Suddenly, we're all in a pumpkin mood. Isn't it funny how that happens when the temperature starts to drop, leaves start falling, and the daylight gets shorter? Pumpkin is naturally full of good nutrition, sadly the PSLs at your favorite coffee shop are not. I spotted this recipe from Dr. Axe's Facebook page and wanted to share the link, in the event you're thinking about pumpkin this weekend.
I love this online website for the obvious reason - the name! But Dan and Dara Brewster created a special concept where they source goods from artisans around the globe.
"The name DARA translates globally into "star" in Khmer,
"leader" in Turkish, "compassion" in Hebrew and "beautiful one" in Swahili."
There is certainly a wide price range on this website, but it is inspiring to see all the beautiful pieces.
It was early in 2014 when we headed to Louisville, Kentucky for the weekend - so, this is a late post. It was actually this article in AFAR magazine that inspired the trip. We had a good time and would love to go back, because we were there during a patch of bad weather and ended up leaving early so we could drive back to St. Louis before the storm hit. We did manage to hit some great spots before leaving, and spent most of our time in the East Market Street area of downtown, along with a couple stops in the Highlands neighborhood. We stayed in a Sheraton just across the bridge on the Indiana side, but there are plenty of neat hotels and Airbnbs in the area. Speaking of, the 21C Museum Hotel brand is based in Louisville, and their flagship location is on Main Street in downtown. I highly recommend visiting (or staying!) to see the gallery, and the bar and restaurant, Proof on Main, provide great food and atmosphere. They also have a great neighborhood guide on their website of places to eat, drink, and visit.
This area of downtown also has the Louisville Slugger Museum. It was already closed when we strolled by, but we peeked inside the factory where the bats are made.
The night we arrived, we hit up The Cellar on East Market Street for a cocktail, and then went upstairs to Decca to have a late bite to eat. This is a great restaurant where we chatted up the bartender, and downstairs is a happenin' lounge with live music. I was even happy to see Dark Horse beer from tiny Marshall, Michigan on the menu.
Sadly, two places we ate at and enjoyed have since closed, Taco Punk and La Coop Bistro. You have to stop at the charming, Please and Thank You bakery and coffee shop. Also, one of our favorite shops, Scout, was nearby. You can find neat jewelry, accessories, or home decor here. We really wanted to make it to Garage Bar for what must be really good pizza. Harvest and Edward Lee's Asian bbq and bourbon hot spot, Milkwood, were also on our must-try list.
We ventured over to the popular Highlands neighborhood so we could have breakfast at Gralehaus. This is a really neat place with a sister bar/restaurant, Holy Grale, located adjacent to it in an old church. Definitely go there for beer. If you're in the mood for a coffee shop, stop at Quills.
Our last stop was the Muhammad Ali Center, which is certainly worth seeing. There were lots of places we missed, and we'd love to do the Bourbon Trail. Any other recommendations you can share?
places I recommend:
- 21C Museum Hotel
- The Cellar
- Please & Thank You
- Holy Grale
- Garage Bar
- Muhammad Ali Center
This is Brené's first book, but I actually read it after The Gifts of Imperfection. I love how her books reflect her research and each successive book grows with knowledge and experience. You might think, "Why don't I just read her latest book? Won't that give me all I need to know?" Perhaps, in theory. But each of her books is filled with not only the research, but the stories. These are her personal stories, and those of whom she interviews for her research. These are key to understanding the message. You will also identify with many of them and realize you aren't alone; we're all in this together.
I wanted to share just a couple of the themes from this book, and the first one is shame. She obviously talks about shame in all of her books, but here she lays the groundwork.
Sources of shame:
- body image
- career success
- financial success
And when we feel shame from any of the above, we begin to feel fear, disconnection, and blame.
Feeling disconnected is feeling:
We've all felt shame, and we've certainly felt disconnected. What's important to realize is that when we feel these things and don't identify it, we begin to display other behaviors that also negatively affect us. One of those is judgement. Oh yeah, we see a lot of this these days, thanks to the Internet. It's important to realize this:
"We judge others as a way to make ourselves feel better. Our need to judge others is motivated by our need to evaluate our own abilities, beliefs, and values."
With all of this judgement floating around, this world could use a lot more compassion. How would you rate yourself on a compassion scale?
