To Dance is To Pray…To Pray is to Heal


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A little food for the soul.


Much love to all. May you fly, may you dance, may your soul be filled with joy.

– Mensa

Ps. I love you my mushpa!

Vegan Arepas con Curtido Fusion Recipe


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Arepas, Pupusas, Gorditas. Different maize (or corn meal) patties made slightly different in many Latin American countries. Delicious either way you eat them. A food that is economical, and so versatile it can be stuffed with literally anything you could imagine, from eggs and avocados, to meats and of course, the classic, cheese…ohh quesito!


I decided to make Arepas once we started reaching the back row products in our kitchen cabinet. Somehow, we always end up getting the most creative when we have less resources. But I cannot complain. Even when we are low on food in the cabinets we often feel like our life is full of richness. Cheesy, I know, but true. And Cheesy is always good… as the recipe below will show you.

These Arepas were a simple recipe. Basic. Paired with cabbage salad, usually accompanying Salvadorean Pupusas. Here is the recipe. Go make them. Delicious. I used corn meal called P.A.N. This is what my mother gave me, and it is what I have read, the most commonly used corn meal.


For the Arepas:

2 1/2 cups of water                                                                                                                                            2 cups of PAN – Harina de maiz (pre-cooked corn meal)                                                                   1 teaspoon of salt.                                                                                                                                             Oil                                                                                                                                                                         vegan cheese for stuffing

Pour water and salt into a container. Mix well. Start pouring the corn meal slowly, while mixing. Make sure you don’t get any lumps! When all is mixed, knead the dough until it is smooth, and let rest for a few minutes (3-5 minutes).


Oil your pan, or griddle  a little bit on medium to low heat. Place patties and fry them until they brown in one side, and then the next. About 5 minutes each side. The lower the heat, the better, as you want the water inside to dry out a bit. Ideally when you knock on one with a knife, it should sound hollow or like an echo. The lower the heat, the longer they will be on the pan.

Place them in an oven at 325 degrees and let them cook for about 10 more minutes.

Cut them open in half, and stuff with a small palm full of cheese. Veggies and Protein are also an option!


For the Curtido:

1/2 head cabbage, a carrot, and a yellow onion thinly sliced
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar/ maple syrup/ honey
1 teaspoon dried oregano, or Italian seasoning
1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

You can use a bag of ready coleslaw as I did this time (excluded the onions). Mix all vegetables in a bowl. Mix all other ingredients in a separate bowl, and then pour over cabbage mix. You can let it rest for a few minutes, while you season the arepas, but 2 hours or evnn the day after rest will absorb the flavors the best.

Serve along side the arepas and ENJOY!

Buen provecho,


So Many Pens, So Little Time


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I have been saving pens, markers and mechanical pencils when they die for a long time now. I store them away in the utility room like some crazy hoarder. I have no idea what I will do with them all, but I know dumping toxic plastic into a landfill at the rate I would is not an option.

Honestly, we don’t buy so many pens in the Mushpa + Mensa household, they just appear from everywhere and nowhere. Actually, Mensa came home from visiting her family with a huge pen caddy full of pens, pens and more pens, most which were dried out. Last night they joined the rest of my dead pen collection and I thought, okay now is the time to figure out where these pens need to go to start their second life.

Here is what I discovered:

mercedes-pens-side-1The Pen Guy – He makes art out of pens. He covered his Mercedes Benz with pens… I mean come on, that’s cool and eco as long as the car never ends up in a landfill! The Pen Guy, collects and reuses thousands of pens in his art that would otherwise be thrown out. Donate your Ball Point, Dry Erase, Crayola, Felt Tip, Markers, Mechanical Pencils or any other type of pen and experience the transformation into beautiful recycled pen art. Here is where you can send the pens and keep them out of the landfill.

