Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Kitchari


Kitchari is a wonderful spring cleansing meal to make. Especially good on a cool spring day like today.

My main yoga teacher, Shiva Rea, often makes kitchari on a hotplate in her hotel rooms when she's traveling (which is often). She turned me on to the kitchari tradition, a soupy meal made from mung beans, basmati rice, and Indian spices. Kitchari, in the ayurvedic tradition, is eaten to improve your digestive fire and eliminate ama (toxins).

If you have a pressure cooker, I did a little experiment on Wednesday and it worked: I combined 1 cup whole dried mung beans, 1 cup basmati rice, and 6 cups filtered water in the pressure cooker. Sealed it, brought it up to high pressure (on high heat), then lowered the temp to keep the pressure up (around low-medium heat) and cooked for 10 mins. I released the pressure by running cold tap water over the top, opened the cooker, et voila, instant kitchari. I didn't add any spices - we just had it with a pat of butter on top. Delish.

Here's a kitchari recipe from Yoga Journal.

Combine some kitchari with a steady diet of hot yoga (which I practiced while my friend Elise was in town; hadn't done that in a while) and you'll be releasing toxins left and right!

I did a teacher training with Shiva back in January 2004 in Venice, CA. She took us out to her house in Malibu and we spent some time on her deck with an incredible view out over the ocean. Gosh that was fun. She's doing a 'pranafication' retreat for past teachers this summer ... a week long. I'm tempted.

Spring renewal (in a few areas)




My personal spring renewal plan (a work in progress):

Skin:
Improved my skincare routine after a trip to Pharmaca. My revamped program is this:
(Oh, and let me just preface this by saying that this isn't an inexpensive routine. But really, isn't my skin worth it? That's my justification to Ross any way...)

Before bed:
1. Jurlique creamy balancing cleanser
2. witch hazel astringent (plain 'ol witch hazel, any brand)
3. couple drops of Jurlique Herbal Recovery Gel*
*the skin specialists at Jurlique don't recommend moisturizing at night before bed. I know, sounds crazy, but the aesthetician at Pharmaca said it's because at night, our skin is trying to repair and rebuild, and the heavy moisturizers can get in the way of that. The Herbal Recovery Gel 'feeds' the skin, so to speak, with lots of amazing botanicals.

In the morning:
1. Wash face with warm water
2. Jurlique moisturizer
3. Jane Iredale loose powder (SPF 20)
4. Spritz Jane Iredale hydration mist to set the minerals (I love this new way to protect my skin! For hikes or lots of exposure to the sun, I use Jurlique's SPF.)
*visit here for more info on Jane Iredale's mineral cosmetics.

Nutrition:
1. More beans and whole grains made in pressure cooker
2. Plan meals out ahead of time; get grains or beans soaking in the a.m. at breakfast for that night's meal
3. Plan on last night's leftovers for lunch
4. Continue with mulitvitamins and omega 3 oil (fish oil) capsules

Exercise:
1. Do something every day.
2. Mix it up: One long run a week, one ride a week, one zumba class a week, and yoga sprinkled in

Spirituality:
1. Mini meditation right when I get to my desk (even just 2 minutes)
2. Journal once a week (used to be every day ... I'm not going to push my luck now...)

Work:
1. Set watch timer to remind to stretch every hour

I'll continue to add to this list...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

open the door to compassion



Next weekend I'm teaching a mother's day yoga workshop (on Saturday). The inspiration for the workshop is from a 'mommy mantra' I read in a book I have of the same name. The mantra is open the door to compassion.

From Myla Kabat-Zinn, in Everyday Blessings:
When a child, no matter how old, feels our acceptance, when he feels our love, not just for his easy-to-live-with, loveable, attractive self, but also for his difficult, repulsive, exasperating self, it feeds him and frees him to become more balanced and whole. That is compassion in action. (But she’s not saying we put up with unacceptable behaviour.) We just might need to be mindful of what might be going on from our child’s point of view, and factor compassion into our response, rather than react automatically and unthinkingly.

