Resetting Nutrition

“We are never too busy
to take time to reset, recharge, and refuel.”
~ Svetlana Burak, My Health Beet

A few weeks ago I decided to take part in a mini-cleanse to reset my body and get into the swing of Spring. I’ve had very sluggish mornings during this long winter, and as the birds started chirping my body needed a jump start for Spring.


I had met Svetlana Burak of My Health Beet through a small business group and skipped her January announcement for a cleanse, but when this one popped up I felt ready. Of course, I dawdled the weekend of the start date and didn’t get my shopping list together until the 3rd day of the group cleanse. That was OK though. I just jumped in on the tail end and shared my daily meals on the Facebook group at my own pace.


I decided to skip the foods that didn’t appeal to me and instead doubled up on the other recipes I did like. That meant I ended up with more food than necessary, since I didn’t check the serving size and bought enough for a whole family!


The dressing recipes looked complicated to me, so I skipped those. I’m not big on salad dressings anyway. Between Aldi and Trader Joe’s it is easy to get produce without hurting the wallet, which was a good revelation to me. The idea that healthy food is expensive food had gotten ingrained into my head, and realizing that I can budget shop fresh food as easily as pre-packaged meals is going to change my shopping habits.

 “I created this program for the busy person
who simply needs the action plan simplified.” 
~ Svetlana Burak, My Health Beet

I purposely picked a slow week for the cleanse since I knew that making the meals would be time consuming. I’d gotten stuck in a rut of quick pasta meals or oven-baked meals from a box. But I found that the simple recipes Svetlana had put together for us were no more time consuming than waiting for something to finish baking. Sure I spent a little more time chopping and measuring foods, but interacting with the ingredients was a lot of fun and uncomplicated.


A lot of the ingredients can be pre-chopped and cooked later, or leftovers refrigerated for another day. I froze one smoothie the night before when I had an all-day road trip on my calendar.


Another bonus was that Svetlana is a fan of one-pan meals like me. Multi-pan cooking productions easily put me off preparing a meal.


It was fun to learn how to make carrot soup, and I promptly went on Pinterest to gather recipes for my favorite veggies (bell peppers and tomatoes) to turn into soup at a later date. What also surprised me is that I didn’t miss the standard habit of having a bread roll with soup. This cleanse was dairy and gluten free, and yet I didn’t miss the cheese and bread I am so fond of. Each meal filled me sufficiently to get through the day, and was flavorful enough to not generate any cravings.


One person reported losing a few pounds during the cleanse, but my results were not that dramatic. I definitely didn’t lose weight, but I did feel more energetic in the morning and throughout the day, which was my main objective.


What I am taking away from this cleanse is a better food consciousness. I found myself over-snacking at night simply by the trigger of watching something or reading a book in which people were eating. Feeling more full and knowing that I had all the nutrients I needed in my body had me reach for a glass of water instead of a snack, bake kale chips for the crunch, or mix cranberry concentrate into water in lieu of wine.


My fitbit arrived right before the cleanse and the cleanse prompted me to start on MyFitnessPal, which has me tracking my food. Calorie counting isn’t my favorite thing, but as I enter recipes and food combinations I am more aware of my snacking pitfalls and how tasty alternatives reduce my calorie intake and therefore allow for a wider variety of food grazing throughout the day.


Svetlana’s recipes aren’t about calorie counting. Her aim is for participants to change their relationship to food, which she accomplished. If a person doesn’t want to prepare smoothies, that is fine. If breakfast requires more protein, she encourages participants to change the order of the meals to suit their lifestyle and energy levels.

“The goal of this cleanse is
to warm and nourish your body for optimal digestion,
which means an optimal cleanse.”
~ Svetlana Burak, My Health Beet

The cleanse isn’t about only drinking smoothies, it completely ignores supplements, and encourages the participant to focus on self-care on all levels, including leisure time, physical care, and mental space. So many cleanses hawk specific supplements, insist that you go exactly by the book, focus on liquid diets, or try to sell something which has set me up for failure in the past. Taking this lifestyle-based approach is far more effective and enjoyable. Four days is also easier to incorporate than a 10- or 11-day cleanse.


