Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Why Do We Celebrate World Animal Day?


Did you know it's World Animal Day today? Do you celebrate it?

When I was in elementary school, the 4th of October was considered a very special day. It was the international day of the animals, which meant that the children in my class were allowed to take their pets to school. That was so much more fun than just doing math exercises! I wonder, though, if it was more fun for the children than for the poor animals, who were suddenly the center of all the attention...

World Animal Day is also the day on which people pamper their pets just a little bit more. Maybe you've given your dog special cookies, or you bought a new toy for your cat. And people who don't have pets themselves, sometimes donate money to animal protection organizations.

But is World Animal Day really that traditional? Where does it come from and why do we celebrate it?



The initiative for creating a World Animal Day was started around 1930, so almost 90 years back. The origin of the idea traces back to several different people, but they had one thing in common: they all wanted to raise attention for abused and endangered animals. So while it's still a relatively new holiday, it has a very important reason for existing.

The reason why the 4th of October was chosen, is because it's the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi. (random fun fact: that's the same Francis that the current pope named himself after) Still, the day is meant for everyone who loves animals, regardless of their religion, ethnicity or political viewpoint.

Why was the day of Saint Francis of Assisi chosen, then? It's because he's the patron saint of animals. And there are some pretty good reasons for that. In my opinion, he is a very interesting saint, so I would like to tell you a bit more about his life, even if there are different versions of the story.

Saint Francis was born in Italy in the 12th century, to very wealthy and successful parents. Growing up in such riches made him develop a wild lifestyle, not very different from some modern day celebrities. His father named him Francis because he wanted him to love France and become a successful businessman like himself. He went to parties all the time with his friends, in the fanciest clothes. His hobbies were drinking and chasing the most beautiful girls.


Now you might wonder: how did a guy like this become a Catholic saint? Well, it took a while for him to change. When Assisi declared war to a nearby city, Francis started to fight in the army to fulfill his dream of being a knight. However, during this war he was imprisoned for a year by the enemy troops in a dark dungeon. Yet even after this awful experience, he remained a party animal and he still wanted to be a knight like those in the French stories.

Yet one day when he was riding his horse to fight in the Fourth Crusade, he was ordered to return home by God in a dream. After that he became more and more devoted to religion, spending a lot of time in prayer. He even used his father's money to repair a church. However, when his angry father demanded it back, Francis did not only gave him the money, but also all the clothes he was wearing! Then he went to the forest, naked, after saying: "Pietro Bernardone is no longer my father. From now on I can say with complete freedom, 'Our Father who art in heaven.'" 

After that he became a preacher for the poor. He also started preaching to the birds in the forest. That's why he became famous for his strong bond with animals. One of my favorite legends about him shows another reason why:


There was a wealthy town in Italy, named Gubbio. And this town had a huge problem. Every now and then, a ferocious wolf would sneak out from the woods at night and devour the livestock of the farmers. Sometimes, if it could get its paws on one of the villagers, he would attack them and rip them to shreds.

Of course this wolf caused tremendous fear in the town, so in their despair the villagers had already sent a few hunters into the woods. But the disturbing truth was that every single person who tried to kill the wolf, would fall victim to its sharp teeth and die.

Back then, Francis already had a reputation of being a friend of the animals, like a kind of animal whisperer. So as a last resort, the villagers decided to send two messengers to Francis in Assisi, who asked him for help. When Francis arrived in Gubbio, the townspeople asked him if he could kill the wolf or sent it to their enemy town, Spoletto. Being moved by the heartbreaking story of the villagers, Francis prayed for wisdom and then went to sleep.

The next morning he looked for the wolf in the forest. When the wolf noticed him, it approached Francis with a threatening look in his eyes, as if planning for an attack. Yet Francis did not run. Instead, he prayed and said: “Come Brother Wolf, I will not hurt you. Let us talk in peace.”

The wolf sensed that Francis' intention was very different from that of the previous visitors. Little by little, the atmosphere grew less hostile and he started to trust Francis more. Knowing that this kind stranger would listen, he decided to tell him why he attacked all those people.

He lifted his paw and showed it to Francis. It was wounded. Francis understood that this wound prevented the wolf from running fast enough to hunt animals in the wild. That's why he was left with no other choice but to eat the cattle in the town to survive.


