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deliberateLIFE engages today's globally-conscious citizen in building a better tomorrow. We believe choices matter – so we vet ideas, products and organizations to make it easier for today's busy professionals to live well and do good.







Filtering by Tag: deliberateLIFE

Spreading the Love: Valentine's Day

Michelle Park


By Michelle Park

As Valentine’s Day has been dubbed the national holiday of romance, it’s no surprise that February 14th can be a day filled with a lot of…emotion, and whether it’s Valentine’s Day or not, running on just emotions can get really stressful, really fast.

What’s more, the presence of emotion often gets confused with the presence of love and discerning the difference between the two can be quite important for both singles and committed relationships. The cure for this confusion is simple: love acts, and it acts selflessly. It compels the human heart to look outside itself, to deliberately overflow—and not just for one day, but all year-round.

So whether you have a special Valentine or not, everyone has access to the presence of love. We just need to reclaim it. And where do you start? Maybe it’s a word of encouragement to the waitress who’s spending V-Day in an apron, or finally taking some time to call your parents. Maybe it’s cooking dinner and buying gifts for a single mom you know, or baking cookies for a friend who’s hurting from a bad break-up. Or, if you’re up for it, maybe it’s all of the above.

And for those of us who are partaking in some good ol’ romance on V-Day, we can take up the challenge to be deliberate in honoring our loved ones. Put your phones away, serve each other extravagantly, hug deeply, and tell them why you’re proud to call them yours. Consider getting an impacting gift that isn’t just the hottest new product at Barney’s, like this unique jewelry from 31bits, which help women in Uganda rise above poverty. Through informed purchases, you can demonstrate love to both your special someone and to a complete stranger miles away.

Here’s some simple tools to make love a lot more deliberate on Valentine’s Day 2014:

  • Fresh farmer’s market flowers
  • A couple batches of home-made cookies, to box up and give to quality friends or that very special someone. (Recipe below)
  • Sketchbook to handwritten letters paired with a great scented candle
  • Good vibes music play-list (dance party may follow)
  • Bottle of red wine or lavender tea
  • Fair-trade dark chocolate

Need some more ideas? Here are a few ethical gift ideas our research team pulled together: 
Ethical gifts ideas for her || Gifts ideas for him

Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies from Sprouted Kitchen:

  • 1 stick/ 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup muscavado sugar
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp. maple extract
  • 3 T. maple flakes (optional)
  • 2/3 cup almond meal
  • heaping 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2/3 cup white whole wheat flour
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips/chopped chocolate

Heat the oven to 350. Cream the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg, sea salt, vanilla and maple extracts and mix again to combine well. In another bowl, mix the almond meal, oats, white whole wheat flour, pinch of cinnamon and baking soda together. Add the dry to the wet mixture and stir until almost combined, being careful not to over mix. Add the chopped chocolate and give it one more stir to combine. Allow the mixture to chill for at least 20 minutes, or covered overnight. Place your cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet or silpat, leaving space between for them to spread. Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating pan halfway through, until the centers are barely set. They will appear underdone, this is good. Allow them to cool and enjoy. 

Photo Credit: Michelle Park.

The Arrival of Fall

Fay Johnson


By Fay Johnson

It's been a busy summer. We filmed our first promotional video with Anthem Films in LA, saw our community successfully raise $10,000 to build a school in Kenya through our collaboration with Change Heroes, released the fourth issue of deliberateLIFE Magazine and yours truly clocked a fair amount of miles to and from meetings (complete with canceled flights, overnights in airports and a few car problems).  

Just like that, summer is gone and fall is here.  And I couldn't be happier.

As if triggered by the cooler weather and the previously set rhythms of school, our team is settling into the fourth quarter – and growing. We've welcomed four teammates, three fall-semester interns and a growing number of volunteers who support our vision of a better tomorrow.

There is much to be excited about as we look at the months to come – Our app is now iOS 7 compatible and soon our content will be available to millions of new readers via the iPhone. (I am beyond  excited about this). To celebrate all that has transpired this year, and to properly introduce the new app, we are planning an official launch party in November.

For our readers – next month, we will release our fifth issue, focusing on the joys of gathering, the story of the food that we share, and how we express gratitude. Do you have a story about a meal or a gathering that changed your life? If so, we want to hear about it! Send us a message.

If you haven't already, download Issue no.4 from iTunes or purchase a PDF copy of the issue from our store. You will find useful recipes for preparing your lunch, videos, compelling article and product reviews – all vetted by our team to make your life easier and more fulfilling.

Thanks for continuing to journey with us.  

