the last morning with these two boys, in my tiny studio apartment on the Hudson River, I told them they could only watch a movie if they made my bed.

“we don’t know how to make a bed!”

figure it out, I told them. and you need to do it together, with no fighting.

it was a big bed, a king, with lots of pillows, two blankets and a quilt. they struggled for a few minutes, and then put their heads together and sure enough….they made that bed. I hope they take that lesson with them, and realize that by working together, they can face any challenge, and get things done if they stick by each other, as a team.

Imagenow, here I am in Ohio and making new beds. of the garden variety.

the plan calls for five raised beds (one for herbs, up near the house and the remaining four down near the stream will hold vegetables of all kinds)

as we planned them out; measuring, estimating, researching costs…we realized that the largest expense would be the wood to frame out the beds. finding old wood seemed like the best solution. and just as we asked for it, the Universe (or garbage day) supplied it in the form of a neighbor ridding himself of a picket fence. the pickets were the perfect, pre-cut size and add an adorable home-made re-purposed farm look to the boxes.


we ordered up some good clean dirt and got to filling our herb garden box. my nephew was in his glory. “dirt!”


planting the first plants…. 



the final boxes awaiting their dirt delivery….


and this old guy just enjoying being in the sun (and photo bombing most every shot I seemed to take)….


our team working together to get things done.


that time we packed everything we owned in my car, and got the hell out of new york.

(otherwise known as The Day We Became Minimalists Without Even Trying)packedCar


2013-14 will be the Years of Change. I’ve moved three times in less than twelve months. From a fourth floor apartment in a building filled with dying old people (literally, dying. when we moved out we were one of only three apartments with viable human life still in them: all previous inhabitants had left feet first). to an amazing high rise on the shores of my beautiful Lake Erie, waking up feeling like it was vacation every day (until I lost my job, and then it became a glorious prison) and then on to the mountain top cabin in the Hudson Valley to care for two motherless boys and their lost father….which slowly turned into a prison of a whole different sort as we realized there is no helping those who won’t help themselves.

which brings us to last week. and the sudden, yet well thought out decision to just throw the towel in on New York and seek refuge in the open arms of my sister and her house full of animals, kids and a blues singer husband.





so this will be the #summerofhealing (yes, we’ve already discussed a hashtag for it). we’re designing an organic garden, plotting out a wildflower area and chopping firewood. and naps, lots of naps….most of them on the porch, some in the hammock.

the lesson learned from the past year (so far) is that it is time to take care of myself. (have I said that before?) well, this time I mean it.









Renting often means ugh, seriously?

and in this case, it was a lot of. well, “OK let me just go ahead and clean that mysterious weird splattering on the wall because apparently you were in too big of a hurry moving two floors up (and now you have to see me EVERY DAY) to take of that yourself.” seriously.

yesterday I had finally made my way to the stainless steel sink in the kitchen. at least I hoped it was stainless, it was an odd shade of rusty brown…..a mix of the high iron content water around these parts and what I’m guessing is years of never being scrubbed.

now, typically I would take out the strong powdery cleaner in the round green can that I was raised on, but this day, this day I had received my ‘Oil Mail’ containing doTERRA’s concentrated cleaner. so, I sprinkled some baking soda, a little bit of kosher salt for added grit and about 10 drops of OnGuard Concentrated cleaner all directly into the sink and went to work with a scrubby.

worked a charm! and smelled heavenly. (OnGuard contains: wild orange, clove bud, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary essential oils)


(ps: oh, and it’s on sale this month. 10% off. talk to me about oils on twitter, facebook or by using the form via the link up above.)

clean that kitchen! (and other fun things to do while we wait for spring….)

it seems like it will never get here.
I hear the birds outside my window in the morning.
some days the sun is even shining.
the mountains of snow are slowly becoming just piles of gray icy mass.
yesterday it went up to 52 degrees here in the Hudson River Valley.

but still, no spring.

so I look around this tiny apartment for more things to….well, clean.
because that’s what I do when I’m cooped up and have run out of things to organize.




it’s been a long hard winter here. but now it’s time to move forward, face new challenges and find the silver lining in that brutalness.

I’m going to start by cleaning.

(if you’re interested in the onGuard cleaning deal this month from doTERRA, click on the essential oils link above)


using oils; where to start?

I recently received my second package of doTERRA essential oils in the mail, and after opening them all, inhaling them all….I wondered, now what? it can be overwhelming, this new approach to health. do I drop them in my mouth? do I sniff them? sprinkle them around the room? where’s the instruction manual?

so I thought I’d run a few posts on the different oils I’m using, and how I’m using them, to help others who may be wondering the same thing!

my current favorite oil blend from doTERRA is Serenity which is a blend of essential oils all with known calming properties. The oils are: lavender, sweet marjoram, roman chamomile, ylang ylang, sandalwood and vanilla bean combined together to create an awesomely subtle aroma.

applied to the bottom of the feet at bedtime, is one way to support restful sleep. added to a warm bath, Serenity creates the perfect escape with its peaceful, renewing fragrance. if you have a diffuser, diffused in the room at bedtime or throughout the day for it’s calming properties.

I recently started applying it to the back of the neck of the four year old that I nanny for who has some behavior difficulties at school to see if it will help him get through the day….he reported an “awesome day” yesterday, so I think I’ll keep going with that! and at night, I put drops on a hot washcloth for his older brother to put over his face to help him get to sleep.

I carry Serenity in my purse so I can pop it out and just take a quick *whiff* if I need it!

