Yes, we are open! Orders Ship from our NEW Ohio center. US Standard Shipping is FREE for orders of $50 or More! Please allow 3 – 7 days for delivery.
0 Cart
Added to Cart
    You have items in your cart
    You have 1 item in your cart
    Total

    Nature Reflections Blog

    The 6 Best Places to Buy Garden Seeds Online

    The 6 Best Places to Buy Garden Seeds Online

    We have guest content in our blog today! 

    Herman Samano, from Porch.com, reached out to me after seeing my blog post on 100 Things You Can Do During Social Distancing. Since I mentioned gardening, he thought this article would be a good fit for my site and I completely agree! I've always been a big proponent of shopping online and with physical distancing, it is helpful to know that there are lots of seed providers out there to help us grow our own fruits, vegetables and plants. 

    Whether you are an advance gardener, or a novice, this article is great for anyone who is looking for any advice on how to harvest their own organic vegetablesnative plants, or an edible flower garden at home!

    Times are uncertain right now so I wanted to share an article that all gardening lovers could use to make their backyard useful and make the best out of their time at home. Please be aware, some of the providers below may have temporarily suspended new orders due to the overwhelming increase in home gardens. However, as things change, they will be able to ship again. Their sites are also filled with lots of growing tips and information, so I decided to keep them listed in this article supplied by Porch.com. 

     

    The 6 Best Places to Buy Garden Seeds Online

    Bring your garden to the next level with these top-notch sources for rare, heirloom, and high quality seeds.

    Spring is officially here, and that means it’s time to buy seeds for your garden.

    You can find a variety of seeds at your local hardware store. But if you want to grow a garden that’s a cut above, you’ll need to go online. Whether you’re in the market for organic vegetables, native plants, or that perfect shade of peony for your cutting garden, these shops are where you’ll find what you’re looking for.

    Take a look at our six favorite places to buy seeds online, and get ready to make your garden better than it’s ever been before!

    1. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

    With the largest variety of rare and heirloom seeds in the United States, an always-gorgeous, free color catalog, and an endlessly knowledgeable online community, it’s no wonder that Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds is a favorite of Martha Stewart and Oprah. If you’re interested in vegetables, fruits, and flowers that you can’t find anywhere else, then you’ll love getting lost in Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds’ stunning online catalog.

    2. Seed Savers Exchange

    Boasting impossible-to-find gems such as the hot orange Jaune Flamme tomato, the delicately-scented Queen Anne’s Pocket melon, and the bizarre (but delicious) Jelly Melon cucumber, Seed Savers Exchange will delight adventurous gardeners and plain old tasty veggie fans alike. Becoming a member will even get you access to the Seed Savers community exchange boards, where gardeners and farmers from around the world trade rare seeds for nothing but the cost of shipping.

    3. Burpee

    Although the Burpee seed catalog doesn’t boast a wide array of exotic varieties, they’ve hit the mark on offering a range of solid gardener favorites since 1881. Burpee’s seeds can be counted on to get the highest yield and have the best resistance to disease, which makes them ideal for beginner gardeners and seasoned pros alike. They also offer a wide variety of tomato seedlings that arrive at your door ready to plant in the ground.

    4. Seeds of Change

    100% certified organic seed at Seeds of Change means that you can shop confidently for your organic garden, without having to worry about pesticide residues or GMOs. This California company offers a vast selection of heirloom, organic and hybrid varieties, making it popular among conventional and organic gardeners alike. The best part: the site lists detailed growing instructions for each variety on its website, so you can remember how far apart to plant your seedlings without having to keep track of those pesky little seed packets.

    5. Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

    With over 700 varieties of seeds that are optimized to grow well in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, it’s no wonder this Virginia company is a regional favorite. In addition to listing all kinds of delicious and useful varieties, Southern Exposure is home to a constantly growing selection of historic Southern varieties such as peanutscowpeasroselle, and butterbeans. Check out their Virginia Heritage Collection for twelve varieties of heirloom vegetables that will taste great on any Southern table.

