Posted on Mar 18th, 2012 by Allison (Bali, Travel)

As you know, I was invited to spend my birthday at a lovely villa in Bali.

After a 23 hour journey, including layover in Taipei, I arrived to this lush, green island and was welcomed by my son and his family. Except for 9 month old Aysia, who burst into tears as soon as she saw me.

We’ve spent a lot of time relaxing in the pool and in the house, talking, a little time sightseeing, and have been enjoying every minute. I love this opportunity to reconnect with my sweet family. And I’ve been taking a lot of photos for future posts.

You’d think that just being in Bali, relaxing at a villa where all the meals are fresh prepared, all my needs are attended to, a gorgeous pool outside my door and a glorious view of the valley would be enough of a birthday gift, wouldn’t you.

What more could you ask for?
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Posted on Mar 16th, 2012 by Allison (Bali, Reviews/Recommendations, Travel)

My birthday was so spectacular that it is taking me awhile to get through photos and videos to post. So in the meantime, I thought I’d share one of my new food discoveries here in Bali.

While in Costa Rica last year, I discovered my love of a good mango. Mangoes were so plentiful and fresh – I just couldn’t get enough. I purchased a few from my local grocery store in the states, and they’re okay, but just not the same as a fresh, ripe from the vine mango in Costa Rica.

I was hoping I might find similarly fresh and tasty mangoes in Bali, but it is not their season. Instead, I was served an interesting fruit I’ve never tried before – fresh mangosteen.

Pretty purple/red on the outside – white, juicy fleshy sections on the inside. The texture of the fruit is kind of like the soft areas of a honeydew. Or maybe a bit like a peach. But the taste is different than either…. it is reminiscent of many fruits – but hard to describe.

It was very good, different than I would’ve expected. When we stopped by a farmers market the other day, one of the vendors offered me a mangosteen ‘gratis’, in hopes I would purchase more. One bite and I was hooked!

It was even sweeter and fresher than the mangosteen I had eaten for breakfast the day prior. I purchased 5 and paid 5,000 Rupiah. That may sound like a lot, but it’s only .55 cents – basically 11 cents each. I think they often sell for over $3.00 EACH when imported into the states (if you can even find it).

So mangosteen is the new mango. And now I’m going to go to the market and buy more!

Have you ever tried fresh mangosteen?

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Posted on Mar 5th, 2012 by Allison (Travel)

I loved my two trips to Costa Rica, to Hawaii and to Victoria BC, San Diego and (kind of) to Los Angeles and Salt Lake… But I traveled so much last year that I had determined I wasn’t going ANYWHERE in 2012… was going to stay home and focus on my essential oil business, creating a residual income that would then allow me to travel more freely when and where I wanted.

I was content with that plan.

But then I got an unexpected invitation to spend a couple of weeks at a villa… in the guest room that is apparently just SCREAMING my name… a red guest room with a Chinese Opium bed… that looks out onto a gorgeous pool… and lush mountains and rice paddies…. in Bali.

My first reaction was, “I don’t think I can do that…” (nuts, I know!) since it was so sudden and I had determined I was staying home this year. And I would have to work things out with Margie (I am her Virtual Assistant), and potentially move an essential oil class I was teaching. I just didn’t have travel to Asia on my radar.

Yes, this is the pool and the house. (Allison, are you nuts???!!!)

And on top of that, this home is currently inhabited by three darling little girls I only see once or twice a year if I’m lucky. And an awesome son and beautiful daughter. And frogs. Oh, and a maid, chef and driver. I wonder if there is a pool boy…. 🙂

Once the shock of the invitation wore off, I thought to myself “ALLISON! You would be NUTS to say no to that – no matter what it takes to make it happen! !” (I’m sure you were thinking the same thing… my sister was!)

Well, despite the prevailing opinion, I’m NOT (entirely) nuts – so I got the airline ticket and have started packing. I leave on Friday at midnight! I just hope I can survive the 20+ hours flying time to get there… and that I can fit in the seat.

I’ll take lots of photos, I promise. And yes, Michelle, I’ll record myself singing at least a line or two from Bali Hai for you (even though the movie wasn’t in Bali 🙂 )

Bali haiiiiiiii may call you……

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Posted on Jan 27th, 2012 by Allison (Reviews/Recommendations)

I have found a new favorite tea. And if you like strawberries and chocolate I think you will too.

Introducing Strawberry Chocolate Tea by The Republic of Tea.

Yummy, yummy!

Naturally caffeine free (so I can enjoy a cup at bed-time), naturally sweet, smells and tastes delicious. A perfect 0 calorie, aptly named treat. I think I’ll have a cup right now!

Ingredients: Rooibos (red tea), carob, cocoa kernels, chocolate flavor, strawberry flavor, sweet blackberry leaves and bourbon vanilla beans

Try it and let me know what you think.

Do you have any other really yummy teas to recommend?

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Posted on Jan 1st, 2012 by Allison (In the Garden, Living in the NW)

It’s 2012 and I love living in the Northwest.

Today, instead of being buried in snow on January 1st, I planted primrose in one of my garden pots.

And I enjoyed watching the dozens of birds at my feeders… including a sweet hummingbird who is so happy I have left out a small feeder for him (in the pot with the primrose).

I also discovered a few other blooms in the rock garden. And wondered if the little blob on my finger was a bug…

… or a tiny slug.

It was the latter.

