Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fourth of July Inspiration

We've entered the fine month of July and that means 4th of July celebrations are upon us. Need a little outfit inspiration? There are so many ways to wear red white and blue, and show your own brand of patriotic style for that matter, without opting for rhinestone encrusted flag sweatshirts or George Washington novelty socks. Here are a few visual pairings to inspire your own take on patriotic fashion when the holiday hits.

Fourth 3

Fourth 4

fourth 2

Fourth 1

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Lazy Sunday: Evening Ride

It was too beautiful an evening to stay inside and my legs were aching for some work so an evening bike ride was the perfect solution. The warm breeze on my arms felt so liberating and by the third loop around the park I could feel my legs slowly firing up - each pedal stoke flooding those underworked muscles with blood and energy. Laughter and chatter from a few remaining picnics tickled the air, dancing my feet quicker and lighter until the motion became nearly effortless. When I finally worked out my restlessness I stopped long enough to snap a few photos and stretch, but the sight of my fellow two-wheel spinners had me back in the saddle after just a few minutes. 

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The First Boxes

Image via MamaLaw

I had the best intentions of getting homework done today. I made a list, I organized the list, I itemized the list, I even went so far as to number the list - but as for the execution of the list... no dice. I blame my own lack of follow through on the fact that it is a Saturday in June.

So instead, I spent the afternoon cleaning. I like to think of cleaning as more than a routine chore, and more like therapy. After all, you are forced to see your current situation as it truly is, deal with the realities and consequences of the situation as such, and when the time comes - move on. For me, cleaning today was not merely about sweeping the crumbs of snacks past off the kitchen floor or wiping down the neglected bathroom sink - it was about taking stock of my earthly possessions in terms of U-Haul square footage and likelihood of repeat use. 

In seven weeks I will be on the road, relocating from Denver back to the East Coast to begin life after school. I am so excited to make the move, and especially for the opportunity to go through my many "things" and discover what is working for me and what is not. My growing library of books? Heavy and voluminous, but definitely working. My collection of old sweat clothes for "wearing around the house"? That's a resolute "not working" (and who am I kidding about not wearing them in public). 

It's possible I am just caught up in spring cleaning fever again, but I think every transitional experience is enhanced by a little bit of change. For example, a few simple wardrobe alterations can give you the extra boost of confidence you need when taking on new responsibilities at work. A quick rearrangement of your bedroom in accordance with Feng Shui practices may help balance your energies and yield a refreshed view the next time you need a pick-me-up. Donating a no-good ex's leftover jacket, CD's, and other unwelcome reminders to the Goodwill are a great way to speed up the rebound process too. If you're in a process of transition - or if you want to be - what small change can you make today to enhance your experience? 

As for me, I sought to mentally prepare for the physical and emotional changes ahead and initiated that process by packing my first few moving boxes. And as for my homework, well that's what Sundays in June are for anyways. 

Friday, June 26, 2009

Food Inc.

I went to the movies this afternoon with my good friend Julie to see Food Inc. and I am so happy we did. The film is a documentary about the food industry in the US. As much as I would like to think I know more than the average American about industrialized agricultural processes and factory farms, the film was an eye-opener for me in many ways. Filmmaker Robert Kenner does a great job of investigating some of the biggest issues of the current food system - including the commoditization of animals, the corporate structure of agriculture, and the political aspect of food safety. What was shocking to me is the extent to which corporations have exerted power over the farmers they contract, the fate of seed cleaners and non-contracted farmers, and the control of regulatory bodies such as the FDA. You can learn more about the film and ways you can act at the Food Inc. website

I highly recommend seeing Food Inc. - and if I had my way it would be compulsory for all food-eaters (that means you, dear reader!). We all have a right to be informed about the food we eat, including where it comes from and the conditions from which it arose (especially for any omnivores in the audience). While the trailer below paints a bit of a gloomy picture, the film concludes with an important and optimistic message about the importance of our individual choices at each and every meal. 

Note, Food Inc. is currently showing in independent theaters in Denver (we went to Chez Artist) so you may have to look beyond the main blockbuster listings to find a venue near you. Given the discussion of food, now seems an appropriate time to solicit questions for a post I hope to write in the next few weeks. As many of you may know, I have been vegetarian for about two years now and vegan for the past year and half. Since I get lots of questions about what that means and why I embrace this lifestyle, I'd love to answer any questions you may have. If you'd like to submit a question or concern, just go ahead and leave a comment below this article or shoot me an email and I will address it in the upcoming post. Thank you in advance for your input! 

