No! Don’t Do It!!

Posted on

Picture this…friends are coming over for dinner and you’re getting ready for an awesome evening grilling out! You’ve gone to the grocery store and gotten all the ingredients you need to make the perfect meal. You have a nice bottle of wine chilling on ice and you decide to light a few candles before your guests arrival. NO! Don’t do it!! 

I know there is something romantic about the ambiance and flicker of a candle, but candles can be very toxic to your health! People don’t realize that most fragrances used in candles, lotions, etc. are synthetic and are actually made from petrochemicals. So you basically are lighting a candle made from crude oil inside your house. Nasty! The fumes release harmful toxins that may cause headaches, sinus issues, asthma, and even cancer!

Hard to believe that simply lighting a candle can cause so much harm, but it’s true and you can read more about the link between airborne toxins and health issues. Go to and enter “danger of airborne toxins” in the blue search box.

Soy candles are safer to burn, so look for them if you just have to have that candle fix!  Many folks have switched over to using a battery operated candle that look like a candle, flickers like a candle, but they release no harmful chemicals. Smart move if you’ve already made that change!! 

I’ve always been attracted to smells. I guess that’s why I’ve always loved candles too! I’m just as guilty as the next person about using candles in my house. Since being on this health journey and changing my lifestyle to a more holistic approach, I actually rounded up all my candles and took them either to Good Will or threw them away! I actually feel guilty taking them for someone else to use after all the information I’ve found out about their dangers. I encourage you to have a candle round up at your house too! Get rid of them!

Now if you just love fragrance like I do, there is another option. Use a diffuser and 100% natural, organic, essential oils!  Diffusers are safe and come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. They are not only omitting a fantastic fragrance but they are also cleaning the air and adding a health benefit to you and your family. I have them in almost every room in the house!

blur diffuser

Most diffusers require water, an outlet to work, and of course, your favorite essential oil. A few drops and you are on your way to better health. I have just ordered a few diffusers that actually plug into a laptop and run off USB  power. If you are interested, I can hook you up!

They make diffusers for your car too! Please do not use those air fresheners that hang from your rear view mirror or the ones that clip on the vent! Bad stuff! Those toxic chemicals that you are breathing in, as you sit in your car that’s all closed up, are very dangerous to your health! If you have kids, you really need to throw those smelly air fresheners away!

You can combine oils to help with any situation you are going through in life. If you need a pick me up to get moving, a calming blend to rest, an immune builder, or something romantic for the bedroom, (Oh La La!) there is an oil for you and many combos that will work. I encourage you to give it a try.

A simple morning blend to get you moving and make you happy to start the day is: 2 drops of Wild Orange, 2 drops of Citrus Oil and 2 drops of Peppermint oil. One of my favorites for immune building is 3 drops of Wild Orange and 3 drops of Protective Blend. (This is a must have oil for any house.)

For a restful night’s sleep and calming down I love Calming Blend, Vetiver, and Cedarwood. I diffuse this most every night! To add a spark to your romance, diffuse Ylang Ylang, Clary Sage, and Vetiver. Long ago Ylang Ylang was put on the bed of newly married couples for their wedding night. Vetiver is a great balancing oil and helps slow the nervous system down, which we can all use from our stressful lives!!! (I’ve touched on many of the other oils on past blogs so check them out!)

My favorite oil company offers fantastic oil for women. It is a blend of patchouli, bergamot, sandalwood, rose, jasmine, cinnamon bark, vetiver, ylang ylang, geranium, and cocoa and vanilla bean extracts. I like to wear it as a perfume. It adjusts to individual body chemistry and smells different on everyone. It’s crazy but it does. Let me know if you would like more info on it.

These are just a few examples of some blends to use in your diffuser. The list is really endless. Any issue you might have, there is a solution with my favorite oil company. If you would like more information on them, please let me know. If you need a diffuser, I have them! Talk to me before you order on line!

Remember all oils are not the same. Please contact me before you go out there an purchase oils from a chain store.

Until next week, make sure to be kind to someone! (even if you think they don’t deserve it!!)

Naturally, Lisa


Beware! Danger!

Posted on

As you can tell from the title on the video, this was taken on the Blue Ridge Parkway in January. This original song is from a friend who wrote and played guitar on the song. My husband has a YOU TUBE channel called Fishemon. If you like to fish, check it out to see what he’s been catching and where he’s been catching them!

