We had the privilege of hiking with our friends Joel and Frances to the top of Mt. Baldy near Los Angeles, CA. Having climbed the likes of Mt. Whitney (14,505 ft.) and Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,341 ft.), they are much more experienced hikers that we are so it was great to have their guidance during our first high elevation hike. At the top of Mt. Baldy we reached 10,064 feet. The weather was perfect, the view was spectacular, and our legs were sore for three entire days after the hike (it was totally worth it!).
Below is a mix of photos taken by all of us at various moments towards the summit of Mt. Baldy.
I’m starting a three-day juice fast and all I can think about is food. For the most part I have a healthy diet but I realize that a break from digestion is very healing for the body. I’m thankful that food is so pretty, tasty, comforting and nourishing. Here are a few photos of food I’ve enjoyed (or sculpted) over the past few months.
I’m deeply saddened by the departure of a co-worker friend. Today was the first day that I did not have her by my side at work. I miss her support, her laughter and her impeccable eye for detail. I saw that her name tag was still up, her cube empty, and I felt hollow inside. I was tempted to take her name tag but the facilities personnel would probably discover me clinging to it desperately. Her departure leaves an empty space and I honestly felt like crying today at work. At least she is moving on to an exciting opportunity and I’m very proud of her! It’s amazing how having someone that you click with can make the toughest work load seem light. Not too long ago we took a moment to escape from a hectic-microsoft-excel-overdosed-day and enjoyed the view of a double rainbow outside our office.
On another day she left a banana sitting out on her desk and I drew a sweet little face on it to greet her when she arrived. She snapped this photo below.
And she also helped rekindle a favorite hobby of mine- making burlesque-esque costumes! She asked for some assistance with a Halloween costume that she knew she wanted to wear again, but it needed a few more finishing touches. Here are some shots of her Katy Perry-esque bra (I sewed and glued on the furry “icing” with some remnant fabric). We could not stop giggling when we saw this costume come to life. I want to make more of these and I’m thankful that she rekindled my passion for this craft. Thank you AEL!
Recently I also came across some photos that another friend posted on a social network site of some burlesque bras that I made for her a few years back. I was so pleased to see that not only are they still being used for burlesque performances, but also that they’ve held up to the wear and tear over the years (they’re 3 – 5 years old)!
Making more burlesque costumes will definitely keep my spirits up!
My heart goes out to everyone who has suffered or is suffering from the dreaded flu this season.
This past Thanksgiving my husband and I sat outside for an evening bonfire in the backyard. He went inside because he said he wasn’t feeling well. I stayed out in the yard for a few more minutes and shaped the embers into a heart.
Fun? Very much so.
I took a few photos of the glowing heart and listened to the embers crackle. Moments later I went inside to find my husband in the beginning stages of the flu. It lasted for several days. It was heart breaking to see someone who is normally so vibrant and healthy barely able to move and in so much pain. Needless to say we spent the entire Thanksgiving weekend taking care of each other as we suffered from different varieties of the virus.
Here’s to renewed health & wellness! I hope the flu flies away quickly for anyone who is suffering.
I love energy bars. They’re the perfect “emergency” food to have in your bag, and if I exercise multiple times per day they help with muscle recovery and maintaining a steady energy level. But they’re expensive! So I’ve been on a mission to make my own from scratch to save money and to see what they taste like when they’re fresh (not packaged and shipped hundreds of miles to sit on a grocery store shelf). I adapted the recipe below based on one from Vegetarian Times.
Raw Chocolate-Chia Energy Bars
Makes 8-12 bars
30 minutes or fewer
- 14 oz. pitted dates
- ⅓ cup raw unsweetened cacao powder
- ⅓ cup whole chia seeds
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract, optional
- ½ tsp. almond extract, optional
- 1 cup raw unsalted: cashews, walnuts and sunflower seeds
- 2 tbsp. cacao nibs
- 1 or 2 tbsp. Fresh-Pressed Virgin Coconut oil
- Quinoa flour for dusting, optional
- Water (optional, and only add if your date mixture is on the dry side)
1. Add the cashews, walnuts and sunflower seeds to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Place in a large bowl and set aside.
2. Place dates in food processor and purée until a thick paste forms. Add cacao powder, chia seeds, cacao nibs, vanilla and almond extracts. Pulse until all ingredients are combined. Add coconut oil and purée again. If your mixture is dry add a tiny bit of water at this point and purée again. Your paste should be thick, but it shouldn’t break your food processor! Add more water if needed (just a bit at a time).
3. Add the date mixture to the bowl of nuts and seeds and hand mix it with a spatula until it is well-distributed. Now you will probably want to take a moment to taste test any of the remaining date mixture in the food processor. It tastes like desert and is finger-licking good!
4. Spread a large sheet of wax paper on your work surface, and dust with quinoa flour. Transfer date mixture to wax paper, and use the paper and a spatula dusted with quinoa flour to press mixture into 1/2-inch-thick rectangle. Wrap tightly, place on a flat surface in the refrigerator and chill overnight.
5. The next day unwrap the block, and cut into bars. Dust edges and sides with quinoa flour to prevent sticking. Re-wrap each bar in wax paper and you now have a homemade energy bar.
I like to eat these bars chilled or at room temperature. However, they tend to be on the softer side when at room temperature so they may get smashed if you leave one in your bag on a hot day. It will still taste great but it may not hold its shape perfectly.
Fresh. Tasty. Energy. Enjoy!
The sky was definitely showing off for the last few days of 2012. I picked the top 12 photos that Donald and I took during the sunset in Southern California on December 30th, 2012 (yes, we both could not stop taking photos of this amazing cloud/rain/ocean show).
Here’s to a peaceful, mindful, healthy and prosperous 2013. And many more days of cloud watching!
A few outtakes from our 2012 Christmas photo below: