There’s No Place Like Home: How to Smudge Your Apartment [and Your Cat] with Sage

white sage

I can’t remember the first time I heard talk of smudging to clear the stagnant energy from your home, but the second I did, I knew I wanted to take part. Smudging, or the practice of burning dried herbs and dispersing the smoke around your home, is done in several cultures and has become sort of a modern new age girl’s rite of passage. Every hip chick I know that owns tarot cards and meditates has smudged at least once. Opinions vary on how often you should clear the energy from your space, but it’s mentioned most in reference to moving into a new place. After all, it’s a great way to make your new apartment feel like your own AND because burning herbs smell pretty pleasant, it’s also a great way to get rid of any unwanted smells left behind by the previous tenant.

For my first smudging experience, I took the easy route and purchased a two pack of bundled herbs from Whole Foods. Yes, you can bundle your own, but since I’m a beginner I thought it best to go with a professional bundle, lest my own version fall apart mid-ceremony and ignite my bedspread or something.

After a little research in the library of Google, I’ve come to the conclusion that smudging is really what you make of it. You can say a prayer while smudging, use feathers to disperse the smoke, walk in a certain pattern around the room, or really you can just make it up as you go along. The important part is indulging in the ritual for whatever your purpose may be…and fire safety. Also very important.

For my ritual, I chose to move around the room in a clock-wise direction, partly because it was recommended online and partly because it’s simply the direction that made the most sense in the layout of my apartment.  Not having any feathers on hand [being vegan and all], I chose to do a combination of swirling my sage bundle through the air like a magic wand and gently fanning the smoke into corners I couldn’t reach. I found that I had to re-light my sage stick several times to make it all the way around the small room. You see, you don’t smudge with a full flame, but rather the burning embers that are left smoldering after you blow out the initial flame. These can cool off quickly, especially when you’re having a little too much fun doing the magic wand swirl. I made sure to give a little sage-love to the areas behind my clothes and in the corners of closets. That being said, I didn’t worry too much if I might have missed a few crevices here and there. Again, this ritual is what you make of it.

For my own little spin on things, I decided to focus special attention to certain feng shui areas of my home. If you’ve ever mentally laid a feng shui map over your apartment, you’ll see that every third region has a different claim to an area of your life like Love, Family, or Career. Generally these regions are used for decorating your home in certain colors or textures to create positive energy in your life, but I figured it couldn’t hurt if I did a little energy cleansing in the regions most important to me as well. I even smudged myself and my cat…who was unusually calm, but intrigued by the whole scenario.

zooey smudge

For more information on smudging your space, check out:

About.com – This article in their Feng Shui section was my main source on the how-to before getting started.
Miseducated.net – This lovely & straightforward article is by my friend Amber Renee. I actually had forgotten about it until after performing my ritual, but I love her step by step with included prayer.

And speaking of Miseducated.net, after an extended hiatus, my ask a healthy life stylist series is now back up & running! You can read my most recent advice on how to cut back on caffeine as well as submit any questions you might have by clicking Amber’s lovely graphic below:

caffeineaddiction

 

♥ & Light,
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There’s No Place Like Home: A First Look at The Pink Apartment

There’s still a bit of decorating being done, but my little studio with pastel pink walls is slowly coming together…

pink apartment

After sharing space with someone else for several years, making little compromises along the way, it’s empowering to once again carve out my own niche: reestablishing the things that I love and reevaluating the things I no longer need.

My goal for my new home is to keep everything bright, open, & free of clutter, in the hopes that my inner world will mirror my outer space. ❤

There’s No Place Like Home: Decorating The Green Suite

I’ve always had a thing for design: graphic, clothing, but especially interior.

As an introverted Cancer, my home is my oasis, my retreat from the world, but also a cozy place to play hostess to friends & family. Since I’m always decorating on a tight budget, my style doesn’t come off as polished as some, but over the years I’ve gotten better & better at pulling things together without breaking the bank. Currently, I’m in the process of decorating a new home and I’m dying to share it with you soon.

In the meantime, however, I’d like to take a look back on my last humble abode: the two bedroom apartment I shared with Nick aka my former flame, current best friend, & founder of The Green Suite.

When I moved in with Nick, his place was very bachelor pad: dark colors, a little disorganized, and minimal furniture. My goal in our redecorating project was to create a home where my vintage furniture wouldn’t feel too girly and our various collections [like my massive arsenal of DVD’s] wouldn’t make things too crowded. Nick & I worked together quite well: what I lacked in hammer & nail skills, I made up for in design know how & visa versa. The finished products included bright blue walls, DVD housing made from re-claimed wood, & a bedroom bright enough to display the great light from our east-facing windows.

Our little Green Suite will always have a special place in my heart with lots of great memories, but as a new chapter of my life begins, I’m happy to have some new digs to compliment it. More on that soon.

