Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry to all!

I hope you are all having a happy, peaceful, calm day. It's always astonishing to me how fast this day goes by, yet we spend so much time preparing for it. Henry said to me this morning "mom I got you only one gift because you don't get me much for Christmas". If he only knew!!!

I won't distract you for too long, because I have food to cook, books to read, walks to walk, and kids to play with, and I know many of you do too.

In between all of the festivities this week, take time to read the passage below from Scott Noelle. He sends out a great daily newsletter for parents that I find to be very inspiring. I find the words of this quote to be very appropriate for the craziness of this season.

A Christmas Wish...

My wish for you today (and for myself, too) is to receive
the gift of noticing the In-between.

The In-between is the subtle energy of Aliveness that's
always present but only becomes noticeable during the
gaps in the holiday rituals.

It's the Presence between the presents. :)

It's the kind of Well-Being that requires no exterior
evidence. You just *feel* it in a moment of stillness,
and suddenly you know that we are all connected,
and love is real, and All Is Well.

May the In-between bless our hearts today and everyday.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cool Canoe and last minute stuff

First, anyone need an original gift? Ofcourse you may not receive this in time for the holiday, but if you're having a New Year's party - how perfect!  These are wood cutting boards and serving boards - maple, oak and cherry from Canoe.  Staright from the tree, no glue, no parts, no splitting. Very cool. They range from $18-$28. You could almost pop one up on a mantel as a piece of art.

Second, have you guys heard about Ted? It's an online source of inspirational and educational lectures, presentations and videos.  In their words, "they are a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading". Not that any of us really need another excuse to spend more time on the internet, but the site looks interesting with lectures from sports figures, entertainers, business people (Bill Gates), professors, the list goes on and on.  I spent a few minutes browsing through and need a bit more time, but there were many topics I was interested in and will spend more time on the site soon.

Third, I'll leave you with this for the day. Aren't these sweet? You can pick these up at PlanetFur on Etsy. I almost can't post about these without buying one.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's official. Winter is here.

I realized today that the weather we've experienced so far up here in the corners of Massachusetts has not really been winter. Winter is what we had today and yesterday. It's not the throw on a coat and hat and a pair of flats type weather we've been lucky enough to have the past few weeks. 

Winter up here is a wear all your layers, slushy-muck on the streets, dry skin,  windshield scraping, cold catching time of the year. There are positives too of course, but since I don't ski, I don't count them.

That said, I'm trying to get into the spirit.  Which basically means getting out the slow cooker, UGGS and NorthFace gear and putting away all my pretty shoes and hats.

Luckily I love the slow cooker in the winter so I spent some time today researching some new recipes to try. The recipe I posted below happens to be from a great Gluten Free Blog. Doesn't it look delicious? I love the combo of garlic, tomatoes and pomegranate (I know what you're thinking, pomegranate and beef???). I'm going to try this one as soon as I can locate a large chunk of grass-fed beef. Karina also references the slow cooker book, Make it Fast, Cook it Slow in her blog.  I think this book was written specifically for me to help me through these tough winter months. Fast, easy, fresh, natural, and slow to cook in the slow-cooker. Perfect.

Slow Cooker Grass Fed Beef in Pomegranate Sauce Recipe

1 1/2 to 2 pounds grass fed beef or buffalo roast or steak, fat trimmed if necessary
Sea salt
Light olive oil, as needed
1 onion, sliced
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice
1 14-oz can Muir Glen fire roasted crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar- omit for yeast-free
1/8 cup pure maple syrup- or use agave to keep it lower glycemic
1/2 cup fresh cranberries or golden raisins
1 teaspoon dried French herb mix or Bouquet Garni
A small pinch of cinnamon

Salt the beef on all sides. Wait a few minutes. Get your slow cooker situated and turned on to High.
Heat a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Brown the beef on all sides to sear in the flavor, using long tongs to turn the pieces. This doesn't take but maybe five minutes, or so. Remove the beef and set aside.
Add a small dash of olive oil to the crock. Add in sliced onion and garlic. Stir to coat with the olive oil. Place the beef on top. Pour in the pomegranate juice, crushed tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. Stir to combine. Add the cranberries or raisins, dried herbs, a pinch of cinnamon, sea salt and ground pepper. Stir a little bit to co-mingle ingredients. Cover and let the magic happen- about 4 to 5 hours.

