Thursday, November 20, 2014

Winter Swept In

Winter swept in during the night and then somehow in a depressing turn of events, the sun managed to disappear for days. I sat in my chair at work looking at the tree branches swaying in the wind, blowing snow released from the branches in every direction. A dimmed orb was hiding behind the murky clouds trying desperately to break free. Packed snow turned to ice, our new normal becomes timid approaches to stop signs and holding hands to navigate the icy patches together. If one of us goes down, we all go down. Sometimes I see the light fluffy snow for it's sparkles, it's light reflecting properties, and pause to appreciate it. That pause typically turns to rapid movement indoors with a simple, yet forceful bone chilling gust of wind. The sun keeps fighting to come back. I feel like tomorrow may be the day when I'll close my eyes, turn my chin skyward, and welcome the rays back on my skin.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Fall For prAna

Autumn has finally arrived in Colorado, we've had gloriously mild weather, warm sunshine filled days. I felt the need to pull out some sweaters, maybe add a few new pieces to my wardrobe to freshen up my good old standbys. The girls and I took a little after school trip to Pearl Street to do some window shopping. I was lured into the prAna shop, by their window display and arrival of the Fall 2014 line. I walked by once and the second time on our way back to the car, the girls were like, let's go in! The new fall line feels just as good as it looks, the three of us found ourselves touching the sweaters, the cozy fabrics lining jeans and tops. PrAna creates this wonderful balance of progressively styled active wear, made with all my favorite fabrics. Their lifestyle lines are perfect for the office and weekend outings. Here are some of the pieces I tried on and I have to admit, with chillier temperatures in the forecast I am really regretting not picking up the white Mariska jacket. I may have to go back in for it.


Beyond wanting close to everything in the store, I have fallen for prAna's journey towards sustainability. Coming off of election week, no other notion has hit harder than every dollar I spend is a vote. Every product I buy is a vote for a company that I stand behind and the practices that I believe in. It absolutely makes a difference to me what materials are used in the clothing I wear, where and how it was produced (Fair Trade is a top choice). I look forward to sharing more information about prAna's business practices in future posts. 

On the trail in my new Halle Pant, easily cuffed when the sun came out! 

More info:



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I was compensated by prAna for this post, all content is my own.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Road Tripping With My Favorite Allies...

…Fully loaded we got snacks and supplies. It's time to leave this town, it's time to steal away. Let's go get lost, anywhere in the USA. Let's go get lost, let's go get lost. 
 -Red Hot Chili Peppers (Road Trippin)

There's something about traveling the open highways of the west that just speaks to me, speaks to my nature, speaks to my heart. The car gets loaded, I buckle up, sit back and take in the vast expanse just beyond the window. The sky meets rocky outcroppings, followed by the mountains consuming the sky, dried out plants silently calling for water to fall from clouds that aren't present, a sky blue like no other blue you've ever witnessed. The west is magnificent, full of splendor, captivating, alluring and it's just out my window. A blur sometimes, but my goal is to remain focused.

My eyes leave my handheld device for long periods which fills me with pride, I won't find anything inside a phone that will nourish my soul like nature's beauty. Faster than I anticipate, 6 hours passes and we are happily at our destination.






Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Non-GMO Awareness Month with $25 Whole Foods Market Giveaway

Did you know it is Non-GMO awareness month? Back in 2013 Whole Foods committed to providing GMO transparency in labeling of products sold in it's stores by 2018. I must admit, when the announcement was made, it felt so far away, but in this moment it feels right around the corner. 

So, what in the world are GMO's? 

GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. A GMO is created in a laboratory by altering the genetic makeup of a plant by splicing the DNA with foreign proteins and bacterias, viruses or other plants and animals. A Genetically Modified Organism can not occur naturally, it is created in a laboratory through genetic engineering by the manipulation of that plant/organism's DNA. Most importantly, a GMO is patent protected by the corporation that created it in their laboratory, which ultimately hinders third party and government research into their safety.

