Everything is a lesson and a reason to grow. I feel it more than ever this week. I have so much to figure out, and I'm just beginning on the path. But I'm on a cusp. My brain is reeling more than ever, and tiny things are clicking. I get it, I get it! Is that enlightenment? Who knows. All I do know for now, is that it was another week enjoyed, another week lived.
Love to you all.
This past week I went to listen to a Reiki practitioner talk. Her lecture went over the basics of chakras and their applications to life. Many things she said were full of meaning, but at one point she told a little story that really struck me. She was talking about her three young daughters. At times when they're out of control, kids being kids, the moment gets the better of her. She finds herself being a mother that she doesn't want to be, and has to take a step back to remember how thankful she is to have them. They are the single most important thing in her life, and she has to take care of them being the best mom she can.
How many times have you found yourself snapping when you don't mean to, just like this? You use a rude tone with your mother and regret it later. Maybe you get annoyed with your job, and don't act like the employee you want to be. Things like this happen because we forget to slow down and put what is occurring into perspective. How do you really feel about the person you just yelled at, would you ever want to treat them that way? Perhaps you should be thankful for the fact that they are in your life, and don't forget, you're one lucky motherfucker for even having a job these days. Look at things for what they are, and you will realize that you should be thankful for most of it.
Out of gratitude, grows spirit. By being thankful for the things and people around us, we find the comportment that we wish to have. Take the time to remember it. Move a bit slower, use control, stop yourself before you say something you don't mean to. Give your inner being the time to acknowledge and it will take care of reacting in a positive way. The first step is remembering to be grateful. It may take some practice, but the best version of your spirit will grow from there.
Right now, in the depths of winter, there is nothing I love more than a bowl of hot soup. It's comforting and healthy all at the same time. I've made it a ritual to cook a giant pot of soup every Sunday during this time of year. What I do is freeze half, and then take the rest for lunches during the week. It's a great way to have easy, ready-to-eat meals around that aren't tv dinners. We all know how much I love chemically preserved resemblances of food.
Anywho, I made this guy the other day, and I have to say, I'm extremely proud of it. It tasted....orgasmic. I love creamed soups, but can't bring myself to ingest that amount of high fat dairy. So instead, I made a little experiment with some coconut milk, and it came out a vegan phenomen. There is something so satisfying about making something from scratch, and the added bonus points for making it vegan put me on cloud nine. This tomato soup is the ultimate comfort food, pair it with a piece of multigrain toast that has avocado smeared on top and your set. Your welcome. Enjoy.
15 Medium Vine Tomatoes
2 Small Yellow Onions
1 Celery Stalk
5 Sprigs Thyme
3 Garlic Cloves
1 Can Coconut Milk
1 Cup Orzo
1. Preheat oven to 350 F
2. Cut tomatoes in half, and lay them out on a foil-lined cookie sheet that has been greased with a bit of olive oil.
3. Drizzle tomatoes with some more olive oil on top and then roast for about 20 minutes, until skins begin to shrivel and split.
4. While your tomatoes are roasting, finely chop your onion and celery keeping them separate and then clean and chop the herbs.
5. Once you take your tomatoes out of the oven, begin sauteing onions and whole garlic in a bit of olive oil over a low/medium flame.
6. Once your onions are completely see through, kill the flame, stir in herbs, and let sit.
7. Now you will want to peel the skins off of your tomatoes. Because you roasted them, they should come off very simply by just using your fingers. Be careful, they might still be a bit hot, but it's easiest to peel when they are.
8. Using a hand blender (or food processor if you don't have one) puree onion and garlic mixture.
9. Add in 2/3 of your tomatoes and coconut milk, and then puree until creamy.
10. Add the rest of your tomatoes, and then puree just a bit, so they are still a slightly chunky (if you like some chunk, if not, just add all of the tomatoes in step 9).
11. Put everything in a pot back on the stove over a low flame, and add orzo and celery.
12. Stirring constantly so that you don't get exploding soup, cook for another 15 minutes.
13. Let sit until orzo is fully cooked, and then serve or let chill and freeze.
Came across this little shop, Beklina, and found myself lusting after many of their pieces. They have especially unique homewares, any many items are made with sustainable materials by local (to the shop) artisans. Of course, the prices reflect the craftmanship here, and aren't cheap. I may be lusting for a bit longer, perhaps indefinitely, but I can still appreciate what this shop is doing. There are many pieces I would happily own in here.
It's officially a new year according to the Chinese calendar - the year of the snake - and yesterday we went out to celebrate. The day began with dim sum bright and early (for a weekend) and went on to include bubble tea, firecrackers, and the suns lion dance parade. The stimulation was at an all-time high with so many foreign things to take in. I've never been to a Chinese new year celebration before, but boy are they fun. Giant firecrackers go off and make your question your safety. No space precautions are taken, and your adrenalin gets pumping from the blasts. Drums, boom boom, set a baseline that reverberates through your veins. People push you from every angle, and colorful costumed dragons twist and wind to they rhythms all around. When the firecrackers finally quiet down, the dragon retrieves the cabbage and moves onto the next stopping point, where it all begins again. Slowly, they slither their way through Chinatown like so.
It was a fun adventure, and it might just become a tradition. After all, I have Chinese family now!