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Rain in Denver

Photo via Country Financial

It has been raining all day in Denver, an uncommon experience. Several inches washed the earth in the past 12 hours as though by a child, fleshy hands fumbling with an oversized garden hose, fingers slipping under the pressure of the handle, water trickling at first then pounding with the force of a gun only to diminish once more as the kickback proves too powerful for five-year-old strength.  But every effort will not change the city. Long days of sun drenched heat and blistering light are not soon forgotten; the imprint of arid months past is impenetrable.  As I walked home this evening the rain had yet to cease, only slow to a negligible pace, and yet the pavement was drying before my eyes – patches of pale, sandy sidewalk quickly conquering their damp, glossy counterparts. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Boba Bonanza

Photo via Dayseye

I have been in a mood for Asian things lately - food and decor especially - and when I saw a classmate drinking Boba Tea the other day it got me to thinking about the sweet drink with those chewy little treats at the bottom. If you are not familiar with Boba Tea, also known as Bubble Tea or simply Boba, now is the time to hightail it to your nearest Chinatown, Asian restaurant, or Lollicup Tea Zone

Boba Tea, originally from Taiwan, typically comes in two varieties - snow bubble and slush. Slush is just as it sounds, generally a fruity, slushy drink, whereas snow bubble is a dairy free but creamy, cold drink. Both slush and snow bubble teas come in an endless flavor assortment. The Lollicup I've been known to frequent has a big blackboard listing a range of options including: melon, passion fruit, thai tea, avocado, strawberry, lavender, yogurt, peach, chocolate, coconut, almond, green apple, and more. My favorite is lemon, which I order "half as sweet" for an extra tangy, refreshing snow bubble tea.

Ok, so far we're talking a pretty standard mixed specialty drink, but there's more. What makes Boba Tea so special is the tapioca pearl balls that are added to the drink and create a distinct texture experience. The balls are made from tapioca and carrageenan, a seaweed extract, which form chewy, gelatinous black globules - also called pearls. Don't worry, despite the unappetizing ingredient combination the pearls are sweet and delicious. You use a special, extra wide straw accommodate the tapioca pearls, enabling you to enjoy a sweet drink and a chewy snack at once.  

But don't take my word for it - just look how happy my mom is enjoying her first Boba Tea.

On a bit of an aside, does anyone else remember Orbitz? It was kind of a mass produced Western version of Boba in juice form.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Job Seeker

I spent the greater part of this evening perusing job postings online and beginning to wonder if I will find my calling any time soon (and more specifically, if I can get paid for it). The task is a daunting one, made more pleasant only when accompanied by a fun setting, tasty sustenance, and a cute outfit. This pastel ensemble may be muted, but the classic style still packs a punch when topped with a charming cap and unexpected specs. The combination of this coral toned pink and creme is one I can't seem to get away from either. Not sure what the colorful drinks pictured below are? Drop by tomorrow to find out!
job seeker

Monday, June 22, 2009

Need Productivity?

Photo via eHow

I am baffled that I did not know about Lifehacker sooner, but now that I know* I had to share it with you. You can find the Lifehacker website here, and the tag-line pretty much says it all: "Tips and Downloads for Getting Things Done". Think of it as a virtual cornucopia of productivity tools to help you can become more effective in anything you do - from gardening (see how to brew your own tea-compost) to computer capability utilization (see how to back-up your Google docs offline) to the totally random yet completely practical everyday feats (we've probably all needed to buy the right amount of paint for home projects). 

My favorite article thus far? BookSeer Tells You Which Book To Read Next. Since I no longer have cable to fill my free time (you didn't know? read the sad story here) I have been looking for some new prose to wind down with in place of my usual Family Guy reruns. So if you are looking for a slew of productivity tools from the world wide web, no matter how eclectic your interests and goals, Lifehacker has you covered!

*A special thank you to my friend Eric who tipped me off to the fantastic world of Lifehacker. Eric writes several successful blogs including The Israel Situation and Narrow Bridge Adventures, a great blog about personal finance. 

