Wednesday, December 26, 2012

holidaze, travel and sanity

this week we are in the midst of the annual holiday season. Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and the New year co-exist during the month of December and give us a good reason to get together (being with the ones you love shouldn't be reserved for a few days out of the year, however). this year we traveled to Wisconsin to be with my family for Thanksgiving, so we made the even longer trek to Michigan to be with Trevor's family for Christmas. after working so many years at the ski resorts and not having a "real" Christmas, this one's been a doozy!

we drove about 11 hours to get to Northern Michigan (a very beautiful, quaint place on the north shore of Lake Michigan) and have been making the rounds to see family members and friends, all while trying to enjoy our first holiday season together. to maintain our sanity, we make sure to do a few things:

1. don't burn yourself out. I REPEAT: DO NOT BURN YOURSELF OUT. this is crucial to maintaining your cool when faced with any potentially embarrassing or offensive situation. give yourself time and space to cool off so you can be on your best behavior with everyone around you. even your servers and retail workers who are spending time away from their loved ones to work (speaking as an experienced server, of course).

2. travel with your necessities. we always make sure to pack healthy snacks for the road so we don't have to eat gas station crap while traveling. this has saved us many times and we pack a small cooler and/or grocery bag with food that will help us maintain our sanity. i also always pack a box of assorted teas, since i have my own preferences.

3. indulge, but don't OVERindulge. it's the holidays, there are sweets everywhere and lots of meals to share with family. it's certainly OK to indulge, but i try to at least limit myself somewhat. reward yourself for all those yoga classes and days at the gym!!

4. always stay POSITIVE. we all have people in our lives who challenge us. it is always important to stay positive, but especially during a time when you are surrounded by family, some of whom may be the very people who challenge us most. family gatherings can be overwhelming, so be sure to take time for yourself when you need to re-charge and see the bright side again. your family loves you!

...and with that, i wish you well during this busy but joyful time. i'm off to enjoy my organic peppermint tea that helps with digestion (see numbers 2 and 3 above) and take some time for myself with a good book. Happy Holidaze!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

more love for dogs

remember when i told you how much i love dogs and how much joy they bring me? well i want to add to those sentiments now that i'm living with Datsyuk and my parents' dog, Bettie White. Bettie came from a farm in Iowa and never had a good home until this past July. for a lot of the time she was in shelters, she missed out on a whole lotta love and support. my parents aren't necessarily "dog people,"  but they wanted a companion and some new life in their home (my step-dad is semi-retired and has the time to watch a needy puppy).

Syuky and Bettie White playing in the fresh snow

let's get one thing absolutely straight: Bettie White is totally crazy. i mean, she's CRAZY, always getting into mischief, running every which way, tearing apart toys and now that Syuky is here, terrorizing him. even though i know he is often annoyed, Datsyuk also likes the attention (he is still a full-on male, testosterone and all). imagine a teenage girl living in the same house as her handsome, older man crush. yah its like that.
Datsyuk being so gracious as my
cousins dress him up as a wizard

what else is special about Bettie is the way she loves. she is a little behind, she doesn't always behave, but she always, always wants to be loved and will love in return.  as crazy as she makes me some times, i can never be too upset, knowing that where she came from was probably much worse than our nice home in calm Northeast Minneapolis. it's hard for me to describe what its like to have my boyfriend and our dog here with me while i go to school, but if you can think of the best possible situation for yourself at this moment, you can relate. i have all the support in the world and for that i am forever grateful. Syuky and Bettie can always put a smile on my face, even when i want to smash faces after a tough day with over-pretentious grad students. their simple joy and love is contagious.

Monday, December 10, 2012

friendship always has benefits

remember when i told you about the currency of trade and how awesome it is? well, this other instance didn't exactly include a trade (though i had the option), but it's a perfect example of what can happen when you maintain a friendship, support one another, and both parties benefit. see exhibit:

my dear friend has a little shop in Truckee and recently opened a second one in Brooklyn, New York (check it out here). when i heard she would be opening the second location i immediately asked if she would need some jewelry merchandise to put in the shop. lo and behold, she did! (asking questions can get you very far) i sent her over $500 worth of jewelry and the shop opened up just a few weeks ago. i had also been eyeing a super sweet pair of Jeffrey Campbell platforms and we considered a trade, however my grad student budget will not allow for it right now.

in the end, i discovered that maintaining a good relationship/friendship can be super beneficial for all parties involved!! i'm not one to burn bridges, and as i get older i'm learning that this is especially important not to do. never underestimate what someone can do for you and what you can do for them. you might be surprised! ;)

Monday, December 3, 2012

coco loco

i've written my praises for coconut oil once before and i'm about to do it again. as a hair treatment, the oil is still working wonders. i try to keep most products out of my hair, only using a morroccan oil out of the shower and a smoothing product while my hair is still wet. the coconut oil goes on only when my hair is fairly dirty and ready for a washing the next day. leaving it in overnight is great and after it washes out, my hair feels smooth and shiny!!

