Jade: A Powerful Beauty

                                                                          
Symbols of Jade:
Harmony · Humanity · Intelligence · Power · Protection · Luck · Prosperity · Strength · Guidance · Peace · Balance · Beauty
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
The vibrant stone Jade has been a very special stone to Asian cultures for thousands of years, in art, jewelry, religious practices and ceremonial life. It has long been believed that Jade attracts good luck, brings balance to the Heart Chakra, and increases prosperity. What a powerful little stone! It is also a protective stone, often used by travelers to keep them safe from harm. Take a Jade bracelet with you on all of your wanderlust journeys!
                                                                                                                                          
Many believe that this magical gem holds a link between the physical and spiritual worlds, encompassing the yin and the yang. Wearing a Jade bracelet or necklace can help guide you into balance! It's connected to the Heart Chakra and should be kept in contact with your skin to balance the body and align the chakras. Keep it close to your heart for the most benefits! In meditation, Jade imparts a feeling of serenity, soothes and calms the mind, and assists in the release of negative thoughts. Try wearing Jade to your next yoga class!
                                                                                                                                            
                                                                          
Jade has a rich cultural history as well! The polish and brilliance of the stone is considered by the Chinese to be representative of purity while its compactness and hardness reflect intelligence. Justice is represented by its angles and the sound produced by it when it is struck is a symbol of music. The color of Jade stone depicts loyalty while its flaws reflect sincerity. The Chinese also value Jade because of its brightness, representing heaven, while its substance is representative of the earth. You can see why Jade is so cherished; it's a beautiful stone with a beautiful meaning behind it!
                                                                          
On a physical level, Jade has a powerful and calming vibration that’s highly protective. Whenever you feel the need to recharge your energy or protect yourself from illness, try stroking the stone with your hands!
                                                                          
Jade's colors can range in abundance of shades -- from light creamy greens to much darker tones; even in greyish, white, pink, purple, yellow, black and multicolored. This stone not only has a wide range of healing properties, but is also a beautiful creation of nature! We're celebrating this gorgeous Jade stone all month with 20% off all of our Jade products through March!
                                                                          
Click here to shop our Jade collection! 
                                                                                                                                                    
Fun Fact: Emperors used to drink a mixture of pounded jade and herbs in an attempt to become immortal!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Written by Micaela Ideker
February 27, 2019 by Alexandra Stroh

Achieve your New Year’s Resolutions with Style!

There’s always time for self-improvement, but a New Year is all the more motivating and full of opportunities! It’s your time to take action and achieve the goals you set out to do. Our natural energy stones can help you out on your journey to success! If your resolutions are anything like ours, here’s some tips and healing stones that will help make yours goals happen!
Science has proven that human beings have between 12,000 and 60,000 thoughts per day. Whoa! Even more surprising is that 80% of those thoughts are negative! Being nice to ourselves can be a real challenge, but it has been proven that self-kindness reduces stress and elevates mood. Providing ourselves with patience, acceptance, and care can often be foreign to us, but with practice, your nurturing voice will be the first one you hear instead of the blaring critic. Self-kindness involves being tolerant of our flaws and inadequacies and realizing that suffering, failure, and imperfection is part of the shared human experience.                                                                                                                                                                       
If your goal this year is to be kinder to yourself, try wearing these healing stones. Rhodolite encourages compassion while promoting self-worth and spiritual growth. Rhodonite is a calming stone that helps resolve conflict and promotes self love and compassion. It is also a remedy stone during times of panic.                                                                                                                                                         
Here’s some tips to go from inner-critic to inner-cheerleader! Give yourself more compliments, out loud. Learn how to forgive yourself; you're doing your best and nobody is perfect. Practice gratitude - a powerful emotion with scientifically proven benefitsBe a best friend to yourself. Give yourself permission to say no. Accept compliments. Create positive affirmations.
Human beings are inherently social creatures. Friendships offer a number of mental health benefits, such as increased feelings of belonging, purpose, increased levels of happiness, reduced levels of stress, and improved self-worth and confidence. Forming strong, healthy relationships with others means opening up, actively listening, and being willing to sharing what you’re going through. Being proactive is important if your looking to nourish your social connections this year.                                                                                                                           
If your goal this year is to strengthen your relationships between your friends, family, or significant other, try wearing Rose Quartz to help purify and open the heart. Those who hold Agate near their heart or wear the stone in jewelry will notice new friendships, lovers, and rebirth of old relationships. Some great ways to jumpstart the social butterfly in you are finding a hobby, establishing a weekly movie night with your besties, volunteering with a group that interests you, interacting with coworkers outside of the workplace, and inviting and being open to invitations as they come your way. If you're in a new town or just want to start fresh, try Bumble BFF!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Do you struggle with staying in the present? It’s so easy to be distracted with what’s next, occupied with the past, or overloaded with information. Staying aware of your mind and body can be difficult, but the benefits to your wellbeing are worth it. Mindfulness is shown to improve sleep, reduce stress, and improve focus. 
                                                                                                                      
