Dec 12, 2014

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Behold my bowl of delicious cranberry sauce! (c) Stormy Heart

Since it's the holiday season, I wanted to share one of my favorite holiday recipes: cranberry sauce!  In our family, this is more traditional for Thanksgiving, but this is easily a Yule-season dish too.  And honestly, this is so delicious, I could eat it year-round!  Om nom nom.

I perfected this recipe in 2011, and have brought it to my family's Thanksgiving dinner every year since.  Please note this cranberry sauce uses about half the sugar of most recipes, so it is tart - add more (or less) sugar and/or apples to adjust the sweetness.  

This recipe is super easy, and much healthier than BPA-laden canned sauce.  And, you know, not creepily shaped like a can.  Also, you can easily double, triple, or even quadruple the recipe.  I usually bring a double batch for our 30- to 50-person family Thanksgiving dinner (yes, you read that right.  My extended family is huge!)

1 bag of fresh cranberries
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 apple, peeled and chopped finely
1/4 - 1/2 tsp cloves (you can use ground cloves, but go light)
1-2 tsp. cinnamon, or to taste
1-2 tsp. ginger, or to taste
1/2 tsp. fresh orange zest or valencia orange peel from the spice aisle, or to taste


~ In a pot, bring the water and orange juice to boil, then stir to dissolve the sugar in the water.

~ Turn heat to medium-high, and add the cranberries.  Let them simmer until they start popping (about 10 minutes).

~ Turn the heat down to medium-low.  Add the apple, cinnamon, ginger, and orange zest.

~ Put the cloves in a tea strainer or tie them up in a cheese cloth, and immerse in the sauce.

~ Let this all simmer for about 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries are falling apart.

~ Mash the cranberries and apples with a fork or potato masher to desired consistency.

~ Move the pot off the heat and let it cool for at least 10-15 minutes before serving or moving to a container for transport.  Make sure to remove the bag of cloves before serving.  I find it's best served at about room temperature or slightly warm, especially if serving over turkey. 

Enjoy!!  I like to eat mine on turkey at Thanksgiving, but it's also good on crackers and fresh bread.

Delicious cranberry sauce served on turkey (c) Stormy Heart

Oct 5, 2014

Oprah's Super Soul Sunday with Alanis Morissette

A couple of weeks ago I watched Oprah's weekly show, Super Soul Sunday, because that week's guest was Alanis Morissette.  It was lovely to watch!  Both Alanis and Oprah are so heart-ful and genuine in this interview.

screencap from Oprah's Super Soul Sunday with Alanis Morissette

Here's the summary of the interview from the Super Soul Sunday website:  
Oprah sits down with seven-time Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter Alanis Morissette for a conversation about passion, art and the spiritual lessons that have helped her remain grounded despite the roller-coaster ride of stardom and success. In 1995, her U.S. debut album, Jagged Little Pill, went on to sell more than 33 million copies worldwide, catapulting her to international fame. Alanis and Oprah discuss her rise to fame, how she learned to channel previous pain into self-growth, and how her commercial success compares to the deeper connection she has now found through a more conscious way of living.

You can watch the full episode below, or you can watch it on Oprah's website by clicking here.

I've been a massive fan of Alanis Morissette since I first bought her album Jagged Little Pill waaaay back in 7th grade (or was it 8th grade?).  It was the first CD I ever bought, and I listened to it like crazy.  I still listen to it all the time and absolutely adore it (and all her albums since).  It's funny, listening to those songs as an adult I can relate far better to the sentiments than I ever could as a teenager with very little experience of life and love.

Alanis' music has changed a great deal over the years, but it always comes across as genuine and soulful, and it is always phenomenally well-written.  Her music continues to be healing, and cathartic (remember this post from a couple years ago?), and deeply inspiring to me.

Sep 26, 2014

New look, new name, & new URL!

I am so excited, you guys!  If you haven't seen my posts on social media lately, I am really pleased to announce that my blog has a new look, and a new name!!

Please say hello to Stormy Heart!

Stormy Heart logo - music & musings of a dark & twisty witch with lots of heart
I am kind of in love with the font on my new header, you guys.  It is so, so gorgeous.

New Blog Name!
So why "Stormy Heart?"  Well, I'm a sea witch, so I draw a lot of my power from storms - especially thunderstorms and hurricanes.  I feel pretty energized by tornadoes, too, but we don't get many around here.  (Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever posted the story of how I conducted my tool charging ritual in a hurricane.  I will have to write that post soon!)  My magick and spirituality is definitely influenced by that energy - it can be wild and swirly, but there's a definite "eye of the storm" center somewhere inside me that helps focus and direct it, and keeps me grounded.