    6. Territorial Seed Company

    Territorial Seed Company is another local favorite, with an array of varieties optimized to succeed in the Northwest, as well as a great selection of plants that do well nationally. Here, you’ll find seeds, plants, fruits, vines, herbs, garlic, and potatoes, as well as tools, books, and thorough growing guides. All of Territorial’s products are backed by a full guarantee, so you can fearlessly attempt the newest varieties of carrots, lettuces, and tomatoes.

     

    What’s on your garden list this year? Will you be trying anything new?

     

     

     

    Caring for Our Pets Well-Being While Staying At Home

    Caring for Our Pets Well-Being While Staying At Home

     

    As many of us are staying home, our pets are getting more interaction with us than they had prior. Is this a good thing for them? It all depends. Pets generally love it when their caregivers are in the same location as them. They love us like we love them. They have a strong bond and connection to us. In fact, there are lots of books and studies on the subject of the human and dog relationship. So, we may think that being home with our pets is a good thing. Emotionally, for a pet, having us around is a positive experience. However, it all depends on how we act at home. We should be aware and take precautions to ensure our beloved pets are doing well during this health epidemic. Here are some things to consider:

     

    Is Your Pet Sleeping Enough Now That You Are Home?

     

    A few years ago, after I took a voluntary separation package from my old employer and I stayed home for several months to learn how to sew and design clothes. You see, I had this goal of applying for the TV show Project Runway, even though my prior sewing experience was a little more than sewing loose buttons or fixing a hem. I had my sewing machine in one room, in another room I had a large table where I did all of my pattern making and cutting and then when I would need to do detail hand sewing (or fixing my mistakes) I would sit on the couch in the living room and work there. Pretty much, I was up and down all day long going from room to room. My sweet little dog would follow me everywhere and after 5 months of this, he become seriously ill. Now, his diagnosis was related to something that may have been genetic but during the time I was at home, he was not getting the amount of sleep that he got prior to me being at home.  He was on lots of medicines and treatments but he didn’t fully recover until I went back to work. Though I have no scientific data on why he made a complete recovery, I do feel that him being able to sleep helped him with his recovery.

     

    Most dogs need between 12 and 14 hours of sleep each day and some require even more than that. Most cats need between 12 and 16 hours of sleep a day. The average American sleeps slightly less than 7 hours a night. If your pet is staying awake when you are home, they are not getting the sleep they need. This could impact their health and well-being.

     

    To help your pet sleep, stay in one room and area as long as you can. When they are sleeping during the day, don’t go up and pet them no matter how cute and adorable they look (trust me, I know it is tempting- I struggle all the time with this.) Keep to a routine as much as possible so they can learn it and know when it is best for them to sleep. Create an environment for them that promotes sleep, such as soft lighting, soft music or anything that is not jarring. Close curtains and blinds so they are not distracted by the outdoors.

     

    Is Your Pet Eating Too Much?

     

    We usually eat at least one meal away from home when we are working. Now at home, we are eating all of our meals in one place. We may have a habit of sharing some of our food with our pets or out of boredom, we may give our pets additional treats.

     

    If you have a food focus pet, you will need to practice restraint during this time frame. I am actually lucky; my dog will only eat if he is hungry. If I gave him a treat when he is not hungry, he will just go and bury it in the yard (or in the crevices of the couch!) and save it for later. But not all pets are like this. Many will just keep eating. It’s important that you do not overfeed your pets because it will lead to obesity and health issues. I know it is tough to resist when they give you the sad eyes.

     

    Fortunately, with dogs, most vegetables are good for them and vegetables are low in calories. If you can’t resist the pleas, treat them with some fresh carrots or string beans. For a list of safe fruits and veggies for dogs, click here. My dog goes crazy over cucumbers which are very low in calories. If he sees me slicing a cucumber, he starts whining up a storm until a slice is in his little mouth.

     

     

    Is Your Pet Getting Enough Exercise?

     

    Depending on where we live, we may or may not be able to walk our pets outside or take them to a field or park. Some of us do not have yards or space for our furry friends to explore. What do we do then to make sure they get their bodies moving?

     

    With cats, all you need is string, a laser pointer or a cat toy to get them going. Cats love to chase and hunt, so any game that you play with them that is about chasing and hunting, they will respond. Need ideas? Here is a funny cat and laser pointer compilation video  and here is a video with cats playing with balls of yarn.

