Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Giving Season

We have come to that time of year.  A time when I am planning time with family, planning a annual Christmas party, and planning a trip to Florida to spend Christmas with my Mom and sisters and nephews and nieces.  A tradition.  Having not had a family of my own, my tradition has been travel, get together's and short trips to see "people, places and things."

It is a time of year that has been given the hash tag #givingseason      I like that.  It brings to mind many ways in which I can give, and give my community, friends and to my customers.  I like the "things I give" to be special.  I don't send many cards - so I buy artisan cards which are a bit like a gift in and of themselves.  I Love! putting together "boxes of lots of things" inside, I use baskets too.

I give gifts to my brothers family at Thanksgiving since we spend that holiday together!  I have 4 great nieces, so  I have put together a big box of bath salts and soaps and creams.  They can choose what they want.  They love all of my herbal goodies so it will be fun to see what they pick


I cannot believe 2015 is nearly passed.  We have slipped in to cold weather and had a dusting of snow here in the Smoky Mountains.  The moon is nearly full.  The yard it lit up like broad daylight.  Even still, I just want to curl up in a hot bath under the moonlight and then hop in bed - probably before 8PM!   Decadent, and just the right thing to do on a chilly late autumn evening.

MoonLit evening with a dusting mid November 2015

Until next time - Cynthia @ MoonMaid Botanicals

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Working from the road....

It has it challenges.  Communication is a key factor.  Don't assume that the person you instructed "heard what you think you said."

Meanwhile - "communicating" directly with my customers, both individuals and stores was so rewarding.  The smiles that crossed the faces of women who were meeting the very woman who blends their remedies......was incredibly satisfying.

Some of the stores I visited have carried my products for over 15 years.

It is so rewarding to see my products on a shelf!

And it was great to meet with individual customers.  This in Oklahoma City.

I got to do in store demos!

These are some momento's from the trip of places I visited, gifts I received, things I got started.

It was worthwhile, satisfying, and gave me the spark to continue to offer women herbal alternatives to prescription drugs and other hormone products.

Until next time - Cynthia @ MoonMaid Botanicals

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Women on the road...

When I was on the road I was surprised to find many many folks travelling about, going all different directions in all manner of ways.

Erik on his bicycle.

New York to LA - now what.  Read more.  Awesome kid.

These folks on a Harley.

I saw Minnie Winnies, super big Winnebago's, buses, lots of "vintage" looking trailers.  I took a lot of pics but not to many of vehicles for some reason.

Another thing I noted were the number of women on the road, solo.  Just like me.  Lots.  I can think of  5 right off the top. We all had two things in common - we were in cars we felt secure and safe in and we all had dogs.

Here is one of my road friends.

I had many many friends, customers and folks on the road, tell me "how brave I was."  Hmmmm.  I never really thought of it that way.  I wanted to go and had no one to go with......what else is one to do.  The stark difference of my life, not only because I never married or had children, but also that I as an entrepreneur, march to a slightly different rhythm then most.  I may not be happy with every situation of my life in reflection, but being a business owner has taught me to "push on."  Everything will be alright.  I am not saying, by any means, that it is never stressful either.  I have learned in business, and on this trip I just made, that one must trust and ask for the help one needs, in whatever way that is.

It was a good lesson.
Until next time - Cynthia @ MoonMaid

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

It was a wonderful journey you might imagine....good to be home.  No place like home.  Friends, family, kitties and the land.....all awaited me.  I drove 6942 miles.  In just under 5 weeks.  And I did not get to even 1/2 the places I wanted to.  There is another trip in me just down the road.

Nissan, my travelling companion, had quite a trip himself.  He saw the ocean for the first time, experienced the "big city" and made a bunch of friends.  He travelled really well.  I was so glad to have him along.
Nissan in San Francisco, his friend Ellie and Nissan again at the beach.

So many things "happened" I saw so much, I met so many interesting people, most of whom I will never see again.  I learned a lot about this country and most of all myself.  I challenged and stretched my capabilities and my sense of trust.  It was awesome, terrifying, confounding and Fun!!!

This kid, Eric, was riding from New York to LA - he made it.  It turned out, we were sort of on the same path, he even went to Redlands, where I had lunch with my brother.  I met him somewhere on Hwy 66 - where I veered off for a bit, in Texas I think. Hwy 66 run right alonside I40 and is an interesting bit of history itself.  That's another trip.

