January 27, 2010

A Year in Reflection, A Year in the Making

I wasn't going to do a new year post. I read a ton of them and they're all great but I didn't feel like I had that much to say. Then I sat back and looked at what the last year has meant to me and how it's helping me challenge myself for 2010. So we'll keep it simple limited to a few observations and goals.

Reflecting on 2009

~I have met amazing people. Through my virutal community on Twitter and in real life I have been blessed to meet some the most inspiring people. These are people who act with integrity, are intelligent, and know how to make every day count. They laugh at themselves and treat others with kindness. They know the meaning of empathy and practice it daily. They are climbers, yogis, scholars, comedians, well the list goes on, but ultimately they are the people who help me look inward and demand more from myself.

~I've had adventures. I have had some great climbing excursions including my amazing visit to Devil's Lake Wisconsin with Chicks Climbing. I have tried out Aerial Dance and discovered my love for the trapeze and Aerial Yoga. I ran my first 5K with friends that I hadn't know six months prior but their wisdom and support made it feel like they had always been there. I moved back into my condo and remembered what it feels like to have a home. I volunteered with The Women's Wilderness Institute  to produce Gear and Cheer 2009 and it's was one heck of a ride.

~I've lost a few things. I lost friends who were either not the people I thought they were or didn't care for me when I was no longer the person they expected. I lost my fear of trying new things because it doesn't matter how "good" I am. All that matters is that I have fun and do my best. I lost my boundaries and self-identity. Not in a way that is negative but I have let down my guard and it's opened my world so much.

Making  2010

~I plan to engage with more of my awesome people. I want to take relationships offline, make more contact and share and learn more. Whether it's Tweet Ups, joining new groups, visiting friends, or just making the time to have coffee one on one I am going to do it.

~I will have more adventures. I signed up for a Mini Duathlon. I am the Event Chair for Gear and Cheer and a member of the Board of Directors for The Women's Wilderness Institute. I want to begin Yoga Teacher Training in the autumn, complete my first adventure race and give Aerial Burlesque a try.

~I want to gain strong friendships, more life experience, and continue to grow and evolve. The only thing stopping me is me.

January 19, 2010

Review: Avalon Organic Botanicals Deodorant Spray

Back in June I reviewed three natural deodorants. Now, I don't want to get a reputation for being the deodorant lady however I can say that when I made the switch from antiperspirants to deodorant I felt a lot better. Turns out I like sweating, it feels natural and I no longer worry about what the side effects could be from antiperspirant use.  I had used the Burt's Bees Herbal Deodorant most often. I found the spray on formula and pleasant fragrance were a big draw. However when I went to buy another bottle of Burt's Bees the store didn't have it in stock, they did however have plenty of Avalon Organic Botanicals Deodorant Spray.  Since the Avalon came in four different scents, opposed to Burt's single variety I opted to give one a try. Below are my results.

Brand: Avalon Organic Botanical Organics - Rosemary Peppermint
How it works: Essential oils control order
Pros: Four Scents: Rosemary Peppermint, Grapefruit and Geranium, Clary Sage and Lemon, and Lavender. Good day-to-day deodorant, sprays on easily. 
Cons: Need to reapply after heavy workouts
Overall: I found for most days this worked well. I had to reply after running or biking but I have become used to that with the all natural deodorants. I found that on my heavy exercise days (aerial yoga, 50 minutes of cardio, and weight training) a simple reapplication wouldn't help. At this point you definitely want to use Action Wipes, Rocket Shower, or hop in the shower before proceeding with any socializing.

January 18, 2010

Recipe Review: Red Wine "Beef" Stew

If you know me you know I don't eat meat and I don't imbibe alcohol so this recipe review may seem an unusual choice for me. However after talking with a friend who recently changed to a plant-based vegan diet I became aware of how much lousy vegan food there is out there. What I mean by lousy is over-processed and filled with sugar (see PETA's Accidentally Vegan list). I realized if I want to eat better it's not just about cutting out animals and alcohol but also about sticking to the basics. We all know whole grains are better and that eating mostly plants will help us avoid fats and sugars.

However, sometimes I get bored with the food I know is safe. So this week I pulled The "Skinny Bitch in the Kitch" book off the shelf and picked out a few recipes to add to the mix this week. What I like about the Skinny Bitch girls, Rory Freedman and Kim Barouin, is they have a lot of recipes that are familiar for former meat eaters.

I really love the way this "beef" stew turned out. I made a few changes but that's why I love cooking my own meals. You can improvise and make the recipe your own. You can find the recipe here and for the record here are my changes:

  • Substituted a non-alcohol cabernet sauvignon

  • Skipped the onion because I don't like the texture

  • Skipped the peas beacause I forgot to buy them

  • Cut the recipe in half which worked very well but the cooking times stay the same

  • In addition to the rosemary used to coat the "beef" strips I took a whole sprig and added it to the stockpot for the first 15 minutes then pulled it out. Great flavor!!!

January 8, 2010

Happy Birthday Elvis!

I normally don't make a playlist for one musician however everybody knows Elvis is the King. In his honor, here it is!

January 4, 2010

Help Me Find The Best Independent Outdoor Retailers!

In 2010 I would like to start a new series fueled by my readers and. friends. In this series I want to identify the most unique and community oriented Independent Outdoor Retailers.  These shops can be broadbased or specialized. They can have 5 employees or 50. What I am looking for is the independent spirit! The shop that stands the test of time because it's people and mission keep it alive. The place where you go and feel at home.

I find that 2010 is taking on a feeling that it's a year that anything can happen, a feeling of invincibility. I have a feeling these independent retailers have harnessed that energy and make great things happen. I want to learn more.

So I ask that you help me find these great independents. If you have a shop to nominate send me an email at thecupcake@mycupcakemafia.com