LAVENDER ~ LOVELY LAVENDER

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Lavender was one of the first herbs I ever worked with. And, if I’m honest, I have to say we were not very good friends at the start.

I was manufacturing a personal care product line, and selling it both online and at open air markets. I felt as though I needed to carry a lavender line. It is a very popular scent and a well-known therapeutic oil. People love it!

Unfortunately, the oil brought on a mild headache every time I got near it. Ugh!

It was particularly bad when I made lavender soap. The steam that arose when I poured the oil in with the hot soap was quite powerful. It had a profound effect on me.

I remember thinking, “Who the hell uses this stuff to promote rest and relaxation? It’s just awful!” LOL.

But if you ask the average person what lavender oil can be used for, they would likely respond that it provides a calming effect. Aka = rest & relaxation!

Time has passed. My relationship with this botanical has evolved. And her seductive powers have won me over.

I am no longer sensitive to her aroma. I can not only use her for self-care, but I am fond of her. She is now affectionately known to me as Lovely Lady Lavender ❤ 😉 ❤

I am rather an avid fan of a bit of lavender balm rubbed on my wrist just before I lay down to sleep at night. She lulls me. It’s wonderful.

I cannot imagine my home without a bottle of lavender oil in it. I like to have a bag of dried lavender flower buds in the house as well. But the oil is essential (no pun intended). There are just so many ways to utilize this delightfully fragrant ‘nectar’.

Perhaps my favorite use for it is to soothe and heal burns. I make a simple lavender balm, using this plants essential oil, and keep a jar of it in my kitchen for this purpose. In my opinion, it is by far the best way to alleviate the pain and redness of burns. There are many home remedies out there which provide top notch remedial effects for burns, but none compare to lavender.

Simply rub some oil, either diluted in a carrier or brewed into a balm, on the affected area immediately after a burn occurs. This will reduce redness, blistering, scarring, and pain. She is that good 😉

This also works well for sunburns. I’ve used it MANY times.

As if these uses for lavender are not enough reason to keep her around, there are many, many more.

She is one of the best herbal remedies for muscle and joint pain. I remember sitting at an outdoor market one day and talking to the vendor next to me about what types of balm she could use for her arthritic hands. Unfortunately, I was out of the product I was making for this purpose at that time. I made a comment, in friendly jest, about her using my lavender balm instead. I said, “It may or may not take away your pain, but one thing for sure, your hands will smell just lovely today!”.

She chuckled and took some of the balm and rubbed it on her hands. About 20 minutes later she bought 4 jars! She said the pain had completely lifted. This was the moment I learned what a useful ally lavender is for muscle and joint pain. It works. Give it a try.

Taken as a tea, this herb is fabulous for digestive issues. This yummy beverage can also be served to friends and loved ones who are suffering from stress or grief. It will hit the spot and lift the emotional struggle a bit for sure.

Infuse her in your favorite cooking oil and use it to sauté veggies, chicken, or fish. This also makes a great replacement for other oils when baking. I avoid sweets almost completely, but a piece of lavender shortbread will weaken my willpower every time 😉

If you indulge in the sweet stuff from time to time, try infusing this tasty herb in sugar. It’s fabulous on grapefruit! Yep. Yep.

I prefer to infuse mine in pink Himalayan salt, and use it as a rub for chicken. I allow the chicken to ‘marinate’ in the salt overnight, grill it, and then roll it, ever-so-lightly, in a gourmet bbq sauce. YUMMY!

Lavender infused butter is the perfect companion for farm fresh, organic potatoes. This is a must-have. Really. For sure.

AND …

Finally …

She just smells good. Like really very good. Making her the perfect aromatic addition to handmade personal care products 😉

If you have a favorite use for lavender, or have been wanting to try her out remedially, cosmetically, or for culinary uses … tell me about it in the comments! I’m excited to hear your input 😉

And … connect with me on facebook and pinterest to stay abreast of any other happenings here at Bohemian Apothecarist.

As always, your presence is greatly appreciated. I adore that you are here. And I just know that we are going to have great fun together ❤

DISCLAIMER: I am not a licensed health professional. You are solely responsible for researching herbs to determine how you choose to use them. If you decide to make them a part of your health care plan, I take no responsibility for the results of that decision.

