Links I Love

IMG_2315

Here is where I will share a few links of podcast episodes, blog posts, websites, TED talks, new books, etc. that I favorite each week. Refresh your imagination and fill up your inspiration tank.

What can I say about these past two weeks except “I NEED A VACATION!!!” OK, deep breath and moving on…Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas! I plan to enjoy the day out away from kids and chores, and not being a taxi service. Alan and I are going to take a picnic lunch (he’s making me sushi!) with us and stop at a few wineries for tastings and to enjoy the views of whatever lakes we end up at.

So, what have I found interesting and inspiring this week? Several great podcast episodes, plus one new-to-me podcast.

First, here is a podcast that I love because it gives me ideas and inspiration for my self-care and home decor Etsy shop and local business, Delicata House. Etsy Success Podcast features a different successful Etsy shop owner each episode who presents solutions and ideas and shares her or his own story.

One of my favorite episodes from a few months back featured the owner of Betsy Farmer Designs, a jewelry shop, sharing her tips on excellent customer service. Check it out on SoundCloud or iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Second, Anne Bogel had a super fun episode of What Should I Read Next where she interviewed a young woman from New Zealand who now lives in Bath in the UK. Since I want to visit both New Zealand and the UK, I was thoroughly absorbed in their conversation. And the books they discussed had me breaking my “read ten, buy one” rule and adding to my TBR list.

IMG_2312

 

Third, also through Anne Bogel’s podcast, I was introduced to another podcast which I am thrilled to have connected to. It’s called Reading Women and the two young women who host it are committed to interviewing authors who are women and discussing books written by women. One of the latest episodes is an interview with Chibundu Onuzo, author of Welcome to Lagos: A Novel. This was a fascinating, intelligent, and upbeat conversation that left me wondering why I haven’t already read this novel and the others she’s written. (Sad fact: I hadn’t heard of her until now. Happy fact: the whole reason this podcast exists.) I’m now in the middle of the episode with Maggie O’ Farrell, author of I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death and This Must Be the Place: A novel which I’m loving as well.

And, finally, since my last post focused on inspiration, it’s a subject that is staying with me this week, so here is a post on living inspired on Medium. Look for the great Jack London quote about not waiting to be inspired.

OK, cheers to the weekend and to all the mothers in our world!

 

Baked Oatmeal for a Cheery Morning (Recipe)

735AFF46-7D3E-4F01-90E4-DF3362F2D113

I was first introduced to baked oatmeal many years ago by my Mennonite in-laws and I’m forever grateful. It was a revelation! A breakfast unlike any I’d ever had: in between a soft, custard-like cake and a bowl of oatmeal. Only it stuck to my ribs longer because it contained eggs, butter, milk, and sugar.

If you know me at all, you know I can’t eat dairy, so I altered a recipe I found in a Cooking Light magazine. This is what I fed to my two kids several times a month and they gobbled it up happily. They would even eat it left-over the next morning. Recently, I made it for Alan, who’d never tasted Baked Oatmeal before, and he liked it enough that he ate it left-over the next morning as well.

 

So here it is:

If you’re feeding more than two or three, I’d double the recipe and put it in a 9×13 baking dish.

Baked Oatmeal

  • 2 cups rolled oats (mine are gluten free)
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups milk ( I use dairy free milk, such as almond or cashew milk)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons butter (I use coconut oil, vegan butter, etc.)
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 350. In large bowl of a stand mixer, combine milk, applesauce, melted butter or coconut oil, and egg. Mix well. Add in the rolled oats, brown sugar, and baking powder. Mix until combined. Pour mixture into a greased 8×8 baking pan. Bake 20-22 minutes. Serve warm.

Wasn’t that simple? I hope you like it as much as we all do!

A3417BFC-18F1-41FF-8C3A-8809B196A5A4

Other Books I’ve Been Reading Lately

Now that I’m not writing two or three songs a day, I can catch up on sharing my reading life with you.

The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda. I honestly hated this book until halfway through when a body was discovered, and suspicion was cast on the narrator and another person. The ending was not satisfying and left plenty unexplained. This felt a bit like a mystery written by someone too lazy to figure out the details–leave it all up to suggestion and imagination. Meh.

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae. Be prepared to laugh. I haven’t seen this HBO show, but the book was part hilarious autobiography, part commentary on what it’s like to be a young, educated woman with both an African and African-American heritage.

