Packing

packing

Here’s an excerpt from my most recent blog post. You can find it in its entirety on my new website www.thealohalounge.com.

I hate goodbyes…they seriously suck. Whether it’s to a loved one, a job (well sometimes that’s easy), a place or a home, goodbyes are zero fun. For the past month I’ve been saying goodbye to many of my belongings as I prepare our home to be put on the market. To say this has been difficult would be an understatement.

I never really thought of myself as a hoarder but as I find myself going through pretty much every single thing I own, I have to say that maybe I sort of am. Shelly Bennett, The Hoarder. In our basement there are things that I haven’t used or wanted for years. But they were expensive and so I kept them. In my cupboards are dishes and glassware who’s usefulness, it seems, is nothing more than collecting dust. But they are pretty and so I kept them. In my closets are stacks of artwork and papers from when my girls were young. I haven’t looked at them since I put them there but I kept them because, well because they were given to me by two people who literally own my heart.

To finish reading, click here:

https://www.thealohalounge.com/the-blog/2017/10/10/packing

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Sticks and Stones for All

sticks and stones

Here is an excerpt from my most recent blog post. I’ve switched formats so please subscribe to my new blog at www.thealohalounge.com Mahalo nui!

Perception is not truth. Let’s just get clear on that right now. If what we see, hear, feel, smell, taste and touch were all there is, than the world would be flat, dogs would only be able to hear what we hear and experiences would appear the same to each of us. The truth is that there is more to any situation than our senses can perceive. Our thoughts, feelings and beliefs color everything that happens to us. When we are mindful of this, it can open up a whole new world and literally change our lives.

Why?

why

I’ve been silent for a bit because I’ve been busy changing my blog over to a new format. If you’ve been following me here, please check out my new site and subscribe there.

https://www.thealohalounge.com/the-blog/2017/9/1/why

Here is an excerpt from my latest post:

Last weekend I learned about a tragedy that had befallen a certain family. I don’t know this family personally although I’ve heard the mother speak at an event once and I follow her on Instagram. I have thought about this woman every day since hearing about what happened and my heart breaks for her. And this tragedy has got me thinking why… why do horrible things happen to some people? And why are others spared?

Mahalo for your support and aloha. I look forward to communicating and sharing with you in the future!

 

 

Cleansing

cleanse

 

My husband Mike and I are attending a class on Native Hawaiian healing, or Lā’au Lapa’au. The theme of the class is cleansing. This has got me thinking about cleansing. While the class is focused on cleansing the physical body, I’ve been thinking about cleansing some other things. My home for one, but really I’ve been thinking about cleansing my negative thoughts.

I don’t know about you but I have been my own worst enemy. I have big dreams, I work hard, I love people hard and I take risks. But then I tend to have these really horrible thoughts. For example, I spent several hours writing my last blog post (First Step). As I got ready to publish it, the thoughts that went through my head went something like this: ” No one is going to read this.” ” This isn’t good enough.” “There are a billion other blogs that are better than mine. Why do I do this? Who do I think I am?”

That is so fucked up.

I know in my heart that I am no better or worse than anyone else. But, for some reason, I tend to beat myself up. And I need to stop that shit right now. If you’re anything like me, than you need to stop beating yourself up too. It is time for a mind cleanse. For the next several days I am going to really pay attention to my thinking. Every time I have a negative thought about myself I am going to sweep that crap right out of my mind and replace it with something positive: something I’m good at, something that I’m grateful for, etc. I am going to focus on lifting myself up because, let’s face it, most of us, myself included, have spent the majority of our lives tearing ourselves down.

When you want to build something, you have to do it one stone at a time, one, shovel-full at a time, one step at a time. This week, I am going to take the first step of building my authentic self one thought at a time.

Will you join me?

Heavenly Citrus

Today we have a post by guest blogger Laura Old, a resident of Peachtree City, GA and member of our oily team, The Aloha Droppers.

heavenly citrus recipe
Try this diffuser recipe to give your home a refreshing, summertime vibe.

Hot flashes aside, Summer seems such a happy fun-filled time to me. Everyone has different ideas as to the perfect pursuits – some crave adventure, exploring, adrenalin rushes; others simply wish to drift away, serenely relaxing on the beach, by the lake, wherever.

It’s impossible to think of Summer without citrus. How can you enjoy a meal without some form of it included – orange juice, lemonade or limeade, Citrus Fruit Salad, simple orange sections to clear your palate after dinner….

A favorite Diffuser Recipe is Heavenly Citrus. Each oil has benefits!

