Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July in Review

I can't believe July is over. I mean seriously, is August really already tomorrow? I hope next month doesn't go by as fast. Although autumn is my favourite season it never lasts long and once it's over that means winter will be here again. And I hate the winter.

Anyways, let's hope August drags on and on, haha.

My goals for July were...

Stay on track with my workout regime, no matter how hot it gets.
Get some school stuff sorted out.
Write some stuff and some things! :D
Make this blog a more active space.
Visit my family more.

I have definitely stayed on track with my workout. I alternate between circuit workouts, yoga, and hooping. Mostly I have just built up muscle, but that's a pretty good start. If I tense my abs up and poke through my belly the muscle underneath is pretty hard. I'm excited about it.

I didn't really get school stuff settled. It's a work in progress. I did write a few things. Not sure how much of it I want to share as it's very personal, but we'll see. The blog has been pretty active I would say. The week of birthday posts was definitely the main source of that. I don't plan to slow down though. I have a few good posts in the works and another giveaway on the horizon.

And I did spend a decent amount of time with my mom this month which was nice. She just adopted a dog, a pit mix who is just shy of seven and she is so adorable and sweet. She needs to put on some weight (I think the people who had her before didn't have the money to feed her and that's why they gave her up) but other than that she's healthy and seems very happy with my mom. Her name is Duchess and she loves to be pet and lay on my brother while he lounges on the couch.

Check back tomorrow for my August goals!

Manda Rave

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tuesday Tea Time

This is the first tea time in awhile due to all the birthday stuff the past few weeks. I'm excited to get back into and I have a bunch of stuff to share today!

Tea of the Week: Blueberry & Green tea. I have been mixing these two together and icing it for a delicious cool-off drink. Iced tea is really my only "summer" drink as the only other non-hot beverage I consume (other than wine) is water.

Tumblr Finds
Truth! Found here.


the passing of a siren
by Katie Eleanor 
one of my favourite shoots, please check out this lady’s work as it is beyond magical. 
This is absolutely stunning.

These rats are sooo cute!


The forests brooding by *NataliaDrepina
And this is beyond beautiful.

Window Shopping
Amethyst Ring Cocktail Ring Gemstone Ring Birthstone Ring February Purple Violet Plum Rough Stone Ring
How incredible is this amethyst cocktail ring?

Vintage Style Satin Lingerie 'Amethyst Smoke' Bra and Panties
I'm also really loving this beautiful satin lingerie set.

Daughter of the sun offering pouch
This Daughter of the Sun offering pouch is perfect!

Reading List
1. The Free People Blog wrote a little about palmistry and what your hands can say about you. Definitely worth a look if you're into that kind of thing!
2. Patricia Lockwood wrote a poem called Rape Joke that is a must read. If there is anything in the world that is not fucking funny it is rape jokes.
3. Renee wrote about the Passionfruit changes that are happening and I agree with her. I won't be able to pay the monthly fee to use the service, but I'm not mad about it.
4. I love this video on how kids reacted to the latest biracial family Cheerios commercial. I'm with the kids!


Where there is a woman there is magic. If there is a moon falling from her mouth, she is a woman who knows her magic, who can share or not share her powers. A woman with a moon falling from her mouth, roses between her legs and tiaras of Spanish moss, this woman is a consort of the spirits. -Ntozake Shange, Sassafrass, Cypress and Indigo

Manda Rave

P.S. I finally posted the final installment of my elements series -Earth
You can view the whole series by clicking here.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Interior Inspirations

It's time again for me to moon over the pretty interior spaces I see on Pinterest. Want to join me?

Purple velvet couch!
Purple velvet couch? Yes please!
...amazing bath tub!
This bath tub is incredible!
Loving all the plants in this living space.
Old maps & banner
Isn't this cute?
That last image reminds me of a song I really like:

Happy Friday everyone!

