Jewelry for a Good Cause By Soothi

Soothi
When Krit, the creator of Soothi Jewelry approached me for a collaboration, I couldn’t pass it up. I love learning about companies that empower women and give back to their community. Soothi is all about natural yoga inspired jewelry made from coconut shells, sandalwood and such. 5% of earnings are donated to Help Animals India to save puppies as well as providing flexible and safe work opportunities to disenfranchised women.

“Women who come from poor families, often don’t have access to education and means to gain financial independence. They are often also from conservative families that don’t allow for women to work. It’s a patriarchy. Since Soothi partners with a non-for-profit they are able to position themselves as a community center where women can come to learn. Within this center they offer work opportunities, along with education opportunities. They also offer total flexibility for these women, so they can come and go as their family situation allows.”-Krit Creator & Curator

Soothi’s Ethos:
All the wealth in the world can’t help people, if people are not taught to help themselves. With Soothi, we try to educate people, so that they may learn to be self-sufficient. By providing an approachable and encouraging work environment, we empower women and underprivileged artists. Offering opportunities to achieve financial stability and self-reliance can help individuals feel secure and content. It all leads to a sense of stability, which eventually helps move society forward.

I traveled to India a few months back — witnessing this country first hand makes me thankful for companies like Soothi who provide healthy work environments for women and artisans in India. Way to go Soothi!

Soothi
Yoga Zen Braclet & Amethyst Mala
Soothi
Rudraksha & Sandalwood Mala
Soothi
Pure Earth Teal Mala & White Tassel Bracelet Set
SoothiIndia


Shannon’s Baby Shower

Wow! My best friend is having a baby boy! This is such a rad stage in life right now. Lots of friends are getting married and having babies. I love watching all of the puzzle pieces fall into place — this friend moves here and that friend moves there; he meets her and she meets him etc. Jobs, relationships, families…they’re all happening. It’s a fun/fast time of life.

Shan moved to VA with her Navy hub Justin a year ago. It’s been hard living without her down the street from me, but we’re learning to call each other more often.  Facetime is fantastic! Last weekend, S and J flew out to visit, and My mom and I hosted a baby shower for Shan! I am so thankful that I got to spend the weekend with my best friend, feel tummy kicks and make her awkwardly sit there while I talked to the baby…
Me: “Who’s going to be the best Auntie? Yes…you’re right, I am.”
Shan: “Brittany, stop talking to my stomach you are so weird.”

Shan, it’s been such a beautiful/exciting/fascinating time watching you become a mommy. You and Justin are going to be wonderful parents and I can’t wait to meet the little bub when he arrives. Here are some pictures and a clip from the baby shower this past weekend. Love and miss you both.
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^A woodland inspired baby shower for our Shan. We thought it would be a fun theme for an early fall shower.
Baby Shower
^Shan and her mama Gene. Look at that cute little tummy!
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Baby Shower

 


Girls Trip to Catalina Island

Catalina Poster
Our friend from Oregon was flying down to visit and she wanted to go to Catalina Island, so we made a girls trip of it. Four ladies and one beautiful day in Catalina. Most people stay for the weekend, but we just wanted a quick day on the island. Here are some pictures and a clip from our 6 hours in Avalon.
Catalina
Scoops Ice Cream – A yummy homemade gelato shop. I ordered toasted almond coconut. They have some fantastic flavors like rose petal raspberry, salted pretzel, maple toasted walnut, kahlua espresso etc. A bit pricey for a single scoop ($5), but hey you’re on the island. I think it’s better than Big Olafs Ice Cream (a childhood fav) down the street…they need to step up their game.
catalina
^^^A fun sub ride and a stop at Luau Larry’s – This place is hilarious. It’s a fun little dive tiki bar on Crescent Avenue. I’d suggest going here for a drink! I ordered a Catalina classic – Buffalo Milk and the other ladies ordered Wiki Wackers. If you order a Wiki it comes with a fabulous palm hat that is yours to keep. You must wear the hat while you drink. Too funny. It’s great people watching here -a bit wild and packed, but very entertaining.
Catalina
^After our drinks we walked down to Descanso Beach Club on the other side of Avalon. We found a spot on the big lawn relaxed, then headed back to the dock to be picked up by the flyer. All in all it was a fun day.
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Passion Fruit Lemongrass Bird Nest Summer Sipper


Yes, you read that correctly. Bird nest; and I’m not talking about twigs and feathers here….this is a nest made from the magical saliva of the swiftlet bird found in Indonesia and South East Asia. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. And no, it doesn’t taste like the saliva you are thinking about. I would describe it as gelatinous glass noodles with a hint of sugarcane. It’s fantastic! These nests are highly prized in Chinese medicine – fit for the emperor of China with a long list of healthy benefits.

“These bird nests are rich in several amino acids, proteins and minerals and are believed to stimulate the regeneration of cells, enhance skin complexion and support your immune and respiratory system.” – Blessing Birdnest

Blessing Birdnest is a family business that originated in the 1980’s in Cepu, Central Java, Indonesia. A few years ago they developed a unique process for making bird nest drinks, using only the finest grade nests, water and sugarcane. A delicious taste with no added preservatives. This fountain-of-youth drink is available for people in the US! It is FDA approved and imported to southern California.

Blessings Birdnest practices responsible harvesting, ensuring the safety of their employees as well as the birds. They harvest each bird nest after the eggs hatch and the baby birds mature, to promote natural regeneration. They are deeply committed to maintaining a sustainable environment for the birds.

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It’s been a hot summer here in California, so I was eager to experiment with a refreshing summer recipe that complimented its eastern Asian origin.

Passion Fruit Lemongrass Bird Nest Summer Sipper
2 cups (16oz) water
1 stalk of lemongrass
1 passion fruit
Ice

Directions
-In a small pot, boil 2 cups (16oz) water
-Cut lemongrass stalk into thin strips and place in boiling water. Boil until fragrant and water turns a light amber color.
-Strain water into 2 glasses over ice and discard the lemongrass stalks
-Add half a bottle of Blessing Birdnest drink to each glass
-Top with a spoonfull of passion fruit pulp and an extra stalk of lemongrass
-Add more ice if needed

Blessing Birdnest


Double Chocolate Fudge Molasses Brownies with Espresso Drizzle


I’ve got to brag a bit, I do believe these are the best brownies I’ve EVER made. It’s like a dark chocolate fudge crossed with a decadent chewy brownie resulting in the yummiest of all fudgy brownies! This is not your traditional box brownie…no this is an entirely different level. And to push it over the edge, drizzle a bit of chocolatey espresso nutella sauce on top!

Brownies
3/4 cup butter (melted)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
6oz bittersweet chocolate (melted)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
6 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
6oz bittersweet chocolate (chopped or chips)

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 350F
-In a glass bowl, melt butter in the microwave. Add sugar and molasses and microwave again for 30 seconds. Stir.
-Remove from microwave and stir in 6oz of bittersweet chocolate and vanilla. Chocolate should melt while stirring. Add more time in microwave if needed.
-Allow mixture to slightly cool before whisking in eggs (as not to scramble them).
-In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients –> flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon and salt
-Slowly pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix slowly until combined.
-Pour batter into a 9X9 buttered baking pan (or pan of similar size). Bake at 350F for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Chocolatey Espresso Nutella Sauce
1 shot hot espresso
1/4 cup chocolate chips
2 spoonfuls nutella
*Stir until chips have melted and drizzle on top