November 30, 2010

tis a gift to be simple

Downshifting is a social behavior in which individuals live simpler lives to escape from the rat race of obsessive materialism. It is the new-age simple living, (a lifestyle characterized by consuming only that which is required to sustain life.) Downshifting is taking root as a natural reaction to consumerism and conspicuous consumption. Find one small way to downshift today. The simplicity is voluntary and gradual. Bigger is no longer better, small is beautiful.

Mini Morning-After Cranberry Sauce Muffins
2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup whole grain flour ~I used cornmeal, almost used graham cracker crumbs.
2/3 cup oats
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 dash of salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup milk or milk-substitute
1/4 cup oil ~I had orange infused. mmm.
1 egg or egg substitute ~Please buy pastured eggs from a trusty small farm!
1 cup cranberry sauce

1) Preheat oven to 400F and grease mini-muffin tin. Or any size.
2) Mix dry ingredients down to salt.
3) Mix sugar and remaining ingredients.
4) Combine dry and wet ingredients until fully incorporated, no over-mixing.
5) divide into muffin tin, filling 3/4 full.
6) Bake about 12 minutes for minis, 20 minutes for regular, until just browning and springs back to touch.

I have literally been sustaining myself on a left-over pumpkin pie I was so generously sent home with last thursday night, so this is a nice change of pace. And, I'm running out of pie. I made these today for the first time and really enjoyed their versatility. They were great with a little carrot ginger soup. And what better way to use a whole cup of left-over cranberry sauce, if not more. Multiply as necessary! This recipe, gathered from, was concocted by chef Michael Harr, of Butterfield 9, for those of us who have run out of stuffing to slather the scarlet red sauce on. 

November 28, 2010

ignorance knows no bliss

Lululemon wee stripe grey separates have become my new uniform.

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated," ~Mahatma Gandhi. What if we judged our own personal greatness and moral progress on the same criteria? As the Holidays fast approach and life starts moving at lightening speed, it's easy to let the twinkly lights distract us and forget the fundamentals. Here's a refresher:

'Meet Your Meat': "People for the ethical treatment of animals"

Yes, the going will get tough. I find it easier to maintain my weight when I incorporate chicken into my diet, nothing keeps me snuggly in winter like a fur, and Louboutins are leather soled. Big bummer, yes. But major sacrifices in the bigger picture? No. I, myself, am still known to sport a leather bomber jacket. It's ok to be a work in progress. But it is important to educate yourself on the repercussions of your actions. Know what it is that you are wearing and eating. It isn't cute to be oblivious. It's just ignorant. When I get off track I watch videos such as this one and repeat to myself the basic truth:

"Animals are not ours to eat,
animals are not our to wear,
animals are not ours to experiment on,
animals are not ours to use for entertainment,
animals are not ours to abuse in any way."

People are more violently opposed to fur than leather beacuse it's safer to harrass rich women than motorcycle gangs. ~Author Unkown.

You are the world. If you change the world changes 
I am not a fan
See how my attempted veganism is an ever-evolving process...

November 27, 2010

the body is mutable

Casual-cute for the law school crowd on Saturday. Drawn on a legal pad.
Sipping Jack and Coke, hold the Jack.

"In general, there seems to be a grand canyon-sized disparity between how we want to be, how we think we should be, and what we are. And contained in this deep valley separating what we are and what we want to be is obsessive, intense, and senseless worry about body shape and size."

"In our culture, we are bombarded by messages reinforcing the current trend in body shape and size. And that’s all it is: a trend that has turned into a huge fear of fat."

What you fear will appear. What you resist will persist.

"Contrary to the trend, yoga is not about, and has never been about, becoming a supermodel or a gymnast. Physical yoga is simply a means of perfecting the body and its functions to get it out of the way. The body is changeable. Yogis have known this for thousands of years."

"Begin thinking and feeling for yourself. How does your body feel? Decide for yourself how you want to improve your experience of yourself. Don’t worry about your audience or your critics. If you feel good, anyone who sees you will be drown to you, no matter what your shape and size."

all of the "above" Steve Ross, Happy Yoga. CLICK!

Don't buy into the Hype

Sipping Champagne pre-stuffing and pie.
Is it true the better the alcohol quality, the lesser the hangover?
I drank far more Veuve Clicquot than usual with no repercussions...