So what is mindfulness? It’s an active practice of being present of where you are, what you’re doing, and what you’re thinking in the moment. The goal is not to quiet the mind, but instead to be aware of the thoughts that pass through and let them come and go without judgement. Your mind will wander, but that’s natural. Allow yourself to consciously come back to your breath, notice the sounds around you and the sensations of your body. It’s all about returning your attention again and again.                                                                                                                                                                                   
To add a little enhancement to your mindfulness practice try wearing Tourmaline or Howlite. Tourmaline is believed to promote communication between the conscious and unconscious minds, allowing psychic awareness to blossom, while Howlite has long been recognized for its ability to reduce anxiety and enhance mental awareness.
The most common New Year’s resolutions involve dieting and exercising! While these are important, there is so much more to taking care of our bodies. If your resolution this year is to be healthier, try wearing Jasper as it combats exhaustion, providing energy and promoting reflection. Or try Quartz, the “Master Healer”, provides healing and spiritual growth.                                                                  
Physical health can really affect happiness and stress levels. Making a commitment to taking on healthier habits this year can have a far-reaching payoff: you’ll feel better in everything you do. Along with diet and exercise, here’s some more ways you can take care of your body everyday! Drink plenty of water. Stretch every morning. Create a good sleep routine. Take Epsom salt baths. Write in a journal. Watch your posture. Use essential oils. Wash your hands often. Keep laughing and playing!                                                                                                         
We wish you good luck with all of your resolutions this year!
Thank you for reading our blog!  Use code RESOLUTION for 15% off your next order + Share it on Facebook for a secret bonus!


Written by: Micaela Ideker
January 18, 2019 by Alexandra Stroh

White Chocolate Peppermint Fudge

Who doesn’t enjoy fudge? A fun way to build your holiday spirit this time of year is to take a little time to bake something delicious. This recipe for peppermint fudge is simple, festive, and tasty.

64 servings

Per Serving: 89 calories; 2.9 g fat; 14.1 g carbohydrates; 1.1 g protein

Prep 20min/ Ready 2hrs 20min

 

Ingredients

2 (10oz) packages of vanilla baking chips

1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk

½ teaspoon peppermint extract

1 ½ cups of crushed candy canes

1 dash of red/green food coloring

 

Directions

  1. Line an 8 inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and grease the foil.
  2. Combine the vanilla chips and sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently until almost melted, remove from heat and continue to stir until smooth. When chips are completely melted, stir in the peppermint extract, food coloring, and candy canes.
  3. Spread evenly in the bottom of the prepared pan. Chill for 2 hours, then cut into squares.

