What A Peach Pie Means To Me

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Specifically this one. The one I made last Sunday, to celebrate the end of Summer, the end of the longest month of my life (exaggerating, but whatever), and also the beginning of a new practice. Does that all make sense? If not, that’s cool, because I have this whole post to get through.

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Somehow, I found the energy to even write this post, still dark from the early morning with just my lemon water in hand. I tried writing this many times at my job, that I’m actually starting to outgrow, even at night in the midst of an Anthony Bourdain’s, Parts Unknown episode. Somehow, after a 16 hour day in the city and four hours of sleep, I chose this morning. Wide eyed, somewhat tired, and motivated. That, my dears, is not a normal habit for myself, if we’re being honest.

You see, there was always a reason. Whether it wasn’t the right time or I wasn’t sure I could do it successfully, I pushed one of the many things I told myself I would do aside. Am I talking about pie or a real life event? It can go both ways. My world feels like it has been turned upside down in the last month. In order to mentally cope and most literally slow down (not an easy task when walking the streets of New York and taking six trains a day), I put away MANY of my Summer Goals. One of them, making a peach pie.

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This peach pie represented my biggest obstacle of the season, my biggest practice in life. I found the task intimidating, time consuming, and more intense than I’m used to. These are some of my obstacles when it comes to my biggest dreams. Maybe yours too. Could I make time to do this? Was it even necessary in a time when I “had to” focus on everything else presently going wrong? Why do I even want to do it?

Emotions were becoming mixed with reality and I couldn’t pull them apart.

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I wanted to end this month with something beautiful. A reminder of why I strive to do what I love, everyday. Even writing this post, ending a very busy week, I knew this is what I needed to do, right now at this very moment, at least.

This post was unplanned and thought through on a whim, just like the doctor visits, health scares, and new bills that lined up for me to figure out. I made this pie on my last free day I would have in two weeks. Sacrificing a few extra dollas, time with friends, and doing what I “should”, I chose to make a pie. I chose to follow my dream. I chose to end a time, a season, a relationship, that taught me how imperfect and bumpy this thing called life is always going to be.

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Yet, I’m not as intimidated. To just do it, is to make it possible.

I rolled out dough and made a beautiful crust. Not perfect, but beautiful. A filling made with the last of the season peaches, still sweet on their very own. With some practice and new adventures to come (a new job? homemade bread?!), who knows what exactly is next. Although, I do hope it’s delicious.

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I used Joy The Baker, Peach Blueberry Pie. No blueberries or corn starch. I recommend corn starch and patience. Something my family did not have. Still delicious and devoured.

P.S. It’s September. Fall is about to begin. I. Smell. Apple. Pie

Summer Blueberry Thyme Crumble

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How has it been a whole month?  I swear, the summer just started.  I hope in some way you have been able to enjoy the warm weather and more laid back summer days.  Unfortunately, most of my time has been tied up, so I haven't seen much sun after I came back from vacation.  But, this comes with an amazing reason why...

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I have started culinary school!  I am now a student at the Natural Gourmet Institute, and I couldn't be more happy, scared, stressed, and in love.  I did this more for myself.  As someone who started cooking at a very young age and food becoming a big part of my life, it seemed to fit perfect.  I was worried for a long time that passion wasn't enough.  If it was truly possible to take my hobby and turn it into my career.  It turns it out, it very well could be.

With longer days and nights, and very literally, no days off, thoughts if I could make this dream come true scared the shit out of me.  What if I do actually do it?  I believe we so often think how it may not happen, that dream or goal, leading us to not truly dive in and see how big and UNKNOWN it can be if it did.  Would you be ready for it?

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I'm pretty sure I've said this before, but I don't believe in being ready.  Sometimes things are going to happen, situations and opportunities will arise, and you just have to act. For myself, applying to culinary school was an example of just that.  Did I have the money?  Hell no.  Did I have the time and energy to put another thing on my plate?  I knew if I wanted it enough, I could make it.  

It's been a world wind of emotions, and sometimes I can't verbally say what I feel, but maybe able to write it. 

In the beginning of the year, I wasn't sure what my next move should be.  I've accepted so many things that had or hadn't happened, until I realized I didn't have to anymore.  I wanted to prove to myself and others, I could do it my way.  I wanted to genuinely share my love and knowledge for food and health, with nothing holding me back.  I didn't need more money, the connections, a man, or mental stability.  Thinking maybe, for a little while, I could do it alone.  And although I really do have an amazing support system, that loneliness when working your ass off for something others may not understand, is always there.  And because of that, I learned to feel more confident in owning and hustling for my UNIQUE vision.  

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So, here is my recipe of what I love and still holds true.

Crumbles are the dessert that make people fall in love with you.  Because you know what, they don't look that nice, but damn, they taste amazing.  Every concentrated flavor of the fruit comes out, the crumble is both indulgent and light, and if you serve with ice cream, you may win them over for life. 

