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MAY 2018







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MAY 2018

Publisher • Sarah Whitsett Assistant to the publisher • Jillian Fraioli

Art Director • Jennifer Knutson

Copy Editor • Angelina Bielby

Marketing Director • Steve DeBruler

Cover Photographer • James T. Bee beejamest


Contributors >>

Kristen Domingue

Lisa Nogueira

Randi Rubenstein

Angela Harrison

Lisa Profera

Stephanie Saline

Sharon Lawlor


Maria Sylvester


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Legacy Trusting Your Gut with Susan Monroe Slaying in the Rain Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley’s Women Build Woman on the Street Asking Strangers If They are Okay Dinnertime Drama Amp Up the Flavor with Essential Oils Three Habits to Nourish Your Soul and Enrich Your Life!


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Trusting Your Gut with Susan Monroe by Kristen Domingue Cover photograph by James T. Bee

We love the way Susan Monroe has created (and curated) a custom life for herself and custom interior designs for every client. What stands out about the way Susan works is the way she pairs her creativity and instinct with research and listening to her clients. The process of listening and learning has helped her stay in business for over 20 years.

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I’ve been in interior design ever since I graduated with my degree from Purdue. I did a lot of commercial contract work for 20 years of my career, mostly for architects and designers. I managed product design at Herman Miller, taught design, and then graduated from my corporate life and wanted to look at residential design work. Eventually, I decided to work for myself because I’d worked in the three major areas I most wanted to explore: facility design (I designed retail stores for Herman Miller), professional services (also known as marketing), as well as research and development for product design. For me, the next logical frontier was to hang out my own shingle. I did this as a consultant for a while. Then I was invited to do a residential store in California and New York for Herman Miller as a consultant. That changed everything. I knew I wanted my own store after that.

But at the time, I had a design practice with an architect and interior designer who were getting ready to buy CAD equipment. I realized that our partnership would likely require me to do more CAD work than I wanted to; I knew I wanted to do more design, less architecture. So I went home and wrote a business plan. It focused on scratching my own itch as a frustrated shopper. I researched the products, successful stores, what it took to really go to market and reviewed the numbers.

On Intuition It’s interesting in retrospect; a lot of the vendors I carry now started 20 years ago. There was something going on in the furniture industry, particularly contemporary design — maybe I could feel it, maybe it was intuitive — but a lot of the designers I carry were born at the same time my store was born.

May 2018 | 9

When you come to Three Chairs, Co., the assortment of furniture you see on the floor is unlike any place you’ll ever go. While the relationships drive some of what’s in store, it changes season to season based on where I can see the market is going. I use a lot of my intuition to guide the process of what’s on the floor in any given season. For example, I go to market twice a year in New York and North Carolina (for retailers, “going to market” means previewing what manufacturers have on offer at showrooms or events and buying what they believe customers will want to purchase in stores back home). I go with an idea of what the store needs, say coffee tables, and then see something I know would be a fit for our store and shoppers. When that happens, I’ll change directions to accommodate that inclination. What I select from the markets is based on creative instinct and an understanding of quality construction and design. It’s also based on customer needs. I try hard to listen to customers because if I work with them on designing their living room or lake cottage and don’t have 10 | The Brick Magazine

the things that solve their problems, someone else will. So I’m in the stores a lot; I especially try to work on weekends because I can see and hear more customers that way.

On Hustle The first store was the hardest one, because I was just making it up. I started with the equivalent of a blank piece of paper, but this is the best part. I love opening stores

because I get to design the store in addition to filling it. But that first one, my husband helped — we painted it all ourselves. He stenciled the “three chairs” quotation from Thoreau on the store and it’s still there. So it was hands-on and a lot of work. One of the early challenges happened when I decided to carry Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. I made an appointment at the fall market to talk to their representative in the spring, shortly before Three Chairs, Co. was scheduled to open. But when I got there the rep was no longer with the company and they had no record of my appointment. At the time, I thought, “This is my major upholstery vendor and they won’t let me in. How am I going to open a furniture store without any upholstery? I can’t do this.” So I sent my business plan to the vice president of sales at Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams and told him, “You want to be in my store. You are missing an opportunity to be in my store.” I sent my resume along with my husband’s and he called me and said, “I’m so sorry we lost your appointment, would you be willing to meet me in New York?” Of course I would.

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Before the store opened, I flew to New York City and we took a cab from store to store in the rain and he showed me what to buy because the main showroom in North Carolina was already closed for the season. It was a very good lesson in tenacity for me. They told me no, but I didn’t give up and I didn’t let go. I’m still selling Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, and now one of my three stores is dedicated to this brand. That was because I stuck to my guns. I grew up a little bit when I decided not to give up at that moment. I just knew there had to be a way forward. If I had to give my just-starting-out self some advice, it would be to be even braver. To do your homework and take the leap. The business name, Three Chairs Co., is from this Thoreau quote: “I have 3 chairs in my house. One for solitude, two for friendship, and three for society.” Being a visual person, I knew I wanted a logo, but I didn’t want my name associated with the business. I didn’t want everyone to feel like they could only ever do their business with me. My personality isn’t to be the frontwoman anyway. As I was trying to come up with the logo I ran across the quote from Thoreau and it resonated; I picked it up and it stuck.

