Turn That Insecurity Into I’m-So-Fabulous (Meet the Misfits)!

Hey all. Is there something about yourself you’re not fond of? Maybe you’ve got big teeth or a big ol’ booty you wish was smaller. Or maybe you hate wearing glasses and are unable to wear contacts. Or maybe you don’t have much up top (or maybe you have a lot)! We all have insecurities about ourselves – things we wish we could change. And sometimes people tease us for these things. It’s not much fun to be teased about things that make us different. But then again, these things are what make us who we are. And besides, there are other people who share the same insecurities (you’re not the only one!). So why not celebrate what makes us who we are and embrace what we’ve got?

It’s interesting – other people are actually the ones who make us feel insecure about ourselves. We beat up on ourselves and react negatively because of what someone else says or thinks. But isn’t it true that people won’t generally tease or make fun of us if we acknowledge and accept ourselves with love and confidence about who we are? Who teases a confident and loving person and gets satisfaction in the reaction? Nobody.

I want to you to meet the Misfits. My friend Rayelle and her twin sister, Cayla, created this wonderful family of 30 felt dolls to help you and me embrace our insecurities and be proud of and happy with ourselves. Each doll comes with a little storybook – Using rhyme and little humor, Rayelle and Cayla tell you about the doll and why they rock. They look at the positives about things like having some junk in the trunk, a short stature, or a stocky build.

Here are some of the Misfits below. From Frankie Four Eyes to Petite Pauline to Flatty Patty, these dolls share in the all the same insecurities as we do. But they encourage us to take these insecurities and turn them into positives we appreciate about ourselves.

Rayelle and Cayla have been making these clever dolls by hand and selling them for a while now; and they are wildly popular with both kids and adults. But making these dolls by hand is limiting. Not only can they not keep up with production, but to be able to sell them to children there are safety standards that come into play. Therefore, they have set up a project design fundraiser on www.kickstarter.com, a fabulous website dedicated to funding creative projects! If they can raise $12,000 by July 5th they will be able to begin their dream of having their beloved felt dolls manufactured for them, their little storybooks published, and helping to empower children (young and old!) by teaching them to appreciate themselves. Doesn’t this sound like a company you’d be proud to support?

There are just ten days left to raise this amount! But they have gotten a great start so far. And there are rewards for making donations! Depending on the amount you choose to give, Rayelle and Cayla will send you fun Misfits treasures, from Misfits stickers and tote bags to the actual dolls themselves (and you get to pick)! See for yourself. Meet Rayelle and Cayla (and the Misfits) in this video and hear all about their incredibly honorable endeavor – I tried to embed the video on this blog post, but am unable to for some reason so click HERE.

Here’s to loving ourselves for all we are (insecurities and all!) [glasses clink]. Cheers!

H

Farmers Market Food Geek (and Nettle-Walnut Pesto).

I’m really into cooking lately. It happens in waves. I mean, I cook pretty regularly and enjoy it, but I have been much more excited about it in recent weeks. I mean like food-geek excited where I take photos of what I got and what I made. Like so excited that I text my friend (who is equally as excited about this as I am, by the way) these photos. And then I post them on Instagram after that with plenty of exclamation points!!! [Look!!! Pizza with caramelized onions, balsamic vinegar, canned tomatoes from our garden last summer, asparagus, fresh mozzarella, arugula, and a duck egg!!!] Whooo! I suppose we can conclude that the uber-excitement is because of the availability of delicious, organic/no spray local food right now. The farmers market here is in coming into full swing. I get so super-anxious each year come March or so, pouring over my cookbooks and foodgawker (a great food website!) and making plans and preparations and lists (plenty of lists) for when the first spring harvest shows up at the market and at the food co-op in April. Microgreens, arugula, spinach, stinging nettles, radishes, asparagus, cilantro, baby leeks, onions, oh my…sigh. Why is this so thrilling to me?

I suppose it’s because of the sense of accomplishment I feel when I make something from scratch from ingredients that were grown locally. It feels great to support local people and their hard work. Farmers markets are great fun – it’s so cool to talk to the people who grew or raised the food. Ask them questions and they’ll answer you – and honestly. I mean, how cool is that to actually get your food from people you can see each week and get to know? And to know that the vegetables were harvested within 24 hours? No fluorescent lights. No conveyer belts. No air conditioning. No plastic and Styrofoam-wrapped vegetables that have been sitting there for who knows how long. Sounds like a no-brainer to me. If you can get to a farmers market, that is.

