Healing and Being Flower Fresh

The great Zen Master, Thich Nhat Hanh says, “We should be flower fresh, so that we refresh others.” When visiting with my mother in the hospital over the last few months that was my intention, to be flower fresh, not only for my mother, but all those who attended to her. A hospital is definitely a place that needs the energy of flower freshness. I wanted to be flower fresh to help my mom get better, but I also I had with me, something more.

I brought to the hospital an Anu Essentials Refresh Spritzer and I would spray it a few times throughout each day. This not only changed the aroma and molecules of my mother’s hospital room, but it had an affect on everyone who entered her room. From the visitors to the nurses and the nurse’s aids and doctors, they all noticed the shift in energy and aroma when entering my mom’s room.

Typically they would all take a deep breath and say, “Something in here smells good, what is that?” They also allowed me to lightly shower their faces with the Spritzer. They would happily follow my directions to softly close their eyes, inhaled slowly and deeply as I gently sprayed them with the Spritzer. And my mom was happy that I had an extra Spritzer to leave with her, so that she could spray it whenever I was not there to address any unpleasant smells.

As I have mentioned before, my mother has been in and out of hospitals all her life and even as a child, the one thing that always weighed heavily on me when visiting her at the hospital, was the ever-present hospital smell. Let’s be honest, it smells of pain, illness, and even death, which is something that affects not only those staying there, but also those working and visiting there.

Since I have such a keen sense of smell, I find the aromas of a hospital draining on my spirit. Therefore, I was relieved and felt armed with nature, to have my creation in my bag to help me through the many hours spent at the hospital.  It made it all, so much more bearable. After finally leaving the hospital, the first rehab center that my mom was transferred to was so dank, in addition to the Spritzer; I had to bring out the heavy aroma arsenal. Stay tuned for that story next week.

Burdened with a number of respiratory illnesses, commercial perfumes and other artificial fragrances can set my mother off to coughing, choking and wheezing, which made it impossible for her to continue to go to church. The amount of heavily perfumed members of the congregation would trigger an asthma attack. That is never the case when I spray our plant based perfumes or Spritzers around her. I was so happy to have in created botanical based aroma Spritzers, something that’s easily accessible that I could use to uplift, inspire and shift the energy of my mother and her hospital room. It also helped to inspire me through the long hours.

Formulated with herbs and essential oils it brought nature into the space, God’s pharmacy, is what plants are. They are naturally imbued with healing elements. So if you need to change the energy in a space, whether it’s your home, car, office, or even a public place such as an airplane or hospital room, remember the healing and renewing elements of Anu Essentials Refresh and Spiritual Spritzers. Our Spritzers make it easy for you to be ‘flower fresh.”

I would be remiss if I didn’t share that as a woman of a certain age, experiencing the power of heat rising aka menopausal symptoms, spritzing my face with these herbal Spritzers calms the sweating and leaves me with a feeling of freshness.  Try it! I guarantee you’ll enjoy the experience.

Thailand – Land of the Buddha

Back in October when I asked my friend Patricia Patton if I could join her on an excursion to Thailand, I really knew very little about Thailand, except that I’ve always enjoyed Thai massage and Thai food. This was going to be my gift to me for my 60th!  I had forgotten that the movie The King and I,  was based on a true story and in many ways influenced the future of Siam aka Thailand.  Nor did I realize that the food chain 7- Eleven was founded by a man from Thailand.  Those stores permeate the country, with over eight thousand 7-Elevens in Thailand, and over three thousand of those are located in Bangkok.

And I had no idea the level of devotion to the teachings of the Buddha, the Buddha consciousness that is palpable throughout Thailand. Despite the fact that most of the population are poor, people appear at peace and happy.  This may sound naive, but I do believe it’s the culture, tied in with the beliefs of the Buddha (regardless circumstances, happiness is available in every moment by controlling the mind) that makes for these easy going population. I’m not saying they’re happy to be poor, but the Thai people are just very pleasant to be around.