     

    In regards to dogs, they love to play. When I lived in Nebraska and went through my first winter with my pup, I would throw a bouncy ball down the long hallway and he would run and slide to catch it. We also played tug-a-war with a rope, and while playing, he would make this sound that reminded me of the movie Gremlins. I found this good article from iheartdogs.com  about 10 Ways to Exercise Your Dog Indoors.

     

    And, is your pet being affected by your emotional state?

     

    Let’s face it, right now many of us are in various degrees of reaction to what is happening right now with the corona virus. We may be in the extreme panic mode phase or we may be in the "I made peace with it and realize that this too shall pass" phase or we may be somewhere in between. Pets pick up on our moods and emotions. They look to us to see what is going on in their household.

    Pets do best with routine. However, we know that right now, this is anything but routine. Getting yourself into a positive state of mind will help your pet to relax and adjust to the changes. If you take care of you, you will also be able to take care of your furry friend. You may want to check out my article on 100 Things to Do During Social Distancing. There are a couple of sections on self-care. Also, to help with your mood, you can check out another article I wrote, Gratitude Helps With Life’s Curve Balls which was written a couple of months before the impacts of the corona virus in the US.

    Once you take care of you, create a new routine for you and your pet. If you normally walk you pet in the morning but can’t go outside, then create playtime during that time instead. If your pet eats everyday at a specific time, keep that routine going even if you could feed them earlier or later. Show your pet love and confidence and that though things have changed, everything is OK.

    We are so fortunate to have our pets in our lives. They complete our families. They love unconditionally. They are joy captured in cuteness and fur. They are love, which is something we all need, especially now.

     

    Please note: If your pet has anxiety, behavior or health issues, please consult with a trained professional or your veterinarian.

     

    Theresa Touhey is the owner of Nature Reflections, an online jewelry store focused on handcrafted nature inspired jewelry. She is an avid writer and most of all, she is the guardian to O (short for Orion,) a rescued Havanese dog that she adopted from the Nebraska Humane Society.

     

    100 Things You Can Do During Social Distancing

    100 Things You Can Do During Social Distancing

     

     

    Last month, I did a blog post about 5 Easy Ways to Meet People and Do Something Interesting. That article was all about getting out of the house and trying new things. But now we are in a circumstance with physical distancing (aka social distancing) and self-isolation to ensure our safety, health and well-being. Though our primary concern is that we all come out COVID-19 unscathed, being at home for a long period of time can become monotonous and tedious unless if we are proactive in finding worthwhile things to occupy our time. TV and movies are wonderful, but there is only so much of anything before it becomes boring. With this in mind, I’ve compiled a list a things to do at home that I have taken from several sources and broke it down in categories. I used many links with this article so that you will have not only ideas but also instructions and information. You can read this in small chunks or plow through it, whichever works best for you.

     

     

    Expressing Your Creativity!

    1. Rearrange your furniture. By rearranging your furnishing, you can create a whole new flow and make your house feel like a different environment. Maybe take some cues from Feng Shui to help create flow and harmony.
    2. Move artwork and wall hangings to different rooms to create a new vibe.
    3. Make a collage from old photographs or use photos from the web.
    4. Do you have old house paint? If you do, and you also have a board or other flat surface, you can create your own wall art.
    5. Many of us have a plethora of old buttons in a bin. Fear not… you can make art of these! Check out this article for inspiration!
    6. Needle, thread and old clothes? There is so much you can do with these items from making stuffed toys to pillows or totally redesigning a current look. Check out this article for 50 create ideas!
    7. Have rope? Explore these very creative and lovely things you can make from rope.
    8. Is there a box of old hardware hanging out in your garage? If you have some old door knobs lying about, how about making one of these great projects?
    9. Do you have craft projects you have started in the past? Write down a list of them and set a goal on how many you want to complete over the next few weeks.
    10. More craft ideas here using common household items… I love the penny vase!

