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i have been hoarding these photos for some time now, anxious to share them and anxious to launch the new shop!! it is finally here! today…today i open her up to the world!

http://sunandgloryshop.com

i am really excited and hope this only brings more opportunity for me and in the future, others! i would love to open up the store to other artists.

i shot this in Colorado between Boulder and Nederland. my friend laura was my model and creative consultant! i have written about her before on the blog. she is a photographer and artist and always coming up with brilliant ideas. it was another great shoot where we just went with it and collaborated on creative ideas. my favorite part, besides all of it, was when it was time to wash off the paint from her arms…she willingly got in the chilly water and we turned it into part of the shoot. it was so beautiful.

i also have to mention my other dear friend, natalie, whom came along and assisted in all ways possible! besides amazing moral support, she helped with wylie, took behind the scenes photos, and kept track of all the things i merely would forget! she has such a happy energy that she made the experience fun!

another friend of mine here in LA, laura, another laura, helped me out and came over one day to be my model for the product shots. it’s so nice when you have such beautiful friends whom don’t even need to wear makeup. it was easy breezy and we had a nice day painting her back and taking photos!

it is no doubt, that i dabble in a lot of things…food, entertaining, crafts, jewelry, travel. i just like to dabble…in everything and anything! it is in my nature to want to do everything and know about everything. i find it all so beautiful. i suppose, the jewelry and crafts though have been a work in progress for years. i have always wanted to try and sell the things i make. often, i would just end up giving the things i made away as presents. when i started making the macrame people started buying it at work…it was the first time that i felt confident to sell my art. now, with this shop i have the opportunity to see what i can really do with it.

thank you to my friends and family for their support! please take a look at the shop and i hope you enjoy!

(laura convinced me less was better with the photos…so, for the shop i did just that…but i have to just spill it all out on the blog. i love them so much!)

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i have been trying, trying, to strictly stick to “healthy”eating…meaning cutting out gluten, dairy, and sugar. well, honestly, i do this as much as possible. i just can’t seem to fully give everything up. man, it’s hard work. for the most part, i should get a B+, for effort and following through.   this weekend though, i wanted to indulge…and man did it feel good. all those emotional indulgent  feelings came rushing back like a good old addict. it was fun! ha!

you know…it’s the little things that can sometimes make a big difference. for example, yesterday i mopped my kitchen floor, which i admit was LONG overdue, suddenly my house felt spanking clean, and smelled great too! or when i actually stop and ask myself why something makes me angry, i can start to overcome the anger, just by simply asking, however, i have to ask myself a few times to get over it. or remembering that life is life, and if i want to indulge for weekend, by golly i am going to. i am not a hollywood actress trying to get parts, i am only looking for love… and if the extra meat on my ass is such an issue for someone, well then they don’t deserve to indulge with me in this life anyway! so, there…let’s eat!

saturday morning, i wanted to make something fun, without the gluten.  i find that to be the easiest thing to cut out. i bought some books based on a SCD diet, which basically cuts out all sugar, grain, starch, and processed foods. it is generally for people with intestinal issues, but i find it interesting, and honestly, the recipes sound pretty darn good! it has cured people of their digestive conditions and allows them to still enjoy very tasty foods.

needless to say, this recipe is not mine. i got it from the book, eat well feel well.  (to learn more about the diet get this book too!) i have tried a few recipes now, using nuts as the “flour” and they are always so tasty!!!! maple syrup is not allowed on the SCD diet, so i tried the honey…and it was delicious! i used honey i purchased from the nutrionist i saw a few weeks back. this honey, is truly raw and alive, where most “Raw” honeys on the market are actually heated in processing.

the recipe in the book is actually for waffles, but i don’t have a waffle iron so, i made them into pancakes! these pancake were so incredibly tasty. they were moist, light but hearty, and i honestly couldn’t tell they were made from pecans!