Here's Brené on compassion:
"Compassion is a commitment and takes constant practice."
"Compassion is a relationship between equals...it becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity."
"Knowing and accepting yourself first before we can know and accept others."
OK, the last important topic is about the difference empathy and sympathy. She says that empathy is about connection, and sympathy is about separation. Think about it for a minute. Remember a time when someone told you about a bad experience they had, whether it was a bad moment, bad day, or a horrible loss. Were you connected to them, or separated? Meaning, did you make a clear distinction between you and them by saying something like, "You poor thing, I can't imagine!". Can you see how this is drawing a clear line in the sand and indicating that you are over there, and I am over here? We can all learn something here, because we've all done it. As she says, it takes constant practice. To show true empathy, we need to put ourselves in that person's position, and stand beside them (literally, or figuratively) so that we truly connect. Otherwise, we'll be the person who just split our pants open, only to have someone say, "OH. MY. GAWD. That's AWFUL! That's NEVER happened to MEEEEE!!". And to you, that translates into: "You're the only person in the entire world that has ever done that, you lard ass".
Yeah, doesn't feel good, does it?
Compassion. Connection. Empathy.
Earlier this year I discovered an app called Social Print Studio (also Print Studio). I heard you could get your Instagram photos printed and wanted to look into it. I love using Instagram and wanted a way to have keepsakes of photos I've taken. I've since ordered a few different products from them and have loved all of them, so I wanted to share this service with you. You can download the app onto your phone and do it all from there, or you can also go to their website and pull photos from your computer, so it doesn't just include Instagram photos, which is awesome. The prices are great and I love the quality.
There are plenty more ways to display your cool photos in products they offer, so check 'em out. They're also hiring if you're looking for an opportunity with a growing company in San Francisco.
This is my last post from the book, The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brené Brown. The book is SO good, and each of the different topics I've shared have been so valuable to me that I thought they might resonate with others.
These days we're in the business of "being busy". So many of us love to tell how much we work and how little sleep we get. Is it our fear of seeming unimportant? I have been wondering about this phenomenon and was happy when Brené addressed it in her book. She stated it perfectly when she said that "exhaustion is not a status symbol...and your productivity doesn't equal your self-worth". We need to find a way to cultivate sleep and play. Play is not an option. It is so vital to our health and well-being that eliminating it from our lives means we're allowing depression to find its way in. Getting enough high quality sleep has been proven to be a significant factor between those who develop dementia and Alzheimer's and those who do not. If you aren't sleeping enough and/or not sleeping well, it's time to figure out the cause. I see so many people on Facebook, particularly women, who complain of insomnia. Insomnia is a sign of something needing to be addressed in our bodies - often nutritional deficiencies or hormonal imbalances are to blame. I saw a friend recently and asked what she had been up to. She said, "not much". This is a mom of two young children. She also said she'd had lunch with a friend and then took a nap. Right on! She didn't give me a laundry list of things and sigh heavily. She actually took a nap and admitted it! In order to be present for the people who need you, it's important to take care of yourself - and you need sleep and play in your life.
Finally, Brené talks about our desire for meaningful work, along with how we don't have to be defined by one career - we can have multiple careers, if we so chose. It's a different world today than it used to be. You don't graduate from college and work for one employer the rest of your life. Often, people are choosing to switch careers more than once. Our society is quick to want to place everyone in neat boxes, perfectly categorized - yet, we love to throw around terms like, "think outside the box". It's like the way we educate our children in this one-size-fits-all model, yet we know there are phenomenal differences between males and females.
"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it...this world needs people who have come alive." -Howard Thurman
Brené suggests making a list of the work that inspires you, but also remember that you don't have to quit your day job to have meaningful work. If it's not appropriate in your life at this time to leave your job, you can have a side business, volunteer, or start a group of like minded individuals and have a mission you all are passionate about. Ask yourself, "what brings meaning to you?".
I'm someone with degrees in varying fields, and it's taken me a long time to realize I'm not meant to have one label my entire life. I will do different things in order to be fulfilled and achieve my goals - and that doesn't make me wishy washy or aimless. It means I'm curious, and life is short.
It's a gorgeous day outside, but who couldn't use some inspiration?! Here's what I've been pinning lately (for more, follow me on Pinterest @theloftonbroome).
