Category Archives: health
Ok, so one month is long enough for my “yes, please winter wonder” (see previous post) retreat. I spent much of this time writing, walking/skiing/hiking in the crisp air, focusing on defining my priorities, cravings and action steps for this year (thanks Holiday Council), writing, experiencing a lot of serendipitous moments, going on a mostly spontaneous New Years day venture where I came face to face with myself and my demons, listening to my heart and writing. Did I mention that my journal was open a lot? One important and wonderful thing that I discovered during this time is that this blog is aligned perfectly with what is important to me right now. I crave moxie. And three of my top priorities for the year are health, creativity and balance. And so I am back in blogland and ready to pursue my passion and to do more, share more and grow more here.
About a week ago, I was staring at an emotionally filled journal page when this song popped up on pandora. I was dumbfounded. Many of the words that fill this song were the same as the exact words filling my page. It feels like this song was made just for me at this very moment of my life. It will be hard to convince me otherwise as I get it together, heal my heart and learn to fly…
originally found on pinterest (the pin wont link anywhere, so that’s all I can reference…)
I love clothes and all the accessories that go with, but I have a small closet (think coat closet here). Its a problem. When I first tried to fit all my stuff in my current closet, I would catch myself daydreaming of the walk-in I had in my Chicago studio apartment (it was almost the biggest room!) Back in reality, I scored one of the hall closets all to myself and use it for my dresses, skirts, sweaters and heels, which helps a lot. I employed perfect sized drawers, crates and baskets to help me fit everything else in the closet in my room, but over time I noticed only about half my clothes were in the closet at any given time. I had clothes in the bedroom closet, in the hall closet, all over my floor, in bins and baskets, in the laundry and in the garage. Finally, one day, while trying not to drown in a sea of scarves, I threw out a lifeline to myself…”I have too many clothes! Time to take control.”
And so I began the process of really owning what I own. I feel that being in the right frame of mind to do this is really important. I was ready to simplify my wardrobe. A few months before, I may not have been able to part with things or organize as well.
I started by making three different bins, one for stuff I wanted to keep for sure, one for things I could give up and the very important third bin that I could figure out later. I made myself get rid of at least one of everything…one coat, one sweater, one dress, one t-shirt, etc. ,etc. After going through everything, I bagged up the ‘give’ clothes right away. Then, I focused on the ‘not sure’ collection. I laid everything out and picked out one favorite to go back into ‘keep’. Feeling good. Next, I looked through the pile for things that I would wear if it was ‘improved’. For example, there was a pair of jeans I love but never wear because of a missing button and a light blue puffy vest that I want to wear, but don’t because of the color. A new button and some dye will hopefully fix those problems, so they get set aside in a new pile. From there, I picked my least favorite thing and throw it in the ‘give’ bag. The rest goes through individual decisions and quite a bit goes back to ‘keep’ so that I don’t stress myself out. Then I repeat the process with all my accessories (hats, tights, shoes, scarves, etc…).
As I looked at the size of the bag of stuff that I would no longer have to fit in my closet, I felt energized and relieved and rode that clothing cleanse high straight into organization.
I put everything from the ‘keep’ bin in piles…shirts, pants, socks, bags, workout clothing, etc. Then I pulled out all my baskets, crates, hangers and bins and got to work. I love using baskets and small fabric bins for hats, socks and tights and purses. For scarves and belts, I love a multitude of hooks that hang over doors and stay out of the way of everything else. My favorite thing is a fabric bin with a lid, which I store things in, but also use as a chair, a computer stand or to reach the baskets up top in the closet. I was so excited when everything I had kept fit in my closet(s) with a tiny bit of room to breathe. Sigh of relief.
3. DEAL WITH THE FIXERS
Once all my keepers were happily put away, I still had a ‘give’ bag and a ‘fix’ pile to deal with. I looked through the fixers and made a list of things I might need to fix them. I actually got rid of one more thing in doing this. Then I put them all in a box and made a deadline. If I don’t deal with these by the end of the year, I never will and we will then say our goodbyes.
