There is some simple awe in the patterns found in nature.

How is it that such a strong emotional response to beauty can arise when we see the repetition of natures forms? Seeing the crests of mountain ridges, or the light dancing on leaves in trees, or the way that the water leaves traces of its path along the sand? There is an ebb and flow molded by the elements, signed directly by Mother Earth and layered over time. Affina draws from these energetic imprints; the sea's vast reservoirs, or the Earth's expansive landscapes.

sand patterns

Nature's signature is a timestamp of individual moments that once moved with the breath of life; a snapshot or freeze frame of a particular position in time and space. When we see these still images, part of our most primal being begins to trace the flow of waves of energy, timeless as the tides. Branching, spiraling, layering... alive and ever-evolving, they draw us in - appealing to our sense of wonder. Some part of us knows that we have come from these subtle impressions, and we may for a second remember what it is like to be in that place outside of our identity. Staring into the sea, or watching creatures move through forest branches as fleeting shapes and color taps us into something timeless; we forget ourselves, we become, or rather remember, that we are not separate from that which we observe.

Conus Gloriamaris

Therein, lies the overwhelming awe and beauty of nature. This is why it can touch so deeply into our own hearts. Forces, alive with spirit, eons in the making, have finally given birth to this human creature that can observe and revere the very power that created it.

Sea Biscuit

Nature's recurring growth patterns have been studied for centuries. Early Greek Philosophers, like Plato, studied them in an attempt to explain order in nature. Pliny, the most recognized natural philosopher, believed by observing nature one could gain inner tranquility. It is clear to see that it is so. We are a part of this dance, ever flowing. While we may lose sight of this to the turbulence of our own thoughts as we navigate the world, finding solace from it all is as easy as stepping back into the stream, hearing the trickle of water on stones carved by centuries of cascading falls.

ammonite shell

Our minds, our cognition, and our ability to think and understand have all been crafted by this same agency, which is why it is no surprise that mathematicians, physicists and biologists seek to explain and model many naturally occurring shapes, like fractals and the Fibonacci spiral. We hope that if we can crack this code, we might learn about who we really are. Eco-Psychologists believe the human mind is instinctively inspired and comforted by nature because that is the arena in which it originally evolved, and it is no secret that our own anatomy follows these same rhythms. 

strigosa brain coral

While in the West,we have sought to understand Mother Earth critically and with reason, Eastern philosophies are deeply rooted in ancient beliefs in the harmony between man, the soul and nature. The ancients believed that the experience of sacred geometry was essential to the education of the soul. Native Americans belief all living things are imbued with spirit, and this is evident in their ceremony, song, and timeless reverence and protection of the environment.

Really, when we stop to think about it, the answer has been in front of us all along. It doesn't take more than a moment of quiet contemplation in your favorite forest or ocean cove to realize that we are a part of this vibration of movement and form. It calls to us from a place that is beyond reason, it moves us at the core, and reminds us of the way home.

White Peony


Cozumel Reef

In honor of World Oceans Day, we wanted to share with you some photos from our dive in Cozumel’s reefs. Part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the second largest coral reef system in the world, the Cozumel reef system is famous for its spectacular reefs. As one of the world's top dive destinations, Cozumel's reef system encompasses hundreds of dive sites at numerous individual reefs along the extensive Mesoamerican Reef System. The biodiversity of these beautiful reefs are unbelievable!

Cozumel Reef Dive

Cozumel Reef

Cozumel Reef

Scuba Diver

Cozumel Coral Reef

Cozumel Reef

Our photographers and family: John & Kristen Gionfriddo. ©️2018 John Gionfriddo. All rights reserved.

John & Kristen the divers


Beautiful dendritic and ripple sand patterns created by the sea. Photographed on Martha's Vineyard.

Sand Patterns




This beautiful bathroom belongs to our dear friend Vivian Parisi. As an artist and former head of Conran's NYC design group, Viv is one of those people oozing with talent and impeccable taste. Her amazing home in Sea Cliff, Long Island is set high on a bluff surrounded by an eclectic mix of bungalows, arts and craft cottages, and Victorian homes that look down to a breathtaking view of the Long Island Sound. 

Her bathroom was designed around the beautiful calming tones of whites and grays found right outside her window. 

In addition to being an artist, Vivian is a top selling real estate agent at Daniel Gale Sotheby's in Sea Cliff. You can listen to her inspiring story here.

Sea Cliff Bathroom Design


Affina white bath towels

Sea Cliff Bathroom Design

Sea Cliff Bathroom Design

Affina white bath towels

Affina bath towels

Affina bath towels

Affina white bath towels



By Anna Guggenberger

For centuries, minerals and crystals have been used for their metaphysical properties and healing powers. Worn as talismans or amulets, certain stones were believed to shield and protect the owner from enemies, help them to find the right path, and provide clarity in moments of doubt.

The word ‘crystal’ derives from the Greek word ‘krustallos’ meaning ‘ice’ and ‘rock crystal’. The Greeks probably referred to clear quartz that looks almost like an ice crystal. Amethyst derives from ‘amethustos’ and means not drunken, because the purple crystal was believed to prevent intoxication. 

Various crystals are named after their place of origin. Moldavite, for example, is named after the Moldau River region in the Czech Republic and Topaz derives from Τοπαζος, an old name for St. John’s Island in the Red Sea.