 

Tip

Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

By Cameron Godbehere

December 12, 2018 by Alexandra Stroh

World Kindness Day

8 Little Gestures to Make Someone’s Day

On Tuesday, November 13, 2018, we celebrated World Kindness Day here at Lotus and Luna. It is essential for all of us to be kind to each other, especially during a time when it feels like everyone is more divisive than ever. There are little things we can do as people, little acts of kindness, that can make someone’s day. Being kind also makes us feel better about ourselves too. Whether it’s a friend, family member, or someone in line behind you at Starbucks, here are 8 little gestures of kindness to make someone’s day.
1. Pay It Forward
If you find yourself in line at your local coffee shop or in the drive-thru at IN-N-OUT, a simple gesture you can do to express kindness and generosity is to pay it forward. Simply cover the cost of the coffee behind you. It is only a few dollars to do and will really brighten someone’s mood. Who knows, they might start a chain and cover the person behind them too!
2. Compliments
I don’t know about you but who doesn’t feel good when somebody out of the blue goes ahead and compliments your hair, your clothes, or something you did. Go ahead and compliment somebody, make them feel good about themselves.
3. Talk to a Friend You Haven’t Heard from in a Long Time
Doesn’t it feel good when an old friend hits you up just to see how you are doing? Extend the gesture and find a friend or two that you have lost touch with and let them know you were thinking about them. It’s a nice way to reconnect and show someone what they mean to you.
4. Bring Sweets to Someone
Surprise your coworkers with a sweet snack! Who doesn’t appreciate a cookie or a brownie to brighten their day? Stop by the grocery store a spend a few bucks getting your significant other, your parents, your friend, or your boss a little sweet treat!
5. Tip the Bill
One nice thing to do for someone is to show a little appreciation for the man or woman that is waiting your table. Simply tip the price of the bill. If you find yourself eating a cheap lunch with a friend for $15, just match the bill by tipping $15. If you have the means to do so, give it a try, it won’t hurt. 
6. Hold the Door
We have all been there, awkwardly walking faster to catch the door that someone didn’t hold open. Wouldn’t it have been nice if someone was holding that door for you? If you see somebody behind you, hold open the door! It's easy and very sweet to do.
7. Send Flowers
You don’t have to be a guy for this one. Does your mom appreciate flowers? Send her some! Or send some to a friend or coworker who would gladly accept. 
8. Show Yourself Some Kindness
We can’t forget about ourselves! Feeling overworked lately? Take a day off or find an hour to do something you appreciate. Find a friend or family member and plan something special with them. You could even make yourself something yummy that you don’t normally have.

 

by Cameron Godbehere

November 14, 2018 by Alexandra Stroh

Stella the Light's

1.

Easy, long-lasting weight loss.

This was one of the main reasons I came to this lifestyle. I had no idea what veganism was but had heard/seen of several women who were all about 5-10 years deep in the “plant-based whole foods lifestyle”, looked amazing, felt amazing and claimed to be eating abundantly and freely.. I wanted in!! Within the first few weeks, you will drop inflammation/digestion issues and gain energy and clarity! You will absolutely crave movement. My body has changed not only from the foods I eat but the energy I now have to move my body in such crazy ways! That pure energy and craving for movement never gets old! Weight loss/optimal body weight comes naturally, easily and with no restriction .. and it lasts (no RE- gaining the weight you lost while low-calorie dieting!)

2.

Amazing digestion.

We all know how depleting poor digestion is. It lays a blanket of anxiety on us and makes you want to hide in a big sweatshirt away from the world. Bloat, indigestion, gas, constipation, heartburn .. it all just STINKS! The increase in fiber alongside proper food combining and the detoxing from poorly digested meat/dairy = a flowing, clean digestive tract! Within the first 2/3 weeks of consistency, you will feel the body flowing with ease! Most of my own clients lose anywhere from 5-15 lbs just from dropping the bloat, inflammation and digestive sludge that has been backing them up. I used to think going to the bathroom 2/3 times per week was normal. I now go at least 1-2x per day with ease (no scary poos! LOL)

3.

You get to eat way more food!

Meat/dairy and junk food are very calorie dense foods — hence why we have to set limits/portions for these foods. Luckily, plant-based foods can be eaten in abundance due to their low caloric density! I will pop a photo in here to give you a more visual idea of what I mean! PHOTO HERE. By cutting the animal fat, fatty breast milk and refined junk from your diet you are able to eat 2-4x the portions of what you are eating now! Which never gets old!