However, when the townspeople noticed him eating their livestock, some of them started to attack him. The wolf only fought back to defend itself. It was a depressing situation for him too and he wished he didn't have to do it, but he had to survive in some way.

When Francis discovered this, he felt deep compassion for Brother Wolf, knowing that he felt sorry for his actions. He found a solution that would benefit both parties. And so he brought the wolf to the town. When the villagers saw this, at first they were shocked and enraged. But trusting Francis' wisdom, they let him speak.

He told them the story of the wolf and then offered a peaceful solution: "If you feed Brother Wolf, he promises not to eat your livestock anymore. He will swear never to kill any of your people again." This solution was hard for people to agree with at first. Of course the loss of their friends and family members still hurt. Yet Francis reminded them that it would be safer. The wolf could even protect them from their enemy town.

Though it was hard for the family of the victims at first, they noticed that forgiveness felt very liberating. Knowing that Brother Wolf had been suffering from hunger, they started to feed him everyday. The town became the wolf's second home and the people even started to love him. They felt happy and safe now, knowing that the wolf had become their ally and best friend.

Source of this story: http://tamingthewolf.com/saint-francis-and-the-wolf/


In today's world, we could still learn a lot from St. Francis and show a bit more compassion for the animals. An alarming amount of species are endangered now because of hunters and most of all, because of climate change. Maybe on this October 4th we can all try to do something small to help them. Here's a list of small things each of us can try. Choose one in the list to make your contribution, or invent your own idea!

❀ Have a meat free day, which would help save the rainforest for the monkeys. It will also put less CO2 in the air.
❀ Donate some money to an animal protection charity. It could just be $1 - literally any amount helps.
❀ Take the public transport for one day instead of the car, so that there's less CO2 in the air. This will help stop the ice from melting for the polar bears.
❀ Refill your plastic water bottle for one day, instead of buying a new one. This will create less waste in the sea, so we can save the sea animals.

Do you have more tips? Please let us know in the comments so we can help the animals ♡ 

Wishing you a fantastic World Animal Day,

~Mayte ଘ(੭*ˊᵕˋ)੭*


Friday, September 29, 2017

Travel Diary: Sanctuary of Fátima


Do you believe in miracles? Do you like stories about the supernatural?

This summer I went on a study trip to Portugal. This summer school was part of a course about religion. That's why we visited Fátima. Though I don't go to church, I've always been really interested in Catholic saints, angels and mysticism. So I was super excited to visit Fátima!

But wait a minute, what is Fátima? Fátima is a place in Portugal near a tiny village. During the First World War, three little shepherd children who lived in this area said they had seen visions. First they were visited by an angel, who taught them a prayer. Later they were also visited by a radiant lady, who told them to pray the Rosary, in order to bring peace and end the bitter war. According to the children this lady was Mother Mary, the Holy Virgin. She revealed three secrets to the children, which were only shared with the world much later. Now Fátima has become a place of pilgrimage.

This story really fascinated me, so before I went to the Summerschool I decided to read the letters written by one of the shepherd children, Lucia, years later. They were put together in a book, Fátima in Lucia's Own Words. It made me sad how much these poor little children had to suffer because of their visions. Reading the book made this place even more special to me. Now I would like to share with you some pictures I took, so you can get a sense of the atmosphere in this extraordinary place!


Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary 


The first place we visited on our journey was the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary. This place was crowded, because it was the 13th day of the month. Whenever the shepherd children were visited by Our Lady, it would almost always be on the 13th day (except for August 19th). When we arrived there, a mass was taking place.

Those in our group who had been in the Catholic church said it was a very recognizable mass, with the same structure as always. But for me, it was a new experience. It was also in Portuguese, which unfortunately I can't understand.

Still the experience moved me. Especially when I walked out onto the square, it was very intense. It was extremely hot because of the blazing sun and the singing was really loud because of the stereo installations. But I thought the singing was very beautiful.

I didn't have the chance to look inside of the Basilica, since we were given assignments to fulfill for the summer school. But if you have the chance, it's probably worth it! You can find the graves of the little shepherd children there, as well as beautiful images on the walls.

