Sunday, November 25, 2012

city escape

Snow falling quietly on a New Hampshire mountain top.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

seek & find

"Your task is not to seek for love,  but merely to seek and find 
all the barriers within yourself that you have built." 

~ Rumi

Thursday, June 21, 2012

bliss food: strawberry almond coconut smoothie

We went strawberry picking at a local u-pick farm. By some miracle a few of these sparkling red strawberries made it into my basket and not directly into my mouth. They're just so good right from the source, juicy and sunny and warm. They aren't nearly a big as those California strawberries available in the supermarket year round, but I can wait until June in New England for these earthy little red-dressed wonders.

I've been adding them to breakfast cereals and yogurt, cooking up batches of freezer jam, and blending them in smoothies.

Here's this summer's favorite strawberry smoothie.

Strawberry Almond Coconut Smoothie

1 cup strawberries
2 roughly chopped dates
a small handful soaked almonds (soaked in water at least 1 hour)
1/2 inch grated ginger
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Sip through a straw. Preferably in the sunshine. Makes one serving.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Here's a little inspiration for your week courtesy of Pinterest.

Source: via Cara on Pinterest

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

sweet dreams

Sleep. I need some.

I've been teaching early morning yoga class all week, which means my own yoga practice gets bumped up an hour, to 5 AM. Wouldn't it be nice if I could align my bedtime with my change in morning schedule?

There's little separation between my work life and my personal life which means that sometimes I have trouble winding down in the evening.

These are a few things I do which help me feel more restful in the evening:

no caffeine after 2pm, no computer/ipad/cellphone after 8pm

a few gentle, restorative yoga poses, like supta baddha konasana or viparita karani

a mug of warm milk with a pinch of cardamom and a dash of maple syrup

rubbing coconut oil into the soles of my feet, and then pulling on a thick pair of cotton socks

steaming up the bathroom, with a warm shower or bath

calming scents like rosewater or lavender essential oil (put a few drops under your pillow!)

a cup of chamomile tea

If I start preparing myself ahead of time, I find I have less trouble falling asleep at night. It still happens, I stay up to late, I check my email on my phone in the bedroom, I'm all wound up. But usually I know why I'm having trouble, and I try to take better care of myself the next evening.

I'd love to hear your tips for getting a good night's sleep. Let's put our heads together and make space for rest and sleeping.

P.S. that dreamy photo is not of me, its of Christie, a health coach I photographed last week. I loved her pink eye mask. I should at that to my list!

Friday, June 8, 2012

bliss food: blueberry coconut chia pudding

I practice yoga early in the morning each day (before breakfast) and sometime I stay in the city for work or meetings afterwards.

There aren't a lot of healthy and quick breakfast options out there (but there are a lot of DDs!) so I try to pack my own breakfast whenever I have the time to prepare for it.

This healthy chia seed pudding recipe is easy to make the night before a big day. Just mix up all the ingredients right in the jar, and its ready to hit the road with you the next day.

I don't really know a ton about the actual health benefits of chia seeds (I hear that there are many). I just know that when I eat them, I feel good! Find them at your natural foods store, in the supplements aisle.

Blueberry Coconut Chia Seed Pudding

In a small, clean jelly jar, layer the following ingredients in these approximate proportions:

2 parts rolled oats
1 part shredded coconut
1 or 2 heaping tablespoons chia seeds
2 parts blueberries (fresh or frozen)
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of cardamom

Leave about one inch of space at the top of your jar. It should look similar to the picture on the left.

Now fill with unsweetened rice or almond milk, nearly to the top, seal with the lid, and shake, shake, shake!

When the ingredients look well distributed, let sit on the counter at room temperature for 5 minutes, then keep it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.

Great as a snack or grab a spoon and pack it in your bag for your morning commute.

Frozen blueberries give this one its pretty purple color. Use fresh blueberries if they are in season!

Friday, May 25, 2012


I took some time last week to visit with family and friends in Iowa. This is where I grew up, this is the landscape that shaped me in so many ways.

The sky, the land, the dewy smell of it all.

Fresh asparagus from the backyard garden, dining al fresco with friends and family, sheet cake (yes, even!), and my sister's pecan and chocolate chip cookies.

Listening to my mother and my sister play the piano together.

Watching clouds pass and things grow all around me.

Monday, April 30, 2012

bliss food: three recipes that make me feel good

Here are several recipes from Kitchen Table Friends this past week. I've been cooking with a lot of barley in the kitchen. Its a grain that makes me feel great.

 I satisfy my sweet tooth with these sugar free, dairy free, vegan and still delicious

Friday, April 27, 2012

every practice, every day

I have reminded myself this week to enjoy my yoga practice. What can sometimes feel like an early morning obligation never really is. Its all in how I approach it. Am I arriving with an openness to whatever comes my way? Or have I already resigned myself to failure and dismay?

This  morning before our led Primary Series we made a mantra to Ganesh.

I am reminded of these words from my trip to India: Every practice should be blissful practice.

And so I am using this to set the tone for my practice, and hoping it pours over into the rest of my day. 

om gam ganapataye namaha

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

found bliss: once I went to Italy

A friend sent me a text over Italian food reminding me that some 7 years ago we took a trip to Florence, Italy.

I had nearly forgotten. Funny what a little cannelloni and mobile messaging can do.

I dug out an old shoebox of photographs from the corner, and found this.

Grey skies, far off places, and a cheap film camera. Proof that I was there. 

This photo doesn't say much on its own, but for me it opened an old file drawer of memories.

Monday, April 23, 2012

lilac monday

Lilacs might be my favorite. (Or geraniums are my favorite, I never can decide!)

They are characteristic of a turning point in spring; once these bloom we are well on our way towards May, mother's day, and blissful blossoms everywhere.

