Friday, December 18, 2015

Monday, December 14, 2015

Friday, November 20, 2015

It is intimidating working with an artist ;) here is a decoupage...



It is intimidating working with an artist ;) here is a decoupage chair Judith Andrews did for fun in her spare time http://ift.tt/1I1g1yP


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Yet another creation from Judith Andrews! http://ift.tt/1jb1cxZ



Yet another creation from Judith Andrews! http://ift.tt/1jb1cxZ


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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A dangerous place to be for orchid addicts; southwest Florida...



A dangerous place to be for orchid addicts; southwest Florida Orchid Society http://ift.tt/1GVVxYb


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Southwest Florida Orchid Society Auction http://ift.tt/1OCTcE6



Southwest Florida Orchid Society Auction http://ift.tt/1OCTcE6


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Thank you Jack Miller for hosting such a beautiful event!...



Thank you Jack Miller for hosting such a beautiful event! http://ift.tt/1OC5qwD


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With my chair :) http://ift.tt/1ljalWS



With my chair :) http://ift.tt/1ljalWS


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Rita with her other grandma http://ift.tt/1Y2D8Ng



Rita with her other grandma http://ift.tt/1Y2D8Ng


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Hanging out at the Pacific symposium http://ift.tt/1QswayU



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Rita defending the clinic http://ift.tt/1MJkems



Rita defending the clinic http://ift.tt/1MJkems


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Friday, October 23, 2015

Podcast 7; Animal Communicator Poppy Phillips Talks With Dogs - Dr. Lia Andrews

In this episode, animal communicator Poppy Phillips uncovers the intrigues and power struggles within Lia and Judith’s pack: chihuahua Rita, Min Pin Oben, and Maltese/Bichon Molly.

Animal communicator and life coach, Poppy Phillips has a gift for communicating with animals. She also has the knowledge of nutrition and natural supplements to help them live healthy, balanced lives.

You can reach Poppy Phillips through Holistic Animal Insights.



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Podcast 6; Animal Communicator Poppy Phillips Talks With Horses - Dr. Lia Andrews

Animal communicator and life coach, Poppy Phillips has a gift for communicating with animals. She also has the knowledge of nutrition and natural supplements to help them live healthy, balanced lives. Watch as Poppy speaks with Cazanova; a charismatic dressage horse. You will never look at animals the same again.

You can reach Poppy Phillips through Holistic Animal Insights.



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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Episode 7; Animal Communicator Poppy Phillips Talks With Dogs - Dr. Lia Andrews

In this episode, animal communicator Poppy Phillips uncovers the intrigues and power struggles within Lia and Judith’s pack: chihuahua Rita, Min Pin Oben, and Maltese/Bichon Molly.

Animal communicator and life coach, Poppy Phillips has a gift for communicating with animals. She also has the knowledge of nutrition and natural supplements to help them live healthy, balanced lives.

You can reach Poppy Phillips through Holistic Animal Insights.



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Episode 6; Animal Communicator Poppy Phillips Talks With Horses - Dr. Lia Andrews

Animal communicator and life coach, Poppy Phillips has a gift for communicating with animals. She also has the knowledge of nutrition and natural supplements to help them live healthy, balanced lives. Watch as Poppy speaks with Cazanova; a charismatic dressage horse. You will never look at animals the same again.

You can reach Poppy Phillips through Holistic Animal Insights.



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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Art of Penjing; the Daoist Origins of Bonsai - Dr. Lia Andrews

Some of my most incredible memories of China, and there are many, are of the gardens. This last trip seeing the gardens of Suzhou and Hangzhou were beyond words. Ancient bonsai, exquisite flowers, rock sculptures, and tranquil water features. In fact, every tree in that country seems perfectly trained into a work of art. Chinese gardeners apply the same rules of balance to their standard trees and shrubs as they do to their miniaturized trees. This fall Judith and I finally resolved to take a bonsai class to start imitating what we observed in our own gardens.

The class we took recently at Wigert’s Bonsai in Fort Myers, FL is known as tropical bonsai. (The unique growth habits of tropical trees have inspired new styles and compositions.) When selecting my tree, two small Fukien Tea trees jumped out at me. One, more rounded with tiny leaves and ample flowers felt Yin to me, while the other was more angular with larger leaves thus exuding Yang energy. I felt they wanted to be together in a composition; a dance between Yin and Yang at the center of all creation. This balance between these primal forces was also at the heart of the book I am currently working on on Daoist sexuality. In working with them every day, the trees would teach me this dance. Our teacher was not impressed, as this did not conform to traditional Japanese standards, but he allowed it.

