Friday, July 27, 2012

Adios Amigos

I made the announcement today that I'll soon be closing my BeadShop, and going out of the bead business. I know that seems unthinkable to some people, but it's been coming for some time now, and I think I can explain why.

I've been at the torch for almost 16 years. My usual stint at most things is about 7 years. Although it's been a good long ride, it's time to move on. In the time I've been making beads, I've seen countless new beadmakers hit the scene, some of them good, creative, original artists, and some just copying what's already working for someone else. I've had my share of copy-cats, and although they never really hurt me, I have to admit to finding them annoying. Anyway, over the years we all began to notice something of an overabundance of beads out there. Combine that with a slow economy, and many of us who were used to making a good living from our beads gradually found it harder and harder to make ends meet. Cheap Chinese lampwork, although well known to be of inferior quality, also hurt us because people who didn't know any better started buying it instead of all the wonderful artist made beads available. The price is right, and they're pretty. But what can we do? I for one can't work for sweat shop wages.

I'm actually really grateful for all the seeming "downturns" in my business. It's hard to walk away from a business that's thriving, but as it is, I'm more able to admit that I'm done, and to allow myself to imagine what comes next. Something always comes next! My plan is to build a new business as a vegan food coach and cooking instructor. This is what makes my heart sing now, and I'm always the first to tell someone to do what makes their heart sing. Life is short. Get on with it.

To close out the BeadShop in style, I'm sorting through a mountain of beads and jewelry that go back to my very beginnings at the torch. Starting Monday I'll be offering most of it for sale, about 30 - 50 pieces at a time, until it's all gone. I'm finding things I didn't even remember saving. 16 years is a long time, and a lot of beads.

With all this happening, it also occurred to me that it's time to end this blog. I started it when we were traveling, but now we're more settled than ever back in Taos - at least until we're not. Anything could happen, but it feels like we'll be here for a while, and we like that. We took the long way home, and here we are. Home. Not exactly back home, because everything is different now. Moving forward from here means even more things will change, and because I'm putting my focus and attention into what matters to me now, that means leaving behind what's no longer of service.

Blogs end. New lives begin. I'm so grateful to all of you who have been reading along with me all this time, and I invite you to come over to my other blog, Positively Vegan, to continue the journey with me. You don't have to be vegan to hang out with me (just ask my friends). My focus now is on cooking and wellness, for humans, animals, and the planet, and I imagine you can find a place for yourself in there somewhere. Besides, I think my new adventures are every bit as interesting as my old ones. It's not just about food, it's about life. Or as a Zen monk who's name I can't remember once said, "When I give you food, it's not about food. It's about everything."

As a beadmaker, I always wanted to decorate everyone I knew. I still do, only now I want to decorate them from the inside out. Follow me over to Positively Vegan, and we'll keep the fun going! And starting Monday, check the BeadShop for vintage Kim Miles treasures. This is the first batch I'll be listing, and I have tons more...

Happy trails, my friends! Thanks for being here!
xoxoxo Kim

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Back In Bloom

Well, well... I didn't see them coming, but flowers are making their way back to my studio. I really thought I was done with them, but that was back in January, when the landscape wasn't exactly flowery and inspiring. Now Taos is back in bloom though, and it seems to be contagious. Nothing wrong with that, although I'm really glad I gave myself the nice long break from the "forced blooms" I'd been doing for years. How long will these current glass gardens last? Who knows. I'll make them until I don't make them anymore. How vague and uppity and artisty of me, eh? For now, well, let's just enjoy them while they're here. They can be found in the BeadShop, until they're all picked.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Kim & Lauren are Moving

I've decided to move the "Kim & Lauren" posts, about our upcoming half marathon adventure at Disneyland, over to my other blog, PositivelyVegan. I think it's a better fit, and I hope you'll head over there right this minute and sign up to Follow By Email, "Like" me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, or "Join This Site." PV is growing and taking on a life of its own, and I'd love a nice big audience to go along with it. You don't have to be vegan to enjoy a good meal, or to learn something new. Come on over and see what's cooking. We're having fun!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Kim and Lauren - Post #13

We have no Lauren again this week. She's having too much fun, and I'm not going to be the one to pin her down to homework when there are so many other things she can be doing. She's still in the race, and she's still training. My girl is doing great, so you're stuck with me for now...

