Jenn

Feb 052017
 

IMG_4262 Portabello mushrooms are kind of a staple here. My kids, who say they don’t like mushrooms, eat them every time and they gobbled this up! We didn’t have buns, so instead of my go-to Grilled “cheesy” Portabello Tabouleh recipe, I made up this one, and it was so, so good. We ate them alone but would be good with rice or pasta.

IMG_4253Ingredients
2T avocado oil (olive works too)
1T apple cider vinegar (or balsamic)
1t dried oregano
Himalayan salt
2 small or one medium/large eggplant
2 big cloves of garlic, chopped
4-6 portabello mushrooms
1 large can tomatoes
A block of haloumi cheese

How to:
Heat grill to 300 degrees, grease with avocado oil.

Prepare mushrooms: remove stems and chop them, and scoop out the inside of mushrooms. Mix the mushrooms with oil, vinegar, oregano and garlic. Let it marinate.

Prepare eggplant: slice eggplant into 1cm-rounds. Place them on a plate and cover with Himalaya salt. Let them sit.

Place mushrooms on the grill.

Put mushroom mixture in a fry pan and let it cook on medium.

Use a paper towel to get moisture off eggplant and put it on the grill.

IMG_4258Evenly distribute the warm mushroom mix into the portabello caps–right on the grill. In the same fry-pan you’ve been using, heat one large can of tomatoes. Add eggplant once it’s grilled.

Now there’s room to grill the haloumi.

IMG_4265Everything ends up ready magically around the same time. Serve the mushrooms by placing a mushroom on the plate, topping with the tomato-eggplant mix and a piece or two of grilled haloumi on top.

Feb 042017
 
Old school stove works really well to reheat and cook!

Old school stove works really well to reheat and cook!

There’s something I’d been meaning to do. But I knew my husband would be annoyed. We’d talked about in in the past and it was something he didn’t want any part of. So I decided to it anyways and I have no regrets. I killed the microwave.

Okay, I didn’t kill it. It wasn’t violent at all. But I took it out of the kitchen and put it in the basement. I was also skeptical of how we’d live without it.

We used the microwave way more than I ever wanted to. Because it’s there. Here’s the thing about the microwave–it’s convenient. Life is busy and out lifestyle is anything but convenient. We do need to cut corners here and there. But I’d had enough of this. Some people believe microwaves are perfectly safe. I do not. And I’d kept my head in the sand for long enough.

As adults, we all get to make our own decisions about what is right for our families. I won’t even list the reasons they skeeve me out– googling “dangers of microwaves” is a good start, if you’re inclined.

The microwave has been down in my basement for a month. It’s like we never had one. How do we cope? We’d never cooked in it, but we reheated leftovers–especially coffee. Now we use the stove. And it honestly hardly takes any time at all.

I think today is the day we get rid of it for good.

What’s one healthy thing you decided to do for your family this year?

Jan 292017
 

guest post by Ben Stanford

It’s hard to imagine doing much other than care for your newborn when you first give birth, but as the weeks fly by it’s a good idea for new mamas to focus on caring for themselves, too.

Self care is KEY in the sanity-saving department, and a big part of being a good parent.

IMG_4201 When it comes to self care for new mothers, yoga classes are probably one of the most valuable uses of your time. As little as one hour on the mat per week has mental and physical impacts that will get your through all the challenges of raising a wee one.

Let’s start with the physical benefits of yoga, and get right to the point.

Shrink the uterus and tone the abs
During pregnancy the uterus grows in size to accommodate the fetus, and the hormone Relaxin encourages the muscles of the abdomen to release, to make for an easier birth experience.

Both of these are perfectly normal, truly amazing functions of the female body, but after giving birth there are ways to gently help the body back to its natural, non-pregnant state. A strong, tight lower abdomen is essential for all sorts of mama-related duties, like lifting, carrying, and cuddling baby.

