Monday, May 6, 2013

Working 2013 List

So, I had some trouble completing all of the tasks on my 2013 list. So instead of making a list of 100 things I want to do, I think I'm going to create a 7-item per month checklist for each month in 2013. And maybe an additional 10-item list of things I can complete anytime in that year, and a 6-item list of goals to accomplish over the entire year or monthly. Specificity is my friend, and yours. I think that for 2012, I tried to include too many "this amount of things per month" as one item, and "this goal over the entire year" and "if I get around to it now and then" vague goals.

So here's the preliminary planning. Some items will be repeated from last year cause I think they were cool ideas :D Also, some items are conditional, like snow-tubing and skiing require it to snow, kinda. So I'll list a backup plan for those conditional ones. Money-conditional ones I will put into the 10-item random list.

UPDATE: I haven't touched this since, like, early March. So I have some catching up to do, but as of now, this is what I've done so far...

January 2013
_x_ Have a dinner party with friends!
_x_ Start planning the gypsy caravan flags to hang at camp.
_x_ Kiss in the falling snow.
_x_ Make a collage!
_x_ Make a homemade Thai meal to warm up. :)
_x_ Buy a hoop for next month's hooping challenge!!
_ Find a new dentist. Set up an appointment, even if it's not in January.

February 2013
_ Make some cheese.
_x_ Take up hooping!
_x_ Make a sexy, spicy Argentinian homemade meal for Valentines Day! By candlelight!
_x_ Go shoot some pics somewhere.
_ Take inventory of your wardrobe.
_x_ Plant some seeds to start a little herb garden :D
_ Go skiing or snow tubing.

March 2013
_ Paint with watercolour.
_ Choose a Goddess, and make a mini altar somewhere to her.
_ Make a homemade Sicilian meal to celebrate the Mediterranean spring.
_x_ Tour the Troegs brewery.
_x_ Become a total carnivore for a week to see how it feels.
_x_ Go visit Celtic Myth and Moonlight.
_x_ Renew/pay off this year's Four Quarters membership.

April 2013
_ Make a homemade Turkish meal.
_ Take a pole-dancing class.
_ Plant a tree.
_ Brew yourself some mead to celebrate the dawn of spring!
_ Make a dreamcatcher.
_x_ Frolic in a field!
_ Go for a Spring hike.

May 2013
_ Get a haircut, after Beltaine.
_x_ Organize a picnic potluck dealio with some friends.
_x_ Mix a perfume out of pure essential oils for summer; maybe even put it in a lotion.
_ Go to NYC for a daytrip. Maybe see a musical.
_ Make a homemade Scottish meal to honor your heritage.
_ Go walk down by the museum stream.
_ Go boating, kayaking, tubing or canoeing.

June 2013
_ Go on that ziplining course again.
_ Climb a tree.
_ Make a homemade Finnish meal to celebrate the Midnight Sun.
_x_ Skinny dip.
_ Have a sunday picnic!
_ If it rains sometime, go for a walk in the rain! No rain gear allowed.
_ Make a crystal grid!

July 2013
_ Go on a hike, collect some stones, and make a pretty sculpture with them.
_ Pick a former US president and become an expert on him.
_ Go to the library
_ Find the most awesomest playground ever and go monkey around on it til sunset.
_ Cool off with a Moroccan meal, since the spices will help regulate body temperature.
_ Go to the beach for a day.
_x_ Hold a wine and cheese party. (Wasn't specifically wine and cheese but there were both!)

August 2013
_ Go raspberry picking! :)
_ Cook a Lebanese meal and streeeetch out in the sun.
_ Go fishing.
_ Take the most luxurious, ridiculous bubble bath you can think of!
_ Stargaze.
_ Get a manicure.
_ Have a girl's night out.

September 2013
_ Go out on a super high-class date with Tim, tux and dress and all.
_x_ Dance in the moonlight.
_ Knit a scarf.
_ Make melted crayon art.
_ Make a homemade South African meal.
_x_ Eat some kind of exotic animal meat (kangaroo, etc)
_ Start testing recipes for a perfect paleo cupcake for Xmas.