I started out in Arkansas and dinner with a new friend.

Off to Oklahoma City for dinner with a long time customer
Then to Santa Fe where I did a demo and chatted with customers
Then to the magical Sedona.  It was so beautiful and decided to play a trick with my car's air conditioning.  It stopped...and then started again just as suddenly as it quit.  Who knows.

In Sedona
I then went to Yuma for a evening with some a couple of women I have been working with for a few years.  Lisa and Nancy, mother and daughter team of BigBlend Magazines.  I left them off a bottle of Dandelion Wine which I understand they enjoyed very much.  It is indeed like sipping a bowl full of flowers.  Intoxicating.

Then to Los Angeles.  I spent a couple of nights in Long Beach with an old friend.  Most fun!!  I went to our family cemetery then off to a wedding and family gathering. I love hanging out with family.


The trip to the family cemetery kept me long while just sitting at my Dad's grave.  It was nearing the anniversary of his death, I now realize.  It felt good and healing.

I then found myself in Boulder Creek, near Santa Cruz.....after a brief visit with my very first love.  I wish I could say it was magical and exciting.  Instead,  it wasn't so I moved on to the great Redwoods to visit two old friends.  I got to spend a bit of real time.  I took the suitcase out of the car for the first time in two weeks.
Linda and Doug in Boulder Creek, CA
Visited a store that has carried my products for ever and ever in Santa Cruz!!  We go back to the beginning.

To Sonoma County and Santa Rosa to hang out for a week.  Got to have a quick visit with Mr. Michael Newman.   
We drove out to the coast watching for whales.  Did not see any but did enjoy a bit of sunshine and exhilirating ocean air.

I unwound here, for the second time.  Stayed a week.  Unpacked.  Went out to stores, saw old places.  I rested.  I healed some more, as one always does at MomsHead.  Karen and Vivien are the most excellent hostesses and friends.  They call me their "spirit daughter."  I always leave feeling like a highly valued princess.

I got to see my friend Scully too.  She plays music and is an extremely cool woman. I am extremely impressed.   She makes me smile!!

I left Santa Rosa and Sonoma County and headed to Redding.  This is a town where I have spent much time as a young person.  We had family in town, we camped on Shasta Lake.  It was a huge part of my life.  Spent a couple of nights with my Aunt Edna.  It was very very lovely.                                            
Aunt Edna
Off from here to Ashland Oregon.  Driving to Ashland requires a drive through Mt. Shasta City.  Mt. Shasta is a most impressive volcano.   It is a place I always take time to "veer off" to.  Catch the vibe of the mountain.  Visit the very cool natural food store and maybe even head to the town park where the Sacramento River begins.

Mt. Shasta
The Houstons
Ashland was a lot of fun with Tom, Stephanie and Olivia Houston, another couple of long time friends and their lovely daughter.   Again, I found we did not "do" much except spend time, visiting and hanging out at the homestead.  Making food and solving the problems of the world.  I found it a nicer way to "visit" then trying to cram a bunch of "stuff" into the itinerary.

It seemed like I had all the time in the world when I first set out.  As I clipped along from one place to was clear, I was trying to pack a lot in. And suddenly, I had to turn home.  I had planned to go to Portland to see my dear friend Meredith...but sadly the time had come for me to turn East before I made it that far North.

                                              Shirley kept things going while I was away.

I jammed home.  I went from Ashland to Reno, NV. Then to Then to Little America Wyoming through Salt Lake.  Then North Platte then on to Columbia Missouri.  When I left Columbia I was pretty sure I would make the 10 hour drive on in to Cosby.  It was time to get home.  And I did.
Did you know that they really collect salt from the salt flats in Utah.  There was a great big Morton Girl Sign.  Nevada is really really have to be careful not to fall asleep.  Wyoming smells like cows.  All of it.  It has never been 90 degrees in Salt Lake City, except the day I went through.  It was a really big deal.  The Sherwin Williams headquarters is just outside Reno.  There was a lot lot lot of natural gas, oil and railroad work going on.  If I were a young man.....I'd be working in the West. I am sure there are many more stories I am neglecting to include.  But this is it for now.

