Herbophilia

April 25, 2010

The Urban Dictionary defines an HERBOPHILE as…

“A person who is sexually attracted to flora of all sorts
this includes plants, ferns, trees and flowering plants”

That’s ridiculous.

I just wanted to find a sweet title that would describe my adoration of herbs as Nature’s gift to epicureans.  (And certainly we must not confuse ‘herbophile’ with ‘hebophile’ …which is infinitely wrong and has no place in my blog.)

Back to herbs

…and fun places to find them.

My son, Parker, and I spent a sunny and cool Thursday morning at Stone Barns in Westchester County New York and stayed through the early afternoon.

Stone Barns

Thanks to two of our closest friends, Vonnie and her son MacArthur, we took a short car ride 30 minutes north of the city to the fresh air and open landscapes of this working farm and educational center.  The central stone building is also home to the Blue Hill Cafe and the prestigious Blue Hill at Stone Barns restaurant, famous for their use of the the farm’s freshest seasonal herbs and other market wares.

Blue Hill at Stone Barns herbal tea cart

I drank iced coffee and tasted scones with cheese and chives, and a fluffy frittata full of fresh herbs and vegetables.

Blue Hill Cafe's frittata

We walked through a quaint outdoor garden with apple trees and fragrant mint and thyme, and we were encouraged to rub the leaves and wander with the heady fresh scent lingering on our fingers.

Parker and Mac next to some mint at Stone Barns

To me, the aromatic essence of fresh herbs synthesize energy and calm

…history and presence

…flavor and fragrance

…beauty and rusticity

…earth and air

…and somehow provide a refreshing perspective

…on life.



Spring Rain

April 9, 2010

Today on the East Coast it is cloudy and cool

…with 60% chance of precipitation…

…and likely thunderstorms.

Yesterday was sunny and warm.

Spring is settling in and we are all scrambling to adjust.  There are more hours of light and greater clarity of our surroundings. There is immense relief as we stretch our legs, step outside and escape from our indoor imprisonment.

Then, there is significant disappointment in the set back of a rainy day.

There are ways to ease the tense tether of wet grey skies,

and perhaps ways to revel in the ties that bind.

Light candles…Listen to music…Write a letter…

Visit a quiet indoor space…Sip from a mug…Read a book…

Look…Listen…Watch the rain…Hear the wind…

Let all other preoccupations wait, and just be where you are

…with what you have.

The time we spend weathering the inclement

is what makes sunny comfort so anticipated.

Jars sans Jelly

April 2, 2010

With all the fanciful things jars can contain,

they capture little bits of the best things in life!

Bring some sweet

bright

comforting

…charming…


rustic…


…natural…

pure

refreshing…


…elegant

…STYLE into your LIFE!

That was extremely enthusiastic for a segment on jars.

But they are precious…affordable…recyclable…non toxic…portable…and readily available to us all!

As a metaphor for living life with style,

I would like to encourage you all to devour the jelly, and free the jar!!!

A cramp in my Style

March 20, 2010

It’s about to happen, People.

I am going to burst the usual empowering-joy-bubble of my persona.

I’m not going to go into graphic detail or anything, but…what is the deal with all my goals, ambitions, optimism, energy, brain cells, sense of smell, sense of taste and sense of self flying out the window with the onset of my monthly curse/blessing/period?

I AM A POSITIVE PERSON WITH AN INDEFATIGABLE SPIRIT!!!

…3 weeks out of a month.

So…I’m going to ignore the absolute failure of the past day and 3/4 and set on a new path.

I’m going to write my blog with as much fervor as I can muster

from my couch!!

I may or may not exercise for a maximum of 10 minutes when I get up from my couch!

I’ve read that certain yoga poses help.

Supported Bridge Pose, Standing Forward Bend, Triangle Pose.  I might try those later….if I get off of my couch!

I’ve also read that running is a great option!

Unless it’s dark…and you live in the outskirts of the city…and you don’t want to get off of my couch.

Swimming is also supposed to be great for any of us

any time of the month.

If there’s a pool…at an inexpensive location, within short walking distance (or an easy drive in a car that I don’t have)

…of my couch.

*sigh*

I think my body and soul need a super dark chocolate covered coconut Atkins Endulge bar

(because I do have some dignity and am committed to a healthy way of life)

…while I lay on my couch.

exercise, breathing and meditation

These are the elements of the art of yoga,

and elements of optimum health for all of us!

Through 5,000 years and specified historical periods of yoga development, the art has evolved into an accessible form of wellness for all people.  We are surrounded with easily attainable ways to practice.

Yoga doesn’t need to be your life to be incorporated into your lifestyle.

What I have learned about yoga, is that it is incredibly efficient!  Not only are you working your cardiovascular system, fatiguing muscle groups and stretching and lengthening your body, you are also caring for your internal organs, glandular systems, emotional serenity and mental focus.

With a proper and educated practice, your entire system improves!

Spending about 20 minutes a day exercising doesn’t seem like a lot, but with a good yoga practice, it is enough to accomplish lengthening, strengthening, fat burning and mind centering.  Not bad for the little  time we have these days to care for ourselves!

Now, on days when you have more time to spare and want to get some truly intense fitness, there are sure to be yoga classes in your area!  I have friends who swear by the cleansing feeling of Bikram Yoga, and athletic enthusiasts who adore their Vinyasa. There are numerous styles to explore.

Classes generally run about 45 minutes to an hour and a half, and I think it’s impossible to leave feeling less than renewed, empowered, challenged and accomplished!  Can’t afford classes?  Me niether!

FREE yoga practice is available  on www.exercisetv.com

My absolute favorite free video happens to be led by my amazing sister!  Search under “workouts”, then “free full length”, then “instructor” and “Elise Gulan”…and prepare to be challenged!

Elise Joan...fitness guru and celebrity trainer

She has a 45 minute yoga practice that is truly intense, even for those of us who consider ourselves physically fit!  She gives level options for each section of a flow, and there is amazing room for improvement and increased mastery.

My husband and I have been practicing yoga together in our living room several times a week.

We feel strong and centered every time.

…if only for a while

…and until we practice again.

Visions in White

March 6, 2010

It’s the eve of a good friend’s wedding, and my mind wanders to white.

White linens, white lights, white candles, white dress.

New beginnings!

New challenges,

New joys,

New responsibilites,

New fears and new comforts.

Upon self reflection, I see that I’m at a crossroads, and the endless possibility of a clean white slate appeals to me.  In the absence of color, we instinctively fill in the blank with imagination and personal vision!

The “newness” of white is energizing and provoking.

As so many of us do, I stand on the precipice of great changes.  My life, my family, my career, my body, my spirituality , my DREAMS…all in transition.   And the metamorphosis of these things and this self is as joyous and present as my good friend’s wedding, and as possible as white.

Envision the  blank pages of the rest of our story!

It’s sure to be dotted with mistakes and revisions, littered with marginal musings, well worn at the edges…

and filled with color.