Monday, January 15, 2018

Monday Mantra: Drawing a Line in the Sand

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: It's time to make some decisions
Drawing a line in the sand is a figure of speech used to demonstrate the idea that something (a thought, action, etc.) will not be supported past a certain point.

The end of every year draws an invisible line in imaginary sand allowing you an opportunity to start fresh yet again. To put the mistakes and errors and irritations of the past behind you so you can look to better, happier, brighter times.

Sometimes it's a job you need to leave. Sometimes it's a relationship, a friendship, a bad habit or hairdo. Sometimes it's a pattern of thinking that hasn't served you well.

Whatever your "thing/s" might be, have courage and patience. The changes you need to make may seem daunting, but along with that comes a feeling of freedom, once you become comfortable in your new normal, whatever that may be.

Look at your life, decide on needed change, and go forward into the new year with conviction that the lines you've drawn are there not to box you in or cut you off, but to show you just how far you've come time and time again.

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Reflection of Shadows: The Uprising

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments

The Uprising
(written to a tune)

Were you unaware
Of the feelings rising?
Were you unaware
Of the tired wait?

Were you unaware
Of all your missteps,
Being tracked and watched
And held for bait?

Were you unaware
That we were coming?
That we were done
Doing nothing.

Let me make this clear:
We're coming for you, dear.

Do you feel regret
For all your actions?
Do you feel regret
For your bad deeds?

Do you feel regret
Remorse awakening?
Or are you living
In denial's dream?

Do you feel regret
For lives unfurled,
For broken hopes
And dreams you murdered?

You will not forget:
We'll hold you to this debt.

Did you play the fool
For too long, darling?
Did you play the fool
To win the game?

Did you play the fool
To keep on bribing,
Keep them thinking
You were safe and tame?

Did you play the fool
To your advantage,
Or did you get lost
In your bad habits?

We outnumber you:
We're coming for the fools.

Monday, January 8, 2018

So You Ate a Bunch of Junk Over the Holidays...

Your 2018 "Get Back to Being Healthy" Plan

So you ate all the pies your mom made, cleaned out the leftovers, and dined on fast food just to survive the busy "I don't have time to cook" holiday season. That's just part of the holiday insanity (and fun), so don't beat yourself up. Instead, here are some tips and tricks to help you get 2018 off to a healthy start!

For a Good All Around Detox + Vitamin Boost: Seaweed, Your New Best Friend

Oh, seaweed, you miraculous salty sea treat, you. You're probably familiar with seaweed from eating sushi rolls, but there's so much more to it than just delicious sushi. Did you know that seaweed is one of the best foods out there when it comes to eliminating heavy metals from your body? Yep. It's also rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Super bonus: it's packed with iodine, which most of us don't get enough of, ever. Here are some super easy ways to incorporate seaweed into your diet.
Thrive Market

Cooking with Seaweed Seasonings: Sea Seasonings has great options for cooking with different types of seaweed. I like the Kelp and Dulse varieties, as I feel they blend pretty easily into a variety of things without altering the flavor of whatever you're cooking. Hint: Your local grocery store will carry these, so no worries on where to find them.

Seaweed Snacks: These are easy and inexpensive and you can eat three packages without feeling guilty because the calories are so minimal. Nowadays, there are all kinds of fancy flavors you can try, but my favorite is the simple, traditional, normal seaweed.

Nori Wraps: Also known as the ocean version of a tortilla. Go to your local grocery store, get some Nori sheets (not snacks, completely different) and find a great smoked salmon. Layer one wrap with spinach, some sprouts, salmon, and avocado. Roll that baby up and enjoy. Super easy and super healthy.

What to Avoid: The seaweed salads you find in stores that are bright green. Natural seaweed is a dull, dark green color. There are some other colors, depending on the type of seaweed, but they're also not neon in color. Seaweed shouldn't glow, gang. If you see bright green (or bright in general), skip it. That's a clear sign it has food coloring in it.

For Your Tummy + Liver + Bye Bye Bloating: Dandelion Tea 

Dandelion tea has long been my go-to when I'm feeling a little under the weather, when I feel bloated, or when I know I've overdone it on the holiday treats. I'm such a big fan that I even bring a box of it with me on vacation to help me bounce back to normal after all the flying. It's a magical tea, I tell you.
Traditional Medicinals

For instance, because it's a natural diuretic, it helps your liver eliminate toxins more quickly. It's great for your immune system, great for your digestive system, and king of all teas when it comes to helping with water weight gain. It helps with circulation, balances blood sugar levels, and helps fight inflammation. This tea is practically a Swiss Army knife, gang.

