Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Meet Chef Ellie Lavender!


My journey as a self-taught vegetarian Mediterranean chef started at age 7 with my decision to become a vegetarian. Having asked my mom to prepare vegetarian foods, her reply was: “It’s time for you to learn how to cook so that you can make any kind of food you want”. I started cooking and found absolute joy in experimenting with the bounty of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs (lavender always being my favorite) from our organic garden. This early encounter with the joy of cooking led me to create Lavender Cuisine because cooking truly is my greatest passion! Click here to see my culinary creations on Instagram!

I offer personal chef services, vegetarian, vegan, Mediterranean cooking, chocolate and wine pairing classes and catering throughout Santa Cruz County and the South Bay. I use a wide variety of fresh, organic local produce and ingredients from local farmer’s markets in Santa Cruz County. 

The name Lavender Cuisine comes from my wonderful experience with the amazing healing power of lavender—a story that has its origins in my early childhood in the south of France. I was introduced to lavender at the age of six. My mom used to make me a glass of warm milk infused with lavender flowers and honey whenever I had an upset stomach or could not sleep. It always made me feel good and was simply wonderful. I learned the art of cooking and baking with culinary lavender at a very early age by experimenting with it and loving the results. Culinary lavender adds a delightful and exotic flavor to any sweet or savory creation. 

Lavender has touched my life in many magical ways and I would welcome the opportunity to introduce it into yours.

Chef Ellie Lavender

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Feng Shui Enhancements for a Child’s Bedroom


Empower your children's aptitude for success by applying Feng Shui enhancements to their bedrooms. Partner with them to create an inspiring bedroom environment that promotes enriched education, success, and happy relationships with parents, siblings, and others.  However, before you apply any Feng Shui enhancements to the bedrooms of your children, it’s important that you bring them into the process. Start by discussing the benefits of a clutter-free, organized and inspiring bedroom environment; and then get their permission and full participation. After that, work together to design short and long term plans to keep their bedrooms clutter-free, organized and inspiring!  

Below is your Step-by-Step Action Plan :

1.        Remove clutter. Partner with your children to support their efforts to clear jammed closets and drawers. Encourage them to remove toys, games, books and clothes no longer suitable for their age. To make this process simple and most effective, provide them with three boxes, 1) items for donation, 2) recycling and 3) trash. Creating space and visual openness helps your child sleep better and feel much more rested, which will lead them to be happier and more productive.

2.       Teach organization skills and maintenance methods. Provide storage systems, a laundry basket and trash can so that children can easily organize and store items, without having to leave them on their beds, desks and floors. These simple and practical measures will inspire and motivate your children to keep their bedrooms clean, clutter-free and organized resulting in fewer chores for you!

3.       Create an inspiring bedroom environment. Make sure there is adequate lighting in the bedroom. Also, bedrooms that are painted dark colors create too much oppressive energy. Bright colors, such as yellows, light greens, soft lavender and pinks are good energy and inspiring color choices.  Add inspiring and motivational posters and art to the child’s bedroom!

4.      Bed choice and placement in the bedroom. Make sure your child can see the door from his or her bed easily, but is not in direct line of the door. Bunk beds are not optimal. Children must have room to grow and the bed overhead exerts pressure on the child below. Because there is empty space below them, children on the top bunk may feel less secure. If possible, try to have a separate bedroom for each child. If this isn’t possible, there are many decorative ways to create division and privacy within a room for each child.

5.       Establish a space for study and accomplishments. Having a dedicated space, including a desk and lamp where your child can study demonstrates to your child the importance you place on education, your child’s success and achievement. Display awards, trophies, and tests with good scores in the child’s bedroom.

6.      Praise your children often. Throughout the transformation process and afterward, praise your children often. The practice of this amplifying self-esteem gesture will make them feel good, loved and appreciated, and will also encourage and motivate them to maintain a clean, clutter-free, organized and inspiring bedroom environment for years to come.

7.       Lead by example for your children. Children are like mirrors, reflecting everything that happens in their environment. The examples you set have a significant impact on their present and future development and aspirations. Keep your home environment, clean, clutter-free, organized and inspirational. 

Inspired-Transformation Story - “Ellie helped us to declutter, organize and Feng Shui our whole house, which was neglected for many years! Once, we declutterd, organized and applied Ellie’s creative and inspiring interior design’s solutions, our house was transformed into a beautiful home, a place of joy, comfort and relaxation. The two areas, which needed the most decluttering and organization, were our children’s bedrooms. The immediate positive impact became apparent when we stopped asking our 9 year old daughter and 12 year old son to do their homework, pick up their things, stop arguing, etc. Pleasantly, we noticed our constant nagging had turned into praising them for keeping their bedrooms clean and doing their homework. We are also delighted that every Saturday morning they bring their dirty clothes basket to the laundry room and empty their trash cans, which have helped to keep their bedrooms clean and organized. Our daughter and son are now much happier and calmer. They also sleep better, argue less, and are more focused on their school work. For this amazing transformation and so much more, we can’t thank you enough, Ellie! “ – Cathy and Steve , Almaden Valley

Happy Decluttering!
Ellie Lavender
Certified Feng Shui Practitioner

Copyright 2016, Lavender Design + Cuisine