4. GIVE, SELL AND DONATE
One of the best parts of this whole process was finally giving the clothes away. If something I dont need anymore will make somebody else happy, I’m happy. The first thing I did was let some friends go through my pile of stuff. Then I looked through one more time to see if there was anything I might be able to sell and actually picked out a few things. There are lots of ways to sell, such as garage sales or ebay and for me this time around it was a consignment store. I took in seven items, they took four and gave me $19. Deal. That money went to a savings for something special. Finally, I took what was left and donated it. There are lots of options here as well and I like doing a little research because I like to give to a womens shelter or local project if possible. This time around, I was able to donate to a rummage sale to benefit a local outdoor school that one of the kids I watch attends.
5. A FEW EXTRA IDEAS
Don’t forget to do the laundry! This process will be easiest if everything is clean and available to sort.
Do some detailed sorting. I found that I had more trouble getting rid of any skirts and dresses, so I went a little more intense in the sorting. I laid everything out and arranged by color and/or category. There was a gray skirt I had been contemplating that was then easier to get rid of because I saw that I had two other gray skirts. It also became more easy to see that I didn’t need five floral spaghetti strap summer dresses!
Prepare for the next round. I had seen a great idea on pinterest for hanging clothes and decided to use it. Basically, you hang up all your hangers backwards and then after something is worn, they get turned around. After a year or so, you can see easily if anything wasn’t used. And if you dont wear something over the course of a year, do you really need it!?
Try stuff on. For me, trying things on helped to make the keep or give decision. If something was far too tight, it went away. On the other hand, I found some things that were far cuter than I remembered and made sure they were easy for me to find in the future. Also, I know it is easy to think that something will fit once you lose those 10 pounds, but be careful about hanging on to things that aren’t being used. I kept a few of my favorite ‘tight’ things as a fun reward, but tossed the rest. If you lose enough weight to fit into things you can’t come close to fitting now, I say you deserve a shopping trip for new stuff! 🙂
Make a shopping list. Once I had a fuller grasp of what was in my closet, I made a list of a few things that might help my wardrobe out. For me, this included a colorful cardigan, a versatile black skirt and a neutral lacy top among a couple other things. That way, when I’m shopping I can buy what I need and can build more outfits with instead of dropping money on something I already have!
It took time and made a mess for a little while, but it was worth the clean closet (and mind) in the end and I wish you the happiest of sorting, organizing and giving!
So, in honor of Thankgiving, I thought I would share a recipe I recently discovered.
I have been going crazy over fall inspired food lately, making pumpkin bars and cookies, soup with squash, and apple everything, so it was about time for some cranberries! I had purchased some at farmers market and was looking for ideas, so when I found this simple cranberry jelly option as the holidays were fast approaching, I knew it was the perfect time to try it. It also didn’t hurt that it used apple cider, which I love and had just made a batch of!
I cut the original recipe in half because I only wanted to make a jar or so to start, so feel free to double (or triple or whatever)! Also, just as a random fyi (something I learned along the way), a pound of cranberries equals about 4 cups.
1. Combine cranberries, sugar and cider and simmer until the cranberries burst. (they will make a fun ‘pop’ sound)
2. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir.
3. Once it has cooled a minute or two, do a taste test. If it is too tart, add a bit more sugar and return to the heat for a minute. If it is too sweet, add a little lemon juice.
4. Once the flavor is right, press the mixture through a food mill or sieve to separate the skins.
5. Place the remaining jelly into a clean jar.
I found this amount to make about a small jar of jelly. My understanding is that this recipe holds up fine to a full hot water canning process, so if you’ve got a lot of cranberries on your hand you can make lots and save it for later! For me, I loved something simple and quick that I could just stick in the fridge and enjoy now.
