Sustainable Halo

A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song. – Chinese Proverb

Blogging October 7, 2009

Filed under: Sewing the Seeds — Simple Jess @ 5:24 pm

Blogging is such a fascination for me. There are scores of wonderful blogs out there. I mean I could endlessly read blogs. I love to see how they are organized, what their general theme is, what is their purpose, etc. But I really love to learn more about the writers. I am always so curious about who it is out there that is writing the material. I often wish I knew them and the more colorful side of their everyday lives. In the internet age, we have formed a new kind of relationship! What used to be restricted to reading books about characters, watching television shows and communicating with pen pals has transformed into a cornucopia of networking relationships that I find very thrilling! There is a danger, however, of losing the magic of grocery store conversations, long walks with friends, playing cards with friends instead of a computer, activities and involvement in the community, etc.

I have taken classes in person and also via the computer. While a I like the pace and freedom of online courses I truly savor the classroom setting. Especially when you find your instructor to be vibrant and wise. I like to challenge my brain with a computer game but it is really pretty one sided…it is mostly your imagination. I prefer to play cards or games with real people where the real kaleidoscope of fun takes place. In recent years, I had gotten to the point where I detested phone conversations and found myself texting. While I still text, I find a good phone conversation a much better release.

I strolled the boys to the market today and there was a lovely older woman, who I discovered was a ripe 83 years young, and she stopped to give the boys a sweet hello. We started chatting and it turned into a wonderful connection. I could have stayed in my hurried, distracted and pragmatic mind frame that I was in: you see I had groceries to get and we had to walk home yet and I had to……you get the point. Instead, I took a moment to experience her colorful wisdom: the same experience I sometimes wish I could have with my favorite bloggers.

Woman in Garden

So my suggestion to my readers today is that you find the hidden gems in your community. Be open to innocent communication with your neighbors and townships. Step away from your cocoon of your home and all of its comforts. You just might find a friend. As always, you will always have a friend in me. You are all my brothers and sisters and wouldn’t it be so nice if we ran across each other at the market?

Love and light,

P.S.  No this is not the woman I met, but pretty darn close:)  Mine had some really stylish sunglasses on!


We’re the Chipmunks August 22, 2009

Filed under: Adventure!,Sewing the Seeds — Simple Jess @ 3:23 pm

I found myself looking at my children and wondering, “What should we do now?”  This is a question that many a mother asks herself now and then.  Its like you have writer’s block and cannot coax one more creative thought out of your head.  They look at you with a look like, “Come on, Mommy…you are the best.  What’s next?”  Only a little bit of pressure there, right?

So on this particular occasion I figured we needed a change.  Since moving to the island, we rarely use the car for anything and while we are very grateful for that sometimes it is just nice to go for a drive.  I tucked them into their car seats and looked through my childrens’ CDs.  We settled on Alvin and the Chipmunks: Undeniable.  It has some really cute cover songs like 3 Little Birds, All the Small Things and Acceptance.  You can also rock to Livin’ on a Prayer, Shake Your Groove Thing and Undeniable.  One of my personal favorites is the cover of Don’t Stop Believin’ from Journey…its a flash back with a childish and silly twist.

We took off down the Strand and the California sun was blazing.  We were rocking to the music and I could not help but smile: like really, really wide.  I thought about how funny it would be if this were just me, without my kids.  I probably would not have done that.  My children bring such a pure and quickly oscillating energy to my life that I am so grateful for.  Sure it can be frustrating at times but it is a gift, one that I am truly grateful for.  So we were intoxicated with Chipmunk fun for about 15-20 minutes.  The ocean was calm and the breeze was blowing through the windows as we cruised along the Strand.  This was a memorable time and I suggest you all find these moments as often as you can.  Its the gift that comes with life, this purely creative and joyful opportunity that presents itself now and then.  Don’t miss it because you are so caught up the daily grind.  Pay attention and be aware of the energy when it picks you up in its swell…live it out!

Love and light,



Natural Children August 11, 2009

Filed under: Nature,Sewing the Seeds — Simple Jess @ 4:18 pm

It is a constant mission of mine to improve environment around my children in the best way I know how.  As mothers, most of us do that.  There are so many creative ways to add spunk and originality to our days with our kids.  It can be incredibly difficult, though, when we are dealing with all of the complexities of life.  If we get too caught up in frivolous mind stuff and societal pressures we can easily find ourselves disconnected from our kids and frustrated.

Today, I would like to share a few creative ideas I came up with to enjoy life naturally with my children.

1.  Anyone who has had a baby knows the challenge of diapering them when they get past the goo goo ga ga stage.  Many mothers I know, including myself, keep little toys handy to distract their little fingers from reaching down into the goo in their pants!  Not to mention the twisting and turning…ughhh.  I liken it to wrestling with big fish or octopus in your hands while trying not to contaminate anything.  So my new spin on this not so angelic side of mothering I came up with this:

Keep handy seashells, rocks (outside of the choking diameter,) starfish, fresh flowers (preferably the edible kind,) anything natural that you deem to be safe for them to fondle.  Then while you are diapering them offer one up and talk to them about the object.  Use this time to educate them while avoiding a dirty wrestling match.  Talk to them about the colors, textures, uses and such.  Really exaggerate the descriptions…they get so little of this in our modern world.

2.  Alternative to a sand box.  Many mothers want to give their kids a sand box but worry about the mess and them getting it in their mouthes and eyes.  My solution to this is to get a bunch of rocks and make a rocks box instead!  They can still dig and play but it is a lot easier to clean up and is safer.  Just be sure to school them on no throwing!

3.  More with rocks.  When I was a child my sister and I used to go out to the driveway and crush rocks with a hammer.  Now, this obviously has to be age appropriate and most of us kno our childrens’ limits better then anyone else so use your better judgement.  This activity is best supervised.

4.  Wrestling and tumbling in the grass.  Toddlers love this.  It is a chance to just get buck wild and if Mommy does it too, they get such a thrill!  Make sure you are not applying any chemicals to the grass and find out what your local parks do to their grass if anything.  You are your best advocate!

5.  Sing songs.  Most small children gravitate to singing.  Go out to the yard and bring a book for yourself.  Sing songs with your child or children.  Get them started with several songs and they will most likely enjoy but also venture out on their own to explore too.  Try to incorporate things in your yard.  For example:  Itsy Bitsy Spider…show them a downspout and demonstrate the lyrics.  Then, once they have begun to independently play you can read your book while they explore and fantasy play.  Of course this will vary according the ages of the children.

Get out get natural with your kids.  Be a kid with them sometimes.  They and the earth will thank you for it!

Love and light,



Settling In July 30, 2009

Filed under: Celebrate,Gotta Have It!,Sewing the Seeds — Simple Jess @ 2:09 am

Well, even though Mr. Nagel is away, we are settling into our new home day by day. The community here is so welcoming and kind. I have already met a lot of new people and the boys have made several new friends. One of our next door neighbors is also a young military family and they have two young boys as well. Little did we know we would have built in playmates upon arrival!

One of their boys had a birthday party at the pool on Saturday and it was an adorable celebration. I have to give props to my neighbor, Katie, since she is due to have her third child 2 weeks from now. Her pirate and treasure themed bash was simple yet very special with a couple of very unique touches: a combination that we love here at Sustainable Halo. The kids got to battle over gold coins and don bead necklaces as they splashed away the afternoon heat. One thing in particular that she did was special order pirate cupcake toppers from Etsy and had them customized. I do not know how she did all of this in her final days of pregnancy. It was simply amazing! Check out the seller, they are VERY cute. Etsy can be a bit of an obsession, but its worthy,especially because you know you are supporting the handmade community.

I am grateful for my new friends and community as a whole.

Love and light,


Liquid Fast July 9, 2009

Filed under: Celebrate,Food, Food, Food!,Sewing the Seeds — Simple Jess @ 10:23 am

The 4th of July weekend was action packed for our family and from the parade to friends and family to the fireworks, it was a joyous time. The weather was consistently perfect and Sunday night we packed a picnic and strolled a couple of blocks over to Spreckels Park for the free concert. This week The Stilletos were performing and they were GREAT! I mean GREAT!! If you click on the link of their name it will take you to their myspace page and you can listen to some of their music for free.

By husband’s parents were visiting and Graham had so much fun dancing with Grandma Nagel and Papa Bob. Heck, even I had a couple of dances with Papa Bob and boy can he move! Brad, who never dances, even took a spin on the grass with his Mom and it was so cute I just wanted to eat him up right there. I cannot say enough about these weekly concerts and how fun they are for all ages.

But the party has to end sometime, right? So now, after all of the excitement and activity has died down a bit, I am taking a day to liquid fast. All I do is fresh press juices and drink herbal tea. They provide me with plenty of the energy I need to run around with toddlers all day and also cleanse my system, giving it a break from food so it can catch up and clean up.

A couple of my favorite juice recipes are:

1 lemon
hunk of ginger
2 or 3 apples
several stalks of kale, swiss chard, collard greens or spinach (kale being my favorite)
head of romaine lettuce or 2 big cucumbers



6 or 7 yellow and white peaches, white apricots…whatever combination preferred (I prefer these to be straight from the farmers market but the organic selection at your grocery store will work)
3 peeled oranges
hunk of ginger
1 lemon
6 or 7 stalks of kale, swiss chard, collard greens or spinach

This is very cleansing and sweet tasting, a definite treat.


1 Water melon, with the rind removed and cut in chunks for juicer
6 cucumbers
hunk of ginger or bundle of mint (whatever is preferred)

This is the most refreshing drink after being out in the heat!

If you have any questions about juicing, these recipes, or anything else, please go the About Us page at the top right and there is a box for comments!

If you would like to read some recommendations I have for juice fasting, click here!

Now I am off to the park to interview sitters for the boys!

Be sure to tune in every week during the month of August, as I will be presenting my Summer Cancer Prevention series of articles, including an Interview with Charlotte Gerson, daughter and protege of renowned cancer healer Max Gerson, MD!

Love and light,


Baby Jogger + Coronado = Euphoria June 25, 2009

Filed under: Nature,Sewing the Seeds,Sustainable Living — Simple Jess @ 1:08 am

I’m back! My skin is sun kissed, I know that I should be more careful and usually am but I have been so caught up in the beautiful charm of this island and its people that my sunscreen vigilance has taken a temporary back seat. My spirit is high.

My Baby Joggers, single and double, have gotten more use in the past week here in Coronado than they did in an entire year back in Virginia. One cannot help but want to be outdoors all of the time here! Being a confessed nature girl, I am getting my crunch on! The community blends the height of luxurious paradise, military common sense, Southern California progression and timeless patriotic spirit into a lovely slice of heavenly American pie. Most people, whether locals or tourists, are strolling around with smiles on their faces and kind greetings. It is as if everyone feels like they have stumbled upon the best secret locale in the country. Many stop to chat and speak exactly of that sentiment…”we are so fortunate, huh?”

We live a block and a half away from Spreckel’s Park, where the boys play with other island children. Mothers, grandmothers and caregivers bond with sunny smiles and a lot of laughter. The grass is like a golf course so Peter navigates it with no hesitation, its like carpet. On Sundays, there is a free concert there where everyone gathers with their blankets, snacks and wine. There are often fireworks going off somewhere, in fact we saw some for a private event at the Hotel Del from our bedroom window the first night we stayed in our house. Graham said, “More fireworks!” He is also very enamored with the firefighters who work down the street.

This spectacular village community exists just a bridge away from downtown San Diego and we can ferry downtown in minutes. We have yet to do that but we have gone each week to the ferry landing farmers market and have been noshing on fresh local avocados, strawberries, tomatoes, peaches, watermelons, kale and swiss chard! This is one of the most sustainable choices I can make, especially considering my mode of transportation (strolling the kids there and using my stroller to hold my market bags.) I have been making a conscious effort to shop local stores for our needs, even though I could drive to a big box store and have found that many stores offer a discount if you are a local. This also leads to new relationships with people and community building, sewing the seeds of sustainability. My family is on cloud nine, aside from the hectic nature of moving into a new house.

So as the Pacific Ocean lured my family back, we came and we are confident that this move was far more than a good idea. It was a calling. I have had so much inspiration for writing and do not know what I’ll be writing about next but you can bet that I’ll be writing up a sunny summer storm this year. We still have a couple more days of unpacking and moving things into their proper places but I am ready to write!

I leave you all this evening with a message of joy. Please find joy in your home, your town, your vacation spot and take some time to smell the roses…oh, I forgot to mention that there are so many rose gardens here and the blooms are HUGE! They are so big they resemble sunflowers! As the petals drop, they blow along the sidewalks in the fresh coastal breeze. We were taking an evening stroll recently and as we discovered we were walking on fallen rose petals, I said, “Wow! The streets are even strewn with rose petals for our walks!” We had a good laugh and thanked our lucky stars. Thank yours and be grateful for what you have.

Love and light,


Summer, summer…TIME! April 29, 2009

Filed under: Sewing the Seeds,Sustainable Living — Simple Jess @ 6:01 pm

It is funny how one really good friend can unleash a rolling snowball of gravity upon your experiences. We are very supportive of relationships here at Sustainable Halo, after all, it is one of the basic tenets of living a sustainable life. So it is only natural that my superhuman, sexy and very sustainable friend, Lauren, would be unconsciously picking my brain today!

I spent my young adult life living on a very small farm. Sustainability was never talked about. Struggle was the topic of the day. As a teenager, I was “encouraged” to use only four squares of toilet paper because of cost and our relic septic system. This was quite an embarrassment when having friends over and I thought that I was enduring the worst social torture a teenage girl could handle. Little did I know, seeds of sustainability were being sewn, WAY before it was cool.

I was taking a shower today, a luxury that all of you mothers out there know is TRULY a luxury. With my husband’s return, summer approaching and our move to the most lovely San Diego any day now, my house of cards (my emotions/sanity) is teetering every single day. The simple act of taking a shower was difficult enough just being a mother of two small boys, but now it is almost equivalent to a day at the spa.

So, back to my story. I was taking a shower and needed to shave. So I turned the shower off in order to lather up and take my time. It dawned on me that many people do not do this.

There are two factors that have made this a habit for me:

1. My dad used to, in addition to the toilet paper rule, make us use a shower head that had a valve shutoff, so you could stop it while you lathered.

2. In the Navy, when I was on a ship, you are a self-sufficient village. You are the fire department, the water department, the phone company…blah, blah, blah. You have to work very closely with others to keep your ship afloat and functioning properly. The worst disgrace is to rely on another ship to come help in some way… not cool and does not happen very often. One’s chain of command could not shoulder the burden of that scrutiny.

I quickly noticed that the old shut off valve that my dad jockeyed for was an old Navy standard. It was second nature to me, but the other girls on my ship thought this was a MAJOR inconvenience. Because of a small thing my dad encouraged, it was really nothing to me. So you can see how small changes that seem uncomfortable can be a beginning to a lifetime of an adaptable mindset.

So, back to my topic. It is summer and such a fitting time to support your local farmers. Most are making changes and trying to adapt to the pressures of Agri-business. But they are truly a dying breed of small business that understands sustainability at its core. Sure, some may not understand the possibilities of the elimination of animal production but in addition to the ones who do, this connection to the land, one’s community and the pride of humanity is being squashed by Conglomerate Corporations looking to improve their bottom line. These farmers might seem like they are out of touch with our modern way of life buy they are exactly what we need in response to the increasing imbalance in our ecological system. Sure some of them could use a good scrub and eye opening to the possibilities of updating their practices but they are truly a resource of wisdom that should be respected and utilized. New age farmers and people looking to educate themselves about the land upon which they live can really learn a lot from them.

Please take this summer to renew your connection with local produce. It truly is the vitality that you are missing in your life! The more you eat well, in conjunction with supporting humane and responsible practices in your community, you will truly find your spark plugs being juiced! Use your body’s chemistry in combination with your spirit. There is no feeling that compares to taking care of yourself and your community in one fell swoop. You will live better and you will sleep better, I am sure of it! If you have any questions or comments please submit them to the contact box on our About Us page!

If you have any questions about your local options, you can always use this resource: Local Harvest

If you are an iphone user, this app is indispensable: iphone

Whatever it takes, you owe it to yourself and your community to make at least some kind of effort. From the most conservative effort to the well seasoned, please take a moment to learn about an untapped resource in your life. It could save you money, improve your community involvement and give your conscious a good dose of happy pill…chemical free!

Thanks, Dad!

Love and light,