Most of today’s knowledge about crystal healing stems from old traditions and practices by the ancient Chinese, Egyptian, Aztec and Mayan cultures. Next to Tarot cards, crystals have become the most popular resource for spiritual guidance and energy balancing.

Our life force or ‘energy’ (called ‘chi’ in Japan, and ‘prana’ in India) is the source of our health and vitality and should be protected at all costs.

Lotus Flower

The Crown Chakra

‘Sahasrara’ is believed to be the purest and most powerful of all seven chakras. It establishes our connection to the spiritual world, transcending all elements, colours and sounds. Opening our crown chakra is opening ourselves to the realization that we are pure awareness, pure consciousness and pure love.

The name ‘sahasrara’ is Sanskrit for ‘lotus flower with 1,000 petals’, a symbol for the purity of our bodies and minds. Like the lotus flower, we are surrounded by muddy waters, but we do not have to adhere to them. Through meditation and spiritual practice, we rise above the dirt and mud around us and bloom. This is our enlightenment.


Amethyst is a stone of spirituality. It purifies our aura, stimulates the crown chakra, and enhances the benefits of meditation. Often called an ‘all-healer’ it can even be used to improve plant growth. Just stick it into the soil about two fingers away from the stem.

To cleanse your crown chakra with an amethyst, place it on your head and meditate with the following affirmations:

I am complete.
I am light and I am love.
I am connected and open to the divine wisdom.

Clear Quartz
Clear Quartz

Quartz is one of the most common crystals and encompasses a whole family of quartz varieties from Rose Quartz to Rainbow Crystals. Of all the Quartz varieties, Clear Quartz is the most universal stone. It corresponds to all chakras and is an energy source in itself, which is why it can be used to charge other crystals. Clear Quartz is an excellent meditation stone, bringing balance and harmony to our soul.


Selenite is a form of gypsum and can be found in various states, most notably in Oklahoma, where Selenite often occurs in an hourglass shape. Named after the Greek goddess of the moon Selene, the crystal has impressive metaphysical properties. Holding the energy of the moon goddess, Selenite helps to stabilise our emotions and cleanse our aura from negative energies.


About Anna

Anna is a thinker, dreamer, and raconteur. She grew up in the Austrian countryside surrounded by mountains, forests, and meadows, where her creative spirit and vivid imagination were cultivated. The aspiring writer seeks to inspire and spark conversations about topics ranging from mental health and body positivity to mindfulness and living in alignment with the energies of nature. For more of Anna’s writing:

Blog: Ardent Wanderess


By Anna Guggenberger

Third Eye Chakra Crystals

Working with crystals is energy work. Each stone has its own vibrational frequency that resonates with one of the many energy centres in our body and can help to balance and heal our chakras.

We have already established the powerful healing effects of crystal meditation in our last article; however, without mentioning that crystals used for healing should be cleansed before every use.

Crystals act like sponges, absorbing energies they are exposed to. The longer they sit around, the more energy, negative or positive, they take in. Therefore, it is important to cleanse and re-charge your crystals on a regular basis.

There are several methods to cleanse your crystals. The most accessible and easy one is to rinse them or let them sit in water. If I don’t have access to fresh ocean or lake water, I usually prefer to rinse them. The same way a long shower helps to wash away negativity, rinsing your crystals with the intention of cleansing them will help to remove negative energy that they have absorbed over time. Make sure to check that your crystals can be immersed in water, because some salt crystals or crystals with a high metal content should not come into contact with water.

After cleansing them, re-charge your crystals in sunshine or moonlight. Personally, I prefer to let them absorb the gentle energy of Luna. I place them in a circle in a safe, but well-lit place on a full moon night and bring them back inside in the morning.

Anna Guggenberger Crystals

No matter what method you prefer for crystal cleansing, be aware that they will continue to absorb energies from yourself and your room. Before bringing your crystals back in, you should always cleanse your room with sage or incense to disintegrate negative energies.

To continue our series, I would also like to present you the most effective crystals to balance the third eye chakra. As the name already suggests, the third eye chakra is associated with vision, helping us to see things beyond the physical realm. A balanced sixth chakra helps us to access greater wisdom and strengthen our intuition.



The dark blue crystal has been used for many centuries, for example as a stone for priests and priestesses in ancient Egypt, or as a sacred stone used to contact spiritual guides by Native Americans. The stone is said to alleviate stress and worry, help to regain control over emotions, and dissolve blockages in the third eye chakra.

Lapis Lazuli
Lapis Lazuli

Not only Azurite was popular among Egyptians. Lapis Lazuli was often used to inlay sarcophagi and other burial ornaments. The semi-precious stone was also used by some of the most important Renaissance and Baroque artists for its deep blue colour. Carrying the stone, or placing it on the forehead, between the eyebrows, helps to activate the psychic abilities of the third eye.


Kyanite is an extremely powerful stone as it does not retain negative energy and therefore, does not need to be cleansed. Because of this self-cleansing ability, Kyanite (and Citrine) can be used to cleanse other crystals. Place them on top of a Kyanite cluster and leave them there for 24 hours (or as long as it takes for you to feel like they have taken up the energy from your Kyanite).

The last article of our series will explore our connection with the Universe and our divine self through our crown chakra, and show how to unravel its power.
Read next article on the Crown Chakra.


