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A Love Letter and Chocolate Mousse

I love to be in love. This is a relatively recent admission which has been pushing through my solar plexus for longer than I’ve acknowledged it. I remember sobbing on my parents bed in 5th grade, devastated because my new best friend had taken a family vacation to Florida. I just missed her so much- it was unbearable. That was being in love.

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I love the aesthetic quality it lends to your memories, which are sometimes the only things you have left over. Being in love is a personally gorgeous thunderstorm- big rain, world rumble passing through you, shaking it all up.

So I’m starting a new project. I’ll be writing love letters here. To friends, places, phases and lovers themselves… and a recipe that matches them.

Very little feels more poignant to me than that- telling people how loved they are. I swear, it’s my high.

So we start off this series with my dear friend, Miss Ashley…

We often joke that “you had me at hello”, but it’s the truest truth we’ve spoken between us. I met you on the brink of a brand new world, tucked away into Ohio fields and music school walls. You were wearing a bright red dress and I remember wondering if I should’ve looked fancier.

I was surprised by our closeness, how easily we communicated. We cared about such different things then- remember? We were both dedicated to boys far away and it joined us, I think- two 18 year olds trying out that whole “committment” thing. You loved Jessie McCartney, and I loved the playlist you made me of spunky pop music.

We drifted from those boys and from that music. (Although, thank god, found our way back to One Direction.) We have ebbed and flowed, my friend. You have been my mental solace when the world felt far too pointy and invasive. I hope I have held your hand when it was most needed. You are the mind I turn to when mine has turned to mush. I think what we do, in essence, is sit down at a table together. We sip tea and listen to soft music while we sort through the swirl of our growth.

For five years, you’ve been my growing up buddy, someone I dream hugely with, the person who reminds me what I’m worth and how to ask for it. Maybe someday we’ll end up in Portland, or Ann Arbor, or across the country from one another. But for now, I cherish the shared space of this city and this friendship. Keep rockin’ that ‘plain jane glory’.
It looks beautiful on you.

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Chocolate Mousse

This mousse is crazy easy. This is like… bachelorette mousse. So sexy, so simple. You can have an intimate experience… with the mousse. (It’s starting to sound like “moose” in my head… uh oh…)

half of a ripe avocado

half a can of coconut cream (they have this at Trader Joe’s!)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup cocoa or cacao powder

pinch of sea salt (plus more for topping)

pinch of cinnamon

Blend all ingredients. Serve cold and sprinkled with sea salt… maybe even after sticking it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Ooh la la…

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It’s funny: I a…

It’s funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools – friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty – and said ‘do the best you can with these, they will have to do’. And mostly, against all odds, they do.

-Anne Lamott

Urban Detox Club and Magic Miso Sauce

Howdy, folks! It’s been a great weekend around these parts. Yesterday I went to the Shaklee NYC Conference and got to hear all about my teammates’ transformations and how they built their businesses. The community in the room was palpable and being reminded of that in a work environment… well, methinks that’s important.

I also have jumped on the Urban Detox Club wagon this weekend! Two of my Shaklee mentors, Rebecca Sadek and Jen Morris, designed this one-week “straightforward program that will give you results quickly while simultaneously helping you create a permanent healthy lifestyle… (they) keep it down to Earth, doable and as entertaining as possible.” The UDC has been featured on the brilliant Well+Good NYC and I’m so excited to be on their team of Health Coaches.

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The program is tried and true and is focused on consuming extra-nourishing whole foods while eliminating common dietary irritants- caffeine, dairy, gluten and sugar. Let’s reframe this, though. So often, the whole “cleanse” or “detox” community focuses on what the food is NOT. But let me tell you what a good cleanse (like this one) is full of:

Sweetness, experimentation, confidence revolutions, nourishment, clearer skin and clearer thinking, food that loves you back, recipes to inspire you, richness and freedom. A good cleanse rebuilds you from the inside out: mind, body and soul.

I’m thrilled that I’ll be an Urban Detox Club Health Coach in a few weeks. I can’t wait to talk people towards health and happiness. That’s kind of all I want to do. But first- I cleanse myself!

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Despite my training and copious reading on wellness, there are a few “trends” I’ve never committed to. For instance, I’ve never gone gluten-free… it felt intimidating and rude to bakeries. (You don’t want to insult those guys.) The UDC, however, involves none of the allegedly sticky and allergy-inducing bread-stuff. I’m ready for it. Cutting out gluten can relieve a lot of pesky, “every day” symptoms like bloating, diarrhea, acne, eczema, colds and congestion.

I’ll be keeping you guys updated on how it’s going for me. This way of eating is pretty similar to how I eat already, just sans the occasional sample cookies and TJ’s mac ‘n’ cheese cups, so I’ll be interested to see what cutting specific foods out of my diet does for me. I am nerd-ily excited about this. For now, here’s my most recent UDC meal…

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That bad boy is salmon, kale, cucumbers and roasted brussels sprouts slathered in my Magic Miso Sauce… it’s an almond-y take on Thai Peanut Sauce, but seriously health boosted. I’ve crammed in raw honey, turmeric, fresh minced garlic and ginger… and oh, how I wish I could give you the recipe! I’ve submitted it to http://www.mindbodygreen.com, however, and can’t post it on here yet in case it gets accepted. Either way, you’ll get it within two weeks! Until then, friends, breathe deep, go outside and dance publicly. That’s the real recipe for well being. (Shhh, don’t tell…)

Oxygen

I have a deep-rooted calling to feel happy. To love the skin I’m in and to embrace all the nooks and crannies that make me, me. I need peace of mind like I need oxygen. I need unstructured time like I need water.

-Kris Carr

Concrete Underbellies

Favorite feeling:

Putting it all out there. Even the squeaky, halted moments between my words and their reception. Once I’ve un-shrouded myself, I have infinite universal teammates working on my behalf. Constant soul GPS update- watch your speed- turn around, or- your destination is right in front of you.

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Once you set free, fling open, spill out, release… you are not alone in your desire. Secrets become loose papers scattered to the wind and it’s not so scary to see your truths dancing in their element, all breezed up.

Even if the job falls through, if they say “no”, if you don’t hear back… you don’t speak knowing you’ll receive. You speak to see. Just to see. You don’t know. You’re asking.

“reveal your intentions, clean. stand there, vulnerable, waiting.” -Danielle LaPorte

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Bluster your wonderment on the underbellies of concrete bridges everywhere and watch how they move and shake when thundered above. Let the pent up be swept up, all winter winded and say it. Say it, say it.

The new work is the listening.

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Lavanilla Coconut Scrub

My most “Libran” tendency is most likely my penchant for the lovely… the aesthetically pleasing, the sweet smelling, the dreams that float up from a beautiful place or experience. It follows suit that I’ve always sought out perfumes, tinctures and other “beauty-enhancing” products… and since studying at IIN and developing my interest in holistic health, it follows suit that I’d like to make my own, thank you very much.

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This Lavanilla Coconut Scrub brings together some loves of mine:

equal parts coconut oil and brown (or turbinado) sugar

ten drops lavender essential oil

one half tsp pure vanilla extract

sprinkle of cinnamon

It could hardly be easier… melt your coconut oil and stir in the sugar once it’s removed from heat. Drop in your lavender oil, vanilla and cinnamon. Inhale… deeply. Because that, my friends, is a “yum”.

Exfoliating just feels good. It should smell good too. Not to mention the healthy fats and moisture you’re lending your skin in these blustery months.