I could have continued this cleanse for a few more days since there was no deprivation. However, I still had some cheese and non-veggies in the fridge and am back to having wine in the evenings. While this cleanse isn’t prompting me to give up my favorite foods, it is helping me moderate the portion sizes and change the percentages of where my nutrients come from.


I look forward to trying the recipes I skipped, will rotate between my regular dairy-based drinks and the coconut-milk smoothies, and savor the awareness of fun foods. With the abundance of leftover greens I actually looked up other recipes to incorporate these power-foods into.


Self-care is all about making manageable changes and keeping up with them one day at a time. Knowing how to make nutritious meals and snacks with your favorite veggies is empowering and beats trusting a manufacturer with your health and your energy levels.

New Mother’s Day pieces

Mother’s Day is less than a month away and I’ve been busy making new pendants to honor the nurturers in your life.


These pendants contain the word ‘mother’ in a variety of languages, and are fun to peruse. The majority of words have m and n sounds, but a surprising amount have different letter configurations altogether. ‘Patrino’ and ‘panjo’ surprised me the most.


I’ve incorporated birthstones and special mementos in various pieces, and look forward to creating another mother’s day birthstone bangle in the near future.


With Spring having sprung, flowers are on my mind as well. Lots of Springy pieces are going up on the Etsy shop this week.  Who doesn’t want flowers that last forever?


If your favorite nurturer doesn’t wear jewelry, desktop minis might be an option. Wall decor never goes out of style.


Of course the best gift you can give is your presence, so you can always come up with a fun mom-child activity to give the best gift a mother can ask for. After all, one holiday isn’t enough to show appreciation for your loved ones, and love and family should be celebrated year-round.


Or how about a little serenade for mom? May 10 is the day this year. Get creative!

Winning fun things

2015 is promising to be a winning year. I’ve won something unexpected three months in a row, and it makes me happy to live in Evanston. During Suminagashi artist Amy Lee Segami’s presentation at the Evanston Public Library in February I was the recipient of her poster, which she autographed for me.


Being in the winning category of a random drawing is new to me. I gave up holding my breath with those types of events over the years, and just considered participation a fun thing without attachment. Hashtagging proved lucrative in March, when I unexpectedly won Symphony tickets for participating in the #WeLoveEvanston campaign.


I didn’t even know there were prizes involved with this campaign, but it was a lovely introduction to this local orchestra and some wonderful composers I didn’t even know.The Evanston Symphony Orchestra is made up of volunteers.


Balikpapan, Indonesia got the most lovable city award, but Evanston was named the United States’ Earth Hour capital by the World Wildlife Fund.


This week I won a drawing class with my wonderful friend Lauren Levato Coyne through Instagram. Evanston Merchants held a Loop Giveaway campaign to gain more Instagram followers, and I played along to support my friends.


Incidentally SideTracked Studio was linked to my favorite shop, Dragonfly Boutique, where some of my pieces are having a slumber party among beautiful gift and fashion items.


Check out their goodies!


Lauren is a fabulous drawing teacher, and I cannot wait to see what models she has selected for us. SideTracked Studio is still hosting “What did she say?” through May 10, so take a peek at this intriguing exhibit, and grab some Hoosier Mama Pie around the cornerIt’s fun living here.

HVNSTN encaustic collage by Maike's Marvels

I also broke the 155 likes mark on Facebook, which makes me feel quite loved. Thank you for reading and for being a fan!


It’s selfie time!

Whenever I do my Etsy shoots, I try to also wear the pieces out and about for a photo record of how they look in real life, like this blue beaded pendant, ring and earring set.


Sweaterdress season is almost over, and this jade stone collar looks great with knits.


It’s fun to mix and match pieces and add my ring collection to the fun. You can view my combinations in real time on Instagram. Pairing my infinite earrings with a coil bangle and an exquisite purple pendant  brightened up the dreary days, and I gave my wool sweater a touch of spring with the caged butterfly pendant and matching scribble ball earrings.


