FAILING FORWARD FACING THE MUSIC

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Recently, I have found myself writing new music, touring the East coast, embracing the changes spring brings, and in general figuring out this thing we call life. With all of this said as I write you from a coffee shop in Greenwich Connecticut I realize my great imperfectness makes me human, very human. For I exist to refine my soul. You know pull out the icky gigcky impurities.

I am hear to  challenge myself to be all I can be, while continually renewing my growth surplus. All of this came to me after I  blundered a new venture I jumped into. It all started after I met a random Russian gentleman in a cafe who needed help opening up a cafe styled shop in New York.

He was interested and in need of new branding elements and I thought, “hey I can do this” I have successfully be apart of branding The Bergamot so sure I’ll give it a go. Long story short it did not go as planned, it was a total failure. After I involved my team members for weeks to develop my clients brand after all of our hours and hard work he decided he was not satisfied.

At that moment I realized no matter what we did there was no way he would be satisfied with what we were going to present to him. There are many things I love to do, laugh, sing with my arms extended out wide open, jump around, enjoy great meals with my husband, share engaging conversations with my family & friends and in general focus my resources on the beautifully uplifting things of life.

Now after all of the branding stuff I sure know what I do not enjoy doing. This major fail taught me what I am great at. To be frank, I kinda needed to fail forward to get clear on life and I do not regret trying the branding adventure I learned what I really love to do and I am sticking with it. No need to dilly dally or be distracted in other ventures because you know what at the end of the day as good as I am at music, someone is just as good at being a branding consultant and they devoted there whole life to that profession like I have devoted my entire life to music.

There was just no need for me to jump into their profession just for fun or for a quick second like they would never be like hey I have sang a few times and I think I am going to go out on tour cold turkey.  So yeah, was I frustrated by this process, YES, was I crazy for thinking I could do branding YES, and did I have a lot of audacity, YES. The real question is why did I do this in the first place? My answer is that I was scared to dedicate myself 110% to my true calling.

Sure, I am seem so certain and confident all the time and most of the time I am. But, like all humans we are inclined to be scared of what we want most and this was a last ditch effort on my part to distract myself from facing the music, literally. You know what I really need to trust my gut because before I started the branding project my gut told me not to do it, but did I do it anyways YES.

All in all, it looks like I needed to fail forward to learn that it is time to face the music, this has been a very important life lesson I am very grateful for the person I am growing into. This expansive life experience has challenged me to examine what it is I desire.

Its time to go sing, be a music maker, and lover of life. My tip for you is don’t be afraid to take chances failing forward is natural and good it allows you to expand and learn. Sure its not easy but in the end it is worth it.

Shine ON

EXHAUSTED… WAIT DID I REALLY EAT THAT MUCH BREAD?

ImageFeeling exhausted. Blood shot eyes, a weary heart.

Across the street from my flat as I sat at the square dinner table inside Amirn Thai restaurant I thought “Have I eaten mostly bread since I moved here?”

My life has been moving a million miles per minute and maybe just maybe as I catch my breath perhaps I really did eat primarily bread for the past two months.

I did also eat some, oats, nuts, apples, beans, rice, and more nuts with of course some chocolate mixed in there. 

Gosh that is a lot of dense stuff, hummm, now that it is spring I am really starting to crave some green anything green, I would eat the grass if I could but that really seams unsanitary. 

What a bazaar two months it has been on the food front, I have eaten some of the best meals of my life and many consisted of grains. Granted this is no complaint for I am very blessed rather this is a call to action to myself to get back to where I came from.

More greens please!

I survived two months of NYC living by eating many bread filled meals, praise God for that. Now I will thrive in NYC as I will hunt down every last green spinach leaf for I am #cravinggreen this is a turning point and I am ready.

Will you join me in my quest for eating green? 

Shine ON

DRIPPY SUBWAY, RED COAT GIRL FROM IPANEMA EPIPHANY

“something about the way the subway was dripping, her red jacket, and his voice.”

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Watch how the subway drips as people rush under to catch the silver train. It could have been that her red jacket was beautiful and his particular voice singing Girl from Ipanema crossed me at the right moment.

While I leaned up against the subway map waiting for the L train I began to hum along and gaze at her vibrant jacket this eventually turned into me singing out loud to the man singing Girl from Ipanema. Right then another girl turned and said, ” oh, I just had to see who was singing behind the map, that’s all.”

