What I Learned from Travel

As a child, I moved all the time. 6 months here, two years there. With my mom for awhile, and then my grandparents. I’ve lived in trailer parks and the basement of a friend’s house. I also lived in very nice suburbs and out in the middle of nowhere. I went to 8 different school from Kindergarten through graduating High School. So travel and moving was instilled in me at a young age.

By moving all the time I learned how to make friends quickly and also how to say goodbye and let go of those friends. I learned that having possessions only slowed us down. It was easier to move if you didn’t have a lot to pack. I became accustomed to giving my things away. I also didn’t have pets. You can’t have a pet if you’re living in a travel trailer in Valdez, Alaska. It’s just too small and cold.

As I grew older and got married I knew that I wanted to have kids and have a house somewhere nice where we could raise those kids. And we did that. I stayed in one place for 15 years. And even though I was stationary geographically I was always changing things around the house. Changing the furniture, changing the paint colors, changing the landscape. I had been programmed to be comfortable with change.

Changing things around the house was my way of feeling that I was having some kind of small adventure even though in my heart I wanted to provide stability for my kids because I didn’t have that in my childhood. And to this day – my children are still in that small town, in the house we raised them in. Is that a good thing? Sometimes I don’t know.

Over the course of the last five years I have been traveling – really traveling. Our first trip was a Yoga Retreat in Tulum, Mexico. It was heavenly – beautiful blue water and white sandy beaches. Fresh, healthy food, yoga every morning and long walks on the beach every day.

Then Costa Rica. Luna Lodge – a yoga retreat but this time in the jungles of the Osa Peninsula. Where Howler Monkeys wake you up every morning, the sand of the beach is black and turtles as big as dinner plates emerge from the mud when it rains!

A yoga teaching stint in Belize followed. Then Italy, Thailand, another trip to Belize, A sailing trip to the Dalmatian Islands of Croatia, Gibraltar, Spain, The Bahamas and BVI’s, the north coast of Africa and around and across the U.S a few times. It’s been a busy five years!

And what I have learned through travel is that WE ARE ALL ONE. We all want the same things. We all want to be happy, to have the freedom to live our lives in peace, to raise our families and prosper. In every place I have traveled – everyone wants to help. Locals will help you find what you are looking for. They will try to find someone who speaks English to help you and they will help you make change!!!!!

I also learned that I am a part of something much bigger than just the United States. I am a citizen of the world. I am part of the WHOLE and I am responsible for what I do. I am responsible for how I treat the environment. I am responsible for how much plastic I use and throw into the trash. I am responsible for the karmic energy I put out into the world: how I treat people, whether I create community or competition – whether I choose Love or Fear. I am responsible.

And finally traveling taught me that I am more capable that I thought. I always tell the story of traveling to Italy alone (with a tour group) but alone. And one day our leader left us in Florence with a map. We were on our own to tour the city, see what we chose and make our way through the day. And although I was a bit nervous. I did It! I even managed to get my hair cut at a salone where no one spoke English and I also got a tattoo! All without speaking Italian! It was a big moment for me. I felt grown up and capable and proud of myself.

And even though I now live in Georgia and I’m setting down roots here, I still want to make time for travel. And I want to take YOU with me. Where would you like to go? How about we go on a Yoga Retreat to Costa Rica and see what travel will teach YOU?

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Time Traveling in Texas

I drove across Texas today. I was on a small two lane freeway in the hill country noticing the beautiful Live Oaks and the creamy white Limestone buildings. Big huge American and Texas flags fly over businesses and homes. My windows were open to the warm sultry air and ….BAM….suddenly I was 19 years old again living in Austin Texas…and the slide show of memories began:

Stretching pizza dough at work, hanging out by the pool, being young and happy, driving down long country roads, hanging out on 6th street just for the free happy hour buffet, watching bats fly out from under the Congress Avenue Bridge, taking sign language classes at the Texas School for the Deaf, going to the Oasis to watch the sun set, working at the library at the University of Texas, going to Barton Springs when it got REALLY hot, that one time it snowed and we stood outside staring up in amazement, meeting a guy who really made me laugh.