Here's a thought on showing compassion towards ourselves as mothers, from Buddhism for Mothers, by Australian author Sarah Napthali:

In practicing compassion we speak kindly to ourselves and notice whether our inner voices are supportive and friendly or judgmental and demanding. We are patient when we falter, for parenting makes amateurs of us all as we confront its never-ending new stages. It helps to cultivate self-awareness, not guilt.

This whole compassion mantra is starting to play more of a role for me now that Mirelle is acting more assertive and entering tantrum land. (Or at least what I think are tantrums...)


screaming/crying as she tries to get to her pacifier, which lives in the crib...

Oh, and one more thing about mother's day: visit this site to donate money in your mother's name to help war victims. (The founder of Mother's Day, Julia Ward Howe, created the holiday with the intention of women uniting for peace.)

Durango clients

Recent work I've done for my Durango clientele...

Logo for The Sol Center


Yoga schedule for instructor and friend Elise Fabricant


Recycled logo for lobotome


Gallery Walk night postcard for There's No Place Like Home, an eclectic shop on Main Street


High Water logo for a fundraising event for the Discovery Museum at the Powerhouse

Thursday, April 24, 2008

music together



Sorry for the lack of posts this week. I'm a bit behind with work, and after being away last weekend, am still playing catch-up. Tomorrow morning is Mirelle's Music Together class. Gosh is it fun. I think I have as much fun watching her dance around as she's having dancing. (Mirelle's dancing moves consist of lots of knee bending and clapping.) I'm so glad my friend, fellow mama (and my Durango chiropractor) Mimi introduced Music Together to us with her little gal Sophia.

I've been reading the little book they send home on the first day of music class, and it's fascinating to me the impact early music education can have on children. More the reason to break out the instruments at home and make music, together!

Here's an easy tambourine idea: take two paper plates, fill them with beans, staple around the edges (I sealed the staples with packing tape), et voila! Perfect for scribbling with crayon, glitter, etc, and then ready for play.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Catching up with old friends

I've been gone from my blog for a few days: my friend Elise was in town (visiting from Durango); then we drove to Glenwood to my parent's house and visited with our friends Paul and Stacie (in Basalt, visiting their family), spent Sunday morning with them and saw a lot of old friends (including all of the words pictures colours graphic design crew: Kelly, Margaret, and Kimi) at a little neighborhood Easter egg hunt. (There was 3 feet of snow on the ground at Easter, so they had to postpone the hunt...) A fun unexpected reunion with old friends and co-workers. Ross and I had a really nice long run along the new trail that's now connecting Glenwood Springs to Aspen (created on the old railbed); we'll head home this evening. We also viewed the nearly 1000 pictures from my parents' trip to Australia, Japan and China (they just got back about 10 days ago.) Lots of catching up to do.





Happy earth day, happy spring! It's just starting to green up over here on the Western Slope of Colorado ... but I know back in the Denver area the blossoms and buds on the trees are starting to appear. I love this time of year! We look a walk with my dad yesterday (Ross, Mirelle and I), and it was so nice to smell wet grass, see the daffodils blooming near neighbor's mailboxes, and just breathe in the scent of the world awakening from its winter snooze. This pic of Mirelle is one of my favorites from this time last year, taken in Durango.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Ready for spring cleaning?



A few years back I made some of my own cleaning products with essential oil 'teas,' borax and vinegar. (I got inspired after deciding to make them for my friends Kathryn and Gardy's housewarming gift - made labels for the bottles I gave them - shown above.)

