Category Archives: Stories

Eating Lean & Green Cookbook

Hi there lovely people,

Okay, so I’m continuing my theme this week of celebrating the women around me and all the amazing things they are accomplishing!

Today, I wanted you to meet my dear friend, Katie Marreel! You know the friend that is just good at whatever she does…yeah that’s Katie! Creative, brilliant, kind, caring – you know that good to the core kinda person – well, Katie pretty much rocks and I feel super lucky to have had her in my life as a close friend and one of my best brain storming buddies!! Nothing better than another entrepreneurial girl to keep you going! So check this out…

Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 8.38.25 PM

She has just launched her first cookbook and I couldn’t be more proud! Woo!!!

Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 7.53.59 PM

openbook_optimied

I have witnessed her toil lovingly over this project for a looong time but the finished product is beyond gorgeous!! Go to her website to check out this beautifully written and photographed (by Katie herself) cookbook. Chock full of delicious, healthy recipes!

So you can get to know her a little better, I decided a little impromptu interview was in order! Just like her book, she’s bursting with great information and healthy tips for busy families and health minded individuals alike!

Okay here goes….So Katie…..

katie-kitchen

What is your personal relationship like with food and fitness? (hint hint…tell us about your story. ;)

My story begins nearly 60 lbs. and 15 years ago with a quest to transform my body into something healthier. The first several years brought many new diets and exercise programs, some of which failed, and others that made their own small contribution to weight loss. Nothing, however, came close to achieving the ultimate goal.  Then I discovered the Medifast 5 & 1 Meal Plan© through Take Shape for Life©. With guidance from my physician, I followed the program and experienced radical results. I lost weight beyond my expectations and built an entirely new relationship with food. Six years later, I’m still maintaining a goal weight. Eating Lean & Green has become a way of life.

My relationship with food and fitness is always changing and growing. There are so many ideas from experts in the field, I find that I am always studying and learning as much as I can. 

When it comes to food, I have learned to think about it as fuel to power my body, and I find deep satisfaction in eating things that are nutritious.  Old emotional eating habits, using food as a reward and a comfort, continue to fade away as new healthier habits take over.  There is no reward sweeter than the satisfaction of having made the right choices!

Fitness is something I have always been passionate about, and I am dedicated to keeping it a regular part of life. I like to change it up and try new things. From yoga and strength training to running and tennis, I’m always keeping my body moving.  Although it can be exhausting in the moment, I know that it does so many healing and restorative things for our bodies. It’s worth every drop of sweat.

What was your inspiration in creating this cookbook?

As a person who has struggled with weight for most of my life, my inspiration comes from a deeply-rooted desire to help others on the same journey.  I am passionate about sharing healthy and nutritious meals that are also incredibly satisfying and delicious.  Losing weight doesn’t have to taste bad!

2627e4c249aaaccd64ffa10669de77bc

e1ce28d960700eedbcd178df7bfea9e7

What are your top three tips for incorporating healthy eating into your everyday family life?

#1:  Plan, plan, plan. It may not be the most fun task, but getting familiar with the nutritional value of your food and making a daily plan is the best thing you can to reach your goals.  I write down all the foods I plan to eat each day before I go to bed. If I’m going out to a restaurant, I will check out the menu online ahead of time and know ahead of time what I am going to order.

#2:  Don’t force it. Learning to be selective with your own foods while offering a few options for others will go a long way to getting them excited about being healthful. Forcing food choices on others will only drive them away from healthy eating.  Not everyone in my house eats on such a restrictive plan as I do, especially the kids who need more carbohydrates. The core of every dinner I cook is a healthy lean and green meal, but I will often serve a starch like beans or grains on the side to make it more satisfying for them. 

#3:  Make a daily habit. Whether you choose to read a book or magazine, listen to a podcast , or go online, spending an hour of time each day thinking about health and nutrition will make a big difference in your ability to incorporate healthy eating into your everyday life.  It will keep you focused and give you a better knowledge base to make wise decisions.

Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 7.57.09 PM

What changes have you seen within your life and your families by implementing these healthy practices?

