The Longest Day Of The Year – Litha, Summer Solstice, Midsummer…

The summer solstice has connections with pagan faiths, ancient religions and metaphysical interpretations. Our ancestors celebrated it with fire and probably tons of beer! Celebrating the longest day and shortest night of the year isn’t very common anymore, but there isn’t any reason to avoid bringing it back. I enjoy celebrating the changes that accompany our mother earth.

2017’s Summer Solstice (Midsummer, Litha, St Johns Day…) is on Wednesday, June 21.

Unless of course, if you’re located in the southern hemisphere, then you would be experiencing Midwinter. 🙂

In many pagan faiths Litha is celebrated and recognized for being the complete opposite of Yule. It’s a day to celebrate the Sun Gods greatest day of strength. It overcomes the night whereas in the winter, Yule, the Moon Goddess has her day of greatest strength.

In modern day society there aren’t too many religions left celebrating the day of longest sunlight, but if you look into our ancestral past you will see that many religions over the decades worshipped the sun, especially on this day.

In the ancient Berber mythology of Africa a popular sun deity, also known as a solar deity, was Magec who was believed to be the mother or father (gender is unknown) of brightness. Magec was believed to possess radiance.

In Australian Aboriginal mythology Wuriupranili  was  a  traveling  Goddess whose torch  was  the  sun.


Aboriginal Wuriupranili 


Arabian Mythology included Malakbel. The Aztecs had Tonatiuh, god of the sun and ruler of the heavens. Buddhist text includes a deity Surya, the deity of the sun (Suriya Pariththa, Suthra Pitaka, Pali canon, Theravada Buddhism). The Celts had a large variety of solar deities, but one of the most well known is Áine, Irish goddess of love, summer, wealth and sovereignty, associated with the sun and midsummer. Ra, god of the sun in the Egyptian pantheon is widely known as well.  Apollo, Olympian god of light, the sun, prophecy, healing, plague, archery, music and poetry, is well known in the Greek pantheon.

I could list for days all the solar deities if I had to, but long story short, somewhere in our blood lines our ancestors celebrated this day. It meant that the days were going to start to get shorter and lead us towards Yule. It is a time to truly get things together because when winter comes it will be much harder to work through the elements.


midsummer litha summer solstice
Image of Mid Summer Festivities


The summer solstice was converted into a Christian religion after a period of time (I couldn’t find an exact date on my search – if anyone knows it please feel free to share below). John the Baptists birthday crossed with the summer solstice apparently. So, the Christians turned it into St Johns Day so that converted pagans could still celebrate the summer solstice under the protection of their new found faith with their Lord Jesus Christ.


st john the baptist
St John the Baptist


To this day there are Nordic Midsummer celebrations. Women wear white dresses, men wear light colored clothing, people wear rings of flowers in their hair and dance cheerfully around a pole decorated with greenery and flora. In ancient times they would sacrifice an animal and live for the day. Literally, because after that day they would start losing sunlight. As the sun sets they will light a giant bonfire to scare away the demons that are attracted to the depths of darkness. They drink, dance cheerfully and sing around the bonfire saying goodbye to their solar deity.

I will most likely be spending this day sitting around our decently sized fireplace in the yard and potentially having myself a drink to say goodbye to the long days. It will be my humble nod to those of my past who celebrated shamelessly knowing there would be many days full of hard work ahead.


Nordic Mid Summer Litha
What a Nordic Mid Summer Celebration partially looks like…

Even if you have no plans for this day, take a few moments to enjoy the sunlight wherever you may be and that night, take a step outside and observe the waning crescent moon. A few days after the moon will be New, meaning it will be completely dark and won’t be visible to our eyes.

I like to think that maybe its natures way of reminding us to live for the day, celebrate the things we have (sunlight in this instance) because they don’t last that great forever. Take a moment to BE IN the moment. Take a second to say thank you to whatever higher power you beleive in. Stop and smell the flowers in the garden department when you’re picking up groceries. Cross your legs, rest your palms and clear your mind, even if its just 2 minutes.


The year is flying by quickly and there are so many changes happening around us so quickly. I wish for you all to have a beautiful Midsummer night.

Love & Light,
Wanderlust & Smoke

Midsummer Night Sky Trees Shadow
Have A Happy Midsummer Night





Total Solar Eclipse Facts & Beliefs

On August 21, 2017 a Total Solar Eclipse is crossing the entire country (USA)!

On August 21, 2017 the United States will be part of a total solar eclipse reaching from Oregon to South Carolina. The places where you will be able to see the total eclipse is called the “Path of Totality.” This total solar eclipse will last for 90 minutes in total but will last 2 minutes and 40 seconds max in any one individual location. In this path of totality you will be able to see (using eclipse eyewear ofcourse! you don’t want to damage your eye sight) the moon completely cover the sun. 