I'm still using the countertop cleanser and window cleaner I kept for myself. I also made a bath scrub with baking soda, lavender essential oil, and lemon balm leaves (my only complaint with that was that the lavender and lemon balm pieces were sorta a mess in the tub after it was all said and done - I would really grind them up next time before adding them). After I'd made the cleaners, then I bought a little metal wire basket, put the spray bottles and scrub in there with a blooming gerber daisy plant, et voila! These days I don't quite have the free time of days of old, but these are the recipes I used. I think I probably doubled these recipes to make extras for myself:

mirror and glass cleaner
1/2 c. white vinegar, 1/2 c. rosemary tea (made with 1 c boiling water and 4 T dried or fresh rosemary leaves), 6 drops rosemary essential oil. Mix together and pour into spray bottle.

disinfecting spray for walls, floors and surfaces
1 c mint tea, 1 c lavender tea, 1 teaspoon borax, 2 tablespoons white vinegar, 1 tablespoon unscented shampoo, 4 drops lavender, mint, or rosemary essential oil, or any combo of those. Mix together and pour into spray bottle. Shake before using.

tub, tile, sink and stove-top scrub
1 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup dried and crushed lemon balm leaves, 1/4 c dried and crushed lavender leaves, 1 teaspoon cream of tarter, 5 drops lavender essential oil. Mix together and store in shaker can. To use, sprinkle on surface. Use a wet sponge to scrub, then rinse.




Oh, and here's a little treat. Helps to make the task of cleaning that much more pleasant. A free countertop cleanser with the purchase of a Cloverleaf Sink Set from Caldrea. Enter code at checkout: SINK415. Thanks for the tip, Jace. Not only are Caldrea's products delightful, they're also very well designed. Always a plus.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sippy cup debate



With all of the buzz about bisphenol A (BPA) (found in many plastics), it's good to know there are some alternatives on the market when it comes to children's sippy cups. I've been a wary plastic user for many years (ditched my old nalgene three years ago for a SIGG), so I was glad to find this stainless steel sippy cup from Thermos. It's the foogo. It's really good at keeping liquids cold, too - up to 6 hours, they claim, which is good when you're taking the cup out and about with milk. I'm really happy with the thing - it's just a bit heavier than the standard plastic sippy cup, and it's recommended that you hand wash it.

Gen Green.org




A cool new website my friend Mel mentioned to me: GenGreen is all about sustainable living with an emphasis on the local. You pick your state, then choose from a menu of businesses, events, transportation options, jobs, recycling centers - the gamut. A really great resource, especially with all of the Earth Day events coming up. (I clicked on 'events' under the Colorado listings and found out about an Environmental Film Festival in Fort Collins and EarthDay 08 at Centerra with a focus on local stuff (suprising considering it's a big box strip mall in Northern Colorado).

The site also list local Farmer's Markets (an important piece of info this time of year), as well as green tips and a green dictionary. I like this word/definition:

Cradle to cradle - The application of environmentally safe materials in the production of goods. Also, implementing strategies for material reutilization, including, but not limited to, recycling and composting, the efficient use of water and energy and the use of clean, renewable energy. And lastly, practicing social responsibility. This process traces the production of one product through its life cycle and plans for its reuse as a product in a new form.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Brekkie at our house





Still life with brekkie

Our breakfast this morning made such a nice little still-life that I thought I'd take a quick snap and let you in on a typical brekkie at our house. I think 'what do you eat for breakfast' is sort of an intimate question ... breakfasts are so personal and I think most people have a pretty standard fare that they stick to. My friend Alice, for instance, is a yogurt and homemade granola kinda gal. Her husband is a raisin bran and diet dr pepper kinda guy. My mom has a buttered toast and tea ritual. My dad prefers oatmeal, or toast with lots and lots of jam.

My typical weekday breakfast? (Mind you, weekend breakfasts can be quite different.) Pretty much just a variation of what you see here. Lemon yerba mate tea with honey and milk, maybe some yogurt (today it was lemon brown cow), perhaps with grape nuts or granola, and/or some raisin pecan bread with butter and creamed honey from Colorado's western slope. And some grapefruit. That's Mirelle's menu too (sans tea) and plus an egg.



Breakfast is a favorite meal around here.

Monday, April 14, 2008

New Belgium Brewery






We visited the wind-powered, ├╝ber-hip New Belgium brewery this weekend in Fort Collins with our neighbors/pals John and Alice. (Quite a feat with a 19-month-old in tow!) If you haven't visited their new website it's a must. My friend Mel, who I met at Sterling Rice Group (I freelanced with SRG on the Yogi Tea package redesign two summers ago - more on that later), is now creative directress extraordinaire at NB, and they're turning out some beautifully-designed stuff, as usual. And their beer is pretty well designed, too.