We have been spending a lot of time in the Western Carolina area over the past few years. It’s a pretty simple drive up and depending on if you like mountain driving, or freeway driving, you can go either way. We always opt for the mountain route just because it is gorgeous and it’s actually is a little bit quicker. Places like Highlands and Cashiers are very popular. I watch the thermometer drop as I ride up the mountain. It’s always about 10-15 degrees cooler than it is at my house. Great for summer time to get away from the Atlanta heat!!

From Gainesville GA, we can be in Highlands, NC in 90 minutes. Most of the drive is 4 lane and quick. The last 30 minutes is up the mountain on a windy, curvy road; highway 64. There are many B & B’s and other quant hotels to stay in for a quick getaway. We love the Old Edwards Inn because it is so comfortable and within walking distance of downtown’s trendy shops and restaurants. Lots of folks like to go up for a day trip, but it’s always fun to do something different and spend the night for a special occasion!

One of our favorite restaurants in town is Paoletti’s. It’s a popular spot, so if you know you’re heading that way, make a reservation!  It always is excellent; no matter if we’ve had the Italian cuisine or filet. There are many hikes and waterfalls close by in this area of the Nantahala Forest. You should check out a few of our favorites: Bridal Veils Falls, Dry Falls, and Secret Falls are all worth exploring.

You basically are traveling up into the Blue Ridge Mountains as you are heading north on 64. If you continue on 64 through Highlands you will end up in Cashiers. (The correct pronunciation is “Cashers.”) We typically pass on through even though it looks really cute! If you keep driving you will go though the Lake Toxaway area and in 20 or so miles you will be in Brevard., NC. This is our new favorite place!!

Brevard has the small college town vibe, it’s artsy, lots of music, brew pubs, biking and hiking galore, and fishing is off the hook (Ha ha I guess it’s on the hook). It’s only 30 minutes outside of Asheville! There are trolleys that come from Asheville to Brevard! They are equipped with bike racks so people can bring their bikes to Brevard too! It drops folks off right on front of the Oskar Blues Brewery.

Danger! Beware! I’m just warning you; you might be like us and fall in love with it too. We actually fell so in love with the place, that we bought a house in town. It’s a small 3 bedroom, 1 bath, needing some repair, but within walking distance to downtown. As soon as we start the remodel, I will post some photos of what we are doing. It might even be up for rent, so keep that in mind! I’ve already had folks wanting to book it for Christmas and we haven’t even started the remodel yet!

The downtown area is so cute and has awesome restaurants and shops! One of our favorite places to eat is at Big Mike’s Pizza. It’s one of the best pizza’s we have ever eaten!! There are many varieties of restaurants to choose from; it just depends on what kind of mood you’re in and how fancy you want to go.

Brevard has great camping too! The Davidson River Campground is one of our favorite places! Well I have to say ever since Rachel Ray put it out there as one of the top 50 campgrounds in the US, everyone else really likes it now too! That’s a bummer because it is pretty crowded. The good news is that you can make reservations!  The campsites are pretty private and the bath houses clean. There are hiking and biking trails all around and the entire park is paved and flat. Make sure to bring your bikes!!

Many folks like to tube down the river and swim in the swimming hole on the last loop of the campground. Kids of all ages enjoy the place. There is another spot close by that is an all time favorite! If you feel inclined to do some sliding on your fanny down some slippery, mossy rocks, this is your place! It is called Sliding Rock. There are long lines during the summer months, so my suggestion is to get there early. The park rangers actually turn people away if it is too crowded.

All that I have mentioned so far has been in the Pisgah Forest, including the Blue Ridge Parkaway. If you take about a 20 minute drive outside of Brevard, you can find the Dupont Forest. We love it over there too! The only problem with this area is that there is no camping. It’s a day use only park. If you’ve ever seen Hunger Games, you might recognize some of the waterfalls from this park. There are great beginner bike trails in the Dupont area. Over on the Pisgah side it is for more experienced riders!

We did take our bikes and rode all around! It was very fun even though we did have to get off and push some! We are just figuring this whole biking thing out!! We took the kids one weekend and actually  walked the area too!! You can spend the day and have a picnic.

