The (Un) Caged Bird

"Let the beauty we love be what we do." – Rumi

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Influenster Sugar ‘N Spice Voxbox 2013

I just received my latest Voxbox in the mail and was so excited to unpack it and discover the goodies I had been sent.  I swear, Influenster must know my personality because all of the items in the box are right up my alley and totally fulfill a need I have.  I haven’t had a chance to use any of the products yet since I just unpacked them but thought I’d introduce them and then I’ll write a review at a later date.

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$6.99 for 5.9 oz. container or $3.99 for box of 40 packets

“Nectresse sweetener tastes like sugar but has zero calories per serving! 100% all natural, Nectresse is made primarily from monk fruit combined with other natural sweeteners. ”

I like all natural sweeteners, especially ones that don’t raise the blood sugar and affect insulin levels.

$5.99 for a 20-count box

“Introducing Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Oil Controlling Towelettes – The soothing blend of Witch Hazel and aloe on these facial wipes rejuvenates your skin by gently lifting dirt, oil and impurities from you pores while nourishing even the most sensitive skin.  The result is a clean, refreshed and blemish-free complexion even when you’re out and about.

I’m an on-the-go kind of woman so products like these are a total lifesaver.   I frequently have to take a full face of makeup off after shoots and this makes it simple, two wipes in my purse and I’m set.

Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer Total Moisture
$7.99 for 6.5 oz. can

“New Vaseline Spray and Go Moisturizer Total Moisture is a continuous spray lotion that moisturizes and absorbs in seconds, and leaves skin feeling instantly soft – not sticky or greasy. ”

I am so excited to try this product I have needed something like it.  As a model it’s important that my skin stays moisturized and looking young, fresh, and healthy.  I have sensitive skin and typically choose to use all natural products.  However, for testing and fun and being grateful for gifts I will be using all of this product.  I’d like to research the ingredients as I’m always curious about that sort of thing but I don’t know if I’ll get around to it before the review.  We’ll see!  The lotion does have fragrance which is negative for me as I won’t be able to use it when I go on modeling gigs.  I hope they make a scent free version as that would be perfect!

Colgate Optic White Regimen
Toothpase: $2.99 for 4oz. tube
Mouthwash: $2.99 for 8 oz. bottle
Toothbrush: $2.99 per brush

“Use the Optic White toothpaste, toothbrush, and mouthwash together for whiter teeth in five days (vs. brushing with an ordinary toothpaste alone).

A bright white smile is important to me and I’m always willing to try something new.  You never know what you might discover! I just finished my tube of Crest 3D White today so I’m going to start my five day challenge tomorrow.  I’ve used Crest 3D White for a few months now and even though it’s not natural I use it because it works.

belVita Breakfast Biscuits
$3.69 for a box of 5 packets of 4 biscuits

“belVita Breakfast Biscuits are made with delicious ingredients and carefully baked to release steady energy that lasts all morning.  They are a good source of Fiber and B-vitamins, contain no high fructose corn syrup, have 18-20 grams of whole gran per 50 gram serving and taste great – perfect for on-the-go!

Again since I’m always on the move easy-to-carry food and nutritious food is important to me as well.  I’m a reactive hypoglycemic so I have to watch my sugar intake and make sure that I eat frequently to keep my blood sugar stabilized.  These biscuits don’t have high fructose corn syrup which is a huge plus.

Please note I received all of these products for Influenster for testing purposes.



Gardening Diary – March 30, 2013

The weather was absolutely gorgeous today and since this was the first free day I’ve had where it’s been 50 degrees I spent a few hours in my garden.  I really love gardening and have had an urban garden for a few years now.  Gardening is a magical experience for me as I am always in awe of something or other and watching my plants grow inspires me and makes me happy and grateful to be alive.    I thought I’d share my gardening experiences here on my blog as a way to share with others and as a personal record of what I’ve done.  It was so nice to be out in the sun with my hands in the dirt today!

– Cleaned out herb beds of weeds.  Trimmed back rose bush, sage, rosemary, oregano, mint, catnip, and terragon.

– Planted garlic.  (I had planted broccoli for the past two years in the spot where I’m planting the garlic, crop rotation seemed like a good idea.)

– Thinned out carrots.  The carrots from last year reseeded and so I had to go through and thin them out.  Bonus, no new planting though.  Last year was my first year to grow carrots so I wanted to experiment this year with letting the carrots reseed, worked well.

– Harvested brussels sprouts.   Last year was also the first year that I grew brussels sprouts and I had not harvested any of them but let them continue to grow and winter it out.   I harvested two stalks today and have two more to harvest.

