Woman to Woman: Creating Your Own Journey of Discovery
By Bonnie Steele
Elizabeth Gilbert first seduced us in her best-selling memoir Eat, Pray, Love, then, we watched with envy as Julia Roberts recreated the author’s life-changing journey on the big screen. Now you can revive your own spirit at home -- no passport required -- by incorporating some of Gilbert’s happiness-inducing discoveries into your everyday life.
Want to impress friends and family with an Italian feast that would dazzle even a true Italian?
Begin your meal with this easy-to-make fig and ricotta salad from chef Victor Casanova of Culina, the modern Italian restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills.
Fig & Ricotta Salad
1 pound sheep’s milk (or cow’s milk) ricotta
1 cup heavy cream
Sea salt to taste
2 pounds (approximately two dozen) black mission figs, cut into quarters
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 ounces arugula
1. In a food processor, blend ricotta and heavy cream until satiny smooth. Season with sea salt.
2. On a large plate, make a circular pool of the ricotta and top with the figs. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, followed by the balsamic vinegar.
3. Garnish with arugula and serve.
While traveling to India to find enlightenment is an enviable goal, you can bring balance to your life at home by adding an easy yoga ritual into your daily routine. Jill Crowley, a yoga expert at the Golden Door Spa at the Boulders Resort in Arizona, suggests trying Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (alternate nostril breathing), a centering technique that can be practiced anywhere.
Start by sitting upright in a comfortable position, letting your hands rest in your lap. Take a deep clarifying breath in, then exhale it completely. Using either hand, let your index and middle finger rest toward the palm as you bring your thumb and ring finger to gently alternate pressing into the sides of your nostrils. Begin with an inhalation through the right nostril, while using your fingers to block the flow of air through your left nostril. Then, alternately press your fingers down on your right nostril and release the exhalation through your left nostril. Next, inhale through the left and exhale through the right.
“Continue alternating sides, breathing slowly and deeply, allowing the energy channels to clear,” explains Crowley. “As you listen to the rhythm of your breath, you’ll feel the tension melt away.”
Add a bit of romance to your bedroom with a few Balinese design elements, and you just may lure your own Felipe (or -- even better -- Javier Bardem) into the serene space.
“Balinese design encompasses the feeling of light, nature and open spaces, so the first thing you’ll want to do is get rid of clutter,” says Los Angeles-based set designer Sharon Beeching, who redecorated two rooms in her own home in a Balinese style after a trip to Indonesia. “Once you’ve achieved a clean palette, consider neutral and earth tone bedding, accented with a colorful throw or blanket to remind you of the brightly hued sarongs worn by Balinese men and women.”
Batik throw pillows are an inexpensive way to bring a Balinese feel to your bed, suggests Beeching. A wax-resist dyeing technique that creates intricate patterns, batik often incorporates indigo, dark brown and white, colors that represent the three Hindu gods. “Find a quiet corner in your bedroom to display a Buddha statue,” she says, “and because Bali is so lush, be sure to add a green leafy plant to your look.”
If you’re not planning a trip to Indonesia anytime soon, Pier 1 Imports, Cost Plus World Market and Crate and Barrel are all excellent resources for Balinese decorative items.
Woman to Woman: "Creating Your Own Journey of Discovery"