IMG_4203Yoga poses like twists, planks and core strengtheners (think “boat” pose) are marvelous for revitalizing the lower abdomen post-pregnancy. What’s even better, yoga focuses on gradually building strength and flexibility, which will ensure you don’t strain such an important part of your body. It’s important to make sure you do not have an ab separation (diastasis recti) before working on your abs in this way.

Build upper body, baby-lifting strength

The abdomen isn’t the only thing affected by Relaxin: you may find that you come back to the mat (or the gym) with a little less arm and shoulder definition than before.

As new moms learn at Mothering Touch, in Victoria, you’ll be lifting a pretty precious load all day long, and arm strength and flexibility prevent against the aches and pains that can ensue (especially since Relaxin will have depleted a lot of your previous strength).

Yoga is a full-body practice, which means you’ll be using your upper body as much as your core and lower body. The overall effect will mitigate back and shoulder issues that are often attributed to holding baby (especially while breastfeeding).

Ease and/or prevent Postpartum Depression

A huge component of yoga is mindfulness, the ability to notice our thoughts and feelings, without allowing them to control us. Mindfulness is thought to be one of the most effective natural antidotes to depression and anxiety, which, let’s face it, a significant percentage of new mamas face.

When you go to a yoga class, expect deep breathing, subtle reminders to come back to the present moment, and lots of silence. These elements might throw you off at first if you’ve never been to a class, but they’re all a part of training your mind not to downward spiral.

Whether you’re suffering from PPD or not, lack of sleep and being at the beck and call of a tiny, crying being can bring even the most mentally tough woman to her knees. Training your mind to stay present and move through challenges with grace certainly can’t hurt.

Get true, deep rest

Our nervous system is comprised of two distinct systems: the sympathetic, and parasympathetic nervous systems.

The sympathetic system is associated with our body’s “fight or flight” response – it’s where we go when we’re stressed.

The parasympathetic system is dubbed “rest and digest”; when we’re in this state our body actually relaxes and regenerates.

Only one system can be activated at one time. Want to take a guess which one sees a lot of action when we’re waking up every hour to the screams of our most precious loved one?

The aforementioned deep breathing and mindfulness of yoga allows your body to slip into the restful state we enter when the parasympathetic nervous system is engaged.

In short, when you attend a yoga class as a new mama, you actually get the chance to REST.

Enough said, really.

Where to Go to Get a Yoga Hit

IMG_4202Any city is likely to have yoga studios that offer gentle yoga classes, and pre-and-post-natal clinics that offer postpartum yoga. Jenny Berthiaume offers a variety of yoga classes for new and expecting moms in the Montreal area.

Whichever way you do it, if you’re a new mother you might want to think about making time for a weekly yoga class. Your mind & body will thank you.

Ben Stanford writes about various services to help you to achieve optimum health. He likes to provide you with the tools and knowledge to achieve your goals, move better again, and lead a strong, happy, and healthy life.

Jan 212017
 

IMG_4140I was laying in bed, off work and feeling very unwell. I’m not used to doing nothing. I texted a friend to say I was sick and he asked where my caregiver was. I had no idea who he was talking about.

My mom lives in BC… I am my own caregiver.

Turns out he meant my husband. But my husband wasn’t home taking care of me, he was at work making up for the money I was losing as I rested and recuperated. He was at work after being up in the morning and single-handedly getting them up and ready, fed, and driven to two separate schools 45 minutes from home. The night before he worked til 2am. He left just after bathing and feeding the kids and getting them in bed. So I didn’t even expect him to take care of me.

DSC_0261But who, then? I’d spent the week with the kids in my arms. Helping them blow their noses. Dosing elderberry syrup and raw honey. I prayed that their illness would leave and I would gladly take their place. My prayers were answered.

This illness came at such an interesting time. This week my yoga classes had been themed around the first chakra. What is support and basic needs. One’s connection to family and tribe. In my post and prenatal yoga classes, this brought up discussions of support. Who is your support? Your tribe? I heard many stories from women who in the postpartum period, had relatives close by to help. None of them seemed to take this for granted.