New Look!
Before I had even decided on a new name, I decided a new look was in order.  I found a spiffy free template online that was very blue and very blocky looking.  Unfortunately after a couple days of working with it on my blog I realized it was terrifically buggy, and wasn't really fitting the aesthetic I wanted after all.

So then I decided to start over (again) by creating a header image, and going from there.  I ended up going back to one of the standard Blogger templates and customized away - and I am much, much happier with it!

I still have a few tweaks to make, like the social media buttons in the corner, but overall I'm rather pleased with it.  I hope you like it too!

New URL!
Anyway, you may have noticed the new URL:  I set up a permanent redirect from, so hopefully that will help folks finding me.  And I'm in the process of changing my name & URL over on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Bloglovin, etc.

However, I strongly recommend you update your RSS feed readers, bookmarks, etc. to pull from from now on, to make sure it brings up the right posts.  (If you click on the RSS button in the top right corner of my blog, that's the easiest way!)

So, yay!  Seriously, I actually feel excited to blog again.  I haven't felt this motivated about blogging in a long time.  Is that weird?  It feels like part of what I really needed to get my creative mojo flowing again was to freshen things up around here.  And having a name that fits me and my blogging interests better makes me feel more authentic as a blogger.

Those are some very excited Minions!

Sep 23, 2014

Happy 3 years to me, and new blog design coming soon!

The 3rd anniversary of Heartache Into Beauty slipped by quietly this year, just like it did last year.  Happy (very belated) blogiversary to me!  I can't believe I've had this blog for over 3 years!

Charlie Chaplin tossing grass in excitement

I know I haven't been posting very much since my last blogiversary, mostly because until recently I've been massively busy at work, leaving me too mentally and physically exhausted at night to work on personal projects.  I've also been struggling really hard with my depression and anxiety this year, which has been killing my motivation to do creative things like blogging.  I haven't even done anything with my new book of shadows, although at least I finally figured out what to call it: it will be my Book of Lore & Craft.  That name resonates so well with me :)

Thankfully, with the shifting weather (and less work craziness) I'm starting to feel my own shifting  - I feel a bit rejuvenated, and my creative impulses are starting to fire again.

I think that positive shift merits some external changes to this blog, especially considering that after 3 years there have been definite changes to what I'm interested in posting about.  I found a spiffy new design that I love, and I'm going to be rolling it out soon - that is, as soon as I figure out how to install an .XML file into my blog layout and customize its features.  Err...  Any advice for a blog design newbie?

I'm also pretty sure I want to change my blog's name.  "Heartache Into Beauty" had a lot of meaning for me back when I started this blog in 2011, but the content and tone of my posts has changed dramatically since then.  Obviously if/when I decide on a new blog name I will post here, there, and everywhere about the new name and any URL changes, etc. that will affect the way you read this blog, so that you can update your feed readers and what have you.

Aug 13, 2014

Time for a New Book of Shadows

Now that I've been solitary for a while, I've been feeling a pull to start a new Book of Shadows.  My old one is in a binder, and contained a large amount of material that is no longer relevant to my path, like outlines for coven rituals and the Wiccan rede.  More importantly, the binder is falling apart big time.

Enter Etsy!  I debated getting a scrapbook from a craft retailer, but after poking around on Etsy I found this lovely sketchbook/journal.  I adore the color of the leather, the stamping, the rivets... :)  Blessedly the paper is unlined, unlike almost every other lovely leather-bound journal I looked at.  (I don't want lined paper so I can write in any size I want, draw, paste images, etc. without it breaking up the page.)  The paper is recycled too, which suits the sustainability ethic of my path. 

The only downside (which I did not know when I purchased it) is that the cover is not entirely leather but is cardboard covered by a thin layer of leather.  So, it's a bit flimsier and prone to damage than I realized, but I think it should be fine for a good many years if I take care of it.

I haven't added anything to it yet, but it's starting to take shape in my head.  I'm thinking I want to put in there the things like my personal prayers and invocations, the few spells I actually use, and the successful pathworkings I've used to start.  I may also add my knowledge about things like my gods and guardians and listening to Spirit.

But I feel like before I can add anything it needs a name.  "Book of Shadows" is a Wiccan name that just doesn't resonate with me, primarily because I don't believe my faith or work has to remain in the shadows.  So what the heck do I call it??

I have a few ideas, like Book of Magick, Book of Magickal Knowledge, Book of Lore, Book of the Craft, Book of Craft & Lore, and Book of the Work.  Right now I'm leaning towards Book of Craft & Lore.

