Beauty Does.

I admit I was a little shocked when I heard my youngest tell my oldest that “girls like to be called HOT.” I couldn’t help but wonder where he heard that or who shared that with him. After a bit of a discussion, I opened up the conversation to the idea of beauty.

What is beautiful? Can our ideas of beauty differ? Can both men and women be beautiful just as a flower, sunset or painting can? We see beauty but first we must feel it in order to give it meaning.

Is “hot” the same as beautiful? “Hot” leaves little regard to ones intellect, persona and talents. “Hot” is a limiting description of ones exterior being- a superficial definition of a persons existence.

How one acts or the things they do… not their physical traits, makes one beautiful. True beauty carries his or herself with a light in their heart that shines from within. It’s what you do and how you behave that defines beauty.

A week later, I was shopping with my boys. We were looking at picture frames. Inserted in one of the frames was a picture of a young, 20-something model. My youngest looked at me, gave me a hug and said, “You are more beautiful than her, Mama.”

Truth is, I’ve always felt beautiful. It’s always been a feeling that first resonates from within and is amplified by the beautiful company I’m blessed to surrounded by. I know an abundance of beautiful men and women. I bet you do too.

{Sing it! Everybody’s beautiful in their own way.}


“The boys are transitioning really well and looking forward to making new friends,” I said. “How are you doing? Looking forward to making new friends, too?” I smiled, “I guess that will happen eventually. I mean, as the boys join things I’m sure I’ll met people too.” She continued, “I have a friend who was originally a client. She started this great organization…”

You just never know who will inspire you. I went out to get my hair cut and highlighted. I picked a random place online. Random, yet it felt like I was meant to be there. It was my first real conversation with someone in California. It was the first time I ventured out alone.

{Now, I have a little bit of California sunshine in my hair!}

Before I left, my stylist handed me a business card with the name of an organization called GIVE TOGETHER. Give Together is a movement to create the next generation of philanthropic leaders. Our goal is to strengthen our community by empowering, inspiring and helping families give back together.” The founder created this organization based off her own love for volunteering and wanted to provide opportunities that include young children. 

“You’ll find your people,” she said confidently. I think I’m off to a good start. Thanks to my stylist at Raymond Marc Salon in Walnut Creek for the sweet new do…and great conversation. 

Snack Attack

#TBT from another blog I use to write on (this was an excerpt of a paper I wrote for a class at the time) and a PSA I was proud to create:

Science, economics and politics all interact to affect our food choices. Scientists that work for food producers have figured out that we are hard-wired to have a chemical weakness when it comes to fats, sugar and salt. High Fructose Corn Syrup is 25% sweeter than refined sugar. When HFCS is added as an ingredient it creates a bigger chemical surge in our brain.

Things like candy and potato chips are not food. When we eat them they happen to taste great but set off our addictive cells and imbalance our endocrine system. “Instead of satisfying hunger, the salt-fat-sugar combination will stimulate that diner’s brain to crave more.” (Kessler, 2009)   “For many, the come-on offered by Lay’s Potato Chips — “Betcha can’t eat just one” — is scientifically accurate. And the food industry manipulates this neurological response, designing foods to induce people to eat more than they should or even want.” (Kessler, 2009) 

Government policies pertaining to agriculture have fed changes in our food supply which have lead to public health concerns such as obesity, disease and affordability of healthy foods as well as access to them. Regardless of what we purchase at the store, it probably has some form of corn in it. We have driven down the price of corn and soy so low, that these are staple ingredients in most processed foods. Food corporations are thriving with this concept. Not only are taxpayers subsidizing the corn and soybean crops, but we are paying for it again when we purchase from the food corporations that benefit from these low prices.

The taxpayer subsidies are simply a symptom of a broken system, so be careful not to place blame on the farmer. When prices are allowed to be driven so low, agribusiness is able to monopolize the industry and reap the rewards of cheap corn. With the Agricultural Bill affecting so many aspects of our lives, it’s important that we don’t glance over its significance. We must ensure representation in D.C. for not only the policies formed, but why they are formed, who they really benefit and how they are implemented.

Agriculture and our health are linked at the hip. Agriculture is directly linked to nutrition and public health. We can’t tackle one without affecting the other. The failure to address agriculture means we’ve also given stock to health insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies. “For the first time in American history, our generation was at risk of having a shorter lifespan than our parents. And it was because of what we ate.” (Curt Ellis, King Corn filmmaker) It is frighteningly apparent that this current system is literally killing us. Perhaps, instead of asking ourselves the question, “Does it taste good?” we should challenge ourselves to ask, “Is it good for us?”

We are not alone. Together, we can start a conversation early on with our children about food. We must refrain from assembling our food and prepare it. We must involve children in the process and thus allow for a natural connection to our food to occur. You are your child’s first teacher; teach them one of the most basic of all needs—nutrition that sustains a healthy, active, productive life.

The Beet Goes On.

Last night I was in line at the grocery store placing my items on a conveyor belt when a voice behind me said, “What’s THAT?” After pointing to a few things, she replied in a rather curious but disturbed voice again said, “NO, that THING. What is that round, dirty thing?” Noticing a child peek around from behind her, I smiled, “OH! It’s a beet.” She was silent. “Have you ever tried eating a beet?” She quickly replied, “I tried a beet once and I.DID.NOT. like it.” I picked the beet up and brought it a little closer to her. “You know, I bet you would like it if you roasted it.” I went on to explain how to do such. “Huh,” she said…”Maybe, I will try them again.”

Every time I enjoy one of these, I weep a little for me as a child. I wasn’t exposed to beets. No one ever offered me one. The first time I tried a beet was in my late teens. I decided to be adventurous at the salad bar and plop one on my plate. I was naturally drawn to it’s bright color although there was no happy ending here. The beet was pickled in a jar of some sort of vinegar concoction. No, Folks… The beet did not go on.

It wasn’t until many years later (a marriage, a house, a couple kids, etc.) that I was participating in a community garden club that the topic of beets came up. (Yes, we had an entire conversation based off beets.) One person chimed in about how they simply grill, slice them open and enjoy. Another person shared how the leaves are actually quite tasty adding the many nutritional benefits of consuming beets. I stood back, beet red, dropped my gloves (you knew it was serious now), “Really?” I got to the root of my woo’s and picked up a few beets the next time I was at the grocery store.

They were right. I grill my beets whole, for about 45-minutes (450-degrees). Simply peel the skin off and enjoy. By pass the bottled beets or even the ones that come in the refrigerated section of Trader Joe’s. It’s just not the same. Fresh is best.

Here is a recipe for beets and their leafy greens. Do you have a different way of preparing beets? Please share! I would love to give your recipe a try.

Click here to learn about the history, health benefits and nutritional facts of eating beets.

Purple Agapanthus

My California obsession, in the form of purple and white…

The big purple (and white) flowers that adorn the landscape of California remind me of giant dandelions in shape. 

After a little research, I learned that they are actually called Purple Agapanthus. They are native to the subtropical and warm temperate areas of South Africa.

According to Better Home and Gardens, these low maintenance plants grow in zones 7-11. They reach a height of 1-3 feet and width to 3 feet wide. 

I adore them in their varying stages. Prior to blooming, they remind me of an elf or hat fit for a fairy.

Not only am I fond of them…the hummingbirds are too!

All images are copyright of Beverly Kumar. Images may not be used without permission. Use of images must be accompanied by photographer credit and copyright notice. Thank you!