2 cups of unsalted raw pecans

4 large eggs

8 tbsps unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the skillet

1/4 cup of honey

1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla

1/2 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

i added 1/4 tsp cinnamon

pulverize the pecans in a food processor until they are finely ground. add the eggs, melted butter, honey, vanilla, baking soda, and salt…blend well. add butter to the skillet and cook away!

drizzle honey over the top! yum!

my most recent adventure to joshua tree national park this past weekend was short, but sweet. i have been to palm springs, desert hot springs, and coachella, but never to the park. the town itself of joshua tree is as small as can be, but with a few charming shops,cafes, and a health food store. you can’t be in the desert without a health food store.

 since, we had the doggies with us we couldn’t hike anywhere past 100 yards from a stop off. so, it was a scenic route in the car stopping off for photos. the place looks another planet… or something like the flintstones. i love the mountains,i love nature in general, but the desert has my heart.  it has always thrusted an immediate peace over my body and mind. i feel such a powerful spiritual prescence and yet a feeling of total isolation. there are few trees or mountains to hide behind, everything is out in the open, exposed to the sun and the sky. it feels safe to me, but then again i am generally an open book. the desert isn’t for everyone. some don’t like the heat, the dry air, the creepy bugs and critters…but this is all part of the beauty. you just have to search for it a bit more.

i am a nerd for geology, geography, and information. i find it fascinating the way the earth creates her own beauty through time and transformation. read the excerpt below for info on the park.

“The desert is immense and infinitely variable, yet delicate and fragile. It is a land shaped by sudden torrents of rain and climatic extremes. Rainfall is sparse and unpredictable. Streambeds are usually dry and water holes are few. This land may appear lifeless, but within its parched environment are intricate living systems, each fragment performing a slightly different function and each fragment depending upon the whole system for survival.

Two deserts, two large ecosystems whose characteristics are determined primarily by elevation, come together at Joshua Tree National Park. Few areas more vividly illustrate the contrast between high and low desert. Below 3,000 feet, the Colorado Desert, occupying the eastern half of the park, is dominated by the abundant creosote bush. Adding interest to this arid land are small strands of spidery ocotillo and jumping cholla cactus. The higher, moister, and slightly cooler Mojave Desert is the special habitat of the undisciplined-looking Joshua tree, extensive strands of which occur throughout the western half of the park. Standing like islands in a desolate sea, the oases provide dramatic contrast to their arid surroundings. Five fan palm oases dot the park, indicating those few areas where water occurs naturally at or near the surface to meet the life requirements of these stately trees. Oases once serving earlier desert visitors now abound in wildlife.

The park encompasses some of the most interesting geologic displays found in the California’s deserts. Exposed granite monoliths and rugged mountains of twisted rock testify to the power of the earth forces that shaped this land. Washes, playas, alluvial fans, interact to form a giant desert mosaic of immense beauty and complexity.

The geologic landscape of Joshua Tree has long fascinated visitors to this desert. Geologists believe the face of this modern landscape was born more that a million years ago. Molten liquid heated by the continuous movement of earth’s crust, oozed upward and cooled while still below the surface. These plutonic intrusions are a grantic rock called monzogranite.

The monzogranite developed a systems of rectangular joints. One set, oriented roughly horizontally, resulted from the removal, by erosion, of the miles of overlaying rock, called gniess (pronounced “nice”). Another set of joints is oriented vertically, roughly paralleling the contact of the monzogranite with its surrounding rocks. The third set is also vertical but cuts the second set at high angles. The resulting system of joints tend to develope rectangular blocks. Good examples of the joint rock system may be seen at Jumbo Rocks, Wonderland of Rocks and Split Rock.

As ground water percolated down through the monzogranite’s joint fractures, it began to transform some hard mineral grains along the path into soft clay, while it loosened and freed grains resistant to solution. Rectangular stones slowly weathered to spheres of hard rock surrounded by soft clay containing loose mineral grains. Imagine holding an ice cube under the faucet. The cube rounds away under the corners first, because that is the part most exposed to the force of the water. A similar thing happened here but over millions of years, on a grand scale, and during a much wetter climate.

After the arrival of the arid climate of recent times, flash floods began washing away protective ground surface. As they were exposed, the hugh eroded boulders settled one on the top of another creating impressive piles of rock that can be seen today.

