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.

Homemade Lip Balm

After all these years—and the countless body butters, scrubs, and makeup items I’ve posted about—I realized I have never once given a recipe for lip balm. Loco! Especially since this is one that I make pretty regularly and one of the first things I learned how to make all those years ago when I was a young girl watching my mom concoct all sorts of cool potions and lotions in our family kitchen.

I love this recipe for so many reasons. It’s inexpensive and easy and keeps your lips kissably soft. I reused my old chapstick tubes or pretty lip balm tins to make them. It’s a great way to avoid mindless consumerism especially if you are participating in Plastic Free July and trying not to buy things with unnecessary packaging. It’s also less expensive to reuse what you have.

And speaking of less expense, instead of paying $1-3 dollars for a small tube of chapstick everyday time I go to the store, I now spend roughly $2 on making over half a dozen lip balms! Plus, I know the ingredients in it and can tailor it to my preferences, which includes plenty of beeswax to seal in moisture.

It takes all of twenty minutes to make—and most of that is spent waiting for the wax and oil to melt and then, once poured into the containers, for them to cool. I make a big batch every few months. My measurements are rough guesstimates. I’ve been making lip balm for so long I’ve gotten pretty good at eyeballing what I need for how many containers. The measurements here will give you a big stash of lip balms to carry around, something I like because I use a lot—and keep some in all the rooms of the house. But you can always cut the recipe in half if you don’t want that much. I add shea butter to my recipe because I find it really helps to soften and hydrate lips. I avoid using essential oils or other scents, because it is on my lips. I also enjoy the soft honey scent it gets from the beeswax.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup shea butter

1/4 cup coconut oil or olive oil

1 tablespoon grated beeswax

Special tools:

saucepan

clean BPA free tin can or other heatproof bowl

cleaned old chapstick tubes or lip balm tins

Directions:

  1. Place the saucepan on low heat and fill halfway with water. Then place the clean tin can in the center of the saucepan. Put the beeswax in the tin can and let melt slowly.

  2. When beeswax is melted, add oil and shea butter. Let sit until combined, about 5-10 minutes.

  3. While oil melts, set up chapstick tubes, making sure that the tube is wound all the way down. If you’re using only tins, make sure they are open.

  4. Remove oil and beeswax mixture from heat and pour into lip balm tubes or tins.

  5. Let tubes or tins sit until the mixture is set, about one hour.

  6. Enjoy! Makes roughly six tubes or tins.

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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!

Join Me for Plastic Free July!

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When I first found out about Plastic Free July, I immediately wished I knew about this when I was doing my year of buying, using, and wasting less. It would have been a great challenge to immerse myself in last year. Then I thought…it’s a great challenge to try right now! Just because I’m no longer focusing on buying, using, and wasting less, I’m still doing all those things actively. This would just be the next step to doing my part to fight climate change.

This is even more important now that we are learning that we only really have five years before devastating, irreversible climate change. New studies are also showing that plastic is not just bad for the environment, but a serious climate hazard. Even now, the Arctic melt is in hyperdrive—scary stuff! When you consider the terrifying reality we face, along with the knowledge that we’ve literally produced 8.3 billion tons of plastic since 1950, it becomes clear that we have to be part of the global change to preserve or planet.

Why have we produced so much plastic in such a short time? Because it was exciting and innovative and marketed as something that would make our lives easier. But we now know that over 90% of what we put in the recycling bin doesn’t actually get recycled. This one-use ideology made people believe that they didn’t need well-made long-lasting products when they could just purchase cheap, disposable products. Even now, buying something like packaged lettuce is possible because people believe that it makes their life easier. It’s supposedly cleaner, ready to go from bag to bowl, and prettier than the unpackaged lettuce head…but we know that we still have to rinse even pre-washed lettuce and that not packaged vegetables, especially the local goods, have way more nutritional value than their packaged counterparts, not to mention the fact that they are often cheaper.

In short, minimizing plastic use is about unlearning toxic consumerist ideology that tells us we need more, cheaper, and quicker. Instead, opt for less, better, and slower. I’m not saying you need to go full-on homesteading, where you raise your own chickens and grow your own food (although, I thoroughly love gardening!). What I am saying is that we need to forgo the assumption that packing makes our live easier. It doesn’t.

And, it goes without saying that we need to fight to hold big businesses accountable for their complicity in the climate crisis and push hard for legislation that will help protect our environment and begin to heal the planet. I am so heartened by the various news stories of individuals, communities, and cities pushing green initiatives forward, including my very own Albuquerque, which just banned plastic bags and foam containers. But we also needs to hold ourselves accountable and do our part to protect our planet. Literally the easiest way? Stop using so much plastic!

So join me for Plastic Free July—you can set your own goals to limit or eradicate plastic use—and together we can be part of the change we need to heal mother nature. What we spend money on—and what we don’t—can have a powerful impact on what gets made, how it gets made, and who makes it. If the idea of giving up plastic feels intimidating, I leave you with three easy tips for limiting your plastic consumption:

  1. Give up one use items. I know I talk about this a lot but it is seriously the easiest and cheapest way to give up plastic. Ditch the straw restaurants give you for drinks—you don’t use them at home, do you? (If you do, it’s a good idea to invest in some inexpensive reusable ones.) Say no to plastic takeout silverware and resist the temptation to buy the single-serve item or one-use trinket. You don’t really need any of these things. So the next time you are tempted to try that little sampler or indulge in that little product, ask yourself if you really need or want it—and think about what happens when you trash it a few hours later. Pausing like this will help you be a more mindful consumer.

  2. Stop buying things in packages. Or use less packaging when you can. When I do have to buy something in packaging—like dairy—I opt for glass over the plastic-coated cardboard. Some stores are even developing return/refund programs on these containers. Or I go for cardboard over more wasteful packaging. I can’t tell you how upset I get at Trader Joe’s when I see tomatoes and other fruits and veggies coated in plastic (and have since stopped shopping there for this reason). I was happy to learn that they are cutting down on their plastic, but I think they need to get rid of it altogether. Buying fruit and veggies in bulk is the easiest way to avoid packaging, as is shopping the bulk aisle. The great side effect of this is that you end up buying healthier food and save money in the long run.

  3. Use what you have. Going plastic free doesn’t mean throwing out all your plastic containers…that would be counter productive, especially since we now know that very little of what we put into the recyclables actually gets recycled. So keep the plastic you do have and take good care of it so it lasts. They make great storage containers. Reusing is way more effective than recycling in terms of protecting the environment. And get creative! Start making your own shampoo and store it in old shampoo bottles, for example, or save those lip balm tubes and refill them with the homemade stuff (recipe coming soon).

At the end of the day, we need more people trying to reduce waste imperfectly, than a few people doing it perfectly, as the environmental mantra goes. Want more tips for easy sustainable living? Follow me on Instagram to see my #SustainableSaturday posts. At the end of the day, it's the little changes that add up to big change. How will you green your routine?

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!

Strawberry Moon Juice

The strawberry moon is one of my favorite full moons of the year. It is the solstice moon, quite often, and one that asks us to shed our daily toils and enjoy the long, languid days of summer. I’m especially drawn to it during my year of sacred simple pleasures as it reminds me to welcome sweetness into my life.

So how do you go about doing something like that, you might wonder? Simple. Create space for things that make you feel divine and luscious like a strawberry ripening in the morning sun. Trust our instincts and let go of anything that clouds your skyscape. Allow your energy to open up to possibility. Then, like any kitchen witch worth her salt, you manifest it in what you conjure out pantry items chopped, shredded, boiled, or stewed into yumminess. Or in this case, stirred.

Seriously! What we whip up in the kitchen is like an edible spell—even if we aren’t using a recipe or thinking of our well-stocked fridge as a medicinal cabinet and our spice cabinet filled with the powders and potions that stir the magic within us.

I was ruminating on this, and the unintentional energy we conjure in our lives as we choose to hold one thought in our minds over another. What we think, we become as the old saying goes. If that’s the case, I can think of nothing better than thoughts about the warm, lush energy of the Strawberry Moon—except for maybe this drink.

Like all potions, the love and energy you pour into making it is everything. I thought of the tangy surprise of an unexpected adventure as I juiced the lime and a sweet summer romance as I mashed up the berries. Then, as I topped my concoction off with a frothy head of ginger ale, I marinated on the power of spice and heat to liven things up. This is summer in a glass: sweet, spicy, bright, and full or promise.