Manda Rave

Friday, July 26, 2013

Elemental Connection: Earth

It has taken waaay to long for me to post this. My last elemental posts were months ago. I don't have much an excuse either, only that, to me, this is the most important of the four and I have been feeling spiritually disconnected lately. It's been an up and down journey with my soul this year. I feel like I owe so much to Earth and I have been afraid of messing up my words about this sacred element. Which is completely ridiculous, but there it is.

Earth is the grounding element. It is beneath our feet and it springs up in the plants and animals around us. It is the home that supports all the other elements and gives us solace and comfort and the ever infinite Universe. My rising sign is Virgo, an earth sign. It's the only astrological connection I have to this element, and yet I feel the resonance of earth deep within my bones.


cypress forest by jody miller
Personally speaking...
I feel the most at home in the woods, my bare feet sunk into the dirt, collecting rocks and twigs and breathing in the rich forest air. I love to go camping simply for the chance to spend an extended time outside, sleeping close to the earth and listening to the sounds of the life that she supports. It's an incredible feeling.

There is something incredibly wild and primal about connecting with earth. It is a caregiver, of course, but it is so much more. When immersed in the sensations of earth I feel this incomparable sense of peace and fascination, as well as the welling desire to explore and discover. It's not the feather light feeling of moving on the wind that air provides, it's something deeper. It's the sense that I belong to the Earth, completely and wholly, and the Earth is so big that I must start moving now -to worship her with my curious feet.

Among dirt and rocks, trees and fern, is the true habitat of my soul. To be neighbours with the birds and squirrels, wolves and deer, is what my heart dreams about.
Symbol of Elemental Earth

Magickally speaking...

Earth is a very feminine energy, the mother to all life. It is associated with stability and being grounded, as well as the cycles of birth, death, and rebirth.

Colour: Green
Direction: North
Planet: Saturn, Earth 
Zodiac Signs: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
Time of Day: Midnight

What is your connection to earth? How does is interact with your soul?

Manda Rave

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Happy Birthday Eli!

Alright, so I'll be honest, I don't know technically what day Eli was born. I got him last June and the people who had him before said he was 11 months old. Which puts his birthday sometime in July. And since my birthday is in July and my boyfriend's is a week after mine we've decided to celebrate Eli's during the in between days. 

This year he is 2 years old! 

Browse all Eli/cat related posts here.

I love this cat more than I have ever loved any animal, and let me tell you that is saying a lot. I get very attached to animals very quickly. Eli has been like a friend to me since I got him. He is a big bundle of love (emphasis on the big) and I love waking up to him at my feet, teasing him with feathers, chasing him around the house, and watching him try to talk to the birds outside. 

I look forward to spending many many years to come with this fur-ball.


I would also like to take the time to make mention of a little kitten name Anubis who could really use everyone's help. He is just a little kitten who is sick and needs some help paying for his vet bills. His owner, Rachel, is having a 25% off sale in both her shops (Hat Shop | Art Shop) for the next week -all proceeds will go to making sure that Anubis is taken care of. 

I know it would mean a lot to both of them if a few people bought something to help them out. This little kitten deserves a shot at a happy and healthy life.

Manda Rave

Monday, July 22, 2013

And the winners are...

Congratulations to you all! You should have an email from me in your inbox!

Thank you so much to everyone that participated in the giveaway! Your support of my blog means so much to me and I have loved sharing my space with others this past week.

Now, I am off to spend my birthday relaxing around my house with coffee for a few hours and then who knows what. Not a lot of big plans for the day, just letting it slowly sink in that I am now 23 years old. Weird!

Hope everyone is having a good Monday!

Manda Rave

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Pinterest Birthday

I'm not having a birthday party or anything like that, but I thought I would share some fun birthday ideas and birthday-related stuff that I found on pinterest for the fun of it.

Cake  Make Money On Pinterest Free E-Book
This cake looks divine
Chocolate gold cake pops
I love the idea of pretty little cake pops.
paper cup fairy light garland
I love this garland made from string lights.
This is the perfect set up for a birthday tea party!
Chalkboard dipped wine glasses - what a fantastic idea!
Such a cool idea for wine glasses so everyone can keep track.