Grapefruit Essential Oil inhaled helps overcome things like hangovers (!), aching heads and blue moods. It is an appetite suppressant, air freshener, even a diuretic! It has antibiotic properties, supports endocrine function, assists in digestion.

Orange Essential Oil benefits include promoting feeling of happiness and warmth, elimination of toxins in the body, stimulating lymphatic action to promote balance in water processes, improving digestion, repelling insects!

Lemon Essential Oil has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and free-radical quenching properties, and is known to fight respiratory infections, coughs, sore throat, to lower blood pressure and promote healthy blood circulation, to detoxify your body, inhibit inflammation, soothe acidity and heartburn by balancing stomach pH level and more.

Bergamot Essential Oil boasts powerful antibacterial, analgesic, antiseptic, antispasmodic and soothing effects. It helps reduce anxiety and stress, speed up healing process for cold sores and mouth ulcers, helps prevent or improve skin conditions from fungal infections.

Put all this in your diffuser and WOW, what a powerful combination of goodness! Best of all, it smells amazing and just plain makes you feel good all over! Try it out, feeling confident that positive molecules are clearing your air and helping your body and soul. Then come back here and make a comment on how you responded to this combination – we’d love to hear from you.

Click here to order a Premium Starter Kit from Laura (member number 11162020) and get started on the oily path of wellness!

All information relevant to properties of the essential oils mentioned found on www.mercola.com.
DISCLAIMER: The information here is based upon my research and personal use of Young Living essential oils. The statements made and the products mentioned on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

A First Step

first step
How we feel in our bodies is important because our bodies are the vehicle for how we perceive the world. They house our spirits. Imagine for a moment, that you no longer have your five senses. You can no longer smell, touch, taste hear or see anything. What are you without these things? Without your physical perceptions, what is left? Everything that we know and believe is based on something that we’ve perceived though our senses. Are we just the sensory images that we process?

Clearly we are more than just physical beings. We have minds with the ability to create as well as take in and process information. We have spirits that can connect to others and to God. We have feelings. We have ways of expressing who we are. We have hopes and dreams. We have desires. None of these things are physical however we need our physical bodies to express these things. How we feel in our bodies affects everything else about us…I have a friend who insists that she’s getting so old and worn out that soon she’ll just be an eyeball in a jar. Our physical self matters.

How are you feeling in your body right now? Do you have physical pain? Are you tired, cranky, angry, sad? Are you stressed out? Whenever I teach a class on healthy living, pretty much everyone has at least one of these things going on. And that’s just sad. I don’t want life to be like that for you, or me, or anyone else. So let’s do something about it-one small thing at a time. Starting now.  Here’s your first step. It’s small and it’s easy…baby steps are important, right? Are you ready…

Drink more water.

baby steps2
Add a handful of fresh blueberries (crush them  with a wooden spoon), 2 drops Lemon Vitality, a squeeze of fresh lemon and 10-15 drops of liquid stevia to a glass. Fill with water and ice for a refreshing drink.

I’m not going to go into detail about why you need to drink more water. You know and I know that water’s important. If you want to know all the medical details about why we need to drink water than GTS (Google That Shit). Just drink a lot more water (filtered water is always a good idea). Get all those cells in your body plumped up and functioning properly. Something I do that encourages me to drink more water is to add some fresh fruit along with a couple of drops of Young Living Lemon or Lime Vitality essential oil and a dropper full of liquid organic Stevia extract. I love the refreshing taste and citrus oils have some cleansing and detoxifying properties as well. To learn more or to order click here.

I got so thirsty writing this that I had to hop up and grab myself a glass of water. I’m already feeling better and I know you will be too. This is just the first step of many that I’m planning on sharing with you so be sure to follow along. I’m so excited to be going on this journey with you… the path to wellness is more fun when you travel with others.

With much aloha,

Shelly

 

 

Wellness

wellness

What does wellness mean to you? If you’re like many people, you believe that wellness is being fit; that is, you see wellness as needing to go to the gym and work out and run marathons and be buff and look good in your bathing suit. If that’s the case, I’ve got news for you…wellness is not the same as fitness. You can be fit and still be extremely unwell. You can also be well but not be fit. They are not the same thing.

Wellness is making choices that lead to a healthy and fulfilling life. To me wellness means feeling good in your own body, and with who you are. It encompasses your mind, body, spirit and emotions. It can also include your community and family; it is difficult to find wellness when you live in a family or community that is chaotic and unhealthy. Wellness is similar to peace in that it is freedom from disruption within your body, mind or spirit. Wellness means that everything in your life is working harmoniously together for the good of your higher self.