Why label GMO's? 

Unfortunately we can not see what ingredients were genetically modified with our eyes. It takes lots of personal energy to decipher which products "may contain GMO's" versus which products are clean and free of laboratory created organisms.  Here's a list of the most common GM crops:


High-Risk Crops**:
  • Alfalfa (first planting 2011)
  • Canola (approx. 90% of U.S. crop)
  • Corn (approx. 88% of U.S. crop in 2011)
  • Cotton (approx. 90% of U.S. crop in 2011)
  • Papaya (most of Hawaiian crop; approximately 988 acres)
  • Soy (approx. 94% of U.S. crop in 2011)
  • Sugar Beets (approx. 95% of U.S. crop in 2010)
  • Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash (approx. 25,000 acres)

How To Support Non-GMO Month:

1. Buy organic, USDA regulations prohibit the use of GMO's in any product certified Organic. 

2. Look for the NON GMO Project label, this product has gone through a 3rd party certification process to ensure it is indeed free of GMO's. 

3. If shopping at Whole Foods, check out their 365 Everyday Value® products. Ingredients are sourced to avoid GMO's and hundreds of them have been NON GMO Project certified and the rest are in process. Here's a list of NON GMO Project verified products you can find at Whole Foods Market. 


 

Related information, Food Allergy Facts:

Up to 15 Million Americans have food allergies.

According to a study released by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies increased approximately 50% between 1997 and 2011.

Why have food allergies sky rocketed since GMO's were added to our food supply? Are we allergic to these foods or what has been done to them in a laboratory which is causing reactions in our bodies?


Sources:
Food Allergy Research and Education,
**Non-Gmo Project 
EPA regulates Bt Corn as Pesticide

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I have a $25 Whole Foods Market Gift Card to giveaway!
To Enter:

1. A comment equals one entry, comment as much as you wish, I will transfer over FB comments. Please leave a valid email address if you comment as anonymous.

2. Contest will close on Friday October 24th, 2014 at 10pm MST. 

3. 1 winner will be chosen from comments by Random. Org and notified via email.

4. Address must be provided within 24 hours or a new winner will be selected, the gift card will be shipped directly by the supplier of the giveaway.  

5. Open to US residents only. 



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Disclaimer, I was compensated by Whole Foods Market as a WFM Ambassador for this post and giveaway! Content is purely at my discretion. 


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Update the winner is comment #17, Neil K! I will be contacting you for your address. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Celebrating American Cheese Makers

photo source: WFM blog
October is American Cheese month and there is no better way to celebrate then by consuming some American made cheese! Did you know that Whole Foods Market employs over 200 Certified Cheese Professionals, which is more than half of the entire world's certified cheesemongers? Beyond all the accolades, I love sourcing cheese from Whole Foods for a variety of reasons. In the cheese department, you can try it before you buy it, just ask for a sample. My top reason for loving Whole Foods for cheese (other than the employees in the cheese department) is that you don't have to commit to the portion that is precut. You can ask someone to cut a portion to your exact specifications. This simple service has allowed us the opportunity to purchase and try a variety of cheeses, even a few that may be out of our normal budget. Confession, I love splurging on cheese.

My favorites and a few new ones we tried!

Haystack Mountain Applewood Smoked Chèvre is a local cheese, we've been buying for years. I love all of the Haystack Mountain's Chèvres. (goat)

Humbolt Fog by Cypress Grove, produced in Arcata, California. (goat) We've loved this cheese for years and have a special connection to Arcata, so are bellies are extra content when we eat it!

Kite Hill artisanal nut based cheeses. Great to add to a party platter for guests that have dietary restrictions!

Point Reyes Blue Cheese (cow) from California, you always need a blue cheese to bring a well rounded experience to a cheese plate! Zing! We also love Rogue Creamery from Oregon!

We always have a cheddar on our plate as well, but I urge you to talk to someone in the cheese department of your local Whole Foods Market and try a new cheddar! Venture out.