I personally love Q ginger ale (minimal sugar) or Zevia’s ginger beer mixer (no sugar). I don’t like drinks that are too sweet or ones that give me a sugar rush, so these two options are perfect for a fizzy, spicy drink like my riff on the Moscow Mule. This drink was so good the firs time I made it that it wasn’t until hours later that I realized I forgot to add the vodka! But who needs it when you’re drunk on the heady possibilities of summer? Okay, sometimes I do, and you might want to try this drink both with and without it. Either way, it’s a delicious tribute to the Strawberry Moon and the loving sweetness it brings to summer.

Ingredients:

1 small can ginger ale

1 small lime, juiced

1 medium strawberry, chopped

1 shot vodka (optional)

ice

Muddle strawberries and lime in large glass until fruit is mashed and the liquid is a rosy color. Pour in shot of vodka, if you are wanting a cocktail. Add ice and top with ginger ale. Serves one, so invoke the lusty energy of the strawberry moon and make two. You never know who will arrive on your doorstep. 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!

Healthy & Happy Face Toner

One of the joys of a year of sacred simple pleasures has been retooling my beauty routine. I got a fancy new hair cut that makes me feel fabulous. I’ve been doing bi-weekly honey facials (homemade of course!). And I’ve been giving myself regular DIY mani-pedis, without the nail polish since I’ve discovered that I don’t like it as much as I think I do. An earth woman like me spends a lot of time getting her hands dirty and walking around barefoot—not great for polished nails! Still, I like the time and energy I’ve been giving to pampering myself.

In what seems like a self-care cliche at this point, I light a candle, turn on an audiobook, and proceed to indulge in some of the more luxurious forms of taking care of myself. I’m no stranger to the harder forms of self-care—eating right, exercising, limiting stress—but I’ve begun to learn that the softer forms are important too.

I get to feel pretty. And, I’ve found, I like to feel pretty! Like reading romance novels, doing these little seemingly vain self-care things makes me feel like I’m more than a to-do list or a job. I get to be a woman with her own desires and hopes and dreams…corny, I know! But it’s nice to feel like I’m taking care of a part of myself that has nothing to do with my day job (much as I love it). It’s my time for me and me alone, with no outcome except that it makes me feel good.

One of my favorite part of this new beauty regimen has been this Healthy & Happy Face Toner that uses Vitamin C to brighten and tighten skin. I started concocting this new toner after reading an article about how important it is for us bronze-skinned women to include Vitamin C in our skin routine as it helps with sunspots and evening skin tone. It also reduces signs of aging and can stimulate collagen production. I wish I could remember where I read this, so I could provide a ink, but, as one of the delights of this new beauty routine includes reading more beauty magazines (the more natural the better!), I can’t recall where or when I got this information. Ops!

Still, since I’ve incorporated Vitamin C into my toner, my skin has been brighter and softer. Once again, I got inspiration from Wellness Mama, but instead of using witch hazel, I opted for apple cider vinegar, since I find using it in its watered down form has always worked well as a gentle face toner. The vinegar helps balance the ph of your skin and is anti-bacterial. Notice I said watered down, however. Both apple cider vinegar and Vitamin C are acids, which means a little goes a long way. You never want to put undiluted forms of these on your skin as it will be WAY too harsh. So be gentle with yourself and use only watered down versions of each.

I learned from Wellness Mama that Vitamin C (see link below for where to get it) degrades over time so small batches and refrigeration tend to be better. I make a bigger batch myself, since I typically share it with the women in my family. I also sometimes add clove oil for it’s anti-bacterial priorities and to soften the smell of the vinegar. That said, the essential oils are entirely optional—just be sure not to use more than 10 drops, because again, they can agitate the face if they are not properly diluted.

The best part about this toner? It takes less than ten active minutes to make!

Ingredients:

1 tsp Vitamin C powder

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

10 drops clove oil (optional)

Heat water in microwave until almost boiling, about two minutes. Stir Vitamin C power into hot water until dissolved. Allow to cool, approximately 20 minutes. Then add the apple cider vinegar and stir. Store in small mason jar or petite spray bottle.

To use, wash face thoroughly then dip (ideally reusable!) cotton swab in liquid or spray toner onto swab into moist but not overly wet. Wipe face with cotton, spending a little extra time on oily or problem spots. Let dry then apply moisturizer of choice.

Makes 3/4 cup. Use within the month or keep in fridge to extend the shelf life. Enjoy!

….just add water!

….just add water!

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!

Cleansing Spell

Ingredients:

Burdens of others—as many as you have

3 quarts unspeakable heartache 

1 heaping tablespoon of ugly thoughts such as

   doubts, fears, and regrets 

101 compost worms

Purified tears, enough to fill a small vial

Renewed hope—all that you can muster

2 ounces lemon oil 

1 bundle of sage 

Skin scraped from an old scar until it bleeds

Tools:

1 laundry basket you don’t mind losing

3 matches 

1 gallon mason jar

1 durable vacuum ready for the afterlife

1 spray bottle

Directions:

Step One: Neatly fold burdens from others and place in a laundry basket you don’t mind losing. Light the first match. Set burdens on fire.  

Step Two: As the laundry basket burns, combine three quarts unspeakable heartache and one tablespoon of ugly thoughts into a one gallon mason jar. Let it stew until bitterness wafts from the container, approximately a lifetime.  No wait—that’s too long. Give it a minute or two.

Step Three: Pour the 101 worms into jar and let them feast until jar is full of compost. 

Step Four: At this point, your laundry basket full of burdens should be ash. Vacuum up the remains of the things you wish people hadn’t asked you to carry. Let vacuum sit.

Note the First: In some cases, those burdens try to reform themselves and reattach to you. If that is the case, you need to release the guilt you feel when you give yourself permission to prioritize your wellness. There’s plenty of room in the vacuum for guilt too.  

Note the Second: If you don’t feel guilt then good for you. You probably weren’t raised Catholic.

Step Five: Cry. A lot. Shed enough tears to fill a small vial and then put a stopper on it. You don’t want to go overboard. Get it out of your system and move on. When you’re done and have slept it off, combine the tears purified under the unconditional love of a full moon with lemon oil and the renewed hope you gained while dreaming. Pour elixir into a spray bottle. Shake well. And shake again.

 Note the Third: You might use regular hope but renewed hope is stronger, more potent. It has survived brutal heartache and terrible blows to the soul. If you want the spell to work, use the thing that won’t die. 

Step Six: Spray that shit everywhere until all you can smell is lemons and unblemished possibility.

Step Seven: Remember the vacuum bag of burned burdens and burgeoning guilt? Throw them in the gallon jar of what is now compost and worms.  

Step Eight: Take the second match and use it to light the vacuum on fire. It has held too much for too long and is ready for the afterlife.

Step Nine: Once everything has burned to a crisp and your mason jar is full of nothing but worms and reincarnated regrets (they are better for being dirt), take the remains—to be clear: worms, dirt, ashes—out to your garden. Fold them into the heap that is your compost. Turn widdershins twenty-one times or in whatever direction you want however many times you want.

Step Ten: Watch as the worms find their home in the earth and the dust settles.

Step Eleven: Take the last match and the bundle of sage. Light that bitch on fire. Lick the flame. Absolve yourself. You are only responsible for you. Taste the flame again to remember how good it feels to let things go.  Swallow the match and commit the sage to the compost. 

Step Twelve: Walk into your home. Smell lemon oil and the small green shoots of new life. 

Step Thirteen: Close the door to any unwanted burdens that come knocking. 

Step Fourteen: Scrape the skin of old scars across the threshold to remind yourself why you did the cleansing spell in the first place. 

Step Fifteen: Repeat as necessary.

Final Note: If you have to repeat this spell more often than you brush your teeth, ask yourself why you need to suffer. Then stop. Do you really want to spend your life crying into vials to make more purification spray? I mean, do what you have to do, but you’ve done this enough times that you know how things inevitably turn out. Better not to take on the burdens in the first place. You’ll keep more laundry baskets that way. Vacuums, too. 

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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!

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I Find Myself in Stories...

