Enchantment Learning & Living Blog

Welcome to Enchantment Learning & Living, inspirational blog about the simple pleasures, radical self-care, and everyday magic that make life delicious.

Beet Carpaccio

I love beets. They are second only to the humble radish, whose peppery bite will always be my first love…in terms of root vegetables, that is. But what the radish has in spring spice, the beet makes up for in earthy, meaty sweetness. And like the radish, the humble beet is best when you don’t do too much to it.

This recipe for beet carpaccio came about because I had purchased the most beautiful beets and meyer lemons from my local store. I swear, the lemons looked so big and juicy I thought they were small oranges! The eye-popping color of both produce items had me thinking of a tasty jewel-toned dish that would work as a Saturday night salad or starter.

…and you all know I’m always working on making my lifestyle more and more green, including in my cooking. Eating little or no meat is one of the best ways to cheaply and effortlessly help the planet. While I’m not a complete vegetarian, dishes like this, a play on the classic beef carpaccio, make me love being a veggie eater.

Meyer lemons are only in season so long, so if you can’t get them, regular lemons will do, as will oranges, if you want to play around with other citruses to get different flavors for your carpaccio. Just make sure you use organic produce (as always), especially because you will be using the zest. Non-organic citrus means you’ll be sprinkling pesticides in your salad as well as zest, yuck! I used pistachios in place of capers found in the traditional carpaccio, both to mimic the color of the brined berries and to add a touch of nuttiness. The homemade salt combo is what really ties the flavors together, however. The mustard, orange, and onion act as a savory sweet balance to the tart citrus.

Did I mention I love the colors of this salad? The dark red of the beets, the pop of green from the pistachios, and the sprinkle of yellow from the lemon zest…it’s a work of edible art, perfect for a fancy Saturday night dinner (in your jammies, natch).

Ingredients:

For salt:

1 tablespoon himalayan rock salt

1 tablespoon mustard seeds

1 tablespoon dried onion

1 tablespoon dried orange peel

For Salad:

1 medium beet

1/4 cup chopped pistachios

1 tablespoon lemon zest

Juice of 1 lemon

olive oil

1. Heat water in two quart sauce pan until boiling.

2. While water boils, wash and peel beet. Place in hot water and boil until soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from water and let cool, at least an hour. Then place beet in the fridge and let chill for a few hours. I like to cook my beet in the morning and then pop it in the fridge until dinnertime.

3. While you let the beet chill, combine ingredients for salt and place in salt mill or use a mortar and pestle to grind. Note: You will have more of this salt than is necessary for the recipe. Trust me, this is a good thing. It stores indefinitely and is great on all sorts of dishes, from a tangy citrus chicken to summery roasted veggies.

4. When beet is fully chilled, use a mandoline or sharp knife to cut paper thin slices of the beets. The mandoline is a little easier for this. If yo use the knife, the slices won’t be uniform (unless, of course, your knife skills are better than my so-so ones!).

5. Arrange slices in circle formation on two plates and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.

6. Then sprinkle a smattering of your fancy salt, to taste (I like it easy on the salt, myself).

7. Finally, add the lemon zest and pistachio pieces to each plate.

Eat immediately. Serves two. Enjoy!

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Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Butternut Squash Steaks

I don’t know what it is about January and February, but I always find myself tinkering more in the kitchen this time of year, trying new healthy recipes.  Maybe it’s the cold winter nights, maybe it’s the promise of spring and new things on the horizon, or maybe it’s just because I love the idea of trying something that shakes up my routine.  In any case, I find that there’s nothing better come Saturday night than an old jazz record, a beautiful cocktail, and a crisp apron as I go about trying something new.  

One such evening produced this lovely recipe for butternut squash steaks.  Like my cabbage steaks, this dish is warm, hearty, and healthy—for you and the planet (one of the easiest ways to be eco-friendly is to eat less meat).  It’s also incredibly versatile and relatively low-maintenance, once you get past the peeling and slicing part. For this recipe, I went old school and seasoned it with garlic and rosemary, but I have plans to try other more adventurous combos, like tarragon and shallots. 

You will mostly be using the longer top part of the squash for this to get the “steaks,” but I recommend dicing up the remainder of the veggie and cooking them for a future quick lunch with tossed with lettuce and garbanzo beans or boiling to use as a puree for soup.  You can do a quick roast of the seeds in a frying pan—no cleaning needed, just let the pulpy matter get nice and crispy.  Yum!  Go ahead and toss the remaining scraps in your compost—your worms will thank you and so will your garden.  I’m all about reducing kitchen waste!

This squash is great on its own on a bed of lettuce (pictured here) or paired with a more elaborate meal for date night, with a side of green beans and mashed potatoes if you want to mimic the full steak dinner.  

Ingredients:

1 medium butternut squash, washed

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

salt to taste

olive oil

  1. To prepare, cut off the top and bottom parts of the squash, no more than a quarter of an inch.  Using a vegetable peeler, peel off the hard outer skin.   Then cut bottom rounded part off and set aside (see above for ways to use those remaining pieces).

  2. Lay butternut squash on its side and carefully slice it into 1/3 to 1/2 in slices, depending on how thick you want your steaks to be. 

  3. Rub steaks in olive oil, garlic, rosemary, and salt tot taste and let sit for twenty minutes.

  4. While steaks marinate, heat olive oil in saucepan on medium.

  5. Place 2-3 steaks in sauce pan (the number depends on how big your squash and pan are).  Let cook on one side for 5-7 minutes, until browned and softened.  Flip steaks and do the same for the second side.  Repeat until all steaks are cooked.  

  6. Serve on a bed of lettuce and drizzle with olive oil.  Makes 4-6, depending on how thick your steaks are.  Enjoy!

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Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Homemade Beeswax Candles

I love beeswax.  I use it in everything, from my body butters and lip balms to salves and mascara.  It acts as a sealant in my beauty goodies, locking in moisture and providing a protective layer against the elements. Plus it smells divine!  Like honey and warm earth. Best of all, buying local beeswax supports the bees which we need for a thriving planet and happy garden.

Homemade Beeswax Candles

I've fallen in love with beeswax all over again, recently, after I began making these homemade candles.  I adore candles.  Their dancing light turns dinner into a celebration or nighttime reading into a cozy retreat from the world.  Their open flames seem made for whispering wishes into and their warm glow chases away the darkness like no lamplight can. In short, they are one of my sacred simple pleasures.  I enjoy the homey task of making them, especially last week, as I cleaned and prepared my home for the coming summer solstice and enjoyed a candlelit night once the sun set on the longest day of the year.

Beeswax candles are one of the purest candles out there, free from yucky chemicals and artificial ingredients of mainstream candles. They have the added benefit of purifying your home.  While most candles actually release toxins into the air while they burn, beeswax candles release negative ions as they melt which neutralizes the positive ions create by allergies and other pollutants.  Bonus: It makes your home smell like amber, soft and sweet, like the honey it comes from.

These homemade candles are ridiculously easy to make, as are all my recipes, natch.  I prefer to use old toilet paper rolls for pillar candles and egg cartons for tea lights, rather than pouring them into jars.  The jars are nice, but I hate the build-up of candle containers; plus, I just love the look of pillar candles. Feel free to use jars if you prefer them (or reuse old candle tins).

These candles make wonderful gifts.  I like to make a big batch since they are so easy to make, to have on hand for last-minute gifts or give to my family.  Once the wick on your candle has burned down, don't throw the wax out! Use it to make new candles.  Beeswax is super durable and long-lasting, so you can just keep reusing what doesn't get burned up.  This recipe also works well for any candle wax you've got lying around.  I melted down one of my favorite chakra candles and refashioned it into a new one.  It beats spending a small fortune on new candles!

I've made my beeswax candles two ways: with just the beeswax and with a little coconut oil thrown it.  The pure beeswax candles emit a softer, lighter glow, while the ones with coconut oil burn brighter and faster.  If you use a jar, you will for sure want to use coconut oil so that you can more easily remove leftover wax once the candle is done burning.

Ingredients:

Beeswax, preferably local

Coconut oil (optional, using only 1 part oil to 4 parts beeswax for best consistency)

Special Tools:

Toilet paper or paper towel rolls

Egg cartons

Large tin can

Old saucepan

Organic candle wicks

Parchment or wax paper

Baking sheet

Skewers or string (to keep wicks straight)

To make, roughly chop wax and place in the large tin can.  Fill saucepan halfway with water and place on stove.  Put can in saucepan.  Burner should be on medium heat.  Stir occasionally until wax melts. The time on this varies, depending on how much beeswax you use and how small the wax pieces are. It will take at least twenty minutes. I typically put it on when writing so it can melt while I work.  

If you are using coconut oil, melt it in a separate tin can only once your beeswax is melted, as the coconut oil melts more quickly.  Once it's melted, combine with the wax and stir. 

Remove melted wax from heat and let sit about five minutes to cool.  While your wax (and coconut oil, if you are using it) is cooling, spread parchment paper across a baking sheet and line up your paper rolls.  You can also use the bottom of an egg carton if you want smaller candles. 

To make candles, pour a dime-sized bit of wax into the bottom of the rolls sitting on parchment paper or in the egg cartons.  Then place the metal bottom of your wicks into the wax.  This will serve as a solid base. Once you've done it for all your candle molds, line one or two skewers or other straight objects across the middle of your rolls (or carton) so that your wicks are neatly sandwiched between them.  This will ensure that they stay centered.  For smaller candles, simply cut the desired wick size and place it in the cooling wax. 

Candle Making Process

Pour wax slowly into molds.  Note: If the wax isn't cool enough, it may leak out of bottom rolls, so make sure it has enough time to cool.  I forgot to the first time I made these and had wax puddles forming outside the molds--luckily I could just let it harden, scrape it off, and remelt it!  

Wax in Egg Carton

Once the beeswax is poured into the molds, let them sit until hardened, usually an hour or two.  I keep them on the baking sheet so that I can move them someplace where they won't be in the way.  Once they've hardened and cooled, simply peel away the carton or roll and you've got yourself a lovely collection of beeswax candles!

Finished Candles

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Welcoming in Eros Energy

I've experienced a swirl of synchronous happenings these past few weeks all of which were centered on the myth of Psyche and Eros. There was the Facebook post about walking through our private underworlds in order to find our way to Eros and, ultimately, the hard work it takes to cultivate happiness. Then there were the articles I stumbled across on the Divine Eros and freeing our Eros energy. That's not every getting into the daily signs that crossed my path, from candles and cupids to seeds and golden thread.

Most of these signs might be easily dismissed by the simple fact that Valentine's Day is around the corner (when scented candles and cupid-shaped chocolates abound), if not for the fact that I saw these things in unexpected places, not in a holiday store display. The seeds came to me from an unlikely place: a random gift of my favorite popcorn, lovingly stored in a mason jar and a forgotten bag of seeds I'd harvested the previous summer tucked into my the junk drawer (Psyche sorting seeds in the first of many trials set by Aphrodite). The glittery sweater that I found in the back of my closet was reminiscent of the golden wool Psyche had to collect to prove her love for Eros. There was even more than one dream about navigating hell or wading through choppy waters (two more trials Psyche endured). It seemed after I read that Facebook post, all I could see were signs of this Eros energy.

Clearly, the universe was trying to tell me something. And when the universe speaks, I listen.

My task, it would seem, would be to reconnect to Eros. So what is Eros energy? A simple answer would involve invoking this God of Love to find romance, sex, and all the things we come to associate with Cupid and Valentine's Day. But it's a bit more complicated than that. For one, archetypes and gods are rarely so "copy-paste" in their answers, any more so than a tarot card can be read literally. Eros isn't just about romantic love or eroticism, it's about reconnecting to the passionate energy within ourselves, trusting the joy we inhabit rather than doubting it, as Psyche did when she was at first convinced her love Eros was a monster in her bed. 

Eros energy is the life-blood of our daily lives, the healthy relationality with ourselves and others that makes life, well, delicious. We are all like Psyche, in one way or another, doing the hard work to reclaim our private Edens, traveling through our proverbial hells and completing seemingly endless trials to reclaim our natural passionate essence, unblemished by experience, outside voices (which caused Psyche to doubt her love in the first place), and our own uncertainty.

So life was telling me something: I had to work my way back to the earthy hedonism, the everyday eroticism you feel when you are at one with yourself, in union with the things that make you feel happy, healthy, whole. I'd lately felt disconnected from myself, operating more out a sense of obligation than actual enjoyment, fearful of turning down social obligations because I didn't want to offend anyone. In truth, I wanted to be home; I needed to be quiet. I needed to slow down after feeling like I was moving increasingly faster and faster. I didn't feel joyful, nor lusty for life. I felt tired--and it was only the first of the year. Somewhere between holiday break and beginning teaching again, I stopped listening to myself, stopped connecting to Eros.

In order to find my way back to my Eros energy, I had to ask myself hard questions--what really brings me joy?--and be honest about my answers, which were, frankly, counter to the social norm. I thought of Psyche as I worked on opening up myself to the love vibes. I thought of her separating seeds: What intentions do I want to plant? What do I need to feel nourished? How can I find my golden moments without climbing an uphill battled to get to them? Again, I looked to Psyche, as she gathered golden fleece left on the reeds the rams brushed against, rather than confront these dangerous animals head-on. There are gentler ways of doing things.

Then we must not forget the waters of forgetfulness. Psyche bringing a jug of those waters back to Aphrodite is not to erase the past but to let go of the petty details and small grievances that only weight you down. You can't hold on to everything, otherwise, you've no room for present happiness. Her journey to the underworld reminds me that I can't give energy to things that drain me, just as Psyche must remain focused on the road ahead of her and not be distracted by the lost souls that call to her. 

All well and good. But what does finding your way back to Eros look like when you are an ordinary human? Much the same as Psyche's journey, truthfully. I saturated my senses with things that made me feel inordinately happy. I conjured Eros's fire to illuminate my path. I sorted seeds and gathered golden threads. I stopped giving energy to things that drained me as I move into a new phase of my life. I gave myself more quiet time, so I could listen to myself, my needs. And yes, there may have been one or two heart-shaped chocolates and lighted candles. 

Lest this seem all too easy, consider how we, as a culture, shy away from what we really want (hello people pleasing) and unadulterated pleasure (surely we must be always working). It can be a difficult journey to find our way to joy, to passionate pleasure in all things. But so worth it.

So I leave you with this soul seed to gather: What brings you ecstasy? What are you afraid of enjoying? What makes your life delicious?

Find it. Gaurd it. Nourish it.

That is Eros energy.

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Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

All-Purpose Seasoning

A few years ago, I started making my own all-purpose seasoning.  Why?  Because I got tired of buying small jars of the stuff for a few dollars a pop and because I learned that many of those spice blends contain additives, fillers, preservatives, and other yucky things I'd prefer to have in my body.  I'd also learned about the staleness and poor quality of the ingredients in many of theses blends by the time they reach store shelves.  Since part of committing to radical self-care is about becoming more aware of what consume, I decided to make my own healthier version of an all-purpose seasoning.  Now, I can never go back to the old stuff.

For starters, it is way less expensive!  Buying in bulk means you spend less on fresher goods, reduce waste by not paying for yet another spice jar, and you can tailor your blend to your own needs.  I buy my spices in bulk at my local herb store but you can also purchase bulk spices at your local natural grocery store or online at Rose Mountain Herbs.  

I use my blend for everything from popcorn to roasted veggies and beyond.  I've also gotten more than a few friends and family members addicted to it.  I use all organic ingredients and quality sea or Himalayan salt.  You can decide how much salt you want to include.  The recipe below suggests one cup of salt, but if you are on a reduced sodium diet, you can lower it to half a cup or omit it completely.  The cumin and paprika make the seasoning for me, adding unexpected notes of warmth and spice.  That said, if you prefer some spices over others, feel free to play with your own ratios or omit the flavors you don't enjoy.  What I offer here is simply my go-to seasoning recipe that enhances everything I cook. 

What's on the menu tonight?  I'm thinking Italian Grilled Veggies with a heavy sprinkling of this seasoning.  I might make a night of it and throw in a batch of watermelon coolers.  Take that heat wave.  

Ingredients:

1 cup sea salt 

1/2 cup pepper

1/4 cup cumin powder

1/4 cup onion powder

1/2 cup garlic powder

1/8 cup chile powder

1/8 cup paprika

Combine ingredients in bowl and stir well until combined.  Store in airtight container.  Makes a little less than three cups.  Enjoy!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Sautéed Burdock Root

Part of my year of radical self-care is returning to the joys of cooking.  I've been making it a priority to cook on the weeknights (granted, my meals must be simple!) and to reignite my passion for trying new recipes and ingredients.  I sift through recipe books.  I check my Pinterest boards for new culinary delights.  Most importantly, I've gone back to hunting for different local, in-season ingredients to play around with, making each trip to the co-op a culinary adventure.  I find I look forward to whatever I might cook up during the week or weekend simply because I've gone beyond the pure need to fuel myself and returned to the hedonism of feeding the five senses--and my soul.

Time in the kitchen at the end of the day helps me to nourish myself.  Light a few beeswax candles.  Put on some jazz records.  Pour a glass of wine.  And cook.  It's a terribly civilized way to end the day.  After giving out energy for the past eight hours, I get to tuck in, recharge, and pull back from the more extroverted demands of my work.

Better still: I get to indulge in the delights of kitchen conjuring--taking raw ingredients, herbs, and spices, and turning them into healing, nourishing meals.  Which brings me to my latest love: burdock root.  I found this knotty unsung healer in an unassuming pile at my local store this winter and haven't been able to stop eating it since.  I'd used it for a long time in teas because of its terrific healing properties.  Like dandelion leaves and roots, burdock is known for its detoxifying properties.  It is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and cleanses the lymphatic system like nothing else.  Bonus: I found that's it's all kinds of tasty!  

I gathered a large handful for my kitchen experiment, searched high and low for recipes, and finally settled on a nice, simple sautée.  Burdock tastes like a cross between artichokes and turnips--similar to sunchokes.  I toss them in lemon juice to prevent them from oxidizing and turning a dusty brown color.  They're still edible oxidized...just not as yummy looking.  I prefer to use ghee for this recipe, as it lends a rich, nutty flavor to the root, but feel free to use what you have.  You'll notice I haven't given specific amounts here--you make as much or as little as you want.  Sautéed burdock is great as a side dish or as a light main attraction over a bed of lettuce (pictured above). 

Ingredients:

burdock root

lemon juice

ghee, coconut, or olive oil

sea salt (optional)

Wash burdock root thoroughly and let dry.  Using a peeler, shave off darker outer layer--save scraps for compost.  Slice root into thin medallions (diagonally works best to get larger pieces). Toss pieces in lemon juice.  This prevents browning and also gives the root a bright flavor. Heat ghee or oil on skilled.  Keep heat to medium.  Pour burdock root (with lemon juice) into pan and let simmer until cooked, about 15-20 minutes.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Confessions of a Flower Eater

You would grow a garden in your belly if you could so that your insides are blossoms, fat with pollen and thick seeds, strong roots, and liquid sunshine.  It seems terrible to confess that you know you could be like those flowers if you ate enough of them.  But it is true--they would infuse their spirit into your skin and, in return, you would give them a home.  Just a tablespoon a day is all it would take, you think, as you gaze out at your flower garden, that alchemical blend of growing things and medicinal petals. 

So you collect your marigolds and nasturtiums, your puffs of dandelion and your fat tulip bulbs, your sharp lavender and blowsy rose petals, and you begin the task of making your meal. You could grind them up with your mortar and pestle until each bloom dissolves into a thick paste, a murky drink not unlike your compost to rest in your stomach.  But where is the fun in that?  How can you delight in the feel of seeds down your throat or a soft petal kissing your tongue?

So you mix up your flowers--seeds, petals, stems, roots--into an otherworldly salad.  The tulip bulb is your base, thick and earthy, to welcome your eternal spring and chase away the darkness.  Then you stir in yellow marigold and passionate hope, and add peppery nasturtiums, streaked with orange and red, to make you feel brave; next is dandelion (puffs, roots, leaves picked from a crack in your garden path) to echo your tulip base of infinite possibility.  And a few rose petals to dust the top, a delicate perfume to soften the aspirations of the other flowers--it is enough to enjoy the beauty of this moment.  Your salad isn't complete until you sprinkle blue lavender buds across your feast, adding the final touch of tranquil healing.

You devour this salad, one bite at a time, crunching down on meatiness of the tulips, the melt-in-your-mouth silkiness of the rose, until there is nothing left on your plate but a marigold blossom, somehow still intact.  You pick this flower up with your fingers and bring it to your mouth.  You feel the feathery petals across your tongue, the way it falls apart under the pressure of your teeth, the weight of sunshine in your belly when you swallow it.  This is your garden, each piece of your summer harvest preserved inside you so that you are now part flower, part hope.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

On Kundalini Energy

There she sits at the base of your spine, sometimes a thick coil waiting to snake her way up your back towards your wings, other times so tightly wound, she forms a nest, pulled down from her upward spiral by the worries you've absorbed throughout your day--so many of them not your own.  Yet it would seem you are asked to carry them, as if you are surrounded by cuckoos wanting to bury their eggs in your light, among your carefully cultivated dreams so that you might take them as your own and they, they will be free of the burden of those unhatched futures.

She grows too heavy to reach your wings, too full for anything but to hold those eggs tighter lest they spill from their makeshift home; your back, too, feels the weight of this, as if these eggs are stones rather than hauntings of another or what-might-bes.  But your light is stronger than those leaded eggs, your sleeping serpent ready to shed her skin, cast off these stories that don't belong to her.  Slowly, she begins to twist and contract, to wriggle and writhe until each egg, each burden falls out of this sinuous basket at the base of your spine.  Until you are left with only your light-as-air hatchlings--all yours--made of hope and long hours on the mat.

