All posts by livingwithessence

Pamper Your Soul – Create an Altar

You don’t need an altar to pray.  You don’t need an altar to meditate, unless, you’re someone like me.

Someone who needs a focus point.

Someone who shares a house with others and desires an intimate space.

My altar, and the few feet of square footage surrounding it, is my sacred space.  It embodies the calming energies that my soul craves.  It speaks of the people and things that I want to bring into my prayer and meditation.



If you too, desire a sacred space, to pamper your soul, try these tips to create your own:
  • My altar is a shelving unit that I found at a yard sale.  Whatever works for your space will do.
  • After you pick an altar, or an altar area, clean it. I start by asking for a blessing. I use some mild soap and water and add a few drops of essential oils to the mixture.
  • Clean it energetically. Light some sage and allow the smoke to engulf the altar. I ask that each time I sit here, that love and light surround me and that I reflect love and light back to the world.pamper_soul_altar_2
  • I give myself a few minutes of introspection to think about certain items I want to lay on my altar. Sometimes, it’s as simple as a piece of fruit, in gratitude for the food on my plate.
  • I always place a candle on my altar. I love this one from Danielle LaPorte.  It’s an Ayurvedic  soy based candle infused with essential oils.  The packaging is reusable too.pamper_soul_altar_3
  • I keep a journal and inspirational reading material on or near my altar.
  • I adore fresh flowers.  They are a reminder of the beauty that surrounds me.  I change the water daily and at the first sign of wilting, I remove them. (I don’t want stagnant energy in my space.)
  • A must have for me are essential oils. I get quiet, take a few deep breaths and tune in to what oil is “calling” to me. I trust the intelligence of the oil to know what my body and soul needs that day.  I then do an anointing ceremony.

Altars are pliable.  I change mine according to the flow of my life.  One day, there’ll be a rubber duck and the next day, a kaleidoscope.


Creating this intimate space is all about how YOU want to pamper your soul.

Altar dancing,


PS Get my 6 tips on saving money with essential oils click here.

Go to that Party – Armed with 6 Tips to Protect your Liver



I’ve been working extremely hard these past few months.

Invitations are arriving and celebrations abound.

In honor of my hard work and the memory of Prince, I’m going to party like its 1999.

Bring on the graduations; the weddings; the barbecues; the family reunions; and the vacations.

“I got a lion in my pocket and baby it’s ready to roar.”

You can join the party too. Just be sure to follow these tips.

The lion and your liver will thank you.

1. Jumper Cables

Lemon water: coffee for you liver. Lemons contain citrate. This citric acid boosts your body’s ability to flush out toxins.

2. Get Wet

Take advantage of the hours between waking up and arriving at the bar.

Drink an 8 ounce glass of water, and then another, and then another, and then another. This will help to minimize the dehydration effect of alcohol.

Take it a step further and have a glass of water sitting next to your cocktail. Give the water glass its due attention.

3. Soldiers

Green tea contains a large dose of antioxidants.

It contains catechins, which are known to increase liver function.

If you’re too hung over to boil water, or prefer a fruit flavor, try this minerals and antioxidants drink mix.

4. On the Daily

Milk thistle is an herb that contains antioxidants that help protect the liver from toxins. It may even have the ability to help regenerate liver cells.

If you’re going to join the party, I recommend taking it for the entire summer (no more than 3 months).

If you use the supplement on a consistent basis, take a four week break every three months.

5. Lube Job

What do all parties have in common? Copious amounts of food.

In support of this blog, I’m mentioning  a few essential oils distilled from herbs.

Pick an oil to use topically and look for these herbs on the buffet table:

• basil
• celery seed
• oregano
• pepper (black)
• rosemary
• sage
• spearmint
• turmeric

Apply 10 drops of the essential oil over the liver twice a day.

6. Head Bangers

Dehydration is the usual culprit of hang over headaches.

Aha, you didn’t pay attention to tip number two.

Saturate your cells with water and your headache should dissipate quickly.

If you pick the essence of rosemary, you’ve chosen an excellent headache remedy too.

See you at the party!

Dancing with Prince,

PS  Because I care.

Mixing alcohol (pre and post party) with acetaminophen can cause a huge overload on your liver, possibly causing permanent damage. Studies show it can put you at a higher risk for kidney disease as well.

Using aspirin and ibuprofen with alcohol increases the risk of gastric bleeding.

If you use pain medicine on a regular basis, discuss consuming alcohol with your physician.

