Illuminate Your Interior with Sustainable Lighting

June 16th, 2013

sustainable lightingAs someone who watches consumer trends and attempts to predict new ones, I am always fascinated at how they seem to “trickle down” from one segment of our culture to another. Environmental concerns are a terrific example of this. Once the domain of the auto industry and other emissions-producing corporations, it soon became apparent that we all needed to become ecologically-conscious consumers.

Read the rest of this entry »

What is Restorative Yoga?

June 6th, 2013

restorative yogaWe’ve all heard about restorative sleep, restorative dentistry and restorative justice, but what about restorative yoga?  What is different about this new and interesting form of yoga, and why should you learn about it?

Read the rest of this entry »

How to Eat Real Food Without Spending Hours in the Kitchen

June 2nd, 2013

bfsAre you eating real, whole food as much as you’d like?
Leo Babauta of Zen Habits, went from being an overweight junk food eater to a lean, plant-food-loving machine. One key element of optimal health is to eat real, whole food as much as possible, preferably prepared at home. The good news is, it doesn’t need to take as much time as you’d think.
Here are 7 tips for eating real food without spending hours in the kitchen.
When learning how to meditate, one of the biggest lessons is to set small, achievable goals. Make it as easy as possible for you to take the first step. The same applies to cooking. Start with one night a week and build from there. Starting small assures you will less likely end up with a fridge full of vegetables, you will feel guilty about when they go bad and you throw them out.
Start with a small collection of easy recipes that focus on quick cooking techniques. Avoid recipes that have an ingredient list as long as your arm, or instruct you to simmer for 30 minutes. It is best to save those for weekend cooking when you have more time. Look for simple stir fry’s, hearty salads or one pot meals.
Avoid getting stuck in food ruts by simply swapping different ingredients into your favorite meals. For example, if you normally make a stir fry with tofu and kale, try it with bok choy or broccoli. Same goes for flavorings. If you normally use garlic, try ginger or a new spice.
If possible, avoid peeling vegetables. It takes time and you often lose the nutrients close to the skin. Instead rinse or scrub and move on to the next step. For example, try leaving the skin on carrots or sweet potatoes. If using butternut squash or beets, try roasting with the skins on. It’s easy to slip the cooked skins off but try them with the skin on because they are often delicious.
Try to include some raw vegetables in your diet every day. Not only is this beneficial for getting extra enzymes and heat-sensitive vitamins, it’s also much quicker than cooking. For example, it takes a fraction of the time to finely slice a bunch of broccoli and toss in a dressing than it takes to steam it [recipe below]. Consider finely slicing or grating a vegetable and serving it raw. Try serving shaved raw broccoli or grated cauliflower in place of steamed rice with curries or in stir fry’s. Tyr shaved fennel or cabbage in salads and finely sliced kale or raw bok choy – which has a surprisingly crunchy texture.
If you feel overwhelmed or short on time, consider using packages prepared vegetables when it makes sense for you. Yes, they may cost more, but it might be the “right” thing to splurge on. Pre-washed salad leaves and vegetables are available in a variety of styles. Be creative and try to alternate flavor profiles of your meals. Pick up a flavor highlight or sauce. Consider premade hummus, pesto, salsa, soy sauce, curry pastes or olive tapenade.
Many nutritional studies indicate freezing may be the next best way to preserving vegetables without losing much of the nutrition. Frozen vegetables picked at their peak, will often have more nutrients than older, fresh vegetables that are past their prime. They also save you loads of prep time. Compare sitting down to shell a giant bowl of peas with the time it takes to open the packet and pour them into a pot. Frozen peas, spinach, collard greens, green beans, broccoli, and cauliflower, are great for a quick stir fry.
Raw Broccoli & Feta Salad
Raw broccoli salads are popular and delicious. Try eating raw broccoli once a week to start. If you do prefer cooked broccoli, this salad is just as delicious with steamed broccoli.
1 tablespoon seeded mustard, 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 1 head broccoli, 3 1/2 oz. feta, handful pine nuts (walnuts or pecans work well too).
Combine mustard, vinegar and 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a medium bowl. Season to your taste.
Finely slice the broccoli stems and chop the floret’s into tiny bite sized trees. Toss in the dressing.
Crumble feta and sprinkle over the salad with the pine nuts.
Variations: vegan / dairy-free – replace the feta with an avocado, flesh scooped into chunks.
Nut-free – replace the pine nuts with sesame seeds or finely diced red bell pepper or red onion. Sun dried tomatoes work well too.
Herbs – serve sprinkled with fresh herbs such as coriander, cilantro, parsley, mint or basil.
More substantial – increase the amount of feta or toss in a drained can of chickpeas or white beans.