                  – Fay

Like Riding a Bike

Seth Strickland

by Seth Strickland

"It'll be easy - like riding a bike." How many times in the course of an average month do you hear that phrase? It's not without reason - by the best estimates, nearly 27 million Americans ride a bicycle at least infrequently, but it's nearly certain that many more have learned. It's one of the trials of childhood - your pedaling guru holds you upright on two suddenly too-skinny pieces of rubber, and lies, "You'll be fine." A few dozen skinned knees and elbows later, you usually are. The phrase 'like riding a bike' itself, though, is a colloquial and positive version of 'old habits die hard', and it's positive for a reason.

There's the obvious positive that bike riding at any age gets you off the couch, but less obvious, perhaps, is the fact that twenty miles a week reduces risk of heart disease by half. Again: by half . While you're fighting heart attacks harder than whole wheat, you're also improving coordination, reducing stress, burning fat, and making your brain steadily more pleased with itself.

 'Okay, okay we get it!' cry out the fact-bludgeoned readers, 'we'll think vaguely about riding a bicycle!' Thinking about it can't cut it forever. Researching for this post has made me realize that most cycling articles have two main effects: they make the reader feel either slightly guilty or morally superior. So far, the bicyclists are feeling pretty good about themselves (see this cartoon chart to understand), and we, the spokeless masses, feel a little grumpy. But what do we do? How do we become one of the enlightened, a... cyclist ?

Here's the skinny: to be a cyclist, you only have to ride a bike. Amazing! Some gears, a chain, a handlebar, and a few brakes, and you will be welcomed into the elite echelon of bicyclists. And so, for the rest of this month, I challenge you to get out and ride one mile every day. That's all. By my count, that's something like six or seven miles. No sweat. Why? The first slow fingers of autumn are reaching out with crisp air, the kids are off at school, and the days are getting ever so slightly shorter. It's the perfect time for a bike ride.

Deliberate Choices

Fay Johnson


By Fay Johnson, Editor-in-Chief

deliberateLIFE Magazine explores the areas where individuals are presented choices – from products, to interpersonal relationships, to community engagement and professional responsibilities – and provides information and options to our readers. Researching and vetting both the products and organizations highlighted, we seek to be a trusted source for today's globally conscious citizen.

deliberateLIFE is based on three beliefs:

  1. Individual choices matter – You add them up and they make a difference.
  2. There are people who want to make informed choices which will make a positive (or at least neutral) impact on the world.
  3. There is no central, trusted source to turn to, to help one make these choices.

With these three ideas in mind, I (Fay) set out to create something that would help people around the world live a positive, healthy, 'impactful' life, with more ease. I know people are busy. I also know there are others out there like me, who if addressed by an expert in a particular field who explained why a choice matters and how it helps, would do their best to implement the expert's advice. So I set out to collect the advice that I wished was vetted for me, into one place.

Utilizing my personal background in human rights research, social entrepreneurship and community development – and levering relationships with experts in other fields such as sustainability, design, healthy living, mindful behavior, and ecotourism – we are actively researching and compiling information for a community of socially conscious people.

What are deliberate choices?

When people come across deliberateLIFE magazine they sometimes ask what we mean by 'deliberate'. After all, one can be deliberate about anything – one can even intentionally and deliberately do something to hurt another. But, that's not what it means to us. To capture what we believe matters, we wrote a manifesto. (You can read it here.)

We live integrated lives, and therefore deliberateLIFE magazine covers a range of lifestyle choices. For example, when you go out to dinner, you are presented with options in regards to where to dine. The choice you make can impact you, your community, and the environment. Where the restaurant sources their food, how healthily it is prepared, who they hire, how much they pays their staff, how they handle their waste management, are all part of the ecosystems of your dining experience. If you choose to eat at a restaurant that serves locally grown food, the produce will be more nutritious (positively effecting your healthy – and your medical bill), and it will have a lower carbon footprint, which helps out our planet. A small business that treats it's employees well, creates jobs and generates economic flow-through which builds a stronger local economy. Many implications to the frequently ask question "Where should we go to dinner".

Here is an early concept sketch about how key parts of our lives fit together: 

10 areas connected by dots - to recreate.png

To us, deliberate living is about recognizing the ripple effect that our lives have, and about choosing to make thoughtful choices because of this reality. What we do each day matters. At the core of our work is the certainty that the choices we make matter in our own lives and the lives of many others, most of whom we may never see. We aren’t going to try to convince you to spend all day in a yoga studio, start an organic farm, or quit your job to traverse the globe.

It is our hope to inspire and challenge you with fun, practical ideas about making deliberate choices that positively impact our world. We are learning and growing together and we look forward to the ideas you, our readers, will share with us about the good you’re doing every day, in your own lives.

Photo by Alice Gao Photography, Graphics by Jon Hwong.