Toured the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden or Eaten with my Hands

A couple of weeks ago my brother and sister and law took a vacation to Virginia Beach, because they were just a few hours away we decided we meet up for a day trip to Richmond!

I was excited to spending time with them while walking around the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. The night before hand I was so proud of myself to remember to charge my camera battery, because of course it would be an excellent time to test out features of my newish camera (and I knew my sis in law would also be taking tons of pictures). I charged it, then removed it from the outlet once it was fully charged. I remember thinking how proud of myself I was that I took care of all of that the night before as we drove to meet them there. Then, I pull out my camera and take a picture…only to realize that I left the camera battery sitting in the charger which was sitting on my nightstand several hours away *head smack* I was upset and disappointed, but consoled by the fact that I could take pictures with my camera phone as well as borrow any of the amazing pics that my sister and law would take!

We leisurely wandered around, I don’t think that I’ve actually ever been to a botanical garden before, I think I’ve only been to zoos that have garden sections. It wasn’t the perfect season to see blooms, but there were still several flowers in bloom. It was fun to enjoy their company, the boys discussed politics and economy, while the ladies took our time with our cameras seeing what kind of artistic views we could capture. I have to say, my camera phone impressed me with some of the images that I was able to gather!

This cute couple was celebrating their anniversary!

Several of my favorite areas included this neat stone castle looking area with flower beds filled with assorted roses. Some were very teeny!

There was a plant called “Lamb’s ears” it actually felt like fluffy soft ears! I would love to see if I could have this as an indoor plant.

One area that we randomly discovered included this structure made out of sticks! It was giant and you could walk through it. It looked like something out of Narnia or the Lord of the Rings.

Here is a video time lapse of the Diamonds in the Rough’s creation:

We had a quick walking break at the tea house. I purchased a peach tea, and when it arrived I realized it was the same brand that was very common where we were in Italy. It made my nostalgic for my team!

One of the most enjoyable experiences was the “Butterfly Live” exhibit. In an enclosed area there are several breeds of exotic butterflies. There were plates of rotting fruit attracting the butterflies, but they also attached themselves to plants.

There was this one absolutely gorgeous blue butterfly with brown wings on the outside. Both my sis in law and I chased these butterflies down trying to get a picture of them with their wings out stretched. Apparentely, this breed of butterfly is either really rude or just shy. It would land with its wings folded up and simply stay there. Another one landed with its wings out stretched, but as soon as I would move my phone above it to capture the image, it would close! Then, I’d move my phone away, and it would open its wings again! I promise you this little bug was just teasing me. Its okay though, I got revenge on it later ;0).

After we had decided we’d walk around enough we headed into downtown where we were eating Ethiopian for the night. I was excited to try it, since I’d never eaten it before! You eat it with your hands. Basically, you order and all of the orders arrived on this giant piece of squishy bread like substance. You also receive several smaller rolls of this spongey bread, with which you tear off a small piece and then pick up your food. According to the menu to truly embrace this cultural style of eating you should pick up some food and feed it to your friend! Of course I just had to try this, though the husband was less than amused.

At dinner my sweet sister and law presented me with a gift box that said “Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden” on it. I realized what she must have done! While at the gift store we’d seen these earrings made of butterfly wings in plastic to preserve them. To my huge entertainment there was a set of the blue butterfly who had refused to pose for us, and these were the earrings sitting in front of me! I will cherish these and think about that butterfly who thought he foiled us.

Enjoy some extra pictures!

I told you she was a photographer ;0)

The foot picture!

Ordered a Diamond Candle

Many of you may remember about a year ago that the husband and I won a free photo shoot from Devin Olson Media.

Well, after that event I was more aware of the projects that Devin was working on, and I saw this video that he created for this company called Diamond Candles.

I was curious from the moment that I saw the video describing the company. Basically, in each 21 oz earth friendly soy candle there is a ring inside which could be worth anywhere from $10 to $5,000. For awhile I hesitated to purchase one, they sell for $24.95 plus shipping which can be pretty expensive. However, compared to Yankee Candle, it is a few dollars cheaper, plus you are getting a ring inside as well.

So, I finally ordered one to try it out. I decided on Apple because it was almost Fall.

My candle arrived and I couldn’t wait to melt it enough to obtain my ring! There is foil placed on the outside so you know where the ring is supposed to be, and I felt like it was laughing at me for awhile there. I kept asking my husband if he thought it was melted enough for me to get the ring out, he would just roll his eyes at me and warn me not to dig it out and ruin the candle.

So I waited….

and waited…

and finally it was melted enough to rescue!

*cue Ring Reveal video*

For the record, you should REALLY wait until ALL of the wax around the gold foil mark is melted and then pull the ring out. Otherwise you will likely create this gaping hole in your candle, not dissimilar to this sad image…

There are no markings on the inside of my ring indicating value, so likely its one of the cheaper rings. I’ve also seen rings similar to it on the Pinterest page, and I know they buy the rings in bulk. The ring is also a little large, so to wear it I’d need to get one of those pieces to put on the back of the band. But, the ring is really pretty!

The scent of the candle was surprisingly subtle, which is actually really nice. The candle burns very evenly across, however due to the Soy nature the candle’s wax is more oily and can be messier (especially when digging the candle out).

You may be wondering, how does this work, is it a gimmick? How can they afford to put a ring inside every candle? I researched this on their website, they can afford to do this because they use their advertising budget. Instead of buying ad space in magazines and television, they place rings inside each candle and encourage buyers to place pictures of the rings they discover, or videos of their Ring Reveals online! So, in essence they’re getting tons of free advertisement. It is absolutely brilliant!