The last time the United States saw the solar eclipse was on July 7, 1972 which went from Northern Alaska to Nova Scotia. Another solar eclipse occured on July 11, 1991 from Southern Baja California to Panama. (I lived in San Diego, Ca but I was 5 years old, which means I don’t remember it!)

This upcoming total solar eclipse is extraordinary because it covers so many parts of the United States. People will be flooding into the Path of Totality from all over the world. This is an extremely rare event!

If you have any desire to see the total eclipse of the sun here in the U.S.A. you might want to catch it this August! The next one won’t come through the U.S.A. again until April 08, 2024. The trajectory of the Path of Totality in 2024 is mostly covering the east coast of the United States; this August it will be crossing the entire country! 

For more information on where to view the Solar Eclipse visit the NASA website where they have interactive maps that will show you where you can stay and view the eclipse. Many cities tourist centers are offering eclipse glasses to keep your eyes safe, or you can buy some at Amazon. Amazon has the widest selection of eclipse glasses for the special day!

Eclipse Glasses – CE Certified Safe Solar Eclipse Glasses – 10pk Assorted- Eye Protection – a 10 pack of glasses for only $8.99 will keep your whole family and close friends eyes safe from the harmful rays of a solar eclipse. 

Plastic Solar Eclipse Glasses /w Carry Case | Adult Size | Cool Style and Look | CE and ISO Certified | Safe Solar Viewing – 3 Pack (3 Glasses and 3 Cases) – this is a great option as well if you would prefer to have sturdier glasses than the paper ones. For $15.95 you can get three quality eclipse glasses with carry cases. There will be more solar eclipses during our lifetime that these glasses will prove useful for. 

Eclipse Glasses – CE Certified Safe Solar Eclipse Shades® – Viewer and filters (30 Pack) – Made in the USA – this is a fantastic option if you have many people you need to provide eclipse glasses for, like a classroom, a church gathering, eclipse house party and etc… You get 30 glasses for only $28.50.

Celestron EclipSmart 10×42 Solar Binocular – if you are an eclipse chaser you might be interested in this Solar Binocular. Our normal cameras and telescopes are extremely dangerous to use if you are interested in catching the solar eclipse. These solar binoculars are a perfect way to enjoy seeing the eclipse without harming your eyes.

Spiritual Interpretations of Total Solar Eclipses

Solar and Lunar eclipses have been happening longer than we know. Our ancestors had very specific spiritual interpretations of what a solar eclipse meant for us. I was curious and did some digging and below is what I found. 

There are often times eclipses that we don’t hear about because they are partial or preumberal but total eclipses have never failed to amaze us. 

There have been studies showing changes in water and plants during solar eclipses which leads scientists and spiritualists alike to believe there is a change in human bodies during solar eclipses. These changes might have inspired many of these spiritual beleifs. 

Hindu Eclipse Beleifs 

There is a beleif that a transisting planet will evoke energy from a total solar eclipse starting a year beforehand and up to two years afterwards. According to Hindu beleifs we can oftentimes locate a major life change around the time of a total eclipse due to a change of energy within our world. 

Hindu’s beleive that during the time of a total eclipse they should bathe in holy waters, do charitable acts like feeding brahmins and sadhu’s (here in America, try feeding the homeless or doing something charitable for the needy), and beleive that it is important to clean their home after the eclipse has passed to cleanse it of negative energy. 

They also recommend not eating before or during the eclipse. Once the eclipse has started they beleive that they should be completely empty of food, all food should be digested. They fast until after the solar eclipse has passed. Typically they will bathe in holy waters or take showers to spiritually cleanse themselves. 

Hinduism also encourages not having sex on the day of the eclipse as the child might not make it through the pregnancy or will be born with health defects. Along the same beleifs they encourage pregnant women to stay inside and avoid sunlight the entire day. 

They beleive that doing Japa during the eclipse will encourage positive energy and help alleviate the suffering our world experiences. What is Japa? Japa (sanskrit: जप) is the act of meditating and repeating a mantra or a divine name over and over again. They can do this softly aloud to themselves or do this within their own mind. Hindu’s beleive that during this during the total eclipse will give you blessings from the Gods. They encourage the Japa take place in a body of water and that the mantra be repeated as much as possible. 

The sages  of Hindu’s past and present might have been onto something. Either way, it’s never a bad time to meditate and pray for the world. Sharing kindness and love is always an appropriate thing to do whether or not an eclipse is happening.