About Anna

Anna is a thinker, dreamer, and raconteur. She grew up in the Austrian countryside surrounded by mountains, forests, and meadows, where her creative spirit and vivid imagination were cultivated. The aspiring writer seeks to inspire and spark conversations about topics ranging from mental health and body positivity to mindfulness and living in alignment with the energies of nature. For more of Anna’s writing:

Blog: Ardent Wanderess


By Anna Guggenberger

Throat Chakra Crystals

With last week’s solar eclipse and new moon, we’ve entered a time of transformation and change, a time to heal and grow. It’s times like these in particular that should be used to release negative energy and let go of unwanted thoughts. By tapping into the cosmic energy we can transform ourselves to become more peaceful, calm and at one with the world around us.

Not only Buddhists benefit from the practice of meditation. Meditating helps us to create an increase in our own coherence and fill the space around us with peace and harmony. Meditation improves our own quality of life and that of those around us. With as little as 10 minutes a day, meditation can help to reduce stress, lessen fears and worries, and increase your mood drastically. You don’t believe it? Try it for a few weeks and I promise you will notice a shift in your mood.

Beginners often experience that they are unable to focus during meditation and that their mind keeps wandering off. By incorporating crystals and gemstones into the meditation practice, you can create a positive environment and get yourself into the right mindset. 

Each crystal has a unique energy and aligns with one of your seven chakras. You can either intuitively select the crystals and pick the ones that speak to you the most, or determine which of your chakras needs balancing by taking a chakra test and choose the right crystal accordingly. Sometimes it’s enough to take a moment to listen to your body. Do you seem to be getting a lot of headaches? Are you suffering from allergies or intolerances? Most of these symptoms can hint at imbalances in one of your seven chakras.

A closed throat chakra, for example, can manifest as feelings of insecurity and shyness and may even cause voice or speech problems. Stuttering or damages of the vocal cords, for instance, can be bodily manifestations of inner beliefs that we don’t have anything to say, or are unable to express ourselves adequately.

The throat chakra is also known as the centre of purification. The act of speaking can be seen as a process of transforming our thoughts into speech and sending them out into the world and if we control what we put into and what comes out of our mouth, we have controlled much of our mind already, as Sri Dharma would say. 

When meditating with crystals, it is best to either place them directly above your chakras, if you choose to lie down, or to hold them in your left hand. Blue and turquoise crystals have the biggest effect on the throat chakra, for example Amazonite, Aquamarine and Labradorite.


This turquoise stone can help to identify and verbalise fears and worries. It empowers to communicate your thoughts and feelings and make your voice be heard. Carry it in your pocket throughout the day, or use it to meditate repeating the following affirmations:

My voice is important and it is heard.
I am able to vocalise my feelings.
I am able to express myself clearly.


The name ‘Aquamarine’ is derived from the Latin word for ‘water of the sea’ and represents purity and truth. It is thought to assist in understanding thoughts and patterns and open communication.


Carrying a Labradorite protects the owner from negative thoughts. It is a powerful crystal that helps to face insecurities and overcome them, and openly communicate what we think and how we feel.

While the throat chakra governs our communication, the third eye chakra, or 6th chakra, cultivates our mind. Our next article will identify the cause for imbalances of the third eye chakra and determine what crystals help to balance it. 


About Anna

Anna is a thinker, dreamer, and raconteur. She grew up in the Austrian countryside surrounded by mountains, forests, and meadows, where her creative spirit and vivid imagination were cultivated. The aspiring writer seeks to inspire and spark conversations about topics ranging from mental health and body positivity to mindfulness and living in alignment with the energies of nature. For more of Anna’s writing:

Blog: Ardent Wanderess


By Anna Guggenberger

Crystals to balance your 4th heart chakra

The minute we free ourselves from the disappointments and problems of our past and the minute we let ourselves love and be loved, our heart energy starts to flow and we become open to unconditional love and compassion.

The fourth chakra, or heart chakra, is located in the centre of the chest and forms a bridge between the upper and the lower chakras, between spiritual aspirations and grounding. Its green colour signifies balance and harmony, openness and acceptance, that help us form meaningful connections with our surroundings.

The powerful energy of the heart chakra does not only improve our capacity for compassion and love towards others, but also towards ourselves. Love is the fundamental energy of the Universe, the frequency that connects us all. Once our heart chakra is open, we align with this universal love.

The symbol of ‘anahata’ is constituted of a hexagram in a circle, surrounded by twelve petals. The two triangles that make up the hexagram symbolise Shiva and Shakti, the male and the female principle that are brought together in harmony. 

The love governed by the heart chakra is not a romantic, or passionate love, it is a spiritual, universal love. It is the love that is always present in and around us. One way to channel and strengthen this love is to wear heart chakra stones and/or keep them in your home. The following three crystals and gemstones, for example, can help you dissolve imbalances in your ‘anahata’.


Aventurine is a powerful stone that brings light to unhealthy patterns or relationships and can help you recognise and change unhealthy behaviours. In ancient medicinal rituals, Aventurine was placed close to the heart to guide the spirits to the healing light of the heart. Once their heart chakra opened up, participants recounted that they felt a “wash of love” floating through their bodies. So, keep it close to your heart and wait for love to find you.


The dark green stone helps to remove blockages and balance the heart chakra. Women in particular should carry a Malachite to regulate their menstrual cycle and reduce cramps. The so called ‘Midwife stone’ also helps women in labour to reduce the pain. Archaeological evidence shows that Malachite has been used as a gemstone, in jewellery, or even as pigment in green paint for more than 3,000 years. Painters such as Pietro Perugino (c. 1446-1523) used malachite pigment to paint grass or green garments.