 I would definitely try it again, and I do have a $5.00 off coupon! Seriously, its like Cracker Jacks for grown up women! 

Voted Libertarian

I know I know, its only September and all of you are already sick of politics. However, I NEVER post about politics so let me have this one chance to say everything (so that way you can go back to my regular posting theme ;0) )

Usually, I post about things after I do them, but I think in this instance that would be less effective. The purpose of this blog post is to share with you my personal reasons for voting as a 3rd party Libertarian in the upcoming National election (something that I’ve never done before!). Some of you have decided that your vote is private and personal. I understand that, however I want to publicly share my opinions about this special privilege that we have.

Most of you know who I’m married to, and that he uses his facebook page to share interesting articles related to politics, freedoms or lack thereof, and economics. I read some of his posts, usually he ends up sharing them with my whether I want to hear them or not ;0). Like you, I become very sick of politics. I hate it when people talk endlessly about something, instead of doing something. The past few years I have come to understand the importance in participating in politics as a Christian. Firstly, I believe that politics is like theology it may be nitty gritty and annoying, but it affects everything. It is easier to understand these things by understanding that theology is simply what we believe about God, and politics (VERY simply) is what we believe about the role of government in our lives.

I never cared about politics and elections, because I don’t like to participate in things where I can’t see the results. My eyes were opened when I first participated in “Lobby Day” at our state capitol. During this event we take the day to meet with our representatives and tell them which laws we do and do not like that are being proposed in the upcoming meetings. Through those discussions I felt involved, and I liked making my local government responsible to their customers.

Regarding this National election I have been following the campaign trail of Ron Pau quietly. In the 2008 election I was a very standard Republican. I liked McCain and Palin. On campus we have a spirit rock that was constantly painted with “Google Ron Paul.” I didn’t really care to listen to anything they had to say because I felt like his following was fanatical, and lacked tact in their arguments. For this election though, I read some of his articles on his website, and I found that he seemed like a very logical choice. Some of you may remember that I voted for him in the primary election. Ron Paul won many of the areas in Virginia!

Then the deciding factor in my November decision came from the actions at the Republican National Convention. Throughout Ron Paul’s campaign people have said that voting for him is a wasted vote, that there was no way that he could beat Mitt Romney for Republican candidate. Yet Paul persevered. He even won a few states! He won enough states to speak at the Republican National Convention. However, before the buses from those states could arrive to vote…the rest of the states voted to change the rules…stating that a candidate had to win more states (8 I think) in order to be considered. That is disgusting to me…it is an obvious attempt to prevent change that a large section of the Republican party wanted and this action pushes me over the edge.

I’m sorry last time that I checked I live in America. This nation that prides ourselves on having freedoms…and the decision to elect someone to run my country is only allowed to choose between two parties???? Seriously, ask yourself what is the point of that? In theory some may say that it fosters providing the American public with the two best choices (unlike going to Walmart and having 50 brands of the same item…that CAN be very overwhelming). The problem with that theory implies that currently we have the best two choices. In my opinion, however, the American public, the social conservatives have settled for Mitt Romney because it was decided “that he had the best chance to beat Obama.” Most people that I’ve spoken with do not even like Mitt Romney, but feel that “ANYBODY but Obama.” For the record, this is a flawed argument. Does the American public really need to lower our standards that the purpose of voting for our National leader has been reduced to someone who is simply not Obama?

Many of you vote very pragmatically (I’ve been like this), you see the point of voting to elect the best choice in president, who actually has the chance to be the president. I understand this position, but do not believe that a vote for someone who is unlikely to win is a “wasted vote.” In this election, it does not appear to me that main two candidates are very different. While they may have different worldviews, and one appears more conservative, when you compare their voting records they are similar. One side wants to censor the Internet in the name of family safety, and the other side wants to take away guns in the name of family safety, neither of which accomplish those goals through those actions.

Side note: I really struggle with the amount of Christians who so quickly endorse Mitt Romney as a potential future president. The fact that he is a Mormon is a big deal in my opinion. While this means that he may have a more conservative policies like believing in god and traditional marriage, he also is a member of a cult in my understanding. It is important to remember this; he is not like Christians and we should be careful to show how similar we are. Mormons are allowed to lie to non Mormons according to their doctrine. Also, if he wins I picture Mormons evangelizing saying, “let me share with you the faith of our president.” You think this is spewing hate, its not, simply truthful facts that would be much harder to say if he is elected president. It would probably become “hateful” to say that you believe that the president is a member of a false gospel teaching.

In this election it is obvious to me that something needs to change, that somethings need to be different. Some people believe that they can change this from within the Republican party, kudos to you, I hope it works. Voting is special to me, while some may protest for needed change by not voting, or writing in the name of Ron Paul I will vote for Gary Johnson someone who’s name will even be on the ballot come November, but yet the media does not share about him. If we have this third choice, why isn’t it being shared with us?

 Even if my choice for president is not elected, I will not consider this a wasted vote. No matter who wins I believe that my vote will help produce change. Maybe the Republican party will recognize how they tossed off their Libertarian minded friends, and develop a platform based on smaller government (which is what really produces jobs). Maybe Obama will win again, and the social conservatives will become even more awakened, and locally more Republicans will be voted for. Local government is more effective in immediate change anyways.

Go to his website check him out: See if he makes sense to you. Maybe he’s worth your vote? Vote Libertarian one election, see if there is a difference.