Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Use Color Ideas to Cultivate Happiness

Research shows when we see certain colors, our brains release feel-good chemicals that impact us on a physical and emotional level. A study published in the October 2019 issue of  Journal of Environmental Psychology indicates YELLOW is usually the color of happy, joyful emotions. 

Happiness improves our sense of well-being. However, the study also revealed not all people associate yellow with good vibes. 

Those who live close to the equator and in climates with a scarcity of rain, find yellow less attractive than people who live in cooler, rainier climes.

To illustrate, look at the color wheel below. It is a visual representation of the broad range of hues in the visible light spectrum. 

RED, ORANGE, and YELLOW are three colors that appear next to each other on the color wheel. For additional details about the origin of the color wheel and its creator, Sir Isaac Newton, look here

Warm colors often evoke feelings of happiness, optimism, and energy. Warm hues make rooms and objects appear smaller, because they make them look closer and create a cozy feel. 

Warm hued paint colors, carpeting, or furniture makes spaces look more intimate. A word of caution. A big concentration of warm color can be overwhelming, and may even stimulate aggressive emotions. To offset this, pair warm tones with neutral ones.

ORANGE is a bright warm-toned color. It's the color of many healthful, tasty fruits and vegetable.

Orange energy supplies a dose of emotional support. Its power helps us feel creative, enthusiastic, and perky.

RED is an energizing warm-hued color. It speeds up metabolism and inspires excitement, passion, and love. Red reminds us of heart health. For heart disease prevention tips see this

PINK is next to red on the warm hued area of the color wheel. It evokes feelings of gratitude and admiration. The color pink carries with it the meaning of elegance and grace. It reminds us of sweetness and tender loving care.

Dark pink is the variation of pink that is often used as a symbol of gratitude and appreciation, and is a color I love to wear.

Another factor that influences our color preferences is unique to each individual. Colors work at the cellular level and bypass thinking. Color likes and dislikes are subjective, and often are affected by our life experiences, mindset, and feelings.

When we interact with someone (a loved one or even stranger) or participate in something that is meaningful to us, we are likely to remember and associate it with the colors we saw. 

Colors can make our surroundings, peoples' body language, and sounds, smells, textures, and moments vivid, and our memory of them long lasting

A quote that appears on the U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health (NIH) Website follows. 

"Colour is believed to be the most important visual experience to human beings (). It functions as a powerful information channel to the human cognitive system and has been found to play a significant role in enhancing memory performance ()."

How many of the warm hued colors mentioned above bring you pleasure? 

When I wear bright pink I feel optimistic and lovable. Red reminds me of romance and I associate it with the sweet aroma of fresh roses just picked from my garden. Orange lifts my spirit as I envision a gorgeous southwestern sunrise or sunset. Yellow makes me think of fun times and sunflowers and popcorn. 


Cool colors are often more subdued than warm ones. Cool colors recede and appear to be farther away from the observer than warm ones. Cool colors include green, blue, and purple, and variations of those three colors. 

BLUE is a favorite color for a large segment of the world population, and is slightly more popular with men than women. Blue is the only primary color within the cool spectrum.

Blue is a great stress buster, and letting go of tension helps us feel happier.

GREEN is a cool-hued color that helps us establish a pathway for renewal, expansion, and flexibility. It promotes growth, balance, good health, and abundance. 

For colorful ideas about ways to enhance your lifestyle with green see this. Some shades of green take on elements of yellow, and uplift our spirit.

PURPLE possesses some of the attributes of red, so it's a less subdued cool color than the others. 

Wear a light shade of purple (lavender) to calm hyperactivity. 

Connect with Crown Chakra Energy and its corresponding color of purple to Integrate Mind, Body, and Spirit and feel centered and peaceful.

Warm and cool toned colors can help us feel greater happiness. Let's cultivate those that appeal to us. 

There are so many ways to use colors to attract goodness into our lives. Decorate, don, and envision colors. To spice up our day, let's visualize happy kids in colorful hues dancing (see first illustration above). 

Cultivate colors to feel content, nurtured, and increase happiness!

 Before you go, don't forget to comment below. 

Which colors help you feel happy? Please explain.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Positive Quotes to inspire Us

I’ve been struggling with pain from a flare up of a rotator cuff injury, and am sad about not being able to met with friends and get and give hugs. 

I'm anxious about the well-being of a family member, and have had difficulty concentrating on the work at hand.

I know from past experience, if I worry or hold on to negative thoughts about a physical, emotional, or even political or planetary situations, it doesn't make me feel optimistic or influence anything or anyone else.

When I realize I'm obsessing about things that are beyond my control, I’m able to let go by saying "this too shall pass." 

For those who are curious about this quotation read “3 Origins of "This Too Shall Pass.” 