The Pen Guy – P.O.Box 994 – Forestville, CA 95436

If you are sending via UPS or FEDEX please address it to:

The Pen Guy – 6484 Mirabel Road, #994 Forestville, CA

teracycleTerracycle – They have boxes you can buy to recycle pens. Acceptable waste for this box are pens, pen caps, mechanical pencils, markers, marker caps, permanent markers, and permanent marker caps. Then the plastics undergo extrusion (a high-volume manufacturing process in which raw plastic is melted and formed into a continuous profile) and pelletization (the process of compressing or molding a material into the shape of a pellet) to be molded into new recycled plastic products. Terracycle also has a very helpful link to free recycling programs like for Brita and Pure water filters, guitar stings, cigarette waste and tons of other stuff!

pang recycling program

The Prang Power Recycling Program – If you use Prang art pens, they offer you a free recycling program for said pens.

There isn’t a multitude of options out there for pen recycling, but there is something. That means we can all do something. Also, invest in a pen or mechanical pencil you can refill. I am going to once I exhaust the last pen in this house! I will keep you abreast of the situation.

“People” say you do not really need pens or pencils anymore with all the electronics out there, but for me holding a pen in my hand is more organic and honestly where my truth comes from. I wake up every morning and write on paper using a pen for a half hour or so. It manifests my destiny, so I will keep on with it, but in a more environmentally conscientious way.

Here’s to you Mama Earth.


Mushpa + Mensa

Avocado Egg Salad Recipe


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Avocado Egg Salad

Avocado Egg Salad on Homemade Vegan Wheat Bread

Avocado Egg Salad Recipe


2 small organic avocados, peeled
6 hard boiled free range organic eggs
1/4 cup organic mayonnaise
6 chopped organic green onions
1 and 1/2 tablespoons organic lemon juice
6 to 8 shakes of smoked paprika, depends on how much you love it
sea salt and pepper to taste




  1. Place the eggs in a saucepan and fill with enough cold water to cover the eggs (they should sit in a single layer). I use my Le Creuset Cast-Iron 1-Quart Oval (Dutch) French Oven so the eggs can rest in said single layer with no drama! Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. As soon as the water comes to a boil, turn off the heat and cover the pan; let sit for 13 minutes (15 minutes if you’re cooking a dozen).
  2. Drain the water and immediately run cold water over the eggs. Transfer eggs to an ice bath and allow eggs to chill for 10 minutes.
  3. Peel and roughly chop the hard boiled eggs.
  4. Add the avocado to a mixing bowl with the mayonnaise, green onions, lemon juice, smoked paprika, sea salt and pepper. Mash the avocados, leaving them slightly chunky if desired. Add the chopped hard boiled eggs and stir well to combine. I like to let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes so the flavors work themselves into each other, but it is not necessary. Eat on toasted bread with watercress or greens of choice. I also will put it on a romaine lettuce leaf and eat it like an egg salad lettuce taco!

It’s delicious!

Recipe by Mushpa (aka Cara)

The BEST Women’s March Speeches Breaking Down the Truth. Amen.


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We are fired up!

This is such a special time in our American History, and I am proud to be alive in these times. The Women’s March on Washington is most likely going to go down in our history books as the start of another wave of feminism, and this time, WE WILL NOT STEP BACK.

Mushpa + Mensa were unable to hitch a ride to DC, and maybe all happened for a reason. We were meant to stay at our own city rally in Wilmington, NC. We stayed in our home town, made signs, and shouted, chanted, and participated in the Wilmington’s Sister Women’s March. What a phenomenal experience. Even more amazing was coming back home and seeing the pictures and videos of ALL THOSE WOMEN. Men and children also there supporting. Political figures, icons, celebrities, artists, and humans from all walks of life. All these little pink hats, all these powerful signs. So much to say, yet such unity in our voice. Despite the hiccups of  what it means to be part of this march (Can a pro-lifer still be a feminist? Is there space for white woman oppression?) the energy was ONE.

I am so proud of all of us. This light inside me grows. The strength in me grows, and so does the motivation. We are awake, and ready to go.

Despite not being in Washington physically, our collective energy filled every corner of the world, from Berlin, to Paris, from London to Costa Rica. This is not an American movement. This is WORLD WIDE.

