Tag Archives: literature

Gift Ideas Inspired By Nature

Standard
Gift Ideas Inspired By Nature

When it comes to giving gifts, you can choose to head to a department store and you are sure to get something beautiful and thoughtful. But, sometimes, it’s great to give something a little more meaningful and likely to be treasured and used for longer. When people say natural gifts, it can conjure up all sorts of images and ideas, but if you know someone who cares about the environment, prefers natural products, or has a bit of a hippy heart, then these gifts will be perfect for them. This has the extra bonus of supporting some smaller businesses, too.

“My favorite things often have a story behind them and are usually handmade or discovered at a flea market.”Amy Sedaris

Handmade soaps:

You will often find with handmade soaps that these are home-based businesses with one person behind the whole range. If you have allergies or your skin doesn’t love some ingredients from mass producers, you’re likely to be able to use these. They are usually 100% organic, packed with pure essential oils, and smell fantastic.

Felt booties:

Slippers or boots handmade from 100% wool, and natural rubber. From farm to foot is a great ethos to live by. Usually made in part by hand and part by machine, you know you’re going to get a lovely product with a lot of care and attention to detail.

Cold water essential oil diffuser:

An essential oil diffuser will disperse gorgeous scents all over the home. You can choose different fragrances depending on what mood you are trying to create. To create a calming environment, especially when someone is feeling run down, use lemon. Lavender is perfect for soothing anxiety and aiding sleep. Cinnamon helps concentration and creates a warm atmosphere. Use Peppermint for brainstorming and boosting energy and Rosemary to help you recall information and ward off headaches.

Metal straws:

Many places have banned single-use plastics and are pushing to only have plastic straws for those who really need them. But, sometimes, sipping a cold drink with a straw is a particular type of bliss. Get your friend (and yourself) a pack of metal straws to do your share in waste reduction.

And, speaking of waste reduction, it is almost impossible to cook a meal without having some waste produced. If your friend doesn’t already compost, now might be the perfect time to start. You could gift them with a large composter for in the garden or a smaller more portable one for the kitchen. A compost pail will help your friend reduce their carbon footprint considerably. Many pails come with charcoal filters, which will help trap and control the odors that are often associated with composting. Once the compost is created, it can be used to grow herbs and more veggies.

Plants are great gifting options, too. Not every eco-friendly person is great at taking care of plants, though. So bear that in mind and perhaps opt for something that is easy to look after. Succulents are very popular right now, have a gorgeous effect on their surroundings, and are easy to care for. Air plants are also wildly popular with people who simply can’t seem to keep anything alive. Tillandsias as they are known, require no soil, and can grow simply by being hot glued to an object. All they need is a mist of water once a week or so.

Solid deodorant:

Ditch the roll-on or spray deodorant for something a little more earth-friendly. You can pick up a pot of solid deodorant made from skin loving ingredients that work hard all day to prevent you from sweating and work just as well as anything you’ll buy in store.

Great tea:

A good cup of tea at the right time can change your life. There are many, many brands of tea but you could spend some extra time looking for handmade teas that have a benefit to the local area or the makers directly. This is a double whammy, as you can also choose a beverage that has health benefits like aiding digestion, heart health, or calming teas. Gift loose leaves with a reusable tea bag for maximum eco-friendliness.

nature1

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

If your recipient is looking to increase their knowledge in all the ways that they can have a positive impact on the planet, then you should take a look at some of the best books around at the moment. Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste, by Bea Johnson is a great choice. This Changes Everything – Capitalism vs. Climate is written by Naomi Klein and talks environment and the ‘free market.’ Or, some inspirational literature like Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, or Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found by Cheryl Strayed.

When it comes to giving gifts, the thought far outweighs the price that has been paid. So get your friend or family member something that will mean a great deal to them while being kind to the world.

Featured Image By: Vladimir Proskurovskiy on Unsplash

Advertisements

Lil Red Loves: Libraries

Standard
Lil Red Loves: Libraries

Hi! Something that I’ve been fond of for as long as I can remember but, even more so this year, is the good ol’ local library. In my neck of the woods, there are plenty of different libraries to go to that have instilled in me a love for reading from story time as a youngin up until now as a twenty something. And, what I have learned this past year, is that libraries aren’t just for checking out books and movies.

