Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Some new creativity

My creative side has just stepped to the front of the line. I have about 10 projects going right now and have about another 20 in the batters box. It is that time of year, it is going to rain for the next 6 months, J will be skiing every weekend and I like to be warm and drink hot chocolate three times a day. 

I used up (almost) all of my corks. I have ripped apart more books in the name of wall art. 

And then I decided I want to decorate cakes. I want to make cakes for birthdays, holidays and baby showers. So I took a class last month and I signed up for a class next month. I am hooked on decorating cakes. I want to make each one of these cakes.

What next? I am excited for infinite possibilities and thankful for supportive people that surround me.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

put a cork on it

Between myself and a few good friends, we can drink some wine.

It is a pleasure and pure indulgence.

With a small hoard of corks I have been stashing away I decided to get busy and glue corks to a few different items I have at the house. First I used Styrofoam balls, then a star candle holder and then I took three old mirrors and gave them new dimension.

I have had a few people give me their collection of corks and in return, they can pick which piece they want. If you have a stash of corks and an idea shoot me and email and we can work something out. 

Friday, January 20, 2012


Happy Friday! If you are hunkered down in the PNW like me, enjoy the tail end of our winter wonderland and take another snow day. I will be drinking hot chocolate and watching movies all day so stop by and get cozy.

Enjoy the weekend and a few interweb gems I dug up this week.

This not an insult

Pinterest, you are drunk

Animals being jerks

In love with Jess Brown dolls and my own take on one is my next project

My new baking club

Richly inspiring

Eye opening

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Manduka Yoga Mats & My 40 Days

For the first time I have jumped on the January, I feel a little sluggish and over indulged, it is time to cleanse wagon. I brainstormed options including fasts, diets and even renewed my gym membership. At this point I am not willing to put who knows what into my body nor am I looking to put a band-aid on my situation or run on a treadmill for hours on end. I am healthy strong and determined but lacking motivation and playfulness that once led me into endless adventure.

I need a spark to ignite my fire. I want to be inspired from the inside out.

I know that change comes from within. What I am looking for does not come from a supermarket shelf, energy drinks or meal replacers. I want a personal revolution, not a diet shake. I need activity and intellectual challenge not counting calories and skipping meals.

I need yoga for the long winter months. I have been doing a few of Baron Babtiste's yoga videos for a year now and have enjoyed his style and the physical results that I have seen practicing with him. My home practice was dwindling and the thought of going back to the only studio I knew for 6 years, Bikram was less than exciting. I came across Karen Piccone's studio, Beyond Limits Yoga in Bellingham. There, Baron Baptiste's 40 Days to Personal Revolution found me. I had found my "match."

Starting January 15, 2012, I started on my 40 day challenge. I, Michelle Stiles, am going to practice yoga for 40 days, cut out alcohol, caffeine and limit my sugar intake ( I am a baker of all things sweet and lovely). I am going to meditate, read, and journal for these 40 days. I am going to embark on a personal revolution. Yoga is taking me there. This is my nutrition for life.

In a country that is obsessed with image, I have found the most truthful mirror, my yoga mat. The mat is a reflection of what I have to offer and what I put out to the world. The practice of yoga is far more that a physical journey, yoga has the power to open up the spiritual being and stretch the intellectual one that exist within each of us. Creating a ritual, becoming familiar with the poses that yoga holds, getting accustomed to stepping onto your yoga mat at some point everyday will result in a physical change it will provide a whole body transformation.

I came across Manduka's website and lights went off. For me within seconds of looking through their beautiful and inspiring business I knew that this was the supportive community I wanted to immerse myself in. Manduka was a familiar brand to me already from word of mouth. I knew they made the best yoga mats out available on the market. I did not realize what a respectful company they have grown into.

I have been in search for a sufficient yoga mat for years, my standards are high.

Manduka has answered. 

I have a knee that is full of scar tissue, pins and a few screws. Pressure on my knee is painful, making certain yoga poses unpractical. I need a yoga mat that provides enough support through Manduka's denser, thicker foam, their mat ensures that my knee will have the proper protection, comfort and cushioning from hard surfaces, like the floor of our house and the yoga studio. The Manduka yoga mat provides enough cushion that I can practice frog pose (Mandukasana) without excruciating pain in my knee.  The Manduka yoga mat is suitable for a variety of surfaces including hard wood, cement, carpet and even grass. The Manduka mat lets you forget about the floor as you rock front to back, as you lay on your back and bring both knees to your chest, as your wrists get a little extra cushion.

Along with unparalleled cushioning, the PRO series comes in two lengths, 71" and 85" for all of us who like the space on a mat or like most of my family, run a bit taller. This is a wonderful option and I must say that clocking it at only 5'7" I enjoy all 85" of my Manduka mat.

The Manduka PRO series does offer cushion and a little extra space, with that comes extra weight and bulkiness. That is to be expected if you are looking for the extra support. Manduka does offer other lines of mats that are not so bulky and offer a different functionality. 

The moment I started a conversation with the fine folks at Manduka I was in love, their customer service is unmatched, the turnover was lightening fast and the follow up was proof that they are a company here to stay and are committed to proving a superior product to a world of yoga practitioners that deserve well designed products.

Manduka produces a product with the body, mind and soul in as part of their mission. Their products and employees are proof.

There is not another yoga mat available with this sort of rigorous innovations, dedication, respect or  community that Manduka offers. The Manduka PRO will be my foundation for my 40 days of yoga and for a lifetime of practice.

**The opinion is mine and honest and if you know me you know I love my yoga. I searched Manduka and asked if I could try their product and they lovingly agreed to send me a mat. I loved it the moment I unrolled it for the first time. **

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Mud Butt

 This is Bellingham in the Winter. It is wet windy and cold.  The only way to survive these winter months without going skiing is to go brave the elements regardless. 

Forget the mud, slick roots, mud and more mud - ride your bike.

John went for an early ride Christmas Eve.

I am not convinced he didn't just go roll in a mud puddle.

 Total mud butt.

Nothing gets in this man's way to go play.