Visual Delight.

I miss you..... but only sometimes.

I miss you….. but only sometimes.

to do...

to do…

beauty.

beauty.

iphone case love.

iphone case love.

perfect.

perfect. ly stated.

I could live in fall and winter forever...

I could live in fall and winter forever…

1. /2. /3./4./5. /6.

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Sneak Preview

Our wedding is getting closer and closer and the details keep coming together. We put together and started addressing invites last night, my stepdaughter to be just got her beautiful bridesmaid’s dress,  first dance song have been shuffling between old classics and the kids’ input (“Thrift Shop”), and I’m finalizing some of the design. And Im just too excited not to share a peak…just a tiny one…

s+b

s+b

I hope you are all having the best day 🙂

8 Ways to Get Better Sleep

Ah, ze sleep troubles. So many people have them. (sad face) Peaceful and restful sleep is one of the best things you can give your body. Sleep is your body’s time to repair and renew itself, so if you are looking for ways to make it happen…here are some tips:

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1. Create a peaceful, stress relieving nigh-time routine. Routines are a great way to help start signaling to your body that is time for bed. Good ways to wind down include: meditation (free podcasts and audios are available on-line and through iTunes), gentle stretching and yoga, reading a book, making yourself a cup of herbal tea, taking a bath, etc. Experiment with different ideas and create a simple routine that works for you. 

2. Explore the possibilities of Lavender. This wonderful plant has relaxing and sedative qualities that can help you get a better nights rest. Diffuse a few drops of lavender oil in water when going to bed or apply to the bottom of your feet or on your temples and neck for a calming and relaxing sensation. A few drops of lavender in the palms of your hands and cupped over the nose can quickly and easily eliminate stress and anxiety as well.

3. Avoid caffeine and other sleep inhibitors, especially in large amounts and in the afternoon/evening. For those of us who have problems sleeping, caffeine is normally a culprit. Too much coffee or black tea stimulates the system and should be used very little if at all if you have trouble sleeping. Other foods that have the capability of hindering a restful night are chocolate & soda (also caffeinated), sugar, excessive alcohol, and refined carbohydrates. Try switching to herbal tea (i.e. mint, rooibos) and sticking to a whole foods diet.

4. Tryptophan helps! Tryptophan is an amino acid found in certain foods that has natural sleep inducing compounds. Turkey, milk, cottage cheese, chicken, eggs, and nuts (especially almonds) have substantial amounts of tryptophan.

5. Try Valerian Root. If you are looking to go down the supplement path to help with your sleep, know that valerian root has been used historically for insomnia relief. Unlike drugs, valerian root actually helps improve sleep quality and latency (the time required to go to sleep) and leaves no “hangover” feeling in the morning. Suggested uses:

dried root (or as a tea): 2-3 grams

Tincture (1:5, root to water ratio) 5-7 milligrams

fluid extract (1:1) ½ – 1 teaspoon

6. Stop eating at least 2 hours before bedtime. The night is your body’s time to rest and repair and the less food your stomach & digestive tract has to work through during these hours, the better. Let your body focus on repairing itself for the next day, rather than breaking down a heavy dinner.

7. Make your bedroom a retreat. A clean and uncluttered bedroom promotes a relaxing and calming atmosphere that will create the space for you to unwind and peacefully fall asleep.

8. Eat a nutritious, whole foods diet. Your body is designed to function on nutritious whole foods, and the better and more active you are during the day, the more likely you are to get a restful nights sleep.

Resources:

Murray, Michael T., Joseph E. Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York: Atria, 2005. Print.

Pitchford, Paul. Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic, 2002. Print.

Carper, Jean. Miracle Cures. Boston: Wheeler Pub., 1998. Print.

(Green) Vanilla Date Shake

 

I’ve forced myself to “like” a lot of healthy stuff. Kale/apple juice? YUMMMMM. (not) Spirulina Green Smoothie? Fantastico. (c’est miserable) BUT this. This is not a “force the greens” down kind drink. This my friends, is delicious. More vanilla milkshake than green smoothie. More (much, much more) delicious than icky. This, is what Ive been searching for. And I’ll even share it. Thank me later. (I love flowers, raw chocolates, and anything from Anthropologie by the way.