He’s cute, but will grow into a garden menace so I flushed him down the toilet.

To ring in the new year, I also spent some time playing my new Tibetan bowl.

I have been a bit distressed to discover that my formerly perfect pitch is currently off by 1/2 step. When I first played the bowl, I was sure it was an E-flat or even an E. But it’s a D. AGH!

I downloaded an app to help test/retrain me and I am consistently 1/2 step too high. I know what the note is – it’s just a half step off from the rest of the world. It’s unsettling and I hope that I can come back into tonal alignment (or whatever it would be called).

By the way, I started a new blog awhile ago and have made a resolution to update it regularly. It’s called:

It is devoted entirely to my love of flowers, and it’s where I will post lots of my flower photos. I also have a facebook page where I post additional photos, and twitter feed for it. Follow me 🙂

So, how did you bring in the new year?

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Posted on Dec 27th, 2011 by Allison (Reminiscing, Whatever)

When I was a tween and teenager, I collected frogs (long before frogs became “cool”). I had, and still have, some awesome frog jewelry, figurines, and some cool stuffed frogs received from boyfriends/husbands/friends over the years. But I’ve never considered myself “collector” of anything (besides clutter or excess pounds, perhaps).

The other day I undertook the monumental task of organizing my ribbon drawer(s) and realized that I actually am a collector…

…of ribbon.

It started in my early 20s. I didn’t have much money at the time, and treating myself to a fancy ribbon now and then seemed like an affordable indulgence.
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Posted on Dec 23rd, 2011 by Allison (Whatever)

This year has gone by incredibly fast – and this month in particular. I can hardly believe that Christmas is only a day away.

Is it just me, or do the holidays feel like they’re rushing upon us like river rapids?

I decided to keep things simple – my only decorations are my horizontal Christmas tree (garland above my fireplace, with some of my favorite ornaments) and a collection of three small sparkly snowflake trees on the mantle.

I was inspired by my son’s Christmas plans, and tried to keep gifts simple, but meaningful. Yet, despite my intention to make it a low-key Christmas, I found myself rushing around to get gifts finished and mailed off in time to be received by the big day.

I got some hair-brained idea that I wanted to sew some gifts this year (which is ridiculous, since I don’t sew). It really would have been much simpler and less time consuming to just go buy gifts. But no, once I got the idea, I was a woman possessed. So it’s my own fault that I lived in chaos (and fabric stores) for 2 weeks.

And now, the holiday is upon us. Are you ready? What exciting (or boring) plans do you have?

Whatever your plans (and do please share them), I hope you have a wonderful Christmas – or whatever holiday you celebrate 🙂

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Posted on Dec 7th, 2011 by Allison (Music / Entertainment, Reminiscing, Reviews/Recommendations)

My first crush...  Jonny QuestI’ve had a few (sometimes inexplicable) celebrity crushes over the course of my life…. mostly in my youth.

Jonny Quest (yes, the cartoon) was the first. He was followed by a string of mostly musicians… teen heart throbs like Davy Jones, Donny Osmond and David Cassidy, etc.
My 3 crushes

Yes, it’s a bit embarrassing – but admit it… you loved them too, or someone just like them in your own music era. (FYI, I fell for musicians in real-life, too…)

Anyway, during the 80s I developed a celebrity crush on Richard Page, lead singer/songwriter from the band Mr. Mister.
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Posted on Dec 4th, 2011 by Allison (Family/Friends, Photography, Travel)

Aloha! It’s been a very travel filled year for me. I’ve been reminded to be careful what you wish for. As I was approaching my 50th birthday I set the intention that I wanted the next phase of my life to be filled with lots more travel.

Well, the Universe answered with 2 trips to Costa Rica (3 weeks each), San Diego and Salt Lake; one trip to Los Angeles for a trade show, and another to Victoria, B.C. with my friend Jana (where we worshiped flowers and laughed a lot).

Most recently, a last minute trip to Kauai to spend a week with my family, before Brandon & Jen moved to Malaysia.

I have no idea what it is I’m doing in this photo.

There were 16 of us in all – both my kids and their families, plus my sister and her family, with a couple of significant others joining us. We had a great time together – discovered we all share similar world views, and were easy and compatible companions (which isn’t always the case when family, or even friends, travel together).

My granddaughters couldn’t get enough of each other, and Kennedy was missing her cousins 10 minutes after they left for the airport. We definitely need to do this again!

My world still feels a bit like it’s spinning around me, as I try to get my grounding again. I think I’ll stay at home for the rest of the year.

Maybe I’ll even update my blog again.

Where have you traveled this year? Where do you want to go in 2012?

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Posted on Sep 26th, 2011 by Allison (Costa Rica, Family/Friends, Photography, Travel)

So, as you may recall, I returned for another visit to Costa Rica again in June – this time to meet my newest granddaughter, Aysia Mae, born just a week before I arrived.

Isn’t she beautiful?

And doesn’t her family all look so happy to have her in their lives?

I love this family photo… and not just because everyone is color coordinated (yes, I brought clothes for them with me to make sure they would be 🙂 ) but because they look so content and happy… happier and more peaceful than I’ve ever seen them before. It warms my heart.

Brandon and family had moved from Grecia to Escazu, on the hills outside of San Jose. We spent most of our time just relaxing and enjoying each others’ company, rather than fitting in a lot of touring. But we still kept pretty busy.

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