I think most of us spend a good portion of our lives seeking this kind of wellness. And if we don’t, we end up desperately searching for it after being diagnosed with some type of catastrophic illness. I’m a lifer when it comes to learning about and seeking wellness- I remember being unusually curious about it at an early age. I grew up on a small farm where my mom had many gardens. One of these gardens was an herb garden and I remember her pointing out different plants to me and telling me about the ways people used to use the plants for healing. I began reading books about herbal medicine when I was in middle school and books about Earth healing and Wiccan spirituality when I was in college. To me it made such complete sense that people would use nature to bring their bodies, minds and spirits back into balance.

I fell away from these types of healing when I got married and started a family because, although I knew that things like herbal medicine, Wicca and Earth healing are inherently good, they were misunderstood and shunned  by the people who I was around at the time (and continue to be so by many people). But everything comes full circle in life. The things that we are drawn to as children are often things that we are called to teach about later in our lives. I now have a business teaching people about using essential oils as natural tools to support wellness and I often find myself presented with new opportunities to learn about other forms of natural healing. Life is so interesting!

My husband and I were recently invited to participate in a series of classes that teach about Lā’au Lapa’au, or traditional Native Hawaiian healing. The class has just begun I am already inspired to learn, write and share about wellness and healing. To me, being a part of that class is just a reminder from The Universe that learning and sharing about wellness is something I’m meant to do. I hope that you will join me here at The Aloha Lounge over the next several weeks as I share with you some of what I’ve learned and am continuing to learn about wellness.  It is my prayer that the practices I share with you here, will help to transform your life and will put you on a path towards health and wellness. I look forward to journeying along this path with you.

With much aloha,

Shelly

Cool Like Detroit

IMG_7293
The Detroit River Walk was once lost but now is found.

It was recently brought to my attention that Detroit is now “cool.” The poster child for come back cities, Detroit is going through a renaissance. Money is literally being pumped into the city at mind blowing rates and it is nearly impossible to keep up with all the new projects, restaurants and retail locations popping up on a daily basis.

But it wasn’t always  “cool” to be from Detroit. For most of my life I watched people cringe whenever they talked about Detroit. Many suburban residents were terrified to go anywhere near the city and most of them, when asked where they were from when visiting other places, would give their suburban town name rather than just saying they were from Detroit- even though they lived within 10 miles of the city. They were too embarrassed to say they were from Detroit even though it would have clarified things geographically to people they would most likely never see again.

I’ve always known that Detroit was cool. My first blog, Little Miss Detroit, was dedicated to promoting the parts of Detroit that lived on despite what the rest of the world thought of our city. Detroit is and always has been a place of grit, vision and hope. It is not being reborn, regardless of what some might say, because it was never dead. I know this because I have been a part of Detroit my entire life. I was born in 1967, the year of the 12th Street riots and the beginning of white flight from the city; My parents packed up our house on Joy Rd and Southfield and moved to the suburbs when I was four-years-old; I watched as buildings were boarded up and vandalized and trash blew down the streets like tumbleweeds. And I volunteered in soup kitchens and shopping programs for elderly Detroit residents and blogged about people starting businesses and gardens and art projects while other suburbanites would repeatedly check the locks on their car doors anytime they were forced to cross the border into Detroit.

One of the things that I have always loved about Detroit is that it seems to breed creativity. At first the creativity was born from necessity- people started gardens and bakeries because all of the major grocery chains pulled their stores out of the city. They started schools and food banks and art installations because the government failed to provided adequate services for the people. Now that things are changing, creative people are coming to Detroit for different reasons. Detroit is one of the only large cities that is still affordable and creative types are coming in droves to set up shop. They are starting community letterpress studios and distilleries and non-profits. They are opening restaurants and retail stores and chocolate shops. I meet these creative entrepreneurs all the time and it nearly makes me cry to see what they are doing and the impact they are having on others and their communities. These are the people that make and have always made Detroit cool. Everyone should be able to live in a place that lets them have a chance to live their purpose and succeed-not just people with money. If you have and idea and a dream you should be able to make that happen. We all need to support these people and places-whether they are in Detroit or Honolulu or anywhere else- and in doing so make the world a better place.

Here are some places worth supporting in Detroit…

detroit pop shop
Samira Ray is a student at Detroit Food Academy.