The instruction was sound and easy to apply, but I felt stifled by the seriousness in the room. Judith was unaffected. An artist in all mediums (sewing, upholstry, cooking, decorating, gardening); she took to bonsai immediately. She selected an ordinary little Tiger Bark ficus and set about transforming it into an adorable tree. I followed her lead and just focused on my work.

Penjing; the Daoist Origins of Bonsai

Penjing (盆景, pén jǐng, “tray scenery”) is an ancient Daoist art of sculpting rock and training trees into miniaturized landscapes. (The principles of this art are applied to life-size gardens and landscapes as well.) When we visited Mantak Chia’s healing center in Thailand, he had hundreds of bonsai trees on display. He explained that the little trees are so valued by Daoists because they concentrate Qi.

Penjing is a meditation. The gardner/artist works with natural materials (plants, rocks, earth, water) to create a vision. It can replicate a sacred site, invoke a specific element, or invoke a state of mind being cultivated. Every day the artist tends to his/her art, adding more intention. This is what makes penjing so magical. The observer feels a certain mood or energy emanating from the scuture, built upon many years of daily intention.

The art of penjing spread throughout Asia, and most famously to Japan in the 6th century, where it became known as bonsai. Bonzai is the Japanese pronunciation of 盆栽, meaning potted plant and pronouced “pén zāi” in Chinese. In its Japanese interpretation it has become more formal and precise. Less a free form meditation, it is the practice of perfection. Traditional bonsai is limited to trees, and does not include rock sculptures or figurines. More recently, bonsai has been re-interpreted again as it becomes popularized around the world. The term “bonzai” in common usage around the world is not limited to the Japanese interpretation, but is an umbrella term for a wider art in constant transformation.

Step 1 – Choose Your Trees

The top tree had a natural Yin quality to me, while the bottom tree displayed a Yang quality. In their natural disheveled state they were quite adorable and had a happy, Fire quality. They seemed excited about the adventure.
Fukien Tea 2

Step 2 – Shape Your Tree

Shaping the tree is a continuous process. First, each leaf was trimmed back, called defoliation. This accomplishes a few things: a) it reduces leaf size, b) it balances the removal of roots, and c) it allows you to see a clear trunk and branch line. Defoliation is always done when the tree is first made into a bonsai and is repeated yearly, depending on the tree. Second, branches are trimmed to create the initial style. Third, every branch is wired and set. I could feel the constriction of the trees during the wiring process; not unlike when I first got my braces. I felt bad for my trees at this point.

Step 3 – Pot Your Tree in a Bonsai Pot

After shaping the top of the trees, I needed to do the same to the roots in order to place them in the little pot. This will stunt the growth of the trunk and roots in order to keep the tree small. The dirt is removed from the roots with a rake, then the roots are rinsed under water. If there is a large root ball it is trimmed back, along with excess smaller roots. (This process is called bare rooting and is typically only done once. Bonsai trees need to be repotted every 1-3 years but it is not so traumatic). Then the tree(s) is securely tied into the pot with wires. Special bonsai soil is added and mixed in with a chopstick. A little fertilizer is mixed in, then the potted tree is soaked in water with “super thrive” for 5 minutes.

The “Finished” Bonsai

The ordeal in becoming a bonsai is arduous for the plant and it must rest in the shade, untouched, for 2 weeks. It is checked daily for wetness by sticking a pencil or wooden chopstick into the soil. After this time it will be moved to its preferred light requirements.

The top picture is of my twin Yin and Yang Fukien Tea trees. The bottom is Judith’s Tiger Bark ficus bonsai.

Judith Andrews Bonsai


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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Starting a pollinator garden: cuphea, salvia, dill, tall penta,...



Starting a pollinator garden: cuphea, salvia, dill, tall penta, mussaendra, and milkweed. Of course my bees don’t like any of them :) http://ift.tt/1W5KfDQ


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Thanks to Thomas Edison’s rubber experiments banyan trees...



Thanks to Thomas Edison’s rubber experiments banyan trees are taking over the homes http://ift.tt/1MtgHhK


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If your beautiful dragon fruit flower is trailing in your...



