Thursday, March 19, 2015

Help! Naming my Cat.

Your Opinion Matters!
Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!
I'm going full Nerd and Hardcore Supernatural with this.

Being Jensen
Being Jared
Being Misha

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Saturday, March 14, 2015

It's Pi Day! So Here's a Vegan Berry Crumble in a Pie Pan (with coconut whipped cream)

Pi Day Crumble

 I've been sick all week so I haven't posted...or eaten...much lately. For that reason I decided that today I was craving my mom's amazing and delicious Vegan Cranberry Cherry Crumble and upon remembering that it's Pi day I decided to make my own version (including blueberries) and make it "pie" like. 

This recipe is pretty simple and absolutely delicious. You will need cornstarch or arrowroot and I know that's one of those things that isn't always found in one's cupboard and so I hope that doesn't deter you, you can always add a bit more flour or just make a quick run to the grocery store. It's WORTH IT! 

Serve Warm with CocoWhip

  • 3 cups fresh or frozen Blueberries or Cranberries (your pick), thawed
  • 3 cups frozen pitted Dark Sweet Cherries, thawed
  • 1/2-3/4 cup (More if you use cranberries, less for blueberries) Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 cup dried Cranberries, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried Cherries, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon All-Purpose 100% Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Cornstarch or Arrowroot
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup Slivered Almonds, toasted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup regular Oats (Muesli works as well if you're like me and forgot to buy oats)
  • 1/4 cup All-Purpose 100% Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/4 cup packed Brown Sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract
  • 2 tablespoons Coconut Oil, melted

Preheat your oven to 375
°. Coat a glass pie dish with cooking Spray. Combine all the Filling Ingredients in a large bowl, tossing gently to coat the berries completely. (If using frozen berries allow time to thaw or thaw in microwave for about 3-4 minutes). Spoon the mixture into the pie dish and set aside.

Gently toast the almonds in the oven for about 4 minutes or until light brown, allow to cool and the chop coarsely. Combine almonds with the oats, flour, sugar, salt and spices. Then pour in almond extract and the coconut oil and combine until the mixture resemble coarse meal.

Sprinkle the Crumble evenly over the Berry filling. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes or until the filling is bubbly and the crumble is golden.

Let me introduce you to "So Delicious" brand's "CocoWhip" which is basically cool whip but without all the terrible crap that can kill you in it and it tastes a million gazillion times better. It's Dairy Free, non GMO, non hydrogenated and it's heavenly. I could eat a tub all by itself. Buy it and serve it with a warm slice of this pie crumble. You won't regret it! I find it at Whole Foods.

CocoWhip, GET IT. EAT IT.

So Happy Pi Day! And sorry for the lack of posts! I'll fix that, I also apologize for taking these pictures at night, I had a busy morning. Have a delicious day!

A terrible picture of an amazing result. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Ultimate Hair Conditioning Treatment and Herbal Rinse

Ingredients for Hair Treatment
(Don't have coconut milk anymore so for the sake of art I used coconut)

Every once in a while I give myself a nice spa day. Hot bubble bath with dried rosemary and essential oils, Vitamin E skin scrub down and a nice hair treatment. I recently developed a little recipe that has become my favorite. Not only is it organic and natural it will leave your hair as shiny and healthy as any deep conditioning done at a salon. I am including a great follow up rinse for you hair that I highly recommend trying. 

Always remember of course that we all have different types of hair with different needs. I will try and accommodate all those needs by editing the recipe for different hair types, but this is one of those times that you will have to figure out what works best for you through trial and error. 
I recommend doing this treatment 1-3 times a month. It's definitely not necessary all the time. This works for women and men, so I'd love to hear about some guys giving this a try for their luscious locks ;)