~By Leo Babauta and Jules Clancy

Keeping your online passwords safe, tips from, a leading online retailer of zen-inspired living.

May 31st, 2013


With increasing online security breaches, hacking and an increasing rise in identity theft, password management has never been more important. Strong passwords ensure your information is kept private.

Here are 6 tips to keep your online passwords secure:

1. Include a combination of upper and lowercase alphabetic characters, symbols, and numbers.
2. Make sure the password is at least six characters (the longer, the better).
3. Never use all or part of your name in your password.
4. Avoid using passwords with all-numbers or repeating a single letter.
5. Change your passwords every 60 days or sooner.
6. Avoid reusing or recycling passwords.

“Great Balls of Fire” – Astrology Soul Coach – June 2013

May 31st, 2013

Astrology Soul Coach
Cosmic Dance for June 2013
Do you hear the unmistakable beat of Jerry Lee Lewis singing “Great Balls of Fire?” No? Then it’s time to adjust your cosmic headset. Jupiter, the big daddy of them all – the largest planet in our known solar system – is making a move this month. Jupiter only changes signs once a year so when it happens, we astrologers sit up and take notice.

Astrologically Jupiter represents our ability to expand our horizons and is associated with our desire to find truth, honesty, integrity and meaning in our lives. We associate Jupiter with benefit and good luck. Jupiter is a bridge between where we are now and where we hope to be in the future. So where are you expanding your life and looking for improvement?

On June 25th Jupiter will leave Gemini and head for the comforting and nurturing arms of Cancer the Crab. Cancer is the sign of family, home, safety and security. Cancer is protective, tenacious, sensitive, emotional, maternal, domestic and retentive (they remember and honor their ancestors and the past). When Jupiter is in Cancer we thrive when we honor this energy of home and family. Some will start college funds for their children, others will gather the family pictures and preserve them in scrapbooks or through digital scanning; some will buy and sell homes; family rituals and traditions will be started and maintained. Many of us will demonstrate the classical ‘nesting instinct’ by renovating, and re-decorating our homes.

However the spirit moves you, remember, the basic instinct is the desire for both self-preservation and to connect in meaningful ways with other people. On a spiritual level we are one. Focus on ways to extend your definition of ‘family’. Examine your motivation – do you intend to exclude or include?

And when you are not busy thinking about your life philosophy, honor Jupiter in Cancer with some new and fresh additions to your home, big or little. A wind-chime in the yard invites relaxation and joy, or maybe a new over-stuffed love seat to cuddle with family. Whatever you do, Jupiter invites you to ‘make yourself at home.’

C.A. Brooks is a clairvoyant astrologer, writer, speaker and coach
You can find her at and read her weekly astrology column in Mark’s Power Peek at She hosts a daily radio show “A Course in Miracles Daily Lessons” on at 7am Pacific – 10 Eastern. You can also tune into her weekly Astrology radio program, Simpletales, on every Tuesday 11am Pacific – 2 Eastern.


