Gems, Jewels, Love and Life

#MeToo October 16 2017, 0 Comments

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, women have come out and spoken up about their own experiences in solidarity. Social medias have been flooded with stories, and two little words. Two chilling little words... 

I am so saddened by this ocean of "me toos". Not surprised, but really saddened. And as I was seeing more and more of them appear on my FB feed early this morning, I told my husband "I guess I'm one of the lucky ones"...
And since I uttered those words, memories have been coming up, out of the dark, one after the other.

I'm realizing now that because none of those instances were extremely traumatic or leave huge scars (as they have for too many), I simply brushed them off, rationalized them, filed them in my brain as "boys being boys". And even worse, I felt I was perhaps partly to blame. Did I not feel flattered, wanted, seen, validated, even just a little?

Feeling (and being made to feel) like my body and my sexuality were the only things of value I possessed was part of my dysfunction, and of many other women's, I suspect.

Witnessing so many amazing women stand up and speak up for themselves is inspiring, empowering and gives me hope. I believe things are changing, and will continue to change.

We are strong, talented, wise, creative, intelligent, funny. We are powerful, and the world needs us. Let's not ever let anyone make us feel otherwise.

Thank you my sisters.

#MeToo


How it's made April 17 2017, 1 Comment

Several people have been asking me about the process behind my handcrafted jewelry pieces. Is it really all handmade from scratch? Is that why the price is typically higher than comparable machine-made items?

Well, I documented the creation of one of my last orders so you could see for yourself!

Here's how this beautiful pair of sterling silver geometric earrings came to life. In about 15 easy-ish steps... Enjoy!

I started with silver wire in two different gauges (thicker for rectangles and thinner for small rings).

Then I measured and cut all the pieces I would need to craft the earrings (and shaped the jump rings).

After that I shaped the rectangles, making sure the ends had near perfect contact (so they could be soldered).

I then soldered the rectangles shut using a small butane torch.

After the soldering, I filed the joints to make them smooth and even with the rest of the wire.

After the soldering, I re-worked the shape of the rectangles to make them as "rectangle" as possible and also to make sure they were all about the same length & width (otherwise, one earring could end up significantly longer than the other. Not quite as easy as it sounds, and sometimes takes quite a while.

Then came the hammering. One hammer to flatten the shapes and another to give then the "hammered" texture.

 

The next step was to solder the jump rings shut and to the rectangles (being careful to find the center).

More soldering after this step: joining the rectangles with another ring and soldering it shut. This part is tricky. You need to use a solder that flows (melts) at a lower temperature and remove the heat as soon as it does to keep the previously soldered rings from getting "unsoldered".

I then bathed my freshly soldered pieces in the "pickle" solution to clean the metal and remove the fire stains ("pickles" are a mixture of an acid or an acid salt and water).

Then I put my clean pieces in the tumbler over night to polish them (with stainless steel shot, water and a bit of dish soap).

 

I took them out the next morning and patted them dry. They are now nice & shiny!

Last step was to attach the ear wires (the one thing I often don't make from scratch as it is more time & cost effective to buy them already made).

They were then ready to wear!

Hope you enjoyed this process! Feel free to leave comments if you have any questions.

These earrings can be found/purchased HERE.


Happy 2017! January 02 2017, 0 Comments

Yesterday, in keeping with our annual tradition, my husband & I brought out the art box and allowed our theme for the New Year to come to life on the canvas.
 
Once again, it proved to be a most interesting, insightful and powerful activity. Throughout the process, I paid close attention to the thoughts & feelings that motivated my decisions. Whether inspiration, judgement, fear, joy, comparison, abandon, they all contributed to the final creation.
"I should do it this/that way because Nate is/isn't..."
"These colors make me happy..."
"I don't know what I'm doing..."
"I love the look of this..."
"NOT what I was trying to do..."
"Now what? I'm stuck..."
"I don't care, this is fun!"
etc...
 
And that's just how Life unfolds every day. At least for me.
 
And the same way that I'm not crazy about the final result of our art project this year, I don't always like the outcome of my decisions. But ultimately I try to have fun with the process and remind myself often that I can always create something new.
AND sometimes the painting starts to grow on me the next morning...
.
  
 
The best New Year's wish I read yesterday was from my youngest cousin and I want to translate it for you: 
 
"What I wish for us all this year is to contribute every day to the creation of world that is filled with more justice, more equality, more openness and more tolerance. A world full of nuances and compromise. A world filled with Love." 
(Merci Jonathan!)
.

::::::::::: HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! ::::::::::::

 
* FYI, my theme for 2017 is "YES!" (in case you hadn't guessed it already), and Nate's is "LAUNCH".
.

Be that person. December 16 2016, 0 Comments

Today I stumbled upon this video on Facebook and was deeply touched as well as incredibly inspired.