It’s a subject that is so important to me, especially in my work as a postpartum doula and postnatal yoga teacher. Too many new moms, myself included, wind up utterly exhausted and even on medication because they just can no longer cope with what it is to be alone. Lacking support. Not enough community. No village. But more and more, it seems, the women I’m speaking to are finding support. They have a mother in law move in, or they learn the value of hiring a postpartum doula or mother’s helper.

When I found myself, feeling comatose after a week of these sort of questions, I felt a bit of despair. My kids were finally well enough to go to school and I was alone and in pain in a dark, empty house. I don’t have any family in Montreal. I felt like I had no one to take care of me. I’m a big, girl but sometimes I want someone to rub my back and make me some tea.

Paleo Rolls, Veggie soupSo I reached out. I did the thing that many of the women in my classes also say is hard for them. It’s so hard for me. But I asked for help. I texted two friends. Two angels I am blessed to call my friends. They have their own families and very busy lives, but they each brought me delicious soup. I felt a lot less alone, and I felt the love they put into making the soup.

When my husband got home, he was of course busy with the kids. I felt well enough to sit at the table with them. Then we watched a movie. We lay in bed together as he read the Big Friendly Giant until they fell asleep. And then again, I did something I don’t ever really do. I asked my husband to take care of me. He was still running around the house trying to deal with the chaos of me being out of commission. But when I asked, he came to me. Put socks on my feet, brought me warm water to drink, and talked to me until I fell asleep, too.

Jan 062017
 

retreatThe other day, I asked my husband if he had any New Years Resolutions. He answered in a way that is similar to how I feel. He said, “I feel like I’m continuously working on myself. Not just once a year.”

But, starting the calendar year, there are certainly goals (business, health, financial) I want to attain. I have plans. A lot of them. And from experience, I know that when I get those plans onto paper, something magical happens.

When I was studying Yoga Therapy at  Re:Source I took a workshop with Carina Raisman and Peter Lavoie called Move, Meditate, Manifest. We learned very simple ways to get our desires and goals … organized… so the Universe can help make those things happen. I came up with personal, professional and health goals for 10, 5, 1 years and the present moment. When I looked at my goals a year later, I’d reached all my short term goals and was even as far along as five years in the future with some stuff!

Was it magic? Partly. But as Melanie Richards, the owner of Happy Tree, says (or was it Lisa Lajoie?), “The Universe is not your bitch.” What does that mean? We can set goals, send them out into the ether, but most of the time we’re going to have to work towards bringing things to fruition.

retreat1For me, I like to use a simple chart to get organized, based on what I learned with Carina and Peter. Some people like to create a vision board. There are lots of examples on Pinterest, and my friend, Stephanie is hosting a workshop called CRAFTING YOUR VISION FOR 2017: Exploring Your Life Path through Creative Wisdom on Saturday, January 14, if you would enjoy being guided through the process.

I’ve written before about this subject… The Law of Attraction, as it’s sometimes called. But the thing I keep remembering is that this is a process of Co-creation. That a prayer for something is far less likely to manifest into something real, than if we take real and concrete steps toward attaining our goals.

For me, last year I was working hard to achieve a better work-life balance. I can tell you, that I just got to spend nearly two weeks off with my kids, who were off school for the holiday. Career choices my husband and I have made allow us to do this and I don’t take this for granted for a minute. I also set an intention to consolidate my schedule, minimizing the amount of time I spend running from studio to studio, and I decided I would no longer teach regular classes on the weekend. So that was 2016. What about 2017?

My vision board or my goal setting chart for the year, isn’t something I’m going to post here. It’s something I am putting together and will keep close by to remind myself of where I am, where I’m going, and how I need to get there.

What would you like to feel, create or experience this year? This month? Right now?

I’m hoping that by writing this, you will start to think about doing something similar if you haven’t already. And I’m hoping that if you’re a parent, you help your children understand that they really can do and be anything they want.

Happy New Year!