The internet has united us, and I have witnessed some amazing and moving moments from the Women’s March. Here a few favorites. I hope you play them, enjoy them, and let them fill you with hope, motivation, and furious energy to fight this culture of hate, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia and darkness that has crept up to a mainstream platform.

Without further ado, press play, and may the force be with you.


“We too must stand united….if we fall into the trap of separating ourselves by our causes and our labels, then we will weaken our fight, and we will lose. But if we commit to what aligns us, if we stand together steadfast and determined, then we stand a chance at saving the soul of our country.” -America Ferrera

“I’m not nasty like the combo of Trump and Pence being served up to me in my voting booth. I’m nasty like the battles my grandmothers fought to get me into that voting booth…We are here to be respected. We are here to be nasty!” -Nina Donovan interpreted by Ashley Judd

“We are the people. We have people power, and we will use it…This is the upside of the downside. This is an outpouring of energy and true democracy like I have never seen in my very long life. It is wide in age, it is deep in diversity, and remember: the constitution does not begin with “I the president”, it begins with “We the People.” So do not try to divide us…” -Gloria Steinem

The 4 things we need to do according to Michael Moore:

1. Call Congress every single day (1 rep in the house, 2 senators) 202-225-3121
3. Form your own rapid response team: people that you will call, when we need to move fast. 10 people
4.Form regions of resistance. Blue states and cities. The country will follow your lead!
5. YOU have to RUN for OFFICE!

No More Boys Will Be Boys


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Watch all three videos and see.

I started this Blog entry today, as we here at Mushpa + Mensa want to start backing charities we believe in. Every month we will give 10% of our income to a charity we pick each month and promote in our blog, newsletter and on our website. This is something we have wanted to do and in 2017 we are making it happen!

The first charity we are covering will be End the Backlog. It is a is a program of the Joyful Heart Foundation, a national non-profit organization founded by actress and activist Mariska Hargitay with the mission to heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, and to shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues. We heard about this organization as Cara (me) is obsessed with, My Favorite Murder, a podcast by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark about, you guessed it, murder. Each episode the girls tell each other their favorite tales of murder, and hear hometown crime stories from friends and fans. Check your anxiety at the door, ’cause Karen & Georgia are dying to discuss death. They gave 50% of their sales or MFM products for 1 month to End the Backlog.

In Joyful Heart Foundation‘s own words End the Backlog is the cornerstone of Joyful Heart’s Policy & Advocacy work, focuses on shining a light on the rape kit backlog in the United States. Our goal is to end this injustice by conducting groundbreaking research identifying the extent of the nation’s backlog and best practices for eliminating it; expanding the national dialogue on rape kit testing through increased public awareness, engaging communities and government agencies and officials; and advocating for comprehensive rape kit reform legislation and policies at the local, state and federal levels. Ultimately, we seek to change attitudes about sexual violence and abuse, educate the public, improve systems to lessen the trauma survivors experience and ensure greater access to justice for survivors. 

With this new person, whose name I shall not speak, in office we must fight this rape culture, now more than ever. Ladies, men, children, let’s do this. Buy our organic cotton and upcycled stuff and we will work to #changetheculture. I love you ladies!

We are women, HEAR US ROAR!

-Cara aka Mushpa

Last Minute Women’s March Sign Ideas


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If you are anything like us, we can get real close to the time of whatever-it-may-be and then get what needs to be done, last minute style, done. Don’t get us wrong, we do it well under pressure. The Women’s March tomorrow is no different. We are going to wake up around 7AM to get our signs done to get out to our local Wilmington, NC Women’s March. I did some image research and quote digging and came up with 10 good sign suggestions off the World Wide Web.

  1. We go high.
  2. Your silence will not protect you.
  3. Nasty Woman
  4. “Those Who Can Make You Believe Absurdities, Can Make You Commit Atrocities” Voltaire
  5. Hate Kills
  6. “I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.” Audre Lorde
  7. Woman’s place is in the resistance. (in reference to Carrie Fisher…Princess Leigh….Star Wars. You get it.)
  8. I am stronger than fear.
  9. Truth matters.
  10. “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”  Alice Walker

Get your recycled pieces of boxes, cardboard, old sheets and get to creating. We will collectively be with every human at every women’s march tomorrow. We love you.

womens-marchLove trumps hate. Be brave.