MY FIRST EVER MOREL MUSHROOMS

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Morel season is upon us once again!

I’m not sure how excited that makes you but it literally makes me squirm in delight!

I have kept an eye out for these little beauties for a few seasons now. A couple of years back I decided to start taking baby steps toward becoming a reasonably competent mushroom hunter. It’s for sure something I aspire to be good at 😉

The obstacles I am facing are time and a places to hunt.

Time … well I probably don’t have to explain that one to most of you. We are all lacking in this area, LOL!

Places to hunt … I am surrounded by state and national parks. You can’t forage there 😦 And most other land here is privately owned.

Sooooooo … the morel mushroom might is sort of a reclusive forest dwelling creature to me!

And then …

I met a new friend at the gym.

AND …

Her significant other is a mushroom hunter!

Ahhhhhhhhh … Lady Luck has turned her smile upon me ❤ ❤ ❤

As if meeting a great friend (I really do like her a lot) and finding out that her significant other hunts mushrooms is not lucky enough, it just so happened that he returned from a morel hunting trip a short time after our meeting. Life is good!

I was able to pick up a pound of fresh morels at a great price, and trust me that made my day. Well, maybe my week. Probably, definitely my week 😉

I FINALLY had the chance to cook fresh morels.

I could touch them. Smell them. Sit quietly and admire them.

I could clean them. Chop them. Season and sauté them. I could stand with them as they cooked, soaking in the delightful aroma they emit as they simmer. Oh my! If only the net had a scratch & sniff feature … You would be in heaven right now!

How do you cook morel mushrooms, you ask?

I’m sure there are MANY ways to prepare these little beauties. But I kept it pretty simple. I wanted to really savor the taste of them the first time I ate them. I didn’t want them to be smothered in sauce or buried in seasonings.

So I put half a stick of butter in a large frying pan with about 3 large cloves of garlic, and threw in the whole pound of mushrooms. I covered them and let them simmer on a low setting for about 20 minutes.

Morels need to be cooked well or they can make you a bit sick. No one wants that! It works out though because they don’t get tough or rubbery when they are cooked for long periods of time 😉

After 20 minutes the pan was pretty full of liquid. Mushrooms always lose a great deal of water while cooking. I drained the water off and threw in just a bit of salt. Salt is a flavor enhancer and … well … as I’ve already said, I for sure wanted to REALLY TASTE these little beauties!

I cooked them with very minimal liquid. Like really hardly any at all, for another 5 minutes or so, and then I served them with roasted, organic bell pepper and onion and fresh, organic mild Italian sausage.

They were SERIOUSLY delicious! Now I know why everyone raves about them!

The experience left me with just one pretty serious issue …

Where, oh where, am I going to find a patch of fresh morel mushrooms to harvest next spring?

I’d love to hear about your thoughts on or experiences with morels! Leave them in the comments if you will 😉

And … connect with me on facebook and pinterest to stay abreast of any other happenings here at Bohemian Apothecarist.

As always, your presence is greatly appreciated. I adore that you are here. And I just know that we are going to have great fun together ❤

POSTSCRIPT:

This post was written while I was living in the PNW. Where I live now in northern Maine morels are not common. But I have heard they are sometimes found. I hope to be so lucky as to come across them here 😉

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU FEEL ‘STUCK’

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Before we talk about what to do when you feel stuck, we should cover the definition of stuck as it pertains to this post.

It refers to those moments in time when you feel like your life isn’t really going anywhere, is going a little poorly, or is just plain crappy. It’s doesn’t pertain to the times that you are happy with life in general, and are just enjoying the status quo for a bit. Or, needless to say, to those times when LIFE IS GOOD!

BUT …

With all that said … The principles you can follow to pry yourself free from ‘stuck mode’, can be practiced at any time to just generally gain positive ground as well.

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU FEEL STUCK

When you’re stuck apply yourself to these two things …

  1. Actively work on making your current circumstance better (or, at least, as pleasant as possible)
  2. Visualize the future

Doing these two things will grease the Universal wheel making it turn more smoothly and with greater speed.

