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Thursday, November 20, 2014

health & wellness: detox with ginger & turmeric

I love going down to our farmer's market on Sundays and getting myself a delicious vegan burger with organic, homegrown greens from my favorite local farm and then grabbing an ice cold lemon & ginger tea from the stall next door. I love this drink so much so that I've started making it at home (super simple). Then I stumbled upon a different version from Green Kitchen Stories (one of my favorite food blogs), so I wanted to share that with you today. 

Are you aware of the health benefits of ginger and turmeric? Ginger has antibiotic effects and can help digestion, detoxification, infections, inflammation, joint pain, circulation, nausea and motion sickness. Turmeric is a very strong antioxidant and has been used as traditional Ayurvedic medicine throughout history. It is considered a herb that cleanses the whole body, especially the liver. It is used to support digestion, treat fever, infections and inflammations. The active ingredient in turmeric is called curcumin and has been proved to have similar effects as anti-inflammatory medicine.

So here is the recipe for one delicious health infused concoction: 

Ginger & Turmeric Honey Bomb
Makes 1/2 cup
1/2 cup / 120 ml honey (prefereble organic unheated)
2-4 tbsp freshly grated ginger (or ground ginger), depending on how strong you prefer
2 tsp ground turmeric (or freshly grated turmeric if you can find it)
1 organic unwaxed lemon, freshly grated zest
2 pinches ground black pepper

What to Do: Stir together all ingredients in a bowl. Taste and add more ginger or turmeric if needed. Aim for a really strong flavor, you’ll only add a few teaspoons to a cup of water. Store the Ginger & Turmeric Honey Bomb in a glass container. Boil a cup of water and let slightly cool (to keep the benefits from the honey intact), stir in a few teaspoons of the honey mixture and drink. You can of course also add this to your favorite brewed tea.

Image & recipe from Green Kitchen Stories, check them out! 
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

6 reasons gratitude will change your life

I was reading Real Simple this month and came across a great article about gratitude. There is a lot more to being thankful than just saying thank you. I know we tend to focus more on the ideas of giving and feeling grateful as we inch closer to Thanksgiving, but I found this article to be really insightful and helpful for embracing the effects of practicing gratitude daily. Here are six reasons:

1 \\ You'll feel happier . Just jotting down something you're grateful for each day will encourage you to start looking at life from a different angle. You'll notice when you feel grateful, when you feel happy, and you'll document it. Practice writing it down physically to help you remember it mentally.

2 \\ You'll boost your energy. You will learn to appreciate each day in life as something special, rather than just some drudgery and routine. In fact, even the most routine things will become something you work hard at as  you feel a heightened sense of vitality. This reminds me of a series in a yoga sequence that we call vitality, in which you really start to feel your body working and moving, you're listening to your breath and your energy levels are at their highest. It's the perfect time to center your mind on gratitude. 

3 \\ You get healthier. Just like how "laughter is the best medicine", so is recognizing something wonderful in your life and allowing those feelings of thankfulness to wash over you. This reduces your blood pressure, lowers your stress levels and naturally improves your kidney function. Just a change in attitude can do all this? Amazing.

4 \\ You'll be more resilient. Once we start noticing kindness, blessings and gifts from others whether that's tangible or spiritual, our brains wire themselves to start finding the positive in all situations. This makes us better at bouncing back from trauma of loss or illness. We start to see the blessings, not just the curses.

5 \\ You'll improve your relationship. This makes sense, naturally couples and friends that are grateful for each other and feel appreciated by the other person are happier overall. We can learn to appreciate the things in our relationships that are going well, which allows us to work on the things that aren't without feeling a sense of discouragement. Everybody wants to be loved. And being grateful for those in your life who do make you feel that way will only send you down a path to share those same feelings towards others too. 

6 \\ You'll be a nicer person. You can't help but to pay gratitude forward. When you express appreciation, it triggers that feel-good hormone dopamine. That's why we all feel generous and empathetic during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. But don't let it stop there! Start including the words "thank you" to anyone who offers you anything to make you feel appreciated or cared for. Those words alone will trigger the same feelings the other person and there ya go, paying it forward.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

travel: barbados

Evan and I just recently returned from the island of Barbados. It was a work trip, seriously. No really, it was. We both presented our research at the Gulf & Caribbean Fisheries Institute conference, and spent a little time exploring Barbados on the side. 

The island is so beautiful: clean water, clear and blue. White sands, no trash. Easy to explore, we felt safe and everyone was friendly. The food was expensive, but that was to be expected. The diving was expensive, but we expected that too. I do want to go back. 