One noteworthy change has been in my own sense of identity and being comfortable with my body. Losing weight and maintaining it has brought a great deal of self-confidence and has opened the door to trying lots of new and exciting things in life that I might have been intimidated by otherwise.

The most exciting thing to see is the effect on people around me.  By living out a healthy lifestyle, I get to be an example for others who have a similar goal, but may have lost hope or gotten frustrated in the process.  My conversation often falls into the topics of health and nutrition because it’s something I get really excited about. I love getting to share new ideas about food that show people being healthful can also taste incredibly delicious. It’s a win win!

She’s inspiring right? Katie is so passionate about helping others live a healthier life!

Now don’t be shy…you can visit her at her website or Facebook too! Go say hi! ;)

Thanks for chatting with us Katie! You go girl!

xo,

static1.squarespace.com

4 Comments

Filed under Beauty, Books, celebrate, creativity, entertaining, Food, Friends, Health, News, Stories

Mixed Media Workshop – Success!

Hello friends!

I hope you are all doing well and enjoying the holiday season! I gotta tell you my heart has been bursting with joy since teaching my Mixed Media Workshop this past weekend!

Oh. My. Goodness! I couldn’t even have wished for a better outcome! All my nerves quickly melted away as I met each beautiful student – 7 shining, bright, amazing women! What a group! Plus, my co-hostess, Katie was SO awesome! She handled all the food, drink and goodies so I could focus on teaching Art! Total bliss!

Instead of rambling on and on, I’ll just share some of the photos…

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 11.45.51 AM

I wanted to make sure every detail was thought of! It was a labor of LOVE and worth every second.

classroom5

My living room was gutted and turned into a festive classroom! What a truly rewarding experience to get the opportunity to teach what I am so passionate about. We used collage, encaustics, acrylic paint, pastels, ink, oil pastels and more! It was a serious Mixed Media Party!!

workshop collage1

wokshop collage 2

workshop collage 3

workshop collage 4

The work that came out of these extraordinary women was mind blowing and so gorgeous! We worked on a smaller piece that was more focused on landscapes and then finished the day with a portrait project.

artworks collage1 art pair Robins work more art georgianna lane art

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 11.46.02 AM

That night we went out to dinner and continued the bonding. Artist, Jenny Wentworth came into town to join us too! What fun! I was beaming with joy and couldn’t stop smiling!

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 11.46.13 AM

The weekend ended with an Open Studio session on Sunday morning back at my place.

Oh and this sweet video brought me to tears of joy. Thanks guys!

 

This experience has deeply changed me. I challenged myself to do something that terrified me and conquered it! Woo! What a fabulous feeling! On top of that, I made authentic, magical connections to new artistic friends. Plus, I think I have finally found my calling. Teaching felt exhilarating, inspiring and just so darn right! I am so incredibly grateful. Thank you to all who participated! I can’t wait till the next one!

xo,

Ivy

 

23 Comments

Filed under Art, Art lessons, collage, creativity, encaustic, Learning, mixed media, painting, Stories, teaching, workshop

Hawaii

Hi my friends! Oh my goodness, I have been neglecting my blog but for good reason…Summer has begun and we’ve been busy with a new schedule and some travel too! Let’s catch up a bit…

In early June, we had the amazing opportunity to travel to Hawaii and stay at the Four Seasons in Kona. I had to pinch myself!

the gorgeous view from our room!

the gorgeous view from our room!

hibiscus

It was through Chris’ work and while he was busy in meetings, I got to play around the pool and beach with the other wives. Let’s just say Mai-tai’s at the swim up bar before lunch became a daily ritual! I know that is a tad early…but really they are mostly juice…and rum. Ah. Forget it. Anyways…

beach 3

pool

Oh, did I mention that we left the kiddos at home with my parents? Yeah. It was kinda awesome. I missed the girls, of course but to have time away at such a dreamy place was sublime.

flowers

beach

plumeria

turtle

I have to share this little adventure with you –

We had the first couple of days to ourselves so Chris thought it would be fun to rent a canoe and paddle around the ocean. I agreed – imagining myself reclined and sunning while he did the rowing! :) Well…let me tell you…I was in for a surprise!

