Writing

THE YEAR OF MOVEMENT

It's been a few weeks and we hope you all had as wonderful as a holiday season as we did! 2016 is already off to a bang and we can't wait to share another year of growth and exploration with you all. We have some wonderful products and events in line for you this year!

As we were getting ready to celebrate the coming of 2016, Ji and I also wanted to start this year off with a word that would encompass all of our goals. The word Movement immediately came to mind as we thought about our journey so far and what inspires us. We know that the New Year brings excitement, but why is it that usually by now many of us have given up on the momentum we had on Jan 1st? As the excitement fades its so easy to stop, but while slowing down is ok, stopping can make it even harder to pick up again. We hope you all keep moving forward and continue on with your new year goals and we can't wait to share the fruits of our forward moving journey!

 Painting by  Scott Belcastro

Painting by Scott Belcastro

Leyandra's Thanksgiving Meal Tradition

I come from a very big family on both sides that is very spread out. Thanksgiving has always been a way for everyone to get together to catch up and of course eat! t for the past couple of years my dad's side of the family has made a point to get together in NY to honor my late Grandmother's tireless efforts to always keep us together.  It is something I truly look forward to every year. Our Thanksgiving tradition is to split up the dishes in a potluck format. Everyone is known for his or her famous dish and I come from a mixed family that highlights Puerto Rican and African American traditions so the blend of dishes is always so amazing. Being a Puerto Rican vegetarian is a little rough at Thanksgiving and since I'm also known as the salad queen in the family,  I always bring a salad to our dinner.  I try to switch it up each year with different ingredients, but this salad is one my favorites and one that my family really loves. It is also super easy to make! 

I love that my family is so blended and brings different foods and cultures to celebrate. Ji and I are sharing our traditions this year to highlight just how unique traditions can be and how you can totally makeup your own. We'd love to hear some of your favorite Thanksgiving traditions! You can check out the recipe to this Apple Spinach Salad below!

Serves 20

Apple Spinach Salad

Ingredients:

1 pack of Baby Spinach

1 Cucumber chopped into slivers

1 pack Feta Cheese crumbled

3-4 HoneyCrisp Apples cut into cubes

3-5 tablespoons Olive Oil 

Salt to taste

Lemon Juice from half of a lemon

Directions:

1. Chop all ingredients and mix together in a bowl

2. Add olive oil, lemon juice and salt to taste

3. Toss and enjoy!

*Random tips- Adding cooked brown makes this light, refreshing salad a bit more hearty. A chopped red onion also adds some spice and kick. Bosc Pears also make a great substitute for apples in this salad.  

Ji's Thanksgiving Meal Tradition

My family never had or did anything on Thanksgiving that lasted more than a year or two and so nothing made it to the "tradition" list. We typically had turkey at church on Sunday the week of Thanksgiving, so we always got our turkey fix out of way before Thanksgiving. We did get together and spend time together eating and eating and eating. It's just that nothing repeated year after year. Very little changed even after I got married and started a family of my own.

My husband and I still don't cook a traditional turkey feast or any sort of feast, but we do have something we can humbly and shyly call a tradition. Every Thanksgiving, we wake up pretty early, put on a sweater and Uggs. Then we head over to the Starbuck across the street, grab coffee, walk couple steps across the parking lot, stand in a line mostly of men and wait paitently for our Marie Callendar's Pecan Pie(s). Yup, that is our Thanksgiving tradition. We go get coffee and pie together as a family. We have done it every year ever since we got married and so it feels very special that we have our own thing that we do. Depending on the plans and who we'll be getting together with, we make sure we get several to gift and share. I can honestly say that we don't do it because it's just easy (although it is undeniably easier compared to actually baking a pie), but because we really do enjoy doing it every year and find ourselves looking forward to it. To me, that itself is worthy of being called a tradition.

Plant New Seeds This Fall

What I love most about the Fall is that it is the start of a season full of community and fun gatherings. It's the time of the year where I get to connect most with those that are close to my heart, especially since I've lived far away from my family for quite some time. But in the spirit of growth that Ji and I have been following in our personal lives and with BITA, I'm challenging myself to make new connections this year. It is so easy to stay in a safe zone and gather only with those we know well, but I want to encourage you all to create  new relationships and even new traditions this year. Get creative and open your heart this season! We'd love to hear what new traditions you plant and new experiences you have so feel free to comment and keep us posted!

 image from  sunday suppers

image from sunday suppers

Take the Leap!

This year has been one of exploration and taking leaps for BITA as we grow as artists, entrepreneurs and individuals.  Taking that leap can be the scariest thing, but I feel there is something about the unknown that is scary and beautiful all at the same time.  I'm a firm believer that humans are not designed to stay in the same place in our lives for too long. We are meant to innovate, adapt and grow. Whatever that growth means for you, we encourage you to go for it! You'd be surprised how easy it is once you get going and at all the help the universe will bring to you once you put yourself in motion toward your goal. BITA was once a far away and very scary dream for Ji and I, but the moment we decided to take the leap, things fell into place. It's not always easy along that road , but stay on your trail even it is not consistently uphill. You';; be amazed at what you learn and how you grow through the ups and down and how rewarding a new experience can be. We are excited to hear about what new leaps you are all taking this summer and wish you the best of luck! 

