.com

I highly recommend Insight timer. It makes me want to meditate all the time! You can find both Ciarra and I on the app. Join us! Download the app and give it a whirl!!

Until next time,

www.gossamerydreams.com

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Black Velvet in the Rain

Black Velvet in the Rain

Black Velvet in the Rain….   “The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach.”-Henry Beston Handmade black velvet duster…perfect for the free spirited woman […]