My birthday is tomorrow and none of the above stuff is happening, but that's okay. The pictures are still fun. With any luck I might see my mom and do something with her and then probably spend the night with the man I love, my kitty, and some wine.

Manda Rave

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Staying Grounded with a Homemade Clay Mask -Guest Post from Hollie of In A Little Greenhouse

Today I am happy to share a guest post from the lovely Hollie with all of you! She's a seriously cool lady who runs a heartful blog filled with soulful magic and kind words.

Grounding, rooting, connecting to earth.  What does that mean to you?
 Most people are familiar with the benefits of daily sunlight absorption, but grounding oneself to the earth is something that is not very routine with most people.   Grounding or earthing is a simple as it sounds.  Basically it is the act of being barefoot or having contact with the earth with our bare skin.   The idea behind this is that our bodies our conductors of electricity, just as the earth is.  When we feel out of sync, the grounding or earthing of our bodies to the earth can bring balance back to our bodies.   These are some of the benefits of grounding:

~Improves sleep and can help regulate sleep patterns
~Improves circulation
~Improves stress, anxiety, and helps with depression
~Balances the bodies electrical impulses
~Improves blood sugar regulation
~Helps to lower high blood pressure
~Reduces inflammation
~Blood thinner

The benefits go on and on, pretty amazing right?   All it takes is 15 minutes a day of bare skin to earth contact to reap these amazing benefits.  Summer is the perfect time to start your grounding practice, as the weather is in our favor.  

A good place to start is just walking on the grass or standing on the bare earth each day.  You can extend this to sitting on the earth or laying down so as much of your skin touches mama earth as possible.   Do whatever feels comfortable to you, there is no wrong or right way.

Not only are you reaping the benefits of grounding, but you will also fill up on your daily dose of sunshine.  Soak it in, breath deep and let mama nature restore you.

I know that getting outside or having the time to do this each day can be hard.  We are all so busy, and life never stops moving.  In the winter this can become increasingly difficult as well, since it is so cold and sometimes earth to skin contact is not a choice.  Here are some alternative ways that you can ground yourself:

~ Use Himalayan salt lamps, or candle holders in your home
~Bring nature indoors.  A few branches, stones, pinecones, feathers
~Craft your meals around root vegetables
~Burn unscented beeswax candles
~Drink burdock or dandelion tea
  ~Use good quality bath salts in your bath (Himalayan pink, black lava or red salt are all good choices)
~French green clay (my favorite!) or kaolin clay in your bath or use as a mask

Here is one of my favorite mask recipes.  The green clay is an awesome detoxer and an awesome grounding source.  You will need the following:

1/3 cup of French Green Clay*
1/3 cup of rolled oats
2 droppers full of Rosehip seed oil
10 drops of Roman chamomile oil
water, honey or 1 banana

Step 1:  Add the clay and rolled oats to a food processor or blender.  Blend up.

You can leave it on the thick side or blend into a fine powder, the results will be the same.

Step 2: Transfer everything to a bowl and add rosehip seed oil and chamomile oil.

Stir well until oil is blended in.

Step 3: Transfer everything to a jar or well sealed container

Step 5: when you are ready to use your mask, mix a few tablespoons with water, a banana (great moisturizer) or honey (awesome detoxifier, antimicrobial)  to make a paste.  I tend to make mine on the thicker side.  But mix until you have a consistency you like.

Step 6: Apply to face, feet, even to arms.  The green clay will help to remove impurities and is grounding.  The oats and chamomile oil are soothing and calming, while the rosehip seed oil is a great moisurizer. 

Step 7:  Sit down and relax, take some deep breaths, let dry for 10-15 minutes then rinse with warm water.   Voila!  Grounded, with soft smooth skin.  I use this up to twice a week.

