Is Food & Lifestyle affecting your Happiness?
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Is food and lifestyle affecting your happiness?

Food isn't the final answer but it’s the place to start! 

Sleep, Hydration, Diet, Exercise and healthy relationships makes for a much happier life!  

Unhappiness can occur when you have nutrient deficiencies. A few nutrients I personally like to make sure I’m in balance with are Magnesium, Vitamin D, Omega 3’s, Folate, probiotics (from fermented foods). You can get all of these in the foods you eat, when you make wise food choices… that is self care…

Self-care isn’t selfish, nor is it indulgent or frivolous. It’s actually a life-saver. You cant expect to keep running efficiently and feeling well if you never take the time to feed your body properly, recharge, relax, and reconnect with what matters. Self care isn’t always fancy or Instagram worthy. Sometimes it may be as simple as putting your phone on silent for the afternoon. 

Truly caring for your well being can be unpopular and sometimes uncomfortable. Saying no to invites or certain obligations, going to bed early, or taking some “me” time isn't always easy, but yes, its all worth it! 

Let’s talk a little about each of these nutrients and how they help and then lets cook something that fulfills all thats listed!!! This will be fun and yummy!

Magnesium - Magnesium is important for over all general health. Every physiological function involves magnesium in some capacity. One of its primary jobs is to guard the receptors in our nerve cells, but adequate magnesium levels also help prevent the type of low level, chronic inflammation that can lead to depression, anxiety, and other brain based disorders. The best sources of foods for magnesium are dark leery greens, nuts and seeds. 

Vitamin D - Vitamin D affects our mood and facilitates the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin. (serotonin is thought to be a contributor to the feeling of happiness). Although most of this we make from our UV exposure, we can fulfill a significant amount from food such as whole eggs and wild salmon. 

Omega 3’s - Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory! Yay!!! Comprised of three different acids—ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)—omega-3s are considered to be “essential” fatty acids as the body isn’t capable of producing them on its own; therefore, it’s necessary to consume enough omega-3s through diet. Foods rich in Omega 3 are, fish, walnuts, flaxseeds, egg yolks, spinach, kale. If you decide to supplement, be sure to take fish oil that contains both EPA and DHA. DHA only supplementation doesn't seem to help mental health. 

Folate - Folate is a B-vitamin that is naturally present in many foods.Our bodies need folate to make DNA and other genetic material. Folate is also needed for the body’s cells to divide. Without adequate folate, we have trouble producing neurotransmitters. That is crucial for basic mental health, so its a critical player in our happiness. The best way to get folate from foods is to eat liver (especially chicken liver), leafy greens (such as spinach and kale), eggs, and asparagus. 

Probiotics - Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. We usually think of these as germs that cause diseases. But your body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are often called "good" or "helpful" bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy. Probiotics are good bacteria that primarily line your gut and are responsible for nutrient absorption and supporting your immune system. Probiotics are essential for your digestive health, but did you know there are hundreds of other health benefits of consuming probiotic-rich foods that you might not be aware of?    

•   Stronger immune system

•    Improved digestion

•    Increased energy from production of vitamin B12

•    Better breath because probiotics destroy candida

•    Healthier skin, since probiotics improve eczema and psoriasis

•    Reduced cold and flu

•    Healing from leaky gut and inflammatory bowel disease

•    Weight loss

You should eat a variety of types of probiotics as each one offers a different type of beneficial bacteria to help the body in a variety of ways.

Two examples are, Apple cider vinegar  Great for controlling blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and even weight loss, apple cider vinegar is a great daily addition that will bring many benefits — including providing probiotics. Drink a 1/2 teaspoon or one teaspoon each day or use it as a salad dressing. Kombucha –  Is an effervescent fermentation of black tea that is started by using a SCOBY, also known as a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. Kombucha has been around for over 2,000 years, originating around Japan. Many claims have been made about kombucha, but its primary health benefits include digestive support, increased energy and liver detoxification.

Of course listen to your body, seek advice from your doctor and don’t count on one magic supplement to fix you. Instead, focus on food, then fill in the gaps with smart supplementation. Food isn't the final answer, but it’s a place to start…

 

So lets incorporate what we know and get cooking!!!

