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Liberate Your Art 2017


I like to do different mail swaps through the year.  They are inexpensive and take little time.  The Bonus of my bit of effort is getting beautiful snail mail in return.

One of my favorite activities is the Liberate your Art Swap. This is led by Kat Sloma.  She is great about giving the very simple directions, reminding us as deadline approaches, and getting everything that we have mailed her circulated and sent out.

Basically this is how it works:

I send six postcards of my art to her and I get back six postcards o other people’s art.

My postcard is different every year.  Now that I am doing this a while and because someone else mentioned it to me-I should keep a spreadsheet. I always get extra postcards made and I don’t want to send the same one each year.

Sometimes my postcards are a photo of a painting I did.  Other times it is just a photo I think is cool.  Depending what it is and what I want, I will often use PicMonkey to add words to my card.

I took a picture of my friends rocks and loved it.  I asked her permission to use that as my postcard and I simply included her website on there.

It’s a lot of fun and the cards are beautiful.  I also have people I side swap with!

Here are the cards I got this year.

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Here are some of the cards I have sent in the past:

I hope you will consider doing a swap…very little time -very big rewards. When you order your cards-order a few extra.  Postcard stamps are cheaper and you will have some quick snail mail to send out to those you are about. I sent one to my friend for her birthday and I was so happy to see that she was excited to get a “piece of my art”.


Happy Creating!


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I DID IT-with a little help from my friends!

People find this hard to believe, but I am afraid of a lot of things.  OK I looked up the definition just to make sure I am using the right word. Afraid: 1.filled with fear or apprehension 2. filled with regret or concern 3. feeling worry or concern or insecurity 4. having feelings of aversion or unwillingness.The only one that does NOT fit is number four. 

I remember reading a book Love is Letting Go of Fear by Gerald Jampolsky.

“There are only two emotions: one is Love and the other is fear. Love is our true reality. Fear is something our mind has made up, and is therefore unreal.”

Gerald G. Jampolsky, Love Is Letting Go of Fear

At first I found that ridiculous but as I thought about different things I did-I realized everything I did-I could tie to either love or fear.  I started to think about over people’s behavior as well-the boss that hovers, the perfectionists, and the procrastinators. It helped me to see people differently.  We have all run into people at work that seem grumpy and indifferent. Instead of being upset-I saw them differently.  Certainly that type of behavior was not love-so they must be afraid of something.  It really is a paradigm shift and I think it is easier to stop taking things personally and be compassionate because no one likes to be afraid.

“Fear and love can never be experienced at the same time. It is always our choice as to which of these emotions we want…”

Gerald G. Jampolsky

Oh yeah-that is so true and I have gotten in trouble many times, with people I love, for choosing fear. Once it was too gone to get back-I realized my actions were fear based.  I will make every effort from now on not to make decisions based on fear-when it comes to my relationships with people.

I am always afraid of trying something new. Like I have a new silhouette machine.  Yes-I have been busy but I admit I may be procrastinating trying it the first time because it is new. I procrastinate on projects thinking I can’t do it, or I need hours of time-only to find out when I finally jump in…that I can do it just fine.

Sometimes if it is something I really want to do, I will do it anyway. It could be taking a class in a new technique, going to a party where I do not know anyone, joining a new group, or greeting someone at church (yes, this is scary for me). I won’t sleep and I ‘ll be anxious, but I do it.

But there are some things I would never do alone.  I am pretty brave considering all the things I have made myself do over the years and all the hairy things I have survived but I doubt I will I know I will never be as brave as my friend Annette who traveled to Italy by herself! I know I will never jump out of a parachute like my friend Sharon.

Ok I did crochet the bracelet I thought I could not do. But when I did not understand the directions for the closure, it sat for months.  Finally I decided I would finish it MY way so that I could wear this bracelet I loved.

Something that has been on my list for a while is a 5K. Now I am not a runner, I am a walker.  I want to do the Disney one because I want that medal. But, this is one of those things I am NOT doing unless I have a buddy. Too far out of my comfort zone. I have asked friends here and there but never followed through-well…because I am afraid.

