29 July 2014

Welcome to Our Ecuador House

Move-in day.

It feels dang good to be able to write today.

As you can see, I just haven't been able to pull it off lately.

I was thankful for this sweet encouragement that came in from a reader in Montana:

I realized this morning that I have not read a post from the two of you for a month! A whole month without your great words and stories.
Last post was about moving into the house...
Hope that all with you both is well and good.

Ugh, what amazing readers we have here. The kindness is so much that I can hardly believe it sometimes.

Since I last wrote, we completed our move, went on an unexpected trip to the Ecuador's coast again. And then went on an unexpected trip to NYC for 10 days. It has all been amazing beyond words. But goodness, the pace of it all has even been shocking to me. 

We are now back in Cuenca and resuming our efforts to get settled into this house and into this new life of ours.



So far, living in a house is freaking awesome. I had no idea. As an urban dweller, I used to swear off houses and feel they were so wasteful and thought all anyone needed was about 900 square feet. :) I'd like to think I still believe that, but I have to say, having space and storage coming out of our ears has been completely and utterly a joy.

I thought I'd welcome you to our space here and share with you where we are now living.

Welcome to our Ecuador House....

27 June 2014

Love Announcements

Hello to you all!

Thank you for the great discussion this week. It's pretty amazing to hear everyone share their voices, based on their own unique experiences and journeys. So thank you for that. Over the last few days, Danny and I have tried our best to respond to most of the questions and comments. You can see that the conversation got quite thorough (though there is always so much more to say.) And may we all be enriched as we continue along our truth seeking paths.

Here are a few Love Announcements :)

-Danny & I are moving on Tuesday! Yes! We are saying good bye to this teeny temporary apartment we've been staying in and we couldn't be happier about it. You guys, we're moving into an actual house!! (It's pictured below). This is nuts. Since we've been such urban dwellers, we have never lived in a house. I'm so excited to see what it will be like. It's not my dream house or anything. But I think for the moment it will be fun to experience. It has a little yard in the back for gardening, a side porch for outdoor dinners, a loft that we will use for yoga and meditation, a space for a large dining table (I have never had a table), a fireplace, an avocado tree and lime tree, and a rather large kitchen. In this picture it was in the process of getting painted. We'll be working over the next many months to get this place furnished. I might share a few pictures as we go along. We plan to have a few pieces of furniture made by carpenters and metal smiths. Fingers crossed that it will work out. We've never done anything like this before.


-During our 30 day raw food cleanse, we've come across a few recipes that we have LOVED. We can't help but pass them along. Here are two for today:

Red Pepper Tomato Soup. This is creamy, spicy, rich, flavorful and so ridiculously easy to make. We've made it twice as we've enjoyed it so much. It's also so tasty with the chopped celery on top. Don't skip that part!



Cookie Dough Bites: These are such tasty little things and they travel really well. I used raw honey instead of agave. And I used unsweetened, raw chocolate chopped up instead of chocolate chips. We could hardly even tell the chocolate was unsweetened! Once it's combined with the honey, it tastes amazing. And the cinnamon is one of my favorite parts.



-Melissa Hope visited Clam Lab, a ceramics studio I hadn't yet heard of in Brooklyn. What a treasured gift one of these hand made pieces would be (better yet, a little collection!) Next time I'm in  Brooklyn I just might have to pay them a visit. (see more of Melissa's photos here.)


-We just signed up for one of those 10-Day Meditation Courses called Vipassana. They're like the ones you may have heard about in India where they house you, feed you, and teach you about meditation for 10 days (they don't charge anyone for the course, but they are able to provide the service because of the donations of the participants. So cool.) And, there is no talking, reading, writing, or technology allowed for 10 days straight. Yikes! This one will take place in Quito, Ecuador in August. (Have any of you done anything like this??)

-Danny and I were highlighted on a very sweet blog that is all about READING. So cool, right? It's called Everyday Reading and you can see our current reads, our all time favs, our childhood favs, and books we didn't like. It was so fun to do that interview.

Sending out much love to everyone here. We're so thankful to have this space to get to know you all and to be connected through our experiences.  Have a fun weekend!

XO,

Mara

26 June 2014

The World Cup in South America!


The last couple of weeks have absolutely been a blast here in Ecuador. People have been obsessed with the World Cup, as you can imagine. Everywhere we go, every mother, father, son, daughter, grandma, newborn, and dog on a leash is wearing an Ecuadorian soccer jersey.




We don't currently have a TV so Danny and I have been walking to a nearby mall to watch the games. They have a massive screen set up and about 3,000 people pack in there. We've been invited to some parties in homes, but the experience of watching the game with a huge crowd is just over the top exciting. We show up early enough to get a table and chairs. And we make quite an event of it and pack a picnic of raw foods (we're still doing our 30 day raw food cleanse.) Today we had an avocado/pineapple/cucumber/cilantro salad with carrot chips; watermelon & mint juice; and a red pepper/tomato/celery soup. SOOO delicious.




Have you all been watching the World Cup? Are your kids getting into it? I hear that more people in the U.S. are watching the World Cup than the World Series. Any fun experiences, parties, recipes, or new traditions to report? 