While we were sampling some fabulous brews, we remarked on the word 'folly' from their tagline Follow your folly. Ours is beer. Here are the top three meanings of folly from Websters online:
1: lack of good sense or normal prudence and foresight
2 criminally or tragically foolish actions or conduct
3: a foolish act or idea
Hmm... so what is my folly? Traveling the world writing about colorful and foreign things might be one. This might warrant some more thought. What's yours?



We checked out all things beer, including this cool shrine. I'm a fan of shrines ... I'm remembering a book I saw once on creating your own shrine at home. More on that to come in a separate post.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Coral Camellia



Saw this post on Coral Camellia (fabulous childrens wear) on design mom today, and the designer is from lil ol' Palisade on the Western Slope of Colorado (not far from where I grew up, in Glenwood Springs). I'm dreaming of Mirelle in this coat, but my bank account isn't.



This little outfit is so darn cute, too. Everything on her site is. Gosh she has some cute stuff.

If anything, some inspiration for those aspiring sewers out there ... in all your free time, right?

Handmade paper



Back in the pre-child, pre-real-world days (aka college), I actually had time to make paper with scraps of paper, newsprint, junk mail ... whatever I could scrounge up. Once Mirelle is a little older, though, it'd be fun to break out the screen and do it again (it really is a lot of fun.) My sister sent me this link to make paper out of junk mail - looks like a good one. When I do make paper again, I'll post my process.


The paper at top has less texture and was therefore better for drawing/writing. In these papers above (also made many moons ago), I added in some torn leaves, rose petals (probably from an old boyfriend!), and other textural elements. I like the way the rose petals bled a little into the paper. Handmade papers could also add some cool texture to scrapbooking/journal pages.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Lovely journals from New Growth Design Studio



My dear friend and fellow designer Kelly gave me this beautiful handmade journal/notebook at the holidays ... I'm still trying to decide what special thing to use it for. Each notebook is hand silkscreened by Sara Blette in her studio in Boulder. I discovered Sara's other journals on her website, and am particularly interested in this garden notebook, especially for my friend Mary in Fort Collins who is gardeness extraordinaire!



Time to start thinking about that muddy plot of earth in our backyard and be inspired by all things green and blooming! Even if you don't have space for a garden, is there a little area where you can plant a few things this Spring?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Support emagineGreen!



I haven't posted yet about emagineGreen(tm), a company I've been working with since last fall. They are a women-run, direct sales company that provides environmental education and products designed to prompt behavior change (their market being women, who in America spend $1.7 trillion/year on household products such as paper napkins, garbage bags, and disposable water bottles.) I will have more posts on them in the upcoming weeks, but for now, they need your help! emagineGreen is a finalist for a backstage pass to meet Jon Bon Jovi and tell him about emagineGreen in person!

Please visit this website and VOTE for Tonya Ensign's entry (emagineGreen founder). You can see the results of the vote after you make your selection. It takes less than 2 minutes! PLEASE VOTE once per day until Friday, April 11th when the winner is announced!

Manic Monday

Well, not really, but it does just feel like a Monday. And waking up to snow kinda makes it harder to motivate at the start of the week! We had a really nice weekend. Ross's parents are in town so Mirelle got some good QT with grammy and grandad. I took her to the first class in her Music Together session on Friday, and she loves it.



I've also been meaning to get her dialed in with some nutritional supplements, especially after a talk I went to with Dr. Roy Steinbock of Mindful Pediatrics in Boulder. He's an MD, but incorporates a lot of holistic medicine into his practice. Mirelle and I took a trip to Pharmaca (really helpful natural pharmacy in Boulder) and I bought her some Nordic Naturals fish oil (DHA) that tastes like strawberries. She's also taking a multi-vitamin that tastes like mango. And a probiotic (FOS/Acodophilus powder). Probiotics are really good for everyone, and 'absolutely essential for good health' says Dr. Roy.