Here's the thing: it's a strong, specific flavor that not everyone will love. Even I don't, but I've gotten used to it and, since I personally know how well it works, I'm willing to put up with my mild dislike of the taste to reap the benefits. My trick is steeping one bag of dandelion tea with one bag of peppermint (both from Traditional Medicinals). The flavor combo works wonders together. Some of you will love it and won't even need to use my trick, but some of you will definitely want to. (Don't let my personal opinion of the flavor deter you. This tea is straight up magic. It's a serious weapon against illness that you should employ on the regular.)

For Your Skin: Coconut Oil + Essential Oils

Your skin is your largest organ. It's also one that tends to get neglected and mistreated the most. We burn it in the summer sun, dry it out in the winter months. We demand that it look flawless from the neck up, but then scratch and shave and completely ignore the rest of it. It's time to start treating your skin like the important piece of you that it is.

Yes, lathering up with lotion is a good long as you know what's in your lotion. That can be tricky in this day and age of ingredients. My favorite before bed routine is lathering up with coconut oil, head to toe. Yes, it's an oil, so you don't want to go wild, but it absorbs into the skin easily and it doesn't mess up your clothes or sheets like some other oils do. Plus, it's antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal.

Bonus: It works wonders with essential oils. Find a small, round jar and fill it 3/4 of the way full with coconut oil. Choose an essential oil (or few) that you love. Lavender, for instance, is great before bed. Add about 10 drops to the jar of coconut oil, stir it up, then smother your skin in it.

Essential oils, in general, are down right awesome. Grapefruit is good for digestion, peppermint is great for colds and stuffed noses, rosemary and clove are healing in nature- and that's just a few of your options. If you suffer from dry scalp, try tea tree oil after shampooing. It seriously works wonders. You can also do an apple cider vinegar rinse plus the tea tree oil to really solve the problem fast.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Monday Mantra: Pick Yourself Up and Try Again / Walking in the Air

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: Pick yourself up and try again, try again - Aaliyah
Once upon a time, piano was a huge part of who I was. I'd play for hours on end, slowly molding my fingertips to the keys, tune by tune, rhythm by rhythm.

Walking in the Air was my piece, the piece, my masterpiece. It was the one I played over and over and over again, memorizing every note, every detail, every tick of the metronome until it was perfect. George Winston was my muse and I would listen to his version of the song endlessly - endlessly - until I had it down exactly.

I had an upcoming piano recital in which I'd be playing this glorious song and I was nervous. Although I had memorized it in and out, front and back, I got lost in my anxiety and I couldn't remember anything. The notes blurred on the page and in my memory.

The experience was so bad that I quit studying piano. To be specific, I quit because of the feedback my piano teacher gave me. Instead of encouraging me to continue and move on after my stumble, she told me I wasn't practicing enough, that I wasn't dedicated enough. That maybe I was too interested in boys and not interested enough in this.

Those aren't the words you need to hear when you already feel terrible.

For anyone who has ever stumbled, or who may stumble into the coming year with goals and resolutions that may not work out just as you hoped, I feel you. I know. I get it.

Keep going.

Whatever your failures, your mishaps, your errors- embrace them, learn from them, move on and around them, but do not, I beg you, do not give up.

You will look back years from now and wonder what could have been. You will think too much time has passed and too much energy has been lost and you will wish you had tried harder the first time. You will see all the opportunity you tiptoed around because of fear, of failure, of worry.

Everyone fails. It's one of the greatest gifts in life, failure. It is a teacher, a guide, a lesson. It is the first step on a courageous path of trying, trying, trying and, yes, eventually succeeding.

That's the secret. That's it. Just keep trying.

This is my last post for the year, friends. I always give myself a little time off around this time of year to unwind. Be kind to yourself and give yourself a break if you need it, too.

And remember, be kind with whatever resolutions and goals you're setting for this new year. Believe in yourself and give yourself time. You've got this.

Here's my favorite version of Walking in the Air by George Winston, if you care to listen. And here's another version that my friend Noah calls "mean" (in a good way) because it's just a little bit rougher and tougher around the edges, while still being incredibly beautiful.

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Reflection of Shadows: Seeker. Sifter. Liar. Thief.

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments

Seeker. Sifter. Liar. Thief.


Trap doors opening,
Bended knees.
Tricks for treats
And rusty keys.



Choosing, taking
What you need.
Take the best-
The rest are weak.



You paint a picture
For us to see.
The words slip out,
Tongue to cheek.



Rummaging through
Others things.
Up for grabs
And grabs for keeps.