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Photo found here

The last few days have gone by in a flash with little time for a moment of pause, let alone writing, but with a mere 5 minutes to spare I would be remiss if I didn't take a moment to recognize Father's Day! I feel so fortunate to have such a loving, supportive, funny and sincere father to thank. He goes by many names - Puff Dougie, Dog Duster, and Bullet to name a few, but the most important in my book is Dad. He's a man of many trades - Computer Guru, Conveyor Belt Whiz, and Chief Honey-Doer, but to me the top of his resume will always read Dad. His qualifications include countless years of gadget fixing experience, the focus to drive from Manchester, New Hampshire to Yankton, South Dakota without sleeping, completion of daily dog-walks despite snow, rain, or gloom of night, and the ability to blind on demand with his remarkably shiny noggin. I love you Dad!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Bamboo Bicycles

Bamboo Bike via Calfee Design

According to the website, "This is not just a cool bike. It is appropriate for everyday use and for racing. The vibration damping is a performance advantage on longer rides."

Wondering what's so special about this road bike? Take a close look and you will see that this bike's entire frame is made from bamboo. Yup, you heard right, bamboo. The company that makes these wooden rides, Calfee Design, claims that bamboo bikes dampen vibrations like none other, are tough enough to take a major beating, and are lightweight to boot. I cannot comment on how these bikes ride as I have never had the pleasure, but if anyone has and would like to share their experience in the comments section I would love to hear about it. Calfee Designs also makes bamboo mountain bikes and a number of other lust-worthy cycles, check them out here

Another benefit of buying bamboo when it comes to your next two wheeler is that the carbon footprint is way lower than any other bicycle on the market. In addition to using smoked and heat-treated bamboo, the Calfee Design bike boasts hemp-fiber lugs (for those not into bicycles, lugs are basically connector bits that hold your bicycle frame together). Bamboo and hemp together?! That's two of the world's most sustainable, useful, and durable resources in one product! In case you didn't know, bamboo is the fastest growing wooded plant on the earth, growing up to 24 inches a day. Plus, utilizing bamboo in this form (meaning in the same whole structure it comes in naturally) requires way less processing than, say, making bamboo cloth fiber. 

Thursday, June 18, 2009

No More Dinner with Frasier Crane

TV photo from Canoe.ca

It’s oddly quiet in my apartment this afternoon; nothing to hear but the tapping of keys and the low hum of cars punctuated by the occasional truck hitting a pothole drifting through my open bedroom window. The quiet, relaxing as it may seem, is not voluntary. I arrived home last night after a long stint of classes to learn that my TV, despite the cable connection in the wall, was not receiving a single channel.

I do not mean to come off as whiny. The truth is, despite never having paid for cable since I moved into my apartment in September I received the gamut of TV entertainment, from ABC and NBC to Bravo and TLC.  Nevertheless, I am perturbed that after ten months of mind numbing boob tubing (…or however you would spell the verb version of tube) I am suddenly cut off, cold turkey, with only eight more weeks until I move out.

I know I know, we should all watch less television anyhow. But in my initial moments of panic I couldn’t help my own self-pity. “I deserve to watch TV! How will I entertain my fried brain at the end of the day?” and so I went rationalizing why I deserved to let my mind (among other things…) turn to mush from my comfortable sofa – not that I wouldn’t continue to criticize others for their lazy habits.

Somewhere within this flood of thoughts I began to recognize how hypocritical I was being. I was no different from someone else spending hours upon hours in front of the television. And, just how many hours was I spending in front of the television anyhow?

Well… 1 hour during lunch generally, that’s a minimum of 7 hours per week, plus two hours of comedy shows on Thursday nights that’s 9, plus I usually watched another show or two after that while doing homework so we’re up to 11, then I’d usually tune in to an hour or two right after class when I prepared and ate dinner, roughly 9 hours a week, so that’s around 20 hours, and then of course several hours of What Not to Wear and The Real Housewives on the weekend so we're up to about 26 hours and… Wow. That’s an entire day. That’s MORE than an entire day. And I wasn’t even finished! That’s… embarrassing.

Now I have to defend myself a little bit here. I do have an apartment to myself so I usually listen to the TV while I am doing general tasks like cooking or cleaning. Also, since my wonderful boyfriend lives about a light-year away on the East Coast I probably have more TV-available time than your average attached gal or single lady on the prowl. Even so, I will not try to deny that there has got to be a better way to spend that time.