October 2013
_ Cook yourself a good 'ol American meal with burgers and pumpkin pie!
_ Go to Shocktoberfest or something to that effect.
_ Get a massage. Maybe a couples massage??
_ Volunteer for something.
_x_ Check out a local independent store (like on Penn Ave) and buy something awesome and preferably handmade
_ Have a Halloween party, even if it's small!
_ Dress Jasper up as Batman for Halloween! :)

November 2013
_ This entire month, watch for a dare or a risk presented to you. Take it.
_ Make your own body cream! The air is starting to dry out. Scent it with the perfume you made!
_ Make a traditional Russian meal.
_ Some weekend this month, take a drive. Go as far as you can, stay all weekend, without a hotel, and just be spontaneous.
_ Make rose petal jam. Maybe rose petal strawberry or blackberry jam.
_ Buy lingerie. Splurge on something really nice that makes me feel awesome and sexy!
_ Take another Bellydance class.

December 2013
_ Send Christmas cards to friends and family
_ Take Mom to Christmas Village.
_ Does Australia have cuisine? Find out and make some food!
_ Start writing 100 things 2014 ;)
_ Hand-make 5 gifts for people.
_ Roll some sushi. Mmmmm.
_ Go on an island vacation! Iceland, Ireland, Turks and Caicos, who knows yet?! :)

Extra 10 for any time:
_x_ Travel to a major city, near or far, for a day or weekend trip
_ Hit up Cedar Point sometime this summer.
_ Write more to your penpals!
_ Go to a concert.
_ Try to teach the dog a new trick
_ Ride in a hot air balloon.
_ Fingerpaint with my toes.
_ Ride a horse.
_ Cultivate meditation. Cultivate quiet. Cultivate mindfulness.
_ Go to a yoga, spiritual or meditation workshop. (Four Quarters events are a given and don't count for this.)

Extra 6 for over the year or weekly/monthly:
_ Draw an Oracle card weekly.
_ Lose those last 20-25 lbs.
_ Read a lot! Keep a tally of how many you read :)
_ Start exfoliating weekly.
_ Go out on a date more regularly.
_ Gradually increase my yoga practice.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Gratitude Tuesday

So I'm not sure if I am going to try and pull myself back into blogging by doing gratitude posts on Tuesdays, daily, or on select days during the week (although one should always acknowledge and show gratitude to some extent every day) but I figure it's a good starting point to say at least Tuesdays.

I'm grateful for Autumn. It's my favorite season, although Winter likes to try and get up in there too. A lot of people see Autumn as the season of everything dying, which is fine. There's nothing wrong with dying, especially when one considers that death makes room for other living beings to have a turn at life, and that, according to reincarnation/afterlife theories, we must die in order to experience the next part of our existence cycle.

But I digress! Autumn brings pumpkins and squash and warm days followed by cool nights. It's perfect hoodie weather, and even more perfect snuggling weather. Autumn cooking magazines, pumpkin iced coffee, crisp cool air, the smell of wood fire coming from chimneys, the leaves changing color as the trees wind into sleep for the season...

I am grateful.

I am also grateful for this bar of dark chocolate and bottle of Peach White Honest Tea on my desk.

Love and Shimmery Light,
<3 Sapphire Orchid <3

Friday, July 27, 2012

Oil Perfume magick

I gave myself permission to skip a few weeks to get other stuff done :) And here I am again!

There is something magickal about perfume. We all are hard-wired to love beautiful scents, and to dislike and avoid unpleasant scents. Scent is the sense that is most easily identifiable and can jettison you back to a memory quicker than any other sense (like your grandmother's perfume).

A study (from somewhere made by someone :P lol) showed that 98% of women are more confident in themselves when they wear perfume. We wear perfume for a multitude of reasons:
  • to feel sexy or beautiful to ourselves
  • to feel sexy or beautiful to others
  • to cover up odors
  • to give ourselves a little bit of indulgence
  • to perk up your energy with the scent
  • to relax with the scent
  • to lift your mood
Perfumes can come in a variety of types: spray, powder, incense, solid dab-on, aromatic bathing waters, or oils. Oil perfumes are my favorite! One reason for this is that they are so easy to make (just mix and go!) and yet you can make them as complex and experimental as you want.

