clara-valentines-day-essay1

but before you go hating on me, hear me out! Though she hasn’t graced the CP pages that heavily, my grandma (or “the G-Ma” as we lovingly referred to her), was a true gem of a person. She had one of the most generous hearts of anyone I know, and naturally, killed it when it came to Valentine’s Day – so much so that I wrote a sweet story about her over on self.com. I included a little excerpt below, and a link to the full article on the site. Hope you guys enjoy!

In other news, it’s a 3 day weekend, and I’m cooking up a storm. Recipes to come again next week! xoxo Clara

“Why? Are you afraid I’ll throw myself out a window?” I breezily responded to my friend’s dinner invitation for the following Friday. It wasn’t just any Friday; it was Valentine’s Day, and for me, the first one flying solo in almost a decade. Three weeks prior, my seven-year relationship had come to a close. In just a few short weeks I’d gone from country-weekend house hunting and discussing baby names to Manhattan studio-apartment hunting and embracing single-dom for the first time since college. While my friend was concerned for my physical safety as the holiday approached, I was actually looking forward to it.

Yes, I’d just ended a milestone relationship, but…Read More

Sasithon-Photography-Nourish-0031

Even though I’m back to rockin’ the corporate life again, I have such a soft spot for folks who have bravely launched their own venture. Case in point, my dear friends behind the company Green Blender. Green Blender is an organic smoothie delivery service based in NYC. But instead of receiving pre-made smoothies (which don’t really ever taste good), you have all the pre-portioned ingredients for five original smoothies delivered right to your door every week. So that moment in the morning when you’re rushing to get work and would really love to not grab a bagel but don’t have the time to chop, measure, and blend a smoothie? Now you can. And you can do it 5 days a week. Or more! Each Green Blender box provides 10 servings.

Pretty brilliant, right? And we’re not talking banana and strawberry smoothies. With flavors like Pomegranate Orange Creamsicle, Chai Spice Almond, and Candied Cayenne Sweet Potato, it’s literally impossible to get bored. Each smoothie is also packed with superfoods and add-ins like chia seeds, flaxseed, goji berries, acai berries, matcha, cacao nibs, and much more. If you’re not salivating yet, something might be very wrong.

The other week I made a guest appearance on their blog and shared how I indulge in my health. Pop on over to learn how I make the time and take the time to eat well on a consistent basis, why neon matters so much when it comes to getting myself to the gym, and a few more fun facts. And if you’re interested in joining Green Blender, you can do so right here. Delivery is a little limited to the Northeast, Boston, and DC right now, but they’re quickly expanding.

Happy Tuesday, friends! xx Clara

IMG_6017

I think it was 2009 when I first started honing my homemade pizza skills. I was home for the weekend (an environment that always triggers exploration in the kitchen), and I decided not only was I going to make pizza from scratch, I was going to grill it. Suffice it to say most of the dough ended up in between the coals, and my pizza more so resembled a cut-out of the state of Florida rather than a round pie. But despite its shape and the lightened load of toppings, it was still good. Really good.

IMG_5968

I trudged onward, attempting homemade pizza back in my own kitchen in an oven. The dough got better but the pie was largely raw, due to the fact that I hadn’t preheated my oven properly. Again though, it was still pretty good. Not perfection, but progress.

I had a handful more experiences of this kind. I wrestled with dough, unsuccessfully transferred my pie to the oven countless times, produced pies that were burned on the top and raw on the bottom (and vice versa), and so forth. But there was something about the process that was still enjoyable.  At the onset, I remember quietly thinking to myself that the pizza I made at home was probably not going to be good….for a while. But that the only way to get over the hump of it not being good was to practice. A lot. Instead of focusing on the failure, I focused on the small improvements that were made with each pie, recognizing there was simply no way around them. That doesn’t mean I didn’t spend a good portion of those attempts cursing the dough recipe, yelling at whoever was nearby to help (apologies to those involved), and angrily throwing yet another pizza away in a fit of rage. That definitely all still happened. But somehow, I was driven to keep trying, to the point where homemade pizza now falls into the category of simple weeknight meals for me. The pies aren’t always in the shape of a circle, but you guys, they are really freaking good. #patsselfonback

This realization around my pizza making journey was triggered a few weeks back when my therapist challenged me to think about failure. She specifically wanted me to think about the areas of my life where I easily accept failure as part of the learning process, and others where I leave zero room for it. Pizza dough, and cooking in general, is one of the areas I leave room, as is yoga. And not only do I leave room, but I still really enjoy the process of honing my skills in these areas – even when I’ve failed countless times.