Loving and embracing my body has been a lifelong journey for me, from being too skinny as a child to having acne-prone skin during puberty. The curves of young adulthood, and now the midlife signs of "aging".

It's always so easy to see and appreciate the beauty in others, no matter the shape, size or age of their body, but somehow, it seems so challenging to give myself the same treatment. And it saddens me.

I've come a long way, but I find myself constantly working on this as there seems to always be new things to accept, embrace and love with this ever-changing physical body. 

This video, this woman, truly inspired me. So I had to share. While watching it I even had the thought "Perhaps I'll just allow my hair to go grey naturally..." (for the first time).

Perhaps someday I too will completely stop criticizing myself and simply celebrate every day I am given in this miraculous body. Changes and all.

One thing I know is that I will keep striving. #bethatperson

Thank you Rachel. Keep shining your bright light.


Lemon Blueberry Loaf (gluten-free and refined sugar free) August 23 2016, 0 Comments

Yes, this loaf really is as good as it looks... I could eat it all day, every day! It has a nice density, but is also light and simply delicious. Hope you enjoy it too.

 INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 ½ cups blanched almond flour
  • ¼ cup coconut flour, sifted
  • ¼ cup tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup coconut oil (melted)
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • zest from 1 large lemon (or 1.5 small ones)
  • 1 and ½ cups fresh blueberries

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan (9x5) and cut a piece of parchment paper to line the bottom of pan.

Combine almond flour, coconut flour, tapioca flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

Whisk together eggs, coconut oil, maple syrup, lemon juice, and lemon zest until well combined. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until well incorporated. (it will have a strange, thick and seemingly lumpy texture - not smooth/creamy like regular batters)

Spread one third of the batter onto bottom of prepared pan. Sprinkle ⅓ of the blueberries on top. Spread another third of the batter and another third of the blueberries. Repeat one more time with the remaining batter and berries.

Bake 32-37 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cover with foil if top begins to brown too much. Remove from oven and allow to cool. (NOTE: my oven tends to not run as hot, so I baked the loaf at 375 degrees for 35 minutes)

OPTIONAL: You can also add a glaze.

LEMON GLAZE

INGREDIENTS:

  • ⅓ cup coconut butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • hot water

DIRECTIONS:

While loaf cools, prepare the glaze by whisking together all of the glaze ingredients. Add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until you have a glossy, liquidy, smooth consistency. Once loaf has cooled, pour glaze over top of loaf, letting it drips down the sides.

 

*Original recipe inspiration/credit: Katja from Savory Lotus (thank you, it's amazing!)

Meeting hate with more Love June 27 2016, 0 Comments

Feeling angry and completely heartbroken following the June 12th 2016 mass shooting in Orlando, my husband & I were talking and trying to figure out how to respond to this senseless, hateful act.

It is so easy to let anger turn to hate in those moments, but we both agreed that it would only serve to feed the very thing we were speaking against. The most powerful alternative was Love; fear & hatred can only be transformed by Love. And from Love this collection was born. 

It's a small thing, but small things turn to bigger things when we unite, when we all stand together and celebrate our beautiful differences. I stand with my LGBT brothers & sisters to create equality, freedom, acceptance and respect. 

I stand for Love. #LOVEWINS #LOVEISLOVE

Here are some of the unisex pieces I created:

        

They are sold at a deep discount to spread the word (and the Love). ONE THIRD of every sale is donated to this organization that does amazing work for the LGBT community, and truly, for everyone: free2luv.org

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Here's a little bit more about them and their mission:

"TAKE A STAND TO SPREAD LOVE AND END BULLYING"
.
FREE2LUV is an award-winning nonprofit dedicated to rockin’ individuality, celebrating equality, spreading kindness & standing up to bullying through arts & entertainment. We empower, engage & enlighten youth to be their true, authentic selves and know that they are perfect just the way they are.
.
FREE2LUV teams up with Celebrity Ambassadors, Youth Advocates and corporations who believe LUV is STRONGER than hate and BRAVER than bullying.
.

We hold hands with our partners to …

  • create thought-provoking awareness campaigns
  • support and produce community outreach events
  • create a cool line of cause inspired merchandise designed to create change

Through our FRIENDS DON’T LET FRIENDS BULLY® programs, we utilize music, impactful messaging and interactive storytelling to promote kindness, build self-esteem and help youth be more responsible citizens in their community.  We have partnered with Clear Channel Outdoor and hit the streets and highways with our anti-bullying awareness campaign featuring the Champion Seattle Seahawks and Free2Luv Celebrity Ambassadors and Advocates.  The FRIENDS DON’T LET FRIENDS BULLY campaign invites the community to unite, take the pledge and use their collective voice for good.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Please join them and me to spread love and make our world our better place for everyone in it.

Beautiful necklaces in production, and a bunch ready to ship. The response has been great and let's keep it going!