Another reason is that oil perfumes are one of the earliest known forms of perfume, rivalled only by incense and possibly water-based perfumes. Ancient women, be they Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Roman, Greek, Persian or elsewhere would massage their bodies with oil perfumes, sometimes getting as creative as to rub a different scent on each body part. (Jasmine on their necks, Rose on their breasts, Patchouli on their thighs, etc) So, using oil perfumes makes me feel like I'm doing this ancient, ages-old ritual celebrating my femininity by adorning myself with oil perfumes. It's like being an ancient Egyptian Pharoahess! It's lovely to pamper yourself with the fruits of nature and give yourself the energy of a queen.

Most oil perfumes consist of essential oils mixed in a carrier oil, since pure essential oils can overwhelm or even damage your skin undiluted (with the exception of lavender, which is fine to use 'neat' or undiluted). Essential oils are distilled aromatic essences of plants that have been extracted through a variety of methods. There are synthetic oils out there created in a chemist's lab, but they are not nearly as healthy or natural-smelling as true essential oils. You can usually tell the difference by looking at the label:
  1. If it reads 'fragrance oil' or 'perfume oil' instead of essential oil, then it is probably not real.
  2. If it doesn't include the scientific, botanical name (for example, Callitris intratropica for Blue Cypress) then it might not be real.
  3. Some essential oils are cheaper, and some are more expensive. If all types of oil are priced the same, they're more than likely fake. Similarly, particular essential oils like jasmine and rose are extremely expensive. Aura Cacia's current price for 0.125fl oz of Rose Otto is currently going for $79.99, and the same amount of Rose Absolute for $43.50. If a price on a rare essential oil seems too good to be true, it is probably fake or at least pre-diluted. Reputable carriers will put a note on the label specifying that an oil is diluted.
Truthfully, experimenting with essential oil blends can be somewhat expensive, if you're buying 15 oils and seeing what kinds of combinations you can make. My advice is, determine your budget, then go to the website of a reputable essential oil seller, such as Aura Cacia (, Ananda Apothecary (, Mountain Rose Herbs (, etc and scroll through their sites, making a list of scents you'd like to try, and their prices. Don't forget to factor into your budget in the cost of diluting oils, such as sweet almond oil or jojoba oil, or a blend. Create an order of preference of what you'd like to try, and using that and your  judgement about their prices, perhaps buy 1-4 oils that you can test-blend small amounts.

Some usually more affordable oils include but certainly aren't limited to: Amyris, Basil, Benzoin, Cedarwood, Clary Sage, Lemongrass, Lime, Marjoram, Niaouli, Oak Moss, Sweet Orange, Patchouli, Peppermint, Pine, Rosemary, Spruce, and Tangerine.

Personally, I love a simple mixture of Patchouli and Vanilla (vanilla comes in an absolute form, or I have used vanilla extract before as well). Lime and Basil are always a fun, sparkly combination. I've been meaning to get some Benzoin and try mixing it with my sweet orange, but haven't gotten around to it.

So anyway, within your budgetary limitations, GO WILD!!! It won't take long until you'll find what oils resonate best with you, and find some perfect combinations for you!

Love and Shimmery Light,
<3 Sapphire Orchid <3

Friday, June 8, 2012

L is for Love

Hi. I'm Larry. The Love Chipmunk. Brr. I'm cold. I need some lovin'.

Love. When you boil right down to it, it's what everyone wants.
Love. There's something about it.
Love. It's all around us, floating and flowing and surrounding and cradling each of us, even when we can't feel it.
Love. Sure, it's all around us, and yet we all want more of it, and the more we give of it, the more there is in the entire Universe for all of us.

I was always very leery of 'love spells' throughout my first few years as a pagan. People who cast love spells seemed to me like they were either A. casting them to attract someone in particular, which just has bad idea written all over it, or B. using it as an excuse to not go out and socialize and actually DO things that would truly allow them to FIND love.

As I go on with my life, however, I'm starting to realize that however you ask for love, whether it's specific or generic or avoiding some other situation, the universe answers you. And maybe it doesn't answer you in the way that you think, but it does answer you and provide you with what you need.

For example, maybe you cast a love spell to attract a mate. The universe maybe gets your request for romantic love but sees that what you need more right now is the compassionate, unconditional love that a pet companion provides and you find a dog or cat that connects that well with you. Or maybe the universe senses that you need companionship-love more, and so it sends you an excellent friend.