The “broken terrace walls” laced throughout the bulders are naturally occurring formations called dikes. Younger than the monzogranite, dikes were formed when molten rock was pushed into existing joint fractures. Light colored aplite, pegmarite and andesite dikes formed as a mixture of quartz and potassium minerals cooled in these tight places. Suggesting the work of a stonemason, they broke into blocks when they were exposed to the surface.

Of the dynamic processes that erode rock material, water, even in arid environments, is the most important. Wind action is also important, but the long range effects of wind are small compared to the action of water.

The erosional and weathering processes of the present are only particially responsible for the spectacular sculpturing of the rocks. The present landscape is essentially a collection of relict features inherited from earlier times of higher rainfall and lower temperatures.”sourced here

everyone is talking about fall these days and i have to admit i just can’t relate, even if i can fantasize. it is certainly not fall yet in LA, nor is it ever what it is back east with crisp air, crunchy leaves, and a yellow wash of color. sure the garden is starting to fade, but the temperatures are high here in southern california. it was in the 100’s over the weekend, not uncommon for september. luckily, my friend donna and i escaped to Joshua Tree this weekend (part of my LA bucket list!) and the weather was perfect! funny to go further into the desert for it to be cooler than by the coast, but thank god! now, i love the mountains, but i LOVE the desert.  i think it is one of the most magical and mystical places on this earth. it evokes a feeling for me like none other. i am truly in love with it.

we stayed at the most adorable cabin just a few miles from the tiny town of Joshua Tree. green acres ranch has two cabins on the land which is full of treasures and oddities to walk around and discover. it is like a small desert museum. we stayed at the roadrunner cabin with the two pups as well! it couldn’t have been more of a perfect little getaway for a couple of old friends to relax and enjoy conversation!

the inside of the house was just as cute as can be. it was perfectly cool inside and came with a fully equipped kitchen.  so much charm throughout the whole place.  half of the house is also an outdoor studio space…i was completely ready to move in here!

the grounds really are the best part. the pictures really just say it all. since, it is the desert,and if the temperature is right…you are pretty much outside! we laid in the hammock, put back a few bottles of wine, did some drawing on rocks, had a fire, and talked a whole lot about our futures. the dogs had lots of fun looking out for critters and running around the grounds. the place is complete with a bbq, a fire pit, an outdoor shower and tub, misters, a fish pond, hammock, doggie houses, not to mention the random old truck and other knick knacks hanging around.  the other cabin on the grounds is just as wonderful!

the sunshine was abundant and i was in heaven the whole time.

already, planning a trip back! stay tuned for more photos tomorrow of joshua tree national park!

the morning light is the most pungent light i get throughout the summer. on a clear day, i wake up to this bright energy urging me to start the day. it makes the house glow with life and i wish it would stay all day long. but the sun has it’s own way. by mid afternoon, the rays have left a raging heat, often 10 degrees hotter inside than outside.

lots of little projects in the works. working hard on my online store, a curiosity space post, and a road trip this weekend to joshua tree! not to mention the million and 5 other things i have on my list of things to do. when did time start going by so fast?

more often than not, i forget i live on the pacific ocean. i am literally 15 miles from the nearest beach and frankly,that is just crazy to me. traffic and city life often keep me from getting there. maybe i make it once or twice a year…maybe a few times for work too. a few days ago i was making a list of supplies i need to get, one of which being rocks for my rock art.  buying rocks is just silly, so i sent my dear friend and old roomie, hilda, a text asking if she wanted to take the pups to the beach over the weekend.  being the spontaneous girl i love, she said yes,with no hesitation! we headed to the beach this past sunday and actually again yesterday. we were being wild on a tuesday! perhaps, just the start of my LA bucket list.

