The Essential Guide To Reiki For Healing & Self-Care

Last November a dear friend of mine encouraged me to schedule a Reiki session to help with the mind-body connection to facilitate healing. Heather had given me some background information about Reiki and her experiences as a Reiki Practitioner and I became interested in the practice. 

Wanting to know more, I asked Heather to share what Reiki is as well as some of her personal and professional Reiki healing experiences.  

At the end of the post look for my Reiki experience!

*DISCLAIMER:  The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or healthcare provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime including but not limited to Reiki.

From a Reiki Practitioner:Heather-Gilert-Craff-Reiki-Practitioner

My name is Heather and I am a Reiki (RAY-key) Practitioner.  

Reiki is referred to as “Universal Life Force Energy” and was founded by Dr. Mikao Usui.  Dr. Usui researched, practiced, and taught this healing technique in early 20th Century Japan.  Reiki is a gentle method of hands-on healing that taps into energy referred to as “ki” in Japan’s and “chi” in China.  


Reiki is not going to be what you think of in terms of traditional massage, though it is often classified as massage because the only thing you remove during the session is your shoes.  

You lay on a massage table covered by a sheet or blanket, on your back, for the first half hour as the practitioner places their hands over your body from your Crown to the toes.  When the client turns onto their tummy and the practitioner works from the toes back up to the Crown.  

The practitioner places their hands in specific positions over the Chakras.  Chakras are the seven energy centers of the body that can become overstimulated, under-stimulated, or blocked entirely.  They are located respectively:

  1. Crown is above your head
  2. Third Eye is between your eyes
  3. Throat is at your throat
  4. Heart is at your heart
  5. Solar Plexus is from under the heart to the navel
  6. Sacral is from the navel to just above the legs
  7. Root is from the legs down to the toes

Some refer to these areas as “Meridians.”  The practitioner will sense these energetic differences with the client’s energetic field and will use the energy they have been given by their Reiki Master Teacher & Ascended Masters to correct and put the Chakras back into balance for optimal health.  


“Reiki is the best vibration for helping someone to relax well and deeply. Relaxation is key to human health and recovery because it initiates our natural and innate healing abilities. It is when we are truly relaxed that true healing can take place.” 
― Chyna Honey

Research has shown that Reiki can address both chronic and acute issues to encourage the body to begin a regenerative healing process for the benefit of the mind, body, & spirit.  

Studies of Reiki show a reduction of pain, including cancer & chemotherapy, following treatment.  The benefits of a Reiki treatment last three weeks.

My clients tell me they enjoy the deep relaxation and feeling of well-being during the session as well as having more recuperative sleep patterns afterward.  Many of my clients relax to the point of falling asleep during their sessions.  Some feel warmth, tingling, and pulsing of the energy moving and healing where they are needing it most.

Reiki is gentle enough for pregnant women, anyone recovering from surgery or an accident, or to alleviate pain.  Many hospitals, including the world-famous Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, employ Reiki practitioners for this reason whether their patients are on an outpatient basis or in intensive care.  


Improvement of the immune system, nervous system function, increased mobility with MS-lupus-& Fibromyalgia has been documented.  Some patients have been able to scale back their use of pain medications according to Portsmouth Regional Hospital in New Hampshire.  

After their session, I give them a glass of water…it’s important to stay hydrated because toxins are being released through the movement of energy through the Chakras even though I have not directly massaged toxins from the muscles themselves.  

I am Intuitive, I am Empathic, and in doing Reiki people like me are often called Lightworkers.  If my clients want to know what angelic messages I received for them, what I saw or heard, I will jot them down for them and we will discuss it.  It’s always extremely positive, for their greatest good, and all about healing, they are needing now.  

I’ve seen colors, flowers, spirit/totem animals, spirit guides, etc.  I’ve smelled flowers, Earth, rain, etc.  I actually had the sensation of rain falling on me in a session once…it felt so real I had to open my eyes to make sure I wasn’t all wet!  

(I keep my eyes closed during my sessions unless I feel the energy shifting to the point where I’m not sure if they are moving or if I am…usually, it’s neither!)  It’s just the undercurrent…sometimes it feels like I have a hold of live wires and I can feel the electricity zinging through my fingers.  


I once encountered a woman’s Guardian Angel during a session.  It was so profound I’ve never forgotten it.  I was above her heart Chakra, surrounding it with a pink bubble of love & light when this Angel appeared.  

I, being human in my search for answers, asked for identification in asking the classic question of, “who are you?”  The Angel wasn’t going to humor me by disclosing a name, or a gender, but it responded by saying, “I am the One Who Never Leaves.”  Meaning this Angel was assigned to her when she came into being and would not leave her side until God called her home.  Yep, that happened!  

During another session, I got to the feet of a woman and smelled deep, dark, rich, black wet Iowa soil.  I wasn’t sure what that meant so I asked Spirit for clarification, “what does this mean?”  

I heard one word, “grounding.”  I was to encourage this woman to go Earthing, to get grounded by putting her bare feet on the Earth and in the Earth, to stabilize her ions to help her feel better.  Thank goodness it was Summer here and she could actually accomplish that task.  

One more?  Ok.  I was working with another woman when I was overwhelmed by golden light, yellow flowers, and butterflies.  After the session, I shared this vision with her and she began to cry.  

Apparently yellow was a color she associated with her Grandmother and so were butterflies!  The fact that I saw both of those things together, and she saw this imagery during the session too, she said it was an unequivocal sign that her Grandmother was here during our session for her benefit.  