P.S. My heart burst to hear that some friends went down to Brooklyn Bridge Park to watch the USA game under the bridge. How freaking awesome would that be!!! Also, one of my favorite little boys on earth has been sporting an Ecuador jersey in Brooklyn. :) Ugh, I miss my Brooklyn kids.

P.P.S. GO USA!!!!!!!!! So excited to watch the game today.


(Top image by Kenai Andrews, Brooklyn photo by Kari Song.)

24 June 2014

When Your Religion Disappoints You


The recent news about some excommunications in the Mormon church has occupied my heart and mind for the last many days. I am heart sick at the news. I love people who have opinions and share them. I love people who are willing to be true to themselves. I love people who are truth seekers and have questions. I love people who are leaders and gather people together for meaningful conversation. I love diversity (even when I don't agree with someone, there is always something to learn!) I'm very sad that two prominent individuals (Kate & John) as well as many others who fit this description have now been banned or have excommunication hearings scheduled, even though they still desire to worship and serve with the community. I personally would love to sit next to these two individuals at church and hear their perspectives and experiences. I'm sad there is not a place for them.

I know that many may disagree with how I feel. But today, instead of discussing who is right or wrong, I thought it would be worthwhile to discuss healing. Has your religion ever disappointed you? Have you ever disagreed strongly with people in your own religion so much that it's brought about anger or annoyance inside you? Have you healed or is the pain ongoing? What does that healing process look like for you? 

23 June 2014

Retreating


We are home from our retreat - and still absolutely dying over our experience there. It just felt magical; so full of love; so, so, so good for the soul. Our bodies and spirits have never felt better!!!!


There were about 15 people - all ages - and we stayed together at a property steps from the beach.  We all got to know each other quite well during the 8 days! It was beautiful and inspiring to be connected with people who all came together to improve their lives in some way. 





These are the INCREDIBLE, INSPIRING people who ran the retreat: Alexandra Molina (a Gestalt Psychotherapist, Yoga teacher & Ayurveda educator from Ecuador); Anthony Spencer (a cleansing consultant and raw and living food guide from Canada); Gabby Santermer (a yoga teacher from Argentina); and Guilherme Munhoz (a raw food chef from Brazil). They literally served us all for 8 days straight with the most pure love. Being the recipient of that was unbelievable- truly an experience that just goes straight to your soul and makes you feel so alive and connected to the best part of life. I will never forget the love they had for us. So thankful for the work they've done in their own lives - to even have that kind of love and light to give.


We were awakened each morning at 6 am to the sound of Tibetan bells. I loved that so much! The moment I became conscious of the bells it was like I just felt beauty, hope, and desire for a wonderful day ahead. I never want to use an alarm clock again!



Each day began with oil pulling. I LOVE IT!!! We are still doing it and I'm telling you, it makes your teeth sparkle and feel so, so clean and smooth - like you just got them polished. I am totally sold that it helps to remove harmful bacteria from your mouth. You can actually tell a difference in the way your mouth feels. I can't recommend it enough. (Use a spoonful of coconut oil; swish for 20 minutes as soon as you get up each morning, before you drink or eat; don't spit the oil into the sink drain; and rinse and gargle with water after you're done. Also, if your jaw feels tired, no worries. After a week you'll be a pro.)


It was so, so perfect to be with a group of people all eating raw food or drinking raw juice for the cleanse. Surprisingly, it was so easy! Doing it together made it feel fun and less of a burden. We all bonded sitting around drinking our juice for "lunch." (It was also pretty amazing to be served instead of wondering what the heck to make next.) A few times we did all start fantasizing about our favorite foods. :) But we were all so well fed with healthy juices or raw foods that we really never felt physical hunger. And to be honest, my energy was feeling off the charts!!! I've never eaten so many vegetables in my life. 







I *LOVED* the spiritual aspect of this retreat. Each day included meditation, yoga, chanting, singing,  and so many other ways of connecting your spirit with your body and with the Divine. I felt that connection. I felt myself connecting with peace. I felt myself realigning with virtues that I aspire to have. It was so healing and rejuvenating. I had moments of freedom from the things that were troubling to me at the time. And for that reason, it felt like a gift from God to be there. (I'm also now totally obsessed with yoga!!!!! And cleansing breathing techniques!!!! I had no idea how amazing it all was. It all really, really makes a difference and not only affects your spirit, but um....completely changes your body in a short amount of time.)
Every person there just LOVED the experience. We all felt so, so lucky to be there. Everyone was just GLOWING by the end of it - you could see a physical difference in all of us.


On the last night, we had a bon fire on the beach!!!! Heaven, I tell you. 




And yes, there was a FULL MOON!!! 




And let me just say that if you find yourself on the beach during a gorgeous full moon, you MUST slip away from the crowd and walk far, far out to the low tide and swim to the light of the moon.  :) :) 




Would any of you want to go on a retreat like this? I'm so thrilled to say that they want to do another retreat and you're all invited!!! I would be SO DANG HAPPY if some of you could experience this.

