Sunday, September 29, 2013

Stone Meditations

live simply. simply live.

Good day, lovelies! I hope you're enjoying your day so far - whether its spending time with loved ones, out exploring, catching up on housework, or just chilling at home. Before I head out to adventure around Barranco area of Lima, I want to share a little sweet something ...

I call it Stone Meditations. Basically, collect some smooth rocks and started writing inspiring messages or things you want to reflect on them. Here are some ideas I used and want to make:

~ all with love
~ live simply. simply live.
~ fly
~ gratitude
~ inspire
~ voice
~ do you
~ go girl (one of my favorites!)

I also tried a few techniques of writing on them. I used sharpie directly on the stones, tried using stamps, and also stamped on tissue paper and modge-podged it on. Have fun playing around with what you like.

Now you have your meditation stones :) You can use them as a mantra of what you want to bring into your life. Look at them and hold them once a day. Maybe even take a few minutes to sit with them, feel their weight, and let the message sink into you. Admire the beauty of their grounding nature. I keep my meditation stones with my plants, on an alter, and on the windowsill. 

If you like this, you can see some more Zen rocks at Chasing Happy, where I was re-inspired with this idea :) Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your Sunday!

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Friday, September 27, 2013

I'm tagged! 6 Things About Me

Hi there folks, here we are again at the end of the week! Fridays are great, aren't they:) ? I've been tagged by my lady friend Leia at Latitude Adjustment with 6 get-to know-you questions (thanks for the tag Leia)! If you're just tuning in, check out a few more posts about me here, here, and here

1. What is your favorite animal and why?
I'm such a big animal-lover! Every species is so intricate and unique its hard to choose just one that's my favorite...BUT I'm going to go with the butterfly. I feel like it's pretty applicable to my personality. These little creatures start as a chrysalis, then form an egg, hatch as a caterpillar, and live as a butterfly until death. Pretty amazing the life changes it goes through, isn't it? I tend to go through changes and adapt my world from time to time. It helps me keep a fresh perspective. Fun fact: Butterflies use chemo-receptors on their feet to taste!

2. If you could travel to one place in the world, where would it be?
Like Leia, I've got a handful(or maybe 8) of places on my to-go list. At the top of it are several Asian countries, but Taiwan in particular. I choose Taiwan because I have a good friend who is Taiwanese and tells me about it all the time. I really hope to travel with her there one of these days :) AND definitely for the food...I mean, just look!!

3. What is your favorite thing about yourself (or quality you like in others if you don't wanna talk about yourself)?
Listening is a very admirable quality in my opinion. It's very humble and shows compassion. There's really an art to listening and it can be very therapeutic. It's such a compliment when I'm told that I'm a good listener :)

4. What did you want to be when you grew up and what do you do now?
As a kid I wanted to be a lot of things. I was inspired by animals, nature, music. I remember using my little chalkboard and teaching all my stuffed animals. I really liked the word flow and remember 'teaching' how to say it, what it meant, and using it in a sentence. It's still a word I like. I have been teaching many years now (swimming, tutoring, English, even math - which is not my thing). Currently I teach English with business professionals and young children. I would love to learn yoga and really teach about 'flow' :)
Practicing letters with the littlest munchkins. Cusco, Peru.

5. What is the LAST concert you went to?
Oh, gee it's been too long! The last time visiting California, we went out for a friend's birthday and saw a pair of really great local Americana folk bands. The night was danced away so hard!! I'd love to see some good live music soon!

6. What is something not a lot of people would know about you?
I was adopted. It's a funny thing that doesn't up come often for the most-part, not because it's something I avoid or am not open to talking about. It's a complex thing to explain the feeling that goes along with it and everyone's experience and story is so different. I'll be posting on this in the future for sure. Anyway, I'm proud that this is a part of who I am. I love my parents and brother so much. 

6 bloggers I'm tagging:

* Nicole @ Letters from Nicole

* Kerry @ Till Then, Smile Often

* Meghan @ Neither Here Nor There

* Laura @ The Pink Herbivore

* Elizabeth @ Army Ever After

* Noami @ girldust

Choose 6 questions you'd like:
What is your favorite animal and why?
Would you prefer a city break or a sun, sea, and sand vacation?
If you could travel to one place in the world, where would it be?
How many countries have you traveled to?  How many of the 50 states?
What is your favorite thing about yourself (or quality you like in others if you don't wanna talk about yourself)?
What is the best advice someone has ever given you? 
What did you want to be when you grew up and what do you do now?
What is a pet peeve of yours? 
What is the LAST concert you went to?
What is something not a lot of people would know about you?

