33 Portrait Shots (and off to FL)

Priorhouse is taking a break from blogging while I travel to see family in Florida. I will be back to blogosphere on March 6th.

florida visit 2015

For a post that is going to sit here at the home page for a while, I thought I would share this video I made for Vass (his old blog is here).

On my trip to see family – one of my goals is to take some photos of people I meet – I am hoping to take 50 street portraits!

I look forward to sharing some of them when I return.

And finally, I thought I would leave you with 33 priorhouse portrait shots that I have not shared yet.

I have taken about 250 “people” shots since 2013 – very informal – but they are dear to me.

I am curious to know if you have a favorite.

Please let me know if you do….


The duality feel and the pops of yellow enrich this shot. The guy in the center (black t-shirt) adds a triangular shape and then the palm trees seem to flow with the hair. This is a photo I barely recall snapping – but later I found it to be a treasure.



one word: doggie!



This sweet hostess is poised. Her body seems to match the flow/shape of the number on the brick wall.


The photo of this friendly couple has good energy to me – and a culture feel – the drinks and shopping items.  I also like the lines. The verticals in the columns on the right and vertical  in their beings seem to work with the horizontals of the rail and boxes.



A mom and her babe = sweetness! I also like the #2 on the building – and the #23 on her shirt (Air Jordan still has a presence) and the stripes of the baby jacket seem to flow into the name Jordan and maybe up to the sign on the building. The gritty grain brings focus on to the cute baby a bit more… 


Cake is serious business – as Lexi pinches a small piece to share…


love the contrast – and joy…. and the details in this shot are a fav… the rings, the trim of the shirt, the leis, and the softness of mom’s hair. 



This couple had informal balance with their body placement, noses and posture. I also really liked their demeanor. I took 4 photos – and in this shot, I like the relaxed feel of young love – with his arm draped on the chair and their locked eyes.




also silly.



Colorful cultural feel with my nephew’s daughter and my niece’s daughter in Western New York.

pps-52 2-2014

This fun couple was cycling along the ocean in Florida – and we chatted it up. I suggested they go to St Augustine. They went and then later emailed me some amazing pictures of the lighthouse there.



I like how the pathway on the right is open vs. the busy feel of the art (and reflection) in the window to the left.   I feel a bit of harmony with the two flamingos in the main window – the two right above the blonde lady and the octopus above them. then the pink in the left window slightly coordinates with the door and awning…


360 pic at art show



“dude.” I like the lines in the snow that anchors the truck and the driver. The balance with lights on the truck and posts to the back right also add to the vibe. 





April is Alive!


Mr. Dapper

pps-233 - 1- 2015

This artist told me all about alabaster vases. I really liked her hat, scarf, and smooth demeanor.



one of the best photo bombs ever! and cool “running man” Mike is in the the middle…




joy is…. laughter


¿qué el…?


my niece Y and her precious boy


Lady on Left shared a free ticket….


This is a Master Scuba Diver I interviewed for a video project.


peace (note the peace sign on teen with striped shirt)



I feel mixed about this photo – but share it anyway. I did put a couple of bucks into this man’s bag as we left.



layovers…. and smart phones….



I love the green, the shadow, and also the gradation of verticals: far trees, two boys, and then large tree to the front right.


Elvis is alive – and here he is with his mum.



My step-daughter – I like the pink of her lips with the pink shirt. The one glass up and her expression gives a glimpse into her fun side. I also like the rich details of the store in the background (ceiling too) and with her in the center and some tripod directly in back- I like the vibe.



Have a great rest of February and be back to catch up in March…

If you have time, check out RG’s blog here - he has a unique take on street portraits.


saffron (and tips for parenting teens)

I am getting ready to travel to see my mother down in Florida – so I only have one more post after this one and then I will back to the blogosphere on March 6th.

back roads for karin


The other day, we had our usual drop offs and pick ups for my teenage son, which of course included a drive through the winding back roads in Mechanicsville, VA.

