Wild Horses of Corolla, NC

This post may seem out of left field for my blog, but it is actually quite the opposite. My blog is about anything that is good for the body, mind and soul. I LOVE animals and I feel that caring for them is good for my mind and soul. There is nothing like the unconditional love you receive from a pet or the absolute fervor of another animal loving person. That is why I am writing about visiting the wild horses of Corolla, NC.

If you have ever been to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, you may know about the wild horses that live in the northernmost section. You have to take a 4 wheel drive vehicle to go see them because part of Route 12 in NC is the actual beach. While driving on the beach, you are on Route 12…it’s crazy. You MUST have 4 wheel drive and a high clearance on your car to get to where the horses roam. We had an all wheel drive car with lower clearance so we opted for a wild horse tour.

The tour we chose was Corolla Wild Horse Fund tour.  We chose this one because they are the caretakers of the horses and the proceeds go directly to helping the horses.  It was actually a bit cheaper than the commercial tours.  So glad that we took this tour because we saw lots of horses.

colonial spanish mustangs

The wild horses of Corolla are Colonial Spanish Mustangs that came from, you guessed it, Spain.  When settlers were coming to the “New World” in the 1600s, the Spanish wanted in on it.  They sailed across the Atlantic Ocean and got stuck on sandbars off of Virginia (Jamestown) and NC.  They needed to offload the heaviest items on their ships in order to get off the sandbars so there went the cows, pigs and horses.  Cows and pigs don’t swim, but horses do.  That is where they originated from.  In the early 1920s, there were between 5000-6000 of these horses.  Now there are only about 120 horses left.

important facts

Our tour guide told us so much about the horses and the area they live in.  He said they graze 16 hours a day and can only eat the grass and leaves indigenous to the area.  Any fruits or vegetables offered from people can actually kill them because their digestive systems can’t handle it.  If a horse is very sick or hurt and has to be taken out of the herd, it cannot be returned because it might infect the herd with bacteria it picks up outside their area.  Some stallions can get very aggressive and have to be removed from the herd.  The herd is so small and it needs to be preserved any way possible.

There is another similar herd on the southernmost island below the outer banks.  The Corolla Wild Horse Fund would like to introduce some of those horses into the Corolla group in order to add more blood lines into the herd, thereby growing the herd.  There is a bill in Washington, DC to help protect these wild horses and to get the two groups together in order to grow the herd.  Here’s hoping that that bill gets passed sooner rather than later.

The only reason we got close enough to take pictures was because we were in a tour car.  There is a $500 fine for going too close (50 ft or less), feeding or any type of interacting with the horses.  They are very serious about keeping the herd safe and also keeping people safe…they ARE wild animals.

horses on the beach?

 

We didn’t see horses on the beach when we were there, but our guide told us they do go on the beach for 2 reasons…to eat the sea oats and to get the bugs off of them.  In one of the photos, you see a white bird near one horse.  That is an egret and they jump on the back on the horses and eat the bugs off them.  The horses actually don’t mind them being there.  If the bugs are really bad, they go down to the beach where it is windier so that they can get the bugs off themselves.

Photo from the Corolla Wild Horse Fund

If you ever visit the OBX, make time to go on this tour.  You will send some great time exploring and learning about these wonderful animals.  With your tour, you also become a member of the Corolla Wild Horse Fund.  Money well spent.

Farmers Market: Yes Please!

I have been struggling a little with adding a nutrition post to my blog.  Then it hit me…Farmer’s Market!!  There is one near my Saturday morning workout class so I thought, perfect!  The weather is beautiful and I need some fresh produce.  Something to look forward to after a tough workout.

location

My local Farmer’s Market has a lovely location right on a lake.  There is a nice breeze and lots of trees so even if it’s a hot day, it is comfortable walk around the market.  This particular Farmer’s Market has fresh produce, flowers, baked goods, dog treats, fish, coffee, pasta, jellies as well as a few craft tables.  There was also live music.

goodies

When I go to a Farmer’s Market, it is usually to buy items that are healthiest for me.  However, there are so many yummy baked goods that it is hard to resist.  I bought some homemade bread, which I felt was the least unhealthy of all the baked goods that were offered.  If I was told that I could only have one type of food for the rest of my life, I would probably choose bread.  So delish!!!

fresh produce

I truly did stop at the fresh produce table first.  I just love all the bright colors and selection that is offered.  My son loves strawberries so I got him a pint of those.  I also got red lead lettuce and the biggest zucchinis I have ever seen.  I will be using those for zoodles later today.  This particular farm also offered beets, raspberries, blueberries, tomatoes, many types of squash, basil plants and some other greens.  They had samples of their raspberries and they were so good.