ALWAYS assign a designated driver.

PSS Get my 6 tips on saving money with essential oils click here.

Disclaimer:   Nutrition guidance and aromatherapy are not intended as diagnosis, prescription or treatment for any disease, physical or mental.  It is also not intended as a substitute for regular medical care.

A Man, his Dog, and a Camera


While the people of Browns Mills lie tucked up in their warm beds, the man and his dog walk out into the cold darkness.

The goal is to capture a sunrise.

Karl Jonsson’s favorite place to chase the sun is Whitesbog Village.

Whitesbog Village is a historical agricultural community known for cultivating cranberries and blueberries and is part of the Brendan T. Byrne State Forest in New Jersey’s Pine Belt.

New to the area, but not the Pinelands, Karl spent his childhood exploring the woods. He feels a connection to this stunning forest of pine.

Karl admits that spending time alone here is spiritual. He’s captivated by the landscape. The merging of water with trees imparts a deep peacefulness.

After weeks of exploring the area, Karl picked up a camera, and a habit. Neighbors encouraged him to upload his shots to the town’s Facebook Page. This is how I found Karl Jonsson.

I grew up in Browns Mills. My playground was the pines.I marveled at the angles of the sun and the colors it manipulated over lakes and forest.

Karl’s ability to capture the magic of my beloved playground struck me with sentiment. I had to meet this unassuming artist.

We scheduled an early morning walk. With hot coffee, and dog, Noel, we set off for the bogs. I asked Karl what his future with photography looked like.

His answer; delighted me. He said he doesn’t want to take it too seriously.

He asked me if I wanted to take some pictures and I said, “Oh, no, that’s OK, I’ll watch you.” He said, “Here, you just have to push this button.”

His “have a go at it” gesture is how he approaches creating and it’s refreshing.

And…He said he wants to combine his love of photography with his passion for dogs.

Karl Photography Dog

He spends mornings and evenings at the bogs or the lake taking pictures of dogs that have been adopted or fostered. Karl hopes his photography will bring attention to organizations like One Love Animal Rescue.

On Saturday, March 19, Photography of Whitesbog Gallery Opening will feature some of Karl’s photos. He says the prints will portray dogs at their happiest.

I think the prints will hint to a happy photographer too.

For the love of art – for the love of dogs – for the love of pine trees; I’m so happy to share the man, his camera, and his dog.



PS If you want to check out Karl’s photos, visit his Facebook Page.

Stop Telling Me I’m Broken

Let Me Fix You

I took a pledge this year, to not read one self-help book.

Specifically, books that send a message that I’m broken.

I’m so tired of the next best book that wants to fix me.

I certainly don’t need another “should-do” added to the list.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve needed some self-help along the way and I am ever so grateful to those pearls of wisdom that I needed to “hear.”

But I’m just days shy of 53 years old. I think I got this.

I like me.

I’ve got the basics. I have a spiritual practice. I exercise (well, I move) and eat well. I laugh, A LOT. Not to mention, that I have some awesome people in my circle.

What has been my best teacher?

The understanding, that as a creature of Divine creation, I am already whole. And as such, everything I need is within me.

What has been my next best teacher?

Listening to and honoring my intuition.

Everyone is born with this ability.

You know, those feelings you get in the pit of your stomach. Or that chill down your spine. That feeling in your heart, whether it be heavy or light.

We got into trouble when someone told or showed us not to trust it.

I must admit that I broke my pledge at 9 months when The Conscious Parent by Dr. Shefali Tsabary caught my attention.

But props to my gut, I got the intuitive nod, that this was a must read. And besides, the Dali Lama wrote the preface. I happen to think he’s pretty cool.

Why would a woman my age be interested in a parenting book? If you’re knew to my blog, I’m the legal guardian of my first grandson. Parenting as a grandparent has its challenges in and of itself, so I’m a little extra villi-gent.

I also wish this book was available 30 years ago when I was a young parent.

Dr. Spock did not deliver.

Every page in this book offered a new perspective.

“No one tells us that the love between a parent and child has the potential to tear open our heart, leaving us at the mercy of the destiny of our children.  No one explains that if we are going to parent consciously, life as we know it will no longer exist, and the individual we believe ourselves to be will evaporate before our eyes.” – The Conscious Parent

As Will Hale, a family music entertainer, puts it, “This is the parents’ owner’s manual we always wish had come with our kids.”

If I had it my way, I’d hand this book out in maternity wards. That’s how much it’s needed.