Zafu Crescent: Meditation Pillow with USA Buckwheat Hull Fill, Certified Organic Cotton- 6 Colors – this has to be the most comfortable meditation pillow EVER. There are many other choices on Amazon but this one is probably my favorite.

Mayan Eclipse Beliefs

The Mayans beleived that what happens in the stars is a communication from the Gods to us here on earth. Astrology is an important part of many different cultures around the world. The Mayans took astrology very seriously and political/social choices were made based on the movement of the planets. They aligned farming practices with the movements of the stars and planets above. 

In Mayan culture, their astrologers were preists. These astrologers had an immense amount of power over society and their government because of their ability to predict what the skies were going to do. In their beleifs, the Sun is the most important part of our galaxy and they beleived it was the main object that gave life to earth. They associated the sun as a male deity and the moon as a female deity. 

Mayans took preparing for the eclipse extremely seriously. The eclipse was tumultuous and stressful on their culture. They beleived the moon was able to eat the sun. 

Unfotunately, not too much is known about their beleifs since many missionaries burned them in the 1600s.

Vikings Interpretation of an Eclipse

In Nordic traditions the apocalypse (also called Ragnarok) is to be brought on by two wolves named Skoll and Hati. They beleived that during the procession of an eclipse the wolves were bringing on Ragnarok. They would make as much noise as possible towards the sky to scare off the wolves. 

There are a large variety of eclipse beleifs around the world. Whatever your beleifs are, remember to stay kind, wear protective eye wear and thank the universe for the goodness it provides. 

Have a happy total solar eclipse!

Moons, Mythology & Gardening for June 2017 – Zone 2


USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map


I live in Zone 2 (Arizona) so my collage below is just a collection of info handy to my zone. Hopefully this information will be handy and helpful to you. If you live in, around or near Arizona hopefully this will be a good little guide for your homestead. I’m gonna cover the details in the collage below; moons, plants, crops, hydroponics, plant pests, transplanting, flowering plants and when to set eggs and what it means to set eggs.

I’m only covering the month of June in 2017 at this time. We’ll go over future months as they come up. It’s already the 4th (so I’m a little late – oops) but there’s still a lot coming up for the remainder of the month.


JUNE – Where did “June” come from?

So first thing, let’s discuss the word “June” and how it creates the name of the month. According to the farmers almanac it states

“from the goddess of women, marriages and childbirth, and wife of Jupiter.”

According to it comes from Roman Goddess Juno. It makes sense since they sound similarly. explains that “Juno” was the Goddess of marriage, pregnancy and childbirth. It also makes sense that it’s a month included with the end of spring and beginning of summer, since that’s when the natural world usually procreates, spreads its seed, has babies, blossoms and so on…

The Capitoline triad includes Juno, Minerva and Jupiter. She played the Roman example of the traditional mother and the roles females played during that time period.

It’s recorded that she was the patron Goddess of the Royal Mint; if you’re experiencing financial troubles I suggest speaking to her on the full moon or while it’s waxing (that means before the 9th!)

Juno also has made June the perfect month to get married since she represents the household; its the luckiest month to get married according to her mythology.

During this month she also is a reminder to consider the positive and negative aspects of our personalities; focus on your leadership skills and loyalty in relationships both romantic and friendly. Remember to not let the negative emotions get hold of you and cause negative consequences; such as jealousy and vindictiveness.

If you have a pagan altar consider placing peacock feathers on it or images of geese; these are said to be her sacred birds. The sacred plant is the wild fig tree; figs have long ben symbols of fertility and childbirth and renewal. This is also the perfect time to find them fresh in the grocery store and enjoy them. Juno’s archetype included the companion and the Queen. Think to yourself if you’re being a good companion to the person you are with now. What can you do to strengthen your bond with him/her? As the Queen of your domain, are you ruling is fairly? Are you owning your strengths with humility and doing not just what’s best for you, but also others?

Goddess Juno Peacock

June Moon Phases 2017 – How do the moons affect us this month?

          Full Moon

For the month of June the moon is commonly named the “Strawberry Moon.” The name comes from the annual harvesting of strawberries during this month, coined by the Algonquin tribe. Europeans call it the “Rose Moon” since this is the month the roses start blooming like crazy in their part of the world. There are some cultures that call it the “Hot Moon” because, well… it’s strikingly HOT. Here in Tucson today, as I was driving through town, around noon, I noticed the temperature gauge on my car read the outside was 103 Degrees Fahrenheit!

As of right now (6/4/2017) the moon is in Libra. During this phase of the moon we probably feel like we need to orchestrate order into our lives and patch up relationship holes. Remember to take deep breaths and allow yourself to rest a bit.