Rose Quartz
Rose Quartz
Rose Quartz

Even though Rose Quartz is pink, not green, it is a stone of the heart chakra. Patti Polk, the author of The Crystal Guide calls it the “ultimate stone for dealing with all matters of the heart, including self-love and love for others. Rose Quartz brings calmness to the heart and peacefulness to personal relationships.” It helps to dissolve fears and worries and awaken the heart’s ability to give and receive love. Rose Quartz is the most powerful love stone and should be part of every heart chakra meditation.  

The next article will deepen your knowledge about chakra meditation and teach you how to incorporate crystals into your daily practice.  Read next post on Throat Chakra.


About Anna

Anna is a thinker, dreamer, and raconteur. She grew up in the Austrian countryside surrounded by mountains, forests, and meadows, where her creative spirit and vivid imagination were cultivated. The aspiring writer seeks to inspire and spark conversations about topics ranging from mental health and body positivity to mindfulness and living in alignment with the energies of nature. For more of Anna’s writing:

Blog: Ardent Wanderess


By Anna Guggenberger

Crystals to Balance your 3rd Solar Plexus Chakra

The third wheel of energy in our body, the solar plexus chakra, is located around the navel, just below the rib cage. It is associated with fire, a symbol of power, self-esteem and a warrior mentality. People with an active third chakra and a strong core stand tall, confident and centred, ready to tackle even the most difficult challenges.

The secret of a healthy solar plexus chakra is to ignite our warrior flames and to understand that we are not just helpless victims of our circumstances, but we have the power to change and shape our lives. ‘Manipura’ is driven by empowerment and the best way to feel empowered is to practice acceptance.

As humans, we are fundamentally flawed. We get angry, jealous, upset and we often feel resentment towards these negative emotions. However, instead of fighting our negative feelings, because we want to avoid pain, our inner warrior’s weapons are compassion and acceptance.  

Once we learn to accept ourselves, our flaws and our mistakes, we develop a new form of self-esteem and power that will move us forward and help us realise our desires and aims better than before. Empowered people have a direction and purpose in life. In contrast, imbalances in the sacral chakra lead to a lack of clear direction and feelings of helplessness.

Since the colour of the third chakra is yellow, any crystal or stone with this colour can help opening the solar plexus area and balance ‘manipura’. Carrying Tiger’s Eye, Yellow Citrine, Amber, Yellow Calcite, or Yellow Jasper will boost your confidence, will and personal power.

Tiger's Eye
The ancient talisman is linked to one of the most powerful animals in ancient folklore. Tigers have long been seen as symbols of power and courage, and the ability to destroy the evil. The gold and brown ‘stripes’ of Tiger’s Eye remind us of its majestic name giver. Carrying or meditating with this healing stone can help reduce feelings of inadequacy or helplessness. Enclose the stone with both hands and repeat the following affirmations:

I am powerful and confident.
I feel worthy and empowered.
I feel a great purpose and passion for life.

Yellow Citrine
The metaphysical properties of Citrine have already been described in our last article that dealt with the positive effects of a balanced sacral chakra. Since Citrine comes in different colours, it can be used for both, the sacral and the solar plexus chakra. Yellow Citrine is an excellent aid to solidify new starts. It helps to see things in a different light and gives the carrier the essential optimism that is needed to make bigger changes.

Amber was often considered the ‘Gold of the Sea’, little sun drops that were preserved and washed upon the shores. Even though Amber is neither a crystal, nor a mineral, it is believed to have strong metaphysical properties. The fossilized tree resin often contains animal and plant matters and therefore holds a strong connection to Mother Earth. Amber’s warm colour resembles the light at the end of the tunnel when we’re too concerned with all the darkness around us. It brings cheerfulness and joy and helps us leave the past behind and move forward. 

The heart chakra, or ‘anahata’, is the spiritual centre of compassion and love. Learn how to unravel its energy in the next article.



About Anna

Anna is a thinker, dreamer, and raconteur. She grew up in the Austrian countryside surrounded by mountains, forests, and meadows, where her creative spirit and vivid imagination were cultivated. The aspiring writer seeks to inspire and spark conversations about topics ranging from mental health and body positivity to mindfulness and living in alignment with the energies of nature. For more of Anna’s writing:

Blog: Ardent Wanderess


By Anna Guggenberger

Crystals to Balance Sacral Chakra

The energy flow within our physical and etheric bodies is regulated by seven major chakras that support our health and well-being. Each chakra corresponds with a gland in our endocrine system and fulfils a specific function.

The second chakra, or sacral chakra, is considered the centre of our emotions and pleasure. It governs how we perceive and feel the world around us. A healthy ‘svadhishthana’ establishes our connection with the outside world and a life in harmony with nature. The Sanskrit word ‘scadhishthana’ can be translated as ‘finding our own place’, finding love and peace within ourselves and the world we live in. People with a healthy sacral chakra are not scared of being vulnerable. They are present in their own body and are able to nourish and maintain the precious connection we have with nature.

Imbalances, however, can lead to emotional instabilities, self-doubt and depression. A blocked ‘svadhishthana’ may manifest itself in a lack of passion and security or dependence on others, if the chakra is overactive. Fortunately, there are various ways of balancing our emotional energy centre.

