Changes: On Moving, Materialism, & Self-Care

Recently I moved into a new home. It was very sudden and everything worked well in my favor but I was reminded of how draining the process of moving can actually be. You begin to realize how many things you own when you move. How many boxes or totes of items you need to haul from one place to the next. Or what items hold more value to you compared to others. I questioned why I had collected things that I hardly used but set aside for a rainy day. 

This will not be my last move but it did give me a reason to recollect on purpose and meaning, something that author (who also holds a master of applied positive psychology) Emily Esfani Smith claims can help us achieve richer and more fulfilling lives in her book The Power of Meaning. To be clear I think everyone has their own individual perception on “things” or what makes them feel comfortable. When it comes to spaces. Mine just happens to align more so with aspects of minimalism and consciously consuming. 

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I realize that moving causes me to personally come to grips with what truly matters to me. It is not objects but the purpose they serve. This can mean letting go of what no longer serves me but lingers like ghosts hidden in the attic. 

In a way I am thankful for the experience because it did cause me to reevaluate. Therefore I am working on incorporating this year is prioritizing my time and schedule. The past month I discovered what bullet journaling was. I didn’t want to buy another agenda because I tend to use them and then forget them. Thankfully I still had an unused journal from my previous zero-waste office/back to school guide to use in place. I liked the open-spaced beauty that I wasn’t confined to limited space. I could fill in what I wanted (budgets, list of goals, list of meal planning) and since I use refillable/erasable pens I don’t have to worry about “errors”. I am also taking a cue from my beau and will use the calendar app on my laptop to fill in events, dates, and posting schedules. 

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But there is another entity I am going to incorporate: self-care. While this was on my mind in the beginning of the year and in first page of my bullet journal, the sudden move caused me to do what I do best: put myself last. Therefore I am going to think of ideas and routines that I can integrate in my calendars such as guided meditation, solo nights-in (complete with binging Gilmore Girls & pizza), art journals, or visiting somewhere in nature. Self-care means a lot to me because of vulnerability. When you have autoimmune issues it causes you to reflect and hit the brakes. But you need not have any condition to participate in self-care. Everyone should. You matter. Nourish yourself. 

Blissful Basil Cookbook Review + A Giveaway

I am making a conscious effort to build and bloom better health habits. This involves taking initiative into myown hands and setting my pricipes to practices. Health is more than topical: its what we ingest. I believe in moderation, treating yourself, and self care. However it can be easy for some of us to neglect our health in lieu of easier options. Beginning now to December 2017 each month I will be featuring cookbooks that center around my values of whole foods, nutrient dense cooking. Though some may not be vegan, they will be vegan optional but all plant-based. My criteria involve ease, flexibility, and zero waste-friendly. So little to no packaged foods will be the cornerstone of my picks. Lets get started!

I’m not sure if cookbooks are supposed to make you emotional but when I began to read Ashley Melillo’s namesake book Blissful Basil that’s what happened.

The beautiful book opens up with a poignant introduction from Ashley. Candid about her pre-Blissful Basil days as a graduate student where she dealt with the perils many students may face: anxiety. Motivated to take control of her own health Ashley humbly and briefly discusses her journey to “self-acceptance, self-love, and sustainable joy.” I was moved by her honesty about some of the roughest points of her life, the road that led to create a brand and curator of healthy, and delicious plant-based and allergen conscious meals.

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Perhaps it hit so close to home to me because of my own issues and rough patches with my own health. Similar to Ashley, I sought out natural and therapeutic methods of self-care through good nourishment, stress control, and being honest with my own loved one about my limits and how I feel. And it starts with making healthier choices that adhere to your own needs and learning what makes you thrive, which more likely than not, is consuming plant based foundations – don’t think of “diets”, think of sustenance
Ashley’s vegan cookbook is centered on the healing through healthy nutritional choices. She chooses to thrive with her practice of cultivating happiness through wholeness. Naturally this involves being conscious of what you consume.
If you’re new to the realm of bountiful vegan eating, Ashley’s got you covered with a quick portion of her book with a rundown on her pantry & kitchen essentials with explanations on their nutrient fundamentals. Want to know why sorghum and millet are underrated nutrient & powerhouses, or the difference between the natural sweeteners, conversion charts? She’s got the bases covered. My favorite part is her decision to have a primarily allergen friendly primer, similar to her blog she focuses more on wheat-free options and substitutes. (Thank you!)
But the bulk of this book is filled with vibrant, rainbow hued recipes. The pages are filled with stunning photography, which, lets be honest, is really helpful. These meals aren’t challenging but they aren’t basic – Blissful Basil is chockfull of creative recipes that look exquisite but don’t require an overload of ingredients. Perhaps Ashley was also innately inspired by her background as a school psychologist for many of the recipes would be really great to create with children.  Think: Hazelnut Espresso Shakes, Cauliflower Tots, & Vegan Pulled “Pork” BBQ with Polenta. There’s also Electric Tumeric Lemonade and Fiesta Salad to round all that out.
Personally I am working on living a minimalist/zero waste life. This applies to what we consume. Instead of reaching for packaged meals, I want to incorporate make-ahead or overnight meals, meals that focus on whole foods and leave no waste (or it can be composted). If this is also your vibe, Blissful Basil is on your level.  Processed ingredients don’t make their way through the pages – instead it’s composed of pure plant-based sustenance without being intimidating. Anyone from clean-foodies, experimental cuisine folk, to current/former busy students looking to incorporate easier & healthier vegan meals will enjoy this delightful book. 

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Ashley’s cookbook Blissful Basil comes out December 20th (click to purchase) but if you want to win this beautiful vegan cookbook:

·      Visit this Instagram post and leave a comment with your favorite recipe from Blissful Basil’s website
·      Follow me on Instagram
·      Follow Blissful Basil on Instagram
Extra points:
·      Leave a comment here with your favorite or new winter traditions

·      Subscribe to Blissful Basil’s website and leave a comment saying you did
Ends on December 29th** Good luck y’all!