Things That Are Bringing Me Joy(this week)



My special new pot from a local antique store. It is the brand La Creuset before they moved their factory from Belgium to France. I want more.


If you look closely you can see Belgium etched in to the bottom of the lid


The essential oils of cedarwood and frankincense  in my diffuser…..along with my plants. I love my plants.


These cute little shot glasses from an antique store in Bellevue.(a local Pittsburgh neighborhood)


It is a bit hard to see, but they have FRANCE etched in to the bottoms.


This amazing record that just gets me every time I listen to it…..which is often.  Just a heads up: It’s kind of weird.


My plants! And these tulips.


Blood oranges! They are so good right now.


This podcast.  You Must Remember This.  Stories and history from Hollywood’s last century.  The host is exploring the blacklist from the hysteria surrounding the fear of Communism in the middle of the last century and it is so thorough and so relevant for our current day and age.  It is a GREAT listen.


This odd and amazing book about an odd and amazing man.

That’s it for now.  Honorable mentions: the last season of Mad Men, watching America’s Funniest Videos with my ten year old, Montepulciano D’abruzzo wine from Italy, explorations with pasta making, The Yoga Hive, Cafe Zinho, spending the past weekend with my phone off and hanging with my fella(and having a meal at Cafe Zinho), talking on the phone to my best girl’s in far away places and new shag rugs.

I hope you are all having a wonderful week and, if not, are able to find joy in the simple and small things.

I wish you all joy and comfort.

With love and peace,



Embracing the Darkness

“It’s always darkest before the dawn.”

I love Winter. I love holing up and going inward. I love the soft, grey light that flows through my giant picture window. I love how it gets dark early(I know, you probably think I am crazy) and then the slow joy of Spring starts to show itself as the days get a tiny bit longer each week.


I love how dark winter can be. I love going in to my darkness and then emerging again with a new and better perspective. When that happens, I feel like I’ve slain a dragon and my confidence in myself and who I am as a human gets stronger and more in line with who I want to be.

Is any of this striking a chord? This feels like the perfect time of year to go there.


Above is my latest weekly painting.

I wish you all light and courage on your journey through life,

Love and peace,


“A man must dream a long time in order to act with grandeur, and dreaming is nursed in darkness.”
― Jean Genet

Honoring What We Need(and feeding the creative spirit)


It has been a long while since I have posted.  A long, long while.

In all honesty, I was going through something.  I went through some health and personal issues that took me outside of myself for a few months and made it hard to want to share myself with the world of the internet.

I graduated from health coaching school and am now officially certified, my massage business is doing great, I love making my home space as beautiful and feminine and clean and open as I can, I still experiment almost everyday with making healthy and tasty food choices, I am still giving myself at home spa days using the recipes from my kitchen cosmetics workshops…….but, I’ve been extremely reclusive.  For months.

Since it all happened and I went inward, I made a decision that I was not going to rush myself.  I was not going to push myself to launch this new addition to my business until I am ready.  Of course I was getting some outside flack for this.  Questions about when I am going to launch the business, when am I going to use the skills I gleaned from the year long program, etc.  I made a decision to just trust that when I am ready to do it, that will be the exactly right time for it to happen.

As a result of listening to myself and trusting my own personal, inward timing, wonderful things started to happen.  My favorite of them being that every part of my being was screaming at me to be creative.  Every bit of free time I had, I was sitting down and painting.  I still am, actually.

What I believe that did for me is it helped me heal and create more openness in other areas of my life.


I just trusted that this is what I need to be doing right now and so that is just what I did…..for a bunch of months now.

And things are falling in to place with my new business.  It has started to happen.  (More details in future posts)  And I didn’t push it.  Nothing has been forced and things are presenting themselves to me that are exactly what I need in order to grow my business into the vision I have had.


My paintings are inspired by Pennsylvania Dutch hex signs.  I am starting to experiment with different images and am going to start a new challenge for myself where I make a new painting every week.

I am also going to start blogging every week again.

Up next on the docket:

-the healing benefits and the history of thieves oil

-weekly meal planning on a budget

-oil pulling

I am excited to be back and doing this again.