June 9th, the moon will be full, and it will be in Sagittarius. While in Sagittarius it will influence us to feel more optimistic and generally content. Sagittarius is a fire sign which means it’s a perfect time to contribute towards your passions, be creative, color in a coloring book, make some crafts off your Pinterest board, take photographs, etcetera… whatever sparks your creative mind; PURSUE IT. The weather should be fairly tolerable, flowers are blossoming, the grass is a deep green, the sky is blue… you might feel the need to wander. I encourage you to do it! Explore some natural places, meditate under a tree on the grass and listen to the birds, wander aimlessly through a city; do whatever your soul desires. Don’t forget to be mindful of possible negatives; just because you know something doesn’t mean you should force it on others. There are always a million different ways to accomplish the same thing, people learn at their own paces and when you feel the urge to shove someone out of the way to do it yourself…. stop. Take a step back and release that need to control. It’s better to keep the peace and be patient.

         New Moon – We can’t see the moon, but it’s still there…

On June 23rd, 2017, the moon will be in Cancer; some deep emotional issues might resurface and inspire some negative feelings. Take a moment of compassion when you feel that negative energy rising in your chest. Some things are good to hold onto, and some things are meant to be let go of. Pick your battles wisely; not only with others but also with yourself. Work on your self-relationship and start being your own biggest cheerleader. Every time you catch yourself saying you can’t or never will, change it to you can and you will. Make a plan if you have to. Lift yourself up… we’re all capable and all have the same potential as anyone else.


Full Moon New Moon June 2017
June 2017 Full Moon & New Moon Dates & Times


       Moon is close to Jupiter on June 3rd, 2017.

You will be able to observe Jupiter near the moon for a few days more after the 3rd.


Beautiful Image of Jupiter


       Moon will be closer to Saturn on June 9th, 2017.

June 9th will be a full moon and its light will be extremely bright making it harder to see some stars. Keep your eyes open though because you should be able to spot Saturn.

Saturn Art .jpg
Artistic Rendering of Saturn


           Plant Above Ground Crops on June 3rd – 7th, 24th and 25th, 2017.

Above ground crops include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts and kale. All of these vegetables produce their crops on the above ground parts of their plants. You can include strawberries, blackberries and literally anything where its CROP grows ABOVE GROUND.


Above Ground Crops
Community Garden


         Plant Root Crops on June 11th, 12th, 16th and 17th, 2017.

Root crops include beets and carrots, potatoes and sweet potatoes, as well as the leaves of root crops; such as beet tops. Root Crops are literally any plants whose crops grow UNDERGROUND.


Root Crops
Root Crops


         Tend Hydroponics on June 16th, 17th, 24th and 25th, 2017.

If you’re a fan of marijuana, you might have heard of hydroponic weed and how great it is! But you must know, marijuana isn’t the only plant you can grow hydroponically. Many different fruits and vegetables create robust crops after being grown hydroponically. Hydroponics is the process of growing plants in water, no soil, and all nutrients are added by using a concentrated liquid solution. Sometimes gravel or perlite are used; depends on how the farmer has his hydroponic system set up.


Hydroponic Garden Vegetables
Hydroponic Garden System


        Control Plant Pests on June 18th, 19th, 22nd and 23rd, 2017.

There is an entire wiki-how on HOW to control plant pests so I won’t go into too much detail.

I am curious on how they come up with those dates. What I learned is they gather these dates based on insect actions that are affected by the moon. The dates aren’t exact but they should be pretty close to accurate.

Another tip I have, buy containers of live ladybugs and let them free in your garden. Lady bugs are fantastic at killing unwanted pests; they live off of them for food.


Ladybug Eating Insect
Ladybug Eating Plant Pests


       Transplant Seedlings on June 3rd through the 7th, 2017.

Here’s a Farmers Almanac entry on how to properly transplant seedlings. Instead of taking the plants straight from their little starter pods and right into the hot heat of the outdoors you will want to gradually help them with this change. It can send them into shock which will cause your crops to suffer. Plants are living breathing organisms and suffer from stress just like we do if not handled properly. One way to make this easy for them is to do the transplant early in the morning or late in the evening when the sun is setting. You won’t want to do this in the heat of the day, not just for the plants sake, but also for your health. Heat stroke SUCKS!


Transplant Seedlings How To Diy
How To Transplant Seedlings


        Plant Flowers on June 24th and 25th, 2017.