Photo found here

And so it begins. It’s not that I have not been perfectly happy without television access in the past – a semester in Greece and a summer in Colorado Springs were both TV free and incredible times in my life. I spent more hours outside, more hours reading, and more hours exploring during those periods than ever before. Perhaps losing my cable, as much of a shock as it was, is just what I need right now. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Artist Spotlight: John Singer Sargent

Lady Agnew of Locknaw found here

It has been a long day and as I searched for some visual inspiration this evening it was subtle portraits and soft watercolors that drew me in. The works of John Singer Sargent perfectly complement a moment of quiet relaxation, his portraits in particular capturing the beautiful subtleties of his subjects and creating a wonderful complexity. Sargent, who lived from 1854 to 1925, was a realist in his own right and was heavily criticized in his later years for being too old fashioned in his work. He was also criticized for his Venetian watercolors by some and still others disregarded his oil paintings as being unrefined. Since I am not much of an art critic myself, I quite enjoy the traditional qualities of Sargent's paintings as well as the variety of styles he embraced. 

One of Sargent's most criticized and sensational works is the portrait of Madame X, originally titled the Portrait of Madame Pierre Gautreau. The Portrait, which is pictured immediately below, caused outrage by many in France for the seductive and scandalous nature of the Madame (keep in mind it was 1884). For the whole juicy story on Madame's portrait, check out this Wikipedia page. You can learn more about Sargent's training, life, and works in general here.

Protrait of Madame X found here

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose found here

The Chess Game found here

Monday, June 15, 2009

Miso Madness

Image via Ecosalon

Recently I have been craving all things miso; my consumption of the delicious Japanese paste coming mainly in the form of miso dressing and miso soup. This tasty culinary seasoning is actually a concoction of fermented ingredients, often including soy, barley, or rice. The result is many different varieties of a salty, savory, distinct paste used extensively in Japanese cuisine. The most common varieties can be found in your local natural grocer's refrigerator case. The different colors of miso, such as brown, red and white, indicate the unique ingredient combination and flavor result.

But the benefits of miso are recognized by more than your taste buds, and many a holistic health buff will regale you with the superpowers of miso. Some of the health advantages of regular miso consumption may include defending against certain types of cancer, strengthening the immune system, preventing the signs of aging (due to the high antioxidant content), and encouraging healthy and beautiful skin. Of course, it is never wise to overdue it on any one type of food. Miso is high in sodium, so a little goes a long way with this Asian wonder. 

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lazy Sunday: Aimless Stroll

Today was truly a lazy Sunday for me. I drifted slowly from one task to the next this morning and took the whole afternoon off from anything that even remotely resembled a to-do. Instead, I took a nap, rode my bike, met a friend for sorbet, and laced up my sneakers for several aimless strolls in the late-day sun.

Taking a long walk is one of my favorite stress relieving, muscle toning activities. It is especially relaxing when you are in no rush and have the opportunity to notice things happening around you and clear your mind. If extensive time alone with your thoughts seems anything but relaxing, I recommend bringing along an mp3 player. Instead of listening to the same music you know by heart on repeat, download a free podcast or audio book and learn something new. NPR's Fresh Air and On Science podcasts are my favorites, and I find that listening to talk, versus a banging bass beat, sets the perfect tone for a long, ponderous walk. 

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Mission Statement Tips

As promised, I have jotted down a few more tips for crafting your personal mission statement. Still having trouble narrowing down your purpose? Here are a few ideas:

  • Ask a close friend or family member what they think your most passionate contributions to the world have been. Sometimes hearing a trusted second opinion can help you begin brainstorming.
  • Also, ask your parents/grandparents/old babysitter/older sibling what you wanted to do to change the world as a child. Maybe you no longer want to be a mold fighting superhero or a wild animal veterinarian, but your underlying interest in promoting cleanliness or saving the wounded wolves could point you in the right direction.
  • Make a list of the things that annoy you the most about the world as it stands. Too much poverty? Tired of seeing garbage on the street? Sick of the endless complaints you hear about taxes? Alright - now how do you want to change it?
  • If you feel fulfilled and empowered by your current career, hobbies or activities think about the greater purpose you serve - no matter your capacity. For example, if you currently work at the airport handling bags and to you it's the best gig imaginable then build your mission statement around it. Something like "To make travel less stressful, safer, and faster every day" might do the trick.
I hope you've enjoyed thinking a bit about your personal mission statement. A mission statement is one tool of many that can help you to focus your energies towards what really matters to you. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mission Statements

Having spent many years studying business, the importance of a strong mission statement is not to be underestimated when it comes to a company’s (or any organization’s) success (for-profit or otherwise). But it turns out that mission statements are a powerful tool for us as individuals as well. A personal mission statement is a great way to focus your reason for getting up each day into a single, succinct blurb.