Then one day I am sitting with friend Jo Foringer and she said she has signed up for a 10K and that she will be walking. I was listening-I asked for details. I used to walk over three miles a day so I figured I could do this-I can walk.  Knowing I would be with her-a confidence buddy or whatever you want to say…I signed up.  I told myself I needed to get out walking again and wearing sneakers (hate them) to get ready.  I had months.  Well, life is busy and I probably only walked a few times,  I was not giving up though-because as rigid as I can be when I am afraid, I am just as rigid if I have told someone I am going to be there.

So Jo and her husband Dave would meet me at the race. I got there first and then was freaking that she was not coming. Of course they did. I had only slept three hours the night before because-I was afraid. I knew I could finish in three hours because I know my walking pace.  But what if I have to go to the bathroom  What if I get a cramp? What if I get overheated? OK so I planned ahead.  I have a fanny pack and I packed it for every disaster.

Two waters

Two kind bars

tissues (lack of such could be embarrassing)

Deep Blue roll on (for cramping-my friend had used it in a previous race)

Digestzen (a tummy issue would NOT be good-I used this three times!)

Peppermint Beadlets (to keep me alert, help me if I get stuffed up)

Motivate Essential Oil-enough said

Cell phone-got to document this moment

Our friend Tara was there and that was a great feeling to see her before we began and get a hug.  Jo also had some other friends there as well.

When we started out, Dave & Jo were pacing a little faster than I expected. Dave has long legs and Jo was moving.  They asked if they were going too fast and I said no because really-it did not feel bad to me.  As I timed how we were doing, I felt the pace was a good one.

The walk started off with pelting rain and wind.  I was soaked and hated water getting in my face.  We had a headwind for sure but I would rather have it the first half and not the second. Overall I kept just a bit behind Dave & Jo.  The turning point was exciting.  I had no cramping, was not exhausted, and as water was provided, had plenty of water on me still.  I was not overheated at all.

I was thrilled when we got to the end-I think in just over two hours.  Would have been perfect if I had not fell in the sand.  Just to my knees-not out of exhaustion or anything but walking up the hill in the soft sand was the hardest part! There was one woman that was carried across the line by her friends! I got my Octopus Medal and I was SO PROUD of myself. I was SO THANKFUL for the experience. I wondered, of course, what took me so long to do this. But we know the answer, fear.

There were many encouraging words along the way!

After getting up that hill-we grabbed some water and then went off to party a bit before I headed home. Yes I did drink that before 10am!

Dave & Jo-I cannot thank you enough.  Thanks Dave for being the leader, even if you had to walk backwards sometimes. Thanks for your great pacing-all the encouragement helped me to do something that has been on my list for years.  Actually-a 5K was on my list so this was even better.  Just a little help from friends makes a difference.

Dave & Jo have already signed up for a 5K. As soon as I see that the date is not a conflict with our convention, I plan to join them.

Here’s hoping anyone that reads this will take a step towards doing something they really want to do that they are a bit afraid of. And if I can help you I will!

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Have friend-will travel!

My friend Cecil came to visit me from Texas.  We have been friends since before my daughter was born (she is 34). As long as we have known each other, we have liked traveling.  Sometimes we do the local things in a given area and other times we venture out a bit.

I kept asking Cecil when he could come and he finally pinned down some dates in April.  So then I compiled some ideas about what we could do. My husband suggested that we alternate longer trips and shorter trips-ending with local activities on Cecil’s last day.  This was a great idea.  With Cecil arriving Monday afternoon-we had four full days for fun-Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  Saturday we would bring Cecil to the airport early-so that we could participate in an Earth Day Vendor Event in Orlando.

Monday we went to dinner at Rib City-this place is one mile from our home in Grant. The owner of this place has really made this a favorite local spot.  Great food, great service, and great atmosphere.  It is so wonderful to have this place so close to home! Not only is the food great, but The Old Grant Creamery is on the premises with the best ice cream ever!  While Cecil was here I think we went a total of three times-Cecil loved it!

This is what we decided on for our week of fun.