     

    Cleanliness is Next to …

     

    1. Reorganize your pantry- You can find ideas here.
    2. Do a thorough Spring Cleaning with a list of those things we completely forget about, such as drapes, our doormats and more!
    3. Don’t forget about that coffee pot- to learn more about what lurks inside of it, check out un’kupped.
    4. Wash the things that often get overlooked like your sneakers and slippers.
    5. If you have a pressure washer, this may be a good time to wash your patios, roofs, driveways and stucco or siding. Please follow all safety measures when using a pressure washer.
    6. Clean your car like a professional and maybe jam out to the song Carwash when you are doing so!
    7. Clean out your basement or attic. This is a great time to get rid of items that you will never use and then donate them!
    8. Give some TLC to your garage.
    9. Wash and Clean all of the dog and cat toys! Pay careful attention since the toys are made from different materials- this article gives you tips for cleaning each type of toy.
    10. Go high! Light fixtures, ceilings, ceiling fans, sconces, art work, shelves, alcoves and recesses- they all need a good dusting and cleaning too.

     

    Take Good Care of Yourself

     

    1. Start with your toes and give yourself a home pedicure.
    2. While you are at it, you can also give yourself a manicure!
    3. When was the last time you did a hair treatment? Doing an at home hair treatment is a good way to take your hair to the next level of health and vibrancy.
    4. Nothing is more relaxing than a facial. Use the products you have or check out https://www.boombycindyjoseph.com/ which is a skin care company focused on women over 50.
    5. Light some candles and take a relaxing bath. Here are some good tips for creating the best experience.
    6. Get rid of unwanted hair. Pluck your brows (or in my case, my chin!) and feel more confident being well-groomed.
    7. Give yourself a massage. Yes, you can actually give yourself a massage, though it will be different than what you get from a professional OR…
    8. Have a loved one give you a massage. If they don’t know how, have them read this.
    9. Drink LOTS of water! Staying hydrated is good for you inside and out! Here’s some tips to get in that water (including ways to flavor water or get the hydration from certain foods)
    10. Meditate, pray, nap or relax- it is important to take time to quiet your mind.

     

    Stay Social

     

    You can still be social while physically distancing yourself and here are some ways to do so:

    1. Call your friends and loved ones. Make a list of everyone you know. Do a rotation and call at least one person each day.
    2. Write letters or emails. Writing letters has quickly become a lost art but you can help bring it back. There are many people who would love a letter from you.
    3. Participate positively on social media. Remember, you get more flies with honey so share uplifting stories, happy photos, encouraging quotes and positive memes. Don’t know what to share? Check out Nature Reflections Facebook page as we are committed to posting one positive meme a day.
    4. Join social media groups that have like interest. In the search area of Facebook, type in something that you are interested in and then join the group. This is an easy way to meet others with the same interest.
    5. Play a game! Many computer and mobile games have a chat feature and you can make new friends or play with existing friends. One of my favorites is the classic Words with Friends.
    6. Have dinner with friends with a video call. Use Skype, Facetime, Google Duo or What’s App. Set up your computer, tablet or phone at your dinning table. Have your friends or family join in the call and eat together as if you were in the same room.
    7. Get comfortable with texting. Sending “I love you” or “thinking of you” to your friends and family helps with connecting through text. Send photos and ask for them to send you pictures. The more comfortable you get with chatting, the more you will feel connected.
    8. Walk your neighborhood but make sure to keep at least 6 feet away from others. Wave hi to your neighbors, even if you haven’t spoken to them yet. Do this often and you will eventually develop a relationship. Yell out some “how are you doing?” and “I hope you are well!”
    9. Watch Movies with others using Netflix Party Chrome Extension on your laptop computer. It’s a way to watch movies with your friends and family at the same time and you can chat in the application with each other.
    10. Use three way calling on your phone. Back in the 90s, three-way calling was a feature that many had used and this is a great time to bring it back. Get all of your kids on the phone at the same time. Or, get a group of your friends together. Sometimes, more really is merrier!

     

    Learn Something New!