Happiness and joy don’t have to be unobtainable, we just need to learn to work for them. Practicing chakra meditations can help to open up blocked chakras and find more balance in life. Ideally, sacral chakra meditations take place outdoors, to strengthen our connection with nature. Repeat the following affirmations on a regular basis, to regain emotional stability:

I love my body and I love life.
Emotions are the language of my soul.
I am at peace.

The positive effect can be increased when incorporating crystals into the meditation practice. The unique properties of each stone affect our mind and body and can help leading us into the right direction. The following three crystals help opening the sacral chakra:



Due to its calming effect, Aragonite is particularly useful in times of emotional stress. It is named after its region of discovery in the Aragon Province in Spain. Traumas from the past often dictate our lives and subconsciously affect our behaviour and in order to clear ourselves from the emotional baggage we carry along, we need to come to terms with our past by practicing love and compassion. Place an aragonite crystal on your nightstand and hold it in your hands for a few minutes before going to sleep to put your mind at ease. 

Amber Citrine

Amber Citrine
Citrine is a crystal that can be used for both, the sacral and the solar plexus chakra. It comes in multiple colours and amber, in particular, is associated with the second chakra. Orange is the colour of creativity. It symbolises joy and optimism, both manifestations of a healthy and open sacral chakra. Citrine gives the carrier confidence and a feeling of security and stability. Used in meditation, it can help to release anger and suppressed emotions and it opens your heart to happiness and love.  

Orange Carnelian

Carnelian is an orange member of the Quartz family and was called ‘the setting sun’ in ancient Egypt. Like the sun appears and disappears from the sky, we go through ups and downs in our lives. However, we are not only passive spectators, we have the ability and power to shape our lives. Carnelian provides the encouragement to regain control and open ourselves to the joys of life, the friendships, love and pleasure we experiences on a daily basis.

The fourth article of our series will explore the powers of Tiger’s Eye, Yellow Citrine and Yellow Calcite and how they help to taking control over your own life. Read next post on Solar Plexus Chakra.



About Anna

Anna is a thinker, dreamer, and raconteur. She grew up in the Austrian countryside surrounded by mountains, forests, and meadows, where her creative spirit and vivid imagination were cultivated. The aspiring writer seeks to inspire and spark conversations about topics ranging from mental health and body positivity to mindfulness and living in alignment with the energies of nature. For more of Anna’s writing:

Blog: Ardent Wanderess


By Anna Guggenberger

Crystals to Balance Root Chakra

The root chakra is located at the base of the spine. Its sanscrit name ‘muladhara’ means ‘base’, or ‘foundation’, indicating the main functions of the first of the seven chakras. The root chakra is our base, where we cultivate our connection with the Earth. It’s where we ground ourselves and establish feelings of safety and security in all situations that help us to go out and tackle the challenges life throws at us. Without the stability and rootedness of the first chakra, we are unable to grow and evolve as human beings.

Imbalances in the first chakra manifest themselves in feelings of insecurity. People with a blocked root chakra don’t see the world as a safe place and are governed by constant worries about their job situation, health, money or physical safety. Fortunately, there are countless ways of balancing muladhara. 

Each chakra is connected to a specific colour and symbol. The red lotus flower representing the base chakra features a downward-pointing triangle surrounded by a circle and four petals. The triangle symbolises grounding and our connection to our earthly existence. The colour of the root chakra is red, which is associated with strength and survival.

When choosing the right crystals to balance the root chakra, colour plays an important role. Red or black stones such as red jasper and hematite correspond with the vibrational frequency of muladhara and provide a great tool in chakra healing. The following three crystals have a powerful healing effect on the root chakra:

red jasper

Red Jasper
The virtues of Jaspers have already benefitted our ancient ancestors. Considered powerful protection stones, Jaspers were used as talismans for warriors. Red Jasper is believed to improve physical strength, energy and stamina and at the same time establish a deep connection with nature and the guardians of life. Wearing or carrying a Red Jasper can help to restore the balance of the root chakra and eliminates fear and negativity.

Snowflake ObsidianSnowflake Obsidian

Black Obsidian, the birthstone for Sagittarians, is a powerful healing stone that shields us from negative influences. Particularly beneficial for empaths and highly sensitive people, it absorbs negative energies and has a calming effect. Don’t forget to cleanse and re-energise the stone after every use or it will retain the negative energy. Let it soak in salt water for a few hours and then rinse it under cool running water to remove the salt. Another great way to re-charge your crystals is to leave them outside on a full moon night, so they can absorb Luna’s energy. 


The metaphysical properties of Hematite help us stay grounded in all situations. The name derives from haima, the Greek word for blood and is considered a safeguard, a stone that prevents the ‘loss of blood’. Hermatite as an emotional healer removes negative thoughts and pessimism and helps to increase feelings of confidence and self-esteem. However, Hematite can only unfold its full healing potential when it’s in direct contact with your skin.

Typically, crystals are more effective when placed directly over the chakra that needs healing. Place any of the three crystals mentioned above over your root chakra and leave them to work for a few minutes. Use the time to meditate and repeat root chakra affirmations to increase the healing effect:

I am safe and secure.
My spirit is grounded and connected to Mother Earth.
All is well.

The next article in our series will deal with the healing properties of Amber, Orange Carnelian and Sunstone and establish their relation to the second chakra. Read next post on 2nd Sacral Chakra.



