Sunday, September 29, 2013

Ⓥ Apple Pie Smoothie Ⓥ

It's rainy, it's fall, it's cold, and all I want to do is cuddle up in a blanket fort and enjoy cozy, delicious and healthy snacks, breakfasts, or even desserts! Or… combine all three with this amazing smoothie recipe! ;) 
This recipe makes a great switch-up in your usual smoothie morning recipes (if you're like me and have smoothies every morning for breakfast that is). Even though it's still a cold smoothie, it feels warm and, heck, if you wanted to you could even warm it up and it would be delish! Mmmmmmm!  

Apple Pie Smoothie

3 Tbsp of Gluten-Free Oatmeal (or sub for 2 Tbsp Chia Seeds!)
2 Tbsp of almond butter or sunflower seed butter 
1 apple, chopped
¼ tsp of nutmeg
1 tsp of cinnamon
½ cup ice
1 cup coconut milk (beverage, not canned -- or hemp milk, or almond milk, or any other non-dairy milk)
1 scoop of Vanilla Protein Powder (optional -- if you don't, then add a touch of vanilla extract)
Stevia to sweeten (or other sweetener of your choice)

Cook the oats, or soak them overnight in the fridge--with 1/2 cup water. Wait until they've cooled if cooking them. 
Add all the ingredients together in a blender and blend until smooth. Add less or more liquid to get your desired consistency, and less or more sweetener to your desired sweetness. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon. 
Makes 1 serving. Enjoy! 

*I make all my smoothies in our Blendtec Blender--it's an amazing blender and well worth the investment--and it makes the smoothies super super smooth and creamy!* 


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Thursday, September 26, 2013

☺ It's Okay Not to Be Okay ☺

Take all the time you need to heal emotionally. 
Moving on doesn't take a day. It takes a lot of little steps to be able to break free of your broken self. 

It's Okay not to Be Okay! This is such a vital lesson on the route to healing, and yet, I feel as if it is often overlooked or not addressed deeply enough. 

It's easy to feel discouraged when you experience the downward spiral. It's easy to forget about all the progress you've made when you are trapped in one of those circles of melancholy. It's natural. The worst thing you can do is beat yourself up about not being okay--which is something we all too often do. 
The mentality comes from this: you've made all this progress, have had days that feel good, have been working on yourself tirelessly, trying really hard, feeling like you're getting better, and putting in all this effort. But then… it all spirals due to one event or just a bad reoccurring cycle. Because all of a sudden we feel badly, we feel as if something is wrong, that we're not doing it right, that we shouldn't feel this way because, well, look at all the hard work you've been doing! It doesn't seem fair. It doesn't seem right. You feel hopelessly at a loss and as if the world is against you. And you feel as if all that progress, all that hope, was all imaginary and that you are a lost cause and that you'll be this way forever…  

Sound familiar?

Chances are that it does. But, fret not! You are not alone! Not only are you not alone, but you are also still within the great reaches of love and help and happiness. Happiness IS still attainable. This too shall pass. 

I address this issue because I feel as if it is one of the often missed, but greatly deeply important, topics that are not spoken of enough. And I am guilty of this here at ReLove always focussing on the positive, smiling, telling you all to be happy. 
It gets really annoying when you're having a rough patch and everyone around you just keeps telling you to smile and "just be happy." As if it's that easy. As if there is something even more wrong with you if you cannot "just be happy." As if you can plaster a smile on your face and everything will be okay again. 
Sometimes this does work. Sometimes, it really doesn't. But when it doesn't: it's okay not to be okay. 

Some days are not that easy. Some periods of our lives are just not that easy. And that's okay! It's OKAY NOT TO BE OKAY! 
I really want this to settle into your deepest darkest thoughts, because it is comforting to know that this is okay; that you don't have to be smiling all the time, that you shouldn't feel good all the time. Life is about ups and downs. We all fall down, but it's whether or not we climb back up; or whether we allow ourselves to get so discouraged that we give up on climbing back up. I don't want you to give up, because you really have made so much progress, despite what the negative voices in your head may tell you. Every step is vital and important and has a deep impact upon your mind and well-being; even if those steps may feel insignificant at the time. Never forget the importance of every little step. Truly truly. 

I want you to know that there is Nothing Wrong with You!   

