Sunday, January 4, 2015

Facebook, Ties that Unbind Us

Facebook provides a false sense of connection, in my humble opinion. Facebook has allowed us to accept that we are indeed staying in touch with others, when really is a thumbs up an affirmation of your connection to that human being? The majority of Facebook users have come to believe they are keeping a pulse on what's happening with those in their social circle, whether it be family, friends, acquaintances, work mates, or your favorite person from Zumba class. I mean come on, you saw photos of me on vacation, at my child's school event, girls pedicures, date night, view from the top of a mountain, hitting the ski slopes, outside my favorite restaurant in NYC, or the Pinterest inspired craft I completed with my girls. Our connection must run deep, having all that select insight into my life. The majority have come to believe this is how we communicate now, but it's not. Not for me anyway.

Facebook is not connection, it's anti-connection.

Over the past few years we've accepted passive communication as a tool to keep in touch with the people that have come into your life. It's dull, for the most part it's one dimensional, it's lacking life. I don't need to present you with a Huffington Post article for you to recognize that the majority of what you are viewing is a highly edited version of what people want you to believe about them. You are viewing their life through a happy lens. Not to mention, you are only seeing a slim percentage of updates from your entire network, thanks to Facebook algorithms, which may be the most annoying part of my entire debate. Facebook is no longer real time, it's a version of real time, the version Facebook believes you should see. Thanks, but no thanks Facebook.

Which brings me to my love for observing people in public, it's part of my intuitive nature and part nosy ol' me, oh and is steeped in my Cultural Anthropology degree. Everyone has witnessed the Facebook obsessed public displays. Sitting at a dinner with 6 friends, but zoned in on your iPhone checking to see what's happening in your Facebook feed? The people at the table with you don't really matter, don't deserve your time and attention? But look Geri from high school who I haven't spoken with in twenty years is at the beach with her kids! Then there's the depressing family of four at Easter Brunch, both parents on Facebook, two small boys, sharing an iPad playing a game. Son asks Mom a question, after the third time she hears him, replies with in a minute. Gutted. I could go on and on and on. About a year ago, I started taking photos of people in groups engaged with their devices instead of the people around them, indeed I do I have a photo of that family from brunch. I haven't quite decided what to do with the photos, they are depressing.

Can we just stop and think if this what we want, what we are embracing, what we have turned into? Do we love watered down versions of people instead the fully dimensional whole beings that we interact with day in and day out. It's not what I want. I need people in my life to call me out on my shit because they know my shit, I let them in on it, and they know the lows as much as they know the finer moments. For me the only way to deepen our connection is to be wholly who we are, not an algorithmic version on top of a happy wonderful life filter. Lets get real together.

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Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Gift of Time and Labor

Winter break has turned into this gift of time for us, I'm off of work, and so is Josh. It's 17 days long, two full weeks off of school, and a bonus Monday off for a teacher work day. While yes, the holiday hoopla is in full swing for a large part of the break, we've really honed in on how to enjoy the downtime. Joy has come from ice skating with my family and our good friends on a lake in the mountains, joy has come from sledding the local hill, skiing a few days, preparing meals together, learning how to play our new board game, and lots of hanging out. Joy also came in deciding not to travel.

Which leads me to some unconventional joy (slash awakening) I experienced. My 8 year old desperately needed her room cleaned and organized, one of the those full top to bottom cleanings, complete with next size clothing pulled out from bins in the storage closet. The kind of cleaning you often whisper under your breath, if I only had the time. Well, for once I did have the time. Oh goodness, the things I did unearth, like her used tissue collection behind her chapter books on her book shelf. And the cobwebs, it was like it's very own ecosystem hiding behind her curtains in the very reaches of the window that we clearly never take a moment to notice.

Then deep feelings start creeping in, the very real feelings of avoidance. My daughter is 8, and while I do expect her to keep her dirty laundry in her hamper, I certainly don't expect her to keep the dust at bay in the far reaches of shelves, or underneath her heavy trundle bed cleaned and vacuumed. I just carried on with the task at hand, working through the feelings that would bubble up for me, reminding myself that I am not avoiding anymore, I am dealing head on.