Frequenting the libraries in the greater Akron area has become a staple in my day job, as they offer wonderful, educational, and fun programs that are all completely free. My clients and I love visiting different libraries and always end up reaping the benefits that the programs and events have to offer. From gaining knowledge and new hobbies to receiving totally free books like the ones below, the library is definitely the place to be.

books2.jpeg

The libraries in my area offer everything from reading with therapy dogs to GED classes and murder mystery dinners. I have been to excellent music concerts with clients and showings of recently released movies in a huge auditorium. I’ve also attended yoga classes, escape rooms, and lessons in meditation all for the cost of absolutely FREE.

Just last week at North Hill Library’s meditation class, there were cardboard boxes full of free books for the taking. Mysteries, romances, fiction, and nonfiction alike were all there to be sorted through and there was no limit to what we could select. My client and I had a blast looking at all of the choices and I ended up picking out all of the above horror style murder mysteries (My favorite!) to take home with me. Will I like all of them? Maybe not, but that’s no harm done, because I can always donate it so that someone else can have what might be their new favorite page turner.

Lil Red will always support establishments that better the community and I am thankful that mine has so many excellent libraries to choose from, because they do just that. Libraries are inclusive to every single person in this world and there is much to be learned and a lot of fun to be had during your next visit to the neighborhood library!

Who else makes good use out of their local library? What type of programs does your library offer to the public? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Meditation Recommendations

Standard
Meditation Recommendations

Hi everyone! Something that I really enjoy doing is going to a meditation class offered by my local library. The woman who runs it, Joann Xi, is the founder of the Center for Health, Happiness, and Chan. This organization promotes a mindful and contemplative lifestyle and teaches the art of meditation to those in the greater Akron area. During class this week, Joann gave us a paper listing some helpful books, apps, podcasts, and websites that she recommends and I thought that I would share it with all of you. And, if you are interested in seeing Joann in action, check out my blog post which features her YouTube videos. She’s amazing!

From Eastern Traditions:

Books:

  1. The Art of Living: Vipassana Meditation as Taught by S.N. Goenka by William Hart
  2. Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh
  3. True Love by Thich Nhat Hanh
  4. Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism by Chogyam Trungpa
  5. Bringing Home the Dharma by Jack Kornfield
  6. The Wisdom of No Escape by Pema Chodron

Podcasts:

  1. Insight Hour Podcast with Joseph Goldstein
  2. Ram Dass Hear and Now
  3. Heart Wisdom Podcast with Jack Kornfield

Websites:

  1. https://www.secularbuddhism.org/
  2. https://www.lionsroar.com/

From Western Traditions:

Books:

  1. Invitation to Love by Thomas Keating
  2. Intimacy with God by Thomas Keating
  3. Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton
  4. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
  5. Fully Present by Susan L Smalley and Diana Winston
  6. Mindful Work by David Gelles

Audio Books:

  1. Going on Being by Mark Epstein
  2. Going to Pieces without Falling Apart by Mark Epstein

Podcasts:

  1. 10% Happier with Dan Harris

Apps:

  1. Headspace (Westernized version of eastern meditation practices)

YouTube:

  1. Zen Den
  2. Cosmic Kids

Websites:

  1. https://www.cac.org/
  2. https://www.couragerenewal.org

Integration of East/West:

Books:

  1. Living Zen Loving God by Ruben L.F. Habito
  2. The Mystic Heart by Wayne Teasdale
  3. The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts

I hope that some of these wonderful options to help introduce you to meditation or further your practices prove to be beneficial to those who need it. Once a skeptic, I truly believe in the power of meditation and the amazing work that Joann is doing, so please enjoy!

Who else participates in meditation? What are some ways that help you to relax? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Red! A Retelling Of An Old Story

Standard
Red! A Retelling Of An Old Story

Hi everyone and welcome to the next post in my Halloween Heaven guest bloggers series, written by a professional story teller. Yeah, Simon Brooks, the author of the piece that you are about to read literally gets paid to visit libraries, colleges, and businesses to tell folk and fairy tales. Dream job, much?

When Simon emailed me and told me that he had a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood that he created, I jumped at the opportunity to have him on my page. What better place to tell the tale of Little Red Riding Hood than on lifewithlilred?! And what’s more, Simon was kind enough to record his tale on his SoundCloud page special for all of you. I cannot recommend listening to it enough, because it’s truly incredible. Simon’s story starts in the belly of the wolf and will be sure to get you in the spooky spirit of Halloween faster than you can say “Little Red”! Listen along to the recording as you read and enjoy:

Red! A Retelling Of An Old Story

By Simon Brooks, © 2017

It was dark, damp, and hot. The air was filled with rancidity. The old woman felt around the slime covered walls, which gave and moved to her touch. She felt a jolt and was bounced around and for a short while was not sure which way was up and which was down. Then all was still. Sitting up, she felt the walls press against her. She heard gentle rumblings, was jolted again and felt it become slightly and slowly more damp. There was an acidic smell to the new dampness, not unlike wine. At least it was warm. Silence and stillness and what seemed like eternal darkness ruled for a while.