There's no such thing as time. I know this. That doesn't stop me from sort of obsessively timing my morning runs. In my own defense, I want to know how I'm doing, so I'm at least pretty sure I can finish the race in the alloted time frame. I want to finish that race. So I think it's a good idea to keep track of my progress, so I can push harder gradually, as I go, rather than freaking out in the last three weeks because I'm too slow to finish.

It make sense to me, but maybe I'm wrong... It seems every time I go out to set a personal best, I'm delayed by everything from malfunctioning gadgets, to road work, to cute little puppies that just make me stop and pet them. This morning I had the puppies, fresh, loose gravel, fierce wind, and an interval timer that went berserk after about ten minutes, and wouldn't stop buzzing. I carried it for about a mile, like a big, cranky purple bumble bee, and then tossed it in my driveway, where I'll probably leave it until its battery runs down. 

I finished the rest of my 6 mile jaunt more or less on my own. I still had PodRunner on my phone, to help keep up a brisk pace, but soon the frantic techno drone began to annoy me. I shut it off and turned on some of my own music, and kept going. At first I thought it would be good to run as long as I could, and then walk until I felt rested. Well that didn't work because I tend to relax into the walk, look at the scenery (this is Taos), and forget to start running again. To be honest, I really prefer walking. 

Eventually I compromised with myself. I estimated 30 seconds of running to 30 seconds of walking, and to my surprise, I was able to trot along comfortably for over a mile. I still stopped to pet the puppies, and when I got home I stepped over the buzzing timer and ignored the clock in the house. I think I'll be fine, as long as I just keep going. If letting puppies and beautiful scenery slow me down a few seconds is a bad thing, well, it's a bad thing I can handle.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Kim and Lauren - Post #12


It took me a week to catch my breath after the big Seattle trip. This week I came up with a new, more serious, training schedule, and then just to make sure I stay motivated, I signed up for a 5K next month. What? Well, sure, why not? I mean it sounds like a big deal, bit it's just a smidge over 3 miles - 3.1 to be exact - and I do that twice a week already, with a longer run on Fridays. I think it will be good to do a "real" race before the half marathon, and besides, it's for a good cause. It's being put on by the local hospital, which I avoid like... well, like a hospital. But in this case, all the money raised goes to people in the community who are dealing with cancer, not just for medical stuff, but for things like groceries, bills, daycare, and other everyday things. While I refuse to "run for cancer" (what we fight, we feed, and what we focus our attention on gets stronger), I'm more than happy to run for people! That's where my attention is in this. You can lend your support if you like, by making any size donation on my page at the For The Health Of It website.

So to get all this done without embarrassing myself, I've kicked the training into a slightly higher gear. I imagine I'll keep making adjustments, but this week it goes like this: Monday and Wednesday - run 3 miles plus swim aerobics. Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, walk 1.5 miles with Rick (he needs to get out there too, but doesn't want to run). Friday is my "long run" day. I think I'll go 4.5 miles this week, like I did last week, and if I feel good at that point, I'll go around the block again, making it 6 miles. The goal is to add a little bit every week.

The other thing I'm working on is the run-to-walk ratio. I'm just not a great runner, but I'm better than I was in February, when I started this! I always say I'm "going out for a run," but right now it's more accurately a "walk/run," which means I'm walking more than I'm running. I have an interval timer I can set to beep at whatever times I want. This week I'm at 1 minute, 10 seconds running, and 3 minutes walking. I keep inching the running time up and the walking time down, and eventually, when I'm able to run at least as much as I walk, it will become a "run/walk" instead of a walk/run. Whether or not I can hit that point by the 5K on June 16 remains to be seen.

OK - that's all I have for now. It's time to go to water aerobics, where I just do the best I can. Doing' my best here, just doin' my best.


Nothing from Lauren this week. I think she's too busy running to do any writing. I'll try to get her back next week.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My First 5K

In preparation for the half-marathon I'm doing in September, I've just signed up for a 5K here in Taos. I think it will be fun to see what a real race is like, it's getting me to focus on the training a bit more, and besides, it's for a good cause. All the money raised is going to actual humans who are dealing with cancer, to help them with everyday needs and expenses. I can get behind that!

The For The Health Of It 5K is on June 16, and I'm on my friend, Sue Williford's team, the Prima Divas. We can use more team members! The entry fee is only $35, and you can sign up here. We'd love to have you!

And if you can't run/walk with us, but would like to support us in making a positive difference in real people's lives, donations can be made either on Sue's page, or on mine. Thanks so much! Here's to your good health!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Back to it

I've been home for a week. The laundry is done. Several meals have been cooked. Friends have been seen. Herbs have been planted. It's time to get back to business, but maybe not quite as usual.