I am also playing with my necklace collection, and wore my grandmother’s gift with New World Symphony when I won tickets to the Evanston Symphony Orchestra during a #weLoveEvanston campaign.


Pictured here: Musical wax and wire pendant, violin clef earrings,
a custom birthstone bangle bracelet, a butterfly ring from Ayla’s Originals.

The weather is warming but you can always make a fashion statement with a scarf pendant! This one is made with a piece of vintage coral.


I wore the freshly listed double helix wax and wire pendant to the Textual Encounters opening, along with pink scribble ball earrings and a butterfly scarf pendant.


A pop of red is always fun. This musical heart is one of my first and favorite pieces, and I combined it with the coil earrings that are quite popular. My triangle pendants have found a few new homes, and any color is available. The smashed earrings have a life or their own.


When I did the Yacht walk-through for RAW, the long wire earrings got combined with a lime green mother’s day pendant, a bangle bracelet and rings from fellow Etsy vendors Jelene Britten Designs and alapop jewelry.


Check out my Etsy shop for more pieces and always wear your seatbelts! They make pendants look awesome.

Celebrate Art on a Yacht!

I’m thrilled to announce that  I have been selected to participate in the April Exposure showcase sponsored by RAW: natural born artists.


On April 23, numerous artists will converge at the Odyssey Chicago, a 3-deck yacht docked at Navy Pier, to showcase their creativity and talent. EXPOSURE will include an independent film, a fashion show from an up-and-coming local designer, a musical performance, an art gallery featuring several independent visual artists and photographers, and performance art.


Tickets to the event are $15 each and can be obtained online by April 16.  The tickets will be $20 at the door. With artists in film, fashion, music, visual art, hair & makeup artistry, and performance art, RAW events come together to form an amazing one-night circus of creativity.


We took a tour of the Yacht last month to get our bearings, and I am excited to set up my wares in such an unusual spot. The Yacht has 3 decks, named after lovely gems (and birthstones), inspiring me for a future creation.


One or two bars will be open for spirited libations, and you can peruse the creations of about 40 artists throughout the ship. There’s an access ramp to the boat and the stairwells inside are just like home. The boat will remain docked throughout the event for stragglers, so you can come for an hour or for the duration of the event.


I had seen mention of RAW in various places, and love the story behind it.


Founded by Heidi Luerra, the seeds for RAW were sewn in 2005 in Los Angeles. Heidi was seeking a way to get her fashion designs out into the world and banded together with other artist friends to create a platform of talented, yet unnoticed artists. By 2009, RAW was formalized, and a web site collaboration added the online venue.


Since 2011, RAW has expanded to 54 cities in the United States, and even went overseas to Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.


EXPOSURE takes place Thursday, April 23 from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Odyssey Chicago yacht at Navy Pier, 600 E Grand Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60611. The Yacht is near the Shakespeare Theater. Parking is recommended in the West Garage of Navy Pier. Alternate parking directions are here.


Tickets to the event are $15 each and can be obtained online by April 16: right here. I poked around and saw that a luncheon will cost $50 per person, so getting in at $15 is a bargain! You can put the event on your calendar via this link.


If you can’t make it to the Chicago event, check out RAW’s calendar for a showcase near you!

Women Out Walking

“You’ve got to find something that makes you happy
to keep you moving.”

~ Malik of Hip Circle Studio

In mid-March, the City of Evanston launched Women Out Walking for the 8th year in a row. The 12-week program encourages women to become more physically active and lead healthier lifestyles. Every week women are asked to log their steps, and whether as individuals or part of a team, are incentivized with prizes for their achievements.

Not only does this program give you incentive to walk more in your personal life, but local businesses are offering special sample sessions of exercise classes, like yoga, martial arts, dance, and running. Workshops on nutrition and general health are also promoted through June 21.