I want to share a little story of what brought me to this topic today, because I think it will inspire you--or at least that's my hope; to make you realize that you are not at all alone.
I was in the middle of one of my own downward spirals (I'm human, you know), and it was getting to the point where I was feeling really terribly frustrated. I was at the point of beating myself up over not being able to get out of this spiral, of dwelling in the negative emotions of helplessness and feeling as if I was simply a lost cause. I still tried; I continued to surround myself with as much positivity and inspiration as possible, but it just wasn't helping. 
Now, I know why: because I was still beating myself up so badly over not feeling okay that it simply wasn't plausible for me to climb back up at that time. The thought of negativity towards myself, of feeling like I was unfixable, and that my entire life was going to contain these awful spirals of depression, was just too much for my happy mind to pull me out of. Even while I was trying; because negativity was still winning the day and I wasn't resolving or addressing that problem. 
I remember along this spiral, my marriage was struggling: because I felt like I was always the problem. I was the one screwing up; I was the one always struggling; I was the one who was always moody and stressed and depressed. And, somehow, my husband was just okay and fine, and just plain peachy through it all. I felt like a burden. And it bothered me that he seemed so okay. Why was I the one that was so messed up? It's terrible, but it really really bothered me how happy he seemed to be. Funny how that works? 
Two things later came into play here. 
One: my husband was still human, and despite seeming outwardly okay, he was still struggling with this own demons as every person does. So my jealousy and envy were misplaced from the start, all because I was so wrapped up in my own depressive state that I was magnifying this illusion that everyone else was okay, and I was the only one who was a problem. Classic "poor me" syndrome that makes climbing back to happiness all the more difficult. 
Two: I had the realization that the way I was viewing my husband was the way that my readers might view me. And I didn't want that. The irony was that I always do my best to show everyone my smiling self, my positive self, so that no one would even guess that I still struggled beneath the surface. I felt as if I could Only show the happy me, because to show any other side might discourage you into thinking you might not be happy. But I have come to realize the importance and value of the ups and downs in our lives and that everyone should know that everyone is human and that we all experience such highs and lows. And that's okay! 
To be clear: the happy smiling me isn't fake. But, was I always okay? No. I focussed on the positive and smile as often as I can, and writing all the content of my blog makes me genuinely happy. When I write on the blog, it IS the happy, positive self that I love. It's not fake. But! That's not me all the time. And I think that it's equally important for people to know that, because, well: It's Okay Not to Be Okay! When I realized what I might be doing to the people I want to help by always showing the happy me, I realized that, perhaps, that illusion would become frustrating and garner the same feelings of being "unfixable." I don't want that for you. At all! I want to continue to give you help, advice, and lessons that will help your journey; and this is one of those important lessons. That it's okay and normal to be Human, and you can still move forward and be happy when the spiral ends. 

Life is still rainbows and sunshine, and I am still smiling and happy most of the time. But storms still blow in. Such is life. And sometimes I get stuck in those storms, sailing in circles, until I can find my way again. And sometimes the ship falls apart altogether and I'm left to pick up the pieces, build a stronger boat, and sail back out into the sunshine where I will be better prepared, and sturdier, for the next storm. That is life! The downward slopes are there to teach us, they truly really truly are! We do have a choice what we do with our melancholy, and, so, no matter how Not Okay you may feel, you Can feel Okay again! Just keep up the good fight and know that you are not alone.

These are the things to remember:

You are Human! And it is Normal to feel angry, sad, happy, and all the ups and downs in between. No one should ever make you feel badly for being human. Ever! That is not the sort of support you need or deserve. You are Human! It is okay to feel fan-freakin-tastic! And it's okay to not feel okay too! 

Drop the Guilt! The worst thing you can do is beat yourself up about not being okay.

This Too Shall Pass. When things are bad, no matter how bad, remember that it Will Pass. Find comfort in that. But, just as importantly, when things are great, remember that it too shall pass; so take the time to appreciate and be grateful when things are great. 
My big problem was that I was so attached to how amazing my life was one summer, when it felt like I was walking on clouds, that I became jaded by it. It was such a state of bliss that when I lost it, I struggled rather badly to get happy again because I was so attached to that state of bliss that nothing else satisfied me. This is why it's equally important to let go of the good as much as the bad. Let life flow and then you will allow the richness to enter your life! 

Look at all the progress you've made! No matter how rough things are, no matter how helpless and unfixable you feel, just stop and look back at where you were however long ago when you started this journey. 
For example; even when I feel down and depressed again, I can stop and look back to where I started: I used to cut myself and I used to have suicidal thoughts daily. I don't have those anymore. So, no matter how down you may feel, even it's small progress, look back and smile and be fuckin proud of where you are now and that you are trying at all! 

Healing takes time, so be patient with yourself. Especially when we have been depressed for years, our serotonin, endorphins, and all the stuff that makes our brains pump out happy thoughts are depleted. It takes time to build that back up again. It takes time to effortlessly feel happy. We are rewiring our brains, re-training it to be happy and to feel good on its own. So…

Work on Yourself! Take the time to work on yourself. It may seem tedious sometimes. Some days you may just not really "feel like" putting forth the effort to smile and be happy. So have a day to be down. But, don't get trapped in the negative mindset, because it's easy to just give up and not try. Do try. I promise you, every book or article you read, every inspirational movie you watch, every lover letter you write yourself, every entry into your Happy Diary, every practice of gratitude, is absolutely 100% worth your time and effort. Because you Will feel good! And every day will get easier, even when the chart of your life may go up and down, it is still heading in an upward slope.