I hope these ideas help–let me know if you have any of your own tips or need any questions answered!

a long road to a new path.


sometimes, most times, in life we have no idea where we’re headed. when we moved into our beautiful lakefront apartment back in august of 2013; I was working full time crazy hours as a general manager of a high end diner. we were making plans to buy a new couch, furnish the balcony, enjoy the view we worked so hard to achieve.

four days later, I was fired.

this started a road of unemployment, stress, uncertainty, all of which led me on a downward spiral of lousy health.

at the end of september I ended up in the hospital with an intractible migraine. this was not the first time I had been through this, but I knew I wanted it to be the last. the treatment is worse than the headache, and at one point, with my head buried under a pile of blankets trying to block all senses, thinking I’d rather be dead than where I was….I swore it would be the last. that when I got out of there (three days later, although I still have no recollection of a whole 24 hours of that) I would take charge of my health and diet.

the morning after getting out of the hospital I opened my facebook page to the news that my cousin’s wife had lost her battle with cancer, after a year long battle. all before she turned 40, and leaving behind two young boys. I closed my computer and realized that I needed to go care for those boys. three weeks later I had loaded up the car, left behind the lake, the apartment, the uncertainty and embarked on a new road.

so now, after three months of jumping in to a brand new life, I find myself slowly feeling the aches and pains of my autoimmune disorder creeping back. taking care of two boys under the age of 8 is difficult. taking care of two boys under the age of 8 who just lost their mother is challenging. doing it when you’re not at you’re optimal health can rapidly become a stressful and unpleasant situation. I don’t want that to happen.

I keep reminding myself of being under that mound of hospital blankets, and the promise I made.

so I reached out to someone who promised me she could help me way back in october, and took her up on that promise. she told me about the magic of essential oils and their therapeutic properties. I started experimenting with different oils to see if they would help. when we all got hit with the flu, I rubbed oregano oil on the boy’s feet to boost immunity. they bounced back fairly fast. we all had peppermint, eucalyptus, bergamot oils rubbed on our forehead and necks to calm our fevers. I drip lavender on a hot towel to help get the older one calm before bed (use it as a compress over his eyes) and in the tubs at bath time for a soothing soak before bed. I’ve noticed a definite change in the night time routine since I started the oils.

I’ve ordered more, and I’m jumping on the full essential oil wellness bandwagon! and, as I become more educated, I’ll be sharing it here. (don’t worry, I’ll be adding gluten free recipes along the way again….)

I’m excited to see where this road is going, it’s a winding one for sure, but I’ve stayed on it this far.


facing the cold with photography and chocolate cake.



We’ve been lucky so far this year in Ohio with the weather, but this week we got hit with some f-f-f-freezing cold.

So, what’s a good Cleveland girl to do? Go to the beach, of course.


I wasn’t going to pass up the sunny day, even though it was only 14 degrees out, to get some stunning ice waves and driftwood photos.


I spent the weekend preparing a gluten free cake for an order, and updating my etsy shop with a few new listings. I’m really excited about my new Cakes in Tins listing, which enables me to effectively ship individual cakes anywhere in the US. Hop over to etsy and take a peek, and just think of the possibilities!


starting a new plan.


We started a new diet around here this week, and a big part of it is giving up sugar. If you’ve ever done this, then you know it is not easy. Another aspect of the new plan is no grains, no dairy. This part; not so tough. Except I do like a little bread with my dinner, especially when it’s a dish like “Chili without Beans” which is what we had this evening.

I found a few recipes for coconut flour based breads and biscuits, and after reading several reviews, I modified, combined and fiddled until I ended up with the this one.

note: It would be much better with a tiny bit of honey, agave or other sweetener in it, if you are not limiting (denying yourself) sugar. this version is a moist, eggy bread that serves as a nice little side for a soup or chili. definitely savory.


3/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup ghee (plus extra for greasing the pan)

6 eggs

(up to 2 tbsp honey)

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp unrefined sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8″ loaf pan with ghee, or spray with cooking spray.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl until foamy. Sift the coconut flour, baking powder and salt into the eggs, blend. Slowly mix in the ghee (and honey if using) until smooth. Do not over blend.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with just a little bit of crumbs attached. Cool on a wire rack, slice and enjoy.

Is it over yet?


I have been absent, my friends, for a few months.

A few days after my previous post, I was having a beautiful lunch with my sister on an unusually warm “Indian Summer” day…stepped out of the restaurant on an uneven step, twisted my right ankle and heard an awful pop. “Acute avulsion fracture involving the dorsal aspect of the navicular with extension into the talon avicular joint.” Roughly translated means “the next nine weeks aren’t going to be your favorite”

Four weeks of non-weight bearing crutches, which meant not being able to get my own meals, not being able to shower (baths are fun) and no driving. Even the trip to the bathroom was exhausting. I then transitioned into slowly adding weight to the boot, with the crutches, working my way up to using just one crutch.

Today, nine weeks later I’m starting to use a lace up brace (with a real shoe!) and am able to do things like walk in the swimming pool, do some limited bike work with it and finally sleep without the constriction of that heavy plastic evil thing.

It’s been a long road, one I thought I’d never get to see the end of… but I think I’m finally going to get there.

I’m glad to be making my way back into the kitchen; I did make several successful batches of gluten free Christmas Cookies and a delicious Eggnog Pound Cake. It felt great.

I’m looking forward to 2013, feeling healthy and getting back to work! I hope you all had a lovely Holiday Season.

(oh, and watch your step!)


ps: I’m finally re-opening my etsy shop, so feel free to visit me over there as well.