The Ultimate Hair Conditioning Treatment
  • 1 Can Organic Coconut Milk (the fattier the better!) 
  • 1/2 - A Whole Organic Avocado (this depends on the thickness of your hair, thicker = more avocado)
  • 1 Tbs Baking Soda 
  • 1 Organic Egg (For Normal hair use the entire egg, For oily hair use the egg whites and for Dry, Brittle hair use the egg yolks. If you fall in the oil or dry category you may want to use more than one yolk or white.) 
  • 2 Tbs Organic Local Raw Honey (If you don't have raw that's fine)
Combine all of these in a glass container that has a lid, a mason jar works well, make sure that your avocado is ripe enough to mash in and use a fork to whisk in the egg. Apply this to your clean and either dry or damp hair IN the bathroom with a trash bag around your shoulders or a towel you don't care about. Use the entire mixture and ensure that your hair is completely coated! Wrap a shower cap or plastic bag around your head and use an elastic headband to hold in place. Now entertain yourself for at least an hour. I took a bubble bath and watched Supernatural ;). After the hour is up hop in the shower and rinse your hair out with the Herbal Rinse or your preferred shampoo. Your hair will feel different, almost thick and uncomfortable but once you have ensured that all of the treatment is out and proceed to condition it your hair will start to soften. Once it's dry you will see the difference, particularly near the roots and tips. It will be shinier, soft and less frizzy. I encourage you to try it and leave a comment with your results!

My  phone takes bad pics, so this is the best I could take.
 My hair is long, thick and often frizzy and it's soft and shiny after the treatment

Herbal Rinse
An Herbal Rinse is a Great Shampoo to follow up the above Hair conditioning treatment with. To make an Herbal Rinse gather the appropriate herbs (preferably fresh, dried works too but requires longer steeping time) and crush about 1 ounce of herbs to cup of filtered water. (If using fresh flowers bruise the flowers instead of crushing and heat very gently) Pour this into a pot and bring to a boil meanwhile adding another cup of water. Cover, reduce heat and allow to simmer for about five minutes. Allow the Rinse to cool completely, strain them mixture and store in the refrigerator. You can add this directly to your shampoo of choice or simply use as is by pouring over hair in a bathtub and catching the rinse in a bowl so that you can re-pour it a few times. 
An easy option (If fresh herbs and flours are unavailable) is also to simply add the essential oil of your chosen herb to filtered water. 

Optional Herbs for Herbal Rinse Rose,
Rosemary and Chamomile (can be fresh or dried)

Recommended Rinses
  • Brunette - A Rosemary or Sage Rinse (hydrates and leaves a fine sheen)
  • Blonde - A Chamomile Rinse (will maintain the natural color and even lighten in some cases, will also soften)
  • Red - A Calendula Rinse (maintains the vibrance of color and moisturizes) 
  • Any Hair type - Rose Rinse 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Stay Positive, Avoid Depression, Be Fearless

I don't know about you but going through life without having major bouts of depression, doubt and fear about our lives and our futures is impossible. In fact I admit that depression is one of my biggest struggles. Whatever it truly is I have refused to treat it with any sort of medication as I strongly believe that pharmaceuticals only numb the pain, they don't heal it. While there are days that I can't get out of bed, and days that I wonder why I even bother to a point that, yes, I have contemplated what it would be like to simply move on to the next adventure, the better days always prove to me that there is a reason to fight those dark thoughts. And the only way to have better days is to make better days yourself. You and you alone are in control of what you feel and how you let outside circumstances affect you. I also understand that there is no absolute cure for sad feelings, there will always be rough days but it's how you come out of those days that can influence your entire life.

Here's a list of ways that I stay positive and avoid depression that can be so crippling to my life.

Be proactive about LIVING - Figure out even the smallest things that bring you joy and make them a part of your daily life. Be unafraid to explore, discover and BE the unique and beautiful person that you are. Force yourself to get out of bed even if it's just to read a book or make a hot cup of tea. Life won't wait for you, so don't waste the beautiful opportunity you've been given to live it.

Listen to Music - I find that music has great sway on my mood and so I choose the music I listen to on my more down days very carefully. Upbeat tempos, exhilarating classical music, epic soundtracks. All music that brings uplifting and positive emotions and make me want to face the world head on. 

Stop Putting Yourself Down - Stop looking in the mirror and seeing imperfections. Remember that you are a unique and beautiful individual capable of great things. You don't need others approval and the less confidence you have in yourself the less respect you will have for yourself. "The moment you accept yourself you become Beautiful" - Osho. Live by that.

Work Out - Not only is it scientifically proven to reduce the feelings of depression it's also just damn good for your confidence. Don't overkill it but definitely get to a point that you are active for at least 30 minutes a day (go for a walk, do pushups while watching TV, etc.) You'll get to a point after you've pushed yourself for about a week (mind over matter) that your body will crave the workouts! 

Take Pride in Yourself and your Skills - Self explanatory. Be prideful! Not annoyingly so but don't let anyone put you down, show off your skills! You deserve to be praised every now and again. No one should feel ignored in life. Compliment and praise others too! Karma baby!