Detroit Food Academy

A non-profit that works to give young entrepreneurs (ages 13-24) self-directed experiences and skills in the food industry. From learning how to cook to taking their artisanal products to market, they are growing and educating our next generation of community leaders. Samira Ray is a student at DFA. She was excited and proud to talk about all that’s going on at her school. She told me that The Detroit Pop Shop is a brand that was given over to DFA when the owners left the state. Now it’s run by students such as Samira. Learn more at http://detroitfoodacademy.com

 

 

grown in detroit
Local growers sell their produce at the Grown in Detroit stand at Eastern Market

Keep Growing Detroit

A non-profit concerned with food sovereignty, KGD has programs ranging from gardening classes to free seeds to their Grown in Detroit market program. This is one of the most comprehensive, versatile and down right amazing social justice agencies that I have ever come across. I have some serious love in my heart for this place. Learn more at http://detroitagriculture.net

 

avalon bakery
Just pick one…they are all delicious.

Avalon International Breads

This bakery opened its doors in Detroit when others were fleeing. When many saw only ruins and despair, they saw an opportunity to fill a need and be a proponent for change. Not to mention their breads are amazingly delicious! You can find them at Eastern Market on Saturday mornings or at their brick and mortar location on Willis St. in the Cass Corridor. Website: avalonbreads.net

 

Support places like these in Detroit, your home town, or wherever you may roam. Or better yet, live your purpose and change your own community by starting a business, non-profit or restaurant of your own. Be cool… Like Detroit.

 

 

Sunshine

sunshine
Short periods of time (10-15 mins.) in the sun without protection are actually good for you.

Like plants, we need the sun. Our bodies produce vitamin D through being exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D is important to your body in many ways: it helps with the absorption of calcium, helps fight disease and depression, and surprisingly may even help with weight loss. Most people are deficient in vitamin D, due to lack of exposure to the sun. This is due mainly to two things: spending too much time indoors, and using copious amounts of chemical sunscreen. Despite being toxic to your body and the environment, chemical sunscreens block out most of the sun’s rays which our bodies need to produce vitamin D. Take a look at who is making these products (large corporations who care more about money than they do about people or the environment). And then stop using them.

Mike and I live in Hawaii. We are outside all the time. We never use chemical sunscreen. We use a mineral based sunscreen and we take astaxanthin and almost never burn (unless we are in the water for long periods of time and forget to reapply). Astaxanthin is a supplement made from marine algae-It is derived from microalgae which produce astaxanthin as a protective mechanism to shield the fragile algae from harsh ultraviolet (UV) light and other environmental stressors. It is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. We have found it to be helpful as an internal sunscreen in addition to all its other benefits. We like Nutrex Hawaii Bioastin Hawaiin Astaxanthin – 12mg, 50 Gel Caps (pack of 4) because it is locally sourced (from Hawaii) and pure.

sunscreen

As far as mineral sunscreen goes, we have tried several brands. Our favorite by far is the new sunscreen from Young Living. It is SPF 10 which is strong enough to prevent sunburn while still allowing your skin to produce vitamin D. It smells good, doesn’t leave any white residue, is reasonably priced-and costs even less when you have a wholesale membership. Mike and I are Young Living members and business owners and we are happy to help you get started with this amazing company-whether with a retail or wholesale membership (for more information or to sign up send us an email or check out our page here).  Whatever brand you decide to go with, make sure your sunscreen is mineral-based and natural… Your body and the environment will thank you.

Sunshine is good. Embrace it-go outside, do fun stuff. Live your life with aloha.

Secrets of Salad Success

IMG_3202 (1)
Great salads start with quality ingredients.

I am a salad expert. And by expert I mean that whenever I offer to bring something to an event people always ask me to bring a salad. I tell them, “I know how to make other things besides salad you know.”

“But you make the best salad! ” Is always their reply. I was skeptical for the longest time but it kept happening over and over… salad, salad, salad.

It always boggles my mind when people tell me, “Oh my gosh, I’m so excited to eat the salad you made!” Mmmmkay… I mean it’s salad. When you ask people to write down their favorite foods of all time, I’m pretty sure that salad almost never makes the list… ever. But somehow my salads have achieved legendary status among my family and friends. My daughter Merryn actually asked me to make a bottle of salad dressing for her friend Brigitte’s birthday. I told her, ” Why don’t you just bring her over and I’ll show her how to make it? Then she can eat it anytime she wants.”

“It’s not the same,” she replied.