Day 1 Tuesday: Tarpon Springs

Day 2 Wednesday: Sanford, Cassadaga,  and dinner at Megan’s

Day 3 Thursday:  St. Augustine

Day 4 Friday: Indian Buffet Lunch, Downtown, and Beach Walk

Day 1: We headed to the sponge docks at Tarpon Springs. The weather was comfortable until the afternoon and by then we were ready to leave. We ate at Yianni’s.  I told Cecil he MUST have the flaming cheese ( Saganaki). Cecil did like the flaming cheese but I learned that Cecil does not like Gyros.  For him the meat and the spices were strange. I loved mine and he offered me the rest of his-but I was full. We walked the streets and we picked up a couple things.  I loved lunch-but the Gyro was not Cecil’s favorite. It was a great ride though-both ways.  Cecil and I like to take back roads-you never know what you will see. We went to Abbott’s Custard in Vero-kinda on the way home.  Abbott’s is something I have been connected to since childhood when my grandparents took us every summer.  Cecil loved it of course.

Decorated bicycles in Tarpon Springs, FL

Day 2: I told Cecil about Sanford after friends and I had gone their to see a friend’s art exhibit.  I fell in love with this town.  There is a great variety of stores and eateries. There is so much charm in this city.  I love the Jeanine Taylor Folk Art Gallery.   I think Cecil was surprised by some of the crazy (that’s a good thing) art in there.  He really liked the watercolors. A new group was setting up and we met an artist that was retired after 47 years of teaching.  As Cecil and I are both retired teachers-that was fun.  We walked the streets, which are beautiful, and at my suggestion ate at Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe.     My stepdaughter had recommended this to me and I had gone there with my girlfriends on the first trip.  This is excellent food.  I do not remember what Cecil had but he did like it.  I had the sausage plate again (like last time) but this time had sauerkraut and mashed potatoes with it.  The mashed potatoes were the best I have ever put in my mouth.  The kraut was fantastic and if you eat German food-you know mashed potatoes and kraut together are amazing.  I had the bratwurst-also fantastic.

After Sanford we decided to bop over to Cassadaga.    Cecil had been years before and enjoyed the town, bookstore, and a reading. He had the reading and left feeling great about everything the person shared.  He tried to get the same person again but she was busy.  He was able to meet with someone that day and was very happy with that person as well.  It was very interesting to listen to things Cecil had to say about the experience and that was one event this time that when he told me about it, I got goosebumps…


Last stop for day 2 is to Megan’s for dinner. She made a fantastic eggplant dish-I bought the salad fixins’.

Day 3: St. Augustine-the nation’s oldest city. I love St Augustine so I suggested it. It’s a bit of a ride but Cecil and I enjoy long rides and he would often look at the map and find alternate routes to using the highway.  We arrived in time for lunch and ate at a place I hadn’t eaten at before.  The menu offered Po Boys which appealed to both of us.  While the inside was typical casual decor-the food was great! The Florida Cracker Cafe–  I admit I loved the name.  It reminds me that I told Cecil he must read A Land Remembered by Patrick Smith.  When I mentioned this to Cecil in the Sanford bookstore, a woman chimed in and also shared her love for the book. We walked around after lunch and I was excited to find some jewelry pieces by Kelli Rae Roberts on sale. When the afternoon got warm-we headed home.  I think we stopped at The Old Grant Creamery again-Cecil said it is the best ice cream he has ever had.

Day 4: Kept things local this day because Cecil would leave early the next morning.  Didn’t want to tire him out! In the morning I stayed home and got a little work done-then we headed out for a few short errands before lunch.  My grandogs Lotus & Po are having a one year Whobilation (birthday) on Sunday so first stop was the pet store to get gifts.  My daughter always collects donations for the shelter at their BD but come on-I am the grammy so I was buying a present.  Megan told me Lotus needed something challenging-that girl is smart.  So I picked a puzzle with four things to do.  For Po-I chose a ball machine.  You put the ball in and it shoots out.  I also knew Diesel (chihuahua) would love it. Off to Taste of India for buffet lunch

We both enjoyed it-I have never been disappointed here.  After lunch we went downtown.  I found a new store there Giftique, with lots of things my friend Annette would like.  I have my eye on a gold crown I saw there. Lots of art by Kellie Rae RobertsCecil bought some bath salts at Indian River Soap .

After perusing downtown-we headed over the bridge to the beach.  Every time Cecil visits we go to the beach.  As we walked this time, we remembered when we first took Megan on a beach walk.  She was about three and would walk at the water’s edge, fall down, run a few more feet, fall down-she loved it.  It was a perfect day for a walk-in fact we were very fortunate to have beautiful weather every day Cecil was here.

