Friday, March 28, 2014

Favorite Friend Friday: Mickey Trescott of Autoimmune Paleo

Mickey Trescott is a personal hero of mine. Having suffered from severe dermographism and urticaria (autoimmune reactions) for nearly 25 years, I started a blog called The Itch Factor, which was about my journey with discovering the connection between food, my gut and my skin allergies to health. Mickey happened to stumble upon The Itch Factor and offer her recipes to help in my journey! Because of business and time-related constraints, I retired that blog and focused on Mickey's blog and ebook: Autoimmune Paleo

Since starting the protocol, with Mickey's help, I have been able to reduce my medications from six allergy pills a day to ONE. Talk about a medical miracle, it honestly brings me to tears! And recently, Mickey released her brand, new hardcover cookbook, The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook and I could not be more excited. We're delighted to have her here, as our Favorite Friend:

 What exactly is the Autoimmune Protocol?
The Autoimmune Protocol is an elimination diet where a person removes certain foods for a specified time period (usually at least 30 days), in order to pinpoint which foods they are sensitive to in addition to heal the lining of the small intestine, which is usually compromised in those with autoimmune disease (this is called “leaky gut”). In addition to removing certain foods, equally as important is adding in nutrient-dense foods that help heal the gut as well as nourish the body of someone facing chronic illness. Over time, a person is able to reintroduce foods to determine what diet is best for their particular healing journey.

What is your story--how did you come into following the Autoimmune Protocol?
I discovered the Autoimmune Protocol after being diagnosed with two autoimmune diseases: Hashimoto’s and Celiac. I was told that if I just removed gluten from my diet and took some thyroid hormone I would be back on my feet again, but that was not the case. I had a downward spiral that left me without the ability to work any longer, and I was desperate to find a solution. While I had been a strict Vegan for 10 years, even going as far to try cleanses and raw food diets, this time nothing was working to help me regain my health. I decided to switch to the autoimmune protocol in a last-ditch effort. To my surprise I found out that the nutrient deficiencies that I had gathered during my time as a Vegan were really holding me back from healing (and yes I tried supplements—they did not work!). Nothing seemed to turn it around until I discovered the potential of real, nourishing foods.

The cookbook is absolutely gorgeous--and self published! What was the experience of writing/self-publishing like?
Thank you! Writing was what I thought it would be, self-publishing was a whole different experience. I had a hard time finding a publisher who believed in my vision for the book, and early on I decided to do it myself so that I could retain control over the process. I think the big difference between working with a publisher and self-publishing is that it takes a LOT of money up front, and you get that final call working with the contractors when usually the publisher would do that for you (I’m a little OCD, so I liked this, what can I say?). What I did to make the financial piece happen was start a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo to help with production costs. In addition to that, my husband and I invested most of our savings in the first print run. Sometimes it was a little scary, but mostly it was really exciting. I was incredibly blessed to have worked with such amazing people who were experienced in how to put it all together and let me ask novice questions without making me feel ridiculous!

I see you recently became certified as an NTP (Nutritional Therapy Practitioner), has that always been a goal or did it come along with the creation of this cookbook?
When I came out of my illness and realized what an impact eating quality animal products was having on my health, I decided to pursue more education in the nutrition field just because I was still stuck in the Vegan mindset and didn’t understand how these foods could be good for me, so it was mostly personal. Then I thought it would be a good addition to my career as a personal chef, and decided I wanted to not just to cook for people, but learn why the foods I was cooking for them were able to nourish their bodies. Being an NTP has been a great foundation for all of the things I am doing now—writing, cooking, teaching, and consulting.

 Is this your only job--do you have a "day job" of sorts?
I quit my cooking gig last September to work on the book and blog full-time, so yes, this is my “day job!” I also have a lot of help—there is no way I could be running all of this alone at this point!