Then, the old lady could hear murmurings and mumbles, but could not make anything out. The woman was glad to try to hear what the noise was; it was a distraction from the claustrophobia that she was beginning to feel. Then, another sudden jolt, a roar, and she was bounced and jostled around and felt something land and press against her. There was barely room to move before; now she was crushed almost beyond endurance against the stinking, slimy wall. The old woman did not move and then muttered to herself: “It’s dark in here, but at least I am still alive.”

“Who’s there?” said a tiny voice.

“Is that you, Little Red?”

“Grandma! Did the wolf eat you, too?”

“Well, I suppose he did, my little one.”

“I’m sorry Granny, it’s all my fault.” The small voice began to tremble, so Granny pulled her grandchild in close and hugged her.

“Don’t be silly. How can it be your fault?”

“Well, me and Mama, we made some bread for you ‘cause you was poorly and I was supposed to bring it to you with the wine. And I was s’posed to come straight here, but I never did,” said the girl. “It’s so hot, I can barely breathe.”

Granny spoke softly. “There, there.”

There was a sudden movement and they heard the sound of liquid rushing towards them. It poured over them both. Red cried out and Granny held the girl tighter. There was that acidic smell again. In another place it might have smelled good. Maybe. Granny said, “Well, what happened?” She tried to clear the warm liquid from Red’s face.

“Mama told me to come straight here, but I didn’t,” said Red.

“Well, what happened?” Granny asked again.

The girl sniffed and said, “I met a wolf on the path, Granny.”

Granny’s voice was patient and soft. “What happened, Red?”

“He asked if he could walk with me as it was such a nice day and I said ‘yes’. He was big, but really thin, Granny.”

“There, there. What happened?” There was more noise and some moving, then nothing.

“He asked where I was going and I told him. That I was coming to your house ‘cause you was poorly and I had bread me and Mama made and some wine for you. The wolf, the wolf, he said maybe I should pick some flowers, too. That if you were poorly, flowers would make you happy and feel better.”

“Yes, they would, my dear. Yes they would. So you strayed off the path?”

“I did, Granny. I strayed off the path, and then he was gone. And I came straight here.”

Granny was quiet for a while. “That wolf, the old sinner. I bet he thought he’d come here and make a meal of us both.” She sniffed the air and her clothes. “And wash us down with the wine, of course.” She sighed and thought. “I’m sure that there’s a way out of this, if I could think of it,” she said.

“It smells in here, Granny.”

“That is does, dear. That it does. It’s dark and hot, too, in case you hadn’t noticed.” Although Red could not see her grandmother, she knew that she was smiling. Red could hear it in her grandmother’s voice.

The humidity rose and rose. Granny tried to take deep breaths, but found it hard. The fetid air grew heavier until there was a great rumbling roar and release. For a while Granny and Red could breathe a little easier.

There was a slight movement and it felt like something was pushing in against one of the walls of the wolf’s stomach. A shining point came through the wall and with it, a thin sliver of light. The sudden brightness grew as the slit grew. After the complete darkness, the light made Granny cover both her own eyes and those of Little Red. More light poured in and a pair of hands followed.

Little Red was pulled from Grandma’s grasp and lifted out of the belly of the beast. Granny cried out. The hands reached down again and carefully lifted Granny. They both blinked in the bright light and saw before them a tall, strong, kind-faced huntsman. Although he smiled at them, there was something about his face that told Granny how both she and her granddaughter looked and smelled.

“Are you two ladies alright?” He asked. He looked about and got a cloth. After dampening it, he handed it to Granny who wiped her face and hands clean. A basket lay on the floor, and flowers were strewn about. An empty bottle lay on the floor next to an untouched loaf of bread, still wrapped in a cloth. The table had been pushed across the floor and a chair tipped over. The old lady stood, still shaking a little, and wetted the cloth once more and began to wipe off Red. The young girl clung to her grandmother, looking back and forth between the huntsman and the wolf.

The huntsman began to pick up the belongings, which had been knocked onto the floor, and straightened the house up a little. He said: “I’ve been tracking this old sinner for a while, now. Sorry I didn’t find him sooner.”

Granny looked at the huntsman. He was handsome and made Granny’s heart skip a beat. She smiled at the man. “Thank you. For saving us and for picking up the mess.” Granny looked over at her bed and saw the wolf with his head flopped back and belly opened up. “Please take it away.”