Lifechanging (Green) Vanilla Date Shake

serves 1

nom nom

nom nom

1 (or 1 ½) handful fresh, organic spinach

1 heaping tablespoon of almond butter

2 tablespoons organic whole milk yogurt

½ teaspoon vanilla

2 dates, pitted

1/3 cup milk of choice (cow, almond, soy, etc)

ice

Place all of your ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Drink your greens; they’re delicious.

 

Dessert, Revisited.

Lord knows, I love desserts. Not only do I have a sweet tooth (thanks mom AND dad), but I bake the lovelies for a profession. And believe me, I enjoy them on a regular basis. But every once in a while I take a step back and look at the sweets I’m eating and the type of sugars that can be harmful to your health.

Sugar gets a bad rap in our society, for good reason I must say, but there is undoubtably a time and a place for it. Sweets are an amazingly delicious end to a meal and every so often a perfect treat to start the day. I guess we get into a bit of a problem when we eat refined sugar 3 times a day, everyday. Refined sugar seems to be in everything, everywhere : bread, energy bars, juices, breakfast cereals, yogurt….even dried fruit? Excess sugar not only leads to the obvious: type II diabetes and weight gain, but is a host to so many other chronic culprits: comprised digestion, gum disease, osteoporosis, cancer… and the list continues. And while a treat from time to time wont hurt you, moderation seems to be tricky for most. So in between your favorite cake or weekend ice cream scoop, how about a delicious (and I dare say nutritious) dessert. I promise, its amazing.

Raw Lemon Pie

yum

yum

Crust:
½ cup macadamia nuts
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon coconut oil, softened
2 tablespoons raw honey

Its easy. Simply place all of the ingredients in a food processor and process until the dough comes together; about 2-3 minutes. Press tart dough into a pie pan and move onto the filling…

Lemon Filling:
1 cup Meyer lemon juice
2 cups cashews, soaked 6 hours, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup raw honey
3/4 cup coconut butter, softened
1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
2 teaspoons Meyer lemon zest

This part requires a bit more forethought (soaking the cashews ahead). But when that is finished, place all of the ingredients in a high speed blender (a food processor may work as well) and process until your lemon filling is smooth and silky. Place the filling in the tart shell and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight so the tart can set up. Easy. Delicious. Nutritious. Dessert.

Check out some other healthy desserts over at….

My New Roots: Almond Butter & Jam Sandwich Cookies

Edible Perspective: Peanut Butter Banana Soft Serve

Resources:

Murray, Michael T., Joseph E. Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York: Atria, 2005. Print.

A Year In Review

Looking back and reminiscing about the past year, I have so very much to be grateful for. Thank you 2012, its truly been perfect.

Yandara Yoga Teaching Training. AMAZING.

Ah, Mexico

Yandara.

Newport with the fam.

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Monday Dinners at the Farmers Market. Falafel! Indian! and sneaky wine.

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Teaching the Lovely Ladies at Catalina Summer Camp. They continue to teach me so much….

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Attempting our first garden…

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Eating copious amounts of greens…

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And baked goods….

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I finally visited KK le fou in Seattle…

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We brought home Izze! Our newest love bug.

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Got ENGAGED down in Big Sur to the best man I could ever ask for, my best friend, and the love of my life…

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Explored new parts of San Francisco, saw the Nutcracker!!!, ate well, and lounged…

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Spent wonderful time with the best parents & sister I could ask for….

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And the best in-laws I could ask for….

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Even tried on and found! the dress…. and these weren’t it (but they were close!)

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And I could really go and on. And I guess I already have. I’m so thankful for the happiness and love I have experienced in the last year. I just can’t believe it. So thank you again, 2012, and here we come 2013…. I can’t wait for all the wonders that await.

HAPPY NEW YEAR ALL! May you be filled with love, peace, and so much joy.

