Monday, January 31, 2011

Feeling the Fear...and Doing it Anyway

A delicious treat at Kim's

I have spent the last week or so marveling at how everything has been manifesting.  I feel as if I've been swept up by this giant wave of beautiful forward motion and I can't even remember standing on the shore.

But along with that, has come some uncomfortable feelings because THINGS ARE HAPPENING.  And they are things I've been wishing and preparing for.

Oh. My. Goodness!

My life is starting to really head in the direction I've been reaching for and it's bringing up the "new job feelings." You know, when you start a new job and you feel all out of whack...not fully grounded because you don't feel all that confident and stable in your new responsibilities yet? That's where I am, partially.  The other part thinks it's pretty neat that magic is happening.

I've been hard at work on a new website and it has been a big learning curve.  I'm pretty happy with the way it's coming along and am hoping to launch it around Valentine's Day...awww.

I've also been trying to experiment with balancing out my quiet time at home i.e. turning off the TV so as not to numb myself down instead of doing healthy things like yoga or meditation. I, of course, still enjoy watching my favorite shows...that won't ever change.

Another thing I realized I needed this week was to up being social with friends, but on a small scale. So I spent this past weekend over at some friend's apartments! I had a wonderful St. Andrews dinner with Sara on Friday and then crashed at her place.  It was like an old-school slumber party.  We stayed up late watching stuff on youtube and then spent the morning watching Dr. Who and an Indiana Jones related documentary on The History Channel (while drinking tea and eating toast).

 A funny sight after lunch at the diner, with Sara

And yesterday I went to Kim's for lunch, cranberry wine, chat and...tango dancing!  Yes!  Kim and I tangoed in our socks all around her living room.  It was a glorious afternoon.

SO yummy

 Kim's Kitty was very frisky

That's what my dreams needed.  A little break and friends to feel nourished by.  All is well and I will keep pressing forward with all the wonderful changes.  Still feeling the fear...but doing it all anyway. And maybe I'll stop for brunch and a dance a little bit more often.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Italian Bread & Cabbage Soup

Dear GOD!  This is one of the tastiest things I've ever made and I have the wonderful Jamie Oliver to thank for it.

I love Jamie Oliver's show "Jamie at Home" which is where I discovered this recipe:

Italian Bread and Cabbage Soup with Sage Butter 

It was part of an episode that addressed winter vegetables! I also, totally covet his outdoor kitchen.

Last time I made this soup, I seriously flubbed the amount of cabbage I cooked and made enough to feed an army. I was eating it practically 3 times a day for two weeks.

(This was also the time I began my love affair with beer...and this dish goes so well with a nice ale. I'm pretty sure I gained about 10 pounds).

I can imagine myself getting the cabbage, rosemary and sage out of my own garden and putting the piping hot dish in the middle of a big beat up wooden kitchen table...ready for everyone to dig in.  It seems meant for a group.  But I'll do my best to polish it off all on my own.  ;)

This time around I made it a much more realistic size...with red cabbage & kale. I really like this recipe because you can follow it loosely and it still comes out unbelievably delicious. An easy, hearty winter meal...comfort food to the max.

And I have to say...even with having a lot of it, I still enjoy the last bowl as much as the first.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sunshine & Rain

I took this photograph on my first trip to Scotland, back in April 2004.

Our first stop outside of Edinburgh was Blair Castle and the grounds were so lovely!  We even met our first Highland cow...awww.

I was transfixed with everything I saw and couldn't stop clicking away with my camera.  I switched to color film after this and never turned back.


This is an 8x10 matted (size includes mat) print of a sundial in the rain, Perthshire, Scotland. Mat color is black.

Scottish Sundial Photo Print - SOLD


Monday, January 24, 2011

Clouds and Rainbows

I was watching Master Class with Maya Angelou on Oprah's new network (OWN) last weekend and became inspired!  This woman is phenomenal indeed. I had my journal next to me throughout the entire program.

She said that she always says "yes" to doing good/interesting things...and then will do the background work required to get the work other words, she takes opportunities and chances. She moves forward.