Be Patient - Oh man, my bane. Learning to be patient is excruciating at times. And "good things come to those who wait" can bite my ass. But the truth is that bad things can't last forever and neither can good things. Learning to be accepting of that truth and waiting it out while focusing on being happy in either situation is essential. 

Equanimity - Buddhism speaks on equanimity which basically means that "one realizes the basic equality of all sentient beings; others want happiness, just like I do. Others make mistakes just like I do. Others are confused, angry and attached, just like I often am. Is the other person happy in this situation, or just struggling like I am?" Realizing that you are not alone, and that others experience pain as well will make you a more compassionate and open person. Don't be a victim. When you can share in the pain of others instead of isolating yourself you will begin a  powerful healing process. 

Splurge - This is not to say be irresponsible with your money or be wasteful. But on those days when you feel like nothing is going right, spoiling yourself a little bit with a new blouse or a bouquet of flowers  or a new book reminds you that you are so so worth it, and that you are capable of taking care of yourself. 

Don't Stop Learning - Don't ever let your brain be stagnant. Keep yourself occupied and keep yourself learning. If there is something you're interested in find a way to learn something about it. The internet is a vast resource as are books. (Read a book damnit....) The busier you are bettering yourself the less reasons you will have to stay in bed. 

Eat Healthier - I can't express the importance of this one enough. You are what you eat. Absolute truth. If you're diet consists of sugars, and processed foods and soda etc. your body is not going to take care of you and you are not going to feel good. Changing even the smallest bad habits to good ones i.e. eat a piece of fruit and muesli for breakfast can make all the difference in your mood throughout the day. 

Cry and Vent - I mean it, I actually think doing so is good. Telling someone you trust how you feel and how difficult life seems to you is freeing. Usually someone out there is going through the same thing or can offer some sort of shoulder to cry on. If not a someone, write it all down and have a good cry. I've realized that some of my worst days came when I was holding in my frustrations at life and once I cried my eyes out, things improved. 

Be Grateful - See the beauty in everything. This one takes time and effort. Start a journal where you just write one thing a day that you are grateful about. I have a few friends who swear by this method, that their outlook on life changed drastically after they began to see the good present in their life. No matter how bad things seem there is always something good. Whether it's your family, a good meal or a flower blooming on the side of the road, there is always something to make you smile and appreciate what you have. 

Meditate - Find a few moments every day to sit, breath deeply and focus on healing your soul. Those moments of quiet contemplation allow you to fill your mind with positive love, compassion, and wholeness. 

These are just a few things that I focus on particularly when I can feel depression looming. It's not easy and it takes work to really turn a depressive mood into a fearless "I can take on the world"  attitude. But I promise you, you can do it. You are loved, you can love yourself and you can make it through the worst of days with the promise that no storm lasts forever. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Outfit of the Day

This post is kind of satisfying that long time dream of mine to model. And as I have the power of the blog on my side I'm making it happen. Not to mention I woke up again today to more snow. So I'm bored out of my mind. Not sure how Nerdy or Natural this is, but why stick with the same ole thing all the time? P.S. Can't wait to get a real camera. My Android sucks bum.

The Kitteh had to be in the picture

This Outfit is Pure J.Crew, H&M goodness. I only shop J.Crew sales on principle. So My pants and shirt were lucky finds. The boots I could not live without, seriously the most comfortable pair of booties I have ever owned and they were only $35 at H&M. The scarf is from a tiny little shop in St. Andrews Scotland but the tartan pattern is "Brodie" 
The red lips are a gift, my first coco chanel item. 

Walk it Gurlll

Saturday, February 28, 2015

My Kitteh!

I mentioned I have a cat now, I rescued him when his mom died and he's my baby. He pretty much can't get enough of me, from sleeping on my head at night to clawing his way up my arm during "play time" aka "rip mom's arms apart time". He really is one of the best things to happen to me, besides being accepted to an Ivy League so he knows he's pretty special and he acts like it too. Spoiled brat. But really, he's the best. His name is Quill (guess why?) and he is my Munshter (monster in a cute voice)


Sir Quilliam on his favorite Scottish Blanket

Sleeping on/near my head
Eating my foot cause it's his

All Natural Household Cleaner

It's definitely that time of year where, not only are we all freezing and getting sick constantly, but we are also beginning to feel that tinge of hope that spring is on it's way. This weekend I have already begun my over zealous spring cleaning in hopes that I can rid my house of whatever leftover germs are still clinging to my possessions and begin to feel refreshed and prepared to enjoy the perfection that is Spring. In order to do all of this I have concocted my own cleaning agent that is pretty much an all over household cleaner. It's organic AND anti bacterial AND it smells great! Can't go wrong with that.