Cara and Maria Emilia

10 Best Stability Ball Exercises to Improve Your Yoga Practice!


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So I got a yoga ball for Christmas from my dear Mushpa! (Thank you to her, specially for inflating it as she tells me it was quite tedious and it took forever!)

My yoga ball is also called a stability ball, exercise ball, fitness ball, but for today’s purpose I will refer to it as my yoga ball.


It is from Black Mountain Products and it is a professional grade stability ball that is “exceptionally durable…designed for gym, office and home use. Each pro series ball is designed to hold 2000 lbs. of static weight and is Anti-burst resistance up to 1000 lbs. of static weight. Black Mountain Products gym balls can improve your core strength, balance and overall agility. Each exercise ball is designed with dense walls for the ultimate support and durability for any use.” Check out this video for a demo. But you of course can get it from anywhere you’d like, in any color you’d like!

Depending on your height, you can choose from several sizes including 45 cm (5′ and under) 55 cm (5′ to 5′ 6″ tall) 65 cm (5’6″ to 6′ tall) and 75 cm (6′ to 6 5″) and 85 cm (6′ 5″ or taller).

If you want to use it as an OFFICE CHAIR ALTERNATIVE, some  awesome perks include:

  • Forces proper spine alignment since you have to keep a straight spine to say balanced.
  • Causes you to change positions often, and not stay stagnant in a regular sitting position.
  • Fitness is a roll away…If you need a mini workout or stretching session, your equipment is right there! Convenience!
  • Improves balance due to the constant readjustment your body does throughout your working day.
  • Works your core muscles without you even working hard for it, meaning it also burns some extra calories.
  • The constant movement improves circulation=more energy throughout the day.
  • It’s Fun! Bounce while you work…need I say more?


I searched throughout the internet for a proper yoga ball practice to better my daily yoga practice and poses, and found  many videos and blogs, but not one that encompassed all I was looking for… So I have gathered here the BEST 10 Yoga Ball Exercises to Improve Your Daily Practice! I included my cute drawings to help you get a visual. 🙂


  1. Moving Forward Plank: You start with your ball at the end of the mat and set your belly on it, and slowly walk your hands to the front of the mat. You can stop at your thighs, or for a bigger challenge move further down to your shins. Make sure your elbows align with your shoulders. Hold 10-30 seconds. Advanced: Do so with one leg up, hold, and then switch legs and
  2. Core Sit Up on a Ball: Begin by laying on the ball with your hands in your head, with bent knees at a 90 degree with your feet on the floor. Roll yourself forward and up, and back. One sit up. Then do it again. 20 times.
  3. yoga-2
  4. Back Stretch to Wheel: This one is delicious but can be intense. Lay on your ball with your feet on the ground ( bent knees at 90 degrees) and start rolling back with your arms back as if you were to fall back on wheel. Your arms don’t have to touch the ground. Reach for the ground for a deeper stretch. Advanced: If you are feeling like a baller, then use the ball to bend into a full wheel pose!yoga-3
  5. Feet + Hands Play Ball: Lay down with the ball between your feet. Lift the ball with your feet and pull towards your hands, and grab the ball with your hands. Hold the ball all the way back and before it touches the ground bring it back to meet your feet again. Let your feet and hands play ball! Advanced: Do this while you hold your head up, and every time you bring your feet down, don’t let them touch the
  6.  Back Stretch On your Knees: Place the ball in front of you about a hand print away, and place your hands on the side of the ball facing your belly. Start pushing the ball forward and bend  forward, until you feel the stretch on your back while you push your tailbone up. It should feel super nice!yoga-4
  7. Back Stretch Standing Up: This is the same concept as above, but you start standing up with your hands right above the ball, bending forward. Then roll the ball forward to create a stretch in your
  8.  Circle Hips: Sit on your ball with your legs slightly open to create balance, and start rolling your hips in a circular motion. This one is fun! Reverse direction. Advanced: Add your arms by lifting them straight up with palms facing each other.      yoga-6                    SURPRISE STRETCH!: This is a stretch I saw from youtuber Marlita McKinney (minute 7:22), and is a Free Form Stretch! She does it so beautifully, and she gets so into it its almost like a modern dance performance. So put a good jam on, feel your energy and move and flow to where your soul calls! yoga-12
  9. Plank with Leg + Arm Lifts: Lay belly down on your ball to a plank. Shoulders aligned with hands. Lift your RIGHT leg up, and your LEFT arm up, and hold. Move back to plank, and do the other side: LEFT leg up, and RIGHT arm up. This is a tough one in terms of balancing, but with practice we can make it work!yoga-9
  10. Yoga Pike on Your Knees: This is a challenge, but super fun!  Start with the ball in your belly to a plank (Exercise 1. Moving Forward Plank) Start raising your hips up with control while the ball moves forward and your tailbone is pushing to the sky, and bring your knees in towards your chest. Then pull back and reverse the direction to plank.  This video is helpful.  Advanced: You can lift one leg while you do this, and then the
  11. Full Pike to Head Stand!: The final and most challenging, but when we master it, so rewarding! So same concept as above, but instead of bringing you knees in, you pull your tailbone up and roll to your toes! Make sure your shoulders are aligned with your hands, and your butt aligned with your head. This will prep you for a full hand stand. Advanced: Move from the tip of your toes, into a full headstand! Voila! yoga-11