     

    1. Take an online course at You can learn just about anything, from Reiki Healing to Starting Your Own Business. It was a course I took on Udemy that started my entrepreneurship!
    2. Many local libraries also have online courses for free or they partner with other course catalogs.
    3. Some universities and community colleges offer free online courses. Or, if you have been putting off getting your degree, this may be the perfect time to register and get back to learning.
    4. When my son was a teenager, learned to play guitar by watching YouTube Anytime I need to do something in excel that I haven’t done in a while, I go to Youtube for a refresher. I tiled my kitchen backsplash and learned how to use a wet saw by watching Youtube.
    5. Check out books online through your local library or
    6. Read e-books to learn something new or
    7. Read free opensource college textbooks online.
    8. Listen or Watch TED. TED talks are quick little talks from industry experts with varied subjects including talks on technology, science, design, business, communication, activism, personal growth, the environment, humanity, the future and more. Innovative and fun, one of my favorites is this one.
    9. In regards to TED, NPR has some fantastic podcast including the TED Radio Hour, This American Life and more. There are so many NPR podcast to explore.
    10. And if you find yourself loving podcast but don’t know where to find more, check out this site here which will keep you busy in your discovery.

     

    Keep on Moving

     

    It’s so easy to just park yourself on the couch or in front of a computer when you are home. Here’s how to stay moving.

     

    1. Start a yoga practice. Need something to help you begin then check out this Sliver Sneakers YouTube video.
    2. You already do yoga and you miss your studio classes? Check Out Amazon Prime or this article on yoga classes on YouTube.
    3. For a low key and slow stretch video, I found this little gem with the one and only Richard Simmons. It is stretching to the very old oldies (classical music!)
    4. Or, if you are not one for structured workout videos, turn up some music and just dance around your living room for 20 minutes. Create yourself a play list of some of your favorite songs. I tend to lean more towards alternative rock and these are some of my favorites to dance out to: Should I Stay or Should I Go by the Clash, Change by Churchill and Cake By The Ocean by DNCE.
    5. Do old fashion calisthenics in your living room such as touching your toes, jumping jacks, planks, lunges, etc. Write out the things you like to do and create your own little workout.
    6. If you have an exercise bike, a treadmill or a home gym collecting dust, then go ahead and clean them up and start using them. But..
    7. If you do not have any home equipment, you can always use household items. Here is a video exercise with can food.
    8. Lift your knees up. Every time you go from room to room in your house, march your way there. The exaggerated movement of marching may look silly but it is a way to get some exercise in throughout the day without really trying.
    9. Work your core by doing balance exercises. Check out this video where you use a chair to help you with your exercises.
    10. If you can walk your neighborhood and practice social distancing (at least 6 feet away from others) then do so. Or, walk in your home or around your yard. If you have to stay indoors, clear a pathway and walk as if you are doing laps in a pool. Movement is so important right now to maintain your health.

     

    Home Improvements

     

    1. Do paint touchups around the house. Those little nicks on the edges of walls could use some TLC.
    2. Clean out your dryer ducts. Not only will your clothes dry faster and you will use less electricity, you could be preventing a fire hazard as well.
    3. Remove the sediment from your water heater.
    4. Replace dingy switch plate covers or, better yet, get creative and make an interesting and decorative switch plate cover.
    5. Fix wobbly chairs around your home. Here is the take apart and glue way or you can watch this video which tackles dining room chairs.
    6. Depending on the kind of windows you have, you may run into them sticking or being hard to open and close. Here is a cheat sheet on how to fix multiple types of windows.
    7. Got lots of little holes in your walls from old pictures and art work? Here’s a video to help you repair those walls, especially if you are going to paint them afterwards.
    8. Clean your windows and screens. If you are going to do all of your screens at once, use a sharpie to mark which window the screen came from so that it is easy to put them back once they are dried and cleaned.
    9. Repair the dings and scuff marks on your floors. Here is a bunch of articles depending on the type of floor you have and the issue you are experiencing.
    10. Caulk your tubs, windows or any area that could use a good caulking. I like this video except for the very beginning… please cut away from your hand, not towards it. 😊

    Be a Hobbyist!