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tuesday Tunes #7: We Were Evergreens

Hey there. It's that time of the week to share musical discoveries and inspirations - wohoo! Leia is also linking up, so go over and check out the funky fun artist she's sharing this week :)

So in my YouTube and musical searches I stumbled across a new-to-me band. They're called We Were Evergreens. I immediately fell in love with them. They have a very happy and whimsical sound and their songs are like poetry with a sweet xylophone (which makes me wish I learned more than 'happy birthday' on my xylophone when I was 8). Plus, they're French:) You definitely should check them out if you're intrigued. Maybe you'll be as smitten as me!? :) cute?? [source]
Some favorite songs so far are: 
. Penguins and Moonboots
. Summerflings(below)
. Tree Song
. Eighteen
. Eggs

Are you jazzed up on any new music these days?? 
You're welcome to join in the link-up fun :)

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Weekly Wishes #4

Hi kiddies! I have been missing Weekly Wishes with Melyssa so here I am linking-up :) 

For me this week is about getting into a healthy flow. Gee, I've been needing it! We've been eating generally healthy and mostly cooking at home these days. But exercise-wise I've been slacking. In Cusco this wasn't hard because I walked everywhere (and was also taking a spinning class). Being in Lima for almost 2 months now, it's time I give 'physical activity' a place in my life.

It's a little challenging to make a schedule since my work can be somewhat sporadic. BUT I've made a decision. I'm sacrificing an extra hour of sleep to get my booty up in the mornings. It will actually be really good because I can 1) get a head start on my day, and 2) have more energy. So my plan this week? To find a yoga or dance studio to take classes a few mornings a week. I love yoga and am hoping to find a teacher/class that I like. That can sometimes be tricky, but I'm sure something good will come! And a great thing is that I have a girlfriend who wants to do it together. Extra motivation! :)

How about you? What are you focusing on this week?

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Reverse Bucket List

Good evening folks :) Hoping you had a nice weekend. We did over here. It involved lots of cooking on my part (pizza, cookies, and broccoli and eggplant over rice), relaxing, a fun community event that I helped out, and seeing a friend from Cusco. It was good to get out a bit and see some things. 

Now, onto a sweet thing I found over at Chimerikal the other's called a Reverse Bucket List. Essentially instead of things you must do, the things on this lists are things you've already done or achieved. Neat idea, right? Thanks Erika :) 

Reverse Bucket List
1. study abroad for a year in Granada, Spain
2. teach 4th grade in Peru
3. start own jewelry-making business (Thneedles)
4. drive stick shift in Costa Rica
5. see a double rainbow
6. silent meditation retreat (10 days)
7. sleep under the stars
8. eat gelatto in Rome
9. meet people from other places and travel together
10. start this here blog

Ok, so this picture is from a car because I don't have pictures from walking.
4th grade on a field trip to visit the llamas!
11. zipline in Costa Rica
12. roadtrip internationally in Europe
13. dance like crazy all night with good friends
14. lead a troop of 1st graders at summer camp
15. walk the Golden Gate Bridge
16. travel sola
17. skinny dip
18. 5 day trek Choquequirao in Peru
19. fly in a private jet (a long story)
20. roadtrip across several US states

Way too many photo opts on the way to Choquequirao.

Just leave all your worries in the pineapple patch (WWOOFing)

21. have a beer in some Irish pubs
22. listen to bagpipes in Scotland
23. stand next to a condor in Peru
24. own a car
25. WWOOF on a beautiful farm in Cosa Rica
26. gawk at Sagrada Familia and Park Guell in Barcelona
27. mountain bike through waterfalls
28. go cayoning
29. build a fire
30. hitchhike

Amazing creatures resting for some days after big journeys. 

Me and mi gato <3

31. go parasailing
32. snorkel
33. learn to make tortillas
34. graduate college
35. see sea turtle up close in Hawaii
36. meet and hung out with a famous band (Mars Volta)
37. go on a cruise
38. help to build several houses
39. go skiing
40. find tarantula in shoe
41. get married (AND in a foreign country - read more Wedding Wednesday
42. free hugs in Dublin, Ireland
43. participate in CouchSurfing 
44. celebrate Huatia 
45. learn to make crepes
46. taste Pliny the Younger 

Wow, I feel so incredibly grateful for all these experiences I've had! Share something you would put on your list! 