It was quite a journey.  Glad to be home.  Straight in to plans for an Air B & B here on the Botanical Sanctuary, as I really enjoyed staying in them myself.  I need a few things to get going so I started a GoFundMe platform called "EcoGlamping in the Smokies."  You can read about it here.

Just enough to keep me busy until it's time for the next journey, sometime in 2016......

Until then - Cynthia @ MoonMaid

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Creating a Living Classroom....

After my travels around America this September, I had some revelations!!  MoonMaid, while a product business for sure, and it/I am also a valuable resource for information on herbs, endangered plant species, living in "community" with my land, alternative methods of dealing with "waste" of all kinds, know much about recycling and composting and on and on.....

I had incredible experiences at Air B & B's on my trek which inspired me to create one here on the property.  This "gem in the woods" is a 5 acre spot nestled in the Smoky Mountains and minutes from the National Park.  These woods are rich in endangered plants like ginseng, black and blue cohosh, and our favorite, wild yam, a key herb in a number of MoonMaid Botanicals products.  This spot offers a unique opportunity for upscale camping and a chance to learn about native medicinals that find themselves endangered due to over harvesting in the wild and increased usage as herbal medicines become ever more popular.

Native Plants @ MoonMaid's Botanical Sanctuary
Preserving, Protecting & Propagating Woodland Herbs
My vision for this is a EcoGlamping experience in a luxurious tent outfitted with a plush bed, cook-stove, and outdoor shower.  It will be stocked with organic teas and snacks to compliment your stay. This lovely spot will be located near the spring fed pond and developing organic garden.  A short nature trail, a natural woodland herb garden is delightful. for those who want something slightly up-scale from car camping, this will be an excellent choice.  AirB&B's are super popular in my area.  After having stayed in some, I can see why.  Far better then a hotel in almost every situation.

To assist in getting this project up and running sooner then later, I decided to try crowdfunding.  Our first goal - the tent and it's "construction."   I sure don't expect folks to participate without getting something back, hence there are several "gift levels" to choose from.    Here is a link.   If you have questions - email and I will get back to you.  i am excited to say that the campaign already has a donor.  Super excited about that.

Thanks all - until next time - Cynthia @ MoonMaid Botanicals.

Saturday, September 26, 2015


I am still on my Trek Across America.  I can't believe I have been gone 4 weeks.  One more to go as I work my way back home.  I have been to a lot of places, I have made new friends and partners, I saw inspiring things, I saw some sadness, I learned and continue to learn a lot from the people out there. I thought this young man was especially awesome....biking from Ithaca NY to Santa Monica, CA.  His journey was fun to check in on, via his blog, after I met him somewhere in New Mexico on Hwy. 66.

I have been to Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, California and am on my way to Oregon tomorrow.  That's as far North as this trip will take Ashland and then Portland where I will turn East into Idaho.  I am beginning to long for home, my cabin, my cats, and my trees.  Well, the tress I tend, the trees that gift me with the joy of nature.

I have been in the plains, the high and low desert, the Pacific Coast, the redwoods, and now the forests of Oregon.  I'll stop in Shoshone Idaho to do some family history research  Here is a picture from the wedding I attended in LA with my brother and a bunch of cousins.  It was great!!!

I can't believe it has been so long since I posted.  I hope to post a bit more regularly as I journey home.  Until then - Cynthia @ MoonMaid Botanicals who is currently in Redding, California.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Trek begins -

Ready for the Road
I started out on Monday and made it to the Little Rock Arkansas area.  On to Oklahoma City on Tuesday where I had dinner with a long time customer.  We had so much to talk about, so much in common!

Here I am in Santa Fe on Day 4 of my Trek.   Did a demo at a wonderful Co-op - La Montanita Market.  Met a lot of cool women and great foks.  My favorite kind of store.

 It has been lots and lots of driving - over 1500 miles so far.  Half way I guess.  Seen lots, met lots of great people.  I have to say, most impressive is Eric, a 18 year old who is taking some time before starting college and has biked from Ithaca NY (yes New York) to Santa Rosa New Mexico - in a month.

                   Hugely moved by this young man!!  Go Eric.  Follow his travels @

I am off to Sedona, AZ tomorrow to see friends and stop in at another Co-op.  Will hope to place my products in the store!!!  You never know.  But I know, this is how it all began and continues!!!
Until next time - Cynthia from on the Road!!