     

    There are countless hobbies but here are a few suggestions if you are looking for something to do:

     

    1. Grow something! Start an indoor or outdoor garden.
    2. Regrow your vegetables? You can easily grow things like ginger, garlic, celery and more. Check out this article on vegetable scraps that are easy to regrow.
    3. Write a journal. You can use a notebook, pad, word program or one of these journaling apps.
    4. Shop! Yes, you can shop online. Shopping helps the economy and small business (like Nature Reflections) to stay vital and in business. This virus will pass and you will have something to look forward to with your new finds.
    5. Become a fermenter. Make Sauerkraut, Kombucha, Sourdough Bread and more. Wild Fermentation is my favorite site and book.
    6. Have you ever thought about coding? You can learn how to code for free at
    7. Knitting and Crocheting are great hobbies to do because you can make beautiful things and do it while listening to music or watching TV.
    8. Have you ever wondered about your ancestry but don’t know where to begin? Here is a list of sites to get you started.
    9. Preserve your family recipes and stories by writing them down. Share them with your family through email or create a private family Facebook group and invite your family members to it. Who knows, you may have a future best seller or the basis of a movie script!
    10. Learn a new language. Here are some sites to get you started.

     

     

    Additional Things to do:

    1. Enjoy Nature from your Phone, Tablet or Laptop. Enjoy these Wildlife Webcams.
    2. Volunteer. Here are seven ways you can help others during this time period.
    3. Create beautiful Social Media Posts and Memes using tools such as Canva.
    4. Do you know how to sew and want to help out? You may be able to make some masks.
    5. Explore recipes and cook things you haven’t cooked in the past or in a while. There are so many recipe sites. One of my favorites is Isa Chandler Moskowitz Post Punk Kitchen for delicious vegan and plant-based food.
    6. Start composting. This is a natural way to get rid of waste and create rich soil for your yard or garden.
    7. Save seeds from your fruits and vegetables. You can use them for future harvests.
    8. Have date night with your loved ones or by yourself. Order delivery through one of many food apps like Grub hub, Door Dash, Postmates, Uber Eats or Favor. Just go to the Apple Store or Play Store on Your Phone and Type in food delivery to see which ones deliver in your zip code. Please make sure to note that they leave the items at your door (you can see on the app when it is delivered) and make sure to tip these hard-working drivers.
    9. Watch a movie. Don’t know what to watch? Find a list of the best of a certain genre or watch one of the best movies of all time.
    10. Watch a series from beginning to end. Please spread it out over days or weeks. Don’t know where to begin? Explore your options with this list.

     

    More Reminders to Take Care of Yourself

     

    1. You may not be as active as you were and may get laxed on hygiene. However, taking a shower makes you feel refreshed. Shower at least every other day. Always shower and wash your clothes when you get back from going out in public.
    2. Moisturize yourself. Take care of your skin even though you may not be out and about.
    3. Sleep. Try your best to stay on routine and a schedule. It is easy to let the days blur together and then mess up your sleeping pattern.
    4. Plan each day with activities, ways to socialize from a distance and keep your mind and body active.
    5. Destress. Breathe deeply. Do the things that keep you most at peace.
    6. Focus on positive things. Keep reminders of what brings you joy. Visualize happiness and health.
    7. Take advantage of this as an opportunity to grow. Pat yourself on the back each day for your accomplishments.
    8. Use positive self-talk and when others give you compliments and support, accept it with grace.
    9. Be kind to you and everyone else. We are all going through this together.
    10. And know… this too shall pass. We may not know how long but history dictates that this is only temporary.

     

    Theresa Touhey is the owner of Nature Reflections which is an online jewelry store that focuses on Unique, Handcrafted Jewelry that is Nature Inspired.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Five Great Things About Spring

    Five Great Things About Spring

    Living in Florida, we pretty much have 2 seasons which are “Heat and Humidity Season” and then Spring. Our Spring actually starts in November and lasts until March. This is when our daily temperatures are usually under 85 degrees and you can do things outdoors without becoming soaking wet in 5 minutes. However, much of the country Spring starts in March and lasts until June. As a Floridian, I love Spring (even though it is starting to get hot here and it is a sampling of what is to come) because I know it is when things are starting to happen across the county- with flowers blooming and birds singing and so much more. To get you inspired, here are some of the things to help you celebrate in Spring:

     