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brene Brown. There’s no one quite like Brene Brown, with her very own intelligent and distinct way of telling stories and sharing research with every day people. She is so down-to-earth and salty, being vulnerable with the world as she talks about the need to belong, to be accepted and at the same time learning to live true to yourself. She talks about love, accountability, being nonjudgmental, having a generous heart, knowing boundaries, being reliable, etc. She has a chapter entitled “People Are Hard To Hate Close Up. Move In.” that challenges people that like to sling nastiness, political in particular, using social media, because they don’t have to look each other in the eyes. It was so good, I put some of it in a song I wrote. I need this book; you need this book. Read it and pass it on.

Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything was Anne Bogel’s (Modern Mrs Darcy blogger) debut book and she did a great job with it. It’s all about personality frameworks and how they can help you understand yourself, your children and partner, co-workers, friends, etc. Here you will find a straightforward and practical introduction to Meyers-Briggs, the 5 Love Languages, Highly Sensitive People, Strengths Finder, the Enneagram, and more. Anne peppers the book with personal stories and the tone is friendly and fun, yet intelligent and thoughtful. I recommend it!

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell was the first novel I’ve read by her. Light, but not candy-sweet, amusing, heart-warming and feel-good about a young guy who reads the emails of a pair of female co-workers and falls in love with one of them. Since I read several heavier books lately, this was good for entertainment and diversion. If you’re interested, borrow it from the library.

I’d love to hear about what you’ve been reading lately!

Juicy Update

8A97341A-BE8C-4A15-871F-2C9A402A5214

Well, it’s been a week since I began juicing daily. For those of you who read my post on habits, I mentioned my painful eye condition (Recurrent Corneal Erosion Syndrome) and how it’s incurable. I also wrote about how if I juice every day, I don’t wake up to eye pain, tearing, swelling and a migraine–I actually wake up like I should, with no eye pain. This week I missed juicing one day and that was the only night my cornea tore once, but it was still minor compared to what I’ve been dealing with.

21CFE6DC-1D0D-481A-A36F-9D4913B39588

So, although I’m no medical expert, I’m also no idiot: juicing helps my eyes, folks, and most likely is benefiting other parts of me as well. (I’m hoping to see the rosacea-red skin on my face calm down eventually). If you have a juicer at home, why not dust it off and put it to work boosting your health, especially with all the cold and flu flying around.

9C043E81-F0D2-4948-9E1E-E62232853AD1

Here are two easy-peasy recipes I’ve made a few times this week. I do make a lot of juice at once and drink it throughout the day–and I give a glass to Alan too. Feel free to cut the recipes in half if it’s too much for you or come up with your own combos. Obviously, mine are carrot-heavy because…my eyes.

52FC0480-39B1-4D24-9206-63EB85D686B0

Kim’s Favorite Winter Juice #1

  • 10 carrots, rinsed, ends trimmed and cut in half
  • 5 celery stalks, rinsed and cut in half
  • 2 oranges, rinsed and sliced into fourths
  • 2 limes, rinsed and cut in half
  • 4 apples, rinsed, peeled, seeds removed, in fourths or large pieces
  • 1 yam, rinsed, peeled, cut into large pieces

Kim’s Favorite Winter Juice # 2

  • 7 carrots, rinsed, ends trimmed, cut in half
  • 3 celery stalks, rinsed and cut in half
  • 3 oranges, rinsed and cut in half
  • 3 apples, rinsed and cut in half
  • 2 yams, rinsed peeled, cut in large pieces
  • 1 bunch of parsley, rinsed

Cheers! Please share your own favorite recipes in the comments.

B334D039-D877-4618-9555-509BC85F0029

Healthy Habits I Am Forming/Re-Forming

AE6F1E38-B04A-464E-9C72-E078313BD538

It’s February and I am still getting my act together…with habit forming, that is. We all know that habits, once formed, require little brain power–we just do what we’ve programmed ourselves to do. (By the way, if you’ve never read Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit, then add that to your TBR list for this year. It’s on my to re-read list.)

And like most humans, some of my habits have become derailed from either constant changes in my schedule, chronic health conditions (I have Recurrent Corneal Erosion Syndrome which causes severe eye pain, migraines, and light sensitivity) work, etc. But I started 2018 with a focus on being nurturing and kind to myself, and I’m easing into a self-care routine that reflects this. So here is my list:

Juicing–I have a Breville Juice Fountain Plus  that is a cinch to use, yet it sat on the counter untouched for most of the past year. Since I do have this incurable chronic eye condition (see above), it is up to me to find a way to stop waking up to horrible eye pain, swelling, migraines, blurry vision, light sensitivity, and basically, a quality of life that needs to improve.