About Anna

Anna is a thinker, dreamer, and raconteur. She grew up in the Austrian countryside surrounded by mountains, forests, and meadows, where her creative spirit and vivid imagination were cultivated. The aspiring writer seeks to inspire and spark conversations about topics ranging from mental health and body positivity to mindfulness and living in alignment with the energies of nature. For more of Anna’s writing:

Blog: Ardent Wanderess


By Anna Guggenberger
One of my first memories as a child is going hiking with my mother and being fascinated by the sound of gravel crunching under each and every step. I remember inspecting the little rocks, picking the most outstanding and oddly shaped ones and sliding them into my mum’s backpack in the hopes of her carrying them home for me. I remember keeping a collection of rocks on my window sill, each telling me a different story.


What I didn't know back then is that nature, as well as our bodies, is in a constant state of flux and by bringing a part of nature into our homes, we create an environment that allows a deep connection to our Mother Earth. There’s a steady flow of energy between us and our surroundings and by opening our hearts and minds towards the powers of nature, we become one step closer to finding our true selves.

Crystals have been used for thousands of years to balance our emotional, physical and spiritual selves. In Ancient Egypt the dead were buried with a quartz on their forehead to ensure a safe transition into the afterlife. The Greeks believed that crystals are eternal ice sent from heaven and the Romans wore crystal amulets and talismans to protect them in battles. In Eastern philosophies, crystals play a central role in balancing the base chakras, the seven energy centers in our body.

Serpentine Yellow Turquoise

As history shows, crystals have always been thought to have a healing effect on our body. Everything vibrates at its own frequency and we, as humans, are affected by dissimilar as well as similar vibrations. Crystals resonate with these vibrational frequencies and therefore, trigger biochemical shifts that have a healing effect on our physical, mental and emotional health. Crystals are not only a useful resource/ or handy tool in colour therapy, also their geometric shape is believed to have an influence on their metaphysical properties.

Brazilian Agate Nodule

The energy vibrations of crystals correspond with our individual chakras. Green stones like Green Kyanite or Malachite, for example, best align with the frequency of the heart chakra. The vibrational frequencies of the different energy centers in our body are reflected in colours, following the order of the rainbow, from red to purple and white.
Healing Crystals
Red is the colour of the root chakra (1st chakra) and signifies grounding, and nourishment from Earth’s Energy. Orange represents the sacral chakra (2nd chakra) and is associated with sexuality and safety. Yellow, the colour of the solar plexus chakra (3rd chakra) connotes self-esteem, will and power. The colour of the heart chakra (4th chakra) is green. It symbolizes love and compassion. Blue is the colour of the throat chakra (5th chakra) and signifies self-expression, communication and creative expression. Purple, the colour of the third eye chakra (6th chakra) is associated with inner wisdom and extrasensory perception. And the last colour, the colour of the crown chakra (7th chakra) is white. White symbolizes the connection with spirituality and a universal consciousness.


Working with crystals and colours is a great way to heal and activate the chakras and balance our mind, body and spirit. This is the first post of a series of articles explaining the way healing stones help us rebalance and open our chakras and increase our mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing. The next post explains the functions of the root chakra and which crystals help to open the 1st chakra. To read next post on 1st Root Chakra.


About Anna

Anna is a thinker, dreamer, and raconteur. She grew up in the Austrian countryside surrounded by mountains, forests, and meadows, where her creative spirit and vivid imagination were cultivated. The aspiring writer seeks to inspire and spark conversations about topics ranging from mental health and body positivity to mindfulness and living in alignment with the energies of nature. For more of Anna’s writing:

Blog: Ardent Wanderess



The best kind of writing tends to show rather than tell - it makes you feel without having to explain itself. Colorado Springs-based nature photographer, Wil Armand (@wilarmand) captures that essence through his work. His detailed, close-up photographs of various elements in nature are very much visual poetry. His work is distinct; perfectly capturing the earth's time-worn patterns and textures.

Wil's photographs immediately make you feel as though you were there when they were taken. It's as if you can clearly follow your eyes along the imperfect grooves of Colorado's iconic sandstone formations, run your hand along the ridges in a tree's bark, or feel the give of the sand beneath your feet as you walk about Great Sand Dunes National Park. Each photo is like witnessing a different moment in time - an intimate experience of nature's stillness and beauty.

For more of Wil's work, follow along on Instagram @wilarmand.

From the Artist:
"My artistic gift is one of seeing, and the photograph is my craft. I've always been aware of patterns, particularly in nature. The combination of elements in a scene, the placement of objects and natural patterns are, to me, very high art. What I do in a photograph, is to pause, consider what my gift of seeing notices, then gather the light of a fragment of time and hold it still, giving others the opportunity to linger in those moments.

I've been making photographs for almost 60 years. In my teens I turned my artistic attention from drawing and painting to the photograph because I wanted to capture nature as it was, in all its glorious detail, not interpret and abbreviate it. My early work is black and white, primarily large format. When I started with large format work, I began by photographing sweeping landscapes, but also captured the details. As digital cameras became viable, I began photographing in color. Today, the subject matter of my work is primarily details.

Residing in Colorado Springs, I have a variety of both mountain regions and city parks close at hand. I often find myself pausing on a trail and capturing the beauty in what most people step on."

Photographs courtesy of Wil Armand. Photo credit: All images ©Will Armand, various dates.