Friday night-Cecil’s last night-he offered to take us for dinner to our other favorite local eatery-The Old Fish House Bar & Grill.  We sat outside and it was wonderful.  We suggested the Redfish to Cecil as it is a favorite.  I , however, have been craving clam strips so that is what I ordered-with hushpuppies of course because they are amazing.  We had a nice dinner-but then it was back home to work.  Marty and I had samples to prepare and had to pack the car completely for the Earth Day Event at Lake Eola the next day.  Cecil offered to help but we declined-thinking it would not take long! Sorry to say that we worked till almost ten! Cecil decided to turn in-good idea as we would be out early in the morning.

I always enjoy when Cecil comes.  I am looking forward now to getting back to Texas, on his territory.  Have a quite a few friends I can visit in Texas-it’s a big state.

I kept the list of ideas Cecil and I compiled for travel-for when he comes again.

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View from the desk…

THIS IS MY DESK!  Never judge your progress by the piles left behind.  Today Mychele was a great help as we both tried to get our blogs up and running again.

After lots of texts and a phone call, she helped me fix several things.

This very short blog is a test-to see if this automatically shares like it is supposed to.

Despite the messy desk-I have gotten tons done today.

I will not bore you with the details.

On towards progress.

That is all.

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Florida Blog Con 2015

I was invited by my friend Mychele to the Florida Blog Conference. I knew little about the conference but I know going anywhere with Mychele is fun. I’m writing in my mind constantly but it’s sometimes a struggle to get it down on paper. I have a blog that Mychele helped me set up and I want to blog more and I know I have a lot to learn. First thing I was impressed with was the organizer Bess Auer. I had an issue with my ticket and I emailed her and she took care of it immediately with kindness and a sense of humor. Also the price was so reasonable I couldn’t see any reason not to go! The topics all sounded interesting-so it was a go.

Mychele suggested we go VIP-pay a little more but we get to go to the Blue Man Event the night before. What a great show-we had a great time. We talked to the woman next to us and asked her what she blogged about.  She admitted she did not blog much but she loved this conference because she met the most interesting people.  Mychele and I instantly felt like we were at home. Our only regret is that we were not able to meet up with the Facebook group. That’s something we’d like to do better at next time.

The next morning we checked in as VIPs we got a special bag with cool stuff in it-I had no idea that would happen. Then we also had preferred seating wherever we went. Full Sail was a wonderful venue for this event-no worries about losing power with plug ins easily available.  The innovative un keynote was a blast-plugging in to our phones and following prompts.


We were spoiled at this conference.  Water was available whenever we needed it.  The Florida Milk Council provided yogurt parfaits in the morning.  Later there was chocolate milk and cookies as well as adorable cow flash drives. 

IMG_1274 IMG_1180

Tijuana Flats served a fantastic lunch-complete with pink wraps for breast cancer. Our VIP status provided us a shortcut to the lunch line.


I love how interactive the conference was-right from the beginning with the interactive un keynote.  With Adam Avitable, we did quick edits and sent them with a tweet. Each speaker had lots of valuable information to share: tips and tricks, apps, and lessons learned.  The vendors were great as they were new to me and were generous with pictures and freebies. I love my new Mieroglyph bracelet with a verse I needed to hear,  “Dreams don’t work unless you do.”


Izea was generous with freebies as was the Better Business Bureau.


I learned so much at the conference I am still digesting the information, but a few things I know for sure.

I plan to attend next year-I have been to many conferences and I have never been treated as well for such a reasonable cost.

My biggest takeaways?

Consistency, authenticity, and professionalism matter.  Hashtags make a difference and podcasting is something I need to start now! There is so much more…

Thank you to Bess Auer for organizing such an informative event. I wondered at first if I even had a a right to go but quick felt accepted and truly spoiled for the day!

I purposely did not read other recaps so mine would not be influenced…now I need to go see what everyone else said!

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Phone Blogging?

Today my artsy friend Kim  did a blog post from her phone. What a great idea!  I am out and about a lot so if I could blog from my phone this would save me some time! It may not be useful for all posts but certainly for some.  So of course I had to do a test run.