Related Links:
Cathy Strange, @WFMcheese is the global cheese buyer for Whole Foods Market and I love following her on twitter!

American Cheese Society Certified Professionals Directory (find one near you, great resources as well)


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Disclaimer, I was compensated by Whole Foods Market as a WFM Ambassador for this post. Content is purely at my discretion. 


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Total Lunar Eclipse, My Kind of Magic

4:15 am came faster than my mind had anticipated. I rolled over to look out the window and see if I could catch a glimpse of the moon from the comfort of my own bed. Nope. I got out of bed, pressed my nose onto the cold glass and let my eyes search for a glowing white orb. Nope. Dammit, reality hit me, I was going to have to put on pants, more than likely a sweatshirt, and a hat before heading out in the dark to watch the lunar eclipse. As I was about to open the front door, instinctively I grabbed the wool blanket off the sofa. The concrete sidewalk was cold on my feet, that just moments ago were snuggled under a down blanket. I walked fifteen paces and turned around, there it was, the moon aglow entering into the first phases of the eclipse. The moon magically hung in the clear night sky, the bottom beginning to show hints of a beautiful burgundy meets pumpkin, red and orange melding on the surface, the earth starting to cast it's shadow, the sun coming up from behind our backs, a glowing white crescent was hanging on the top right side to the very end.

A shooting star flashed across the night sky.

my super cheesy iPhone photo! I HAD TO!
It got dramatic around 5:20 am, the moon just disappeared. Sun, earth, moon aligned in that very moment and we were witness. We found ourselves laughing a lot, on the front lawn, curled up in blankets, appreciating the quiet of our surrounding and captivated by what we were witnessing. It didn't feel ridiculous to be up at that time of the morning, it felt magical. I thought about how many hundreds of thousands of pairs of eyes were staring into the night sky, waiting and watching, just like us.

As soon as the moon dipped below the Rocky Mountains, I gathered up my warm blanket and went directly back to bed, not to return to a slumber, but to be still and ruminate on what I had just experienced. Sleep can come tonight. A blood moon, total lunar eclipse, the type of splendor memories are made of.

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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Paint Meets The Page: Stay The Course

Last night, I could've turned on the computer and watched something on Netflix or mindlessly surfed the web, but I didn't. I picked up my cup of murky grey paint water, walked over to the sink, dumped it out, and refilled the cup with clear water. I watched the muddled grey paint leave my brush as I rinsed it clean. I was discontent with not being able to accomplish what I had set out to do earlier, simply fill a page in my sketchbook, so I started fresh. I put classical music on and propped the dj style headphones on my ears. I opened to a blank page and wondered what would happen.

For me, the creative process is not being in love with what I produce. It's simply taking the time, staying the course, remaining on the page when more times than not, my brain is telling me to rip out the page. Be done, let it go. At one point late into the evening I looked down and saw about 3 remaining blank inches on the page. I could see the finish line, I was almost there, and I saw it through to completion. I set down my brush and smiled, turned my journal upside down, and just observed what was on the page before me. What I created is not framable, it's simple a page in a sketchbook journal. It will remind me of the night I didn't give in to disappointment. It will remind me that if I push on through, I can find harmony when I feel like it has otherwise escaped me.

Life lessons, they come sweeping in unexpectedly sometimes.

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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Paint Meets The Page

Today I felt the desire to pull out my watercolors and release some paint on the pages of my sketchbook. I wasn't looking to complete a piece worthy of hanging on the walls, I was just giving my brain some creative space, asking it to accept what was spilled onto the page, allowing my hand to move freely and create.  Sometimes when I paint I feel anxious because so many aspects of the process lack control. I can't control how the paint meets the page, already wet from a previous brush stroke, or how the paint appears one way on my pallet, but vastly different in my sketchbook. 

