Monday, July 28, 2014

NEW PRODUCT: All natural and organic deodorant

I'm so excited to announce the next product of my line. I've been using this deodorant for YEARS! When I got pregnant with my first child, I knew I had to kick the chemical habit. Everything that goes on to our skin gets absorbed into our bloodstream. So, not only do we have to worry about what we eat and breathe, but what we touch, as well. Once I tried this on myself, I got hooked. I found it worked better than my old toxic-laden conventional deodorant, and I didn't have to worry about the questionable ingredients.

The aluminum in conventional deodorant has long been linked to several health risks, including alzheimer's. As always, I'm not here to knock anyone down or to judge what other companies decide to use as their ingredients. You can decide for yourself with a quick google search. But I am here to tell you that you have a choice!

And I choose natural, baby. Oh yeah. You with me? If so, I now have my creation for sale. You can choose from any of these yummy scents:
Unscented - no essential oils added, just sweet smell of coconut oil & shea
Love - sandalwood, bergamot, & jasmine
Chillax - lavender, patchouli, marjoram, orange, geranium & chamomile
Peppermint Patty - sweet peppermint
Purify - Citrus, grapefruit & eucalyptus
Peaceful Patchouli - sweet patchouli
Citrus Blast - orange, lemon, lime & pink grapefruit
Harmonize - cedarwood, clary sage, chamomile, geranium, lavender & rosemary
Meditate - ylang ylang, patchouli, frankincense, citrus & clary sage

Here it is! Now available at my etsy site. Click here.

Brocc stalk slaw

Hey ya'll. Thrifty Cent is back! (That's my frugal alter ego). Remember way back when, when I told you to save those broccoli stalks instead of ditching them? Well, I have a pile I've saved since that post that I'm now ready to do something with.

Enter, brocc stalk slaw.
Such a pretty lunch … for almost being tossed in the trash!
Nobody can believe how unbelievable tasty this is. It's such a quick salad to put together. You can keep it (no dressing) in the fridge all week (munchies require quick pickin's & this kills pretzels in a nutritional battle) and pull out in times of hunger. You know I like easy. I ain't got time for hard! And I want you to spend your time with your loved ones instead of in the kitchen.

Let's see what we've got. Somewhere between 7-10 stalks of broccoli are ready to go!
Broccoli stalks ready to be skinned.
These stalks need the outer layer taken off. It contains fibers that are too hard to chew through. But inside, there's a crispy and delicate core that resembles the texture of a pickling cucumber with the slight flavor of broccoli … only sweeter. I use a chef's knife to slice off the "skin".
Broccoli stalk core, ready to be shredded. 
Now that your skins are off, don't throw them away! You can juice them in place of the kale stems in this juice or any of your favorite green juice recipes. Or you can throw them in the freezer for veggie stock. I'll cover veggie stock soon!
Broccoli stalk skins ready to juice or freeze.
 Grab some slices of sweet onion. Vidalias are lovely! Chop them small.
Don't forget your sweet onion. It adds a level of flavor and is a boost of immune support!
Next, shred your broccoli stalk using a cheese grater or a food processor. I prefer the processor. I think the cheese grater should legally change its name to "knuckle ruiner".
Shred your stalk on a cheese grater or in a food processor. 
 Dump your shredded stalk and onion into a bowl and top with dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds and drizzle with ACV (apple cider vinegar) and sea salt. Alternatively, you can use my ACV honey dressing, but I like just plain ACV! I always soak, sprout & dehydrate my pumpkin seeds before eating them, for extra ease on my digestion and maximum absorption of vitamins and nutrients. I'll go over soaking and sprouting soon!
Lunch today: pairing my brocc stalk slaw with my summer squash dish (which is up next! Stay tuned!).

I really hope you like this one! It's so easy and really a crowd pleaser! I just love creating things out of parts you'd normally think to just throw away or compost. It's so satisfying!

Happy lunching!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sun babies of the world, unite in good cheer!

My sun baby & future pipeline champion.