– Clean out spinach, harvest a little, plant more spinach seeds.   The spinach I planted in the fall was so still alive and growing so I cleaned it up and thinned it out a bit.  Then, I planted more seeds that I harvested from last years spinach crop to fill out the bed. Mulch spinach bed with dried tomato stalks from last season.

– Make new bed and plant poppy seeds.  I discovered a packet of poppy seeds when I was sorting through my seeds and decided to make an area next to my front stairway into a bed for poppies.  I planted half a packet of the poppy seeds in the new bed and held half a packet back for the bed I’ll have to create on the other side.


Herb bed with spicy oregano, rosemary, sage and a rose bush.


Herb bed number two with oregano, spearmint, and tarragon.


Garlic bed, not much to see right now. I planted around sixteen cloves in rows four by four.


The portion of the carrot bed that I worked on today. You can see where I separated the patch into rows.


Brussels sprout stalks.


Spinach bed with tomato stalk mulch. Ms. M is inspecting my work. 🙂


l New bed planted with poppy seeds.


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Harvest! The brussels sprouts, spinach, and a single carrot were my rewards for my efforts.




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Self Love Celebration Month – Days 2/1 – 2/6


I apologize for jumping ship on my Think Kit posts,  I get really ambitious and think that I have time to do all of this fun stuff and then reality sets in and I realize that I don’t have enough time to accomplish all that I want.  I thought the Think Kit post prompts were brilliant and quite helpful though so I have saved them all and will be using them to write throughout the year (hopefully just the next few months).

February has been coined Self Love Celebration Month by the amazing and wonderful author of Madly in Love With Me, Christine Arylo.  On February 13th, women (Love Ambassadors) around the country will be hosting Self Love parties and a special (free!) Self Love Concert will be hosted in California and accessible via the internet for us all to enjoy.  I really wanted to host my own self love party here in Indianapolis but realized that I don’t have enough resources (time and energy) to do so this year and it would just once again overextend me which is not a loving thing to do to oneself.  So… I decided to celebrate in my own way by posting a post a day on my Facebook page on the topic of Self Love.   I will post my Facebook posts here for you all to enjoy since my Facebook page is private.

Self Love Celebration, Day 1:

As I feel more safe and secure within myself,
my relationships become more safe and secure.
As I trust myself and the choices I make,
my connections become more trustworthy.
The more faithful I am to myself,
the more my world reflects that fidelity.
As I honour myself,
my interactions in the world become honourable.
And I realise that the Universe is an honourable place,
Of which I belong.

~ Sidonie Bouchet © October 25, 2011

Self Love Celebration, Day 2:

“The person in life that you will always be with the most, is yourself. Because even when you are with others, you are still with yourself, too! When you wake up in the morning, you are with yourself, laying in bed at night you are with yourself, walking down the street in the sunlight you are with yourself.What kind of person do you want to walk down the street with? What kind of person do you want to wake up in the morning with? What kind of person do you want to see at the end of the day before you fall asleep? Because that person is yourself, and it’s your responsibility to be that person you want to be with. I know I want to spend my life with a person who knows how to let things go, who’s not full of hate, who’s able to smile and be carefree. So that’s who I have to be.”
― C. JoyBell C.

Self Love Celebration, Day 3:


I Love me as I am.

I Love the dark side of me.

I Love the unlovable parts of me.

via one of my favorite blogs, The Daily Love.   You can read the entire post from that day, Loving Yourself When You Don’t Want To.  Great tips and reminders there that in our moments of our darkness or perceived failures is when we need to love ourselves the most, not just the parts where loving ourselves comes easy.

Self Love Celebration, Day 4:

Christine Arylo, author of Madly in Love with Me has a free self love kit. Visit the link  and you can download yours! I don’t care what gender, sexuality, age, religion, or political orientation you are we all deserve and need to love ourselves. You are the only one who lives in your head and heart!

One especially difficult day I did a google search on how to build self esteem and discovered Christine’s amazing free guide on self love. Her self love kit is what started this journey for me last year and it was the perfect little seed to start growing my self love tree.  Download your, Free Self Love Kit and get started! 

Self Love Celebration, Day 5:

Today, I’m excited to tell you about the free Self Love Concert taking place on 2/13/13 that you can tune into via the web. Throw a party and invite your loved ones or celebrate with a party for one. The concert will address the topics of taking good care of yourself, stopping the negative self talk and comparison, loving your body like a temple, and how to attract in loving relationships. Imagine if we taught the young generations this principles as children, don’t you think we’d have a profoundly different world?