Sometimes I lose track of myself. I go here and there and forget what my beating heart feels like.  I’m supposed to do all sorts of things—loud ugly things, small quiet things, things that want me stuffed in boxes and forgotten.

Then I remember to breath. Then I forget to listen to the other voices that want only one version of me—the one that’s easy to contain. Then I take in the heady sound of pages rustling—and find myself in stories.

In them, I mend my heart with words and narrative threads, revive the small flicker of hope that had dwindled inside my chest so that it is a healthy flame once again. I let go of hospital-cornered thoughts and the four by four confessional inside my head.

The world wants me heartbroken—I’m more palatable that way. Sometimes I think I would prefer myself heartbroken, too. Then I could blame things on ghosts and old houses and places I should never have gone when I didn’t know any better. Stupid mistakes made by a fearful girl.

But then I read. And I remember that I am a story without one wasted sentence—not one useless word. And I call my soul back to myself. Words, so many words and chapters and pages that have so much to tell. Some are spoken like a greeting while others are mere whispers like things best said under the cover of darkness. Then some…they don’t need breath but find themselves in the wide open space of things left unsaid.

Every step has a purpose. Every wrong turn was the right one at the time, like one scene seamlessly finding another. I tell myself these things and hope they are true. I make them true, the paperbacks stacked on my nightstand tangible proof that the best stories offer the most twists and turns. Satisfaction, meaning, soul comes from the unexpected.

So I must be truly soulful, for everything up until this moment has been a surprise.

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 for regular doses of enchantment.  Want even more inspiration?  Follow me on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and Twitter.  Here’s to a magical life! 

Celebrate Naked Gardening Day

Yeah, it’s a thing, at least according to the World Naked Gardening Day official website. Established fifteen years ago, WNGD (for short) is celebrated on the first Saturday of every May. Why, you ask? It’s a pretty wonderful concept: to move towards a healthier acceptance of our bodies that isn’t always in a sexualized context and to recognize that we are, in fact, animals, deeply connected to the natural world. It also strikes me as a wonderful and playful way to enjoy Beltane, get in touch with nature, and our natural cycles…even if you don’t want to actually garden in the nude.

It’s about shedding our fear of naked bodies, tuning into our corporeal needs, and celebrating this divine season of fertility and new beginnings. Some people dance around May poles. Others hunt for dyed eggs, gifts from a magical bunny. Others garden naked. Personally, I’m kind of a fan of all three and any other spring celebration that asks us to go outside and find joy in this new season. Spring reminds us to be playful, silly, casting off our heavy winter thoughts and turning to the more immediate pleasures of this passionate season.

Full disclosure, however: I have a lovely patio garden and am nowhere near a place where I could plant seeds in the nude without the threat of photos ending up on the internet! Still, I love the concept of shedding our cool-weather skins, letting our bodies be kissed by the sun, and getting a little dirty. So if you’re like me—not ready to give your neighbors an eyeful, but want to celebrate the essence of this day—here are five simple ways to honor the spirit of Naked Gardening Day without the threat of itchy plant matter getting into your tender bits.

  1. Garden without gloves. Sure, there are times when you need your heavy duty gloves to pull weeds and turn soil. But then there comes the seed planting, which is actually easier to do with your gloves off. I love the feel of fat fava and thorny beet seeds in my hands as I bury them in the soil. My direct connection to the earth and the seeds that will later become delicious produce remind me that each intention, soul seed, and thought I plant now will eventually bear fruit. It’s tangible proof that magic is real.

  2. Garden barefoot. Again, there are times when shoes come in handy, especially when you’re doing the heavy duty work of prepping your garden. But then there are the times where it is lovely to go barefoot in newly turned soil as you plant your tender shoots and young plants. The technical hippy metaphysical term for walking barefoot is called earthing. Literally putting your bare soles on the earth grounds, relaxes, and maybe even boosts your immunity. Let your toes wriggle in soft soil and your heels sink into the compost-enriched dirt under your feet. There’s no better way to reconnect with nature.

  3. Simply spend time in nature…in as few clothes as possible. Don’t tell me you don’t love the sun’s first warm kiss of spring on your back. Don’t tell me you’ve never been tempted to skinny dip or sunbath nude—or that you’ve never done either. If you’re in a position where naked isn’t comfortable or possible, just get as naked as you can—think short shorts, bikini-tops or even a bathing suit. Trust me. You will love the way the sun caresses your skin and how the breeze tickles your bare arms and legs. Just don’t forget the SPF—as a desert woman, I know all about wearing protection so I can enjoy the great outdoors without the sunburn souvenir!

  4. Make a conscious effort to feel comfortable in your own skin. Even if you can’t get naked or wear a filmy dress and ribbons in your hair as you dance around a May pole, take this day to simply love your body and all that it does for you. Garden. Go for a nature walk. Do yoga. Forget about your perceived flaws and take your cues from nature—after all, the butterfly doesn’t compare itself to the dragonfly or the ladybug. It merely goes about its business. Take this day to marvel at what a beautiful animal you are.

  5. Relish the sensuality of gardening. It doesn’t matter if you’re coated in sunscreen, jeans and a t-shirt, or merely a daisy crown and a smile, gardening is sexy work. We get to strip things down to basics—planting seeds, getting dirty, relying on sunlight, water and hard work to produce nourishment. Gardening is a sensory experience, from feeling the soil and seeds in your hands, to hearing the birds sing and the bees buzz around with their enthusiastic pollination duties. We get sweaty. We relax. We forget to check the clock and instead rely on the passing clouds and shifting sun to let us know a full day has passed among our plants. We remember our powerful connection to the earth and our profound capacity to live in harmony with it.

So here’s to spring. Here’s to honoring our powerful connection to nature. Here’s to enjoying our bodies. Happy gardening!

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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!

Composting 101 Resource Guide

Every April I begin a series of Earth Day posts, usually involving tips on greening your routine or various friendly recipes. This year, however, I discovered a funny, wondrous thing I began preparing for April 22nd: All my blogs and social media posts reflected my deepening commitment to a green lifestyle, regardless of the time of year. Woohoo!

I’ve been going more and more green, especially now with the heartbreaking news on climate change. But what used to be a series of posts once a year on how I do that has become regular reflections on how a more zero-waste lifestyle is an integral part of who I am day-in, day-out. More than that, my work, be is something as specific as my regular-ish #SustainableSaturdays posts on Instagram, or as broad as a new blog or short story, reflects how intrinsically my sense of wellbeing is tied to tending my relationship with nature, from dramatically reducing my plastic use to planting my radish seeds.

If I don’t feel like I’m actively doing my part to fight climate change, then I don’t feel like I’m living a healthy, whole, balanced life. It’s kind of like eating fast food and wanting to be healthy at the same time. Not gonna happen! Okay, so lest I start sounding to preachy, I’ll just wrap up this rant by saying that as I’ve slowed down and tended my relationship with nature, I’ve likewise tended my relationship to myself. Together, we heal, bloom, thrive…

…which is all by way of saying that one of my day-in, day-out green living routines is tending my own vermicompost right on my own little garden patio. I started doing it a few years ago when I realized how many food scraps and odds and ends I threw out. Actually, I grew up in a home with a lush wild garden and an active compost, but, apartment dweller that I am, I just assumed good old fashion composting was something that would have to wait for a real home and a real backyard.

Not so.

After realizing I could be reducing the food waste that goes to landfills relatively simply, I decided to invest in a vermicomposting tray (FYI vermicompisting is just a fancy term for composting with worms in trays or tubs). I consulted my mom. I talked to my hippy friends. I went down an internet rabbit hole. Each and every source told me that composting, especially from bins or trays, was something I could easily do, even from my humble apartment, without attracting rodents or committing to a super labor intensive practice. Cut to me a few years down the road with a flourishing compost, happy plants benefiting from the fertile soil, and more worms than I know what to do with.

My waste has declined dramatically too. I keep my food scraps in a tupperware bin in the fridge and, once a week or so, take them out to the compost to feed my worms. I now shred paper mail and happily spread it around my vermicomposting trays as welcome roughage for the little guys. It’s incredibly rewarding to see what is essentially trash or discards find a new life feeding plants. If you want to go full garden-nerd about this, the worms and fresh compost make great gifts for your fellow gardeners. Also, let’s be real: My writer-heart sees a big whopping metaphor in the whole act of taking things that no longer serve us and making them the foundation of future fertility.