So what’s the purpose of a mission statement? It can be your mantra when you need an extra boost to pursue your goals and a reminder of what’s most important in your life. It can also serve as a compass for decision making – helping you to evaluate options in terms of whether or not they will support your self-defined ultimate purpose on this earth. Perhaps most importantly of all, the process of crafting your mission statement can be an empowering experience; opening up your imagination and your heart to possibilities you may have dismissed as na├»ve or improbable in the past.

So what makes a good mission statement? Any business student will tell you it’s a short (ideally a sentence in length)  articulation of your reason for operation that is specific enough to be measured but broad enough to ensure you have a purpose for many years to come. If you need a little inspiration, Google your favorite businesses and check out their mission or vision statements. In fact, a particularly good example is Google itself. You can find this text on Google’s Corporate website.

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Notice that Google hasn't pigeon-holed itself, the organization is able to keep this mission even as technology changes. Once you have some solid examples to get your wheels spinning, block out a little time for yourself to do some soul searching. If you’re having trouble narrowing down what your purpose is for your mission statements, here are a few questions to get you started:

  •    What topics get you excited, agitated, bring out the rawist emotions in you, or maybe even get you angry when they arise in conversation?  What is it you’re so passionate about that gives rise to these emotions?
  •    What activities do you look forward to the most? Which of these activities  give you a sense of purpose and fulfillment?
  •    When was the last time you woke up and bounded out of bed, ready to take on the day? What did you do that day that gave rise to this feeling?

For some of us, crafting a personal mission statement that sticks may be a simple task, while for others it may take some serious reflection. Maybe you are already living your mission statement each and every day, and that’s wonderful! Or maybe your true purpose is to create a more peaceful planet as an animal activist and you work in a puppy mill – that’s ok too!  You’ve now taken the first step to reaigning your actions with your life purpose.

My own mission statement is a work in progress, but the groundwork is in place. Here’s what I have so far: To help others discover health, happiness, compassion for all beings, and a curiosity about the world around them. While I still have some fine tuning to do, I think this statement really sums up what I feel my purpose is.  

Tune in next time for some more tips for creating YOUR mission statement and making it a reality!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bathroom Blossoms

Looking for a little floral inspiration? Check out what my friend Donna's done with her beautiful flower garden. She used old bathroom fixtures (otherwise headed to the dump) to make creative flower beds and a major statement. I especially love the use of the toilet next to the shed. You could always paint your fixtures for a pop of color or embellish them like Donna's done with the bathtub (using paint and glass craft stones) to add a bit more visual interest.  

Monday, June 8, 2009

Leading by Example

Photo found here

If you would convince a man that he does wrong, do right. But do not care to convince him. Men will believe what they see. Let them see. -Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Lazy Sunday: In Flight

Today's the kind of Sunday that has me dreaming I'm jetting off to a tropical destination. For me, getting there is half the fun - and when it comes to traveling, comfort is my main priority. My ideal travel outfit has to be a long, roomy tunic layered over a pair of capri-length cotton leggings (ideal for contorting into just the right position for a lengthy flight). To make long walks between terminals and security lines a breeze, I slip-on a pair of lace-free sneakers. I also like to travel prepared with little ammenities, as skimping on even the simplist forethought can make a day of jet setting an unbearable experience.

For me, this means always bringing my own snacks (fruit's my favorite) and my trusty waterbottle which I fill up right after I make it through security. A scarf is also a great way to block out excess light if you're trying to take a midflight nap, ball up into a pillow, wrap yourself in if you get cold easily, cover a frazzled travler hair-do with, or brighten up your complexion after a day of recycled air and UV exposure. I'm also sure to carry a moisturizing lip balm with me and an individual pack of scented hand wipes - these are a wonderful way to freshen up throughout the day, and when you choose scented varieties in lavendar or vanilla they can help anxious travelers relax too!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Recycled Countertops

I am hanging out at my parents' house during my break from school and while I try not to watch too much TV in general, it's a lost cause here. Their couch is like a snugly venus fly trap, luring me in with it's perfectly sized corner seats then capturing me in puffy layers of cushion. Once you're in, remote control in hand, there are hundreds of channels (plus the instant gratification of On Demand) to scroll through, all on a flat, massive, HD screen. After a day of perusing the endless entertainment options I came to two conclusions. 1. No one needs that many TV channels. 2. If I had to pick only two, I'd stick with Planet Green and HGTV (Home and Garden TV). 