Mechanicsville is a rural suburb right outside of Richmond, VA.  My friend Karin loves the back roads here and so I decided to snap a photo to text her and say hello.  I like how they look at dusk with a little blur from the window.

mechanicsville va roads

The parents greeted us and shared that they had not been at this house very long  and they were still making updates.

mechanicsville, VA


The cabin style house had some textured wooden siding. This photo from the porch is linked to Narami’s texture challenge week 8texture


We had to make another stop to drop off a different friend on the way home.  Darkness had set in, but I was able to grab a photo of this old yellow muscle car.

saffron car two


It looked a bit “saffron” yellow and so I am linking it to JNW’s color challenge this week:

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 3.01.49 AM

saffron coilored car


When we got home, we went in through the garage and I looked over at this can of sea foam sitting on the shelf.  For those that don’t know – “sea foam” is a gas/oil cleaning additive for engines – and it is the best stuff around.  Last week’s JNW word was “sea foam”- and seeing that the saffron photo is of a car – well here is some Sea Foam….



Okay – so now for part 2 of my post.  

Please free to skip this part!  

I want to share a few thoughts on parenting teens.  My hubs and I are still learning so much as we go – and I like to be very careful before I share tips, but I have a few things to share that might be of value to someone.  This is just for educational purposes and this is just me informally writing to you.  It is not trying to be the list of the century – just some things on my mind this week.

So just a few things to chew on….

1. Bank account “deposit and withdrawal” analogy. 

The “deposit and withdrawal” analogy is one of my favorites – and it involves thinking of your relationship with your teen like a bank account – where you make deposits and withdrawals.  If you make too many withdrawals without depositing – well things get depleted – and so you basically just monitor the relationship by making sure you deposit enough of the right things into the relationship.  A strong relationship is fortified with a good balance of deposits to withstand times of heavy withdrawals. This is simple – but it really helps – and it could take time – like time to heal if a big withdrawal was made – or time to have some space if it is a phase where folks are butting heads.  But become mindful of the “red and the black” –  just like you would other “accounts” – and the relationship can be fortified and strong.

2. Understand LOVE languages. 

I have always liked using Chapman’s Love languages (HERE)  and even though I disagree with him on some aspects – the concept helps us to think about how we uniquely respond to each other.  People do not express love emotionally the same – and so it also helps to understand how you and your child respond to 1. affirming words, 2. acts of service, 3. receiving gifts, 4. quality time, and 5. physical touch.

I also throw in a 6th one – which is food – because in my experience – feed teen and the entire mood is improved instantly.

If one of your teen’s primary languages is receiving gifts, well a shopping trip that included talking on the way might be ideal.  If the teen valued quality time, you would tell them that you blocked out a whole chunk of time for them and then set up an activity that allowed for this time together.  The acts of service one is similar to the “love is a verb” saying – and it involves doing an activity that just serves the other person – and it can be powerful – and can lead to reciprocation.

I have written about words of affirmation before – and do not want to be long-winded about it – but remember that words can either build up or tear down – and sometimes we have to share harsh truths – of course – but too often people constantly berate those around them from sloppy or unchecked speech.

Many are anemic in the area of building up, but it can be improved.

And please hear me on this – teens soak up your words more than you will ever realize. They “hear us now, but listen later…” – and so much of what we say falls onto this absorbent sponge.  It is hard to sometimes see through a tough exterior – or through their needy ways or developing personality – but look for ways to build up your teen.  Keep it genuine – because BS never works at any age, but look for ways to use words to build them up – and all the more if this is something that is a primary emotional area for them.

Also this may change – as the teen ages.  One mom shared that an older teen was low on money for a good year – and this humbling period made that teen later value reviving gifts more.


3. Explain the process and share the thinking with the teen. 

This is a very personal tip that is one of my favs.  Explain to children how you are making decisions – ask for input about things – and make deposits into the bonding side as you discuss “their” life.  This respect for them will come back to help down the road.  Tell the teen that more than wanting conformity right now, we care about their adjustment as an adult too.  remind them that their brain is still growing until they are 24 +.  Remind them that you know there is not set formula – but you are willing to learn and explore what needs to be done.

Many parents know to “Always make sure the consequence fits the punishment” but I say BEFORE it even comes to that  – there might be some grace handed over.  Too often – especially in the Christian community – I see parents coming down way too hard on a teen with a predetermined consequence.

It is really wise to assess what is going on at that moment.

If the teen is reachable and doing well – well an extra consequence might not be needed – the situation might already be assuaged from the discussion and the occurrence – and it takes an in-tune parent to see that.

wood shingles

There is a learning that HAS to happen with people – and we need to embrace the learning without always coming down with a scold.  

Sometimes when grace is given the child learns in a way that is far more helpful that having them live out a predetermined consequence.  