I'm sure the majority of us have done it. Some of us probably do it more than others. You see your neighbor's new car, your friends' Instagram photos of their vacation, or your child's best friend's mom posts the latest professional family photographs on Facebook. And what do you (what do we) immediately start doing? Comparing. Sometimes, we let it slide right by us with hardly a glance, while other times it catches us in weak moment and overwhelms us. Our brain just needs some reprogramming in the form of perspective. This is one of my key learnings from Brené's book, The Gifts of Imperfection:
"Comparison is the thief of happiness".
We need to focus on being more joyful. When we are joyful, we are practicing gratitude. We need to know joy, because it's what will keep us going when times are tough.
"Joy is what happens when we recognize how good things are".
I'll admit that I just read this 2013 bestseller from Sheryl Sandberg. I remember when it was released and it was quite the hot topic. I'm not sure why I'm just now reading it, but honestly, that can be a good thing, because sometimes we're not in the right place for the information to be meaningful to us. I can say that this has been the perfect time for me (#soulfari).
I'll tell you that in no other time have I been as passionate about the necessity for us to encourage, empower, and cultivate the strength of women, and the strength in women to be leaders in our communities, organizations, and government - yet, also to be leaders of their own careers. Let's stop taking a backseat. Let's not be so stereotypically accomodating - and nice. If you want a career and to be a mom - do it. You don't have to choose. If you choose to take time away from your career, don't let anyone convince you (especially YOU) that you've somehow diminished in value. If anything, you've become an expert multitasker and problem solver. Isn't that what every job description is begging for?? The workforce of tomorrow wouldn't exist without the mothers who brought them into the world - and more than likely took an unpaid maternity leave to do so. The U.S. is the only industrialized nation without a mandate on paid maternity leave.
Here are some things I found fascinating...though, not altogether surprising:
- women often judge their performance as worse than it is, while men judge theirs as better
- when men explain their failures - it's related to factors outside themselves; when women explain their failures - it's related to their personal ability
- when women receive negative feedback, their self-esteem and confidence drop to a much greater degree than men's
- success and likeability are positively correlated for men, and negatively for women
- if a woman appears competent, she doesn't seem nice enough; if she seems really nice, then she's more nice than competent
- men negotiate more than women in matters that affect them personally (i.e. salary)
Doesn't that make you frustrated, and wondering why we do this to ourselves? Well, if you know anything about American history, it should come as no surprise how we got to this point. More importantly, how do we change it?
Let's start here:
- A lack of confidence can become a self-fulfilling prophecy
- Taking initiative pays off
- It's hard to visualize someone as a leader when they're always waiting to be told what to do
- Learn to sit at the table; don't hide in the corner
- The ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have
We still have uphill battles as women in a male-dominated work force. Too often, advocating for our own interests backfires on us. Think of it this way - "damned if they do, doomed if they don't" (love that!). And the best thing we can do is increase our numbers and fill the ranks with more women.
Connect with women. Support other women. Lean in to the things that make us uncomfortable - vulnerable. Lean in.
PSA: Believing in the importance of and power of women (feminism) does not mean we dislike men. It simply means we're losing out on the value of women as leaders if we don't encourage them to take a seat at the table.
#leanin #sherylsandberg #womenandleadership
You can find tons of videos on YouTube about how to made homemade almond milk. They're all similar with slight variations. Is it necessary to make homemade almond milk? That depends. Most store bought milk contains added ingredients and preservatives. I had a tough time finding an organic unsweetened almond milk without carrageenan. Carageenan (read here) is a food additive that has come under scrutiny for being seemingly from natural sources - yet research has found it creates inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract that can contribute to a whole host of ailments. For me, it's best to avoid it, but the only brand I found without it was the 365 brand from Whole Foods - which is what we've been buying. What I discovered was that it doesn't necessarily save us money by making it homemade, but it is so simple and takes less than 10 minutes of active time, and you're getting the freshest, most natural milk. I also own a Vitamix, which I feel is essential to keeping this a simple task. Otherwise, it's easier to buy it.