Patricia and I

I cannot deny what it requires of me mentally and physically to take these exceedingly long flights to far away lands. The whole mind game to endure an 18 hour flight to Thailand was substantial. There are some folks who travel around the globe on a regular basis and think nothing of the travel time. Many of them tell me they just sleep through it. I find it quite grueling and resort to all kinds of techniques, like talking to myself and practicing breathing exercises, watching lots of movies and reading. Still, I feel like a kid constantly trying not to ask myself “How much longer? Are we there yet?” And I was so thankful for the compression socks my sister loaned me. At the last minute I couldn’t find mine.  But won’t travel without them. What a life, legs, saver!!!

Typically, I was never one who could sleep on airplanes. But these days when I travel, I used my Spritzers and essential oil blends to calm and center myself. These Spritzers are my constant travel companions whether traveling locally in my car, on the subway or headed across the globe. Their botanical ingredients provide an easy access to natures healing powers.

Ancient ruins with countless statues like this of the Buddha – It was 105 degrees this day

It was incredibly hot when we arrived in Thailand.  We later found out that we arrived at the beginning of the Thai summer season. Ours would be the last tour of the season due to the extreme heat.  That first week the temperature ranged between 95-105 degrees. No wonder they have Night Markets, where mostly tourists shop at outdoor markets in the evenings when the temps have cooled down. One thing I did notice with all that heat, the little aches and pains I typically have were non-existent.  Now that I’m back home to cold, damp temps, those little annoyances have returned….We also happen to be in Thailand during the Thai New Year, April 13th-15th. Since it’s so hot during the New Year season, that it is celebrated with water.  And people literally douse each other with buckets of water, water guns, water hoses, it’s hilarious and fun.

In the big city of Bangkok, there seems to be no rhyme or reason as to how the city is laid out, if you can even call it that. It’s a mesh-mash of shanty type buildings thrown right in with 5 star hotels. Not my idea of beauty. Though there are many fabulous boutique hotels and other businesses that have all the bells and whistles. I found the city of Bangkok quite congested and unattractive along with the underlying smell of sewage; much like what I have experienced in Africa and the Caribbean.  These facts did not subtract from the overall experience of Thailand, which was just incredible. For my taste, the countryside is far more appealing with rice farms and lots of greenery, palm trees, coconut trees and all kinds of huge plants abound. We traveled to five cities but they were all up north, nowhere near the amazing beaches of the south in cities like Phuket, the place that introduced most of the world to the word tsunami.

Young novice monks on daily walk to receive offerings of food

What most amazed me was the devotion to the Buddha and his teachings. It’s in the air in the way that the people conduct themselves and interact with others. Imagine begin in a place where everyone who greets you brings their hands into prayer position and bows their head. This is everyone, from the children on up, the shop keepers, the concierge at the finest hotel restaurants, everyone greets you this way in Thailand. There’s something very sacred about that kind of interaction. It’s a cause for a mental pause, to really see the person you’re greeting and who is greeting you. People tend to be easy going and calm, gracious and patient, soft spoken and considerate. Drivers give each other the right of way, and there is no car horn blowing in Thailand. Drivers have the option to buy their cars with or without a horn, and most do not. Imagine that!

An artisan making a Buddha

There are incredible images of the Buddha, everywhere. There are 14 million people in the city of Bangkok alone and our tour guide said that there are least 3 Buddha statues to every one person. Thailand is an ancient country with statues of the Buddha that date back 700 years. There are ancient temples and ruins to the Buddha that both local people and travelers pay homage to daily. They bring offerings of money, bouquets of fresh cut flowers, garlands of flowers, jewelry, incense, they burn candles, genuflect and pray. The monks are given food daily by the people as a way of honoring those who take very seriously the teachings of the Buddha. All this to say, I was happily in a kind of, Buddha heaven until that last day. The many innumerable temples of all varying sizes, ages, details, are too many to list here.

