More Than Just Llamas

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I was so excited when I got a chance to visit these sweet animals at their home and see what goes into caring for such beautiful creatures. They are handled by a one family farm specializing in two different kinds of services. One aspect of what they do is to share their llamas & alpacas in a therapeutic and educational environment, being able to bring joy to nursing homes & special-need schools. The community took so much joy with the company of Rojo and his friends they started to offer celebration services with couples for weddings and families for birthdays. Either way, bringing happiness into the world and help sharie the beauty of llamas & alpacas wherever they go.

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It all began in 2006, when the family validated how exceptionally friendly and well behaved llama, Rojo was during an interaction with a child that had some disabilities while visiting the county fair. In 2007, they had Rojo certified in animal-assisted therapy and began growing the therapy herd in 2008. By 2011, these llamas were invited to their first wedding and several birthday parties. Because of how addicting llama love is, their reputation has been doubling or even tripling each year since.

 
 
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“Our core ideals is that, as a faith-based non-profit, we feel we have been given a gift from God in our exceptionally friendly animals to share as a gift with our community. Through our animals we can offer genuine human interactions with those ‘untouched’ in the elderly and special-need community. It is through spreading even more joy at weddings and birthdays that we can continue to reach as many people as possible in therapeutic and educational ways.”

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Soon this family hopes to offer farm visits and on-site one-on-one therapy interactions to reach even more people. As well as to offer certification courses allowing more therapy llamas and alpacas across the country to do what they do.

Helping others understand the low risks involved in inviting llamas and alpacas to their celebrations has been a major goal. When first sharing Rojo for therapy, they took a photo album to all the local nursing homes showing how wonderful their animals were, because no one was too keen on having a 400lb farm animal inside the facility.

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“I love hearing people's minds change about how they perceive llamas and alpacas. So many people assume llamas are just dingy farm animals that spit when encountered. In fact, many llama owners view their llamas as their pets just as you view your dog. Pet llamas, seen in parades and at fairs, when treated with respect, will be very sweet and gentle animals”

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As for future plans they would love to have more community-support through fundraisers and private donations. Right now they are primarily supported through entertainment-type events. The goal is to have less entertainment based events, allowing for even more therapy and educational ones.

There is always something to do in their industry, either working on animal outfits or organizing the farm to prepare for the public. When there is any free time, If not spending (a minimum of) 4 hours a day off the farm with an animal or catching up on emails, Shannon enjoys spending evenings off the farm playing board games or having a beer with friends to decompress.

 

“I would love to only share our animals Monday-Friday with nursing homes and schools with limited special events each year. It's financially unavailable to do that at this time, but that's where we are focusing to get to someday. But what we do is so truly incredible for the lives we get to touch that it's more than we expected when we started 10+ years ago that I couldn't ask for more.”

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It was so great to see the tremendous work it takes to care for such animals and to see a family that cares so much for them! If you want to learn more about Shannon Joy, and the family farm, you can check them out online and please follow their adventures through Social Media.

Keep your eyes peeled for the many news and wedding features that are continuously coming out!!

linktr.ee/weddingllamas rojothellama.com classycamelids.com instagram.com/weddingllamas

Power Up with these Coconut Powerballs.

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I love to snack. No really, I LOOOOOOVE my snacks!!!! Most of what I consum are in snack like portions throughout the day.  So I decided I need to make a fresh and healthier alternative to my bag of Pirates Booty, as well as giving me a boost of energy. Great for those long days of editing or having to run around like a crazy person. 

So I pretty much combined all my favorite healthy treats into one and ran with it, after some tweaks I found a combination that tasted like a treat but still kept me fueled.

  • 1 Cup Rolled Oats
  • 1 Cup Steel Cut Oats
  • 1/4 Cup Hemp Seeds
  • 1/4 Cup Chia Seeds
  • 1/4 Cup Almond Butter
  • 1 TSP Bourben Vanilla
  • 1/4 TBL Maple Syrup
  • 1 Juiced Lemon
  • 1 Large Pear
  • 2 Banannas
  • 6 Dates (pitted)
  • 1/2 Cup Sliced Almonds
  • 1/4 Cup Cacao Nibs
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
  • 1/4 Tsp Cinnamon 
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Dash Nutmeg
  • Almond Milk
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First take your oats and lghtly toast them at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

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While your oats are toasting take your dates, bananas, almond butter, pear, lemon juice, vanilla and malple syrup, then stick it all in a blender. Blend until smooth.

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Once oats are done throw in a large bowl with your cacao nibs, chia seeds, hemp seeds, almonds, lemon zest & spices, mix well.