I had no idea the extent to which this Black Friday phenomena has taken off. My limited news feed comprises of what my husband divulges to me from his many sources on any given day, as I am not one to turn on Fox or surf the Yahoo home page. Quite frankly, after watching, listening or reading the alleged news I feel pretty nervous and anxious. But that's a whole other post. A whole other blog, even. What shocked the h*ll out of me was the numbers of people running out the day after Thanksgiving to take part in the so-called sale of a lifetime. I witnessed some of the madness on my way to a movie. Are the deals really that great? I feel like every day that I am out shopping or online hunting I find amazing value for high quality products on my own time. This weekend, they must be giving the stuff away! Either that, or, as I suspect, we are all being a little bit duped.

Do we not know how to, or, even worse, don't want to, think for ourselves anymore?

Can this really be worth the savings?
And why do we want this particular product in the first place?
Do we even want it?

November 24, 2010

how to start an import/export business

Thanksgiving shopping in an Aiko dress over a grey shirt

While shopping in Chicago with an old friend and proclaiming it my new go-to City for my once a year spree, (replacing NYC,) she sighed with the words, "Paris, New York, here, it doesn't really matter anymore, everywhere they have have the same stuff." With the world growing smaller and smaller, it's hard to find something special to send to friends and family that isn't already being imported in on a mass scale. There was a time in my family when Nutella was only enjoyed overseas, when german gingerbread, lebkuchen, had to be shipped in from loved ones in decorative tins , and when my mother, to the custom officers dismay, brought home heaps of Herbs de Provence for the Cleveland Ballet's Christmas market. "You say these bags are filled with herb, ma'am?!"

BUT when a package filled with Cleveland's own Great Lakes Brewing Company Christmas Ale arrived at my beach villa all the way out in Southern California, I knew I was wrong. There are still things that you can't get everywhere. That cannot be ordered online. That are limited to a time and place. It is still a special and fortunate thing to have thoughtful friends who know your tastes and passions scattered across the globe thinking of you. You are extra lucky if they are willing to deal with their postal service and partake in the old fashioned form of importing and exporting. The best way to get these friends, is to be one of them yourself. Anytime you think "x would love y" ACT upon that impetus. Thinking about something is not the same as actually doing it. This also holds true for being thankful. Always say or pen, don't just think, your thanks.... THANK YOU!!!
Happy Thanksgiving

November 23, 2010

match made in edible heaven

Satori top and couture active wear pants for a casual hike,
feeling the dark colors and simple looks as winter seeps in.

Food combining, though no fun if practiced permanently and absolutely*, is great on occasion to sooth chronic, mild stomach ails. Food combining for breakfast can prolong the detoxing that begins in your sleep, keep going through lunch and you'll likely experience increased energy and, good news, the best meal to slip up on is dinner because your system has all night to clean up the mess you've made.

Suzanne Somers swears by food combining and says she learned about the principal when dining with friends in France, who warned her not to eat the cherries off the tree she found on a post-dinner promenade. Fruit with other food and especially after a big meal is a food combining no-no, as it is quick to digest and will ferment while sitting on top of fare that is slower to move through the stomach.

Don't get all crazy like "Is hummus a starch or protein? Can I have a larabar after this meal? Is avocado allowed in this salad?" If your diet includes hummus, larabars, and avocados (and cherries) you have nothing to worry about! That being said, getting a well-combined protein style In-N-Out Burger is not likely to improve your health.

*Nearly every classic dish mis-combines in some way: pizza, sandwiches, burritos, granola with yogurt and fruit, eggs on toast, ice cream sundaes, ... and many defend that it is this combination that keeps us fuller longer. Proponents of food combining eat light to heavy throughout the day and say that they don't mind feeling "empty," and feeling "full" is uncomfortable and a misuse of valuable energy. Play around, see what you think.
On Audrey Hepburn: According to her friend Audrey Wilder, "she was always eating spaghetti or a version of it." However, she did not combine pasta with protein, but with salad. According to her son Sean Ferrer, "she was a food combiner before that diet became fashionable."

November 22, 2010


Hanging out in super simple all black today. Wearing workout gear, but not necessarily working out.

Gyms: "Nothing modern or evolved about them."

"Gyms and exercise classes are hotbeds for self-loathing. Gym-goers constantly compare themselves to each other and either hate or worship what they see in the mirror. Either way, their physical self-esteem is dictated by the mirror or the eyes of others. I often forget that women especially are vulnerable to this competitive reflex, because in the detox lifestyle it tends to dissolve. But the moment I step into a gym—BAM!—I’m reminded of all the bad feelings that keep everyone pounding away on the machines. In my experience, I find gyms and exercise classes to be unhealthy for the mind and self-esteem."

"Learning to master your body is not something we should even have to be taught. It’s basic and intuitive, though the right guidance can certainly accelerate the learning process and help prevent injury. Owning our bodies, rather than just blindly entrusting them to exercise instructors year after year, is yet another aspect of our life education that is undervalued and overlooked."