On Heartbreak and Breakthrough Things in my professional life and personal life aren’t separate; I don’t think they are separate for most women. While things were going fine at the store, my father’s health was failing, my daughter needed a new school, I wanted to get to a bigger market, my sister was in Ann Arbor, and my husband retired. It was then I decided it was time to open a second store. One of the biggest challenges I faced when growing and running the business was the year my husband died and my daughter left for college. Even though the business was always mine, he was my support system and cheerleader. Losing him was one of the biggest personal challenges. Professionally, the biggest challenge was understanding the difference between various marketplaces. Having a store in those places is very different from having a store in Ann Arbor, and even more so in Holland. They are very different than having a store in Ann Arbor, and the all of these stores are different from having a store in Holland. One of the biggest learning curves was going from two locations to three. It required a lot more formality, May 2018 | 11

to be the person that helps people through their house stuff while they’re managing a career, raising their kids, and living a life; I love making it easier for them. What makes Three Chairs, Co. different from anywhere else is that the materials are as they appear to be — they are real. We don’t do faux anything; we specialize in things like solid wood furniture and real American leather. We believe that if you buy the best you can and take care of it, it will serve you for a long time. structure, and written policy to make it work. With two stores, we could be more casual, but when you get to three, it’s not so easy to do that. You need more systems.

On Getting Growth Right I’m happy with our scale now. I closed the stores in Charlevoix and Indianapolis right after the recession hit. I didn’t regret trying those, because I learned from it. The stores in Ann Arbor have always produced and it’s even easier because my staff is very stable; people stay with me for years. The store’s anniversary is in April, and even though half of my friends are retired and half are trying to figure out when and how they can retire, I’m not going anywhere. We still like what we’re doing. I still want to see what the next thing is, and still get a kick out of helping people do their living room better than they thought they could. It’s fun

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We also focus on iconic design. There are timeless pieces, like Herman Miller For The Home products that are in Museum of Modern Art and selling since 1950 — those products are here. We also have products we believe will go forward for the next 50 years or more. The way Susan seamlessly blends intuition, instinct, research, and strategy reminds us of many business book best-sellers. We’re inspired that she, like most women business owners, leveraged all four of these tools. In the process of learning as she went, she’s created brick-andmortar stores that will continue to help generations of homeowners find their unique style. Three Chairs Co. can be found at either of these two Ann Arbor Locations: 215 S. Ashley Street | Ann Arbor | 734.665.2796 208 S. Ashley Street | Ann Arbor | 734.665.2314

Kristen M. Domingue is a copywriter and content marketing consultant in the New York City area. When she’s not delivering on client projects, you can find her cooking up something gluten-free or in an internet rabbit hole on entrepreneurship or astrology.



by Angela Harrison

May 2018 | 13


pring has officially sprung, along with its unpredictable bouts of rain and mud. This is always a tricky season when it comes to proper outerwear and footwear. Some days are cooler and damper than others, making raincoats and boots a necessity — which can be a huge drag. And while I can’t personally roll out a red carpet for you to cross from your car to the door of your destination (I’m only one woman, otherwise I’d totally be there for you, girl), I can help make that soggy trek a little dryer and brighter with the latest from this spring’s rain-wear lineup. Raincoats and trenches do a fabulous job of keeping you dry while keeping your outfit looking great. Most coats in these styles are lightweight and water-resistant, making them the perfect choice for spring temps and conditions. The classic tailoring of a trench coat can transform any casual denim or legging look into a polished outfit. Trench coats also compliment most workwear or dressed-up looks. Try the Ralph Lauren trench coat in black, instead of classic camel, for a sleek, contemporary feel (pictured bottom left). Sporting outwear in trend colors is also an easy way to feel spring-y even if it’s raining cats and dogs, like this London Fog hooded double-breasted trench in the color ‘Chambray.’ (pictured bottom right) The hooded peplum raincoat by Kate Spade in ‘Aladdin Pink’ has an adorable flounce to it, pairing perfectly with jeans or a sheath dress for work, while being weatherready with its water-repellent fabric. (pictured bottom center) Proper footwear is crucial for getting through the floods of spring. Rain

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boots are the easiest way to insure dry feet and there are so many cute styles this season. Hunter boots have always been known for their tall willies, and this season they’ve put a few twists on their classic style (pictured left), like the ‘Sissinghurst Tall Rain Boot’ in ‘Red Clay/Marigold,’ which takes design elements from a riding boot. Another gorgeous style from Hunter is their ‘Original Refined High Gloss Quilted Rain Boot’ in black. This boot has classic style with a modern edge from the high gloss and gold hardware on the back buckle. You could pair these with black jeans and a leather moto-jacket or with a classic camel trench. If tall boots aren’t your thing, Hunter has mid and short styles like the ‘Original Chelsea Rain Boot’ in ‘Dark Olive.’ Other favorites of mine are the short boots from Lemon Jelly, like the ‘Pisa Chelsea Boot’ with fun gusset

colors, shown in black with red, or the ‘Haley Chelsea Boot’ in ‘Rose Gloss’ with black ribbon tie and gold eyelets. (pictured above center) Your last shield against the rain, and perfect finishing touch, is the almighty umbrella. I always have a small one folded up and stashed in my car, but if you’re headed to a meeting or daytime event, try a fun print like the Joules ‘Right as Rain’ umbrella in ‘French Navy Fay Floral.’ (pictured above right) Full coverage umbrellas such as Shedrain’s stick umbrella style aren’t as compact, but do offer optimal rain protection while trying to dodge the elements. Plus, you can’t go wrong with a classic yellow stripe! With summer just around the corner, this rainready lineup will be sure to keep you dry and on-trend until clear skies are here!