Finally. Finally. Finally! I've been waiting to say this, but my sunscreen is finally for sale in my etsy shop. Being a full-time mom (of two very active young beings), as well as a freelance graphic designer and owner/operator of two businesses leaves not much time for getting new ventures off the ground at breakneck pace. I'm more like a snail. But slow and steady wins the race. Right?

So, without further adieu, I present to you …
All natural sunscreen and after sun skin care - 2 in 1!
And can I get a shout out for Folly Beach? I'm sporting some FB stickers in this shot. 

Don't you hate that most all natural sunscreens leave you super pasty? Not this one!

You get to choose your SPF factor. I can make SPF 10+, 20+ or 30+. And each ingredient is super yummy for your skin (and wrinkles and suppleness and touchability and sexiness!). The difference between my concoction and other homemade versions is that mine uses all organic ingredients! (Some ingredients don't come organic). Even those "natural" sunscreens on the market have questionable ingredients. Be kind to your skin. Nourish it. It's the largest organ you've got! No grody toxins, chemicals, alcohol, petroleum, titanium dioxide, PABA, parabens, dimethicone & fillers. Because I shy away from toxins, each batch is sold in a 4 oz glass jar with a metal lid. I like earth. A lot. I'm kind of her love slave.

There are 3 available scents: "smells so good you want to eat it (but please don't)" Orange Dreamsicle (citrus notes with vanilla undertones), Chillaxin' (lavender highlights with an earthy baseline) or Unscented (which still has an earthy scent because oils from mother earth just do. You can blame the carrot seed oil!).

Here you go!

SESAME OIL: Contains vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant, fighting free radicals and oxidation that come with sun exposure. It contains lots of skin loving acids that act as an emollient moisturizer for your skin. It even slows down skin aging with sesamol, which is an antioxidant that prevents the appearance of fine lines & wrinkles. It also detoxifies & repairs damaged skin cells. How's that for a super power?!

COCONUT OIL: Is antibacterial, antiviral & antimicrobial, thanks to it's lauric acid. It's full of medium chain fatty acids that act as a loving barrier to your precious bod. Plus it's uber moisturizing because of all its fattiness!

SHEA BUTTER: Is super healing for the skin. It's full of vitamins and nutrients that treat blemishes, wrinkles, eczema, stretch name it! It's packed with antioxidants like vitamin E, polyphenols and phyotnutrients, making it  an anti-inflammatory an soothing to your skin.

BEESWAX: Acts as a protective barrier on the surface of the skin while still allowing the skin to breathe. It also is what makes this sunscreen water resistant!

ZINC OXIDE: Is an extremely broadband UV protector. It's extremely stable on the skin, as well, no matter how long you are baking on the beach. I use only non nano zinc oxide so it does not get absorbed into your blood stream. It stays put on top. On top of being a die hard UV protector, it also is an excellent wound healer and sunburn soother. How's that for a triple threat?!

CARROT SEED OIL: Has an insane amount of antioxidants that shield your skin from environmental attacks! Those same antioxidants help prevent and repair skin damage from sun, smoke, poor diet and a harsh environment. Beta carotene and vitamins A&E work to nourish dry and aging skin and can reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles. It's SPF factor is one of the highest out there! It's earthy aroma is used in aromatherapy to relieve stress and exhaustion. Now that makes for an even more relaxing day at the beach.

RED RASPBERRY SEED OIL: Is high in vitamins A & E and essential fatty acids which all help to repair and condition the skin (fountain of youth?). It also contains linoleic, alpha linolenic, and oleic acids which help reduce the damaging effects of free radicals on the skin, while pumping the skin full of moisture. It is shown to help prevent rash, eczema, and other skin lesions, while boasting major anti-inflammatory properties. Raspberry seed oil also act as a broad-spectrum UV-shield, helping to protect skin from the damaging rays of the sun.


If you are ordering a sunscreen off etsy, but wish to pick it up instead, please use this coupon code to avoid shipping: LOCALPICKUP44107

• Due to the nature of some of these oils, this sunscreen may start to liquefy in high heat. Don't fret! It won't hurt it. 
• Natural oils have a shelf life. Please use within 8 months. Store in the fridge for a longer shelf life.
 This sunscreen has not been laboratory tested for the exact SPF factor. The SPF is my best guestimate based on the ingredients I use. I make no warranty about the effectiveness. 
 Sometimes people can be sensitive to certain topical ingredients, even though it's rare. Please use common sense and test on a small patch of skin before heavy use. I ask that you do your own research about the ingredients of this product. I do not claim to prevent, treat or cure any disease/condition with this (or any) product. Any and all information I have stated regarding the ingredients was gathered online and is free information to the public. I did not create any statements. I only relayed information. 
 Please, always use common sense when spending time in the sun. Before sun exposure, spread evenly and massage thoroughly over skin. Reapply every few hours or as needed and after prolonged swimming.
 Always check with your doctor if you are pregnant or nursing. And always check with your or your child's doctor before using any new products.

With love & extreme gratitude,

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sun Goddess

Sandy Beach, Hawaii.

Well, it doesn't quite feel like summer here in North East Ohio, even though it's mid-July. However, the sun is still there, and she's kickin'! I don't know about you, but I'm a sun worshiper. Sure, I live in NEO, but I am convinced that I was an island girl in my past lives ... all of them. And I know that I will be living coastal again soon. It's my destiny. I feel it in my bones and every cell. I can't hear the word "California" without the mournful feeling that I left half my soul there and need to get her back asap.

Meanwhile, as I manifest California (I'm open to Hawaii too, just throwin' that out there) into my reality, I like to take advantage of the short but gorgeous summers here on the lake. I'm a firm believer in seizing opportunity, even if you aren't in your complete destiny yet. This whole ride needs to give me butterflies in my stomach. So, I often escape to the sandy (and rocky) shores of Lake Erie.

Water = Life, even lake water ...

I have a favorite spot that I discovered (thanks Mom!) after ... 9 years of living here? We just found it this year. Waterfall on one side, big body of water on the other, strip of sand in the middle. Paradise? Close! Probably as close as you can get in the midwest. Just when I thought I couldn't live here another second, something this beautiful popped up and gave me a little bit of relief. Isn't it nice when the universe does that for you? Gives you a little cushion ... a little "you've been good, here's a treat."?
Isn't she a pretty little treat?
My oasis, sanctuary, church, meditation room & sanity. Not a bad life for a log.
Same log, looking out to the lake. He picked a great spot to lay to rest. 
In this incredibly confusing and distracting time of social media, oversharing, chaos, corporate greed, video gaming, spending beyond our means (for things that will just end up in a landfill); it's imperative for our existence to delve into nature ... to sit, listen, release thoughts, cleanse the mind, forgive, forget, breathe and just simply BE. Be one with it. Feel yourself a part of it. Listen to the waves and allow them to pull the anger/hurt/resentment from your mind and visualize them washing away forever. Let go. Feel the sun pulsate through your veins. Nature has a life-force. Nature is a life-force. Sometimes we get so caught up in "having to do this" or "that" or "work" or "clean" (or anything that distracts us from what we really are) that we forget the most essential part of living. We don't have to wait for vacation to relax. We deserve to relax daily. Take 5 or 10 minutes even. My 2 kids are attached to my hip, but I take them. I want them to grow up immersed in this. 

There's a healing power to connecting to the earth that regrounds and recenters us. In life, there is nothing we HAVE to do, other than be HAPPY. And there's nothing more important to do, than be happy. It's the most essential thing to pass on. And sometimes, even a short skip to a special spot, a few times a week, can release the stress that binds us in this daily grind.