Salmon, Sweet Potato and Avocado Baby Kale Salad

 

Salad:

2 medium sized sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks. 

1tbsp olive oil

Celtic Grey Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

1 lb wild caught Salmon

1 bag baby kale

1 medium sized granny smith apple cored and sliced

1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions 

1 medium avocado pitted and sliced

 

Dressing:

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar 

1 Tbsp Fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp raw honey

2 tsp Dijon Mustard

 

Preheat oven to 400 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the sweet potatoes on one and the salmon on the other. Drizzle the potatoes with olive oil and salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Season the salmon with salt and pepper to desired taste. 

 

Place the pan of sweet potatoes in the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Add the Salmon in the oven and roast both pans until the salmon flakes easily when tested with a fork and sweet potatoes are tender. Approximately 15 minutes. Set aside and let cool to room temperature. 

 

In a large bowl combine the Kale, Scallions and Apples. 

 

Flake the salmon with a fork and add the salmon and potatoes to the Kale mixture and toss gently until combined. 

 

In a small bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients and pour over salad and toss gently. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add diced avocado and serve. 

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Little Sis has a baby bump....

So I can't believe my little sister is finally having a baby! The sister that swore she would never have kids, is pregnant!!! Eeeek! The whole family is over the moon about it. It's such an exciting time. What is better than the anticipation of a new family member... but let me back up a bit.

So, I feel like so much has happened in the last 2 years. My sister got married to her now wonderful and talented husband Nate Jester on 9/5/2015. Angie had an amazing wedding (one I will never forget). We had so much fun dress shopping and planning out her big day. They were married in San Diego, (where Angie is from), but shortly after she moved to Seattle Washington to be with her hubby and her new step son, Brecken.

A few months later they bought a house. I think back to that event, it was such a fun time visiting Seattle for the first time and seeing her very first place! Of course helping decorate (did I mention I love couch shopping) didn't hurt either.  There was an extra room and we all wondered if there would be an addition some day. Hee, Hee.... Then came the phone call last summer, guess what we are pregnant!!!.

So as the big sister I get to help with the fun stuff, like decorating the baby's room. Picking out cute outfits and holding him until he cry's, then I get to hand him back... I get to be the fun auntie who gets to spoil him. Can't wait, and wait I did not... So this past week I got to go visit Seattle again and see the whole clan. I was excited because she finally has a bump big enough to photograph. Can I just say pregnancy looks soo good on her. She is carrying a little boy named Jett and right now he looks like a basketball. So proud of her, she has worked out so hard and eaten super clean. Did all of her due diligence on what was healthy for baby and what wasn't. Truth be told, I think she did better than I did. She has been so disciplined, lucky baby.... I think it is so great that there will be a younger brother for Brecken. He will be an amazing big brother. 

Well the visit was a blast. Seattle has great shopping and well you put two sisters together to shop and lets just say we had a blast... But the baby's room is done, mission accomplished. We are all ready for Mr. Jett to arrive.  Clothes are all washed and folded and crib is ready. Pictures are hung and the rocking chair and rugs are in. The room is blue and orange and has leather and gold accents and lots of cute baby animals... (I will share pictures of the room once baby Jett is in it.) 

For now I will share pictures of this cute family on the day this adventure began (her wedding day) and pictures of them and her bump now! Wow has life changed, but they are both still cute as a button. 

Love you little sis and I love your growing little family. I am such a proud big sis...(You may be taller, but I will always be older. hey, not sure that is a good thing, chuckles) 

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Scalp Rubs... I just love self care!
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Spring Hair Growth

 

Spring is coming….

I just love Spring in Bakersfield. It’s sunny, yet has a cool breeze. It reminds me of when I lived in San Diego with 70 degree temps year round…  I also love that spring brings new growth in the garden and my yard smells of roses, lavender, rosemary, thyme, mint and new blooms. Yay!

Did you know spring also brings new hair follicle’s? This peaked my interest since my bathroom floor seems to have more hair then my head since I turned forty something. Your hair hits its peak growth season in spring… (I always thought is was summer). So why not take full advantage of this season. 

