Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Finding that Sweet Spot

One of the most invigorating and strengthening things for a writer is inspiration. I believe inspiration comes from the muses and enjoy actually writing about them in character form as well. They make a cameo in my work-in-progress, "Out of the Blue," a novel. I've had fun researching everything I could about the muses, as they are so essential to my writing practice. Anyway, when you are inspired as a writer, it is hard to feel insecure because you are in your zone--you own your sweet spot, and there words flow. In your sweet spot you are secure.

When thinking about blogging this morning, knowing it is the first Wednesday of the month, the designated day of the month that we bloggers involved with the Insecure Writer's Support Group, post, an old soul song with just a hint of gospel, came to mind. I'm leaving you with it this morning, as inspiration for your writing practice today. When the Inspirations lyrics refer to "her" I would envision your writing muse.

Enjoy!










© 1996-2008 The Museum Of Jurassic Technology, 9341 Venice Boulevard, Culver City, CA 90232







Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Reflecting on New Years Resolutions

I use to not participate in New Year's Resolutions. Well, first I did, when I was really young, and then I didn't. For the past couple of years I've taken on a couple of doozy's. Two years ago, it was to lose 90 pounds. I'm more than half way there. I'm still at it. That resolution is never as far away as My Fitness Pal app or a fork, from my mind. I had no idea it would take more than a year to accomplish my 2014 resolution but I'm proud that I haven't let it slip away.

The resolution for 2015 was to re-activate my art career. Let's face it though, in temperate zones like where I live, you're so busy strong shoveling the snow out of your path for the first few months of the year that most of us don't get to tackle our resolutions until early spring. That was the case with me.



"Gardening Action with Bugs and Flowers"
oil on canvas, Stephanie Rose Bird, c. 2015


There was something about the newness of spring that got me going. Flowers are so inspiring in shape, color, texture and scent. At first I started buying bouquets and then as soon as it was warm enough, I went out into the garden. I love my outdoor studio. Now as the sabbat Lammas approaches (more on that soon) and we're heading into a month with a blue moon, I'm about to head outside in a few minutes for another painting session. I'm glad to say though, I'm painting much more than once in a blue moon.


                     "Sunny Day in the Garden," oil on canvas, Stephanie Rose Bird, c. 2015


Resolutions are a public declaration. With my resolution I'm saying: I'm going to do this thing this year and I'm going to stick to it. I'm finding my resolutions to be complicated, time-staking but well worth the effort. My newest development in my art career--well, it's huge! Stay tuned for a very special announcement about it in the coming days.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Getting Back to Basics


Regulars here know of my weight loss journey. If you're new, here's some brief background. I decided to lose weight, using spirituality and calorie counting on My Fitness Pal about a year and a half ago. I lost 50 pounds. I felt great, gave away my big clothes to charity, celebrated and still planned to lose 40 more. I also embarked on writing the book "Mama Earth's Spiritual Guide to Weight-loss."

Then life stepped in, in a big way. I got distracted. I started cooking my own food less, eating out more. Staying within the calorie limits I'd set (higher mind you), I reached for some "healthy" packaged foods.

Low and behold, weight started to creep back on, slowly but surely. It came a pound here and a pound there--until I'd gained 5 pounds back.

Recently I went back to the source. Back to Mother Nature for guidance and nourishment. I'd mentioned in a previous post how I'm eating more vegan and raw foods. That's a part of my movement to source. Here are some of my recent creations:

Banana Bread Granola (vegan/gluten free) using Minimalist Baker's Recipe



                                                             Homemade Almond Milk



Having just polished off a bowl of this, I can say I feel cleaner and lighter than I usually do, eating this combo. I'm energized and ready to go.