She remembers what she is, not a cuckoo's nest but a spiral of energy, always evolving, helping you to shed the debris of the day, cast off all those memories from other or past selves until you are left with a love song, a dance between your spine and your breath, that upward moving coil kissing each vertebra as she reaches for the light.  It is not your job to hold other people's pain, she says, nor their stories--only your own joy.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

The Body Beautiful

Your body is a story shaped by bone and wrapped in tendons and muscle.  You are too often afraid of it, this story, afraid to pull back the skin-like cover and really feel the histories embedded in your marrow.

It knows no other truth but the physical, the raw power of experience; it is made up of living memories, proof that you are nothing but delicious nerve endings and pumping blood, feeling everything, holding back from nothing.  You are each of its curves and scars, a moveable history of your journey through this world.  The baking burn on your arm, faded now with time, the puckered quarter size mark next to your belly button, the smattering of beauty marks and freckles across your skin are parts of a tattoo mapping the person you have become.

Inside you is another universe still, a hidden map of the people you once were, the places you once lived.  And deeper still are the tiny organisms, those worlds with worlds, that make up you though you cannot conceive of those tiny seeds all piled within you.

Too long have you been asked to sit in your chair or idle away hours in empty stagnation to contain the power of your body, to silence the stories.  But your body, your body wants to move, to lift you from that frozen seat and see if you can experience--if you dare to experience--those seeds bursting to life inside of you peppering your history, your memory with new life, new vines in your veins mapping new roads in your ever evolving story.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

On Body Wisdom

Every day it speaks to you, sometimes even in your dreams.  It speaks of long-held memories buried deep within the tissues of your muscles, of the hope ready to spring into action coiled at the base of your spine.

It speaks to you about the wings making their way out of the crevice between your vertebrae and shoulder blades.  It reveals the scars engraved into your hip sockets.  Scars so old you didn't even know they were still there--until a movement, a memory stirs them up again and you can begin to release them as you would weeds from your garden, gently loosening their roots from your soil.

It is limbs and torso that tell you when you need to move, to dance, to release yourself, free yourself from the bonds of the day, the shackles of limited logic.  And when you must be still, your body tells you to be still, still enough to hear only the beating of your heart and the new seeds you planted cracking open to lay down roots where weeds once were.

Your body is the deepest wisdom.  The surest answer found in the physical expression of your soul. 

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

On Living Soulfully in the New Year

This time of year is always full to bursting with new year's resolutions--most of them overwhelming and along the lines of do more, be more, work harder, push harder in order to feel like we are Living Well or Growing.

This is probably why most of these resolutions get tossed out the window by the end of January.  They're too much pressure!  I can't just eat mung beans and green smoothies morning, noon, and night or pump iron two hours a day to prove my commitment to my health, nor can I glue myself to my writing desk or force myself fill every bit of free time I have in an effort to nourish my intellectual growth. 

In fact, I'm convinced that these goals are as detrimental to us as eating fast food, never exercising, and giving up on learning new things in our day to day lives.  Why? Because they don't allow us to truly find the fullest expression of ourselves but merely perform our desire for change to others.  And in performance lies pressure--we want to show the world that we can be the best of the best, whatever that means to each of us individually.

As I've been mulling this over the past few weeks, I've decided to shape my own new year's resolution on this simple concept: Living Soulfully.  This ephemeral idea cannot be measured in terms of how many hours spent at the gym nor how many words I commit to a page, but in how I feel when I wake up in the morning.  Am I full?  Do I feel like I am living authentically?  Do I feel like my soul is nourished or am I, as Bilbo Baggins once stated, "like butter scraped over too much bread"? 

In essence, this resolution deviates from its do more, be more cousin and insists on the value of doing less, listening more.  And so I will.  I will tune out the white noise that says I must be this or that in order to be considered a successful, healthy woman and instead listen to what brings me joy each moment of each day.

That is a resolution worth keeping.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

On Winter Solstice

It is the darkness that brings light.  Even on the darkest night of the year, the longest, we have the stars to cast their brightness on this earth, reminding us that we cannot fully understand the light without shadows. 

And these shadows, on this day, are not harbingers of gloom but messengers of the underworld, that deep cave where rest and contemplation and dreams call to us.  As we reach into those depths, we cast off the debris of the year and recharge our souls in the spring of imagination and intuition, that private place unique to each individual, forever found among the stars and in the shadows.