Register for the Free Self Love Concert!  2/13/13

Self Love Celebration, Day 6:

Be your ideal best friend or partner to yourself. Having a rotten day and everywhere you turn there’s nothing but criticism? Feeling alone because there’s no one to turn to? Be there for you. If you’re upset, listen to yourself. Be patient and allow yourself to express the emotion that you feel and provide encouragement and support to yourself as you would to the people you love the most. Don’t berate yourself for being upset or tell yourself it’s unwarranted and uncalled for. You wouldn’t want your loved one to treat you that way would you? No, you would want a kind compassionate ear to listen, encouraging words of support and guidance, the knowledge that you were in the company of someone who gave you unconditional love and support in your failures and triumphs, and for your feelings and thoughts to be acknowledged and seen as valid and worthy of being heard. Love yourself enough to be that person to yourself and show yourself you are worth your time.

I hope that you have found these tips to be helpful.  Love to all. 🙂

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Think Kit Day 10: New Traditions

“What new traditions do you want to start this year?”


I want to start sending everyone handwritten thank you notes and greeting cards.   I sporadically send handwritten items now but in 2013 I want to make it a to do thing for every occasion.

Other than that I haven’t the faintest idea what traditions I’d like to start.  I’ll put that on my mental list of things to ruminate over while waiting in line.


Are you planning on establishing new traditions?  What will you be doing?

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Think Kit Day 9: Exercise to unwind


I haven’t considered myself an active or athletic person for a long time.   In quitting smoking this year I really turned to exercise and physical exercise to help me reduce stress.   During the past year I participated in ballet lessons, a 30 day unlimited yoga package, tried burlesque once, walked and ran outside during the hot summer months, and then as fall came and the days shortened I joined a gym.

I find that I enjoy exercise that is fun and doesn’t make me feel like I’m working out.   I really enjoy dance classes and dance type cardio workouts like Zumba.   Participating in physical activities is a major stress reliever for me as when I’m engaged in doing something I’m present and focused in that moment and really in my body and not daydreaming in my head somewhere.   Also, the breathing learned in pilates and yoga is very helpful to use to get through day to day stressors.   When I take yoga and pilates weekly I feel as if I’m nurturing my body because I allow it to stretch, extend, relax, and be quiet and focused yet engaged and present.

In 2013, I plan to become even more active physically.   I have gained the dreaded quitting smoking 15 lbs in 2012 and it is my goal to work that off in the first quarter of the new year.  Time for new adventures in getting lean and toned.

What are your favorite activities to unwind?

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Think Kit Day 8: Your Creative Process

I’m a bit behind in my posts, but am going to try and catch up and write in order.  I haven’t even read some of the prompts as I haven’t had the time in general to write.  Here we go, jumping back on the wagon and let’s see how far I get down this road this time.

I feel like being creative is an essential part of feeling alive to me.  I don’t intentionally try to be creative but it comes and goes of its own accord.  For work one has to be creative on demand at times but even then its fun to be able to make something new and make something exist because you thought it into existence and made it.   I like to make beautiful places, things, and environments.  What I wear and how I decorate my spaces express who I am in the sense that it shows what makes me feel good, happy, and like “me”.

One of the projects I enjoyed the most this year was making a horse heating/cooling pad for my niece.  She loves horses and has trouble sleeping so I made this for her birthday hoping it would help her sleep better.  I a pattern online for an owl version of this pillow and made my own horse version for my niece.  I had originally planned on sewing on the facial features of the horse with separate fabrics but due to time restrictions I ended up painting them instead.    The project took longer then planned but I really enjoyed making it and giving a gift that was made with lots of love. IMG_3841


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Think Kit Day 7: Inspiration Board

I was so excited when I read the prompt today.  After a few days of minuscule posting due to long days and a very tired brain I was relieved to finally have a day where I can share a good amount and write minimally.  I’ve taken to covering my bedroom walls with inspirational bits that I cut out of magazines as I hate the color and want to repaint them.  The walls now serve as a large canvas I can tape whatever I want to until I get around to painting them.  This is a very personal post for me as I feel like I’m really baring my soul in showing what I have posted around my house to inspire me and help keep me on the path of life that I want to lead.  I snapped some photos with my phone and apologize for the lackluster quality but at least it’s something.  I’ve had a passion for cutting bits out of magazines and storing inspiring images, quotes, paragraphs, and stories away for quite some time now.  I have composition notebooks, bound books, file folders, and three ring binders filled with pages of collages and magazine pages themselves.  I just love beauty in all shapes and forms and have always been compelled to tuck away those pieces that inspire me and catch my eye.

My current inspirations are below, enjoy.

IMG_5490whatiloveaboutme IMG_5487-notestoself IMG_5482-quotes2 IMG_5484-magicalworld IMG_5483-quotes IMG_5488-healthylife IMG_5485-persontoplace