The jelly made a proud appearance on the Thanksgiving dinner table and has also been delicious in cream cheese and turkey sandwiches! Yum!
found original recipe on food in jars
Recently (ok so it was two months ago), I was staying up near Mount Hood and had planned a late morning hike. After doing a little research and getting a couple recommendations, Mirror Lake seemed to be the perfect fit. The trailhead is easy to find just along the southside of Highway 26 between Rhododendron and Government Camp. A Northwest Forest Pass is required to park at the trailhead and can be purchased nearby.
The trail travels about 1.5 miles uphill at a steady pace (total hike is about 3 miles roundtrip with a 750 ft. elevation gain). It is not too strenuous, but is a good workout. Most of the hike meanders through forest and over a small stream here and there, but also offers some great views of the forest.
Once the lake is neared, the trail can be followed in either direction to loop around it. Mirror lake itself does not disappoint. It is a serene little lake with a wonderful view of Mt. Hood. There are several campsites along the trail and a few areas of “beach” to stop for lunch, rock-skipping or reflection.
As I’ve mentioned before, my sensitive skin and I are on the search for some great homemade beauty products. When I saw a post about this acne mask, I knew I had to give it a try.
All three of the ingredients in this mask help to heal the skin. Nutmeg has long been known and used as an anti-inflammatory and has antiseptic properties, making it incredibly healing. Honey is a natural moisturizer and is packed with antioxidants. It heals, protects and rejuvinates. Milk is naturally soothing and lactic acid is also a great exfoliator.
I was a little nervous about this one because I had read some reviews in which people complained of their skin burning (most likely due to nutmeg sensitivity), so I tested a small area before I smothered it all over my face. Green light. The mask was simple to make and easy to apply. I have to admit that while it was on, I felt nothing. I wasn’t sure that it was actually doing anything, but once I took it off my skin just felt happy. I look forward to using this again!
1 Tablespoon Raw Honey
1 Tablespoon Ground Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Milk (recommend whole organic)
1. Combine ingredients.
2. Spread mixture generously on face and neck and let sit for 10-15 minutes.
3. Wash mask off with water.
found recipe on huda beauty
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 whole egg
2 egg whites
1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat an 11 x 7 pan with cooking spray, butter or parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, eggs and oil until smooth.
3. In a separate smaller bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, spices, salt and brown sugar. Add to pumpkin mixture and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips.
4. Pour evenly into baking pan and bake for 15-20 minutes. Insert toothpick to check for doneness.
originally found on pinterst via pennies on a platter
I have been on a blog hiatus. On purpose. Kind of. Life got busy and I needed some room away from all the screens to breathe. While I was away, I found some fresh air, but I lost the motivation that comes from the discipline of making my thoughts, photos, musings, projects and inspirations public in blogland. Not only does it motivate me, but I genuinely love the creative outlet of blogging.
And so I am back. Doing something I love. Looking for motivation to do more of what I love. And to let this love infiltrate all that I do.
What do you love? What would you love to do?
Recently, a fellow vendor at farmers market gave me a tip for freezing berries that will change my life. She told me that if you pre-freeze them on a cookie sheet, they freeze as whole berries and do not get smashed together in the bag or container. I do not know how I had never heard this before! I headed home after market excited to try this new trick with my excess of freshly picked berries. After doing a little research and picking up a few other tips, I went for it and am very pleased with the results.
Here is the process:
Next, wash the berries. It works great to place the berries in a strainer or colander of some sort. Then, submerge that into a bowl of water and gently swirl the berries around.
* Using the colander/strainer helps to both keep the berries from getting blasted with water and allows dirt, etc. to drain into the bowl below.
Let the berries drain and dry for a little while either in the colander/strainer or by laying them out on some paper towel.
Now arrange the berries onto a baking sheet and stick it in your freezer. I left mine in overnight and it seemed about right.
When you take the berries out of the freezer, they will be individually frozen and easy to transfer to a bag or container.
*If you are using a bag, use a freezer bag. I have tried get away with using the non-freezer type. Not the same.
Place the berries into a bag or container and seal well, being sure to force as much air out as possible.
