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Back to Garden Work!

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Empowerment
Back to Garden Work!

Dragon pond gift from china.jpghttps://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1317/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Back-to-work.html

by Cynthia Brian

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” F. Scott Fitzgerald

P.G.E. has informed the community that the power may be shut off for 48 hours at a time due to high gusty winds and dry conditions. Obviously, this doesn’t make me happy because if there is no electricity, there is no internet connection on my computer. Without an internet connection, I can’t submit my articles and photographs to the newspaper.  I’m not one to use my cell phone for my writing or photography assignments, thus, this announcement means that I have to stop my autumnal garden clean-up to write and publish.

The silver lining is that you, my dear readers, will get a jumpstart on your fall chores. Yes, it is time to get back to work in your yard.

The next 30 days are the optimal time to get your landscape prepared for the winter sleep and the spring awakening. Before the rains come, harvest your grapes, take away the trash, tidy up the vegetable patch, clear away the dead stems.  Over-wintering pests and diseases will take refuge in the hideouts of debris left in the garden. Corn stalks must be cut (use them for Halloween decorations). Pick the ripe apples, figs, and Asian pears. Leaves from deciduous and evergreen trees may be raked into the compost pile. Or, if you have space, stack leaves separately to create a rich leaf mold that can be used next season as a valuable ingredient in your potting soil. 

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Most garden projects are best begun in autumn when the soil is still warm with cooler evenings. Create new paths, add a rock garden, terrace a hillside, plant a fern grotto, sow a new lawn. If you have a greenhouse, start bringing frost tender potted plants into the structure. If you don’t have a greenhouse, identify plants that need protection and if they are in containers, move them closer to the house, preferably under an awning. For plants growing in your garden that will be susceptible to winters chill, wrap them in burlap. I am currently covering my bougainvillea and blue flowering Birds of Paradise. 

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With the change of seasons, our houseplants require a bit of TLC. For all of the smaller, moveable plants, bring them outdoors for a final refreshing shower to remove built-up dust. Give them a deep drink on a warm, but not a hot day, and let them dry in the shade before returning them to the house. For large plants such as fiddle leaf fig or philodendron, take a damp cloth and wipe each leaf, top and bottom, as well as the stems. With shorter days, less intense light, and a different indoor atmosphere, our houseplants may suffer. Make sure to keep the soil evenly moist without being soggy. If you want your Christmas cactus to bloom for the holidays, keep it in a cool room without watering so that it can rest. 

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Red flag days will be more common through November as winds kick up and the heat of fall keeps the thermometers rising. If you pruned your begonias and roses in the last few weeks, you’ll enjoy bountiful flowers until the downpours begin. I am truly enamored with begonias, both the tuberous and the wax leaf or fibrous. In some areas, the wax leaf begonia is an annual but in our warmer Mediterranean climate, they are perennial like their sisters, the tuberous begonias. Don’t make the mistake of pulling them out when they die back. Just cut them to the ground to allow them to overwinter and you’ll be rewarded with even a fuller plant next blooming season.

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Cynthia Brian’s “Back to Work” Gardening Guide for October

The chores already discussed need doing before inclement weather begins.

Once we have a deep soaking of life-giving rain, October is one of the best months for planting, seeding, and digging.

  • CREATE meandering borders filled with perennials and shrubs.
  • PLANT trees and bushes as the temperature cools.
  • SCATTER wildflower seeds, especially California poppies and lupines.
  • START a new lawn or re-seed an existing lawn.
  • DEADHEAD annuals.
  • ROOT out any remaining weeds.
  • DIG a pond and add a water feature.
  • Lily pond.jpg
  • CHOOSE fall planting bulbs that will have different bloom times from early to late spring. Don’t forget muscari (grape hyacinth). This fragrant bulb will multiply, growing in sun or shade.
  • REFRIGERATE hyacinth, crocus, and tulip for six weeks before planting. 
  • SOW cool-season vegetables including turnips, peas, lettuce, rutabagas, kohlrabi, carrots, kale, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
  • ADD a tropical ambiance with New Guinea impatiens, red-hot poker, and palms.
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  • PROVIDE long-lasting beauty for sunny areas with ornamental grasses, geraniums, and elephant ear.
  • geranium, feather grass, elephant ear.jpghttps://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1317/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Back-to-work.html
  • FIX nitrogen and increase biomass with a cover crop such as mustard, alfalfa, or crimson clover.
  • ENJOY your begonias. Once they start dying back, do not pull them out. They will return more robust next fall. 
  • TAKE pleasure in photos of beautiful gardens, such as those from Butchart Gardens in Canada. See https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1316/Cynthia-Brians-Gardening-Guide-for-October-Benvenuto-to-Butchart-Gardens.html
  • Buchart Sunken Garden.jpg

Our gardens are winding down and so too will we. Get to work finishing your tasks this autumn in anticipation of a restful winter. Life begins again!

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

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Photos and More: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1317/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Back-to-work.html

One Minute Evacuation: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1317/One-Minute-to-Evacuate-a-personal-perspective-from-the-Oct-10-fire.html

 

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, raised in the vineyards of Napa County, is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. 

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Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Buy a copy of her books, Growing with the Goddess Gardener and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. 

Cynthia Brian books banner.jpg

Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

 

60 Seconds to Safety

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Empowerment
60 Seconds to Safety

firefihters fighting moraga fire___12001032972.jpg

When it’s 2:15 in the morning, the power is out, the air smells of smoke, yet you are fast asleep, then you realize that firefighters are pounding on your door shouting, “Evacuate Now”, what do you do? 

I thought I was very prepared for an emergency with packed Go Bags in our vehicles and one in our hall closet that had a list in large letters of what to grab.  But when my husband and I were given exactly ONE MINUTE to get out because the fire was only 100 feet from our house, there was no time to gather items. In the dark, with a flashlight leading the way, there was just enough time to throw on clothes, grab my computer, purse, phone, keys, and Go Bag. Outside the front door, I put on my garden clogs and off we went as two trucks of firefighters battled the blaze from our driveway. 

Here are the cliff notes of what I learned that frenzied and frightful morning that could have improved our one-minute evacuation.

  1. 1.Put keys, wallet, handbag, phone, glasses, and other essentials in the same place every time. My husband left without his wallet and glasses.
  2. 2.Everything on your list should be stored near your Go Bag. On my list, I had written: computer, back-up discs, passports, insurance papers, family DVD’s, and my first-edition books that I wrote.  There was time to only get my computer.
  3. 3.Have duplicate keys to homes, offices, or other keys you may need in your Go Bag. We were allowed to only evacuate with one car. My car had everything we needed in it, but we were directed to take my husband’s car that had nothing.
  4. 4.Keep a pair of shoes near the front door. Check!
  5. 5.A headlamp is the best flashlight option when you are searching in the dark,  attempting to find things. Two hands are better than one when you can take only what you can carry.
  6. 6.Bring a warm coat, blankets, socks, and maybe your pillow. It was cold and the two thin blankets in my emergency bag were not sufficient. I wish I had stuffed my pillow in my bag.

Today I’ve amended my emergency Go Bag. This may be the new normal.