Late in the month of June, around the 24th and 25th, the temperature in Zone 2 should drop a little and welcome the monsoons. The rain will help the flowers flourish and the temperatures should ease them into their new environment. While you enjoy watching your flowers bloom you will also get to enjoy the swarm of monsoon storms (if you’re in Arizona that is a for sure thing!)


June Flowers Wild
June Ornamental Flowers


      Set Eggs on June 3rd, 4th, 11th and 12th, 2017.

If you are raising chickens from eggs, you will want to set them into the incubator on June 3, 4, 11, and 12th. You can also have eggs set by using a broody hen and allowing them to sit on the eggs. Modern Farmer has a fantastic and detailed article on how to incubate chicken eggs if you need further information.


Set Chicken Eggs
Broody Hen – Set Chickens


Well that’s all I have at the moment. Let’s see how this month goes. I’ll update this page as the month unfolds. I am extremely eager to see the monsoons come in. I love floating in the pool and watching the clouds fly by.

I am eager for the full moon too as well. My altar space really needs a good cleaning and I’ll be happy to let the stones and crystals bathe in moon light.

Have a lovely and fruitful June! Love & Light to you all.

One Great Way To Make EXTRA CASH

money wall paper 5 dollars

Observa Logo

Observa is an app that PAYS YOU to go check things out on behalf of different companies. Many of the locations you will be working (if you decide to try this app out anyways) are places you most likely shop at anyways. Some of the jobs I’ve had for instance were Target, Sprouts, Whole Foods, Wal Mart and so on. I’ve been using this app since last November for some extra pocket cash and I’ve enjoyed it very much.

I can truly and honestly say that I haven’t had any issues with Observa. As long as you read your directions thoroughly and do the tasks as well as possible, you should have no problems getting paid.

I use a few other apps as well but I can’t say I’ve had as much success with them as I have Observa. For instance, another app I tried is called ISecretShop. The pay LOOKS phenomenal compared to Observa. They’re offering $10 to $30 per secret shop. I felt like I hit a jackpot when I found this app. Unfortunately, after doing three of the mystery shops, and not getting paid, I decided not to do any more for them until I get paid. To this day, I haven’t gotten paid. I followed all the directions, filled out the W9, signed the release forms, etcetera…. they tell me everything is great and dandy and I’ll get paid soon…. three months later they still haven’t paid me. So I gave up on it and chucked it in the fuck-it-bucket. Sorry ISecretShop, you failed me. But, I haven’t had that disappointment with Observa.

For instance, today I did three secret shops at $6.77 a piece, I got all three done in an hour, and received pay in my PayPal an hour after I was done with them all. Wam bam! All in the same day. I haven’t found another app that pays SO quickly. Rarely, they don’t pay out until the next day, but like I said, RARELY. Not to mention, today is Memorial Day…. someone somewhere is working on a holiday to send me my pay pal cash and I appreciate it.

Now, you’re not going to become a millionaire doing jobs on apps like this and yes, there are days here and there where they have no shops to get done. But if you’re out shopping anyways and you have to stop at one of the stores listed, why not make a few bucks while you’re at it?

Visit Observa’s website and try it out. You don’t have to pay anything to join. The app is completely and entirely free. All you have to do is download the app, accept your first job, follow the easy instructions, and USUALLY within 5 to 10 minutes you’re completely done. All you have to do then, is wait for them to send you your cash via pay pal. (Pay pal does NOT charge a fee to transfer your balance to a bank account, so NO money wasted.)

Observa Logo

Below are some screen shots from my phone so I can acquaint you with some of the features on the app.

This first screen shot shows you what you’ll see when you first open the app. I live in Tucson so a map of Tucson pops up. Wherever you are, your GPS will connect to it and find observations that need to be done in your area.

I finished all the observations earlier today, and it is midnight while I write this as you can see LOL but there is one job to be done. If you see a red tag (like in the image below) you may click on it and accept the job if you desire. I personally live very far away from Sierra Vista so I won’t be accepting that job.

Observa Screen Shot 4

In this screen shot you see a list of all jobs available to be done in the country. Yes, ALL JOBS in the country. Pay close attention to WHERE the job is. As you can see Sierra Vista is 77 miles away from me, that’s why I won’t be doing it. But, most likely, tomorrow there will be more jobs available closer to where I am.

Observa Screen Shot 3

In this next screen shot, this is the My Opps tab. It shows all the Opps or Opportunities that I’ve already completed. If it hadn’t been paid yet it would show that, but as you can see I’ve been paid for all the jobs I’ve completed thus far.

Observa Screen Shot 2

This next screen shot shows you what pops up when you select the three bars at the top left corner of the screen. Now, instead of saying it will say whatever email you use to create your account. I erased my email from the screen shot for privacy.