This moment seems like a toss in the pond out of millions of moments like this but something about the way the subway was dripping, her red jacket, and his voice.

Perhaps, it had to do with how present I had become since I moved here. Nothing was buzzing in my pocket (not owning a cell phone in the 21st century has made me more mindful) or because this was one of the first times I was all alone finding my way through the city with a pencil, a lined notebook that was given to me by my husbands cousins girlfriend, and my thoughts.

Or maybe it was that in that moment I realized I am living potential. I could feel my potential growing and to be honest on some level it scares me what I can become and on the other hand it makes me feel at peace knowing that I am brave, expandable, and doing it.

Yeah, you could say it was something about the way the subway was dripping, her red jacket, and his voice. You could say they changed me that day, because that day I became my potential realized, I am what I have dreamed.

TURNS OUT SUGAR IS THE MAIN INGREDIENT BEHIND THIS FOUR LETTER WORD

Mom and I

My beautiful Mom and I

The birds are chirping, people outside my New York flat are laughing and all seems to be right with the world. Then as I was pondering the meaning of life it hit me what if sugar is the main ingredient behind Love?

Think about it, when you were little and you did a good job in school or won that volleyball game, your parents showed their love and support by taking you to get ice cream.

Or how about that time when it was your 7th birthday and your Mom showed her love by staying up till 2:30 AM baking all of those cupcakes for you to bring to school. By the way thanks to the best Mom in the whole world. Now that I am getting older pushing 25 years I really appreciate all the effort you put in, heck screw the older crap even when I was younger I loved and appreciated you baking all of those cupcakes for my birthdays. Please send me some in the mail this month for my birthday pretty please!

I even would sneak a few extra for myself after I passed them out to all the kids, I guess honesty is the best policy even after all of these years right? Anyways, I digress… what I am trying to say is “Sugar is the main ingredient of love, it is sweet like love, it brings you happiness like love, and there is seemingly always more to go around, just like love.”

So today behold, here is one of our family recipes. It came to my Mom almost 20 years ago through her best friend Kim. These cookies are called drum roll please….. Kim’s World Famous Cut Out Cookie’s. OK so I may or may not have added the world famous line but either way ladies and gentlemen this recipe is what dreams of sheer delight are made of. This is LOVE!

I grew up in Indiana feasting on this sweet love cookie.  To this day it happens to be my favorite sugar cookie and call it nostalgia or call it love, it is damn fine and I know you will enjoy these with your friends, loved ones, and random people you meet on the street. Be sure to pack extra bags to give away as little LOVE BOMBS.

SHINE ON from NYC

HIYA SUGAR, SUGAR COOKIES

1 ½ cups of Butter room temperature (this amounts to three sticks)

1 egg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 cups flour

¼ teaspoon salt

Directions

Cream butter and sugar together. Add egg and vanilla, and then alternately add flour and salt mixture slowly. Roll out dough to ¼ inch thickness and cut out your design with your hand cut out patterns, be it hearts, stars, or circles. Bake 8 -10 minutes in a 350 degree oven, just until slightly golden on top. This recipe makes 5 dozen cookies.

FROSTING

¼ cup butter

2 cups confectioners’ sugar (also known as powdered sugar)

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons cream evaporated milk (or almond milk)

Cream together butter and sugar (3 minutes or so) next, stir in Vanilla, add cream gradually add beat until frosting is of right consistency for decorating or spreading.

MOTTO OF OUR LIVES “WE’LL FIGURE IT OUT”