4. Don’t be a big crab all the time. 

Sure, we want our kids to be responsible and to enter adult hood equipped,  but without realizing it  -some parents have made their teens lives completely miserable.  I know this is such a complex and layered topic – and so I want to be careful with my words, but this is also why I am also spending my time to share a few tips.  I see SO many parents being way too mean to their kids – when really the teen sometimes just needs a huge dose of love and some grace – along with some deposits into the parent child back account.

And the teen needs to be told this grace is happening – for example, the parent might say something like, “You know, I was going to take your phone away for this – but we have been thinking about it and while we are really disgusted and sad that you let someone take your photo while giving the middle finger like that – well we feel as if you have learned your lesson.  Also, at least it was not a shot of you mooning someone.  Seriously though, remember honey (uses term of endearment) – we talked about your digital footprint and how this trail follows you for a long time – so this is very serious.  But because I see that you are taking this matter seriously, we are not going to take your phone away. But you have been warned and so please make better choices….”

which leads to my next tip –

5. Don’t crush the child’s spirit. 

Now sure we want to help the child as best we can - but don’t lose the child in the process.  Parents, please hear me on this – teens need a whole bunch of love and grace – and they need your essence.  It might help if you remember what you wanted to be treated like as a teen.  The Bible even says to not provoke your children to wrath and to lead in a way that does not ruin them…. and to tran them up in the way they should go so when they are old they will not depart from it.  Did you catch that? It did not say they will instantly “get it” – but instead it takes time – so always remember that you are fortifying a foundation – and you may not see fruits for a while.

It might help to just lighten up and not worry so much.  Get your hands on some resources and look for tips -toss some – keep some – and use some – but know you do not have to reinvent the wheel – and there might be some challenging days – so it helps to have a few tips.


6. Find a balance.  

know this – permissive parenting can lead to floundering for your child later in life. And too strict of parenting will hurt them for a long time in ways that make them seek relief.

So find a balance, but be sure to parent!

For example, parents can say something like this: “Right now this is not about our friendship side.  I value the friendship we share, but at the end of the day-  I have a job to parent you!   I know you know this – and when you are older you will see this even more.  In the meantime, it would be easier if I could be passive here and just let you do your thing – but because I love you – and because I have accountability to parent you – well I am not letting you do such and such…. it is just something I feel strongly about and I need you to respect my wishes at this time… ” and then maybe add something else that can be compromised on… and remind the child that they have choices and also times of when you did give in fully (or something like that).

Don’t come down too hard on yourself when things do not work out exactly the way you planned.  

Because that might be a sign you are dong things right – you are keeping an open fist and not smothering – and maybe – well maybe… you are letting them be them…. in a genuine way that is also a gift.

7. Raising Leaders.

One thing that always helped me was to know that I was raising leaders.  Both of my boys have different leadership sides that come out naturally.  They are both so different – and it depends on the scenario – but leadership is innate and it is also nurtured –  (the whole nature nurture debate can get us talking for a long time) – but I believe that teens that have some power – choices – and that are respected more will have more power in general and they will make better leaders over their own lives.

It is more than saying they rise to the occasion – it is also about tapping into their strengths – opening a path for them – and speaking good things on them and letting them feel empowered.  Have you ever heard the analogy of the country dog and city dog? The country dog rolls freely and the city dog bolts out the door as soon as it is cracked.  And so as you train the child and teach (not as you beat them and stifle them with so many consequences) well as you equip them and help them find their own individuality –  well – you are equipping them for leadership in different ways.

Remember that as they respect you and respect your wishes, you respect them and they are not necessarily becoming a little clone for you. Give them space to be their own person (with boundaries).

8. Stay being you – do not apologize for it, but be humble enough to compromise because of it. 

Most people know that self-awareness is the key to health and growth.  We need to know how we come across – we need to know how we “want” to come across – and then we need to understand more about how we personally respond to this and that.  We need to be aware- this helps us know what to improve and modify.

Once we understand our strengths and weaknesses as a parent – it can really help us assess what our kids will need to have supplemented – or what we will need to work on.  Even the best of parents will still have things to work on – and growth is expected and needed – but you also are who you are.  And then kids also have different phases and stages that adds to the mix here – and then some parents do better with younger children -while others do better with older – etc.  This little tip is one that I could write a chapter about – but it comes down to owning all of your ways – without excuses and without taking too much personal – and then staying objective as you  improve - but also accept and supplement.

9. Enjoy this very day with your teen – because it might be all you get. 

We all know life is short and we do not knowhow much longer we have on our life journey – and so keep that in mind when you look at your teen – smile and love on them some more – just because life is short- and just because life is precious.