Photo Copyright LeAnn Rodriguez

You just never know what is going to happen.  I never know what I am going to see, hear, or feel…and every session is different…even with clients I have been seeing for well over a year.  

People ask me how I got into Reiki.  I was suffering from a knee injury, destroyed L-5 vertebrae, and some emotional things I thought Reiki might be able to help me with so I gave it a try.  My results were absolutely amazing so I was sold.  I was so impressed by Reiki that I asked a Reiki Master Teacher to mentor me.  

In Level One or First Degree, you learn how Reiki works and you practice on yourself.  

In Level Two or Second Degree, you learn how to use what you’ve learned so you can be a practitioner and help others feel better energetically.  

My family physician cannot believe how I am able to do what I do by the looks of my L-5.  I tell her it’s a combination of Reiki, crystal therapy, essential oils, flower essences, and herbal teas.  I no longer take pharmaceuticals daily, for the first time in eighteen years, and I am virtually pain-free.

 I’ve taken the more natural approach to my body.  I’m 45 years old.  It’s never too late.  It’s all about finding what works and what resonates with you.  It’s trial and error.  It’s about having an open mind.  

I am a firm believer in affirmations and telling my body, “I’m managing this but I am not owning it.”  I try not to use my medical diagnosis (degenerative disc disease, arthritis, migraines, etc.) aloud.  I don’t want them having that much power over me.  

My (first) Reiki session experience:

First and foremost, I found my first Reiki session very relaxing.  From a self-care perspective, I needed it. I was open to whatever the session would provide.  

Heather dimmed the lights in the room were dimmed and relaxing nature-based music played softly in the background.

With my shoes off, I sat on the edge of the massage table and then laid down on my back. Heather placed a pillow under my knees to support my lower back.  Simply getting the pressure off my lower back felt amazing.

I closed my eyes and practiced mindfulness – letting thoughts come and go.  The sound of birds chirping could be heard in the music.  Instantly, an image of a lush, green, peaceful meadow with soft sunlight came to mind.  There was a sense of familiarity.

As the session progressed, I was aware spirit around me as well as the healing hands practicing Reiki and felt an overall sense of peace I hadn’t felt in a long time.  I sensed my late grandma’s presence.

In fact, as soon as the meadow scene described above came to mind, is when I knew she was with me in spirit.  To confirm that presence I heard a ping coming from a folding chair nearby.  It made me flinch.  I knew it was her spirit making herself known.

As the session drew to a close, Heather gave me a drink of water as she started to write down what she experienced during the session.  It was good to have it written down for later reference, especially being so relaxed.

A few of the things she mentioned from the session included:

1.  Spirit Animal – The spirit that came through for me was a unicorn!  According to Maven Unmasked, “As a mythical creature, it is connected to both the heavens and the earth. A creature of magic on the physical plane.  Unicorn asks you to release comparison and jealousy.  See with new waking eyes that view the world with awe and adventure.  Greet everyone you encounter with love and light straight from the heart. Even in the most challenging of circumstances, the love and support that Unicorn gives is undying.

2. Spirit Guides – Heather asked me if I heard the chairs make a pinging noise on two different occasions.  I told her I had and she said that was my grandma and that she was making her presence known.  Heather could see her sitting in the chair near the head of the table.  She was sitting forward, looking at what Heather was doing during the Reiki session.

Heather acknowledged her presence and that made Grandma feel more settled.  She also stated that besides Grandma always being there to look over me, so was my late uncle, and my late grandpa (who stood in the background).

3.  Supplement – While doing the body scan Heather detected a metallic taste.  She suggested I try a taking a Spirulina supplement.  To learn about the benefits of Spirulina click here.

Finally, did I enjoy the experience?  Absolutely!  I’m always open to utilizing mindful practices and personal development.





How To Overcome The Fear Of Failure

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” said Franklin D. Roosevelt during his first inaugural address in 1933.   The infamous quote often comes to mind when we think of fear.  


Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

*I am not a doctor and I’m in no way trying to tell anyone how to manage their fears, anxieties, or any other mental illness. We’re all different, and we all handle our mental illnesses in different ways. It takes a strong person to battle mental illnesses no matter how one chooses to do so. This post is simply meant to help you cope with the day-to-day struggles that come along with anxiety and fear of failure*

Fear is defined as, “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat.”   

Fear doesn’t discriminate and once entrenched it proves difficult to break.  Even when its first glimmers are minuscule, if one doesn’t learn to mindfully take into account the triggers and the physical reactions created by said fears, it can be an arduous road.   

Often it’s taught there are things you have to overlook.  That’s a given.  Sweeping things under the rug, at times, is a necessity in order to navigate the demands of life.  However, you can sweep something under the rug only so long before it manifests itself in other ways.  

For introverts, the world often seems too busy and chaotic enough.  (Granted, it often feels that way for almost anyone.)   Add sudden, swift changes (or planned changes) and fear can greatly impact thoughts and physical health such as migraines, tension headaches, muscle aches, insomnia, fatigue, etc.  Visit for a list of 16 Effects of Stress on Your Body.

What is my biggest fear?  FEAR OF FAILURE!  

Atychiphobia is defined as when we allow that fear to stop us doing the things that can move us forward to achieve our goals aka fear of failure. 

In light of the proven effects of stress on one’s health, it can also hinder social interaction and lead to greater fears and phobias.   How can you overcome the fear of failure?

According to Lisa Firestone, PH.D., Director of Research and Education at The Glendon Association “The inner voice undermines us and limits our capacity to pursue and accomplish the things we want in life.  The first step in overcoming our fear of failure is, therefore, to identify when our inner coach is talking to us.  