My preference would be to spend my days in the kitchen, inventing, perfecting, photographing, learning, sharing. My reality hasn't quite caught up to that yet though, so today I plan to sit myself down at the torch and see what comes of it. I took an unpaid month off of work, and I need to replenish the bank account. I'll keep the love in the beads, of course, but the bigger part of my heart is now in the kitchen. I used to want to decorate everyone I met. Now I want to feed them. It's kind of like decorating from the inside out.

I think I'll be putting less time into this blog, and more into PositivelyVegan. We have to do what makes our hearts sing as much as possible. That's how the truly Good Work gets done, because it's inspired by something greater than ourselves. Even if you're a devoted meat eater, I hope you'll follow me over there, because I bet you also eat vegetables now and then, and you might find something new and delicious to add to your own table.

Training for the half marathon also starts again today, with a fun and kickass water aerobics class. I'll be talking more about the nutritional part of the training over at PV, because I know the idea of a vegan "athlete," if you could call me that, is pretty foreign to a lot of people.

Carry on, my friends, and I'll have some new beads for you later this week.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Postcards From the Road - Santa Cruz, Las Vegas and Grand Canyon, and Home

This is the last post from our trip - and what a trip it's been. I was just too busy to get to it the last few days, so here's the final batch of pictures. Enjoy!

The second day in San Jose, where I grew up, was spent in Santa Cruz, where I spent a lot of time in my high school years, when I should have been in class...

I always love a day at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

Lunch with Dad and my sisters, Linda and Jill. 

Walking and talking on the beach.

We like each other. It's nice.

And then there are the birds...
I did a little cooking that night, and taught Linda how to make spring rolls and nori rolls. We had fun!

Read more about our cooking adventure on PositivelyVegan.
After a too short visit with my family, Rick and I headed for Las Vegas, where we met up with an old high school friend, Paul Graham. Paul writes the terrific blog, Eating Vegan In Vegas, so he was the perfect person to tell us all the best places to eat.

We started at a food truck. No kidding. There was a health fair going on in town, and this round up of food trucks at the "Brooklyn Bridge" in front of the New York, New York casino featured some delightful vegan options.

This was great comfort food for two weary travelers.

We must have been dreaming of home. This southwest pocket was perfectly spicy and gooey.

Here I am, with Paul and Rick, at one of the Wynn's magically beautiful garden areas.

Dessert at the Red Velvet Cafe... oh my... Everything is vegan, and a fraction of the fat and calories of "regular" desserts. Seriously, you would never know these aren't loaded with butter and sugar. Do pay them a visit if you get the chance.
The next morning we decided to take Paul's advice, and drive over to Pura Vida for breakfast. We were so glad we did. We ended up ordering extra food to take with us, know that the vegan pickings are slim at the Grand Canyon, our next stop.

I instantly fell in love with the humble, non-glitzy location and decor of Pura Vida..

Inside, everything was happy and spotless.

The food was just wonderful. Generous portions, filled with love.

Our server Cindy (left), and Chef Mayra took excellent care of us. Next time you find yourself in Vegas, take a break from the glitter and refuel at Pura Vida.

Armed with to-go boxes of good Pura Vida treats, we scooted on down the road, destination, Grand Canyon, one of my favorite places on the whole big world.

I'm always happy here.

Stupid people are allowed to fall off the rim. This is not Disneyland, and there are no lifeguards in the Gene Pool.

We took an "accidental" 7.5 mile hike along the rim. It was too beautiful to turn back, or to hop on the bus for part of the trip, as we'd intended. The Canyon changes with every step, and every breath. The only way to really see it is to take your time and just be with it.

On day three, we finally saw five California Condors. I was about to give up on seeing them this trip, and suddenly, there they were. There's just something about a big, graceful, ugly-beautiful bird with a nine-foot wingspan that can really make a girl's heart sing. This girl anyway.

It clouded up a little on our last morning there, and got windy and chilly. Time to go home.

Back home in Taos, we were greeted by happy dogs and blooming lilacs. Settling back in now, I need some time to reflect on everything we've just done, and see if I can get some clues as to where we go from here. Maybe everything will stay the same... or maybe it will all be different.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Postcards From the Road - Heading South

We're heading for home now, but definitely taking the long way, with stops in Ashland, San Jose, Las Vegas, and the Grand Canyon. 

At a rest stop in Oregon. I'm always amazed by the loveliness of moss.

