MindFULL Gazpacho


Summer is finally here! Something about life seems easier, including the ever present question, “What’s for dinner?” As the grill wafts its enticing aroma, I love to put my vodka/soda/ lime in my cute handblown glass, pop on some Maroon5, sit on the back step by my hydrangea and pretend I am on Cape Cod. For me, that is summer bliss.

Summer is also the time when I allow myself a thoughtful, indulgent lunch. Last weekend in Austin, I took myself out and reveled in the most flavorful tomato Gazpacho loaded with lumps of crabmeat.  Accompanied by a simple piece of toasted bread and pungent cheese, a thick rich crab cake with grilled leeks and balsamic glaze and a glass of Cava, I giggled with delight and gratitude.  It turned my tried, worn out spirit around and inspired me.

It also got me thinking about how much I like all kinds of  Gazpacho and have decided The Mindfull Creative would take the next few weeks, and in the spirit of sharing finds I love, offer a different Gazpacho recipe on MindFULL Mondays.

Below is the first, simple vegetable version. It’s from The Barefoot Contessa (www.barefootcontessa.com).  Love her and it!


1 hothouse cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled
2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
4 plum tomatoes
1 red onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
23 ounces tomato juice (3 cups)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper


Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not overprocess!

After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.

What is your MindFully favorite Gazpacho recipe? Let us know! 

Birds Eye View

It’s school break and that means lots of house time. Funny what I notice about my house after sitting in the same chair for hours.

Seeing things with a new perspective can help me think that I have created something new, without spending much money.

Take this drink stand I recently purchased. It just sat in the corner of my dining room, til Colette mentioned what a cool bird’s nest it could be when I wasn’t using it. All of a sudden, the shredded paper in the study had a purpose and everywhere we went, I started to notice all kinds of creative birds! I bought a few and am thinking I may be on to a new collection. I’m gonna work on this. nestbirds

Real Simple magazine has published  their New Uses for Old Things: Holiday Edition. http://www.realsimple.com/new-uses-for-old-things/new-uses-holidays . Perhaps there is something in it to inspire you? After all, you never know what “bird brain” ideas will present themselves when you simply look at things with a new eye.

What have you MindFULLY re-used? Let us know!


MindFULL Cleanse

How blessed are we to have plenty of food to choose from and enjoy? As we sat around the table of our beloved friends on Thursday, I indulged in two helpings of everything (including THE best apple cranberry pie I have ever had). The food, the wine and the company were enough to fill me for days.

And that is why I find myself wanting to do a simple detox/cleanse. I’m full in both body and mind. I thought if I could do a simple body cleanse, then I could also start a new journal and cleanse my mind of some thoughts and feelings I’d like to let go of, as well.

As I thought about how to go about this cleanse, I saw a promo for the Dr Oz Show. He was talking about what sounded like a reasonable 3 –day Detox Cleanse. I am not the most disciplined, but even I can do 3 days!

So I checked it out. http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/dr-ozs-3-day-detox-cleanse-one-sheet. The cleanse revolves around fruit and vegetable shakes in place of meals. I usually do a shake anyway for breakfast, so how hard can two more be?

I’ll let ya know the answer to that question on Thursday morning. For now, I am simply eager for “lunch”. What time is it? Oh…

Do you ever MindFULLY do a body detox or cleanse? When and how?

Let us know!


A few weeks ago I went to hear Dr. Andrew Weil speak. For those of you who don’t know him, Dr. Weil is a Harvard trained doctor who brought Integrative medicine around as a new way of thinking about how we age and support our bodies. In 1994, he founded The Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, becoming a leader in the transformation of health care by creating, educating, and actively supporting a community that embodies the philosophy and practice of healing-oriented medicine, addressing mind, body and spirit.

Dr. Weil was in Denver promoting his new restaurant True Food, where the food promises to be fresh, flavorful and healthy. I can’t wait to try it!  There is also the True Food: Seasonal, Sustainable, Simple, Pure cookbook. He had a lot to promote and talk about. You can read about his philosophy and check out his advice  – http://www.drweil.com/

I was a little bummed during the talk; he didn’t really say anything new. I was hoping to be re inspired. For me, it’s not a question of whether or not I know what to do take care of my mind , body or spirit…but whether or not I do it. I guess I was hoping he’d wave his magic motivational wand.