The huntsman pulled the sheets around the wolf and took the body outside. Granny washed Red’s hair at the water pump in the kitchen.

When the hunter came back in, he told them that he had skinned the wolf and butchered the meat. “No point in letting it all go to waste.” His clothes were rough but well made. The boots heavy and worn, but looked comfortable.

Granny remembered her husband, when he had been alive. He had a pair just like them and he used to say that they were as comfortable as slippers. She smiled at the memory, but then shuddered again, thinking of the wolf.

The man looked around the house and then at Granny. “Well, there is a reward for a wolf’s pelt. It doesn’t seem right to me that I keep it all. After all, I found the sinner in your house.” He moved from one foot to another, slightly embarrassed. I’ll bring you the money or we could split it,” said the man.

“No need to do that.” Granny stroked Red’s hair with lavender oil, trying to get rid of the smell. “If you had not been tracking him, I don’t know when we would have got out. You keep the money.”

“If you say so. Thank you. Can I help out here? Should I send word to anyone?”

“No. We will be fine now. If you could burn the bed covers and sheets, I would appreciate that.”

“Of course.”

So, the house was put right again. The great pot was boiled and the water poured into a small tin tub into which Little Red was thoroughly scrubbed. The pot was boiled again and Granny washed herself. She picked some lavender and rubbed the leaves over both of them. Granny dressed her granddaughter in some of her own clothes, and the two laughed at such a small girl dressed in such roomy clothing.

While the washed clothes dried in the sun, the girl’s hooded red cloak flapped in the warm breeze. Together they made some soup, which went very nicely with the bread that Red had brought.

Before dusk, they went out together and picked some new flowers and put them in a vase. The flowers Red had arrived with were broken and trampled. Red’s mother and father visited a couple of days later to check on them both. The hunter had told them that the wolf had been found and killed and that Granny and Red were fine.

Although it needs not to be mentioned, I will say that Little Red never strayed from the path again; unless it was with her grandmother to pick flowers.

^^^ Wow! Infinite thanks to Simon for sharing his newly penned fairy tale with my readers. If you enjoyed this piece, then I urge you to check out Simon’s page for more stories and audio recordings of his work! What is your favorite fairy or folk tale? Which fairy/folk tale frightened you as a child? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: Pinterest

Stories & Snapshots Of “Haunted” Dreamland Park

Standard
Stories & Snapshots Of “Haunted” Dreamland Park
Hi everyone and happy Monday! This special post in my Halloween Heaven guest bloggers series is brought to you by my friend, Les, over at PhotoJournal Of Corker2. This is actually one of my favorite posts that has graced my page in a long while, because I am a horror junkie. I love the literature, the films, the haunted attractions and, of course, a good old fashioned ghost story. Obviously, this guest post is right up my alley and I can’t thank Les enough for it. Take a look and don’t get too scared! 😉

Stories & Snapshots Of “Haunted” Dreamland Park

Back in the middle 60’s there was a place called Dreamland Park. It was located not far from me on a two lane back country road. This small amusement park was once the place to be on a Friday and Saturday night. It was not a very big park, but at the time it offered what us kids wanted. It had a main building where you could play bingo and pinball machines. It also had a jukebox to dance to and a picnic area. There was a Band Shell, a Ferris Wheel, and a French Fry Stand where you could buy hot dogs, hamburgers, and candy. It was a nice place for that time. Since I was only there once, I still remember it.
The place was doing quite well. Then, sometime in 1969, a murder took place there and it was never the same again. The story goes, that one evening a couple was up on Skyline Drive, a popular “parking” area that overlooked the city up on top of Neversink Mountain. They were a teenage couple, like most of us. I forget the guy’s name, but the girl was Marilyn. While parked up there, three members of the Pagan Motorcycle Gang stopped at the parked car and started abusing the couple. They took them for a ride around the countryside, traveling the back roads during which time they raped, beat the girl, and then shot her. They beat the boy unconscious and then shot him, too. The Gang ended up in Dreamland Park where they buried both of them in a shallow grave and covered it with leaves.
In the days that followed, the law found out who committed such an atrocious act, and all three were arrested for first degree murder and then sentenced to jail for I don’t know how long. They did recover the bodies of the two teenagers and gave them a proper burial. The name of one member of the Pagan Gang was John Elways. The other two I don’t recall.
After all of this happened, the park gradually started to decline. Profits fell and sometime later, Dreamland Park closed for good, never to reopen again.
dreamland1

Pictured above is all that remains of the French Fry Stand.

dreamland2

This is what is left of the main building. It was around here that I had a strange encounter. Notice the small “white” area where my watermark is placed. It’s not the camera. What is that? I could not get rid of it.