The energy to deal carried right through to Sj's room. My oldest, my oddly type-A child that keeps her room looking wonderful complete with a daily made bed… UNTIL you open a dresser drawer, or my goodness get down on your hands and knees and start reaching for what is under her dresser, under her bed, and find the stuff that is in my nightmares. Oh that girl. For her, her bedroom overhaul, came with lessons, and visualizing how a pajama drawer actually means a place to store, pajamas. We hung posters, framed her favorite art work, vacuumed and dusted, and washed her windows. When you walk by her room you can almost hear that high pitched bling, a delightful sound to me that means the storage matches the appearance.

Once I got over beating myself up for everything I have been avoiding, I basked in what the other side feels like. I let the momentum flow. This break has turned into a defining moment for me, taking back nooks and crannies, what's happening behind a closet door, under the sofa, in the quaint basket filled shelving system, under the refrigerator, heck IN THE REFRIGERATOR. Deep cleaning, deep breaths, and an organizational overhaul that never felt so good. I want to remember the glorious feeling that comes with being on the other side of the labor, my cup of coffee this morning seems to taste better as I sit back and appreciate my newly zushed bookshelf, free of sunscreen, bills, nail clippers, advertisements, school photos, random LEGO pieces, and everything else that seems to land there.

A new year, a new commitment to maintain the momentum, to not slip back into comfort, to not allow myself to avoid what's right in front of me. I did a lot of letting go through the physical process of cleaning, letting go of what I haven't been, and visualizing what I want to be. I can do this, I want this, I can create it.

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 * CREATE

cre·ate |krēˈāt|
verb
  • bring (something) into existence.
  • cause (something) to happen as a result of one's actions.

Create. In 2015 I'm setting my intentions on creating. Once again I've chosen a simple word that is full of endless possibilities (2014*Nurture). Eleven and eight years ago respectively, I made the most beautiful creations of my lifetime, and I happily spend my time arms wholly wrapped around them, tending and nurturing their needs. As my girls grow and develop the need for their own space, I experience small glimpses of time that I can use to tap back into my creative side, a side that often drives my daily life, without the attention it deserves. My creative side is often soft and whispering to me, but  I want to give it a voice. 

In 2015, I will make time and space to create.  In the most practical sense, that ultimately means creating balance and time to do things that fulfill Me. Yes, Me. I want to embrace the bubbling over of my desire to create with my hands, an open heart, and a wisdom that has arrived in the most profound and yet wonderful ways. Create what? I'd love to start with a journal of writing, a full sketchbook, I want the white canvases that sit dusty in a storage closet to come to life with vibrance. The loudest and most reoccurring whisper I hear is to pick up my paint brushes again. I vow to listen. More practically, I want to create routine that will lead to harmony in my home-family life. I thrive when creating organization, when everything falls into it's place, and maintaining that through routine is the piece that is lacking for me. I will reclaim it. Harmony will naturally give way to more time to create. It's the creative circle that will surround me, harmony through routine, golden nuggets of time leading to expressive outlets, and around we go again. 

Here are some ways I've set my intentions on create. 

Create

  • everyday routine
  • time and space for self expression
  • openness to nurture relationships in my life
  • expressive momentum
  • confidence to achieve
  • the ability to hear my heart's whispers
  • a new connection to the artist inside
  • a lens to see myself that is gentle and assuring 
  • space to experience my full being

Twitter, My Happy Place


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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Sit Back and Relax, Instacart Brings Whole Foods Market Directly To Your Door!

The holiday rush begins late November, once Thanksgiving is upon us it's swiftly moving straight through to Happy New Year. It's funny because we all have so many events to attend, concerts, cookie swaps, open houses, work parties, but we still need to maintain our everyday lives. Laundry, grocery shopping, bill paying, how do we make all the moving parts work or heck just coast on through?

Welcome, Instacart grocery delivery service.

The way Instacart works, there's a $10 order minimum, they set their pricing (you pay what you see on the screen and get an Instacart receipt, not one from Whole Foods), first delivery is free and then goes up to $3.99 or $5.99 depending on which option you select based on timing.

