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April 2017 Service Retreat to Guatemala

A long time dream of mine - combining yoga, travel to amazing places, and service work finally came true for me with this trip! I traveled to Guatemala as the yoga and mediation instructor for a service retreat with a company called Journey and 11 beautiful people from my "Soul Tribe" came with me! While there we built homes for 2 days- the "Impact" part of the trip.  The next 2 days, "Integration," we spent doing yoga, meditation, excursions, getting to know the culture and people of Guatemala, and exploring this beautiful country.

My husband Johnny and I were put with 5 other volunteers to build a house for a family in two days.  During that time we bonded with the other volunteers and the very grateful family.  The family we were building for had 25 people- 2 parents with 5 of their 7 children, their spouses, and all of their children, all co-exising with the 10 or so dogs and puppies, kittens, chickens and baby chicks, a pig, and a dozen pet pigeons.  

 It would seem this family is living in extreme poverty- no running water, only dirt floors in their home, and a stone hole in the ground, down the hill, with tarp walls and tree limbs as their toilet. However, this family was rich in so many ways! 

 They have a deep family and community connection and support network, a strong work ethic, and a deep pride for their culture and a desire for the next generation to not only carry on traditions, but to continue to do better than the generation before.  

At the end of our second day, when Johnny and I had to leave the build site and say goodbye to our new friends, I was brought to tears and filled with emotions I couldn't really explain! All I know is that the time spent with all of these people and my experience in those two days has moved me and changed me- heart and soul, and I will never be the same! 

We spent our last 2 days at a beautiful hotel overlooking Lake Atitlan.  Our first morning there I led a 7am yoga class on the rooftop overlooking the lake and volcanoes.  We spent that day in San Juan exploring the markets and  participating in an ancient Mayan ritual that translates to "Open Honey Heart" that was led by two gifted Shaman. The ceremony was emotional, heart-opening, and an experience that deeply connected all of us in the group!

 On our final day, we took a beautiful 45 minute boat ride across the lake.

 Once there people had the opportunity to zipline in the jungle and see monkeys, go swimming and cliff jumping at a beautiful beach, or explore the local village and tour a weaving collective run by 20 families. 

The trip culminated with a group dinner back at the hotel where lots of gratitude, laughter and  love  bonded all 26 of us! Half of us (my "Soul Tribe" who came on this trip with me) who were now closer than ever,  and other half, whom were strangers 4 days earlier, and now felt like family! 

I am deeply grateful for this  experience and all of the people whom were a part of it! I can't wait for the next one in 2018!!!!! :)

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Healthy Crock Pot Pea Soup Recipe

November 7, 2016

Fall is here and so is soup season! This past week I made a huge pot of pea soup in the crock pot and it was SO easy and SO yummy! (And BTW- it's also vegan!) What I love is now I have several containers of soup in my freezer for easy meals in the future! Below is the recipe I used:

1 bag/16oz dried green peas- rinsed in strainer

1-1 1/2 c chopped potato

1-1 1/2c chopped carrots

3 stalks chopped celery

1 Tbs. dried minced onion (I didn't have a fresh onion on hand, otherwise I would have use that.)

2 bay leaves 

2 quarts/64 oz low sodium organic vegetable broth (I use Pacific brand)

salt and pepper to taste

Put all of the ingredients in crock pot, cover and set on high. That's it!!!

I thought this would only have to cook for 6 hours, but the peas were still kind of hard, so I cooked it for a long time. Just keep checking it every so often and give it a stir. Towards the last couple of hours, I tilted the lid so the pea soup would get really thick- that's how I like it.  I tend to like my vegetables in pretty large chunks, so chop your vegetables to your desired consistency.  Also, I used VERY little salt and pepper because I didn't think it needed it after it was all done, but again, season it to your taste. Enjoy!! ;)

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Yoga & Meditation on my patio 

Saturday. August 20,  2016

Last night from 615-745 I had a yoga and guided meditation class on my patio in Shelton with 14 of my yogis.  What a great night! (We all hung out afterwards for some wine and snacks and enjoyed the beautiful night and eachothers company.)

  I asked that my yogis bring a non perishable food or paper goods item to donate to Spooner House, a local shelter and soup kitchen.  My yogis showed up with bags full! 

After I finished work at the salon today I dropped off the donations.  The two volunteers who helped me unload my car looked like it was Christmas morning and were SO grateful for the shopping cart full of donations! It is so simple to make a difference in people's lives! Thank you generous yogis! You rock my world and warm my heart! Namaste!

Essential Oils- All Purpose Cleaner

Sunday,  September 25, 2016

For many years I've made my own laundry detergent and all-purpose cleaner.  However,  just recently I've gotten into using essential oils and have added them to my home cleaner recipe for even better results and an added fresh scent.  For today's post, I'm giving you the ingredients for my all-purpose cleaner.  I use this in  my kitchen and bathroom daily.

In a quart sized squirt bottle add 2c each of water and white vinegar. Add 20-40 drops essential oils, and 1 tsp (or 2 squirts) dish soap. Good essential oils to choose that have powerful cleaning properties are citrus, lavender, mint, eucalyptus, or tea tree. I put 20 drops of lemon and 20 drops of tea tree oil in mine. Here's to happy and healthier cleaning with no toxic fumes or effect on us or the environment!! :) 

Two of My Favorite Non-Yoga Books

Sunday,  October 2, 2016

I love reading, mostly realistic fiction, and lately when discussing favorite books, these two keep coming up first in my mind. 

First is The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom.  He's the author of the popular Tuesdays with Morrie and Five People You Meet in Heaven, but The Magic Strings...is quite a different read from those other two! Initially I wasn't really into it, but then I loved it, and it just kept getting better and better with each page! I finished reading the book on the plane ride home from India this past January and was sobbing in my seat! 

My second favorite is Pay it Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde. Such a beautiful story and so many great life lessons! At then end of my yoga classes, I read a "Meditation Story" or quote to my yogis during savasana.  There were several times while reading this book that I chose my meditation story from a passage in the book that I felt was particularly inspiring or thought provoking. And this book too was the source of a few tears during some particularly moving scenes! 

What are some of your favorite books?? Message me thru the Contact page, and maybe I'll put a list together of your suggestions for a future blog post! 

Happy reading! :)