If your beautiful dragon fruit flower is trailing in your neighbor’s yard, do you have the right to get the fruit when it’s ripe? http://ift.tt/1NFFKhH


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Sunday, July 19, 2015

5 Element Quiz - Dr. Lia Andrews

5 Element Personality Quiz

Our element type tells us our gifts and challenges in relation to personality, health, and relationships. This quiz gives you an idea of what 5 Element leanings are. The questions are based on books by master face reader Patrician McCarthy, founder of the Mian Shiang Institute. Her website offers information and classes. You can also read more in her book, The Face Reader.

Step 1 of 3

33%
  • What is the shape of your face?

  • My most prominent facial feature is:

  • Describe your body:



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Friday, June 12, 2015

Podcast Episode 5; Interview with Patrician McCarthy - Dr. Lia Andrews

In this interview master face reader, author, and speaker Patrician McCarthy explains the ancient Daoist study of physiognomy in relation to health, relationships, and business. Dr. Judith Andrews and I learned Mien Shiang (Chinese face reading) from Patrician during our masters program. We have used it extensively in our practice as a diagnostic tool to anticipate health issues and give us clues to areas of imbalance in the body. This knowledge has been used extensively by business executives to help their professional relationships as well as everyday people to better their connection with romantic partners. Mien Shiang also offers us insight into our own personalities and how to balance ourselves. This is knowledge that can benefit everyone. For information on books and classes see The Mien Shiang Institute website or check out her bestselling book The FaceReader.



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Episode 5; Interview with Patrician McCarthy - Dr. Lia Andrews

In this interview master face reader, author, and speaker Patrician McCarthy explains the ancient Daoist study of physiognomy in relation to health, relationships, and business. Dr. Judith Andrews and I learned Mien Shiang (Chinese face reading) from Patrician during our masters program. We have used it extensively in our practice as a diagnostic tool to anticipate health issues and give us clues to areas of imbalance in the body. This knowledge has been used extensively by business executives to help their professional relationships as well as everyday people to better their connection with romantic partners. Mien Shiang also offers us insight into our own personalities and how to balance ourselves. This is knowledge that can benefit everyone. For information on books and classes see The Mien Shiang Institute website or check out her bestselling book The FaceReader.

 



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Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Beginner’s Guide to Green, White, and Yellow Tea

Chart from the National Tea Museum

Chart from the National Tea Museum

I have to be honest. I find green tea (lǜchá 绿茶) the least interesting type of tea (unless it is Jasmine tea which is divine). Most of the world, however, does not agree. In China, the birthplace of tea (Camellia sinensis), 70% of the tea produced is green tea. Traveling throughout China you will notice most people walking around with a thermos of green tea. 

Green tea is unoxidized, minimally processed tea. It is sun-dried, steamed, or dried in a wok over low heat, and rubbed into shape. It is best used fresh; within 6 months or so. White tea (bái chá 白茶) is even less processed than green tea. Tender leaves and unopened buds are allowed to wither in the sun and to maintain their natural shape. The resulting tea leaves have a gray/white hue and when brewed produce a light green tea liquid. Yellow tea (huáng chá 黄茶) is made by piling the rubbed tea leaves and changing the texture quality of the leaves under carefully controlled heat and humidity; a process known as Menhuang. The resulting tea leaves have a yellow hue and the resulting brewed tea liquid is noticeably yellow.

White tea

White tea

Health Benefits of Green Tea, White, and Yellow Tea 

All three are high in antioxidants compared to other types of tea. They are cooling and best during summer or hot weather and for hot, inflamed conditions. They promote digestion, alleviate some types of headache, remove toxins, and help allay the effects of greasy foods. White tea has the coldest thermal temperature and is used to clear heat and fever.

Taste of Green, White, and Yellow Tea 

White tea has the most delicate fragrance and taste of all the teas. Green tea is characterized by a fresh, green, slightly bitter taste and aroma. Yellow tea has less fragrance than green tea and a sweeter taste.

Types of Green, White, and Yellow Tea

Yellow tea

Yellow tea

I recommend sampling tea from each category to find your favorite style(s). JK Teashop offers great quality teas and samples.

There are over 60 varieties of Green Tea listed in Chinese tea books, and perhaps thousands lesser known. Some of the most well known varieties are Long Jing (Dragon Well), Zhu Ye Qing (Green Bamboo Leaf), Bi Luo Chun (Green Snail Spring), Lu’An Gua Pian (Lu’An Melon Seed Tea), Tai Ping Hou Kui (Peaceful Monkey Leader), and Mao Jian (Hairy Tips). Long Jing tea is a good place to start.