   


New Year Play-Time January 01 2016, 0 Comments

Here's the result of our today's play-time: paintings of our themes for the year 2016. This is the 3rd one, so it's becoming a (really fun) tradition.

Mine is "listen" and Nate's is "simplify, refine & streamline". I'm sure you can guess which is who's... 

 

As usual, the idea of painting brought up a little anxiety for me, but much less than last time. It's such a good exercise for my brain to simply dive into a creative activity with no plan whatsoever, very little experience or skills, and no possibility of doing it "right" or "perfectly".

Today, I just grabbed the paint & brushes and I listened. And this is what came through.

It's in this space that I'm stepping into this new year. Brushes in hand and ears peeled, I'm ready to hear the soft whispers of my heart and feel Life's gentle nudges. And I'm excited to see what is created.

HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone! May your 2016 be a wonderful ride, rich with experiences that inspire you to embrace more of your beautiful self.
Can't wait to see what we all create! 


Triple Chocolate Mini Cream Cakes (vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free) November 20 2015, 0 Comments

Yes, I did say "triple chocolate"... Did I get your attention?

These no-cook, vegan, gluten-free, sugar free cakes are a divine (and healthy) indulgence. And in case you were wondering, they really are as delicious as they look.

Here's the recipe. Enjoy!

CRUST

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup pecan or almond meal (or any other nut meal you love)
  • 4 medium size medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder (I use raw, organic)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS:

Place all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until combined. You want the crust to slightly stick together. 

Grab your mini cheesecake pan (removable bottoms - see photo below) and scoop the crust mixture into it. Press down with your fingers to firmly place the crust into the bottom of the pan.  

CHOCOLATE FILLING

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups cashew pieces
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil (I use organic)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3/4 cup cacao powder (I use raw, organic)
  • 2.5 tsp Stevia (powder)
  • 2 tsp vanilla

DIRECTIONS:

Place the cashews into the food processor with maple syrup, vanilla, stevia and water. Blend for a little bit to get it creamy.

Next add in the cacao powder and coconut oil. Blend until nice & smooth. (scrape the sides a few times, then keep blending)

Once the chocolate filling is blended, scoop into the pan on top of the crust. Fill them to the top. Put in the refrigerator for a few hours (or freezer for an hour or two) and let the cakes set before you remove them from the pan.

Add topping of your choice. In this photo, I used raw, organic cacao nibs and a sprinkle of Lakanto sugar (natural, calorie-free sweetener made of high-purity Monk Fruit extract and erythriol).

Makes 12 mini cakes.

 

* Special thanks to Michelle & Lori for the original recipe (that I modified slightly). You can find more of their amazing healthy recipes on purelytwins.com


Grief is the price of love... August 29 2015, 1 Comment

It’s so hard to say goodbye…

Our little furry angel got her wings back. And we’re heartbroken. 

It’s amazing the amount of grief that we can feel for the loss of a non-human friend. Those of you who have loved an animal know exactly what I’m talking about. 

At the very beginning of our relationship, one of the first things Nate said to me about his little Linda was: “You know why she’s so heavy for such a small body? It’s because she’s made of only heart…” That’s when I started to fall in love with her. And him.

We buried her in our garden and marked the spot with a big heart. Just as we were finishing, a large beautiful orange butterfly landed next to us and hung there for a while, as though it were observing the scene. It was missing half a wing. It finally flew off, clumsily but still strong and made circles in our back yards before disappearing. Almost like it was saying to us “See, I can still fly!”

For those of you who don’t know, our little girl was missing a leg for about half her life… 

She made her transition yesterday, the day after our 10 year anniversary. One day we celebrate, and the next we grieve. But that’s life. The full spectrum of the human experience.

The deeper we love, the harder we grieve. And it's painful. But the only way to avoid it is to not love at all, and that's just not an option in my book...


Has it really been 10 years already? August 27 2015, 0 Comments

This is not our best photo, but it was the first we ever took together. The first of many. About 10 years ago.
How did a whole decade go by so fast?
On this day in 2005, my life changed in a big way with just one kiss. And today, thousands of kisses later, I can say I love this man more than ever, with every fiber of my being.
With a heart overflowing with gratitude for all the moments shared, all the love given & received, all the fears overcome, all the learning & growing, all the laughter & tears, I love you Nathan Prevost.
Thank you for the best 10 years of my life. 


Chocolate-Banana Smoothie: Good & Good for you! June 15 2015, 0 Comments

Since I'm one of those people who could live on ice cream (and other frozen treats), this is one of my favorite ways to start the day.

But I'm also one of those people who chooses to eat very little sugar (other than fruit) because it feel so much better. Here's a super healthy and absolutely delicious alternative. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 frozen banana (cut in chunks)
  • 1 cup coconut unsweetened milk
  • 1 tbsp raw, organic Cacao powder
  • 1tbsp chia seeds
  • ¼ cup chopped raw walnuts
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ -1 tsp powdered Stevia (to taste)
  • 3-4 ice cubes
  • Raw, organic Cacao nibs (for a little crunch)

PREPARATION 

Put all ingredients (except Cacao nibs) in a high speed blender and mix until smooth. Add ice if you prefer it thicker. (Makes about 12 oz)

Yes, it’s that easy!