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We’re Getting Married??

About two years ago today, if you told me that I would be a future wife and stepmom, I would have called you one loco bird. Life continues to surprise me when I ease up on the reigns, letting the universe guide the way whilst trying enjoy the ride. But, wow, I would never have thought that I would be as lucky and as blessed as I am now. Things seem to keep coming together, the lessons seem to keep building on one another, and while of course there are still difficult times… I am really happy and honored to be able to live my life each day.

me and my boi

And sometimes you just need to stop and remind yourself of all the good things… so I guess I will use this as my rehearsal space for Thanksgiving Dinner. All that fills my heart with joy and that I am truly thankful for….

My amazing parents. They are the best people I know and have given me so much support, love, and encouragement. As my dad has always said… I won the womb lottery.

my hilariously kooky dad

Not only is she a saint… she’s hot stuff to boot

My future husband. He is the love of my life and I am so happy about it. Kind, gentle, funny, patient…. wickedly handsome! He is always there for me, even when I don’t ask for it. And he’s one heck of a cuddler. How did I get so lucky?

My family and family to be. My sister, my cousins, Ben’s parents, the kids!, and all of my family are truly great people. I am so proud that they are a part of my life. They are all great and loving people who make me very happy.

Greens & Good Food. Not everyone is so lucky to have great, nurturing food at their fingertips. I am that lucky, and for that I am thankful.

Inspiration. There are countless people out there who inspire me almost on a daily basis. Kris Carr, my teachers at Bauman College, all the folks at Happy Girl Kitchen, Julie Forrest, my yoga students… believe me I could go on. I am so grateful for those who are passionate about what they do and their lives and spreading that enthusiasm.

My Friends. I guess you could put them under the inspiration category and the family one too. I miss most of them from my daily life due to distance issues, but I love and cherish them all the more. I feel like I have the greatest friends… funny, intelligent, and they (for the most part) love tea! And I love them.

My Experiences. Costa Rica. New York. Paris. You guys really helped shape me. Thank you.

My doggie Izze. She is the sweetest.

Da CUTEST

And….cozy sweaters, hot tea, spices, good information, my yoga students, my yoga teachers, nature, beauty, a home, love in general, good wine, good dessert, good butter!, great ideas, imagination, guidance, wisdom, hail merry tarts, fresh baked goods, reindeer vests, winter squash, tropical locations, photos, organization, doctors, health, christmas movies (especially Home Alone 2)…. I could go on forever baby.

What are you thankful for?

Get Real.

I love being inspired. I love the way information, beauty, people, and various experiences make me feel alive and human. School was always more of a social event for me growing up. It was something necessary for the volleyball team to exist, for friends to interact daily, to be able to score the cafeteria cookies that were rarely allowed under my mom’s household supervision(with good reason I must say). But now, I have a new found love and excitement for school beyond the sneak attack sweets. I actually love and am interested in what I am learning. What a novel discovery.

real food.

Anywho, today we spent a fair amount of time talking about fat. And being someone who reads nutrition and health books for fun, I thought I had a good grasp on fat. Yeah, we need it. Yeah, its good for you. And all those things being true, I just had to share with you some of the great things that expanded my knowledge today… and for some reason, just plain excite me.

1. Eat traditional, whole foods. People have been eating for some time now. Look back to the ancestors for key clues on how to eat a healthful diet. Did they have GMOs and chemical pesticides to help grow their foods? NO. Buy organic. Could people turn whole milk into 1% without heavy machinery and heavy processes? NO. Eat whole fat whole foods. Fats are highly nutritive. Of course we shouldnt be eating them in huge quantities, something the Standard American Diet loves to tout, but high quality fats are wonderful for you. But there’s a catch. Butter isn’t just butter. Toxins are transported via fat molecules, so that low-grade poor quality butter (or worse MARGARINE)  you are buying at the supermarket just isn’t cutting it. Buy great butter (Kerrygold, Strauss are examples) quite whining about the price tag, and simply eat a bit less of it. Low grade butter is simply bad for your health and the environment, great quality butter can be highly nutritious. Great, I’m glad we figured that out.

