gifts beyond the gift card. part 2. a few of my favorite things…


visions of biscuits dance in his head...

visions of biscuits dance in his head…

Let’s say cookbooks aren’t their thing, but you’d still like to give a gift that will inspire your loved ones to continue the path toward their healthiest, most creative, courageous, stylish, best self. Here are a few of my favorites:

Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself. I love Rich Roll’s, down to earth guy’s guy perspective. He’s not over the top about any particular health or philosophical path, he just shares a story anyone – not just uninspired, out of shape, middle aged corporate types –  can relate to.  Buy the book and share a link to his weekly podcasts. They’re free. Even the ones I think I won’t like, I end up loving. Cute t-shirts too. Peace + Plants!

finding ultra

Superhero online courses with Andrea Scher. I started with Andrea’s “Treasure Hunt,” photography course, then moved on to Start a Foolish Project and Mondo Beyondo. Her 30-day photo class totally changed the way I look at the world. I don’t look for “photo ops” anymore.  I capture moments. It is one of the best ways of practicing presence. No fancy camera necessary. IPhones are just fine. Although if you have the fancy camera and have no idea how to work it, she can help.  Her other courses creatively get to the heart of what it would take to live your own Superhero Life. Anything Andrea does is professional, inspiring and rich with over the top content.

dvf scarf

The Woman I Wanted To Be. This memoir by Diane von Furstenburg reads like a fairy tale. She is a princess, after all. However, this is a true story with real life sprinkled in. What I love most about DVF is her never-ending ability to see the goodness in people, life and the power girls/women have to create whatever life they would like. If you want to go over the top with this gift, add Journey of a Dress and maybe a scarf (leopard poppy print shown above.)  Or, the iconic wrap dress for the extra lucky :)

Money. Tony Robbins hasn’t written a book in 20 years… because he hates writing. I would never have picked this book, even though I’m a fan, without the recommendation and video interview by Marie Forleo. After I watched it, the book immediately made my “to give” and “to read” list. Perfect for anyone, whether they’re just starting out or already have an empire. Or, just share the video link. It’s free and full of tips, money related and beyond.


Fed by Threads. Anything. Seriously. I have shirts, skirts and leggings. I’ve given their onesies as baby gifts, and I would love any one of their scarves or socks. Every purchase buys an emergency meal. Every item is made naturally, in the U.S. Truly a company and people you feel good supporting.

jade 13

Ben’s “Be Kind” Bells.  Little boy dies suddenly. Parents cope with grief by making ceramic “Ben’s Bells” and hanging them around town to spread reminders of kindness and gratitude. Crazy amazing. I have two of these hanging outside my front door. They are precious. Any of their handmade gifts or Be Kind apparel are special. Take a moment and read the rest of their story here.

be kind

Grace and Lace. Another crazy amazing story here. I bought these legwarmers at Session Yoga. Stop by the studio or shop online for even more scarves, armwarmers, boot cuffs…. Love. It. All.

Pangea Organics. I haven’t been a stickler for organic body products and cosmetics, but I had a Pangea party this year at my house and fell in love with their lip balm, body oil and scrub. I am a lip balm and body oil fiend. Do I really want to be basically eating something loaded with chemicals everyday, all day? Considering our skin is our largest organ, do I really want to be slathering moisturizer all over my skin that is loaded with chemicals? No. This just makes sense to me. Gift the lip balm and buy a couple for yourself… one for the car, one for the bag.

noted by Marni Zarr. The most precious letterpress paper products.  Marni’s hot pink notebook fits perfectly in my purse and her “I Am a Hot Mess” folders are keeping fashionistas organized from coast to coast.




If you happen to live in Tucson, you can’t go wrong with a facial or massage from Hakem, an yoga or an ayurvedic treatment from Lisa, a pedicure from Greentoes or a Session Yoga gift card for classes and workshops like these! 






gifts beyond the gift card (part 1) + go-to cookbooks

Looking for a gift that runs deeper than a gift card? Maybe even one that encourages, inspires and helps your loved ones feel good far beyond the holidays?

For anyone who has shown an interest in healthier eating, not just the cooks in the family, these cookbooks read more like manifestos. They are stories of the author’s personal path to finding their groove with food.

I also appreciate that they are written for people who aren’t necessarily passionate about cooking. What they are passionate about is making food that gives them energy and gets rid of the things that make them feel bad – digestion troubles, crazy cravings, issues with cholesterol, blood sugar, thyroid, food allergies, etc…

All of them are packed with ways to incorporate more real food into your meals… something everyone can use, no matter what your health condition or food philosophy.