In terms of my weight, I've been eating this type of vegan and raw foods for about a week. I've lost 4 of those evil pounds I'd put back on. 1 more to go--I'm stoked!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Guest Post Featuring Author Chrys Fey


It is with great pleasure that I host author and blogging friend, Chrys Fey on Stephanie's Studio. Chrys is a prolific blogger, writer and published author. She shares her passion for the word, almost daily, as a blogger. She's also written some precious e-books, some cross a topic I hold dear--magick, such as her newest "Witch Love." So without further ado, here's Chrys. Please feel free to ask her questions and make comments. She's here to answer you today:


Witch Love

By

Chrys Fey


For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with witches. Maybe it began when I was a child and my mom would dress as a witch for Halloween, or maybe it started with my love of the Wizard of Oz. Whatever initially triggered it, my passion grew with each year, every season of Charmed, and every book I read about witches. When I was thirteen, I even wanted to be a witch. Who wouldn’t? You could live mysteriously and magickally. You could plant gardens, cast spells, and become one with nature.

Although I didn’t become a witch, I taught myself how to use tarot cards after I started to have dreams and other psychic thoughts. Once, when I was watching a news story about a man who died in a house fire, I thought of my brother-in-law. I brushed my feeling aside, not sure why I thought of him. Days later, I mentioned it to my sister and she told me her husband actually knew the man who’d died. As for dreams, every time I have a dream about a tornado, I wake up in the morning to hear a tornado struck somewhere in the United States. I could go on and on...

To quench my fascination for witches, I write about them and turn them into character every chance I get, as I did with Libby in Witch of Death.


Title: Witch of Death
Author: Chrys Fey
Genre: Supernatural/Suspense
Format: eBook Only
Page Count: 45 (short story)
Release Date: May 20th, 2015
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Blurb:

Detective Reid Sanders doesn’t believe in the supernatural, but when he’s faced with a crime scene that defies the laws of nature, he has no other choice but to start believing. And solving a magical murder involves working with a witch.

Liberty Sawyer embodies the look of your classic evil witch, so, it’s no surprise when she uncovers the murderer is a witch that she becomes Reid’s number one suspect. If she can’t convince him otherwise, more people could lose their lives to dark magic, including her.


BOOK LINKS:


Excerpt:

Liberty Sawyer glided swiftly through the horde of police officers, reporters, and on- lookers. Black hair fell from a rigid part in the middle of her scalp to her hips. Her eyes were a soul-stabbing blue and her lips were blood-red. She towered over the other officers on the scene, and wore all black, which set off 6 the pallor of her skin.

Showing her badge to the officer, she slipped under the crime scene tape. A few paces away, she spotted Detective Corbin talking to his new partner, a man she knew by name but hadn’t had the privilege of meeting yet.

“I cannot believe you called her,” the new man was saying when she came up behind them. “We don’t need a damn psychic!”

“Actually, I’m a witch.” She smiled when Reid jolted and turned to face her. “I’m
Detective Liberty Sawyer.” She stuck out her hand.

“Detective Reid Sanders,” he grunted back and took her hand.

The feel of his palm against hers sent tingles of lust from the tips of her fingers to her shoulder blade, and she knew he felt it too by the way he jerked his hand back. She winked at him playfully, hoping it would unnerve him even more.

ALSO AVAILABLE:


Blurb:

Jolie Montgomery, a twenty-one-year-old woman, wakes up in an alley next to her corpse. She has no memories of her murder or the night she died. She didn’t even see the killer’s face before he or she took her life. Wanting justice, Jolie seeks answers in the only way a ghost can...by stalking the lead detective on the case.

Avrianna Heavenborn is determined to find the person responsible for a young woman’s death. She gets closer to the killer’s identity with every clue she uncovers, and Jolie is with her every step of the way.

But if they don’t solve her murder soon, Jolie will be an earth-bound spirit forever.

Book Links:



BIO:

Chrys Fey is the author of Hurricane Crimes and 30 Seconds. She is currently working on the sequel to Hurricane Crimes that’ll serve as book two in the Disaster Crimes series.

When Fey was six years old, she realized her dream of being a writer by watching her mother pursue publication. At the age of twelve, she started writing her first novel, which flourished into a series she later rewrote at seventeen. Fey lives in Florida where she is waiting for the next hurricane to come her way.