The prices at Farmer’s Markets aren’t always the cheapest, but they are reasonable for what you are getting.  There is no middle man when picking out your produce.  The produce is picked, put on a truck and then you buy it…pretty simple process.  I just love the colors and outdoor atmosphere of shopping at a Farmer’s Market.  It makes me want to bring a bottle of dressing and make a salad right there.

Local Harvest is a great tool to find the Farmer’s Market nearest you.  Just enter your location and it will tell you where and when you can visit your closest Farmer’s Market.  Give that a resource a try…you may be pleasantly surprised by how many markets you find in your area.  Happy, Healthy Shopping!!

5 Affirmations that I Try to Live By

I have been on a true self-care, getting to know myself journey the past few months.  I have discovered great coaches including Gabi Bernstein, Allie Van Fossen and Rebekah Borucki.  One thing that they all live by and advocate about is positive daily affirmations…and why not?  A few positive words every day are food for the soul.  As I stated in my post title, I TRY to live by these.  One of the things I LOVE about Rebekah/Bex is she is the first one to say that her life is not perfect and some days are suck-ish.  I LOVE that.

1 – i am like a boat in the ocean

This is one of my all time favorite Rebekah Borucki (Bex) meditations/affirmations.  I LOVE the beach and the ocean so this is perfect for me.  I can visualize the boat and I when I feel overwhelmed, I can use this to calm myself.

2 – Energy flows where attention goes

This is a Gabi Bernstein-ism that I also love.  She may not have invented it, but these are words she definitely lives by.  So if I am thinking positive, uplifting, joyous thoughts…that is what I will manifest and that is what will show up in my life.  My work BFF and I tell us this all the time during the school year, especially when we get into a negative mindset.

3 – her success is not your failure

This is probably one of my all time favorite affirmations and I often forget to use it.  I see this affirmation connected to the one about comparison being the killer of joy.  If you often feel bad when others have success because you often feel that you are not enough or you don’t do a good job, stop.  Just because someone else is having success or is happy or has joy in their life DOESN’T mean that you can’t have it too.  You can be just as successful, happy and joyous if not more so!!!

4 – i am calm, i am at peace

Another great Bexlife meditation…told you I LOVE her.  This is perfect for ANY time you are feeling stressed out, overwhelmed, scared, unhappy, etc.  Close your eyes and say this to yourself or speak it out loud.  It is guaranteed to ground you and make you feel much better.

5 – whatever you decide to do, make sure it makes you happy

This should be the last sentence of every valedictorian speech in every high school and at every college commencement speech.  You MUST be happy or get some type of happiness in whatever you do.  If not, you will waste time that could have been joyous and fruitful.  I know that you have to pay the bills, but be sure to have SOMETHING in your life that you are passionate about and that brings you JOY:)

Guest Post: My Yoga Journey – Who I Was and Where I Want to Be

Welcome to Lia Johnson-Baker from The Yogi Turtle.  She is doing a guest post on my blog.

introduction

Hi my inspiring people, my name is Lia and it’s honestly such an honor to write a guest piece for Kim. I’m excited to getting to know everyone and hopefully help the best way I can. I am an inspiring person and yogi with big, big dreams. I’ve been doing yoga for almost 2 years, and I can honestly say that it’s been one of the most life changing lifestyle I have ever done. Now I say one of, because I do a lot of things. Scuba dive, save sea turtles, play music. But yoga is one of the things that stick and balance out the other activities I do in my spare time. Yoga has made me more patient, open minded, more forgiving, and most of all inspiring person and yogi with big, big dreams.

