A Mother’s Day Gift to Myself

by liza

This is a piece I sent out to my circle of women friends 6 years ago on my first Mother’s Day as a mom. It was written by Nancy McBrine Sheehan. As I read it again on this eve of Mother’s Day 2011, I find I am still learning many of these lessons. I realize, it may take me a lifetime, but whenever I touch this path in the slightest, I can feel a beautiful, happy, and strong difference in Luna, and in myself.   And so, I commit to you, to Luna, and to my coming child that I will always do my best to bring myself back to this path. I write it here today thereby giving you all permission to hold me to it and so that you too may give yourself permission to live a fulfilling life.

Mothering Myself

In a society preoccupied with how best to raise a child,

I’m finding a need to mesh what’s best for my children with what’s necessary for a well balanced mother.

I’m recognizing that ceaseless giving translates into giving yourself away.

And, when you give yourself away,  you’re not a healthy mother and you’re not a healthy self.

So, now I’m learning to be a woman first and a mother second.

I’m learning to just experience my own emotions without robbing my children of their individual dignity by feeling their emotions too.

I’m learning that a healthy child will have his own set of emotions and characteristics that are his alone.

And, very different from mine.

I’m learning the importance of honest exchanges of feelings because pretenses don’t fool children,

They know their mother better than she knows herself.

I’m learning that no one overcomes her past unless she confronts it.

Otherwise, her children will absorb exactly what she’s attempting to overcome.

I’m learning that words of wisdom fall on deaf ears if my actions contradict my deeds.

Children tend to be better impersonators than listeners.

I’m learning that life is meant to be filled with as much sadness and pain as happiness and pleasure.

And allowing ourselves to feel everything life has to offer is an indicator of fulfillment.

I’m learning that fulfillment can’t be attained through giving myself away

But, through giving to myself and sharing with others,

I’m learning that the best way to teach my children to live a fulfilling life is not by sacrificing my life.

It’s through living a fulfilling life myself.

I’m trying to teach my children that I have a lot to learn

Because I’m learning that letting go of them

Is the best way of holding on.


The Underbelly of My Belly

by liza

It’s been a while since I posted. I’ve been uninspired. Blah about everything. I feel heavy, lethargic, tired. I can’t  get up and dance with Luna even if she tries to lure me with her favorite Michael Jackson tunes. I feel a lot of fear. I feel protective. I’ve completely lost my filter for what to say, how to say it, and who to say it to. My truth seems to be involuntarily spilling out of my mouth at inopportune moments and I’m offending people left and right. I haven’t even been enjoying Ayan’s food. Nothing he cooks excites me anymore. And worst of all, my “mimis” as Luna likes to call them are enormous, and I’ve got a good 5-10 pounds of extra padding all over my body. Every time I catch my reflection in a window – by accident – I sink deeper into depression.

But today’s a new day. March 1st has arrived. Finally. The sun is shining. I’ve seen some flowers peek out of the ground here and there. The prairie dogs are squeaking on the path to Wonderland Lake here in in Boulder. Things are looking up.

Winter Blues? I don’t think so.

I know, it sounds like Seasonal Affective Disorder, Winter Blues, – all remedied by the sun’s glowing rays. But you see. I live in Boulder where the sun shines 300 days out of the year. And honestly, our winter was super mild. Nope, today marks the end of my first trimester. I’m pregnant with my second child. I’m 38 years old. And whoa, that trimester was a doozie.

Whether you’re having your first, second or third child, you never know what your pregnancy will be like…and your pregnancy will never offer hints of how your birth or your child will be. The pregnancy experience is so random and so powerful. My first time around…pregnancy was a new thing I had never yet experienced. This time, I know exactly what I’m getting into and the life force of this new being seems to be much stronger than my will.

