ALTERED SPACE // QUICK QUESTION!

My friend Cindi is one of the coolest people ever. If you know her and agree, shout a little “Jai Ma!” right now — she’ll get the message. She’s just that tuned in! Cindi is the guardian of the most amazing temple. It’s called RUKA (www.ruka.com) and there’s a door to it on 19th between Chestnut and Sansom Streets in Philly, but RUKA really exists in all the homes, businesses, offices, yoga studios, and on all the altars that have been blessed by one of the treasures gotten by stepping through that door.

Cindi

Cindi finds a treasure!

Cindi travels the world to hand select the beautiful murtis, textiles, decor, and jewelry offered at RUKA. She even leads tours of India and Thailand for those who want a personal peek behind the veil of these exotic lands! When I had the chance to ask her a “Quick Question” to share here, I wanted to dig a little bit into her travel secrets.

QUICK QUESTION FOR YOU… When you travel, what things from home do you bring along that you just can’t be without?

“My amulets! On my travel journal I have a holographic OM sticker, on my backpack, my bag, my phone, my passport, my wallet – well, practically everything else – I have 3D stickerts of the Turkish God’s Eye Amulet (all infused with mantra, thoughts, and intentions of protection)!

My gold and silver Nepali Ganesha box pendant on a gold chain grace my neck, and on a longer sacred thread I have my Tibetan coral charms with 100 year old silver temple amulets – A circular one with the warrior goddess and a house shaped one with the feet of Shiva. Around my left wrist I have a sai sin – the white, un-spun thread blessed by the Buddhist Monks in Thailand, which I received on my last journey to Thailand earlier this year. I look forward to being blessed with a new one when I arrive in Thailand in early 2014!

As I move around throughout my day, on the other side of the world, I look at my amulets and I breathe deeper with inspiration that I am always safe and always home.”

Cindi also does beautiful Mendhi, henna designs that are beyond compare. She has covered practically my whole body over the years between doing the designs for my wedding and a pregnancy design and even a beautiful one for an anniversary. You can see some of the wedding Mendhi she did in the photo below! If you are interested in traveling with an experienced, fun, and thoughtful guide, Click Here — adventure awaits!

A Mendhi Heart with the groom's name hidden in the design!

A Mendhi Heart with the groom’s name hidden in the design!

ALTERED SPACE // WHAT WE EAT

People ask John & I all the time, “What do YOU eat?” Basically, we eat healthy, we eat fresh, we eat organic, we eat local, but most importantly, we EAT. We love food. We are Italian after all, so our taste buds are as developed as our unibrows. So it is with a great deal of pleasure that I will occasionally bring you a little Menu. Here is “What We Eat!”

This recipe is one that I could easily eat every week if there weren’t so many other great meals begging to be subbed in. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s seriously delicious. Don’t ask me about calories because I don’t know, but I feel safe saying this is a “light” meal. Unless you put sour cream on the side, which I sometimes do, but that’s your call my friend!

Rainbow Chard & Rice

Ingredients: 1 bunch of Rainbow Chard, 1 medium yellow onion, 1/4 cup oil (your choice, I prefer evoo), 1 cup water (OR broth for extra flavor), 2 tablespoons of curry, 2 cups rice (again, your choice, I like basmati), flax oil

Preparation:

1. Start rice. Chop Onion. Separate chard stalks from leaves & chop each pile up.

2. Warm oil in skillet or wok on medium. Put in chopped up onion until soft, about 3 mins.

3. Add just the chopped up chard STALKS w/ half of the water or broth, about 3 mins.

4. Add chard leaves & stir in curry powder, stirring occasionally, about 3 mins.

5. Add rest of water or broth, cover and steam 3-5 mins (to your preference, I like mine really green).

6. Plate, squirt on some flax oil, add any condiments you like (sour cream or even a chutney) and ENJOY!

This will serve 2 hungry people as your main meal or 4 regular people if you also offer a salad or something else. I’m sorry I don’t have a photo but we ate it before I could take a picture! It’s that good 🙂

OM,

Diana