lately i've also been experimenting with coconut oil as an overnight moisturizer on my face. its worked wonderfully. i have been washing my face less (only at night with a cream-based sensitive cleanser) and moisturizing more. seems as though the older i get, the more moisture my skin needs. it helps clear up breakouts and keeps my skin relaxed and fresh. in the morning i don't even need to cleanse, which keeps my skin even clearer of products. natural is always better!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

co-ops are the best ops

you may not know much about the co-operative movement that's happening in our world, but it's probably best if you get to know about it. these organizations are popping up in different industries, including grocery, fashion, and art, and in every way they are beneficial to all parties involved.

our bag of goodies after joining EastSide Co-op:
includes a book about founding co-ops,
dark chocolate, tea, coupons and recipes!
my first co-op experiences were here in the Twin Cities about 6 years ago when i learned about the place where my sister Erin did all of her grocery shopping. she had moved from Seattle and introduced me to the world of holistic wellness, yoga and local/sustainable food. soon after i realized how awesome Erin's co-op was, i immediately joined the one in my neighborhood in Minneapolis called the Wedge (it's well-known amongst foodies and co-op supporters around the country). yesterday, Trev and i bought our lifetime membership at the EastSide food co-op in our new Minneapolis neighborhood.

co-operatives have grown popular in the past decade with the advent of the local and organic movements, but some have been around much longer. they are perfect venues for small, local farmers and producers to sell and promote their goods. when we buy local we have a great impact on our community and the environment. co-ops provide a space for the producers and also reward member-owners with special coupons, discounts and yearly dividend returns. one year i got a check for $87 from the Wedge!! it's all pretty special if i do say so myself.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

full of thanks

my belly is still reeling from the insane thanksgiving meal i had on Thursday and the following meals on Friday that only added to my fullness. finally, today (Saturday), i am feeling like my body is digesting. now that i am living in the Midwest again, i was able to join my family in Wisconsin for these meals and bring Trevor with me. it's been so great spending time with both sides of my family and seeing how they welcome Trev into the family.
Trev and I at Squaw, 2012

after being in California for 4 years and working every holiday through the winter it's like a breath of fresh air to come back to the Midwest and be with my blood family. i am so lucky to have a huge, warm, loving family here in Wisconsin and also a non-blood family in Tahoe that loves and supports me no matter what.

i am thankful for:
my family
our dog Datsyuk and his unconditional love
good, healthy homemade food
homegrown eggs
the Great Lakes
the ocean
my education
...and much more

even though the holiday of thanksgiving is over we can all appreciate and be grateful for everything in our lives, even the things that challenge us most. it is then that we learn from our past, our mistakes and our surroundings and become content with our world.

practice gratitude and everything else will follow.
my sister Erin and her son Abel

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

multi-use winter accessories

now that it's november in Minnesota, i've been happily pulling out my winter jackets, clothes and accessories. i am a summer baby but i do love layering and feeling cozy when its cold outside.

back in August i found an amazing, handmade vintage crochet shawl at Ragstock for about $6. with a little push and some inspiration from my style guides on instagram (@manrepeller is particularly influential) i put the shawl to the test as a scarf. lo and behold, it is a thing of beauty and warmth worn either way.
shawl/scarf, vintage rings, red nail polish and a recycled
military-inspired black jacket. 

when i get to school after braving the elements and the bus, then i use it as a shawl again to keep me warm in the cold classrooms. i love getting the most out of my money, using recycled pieces year-round!

Monday, November 12, 2012

trial and error

we all make mistakes. some are more costly or more hurtful, or sometimes just a misstep in this game of life. i recently purchased a pair of incredible black vintage riding boots online, only to receive them and find they didn't fit. how could this happen? i measured every angle of my own boots and compared to those listed on the site (Etsy - only the most amazing virtual marketplace ever). i had been searching for a pair of flat vintage boots, since one of the keys to vintage shopping is to keep an eye out.

you like? 

i bought them too soon. i was in a rush to have these gorgeous black boots but alas, they arrived and were just barely too big. since i bought them online from an Etsy seller, there was no chance of a refund. i had already negotiated a better price AND paid $25 for shipping from Canada. i immediately put the word out to my girlfriends, a few showed interest, but nothing serious. i'm hoping they sell to a friend, or i'll have to list them on Etsy again. i could try to consign them, as i'd usually do, but i wouldn't get nearly the same value as if i sold them on my own.

thus, patience is the key. since i'm not completely struggling for money right now, i can wait for the right buyer and price. i'd rather give up less cash than take less. perfect! saving money AND passing on a beautiful pair of boots to the right person.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

betty's election day

today is election day in America! i can't stress enough how important it is that you get out and VOTE, if you are eligible! it may seem miniscule, but it counts. i will not go into my political beliefs here but the more important idea is to be informed and be involved in the voting process. it is our right as Americans!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

our future tiny home

last week Trevor showed me the most AMAZING website that we are now both currently obsessed with: the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company makes teeny tiny, livable houses that are built with no foundation and can be moved anywhere. yes, this is real. it's like my dream of an eco-friendly, sustainable home that requires little commitment is finally coming true! (it helps that i have the man of my dreams by my side to execute the construction of the house, and to get a truck to haul it)

we are already planning which house we will get, but from the looks of them they vary only slightly, until you get to the 'cottage'-sized homes. i know that this might not be ideal for some of you, but personally, the older i get the more i realize how little i really need to get by. now that Trevor and i are really thinking about our future and our life together, its amazing to see how it will all happen! we are fully committed to the environment and our future, more so than being concerned with having a big house and a so-called "perfect" job. we will be pursuing our dreams of self-employment and can still buy a tiny house (call it our 'starter home') without sacrificing credit and going into debt for something more typical.

