I’ve been anticipating it all winter, and after weeks and weeks of clear skies and uselessly cold days, it finally happened. We awoke to the clean, refreshing stillness that only a heavy snowfall can bring. We ventured out, hiking aimlessly through the woods together in tranquil silence, taking it all in. I saw my home in a new light, a new energy. The contrast of the red rocks peeking through the fresh powder reinforced a universal truth: mountains are better with snow.
I’ve been drawn to Manitou lately. Drawn to it’s earthy, solemn, calming vibrations. Manitou Springs is a beautiful little town right outside of Colorado Springs. It’s a ten minute drive from home, but we usually avoid it due to the overwhelming crowds. However, I’ve been recently feeling more and more connected with this magical place. With the tourist season dying down, I can finally feel the energy I’ve heard so much about. Soaking in the healing powers of the spring water, taking part in ceremonial crystal cleansing, discovering the expressive dance and yoga community, and exploring the mountains and trails long ago discovered by the Ute tribe. Luke, the imaginative archeologist that he is, helped me connect with this part of history on the Ute Pass, looking down from the top of the ridge to greet the new year. The spiritual connection I’ve felt since the crowds have dissipated make me wonder if the historical and sacred significance has been somewhat desecrated by tourism, the endless streams of traffic and commercialism, overpowering the subtle flow of the spring, the whispering voices of the past. There’s a spiritual piece to this quirky little town that seems to be disappearing, lost in the shuffle. There appears to be a specific attraction to the healing properties of the spring water, but how can we ask the earth to heal us and offer nothing in return? Respect for the natural earth is fading all around us. It’s time to reconnect with our planet, to appreciate and protect her, and to reverse this cycle that we’ve created.
I want to dedicate this post to my partner, Luke. Thank you for your endless inspiration.
The temperatures are steadily dropping out here in Colorado, and I’m loving every second of it. Snow, candles, and snuggling are on the top of my list this time of year. Last weekend, Norah, Molly and I welcomed winter early with a scenic snowy hike, followed by a mug of hot rosemary cider.
Yesterday was the solstice. The longest night of the year, the beginning of winter. Since I had a full day of clients, I’d been wondering how I was going to celebrate. As fate would have it, I happened to stumble upon a local yoga class honoring the winter solstice in Manitou Springs last night. Of course, I had to check it out. The sequence emphasized alignment, as well the balance between light and darkness as we begin to move toward the sun. The class ended with live music, expressive dancing and a crystal/water ceremony. It was an unusual, freeing, beautiful way to honor the solstice.
How did you celebrate?
It’s that time of year again. Nights are longer, days are colder, and I’m dreaming of blankets, candles, and comfort food; however, I still want to feel healthy and be mindful about what I’m putting into my body. During the summer months, I love making Buddha Bowls, colorful vegan bowlfuls of fresh veggies, quinoa, and tofu, and I just started making comfort food versions. This one features root veggies and mashed cauliflower, as well as kale and rosemary which are still going strong in our winter garden!
You will need:
- 3 cups Cauliflower, Chopped
- 2 cups Fresh Kale
- 2 cups Beets, Peeled and Diced
- 2 cups Sweet Potatoes, Peeled and Diced
- 3 tbsp Fresh Rosemary
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- Olive Oil, Salt, and Pepper (to taste)
Heat oven to 425º. Toss beets with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and half of the rosemary. Toss sweet potatoes with olive oil, cayenne, cinnamon. Arrange side by side on a baking sheet, leaving some room on one side, and place in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Toss kale with olive oil and carefully place on baking sheet next to the root veggies. Place baking sheet in oven for additional 10 minutes.
Bring 5 quarts of water to a boil. Add cauliflower and remaining rosemary to boiling water and boil gently for 10 minutes. Drain. Add cauliflower, garlic, salt, and pepper to a food processor and blend until smooth. Add vegan butter or unsweetened nut milk for a creamier texture!
Arrange mashed cauliflower, sweet potatoes, beets, and kale in a large bowl, top with vegan gravy or cranberry sauce, and enjoy!
What’s your go-to vegan comfort food?
I felt like a queen this weekend. Why? Could’ve been the castle.
After a winding drive through the mountains, a gap in the pines revealed Bishop Castle, a towering structure of metal and stone, dragon included, of course. I abandoned my fear of heights for the day and climbed the delicate spiral staircases, to the top of the world, it seemed. I became enchanted with this mysterious place. It was right out of a fairytale. After a cold day of romping around the mountains, still in my fairytale-castle-mindset, all I wanted was a warm bubble bath… & while self-care is about so much more than “pampering”, I think it’s necessary to indulge every now and then. Everything in moderation, right?