Emigrant Lake, where we were camp hosts for a year. Looks like it's doing just fine without us.

Making spring rolls in my cousin's kitchen in Ashland.
Mt Shasta was hiding behind clouds. I was disappointed to not see it but happy to know were were in the presence of the base chakra of Planet Earth - the Inspiration Center of the planet. Pretty powerful place.

Lake Shasta was full to the brim, and healthier looking than I've seen it in years. I think it would be fun to hold a cooking class on a houseboat... anybody interested?

I wonder if we're related?

Three giant dogs share my sister's house in San Jose. Samantha, the "baby,"  is such a sweet silly girl.
I'm back in San Jose, in the neighborhood I grew up in. Walking the dogs with my sister this morning, I felt like I was walking to school. Something about the smell of this place, and the feel of the morning air... nice. We're going over to Santa Cruz today for a little beach time. Pictures will follow, of course!

Wish You Were Here!
xo Kim

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Kim and Lauren - Post #11

I'm really sorry - I have nothing for this post this week. School is out, but it's still at the front of my focus. We're on our way home now, by way of Ashland, San Jose, Las Vegas, and the Grand Canyon. If I'm lucky, I'll get to run on the Rim Trail. If not, I'll pick it all back up when we get back to Taos. For now, I'm just too distracted to even think about the race. I have time though. Plenty of time. I'll check in again next week...

Shit Happens
Last week I ran my butt off. I was strong and determined. I was excited and proud to share my life and running successes with the people I cared about. My mom was in town and I was on top of the world. On Wednesday there was a huge personal jolt in my life.... CRASH.

Shit happens, people make new decisions, stuff changes and people like me don't deal with that very well. When all I could feel was my world crashing around me I sought comfort in the family I was lucky to have around and the friends I am so fortunate to have. The one thing that I thought I would immediately walk away from was the one thing that ended up being the easiest to do, running.

A friend tweeted me a couple days ago, "Keep your head up. Not worth your tears. "Run it off or drink it off." She was right, and even though I did cry, I also did run, and every time I did I felt 1000 times better. And I won’t lie, the adult beverages helped as well.

I am not saying I feel happy all the time, I am still hurt, but I am surprised at my strength to keep going with this. I am the type of person to shut down and turn off. I have proven to myself through this that I haven't just been talking about running a half marathon. I have made this commitment; I have made this my priority. I am not going to let myself or my mom down because something made me sad, and that may be the best feeling I could have.

We all have our own shit and we choose to deal with it in different ways. Running and writing are helping me deal with this and no one can fault me for that. Last Saturday I killed a five mile run without the motivation from another and it felt good to still be just as strong standing alone. One day at a time I am getting through the hard stuff and along the way I am enjoying the fun stuff.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Postcards From the Road - Mission Accomplished

It was a great last day of class. I was well prepared for my spanakopita demo, and spent some extra time this morning making sure of it.

I was fourth in line today, so had lots of time to be nervous, but I still feel like I did really well, especially for someone who has no real experience in public speaking, and who rarely leaves her house.

It was all sort of a blur...

... but look how beautiful my spanakopita turned out.
A farewell dinner with the kids was the best way to finish our time in Seattle.

Good night Seattle. We're heading out in the morning. You've been splendid, on so many levels!

Wish You Were Here!
xo Kim

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Postcards From the Road - Cornbread

The Fremont Market is where I sold beads a million years ago. Well, fifteen. The market has changed over the years, but it's still fun, and I was glad to have time for a wander through it before class started.

I could live here.

Yes, that is a rocket ship, and Fremont is the Center of the Universe.

Fremont Market

The coolest food truck ever...

... But I'm pretty sure I don't want to know what sort of food they serve...

I was first up to do my demo in class today. I think I did OK, and it was fun, and not as scary as I thought it would be. I made a killer cornbread that turned out just like it was supposed to. How 'bout that.

First we went grocery shopping.

My lovely audience.
Here goes..

Talk talk, stir stir...

Show and tell.

In the pan.

Let's bake this beauty.

Looks good. Is good.
Tomorrow is the last day of class, and another day of demos. I'm doing spanakopita triangles, which I've just learned are made by folding the filling into long strips of phyllo dough, in a way similar to how you'd fold a flag. Good thing I was a Girl Scout and learned that little flag folding trick.

I'm a little nervous about tomorrow. Think I'll try to prepare a little more tonight. Talking points. I need my talking points...

Wish You Were Here!
xo Kim