Just do your Best! Take it one Step at a time and never get discouraged! When you're experiencing one of those spirals, just remember to start with one small positive thought in the morning. Just start there; it can set the tone for your entire day. Even if that is the only positive part of your day, you placed yourself into a position of control over your mood and happiness. And every step counts towards the bigger picture, remember? So, Just do your Best! 

Remember how far you've come, no matter how far the road ahead may feel. Every step counts. Every smile counts. Every moment that you feel Good counts. All these little steps are deeply meaningful, so keep these with you, no matter how dark life can feel, and no matter how many downs you experience along your bumpy road. Remember that it's always worth it, and that every struggle is bringing you closer towards effortless happiness. It's always worth it. 

You are human, and you are so amazingly wonderful! Hold onto that! It gets better! I promise that it does! 


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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

❀ The Good News ❀

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Stop watching the News on T.V. filled with lies, propaganda, and made to make you feel helpless and afraid.

With all the negative news in the world, it's time to give you hope and inspiration. It's time to the weekly Good News! 
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Wild Animals Saved From Entertainment Industry in West Hollywood
This week the West Hollywood City Council took another progressive stand for animals with a vote to ban the use of wild and exotic species in commercial displays and performances.
The goals of the ban, which was initiated by Councilmen Jeffrey Prang and John Duran, are to protect wild and exotic animals from cruel and inhumane treatment at the hands of caretakers, in addition to protecting the public from potential hazards that come with being in proximity to these animals.
The ban includes circus acts, rides, trade shows, carnivals, parades, races or similar events, where wild or exotic animals are “required to perform tricks, fight, or participate as accomplishments in performances for the entertainment, amusement or benefit of an audience.”
The list of animals includes more than a dozen species, including some obvious candidates like elephants, chimpanzees and bears, but it also extends to a number of others, including raccoons, sloths, armadillos and ostriches.

Family Saves 7 Giant Puppies Marked to Die for Possible Ringworm
Please check out this completely inspiring and heart-warming story of a woman who saved these puppies! 

U.S. Blocks Import of Wild-Caught Belugas
The National Marine Fisheries Service has denied a permit -- opposed by NRDC -- that would have allowed the Georgia Aquarium to import 18 wild-caught belugas from Russia for public display purposes at aquaria around the country. We applaud the decision since Russia's wild beluga population is still recovering after being hunted nearly to extinction in the 1960s.

Hong Kong Has Started to Ban Shark Fins
Hong Kong, the world’s biggest trade hub for shark fin, has announced that the traditional Chinese delicacy will no longer be served at official banquets. Given that about 80 percent of shark fin products pass through Hong Kong from 100 different countries, the government’s decision could have far-reaching ramifications.

BREAKING NEWS for BC and Going GE Free!
In an unprecedented step, the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM), at their Annual General Meeting in Vancouver, passed a resolution “that UBCM ask the British Columbia government to legislate the prohibition of importing, exporting and growing plants and seeds containing genetically engineered DNA, and raising GE animals within BC, and to declare, through legislation, that BC is a GE Free area in respect to all plant and animal species." BC you rock!

VICTORY! Anglo American Abandons the Catastrophic Pebble Mine
This week, British mining giant Anglo American, the lead company behind the potentially catastrophic Pebble Mine, announced that it was throwing in the towel on the project immediately.
This is spectacular, game-changing news for our long, hard-fought campaign against a mega-mine that threatens to destroy an American natural treasure: Alaska’s beautiful Bristol Bay.
A huge thank you to all the Care2 members who signed petitions urging Anglo American to abandon the project. It takes a lot for a hard-nosed company like Anglo American to change its mind so this is a huge step forwards for activism everywhere! 

Step Forward: EPA Announcement on 2013 Proposed Carbon Pollution Standard for New Power Plants
Today's announcement by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is an important step forward for our nation and our planet. From now on, future coal- and gas-fired power plants must take responsibility for their global warming pollution by reducing or capturing their overall emissions.
This is a critical achievement for President Barack Obama and his administration. In the face of an intransigent and inactive Congress, the President has made halting the climate crisis a priority. The policies announced today, combined with the rest of the President's Climate Action Plan, will put us on the path toward solving the climate crisis.

Whole Foods Tosses Out Mayo to Make Room for a Cruelty-Free Alternative
Starting this week, select Whole Foods stores in California will be phasing out mayo and introducing a vegan-friendly product in their prepared food sections from Hampton Creek Foods called Just Mayo.
The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that food production will need to increase by 70 percent by then to feed the world. At that level, cutting chickens out of the equation could streamline food production and help curb some of the problems caused by animal agriculture, which is one of the reasons the company has attracted the support of well-known funders including Bill Gates and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.
Armed with a team of scientists, food industry experts and chefs, the company has developed plant-based, soy and gluten-free alternatives called Beyond Eggs and Just Mayo – products that are a win for both us and animals and can be sustainably produced at a lower cost. Made from about a dozen plants, including peas, sorghum and a type of bean, the results are just as versatile as the real thing. As for how they taste, reviewers seem thus far impressed.