So I started thinking about it. What actually is it about the salads that I create that make people want to eat them so darn bad. I have been analyzing this for the past several days and have come to a few conclusions:

  1. salad
    Blueberries, mac nuts and Gorgonzola crumbles give flavor and textural contrast in this salad.

    Dressing: Obvi, I mean if your dressing is crap than your salad will be crap too. I seriously don’t get why people waste their money on bottled dressing when it is SO easy (and inexpensive) to make your own. And there is really no comparison in taste… it’s like comparing your mom’s homemade pot roast with a can of dog food. My recipe (see the end of the blog) is so simple that a preschooler can make it. And it is legit delicious.

  2. Fresh ingredients: Ok, I don’t know why I need to spell this out but I know I do… if you are buying bagged salad then you need to NOT do that anymore. Not only is salad in a bag inferior in taste, but it is inferior in nutritional value. STOP IT RIGHT NOW! In order to make the salad of legends, you want to look for fresh, organic vegetables, preferably locally grown. The best place for this is at your local farmers market. You are getting the highest quality for the best prices AND you are literally helping to pay for someone’s mortgage. Bagged salad=bad, farm market produce=good… got it?
  3. Balance your flavors: I like to throw in something sweet (dried fruit, fresh berries, grapes or other fruits, etc), something salty (Gorgonzola or other salty cheeses, salted nuts, homemade croutons, etc), sometimes something tart (diced Granny Smith apple, a spoonful of fermented veggies-sourkraut, kimchee) or spicy (dried spicy mango, pepper jack cheese) just to have some flavor contrasts.
  4. Balance your textures: When you throw in some of the above items, they also add in a different texture: crunchy macadamia nuts with chewy dried mango or crumbly Gorgonzola with crunchy toasted pine nuts and soft ripe strawberries… Think about this as you’re deciding on your ingredients; a bunch of soft wet things is not going to make an appetizing salad.
  5. If you’re concerned about time, just wash all your salad in one batch, put it in the salad spinner and keep it in a bag in the refrigerator until needed. Keep the leaves whole until ready to use as the nutrients begin to degrade quickly once the leaf is cut into pieces. Wash other fruits and vegetable so they’re ready to use. Make a big batch of dressing and keep it in a glass bottle or jar in the refrigerator. If you prep everything in bulk than you can use it throughout the week and it will be super fast and easy to throw together a salad for lunch or dinner.

I know that seems like a lot, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find yourself just naturally knowing what things are going to taste good together. Greens typically have a natural bitterness to them so adding sweet, salty, spicy and/or sour ingredients gives you a foil for the bitterness and makes your salad like a symphony of tasty goodness. Just think contrasts and you’re good.

salad dressing
Just repurpose a juice bottle for your dressing and you’re good to go!

 

Ok for my dressing recipe, I am NOT going to give you exact measurements. You are going to get ratios and you are going to have to TASTE your dressing as you go along. This way you can make as much or as little as you like and you will feel like an artist in your own kitchen creating your masterpiece. Some batches may come out better than others and that’s ok! You will learn something each time. You CAN do this!

Salad Dressing of Legends

2-3 parts olive oil to 1 part vinegar- this will depend on the type of vinegar (rice, champagne, some red wine vinegars are less tart than balsamic or apple cider vinegars for example) and whether or not you like it more or less tart. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT use distilled white vinegar!!! Yuck, no, yuck! Again, use quality ingredients for a quality result.

Sea Salt- to taste. Do not use iodized table salt-that stuff will kill you (seriously-look it up). Sea Salt, pink Himalayan salt, Hawaiian salt… high quality salt. Again… quality.

Black pepper- to taste. Again, quality. Buy yourself a Telicherry pepper grinder from Costco. Avoid pre-ground black pepper.

Small spoonful of Dijon mustard- to taste but a general rule is about 1 tsp. per cup of oil.

Minced shallots or red onion- approximately 1 Tbs per cup of dressing.

You may also want to add a small handful of fresh or dried herbs: tarragon, basil or oregano. Remember, dried herbs are stronger in flavor than fresh so add a small amount and taste as you go.

For those of you who are freaking out right now because I didn’t give you an exact recipe, you can try this…

1/3 c. red wine vinegar

2/3 c. olive oil

1 Tbs. minced shallots

1-2 tsp. Dijon mustard

2 tsps. sea salt

Several grinds of the pepper shaker

You are still going to have to taste it and adjust the salt, pepper, oil and/or Dijon mustard. You’ll get the hang of it and soon everyone is going to be asking you to bring a salad every time you go somewhere.

Have fun with that.