 

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[After photos taken by Aaron Ehinger Photography.]

Thankful Thursday: Votes of Confidence

Despite the crazy emotions of the Full Moon, I have plenty to be Thankful for today:

Twelve Standouts

After climbing to 4th place in the Room for Color Competition in just over 24 hours, we’ve now slipped slightly to 5th, but that’s still plenty to be happy about. PLUS tonight our little blue room was featured by the Apartment Therapy editors as a “don’t miss” entry! We just need to stay in the top 5 until Sept 27th to advance to the next round…so if you haven’t already voted, there’s still time.

Other things I’m thankful for:
Fringe: Season 5 on Netflix instant. Nick & I have been slowly making our way through the series  this summer & now we can finally see the end. No spoilers, please! ♥ Attending a dear college friend’s wedding last weekend where the groom wore eyeliner, the bride wore black, & they served several flavors of VEGAN WEDDING CAKE!Argo Tea’s Pumpkin Chai Lattewriting at bars & coffee shops ♥ Phone dates with friends ♥ So Delicious coconut yogurt [I’m all about the probiotics, baby.] ♥ new blue bedsheets ♥ My lovely Lady Date with Diva LaVidalady dates in real lifekale chipsspending rainy days with Sterling Cooper Draper Price ♥ kitty cuddles ♥ & YOU!

 

 

Room for Color Contest: We Need Your Vote!

This morning started off pretty normal, Nick & I woke up, enjoyed a cup of tea with banana cinnamon muffins left over from my last How to Quit Sugar class, & eased into the day with a little on-the-couch conversation. Then, just as I settled in for some yoga, I heard the familiar ding of a facebook notification from my phone…

It was one of my burlesque girlfriends congratulating me on my apartment feature over on Apartment Therapy:

apartment therapy room for color contest

We’d submitted our living room for the site’s Room for Color Contest a few weeks back, but I had no idea that it had already appeared online. Talk about a great start to the morning!

I love how these photos [taken by one of my favorite photogs & fellow vegan, Aaron Ehinger] showcase perfectly our eclectic lifestyle.

Some of my favorite items around the room include:

♥ Our collection of books [mostly mine] ranging from topics on veganism & green living to fashion & shoes…I’m a very girly hippie. 😉
♥ Our blue glass window farm, made entirely out of recycled & salvaged materials by my boyfriend, Nick. If you’d like to have one of your own that comes complete with installation instructions, check out his store page over at GreenYourSuite.com.
♥ Nick’s record collection. It’s getting so massive that it’s starting to migrate out of our fireplace. Thankfully, I’ve convinced him to weed out a few titles that will soon be listed in our Vintage & Vinyl Etsy store.
♥ My hand-me-down couch that was entirely re-apolstered by my mother [thanks, mom!] & so comfy.
♥ Our vintage camera collection, found entirely in thrift stores around Chicago.
♥ And, of course, our bright blue walls.

If you’d like to check out more photos & maybe even vote for our entry to help us win, head over to Apartment Therapy & click the little “favorite” button at the bottom of the post.

We’d really appreciate it!

I’m Right on Top of That, Rose.

right on top of that

Things are starting to get pretty productive around here.

Here’s a sneak peak of what’s new & what’s to come:

New Blog Design. If you’re viewing this site on your mobile browser, please take a moment later to check in on your computer to see the new layout & design. I found a wonderful new layout a few weeks ago & made it my own with a few small html/css tweaks. I’m certainly not a professional, but I do like to dabble. It’s good to know that that digital design degree I paid for a few years back is still used for something.
♥ New Apartment Decor. Since moving in with Nick almost 2 years ago, we’ve been slowly making the apartment we live in our home. Winter in the Chicago allows for plenty of time indoors to start painting projects & hanging photos so I’m hoping we’ll have some images of the apartment to share with you very soon. Perhaps I’ll even do a before & after post of what it looked like in it’s original bachelor pad state when I moved in…
New Creative Projects. Aside from the decorating & the blog designs, I’ve been spending more time just playing with my creative muses. For instance, after re-watching of one of my favorite childhood movies, I threw together the above quote art from Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead. The printed product is now on the bulletin board above my desk for inspiration during those times of procrastination.
Want one of your own? You can buy the PDF on my Etsy.
I’m writing a skin care book. As one of my health coaching goals this year, I’ve resolved to write my first book. I’m sharing every last one of my secrets to clearing your acne through a healthy diet. Does that sound like something you’d like to read? Let me know in the comments so I’ll have motivation to keep typing through the writer’s block.

As for the very near future, tomorrow you can look forward to my new recipe for Thin Mint Brownie Donuts. Yep, you read that right…& they’re just as addictive as they sound.

Last Minute Gift Idea: Cookies in a Jar

bake. print. give.

bake. print. give.