The King graciously accepting a flower from an elder

Another point that stood out in a major way is the love that the Thai people have for their deceased king; this is evident everywhere. Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, was the world’s longest-reigning monarch; he died on October 13th 2016, after 70 years as head of state.  All over the city, the country, in the homes and businesses are huge photos, posters, and elaborate water resistant framed images of this king, the late Rama the 9th.  Yet, he was hardly ever in the headlines.  Why, because he was a great man, an upright leader who cared.  Had he been a tyrant we would have heard much about him.

Seemingly he was a king of and for the people. Our guide told us of the many ways he regularly went into the proverbial trenches to support and empower the people, to be with them through natural disasters, to uplift the farmers, to teach the Cambodians other skills so that they gladly left the lucrative business of opium behind. His Highness passed last October, but if you were there now, you’d think he just died the other day as buildings, businesses and homes are draped in black and white mourning cloth. He loved his people and their love for him is still quite apparent.

Sitting here with young girls from the Karen Long Neck Tribe

Last but not least, this time around on Thailand, are of the beautiful indigenous people who live in the hills of Chiang Mai. There are 10 Hill Tribes and the one that is most well known are the Karen Long Neck Tribe. They are located up the hill from the elephant reserve in Chiang Mai.  Unfortunately, these tribes are becoming like most indigenous people around the planet, scarce. Their numbers are declining as the elders pass on and the young people succumb to the influence of western civilization via satellite television and tourists. There are seemingly more people who live in the 75 brownstones on my block, than who reside in those 10 tribes, put together. There didn’t appear to be even 100 people in those hills.

Up in the hills where nature and beauty prevails

I was heartbroken that this was not a part of our scheduled tour. And since our tour was so jammed packed, it was just a few of us who decided that on the last day in Thailand (when I was out of steam, time and money) we would get up early to make the journey to see the people of the Hill Tribes. They were the real deal, the ones with the ancient artistry, living the way of the ancient customs and traditions. This was for me the soul of Thailand. I would have gladly skipped spending one more day seeing yet three to five more temples and dozens more Buddha images to spend a whole day and even several days in the hills with the Hill Tribes.

A young Kayaw girl weaving on loom

These people of art and the land make their living selling their amazing artistry to tourist. I found myself feeling guilty for being there as a tourist, taking photos of them and with them. I felt like I needed to be doing more, giving more than just an exchange of money for their goods.   I’m still grappling with this and wondering what more can I do? But needless to say, despite all the many Buddhist temples and incredible statues of the Buddha, this 45 minute visit to see the people in the hills, was the highlight of my trip to Thailand. If I ever make it back to Thailand, this is where I will be spending my time and money.

This wonderful Akha elder had us all smiling

There’s so much more that we experienced and learned, like ride on the elephants (images of elephants are also quite prevalent in Thailand) learning how to cook Thai food, we learned how to make paper with botanical designs in the paper, and the list goes on and on. If you haven’t already visited, consider going to Thailand for a most unique and fortifying experience.

The End of The Line

It has not been easy for me to admit this to myself, let alone anyone else. But I can no longer delay informing you that after much consideration I have decided to discontinue the Anu Essentials Line of Hair Products with the exception of the Hair Oils. Our botanically infused Hair Oils have been handmade by yours truly since 1980 and will continue on.

In the current stock there are just a dozen or so of the Deep Conditioner and a couple of dozen of the Nourishing Gel Shampoo and Moisture Rich Conditioner. But due to a recent delivery there is enough Leave-In-Conditioner, Luscious Curling Cream and Soft Set Gel to last through the spring and summer. Yes, I know. I’m more heart broken than you can imagine over this reality. But at this point I must cut my losses.