And feelings follow behavior – so when you start becoming grateful for this very day – just because it is a gift – well that gratitude permeates the whole setting – and makes life better.

cloud wallpaper

10. Don’t compare. 

Do NOT compare your teen (or family life) with others – I know there are general comparisons that can be healthy – but comparing either puffs up or slams down – and it is not a good way to measure personal progress.  Set your own benchmark for success with custom-made goals for what your family needs. And stay flexible with the outcomes because one of the gifts of being human is that we are not robots.  The very mess and angst that leads us to problem solve is the same stuff that gives rich pleasure and fulfillment.

Okay, I could go on – but I think that is enough for us all to chew on.



Enjoy your day – and if you are the parent of a teen – or parent of grown adults – or if you have anything that is unsettled – well I encourage you to lighten up and approach it with grace and tenderness – and see what unfolds.







For a February walk with restless Jo, I decided I would stroll to find find a symmetry photo for the wpc this week.

At first I thought I would find some symmetry while going out for burgers, but no luck.


I thought surely one of the free peanuts at Five Guys would have a bit of symmetry… but no luck there either.

The green beans did not bring me any closer either, but these olive oil, salt and pepper baked greens were tasty.

green beans with olive oil s and p

Next, I started looking up and around – to maybe see if symmetry could be found out there – and  this barbed wire is linked to Debbie’s LULD.

barb wire

But I only found asymmetrical swirls.

symmetry collage

Sometimes trees can offer a great example of symmetry – but not this one:

asymmetrical tree

So then I turned to some Breaking Bad for inspiration:


symettry bb joke 2-b

symmetry bb - joke 1 symmetry bb - joke 3

This was fun to do (and joy is…. having fun with BB images), but I still needed a photo for the weekly photo challenge!


I looked over and saw a bit of symmetry in this old Richmond doorway.

A kind gentleman waited so I could make the shot – and then he gave a wave.

weeekly photo challenge symmetry

So after all that – here is my photo for the weekly photo challenge:

priorhouse weekly photo challenge 2-16-2015

For more entries on symmetry –  click here.

And for more Monday Walks with Restless Jo, go here.

Have a nice Monday….



Author update:  someone sent me an email noting that the sign says “no sitting on ledge” but there is not much of a ledge to even sit on – ha!


Throwback Thursday (steak, tomato, and brrrr)

Thursday Special is RED – and seeing that it is also a Throwback Thursday  – I have to share this Valentine’s Day steak photo (red meat baby) from 2007 – sorry about the glare, but this is a picture I took with my much-loved Razr phone.

Remember those Razr phones?

I sure do….

And when we watch reruns of The Bourne Identity – with Jason Bourne – well we see those Razrs in use and just smile.

valentines day steaks 2007

The store that sold these Valentine’s Day steaks – Ukrops – was a cool, upscale store in the Richmond area, but they went out of business and left many people displaced (not us because we did not really shop there regularly). However, we have a Wegman’s coming our way, which is a store that I grew up within WNY!  Very excited about that.


Now for those of you that are not into steak – here is another old photo from 2007 – an organic red tomato grown out back – not perfect in shape –  but perfect in every other way…. mmmmm

red tomato

Okay – how about one more old school photo? This one is going wayyyy back… to 1995:

hanging lake 1995

This is me at hanging lake in 1995 – (and I think I see a reddish hue in this photo) also- not sure if you can tell – but my feet are outside of my shoes because I was SO cold – brrr – and I was warming my feet with some of those disposable hand warmers placed inside my low boots….

….if you need a pick me up – why not listen to a throwback song or remember a good time you had… (or not)

Have a great day….



SCALE (photo challenges)

I dove in the photo archives to take you around the United States with some different takes on scale:

north south east west and midwest photo collage

northern cold...

NORTH: This dark (and old) phone photo of the slopes was taken on one of the most frigid days ever…. brrrr- (linked to K’s joy is… joy is mountain access)

east coast atlantic ocean 2010

SOUTH: The boys look so small out in the vast Atlantic ocean – (linked to N’s Texture)

dc monument looks so small - east coast

EAST: Look at how small the far off flags are – and all those people (linked to thursday special diversity)


west coast golden gate bridge

WEST: The bridge looks kinda small from this angle…. (Linked to Cee’s which way)

buildings look so small in window relfection- denever co

MID-U.S.: Notice how small downtown Denver looks in that patio window reflection? (Linked to Dawn’s LLAW)

I hope you have a great day –

For more takes on the wpc word SCALE this week – go HERE.

