One thing I’ve noticed about most successful blogs I follow is the photography on the site.

It’s usually stunning.

I see huge photos of food, family, farms and everyday living and the pictures themselves tell the story.

Hardly any writing is required for articles like these; and yet, I read through the entire post just to see the images.

What I realized is that I begin to connect and become a part of the story.

Well, that told me one thing for sure, I need to dust off my camera, learn how to use the bloody thing and put much bigger pictures on my site.  :)

With all this new enthusiasm about taking pictures,  I needed a subject.

That opportunity came in an invitation we received from our friend Louis Coulombe to visit his farm upcountry.

There’s absolutely nothing better than photography and a day at the farm.

Come join me!

Life on Maui

My husband, Frank, and Louis go way back…..even before me!!

They met on the West Maui Mountains over 15 years ago.

Louis and some friends were hiking up to the “L”, a popular launch site for paragliders, and Frank was dirt bike riding.

Their paths crossed.

Frank offered to take each of their 50 lb. packs up to the launch site for them on his dirt bike.

This gave Louis and his friends a much easier hike.

Frank stayed up at the “L” and watched them all launch, and he was hooked.

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Within a year, he was a certified paragliding pilot and he and Louis became great friends.

But Louis is not just a paragliding pilot.  He is a very successful entrepreneur.

He and his surfing buddy/business partner, Stephan Bel-Robert, own a restaurant, a luau, a gourmet store/coffee shop at one hotel and another café at another resort.  And this is all on Maui! :)

And their farm, O’o Farm, provides all the organic produce and coffee for their businesses.

Upcountry Kula

Kula, Maui, Hawaii has probably the most ideal weather for farming.

Here you will find farms that are almost exclusively organic.  Some are even hydroponic.

For a small island, there is wonderful diversity, especially in the weather.

We have a rainforest on the southeast side of the island, two mountain ranges (West Maui Mountains and Haleakala) where some winters we even get snow.

On the westside where I live, it’s really hot and almost desert-like.

But today, we went to Kula and one of my favorite stops along the way is this lovely produce stand.

Ahh, paradise! :)

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A Day at O’o Farm

With fresh muffins and strawberries from the produce stand for breakfast, Frank and I made our way up to the farm.

It’s a beautiful drive to O’o Farm.  In Hawaii, o’o was a black, honey-eating bird with yellow tufts of feathers under each wing.  These feathers were highly valued and used to decorate royal capes and helmets.

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Once you arrive and park, it’s a short hike to the outdoor gardens, the outdoor kitchen and eating area, coffee bushes and the newest coffee shop!

My Favorite!!

O’o Farm and Coffee

I have had an almost lifetime love affair with coffee.

And O’o Farm satisfies every aspect of my coffee heart.

While there, we were introduced to their newest acquisition, a huge, turn of the century, cast iron coffee roaster.

And what’s even more amazing is that they found it right here on Maui.  No shipping required.

Louis was there working on the new coffee shop he’s building to accommodate the coffee roaster and his new “Seed to Cup” coffee tour he has started to compliment his already existing Forage and Feast Tour.

Budget Minded OrganicsWhat I love best about O’o Farm is the fact that it is:

  • Organically farmed (no nasty pesticides, insecticides, or herbicides)
  • Sustainably maintained (farming to improve the environment), and
  • Biodynamically cultivated (spiritual-ethical-ecological approach to agriculture)

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Final Thoughts and an Idea

Taking pictures and experiencing the great outdoors in an environment of such beauty and respect was so renewing for me.

What a great idea to take a friend, your family, the kids, or just yourself to an outdoor environment and just take pictures.

Go to your nearest

  • Arboretum
  • Forest
  • Park
  • Beach
  • Pool

Or wherever your heart desires

Grab the camera and take pictures of just everything that captures your eye.

Don’t forget to follow through.  It was great fun for me to download my pictures and create the above collages.

And the pictures didn’t turn out half bad either.  :)

Oh, and I use PicMonkey as my photo editor.

Have a fun-filled, photo day!  And if you have a moment, connect with me on Facebook and post the pictures you took.

I’d love to see what kind of fun day you had.

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Most of us already know that exercise is beneficial, if not crucial, for a long, healthy life.

Cardiovascular exercise like running, swimming and bicycling go hand-in-hand with strength training, like weight lifting, to help us all have increased vitality, endurance and mental clarity.

If you haven’t already established a workout routine, here are some key benefits that might motivate you to start.

Exercise, along with an organic, primarily plant-based diet, (emphasis mine) :)

  • Promotes a longer, healthier life.
  • Helps protect you from developing heart disease and stroke.
  • Helps protect you from developing certain cancers.
  • Helps prevent Type II diabetes.
  • Relieves symptoms of anxiety and depression (huge for women in peri-menopause or menopause).
  • Promotes weight loss and helps keep the weight off.
  • Provides for a good night’s sleep. This one was my motivator. :)

Check out The Harvard School of Public Health for more information, tips, and guidelines for starting or improving your exercise regimen.

Yoga: My New Best Friend

One component of exercise that a lot of people, including myself, tend to shrug off as unimportant is stretching.

When it comes to stretching, I tend to roll my eyes and treat it as an unnecessary waste of time.

But I know better. Stretching is soooo important for a complete and greatly enhanced workout.

And one of the best ways to get a complete, full-body stretch is through yoga.

Here are some key benefits of yoga to consider.

Physical Benefits of Yoga

According to FitDay.com, yoga can be of enormous benefit for anyone pursuing a fitness routine.

One way yoga benefits the body is that it tones and strengthens your body uniformly, whereas other exercises may lead to over development of specific muscle groups.

Along with toning and strengthening, yoga also:

  • Increases flexibility
  • Increases lubrication of joints, ligaments and tendons
  • Massages the body’s internal organs
  • Helps facilitate detoxification

Yoga helps increase blood flow to all parts of the body which helps the body flush toxins that ultimately leads to increased energy levels. Yay!
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Mental Benefits of Yoga

One of the key benefits of yoga, for me, is that it helps be stay fully present and focused on my body.

Yoga postures are meant to affect every part of your body; you can feel your body moving, stretching, and sometimes even yelling at you with each yoga position.

You literally FEEL every part of your body. It’s great especially if it has been awhile since you’ve tuned in.

When I’m not struggling to get into position and am able to finally hold and be still, I am also able to quiet my mind and focus on breathing.

Yoga is all about breathing.

With this in mind (pun intended) :), here are some key benefits of yoga for your mind.

  • Yoga helps the practitioner relax and manage stress
  • Maintaining poses increases mental focus and concentration
  • Meditation while holding poses helps you observe and control the thoughts in your head, especially those thoughts that are negative or no longer serve you.
  • Meditation also helps develop under used portions of the brain heightening intuition.

Most stress and anxiety is caused by thoughts of regret and shame from the past, worry and fear for the future.

Through the use of meditation, the mind is re-trained to stay present, breathe, and live freely in the moment. Read Full Article →

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Disclaimer

I do not now or at anytime profess to be a healthcare provider or even professionally schooled in healthcare. I am simply a woman and mother, doing research for my own life and finding information significant enough to share on Budget Minded Organics. It is up to each of us to perform our "due diligence" (research) before considering modifications in our diet or lifestyle. And always consult a trusted, professional healthcare provider.
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