sunday, was beautiful and sunny! we braved the drive up the PCH and saw the 9/11 memorial Pepperdine University sets up every year. there are many beautiful beaches in Malibu along the PCH, one of my favorites being El Matador.  we basked in the sun with the doggies, i collected lots of rocks, while wylie was terrified of the water . on the way back to the city we drove through topanga canyon, which is the most bohemian neighborhood of LA. it’s like another world…a small town situated in a lush canyon with hikes, vintage stores, health food,dreadlocks, and an occasional celebrity. if it wasn’t so damn expensive…i might just take shop up there.  i didn’t get any shots while we were there, but here is some wikipedia info:

“topanga is the name given to the area by the Native American indigenous Tongva tribe,[6] and may mean “a place above.” It was the western border of their territory, abutting the Chumash tribe that occupied the coast from Malibu northwards. Bedrock mortars can be found carved into rock outcroppings in many locations.Topanga was first settled by Europeans in 1839.[7] In the 1920s, Topanga Canyon became a weekend getaway for Hollywood stars with several cottages built for that purpose. The rolling hills and ample vegetation served to provide both privacy and attractive surroundings for the rich and famous.”

the whole trip back to LA ( 15 miles takes about an hour in this city) we kept saying, “why don’t we come up here more?”, (watch the video at the end!) so, since we  are both sparatically working right now, we decided to go back again yesterday. this time we left later in the day and it was gloomy by the time we got there. not uncommon for the beach in this region,  gloomy mornings and gloomy evenings! it was actually quite lovely. we went back to leo carillo state beach. our plan was to go hiking, but when we got there, apparently, you can’t take the dogs on the hikes on the state side of the parks, only the national.  so, instead we took walk down the beach. the sky was gray, but the air warm.  the water a slate blue and the waves calm.  it was luxury. then we had a lovely little whole foods picnic on the beach, indulging in healthy treats! i didn’t have time to make it all cute and kinfolk style, but it was delicious none the less!

  why don’t we do this more? all i could think was, when will wylie ever get to see the beach again? when will i, and why haven’t i made use of this place more in the last 10 years? instead, like many things, i am leaving it all to the last minute of  a bucket list! somehow, i get more satisfaction out of things this way. i can no longer take it for granted.

this, however, has all kind of opened my eyes up to LA. i have been blind to the beauty and eccentricity this city has to offer over the last few years. the diversity and disposal of anything you want at your fingertips.  it just became this place i was living, filled with things i wanted and couldn’t have or things i didn’t want anymore. hilda drove on the way home.  we had the best little conversation just chit chatting and laughing about the funny things with dating and life in general. it was special. i thought, how lucky i was to have this girl in my life. to have shared an apartment with her, trips to europe, new mexico, chicago,christmas with my family, dinners galore in LA, intimate secrets, crying, love, and laughing.  nothing gets me more going than a good old genuine laugh with a friend.  it is one of the best feelings in the world and one of the only things i never take for granted.

it started to get dark on our drive home. we stopped to get gas where sunset meets the PCH.  the gloomy sky out the window made me feel like it was a cozy winter night, even though it was still pretty warm. all of a sudden i was nostalgic for LA winters.  the drive home down sunset reminded me of the second time i came to LA when my cousin got married…i was just a young teenager. the first time i was even younger. i remember thinking it was the most glamourous place i had ever been, and gosh darn it…i was going to live here!

at 22 years old, i moved to los angeles, california. i lived in west hollywood and worked in santa monica. slowly, i started to despise the west side of LA and move to the east side where the hipsters lived.  i felt more comfortable there because i didn’t drive a lexus and wore vintage clothes. i generally, now, stay on my side of town, rarely making a trip all the way down sunset blvd. sunset takes you through many of the neighborhoods in LA…starting downtown, moving through echo park, silver lake, los feliz, hollywood, west hollywood, beverly hills, bel air, westwood, brentwood, pacific palisades, and finally ending in malibu.  the drive just gets more lush and beautiful and fancy!

i always kind of hated driving on the west side…something always made me depressed about it.  maybe it brought back the lonely feelings of when i first moved here or maybe i felt like my dreams of LA as a child were crushed when the reality settled in.  last night though, i found this appreciation again. the glamour i saw as a child came rushing back. instead of ragging on it, i felt proud of my city. and content to start saying goodbye.