In the preferences section is where you would update if you only wanted the app to search for jobs near a zip code or if you wanted it to search no matter where you are located in the country and so on…

Observa Screen Shot 1


If you’re still interested in this easy way to make a little extra cash feel free to stop by and check their app out by clicking on this link. It will take you straight to Observa. Have a great day everyone!


UPDATE: Below is a screenshot sample of what kind of preview you get before accepting the job. It says where its at, what brand you’ll be working with, and more. 

I’ve done enough of these to know if I accepted the job I’d probably take some photos, record how much the item costs and how many they have in inventory on the shelf. (Thats really how most of the jobs go.) 

#BeautyBeyondSize Ashley Graham

Ashley Graham has changed the way the women of the world view themselves by being a body image activist. She has proven to the world that she can, and does, get paid for being a size 16 model. She beautifully decorated the front of Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition and with that one image changed the worlds view on size acceptance.

Ashley Graham Fem Competitor Magazine
Ashley Graham Fem Competitor Magazine

Her mother encouraged her to constantly pursue her dreams and to share with the world that the size of our bodies don’t matter. She has been persistent in her efforts and it has made a big impact on people all over the planet. Ashley at one point made a vision board of everything she wanted to achieve and has been making huge strides ever since. She still utilizes vision boards to encourage her to keep pushing in favor of women’s self image.

One of her biggest weapons was social media. On social media you don’t need the approval of critics and modeling agents to share your image and pride. She received a vast amount of responses from women praising her for sharing her confidence and beauty with the world. Many women followed in suit and shared the hashtag #beautybeyondsize. It’s absolutely amazing that now she has over 2 million followers on social media. Beauty beyond size has taken her to modeling opportunities with Calvin Klein and Levi’s.

Ashley Graham Google Image
Ashley Graham Google Image

Now that she has developed a huge following she hasn’t stopped sharing her message that women, no matter their shape and size, are all beautiful. We don’t need to keep feeling like we must fit into a particular shape and size, which for years has been brainwashed into us through fashion magazines, commercial ads and even the mannequins at stores. She has a very straight forward but companionable personality that shines confidence. She is extremely comfortable in her skin and through her example is allowing women everyday to choose to love themselves. Love their thighs, bits of back fat and cellulite just the way it is. We can build ourselves up through positive self talk and learn to love ourselves just way we are.

Graham is working with the modeling industry to encourage size diversity and provide quality clothing for all the “curvy girls” out there. A fan of Ashley Graham messaged her personally to thank her for her Ted Talk about body image. The woman had been suffering from bulimia for years and finally started making life choices to beat her issues with bulimia.

Ashley Graham Sports Illustrated
Ashley Graham Sports Illustrated

Ashley Graham has set out for the world to understand that their words have power and our self talk is some of the most powerful conversations we have every day. Let’s change our self talk from negative to positive. Let’s learn to compliment and lift each other up instead of tearing each other down for our size and shape. She has influence over peoples self worth and influence is all for the better.

If you’re a woman in search of a body role model, Ashley Graham is it. She’s a living and breathing example of what body acceptance can do. There are critics out there saying she is disrupting the fashion industry but the only reason they are saying this is because they feel threatened. Woman are waking up every day making the decision to reject the opinion of fashion moguls and start owning themselves just the way they are. There are so many teens and women out there suffering from bulimia, anorexia, bullying and a lack of self confidence because of the standards that have been set up for us. It’s time to change things and be more loving and compassionate to ourselves and others.

Ashley Graham YouTube Image
Ashley Graham YouTube Image

Why do you need a Bachelors in a Skilled-Trade?

Often times skilled trades are completed by attending a trade school. Many people are curious as to why a Bachelor’s Degree would be beneficial to a skilled-tradesman. Earning a bachelor’s level education outright will allow graduates to skip working in entry-level positions and go straight to higher-paying positions with more authority (1). Higher pay is one of the top reasons people pursue Bachelor’s Degrees; with that degree you can assure that you will have more education under your belt to make you a better skilled tradesman.

According to USA Today; skilled trade employers are fighting against the stigmas of their industry, a problem they say is hampering their ability to meet an increased need for welders, construction workers and other tradesmen. The stereotypes revolve around the idea that the jobs, many of which don’t require a four-year college degree, are less valuable than those that do (2). By pursuing a four-year degree, it will make fighting this stigma easier to relieve. Coupled with an increasing retired population and the requirement for more specific skills, the perception problem has put an added emphasis on the need for a new generation of tradesmen and women (2). As the baby boomers decrease in population the new generations are looking for higher quality workers which would include the attainment of extra education.