The social pressure to be “excited” and happy as soon as I found out the news was overwhelming. Honestly, it’s the biggest decision a human being ever has to make. It carries with it the hugest responsibility of all possible endeavors. The obligations are endless. And..yes…it brings joy and love and opens your heart more than one can imagine.  BUT – not when it’s in your belly it doesn’t. It’s the beauty and grace of a newborn, the smile and laughter of an infant, the imagination and creativity and freedom a growing child – that opens your heart. When it’s in your belly, it’s easy to be in denial. it’s hard to fully admit and accept that something is really in there. It’s not like we instantly have a cute pop-out belly to prove the existence of baby-ness inside of us.

Body image and self-judgement.

And the body image issues. They feel abusive and yet again – no control over them. Lots of self-judgement and negative self-esteem comes with suddenly being big without having a valid, tangible, and visible explanation about why it seems like I just got breast implants. It seems like body-image issues are the secret underbelly of pregnancy. Very few women talk about it so women must feel so alone in their journey. It’s all shocking to me because I’m fortunate enough to be able to say I’ve never really had many issues with body image – well – not more than your average woman in America. (Realistically, there’s only so much you can combat NYC larger-than-life billboards of Kate Moss staring down at you from above for your entire adolescence.) The whole experience of demeaning my value to how skinny or fat i am at the age of 38 feels so foreign. And yet, I know we all carry this tendency inside of us and it saddens me to think of the unnecessary suffering we put ourselves through. Women are not just beautiful, not just gorgeous, but downright awe-inspiring creatures regardless of the size and shape of their bodies. Our spirits are resilient, our hearts warm, and our lives open.  We are vulnerable spectacular beings. And yet – such ludicrous self-talk.

We’re not alone.

I know I’m not describing every single pregnant woman’s experience. But after doing some research online, I’ve found that I’m not alone. That many women are quietly suffering this strong level depression during their first trimester just like there are post-partum.

Miraculously, as the clock struck March 1st – it all but vanished. I still look fat – not pregnant. My “mimis” are still supersized. And my taste buds are still muted. But now – I’m excited, I’m not acting out of fear, and I’m looking forward to meeting this new spirit that has chosen Ayan, Luna, and I as his/her family for life.


p.s. if you feel like you could use some more support around this issue, consider reading Does this Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat? by Claire Mysko and Magali Amadei.

What was your experience around your pregnancies? Would love to hear from you if this resonates.

Democratizing Free Travel

by liza

One of the things you’ll find when perusing this website is that I love coaching. I’m particular about who I work with. (Having been an acupuncturist for years, I’ve found that many people ask for help but actually don’t want to make changes.)  I’m also specific on what I focus on. (Since there are enough Life Coaches out there, I figure, it would be more beneficial if I just stick to my unique ability rather than cover lots of ground.)

Dream in Clear Vivid Color

What I enjoy doing more than anything is create Clarity & Strategy in the minds of my clients.  Many of us are moving & working towards one goal or another – pay the bills, buy a car, buy a house etc…without ever having stopped to think about what it is we really want in the first place. Without a dream and a clear goal, people are moving on some kind of hamster wheel to nowhere.  I LOVE helping people get crystal clear about what they really want. I require dreaming in high definition.The Aha’s, the relief, the enthusiasm and new energy people suddenly find when they can name their dreams and have concrete plans to get there – is worth every minute I spend working. Personally, I never asked myself the question until I was in my late 20’s and then it took me a decade to peel away the layers of social and family expectations to really figure it out. Life is too short to waste that much time.

Interestingly, what I have found more and more, is that when people are really allowed to dream, with no limitations of money, geography, or obligation, there is one dream that ends up in everyone’s TOP 5 without fail.  People dream of travel. Perhaps it’s because it seems so reserved for the privileged. Maybe it’s safe to dream about it since it won’t come true anyway. Or maybe people equate travel with a sense of freedom.

Sample Travel Dreams

Here is a sample of travel dreams I hear often:

“I want to backpack across Nepal.”

“I want to go dive off some remote island.”

“I want to be able to travel first class..every time.”

“I want to travel for longer than a week – anywhere – just let me stay for a while.”