White Tea is mainly produced in Fuding, Fujian Province. Varieties include Baimudan (White Peony), Baihao Yinzhen (White Hair Silver Needle), and Shoumei.

Yellow Tea varieties include Mengding Huangya (Yellow Buds), Huoshan Huangya (Yellow Buds), and Huoshan Huangdacha (Big Yellow Tea).

Scented teas process the tea leaves with flowers. This includes: Jasmine Tea, Jasmine Pearl Tea, Orchid Tea, and Performance Tea (green tea leaves are bound with beautiful flowers that unfurl n hot water). I recommend trying Jasmine Tea as one of your first experiences with green tea.

 



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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Beginner’s Guide to Dark (Black) Tea

Chinese tea categories are a little different in Chinese than in English which can create some confusion. Black tea in English is called red tea (hóng chá 红茶) because the color of the brewed tea is reddish. Dark or black tea (hēi chá 黑茶) in Chinese refers to a category of post-fermented teas historically popular amongst Chinese minority populations who eat higher amounts of meat. It was also used as tribute tea because dark tea gets better with age, like wine, and could weather the long journeys. Dark tea includes Pu’er tea (pǔ’ěrchá 普洱茶) from Yunnan Province, Fuzhuan from Hu’nan, Qingzhuan from Hubei, and Liubao cha from Guangxi. Pu’er has become popular in the past decade as a collector’s item and health drink.

Health Benefits of Pu’er Tea

Pu’er is used to counteract the heavy nature of meat during meals, helps lower cholesterol (especially when brewed with Chrysanthemum flowers), aids weightloss, improves blood circulation, protects against cancer, is antiaging, and reduces hypertension. The enzymes used to process pu’er aid digestion and regulate bowel movements.*

Taste of Pu’er

Ripe pu’er has a mellow, earthy fragrance and taste and produces a dark red tea liquid. Raw pu’er produces a lighter tea liquid and the taste varies with age. Young (under 5 years old) raw pu’er has a distinct astringency and bitterness and produces a yellow tea liquid. After 5 years it begins to darken and mellow and increase in complexity. The flavor continues to improve as it is aged 20+ years.

Types of Pu’er

Tea made from small tender leaves is considered better quality and more expensive (this is true in all tea categories) than tea made from large leaves. The picking standard of high quality teas typically includes 1 bud and 1-2 leaves. Premium teas are less bitter, more subtle, and more complex than cheap tea. Interestingly, my teachers all preferred using low quality, bitter tea for medicine claiming the action was more potent.

The tea plant (Camellia sinensis) began as a large tree and evolved into smaller trees and shrubs. All continue to be cultivated for tea. Pu’er is divided into that made from old arbor trees, young trees, bushes, and geography, all of which affect the taste profile. JK Teashop has a large selection of pu’er and offer samplers. I recommend trying several types and finding your preferred style(s).

Ripe vs Raw Pu'erRaw Pu’er is made by drying the tea leaves and compressing them into cakes, blocks, or other shapes. They are then aged for at least 5 years (and up to 20-30 years). During this time natural bacteria transform the tea’s taste and properties. Raw pu’er under 5 years of age looks green and is astringent tasting and a bit harsh, though some enjoy it at this stage. After about 5 years of proper storage the tea begins to mellow and darken. At 10 years or over the tea becomes earthy, mellow, and complex. Aged raw pu’er is more expensive. The issue I have is that when I buy raw pu’er I feel pressured to save it, like I would a good quality wine, and end up not drinking it as often as ripe pu’er. Raw and ripe pu’er are like two different types of tea and I enjoy them both.

In the 1980’s a new method of pile fermentation was developed to speed up the fermentation process of pu’er tea. This is called Ripe Pu’er. It does not need to be aged and can be enjoyed immediately. It can be stored for long periods of time. The tea liquid is dark red and the flavor is mellow and earthy, and less complex and variable than raw pu’er. Ripe pu’er is cheaper and often a better choice for those who want a daily drink for health benefits.

Loose Pu’er can be raw or ripe. It has been packed loose rather than formed into cakes or bricks.

Zhutong Cha is tea processed in bamboo stalks. This mellows the taste and adds complexity. Various parts of the bamboo plant are used in Tradtional Chinese Medicine TCM to clear Heat and resolve Phlegm.