Finland’s People Make the Government Reconsider Same-Sex Marriage
Finland’s lawmakers will reconsider the issue of marriage equality after a public campaign garnered the highest number of petition signatures for a citizen’s initiative in the country’s history.
The petition needed only 50,000 signatures to prompt parliament to consider the initiative. It in fact secured more than 100,000 on its first day when it debuted in March, and as of writing has more than 164,000 signatures in favor of marriage equality.
This grassroots effort to have parliament reconsider marriage equality comes after the Finish Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee decided in February and by a narrow majority vote of 9-8 that it would not advance a bill to legalize same-sex marriage.
This is the first time in marriage equality’s modern history that a country’s lawmakers have been petitioned by such a sizable proportion of the national electorate and urged through a public initiative to (again) consider making marriage equality law.

Nobel Laureates Denounce Keystone XL
NRDC and our partners ran a full-page ad in The Washington Post that featured a letter from ten Nobel Peace Prize winners, calling on President Obama to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and lead the way beyond dirty oil.

Maine Activists Don’t Want Tar Sands Under Their Feet
It’s on in Portland, Maine, where activists have successfully organized to get an anti-tar sands ordinance on the November ballot. Members of Protect South Portland are rallying together in an attempt to keep tar sands out of their city by cutting it off at the head, making it impossible for major oil companies to transport and process this controversial oil product within their city. The results of their organizing could prove explosive not just for Maine, but for the Northeast and the rest of the country.

Summing up Victories on
From "It's been an incredible summer on in Canada and around the world. As more and more people discover the simple power of online petitions, we've seen over 700 campaigns win on this summer alone. Even the staff at are overwhelmed!
This last week of summer we thought we'd catch you up on a few of the season's most popular victories…"

One-year-old Mackenzie receives sight-saving treatment
Whitby parents, Heather and Matt Graham, are relieved to receive coverage for surgery to save their son's sight! Mackenzie was diagnosed with Norrie's Disease, a rare disorder causing blindness. Worse, the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) repeatedly refused to provide coverage for treatments that the family couldn't afford. But, after 1,484 people signed their petition and their story was featured in the Toronto Sun, the Ontario Ministry of Health called to say that Mackenzie's treatments would be covered!

Women will not be "erased" from British Banknotes
British women like Caroline Criado-Perez are proud to have successfully convinced the Bank of England to keep women on British banknotes! When Caroline learned that Sir Winston Churchill would replace Elizabeth Fry on the five-pound note, she was outraged. Other than the Queen, no British women would be left on the bills. After 35,000 people signed Caroline's petition, the Bank of England acquiesced and agreed to feature Jane Austen on the ten-pound note.

Afghan interpreter on Taliban "kill-list" is saved
Janis Shinwari and his family will no longer live in fear of taliban reprisal! Janis was an interpreter for US forces in Afghanistan, but like many interpreters working with the US army he became a target of Taliban violence. Two years after applying for a US visa Janis was still waiting. US army veteran, Matt Zeller, who had worked with Janis, started a petition asking the US State Department and the US Embassy in Kabul to save Janis's life by granting him a visa. 100,000 signatures later, Janis has now received his visa and will soon be safe with his family in Washington, DC.

Police officer James Forcillo is charged in Sammy Yatim's tragic death
Those who knew Sammy Yatim were comforted to learn that some justice had been won for the 17-year-old. Sammy's tragic death at the hands of police shocked Canadians. Fearing that the officer who shot Sammy nine times would not be held accountable, prominent political activist and commentator, Tarek Fatah started a petition asking the Special Investigations Unit to lay charges. In August, after 40,000 signed Tarek's petition and rallies were held across Toronto, the SIU charged Officer James Forcillo with second-degree murder.

Middle Earth is saved
This summer, New Zealanders celebrated the protection of Milford Sound, which played the part of Middle Earth in the Lord of the Rings movies. Over 30,000 signed a petition against the construction of a massive, environmentally destructive tunnel through the area, and in July, New Zealand's Conservation Minister rejected the plan to build the tunnel!

Air Canada will be forced to better treat customers
Air Canada passengers everywhere are pleased to learn that they will be paid up to $800 if bumped from an oversold flight. Previously, bumped passengers were given $100. Passenger rights advocate Jeremy Cooperstock started a 34,000 signature petition asking Air Canada to provide greater compensation based on the amount of time until the next flight. In August, the Canadian Transportation Agency announced that yes, Air Canada would have to pay higher compensation to inconvenienced customers!