Its the smell that really gets me. The scent reminds me of growing up on the farm, riding the school bus with a fresh cut lilac bouquet wrapped in wet paper towels for my 1st grade teacher, and later on of the spring I fell in love with the man who would eventually be my husband. And just the smell of spring and growing and warmth and soil and new things all around.

On this rainy spring afternoon I am thankful to have these lilacs filling my living space with their floral reminders of past times, even as I look forward to the spring to come.

Was that too dear? These are what I really wanted to share with you (maybe you have your own memories):

Friday, April 20, 2012

six spring cleanse tips

I'm wrapping up my spring cleanse this week. I journaled, I walked more, I did yoga, I ate good food, and I took extra time for self-care. As well as working and doing laundry and all those other things that have to do with living.

My cleanse is a special time for me to focus attention on myself and my habits. Now I've never done a juice fast or a super cleanse. Once I tried an apple fast and only ate apples for 2 days and that was a terrible idea! These days I cleanse seasonally according to Ayurveda, which for me is always an enriching and grounding experience, full of delicious, seasonal meals. I'm able to reset and reconnect to the way good nutrition serves my body and my mind. I won't go into all the details of how a cleanse like this works, I have an Ayurvedic teacher who guides me through the whole process!

I have had a few readers write to me and ask if I have any tips for taking a little spring detox for themselves. I do, actually! I'd like to share 6 spring detox tips which have helped me, things which are good for anyone to try out for a few days or a week. Or longer if you really want to make a change to your lifestyle.

These things have made a noticeable difference in my life; from the way my body functions, to the workings of my mind, and in how I manage my energy levels throughout the day. It even follows through to my relationships and interactions with others. I'm not a doctor or a health expert. This is all based on my own experiential knowledge. Every body's different!

Six Spring Cleanse Tips

1. Start your day with lemon and warm water.

Make this the first thing you drink in the morning, instead of coffee! It serves as a natural detox for the liver, and will help you digest your food better throughout the day.

You can also add a little honey to your mug of warm water and lemon, especially if you are feeling congested from the spring weather.

2. Cut out the wheat from your diet.

This means no flour, bread, pasta, all those things we eat a lot of to fill up, and often make us feel bloated and gross.

Eat whole grains instead! Barley, millet and quinoa make great grain choices for spring. Quinoa makes a great breakfast food. Mix up a barley and vegetable salad with fresh herbs and olive oil.

Other common allergens you can experiment with omitting from your diet are soy and dairy.

3. Give up refined sugar.

Its taxing on the system in so many ways. Use honey as your only sweetener for a few days. Or try maple syrup.

If you have a sweet tooth like mine and the thought of giving up sugar seems impossible, just try it for one day. Then maybe two or three. Its good to give the body a break from processing refined sugar. And it will still be there waiting for you. If you still want it!

I love sweet things, but I try to make refined sugar a special occasion, not a daily affair.

4. Swap your coffeepot for a teapot. 

Cut out the caffeine! Okay okay, this may be a serious undertaking for some folks. You could try black tea. Or step it down to green tea. Only two cups. Or one. Eventually the goal is a nice cup of caffeine free herbal tea.

I do love the whole experience of drinking a cup of coffee, the aroma, the foamy milk, the whole culture around coffee drinking. But switching it up helps me to re-examine how caffeine effects my mind and my body.

When I do have a cup of Joe again, I can enjoy the effects without them running the show for me.

5. Stock up on apples! 

As well as lots of seasonal vegetables like asparagus, beets, kale, mustard greens, radishes and peas. Apples and beets are excellent foods to support cleansing, and moving over to a more vegetable based diet is beneficial in so many ways.

Eat lots of fruit. Fill your plate with steamed veggies, throw in some whole grains, natural organic oils and herbs and spices and you'll add some spring to your step in no time!

This is also an opportunity to go meatless for awhile. You don't have to become vegetarian, just try it for a few days.

6.  Stick to a schedule. 

Eat three meals a day at regular intervals, allowing about four hours between each meal for digesting.

Make lunch the biggest meal of the day. Try not to snack. Have a pick-me-up cup of herbal ginger tea instead. If you do snack take a moment to ask yourself why. Are you hungry? Or are you bored or stressed out?

Sitting down to eat a full meal 3 times a day will help to make snacking unnecessary. And the break between meals will give your digestion time to keep up with the work it has to do everyday!


Try one, or two, or all of these things and have your own mini-cleanse for springtime and let me know how it goes!

Remember to be reasonable with yourself, incorporating these changes into your daily life as it currently is is the best way to make a lasting shift in your habits and health.  I still love a good snack, sometimes a sugary one, with a cup of coffee. Though now I know it is just an option, not a way of life.

To give credit where credit is due, everything I've ever learned about cleansing came from my Ayurvedic teacher, Kate O'Donnell. She does one-on-one consulting for seasonal cleansing and other Ayurvedic treatments. If you'd like to read more about Ayurvedic cleansing here's a great article about Fall detox from Yoga Journal.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

pink hyacinth

Remember the creature from middle earth, the mystery spring bulb peeping up from my front yard a few weeks ago?

Turns out, its a sweet smelling pink hyacinth.

Say hello.

Monday, April 16, 2012

the sea

Last week I made a list of habits which inspire me (yes, some habits can be good). One of those habits is walking. So over the weekend, my husband and I took a long walk at Singing Beach.

Living in the city, absorbed in my life and routines, its easy to forget that we live in a city on the coast. So with intention we set out for the North shore on Saturday morning.

Something about seamless horizons and ever constant ocean tides makes me let go of all the little dramas of daily life. And walking the length of a beach and back again draws an effortless union of mind, body and landscape, thoughts entering the same ebb and flow as the tide.