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Harvest festival in Peru: Huatia

Buenas tardes, dear readers.
So, who likes Thanksgiving?? It's one of my favorite holidays because it's all about food! In it's tradition, it's really about celebrating a harvest. It's fascinating to me to learn that most cultures around the world have a similar harvest festivals. For example, there's Sukkoh in Judaism (celebrated with fruit), the Yam Festival from Africa, Harvest Moon Festival from Korea, and lots lots more. 

In Peru, the harvest festival is called Huatia [wat-iya]. Living here for the past nearly 2 years I've been able to celebrate this twice! I love this tradition because first of all it's not about buying things or supporting the commercialization of holidays (*cough* Valentine's Day, Christmas *cough*). It's a natural celebration for the food that has been grown from the Earth. So this feels very organic and something that has been meaningful for thousands of years. And for this reason, it's a holiday for even people who live in poor areas or out in the country-side. That's actually where it comes from. 

So in the mountains of Peru, potatoes are one of the highest produced crops. During the months of May-July, Andean people celebrate the potato harvest. Huatia isn't just about harvesting the potatoes, it's about creating a natural oven to cook them. Over the past nearly two years living in Peru I was lucky enough to celebrate this twice. So below I'll be showing what the process is like. Since I was working at an afterschool program out in the countryside, we did this with the kids. They actually knew more about how to do it than most of the adults. 

First step was to collect some dried dirt clods. Then we started building them up in a U-shape.
The boys also showed off their building skills - very impressive!
And the girls got right in there too!

Next we lit the fire. It burned until the dirt clods were black. 

The black clods means that the fire it is hot enough to add potatoes and beans. Some people also cook meats, but it needs to be wrapped up.

Then it's time to collapse the hot dirt clods.

By burying this with loose dirt, the pile creates a hot insulated oven. All the holes with smoke coming out were covered.

During the cooking process you can take a break on the monkey bars for awhile :)

After about an hour, the food should be cooked. You have to be careful when finding the potatoes and beans in that hot pile! It's literally like 'hot potato'!
Keep undigging until the very last ones are out. 

Then it's time to eat! Everyone gets a few potatoes and can eat it with some different sauces. No washing, just peel off the dirt-y skin and enjoy! Now that's a natural flavor :)

So what do you think of this? Do you have any special food traditions?

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Cultural Bit: Movie Theaters {+Tuesday Tunes #7}

Hello lovely ladies, and gents too! Can I share something I was SOOOO excited about from this weekend? I went to the movies!!! This was something pretty special because until recently I was living in Cusco, where there are currently no movie theaters. So this Sunday Rafa and I were exploring downtown Lima and when we stumbled upon a little local theater at 7pm with no other plans, it was just the right thing to do. Despite the run-down appearance of the place (we go for authentic and cost-effective), we had a really fun time. We saw Aviones (Disney´s new movie Planes) and it was really cute. Aside from one other movie I saw in Spain, this was my first Spanish movie in a theater. Kids movies are perfect because it kept my attention and I wasn´t lost in very fast phrases. It was definitely a success!
And since today is Tuesday, I have a really fun fusion of Tuesday Tunes for you! The artist is called Miki Gonzalez and is apparently pretty well known (at least in Latin America). His music is an interesting mix of techno-trance, jazz, and traditional Andean music. I heard of this guy awhile back from a traveler I stayed with but didn´t listen much until lately. I love it because of the stories of the Andean people that are incorporated into this new style of music.

Do you have any favorite music fusions? Or maybe a favorite type of world music?
Sending wishes for a beautiful day!

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fall Food Must: Pumpkins!

Hello there, how's it going? Good to have you here on this lovely Sunday. I love seeing how everyone else is diving right into the beautiful fall season in the states! I'm just imagining the trees and the innumerable shades they are turning... But in reality, I'm in Lima and glad to be leaving the foggy days of winter and transitioning into sunnier spring days (t-minus 7 days!).
BUT I would still like to reminisce those things I love about fall! Today I'm linking up with my Snail Mail partner, Elizabeth, and her friend Stephanie for Autumn on My Mind. Every few days there is a different prompt, all about different aspects of autumn. So here we go with today's:
Do you have a favorite food that you associate with fall? This is the time to highlight those yummy fall goodies!

This time of year is all about the pumpkins!!! I love the tradition of the harvest and celebrating Thanksgiving by eating delicious foods! In addition to adding pumpkin spice to everything (coffee and all baked goods), I have 3 pumpkin foods to share.