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We are head over heels in love with New York. Brooklyn is fabulous and we happen to be a wonderful fit here.
After we got married this past August 24th we knew it was the perfect time to get ready to make a big move for our music careers. We had narrowed it down to either LA or NY.
After soul searching and much prayer one morning as I looked around at everything packed up ready to be moved out west I had this gut feeling that LA was not the right move, well at least not now it wasn’t a good fit. I felt this deep longing and desire in my heart to head East to New York and make a go at it there.
After talking it over with Nathaniel we were like yeah, this is the right decision we’ll just “figure it out” and that has been our motto here ever since we landed in grand central station on February 6th, 2014 with a backpack and a few bucks in our pocket.
It took us about 96 hours to find our first place in a hip Polish burrow we had never heard of in Brooklyn called Greenpoint. Then from there we were just subletting this one bedroom out of a 7 bedroom house.
There were so many moments of disbelief like wow, were here in NYC making a go of it. Two midwestern cats from South Bend, Indiana making our way in the greatest city in the world.  This is really wild and wondrous all at the same time.
Then after a few silent moments of reflection and a bit of a weird energy from a lady who lived in the basement we decided we had met our limit. We were fed up… no more sharing two bathrooms with 10 people, no more weird energy from the lady in the basement causing all sorts of problems for many of the roommates, and no more paying high cleaning fees for a subpar job.
We called the owner of the property and said we were out and just like that we had less than three days in a city with a population over 8 million people to find a new home. Talk about craziness.
After countless hours of looking, a breakdown, and a serious  thought that maybe we need to move elsewhere, our prayers were answered as we were guided to an all polish website that lead us to the glorious flat we live in today.
We moved in on March 19th, 2014 and love it, we scrubbed the place down from top to bottom and hand built all the furniture  (well actually… Nathaniel did the building and I assisted with holding pieces).
As he meticulously labored I dialed in the place cleaning scrubbing, organizing, and finding us a rad roommate this time it would be on our terms (a happy, positive, fun-loving home, that was clean as a whistle)
As of today Monday March 31st, 2014 t is all coming together, Praise God. Last night at 3AM we finished furnishing the whole three bedroom flat and as of today we are renting out one of the beautiful rooms to a sweetheart until July or August. Then we will see who and what will be next. The whole experience has been fruitful and exciting nonetheless.
More tails to come about our NYC adventures and until next time,
Shine ON

 

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOUR STARVING AT A WEDDING

 Candace and I on my wedding day this past August.

It was Rachel & Thomas’s wedding day, I was so excited to be apart of it. A few months back on a bike ride in the park Rachel asked me if I would sing at her wedding, I said heck YEAH I would love to! Fast forward like three months to her wedding day. Nathaniel and I had just finished singing a collection of Beatles songs at their wedding ceremony.

By this point we both found ourselves starving you know the in-between period, it was one of those moments where you are kicking yourself for not eating a sandwich or apple with peanut butter when you had the chance. Which brings me to the whole this is what happens when your starving part of the story.

There she was in all of her glory dazzling in soft flowery dress walking up to us with a smile on her face and a Ziplock bag saying Hi I’am Candace, I really enjoyed the songs you sang today.

I was really thinking this girl is way sweet and I had this feeling like we were going to be friends. After we introduced ourselves and thanked her for the delightful compliment I asked her what was in her Ziplock bag.

“These are my granola bars I made them for the bridesmaids and Rachel so we weren’t starving as we were getting ready, would you like one? oh I have more in the back too” Seriously, I think at that point the enthusiastic yes that jumped out of our mouths was perhaps a little overwhelming to say the least she happily gave us bars and ran and got more.

This was the beginning to a beautiful lifelong friendship, and now these granola bars have been renamed by yours truly as “Candace’s Friendship Bars”. They are delectably good and you can pack and go where ever you are, not to mention they are a fraction of the cost of the convenient granola sticks they sell in the grocery stores.

Enjoy this from my heart to yours and back around again I hope you will make new friends by sharing these bars too.Candace if your reading this, I adore you dear friend thanks for your warmth and kindness you hold a special place in my heart always. xx Shine ON

/// CANDACE’S FRIENDSHIP GRANOLA BARS ///

2 c. oatmeal (I prefer old-fashioned, but instant works too)
½ c. whole-wheat flour *
½ c. white flour (I prefer unbleached white whole wheat flour)
½ c. wheat germ
¾ c. Brown Sugar
½ c. oil
½ c. honey
1 egg
¾ tsp. salt and cinnamon
1 tsp. Vanilla
¼ c. (or estimate with a spoon) peanut butter **
½ – 1 c of special ingredients (m&m’s, chocolate chips, raisins, craisins, dried fruit, flax seeds
(ground) nuts and/or seeds of your choice, etc)

Grease 7×11” pan or 9×13” set aside.

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Add in ½ – 1 c. of special ingredients (m&m’s, chocolate chips,
raisins, craisins, dried fruit, nuts and/or seeds of your choice, etc). My family also likes to add ½
c. Peanut butter for flavor and protein. Mix in until combined.