ACTIVELY WORK ON MAKING YOUR CURRENT CIRCUMSTANCE BETTER

No matter what circumstance we find ourselves in, there is generally room for improvement to occur. And it simply makes good sense to consistently strive for improvement in our lives. Who doesn’t want things to get better, right?

So, if you feel stuck, or just as a regular matter of course, take stock of the current circumstances of your life and then create an action plan for progress.

What little steps can you take to make an immediate improvement in your situation? Brainstorm. Come up with as many as you can. And then do them. One at a time. Do each one.

And don’t consider any action to small. Because, in addition to results obtained directly from the action itself, you will derive a measure of improvement just from the movement of energy that taking action creates. It is energy that is impeded in some way, which is causing a feeling of inertia or decline. You need to get that energy moving again. So act. And maintain a good attitude, because the positive vibe of that attitude will raise the frequency of the energy. And the higher the frequency is the more desirable your results will be.

VISUALIZE THE FUTURE

We so often hear the phrase ‘dreaming of the future’. It is tossed around like an all-purpose solution to bringing our deepest desires to fruition. And that is a good thing!

But, I challenge you to consider that it is better to visualize your future, than it is to dream about it. Visualization is a more positively charged activity. It is a bit different than its more subtle counterpart, dreaming.

When we visualize our future, we make the effort of conjuring up the feelings which will accompany the realization of our dreams. These feelings are of the same frequency as the actual presence of our desires. And, because frequencies attract like frequencies, they will literally attract those desires into our lives. They are a key component to the actual physical manifestation of our desires.

Combining action and visualization creates a powerful duo. One that is sure to clear up any stuck energy you have lurking around your life, and get you well on your way to living in the very midst of your most heartfelt desires ❤

So get to it! And let me know how it goes in the comments. Or share an experience you’ve already had in this area. I love hearing your input! I really do!

And … connect with me on facebook, instagram, and pinterest to stay abreast of any other happenings here at Bohemian Apothecarist.

As always, your presence is greatly appreciated. I adore that you are here. And I just know that we are going to have great fun together ❤

PLANT BASED BREAKFAST IN BED FOR MOM'S SPECIAL DAY

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Breakfast in bed is a great way to make Mom feel special on Mother’s Day. It’s such a simple gesture. And yet it means so very much to her. There’s really nothing like the feeling you get when your family takes time out of their morning to prepare a meal for you. And if they bring it to you before you even put your feet on the floor for the day, that somehow turns up the warm and fuzzy feeling factor ten fold ❤

But what it your Mom would prefer to avoid the common breakfast foods that make up the typical American diet? Well, I can help with that. Because, I too appreciate a good plant-based meal.

So, I’m going to share a simple recipe for flax meal crackers and cashew cheese with you. Both of these can be made the night before Mother’s Day if that’s easier for you. And if you are able to do that it may work to your advantage. Then you can just pull everything out and put it on a tray with a hot cup of java, a glass of juice, and some fruit in the morning. No mess. No fuss. AND yet Mom feels like you’ve gone out of your way to acknowledge her first thing in the day! WIN! WIN!

Let’s start with the flax meal crackers, shall we?

PLANT-BASED FLAX MEAL & HERB CRACKERS


1 3/4 c. Ground Flax Meal

1/2 c. Water

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/2 tbls Garlic Powder

1/2 tbls. Dill (dried)


Preheat oven to 350°

In a medium bowl combine flax meal, salt, garlic powder, and dill.

Add water and mix until well blended. Form dough into a ball.

Place dough between two pieces of parchment paper and roll out to approximately 1/8 inch thick.

Remove the top layer of parchment paper. The dough will be uneven along the edges. You can cut the edges straight if you like. But it is not necessary.

Score squares into the dough. This will make it possible to cut it later. If you do not score your dough it will simply crumble when you try to cut it after baking.

Bake for 30-40 minutes. Removing outer edges when they are done and allowing the center squares to bake a bit longer.

Place on a wire baking rack to cool.

Cut into squares along score marks. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

And there you go … just like that you’ve got incredibly delicious, and seriously healthy flax meal crackers that are just packed with flavor!

It doesn’t really get any easier than that. Unless, of course, you count this cashew cheese recipe. Then it gets easier. Which is pretty hard to believe. But true nonetheless 😉

CASHEW CHEESE


1 c. raw cashews (heaping, soak overnight)

2 tbls. nutritional yeast

2 tbls. lemon juice (fresh squeezed)

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/4 c. water


Pulse cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper in a food processor until it forms a coarse, wet texture. You will have to scrape the sides of the bowl several times throughout this process.

If you have a magic bullet use that instead. This is not a large amount of food to process. And the bullet is more conducive to smaller amounts. Additionally, it will eliminate all of the scraping. As you can just pop the top off the bullet and shake.

Once you have ground the mixture down as much as possible add the water. Start with about 1/8 cup and then add the rest as needed. You are striving for a mixture that has a consistency similar to hummus.

At this point, taste your cashew cheese and adjust your seasonings accordingly.

This cheese will store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for approximately 6 days. But it is unlikely to stick around that long.

Take a minute to tell me about how you are celebrating Mother’s Day this year in the comments. I would love to gather some new ideas for next year. And, if you are making these recipes let me know how they work out for you! I’m dying to know if the Mom in your life enjoyed them 😉

And … connect with me on facebook,  instagram, and pinterest to stay abreast of any other happenings here at Bohemian Apothecarist.

As always, your presence is greatly appreciated. I adore that you are here. And I just know that we are going to have great fun together ❤

MY FIRST EXPERIENCE WITH FIDDLEHEADS

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I’ve wanted to get my hands on fiddleheads since my enamoration with wild food first began. If you are among those who don’t know about this delectable little spring treat, please allow me to enlighten you 😉

A fiddlehead is the furled frond of the young ostrich fern. They appear in the spring and are harvested as a vegetable. As always, it is important to ethically harvest this tasty little gift from Mama Earth, as you don’t want to affect the population of the species.

If you do not know the ‘rules’ for wild-harvesting do check them out before you head out to gather wild food. One of the most important guidelines to follow with fiddleheads is to be certain that you don’t collect all the fronds from a single plant. This will result in death of the plant. And that is a pretty crappy trade-off for the gift that this generous little green ally brings to your plate 😦

Where I am living in northern Maine these delicious little morsels are wild-harvested and then sold by the roadside and in local markets. And as much as I love ‘collecting grub’ from the wild, I haven’t had much time lately so that works out perfectly for me! I get fresh-picked fiddleheads. And foragers get a little cash in their pocket. Win! Win!

The batch that inspired this post was picked up at a self-serve roadside stand. I saw them on my way up north and passed them by because I didn’t really have room in my schedule for meal preparation at all, and uncovering how to cook fiddleheads felt burdensome.

But hose fiddleheads stayed in my head through the whole trip. Lucky for me, the stand was still there on my way home. So I grabbed a bag full of fiddleheads and went back home to figure out just what I was going to do with them.

I discovered that you have to cook them down before you can eat them. I’ve learned that this is the case with many wild foods. If fiddleheads are eaten raw one can get quite the case of indigestion from them.

So I put them on the stove in a pot of water, heated it up to boiling, and then let it simmer for 10 minutes.

After that I took the easy way out because it was late and I was hungry, LOL!

I sautéed them in butter, garlic, onion powder, salt, and pepper. When they were done I squeezed just a tiny bit of lemon juice on them, gave them a toss, and voila … deliciousness was mine.

They are crazy tasty! Like really crazy tasty!

They taste very much like asparagus to me. Like really very much like asparagus. And I’m a big fan of asparagus ❤

My son and I enjoyed them that evening, but you’re not supposed to eat too many at a time until you are sure your stomach doesn’t react the them (another common wild food rule). So, we had plenty left over. And when I woke up in the morning I couldn’t wait to get another crack at them.

So, the first fiddlehead omelet ever was made in my kitchen that morning. Fiddleheads, tomatoes, grilled onions, and swiss cheese = heaven ❤ Just sayin’.

I have another bunch of these little babies in the fridge right now and I’m looking at breading and deep frying them. I’ve had a few locals tell me that I won’t be disappointed if I prepare them that way. I think they’re right. I just can’t decide if I want to serve them with a butter garlic parmesan sauce or a bit of siracha mayo?