So many really good memories. It’s funny though I know not all of it was good. There was bad relationship stuff in there and lots and lots of stupid choices. But those things seem to just fade in the light of all the good things that happened here. It’s kind of nice when you get to look back and you can give yourself grace.

I wasn’t here all that long but it was totally worth it. All of the memories made me smile and I was with that man who really made me laugh for a long time. We made two gorgeous babies who are now grown and making memories and stupid choices of their own…..and BAM…..I’m back in the present.

And the present is good too.

 

 

My favorite Eats in NW Washington State.

There’s just nothing like going back home after a long absence. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest so I get all exited and start making lists of things I want to do and people I want to see. But inevitably my list ends up being a bunch of places where I want to eat!  So here is my list of places that you absolutely MUST go if you ever visit the north-west corner of Washington state.

Bow, WA – The Breadfarm. This tiny place is the bakery to end all bakeries. They make THE BEST sourdough bread around and OMG the cookies are amazing! It’s a little off the beaten path but it is SOOOO wort the effort to go check it out. Be sure to bring cash because they don’t accept credit cards. They also go to most of the local farmer’s markets so you may be able to find them that way also. What i like to get here is a big box…then I start picking cookies that look good to me. Cookies for breakfast even? You betcha!

Mount Vernon – Skagit Valley Food Co-op. The Co-op is Ahhhhmazing! It is an organic grocery store that sells everything from produce to essential oils. They have a shop upstairs where you can buy jewelry and kitchen gadgets but their deli is what always gets me! The food is fabulous and good for you too! They have a hot table full of yummy goodness, desserts, a salad bar and cold case full of prepared foods. They also pull a mean shot of coffee.  My favorite thing is the coconut cuban rice pudding. Try it, you won’t be sorry!

Anacortes – The Store This little shop at the top of Anacortes is a big surprise! It doesn’t look like a whole lot from the outside but boy do they deliver! The sell wine and other various sundries and also have a small cafe where they serve coffee and snacks. But where you will find the line of people is at the bakery counter where you can buy humongous muffins that will leave you wanting more and more and more! My must haves are the coconut muffins or a bag of mini macaroons!

Anacortes – Gere A Deli This place is an Absolute MUST. The decor is vintage and the food is fabulous. EVERY single time I go to Gere A Deli I get the Reuben. It’s hot and a little spicy and they use this sweet mustard that just makes my mouth drool even thinking about it! My second favorite is their Clam Chowder that is served on Friday. But if you want some you better get there early because it sells fast!

Seattle – Little Water Cantina This place is a little slice of Mexico right in the heart of Seattle. They are located on Eastlake Boulevard just south of the University of Washington on the east side of Lake Union. There is seating outside that overlooks the boats and they have monthly live music during the summer. I tell people about this place all the time! The MUST HAVES are their margaritas (one kicks my butt) the homemade guacamole and chips and the Posole. The posole is so good that it makes ME – a confirmed poor cook want to learn how to make it!

Seattle – Ivars If you grew up in Seattle you know all about this place. It’s the best. It’s the one place that my Dad absolutely HAS to visit when he comes to town.  It’s entirely nostalgic and brings back tons of memories of eating outside with my grandparents and feeding the seagulls my uneaten french fries. There are several Ivars locations but I recommend the one on the Seattle waterfront.

So there you go, the best eats from a girl born and raised in Seattle. Enjoy!

BEST. IDEA. EVER.

Have you ever stopped to think about how much Singe Use Plastic you use? Things like straws, plastic silverware and cups? There is plastic in almost everything we purchase from the grocery store: shampoo, lotion, dish soap and laundry detergent. Wouldn’t it be great if you could take your bottle back to the store and just get a refill instead of buying a whole new bottle?

WELL NOW YOU CAN! The Refill Shoppe in Ventura, CA will refill your bottles for you! You can bring in any bottle from home or they have bottles for purchase in the store. It’s exactly like shopping in the bulk section of your grocery store! You can buy as little or as much as you need! I don’t know why more stores aren’t doing this because I think this idea is Genius!

Another great thing about The Refill Shoppe is that they do their best to source environmentally friendly products. ALL of the ingredients for each product can be found on their website. They shoot for organic, paraben free, cruelty free, vegan, socially responsible and clean in everything they sell. They prefer products made in the USA to support our economy.