“I’ve always wanted to see New Zealand – you know – where Lord of the Rings was filmed.”

“I want to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.”

or the most spoken dream of all… drumroll please…

“I want to go on Safari in Africa.”

I then embark on the task of helping my clients strategize a plan that will allow them enough disposable income to join those first-class traveling, fortunate folks.   I teach my clients to think long term.  I teach them financial literacy (the stuff we should have all been taught in high school,) i teach them to budget without feeling restricted – to enjoy life and to always work toward a goal they really want rather than work aimlessly day in and day out – to simply survive.

But is it really possible to reach the level of financial freedom necessary to travel the way they dream of?

Equalizing the Travel Playing Field

It is now. If you remember one thing about Chris Guillebeau, who I highlighted in my very first blog post, you’ll remember that he made a vow to travel to every single country on every single continent in the whole world by the age of 35. Not only has he almost reached his goal, Chris’s worldwide adventures have been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Entrepreneur, CNN, Wired, Psychology Today, Huffington Post, Writer’s Digest, Moneysense, Budget Travel, Oregonian, and thousands of blogs.  Chris maintains a million-mile Frequent Flyer mile balance spread among six different airline programs.  Now Chris is ready to teach the world how to fly free, fly first class, get round-the-world tickets, and pay no more than $150 for a ticket to ANYWHERE. He even guarantees that if you follow his instructions, you’ll get one free ticket every three months.  He just created the Travel Hacking Cartel. The goal of the cartel is to equalize the travel playing field so everyday people can go to not-so-everyday places. Hats off to Chris for giving people a chance to make their dreams come true.

Join the Travel Hacking Cartel

So – I’m writing this quick blog post – to give you access before anyone else hears about it. It’s not expensive to learn the tricks ($1 for a 14-day trial) – a no brainer. And the benefits? well – i’ll let you go back to your dreams to imagine those.  I’m officially one of his first 1000 customers – and I HIGHLY recommend you join me. Do I get a little commission if you follow this link? I do. But I can’t imagine a better way to ensure that I make my travel dreams come true  – than to invite all my friends to come with me. For those of you who know me, you know I am NOT a loner. The more the merrier is my motto. So join me, and let’s bust out of here.

Don’t you want to pet some tigers too?

What’s in it for you…

1. Regular “Deal Alerts” sent via email and SMS/text message (when a big opportunity comes up, you will be the first to know)

2. Tutorials and an extensive Knowledge Base to get you started (THC research showed that most people have no idea what to do with miles and points… now you’ll know)

3. The Refer-a-Hacker Program that pays members 500 Frequent Flyer Miles for each referral.

4. The “World’s Greatest Guarantee” – if you follow THC directions and spend at least 30 minutes a month travel hacking, you’ll earn enough miles for at least 1 plane ticket every quarter, or 4 plane tickets a year (THC also provide info on how to redeem miles for great awards)

Disclaimer: Ayan & I don’t write this blog in order to sell things. We write this blog in order to share our lives and find like minded souls. Occasionally, we come across deals we want to pass on to our readers.  The Cartel won’t be for everyone. Don’t feel like you need to join. Only join if you dream of travel to exotic places and you’re tired of doing it by reading National Geographic. Last chance before I quit dreaming for you, click here to check it out.

Hope, Hate, Love, & Fear

by liza

Do people really respond better to messages of fear & hate than they do to messages of love and hope?

I have been fascinated by this question all my life. It has been on my mind lately because of my recent study of  business & entrepreneurship.  All the classic books on marketing & advertising teach the same dark message. Market to people’s fear, advertise to people’s sense of lack. Infuse a sense of urgency and scarcity. You can only imagine that this goes against every fiber of my being. After all, I am a leader in Team Northrup, a group of people that base our entire sales philosophy on the Law of Abundance, Attraction, & Prosperity in order to succeed.

The three responses to pain

Life isn’t just made up of marketing and advertising maxims…so I turn to my life experience to explore the subject. This is what I have found.