Angie Harrison received a BS degree in fashion merchandising from Western Michigan University, and after merchandising for a large retailer, went on to start Angela Harrison Style; a personal, print, and film wardrobe styling service. Her experience has led her to build a loyal client list of people from all backgrounds and professions. Angie has also worked in wardrobe on local and national tv commercials and has started a visual merchandising branch of AHStyle, providing styling and merchandising expertise to Michigan retailers. May 2018 | 15

Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley’s

WOMEN BUILD by Habitat for Humanity


oughly 180 women have joined together to renovate a home in Ypsilanti for a local, hardworking woman as part of the Women Build project for Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley (Habitat Huron Valley). Fifteen teams of women have or will volunteer for a day March through May, and will build alongside the future homeowner during the 11th annual National Women Build initiative. 16 | The Brick Magazine

“Women Build is a great opportunity for local women and partners to rally together to learn new skills and complete a home for a local woman,” said Sarah Stanton, the Habitat Huron Valley Executive Director. “It is a great opportunity for women to take a proactive step in serving our communities. It provides an experience for women to empower other women.” Since 2006, Habitat Huron Valley

has hosted various Women Build activities. A long-time supporter of the initiative, the James A. & Faith Knight Foundation, is providing a match this year to any donation made before May 12, up to $20,000 to help support the cost of renovations on the home. The foundation is also bringing a group of women to volunteer. PNC, which has supported Women Build for five years, also rejoins the initiative this year with financial and volunteer help.

Habitat Huron Valley is one of 300 Habitat organizations nationwide hosting Women Build projects. National Women Build brings together women to devote at least one day to building decent and affordable housing in their local communities. Nearly 100,000 women from all 50 states have volunteered in previous years. For more information or to support the build, visit women-build.

Habitat Huron Valley estimates that each home costs roughly $60,000 in renovation costs, as well as an additional $40,000 in acquisition of the property, inspections, contractor work, and sale of the home costs. The groups of 8-12 women have been completing construction tasks from 9 AM to 4 PM on Fridays and Saturdays since March, and will finish in May. They are helping complete the home to be sold to a future Habitat homeowner. Habitat homebuyers qualify for an affordable mortgage,

make a $1,000 down payment, and put in at least 250 “sweat equity” hours of home renovation, financial management classes, and other Habitat education or home maintenance. The current Women Build future Habitat homeowner is Shawna Swoffer, who was born in Ypsilanti and grew up in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor. Shawna says she has had many struggles since a young age and looks forward to having her own home. She plans to enroll in college for a degree in psychology after she closes on her Habitat home.


Established in 1989, Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley has built or renovated over 200 homes in Washtenaw County. Habitat homeowners qualify for an affordable mortgage from Habitat, make a $1,000 down payment, and put in at least 250 hours (per adult household member) of “sweat equity” in building their home. Habitat has expanded to provide home improvement projects to low-income families in neighborhoods we already target, providing over 500 such projects since 2011. For more information, visit May 2018 | 17


ASKING STRANGERS IF THEYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;RE OKAY by Stephanie Saline


n my way home walking the dog, a woman in a sweatshirt, sarong, and slippers shuffled down the middle of a fairly busy road. She was older, and clutching folded clothes in her arms. She looked distressed and lost. I should back up: we live in a neighborhood that is home to many refugees. Ten thousand people from other countries have resettled in our city over the last ten years, and many of them live in five hundred previously vacant houses in our neighborhood. Mostly, they come from Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Central Africa, and Eritrea. This makes for the not-so-uncommon sight of women, men, and kids going about their days, colorful sarongs or headscarves (or both) beneath their winter coats.

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Last summer, I met a Burmese man and his son at a stoplight. We were all riding bikes. The man told me they’d been living in a refugee camp in Thailand prior to coming to the United States, and that his son was learning English. The man’s teeth were stained red from chewing betel nut, something I’d seen in my travels in Southeast Asia. I should back up even more: I live in a Rust Belt city, whose population has been in decline since the 1950s. Once industry started leaving, so did the people. Well, the native-born people. People born in other countries have been moving in, increasing the number of homes that are occupied and the tax base. It should be said that I’m a newcomer to this region, too. Like immigrants and refugees, I resettled here seeking a better life. My husband got a tenuretrack teaching job at a local liberal arts college, and we picked up stakes from another Rust Belt town where we’d been living, and set up camp here. If we wanted to go back even more, we would see that all Americans have resettled in this region. Originally, this was Seneca Nation land. But I digress. Here was a grandmother, a New American who looked to be from Southeast Asia, shuffling down the middle of the road, looking lost and in need of support. Side bar: in these tiny moments, life seems to ask, Who are you and what do you stand for? When they occur, I always feel a bit uncertain, a bit vulnerable. My dog and I crossed the street, moving away from the woman. But I was turning the question over in my mind: Am I a person who sees someone who might need help, and looks away? I flashed to the story of