I also spent some time preparing for a mothers' yoga workshop I'm teaching in May. More on that soon.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Archer




A font I'm dreaming of ... Archer, the colorful slab serif.

Sweet but not saccharine, earnest but not grave, Archer is designed to hit just the right notes of forthrightness, credibility, and charm. Available here.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Falafel and pita and baba ghanoush oh my



We had a fabulous feast last night - and discovered aside from all of the raw garlic in the yogurt and tahini dressings (well, and in the baba ghanoush), falafel and pita is a really good, fun kid food. We made standard garbanzo bean falafel and a parsnip falafel (coated in sesame seeds). Different ... good, but we like the original falafel the best. Mirelle was happy with either.

(The flowers are courtesy Mary and John from my b-day last week ... thanks guys!)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Greens, glorious greens



The best way I've found to get my 18-month-old to eat greens is this: steam them, chop them up really small (no tough spines), and serve them with a peanutty-coconutty, yummy sauce (alongside brown rice and some baked tofu or tempeh). Here's my favorite peanut sauce recipe ever (not to peanutty, not too salty, just mild and delicious). If your little one is allergic to peanuts, try substituting cashew butter or almond butter. (You can save $ by skipping the jarred cashew butter and just grinding raw cashew pieces up with a little water in your blender.)

Sate Sauce (from 1000 Vegetarian Recipes, by Carol Gelles - a really good vege cookbook)

In a 1-qt saucepan, heat 2 teaspoons oil over med-high heat. Add 2 cloves minced garlic, cook 10 seconds, stirring until softened. Add 2 teaspoons curry powder, cook, stirring, until absorbed. Stir in 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk, 1/4 cup peanut butter, 2 tablespoons brown sugar (or other sweetener, like honey or agave), and 1 tablespoon tamari (or soy sauce). Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes.

And for more info on greens, Whole Foods has a nice little review. (Lovely rainbow swiss chard shown above.)

P.S. My favorite greens of all are beet greens (from the tops of beets) - mild, tender, and delicate, just with a little olive oil and garlic sauteed in the pan. Especially good when they're straight from the garden!

One more P.S. that I'm adding after talking to my friend Andi, who's making baby food for her little Sophia: the best way I was able to get Mirelle to eat greens as a wee babe was to puree the cooked greens up with some soft cooked fruit - ie pears or plums. The greens end up being brown, but really sweet, and you can feed them to your little one in place of a fruit. Sneaky mama...

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Yoga Mama




Great article from Yoga Journal that I read to my mama/baby yoga class about a mother 'living' her yoga.

A mother explains how parenthood has become a part of her practice.
By Janet Stone

Reaching down to pick up the mashed banana from the brand-new carpet, I inhale and plant my feet firmly into the "earth," feeling the four corners of my feet and the brilliant energy coming up my legs. That energy connects with my sacrum as I radiate my heart toward my shins and feel lengthening in my back body.

Then I notice that the oat milk my three-year-old, India, was drinking also landed on the carpet. A wail from the other room pierces my ears as Lilianna, my 11-week-old, attempts to ward off her sister's attacks. I lengthen through the back of my neck, engage my abdominal wall, press down through my feet, and stand tall. I sprint to the next room, where I find said larger child lying atop said newborn. My spine extended, Uddiyana and Mula Bandhas engaged, I lift India off her sister, while my shoulder blades move down my back and my jaw relaxes.

Things settle down, and we move on to muffin baking. Toes brighten as they reach to pick up a fallen tray while one leg feels the inner spiral, and the left hand extends through the fingers to stop the oil from overflowing the measuring cup. I practice pranayama to drown out the loud expressions (called whining) made by my baking partner while balancing the itty-bitty baker on my left shoulder.

I once had a daily two-hour practice. Now I practice from the moment my eyes open until they close. Sacred texts teach nonattachment, noncoveting, uniting opposites. Could there be a better teacher than children? Even if I slipped away to the Himalayas with an enlightened guru, I might not receive such constant opportunities to live my yoga.