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Blueberry Thyme Crumble

  • 2 pints blueberries
  • 1 tbs fresh thyme, plus garnish
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup sugar 
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick cubed, cold)

Preheat over to 350 and butter a 9x12 pan.

In a bowl combine flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, and salt.  Add cubes of butter in the mixture and combine with your hands.  Make sure small clumps of butter remain, coated with flour mixture. 

Pour blueberries onto pan, and mix about 1/4 cup of the crumble plus thyme in.  Then evenly distribute the rest of the crumb topping. Place in the oven for 45 min or until topping is golden brown.  Top with more fresh thyme and ice cream.  Enjoy!

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~No dream or goal will ever come to you easy, but you can easily take the first steps to making them come true~

Honey Blueberry and Rhubarb Compote Greek Yogurt Tarts

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Would you believe I'm writing this post with no concrete recipe, while watching the Lady Gaga documentary for the second time, and on the verge of tears every five minutes?  But, I think this is how some of my best writing comes about.  Unexpected and desperate to connect with you lovely souls once again. 

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I saw a version of this on the internet and I immediately thought, "OMG, this would be perfect to add to my meal preps! Or my new menu page!"  Then, I thought how beautiful I could make it be and I kind of want to share that.  The most simple ingredients, turned into a little something special.  Literally.  A small way to connect to the Spring and Summer growth around us.

Sometimes, actually most of the time, I do these things, because I see the potential of what it could be.  Whether it's learning simple tools of wellness to create a whole journey or creating recipes in the basement of my parent's house to lead me into another grand adventure.  By no means do I believe it will be the best thing ever, but... it can be pretty damn good.  And that's what I want to share. 

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What can double as a breakfast or dessert (personally, I like my breakfasts to be the best meal of the day) it's both nourishing and absolutely delicious.  There are actually TWO different recipes, making the ingredient list a little longer, but it's cool, you got this.  Trust me, I found a way to take the simplicity away, and boy did I pay.  Note to self:  it never has to be complicated, it will naturally come together.

Don't be scared to make these your own too!  Flavors can vary and toppings are endless.  Cacao nibs and coconut, anyone? 

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Honey Blueberry and Rhubarb Compote Greek Yogurt Tarts

Ingredients

  • 1 heaping cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 2 individual cups vegan Greek yogurt (I find Kite Hill Almond to have the best consistency or feel free to use regular)
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 Rhubarb Compote

Blend in a food processor walnuts and dates.  Using four mini ramekins, pat the mixture to create crust.  Mix together yogurt, 1 tbs honey, and vanilla in a bowl, then distribute evenly in each ramekin.  Half top with blueberries and a drizzle of remaining honey.  Other add Rhubarb Compote.  Recipe as follows:

Rhubarb Compote

  • 3 stalks of rhubarb cubed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbs water

Bring to a boil, stir, and let simmer until smooth consistency.  

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Enjoy, my dears!

 

Watermelon Mint and Goat Cheese Salad

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POP UP RECIPE!

A woman of my word.  Although, it was almost a bust.  This weather has been playing with my mind and my heart.  I'm pretty sure the week before was 50's and 60's, but this week and weekend, 80! How do we cope? Easy, just go along with it!

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I was wondering whether it was worth putting a watermelon salad recipe up.  I must be honest, I've started shopping for apples, pears, and squash at the markets.  I couldn't help it!  The knit sweaters made me do it.  Then this hot humid weather comes along and I'm almost ready for the beach again.  Just going with the flow people.

So here's a bit of a pop up.  Believe it or not, many summer produce is at it's peak.  Tomatoes, peaches, and melons are still good in September.  At least in Jersey.  Want to make this a little more warming and comforting?  Grill the watermelon.  I haven't tried it myself, but I can't imagine how tasty it would be.  With little salt and lime, yum! 

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Feel free to use this recipe for those of you who are looking to do a mini detox early Fall.  Per usual, omit the cheese. 

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Watermelon and Goat Cheese Salad

  • 1 medium seedless watermelon
  • 1/3 cup goat cheese
  • 1/3 cup mint leaves
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tsp fine Himalayan Salt 

Cube watermelon, starting to cut in half, then quarters, and slice into a triangle first.  Cut the rind off and cube from there.  Place in a bowl or large baking/serving dish and add most of the mint leaves.  Juice the lime, sprinkle salt, and toss to combine.  Right before serving sprinkle the goat cheese on top and add the rest of mint leaves.  Keeps in the fridge 3-5 days.  Enjoy! 

Detox Introduction and Tomato Corn Salad

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Yes, we are still in summer mode.  Pumpkin, squash, apples, and pears will have to wait.  I promise, they will still be making their appearance soon and for a while.  