Sit back and relax in the comfort of your home and let someone else do your shopping!

I found the Instacart site to be very user friendly, shopping by category and searching items, it had everything that was on my list. The website updates in real time, telling you the order has been placed, who is out shopping for you, and when the order is complete and delivery is on its way! 


When you log into your account, it alerts you to the fastest shopping option! I placed an order on a snowy Monday evening around 8pm and it arrived by 9:30pm (I live about 15 minutes from Whole Foods Market). 


Here's a look into what your order summary looks like, the item you ordered, the size, and the price. As I mentioned, Instacart sets their pricing, I didn't find any major discrepancies between what I normally pay and I actually purchased a handful of Instacart Sale Items! You can put notes on any item, for example I ordered coffee from bulk and noted I wanted a medium roast.


Overall experience as a first time Instacart user was definitely a positive one. I received one phone call from my shopper, he couldn't find a couple of items, and wanted to make substitutions with my permission. I was a bit concerned that he didn't really know the ins and outs of Whole Foods, but definitely gave him the benefit of the doubt (I directed him to where a couple items were). His substitutions actually saved me some money. I didn't order much produce because I am a bit of a control freak when it comes to produce and I how I like to select it. The produce items I did receive, were to my liking (see, I can give up control)!

I will definitely be using Instacart again, I don't know if it would totally replace all of my shopping needs, but I can see it helping take some of the pressure off on weeks where I am overwhelmed.

I just clicked onto my Instacart page and this is what I was greeted with, some of the last items I purchased and the window of delivery. I personally like the reminders and I am definitely a creature of habit and tend to buy the same brands or items weekly!


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Disclaimer, I was compensated by Whole Foods Market as an ambassador to try out the Instacart delivery service, all photos and ideas are my own. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Solidify Our Vibrancy

There was something about the small white padded envelope that was stuffed into my mailbox that stirred emotion deep inside me. I recognized the handwriting on the envelope, just like I would the voice on the other end of the phone before the days of caller id. Inside the package was a birthday card full of wisdom and a rose quartz heart. Rose quartz represents love, is known to heal the heart, calm emotions, and even help to release suppressed emotions. Sitting on my couch, just in from a long day at work, the small box open, the card still in my hands, I could feel my eyes well up with tears. It was the gesture that caught me off guard, the sentiment.

Technology has graced us with so many gifts, but it's also dulled our vibrant connections. While a constant stream of text based well wishes throughout my birthday lit me up with a smile, none of them brought a rise to my heart like the white padded envelope or a voice on the other end of a call. Even a phone call is a rare gesture these days, when a text can so easily do the job, a call solidifies our vibrancy. A single day out of the entire year it's nice to be reminded of our connections, it feeds my heart and soul.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

We Needed Milk

There was no sign of sunshine out my bedroom window. I tossed and turned, knowing I wouldn't fall back to sleep. I have an unspoken rule to not get out of bed while it's still dark out, unless I absolutely have to. Then my mind focused on the fact that we are going on three mornings with no milk in the house. Two days in a row I drank coffee sans milk. TWO DAYS.

So I dragged my ass out of bed and went to the store, at 6:30 am.

It wasn't light out yet and the first sign that I should not be functioning outside my house at that hour, was a car coming head on towards me head where normally two lanes travel east. What in the world was going on?!? Oh just some magically appeared overnight road construction, bright lights, and a glimpse of a ginormous hole dug out in the westbound lanes. I safely pulled into the parking lot.

I tried to focus on what I needed as the brisk air came rushing over me walking into the store. I grabbed a basket instead of a cart, which was mistake number one. A basket is always my attempt to keep it simple, only what I can carry. Remember I was just running in for milk, that damn milk they put in the very back corner of the store, curse grocery store designers.