Namaste,

Jenny

 

Dec 302016
 

I’ve been relishing this winter break. Babe has been in kindergarten since this fall and it’s been a pretty big adjustment for the entire family. One of the biggest changes is that we spend less time together. I find the school day sleddinglong and miss the days when I could easily pick the kids up at 2 or even 12:30. All this to say that we’ve been making the most out of the holidays. We opted for a staycation. We have spent a lot of time colouring, doing crafts, and have even dragged our butts out into the Montreal winter to go sledding, skating and to the zoo.

We haven’t even gotten to the New Year, but I’m seeing so many signs of… Newness. And I’m taking the time to see these things through the eyes of my two children. Everything is brand new to a child.

I laughed, as I watched the kids and their first tobogganing experience. They screamed with a look of pure delight on both of their faces. Elation. I actually hate hurling down a toboggan hill, but watching them do it for the first time, my heart swelled.

skatingI got to see Bug skate for the first time. I watched on his face how proud he was to just find his balance on the ice. Babe learned to spin in circles that same day.

She also recently learned to jump rope and is reading more and more every day. Her excitement when she sounds out a word, is my excitement. She is coming to all of these new experiences on her own terms. With encouragement from her parents, but nothing is forced.

I don’t really do New Year’s Resolutions, but I think this year, at least this week, I’m going to try to continue to live life through the eyes of a child. Let everything I do (or at least some of the things!) be done with joy, and awe, and wonder. Want to join me?

 

 

Nov 132016
 

bb2There’s been a bit of a buzz about this new eco-friendly way to wrap things up. Something that’s like cling wrap, but not the least bit wasteful. And to be honest, I thought it was a little too good to be true. But when Margaux, owner of Montreal’s B Factory sent me some of her products, I saw for myself that good things do come in…reusable packaging.

Margaux makes food wraps out of cotton and beeswax. The products she calls sandwich wraps can certainly be used for sandwiches, but chez moi, we use them for so much more. I send Babe to school with crackers, cheese, just about anything wrapped up in a pretty little pouch.

We use  the other wraps, which she calls ‘Food Wraps’ for all kinds of things too. I often use them to cover bowls that I put in the fridge, or salads that I bring to a potluck party. You can use the wraps for any kind of cut fruit or veggie. They help keep cucumbers and fresh herbs fresh. You can use these wraps in place of anything you might want to use a plastic bag or saran wrap.

beeBeeswax has a natural antibacterial property that keeps food fresh, and the product is also breathable. The wraps can eventually be composted, but they have years of life in them. Maintenance is easy beezy, too. You just rinse them in cold water, adding a little soap if you need to. You can store them folded in a drawer, but Margaux suggest rolling them and putting them in a jar on the counter in the beginning, until you remember about this awesome new thing in your kitchen

If you think this is something you’d love to get your hands on, check out the B Factory website, and enter the contest to win. Margaux is generously giving away 1 Starter (16$), 1 Large (18$) and 2 sandwich (13.50$ each). A 51.00$ value.

 

How to enter:

  1. Like B Factory and mamanaturale on Facebook
  2. Comment on the original Facebook post—why you want to try out this cool new product, and which sandwhich wraps you want. You can choose from the Fall/Winter collection or Pink Dot.
  3. Share!

Good luck!

Oct 062016
 

How many different versions of Cinderella can you think of? Books, movies, TV, plays, musicals… This story crosses cultures and has many variations. Having a daughter who was, at one time, pretty obsessed with all things princess, I’ve seen my share of Cinderella movies.

placedesartsWhat comes to mind:

  • The Disney Classic, released in 1950
  • Ella Enchanted, which we’ve seen quite a few times, we own the DVD!
  • Drew Barrymore in Ever After, very cool when I was 15
  • A Cinderella Story with Hillary Duff (groan)
  • Another Cinderella Story, starring Selena Gomez, which we watched as a family this summer on our trip to PEI and I admittedly kind of got in to.
  • Kenneth Branagh’s 2005 Cinderella, which I thought was beautiful. Also, I love Helena Bonham Carter.
  • Into the Woods, which was opened in Broadway more than 25 years before the amazing movie starring Meryl Streep

Turns out there are THOUSANDS of versions of this story, the earliest of which was published in published in 7 BC.

