Posts in Lifestyle
Summer Bookworm 2019: Bookish Updates, Favorite Cookbooks, Fun Recommendations and How Reading Any Book Can Help Us with Our Relationship with Food

Did you hear? It’s officially Summer! I hope you’re as excited as I am for these lazy days of summer under the sun. I’ve been looking forward to it for weeks, and although the work at Brownble never stops, I get an almost total break from teaching for two whole months! We’ve got so much up our sleeves when it comes to Brownble. One of the perks of my two occupations is that when school season stops, the most exciting things at Brownble begin. It’s when we brainstorm and film the bulk of new courses, it’s when so much of the recipe testing takes place. It’s the time of year when I come up with new exciting series for the blog and podcast, and when I’m sometimes at my most creative, especially in the kitchen.

In spite of all this work (which is always the most fun part of what we do), we spend so much time by the pool, and we take the dogs to beautiful reservoirs, rivers, forests, to the mountains, and throughout all of these, and especially while Carlos barbecues and I for once get to sit and relax in the meantime, I always have a book with me.

You probably know this about me by now if you follow us on Instagram, or if you’ve listened to our podcast before, but reading is such a big part of my life. This includes wonderful cookbooks which I usually read from cover to cover just like novels, awesome fiction (mostly contemporary fiction), and lots of memoirs and other non-fiction books. Last year, right around this time I told you all about my bookish life, how I choose books, my book pet peeves, and some of my favorite titles (check out that post here or listen to ep. 90 of The Brownble Podcast), but so many books have passed through my hands since then that I thought we would make this a yearly tradition.

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The Magical Powers of an Artist’s Date

A little over 12 years ago, right before Carlos and I were married, we were walking around Union Square In New York City and I of course asked him to go do something while I surrounded myself with books in Barnes and Noble for a few hours (as many as he’d be able to leave me there unattended… fortunately there was also a Guitar Center nearby!).

As I walked around the bookstore looking through my favorite sections, staff picks, cookbooks, and pondered whether or not I could get away with buying yet another journal, I saw a book, resting out of place on a table on top of the travel section. Someone who I will eternally be grateful to, had perhaps decided not to buy it after all and set it aside as they were passing by. Then I come along, holding more books than I can actually fit in my suitcase when I go back home, and the title just catches my eye: “The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity” (ok… curious..)… and at the top of the book a line that read “A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self” (ok… I’m in, what’s this all about?).

At the time I was in the midst of a creative project and was feeling so stuck, it felt like one of those little signs from the universe. It’s funny, a part of me wanted to break out of that rut I was in, but the part of me that grabbed the book actually loved the idea of immersing myself in a “course” because it meant procrastinating the actual work. The joke was on me, I soon realized I was reading a book that was all about the traps we set for ourselves and how to come out of them. It’s about our old belief systems when it comes to what we can and can’t do, and putting our pants on to do the work we’re meant to do.

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Food Life Lessons: What Cheese and Bread Making can Teach us about Going Vegan or Starting Something New

After our previous episode and post all about the gratitude we can feel for the plate in front of us, I found myself thinking about food in and of itself. Since food and our relationship with it is at the core of what we help you through here at Brownble, sometimes I forget all about the big lessons making specific foods has taught me. Whether you’re here because you want to improve the way you relate to food, or you’re beginning a practice of mindful eating, making more vegan choices or learning how to trust your inner signals of hunger and fullness, or you’re simply here to find community, support or simply to learn how to cook vegan, so many of the lessons cooking has brought my way can help in many of these areas. It’s like I always say, the way we do one thing, is a reflection of the way we do most things, whether that’s how mindfully or mindlessly we eat, or making a layer cake.

Looking back to my past, I can now see that I probably got interested in cooking as a teen because it was such an escape from anxiety for me. In a way, I could step out of the anxious turmoil going on in my mind and I could walk into the kitchen, open up a recipe book and immerse myself in the process. Cooking was an escape, but now, looking back, it’s also a powerful way of practicing little life lessons whether consciously or not.

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Excess

Last week we talked about patience in this new series of episodes and posts in which we’re using little one-word mantras to help us on our journey. Today it’s finally time to talk about the little word that inspired the series: excess. I told you a couple of weeks ago how when a little Japanese woman on Netflix helped us declutter our home, I had some pretty massive realizations about my relationship to excess.

In case you don’t know who I’m talking about, I’m referring to the wonderful Marie Kondo and her Netflix show Tidying Up. A wonderful woman who turned our January into the ultimate “spring-clean-in-winter” fest. As you heard me talk about here, this process of donating bags and bags of those belongings that didn’t spark joy, was very meaningful. Not because we had the relief of having the tidiest closet we’d ever had (although that was part of it too), or because we could feel the breath of fresh air that naturally comes when you put away the last stack of unopened mail (even though this certainly happened), it was mainly because I had some pretty big realizations about my relationship to excess that had less to do with external things, and more to do with that internal world we love to talk so much about here at Brownble.

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Patience

If you listened to our last episode you probably heard all about the new series we’ll be doing in the blog and podcast. I’ve informally called it the “word” series, from a total lack of imagination on my part, but it’s because I think so much can come with the words that will serve as inspiration for this series of posts and episodes. Just in case you don’t have the slightest idea of what I’m talking about, during our little winter break, which thanks to my vocal cords and never ending cold became a very long winter break, I had a lot of realizations you can hear all about here. It started with some eye opening insights about excess, which will be one of our upcoming episodes, but from there came an avalanche of other creative spurts, all stemming from little words. These powerful little words we use so often without a second thought. Some that define certain aspects of our lives which we might be trying to change, some that can inspire and create great spaces within ourselves, some that can serve as little mantras or guiding lights.

Today’s word as the title suggests is patience. This little one has accompanied me since the start of the year. I told you last week all about the big changes that took place in my life at the beginning of this year, and with it the string of colds, the cough that would never end, the voice that refused to come out when I wanted it to.

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The Podcast is Back!: Stories, Ramblings, The Start of a New Year and What's to Come at The Brownble Podcast

Hello my lovely listeners and readers! Boy it feels like ages since we’ve hung out together in the podcast and the blog (other than the yummy recipes we’ve been posting. I’ve missed you so much! What was supposed to be our 3 week winter break from the podcast turned into a two month hiatus and in today’s podcast episode I explain what kept me away for so long, how the year started, lessons learned thanks to a gorgeous Japanese woman and other ramblings, and of course, I let you in on all the nitty gritty details of what’s to come this year at the Brownble Podcast and in our blog.

Today’s episode is a little different from our usual ones, in that it’s a very informal conversation, which means today we won’t have our usual written version in the blog, but you can of course tune in through the play button above, or via iTunes or Stitcher!

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A Look Back at 2018: Highlights, Favorites and Lessons Learned

Happy (almost) New Year everyone! Today is our last post and podcast episode of 2018, can you believe a whole other year has gone by? Although I’m all for looking towards the new year and making new year’s resolutions and the like, I also LOVE looking back at the year that just passed. I love looking at the lessons learned, the roads taken, the adventures lived through, and all the fun and favorites gathered along the way.

Today we’ll sit down to have a chat about the past year, and all the things that went down around here, not to mention our favorite podcasts, films, blogs, Instagram accounts, TV shows, books and podcasts episodes that made the top charts for us in 2018. We won’t have a written version of today’s episode but you can listen in by clicking that play button above, or by tuning in via iTunes or Stitcher! You’ll find all the show notes and links to recommendations below.

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Holiday Pep Talk! (Part 2): Navigating Food, Body Image Issues, Comments and Diet Talk during the Holidays

Time for part 2 of our Holiday pep talk! In part 1 we discussed a few things that might help when you’re navigating the Holiday season as a vegan (and all the parties, dinners and gatherings that come with it). I stole Dani Shapiro’s writing exercise of beginning to dig deep by using the phrase “I remember…”, and then I turned it on its head with some support and reminders to you in the form of “remember…”. I just had to follow that post and podcast episode up by also talking about one of the topics we love here at The Brownble blog and podcast. I couldn’t leave you hanging without discussing the topics of food, body image, comments that might pop up regarding your appearance, as well as what to do when the inevitable January diet talk pops up, and you’re on this quest to find a better relationship with food, with your body and with yourself, stepping outside that diet culture paradigm of restriction and external rules of eating.

So here goes, are you ready?…

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