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Now, I know some of you are thinking, “Well, that’s great if you live in Ventura, California! But I live in Rhode Island!” The Refill Shoppe has an online store and they can ship products to you! They use a refillable pouch that you empty into your container and included is a self-addressed, postage paid envelope and you return the pouch to be cleaned and reused! Isn’t that awesome?

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18452567_10211471173347418_593379323_oAfter you pick your products and they fill the bottles you can then choose to have your products scented. The refill shoppe uses essential oils and essential oil blends to make your lotions or shampoo smell great! You can also leave everything unscented if someone in your household has allergies or use your own doTerra Essential Oils at home to make your own blends!

So recycle those old glass bottles! Fill them up with yummy products that are clean and good for your skin! Vote with your dollars to support a company that is doing things right in the honor of sacred commerce. Support our environment by limiting the amount of plastic you purchase.

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And treat yourself to a lovely smelling bubble bath or some lotion scented just the way YOU prefer.

Enjoy!

 

The Ayurvedic Practice of Abhyanga

Are you sick and tired of trying to find the right lotion for your body type? Did you try the lotion that your best friend loves only to find that it sits on top of your skin like an oil slick? Or when you read the label you find out that it contains chemicals like petroleum or alcohol?

No one wants to absorb bad stuff into their body. In fact, we want to use healthy products on our skin! Just like the food we eat is the building blocks of health for our bodies, what we put on our skin also affects our health and wellbeing!

So my new rule is this: “If I wouldn’t eat it – then it doesn’t go on my skin.” And here are the steps I took to make the change.

#1.  Check ALL the beauty products in your home for the ingredients below. Check your deodorant, toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo and conditioner, shaving cream, body lotion, face lotion, makeup (yes, even that) sunscreen….ANYTHING that you use on your body!

Artificial Color
Diethanolamine (DEA)
Formaldahyde donors
Parabens
Phthalates
Propylene Glycol
Sodium Laureth Sulfates
Sodium Laurel Sulfates
Toluene
Tri Ethanolamine

These chemicals are all known to cause cancer in mammals. If you find these chemicals in your products I suggest you THROW THE PRODUCT OUT. Believe me, I know this isn’t easy. I almost cried when I found out my favorite lotion was full of bad stuff. But we are trying to lower our exposure to harmful chemicals.

If you want to double-check me – go to google and type in the name of the chemical like this: “toluene and cancer” and look for scholarly publications with articles on the subject.

#2 Go to any search engine and type: Dosha Quiz. They are all pretty similar so just pick one. The main thing we want to know is your primary Dosha which will be either Vata, Pitta or Kapha. There are varying combinations but you will find that you are dominant in one aspect.

#3   Visit this website: https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/ayurvedic-living/living-ayurveda/lifestyle/self-oil-massage/  Then find your dosha and see which kind of oil they recommend for you. For example I’m Pitta and they recommend Coconut and Sunflower Oil.  Both oils that I would cook with!

Once you find out which oil is right for your dosha feel free to add any essential oil that you prefer. The Chopra Center recommends Sandalwood, Mint, Jasmine and Lavender to balance my pitta dosha. Mix your essential oil in with your carrier oil until it smells just the way you want! (roughly 12 drops per fluid ounce of carrier oil) And now you have a Massage Oil or Body Oil made just for YOU!

#4 Start using this mixture, your Abhyanga oil as a daily ritual to nourish and moisturize your skin! This is normally a pre-shower process which even includes the scalp and hair.  If you’re up for it, the Banyan Botanical site above will give you all the tips on how to do a proper Abhyanga. It is a relaxing process that will benefit every part of your skin, hair and nails.

If you don’t have enough time to do a full Abhyanga join me in using your oil as a daily after shower moisturizer. This is especially great if you shower or bath in the evening because you are not in a hurry and the oil can soak into your skin all night! I’m currently using coconut as a carrier oil with a little bit of Lavender Essential Oil from doTerra and some home-made Vanilla Bean Oil. I rub the oil all over my body. (avoiding my scalp, hair and face) I do this slowly and methodically rubbing the oil in until it is absorbed – usually about 15 minutes and it leaves my skin with a healthy glow all day long!

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PLEASE NOTE: If you’re going to add essential oils to your carrier oil be sure to do some research on the EO that you choose. Some oils can be hot on the skin and can even cause burns if undiluted. Some Citrus oils are not ok to use when going out in the sun or tanning! So be careful and do your research please. I want you to love this and have a great experience!

Happy Oiling! Dawn

Pool Time

I sat by the pool today for a couple of hours. I’m trying to soak up as much sunshine as I can before my road trip to Seattle Next Week. You see, I’m from Seattle and there isn’t a whole lot of sunshine there. Lots of gray cloudy days and lots of rain but not much sun.

Anyway, I’m sitting there reading a book, there are a few families around. They are playing music, laughing, cooking something that smelled really good and the kids are swimming.  It’s the perfect picture of an early summer Saturday at the pool.

I put my book down for a while and take a look around. There are two girls about 10 years old wearing matching swimsuits. Definitely sisters if not twins. Golden hair gleaming wet and skin already tanned from a lifetime of living in SoCal. They are little fishes. Diving into the pool, doing cartwheels and landing with their feet in the pool, jumping in and out of the hot tub, being brave, real and enjoying life. Basically, doing all the things little girls do.

Then two older girls arrive. Not much older, maybe 13. Just on the cusp of womanhood. Best friends for sure. Little breasts starting to swell but still slender and athletic looking. One is definitely the leader, the other one glances at her for permission before doing anything. Follows her around, nods when she speaks.

The younger girls see the older girls and they are enchanted! They cannot take their eyes off of the way the older girls strut a little when they walk. They stare almost constantly hoping, wishing that the older girls will look over at them and smile or say hello. But they don’t. The older girls remain aloof, whispering to each other. Even going so far as to use sign language to communicate privately (they think).

The younger girls move closer. They start to emulate the older girls. Try to swim like them, move to the hot tub when they do. Try to catch their eye for a glimmer of approval but it never comes. The older girls ignore them totally. As if they aren’t even there.

When the younger girls are called away to lunch, they leave their suitors sadly, moving reluctantly toward their mom. As I get up to leave,  I say to the older girls, “You know, they just want to be like you. They look up to you.” The girls smile awkwardly at me for noticing their little drama and I head home feeling awfully glad that I’m not 10 anymore or 13. I’m pretty happy to be the age I am and to have friends of ALL ages!!!!

 

When Someone Shows You Who They Are: Believe Them!

It can be confusing. He says one thing, but does the opposite. She acts like she likes you but then she doesn’t return your call. He said he would be here an hour ago? What exactly is going on? The signs and signals can be hard to read but I have figured out the secret! It’s not what people SAY that matters, it’s what they actually DO that shows you who they really are!

There are so many people out there who get hurt. We believe in them. We fall in love with them and they just keep hurting us. We put our trust in people who don’t deserve it and fall into the same pattern over and over. Why is that?

Well, in my humble opinion, it’s because we want to believe the best of others.  We take them at face value! We give them the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes we even make excuses as to why they haven’t called us back or why they broke a promise. We choose to look through rose-colored glasses because we want them to be that perfect, handsome, charming prince on a white steed.

It’s more difficult to see things as they really are. Don’t get me wrong. I know no one is perfect. People make mistakes. But if you pay attention you will see a pattern of behavior that shows their true colors. Is there a pattern of kindness? Do they apologize or take responsibility for their actions? Are they helpful when you’re in need? Or are they letting you down routinely? Do they hold your hand in public? Do they take advantage of your friendship?

Look at the behavior. People can say anything – and Politicians or people who are manipulative often do.  Look beyond the words to the actions. That is where you will find a persons true nature. That is how you decide where to place your trust, faith and love.

Because as much as people will show you who they are….YOU also teach them how to treat you but what you allow. If you allow bad behavior then you are teaching them that you are not worthy of being treated with kindness. You are teaching them that their bad behavior is more important that your self-worth. You are teaching them that you deserve less than.

And that is not OK. You deserve honesty, kindness, support, friendship, truthfulness and love. Don’t hide behind a mask pretending that everything is ok when it’s not. Speak up for yourself – do it with love but be firm. Do not allow yourself to be treated less than….especially from someone who SAYS they love you.

Big Heart Hugs, Dawn