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Dark chocolate. You know it, you love it, you gotta have it.

Did you know you can easily melt dark chocolate and infuse it with beautiful herbal flavors like black tea, rose, and coconut? Making chocolate bark may become my new addiction because, after making these 2 batches, I thought up at least 5 new flavor combinations to try next time.

This first bark I’m imagining serving at a ladies tea party. The rose combined with the black tea makes for an elegant flavor. And adding the chia seed into the melted chocolate gives it a delightful crunch.

Herbal Dark Chocolate Bark

Herbal Dark Chocolate Bark

Tea & Roses Herbal Chocolate Bark

  • 2 cups dark chocolate (at least 70%)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • ½ tsp chia seeds
  • 2 pinches loose black tea
  • 2 pinches dried rose petals
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • honey, for drizzling

In a double boiler (or a glass bowl over a saucepan with shallow water bath), melt the chocolate and coconut oil. Add in the chia seeds and mix thoroughly.

Pour the chocolate over wax paper. Sprinkle the tea, rose petals, and sea salt over the chocolate. Drizzle a bit of honey for some glistening sweetness.

Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour until hard.

Break apart and enjoy the yum. Keep in fridge.

Herbal Dark Chocolate Bark

Herbal Dark Chocolate Bark

This second bark is festive and fun. Nutrient goji berries, protein filled hemp seeds, and all-around wonder ingredient coconut make for a crunchy, flavor-filled snack.

Goji Coconut Hemp Chocolate Bark

  • 2 cups dark chocolate (at least 70%)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 pinches hemp seeds
  • 2 pinches goji berries
  • 1 pinch coconut flakes
  • 1 pinch sea salt

In a double boiler (or a glass bowl over a saucepan with shallow water bath), melt the chocolate and coconut oil. Add in honey and mix thoroughly.

Pour the chocolate over wax paper. Sprinkle the hemp seeds, goji berries, coconut flakes, and sea salt over the chocolate.

Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour until hard.

Break apart and enjoy the yum. Keep in fridge.

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Today I’m so pleased to introduce you to my good friend Tina Hofer Medico. Tina is an accomplished interior designer whose life mission is to create products, spaces, and experience that make you feel more alive – more creative, more connected – and more attuned to serendipity. Everytime I get on the phone with Tina, I’m so pumped up and inspired by her vision and mindset. Tina is launching a very exciting product called The Sparkboard (more on that later) but today I asked her to talk about that time she devoted 100 days to her inner child and how that influenced her creativity and productivity at work.

How Play Ignites Your Creative Spark

For most of my life I’ve been fueled by a fierce imagination and an insatiable curiosity about the world and people around me.  Playing hide-and-seek. Standing on furniture to see the world from a new vantage point. Exploring life with an open curious mind. I’m my best self when I nurture my playful tendencies and build adventure into my life.

Last year I realized that an overly serious worker bee had been steering the direction my work days and I was feeling more anxious and exhausted than I’d ever hoped to be as the owner of my own business. I was in charge of my schedule after all — I chose what made it on my to-do list.  But I was failing to make time for the things I needed most, things that nourished me and brought me joy, pleasure and a sense of well being.

In an effort to find my way back to my curious, playful self I decided to do an experiment where I made play a priority in my daily routine.

Inspired by Elle Luna’s #100dayproject I set out on an adventure for #100daysofplay.

Once I had bumped my worker bee out of the driver seat and let my inner child take the wheel it felt so natural to think of fun ways to add play into my day. Some of my favorite play ideas included:

  • Buying a razor scooter and taking scooter breaks to get away from my computer
  • Building a fort in the middle of my house and using it for quiet reading or weekend naps
  • Visiting a nearby swing set to swinggg with abandon. A magical experience. Every. Time.
  • Covering an entire wall of my office with whiteboard paint and coloring on the walls
  • Running a covert mission to put googly eyes on benches in near my house. This is called #eyebombing …who knew?!
  • Taking daily adventure walks to get my body moving, to get out in nature and to keep a look out for inspiration

The days I really made space for play and adventure, I thrived.