When I juiced regularly back in 2013, I had little to no corneal erosion. Somehow, I forgot about this and then gave myself excuses about juicing taking too much time out of my day, the juicer being too annoying to clean, etc. This past Saturday, after a string of bad eye nights and days, I pulled out my juicer and made carrot-apple-celery-orange juice. I timed the whole process–from gathering the produce, to rinsing and trimming it, to juicing and cleaning up the machine. It only took twelve minutes! That’s all! I CAN do this and am hoping to see an improvement in my eyes as I continue to juice daily.

Yoga–I signed up for DailyOm’s Fit and Fierce Over 40 21-day yoga course with Sadie Nardini. DailyOm offers a sliding scale fee for their courses, and as I am currently in the low-income bracket, I only paid $10. What a generous company! For twenty one days, there are daily journal exercises, meditations, recipes and the actual yoga workout. I expected to work super hard and perhaps give up because it would be too tough. Actually, Sadie is very much into safe and nurturing thoughts, intentions and movements  so I’ve found the yoga to be super doable and a positive way to exercise.

After injuring my back, elbow, wrists and hands multiple times during work and exercise last year, I think it’s starting to sink in that I need to move more slowly and thoughtfully and Sadie is helping me with this. Since January 2, I’ve done yoga with her about half the days and done a few yoga poses on my own the rest of the days. I’m confident eventually yoga will become a habit.

Green Tea in the Afternoon–Not much to say here, because most of us ought to know by now that green tea is purported to have many health benefits.  I’m a coffee drinker, but have been making room for a cup of green tea every afternoon.

DCE84A4C-4FF5-4C88-8662-66D8DD25861E

Writing–As I love writing, whether I’m blogging, writing poetry, songs or working on a story, I just need to do it. And I have been. Songwriting, mostly, as we have less than three weeks to write another 10 or so songs. I feel like myself when I write, even if it can be maddening and anxiety-causing and exhilarating and joyful all at once.

Poetry–If I read poetry every day, it changes how I approach words, how I read and write and just gets into my soul like a part of me I was missing and found again. I’m not sure that makes sense, but some days poetry is all I read and it is perfect. Right now, I’m reading The House of Belonging by David Whyte and Delphi Complete Works of the Bronte Sisters: Charlotte, Emily, Anne Brontë .

Essential Oils–Although I’ve used essential oils in my homemade body care products and household cleaning products for years, I recently became a Young Living Member and began taking a few of the oils internally, as well as diffusing and adding them into my facial skincare. I will blog about oils more in upcoming posts.

Internally: I take a drop of Thieves Vitality Oil in a veg capsule one to three times a day. I also take DiGize Vitality Oil to aid digestion (Please follow the website’s directions for usage.)

DiffusingLavender or Stress Away blend at bedtime and Thieves, En-R-Gee, Purification or M-Grain during the day, depending on my needs and which rooms the diffusers are in.

Pain Relief: On Friday, I had a headache and rubbed diluted M-Grain into my temples; within an hour my headache had subsided. For backaches, I rub diluted PanAway into the painful areas for a quick cooling relief. These are wonderfully effective products!

Skincare: I put a drop each of Helichrysum and Copaiba into my fragrance free face lotion every morning and evening to help sooth my rosacea. After a few days of use, my skin was noticeably softer and smoother–no more dry, rough patches on my cheeks.

Learn how you can become a Young Living Member and get your own starter kit with diffuser: Become a Member  If you decide to become a member, please enter my member number (13684396) in the Sponsor ID and Enroller ID sections. Thank you!

So, that’s the list of my current habits-in-the-making. I’d love to hear about yours!

D5A12451-03A6-4D86-AF74-F96154ECEF74

*There are affiliate links in this post. If you purchase items through an Amazon link or with my Young Living member number, I will receive a monetary compensation at no extra cost to you. My opinions are, as always, completely my own. 

** Medical disclaimer. The contents of this blog post are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical disease. Statements on this blog have not been evaluated by the FDA. The health and wellness information shared is part of my personal story and meant for educational purposes to help you think about/make decisions for your own wellness journey.

What I’m Wearing on My Feet, How I’m Shopping Right Now

28B97A59-1886-4E43-BFC1-8C2388A0BB53

 

Although we are currently enjoying a January Thaw with temperatures in the 30s and 40s, it’s been quite snowy and frigid here in the Finger Lakes. I’m thankful to have a home to shelter me and a space heater to keep me warm, as we keep our inside temperature is rather cool.

I posted a few weeks ago about how Young Living Thieves oils are giving me an extra boost of wellness during cold and flu season. Now I’d like to share a rather odd couple of subjects: how I keep my feet warm and how I’m shopping for natural foods this winter.