Here are just a few snippets of our week, which including sailing through the late afternoon, touring the oldest rum distillery in the world, snacking on soursop while getting lost through Bridgetown, entertained by a monkey on the beach, trying their local flavor Mauby as a vegan ice cream, and site seeing the other Caribbean islands as we hopped back up to Puerto Rico.
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Thursday, October 30, 2014

engagement photos: isla y mar

Session Dos: engagement photos with D.S. Photography. Just because I think we're cute! Thanks to Duane for the use of his colorful boat and Renee for letting us borrow her paddleboard. Cheers to love! Evan and I will very soon (Sunday) be leaving for a scientific conference in Barbados. Get ready for lots of Instagram pics of this gorgeous new-to-me island, and some blog posts thereafter! Check Facebook and follow the trip virtually!
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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

diy: passport security

As the month concludes, I'm sharing another upcycling DIY inspired by Real Simple Magazine's challenge to readers to find new unique ways to repurpose common household items. Let's review the DVD box. We probably trash these, or have thousands of them somewhere completely unorganized. But why not take advantage of that and utilize them for something other than dust collectors and trophies for your ever-changing interests in movie genres. Enter: passport security. 

Especially if you have a larger family, each with passports you want to keep safe and secure. Everyone picks their favorite movie, tucks the passport inside, and places the DVD back on the shelf, or back into your cultured pile. Hey, if there is a method to your madness then more power to you. Of course, you'll need to obviously remember which movies you did this with - but at least your passport won't just be mindlessly left inside a purse, stashed in a drawer or neatly tucked away in the oh-so-obvious passport organizer clutch. The idea is for security, naturally. I mean, who breaks into a house nowadays and goes for the DVD stash? That's like saying, hey let's steal all these VHS tapes and 8-tracks. What with Netflix, Hulu and online downloading to all our devices, when was the last time you actually bought a DVD? Be serious. 

Ok, I will be serious though. I have a stash of The Office DVDs next to my nightstand, because we watch a couple episodes every night (yup, all seasons even the last two). I would never think to hide my passport in this collection, because clearly it's a valuable treasure to me and everyone wants to get their hands on all seasons of The Office. But maybe that Jaws DVD..... who hasn't seen that a million times? No one would be interested in taking it... Of course, this is completely subjective, but again be serious.

So next time you look at that pile of DVDs resting neatly next to your TV, computer, bookshelf, kitchen island.. start to evaluate their potential as home security devices. You're welcome.
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Monday, October 27, 2014

cameron & natalie

So you may have read that I recently spent some time in Texas. My little brother got married, and I was thrilled to have had the chance to make it home for this occasion. It was a beautiful little backyard wedding, were the couple was surrounded by friends and family. The night was special, and I captured a few shots to memorialize it. 

So allow me to be honest. I never thought my little brother would get married before me. I have been in a couple long term relationships, dated here and there, while he didn't really date at all, except his now wife. In fact, she and I both recall when I told her that I knew he would end up marrying his first girlfriend. I'm thankful it happened. And I don't care about our order :)

But the funny thing is this. He proposed to her on June 22. About 6 months later, Evan proposes to me. They get married on October 11. Six months later, we will get married. Totally didn't plan it that way - they wanted a fall wedding, we wanted a spring wedding. Just funny the connection, right!?

Anyways, it was a beautiful ceremony and reception and the most adventurous part was their trip back to Puerto Rico with us to honeymoon. They had a great time and I hope they'll return again!

Monday, October 20, 2014

DIY: 5 ways to repurpose a shot glass

Upcycling: (v.) the process of turning something old into new again. This month, Real Simple challenged readers to repurpose several common household items. One of those was the trusty shot glass. Did you collect these at one point? Maybe in your wild and crazy college days and now you have a shrine in your cabinet to memories you may want to just leave behind? Okay, I'm not speaking from experience (lies), but I figured these would be a great place to start with that repurposing challenge! 

Here are your five unique options: 
1 | Store Q-tips in them, either out on the counter in the bathroom for guests, or in your cabinet for easy reach

2 | Use them to clean your  makeup or paintbrushes

3 | Store your beach finds, like seaglass, in them and then line your window sill of a brightly lit room 

4 | Sprout seeds in them in the window, or plant a succulent that doesn't need much water or space

5 | Fill with water and add a couple drops of essential oil for a subtle fragrance at your desk 

What other ways have your upcycled your shot glasses? Share your ideas below, and then send them to newusescontest@realsimple.com for a chance to win $100 and to be featured in the magazine! 
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Thursday, October 16, 2014

inspired by rachel carson

Rachel Carson was an inspiration to science and an incredibly influential woman, way before her time in writing, biology and protection for our planet. She pledged her life to environmental conservation, which sparked a movement that led to the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As a woman in science - a marine biologist living and working in a man's career - she inspires me like no other scientist.

Rachel Carson was a fisheries biologist for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife, but was perhaps most well known for her incredible nature writings. She authored several books including the infamous Silent Spring , which alerted the American public to the dangers of pesticides and fertilizers leeching into our ground waters, poisoning our fields, animals, and ourselves. Her book was met with opposition from chemical manufacturers, and many fought to hush her attempt at public awareness of these environmental issues. Luckily for us, someone was listening, which is why DDT has now been banned, amongst several other chemical pesticides that were once deemed suitable for human contact.

I won't delve into the science behind her discoveries, but if you have the chance to pick up Silent Spring and give it your full attention, then take a gander. This book was an eye opener in the 1950s, and is quite a page turner even now as you take a look back at what we did(not) know about what our human impact has on the world around us.

Photos: One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven | Eight | Nine | Ten | Eleven | Twelve

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