Now is the perfect time to start weaning yourself away from the hot dogs and hamburgers, the spritzers and rosé, and all the ice cream.  Just kidding.  Not all.  Not ever.  Allow me to explain. 

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For the fall, I always recommend a little detox.  The question as to which kind, I always leave up to the you guys.  I could do a session and help you figure out which one is meant for you, or we can try them all!  I have, and not only did that allow me to learn more about myself and body, it helped me figure out there was so much more to learn. 

We have a whole new season and ball game around the corner, and even though we won't be in our bikinis and attending hella cook outs, our body needs a reset.  If you live in the northern parts like myself, winter can be brutal.  We need to plan, prep, and assimilate.  All the why's and how's I'll go through soon enough, but here is a nice idea or start. 

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Personally, my go to detox is one based off clean vegan foods. Lots and lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.  Basically, what I offer on Detox Delivered would be my go to meals for those few days and this salad coming up will definitely make the cut.  A quick way to get your veggies in, simple ingredients, and LOTS of flavor. Also, soooo adaptable.  Add quinoa, garbanzos, black beans, boiled eggs, or cheese.  Although, nix the cheese for detox inspiration. I know, scary. 

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How have you been enjoying the last of Summer produce?  Although, the favorites are becoming scarce, we do have the new ones coming up.  Squash, apples, and pears are what I've been peeping late this season.  Yes, I peep.  

These hardier grounding foods will be great to add to later detoxes and clean eating.  Yes, we can still eat clean and healthy-ish during Fall.  For now, I got you with a late Summer no-cook meal.  Because, it's still pretty warm and I like you guys.  A lot.

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Tomato Corn Salad

  • 2 fresh sweet corns
  • 1 pint grape or heirloom tomatoes
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 lime
  • salt

Remove all the kernals from your corn cob by simply running a knife through.  Cut in half or quarters your tomatoes, depending how big.  Remove leaves from cilantro stems and roughly chop.  Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.  Add the olive oil, lime juice, and a pinch of salt!  Enjoy!

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If you are interested in detoxes or coaching services, please let me know! 

How To: Seasonal Pasta Dishes

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Recipe time!  Kinda.  A "How To" is similar to a recipe, minus the exact ingredients and measurements.  Total freedom.

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I think most recipes are kind of like general instructions and ideas anyway.  The great thing about cooking is there are really no rules and it's totally how you like it!  Seasoned and advanced cooking junkies usually can recreate, adjust, and play with any recipe.  For other new-comers looking to experiment or just trying to keep it simple, recipes are our lifesavers.  

For myself, I am notorious for looking up recipes, getting an idea, and starting a commotion in my kitchen.  Great successes, more cheese or less cheese, and great disasters have all come about from this.  But, I like to say it taught me to make the most out of ingredients. 

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Ever have those days or weeks where you kinda go crazy at the market and don't know what to do with all the veggies you were inspired to buy.  No?  Yes?  If it's yes, this is the recipe for you. If not, it's still the recipe for you because, PASTA. And vegetable that I know you are dying to get rid of in the most delicious manner. 

With simple, but fresh ingredients, everything will sure stand out and then blend magically together.  Trust me.  

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What you will need:

  • Pasta.  Any kind.  Maybe not lasagna.  That could get weird.
  • Garlic.  1 bulb or even garlic scapes!  A late spring, early summer must!
  • Yellow Onion.
  • Seasonal Vegetables.  My favorites are eggplant, any summer squash, grape tomatoes (every and any color), and leafy greens.  Red Peppers and artichokes are great too.
  • CHEESE.  Of course always optional.  I like Parmesan or any other strong flavor.  Less will be more!
  • Herbs. Salt. Pepper.  Generous amount of parsley, basil, or oregano.  I always like to add red pepper flakes for a little kick.

What to do:

  • Cook pasta, save about 2 tbs of pasta water
  • Sauteed the garlic and onion in a generous amount of oil, maybe 2 tbs since that will be your "sauce".  Cover to create moisture, or keep pan open for more crisp!
  • Grill or sauteed vegetables.  I honestly like to grill just so I don't have to dirty anymore dishes.  And maybe somebody else can do the work...
  • Combine pasta and vegetables into the same pan as the garlic and onion. 
  • Add alittle cheese, salt, peppa, and herbs of choice!  
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Quick Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

That beautiful moment when you get back to writing your whole blog post AGAIN because you just like to randomly delete all your hard work and effort.  That’s this moment. Stay with me....

It’s summer and there are really only a few things I want to do every week.  Sip my summertime cocktails and dine out alfresco, sometimes barefoot. Okay, I really want to do this every day.  Homemade dinners every night, made on the grill, settling down with the sun.  Sigh.  A girl can dream.  If you saw my last post on Summer Favorites. You have an idea how I am feeling.  If not, I am here to remind you, always and forever.

