food · life curation

Free Online Courses for Improved Wellness

One of the pleasant side effects of our current crisis is the increased interest in improving our health through natural methods. If we can employ safe, effective natural remedies to complement conventional (Western) medical treatment, then maybe we can promote better health, improved vitality and increased longevity.

In my desire to learn more about natural remedies (as you know, I’ve been studying The Women’s Herbal Apothecary by JJ Pursell), I took to the Web to see what complimentary courses I could find to deepen my knowledge. I was delighted by what I found!

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Coursera is currently offering a five-part specialization program in Integrative Health and Medicine. Each of the five courses in this program covers a different aspect of using alternative medicine to support overall wellness. I’ve signed up for a couple of the courses because I’m very interested in what will be taught! The course will be taught by University of Minnesota professors, so you can be assured that what you will learn is akin to what may be taught in a course on campus. You can either sign up for a paid subscription to Coursera or you can audit the courses, which allows you to view the instructional material for free but does not offer a certification if you complete the assignments in a timely fashion.

Another fantastic course that I found while searching for free online alternative medicine courses is this free Introduction to Aromatherapy course offered by Aromahead. I really like the fact that this is a self-paced course, so you can complete it as you have the time available to do so. I have a small collection of essential oils so I’m excited to learn more about tapping into their power and harnessing the maximum benefit.

Finally, the American Herbalist Guild has generously provided a library of archived webinar materials for free. This may be great for you if you don’t want to commit to a full-fledged course but still want to learn more about herbs and natural remedies. I like that these concentrated teaching sessions can help you get targeted information about a specific topics. 

There are many more free online herbal and alternative medicine courses that you can find by simply doing a Google search, but these were my favorites that I wanted to share with you.

I hope you all are having a great day! Take care, and I’ll be back tomorrow.



(This post contains affiliate links)


culture · international · life curation

My Cultures and Identities Course is Completed!

I finished my Cultures and Identities in Europe course a few days ago, and I’m excited to share what I learned with you all. I’ll discuss what I enjoyed about the platform, FutureLearn, then I’ll dive into the course specific details and my take on what was offered in this class.


For starters, I’d never completed a course through FutureLearn before. I was familiar with the website but never did any of the classes, so this was a first for me. I was really impressed with the structure and content of the course that I completed. This was well-suited to online learners: an appropriate mix of video and written content that thoroughly cover the subject matter while keeping the students engaged. I also loved how easy it was to access the course and complete the modules according to my schedule.

The course, as outlined, takes about 3 weeks to complete. However, additional time is allowed, so if you miss a few days of study, you can easily go back and make up those sessions. The program has transcripts and closed captioning for impaired students. I was impressed with the amount of care that went into producing this free resource. However, if students are interested in access this course indefinitely, or obtaining a certificate of achievement, FutureLearn charges a fee (currently $59) for lifetime access.


Now that the general information is out of the way, let’s talk about the class. The class is broken down into 3 general sections: European Identities, European Memory and Heritage, and European Creativity. Each section delves into the history of the topic, the current state of the topic, as well as the politics that have influenced each of these areas.

The course defines Europe, European identity as well as European culture, then it explores all of the factors that have previously and currently have defined these concepts. I really loved learning about how Europe has created policy to embrace diversity as well as how Europe intends to approach cultural and creative programs outside of the economic perspective.


I really enjoyed this course and, while I don’t plan to purchase lifetime access, I can easily see myself signing up for this again in the future, just as a refresher. There was a lot of good information in this course – I’m glad I signed up and completed it!


life curation

2018 Goals – Next Round of Updates

Happy Monday, friends! I was due for another 2018 goal update, so I figured that I’d do it now, before the end of the month.


My last goal update post reiterated my three overall goals to accomplish during this year, as well as steps I intended to take to bring me closer to those goals.

For those that don’t remember, my goals are as follows:

  • Publish some of my writing
  • Travel more
  • Dabble in an art career

Here are the updates as promised! I’ll also share my next round of tasks for each goal.