As far as Rodgers + Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA goes, in 1957, the Original Television Musical, starring Julie Andrews as Cinderella, aired on CBS, and was seen by over 100 million viewers. It was a pretty big deal.

Fourty years later, a second TV remake starring Brandy as Cinderella, Whitney Houston as the Fairy Godmother, Whoopi Goldberg as the Queen and Jason Alexander as Lionel, aired on ABC, winning an Emmy Award.

The Tony-Award winning musical is coming to Montreal and Babe and I can’t wait to go.

Rodgers + Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA is the Tony Award®-winning musical from the creators of South Pacific and The Sound of Music that’s delighting audiences with its surprisingly contemporary take on the classic tale. This lush production features an incredible orchestra, jaw-dropping transformations and all the moments you love—the pumpkin, the glass slipper, the masked ball and more—plus some surprising new twists! Be transported back to your childhood as you rediscover some of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s most beloved songs, including “In My Own Little Corner,” “Impossible/It’s Possible” and “Ten Minutes Ago” in this hilarious and romantic experience for anyone who’s ever had a dream.

If you’d like to win 4 tickets for the premiere of Cinderella on Tuesday, October 18th, enter this contest by:

Liking mamanaturale on Facebook
Sharing the Facebook post and tagging a friend who might like also like to win.
Leave a comment on the post telling me you’re done! Good luck!

Oct 012016
 

I recently wrote about how much the kids and I love Jennifer Gasoi‘s newest project, Blue and Red Make Purple. The CD-book is now available! (As of October 1, 2016). I was so happy to have the opportunity to interview Jennifer, and even more stoked to offer a copy of the book to a lucky Mama Naturale reader. Contest rules at the bottom of the page.

Jenny: Many of the children’s artists I’ve been coming across these days are parents. People like Lisa Loeb or Jewel who get into making music for kids because they’re living in that world. As far as I can tell, you don’t have children of your own—what inspired you to perform and record for children?

philove2

Photo by Philove

Jennifer Gasoi: I’ve always loved working with kids. I started babysitting at the age of 12, and went on to became a camp counselor, a day camp director, taught piano and voice to children, was a music teacher in daycares, community centers and schools and facilitated mom/baby music groups. I began my career as a jazz musician and singer-songwriter in Vancouver in the early 2000’s. I would play jazz clubs by night and teach music to kids by day. I started writing kids songs for my music classes and decided to record a few of them onto my 4 track. (yes I said it! I’m a 70’s baby) I sent a tape to my 6 year old cousin in Montreal and she didn’t stop listening to it for 2 weeks straight. It was at that point that I realized perhaps I was onto something… and I began writing songs for my first album.

I genuinely love children and care about their well-being. I want to create inspiring, empowering music and experiences for children that spark their imagination, creativity, highlight their uniqueness, and show them that they can follow their heart and passion in life. My children’s songs come from a pure place within my heart, drawing from my own experience of childhood. The wonder, innocence, the beauty, the heart-break too. I write children’s songs from the perspective of little Jennifer, and yet they are infused with the knowledge and wisdom I’ve gained as an adult.  Maybe that’s why adults love my music too.

What is your favourite thing about the nature of a child?

The innocence, joyfulness, curiosity, quirkiness and humour. I love their open-heartedness and the fact that they have no filters. There is no censoring or self-consciousness with children, they simply are who they are. They know how to BE. Their essence shines through.  It’s inspiring.

How did the Law of Attraction (or whatever you want to call it) play a role in this beautiful career you have carved out for yourself?

I have always believed that my words, thoughts and intentions have a direct impact on the quality of my life. From a very young age, I would do my best to turn off the radio on a positive word and would end my piano practices on a major chord. Somewhere in my subconscious I was already working with the law of attraction and understood that what I put out into the world would come back to me. Right from the start of my music career I made a decision to stay true to myself, to follow my intuition and guidance, to be the best musician and entrepreneur possible and to always evolve as an artist and human being. Although it has not always been easy, I have stayed true to myself and I have paved a path that has felt honest and authentic. I believe that when we are clear about our intentions, we can more easily attract opportunities, people and situations that resonate with our truth. Having such a strong and clear intention in my life, I have attracted and created amazing experiences. Sometimes I have been very deliberate about what I call into my life and sometimes it has happened more naturally. It all comes down to being mindful, present, heart-centered and aware in my daily life.  It’s a moment to moment practice.