And when the dawn breaks the day after solstice, we find ourselves once again turning towards the sun, each day progressively longer, each strand of light reaching us all the way down in the underworld, where we rest and recharge and dream.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

On Rest & Rejuvenation

As I wind up my semester and begin holiday festivities, I find myself trying to remember to do less, not more.  It can be easy after an action-packed semester to want to take that jumpy energy into my downtime--no doubt this almost frantic energy is inflamed by the glitz of the season, holiday party obligations, last minute shopping...you could write a whole list of things you "have to do."  So this year, keeping all this in mind, I decided to actively work on making myself do less.

When I stop and pause, I find that the times I relax the most is when I am moving slowly, enjoying family and home.  In fact, our mantra over the Thanksgiving break became "no rushing, no schedules."  I'm carrying this mantra into the end of the semester and winter holidays in an effort to enjoy the little things: a hot mug of holiday spiced tea, twinkling Christmas lights, afternoons lost in a good book, tia-niece time...now that sounds like a to-do list that I can handle!

As I get ready to meet up with family for breakfast on this blustery morning and enjoy the crisp winter air on my morning walk, I leave you with words of wisdom from last year's post on the holiday season and the necessity of hibernation and rejuvenation

After all, the end of the year is really about self-care, enjoyment, and reflection.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

On Nightmares

Terrifying gifts, really.  

They come to you at night, invading your bed and flooding you with dark images heavier and more brutal than you could possibly comprehend in your waking world.  They hold you captive--you are vulnerable.  Naked and twisted in your sheets, tethered to the dreamworld by their presence. 

They watch and wait for you to drift off to sleep, all the while collecting ephemera from your thoughts and fears and daily interactions. These they will use to weave together the Gothic landscape they plunge you into.  Yet as much as you fear the coming darkness, the tortuous hours spent at the mercy of these demons, there is another part of you that pines for it, that calls them to you, that eagerly awaits their presence in your bed.

As terrifying as your nightmares are, you have still come to see them as dark gifts of insight upon waking, cleansing your soul and bringing the much-needed release of psychic revelation. 

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

New Mama Gift Basket

One of the chief jobs an auntie has is to make sure that the new mama, my sister, is getting the nourishment, rest, and TLC that she needs.  Of course, I want to do that for baby and father too, but a new mama has a lot to adjust to after giving birth and meeting her new little one.  There is no better way to make sure mama gets a little extra lovin' when she comes home than with a gift basket of goodies meant to help her heal and pamper herself.  Of course, I'll be cooking some meals too so father and mother can focus on the baby, but a basket of treats help too!

For mother's day, the family put together a gift basket with all these treats to help her with her pregnancy.  It occurs to me now, however, that it would not be a bad idea give her these treats now that she is home with the baby!

1. Sexy Tiger Mama Stretch Mark Cream (for giving her belly a little extra love once the baby is in this world)

2. Honey Eucalyptus Foot Soak (for mama to help soothe her mind, feet, and body; also helps reduce swelling after labor)

3. Mama Love Pregnancy Tea (also good for making sure new mama get her nutrients)

4. Women's Soothing Mint Tea (another way for mama to replenish her nutrients)

5. Weekend Head Start Bubble Bath (a great way to replenish new mama's magnesium levels and get rid of unnecessary toxins)

It is important to honor not just the baby for this big event, but all the work mama did to bring her little one into the world--this basket fits the bill!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

On Hippie Baby Showers

It is a gathering of goodwill and love for the life about to enter this world.  Although we are more likely to celebrate with burning sage and rose quartz for the mother-to-be than with balloons and baby games, we come ready, yoga hippies that we are, to shower this baby with good vibes.

We do not celebrate this new life in conventional ways, but merely--after our private yoga and meditation, no doubt--unite to pay tribute to this woman's right of passage in the old way--honoring the cycle of womanhood and using our collective energy to nurture mother and child. 

Like fairy godmothers in a folk tale, we all gather round and offer gifts to this new creature: happiness, love, creativity, enjoyment--each gift sealed with the good intentions of the sender.   They come in the shape of clothes and diapers and toys but are no less the embodiment of the life and grace this baby will have.  Though she is not in this world yet, she will absorb the feminine conjuring around her and know, even before she left her mother's womb, that she is loved.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Odes to Self-Care

It seems to me that there have been a lot of conversations floating around the office this week about how to make time for self-care and really give ourselves over to living a healthy, balanced life.  I've also talked about ways to make self-care a priority when your scheduled gets busier.  It can be tempting--albeit an awful practice long-term--to think of self-care as a luxury rather than an essential part of our lives.  But over the years of actively developing my wellness routine, I have come to view self-care not as an indulgence but a necessity; to see it any other way is a form of self-inflicted violence. 