By the way, you may be wondering - why am I posting recipes about beef when I started off this blog talking about veganism? I'm not alienating the vegan diet. I do hope to evolve more towards a vegan diet in the summer months, but in the winter time when it's cold, I decided that I need warming foods. My acupuncturist talks alot about this.  There are people who have warm body types (Chinese medicine talk) that can handle lighter fare and colder foods all year round, and then there are bodies that are cooler and need the strength of warmer, cooked food. Meat is very grounding  and warm in nature and really helps add bulk to a meal. So although my mind embraces the philosophy of veganism, my body really needs heartier food, especially in the winter. That said, when I do eat meat, I am very careful now about the quality, cleanliness and humane farming practice used to produce it. I refuse to support anything factory farmed.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


I'm going to flood you with holiday inspiration today.  Lots of original holiday style out there.

Starting with a photo taken on Sunday. My husband took Sophie to see Santa. She was so excited. I couldn't wait to hear all about it. See the snap shot below. I think this says it all. Who is the big man with no mouth in the red jacket anyway?   

Back to the treats. 

Transform a wall in a snap. How simple. Colored tape and that's about it.

Top Two Blog
 Speaking of color. This is from a Swedish blog. Can you tell?  Fresh and colorful.

 Christmas origami. What a great gift if you learn to make these in a hurry.
Top Bottom Blog

Crafty trees.

Inexpensive ideas from Apartment Therapy below and above left.  A few sticks, some ribbon. So cool.

More later. What about you? Any clever decorations in your house this year?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Katie Ridder Wallpaper

Stylish wallpaper is a tad hard to find, but believe me, it's out there.  Here's a line I saw recently from NYC interior designer, Katie Ridder.  I think these versatile designs could work in both a modern foyer space and a formal dining space, don't you?

Check out the portfolio on Katie's site too, she's really amazing.

I've been collecting wallpaper sources for years, waiting to have the right house, room or space to apply some of my ideas.  Truth be told, my wallpaper dreams just may come true if the stars align this coming new year. More on this later. I don't want to jinx anything. XOXO

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Serving Santa

Cute inspiration for Santa or a Birthday party. I think we will copy, with maybe a gluten free peanut butter cookie. Making these today. I'll let you know how they turn out!

Photo by Nicole Gerulat

Friday, December 17, 2010

For the weekend...

I leave you all for the weekend with a cozy photo and some nice words.  I hope you all have fun holiday plans. I'm nursing a bad cold so I have a feeling I'll be staying in and drinking tea and wrapping presents this weekend.

Isn't this photo so warm and wintery? I'd love to curl up on this couch right now.  The reading below is from a daily Kabbalah reading I get in my email everyday. I don't practice Kabbalah but I use the sayings more like a daily horoscope.

When you’re expecting something wonderful to happen, before it does, only share it with people who want the best for you. Then be quiet and wait for it to happen. Seal the energy. After it happens you can celebrate with the world. What wonderful things are you expecting? (Shhhh)

Santa, I want this book

Maybe it's because I have a pink couch in my living room, or the contrast between the blue and the pink on this cover that I love, or because Lili Diallo styles for many of the magazines that I read, but I really really want this book for Christmas.  Isn't the cover chic? It's hot off the press and I just know it's going to be full of great ideas.

I also found some shots of Lili Diallo's apartment in NYC, I think this was featured in Domino Magazine before they closed shop.  Interesting, her apt is more indie chic and a little less city chic than I would have thought but I like it.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Need a baby shower gift?

I came across this little company today called Binth. Check out their colorful graphic baby books. I remember looking for baby books when Henry was born and found nothing but flower and truck designs. I would have loved something simple and fresh and colorful like this. Afterall, what's not to love about a lime green bunny??

They have some nice number and alphabet posters and original prints on their site too. Check them out when you get a chance.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gift Wrap 2010

I could post ideas from Martha Stewart who has a million gift designs, or Real Simple Magazine or the places to buy really fancy, beautiful wrapping papers but I am going to stick to two topics - my favorite source for stylish gift wrap ideas, and fun eco ideas for gift wrapping.

