Thursday, December 15, 2011

These Shoes Are Too Fun!


Ran across these Steve Madden platforms on Twitter. Just had to share. Not really holiday-y, but soooo fun! Wearing them would be like walking around with a Rothko painting on your feet! How cute would they be with a pair of jeans, a crisp, white, button-down top, and this Cocoon cuff?


(Sorry, you'll have to leave the Rothko hanging on your wall at home.)





Friday, December 9, 2011

Set Savings

This is the time of year when you've got all kinds of parties and holiday events to attend. Gatherings like this give us the perfect opportunity to wear jewelry and accessories that are bold, make a statement, or just help pull a look together.

We thought it would be fun to let you create your own combination and save some money while doing so! Pick any three pieces to build your own customized set and we'll take 20% off! Just enter SetSavings at checkout.

Choose from:

Pick pieces that match, or go crazy and mix it up - you decide! (Just make sure you place your order by December 14th to ensure delivery by Christmas!)

Here are some ideas:


P.S. You may want to pass this one on to your significant other with a few hints on the pieces you like!






Thursday, December 8, 2011

What a Party

What do you get when you mix massage, fortune-telling, hand-crafted art, and warm spiced wine? A Cocoon party!

We decided to really pamper our guests this time for our Holiday party, and we had a blast! Check out

Small Business Saturday Sale




It's that time of year - time to save! And what better time then on Small BusinessSaturday?! Support your local small businesses, or just small businesses in general by purchasing this Saturday, November 26th. There are deals to be had if you just look! Here at Cocoon we are offering a $25 gift certificate for FREE with any online purchase (enter FreeGC at checkout), OR a flat 20% off on your online purchase (enter SmBiz at checkout). Click here for more details.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Monday Meditation: One Thing At A Time


Look familiar?


The truth is, today's world is a world of immediacy! No one can wait for anything - it's got to be right now, if not yesterday. Trying to keep up means trying to get more done in less time, so we find ourselves multi-tasking. Inevitably this leads to

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Holiday Party Saturday!



Visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads...Come join us this Saturday for our annual holiday party. This time we are pampering YOU! Free mini massages and tarot card readings, complimentary gift wrapping, yummy appetizers and Holiday Glogg, we got it all goin' on!

And, we're starting a little earlier in case you want to swing by on your way to the Encinitas Holiday Parade. Bring the kids and they can play with our new puppy, Enzo, while you get your shoulders worked or your future told!!

Don't forget to RSVP to suz@cocoon-designs.com to be entered in a drawing for a special prize upon arrival! Looking forward to seeing you!

Here's what you need to know:

Saturday, December 3rd
3:30 - 7:30pm
Suzanne Balestri's Home & Studio
985 Windsor Creek Court
Cardiff, CA 92007


Bring some cheer, bring a friend, bring your tired shoulders and be ready to relax and enjoy. Hope to see you there!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Meditation: You Have A Body



During the holiday season, it is easy to become disconnected from our bodies and bodily sensations and be distracted by all of the items on our "To Do" lists that need to be completed as we prepare for time away from work and for holiday travel and family gatherings.

Does this sound familiar? Take a moment and ask yourself if this is happening to you right now. Are you modifying or reducing your workout routine to buy time?
  • Time to shop for gifts;
  • Time to gear up your inventory or holiday services to accommodate the seasonal push;
  • Time to plan a family trip to get away or visit family for the holiday.
I know I am doing all of the above and have definitely sacrificed my exercise routine to do so. I have had a pain in my lower back and my neck that I keep hoping a few spinal twists every three or four days will alleviate. My mind is a complete flurry of, no - not visions of sugar plums,

Friday, November 18, 2011

Talmadge Art Show



I'm really looking forward to this show Sunday - so much talent under one roof! Cocoon will be there as always. At the NTC Promenade - a must see if you've never been. Don't miss it! Details...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Yoga Studio Holiday Sale



If you're at the Encinitas street fair or just running around Encinitas this Saturday (11/19), stop by the Anahata Yoga studio on 2nd & I street. I'll have my new ornaments, art for the home and, of course, jewelry!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ripe Fruit



Thanksgiving is around the corner - it's easy to lose mindfulness of the food that passes your lips in the midst of celebration, family, and delectable delights! The Slow Food Movement, which started in Italy advocates restoring sensuous pleasure and quality ingredients to cooking and dining.

This meditation from Madonna Gauding's, The Meditation Bible, will help you be more mindful of your senses as you cook and eat. A piece of ripe, organic fruit, unspoiled by chemicals, waxes or sprays, is a delight to the nose, the eye and the tongue.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Brick and Mortar

I wish I could spend more time in the Los Angeles area. There are so many great spots that I just get glimpses of here and there.

I was celebrating my wonderful friend's birthday over the weekend - she lives in Redondo Beach so we went to dinner at Primativo (yummy tapas and sangria!) in Venice.

Unfortunately we got there after most of the amazing shops were closed, but the window shopping was almost as good and definitely much less expensive! I can't wait to come back when I have a full day to just immerse myself in the glory of Abbot Kinney street - to pet the clothes, browse the bookstores, smell the aroma from the coffee shops, and wander the galleries.

I just loved this piece of outside art as we were walking to the restaurant. I want to know what the story is behind this portrait/sculpture on the side of a brick building. Who is this woman? Who made it? Is it plaster over brick? Is it old, or was it just done last year? Anyone know? I'm on a mission to find out.



Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday Meditation: Take The Next Step

Manifesting your dreams requires having a clear idea of what your 'dream' looks like. This meditation, adapted from Madonna Gauding's The Meditation Bible, can help you to be more purposeful visualizing your dream and in uncovering the steps you need to take next on your journey.
Your dreams mainfest through your thoughts and through your actions. Your mental, physical and spiritual actions

Monday, October 31, 2011

Spider Woman

On this Halloween day, I share this Native American myth of Spider Woman - a goddess or deity. This beautiful meditation from Madonna Gauding's, The Meditation Bible, introduces you to the power of myth to invoke spiritual understanding of our interconnectedness.

Long before the universe existed, lonely Spider Woman sat down to think. Suddenly she had an idea. She was the weaver, so she set up her loom and began to weave. As she wove, a star appeared each time one thread crossed another. Before long she had woven thousands of stars. Each one was tied to every other one in the web. She stopped and looked at it, but it was not quite what she wanted.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

F.E.A.R.

Halloween is tomorrow and the ghosts and goblins, scary faces and skeleton bones are just waiting for their chance to come out! Sometimes it's fun to be scared and feel a little fear; to watch a scary movie with your BFF or do something daring for the thrill or shear terror of it! Fear serves a valuable purpose. Without it, we wouldn't know safety. But fear can keep us confined to our safety net and prevent us from branching out and growing. How nice it would be if we could turn it on or off at will like a faucet!

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Gift For You


I am always striving to improve the quality and breadth of what I design and offer in my art. There are lots of choices out there and I want to keep my current customers coming back and referring others, as well as growing my business by attracting new customers.

I would love, love, love your support by filling out this brief survey. It's 100% anonymous, so be honest! We're all busy, but hopefully you have connected with what I do for a reason and will find two minutes to help me gather important information about what people like or don't like when buying jewelry and accessories.

When you have completed the short survey, you will receive a super, duper, secret code for 15% off your next online purchase! Just in time for the holidays...We both win!


Monday, October 24, 2011

Greet Your Day

Did you know that most contemplative monks and nuns, Catholic and Buddhist, begin their day around 3 or 4 a.m.? They greet the light with prayer and meditation. Native Americans of the Lakota tribe greet the sun rising as the manifestation of Wakan Tanka, the equivalent of God in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Your daily ritual may involve getting up to an alarm, rushing to shower, dress, eat, and then dashing to work. For a change, set your alarm early and begin your day with the sunrise -- Mother Nature's daily expression of hope;

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Meditations: Do The Dishes


Wait - don't X-out of this yet! This one could be just for you. And your significant other. And your mom, your dad, your best friend, and ESPECIALLY for the guy that's teetering on the brink of road rage because he can't accept the moment he is in.

This Monday Meditation is called "Do The Dishes". Yes, you heard me right. Doing the dishes (or any household chore or mundane activity) can actually be done as a form of meditation. As long as you do it with awareness and attention!

In the Zen tradition, one is encouraged to perform every action with total, one-pointed mindfulness. I once read that when Deva Premal (if you don't know this spiritual musical artist - check her out - especially her Love is Space album) was a young girl, she would repeat to herself whatever she was doing at any specific time to help her stay in the moment. So imagine, when she was setting the table her mind might sound something like this: "I am walking on the cold floor with the basket of bread. I am putting the bread on the dark wood table. I am looking at how many forks are on the table. I need another fork. I am walking to the kitchen to get another fork..." and so on.

By getting in the habit of doing this, you make it very difficult for other distracting thoughts to keep you off track -- thoughts that create worry of something to come, or thoughts of regret for something that happened in the past.

Practice

The next time you have a meal to clean up try this:
1) As it may be easier to accomplish this meditation if alone, send anyone else out of the kitchen (they'll be thrilled!).

2) Pick up your first dish and begin washing it. Focus exclusively on the dish and the sink. If thoughts intervene, return your focus to what you are doing. When the dish is clean, slowly and mindfully place it in the rack. Pick up your next dish and continue in the same manner.

3) Your mind may stray but try to stay in the present moment and the task at hand. Notice the movement of the water, the soap suds and the comforting warmth of the water on your hands as you rinse a plate. Notice the dishes, the glasses, and pots. Approach the experience as if it is the very first time you have ever washed the dishes.

4) Even though it will take much longer than usual, wash every item in this manner. Although exaggerated, try to bring this level of awareness and deliberate attention to more and more of what you do throughout the day. Keep your mind present and engaged.

For me, I know this will be challenging. I typically look at meal cleanup as something I want to get over with as quickly as possible so I can get to my other priorities such as helping my kids with homework or relaxing with my husband.

Maybe I'll begin practicing this meditation with the breakfast and lunch dishes. Once I get that mastered, I'll move on to the dinner dishes!

Happy (or should I say, "Mindful") Cleaning!

This meditation was adapted from The Meditation Bible by Madonna Gauding.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Art Glass Patio Sale at Balboa Park



Come see Cocoon's new home accessories and jewelry this weekend at the Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park. The Art Glass Guild's is having it's annual Fall patio sale from 10-5 Saturday and Sunday.

Jewelry, vases, accessories and more created in the medium of glass using various processes such as blowing, flame-working, fusing, stained and mosaic glasswork. Come take a look at the amazing talent in our area and get some of your holiday shopping done early!

See you there!


Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Meditations: Flower Power



This week’s Monday Meditation is about Flower Power!

Flowers are exquisitely alluring and a potent source of inspiration. Their fragile beauty captivates our imagination, and their very presence uplifts and heals. A single rose, an iris, an orchid or lily - all bring to mind a fantastic, almost shocking splendor.

Concentrating on a flower as a form of meditation can elevate your spirits and soothe your soul. A single flower can provide focus for our attention while energizing and calming our stressed-out bodies and minds.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mandala Meditation

This week's Monday Meditation involves coloring a mandala while visualizing what you'd like to manifest in your life.
Closely associated with Buddhism and Hinduism, a mandala (Sanskrit for "circle" or "completion") is typically a two dimensional painting or drawing of a three dimensional sacred space. It is usually circular and ranges in intricacy from a very simple design made for children, to an incredibly elaborate design that can take hours to complete.
(Personally, I am really looking forward to practicing this meditation and reverting back to being a little girl when I could become totally immersed and present while coloring.)
How can a Mandala help?
People utilize mandalas for many reasons. Most commonly they are used as meditational aids and in ceremonies of peace. But even psychotherapists are using them to help their patients (including children) resolve problematic emotional states and gain insight into hidden problems. Other opportunities to create or use a mandala include:
- to aid in prayer
- to help focus