Work flowed with more ease and I felt inspired to do more of the things my “ideal self” would be doing with her day like buying flowers and healthy groceries then making a delicious dinner for my family. I learned so many valuable lessons during this experiment — namely to make time for my inner self and listen to the little girl inside me who just wants to strike out on an adventure every now and then.

How Play Ignites Your Creative Spark

Until recently, I hadn’t quite realized the alchemy that was at work during my adventure walks. I had access to an abundance of intuitive guidance, magical discoveries, secret clues and inspiration …so long as I made the time to get out and walk.

I created a little ritual to mentally transition away from my work tasks before leaving the house. I shut down my laptop, closed up my Sparkboard and wrote down one or two action items I’d focus on when I returned. This allowed me to start each walk with a clear, curious mind truly open to a unique adventure!

I wouldn’t plan my route ahead of time – just set off walking and decide my next directions by listening to my gut and allowing it to lead the way.

I kept my eyes peeled for signs or unique discoveries that might spark my imagination. I jotted down insights and collected clues whenever they appeared.

My imagination was set on fire. I’d dream up wild ideas about houses in my neighborhood and the characters that inhabited them. I desired to learn the history of old homes and when I couldn’t track it down I’d conjure one up myself. Signs I’d see on my journey began to answer questions looming in my life, the clues I collected made for delicious fodder for my imagination.  I was truly engaging in the scavenger hunt of life.

My walks were simultaneously restful and invigorating. They filled me back up and allowed me to bring a grounded presence and focus back to my work day.  It’s almost as if my inner child just needed her playtime and then she’d let me step back into my big girl role and get shit done, which was a liberating realization.

Join Us in a 5-Day Mini Adventure: Wandering and Wondering

Becca and I want to invite you to participate in a 5 Day Mini Adventure to ignite a spark of curiosity in your soul and help build the habit of play into your day to day life. So here’s the scoop:

How Play Ignites Your Creative Spark

For a five days, block off a specific time for an adventure walk.

Create a ritual that helps you “close up shop”  and transition from work mode to a space of relaxed, open-minded curiosity.

Bring a notebook on your journey (or iPhone app if you’re a note taker of the digital persuasion) and jot down any wild ideas, intuitive hits, insights or discoveries that come up along the way. It doesn’t have to make sense. If it feels good or intriguing just take note. If a story or painting or idea feels like its taking shape give it space in your notebook to live and grow.

If possible, keep your walks within a designated neighborhood but take a new route each day. Seeing familiar places from a new perspective might spark exciting revelations

Be sure to collect any small, tangible objects that catch your eye or tickle your imagination. You never know — they may be clues that help solve something magical or mysterious

At the end of your five days, examine the notes you’ve taken and the objects you’ve collected.

Is there a story or idea taking shape? Can you find a common thread that links each of the tangible objects that you’ve collected? Have you made any intriguing discoveries about your neighbors or neighborhood? Can you do more exploring or research to make connections between the ideas or insights you’ve jotted down?

Now close up your notebook and let this experience ripen for a bit.  Come back to it in a few days and decide if it has enriched and empowered your creative process and workflow.  If it feels good to incorporate this type of play in your daily routine give it a shot for another five days and if it keeps feeling good maybe another five.

How Play Ignites Your Creative Spark

My passion for play and finding space for it in my life has been the catalyst for designing and launching The Sparkboard. Born at the crossroads of needing to splash ideas up on the wall and desiring a streamlined way to close up shop and go seek inspiration out in the world;  The Sparkboard has become an invaluable tool for empowering my unique creative process. I hope it will do the same for creatives everywhere.

I’m making this product for the makers, the dreamers, the curious wanderers and creators. I’m making this product for the dabblists and I’d love for you to be involved. I’ve teamed up with a handful of amazing production partners here in the US and am in the process of funding the first round of Sparkboard production through a kickstarter campaign. You can find all kinds of info about the project and our kickstarter campaign here.

Alright, dabblists! It’s time to get-going on your mini adventure. After the end of the 5 days, come back here and leave us a comment letting us know how it went. Bonus points for posting on Instagram with #MiniAdventure and tagging @thedabblist and @tinahofermedico.

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Naturally Dyed Eggs

This is one of those dabbles that made me feel all giddy from head to toe. I mean, using vegetables to dye easter eggs and using plants and flowers to decorate them. Just so completely lovely sweet.

When I sat down to decorate my eggs, I tried several different ways. The first way was by gluing leaves and flowers on a hard boiled white egg. So simple. So lovely. The second way was to make 3 different natural dye colors using vegetables and putting the eggs in there. And the third way was to imprint the leaves and flowers in my yard using the natural dye.

It made for a delightfully fun afternoon and it was easier than you might think.

Naturally Dyed Eggs

Naturally Dyed Eggs

Naturally Dyed Eggs

Natural Vegetable Dye

Reddish Brown Color

  • 3 beets, chopped up
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 4 cups water

Blue Color

  • Half purple cabbage, chopped up
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 4 cups water

Yellow Color

  • 4 orange carrots, chopped up
  • 1 tbsp powdered turmeric
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 4 cups water

In separate stock pots, boil your vegetables, water, vinegar, and salt for 30 mins until the water turns a deep color. Strain out the solids and place hard boiled eggs in the colors. Leave at least 1 hour (but overnight is best).

Remove eggs and let dry.

Naturally Dyed Eggs

Flower & Leaf Print Naturally Dyed Eggs

  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Little flowers and leaves
  • Mesh cheesecloth or pantyhose
  • Rubberband
  • Natural dye (see above)

Gather little flowers and leaves for your eggs. Place them on the eggs, using water to keep them in place and smoothe out the petals. Tightly wrap the cheesecloth or pantyhose over the egg and secure with a rubber band. Dunk the eggs in the dye and leave for at least 1 hour (thought overnight is best).

Remove the egg from the dye and gently take off the cheesecloth, the peel off the flower or leaf. Let dry.

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My Natural Beauty Story

Today I’m getting really raw and honest – because I have always been committed to being totally transparent with you and I am tired of the fake veneer so many people on the internet display about their lives.

So here goes…

When I was 12 years old, I remember sitting in my room – surrounded by ‘N Sync posters, dried flowers hanging from the ceiling, and covers of InStyle plastered in-between.

My definition of beauty was dictated by popular culture. By the air-brushed versions of celebrities that accosted my eyeballs each time I was checking out at the grocery or drugstore.

I was young. My body was changing. I desperately wanted to liked and accepted. And so this became my beauty ncompass: look like a version of someone else that society has deemed “beautiful”.

I had stepped outside of myself.

I rejected the natural progression of my own beauty – the growing circumference of my muscular thighs, my blooming breasts, and my oily, freckle-dappled skin.

I would go to the drugstore and buy everything from hair removal cream to skin-burning face masques to every brand of blackhead removing nose strip I could find. Beautiful was what I was not. And it was my mission to change all the parts of myself I deemed “bad” in an effort to be more like the covers of the magazines that lined my wall.

My definition of beauty has shifted a lot since then.

It took years of trying to be other people’s versions of successful and beautiful for me to finally realize that I am the best version of beautiful for me. And it all starts with taking care of myself.

Want to know my recipe for natural, radiant beauty?

A beautiful girl is one who is happy and loves herself. When you love yourself, you take better care of yourself and you begin to naturally radiate beauty.

It’s the kind of elegant design I have come to trust in from the human body. She wants to glow.

Skin has been my nemesis for most of my life. I’ve been battling breakouts for over 20 years now.

My typical approach to skin issues was to treat it topically with expensive creams and medicines from dermatologists. It was from a place of thinking that my body was against me or something was wrong with it. And the only way to fix it was to attack the invader with a killer ingredient like salicylic acid, topical retinoids, accutane, or even hormonal birth control.

But, as much as I tried (or spent), my issues would still come up or morph into something worse.

The change came when I shifted my mindset to one of loving kindness and care to my body and not to battling an invader.

More honesty time.

This is a photo from me just 3 months ago:

My Natural Beauty Story

This was me in the final week of launching my holiday program.

It was an intense time. I was juggling a lot of different things at once, managing a team in different timezones, while also supporting the women who had joined the program. My sleep, body movement, and stress levels weren’t at their best and my body started talking to me.

Yes, I’ve realized my body talks to me through my skin.

For some people it’s through their digestion, a muscle in their back, or maybe their nervous system. For me it’s my skin and I’ve learned to really listen. She was telling me to sleep, to slow down, to drink more water, and to sweat more.