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Take your creamy blended mixture and stir into your large bowl, thoroughly coating everything. It should be moist, (I found out the hard way, they should look more so than you would think) but still stable enough to form a ball, if it’s too dry add a bit of almond or coconut milk.

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In a separate dish pour in your coconut shavings, take formed balls and toss into shavings, coating the whole outside. Then BOOM it’s snack time!!!

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Store in the fridge to keep fresh, they are great on the go and are easy to make. If looking to add a protein boost consider adding in your favorite protein powder, with a bit of liquid to keep moist, this can really help a person on the go keep their energy levels up.

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I would love to see who tries it! And I still do love Pirates Booty ❤️

Tips from the Beauty Behind, The Lash & Beauty Lab

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The Lash & Beauty Lab is all about beauty and is dedicated to pursuing excellence with in their services. This haven of beauty began with the art of eyelash extensions and has since grown into skincare with skin treatments & soon permanent makeup.

This Beauty Lab supports everyone who walks through their door ready to take the lash or skin care plunge, with the main goal of creating a warm environment not just for their clients but eachother.  They recognize the clients ultimate focus, but their goal is to exceed those expectations, while still standing behind the work.

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The being behind the magic of this Lab is Cheri Wroblewski, with a diverse background including multiple certifications, training, and work with well-known celebrities, she received her certificate in Esthetics from The International School of Beauty and Advanced Certified Technician through Xtreme Lashes.

"What really sparked my interest was while I was in my first few years of business running Lash Boutique in NY I had worked at a Medical Clinic Spa which introduced me to more medical services. There I met a dermatologist who told me that I would see results through chemical peels. I since have done chemical peels every month (maybe skipping a few here and there) but for almost 10 years. I saw a change in my skin in the first year of trying chemical peels that I felt I never saw with just facials. That started my research in product and skin services that are more result orientated."
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"Lashes are instant gratification. My favorite is when the clients looks in the mirror for the first time and say how much they "LOVE" it. I get to make women and men feel more beautiful and I love to make people feel good.  I get to work with amazing women all day.  Not only are my girls who work for me amazing I get to see all my clients on a regular every 2-4 weeks.  We become close and it feels like family."  
 

Any advice for  brides before the big day?

Oh my gosh I love this question!!! Im also getting married soon so these are all the things I'm doing myself... ;) I love getting brides in before the big day. Of course get your lashes done thats number one!!! These will save you from any of those teary moments and having to worry about which as we know makes mascara slide down your face or can make your lash strips pop off in the corner. Lash strips can not only be a bother they are extremely uncomfortable and damaging. If you only want to get lash extensions for the big day then I would suggest coming in at least 1 month before the day. This was you get a full set and one fill touch-up appointment. The fill being the appointment where you can change anything about your lash look. IE longer, thicker, more dramatic. No one ever regrets lashes and especially after they see themselves in their photos. Next for your skin and If you do little of all these services or pick one and do a series you will see results and be thankful when the day comes and your skin is glowing. I would personally start with chemical peels as far in advance before the big day. A year would be ideal but even 6 months will give you amazing results. Microneedling 4-6 treatments will smooth out your skins texture, lighten hyper pigmentation, and my favorite it helps acne scarring. LED light should be on your list too!! This is a non invasive treatment that uses light waves to heal. One treatment and you'll seeing your skin glowing, imagine 4 or more before the big day. You will have no regrets with these services. You'll only regret not doing them!!

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What are some tips to keep your skin glowing in harsh weather?

Again I cant say this enough but chemical peels are the best! They will help take off the top layer of your skin that start to looks dull in the harsh weathers. You will get the fresh skin that will allow all the products you use at home to work deep in your skin not just sit on top of the skin. My favorite product is Hyaluronic acid serum. Its a humectant which means it holds its weight in water. That keeps your skin hydrated more the even a moisturizer. All serums really. They have such a high water content so this parred with chemical peels during the winter will give you that dewy face look you get in the warmer months.

 
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Any suggestions for first time Lash users?

Lashes are simple. They are so easy to maintain. Just follow your after care instructions. Always clean your eyelids and lashes with a remover that is formulated. The big thing is to make sure that whatever products touch the lashes themselves are formulated for the extensions. IE...makeup remover and mascara.

 

What's a big no no for skin care?

Not washing your face at night. Skipping SPF. Another really big no no is not using a retinoid or retinol. It is still to this day the best anti aging skin care cream. I tell all my clients that if they aren't using any form of a retinoid they are actually doing a disservice to their skin.

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As for future plans Cheri is looking to expand services, and a possible 2nd location. She is also working on her very own lash care products for lash extensions 

"My happy place is when my girls who work for me are happy. I have surrounded myself with women who are supportive and non drama. My happy place is my studio. I love going to work. My girls and I get along so well. We laugh all the time. We care about each other. My happy place is work and home. I'm really lucky."
 