Yes, I am completely spoiled. I am truly lucky and feel enormously grateful to have a farmers market like this where I live. Not everyone gets this wonderful opportunity to shop at a beautiful market like I do.

To celebrate spring and my farmer’s market goodies, I’d like to share a recipe with you. I know, I know. This was supposed to be a blog about art, design, love, and life. But, food can be an art. You can design it (or style it), you can love it (!!!) and it is what makes life. So I guess it fits into my categories quite well. Oh, and my disclaimer: I am not a food photographer. I did my best.

STINGING NETTLES AND WALNUT PESTO (Vegan)

I made this last week and it is delicious. I used some on pasta (I used Jovial brand einkhorn pasta) and froze the rest (some, of which I just thawed tonight to spread on a pan bagnat sandwich). Stinging nettles sort of taste like spinach. They have detox qualities, and are rich in vitamins C and B complex, iron, calcium, and other such good stuff.

INGREDIENTS

1 generous bunch of stinging nettles (Don’t pull these out of the bag with your bare hands, by the way. They are called stinging nettles for a reason – they have little hairs that create skin irritation. Now why would you want to eat these?!? Read on…)

3 – 5 cloves of garlic, pressed (Depends on your love of garlic and how big the cloves are)

½ cup or so of walnuts

Juice of 1 lemon

¼ c. nutritional yeast

¾ t. salt

Olive oil

DIRECTIONS

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the nettles (I turned the bag inside out and dropped the nettles in so I wouldn’t touch them). Let them boil for a few minutes. This gets rid of the hairs and therefore the sting. Strain the nettles and let them cool.

Press the garlic into a food processor. Add the walnuts, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and salt. Process until smooth. Add some olive oil (a drizzle or two). Process again.

When the nettles have cooled, remove the big stems. Then squeeze the water out of what you’ll be using in a clean towel. Add to the food processor and process until smooth once again. Add oil as you go until you reach your desired consistency.

Easy! Which is great, because although I like good-quality food, I get impatient if recipes are too involved. I’ve got other things to do too, you know.

Makes enough for 6-8 people for pasta. It freezes beautifully. You can freeze it in cubes (in an ice cube tray) or in a freezer bag.

Be well and happy spring!

H

The Experience of Quality Time (in a Delicatessen!). [love]

Yesterday, in Ann Arbor, I had the rare opportunity to relax all morning at Zingerman’s Deli with a friend of mine. It was glorious and I relished every single moment. Once a place I popped into as often as possible (I used to live just 3 blocks away), my visits to Zingerman’s are now too few. Because I no longer live in the area, before yesterday I hadn’t been there since June of last year.

For those of you not familiar with Zingerman’s, please put it on your list of places to visit! Ann Arbor is a super-cool, progressive little city in Michigan with oodles of art, yoga, boutiques, bookstores, and restaurants. It’s a fun place. But Zingerman’s? It’s legendary. First opened in 1982 by University of Michigan graduates, Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig, Zingerman’s Deli started as a quaint little sandwich shop. Over the years, always using the best ingredients (a great percentage of it local), outstanding customer service (the employees are always in a good mood and very knowledgable), and plenty of genius business decisions (check out Zing Train, featuring ongoing seminars that share their secrets for marketing and great customer service), they’ve transformed Zingerman’s into a business that rakes in $40 million annually.

I’m telling you – no trip to Ann Arbor is complete without stopping in at Zingerman’s! Whether it’s to eat breakfast, lunch (my favorite sandwich is #55 – Gemini Rocks the House), have coffee or tea, or sample unbelievable cheeses, oils, and vinegars from all over the world, Zingerman’s is never a disappointment. Never. It’s a foodie’s dream. I don’t know anyone who has been there that didn’t think it was incredible. Even people like Mario Batali and Drew Barrymore have nothing but great things to say about Zingerman’s. Check out their testimonials here.

You can probably tell by now that this is a business I greatly admire. And with good reason. From their dedication to the community in supporting other local businesses, to bringing high quality goods from around the world for our palates to sample and enjoy, to their top-notch customer service – this place makes my “favorites” list and deserves only the strongest praises. Zingerman’s, you’re the best!

My visit to Zingerman's Deli on 25th of February, 2012.

Have a fabulous week,

H

PS. Clancy’s Hot Sauce is delicious and locally made in Michigan. Check out their website here.