it's clear to see that climate change is not knocking at the doorstep, its already inside the house and doing its damage. though we may not be able to turn it around completely, at least, if we all do a little something, we can impact the damage and lessen it for the next generation. let's protect our Earth and help keep her healthy!!

the currency of trade

ok, ok, i know i have been absent from posting for a few weeks - but i'm a grad student now and school has pretty much taken over my life! also, my family and Trevor were in town and i was incredibly busy. ANYWAY...

i recently made a connection via Instagram (only the best social media app out there - photos galore!!) with a sweet chica from California who crochets and makes really awesome things. see, part of the magic of Instagram and other social media outlets is the hashtag. i think i'll have to devote an entire post to hashtags and their capabilities another time. so i found this Neena and mentioned on one of her photos of an item that she made that i would love to trade if she liked any of my own creations. lo and behold, we connected again via Etsy and now the trade is in progress! i make her 2 custom pairs of earrings and she crochets me a super adorable cropped sweater vest.
Neena's custom leather fringe and chain earrings, by bohobetty (me)

now that i've found how easy this can be among artisans, i made a note of it on my etsy page so that if other creative people like my jewelry but are tight on cash, we can both benefit by making a trade for equal value. just like that, we eliminated the need for dollars AND we are supporting one another as artists. this sounds familiar, yet not quite mainstream...more on the co-operative model is to come!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

betty hits facebook

after much prodding by friends and consideration, i've decided to take betty to facebook and create a page for my jewelry/accessories line, Boho Betty. check it out!

Like the page for more about rad Bettys, new stuff and all things awesome. thanks for your support!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

seamstress betty

remember that betty emergency i told you about a few weeks ago? when i couldn't quite fix my beautiful vintage velvet gypsy skirt in time for my friend's wedding? well, i found a solution and with the help of my mom's nice sewing machine, everything is all better now and ready to wear.

thrifted for material
as i was perusing the racks at my favorite Twin Cities thrift store (which i could reveal but i'd be giving away my secret), i found another velvet maxi skirt in a similar burgundy color for $2. i immediately bought it, with the brilliant idea of using it as my added material to lengthen the skirt.

when i finally got around to this project the other day, i made sure to take measurements before beginning, so i knew if i would have enough material or not. i measured the hem of the original gypsy skirt (as a bell-shaped skirt the measurement around the bottom is pretty big), and also measured the replacement material skirt. i cut the replacement skirt into 4 sections of even width, attached them to form one long piece, and hemmed it. when it came time to attach it to the original skirt, i was just a hair short but had enough material left over to fill in the gap.

finally came time to attach the long piece to the hem of the original skirt, for which i used a heavy duty zig-zag stitch, since the velvet materials are fairly heavy. et voila! it turned out great. though the colors are just a hair different and the sewing is not perfect, it's perfect for me and will do just fine for me to wear. yet another way to make use of my resources and efforts for an entirely custom piece of clothing.
finished product!! adds about 4 inches to the original length

Sunday, October 7, 2012

organizing betty jewels

if you're anything like me, you are constantly digging through multiple piles/containers of jewelry to find the pieces you want to wear at any given moment. my biggest annoyance is untangling the many long necklaces i own (for an idea of my style, check this out) whenever i want to wear one or more of them. the other day i remembered that i had seen something easy to make, with few materials, many of which are probably already lying around your house. i'm talking about a super awesome necklace organizer, made of a tree branch, nails and string.

my materials: found tree branch piece, heavy-duty string,
nails and a hammer
be sure to find a fairly thick tree branch that will be sturdy enough to hold the weight of your jewelry and also hang from the wall. if you have nails lying around somewhere in your house, they can be 1.5-2" long, or head to your local hardware store to buy some. also be sure to use a strong, thick string that can hold some weight.

step 1
decide how many nails you want to use per necklace hanging section. mine has 4 but if you use a slightly longer branch you may be able to add 5. any more than that and you risk putting too much weight on the branch so i recommend you be a little cautious. next, start aligning the nails so they are evenly spaced throughout the length of the branch.

all nails hammered
step 2
start pounding!! hammer each nail in carefully so as not to break the branch. be sure to leave enough room on the ends where the string will be attached and the branch will hang. after you've hammered the necklace hangers, attach one nail on each end (leave about 1 inch).

step 3
wrap one end of the string around the branch and securely tighten a knot around the nail. do the same on the other end so you have a piece to hang on the wall. it should form a triangle shape.

                                                      step 4
hanging on the wall (sans jewels)
hang the piece on the wall, and get to organizing those necklaces!! hang those jewels, girl!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

homemade skincare (for next to nothing)

lately i've been noticing that my skin has been breaking out more and reacting to the change in climate (Northern Cal to Minnesota is quite an adjustment - in many ways). Trevor suggested that i was washing my face too much but i dismissed it months ago, since he's a boy and probably doesn't know anything about skincare anyways. i try to be very careful about the products i use and of course, good skin comes from within, but nothing was working. some of you may know about my skincare routine and how obsessive i can be about it sometimes. i've written home spa posts before, which you can refer to for further resourceful ideas about natural, homemade skincare.

the finished tonic
i started going down to 1 wash a day at night, which is crucial to preventing breakouts. going to sleep with makeup on is the worst thing you can do to your skin. i'm also cutting back on sugars and trying to switch to more tea and less coffe, though as a grad student that will be hard to do.

in the mornings now i use a homemade lavender facial tonic that i whipped up in about 30 seconds. using a small glass spray bottle, a pinch of fresh lavender and filtered water, i made this super easy, all natural tonic.

Monday, September 24, 2012

betty negotiates

today i was faced with the issue of a miscalculated cell phone bill, due to a mistake made by a phone company employee a month ago. the old me would've gotten angry and started to take out my anger with customer service reps, who probably would then be unwilling to give me what i want. instead, i called, very nicely explained the situation, and firmly explained what i wanted the outcome to be. i can tell i'm a grad student on her way to becoming a full-on grown-up by doing this. turned out i had to call one more time, at which point i explained everything again, very nicely but firmly, and before i knew it i had credits on my bill and exactly the outcome i had requested. funny how being nice will get you what you want.....

to top it off, i found some AMAZING vintage boots on Etsy that i had been searching for, and finally had found my size. but the price was wrong. they were $25 more than the other pair i had looked at, so i sent a message to the seller to see if she was willing to negotiate. 3 hours later, she responded positively. i get the magical vintage boots that are the perfect size, and she still makes a decent sale to a fellow Etsy member. ta-daa!! negotiating can definitely contribute to my resourcefulness. and it feels so good to get a good deal!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

a resourceful betty emergency

yesterday i was set to attend the wedding of a dear friend of mine and her man, in the woods of central Wisconsin. i planned to wear this amazing vintage velvet long gypsy skirt, since i could layer it properly and still be warm during the outdoors ceremony. i had tried the skirt on previously and knew that it was a little short, but figured it would be perfect to wear with flat ankle boots. i was mistaken.

applying the tulle around the hem of skirt
i didn't follow one of my own rules: TRY EVERYTHING ON. i didn't try it on at Savers, and after not wearing it for months i forgot how it actually fit me. when i went to get dressed for the wedding, it was just an inch too short even to wear with ankle boots. i had a backup of these cute high-waisted black plants, but i desperately wanted to wear this skirt with the amazing vintage lace bolero jacket my friend had given me.

getting a little help from our dog Bettie White
(note the amazing vintage lace bolero)

SO, i called my mom and asked her to pick up some materials to add to the hem of the skirt for added length. she came home with a roll of black tulle, black ribbon and an iron-on adhesive material. with very little time to spare, i started to unroll the tulle, figuring i could skip the iron-on stuff and just use simple masking tape. i planned to layer the tulle 3 times over. it took me about 30 minutes to do the whole thing and when i went to put on the skirt, all the material i had painstakingly applied came right off. i went to the backup of black pants, which my mom proclaimed were 'adorable.'

i learned my lesson, and even though i was hoping that the vision of velvet gypsy skirt and lace bolero would become a reality, i'll have to go back to the crafting table. i'll look for a fabric that can add about 4 inches to the hem and i will sew it on next time, making sure to have enough time to try it on again before i wear it out.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

mass transit, mass benefits

i know i have been so delinquent in the past few weeks in posting, since school has somewhat taken over my life. now that i have a schedule in place and am on top of all homework, i have a few things to share about being resourceful.

since i've been in Minneapolis i've started using public transportation again (Tahoe is not exactly great for those without cars). as an urban area its incredibly easy to get around by bus, and very soon the Light Rail will be expanded to cover more area in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. though its great to save money and energy, there are a few pitfalls to public transportation.

1. timing

in order to make it to my classes, i have to give myself a minimum of one hour to get to campus, usually more to be safe (i absolutely hate being late to class, especially as a professional-looking grad student). i actually have to take 2 buses to school which can delay things even further, especially when i'm done for the day and i just want to go home. it is, however, a great time to practice patience and remember why i'm taking the bus in the first place.

2. waiting

waiting for the bus goes hand-in-hand with timing, but i also feel like there's a decent amount of waiting while i'm on the bus. sometimes passengers need extra assistance getting on and off the bus, or maybe there's a lot of people getting on or off the bus. in addition, just waiting to get to my stop can sometimes feel like eternity. to combat this, i bring a book (unrelated to school) that can draw my attention away from the waiting. by nature i am not a patient person so i try to remember to do these things and not drive myself crazy.

3. bus etiquette (or lack thereof)

personally, i prefer to ride the bus with headphones and keep to myself. other people want to make conversation. as politely as possible, i smile and pretend like i can't hear them, which usually i can't anyways. i certainly don't want to offend anyone but i also am not interested in talking to a stranger about nothing while i'm commuting to school. it's also important to be courteous to everyone and their space, though some people have a harder time with this. i always make room in a seat for older folks, and i politely excuse myself when i arrive at my stop and i'm sitting on the inside seat. people who often ride the bus are usually on the same page, so this hasn't really been an issue for me. just to be safe, i make sure and practice my best manners.

all in all, riding the bus and public transportation is better for my wallet and the environment, though it can sometimes be trying. when possible, i think its a great option and certainly much better than trying to commute into or through a major city, and pay an outrageous amount for parking (unless your company or firm is willing to pay and you don't mind traffic). it's a great way to save money and energy and be resourceful!!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

consignment gold at the end of the rainbow

unless you've been living under a rock and know nothing about me (or have never read this blog before), you know nothing about my obsession with used and secondhand goods. i love thrifting and vintage shopping so much i even wrote a guide for my readers and followers so you too can strike gold at your local thrift shop or vintage boutique.
silk Marc Jacobs blouse, purchased for $26
in 2008

last week i was given the privilege to pick a few things out (for back-to-school, yay!!) with my parents at my favorite consignment store EVER, Fashion Avenue. i could go into more detail about its location but that would be completely giving up the secret. there i found a sweet scoop neck Velvet brand wool-blend tunic and a light-colored and lightweight plaid button down by Free People, all together for under $60.

the lot of scores from 1 week of consignment shopping

a few days later, my dad called and said i had a store credit at Fashion Avenue as a late birthday present, so i was able to go pick out a few more things for school, when i found an adorable grey sweater dress by Free People and some J Brand black denim bootcut jeans, again for about $60. that may seem like a lot to spend on just a few items, but knowing what i do about these brands means they will last for a long time, fit me well, and can be consigned for something different if i decide i don't like them anymore.
keyhole and ribbon detail from the back of Free People sweater dress

i cannot tell you how satisfying it feels to find such amazing deals on high quality clothing. i mean i can, and i am now, but i recommend you find out for yourself. check my guide (all 3 parts) for more info and tips to making the most of your money! being resourceful will always pay off, i guarantee.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

crafting is art

in the past year, my love for my own art and creativity has grown immensely. through my creativity i find an inner calm (also found through my yoga practice) and i feel accomplished for making something new.

a taste of my workspace

though i do use some new materials like chain and leather that is harder to find in large quantities recycled, i prefer to use recycled beads, pendants, pieces and parts for my jewelry. this has become popular in the past few years as we try to be more resourceful, and it's called 'upcycling.' i've posted about upcycling before, and lately i've only collected more and more pieces to use and make new again.

100% upcycled earrings made with
hoops, glass beads and chain
i'm still listing pieces on my etsy and hope to soon show my work to a larger audience through a trunk show and networking. if i can reach even a few people and share my art, that is based on making old things new again, i will be happy. check it out and spread the word! my pieces are for anyone and everyone, but mostly for us betties everywhere.

takeout, eggs, and magic

this morning i searched the fridge for something i could use in my eggs for a healthy, filling and not-too-heavy breakfast. as you may have seen here before, i absolutely love eating eggs and leftovers for my breakfast , and it's a great way to use what you already have. being on a budget doesn't have to mean eating cereal for breakfast and ramen noodles for your other 2 meals.

2 nights ago, my parents and i got some super delish takeout from the Holy Land , a Mediterranean food mecca (pun intended) in Northeast Minneapolis. for $20, we got an appetizer plate that included hummus, baba ghanouj, falafel and dolmas (stuffed grape leaves - amazing!), a lamb pita plate with saffron rice pilaf, and a large tabouleh salad. we ate most of the food that night, but the leftovers were put to good use the next day and again this morning. i used the lamb meat with the eggs and added fresh chevre (soft goat cheese), and added the tabouleh to the same plate to have a vegetable and a little spice. it made for an incredible breakfast and kept me full for hours afterward! i like to have a bigger breakfast with lots of protein, so i stave off any snacking and hunger until i'm ready to have a small meal or lunch.

lamb and chevre scramble served with authentic
Mediterranean tabouleh
now that i live in a bigger city again, i have countless options for affordable, healthy food. i also love foods from all over the world, so the Twin Cities are perfectly fulfilling. curry goes great with eggs, as well as stir fries and rice dishes. do some research about your tastes and what's available in your city so you can get creative and be resourceful!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

yoga is my church

as some of you know, i am a strong advocate for the practice of yoga and its physical and emotional health benefits. i've been practicing yoga for 10 years, and i started doing it at home. i had gone to a few classes here and there, and when i was living in Chicago i began my home practice. i had a tiny little TV with the built-in VCR, and i watched Rodney Yee's videos (if you don't know about Rodney Yee, Google him. he wears awesome tiny black yoga shorts that always made me giggle.). it was a great way to start my home yoga practice, in a comfortable, non-competitive environment.

when i first moved to Minneapolis in 2006, i practiced and studied yoga with my teacher Ben Vincent, from One Yoga. as i delved deeper into my practice, i learned more and more about myself and the practice of yoga itself. it is manifested in different ways for different people, and we all have different abilities. i rarely practiced at home, since the studio was a half block from my apartment. in Truckee, i became close to my friend and teacher Ann Marie Sheridan, who now owns Namaste studio and utilizes a similar teaching style to Ben. this consistency in teaching improved my practice and my understanding of yoga. as some of you read previously, i found a great spot at my most recent house in Truckee to practice, outside in the backyard among giant pine trees. it was magnificent.

Warrior 1 pose

now i am back in Minneapolis getting ready for grad school in a few weeks and my yoga practice has become grounding for me, during a time of readjustment and new beginnings. i'm living with my parents (you can laugh but its FREE) and they have an awesome Midwestern rec-room, multi-purpose basement. with a huge space sometimes used for the grandkids' playspace, i am also able to use it as a yoga space when i want to practice at home. this week i am house and dogsitting for my sister while she and the family are in Seattle, and once again i was able to find a small space to lay my mat. she has a massive walk-in closet (filled with lawyer-y clothes, amazing vintage pieces and tons of beautiful shoes) with a small wood floor space just big enough for my mat and some standing poses.

Tree pose - a practice in balance
some of you are probably thinking, "how the heck can i practice at home if i'm not that 'good' at yoga?" well first of all, there's no such thing as being 'good' or not at yoga. it is a practice and should be viewed that way. i may be able to do advanced poses, but i don't think of myself as being 'good' at it. it may be easier to begin a home practice after you become more familiar with poses and are not fearful of injuring yourself. for beginners, i recommend attending at least a few classes to gain some ideas about what their home practice could look like, and to learn proper alignment for those poses.

you may also be wondering how you can cultivate a home practice if you are not a trained teacher. how will you know which poses to do and when? for me, this is the beauty of the home practice. i generally don't start my home practice with a specific idea for the poses i'll do, but i naturally fall into a routine that i've gotten used to through different classes and teachers. if i start to feel lost as to what to do next, i take a minute to breathe deeply and check in with how my body feels. this will usually tell me what i'd like to do. sometimes i only practice for 20-30 minutes, other times i practice for an hour or more at home. without a specific agenda in mind, the home practice allows me to be fully aware of my body's needs, and to practice without any distractions.

i encourage everyone to consider a home practice of yoga and/or meditation at either a regularly scheduled time or sporadically. everyone's needs are different. for more ideas about poses and a home practice, check out these online resources:

10 tips for practicing yoga at home
Yoga for beginners at home (video)
A home practice

Sunday, August 12, 2012

betty roots run deep

last week, i moved back home to Minneapolis from Truckee to get settled before i start my graduate program at the U of M. living with my parentals again as an adult will surely be a challenge, but luckily my mom and i have lots in common, primarily that we are super resourceful betties. my mom is the original; she taught Erin and i how to make the most of what we are given and to do it well. here in the midwest, gardening comes more easily than in the mountains. the other day, my mom made lunch for me, Trevor, her husband Gary and herself, using home and locally grown ingredients (primarily).
chilled Cucumber-Avocado soup, made with homegrown cucumbers
Tortillitas with shrimp and scallions; yellow
cherry tomatoes and cucumbers from
mom's garden
not only does my mom have a garden full of massive cucumbers and squash, but she has both curly and lacinato kale plants that are as big as small trees. having these resources readily available makes us more likely to put them to use and not waste what we already have. as a kid i was not totally excited about all of the vegetables in our garden, but now that i am older i thoroughly enjoy eating every kind of homegrown vegetable i possibly can. not only is it healthy, but eating this way is good for our environment. along with the chilled soup, my mom made tortillitas with shrimp and scallions (imagine small pancakes with savory goodies inside). to complete this perfect summer lunch, she picked yellow cherry tomatoes from the garden and served them with freshly cut cucumber slices.

now that i'm home in Minnesota i will certainly miss the mountains and the incredible friends i made in Tahoe, but i am excited to begin a new chapter with graduate school and reconnect with my Midwestern roots. soon enough i'll be back to visit Tahoe and snowboard like crazy, but until then it's family, school and work here in the Twin Cities.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

san francisco on the quick

Trev tries on his favorite team's
helmet at a Mission thrift store
earlier this week, Trevor and i decided to head right down the hill to the great city of San Francisco for a quick trip to see friends and enjoy the city. the drive down is only 3 hours from Truckee and beautiful through the foothills. if i have the time, i usually stop at Pedrick Produce in the Valley, to stock up on local fruits and veggies. our first day and night were spent mostly socializing and going out in the city, which can be costly, but we managed to not spend a total fortune on alcohol.

