Over the Bridge We Go..

Over the Bridge We Go..

So many emotions run through my heart and my mind on our final Bridging Day at Sunflower Creative Arts, but this is the first of many bridges we will cross I’m sure. Sunflower has meant so many things to us since we first discovered this community.. this family.

For some, Sunflower is a safe haven. A space to go where no matter what else is wrong in the world, it can be made right, right here. On this safe playground ALL feelings are allowed, ALL opinions are respected, ALL people are welcome. When the world’s playground doesn’t seem fair, the lessons we all participate in daily at Seedlings have a way of making it much clearer and easier to understand. There aren’t any distractions, there won’t be any sugar-coating. All feelings are met with loving arms, listening ears, compassion and grace. My the things we can achieve with hope, kindness, and an open heart.

Sunflower Creative Arts

For others, Sunflower means a second chance. A chance at a childhood lost too soon, the remembrance of play for those who’ve forgotten. A safe place to land after the world has chewed you up, and spit you out. When dancing to someone else’s tune hasn’t yet worked for you, and you need to remember your own song. Here is where you go to realize what you’ve been missing, or rather, remember who you are.. Maybe you never knew yourself, but on this playground, it’s impossible to ignore.

Sunflower Creative Arts

For a select few, Sunflower is simple. It’s all you’ve ever known in your home life growing up, and you couldn’t see living any other way. You’ve seen what the world looks like, yet it doesn’t quite make sense since you already know how compassion and community truly work. It’s a way of life that is familiar, and necessary.

Sunflower Creative Arts

Sunflower has meant all of this and much more to me. The lessons we’ve learned here have shaped us as a family, and we will forever be indebted to the kindness that was shown to us. It reminded us how to live, and how to love. Now that we have these roots, it’s time to use our wings. We have the opportunity to spread this message of community, and bring it with us wherever we go. Using the skills we learned on this playground to change the world, one seed at a time.Sunflower Creative Arts

Well done Sunflower, you haven’t just prepared our family for Kindergarten, but prepared us for life. You prepared us to change the way people see the world.

Sunflower Creative Arts

Thank you.

Essentially yours,

Erika


Sunflower Creative Arts is located at 227 N Dixie Blvd in Delray Beach, FL. You can visit their website, or call them at (561) 501-6615.

Organic Finds at BJ’s Wholesale Club

Organic Finds at BJ’s Wholesale Club

Most days it feels like I’m feeding an army at home. Just as soon as I buy it, (poof) it’s gone, and I’m back at the store.. again. Some weeks I feel as though I live at these grocery stores, it just doesn’t seem worth it. I finally got hip to the game and tried a free trial 3-month membership to BJ’s Wholesale. What a game changer, wholesale is where it’s at folks, especially for my brood. To be fair I’m not sure if two kids constitutes a “brood,” but they sure eat like one.

BJ's Wholesale

 

 

With fun summer holiday weekends quickly approaching, wholesale seemed the most logical way to shop. Although, what we save by shopping BJ’s Wholesale is logical all year-round. You can’t beat the prices, and it reduces stress on having to provide additional groceries on top of the already existent grocery bill, especially if you’re frugal like me. Even if you aren’t you can’t deny the good deal that comes from buying large quantities for a fraction of the cost at local grocer’s, and lest we forget the convenience of not having to go shopping every week. Less stress, more fun with the family.. makes sense to me! I once heard Suze Orman yell at the camera, “if you are a family and not shopping wholesale for groceries, then you are just throwing your money away!” She was totally right, so /i decided to try the convenient free-trial membership to see which wholesaler had the food that my family liked.

Having this membership means nothing if we don’t like the product, and being a mostly organic buying family it was especially important for me to be sure my family could still eat a healthy and nutritious diet. I was wowed by the growing amount of organic options at BJ’s (this was the deciding factor for me). I know that (like me) most organic families shy away from wholesale for this very reason, so I decided to share all of my fun organic find from shopping at BJ’s! You know, in case that free-trial membership is just calling you.

Dairy

Organic Dairy

There are a few items we haven’t been able to find that are certified organic, and I’m well aware of the “dirty dozen” list. However, dairy is one space I refuse to take chances. All of our dairy and meat is certified organic, humanely raised, and grass-fed if possible. I was impressed with the different brands that BJ’s carries, aside from the house brands (Wellsley Farms & Berkley Jensen) which is growing by the day, each time I go I find a new organic option.

Produce

Organic Produce

One of the trickiest parts of an organic diet is finding the right responsibly sourced produce. Lots of big chain grocer’s claim to sell all organic produce, and don’t. It’s all a part of the “green-washing” that the organic industry is currently facing. Supply must meet demand, and unfortunately now that folks are demanding to eat food that are free from harmful pesticides, the snakes are moving in for the kill. They want their customers back and they’ll say or do just about anything to get them.

Fun fact: All organic produce sku numbers start with  the number 9, if it doesn’t, then it isn’t really organic.

There is a wide variety of organic produce options at BJ’s, enough to get a good deal of groceries and fill in where you have to. Anything from greens, fruits, and veggies are available in their own organic section that is clearly marked and easy to find.

Organic Produce

Both frozen, and fresh produce is available for your convenience. I tend to buy a mixture of the two, frozen for the items we don’t consume as often (because it may spoil), and fresh for the everyday items that we need.

Organic Produce
That’s a lot of broccoli…

Boxed / Canned Goods

While most of our groceries are fresh, there are items we need to buy boxed, and a select few that are canned. I like how the organic options are directly positioned next to their non-organic counterparts, so it’s easy to locate. We buy mostly pasta, tuna, rice, flour, beans, maple syrup, sugar.. You know, the necessities. All organic, and all within reach. Buying these in bulk really helps to drive down the cost, and keep me at home with my family (instead of at the store).

Organic Coffee
Come to mama…

The spice selection is growing by the day, making it easier to access all of the ingredients to cook all of our homemade meals.

Organic Spices

Snacks / Kids

Organic Kids

Fruits and veggies are our main source of snacks for the kids, but occasionally we will splurge on some organic treats which has the potential to get pricey. Our boys are a big fan of the organic brands at BJ’s so it’s a win for us. They love coming with me on these kinds of grocery runs. The fun carts, double seating, and multiple snack stops along the way make shopping here bearable for my hungry boys.

Organic Snacks

 

Body Care

I think I was most surprised with the amount of toiletries that were offered that we actually use. I was pleased to see I could buy these items in bulk seeing as how you have to pay more for aluminum free deodorant, and fluoride-free toothpaste.

Organic Toothpaste

There is something for everyone at BJ’s is my point, and if you’ve been curious to check it out. Now is a great time to test it out with their three-month trial membership here (no other wholesale retailer offers this).

Essentially yours,

Erika

Five Reasons To Go To ShiftCon 2018

Five Reasons To Go To ShiftCon 2018

I just recently received news that I have been invited to ShiftCon 2018! If you follow me on Instagram, you know I pretty much geeked out on my Insta-Stories. I went to ShiftCon 2016 in NOLA this past year and fell in love! This is THE conference to go to if you are a) a blogger, journalist, social influencer; or b) a human being who cares about their food or this planet. I am pretty much obsessed with this platform and just had to share my top five reasons that ShiftCon is the must-attend conference!

Food

Cajun Jumbalaya

The food at ShiftCon is without a doubt the best I’ve had at any conference. Not only is every meal organic, but mostly sustainable, responsibly farmed, or locally sourced. Did I mention delicious? In a room full of media, we all couldn’t stop talking about food. I mean, I cover food on my blog at all times, but I was wowed by the selection and presentation of the food at ShiftCon 2016. They were also able to make sure and really add some local flair to the prepared food. We dined on some of the finest N’awlins Oysters from the infamous Dre’s, and I tasted my very first gumbo!

People

NOLA

Which ever way you slice it, the ShiftCon attendees and community are some of the most supportive I’ve come across. I truly found my tribe in NOLA last year and have been talking about it ever since. It wasn’t just the media, but also the brands. They were completely engaging, and I’ve made some very real connections in a fast-paced industry where it’s easy to get “lost in the sauce.” The Expo hours were separate allowing brands to sit and dine with media during keynote speeches, or learn alongside each other in various workshops. The connections made were very real and organic. Pun totally intended!

Culture

New Orleans

ShiftCon is structured in such a way that there is plenty of time to experience the local culture. They’ve also made it possible to include a bit of the local culture in workshops, scheduled tours (I was able to enjoy a local ghost tour in the heart of N’awlins y’all), and special guided activities. All putting you in touch with your surroundings, and the good folks trying make #ShiftHappen in these cities. It’s both inspiring and eye opening.

NOLA

NOLA

Education

NOLA

There is so much education at ShiftCon. These folks are passionate about the cause and have lined up an array of educators to help you to spread the good word. They’re fighting the good fight all over the nation and have come from far and wide to share it with all the ShiftCon Shifters. These are some of the most passionate and engaged educators teaching us about anything from soil degradation, agricultural news, and farming practices, to social media growth and SEO courses. A wide range of all things “shifty” if you will. The ways and means on how to report your news and the most effective way to get it to the masses. The panel’s were jam-packed with CEO’s (not marketing reps) from major organic brands answering some tough questions about their practices, and future plans for remaining authentic in a consumers market. I left each session feeling as though I’d learned something new, and feeling more connected to the brands that I use and write about.

Swag

NOLA

If you’ve ever spoken to someone whose attended a ShiftCon conference, then no doubt you’ve heard of their infamous swag bag. I kid you not, I couldn’t begin to even go through it all. There was something inside from every beloved (albeit pricey) organic company I could think of. The swag alone outweighs the cost of the ticket, and is well worth it. I actually had to ship it home to myself because it was way to much to haul in an airport all on my own. The swag bag is given to you on the first day you arrive (perhaps so you have time to figure out how to get it home), and it doesn’t end there. Each day / night there is a new raffle or opportunity to win a new prize. This year, there will be an awards ceremony for the media that is attending, I can’t wait to see what they get to take home!

Either way you slice it this event is a “gotta be there” kind of event, and this year it’s returning to its roots in the OC. Yours truly will be there getting all of the scoop and sharing with all of the other “shifters” via social media. You can join the #ShiftHappens movement by getting your very own tickets here.

See you in California!

Essentially yours,

Erika

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