- for spiritual and emotional healing

- for relaxation

- for awakening

- for personal growth


The Sand Mandala
The sand mandala is an ancient art form that is unique to Tibetan Buddhism. The artwork is made by placing fine sand, which is ground and dyed by hand, into an intricate design of the world in its divine form. It is intended to serve as a map by which the ordinary human mind is transformed into the enlightened mind. One of the most interesting aspects of Tibetan sand mandalas is that the diagram is meant to be impermanent. After days or weeks of painstakingly creating the intricate pattern in sand used in a peace ceremony, the sand mandala is swept up and spread into a nearby body of water as a blessing. Many people find the dismantling and scattering of the sand to be the most moving part of the ritual.
Time to Practice Your Mandala Meditation
There are many types of mandala meditations you can try. The one I selected, Manifesting What You Desire, is just one of many from One Million Mandalas by Madonna Gauding. Take your parent and/or adult hat off and let that little kid in you come out for a bit.
1) Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and try to clear your mind of any thoughts. Simply concentrate on your breathing for a few minutes.
2) Open your eyes and select a pre-drawn mandala that feels right for you and what you would like to manifest in your life. You may print this mandala to the left, or do an online search for a printable mandala that appeals to you. You can even create your own mandala.
3) Begin to color your chosen mandala with colored pencils, or any other traditional media. Start at the outer ring and work your way to the center. Choose colors that you feel drawn to in thinking about what you desire.
4) As you color your mandala, visualize what you would like to manifest -- perhaps a job, a relationship, a house, a more mindful parenting style, or something as simple as a new pair of shoes. Feel what it would be like to have what you desire, and imagine it in as much detail as you can.
5) Depending on how intricate the mandala selected is, you may not finish coloring it in one sitting. That's ok, you can return to it as often as you need to, practicing visualizing while coloring it. Once finished, place your mandala where you can see it on a daily basis until you manifest what you desire.
Make sure to let me know how it goes for you if decide to try it. Have fun with it!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Spacious Mind Meditation



With one thought constantly following another, your mind may start to feel claustrophobic. This meditation will help you clear your mental 'space' and give you a much-needed mental holiday. Our minds are filled with memories, desires, plans, worries, and other mental impressions. Our constant thinking adds to the disarray. This meditation will help you clear your mental clutter and create a peaceful, open, spacious mind. By creating mental spaciousness, you will realize

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Dark and Sultry Art of Fabian Perez

"Proud To Be A Man"
"Flamenco"

Fabian Perez – I discovered the art of this amazing South American a few years ago at the Monarch Gallery on Prospect in La Jolla. I fell in love with his dark, sultry style and his subject matter of flamenco and tango dancers, lonely souls in dark bars, brothels, heartache, loss, beauty, age, the passing of time. There are so many emotions that are stirred up when viewing one of his paintings. There are so many levels on which to identify with his work. The sadness, the loneliness,

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Meditations: The Universe is Testing Me


(This week's Monday Mediation post is written by a guest. I welcome anyone to contribute to my blog platform to offer other viewpoints, insights or experiences to add to our well-being and avenues to expresses ourselves!)

By Elizabeth Manzo, guest blogger

Over the past month and a bit, I have been unexpectedly homeless for two weeks, learned a hard lesson in friendship, moved three times, and had my first (known) stalker break into my apartment while I was there (incidentally creating the need to move a fourth time). Besides all of these overtly negative happenings, my practice as a yoga guide are growing,

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hugged Your Liver Lately?


Ok, fess up. Who tried the Inner Smile Meditation this week? I am proud to say that I did – not only once or twice, but probably 30 different times! How is that possible? I’ll tell you. Because I discovered that this type of meditation was, for me anyways, one that could be done on the go!

While running, I would take a few moments to think about how

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Making Glass Stringers


I love to learn - my husband calls me the Forever Student. But when you are an artist, I think it is crucial to keep learning and incorporating newness and experimentation into your repertoire!

Since June I have been taking all kinds of classes and workshops to further my glass exploits. I took a weekend workshop with a wonderful glass artist, Rob Morey, who is local to San Diego. He introduced us to several techniques such as silk screen printing onto glass, using glass enamels and paints, organic matter (fusing glass over plant leaves), laser printed images in glass, etc.! So fun and such an inspiration for new ideas.

Something that he is really into right now is a process being called Vitrograph - creating thin lines of glass to create design. The thin lines are created by pulling molten glass while in liquid form (is that redundant?) and stretching and manipulating it before it cools.

