Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Natural Files: Compromise

A touchy subject amongst the natural/green/eco-friendly movement is that of compromise. There are die-hard environmentalists who won't go near anything toxic and then there are people like me, who do our very best to live as naturally as possible.

I call myself "just a lil' crunchy", and for good reason. [Side note: crunchy, granola, hippie, etc. are words to describe those of us who try to live green]. I embrace concepts of homesteading like handwashing clothes and dishes in addition to buying all organic or grass-fed meat, produce, and dairy when accessible (haven't been able to find good organic sources of cheese yet...).

I have always been adamant about using non-toxic/eco-friendly laundry detergent, hand soap, dish soap and household cleaners, in addition to finding natural ways to get rid of bugs and the like. However, this week I had to make two compromises. For a few weeks our home has been infested with tiny thief ants and I desperately tried everything I could: peppermint oil, vinegar, dish soap, baking soda... Nothing worked. I wanted to try a mix of Borax, as I'd read that was effective, but couldn't find it in stores (just found it at Target yesterday, much to my joy/dismay!).

As quality of life with the ants diminished, I couldn't eat (they were around the fridge, on the stove/counters/in cupboards), couldn't sleep (in the carpet, on bedroom dressers, bathroom and living room!) and was having stress related anxiety attacks frequently. The ants had to go.

Finally, I gave in and let my husband use chemical ant baits and outdoor spray and within two days, they were gone. I don't like the fact that we had to use pesticides, but for our sanity, for us, it was necessary at the time.

The second compromise was in the laundry department. One of my work shirts is white and while handwashing and spin drying, it got purple marks on it from another shirt that must have rubbed against it. (Oops, never doing that again). Needless to say, I tried every natural soap I owned and nothing helped. So I ventured into the laundry aisle at the store and bought a dreaded bottle of...bleach. I can't tell you how much I hate bleach, but I had no other options left. After a good drench and soak, the marks were gone.

In my opinion, making compromises from natural solutions to chemical ones are based on individual preference. Are all natural options exhausted? How urgent is the need for a solution? Can you live with the problem or does it need to be fixed immediately? Often, natural solutions take more time to work, or may not work as instantly as chemical ones.

Each of us have to weigh the options and make that decision for ourselves. When is it worth it to stick to natural or include chemicals?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

My Author Journey + Giveaway of an Autographed copy of "Broken Silence"!

Even though it's been a little over a year since the release of my first novel, "Broken Silence", I've never really introduced it on this blog or told the story behind it. So, here's all the info. =)

Don't forget to scroll down the page and enter the free giveaway to win an autographed copy of the novel!

My author journey started in the fifth grade when my English teacher encouraged me to submit a short story to the school newsletter based on creativity and exceptional writing skills. While that story wasn't published, it lit a fire under me that sent me to pursue publishing. I had sent a total of over 30 stories, poems and articles to various magazines before my poem "For Keeps" was accepted by Skipping Stones Magazine in January 2005 when I was 16 years old. 

For over nine years (from ages 13-22) I focused on freelance writing, submitting over 300 poems, stories, articles and book manuscripts to magazines, websites, newsletters, contests, devotionals, anthologies and publishing houses. Of those, 47 were chosen for publication and were featured on websites, in magazines and Sunday School take home papers, in addition to three anthology books. 

In 2008 I was introduced to NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, held in November of each year by the Office of Letters and Light, a nonprofit literacy organization. The goal is simple, to write a novel with at least 50,000 words in 30 days.

I was 19 years old in November 2008 and I decided to undertake this challenge with a story that had been brewing on my heart for awhile. It was very much my story, but with a lot of fictional additions. I spent those 30 days with my beloved Alphasmart typing madly in between college classes and before church events; late into the night and early mornings. But at the end of November, I had my first rough draft in my hand. A complete novel!

For the next few years I worked on re-writing and editing, but for the most part, it just sat there. It never felt right or ready to submit it to a traditional publisher, so I kept it hidden.

In 2011, I turned my focus from freelance writing to business and teamed up with Candice Jenee'  to run AngelInk Illuminations. We started with dreams of a publishing company and creative design, and later changed the direction to focus on writing and Life REdesign Coaching.

In spring 2012 we each released our debut novels, both of which were college works of our hearts, and incredibly personal to us. Many hours of editing, revising, and rewriting went into them, but they are still our first novels. They are both written with a young adult audience in mind. Older readers may need to head the warning that my book was written by a teen for teens and won't read like many conventional fiction books!