    1. TRAVELING

    Spring is a wonderful time to travel, especially if you are not doing a family vacation or going to a Spring Break destination. The crowds are less and the weather is usually decent and you can get by with a light coat or a thick sweater. In Washington DC, you have the beauty of the cherry blossoms. Key West, Florida is quaint and serene during this time of year- the snow birds (people who live in Florida during the summer months) have gone home and as long as you don’t go during Memorial Day weekend, you will feel like you have the place to yourself. Go out to the country side small towns of California or Texas and you will see wide open fields of flowers. Though skiing may be over at most ski destinations, you can go to these places without the crowds and explore the beauty of the new growth and nature as it peeks through the snow or sit by a babbling brook as the ice melts. Big Cities like New York and Chicago are waking up from their winter slumber and are bursting with activity. Traveling during the Spring is fun and at most destinations, there are less crowds than during the summer months since kids are still in school.

     

    1. SHOPPING

    Shopping in the Spring is so much fun! This is the time of year when stores bring in clothes with color. Pretty prints of flowers and swirls fill the aisles. When you shop online, the pastel pinks, sky blues and minty greens soothe and beckon you to put on something a little lighter, brighter and softer. The accessories in spring reflect the season, with lightweight purses and jewelry with flowers, pearls and light stones. It is also a good time to buy sandals and it’s the absolute best time to buy a bathing suit before they are all picked over. (A little tip about bathing suit shopping- the day before you go, put on some sunless tanning lotion so you can get a more accurate assessment on how the color will look on you with a little bit of sun.)

     

    1. ANIMALS

    This is the time of year that babies are born in the animal kingdom. In Florida, we see lots of baby birds during this time of year. Take a visit to your local animal sanctuary and see everything from baby goats, calves, sheep, chickens and more... your heart will just melt with the cuteness and the animal sanctuaries could use your help. If you have pets, they are excited for longer walks because like us, they enjoy the more moderate temperatures. Take your pooch to a dog park and throw a ball or visit a local lake or trail … your doggy will be happy with the new experience. Or, go to a forest preserve and watch the otters and beavers make a damn, sit by a lake and watch a mama duck swim with her ducklings or if you are lucky, you may see a deer and her fawn.

     

    1. FESTIVALS and EVENTS

    There always seems to be something to do during the springtime! Art shows, outdoor concerts, food festivals, church and school carnivals, boat shows, car shows, wine tastings and more can be had during the spring. Just check out your local news sources and you will find a plethora of events during the spring including Mardi Gras, Easter, Passover and other celebrations. Outdoor sporting events get launched in the springtime. So, whether you go see a Spring Training Baseball Game, watch a car race, participate in a charity walk or run, you will sure be able to find something to do during the Spring.

     

    1. NATURE

    Of course, the best part of Spring is Nature. In Florida, I like to take a car trip to one of the Manatee Habitats and walk around and watch manatees gather. I also like to meet my friend Natasha (who makes the prettiest bento box picnic lunches) and eat lunch at Mead Gardens. Packing up a picnic and going out in Nature is a wonderful way to enjoy the spring. Walk in the woods, skim pebbles into a lake, meditate by a stream, hike through a thicket, take photos of a field… there are just so many ways to enjoy nature and create memories. While you are out in nature, you just may come across a plein air artist painting the landscape. Or, you may be that artist, interpreting the scenery, shooting a photograph, writing a poem or stacking rocks and twigs… create with your heart and the energy of the season. There is just so much to celebrate during the Spring!

     

    About the author: Theresa Touhey is the owner of Nature Reflections Jewelry and writes a blog post at least once a month with a focus on nature, embracing life, beauty, travel and anything that she feels her audience will enjoy.

     

     

     

     

    5 Easy Ways to Meet People and Do Something Interesting

    5 Easy Ways to Meet People and Do Something Interesting

    We are social creatures by nature. When we socialize and are in the presence of others, we help our overall sense of well-being. Social interaction helps to reduce stress, depression and when we are with people that we generally like, we may have a reduction of anxiety. It feels good to connect with others and have great conversation.  It is also rewarding when we do activities that help ourselves or others.