Do you consider yourself a yogi?

I consider myself a fair weather yogi. These days I’m in love with yin and restorative yoga. I have explored many different kinds of yoga over the years from kundalini to power and Hatha.  As I get (slightly) older, I tend to gravitate to yoga classes where I can rest, reflect, and relax my nervous system.

Do you believe in coincidences?

Photo by Philove

Photo by Philove

I like to use the word synchroncity. When I am open to life, in my heart, grounded, centered and feeling “on purpose”,  coincidences or synchronicities have a greater chance of occurring.  If I’m resonating at a high vibration, there is a much greater chance that I will attract beautiful experiences and people into my life.  It takes work to be in this place. It doesn’t happen by chance. I have to work to get into a state of mind/heart where I am not absorbing everything I see, read and feel in the world. When I’m in fear or stressed, there is less chance of these divine occurrences happening. Although there is value in the challenging experiences too. Yoga, meditation, Qi Gong, getting out in nature, working with children and exercise helps me stay on track. The more connected I am within myself, the better my life is in general.  And the more often moments of synchroncity and magic occur.  Here are two fun examples that have happened recently. I have a friend who happens to have a vintage 1960’s light blue mercedes.  A while back she offered to lend it to me for a photo shoot. It just so happens it’s the EXACT car in my book. Here’s another synchronistic moment.  Last week I was on Breakfast Television Montreal talking about my book launch, and it just so happens I was wearing red, the couch we were sitting on was blue and the interviewer was wearing a bright purple shirt. I LOVE these moments. They light me up!

Do you believe in magic?

Yes! It’s what makes my world go round!  I could write a book on the magic I experience on a daily basis.  Hmmm….

blue and redHow did you get involved with Secret Mountain?

This is yet another opportunity to talk about synchronicity. When I first moved to Montreal in 2002 and started researching how to do a children’s album, the first CD that I discovered was “Un Trésor Dans Mon Jardin” by the Secret Mountain. It was full of beautiful songs that kids and adults alike could enjoy. This has become one of the most important aspects of my music- its universal quality.  Not only did I love the songs and arrangements but I was so impressed by the recording quality and the quality of the packaging and design. This was my marker for how I wanted to approach making my own children’s album.  And apparently it worked! I was nominated for a JUNO and won a Gold Parent Choice Award for my debut album Songs for You.  Fast forward 14 years:  After winning the Grammy for Best Children’s Album for Throw a Penny in the Wishing Well, the publisher of the Secret Mountain, Roland Stringer, contacted me and asked if I would like to collaborate on a book/CD. This was a full circle moment.

What can you tell me about putting together the new CD-Book?

Putting this book together was a wonderful experience. It’s the first time I have ever been part of a collaboration with a team. Eureka! Roland and I met last summer and started brainstorming ideas for the book. From day one we had a great rapport, a mutual respect and we agreed upon a concept very quickly. We decided to take 12 of my existing songs and create a fun, interactive musical guide that teaches kids about 12 different genres of music. I wrote the content for the book, giving historical background for each genre, activities and offering incite into how I write songs. I discuss everything from rhythm sections to scatting, to creating didgeridoo sounds.

This was a beautiful team effort – Steve Adams illustrated the book, Ruth Joseph was the editor, Stephan Lori was the creative director and Roland Stringer spear-headed the project. Everyone brought their unique talents to the table to create Blue and Red Make Purple. 

To win your own copy of this amazing new CD-Book,

  1. Like Jennnifer Gasoi
  2. Like Mama Naturale
  3. Leave a comment on this post, telling us your family’s favourite musical genre (and song, if you feel like it!)

The winner will be chosen at random on Wednesday, October 5. Good luck!