*If you are using bags and are not lucky enough to have a vacuum sealing system (or are gifted with my inability to properly close bags), try placing a straw at one end of the sealing strip. Squeeze as much air out as you can and then suck the rest out before you close the end of the sealing strip.
Don’t forget to mark your bag or container with the contents and date! (easier to do this before you put the berries in a bag)
Place back in freezer to keep and enjoy later!
If you know me, you know I have crazy sensitive skin. (yay!) If you don’t know me, you know that now too, I guess. I sunburn in about a half a second, have a bazillion allergies and have been trying forever to find beauty products that I can use safely. I don’t know why it took me so long to get in on the homemade beauty product scene, but I am there now.
Below is a recipe for an oatmeal cucumber face mask. All of these ingredients have benefits for your skin. Basically, I just threw it all in a blender and then put it on my face. Simple. It pretty much looks like cucumber oatmeal out of the blender. (Okay, so it basically is cucumber oatmeal) I was a bit apprehensive at first…thought it was going to slide off of my face and get all over my clothes. Still, I was hopeful, so I put a headband on, put a towel on the floor and put the mask on. I also set aside a couple cucumber slices for the eyes. Let the healing begin!
About a minute into the experience, I thought, “I have cucumber oatmeal on my face. What am I doing?”
Two minutes into the self-made spa moment, I realized the mask was not sliding off my face, but I was still feeling a little silly.
Then, somewhere around minute three, I felt the mask working. It tightened and my skin felt tingly and cool in a refreshing sort of way.
I kept the mask on for about 20 minutes. The last 17 minutes were spent trying to let my body re-teach me how to relax. Seriously, when is the last time you actually cleared your mind and tried to relax your muscles intentionally? It had been a while for me. (sleeping doesn’t count)
After I washed the mask off, my skin felt and looked refreshed. And, surprisingly to me, I felt refreshed. Overall, this was a very positive experience and I will absolutely make this mask again.
1.Combine ingredients in blender or food processor.
2. Spread mixture generously on face and neck.
3. Lie down and relax for at least 15 minutes.
4. Wash mask off with water.
*The aloe and avocado oil are optional and avocado could be used in place of the oil as well.
I’ve always enjoyed oatmeal and oatmeal raisin cookies. I also enjoyed scooping up a huge bag of these whole grains yesterday for less than $2.00. But even more than this, I thoroughly enjoyed taking the time learn some of the many health benefits to oats.
Three reasons oats are so good for you:
1. Fiber. They contain a specific type called beta-glucan, which helps keep cholesterol low. In fact, studies show that when a diet includes the amount of fiber found in one bowl of oatmeal, cholesterol is typically lowered 8%-23%! This also means dramatically reduced risk for heart disease!
2. Manganese. Oats have lots of it and it plays lots of healthy roles! It helps our bodies metabolize fats and carbohydrates, absorb calcium, maintain healthy blood sugar levels and promote normal nerve function. (just to name a few)
3. Iron. Of course there are many other great food sources of iron, but there are also many people that are iron deficient and anemic. It is estimated that around 30% of people do not get enough iron and that number is higher in kids and pregnant women. Iron is important because our bodies need it to make the protein hemoglobin, which is used to carry oxygen in our blood cells around our body. So, yeah, pretty important.
PEANUT BUTTER BANANA OATMEAL BARS
1 1/2 cups oats (original recipe calls for quick…I used old fashioned)
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1-2 large mashed banana
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1. Preheat the oven to 350°
2. Mix together the oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and ground cinnamon.
3. Add in the vanilla extract, milk and egg. Stir together.
4. Add the mashed banana and peanut butter. Combine all of the ingredients.
5. Pour the mixture into a lightly greased 8 by 8 inch metal baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes.
Cool Completely. Cut into squares and enjoy!