However, there is often a pearl to be found when we think all we have is an old clam shell. For me, the pearl was remembering to breathe. Something so simple and yet, so easy to forget. Just notice for a day how often you catch yourself holding your breath. You might be surprised.

Dr. Weil claims that the simple exercise listed below, done when you wake up in the morning and go to sleep at night, will change the way you process stress and will give you peace and insight. Try it for a month and then let us know if it really works!

  1. With your back straight, sit down, lie down or stand
  2. Put your tongue behind your front teeth
  3. Breathe in through your nose and count to 4
  4. Hold your breathe and count to 7
  5. Blow air out of your mouth loudly to the count of 8

Do it three times, each time.

 How do you MindFULLY integrate your mind, body and spirit? Let us know!

MindFULL Men’s Essentials

Years ago, I had a debate with my friend Tony about men and their shoes. I claimed it was the first thing people noticed and thought good shoes important to a first impression. He called baloney. But as the years went on, he agreed. To our list we added a nice watch and good teeth.

Last week, I wrote about “turning my closet” and offered a checklist of clothing must haves from Anne Christensen, executive fashion director of Glamour. So this week, in a salute to my guy friends, I am posting an article I found in my in-flight United magazine.

According to Brian Spaly, CEO of Trunk Club, an online men’s clothing service, “There are six items of clothing that every many should have in his closet. These classics will serve as the foundation for an everyday wardrobe, and they are particularly helpful when traveling.”

  1. Navy Blazer – “A simple classic piece that says, “I’m sophisticated – this is not my first plane ride.
  1. White Shirt – “Clean, crisp and elegant. Versatile white shirts are timeless and offer a nice contrast to any sweater or blazer.”
  1. Belt – “Look for high quality, robust leather. Coordinate color/finish with your shoes. Advanced style points: match the buckle with your watch band.
  1. Gray V-Neck Sweater – “solid layering piece fro handling different climates and circumstances. Works with nearly all trouser /denim options.
  1. Jeans – “Invest in a great pair of high –end denim. Cleaner washes/rinses look better with blazers and dress shirts. Avoid skinny cuts unless you are selling creative work.”
  1. Shoes – “Rich brown or caramel colored shoes (with matching belt) are a staple. Unless you wearing a formal suit or reffing a game, stay away from black shoes.”

What MindFULL essentials do you rely on? Let us know!

MindFULL Style

This weekend I “turned my closet over.” I brought all of summer wears to the basement, fluffed up my sweaters and dusted off my boots. Fall is in the air, and I love it.

For my birthday this year, my friend Colette gave me a great book., Advanced Style. I wasn’t offended. Rather, I was inspired. Growing older is a blessing. Not everyone gets the chance. And so I plan to take the coming years with grace and wear clothes that reflect life. My grandparents were in the retail business and my Zadie always said that the feel of the fabric was most important. As I grow older, I appreciate owning one well made garment; I think it adds to a style and brings in a little story, as well.

As I perused my closet and figured out what still fit and what wasn’t working any more, I remembered a column of “clothing basics” sent by another friend, Erica, marking this pivotal fashion year. I’ve reprinted it below.  Next week, I’ll do a list for my favorite male readers. Some of them are so cute, they too, inspire style.


1. Skinny black jeans. You need a pair. Dress them up for the office or down for day.

2. A crisp, white button-down shirt. It suggests clean, cool confidence in the workplace, but unbutton two buttons and it’s the ultimate in sex appeal for night.

3. A go-to dress. It doesn’t have to be a little black dress. It’s even better sometimes if it’s not, because color makes a bolder statement. But it should fit perfectly and make you feel beautiful.

4. A classic black pump. It has to have at least a four-inch heel to boost your height and confidence. (Okay, fine. A three-inch heel if you must.)