To promote thicker, healthier hair, I am making a conscious effort to eat more protein, zinc, and  iron, all of which will help promote healthier hair growth. Spinach and kale salads with salmon will be hitting my plate twice a week. I am also trying this amazing homemade scalp rub recipe I found. It’s scalp stimulation and cell renewal properties should help with the constant shedding…. Plus I get to use fresh rosemary from my garden. 

Coconut Rosemary Scalp Rub

Lets all agree that a scalp massage feels like heaven. Knowing that rosemary is said to stimulate follicle growth, why not incorporate the two. 

This is a self-care routine with a built in stress buster. I love to do it at night before bed, as it helps relax me for sleep and allows the oil to soak in overnight before I wash it out the next morning. The Bakersfield sun and days at the barn have dried out my hair. I only do this once a week, but find it deeply relaxing and it has seemed to fulfill the love my scalp needed as the shedding has decreased

Ingredients:

1/2 cup raw virgin coconut oil

1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves, washed and dried

Directions: 

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over low heat. When its hot, add the rosemary. Use a wooden spoon to stir and and massage herbs against the bottom of pan. Keep on the heat for about 15-30 seconds and then remove from heat. Cover the pan and let sit for 2-4 hours to infuse. 

After this time, if the oil has hardened return it to low heat just until it melts. Remove and strain through a cheese cloth to separate and discard the rosemary springs. Pour the infused oil into an airtight container and let cool completely. It’s ok that it returns too at least a semi solid state. Store in your bathroom out of sunlight exposure. 

To use, scoop out about 1/2 teaspoon with your fingers and melt by rubbing in your fingertips. Apply directly to your scalp and using your fingertips to massage small circles over your entire skull. Begin at the base of your head and work your way to your forehead. You really don’t need that much so don’t overdue. I like to sleep with it on my scalp and was out the next morning. I use a towel on my pillow just to avoid any oil stains. (On occasion I might go overboard and use too much. It just smells soo good!) 

Simply wash and condition as usual after, or the next morning. Whatever you prefer. 

Happy relaxing… X

 

Vista Verde Ranch
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My favorite color is white... and well white snow is just so magical to me, especially in pictures, or viewing through a window while sitting by a nice warm fire.  I am not one who likes the cold, bring me to the beach any day...but, it's been on my bucket list to go sledding with dogs and photograph majestic horses in the snow. So when my friends told me Gigi Embrecht's would be at Vista Verde Ranch hosting a workshop, you better believe I was on board! 

At Vista Verde Ranch you are made to feel like family first and foremost. I am not even sure where to start. When I arrived in Hayden, Colorado an employee from the ranch was there to pick me up and drive me to Clark where the ranch is located. Clark is just a hop, skip and jump from Steamboat.  The cabins are wonderful, warm, have views of the horse pasture. Your beds are turned down nightly, your floors are heated, there are snacks and drinks stocked daily in your room. You are served 5 star meals three times a day and there are more fun activities to do than I could squeeze in on one trip. (Guess I will have to go back to and finish the list). The staff is always so happy, positive and so well informed about the ranch, you just can't help but feel elated every day of your stay. 

I went a day early so I could swing by Grizzly-T Dog Sled Works and finally check off dog sledding from my bucket. It was beyond what I had imagined. The dogs truly love the snow, the run and the job! They were breed for this for sure! There was lots of yelping and jumping and excitement, but as soon as you said go, it was dead silence and then you just took in the beauty of the snow all around you. 

Back on the ranch Karen Hutton and Gigi Embrechts were on site shooting for the ranch and working on their collaborated workshop for next year! What a team that will be. Talk about talent and learning to connect through art! If your on the fence about going, let me just push you off the fence and on to filingl out that registration for 2019! You will love it! 

Gigi I am so motivated by your work and your lifestyle and I thank you so much for all you shared and taught me. I will never forget the light painting and received my light pen in the mail this week! Cant wait to share. Karen, thank you for reminding me to truly connect and to allow myself to just enjoy the experience and know its just as important as the art created. 

Well friends, below are some of the shots from my trip. I am hoping they speak for themselves and tell the rest of the story. Enjoy!

Love is more precious than gold...