We often refer to nature as if nature is something separate from ourselves, when in fact we are a part of it. There is something about exploring nature - digging for rocks and stones, losing all sense of time, that is meditative. In slowing down to nature's rhythm, our own natural rhythm, we connect with ourselves.

As avid rock collectors, we were so excited to discover the stone work of Stephen Hutchins and are delighted to be able to offer you a collection of one-of-a-kind, hand-carved Indiana Limestone and Crab Orchard Sandstone soap dishes.

Stephen's passion for stone derives from his career as a stone mason, a career that began in New Hampshire in 2004. He's still working with stone but now in Nashville, Tennessee where he is a sculptor and architectural stone carver. 

Most of Stephen's work is made from stones he finds through his travels in the Southeast along riverbanks, hiking trails, sprawling pastureland, or abandoned quarries. With each of his pieces, he seeks to reveal the versatility and aesthetic of stone, especially stone from the South.

Stephen Hutchins

The Indiana Limestone used in our soap dishes dates back to the Mississippian sub-period 350 million years ago and is composed of 98% calcium carbonate, which is the main component of marine organisms. This stone is proof that Indiana and much of the Midwest was once covered by sea.

Indiana Limestone Soap Dishes

stephen hutchins limestone stone soap dish

Nestled along the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee is the small town of Crab Orchard where Crab Orchard Sandstone is quarried. What was once considered worthless scrap in the early 1900's is now revered as one of the most sought after architectural building stones for its durability and color variance. 

Crab Orchard Sandstone Soap Dishes

stephen hutchins sandstone soap dish


Affina was conceived during a walk on the beach looking for shells. Our vision was to try and capture nature's beauty and showcase the importance of nature to our health and well being. Like, how a simple walk on the beach can calm and quiet our mind. How breathing in sea air and listening to the sound of the waves restores and puts our senses in order.

As children, we used to play outside for hours keeping ourselves entertained. We invented things and made them by hand using just our imagination. We explored our natural surroundings and dug our hands into the earth. In this technology-driven world, we've become so consumed with our phones and computers, many of us, including everyone here at Affina, long for real life experiences.

There's a great song by Australian singer-songwriter, Xavier Rudd called "Follow the Sun". The song's title says it all but this verse really resonates with us  – "Take a stroll to the nearest waters and remember your place".

At Affina we've made a personal pledge to get outside more ~ to reconnect to nature, life and ourselves. Hope to see you there!


Affina Hexo Coverlet

lie down in waves of calm
in sheets of rain
in touch, in flow
become one


Our bath towel nature patterns are woven and sculpted using 100% organic cotton in a mix of nature's vibrant colors and soft hues.

As in nature, our colors and patterns were designed to mix and match.
Below are a few combinations we put together to hopefully inspire you.

Affina bath towels

Affina bath towels

Affina bath towels

Affina bath towels

Affina bath towels

ventalina sea fan

Affina bath towels

strigosa brain coral

Affina bath towels

Affina bath towels

Affina bath towels

Affina bath towels

Affina bath towels


Beneath the chameleon colors of this stiff but swaying body lies nature’s greatest gift. Within her breast, life is created, replicated, sheltered, sequestered and accrued. Built on an unwavering foundation of harmony which wraps herself wistfully through the cozy bedding of mother nature’s embrace.

As new light breathes new life into the world, the cold branches of this magnificent creation further extends her arms, warming herself in the glow of season’s change. With the sun’s caress, what’s seemingly dormant is gently coaxed awake, she begins to glow gratefully, silently blooming until buds burst forth bringing a new external vibrance to this wise but wintered wonder.

She stretches out towards her neighbors, and begins to sway along with nature’s rhythm, dancing with the celebratory winds.

And with this celebration comes other tales too. The breeze carries whispers from the wisest trees, singing a familiar but far away tune. Of the future, and the past, all the same. A circular story of reflection, growth, celebration and renewal, buried in the roots of all living things.

By Holly Rose

Holly Rose is a member of the Ethical Writers Coalition, a group of journalists, writers, and bloggers who seek to support and further ethical and sustainable living. Currently living in Paris, she is the creator of Leotie Lovely, a conscious lifestyle blog. She believes that each one of us needs to understand the circular story behind each and every object we purchase or use, and has dedicated herself to recounting that narrative.


Earth Day 2016 Cherry Blossom Tree

If you're looking to find an Earth Day event in your area, Earth Day Network's interactive google map has the most comprehensive global list.

Earth Day Network's mission is to build the world's largest environmental movement. This year, their Earth Day theme is "Trees for the Earth" which kick-offs off their goal of planting 7.8 billion trees over the next 5 years. Trees are the first of five major goals they will be undertaking over the five-year countdown to their 50th anniversary.

To include your event in the map, you can register your Earth Day 2016 event at Earth Day Network. And if you're looking to organize an event in your area for this year, or next, Earth Day Network has an "Earth Day Action Tool Kit" with everything you need to know to launch a successful event.

Plant a tree. Spread the word. #trees4earth

world’s largest recruiter to the environmental movement, working with more than 50,000 partners in 196 countries to build environmental democracy. - See more at:


"We can love ourselves by loving the earth." Wangari Maathai

Six years ago we attended an intimate Winter Solstice gathering hosted by Deepak Chopra at ABC Carpet. The event was a conversation between Deepak and Wangari Maathai. It was a magical night and Wangari's spirit illuminated the room.

In honor of Earth Day on April 22nd, we wanted to share the story of this amazing woman and the legacy she left behind.

Wangari was the founder of the Green Belt Movement and the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Price. She dedicated her life and courageously fought for environmental conservation, democracy, peace and women's rights. Her Green Belt Movement was a grass-roots movement that encouraged women to plant trees in their local environments and to think ecologically. The movement spread throughout Africa, contributing to the planting of over thirty million trees.

What stood out to us in reading her memoir, Unbowed, is how deeply connected she was with nature and her natural surroundings. She profoundly chose the tree, a symbol of growth, wisdom and life, to carry out her mission.

Sadly, Wangari Maathai passed away on September 11, 2011 but her legacy lives on in every tree planted. If you've not had a chance to read her book, its a good reminder of the power of trees and a great read for Earth Day.


“Kelly blurs the line between photography and painting. His subject matter, ranging from images of the natural world (flora and fauna), to urban and residential landscapes and focuses on the individual’s place in a given environment. 'New York Artworld' Magazine

British fine art photographer Pete Kelly sees the beauty in nature and has traveled all over the world documenting his surroundings. His photographs capture moments in time - drawing the viewer into that moment. Nature's quiet stillness comes through in his work. In addition to his landscapes, he also shoots cityscapes, flora and fauna, animals and people outdoors connecting with nature.

Capturing the image is just the beginning of the creative process for him. He creates his painterly style using a complex process of layered photographs and found textures which he prints onto watercolor paper using museum-quality digital pigments. He then mounts the print to board adding an encaustic wax surface which is an ancient Egyptian crafting technique - a technique he is considered an authority on. Using beeswax in his work is a passion of Pete's. The more he learned about bees the more he was in awe of their pivotal role in the pollination of plants and the importance of bringing awareness to their declining population.

Pete is represented by Robin Rice Gallery in New York, as well as, several galleries in London.
Photo credit: ©Pete Kelly. All rights reserved.

Photographer Pete Kelly

Pete Kelly Goyt Valley

Pete Kelly Matlock Derbyshire

Pete Kelly Lyme Cage

Pete Kelly Lyme Park

Cheshire Plain

Pete Kelly Derbyshire

Pete Kelly Goyt Valley


We recently received a request from the Sea Turtle Conservancy to donate product for their annual holiday silent auction. Although we were very aware of the exquisite patterns found on sea turtles, we were not familiar with the Conservancy so we did some research.

Below is what we discovered about this wonderful non-profit and the incredible work they are doing.

The Sea Turtle Conservancy was founded in 1959 by world-renowned sea turtle expert Dr. Archie Carr to save sea turtles from eminent extinction through rigorous science-based conservation. Formerly known as the Caribbean Conservation Corporation, the Sea Turtle Conservancy is the world's oldest sea turtle research and conservation group. Their mission is to ensure the survival of sea turtles within the Caribbean, Atlantic and Pacific through research, education, training, advocacy and protection  of the natural habitats upon which they depend.

Sea turtles are among the most important indicators of the health of the world's marine and coastal ecosystems. The conservancy has a free Turtle Migration Tracking Education Program on their website where people and educators can view regularly updated maps showing the migratory movements of endangered sea turtles being tracked by satellite. If you want to find out more about the conservancy you can visit their website.

Hawksbill (Eretmochelys Imbricata)

Leatherback (Dermochelys Coriacea)

Green Turtle (Chelonia Mydas)

Sea Turtle Patterns


Outside The New York Botanical Garden's Enid A. Haupt Conservatory are two serene courtyard pools with lotus flowers, koi fish and water lilies, including the dramatic Amazon water lily (Victoria Amazonica).

Discovered in South America in 1830, and named for Queen Victoria, the Victoria Amazonica has huge leaves that can grow up to 8 feet. These seemingly dainty paper-like trays can actually hold the weight of a child. Each plant produces 40-50 leaves with spectacular flowers that last only for about 48 hours. White female flower buds appear in early evening, pollinate, then change overnight to male pink flowers before closing.

Photos taken in August and September.

Above: Victoria Amazonica



The raw power of nature can be found on the island of Vieques in Puerto Rico.


This elaborate weaving is from a hornet's nest and our inspiration for a future blanket and throw. Hornets, wasps and yellow jackets construct these beautiful paper homes by grinding down plant and wood fiber into pulp. 


We finally had a chance to get away to The New York Botanical Garden to see the Frida Kahlo exhibition. It is the first exhibition to showcase Frida Kahlo’s love of the natural world. It was so inspiring! The Botanical Garden did a wonderful job of re-imagining her famed Casa Azul garden and studio.

The exhibit also features a rare display of more than a dozen original Kahlo paintings and works on paper. The show runs May 16-Nov 1st 2015.


Water Org

To get the word out there on great non-profits devoted to helping people and the environment, each Affina customer order shipment will feature a reusable postcard that can be mailed off to friend.

Our current postcard initiative is with’s vision is to see the day when everyone in the world can take a safe drink of water.  We applaud in their efforts to help end the global water crisis.

ABOUT WATER.ORG is a non-profit driving the water sector for new solutions, new financing models, greater transparency, and real partnerships to create lasting change. Co-founded by Matt Damon and Gary White, has transformed hundreds of communities in Africa, South Asia, Central America and the Caribbean by providing access to safe water and sanitation. Photograph ©

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