"If you have discovered that it works for you, don’t compromise by changing it because someone can speak convincingly about the virtues of a product or other detox program."

~all of the "above", Natalia Rose

J and I paused mid-bike ride to enjoy tea varieties that fight off winter colds!

November 20, 2010

The Secret

The gods on Mount Olympus argued about where the Secret of Life should be hidden.
One said, "Let us hide it high upon the tallest mountain, they shall never find it there."
A goddess replied, "Humans have insatiable curiosity and ambition. They will eventually climb the tallest mountain."
Then another goddess suggested, "We should hide the Secret of Life at the bottom of the deepest ocean."
"You don't understand," said a god, "Humanity has a boundless imagination and a potent desire to explore the world. Sooner or later they will reach even the greatest ocean depths."
Finally, a goddess came up with a solution, "Let us hide the Secret of Life in the last place humans would ever look. A place they will only come to when they have exhausted all other possibilities and are finally ready."
"And where is that?" asked the gods.
To which the goddess replied "we will not hide it all."

November 17, 2010

a tall drink of tea

I was just at a little yoga sojourn in Chicago, invited by a lovely lady teacher with a seriously hot body. When asked by a fellow yogi if she had done her asana (physical practice) that morning prior to teaching she replied that she no longer has much of a corporal routine, but has a strong daily meditation practice that she did in fact carry out before arriving. This piqued my interest. I asked her about it over mac and cheese, crudo fish tacos, and candied whipped yams later that evening and she described how she prescribes herself physical poses to equalize any imbalances and does only postures as her body calls for them.
Sure, she lifts weights, hikes, runs and whatnot to keep her girlish figure, but she is also known to put away three desserts a day and does all this through a profound knowledge of self. She has uncovered how to listen to her own body and she has sharpened this skill through yoga. Her bustling classes are always in awe of her lean and muscular physique and amplified yoga poses, but the secret lies not in her body, but in figuring out your own.
Days ago, I proclaimed it my mission to lower my sugar intake, and while I have not been "successful," I have learned about myself in the process. I am instead committing to letting go, realizing that becoming attached to not doing something is no different than the attachment to doing it. They are two sides of the same coin.

Gossip Girl

One of the oldest and most common means of sharing, infamous for its invalidity, usually of trivial nature .... it's GOSSIP: idle talk or rumor about the private affairs of others.

"Before speaking consider whether it is an improvement upon silence." -Swami Kripalu

I like to keep life drama-free, and am fairly adept at staying unawares of the affairs of others. I admit, though, that when one-on-one with an old friend or on the horn with a distant playmate I can lose all abilities to edit. The words spew out in every direction, often interrupting the poor soul on the other end, with adamant and open opinions on everything. For myself, it's often a repercussion to bouts of isolation and nothing comes out that I wouldn't say to someone's face, but it is unnecessary and by no stretch of the imagination an improvement on the blissful sound of silence.
LOVE the show, though

Gossip "empower(s) one person while disempowering another" -Hafen

Yoga gives us the ability to make space before reacting, to rise above the babbling, to fall in love with sitting in stillness, but most importantly, to operate at a frequency where gossiping doesn't exist, a state where we do not attract drama. I have been there, it is where I belong, and I will return there.
There are times when silence has the loudest voice.
Like being a good listener in order to be a great friend, moments of quiet in a yoga class are doorways to learning, not empty spaces to be feared. "When people come to yoga, they come to empty, if the teacher is filling up too much space with talking, too much music, or too many stimuli, it makes it difficult for people to empty." -Cyndi Lee, founder of OM Yoga Center in NYC. For all the Clevelanders- OM yoga can be found at Evolution yoga in Eaton!

November 11, 2010

palm reading

Palm reading can help you see where you are and where you want to be going. It allows you to establish what your innate talents are and where you might want to improve. It's nothing to be afraid of, just getting to know yourself a little bit better.
Some say that by comparing the left and right hand you are seeing what you were given and what you did with it, respectively. Most palm readers agree to read the dominant hand and use the other hand as a supplementary guide. Others say to read the right hand if you are under thirty and the left if you are over. And even others say it depends on what you want to know and whether you are male or female (left side is female, emotional right side is male, practical.)

November 10, 2010

Bobbing for apples

Apples float because 25% of their volume is air.
After a few weeks of regular feasting and plans to augment the consumption of this delectable fruit, an ode to the apple is due.

Lately I'm eating my seasonal Pink Lady and Braeburn apples
~with whipped cream cheese
~with Trader Joe's raw almond butter
~grated into oatmeal
I aim for an apple a day. The larger the better.