The firefighters were calm, professional, and truly heroic in saving lives and homes. Our sincerest gratitude to all these brave men from many fire districts who orchestrated a successful save. Bravo!

All is well that ends well.

Read more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1317/One-Minute-to-Evacuate-a-personal-perspective-from-the-Oct-10-fire.html

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EMERGENCY SUPPLY KIT-GO BAG

by Cynthia Brian

 

In the midst of the many disasters that seem to be continuous, I encourage clients to put together an emergency “Go Bag”. Whatever the calamity, it will behoove you to have an emergency supply kit in every vehicle and a larger one in your home. Make sure you know where all of your important documents are located. Make copies and put everything you need either in your Go Bag or next to your Go Bag. Know how to manually open automatic garage doors and gates. Sometimes, as is the case with our California wildfires or earthquakes, a matter of minutes is the difference between life and death.

Make copies of your passport, driver’s license, credit cards, and have some small bills available. Pack duplicate chargers for phones, tablets, and computers. Back up your computers and keep files in the cloud or off-site. Make a plan for your pets and animals and have a bag ready for them as well. Know your neighbors and their contact numbers to keep in touch to make sure everyone is safe. Have a list of a network of friends that you can call in an emergency. Know where you can go in evacuations.

Most of all, remember that saving your life and that of your family is the most important. Everything else can be replaced.

Fill a backpack or small case with the following and keep one of these in ALL of your vehicles and one in your home:
First Aid kit

Work gloves

Warm gloves

Towelettes

Small towel

Bottled water (1 gallon per person per day)

Blanket

Walking shoes

Socks

Warm jacket

Peanut butter

Honey

Protein bars

Personal hygiene kit with a toothbrush, soap, medications

Matches

Candle

Flashlight and headlamp with extra batteries

Eating utensils

Breathing masks (Niosh-N95)

Clothing change

Extra set of keys to home, office, etc.

Cash

Toilet Paper

Bottles of Wine (optional)

 

I hope that we never have to use these emergency kits, but it’s best to be prepared.

Cynthia Brian is the columnist for Digging Deep with the Goddess Gardener. www.CynthiaBrian.com

Cynthia Brian

Starstyle® Productions, LLC

PO Box 422  *  Moraga, Ca. 94556

925-377-7827   *     www.CynthiaBrian.com   *   Cynthia@Star-Style.com 

Read more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1317/One-Minute-to-Evacuate-a-personal-perspective-from-the-Oct-10-fire.html

Cynthia Brian-Fire Garden Hat.jpg

Butchart Gardens

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Empowerment
Butchart Gardens

Buchart Sunken Garden.jpg

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

O Canada! 

After a hot summer of weeding, pruning, mowing, cleaning, composting, and tidying my plots, traveling to Victoria in British Columbia was a welcome respite. Despite the cold and inclement weather on Vancouver Island, we set out to explore the extraordinary National Historic Site of Canada in Brentwood Bay known as The Butchart Gardens. 

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In 1904, the Butchart family built their home amongst sheltered Tod Inlet surrounded by forests and fields in an area where there were limestone deposits, the perfect conditions for establishing a cement plant. They named the location, “Benvenuto”, meaning “welcome” in Italian.  Mr. Butchart’s first barge-load of cement sailed from the inlet in 1905 for sale to Canadian cities. As rocks were gathered and piled in select locations and soil was brought in by the wagonloads, the quarry soon metamorphosed into the show-stopping sunken gardens. Every site for planting was meticulously chosen and a lake was created from the deepest part of the quarry, fed by a waterfall and stream. 

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Still owned and maintained by the Butchart family, the 55 acres of gardens continue to evolve, expand, and attract.  Over a million visitors a year flock to this oasis of calm and beauty. Today separate gardens include the Rose, Italian, Mediterranean, Japanese, and Sunken Garden. Numerous waterscapes abound. There are boat tours at Butchart Cove, fireworks in the evening, restaurants, tea time, and even a Carousel with thirty hand-carved animals that delight children and kids-at-heart alike.

Although I was enamored by the entire landscape, it was the Sunken Garden that captured my imagination. As an avid and very diligent gardener, I can only imagine the amount of labor that was involved in creating a lush and elegant horticultural masterpiece from a rough, grim, grey quarry of jagged rocks. As I meandered around the paths admiring the handiwork of years of devotion from hundreds of talented plant smiths, I was thrilled to see that the gorgeous flowers blooming in the beds and cascading over the stone banks, were plants that I grow in my California garden. Dahlias, roses, begonias, New Guinea impatiens, cannas, camellias, salvias, rhododendrons, geraniums, petunias, hydrangeas, alliums, acanthus, astilbes, arums, snapdragons, zinnias, euphorbias, fuchsias, heliotropes, hostas, lantanas, marigolds, and even an entire swatch of deep green shamrocks, also known as oxalis, blanketed this serene environment. It was such fun to pass a grouping and be able to answer my husband’s constant question: “What is this called?”  

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But one plant truly stumped me. I had never seen it before and although the entrance ticket includes a small flower and plant guide to the most popular species in the garden, I didn’t know what this plant was. Thankfully, The Butchart Gardens has a Plant Identification Center with knowledgeable plant people. I snapped a photo and showed it to the expert. “This is a tropical plant that we will soon put in the greenhouse to overwinter. It’s called a “Popcorn Plant” because it smells like buttered popcorn.” How marvelous to learn something new every day!

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The camellias and rhododendrons were budding but not in bloom and I can only imagine how sensational the grounds must be when they burst into flower. Every season brings new annuals and bulbs. Spring is filled with tulips, crocus, and daffodils reflecting a love for the Netherlands. There are over 900 bedding plant varieties, 26 greenhouses, and 50 full-time gardeners. 

A forest of trees including maples, madrones, dogwoods, magnolias, flowering cherry, weeping sequoias, poplars, beeches, and Golden chain trees anchor the scene. There were two unusual and unique trees encased in a rock-walled garden, the Monkey Puzzle Tree, definitely a conifer, but not one I’d seen before. 

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Wherever I travel, I seek out gardens that will inspire and instruct me to be a better steward of our earth. Butchart Gardens is exquisitely and elegantly designed. With a plethora of water features including streams, lakes, waterfalls, and fountains, I was transported to a place of sheer joy and tranquility. Totem poles, bronzes, statuary, and whimsical moss-covered wire sculptures offer a nod to the artistic value of landscaping. To walk in the footsteps of those who lived a hundred years ago knowing that they lavished love on this land, preserving it for posterity as well as the enjoyment and education of the general public was simultaneously humbling and enlightening. 

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Life was created in a garden. A garden is life unfolding. I returned to my California countryside as October beckons with the changing of the foliage wardrobe and, motivated by my sojourn, immediately got to work with a spark of a new beginning for digging deeper. Although my property will unlikely ever be a Butchart or Giverny, it is my personalized refuge of sweet repose. 

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https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1316/Cynthia-Brians-Gardening-Guide-for-October-Benvenuto-to-Butchart-Gardens.html

O Canada, thank you. Benvenuto October. 

Cynthia Brian’s Garden Guide for October

CONTINUE watering your yard. Your plants need the moisture now more than ever.

VISIT a public garden for inspiration and ideas.

REFRIGERATE your spring bulbs for the next six weeks.

RAKE falling leaves to add to your compost pile.

PRUNE fruit trees after the harvest.

FERTILIZE begonias, dahlias, and roses.

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READ a garden book. May I suggest, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, available at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store

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TAKE a break. The tough landscaping projects start in two weeks!

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

Photos and article: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1316/Cynthia-Brians-Gardening-Guide-for-October-Benvenuto-to-Butchart-Gardens.html

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Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, raised in the vineyards of Napa County, is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. 

Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show and order her books at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Buy a copy of her new books, Growing with the Goddess Gardener and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. 

BE StarYouAre_Millennials to Boomers Cover.jpeg

Hire Cynthia for projects, consults, and lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

hanging basket, Buchart gardens.jpg

 

cynthia brian

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Empowerment
cynthia brian

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by Cynthia Brian

“And all at once, summer collapsed into fall.” Oscar Wilde

In the fall of my freshman year at UCLA, I began working at one of the very first health food stores ever created in California. It was called Nature’s Health Cove and all the offerings were organic: pesticide, insecticide, and colorant-free. The fruits and vegetables were pathetic looking. Worms bored into apples, the Swiss chard had holes from munching snails, greens boasted fringed tips, a gift from hungry marauding rabbits, tomatoes were cracked, zucchini was malformed. Yet the produce tasted delicious and even though the prices were at least double of anything one could purchase at a grocery store, the crops sold rapidly. One of my tasks was to cull through any severely damaged items, putting them in a bucket for a compost pick up by an urban farmer. 

Having worked in the fruit drying yards and big barn dehydrators growing up on our farm, it dawned on me that usually, half or more of any fruit or vegetable is salvageable. I suggested to the owner that perhaps we could cut out the decaying parts and create healthy drinks and dried snacks with the ripe remainders. The initiative became an instant success with both students and the general public clamoring for a revolving menu of inexpensive tasty treats.

Farm Dedydrator barn.jpghttps://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1315/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Fall-forward-and-waste-not.html

As summer collapses into fall, my trees and vines are heavy with fruit. As much as I eat and give away, there is still more for the picking. I detest waste and besides canning and freezing the extras, I wanted to create some of the dried fruits of my youth.

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While cleaning out one of our barns this summer, I came upon a vintage portable dehydrator that my Grandfather used eons ago to dry his autumn bounty of pears, apples, figs, and grapes.  I cleaned the appliance and set to work slicing and dicing. 

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The results are phenomenal.

If you’ve bought any dried fruit lately, you know how expensive it is. But if you are like me and enjoy DIY projects, I have a simple recipe for you to create your own personal organic fruit leathers. You can use trays and dry your produce in the sun the way it has been done for centuries, but it takes longer and critters may creep in to steal your sweets. My suggestion is to purchase a small dehydrator with four or five drawers. My dehydrator has four drawers and only a single heat setting. My thermometer says it’s dehydrating at 125 degrees, which is perfect. Every three hours I move the drawers from the bottom to the top.  From start to finish, it takes 24 hours. If you buy a dehydrator with adjustable temperature settings, you’ll be able to dehydrate more rapidly.

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Here’s what to do:

  1. 1. Wash and pat dry your desired fruit and vegetables.
  2. 2. You can peel if you wish, but I don’t. Cutaway any bruised or damaged parts. Cut into slices about ¼ to ½ inch thick.
  3. 3. Some vegetables including eggplant, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, zucchini, potatoes, and radishes need to be blanched for a few minutes. 
  4. 4. Cut the slices in a bowl and toss with lemon juice or apple vinegar to reduce browning. Although this step is optional, it helps in preservation.
  5. 5. Spray the trays with a light spritz of canola or olive oil to prevent sticking.
  6. 6. Place slices of the same fruit or vegetable on dehydrator racks in a single layer without overlapping. Use different trays for different varieties.
  7. 7. Check on the process until when done. Let the racks cool before removing the fruit.
  8. 8. You can enjoy your items immediately but if you want to store your stash, pack the dried fruit in glass jars or sealable plastic bags. Shake jars or bags once day to make sure there is no condensation. If there is any moisture, return the product to the dehydrator for a bit more drying. 
  9. 9. Store in a pantry or room temperature darkened area.
  10. 10. Voila! Your very own dried fruit and leathers.Finished fruit leather.jpg

You can also put the dried fruit in bags and freezer. I’ve experimented with over-ripe bananas, apples, pears, Asian pears, and I even made raisins with chardonnay grapes, seeds, and all. Crunchy! Everything turns out delicious and I know these dried trials are nutritious because except for the bananas, they originate in my organic orchard. My next testing will be to make sweet potato chips from the sweet potatoes I’m growing. I plan to go exotic by drying mangoes, strawberries, pineapple, and papayas. 

Recently we witnessed a rise of what I call the “ugly fruit”. Stores, farmer’s markets, and on-line sites are popularizing the value of imperfect produce. This is a giant step forward in eliminating waste and re-educating our families to value all products provided by nature.  Farmers using organic methods know that crops are not always pretty, but the nutritional value and health benefits outweigh perfection of form. 

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As summer slowly fades into fall, I wish you abundance and a garden of eating.

Cynthia Brian’s Mid Month Gardening Guide

PRUNE “widow makers”, dead branches on trees. You can identify the dead branches before the leaves fall from the rest of the tree. 

CHECK the crape myrtles in bloom. If you are considering planting a tree or two later in autumn, this is the perfect time to decide what color will be an advantage to your landscape. Crape myrtles are excellent specimens for year-round attractiveness. The leaves will turn red and golden in late autumn, the bark is bare and beautiful in winter, the leaves are shiny green in spring, and the tree blooms midsummer to late fall.

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REFRIGERATE crocus, tulips, and hyacinths for six weeks before planting.

ADD aged chicken manure to your soil if you are noticing that it is less fertile.

MARK your calendar for a visit to the Be the Star You Are!® non-profit booth at the Moraga Pear and Wine Festival on Saturday, September 28th.  Thanks to our sponsor, The Lamorinda Weekly. Details at https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org/events.

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DEADHEAD tuberous begonias to keep them blooming until frost. The flowers are edible with a tangy, citrusy flavor.

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ENJOY the final days of freshly picked tomatoes tossed with basil or cilantro.

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HARVEST tangerines, Asian pears, and grapes as they ripen.

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PHOTOGRAPH your deciduous trees as the changing colors emerge. The contrast of colors will amaze you as you reflect on the time-line.

DEHYDRATE extra fruit and vegetables for tasty snacks. Kids especially love these dried sweets.

CUT and compost the damaged parts from “ugly” produce and cook with the rest. 

WASTE NOT! Be a steward of our planet with simple up-cycling.

WELCOME the cool and crisp days of autumn. Fall forward!

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

See photos and read more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1315/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Fall-forward-and-waste-not.html

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, raised in the vineyards of Napa County, is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. 

Cynthai-Pink bower vne.jpg

Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show and order her books at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Buy a copy of her new books, Growing with the Goddess Gardener and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. BE StarYouAre_Millennials to Boomers Cover.jpeg

Cynthia Brian'Growing with the Goddess Gardener book copy.jpgBack cover-Growiung  6 x 6 – Version 3.jpg

Hire Cynthia for projects, consults, and lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

 

Controlled Chaos

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Empowerment
Controlled Chaos

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Digging Deep with Goddess Gardener, Cynthia Brian

Controlled Chaos 

by Cynthia Brian

“When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.”~ Buddha

There is only one certainty in the garden: it is never finished. Gardens evolve, change, mutate, and metamorphose. A landscape that was once very ordered and manicured quickly turns into a tangled jungle without ongoing maintenance. With TLC, one can control the chaos to create a masterpiece.

The longer I garden, the more I enjoy the whimsical.  What appears at first glance to be an imperfect arrangement is often the most excellent of combinations.  Mixing the hydrangeas with the nasturtiums and heucheras adds an element of awe and wonder. Discovering a vintage stone angel sitting on top of a plow’s disk praying over the naked ladies, roses, salvia, dried nigella, and the silvery plecostachys serpyllifolia invites one to pinch a stem to smell the licorice plant. Wandering in a meadow filled with daisies, coneflowers, and perennial sweet peas rejuvenates the spirit.

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Yes, I have embraced the controlled chaos of nature.  Several years ago as an experiment, I planted wisteria, grapes, and pink bower vine on a pergola on my deck to see which of these three specimens would dominate. To my amazement, instead of choking one another, they have tangled together creating year-round interest. The wisteria blooms in spring and maintains green leaves until winter when it drops its leaves. The grapevines leaf out in spring, bear edible fruit in fall, change leaf color when the weather turns cold, then showcase bare bark for the winter months. My pink bower vine is perennially green displaying pretty rose-colored petals with a deep cherry center from early summer to winter. What was deemed to be a mishmash of plants resulted in a happily married and visually pleasing grouping.

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On my hillside, a mangle of chartreuse euphorbia intermingles with striped pink morning glory.  The chaos is palpable yet stimulating. My friend Michael Curtis’s garden is an exemplary model of perfection in controlled landscape chaos. Around every corner, one is greeted with a capricious element.  Stroll along Surprise Avenue, be on the lookout for a locomotive in the ivy, and giggle at the numerous street signs lining the paths. 

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Creativity and enchantment reign when you invite the unexpected into your garden planning. Once you have controlled your chaos, you will look up and laugh at the sky.

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Cynthia Brian’s Mid-Month Gardening Guide for August

  • WATER, water, water. August is one of the warmest months and it’s necessary to keep an eye on your containers and yard. If you see drooping leaves, it’s time to sprinkle. In the hot weather, you may have to water daily. 
  • ADD pea gravel, decomposed granite or spaced stepping stones planted with creeping thyme in the gaps for a permeable path with a Mediterranean appearance.
  • STORE herbs by drying them by hanging the stems upside down. For instant soup flavorings, chop finely, add the herbs to an ice tray with a small amount of water, and freeze.
  • DIG out dandelions from your garden and lawn. As long as you have not used insecticides or pesticides, you can add them to salads or stir fry.
  • ESTABLISH a wildlife habitat in your yard by providing food, water, shelter, and sustainability for the wandering and flying critters.
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  • SPICE your supper with floral edibles of nasturtium, calendula, violas, roses, citrus blossoms, dianthus, pansies, chamomile, and blooming herbs. Eat the daisies, but not the toxic flowers of tomato, potato, pepper, or eggplant plants. 
  • PLANT seeds of beans, carrots, radishes, and beets for a second crop to harvest in the fall.
  • FLUSH birdbaths and fountains regularly to maintain fresh drinking water for our feathered friends as well as repel mosquito larvae from hatching. 
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  • PINCH zinnias and chrysanthemums to encourage bushier blooms.
  • WASH your car on your lawn. Your car will get clean and your lawn will benefit from the extra soak. 
  • WATCH out for errant sparks from fire pits, barbecues, candles, and tiki torches. It’s fire season. 
  • DRIVE CAREFULLY. School is in session. Ask your children what vegetables they want to eat as snacks, then make sure those treats are planted in your garden.
  • SEND your college kids off to school with a potted plant. It will bring the outdoors in and provide oxygen to the brain.
  • EMBRACE the controlled chaos of your garden and enjoy the perfection of imperfection. 
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  • LAUGH at the sky. 

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Happy August!

Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1313/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Controlled-chaos.html

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Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, raised in the vineyards of Napa County, is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. 

Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show and order her books at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Buy a copy of her new books, Growing with the Goddess Gardener and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. 

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Hire Cynthia for projects, consults, and lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

What’s Bugging You?

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Empowerment
What’s Bugging You?

bee-blackeyed susan conflowe.jpghttps://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1312/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Whats-bugging-you.html

“…many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth.” Charles Darwin

Twenty-three honeybees, ten lady beetles, five lizards, three frogs, and several spiders.

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Within two hours on a very hot day this past week, the rescue count from the swimming pool kept mounting. I was afraid to leave the water lest more of my garden friends would drown.  It’s summer and the flying insects, creepy crawlies, and slithering creatures are in abundance.  The ones I want to save are the ones that are our garden guardians. 

The Good Guys

Bees

We’ve all heard about the Colony Collapse Disorder affecting honey bees worldwide and the importance of protecting our all bees. Don’t confuse honey bees with carnivorous yellowjackets. Bees, bumble bees, and yellowjackets are all pollinators yet honey bees and bumble bees don’t attack humans unless they are stepped on, slapped, swatted, or threatened. They are gathering pollen and the honey bees are making honey while keeping our fruit, flowers, and vegetables reproducing. 

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Lady Beetles

There are over 450 species of ladybugs in the United States and they are voracious consumers of aphids, caterpillars, lace bugs, mealybugs, scale, whiteflies, and mites. Lady beetles are perhaps the most beloved of all insects and even though you can purchase them for your garden, they will fly away when their food level declines. An adult will eat over 5,000 aphids in her lifetime.

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Lizards

Don’t be afraid of these garden helpers. Lizards are carnivores, not plant-eaters. You are fortunate if you have lizards in your yard. They eat beetles, ants, wasps, aphids, and grasshoppers. They like to bask in the sun and also shelter under rocks or in the mulch. Predators to lizards include cats, snakes, and birds. 

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Frogs

Both frogs are toads are amphibians living on both land and in water. They need moisture to survive and prey upon snails, slugs, and other insects. However, if they fall into a swimming pool without a way to escape, they will drown. In one summer, a single toad may devour over 10,000 pests.  Some species will eat mosquito larvae. Like our lizard friends, pets, birds, and snakes enjoy them as a meal. Enjoy their choral music at dusk.

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Spiders

Fear of spiders is one of the most common phobias even though most spiders do not bite humans.  The two biting spiders with venom that can be fatal to humans are the black widow and the brown recluse. Spiders are not insects.  Spiders are arthropods as they have eight legs.  As happy hunters, they are excellent garden pest control managers, actually considered to be the most beneficial and efficient insect eradicator in our landscapes.  When you see a spider web, admire its delicate intricacy. Don’t destroy it. Inside your home, spiders are helping eradicate more invasive bugs.  Spiders don’t carry diseases like mosquitoes or ticks. 

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To keep the good guys attracted to our landscapes, eliminate pesticides, insecticides, and chemicals. Companion planting with a diversity of species will provide a variety of stalking and dining options. Offer shelters of mulch, rocks, small branches, and a water source.

The Bad Guys

Mosquitoes

Mosquito bites cause puffy red bumps that can itch for a week. Worse, mosquitoes are vectors for West Nile Virus that they transmit to humans. Empty any standing water around your garden and punch drainage holes in containers. Change birdbaths daily or add a re-circulating pump. If you have a pool or hot tub, keep it effectively chlorinated. Check for leaky faucets. It only takes a few days for larvae to mature. Vector Control is available at no charge to add mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) to your pond water.

Yellowjackets

Although yellowjackets do help with pollination, they are scavengers for meat and sugary food, disrupting picnics, summer outdoor activities, and barbecues. Never squash a yellowjacket. When crushed they emit a chemical that calls to other yellowjackets to attack. They build nests in abandoned burrows, in eaves, and bushes. Because their sting is so potent and painful, if you find a nest, call Vector Control for eradication.

Ticks

Lyme disease is one of the fastest-growing epidemics with over 300,000 diagnoses occurring annually in the United States. Summer is the most likely time to be bitten by a tiny deer tick. Ticks are parasites that feed on blood. They live in brush piles, leaf litter, lawns, tree stumps, ground cover, and stone or brick walls. They even have been found on picnic tables and benches. It’s important to wear tick repellent clothing when outside and after being outdoors, conduct a full body check, take a shower, and put your clothes in a hot dryer for thirty minutes to kill any ticks, then wash your clothes. (I know, it seems weird to dry first, then wash, but the heat of the dryer kills the ticks) Check your pets. Ticks can be hard to find and can linger in your hair, clothing, or pet fur. If you find a tick, don’t twist it or turn it. Use sanitized pointed tweezers to grab the tick and pull it straight out. Wash the bite, apply antiseptic, save the tick for identification, and seek medical attention.

The “bad guys” are on my ‘danger watch out” list. I’ve had three trips already to either urgent care or the emergency room with ticks lodged in my neck that required surgery to remove.  Mosquitoes are my nemesis inflicting gigantic, itching bites with bumps that last for two weeks or more. In the last year, I’ve stumbled upon three yellowjacket nests, suffering multiple stings on my hand and arms with swelling that abated after a week. 

The “good guys” I’ll continue to rescue as they are my garden “watchdogs” along with the numerous birds and hummingbirds that thankfully aren’t nose-diving!

What’s bugging you?

PAY IT FORWARD

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Empowerment
PAY IT FORWARD

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MIRACLE MOMENT®

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving. ”

Mother Teresa

MESSAGE FROM CYNTHIA BRIAN, Founder/Executive Director

Saturday, August 17th was National Non Profit’s Day commemorating the Tariff Act of 1894 that gave charities and non profit organizations tax exemptions. Today, National Non Profit Day celebrates the work non profits in local communities and on a global scale. Be the Star You Are!® is proud to be one of these 501 c3 non profits that can offer tax deductible contributions to continue the programs we implement as an all volunteer organization throughout our community, county, country, and world. 

According to social fundraising data, Millennials and Gen X’ers made up nearly 50% of all GoFundMe donors in 2017 and even in the face of student loan debts and increased costs of living, the average Millennial donated $580 to charity in 2018. Way to go, Millennials.

Having coached teens and young adults since the mid 1980s, I am so very happy to see that our younger generations are dedicated to giving back, paying it forward, and helping others in whatever way they can. They are my heroes and I am dedicated to their success. Pick up a copy of our latest book, Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers Celebrating Gifts of Positive Voices in a Changing Digital World with chapters written by these generations to witness first hand how giving of time, money, and resources is critical to the salvation of our planet.

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There are many ways you can help without spending an additional penny. Please scroll down to Discounts and More.

I want to highlight two ways that are super simple.

#1: If you have Amazon Prime or you purchase anything on Amazon, make sure to use this link: https://smile.amazon.com/ch/94-3333882

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This is the exact same Amazon as the normal link but Amazon deposits .5% of every purchase from this link into the account for Be the Star You Are!® and it costs you nothing.

#2: Giving Assistant is a fantastic way for YOU to get discounts, rebates, and better prices at over 3600 stores and a percentage will go to BTSYA when you use this code: https://givingassistant.org/np#be-the-star-you-are-inc

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In this tech world there are so many great ways to donate without having to write a check. If you want a one click donation, make a DONATION  of any amount through PAYPAL GIVING FUND with 100% going to BTSYA with NO FEES:  https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504 . You will receive an instant tax receipt, too.

No matter how you donate, we want to say thank you to you for being part of our galaxy. Together we can make a positive impact in our world. 

Schools back in session. Drive carefully. Protect our kids!

Be happy, be kind, and pay it forward.

With gratitude,

Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556

Cynthia@BetheStarYouAre.org

https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org

http://www.BTSYA.org

PS: Give yourself a boost of positivity by buying copies of our signature books in the Be the Star You Are!® series. 100% of the proceeds benefit the charity and you’ll treasure the stories for a lifetime. Buy now at https://www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store.

PPS: Read how BTSYA is Making a Difference: https://www.ibpa-online.org/news/460747/IBPA-Member-Spotlight-Cynthia-Brian.htm 

DONATE: https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

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SPONSOR THE BTSYA BOOTH AT PEAR FESTIVAL

The Pear and Wine Festival will occur this year on Saturday, September 28th from 11am-3pm. Our teen director is Siri Phaneendra and she invites you to participate in being a sponsor of our festival booth.

Donate $200 or more to Be the Star You Are!® and we’ll add you to our sponsor list. Gratitude to Lamorinda Weekly and Ace Moraga Hardware & Lumber/Across the Way for stepping forward.

Visit https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org/events

Email info@bethestaryouare.org if you want to sponsor or volunteer. It’s going to be a very fun event!

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KIND SURPRISES

by Karen Kitchel’s 94-year-old mother, Sophia Morrison

Do you like surprises now and then?  I do!

It’s easy to spread some kindness and make someone happy. Next time you are grocery shopping, pick up one small item for someone. It could be one candy bar, a pack of gum, peanuts, or maybe a juicy pear.

And when you say “I have a surprise for you” I bet you  will receive the biggest smile ever!

Contributed by volunteer Karen Kitchel who is passionate about scattering kindness. Currently she serves meals to the homeless, is a volunteer teacher, writer, job coach, and mentor. She wrote the chapter, The Gift of Adoption, in our book, Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers Celebrating Gifts of Positive Voices in a Changing Digital World and she continues to volunteer as a contributor to our newsletter. www.scatteringkindness.com

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LEND US YOUR EARS!

Get inspired, motivated, and informed with our two upbeat, life-affirming, innovative radio broadcasts from Be the Star You Are!® Radio heard on the Voice America Network, Empowerment Channel. StarStyle® airs Wednesdays LIVE from 4-5pm PT with host Cynthia Brian as your empowerment architect bringing you edu-taiunment that will change your life for the better. http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2206/be-the-star-you-are

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Express Yourself!™ airs on Sundays at 3pm PT with teen and young adult hosts interviewing a variety of authors, musicians, celebrities, and experts on topics of interest to the younger generation. https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2014/express-yourself

Visit www.BetheStarYouAreRadio.com to see the descriptions and photos.

To sponsor or advertise on any of our programs, please email info@BetheStarYouAre.org.

DISCOUNTS & MORE

 We appreciate a direct donation most of all via PAYPAL GIVING FUND at https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504.

Checks can be sent to PO Box 376, Moraga, California 94556

There are other easy ways that assist our mission and don’t cost you a penny!

1. AmazonSmile donates .5% of purchases https://smile.amazon.com/ch/94-3333882

2. Discounted books at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/shops/be_the_star_you_are_charity

3. Buy or Sell on EBAY:http://givingworks.ebay.com/charity-auctions/charity/be-the-star-you-are-501-c-3/1504/?favorite=link

4. Use GoodSearch to search the web & buy from your favorite stores. Choose Be the Star You Are as your charity to support. You can log in with Facebook, too!http://www.goodsearch.com/goodto-go/be-the-star-you-are

5. Shop at over 1300 stores on IGIVE: http://www.iGive.com/BTSYA

6. BTSYA Logo Store: http://btsya.rylees.net

7. Giving Assistant: Shop. Earn. Give! Use Giving Assistant to earn cash back at 3300+ popular online stores, then donate a percentage to BTSYA:https://givingassistant.org/np#be-the-star-you-are-inc

8. Designer Clothes to Buy or Sell: https://www.unionandfifth.com/charities/be-the-star-you-are-moraga-ca/shop

9. Buy “Read, Lead, Succeed” T-shirts and tanks $19.99 at StarStyle® Store: https://www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store

10. Are you a gamer, lover of new software, or other digital content? Buy all of your favorites at Humble Bundle. http://ow.ly/cYs130iN6n4

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Direct Links you can use for Be the Star You Are!®

Positive Results: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/positive-results

About Us: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/about_us

Programs: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/programs

How to Help: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/how-to-help

Blog: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/blog

Events: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/events

Contact us: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/contact

GREAT NON PROFITS REVIEWS: http://greatnonprofits.org/reviews/be-the-star-you-are-inc/

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GUIDESTAR: https://ww2019-platinum-seal-guidestar.jpg

https://www.guidestar.org/profile/94-3333882

We invite you to volunteer, get involved, or make a donation. Make a DONATION through PAYPAL GIVING FUND and PAYPAL with 100% going to BTSYA with NO FEES:  https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

“If you have to choose between being right and being kind, be kind and you will always be right.”
~ Source Unknown

Be the Star You Are! 501 c3, PO Box 376, Moraga, California 94556.

Celebrating 20 years of stellar service to the world!

GROW with us!

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Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556

Cynthia@BetheStarYouAre.org

https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org

http://www.BTSYA.org

All donations are 100% Tax Deductible according to law. Thank you!

https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

keywords: #bethestaryouare,#payitforward,#motherteresa,#donatetocharity,#volunteersm#starstyleradiom#expressyourselfteenradio,#cynthiabrian

Read Newsletter: 

Paying it Forward.  http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/672296/c67564d5e8/

Plan a Picnic or Pool Party

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Empowerment
Plan a Picnic or Pool Party

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“There are few things so pleasant as a picnic eaten in perfect comfort.”  W. Somerset Maugham

Perhaps because I practiced interior design as a professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers (A.S.I.D.) for twenty-five years, or perhaps because my gardener mother always created gorgeous, casual, and delicious summer gatherings, my style of summer outdoor entertaining has always included color, surprises, and fun.  With the lovely warm weather, whether it’s throwing a blanket on the deck for an impromptu picnic or setting a stunning table for a themed get-together, dining alfresco is my preferred approach to feeding my guests.  

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My cues arrive in collaboration between my interior and exterior spaces. Since I designed my garden to be an extension of my home, the outdoor eating areas complement the kitchen creating an inviting flow from my interior décor to the garden rooms. Creating this sense of serenity and continuity is as significant to the outside of the home as it is to the inside. Before I plan my menu or my decorations, I meander around my garden spaces, investigating what flowers will be blooming during the fete and what fruits and vegetables will be ready for harvesting. I want to know what scents, textures, lighting, and colors will be on display on that particular day or evening. Once I’ve taken a few photos and made notes, the party planning begins.

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The goal is to always serve a menu filled with fresh, homegrown ingredients that honor the colors of the rainbow. Whatever is ripe in my garden at the moment will star in the meal. If I didn’t grow it, I’ll purchase what’s in season from a local fruit stand or Farmer’s Market.  Tomatoes, beets, arugula, carrots, peppers, eggplant, corn, cucumbers, watermelon, peaches, nectarines, tangerines, apricots, cherries, apples, and eggs are a few of my normal staples that will inspire not only the carte du jour, but my tablecloths, floral arrangements, and tableware. 

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If it’s a pool party, sturdy yet pretty shimmery plastic ware is essential as bringing glass near a swimming area is a major no-no. Making sure the lounge chairs have fluffy beach towels, the fountains are spouting or gurgling, and the planters are filled with colorful combinations of annuals are part of designing an inviting setting that encourages the guests to grab a drink, relax, and inhale the fresh air. 

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For a picnic on the lawn, experiment with an edible arrangement of herbs that can flavor the picnic fare served on paper plates. Basil, thyme, rosemary, mint, sage, lovage, calendula, and nasturtium are starters. Setting up a game of croquet offers a sense of play and recreation.

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For a more formal party, covering chairs with a gauzy material and fashioning a more extravagant centerpiece with roses or peonies adds elegance to the occasion. Besides serving wine, beer, or other beverages consider crafting an original cocktail to get the festivities rolling.

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Here’s a refreshing summer garden cocktail that I concocted for a girlfriend’s birthday that is both luscious and appealing. Measure according to your liking.

Summer Garden Cocktail (or Mocktail)

  • ϖ Muddle together watermelon and mint leaves. 
  • ϖ Add the juice of Meyer lemons and limes. 
  • ϖ Stir in a spoonful of honey. 
  • ϖ Pour into a pitcher with equal parts sparkling water and ginger ale. 
  • ϖ Add tequila or your favorite alcohol. (Eliminate the alcohol for a mocktail)
  • ϖ Stir and pour over crushed ice into glasses rimmed with salt.
  • ϖ Garnish with a spring of mint and piece of melon.Special patio party coctail.jpg

Don’t forget the kids! Make mocktails. When the three or four generations of our extended family gather, the little ones get excited shouting “picnic party, picnic party”.  We’ll paint faces, run around blowing bubbles, climb through nylon tunnels, splash in the pool, and dance to silly songs. A big mat or cloth is spread on the grass or the deck with platters of finger foods. The kids happily dive in for the feast. 

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String lights, candles in jars, patio heaters, and your favorite tunes all add to the comfort and contentment. Nothing is ever perfect. There will be spills, breaks, trampled flowers, bug bites, and burnt barbecue.  But that’s the splendor and unpredictability of partying in the garden.  As Erasmus said, “No party is any fun unless seasoned with folly.” 

Enjoy the dazzling days and easy evenings of summer with a picnic or pool party. Kick- off your shoes, slather on the sunscreen, don your sunglasses, and chill out. Summer is a time to slow down to appreciate being outside surrounded by nature. 

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Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for August

STAY hydrated. Drink lots of water, don’t do garden chores in the extreme heat, and keep sports drinks on hand.

BE fire safe. Read how to landscape your garden to be more fire-resistant.  https://blog.voiceamerica.com/2019/05/21/firescaping-for-survival/

STAKE gladiolus as they tend to be top-heavy and fall over.

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DEADHEAD roses and other perennials to keep the blooms coming

CLEAN pruning shears with alcohol after each use.

CONTINUE weeding. Make sure to cut any dry, tall grass.

HARVEST fruit and vegetables in the morning for best flavor and nutrition. A few of the fruits and vegetables that are currently ripe are plums, peaches, apples, melons, tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, beans, corn, carrots, and zucchini.

PICK up any fruit that has fallen on the ground to prevent rodents, raccoons, turkeys, and other critters from invading your garden.

ENCOURAGE herb growth by pinching the tips. Use the cuttings in your recipes.

MULCH your garden to retain moisture and keep roots cool. Do not use gorilla hair as it is highly flammable. Keep all mulches moist.

SOW seeds of brassicas including cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, and kohlrabi for an autumn harvest.

PLAN now for autumn planting.

WATER plantings in containers daily if needed. The heat dries out pots quickly.

ORDER spring-flowering bulbs from catalogs including tulips, Dutch iris, daffodils, woodland hyacinths, and whatever else grabs your attention.

PLAN a picnic party. Re-live your summer camp frolics. Casual or upscale, the fun begins outdoors.

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Read more and view photos at https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1311/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Prep-a-picnic-or-pool-party.html

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing! 

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, raised in the vineyards of Napa County, is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. 

Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show and order her books at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

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Buy a copy of her new books, Growing with the Goddess Gardener and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. 

Hire Cynthia for projects, consults, and lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

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Spotlight on Radio Host & Author, Cynthia Brian Donating Books for Disaster Relief

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Empowerment
Spotlight on Radio Host & Author, Cynthia Brian Donating Books for Disaster Relief

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IBPA Member Spotlight: Cynthia Brian

https://www.ibpa-online.org/news/460747/IBPA-Member-Spotlight-Cynthia-Brian.htm

 

Be the Star You Are!® (BTSYA) was not originally created to donate to disaster relief,” explains IBPA member and author-publisher Cynthia Brian. “It was founded as a literacy and positive media message charity to empower women, families, and youth by donating books and other resources to those who could not afford to buy them.”

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Cynthia added disaster relief, though, when 9/11 occurred. “In 2001, my book, Be the Star You Are! 99 Gifts for Living, Loving, Laughing, and Learning to Make a Difference (Ten Speed Press) was scheduled for a late August debut. I was booked to appear on a major TV show on 9/11 in NYC but a couple of days before the show, the producers rescheduled me to 9/18. Like the rest of the population of America, I was horrified by the terrorist attacks and just as sickened knowing that I was supposed to be in NYC that day.

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“Besides being farmers, the majority of my family members are first responders: Chiefs, captains, firefighters, paramedics, police, CSI, heavy equipment operators. My dad was Captain in our valley volunteer fire department for 45 years and as a kid, I was on numerous burns, mostly control fires. Since BTSYA doesn’t provide blood, water, food, or medical, I called FDNY Family Crisis and asked if books, games, CDs, DVDs, puzzles, and other resources would be helpful to offer hope and healing from the trauma for all ages. They responded ‘YES, PLEASE!’ My teen volunteers and I went into action. I reached out to every author who had been on my radio show, as well as publicists, producers, and publishers who had worked on my TV and radio shows. In addition, I had acting clients and volunteers across the country who stepped up to spearhead collections in their areas. It was truly a national outreach program, and BTSYA was one of the very first charities to offer non-emergency assistance to the victims and survivors. Over several months, we shipped over 50 pallets worth $57,000 (in this relief effort and in general, books make up around 85% of donations). The program was called Operation Ground Hero.”

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Be the Star You Are! went on to ship $27,000 in resources to schools, libraries, groups, and shelters for Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. “Then the disasters kept coming: fires, tornadoes, and floods,” says Cynthia. “Disaster areas started reaching out to us to help. When Super Storm Sandy hit, one of our volunteers in New Jersey lost her home and we collaborated to ship $30,000 in resources. My son, who is a Captain with Cal Fire was on a Southern Cal. fire for 57 days without relief. Disasters are traumatic for everyone.”

Be the Star You Are! is completely volunteer-based, including Cynthia, and it’s now a year-round program. Donations can be made to the nonprofit by clicking here. If any publisher or author would like to be included on a list to donate and ship books for Disaster Relief or other tax-deductible outreach programs, they can send an email to Cynthia@Star-Style.com. All donations will receive a tax receipt for the contribution from Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 literacy and positive media charity.

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Four Questions with Be the Star You Are!’s Founder Cynthia Brian

IBPA: Can you share three tips for other independent publishers who are looking to set up nonprofits related to their books?

Cynthia Brian (CB):

  1. Don’t set up a nonprofit. Find one that is already in existence.

 

  1. If I had known in 1999 what I know today about the challenges of running a charity, I would not have founded a nonprofit. The road is tough; the work is long and hard; funding is difficult; and the paperwork, emails, calls, and mail are unending.

 

  1. After 20 years of leading Be the Star You Are!®, I am very dedicated to the cause of increasing literacy and positive media messages. I am still holding the goal of finding a volunteer somewhere in the world to create a software program that will provide an avenue to register aid organizations that need books with publishers who want to donate books and shipping companies that will provide the shipping. BTSYA would orchestrate this circle and provide tax receipts to donating participants and make sure that “rescued” books were sent to people who could benefit.

IBPA: Can you list three key lessons you’ve learned about how one can succeed as an independent publisher?

CB:

  1. Giving a percentage of sales to a nonprofit improves your book sales. For all 8 of my published books, I donate a percentage to Be the Star You Are!® charity, and I put this information in each book.

 

  1. Marketing and radio interviews are key to success.

 

  1. Speaking engagements and radio interviews help with branding and making experts, which equals selling more books.

IBPA: How has it been beneficial to you to be a member of Independent Book Publishers Association?

CB: In 1998, I interviewed Jan Nathan when IBPA was called Publishers Marketing Association (PMA) on my radio show, StarStyle®. The interview with Jan prompted me to find out more about PMA, and I also had contracts for books with two publishers at that time, so I thought that learning about publishing was a great idea. When I joined the organization, I found the IBPA Independent magazine the most valuable resource. Since I am an acting and media coach as well as a radio/TV producer, I started submitting articles that were published, mostly regarding marketing and publicity via radio and TV. I also decided to professionally publish my book that had been very popular with actors, The Business of Show Business, using the new tools that I learned through IBPA. The book is now in its 14th enhanced edition and won a Silver in the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards. I also found that going to a few IBPA Publishing University conferences was terrific to meet fellow members and get to know some of the staff. And this past year I offered a Publishing University Online webinar, How to Think Like a Producer and Interview Like a Star (IBPA members can watch this webinar for free by clicking the link above and logging into their IBPA profile).

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IBPA: Do you have any new books coming out soon?

CB: I published two books in 2018, Growing with the Goddess Gardener (Book 1 in the Garden Shorts Series)and book 3 in the Be the Star You Are!® trilogy, Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers Celebrating Gifts of Positive Voices in a Changing Digital World.

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My next projects will focus on the life lessons I’ve learned with adopting abandoned and abused animals over my lifetime. These will be books for young children, including picture books. I am looking for a fabulous publishing partner!

IBPA: Thank you, Cynthia, for sharing your story with the IBPA community, and for all the disaster relief work you do through your nonprofit!

Click here to learn more about Be the Star You Are!®

Click here to tune into StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® radio

 

Read more: https://www.ibpa-online.org/news/460747/IBPA-Member-Spotlight-Cynthia-Brian.htm

 

Parks not Pills

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Empowerment
Parks not Pills

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“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul” John Muir

How often are you outdoors? Are you spending most of your time sitting in a chair staring at your computer screen? Do you feel lethargic, tired, and anxious? 

You are not alone and help could be right outside your door.  In today’s technological world, many people, including children, are increasingly living their lives indoors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20% of children (one in five) and 30% of adults (one in three) in the United States are obese. 

Back in 2005 when I was doing my weekly radio broadcast, StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® (www.StarStyleRadio.com) on World Talk Radio out of studios in San Diego, I invited author Richard Louv to be a guest on my program with his newest hardbound book at the time, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder.  Before the program, we sat in the sound booth lamenting the startling facts that the average child of the day could identify TV personalities yet know nothing about bugs, flowers, trees, or nature in general. Kids were not outside playing as we did as children because they wanted to be plugged in and tuned out. His book and the interview have remained lodged in my psyche as a warning that we don’t want our child to be the last to witness the woods.

Fast forward to 2019 and although nature-deficit disorder is not an official medical disease, children and adults are more alienated from nature than ever before with increased attention difficulties, higher stress levels, poorer body image, obesity issues, and a plethora of physical and emotional illnesses. Pills have been prescribed yet people are sicker.

Could spending more time in nature be the answer to our woes?

Physicians throughout the ages have encouraged people to go outside more. Hippocrates wrote that walking was “man’s best medicine.”  To ward off aging, physicians in the Han dynasty suggested outdoor “frolicking exercises”.  In the 19th and 20th centuries, people were instructed to visit the mountains to enjoy the “magic airs” or “take in the waters” at a mineral spring to mitigate a variety of infirmities.

Science supports the fact that exposure to natural stimuli, especially gardening, lowers blood pressure, bolsters immune systems, reduces the levels of stress hormones, improves our disposition, increases confidence, promotes healing, lessens inflammation, minimizes obesity problems, and decreases our dependence on pain medication. 

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Besides having fun, a brisk walk in the park three or four times a week may stave off cognitive impairment for older adults. For kids, the exercise and fresh air of playing will help with maintaining a healthy weight as well as heighten their cognizance of the natural world. Community gardens offer people an opportunity to commune together to grow and harvest fresh food promoting better health. 

Nature is a healer. For me, my garden is my happy place, my refuge, and my innovator. I get all my best ideas for my endeavors while outside listening, watching, tasting, feeling, exploring, experiencing, doing, and being.  Right outside my office, a beautiful redheaded house finch perches on my gurgling fountain singing his heart out daily. The frogs croaking, the buzzing bees, the wind in the palms, the scent of the star jasmine, the rustling magnolia leaves, the beauty of blossoms, the trickle of the water, the cooing of the doves and the chants of the quail activate my imagination and soothe my soul. The repeated refrains of Mother Nature are my nurture and my medicine.

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It won’t be long before physicians everywhere will be writing prescriptions for parks instead of painkillers. Being in the outdoors inspires awe and wonder. We are blessed to have an abundance of open space, meadows, trails, mountains, and local parks where we can experience the tranquility and magic of the outdoors.

It’s summer. Nature is calling. Get up, get out, and welcome the fresh air. Spend more time in a garden or a commons. See for yourself how you feel.  Although I’m not a doctor, I am prescribing more parks instead of pills. There is no downside. 

“All my hurts my garden spade can heal.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Cynthia Brian’s Garden Goddess Guide for Increasing Health Through Nature

IMPROVE physical skills for kids by getting them to play outside more. 

BUY a supersize bubble wand and blow bubbles in the yard.

EAT healthier with a Mediterranean diet loaded with freshly harvested vegetables and fruits.

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SOURCE produce hyper-locally at your Farmer’s Market or rural fruit stands if you are not growing your own. Summer is the optimum time for the freshest fruits and vegetables with high nutritional values.  Did you know that the USDA defines purchasing local produce and food as within 400 miles of your state? Most food on the American dinner table has traveled between 1500-2500 miles according to the Worldwatch Institute meaning that nutrients and antioxidants have been diminished. If you really want to pack a punch with your food, you have options. Eating in season while growing your own or being part of a community garden is the number one solution. Frequenting farmer’s markets will reduce your carbon footprint and offer fresher alternatives. Or take a drive to a local farming community to purchase freshly harvest crops at road stands. This serves a dual purpose of getting you out into nature as an RX for better health and stocking your kitchen with food that will be delicious and nutritious.

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FLOAT bougainvilleas blooms as a creative centerpiece.

SOAK your tired feet in a bowl of warm water filled with healing marigolds and chrysanthemums. 

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COOL off on a cushion of green moss.

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EXPRESS awe at a dragonfly hovering on a reed in the water.

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ENLIGHTEN your perspective with a copy of Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. 

PICK chamomile flowers to make a soothing tea. Save some of the seeds to plant.

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INSTALL a birdhouse and a fountain to entice the songbirds.

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WANDER through a colorful succulent garden to see the various textures and forms.

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WONDER at the sight of a flower that you’ve never seen before.

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SOAK in the beauty of the delicate blossoms on a silk tree.

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GAZE at the clouds and be grateful for your health. 

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DRINK plenty of water to stay hydrated.

LISTEN to the sounds of our beautiful earth to experience calm.

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing! 

Photos and more at https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1310/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Parks-not-pills.html

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, raised in the vineyards of Napa County, is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are1® 501 c3. 

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Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show and order her books at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

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Buy a copy of her new books, Growing with the Goddess Gardener and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. 

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Hire Cynthia for projects, consults, and lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

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