Earning a bachelor’s degree in skilled trade requires that you possess varying traits that are specific to your field of trade, yet you’ll typically need to be detail-oriented, good working with your hands, analytical, good at troubleshooting, meticulous, and appreciative of manual labor (3) Earning a four-year degree will provide you with a larger skill set than someone who hasn’t pursued further education. By pursuing a degree beyond trade school you are also showing potential employers that you are willing to learn, able to learn and have more of a drive than those in your same industry.

Many jobs in skilled trade require a bachelor’s degree for entry into the field. Job prospects vary by trade, yet as technology proliferates, the need for skilled tradesmen grows every year. People who graduate with a bachelor’s degree in skilled trade typically work as welders, HVAC maintenance specialists, telecom specialists, plumbers, and electronics technicians, among others. Opportunities in aviation science have increased as high fuel costs and environmental concerns force airlines to seek new technologies. And transportation companies spend more on maintenance to keep their vehicle fleets running at peak efficiency. The telecommunications industry is in constant need of installation, maintenance and repair specialists. Auto repair and cosmetology jobs are both expected to grow by 14 percent in the next few years (3). By pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree you are ensuring that you have more than the minimum skills required to be successful in your trade. You are ensuring that you have the business savvy to go farther in life than the bare minimum and giving yourself the opportunity to prove that you can do more than the tradesman who came before you.

The BLS reports that workers with college degrees experience the lowest unemployment rates — 4.5 percent for those with bachelor’s degrees in 2012, compared to 8.3 percent for workers with a high school diploma. Some skilled-trade jobs are in high demand, resulting in a good chance of steady employment. Kiplinger reports that jobs like brick masons, electricians and plumbers are growing above the national average of 14 percent per year (4). The plus side of having a Bachelor’s degree is that it will make it increasingly unlikely that you experience unemployment. Bachelor’s degree will open doors into other trades or other job positions you might not have considered. You are more likely to be hired for a position with a company if you have a Bachelors Degree attached to your specific trade. If the hiring manager is comparing a resume between a tradesman with no Bachelor’s Degree versus someone that had a trade skill and a Bachelors degree; the person with the Bachelor’s Degree is more likely to be hired. With the Bachelor’s Degree you can continue climbing the employment ladder moving up into management positions.

In conclusion having a Bachelor’s Degree opens you up to more opportunity than simply having a skilled trade. Pairing the two together is a concoction for success. You get the opportunity to increase your salary, fight the stereotype of skilled tradesman, become more valuable, and have the chance to ensure that you will be hired over others without a Bachelor’s Degree.



Wedding Decoration Packages


Why are wedding decoration packages such a great idea?

Wedding decoration packages are a perfect way to make your event easier. Venue styling is important at any wedding event. It showcases the tone of your wedding and shows the guests what you dreamed of when planning for the very important day; your wedding day! It’s the place where your guests will be for length of the day and where many of your photos will be taken so you want to make sure the wedding decorations are in good hands. I highly suggest relying on a wedding decoration package created by an expert. Many people like to create their own decorations or buy items piece by piece but that is extremely time consuming and can end up costing more than if you had decided to use a wedding decoration package. They can be designed to fit your specific theme or dreams of what the special day will look like and most companies will set up the decorations and take them down either same day or next day for easy clean up. This gives you the opportunity to clear up time so you can concentrate on enjoying your day with your family, friends and guests as well as your bride or your groom.

How do wedding decoration packages work?

– You get to choose which design you would like and inform the company how many guests you anticipate on attending.

– Based on the information you provide and the venue they can make helpful suggestions that will make your day perfect!

– Once you decide on a style of decorations you let them know when they need to set up and when they need to take it all down.

That’s it! It’s so simple and convenience and that is why so many brides and grooms take advantage of wedding decoration packages.

What styles and types of wedding decoration packages exist out there?

Service Package: these packages include pew sashes with accessories, 2 altar arrangements, aisle runners or petals, and a unity table linen.

Reception Placings: This is usually stressed as the most important part of the wedding decoration package because the majority of the ceremony will be spent at the reception after the wedding. The reception placings include table favors, name cards and table numbers, placement of cameras and other decorative personal items, toasting glasses, centerpieces, pictures, mementos and everything you can image for the reception.

Reception Tear Downs: This will be one of your favorite parts of the wedding decoration package because it means you don’t have to stress about WHO is going to clean up after your big day! This package includes removing and packaging centerpieces, gathering together any extra favors, left over cake, personal items, and a general scan of the room for any items left behind.

When should you purchase your wedding decoration packages?