So I hope I’ve given you some ideas of places to go for a quick getaway, (If you are in the Atlanta area) when you’re looking for something to do; maybe over the summer!

I hope you check some of the places out and let me know if you liked them!

Have a great week and remember to be kind to someone!

Naturally, Lisa



Times, They Change!!

Posted on

Down here in the south last week, we were on spring break. My friends in Australia were on fall break! How cool is that! Whichever break you were on, I hope you had a great, relaxing time! It’s nice just to sleep in a little and hang with the family! Enjoy it with your school-aged kids because it won’t be long and all that will change. The kids will enter college and have a different spring break; or even better, they will graduate from college and get a job (a good thing) and won’t be able to get away (a bad thing). Times, they change, so enjoy each moment as they unfold!

A very popular place to visit over spring break is the beach! We always loved going to the beach as a family! There’s nothing like the warm sunshine on your skin and the sand beneath your feet! But since things are different now, kids in college and working, my husband and I decided to head north! I have to say, we had a truly enjoyable adventure!

We had pretty basic accommodations: no footed bath tubs, no 1000 thread count sheets, nor eggs benedict delivered to our door. (am I dreaming or what?) Instead we stayed in our 19′ by 5′ van. We call this thing “The Vehicle.” It was a basic Sprinter cargo van (Fed Ex truck) which we made some modifications to. My hubby is really talented at things like that! We added a queen size bed, microwave, toaster oven, propane heater, hot water heater, solar panels to run the stuff, and all the basics you could think of that you might need on a road trip, including a bike hitch!

So we decided to do something a little different and head north to Virginia. We picked a town called Damascus, VA. We had heard good things about the town and of course I’ve read about it in all my Appalachian Trail books. Damascus is one town on the AT where the trail goes right through the center of it. I actually walked on the AT (Haha) We fell in love with this small, friendly town! We immediately were checking out houses to see how much real estate went for. (If you know us, you know this is the norm.)There are many hostels and B& B’s in town so no worries if you don’t have something like “The Vehicle.” There’s lots of tent camping too, if that’s more your thing!


The cool thing about this town is the trail  there called “The Virginia Creeper Trail” which is about 34 miles long. You can ride, walk, or horseback down from White Top Station.There is a shuttle service that will take you to the top of the mountain and drop you off. All you have to do is ride down hill. How awesome is that?!  The cost of renting a bike and being shuttled up to the station was only $27.00 each. They equip you with a bike, helmet, and water. We used There were several outfitters in town, so take your pick, or bring your own!

creeper trailDSCN2258_1985   creeper trailDSCN2255_1982

There are places to stop along the way as you’re heading down  the trail. There are restaurants and restrooms. It follows the White Top Laurel River down the mountain and uses the old railway path;  we crossed over 32 trestles as we came down. It ended up taking us about 5 1/2 hours since my husband fished along the way. We picnicked and just enjoyed the day. We stopped our journey in Damascus, which is the 19 mile mark down hill. We decided to do the other part of the trail another day. Most people only take about 3-4 hours to complete the section we did.

That evening, we took a journey up the mountain and ended up at Grayson Highland’s State Park. There were many trails, camping, fishing, and the AT crosses through this park too! We camped up top on the mountain and the next day we walked on a few trails and came across this sign below. We did see many hikers out and about and I spoke with several, which of course fueled my ambition to make a plan to get started hiking the AT! Anybody with me??!!

IMG_0981                          IMG_0974

There are over 17 trails in Grayson Highlands State park that you can walk, horseback ride, or ride bikes. One trail that’s a favorite is called the Rhododendron Trail, also known as the Massie Gap Trail. This is a short walk (15-20 minutes) and  you can see wild ponies just hanging out.  They were very sweet as you can see, they look like pet dogs. Hikers from the AT actually walk about 3 miles on this trail within the park too! I picked up some information about the upcoming festivals and It sounds like there are many throughout the year. If interested, check it out at the highlighted link below!

If you like to get outdoors and enjoy nature, I highly recommend that you try The Virginia Creeper Trailas well as Grayson Highlands.  We went up to Massie Gap about 9:30 one night and saw the most beautiful display of stars we’ve ever seen! It was like we were in a planetaria! There was no ambient light and no moon, so I think we saw millions of stars! If you are a star gazer check out this link. I wish we had discovered this adventure when the kids were smaller. They would have loved it! I can tell you though, we will be taking them back up there to try it out because no matter what your age, you will love it too!