4.

Saving 75% of your money.

This is not a trick! Think about how you eat now - How many times do you eat out? How many times do you stop and grab takeout, fast food, snacks, drinks etc. How much is your current grocery bill with pre-packaged items? This all adds up to $1000s!

By going plant-based I save about 3/4 the $$ I used to spend on food. Explained: We ate out at LEAST 2-3x for dinner and 2-3x for lunch, we got snacks to go all the time and our grocery bill was full of expensive meat/dairy and pre-packaged items! Now we prep most of our food ourselves and the foods we buy at the grocery store are essentially the cheapest: rice, oatmeal, potatoes, seasonal fruits etc! Take a look at how much you are spending on food - imagine how much money you could save all while amplifying your health and happiness!

5.

Biggest impact on the environment!

Did you know that if the world went vegan we could reduce our carbon footprint by up to 73% and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds! .. that’s a pretty big deal! This was another perk I knew nothing about when going plant-based, the fact that I could make such a difference with such ease. It is one of the best feelings in the world to know I am helping to bring this planet back from the damage it has sustained over the years from us being so careless!

 

If you are interested in learning the ins and outs of this lifestyle, let’s get you started! Visit StellaTheLight.com for more info on my 30 and 7 Day Coaching Programs, E-Books, Client Reviews, Recipe Blog, Free 14 Day Group Challenge + much more!

Tell me YOUR story, goals, struggles, current eating habits and why you wanna go plant-based!

 

 

SPAGHETTI + (no)MEATBALLS!

These are a favorite with my vegan partner, Damon. He has them not only with pasta and sauce but will also dip them in ketchup or bbq sauce! They can be made in bulk (double or triple the recipe) and frozen in an airtight container .. the perfect meal prep for easy, very cheap dinners! + the comparison of a high saturated animal fat meatball vs these is crazy! Jam-packed with protein just no animal flesh, fat or cholesterol! + you can have double or triple the amount of meatballs because they aren’t as calorie dense as a normal meatball! (Goes along with the perks of eating more as a plant-based vegan!!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 15oz can of organic black beans (or kidney beans work, too!)

  • 2 cup oats

  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast

  • 1.5 tbsp ground flax

  • 2 tsp garlic (or to taste)

  • 1 tsp salt (can omit)

  • a few dashes of liquid smoke OR 1 tsp smoked paprika

  • about 2 tbsp italian herb mix

  • bread crumbs (optional)

NOTE: Feel free to saute up some onions, carrots, mushrooms etc and add into the mix.. this gives it a very textured meatball which is lovely!

 

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper!

  2. Blend oats + ground flax in a blender or food processor until it becomes less oats but not exactly a fine powder — you want to leave some texture in there!

  3. Set aside in a big bowl + add the spices (herbs, nutritional yeast, garlic, salt and smoked paprika if you’re using that!)

  4. Rinse beans and pop in a vitamix OR food processor and blend until smooth (add in liquid smoke if you are using that)

  5. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly (mix in any sautéed veggies as well!)

  6. Roll into small balls and roll in breadcrumbs (or not!) and lay evenly on parchment paper.

  7. Bake in the oven at 425F for 5 min (flip) and another 5 min on the other side!

  8. Serve with wholesome pasta + sauce of choice (we make our own using the recipe from my ebook!) Pastas we use: Corn pasta, Quinoa pasta, Rice Pasta, Bean Pasta, Lentil Pasta, Whole Wheat Pasta.

by Stella the Light

    October 31, 2018 by Alexandra Stroh

    Thai Pumpkin Curry Recipe

    pumpkin curry

     

    Happy Halloween, witches!

    No better way to get in the spooky spirit than to whip up a healthy, vegan, pumpkin curry to counteract all that candy we know you’ll be eating! ;) This recipe is a simple yet satisfying plant-based, gluten-free, festive meal to enjoy this spooky season.
     