Don't laugh but I'm that girl you see rocking out in her car and doesn't realize anyone is watching. These days it has been Chris Stapleton's new song, Millionaire. I seriously can't listen to it enough. I agree with the lyrics deep in my soul... They say "Love is more precious than gold" Can't be bought and it can't be sold. I got love, enough to spare. That makes me a millionaire. 

I get pure joy out of loving others... for me life is about LOVE! Loving myself, loving others. Speaking of love, I am currently sketching out cookies for Valentines Day. My sweet friend Stacy from The Cookie Monger will be making them for me. I get a kick out of surprising people with sweet treats and of course flowers on Valentines Day! I love that she takes my sketches and makes them look like sugar masterpieces.  She is truly a talented artist when it comes to anything sweet. (I will share pics upon delivery, keep your eyes peeled come Valentines Day.) But for a fun treat even the kids can make try these little cuties at home. 

I found these super cute Organic Crab Apples the other day and suddenly got a craving for salted caramel apples... Yum. So a snagged a bag. I got them home and pulled out my jar of salted caramel sauce, grey celtic sea salt and some wooden skewers and dipped away. Super cute and easy. Have fun. (I cored out the seeds from the bottom so the skewer on top still held and they were easy to just pop in your mouth).

 

 

 

"Don't let them tame you". Take charge and be the boss of your own life.

I first saw Cindy's Instagram post on @AtelierCG and fell in love with her equestrian jewelry and leather accessories, (I don't leave home without my leather card holder) but I wanted to get to know the person behind these fabulous products. I wanted to know what motivated her. Why equestrian? What did she love about horses? So I called her!  

 I felt an instant connection. We both love horses and all they stand for. A few adjectives that come to mind are; beautiful,  powerful, problem-solving, protective, headstrong, regal, courageous, devoted, majestic, kindhearted, instinctual, spirited, surefooted, strong and powerful. Horses have given us great joy over the years and have taught us both to have boundaries. But the more time you spend with these amazing animals, the more of these attributes rub off on you.

I met Cindy at her home. I soon learned it was a definite reflection of all she is. Artistic, loving, warm, welcoming, a great mom and a horse lover. We soon hopped in our cars and headed out to the barn to spend a little time with her favorite four legged friend. I enjoy photographing these majestic creatures and the bond between them and their owners. I like capturing the intimate moments and seeing the love that is shared between them. Everyone has their own special story with their four legged friends and I like to try and tell it through images. Cindy brought out this dark handsome bay of hers and we started shooting and getting to know each other. I really wanted to know why she had started this equestrian jewelry line and why the phrase, "don't let them tame you". What did that mean for her? 

Cindy had been married and in business with her husband.  She explained that she did all of the design work in their partnership and that unfortunately, their relationship fell apart and that ended the business partnership as well. Cindy had to walk away from "their" company, her financial security, home, lifestyle, friends. At one point even her two lovely and very smart children (they speak multiple languages and are artistic and loving themselves). I thought to myself oh no, I am so sorry. My heart hurts for you. Cindy knows all too well what it's like work so hard for something, just to have it all taken away.... But Cindy is no victim in her own eyes. In fact her attitude is don't be a victim, be the boss of your own life. When Cindy's healing began she reminded herself daily, "stay strong, don't let them tame you". Wow, is that powerful!

How many times do we fall into that trap of blaming others for something instead of taking charge of our own lives.  I am thankful to see she did stay strong and thrived! Cindy didn't let them tame her and she dug deep and put what she was passionate about into her design and her line of jewelry and leather goods. She didn't give up, she didn't blame her circumstances, she took charge and became her own boss. She is a great example to woman on how to stay strong and take charge of their lives. Cindy encouraging people with each piece. I will always be grateful for all she shared with me, for the encouragement she gave me to keep going after what I'm passionate about.... Helping bring beauty to peoples lives, capturing great moments and reminding people on how we should live a happy, healthy, loving life. 

I can't help but smile each time I look down at my bracelet and see those words "don't let them tame you". Thank you Cindy for touching my life and sharing yours! 

I hope more woman get to meet this incredible lady in person someday, but for now here are some pictures of her in her element. Be sure to check out her website at https://ateliercg.com and get your very own accessory that will remind you to stay strong and "don't let them tame you".