Here's the recipe and hopefully you'll have some luck replacing most of your chemical filled cleaners with this simple cleaner.

Ingredients (I'm bad they aren't all organic. THEY SHOULD BE.)

  • 1 cup Organic Distilled White Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Organic Baking Soda
  • 1 Lemon
  • 20 plus drops citrus (lemon/orange) essential oil
  • 20 plus drops white pine essential oil 
  • 2 cups Filtered Water
Because you have to be artsy on a blog and take cool pics
Combine Vinegar and Baking Soda in a glass (or plastic but preferably glass) spray bottle. A funnel will definitely help this process. Be prepared for that science fair volcano fizzing action and combine slowly so as not to receive a face full of vinegar. Squeeze in the juice of one lemon and then add the essential oil. In the pictures I used jasmine oil which is very relaxing and aids in sleep, can help with lung congestion and is supposed to attract wealth and love ;). Every essential oil will provide different and beneficial results so use whatever scents you most enjoy. I chose citrus and white pine as my usual (was out of both this time) because citrus is an excellent anti bacterial, mold killing and refreshing agent and white pine functions as a stringent antiseptic, works wonders with it's high vitamin C content to assist in getting us through the winter months and of course the scent is very calming and purifying to the home (and the pine itself is considered the "tree of peace"). After you have combined all of this, add your filtered water and GENTLY (seriously be gentle, you've been warned...suffer the consequences at your own risk) shake the bottle to combine. The baking soda will settle at the bottom and you may have a few lemon seeds but that's all fine. This cleaner will last a while as the vinegar will preserve it.

To use it ( Do I have to explain how to spray a bottle?) simply spray and wipe. Simple as that. Keep the bottle turned to off when you're not using it as the chemical reaction between vinegar and baking soda might cause dripping. 

This can be used on pretty much any surface, I haven't had issues with it ever and thanks to the essential oils and lemon you don't get a nasty vinegar scent, in fact it leaves your house smelling pretty amazing and clean. 

Beautiful Stuff, ammiright?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Solitude: a How to

One of my favorite words is "Solitude" 1.the state of being or living alone; seclusion:to enjoy one's solitude.
2. remoteness from habitations, as of a place; absence of human activity: the solitude of the mountain
3. a lonely, unfrequented place: a solitude in the mountains.

This isn't a typical "How to". In this case ( particularly given the month....and day) I want to talk about being lonely, and how good that can be for you. People fear loneliness. Our lives are spent surrounded by countless living beings an so, understandably, the thought of not connecting with them scares us. Often times we distract ourselves with people, parties, social media etc. Outlets that let us know that other people notice us and are a part of our lives and yet we are forgetting the most important person that needs attention and love from us...ourselves. By seeking a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction from outside sources we are only setting ourselves up to be disappointed. Everyone will fail you if you give them long enough. That isn't to say that you shouldn't have friends or enjoy a social life and the point of this post is not to tell you that you should never have friends. Instead what's important is that you have discovered yourself and learned to love yourself enough that spending time with yourself or taking yourself on a date can bring you just as much joy as it should. Doing this will not only help you pursue and develop your passions and discover things about yourself you may not have known before but it will build a sense of confidence and independence that is so empowering to your life. I want people to discover as much as I have how beautiful being in solitude can be, and that moments of solitude are easily capable of being some of the most amazing moments of your life.

I broke up with my fiancé. Everything had seemed so set in stone and suddenly everything that seemed stable had cracked beneath me. I had already moved out (after living with him for over a year) got a cat and applied to UPenn and was accepted (not in that order necessarily but the chaos of the past few months have been great). All good things (I always feel like Im quoting Olaf). And I was and am doing them alone. I know saying that all my stability was gone seems like a bad thing. It really wasn't. I grew to know myself better than ever because I was realistic with myself, I accepted things that I couldn't control and changed the things I could. Not to say it was all easy, there are still days I can't get out of bed but that's not a bad thing. You need to stay in bed sometimes and that's why I'm going to write this list for you. The "Solitude: A How to" list. I am telling you right now that if you take a chance on this list you will find happiness is easy to achieve no matter your situation. Remember that loving yourself is ABSOLUTELY the key to learning to love others. You can't love yourself if you don't give yourself the chance to learn how to do so. Remember Solitude is a positive word here.