I’ve been doing yoga for almost 2 years, and I can honestly say that it’s been one of the most life changing lifestyle I have ever done. Now I say one of because I do a lot of things. Scuba dive, save sea turtles, play music. But yoga is one of the things that stick and balance out the other activities I do in my spare time. Yoga has made me more patient, open minded, more forgiving, and most of all e who reads this, Where I was, and where I’m going.

first start

I first started getting into yoga around November 2015, It was a pretty cool studio called Apex. It was nerve racking at first, because of course, like everyone else that has tried yoga, or working out in general, you had to have muscles or be flexible before going in. Not the case at all, I could definitely feel the transition in energy when I came in those doors, tt was indescribable experience. Though the class was difficult for a beginner, it was one of the most memorable classes and I highly recommend anyone who hasn’t tried take a class at least once.

My awesome yoga instructor Ceiara Cartony is truly amazing, she’s very kind and patient and she has had a complex journey that she shares that is truly relatable. After that first class, I wanted to learn more so I started to take private lessons from her. It was then after a year I because advanced in my poses and I decided after I learned crow pose, I wanted to start a blog.

I wanted to get my story and journey out there because I feel like I can inspire people in where they want to go in life, or find out who they are as a person and how they can better themselves. It was difficult at first because I was still trying to figure out who I was (and still am) I’m more open to trying new things and experiment and be more open minded. The first leap of faith I did was starting my own blog. It may not be perfect but I feel like it’s me and my story and journey is out there.

the yogi turtle

After I created my blog, I wanted to find out more about other yogis, events, etc. That’s where Wanderlust came in. I took my first spontaneous trip to my neighbor state, GA and did my first 5k, tried vegan food and kombucha for the first time. This was something I never thought that I would be able to do 6 months ago and I would definitely do it again. I’d love to become a yoga instructor someday and help and give back to others the more I learn about myself.  

Getting into yoga and staying on that journey can be very difficult. Yoga is not just about the physical practice, that’s just the icing on the cake. There’s also being open and learning about the philosophy, finding your own path to where you want to go. I encourage to try at least once, and be open to it. It’s a wonderful experience and you definitely want to share it with others.   

New Etsy Shop: Bead Happiness by Kim

I am absolutely beyond excited to open my new Etsy shop:  Bead Happiness by Kim.  A little backstory on this new endeavor.  I am a full-time kindergarten teacher and I do not work during the summer.  Well, I actually do work…it’s a job title called MOM.  I love that I am available for my 14 year old so that he can be shuttled to the golf course and to friends’ houses.  Many parents dread summer because they are home with their children and I love summer for that specific reason.

i need a new job

I have been wanting to explore the job market because I am unhappy at my current school.  The details aren’t overly important, but it is a very toxic environment where the principal plays favorites and it’s like being back in high school…ugh!!!  I have many years dedicated to employment in this district so to go to another district is almost impossible.  I am at the highest step of the pay scale and most districts want to hire at the low end so I’m in a pickle.  Also, I have professional status in my district and if I went somewhere else it would take 3 years + 1 day to attain professional status.  In the meantime, they could fire you at any time in those first 3 years.  I need job stability…before I know it, my son will be off (sob! sob!) to college.

Okay…so what does this all have to do with an Etsy shop called Bead Happiness by Kim???  Well….I put it out to the Universe that I wanted a sign for exploring a new job venture or to stay put and carry on.  My sign for exploring a new job (don’t laugh..it’s really what I chose) was any Michael Jackson song.  My sign for staying put was a robin.  Can I tell you that I heard about 8 MJ songs in a two week span!!!!  How many robins??  1!!  I took this as a good time to explore other positions.

I applied for a teaching job online and got a “you have outstanding credentials, but we gave the position to someone who didn’t cost as much” reply.  During this wait time, I made myself a meditation mala, which is a type of necklace that has 108 beads and a teacher/guru bead.  It is used to focus the mind during meditation and is also a lovely necklace.  I had the best time making that mala.  I even posted pictures of it to a Facebook group that I am in.

divine intervention

The responses from people within the FB group were so positive and supportive.  The reason I made a mala is because I couldn’t find one online that I was truly in love with.  Then I got the idea, hey….I bet others feel the same way as I do.  I can make customized malas and sell them on Etsy!!  Although the signs were numerous for finding a new job, I didn’t realize they may be pointing me in the direction of a different type of job.  A job that is actually a passion and not a grind.   Voila…Bead Happiness by Kim was born!!

bead happiness by kim:  healing crystals

I have done a lot of research on different healing crystal gemstones and chose beads according to the healing I desire in my life.  Choosing beads that complement each other in color in an absolute joy.  I love finding beautiful pendants to use as the central teacher/guru bead.  Sometimes I start with the guru bead and match the necklace beads accordingly.  Sometimes I have the necklace beads and then choose a guru bead that complements accordingly.  Although I do not have a huge amount of listings, I have ordered a bunch of beads to make malas and I am taking custom orders too.