5. A bright mini. It’s great to have one that’s a really bright color because it makes you stand out in a crowd. You can wear it for day—just pair it with an oversize men’s white sweater—or nighttime, with a silk camisole.

6. A bold piece of jewelry. Think: necklace, bangle, large ring, large earrings. I have a big necklace that I keep in my drawer at work, and it dresses up any outfit. A statement piece allows your personal style to shine, especially if the rest of your outfit is conservative.

7. A fitted blazer. A great-fitting blazer is a girl’s most invaluable staple. Pop the collar, roll the sleeves, or add a cool brooch to make it your own.

8. A colorful clutch. This one’s especially crucial if you have a closet full of blacks or neutrals. A splash of color will liven up the simplest outfit—not to mention your mood.

9. Black opaque tights. They’re so warm and practical, and they instantly make a dress look professional.

10. A lace tank. Wear it underneath your V-neck during the day or peeking out from under a jacket in the evening.

11. Ballet flats. They’re feminine and comfortable, and you can wear them anywhere and always look pulled together. I personally love a blue ballet flat.

12. A soft, luxurious white T-shirt. It has to be a great-quality one that feels good on your skin. You can wear it with everything else in your wardrobe. And if you find one you really love, buy three.

Anne Christensen, forty-five, is the executive fashion director of Glamour. She has also served as fashion director of The New York Times’ T Magazine, and her styling has been featured in the American, Italian, and Chinese editions of Vogue.

What do you MindFULLY wear that makes you feel stylish and comfortable? Let us know!

MindFULLY Motivated

Have you ever wanted to do something but couldn’t quite get your mojo going and then, something catches your eye and you are off and “running”?

Well, I have talked of “wanting” to run forever. And yet my pace around the park has remained at a steady walk. Until yesterday.

As I was picnicking on the park bench with my daughter, this young lady ran by.

She was in great shape and had we not looked below her waist and seen the glimmering silver post and slipper, we’d have never known that she had a prosthetic leg. It was beyond inspiring.

So, When I got home, I pulled out an old list of running songs to load on my iPod and decided that today would be the first day of my lap around the park.

I know I recently shared a post on songs, but here is one more list for you to load:

Better Off Alone   Alice Deejay

Dogs Says Are Over   Florence & The Machine

Hung Up   Madonna

I Run For Life  Melissa Ethridge

One More Time    Deft Punk

The Rising  Bruce Springsteen

Rolling In The Deep  Adele

Gotta run and lace up my sneakers. The siren of inspiration is calling!

What have you MindFULLY been meaning to do? Let us know!

Life and Summer’s MindFULL Music

If there was a song that summed up who you are, or reflected where you are at this point in time, what would it be?

The song for my life thus far would be Carol King’s Tapestry.

I was inspired to think about this after watching my daughter use music to reflect on her 10 years of learning in school thus far. Called a Portfolio Defense, the kids show their work and talk about what they’ve gained, academically and personally.

She set her Defense to a musical soundtrack, and the overarching song was Green Day’s Good Riddance – Time of Your Life (the title makes the song sound negative, but it isn’t. It’s actually very sweet). She chose a different song to reflect each year. Then, when she graduated, the teacher who spoke of her used the same theme and dug deeper into the lyrics from her Life Tracks. He talked of who she was, what she contributed and how music reflected her life and love. It was touching.

That’s what music does. It touches our memory, stirs our present and creates a backdrop of something greater than we are.

I try and make a cd of new music for every season. I look to friends, movies, magazine lists and iTune trials for inspiration. In the March issue of Vanity Fair (www.vanityfair.com)  they list several movies and songs from their soundtracks. I thought I’d share a few that sounded good to me:

New York New York   Carey Mulligan

My Week With Marilyn Soundtrack

Memories Are Made of This   Dean Martin

We Bought  A Zoo Soundtrack

The Help Soundtrack

Pusher Man   Curtis Mayfield

Check out the issue. There are so many more they list. Maybe you’ll find something that you speaks to you. Then turn up the volume on your life and Let The Good Times Roll!