The date will likely be mid-September in Olón, Ecuador (3 hours from Guayaquil, where there is a major airport). And they've asked Danny and I to speak at the event or do some workshops, which will be such an honor. I'll post the exact date and prices soon. There will only be space for about 20 people. Fingers crossed that some of you could make the trip!!! I really do feel this would be the most amazing, healing experience for anyone wanting to change their lives for the better or for anyone who would like to dedicate some time to caring for your body and your spirit. Plus, Ecuador! :)

Much love,

Mara

P.S. At the end of the retreat, some of us decided to continue the cleanse and eat all raw fruit, vegetables, and nuts for a full thirty days!!! And holy crap, Danny and I are doing it. We're on Day 15. I hope to write more about what it's been like. But so far I can say that our skin is still glowing and I've even had a few health issues disappear. But, we're running out of recipes. Please send any, if you have some! We're trying hard to power through.


11 June 2014

The Best Vacation We Can Think Of


We are half way through our 8 day detox retreat at the beach and I tell ya, this feels like PARADISE.

It is unbelievable to have an entire 8 days to focus 100% on your well being and health. It just feels like a gift, much better than any vacation we've experienced.

Here is our daily schedule for 8 days:

6:00 am - Oil Pulling

6:30 am - 1 Liter of Lemon (or Lime) Juice

6:45-7:30 am - Meditation & Breathing Techniques (as a group, with an amazing teacher)

7:30-8:30 am - Running on the Beach (Danny goes swimming and boogie boarding)

8:30 am - 1 Liter of Green Juice

9:00-10:30 am - Yoga

10:30 am - 1 Liter of Green Smoothie

1:00 pm - Raw Food Lunch For the First 3 Days - 1 Liter Green Juice or Green Smoothie for the Rest

2:00 pm - Sweat Box Sauna & Cold Water Therapy (see the photo below!)

3:15 pm - Daily Classes about Raw Foods, Reflexology, Massage, Mud Facials, Dance Therapy

4:00-5:00 pm - Yoga

6:00 pm - Raw Food Dinner for the First 3 Days - 1 Liter Green Juice or Green Smoothie for the Rest

7:30 pm - Daily Movie / Documentary about Health

*Also, we are supposed to drink 2 liters of water per day.

Did you see that is TWO yoga sessions a day?? This is INTENSE. Oh my. Even the breathing techniques have been a complete work out for us both (ha). But our minds and bodies are loving it so, so much. Instead of sleeping in or laying on the beach, feeling lethargic and lazy, and eating crappy vacation foods, this experience has made us feel so alive and so full of REAL energy!!! We feel so in tune with life, nature, our bodies, and our happiness. And, there is so, so much love here. The teachers/healers/chefs at this retreat are just bursting with love for everyone here and want to do ANYTHING to help anyone to transform their lives. And, some little bonuses: our bodies are toning up like crazy, our skin is looking great, and our countenances feel nice and bright. We keep saying to each other, "um...this is one of the best things we've ever done!!!" We hope to do this at least once a year from now on. After experiencing it, it's seriously the best kind of vacation we can think of.

XO, Mara



There is Danny in the sweat box sauna. :) The man who built it says that it's much healthier to breathe fresh air instead of the hot air.


DELICIOUS, raw Pad Thai, below, made from zucchini and yellow squash.


P.S. There were two options at this retreat: drink raw juice the ENTIRE 8 days (for a super deep detox) or eat raw foods meals and juices for 3 days, raw food smoothies and juices for 2 days, and just green juices for 2 more. We came in planning to do 100% juice. But, well, the two raw food chefs here are off the charts. At the welcome dinner, we couldn't believe how good the dinner was, so we decided to continue eating their raw food as we want to learn about as many recipes as we can. We're very new at this, but we actually hope to continue eating mostly raw when we return home.  :)

Have any of you ever gone on a "detox vacation" or tried any detoxes? We would LOVE to hear how that turned out for you. And, would you ever give up one of your normal vacations to do something like this?


06 June 2014

A Post IVF Detox...




Tomorrow morning we leave for the BEACH! This will be our first time on Ecuador's coast. We signed up for an 8 day retreat where we will do yoga, meditation, and a week long raw juice cleanse/detox. I'm both excited and scared. But mostly I'm thinking it should be amazing to do something like this for my body - especially since I just injected myself with about 200 vials of hormones and infertility drugs over the last year.  :(  :(  I'm so grateful Danny will be doing the detox with me. And we're both grateful we'll be doing it with the support of about 15 other people. haha. (It seems like it would be hard to do it alone!) I also feel like a spoiled brat to be doing anything like this at all. Living here really has made more things possible, just because the cost of life is so much less. Anyway, I'm very curious to see how our bodies will feel over the next many days. I hope to have some posts next week about how it's going. (Fingers crossed we have internet.)

Love you all. And overall just feeling so grateful and honored to converse with the incredible community of people here.

Mara

P.S. I just got that new hat for the beach! I've been wanting a huge sun hat forever. If you ever visit Ecuador, you must go to Homero Ortega in Cuenca for their hand made hats.

P.P.S. You can call me "hangry" for the next 8 days.

Hostgator Promo Code