Or maybe even when you send your wish for love out into the universe, maybe love is all the same deep down beneath it all, and the universe can't differentiate, it just sends us love. Then, maybe the form that it sends us love in determines how we humans categorize that love. The Universe sent me a bunny, so I interpret this bunny's love as pet love. The Universe sent my mother to visit me, so I interpret her love as a mother's love. Maybe love is all just the same and other circumstances determine how we view that love. Such as Love+Attraction = romantic love. Love+Time Spent+Similar Interests = friendship. Eh? Maybe? Just an idea.

Anyway, so it would be fun to come up with a ritual and/or energy working that holds three purposes: gratitude for the love we have in our lives, a gift of love out into the universe, and  an expression of joy and hope, and invitation for all the love that is to come in the future. It could be done by yourself, with a loved one, or maybe even in a group. How powerful would that be??!!

Always Love,
<3 Sapphire Orchid <3

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I used to absolutely hate Jasmine until I realized I was using the fake stuff.

We ran out of sandalwood soap, and I was busy when Tim asked me what I wanted as far as soap, and I said something along the lines of *grunt* "eh? uh... yeah." And so he grabbed... a-this!:

Bee & Flower Jasmine Soap. Holy frikken moley. Yes, I just said Holy Frikken Moley. Well, typed it.

And it smells REALLY RIDICULOUSLY WONDERFUL. Granted, I know it's all natural fragrance, but I don't know if it's all only Jasmine fragrance, but since Jasmine essential oil is uber expensive, it's probably "enhanced" by some other flower. So anyway, me smelling all good after getting out the shower got me all curious in Jasmine, enough to write a short post about my findings, and other tidbits of knowledge I picked up from various places throughout the years.

According to Wikipedia, Jasmine is actually a genus, not a species. But there are specieses of Jasmine. Just, more than one like I had previously thought. Like, 200 SPECIES!!! And they're native to "the old world" (I chuckled when I saw Wiki say that) in tropical/warm places, mostly in Asia and Southeast Asia, but also popping up in the Middle-East, Africa, Europe, etc. It is also apparently related to olives, which is just weird.

Totally not an olive. Totally gorgeous photo of a blooming Jasmine by BarbaraDin on

You can make tea with Jasmine. I admit, I'm not a big green tea fan, and the only tea with Jasmine I can ever seem to find is green. Oh but to find some black or white tea with jasmine in it! But I digress. Apparently it's really awesome and sometimes the actual little petals are in there, not just some dumb flavoring and it's all smelly and pretty and sensuous and I really want some tea. Now.

Multiple sources cite Jasmine as an aphrodisiac, and I think I've heard about it as a really good remedy for menstrual cramps as well, both of which I have yet to try. All I know is when I shower with the jasmine soap I feel all soft and feminine and it makes me wanna put on harem pants.

Ok that's all for today. I'm not gonna lie, I didn't put much effort into that. :)

<3 Sapphire Orchid <3

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Om Shanti Naturals Salt & Sugar Scrub Review

Last birthday, my sister completely broke character and told me in advance what she was going to buy me in advance. The reason she told me was because she wasn't sure what SCENT to get me.

I've been on this green beauty kick for a little over a year now, thanks to Julie Gabriel's Green Beauty Guide, which has become my bible for avoiding the noxious, harmful chemicals that cosmetics, hair products, body and facial care products dump into our delicate systems every day. (Yeah, pretty much anything you can pick up in your local grocery store beauty aisles contains petrochemicals, harsh irritants, carcinogenic compounds, and other lovely things that support your un-health.)

Anyway, Jenni was aware of this, and she did her homework. She found this company called Om Shanti Naturals, and got me a Patchouli Vanilla Sugar and Salt Scrub. The company is run by this wonderful, creative lady named Kate, who I met in person at the Collegeville Winter Farmers Market after having already used all of the Patchouli Vanilla scrub and loving it to death. Sadly, I did not get the opportunity to meet her Vice President of Marketing, an orange cat named Loiosh, but here's to staying hopeful!

The company logo. And it IS all crap-free. Not a single bad ingredient, it's all pure.

The stuff is amazing. I love it. It's basically a scrub made of sea salt, sugar, moisturizing oils and essential oils to make you soft and smelling delicious. It comes in this cute, re-usable wide-mouthed jar with a screw top, and when you're in the shower, after you've washed, you take a handful of this stuff and rub it all over your body. The result is that you get a REALLY awesome exfoliation, and it leaves the oil on your skin.