Click here to Reply or Forward
How do you start and end your day? It’s so easy to snooze a few more minutes, or go to bed staring at a screen. As a counselor, it’s important for me to be present and focused with my clients, and my night and morning routines have a huge impact on my mindset for the day ahead. Let’s try to be more purposeful in the mornings and evenings by starting and ending the day with mindfulness and self-care. Here’s what’s on the schedule:
Make Your Bed
Brush and Floss
Drink Warm Lemon Water
Morning Yoga Sequence
Meditation & Intention Setting
Making the bed is the perfect way to start the day off with intention and purpose. It’s also important to stretch and nourish the mind, body, and soul in the morning to feel refreshed and rejuvenated all day long. I love starting my day with a short yoga sequence, walk, or bike ride. Warm lemon water and a good breakfast, such as chia seed pudding, oatmeal, or avocado toast can help maintain focus and energy throughout the morning.
Shower & Salt Scrub
Drink Chamomile Tea
Lavender Oil in Diffuser
With colder weather on its way, my skin is in constant need of my tea tree lavender scrub. I’ll be using it everyyy night this winter. Journaling and reflecting on the day, warm chamomile tea, and the soothing smell of lavender can help keep the mind calm and quiet at night. As for the body, there are lots of easy, gentle yoga sequences that can be done right before (and in) bed. And rather than trying to relax with the glaring light from a phone, TV, or laptop, how about opting to fall asleep with a good book! The perfect way to end the day. Ahhhhh.
The light within me honors the light within you.
Sometimes self-care means taking the time to celebrate. To let go of the day-to-day monotony, to listen to the inner child, and to welcome mystery and spontaneity into life. Samhain, All Hallows’ Eve, reminds us to celebrate, to direct our attention to the darkening days and colder nights, and to welcome the wintery weather with a fresh perspective. This night invites us to look out into the dark sky with wonder rather than fear.
It’s no secret that Halloween is my favorite time of year, and I’ve been celebrating all month with vampiric literature, costume designs, and (finally) carving the pumpkins from our garden.
Here’s a recipe from one of my favorite Halloween traditions:
How are you celebrating?
Interested in starting a moon journal and documenting the effects of the different moon phases on your mind, body and spirit? What about making the journal yourself? I learned this awesome craft in an expressive arts workshop, and today I’m going to share it with you. There’s a new moon tonight, so it’s the perfect time to start.
You will need:
The dimensions for my journal are 10×13 for the cover page and 9×10 for the insert pages. I used “chalkboard” cardstock for the cover and thin cardstock for the (12) insert pages .
Making the Journal:
Measure about an inch space in the middle of your cover page and draw straight lines to indicate the space, which will be your “spine”. Draw a line directly in the middle of the spine, and make an accordion style fold.
Divide your insert pages in half, stack each half and fold pages down the middle, one on top of the other. With the middle arch of your spine facing up, arrange journal pages so that they sit open in the middle of the creases on either side of your spine, and hold in place.
You’ll need 1-2 ft of waxed thread, depending on the size of your journal. Thread your needle, tie a knot at the end of the thread, and carefully push needle and thread through the center of the right side of the middle insert pages, through the spine, and out through the left side of the middle insert pages. Continue pattern (below), pulling tightly, and tie end thread pieces together.
And that’s it!
Get creative with the cover of your mini moon journal! I can’t wait to see them! Comment below if you have any questions 🙂
When do you feel most at home? For me, it’s right around this time of year, no matter where I am. Moving around so much the past five years or so, I associate so many places, and people, with “home”. When autumn hits, I want to surround myself with people I love, and this year my heart is so full. After my cousin came to stay with us in September, Luke and I visited North Carolina for a wedding. We got to reconnect with friends and family and revisit Asheville, the place where we met, on the same week, two years ago. Autumn makes me feel at home, even when my heart is torn between so many places. Little fall traditions remind me of childhood, of warmth, of magic, of home. This past week was perfect for that, and it was the perfect for my self-care. Revisiting some of my favorite places and people, hanging in our hammocks beneath giant oak trees, hiking and collecting fall wildflowers in the rain, and seeing my rolling Blue Ridge Mountains in their glowing autumnal beauty.
It has been amazing to catch some of the peak colors of Carolina and Colorado, both so unique and beautiful in their own way.
No place like home…