I'm hoping that I can be a good example and practice what I preach here (Maya also said that you need to live what you teach to others...something I heartily agree with).

She also said something to the effect of, "we are all human, therefore nothing human is alien to us".

There is dark and light in all of us. We are capable of both so we shouldn't look down on others for their "failings." Including ourselves! It all comes down to choices. We can reach beyond what we think we are capable of.


It has come to my attention that I need to work a wee bit harder at creating and recognizing that there is sacred space wherever I am in the present. It might make my final time in New York a little easier. After all, I'll be taking me and that space with me wherever I go in the future.

So, I'm working hard at creating goodness where I am and looking forward to saying "yes" first when amazing opportunities come up in the future (and then figuring out "how"). I'm also trying not to be too hard on myself for going off track. I'm marvelously human...I can't help it sometimes.

Some wonderful quotes from Maya Angelou's Master Class:

"Prepare yourself to be a rainbow in someone's clouds..."

"Love doesn't bind."

I love the idea of being a rainbow.


P.S. I found a link to the show online!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Seafood Soup Improv

I was reminded, last week, about how important it is to eat fatty salmon.  Something my diet had been lacking.  So to remedy that, I decided to make some sort of fish soup using easy ingredients.

Fresh Direct is fantastic in that you can buy pre cut this and that (I'm sure this is true for a lot of grocery stores). This time, I took advantage of the package of Soup Greens and Fish Cubes (I love using the fish cubes to make soup).

You still have to do a little bit of chopping, but it's minimal.

Last year I made a different, but still very much improvised, seafood soup

Everything I, basically, needed

Here's what I used:

1 Package Soup Greens (onion, red potato, turnip, parsnip, carrot, celery, parsley...) cut into cubes
1 Package Fish Cubes (in this case it was a mix of salmon and tuna, I think)
2 32 oz. Cartons of organic vegetable stock
Garlic Croutons
A couple handfuls of frozen spinach
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Powdered Kelp *optional*

I cooked the onion in some olive oil until they began to soften (about 5 minutes) and added garlic, salt and chili powder, sauteed for another 2 min.  Then I added the rest of the cubed veggies.

Next I added the stock and brought it all to a boil and then let simmer for about 20 minutes.

Then I added the fish.  Let simmer for another 5 minutes...and added the spinach. Simmer, Simmer Simmer!

In the end, I believe I added some ground lemon peel and the kelp for an added boost of nutrition.

Garnish with the garlic croutons...YUMMY!!!


Monday, January 17, 2011

I'm a Winner!

I've been planning and working on my next trip to Scotland, and one of the elements of this plan is a workshop I'm taking on Iona.  This time, scholarships were available and I applied.

I don't usually expect to win stuff.  For as long as I can remember...winning has been a rare occurrence.  I lost in the housing lottery at FIT two years and had to live off campus as one example.

I did win a giant bunny-rabbit in a church raffle back in High School, but that was because my dearly departed Dad bought most of the tickets (I think he wanted it more than me)!

Skip to the present...and I have been awarded one of the Iona scholarships!!!

I know it's because that God and The Universe help us out when we are headed down the right path, following our dreams instead of simple prizes. Who knows, maybe my Dad bought most of the tickets again...

This is a wonderful piece for the dream puzzle because I am still in the paying down debt and saving money phase of my Creative Dream journey.

So I'm off to Scotland in a little over 2 months. I have my plane ticket and the very appreciated scholarship already in my up train tickets to Oban etc.  I wonder if it's too soon to start packing?


Friday, January 14, 2011

Mac & Cheese Soup

I love using the ampersand...I really do.

So, Mac & Cheese soup, y'all!

I was inspired when my friend and co-worker Glen brought in some that his wife had made.  I immediately looked up some recipes and then promptly ditched them to do it my way.

Mostly because I couldn't find the cheese soup on Fresh Direct...and because I was a little afraid of the contents. me "Sandra Lee" this week because this uses all boxed, canned and frozen items...I am still decompressing from the holidays, it seems.