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Keep a look out for this Portland beauty business owner and her new line of goods!

Want to see more? Stop in for yourself!

1500 NW 18th Avenue, Suite 108. Portland, OR 97209

lashandbeautylab.com                           Instagram                       Pintrest

If you Love Wine you will Love Tumwater Vineyard...

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I have had the privilege of not only consuming their tasty wine, but have also attended events and created some gorgeous images at this beautiful vineyard location. Welcomed by the owner and their fabulous manager Pascale, with wine & a kind smile, how could I not love this place. Located on Pete's Mountain Road in West Linn, O.R. this close, yet peaceful, location creates a warm and comfortable space to gather with friends.

Their Barrel House, replicated after an authentic barn, was built using timber framed mortise and tenon joints. After careful planning professionals were brought in to asses what grapes would flourish, rows were plotted, the soil turned and stakes were set in place. All was left to do was wait!

 

The public had first access to the vineyard in July for the 2016 NW Natural Street of Dreams show, which lasted through August. Since then Tumwater Vineyards has won many awards and produced lots of delicious wine.

As a wine lover I had to ask Pascale what the best part of her job is and the variety of it all is what peaks her interest.

"It's never a dull day. It is such a variety of tasks, ordering, educating, marketing and of course the wines!!!!"

 

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A challenge for this secluded vineyard is just that, it being hidden a little too well. Bringing more awareness to the public is what Tumwater is currently focusing on.  Many locals are still finding this hidden gem and I hope to help with that by spreading the word.

 As for any future plans, they are working on increasing the amount of private events and to distribute their wines more locally. Let's not forget about getting a few more high scores from those wine critics.

 
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Styling: As you wish weddings & events // Tables: country garden tables //  Mobile Bar: Wandering Spirits

Styling: As you wish weddings & events // Tables: country garden tables //  Mobile Bar: Wandering Spirits

 

"It's so pretty and just a great place to hang out with friends, loved ones and enjoy a glass of wine."

We know wine is yummy to drink all year around but Summer is when this Barrel House really goes off! 23-acres of vineyard, a wine tasting room, trout pond and breathtaking Mt. Hood views, perfect for events, parties and just because you can.

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"Next year I plan on creating a fundraising event, a winemakers dinner and few other happenings as well."
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When not at the vineyard Pascale enjoys spending time with her husband and two boys, exploring the nature of Oregon. We both hope you stop by for yourself to explore Tumwater VIneyards and what they have to offer.

Enjoy a flight of Tumwater wines, and of course all are available to enjoy by the glass.  They also offer a complimentary tastings for Wine Club Members and just created a second level in their wine club with 4 releases a year. Make the experience last, take some home and enjoy it anytime you want.

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Tumwater Vineyard : 375 SW Barrel House Way, West Linn, OR 97068

www.tumwatervineyard.com              Instagram             tumwatervineyard.com/Blog

Eat Your Sprouts Kid!

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I was like many kids, if it was green I would not eat it! My family liked to hide my veggies in a pile of mashed potatoes so I would finish, because in our house there was no leaving that table till all your greens were done. Especially with my Nanny & GiGi (what I call my grandparents), one time I got a nice big spoonful of spinach pushed down my throat and never looked at cooked spinach the same but there is hope. I was not completely traumatized, flash forward to now, greens make up a majority of my diet and brussel sprouts are one of my favorites. 

 

PAN SEARED BRUSSELS  - up to 45 min to make

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  • 1/2 pound Brussels Sprouts (the smaller sprouts taste a little sweeter)
  • 2 large Garlic Cloves
  • 1/2 tablespoon Coconut Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Coconut Oil or Vegan Butter 
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon juice
  • Dash Red Pepper

First prepare you sprouts by cutting the ends, trim old leafing and cut into halves.

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In a bowl mix sprouts, 1/2 tablespoon of oil, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper. Give it a good mix, ensuring all the sprouts are covered. 

 

Heat your skillet on a meduim high heat. Mince your garlic and in the heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) melt the rest of oil or butter over a moderate heat, toss in garlic and stir until golden.

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Reduce heat to medium and arrange sprouts in skillet, in one layer. Cook for 5 minutes, without turning or until crisp and undersides are golden brown. Sprinkle on some red pepper flakes if you like some heat, stir and let cook for 2-3 more minutes or until tender.

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These are so tasty, easy and fast to make. They go great by themselves as a snack or as a side to your favorite meal. Looking to pair it with a yummy Eggplant Parmesan? Head to my previous post for the recipe!

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I would love to see your results and hear about your favortie veggie recipies.