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Okay so now let’s talk food.  Ever have those dishes or cuisines that scream summer?  I’m talking cold Italian pasta salads, Mediterranean hummus, cheese, and vegetable platters, hamburgers and hot dogs straight from the grill.  I just had my first hot dog in over a year and OH MY GAAAHH, so good. I like to go all out because sometimes you need to be a little bit extra, so I topped it off with baked beans, raw fermented sauerkraut, and yellow mustard.  One of the better decisions I made recently.

As for Mexican food.  Once the weather warms up, give me all the tacos, all the time.  It’s one of my first cravings come summer.  Sweet and savory elote, fajita with fresh peppers and onions, guacamole, agua frescas...  I could most definitely go on, but then we start getting complicated.  And hungry. 

I’m a girl who makes decisions on dinner based on the type of cuisine, if you haven’t noticed.

For now, we are keeping it light and simple.  I found myself this summer experimenting with new ideas and recipes, more than I have in years.  Maybe it’s the abundance of vegetables in season or a little kitchen therapy after a long day, the outcome hasn't been so bad.  Also, I am trying this thing called recipe testing and photography as I go.  Giving you that in-the-moment effect of what’s really going on in my kitchen.  A bit of that homestyle cozy feel.

Quick Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers 

A Latin healthy spin on a Mexican dish, using sofrito from Puerto Rico (or my kitchen), a filling similar to Cuban style congri, and topped with a little queso blanco and cilantro for a wellness balance.  Both easy and delicious you cannot go wrong.  I used a grill, but an oven should work out just as well.  

*PS.  Make the sofrito ahead, while using leftover rice and bean.  Save time. Enjoy!

Sofrito

  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • 2 green peppers
  • 1 cilantro bunch
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt

Blend, jar, and enjoy!  Holds for three weeks in the fridge or months frozen!

Black Beans

  •  1 can black beans
  • 2 tbs sofrito
  • 2 tbs tomato sauce
  •  ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt

Assembly

  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 2 large bell peppers, cut in half
  • Olive oil
  • Cojita cheese
  • Cilantro

To cook black beans, heat over medium high about 2 tbs of olive oil.  Add the sofrito and cook for about a minute, then add the tomato sauce and cook for another 2 min.  Quickly rinse the black beans before adding them in.  Add about another ½ cup of water, the spices, and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.  Lid closed.

Mix together rice and beans. Add a little salt and pepper to taste.  It should be very moist (don't hate me) or wet looking.  This will ensure no dryness when cooking on the grill.  Oil and salt the bell pepper halves inside and out. Distribute the rice and bean mixture into the peppers.  Lay on baking sheet with foil.  Transfer the peppers still on the foil onto the grill.  Cook for another 10-15 or when the peppers start to brown and look soft.

Top with cheese, tomatoes, and cilantro. Hot Sauce is always a plus

Buen Provecho.

Zucchini Fritters

Well, I had this whole other recipe and post set up for you guys.  Full of healthy greens, summer flair, and gorgeous color.  Actually, thinking about it, this recipe has all that good stuff too, with just  a little more soul, inspiration, and grease....  

I decided to take a little break.  Totally intentional, totally necessary, and totally worth it.  I wanted recharge, recreate, and enjoy every part of what I saw myself doing for the rest of my life.  Dramatic?  Maybe, but I call it passionate.  So, I started cooking with just that, passion .  Reading food blogs, testing techniques, and recipes, while getting re-inspired.  Yes, I know it's possible to do this whenever, but I wanted a different experience and feeling while I did what I enjoyed.  I wanted no pressure. 

My background of health, diet, and cooking is quite extensive, so when I write my memoir you will all be very aware, but for now, I basically rekindled with what it felt like to just learn.  Hands on, without any obligation to share or perfect on the first try.  Just being in the kitchen for pleasure.   Not saying I don't get that from creating with an incentive to capture and share.  There is just a different energy and routine when it's just you and your ingredients.  

No props, camera, or Instagram stories.  Just good food and company.

So, I made zucchini fritters.  Just so happens I was looking around the internet for some dinner inspiration when I saw these bad boys and I remembered I had a few in the fridge.  No joke, I almost refuse to turn on the oven these days.  It's getting hot, and while I love having fresh warm air run through my place, I don't want to add unnecessary heat. Trust me, you don't want to be around when I'm home.  For that, I am dramatic and keep it a nice 80. 

Light salads (or pasta salads) are my preferred meals as of late.  And while I would like to say it's because I'm trying to keep it light and tight, it's sometimes (most of the time) not really about that.  Especially this time, because I FRIIEEED these baby zucchinis.  One of the better decisions of my life.  Served over garlic oil pasta... ah-mazing.   

So here is my welcome back present to you all.  Because nothing says true love and shit happens, like some good fried deliciousness.  