Mexican Cokes
the next day we nursed a serious hangover with brunch at Eats Restaurant in the inner Richmond district. after our meal, we headed to the Castro so i could swing by Crossroads to sell some clothes. i've been cleaning out my closets as i get ready to move to Minnesota and i was able to sell a few things, though that particular Crossroads was already well stocked. while i did my errand, Trevor and his friends went to hang out at nearby Mission Dolores park. after a food coma and nap we got ready to head out of town, hitting up the famed Mission Chinese restaurant on our way out of the city. i've been hearing about this place for a while, where authentic, traditional Chinese cuisine takes center stage and the public comes pouring in. the sign outside is for the previous restaurant, named Lung Shan (it's yellow and hangs overhead; have to keep an eye out!). the vibe inside is hip yet traditional, featuring lanterns and huge paintings of the General Mao and his comrades. we ordered 4 "Mexican Cokes" (Coca-Cola in a glass bottle) made with real sugar and got to work on the menu.

between the 4 of us, we ordered one soup, one chicken dish, and two vegetable dishes, one of which was a cold appetizer. all food is served family style and the portions are appropriate, even at a fairly inexpensive price. without realizing it, we did all order fairly spicy dishes and the kitchen staff certainly does not skimp on the spice. after sufficiently stuffing ourselves and relieving our burning mouths with cold Coke, we paid up and tipped the very aloof hipster server. including tip, we spent under $80 (his aloofness prompted only an 18% tip).  with a little time to kill before rush hour ended on the Bay Bridge, we headed to a nearby thrift store on Mission and 17th. the place was like a huge warehouse, yet i found nothing (and i am trying hard to stop collecting items right before i move).

cold Garlic Cucumbers at
Mission Chinese

we made it home to Truckee that night around midnight and i was supremely exhausted, but it was all well worth it. San Francisco is my favorite city and i was happy to have one last trip before heading east again for school.
Mongolian Long Beans with Leeks
(this was the spiciest and my favorite dish!)

the spread: Kung Pao pastrami, Garlic Cucumbers,
Mongolian Long Beans and Smoked Beef
Brisket soup

Thursday, July 26, 2012

delish home taco bar

earlier this summer i discovered a quick and easy meal to make, that is also healthy and almost entirely gluten-free. Trevor and i were in a rough financial state but needed to make a late lunch for ourselves. i mentally scanned all the recipes i knew of that could make a great lunch but none seemed to fit our budget or tastes (it was a really hot day so we didn't want anything too heavy). i decided that fish tacos would be a quick, easy and delicious solution to our problem; made with pre-breaded, frozen fried fish. it may not be the healthiest or locally made, but its sure easy and yummy. of course, with fish tacos one must have cabbage, so i got the pre-made and bagged chopped red cabbage, for about $1.99. 

grilled zucchini and summer squash

since that first discovery of the easy fish tacos, Trevor and i have made the same when we have friends over, since its affordable and healthy. we also then buy some pre-marinated carne asada, so guests have 2 choices of protein. i also have been making a spicy cucumber salad to accompany the tacos, and last night we decided to include grilled vegetables also. the cucumber salad is super easy to make, with 1 cucumber, the juice of 1 lime, salt and a little Hot salsa fresca.

spicy cucumber salad

the taco bar also includes chopped onion, cilantro, 2 kinds of salsa, avocado, lime and 3 hot sauce options (Cholula brand is best - Chili Garlic, Chili Lime and Chipotle). last night when we made this for some friends, we also grilled some zucchini and summer squash to add just one more healthy side dish. et voila! everyone ate well (mind you, this includes 5 men and myself) and healthy before our bonfire in the backyard. it was a perfect evening!

full taco bar set up, complete with warm corn tortillas, carne
asada, fish and condiments

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

shopping for fresh (like, really fresh) produce

last week Trevor and i missed the Tuesday farmer's market here in Truckee, so we made sure to hit it up this week for the freshest produce around. though the majority of northern California is great for growing fruits and veggies, Tahoe is of course mountainous and thus most plants will freeze overnight. luckily, lots of organic and sustainable farms are right down the hill or even a few hours further in the Central Valley. lots of these farmers come to Truckee, Tahoe and Reno for business so we try to make the most of our local resources. 

"Music" garlic from a local organic farm within
30 miles of Truckee
L to R: artichoke, summer squash, yellow onion, green onions,
yellow squash, leeks, nectarines, strawberries, heirloom tomatoes
this week, we found some of this AMAZING garlic from a local farm just outside of Truckee in a small valley. it is fragrant and soft, just like a perfect clove of garlic should be. its as if every slice of this garlic could be eaten raw and taste better than if it were cooked. at $.75 per pound, the cost is reasonable and in better quality than anything you'll find at the local supermarket (even if its organic).  delicious garlic aside, we picked up a few staples, including green onions and leeks (i love leeks - read about how much i love them here and how to properly clean them). leeks and fresh chevre in an egg scramble is probably my favorite thing to eat for breakfast. we found a giant artichoke for $3 and organic strawberries for $4, from the same farmer out of Watsonville, CA, the berry capital of the U.S. a little fresh summer squash will be perfect as a side dish to our fish tacos this week, nectarines are a great snack, and the heirloom tomatoes will be used for a fresh tomato and balsamic basil salad.
i chop the green onions immediately and store
in a container, to maintain freshness and use only
what is needed at one time

every place i visit, whether in the U.S. or abroad, has markets, and i always try to check out at least one. now that the food supply of the general public is causing more harm than good, the reasons to buy local are more numerous than ever. your health, your childrens' health and the economic well-being of our country depend on fresh, locally grown food sources. if you haven't done so yet, please do yourself and your community a favor and research the importance of locally grown food. "Food, Inc." and "Food Matters" are 2 great documentaries, and The Omnivore's Dilemma by Berkeley biologist Michael Pollan is an incredible book that describes different ways of eating and the benefits of each way. let's all eat local and save the Earth!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

the joy of dogs

my whole life, i've been a dog lover. i remember my grandma's dogs from way back when i was a little kid, and everyone in my family has had dogs that i've bonded with also. Chester, Worthy, Molly, Abby, Bailey and Sophie have been some of my favorites. when we were kids, my sister and i got a puppy from the same dog-loving grandma (Dorothy), but he was unhappy and wild and we eventually had to put Teddy down.