Kitty Genovese, who was attacked and killed outside an apartment building filled with people who disregarded what some of them (wrongly) interpreted as a domestic dispute. This woman could be crazy, I reasoned. Like the woman who jumped in my car last summer at a stop sign, ordered me to drive her to a bodega several blocks away, then pressed me for money (I admire the canny tactic. Pay me, and I’ll go away). When my husband came home a few months later saying, “You won’t believe what happened to me just now” — and started his tale with “A woman jumped in the car at a stop sign” — well, let’s just say I believed him. Was my fear of being hurt by a small New American grandmother bigger than my desire to make sure she was okay? I turned around to face her. I began to yell: “Are you okay?” It didn’t quite make sense, to yell at a stranger from a distance. But in these moments, reality gets very real, and we do the best we can. She didn’t hear me, so I yelled again. Did she even speak English? Years ago, when I’d see a couple fighting on the street, I decided to be a person who, if I felt safe enough, would look the woman in the eye and ask her (in a glance or with words): Are you okay? And I’ve been told, on more than one occasion, often by the men, to mind my own business. But

increasingly, I’m deciding that the welfare of other people, especially those who might need assistance, is my business. As I was yelling at this New American who may not speak English, a car pulled up beside her. I stood watch, a witness, a sentry. The couple in the car asked the New American if she was okay, if she needed anything. I didn’t know what to do, so I witnessed. Just to make sure the woman was being tended to, and she got what she needed. It seemed like she needed directions. She wasn’t far from where she wanted to go, the hand gestures of the couple in the car said. She just needed to keep walking in the same direction, but maybe on the sidewalk. Triage complete, the couple in the car drove away, the New American grandmother in a sarong with clothes in her arms shuffled on. My dog and I walked home. A teacher and advertising writer based in Buffalo, Stephanie Saline spent one decade on adventures in Japan, Seattle, and Montana, and another decade building a popular copywriting business. She now leads writing workshops where women become the hero in the story of their own lives. “We live in a world where we are all heroes now – and that’s a great thing.” Find out more about her work at May 2018 | 19

Dinnertime DRAMA by Randi Rubenstein

“Dinnertime with my 3-year-old is a nightmare. She complains about EVERYTHING. She thinks I’m a short-order cook. I make her what she asks for, then she won’t even take a bite and places her “order” for something different. I am fed up and frustrated. How can I get her to stop acting like a dictator so we can have a peaceful dinner as a family?”

Dear Hardworking Mama, I hear many stories just like yours, so please know you are not alone. I can tell you will go to great lengths to feed and nourish your little people. Unfortunately, contrary to what most folks think, this has probably turned into a situation that has to do with something besides food or nourishment for your little Napolean. Yes, there are some exceptions. If you have a kiddo that is sensitive to textures or has a gag reflex, he may have sensory issues. This can be easily resolved by working with a great Occupational Therapist. The REAL issue going on for the other 93% of us is a little more challenging to resolve. 20 | The Brick Magazine

Mom, I’m going to need you to pull up your big girl panties and really listen up if you truly want to quit your job at the diner as a short-order cook. I respect you too much to tiptoe around the truth here so I’m just going to level with you straight up: You have to be willing to allow your kid to choose not to eat. I know. I know. You have a million reasons why this will never work. Little David will get low blood sugar. Or Rachel will wake up in the middle of the night and disrupt the whole family’s sleep. Three days. Seventy-two hours. That’s about how long it will usually take for a hungry dictator to turn back into a regular picky eating toddler without the unreasonable demands and power struggles.

That’s right. It’s normal for kids ten and younger to be picky. They have an extremely unsophisticated palate. Foods with strong flavors overpower their highly attuned taste buds. Once a kid begins to grow vertically from baby to toddler, their body starts to thin out. During this stage, it’s not uncommon for food to become much less interesting even for your baby who was “such a good eater.” Some helpful tips are to create rules around pantry surfing and to stay on top of snacks. If you allow your kid to fill up on pretzels and Goldfish in between meals, then be prepared for a picky kid that relies on “filler” foods to sustain them. Obviously, this is not ideal.

We want our kids to be wellnourished and “to grow big and strong.” That’s our go-to line when it comes to eating broccoli or spinach. It happens to be rooted in truth. Now don’t worry. This is not about serving up fancy adult food and going all tough love on your kid. No, you are going to use your mama brilliance combined with your common sense. You will find a happy medium between kid and adult foods that work for the whole fam. Okay, so you’ve got down the logistics, right? Well now comes the real challenge. We’re friends, right? I mean I’ve given you some really valuable and helpful info so far, so please don’t shoot the messenger on this one. The real obstacle has to do with your mindset. You have to be willing to stop arguing, pleading, and dancing like a circus monkey for baby Napolean.