I’ve also learned that the skin is also an organ in the endocrine system {the one that regulates your hormones}, and is the last line of defense for your hormones. If it’s breaking out in acne, rash, or other skin irritation, it’s a sign that something is detoxing from your system.

This made sense for me. Over the last year, I’ve gone through some pretty major hormonal shifts. I went off hormonal birth control after being on it for 14 years. As my hormones have been leveling out with each month’s cycle, my skin has been showing the process the whole time. And any addition of stress or instance of not taking amazing care of myself would show instantly – usually on my chin and forehead areas which, according to Chinese face mapping, indicated imbalances with my hormones, liver, and digestive systems.

So here’s what I’m currently to take care of my body and help regulate my breakouts:

  • Hydration is a priority. I thought I was drinking enough water…turns out I wasn’t. A well hydrated body is a balanced body.
  • Incorporating more fermented foods into my diet. I’ve been meaning to write a post on the health and beauty-boosting amazingness of fermented foods. I have sauerkraut with my breakfast every morning and even make my own sauerkraut and kimchi.
  • Hormone balancing supplements are herbs including tinctures of Vitex Berry, Burdock Root, and Milk Thistle. {Talk to a naturopath or herbalist to see if this is right for you.}
  • Got really real with myself about skin picking. This might be TMI alert, but if you are a closet picker like I was, listen up. The way I’ve been able to reduce chronic (and often unconscious) picking has been by reading about the very real damage you are doing to your skin every time you pick it. This in-depth guide really changed my life. I finally see skin as a precious organ. I wouldn’t poke at my liver until it bled, so why would I do that to my skin? I hope that helps.
  • I’ve simplified my skincare routine significantly. If you can’t eat it, it shouldn’t go on my face. My current regimen includes cleansing with manuka honey and moisturizing with jojoba oil. Both are simple ingredients from nature that work wonders on your skin.
  • Talking to a hormonal health coach about my symptoms and getting a customized food protocol that heals from the inside out. Two of my fave gals are Stephanie Burg and Nadia Munla.
  • I make nearly all of my personal care and beauty products. From deodorant to mouthwash, I create them all in my apothecary corner or kitchen – knowing exactly what’s going into them and infusing love into and onto my body. Natural beauty from beginning to end.

But what’s mattered the most to my skin health and natural beauty has been seeing myself as precious and worth taking amazing care of. From what I eat to how much I sleep to what I put on my skin in the morning, it’s the infusion of love and care for myself that has shifted me from the magazine model-obsessed teenage girl to who I am today.

If you’d like to read more about healing your skin holistically, check out this amazing blog called The Love Vitamin. Tracy is amazingly helpful and has a beautiful skin story to share.

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If you’re interested in learning more about making personal care and beauty products at home, check out The Natural Beauty Course.

 

 

 

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Rainbow Fruit & Kale Smoothie

I need to be honest with you. This recipe really challenged the perfectionist side of me. I tried layering this glass 3 times before I finally realized it doesn’t matter and embraced my creation by snapping a picture.

Because this smoothie is so fun to make and absolutely delicious. I can totally see it being a fun activity with children or at a girlfriend brunch. And, if you are like me, you will be tempted to channel your inner child and mix all the colors together into a brown colored mush. At least it’ll still taste great!

Rainbow Fruit & Kale Smoothie

  • ½ cup frozen blueberries + 2 tbsp plain greek yogurt + 2 tbsp coconut water {purple}
  • ½ cup frozen pineapple + 2 tbsp plain greek yogurt + 2 tbsp coconut water {yellow}
  • ½ cup frozen raspberries + 2 tbsp plain greek yogurt + 2 tbsp coconut water {pink}
  • ½ cup frozen mango + 2 tbsp plain greek yogurt + 2 tbsp coconut water {orange}
  • 1 cup packed kale leaves + 2 tbsp plain greek yogurt + 2 tbsp coconut water {green}

Using a blender, blend each fruit/yogurt/coconut water separately and place in a cup in the freezer while blending the next one.

Once all colors are blended and chilled for at least 10 mins, use a spoon to layer each color gently on top of the next one in a serving cup.

Drink immediately!

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