Solitude: A How to
Take initiative to do things on your own, get over your fear of what other people think about you and take a chance on yourself. Here is a list of things you might be scared to do alone that you should and that will empower you in doing so. 
  1. Go to the mall and shop while listening to music in your headphones. Forget about everyone around you and enjoy the time alone. If you feel the urge to dance, dance. If you need to burp, burp. You can't hear anyone else so they can't bother you. 
  2. Make a dinner reservation for 1 at your favorite restaurant, Dress up, go and eat, sit confidently and order a huge dessert. Bring a book or a journal if you think you'll be bored with your own thoughts. 
  3. Go to a bar on a Friday night by yourself. Stop caring if people stare, if the bartender asks if you're meeting a friend don't make anything up just say it: "No, I'm here to enjoy a drink alone"
  4. Learn a Hobby - Take a dance class, learn to crochet on youtube, start a blog. Pick a time of day when you'd be texting or wasting time on facebook and set that as your learning and creativity time. Don't lose your childhood curiosity, always be advancing yourself. As your hobby takes off into a passion you'll find yourself more and more trying to make time for it. 
  5. Go to a movie alone. Get popcorn, candy, a blanket and anything else that makes for the essential movie going experience and do it! You don't have to worry about holding hands, or gossiping friends. Turn off your phone and enjoy your time alone. 
  6. Go Hiking, there is nothing like the peace and quiet of nature while alone to really open up your heart and mind to what is important in your life. Inspirational ideas will come to you, new ways to solve problems and many other enlightening moments are found in nature. 
  7. Sleep naked. Seriously, I mean it. Get out of your comfort zone and learn to love your body. Unless you're in sub zero temps, then I get it....bundle that bum up. 
  8. Read a Book, set a goal to finish a book in a reasonable time. Make sure it's a book you're passionate about that will keep you turning the pages. Don't read on a screen, life has a lot more to offer when you take a chance on looking up from your device. 
  9. Take a week off of social media. Shut down your accounts for a bit and stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and stop telling everyone else what you're doing. You are missing some seriously amazing moments in real life because you're behind a camera lens or a status update trying to impress other people
  10. Cry alone, Laugh alone, talk to yourself alone. Express your emotions when you need to, write sing, dance. If there is something welling up inside of you...let it out, understand why and learn from it. 
  11. Watch TV alone with some wine curled up in bed with your stuffed animals in your favorite sexy lingerie or pajamas. Enjoy feeling sexy without the need to be sexy for anyone else but you. Enjoy watching tv on your own and being alone in your home. If your home is a place of healing and peace (read more here: 12 Ways To Make Your Home a Place of Peace...) then being at home alone and relaxing should be an exciting part of your day that you look forward to. Also, download Ad Block Plus on chrome and then go to Couch Tuner. Every possible show under the sun is there, with current seasons that are airing now. 
  12. Extricate yourself from negative situations where other people are bringing you down. If there are any people in your life that don't feel right and that are toxic to your own peace, no matter how much they say they care about you and no matter how much you are trying to convince yourself they are good in your life, get rid of them. If it is unhealthy it is for the better, you will find peace and better situations....let time run it's course 
  13. Be a force for change, Volunteer! Do something for your community, for the world and for yourself in the process. Help plant a garden, tutor children, feed the homeless, write to your senator, buy mason jars instead of using plastic containers. These things are empowering to you and give you a sense of worth, you are impacting other people and making a difference. 
  14. Never be afraid to meet new people. In many of these cases you will be out and alone and there will be other people around you, walk up and say "hello" you never know what adventures await when you give yourself the chance to explore your life. 

Hopefully this little list makes sense. I felt inspired to write this given the day and it's a bit impromptu. Obviously there are many ways for you to take the opportunity to do things alone and you don't have to do what I say at all if solitude sounds like silly nonsense to you, carry on you socialite! And obviously sometimes it's good not to do things alone. But I hope you will take the chance to be solitary sometimes, give yourself your own personal space and really discover who you are, it will lead to an attractive confidence that will take you far. I'm still learning and I don't think I will ever stop learning new things about myself, but I am better off than I was and I am still on my way to better things. Carry on and in honor of Valentines Day go eat a box of Godiva like no one is watching. 