IMG_6058

Yoga presents an interesting comparison as well. I got back into my practice this September. Having danced a lot growing up, I’m naturally pretty flexible, but I’ve always struggled with any strength based balancing poses. So I decided I’d just start with crow pose as a goal, figuring of all the balancing poses, that was the easiest one. During each class when my instructor would encourage everyone to attempt handstands, headstands, etc. I’d focus solely on getting into crow pose. And then a few months in, while in a completely different sequence, my body somehow found its way into flying pigeon. Albeit, not as good as that photo, but still. I was in shock.  And yet somehow, it felt so natural. It was like everything suddenly clicked. The very nature of consistent practice allowed the progress to happen organically. Rather than being forced, my body found its way into the position on its own.

IMG_6080

From a physical perspective, the same thing happened with homemade pizza. The reason it’s now easier is because my hands are more familiar with the process,  regardless of whether I’m getting the dough to rise, kneading it, morphing it into a pie-esuqe shape, adding just the right amount of toppings, and so forth. I was reminded of how everything had already clicked when I succeeded in making this pie last weekend. It’s been over a year since I’ve made pizza from scratch (more on that later), and yet it was like riding a bike. My hands knew exactly what to do. The meal was divine.

But then back to failure. No, I’m not ready to throw my hands up and readily welcome failure in all forms. But I am more inclined to trust in the process, and accept that failure is an inevitable part of that process. And for those areas where I’ve left zero room for it, I’ve also realized I’ve left zero room for growth. Ironic how that plays out. xx Clara

Click through for the recipe… Read more »

560fc18f219559d114a663d5003b5c8f 2

If 2014 was the year of change, then 2015 will be the year of sifting through all that change and working to truly understand it. In the first few days of this New Year, I feel much more inclined to look back– not for fear of moving forward, though. Rather,  in order to be sure I gather up all those bits of knowledge and insight, and pack them deep inside my brain. And probably my heart, too.

On a flight back to the city last week week, I began to jot down the little bits. Bits turned to fuller thoughts, then actual ideas, and finally, lessons.  After about an hour of scribbling, the following 10 stood out:

1. Perfectionism is a freaking plague. It holds us back in so many ways. I personally have to fight against it constantly in order to just be myself. My paralyzingly desire to have others think I’ve always got it all together does far more detriment than good. Not to mention it’s an outright lie.

2. People are not inherently malicious or mean spirited. Most of us are just trying to do the best that we can (or know how to). Go easy on others. Forgive relentlessly.

3. And on that note, forgiveness is freedom.

4. “Nothing haunts us like the things we don’t say.” This quote weighs so heavily on me. Say what you truly mean in the moment. You’ll be much better off in the long run.

5. It’s very important to spend a little time doing absolutely nothing every.single.week.

6. It benefits no one to feel guilty when asking for help. Ask for the help you need and accept it graciously. Then focus on ways you can help others.

7. Take the time. Take the time to really listen to others, to treat the people that deserve it most, to send that sweet text to an old friend, to tell people what a freaking good job their doing, to say thank you to your Mom a million bazillion times….the list goes on.

8. Accept the damn compliment.

9. Learn to go through, rather than around, the discomfort. It’s the real work, but that’s where the good stuff lies.

10. Self love might be he hardest thing. Ever. But we (I) must, must keep trying.

I’d consider it a huge feat if I could master even just two or three of these this year. But I’m gonna shoot for all 10, because as I also learned numerous times over in 2014 – you’ve gotta start somewhere.  xx Clara

Image via College Vintage, Source TFS