Sep 252016
 
Eliza Moore

Eliza Moore

Eliza Moore has been making music since she was a toddler growing up on a horse farm in Vermont. Her childhood was all about choirs, orchestras and chamber groups. During a European tour in college, Eliza says she realized for better or for worse, her life’s purpose was to be a musician.

I’ve been listening to Eliza’s music for a while now, but her brand new release, Brilliance, inspired me to write a word or two about her, hopefully inspiring some of you to check out this artist if you have not already.

Here’s how I met Eliza: I was at the library with my girl, Babe, who couldn’t have been more than two at the time. I noticed a woman with jet-black hair, sparkling eyes and a red T-shirt. She was American. She was a singer and a yoga teacher and I was eves dropping. There was something about this woman that was so captivating. Otherworldly. Or maybe it’s just that she looks more than a little like Jennifer Connolly in the movie Labyrinth. I can say this stuff now without feeling too creepy because I’m blessed to count her as a dear friend.

brilliance

BRILLIANCE

That day in the library, Babe was running, even though you don’t run in the library. She fell and before I could get to her, a small, blonde angel about her age did. He held out a hand to help her up. It was no surprise that this little guy was raised by that radiant woman. Our kids became friends and Babe seems to be a little smitten three years later.

This boy’s gesture of lending a hand to help up a stranger, is kind of the epitome of who his mother is. Eliza is warm and generous. She’s a free spirit, spiritual and creative. Happy, hopeful, deep and complex. Eliza is love. And her newest album, Brilliance, which she fittingly released on the International Day of Peace, is all these things.

The 14-song digital-only release includes brand new tracks, and new versions of previously released songs. She says she broke a lot of rules releasing these tracks together. It might be hard to count all the people whose work went into this project. It’s Eliza and a melange of producers, sound engineers and musicians. Eliza plays some of the guitar parts, and the violin and all the voice. Some of the vocals was recorded in her Montreal basement, others in New York and Los Angeles.

She says the idea to release these songs in this way, came to her post meditation. “I broke all the rules releasing these tracks together,” she says. “But felt lead to do it from meditation insights.”

Eliza gives big props to her friend Lulu for recently encouraging her commit to a daily meditation practice, admitting that no, not all yoga teachers are in the habit. She says Lulu also pointed her in the direction of Rebecca Campbell’s visualizations.

“Through Rebecca’s visualizations I re-found and am re-finding the power of stillness,” says this busy mom of two. “A true and poignant clarity comes to me when I give myself the space and time to meditate and to open to a sense or feeling of the collective.”

She says it was at one of these moments where she decided to create this compilation record for peace, and at the same moment she realized that these works had grown out of moments of peace.

“Not moments in which I had intended to meditate or surrender into stillness,” she says. “But moments that had almost come to me from life… I like to call them enforced stillness.”

rockfortherivere2mI really love this whole album, and have already added a few songs to my yoga class playlist for the week. My definite favourites include the title track Brilliance, Anointed and Kiss the Heart. I found an earlier recording of Kiss the Heart on SoundCloud ages ago. Eliza told me it was inspired by a quote from her boy, who just turned six. “When it’s dark, will you kiss the heart?” She wrote the song when she was pregnant with her daughter. Her husband and son left for the weekend and Eliza had time alone for the first time in years. She had time to meditate and write. She wrote Kiss the Heart that weekend, and recorded it on piano. The kids and I fell asleep to that lullaby many a night.

When the new recording of Kiss the Heart came on in the car in our way to pick apples, Babe said, “I’m too shy to say this to her face, but could you text Eliza and say that she has the prettiest voice and I’ve never heard a voice that was prettier.”

I did text her that message and also wrote it here because I might just agree with my 5.5 year old.

If releasing an album with multiple producers and sound engineers is breaking the rules, I think Eliza is on to something. Her voice (the sound that comes out of her mouth, but also her whole vision, her whole being)  is strong enough that the album absolutely is cohesive. It’s complete and perfect.

You can buy Brilliance here on iTunes. It can also be found on amazon, spotify and other streaming services.