But a decision will have to be made. Unless, of course, I choose both 😉

Have you ever had fiddleheads? And if so, how were they prepared?

Did you like them? Would you eat them again? We loved them! And will likely eat them often from now on ❤

Share your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to hear what you have to say 😉

And … connect with me on facebook, instagram, and pinterest to stay abreast of any other happenings here at Bohemian Apothecarist.

As always, your presence is greatly appreciated. I adore that you are here. And I just know that we are going to have great fun together ❤

MAKE ROSE SCENTED OIL ENERGETICALLY DESIGNED TO HEAL THE HEART

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I am a woman who has seen more than her share of heartache. I don’t say that to gain condolences from you. I say it as a matter of fact. It is not something that I spend much time reflecting on. That would be counter-productive in so many ways. It just is. Fact.

I also have a marked history of heart disease in my family line. So my heart is one of the things I try to take good care of in my life. I’m not great at it. I wish I were. But I do try to be mindful of her when making decisions that affect her.

In addition to the more well known practices geared toward heart health, like; a healthy diet, exercise, and maintaining low stress levels, I firmly believe in implementing herb and crystal energetics into my routine.

I brought rose into my routine quite a few years ago, when I was gifted a rose essence from an acquaintance I met while living in northern CA. I faithfully took that essence every day. And I experienced a noticeable transformation from its use.

That little bottle has been gone for some time now. And while I have used the lovely rose as an herbal aid since then, I haven’t employed her in my life on a daily basis. But I am feeling as though spending some time with her would be good for me. And I intend to make myself a batch of rose essence this summer when this amazing plant is blessing us with her gorgeous blooms. But, until then I want to be able to access her properties whenever I feel the need for them.

So, I put together a few heart friendly herbal roll-ons to have on hand. And I thought that it would be nice to share the process of making these sweetly scented little herbal remedies with all of you ❤

The ingredients I used are as follows …

ROSE PETALS (DRIED): Medicinally the rose is used to fight depression and improve the overall function of the heart. Energetically it is used to heal heartache, promote feelings of connection, and soothe disappointment. The rose essence I spoke of earlier in this post was designed to assist one in taking steps toward reaching their deepest desires which, of course, reside in the heart.

HAWTHORN BERRIES (DRIED): Hawthorn comes from the rose plant family. It makes one of the most effective general heart tonics known to herbalism. It seems to read what the heart needs and then quite graciously provides it. This property is seen in the way it reacts to blood pressure. It will raise low blood pressure and lower high blood pressure. I have heard many an herbalist say, “Hawthorn just knows.” I concur.

AND it performs in the very same way on an energetic level. It deciphers what one needs to obtain healing in matters of the heart, and then it provides exactly that.

CLEAR QUARTZ CHIPS: Clear quartz is often used to amplify the properties of the herbs and crystals it is paired with. And while it has many other energetic properties, it is this one that makes it the perfect addition to this ‘brew’.

BULGARIAN ROSE ESSENTIAL OIL: This is the essential oil extracted from the petals of one of the rarest flowers in the world. It is only cultivated and harvested in the Rose Valley of Kazanlak. I am fortunate to have a bottle of it, as it is very pricey. And while it is worth every penny, I would likely not have purchased it at full price. But I came across one hell of a bargain and I simply couldn’t pass it up!

It possesses the same properties as the rose flower itself. Which I’ve described above for dried rose petals. And, almost more importantly, it adds the intoxicating scent of this healing plant to this herbal gem. So that each time you use it you are reminded of whence your ‘medicine’ has come ❤

ALMOND OIL: I really used this oil because it is what I had in the house that had the most transparency. I wanted to showcase the rose petals, hawthorn berries, and clear quartz chips. I think it accomplished that nicely. And I suppose it counts that almond oil is a heart healthy oil. Perhaps, it counts more than I realize 😉

After choosing the ingredients for my roll-ons, putting them together is sort of a no-brainer.

Simply place a few rose petals, clear quartz chips, and hawthorn berries in a roll-on applicator bottle. Add rose essential oil. I used 45 drops. Then top off with almond oil, snap the roll-on ball in place, and secure the lid. It’s that simple 😉

I had the great privilege of gifting one of these to a friend. And another to a new co-worker. An act that is also good for the heart 😉

And that left me with one bottle of heart healthy goodness for myself. It should get me through the early spring as I await the arrival of the first rose flower of the year without a problem! Mission rose scented oil accomplished!