I like to eat mine with a spoon (yep, like ice cream) so I make it nice & thick and add cacao nibs for added crunch. But you can make it a little more liquid, skip the nibs and drink it with a straw like a traditional smoothie.

ENJOY!


To The Next Lifeguard Stand May 13 2015, 1 Comment

When I lived in the South Bay, three doors from the sand, I loved to run on the beach. Not initially, as it was so much harder than the streets I was used to, but knowing my joints would be grateful, I slowly trained myself to enjoy it.

I ran 2-3 miles on the soft sand, usually every other day, and did that as my cardio exercise for several years. The funny thing is that even after doing it hundreds of times, the thought of the whole journey still felt overwhelming. Every single time. So overwhelming that I wanted to quit before I had even started.

So I had to do it in small increments, and allow myself the possibility of stopping anytime I needed to. Anytime I thought I’d had enough. The first step was to get dressed and put my shoes on. Once that was done it felt kind of silly not to at least make my way down to the sand. That was step two.

I then told myself I had to make it only to the first lifeguard stand and then I could stop and walk back home. But once I made it there I found I still had some energy in me so I would try and make it to the next lifeguard stand. And that process continued throughout my whole run. 90% of the time I ran the total length of the course I had set out to complete, but I always did it one lifeguard stand at a time, giving myself the possibility of turning around and walking home anytime I’d had enough.

This story came up yesterday in a conversation with a good friend. She was talking to me about a project she wants to embark on that will stretch her out of her comfort zone in a major way. She’s actually already signed up for it, but was questioning her decision. The thought of the whole journey left her feeling overwhelmed and confused. She wanted to back out even though a big part of her really wants to do this. 

Sharing my lifeguard stand tale made me realize how I tend to get stuck in the same pattern with pretty much everything in my life. I get excited about something, I see the whole picture and I have my eye on the final destination, on the ultimate result. Then I start looking at the road ahead and try to figure out every little step, with every possible outcome and likely alternatives. And then I shut down.

The initial excitement gets buried under the overwhelming task at hand and the fear of not measuring up to it. I end up either doing nothing at all or stopping after I just started. Not knowing the specifics of the next step, or whether I’ll have the strength/knowledge/confidence to make it to the one after that causes such a panic in me that I often don’t even “put my tennis shoes on”.

What I’ve been learning over the years, and still have to remind myself of on a daily basis, is that I can take just one step toward a goal without having to know every single inch of the road ahead. What’s even more powerful for me is to imagine that next step as my ultimate goal. Once I get there, I can celebrate & pat myself on the back, which usually generates fuel to start working on the next leg of the journey.

I’m realizing more and more that it’s actually impossible to know all the specific details of a whole, long path ahead. Too many variables. To bring it back to my running analogy, I might get a cramp, or meet a friend along the way and run their path with them for a while, or perhaps I’ll decide I’d rather go for a swim. And. That’s. Just. Life.

The more I trust myself, the more I trust that I’ll either have the right tools to get through the next step when it’s revealed, or that I’ll somehow develop them. I also trust that I will know if & when it’s just too much, and allow myself to stop and make a new decision.

Another one of my favorite analogies (on the same theme) is the one Jack Canfield uses in the movie “The Secret”. It illustrates so perfectly this concept of trust; of knowing that everything will be revealed in the right time, and that it’s not only unnecessary, but also impossible to have all the pieces in place before we set out on a course.

“Think of this. A car driving through the night, the headlights only go a hundred to two hundred feet forward. And you can make it all the way from California to New York driving, through the dark, because all you have to see is the next two hundred feet. And that’s how life tends to unfold before us. And if we just trust that the next two hundred feet will unfold after that, and the next two hundred after that, our life will keep unfolding. And it will eventually get you to the destination of whatever it is you truly want , because you want it.”

I’m not a marathon runner, I’m a sprinter. My mind is wired in a way that I can easily give my all for 100, 200, or even 400 meters, but the mere thought of 26 miles is pure torture. I’ve learned that about myself and I try to live my life in ways that support my nature.

I also know that having very high expectations of myself and come down hard on little ol' me when I fail to meet them is completely counter-productive. I tried it for many years. Bruised & battered, but still hanging out near the starting line, I decided to adopt a much gentler and compassionate approach. It works so much better for me.

See you at the next lifeguard stand!


Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie (vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free) January 12 2015, 0 Comments

One thing that was clear to me when I decided to take better care of my body and adopt a healthier lifestyle was that I needed to eat less sugar. A LOT less...