Syuky resting on our West Coast road trip,
April 2012
 since losing our own dog as kids, my sister and i have always been nostalgic. she and her husband adopted Oliver almost 8 years ago and he soon became my doggy nephew, who i lovingly ran with and showered with attention until Erin had the first baby 3 years ago. now, i am lucky enough to be with someone who loves dogs the way i do, and has a beautiful yellow lab named Datsyuk (named for Pavel Datsyuk, the Detroit Red Wings player and general badass. yes, Trevor has an obsession with hockey and the Red Wings).  not only did i fall in love with an incredible guy and partner, but i love Datsyuk as my own. we have even started to call him "our" dog! from the time i wake up in the morning and he stares at me with excitement with those big brown eyes until i cuddle with him for a little bit at night, Syuky brings me so much love, joy and happiness i feel sometimes like i might explode. dogs have unconditional love for the people who love them and treat them well, and that is a powerful feeling.
Trevor and Syuky walking through the
Portland Arboretum, April 2012

studies have shown that dog owners are generally happier and more fit people, and rightfully so. i try to take Syuky for a run and/or hike at least 3 times a week, and he knows when its time for that. he is so much like a cute little kid sometimes it kind of just kills me. he makes me laugh, he makes me smile and when i'm sad, he comes to comfort me. i have so much gratitude for him and having him in my life; the kind of gratitude that comes with really special people, animals and places. oh and i guess having Trevor around is good too ;).

if you don't have a dog of your own, hopefully there's a dog in your life somewhere that brings you joy and smiles.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Betty etsy

currently i'm in the midst of setting up and promoting my very own Etsy shop, Boho Betty - KS (BohoBetty was taken already, hence the initials at the end of shop name). since i've been crafting so much and feeling proud of all the merchandise i've made, i decided to open my own Etsy shop to sell my pretty things. for those of you who don't know about Etsy, you should probably get to know about it. check my page out here and feel free to share with others. i've listed only a few things so far but i am very excited to create more jewelry next week and gain even more feedback!

have fun shopping and exploring the magic of Etsy!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

a great day in thrifting

it wasn't in my plans today, but going to the Truckee Hospice thrift store today brought me some good luck and incredible bargains. after the Farmer's Market, where Trev and i picked out some fresh, local, organic produce, i felt like it was worth a shot to check out the thrift store. almost immediately, i found some great jewelry that could be used for my own crafting and jewelry-making (taking things apart to use the pieces in a new way is my favorite hobby - upcycling!). a few minutes later, when i checked out the shoes, i found these incredible flat Børn sandals. if you don't know this European comfort brand, do some research and get to know them. for $12, this was a huge score. i would bet the original retail price was at least $110.
black Børn sandals, red Aerosole sandal wedges (backdrop is
tabletop from Salvation Army in Santa Cruz, 2009)

i've also been waiting for a pair of cute, flat, comfortable sandals to come my way, always keeping an eye out, which is why i had great success today (drawing upon some of the wisdom i shared in my vintage and thrift guide, found here). as i was heading to check out, i spotted yet another rack of shoes and a pair of red leather wedge Aerosoles. again, a comfort brand for only $3! these probably retailed for around $70 (check out that tribal print on the wedge - perfect for my style). 

Monday, July 9, 2012

tiny carbon footprint

Trevor and i planted some Black Krim tomatoes about 2 months ago -- and tonight they were ready to eat! they grew quickly but took a long time to ripen, which made the entire process that much more fascinating. since we also have a Basil plant that's doing really well, we decided to make a caprese salad to accompany our vegetarian meal, since we are both fighting a cold.
raw green beans
i walked to Safeway for the mozzarella (hence the small carbon footprint) and included the salad with butternut squash soup, green beans with butter, and a baked sweet potato that we shared. the green beans were grown within 100 miles and we bought them from a co-op in Grass Valley, about an hour from our house in Truckee. i steamed the green beans and served with butter and kosher salt. it was tasty!

baked sweet potato, butternut squash
soup, green beans and caprese salad
we are so proud of the fact that we grew 2 of the ingredients for our dinner! it makes eating that meal very enjoyable and satisfying. eating locally means helping our planet and maintaining what resources we still have. ideally, we'd all be able to grow all of our own vegetables in the summer months, though living in the mountains makes that much harder. until the next time i can do that, i am resourceful with what i have: a lot of hot sun during the day and a safe place to keep the plants at night when it's too cold outside. growing tomatoes and basil is easy. and super yummy!
Black Krim tomatoes and Basil from our plants, Mozzarella
sourced from Wisconsin (my home state!)