These things are great! They taste like some sort of wonderful lovechild of a peanut butter dipped banana, baked oatmeal, and banana bread. And for how delicious they taste with no butter or oil, only a small amount of sugar and several healthy ingredients in the mix, it is hard to go wrong! I will definitely make these again. (next time I will use the metal pan, though. I used glass and had to bake them much longer)
Recipe source: Rumbly in my Tumbly
A couple years ago, I didn’t know much about kale and certainly didn’t eat much of it. Today, I have come to appreciate its incredible nutritional value.
Three reasons to eat Kale:
1. To fight cancer. Kale is a superstar in the cancer fight for many reasons. A major one is that it contains some of the most powerful antioxidants possible, carotenoinds and flavonoids.
2. For your eyes. Kale contains both high amounts of beta-carotene, which is beneficial to good vision and lutein, which aids in the prevention of macular degeneration.
3. For your heart. Thanks to a healthy dose of fiber, Kale is great for keeping blood pressure down and reducing the risk of heart disease.
Kale has plenty more health benefits, but the first time I tried it, I didn’t like it and I don’t tend to eat what I don’t like. But then, one magical day at a farmers market, I tried some that had been cooked with garlic and olive oil. Simple and surprisingly delicious.
In all honesty, I still don’t really like kale as a salad green, but here is another recipe that I love, is easy to make and is packed with health benefits:
2 cups raw Kale
1 Banana, frozen (or not)
1/3 cup Orange Juice
1/4 cup Milk
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil (optional)
1 Tablespoon Flaxseed Meal (optional)
1 teaspoon Honey (optional…I add it to fight allergies)
Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!
Found the original recipe here (thanks to pinterest)
Oregon was given a beautiful weekend recently and my sister and I could not help but venture out to enjoy the sunshine. We headed west out of town and into the heart of the Tillamook State Forest. We first made a stop at the forest center which had information we needed and great exhibits. The center is right along the Wilson river and connects to the river trail.
We then continued driving west to a big pullout/trailhead along the river somewhere near mile marker 20, I think. There is a bridge across the river at this spot. Bridge Creek Falls is practically right next to the highway across from this pullout, though it could be easy to miss when driving. We parked and took the short trek up to the falls.
From there we went back across the highway and crossed over the river, stopping on the bridge to view the vitamin D-deprived northwesterners that were cliff-jumping, fishing, floating and soaking up the sun. On the other side of the bridge, we connected to the Wilson River trail. We were a little confused about the trail here and there, but it wasn’t too bad. The Wilson River Trail actually extends 11 miles along the river through the forest which is great. We followed it eastish about 1.5 miles to Wilson falls where we stopped and enjoyed the sunshine and a snack.
Both of the falls we visited were nice and made for a simple day out with plenty of photo opportunities. We had planned on another hike up to University Falls on the way back to town, but we killed a lot of time enjoying the sunshine and exploring the forest center and campgrounds. It will be a great new hike for another day!
Once again, a short trip outside of Portland has proved to be a rich and refreshing getaway and I look forward to going back.
Recently, I took a quick trip with friends on a new hike in the Columbia Gorge. Sometimes I wonder if it is even possible to see all the waterfalls in the gorge. (I’ve heard there are at least 100 on the Oregon side) We visited several falls that day, but the only real hike was to Wahclella falls.
The trailhead for the falls is located near exit #40 off I-84, which is just under 10 miles east of the very well known Multnomah falls. The parking lot is just to the south of the exit (look carefully for signage) and does require a permit (NW Forest Pass and National Parks Pass both work) or you pay a $5 parking fee on site.
The hike itself is pretty easy and family friendly, only about 2 miles roundtrip with minimal elevation gain (300 feet or so). The trail has a junction as you near the falls and it simply makes a loop. I recommend merging right at that point, but either way gets you to the falls.
The falls itself is beautiful with the lowest tier falling up to 70 feet into the pool below. The upper part of the falls can actually be either one or two additional falls depending on the season.
This was a simple, beautiful and fun hike in the gorge and I will definitely visit again!