Zucchini Fritters

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

  • 2 large zucchinis grated
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 cup parmesan (or handful)
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • salt and peppa 
  • grapeseed oil

Heat oil in the skillet over medium high heat.  Mix all the ingredients together well in one bowl.  To test if the oil is hot enough, drop a shred of zucchini in the pan and it should start to bubble.  Using 1/4 measuring cup, drop the batter with enough room to cook and flatten while frying. Flip over after 8-10 min or when edges start to brown.  Flip over and fry for another 5 minutes.  Place on top of paper towel to soak up extra oil.  Enjoy!  

Feminine Fire Pt. 4: Recognizing Your Feminine Truth

Asbury Park Boardwalk, NJ.

Asbury Park Boardwalk, NJ.

So we finally made it.  Happy Summer Solstice, my dears.

The last month has been somewhat of an eye-opener.   I knew for sure I wanted to get this off my chest and out to you all.  By "this" I mean these posts filled with everything I believe in and love.  From Feminism, to the beauty given by mother earth, to even a little beauty cheat sheet, I had one more topic to bring into this series.  I wanted to talk about the beauty possible in every woman.  That energy.  That soul.  It is what I believe truly connects us all.

The universe. Our planet.

I am no more than lover of the Sun.  I'm a worshipper of the moon.  I do not look for the stars to tell me how to live, but rather understand how I am already doing so.  Our bodies are mostly made up of the same water that embodies most of Mother Earth.  Her waves run through us, and though her currents may be strong at times, she is only following the cycle of the moon.  Every month we have the opportunity to cleanse and release.   Internally our body, just as strong as the currents of the ocean, sometimes painfully, pushes out what does not belong.  Like every month, the moon becomes New.  Not a coincidence, but a cycle of miracles

We are given the opportunity to live in sync with the universe.  Once we work towards that, I believe we get closer to understanding the powerful connection within us all.  Just like we follow the patterns of night and day, we can live consciously within the seasons of our community.  We are gatherers, care-givers, and providers.  She grows the grass, raises the cattle, and feeds the earth.  How amazing is she?  How amazing are we? 

Compassion.  Ahimsa.  To do no harm.

Words and practices I always try and live by.  Even when I go astray, I have another woman there to remind me.  When I don't have her, I have the permanent ink engraved on my skin, on top of my ribs that protects my heart.  For to understand pain, is to live through it ourselves.  We have the power to go past sympathy.  We have the power of empathy.

I wanted to have this post as a conclusion.  I wanted to leave this series as a beginning.  I only hope that one day all women will have the courage to realize we are all in this together.  We are powerful and strong, sometimes so much so we scare ourselves.  I don't want to confuse our great gifts with what society has named us.  Emotional. Crazy. Dramatic. Spiteful.  Do not speak about yourself what you wouldn't want to hear from others.  

If I am emotional, then I am privileged to feel.  Crazy?  I am crazy in love with Mother Earth.  So much so, that I revolved my whole life to make it a better place.  I am dramatic for the injustice and hurt that people endure from the those who are fearful of the unknown.  Sometimes we need to make a bigger fuss for the bigger things.  And I will never try to get even, but only make you realize that there was a better way.

So here is to a better way.  

My women, the ones who came before me, the ones who walked beside me, and the ones I may admire from a far,  I hope you always keep your beauty unique, your privilege honest, and your FEMININE FIRE always burning. 

Not only with love... with respect and pride.  

 

 

 

Feminine Fire Pt. 3: My Favorite Beauty Hacks and Picks

I thought I would do this series with a consistent flow. I honestly haven't written so much consecutively in a while, I almost feel a little in your face.  Am I in your face?  If I am, I apologize, but not really.  This is some gooood stuff.  I promise. 

Last week I discussed with you the secret of effortless Summer beauty through the power of food.  Because food is medicine, food heals, and food gives back. The good stuff from mother earth, at-least.

You know me though.  As I concluded, I am nothing more than a HOLISTIC FOODIE, who believes in the miracle of greens and therapy in a glass or two of wine.  So what happens when maybe you had a little too much?  Maybe sensitive heated skin from too much sun or maybe a pimple pop-up when approaching that special time of the month.  I still turn to fast relief, quick fix DIY products and solutions.

These are TRIED AND TRUEEEEE.  They are my go-to whenever I can't wait for my green juice to work miracles.

Raw Honey

This is my go-to cleanser.  I hope to one day make this into a face wash but for now, I enjoy this one ingredient quick cleansing mask. Raw honey is not only full of vitamin and minerals great for the body it is also great for the skin.  Both an antibacterial to act as a cleanser and full of antioxidants it actually rids blemishes with out clogging pores.  Once I rinse the honey with cold water my skin automatically feels smoother and softer, a natural moisturizer.  I do this mask at least three times a week. Yes, I swear by this.