Do you have a Book or journal where you write down things like your beliefs, or magickal/religious knowledge, or spells?  What do you call your Book?

Jul 25, 2014

Friday Updatey-ness

I worked from home today, so I'm wearing pajamas and my favorite purple and grey crocheted sweater.  And my engagement ring, of course:

My engagement ring! (c) Stormy Heart

I don't think I officially announced our engagement on the blog, because neither of us have been very gushy about it, and due to him being in grad school we've decided a longer engagement is probably necessary.  Still, I'm really excited to be marrying my best friend (so cliche, I know!), and almost just as excited to scandalize my family by bucking all the patriarchal and otherwise creepy traditions usually included in the marriage celebration.

Feel free to follow my Wedding board on Pinterest to see all my wedding-planning pinspiration!

I'm about halfway through the Wool Omnibus Edition by Hugh Howey, which was recommended to me by my good friend Annie.  It's a decent enough book, but I find that while some parts are great (especially part 1), it often isn't engaging enough to hold my interest (like pretty much all of part 3).  I definitely find myself opening it up on my Kindle some nights and immediately wanting to switch to another book.

I've also been moseying my way through The Magical Household: Spells and Rituals for the Home by Scott Cunningham & David B. Harrington.  Some of it the information presented has been helpful to my practice, so it's been good to page through it now and again, but it's a bit dry.  Less discussion, and more like: "...and to weave this type of magick in your home, you could do this, or this, or this..."

I started a butterfly cross-stitch ages ago, but truth be told... I haven't done anything with it in months.

Stressing about...
Work.  Once again I have a lot on my plate, and all of those things are priority items that I can't shelve, and all of them are due within the next few weeks.  HALP.  I'm starting to feel a bit like Dean here. 

Dean Winchester / Supernatural - This is too much

But really, as long as nobody hands me any more projects for the next month, I should be okay.  Just gotta remember to breathe now and then.

Tomorrow I'm going to a shamanic journey class that a friend is holding at his house.  I'm still not sure that shamanic-style journeying is right for me, but I find that the classes help me practice things like my visualization skills on the astral plain, and learning how to distinguish ally from non-ally from product-of-my-imagination.

Laughing at...
This plant my friend and I saw at a local park (it has an indoor conservatory for tropical plants).  It's called elephant ears.  The leaves are bigger than me!

The leaves of the elephant ear plant are giant! (c) Stormy Heart

Pumped about...
Posting my first giveaway on the blog!!  Seriously, I am really thrilled to participating in this awesome multi-blog giveaway to celebrate the release of Summoned by Rainy Kaye.  If you haven't entered yet, please hop on over to Monday's post and submit your entries - you have until Jul 31 to enter! :)

Jul 21, 2014

First Ever Giveaway!!

Hi folks!  I am so excited to host my first-ever giveaway!!  I've been given the opportunity to be one of several Pagan bloggers hosting a giveaway for a bottle of Moroccan Argan oil and a personal diffuser, to promote the release of Summoned by Rainy Kaye.**

The story of the jinn dates back to pre­-Islamic Arabia and was part of the Pagan Arabic beliefs for hundreds of years. A new novel, SUMMONED, is a re­imagining of the jinn­­or genie­­ folklore with a nod toward these earlier concepts of the jinn. Check it out below, and then keep scrolling to enter a great giveaway!


Twenty­-three year old Dimitri has to do what he is told—literally. Controlled by a paranormal bond, he is forced to use his wits to fulfill unlimited deadly wishes made by multimillionaire Karl Walker. Dimitri has no idea how his family line became trapped in the genie bond. He just knows resisting has never ended well. When he meets Syd—assertive, sexy, intelligent Syd—he becomes determined to make her his own. Except Karl has ensured Dimitri can’t tell anyone about the bond, and Syd isn’t the type to tolerate secrets. Then Karl starts sending him away on back­to­back wishes. Unable to balance love and lies, Dimitri sets out to uncover Karl’s ultimate plan and put it to an end. But doing so forces him to confront the one wish he never saw coming—the wish that will destroy him. A dark twist on genie folklore, SUMMONED follows a reluctant criminal as he unravels the mystery of the paranormal bond controlling him. SUMMONED is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA.

Amazon US | Amazon UK

When Dimitri is summoned, he is brought to a secret chamber which is decorated with Arabian artifacts and smells of argan. Argan is derived from the kernels of the Argan tree, found in Morocco. For everyday use, it provides deep moisturizing and conditioning for skin and hair. For magical use, it provides strength and works best when carried in a personal diffuser. Not to mention, it smells amazing!