With an apple, I will astonish Paris.
-Paul Cezanne

Las autumn, my mother and I watched in disbelief as our Parisian pastry chef gobbled down not just one, but often two or three portions of each and every confection he completed. Over a civilized french lunch my mother politely inquired how he ingested such massive amounts of french sugar, flour and butter without becoming ill. That's when he revealed his secret: Un kilo de pommes par jour. 5 apples per day.

In Hollywood, the women are all peaches. It makes one long for an apple occasionally.
-W.Somerset Maugham

Must Read

mad cow, cash cow, prize cow, sacred cow

Holy cow!

What kind of cow are you?
A prize cow or a sacred cow?
~The prize cow is a reflection on its owner. Fenced in and powerless over its circumstance. The prize cow wins competitions for its keeper, is judged upon its appearance, glorified for its milking abilities and sold to breed.
~The sacred cow is free and liberated. The sacred cow can do no wrong and is deemed perfect as it is. The sacred cow is a living symbol of mother earth.

We are all meant to be sacred cows.
How can you act more like a sacred cow if you feel you lost your way? Know that you are already full, there is no need to stuff yourself with anything else. Who you are and what you do is not about other people. You are accountable only to yourself. Everything that should be will be. There is no searching or weighing options. Opportunities arise on their own. The path is cleared automatically. You already have everything figured out. Just be with it.
In the West we glorify the fenced-in, farm owned, stuffed and shackled "prize" cow and interpret the sacred cow to be a person or thing unreasonably held immune from criticism. Is it ever unreasonable to exempt yourself from criticism, questioning, and opposition? The West disapproves of showing the sacred cow too much respect. Can you show yourself too much respect, reverence, understanding, and compassion? What horrible thing would happen if you did? Are we afraid of becoming complacent? You cannot be a bird. You are a cow. You can be a prize cow or a sacred cow. The choice is yours.

November 8, 2010

inner space

Kicking the sugar habit is no walk in the park. Certainly not the piece-of-cake I expected and I have been less than even merely successful. From first-hand experience I can hence deduct that this "sugar is addictive theory" is no "theory" at all. It's not science-fiction. The proof is in this blonde pudding.

Yoga is a science (not a religion) and you are the experiment, the test subject and the scientist. You create the parameters, "control" the variables, and analyze the outcomes. This leaves for some pretty messy experiments in the lab of life.

Do not be an alien to yourself.
Anytime you feel overwhelmed or anxious, come back to the body. Sit, watch your breath and notice if any areas of your body call out to you. Feel what is going on in those spaces. Send the breath to those regions. Become intimate with yourself. Get to know your body and try to give it what it really wants. Before making any decisions on what to reward yourself with or deprive yourself of, push the ego aside and come back to the body. Only you are in charge of what you put into your body. What does the body want?

Dwell not on the past, and do not attempt to predict the future. Stay present to this moment alone by making one choice at a time.

November 1, 2010

decrease your sugar intake

Many nutritionists liken sugar to heroin and claim that the former white stuff contributes to more deaths than the latter. Sugar and the taste of sweet stimulate the brain by activating beta endorphin receptor sites. These are the same chemicals activated by heroin and morphine.

"Recent behavioral tests in rats further back the idea of an overlap between sweets and drugs. Drug addiction often includes three steps. A person will increase his intake of the drug, experience withdrawal symptoms when access to the drug is cut off and then face an urge to relapse back into drug use. Rats on sugar have similar experiences. Researchers withheld food for 12 hours and then gave rats food plus sugar water. This created a cycle of binging where the animals increased their daily sugar intake until it doubled. When researchers either stopped the diet or administered an opioid blocker the rats showed signs common to drug withdrawal, such as teeth-chattering and the shakes. Early findings also indicate signs of relapse. Rats weaned off sugar repeatedly pressed a lever that previously dispensed the sweet solution." (Leah Ariniello, Brain Briefings, October 2003)
The sugar industry claims that similar effects have been reported for rats given solutions that tasted sweet, but contained no calories.*

oy vey

Is it impossible to say no to sweet foods?
Have you ever gone out of your way to get a sweet treat?
Have you ever lied about how much sweet food you eat?
Have you ever tried to cut down or control your consumption of sweets?
Have you ever binged on sweets?
Do you get upset when you have to share or when someone eats your sweets?
Have you ever had a sugar hangover?

Sound familiar? For me- check! check! check! all of the above...
Than you may want to:

Eat more greens.
Eat more protein.
Drink 'sweet' teas (milk thistle, licorice...)
Eat 'sweet' foods (fresh fruit, sweet potatoes, roasted vegetables...)
*But no sugar substitutes. It perpetuates cravings.

My birthday is November 21st. I'm thinking no sugar until then.