I attended the kickoff at Evanston Township High School and put on the pedometer that came with the goodie bag right after the speeches. Mayor Tisdahl endorsed the event, and Hip Circle Studio owner Malik offered a keynote speech.


Urban Beat Dance demonstrated the joy of moving with two fun performances.


Currently 400 women are part of the program, but registration is ongoing. Goals of the program are to engage women in meaningful and healthy activities, increase social interaction, provide access to healthy resources, and ensure a sense of safety while walking.


You submit your steps for the week every Monday with a link that is provided in a reminder email. You can use any step tracking device you want, such as the Fitbit, the WOW-provided pedometer, or other tools.


After the kick-off speeches we were sent to 3 different stations for exercise options. In Hip Circle Studio’s demonstration we learned steps to the bellydance flashmob that will be shown at the Custer Street Fair.


Connelly Martial Arts offered tips on how to walk around more safely, which means taking the earplugs out, putting your phone in your pocket, walking straight and purposefully and being alert of your surroundings. The best way to deal with a suspicious person is to simply walk away.


photo courtesy Hip Circle Studio

Balance Through Motion had brought various balance boards for us to try out. They can be used to improve your general sense of balance, but also as tools for moderate to more challenging exercises. While our instinct was to stand on them and use them as teeter-totters for our feet, you can also do exercises while sitting, laying down, and as part of a new pilates program.

There was a vendor scavenger hunt with Bingo during which we learned more about nutrition, spinal alignment, footwear and other health-related resources. 1914 steps later, I was encouraged with all the walking we did at the event itself.  At the end of that very active first day, I logged more than 6000 steps!


However, attaining the goal of 10,000 steps a day (recommended by the American Heart Association) is a challenge without an out-of-the-home commute. My ‘commute’ only logs about 33 steps. Thankfully the weather is nicer so I will be enticed to walk around the block more often during lunch time. Still, with Moxie Boxing, the most active of my workout sessions, the most steps I have gotten in one day is 7000.


I have experimented and found that the pedometer does count shimmies—albeit not one-for-one, something I am told the Fitbit doesn’t do. Ultimately the point is to get moving and be motivated to move more.

If I hit the 10,000 step mark during summer I’ll be happy, but I am allowing for the sedentary under 1000 steps days too. Maybe I’ll see you at the final Women out Walking Session, Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate at Long Field at the corner of Lincoln Street and Sheridan Road.


PS-I loooove this vending machine at ETHS.


It’s a writer’s dream.


Could it be Spring?

Could it be? Did Winter finally get the memo to make way for Spring?


I saw buds pop up last week only to be covered by snow.


But now the majority of ice blobs have melted, and these sprouts just might have a chance!


There are still remnants of ice. This was February 22.


And on April Fool’s Day, ice blobs are still taunting us.


Fascinating physics for sure.


Here’s hoping that spring is here to stay, and we can enjoy the blossoming of new life.


I am reminded of a childhood song whenever I see Croci


and Narcissus.


This is the only YouTube version I could find.

I wish those observing holy days this week(end) peace and pause.


March flowers

We keep getting more snow but it is springtime in the studio.


I received a gift in this vibrant floral tissue paper and couldn’t resist making some cheerful pendants with them.


A simple oval was the obvious choice, but then it was fun playing with petal shapes too.


I pulled out Brenda Schweder’s Now That’s A Jig to practice more form-making.


When the wire shapes are completed I cut out the papers to match each form.


After dipping the paper in wax each petal is painstakingly aligned with the wire, and fused to its rightful place with a quilting iron.


A yellow scrap made me want to add another flower to my blend.


I shall call it Potentilla erecta. Buttercups might have to be next!


I’ve been loading more pendants and earrings to Etsy the past week.


These newbies will be processed for new listings soon, but you can always contact me to call dibs! I post combos and works in progress on my Instagram feed as well.


For the floral pendants, earrings and collar necklaces already uploaded, view my Etsy shop.


Mother’s Day Pendants are in the works, too.


May 10 will be here before you know it, so contact me now for your custom order.


