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Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Farmers Market

So yesterday I made it to the farmer's market after several weeks of out of town and other plans.  I walked around looking for perfect veggies and good prices, stopped by Dirty Girl Farms for my latest loose teas and supplements (flax seed, chia seed, marshmallow root, and nettle).

I also looked at every shape and size of squash and pumpkin.  Yes, autumn is here!

I walked out with my arms full of cut flowers, carrots, tons of greens for green juice, peanut butter, dill for chicken soup, teas, my first pumpkin of the season, and huge containers of Mums.

And that's when it hit me.  I was smiling.  For nothing!  There is something about the farmer's market that actually changes my physiology and floods my body with endorphins!  The more I thought about it, the more I realized it is the same feeling I get when I am out at a barn and going horseback riding.  And sometimes when gardening.  I say sometimes because sometimes I get in over my head and I get sick of gardening before I finish my project, and I get overwhelmed.

BUT to continue my "high", I decided to clean up my garden for fall when I got home.  I cut down all of my perennials that have started to brown, and I planted 100 bulbs.  I have 50 more but I decided to save those for another day.

So I guess my parents had felt my energy before I was even born and bought the farm with the huge garden where I was born.  I'll do my best to grab that feeling more often!

Peace.  Love.  Serene.

Monday, September 17, 2012

So close, yet so far away

Halloween is almost here!  

I've been getting catalogs, notices of upcoming parties, the Halloween USA store has opened, and I am EXCITED!  If you know me at all, you know that Halloween is my Christmas.  I turn into a little kid.  I want hay rides, pumpkins, horseback riding, haunted houses (although most are too scary for me), witches, skeletons, apple orchards, sweaters, leaves, and decorating.

Please share any new ideas you may have!

Already planned:  Trips to the cider mill, Witches-Only halloween dinner party, Halloweekends at Cedar Point, Pirate party, Fancy party in Birmingham, Scary party in Detroit (, and Im decorating all this week!


Peace.  Love.  Serene.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Renaissance Festival

Wenches, and mead.  Swords and jousting.  Turkey legs and ax-throwing.  Men in armor.  Oh yes, once again, it was time for the
~ Renaissance Festival ~

We donned our corsets and skirts, braided our hair, and grabbed our pewter mugs.  Michigan has one of the best festivals.  I've never been to another, so I guess I am only assuming, but our festival includes well-standing shops that stay up all year, and are authentic in wooden beams and creaky floors.

I would highly recommend experiencing this festival if you never have before.  It brings you back in time with people speaking with accents and donning traditional garb.  There is lots of good food, music, comedy shows, grape stomping, costuming everywhere, clothes, jewelry, perfumes & oils, swords & weapons, and household and kitchen goods in metal, pewter, glass, and wood.  It's amazing!

 Katy bought a real steel-boning corset!  And we both bought new skirts to complete our authentic outfits.  This is our before and after.

The characters are amazing.  This woman was on a roof just yelling insults at people.  Do not try this at home - she was part of the show.  The gentleman on the right was fully armed with several swords, axes, and other various sharp and pointy things.  He was guarding the sword house (all for purchase and very heavy!)

 We had great fun watching the grape stomping.  I thought some of the actor's costumes were amazing!

The renaissance festival would not be complete without routing for your knight at the jousting show.  They really go all out - at least 3 very large solid wood lances were shattered, and 2 of the knight were thrown from their horses tumbling and flipping backwards to the ground.

So the moral of the story?  Get out there and do something unexpected.  Who knows - you might even like it!

Peace.  Love.  Serene.

Challenge: 1 Day Juice Fast

Ok, I know there are lots of people who do 3-day fasts, 1-week fasts, and even longer.  Katy's Mom did an 8-day juice fast.  HOLY SMOKES!  But I don't think you understand how much I like food.  The way it lays on a plate, the aroma that fills a house, the feeling of the textures on my tongue, and the way it tastes as it hits my taste buds.  Yeah, I love food.

BUT I haven't felt the greatest lately, and decided to take the challenge.  Katy has said that a juice fast gives the digestive system a break, and allows your body to flush toxins.  See more reasons below.

Instructions:  8oz of juice in glass, fill with 12-24oz of water.  After every juice glass, drink glass of water.  Repeat throughout the day.  Try to drink juice every half hour so as not to get hungry.

8:30am - Wake up and start juicing
9:00am - Start glass of straight green juice (although the rest of the day will be water & juice mixed)
10:00am - Arrive at work - thought I would be hungry by now but Im ok!
10:15am - Realize I've forgotten the jug of juice at home.  Seriously?
11:30am - Getting a little bit hungry, so I down the rest of my jar, which actually curbs my hunger (mostly)
12:15pm - Katy brings my juice from home (thank goodness!)
12:30pm - Another jar of juice curbs my hunger (mostly) again
1:30pm - Feeling pretty good.  I am having cravings for the taste of food, and the chewing sensation, more than I am actually hungry.
3:50pm - Leaving work.  The hunger feeling is back.  Trying to down the juice.
4:20pm - Went to neighbor's house and she had just made popcorn.  The smell made my tummy rumble.
5:00pm - Supposed to leave for gymnastics soon.  Feeling lethargic and hungry.  Drinking more juice but it's not taking away the hunger this time.