I hope some of these ideas help you to start your own grounding practice.  Mama nature is a powerful healer, let's all take advantage of her love!

*French green clay can be found at most health food stores or at Mountain Rose Herbs.

I am going to have to invest in some of that clay when I get the chance so I can try this. It looks divine! Thanks so much for sharing Hollie!

Manda Rave

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Food Elimination Diet -Guest Post from Megan of Live Well & Breathe!

Hey everyone! I am so excited to share a guest post with you all today from the wonderful Megan of the blog Live Well & Breathe! Enjoy!

When I excitedly agreed to write a guest post for Manda, I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to write about. Although I was this close to writing about something totally different, because I'm partway through a food elimination diet right now, and it's having a huge influence on my day-to-day. And so I thought it would be fun, instead, to shed some insight on what a food elimination diet is, and share some of the tips I've discovered to help clean up your diet without having to go the full monty.
I've been putting off this experience for well over a year now, which is how long I've been working with my naturopath to remedy my stress and accompanying digestive dysfunction. I'd been putting it off because I knew it would require a tremendous amount of effort, but I finally submitted a few weeks ago because I am determined to be kinder and more in tune with my body.
If you look up "food elimination diet" on the internet, there is no end of resources. The trouble is that you can get super overwhelmed by the contradictions from site to site, and by the breaking down of the process into elaborate phases. Rather than rely on the internet, I trusted my naturopath's guidance, as she's been aiding me for so long now and is familiar with my health, and because her approach is one of simplicity. She gave me a three-page document that outlined food by food group what is allowed and what's not. She specified a two-week minimum for total elimination, and recommended a third if I'm feeling up to it. 
The items that are not allowed include dairy, wheat, soy, eggs, sugar and a variety of specific foods, like strawberries, peanuts, bananas and citrus fruit (minus lemons and limes), which are all common sensitivities. What this leaves is a seemingly pitiful list of fruits and veggies, certain proteins and meats, and spices. I wanted to be certain that I wouldn't violate any of the criteria during the course of my two to three weeks, and also brought a list of items I was unsure about to my naturopath. 
The biggest piece of advice I can offer if you're planning to attempt a total elimination is to prepare as much as you can well in advance. I picked myself out a cute journal and on each page listed the food group, the items that were not allowed and, below those, a list of the items that are permitted. I dedicated a page each to breakfast, lunch and dinner, and brainstormed a slew of meal ideas. I made notes on the various things I needed to add to the pantry, like almond butter, rice crackers and canned chickpeas. My husband and I also hit the grocery store one night after we were well-fed and carefully picked out everything I needed to get started, then I came home and assembled snacks and foods I could eat, like powerballs, so that I had something to rely on in the first few and difficult days.
And then the elimination started the very next morning. The journal I'd used to prepare morphed into my food journal, and I've been writing down everything I've eaten since then, and at what time, and am also noting the general state of my health (like if my eczema flares up really bad at a certain point). As of today I'm on Day 11, and I can't deny it's been tough. There have been a few serious tantrums, and the occasional ultra-temptation, but I have to confess that now, overall, I am feeling pretty exceptional.
In three more days I can begin reintroducing foods one by on, based on the list my naturopath gave me (sugar, wheat, alcohol). Then begins the process of monitoring whether any particular food is causing a reaction (if a reaction happens, you stop eating that food and don't reintroduce any new foods for three days). I think, though, based on how fantastic I'm feeling, that I may squeeze a few extra days of total elimination out of this adventure. It feels kind of amazing to appreciate the sweet crispness of apple and the rich savour of grilled salmon and the tartness of fresh raspberries.
I'm kind of in love with this taste revival.
I wanted to share some things I've discovered over the past eleven days that are invaluable if you're thinking about doing your own food elimination diet, or if you're just interested in a bit of diet detox:
-I was really reluctant to attempt this diet over the summer months on account of the fact that I tend to socialize more - and drink more - during the summer, and I wasn't sure I was up to the challenge. I realized, though, that apart from the fact that I always had an excuse why "now's not a good time", summer offers such a smorgasboard of amazing produce. I'm also inclined to eat more salads and cold picnic-style lunches during the summer, which, on account of their ease, I find are better suited to my potential for success. 
-When I started this process, I grudgingly accepted that my social life would cease to exist due to the limitations of my diet. I soon learned, though, that it doesn't need to suffer. I'd say if you're worried about your commitment, don't make any plans for the first three days, at least, as they were the most difficult. I desperately wanted to go to a pool party I'd been invited to for Day 3, but I knew in my gut it wasn't a good choice in my volatile condition. The key is to make plans in advance, and talk to your friends about your meal plans. We celebrated a birthday this past weekend, and instead of the usual indulgent foods or possible dinner out, the group of us contributed a healthy assembly of nutritious and exceptionally tasty foods (grilled salmon!). I tease my friends when they eat something I'm not allowed to, but I would never ask or expect them to eat what I'm eating. They've been so supportive, however, and totally willing to shift plans in favour of my meal limitations, which I am so grateful to them for.
-Expect some nasty headaches to start. Day 3 was the worst headache of all, forcing me to take an extra strength Advil because I was feeling so rotten. Fortunately, though, the severity of that headache never recurred, and they seemed to mostly peter off sometime after Day Six. I've got some willow bark on hand for tea if I find I'm feeling a bit headachey (which is mostly from stressful workdays and not the side effects of the elimination).
-My naturopath recommended I avoid quitting caffeine cold turkey, as it would only serve to make the first few days more hellish. I think it's best to trust your instinct here. I'm not a huge coffee fiend, but I must have a ritual cup in the morning, and pre-detox, was regularly succumbing to a second morning-break cup. I still haven't cut out coffee totally, but I've scaled back my intake significantly, now drinking a teacup-sized amount of instant with rice milk in the morning, instead of my over-sized latte mug's worth. I've been avoiding caffeinated teas, save for a couple of occasions, and instead have been drinking rooibos chai, which is herbal and decaf and satisfyingly fills the absence that coffee has left. 
-Drinking a full daily dose of water is critical. I happened to be participating in a water challenge before I began my food elimination, so I was already in the swing of monitoring my water intake. I would definitely recommend monitoring your water intake a week before the detox begins, to ensure you're hydrated and energized and prepared to take the challenge.
-Carbonated water has become one of my favourite things to drink now, especially infused with some lemon or lime. It would be just as good flavoured with some muddled raspberries or mint. It's hydrating and refreshing and makes you feel less-deprived when you can't indulge in the glass of wine your friends are sharing. I've been drinking carbonated water like crazy in this summer heat, but have avoided over-doing the Perrier, on account of it containing more sodium.
-Po werballs have been a staple. I made a huge batch the day before I began detoxing and froze half the batch for later-on sustenance. They are a perfect dose of quick and tasty protein in a pinch.
-It's important to check that you're nut/rice/coconut/etc. milk is not sweetened. I've found only a couple of varieties so far that don't contain some form of sugar (aka evaporated cane juice). I was successful in finding an unsweetened vanilla brown rice milk, which is now my absolute most favourite.
-Seafood has been another saving grace for me, as far as protein sources. I've been eating shrimp meat, salmon and even scallops, and am enjoying how light and delicious it is. My naturopath did warn, though, to limit canned tuna to no more than once a week (not just for a food elimination, but in general) due to the metals it contains.
-Avocado is what saved me from a total no-cheese-meltdown. I've read in the past that cheese actually has a drug-like effect on us, and I don't doubt this after the unexpected anxiety the absence of cheese produced for me. Avocados are rich and creamy and are the perfect substitute for cheese. I've also been using them for pasta and shrimp sandwiches, which have become my favourite detox meals so far.
-I miss the ability to add a little butter to my steamed brown rice or quinoa, but have discovered that a teeny drizzle of olive oil and a touch of sea salt is a superior replacement. A squeeze of lime, as well as tahini and garlic dressing, have also become seasoning favourites.
-Check canned beans to ensure they contain no preservatives (most of them do!). Salt is somewhat okay, as you can rinse the beans in a sieve, but anything un-pronouncable shouldn't be on the label.
-I've tried to avoid going to the health food store for speciality items too much, but I do think it's worthwhile to have a browse and see if there's anything that could enrich or improve your food elimination experience. I found a box of sugar-free brown rice crackers that are a nice luxury, and the biggest game-changer so far: sugar and gluten-free muffin mix. I added blackberries and sprinkled them with cinnamon, and have been topping them with 100 per cent fruit jam. Granted, they're nowhere near the same as the cakey muffins I'm accustomed to, but they are an exceptional treat.
-You can use ground flax in baking in place of eggs! As I'm not allowed to eat eggs, and the pre-packaged muffin mix I bought called for two, I mixed up some flax and water instead. 1 tablespoon of ground flax + 3 tablespoons of water is equivalent to one egg!
-You can actually whip coconut cream to make a detox-friendly whip cream alternative. Buy a can of coconut milk, turn it upside down and put it in the fridge until it's thoroughly refrigerated. When you open the can, all the cream should be at the "top". Scoop it into a bowl, but avoid getting too much of the coconut water mixed in (you can save the water to blend in smoothies!). The coconut cream can be whipped up with an electric whisk or mixer and is amazing topped on fruit. This morning I ate it with my detox-friendly muffins, and it was pure and glorious indulgence.
-I've found this food elimination process has been a strange dichotomy of no energy and hordes of energy. My physical energy, particularly at the start, has been low - I haven't felt like going for long walks or doing anything too strenuous, and I find I'm yawning for bed earlier than usual. My mental and emotional energy, however, has been invigorated, and I find I can spend hours bent over painting or doing something repetitious and gentle. I've found, too, that detoxing can draw out emotions or feelings that are otherwise subdued, so that it becomes almost an emotional detox as much as a physical one. It welcomes a sense of clarity and inspiration that I am especially appreciative of.
Feel free to stop on over on by at Live Well and Breathe if you're interested in keeping up my food elimination experience. Thanks for the opportunity to share, Manda and friends!