What areas of your life could use more attention?  Is there something you can focus your energy on that you think would create more openness in other areas?  Do you need to just sit with yourself and listen to what you need and honor that?  I wish you all the warmest freedom on whatever journey you have found yourself on.

With love and peace,


Cheesey Vegan Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds


I love pumpkin seeds.  I love them so much.  I put them on just about everything I eat.  I decided to try sprucing them up a bit and soaked them to sprout then added nutritional yeast and spices to make them even tastier.  Before I give you all the super simple and tastey recipe I want to tell you some nutritional facts about pumpkin seeds that should hopefully make you all want to run out and buy some and maybe start putting them on everything that you eat, too.

Did you know that pumpkin seeds are full of magnesium?  Magnesium helps the body in a wide range of ways including the pumping of your heart, proper bone and tooth function and lowered blood pressure.

Pumpkin seeds are also a huge source of zinc which helps the body’s immunity, cell growth and division, proper sleep, mood, skin and eye health and insulin regulation.

Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and fibers that may benefit ones heart and liver functioning.

The oil in pumpkin seeds has a major anti-inflammatory effect on the body.  An anti-inflammatory diet has been shown to reduce ones risk of a myriad of health issues.

There are many more, but I need to go eat some pumpkin seeds.

These soaked and spiced nuts are so delicious, I can’t even express it!  I’ve started taking a container of them with me to work to snack on instead of the pricey trail mix I have been subsisting on during the work day.  Below is the magic recipe.

You will need:

2 cups pumpkin seeds, soaked in water at least four hours

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 tsp. cumin, or another kind of spice you feel inclined to add

1 tsp. salt

To make:


1.  Take soaked pumpkin seeds and strain.  Add them to a bowl with all other ingredients.  Stir well.


2.  Spread out evenly on a dehydrator sheet and dehydrate at 150 degrees for 12 hours.  If you do not have a dehydrator, you may spread them out on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven on the lowest setting with the door open until dry and crunchy.


3.  Eat and enjoy.

Using Oil to Wash Your Face


Do you have dry or oily skin?  Do you suffer from acne and blemishes and blackheads?  Are you interested in eliminating those skin problems, throwing away your expensive cleansers, many of which have harsh and unhealthy chemicals in them?  Have you ever washed your face with oil?  I know it sounds kind of weird, but, trust me.  My skin has never been better.

One basic rule of chemistry is that “like dissolves like.”  Cleansing your face with oil breaks down and clears the toxins out of the sebaceous glands of your skin and helps your body produce the natural oils that it wants to in order for your skin to have the most natural and healthy glow…..these are the naturally producing oils in our body that harsh, store-bought cleansers remove.

What you will need:

1-2 tsp. oil; I use olive oil, apricot kernel oil, almond oil, coconut oil or sometimes castor oil, basically, whatever I have handy, but olive oil is my most go-to choice

hot water


To do:

1. Massage oil into your face and neck, using a gently upward motion, making sure to cover all areas.

2.  Get the washcloth nice and hot in the water and lay it over your face to let the steam permeate your skin for 10-20 seconds.

3.  Gently remove all of the oil from your face and neck with the washcloth.

4.  Enjoy compliments and feeling great in your beautiful and glowing skin.

I taught a Kitchen Cosmetics workshop over the weekend.  The participants and I made and did a facial steam, a facial oil wash and massage, an exfoliation, a facial mask, a body scrub and a bath sachet.  It was fun and silly and everyone left with beautiful and glowing skin.

kc2For the face and neck massage oil in the workshop I steeped rosemary in olive oil with 15-20 drops of rosemary essential oil somewhere dry and dark for two weeks.  The workshop participants massaged and washed their faces with this mixture.  They then each took a bottle home with them to use.

kc3Debbie and Mia steaming their faces and necks with peppermint & thyme.

kc4Michele applying the sugar, olive oil & bergamot foot and body scrub.

Feeling blue that you missed the workshop?  There will be more Kitchen Cosmetics workshops in the future.  Check out my blog and my website for more information.