    **Note: To be cooked with monster mash playing softly in the background and paired with lots of Halloween candy ;)

     

    Serves: 4

    Ingredients:

    • 1 ½ Tbsp coconut oil
    • 1/2 yellow onion
    • 2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
    • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
    • 1 small red chili or serrano pepper (stem & seeds removed, thinly sliced)
    • 1 large red bell pepper (thinly sliced lengthwise)
    • 4 Tbsp red Thai curry paste
    • 4 cups or 1 lb peeled and cubed pumpkin or butternut squash
    • 3 ½ cups unsweetened coconut milk--the thicker the better
    • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
    • 1 tsp ground turmeric
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
    • 2 Tbsp lime
    • ⅔ cup roasted cashews
    • ¼ cup fresh basil for garnish
    • Jasmine rice, brown rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice

    Instructions:

    1. Add coconut oil, onion, ginger, garlic, and chili to large pot. Saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
    2. Add bell pepper and curry paste and stir. Cook for two minutes, then add the pumpkin/butternut squash and stir. Cook for 2 minutes.
    3. Add coconut milk, maple syrup, turmeric, sea salt, soy sauce, and stir. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
    4. Once simmering, slightly reduce heat to low and cover.
    5. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    6. Once the pumpkin is tender, add lime juice and cashews and cover, simmer for 3-4 additional minutes over low heat.
    7. Serve over rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice.
    8. Garnish with basil and enjoy!

     

    holding pumpkin with bracelets

    October 30, 2018 by Alexandra Stroh

    Making a Difference - An update from the villages

    Why hello there! My name is Ashley and I am the designer for Lotus and Luna. In the spirit of National Make a Difference Day, I wanted to remind you all that you were born with the ability to make a difference, and that even the smallest action can create a ripple effect of positive change and growth. Here at Lotus and Luna, our action is supporting and empowering our artisan villages with consistent work they love, a more comfortable life, and lessons in business.

    Personally, I have the unique and fulfilling privilege of travelling all the way to Thailand to work with our talented artisans and sharing their beautiful creations with all of you. Having the opportunity to see first hand how our impact has improved their local economies and overall quality of life is one that I never take for granted, and that reinvigorates and inspires me with every visit. Here is a little update from my most recent trip, where I worked on our upcoming Spring/Summer '19 Collections.
     

    This past trip was a quick one - two weeks in Chiang Mai. I always stay in the old city, which is about an hour away from both of the two villages I visit.  One is in Doi Saket and the other is in Mae Rim. 
    I spent most of my days in the jewelry village working with our head artisan, Rung. She is one amazing boss lady who taught her entire family and village how to bead. She makes sure that all of our production runs smoothly and that each bracelet is made with precision and care.

    Bead by bead, I design each bracelet with a particular collection's theme in mind. When I finish laying out the design, Rung assigns an artisan to make the sample. Physically being in Thailand and communicating with them directly makes this process a lot easier than doing it from overseas on a different time zone. A few of the artisans are even picking up some English through this process, so as I teach them English words, they teach me a little Thai and then we all giggle at our mispronunciations!
     
    My favorite part of the day is lunch time when we get to have a home-cooked Thai meal made by Rung's mother or the artisans will take me to their favorite local spots. 

    After many days of creating the designs and samples, our collections are laid out and finalized. Rung then assigns each artisan a bracelet design along with the materials needed and they are able to make each bracelet from the comfort of their own home. Although we may only have five to ten artisans working with us at Rung's there is a constant flow of artisans coming and going on their scooters to pick up materials and deliver finished bracelets - it's really fun to watch!
     
     
    Now, let's take a journey into our Apparel Village. Below are two artisans that manage production of all our apparel lines.
    Watini is one of the most talented seamstresses I've ever come across. She works extremely hard to provide for her daughter who attends a university in Bangkok and for her 14 year-old son with special needs.