Before I visited Fátima, I thought this was all there is to it. Just a square with a church. Well... I was wrong!

Way of the Cross


Turns out that the place where the shepherds lived is still a long walk! You have to walk the Way of the Cross, but before you even get there, you have to walk the long "way of the tourist souvenirs shops, restaurants and hotels". But don't worry, in my opinion it was worth it.

When we reached the Way of the Cross, it felt like we landed in an oasis of peace. It was so different from the crowded and loud square. The path was surrounded by trees and we heard cicadas. Along the path, there are 14 Stations of the Cross, like the one in the picture. They each portray an episode in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.


At the end of the way, there was a chapel. We could not enter it, for it was closed. However, on top of this chapel stood a Calvary, a crucifixion scene. It was life-sized and a beautiful ending to the way of the cross.

From this place, you could go in several directions. I wanted to go visit the statue of the angel first. I just really love angels, which you can of course tell from my blog name.


These statues were not that big or colorful, but that actually made it more moving to me. The visions of this angel marked the start of something that would change the lives of these little children, and also of many people in Portugal (whether it's in a good or a bad way). Yet it is captured in such a small and serene scene in the middle of nature. To me, such a peaceful scene is perfect for the "Angel of Peace". It looks so sweet and pure.

In addition to that, I think the angel is so beautiful. It has such a calm and sweet expression on his face, and his hair seems to be flowing in the wind. Somehow, it also reminds me of Tom Hiddleston. I wouldn't be surprised if he's actually an angel, too, though! ;)


While exploring Fátima, we also had to work on our study project. We were asked to try and interview people. There were not many people along the Way of the Cross, but near the above statue of Mother Mary we walked passed a nun. We gathered the courage to talk to her and she was very sweet.

She told us a lot about what Fátima meant to her. It was beautiful to me how devoted she was to Mary. She said Mary was her spiritual mother and that holding the rosary was like holding her hand. I thought it was inspiring how peaceful and full of love she looked. After meeting her we immediately felt happier! She really seemed to wish this happiness to us, too. 

After talking for a bit and taking a photo together, we went to the village together with her and the lady who was friendly enough to take the photo for us. She was in Fátima because her son would be singing in the choir.

Village of Aljustrel


In the village, you could find the two houses of the shepherd children. The two youngest of these children, Francisco and Jacinta have become saints now, and Lucia is currently in the process of becoming one. They're so important that their houses were kept more or less the same way as when they were alive. It is a very strange feeling to walk into their homes.




When you walk in, it's as if the homes are still inhabited. All of the furniture of the families are still standing there. In the above picture, for example, you can see their beds. Though it felt a little strange, I still loved being able to see their homes like this. In the letters by Lucia I read about their houses a lot. How cool is it when you've read a book, that you can actually visit the places where things happened?


All in all, my trip to Fátima was one of the most interesting experiences in my life. The atmosphere in this place is so amazing. Near the church it's extremely holy and powerful. On the other hand, in the village and the Way of the Cross it is so peaceful, because you're surrounded by nature and there are butterflies flying around. No wonder that Mother Mary chose such a beautiful place to appear. :)

What about you? Have you ever been to a pilgrimage site? Or is there another travel experience that left a huge impression on you?

Wishing you a magical day,

~Mayte ଘ(੭*ˊᵕˋ)੭*

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Why You're Not Losing Weight - 5 Unexpected Weight Loss Tips

*Disclosure: please keep in mind that this post contains links to products in my online store!
When you buy something through such a link, I will earn money from it. 

Please don't get me wrong, I'm not here to tell you that you SHOULD lose weight. I think society's standards are ridiculous. People just have different body types, and there's nothing wrong with that.

But sometimes it just doesn't feel like your body is as healthy as it could be. I know what it's like, I used to feel that way, too. I was never that interested in losing weight, but I did want to have more energy and make sure that my body was in its healthiest shape.

Now that I've reached my ideal weight, I would like to show you a few tips to help you take better care of your body, too. Always do this for your health and from a place of love, not a place of self-hatred. Make sure to also eliminate any negativity and toxic feelings towards yourself or your body from your diet! That is healthier than any type of diet change. Which takes me to the first advice...