So here's the big question:  Do I tell you that I made it the whole day as proof that anyone can do it?  Or do I tell you the truth in saying that I felt good for more of the day than I expected to, but towards the end my body was telling me that I needed some substance.  So I broke down and ate a healthy dinner of protein and veggies.    Judge me or don't judge me ... but try the fast for yourself!  I will do it again soon, and maybe make it a whole day, maybe not.  I know my digestive system thanks me for the time off that it had.

Peace.  Love.  Serene.

Why Juice Fast?
  1. One of the most common and essential reasons to juice fast is to enhance the immune system. There are various toxins, excess body fat, fatty acids and chemicals inside the body. Fresh juice packed with phytochemicals, vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and enzymes help in ridding the body of toxic waste buildup, and help to propel physical and mental wellness.
  2. Juice fasting provides essential nutrients to increase vitality and minimize digestive efforts in the body.
  3. Moreover, juice fasting cleanses the body from external toxins ingested from outsides source such as air, which are toxic to the building of the body's enzymes.
  4. Along with the cleaning of various organs, juice fasting also provides various other benefits, as it helps in overcoming several illnesses such as stress, depression, cancer and more.
  5. Juice fasting allows the body to get essential nutrients like Vitamin C, Vitamin E,Vitamin A and minerals like zinc, calcium, iron, potassium and so on.
  6. Another reason for juice fasting is to maintain energy levels and weight regulation. Since juice allows the body to naturally clean the digestive system and flush the unwanted substances that cause exhaustion and lethargy, it increases energy levels and regulates body weight.
  7. Fasting through juice is essential for mouth and gums and provides proper dental health and hygiene.
  8. Juice fasting can be great for the skin as well, as cleansing clears out pores and helps to give your complexion a youthful shine.
  9. It provides essential nutrients that help in easy digestion.
  10. Juice provides fibroblasts that help to build collagen.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Labor Day Weekend

I know you're all at the edge of your seats waiting to hear what kind of adventures I got my self into over Labor Day weekend.  Sometimes don't you just feel like all the relaxing we do is exhausting?  Ok, maybe not relaxing.  Fun.  All of the fun is exhausting.

Friday night we went down to Arts, Beats, and Eats.  If you have never heard of this festival, it is worth a look.  It is HUGE!  They have 8 stages of various types of music, artists from all over the world and in every medium, and every type of food you can think of.  There are carnival rides for the kids, and beer and cocktail stands for the adults.  It is my brother's favorite time of year, and he spends most of the time there while it is running Thursday-Monday.  We didn't get much time to explore, but long enough for me to buy an amazing organic white balsamic vinegar.  Here is the salad I made today for my lunch.  White balsamic & basil vinaigrette over greens, cucumbers, strawberries, fresh mozzarella, and pecans.  YUM!

At night we attempted to watch a dance competition that was eventually cancelled because of a televised football game (are you kidding me??), but ended up doing some dancing of our own, got all sweaty, and went home.

Saturday was a late day waking up (thank goodness!), and off to Katy's parent's house for a day that soothed my soul.  It was a day that reminded me what I live for, and what I strive for.  That balance of fun, family, nature, food, and rest.

As soon as we arrived, her father, donning an alien-like white bee-keepers suit (not even for Halloween!), was unloading trays of honeycomb and succulent dripping honey.  We were immediately put to work uncapping the combs (cutting off the top so that the honey can flow out), spinning them in the centrifuge to release the honey, and fishing out bees that got stuck in the honey as they were eating.  Amazingly, no one except for Katy's dad got stung, but that was down at the hives when he was stealing all of their food.

We also ate bits of hot honey and honeycomb right off the tray.  It was amazing.  We put back the trays, leaving some of the honeycomb, and some of the honey, for the bee's dinner.

Honey harvesting was followed by a nature trail walk (at power speed) with Jason identifying various plants and weeds.  I learned that my moon flowers that I cherish so much every summer is actually a weed, as we saw it next to the trail every so often.

A nacho bar dinner was next with more toppings than I've ever seen.  We were literally handed pie pans and told to "fill up".  I ate everything but about 4 bites.  Our after-dinner stroll through the woods taught me that I am amazingly good at spotting mushrooms in the forest.  Even though I don't like them!  Katy hauled our finds back to the house for identification.  We don't want anyone to "die by mushroom".

It doesn't end there - off to Katy's hometown peach fest to meet up with friends in the beer tent, and going on carnival rides in heels.  Oh yeah, we're just big kids.  People watching was .... interesting.

Sunday I went for brunch at my lovely friend Christy's house, who had an amazing spread and a pretty good crowd.  After having a mimosa, french toast, eggs, cheesy potatoes, and pumpkin cheesecake, I waddled out the door, "eat and run" style.

After a little bit of relaxing at home (its amazing how much couch time I actually get with all of the activities I do.  Maybe I really have more time for the gym and hill climbs than I thought I had), Sea picked me up in the old Chevy for a friend's BBQ.  Beer, burgers, and friends.  A perfect Sunday afternoon.

Monday we headed up to Granny's for a gourmet Labor Day BBQ.  At Gran's request, we invited friends over for one last dip in the pool (closing soon due to cold nights), and she suggested filet mignons.  Um YEAH!  So naturally I was in charge of the food.  I grilled 11 steaks, most of them to perfection, which was nerve racking!  Also served was salad, grilled corn, roasted potatoes, carmelized onions, and zip sauce.  For dessert I picked up a recipe for a fresh berry cheesecake tart.  A beautiful day!

And that is the ending to my weekend.  How did yours go?  Did you have any fun?  Did I miss any festivals?

Peace.  Love.  Serene.