I love the shows on Planet Green because the whole channel is dedicated to living, building, and creating in an ecofriendly way. The channel is also owned by the Discovery Network which puts out some of my other favorite channels and shows (Whale Wars, anyone?).

I have also been pleasantly surprised by HGTV's programming lately, which has really "greened up". I was watching Color Splash with David Bromstad yesterday and was excited to see him do an Asian inspired (and earth friendly) kitchen. One of the elements of the kitchen was a recycled glass countertop (made with 80% recycled materials) and I remembered how much I love this look. It's a great way to add brightness or a shimmery effect to any kitchen or bathroom, and the options for color combinations are limitless. Check out these gorgeous options. I am especially fond of the last photo - it looks like smashed up hard candy! I'm always in favor of using candy as design inspiration.

Photo by Rob Brodman via Sunset

Cobalt Skyy from Vetrazzo

This cobalt blue look is made of recycled Skyy Vodka bottles.

Floating Blue from Vetrazzo

Great kitchen example via Apartment Therapy

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dumpster Chic

I admit, I am not above hand-me-downs, seconds, freebies, coupons, or the occasional dumpster dive. The end of the school year marks the height of dumpster diving season on any college campus - and if you are in the market for a curiously stained futon, makeshift beerpong table, or a variety of soggy bed pillows then now is the time to strike! But do not worry; for those of us with slightly more discriminating tastes, there is hope. Yesterday I proudly carried a perfectly squat little cube table up to my apartment that had been left by the dumpster, destined to pack a landfill (while its ex-owner, no doubt, went off to buy a newer version of the same product to serve the very same purpose). 

Well ex-owner's trash has become my treasure and the little table is now a perfect nightstand for my bed-less mattress. With finals complete and my trip to the East Coast on tap for tomorrow, today will be filled with cleaning, errands, and planning... and maybe a leisurely stroll or two around the local garbage bins ;) 

Monday, June 1, 2009

So Grateful For...

Since I have been feeling so grateful lately I thought I'd make my own list of gratitude to share. 
  • I am so grateful for the health of my family. I realize this tends to be at the top of most people's gratitude lists but it certainly isn't to be overlooked. Recently a close family friend has been experiencing a period of very serious health concerns and it pains me to think what she and her family must be experiencing. With her in mind, I am especially grateful for the health and happiness of my own family. 
  • The end of the quarter is finally here! As of 6 pm tomorrow, following the completion of my last final, I will be a mere 9 weeks from graduation. Woohoo! How will I be relaxing before my last quarter of school begins?
  • After finals I'll be off to New Hampshire for a week with my parents and my hairy siblings - that's a photo of my sister Edie above. I loving call my parent's adopted racing greyhounds coma therapy dogs as they make you perfectly content to sit on the couch for hours on end without moving a muscle... well maybe just your forearms for a pet every now and then.
  • Fantastic fruits and veggies are in season and so delicious. Since I have been working to incorporate as much whole produce and scrumptious raw foods into my diet as I can, it's perfect timing. Speaking of raw foods, I'm so happy to have discovered...
  • Kristen's Raw Blog. For those not familiar with the raw foods lifestyle, it's all about eating loads of uncooked, unprocessed, luscious vegan fare in the form nature intended it. Raw foods are the best way to get major nutrition into each bite and feel fantastic while doing it. Kristen's website is a great source for more info about raw foods and she herself is a tremendous example of how to thrive with a high raw lifestyle (and look fabulous!).
  • And last but not least for this list is my love affair with cycling. For a while I had gotten out of the biking thing in favor of time at the gym, but these days there's nothing that gives me a more fulfilling workout than speeding around the park on two wheels. Being out in the spring air, the whole panorama illuminated with an early evening glow, it is so enlivening. 
So what made it on to your gratitude list? Now is the perfect time to try leaving a comment to share your thoughts - just click the "comments" link that appears below this article and leave your input.