One last thing this week, check out some new music from a local West Virginia boy. His name is Christian Lopez and he stars in the Christian Lopez Band! The band was named one of the top newcomers by Rolling Stone in 2015! He is adorable (no I’m not being a cougar) and talented too. You’ll also love his banjo player and drummer! He will be coming to Atlanta on Friday, April 22nd at the Variety Play House with Sister Hazel, if you want to check them out locally!  We saw him in Athens, GA and it was a great show! Listen to him below!!

Have a great week and make sure to be kind to someone!

Naturally, Lisa    cropped-Screen-Shot-2016-01-18-at-8.49.40-PM-300x300

Ideas for a Staycation??

Posted on

This week we are off for spring break. It is a much-needed break for students as well as teachers. It is so hard to believe that we only have about 30 days left of school upon our return from the break!

I’ve heard many students mentioning varying locations they will be visiting far from home over the break; but maybe you’re doing more of a “staycation” and want to stick closer to home. Make sure to take advantage of the many natural resources we have around Atlanta. There is so much to do, but you just have to get up and go do it! Its easy to talk yourself out of it and think you have too much to do around the house, but once you get there you’ll be so glad you did!

There is so much to see in our area and I will only mention a few. You most likely know about these places but many times we just drive right by them and say…”One day…” I will start with the beautiful Lake Lanier that offers many types of water activities. It might be a little chilly to go swimming right now as the water temperature is 71 degrees, but you can definitely get out and go kayaking, boating, fishing, and camping. There are many campgrounds available. One that is always a big favorite is Old Federal Campground and Day Use Park. If anything just go have a picnic and take walk by the water!

Another fun day trip is to head north up to Tallullah Gorge in Clayton, Georgia. It’s only about a 90 minute drive from Atlanta. Tallulah Gorge State Park offers over 15 miles of fantastic hiking trails, ranging in difficulty from easy to extremely difficult. You will need to arrive early at the park’s interpretive center to request a gorge floor permit. They limit permits to 100 a day. The passes are not available on dam release days so you will need to check the schedule before you make the drive up.

Now if you want to make a few days stay in the Clayton area you can always go camping at Black Rock Mountain Campground.  Take a load off after you’ve hiked and enjoy 42 camping tent sites or stay in 1 of the 10 cabins that are offered. You can enjoy the Blue Ridge Mountains, four hiking trails, hiking around the lake, several waterfalls, and the forest. This is a very popular sight so you might want to try to make reservations before you go!

Now let me say if I am camping there are several items that I always take with me. First off, if you want to shower, you most likely will use a public bathroom with shower house. For the most part they are usually, pretty clean. I always wear sandals when showering, but just to be safe I use Melaleuca Oil.  I add 20-25 drops in a small glass spray bottle and fill the rest with water. After I towel off, I spritz it on my feet and shoes to help cleanse and protect my toes and keep nails looking healthy.

Being outdoors, and exposed to the sun for hours at a time, can sometimes result in lip burns. The minute I get back to camp I put 1 drop of Melalueca oil and my lips to help promote healthy immune function. This is the best treatment I have ever found! Melaleuca oil can also be used for dry scalp. Add a few drops to your regular shampoo and this will help support healthy hair follicles! One last thing you might like Melaleuca oil for is for skin irritation. If you have a break out that pops up, put a drop on it and watch it help skin imperfections!

Another item that is a must have when outdoors and I’ve learned to never leave home without when I am camping is lavender oil. Lavender is the best oil to put on a any skin irritations. It immediately soothes the sight and it makes skin feel better. If you have anything that itches put a few drops on and you will be amazed! It’s all natural and has no side effects! It smells great too!!

I will be heading further north this week. I am off to explore a few campgrounds in Virginia. We are planning on heading up the Blue Ridge Parkway and taking a few detours along the way. I will be able to report back about my excursions next week. We found some interesting campgrounds and some beautiful scenery to check out. We plan to stock the cooler and let the road take us where it will. We will be doing some hiking, biking and fishing!

I hope you have a wonderful, relaxing, spring break!

Naturally, Lisa