Over 700 victories big and small were won on this summer -- that's 700 people who made a real difference by empowering and inspiring millions of supporters. Why not join them? The first step toward winning the change you want to see is easy. Click here to start your petition

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Thanks for reading this week's "Good News!" Join us every week and feel inspired! 
Be sure to sign up for Care2's newsletter for some real news around the globe, to make a change, and to open up your mind to the Real World!
See that your actions count and get out there and do good! Be the Change!  


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Monday, September 23, 2013

☺ Motivational Mondays! ☺

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We're taking back Mondays!!!
"Motivational Mondays" are fabulous tips to get you excited and pumped for the week! 
Feeling low? Moody? Down on life? Well, that's what these posts are for! Time to feel awesome again and get some Positivity rolling! Just because it's Monday doesn't mean you can't have fun, smile, and enjoy Today! Apply these tips to your week and try to tell me that you don't start to see an improvement in your life! ;)
It's all about You! Change your perception, change your attitude, love your life! xo

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Law of Attraction tip: Always start and end your day with conscientious practices. In the morning, take a minute just to give thanks for everything in your day in advance, all the things you want to happen that day, give thanks as if they have already happened; announce that you are going to have an awesome day, nay, Choosing to have a kick-ass day; and be sure to add a little "I am grateful for the good news I am receiving today"--works wonders! At the end of your day, take a minute before your head hits the pillow to list off all the things you were grateful for that day. Five minutes of your day will completely transform your entire life, so don't slack on these practices! 
Get Inspired by Random Acts of Kindness! Check out these 18 random acts of kindness (click) to feel all warm and fuzzy inside, to get inspired, and to get out there and perform your own acts of kindness! Remember, you should try to do one act a day! :) 
Respect Yourself! I think it's so easy to not respect your own sanity, wishes, and basic and deep emotional needs. We disregard them to please others all too frequently. Don't get me wrong, it's nice to help others out and to please others, but it should never be at a sacrifice to your own well-being. Learn when to say yes and when to say no--and stop feeling badly for sticking up for yourself when you do need to say no!   
Make the most of Fall! It's officially fall, summer is officially over. Boo. Well, it's time to make the most of fall! Try to get outside every say the sun is shining. If it's raining, go and dance in the rain. Play in the leaves. Get outside as much as possible, and find new fun things to do. And enjoy cozy days in as well. Remember, weather is circumstantial, it's your attitude that will determine whether or not you're going to have a good time. So choose to have a good time!  
Do Something Spontaneous… And totally out of character! Why? Because you need to learn to stop taking yourself so seriously! ;) Have a little fun, be a little silly, and stop caring what others think! Bust out dance moves in the supermarket; give a stranger a high-five; sing at the top of your lungs… you know, cliche silly things ;) or anything else really silly and random. Just do it!  
Believe in Magic! You create your life! You, you, you! What you believe in will manifest into your life. If you spend all your time believing that life sucks and is mean to you, then you are going to have a pretty not-so-great life. If you believe that life is fantastic and that magical things happen every single day all over the world, then your life is going to be something pretty epic! So choose to believe in magic!  
"Your mind can be a place of torment—a hellish hall of horrible images that rack your emotions, quicken your heart rate, and keep you up while others doze. You create your own misery all the while lusting for a moment’s peace. Your circumstances are no worse than anyone else’s, but you magnify them to mountain size because you dwell on them so intensely." ~ Metal Motivation. 

Hope you're making the most of these first few days of fall! Now get out there and create a damn good day! ^_^
Much love from me to you! 


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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Ⓥ Vegan Kitchen: Creamy Lobster Mushroom Pasta Ⓥ

The husband and I went on a lovely hike the other day and we just so happened to stumble across our first lobster mushroom! Now, normally, mushroom picking scares me--what with the high possibility that you're dealing with poisonous mushrooms--but, fortunately, Cory had his iPhone handy (thank you technology) and we were able to google search lobster mushrooms. They have no poisonous look-a-likes, and unlike many mushrooms, they are very easy to identify. So we picked our very first ever wild mushroom. On the way back down from the hike (now that we were looking), we found a few more. How exciting! 
So we had several mushrooms, meaning it was time for a new recipe! 
While this recipe will be delicious with any mushrooms, lobster mushrooms really pack the extra incredible flavour--so if you can go wildcrafting or find some locally, I highly recommend it! 

Creamy Lobster Mushroom Pasta 

Enough Linguini Pasta for 2! 

