Yeah, I ate that.

Placenta encapsulation.

What the heck?

I know, bear with me guys.

I’m just a hippie by nature. I’ll just throw that out there. I’ve always leaned towards a more natural lifestyle and dug into alternative remedies.

When I got pregnant it was like research on steroids.Cloth diapers, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, etc I rubbed coconut oil on my belly and tried to eat the right things….but what about me?

What about the aftermath of birth…postpartum care and recovery?

I started digging into what the heck to do about my hormones going crazy and my body healing while simultaneously going into breastfeeding mode. This just sounded like a lot of stuff to me.

So, I landed in placenta ingestion. Now, some people flat out eat it. That’s not the life for me guys.

So, I opted to have it encapsulated. This means that a Doula dehydrated it into powder and put it in pill form. She also made me a tincture so when I go through menopause and lose my mind, I can try that out too.

So that being said, ingesting your placenta is supposed to benefit your milk supply, healing from a ton of blood loss, and also support your hormones since they go crazy when you have the baby.I was a good test subject because I did this with my first baby but I couldn’t with my second (she was high risk and the placenta couldn’t be saved). So, I got to see both sides of it.

Yes, my doctor thought I was crazy when I asked him to set the placenta aside instead of disposing it. He said I was his first patient in all of his career to do it-there’s a first time for everything!

The truth is, placenta ingestion has been practiced for centuries. Scientifically there’s no super solid evidence you should do this BUT it’s one of the many things in motherhood you just have to decide for yourself. I figured it couldn’t hurt.It is a nutrient rich organ and if it has the potential to ease my transition into becoming an exhausted, healing, breastfeeding mother then I was totally down.

The process was fairly straightforward. We called the Doula when I was going into labor so she would be on standby. Once I had my baby, the placenta was placed into a medical bag and into a cooler. The Doula came to pick it up from the hospital and then a couple days later she delivered the placenta pills and tincture to my home. She also checked up on me to see how I was doing mentally and physically-Doula’s are cool like that. So long story short-I took my placenta pills twice a day. My milk supply was great with Noelle and I honestly do think that it eased my transition into motherhood and healing. I noticed a big difference emotionally and in my energy levels when I took them versus when I forgot to.

I wasn’t able to do this with Orchid and I had a harder time with postpartum recovery and breastfeeding so, I personally think it was worth it when I did it. I enjoyed the experience and it was a personal preference. 

The moral of the story is-if you’re someone who is interested in alternative remedies and a more natural lifestyle I encourage you to do some research because there are options and you do not have to stick with one certain path! 

And yes, I still have my tincture for menopause so we’ll see!

Holiday Apple Rose Recipe

I love apple pie and these are a cute way to make individual servings of a warm apple dish!

  • 1 large red apple (cored and thinly sliced so it’s flexible)
  • ¼ cup cane sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 sheet frozen puffy pastry (thawed)
  • ½ cup melted @kerrygold butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the apple slices in lemon juice to prevent browning. Place apples on a plate and microwave for about 45 seconds until the slices soften some.

Mix the cinnamon, sugar, and melted butter in a bowl.  Toss the apple slices in to coat them.

Roll the puff pastry out thinly. Then use a pizza cutter and cut 2-inch-wide strips.

Spread the remaining melted butter mixture over the dough. Then lay the apple slices on the dough so they overlap each other.

Fold up the bottom part of the dough to create a pocket for the apples. Then tightly roll the dough to form the rose shape.

Place the apple roses in a muffin pan to bake them for about 45 minutes. Voila!

Dunny Acres Farm & Apothecary

That smell of lavender and sage gets me.I’ve been using handmade soap since I was a teenager. My sister used to make it for me. Even when I lived in Korea she would make it and ship it to me because she rocks.

I’ve always been an advocate of natural, handmade products so when I saw what Dunnyacres was cookin’ up, I was down to try it out!

First off-what she’s making is different. She’s putting things together I would’ve never thought of and it works.I told her she’s a mad scientist-mixing things and making it happen!

It turns out, she does have a background in science, she was a nurse! This impressive entrepreneur set her nursing career aside when her two beautiful children entered the world and one became ill.

She began to implement natural alternatives and it worked.

There’s a lot to be said about what comes from the earth guys.And wait for it… SHE’S HER OWN SUPPLIER!

That’s right. This rockstar mama grows herbs, makes them into essential oils and then turns around and makes all kinds of high quality products.

This business is a family effort. Her nephew helps her with business tasks and she lives on the farm with her family. Meeting the face behind the business definitely brings a new level of appreciation.I just love that the herbs and products are locally sourced and I know where my apothecary goods are coming from. How neat is that? She even grows her own loofah sponges and tea. What a freakin’ rockstar!I got to try out her bath soak, elderberry syrup, Roselle syrup, face mask, locally grown loofah sponge, lip balm, and white sage spray (yes smudging in a spray bottle-I know… I was totally Christmas morning excited over this!) She also makes headache balm and smudge candles which I find to be so innovative and cool! I’m ridiculously impressed with the variety and quality she offers. She’s a hard workin’ lady and I’m super proud of how she goes about her business.I was introduced to her products on the shelves of Leclair’s General Store. You can also find her doing pop-ups! Honestly, the education I got from talking to her was equally as impressive as her products and I feel much more confident about what I’m putting into my body so if you get a chance, pick her brain!

Waste Not, Want Not, Stuff Bought

“There’s trash on the ground! The earth’s going to get sick!”

My daughter even knows better.
I remember when I was little I used to tell my mom she couldn’t buy individual bottles of anything because it was a waste of plastic and filling our landfills. Yeah, I was that kid.
Now, I admit I don’t recycle like I should or go to great lengths to save the planet but, I’m taking small steps towards doing my part.
The first step was cloth diapering my babies. I really loved it so it wasn’t a big deal to me.
A few months ago I switched to stainless steel straws. I felt really good about this decision since my girls use straws everyday. They’re easy to wash and I don’t have to keep re-buying them. Then I thought hmm, I’m saving money, helping the planet, and still have the product I want and it works the same-what else could I switch? 

So I got the Google search intro to the “zero waste” movement.

Soon after, Jessica, the owner of KyMia, reached out to me and I was like BOOM! Meant to be.

KyMia Reusables is a local, eCommerce business. This husband/wife team sells sustainable, no-waste, environmentally conscious products and I totally dig them. 

Not only are the products super cute (fun fabrics and designs) but they’re also high quality and work extremely well! I don’t know why I didn’t switch over sooner.

The first products Jessica gave me to try were:
  • Unpaper Towels
  • Unsponges, and
  • Bamboo utensils

Jessica is amazing by the way. She is one of those people you feel like you’ve known forever right off the bat, super relatable, and a mama of 2 so she gets it! 

So here are my thoughts: 
Unpaper towels ROCK. First off, they’ve covered in avocados so, they were winning in my book before I even used them. Seriously though,  you pull a towel off the roll, use it until you feel like its dirty and then throw it in the laundry. No more buying paper towels, no more creating a ton of waste. I love it!
The Unsponges really got my attention. I was curious how these would do because I am for sure a person who throws away sponges as soon as they seem the slightest bit dingy. I have to say, I’m seriously impressed. They have an anti-microbial hypoallergenic foam core. So, you use the sponge and then throw it in the washing machine and it comes out like new! Jessica even showed me examples of how she cut one in half and how clean it was after being used. So now I don’t have to buy paper towels or sponges anymore?Okay…this is cool. 
The bamboo utensils are pretty epic too. Instead of using plastic utensils when you’re out and about at restaurants you can carry these beauties in your purse, use them, and wash them to reuse again and again. You get to eliminate plastic utensil waste and look adorable when you break these out in public! #winning
So I was hooked…and then I ran into her booth at the Dogwood Festival…
Beeswax food wrap though. Okay guys so literally I’ve been in a bind for months now because I moved and don’t have alot of Tupperware (and don’t want to keep buying it) but I’m also not a fan of aluminum foil. I cook alot so I really need food storage options. Beeswax food wrap is this epic pliable cotton covered in beeswax and jojoba oil. She let me play with it and cover a mason jar. It seals right over the opening and the best part is, you can take it off, rinse it, throw it in a drawer, and keep reusing it! I much prefer this to annoying cling wrap, aluminum foil, or Tupperware. Now I can use my natural, eco-friendly beeswax covered cloth to cover my casserole dishes and mason jars and I feel great about it. Plus it’s cute.
The icing on the cake is that I’m supporting a small business and a lovely family! 
Oh, and I love this bag: I truly recommend checking out what they have to offer. They have more products than just the ones I spoke of and I intend to slowly build my no-waste stash of products over the next few months.  I love that I don’t have to keep buying these items, I’m eliminating toxins in my home, and I’m making environmentally friendly decisions. Plus, I made a new friend!

Maryland Crab Soup

Growing up in Southeastern Pennsylvania, seafood from the Chesapeake was a norm.

One of my favorite recipes is Maryland Crab Soup cause I LOVE Old Bay anything and this is basically Old Bay soup. YAS.

Now, I am not a chef guys…I just cook things and eat them with no exact measurements or professional training…so bear with me as I share my ridiculous ways.

Okay so you’ll need a big pot cause you’ll want leftovers. It’s always better the next day, right?

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of small red potatoes (cubed)
  • Lima beans
  • Corn
  • Green Beans
  • Cooked carrots (chopped up)
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • 2 cans of crab meat (feel free to mix in claw meat or whatever you want)
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 2 cups of beef broth
  • Chopped onion
  • Worcestershire
  • Salt & Pepper

1. Cut up the potatoes and boil them until you can pierce them with a fork easily. While they are boiling-chop up the onion and saute it with some avocado oil until soft.

2. In a large pot (remember you want leftovers) bring your crushed & stewed tomatoes, beef broth, a splash of Worcestershire, and water to a boil. Now, here’s where I’m no help because I totally eyeball how much water and taste test as I go. Add some Old Bay in there too (I add it throughout the entire process in excess) Once it’s all nice and mixed up turn it down to a simmer.

3. Add your onions, corn, green beans, cooked carrots, lima beans,and potatoes. I add the crab meat last and gentle stir so it doesn’t get totally shredded in the mix.

4. Lastly, add Old Bay to taste, salt, and pepper. I literally add so much Old Bay it is unreal. So, if you want my measurement probably about half the can? #notsorry

I recommend eating it with bread 👌🏻

The “I want to buy everything” Crate.

The Apple Crate Natural Market is like every food I have ever dreamed of in one cozy brick & mortar.Seriously, a family owned business that stocks everything from paleo bread and local eggs to sage for smudging and amber teething necklaces. This store is my jam.

Some of my fave coffee mix-ins from The Apple Crate & Cinnamon from Leclair’s

I’m talking every herb/supplement I can think of, Vital Proteins, Siete chips, Kite-hill almond milk cream cheese. Yas.

I instantly fell in love with with this market when I walked through the doors with my then 2 and 3 year old and we were greeted by a warm smile, organic lollipops-

…and that nod of “you got this mama” that we all need when we enter a grocery store with children.

The smell of essential oils and all things good hit me and I knew I found my little corner of Fayetteville.

The variety is impressive but the friendly vibe keeps me coming back. Honestly, I would drop in on a Saturday just to chat with everyone (and probably leave with a basket full because who can resist!!)

Some of my fave products:

  • Epic Provisions Bone Broth
  • Vital Proteins Collagen
  • Kite Hill Chive Almond Milk Cream Cheese
  • Tribucha Kombucha
  • Siete Chips
  • Simple Mills Crackers
  • The fact that they have every herb and supplement you could need
  • Sage for smudging
  • Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups (yassss)
  • Hail Merry anything
  • So much-I don’t know where to draw the line.

Art & Music

Art and music

The first day of high school art class my teacher told us to bring CDs. (I know, CDs… iPhones were definitely not a thing yet guys)

“Art and music go together!” Those words stuck in my head.

It’s about the process.

That concept of “the process” came up again in college when I was a fine arts major in a drawing class.

I was made to appreciate the work the artist put in-not just the finished product.

How the artist struggled with form and you could see it on the page…that hadn’t occurred to me. Once it did though, I looked at art in a new light.

That process of how a piece is created directly impacts the outcome.

A simple pencil drawing shows lines, even erased lines, and you can almost imagine what was going through their head when they drew them.

There are some paintings that have layers upon layers of paint. They’re almost 3D. You can see that struggle the artist had finding the form and bringing out the colors. It intrigues me.

Sometimes when I see a piece of art that looks like the artist really struggled, I wonder if they were going through something in their life. Often times you can see that artists take out their emotions in their work and it tells a story on its own, separate from the content of the piece.

The pressure they used, the speed at which they laid the lines down, is it a mess? Was the form carefully constructed? It really makes a difference.

Music flows much like art. It facilitates that process. Once I find that place where I’m inspired and have a direction-it just flows.

Whenever I get done with a drawing my mind feels clear-like I emptied it right on the page. I definitely put my emotions into my art. And when you consider how music expresses emotion-it just all kinda ties together, doesn’t it?

I often listen to mellow music when I create to remind myself to slow down and pause before making decisions on the paper. I need that reminder because I get excited and just go! I’ve learned that just throwing lines carelessly on paper does not work for me. I always hate the outcome.

So in order to love my work, I have to force myself to entertain a process that doesn’t come naturally to me. That process being patience. Ha.

Patient mood, calm music drawing: (attention to detail, thoughtfully placed lines)

Fun, faster music with less care to detail:(Less care with lines, a little more hectic looking, can you see the difference in style?)

While patience takes practice, I do enjoy building values in a drawing. Often times there’s this struggle of:

    Will this work?
    It might, I’ll draw it.
    It’s not working
    I hate it
    Maybe I can fix it
    It’s working now
    Okay, I dig it
    I gotta start dinner-I’ll finish this next year. (Real talk)

Pushing myself to get through those beginning unsure steps can be a challenge. I always try to decide if I’m wasting my time on an idea or if I just need to work out the details.

Listening to music helps my momentum. I’ll often just sing and jam and draw and let the hours go by and then I have an almost finished drawing in front of me.

I’ll be honest I have a TON of drawings that I’ve started and haven’t finished. I have ideas I want to get on paper but don’t typically have time to complete them.

Lately I’ve been making time though and you can read about that journey here.

So that’s my long, drawn out way of telling you that I think art is persuaded by music and that music is like a train that takes my mind from idea to creation. I dig that. Plus who doesn’t want to sing at the top of their lungs while drawing like a weirdo?