As far as what’s on my feet, I have Reynaud’s disease, which can make my feet feel unbearably cold and my toes go numb during the winter months. So this year I invested in five pairs of wool/cashmere/Angora socks from TJ Maxx that I hand wash and wear daily. Here are some from Amazon that look comparable.

I also purchased a pair of eggplant-hued Haflinger Wool Clogs that fit like a dream right out of the box. They are warm, soft, supportive and gentle on my flat, over-pronating feet and they’re cute as well. If you’re a Birkenstock fan, your size should be the same in Haflingers. At least they were for me.

de21cf8c-8616-44fd-9112-a89275b16f30.jpeg

 

 

 

C655C6B8-1E98-4DC9-970E-838B5DFE485A

Shoes when I’m out during the weekday consist of my Keen Targhee Hiking Boots (mine are a few years older than these) or Dansko Professional Clogs in black if there isn’t much snow.

As for shopping, when I’m in Ithaca, I go to Wegmans, Greenstar and BJ’s, but I can’t get there as often as I’d like now that I live farther away. All my produce is purchased in Ithaca, but unless you know your prices, or items are on sale, other foods that I eat tend to be pricey. (Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Meat-free. I also try to limit corn and soy because of sensitivity that shows up in my skin and digestion.)

For several years now, I’ve ordered from Vitacost for supplements, gluten free flours, natural household cleaners, and protein powder. Their prices are good, shipping on orders over $49 is free and fast, and they send coupon codes through email all the time.

And of course, Amazon has almost everything, so I order food items, such as this 3-pack of coconut sugar, which is a really good deal, here as well.

Recently I placed my first order with Thrive Market. I’ve been thinking about it for a while, but decided their prices, especially on items with their own brand, were too good to pass up. They have a 30 day trial membership with the first three orders discounted 20% (for a maximum of $20). After that, it’s $59.95 per year for membership, which basically covers the year’s shipping cost.

Since I regularly include foods like gluten free pasta, coconut milk, oil & aminos, tahini, cashew and almond butter, protein powder and Nutpods coffee creamer in my diet, I was happy to find that their prices were reasonable for these items and will ship directly to my door. (I have a small vehicle which doesn’t do well on snowy roads.) I am happy to report that all of the Thrive Market brand of products, especially the nut butters and coconut aminos, are top quality and just plain great tasting. I will be placing another order soon.

So what are you doing to stay warm and cozy this winter?

FD698399-6646-40D6-82E4-AED54A9AAB29

** This post contains some affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase through a link I provide, I may be compensated in a small way, at no additional cost to you. I was not paid for my honest opinions, though–they are completely my own.

On the Trail of Wonder (Brief Book Reviews)

5ac2aea5-0f1f-4c36-8039-ba92ac4a03ae.jpeg

I just finished reading Madeleine L’Engle’s Bright Evening Star: Mystery of the IncarnationA non-fiction book for the Advent and Christmas season or any time of year, really, it chronicled her life as it pertained to her faith story. In Madeleine’s intelligent, honest and thoughtful voice, she shares her unconventional childhood with two loving, artistic parents, her questioning teen years at boarding schools, her college and post-college years of searching, doubting and asking, and her years as wife and mother, writer and speaker where her faith became more natural, more a part of who she was. Because Madeleine was at ease with mystery and with not attempting to explain away everything, she has some fascinating tales to tell. It was not a book that will tell you what to think, but shows her way of thinking and encourages you to encounter the mystery of faith for yourself. I’m sorry to say that this book is out of print, but used copies, like mine, are available.

Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God made me cry, smile, nod in agreement, and clutch the book to my chest while muttering, “It’s so good.” He expresses humanity’s reaching, searching and wrestling with the Divine in such a tender, turbulent, up close, sincere and universal way that a person of any faith or none at all would be able to relate to these verses. I finished it on Tuesday night and immediately wanted to order one for my daughter. It’s also beautiful–a deckle-edged softcover with delicate white filagree on the silver spine.

Wendell Berry’s Terrapin: Poems  is my first poetry book by him. This was one of Alan’s Christmas gifts to me and in his signature natural, straightforward way, Berry takes us to his native Kentucky, among woods and hills, listening to leaves fall like rain, noticing flowers growing up in April, contemplating a snake’s October dinner “big with a death to nourish him during a long sleep”,and musings on how a terrapin “is always home”. Uncomplicated and lovely in its artlessness, these are poems to soothe a modern mind.

I’d love to hear from you. What are you reading in the new year?