My focus now is on my true love, botanical elements (herbs and essential oils) and all the ways I can infuse them into our lives. This includes Body Care, Essential Oil remedies (soon to come) mood enhancers that include our Refresh and Spiritual Spritzers, Perfumes and semi-precious, gem stone jewels. We will also be offering unique home and environment fragrances to enliven, cleanse and enhance your breathing space. It is our plan to expand in all the above categories.

As one who has been studying the healing arts for many years, I have studied Chinese Medicine, I am a Certified Yoga Instructor, and Reiki Practitioner, the desire to heal is a part of my DNA.  The infusion of herbal based beauty and environmental care products of Anu Essentials are an extension of my desire to offer natural healing solutions that beautify and inspire. I will be turning 60 years young this month and what better time than now to fulfill my soul’s desire to heal and beautify using the gifts from God, via nature?

Anu Prestonia – Yoga photo session, summer 2016

I would like offer my heart felt appreciation to all those who have supported Anu Essentials line of Natural Hair Products over these four years. We encourage you to stock up on the Hair Products you like most, while they last. I have! Due to the quality and cost of manufacturing the products, there will be no sale or reduction of prices.

Last but not least, Great News!!! We are very excited to inform you we will be launching a new Anu Essentials website in July.  Stay tune.  And Many Thanks!



How To Be Fresh When Traveling

There are many times upon entering a room when I’ve had the desire to be refreshed by the
aromatic smell and healing power of a botanical element. To me, the way an environment
smells is more important than the way it looks. Nothing enhances a room more than a fresh
aromatic delight. Then it occurred to me that others might feel the same way that I do. So I developed
a line of Refresh Spritzers, blending naturally fragrant, botanical elixirs, that will refresh you and the air around you, but do not take your breathe away.

Rosemary oil. Rosemary essential oil jar glass bottle and branches of plant rosemary with flowers on rustic background.










Synthetically scented freshners with their overbearing odors sometimes cause a choking
feeling. However, our botanical Refresh Spritzers prompt a natural reflex, a willingness to
inhale deeply in order to fully experience their smell. In this line of Spritzers you will inhale
elements from nature, flowers, herbs, and oils. Their DNA is similar to our own human DNA;
and is instantly recognizable by our senses as something good for us. The body, mind and spirit
intuitively know these smells are in-tune with our bodies, and that they are safe.  This makes
them a joy to experience.
The Refresh Spritzers come in three different aromas:
Citrus is comprised of a mélange of citrus oils, sweet orange, Mandarin & Bitter Orange to
name a few. Our Citrus Spritzer has an uplifting, inspiring and refreshing affect on the mind and
Forest has a soft herbal aroma, a blend of French lavender and Fir needle essences to
inspire and transport you to the great outdoors.
Fleur is a blend of real rose and ylang ylang for those who like floral aromas. Often times
there is no sense of how real rose smells. Real rose has an earthy quality that offers a soft,
velvety essence. And then there’s a little ylang ylang to make it pop.

Fresh lavender flowers and bottle of oil on wooden background

If you’re feeling down, tired, exhausted, or perhaps not so fresh, gently spray one of our Spritzers towards your face and inhale slowly, deeply.  This will relax  you and give you a sense of well-being.  You can repeat this several times with no harm to your or your environment. You can repeat this several times with no harm to you or your environment.
In addition, to refreshing you, our Refresh Spritzers address unpleasant odors in the air quickly
and gently. Recently on a relatively long flight (5 hours)  the person sitting next to me was unable to
keep their natural gases to themselves. Oh yes! I’m going to tell you the truth. I cannot judge her for we all have this gas that can escape from us at any time.  So I would have had the same solution, had I been the culprit. I graciously pulled out my Forest Spritzer and dispersed the botanical compounds into the air in a safe, softly fragrant and reliable way. It’s not uncommon to feel kind of depleted after a long flight and spraying the Spritzer towards your face and inhaling deeply several times is a great way to instantly, refresh.  In other words, don’t leave home without our Refresh Spritzers. I carry at least one in my purse at all times and I keep one in my car.

Check them out at AnuEssentials.com