So how did I do it? By consulting the following resources listed below (along with that of y green-thumbed mom). I thought about writing my own composting guide, but, honestly, these sites do it better. Without further ado, here’s my resource guide for all things composting:

  1. Sustainable Baby Step’s Beginner’s Guide to Composting has everything you could possibly need, from how to get started, to what you can and can’t compost, to what to do with all the wonderful soil once the worms have had their way with your food scraps.

  2. Food Print’s Vermicomposting 101: is a thorough set of instructions for how to set up your compost and make it friendly.

  3. Eco-cycle’s troubleshooting section is especially helpful if you are running into issues like having a smelly or wet compost. They can tell you why what’s going on and how to fix it.

  4. Green Action Center’s FAQ is another fantastic primer on all things composting, including why it sometimes looks like nothing is happening (but really it is).

This Earth Day, commit to reducing your food waste. Commit to taking things that would otherwise end up in landfills and turn them into gardener’s gold. Feed worms. Grow vegetables. Be one with nature. Happy gardening and happy composting!

P.S. Who wants worms?

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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!

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!

Inviting Synchronicity into Your Life

What is Synchronicity?

One of the central aspects of everyday magic is synchronicity, or meaningful coincidences, that pepper our lives and offer valuable insights, signs, and messages from the universe if we are willing to listen.  Some of my most powerful revelations have come out of seemingly innocuous moments that served to punctuate an important feeling, experience, or situation.  

How did I know to trust my instincts that a relationship was well and truly over? I was thinking about the whole situation and, when I turned on my car, the radio blasted, “the thrill is gone…” Boy was it, and to ignore that would only cause more heartache.

And what gave me the courage to turn my blog posts into the manuscript that would become my award-winning Everyday Enchantments? A random folded paper tucked into an old book I’d decided to reread.  On that piece of paper was a series of scribbles from my teenage self thinking about the day when I would be An Adult and a Published Author.  I started working on my new manuscript that afternoon.  

Without those insights—those little nudges from life telling me I’m on the right track or ready to move on—I wouldn’t have been brave enough to listen to my inner wisdom.  You would be surprise what the universe is willing to reveal if you simply ask it and stay open to the answers it might give. 

3 Ways to Invite Synchronicity into Your Life

  1. Get loose. Real talk: we live in a world that values concrete, rational things—all good and well in their right place—but synchronicity is a different kind of literacy all together.   It’s about opening yourself to the possibility of a new way of being.  Often times, our innate instincts and unfiltered feelings get buried under the pressure to conform to social norms.  Instead of allowing ourselves to introvert when we need to introvert, for example, we push past our needs and do more, get louder, and move faster despite our soul’s longing for quiet. Loosening up allows us to let go of rigid expectations or assumptions about how things should be so we can be open to the magic around us.

  2. Get playful.  When was the last time you stayed up past your bedtime reading?  Or ditched the to-do list in favor of a schedule-free Saturday?  Or danced in your pjs to your favorite song?  If its been awhile, now is the time to welcome that playful energy into your life.  Be like the otter, an animal that devotes as much time to play as it does to work.  Why?  I’ll let you in on a little secret: Synchronicity is pretty darn playful.  It’s a lot like Coyote, that perennial trickster, sneaking up on you when you least expect it, catching you off guard, forcing you to rethink your world view.  The best way to be open to these insights is to let go of hard and fast rules and just…get playful.

  3. Get curious.  Synchronicity is all about opening yourself up to the world and remembering that child-like curiosity with new places and things that delight the senses.  This kind of energy loves questions, exploration, expansion.  Often our sense of wonder gets lost as we succumb to the demands of day-in, day-out. Take a moment—pause, breathe deeply, and think about what it used to feel like when the changing seasons created a sense of unblemished excitement for something now or they way a sunset was like an open invitation to marvel at the beauty of life or how a winding dirt road was the promise of an adventure. Then turn that innate curiosity on your inner landscape—forget to push and prod and contain difficult feelings or old selves and simply marvel at the fact that you contain multitudes, like so many tiny cosmic seeds waiting to be explored. Synchronicity is found in these silent, joyful explorations.

How to Listen to the Messages

Sometimes we throw out questions to the universe and get an answer maybe that instant, maybe a week or month from now. More often than not, however, the answers come when we’ve forgotten to fixate on whatever it is we want answers to.  Sometimes we even get nudges and insights to things we didn’t know we even had questions about. 

Synchronicity is like that—trickster that it is—deciding what questions you get answers to and which ones you just have to struggle with on your own.  Or if it sees you forgetting to enjoy the wonder around you, well, like Coyote, it won’t hesitate to shake up your order a bit.  However synchronicity comes into your life, it is a reminder to tune into the magic of your every day.  Often the wisdom it imparts is immediately and intuitively understood, so don’t worry it like you would a loose thread on your jacket.  Just feel what it is asking you to feel.  The answers will come.

Be warned though: The more you invite synchronicity into your life, the more it will manifest unbidden, as if it only ever need your time an attention to reveal itself to you wholeheartedly and without restraint. And with more meaningful, soul-illuminating coincidences, comes more magic. 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 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!

On Valentines

You grew up collecting uniform valentines each February.  Most of them were cartoon cardboard cut-outs and, if you were lucky, kissed with candy kisses.  You organized them in to hierarchies of sweetness: chocolates got top prize, soft sugared hearts near the bottom (they were pretty, but tasteless, like sweet chalk or, you later learned, a dinner date that doesn’t read). 

You took pity on the sentiment-studded cards without candy and put them near the middle.  They weren’t the ones you really wanted though you were vain enough to appreciate how many there were.  No, you saved the prized place for the homemade ones—diollied and sequined-kissed hearts on pink and red and purple construction paper.  Those were the ones from the people who taught you that love is a loud, garish thing.  When you have it, you need the world to know that there is glitter in your heart and honey in your veins.  There is so much of it, this feeling, that you want to hold it close like a secret and release it into the sky like a wild bird at the same time. 

You don’t even need a special day in winter to quantify this sense—this awareness—that you are love and love is you.  It was in the white blush-stained flowers so many years after those childhood cards, when adulthood lay heavy in your bones and you had begun to forget the feel of simple pleasures, those sweet things like feathers tickling your palm or the crackle of pink foil wrappers revealing candied promises.  Frivolous little things.  Unnecessary, yet muscling their way into your heart all the same.

Then there is the gift given to you just because on a forgettable weekday from someone who wants you to know that you are valued, that they notice the long hours in which you quietly go about your work.  And the one you give them, to let them know that they are seen.  These secret valentines are just as sweet as the one-inch by one-inch chocolate squares, edible care that fit perfectly in the palm of your hand or the truffles you make at home, dipped in love and infused with rose petals and sweet dreams to cure broken hearts and remind you that love is something that grows bigger the more you feed it.

Lately, you’ve come to appreciate the love that’s like a seed.  Ready to bloom, ready to set down roots, ready to have garden-toughened hands coax sleeping stories into the light.  The only thing that comes close to this are the rocks collected from a patch of earth and poured into your hands so that you don’t float away or the passed-around dog-earned pages of paperbacks because you have tales to share and discuss.  Or the paper moons that keep you company as you make beeswax candles so that they may soften and sweeten a long day for those you love.  Or better yet, the lovers in the tarot always reminding you that the heart behind your ribcage is whole and happy, a beating song to the universe.

Still, nothing is as sweet as that seed-love, which is why you always keep seeds in your pocket.  You never know when someone will invite you to bloom. 

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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!

A Year of Sacred Simple Pleasures

Last summer, I wrote about the importance of sacred simple pleasures, those ephemeral soul-filling things that make life delicious. What followed was a season spent nourishing and prioritizing the daily joys that rejuvenated and refreshed.  I returned to teaching that fall excited and enthusiastic.  The experience made me realize how important it is to cultivate a wellness practice that emphasizes simple pleasures.

It also renewed my belief that simple pleasures are integral to conjuring everyday magic.  They are, in fact, sacred. Pleasure is significantly undervalued in our society.  If it feels good, it must not be important.  If it brings you joy, it’s not to be taken seriously…how many times have you heard or seen these ideas reinforced?  The way people turn their noses up at romance novels is  good example of this.  These books have sexytimes! All the feels! People having multiple orgasms! And a Happily Ever After! So…why are these bad things?