1 Try softer, more calming methods of exercise

Usually the first thing that overweight people will hear from others is: EXERCISE! In theory this is very good advice. The problem is that so many of us who want to lose weight get the idea that we have to struggle as hard as possible. We try to stay at the gym for as long as possible and look for the most intense workouts we can handle. Yet despite all this effort, we still feel disappointed when we step on the scale, since nothing seems to have changed.

Most of us don't realize that pushing yourself too much when exercising is actually counterproductive. You see, when your exercise routine is very hard and intense, you usually feel stressed out. You also burn many calories all at once. That's why your body starts to think you're actually on the run for some predator animal or something and goes into survival mode!

When your body goes into survival mode, it produces the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone is meant to keep you alive in times of scarcity. That's why cortisol actually causes your body to store fat! Do you see the problem here?

Thankfully, the solution is simple. Look for gentle and calming exercise regimes rather than the super intense ones and see if it helps. I would recommend Yoga With Adriene's Youtube channel for this. Her yoga practices are so much fun and you can do them by yourself at home. Yoga is very calming, so it will stop you from producing stress hormones. But at the same time, your body does get enough exercise.

If you want to read more about what I just explained, I would recommend reading Don't Let Anything Dull Your Sparkle by Doreen Virtue. Next to healthy exercise, it also discusses dealing with drama addiction and negativity.

2 Switch soft drinks and fruit juice with fruit water

This might sound hard at first if you really love soft drinks, but trust me, you'll definitely get used to it. You don't need to go cold turkey on Coca Cola or Sprite altogether. But you can simply drink these things once or twice a week instead of every day.

Also, fruit juice might look healthy, but it's not nearly as healthy as eating an entire banana or apple. In fact, most fruit juice contains just as much sugar as soft drinks! That's because juice companies add lots of sugar to it and since you drink it instead of chewing, it's hard for your body to process.

To be honest I hardly ever drink soft drinks or juice anymore, because I'm no longer used to how sweet these drinks are! Before I didn't even notice the flavor that much, but when you only drink water the sweetness becomes really apparent and you may not even like it anymore. Water is very good for your health and weight, because it cleanses the body of stuff it doesn't need.

If you get bored with water though, don't worry, there's a simple solution: just put some pieces of fruit in the jug! If you leave a piece of lemon or strawberry in the water for a while, the flavor of the fruit will make it sweeter in a natural way. You can also use herbs, if you want. Here are some recipes.



3 Use Aloe Vera to cleanse your body 

Sometimes our diet changes just don't seem to have an effect. That's because our body has been storing unhealthy toxins for so long. It takes a long time for your body to cleanse these toxins on the inside, before you can see any effect on the outside. There is a natural superhero plant for this, though! Gel removed from the Aloe Vera plant is full of antioxidants and cleanses the toxins in your intestines. At the same time, it contains about 200 wholesome nutrients for your body.

Because the excess toxins are cleansed from your body, many people lose weight very quickly when they drink Aloe Vera gel daily. This effect is even stronger because Aloe Vera also speeds up your metabolism.  In addition to that, most people report getting this huge energy boost! That's because of all the nutrients that Aloe Vera contains. The layer in your intestines that blocks all the healthy stuff you eat is cleansed, so all the nutrients can be absorbed by your body properly.

I can help you follow a safe and healthy Aloe Vera program, the C9 cleansing program. If you are interested, just send me an email in the "Contact" section or go to this website (then click on "Shop" and then on "Forever F.I.T"). I will guide you over email or in real life to help you get the best results.

If you want to take care of your digestive system and get more energy, you could also try a bottle of stabilised aloe vera gel. Since I started drinking this, I no longer have a problem waking up at 6 in the morning! You can try it here, by clicking on "Shop" and then "Forever Aloe Drinks".

4 Reduce meat and dairy products 


Over the past year, I've slowly eliminated meat and dairy products from my diet. My original reasons for doing so were my love for animals, helping the environment and reducing my acne. But I was surprised to find that after a few months of changing my diet one product at a time, my body also looked a lot thinner!

Again, you don't need to eliminate every piece of meat or glass of milk from your diet. You can simply replace your hamburger with a veggie burger once or twice a week. Instead of eating real yoghurt, you can try to eat soy based yoghurt sometimes. First, please make sure you are not allergic or intolerant to soy, however! Be careful with yourself.