It is suggested that you purchase your package as soon as you have decided on your theme so that you can focus on other parts of your wedding not covered by a wedding decoration package. As soon as you are aware of the general number of guests, what theme you would like and the venue it’s time to make your decision.

Preparing Your Head for a Shave with a Double Edge Blade

Bald Head Image.png


Preparing your head for a shave with a double edge blade:

There are many men in the world who flaunt a shaved head and look striking.

If your hair is long before shaving it off completely you will want to shorten the length of hair using an electric razor and a number 1 guard.

Before shaving your head make sure to take a hot shower and shampoo your hair to soften the follicles. Immediately after shampooing and taking a hot shower apply shave gel. Lather the shave gel in your hands and apply to your head covering all areas that include the hair you wish to shave. Using shave gel is pivotal to avoid razor burn, keeping the scalp moisturized and keeping the hair soft making the process of shaving your head easier by improving razor glide.

Before beginning the shaving process check the lubricating strips on your blade. If the blades are faded or the blades feel dull you need a new one. It is best to use a blade that has lubricating strips both on top and below the blades. This will help keep your scalp in good condition while shaving.


Now the shaving begins:

You will want to use light smooth strokes and let the blades take the brunt of the work. They need to be allowed to do their work; don’t force it. It is suggested to choose a blade that has a great deal of pivoting motion so that it moves with the shape of your scalp. A pivoting razor will also allow you to shave against and with the grain of your hair.

Be sure to rinse your blades often and continue reapplying gel as needed. When working with the sides of your scalp you will want to work from top to bottom moving from the front to the back. When you arrive to the back of your head start at the back of the crown and shave downwards towards your neck. Remember to reapply gel if needed and rinse the blades often to keep excess hair off of them. Rinsing your blade often will ensure the blades do their job and reduce the likelihood of you causing damage to your scalp.

When you are done with the back of your head you will now complete by shaving the top of your scalp. Start at the back of the crown and shave forward towards your forehead.


Finishing off the shave:

Now that you have got the majority of the hair removed from your scalp it now time to touch up. Feel your scalp for rough patches. Reapply shaving cream to the rough patches, rinse your blades and re-shave as needed. When you have finished your touch ups rinse the remaining shaving cream off and pat your scalp dry with a soft towel. Finish the project off by applying moisturizer. Moisturizer after shaving will keep your scalp hydrated and keep it safe from the elements.


Additional tips to ensure a safe shave:

Razor burn is caused by a few different elements. Razor burn causes severe irritation, can be itchy, irritating and lead to ingrown hairs. It can develop red patches and be very unappealing. The number one reason razor burns pop up is because a dull razor or a dull razor with no moisturizer strips were used. Moisturizing is of utmost importance to make sure that your shave looks its best no matter what part of the body you are shaving; always use your shaving creams and after shave moisturizers. Razor burns can also occur because your blade has clogged causing the blades to not be as efficient as they could be. Constantly rinse your blades under running water to make sure they can work their best. Dull blades also can carry bacteria increasing the chances of ingrown hairs. No one wants that!

Sunscreen is another tip that many people forget. There are specific sunscreens out there made for the scalp. Look into it. You will not want to shave your head the day after a sunburn and sunscreen will help ensure your scalp stays in good condition so you keep that sleep shaven look up.

If you are not interested in the moisturizers on the market look into argan oil or tea tree oil. They will provide the moisture your scalp needs to stay hydrated and healthy. Tea tree oil is an all-natural antiseptic. Tea tree oil is a natural way to defend your scalp against infections such as acne, scabies, ringworm and other diseases that no one wants.

Have as many mirrors up as you need to see the work you’re doing. If you don’t trust yourself to shave the back of your head and it’s your first time, set some mirrors up behind you so you can see the work you’re doing and ensure you get the results you want without nicking your skin.

If you had an accident and cut your skin, I stress, do not scratch it. Our nails often times carry germs and diseases that can be transferred if we use them to scratch irritations. Also, set the razor aside and wait for the next shave until your cut has healed completely.

If you have a razor blade that doesn’t have a lot of pivoting motion and hasn’t been created for shaving against the grain; don’t shave against the grain. Using a blade that hasn’t been built for shaving against the grain will result in ingrown hairs and razor burn.

The last and only tip I can think of sharing is to wear your shaved head proud! Once you have made the decision to go with this new look wear it proudly and allow yourself to grow into the look. There are many famous people in the world (and non-famous) that wear their heads shaved and look great doing it. Go out there and conquer the world!



  1. Gillette – Tips for Head Shaving

  1. Tools of Men – Shaving with a Safety Razor

  1. Style Girlfriend – 11 Tips for Shaving your Head for the Very First Time