    Wilawan 
    is one of Lotus and Luna's first artisans! She helps translate and communicate with our artisans who do not speak English. Sometimes I think she cracks jokes about me in Thai and then translates something completely different back to me--it's pretty hilarious!
    It is always such a humbling experience spending time with the artisans. I meet their families, watch their children grow, we share stories over delicious meals, and most importantly we learn from one another. Getting to know our artisans on a personal level is a strong reminder of why we do what we do. Their culture, world views, and keys to happiness are so different than ours, and with each visit I become inspired in a new way.
    Also on each trip, I am able to see the direct impact Lotus and Luna has made in the lives of these villagers. This time, I noticed Watini had bought some more updated and comfortable furniture for her home (it was previously very minimal), a new sewing machine, and she even told us she is saving money to buy a new house for her family. Through fundraising and increased wages in the village, Watini is working towards building a new, safer road in this village, something we take for granted here in the USA.

    Rung's village started with one small order of a couple hundred singles, which she made all by herself. In 2018 as a whole, that order is about five hundred times the size, and employs roughly sixty five people full time. Imagine one artisan- Rung- making our order- to 65 staff in her villages all working together, but from the comfort of their homes, surrounded by their families. A few short years ago, these same artisans were working long hours, sometimes late into the night, selling their goods one by one at the markets, or working hard in the rice fields.

    Seeing how these people are directly benefiting from our company mission is an amazing feeling that I cannot begin to explain. From small house improvements, to new roads and an ever-growing team, we are humbly honored to be changing lives. In all honestly, my life has changed as well. Being out in Thailand I picked up a new sport that I absolutely fell in love with, Muay Thai--which I've continued to do even back in the states. I wake up every morning grateful for my health, friends, and family, and also for being able to do something that I love that actually makes a difference in someone's life.


    With that being said, I want to thank you...Without you, Lotus and Luna would not be able to make a difference in so many people's lives. So I'll be sure to keep doing my best in creating designs you love and we can work together in building this new cycle for these amazing artisans.
     
    October 26, 2018 by Ashley Villatuya

    How to Use A Mala

     

    Lately, you’ve probably been seeing more and more of the long, tasseled strands of beads known as “malas”. They’re recognizable by their single strand of small, round beads, with one large bead and a single tassel at the center. A mala can be worn as a necklace or can be wrapped around the wrist as a bracelet. Though these beautiful accessories have gained popularity for being easy to pair with a variety of outfits due to their classic simplicity, malas are for much more than just personal adornment. These necklaces have significant meaning in the world of meditation and can serve a specific purpose within one’s practice.  

     

    Many malas, such as our very own at Lotus and Luna, are made with gemstones that are valued for their symbolic meaning and inherent healing properties. For example, jade, which is used in our Asana mala, is considered to help one gain guidance and strength when making difficult life decisions. Yet, no matter the gemstone, the beads are always round and usually measure 7 to 10 mm in order to glide easily between one’s fingers (Gaia). You will understand the significance of this once you learn how to properly use your mala. 

     

    The spiritual symbolism of the mala is deeply rooted in Hindu tradition. Each strand has 108 beads due to that number being considered sacred within Hinduism. It is held sacred because 1 represents God or the universe, 0 represents emptiness or humility, and 9 represents infinity or timelessness (Yoga Journal). In addition to the 108 beads, each mala has a large “guru bead” at its center, which is at the core of the strand’s usage in meditation.

     

    Now, on to the specifics of how to use your mala:

    1 – Select a mantra or affirmation that you would like to focus on.

    2 – Sit comfortably, with your legs crossed and your spine straight.

    2 – With your eyes closed, begin to observe your breath.

    3 – As you start to breathe deeply, focus on the mantra or affirmation that you have selected.

    4 – Now, hold your mala in your right hand, draping it gently over the middle or ring finger.

    5 – Place your thumb on the guru bead and begin to recite your mantra or affirmation.

    6 – Progress through the mala, moving away from the guru bead, by pushing the smaller beads with your thumb and repeating your mantra or affirmation at each bead. You may stop at 7, 21, 27, or 108. If you reach the guru bead and would like to continue, begin again by moving away from the guru bead in the opposite direction (Gaia).  

     Mala Meditation

     

    Be sure to check out our new full line of malas here!