Looking for a last minute gift idea for your Christmas party this evening? You can steal mine.

I whipped up a batch of my favorite Nestle-less Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies [vegan, of course] & placed them in clean, recycled jars labeled with the recipe. This way, friends & family not only received a tasty treat, but also the know-how to make their own cookies later.

Want to steal my colorful label too? Merry Christmas, it’s yours! Click here to download the exact label I designed for my jars above [printable in a page of 3].

Happy Holidays!

Make Something Monday: Hydroponic Window Farm

As I pondered what to post for Make Something Monday tonight, the sound of my boyfriend teaching his monthly class on urban window farming drifted in from our living room. That’s when I realized that the perfect [albeit unusual] topic for today’s post was right under my nose [or, rather, right in my ears]: making a hydroponic window farm.

blue glass window farm

What’s a hydroponic window farm, you ask? Perhaps I should let The Green Suite‘s teacher himself [aka my live-in-love, Nick Conrad] explain:

When I first stared window farming over a year ago, I knew nothing about gardening or hydroponics. I did know that the idea of free, fresh, 100% organic food sounded awesome! After some research and lots of trail and error, I learned how to turn a handful of seeds and a few recycled bottles into a thriving garden.

Window farming is exactly what it sounds like. It is a vertical, hydroponic garden that grows right in your window. This method is perfect for an urban setting because you can grow a lot of plants in a small space. Plants grown in a hydroponic system grow larger and faster than those grown in soil and they don’t require access to a backyard.

One thing that almost all window farms have in common is that they incorporate recycled materials (plastic or glass bottles) into their construction. This not only keeps the cost down but keeps garbage out of the land fill. Win win right? Most window farmers scavenge for parts  or save items from their own recycling to create their systems. Parts that cannot be scavenged (such as pumps, tubing, and lightbulbs) are easily found in hardware stores, pet stores and sometimes even thrift stores, if you’re lucky.

For those who wish to expedite the process, it just so happens that I have several kits available for sale on my website. They are glass bottle kits of my own design which come in several colors (blue, green and brown). Each kit includes a free instructional video to help you with the installation and get you started.

Window farming has changed the way I look at food, improved the way I eat and given me the self satisfaction of knowing that I can provide my own food. So what are you waiting for? Start growing your own food today! You won’t regret it.

 

We are the Change that we seek.

Things are changing as quickly as the colors on the leaves around here! Perhaps you’ve noticed the lack of recipe posts on the blog as of late…it’s not that I’ve lost my passion for baking, it’s just that I’ve been otherwise occupied.

What’s keeping me so busy, you ask? Exciting new ventures!

First, there’s my fledgling career as a freelance health & wellness writer. My first submission was just publish on TheNest.com & there are several more in the works. I’ll keep you posted on my progress as the other articles hit the web.

Second, I have a new advice column on Miseducated.net. I’m super excited about this collaboration because I’ve always loved Miseducated’s girly design & positive content. Be sure to submit all of your health & lifestyle questions ASAP so that I have something to write about!

Third, there’s my upcoming FREE sugar blues workshop this Friday, October 26th. Want to join the conference call on how to kick your sugar addiction just in time for halloween? Become a fan of Health Happiness & Hula Hoops on facebook & receive your invite to the call later on this week!

Speaking of workshops, I’ve been helping the Omnivore prepare to teach his Zombie Survival Training class, a workshop to prepare survivors for the zombie apocalypse. It sounds silly, but he’s actually included a lot of practical advice on growing your own food & producing your own electricity in case of any large-scale disaster event. Also, check out his company, The Green Suite, where you can buy your own window farm kit or take a solar energy class.

And finally, you may have noticed that things are starting to look a little different around the blog. I’m in the middle of a redesign and trying to figure out the specifics for transferring the url from michellesheawalker.com to michellesheawalker.com [which is currently just a catch-all of resumes & links]. Don’t worry, lovely veg-heads, the blog will still be just as vegan as I am, but the name change will allow me the freedom to explore other topics as well [like wellness, mental health, home decor, & fashion] without feeling the need to include the v-word in every single post.
[Bonus: casting a wider net might attract some omni’s to the v-club…sshhh, don’t tell. ;)]

 

 

Thankful Thursday: a home office field trip to Delicious Cafe

The omnivore and I have a guest room/office space in our apartment that’s dedicated to working on our business ventures [mine: holistic health coaching; his: teaching solar panel classes]. But today, to ward off boredom, we took our home office on a field trip to Delicious Cafe.

A productive office day with access to yummy vegan teas & treats…what more could a working girl ask for?

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Things I’m thankful for today:
? my office has a great view
? coconut chai latte
? The Veggie sandwich with hummus, greens, tomato & cucumber + a side of baby carrots
? gluten-free, vegan, vanilla & chocolate deliciousness [also known as a cupcake]