Man oh man, I do get distracted easily. I actually came to announce the unofficial  release of my sunscreen, arriving in just under 2 weeks from today! But, like I do, I got caught up in the eb and flow of my thoughts, which ran away with me! I've had so many people come to me asking which brand of sunscreen was the "best" or "safest" for their crunchygranola skin and their kid's skin too. So, I decided to take my recipe to the masses. It's probably no secret that conventional sunscreens are laden with problematic ingredients (not to mention the recent "news" on the dangers of the spray stuff!!!). I'm not here to knock anyone down, but you can read the long list of sunscreen ingredients and their effects on your body by clicking here to EWG's website. I always reference EWG for anything I put on my body or on my precious kids' bodies. After trying several brands of "natural sunscreen" for years, I found that I just didn't love that I couldn't rub them in nicely. Not to mention some still contained things that I was just not 100% comfortable with. So, coming soon (in "unscented" for tots; "dreamcicle" or "chillaxin" for us big kids), at an etsy shop (or pick up) near you ...

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Just so you know

I fail a lot. Daily, actually. I failed in parenting, wifing, gratituding and baking today. The good news is I get to try again tomorrow. Well ... Except for the plantain chips. I think I'll leave those up to trader joes from now on. They might be the one thing you can buy cheaper than making them yourself.

Rest in peace, plantains. 

Scape to paradise

Today I'm talkin' rawsta. Why? Because summer squash is here, and it's my duty to share the tastiness. Above: Finished garlic scape pesto rawsta. See below for the details! 

So, do you remember that recipe I gave for garlic scape pesto? Well, this week we received a yellow summer squash in our CSA. And, I found this to be the perfect opportunity to make a raw pasta, or as I like to call it, rawsta!

Who doesn't love pesto in the summer? I ended up using this recipe instead (only, I don't do roasted nuts and used soaked and dehydrated pine nuts instead). I found it to be just a little bit easier. And if you've been following my blog, you know that I like easy. I mean, why be hard? Hard is too, well… hard. I want to make your life easy. It's too short to be hard.
Pesto is finished. Now it's time to spiralize this squash! (Sorry about the bad pic. Sun going down = high contrast shots = pesto not looking as good as it tastes!)

One gadget that I cannot live without is a spiralizer. If you do not have a spiralizer, get one today. I mean stop reading this blog right now and run to target or Williams-Sonoma or and get yourself one. I have a Ben Riner  but any will do, really. They have much cheaper ones now. It's the healthiest and cheapest kitchen gadget you can possibly get yourself this summer. You will never know how you lived without it. And it will help keep that yellow polka dot bikini looking oh so hot on your booty.
My Ben Riner spiralizer. Simply put squash in and turn. It magically becomes rawsta!
Spiralized squash. Yummy & nutritious noodles to top with anything under the sun! This is a big dinner plate. One squash made that many noodles. 
Save the ends of your squash that the spiralizer couldn't spiralize. Put them in your "spare parts" bucket (I use a pyrex and fill it through the week, then juice with fruit and lemon) in the fridge for juice, or cut them into a salad this week. 
Once the squash is spiralized, top with just a dollup of the pesto (a little goes a LONG way with pesto, folks). And now it's time to dig in.
Summer squash noodles. Delicate & delicious and almost no calories. 

So there's not much easier than this dish. You just spiralize your squash, blend up some pesto in the vitamix or blender, combine them, and eat. Pretty easy. You don't even have to turn the stove on and heat up your house up this July. Winner winner chicken-less dinner!

Oooh, and it's so pretty. And so are you. No really. You're beautiful. Now feed those beautiful cells some really healthy food.

Mangia mangia,

Sunday, July 6, 2014

You are the most important person in the world.

It's true. You are important & you are loved.

Yes, I'm talking to you.

You might feel small and insignificant sometimes, or all the time. But you are bigger than the moon. Your life touches dozens each day, hundreds each week, thousands each year. Your words penetrate open ears. Your ideas expand open minds. Every conversation you have is important, even if it's not. Even if you're talking about the Kardashians, you can bet your ass that the person you're talking to needed that down moment of utter pointless chatter. A rest for their brain.

Your thoughts become you. Are they becoming? I hope so. Because you are changing everyone you come in contact with. You are built from love. You are here to love. And you are moving toward becoming a beaming light of love and only love.

Every moment of your life is important. I want you to know that.

You are here for one big reason. You are changing the world.  That's why you're the most important person in it.