“As we start to recognize how and when this voice is influencing our present lives, we can start to separate it from our true point of view, our real self.”  To read more from Lisa Firestone, PH.D. for related articles, visit

Our thoughts shape how we think about ourselves, the world around us, and our actions. However, our thoughts are fleeting and at times fear-based.  Recognizing negative self-talk and reframing it to what is actually true, can help overcome the fear of failure.  For me, this approach has helped greatly and hope it can benefit you as well!

This post is part of the 52-Week Blog Challenge. The  52-Week Blog Challenge was started by Britts Daily Dose & Sit Back And Just Live.  If you want to participate you can too!  All you need to do is 1. post the banner at the top of the post and 2. link both of their blogs in your post!


To read more of Sweetsnsnarks blog posts from the 52-Week Blog Challenge check out Favorite Summer Accessories, Thoughts On Time Management, and Books To Read For Personal Development.  For blog updates and daily motivation follow @sweetsnsnarks on Instagram.


Favorite Summer Accessories

bloggerslinksup.jpg(Disclosure:  This post may contain affiliates links, which means if you click one of the product links, I’ll receive a small compensation.)

The challenge for this week’s 52-Week Blog Challenge is My Biggest Fashion Accessory. However, I decided to put my own spin on it with my Favorite Summer Accessories.  

You’ll find these fun fashion accessories from PoppyApparel.   As a Brand Ambassador, use my code Sweet10 to get 10% off your first order!


The official kick-off of summer has come and gone.  Schools are out for the year, temps are warming, pools are opening, and people are hitting the beach.  For many, it’s their favorite season to get out and enjoy the sunshine and good times with family and friends.  However, before heading out the door to soak in the sun, there are those summer essentials you don’t leave home without.

Summer must-haves:

!.  Sunnies – Jackie O-style – Think oversized, sophisticated and the bigger the better!  A classic look that looks good no matter what you’re wearing.  Sunglasses, I never leave home without them (especially after moving to Tucson).  



Edith sunglasses fit the bill


However, I have to admit I’m loving the retro 80s vibe of reflective sunnies by HapiGoo. Alma Sunglasses are mirrored, photochromic, anti-reflective, and UV400.  The cat-eye sunglasses come in 8 versatile color options.


2.  Beach Hat – It’s always fun to wear a hat, but for me, it’s a necessity when at the pool or beach.  The bigger the better to shield and protect your eyes.  It wasn’t until my eyes met with the UV rays of Tucson, that I realized how much I needed the added shading only a hat can provide.  

3.  JumpsuitsWith rising temps, less is more.  One way to look pretty, stay cool and comfy are jumpsuits!  The Boho Floral Jumpsuit by Lily Rosie Girl comes in white and khaki. 




4.  Sandals – There are sandals you wear to the beach or the pool and there are sandals for every day.  Summer is time to go for something fun and flirty.  For a pop of color, I love these Pom-Pom Gladiator Sandals.  



Pom-Pom Sandals


5.  Fun Beach Bag  –  You have to have a bag to carry your keys, phone, tanning lotion/sunscreen, a bottle of water, and other miscellaneous items.  Poppy Apparel has some cute soft backpacks, by Soopream, in multiple styles to chose from.  My favorite is this I’m really a Mermaid backpack.  



I’m Really A Mermaid


What are your summer essentials you couldn’t live without?  Comment below and leave a link to your favorite accessories. 🙂 


This post is part of the 52-Week Blog Challenge. The  52-Week Blog Challenge was started by Britts Daily Dose & Sit Back And Just Live. I’m enjoying the challenge as a way to get myself into blogging consistently and it’s fun!  If you want to participate you can too!  All you need to do is 1. post the banner at the top of the post and 2. link both of their blogs in your post!


Other 52-Week Blog Challenge posts to check out:

Books To Read For Personal Development

Social Media Phenomenon, Instagram Tips, Tricks, & Accounts To Follow  



Also, check out #anbloggerslinkup!



Things To Do In Tucson

A couple of months ago, Kimberly of wegotsidetrekked.comwas on the look out for local sidetrekker experts aka people who have lived in a place long enough in a city to know its water holes and share their experiences in said cities.  That was all the inspiration I needed to share a few of my favorite local Tucson hangouts.


The Wild West has captivated the imagination for generations.  Tucson stands as a multicultural hub.  A big city with a small-town vibe, Tucson’s diversity offers something for everyone.  Boasting 350 days of sunshine a year, it’s easy to see why people are drawn to Old Pueblo. 

Surrounded by the world’s largest concentration of Saguaro Cactus, Tucson is the oldest incorporated city in Arizona and home to the Saguaro National Park.  However, if you think only of Saguaros when you think of Tucson, you’re missing out!  


Tucson has been my home for the past five years. It’s quite the change from my native Midwest.  However, it’s been fun to capture the uniqueness of the city and there’s no shortage of things to do in Tucson.

Below is a list of my favorite hangouts in Tucson and a couple that is on my Tucson bucket list of things I want to do in Tucson.  


Tucson Gem Show – The Tucson Gem & Mineral Show is held every February and attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world.  The event is held, not in a single location, but rather at a multitude of settings including hotel bedrooms, lobbies, parks, and lawns with the premiere location.  To learn more about the Tucson Gem Show click here.

To find Tucson Gem Show on Instagram go to @tucsongemshow.



For a nature retreat from the bustle of the city, Tucson offers Saguaro National Park, Sabino Canyon (part of the Coronado National Forest) as well as Tucson Botanical Gardens and Tohono Chul Park. 

I love these nature havens is that I grew up surrounded by nature.  Fields, streams, lakes, marshes, trees, and fields.  I feel far more comfortable when I have room to breathe instead of stifled by concrete.   Nature is my big escape and joys.  

Saguaro National Park –  Tucson has the distinction of being home to the largest cacti, the Saguaro.  The saguaro is symbolic of the American Southwest.  According to the Saguaro National Park website, Saguaro National Park is uniquely situated around the 500 square miles that make up Tucson; which is at the heart of the Sonoran desert.

To visit Saguaro National Park on Instagram go to @saguaronationalpark.

Sabino Canyon –  According to its website and firsthand experiences, if you’re looking for soaring mountains, deep canyons, and indigenous plants and animals, Sabino Canyon is for you!  This oasis in the Sonoran desert draws over a million visitors to the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area.

Below are photos from my hike in Sabino Canyon last spring when 85 degrees is considered cool.  In both parks, you can enjoy bicycling, camping, biking, hiking, horse riding, fishing, and more.   Standing beside these hearty Saguaros is as awe-inspiring as gazing out to the surrounding foothills and Indian ruins.

To visit Sabino Canyon on Instagram go to @sabinocanyonaz.


Photo copyright LeAnn Rodriguez


Photo copyright LeAnn Rodriguez

Tucson Botanical Gardens  – Located on the historic Porter property.  Reader’s Digest named Tucson Botanical Gardens as the best secret garden in America.  It is a lush oasis of foliage consisting of mature trees, specialty gardens, and more.   It feels like you’re stepping into another world upon entering the grounds.  

Whether your visit is to enjoy the beauty of nature through the various gardens, or the Butterfly Greenhouse filled with a seasonal tropical butterfly display and plants, or a featured event such as the Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life exhibit (runs through the end of August) or the Summer Oasis Series (June 1 – September 30), you will not be disappointed.  

The Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life exhibit is a part of the New York Botanical Garden’s blockbuster exhibit and it was a thrill to end.  According to the Tucson Botanical Garden website, “This exhibit examines Kahlo’s work, life, and influence through the lens of the plants and nature that surrounded her.  Tucson Botanical Gardens was selected as the only institution to receive this extraordinary exhibition designed by one of the world’s premier botanical gardens, the New York Botanical Garden.”

Marry the beauty of nature with educational and cultural activities and events, Tucson Botanical Garden, brings the best of both worlds.  

To visit Tucson Botanical Gardens on Instagram go to @tucsonbotanical.


Path to Cafe Botanica



Tohono Chul Park – According to the park’s website, “The mission of Tohono Chul is to enrich people’s lives by connecting them with the wonders of nature, art, and culture in the Sonoran Desert region and inspiring wise stewardship of the natural world.”  

As previously noted, being from a rural area, I especially appreciate a place to enjoy nature in the midst of all the concrete about city life.   Tohono Chul Park’s origins stem from Richard and Jean Wilson who began purchasing patches of the desert to what is now 37 acres.  A place that was their home is now a haven to all interest in learning and appreciating nature.  

To visit Tohono Chul Park on Instagram go to @tohonochul.

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Pima Air & Space Museum – The Pima Air & Space Museum was my first taste of museums Tucson had to offer.  Years ago I first heard of it when brother went to visit a friend from school who had relocated to the area.  The only thing I remember him saying at the time was that he saw John Travolta there and got his autograph.  Keep in mind, my brother is not much of a talker, it was the 80s, and well, it was John, freaking, Travolta!!! (Sadly, my brother didn’t have a camera with him, but Travolta pretty much looks the same now as he did back then).  

The only thing I remember him saying at the time was that he saw John Travolta there and got his autograph.  Keep in mind, my brother is not much of a talker, it was the 80s, and well, it was John, freaking, Travolta!!!  (Sadly, my brother didn’t have a camera with him, but he pretty much looks the same now as he did back then).  

My visit to the Pima Air & Space Museum was far less glamorous, but nevertheless impressive.  According to their website, “It’s one of the largest non-government funded aviation and space museums in the world!  It features over 300 historical aircraft, from a Wright Flyer to a 787 Dreamliner.”  

It’s pretty incredible to see aircrafts up close, let alone to walk amongst them.  The museum features 3 hangar exhibits, a space gallery exhibit, and an outdoor exhibit.  As a visitor, you are able to get a bird’s eye view of what it was like inside aircraft(s).  You could help but wonder how those who flew them must have felt during times of war, especially as volunteers who were veterans recounted their missions.  

DeGrazia Gallery In The SunOne of the greatest treasures Tucson has to offer is the DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun.  Many years ago I had seen a DeGrazia print and fell in love. The artwork always remained in the back of my mind. It reminded me of a necklace my parents brought back from a trip to Mexico of a hand-painted little girl holding a bird I had adored and still have to this day.Unfortunately, I didn’t know who the artist was or his work, but when I moved to Tucson, I soon discovered how close I was to the artist’s home and studio.  

According to the DeGrazia Gallery In The Sun website, what started as a small construction project in the early 1950s developed into a 10-acre National Historic District designed and built by acclaimed Arizona artist Ettore “Ted” DeGrazia.

“The gallery was designed by me. I wanted to have the feeling of the Southwest. I wanted to build it so that my paintings would feel good inside.” – Ettore “Ted” DeGrazia.

When the town of Tucson grew near to his first studio on Campbell Avenue and Prince Road, DeGrazia and his wife Marion, a sculptor from Upstate New York, bought the isolated foothills property in the early 1950s to escape the encroachment.

Following a regional tradition of building a chapel or shrine in thanks, DeGrazia’s goal was an adobe mission built from the ground up at the foot of the Santa Catalina Mountains.

There are six permanent collections of paintings that trace historical events and native cultures of the Southwest. Rotating exhibitions display some of the 15,000 DeGrazia originals housed at the gallery, including oils, watercolors, sketches, serigraphs, lithographs, sculptures, ceramics, and jewelry. A consignment room displays DeGrazia originals available for purchase, while the gift shop offers a wide selection of reproductions. 

To visit DeGrazia Gallery In The Sun on Instagram go to @degraziegallery.

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Mercado San Agustin – The only open marketplace in Tucson, Mercado San Agustin, features a selection of innovative shops, restaurants, a weekly farmer’s market, and hosts local events.  What is most charming is the old-world courtyard, a popular gathering place for both locals and visitors to experience the unique culture of Tucson.  

Originally introduced to Mercado at a Tuesdays Together, Rising Tide Society meeting place, I was enamored with the courtyard and how it drew people together as both a meeting place and market.  

To visit Mercado San Agustin on Instagram go to @mercadosanagustin

Saguaro Market What can you find at Saguaro Market?  Glad you asked!  If you love original artwork with a modern, Southwest flare, Saguaro Market is for you!  They market sells original artwork from local artists including high-quality gift wrap, paper goods, as well as a unique selection of gifts and home accessories.  

What’s even more special about Saguaro Market is that it’s an experience:  “A place where people want to spend time, kick-back, do a little shopping, and drink a cup of coffee, a pint of beer, or a glass of wine. Children will have a fun, safe place to create masterpieces, play games, read books, and make-believe.  It will be a place for family & friends to gather and enjoy a day together.”

To visit Saguaro Market on Instagram go to @saguaromarket.


Visit Saguaro Market For Desert Inspired Artwork By Local Artists



Custom, Hand-{ainted by @donovan999999, Vintage Handbag


Quality Paper Products

Hotel Congress –   The Hotel Congress is a member of the Historic Hotels of America®. Originally built in 1919, Hotel Congress also included the Tap Room Bar.   After a fire in 1934, the hotel was rebuilt.  It retains its urban, vintage, Southwest charm in the heart of downtown Tucson with colorful murals that line the walls. 

In later years Hotel Congress also housed Club Congress, which hosts live shows and dancing, as well as Cup Café with its iconic penny floor.  The food at Cup Café is AMAZING and has been featured in local and national publications alike.   

To visit Hotel Congress on Instagram go to @hotelcongress.


History Is Everywhere At Hotel Congress – Photo By LeAnn Rodriguez

St. Augustine Cathedral Church –  Located in downtown Tucson, St. Augustine Cathedral Church rose from modest beginnings, composed of a small, two-room house, to the Spanish Colonial Revival style that is stunning to behold today.   

Mission San Xavier del Bac – According to Mission San Xavier del Bac, construction of the current church began in 1783 and completed in 1797.   Mission San Xavier is the oldest intact European structure in Arizona.  It’s filled with original statuary and mural paintings.  The church has over 200,000 visitors per year from all over the world.  


St. Augustine Cathedral Church

2nd Saturdays Downtown – If you’re fortunate enough to be in Old Pueblo on the second Saturday of the month, you will want to make it a point to attend 2nd Saturdays Downtown.   The monthly event is free, family-friendly, a music festival held on the second Saturday of each month in downtown Tucson, as the name suggests.   Along with the music festivities, you will find vendors, street performers, etc.


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Thoughts On Time Management: Why Not Taking A Break Can Negatively Affect Productivity and Stress You Out!

Ever find yourself questioning everything as your to-do list starts to build, you still have mountains of work to do despite working diligently, and your creativity has taken a nosedive?  By overworking yourself, you may be setting yourself up for brain drain whereby everything suffers.  

It happens to everyone, but rather than giving into beating yourself down over it, give yourself a break!  


We all need to get out of our own “head space” from time to time.  By giving yourself room to breathe, it will help to shed light on possibilities you once perceived as boundaries.  

The old saying goes, you can’t beat a dead horse.  However, that’s exactly what you’re doing if you try to force something.  Sure, many people work well under pressure, as it keeps one attention to a particular task, but if you find yourself struggling (even during crunch time) it may serve you well to take a break to clear your thoughts.  

Sometimes NOT taking a break can lead to sheer exhaustion.  It happens all too often when you push yourself that by the time you surrender and go to bed, you’re left staring at the ceiling only dreaming of sleep.  Nothing like burning the midnight oil, only to have your thoughts cycling and you’re left getting little to no sleep.   


You may be hesitant to grant yourself permission to take a break.  It’s easy to push oneself to get one more item checked off the to-do list but ask yourself what difference it makes if you are done 10 minutes later or an hour when you can feel more refreshed?  There’s scientific proof that illustrates that brief diversions can increase productivity as noted in Science News.

So why not break free from multitasking?  It may be what the doctor ordered. 

Back away from your computer.  Don’t worry, it will be there when you get back.  I’ve never known one to get up and walk away on its own accord.  


Work on a completely different task.  Remember having to study for a college exam?  Was it not one of the quickest ways to get motivated to completely rearrange your dorm room?!   Take it and fly with it! At least you will be accomplishing something that is on your to-do list as well as clear your thoughts.  

In that vein, switch gears to engaging on Instagram with other bloggers/creatives, schedule your twitter feed, or brainstorm blog post ideas to keep it work related or do the prep work for supper, clean an area of your place that needs sprucing up, or write out your shopping list for chores surrounding your home.


Get Moving.  While you’ve been working out your brain, remember your body needs a workout too.  Whether going for a walk or finding your favorite YouTube workouts to do in the comfort of your home get active to increase productivity.  

According to the Anxiety and Depressions Association of America, “Exercise is also considered vital for maintaining mental fitness, and it can reduce stress. Studies show that it is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function. This can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate.”


#TreatYoSelf  You know as well as I do you’re jonesing for your favorite cup of Joe.  Go on and go get or make your favorite home brew.  Even better yet, schedule time for a coffee date!  Being social will ease tension and gives you the opportunity to bounce ideas off from someone if you’re feeling a mental block.  


When all else fails, look at something cheery!  My go-to are yellows and pinks.  My grandma had a yellow, smiley-face cup full of pens on her desk for years.  It matched the smiley face printed apron all her grandkids wore when they used to “help” at my grandparent’s store.  The combo of color and the smiling face always made me smile on the inside.  Sometimes that’s all it takes to reframe your thinking.  

Think vibrant yellow like in this styled-stock image below from @wonderfelle.  Instantly yellow puts me in a better frame of mind whereby I feel less guarded and tense.  Ok, I’ll admit it’s rather simplistic, but check out The Psychology of Color in Marketing and Branding by and you’ll find yellow is associated with OPTIMISM!!


Scrolling through my Instagram feed, through all the beautiful colors and images, always does the trick for me! ♥    

This post is part of the 52-Week Blog Challenge. The  52-Week Blog Challenge was started by Britts Daily Dose & Sit Back And Just Live. I’m enjoying the challenge as a way to get myself into blogging consistently and it’s fun!  If you want to participate you can too!  All you need to do is 1. post the banner at the top of the post and 2. link both of their blogs in your post!


Thank you for taking the time to stop by my corner of the blogosphere.  If you enjoyed this post, please comment below and be sure to share!  Thanks, friends!

Other posts you may be interested in:  

Books To Read For Personal Development

Social Media Phenomenon: Instagram Tips, Tricks, & Accounts To Follow

10 Must-Have Tools of the Freelance Trade

For more information on Sweetsnsnarks visit: 






Books To Read For Personal Development

The  52-Week Blog Challenge was started by Britts Daily Dose & Sit Back And Just Live. I’m enjoying the challenge as a way to get myself into blogging consistently and it’s fun!  If you want to participate you can too!  All you need to do is 1. post the banner at the top of the post and 2. link both of their blogs in your post!


Whether you are an online book reader, are enamored with the feel of a book in your hands, or like to listen to audiobooks on the go, there’s nothing like immersing yourself into the insightful words of another to help you see things in a new light.  

This week’s challenge is to share a favorite book, but being an avid reader and wishing to bring you more, below are 5 books to read to help inspire creativity and personal development.    

The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion by Elle Luna.Elle-Luna-Crossroads-Should-And_Must

The Crossroads of Should and Must was more inspiring than I could’ve ever hoped.  Each page illuminates the need to follow your passion in order to live a happy, authentic life. Choosing between should and must is the difference between a job and a calling.  Luna sets out to give the reader permission to follow one’s passions, use their gifts, to live a more fulfilling life.  

LONG QUOTE ALERT!! – This quote is too important NOT to include.  So bear with it.  Let it marinate:

“Should is how other people want us to live our lives. It’s all of the expectations that others layer upon us.

Sometimes, Shoulds are small, seemingly innocuous, and easily accommodated. “You should listen to that song,” for example. At other times, Shoulds are highly influential systems of thought that pressure and, at their most destructive, coerce us to live our lives differently.

When we choose Should, we’re choosing to live our life for someone or something other than ourselves. The journey to Should can be smooth, the rewards can seem clear, and the options are often plentiful.

Must is different. Must is who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self. It’s that which calls to us most deeply. It’s our convictions, our passions, our deepest held urges and desires — unavoidable, undeniable, and inexplicable. Unlike Should, Must doesn’t accept compromises.

Must is when we stop conforming to other people’s ideals and start connecting to our own — and this allows us to cultivate our full potential as individuals. To choose Must is to say yes to hard work and constant effort, to say yes to a journey without a road map or guarantees, and in so doing, to say yes to what Joseph Campbell called “the experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonance within our innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.”

Choosing Must is the greatest thing we can do with our lives.”

The Crossroads of Should and Must is a fitting read for creatives, graduates, and anyone who is looking to get more out of life.  

To follow Elle on Instagram click @elleluna.


Lifestyle Blogging Basics: A How-To for Investing in Yourself, Working With Brands, and Cultivating a Community Around Your Blog by Laura Demetrious.  Lifestyle-Blogging-Basics

Laura Demetrious takes you on her blogging journey from her first blog to where she is now, as well as the hits and misses along the way.  

If you are thinking of starting a lifestyle blog, it is a great resource to help you discover your niche, blog name, selecting a blogging platform, as well as how to get into a blogging routine.  Further chapters discuss how to position yourself to work with brands, how to promote your blog on social media, and creating a thriving community around your blog.  

Starting a blog can be very empowering and can lead you to learn things about yourself and skills you never anticipated.  Being brave and putting yourself out there isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve ever toyed with the idea, you owe it to yourself to give it a try!

To follow Laura on Instagram click @breezyandbrazen.

M Train by Patti Smith.  