Spring Hopes

We hear about it all the time --life is all about seasons--but for the first time it is  finally hitting home for me. Looking back at even the past β€œwinter” (in quotes because does LA really have winter?) I’m in awe at how far away of a life that seems, what I've learned, where I've gone and who I am.  I’m become much more at peace with things in my life, able to weather these seasons and see the beauty in being patient through hardships as they will always come and go. With Spring a few weeks away there is a huge buzz about spring cleaning and renewal and Ji and I are taking a huge part in that both  personally and with BITA. We are setting Spring Hopes, intentions to refresh things in our life we may have let dust collect on for a while. What are you looking forward to refreshing in your life this Spring?

Love Letters Never Die

I am one of those people who believe that sometimes the old way is best way. In a digital age, technology’s convenience can undermine this belief for a lot of things, but when it comes to notes, handwritten ones still take the cake. A handwritten note suggests effort, thoughtfulness, and a dedication of time that is unique nowadays. As February is a month full of celebrating love, I believe one of the most romantic gestures is a handwritten love letter. The practice of writing love letters seems to be outdated and that in itself is why it is such a heartfelt thing to do, since no one expects you to do such a lovely thing! It is something that your loved one can hold on to forever to remind themselves they are loved and to even pass it on to future generations, which is a treasure in itself. Plus, how often are we really able to be silent with ourselves and write out what is it about our partner, friend or anyone that we appreciate and then be able to give it to them in a way that they can hold on to forever? These letters can mean more than anything else you can buy and should be written periodically not just for special occasions but as a tender act to let the special people in our lives that we cherish them. 

make it meaningful

2015 is here already, we can’t believe it!

 This year BITA is taking a new direction of which we are very excited about!

Here at BITA we believe that life is continuous string of moments that are beautiful, inspiring and meaningful. These moments are the day to day special connection we share with others, the holidays and occasions where there is widespread celebration, and even the tough times where encouragement and healing is needed.

Every moment in life is important and we hope for BITA to be a place where you can find the perfect tools to make any moment in your life and the lives of your loved ones meaningful.

Thank you for being a part of this journey and stay tuned as we continue to grow and make 2015 and many more years meaningful!

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Journaling For The Soul

There is not one memory in my life where writing wasn’t a part of it. Since a young age, having a book to fill with my thoughts was the best feeling. I would write so my stories and wanted to share so much ideas with the world. To be able to leave my thoughts and story behind for others was what made me feel alive. To me writing is immortality.

Although I have a very poetic view of writing, I also believe that it is simply a great exercise for anyone. You don’t necessarily have to be creative to be a writer, journaling can be therapeutic, relaxing and can challenge you to discover many new ideas about yourself. It encourages self-reflection and awareness that I feel is so valuable to the growth of the human spirit.

Nowadays there are so many different types of journals beyond just a book with blank paper. You can find journals for anyone that has specific styles, even drawing journals and journals with prompts and quotes. I encourage you to try one out for yourself and start capturing your journey on paper and maybe even begin to share it with others!

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Sketchbooks/Journals of Illustrator Becca Stadtlander 

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Self-Gratitude

Dear Bloomers,

November is one of my favorite months of the year. It’s the right moment before winter when temperatures are still brisk but not freezing. The colors around us all turn into warmer reds and yellow and of course there is Thanksgiving. It’s the most celebrated holiday in my family--what I can I say--we really love food. Surrounded by so much love, food and thanks, it is typical for people to focus on gratitude during this time of year. The main items always come to mind for me: family and friends, my home, and my health. But this year for the first time, I am comfortable enough to say that I’m am grateful for myself. At first I felt a bit self-centered, but how often do we really thank ourselves? How often are we truly grateful for who we are, what we have overcome and all that we encompass? What I’ve noticed as I’ve grown older is that is so easy for us to celebrate and give love to others, but when it comes to treating ourselves to unconditional love and encouragement we often fall short . This month I hope to motivate you to take a moment to be grateful for yourself. Be grateful for all the beautiful traits you hold internally and externally, for what you love and the bravery you show in pursuing your dreams and most importantly for all the mistakes along the way that have led you to new opportunities and perspectives.

 Greeting Card from  Hooray Today!

Greeting Card from Hooray Today!


With ever-blooming love,

Leyandra

The West Coast Is the Best Coast

The world is big enough to hold a place for all of us
-Leyandra

Dear bloomers,

If someone would have said that the West Coast was the best coast to me years ago I would have laughed. I spent 23 years of my life living on the East Coast and thought there could be no place better. But it did not take me long to fall in love with LA when I moved here two years ago and it was more than the LA sunshine that stole my heart. In LA I finally found a place where I am able to fully express the side of me that strives to live poetically and inspire art and beauty in everything I do. I've met so many likeminded souls here that have truly touched my heart with their support and inspired me so much with their own creativity. Even more heart-warming is the appreciation for health, fitness and nature that this coast has. The West Coast really has it all.

My move to LA showed me that there is a place for us all. We just have to be courageous enough to seek it out. I am so happy to call the West Coast my home and I'm looking forward to sharing my exploration of it with you all. If you haven't found a place that makes you feel proud to express who you are,  be brave and don't give up searching. We all deserve to feel at home.

For the next four months,  BITA will be celebrating four very creative West Coast cities: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle. We are also undergoing exciting new growth and direction and will be sharing our journey with you! So as the fall season starts we invite you to join us for our weekly posts highlighting four very important things to us:   Writing, Design,  Making and Gifting.

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