ending on a funny note. this video CRACKS ME UP! it is so a twenty something’s world of LA…living on the east side.i can relate more than i should probably admit.

i have been trying to eat gluten free, pretty much all the time, since i went to see a nutritionist back in july.  i had been experimenting with it prior to my visit, but she concluded that it is a good idea. apparently, people of irish and english decent are prone to having an intolerance to gluten, which i found fascinating. she did all sorts of funny tests, that will take a long time to explain…but she concluded some interesting scenarios about my body.  her basic idea: no gluten/dairy/sugar to loose weight. she also gave me a a caloric range that i could not go beyond or below, or loosing weight wouldn’t take effect.  i am not the best calorie counter in the world, i essentially try and eyeball it.  but….she did say any diet will work, if you follow it. it’s how healthy you want to be about it.

 for the most part, i have also cut out cheese and refined sugars. i have been eating fruits and occasionally, honey or maple syrup.  i cheated  a few times this week with cheese. i do however, try to eat raw goats milk cheese, or anything non-pasteurized and aged.  animals producing non-pasteaurized products are fed their normal diet of grasses/hay and checked daily for health. no antibiotic shots either. cows producing pasteurized products are just the opposite and pasteurization removes and kills enzymes your body needs to digest dairy. now, i am not a doctor nor an expert…i am just relaying what i learned in my recent experience.

there truly is so much to learn about our bodies and the  food that we eat. i find it fascinating, and yet overwhelming.  this nutritionist gave really good insight, but was also realistic. i appreciated that.  i don’t want to completely stop eating the things i love like bread, cheese, and desserts…i just need to limit how much of it i consume.  if i can control it, i will. if i want to indulge every once in a while, well…my belly will be the one to pay the price…and possibly my thighs as well.

so, there comes in this pizza. i find eating gluten free to be the easiest of all of these restrictions! even though the nutrionist told me to go off all grains, i occasionally have some gluten free bread, etc.  this recipe does include cheese and sugar from the dates, but everything is as i spoke of earlier. this was meant to be my indulgence over the weekend!(well…maybe amongst a few , mind you, healthy others!

the crust

3 cups of almond flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tbsp of fresh herbs…rosemary, thyme, oregano

1/4 cup of olive oil

2 eggs

grind up the herbs in a spice or coffee grinder. combine all the dry ingredients in a mixer. add the eggs and oil. mix until forming a ball. shape the dough into a ball onto a piece of parchment paper on top of a sheet tray.  rolling or patting out to the desired shape and size. i believe the crust is best as thin as possible! bake in oven @ 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until the edges start to turn a light golden brown.  take out of oven and top with your toppings of choice! the great thing about this dough, is it doesn’t have to rise!

toppings

serrano ham

manchego shavings 

parmesan

lemon pesto

sliced dates

drizzle of olive oil

i added the meat and cheese and placed back in the oven. ideally, next time i would use a cheese that melts a bit better. the raw goats milk i had would have probably been a better choice! just being honest. manchego isn’t the best melting cheese. any kind of pesto would work. i watered mine down with more olive oil and water so it was fun to drizzle over the pizza. you could also slap it on like spaghetti sauce.  figs would be a great alternative to dates, especially, since this is their season!

it is getting to be that time of year when the garden will slowly start fading away.  even if living in socal gives us year round gardens, the summer garden is the most exciting for me!  i am sad to see her go soon, she gave me such smiles and warmth on a daily basis.  i love watering her soil and discovering the treasured buds her plants would give life to.

i attempted a winter garden last year, but somehow forgot to tend to her. i have started research on what to grow this fall, but if i book it out of LA soon, i won’t have the ability to garden. i will have to forfeit until next summer. that is one of the many beauties of southern california, the lack of harsh winters and distinct seasonal changes, allowing for year round gardens. it can still get pretty chilly and rainy here, and i have gotten use to the mediterranean climate.  i keep thinking about the winter i might be about to embark on, and wonder if i will frolic in the snow, or have a minor breakdown? i have always been nostalgic for winter ( i grew up in northern indiana where there is plenty of it) and believe the seasons have a great purpose and lesson for rebirth.   i will have to let go of her until next year when i can give her life again. drying the herbs might just be a way of holding on to the luxury of being able to grow such wonderful specimens…and not letting her bountiful beauty go to waste.