He offered to show me how on a day he was pulling stringer at his studio. I brought my glass and we heated it up in his kiln to 1700 degrees until it became molten. Pliers are used to literally tug the glass as it slowly begins to ooze out of a hole in the bottom of the kiln. It feels like you're pulling taffy! The faster you pull it down the more it stretches and the thinner it becomes before cooling and hardening. If you pull it and then bring it back up on itself quickly you get these great squiggly lines of glass that are so much fun to use in other projects. The video here shows my introduction to the process and how I used it in some larger pieces later. I had a blast and now have 2 boxes full of stringer. It will probably take me years to use it all!











Monday, September 12, 2011

Inner Smile Meditation





This week's meditation is in honor to our inner bodies and the wonderful organs that reside there. It's origins are in Taoism an Ancient Chinese philosophy.

"Smiling to yourself is like basking in love: you become your own best friend. Living with an inner smile is to live in harmony with yourself."
                                                  - Mantak Chia, Taoist Master

You can practice the inner smile meditation any time, anywhere, even when you are waiting in line at the grocery store. It can be particularly beneficial if you notice any disharmony in your body, and it is a good exercise to strengthen your connection to it.

Benefits
  1. Promotes awareness of your internal body and organs
  2. Prevents illness
  3. Promotes healing
Remember in the movie Eat, Pray, Love when Ketut tells Julia Roberts, "To meditate, only you must smile. Smile with face, smile with mind, and good energy will come to you and clean away dirty energy. Even smile to your Liver."? That was such a powerful line to me. It made me realize that yes, even your organs can "smile" if they are happy and loved, and it's up to us to provide that happiness, health and love.

Practice
1. Preparation You may want to look over an anatomy book or website to remind yourself where particular organs are in your body and what functions they serve.

2. Sit Comfortably near the edge of a chair with feet flat on the floor

3. Imagine and visualize a source of smiling energy about three feet in front of you. (This can be an image of your own smiling face or of someone or something you love and respect. It could be a ball of radiant light or a plant.)

4. Let It Flow Allow the smiling energy to accumulate between your eyebrows and flow down through your face, neck. and into the space behind your sternum. Picture it glowing and full of vibrant health.

5. Expand Your Heart Center Feel the stream of smiling energy flow down into your heart. Feel your heart expand with love and happiness. Radiate the love from your heart to your lungs. Breathe in the smile, feel your lungs fill with life sustaining breath.

6. Share the Love Now smile into your other organs - the liver on the right side, just below the rib cage; your kidneys in your lower back; your stomach and pancreas.

7. Feel Gratitude Thank these organs for their hard work and effectiveness.

8. Visualize Continue sending this smiling energy to any other area in your body. Wherever you feel tightness, discomfort, pain or unease, use your smile to soften those areas. Even if some of these organs are suffering, envision them healthy and functioning smoothly.

9. Keep It End by storing the smiling energy in your navel area, about 3 cm inside your body. See if you can access this smiling energy throughout the day when you notice something making you tense (traffic, a rude person, a headstrong child). Know that this energy is always there for you to access.

We can't all be in Bali looking like Julia Roberts (and sitting this straight), but we can all smile . . . even to our livers.

This meditation was adapted from Madonna Gauding's book, The Meditation Bible.




Saturday, September 10, 2011

Solace in Encinitas


Normally you wouldn't find me writing about restaurant experiences in my blog, but I am just too excited about the stuff that is happening in my backyard town of Encinitas! Not only is it on the world map for yoga and surfing, but Encinitas is fast becoming a destination spot for its funky shops and GREAT restaurants!

This past weekend my husband and I went to chef Matt Gordon's Solace & The Moonlight Lounge in the heart of downtown Encinitas. It's located at the new Pacific Station, the recently opened, mixed-use project that boasts several shops, a Whole Foods Market, a super cool condo development and underground parking (which this city is now going to need).

Even though it was a Sunday night and Solace just opened a couple of weeks ago, there was a decent crowd that continued to grow while we were there. We sat outside the Moonlight Lounge upstairs so we could have a view of downtown, the sunset, and also be privy to the action inside.
"Modern French" cocktail
Seared Albacore Chop Chop

What we ordered was to die for - the Seared Albacore Chop Chop starter followed by the Four Cheese Grilled Sandwich with Tomato and Basil. Yum. Yum! YUM! Hubby had their Hefeweisen beer, which he loved. I tried their Modern French cocktail (organic gin, organic vodka, lemonade with Lambrusco wine float. All good. The food servers and bartenders were all very friendly, accommodating, and great team players. They all helped each other out and genuinely seemed motivated to make sure we had a good experience.

I was a little disappointed that they served red wine in a small white wine glass. My husband is Italian and has taught me well, so I have to call them on that one! (Maybe they just haven't gotten their red wine glasses in yet.) The pour was also very light - hopefully that was an oversight and they don't literally measure the ounces like some places do. The last thing I will whine about is this: I know that having to deal with building codes while trying to maximize seating is a huge challenge, but the unisex single bathroom on each floor was a little unsettling. Sorry! Just being honest!






Getting back to what is awesome about Solace though - I love the portrait at the bar of Jeff Bridges (silkscreen on wood?) by local artist Jason Feather. I was told that it was Gordon's homage to the actor for his role in "The Big Lebowski". Very cool that Gordon introduces some mystery, and gets patrons involved by providing an avenue to inquire and learn a little factoid about him!

I also love that as part of a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building, Solace uses recycled bottles as light fixtures, organic ingredients, local farms, happy eggs, healthy fish, hormone- and antibiotic-free meats, and natural sodas!! I am also a big fan of chef Matt Gordon who finds the time to cruise around the restaurant, checking in with the patrons and staff to make sure everyone is happy. They just started offering lunch and will soon be adding Sunday brunch and entertainment. Can't wait!

Did I mention that I love, love, love, that it is only 2.1 miles from my house?!

Friday, September 9, 2011

I Danced, Did You?

I wanna know. Who was brave enough to dance their hearts out in the company of themselves and maybe a confused pet or two? Did you try the Dance Trance meditation??

No?
Well, there's always next week.

Yes?
Good for you!!

I tried it and I will definitely be doing that one again. I created a playlist on my iTunes that was just a little over 30 minutes. It started out fast and ended slow.

I loved it! But I sorta knew I would. The best thing about it though was that I could count it as "meditation" even though it just felt like reckless abandon and pure fun. I will admit that at first I kept checking the window feeling certain that the gardner was going to unexpectedly show up or that a neighbor would appear looking to borrow a cup of sugar, but I got over that quick enough.

And then it was just the music and me. And my dog Scooby, looking at me like I had finally lost it.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Necklace Giveaway

Monday Meditations Giveaway!

Besides improving your relaxation, mental health and goal achievement, here is another great reason to follow along in my new Monday Meditations.

By liking Cocoon's facebook page and commenting on your own meditation efforts (or just letting me know you're with me) you can win a peace or ohm sign necklace!! And, it gets even better. Each comment counts as an entry.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Dance Trance Meditation


OMG - break out the leg warmers!!!....No, seriously, DON'T!!! Unless they speak to you. This week I'm going to practice the Dance Trance from the "Get Moving" section of The Meditation Bible by Madonna Gauding.

Here is what she says:
This movement can be lots of fun, and it can bring up a flood of emotions. If you end up laughing or crying, your tendency may be to stop. It is important to keep dancing no matter what happens. Dance through any feelings and see what emerges.

This meditation is about emotional, physical, and spiritual release. The idea is to transcend your usual left-brained linear thinking and access the wisdom of your body in movement. Through dance and letting go of thought, you may have realizations about reality not normally available to you in ordinary life.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Swing & Soiree

Golfers and Shoppers, this one's for you!

Cocoon will be setting up shop at the Lucky Duck Foundation's Swing and Soiree, benefiting The Fanconi Anemia Research Fund, Challenged Athletes Foundation, and Father Joe's Villages. Read about the organization and how they help our local communites here.

The event will take place next month, October 24th, at the beautiful Santa Luz Golf Club.

Mingling, golfing, and shopping - sounds like a good time to me! Hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Training Wheels

Thought I would share my experience with this week's Monday Meditation - Flowing Water. Let's just say that my dog, Scooby, did much better than I did!