Bake at 350 F.
For 7×11” pan bake for 32 minutes. Cut immediately then cool.
For 9×13” pan bake for 25 minutes. Cut immediately then cool.

Enjoy! 

*For Gluten-Free substitute GF Oatmeal, and a combo of GF flour such as almond, garbanzo
bean, or Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Mix (Bob’s Red Mill).
** I find that peanut butter gives it a nice gooey texture with nice flavor

WHATS IN YOUR GLASS, THE TRUE STORY BEHIND WHAT’S IN MINE

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I talk a lot about the plant based lifestyle some times its like all I ever do is talk, talk, talk. But atlas living in New York over the past few months has been solidifying this lifestyle even more, its the real deal folks. I must admit there are way more temptations in the food market here than in Indiana for me like the pizza guy around the corner or the french bakery literally located below my apartment. Yeah, thats what I am talking about a cookie here, a piece of pizza there and boom I am off the band wagon. But thank God I can get back on  with my veggies and juice drinks.  So, I get asked a lot what is your favorite juice drink? Today I am spilling the beans quite literally later today I will be soaking my pinto beans but thats another story.  Below are some of my very favorite tips and juicing recipes. Getting back on the band wagon has never been so easy.

/// Tips ///

I use a 3 to 1 ratio (for every 3 veggies use one fruit, and drink up your juice immediately after making the full glass. It is important to do so because you get all the full oxygenated nutrients when you drink it up right on the spot. Or, if you must make a large batch grab 8oz ball jars and pour the extra liquid in there make sure the liquid juice touches the top of the ball jar this keeps it from oxidizing.

The clutch veggies and fruits I always have on hand go are Cuks, Apples, Carrots, Spinach, Oranges, Kale, Celery, Lemon, (it cuts through the earthy kale taste) and limes.

/// Recipes ///

the NATE THE GREAT

This one is named after my husbands favorite juice drink he’s pretty great so cheers darling. This drink is not for the faint of heart but will do wonders on cleaning your insides. Your body will thank you.

- 4 stalks of Celery

- 2 to 3 hand full’s of Kale

- 2  hand full’s of Spinach

- 2 Apples

- 3 Carrots

- one peeled Lime

- 2 Cucumbers

the ATHENIAN 

Here is my favorite juice drink it will turn you into an Athanian Godess ;)

- 3 full size Cucumbers

- 2 stalks of Celery

- 2 hand full’s of Spinach

- 1 Apple

- 2 Oranges

the SUMMERTIME LOVE

This one is so, so, good and easy.

- Half a watermelon cut up and de-skinned

- 2 lemons

- 1 two 2 cartons strawberries with the tops removed.

The most important thing is to try different things, experiment, and above all have fun. If u have questions you can always email me at jillian@thebergamot.com I would love to hear from you.

Shine ON

do this one thing and your body with thank you forever

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Photographer: Josh Weiland

It was my second year of college and I found my self toying with my water bottle in nutrition class just as my professor Marcia Mitson looked and me and said, “Jillian are you serious you really drink that much water in a day, thats kinda crazy and I am kinda impressed but your still crazy.”

At the time I was a full time college student and division one athlete juggling it all, my schedule looked like this at 6AM I had P-1 training (aka workouts), 8AM – Noon classes occured, 2PM study tables, yoga at 6PM, indoor golf practice from 7PM-8PM, drive home and then dinner sometime after that, to conclude the night I had more studies in the library to at least 11:00 PM.

This all lead me to discovering the one thing that my bod needed desperately… tons of water. 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Common when your moving that much and eating healthy snacks like apples and peanut butter and carrot sticks on the go you have to stay mentally alert and hydrated.

Lets go back to the moment where my professor looked at me shocked and said, “Jillian you really drink that much water?” The truth was at the time I found myself consuming three 32 ounce bottles of water which is 96 ounces of water a day, crazy right, yeah it was a bit much if I do say so myself.

If you do this one thing your body will thank you, forever. Seriously, drink water instead of that sugary diet coke stuff, grab that glass and fill it up with pride shake your booty to the right if you feel me, YEAH! Humhmm, guzzle that water, see it never tasted so good from the tap!

Remember when you do this one thing  you will feel so much better and shall I dare say you might even loose a few pounds while your at it but heck who is counting anyways as long as you feel great all is well.

Shine ON