Love your Solitude,

Friday, February 13, 2015

Organic, Vegan, and 100% Whole Wheat Blueberry Scones

  There really is nothing quite as good as a cup of tea, a good book and a delicious scone to pass a cold winter afternoon, at least not for an old soul like me. Scones are a fantastic source of buttery, moist, crumbly goodness and honestly I could eat them with a fox, in a house, with a mouse, here and there, seriously I could eat them anywhere and yet...they aren't necessarily the most healthy of pastries. So I set out to make my own vegan, organic scones and I have actually come up with a recipe I think is truly fantastic, as do the people who have tried them thus far (family counts right?). These aren't traditional scones, more of a great harvest bread co. inspired type. Much more moist and less crumbly. I'm starting to wonder how many times I can include the most awkward word of all time "moist" in this post. If you give these a try let me know how you like them!

Ingredients ( I highly recommend using all organic ingredients, since ya know...that's kind of the point)

  •  2 cups Bob's Red Mill Organic 100% Stone Ground Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (I swear by                   this flour, your food will not taste like dog biscuits I promise.)
  •  1 Tbsp Baking Powder 
  • 1/2 tsp Salt 
  • 1/3 cup Light Brown Sugar 
  •  4-5 Tbsp Cold expeller pressed Coconut Oil (the idea is that it's similar to cold butter)
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract 
  • 1 cup organic Coconut Milk
  • 1 (overflowing) cup Blueberries or Raspberries 
(yields a dozen)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease two cookies sheets with coconut oil, Set a kettle of water to boil

Combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt and sugar) in a large bowl

Measure the coconut oil into a bowl and place in fridge until it's solid and cold, then cut into chunks and using either a pastry cutter or two forks cut the oil into the flour until the mixture is coarse and crumbly
The coconut oil almost resembles butter

Add the coconut milk (which will have butter like chunks in it as well, that's fine) and the vanilla to the mixture and fold gently until just combined (don't over mix or you'll end up with tough scones)
if the mixture seems too dry you can add a bit more coconut milk.

Wash and dry the berries and then sprinkle them with a light layer of flour as this will prevent them from bruising. Fold them into the mixture gently. (In the pictures here I split my dough in half and did 1/2 a cup of raspberries and 1/2 a cup of blueberries) If you become over zealous with the blueberries as I often do and add more than a cup, be aware that your scones will be a bit mushy, fall apart easier and may be comprised of more blueberry than scone. It still tastes good, just be warned. 

Blueberry and Raspberry dough (so moist)

Go grab those trays you prepped and dollop about an ice cream scoop size of dough on there, do this six times per cookie sheet. Make sure the berries aren't all around the edges of the dough or you may end up with blackened edges. 


Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the edges are light gold, remove from oven and allow to cool a bit before transferring to a wire wrack where they will be eaten before you have time to take the "artsy little photo shoot" I did for mine. Grab that whistling kettle and pour yourself a cup of tea, grab your favorite book and settle in by a window for a cozy AND healthy afternoon snack.

EAT - with tea and a book

Friday, January 30, 2015

Smudging: A Cleanse for New Beginnings

Much has happened to me in the past couple months, most very painful and difficult to talk about. With these trials there have been silver linings but they were only there if I  was willing to see them. One of the two I found is my new apartment which I share with two roommates. More than the apartment itself my room has become a safe haven. A place where I feel healthy, alive and inspired. It is truly a beautiful space and eventually I will post some pictures of it, but I wanted to write this post first in light of a new year, new beginnings and spiritual cleansing in order to accept all these changes.

Smudging is the ceremonial burning of a bundle of dried sacred herbs, typically sage and cedar though other dried herb can be used. The stick itself is called a smudge. This is a native american ritual, which resonates deeply with me and my Choctaw ancestry and my love of nature and oneness with the earth. It is also a deeply healing process, it helps clear negative energy and research has shown that when burned certain herbs are linked to more positive moods through the release of negative ions. Of course we see similar practices in many religious rituals such as priests burning incense. It is a very releasing and purifying experience to be surrounded by and breathing in an herb as sacred as sage.