1 large Lobster Mushroom (or two smaller ones), chopped and diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Olive Oil (+ 1 Tbsp)
1 heaped tsp Miso
1 1/2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 Tbsp Tamari
1 tsp (just under) Salt
dash Garlic Salt
dash of Black Pepper
3 Tbsp Rice Flour (or any other flour)
2 cups Water
1/4 cup Vegan Cream Cheese (I used Follow Your Heart brand)
Handful of Spinach

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook the pasta according to instructions on package. (depending how long your pasta takes to cook, start cooking accordingly ;)) 

Sauté the Mushroom and Garlic in oil for several minutes on medium-high heat -- the mushrooms will release a lot of water, so wait for some of the water to reduce so that they can sauté for a few minutes.  
Add the vinegar and tamari and sauté another several minutes. 
Add the rice flour and that last Tbsp of Oil, and sauté for a minute. Add the miso, salt and spices, and slowly add water; increasing the heat a little and cook until the sauce boils and thickens, stirring fairly frequently. This usually takes about ten minutes for the sauce to fully thicken up. 
Once the sauce has thickened, add the cream cheese and spinach, and continue to stir until fully melted and blended. 
Add more water if needed. Taste-test to see if it needs more salt or pepper. 
Pour the sauce over the pasta and enjoy!
Makes 2 servings. 


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Saturday, September 21, 2013

{this moment} - and the weekly {Smile-Up}

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"There are no ordinary moments." ~Way of the Peaceful Warrior

{this moment} - a Friday ritual. A photo (or few) capturing moments from the week. Simple, special, extraordinary moments. Moments I want to pause, savor and remember.
Served up with the weekly {Smile-Up} - gratitude practices to love and appreciate your life. 

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' and 'smile up' in the comments for all to find and see.
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{this moment}

{Smile Up}:

Day off with the hubby :)… 
Exploring new hiking spots nearby
Sitting on sketchy bridges above a creek, talking about life
(Accidental) Mushroom picking for the first time!  
Making the best cream sauce with (said) lobster mushrooms for supper!
Dancing and taking in the rain
Laying on the lawn while watching the moon and clouds (all the above in that lovely day off ^_^)
My Wacom Cintiq arriving (early!)!!! And getting to draw and play with it eeeeeee love it so much! ^_^
Writing my third book while soaking up the last bit of summer sun on the lawn.
Getting outside as much as possible when the sun has been out (we're in for a lot of rain) 
Relaxing with the hubby at Ainsworth Hotsprings, watching the full moon. 
Seeing Customer photos of them sporting ReLove & Alter-Eco goods ^_^
Tea Dates (as always, duh! ;))   
Accomplishing my "to-do" list 
Getting pounds and pounds of tomatoes (from our garden) to freeze for the winter (yay!)    
Brunch with my sister and brother :)
Kitty cuddles while drawing on my cintiq in my underwear in the mornings (joys of being self-employed) ;)
Making the most epic chili with more lobster mushrooms (been a good week for food ^_^) 

Loving: My Cintiq • Writing • Drawing • Mushroom Picking • Adventures up Mountains • Creeks (the sound of water is so peaceful) • My Rose Pedals Earrings •  IronFist Boots • Lazy Mornings • the Full Moon • 

Interests for the week:
Reading: "The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to Women's Health" (every woman needs to own and read this book!!)
✯  Current Anime shows: Guilty Crown! I just discovered the D. Gray Man "Abridged" series on youtube… omg I couldn't stop laughing. Anyone who has watched the show will (hopefully) find it hilarious. Good laughs! 
✯  Dexterrrrr!!! Ray Donovan. Sons of Anarchy.
Music Playlist: The Birthday Massacre. In This Moment. Poets of the Fall. Evanescence. Dream Theater (Octavarium). Marilyn Manson.  
Food Faves: Lobster Mushrooms Vegan Chili Chocolate Smoothies Pasta Squash and Garlic from Garlic Fest ♥ 

Lessons of the week: 
Women's bodies are sooooo complex! So much learning to do and things you can do to regain balance in our physical and mental bodies. Speak only words of kindness about others--when we speak negatively about someone, they can feel it across the strands of the Universe. Patience. Respect yourself to say "no" when you don't want to do something. Respect yourself in general. Wanting time for yourself shouldn't make you feel badly or guilty! Stop procrastinating! Remember everyone is going through something!

Hope you're all having a beautiful wonderful blissful week! Hope you enjoyed your last day of summer and are welcoming fall with an open mind and heart!  
What are you grateful for this week? :)

Tell me about your lovely weeks! Tell me about your 'Smile Up' and 'this moment!' :) Pretty please!


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Thursday, September 19, 2013

☺ The Moral Story of the Courageous Donkey ☺

One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred - Forgive.

2. Free your mind from worries - Most never happens.

3. Live simply and appreciate what you have.

4. Give more.

5. Expect less from people but more from yourself.


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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

♥ Rose Pedals Jewelry (Review) ♥

Remember when everyone was wearing feather earrings? Oh wait, people are still doing that… well, I have something far more awesome to share with you than cruel feather earrings! I introduce to you; Rose Pedals Jewelry

Okay, so first off, Rose Pedals Jewelry makes the prettiest, spunkiest, just plain awesomest, faux-feather earrings I've ever seen. They're made from cleaned and recycled bicycle parts, innertubes, brake washers, chain links and rivets, all cleaned and polished and given a new life as wearable art! Plus saving unnecessary goods from ending up in the trash. So, we've just combined eco-friendly with cruelty-free (so, yay, vegans can enjoy!), which are all A's in my books! Oh yeah, and the earrings are gorgeous, did I mention that already? 