Anthropologie wins hands down when it comes to cool gift wrapping. I use to steal their ideas every year. I can still remember seeing a gift wrapped in the midtown store maybe ten years ago - basic brown paper with pink and purple yarn used as ribbon, and a little button tied in the middle. I still use yarn for this purpose, and for many other purposes. Here are two Anthropology ideas for 2010. 

Clearly a boiled wool theme here. So simple. You can buy boiled wool at most craft stores and re-create these designs. If you can't find the balls just buy colorful boiled wool, in any form, yarn, ribbon, a needle and basic paper and get creative! 

As far as being eco and inexpensive and crafty. Here are some favs of what I've done in past:

Kid's Artwork - Use your child's artwork as wrapping paper. This is the best. Family members love this.

Mail Packaging Paper - Use brown mail packaging paper if you have it around which is only paper, not a paper/plastic combo), and old yarn. Double or triple up the strands of yarn or use different colors.

Crafty craft paper - Use plain rolls of white craft paper if you have it around and hand draw your bows and ribbons with paint, markers or crayons.

Fabric - Use old or mismatched pieces of fabric you have around as wrapping paper. This works well with small gifts and if you use ribbon or yarn as a tie, the giftee can probably reuse the fabric.

Nature - This year I will be wrapping family gifts in recycled brown mail packaging paper and using twine as the ribbon but adding a spring of something in my yard as the bow. Whatever is still alive out there. Even if it's just a twig, I'll use it!

There you have it. Did I miss anything?  If not, get wrapping! You only have ten more days until Christmas!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A few things...

Pretty Little Stamps. I've seen friends use these and just this past week I got around to ordering one for myself. I love these stamps made by Three Designing Woman. They're very pretty and easy to use. Now I'm motivated to send out holiday cards this year because I can't wait to use my new stamp.

To go along with your pretty stamps, check out Paper Culture. It's a good place to go for holiday cards. This is where I bought my cards this year after seeing a friend's in the mail. The company is totally eco and the cards are recycled paper. Between the stamps and Paper Culture, I'm finally feeling guilt-free about my cards this year!

And just a side note, I heard NPR talk about the book Apollo's Angels today. It's all about the history of ballet. It's already a best seller and although I've never been a dancer it sounded fascinating. I might have to add it to my list. I find this dance form to be utterly beautiful.

Be back tomorrow. Stay warm!

Monday, December 13, 2010


At long last, someone came up with a widely accessible biodegradable trash bag. The company is Green Genius. The packaging is recycled paper and the plastic bags biodegrade in about 1-10 years in a landfill. Not bad considering regular plastics bags take a few centuries longer.

I bought these today at a local grocer, the price is not bad, and I feel like it's one little thing I can do to stop polluting our planet. Something I actually have control over a little bit. The bags look and operate just like a regular plastic bag. You can order online at Amazon or probably buy them locally at a Whole Foods or Fresh Market....just search a bit. I love these guys for both the great packaging and logo design and the brilliance of the idea. Spread the word.....

The Second Chakra

My yoga instructor is also an energy healer so she will often talk about our chakra system in class.  It's a new topic for me and I find it fascinating.  I guess all of our seven chakras, or you can also think of them as energy centers,  are opened or closed to varying degrees. They open like a flower, from the inside out, and we can apparently train them to open more or close more if needed. 

The biggest value I've gotten so far from this learning is the understanding that most of us are walking around with our second chakra (lower belly), way too open. And the consequence is that it makes us overly sensitive to other people's emotional states and energy because if the chakra is wide open, we walk around absorbing their energy, good and bad. Instead we could all benefit from closing this chakra a bit (tell it to close/visualize it closing) and giving ourselves more emotional boundaries and protection as we go through our day.  This is probably more complicated than I am making it sound, but honestly, I've been so impressed with the exercise of actively closing my second chakra, that I'm pretty much a believer. I honestly can feel a difference. Give it a try.  It might just help us all float through this holiday season with ease.

Friday, December 10, 2010

kitchen envy

I've always wanted a kitchen with open air cabinets. Look at these. Don't you love them? Simple, uncluttered but with your kitchen gear in plain sight. Top right with the sink on one side and stove just behind - bliss.