Broken Silence - Book Description
Brigitta Skye has known more pain than most people experience in a lifetime. A withdrawn skeptic of life, she’s quickly slipping into silence as haunting memories bubble to the surface. But the scars on her arms and her heart are becoming more visible and when Jake, an overly-responsible guy comes into her life, she’s left with more anxiety than she can handle. She’d give anything to be whole again. Will she make it out alive?

Watch the Book Trailer

Find my author pages, reviews and more on Amazon and Goodreads

A final note. If you have read Broken Silence, I would so appreciate if you would take a moment to post a review on Amazon or Goodreads. Reviews and ratings are what authors rely most on! Thank you!

Giveaway terms and conditions: Giveaway open to residents of the US only. Winner will be emailed within 48 hours after the giveaway closes on July 15, 2013. Winner will have 7 days to respond to the email with their mailing address for prize delivery or a new winner will be selected. Facebook is not associated with this giveaway in any way and holds no liability for outcome.

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Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Natural Files...part one

Editorial Note: Woven Starlight will be featuring a new series spread throughout the blog entitled "The Natural Files". These posts will discuss topics of natural living, organic parenthood and the like. Some may be personal stories, others based on research and additional product reviews and giveaways may occasionally be offered as well. Please join in the discussion! Enjoy!

If you've ever mentioned the topics of cosmetics, conventional cleaners, disposable diapers, or fast food, you've probably heard my gasps of horror. Toxins oh the toxins!!!! Some would rush to call me crunchy, eco-nut, granola, whatever hippy-dippy name that fits my craze of the world is dangerous!

While even I laugh at my ability to spout off facts about dangerous chemicals in the world around us, it's an outlook on life that I take very seriously. While I long ago collected all-natural cleaners for my home and laundry, and keep chemical filled cosmetics and soap out of my home, recently I've been doing more research on organic living--especially in regards to parenting young children. No, I'm not expecting a little one to join my family for awhile, but when that does happen, I want to be the best mom I can be in addition to offering the safest, healthiest environment I can for them to grow up in. 

My goal list is extensive, and I know it can't be done in a day, but I am trying to make a few choices slowly but surely:

*get more exercise by walking downtown (library, post office, local stores) a few times a week [also increases natural vitamin D exposure that boosts mood and immune system!]

*drink less caffeine, and choose a healthier low calorie tea instead of sugar filled coffee [I can't do black coffee, but if you can it's better for you!]

*eat less sugar and processed foods and buy organic fruits and veggies

That's just the start, but taking only a few steps at a time is easier for me than jumping in and trying to change everything at once. For me, living more naturally is about a lot of different things, from feeling healthier and having more energy to doing what I can to be environmentally friendly. As I discover more along this journey, I'll post interesting tidbits.

Are there any topics of interest you'd like to know more about? I'll take them into consideration for research and postings. =)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Winding Roads & New Trails

Life has taken some tumultuous turns in the past few weeks. New adventures and new challenges (getting married will do that to a person), and routines that must be adjusted (opposite work/sleep schedules--how fun!).

And yet, in the midst of it all, hope abounds in the form of tiny dreams. Planting a garden together. Making space for meditation/prayer for balancing. Taking new exercise classes at the gym with friends. Dreaming new directions for our fledgling business.

Some days I feel like I have no credentials to be a life coach, or an organizer, or a creative individual at all. I'm young...what can I possibly offer young moms and their families? I have only been married 4 weeks and have no kids! But I work with kids every morning. I play with them, watch them with crafts, toys and boxes. I studied early childhood development for two years and have spent over ten years in various childcare settings. No, these are not equivalent to raising a child myself--but they are a start from where I can put my organizational and design psychology training and instinct. I can't solve the world's problems, but I can put systems into a room to clean up clutter. I can jot out a time schedule and recommend balancing and wellness practices for a more holistic life.

And so with these little nuggets of experience, interest and passion, I set forward with my business partner, Candice Jenee' and reach out to maybe, just maybe, help someone who is at wits end and needs a little support. I still doubt myself at times, after all, I'm only human. But as a coach, I'm seeking a daily journey to holism, simple living and harmony. Isn't that what we all really want?

Friday, January 25, 2013


Life is full of transitions. Some are small, some are monumentally life shaking.

This week has been full of crazy things... job resignations, new business dreaming meetings, closing of some dreams, and opening of others.

All in all, life is changing! And as such, I am back blogging on blogger. In the coming weeks, look for back-posts and a whole lot of explanation as to what is going on with AngelInk Illuminations in the near future!

Many blessings!