Morning Solitude

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This morning I was able to meditate and drink some matcha green tea. Surrounded by simple beauty and the leftovers of my kids playing back here during the summer, I was compelled to take pictures. Glad I did! I followed this by doing some yoga out here, as the sun was getting hot. Very intense. It’s like I could feel the Vitamin D and energy entering my body. Nice way to start the day!

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Foodie Friday: Pookie’s in Westlake

I had the opportunity to visit Carlos at his work. What a beautiful place! Pookie’s is a Thai place hidden in an office complex that is more of a nature sanctuary than any office complex I’ve very seen. Here’s a beautiful picture of our appetizer:

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And here are some pics of the office complex:

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Save $6 on Diapers and $5 on Baby Wipes with this Exclusive Offer Only at Costco!

Huggies Products from Costco

Some of you may have read my previous post about Huggies® Snug & Dry Plus Diapers and Huggies Natural Care® Plus Wipes and what a great product it is. My son is still happy, clean and dry in his diapers! I wanat to share some great savings EXCLUSIVELY at your local Costco Warehouse. Get $6 off Huggies® Snug & Dry Plus Diapers and $5 off Huggies Natural Care® Plus Wipes!

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Savings valid 8/7-31

Rocky

Here’s my Rocky playing care free with his Huggies® Snug & Dry Plus Diapers! He’s an active boy and these diapers provide complete protection with their trusted Leak Lock® system. They’re extremely comfortable and cloth like, so he’s happy all day long! Huggies Natural Care® Wipes are a dream come true, especially for the bigger messes. They’re thicker than standard baby wipes and don’t have that questionable chemical odor that other wipes have. So far both my toddler and myself have been very happy with both diapers and wipes from Huggies®!

March Against Monsanto

I completely forgot my Friday post again but for good reason. We stayed up working on signs for the March Against Monsanto that happened worldwide on Saturday. So many people don’t know what corporations are doing to over 90% of the food we buy, and the worst types of GMO foods are being marketed and fed to our children! I’m not trying to guilt people for not eating organic 100% of the time, but I am trying to help educate people so that they can make an informed decision about what they eat and feed their families, instead of blind consumerism. Check out the pics from our march here in Ventura, CA!

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Giant Cabbage and Galumpkis

Giant Cabbage and Galumpkis

I did it again! I forgot to post about food on Friday! Sorry guys! It was for a good cause though. Had a much deserved date night with the hubby and we decided to take advantage of the hot weather and high tail it to the beach. It was great! But now for the food. See that picture of me with a bowling ball? Well, it’s actually a GIANT organic cabbage I got from the local Farmer’s Market! I decided to make Galumpkis. Here’s the recipe I used: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/stuffed-cabbage-rolls-galumpkis-recipe.html

They came out pretty good, but I already know what I’m going to do to improve it to my tastes for next time. I didn’t take pictures of the finished product, I’m waiting to remake them. But everyone gobbled them down, so I guess they liked them!

Scribbles

“I thought a little vacation would solve my problems. It seemed to coat the surface, but could not quell the volcano within.”

I scribbled this down yesterday when going through a tidal wave of anger, frustration, and sadness. I had gone on a mini birthday vacation this past weekend, and felt like it took away the negative emotions in my life. But of course real issues run deeper than a weekend getaway. Something went wrong when we got back, and I became a bull in a china shop…again. I finally accept the volcano within, and I’m going to channel the energy where it needs to go and stop it from ruining the things that I love. This is my challenge!

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Toxic Kiddie Pools

It’s becoming harder and harder to be safe these days. So many things are made with toxic materials, ESPECIALLY things made for children. Here’s a great blog about the dangers of those little kiddie pools everyone buys when it gets hot. I admit, I almost bought one yesterday. I need to find one that is PVC and BPA free! Let me know if you guys know where I can get one for inexpensive!

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“From BPA to phthalates, there’s no end to the unsettling headlines featuring toxic plastics these days. So it’s no surprise that as temperatures rise and summer dawns, parents have questions about the safety of the plastics used to make kiddie pools.” Read more at healthychild.org

The Importance of Beauty

I’ve forgotten about how truly important beauty is and what it means for my life. Of course, there are more urgent matters throughout the day, everyday. As a mom, making sure my kids are fed, that they are taken care of, that they are safe-these things are more important than the kinds of beauty I’ve put on the back burner for a while.

Having found myself around vain and superficial people at times, I’ve completely turned my back on anything related to it. I thought by doing so, I was doing the right thing and teaching my kids to not be those things. While I’ve been successful at making sure they are not vain, shallow, and spoiled humans, I may have taken it a bit too far. I’ve completely counted out the importance of beauty. What is life if you forget to add as much beauty to it as you can? There are many different kinds of beauty, that are more than skin deep, even the seemingly skin deep kind.

Working hard to create a food garden, there’s a big difference when it looks unkept and when it looks cleaned up. It looks much more whimsical back there when it’s cleaned up-it looks like something Tinkerbell would be proud of! I don’t do it to impress anyone, that’s missing the point. I’m sitting in my backyard garden, under my avocado tree and feeling the zen of BEAUTY. I created it, I spent time and energy laboring over it, not to just be functional, but to be beautiful.

Working from home can truly make personal beauty take a turn for the worst. One an average day, I don’t see any of my clients. I often don’t leave the house. I’m working from my computer and from my phone. No need to get out of my pajamas because I don’t get out of the car to drop off my older son to school. I’m barefoot 95% of my day. And makeup? On an average day, I don’t wear any. This may sound great, and for the most part, it can be. But on the flip side, to truly start not caring about personal beauty, or style, or anything but getting work done…that’s not what I meant to do. Beauty and personal style are still a part of who I am, and I have been neglecting it.

Instead of natural and relaxed, I’ve become sloppy and unkept. Along with this comes low self image issues and depression. It’s a vicious cycle if not caught early on. After that, diet and exercise become secondary. It’s a dangerous and miserable place to be. All this because I forgot the importance of beauty.

My home environment is my work environment and vice versa. This can be maddening. While I admit, I’m a naturally messy person, I realize that as I get older, I NEED a certain level of order and cleanliness in my environment to focus and do my best. I had not seen the beauty of my home as important as it needs to be. Other things are always so urgent. But when the environment is negatively affecting my work, my mental state, my sense of well being, and my family, something needs to change.

I steam cleaned most of the carpets the other day and stayed up late to clean the kitchen. You know what? It felt so nice to wake up the next morning in a clean, beautiful environment. I felt renewed!

So, from now on, among all the urgent and important things to be mindful of, I must also remember, the true importance of BEAUTY.

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Happiness – A Journey

Going through a very transitional period in my life. I can feel the pull to either make it or break it. Vernon Courtland Johnson once read me, in passing while reading the rest of my family in more depth. I was busy vending at an art show, so I only had time to say hello. He asked me, “What makes you happy?” I froze a little, because the question came out of nowhere, and I hadn’t really thought about that in a long time. I pointed to my family and said “They do.” He told me that I was on my last life ( speaking of past lives, and I’ve lived more than most) my challenge in this life is to just be happy. It struck a chord with me, I didn’t know this man, I didn’t tell him anything about myself or my life, and most people see me smiling all the time in public, and assume I’m a quiet and happy person. How did this person totally hit it on the head? Whether you believe in past lives or not, my reality is that I struggle to be happy. I have a good life and I love my family. I’m very fortunate, and I’m grateful for my kids and a wonderful husband who is nearly perfect in my eyes. But, I struggle to be happy. Most days I am sad or angry or feel guilty or like a failure. Even on days where I feel happy, there’s an underlying sadness. Lately it’s been worse. I keep thinking about what VCJ told me.

I took a little time after talking to Carlos about how I was feeling, cried it out a bit, then after getting some work done, took my little one outside. I finally opened up this bubble machine that Rocky got from his Aunt and Uncle for Christmas over a year ago. He loved it. I left it on for him, the wind was making those bubbles dance around, and I wrote about happiness. No real focus or structure, I just wrote. Here’s what came out:

Self realization, letting go of guilt, doubt and fear. Soul searching, finding out who I really am so I can love myself again.

Happiness is not the same as success. It’s not measured in accomplishments. Due dates, schedules and time limits do not help find happiness. Sometimes the brain completely blocks the pathway to happiness.

When one has learned to harden and guard the heart, it’s often frozen over, or it feels as though a layer of concrete is around it, like what was done to some adobe structures, only for the concrete to cause issues unseen, deep within. It’s necessary to be vulnerable in order to be truly happy. Too many disappointments in oneself or others cause true instincts to be seen as a weakness.

While at times, it is necessary for your heart and emotions to go into survival mode, this way of thinking, of practicality, of self preservation, this tactic can get in the way during times of life when you can put down your defenses. It can get in the way of being able to feel happy and to find true happiness. You’ll miss opportunities of joy, because you’ll be too logical to see them. While there is such a thing as wastefulness, you must learn the differences between that and the fun you allow yourself to have.

What makes a two year old truly happy? Not the most expensive toy, or travel, or fancy clothes. It’s so simple. A hug or a kiss from Mommy, bubbles floating in the air, sand between their fingers, their favorite worn down toy, a juicy piece of fruit, dancing wildly, hearing a lullaby being sung, splashing of water, the sound of rain, wind upon their face, running wild while screaming and laughing. Simple things make a child so happy. Somewhere between this age and just before puberty, we lose a chunk of this, especially in our modern society. How do we get some of it back? For someone who analyzes everything to death, it’s extremely difficult. But it’s not impossible. Turning a new leaf and meeting my life’s challenge head on.

Rocky running through bubbles in the wind.

Throwback Thursday

Spending this #throwbackthursday #tbt looking at a photo album from my past that, seriously, seems like it was only a year or two ago, but it’s been over a decade! I stopped on one photo of myself and my now husband, Carlos, before we were married and before having my two boys. Alyssa was always in the picture. 🙂  It’s not the typical romantic couple “kissy” picture. He managed to plant a cartoon style SMOOCH on me before I had a chance to realize this was going to happen. I am a mixture of being thoroughly amused and being grossed out. But it’s very obvious that the couple in the picture is very much in love, happy and super silly (and maybe slightly obnoxious). As I look at this picture, I’m reminded of who I used to be. Don’t get me wrong, I have made some strides and grown in a lot of ways as I’ve grown up, but I’ve lost some of THIS along the way. It can really suck a lot of fun out of life when you grow up and start having a laundry list of responsibilities. It’s stressful when you have other people to worry about other than yourself and the person you’re in love with. I love my kids so much, but my anxious personality takes that love and turns it into worry and paranoia half the time. That’s something else I need to work on-a blog post for another time, perhaps. But, whatever happens in life, no matter how stressful, I cannot allow myself to change so much that I lose THIS. The words from Johnny to Ponyboy come to mind when I see my past self. “Stay Gold.” I’m going to try to.

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Carlos and I circa 2002