I blame this fear of pleasure on religion and a society that is still afraid of the sacred feminine.  Instead of nurturing this Eros energy as an important part of our day-to-day lives, we treat is transgressive, a deviant pursuit stuffed into weekends, vacations, and any place else that doesn’t fall into the seriously business of our daily routine. It’s kind of like Dry January: people binge drink on December and then repent with virtuous abstinence come January. Why not just enjoy moderate drinking year round? Even worse, we often ignore the simple pleasures right in front of us, and thus, an important part of enjoying our day: the morning sunrise, the unexpected blood oranges at the market, the delicious cup of oolong. When we deny ourselves these simple pleasures, we deny an important part of our identity.

In reality, pleasure tells us a lot about ourselves. It’s easy to identify a toxic situation because they make us feel so bad.  But once we address negative issues, how do we then cultivate joy?  It takes a lot to conjure and maintain happiness.  We have to get used to what pleasure feels like and perhaps more time to unabashedly court its presence in our lives. Like any good reader of romance knows, the iconic Happily Ever After takes a lot of grit and hard work to achieve.  We have to ask ourselves hard questions: What makes me happy? What do I want in my life? What doesn’t bring me pleasures? Seemingly simple questions, sure, but how often are we honest with ourselves about what we enjoy versus what society tells us we should be doing?

I also found that prioritizing simple pleasures allows me let go of the things that complicate or otherwise being negative energy to my life. During my year of buying, using, and wasting less, I found a direct correlation between moving too fast and being less mindful, less eco-conscious, less in-tune with myself. When I paused to indulge in simple pleasures, I was able to unplug from the frantic energy of our fast paced world. Same goes for toxic people situations. Learning what brings me joy helped me better understand what throws me out of whack.

Recently, I found myself in a social situation that I committed to not because I necessarily wanted to but because I thought I should be doing it. It seemed like a good idea, but my gut feeling was telling me it wasn’t my vibe. The energy was too groupie, too demanding on my time, and too draining. In the space of a week, I went from being happy and full of life, to tired, anxious, and without inspiration for my writing. Those feelings told me a lot. And in talking with loved ones, I was finally able to trace these feeling back to stepping into a zone that wasn’t right for me. Once I had that revelation, my energy returned. I felt happy again—albeit tired from this strange emotional journey. I could write again. I looked forward to my work day. And I felt joy in the littlest things. The energetic shift was shocking and made me realized how much I took my inner joy for granted. In reality, I had been so happy because I nourished the sacred art of pleasure and eschewed anything that didn’t enhance the quality of my life. It made me feel like I could do anything and everything—until I stepped into that dead zone and realized that wasn’t the case. My energy had been abundant because I cultivated abundance—and ruthlessly cut out anything from my life that didn’t enhance my overall wellness.

Lesson learned. Pleasure is an integral part of my day-to-day. It helps me understand why certain things make me anxious and unhappy—and that it is okay to let those things go in favor of radical joy. Now, I feel like I have to say that this isn’t about never having stereotypically “negative” feelings or never allowing yourself to engage with things that make you uncomfortable. Rather, this is about meaningfully allowing yourself to feel what you need to feel and listen to what those feelings are telling you. We find out a lot about ourselves from painful situations, true. But it is equally important to listen to what our pleasurable experiences have to teach us.

So how will I go about this year long exploration of sacred simple pleasures? I don’t have a set of rules to gauge how I indulge in this, mostly because I absolutely adore unstructured time and a lack of schedules when I’m not teaching. You could say it’s my number one sacred simple pleasure. I want to be open to synchronicity and spontaneity. Cooking and dreaming. Knitting and lolly-gagging.  Adventuring and magic-making.  I’ll only measure it by how nourished by soul feels. How balanced my life is.  How much magic I feel in the everyday. I’ll examine how slowly—intentionally—I’m living. How often I’m comfortable in asserting my needs and desires. How delicious each day tastes.

What simple pleasures are sacred to you? Why? Here’s to a year of cultivating pleasure! 

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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!

5 Things I Learned from My Year of Buying, Using, Wasting Less

My Year Long Journey to Be a More Conscious Consumer

Last year, I committed to a year of buying, using, and wasting less because of environmental concerns and an intrinsic desire to live more and more in union with nature.  I’ve been increasingly concerned about climate change, especially after the shocking reports that came out in the second half of 2018.  The reality is, we all over-consume and waste resources.  We’ve been conditioned as a society to value conspicuous consumption and retail therapy.  Big companies and countries certainly play a large role in climate change, and it is wonderful that the U.S. recently elected many government officials that care more about climate change than in previous elections—ones that will aggressively protect our planet.  It is essential that we hold big businesses and governments accountable for their part in the fight against climate change.  I am beyond excited to see the news stories about cities banning one-use items (including my hometown Albuquerque!), states building plans to go 100% sustainable, and lawmakers shutting down loop-holes for big businesses trying to get out of new green initiatives (I’m looking at you Exxon).

Living a Greener Lifestyle

I also think we, as individuals, need to hold ourselves accountable for our role in climate change.  After all, big businesses continue to produce one-use items and fast fashion because it is profitable.  Why?  Because we buy their products.  In that context, it becomes clear that the individual has a tremendous amount of power in healing the environment.  Our money—what we choose to spend it on and what we refuse to purchase—can shape the market and shift the economy away from disposable consumerism towards a sustainable future.  This requires us to be hyper-conscious about what we need and how we spend money.

So how to you unplug from mindless consumerism and live more consciously? 

It was an interesting journey.  First, I had to be completely honest with myself about what I purchase, use, and waste…and how to scale back.  That meant resisting the quick high of retail therapy, thinking about ways to repurpose household items, and taking an honest look at what I actually use each day and what quietly gathers dust on a forgotten shelf. 

Many people think that trying to live more sustainably makes your life more complicated and costly.  I found that it actually simplified my life and helped me save money.  Now that I’ve finished my year of using, buying, and wasting less, I plan to continue going more and more zero waste.  Frankly, we should all be aggressively moving towards greener living given our current environmental crisis. This decision has also transformed other areas of my life in ways that surprised me.  Using, buying, and wasting less meant I was taking better care of myself, saving money, and engaging with my local community in more meaningful ways.  Talk about conjuring positive energy!

5 Things I Learned from Living Sustainably

1. Sustainable living is a form of radical self-care.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, sustainability is a spiritual practice. Tuning into the needs of the earth helps me stay grounded and connected to myself.  It’s easy to start moving too fast and become disconnected from ourselves in this go-go-go world.  When I committed to a greener lifestyle, I had to slow down and consider what I really needed.  I found myself enjoying what I had more, skipping needless errands in favor of an afternoon walk, and happily rejecting impulse purchases in favor of money in the bank. Instead of indulging in retail therapy, I had to find other, healthier ways to destress.  I did yoga.  I meditated.  I read.  I knitted.  I no longer used shopping as a bandaid for coping with stress. Instead, I allowed myself to feel what I needed to feel and change what needed to be change for a better sense of wellness and balance in my life.  Plus I realized fairly quickly that if something wasn’t good for the earth it wasn’t good for me!

2. I don’t need as much as I think I do—so my life got a lot simpler.  This year, I decided to stop (okay, severely limit)  buying packaged goods, especially those items that came is wasteful plastic packaging.  It only takes one video of a helpless sea creature killed by eating discarded plastic to make you hate our wasteful culture. As a result, I stopped shopping at Trader Joe’s (except, real talk, for the occasional trip down the wine aisle).  Practically everything in the produce section there was  covered in wasteful packaging.  Suddenly, all the stuff I used to buy there made me think of polluted oceans…no thanks!  I got used to mainly shopping at my local co-op (the bulk section is my new BFF) and a few other stores where could get affordable, package-free goods. I ran less errands, bought less stuff, and generally saved money and time by nixing out anything that came in excessive packaging. 

I’ll admit that that didn’t work so well when I had to make online purchases.  One of the few new items I bought was tights for work after the ones I’d had for years ripped beyond repair.  The Amazon image showed me the tights I wanted and they seemed minimally packaged.  Then I got my order and found that each and every pair of tights in the set was double wrapped in non-recyclable plastic.  My worst nightmare!   So I learned my lesson.  I have have to actively seek out eco-conscious producers who make an effort to include limited packaging (PACT Apparel is a good start to this).  And, to make things even easier, I stick to my basic rule: I don’t buy wastefully packaged goods. Period. See? Simple!