I know what you're thinking, OIL on my SKIN?? But don't panic. It's not greasy at all. The oils are natural, like grapeseed and apricot kernel oil -- these are the kinds of oils massage therapists use, the kinds that glide over your skin and feed it moisture and trace vitamins and wonderfulness.

So here's the thing, when you rinse the scrub off, the salt and sugar will go down your drain (it's ok, it won't do any clogging, I promise, but it will make your shower floor slippery, so be careful) and the oil will remain on your skin. When you dry off, it will transfer to your towel. Again, these are massage-therapist quality oils, they will not harm your towels at all. The towels will take off the excess oil that your skin doesn't need, leaving a slight amount still on your skin. Stay in the bathroom for another minute or five, and it will soak into your skin leaving you lightly scented, soft, supple, and simply lovely to touch. And you will stay SMOOTH all day long.

The other thing is, if you've never had a bathing experience with essential oils, you're in for a real treat. We're so used to synthetic fragrances in our lives, that essential oils can be a little overwhelming if you aren't expecting them. They truly are, however, a lesson in luxuriousness, and to boot, each essential oil has its own physical and emotional health benefits. When you take a bath with essential oils, they work into the steam in the room, swirl all around you, and envelop you. For me, I always have a keener, more vibrant sense of smell whenever I'm through showering with essential oil-infused body oils.

There are more scents than just the Patchouli Vanilla one, though. Personally, that one is my favorite so far, with its earthy, sweet scent-hue. I close my eyes and I'm standing under a sparkling waterfall in a magical forest with vanilla beans hanging from the lush greenery, and the smell of clean, pure soil below, nourishing the sky-high trees.

However, my boyfriend is not so fond of Patchouli. Right now, I have the Kyphi scrub, and it too is delightful; she uses a simplified, delicately beautiful balance of the main scents that make Kyphi smell like Kyphi: frankincense, myrrh, cinnamon, and spearmint. It too is delicious, but I do love the Patchouli Vanilla.

So, long story short, you need to try this stuff. And her other stuff. Up next on my list of Om Shanti products to try? I'm particularly keen on trying the Tangerine Vanilla Lip Balm, Cinnamon Vanilla Massage and Bath Oil, and the Spearmint Calendula Soap.

You can find her website here: and she's on Etsy too.

<3 Sapphire Orchid <3

Monday, May 14, 2012

Totally skipping last week. J is for Jacuzzi Magick!!

Seriously. Who doesn't love jacuzzis??!

It is a pure crying shame that there is a jacuzzi in my own bathroom and yet I rarely use it, mostly because of the sheer amount of water required to fill it up. And I was brushing my teeth this morning, thinking these thoughts along with the fact that I hadn't done a PBP post for the past two weeks (oops) and I suddenly realized, I'd never really heard anything about jacuzzi magick or lore or anything.

A jacuzzi is basically a modernized version of a hot springs with lots of mini geysers. Most people would automatically tag an elemental association as water, however, the jacuzzi is uniquely poised to be associated with all elements: water fills it, air bubbles flow through it to make it jacuzzi-y and awesome, heat is applied (fire?) and of course, the jacuzzi itself is the vessel that holds it all together. So if you're doing any sort of elemental workings, it would suit particularly for water, or for a balance of all four elements.

I'm not big on spell-writing, nor too good at ritual writing, but I am decent at offering suggestions on what to do with things! So here are some ideas for using a jacuzzi in your magickal workings:
--Cleansing energy work, since jacuzzis are essentially a bath and baths are for cleaning
--Relaxation, meditation
--Beauty energy work, particularly if you also indulge in a facial and hair mask, and really let the steam set in and open everything up :)
--For energy working that may involve a hot spring of any sort, a jacuzzi is a more accessible (and sometimes safer) way of working with these energies.
--Love and sex energy work, to heat things up a little ;D
--Releasing and banishing. If you sit in the water and meditate upon shedding all of your cares into the water, then pull the plug, everything will release down the drain.

Pretty much any bath magick can be performed in a jacuzzi, except for one warning: any herbs, spicies, oils, or any form of additive to the water might gunk up or harm the motors in your jacuzzi. Don't ruin your jacuzzi. It's probably super expensive.

<3 Sapphire Orchid <3