Even when I’m feeling stressed and filled with self-doubt, I have choices about how to handle myself. I know it's time to increase my focus on self-care. 
I may choose to journal write, do a color energy visualization, and/or converse with my buddies to process troubling emotions and rebuild self-confidence.
One of the most effective ways I use to shift my perspective is to ponder the wise words (quotations) of people I respect, and consider how it applies to my situation. 
The power and truth of each quotation provided below inspires me.

Notice which ones resonate with you. Then feel free to use them to support, motivate, and inspire you! 

Two additional elements that can help us cope better are practicing self-compassion and reciting positive affirmations to validate our efforts.

The world situation is such that many seem stressed about what comes next, but contemplating positive quotes can motivate us to persevere and feel relief.

Which quotations inspire you? Which quotes help sustain you as you take steps to move forward? Which ones encourage you to accept yourself just the way you are? 

Please comment below in the space provided. No links in your comments please, as they won't be published that way. 

If you'd like to see more of what I'm up to, visit my WEBSITE . It offers wellness ideas, health information, and color tips to help you feel more vitally alive. While you're there, discover several ways you may enjoy working with me.

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Saturday, August 15, 2020

Wonders of Monsoon Season in Southern Arizona

Monsoon in southern Arizona is a colorful, exciting natural wonder. In previous years, winds have revved up suddenly and carried much needed moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of California to drench much of southern Arizona. 

However, this year the National Weather Service has predicted record heat and drier conditions for what used to be a rainy season between June 15th.  to September 30th. 

Monsoon can be wondrous with its lightening displays and torrential downpours. It is sometimes terrifying as well, especially if there’s a flash flood and people, cars, and property are in the path of the storm.

See the bolt of lightning pictured above and a tree uprooted in a micro-burst below.

severe monsoon may cause winds of more than 100 mph and significant damage.

So far this year, from my vantage point in Tucson, temps have been above 100 degrees Fahrenheit daily, but monsoon rain, blinding dust, damaging winds, and breathtaking lightning shows are few and far between.

I'm grateful for the rain we've had, enough to make flowers on
a Texas Ranger bloom. This shrub that grows well in our clime, is also called Texas sage, Texas rain sage, or purple sage. 

Flowers  emerge during monsoon season in shades of lavender, purple, and magenta and one variety is shown in the picture below. To learn ways purple can enhance your life read this.

Red/Orange Bird of Paradise (pictured in first photo above) is a plant with a bright blend of orange, red, or yellow flowers. 

Check out Orange to Your Emotional Rescue and Ways to Use Colors to Improve Work Life Balance. They offer ideas and tips to use color energies to help you thrive.
The Saguaro, a majestic cactus, flowers with a white and yellow bloom that is the Arizona state flower. An illustration below is a close up of the flower portion of this plant.  

See details about what's in bloom in Tucson with a virtual visit to Tohono Chul Garden

There are advantages and disadvantages to monsoon season. This is what the National Geographic Website acknowledges,

The North American monsoon can be a natural aid to firefighters. Summer temperatures in Arizona regularly reach more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, making wildfires difficult to contain. 

The North American monsoon is also the primary water source for most desert ecosystems in the region. However, it can also confuse and interrupt daily life for people and businesses not used to dealing with heavy rain.”

I'm thankful for monsoon rains as they add a bit of humidity and sometimes helps to cool the desert. Summer storms make vegetation turn green and supply water for summer crops and flowering plants. 

Monsoon is a special time that produces fabulous evening lightning shows. Cloud filled skies are a welcome change from a mostly continually blue sky year round. 

During monsoon season, the sky can be filled with storm clouds and/or dust storms. That's one of the main reasons monsoon season has spectacular sunrises and sunsets. 

Sunrise Tucson Aug. 2020

Sunset on the Desert with Ocotillo silhouette

Have you ever been in a monsoon storm and which part of the world was it in? 

Do you think you'd like to visit the American southwest in the summer and why or why not?

Have you noticed climate changes in your neck of the woods? I certainly have as I describe above.

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Saturday, August 1, 2020

How to Make Scrumptious Hummus, a Recipe Roundup

Hummus is a scrumptious vegan food that is simple to make from cooked chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and seasonings. 

Hummus is versatile, and much more than just a snack food. It's loaded with plant-based protein. Hummus also contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals including folate, vitamin K, zinc, iron, magnesium, and vitamin C. To top it all off, hummus is a high fiber food that helps reduce and prevent inflammation.

Hummus tastes delicious smeared on veggies or bread, as a dip on a crudités platter, stuffed in a wrap, English muffin, bagel, pita pocket, or as a sandwich filling. Hummus looks and tastes fabulous atop luscious salad greens as well. 

Hummus is a food that's economical and good for your waistline as well as your pocketbook.

Hummus has its origins in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries. Today this tasty dish is enjoyed by millions of people around the globe. 

I LOVE hummus, and I'm always on the lookout for interesting variations on this main theme. That's why I'm posting this.

 How to Make Scrumptious Hummus,
 A Recipe Roundup

It features flavorful hummus recipes and reveals the secret to making hummus both creamy and savory. 