Meh.
I fought my mind today, a few times. I started panting a purple flower I had taken a photo of last week on a hike. I applied the paint really thick and it almost appeared like acrylic, instead of watercolor. The heaviness of it irked me. I happily drenched my paint brush with water, applied it to the flower, and washed it away. A faint purple wash remained on the page. I moved onto organic lines and brush strokes, different thicknesses, mixing colors, allowing shapes to meet, and keeping shapes isolated. At one point I was really enjoying how it turned out and then I felt the overwhelming desire to rip it out of my sketchbook, so out it went. I couldn't capture what my mind was craving. 

I sat back, looked at the page on my bed and felt disappointed. I decided it was about the process, watching the paint leave my brush, waiting to see how vastly different the paint dried on my page versus when it was applied, fighting my mind that just wanted to see all the white of the page swallowed up by harmonious brush strokes. Accepting today was not the day I would experience that harmony. 

…maybe next time. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

This is Eleven

Some days 11 comes sweeping over me like an unexpected gust of wind. I sit and keenly observe the smallest details of 11 years of life, like how an everyday giggle reveals the dimples I once marveled in during her first days after birth. 11 is just different, it's right on the cusp of the world opening up to a new found independence. For me, I sense the independence when she hops in the shower without needing the water adjusted or when I see her ballet bag packed and hanging on the doorknob for her class following school. Sometimes those tiny gestures just quietly rattle me. They rattle me in the sense of how quickly the last 11 years have passed, but also they delight me in recognizing what a wonderful young woman she is becoming.

We celebrated her 11th birthday with a sushi dinner where she ordered sashimi and a kids meal, which seemed so appropriate for 11, one foot in childhood and one well seasoned foodie foot firmly planted. I sat across the table from her, full of joy through out the entire meal. I laughed as her cheeks lit up bright red when the lights dimmed, the disco ball was turned on, and the entire restaurant sang her happy birthday, a candle just balanced in a ball of green tea ice cream placed in front of her. As she blew out the lone candle, my mind thought for the millionth time that day, this is 11.

11.

We walked across the street to the Boulder Theater to watch,  Pretty Faces, a ski movie made by Lynsey Dyer, which was the first ski movie to be entirely composed of all women athletes. At 11, my daughter, an avid skier since the age of 3, sat in the sold out Boulder Theater and watched a ski movie all about women skiers. The athletes came on stage, they signed posters, and my girl had her photo taken with Lynsey, a kick ass advocate and role model for girls. That old time notion, the world is your oyster, it was palpable that night.

Life is so incredibly beautiful at 11, I can only imagine the places it will go.

Unicorn Picnic | Pretty Faces Teaser from Unicorn Picnic Productions on Vimeo.







Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Welcome, Colorado Bento Posts!

From 2009 to 2012 I started publishing a lunch packing inspiration blog called Colorado Bento. I have decided to close down that blog, but imported all the posts which can be found under the Colorado Bento tag. I certainly feel inspired to start to post some bento lunches on Eat Play Love, stay tuned!


More specific tags (click through on sidebar) can also be found such as:

Adult Bento (2)
bento commentary (13)
Bento Tips (10)
breakfast for lunch (3)
colorado bento (116)
Feature Friday (2)
Food Revolution (3)
giveaways (2)
Green Alternatives (2)
Hot Bento (7)
Kids Bento (58)
Laptop Lunches (24)
leftovers (16)
lunch suggestions (12)
LunchBots (6)
nut free (1)
Panda Bento (14)
Recipes (1)
snack bento (3)
Tiffin (2)
Where to buy (5)

Monday, September 29, 2014

And The Heat Kicked On

I first heard a creak, followed by a slight clattering in the metal pipes, another creak, and a faint bubbling sound almost reminiscent of what one hears when the hose is turned on outside and you are still inside. My nose confirmed what my ears had already caught wind of. It's that mild something-could-be-burning familiar smell, which made my brain automatically think I inadvertently left the oven on. No, I didn't leave the oven on, the heat kicked on. My home is heated with water, running through copper pipes, jutting along the baseboard of one wall in every room. It's 1962 nostalgia at it's finest.