Old Tea Lump (Lao Cha Tou) are clumps that develop from pile fermentation in the production of ripe pu’er. These clumps are unevenly fermented and removed from the pile. They retain qualities of both ripe and raw pu’er. It is more fragrant and complex than regular ripe pu’er.

Flowers can be added to pu’er to enhance the taste and health benefits. As mentioned before, Chrysanthemum flowers are added for cholesterol and hypertension issues. Rose flowers pair very well with the earthy pu’er tea and helps aid circulation and stress-relief.

*This is what has been studied and reported in China. These claims have not been reviewed by the FDA.

 



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Monday, May 25, 2015

Beginner’s Guide to Oolong (Wu Long) Tea

Chinese tea culture can feel intimidating at first, but it shouldn’t be. It is about experiencing and experimenting until you find what you like. Oolong tea (wūlóng 乌龙) is one of the 6 main tea categories: white, green, yellow, oolong, black, and puerrh. Oolong is partially oxidized, whereas white, green, and yellow are unoxidized and black tea is fully oxidized. Puerrh is fermented tea.

Oolong for Health

Oolong is traditionally recommended during fall. It can also be brewed year round to assist with weight loss and help maintain healthy levels of cholesterol. For high cholesterol or hypertension brew with chrysanthemum flower.

Oolong for Taste

The processing to make oolong tea is more complicated than green or black tea, producing a more complex tea experience. Oolong tea is incredibly fragrant, with a mix of floral, fruit, and smokey depending on the variety.  The taste can be a combination of sweet, pungent, light, heavy, fruity, and floral.

Oolong Tea Categories

All tea comes from the tea plant (Camellia sinensis). Different types of tea, and different subcategories, are the result of different tea plant varieties, age of the plant, growing region, and processing. I recommend sampling a tea from different subcategories to decide which style(s) you like. My favorite website to order from is JK Teashop. The quality of the tea is excellent and they offer several sample options.

tie guan yin oolong

Tie Guan Yin Oolong

Anxi Oolong is from the famous tea-growing region of Anxi County in Fujian Province, China. Oolong from this region is characterized by its low oxidation (about 15%) making it closer to green tea in appearance and tea color. The dried tea leaves are rolled into little balls and are green. They emit a strong floral fragrance. Anxi oolong includes Tie Guan Yin (Iron Goddess of Mercy), Huang Jin Gui (Golden Osmanthus), Benshan, and Maoxie. Tie Guan Yin oolong is arguably the most popular type of oolong of any category. It has a beautiful complex aroma and taste that lasts multiple infusions. I have not met anyone who did not like it.

 

 

WuYiShan

Wu Yi Shan Oolong

Wuyi Yan (Rock) Oolong is the earliest type of oolong. It is heavily oxidized (30-60%) giving a smoky dimension to fragrance and taste. It is called “rock” tea because it is planted between rocks and gives off the fragrance of flowers growing on rocks. Wuyi Yan oolong includes Dahongpao, Tieluohan, Baijiguan, Shuijingui, Rougui (Cinnamon), and Shuixian (Daffodil). Dahongpao oolong is the most popular in this category due to its enduring orchid fragrance and sweet aftertaste.

 

 

 

Dancong

Dancong Oolong

Dancong Oolong is characterized by a floral and honey taste and fragrance. Dancong oolongs are categorized by geographic location, Phoenic or Ling Tou, and their floral characteristics such as Mi Lan Xiang (Honey Orchid Fragrance),  Huang Zhi Xiang (Yellow Gardenia Fragrance), Jiang Hua Xiang (Ginger Flower Fragrance), Xing Ren Xiang (Almond Fragrance), and Gui Hua Xiang (Osmanthus Flower Fragrance). Try one based on your flower preference.

 

 

 

I have not explored Taiwanese Oolongs, though they are known to be more heavily oxidized than other types of oolong (meaning they are closer to black tea than green tea). Taiwan’s climate is conducive to tea production so they have many tea-producing regions and varieties. Types of Taiwanese oolong include Baihao (Pengfeng), Wenshan Baozhong, Dongding, Yushan, Alishan, Lishan, and Jinxuan. Dongding oolong is considered the elite of Taiwanese oolongs.

Reprocessed Oolong tea takes oolong tea leaves and adds flowers or herbs to enhance flavor or health effects. Common flower essences added to oolong are gardenia and osmanthus. Ginseng oolong is a popular health tea where ginseng powder is added to oolong leaves.

 



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