I bought 2 boxes of organic mac and cheese and a bag of frozen veggies (broccoli, carrots and cauliflower).

I cooked the pasta until it was al dente...then added the butter and cheese mix and veggies.

THEN, I was going to add a  can of organic cream of mushroom soup but felt it was too little soup and instead opted for the carton of cream of broccoli I had and let it all simmer for about 20-30 minutes (until the veggies were cooked).

In the end, I added a little cayenne and water to thin out the soup until I was happy :)

It was quick, cheap and...



Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Teardrops and Fire

 Terracotta dish: 5x5"

One day, years ago, I felt like painting something.  I took an ad containing a photo of a woman looking up and turned her into my model. The rest was pure imagination.

It's the only painting of mine that I still have hanging on my wall and it's very indicative of my mood at the time. I've cropped it and applied it to various creations...including this dish:

The painting inspired the following poem, which I included on the finished dish:

Ghostly ocean eyes
drizzle blue sleet
over a chilled face
waiting for fire
--Lee Ann Monat

I love looking at this now because I feel as if I've finally found my fire.

Teardrops and Fire Dish - $25.00

Monday, January 10, 2011

New Year, New View

 Finished Chili

I am sitting here on a quiet Sunday afternoon with some turkey chili cooking away, music playing, laundry waiting to be sorted...and yes, a messy apartment. However, I don't feel as tied to the physical place as I once did. Yes, I have bills and rent etc. but that is just in the meantime.  I'm moving toward something new and better (for me).

I stayed in this weekend because I've been so busy and it's nice to not have to be anywhere for a change...but also because I don't want to go outside.  I don't want to immerse myself in the energy of this city when I don't have to. More and more signs that it's time to move on.

Fried plantains on the side

I remember feeling sort of out of control a year ago.  Not quite knowing where I could go, but knowing that I needed to get out of here and that was a scary place to be. The "hows" were overwhelming.  I still don't know "how" but I'm choosing to trust that as all the shackles keep falling away the path will be made clear.

I continue to learn about myself and how to be easier on me. For example, no New Year's resolutions.

New Years used to come around and I would feel depressed if nothing seemed to have changed from the previous year.  That probably had something to do with the fact that, in essence, I was standing still/spinning my wheels. I realize, now, that when I don't know which way to go...if I stand still a little while (and listen) eventually the winds will blow me in the right direction. It's the listening that makes all the difference...and embracing the changes.  Before I used to rail against them.

I actually submitted a little piece to The Fabulous Beekman Boy's blog about my take on New Year's resolutions. It didn't get picked up, but so many people seemed to think the same things I did!  And rather than be disappointed in not making their blog...well, hey, I have my own!!!

New Year’s resolutions...I’ve never found many pros in doing this. I used to frantically put my list together when a new year began.  I thought of it as a big do-over for my life but would inevitably fail and then feel badly about myself. 

In recent years I’ve found my path through healthy eating, cooking, herbal medicine and practicing radical self-love and acceptance. Resolutions simply feel negative and all self-judgey...which I can't stand!

Maybe some people do well with forcing rules on themselves for some structure but I’ve never gotten any results from being militant over anything. In fact, my willfulness comes out in full force when I do and I end up rebelling...and it feels sort of ridiculous to rebel against myself!  Maybe it’s the artist in me but I need to have freedom, fun, and an attitude of “YES” in order to thrive.

So I’ve resolved not to make resolutions anymore (unless they are to keep living a healthy, happy life). I’m not sure why we feel we have to always put limits on ourselves which can weigh us down. Through committing to constantly learn, be healthy, laugh, create beauty, and be true to my dreams and authentic self I am able to move forward instead of being stuck in the loop of the yearly do-over. It is so much more liberating than putting on those old shackles that the new year used to bring and certainly makes me happy.


I think the biggest difference this year is the calmness surrounding the dreams.  That's new and interesting for me to experience. I have no doubt that there will be difficulties ahead, but at least I feel as if I'm on the right track. I'm taking baby steps towards change...starting with a new website/blog.  I picked a new template and that feels so good! Things are moving forward. :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Getting Back into the Kitchen!