Goal 1: Publish some of my writing


I intended to take 3 different actions before the end of the month of April. Those actions were:

  • Start on the 2nd round of edits for my novel
  • Complete 1st round of edits for my how-to book
  • Purchase a MasterClass membership to get additional writing assistance

So, I’m happy to say that I finished my 2nd round of novel edits (go me!) and did my first round of edits for the how-to book (yay!). I opted out of purchasing the MasterClass membership in April because I determined that I would be taking several online classes during the next few months. However, I’ll revisit the MasterClass purchase in September.

My new writing goals are as follows:

  • Finish writing out supplemental/resource material for the how-to book
  • Allow my friends to read a draft of my novel for feedback
  • Resume work on novel # 2

Goal 2: More travel


My travel goals were simple: mostly decisions and research. Those goals were:

  • Make a decision on my London travel: whether I will do one or two trips this year
  • Start pricing my London and New York airfare and hotel stays
  • Reserve rooms for weekend trips in May


Due to some changing priorities at work, I had to reassess my travel plans for later this year. However, I did the weekend trip that I planned to do in May (my embassy weekend). Now that I’m halfway through the year, I’ve got another set of goals. These are:

  • Finalize details for birthday trip in August
  • Finish paying off October cruise balance
  • Start budgeting for international trip in December

Goal 3: Dabble in an art career


As you all recall from previous posts, my art career goals involve working in the art world as opposed to creating art. My last round of goals were a bit more ambiguous, but funny enough, I made progress just the same. Those goals were:

  • Reserve my space in the Christie’s course(s) I plan to take in New York this summer
  • Begin another online art course
  • Narrow down the opportunities I’ve listed to those most advantageous for the path

I opted out of taking a Christie’s course this summer due to those previously mentioned changes at work. I’ve had my hands full with the Cultures and Identities in Europe and Inside Opera courses, so I put a hold on my ALISON art course (Color Theory for Artists and Designers). Once those two FutureLearn courses wrap up, I’ll see if there are any more suitable art courses that I want to take: if not, I’ll resume my ALISON course. I also got a great idea for dabbling in an art career on my terms, and I’m really excited about that (I’ll share more as I finish ironing out the details).

Now, my goals for my art related career is as follows:

  • Complete an art course
  • Create a website for art career “secret project”
  • Read “Institutional Time – A Critique of Studio Art Education” by Judy Chicago


My timeframe for completing these tasks is August 15th. So, look out for updates to my new incremental goals in the next few weeks.

Thanks everyone, for stopping through and for keeping me accountable. I truly appreciate it. Talk to you all soon!

international · life curation

Learning a New Language

Hey friends! I’m excited to share my latest learning adventure. Of course, I’m still studying Inside Opera and Cultures and Identities in Europe (I wrote about the courses here and here). But I also took on another learning experience because, well, it felt like a good idea!


I’m studying Portuguese after visiting the Embassy of Portugal a few weeks ago. I love the language and I’m looking forward to becoming proficient over time. As it turns out, I have a few Portuguese speaking friends that are eager to help me practice, not to mention I have a lot more resources at my disposal than I did when I studied French and Spanish years ago.

For starters, I’m using YouTube, podcasts, digital textbooks, and media to learn Portuguese. Also, there are some excellent groups online (specifically Facebook) that can connect language learners with native speakers to practice or even to ask technical questions. I’m still assessing which resources are the best in my opinion, but as soon as I have a good list of resources, I’ll definitely share them here!

Are you all currently studying any languages? Let me know in the comments below!

art · life curation

The Next Art Class(es) On My List . . .

Happy Friday, beloveds! The weekend is here and, I must admit, I’ve been feeling pretty fired up for the past few weeks. I was determined to have a strong start to my year, and so far, I’ve kept my word. I’ve been focusing on everything that I want and need to get done so that I can accomplish the goals I’ve set for the year.