Lemon Sugar Scrub

My homemade Lemon Sugar Scrub to be exact!  This is the perfect night or day scrub.  Ingredients that brighten (lemon), cleanse (coconut oil) , exfoliate (sugar), and moisturize, it's hard for me to go a day with out it.  Whether I use in the morning when my face is feeling a little dull or tight, I like to make sure I'm starting my day and face routine in an invigorating way.  After use my skin feels soft AND clean while riding any dry spots that come about.  For a spa feeling, I use this face scrub at night to prep for any mask I choose.  It opens pores, so make sure to rinse with cold water to lock moisture!

Tea Tree Oil

I honestly cannot even go on vacation without this stuff.  This product is an astringent which both cleanses and clears skin.  Perfect to combat acne, you can do one of two things.  Purchase a cleanser or make your own that features a low amount of Tea Tree Oil or if you usually only get spots of acne or that one annoying pimple, apply a low amount on that area. I usually do it the night before and wake up always with the pimple practically gone.  A small amount does wonders, so it is definitely worth the money spend on a small bottle.    

Rosehip Oil

A light weight skin absorbing cleanser.  I love this as it doesn't feel as if it's an extra layer to my skin.  It really does absorb easily leaving no greasy feel.  This is perfect for those who aren't big on high fragrant or ingredient moisturizers, since this one ingredient does it all.  The benefits over time? Rosehip actually has anti-aging properties, which help prevent or decrease visibility of wrinkles, visibly reduce pores, and treats sensitive skin.  Perfect for day or night.  

Rosewater

I swear by hydration.  Not just drinking tons of water, but actually keeping it on your face.  I love humidity for that reason, my skin automatically will retain the moisture.  But, what about when the heat kicks in? Despite my love for heat, the sensitivities are too real.  Rosewater actually contains anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, AND antioxidant properties.  Spray onto face and you will feel instantly refreshed, while leaving your skin soft and cleansed.  I keep a little spray bottle with me at all times during the Summer months!

PS.  There are always honorable mentions.  Vitamin E, clay masks, and my DIY Yogurt Face Mask does sensitive skin goood. 

Feminine Fire Pt 2: Summer Beauty Foods

Happy June!  So excited to start off this month with a few of my favorite things. Summer, food, and beauty!

It actually wasn't until a few years ago, I started to get into beauty.  Like skincare, makeup, and eyebrows-on-fleek beauty.  (Yes I still use fleek, even fleeky sometimes....)

I was a Jersey Girl in Florida figuring out new roads, befriending new people, living in what felt like another world sometimes.  I was becoming more involved with my full-time job, which was transforming from working in retail, to working in the fashion industry.  I started to put my clothes together differently (I somehow managed to maintain what I call City Tropics), wearing makeup as both a feature enhancer and bold statement, and then looking into natural beauty options.

You see, no matter how much makeup I wore and experimented with, I wanted to stay true to my roots.  Yes, I wore foundation, but would I love my skin even if I didn't?  I caked, contoured, and penciled in every bare spot, and then washed it all off at the end of the night.  Keeping my face clean and healthy became more important than ever before.  I made sure to buy the cleanest vegan makeup I could find and purchasing natural face mask and cleansers.  Read: Shit got expensive.  In Florida, not only did I divulge in this whole other world, I learned to incorporate what I already knew to be true.... Food creates Health and Beauty.

That is when I began to believe in feeling beautiful in every aspect of my life.  From using inside out practices, to creating products to take care of the skin I was in.  

Now that is is Summer and seeing that I started this love in the hot humid days of the south, I thought it was only fitting to do this post as a little tribute .  My Northeast, down South, and West Coast loves can enjoy most of the in season foods and ingredients.  These are just my favorite, there are many more to experiment and enjoy for your specific skin type.  Also because this is food, most of the ingredients are great to use on your skin as well!

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Aloe

My summer favorite.  This is a regular/must for me when I travel to hotter and more humid climates.  Aloe serves double duty too!

The Aloe Vera plant has very cooling and healing properties.  Full of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, this plant is great topically or taken internally.  Notice I say plant, get more for your buck ya'll!  Everything from healing rashes, sun burns, to even constipation and digestion.  Quick little tidbit, if you're digestion is not track, most likely neither is your skin. It's in your gut, not genes.  

How To:

  • Peel off the skin, chop jelly interior into fine pieces.  Put into a gallon of purified water and refrigerate.  
  • To drink, enjoy a glass with some pineapple juice, agave, and/or herbs for an easy go to cocktail.
  • To heal irritated or sensitive skin, apply aloe mixture on top and let air dry.  

Avocado

How can I not?  If I don't have avocado in a day, I sometimes feel incomplete, like I missed something so delicious to make it my day/dish ten times better. 