this year i am growing two kinds of basil, oregano, two types of thyme, mint, rose geranium, and parsley. a bay tree already grows tall in the yard sharing many, many leaves for use. my dad took home a bag full on his last visit. everyone might just be getting jars of bay leaves for christmas this year!

harvest your herbs before they flower.  this will need to be done throughout any growing period. once annual herbs flower, they have gone to seed and will produce no more leaves.  cutting back allows you to grow more! lots more! cut back basil to above bottom two sets of leaves. thyme, at about 1/2 to 1/3. you can use what you cut back to cook with or this is when you start drying or freezing.

smaller leaves, like thyme, oregano, and even the bay leaves can be dried on baskets or even screens(window screens, perhaps purchased from the thrift store?).  if you need to wash off dirt, do so and pat dry before spreading them out on the basket/screen. store out of sunlight with good air circulation until dry, possibly up to 7 days.

some leaves with a lot of moisture content, like basil, mint, and tarragon, can not be laid on top of each other to dry (sometimes oregano too, but mine worked out fine. if you live in a humid environment i would try this method for any tender herb) instead, you can make a bundle of stems (3-5) tied together with gardeners string to hang upside down.

if the leaves are not quite dry, like sage, you can pop them in the oven at the lowest possible temp for 5 minutes.  you do not want to store any herbs in a jar with moisture, as this will cause mold.  if you have a dehydrator, you can also use this. check out the website at the end of the post for more info on using the dehydrator.

to test if the herbs are dry and ready for storage…check the crumble and the crackle.  if the leaves have turned brown they are not good for culinary purpose. you can find other purposes for these brown herbs on the web.

store the leaves whole, away from light and heat. crumble  at time of use to release the essential oils, giving a more intense flavor.

this is a great website for gardening tips!

i spent $10 on this dragon fruit the other day at whole foods.  this is why i often run out of money. this thing is filled with color beyond your wildest imagination. i could stare at it for days. however, i was not all that impressed with the flavor.  funny isn’t it. i guess you can’t have the best of both worlds all the time?

i saw this movie last night celeste and jesse forever. it was super cute and funny and filmed in my own stopping grounds of LA.  i have to admit it made me nostalgic for my city, for my old life. the truth is, i don’t do the things i use to. i don’t utilize this city the way i use to. i don’t walk to the coffee shop anymore, i hardly ever eat out or go out, and even going to the movies seems like a treat when it use to be a weekly event. it seems to have lost it’s soul for me, and this movie made me miss that.

at the end of the movie, i turned to my friend and admitted this…and proceeded to say, this is like a break-up. then, it all made sense.  i love LA, but this city is like a boyfriend to me, the one you know is not right for you.  you love him, he can make  you feel good at times, there are so many good memories, and it is really really hard to let go even though you know you should.  the spark just isn’t there. you fight (or sit in traffic) and just can’t understand each other anymore.  some days the attraction is still there, other’s you can’t even stand to look at him.

 LA. it has been my companion for a long time now. ( in reality, just a few boyfriends in between and a WHOLE lot of weirdos). maybe i have tried to make it work for a long time now. maybe i haven’t tried hard enough.  some days i get excited about the future, others, i get really really scared.  this movie made me a little scared, to miss what i know. i realized i have a hard road ahead of me of letting go, changing, and leading down a new path. hopeful, that when one door shuts, another one opens.

thinking of my sister, julie, a lot right now. she is having some complications after giving birth. if you pray to a god, maybe you can say one!

 

after my last post of ranting…i am back to positive posting!  it is labor day and i plan on laboring away at some sun and glory projects.  i have been anxious to get working again on making necklaces ( with a few orders to get out), working on the online shop, photos, more art rock, and even working on some hand drawn cards. for now, here is a sneak peek at the photo shoot my friend laura and i did in colorado a few weeks back.