Each recipe in this roundup is unique. Try them all and learn new ways to tempt your palate, satisfy hunger, and make meal time prep so much fun. 

Here's the first one...

Creamy, Savory Hummus
Recipe from Yours Truly (Nancy Andres)


30 oz. or approx. 4 cups cooked homemade chickpeas, or 2-15 oz. canned chickpeas rinsed and drained (chickpeas are also called garbanzo beans)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2-3 cloves fresh garlic
1 or 2-1 inch chunks of fresh peeled ginger
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 Tablespoon tahini, a condiment made from toasted hulled  ground sesame seeds. Julie at the Simple Veganista has a one ingredient recipe to make tahini. If you prefer, buy it in most markets or online.
½ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
Optional herbs and spices: I often add fresh chopped basil (2 teaspoons) from the garden, a pinch of fresh ground black pepper, and a pinch of ground turmeric. Select those you enjoy.

For more, check out savory spice blend. Recipe from Dr. Michael Greger and Robin Robertson from The How Not to Die Cookbook.

What to do:

The traditional and most economical way to make hummus is to use dried chickpeas. Soak the chickpeas the night before you want to make this recipe. Here are tips from the bean institute to speed up soak and cooking time. 

Cook chickpeas in an instant pot, slow cooker, or Dutch oven on the stove top or in the oven. To save even more time, use the extra-quick method of opening cans of chickpeas.

The secret to making hummus creamy is this. After using any cooking method you like or opening cans of chickpeas, place chickpeas in a medium saucepan and add the baking soda. Cover chickpeas with several inches of water, and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. 

If necessary, reduce heat to medium to prevent overflow. Continue cooking for approx. 15-20 minutes. 

You’ll know the chickpeas are ready, when they look bloated, skins fall off, and they are quite soft. Drain thoroughly and place aside.

Prep ginger, garlic, and fresh herbs, while the chickpeas are cooking. Then place a 1 inch knob of fresh peeled ginger (add more ginger to heighten flavor) and any fresh herbs you select, to the chopping bowl of your food processor. Chop them until fine. 

Then add chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, cumin, oregano, and any optional dried herbs or spices you've selected. Process until the chickpeas and other ingredients are very creamy. 

If the mixture is dry, add one drop of water at a time until creamy. 

Serve creamy savory hummus the day you make it, and store leftovers in a refrigerated airtight container. Use it all within 5-7 days.


Here's my favorite hummus tip: Make hummus dishes delicious, and eye-appealing with spices, herbs, and colorful extras including avocado slices. cilantro and lime, sprinkling of toasted pumpkin or other seeds, or shredded zucchini, cabbage, carrots, beets, or tomatoes.

Everyone eats with their eyes as well as their appetite, so make foods look luscious with colors.

To improve health, eat meals that provide a wide variety of colorful plant-based foods. 

Hummus is a fine topping for baked sweet or russet potatoes. Use it in a Greek salad with grape leaves and tofu feta, or combine hummus with brown rice, veggies, and fold into a corn tortilla. 

We especially enjoy eating hummus sandwiches on toasted whole grain bread with sliced red onion, fresh tomatoes, basil, and shredded red cabbage (pictured in the blue framed photo above).

There's no added oil in my recipe, so it doesn't add any unnecessary calories and works well in a vegan, gluten free, vegetarian, whole food, or conventional meal planning repertoire

Just be careful. You may find hummus irresistible

Now on to my blogger guests in this scrumptious hummus recipe roundup...

JD over at In the Kitch offers a hummus dip recipe that mixes hemp seeds, figs, olive oil, and greens with chickpeas.

 Hummus bowl with fresh figs, greens, nuts, hemp seeds and olive oil on a wooden background. Napkin with a fabric flower and small spatula on the side.
Photo from JD at In the Kitch. What a yummy combination of ingredients.

Here's another...

This instant pot hummus recipe is an original from Corrie Cooks, instant pot lover and food blogger.

Corrie's presents his hummus recipe in a crockery bowl with fresh parsley, paprika, and extra-virgin olive oil to create an inviting look. 

My next guest is

Elena from Happy Kitchen.Rocks whose recipe for Roasted Beet Hummus with Pita Chips sure is colorful as well as healthy, and tasty. 

Roasted Beet Hummus in a Bowl with Pita Chips

Kristi Wheeler, the sustainability blogger at Homesteadwishing.com is next. She shows us how to use colorful herbs, spices, seeds, veggies and other toppings to make hummus look glamorous. Check out tips at Garnishing Hummus.  

Our last but not least guest blogger is Robin over at the Vegan Dollhouse. Her Vegan Hummus Recipe incorporates red cabbage sauerkraut and dill to heighten flavor and health. Yum, yum.

a plate of sauerkraut hummus with carrots and pretzels

Now that you've seen this array of hummus recipes, I hope it has whet your appetite. 

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