But the simple automated action of the heat turning on, surprised me.

The weekend was beautifully warm, full of sunshine, hiking in tank top weather, and today, the thermostat read 65 degrees in my house. The calendar tells me I should be wearing sweaters and jeans, that it's time to put away my sandals and take out my wool knee high socks and leather boots. While I long to wrap myself up in my dormant cozy clothes, I'm not quite ready to say goodbye to the warmth and sunshine filled summer days. By 7pm, the sun has dipped on the other side of the mountains and our wool throw from Iceland has never looked better. Autumn, sweep over me with hot tea after dinner, my 12 year old Brooklyn hoodie, and those fuzzy lined slippers that have been waiting patiently for your return.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Happy Seven Years Ago

Nothing quite marks the milestone of seven years blogging, like forgetting about that oh so special day.  That special day was August 13, a month late, a dollar short? Eat Play Love is not feeling a collective warm and fuzzy hug. Eat Play Love did not get a surprise party celebration. Eat Play Love is more like the balloon in the corner that's slowly deflating, a week after the party (that's inspired by a Ben Harper lyric).

My feet are so grounded in the place I am currently in my life, I should be inspired to be writing more. I am definitely wiser than I was seven years ago, I almost feel brimming over with ideas to share. And yet that most common writer's dilemma is plaguing me, where do I start? I've had this draft page open for a few days now, I click on it, write a few lines, I click on it delete a few lines, close it, open it, think of including photos, delete a paragraph, and decide just post the damn thing already.

Now a visual flashback. Maybe you remember some of these blog headers. Where has the time gone...






Saturday, September 6, 2014

Inspired and Accomplished, Soulcrafting With RedCamper

There's no purer way to my heart, than giving me the opportunity to dabble. As for my heart, it walked away from one evening Soulcrafting, purring a happy rhythm. I've never really been drawn to one hobby, I like to dabble in many things from DIY home projects to sewing to jewelry making to baking to gardening to painting. I love learning new handicrafts and practical skills, but often find it difficult to self motivate or commit to month long weekly classes.

Welcome, the dreamy, Soulcrafting. Soulcrafting has done the legwork, created the contacts with  amazing local master craftspeople, and set up the easiest way to continue your journey of lifelong learning right in your backyard through their class offerings! Leatherwork, home brewing, metal crafting, jam making, cheese making, kombucha brewing, gardening, tie making, are a just a few ways to dabble with help from Soulcrafting. If there is a skill you've been longing to try your hand at, the wonderful folks over at Soulcrafting will create the experience for you. I am already dreaming up multiple ways to celebrate birthdays with friends and family! Remember I said dreamy, maybe I meant really dreamy.

A few weeks ago I was invited by Soulcrafting to join Maura from RedCamper who is the creative genius behind Deliciousness jams. I've taken a canning class before, but it paled in comparison to learning from someone that is a creative powerhouse. Three of us joined Maura in her test kitchen (aka her house) to learn how to make jam. Maura has a brilliant palate and creativity just oozes from her, sitting in her home was so inspiring. I've always felt like people's homes help tell their story and Maura's just complimented her wonderfully. Before I knew it we were elbows deep in peeling apricots, boiling, measuring, pouring, and recipe testing an apricot-rosemary-rum-jam and a apricot-cinnamon-rum-jam! The night passed too quickly and not only did I leave with a bag full of goodies, I left full with the type of joy I only find when I take time out for myself.

Here's a glimpse into our evening, pure love and gratitude:



Related links:
Gracefull Plate, Soulcrafting with RedCamper
Soulcrafting's website,  Twitter, Facebook.

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My evening was provided by Soulcrafting, but my excitement was purely a product of that evening. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

WFM August Giveaway Winner


The winner of the Whole Foods Market gift card was comment #8! Dee!


I've never tried grilled peaches but it looks delicious! I love grilled pineapple too. :)

I will be contacting you for your address!