A River Rock Commission

After a recent pop-up event a friend asked me if I could wrap her river rock into a pendant.


When she brought it to me, I instantly thought of a heart shape. She agreed, and the wrapping began, while putting on appropriate music for this dancer.


I used a prior heart pendant as a template, except I had to work this one in reverse. Usually I start with the pendant loop that attaches to the necklace cord, but in order to secure the rock I had to start by wrapping it first.


I gently wrapped the steel wire around the rock, and needed to make a few attempts to get it to be snug with each twist, as the wire would re-align itself.


When I was happy with securing the rock, I created the heart shape.


Then I criss-crossed the remainder of the shape, et voila!


It did ruin the fresh manicure, but such is the life of a wire bender.


The customer is happy, and I am inspired to pick up some arrowheads to repeat the process.


I also created a custom collar recently. Making Waves is intended for a tall woman, so I created a smaller version for my customer.


We measured using a spiral collar and then I got to work replicating the look and feel.


I prepped the wire by sandpapering off the grime, hammering it straight and filing off the edges.


Then I bent it into shape.


This collar is being worn around town on a regular basis, and I love that it brings such joy to its new owner.


As tough as steel wire is, the end result is a light and flowy piece you can pair with any look.


I take much pleasure shaping the forms and seeing where the wire leads me, as it sometimes won’t  come out as my intended vision. In the same way Amy Lee Segami collaborates with water, the wire tells me which direction it wants to bend into, creating surprising results that appeal to variety of people.


Browse my Etsy shop to see what I have in stock, and let me know if you want to customize a piece that appeals to you. Earrings, seashells, ribbons, beads, charms, crystals are all fair game to be wrapped into a unique jewelry piece of your own.

Textual Encounters Exhibit

This is the final week to see Textual Encounters. We had a lovely opening night on March 6, and I hope the gallery got lots of foot traffic this month.

MaikesMarvelsArtEncaustic collages with wire by Maike’s Marvels

Textual Encounters focuses on incorporating text into encaustic work.

Elyse Martin and VA de Pintor

The FUSEDChicago group includes artists with a variety of styles, so seeing 32 artists with different techniques, color palettes, and objectives come together in one space is always fascinating.

Emily Rutledge, Mary Krebs Smyth, Jenny Learner

Curator Shelley Gilchrist did a fabulous job hanging the show.

Michele Thrane, Donna Zarbin-Byrne,

Shelly Gilchrist, Kathy Blankley Roman, Carol Hamilton

From sculptural to 2-dimensional, abstract to figurative, earth tones to vibrant colors, the show’s theme pulls the pieces together and showcases the variety of ways encaustics can express a vision.

Sarah Rehmer and Amy Van Winkle

Artists incorporated text from books, music scores, a collage of single letters, and snippets of poems for embedding and inspiration.


I love the gradation of layers, with some FUSEDChicago members focusing on translucence and an ethereal quality, while others make the encaustic paint pop in vibrancy.

Pat Lagger, Alicia Forestall-Boehm, Kari Hall,

Dan Addington, Rebecca Williams Stahr,
Ahavani Mullen, Maike’s Marvels

Discussing the thought process behind the pieces and understanding the techniques used is inspiring and broadens my mind as I contemplate new projects.

Cat Crotchett
, Karen Tichy, April Nomellini,
Brad Hook, Michele Thrane, Laura LaRue.

ARC Gallery is located at 2156 N Damen Avenue in Chicago. The Gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday from 12 to 6 pm, and Sundays from 12 to 4 pm. Textual Encounters closes March 28.

Carol Hamilton, Linda Sorkin Eisenberg,
Catherine Keebler, Mary Krebs Smyth

FUSEDChicago is a group of midwest encaustic artists based in Chicago. The group was founded in 2009 and currently has forty members.

Jennifer Schmidt, Jennifer Williams Terpstra,
Cheryl Holz, Katsy Johnson

More information about the artists and the group’s exhibits and activities is available at

Elyse Martin, VA dePintor, Carol Myers

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