Winter is a challenging time for me. I know, it's still fall, but I feel winter looming and cold weather fast approaching. Being constantly cold has been a burden I've had to bear. I'm skinny and lanky and perpetually cold and once a chill sets into my body there's no recovering until early spring. If you've known me for any length of time, you've probably found me huddled next to a heater, curled up on top of a radiator or practically crawling into the wood stove when it's cold outside. Being cold used to just be an annoyance, but as I've gotten older it's become more and more uncomfortable, and eventually really painful. I often thought I was just oversensitive and complained too much (how on earth are not more people as cold as I am!?). Then 3 years ago when I was feeling particularly cold, I stubbed my toe on a table leg and practically fell to the floor sobbing in pain. It felt like my toe was shattering into a million glass shards. And that was what finally prompted me to get this checked out. As it happens, I have Raynaud's Syndrome, and it makes a lot of sense.  Also, #validation. 

Regarding most things in life - I'm a classic under-reactor. But apparently my blood vessels are very much over-reactors and when they get too cold, they constrict (vasospasm) to restrict oxygen and blood flow to my extremities, namely my fingers, toes and nose. If they stay cold for too long, I lose feeling in them, they stop being responsive and they freeze up and turn a mystical shade of blue/white/red. It's hugely uncomfortable but not debilitating. I often have to wear extra warm gloves in even moderately cold weather, and winer camping is definitely not an option. I have an embarrassingly large collection of thick wool socks, and I often take a homeopathic remedy when it gets to be extra extra cold to help with circulation. Over the past couple of years, I've found a few other winter remedies that help support me through the colder months and preventatively lessen the discomfort of Raynaud's. They're constantly with me in my cold whether arsenal either at home, in my traveling bag or at my office. They've become great allies for me, and luckily are made with pure, simple ingredients. 

Ginger tea & Ginger chews: I've talked a lot about ginger in the past as my ultimate herbal ally, and this is one of the many reasons why. Ginger does a lot messing around with the communication systems in the body, often resulting in a "revitalized" feeling and makes for an excellent circulatory stimulant (thermogenic). It's also extremely hot and pungent, warming the body from the core to the extremities. With it's broad diaphoretic action, it's truly ideal for folks who feel cold in the bones and need to get the circulation moving in their hands and feet. I personally love Traditional Medicinals Ginger Tea for it's simplicity, it's quality ingredients and it's easy-to-pack individual tea bags. I drink at least one cup of this a day, sometimes 3-4. They also have a Ginger + Chamomile, a Ginger + Green Tea, and a Ginger + Tulsi formula (yums). I also like dissolving crystalized ginger pieces in some hot water for a slightly sweeter ginger tea thats also easy to throw in my bag and travel with. 

Badger Salves: These are a lifesaver when my hands and feet get too cold and subsequently become extremely dry, cracked and brittle. Salves are a combination of therapeutic oils that soothe the skin at a very deep level, and often stay on your skin longer than a cream or lotion, rendering them more therapeutic long term. Oils are also excellent carriers for medicinal herbs, and once infused, oils carry some of the properties of the herbs they're paired with making them even more effective and targeted. I keep a travel sized Hardworking Hands salve in my bag and a full size around my house. Slathering this on feels oh so good on dry skin, and I really massage it into my hands and cuticles. Their Ginger Cayenne Muscle Rub is perfect for those extra cold days because it really does warm up my hands and feet with those warming, energizing herbs. Their Foot Balm makes an appearance several times a week in our house. The physical act of a shared foot rub (especially on poorly circulated feets) is kind of the best. 

Disclaimer: Neither of these products treats or cures Raynaud's. The opinions expressed are my own experience and should be used at your own discretion. 