This is the hardest part. I wish it were easy for a loving mom like you to simply go cold turkey and stop giving in to unreasonable demands. No more jumping through hoops and then losing it when dinner number three is ungratefully snubbed. I get it. You just want to get some decent food into your kid’s belly. It’s not easy to say, “Oh you don’t like anything on your plate tonight. Remember, after dinner the kitchen is closed, so keep that in mind when you’re choosing not to eat anything.” Don’t kill me, but that’s just the beginning. You will also have to deal with a bad attitude, arguing, and maybe even a meltdown. It will be terrible for about a week as you consistently follow through, refusing to react or negotiate with your little terrorist. It will take approximately one week to be promoted from short order cook at the diner to highly esteemed manager at Chili’s. Your new job may not serve elegant French cuisine, but you’re also not slaving away in a grease pit for pennies on the dollar. It’s civilized. People listen to you. There’s something on the menu for everyone. And best of all, you get to be the hero when you serve the chocolate molten cake! Bon Appétit, Mama. Randi Rubenstein helps fed up parents learn tools to raise confident, kind, and self-motivated kids by closing the parent gap - the gap between the parent you want to be and the parent you currently are during the REAL triggered moments with your kiddos. But you never yell at your kids, right? As a parent coach and author, Randi helps parents keep cool and replace old patterns. You can find her at May 2018 | 21


Essential Oils! by Lisa Profera MD


nyone who knows me knows that I love to cook. When I discovered that I can add essential oils to my food, I was not only excited, but I quickly realized that it was more than a win-win situation. There are many compelling reasons to add essential oils (EOs) to your cooking repertoire. Not only can they amp up the flavor of any dish; they will simultaneously deliver numerous health benefits while being very economical. At a fraction of the cost of herbs, they are 100% natural — no artificial flavors, colors, or chemicals.

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Please understand that not all brands of EOs are safe for ingestion; the vast majority are not. Don’t think that you can add just any EO to your favorite recipe. Essential Oils are volatile aromatic compounds derived from various parts of plants (roots, bark, stems, leaves, flowers, and fruits) from steam distillation or cold pressing. When it comes to quality and safety, I only use EOs that are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® (CPTG). This is the gold standard of quality control for essential oils. Since the industry is not regulated,

the consumer must find an essential oil producer that is dedicated to purity. As a consequence, there is a huge variation in quality and a fair amount of adulteration in the market. The labeling on some brands can be deceiving, even fraudulent. So what do the labels mean? A savvy consumer should not only read what a label says, but she should also understand what it doesn’t say. Some companies may claim to be selling an EO that is 100% pure when in fact all this may mean is that there may be

essential oil and the rest is filler. If you read the label and it states “not for internal use” or “for aromatic or topical use only”, that should raise a red flag in your mind. If you read the fine print on something innocuous like lemon oil, and it says “toxic if ingested” or “call poison control immediately if accidentally ingested,” then you should run away screaming. Even if you do not intend to ingest such oils, they can still enter your system through your skin or lungs. What else is in there to make it toxic? You can find such oils even in “trusted” stores such as Whole Foods. You certainly should not shop for your oils at Walmart or on Amazon or eBay. The market is rife with cheap copies and products that have been tampered with. As a physician, my mantra is “to do no harm.” I can only recommend essential oils that have successfully completed the rigorous battery of 9 biochemical tests and thirdparty controls that classify them as CPTG® essential oils. These oils are responsibly and sustainably

sourced in their native soils. They are harvested and distilled at the peak of flavor. Since there are zero contaminants tolerated, they are better than organic. Consistency from batch to batch ensures superior flavor. I use these oils as whole plant medicine; I know that each bottle of lavender, for example, is going to have the same ratios of linalool and linalyl acetate that give it its calming and soothing properties. If you are confused about where to reliably get CPTG® Essential Oils, I am happy to help guide you. For more information, you can also go to my website: Once you acquire quality oils, adding them to food or drink is perfectly safe. EOs appropriate for ingestion will have a Supplement Facts label on them. They add intense flavor (30-50% more concentrated than herbs) while being naturally sugarfree, calorie-free, and preservativefree. As long as you keep them out of extreme heat or direct sunlight,

a few drops of pure oil and the rest is a filler (which may be composed of turpentine, petroleum-based chemicals, other solvents, or synthetics). It is also quite common for contaminants such as pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, and heavy metals to be present. Even those labeled as organic can contain a “tolerable level” of such contaminants according to USDA Organic Standards. A product that is designated as “aromatherapy grade” is intended for aromatic use or massage, as it only contains 2-5%

May 2018 | 23

they have a very long shelf life (unlike dried or fresh herbs). Most are stored in amber glass bottles for this reason. There is substantial documentation of safe internal usage of EOs historically and in modern times. They are classified as GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe) by the FDA. I love using EOs in cooking because they are concentrated, convenient, consistent, and inexpensive. They also allow me to experiment and be creative in a different way. I can look at a recipe and think about how to use EOs instead of or in addition to spices, herbs, zest, or extracts for a fraction of the cost. Plus I get the medicinal benefits as an added bonus! This is especially useful in the winter, when fresh ingredients are scarce and expensive. For herbs such as basil, rosemary and oregano, 1 drop of essential oil equals 1 teaspoon of dried herb or 1 tablespoon of fresh. Use 1 drop of lemon essential oil instead of 1 teaspoon of lemon zest. For a comprehensive conversion table, email me. In general, it is wise to add EOs for flavoring at the end of the recipe or the cooking process. Since they are volatile compounds, they evaporate quickly when simmered in a sauce or soup. Turn the heat off and add EOs to taste to finish your dish. Remember, EOs are highly concentrated and sometimes even 1 drop can be too much flavor. For strong, “hot” oils such as cinnamon,

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clove, oregano, thyme, cilantro and others, I recommend using the “toothpick method.” Simply insert a wooden toothpick into the orifice of the essential oil bottle, and then invert the bottle to coat the toothpick. Remove the toothpick and swirl it into your soup, sauce, dip, or olive oil. You can always add more if needed. Consult the flavor guide in this Cooking with Essential Oils eBook for tips and recipes for many types of EOs: citrus, spices, herbals, mints, and florals. (For free download: http://media.doterra. com/us/en/ebooks/cooking-withessential-oils.pdf ). When using EOs, always use glass, ceramic, or stainless steel cookware, containers, and bowls to prepare, cook with, and eat or drink out of. Some EOs (especially citrus) can break down plastics and other petrochemicals and you certainly don’t want to ingest that. I love adding peppermint and wild orange in my glass or stainless steel water bottle. It is calorie-free, refreshing, and energizing. One drop each of lemon and ginger added to a cup of herbal tea or just hot water is delicious and also soothing to your stomach. If I am preparing something Italian, Indian, or Thai, I’ve got my oils handy. No need to run to the store for lemongrass or other missing ingredients! The many health benefits of EO ingestion will have to be the topic

of a future article. They promote wellness and wellbeing. Some have additional anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and detoxing properties. Different oils support our different biological systems. Produced by plants for protection, their small molecules are easily absorbed and recognized by our systems as being natural. They have been used by humans for millennia and are the subject of numerous medical research studies today. If you are a foodie and a fan of flavor, try adding essential oils to your next meal and amp it up a few notches. Create and experiment. Get the health benefits too. Let me know what you come up with. Lisa Profera MD Owner and Founder of PROJUVU MD Aesthetics and Lifestyle Medicine Please note that the information in this article has been designed to help educate the reader regarding the subject matter covered. This information is provided with the understanding that the author and any other entity referenced here are not liable for the misconception or misuse of the information provided. It is not provided to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any disease, illness, or injured condition of the body. The provider of this information shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity concerning any loss, damage, or injury caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by this information. The information presented is in no way intended as a substitute for medical counseling or care. Anyone suffering from any disease, illness, or injury should consult a qualified healthcare professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.


AND ENRICH YOUR LIFE! by Maria Sylvester, MSW, CPC

May 2018 | 25


o often, clients find their way to me for life coaching because of feeling overwhelmed or defeated by life. They long to feel vibrantly alive, inspired and reenergized. As the first order of the day, I always encourage them to consider establishing routines or habits that are soul-nourishing, life-affirming, and energy-inducing. A habit, I remind them, is defined as: “a settled or regular tendency or practice followed until in has become almost involuntary.” Embracing good habits can create powerful results! I have three favorite effective habits that work like magic when

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seeking to refuel and enrich one’s life. The first is the habit of simply slowing down. So many of us unknowingly slip regularly into an often fast-paced, frenetic, wildly harried lifestyle. This way of being can limit or diminish the likelihood of one feeling satisfied or fulfilled. The unfortunate impact of a fast-paced driven existence can be a sense of disconnection and alienation from oneself and others. What is needed is a time for slowing down, and maybe even of sensory withdrawal; of closing one’s eyes and ears to the world for a few moments in order to enter more deeply into yourself.

If you can make slowing down a routine experience in your life, the benefits you’ll enjoy will be immense. Consciously slowing down mentally, emotionally, and physically moves you into a more mindful, centered place. From this state, you can better appreciate and savor whatever is before you. Slowing down can become an intentional, deliberate way of moving in the world, and at the same time still allow you to be highly productive, creative, and successful. In fact, by slowing down, you connect more deeply with the relevant aspects of yourself necessary to more easily complete whatever tasks or duties are calling

There is a life-force within your soul, seek that life. There is a gem in the mountain of your body, seek that mine. O Traveler, if you are in search of that, don’t look outside, look inside yourself and seek that.


you. Less becomes more when you perfect the habit of slowing down! You can go deep, rather than wide, and appreciate the exquisiteness of a given moment or situation in a way that is impossible when racing through your day. The second habit that facilitates great soul nourishment is simply to get really good at clarifying. By this I mean clarifying what really matters to you. The more you can clarify what is most important to you, what might bring you the greatest satisfaction or fulfillment, the more meaningful life will feel. Clarity fuels deliberate actions. Deliberate actions fuel great results! By asking yourself what you desire or wish to see happen — for instance, when you connect with a friend, attend a special event, or make your way through your work day — you have better focus and get more satisfying, personally meaningful outcomes. In addition, clarifying how you want to embrace a particular problem or challenging circumstance can’t help but lead to

a more effective resolution. To live from the heart of what really matters, you have to first take time to ponder exactly what that might be. If you have mastered the first habit of slowing down, then I guarantee that the answers you seek when striving for clarity will come more easily too. The third habit that is a powerful key to a juicy, rich, dynamic life is that of whole-hearted engagement. Letting yourself live fully in any given moment has profound impact on the degree one feels vibrant, energized, and truly alive. What is whole-hearted engagement? It is the ability to fully focus and commit to being present in the moment. Present without judgement, guardedness, or defensiveness.

Present for moments good and bad. Present, awake, and emotionally available for whatever is before you. For when you are present in this way, you feel with all your senses. You allow yourself to open to the essence of whatever is happening. And this full opening of yourself is what brings magnificent feelings of satisfaction, deep fulfillment, and the sheer pleasure of meaningful existence. Now that is what I call soul nourishment! Maria Sylvester, MSW, CPC is a certified Life Coach in Ann Arbor, MI who loves empowering adolescents, adults, and couples to live from the HEART of what really matters to them so that they can bring their fully expressed, vibrant selves into the world. She has a special gift for helping women reclaim their feminine power, and embrace their radiant, sensual, sexy spirits. Their lives transform. They soar into their mid-life magnificence! Complimentary First Session 734.717.7532

May 2018 | 27

Master Your

MEAL PREP by Lisa Nogueira

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ow do you feel when you hear the term “meal prepping”? Confused? Intimidated? Annoyed? Well, hopefully I can help resolve some of the trepidation that many people have about meal prepping. Here I provide a few examples of meal prepping that we do in our house along with a couple example recipes. First are some basic food prep strategies for having healthy eating options available throughout the week. The first recipe is for an easy-to-prepare and healthy ramen-style soup that can be stretched over a few meals. And the second recipe is for a deceptively easy pressure cooker chicken tagine recipe that tastes even better than it looks!

Meal Prepping Basics Instead of preparing several meals in full, I like to make separate components of meals that can be put together in unique ways for different flavor profiles throughout the week. To make vegetables readily available in my house, I prepare them in a variety of ways each week as our staples. I also like to prepare one type of whole grain, beans, or other protein to facilitate quick easy meals throughout the week. The roasted vegetables can be made into a veggie hash with an egg, used in tacos or wraps, thrown into a quick stir-fry, or used to make “Buddha Bowls” by adding in a choice of protein, grains or greens, a fat (like avocado), fermented vegetables, and a delicious sauce. The spiralized sweet potato can be sautéed as a side, substituted as “pasta”, or baked as curly fries for fun snacking. The raw veggies are tossed into salads, wraps, or added to lunchboxes. The spinach and basil pesto can be used in the bowls above, added to scrambled eggs to make green eggs, or paired with spiralized sweet potato or spaghetti squash for a quick weeknight “pasta” night. The key is thinking outside the box, using different flavors and keeping it fresh and fun! May 2018 | 29

Moroccan Chicken Tagine

This is actually my husband’s recipe that my whole family loves. It’s a traditional chicken tangine made in a pressure cooker, which makes it a surprisingly quick and easy one-pot meal. Ingredients: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Spice rub for chicken (2 tsp cinnamon, 2 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp cumin, ½ tsp cayenne, 2 tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper) 3 lbs chicken with bone and skin (I prefer to use drumsticks and thighs, about 4-6 of each) 3 carrots, cut on bias about ⅛ inch thick 1 inch piece of ginger root, minced 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced 1 large onion, chopped

1 red pepper, roughly chopped 15 oz can of diced tomatoes

14 oz can of chick peas, drained (or 2 cups of cooked chick peas) 8-10 dried Turkish figs, cut in quarters

1½-2 cups pitted olives (I used combo of green and kalamata) 2 preserved lemons, coarsely chopped (optional) ½ cup white wine

¾ cup chicken stock 1 TBSP honey

Extra virgin olive oil

Cilantro (for garnish)

Slivered almonds (for garnish)

Directions: •

Mix the spice rub together and generously coat the chicken evenly.

Add a bit more oil to the pressure cooker and add the onions, garlic, ginger, carrots and red pepper and sauté for approximately 5 minutes.

• • • • • • •

Coat bottom of pressure cooker with oil and brown the chicken a few pieces at a time, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Transfer browned chicken to a plate.

Add in any remaining spice rub and/or a couple shakes of cinnamon and turmeric, and season with salt and pepper.

Add the remaining ingredients to the pressure cooker and add the chicken back in.

Close the pressure cooker and set to high pressure, and when it reaches the pressure lower the heat and cook for 40 minutes. Remove from heat and let pressure drop.

Garnish with the cilantro and slivered almonds and enjoy! Can be served on its own or over rice.

If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can achieve a similar result by browning the chicken in a pan, sautéing the onions, pepper, garlic, carrots, and ginger for a few minutes, and then combining all the ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for approximately 6-8 hours.

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Kelp and Zucchini Noodle Soup Ingredients: •

8 cups chicken stock

3-4 garlic gloves, minced

• • • • • • • • •

1 inch piece of ginger, minced 2 TBSP fish sauce

1 package kelp noodles (found in the Asian section)

• •

• •

2 large eggs, whisked

Protein of choice (I used pan-seared chicken thigh with bone removed)

Salt and pepper (to taste)

Green onion, chopped

Fresh jalapeno slices, Sriracha or other hot sauce (optional, for serving)


1 medium zucchini, spiralized into noodles (approximately 2 cups)

8 oz mushrooms, sliced (I use shiitake and/or a store bought “gourmet blend”)

Cilantro, chopped

Add the garlic, ginger and mushrooms to a soup pot over medium-high heat and sauté for approximately 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock, fish sauce, kelp noodles and zucchini noodles and bring to a boil. Gently boil for approximately 20 minutes.

Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl, and then slowly add into the soup while stirring. Ladle the soup into bowls and top each bowl with a couple tablespoons of the green onion and cilantro, and your protein of choice. Add a dash of your favorite hot sauce and enjoy!

Lisa Nogueira is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach as well as a Licensed Massage Therapist who is dedicated to helping clients live their best lives through health and lifestyle coaching and a unique selection of bodywork modalities. She hosts group programs online and in person to help clients make their self-care a priority, clean up their eating and live healthier, happier lives. Her no-guilt approach to health is taking small steps for creating a lifestyle, leaving room for the sweeter things in life, and simplifying health and wellness into an approachable and fun adventure. For further inspiration follow her on Instagram @ Join her free Facebook community for support, recipes and small step ideas for change May 2018 | 31

Surrender by Sharon Lawlor


hat word came into my awareness the moment I thought about what to write about next. Soon after, I was looking for something on a bookshelf downstairs and was drawn to a journal. I had not opened it in years and couldn’t

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remember what that journal was for (as I have accumulated many journals over the years, each having their special purpose). You know what I found when I opened that journal? A list of

‘Seven Steps of Conscious Change’. Coincidentally, the last step on the list was ‘surrender!’ This word was speaking to me. Now to listen and see what wanted to come through. I believe this is such an important

because we have deadlines and goals achieve.I Things are increasingly In my work withtoclients, have developed going faster and faster our society five ways to connect with their ownininner that puts such tremendous stress Tranquil Being, which is very important in on our physical, mental, emotional, being able to surrender. These five ways are: and spiritual components. How 1) breathing, 2) meditation, 3) journaling, long can this last? It for sure is 4) not a movement, and sustainable 5) creation. rhythm to endure.


me, feel like a pressure BREATHE I—know Thefor act ofI intentionally cooker when there are too many using our breath can alter our circumstances demands for my time, life, health, instantly, helping to calm down and slow family, work, you name it. Stress, down. Inhaling and exhaling is part of this anxiety, worry, fear, disappointments, cycle of yin-yang. What aorwonderful power struggles, anything other than we have within us already. joy can add to this. That is not


how I want to feel — like holding your until things MEDITATE —breath Meditation can are be done. as Ultimately, I want to feel peace, simple as closing your eyes and following have ease, grace, and flow. So, it is a your breath. barometer for me when I need to reevaluate things and a much-needed “Meditation is aexhale surrender, it is not a in my life.

demand. It is not forcing existence your way, it is relaxing into waythough, existence There is a the solution, that can load and wants you to be.lighten It is aourlet-go.” — bring Oshopeace


to our lives. It’s to surrender. To fighting and resisting JOURNALfinally — Fillstop a personal journal may be the last resort for many. with the writings of your heart and soul. Get Perhaps the reason is best expressed it out on paper. by AllAndrew of it. Let the emotions Harvey: “Surrender is flow out of you. deeply No one needs to ever see misunderstood as an act of this, so hold nothing back. Want aisway to weakness. Surrender the bravest and mostthis lucidenergy? thing a human immediately transform You ever does, and that’s why it’s so precious may want to burn it in your own releasing to the Divine.”



This surrender I am talking about is


and allow your life to go into the hands of the Universe completely.”

MOVE — Discover described how in Theyour Seat body of the Soul by craves to move and lean into that — whether Gary Zukav as such: “Take your hands it is running, stretching, dancing, yoga, off the steering wheel. Be able to say to the Universe, sports, or something else. ‘Thy will be done,’

element to embrace and actively practice. The surrender I am talking about is not one of defeat or giving our power over to another, though. This is how I see it: the world we live in is full of struggles — pushing our agendas, controlling our outcomes, or stepping on the accelerator at full speed ahead in our lives.

CREATE — What is your heart yearning to express? There are endless ways this Michelle Cruz says that “to surrender can look: through art,giving cooking, is not up thewriting, struggle, but music, raising a finding family,peace gardening, building a within the struggle.” business, or more.

May 2018 | 33

“Surrender isn’t about being passive. It’s about being open.” — Danielle LaPorte “Surrender is a journey from the outer turmoil to the inner peace.” — Sri Chinmoy Surrender is the key to move through to the other side. “The moment you accept what troubles you’ve been given, the door will open,” Rumi says. This key opens the door to receiving what is next. It transforms the situation on the other side when one surrenders. We’ve talked about what surrender is, what it isn’t, why we need it and when it occurs, but how does one surrender? Lao Tzu said, “To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.” The reason why these five steps are so powerful is because they help get us to a point of stillness within our minds. From there, it vibrates throughout our being and ripples into our lives. When we are our own tranquil being, we are in a place of surrender. A place where we aren’t locked into outcome or circumstance. By dropping down into our heart, we connect to our soul. From this space, our inner compass, our heart fire, we will be in flow and always supported by the Universe. This is coming from a place of LOVE. And love heals everything. In what ways are you called to surrender?

Sharon Marie helps clients create spaciousness within for them to pause, connect to their heart, and feel a new sense of peace. She brings so much compassion and understanding to her clients as she holds space for them on their journey. Her suite is the perfect space holder for her work, providing a safe and sacred container for her clients to fully relax. Sharon’s eclectic mix of modalities include healing massage and bodywork, infrared sauna, medicine walks in nature, the natural rhythms and elements in nature, the wisdom of the seasons, and creativity for healing. Sharon Marie, Founder and Creative Director at Tranquil Being. Contact her through email connect@tranquilbeing. com or call 734-761-8753. She’s located at Tranquil Being, 320 Miller Ave, Suite 185, Ann Arbor, MI 48103

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The Brick Magazine | May 2018  
The Brick Magazine | May 2018