We unknowingly rented a Hawaiian racing canoe! Think super long, skinny boat with two tiny seats, and outrigger on one side. Looks like it will tip over and dump you into the ocean if you look at it the wrong way. We must have looked confused because a burly Hawaiian guy approached us and inquired about our reservation. We gave him our last name. He nods, introduces himself and then proceeds to explain the training he is going to put us through before we can take the canoe out alone.

Training?! What the —-?? Ok. Let’s do this – I told myself, trying to muster up my courage. It was when, in his long speech about operating the canoe, that he said “simulate a flip” that my heart start to beat.

“Wait…simulate a flip?” I asked, trying not to sound terrified.

“Yeah…it’s no biggie. We will get you out to about 150 ft. depth and then we will lean to one side and flip the canoe over.” He shrugged.

I stared at him. No biggie? I hadn’t even planned on getting wet during this “relaxing” canoe trip. Plus, I couldn’t even remember the last time I actually swam. Wading into the shallow end during a kid pool party probably doesn’t count.

“Yeah…he continued, and then I’m gonna have you pull yourself up on the capsized canoe and pull it over so it’s right side up again. It’s easy!” says the guy who is all muscle, complete with a sinuous dragon tattoo meandering the slopes of his bulging arms.

I continued to stare. I’m pretty sure my mouth was open.

Chris laughed a little and squeezed my hand.

I chose to watch from the safety of the beach as the trainer and Chris went out first. They made it look easy…of course. The canoe sliced through the water as they timed their rowing.

As they hauled the canoe back to the beach, I could feel myself mentally sliding backward. I didn’t HAVE to do this. I could say no but then somehow, I managed to push past my fear and cheerfully grabbed an oar. I was gonna do this!

I gotta admit, once on the canoe, and adjusting to the rowing, I found myself enjoying it! The water was beautiful. Infinite shades of sapphire, turquoise and teal. One or two sea turtles swam just beneath the surface, their sweet faces popping up out of the water as we glided by. As the ocean got darker and darker, I could feel my hands start to shake. I knew we were closer to the dreaded “flip”!

Finally, our kind instructor announced, “Okay, Ivette time to flip this thing over!”

My body tensed up as I gazed into the seemingly endless blue depths. I decided this was not a good time to ask about sharks…

“Just lean to opposite side of the outrigger and we will flip over. Then swim back up to the boat, pull your upper body on the canoe and reach with your hand to pull it over. You can do it!”

“Okay….”

Boom. Within a millisecond of leaning we were in the drink. I came up, sea water up my nose. Mascara running down my face. I must have been a sight. Somehow, my brain told my legs to kick and my swimming skills returned. Not sure if I was terrified or super annoyed, I swam back to that damn canoe, hauled myself up on it and flipped it right over! Yeah! It felt good!

Now, I just had to get back on the stupid thing. Kicking like a maniac (I probably looked like a dying sea mammal – basically a shark magnet) I finally pulled my lanky self back into the seat. The trainer glanced back at me to get a read on my mental state. I managed a smile and we headed back.

Chris and I took the canoe out together and enjoyed a “paddle”. We did quite well, till I turned back to him and asked “Hey do I still have mascara all over my….”

I had turned around the WRONG way and dumped us both in the sea. Damn it!

At the end of our little adventure, I was proud of conquering my fear and trying something VERY outside my comfort zone. Would I do it again? Probably wouldn’t be on my top 10 but I’m glad we did it. I found I was stronger, braver and more determined that I thought I was. Discovering that made it all worth it.

beach 2

Have you ever done something out of your comfort zone only to discover something about yourself? Would love to hear about it!

xo,

Ivy

P.S. I have also been working on some new art pieces…more on that later this week. :)

12 Comments

Filed under nature, photography, Stories, Travel

Life after the Art Retreat

Hi lovely people. How’s life treating you? With lots of love, I hope.