You won't just find faux-feather earrings at Rose Pedal Jewelry either, there is a whole line of necklaces, bracelets, and other pretty styles of earrings. Something for everyone! 
I just love how elegant and sleek all the jewelry looks, and the styles are all very creative and unique. When I received my pair of earrings (I chose the mismatched feather earrings) I was ecstatic. I don't think I ever want to take them off! The jewelry hangs perfectly and are super soft to the touch. Everything about these pieces are simply magical. I feel like a warrior princess wearing these! 

Not to mention, the feather-styled pieces are cut so breathtakingly perfect, with all the little slits to give them a beautiful and realistic resemblance to real feathers. I seriously can't even put into words the attention to detail and care that looks to be poured into these pieces. I am extremely impressed! 

Everything about this shop is just so perfectly wonderful!  What's also fun is that you can easily dress it up or play it down to make these pieces work with whatever look you're in the mood for. And who doesn't change their mood and style from day to day? I know I sure do! 

Megan Rose is the lovely owner of the shop and she has just been so wonderful to communicate with and is such a great seller in every aspect. She runs her shop to great customer satisfaction, which makes the online buying experience all the more enjoyable. Megan hand-makes all the necklaces and earrings in the shop from her home workshop on Denman Island, British Columbia, Canada. All the recycled bike parts come from either her home bike shop or the recycling bin at the community bike co-op where she volunteers.
Her line is inspired by the cycle culture and street level fashions of the city itself, and continues to grow in its new location on the west coast of British Columbia. Megan Rose lives happily on Denman Island with her husband Eli, a cat and an organic garden. 

Now get going and check out Rose Pedal Jewelry, buy yourself a special something or a gift for your favourite person! 

You can find Rose Pedal Jewelry here:


If you found this article to be helpful, please consider a small donation or visit the shop. Thank you for your love and support.

❀ The Good News ❀

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Stop watching the News on T.V. filled with lies, propaganda, and made to make you feel helpless and afraid.

With all the negative news in the world, it's time to give you hope and inspiration. It's time to the weekly Good News! 
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U.S. Steps Up to Help White Rhinos Rebound From the Brink of Extinction
In response to the poaching crisis that continues to threaten rhinos, the U.S. has announced the southern white rhino will now be getting protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Four of the five rhino species still living in the wild–including the black, Sumatran, Indian and Javan rhinos–are already fully protected as endangered under the ESA.
Unfortunately for white rhinos, who live mainly in South Africa and have been left without protection and destructive genetic testing, it’s difficult or impossible to tell the difference between their horns and horn products with those that come from protected species. This loophole has allowed traffickers to get away with mislabeling products to avoid restrictions on sales and transport, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).
Thanks to this move, white rhinos will be immediately protected under the “similarity of appearance” provision of the ESA, which is intended to “aid international law enforcement efforts to fight poaching and crack down on trafficking in rhino horn.” There will now be a total ban on importing products made from rhinos into the U.S., in addition to a ban on the sale or offer for sale in interstate commerce of white rhinos.

A female elephant calf has been born to the elephant Flying Squad in Indonesia’s Tesso Nilo National Park.
The calf’s mother is part of an elite team of critically endangered Sumatran elephants that help protect communities from conflict with wild elephants. Four births have been recorded since the squad was established by WWF and the Indonesia Ministry of Forests in 2004. 
This Flying Squad consists of four trained adult elephants and eight elephant handlers called mahouts, which are deployed to drive wild elephants back into the forest when they stray into nearby villages or farms. As elephant habitat shrinks, the animals become more likely to raid crops for food. 
Read the full story to learn more about the Flying Squad as a highly successful model for reducing conflict between people and elephants in a way that is safe for everyone

Victory! CA Governor Signs Law To Protect Mountain Lions
As a result of the public outcry that ensued after the unjustified and tragic shootings by wardens of an adult mountain lion and then later of two four-months old, merely 13-pound bobcat kittens, this landmark legislation is now in place to protect mountain lions in California.
This much-needed law prevents California Department of Fish and Wildlife wardens from killing lions that venture into populated areas unless they pose an urgent public safety threat. It also authorizes the department to work with rescue and other nongovernmental groups in capturing, tranquilizing or relocating the animals. This teamwork between the agency and local experts is exactly what IDA advocated after the tragic shooting of a young male mountain lion in Santa Monica CA, in May of last year.
IDA sends a heartfelt thanks to their friends at the Mountain Lion Foundation, who guided these efforts, to Senator Jerry Hill, who introduced this important legislation, and equally importantly, to all the CA supporters, who signed IDA's alert and helped make this legislation to protect mountain lions a reality!