“Enlighten” Your Garden with Volcanic Stone Statues

May 21st, 2013

buddha statueJust browse the aisles of any local garden center and you are likely to find plenty of stone statues to accent your garden. Depending on where you shop, these “statues” may range from small ducks and frogs to large gargoyles and lions.  As someone who has never been a fan of garden ornaments, I never expected to find a genre of garden sculpture that intrigued me, but that was before I found this unique collection of volcanic stone statuary.  It may be difficult to find these spiritually inspired monuments in your typical garden center, but they are available online at

Read the rest of this entry »

Keep Your Own Rhythm with Mediation Gongs and Chimes

May 5th, 2013

bronze chau gongAs more people embrace the healing benefits of meditation, they learn that some “accessories” are essential to this practice.  While it’s certainly possible to sit on a mat in your living room and meditate, many people find it nearly impossible without a proper cushion and a meditation gong or chime. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Astrology Soul Coach – Cosmic Dance for May 2013

May 3rd, 2013

trends in yogaAstrology Soul Coach
Cosmic Dance for May 2013

We start the month with 4 planets and the South Node of the Moon all in the solid, persevering and artistic sign of Taurus. But before you grab the snacks and hunker down in that comfortable easy chair, keep reading. May is not nearly as mellow and uneventful as we might expect.

For one thing, Saturn the disciplinarian is in Scorpio exactly 180 degrees across the zodiac from Taurus. While those planets in peace-loving Taurus might prefer to take a nap following a gourmet lunch, Saturn has others plans. He’s acting more like the principal calling them into his office, one by one, for a review and accounting of their actions and future plans. May is not a month for sloppiness or poor planning. If you want to get ahead, do your homework and research your options. Accuracy and attention to detail counts! Even in the face of what may feel like formidable opposition, have faith and be willing to adjust and refine your plans.

Also keeping us on our toes during May are two eclipses. The first is a New Moon Solar Eclipse in Taurus on the 9th, followed by a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius on the 24th. Both are likely to drop new information, insights or people into our lives. Pay attention, not only on these dates, but during these weeks. Eclipses often bring things to our attention – something that may have been lurking in the recesses of the unconscious or maybe something surprisingly new.

A third thing to pay attention to is a powerful connection between Uranus the awakener and Pluto the transformer on the 20th. This uncomfortable alliance can be swift and even a bit shocking. Even though it’s overall affect can be unsettling, this very sense of discontent can motivate us to make changes we have been avoiding yet know are in our best interest.

During May, we will have the desire, motivation and energy to build for the future. And thanks to the eclipses, discipline of Saturn, and the Uranus Pluto Square we will also have the opportunity to clear the clutter and build on clean and certain foundations. Get to it!

C.A. Brooks is a clairvoyant astrologer, writer, speaker and coach
You can find her at and read her weekly astrology column in Mark’s Power Peek at She hosts a daily radio show “A Course in Miracles Daily Lessons” on at 7am Pacific – 10 Eastern. You can also tune into her weekly Astrology radio program, Simpletales, on every Tuesday 11am Pacific – 2 Eastern.

Celebrate Japanese Floral Design with Ikebana Vases

April 30th, 2013

ikebana vaseOver the centuries, the Japanese art form called Ikebana has grown to become a modern form of expression around the world.  Once limited to Japan, Ikebana is now a category in many international flower shows.  It aims to bring nature and humanity together through an intriguing form of flower arrangement that is thoroughly unique. 

Read the rest of this entry »

How to Add “Zen” to Your Home with a Shoji Screen

April 9th, 2013

shoji screen 2013Have you ever tried to describe the word “Zen?” Think about it; is it a noun, a verb or an adjective? Is it an attitude, a discipline, or a trend? When you think about how to “add” Zen to your home, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Hint: if you’re trying to come up with the right answer, there isn’t one. Zen is both subjective and objective simultaneously. When applied to home décor it is one of the hardest styles to define, particularly among Americans who have a hard time grasping its simplicity.

Read the rest of this entry »