You can connect with her on Facebook and her blog, Write with Fey. She loves to get to know her readers! 


Author Links: 
Facebook / Blog / Website / Goodreads 


Thank you all for visiting and hopefully commenting. ;) 


Monday, June 22, 2015

Stepping towards Veganism

My husband said a brilliant thing the other day. In his light bulb moment, he said, with vegetarianism and its food, there is always the feeling that the recipes are trying to replace something. Then he went on to say that in veganism too, when people talk about it that aren't vegan, often they talk about what you can't eat, rather than all the wonderful things you can.

I've been involved with the vegetarian lifestyle since my teens. I've also eaten pescatarian for many years. Recently though, I've become excited about raw foods and veganism. I'm seeing past the rhetoric of what you can't eat and enjoying all the magickal goodies from the plant kingdom that you can.

Seeing how he, a dedicated carnivore, saw all the potentiality in veganism, I decided to add some vegan dishes to our Father's Day feast. I made spinach/portabella burgers and Asian sweet potato salad. Hubby made a vegan roasted eggplant salad. Then we had a number of other dishes, for the vegetarians and omnivores at the table. The family loved it. Even my notoriously finicky son dug in. Instead of missing something, there was a new element of taste and wonder (how'd she do that with that stuff?) to the meal.

One of the things, even I as the cook of such things was surprised about, was my raw vegan ganache tartlettes. First of all, I was surprised when I went to make the crust. It is largely walnut based, with no added oils. Well, low and behind, from processing the nuts in the food processor, they through off lots of oils--I'd made walnut oil! The walnut oil held all the other chocolately ingredients together.

Notice the gleaming surfaces. That's shine is from the natural oils that were released from grinding up the nuts. I can just imagine the antioxidants and nutrients, freed up and ready to be absorbed into our bodies.






Here are the finished goodies.



They use brown rice syrup in place of cane sugar, coconut oil instead of butter, pure cacao powder for the chocolate element, and the rest of the ingredients are completely vegan and raw as well. The peppermint came from my garden. I felt as though I was being nourished while eating something yummy. That doesn't happen too often.


Friday, June 19, 2015

Moonlight Beach Gathering

 "Moonlight Beach with Gulls," pastel, Stephanie Rose Bird, 2015
                                       
                                     
Gathering with family, being with friends and loved ones--what could be better? My in-laws are getting on in age. My mother-in-law just turned 85. I had the pleasure of celebrating her birthday with her, a bit early but still, along with the rest of the family. There is a gentleness and knowing that comes with age, at least in her case. It's very touching. I hope to get there.

In addition to celebrating with her, I also spent time with my husband's father, brothers and my sisters-in-law. His older brother and our sister-in-law came all the way over from England. We had fun reconnecting. All of my children, apart from one who is working on the film "Chirag," were able to join. It was wonderful to be together without time, distance and work constraints.


Bird Birthday Gathering of 10, at lovely Pacific Grill in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA


We were in the coastal region of northern San Diego county. While there, we visited the place where my husband and I were married. I spent time there drawing the torrey pines, overlooking the sea, on the numerous cliffs there. I don't think I'd ever drawn cacti in the field. It was challenging!


Torrey Pines 2015, Pastel, Stephanie Rose Bird


I also visited with Yemaya-Olokun, the orisha I often talk about. In case you are unfamiliar, these orisha are of the upper and lower depths of the sea. Revered in Santeria, they encapsulate all the power, mystery and beauty of the ocean and seas.



(Liam after surfing)

This time around, I felt more compelled to capture the movements, the flickering of light and motion of the waves, than to swim. I did this observation work in pastel. Painting the sea is incredibly difficult. I enjoyed the challenge. Every day, in different light conditions, I went down to the beach called Moonlight Beach, and rendered what I could catch. Here is some of my work. I consider these sketches and hope to turn them into more in-depth paintings soon.


"Big Splash" pastel, Stephanie Rose Bird, 2015

"Moonlight Beach in the Morning" pastel, Stephanie Rose Bird, 2015