My sweet tooth was passed down to me by my mother who, when I was a kid, would often make herself a bowl of icing as a snack and eat it with a spoon. It's no wonder I would most often reach for sugar when I felt hungry. Or when I was sad. Or really happy. Or bored, or stressed... You get the picture.

I still enjoy sweets, but I most often choose healthy options. And I'm always very excited when I create or find new delicious desserts.

Here's a great recipe I found online and modified to make it even healthier. There is Maple syrup in it, so by my usual standards it isn't "sugar free" (I try to use only fruits and Stevia), but still a wonderful option for the health-conscious people.  

And if you're a peanut butter cup lover... you'll be in heaven with this one. Enjoy!

PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE PIE

 

INGREDIENTS

Crust

  • 1.5 cup almond meal
  • 3 tsp Stevia (powder)
  • 2 tbsp pure Maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup raw organic cacao powder
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 3 tbsp melted coconut oil

Filling

  • 1 cup organic creamy peanut butter (salted)
  • 1/4 cup pure Maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 3.5 tsp Stevia (powder)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 cups water

Topping

  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp pure Maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp raw organic cacao powder
  • 1.5 tsp Stevia (powder)

PREPARATION

Line an 8-inch springform pan or pie dish with parchment paper and set aside.

To prepare the crust, combine all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then add the melted coconut oil  and stir well to create a uniform dough. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the lined pan and set aside.

For the filling, combine all ingredients with a mixer (or food processor), and blend until completely smooth and silky. Pour the filling over the top of the crust, and use a spatula to smooth the top. Place the pie in the freezer to set until firm, about 4 hours.

Once the pie is firm, prepare the chocolate topping. Combine the cacao powder and the Stevia in a small bowl, then mix in the coconut oil and maple syrup. Whisk well to combine, creating a smooth chocolate sauce. Use the parchment paper to easily remove the pie from the pan, then drizzle the chocolate over the top.

Allow the pie to sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes to make it easier to slice and serve. Store any remaining pie in the refrigerator for up to one week.

* To make this recipe acceptable for a Raw diet, simply use "raw" peanut butter.

 

*Original recipe by Detoxinista.com (thank you!)



    Letting my inner-child out to play January 05 2015, 0 Comments

    A little over a year ago, before the holidays, my friend Jennifer shared with me that she had read a great article about New Year and its customs. Its author suggested choosing a theme for the next 12-month chapter over the traditional “resolutions” and explained the potential benefits. The main one being breaking the good ol’ cycle that more often than not ends in feelings of failure: intention – motivation – action – less action – de-motivation – guilt.

    Jennifer’s theme for 2014 was to be “LISTEN”.

    The idea immediately resonated with me and I decided to try it on for size. I sat with it for a few days and allowed my theme to be revealed. The word that kept coming up was “FLOW” and it became my theme for the year.

    I shared the idea with my husband Nathan and he really liked it, so he decided to play along. His theme became “SHINE”. And on New Year’s Day he suggested we do something significant, some sort of ritual to really embrace and anchor our chosen themes. Why not paint it?

    PAINT it???

    Sounds like it should be fun, right? Not for me. I was terrified. I’ve actually always been terrified of anything I’m not immediately good at, and tend to stay away from those things because of the intense self-judgment they trigger. Painting is most definitely on that list.

    My wonderful hubby gently and lovingly convinced me to give it a try. “Just have fun with it and go with the flow… It’s your theme, so why not get started on it right now?” He gave me a few tips on how to use the paint, some information about the brushes and told me it was impossible to do it “wrong”... And off we went.

    It ended up being a very liberating and healing experience. And I was so excited about the result: I loved my painting! It represented my theme perfectly and made me smile every time I looked at it. It went on to inspire me all year, which to me was the whole purpose of the exercise. Here are FLOW and SHINE.

          

    Now, as the end of the year was approaching, Nathan & I talked about repeating the experience, and perhaps even making it an annual tradition. My mind started spinning. And the old perfectionist part of me went into figuring-out-and-planning mode: How can I top last year’s painting? I can’t paint the same thing, so what am I going to paint? Can’t use the same colors, so which colors will I use? But I love last year’s colors!

    And every time those thought came up, I thanked them for bringing up their concerns and gently reassured that fearful part of me. Everything was going to be just fine. It’s just painting. It’s fun. And it’s impossible to do it wrong.

    My theme for this year is “BE STIL. ALLOW.” and the painting that came through is very interesting to me. One of my first comments was “It looks like a child painted it…” (and that was not a compliment). My husband looked at me and smiled, and told me that was a beautiful thing.

    I’m not in love with my painting like I was last year (at least not yet), but it has already taught me a few things. And I have a feeling it will keep growing on me…

    It doesn’t represent the initial idea I had for my theme, but it has already made me realize that perhaps this theme holds a lot more than I thought. The colors are not what I would normally be drawn to, but they soften my heart every time I look at them. And its child-like quality puts me in touch with the little girl in me and brings tears to my eyes.