3. It’s not as hard as I thought it would be. There’s a lot of panic around living a green lifestyle—it’s too expensive, too difficult, too time consuming to be practical. In truth, I’ve found the opposite to be true.  I got used to bringing my own reusable bags and jars to stores, buying less and using what I have. I fell into a routine and many of the changes I made were micro-adjustments that had a huge impact., like walking when I could instead of driving. The funny thing is, the more changes I made, the more I wanted to make. I’ve spent more than a few afternoons down a Pinterest rabbit hole, learning about how to go zero-waste. The real shocker? Much of the advice I found was pretty basic—use less, buy less, and be a more thoughtful consumer.

4. Other people are incredibly helpful…and curious about easy ways to be more sustainable. I can’t tell you how many times someone has stopped me in the grocery store to ask where I got my reusable produce bags or to tell me that using my own tupperware for my deli purchases is a good idea (I don’t eat a lot of meat but I like my cheese—just not the plastic wrap it comes in). The stores I shopped at were beyond kind when I brought my own items to fill. I even inspired a few people to make their own shopping routine less wasteful by bringing their own bags. I brought my own containers everywhere, from generic grocery stores like Smiths, to local markets like Keller’s and the co-op. I even brought them to The Herb Store (my all time favorite bulk store in Albuquerque) to stock up on my usual bulk herbs and spices. Each and every time, people were inquisitive, supportive, and excited to see someone shopping more mindfully. I’ve had more than one person tell me that I’d inspired them to start doing the same. Woohoo!


5. You learn to be honest with yourself about what is truly sustainable—in all meanings of the term. Going to three different grocery stores in one week to get everything you need without packaging (none of it available in one place) is not achievable.  Yup.  That was a lesson learned the hard way.   It’s the end of the week and you’re tired.  You finish work late or simply don’t feel like a string of errands at the end of the day.  Real talk: Not gonna happen.  No longer shopping at Trader Joe’s because everything is wrapped in packaging?  Totally achievable.   Never buying anything again ever? Nope. Investing in thoughtful purchases when needed? Yup. Saying no to one-use items? So easy to commit to. In short, to keep my greener lifestyle sustainable, I had to keep it simple, otherwise it was only a matter of time before I would backslide into old less environmentally friendly habits. I might not be able to make all my own goods and give up my car (my job is a twenty-minute drive away and the bus system here is pretty sketchy), but I can invest in quality products by ethical businesses and drive less.

Building a Better Future

The climate change news is pretty scary, no doubt about it. But I also believe that we got ourselves into this mess and we can get ourselves out of it. It’s easy to get disheartened with all the apocalypse-like stories flooding the media. Then I started reading more about people finding ways to clean the oceans and protect endangered species, countries banning one-use items and protecting vast amounts of natural spaces, and individuals lobbying for sustainable colleges and cities. Together, we can do so much. It starts with giving up one-use items and only grows from there.

I like knowing that I’m part of healing our planet and committing to a more thoughtful lifestyle. How do you plan to be part of the change?

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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 Doggie Treats

When I say I like to make gifts for everyone in my family, I mean everyone, including the pups. (Okay, okay, lest that last statement sound too Martha Stewart-y, I should say that I’ve got a small family and we’re all pretty chill about the gift thing—but it’s still fun to treat them to some creature comforts!). I’m auntie to several cute doggies and friends with many a lovely dog owner and I love to spoil our four-legged friends with some easy and healthy treats this time of year. Bonus: making my own treats means not purchasing things with wasteful packaging, yay!

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I modeled my recipe from one by Bitz & Giggles because I loved how adaptable versatile it was (also easy, because…you know me). The pumpkin puree can easily be swapped out for apple sauce, as my experiments have proved, and I’ve incorporated many a batch of apple-studded and chia-seed smattered oatmeal that I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish into these treats. I’ve even added yogurt in a pinch. I omitted the nutmeg and cinnamon, because, as their recipe states, those spices can be harmful to dogs in large amounts, so I didn’t want to mess with it. I also added a mix of white and wheat flour—enough to soak up the extra moisture from the cook oatmeal I mixed in.

You are not required to buy a doggie bone cookie cutter to make them. I did just because I think it’s cute and because I once tried to use festive holiday cookie cutters…but everyone kept mistake the doggie teats for human cookies. Ooops! You can slice the dough into squares if you want or use less human-being-y cookie cutters (or just be prepared for people to gobble a few of these healthy treats too).

You'll notice my recipe is a little iffy on the ingredients because I’m all for using what you have on hand. I make a bigger batch so I have plenty to give out, but you could always cut it in half. See what I mean about versatile? I would still cook them for a solid 40 minutes so they harden like a traditional doggie biscuit. I only did 30 minutes for the first round and they came out cookie-soft. Play with it and see what works best for you. All in all, these are fun to make and share with you furry friends. Plus it is super easy to whip up before the holiday celebrations and pop into the freezer for later gift-giving.

Ingredients:

1 cup canned pumpkin (or apple sauce)

1 cup water (or yogurt)

1/4 cup olive oil or coconut oil

1 cup oatmeal

4 cups white or wheat flour

Preheat oven 375. Pour wet ingredients in bowl and stir until combined. Then slowly add flour and oats until dough forms. If you’re trying to use up already cooked oatmeal like I did, then just mix it in with the wet ingredients, and add the flour after. Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness on floured surface and use your cookie cutter or knife to create shapes. Place on baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes. Serves an entire pack of wolves. 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!

5 Ways to Green Your Holiday

The holidays are here which for me means more quiet time drinking holiday chai and making homemade presents like my peppermint hot chocolate body scrub, orange spice body butter, and pine and charcoal soap.

Why do I bother making homemade gifts? A valid question, considering most people look at it as more work. For me though spending time in the kitchen is part of my self-care routine, helping me to unplug from the frantic pace of the holiday season and the mindless consumerism that contributes to so much waste. According to the National Environmental Education Foundation, our trash production increases by 25% around the holidays, meaning we produce an additional one millions tons of garbage per week this time of year. Yikes! That data, combined with the realities of climate change now facing us, should put all that holiday excess into perspective if you haven’t already unplugged from the mindless consumerism bandwagon.

Here’s another reality: At the risk of sounding like a cheesy holiday special, the holidays aren’t about buying needless items (studies also show that we only keep around 1% of what we end up purchasing this time of year!), but about celebrating loved-ones and taking time to rest and reflect at the close of the year. It’s also the celebration of the Winter Solstice, where we honor our intrinsic connection to the natural world and our own natural cycles.

Now I’m not asking you to go full-Grinch and give up gift giving or insist that every gift you give is homemade (I know not everyone has the time of interest in that!), but with a few low maintenance tweaks, you can enjoy a more eco-friendly holiday that’s good for the planet, your wallet, and your soul—seriously! Unplugging from the culture of buy buy buy has made me slow down and take in the soul-nourishing simple pleasure of the season. I look forward to quiet nights at home knitting and enjoying the twinkling lights of my tree, reading holiday romances with a glass of wine fireside, and taking long nature walks to relish the heady winter air.

So how do we honor the festive spirit of the season without giving into wasteful consumerism? Here are five ways to green your holiday routine.

  1. Reuse that wrapping paper—and ribbons. I can’t remember when it started, but for as long as I can remember, my family always reused our wrapping paper. Well-preserved festive bags, tissue and wrapping paper, and fancy ribbons became part of a beloved holiday tradition where, as kids, we eagerly looked to see who got the snowman bag that year or the reindeer wrapping paper or the red polka-dotted tissue paper. Our growing collection of ribbons lead to outlandish present wrapping with over-the-top bows, each one more outrageous than the last. I’ve added to this tradition by purchasing beautifully patterned cloth and festive cotton ribbon that can be reused indefinitely, long after our tissue paper collection has become unusable. It’s fun, festive, and, just like unwrapping tree ornaments, we look forward to seeing our favorite present wrappings come back every season.