Are there any special home spa treatments you like to make whenever you feel like treating yourself?  Let me know!  I’m always interested in learning more.

Did you know I also make my own massage cream?  Only 2 organic and natural ingredients.  Sign up for a massage today and not only get some well deserved self-care, but treat your skin to some extra love.

Beet Magic Lip Balm


I am getting ready to teach another Kitchen Cosmetics workshop on April 12 and have been experimenting with making tinted creams, trying to perfect the perfect tinted lip balm.  This recipe was a mix match of trial and error that ended with a pretty cool result, although, a little lighter than I had in mind….but it works!  Try it out and let me know if it worked for you too.

You will need:

About a cup of whole cloves

2 medium-sized beets

1 cup olive oil

1/4 pound of cocoa butter

About 2/3 cup shea butter

A few drops of essential oils: I used clove and peppermint

To make:


1.  Grind up cloves with a mortar and pestle and place in a lidded jar with olive oil.  Let sit for one week.

2.  Blend cut up beet and clove and olive oil mixture in a blender.  You will end up with a very goopy and dark mixture(See photos above.)  Place in lidded jar and keep in refrigerator for one week.


3.  Make a double boiler as shown above, or use one and add the goopy beet, clove and oil mixture.  Heat for up to one hour.



4.  Strain out the oil thoroughly.  Melt the cocoa butter into the mixture.  Take out and cool for one half hour.


5.  In a blender, pulverize the other beet.  Use a cheese cloth to squeeze all of the beet juice out.


6.  Add the beet juice to the cocoa butter, oil, beet and clove mixture.  Blend in shea butter and essential oils.


7.  Scoop into any containers you feel like using for this.  Apply liberally to your lips or into your skin for a little extra glow.

Interested in learning about more of this stuff?  Sign up for my Kitchen Cosmetics workshop on April 12 at Medico Consulting in East Liberty.  We will make a facial steam, an exfoliant, a facial massage oil, a body scrub and more!  Everyone who signs up will get to take home samples of each thing we make and will get a special gift massage for attending.  These workshops are so much fun!  I hope to see you there.  Space is limited, so sign up today.  More information on my website.

Anyone have any other tinted cream recipes?  I would love to know about them.

Super Cleansing Liver Drink

This is a super simple, tasty drink that is really good for you.

Hot lemon juice water every morning is a really great way to keep your liver healthy. Lemon juice aids your liver in flushing out unwanted toxins which may be in the process of absorbing into your body.

And chia seeds? Let me go on: Adding chia seeds before and after your work out is better than carbohydrates or energy drinks to enhance athletic performances for endurance events. Research has also demonstrated that the beneficial effects of omega-3, as found in chia, has helped those suffering with mood disorders. A meta-analysis of trials involving patients with major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder provided evidence that omega-3 in chia reduces symptoms of depression. Omega-3 fatty acids have been proven to increase brain function and decrease depression. So, incorporating chia into your diet on a regular basis helps not just your physical health but also your mental health.
Adding just two tablespoons of chia seeds to your daily diet will give you approximately seven grams of fiber, four grams of protein, 205 milligrams of calcium, and a whopping five grams of omega-3. Chia has both soluble and insoluble fiber, which is a great benefit. That’s why the seeds expand in liquids without losing any of the fiber content. If you consume four tablespoons per day of chia, you get 14 grams of fiber. By comparison, one packet of oatmeal has only four grams of fiber.
Need I say more?
I like the way this drink tastes, but you can experiment with different herbs or teas added to your drink as you go. I also like to put this in a mason jar with a lid on it so I can carry it around with me and drink it throughout the day, as the chia seeds expand more and more in the water. Try it for a few days and tell me you don’t feel like a million bucks!
You will need:
2 Tbs. chia seeds
juice of one half lemon
1 to 2 tsp. shredded ginger
raw honey to taste
boiling water to fill mug or jar
To make:
Put all ingredients in a mug or jar. Pour hot water over. Wait until desired temperature. Drink.
Any other ideas for this drink that you like to experiment with? Let me know in the comments below.