Thank you for being, for teaching & for living.

Your friend & fellow important person,

Thursday, July 3, 2014

I'm cheap: CSA part quatre

I beat the hell out of my liver and kidneys with alcohol for too many years. Sure, it was super fun doing it. But now I'm in my upper 30's, and it's taken its toll on me. My liver might be detoxing until I die. And as a good friend says, "If you're not detoxing, you're toxing." ... or something like that. So, I eat salad every day ... several times a day. There's such variety in salad. It's oh so pretty too. I dig pretty things.

But I don't really dig kohlrabi. So, I hit up google to find a recipe that might work with a few of the goodies I got this week in our CSA. I came across this little gem.

I took one pound of raw beets, kohlrabi & carrots (from the grocer), and shredded them. I added the zest and juice of one lemon, 1TBSP olive oil, 1TBSP raw honey and gave it a quick stir. This became the perfect salad for a day like today: 88 and humid! It made a generous amount, which will feed a few meals through the week. And it's just how I like it. Simple. Quick and easy!
(and pretty too!)

And this is without a filter. Nature's colors!
For dinner, I went with my staple kale salad. I'm not usually a fan of fruit in my salad. If you follow the laws of proper food combining, it's kind of a "no no". But, I feel I digest it just fine. And this salad is totally dessert. TOTALLY. Not to mention kale holds up super well to dressing. So, you can create this and store in fridge for a few days. I usually have 2-4 salads in my fridge that I can pull out and munch on. Keeps me from raiding my husband's snack cupboard!

Everyday kale salad.

EVERYDAY KALE SALAD: Simple and amazing
Shredded kale
Chopped onion
Apple chunks
Hemp seeds

Top with my fave dressing: Tangy honey vinagrette
3/4 cup olive oil (I actually do an olive/sesame oil blend)
1/4 (plus a splash more) apple cider vinegar (raw with mother)
2 TBSP water
2 TBSP honey
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper (I don't usually use pepper in this, but it's an option)

Before I bore you to pieces, I'm going to wrap up my CSA week recipes.

Sauteed beet greens with garlic.
But I left out the beet greens (leaves). Darn! Okay, use these however you would use spinach. My favorite way (not raw, but I do love a cooked veggie once in awhile!) is to tear them and saute with fresh chopped garlic, sea salt and olive or coconut oil. I seriously think it's one of my favorite foods ever. I sometimes add in some tarragon for an "OMG, die!" moment.

Garlic scapes!
Oh. Scapes!!! How can I forget. Garlic has a stem while growing, and it's not only edible, it's delicious! I look forward to scape season just so I can make batches of Garlic Scape Pesto and freeze it. Our last CSA season gave me so much pesto, I ate it until the following season.

One last thing. Stay tuned to see how you can use all the little parts of the veggies you cut off and toss (i.e. beet or carrot "skins", flimsy celery stalks, cabbage center stalk, etc.). Listen, I compost. But very little goes in there once I'm done with a plant. I told you I'm cheap. I'm frugal. And I've had countless people ask me how I can eat so healthy on such a small paycheck. So, I'm really happy to finally be able to have a forum to share this with all of you. My secrets are out! I wish I could fit them all in one post! But it would take me a year to write, and then you'd have nothing to look forward to tomorrow.

Peace in, friends. Be well.

Water kefir workshop

Lots of success in my previous workshops. So, I added another due to the many requests. Thank you all for sharing this workshop with others and spreading the good word. If you are interested in taking the workshop, please go here to the event page. <-----CLICK THERE!

This workshop will cover how to create the original "soda" at home, how to store extra grains, troubleshooting issues & the lowdown on what water kefir is. After the class there will be a tasting of the brews I have going. I have ginger, mint, peach, blueberry, lemon and plain. And you'll go home with a jar of brewing kefir, as well as a kit to make it at home. Score!!!

Brewing as I type...