  2. Omit one-use items. I know, I know, I say this constantly and put it on every “Green” list I make, but that’s because it is such an important part of protecting our planet and reducing waste. Many stocking stuffers, fun little toys, and those iconic Christmas crackers are only ever briefly enjoyed than quickly discarded. All those trinkets can’t be recycled so the end up in landfills. No thanks! Instead, focus on quality items that you know your loved-ones will really enjoy. You’ll spend less and have the satisfaction of knowing your gifts will be enjoyed long after the holiday season has gone.

  3. Make your own gifts. Let me first say that, while I LOVE making homemade gifts, I only make the easy things. It’s no fun if you’re slaving away on complicated projects after all! And these gifts don’t just have to be cookies, which can feel less-than-celebratory when you’ve received your ump-teenth cookie tin and can only eat so much sugar. In fact, I love surprising people with unexpected edible treats, like my all-purposing seasoning or chile-infused olive oil. I also like to give them practical indulgences like beeswax candles or, if I’m feeling extra fancy and want to up my body-butter and soap game, a homemade bronzer for my make-up loving peeps wanting more eco-friendly cosmetics. These are all things people can use and enjoy for a long while. better still, since I’m making them, I can be sure that they are packaged in zero-waste containers (hello mason jars, my old friends!). Want more easy DIY gift ideas? Check out my recipe index for inspiration.

  4. …and buy local if homemade gifts aren’t your jam. There are so many great local stores in Albuquerque, and no doubt in your neck of the woods too. Local gifts have the added benefit of being unique—not everyone will have it—and, best of all, support the local economy. I personally love taking time to shop at holiday pop-up markets and shop and strolls this time of year. It’s nice to see the community enjoying themselves and even better to stumble upon one-of-a-kind treats. If you don’t want to give more things, consider gifting local experiences like yoga or gym classes, a crafting session, tea tasting or other fun activities people can enjoy throughout the year. One year, I got dance classes from my sister and it was so fun to try something new. These gifts could also be more personalized, as when my sister and I do a yearly deep cleaning of my parents house top to bottom, inside and out, as a special birthday treat for my mom. Sometimes the best gifts are ones that lighten your loved-ones to-do list so they can kick up their feet and relax! Real talk: we’ve also gotten to a point in my family where we don’t want more stuff or for anyone to feel pressured to purchase gifts. At the end of the day, all we care about is spending time with one another…I know, cue holiday after school special music, but it’s true!

  5. Last but not least, limit spending, aka buy less. Yes, this is another go-green list perennial because living a more sustainable lifestyle is all about buying less in general. Use what you have and, when you need to purchase something, consider opting for second-hand and antiques stores, then local, before purchasing elsewhere. This includes keeping that fake tree instead of sending it to the landfills and resting the temptation to buy Griswold-style lights for your house. Enjoy what you have and think twice about buying more just to have more. Since I’ve done this, I’ve found that I look forward to decorating my house with well-loved decor I’ve collected over the years, each one infused with lovely memories. My home feels cozy and special, not another cookie-cutter made-for-TV-movie Christmas explosion.

How do you green your holiday?

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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!

The Occult Detective...with a Cocktail Recipe!

Each November, I love to write about stories that inspire, nourish, and delight.  I think this is the perfect month for setting aside more time for reading.  Autumn is well under way.  The days are colder and shorter.  The sanctuary of our homes calls to us as we settle into this contemplative month.  We are drawn to quieter past times that give us space to reflect and heal.

Over the years, I’ve written about the important comfort good stories and other simple pleasures can offer us and the power various genres have to impart wisdom.  This year, I’m waxing poetic about the Occult Detective…with a cocktail recipe thrown in, because I’m a big ol’ nerd like that.  

Introducing the Occult Detective 

So what are occult detectives?  They are usually rough and tumble characters dealing with the darker side of life.  Ghost hunters, if you will.  Vampire slayers.  Paranormal investigators.  Monster fighters.  And those drawn to the arcane knowledge of the occult and mystical. 

This archetype is found in everything from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all other monster of the week TV shows, to urban fantasy like the Dresden Files and the Bone Street Rumba series.  But what most people don’t know (unless you are a diehard occult detective fan like me!) is that this genre has a long history dating back to the Victorian Era. The 19th century saw not only the birth of the detective genre, but also the fad of Spiritualism.  Popular culture at the time was obsessed with understanding, studying, and experiencing the otherworldly via séances, spirit photography, and extensive research into the occult…much like we are today.

The Age of Spiritualism brought us the likes of Thomas Carnaki, inventor of the electric pentacle; Flaxman Low, a self-proclaimed supernatural detective; and, Diana Marburg, a palmist who solves murders.  Then there’s Dr. John Silence, the first Victorian occult detective I ever read about, who will always have a place in my heart for introducing me to the genre.  He has a mysterious past, training in the occult, and cool animal helpers like his cat Smoke and his dog Flame. 

At their best, these stories explored our relationship to the otherworldly and our curiosity about things outside ourselves.  They show how we grapple with the mysterious, unseen forces in this world (and beyond!), the things that often reach out in touch us in our life but that we can’t always explain away or even logically process…at their worst, we get ugly things like sexism, xenophobia, and racism.  The supernatural becomes a catch-all terms for anything that isn’t white, hetero, middle-class, or male, and thus, to be feared.  Yikes!  

A Genre of Transformation

My favorite part about this genre is that is has transformed over the centuries from a genre of xenophobia to one of hope and empowering explorations of otherness. Women, people of color, LGTBQ+ communities, people with disabilities, and, yes, supernatural beings are front and center in contemporary additions to the genre.  We’ve got Maggie Hoaskie, a Navajo monster hunter in Trail of Lighting; Tony Foster, a gay wizard in Smoke and Mirrors; Kate Daniels, a magical mercenary and woman of color in a post-apocalyptic world; the canonical bi-sexual John Constantine; and many stories out of Occult Detective Quarterly that aims to make the genre more inclusive by representing both diverse characters and authors….just to name a few.  And that’s barely scratched the surface.  I mean, I haven’t even gotten into TV shows yet (I’m talking to you, Sleepy Hollow, Wynona Erp, Supernatural, Lucifer and. So. Many. Others).

Perhaps what I love most about this genre is that it’s all about how magic is a hard, gritty thing.  In one way or another, these stories are about what it takes to be true to yourself in a worlds that doesn’t like marginalized bodies, otherness, and those living on the social periphery.  Better still, these stories teach us that living within liminal spaces—not just a human but a werewolf (Kitty Norville), not just a woman but a witch (Persephone Alcmedi), or a half-dead resurrected inbetweener (Carlos Delacruz)—is empowering, transformational even.  This liminal space we occupy is the crack where the light seeps in.

In the end, this genre, and the occult detective archetype, doesn’t just grapple with the paranormal, but perhaps the even more inscrutable concept of what it means to be human…even when you’re a ghost, werewolf, or technically undead. 

The Recipe

All which means that this genre deserves a drink and so do you!  I thought about pairing various stories with treats and drinks, but really, there are so many manifestations of this archetype, from cozy mysteries like the Juliet Blackwell’s Witchcraft series to dark horror like Mike Carey’s Felix Castor books.  I even thought of making a cocktail called the Hellblazer…before I realized that would just be a bottle of Jack and a pack of cigarettes. 

So I came up with a cocktail that captured the spirit (pun intended) of the genre instead. This is a riff on the Manhattan, using Amaro liquor instead of vermouth.  Amor is an intensely herbaceous, bitter Italian liquor, there perfect nod to hellfire and brimstone, two things any occult detective worth their salt should know how to handle.  Then add a dash of burnt orange bitters for a touch of the ghostly (though regular orange bitters would do just a well), and another dash of cinnamon bitters as the sin that warms your bones and promises a slew of bad—but delicious—decisions.  Bourbon holds it all together, balancing the punch of Amaro and bitters with the fullness of vanilla and earth—the underlying hope and hard-earned sweetness inherent in the genre.

This drink is perfect after a hard day of proverbial monster hunting or an even longer night of literal vampire slaying. 

Ingredients:

.5 oz Amaro liquor 

2 oz bourbon

2 dashes burnt orange bitters

2 dashes cinnamon bitters

ice

Mix ingredients in a shaker and shake for one minute.  Pour into a martini glass.  Garnish with a cinnamon stick, orange peel slice, .and the ashes of the demons you’ve slayed—cinnamon stick and orange peel slice optional.  Pair with a dark and stormy night and any of the occult detective stories mentioned here or pictured below.  Serves one.  Enjoy!