Oh my goodness, there was inventory going on, all these random people with hand scanners. Then to top it off, they were rearranging the shelves. The cereal aisle was GONE, the shelves were empty. Why me. I powered through, waking more with each step, I felt like I was in a dream. Fruit, bread, puffs, two KIND bars, gallon of organic milk, yogurt. I put down the heavy milk to pick out the yogurt, then I grabbed some organic chicken tenders. I got to the register and truthfully looked around like where the hell is the milk I came in for? Oh yeah, the milk I set down to pick out my yogurt? I told the woman running the self checkout registers that I had to go back and get the milk I spaced. My check out did not go smoothly, a container of yogurt I picked up was cracked and leaking. The quart of yogurt I picked up instead of my gallon of milk needed to be put back on the shelf. I accidentally scanned an item getting out my reusable bag and I could not figure out what item it was.

I've come to two conclusions, self check out should not be open until people are properly caffeinated or I should just stay in bed until the sun rises.

Do over?


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

My MasterChef Junior

Somehow last year we discovered Master Chef Junior, even without having broadcast television. Maybe it was fate, as the girls have become devoted to Chefs Graham, Gordon, and Joe. Not to mention, they are incredibly inspired by the contestants ranging in age from 8 to 12. Granted they've always been great helpers in the kitchen, but now they want to take charge. Tonight, Sj made dinner, full on by herself, the entire meal. Rice which she cooked with turkey bone broth (we had already prepared after Thanksgiving) topped with a sauté of turkey, carrots, onion, kale, and herbs. Of course she even garnished the dish with fresh parsley because isn't presentation just as important as the food itself?


How lucky am I? Trust me, I know. 

Side note, here's a funny interaction I had on Twitter with Graham Elliot because he's awesome!




Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Welcome, XXIII

Twenty-three. 23. XXIII. Twenty-three is one of the most powerful prime numbers, only second to seventeen in my opinion. Although, thirteen is my favorite prime number and culturally speaking we could easily agree that thirteen carries the heaviest cloud of superstition over it.
Redwood Forest, 1993
And today, December 2nd, marks twenty-three years J and I have been together. More importantly, December 2nd was the day we picked to mark our anniversary of being together. We were hanging out a lot before the 2nd, but a year into it and I felt like we needed a commemorative date. While the cliche is, in a blink of an eye, I can't really quite fathom how twenty-three years have passed. How do you wrap your arms around that? Two decades and three years. I could think of a hundred ways to make the number and I'm not quite sure it would solidify the magnitude of this milestone.

This human being came into my life when I was a child. While the first sight of him left my heart racing and cheeks red, over the next few years our friendship blossomed. Once we became romantically intertwined, we never once hit the stop button. I never saw twenty-three years into our future, but here I am basking in it. I contemplate how the chemistry stays so incredibly vibrant and our communication styles fail time and time again, only to be reinvented. We continue on, navigating new territory, learning from yesterday and discovering just how wonderful twenty-three years later could be.

It's like everything and nothing has changed, simultaneously.

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Monday, December 1, 2014

December. D E C E M B E R. December.

December arrived with a double take. This morning I was half asleep, did one of those eyes closed blind reaches to grab my iPhone from my nightstand, pressed the home button to see what time it was, when my eyes transfixed on Monday, December 1. DECEMBER. I was instantly awake, December woke me right up. I've found with December, it's sometimes easier to hop up and buckle in, and enjoy the roller coaster ride that ends with Auld Lang Syne.




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.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Whole Foods Market, Hostess and Party Go-To's

It's simply that time of year when even an invitation to a party becomes a thing. Does this sound familiar? Oh no we need to bring a side dish, by the way honey I said I'd bring dessert, what are giving your sister the hostess? Our plates are already so full, sometimes 10 minutes is all we have to spare on our way to a party. That's why my holiday party drive by is always Whole Foods Market.

Side dish, gluten free, dairy free, nut free? I certainly can find that at WFM. With out having the pressure of doing the cooking for dietary needs, I trust Whole Foods Market to have an option.

Dessert? Cranberry Apple Pear Crostada is always a hit and at $7.99 I can pick up two! We also love all of their petite desserts and pick up a dozen or so for smaller gatherings, they are so festive.

Cheese and Crackers? Here are some of my favorite picks. A couple unique cheeses always spruce up an appetizer spread. Or if you are feeling really adventurous and have like 20 minutes to peruse the cheese shop, create a Charcuterie Board which is always a hit.

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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. 

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.