Rich in all the good GOOD fats, which is great for overall body health, the effects are amazing for the skin as well.  These good fats are anti-inflammatory which is also play a key role for the skin.  If you are prone to redness (rosacea), dry patches, and feel your skin becoming dull or loosing elasticity, this is for you!  I find myself more often than not poking and pulling at my skin.  Have I reached the time in my life where I worry about wrinkles?  Yes, I think I have.  But, I embrace it and now have the excuse of eating all the avocados.  Honestly, a win-win.  Also containing antioxidants which repair cell damage, so for those who love the summer sun, you absolutely cannot say no to a bowl of guacamole. 

Whether eaten or applied as a mask, affects are the same! On the skin for fast relief, eaten for overall maintenance.  

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Greens

From vegetables such as kale, spinach, and dandelion, to herbs like cilantro and parsley, every green has an abundance of properties to help maintain great skin.  Full of vitamins and minerals that basically start the journey to clean beauty.  Whenever I do a detox, the first thing I notice right away is my skin.  It is calm, clear, and because of less inflammatory foods, less likely to get irritated.  The chlorophyl in greens is one of the most detoxing properties which rid heavy metals and impurities which cleanse your gut and colon, which in turn automatically helps clear your skin.  Vegetables like cucumbers and celery are great for keeping you and your skin properly hydrated, helping the cleansing effect and keeping your skin glowing!

How To:

  • You DO NOT need a detox.  Simply just up your greens.  Green juices and monsters, salads, and super greens will do!
  • Play with different facial mask using herbs such as parsley or basil.  More to come on next post!

Fruits

Fruits don't get enough praise and love as they should.  They are first healing, full of antioxidants which as previously mentioned help repair cell damage.  Whether from the sun or harsh temperatures, we sometimes miss how to properly care for our face and skin.  Antioxidants are an easy way to do any reversal.  Along with Vitamin C which creates radiance within the skin, it helps to absorb other nutrients such as magnesium which serves your body and sleep well.  My favorites are blueberries and raspberries (I sometimes eat a pint for a light dinner), mangos, pineapples, and watermelon more for hydration.  If there is one thing that your skin is usually missing no matter if you have dry or oily skin, is proper hydration.  

Another plus for fruit, natural sugars which help curb cravings!  Some may have a higher sugar content than others, but I guarantee you, it is better than that piece of cake, ice cream, or even nutrition bar, that you save your calories for.  Those ADDED sugars wreak havoc.  

So there you have you it,  not a complete list, but a great guide to keep your skin looking and feeling amazing.  It all comes down to following three different keys/nutrients... hydration, anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, and CONSISTENCY. 

Yes, I could add all the ingredients and foods to stay a way from, but in reality, I like pizza, meaty tacos, coffee, and a cocktail every now and then.  This practice is called MODERATION.

Dedicated to all my summa lovin' beauties.

 

Puerto Rico

One week later, and I finally get to recap.  I've been going back and forth.  Trying to pick the perfect pictures and amazing words to do this trip justice.  Not easy.  But here it is, doing the best I can, with the quality camera/iphone I had.  From daytime travels full of history, to nights out in the city full of reggaeton and one too many drinks, I can honestly say this is it.  Puerto Rico, you are exactly what I needed.

I bought my first pair of sneakers, not for the beautiful island, but actually for work.  Turned out to be the best investment I ever made.  We hiked through El Yunque without a tour or knowledge of where it would lead us, but the trails, rocks, and streams were beautiful hints of what was to come.  Something that I was able to share with so many different people.  We were all there to see and experience what El Yunque had to offer.  

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If you ever get the chance, please go... and RENT A CAR.  Uber is not so accepted yet, and taxi situations could be better.  We relied on questionable rides from strangers, which turned out to be pretty interesting.  It actually forced us to bond with the locals, all with different backgrounds and stories to tell. 

Las Cuevas del Indio was also an amazing sight.  Probably the only place that actually charged to get in, but for five dollars, you get every penny worth.  The water colors, currents, and views were everything but ordinary.  Probably the most out of my comfort zone, I walked and sat on cliffs, experienced amazing heights, and looked further into the ocean than ever before.  Oh, and I saw bats.  A family of them.  And I watched them fly right above me as I climbed up rocks and over streams.  FYI, that was never on my agenda.

The. Food.  If you are going to another foreign country/land, take advantage of the culture.  I mainly mean food wise.  I am of Puerto Rican decent and pretty knowledgeable of the cuisine, so it wasn't so much exploring the food, but enjoying every bite of it.  The authentic shit.  From rice and beans, mofongo, and comida criolla, I was in all my glory. 

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If you can get out of the main city, and deep into the island, do it.  I had the opportunity to get aquatinted with someone who was able to take me THERE.  To that spot of real puerto rican street food.  It was very much so nostalgic.  When I used to visit my own grandparents on the island, where alcapurrias and empanadas were more common then any mofongo.  It was greasy.  It was delicious. 

From the beginning, I was surrounded by so many adventurous, food loving, understanding beings.  It may sound super corny, but I say it firmly and proudly.  They helped me get to amazing beautiful places, kept me company, and kept me smiling.  Even on my own, I felt at ease.  Nothing was more insightful than walking the streets of Old San Juan alone.   Nothing was more calming than just reading a book under the tropical skies.  