Different types of wands (White Sage also called Sacred Sage, and Lavender Sage)
I use a mix of lavender and sage as I find the scent more soothing. There are very specific ways to go about smudging and while I encourage you to do it whatever way fits you I also would encourage you to experience it in the traditional way at least once. You can purchase smudge wands online or even at Whole Foods and I strongly recommend going with a brand that is sustainably harvested and supports Native American agriculture.

I smudged my new room to dispel any negative energies and to recharge my space with positive forces. Sage and Cedar are known for their clarifying and strength inducing essence. Lavender is refreshing, soothing and grounding. These herbs have been used for centuries in medicinal and culinary recipes and for certain never go out of style.

Smudge around doorways, windows and other entrances 
 Before you begin, crack open a window or door (  I chose window so as to avoid smoking out my  roommates) Be aware that the scent could raise  questions so explain what you are doing if you  think someone will be offended. Place your  herbs in a ceramic bowl or abalone shell, light  the tip with a wooden match and then gently  blow out the flame, allowing the herbs to  smolder. Breath in some of the smoke and allow  it to waft over you, metaphorically cleansing  yourself in it.  Begin on the left side of your door  and work your way around your room staying to  the left. Say a prayer, set an intention or simply  focus on the cleansing process as you allow the  smoke to surround the important places in your  home. I go around all window sills, my bed, desk  and other places that I spend time in. Finally  arrive at whatever window or door you left open  and allow the smoke to flow outdoors, expelling  the negative and allowing the positive to enter.  You can dip the smudge in some water or allow  it to burn out. Once done take the ashes and  place them on your front doorstep or windowsill to protect your home, you do not want to keep the ashes as they are the leftovers from your cleanse (it would be like keeping dirty bath water) once you are content with your ritual return the ashes to the earth. At this point you can either continue with your day or, as in traditional practices, you can have a feast to celebrate your home and all that is good in it. And who doesn't love an excuse to feast!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

12 Ways To Make Your Home a Place of Peace, Health and Love (The Affordable and simple version)

I recently read an article on one of my favorite sites (One that I highly recommend
Uncharacteristically this article was a disappointment, I found it to be unrealistic when applied to my own life and financial situation and I knew there to be many simpler ways to achieve the very well intentioned point of this article. I assume this will also apply to many of you as well, and I hope my 12 tips can prove as useful and centering to you as they do for me. This was a rather simple response for me to write as these tips came from my daily routine of self love in my own home.

This is the article that inspired my response ( I do encourage you to read it so you get an idea as to what I am responding to and also in case some of what is shared is something that can benefit you!):

 Here's my list: 
1. Windows - with lots of natural light (so open those curtains!)
2. Books, on anything and everything that inspires you and makes you want to open it's cover. Be inspired
3.Plants! Lots of plants. They love you back as much as you love them and are easier maintenance than a pet (which can be good to have too )
4. Incense, Essential Oils, Natural Candles - some sort of scent that centers you and inspires you. Pick ones to rejuvenate and refresh you in the morning and relax and ease you at night. (just remember to blow out the candles before you leave lol)
5. Fresh Fruits and Veggies - Eat them raw, eat them cooked, blend them in any cheap ass bender you want! Just get them fresh, organic and feast on them! Your body will love you!
6. Brown Rice - Cheap and SO SO good for you.
7. Yoga mat, some cheap weights and youtube for some great workout videos whether it be ballet, yoga, pilates or crossfit! Get in even 15 minutes a day and your home will become a place of strengthening
8. Pandora with a spa, classical or relaxation station...or just put on your favorite music that makes you smile. 
9. A specific corner for mediation/Inspiration station, with pillows, blankets, candles...whatever makes you happy and brings you to oneness with your surroundings. This could also be a hobby area, where you do art, crafts or solve mathematical equations...something that brings you peace and strengthens your mind after a long day!
10. Tea! Lots of tea, pick your favorites and brew them hot in the winter and cold in the summer, Different types of teas can do different types of miraculous stuff for your health!
11. A comfortable bed - sleep is vital and I honestly will say that I think it's good to shell out some money on a mattress that is genuinely good for you and your needs. 
12. Finally, Love, whether you live alone or with family or environment of positivity and love for yourself and all those around you will make your home a wellness sanctuary for sure.

Of course these are just what I personally think are good for a safe haven of peace, health and love but I also think they are an affordable option for anyone. I strongly believe that you don't have to buy a sauna to feel healthy and alive! I hope this helps you focus your days and heal yourself. So mote it be.