Three reasons your body will love you for eating wild salmon:
1. Omega-3 fatty acids. These acids are so important because the body cannot make them on its own. They improve brain function, boost “good” cholesterol, guard against inflammation, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease!
2. Vitamins D and B12. Vitamin D is hard to find in food and, unfortunately, deficiency is common. One role it plays is to help our bodies absorb calcium. Vitamin B-12 is important for red blood cell production and proper nerve function.
3. Selenium. It is a mineral that we need for thyroid function and is a very powerful player for our immune system.
Made this for dinner last night with fresh salmon and it was delicious. I was honestly a little apprehensive about the sweet and salty flavor mix, but it balanced out quite nicely. Will definitely make it again!
1 pound Salmon
1/2 cup Maple Syrup
3-4 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
Fresh Ginger, to taste
1. In a small bowl, combine maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic and pepper.
2. Place salmon in glass baking dish and coat with syrup mixture. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, turning at least once.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
4. Remove salmon from fridge and top with ginger. Place baking dish in preheated oven and bake, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until salmon is slightly opaque and easily flaked with a fork.
I paired it with roasted red potatoes, my favorite salad (spinach, strawberries, feta, almonds), fresh bread with honey butter and a crisp white wine. Yum Yum!
Found the original recipe here.
Each morning, eyes open and bodies rise as minds and hearts are flooded with thoughts, ideas and emotions. Choices are made. People are seen. Words are spoken. Work is done. And then the sun sets and bodies rest once again.
This cycle has the potential to be monotonous, overwhelming and draining, but within those thoughts, choices, words and actions, we have power. We are the only people in our lives with the power to choose how we live. Life, as we all know, is not always easy. Sometimes it hurts…a lot. Sometimes it blindsides us. And sometimes we are our own worst enemy. But life also happens to be a gift. Sometimes we laugh so hard we cry. Sometimes we are consumed with passion. And sometimes we experience true peace and freedom.
My desire is to use this power we have . Each morning when my eyes open, I want to remember that life is a gift. I want to start my day with this energy, wisdom and courage. I want to wake up with moxie.
So, say I wake up and life seems bright. Now what? I still have to get out of bed and face the day…
Over time, I have realized that there are specific areas of my life that I care about so much that I avoid them. Wait, what?!? Yep, it’s true. See, if I avoid giving 100% to my goals and passions, I will avoid failing because I always know in the back of my mind that I could be giving/thinking/loving/doing more. I don’t expect that to make sense to everyone (because its pretty backwards and goes deeper than I could ever explain), but in my world it is something that is true.
For me, right now those areas of my life are health, art and balance.
Health. I consider myself a fairly healthy person, but I have also had plenty of health goals that I never followed through with. Learn more about nutrition. Eliminate chemical laden cosmetics. Lose 10 pounds. Take a dance class again. Get more sleep. See a counselor. Cook at home more often. The list goes on and on. I want to give my body and my mind the respect it deserves.
Art. I am an artist. I kinda think we all are, but that’s a whole other topic. Art is something that I believe has the power to create positive change in this world and there is little that I feel more passionately about. However, for the amount of time I spend thinking about it and feeling oodles of passion, I sure don’t do much about it. I procrastinate project after idea after inspiration that I have and then feel frustrated that I have done so. I need to give art the time and focus that I desire to give it.
Balance. I have not been super skilled at finding balance in my life. Sometimes I am overly focused on money(or the lack of) and I forget about my health. Sometimes I get so caught up in my little world that I neglect others. At other times I simply don’t set aside enough time for me. And just when I think I have found some sort of balance, I remember that I haven’t showered for two days or folded my laundry. I don’t expect to find some magical equilibrium that I will happily exist in for the rest of my life, but I know that I can find more balance.
The heart behind this blog is to pursue these areas of my life, share it (good accountability) and encourage others to do the same. For me, waking up with moxie means, well…everything that I will share on this blog.
My morning moxie will make my life healthier and happier and filled with more creativity, balance, inspiration and love.
What does waking up with moxie mean to you???