I spent New Year's Eve weekend in flux.  Partially relaxing, and slowly getting my butt back into the kitchen! All the while, singing my heart out along with my iPod.

I admit...I've been eating out of cans and boxes for the past week. Before that I was emptying my wallet buying lunch in the city every day and dinner on the way home.  I confess, I even ate crackers and cheese for breakfast a few mornings (I basically ate my weight in cheese and chocolate due to all the free food in the office before and between the holidays). I was simply too tired to cook...and too busy finishing up my holiday I thought I'd give myself a break. This blog slid off as well...hence the disorganized posts this week. But I'm slowly getting back in gear!

Back to New Year's weekend...

I alternately drank wine, made yogurt and cooked all the leftover food in my fridge.  I made Sweet Potato Gratin With Coconut Milk and Chipotle Chile:



I turned some frozen brussels sprouts and canned beets into a lemon-thyme infused treat:

 Before, Beautiful!

After, delicious!

A little egg with my collard greens?  Yes, Please!

I had some with dinner, and then used the rest in savory oatmeal for two mornings...

I have high hopes for this weekend since I'll be in again...fingers crossed that the predicted snow won't keep my Fresh Direct order from arriving like last time!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

My New, Plaid Kicks!

My dorkdom is now complete.  One of the side effects of all this Doctor Who watching is that it has inspired me to buy a pair of high top Converse All-Stars (for all the non-Who fans out there...the 10th Doctor [David Tennant] wears them).

I used to have a knock-off pair when I was in Junior High/High School and loved them but then didn't think they were "me" anymore.

Well, I ask you...what could be more me now???  :)

Through exploring and experimenting with my wardrobe (Dress for Success) this past year, I've found that I like adding touches of whimsy to my closet...and these sneakers certainly fit the bill.

Yes...they would be better if they were, in fact, attached to David Tennant...but otherwise, I'm enjoying them immensely.


And I got them on CRAZY sale! Yay!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Be a Creative Dreamer!!!

I am delighted to be using this week's featured product segment to promote my wonderful creative coach Andrea! She is the amazing woman who runs the Creative Dreaming online workshop that I've been participating in.  2010 was fabulous and 2011 will be even more purposeful and exciting!

Andrea and I "met" on an online forum inspired by SARK years ago. It's been a delight seeing her grow as a person as well as a creative dreamer (and doer)!  She's very inspiring and grounding...sharing her journey as well as others'...and encouraging everyone to live their dreams.

She has been featuring an interview series on her blog about people who have stepped out of their day jobs and into their creative businesses...and now she has added herself to that list!  Congrats, Andrea!  I had the pleasure of asking her a few questions yesterday: 

What prompted you to go into this line of work?

My whole adult life, I have had a strong desire to earn my living with my creativity.  I explored and experimented with a lot of different paths to figure out how to do that.  My 20s were spent exploring my creative potential as an artist, and exploring my creative potential as a spiritual being, via creative visualisation, positive affirmations and healing work.  The more I explored, the more I found these two things are the same thing.  How I create a painting or a meal or a sweater is the same way that I create everything in my life.

So then I started studying spirituality more intently, taking classes and becoming accredited as a teacher/mentor/healer.  I started to create my own classes and workshops to teach and lead healing meditation circles.  I wasn't think of it as a job at that point, I was doing it because I loved it.  And mostly because I so loved the freedom of discovering that I can create anything I want in my life - that I wanted to share it with anyone and everyone who would listen. 

And so my workshops grew and grew and I started to realise that I would be more useful in the world, and I would enjoy my life a whole lot more, if I didn't have a job and could focus on this work all the time.  So I made my plan to do just that.

How has pursuing helping others helped you?

Helping others keeps me on track.  If I am going to tell you that you can live your dreams then I better be doing everything I can to live more or else I am a hypocrite - so it is really important to be to live what I teach. 

