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.]

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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. ūüėČ
♥ 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!

Thankful Thursday: How to Please a Diva [LaVida]

Today is a very special Thankful Thursday, filled to the brim with happy news!

Let’s start things off with some “glowing” praise from recent 6 month program graduate
& supremely talented burlesque dancer Diva LaVida:

diva testimonial

¬†“I really enjoyed working with Michelle & found her to be a tremendous asset.¬†She never pressured me into wacky diets or asked me to do anything that made me feel less than awesome.¬†Her advice helped to clear up my skin, trim my waist, & got me glowing.¬†Seriously, even my coworkers noticed my positive changes. Woot!”
Diva LaVida

To read even more client testimonials & to find out the details about my 6 month health coaching program visit www.healthhappinessandhulahoops.com & schedule your very own FREE health consultation:
click here button

Other things that I’m Thankful for Today:

♥ the amazing, useful, & entertaining eBook that I’m a contributor to hit #3 on the Amazon Best Seller’s list in our category [Kindle – Advertising]! If you want to read all about how I based my business brand on girly magazines + many more stories of self-promotion & starting your own business, you can purchase Self-Promotion Sucks (but it doesn’t have to) on Amazon for only $4.99!

♥ inspired by my first eBook experience, I’ve decided to write my own! You can look forward to my Health is Beauty how-to guide to clearing your skin & getting that glow this Fall! It’ll be a tight deadline for all the information that I plan to include, but I’m putting it out there into the universe & feel determined I can make it happen. [P.S. If you’re excited by this book idea, leave me a comment of support on the Michelle Shea Walker [dot com] facebook page, I’d really appreciate it!]

♥ my boyfriend Nick was featured in The Chicago Sun-Times this week for his Dabble class on How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse. It’s always great to see someone so brilliant get the great press that they deserve [especially when it’s the man in your life].

♥ and also, I’m thankful for chia pudding. So. Much. Chia. Pudding. ūüôā

What are you Thankful for Today?

Thankful Thursday: 3 Years of Sappy Happiness

Today, I’m thankful for:¬†

photo strips 2

Celebrating 3 years since meeting the best man I know, Nick Conrad. Seriously guys, if you think I’m just a sappy girl in love, check out my boyfriend’s efforts to save the planet [or just look at what I have to tear myself away from every morning] & tell me I’m not one lucky lady. ♥

Ok, you may now disengage your gag reflex, I’m done making you sick [for now].

What [or who ;)] are you thankful for today?

It’s the End of the World as We Know It

I’ve never been much of a doomsday prep-er. It’s just not my style.

As an eternal optimist & meditation junkie, I believe that the future is what you make of it…as long as my thoughts remain positive, my future remains bright. Nick, on the other hand, is the eternal boy scout. He may not believe that the world’s really going to end, but he’s determined to be prepared in case it does [check out his tongue-in-cheek zombie survival class to see what I mean]. Over the past year, Nick & I have had a few discussions about the whole Mayan calendar/December 21st topic and have come to the agreement that it’s less about the end of the world & more about the end of an era.

That’s why I was so excited to find today’s video interview between my favorite YouTube personality, Marie Forleo, & the equally awesome¬†Ophi Edut of AstroStyle on how the end of the Mayan calendar is really just the beginning of an exciting new age.

Don’t feel like watching the whole video? Here’s the cliff notes version [+ my own thoughts] on how to thrive in a post-2012 world:

1. Develop & deepen your spiritual tools. This has been a big theme in my life for the past year. Through yoga & meditation, I am slowly finding a spiritual practice that works for me. There’s nothing wrong with the traditional church setting, but I personally find connecting with my spiritual side easier from the quiet of my mind. Meditation has taught me that I have all of the tools that I need within me to create the life that I desire. Which leads us to point #2…
2. Move from waiting to creating. Otherwise known as manifesting your desires, my favorite resources for information on this concept are Gabby Bernstein [who they mention in the video] & The Secret. Your thoughts control your reality & you can make magic in your life once you learn how to use them.
3. Get in touch with your body. Be healthy. Eat your veggies. Move your body. These are all things I help my clients with, but they’re a big part of my own life as well. It’s amazing the clarity & peace of mind you can achieve through complete & total health.
4. Discover your ability to bend time. Yeah, this one sounds a little crazy, but it’s pretty similar to point #2: you can create your own existence by just altering the way you look at the world. If you truly believe that you have enough time to get things done, you’ll stress less, be more productive, and it will feel like the clocks are making time just for you.
5. Join forces & resources with people. In this global community that exists on the web, it’s amazing the people you can find in your corner. Connect & be respectful of everyone you interact with, you never know who can lend a helping hand down the line.
6. Spend more time being around people in-person. As an online introvert, this is the one area I struggle with, but despite my shy nature, I do make sure to schedule face time [not just FaceTime] with the people closest to me. My resolution is to take this further in 2013: unplug more often and head out into the world. Won’t you join me? ♥

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. ;)]

 

 

Sunday Brunch: Mint Cacao Chip Smoothie

I’m obsessed with smoothies lately. With hot summer weather bouncing around in the forecast, there’s nothing better than a icy smoothie on a warm day.

And although I’ve made minty smoothies several times, today’s was the first to use mint from our very own window farm:

Have I mentioned that the Omnivore teaches classes on urban gardening? Check it out if you’re in the Chicago area & interested in growing your own herbs & veggies at home.

Anyway, back to the smoothie…I abstained from using too many ingredients in this recipe and was pleasantly surprised with how delicious it turned out. No added sweetener. No excessive chocolate. So Good.

Ingredients

2 large handfuls of spinach
1 banana, frozen
1 1/2 tsp* mint leaves, chopped [or cut into small pieces with kitchen shears]
*this measurement is approximate, I used the leaves from 3 medium-sized mint sprigs
1/2 can of light coconut milk
1 tsp cacao nibs [optional]

Place all ingredients in the blender [spinach on bottom for best results] & process until smooth.  Top with additional cacao nibs & enjoy.

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?

20120426-151332.jpg

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]