Many people think that I have very limited food options, since I don't eat anything with meat or dairy in it. The truth is, sometimes I hardly notice that I made this change at all. These days there's a huge variety of meat replacements that are just as good as the real thing, so I rarely feel like I'm missing something. And I love my soy milk and coconut yoghurt.

Only on birthdays, when other people eat cake, it can be a problem, but then they just give me a bag of chips instead, which is good, too ;)


5 Stay positive

Again I want to emphasize how important self love is. I couldn't stress this enough! Your brains and your body are directly connected with each other. Time after time, the medical world has shown how influential your beliefs, or the placebo effect, are on your body.

So maybe the reason why your body won't change no matter what you do, is all the hate you send it. Do you perform well on tests or other tasks when you're constantly being criticized? No, probably not, because hate never does any good. Hate only hurts you and your body. Only love can heal.

Like I said before, stress can make your body believe it is in danger and take measures to survive. This includes storing more fat. Stress is also super unhealthy. What more excuses do you need to take more baths with lavender or Lush bath bombs? ;)

And think about it. If you can learn to love yourself now, in the body that you're in right now... Then do you even need to lose weight at all? No, because your self worth and mood no longer depend on what your body looks like! Then you will truly be free, because you love yourself unconditionally.

Of course self love is a journey, so don't feel bad if you're not quite there yet. Just take small steps every day, with things like journalling, meditation and positive affirmations. If you need support, feel free to send me a message on my social media anytime, you don't need to do this alone.


This was my little list of tips to help you with your body weight and health! Do you have any more advice?

Wishing you a fantastic week,


~Mayte ଘ(੭*ˊᵕˋ)੭*

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Dear Diary: Herbs, Flowers and Brocante


Hello, dear person who is reading this ♡

Though my night was difficult because of scary dreams, my day was entirely the opposite. It felt like a beautiful dream, because it was filled with flowers in all the colors of the rainbow. Before you think I did something super special: no, not really, I just went to the garden center. But I enjoy all the beauty that can be found in everyday places like that. To me, those things are what makes life special.

For years already, I've wanted to learn more about herbs and plants. Witchcraft in particular has always fascinated me and when I was a child my mother already let me read books about the subject. Therefore, learning the healing powers of plants and herbs has always been a small life goal for me. Wouldn't it be so cool to be that knowledgeable person who can name all the plants wherever they go?


This morning I finally started to read a book about the subject, that I got from the library yesterday. It's called "The Magical Powers of Herbs and Plants". The first part of the book has an entire section on the history of plant healing and folklore, which interests me a lot as a history major. Later in the book there are pictures of plants with their ascribed powers next to them.

Tip: if you don't know a lot about plants I recommend reading the last part first, so you can read the historical background while actually knowing what plants the author is referring to. At least I wish I had done that, since unfortunately my plant knowledge is very minimal. Still, I love the book because of its beautiful images.

My family and I moved about a year ago, and the garden of the new house hardly had any plants when we got there. Now that the weather is growing warmer we are very busy planting new flowers and plant life everywhere. I love to see how our quiet garden is evolving from a brick desert to a more colorful and living place. Today we went to the garden center to buy a rue, which helps keep cats away from our flowers. I saw many beautiful things there.


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Fashion Favorite: Crystal Jewelry in Different Shapes


Hello dear readers ♡

Jewelry with crystals is my favorite kind to wear, because I find that crystals affect my mood a lot. They can make it just a little easier to be kind or cheerful, or give you just that energy boost that you need.

Another thing I like about them is that they come in so many different shapes. It makes them easy to adapt to your style. But in addition to that, I feel like the different shapes also affects the energy the crystals radiate.

Here, I'll list some different crystal shapes that I really like and what energy I think they connect with. However, please keep in mind that everyone has a different relationship with their crystals, so for you their vibes might be completely different! These are just my feelings.

Heart-Shaped 




A few years ago I bought a necklace with a rose quartz in the shape of a heart and I've been wearing it almost every day. Apart from the fact that it's super cute and makes me feel like a magical girl from an anime, I also love its soft and peaceful energy. Rose quartz is the stone of love and I think that in the shape of a heart it's even stronger!

But I've seen lots of other crystals in the shape of a heart, too. In my experience they contain the same properties as the crystal normally would, but usually softer and with a more joyful energy. I think they make the wearer look like a princess, prince or fairy from a fairytale.

These are some shops that sell heart jewelry:
♡ HighVibrationsDesign
PositiveMindSo
♡ NandNJewelry
JGBeadedJewelry


Moon Shaped



The moon is a powerful mystical symbol that encourages us to use our intuitive abilities. I think wearing a moon shaped crystal sends out the signal that you're a wise person who trusts in their own inner magic. In addition to that, I believe that moon crystals can help you accept your own shadow side, like the part of the moon that is often hidden from our sight.

When you wear a crystal shaped like a moon, the spiritual abilities the crystal amplifies become even stronger and you become more aware of them. It makes it easier for you connect to the divine qualities within you, helping you realize you're literally made of love and light and you're the very definition of magic.

Here's a list of places where you can buy moon jewelry:
KnottyByChoice
WillowAndMoonDesigns
YouEarthAsh
shopriseandshine

Cross Shaped




The cross is a symbol we usually connect with Jesus Christ. That's why wearing a crystal with this powerful symbol can help you connect more easily with Christ's consciousness, that gentle power to heal people and create miracles for yourself and others. It's a state of mind of complete faith and surrender to a higher plan.


Personally, I feel like the cross symbol can give you enormous emotional strength like Jesus had. At the same time it will help you to be as kind and compassionate as he was. It can give us the courage to follow the plan of the Universe, for the highest good of all, instead of our small human plans. I wear my rose quartz cross necklace almost every day to remind me of Jesus' teachings, so I can stay positive and centered.

Here are some places where you can buy cross jewelry:
Wolf shaped




While this type of crystal can be a bit pricey, I just think it's so magical, so I've been wanting to write about it ever since I first saw them. For some reason I love wolves, though you probably wouldn't expect that from someone who wears pink all the time.

I believe that wearing a wolf necklace can help you enormously with your self-confidence. Wolfs are strong and fearless, walking calmly towards their goals. They know that their place in the pack is important, but they also know their individual worth. They're not afraid to make their voice heard, howling at the moon and everything (not really, but still).

While wolfs usually live in packs, I think that they can also inspire the "lone wolf" within you, meaning that they help you trust in your ability to take care of yourself. Wearing a wolf necklace can remind you to silently walk away from the pack once in a while and reflect on your own wishes and emotions.

Since wolfs are wild and free and follow their own instincts, a wolf shaped crystal also makes you become more aware of your inner guidance and gives you the courage to act on it. Thanks to its strong energy you worry less about the opinion of others so you can calmly follow your own truth instead.

Here's a little list of places where you can buy wolf shaped jewelry:
♡ RockCandyPendants

Point shape




Pointed crystals are probably the most commonly worn out of this list, having been a trend for a while now. Often you'll see them being worn by fashionable people on choker necklaces. So if you are afraid to show people in public your spiritual side, you can wear one of these and pretend it's nothing more than a fashion statement!

A crystal like this concentrates a lot of its energy stream into one point. That's why it provides the wearer with crystal clear focus and intentions. It can help you know exactly what to do to reach your goals. When studying, a pointed crystal can help you concentrate better. In addition, it helps the energy flow more smoothly in your body without it being blocked.

Since point crystals have been a popular fashion point for some time now, there's probably an infinite amount of places to buy them, but here's a small list:
TheBohoMinimalist
7ChakraJewelry
lotusfairy
Sunvsmoon
PeekaBelle


These were just a few of all the different crystal types out there! If you are afraid to show people you like crystals or new age-y stuff, you can simply choose a special shape so other people's attention goes out to that, instead of the fact that it's a crystal. I hope I could show you different ways to be a little bit creative with your spiritual routine and practice. Do you like to wear crystal jewelry?

Wishing you a fantastic week full of magic and happiness,

~Mayte ଘ(੭*ˊᵕˋ)੭*

P.S. The silly illustrations in this post were made by me. Feel free to use them, as long as you keep the credit on the image intact. ଘ( ˊᵕˋ )ଓ