Good News: Help for the Greater sage-grouse is on the way‏
It took nearly two years of legal wrangling, but it looks like the federal government is finally prepared to introduce emergency protections for Canada’s endangered Greater sage-grouse.
The announcement is a welcome breath of fresh air to a case that’s been mired in secrecy, delays and procedural roadblocks. In fact, our efforts may well have helped set another important legal precedent. To our knowledge, this is the first time Ottawa has explicitly stated its intention to introduce emergency protections for an endangered species.

IDA's Hope Animal Sanctuary Rescues Baking Dogs
On Thursday, August 29th, IDA-HAS received an urgent plea from the Coffeeville, MS Police Department asking for assistance for dogs confined in metal sheds in 101 degree weather. IDA-HAS Director Doll Stanley responded to the call.
Earlier in the day, Coffeeville PD officers had responded to a "dogs at large" report. Two young adult dogs had escaped from the yard where the other dogs were imperiled. The officers made the discovery when they attempted to meet with the property residents, who had been in court earlier in the year for non-compliance with an animal ordinance.
When Stanley arrived, officers had obtained a seizure order and the dogs were freed from the deplorable conditions they'd been kept in. Stanley will file cruelty charges and the Mississippi Animal Rescue League is aiding with the care of the dogs, one of whom had to be sedated for transport. 

IDA India - Success With Dog and Cat Adoptions
The IDA India team has developed strategies for ensuring good adoptions of local stray dogs and cats, slowly learning over the years that foster care really works to keep small animals healthy and growing well under individual care. Most of the little ones thrive under foster care while receiving timely medical treatment and good nutrition, and they also adjust well to a home environment.
The team then goes all out for adoption. Charming pictures are posted, advertisements are published, helpful other non-governmental organizations and friends are contacted to try and get good homes for each dog or cat who is ready for his or her new guardian. Adoptions of our local dogs and cats show a definite upward trend, and this is what the IDA India team works for all the time.

Victory! New Rule Brings Internet Puppy Breeders under Federal Oversight
Every year, thousands of puppies are sold over the Internet and shipped to consumers like any other product. Websites advertising happy, healthy puppies commonly conceal a grim reality: They’re often fronts for puppy mills—large-scale, commercial breeding operations that rear dogs in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions with complete disregard for the animals’ wellbeing.
All of this happens hidden from public view because outdated laws haven’t applied to Internet breeders. Until now.
Now, the USDA has stepped into the Internet age by issuing a rule that brings breeders selling animals to consumers sight-unseen under the regulatory umbrella of the Animal Welfare Act. That means for the first time, USDA inspectors will be laying eyes on animals who have been ignored for too long.
For more information about puppy mills and to see the conditions captured by USDA inspectors, please visit   

Goods News about Toxic Chemicals!
Earlier this month, industry giant Procter & Gamble promised to phase out triclosan and DEP (a phthalate) from products worldwide. Following that announcement, just last week Walmart U.S., the largest retailer in the United States, launched a “Policy on Sustainable Chemistry in Consumables” , laying out their plans to phase out key toxics and to improve ingredient disclosure. 
In its announcement, Walmart U.S. committed to reducing or eliminating 10 chemicals in the products it sells and also for its suppliers to disclose the ingredients in their products. Suppliers will be required to provide online public ingredient disclosure by January 2015. 
Both of these announcements happened because of the efforts of people like you. This is a sign that companies are listening.

Free the CBC Ad Campaign making waves!
The FRIENDS' Free the CBC campaign to deter Stephen Harper from abusing his new power in Bill C-60 (to take control of CBC journalists' working conditions) is working! 
Paul Allen Research has demonstrated that the first volley of TV ads aired in August have been highly effective. One-in-five Canadian adults have already seen The Man Behind the Desk ad – and they get the message.
And Nanos Research has found that 81% of Canadians want CBC to remain free from political interference vs. only 12% who approve of what Harper was trying to sneak through in Bill C-60.

Israel Provides Incentives to Hire and Promote Women
Even though the amount of Israeli women in the workplace has been rising, women are still paid less than men, given mostly part time jobs, and are not given senior positions at the same rate as men. Economy Minister Naftali Bennett has now made it his goal to strengthen the involvement of women in the Israeli workplace. He solidified this goal by passing a new law that will give incentives to employers who employ and promote women and will help parents better balance their work lives and home lives. The Committee for the Advancement of the Women in the Workplace approved these new regulations on Monday, taking a huge step in the country toward equalizing women’s rights in the workplace.

Yes on 522 Ad Airs on TV -- for the labelling of Genetically Engineered Foods
Goods new on the GMO Labelling food front! Check out the new ad and make sure everyone you know watches it by forwarding the link below to your friends in Washington..

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Thanks for reading this week's "Good News!" Join us every week and feel inspired! 
Be sure to sign up for Care2's newsletter for some real news around the globe, to make a change, and to open up your mind to the Real World!
See that your actions count and get out there and do good! Be the Change!  


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