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Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational collection of musings touching on life’s simple pleasures, everyday fantasy, and absolutely delectable recipes that will guarantee to stir the kitchen witch in you.  If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is the everyday, subscribe here.

Want even more inspiration to make your dream life a reality?  Follow me on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter.  Thanks for following!

Everyday Enchantments ~ Release Day!

It’s official! Everyday Enchantments is out in the world!  I can now legitimately call myself a Published Author.  I’ll be honest and say that I can’t quite believe that I’ve birthed my first book.  

All I know is that this book never would have been possible without my incredibly supportive communities, from family and friends, to my long-time readers and fellow bloggers and writers.  Of course, no manuscript achieves polish without the hard work of editors—of which I had many.  I am eternally grateful for their insights and thoughtful feedback that pushed my writing to the next level.  My book would not be as magical without their help! Last but certainly not least, I am forever in awe that Moon Books took a risk on a first-time author who wrote a different kind of read.  

Okay, enough gushing.  

Here’s to my first book (okay, maybe a little more gushing), here’s to my communities that inspired and supported it, and here’s to a magical life!

Get your copy of Everyday Enchantments here and see what reviewers have to say…

Everyday Enchantments “brought the art of mindfulness alive for me, much more so than any mindfulness textbook ever has.” ~ Eva on Goodreads

“This is magical poetry to meditate upon.” ~ C. R. Elliot on Goodreads

“A very good read for those who want to live enchanted on a daily basis.” ~ Christina on Goodreads

“This was a completely different read for me, in fact, I haven't quite finished it yet as I'm taking my time with this. It should not be read in one sitting, but taken in small doses and digested fully before continuing on. The author has a way of tapping into the beauty of the small moments that make life such a blessing to live and takes the reader on a journey by awakening the senses through each detailed account.” ~ Jaclyn on Goodreads

“This book simply screams to find JOY in your life.” ~ N.N. Light’s Book Heaven

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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!

Witch's Brew Cocktail

It’s been awhile since I’ve concocted a cocktail recipe, and even longer since I’ve come up with one for Halloween.  I love a good cocktail because they’ve always struck me as one of the most basic kind of potions.  Think about it: a good cocktail can give us liquid courage, exorcise a hard work week, or even act as a temporary love spell.  And as will all potions and spells, the medicine is in the dosage.  Too much and it’s poison, too little and you’re Friday night is perhaps a little less adventurous (wink wink).  

It bears repeating that I like to avoid syrupy or excessively sugary ingredients and stick to clean tastes modeled after the classics when it comes to cocktail making.  I do this because most novelty cocktail—a la Halloween drinks—are sugar bombs.  Not my idea of a good time or a tasty drink. Although I call these Halloween-inspired concoctions, I have been known to drink the throughout the year, especially the green fairy, a tasty absinthe-kissed cocktail perfect for ending the workweek and stirring up some writing inspiration for the weekend.

Lately, come Saturday night, I’ve been experimenting with this new drink: Witch’s Brew.  It was inspired by my garden and all the herbs I cultivate there: rosemary, lavender, sage…all delicious, all medicinal, all typically associated with healers and witches because of their various magical and healing properties. I started wondering how I could fold those flavors into a tasty magical brew.

I used gin as the base because of herbaciousness and went for a bold choice of mixer: chartreuse.  It’s what gives this drink the verdant green color we typically associate with potions.  It’s also an ancient healing tincture made from over 130 herbs. It tastes fresh, like mint and fennel, with the other herbs as a strong supporting cast.  Yum! I paired this refreshing taste with lime because I love a good gimlet and its variants.

The real kicker to this is what I do with the gin. I infuse it with green apples—who doesn’t think of witches without thinking of forbidden fruit?—along with rosemary and a few juniper berries to make the herbaciousness of the gin really pop. Also because I love rosemary, the natural protector of the herb world. Juniper berries are also fast becoming a kitchen witch staple in my home. Did you know juniper both protects good energy and repels the negative? If that’s not magical, I don’t know what is! Add a dash of bay leaf bitters, for the leaf’s powers of divination.

As with all spells (and drinks), feel free to play with the recipe. Chartreuse might be a bit pricy for some (though a little goes a long way so it will last a while!), try swapping it would with rosemary or ginger simple syrup or apple schnapps (or both!)—it will change the flavor, but will no doubt be equally festive, if with more sugar. The infused gin makes about two-cups of yum—plenty to experiment with or to whip up a magical batch of this brew.

All good spells require a little time, a little love, and quality ingredients. While this cocktail is a touch more labor intensive than my others in that you first need a week to infuse the gin, it’s worth it. Plus, while you wait, you can prepare the right kind of energy you want to infuse into this brew. Do you need a little more magic in your life? A little more mischief? A dash of hope or a heading dose of healing? Whatever you need, let it brew until you’re ready to infuse it into a batch of this tasty elixir.

Ingredients:

For infused gin:

2 cups gin

1 Granny smith apple

2-4 juniper berries (depending on how strong you want the juniper flavor to be)

1 large spring of rosemary

For cocktail:

2 oz apple and herb infused gin

2 dashes bay leaf bitters

.75 oz chartrues

.5 to .75 oz freshly squeezed lime juice (depending on how dart you like it)

In infuse gin, slice green apple and place in clean mason jar. Squeeze juniper berries so they crack a little—this will help the alcohol absorb their flavor more—and place in jar. Pour gin over ingredients and let sit for a week, shaking when you remember to. A day or two before you want to enjoy your cocktail, throw in a sprig of rosemary that has been slightly bruised, again, to help the alcohol better absorb its flavor. I wait a little on the rosemary because the fresh stuff takes less time to be extracted in alcohol and letting it sit too long in the gin muddies the flavor. To use, pour gin through strainer into clean mason jar.

For cocktail, mix gin, chartreuse, lime juice and dash of bitters in a shaker. Add ice and shake until container is frosty. Serves one—so double or triple the batch and invite your coven over. Pair with a chilly autumn night, a full moon, and a handful of spells. Cauldron optional.

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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!

Everyday Enchantments Cover Reveal!

In just one short month, my first book, Everyday Enchantments, will be released through Moon Books.  October 26 is the official release date, but you can pre-order your copy here. In anticipation of this release date, I thought I’d share the official book cover and story behind it.  

When I first started compiling the manuscript for what would become Everyday Enchantments, I always knew what I wanted the book cover to be: a cup of coffee with the hint of magic.  It was the epitome of everyday mysticism in my mind.  A cup of coffee (or tea, as is your preference), is one of the most ordinary objects of our day-to-day lives…and also one of the most universal simple pleasures.  I wanted the image to suggest that quiet moments—like a coffee break—are fertile grounds for ordinary mysticism.

So I got a wonderful designer to take my musings and turn it into this lovely cover.  Then a miracle happened: Moon Books approved my dream cover—something practically unheard of in the publishing world.  

Isn’t it lovely?

I couldn’t be more proud or elated for this cover reveal!   In other exciting news, the reviews are in and readers are loving this collection of mediations on everyday magic.  Read what they have to say:

“This book is truly beautiful. When I read 'Everyday Enchantments is a love letter to the magic of everyday life'. I knew that this was a book I'd fall in love with and I wasn't wrong. The book consists of a collection of short writings providing an alternative perspective on the everyday. Beautifully written and thought provoking, everyone should have a copy of this, or read it at least once! This is a book I will go back to over and over again. Highly recommended.”  ~ Margaret Leonard, NetGalley

“This book appealed to me on my levels. and I felt the stirring in my being with the way the words just flowed from the author. A very good read for those who want to live enchanted on a daily basis.” ~  Christina Blake, NetGalley 

“A lovely thoughtful book with an invitation to step into the magic of somebody else's life.  All the experiences are very personal and culturally related to the authors own life.  However it was a pleasure to dream up all the sights, sounds, and smells of another place and another life.  I especially loved the trip to the herb store and found it all a sensory delight.  Hopefully it will encourage you to see the magic in your own life and what is special and sacred to you.  A delightful read.” ~ Jc. C, NetGalley 

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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!