    However, finding new friends can seem daunting and uncomfortable. Often, we have these long histories and social circles that were effortless for us to maintain and then one day, we look around and realize that this person moved away, this person passed away, a divorce took place, a job was relocated, work demanded too much time and our  groups of friends and acquaintances shrank considerably. We didn’t have to go searching for friends during our youth, these relationships just seemed to happen. But now, as we age and our lives have diverted, we may need to make a concerted effort to increase our social and human interactions.

    If you have found that your social circle is smaller than you would like, and you want to meet new people, here are some easy, low-stress, enjoyable ways to put yourself out there and meet people.

     

    1. Subscribe to Meetup.com. When I had moved to Omaha, Nebraska in 2012, one of the first things I did was join Meetup. I met my friend Darren first who had a Meetup group for those that like to go to movies and listen to music. I joined the vegan meetup group and met many friends through that while eating delicious plant based food at local restaurants. Then, I decided to create my own meetup group to explore the culture of Omaha with a focus on going to museum and art events. It was in this group that I met the mirror of myself- my friend Theresa. I am not making this up… not only did she and I share the same first name, we both had blonde hair with bangs, both had lived in South Florida at one time, our grown children lived in Dallas and we had many other things in common. Needless to say, we hit it off and have been friends since.

     

    1. Join a Book Club. There are book clubs on Meetup, Facebook and often, your local library will sponsor book clubs as well. My friend Theresa, who I mentioned above, was a member of two book clubs- one being more highbrow literary and the other was focused more on best sellers. She loved her book clubs and met lots of interesting people and would tell me about the discussions they had, some very passionate and some more mundane. She always lit up when she mentioned her book clubs and she got great pleasure from joining those groups.

     

    1. Volunteer for something you are passionate about. I had a friend who had made a big lifestyle change which was to stop drinking. After he stopped drinking, he quickly realized that all of his friends had one thing in common- they were all heavy drinkers. Though their love of partying and staying out all night had bonded them together, when he become sober, he needed to find a new circle of friends. As an animal lover, he joined animal rescue groups and made lots of friends while helping animals in need. He told me that he immediate felt a strong kinship with many of the members because they were all passionate about the same thing. Volunteering for something that speaks to you will help you to connect with the other volunteers and make it easier to develop friendships.

     

    1. Find an Exercise Activity that is done with a group of people. I met my friend Lani in 2011 during one of my first yoga classes. She and I had both joined the studio within a week of us meeting and it was an instant connection. We initially bonded by helping each other with our posture and poses but as time went on, we became very close friends and 6 months later, I hosted a birthday party for both of us at my house (our birthdays are 5 days apart from each other.) She and I met our friend Anh and the three of us would encourage each other to practice. (I actually have named 2 of the items I sell at Nature Reflections after them, the Anh Earrings and the Lan Necklace.) There are so many fun exercise classes to take in addition to yoga, such as dance, Tai-Chi, Mall Walking or other Walking Groups, golf, swimming and Zumba, just to name a few. Check out your local gyms, YMCA, Exercise Studios or local recreational centers to find a class you will enjoy.

     

     

    1. Take a class. Did you know most local libraries have free classes? I have taken sewing lessons, HTML, 3D printing, Photoshop and Excel courses at my library. These courses are usually very high level but I met a few people while taking these classes. Though you could pay for college classes, if you want to go the free or cheap route, many community centers and businesses offer classes where you can meet and socialize with others. If you would like to learn how to paint or do mosaics, look up your local art stores and they are sure to have information on classes near you. If you would like to learn about gardening, hydroponics or permaculture, check out your local botanical gardens, arboretums, garden centers, holistic living schools or hydroponic stores.

     

    There are more ways to meet people, but the five suggestions above makes meeting people second nature since an activity is happening at the same time. You automatically have the connection with others- you can talk about the class, group or event and ask questions like… “What did you think about the art at the museum we just went to? Was there a piece that stood out to you?” Or, your conversation may go something like this, “I found I was losing my balance in Tree Pose. What did you use as a focal point to help you create your balance?” It’s a lot easier than going up to a stranger at a coffee shop or somewhere else (not saying you can’t or shouldn’t do those things too, being open to every encounter is a sure-fire way to expand your social circle.)

     

    To recap- be open, find what you like to do and go do it with others. By doing so, you will find others who have similar interest as you and it will make it easier to connect and make new friends.