International Giveaway

Enter the giveaway below to win a personal diffuser and a bottle of Argan oil.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
If you can't see the widget, click here to enter instead.
 You have until July 31 to enter!  Good luck!! :)
**Please note that I am one of several bloggers hosting the giveaway -- I am not responsible for picking winners or awarding prizes.

Jul 12, 2014

Rhiannon, Burden-Bearer

I have a new chant to share with you all!  It's a chant for Rhiannon, who has been my patron goddess since I was a wee baby pagan in college.  She showed up at the Conjure Dance at this year's Sacred Space when Cat sang Fleetwood Mac's Rhiannon.  My goddess loves that song, and a whole bunch of us joyfully danced for her while Cat sang.  But after it ended, she let me know quite strongly that she wanted me to write her a chant.

This seems to be a theme in my life - gods requesting I write a chant during the Conjure Dance.  At Sacred Space 2013, the Morrigan told me she wanted me to write her a chant that could be used to call her down - so I wrote one.  And this year Rhiannon asked for her own chant.  Which leaves me wondering, who will show up next time?

Rhiannon, Burden-Bearer

you'll rise once again.

You walked the path
for seven years,
each step a silent plea.

Til babe was found,
your innocence
known to none but you.

But now you reign,
Queen once more.
Reign high upon your throne!

(c) Colleen Beaty.  You are free to share my post and SoundCloud widget, and to use my chants in ritual - and I would love to know that you do!  But please do not record or otherwise reproduce my chants in any other way without permission.

Jun 9, 2014

Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Yesterday morning I awoke from a dream in which I was suddenly 14 again, getting ready to start high school - but with all the memories I've made and knowledge I've gained since then.  My mother announced that she had lost her job, and there was talk that we'd have to move somewhere far away. 

My greatest concern at the moment I woke up was that I needed to make sure I still met Jack.  I think I asked to move to Massachusetts, where he would have been living at the time.  Though, after I woke up, I wondered if the people we were as teenagers would still be attracted to one another in a way that stuck.

I wonder what my life would be like if I had the chance to start over, before I got sick and started having problems with anxiety and depression. Before I began to make ill-advised choices about college and my career path, and especially about some of the boys I really shouldn't have dated.

So of course I woke up wondering the eternal question we all ask ourselves - how would my life have been different if I could go back and make different choices? 

Would I have taken more writing classes and found my creativity earlier? 
Focused on a branch of science that doesn't require strenuous activity (like genetics work in the lab, which I still have fond memories of from college)? 
Better avoided the people that caused me more pain than my growth required? 
Chosen to seek my spiritual community in Maryland when I moved here, rather than desperately clinging to my life in Philly by joining a Philly-based coven?
Would I still be friends/lovers with the same people?  Or even be part of the same communities?

Apr 21, 2014

Bittersweet Easter

Last night some of us from my Mom's side of the family met at Mom-Mom & Pop-Pop's house down the shore for Easter dinner.  It was bittersweet, because Mom-Mom & Pop-Pop have decided to sell the house and move to a smaller ranch home in a retirement community nearby.  So it was the last formal family dinner at the house they've owned for about 30 years, and lived in full-time for 20 years.

The house is huge, with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, long dining room and a really big rec-room they added on when I was a teenager.  When we were younger, there would often be weekends where the house was full of aunts and uncles and cousins.  And there was always good food contributed by all.

When I walk in that house I hear my aunts and I shouting and laughing over a game of Double Solitaire, which more often than not ended with my Aunt Dot triumphantly going "out" and winning.  I smell all of the summer breakfasts of pancakes and scrapple and bacon that Mom-Mom cooked.  I see Easter baskets for all the cousins covering the dining room table, and beach towels and bathing suits hung willy-nilly in the bathrooms after a long, sandy day at the beach.  I feel love. 

So much love.

It feels like home.

I thought they were being pressured by someone in the family to move "for their own good."  I was also worried that they were moving because they didn't know about all of the resources they could take advantage of (often paid for by Medicare) such as a home aide and a stair lift.  But after talking to them yesterday it seems apparent that it is their choice to downsize, that they would feel old and trapped by them rather than freed.

I'm going to try to go down there In June for one last long vacation down the shore, just me and the grandparents, and lots of beach time.  And when it's time for them to move, I'll go help - but I'm not sure I'll be able to hold it together (just writing this I'm crying).