    My painting may not be what I wanted it to be, but I think it’s exactly what I needed it to be…

    Happy New Year everyone!

    And here's Nathan's gorgeous painting. His theme for 2015 is "EASE".

     


    Chocolate pudding (raw, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free) November 14 2014, 1 Comment

    I don't typically share recipes... because I rarely use them! I mostly cook by adding a little bit of this & that, until I love the flavor. (Yes, I have to taste. A lot.)

    But I often get asked for my recipes, so last night I decided to take notes during my little experiment, keep track of my "this & that" additions to be able to share the goodness with my peeps.

    My hubby & I do a detox twice a year, in the spring and in the fall, and the super-healthy-and-clean eating during those weeks always inspires me to get creative and find new and delicious food combinations to satisfy our palates (and cravings).

    Right now we're on a vegan diet without gluten and sugar (except for fruit). I'd heard about making chocolate pudding with avocado a while ago, and wasn't sure I liked the idea at the time... but right now, anything with the word "chocolate" in it sounds divine!

    So I looked up a bunch of different recipes for inspiration, and then created my own little concoction. And the result was delicious. So here it is my friends. Hope you enjoy it!

    Here's the first version: 

    CHOCOLATE-RASPBERRY

    INGREDIENTS

    • 12 medium size dates (Medjool are great) soaked in hot water for about 15 min. to soften them
    • 1 cup of coconut milk (unsweetened)
    • 2 medium size ripe avocados
    • 1/3 cup of cacao powder (I used raw & organic)
    • 15 large raspberries
    • 3 tsp of vanilla
    • 1 tsp of cinnamon
    • ½ tsp of Stevia (liquid concentrate)

    INSTRUCTIONS

    Put the dates (be sure to remove all the pits), coconut milk and avocados in a high speed blender or food processor. Start blending on slow and slowly raise the speed to high until mixture is smooth (no date chunks). Add the rest of the ingredients and blend some more until super smooth. And voila!

    Be sure to taste your pudding. If you like it as is, great. If you'd like it a little more chocolaty, feel free to add some cacao powder (and blend thoroughly). You can also add some Stevia if you'd like it sweeter. Add a few drops at a time as it's very potent. You can also add some raspberries if you'd like it fruitier.

    I personally wanted to cover up the avocado flavor as much as possible, and it worked. What remained was only a faint hint and actually mixed well with the other flavors.

    It takes about 5 minutes to make and serves 4.

    Enjoy!

     

    Here's the second, version:

    CHOCOLATE-MINT

     

    INGREDIENTS

    • 8-10 medium size dates (Medjool are great) soaked in hot water for about 15 min. to soften them
    • 1 cup of coconut milk (unsweetened)
    • 2 medium size ripe avocados
    • 1/3 cup of cacao powder (I used raw & organic)
    • 2.5 tsp of Stevia extract (powder)
    • 3 tsp of vanilla
    • ½ tsp of pure peppermint extract

    INSTRUCTIONS

    same preparation as above recipe, minus the raspberries.

    Enjoy!

     

    PS: feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

     

    *** HEALTHY DOESN'T HAVE TO BE BORING! ***


    Stone: BLUE TOPAZ November 03 2014, 0 Comments

     

    Throughout history, we have believed in metaphysical properties of stones & crystals; treasures gifted to us directly from Mother Earth.

    Blue Topaz is one of my favorites, and has been around for a long time.

    During the Middle Ages, it was thought to heal both physical and mental disorders and prevent death. The Greeks believed it had the power to increase strength and to make its wearer invisible, while the Romans believed it had the power to improve eyesight. The Egyptians wore it as an amulet to protect them from injuries.

    It’s even mentioned in the bible, in the Book of Exodus as being one of the twelve stones in the breastplate of the ancient Hebrew High Priests. It is believed that the stones of the breastplate together with 12 powerful Angels protect the door to Heaven. 

    Interesting, right?

    In this day and age, Blue Topaz is recognized as a soothing and calming stone that can distance us from stress and problems by raising our vibration and allowing us to rise above them. It is an excellent crystal for meditation and attuning to our higher self. It is recommended for people suffering from shock, trauma or depression and is also effective for those whose lives are filled with stress & tension.

    It is also known as a communication stone, helping us to express ourselves in a clearer, more meaningful way, both when speaking & writing.

    Blue Topaz promotes self-realization & forgiveness, and assists us in seeing where we have strayed from our own truth. It connects us to our inner wisdom and aids in problem solving (or sorting out muddled feelings & ideas). It helps shine light on our true feelings, fully honor them, and then let go of the ones that no longer serve us (like anger and resentment).

    A wonderful stone for artists and for those wanting to get in touch with their artistic abilities. It enhances creativity and increases one’s appreciation of beauty.

    It is a great stone for aligning the meridians and bringing body, mind and spirit into union. It also balances emotions and directs energy to the areas that need it most in the moment.