The first picture below is inspired by my friend Mychele and by Kim. Mychele inspired me by bringing Derwent  Intense Blocks when we recently went to a conference together and I got to try them.  I have many art supplies and I love them all but these were particularly exciting to me . I love them and was able to finish this piece using them. Kim inspired/encouraged me because I’ve been struggling with wanting to do an art journal but not knowing how to start. Do I paint every day and then add words later do I do words and then paint.  Kim let me know there are really no rules that I could do what works for me. And then she shared a couple things that she did and it really made me want to jump in.




This is a picture of the dining room today.  My friend came over on Tuesday and we painted together . I plan to work here a little more before I clean up.







This is the piece I worked on. I have already changed a few things and have a few more changes in mind.




And this is my view right now.




Husband called to see if I had eaten yet-nope.  

Had I had taken my shower yet (he was concerned about the water pressure), nope.

Now that I have tried out this blogging by phone-I should move on.

Thanks for being part of my learning adventure.

Your Turn: Did someone recently inspire you to do something new? Please share!




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For the Love of Maya

Originally posted on Blogger 6/6/12

In March of 1996, my beloved cat Theo went outside and never came back. I will write a story about him another time.  I searched for months-put ads in the paper etc., but no luck.

My husband is tough, but he does not do well when I am sad.  First of all-I never really am.  In the worst of circumstances, my happiness is within and I am always happy. (Psalms 33:21 For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name.)  During my time of grieving, he suggested we get a dog.  I had said many times that I wanted one.  If it was up to Marty, we would not have pets but he knew this was important to me.  Having to choose, I think he would be more of a dog person than a cat person.  He suggested I get a small dog-one I could hold as Theo was always on my lap.


I talked to my daughter Megan-a Veterinarian Technician about what kind of small dog I should get.  She said a poodle.  My response was not positive.  I didn’t want a poodle-they are too foo foo.  I always liked big working dogs.  Megan responded by saying that poodles do not shed, they are very smart, and poodles she had seen at the animal clinic where she worked had been wonderful. She also said that I did not have to get a foo foo haircut.  I have to admit-that sounded good. I looked online and found out about Coastal Poodle Rescue (CPR) and I liked the way they worked.  They would come and interview you and when you choose a poodle, you had time to see if it worked.  They always want their poodles back should there be an issue.


I wanted a black poodle.  I knew poodles had runny eyes and I thought it would not show as much on a black poodle. It also had to be female.  I started to look online.  One day Lin called me from CPR and said she had a dog that my work well for us.  It was a white female and she lived in Ft. Lauderdale.  Marty drove me down there and Ellie (her formal name) had dark drainage streaks under her eyes.  She was a little messy (due for a grooming). She gave us the evil eye and growled at both of us for the first ten minutes we were there. We went outside and she did stop growling.  Marty at one point just picked her up.  She did not snap at him and she just laid her head on his shoulder.  Down in the grass again, I laughed as she jumped around like a bunny and chased a palm frond. I could see she was happy and silly. We decided to give it a try.  I picked her up and she snuggled me all the whole way home.

I won’t say things have always been perfect.  I had not owned a dog in a long time so I had some relearning to do.  I will tell you though that from the minute I have brought her home, she has been a constant source of joy for me.

Because she is little, I always feel like I have a puppy. Who doesn’t like puppies?  I remember Lin from CPR calling to check on me and I was laughing because Maya is always being silly. She picks up toys and throws them in the air and then goes to get them and does it again.  She prances lightly on her little feet and hops around like a bunny-just like when I met her.  She has the smallest brown eyes that hook you early on and her face is full of expression. I love her dearly and love her more each day!  She still is a pup with issues-most of them are funny tho and can make up another whole story.

I was so sad to lose my Theo, but am thankful to a God who can take a sad time and allow for a blessing. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28)

This started as story about Maya nd my Grandson….oh well.  On to another post…

April 16, 2015

2013-10-05 18.22.56

Your turn:

Share something about a beloved pet.  Feel free to post a picture.

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30 Days of Creativity

Originally posted on Blogger 6/2/12

I don’t know how, but last year I found the site 30 Days of Creativity. I challenged two friends, Mychele and Em, to do it with me.

I loved the concept of creating something every day in June. I love creating but often don’t sit down long enough to do so. I have a room full of the coolest beads and other supplies, a notebook full of things I want to make, and a head overflowing with ideas.