Maybe the next time I'm there, I can bring home some part of that house - some stones from the yard, or a piece of wicker furniture maybe? - so that I always have that piece of my shore "home" in my own home.

Feb 24, 2014

Heeding the Call

Last night I felt a strong call from my patron, Gwynn ap Nudd, to journey to him and have a chat.  He likes to do that sometimes, especially when I need talking to.


Before I journeyed, I prayed about what's been troubling me, to help center me and guide my journey.  In essence, I have been floundering in my practice for the last couple of years. Now that I am engaged and building a home and a life with my sweetheart, I feel like it's time to get back on the (magickal) horse.  I've been going to shamanic journey classes led by a good friend of mine, and while that's a good start it's not enough.

When I was in a coven, I practiced regularly, but mostly only with the group.  And unfortunately, I gave so much that the group - unwittingly, I'm sure - sucked me dry and left me unable to practice much at home. 

Now that I'm solitary again, I have much more energy for journeying, magick, etc.  Except that without that structure of regular coven rituals and meetings and such, I find myself getting lax about practicing.

So I asked Gwynn for guidance.  He told me that my home, my every day life needs to be more magickal - basically I need that everyday foundation to get me into the right head space for regular practice.  For starters, he reminded me that I need stronger, more stable wards.  Then he showed me the cover of a book I've had for years but never read - The Magical Household: Spells & Rituals for the Home by Scott Cunningham & David Harrington. 

So I guess I have some reading to do!  And some magicking to do around our home, too.  ("Magicking" is a word, right?  Well if it's not, I'm making it a word right now.)

As I write this, I'm also reminded that for a while there, I was saying a daily prayer of gratitude.  I should really get back to doing that, starting right now: 

Thank you for my existence.  
Thank you for what health I retain.  
Thank you for clarity of mind.  
Thank you for my love.

Jan 23, 2014

Go Down, Listen

This is a chant I wrote several years ago as part of a project to write chants for the Sabbats and five elements.  I had initially intended to write 5 separate chants, one for each element.  Instead, when I started putting pen to paper, a chant about deep listening that incorporated all of the elements emerged. 

It's certainly not one of my best chants, and it's a remnant of a path that I have happily (and healthfully) moved beyond.  Still, there's something about this one that moves me to find that still, quiet place and just listen.

Go Down, Listen
Speak softly, listen quietly,
The Water sings to you.

Sing lightly, listen well,
The Air whispers to you.

Go down, down, down - listen.
Go down, down, down - listen.

Dance fiercely, listen fully,
The Fire cheers for you.

Talk slowly, listen deeply,
The Earth drums for you.

Go down, down, down - listen.
Go down, down, down - listen.

See clearly, stand openly,
Spirit calls to you.

Go down, down, down - listen.
Go down, down, down - listen.

(c) Colleen Beaty.  You are free to share my post and SoundCloud widget, and to use my chants in ritual - and I would love to know that you do!  But please do not record or otherwise reproduce my chants in any other way without permission.

Jan 10, 2014

Oh hai thar, 2014

Wow, this poor blog has been neglected since September.  I posted a chant and then... I realized I had been focusing too much on trying to make the blog successful enough to monetize (I was nowhere close), and lost the enjoyment of blogging.  So I decided to take a break from blogging and come back to it if and when the music and writing called to me again.

Lately I've been feeling like I want to get back into creative writing, and I want to start writing and posting my chants again.  Other creative types will understand when I say I've started to get the "itch" to write again.  To write those things that work their way up from my soul and need me to put their words to paper.  To sing those things brought forth from within and put their melodies to a microphone.

I don't think I will be posting others' music very much anymore - probably just when I'm feeling inspired by it, or when it goes with a piece I'm writing, or somesuch.  And I'm going to stop worrying as much about having a popular blog, because let's face it, the audience for pagan bloggers is not nearly as large or enthusiastic about commenting as that for fashion and mommy bloggers.  So I'm going to post for myself, and for any who chooses to read - and stop worrying about the rest.

I have two chants sitting on the back-burner that I'd like to post soon.  One is a few years old, and the other was written this fall after I went through something extremely traumatic (I'm still unsure if I want to share that story in such a public forum, so pardon my vagueness.)  I also have a few pieces of writing about music that want to happen.

2013 was a year of changes, of love and hurt, of renewal.  It was also a year of starting to find the core of who I am and how I want to practice my spirituality.  So here we are in 2014.  I've decided that my theme for this year is "building."  Building a life with my sweetheart, building a home together in our new apartment, building my spiritual practice up from this core and into something even more vibrant and powerful than before.

What are you building in 2014? 
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