Trauma, war, verbal or physical abuse, even school-yard bullying inspires one of three responses. The first and the more common response is to assume that the majority of people have natural instincts to be hurtful, jealous, even evil. We can become paranoid that the next trauma or source of pain can come from anyone, anywhere, anyhow. So we are guarded, we are careful, vigilant, armoured, and not trusting. We have good reason to be this way because life has proven to us that evil is indeed possible. What’s more, the armour is working. We feel protected from pain. There is a downside to this, though. It is easy to feel alone inside that armour. We are afraid of life. We take less risks because life is bound to slap us in the face..or worse.  As a result, we are open to less opportunity for health, wealth, happiness, and love. But who cares? At least we’re not in pain, right? At any rate, “if they did it to me once, they can do it to me again, so I better prepare.”

The second response is to detach. We are neither guarded nor vulnerable. We are numb. We feel neutral about all things. This way, even glorious love can no longer hurt us. We are impervious to deep emotion. We are unaffected. We are…safe. Those of us that follow spiritual paths often misunderstand our teachers and philosophies to think this really is the goal – equanimity – detachment . Really, we are embracing a state of denial. All we have to do is look at the Dalai Lama and our theories are blown.  He is obviously full of laughter and joy rather than the neutral detached state of enlightenment we think we are pursuing. He can even express feelings of glee from just a taste of ice cream. Clearly we spiritual seekers have it all wrong…but that’s a whole other can of worms I won’t get into right now- perhaps in a future post. In short, when we go neutral, we are neither happy nor sad. We may feel safe but we are not making the most of this precious life we have. We are letting it pass by right before our eyes until it’s too late. But that’s cool. Feeling safe is worth it. “If I can’t be reached, I can’t be hurt.”

The response that changes lives

Finally, we come to the rare response. I like to call it the Elie Wiesel response or the Victor Frankl response. Despite the atrocities that both of these men suffered in Hitler’s death camps, they both seemed to emerge all the more compassionate and all the more inspired to help others any way they could. Elie Weisel established the Foundation for Humanity to promote Tolerance not just towards the Jewish people but towards all of mankind. He received the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize for his work speaking out against violence, repression, and racism. This is the type of response to pain that is best explained as “I suffered greatly, and I will do what I can to make sure no one suffers like that again.”

Victor Frankl, an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, is most famous for his work entitled Man’s Search for Meaning. He lost his wife, he lost his mother, he went from esteemed physician to slave laborer and emerged with this as his major realization.

“A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth — that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love.”

As an Israeli Jewish woman born in New York City to recently immigrated parents, trust me, I’ve spent most of my life surrounded by people who have the first response. I was implored to live in fear of what’s to come, fear of who will turn on us if we’re not careful, fear that people might be jealous so I better keep my achievment and happinesses quiet. But from within my world, it was people like Anne Frank, Elie Wiesel, or Victor Frankl that lit the path I would eventually follow. Having worked with rape victims (1 of 6 women have been sexually abused in their lifetime), I have witnessed first-hand the common response of self-hatred, fear, hatred of others, and repression be passed down from woman to woman through generations.  Look at the health industry, or should I say, sickness industry – that rewards our doctors for more procedures and prescriptions. The conventional birthing industry is another fear based institution. It disproportionately instills fear into pregnant women throughout their pregnancy about what can go wrong rather than how to prepare and celebrate the miracle of life that is upon them. And, as I said above, the business world is no different. Having marketed a documentary film to Academy Award nomination, produced an acoustic jazz record to the shelves of the once-popular Tower Records, and currently in the world of marketing online, the message is always the same. Prey on people’s sense of lack, fear, & scarcity. It has been statistically proven that people respond to that more quickly and easily than they do to messages of positivity.

Love trumps all

Well, here’s the good news for 2011. Thanks to one of the well known brilliant teachers in the world of  the internet, I learned of some statistics that validate my urge to do it differently – to respond in the way that my spirit is most aligned. In his 2011 State of the Internet Address, Frank Kern informed us that if you look up the word HATE in google, you will find 171 million sites. If you google the word FEAR, you will find 197 million. My goodness, what are people doing with their time?

You’ll be happy to note that the word HOPE came up with over 500 million searches, and the word LOVE…drumroll please, 1.8 billion searches! Victor Frankl was right. Love gives us meaning. And for those of you fellow Michael Jackson fans who saw This Is It at least one time on the big screen, behind the scenes, in rehearsal for his big show. He ended every need or request to his crew  by spelling out “L-O-V-E.” It’s everything he stood for. When Ayan & Luna cook together, he always makes sure to ask her to add the secret ingredient before serving – you guessed it – Love. From the google searches, it’s clear, it’s what the world is most searching for and responding to.

So, LOVE will be my theme for 2011. It will be infused in my communications & my marketing. I’d love for you all to join me in this pledge to replace hate & fear with hope & love not just in your own actions but to hold that standard for others in your circle of influence. I can all but guarantee it will come back to you tenfold.

Happy New Year.

Gently Down The Stream

by ayan

One of my all time favorite films is Babette’s Feast. My take on the film… it’s about a woman who loves what she does.  She is an artist.  What she does is make great food  regardless of how it is received.  Some call this being authentic.  I do agree with this idea of authenticity.  As long as what’s authentic is allowed to change tomorrow and the next day.

Anyway, Babette wins the lottery and takes all the winnings to cook a feast for friends and the town folk. For the most part, the sublime meal isn’t received the way the gourmands of Paris have in her distant past. But it doesn’t matter really. She is just rowing her boat downstream. Doing her thing.

Living with Ease, Happiness, and Love

Why am I writing all this?  After having lived 46 years I am finally on the cusp of rowing downstream, letting go of some rigid, judgmental, tight-assed ideas and enjoying life.  It’s like giving myself the freedom to be what I am and not what I think I should be.  Because being what I am is easy.  Trying to be something else?  Now that’s paddling against the current.  It’s been a long road from the guilt-ridden, authoritarian-raised, judgmental, and generally disagreeable fool that I once was.  I can laugh about it now because life, by way of Liza, has finally pushed me through the darkness.

I have these choices to make every waking hour and I am just beginning to get a taste of what it’s like to not resist, to let go of the way I do things that just plain don’t work, to do what I enjoy, to surround myself with those who support me.  We often hear that it’s not the destination but the journey that demands our fuller attention.  After all, if the destination is the same for all of us, why not enjoy the ride.  Besides, wagging my tail is a lot more comfortable than keeping my gluteus contracted.

Liza wrote the copy for my twitter page that reads “Studying the art of living with ease, happiness and love.”  Yep, that’s me. Life is. Beautiful.

Scrumptious Crispy Duck

What I am offering this week is a sheer pleasure for me to prepare despite the cooking process taking as long as two days.  Why?  Because it’s a culinary slam dunk and my daughter always helps me clean and cure the duck. It’s a family event.  And it’s the holidays!  She has been making this dish with me since she was 1 1/2 years old.  Check out this video from about 3 years ago….

This crispy duck starts out with a szechuan peppercorn, coarse salt, and 5 spice powder marinade that cures the duck for 24 hours.  The salt pulls the moisture from the bird while infusing it with the fragrance of the szechuan peppercorns.  After a rubbing of rice wine and ginger, it is then steamed for 3 hours to slowly render off the fat while keeping the flesh moist.  After steaming, a rub of sweet soy, and a dusting of flour, its off to a flash fry to finish off the skin to crispy perfection.  I have tried finishing it off in a 475 degree convection oven with equally fantastic results.  Since the detailed recipe is fairly long and wordy, leave me a comment below with your email and I’ll be happy to send it to you.

If making this dish is not in line with your patience level, find a friend who can happily make it and get yourself invited to dinner.  Happy holidays !


p.s. another way to taste this dish is by registering to our next Boulder Kitchen Club event on Wed, Jan 12th.

p.p.s. the duck recipe comes courtesy of Jeff Thickman, a celebrity chef and dear friend from Florence, Italy.

There’s Simply No Need to Conform

by liza

So here I am with a brand new blog. It’s time to write my first entry and who do I get to meet in person? None other than Chris Guillebeau, the famous non-comformist, the leader of the small army of remarkable people, the traveler that will have visited all 192 countries on this planet by  his 35th birthday, the writer that is changing the world one blog post at a time. I find this timely encounter with Chris, an extremely auspicious sign that appears just as I am first entering the blogosphere It completely validates my instinct: our community is worth building.

Through his writing, Chris has essentially created a grass-roots movement of people that inspire each other to challenge the status quo.  What makes this small army remarkable is that they are all committed to living life on their own terms. They do not let anyone dictate what they do or how they spend their time.  One example of this is when Chris’ book, The Art of Non-Comformity, was released in September, his publisher did not want to support a book tour. The AONC community responded in droves.

The proof is in the community.

In honor of his book launch, his fans organized meet ups in each state and baked cookies and cupcakes to boot. Here you can see my daughter getting ready to devour an elaborate yet home-made cupcake. In the background were people waiting to see which part of the cupcake she would attack first. After all, the child is the ultimate non-conformist and this was a free lesson from a master.

The Denver meet up turned out to be organized by Cynthia Morris, a former acupuncture client of mine. We were so happy to reconnect. She is a writing coach, traveler, and non-conformist all her own. The photo to the right, was taken by, Sharon Wharton, a fellow blog reader and small army member who showed up to the Denver meet up to volunteer her photography services. Now that’s community.

After meeting Chris and experiencing his energy first-hand, I was inspired to spend the rest of the weekend reading every piece of free content he had ever offered (there’s a lot of it.)  I’m also in the middle of reading his book, for which 100% of Chris’ proceeds go to Charity Water. He writes about everything from how to maximize your frequent flier miles when traveling to how to get paid to do what you love, how to work for yourself, and of course, how to do what you want despite what others might expect of you. He is such a simple person, humble, authentic, and respectful of people’s time, efforts, and dreams.  He changed the world and shows us all it’s possible for us to do the same. By the way, I am totally looking forward to meeting 500 members of this small army of remarkable people at the upcoming World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon. I’ve never been to Portland and this is the perfect excuse. I’d love to meet you there too, so let me know if you plan to attend.

Why am I spending my entire first blog entry writing about Chris?

First, as a Libra, I must tell you now, I’m a sucker for beauty. And Chris’ website is one of the most beautifully designed sites I’ve ever seen online. (props to Reese Spykerman).  If you’re into design, you have to check it out. Second, one of my gifts (if I do say so myself) is my ability to find the best in anything I engage in. I place such a high value on time, that I don’t waste any of it with anything or anyone unless it/they represent “the best.” You can go ahead and call me a quality snob. I’m proud of it. In this case, Chris is one of the best in the blogosphere. Since I know that you get dozens of emails in your inbox daily,  why not get brilliant paragraphs of inspiration, motivation, and practical advice from a leader we can relate to, like Chris, who checks in twice a week and makes sure we are busy doing things WE want to do for reasons that are meaningful to US. Trust me on this. Or at the very least, check it out for yourself.

I also devote my first blog entry to Chris because he inspires something very dear to my heart. He inspires and embodies courage. In my 38 years on the planet, I have come to realize that courage is one of the single most important emotional muscles needed in the pursuit of a life of fulfillment.  We have to exercise that courage muscle until it is so fit, that engaging it becomes habit, second nature.

Courage is the key to growth.

Courage  allows us to break through ceilings set by others, ceilings created by our past experiences, ceilings created by old beliefs that are holding us back. Courage gives us the ability to change when necessary. If we can’t change, we can’t grow. And according to my emergent & evolving philosophy on life, growth is one of two ingredients that make up a life of meaning (the other being contribution.) I know many of us find ourselves stuck or in transition these days – and I can confidently say that the single most important quality you need to unstick yourself – is courage. Thank you, Chris, for inspiring courage in all that cross your path.

I’d love to hear what remarkable things you are up to. In fact, I’m sure we’d all love to know. So please share in the comments below. We can always use more inspiration.

Talk soon…


p.s. Although Chris offers a lot of stuff for free, he also happens to be having a huge sale right now on ALL his guides. Subjects range from freelancing to frequent flyer mastery. Sale ends at the end of today. (fyi, here’s the affiliate link. don’t miss out on his Unconventional Guides at a discount.)

p.p.s. From the dozens of facebook comments we got, we realized  that many people ended up being super happy with the cranberry sauce recipe. Thanks for giving it a go.

p.p.p.s. Invitations went out for the next Boulder Kitchen Club, so sign up in the registration box so I know you want an invitation all your own.

Cran in a Can?

by ayan

I remember my first Thanksgiving after having arrived fresh from the Philippines.  What most caught my attention was the sight of a red, perfectly cylindrical, gelatin-like thing on a plate.  I asked what it was and someone said “cranberry sauce.”  What was so saucy about this jiggly thing?  Part of me thought “canned food is still cool in some parts of the world.”  Part of me thought “Americans have peculiar habits.”  This appears to be a special occasion and someone has just slipped a piece of red gelatin out of a can and served it on a plate.  Part of me thought this was some sort of joke.  It got better when someone sliced the thin disks of the “sauce” and fanned them out.  Yummm…

Well, thankfully there are other options for our exalted sensibilities.  The recipe below has been Liza’s sought-after contribution every year.  It is lively, complex, and way yummy.  This sauce just dances in your mouth.  And we all know how much help a big old turkey can use.  The lime and ginger add acidity and spice to an otherwise plain-old-sweet sauce.  I think we quadrupled the recipe last year and the crowd ran through it before anything else was finished.  If we’re lucky Liza will make a bucket of sauce this year.  I’ve considered tinkering with this recipe by adding a little gelatin, cooling it off inside a can in the fridge, slipping it onto a plate, and fanning out the thinly sliced disks old school style.  Yeah!

If you make it, let us know how it turns out.

Ginger and Lime Cranberry Sauce*


½ cup water
zest and juice of 1 lime
½ cup sugar
½ cup real maple syrup
1 bag fresh cranberries
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
pinch of salt
freshly ground pepper


1. Put the water, zest, lime juice, sugar and maple syrup into a medium-sized heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered until the sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes.

2. Add cranberries and continue to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add ginger and mix well. Continue to simmer for an additional 8-10 minutes, until most of the cranberries pop.

3. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

*Recipe by Joan Brett, Founder of Culinary School of the Rockies

We’re so excited to share…

We can’t believe we did it. We finally created a home for ourselves online. We’re thrilled to announce the official launch of our first website, lizaplusayan.com. This site was built as a way to connect with our global friends & family and anyone else who’d like to participate. It was built as a representation of our lives, our inspirations, our community, and our journey.

Our intention was simple -to create a platform from which we can share our lives with you more often and more closely no matter how distant or nearby you may reside.

Here we plan to offer recipes, remedies, & random musings and to hopefully exchange them with you so we can hear about yours as well.

Here we will post about cooking, business, parenting, entrepreneurship, health, financial freedom, emotional freedom, the physical body, herbal or dietary remedies for the common ailments we go through from season to season, spiritual pursuits, and some plain old fun stuff with no point to it whatsoever.

You can hope to hear from us approximately once a week and if you put your email address in the little black box on the right, you’ll get a convenient email each time we post. Otherwise you’ll have to check back on the site on your own to catch our entries and who has time to do that? (Putting your email in the box is our way of knowing you want to participate.)

So here it goes. Would love to hear your thoughts. (You can always leave comments below.)

with so much love and gratitude for being part of our lives in one way or another,

liza + ayan