What used to be the Carousel Building.

Here stands what used to be the carousel building. For 25 cents you could ride the carousel and try to catch the magic golden ring. Now gone to history, all that remains is the outside frame. It was just behind this, that the couple was found.

Now, fast forward to present time.
I had almost forgotten about Dreamland Park until I got word of it from a friend that told me it was haunted. I decided to take my camera and go check it out. I was not told that it was now private property, so I just went right in and started walking around. I could still remember what and where things were from long ago.
The weather was in the high 50s, but sunny. No one was here, except for me and my Pentax K100D. There was a slight breeze that moved the bushes and trees, but the chill was far from unbearable. While walking through the slicker bushes, weeds, and small trees, I started to get this feeling that someone or something was behind me. I must have turned around at least six times, thinking that I was being watched. I didn’t feel threatened. It was more of a “creepy” feeling that’s hard to describe. Still, there was no one there.
I kept walking around and stopping here and there to see if anyone was “lurking” around. Nothing. After about an hour, I decided to take my exit from Dreamland Park.
To this day, I still wonder if “something” was there. Was it the ghosts of the murdered couple? Was it just my imagination? I don’t know. I have not gone back to Dreamland Park since then. By now, there is not much left of what once was. There is also a book out about what happened there called Dark In The Park. It probably gives a much better description of what went on, if you are interested.
^^^ Wasn’t that fantastic?! Once again, a million thanks to the man behind the camera who shared his pictures and story with us. Les runs an excellent blog and I can’t recommend it enough, so do check it out! Are there any haunted attractions in your neck of the woods? What is something that you’re afraid of? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Tattoo Update!!

Standard
Tattoo Update!!

Hi everyone and happy Monday! So on Saturday I got my new tattoo, which you can see the inspiration for in this post. It went swimmingly BUT there is still some work to be done on it – a few add ons and touch ups because some of it was done in white. SO I won’t be posting a picture of the finished product until next week when it is officially “all done”. Rest assured that I am absolutely in love with my Little Prince themed ink so far and I can’t wait for all of you to see it soon!

Until I post pictures of my new tattoo baby, enjoy this picture of me talking on my good ol’ trap phone, instead!

trap.jpg

^^^ AYYY!

(And if you use your powers of observation, you’ll notice my Little Prince shirt underneath my favorite moto jacket!)

How was everyone’s weekend? Who else has gotten some new body mods done recently? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

New Tattoo Excitement!!

Standard
New Tattoo Excitement!!

Heyyy everyone and happy Hump Day! So I am wicked excited for Saturday the 20th at 1 o’clock in the afternoon because I have a tattoo appointment!! I was planning to get a new tattoo for my birthday in June, but I saw that the artist who I am going to is running a percentage off special in May so I figured that I might as well get it now and save some money on it. It has been literal years since my last tattoo. Jeez Louise, I think it might have been back in 2014. Yikes!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I don’t want more tattoos because I want a bunch. But, when I started college in 2014, I didn’t exactly have money to just throw around on extra things like body mods, clothes, and accessories because they were just extra and text books are no joke. But, now that I’ve been graduated since the end of 2016 and am actually making money instead of constantly spending it on college related fees, I feel pretty okay about getting a TREAT YOSELF/early birthday tattoo!

So what am I gonna get, you might ask? Take a looksee:

prince3prince2

If you aren’t familiar with the book The Little Prince, then you are missing out because that’s where these drawings are from! I plan on getting the first image of him flying with the birds on my side but I want him dressed in the clothing from the second image. The birds are going to go up onto my back and probably end close to my bra line. Then at some point, I’ll work in a quote en francais as well as the horizon line at the end of the book. AHHHH!!

For those of you who don’t already know, The Little Prince is one of my all time favorite books. It just is. I could read it every day until I die and never tire of it. I think that it is so beautiful and every time I read it (which is quite frequently), I fall even more in love with the words and imagery scattered like petals throughout the pages. I am super excited to get my undying adoration for this book commemorated in tattoo form and it has been a long time coming because I’ve wanted this done for five-ever.

May 20th can’t come soon enough and I have a feeling that I will be in the tattoo chair quite a lot this year! How’s that for some New Tattoo Excitement?! Who plans on getting a new piercing or tattoo soon? What is your favorite tattoo or piercing that you have? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah