The Graceful Beauty of a Rainforest Flower

“Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen… yourself, right now, right down here on Earth”. –  Bradley Whitford

As I am filled with utter dread about the stark reality that our nation now has a leader who appears to be against every single thing that matters to me and my beliefs, I search the darkness for a shimmering light. A candle in the unknown that glows and grows within me.

I was not able to attend the Women’s March in DC yesterday nor the local one here in St. Paul, Minnesota. I doubted my choice over and over again but despite not physically being present I was there 100% in spirit. When I browsed over my Facebook feed late last night, I felt nothing but pride. There were all my amazing friends and fellow advocates, all around the world out there standing up for their beliefs. None of the protests that they attended were violent or disrespectful. They were all full of beauty and grace.

It restored my faith in democracy, and it gave me hope again in humanity. I fully believe that every person should be able to have their own beliefs, even if I don’t agree with them. However, I am not going to support a government that does not respect human rights and our planet nor am I going to become complacent. I have joined several causes -even more than ever before – to get educated on what I need to know and what I need to do. I am not going to give up quietly. There is too much at stake.

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal”. – Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream, 1963.

In the meantime, I wanted to leave some photos of the gorgeous flowers I found in the rainforest of Costa Rica. Their graceful, fragile beauty symbolize the beauty of the women I know and have never met who have fought so hard to be treated as equals.

At yesterday’s Women’s March in Saint Paul, Minnesota (with record attendance of over 90,000 making it one of the largest political marches in Minnesota history) Newly elected State Rep. Ilhan Omar, DFL-Minneapolis (the first Somali woman in the United States to be elected to public office) poetically said:

“I hope to remind people that it is our differences that make our country beautiful.” 






“Sooner or later, even the fastest runners have to stand and fight”. – Stephen King

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Minnesota Spring Flower

The Rebirth of Spring

“May the sun bring you energy by day, may the moon softly restore you at night. May the rain wash away your worries, may the breeze blow new strength onto your being. May you walk gently through the world and know its beauty all the days of your life.” – Apache blessing

Spring has finally arrived full force in Minnesota and has washed away the barren brown and dirt, and sprung new life. All around, trees are bursting in electrifying green and the fragrant blossoming trees delight not only the eyes but their scent beckons the soul.

I always feel utterly alive and reborn once spring arrives here after a long, cold and often dreary winter. The energy of life and rebirth captivate my soul, as Mother Nature stuns us with her beauty.

Minnesota Spring Flower

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Sonoran Desert Musuem, Tucson Arizona

The Arizona desert in bloom

Yesterday I took my daughter to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum located in the outskirts of Tucson and I was in awe of the colorful cactus in bloom. It is more verdant than ever in Arizona given the winter’s heavy rainfall and snow in the mountains that has run down the hills into the valley bringing it to life. Spring has come early in the desert and the vibrant, illustrious blooms prove that life in the desert can be anything but dull.

Take a walk with me.

Sonoran Desert Musuem, Tucson Arizona

There is something magical about the mighty saguaros lacing the mountains and landscape of Tucson akin to trees in a forest of Northern Minnesota. These majestic cactus are everywhere and they are amazing. Some live to be in hundreds of years old and it can take up to a hundred years to grow an arm. In the spring time, the saguaros bloom on top with beautiful flowers which are known as the state wildflower of Arizona. In all my years of visiting Arizona, I have never seen a blooming saguaro before.

Sonoran Desert Musuem, Tucson Arizona

There are several kinds of cactus in the desert. The round barrel cactus, the prickly pear cactus, saguaros and the many species of cholla cactus that look like round pieces of sausage and some even jump at you if you get too near.

Minnesota Flowers

The Vivid Colors of Summer

Summer has arrived in Minnesota! Well, at least in my book. Today is the last day of school and the kids will be off for three whole months. Vivid memories of summer fun during my childhood captivate my soul as do the gorgeous, vivid colors of summer flowers.

Walking barefoot across the silky green grass. Eating popsicles on a balmy hot and humid day. Watching the sunset well past nine o’clock over one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes. Barbecuing bratwursts, burgers and corn for friends and family. Enjoying a gooey s’more surrounded by a mosquito-infested campfire on a cloudless night. All these delightful things I get too look forward! The adventure and feeling of being a child again all come back to me at the onset of summer.

Just in time for school break, the weather has suddenly improved and has finally stopped raining, leaving behind sensational, vividly-colored early summer flowers. The peonies, day lilies and irises are all in brilliant bloom, making my heart sing. It is a lovely time of year! A time of adventure, fun, and being alive. Let’s embrace it!

Minnesota Flowers Minnesota Flowers Minnesota Flowers

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Macy's Flower Show Minneapolis MN 2015

Macy’s Flower Show: An Explosion of “Art in Bloom”

“Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature”. – Gerard De Nerval

Every year, Macy’s Department Store rewards the public by putting on an incredible flower show at its five flagship stores in the United States. It is the highlight of my month because Macy’s Annual Flower Show falls at the end of March, right before spring break when everyone in Minneapolis is just plain sick and tired of our long, barren, colorless winter.

What makes this event even more wonderful is that it is free and the theme changes every year. This year, the theme is “Art in Bloom” and with the help of local florist Bachman’s, the show features thousands of eye-popping, gorgeous flowers juxtaposed with various movements of the arts resulting in a “horticultural art gallery” of color and fragrance.

Despite my head cold, I could smell the flowers as I rode the escalator up to the eighth floor of Macy’s in downtown Minneapolis. I could take the elevator but I find riding the escalator up way more fun as each floor the smell of flowers escalates. I brought only my iPhone 6 along as I wanted to see how much the technology has changed from my old iPhone 4 camera to the 6. It was remarkable and I still cannot believe that these photos are real.

Take a peak for yourself and walk with me through Macy’s “Art in Bloom” where we will pass through Classical Art, Impressionism, Modern Art and Pop Culture Art. I am certain these photos will brighten your day!

Macy's Flower Show Minneapolis MN 2015

Desert blooms in Arizona

Springtime Desert Blooms

I’m back in Arizona again and spring is in full force. The desert has come alive with flowering trees, cacti and plants. Whenever the wind stirs the air is full of heavenly fragrance and it is magical. Birds are abundant as they make their way north.

I’ve taken a few shots of the desert in bloom, my favorite season to be in Arizona as everything comes to life.







brilliant yellow flower

Searching for color in a colorless sky

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky”.- Rabindranath Tagore

It has been one of the coldest January’s on record and we have been housebound again. As I look outside my windows at the pure white snow, I long for color. I dream of spring when the world comes to life again and the earth is reminding us of the beauty of life. The virgin green foliage, the violet lilacs, the buttery yellow daffodils. I know, I’m dreaming as spring is still a long ways away. So instead, I thought I’d create some color to inspire my mind and bring you some life.

brilliant yellow flower

White tropical flower

Although I’m tired of white, I can never tire of a beautiful white flower like this one in Honduras.


A visual feast at Macy’s Painted Garden

Screen Shot 2013-03-28 at 9.41.47 AMThis year’s Macy’s Flower Show is a definite stunner to the senses. The theme is The Painted Garden and is inspired by the colorful, brilliant flowers, jewels and market hues of India and Southern Asia. For most Minnesotans like myself, who are literally starved of color right now, the rainbow hues of the Painted Garden offer a visual feast to our hungry eyes.

As you walk through the room, all at once you are at peace as you smell the fragrance of a thousand flowers. Gentle background music lightly hums in your ears, and the room is an elaborate display of colors ranging from a magnificent variety of tropical flowers to the brightly colored hanging umbrellas and gorgeous paintings along the walls.

I still can’t decide what my favorite flower or work of art is at the Painted Garden. But I’d have to vote either for the centerpiece of the show, the elaborate, exotic elephant sculpture which proudly wears a blanket made of 20 different species of dried and fresh plant material or the insanely surreal Phalaenopsis Blue Orchids which are out of this world.

Come, take a look for yourself at some of the gorgeous flowers that paint the 8th floor of Macy’s department store in downtown Minneapolis. You will not leave this post disappointed!


Eye candy: A glimpse into the Painted Garden

Today I decided that I’d had it with winter. I picked my daughter Sophia up from Kindergarten and we headed to downtown Minneapolis for the Macy’s Painted Garden Orchid Show. It was exactly what the doctor had in order.

We stepped inside this tropical paradise on the 8th floor of the Macy’s department store and were transported into a tropical garden more likely found in India or Thailand. Of course, given how much I adore flowers I snapped away like mad and then we walked around the show another time so 6-year-old Sophia could take some shots.

Here is just a teaser of some of the gorgeous flowers we saw. Once I have a chance to process all the photos, I will for sure give you a full report filled with color….a post not to be missed.

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In honor of WordPress’ iPhonography month, all these photos were taken with my tiny iPhone and processed on Instagram. Hope you enjoyed them! 


The Joy of Spring Flowers

“That though the radiance which was once so bright be now forever taken from my sight. Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, glory in the flower. We will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind”. – William Wordsworth

Spring time is still a ways off here in Minnesota where the landscape is still blanketed in snow. Depending on the year Spring can begin anywhere in early to mid April and usually is a confusing time of year when we can see literally four seasons in a week. It can one moment snow and a couple days later be shorts and t-shirt weather.

Minnesotans are hearty people, me included. You have to be in order to live in this kind of climate. You must embrace the bitter cold days of winter and cherish the hot and sticky dog days of summer. Otherwise it would be best to pack up your bags and leave now.

In honor of Jakesprinter’s Sunday Theme: Arrangement, I thought I’d bring you a sneak preview of spring flowers. In all their delicacy, beauty and vivid colors, they are bound to bring a smile on a cold winter day. Also in celebration of this month’s focus on phoneography, all these photos below were taken with my iPhone in Colonial Williamsburg last April. I do of course have many pictures of spring flowers in Minnesota but for some reason these photos are special to me as they were the first flowers of Spring I captured last year. Spring comes quite a bit earlier in Virginia! Enjoy!

“Flowers… are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world”. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson





What could be more beautiful than spring flowers? Spring….I can hardly wait! 

To see more interpretations of the theme “Arrangement” click here


The flowers of Roatan

Author’s note: This is the third post in my series on my recent trip to Honduras. To read more, click here.

“Flowers… are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world”.  -Ralph Waldo Emerson 


One of the most delightful things I saw in Roatan was the large variety of tropical flowers. Those who follow my blog know I have an obsession with photographing flowers. Flowers bring an immense level of joy to people. They are so delicate, so fragrant and so colorfully beautiful. I just love flowers as they always make me happy.

The tropical landscape of Honduras makes it an ideal place for flowers. In fact, there are over 5,000 plant species inhabiting its four diverse forest ecosystems: Pine forests, cloud forests, rainforest and mangroves.