I’ve been playing catch up since I got back from my wonderful Art Retreat. It was a pretty rough re-entry into reality after four days of blissful art-making, learning, laughing and connecting with beautiful, inspiring artists! I arrived home to a sick Claire bear and a rather exhausted hubby. Poor Chris!

Claire had conjunctivitis in both eyes and a nasty head cold. I scooped her up in my arms and went straight into mommy/nurse mode. Thinking that she would recover quickly was a big mistake. Her eyes cleared in a few days but the cold turned into viral infection with fever for 5 days and then ear infections! Sigh. BIG UNHAPPY FACE. My typical schedule went right in the trash and all that anticipation to keep creating art came to a screeching halt. It was a tough week…and then I got sick too…ugh!

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 3.44.50 PM

I’m happy to report that she is all better now! Smiling and laughing (and having melt downs) like her usual self. I am still on the mend but excited to get creating again. I even started a new e-course, that I am loving!

So…I know… you are wondering…how was the Retreat?

One word – Divine.

Katie and I left on Thursday morning to drive up to Bainbridge Island, WA. The weather was a perfect 75 and sunny. Couldn’t ask for a better day for a road trip. With my car loaded up with art supplies, we made the 3 1/2 hour journey with Starbucks stops and a lovely lunch in Olympia sprinkled in.

We arrived at our rental condo for the weekend. The actual retreat was at the Wacky Nut Farm but since we were the only locals attending, we snapped up this place which is just five minutes down the road. Totally gorgeous and highly recommended! This was our view…

seattle day

seattle night

That night shot was fun to capture! I set my camera up on the ledge of the balcony and did a long exposure! Very cool to experiment with…you must give it a try!

Anyway, once we got settled in we went over to the farm to meet up with the ladies. I was so nervous and excited to actually meet Jeanne and Stephanie in person! We were greeted by our ever gracious and lovely host, Serena and as we met the other women and the teachers I felt my shoulders drop and my butterflies disappear.  The retreat unfolded beautifully. The women were warm and open. The teachers were inspiring and genuine. And the art making was truly blissful. I’ll stop ranting and let the images tell the story…

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 10.11.08 AM

So happy to have had this experience with Katie!

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 10.11.22 AM

Our morning view! Not too shabby!

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 9.56.32 AM

The gorgeous Wacky Nut Farm.

plant1

walking

Nature walk with the girls.

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 9.56.05 AM

Bainbridge Island is gorgeous!

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 9.56.22 AM

Beautiful creations by my classmates.

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 9.57.04 AM

This was a collaborative piece! It was a true exercise in trust that Stephanie walked us through. Giving up control of your art and having faith that each student would add beauty to it was challenging but it was a seriously moving and emotional creative experience! It was amazing to have each woman make their mark on this piece. I love that it has been touched by them all.

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 9.57.39 AM

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 10.15.11 AM

The wonderful Jeanne Oliver teaching our class.

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 10.10.43 AM

A mixed media piece I created on wood panel with collage, acrylic paint and wax.

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 10.10.57 AM

This little piece was a plastered piece of wood which I then collaged, painted and coated in wax.

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 10.11.33 AM

Another piece I created in Jeanne’s class. A mixed media piece on wood with collage, acrylic paint and wax.

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 9.56.50 AM

The whole gang gathered for a Mexican fiesta at Serena’s beautiful home for our last night together!

I will never forget these amazing women and I hope to see them in the future. Truly beautiful souls!

This retreat truly affected me and will be a powerful memory always. I hope to go on more art adventures in the future!

Thank you to all the ladies for being so kind, genuine and inspiring. Thank you to our fantastic teachers for pushing us, lifting our spirits and feeding the flame of our creativity and a BIG thank you to our host, Serena for being so incredibly warm, putting us all at ease and taking such good care of us. Your hard work, love and connection to us all was deeply felt and appreciated.

Okay sorry for the looooong post…but that was a lot to catch you up on.

xo,

Ivy

 

 

4 Comments

Filed under Art, art retreat, creativity, encaustic, Learning, mixed media, News, painting, Stories, Travel

Dear Me…

Hi friends! Oooh baby it’s cold outside! At least for us Portlanders. I am actually loving the crystal clear sunshine and frost laden mornings. It’s like the very air shimmers with ice. So magical. I am praying for some snow!

Thank you all for your beautiful, kind and thought provoking comments you left on my last post. I deeply appreciate you sharing.

Yesterday and today, I have chosen to put my household chores aside and focus on my art. Every time I do this, I am amazed at the incredibly comforting and joyous feelings it brings. I light my favorite candle, put on Pandora and just let myself escape into my creativity.

Today, was very introspective. I am still completing my Brené Brown homework – one exercise was to find photos of ourselves at different times in our lives and then write a message to “that” girl with the knowledge you have now. I chose my wedding day.

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 1.30.44 PM

What would you write to yourself now, looking back on those times when you were about to embark on a new journey? So young. So naive. Clueless. Unaware of all the challenges and joys that lay ahead. Blind to the outcomes.

I found this quite emotional and also very healing. It made my appreciate the trials I have been through. It made me glad for the hard days. The pain. The failures. The wrong thinking. It made me have gratitude for the wisdom I’ve gained and for the baggage that was sloughed off as I tumbled through my twenties, like a pebble in the tide. It was powerful to stand solidly on the shore and look back on those turbulent waters of my past.

Try this with a picture of yourself. It doesn’t have to be an art project – just go for it. See what comes up. Be gentle with yourself. This exercise is meant to promote self-compassion so don’t go yelling at yourself in a picture at some frat party, drunk or scold yourself for wearing that God awful outfit from the 80’s or for not losing the baby fat. :) Write to yourself with love, with empathy, with kindness. Give yourself a mental hug. “That” girl in your picture probably really needed it.

xo,

Ivy

P.S. For those of you who wanted to take the Brené Brown class but thought they had missed it – they are repeating the first part so you can still sign up! I just signed up for Part 2! ;)

4 Comments

Filed under Art, creativity, Learning, Love, Stories, Thoughts

Wandering…

3854866_9657808_lz

{via}

Hello there. I hope all is well in your world. Right now, mine is a little messy. Literally and figuratively. I just finished the Brené Brown course and absolutely loved it. It has truly been life changing and has been stirring up all sorts of emotions. Old energy is shedding but self-doubt has been trying to rain on my parade…as usual.

With all the flux, I’ve been cleaning out areas of my home that no longer serve me. One of those neglected areas was my laundry room cabinets. They were stocked with all my supplies for creating skin care products… (my obsession 3 years ago). As I gathered up the countless little vials of essential oils, dried herbs and tubs of concoctions, I found myself crying. I stopped for a minute to check in with my mind and see what all the fuss was about.

Ahh…I was berating myself. For failing. For being flaky. For investing all this money and time into something I gave up on. For being stupid. Unfocused. Confused. Wasteful. ugh. Brené referres to these moments as “shame storms”. This was a category 3.

Then I remembered the last week of the Brené lessons – letting go of certainty. I was reminded that it’s okay to wander, get lost and not know which way to turn. Even in those moments we are whole. I had not failed. I had just wandered. I had needed to do that, at that time and it has led me to where I am today. So what if Grace & Ivy began as a skin care hobby!? It ended up launching my blog, helping me rediscover my love of writing, leading me to a new passion for vintage and ultimately, reunited me with my first, true love – ART.

Was it a linear, logical journey? Nope…but that’s not really how I roll anyway. Is it over? Have I got it all figured out? Hell no! But that’s okay.

So, please, let me remind you dear friends, that if you are feeling a bit lost or are wandering. Fear not. Know that it is part of your own journey. We are not supposed to have all the answers. Life doesn’t come with a compass or a map. Use your heart as your guide and believe that even in your most vulnerable place – you are right where you need to be. Trust yourself and never compare your path to someone else’s. Like a snowflake, each one is unique.

4b6f39c52596ef9c5f30afba36638a50d2ndebs

{via}

Sending you all love.

xo,

Ivy

18 Comments

Filed under Learning, Stories, Thoughts, Words