This book!  They say you can’t tell a book by its cover, but when I spotted this memoir, I knew the words would be poignant and poetic, weighted in both wisdom and reflection.  It didn’t disappoint.  Inspiring-Reads-For-Creatives

Smith achingly beautiful look at how the losses in life mold us, leaving a lasting impression on the heart as only a musician, poet, and photographer can adequately portray, exposing the pain of losing her husband, the ache of children growing up, and all things in between.  Smith weaves the melancholy of life into a rich tapestry of the heart sharing moments from the past to the present in a free flowing manner.

4 Swoon-Worthy Quotes:

  • “Shard by shard we are released from the tyranny of so-called time. A curtain of purple wisteria partially conceals the entrance to a familiar garden… In a wink, a lifetime, we pass through the infinite movements of a silent overture.”
  • “We seek to stay present, even as the ghosts attempt to draw us away.”
  • “Nothing can be truly replicated.  Not a love, not a jewel, not a single line.”
  • “How is it that we never completely comprehend our love for someone until they’re gone?”

Reading of Smith’s journey and seeing her Polaroids that capture special moments, you realize you have been given the gift of seeing someone completely and unapologetically vulnerable.  It’s next to impossible to not feel moved by such beautifully worded candor. 

Loving My Actual Life: An Experiment in Relishing What’s Right in Front of Me by Alexandra KuykendallLoving-My-Actual-Life-Self-Development

In a world that promotes being busy, we’re left spinning our wheels, rushing from one task to another day in and day out. Life becomes centered around completing tasks without taking the time to appreciate living.  

Alexandra decided to take matters into her own hands with an experiment to loving her actual life.  

“By intentionally adding one thing each month that will make her jump for joy, she provides practical challenge women can easily replicate. With humor, poignancy, and plenty of personal stories, Kuykendall weaves together spiritual themes and practical application into a holy self-awareness, showing women how a few small changes in their routines can improve their enjoyment of this crazy-busy life.”

Maybe you have thought you would like to spend more time being present rather than rushing on autopilot from one task to another.  This may be the spark you need to devote time each day, week, or month with a specifically allotted amount of time to focus on the present with your family, friends, and yourself.  

To follow Alexandra on Instagram click @alexandrakuydendall

Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life by Byron Katie.  Byron-Katie-Loving-What_IS

For those times when you feel short-changed or find yourself getting in your own way, Byron Katie delivers in bringing four questions to turn your thinking around.  All too often we complicate things when what we really need to do is The Work.

“The Work is simply four questions that, when applied to a specific problem, enable you to see what is troubling you in an entirely different light. As Katie says, “ ‘It’s not the problem that causes our suffering; it’s our thinking about the problem.’ ” Contrary to popular belief, trying to let go of a painful thought never works; instead, once we have done The Work, the thought lets go of us. At that point, we can truly love what is, just as it is.”

It’s true that you can only control how you react to something.  Realizing that is the first step in taking ownership of your own happiness.  Reframing your thoughts allows you to approach things the way they are rather than causing more stress, anger, fear by fighting them.  


“Isn’t it marvelous to discover that you’re the one you’ve been waiting for?  That you are your own freedom?” – Byron Katie

Book-Related Hashtags:


What are some books that have inspired you?

For more book recommendations, check out 7 Must-Reads To Motivate Creatives, Bloggers, and Entrepreneurs. 

To follow Sweetsnsnarks on Instagram click @sweetsnsnarks



Month of May

The  52-Week Blog Challenge was started by Britts Daily Dose & Sit Back And Just Live. I’m enjoying the challenge as a way to get myself into blogging consistently and it’s fun!  If you want to participate you can too!  All you need to do is 1. post the banner at the top of the post and 2. link both of their blogs in your post!



Today we are taking a look at our favorite month for the 52-Week Blog Challenge.  My favorite month is May!  Join me and see if you have similar memories to share!

May Basket Day.  The first “holiday,” and one of my favorite memories of May, is May Basket Day.  In the NPR article, Forgotten Tradition: May Basket Day, Linton Weeks gives the description of the holiday as, “The curious custom — still practiced in discrete pockets of the country — went something like this: As the month of April rolled to an end, people would begin gathering flowers and candies and other goodies to put in May baskets to hang on the doors of friends, neighbors and loved ones on May 1.”


In grade school, I loved making little May baskets.  Using Styrofoam cups or construction paper that we decorated, stapled into a square or cone, and adding a handle made from a colorful pipe cleaner, the baskets were ready for filling with popcorn and candy. Continue reading

52-Week Blog Challenge: The Music of My Heart

Hi, everyone!  Sorry, I haven’t posted in awhile, but I’ve had some medical issues (that can be addressed) coupled with anxiety.  Those two go hand-in-hand and making writing less than easy.  So I took the time to unplug for self-care.  

As you may know…

The  52-Week Blog Challenge was started by Britts Daily Dose & Sit Back And Just Live. I’m enjoying the challenge as a way to get myself into blogging consistently and it’s fun!  If you want to participate you can too!  All you need to do is 1. post the banner at the top of the post and 2. link both of their blogs in your post!  



52-Week Blog Challenge

The music of my heart…  I chose a few songs that always make me feel something special when I hear them.  Music offers a great way to practice self-care in lifting our moods and promoting relaxation.  Music unites, holds memories, and enhances moods.  

Whether writing, walking or driving music accompanies many of us.  As I’ve gotten older I’ve gravitated toward relaxing music.  My nerves simply aren’t as tolerant, but if I hear the music I grew up with, I’m all ears!


