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The Art of Living Well: Finding Joy in the Everyday

My home is so much more than just a place to carry out life's necessities - it's the backdrop of my life, the stage where my daily dramas and intimate moments play out. As I journey through each new day, the items I've carefully chosen to fill this space shape my emotional state in subtle yet powerful ways.

Beyond their practical uses, cherished household items become conduits of pleasure and comfort. Their presence sparks a ripple effect that brightens even my most mundane daily rituals.

That handcrafted mug I bought at a tiny un-maned store in Spirit Lake, Idaho fills me with contentment each morning, its smooth ceramic against my fingers and the comfort of my usual English Breakfast tea with milk transporting me to a peaceful state as I begin my day.

The quilt hand made by my partner's daughter draped on the back of the sofa instantly fills me with love and gratitude for this talented young woman. And displaying treasured mementos and art pieces from our travels and former lives in other countries feeds my spirit with memories and beauty woven into the tapestry of my everyday life.

The joy of colorful bamboo bowls

But let's return to the simple joy that a cup or a bowl can bring. My collection of colorful handmade bamboo bowls, gifted by my dear friend Regina, originate halfway across the world. These works of art are handcrafted with care and ancestral expertise by talented artisans in Vietnam employed Regina and brought to Whidbey Island where they are sold through retail stores.

When I held that first bamboo bowl, I was struck not only by the smooth finish and captivating colors, but by the personal story of passion and skill these vessels embody. Each bowl radiates more than just practicality - it reflects creativity, community and cross-cultural connections.  

Over the years, Regina continued gifting us with these handmade bamboo treasures. We incorporated them into meals, displaying and serving colorful salads, roasted vegetables, and fresh breads that mirrored the bowls’ natural elegance.

Once we moved to Whidbey Island and decided to start our online store, Whidbey Island Provisions, it was an easy decision to sell these bowls directly to our customers across the USA. Expanding my own bamboo collection through Regina’s generosity allowed me to further appreciate their diversity and craftsmanship.

Beyond merely containing food, these bowls provide a catalyst to weave purpose into my days through mindfulness and gratitude. As I slice vibrant strawberries and toss them over leafy greens in a deep red glossy handcrafted salad bowl, I become wholly present. 

Layering a hearty cauliflower salad (which has rapidly become a favorite in our home) on a shallow soft grey bamboo platter with herbs, nuts and pomegranate jewels makes a meditative practice of meal prep. These bowls elevate the ordinary moments that stitch together a life.

Cauliflower Salad with Yogurt Sauce and Pomegranate

Source: Food & Wine

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

  • 2 medium heads cauliflower (about 1 1/2 pound each), cored and cut into 1 1/2-inch florets (about 16 cups)

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1 1/2 cups plain whole-milk Greek yogurt

  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed

  • 1 cup mixed fresh herbs and greens (such as arugula, dill, and chives)

  • 3/4 cup lightly toasted mixed nuts (such as almonds, pistachios, and hazelnuts)

  • 1/4 cup fresh pomegranate seeds

How to make it

Heat the oven to 400 F

Place the cauliflower florets in a bowl, add the olive olive oil and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of salt and toss.

When the cauliflower is well coated, spread out on a cookie sheet and place in the oven for about 20 minutes or until cauliflower is soft and crispy at the edges.

While the cauliflower is roasting, whisk together yogurt, lemon juice, and garlic in a medium bowl. Season yogurt mixture with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Chill at least 15 minutes or up to 1 hour; remove and discard crushed garlic before using.

To serve, arrange cooled cauliflower on a platter; spoon yogurt mixture over top. Garnish with herbs and greens, mixed nuts, and pomegranate arils.

After enjoying this salad, I feel profoundly nourished from the inside out - not just from the fresh ingredients but from the meditative joy of preparing it. Taking time to thoughtfully cook and assemble dishes fulfills me as much as consuming them.

Connection through the every day

Tracing my fingers along ridges and smooth textures connects me to the artisans whose talents shaped these vessels. I reflect on their dedication to ancestral craft, so different from mass-produced dishes void of personality. The bowls link me to people and cultures oceans away.

In a world that often equates living well with material excess, these simple yet beautiful items remind me that a meaningful life centers on community, creativity, mindfulness and purpose - not accumulation. Their handmade origins emphasize the human connections and small joys that nourish the soul.

The Sustainable Beauty of Bamboo Craftsmanship

I'm drawn to bamboo not just for its beauty, but for its amazing sustainability. As a rapidly renewable grass, bamboo can grow up to a meter tall per day and reach maturity in just 4-6 years! Compared to tree harvesting where decades pass before maturity, bamboo's quick growth cycle makes it inherently eco-friendly.

Bamboo doesn't even need to be replanted after each harvest - the intact root systems keep regenerating new stalks. It's biodegradable too, and naturally resists pests without any chemicals. For me, those qualities make bamboo a top choice for serving nature while creating household items I love.

While plastic serveware depletes precious resources, my biodegradable bamboo wares can return harmlessly to the earth when their life with me is complete. I'm honored to have these humble yet inspiring vessels that embody sustainability and craftsmanship in my daily rituals.

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