This is not a sponsored post. I just love these products and use them all the time in my day to day life and they're hugely helpful, 

Simple. Easy. Nourishing. I love a good salad. This time of year however, the last thing I want is a cold, raw salad. Summer yes. Autumn, not so much. I'm craving squashes and warming spices and greens and colorful roots and gourds. I'm basically craving the season. In Ayurvedic nutrition, your body (and your health) is never stagnant. Your diet should change as your body - and your external environment - changes. This means altering your diet with the flexibility of the season, and relying on the abundance of what is available to balance, nourish and align your physical body. As we ease into Autumn, the weather becomes more crisp, the chill in the air penetrates our sun kissed skin, and our digestive tract subtly reflects this change in the season by hinting at new cravings.

As we transition out of Summer, foods like soups, stews, casseroles, roasted roots and warming pots are what many of us crave, and for good reason. Balancing our internal environment with our external environment is a major way that our body remains in homeostasis and becomes neither too cool or too warm. In the heat of summer, cooling moist foods like milks and coconut and raw veggies help to balance that external sweltering heat. Likewise, in the autumn and winter, foods like ginger, roasted squashes and cooked beans and turmerics help to warm our body from the chill outdoors. This makes the transition easier, and allows for less strain on our organ systems during seasonal change. Also, NUTRIENTS. In all seasons, if you're lucky enough to have access to colorful fruits, vegetables and proteins, that means you have access to essential nutrients the body needs to perform basic physiological functions like liver detoxification, thyroid function, kidney filtration, cardiovascular function and overall cellular health. 

I'm not a huge fan of taking multi-vitamins, which is why when I create meals I like to keep them as nutrient dense as possible to make sure I'm getting what I need from the foods that naturally pack a powerful nutrient punch. Butternut squash, quinoa, greens, pomegranate, onions, sea salt - all in all, this has everything a multi vitamin will give you and then some. Quinoa alone is packed with minerals including zinc, iron, copper, magnesium, B-vitamins, fiber and protein. I add a whole grain like this to almost every dish I eat for the mineral content alone (and they taste amazing - added bonus). Butternut squash is an excellent source of Vitamins A and C. Pomegranates are high in polyphenol antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. And greens - well, seasonal micro greens are magical little things that have all of the above AND give you that hint of bitter flavor that's so supportive of overall digestion AND liver function. 

But let's get out of this tiny micro-view of food and step back to the big picture. You don't have to know the mineral and nutrient value of every single food you eat to put a simple, nourishing meal together. Keep it seasonal, keep it colorful and you've pretty much got it. That's what I did with my Savory Autumn Nourish Bowl. With 8 ingredients, 5 colors and 1 hour, I'll have this all week, and all week it's going to be chilly, so this will be an addition to breakfast AND lunch if my little Vata body is feeling the chill....which it always does. 

Optional: add your favorite dressing to this hearty savory salad, as I like to add some Flaming Elixir to mine, with a dash or olive oil and sea salt!

Savory Autumn Nourish Bowl

2 small Butternut Squashes
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp dried Sage
1 tsp sea salt
1 Pomegranate
3 cups seasonal micro greens
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1/2 cup soaked quinoa
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

Pre-heat oven to 400F

Peel and chop the butternut squash into cubes and place in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, sage and salt and stir to coat well. Transfer to a baking dish and bake for 1 hour, or until a knife can insert easily into the cubes. 

While the squash is cooking, combine the soaked quinoa with 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth and let simmer (covered) for 15 minutes. 

While the quinoa is simmering, chop and seed the pomegranate and place the seeds in a small bowl. 

Chop about 1/2 cup scallions and place in a small bowl. 

Once everything is prepared, in a large bowl, add the micro greens. Top with about 1 cup butternut squash, 1/2 cup quinoa, pomegranate seeds, scallions and eat throughout the week. You will have leftover squash and quinoa to eat throughout the week to add to other meals. 


The wedding industry is kind of bananas. As someone who had never been engaged, never had much interest in anything wedding related and honestly never even planned a party bigger than 15 people, once I started planning my own wedding, I was almost immediately turned off (and kind of disgusted) from the whole process. I put off planning my wedding as long as I could, because every time I opened my computer to research something wedding related, that foul taste and dull headache came back that made me dread having to deal with planning a wedding. The absurdly high venue prices, the extravagance of the wedding dress "experience", the incredibly high expectations that things should be "absolutely everything the bride has ever hoped and dreamed"... I'm sorry - but gag. I'm just not that into myself, and I definitely wasn't that into our wedding. I just kept going back to the simple reminder of why we're doing this at all: The hardest part was done - we had each other, and we wanted to get married. Someone wanted to marry me, and I wanted to marry him. That alone feels impossible on so many levels - but here we are, and we're choosing to have a wedding. Our wedding. 

So we had a discussion about what we really wanted from this whole process and stripped it down to the basics: 1) A small, intimate gathering of people, not a production, 2) Lots of time to sit and talk with EVERYONE who came to celebrate with us and be present with each and every person, 3) A comfortable venue for a small gathering, 4) No timeline or strict schedule for the day, 5) To keep it within a reasonably small budget, 6) Attention to sustainbility of our purchases and keep it as local as possible, and 7). At the end of the day - we'll be married and who cares if stuff doesn't happen perfectly. 

Finding resources for a small wedding is kind of hard to do. We had a list of 25 people to invite, and even with such a small guest list, we still got stuck on finding a venue that was (I'm not even joking) less that $2,000. Without a reasonable venue option, the rest of the planning kept hitting roadblocks. We ruminated and ruminated about this (which brought us pretty darn close to going to city hall), until one day in October of 2015, my sweet Aunt and Uncle offered up their (currently in construction) magical mountain house that they'd been in the process of building for the past 12 years. There was still a considerable amount of work to be done, but as soon as they made that offer, Greg and I just melted into the idea of having our wedding there, and practically fell to our knees in gratitude. We set a date for October 8th of the following year, and the rest was, more or less, pretty easy. We also decided to have a "wedding after party" at our house the following weekend, to invite ALL of our friends and family to celebrate afterwards...more to come on that party soon!

The one thing that really made our wedding special was that almost every single person that came played a role during the day which really brought to life the realization that our community is such a support in our partnership. My dear friend Leah married us. My best friend's husband Jake Hull played our ceremony music. My incredibly talented friend Renee did our photography. My friend Peter took some video. Greg constructed benches and tables for the guests. His mom made all of the linen vests for the groomsmen and all of the muslin tablecloths. His sister and brother-in-law took charge of serving and prepping the food. Everyone in our small wedding party made the mood so lighthearted, joyful and fun. My dad drew the most beautiful guest book tree...the list goes on. Everyone came together, and it felt just right. 

All this being said - we of course had moments of tension and disagreements about what we wanted to happen, but such is the case when we're planning something together - and we wanted it to be a together process. We had to keep in mind - it's just a wedding. We had a vision, yes, but flexibility was essential to that vision. For the entire week preceding our wedding (and for most of the wedding day), a hurricane was coming up the coast absolutely drenching the whole property in sopping wet mud. So, visions of the ceremony being in the woods by the river were dashed and indoors it was (and it resulted in some pretty freakin' gorgeous photos). There was construction equipment throughout the house and on the porches, and even a wonky crane towering over the front door. Industrial rustic is kind of our feel - and it was welcomed. More importantly, this is a place we'll be visiting for the rest of our lives, and we'll always be reminded that in that living room in front of the hearth - that's where we were married. And that house was christened with a lot of joy, and a lot of love. 






Photography by Renee Byrd : Wedding Dress by Reformation : Flowers & Arrangements by Perennial Culture : Handmade Guestbook, Curiosity Pouches & Stationary by St. Signora : Herbal Cordial Favors by Ginger Tonic Botanicals (yeahhhh!)

Location : Lexington, Virginia 

October 8, 2016

Herbal medicine and nutrition is my expertise. Understanding plants, their properties, and their powers is my passion.


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