Helping others really is the fastest way to help yourself.  It is a spiritual law that we receive what we give.  The more I am helping others to make their dreams come true, the easier it becomes for me to make my dreams come true.

What did you do on your first day of self employment?

I stayed in my PJs all day, lol! Mostly, I did a lot of writing - blog posts for my blog, guest posts for other blogs, and preparations for my January coaching special.  I did some art - I have a few paper doll soul portrait commissions I am working on.  And I spent some time with a few new projects.  Also I spent a surprising (to me!) amount of time answering email.

I also started cleaning out my closets and moving some furniture around to make my home more appropriate as a full time work place.  And I kept giggling and smiling about how good it feels to be here.  Finally.


I have become an affiliate for some of her wonderful kits...and she has an amazing special offer happening right now:

"How will you fill your 2011 with dreams come true?
I like to create a new map to my dreams for each year.  This helps me to narrow in on what I really want and to develop a plan for how I am going to get there.  It helps me gather my strengths and gifts and build bridges that lead me over the obstacles in my way.

Create a Map that Leads to your Dream Come True is a creativity kit that helps you create a map to your dreams and tap into your amazing potential to make your dreams real through meditation, visioning, creativity, intuition and positive affirmations." --Andrea Schroeder, ABCcreativity

Special: Create A Map Kit with Coaching for $100

Click here to view more details

I did a creative coaching session with Andrea over the summer and came away totally refreshed and excited to move forward with my dreams!  I highly recommend it. 


She also offers wonderful kits designed to help you along in your dream journey:

I really can't say enough good things about Andrea and ABCcreativity.  Her site offers a wide range of creative tools to aid us in our dreamy pursuits. She is a wonderful ally and support system...she simply sparkles!


*All images used, with permission, from

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy Creative New Year!

Happy New Year, Everyone!

I wanted to put up the first blog of the new year, on the first day of the new year...and like 2010, it's another Creative Dreaming year! Woohoo!

I'm writing this in the midst of drinking some apple-peach wine, knitting and watching a Who Year's Marathon on BBC America.  :D

The first assignment of 2011 is to assess what seems possible right now.

A lot feels possible right now.  If I look at the list I made at the start of last year...well, there's certainly a lot I still haven't done...but to be fair there are 100 items on it.  I could spend the rest of my life working to attain them all.  And oh, what a life that will be!  :)

At this moment, the most possible thing seems to be moving out of New York City.  So many things have been attributing to this:  my noisy upstairs neighbor...the rising costs of living in this already expensive increasing savings and decreasing debt (it's gotten to a very un-stifling level which has also resulted in me treating myself to various post holiday gifts!) and most of all...the fact that I am not a New Yorker.  I'm not sure I ever was one, but I'm certainly not one now.  I want a better life and one in which I'm thriving and loving what I do.  Not just making due.  I want to live, not simply exist.

So, in that spirit...I've started the New Year quietly at home in my own space rather than in the city or in someone else's house.  It was the first New Year's Eve that I've spent by myself in YEARS.  At first I was a bit depressed by this fact but after spending the whole of New Year's Eve Day with my Sister and her family, I had to get back to Queens...and that trip on the Subway is always a huge reminder of how much I don't want to live here anymore. It's not my city.

I'm entering into another hibernation phase before beginning my last year of apprenticeship, another amazing trip to Scotland (the 3rd on my own) and if I'm lucky, the final year of paying off credit card debt (my student loan is another matter all together).  During this time I hope to get my website in better working order and continue pursuing ways of making LionArt Creations and The Lion's Share a wonder-full source of income. Also, in February I'll be taking an open hearth cooking class at Mystic Seaport with my Mom!

I hope to keep developing all of my hearth-tending skills. It's when I'm happiest. Then I feel like my opportunities to move out of this city and on to where I'll feel more at home will open up.  Here's to tying up loose ends and living our creative dreams!

So happy New Year everyone!  I'm going to sign off and get back to  Doctor Who, wine, knitting and trying to ignore my upstairs neighbor, who seems to be repeatedly dropping loud objects on his supposedly carpeted floor.