If you all recall, in my New Years goals post, I mentioned that I wanted to eventually transition into a career in the art world (hence this blog’s gentle but steady turning toward more art-related content). I intend to take some in-person courses through Christie’s but I am also supplementing those courses with some online education.


Women’s Art Class by Louis Lang (1814 – 1893), at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

I’m an autodidact, so I’m very comfortable with teaching myself. You all will probably recall the art course on Alison that I’m currently taking (I’m doing this one very leisurely, though I’m already about 50% done with the material). However, I occasionally enjoy having a structure to lean on while I’m learning. That’s why I was excited to see that Coursera is offering several arts courses this year, that can either be completed without a certificate (the no-cost option) or with a certificate of completion offered (has a small fee). Since I’m doing these courses for personal development and I don’t intend to provide certification to anyone in the future, I’m doing the no-cost option.

The two classes I’m taking are Modern Art & Ideas and Fashion as Design. Both classes are taught by Museum of Modern Art curators, researchers and directors. If you find that you benefit from interaction with other students and a more structured format, then Coursera’s offerings may be a good fit for you.

I’m looking forward to learning more about modern art and fashion. I can’t wait to share what I learned with you all!

art · life curation

Free Art Education At Your Fingertips

As you all recall from my 2018 goals post, I plan to transition into an art-related career. I’m not exactly sure where I want to fall in that world (consultant, curator, collector, advisor, etc.) but I know that the art world has the excitement, beauty and adventure that I crave.

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(photo courtesy of

Before I can dive into that world, however, I need to get more educated on art. I’m not a complete novice (I’ve spent lots of time in museums and I’m a voracious reader) but  I could benefit from some more targeted instruction. And, until the weather begins to warm up, I’d prefer online courses, so that I can learn without having to leave the house.

With that in mind, I’m excited to share with you all the free art course I found on ALISON. The class, Great Artists and Their Works, allows students to learn about 8 of the most famous names in art history. Learning about these artists and their seminal works has been tremendously rewarding for me. I just finished the Michaelangelo module and I will start learning about Raphael with my next module.

This course is wonderful for anyone that wants to bolster their art knowledge without a large financial investment. All that this course requires is time and a good internet connection. I fully intend to take advantage of this, and other, online learning opportunities. I have a few other courses that I plan to take this year, to help me really broaden my art knowledge base and prepare for my new career in the art world.

luxury · wine

Adventures in Enology: Wine School, Round 2

A few months ago, I mentioned an awesome FREE Wine Tasting class on Coursera. If you missed out on the course previously, I have good news for you: the course reopened this week! I’m re-registering for it, since I only completed about 50% of it during the last session. This time, I’m determined to complete it!

all free download

(photo courtesy of All Free Downloads)

Though the course is free, it requires the purchase of wine, glasses and food for the exercises. I’m so committed to completing the course this time that I’ve already ordered some of the items that will be needed in the upcoming weeks. I hope you all join me in taking this free Wine Tasting course. Of course, if you aren’t interested in learning more about wine, you can always check out the many other free courses available on Coursera.


An Eye for Gemstones

Happy Friday, my friends! I’m eagerly looking forward to the weekend, as there are a lot of events going on and I’m ready to enjoy the last, lingering bits of warm weather.

But, if the weather should turn chilly, I have an online course I can check out to pass the time. I recently found a gemology course that I think will be great for increasing my body of knowledge. The woman that created the course, Barbara Smigel, is a college professor that knows her gems inside and out.

moziru(image courtesy of Moziru)

Even as a child, I was enchanted by gemstones. The sparkle, the colors, the amazing cuts … I can’t help but find myself hypnotized when looking at high quality gems. So it only makes sense that I would be drawn to this kind of course. I’m looking forward to going through the materials and learning more about gems!

Other than that, I don’t have much else going on this weekend. I hope you have some fabulous plans in the works! Talk to you all tomorrow!