So excited about my new Etsy shop...handmade malas...Bead Happiness by Kim Click To Tweet

Thank you for taking the time to listen to my ramblings about my newest endeavor.  PLEASE visit my shop and let me know what you think.  If you have friends who you think would enjoy my offerings, please direct them to Bead Happiness by Kim.

The Importance of Gratitude and How to Cultivate It

The importance of daily gratitude cannot be encouraged enough.  It is actually quite an easy routine to get into and has so many positive benefits associated with it.  Our brains seems to be wired to focus on negative thoughts so we need to rewire it to establish a positive mindset.  Cultivating a daily gratitude practice is easier than you think.

3 Good Things: A Happiness Journal app

This app is one of my most favorite apps on my phone.  It has 3 spaces for each day where you write 3 things your grateful for or 3 things that make you happy or 3 things that are going well.  You get the idea….3 positive things in your life.  It reminds you to write each day and then it keeps track of the days you’ve written on it.  You can then go back and see all the wonderful positives you have in your life.  It mentions that it takes 21 days to change your mindset to focus on positives.  Remember it’s not the big things in life, it is the little things that add up to a happier, more fulfilled life.

Gratitude Journal

I have a obsession with pretty journals.  When I see them, I must buy them even when I don’t really need them.  I do love to write so they are eventually put to use.  One great use is to use one as a gratitude journal.  Write down 3-5 things you are grateful for, that make you happy, that you smile about, etc. before you go to bed at night.  Again, you have a record of the positives in your life that you can refer to again and again.  You can get journals online, in the Target Dollar Spot or, my favorite place, TJ Maxx.  I find a great selection at TJ Maxx; they are beautiful and quite inexpensive.

Gratitude meditation

My favorite meditation guru is Rebekah Borucki from Bexlife.  She has simple, inspiring, short meditations that are so enlightening and make my soul so calm and happy.  Below is a meditation that she labeled Meditation for Gratitude and Happiness…enjoy.

What is your favorite way to express and celebrate gratitude?

Keep Calm and Yoga On with Restorative Yoga

I recently attended a restorative yoga workshop and it was the BEST THING EVER!!  This class is highly recommend for anyone who likes to be relaxed, uplifted and calm.  I wish one was held every Friday night instead of one Friday a month.  There were some yoga must-haves at this class that I want to share with you.  (This post contains affiliate links.)

therapy balls

Let me just say two things about this must-have:  ouch and ahhhhh.  Okay…those have complete opposite meanings, but it totally works here.  We used them between a yoga block and our neck while laying on a mat.  I moved my head in a yes gesture and a no gesture and it massaged the knots out of my neck.  There is the ouch.  At the conclusion of the mini-massage is when the there was the ahhhhh .

yoga bolster

yoga bolster is a large, cylindrical pillow used in different poses.  In one pose we did a shoulder back bend over the bolster.  We also hung our knees over it during a relaxation pose.  I will be use it when I do the neck massage with the therapy balls so that I can relax my legs.  I have hip dysplasia and sometimes it is painful to lay my left leg flat on the floor.  Being able to hang my legs over the bolster is a much more comfortable, relaxing pose for me.

lavender eye pillow

Need I say more about this wonderful relaxation necessity.  Put this over your eyes during any meditation, relaxation pose, or when you just want to feel calm and totally relaxed.  We used them for all the restorative poses when we were on our backs.  Sooooooooo good!!!

What are your yoga must-haves?  Please let me know in the comments.  As always, I have learned so much from my readers and always love to here about your successes and resources that you love.

Healing Crystals: A Beginner’s Guide

I just started researching the use of and properties of healing crystals. When I started my meditation journey, crystals seemed to be a perfect complement and their uses have always intrigued me.  I researched some many crystals online and bought several pendants. My belief was I would just put them on and…boom…they would work their magic.  What did I know??

So I found a local crystal shop and went in search of more crystals.  When I got there, I didn’t realize I’d get an education too.  What a great place!! As I walked up, I knew I was in the right place because I could smell the earthy aroma of patchouli.  When I walked inside, I was enveloped in such a positive energy.