SHAVASANA with YOGA BALL: Last but not least you can always take you Shavasana with your legs up on the ball!yoga-5

These are my  10 Best Stability Ball Exercises to Improve your Yoga Practice!



Mushpa + Mensa’s Low Impact


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The main shirts that Mushpa + Mensa hand-print their original designs on is Alternative Apparel’s 100% organic collection, made from pesticide-free organic cotton.

Is Alternative’s cotton certified organic? 

A: Yes. Anything in our line stating it is 100% Organic Cotton is certified organic cotton, produced pesticide-free. We keep copies of the organic certificates on file.

The dyes used to color Alternative Apparel’s pesticide-free organic cotton tees are low-impact dyes. Let’s breakdown this process called low-impact dying. A low-impact dye is a dye that has been classified by the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 as eco-friendly. Generally, low impact dyes do not contain toxic chemicals, heavy metals (like chrome, copper and zinc), or mordants (a substance, typically an inorganic oxide, that combines with a dye or stain and thereby fixes it in a material).

Low-impact dyes are dyes with a higher than average absorption rate (70%-80%, depending on the color). This means less water is required in the rinse process and less dye runs off in the water; therefore, the dyes have a lower impact on the environment. Alternative Apparel also use a G2 Eco-Wash to finish garments which uses 60% less water and no chemicals.

Alternative Earth’s collection water washes with reclaimed water, the organic cotton is certified, biodegradable fabric softeners and natural enzymes for their super-soft finishes to make the best basics.

Alternative Apparel make their clothing from sustainable fabrics (currently 65% of the fabrics they use are eco-friendly, although they are working to increase this figure), with a transparent supply chain in officially audited factories.

Alternative Apparel publishes its factory vendor guidelines, which the company says are in line with the Fair Labor Association (FLA) Workplace Code of Conduct, on its Social Responsibility page. The company states that many of its factories have Worldwide Responsible Apparel Production (WRAP) certification, and that Alternative Apparel places ethics as a priority in vendor selection: Alternative Apparel is committed to safe working practices for all employees.

Manufacturing: They have all the right policies against forced labor, child labor, abuse, and insufficient wages — and they work nearly as hard on keeping their clothing non-toxic. Their factories are frequently inspected to make sure their dying processes are toxin-free, and their wool is sourced from sustainable alpaca farms in Peru.