Poll is now closed –

Denver reflection was top choice (mid U.S.)

thanks to those that voted.

Quotes from The Profit



I wanted to share some of my favorite quotes from Season #2 of The Profit, which is a business show (from CNBC and also aired on CBS last year) HERE.

It is jam packed with wisdom nuggets for the area of business – but also for life!

So here are some of my favorite quotes from season #2:

frozen food no bueno - marcus lemonis



get up and move quote - the profit

In episode 12, we have this quote about “when we fall down we need to get up, dust off, and move.” I love this quote for many reasons, because it is so true  However, another side to this quote is that sometimes AS we rise and dust off – it is also with injury!  Raw wounds are very real and it could result in some change in gait as we heal.  In the photo above – Marcus had set up a meeting for two former business owners. He was hoping to have a possible partnership and on paper it was a great idea.  However, the wounds were still very raw and what I really liked about this part — not only did Marcus dust off his feet to the idea of having these two former partners work together –  but he also acknowledged that this business lady was still legitimately hurt – and said she had a lot to “get off her chest” -and so he modeled caring and adaptability as he buried the idea of recrudescence; he was practicing what he preached.

what the issues are quote - marcus lemonis

This is my favorite quote of season #2 – because it applies to life. In order to move forward we have to understand what the issues are… Awareness is key! Similarly – in Richard Vague’s book last year (here)- my favorite quote of his was similar to this one from The Profit.  Vague noted that a popular refrain about crisis is that “nobody knows the cause” – but then Vague goes on to say…. “But we DO know” (p. 89).  And I love this – “we do know” – because anytime there is a break down – a problem or a flop – we CAN figure out the cause – and not only is it possible (which is why he even wrote his book) but understanding the cause (or issues) is key to improving and being able to successfully move forward! And in his show, this is what Lemonis “does” – he helps find the cause – the issues – and it’s awesome.

proft quote run your own first -

I like this quote for the way it was used for this business owner – but also for the social application – because I think many times in life it is just human nature to look outward – to want to note how others can improve – and while sometimes that is awesome – other times it is misplaced focus – especially if we are not doing the personal work we need to get done for ourselves. Or as the old proverb notes “we look at the speck of “sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye.”





priorhouse_the profit humble quote_3

The photo above shows Marcus meeting in Season 2 with a business owner from a deal that did not go through in season 1 (E3) – it was an update – showing that he was giving this popcorn business a second chance… It also modeled more caring – truly! They also briefly noted the impact of “social media” and how being on his show rippled into her business world and everyday life. However, he was not just coming back with charity – this woman got her act together and really seemed humbled and changed.


a-big hit quote - marcus lemonis

I picked this quote (ref to E3) about responding to setback (or hits) by taking stock and begin making changes) because this idea comes up a lot in this show -(get back up again) – and in this quote see that we need to give a place to anger and then get busy making needed changes. Anger is a natural emotion and the Bible even notes that we are to “give a place to wrath” and can feel “angry, but don’t miss the mark with it” – And so here – Lemonis talks about how this business woman took a major “hit” – but instead of dwelling in the anger and pain, “she took stock and began making changes” And so if you know anybody that is struggling from a major hit and they are not sure how to proceed – well it starts by taking stock. Have them address and examine the anger – assess – and cope- find what the issues are – and begin making changes for improvement  and wellness.

priorhouse the profit big quote 2 -

tru dat! (E16)


fashion quote the profit

I liked E9 for a few reasons.  First – because fashion IS a feeling – and when you give people the feeling they want from an outfit or article – it is not just good for business – but it is a gift to that person. Good fashion is a gift to society/consumer. Also, sometimes upping the quality seems like an unneeded expense – but can payoff in big ways.  This episode also had the 3 P’s in place.  The Profit’s trademark strategy, which comes up in every episode as a model, is to consider the people, product, and process – and in this episode he noted, the business “had one person designing it and nobody is checking and balancing that process” – E9 also offered tips about developing a national brand, bouncing back, and pros of a planogram.