The music of my heart is infinite.  The music selected below is eclectic, random, and popped into my head quickly, no rhyme (pun intended) or reason, for the emotions and memories they evoke.  

inspiring-music-phillipsWhen I need to feel at peace and cheerful, I like listening to Phillip Phillips Home and Gone, Gone, Gone from the album The World From The Side Of The Moon.   As someone who suffers from anxiety, it’s the kind of extra boost I need.

Hearing those songs readily makes me happy.  Happy like when I just a young girl in the 70s listening to songs about putting flowers in your hair.  And also because I miss home! 

                                                 If you’re willing to throw it back further, I would go to Neneh Cherry’s Buffalo Stance. What is a buffalo stance? 220px-neneh_cherry_raw_like_sushi_cover 

According to Urban Dictionary, it means to stand with your arms tightly crossed looking over to the side at somebody. This comes from the pose struck by Bruce Smith of the Buffalo Bills in the late 1980’s.The song came out in 1989 on Cherry’s album Raw Like Sushi.  

Why is this the music of my heart?  It was released just before the end of my junior year in high school.  My best friend introduced me to it when we were road tripping to the metropolis of Des Moines to go shopping.  In a nutshell:  We were young, skinny or skinnier than we thought we were, spring had sprung, and as everyone at that age, we felt invincible!

                                           For music of my heart to inspire writing, I turn to my favorite female artist, Steve Nicks. She writes some of the most enchanting lyrics. images

Filled with heartfelt emotion, I can’t help but be inspired to write when I listen to her music especially songs like If Anyone Falls In Love or Rooms Are All On Fire.  If you haven’t listened to her box set, Enchanted, you really should.  Now I’m going to throw it way back to a couple of songs my late grandma and I used to sing while on drives in the country.  They’re from the early 70s, and although far from vogue, whenever I hear them I’m transported.  

I can feel the wind coming in through the windows as I sit beside Grandma without a seatbelt singing our hearts out without a care in the world.  Fittingly, one song is Take Me Home, Country Roads by the late John Denver.  The other is Rhinestone Cowboy by Glen Campbell who now sadly suffers from Alzheimer’s. 


Music Playlist – Music of My Heart

I  could go on and on listing songs that touch a chord whenever I hear them, but by far, the music of my heart is the sound of children laughing and playing outside.  It’s the sound of youth and freedom.  A reminder of a long-distant memory of our innocence.  

Or the sound of laughter of family and friends.  To live is to know struggle and strife making all the more precious the sound of joy from those we hold close to heart.  

Whether big or small, the sounds of nature including the rolling of waves crashing to birds singing their songs, make my heart happy and soothe my mind.  

What is the music of your heart?  

To follow Sweetsnsnarks on Instagram:  @sweetsnsnarks

For more of the 52-Week Blog Challenge Posts:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Also, check out 6 Ways To Explore Creativity!










52-Week Blog Challenge: Week 10 – Oh To Win A Million Dollars

The  52-Week Blog Challenge was started by Britts Daily Dose & Sit Back And Just Live. I’m enjoying the challenge as a way to get myself into blogging consistently and it’s fun!  If you want to participate you can too!  All you need to do is 1. post the banner at the top of the post and 2. link both of their blogs in your post!  

52-week-blog-challenge-guideIf you’re taking part of the 52-Week Blog Challenge, please leave a comment below so I can check out your posts and get to know you as well. 🙂

Many of us don’t have the luxury of spending at will.  There’s bills to pay, obligations, and incidentals that life throws our way.

Oh to win a million dollars…we’ve all had that dream about a million times, but it’s always fun to dream.  


Here’s a list of my top 6 things I would do if I won a million dollars (after being smart by saving and investing: 

New car.  If one didn’t have to worry about a down payment and monthly payments, a new car would be OUTSTANDING!  My hubby and I work from home so thankfully we currently only need one vehicle, however, it’s getting old and showing its wear.


Move.  Let’s get the ball rolling.  While spending winters in Tucson are nice, I’m looking forward to moving back home to be near my family.  Heck, let’s just fast forward to being snow birds.  Buy a house back home and buy a condo in Tucson!  Nah, let’s make that a condo somewhere near a beach.  Win-win.


Buy a house.  Since moving back to the Midwest is on my to-do list, let’s add buying a home to the list.  I haven’t been a homeowner for a few years and it would feel good to have a bigger space of my own.  A charming home like the one below looks like a cozy, comforting retreat from the world. 


Travel.  Travel like there’s no tomorrow, baby!  My hubby and I have a European travel wish list that we’d like to tend to sooner rather than later.  As noted in the post Top 5 Places I’d Like To Visit, a tour of England, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain sound like a dream come true.  

Treat others.  Sometimes it hasn’t been easy to buy presents for family members and friends.  However, I would love to give to others by treating them to an event, a weekend away, or activity.  Memories made while together are the treasured.  Those moments are the true gifts in life that a tangible gift cannot compare.


Donate.  There are always worthy causes that are in need of donations.  One cause close to my heart is the elderly.  I  would donate to a local care center(s) and to elderly shut-ins that don’t have family or friends to look out for them, to provide needed items they would find much needed or comforting.  

Again, spending time with someone is often the most beneficial, but also those who cannot get out on their own, also deeply appreciate someone looking out for them and their needs. 

To read more about how caring for the elderly is a gift check out the post, Pay It Forward By Doing Good.


To be notified of new Sweetsnsnarks posts, please be sure to follow.  Join me on Instagram at @sweetsnsnarks.  I’d love to see you there!

To check out 52-Week Blog Challenge posts you may have missed:

Week 2

Week 3






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