Thanks so much for the guest post! Megan is a seriously awesome lady and if you're not following her blog you really should be!

Manda Rave

(P.S. My birthday is on Monday, not yesterday, haha)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

23 Before 24

Okay, so I have never done one of these lists before, but I have definitely seen them floating around the internet when a blogger's birthday arrives and thought I would give it a try. So here's my list of 23 things to do before I turn 24.

1. Get the novel I have been brainstorming at least half way finished. (The first draft that is.)

2. Make the blog a .com instead of a

3. Lose 20lb and stay in shape.

4. Try taking a photo every hour for a day and post it on the blog.

5. Get my permit. (Yes, I really don't have a license.)

6. Get another tattoo.

7. Write more poetry.

8. Take a few outfit photos and post them on the blog.

9. Experiment with painting and create a few pieces for the house.

10. Try not to bottle emotions and let them out. Heal.

11. Finish school. I really just need to get it over with.

12. Do a week long detox.

13. Play a video game other than Kingdom Hearts.

14. Read books that will benefit my soul.

15. Try to sew something.

16. Go a month without sugar.

17. Grow my own herbs, for cooking and for magick.

18. Try tarot reading for someone other than myself.

19. Write a short story.

20. Get Eli a kitty friend to play with.

21. Start writing an e-book.

22. Invest in a pair of roller-blades.

23. Try my hand at blending my own tea.

I think that's a pretty manageable list. I do have a whole year to do it in after all. Have you ever done a list like this? What are a few of the things you want to accomplish before your next birthday? Honestly I can't believe I'm already 23. How did that happen?

Manda Rave

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