takes time to fix things quote the profit

This quote is from E1 –  and the check image is from E9.  I love this quote because it applies to many life areas – from personal wellness – to relationships – to business stamina to other improvements.  Important changes often take time – trial and error to see what works – and it is not always fun.  When we keep this in mind – it can keep us mentally fueled and strong! When we expect and prepare for a bumpy road – well it helps us endure – as opposed to getting exasperated from changes not happening soon enough. I did not really love the progress report show (E18) – a couple of parts seemed a bit forced – but then again, I guess image is important and there is likely more behind the scenes I will never know.  However, just not sure about the handshake stuff or the way the ending of the E4 was depicted (Worldwide Trailers)- but we are still really looking forward to Season 3!  My husband said he enjoys the show because “it is interesting and he always learns something new.” I feel that way too – and I like the mix of personal and professional tips.




the profit gyro episode quote

Episode 17  was my favorite for a few reasons. First – because I love gyros. I had my first gyro in the 1980’s and they are so balanced with lamb meat, veggies, yogurt, etc. We have a little place in The Fan that makes a great gyro too. Also, the 3 P tidbits and principles in this episode were practical and I learned more about franchising. Not that we want to franchise (even though u never know what lies ahead), but my friend Nesa was involved with some franchise stuff years ago and I just enjoyed learning more about it. Also, last year we had some discussion about what nationality Marcus Lemonis was – and turns out his dad is Greek – and well, it was inspiring to see how he celebrated his heritage- and has that nice mix of personal and professional from The Profit.  Last little side note – I always thought gyro (γύρος) was pronounced “yee-ro” – but in the show they used the “gye-row” pronunciation.



What is your favorite Lemonis quote from this post on season #2?

poll is now closed.  Thanks to those that voted…. –

Quote with most votes:

“We’re not going to fix this place in a week – it’s gong to take time…”



Easy like sunday morning…

While doing a little work on this Sunday morning,  I walked into the office to hear this old school song streaming –  Easy…..

and here is my favorite Lionel Richie song, SAIL ON,  which is done so well here with Mr.Tim McGraw

Part 2 - some easy going basketball shots….


basketball with gp

school signs

awesome “bullying assistance” sign at Henrico County School! “Are you being bullied – top to the Counselor”


Part 3..

Yeah – I’ll easily be tuning in tonight:

Better Call Saul

better call saul 2_8_ 2015

Happy Easy Sunday everyone!




Priorhouse Taste Test – SALT

Sometimes it is fun to think about photo challenge prompts. Last week, I had Paula’s “arranged” on my mind, as well as “depth” – and so this “salt taste test” post is what unfolded:

priorhouse taste test - salt


It all started when I was ready to start my day with some protein, I opened the fridge to find fresh brown eggs.

Geisla, a church lady friend, had sent some farm fresh eggs home with my husband. Now that the Coles have moved away, we are next in line to get eggs regularly (nice).


eggs from geisla

Look at these delicious beauties – and Geisla likes to share little pages from her inspirational booklets.  This is special to us because my husband’s grandma T. (RIP) used to send us little ripped out pages of inspiring stuff too.



egg - large brown spotted egg

Looking down at this large, spotted farm fresh egg.


I decided to wake the house with the smell of sizzling eggs.

eggs cooking - from geisla

To help carry the protein, I pulled out some “brown rice bread” – from Trader Joes.


brown rice bread trader joes 2015 priorhouse

The loaves are very heavy  – like a brick-  and it takes forever to toast a piece because it is so dense.

brown rice bread baby - yum- with butter

The taste of brown rice bread is smooth and not too bad.  Even though it is not my favorite bread in the world, I am grateful for it because it is gluten-free and does not interfere with the “slow going” systemic cleanse I am doing – so that makes it win-win.

nooks and crannies in brown rice bread - knife has depth

Here are the three salts we tried (all were under six dollars from Marshalls).

salt taste test

I arranged the 3 salts to show you their packages (linked to Thursday Special) – (A)Italian iodized white Sea Salt , (B) Hawaiian Hiwa Kai black sea salt, and (C)Himalayan pink crystal mountain sea salt.



This was my first sea salt taste test – and so I kept it simple.  I ground all the salt down to a medium fine powder.


priorhouse taste test results

Looking down on the salts, linked to LULD


italian sea salt

A. From the side of the box: This Italian sea salt comes from the ancient salt pans of Trapani and Marsala where crystal water, together with the strength of wind and sun, creates a unique salt rich in the precious trace elements found in sea water, such as magnesium, potassium, and iodine. making it more soluble and complete.”