     

     

    October 08, 2018 by Jessica Fregoe

    Born from Adventure

    At first glance, Janelle Sisting could easily be pegged as just another Southern California girl, living an active, carefree and sunshine-filled life in San Diego. It would be pretty hard to imagine her trekking through the South American jungle, running through a foreign airport with three full sized suitcase tripling her body weight, or negotiating fabric prices in a Thai market, but this is who Janelle is. She is Lotus and Luna's founder and fearless leader. 

    What started as a tiny seed of an idea, germinated by the smiles and kindness of the people of Thailand, is now Janelle's blooming dream come true - Lotus and Luna. Since we started, we have evolved from supporting twelve deserving artisans in a small village outside Chiang Mai Thailand, to over one hundred and fifty artisans in four villages. 

    We hope you enjoy getting to know her and our story a little better through this new series of Travel diary entries on our blog!

    Dear Travel Diary,

    As I sit here, booking a flight to Thailand, I try to count how many plane tickets to Thailand I've booked in my life and I can't count them. I am suddenly overcome by flashback memories, of hundreds of adventures- broken down trains, Colombian soap operas, stories no one would ever think were possible- countless challenges, dead ends, accomplishments, and failures over the past decade. Then it abruptly stops, and all I can see is the very beginning, like an old photograph in my mind.  

    The initial event that inspired me to create Lotus and Luna happened in 2010. After graduating from UCSD, I took several months to travel the world - primarily through Asia. Every stop along the way had its own discoveries, challenges, amazing food, and lifelong memories to take away, but Thailand stole my heart. I met people from around the world, danced in the rain under the full moon (actually I was dancing around in a parka because I had fallen off my motorbike and I had to keep my cast out of the rain), sipped coconuts on the sand and fell off motorbikes fearlessly while cruising the beautiful thai islands. After a little bit too much time in the sun, I decided to head up to the lesser known northern mountain city of Chiang Mai, Thailand. 

    Chiang Mai was different than the beautiful beaches I had just come from. It was a community full of ancient culture, incredible temples, and thai families generations old. Tucked inland at the base of mystical mountain range and full of stunning temples, the true lifestyle and day to day of the thai people was much more recognizable here than the tourist ridden islands. 

    I cruised night markets in Chiang Mai that went on for miles, where I saw beautiful handcrafted items, each booth more appealing than the last. But when I looked a little closer, beneath the surface of Thai smiles, I observed children asleep on the asphalt under tables as their mothers sold items they made by hand, and an elderly woman struggling to stand but smiling as she sold food from a stove strapped to her bike. There was poverty and struggle along every step of the way, but not the slightest inkling of dispair or resentment. 

    I didn't realize it until much later, but that first trip to Chiang Mai was the beginning of Lotus and Luna. For months after returning home, I dreamt of working in Thailand. I wanted to help the communities, and children there to empower them to make a better life. The problem was, I didn’t really think it was possible. I had no previous business experience, and the whole idea seemed really difficult- how would I communicate if I didn’t speak Thai? What about shipping and customs? There was always something that stood in the way, and kept me on my same path.   

    In 2012 I saved up money and was able to travel again, returning to parts of Asia and traveling throughout South America. After that, I went back to my old job and back to the life I had created before traveling.

    The problem was that I was different. I had changed, and my old lifestyle no longer satisfied me. I was frustrated, uninspired, and I didn’t have a plan. I wanted to keep traveling and help others, but I couldn’t find a job that would allow me to do this.

    A few weeks after my return, I got an email announcing that Photobucket (Remember them??) was sponsoring a contest called “Life is an Adventure”. Having spent the previous year traveling and having experiences like checking into a hospital in India, acting in a soap opera in Colombia and getting mugged around the world, I knew that my life fit that description.

    Shortly after attempted mugging #3 in Cusco, Peru

     

    Crossing a River- Being pulled in a metal basket over a raging river 

    I told a friend who had travelled with me about the contest and asked for her help. “How can you ever hope to win,” she replied, “Do you know how many other people will enter?