You seem to be bombarded with nutrition questions, especially on Facebook. Do you have any especially poignant stories of people who you've been able to help along the way?
Yes, my favorite story is about a dear friend’s mother. I had no idea she was suffering from autoimmunity, and one day I noticed her interacting with people on my Facebook page. I reached out to her to ask how she was doing and if she wanted any help, and she casually mentioned that she had lost nearly 50 pounds and was feeling amazing. Not only that, but she was really enjoying eating “real food” and thought her diet was really simple, colorful and fun. I had no idea she was even trying AIP, and It brought me to tears realizing that I had a role in helping my friend’s mom regain her health through the info and support I was providing. Pretty amazing!

What is your favorite recipe in the book?
The Orange-Rosemary Roasted Duck!

What is the one non-AIP food that you miss the most?
Cherry tomatoes fresh from my garden. I’m hoping I can bring them back someday!

What is your favorite restaurant in Seattle--and what do you order?
I don’t eat out much in Seattle since there aren’t a lot of places with gluten-free kitchens. When in Portland, I always visit the Cultured Caveman Food Cart, which is 100% gluten-free and Paleo. Since I tolerate eggs now I get the chicken tenders, but when I was on the elimination diet I got the mini “hidden liver” meat loves. Yum!

What do you like to do in your free time?
I don’t have much, but when I do I like to knit, shoot photos with my film camera, and make pottery.

If you could travel to any country, where would you go and why?
Argentina! I am hoping to do a big road trip down to Tierra Del Fuego and up through Patagonia. I grew up going there because my mom is from Buenos Aires. I think it would be a great place to visit since I have lots of family to catch up with, and there is a lot of great meat in Argentina!

Do you have future plans/goals for the Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook and site?
Now that the book is done I am working on building up the site as a better resource for those on the Autoimmune Protocol. I love providing my readers with free recipes and resources of how to get started. I’ll also be doing more speaking and teaching, to hopefully bring some face-to-face instruction to those who like learning that way instead of reading online!

Thank you so much, Mickey! Visit the Autoimmune Paleo website, or grab your copy of Mickey's new cookbook, here

Photos courtesy Autoimmune Paleo.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Those Girls Guest Post: Fresh, New Face, Jennifer Munson

I met Jennifer Munson last month and got to chat with her about her aspirations in the creative world. Like Emily and I, Jennifer is interested in good design, branding, crafting and connection. I was interested in her perspective from a younger standpoint, as someone just starting out in this creative business world. What do Those Girls look like to someone who is ten years younger and beginning her creative career? Is this world daunting or inspiring? We asked Jennifer to write from her perspective as in “in-betweener” (post-college, pre-desired career) about navigating the creative world as a newcomer, and how she feels about breaking into a “Those Girls” club, and how she feels about the people behind the styled blogs and shiny businesses. Her answer remarkably spans all ages of creatives.

I think everyone likes to think the perfect answer is out there. This ‘answer’ is as varied as the questions, and the people asking them. The Internet and the vast social media networks at our disposal, along with a multitude of other informational websites have brought unprecedented amount of information to our fingertips. Not just technical, factual information, but the kind of subtle, detailed information that comes from the precious, small moments in everyday life. I think this is the appeal of blogs, largely. It’s not just the information or the ability to find something new, but the ability to peer into someone else’s universe at a strangely intimate angle.

However, there is a tiny, paradoxical caveat in this perspective, and that is that it isn’t real. It’s constructed, a virtual reality, real enough in its own context, but not in the context of a life as it’s being lived. Blogs can be incredibly inspirational, and yet they are untouchable. You cannot curl up and live inside of them. But, I think it might be this imperfect pursuit that makes the ability to connect in this way beautiful.

I’ve dabbled and tiptoed around the edges of creative work for my entire life. I battled with myself over this particularly in college, flip-flopping through five wildly different majors before graduating with a business degree. While I sometimes lament not committing to a more creative option, I think there is a lot of value in what I learned in this field of study. My most valuable lessons were learned while doing my honors thesis on branding. This topic, studied for many labor-intensive hours, is what’s stuck with me the most. Not just because of the time spent doing it, but because branding bleeds into everything: people, businesses, artists, and their work. The successes and failures of branding are everywhere. I cannot help but analyze how great a role it plays in each of our lives today, on a personal level as much as a corporate one.

As much as creativity has always been a part of my life, I’ve never quite given any one thing enough time to become masterfully engaged by it. I feel like I’m a Jane of all trades, master of none. This can be frustrating, but I’ve nonetheless continued in this fashion. In the nearly three years I’ve lived in Seattle I’ve written a variety of blog posts with varying intent. I’ve contributed to music projects (my own, and others’), acted as a studio engineer, songwriter, and vocalist, played bass at a neighborhood block party, filmed short pieces and live performances. I’ve taken classes to learn about live sound, and classes about herbs and wellness. I’ve felted hedgehogs, and knit 2.6 inches of a scarf. I’ve designed logos, banners for bands, and album covers. I’ve consulted with friends and family on their various small businesses, and given them advice and information on the importance of establishing their own brands. When I look back on this chaotic time, I have to acknowledge that I’ve managed to cover a lot of ground. But now I want to pull it all together.

Though my experiences have been scattered, they have brought me a diverse perspective and an appreciation of all creative processes, even those I may not excel in myself. Looking out into a sea of beautiful creators, it can be difficult to feel like there’s a way to break in. However, regardless of what stage they are at now, each successful creative’s path seems invariably the same on a few key points: consistent, diligent output, and there is no quitting. Like the sentiment of ‘failing up,’ there is no such thing as true failure. There is ‘that one thing you did,’ and ‘the thing you do next.’ I’ve learned that I need to prepare myself to persevere, not if, but when I embarrass myself in a creative ‘failure.’ I struggle to tame this fear, but I’ve realized that there is no success without these moments. I take comfort in the fact that pursuing a creative living is in many ways very simple, and fully within my control. No one beside myself can stop me from trying.

All the knowledge in the world is well and good, but nothing without making connections. Meeting people, and learning about them, what they do, and conveying ones own goals and passions is perhaps the greatest tool anyone has. As much as my life post-college has not gone the way I imagined it might have, all of the experiences I am most grateful for have been as a result of the people I’ve met. This is another super exciting aspect of blogs, there are so many more people to meet, and most of these creative individuals are in charge of their careers independently. People are able to connect almost instantly over topics they mutually love or are interested in. Bloggers tend to form strong communities. So, you’re not just viewing a webpage, you’re actively engaging with another human. Blogs are the ultimate form of people watching. If you look to any number of highly successful bloggers, people who seem to just draw people in, odds are you’ll notice they have branded themselves well. A good brand is a concise, accurate, an open representation of the person. When things start to feel too fabricated and glossed over, this connection becomes more feeble. Design and brand should help to connect people, and I think those who have had success in creating an online presence proves this.

There are lots of ways to create a professional and confident image, but it is less easy to inject the right amount of warmth into this manicured persona. This is where consistency and content really come into play. It’s not just that you’ve put something together to showcase; it’s being present, showing that you care, being accessible. I’d like to cultivate this kind of attitude and style with my own work, display myself in a way that is clean and professional, yet, much like the “Those Girls” series, I want it to be real and approachable too.

I think there will always be room for those who aspire to live and work creatively, but it requires a relentless work ethic, business sense, and a strong awareness of image. If any of these ingredients are lacking, the task becomes considerably more challenging. As someone just starting out, someone with a compass that seems to point in every direction, I’m starting to find comfort in the chaos. So far my observations of others’ success have emphasized less the creative processes itself, and more about the people doing them, they way they work as a whole, the fact that they produce an ever-growing body of work. I’m starting to appreciate how valuable it can be to embrace my own chaos, and take advantage of the fact that I’ve done so many varied things. Doing is the real important part. So I’m going to do- as much as I can with the tools at my disposal.

Thank you, Jennifer! You can follow Jennifer at her website, or on Twitter or Instagram.

Photos courtesy Jennifer Munson.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Tiny Worlds (Part 1) in Queen Anne

Happy Friday! Remember when we talked about inspiration? The sun in Seattle is (as silly as this sounds) a very inspiring source for creativity. On a walk yesterday, I couldn't help but notice tiny worlds developing in the smallest of places: a moss meadow, a valley of tiny foliage, a field of greens. I photographed a few of my old porcelain + plastic friends in some little environments around the neighborhood. I hope these Tiny Worlds--the start of a new series--will inspire you!

What worlds are in your backyard?

Images by Andie Powers.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Artist Spotlight: White Elephant by Sipho Mabona

Lately, I've been having a hard time becoming inspired to create. I don't know what it is--Deadlines? Winter? Lack of sleep? However, conceptual origami artist, Sipho Mabona of Mabona Origami has turned a light bulb on in my brain. What an inspiring and fresh, new artist.

Image via Migros Magazin

Images via Sipho Mabona by Phillipp Schmidli.
Sipho's crowdfunding project (watch first video below) was successfully funded four months ago and, in what I can only imagine is record time, has produced his beautiful, life-size origami elephant--now on display in Art KKLB, Beromunster, Switzerland. I'm so excited to see what Sipho creates next. His ideas for future life-size animal origami pieces are awe-inspiring. Love that bear! Watch the videos below to grab some inspiration for yourself.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Fun Event: Wise Craft Book Launch at Drygoods Design!

One of our very good friends, Blair Stocker, is releasing her first book this weekend at Drygoods Design! This Saturday, the 8th of March, at 6pm--meet Emily and I in the Drygoods Studio where we'll be grabbing a copy of the book, getting it signed by Blair, having treats and drinks, plus learning fun projects from the book! We hope to see you there!

Drygoods Design
5308 Ballard Avenue NW,
Studio One Seattle, WA 98107
(through the Anchored Ship coffee shop and up the little flight of stairs to the left).

Monday, March 3, 2014

Crafty Project: Linoleum Block-Printed Geometric Onesie

The babies are coming--so many babies! Last week, we were given a few onesies that we were to decorate for a friend's brand new baby! He was coming soon (about two days after the shower!) so we needed a quick decor option and not a lot of fuss: linoleum blocks it is! We did a full tutorial on linoleum block printing last year, so definitely refer to those instructions if you are starting from scratch.

You will need:
• a linoleum block
• several onesies (in case you mess up)
• an ink brayer
• fabric ink (I used my old gocco fabric ink)
• a surface to pull ink--I used an acrylic sheet
• a pencil
• linoleum cutter
• not pictured--an iron and several sheets of paper to iron over

First, draw your design onto your linoleum block. It doesn't matter if you mess up (see my weird floating triangle in there?) the cutting is what really matters.

When you have your design exactly how you want it, use a "small V" cutting attachment to go around your design lines. Once you've cut your lines, use a larger "U" to dig out the areas that you do not want to stamp. I even used the knife portion of the cutting tool to remove full areas that I did not need, which is up to you!

After you are finished carving your stamp, pull some of the ink with the brayer until it is evenly spread onto the roller. Lightly roll over your stamp (or if you are using an ink pad, pat the stamp against the pad) in order to see any mistakes you might need to remove on the stamp.

After you're finished making sure your stamp is cut perfectly, stamp a few times on a sheet of paper or a loose piece of fabric to test. If the impression is to your liking, prepare your onesie by placing a thick piece of card stock or an acrylic sheet (as shown here) inside the onesie to protect the back from getting ink on it.

(I also taped the sleeves and sides to the table in order to avoid any wrinkling.)

When you're ready to stamp, pull a thin layer of ink over your stamp and press it to your surface. Create your design and allow the fabric to dry. Once the impressions are dry, remove your acrylic sheet (if you used paper, you may leave it in there), and cover the design with a sheet of paper. Iron on high heat for about one minute to set the design.

Now you're all finished! Wrap that gift up (a onesie with a funsie for big sis) with some baker's twine and you're all set! Thanks to Madi and Sarah for the onesies and lovely shower to Jaqui (and baby Enzo).

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