What songs will you compile to set a MindFULL Summer playlist? Let us know!

Pull Up a Chair!

Do you have kids heading off to college and need to furnish their dorm room? Know of someone setting up a new home or better yet, find yourself in need of a “Spring Spruce”? If so, how about MindFULLY seeing the chair in the corner of your family room in a new way or hitting your local re-sale shop for possibility!

In our area, Consignment Furniture shops are all the rage.

Check out the chairs below.

I would have walked right by them. Not my style. But one look through my friend Colette’s (www.thehandygirlfriend.com) eyes revealed well kept grandmother’s chairs, in great shape, with great bones. And the price? $45 a chair. I spend more than that on a manicure and pedicure.

She bought the chairs for one of her friends, took them to a local upholsterer and had them redone. Sometimes, if you buy fabric through the Upholsterer, you can get a discount. Our guy gives 35% off. And he does a great job. Notice the fabric covered buttons on the finished chairs.

How clever is that? And they look like new. Positioned in her friend’s living room, Colette made them look like they fit with style and purpose. And all in, for less than $500.

Below is a chair I did. My husband and I bought it over 20 years ago for our first apt at a garage sale. It was crushed yellow velvet with tan wood. Bluch. I painted the wood an iridescent silver and chose a traditional fabric with a sheen. The chair cost $75 and the fabric and labor, all in, was around $300. We still use it.

So, the next time you plop down in your old chair that smells like animal or displays arm stains where your elbows rest, check out my favorite idea site www.houzz.comThere you can find tons of ideas on fabric, styles and details. (Warning: When you make your fabric selection, make sure you get a sample of the fabric first. Approving it before they put it on your furniture can avoid unwanted surprises. A lesson I learned the hard way. Sometimes dye lots change or the texture isn’t what you really wanted.)

Have fun with this! Everyone deserves a chair to curl up in, why not make one you love? After all, for the cost of  a day at the Spa, you can have a feeling of ease in your special chair everyday.

How have you MindFULLY breathed new life into something old? Let us know!



Clean as the Newly Fallen Snow

A new conversation has crept up this holiday season. It’s not about the hottest gift, nor the easiest appetizer recipe. It’s the chat about getting ready for guests and then cleaning up when they leave.

With so much to do and so little time, it is easy to cut corners and hope no one notices the dust balls blowing by the heater vent. But with more and more concern about the toxins in our environments, it’s one more thing to think about when you call on Mr. Clean to quickly wipe away any residual of everyday life.

OK, I can hear my husband chortling. It’s not like I even clean my house in between Katerina. But, let’s say I did. What would I use?

Well, instead of giving gifts that adds to the clutter, my friend Kris invited us over to make healthy, homemade cleaning products. It took no time at all and had us shaking our heads wondering what we were paying for in all the products collecting under our sinks. The ingredients were easy: Water, Borax and Vinegar. Add a little essential oil (lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus) and we could basically clean our house and wipe away nasty chemical cleaning staples we have come to rely on.

Kris also had a tip list for us from www.eartheasy.com

  1. Vinegar and lemon juice in small bowls throughout the house absorbs odors!
  2. Get Rid of Bathroom Mold – One part hydrogen peroxide, w/2 parts water. Spray on mold, leave for at least an hour, rinse off.
  3. Good-Bye Carpet Stains – Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle (by ‘em at Target). Spray on stain, let sit for several minutes, clean with sponge and warm water. For heavier cleaner = ¼ cup salt, Borax and vinegar. Rub paste into carpet, let sit for a few hours, vacuum.
  4. Toilet Bowl Cleaner  – ¼ cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar or 2 parts Borax and one part lemon juice.
  5. Water Rings on Wood – try applying toothpaste or mayonnaise and rubbing ring out with a damp cloth.

So, as you host your guests and notice the spills that could stain your carpet, the odor of onions from the easy to make appetizer or the water ring on your Great Aunt Sally’s sideboard, never fear. Just enjoy the moments and know you have all the ingredients on hand for a happy AND healthy holiday season.


How do you MindFULLY stay healthy? Let us know!