2. High Quality, Organic Fats Aren’t the Problem. It’s so crazy that good and nutritive fats seem to get a lot of flack these days. Why don’t we look to the real problem foods. The stuffs people call foods, but aren’t even really foods. Packaged crap (excusez-moi) from pop tarts to oreos don’t even contain recognisable ingredients. If you couldn’t figure out how to make the ingredients in your kitchen, put it back on the shelf.  High fructose corn syrup. Natural Flavors (hello MSG). Dextrose? Yellow #6? What the hell has happened to us? And people blame butter for our problems? Unbelievable. The additives, colorings, excess sugars, and chemicals that go into our foods are major players in modern-day problems ranging from hormone imbalances to ADD in the kiddos to cancer. . Modern day problems…. modern-day foods? Our bodies weren’t designed to handle coke and cheetos. Wise up and eat real food.

3. Eat whole fats. High quality oils are great don’t get wrong. Especially olive, sesame, and coconut oils. YUM. But look to get the majority of your fat from whole foods. Enjoy avocados, nuts, seeds (so important!), wild salmon, cultured organic dairy, and olives just to name a few. Eating the whole food gives you the great fats, along with the fiber and multitude of vitamins, good bacteria, and minerals that come along with the whole stuff. Feed your brain, feed your body. You actually need these stuff to function properly.

I could go on and on. But I wont. I rather make soup. With real food.

I think Michael Pollen summed it up best:

Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

Thoughts?

On Cabbage.

Oh the wonderous crucifers! Brussels, kale, broccoli oh my. I’ve long been a fan. Amongst these lovelies you will also find the amazing cabbage to be a part of the cruciferous family. With a fresh and nutty flavor, brought out when it is cooked (sautéed, roasted, and braised are popular methods) it is amazingly tasty. Its versatility ranges from deliciously raw to cooked to fermented…hello saurcraut my friend. Maybe its my German heritage, but I highly doubt that I stand alone when it comes to raving about this crucifer. The nutrient profile seems endless…. high in vitamin C (goodbye winter cold). potassium, folic acid, vitamin B6, biotin (shiny hair!), calcium (beautiful bones), magnesium, and manganese. Even more impressive about this veggie is its high phytochemical content. Say what? High anti cancer compounds don’t seem to hurt these days. Its a low-calorie, high nutrient food and even is used to help treat people with ulcers. A true superfood.

Hanner’s Cabbage Salad

Thanks to my dear friend Hannah for this recipe inspiration. Simple and amazingly delicious.

1/2 head of red or green cabbage, shredded or finely chopped

1 whole avocado, cut into small pieces

4 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

sprouts, optional

sea salt and pepper to taste

Place all of your ingredients in a large salad bowl. Massage the ingredients together so the avocado breaks down a bit and the  cabbage softens. Let sit for a few minutes or refrigerate for a half hour. Serve and enjoy the deliciousness! (not to mention all those nutrients)

How do you enjoy cabbage?

Weekending In San Francisco

I love living in Monterey. Its mellow, beautiful, and frankly there isn’t too much to do socially. I love spending my time at the beach, uninterrupted, and not having to make excuses spending multiple nights at home, tea in hand. But there is a part of me that misses the hustle bustle from my old city life. It seems more glamorous somehow, even if it drove me to multiple points of craziness at times. The readily available amazing food and passionate people behind it are lingering around every corner. People watching is never a disappointment. (cheap entertainment is always a plus) Brunching. Great cafes. Walking. The window displays, the stores, the fashion…. really make me feel like a girl. I just love it. In small doses of course. We Marched our way through a bit of San Francisco last weekend, and here is what we were able to capture in between the tasty donuts or Jesus protesters outside of the strip club…

Chinatown Thumbs Up

Fortune Cookie Factory

nice little touches

gotta keep going

too cool

Just enjoying the lingering good feelings and some tea in my new SF handmade mug from my boi. love.

Where would you like to escape with your family?