The first elements we consider when selecting a vendor is their ability to meet our social compliance standards and the quality of their products … Typically, there are only certain geographic areas of the world that can meet our production needs. We head to those areas and search for vendors that exceed our expectations and requirements. If a factory does not meet our social compliance standards from the very beginning, we don’t even consider them. After that, we base or search on the quality of the goods and the efficiency with which they can be produced.

Environment: Thirty percent of their sales are from the Alternative Earth line Mushpa + Mensa uses, which is made from organic cotton, low-impact dyes, energy-efficient facilities, and absolutely no toxic substances. A portion of their sales benefits a variety of environmental organizations and charities.

Philanthropy: Alternative donates to multitudes of different charities under their “Common Thread” program. For instance, like with STATE: Going Beyond the Bag. STATE Bags one-for-one model provides at-risk kids with a fully-stocked backpack every time someone purchases a bag. That means when you get an awesome bag, you support #GiveBackPack at the same time.

Down with fast fashion! R6 – Reduce, ReUse, Recycle, Replenish, Reflect, ReImagine.

Get your Alternative Apparel organic cotton Mushpa + Mensa original design t-shirt on and feel good in it, while feeling good about yourself. Functional art Mushpa y Mensa style.



Himalayan Pink Salt Lamps Save The World


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I saw Himalayan pink salt lamps around, but I never paid much attention to them. I just thought they were very 80’s looking and therefore I had no interest.

Then Mensa let me know the other day she would love to have one. She said that they were amazing and a cure for something possibly and maybe even everything! That sounded pretty amazing to me, so I put aesthetics on the back burner, and decided to do some research on these magical lamps. Here is what I have learned so far.

The first is science. There is science involved. I am not going to break down said science except to say, the Himalayan salt lamps are negative ion generators. Negative ions are oxygen atoms charged with an extra electron. They are created in nature by the effects of water, air, sunlight and the Earth’s inherent radiation.


Negatively charged ions are most prevalent in natural places and particularly the ocean or after a thunderstorm. We live next to the ocean, just think if we walked on the beach everyday, well it would cure Mensa’s allergies for one, but I am getting ahead of myself.

Second, word on the street is, it’s great to counteract electromagnetic radiation (a kind of radiation including visible light, radio waves, gamma rays, and X-rays, in which electric and magnetic fields vary simultaneously) and also prevents the build-up of static electricity! Which for one, means all the electromagnetic radiation attacking you from your tv, to your computer, to your phone, to your tablet, to every other electronic in your house, this coral colored salt rock lamp can combat. I’m going to need to pick up a few of these lamps it seems, to turn those positive ions from electronic equipment into negative ions. :] Also, remember don’t sleep with your phones, tablets, laptops in your room if you want a true chance to rejuvenated your overwhelmed temple. It’s unnecessary static.

Third, is health. These natural lamps supposedly boost blood flow, improve sleep, increase levels of serotonin in the brain, and calm allergy or asthma symptoms. What??? Here’s how this circle of life works, salt is hygroscopic (more science), which basically means these salt lamps absorb “dirty” water molecules from the air till saturated, then the salt literally traps dirt, pollen, microscopic mold, mildew, dust, pet dander and smoke particles which is within the water vapor. Once these airborne contaminants have been locked in the salt, clean water is re-released into the environment due to the heat from the lamp and thus it has a purifying effect on the air. Lastly, the salt is revitalized through drying of the lamp and then the process begins again.

Oh, and just for the record there are no Himalayan salt mines, all the salt for these lamps are from Pakistan or Poland. More trivia, they say table salt is rejected by your body, sea salt has some benefits, but that the Himalayan salts may help with digestion and lower blood pressure. It may be placebo, but if it works, just do it I say.

There are many other claims and studies you are free to research on your own. Science out of Berkley says negative ions help make your trachea bigger to breath better. What? I said it. ;] The sunset light the lamps emit may trigger something in your brain that helps you sleep better and so, so, so many other things. What if they are all true? All that for under $30 and it will make Mensa happy, I’m in.

I’ll give post reviews in another entry.