    It helps us stay open and receptive, making it a powerful crystal to manifest wealth and prosperity.

    Physically it is effective with blood disorders, endocrine problems, thrombosis and asthma. It also fortifies the nerves, stimulates the metabolism and promotes rejuvenation of the cells.

    *** Enjoy this beautiful & powerful stone in your every day life with these great jewelry pieces: http://magdamolina.com/search?x=0&y=0&q=blue+topaz

     

    .

    .
    .
    .

     


    LATC Gala 2014 October 07 2014, 0 Comments

    LATC (Los Angeles Theater Center) is a wonderful organization that works very hard to support the arts and artists. Their specific mission is to "provide a world-class arts center for those pursuing artistic excellence; a laboratory where both tradition and innovation are honored and honed; a place where the convergence of people, cultures and ideas contribute to the future."

    A couple of months ago, while my husband & I were attending a friend's play, I was approached by a woman who complimented me on the necklace I was wearing. I mentioned that it was one of my creations and we talked for a few minutes. I gave her my card and we went our separate ways.

    A couple of weeks later, I received an email from her inviting me to participate in the silent auction at their big annual fundraising gala alongside a few other established as well as up-and-coming artists. I immediately agreed, happy and honored to make a small contribution to this great organization.

    I was ready to donate a few pieces of jewelry, as I often do for various charities, but was told that this event was different. The artists get compensated for their creations in a way that feels comfortable to them, and LATC also receives part of the proceeds; a win-win situation for everyone involved.

    The gala was held last Saturday and was an all around success! My hat goes off to all the organizers who created an amazing, high class event. The crows was very generous, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. My husband & I certainly had a fantastic time, and my jewelry did extremely well at the auction. 

    Thank you so much LATC for doing this important work, and thank you Angela Scott for including me in this year's event. I am beyond grateful.

    #lifeisgood 

    Just HAD to strike a pose on the red carpet. Right?!

    Setup finished. My display is ready to go. Let the games begin!

     

    Brought my helper & biggest fan with me: my husband Nathan.

    The stunning LATC building in downtown Los Angeles.           Enjoying every minute of the evening!

     

    Lots of jewelry goodies ready to be picked up by some bidders with really good taste. ;-)


    Changing the inner monologue September 26 2014, 0 Comments

    This video truly touched my heart and I had to share.

    As women we are conditioned from a very young age to dislike our bodies, and our relationship with the mirror quickly becomes a painful and challenging one. Not feeling enough. Not thin enough, not tall enough, not young enough, not pretty enough, not enough, not enough, not enough...  

    But we suck it up, we get dressed, put on some make up and get on with our day. Things must get done...

    We carry those feelings around and inadvertently infect the younger generations with the same "not-enough" plague, perpetuating the self loathing cycle.

    How about we change this? One woman at a time. 

    What those people did is so beautiful. You'll be glad you watched. 

    Watch the powerful video: http://themetapicture.com/ladies-interactive-mirror/

    .

    .


    Dear human September 05 2014, 0 Comments

    This is one of my all time favorites. Stumbled upon it this morning and just had to share. And I combined it with a magical Mexico sunset; the photo was taken on our last trip there in February of this year.

    This poem softens me, fills me, opens me and empowers me. I hope it has a similar effect on you... 

    Thank you Courtney Walsh for those magical words.

     

     


    Stone: BLACK ONYX August 18 2014, 0 Comments

    Black Onyx has been used for centuries as a bead making stone as its properties have long been recognized. It could then easily be made into jewelry to wear on the body and receive its positive energy.

    It is mostly known as a stone of strength, endurance and vigor. It is very grounding and provides support as we carry even the most difficult task to completion. A wonderful stone for long term goals, projects or challenges that tend to drain our energy & resources.

    It is great for all types of endeavors, but is most often used for work related purposes as it really focuses our mental and emotional energies. Perfect stone for someone who has a lot of ideas but lacks the discipline to carry them out. It imparts self-confidence and stimulates the power of wise decision-making. I personally use it a lot in my business, especially when my emotions feel “all over the place” and my mind can’t focus. When I feel overwhelmed, but have to get things accomplished, this is my go-to stone!

    Onyx helps cool the nervous system and soothe anxiety. It harmonizes the physical with the spiritual and helps alleviate fears and worries. A very powerful stone to assist us with grief and sorrow as it helps in the letting go process. It aids in gently releasing past attachments as well as old beliefs & patterns that no longer serve us.

    It also helps align us to our powers and remain open to receive guidance.

    Physically, it strengthens the structural systems of bones, teeth, hair, nails and skin. Emotionally, it helps  calm the intense “roller coaster” rides, and also balances the yin & yang aspects of our being.

    Spiritually, it helps receive visions & guidance through meditation and dreams.