    Thousands. Good Luck.”

    I started my entry, and enjoyed every moment reliving and recounting the stories of my adventures. I put my heart and soul into my story. I told my friends and family that I was going to win the contest, and really believed in my heart that I would. I got an email a few weeks after submitting my entry that explained I received 2nd place! First prize was $25,000, second prize was $500. 

    Well, $500/second place was perfect for me- I didn’t get handed the money I really wanted, but I got the boost of confidence that would carry me for the rest of my life. All of a sudden, the dream I had to build a business in Thailand wasn’t scary, it wasn’t a “dream”, it was a real possibility. I realized that if I put 100% of my heart and soul into anything, the sky was the limit. I believed I could do it, and that’s exactly what I did.

    "The difference between dreaming, and doing, is action." 

    I booked a ticket back to Thailand and was able to meet some amazing women in a village up north through a local Thai orphanage I was supporting at the time. I started working with a handful of these women living in one small village, and wow has it grown from here.  

     

    Today we work with over one hundred and fifty artisans in four villages. Each village has their own specialty and makes just one time of product, and as the company grows we are able to employ more of their family members and neighbors, giving them the flexibility to work from home while caring for their families, and earning a fair living wage. It has been fulfilling beyond words to work with these amazing people and see the positive impact the company has made in their communities. I feel very blessed to be part of it.

     

    Jewelry Village, Thailand, 2017

    I like to think of it like this. In 2010, I had a dream. I didn’t do anything about it, but I had a dream. In 2012, I had the same dream. I thought about it a lot and wished it would happen,  but didn’t do anything to make that dream happen. Fast forwarding to the end of 2012- there wasn’t that much else going on in my life, and my prospects were bleak.  So I took a chance and finally followed my dream, and here is Lotus and Luna! 

    Join in and follow along my new series of Travel diary entries here on our blog! I hope you find some inspiration and entertainment from them.

    “ A year from now you will wish you had started today.’ Karen Lamb

    Until next time,

    Janelle Sisting

    Founder - Lotus and Luna  

    August 29, 2018 by janelle sisting

    How Energy Stones Work

    Photo Credit: Energy Muse

    If you’re plugged into the world of yoga, meditation, or alternative medicine; you’ve likely heard about the healing powers of energy stones and crystals. It is believed by many that holding energy stones during meditation or wearing them throughout the day promotes physical, mental, and spiritual well being. 

    Crystals and stones were used by ancient cultures all over the world for thousands of years and recognized for their abilities to interact with and heal our bodies’ energy channels, also commonly referred to as chakras. While some people swear by certain stones’ abilities to balance and heal, many are still confused by how they actually work. If you fall into the second category, not to worry! We’re about to give you the low down on the healing powers of energy stones.

    Scientifically, crystals are thought to be the most orderly and stable structure in nature because they have very low amounts of entropy, or disorder. Their steady structure allows them to respond to the energy around them in a unique way, which is why crystals are used in many types of technology.

    Quartz, in particular, is one of the most commonly used crystals in modern technology because it has the ability to convert energy. Today, quartz crystal can be found in all types of technology from your cell phone to your watch.

    Now, we’re not scientists, but if crystals respond to electrical energy in this way, that must say something about their ability to respond to our bodies’ energy as well, right? When you think about it, our entire body system is just energy that shows up in different densities and patterns. So when you come into contact with a crystal or energy stone, its vibration interacts with the vibration of the cells in your body to produce an effect that is unique to the combination of your energy with that particular stone’s energy.

    Once you know a little bit about the individual properties of energy stones, which you can find more about here, let your intuition guide you in choosing the right healing stones to fit your personal journey. Crystal experts say that the crystal chooses you-- so let yourself be drawn to a stone and that will likely be just what you need!

    If you’re feeling inspired to dive into the world of crystals and energy healing, Shop By Stone at our online store. There’s a stone out there for you no matter what your needs may be!

    Thanks for reading! Use code ENERGYSTONE for 20% off your next order.

    July 17, 2018 by Alexandra Stroh