1- black salt

B. From the plastic package: “Hiwa Kai Hawaiian Sea Salt has a stunning black color and silky texture. Solar evaporated Pacific Sea salt is combined with activated charcoal…”

3 pink salt

C. From the container label: “This gourmet salt is hand-mined deep inside the pristine Himalayan Mountains. The salt, while being locked within the earth, was infused with minerals over millions of years leaving its mark in its rich color and taste. The high mineral content range in color from white to deep reds. The darker the color the more minerals that are in the crystals.”

The results of the salt taste test:

Four of us agreed the pink one was the best -(here)  but keep in mind this was tested on eggs that were fried with olive oil.  The outcomes might not be the same if we used butter or coconut oil.  Also, the results would likely be different if sampled on meats or different food items.

One of the testers said the pink one was saltier than the white, and the black was saltiest of all.

We all agreed.

And someone else said (joking) they all just “tasted like NaCl” ha!

breakfast in bed for salt taste test

In closing, if you want to know more about the health benefits of unrefined salt – check out empowered sustenance HERE.

Have a nice day…


salt is good for you empowered sustenance



salty swirl

Tree with Beige blooms (piglet quote, grief resources)

My last post had pictures of some powdered myrrh… and as I was cleaning up my desktop this morning, I thought I would post what I originally had planned for the beige and texture challenge – it was this beautiful tree that sits in the courtyard at the Glen Allen Cultural Arts Center.

In the early spring, this tree has beige blooms with texture that really dazzles:


tree with beige blooms with soft texture

beige blooms

beige blooms two

I also want to share this song that I used to use for stretching in 2013.  It is more geared toward a younger generation -(ha)  but two years ago – this was my official “pause and stretch and get the kinks out” song….


Lastly, a quick thank you for comments and emails regarding our neighbors sad losses  – thanks so much – truly <3 and someone sent me this Winnie The Pooh quote, which reminded me of this interview I once saw with an old widow, who did not live near any of her children of grandchildren.

When asked if she was sad about being alone, she said,  something like, “Oh no! I’m not alone,  they do not have to be here to be with me”  – she touched her chest, smiled – and added, “they’re always with me… their love is all inside me and will never go away…”  and then they showed her room – which was filled with cards, photos, notes, etc. 

That always stuck with me – because while I do wish I lived closer to family (especially my mom right now – :) ) and while I also really miss those that have passed away –

the truth is –

sometimes people are with us without being present –

post for memories

“But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.”



 Lastly, just FYI – some GRIEF recourses:

General Resources

The Grief Toolbox A website dedicated to helping people early in their grief journey to find the resources they need. Site includes a support group locator.

Modern Loss A website that encourages open and honest discussion about living with grief and loss at any stage during the process. The site includes a platform for sharing your story and columns that explore different aspects of grief and bereavement.

Losing a Spouse A resource that provides information and support for people that have lost a spouse.

Caring.com (800) 952-6650 A resource dedicated to those who seek information and support as they care for aging parents, spouses, and other loved ones. Caring.com’s Family Advisors provide customized support to help caregivers and seniors find the right senior care resources for every unique situation. Information on grief and loss includes dealing with a diagnosis, end-of-life care, and grieving a death.

Where to go for help in USA

National Organizations

Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) ADEC is one of the oldest interdisciplinary organizations in the field of dying, death and bereavement. Its nearly 2,000 members include a wide array of mental and medical health personnel, educators, clergy, funeral directors and volunteers.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) AFSP is dedicated to bringing people together to prevent suicide, and to help heal the pain it causes. Resources for those bereaved by suicide include a support group locator, information on how find a therapist, and opportunities to get involved with the organization.

Open to Hope An online forum to support people who have experienced loss and to help them cope with their pain, heal their grief and invest in their future.

The Compassionate Friends TCF has about 660 chapters serving all 50 states plus Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam offering friendship, understanding, and hope to bereaved parents, siblings, grandparents, and other family members during the natural grieving process after a child has died. The Compassionate Friends also has a presence in more than 30 countries around the world.

National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children (POMC) An organization committed to providing emotional support and assistance to parents and other survivors of homicide victims. There are more than 50 chapters across the United States that hold monthly support meetings, and provide advocacy and court accompaniment.

HealGrief.org A web-based organization, providing a platform offering bereaved individuals an opportunity to transition their grief into a healthy grief recovery. Users can create tributes to memorialize their loved one and share with family and friends.