     

    Here are some powerful jewelry pieces for you to enjoy Black Onyx: http://magdamolina.com/search?x=0&y=0&q=black+onyx

     

     

     

     


    Stone: TURQUOISE July 29 2014, 0 Comments

     

    Turquoise has been used for thousands of years, and is one of the oldest stones to be made into jewelry; the talisman of kings, shamans, and warriors. Many honored Turquoise as the universal stone, believing their minds would become one with the Universe when wearing it.

    It has impressive metaphysical properties and is a powerful healing stone. Used a lot for protection and purification as it dispels negative energies and transmutes them. It can be worn to shield against outside influences and even pollutants in the atmosphere.

    It is also a symbol of friendship.

    Turquoise has a strong effect on the throat chakra and therefore promotes clear & truthful communication. A great leadership stone that helps balance the male and female aspects of our being, encourages self-realization and assists in creative problem solving.

    It helps align all the chakras, stabilizing emotions and instilling inner peace. It is an excellent stone for depression and exhaustion. Physically, it enhances the immune system and stimulates the regeneration of tissue.

    On a more superficial note... it's just a really beautiful & colorful stone! It adds a joyful and soothing touch to all outfits. Wear it with other bright colors and neutral ones alike, and have fun!

    Here are some beautiful Turquoise pieces for you to enjoy: http://magdamolina.com/search?x=0&y=0&q=turquoise

     

     


    Saying yes to love June 20 2014, 1 Comment

    Five years ago at this time, I was a nervous wreck. I hadn’t slept at all the night before because my heart was bursting with love and anticipation, and my mind kept going over every possible “what if” scenario, feeling a little fearful. I was 40 years old, and I had dreamed of this day my whole life, literally since the age of five. I had waited all this time to find "the one", and there I was, about to embark on this next chapter of my journey. I was about to say “I do” to the next leg of the trip, the one where I travel with a partner. Of course I was a little fearful.

    But the moment walked out and saw him there waiting, so ready for me, the moment our eyes met, a great peace washed over me. A soft, tender, powerful knowing that soothed my anxious mind and melted all the fear away. And all that remained was love. Him, me, and love.

    Our wedding was absolutely magical, but nothing in comparison to our marriage. And (lucky us!) that’s the part we get to create and experience every day; the part that just keeps getting better, richer, fuller, sillier. The part that’s an every day miracle and makes the ride more thrilling than I could ever have imagined. 

    Even though it sounds kind of romantic, I won't say that he completes me. Because we were both whole when we met. But he definitely complements me perfectly, and being with him enhances my life in ways I hadn't even thought possible. Our marriage roots me so deeply that it feels safe to fly... I know this sounds a bit contradictory, but it makes perfect sense to me.

    I love you Nathan Prevost. My best friend, my partner, my companion, my playmate, my lover, my husband. Here’s to more. More of what we are so blessed to already have.

    Happy anniversary my love.

     


    Stone: SMOKEY QUARTZ June 18 2014, 0 Comments

    Smokey Quartz is a root chakra stone, and wonderful for those times in our lives when we really want to move forward, to fuel our motivation and empower our projects & goals. It helps release the obstacles within our being like old programs that no longer serve us and limited thought patterns we subconsciously picked up along the way. 

    It is also a very protective & grounding stone, and can shield us from negative energies. It can even transform those darker energies into positivity & light.

    Emotionally, Smokey Quartz is excellent for elevating moods and relieving depression, stress, fear, and anger. It is very comforting and calming, and can be considered a stone of serenity. Using it during meditation helps access higher states of consciousness. It is also a great crystal to stimulate kundalini.

    On a more practical note, Smokey Quartz has a beautiful, earthy and neutral color so it can be accessorized easily and therefore worn often.

    Here are a few gorgeous pieces for you to enjoy: http://magdamolina.com/search?x=0&y=0&q=smokey+quartz


    Stone: PEARL May 12 2014, 0 Comments

    Pearls probably carry the softest and most nurturing vibration of all stones. Well actually (as we all know), they aren't "stones" as they're not formed & found in the earth, but they are certainly considered gems and are used a lot in jewelry designs. I personally think their water origin contributes greatly to their flowy, gentle, highly feminine energy. 

    The birth of a pearl is truly a miraculous event. A natural pearl begins its life as a foreign object, such as a parasite or piece of shell that accidentally lodges itself in an oyster's soft inner body where it cannot be expelled. To ease this irritant, the oyster's body takes action. The oyster begins to secrete a smooth, hard crystalline substance (nacre) around the irritant in order to protect itself. Literally turning a nuisance into a gem. Miraculous indeed

    Pearls are powerful teachers of self-love and self-acceptance; the keys that open the doors to our highest potential and allow us to create our dream life. I work with them and wear them often, and try to stay open and learn...

    Here are a few beautiful jewelry pieces filled with the wonderful pearl vibration: http://magdamolina.com/search?x=0&y=0&q=pearl