- Soak 1 cup organic almonds for 8 hours or overnight
- Drain off liquid and place almonds in carafe of Vitamix (or high powered blender)
- Add 7 cups filtered water to carafe and puree until smooth
- Place a nut milk bag inside a large bowl and pour milk into bag
- Grasp onto bag and gently squeeze until all milk is strained from pulp
- Optional - add mineral salt, sweetener, vanilla bean or extract, to taste if desired
- Refrigerate and use within 5 days
You can use this milk to make my Chia Seed Pudding recipe, here. Mostly, I use it to make grab-n-go smoothies for the week.
I wanted to continue sharing more from my "summer of Brené" as I feel she hits on so many important topics. Creativity is an important one to me, and I love how she states that there are only people who use their creativity and those who don't. She's a self-confessed "I'm not the creative type", who rarely engaged in creative activities until her research showed her that once-upon-a-time she derived great pleasure from them. She goes on to say that the only unique contribution we'll ever make will be the result of our own creativity.
"Creativity is not a luxury...or only something we do in our spare time."
As long as we're creating, we're cultivating meaning and expressing our originality. This doesn't have to mean anything to anyone other than us. Again, it goes back to the topic of vulnerability, and taking a risk - even a personal one - because too often we're so fearful that actually expressing our creativity opens us up to criticism that we absolutely refuse to engage in it at all. Her most meaningful advice regarding creativity for me was to be part of a group of like-minded and like-spirited people who share the same creative beliefs as I do. In other words, people who value the importance of creating, and aren't there to judge what I create. Very important.
Let's make a promise to ourselves to be creative whenever and wherever we can. And, it's no secret that I highly recommend her book, "The Gifts of Imperfection". What did you do to express your creativity today? I'd love to hear...
The 1948 Laurel Canyon home of designer Rozae Nichols and her partner, Ian Murrough, is utter Midcentury eye candy. My love for small homes is further solidified when I see the simple, clean lines of this 1000 square foot redwood gem that has been thoughtfully curated with timeless pieces. Another great reason to live in a small space is that you can spend more on a few classic pieces and not break the budget. Live better with less is a great motto. Also, this home has nice outdoor living areas, which help make the home feel larger.
For more details about this space, please see the original Elle Decor article here.
I've been pinning lots of inspiration lately. To see more, follow me on Pinterest.
I've always admired Diane von Furstenberg for being an independent, successful woman. This story of her life chronicles the experiences that influenced her and guided her choices in becoming the woman she wanted to be. We often assume that strong, independent women never feel insecurity or doubt.. This is untrue. They do feel these things; They just understand how to push through and not be consumed by the things that threaten success. A very good read.
On a recent trip to visit family in Michigan, I stopped at The Green Scene - a local shop featuring eco-friendly and organic products along with high quality American-made brands. One of those is Stormy Kromer - maker of the eponymous cap, and now outdoor wear. We thought the cap would make a great gift for Bob's stepfather, and ended up getting one for each of us as well! This Michigan-based company has a great story you can read about on their website. Here are some of their new fall items:
I shared a link to these Bee's Wraps in a recent post where I talked about getting rid of all plastic storage containers and wrap, and replacing them with glass containers and these beeswax wraps. I bought a pack of three different sizes to try. They really do work, and I feel much better about using them to wrap food. They aren't meant for wrapping meat, so I'm still using parchment paper to wrap directly on the meat before placing in freezer bags. It requires some thinking to figure out how to safely care for food. I'm sure there are other solutions out there. I'm still exploring. Please share your ideas too! And please see Sarah's inspiring story about starting her beeswax company - and her sustainable life in Vermont.
I wanted to make a chia seed pudding and found two recipes, here and here, for inspiration. Chia seeds are tiny nutritional powerhouses consisting of omega-3s, calcium, iron, and fiber. And hopefully, you know by now that the low-fat movement was a serious step in the wrong direction for our collective health. We need to be consuming high-quality healthy fats to keep our bodies, and most importantly, our brains - lubricated and working properly. So, go for the full-fat organic dairy (if your stomach tolerates dairy) - your body will thank you. I even made homemade almond milk for the first time this week (more on that later)! This is the recipe I came up with for myself:
Chia Seed Pudding
1 cup unsweetened organic almond milk (I use Whole Foods 365 brand because it contains no carrageenan - or now I make homemade)
1 cup full fat plain organic greek yogurt (I bought Wallaby brand, but there are other good ones)
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fleur de sel or high quality sea salt
2 tablespoons real maple syrup (preferably organic Grade B) or raw honey
Toppings: berries, sunflower seeds, coconut pieces, hemp seeds, cacao nibs...whatever!