1. Toasted pumpkin seeds
Every year when I was younger, my family would carve pumpkins. Then my mom would wash and toast the seeds with just a sprinkle of salt. So delicious!


2. Pumpkin soup
I am also imagining some warm, creamy pumpkin soup. I've had some good butternut squash soups, but would like to try out a pumpkin recipe sometime. This one I found looks like a winner in my book - creamy coconut and with a bit of curry spice. Yum!


3. Pumpkin pie
And a Thanksgiving classic favorite in my family is pumpkin pie (with Cool Whip on top). I don't think it was ever home-made but I would like to try that one next time I'm in the states for the big feast. Well, last year I did make a squash pie that turned out pretty tasty {read up on my Thanksgiving in Peru here}.


Alright, so what are your fall favorites?? Any good recipes to share, I'd love to hear (and take notes)!
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Friday, September 13, 2013

Graffiti in Granada

Maybe I haven't mentioned that I was in Spain for a year. A few years back I lived (and studied on the side) in the south of Andalucia. I love Granada and it will always have a piece of my heart (after all, it's where my travel bug was born!). One beautiful thing that changed my perspective (aside from the amazing Alhambra, flamenco, and tapas - oh how I miss those!)was the graffiti.

Many of these pieces weren't just graffiti tags (some were), but skillfully created murals which take time, skill, and passion.

I fell in love with the possibilities of creating a positive use of public space, how dimensions can be transformed...

A local bakery's mural art

I fell in love with the messages and meanings behind the paint, the interactions between the artists...

I fell in love with how the colors play with each other, the visual stimulation, and pure creativity...

I fell in love with the distinctive details and styles of the artists...

And I fell in love with the feelings and emotions that can be evoked.

I see graffiti art as an artistic expression written around the city for the world to admire, question, imagine, challenge, etc. What I really love about it, is what it is not - graffiti is not intended to advertise or gain your approval. It's art that everyone can enjoy and it doesn't cost a thing (aside from it's creation)!

Graffiti was such a huge, new discovery for me when I lived in Spain. It took on a new meaning for me - it's definition was no longer strictly related to gangs or negative parts of society. I saw it's artistic possibility and it was so exciting! But one thing that really bothered me was that this art form was so limited in the US. 

In the past few years, I've seen more and learned more (I even wrote a senior thesis on the subject). As least in large cities, I have seen more artists employed for these types of works (ie. ArtStart in Santa Rosa). Not long ago a friend began a campaign that's directly related to the idea of getting more positive art out in the public realm - what a beautiful thing to see! 
{you can check out what it's about here and donate if you're inspired}

In any capacity, I feel it's so important for people who are in society to express things they want to publicly, not only corporations and advertisers. 

Is street art common where you live? What kind of affect do you think it has?

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tuesday Tunes #6 Childhood Flashback

Hello and welcome my lovelies!
Today's Tuesday Tunes we're mixing it up a bit! I was telling my husband about the children's music I would listen to and sing along with as a kid. I loved singing and still have some of those songs are still ingrained in my mind (Bananaphone or Baby Beluga anyone??). Naturally in this conversation Raffi came up as the children's entertainer of the 80s and (I think) 90s. Do you guys remember him?! Man, this guy has a talent for story-telling and entertaining kids! Look at the kids' faces in this video - it makes me so happy!!

Raffi singing Peanut Butter & Brush Your Teeth

I was interested in seeing what Raffi is up to these days. This guy's even cooler than I thought - he has a campaign about honoring children and creating a commercial free childhood. And the part that I really respect is that he actually follows through with his philosophy - he's never advertised or promoted his music to children. 

Cheers to the memories, go Raffi!
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Saturday, September 7, 2013

2 Things for Today

Hi again! It´s been a few days since my last post, as life has it´s ups and downs I´m dealing I have a little positive things to share tonight.

#1 Fresh Tomato and Basil snack
Is anyone else a big basil fan!? I definitely am. This is super simple and delicious (which is usually what my recipes are about). And since the sun is on it´s way to Lima, I made this snack getting ready for nice, warm weather. 

Tomatoes + (goat) cheese + basil + olive oil + sprinkle of salt

 #2 An ounce of positivity
My teacher from middle school posted this quotation on Facebook and it made me smile. I especially like the last two lines. We´re all in tough situations sometimes, but realizing that and moving on is key in overcoming it. It´s like Ben Lee once sang - we´re all in this together.

Best wishes for a restful, active, refreshing (or whatever you need it to be) weekend. 

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