Puerto Rico is a beauty.  I think I got to experience it on a whole other level than my previous visits.  Not only was it my first solo trip, but one that I was able to explore from a different perspective.  One that is open, accepting, and ready for whatever may or may not come my way.  Like every place and experience,  there is the good, there is the bad.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  It actually encouraged me to see the amazement right here.  That everyday adventure in right now.  

Summer's Not Over!

Yes, people!  We still have one whole month, plus a few more weeks of warm weather!

For myself, I am about to take advantage of what the rest of the season has to offer.  In more ways than one, I think there is something we are all going to miss.  Whether it's the laid-back vibes, vacations, farmers market, or beach days, there is no better feeling than the freedom Summer has to offer.  

With Fall coming, not only is this month the time to take advantage, but also prepare.  More mentally, than anything else.  A post is to come soon filled with Fall tips and treasures, but for now, I want to make sure we are living in-tune with the late Summer Sun as much as possible. 

Here is a list of the goodies, recommendations, and last minute reminders on how to enjoy and prepare for what is to come.

Greens

Drink them.  Eat them.  Blend them.  Whether in juice form for straight nutrients, or smoothies and salads for fiber, we want to take advantage of the greens this month before the colder temperatures kick in.  Even though they aren't as abundant when we started summer (Spring's abundance), we still have great herbs and green veggies to mix in.  Kale, zucchini, okra, cilantro, and parsley are some of my favorites.  If you are lucky enough to get your hands on some detoxifying dandelions, go for it!

Fruits

My all time favorite snack (next to hummus and chips, of course).  Each one full of so many vitamins and minerals, great for both the skin and body.  Eat'em up!  The sun has certainly taken a toll on our skin, so natural prevention and remedies start with food.  Stock up on your tomatoes, peaches, and blueberries as a great and easy way to keep your skin bright and belly full.

Coconut Oil

Your skins best friend during the warmer months.  This is an all-Summer routine, and for some, all year round.  A great anti-bacterial and moisturizer with a light SPF, most people can benefit from this oil, even those with oilier skin.  Out of all the oils, coconut oil is one of the lightest when applied.  Great for skin and hair, keep your skin hydrated and healthy right until Fall hits us with the dryness. 

Healthy Sun

In the winter, Vitamin D levels drop so much, many experience what is called Seasonal Affective Disorder.  This compromises your health, motivation, and over all good-feeling.  Although it is something that can be helped starting in the Fall, for now I want to focus on soaking in all the sun/Vit-D you can.  Whether it is a morning walk or mediation, to a day at the beach or park, enjoy what's left.  Don't be afraid of sweat and don't be afraid of lotion.

Movement

How easy it is to stay active and fit in the Summer!  Warm weather and longer days motivates myself more than I care to admit.  Which is why this month is key to keep it up and maybe go a little harder.  Yes, even a yogi like me wants to kick some ass.  Enjoy the tacos, enjoy the vacation days, and enjoy the work that comes with it.  You want to make sure we go into Fall feeling amazing as possible.  However that may be for yourself, commit to it for a lasting effect.

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This is a LIFE-STYLE.  Fit it to your every want and need.  

I Choose To Lead With The Heart

and let go of fear. 

A lot of different issues and emotions came up in the last couple months.  Whether affecting me directly or having felt the commotion of my surroundings, I couldn't help but think, a lot.  

Through it all, I saw myself trying to live and work towards what I had already found, what I have felt for a while now.  Not rocket science, but fatefully possible.  

I want to love what I do.  I want to embrace who I am.  I want to accept MY path.  

I have embraced my body as a woman.  The emotions and feelings are from my own being, with more of a feminine touch.  My desires come from so deep within, they consume me until I get exactly that.  I want no other type of love, no other type of freedom.

I have owned my strengths and faults.  

I take most pride in my abilities, my badass womanly strengths.  We bleed to cleanse.  We bleed so you may exist.  I let my feelings come from the divine.  Mother nature herself gave me this gift.  Silent and still like the moon, we can be as powerful as the ocean tides.  

I may cry a little more and love a bit greater.  The loyalty I have for you, is the same loyalty I have for my beliefs.  The trust I hesitate to give, is the same trust I doubted in my purpose.  

So I chose not to constrict myself any longer. I let my breasts that can feed the being from me, stay free.  No pressure on the cage that protects my heart, the one I choose to lead with.  This heart that lets me feel and feel for you, is the same that allows me to breath.  Did you know I can breath like the ocean? Like a lion?

Slowly the fear will creep, stare, and wait for me to cave.  I will let it pass. 

To love with passion, teach with humility, and live authentically.  

This is for the beings of the feminine.  ________ like a girl.