Sounds extreme, I know.  But really, if we don't take the time to tend ourselves--our hearts, our minds, our bodies, our souls--we deprive ourselves of living fully, deeply, meaningfully.  Why shouldn't we take as much pride in our self-nourishment as we do in our hard work?  Why shouldn't we carve out time to tend ourselves the same way we pencil in time to grade papers? 

In honor of these office conversations and my renewed efforts to tend to my personal wellness, I offer you three past blogs that celebrate self-care:

1.  On Things You Do to Unwind

2.  On Self-Care

3.  On Healing as Art

How do you care for yourself?

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

A Homebody's Love Letters to Her Home

This week has left me craving some home time; it's been a lot of out and about, a lot of this and that at work--all good stuff, mind you, but it has kept me away from my little hobbit hole for longer stretches than I would like.   I found myself missing my home this week, eyeing my patio garden that needs a little TLC and gazing fondly at my couch, piled high with yarn for the baby blanket I haven't had the time to work on this week.  This feeling has grown so much that I am beyond excited to be tucking in after tomorrow for a quiet weekend of crocheting, reading, puttering, and writing. 

These thoughts and others made me realize how much I depend on my home, my sanctuary, to ground and replenish me after making my way in the world day to day.  So I offer you three posts I've written about the love of home.  Enjoy!

1.  On Home

2.  On Returning Home After a Long Journey

3.  On Reasons I Love My Home

What do you love most about your home?

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

On Dreaming Under the Supermoon

You were in my house last night, ephemeral tendrils of light seeping through my window and curling around my body as I slept.  I didn't see you, but I could feel you sweeping away debris from my mind and old skins from my body one gentle caress at a time.

You bathed and cleansed old wounds and shed light on the darker corners of my mind, allowing me to release burdens I didn't know I was carrying.  You held me in your arms as I dreamed deeply of things long past and those to come, of the here and now, and of the realms that only exist when I close my eyes. 

After a week of letting go of old selves, of things, old ways of thinking, I return to my dream realms to finish the task of unburdening myself from people I will and never should be.  You, supermoon, help me with this, with your larger than life wisdom casting hope, rebirth, gentle understanding into the shadows of my home, myself.

You, dear moon, reinforce the necessity of gentleness in my life, of the feminine virtues so often undervalued in this world of loud and busy.  No, you say, that is not your road.  You tell me that I am a daughter of the moon, of the stars and midnight, of the quiet hours of reflection, the mistress of secrets revealed only in the hush of late hours and moonlight. 

Today is the day I feel this transformation most, as I shake off sleep and turn those quiet hours of healing into a gentle industry and forward movement.  The metamorphosis happens now when last night it was enough to dream my dreams and let your light wash over me.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

On the World's Longest Bubble Bath

It is late--far later than you realized, the clock's hands rapidly making their way towards midnight.  It is no time for a bubble bath, really, but you simply can't shake your need to get lost in hot water and a thicket of frothy bubbles. 

The past few days were a flurry of moving boxes and running errands and whipping up dinner for family as you all worked to help your sister and her husband move into their new home.  You are dizzy from the movement and the inevitable chaos that is moving a person's home box by box into a new space, to be reassembled into relative orderliness.  Happy to help, yes, but now your body craves a hot soak and your mind the quiet of the late night.

As you draw the bath, you relish the hush of your home, the comfort of being surrounded by your things from books you've read or mean to read, and the ones you toy with bringing to your bubble bath only to be discarded on your nightstand--words are too much for you right now.  You enjoy your candles which you light to perfume your home with the scent of lemongrass and the ever-comforting collection of stones and crystals lining your nightstands and desk and shelves--they calm and ground you, centering you back to you.  You even relish putting on your bathrobe speckled with stars on a midnight sky.  It is yours as is this night.

When your bath is ready and piled high with those bubbles you so love, you forsake the robe and sink deeply into your watery haven.  You will not move for some time.  You will listen to the gentle popping of the bubbles and your quiet breathing.  You will savor the heat soaking into your limbs and the bright tang of lemongrass tickling your nose.  You will let the days of moving wash off you like dead skin.  You will make this the world's longest bubble bath, lazily letting the clock's hands circle past midnight and tick-tock towards one, maybe even two.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!