Are you familiar with the healing properties of the rose? If so, fill me in on what you know about this wonderful plant in the comments. And if not, please share whatever thoughts you have about the information I’ve provided on this healing herb in this post. I’d love to hear what you have to say!

And … connect with me on facebook, pinterest, and instagram to stay abreast of any other happenings here at Bohemian Apothecarist.

As always, your presence is greatly appreciated. I adore that you are here. And I just know that we are going to have great fun together ❤

DISCLAIMER: I am not a licensed health professional. You are solely responsible for researching herbs to determine how you choose to use them. If you decide to make them a part of your health care plan, I take no responsibility for the results of that decision.

THE SINGLE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO SHOW YOUR LOVE FOR MAMA EARTH

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There are a plethora of ways to show Mama Earth how much you love her. We pretty much know most of them well, right?

Conserve water. Cut back on your energy usage. Produce your own energy. Compost food waste. Reduce/eliminate plastic usage. Plant a tree. Use chemical-free cleaning and personal care products. Recycle everything you can. Reuse everything you can. Shop at resale stores. And many, many more.

Still, while I support ALL of the many ways we as humans can show our love and support for this amazing planet that sustains us … it is my opinion that there is one thing which 100% trumps all other practices.

And that is …

BE A LIVING EXAMPLE OF AN EARTH ADVOCATE

Gently, and without any trace of judgement or condemnation, make a living example of yourself as an earth advocate.

I have had the privilege of meeting many Earth Warriors. And while I found that each one of them has at least a tidbit of valuable information to impart to me. I am profoundly aware that some of their ways of delivering their all important message are off-putting, to say it nicely. If I were not already open to this teaching, I would have ignored them completely.

Many years ago while working at a big chain restaurant I met a young woman who was quite passionately leading a remarkably eco-friendly life. She was completely immersed in her lifestyle choice. And very well educated concerning all types of earth friendly practices. She began at the restaurant as a server, and I was happy to glean a wealth of information from her.

However, it was almost painful to watch her relationship with other employees there. There were few (if any at all) who gave a damn about the size of their carbon footprint. And that showed. She had great difficulty tolerating this. AND that also showed! She was condescending toward their wastefulness on a regular basis. As a matter of fact, most times she was just downright mean 😦

Over time the loosely tied bond between her and I flourished ever so little. But enough for me to find an opportunity to talk to her about her attitude. I managed to effectively get her to understand that her behavior was doing the exact opposite of what she so intensely desired to accomplish.

It was her deepest desire to win people over to her way of thinking in the area of becoming earth friendly dwellers. But the way she approached people was so hurtful and offensive that it caused them to turn their face away from the goodness she had to share. They didn’t want any part of ‘her nonsense’.

I explained to her that if she were a bit kinder and shared her information with the hope that they would change their habits, as opposed to the command that they do, she would slowly sway them in the direction she wanted them to go. She listened.

And watching the transformation which took place, not only in her work relationships, but in the people who were even a slight bit open to her teaching was pretty damn remarkable. Indeed ❤

So, fully engage in an eco-friendly lifestyle my Luvs. Immerse yourself so deeply that there is no chance you could ever find yourself in any other state. And then share what that means with every person who is willing to lend an ear.

Share it with a gentle voice and kind words. With an encouraging tone and warm, welcoming expression on your face. Share it with a peaceful passion and burning desire to ignite the flame of passion which burns in you in others.

Share it in these ways, and you will not only reduce your carbon footprint, but you will recruit others to the cause. More often than not!

Have you ever been put-off by someone like the young woman I’ve described? Or maybe you were once like her?

Do you have any input that may be helpful for those who are trying to curb their attitude when sharing such a passionate subject with others?

Let me know in the comments! I would love to hear your thoughts. I really would 😉

And … connect with me on facebook, pinterest, and instagram to stay abreast of any other happenings here at Bohemian Apothecarist.

As always, your presence is greatly appreciated. I adore that you are here. And I just know that we are going to have great fun together ❤