Since I don't have a small desk fountain, I decided I would utilize the waterfall in my backyard spool ("spool" - bigger than a spa, smaller than a pool = spool!). The first time I tried it was at night and was actually quite wonderful. I wrapped myself in a blanket, closed my eyes, and listened to the waterfall. I could feel the coolness and moisture in the air that was created by the water and I breathed it in. The entire 90 seconds was bliss, and then my kids burst out of the house to see what the heck I was doing. They thought we were going to have a nighttime swim even though it was past their bedtimes on the 2nd day of school!!

That's ok. I tried it again the next evening - this time

Monday, August 29, 2011

Flowing Water Meditation

This week I'm trying the "Flowing Water Meditation" from The Meditation Bible by Madonna Gauding. This is a great little book that appeals to both novice, and seasoned meditators. It's broken down into sections depending on what goal you are looking to achieve through your exploration or practice of mediation.

I found this particular meditation in the Calming and Centering section of her book. It can be done on the beach, next to a creek or park fountain, or in your home sitting next to (or in!) the bathtub as it fills with water.

Monday Meditations

Monday- It’s the beginning of the work week for many, a time to really gather yourself and get ready for the week ahead. It can be overwhelming sometimes! So I’m trying something new to help me from distraction, and keep me living in the present moment.

Monday Meditations.
Every Monday (well, I miss one here and there), I’ll be posting a new meditation to try that I will draw from The Meditation Bible by Madonna Gauding and other sources as well. I will also have guests contribute posts about their personal experiences with meditation or some form of well being.
I really like Madonna Gauding's book because the meditations are condensed (which we can all appreciate) and they are broken down into the following categories:

• Calming and Centering
• Living Mindfully
• Healing Body, Mind, and Spirit
• Getting You Moving
• Generating Love and Compassion
• Solving your Problems
• Manifesting your Dreams
• Connecting to the Divine

Meditation is not all about just sitting on a cushion. (In fact, if you are more comfortable laying down instead of sitting, go for it - it is your practice, after all, and you need to do what works for you.) I’ll even be trying some that involve dancing! Although many people attribute meditation as an exotic practice, it’s simply making the choice to focus your mind on something, or to just sit and experience "no thought. It’s a down to earth approach for everyone, of any religion.

Why Meditate?
• To give your mind a break from the relentless stream of thought
• To envision what you want in your life
• To Improve Health
• To Sharpen your Mind
• To be More Aware of Body and Mind
• To Balance your Emotions
• To Experience Gratitude

If you’re new at meditation, you will most likely find these to be non-intimidating and simple; and if you’ve been practicing for a while, these meditations can bring you new inspiration.

I’m starting today with the Flowing Water meditation.

Please feel free to try these with me each week and share your experiences with it. You can email me your reaction to the meditation or just write on my facebook wall or blog post and let me know how it went for you!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

It's a Luv Thing

Tonight I'll be at It's a Luv Thing, a hippie chic little boutique in downtown Encinitas, for their monthly happy hour.

Come by and check out some of my Peace & Love collection and enjoy a cocktail and the comfy styles of this awesome little luv shack!

Happy Hour with Cocoon
5-8p
It's a Luv Thing
1053 S Coast Highway
Encinitas, CA

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

To Market

Farmer's Markets selling farm-fresh, pesticide-free produce and food products have grown in popularity in the United States with the increased focus on healthy eating and preservation of local farmers and natural resources. Throughout the world, however, small weekly markets in rural villages have been the norm for centuries.

Every Wednesday in Montefiorino, the main town in the area we are staying, there is an outdoor market from 8am - 12pm. The market, held in the main piazza of the town - an area of about 100 square feet, is quite

Monday, August 15, 2011

Buon Apetito

[caption id="attachment_3207" align="alignleft" width="180" caption="Prosciutto e melone"]
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Italy is synonymous with melt-in-your-mouth culinary experiences. I have tasted my fair share of delicious food here and I thought it was only right to give you a few bites! (You can see more in this album.)

The region I am spending most of my time here is in Emilia Romagna, known for parmesan cheese, tortellini, lasagna, gnoccho fritto, tigelle, porcini mushrooms, prosciutto and balsamic vinegar, just to name a few.

Gnoccho Fritto (nyo-ko free-toh) is a typical meal from the area. It translates to "fried dough", which is a pretty good description of it. It's a type of pasta dough that is rolled out thin and cut into diamond shaped pieces about 4 inches long.