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)

See?

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,
XoXo.















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)
Ingredients

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. 

SCONES NOM NOM


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