Whisk together almond milk and yogurt. Add in chia seeds, vanilla, salt and sweetener. Whisk until evenly blended. Cover bowl and place in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight. Scoop into bowls and add toppings of your choice. Serves 4.
*I don't see any reason why this couldn't be doubled - it went quickly!
Since Brené Brown is a shame researcher, and shame is a huge dark cloud hanging out there that all of us are familiar with in some way or another - I thought I should share some of what I learned from her book, "The Gifts of Imperfection".
"Shame is the real fear of being defined by an experience that is only a sliver of who we are."
Shame is derived from a fear of being unworthy of love and belonging. And the fear of being perceived as unworthy is enough to silence our stories. Our stories are what have triggered the shame, and when we don't have the courage to be vulnerable and speak those stories, we are allowing shame to become powerful and define us.
"Shame loses power when it is spoken."
And when we choose to speak, we get to write the ending to that story - instead of allowing someone or something else to do it for us. When we write our own endings, we're choosing to show up and be real, honest, and to let our true selves be seen. Authenticity.
"When we numb the dark, we also numb the light."
Here's a shame story that happened to me when I was in the 5th grade and horrified me for many years and even recently caused me to wince when I remembered it. Back in the 80s, crosswalks with walk signals didn't exist yet and my elementary school was in a busy residential area, so the school used the student patrol system. I can remember this as a highlight when it was your classes turn to have patrol duty. It was an important job to make sure your fellow students came-and-went safely. All intersections surrounding the school were manned by students four times during the day. There was a patrol captain and a teacher or two also patrolling consistently in case there were issues. I was stationed at a crosswalk on the outskirts of the school and there was one boy patrolling across the intersection. Well, I realized I really had to pee, but there was no teacher or captain in sight. I waited and waited. I was the kid who never wanted to break the rules or get in trouble. I was naive and overprotected. In other words, I was in panic mode. I desperately hopped from one leg to the other hoping someone would come around to say I could go, because after weighing my options, abandoning my post didn't seem to be the right answer. What if someone needed to cross the road safely and I wasn't there? I'd certainly get in trouble. I'm sure I don't have to tell you what happened...but, yes, I peed my pants and sat down on the sidewalk and probably started crying. Soon, the whistle was blown signaling that we could go in. I ran to the bathroom. The boy that had been across from me probably told the teacher (and the entire class) because she came in to find me. They tried calling my parents, but couldn't get either one (this was long before cell phones). I only lived a couple blocks from school, and somehow it ended up that the principal drove me to my house to see if I could find a way in so I could change my clothes. I managed to find a back door unlocked and raced to change my pants, as she was waiting in the car. Of course, I couldn't find any pants to match the shirt I already had on and ended up digging in the dirty clothes basket for a pair of jeans. I knew everyone would be staring at me when I returned, and now they'd most certainly know I was also wearing clothes from the hamper. I remember hanging my head low during the car ride, completely afraid to look anyone in the eye. Once I got back to class, I'd found that the teacher had moved my little desk up to the front of the class next to hers, except it was up against the wall and my back would be to everyone. She told me she had a conversation with the class while I was gone on what to do if anyone finds themselves in that situation. I know she moved my desk because she thought she was protecting me, but sitting there feeling the twenty-some pairs of eyes burning through my back was devastating. I don't remember feeling so ostracized before - and that was long before I knew what that word meant. So, basically, it just felt awful. This was a huge blow to any self-confidence I might have had, and a huge shame moment. I told myself that no ten year-old pees their pants at school and lives to have any friends that want to hang out with them. Can you imagine how much worse this story would be if it happened today? With cell phone cameras and social media at the ready for public shaming, the sting of this incident would have been magnified many times over. I shared this story specifically because a) it is burned into my memory and b) Bob's then 9-year-old daughter was visiting us last summer and had a couple incidents where she peed her pants (and not while sleeping). I begged Bob to make sure the issue was addressed because I knew how she'd feel if it happened at school. I was reliving my own pain through hers. I can happily say that as a forty-one-year-old, I have not peed my pants since that day - but the effects of it hurt my self-esteem for many years.