Also, dim sum is the new brunch. Get on it.
My office is located at Philadelphia's most southern tip, in the old Navy Yard. It's a beautiful place to be, with old retired battle ships, sprawling greens, and old general's houses with wrap around porches. Nowadays many companies are moving in and setting up camp. The yard has officially reached 10,000 employees, and last week we had free lunch to celebrate! They brought down 10 or 15 of the best food trucks in the city and let us go at it. Even better is that I'm broke and had no lunch that day, so I was super stoked on the free food. Fun times.
You wouldn't think that there could be so many butterflies in the world. You wouldn't think everything could change in an instant. But there are, and it does.
At the heart of his paper was the notion that fairy tales relieved us of our need for order and allowed us impossible, irrational desires. Magic was real, that was his thesis. This thesis was at the very center of chaos theory - if the tiniest of actions reverberated throughout the universe in invisible and unexpected ways, changing the weather and the climate, then anything was possible. The girl who sleeps for a hundred years does so because of a single choice to thread a needle. The golden ball that falls down the well rattles the world, changing everything. The bird that drops a feather, the butterfly that moves its wings, all of it drifts across the universe, through the woods, to the other side of the mountain. The dust you breathe in was once breathed out. The person you are, the weather around you, all of it a spell you can't understand or explain.
I thought about how the familiar imprinted itself on you...I had questioned how it was possible for this man to love me all along, but I had finally begun to understand the reason: I knew him. If he came to me as a bear or a deer, I would still know him. If I were blind, if it was dusk, if a hundred years had passed, I'd still know. That couldn't be taken away, despite ruin, despite time.
If someone had told me of her plan, I could have chased after the car for miles. But it wouldn't have mattered. She had already decided. She took one last moment of care to make certain we wouldn't be hungry when we woke. When she saw the ice she probably felt she was lucky. Maybe that was her final wish. Some luck for once in her life. The life she'd had enough of. When she leaned down to kiss me good-bye maybe I heard it in her voice. She said, Good-bye, my darling girl. It may have been easier to blame myself than to think she would leave us that way. If she came back now, I do think she would know me; she'd still recognize me.
To think, I used to be afraid. I used to run and hide. Now I look upward...I hope what I'm seeing is the ever after. I hope it's you.
Above: beautiful excerpts from Alice Hoffman's novel, The Ice Queen, and compositions by me
There are points in life when you feel like you're really doing something. Those times when you look around and nod your head yes, happy with where you're at. I've been going through a hectic few weeks, but life has been very satisfying. The hours are packed with hard work, hobbies, adventures, and love. Busied with all good things and proud of my accomplishments, I've been feeling very content.
Work has been a pile of projects and endless to-do's. It could have been daunting, and yes there were points where it was, but overall I breathed in and out and checked tasks off with calm. There have been weekends at the office to crank out more, but actually it was serene. Little Marley hung beside me as I plowed through, getting to do a lot with my hands. Painting and making and crafting, the lavender and glitter can't seem to disappear from my desk. No matter how much I scrub, it's all a sign of enjoyment that I don't really mind lingering.
When the sun has gone down and I've been able to finally rip myself from the office, I've managed to have a full life outside of work. I find that it's important to have this and keep living into the night. If all you experience is the daily grind, it gets monotonous and one-dimensional. You need to have those outside events - laughing, tasting, growing - to round out the experience of life and keep it full, bursting at the seams. I know this and I stand for it. I've been putting my foot down when I need to. After all, you're the only one who can watch out for yourself, and I make sure to protect what makes me happy.
The last cog in the puzzle that has kept me content, is the time I've maintained for myself. I have a lot of hobbies that I want to work on, and namely a few main focuses. I've been sticking to my yoga and gym sessions. I finished a good book. I kept my room clean, and I cooked up delicious, healthy meals using local fare. Making space for these things in my life keeps me grounded. It gives me energy and love to spread beyond into other areas of my day.
There's nothing like a life that has all three: hard work, good times, and personal betterment. You have to work to maintain them all. And, most importantly, I've found it's best to live in the present, keep a smile in your heart, and enjoy the presence of each.
I recently stumbled across artist and blogger Arielle Alasko on the internet. I was left floored, in awe of her total and complete badass. Initially I was caught by her intricate woodwork designs, and then I was further drawn in by her life, cheeky writing, and other cool projects. There's nothing more awesome than a girl who can make anything with her hands, keep up with guys when it comes to construction skills, and look beautiful and stylish while she does.
Her main works include wall hangings, headboards, and tables made from selvaged wood. I love how she takes these old materials and gives them new life with useful household objects. Each have intricate linear designs that play with shades. The outcome is clean, and beautiful, full of story and rusticness. My favorite pieces, the ones I think I'd buy first, are the wall hangings with Navajo inspiration.
Arielle also did the entire construction and design for a family restaurant out in California called Il Vecchio. She blogged about the whole experience. The documentation is an inspirational peek into her process, and all of the lovely experiences she had a long the way. She made everything from the walls down to the cutting boards and lights using found materials. The amount of thought and detail throughout make it seem like a very special space.
Lastly, check out this cool stop motion video of her making one of her tables.
Totally rad & bad-ass.
For more, check out Arielle's blog, Brooklyn to West