The woman at the counter was telling another customer about using a pendulum so I listened in.  I was fascinated.  I then picked up some crystals and she explained how to use them.  Here are the steps that she imparted upon me as a routine for whenever I get a new crystal.

1 – Run it under water

to clear away any of the old energy that lingers.  She explained that so many different people touch the crystal from when it is dug up to when it is put out in their shop so you need to clear its energy for your use.

2 – Ask the universe

to remove all negativity while it runs under the water.

3 – Set the intention

of the crystal by saying a mantra, such as I set the intention for this stone to be used for the greatest good.  I dedicate this crystal for the use of (your intended use).  In this way, you will connect to the crystal.

4 – Use selenite 

because it is the cleanser of all crystals.  She showed me a larger disc of selenite, which you can put your crystals on overnight so that they are cleansed for each day.  You need to then cleanse the selenite weekly too.

5 – Clear all crystals

every few months to keep them in working order.

By no means is this an exhaustive list of crystal use, it is just information that I found useful and wanted to share with others who may have similar questions.  I bought a rose quartz pendant and have been wearing it for several weeks, but didn’t feel it was effective.  Now that I know that I needed to clear it, I am feeling excited about using it.

Here are some of the crystals that I chose to start me collection:

Selenite

This crystal brings white light vibrations to any situation.  It assists with insight and non-judgment and supports clarity of mind and thoughts.  Selenite aligns spin and promotes flexibility.  Also clears energy blocks and promotes healing on a cellular level.

Pink Mangano Calcite

Heart Crystal…This crystal connects to angels and is the stone of forgiveness.  It releases fear and grief that keeps your heart in the past.  Aids in self-worth and helps relieve stress, tension and anxiety.

Apatite

Stone of manifestation…It helps one develop their spiritual gifts and deepens meditation.  Supports communication and self-expression on all levels.  Increases motivation and eases feelings of apathy, sorrow and anger.  Soothes emotional exhaustion.  Opens the throat chakra and helps heal the heart.

I’m hoping this introduction to crystals is as helpful to you as it is to me. I can’t wait to use these crystals and add more to my collection.  It is a fascinating, joyous, exciting part of my self-care journey and I can’t wait to continue this adventure.

 

Guest Post: Body Positivity 101

This is a guest post from Kara of Chin Up, Sweetie.

Body positivity is such a huge combination of different ingredients – sugar, spice and everything nice ! –  ( a powerpuff girls reference for You right there ) . But in all seriousness , body positivity means different things for different people – and that is the exciting part !

For me it’s simply loving Your body and accepting Your flaws . It’s a lifestyle . It’s knowing and acknowledging that Your body doesn’t need to fit any standards set by others . You set Your own standards ! Everybody is a different type of beautiful  .

Body positivity is beautiful .

And beautiful is healthy . Not necessarily healthy as in weighing below a certain number or eating super healthy meals . Healthy as in – as long as You feel good in Your own body .

Body positivity is not promoting obesity . It’s not promoting losing weight either . It’s promoting to be Yourself . Promoting to love Yourself for being able to be Yourself and feel good about it . It’s not just a ” thing ” for ” curvy ” people .

If You haven’t noticed yet – body positivity is also available in the men edition! Women may be more vocal about it , but it doesn’t mean that guys don’t struggle with this issue .

It is not just about the human appearance . It’s a mind set .  A mind set that I believe could change the world to be a better place . If we just accepted each other for who we are … if we could avoid the hate , the nasty comments , the ” go lose some weight ” ,  the ” go eat a burger ” , the abuse … I would love to experience a world free of body shamers .  But while some people are too busy  spreading the negativity – let’s spend our time more wisely and spread the word of body positivity instead 🙂 !

Do what You want with Your body !

Nobody should judge the things You decide to do with it . Getting a tattoo , a piercing , even plastic surgery – if that is what it takes to make You feel great – go ahead ! People are free to have their own opinions , everybody feels different about what is considered beautiful and what is not . Do not let that discourage You ! It is always going to be about preferences , and if that is what You prefer – do not let anybody hold You back .

I could talk about this topic for days , but these were the few things that I feel strongly about regarding the body positivity topic . There is just one thing I would like to say – be happy 🙂 ! And Love Your body in every state 🙂 !