If you are not familiar with water kefir, it is a probiotic and enzyme filled beverage that is similar to soda but without all the questionable ingredients and sugar. Make it in minutes right in your home. Attendees of the workshop will go home with a kit. I saw a similar kit for kombucha for $49 at a local store. My workshop and kit is only $20! Get in before the prices go up. ;)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

34 days that changed the world

Eric, Finn & my hands on Kaia's urn. Photo by Shannon Miller Creative.

It was 5 years ago this minute, 10:02pm, that they pronounced my daughter "dead". She had passed before that. I saw it. But this was the minute they stopped trying to resuscitate her.


I loathe that word so much, you will never see me use it without quotation marks.

I'm not here to talk about sadness. This is not a sad blog, and I will never write a sad post. I'm here to talk about life and energy and movement.

Kaia Belle Urban
My first daughter's name is Kaia Belle Urban. She was born May 30, 2009, and was the prettiest baby you ever did see. She moved on on July 2, 2009.  We found out Kaia had a massive heart defect, known as Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, when she was 3 days old. This defect would require a minimum of 3 open heart surgeries just for her to survive...possibly survive. She passed 3 weeks after her first surgery. She had 34 days here on this earth. 34. And what she did with that 34 days will blow my mind forever. So many lives changed. I still hear from people who have her picture up on their fridge or office. She inspired so many.

My life teetered on change years before that, but stuff got in the way. There were too many parties, too much fun and too little responsibility to ACTUALLY change. I wasn't very valuable to myself or to others. When my daughter was born, my self-centered life finally, permanently changed. Watching her struggles made every other struggle in the world seem so insignificant. It made all the drama that I used to allow in seem insignificant too. She opened my eyes and made me see the world for what it is supposed to be. Love. Everything comes from love. Everything is centered in love. And everything is meant to radiate love. Anything that is not love is false. The only thing true is love.

Being witness to her fight to live showed me that I hadn't really been living all these years. I simply had been surviving. I worked too much and took everything for granted. Everything. I took the next 3.5 years to simply change. I changed my thought processes. I changed my job. I changed my habits. I changed my diet. I changed every cell of myself from inside to the outside. I owed it to her and to the children I planned to have as soon as I could.

During this time of change, I began to see life differently. I read (and reread) The Power Of Now. I began practicing yoga regularly in a studio setting. I allowed myself to cry through my practices. I learned how to be gentle with myself while I was in retraining. It took 30 some years to become damaged. Those layers take time to peel away. When I started seeing life differently, I also started seeing "death" differently too.

What is "death"?

  1. the action or fact of dying or being killed; the end of the life of a person or organism.

Hmmm, if this definition is correct, then why and how do I feel her life still all around me? Her body is now a pile of ashes, but, if I'm not my body, then she wasn't either. Our bodies are a house for what we truly are. If your house burnt to the ground, you wouldn't be "dead". You'd simply find another house. In fact, the great Albert Einstein said, "Energy cannot be created or destroyed. It can only be changed from one form to another." It was that quote that did it for me. She was not "dead". In fact, there is no such thing. Every living thing is energy. Therefore, nothing can "die". If nothing can "die" then there is no "death". It's a farce.

If there is no death, then why is there grieving? Why do I still grieve in moments? I felt a bit selfish in my intense grieving periods. I knew Kaia was in a much happier place with lots of glitter and sparkles. "Heart defects" were non-existant where she went. I dove into my grieving and noticed the parts that I was sad about. I was sad that she had to go through so much bodily pain. And I was sad to not be able to see that beautiful face again, while I was left in my physical body. But I was proud. I am proud. I proudly am mother to a girl who changed the world in 34 days. I've never seen such strength as I did with that newborn. People always say I am strong. But I'm nothing compared to her. I believe that some get to move to the good part ... the afterlife ... sooner than others. As soon as our work here is done, we get to move on. And move on, she did. She did some quick work, and many felt it. The ripples are still moving.

Anyone struggling with grief, know that I know your pain. I felt it. I lived through it. Be gentle on yourself. Give yourself a lot of love. But know that there is no such thing as death. There cannot be. So, we never lose anything except for the sight and sound of a loved one. But they are still very much there.

In life,