National Alliance for Grieving Children A nationwide network of professionals and volunteers who share ideas, information and resources with each other to better support the grieving children and families they serve. The NAGC offers online education, hosts an annual symposium on children’s grief, maintains a national database of children’s bereavement support programs and promotes national awareness to enhance public sensitivity to the issues impacting grieving children and teens.

Where to go for help in UK

CRUSE Bereavement Care
The national telephone helpline 0844 477 9400 is open for calls from 9.30am to 5pm working days, and until 7pm on Mondays and Wednesdays, answered mainly by a team of trained volunteers.  They have a lot of information available to them and will give information about benefits, listen to your story and give you information about Cruse locally where you live.

The Compassionate Friends UK
National Helpline 0845 123 2304 is available for support and information daily from 10.00am to 4.00pm and 7.00pm to 10.00pm.  The line is always answered by a bereaved parent. TCF is a charitable organisation of bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents dedicated to the support of and care of other bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents who have suffered the death of a child / children.

Winston’s Wish
Winston’s Wish national helpline 08452 030405 offers support, information and guidance to all those caring for a child or young person who has been bereaved.

The WAY Foundation
WAY aims to support young widowed men and women as they adjust to life after the death of their partner – whether that was a month, a year, or ten years ago.
Tel: 0300 012 4929, email: info@wayfoundation.org.uk

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS)
Exists to meet the needs and break the isolation of those bereaved by the suicide of a close relative or friend.  SOBS is a self-help organisation.  Many of our volunteers have themselves been bereaved by suicide.
National Helpline – 0844 561 6855 9am to 9pm every day.

Find out more about the contributors to this article and the Division of Counselling Psychology.

Some useful books

The 8 Keys to Trauma Recovery by Babette Rothschild
Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss by Hope Edelman
Courage to Grieve: Creative Living, Recovery and Growth Through Grief by Judy Tatelbaum
Overcoming Grief by Sue Morris
Living on the Seabed: A Memoir of Love, Life and Survival by Lindsay Nicholson
A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis



Vermeer art, myrrh, and sad news

I wanted to follow-up with David’s memory book.

I delivered the custom book yesterday am I sorry to share sad news, but… this is crazy –  well David’s father passed away too! He passed away 3 days ago while in the hospital for some complications with a major infection.   Some of us neighbors are going to be dropping off meals for them this week – and well, if you are the praying type, please keep this grieving family in your thoughts and prayers.

Now of course – this is just one more opportunity for us all to remember that life is precious.

I also want to take this opportunity to share some art by the Dutch painter Vermeer.

Vermeer died in 1675, at the young age 43, and that is also the same age David’s father was when he passed away last week.  And so in memory of my neighbor – and as reminder to us all to enjoy our life –  I decided to sync some images of Vermeer’s lively paintings to a song called “Your Life matters”  by Ashes Remain (here).


A collage of Vermeer’s works:

vermeer collage

Now if you have time, I also want to share part of what we talked about last night – as I was teary eyed for this family, who is now enduring a double loss.  As we reflected on getting to know this family over the years, it led to this whole conversation about some powdered myrrh I bought at the Vitamin Cottage in Denver, CO.


My first memory of getting to know David’s dad was in late summer 2005. I think it was a weekend.  Our boys were in our driveway shooting hoops with his boys.  The dad came over and we started to chat.  He shared that his back molar was bothering him – (which he got fixed that next week).  Well… I ran into the house to get him a small baggie of this “powdered myrrh” that I had bought in Denver earlier that summer. (Side note, ironically I had actually bought the bag of myrrh while on a trip to Denver for Kip White’s untimely funeral in 2005.)  The Myrrh helped his tooth that day – and our children used to hang out a bit.  Anyhow, talking about the “myrrh” last night brought some relief to the feeling of grief – and thinking of the trail of people who have received some of this myrrh was fun to think about.  For example, after I gave some to my aunt Maxine (it healed something she had on her cheek, which would not go away with anything else) well she then shared some of her myrrh with a couple people down in FL! 

label for the myrrh

I still have about 1/3 of the bag of this potent stuff, which is not easy to find.  

myrrh -- 2005 - 2



Okay, and without sounding too cheesy – please remember that your life matters, you are still here for a reason, and “every day that your heart keeps beating – there is purpose for your life.”

For more on Vermeer – check out this class project website HERE

Also, I am linking up with JNW’s beige (here) as well as Narami (here: https://narami.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/tuesdays-of-texture-week-5-of-2015/) – because just look at that powdery, rich beige, all natural, antimicrobial/antiseptic!