Coconut Mango Granola Bars


I love these granola bars!  I’ve been working with different recipes, trying to perfect the right consistency and chewiness for a few weeks now and I’ve come up with a winner!  There are a lot of ingredients, but I have found if I buy them once, I have enough ingredients to make the recipe three times, which saves money instead of buying granola bars from the grocery store…AND HAVE YOU SEEN SOME OF THE INGREDIENTS IN THEM?  No, thank you!  And the ones with healthy ingredients can cost an arm and a leg.  Trust me.  Taking an hour out of your day once every two weeks to make these is totally worth it.

If you are anything like me, you need some fast, on-the-go, healthy food and snacks that will not only satisfy your hunger throughout the day, but you also need something your kids will eat.

Sometimes I see clients back to back and don’t have time for lunch or I have to run from clients to the grocery store, do laundry, help with homework, etc., and the next thing it is dinner time and I haven’t eaten all day.  This is not something I recommend to my health coaching clients so why would I do this to myself?!

Hence, the need for something healthy and filling to eat throughout the day.

You will need:

2TBS. chia seeds + 6TBS. water, soaked up to fifteen minutes to form a thick paste

2 cups oats or gluten-free oats

1/4 cup buckwheat groats

1/4 cup sesame seeds

1 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup chopped raw walnuts or a nut of your choice(optional)

1 handful of pitted dates

1 handful of dried mango(or a dried fruit of your choice)

1/4 cup coconut or almond oil

1/3 cup real maple syrup

1tsp. vanilla extract

3 ripe bananas or 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1/2 tsp. salt

g1chia seeds soaking and dry ingredients before toasting

g2ready to go into the oven in handy silicone pans

To make:

1. Place chia seeds in water and set aside for fifteen minutes or longer

2. Place dates and dried mango in a bowl of water and set aside to soak for fifteen minutes or longer

3. Spread oats, buckwheat groats, sesame seeds, coconut and nuts on a baking sheet and place in an oven at 350 degrees, stirring every ten to fifteen minutes until lightly toasted.

4. In a saucepan over medium heat, add oil, maple syrup and vanilla until combined

5. Puree bananas, dates and mangoes in a blender until a smooth paste forms.  Add chia seed paste and pulse in briefly

6. Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly, adding the salt

7. I then spread the mixture into two silicone bread pans, making sure it is level.  I really like the silicone because the bars pop out of them so smoothly, but one can also use two metal bread pans or one 8×8 pan, lined with parchment paper

8. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until the edges are a dark, golden brown

9. Cool completely.  This is really important or the granola bars will fall apart!

10. Pop out of pans and cut into granola bar sized pieces.  Refrigerate for up to two weeks or freeze for up to three months. (I always freeze half, thinking I will save some for the month and I end up eating them all within two weeks.)

Eat and enjoy!


Is there a super easy and healthy snack that you like to make?  Share in the comments below.

Did you try this recipe and want to tell me about your experience?  I would love to hear about it!  Let me know in the comments below.

Hello again!

I haven’t been here for awhile.  I’ve been spending quite a bit of time working on my business which is growing like a healthy weed thanks to the time I have been spending with this group.  And I’ve actually started to paint again.(more on that at a later date)  Spring is here and I am definitely feeling inspired.  I’m inspired by my friend Julie’s blog and our phone conversations over a glass of wine from 1500 miles away…sigh.  Some things that have been happening besides massage and business meetings lately are:

b1Trampolining!  Check out the health benefits of this amazing, bouncy device right here.  It’s kind of hard not to feel good and have a lot of energy when you are bouncing.

b3b2Making Lucho Libre costumes for Pittsburgh’s La Escuelita Arcoiris’ event, Salsita.  Everyone reading this should go!

b4b5I’ve been listening to these two new records A LOT. The top one I found at Caliban Books on Craig Street in Pittsburgh and the bottom one, I am happy to report, was won by me on an ebay auction.

b6I’ve been extremely inspired by all three of these books, all of which are worth checking out.

b7And, lastly, these little vitamin fizzy drinks are amazing.  If anyone is interested in checking out more Arbonne products, I know a lady to hook you up with.

I hope you all have a great rest of your week and a great weekend!