Last year I got many projects done that had been sitting around for years. My friend Mychele and I did a lot if great things but the star of our group was Em. I think she created and posted every day. I was disappointed I didn’t keep up but thrilled to think I may have inspired two friends.

This is the third year of 30 Days of Creativity and I am thrilled to get involved- this year I hope to post every day. Even though we are still traveling so far, so good.


Update April 17, 2015

I have looked and looked and cannot find that this group is doing this anymore.  I may have to start my own activity.  If I did, would you participate?

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Write On…


Originally on Blogger 6/1/12

I love to write.  I say that all the time and then do not spend enough time doing it.  Once I start writing, I get lost in it and cannot pull myself away.  The first step to making time for  writing, in my case,  is to sit still for a moment.

I am always up for a challenge and often it helps me get things done because I don’t like losing. If I “join” something, even though there is no scolding or consequences, I simply must complete the challenge.  And so I will participate in the NaBloPoMo June 2012 Blogroll.

I have to post every day which I will be glad to do.  As school is out, I can get my coffee first thing and relax and write-something I wish I could do daily.  I often wonder if I could develop a habit of doing this by being consistent over the month.  I want my daily writing to be more like breathing…something I do automatically-not something I put off for something else.

I have a small composition notebook I am writing in daily as a commitment to my students.  I have a writing cub after school and I had over 45 students this year.  I loved it in many ways but missed the intimacy of a smaller group. I am afraid that next year I will have even more students wanting to join and wonder how can I choose? I came up with a summer journal project after reading a book to some students.  I gave them the directives to see who could/would commit to write a few sentences a day every day, June & July.  I told them I would commit as well.

I am in a place in my life where I am continually reviewing what I am doing and trying to make choices that move in the same direction as my goals.  I am an inteliigent person, but I am many interests and am often excited and involved in so many things, I can lose focus.

I am hoping that by committing to the June Blogroll and to the Summer Journal Project (with my students) that I will develop a habit of quiet time for writing that I will continue when the summer is over.

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Henna Hoopla

Originally posted on Blogger 4/3/09

With spring break beginning, I mentioned to several people that I was going to get henna done at the very beginning. A teen from church, Morgan said she would love to get henna before her cruise. So… I called my dearest henna goddess, Mychele Boardman, and asked if we could meet in Orlando for some henna fun.

Of course….she was more than willing. Mychele suggested we meet at The Drunken Monkey. As Morgan is the preacher’s (and close friend’s daughter) I had to check it out online first. Turns out it is a great little coffee shop with a very eclectic menu of inspiring treats.

We met Mychele about 4:45 and started right in on the henna. We took shifts eating as henna was the first priority! Morgan had a wonderful Panini loaded with turkey, cheese, and pesto. I had the paella which was a delicious combination of fried rice and vegetables. The paella included artichokes, mushrooms, and garbanzo beans among other things. I don’t even like garbanzo beans but every flavor in the paella was awesome. While we were ordering our food and I was explaining to Morgan what pesto was, the chef came out with a crostini for each of us loaded with pesto. DELICIOUS.

While Morgan had her henna done, I enjoyed checking out the artwork and reading material in the place. They have board games and many people were arriving and setting up. They had a variety of items for sale including blooming tea, t-shirts, and snacks to go.

My paella was so generous, I could not finish. 10:00 that night tho-I heated it and finished it off! I look forward to getting back to the Drunken Monkey again.

The whole night was a blast, seeing Mychele-seeing Morgan excited about her henna. Hopefully we can do another trip like this soon!

I cannot find the original pictures for this post but did find one of Morgan and two of her friends getting henna in 2007 and another of Mychele doing henna for me two different times.  I have many pictures but they are all over!

henna1 henna2 henna4 Jessica Jessica and MycheleMorganMychele & MorganAllieAllie and Mychele

It was really cool to find the pictures of theses three girls-I do not even remember the event!  Jessica, Morgan & Allie are still close to this day!


Mychele's Mehndi After

I LOVE how dark henna is as it goes on but after a few hours (I leave it on as long as I can) I flake the henna off and that is when you see the stain.  Above is henna done by Mychele when I barely knew here and she taught a class on it.

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