If you have been following my blog, you may have caught on that I love food. But not just any food, healthy, nourishing, colorful, organic, local and beautiful food.
I am always looking to grow my knowledge of plants, herbs and food so I thought I would pick up some new fruit I don’t know much about and have never tasted. Here is just one of many photos and illustrations of the fruits I sampled. This one is the dragonfruit, or pitaya.
The dragon fruit is native to Mexico, Central and South America, but can be cultivated in places like East and South Asia, Hawaii and Australia. Like a kiwi, you consume the fleshy part, not the skin. Unlike the colorful and striking exterior of the fruit, the flesh was bland with a slight sweetness like that of a melon or kiwi. The dragonfruits are a good source of vitamin C and is rich in fiber and minerals like calcium and phosphorus. The seeds are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids. Dragonfruits contain phytoalbumins, which have antioxidant properties that help prevent the formation of cancer cells. Additionally, dragonfruits are also known to increase the excretion of heavy metal toxins from the body. These are just a few of several nutritional benefits you will find about the dragonfruit. More fruit and food profiles coming soon.
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My name is Christine Lindstrom and I am currently in the lovely little beach town of Ocean Grove, NJ. I am such a nature lover, and my work is so very inspired by the feeling of calm I get when I can grab a second to just relax outdoors – whether it’s for a cup of tea on my porch, a bike ride around town, or a long walk on the boardwalk to clear my mind. I often think of myself as similar to a plant, in the sense that, if I don’t have sunshine, I wouldn’t be able to live!
I am an illustrator and designer, and I like to think that my business is an ever changing, constantly growing expression of my creativity. I love all things pretty, and my goal in life is to simply keep making, sharing and experiencing things that make a person feel delighted at the sight of them. I have always made it a point to stay true to my own vision and intuition when I make my work, so I suppose my business is unique because of my own personal taste and vision. I have never been good at this question when I’ve read it in business books, except to know in my heart that I am unique because I stay true to what’s in my heart at all times. Not many people live by that guiding light so stubbornly as I do
My passion in life thus far has been to inspire people and to bring a little beauty into their lives. I used to work as a pastry chef for a cake decorator, and the feeling of satisfaction I got from knowing that I had created a memory of happiness, just through something I created, was amazing. I am passionate about our connection as human beings and I feel that art speaks to this connection and brings all of us closer in a world where we are often so alone in our own minds. It may be a small contribution, but I have had many experiences when one piece of art, whether it be a song, a book, a movie, or a painting, has changed my trajectory so drastically, that I know deep down that I am doing something worthwhile.
It’s the little things that always make me happy and inspired – a sunny day, French macaroons, buying new art supplies, a quiet moment in my garden with my sketchbook, watching my cat enjoy a spot of sunshine, grocery shopping, fresh flowers. The list of little things that inspire me is endless. I find that happiness comes easiest when one pays attention to simplicity.
I’m obsessed with Anthropologie, and my dream would be to sell some of my stationery or future home decor designs in their gorgeous stores. Other than that, I don’t really know if I would weigh any other customer as more of a dream than any other. All of my customers are so lovely and the messages they send me about my work is always such a dream in and of itself!
Dealing with the ebb and flow of business has been a challenge from day one. Even years later, I find myself worrying that one day this will all just come to a complete stop. I always need to keep myself balanced, calm and confident, though, knowing that I have created this business and I have structures in place to continue its growth. Reminding myself that all of this has come from hard work, and not luck, has been a good mantra to live by. Also, keeping a healthy work/life balance is a constant struggle when you work from home and your to do list beckons you at all times. Actually scheduling in down time and time to see friends and family has been helpful at evening that out lately.
“A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.” – Bob Dylan
As long as I’m still living by that statement, then I’ll be happy. From what I can tell now, that would mean painting, eating good food, having people in my life that I love, and experiencing all this world has to offer. I don’t need much, what can I say?
This is interesting, because the universe has somehow brought some of my role models into my life and turned them into actual mentors. So, I suppose any new role models that I come across in my life would probably simply get me saying something like, “I’m a big fan of your work. How’s it going?” That has worked out pretty well in the past.
9. If money was no issue, where would you be and what would you be doing?
I would definitely still be painting, but would probably experiment a LOT more than I already do. I have always wanted to spend my summers here in New Jersey with my friends and family, and spend winter someplace warm (as much as I love nature, I can’t stand the cold for more than a few days). I would also travel a lot – spending time someplace different for a month or so at a time would be fantastic.
Be authentic to who you are and listen to your intuition. Also, it’s good to remember that life is constantly changing and often comes in cycles of good, bad, stressful or blissful. Learning to accept the shifts and changes as they come is important to keeping the balance.
I am currently listening to: I can’t get enough of Lana Del Ray lately!
My favorite book is: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Or The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle
My favorite business tool or piece of equipment is: Romantic answer: My Russian watercolor set, or a new panel or canvas to paint on. Practical answer: My iPhone. It does everything!
My favorite quote is:
“I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
― Steve Jobs
Meet Heidi, a beautiful, talented and strong woman. I first met Heidi a few years back and asked her to design and construct my wedding dress from recycled material. After dozens of drawings and fittings, we landed on the perfect dress. I call Heidi strong because I know that designing a wedding dress from scratch, for a neurotic Bride like me, couldn’t have been easy. So, thanks Heidi, you helped make me feel beautiful while allowing me to wear a dress that was locally and sustainably made. You are an inspiration to me and I am so grateful to have worked with you. Enough about me, here she is:
1. Tell us about yourself and where you’re located.
I’m Heidi Brown, a clothing designer, step-mom, and fabric hoarder. I spend my days in my studio sewing, patternmaking, designing graphics, planning photo shoots, and being generally productive. I spend my evenings doing mom stuff. My nights, often very late nights, are spent conceptualizing collections or at the sewing machine.
I’m lucky enough to live just outside Ithaca, NY in Slaterville Springs (although my address says Brooktondale). My family and I have a house on top of a hill with lots of forestland surrounding us. It’s a pretty wonderful life.
2. What is your business and what sets you apart from others?
I’m the proud owner of sustainable design company, Heidalas. I’ve always thought that what sets my clothing apart is the equal emphasis on style and sustainability. I don’t sacrifice either in my designs. I like to think that my clothes speak to a style that is fresh, fun, and just a little different. I use all organic, renewable and recycled materials in order to be nice and respectful to Mother Nature.
3. What is your passion in life and/or business?
My passion in life and business is the same: to create. I like to make things, using my brain and my hands. Really, it’s more like a need. A compulsion. The sustainability aspect is such a part of my day-to-day life that it never occurred to me to design in another way. I buy organic and recycled fabric for the same reasons I buy organic food and recycled clothing for my kids: it just makes more sense to me to live that way.
4. What brings you ultimate joy and inspiration?
Nature. Nature and silence. In a moment of silence the city can be almost as enchanting as the forest. Both settings seem to bring out a feeling of awe in me that often compels me to be creative.
5. Who are your dream customers/clients?
My dream customers are the ones that keep coming back! But really, I like to think that modern women like Summer Rayne Oakes (Source4Style founder, activist, and model) would be drawn to my style. Classy, adventurous, conscious, women that take the world by the reins. An expendable income sure helps, too!
6. What has been one of your biggest lessons or challenges as an entrepreneur, and how did you learn from it?
My biggest lesson came when I approached my second store. The owner tore my designs apart, and rightly so. It was terribly humbling, embarrassing, and totally opened my eyes. I realized that I wasn’t really designing anything new, that I was embellishing the used. I went straight to work and have spent the last five years learning to drape (for real), make patterns, and build a sewing repertoire. I’ve been testing designs at craft shows and local clothing stores throughout that time and finally, with Spring/Summer 2013: Simple is Better, I feel like a real designer.
7. Where do you see yourself in 3 years from now?
Three years!? I barely plan 3 weeks ahead! But by 30 years of age, I would like to have established my brand with a couple dedicated team members and be working on one of the other 50 or so sustainability or fashion related projects I’d like to see happen here in Ithaca, NY. Maybe another little human running around the house, a few more rooms painted, another garden up the hill. Pretty standard, I think.
8. If you had 30 seconds in an elevator with your role model, who would it be and what would you say?
30 seconds in an elevator with Betsy Johnson. I’d say what are you doing for the next meal/do you want to grab a drink. And then I’d ask her to tell me everything and promptly shut my mouth.
9. If money was no issue, where would you be and what would you be doing?
I’d be traveling all the time and sewing only when I feel like it, or can’t help it. My studio would be it’s own building next to the house with separate rooms and unlimited supplies for painting, drawing, designing, sewing, and maybe stained glass (my Mom does it, I’ve always wanted to try). We’d be adding tons of ridiculous additions to the house, paving the driveway, and generally sprucing the place up.
10. Any words or wisdom you would like to share with others looking striving to become their dream?
Trust yourself, don’t give up, don’t give in, and only believe half of what everyone tells you. The trouble is learning which half.
Fun facts about me:
I am currently listening to: The Lord of the Rings (I can’t listen to music while I sew; dancing at the sewing machine is dangerous!)
My favorite book is: The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood and Little Altars Everywhere
My favorite business tool or piece of equipment is: My serger.
My favorite quote is: Life is 1% what happens to you and 99% how you react to it.
And just in case you were curious about my wedding dress, here it is.
My husband has mastered this amazing gluten, dairy and sugar-free granola recipe that dresses any parfait perfectly.
Natural, Nutty Granola
- 3 c. gluten-free rolled oats (we use bobs mill)
- 1/2 c. cashews
- 1/2 c. pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 c. almonds
- 1/2 c. raisins
- 1/2 c. dried banana chips
- 1/2 c. maple syrup
- 4-6 tbs. of grape seed oil
- 1 tbs. cinnamon (optional)
- Mix everything but the raisins & banana chips in a large bowl. Spread onto baking sheet.
- Bake at 300 degrees till golden brown, about 1 to 1.5 hours. Mixing every 15-20 min.
- Let cool and toss with raisins & banana chips. Serve. Enjoy!