Tara, me and an armload of her cookbooks :)

Tara, me and an armload of her cookbooks :)

Tara Stiles, Make  Your Own Rules Diet. Like all things Tara, her recipes are super simple. This one is ideal for “non-cooks” and anyone flirting with getting into yoga or meditation… lots of how to’s included.  I’d also pass along a link to her You Tube channel where she shows how really simple this food thing can be in the Recipes section. (Mainly vegan, gluten-free, natural sweeteners.)

Gwyneth Paltrow, It’s All Good. Gwyneth’s more of a cook… but if you can follow a recipe, it will be All Good with this one. After feeling  burned out and lethargic, she turned to an elimination diet to get her back on track. Insight from Dr. Alexander Junger (of Clean) and Dr. Habib Sadeghi, combined with her passion for real food offer real-life menus for real-life families. This is the most food-stained cookbook in my collection. (Mostly gluten-free, natural sweeteners, has meat, but lots of plant-based options too.) 

Giada, Feel Good Food. This one, along with Crazy Sexy Kitchen by Kris Carr are close seconds for my most used cookbooks. I love Giada’s for her beauty secrets and Kris’s for providing the MOST powerful “plant-based-diet-as-preventative-medicine” message.  Be sure to pass along the link to her Crazy Sexy Cancer movie trailer to whomever you give it to. I credit that movie, along with her blog and book, Crazy Sexy Diet for inspiring me to really explore the food thing. Both offer easy recipes. (Kris’s is plant-based. Giada has some meat + lots of plant-based options.)

Superfood Smoothies by Julie Morris. Just when I thought I’d mastered smoothies, my friend Ashley rocked my world with this book. If you know anyone perplexed by superfoods like cacao, maca, lucuma, and goji berries, this is the perfect gift. Or, if you know anyone perplexed by what to do with their Vitamix, this is the perfect gift. Add Superfood Kitchen and Superfood Juices and make it a Super Special gift !

Simple Recipes for Joy: More than 200 delicious vegan recipes, by Sharon Gannon. This one was given to me by my yoga teacher, written by her yoga teacher, with a foreward written by my healing, nutrition teacher, Kris Carr. How can this be wrong? While I’m not vegan (yet), my heart has serious vegan tendencies. Receiving and reading this book is encouraging me to follow my heart. Regardless of where you are on the subject, the recipes are easy and nutrition-packed.

Breakfast Criminals. This is more of a movement than a book. Ksenia has taken superhuman breakfasts to the streets of NY, encouraging people to start the day with a bowl of love. You can download the e-book and order a heart-shaped bowl for a sweet gift. Two people on my list will be getting these :)

heart bowls

I could go on and on with cookbooks. Stay tuned for other gift ideas in Part 2 :)

If you need help finding your yoga, meditation or food groove,  join our40 Day program at Session Yoga, beginning January 6th, or “Let Go of 2014″ workshop with Jes Gale on December 19th. Sign up here!




thanksgiving tips & a toast

thanksgivingsessionWe”re in it…the holidays. Even without them, I was feeling overwhelmed and out of whack. All from good things… trips, school, planning great things to come. However, amidst all this goodness, last week I found myself kinda weepy and a lot cranky… not my best self.

Bottom line, I was tired. Not the kind of exhaustion that comes from doing things that I don”t want to do… the kind that comes from not giving myself enough space to do all of the things I love to do. Unfortunately, our body doesn”t know the difference. It just goes into overdrive trying to keep the peace…

When I get like this, I start doubting all that”s on my plate. I start thinking those things that I thought were fun aren”t necessary and maybe I just don”t have it in me to do them – like, why am I even trying to play the piano, write this newsletter and make healthy food –  all of which make me very, very happy.

This time, when I got like this, I was gentler on myself. I told Robert I was tired. He offered to empty the dishwasher and order pizza for guests. I said thank you. I took a nap. I didn”t power through to make it perfect.

Then, I took a step back and pondered the real problem. My morning meditation has been sporadic, my time on the mat has been hit and miss and most nights I”ve had no idea what to make for dinner. I took a realistic look at my calendar and let go of a few things. I made space for meditation, yoga and making food. I online casinos marked them with a mental Sharpee.

I also went back to this perspective on gratitude. One that is more about presence and acceptance than a list in a journal. It”s accepting when I”m overwhelmed, softening into it and ever so gently doing something about it… doing what I know grounds and energizes me. Because when I feel good, everyone around me feels good. Or, at least my well-being is one less thing they have to worry about ;)

I hope, in the midst of all this busy-ness, that you give yourself space to do at least one thing that grounds you.

If you need help finding your yoga, meditation or food groove,  join our 40 Day program at Session Yoga, beginning January 6th, or Let Go of 2014″ workshop with Jes Gale on December 19th

If you need a great toast for the big day,
here”s my favorite that a friend”s Spanish/French teacher taught me years ago:


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