Monday, December 4, 2017

Sweet and Savory Stuffed Acorn Squash

Here in Arizona we have approximately two seasons: SUMMER and "Winter." Fall isn't a real thing and, if we're lucky, we get three days of Spring. Because it's technically my "Winter" right now, I'm all about warm dishes of deliciousness, like this baby below. It's gluten free, dairy free, and easy to make!

Sweet and Savory Stuffed Acorn Squash

Serves 4
 - 2 acorn squash
 - 1 package of Applegate Farms Chicken and Maple Sausage 
 - 1 celery stalk diced up
 - 1 TBSP of dried gluten free bread crumbs (I used my go-to bread, Three Bakers 7 Ancient Grains)
 - 1/2 of a sweet and crisp apple diced up (Gala, Honey Crisp, etc.)
 - 1/4 (or less) chipotle pepper
 - 1 TSP dried Italian seasonings
 - Salt and Pepper for sprinkling
 - Coconut oil for baking

1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Cut each acorn squash in perfect halves. Oil them up with a little coconut oil, then evenly sprinkle them with some salt and pepper, the Italian seasoning, and the chipotle pepper. Place them on a lightly greased baking pan and bake for 40 minutes.

2. In a pan, start cooking the sausage. After the sausage is close to being done, add the celery, bread crumbs, and apples and cook for about 2 - 3 minutes.

3. Once the 40 minutes is up, take the acorn squash out of the oven and evenly distribute the sausage, apple, celery, and bread crumbs into each half of squash. Add a sprinkling more of Italian seasoning to all four halves, then pop back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes.

4. Eat!

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Reflection of Shadows: Have a Little Faith

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments

Have a Little Faith

Hey there,
Hey there,
Look at me.
I'm what you're missing,
What you need.
Look out,
Look in,
Look at your soul.
I'm all around-
I make you whole.
I'm in your heart,
I'm in your mind,
I'm in the places that you hide.
And let me in.
Don't be afraid-
Give in,
Give in.
I'm what you want,
And what you need
Is simply,
To believe.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Monday Mantra: Perspective Adjustment

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: What if you were thankful all the time?
White Feathers Design
At this time of year, I always feel extra grateful. I'm sure we all do; it's what the holiday season is about, after all.

It's been quite the year, hasn't it?

The good and the bad, the truth and the lies, the devastation and the never surrendering hope, hope hope.

I recently had what I would call a Perspective Adjustment. A chance to change the way I saw and felt about something because something else jumped into my path and made me re-think, well, everything.

This thing would be a job opportunity that came out of the blue from a dear friend of mine. It was an amazing offer; excellent pay, something I'd love and was well qualified for, plus returning to an area I know in and out, but with a brand new job title to add to my resume. It was comfortable and exciting, all at the same time.

But, for a number of reasons, I opted against it. While each and every reason carries it's own weight, one of the most interesting was how having this offer come up caused me to re-think what I was already doing. How it made me reconsider frustrations and complaints I'd been feeling about my current job. All the tiny, minuscule things that, if left to fester too long over time, build up and make themselves seem so much bigger and more important than they really are.

It hit me out of nowhere, if I'm being honest.

I don't have a bad job. Not in any sense of the word. It can be frustrating, infuriating, and annoying, but in the end it is good through and through. I just kind of forgot that for a while. That's what happens when you do something for a long time and you get used to your woes and complaints. You start to see them as major events when really they're almost nothing at all in the big scheme of life and work. It's like that saying, "First world white people problems," where people complain about things no one should ever have a right to complain about, like having no WiFi at a restaurant. It's complete insanity.

I was being a little insane, too.

My recent Perspective Adjustment woke me up to not only all of the good in what I do now, but to a lot of the good around me that I take for granted. It made me thankful for things I've forgotten to be thankful for in quite some time.

It has been an excellent lesson, a great wake up, a wonderful eye-opener.

It made me think: What if we were thankful all the time? 

How different our lives would be if we noticed not just the big things, but the small, common, every day ones, like indoor plumbing, more clothes than we need to choose from and complain about all the time, and the ability to have our favorite TV show record while we're out doing whatever the hell we want all thanks to this magical little box called a DVR.

We humans are so silly sometimes. The things we think of, the things we torture ourselves over or complain endlessly about- all the things we have chosen to reflect negatively on for no real reason.

Maybe we could all use a little bit of a Perspective Adjustment? Maybe we could all be a little more appreciative like Parker, from Friends, who saw the good in all things. I mean, not quite like him, because it was a little much, but you get the idea.

I am thankful for all of you, and that is something I will not forget nor take for granted at this time of year or any other.