Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What We've Got In Store For You in October

Hi everyone. FLV has several fun events happening this month! We have definitely been keeping ourselves busy to create fun and educational events for all of you to enjoy.

SATURDAY 10/1/11

This upcoming weekend on Saturday 10/1/11, FLV will be having the EAKK! Lounge at an event called Los Angeles Decompression. We will be creating eco-friendly art projects for all the kids including Family Love Yoga, World Music for all the kids and a fun parade for all to join.

We are excited to bring a more kid-friendly environment to an already fun event! Not only will FLV be there but there will be music, art installations, performances, circus acts and much, much more! If you have ever heard of Burning Man and always wanted to experience a piece of it, then this is the event to go to!

Doors open at 1pm. To get further details, go to LA Burning Man.

SATURDAY 10/8/211

We are excited to announce that we have a special guest speaker, Glenna Rice, joining us on October 8th.  Normally we hold our gatherings on the 3rd Saturday but since Glenna will be in town facilitating another workshop, she was open to holding a special introductory workshop just for us.

Below are the details:

SUNDAY, OCT 16, 2011

Family Love Village is proud to be a part of the 2011 Aids Walk on October 16!! We would like to invite you to join us for this important Playdate for a Cause! Please take a minute to read what Family Love Village is about and why we chose to be a part of Aids Walk LA 2011!

Family Love Village's mission is to connect and support families and caregivers locally to practice and learn more about conscious parenting. Information, resources and support allow families to develop their main focus on a gently guided approach to communicating with their children, as well as the ability to make natural, holistic and eco-friendly decisions. Our community consists of FLVillagers of all backgrounds, race, religion/spirituality and socio-economics. Our ultimate vision is to birth a conscious movement by co-creating villages globally in order to build a sustainable world that not only our families, children and caregivers can presently benefit from but for future generations to come.

Playdates For a Cause Program

Family Love Village coordinates outings where we serve the bigger community with our children. This allows us to not only give back to the community but we give back to our children, as well because they in return receive the experience of conscious living and compassion.

We want YOU to join Family Love Village for this year's AIDS Walk Los Angeles!

AIDS Walk Los Angeles is a 10-kilometer (6.2 mile) fundraising walkathon benefiting APLA and other AIDS service organizations throughout Los Angeles County. This is an inspirational day filled with energy, excitement, hope, and even celebrities!

To learn more about our team's involvement or to register through me, please email me at soniatandl@msn.com. I can tell you all about our team recruitment and fundraising events and answer questions.

Register online: Visit the AIDS Walk Los Angeles website at aidswalk.net/losangeles and click on "Register to Walk" and then "Join a Team." Simply select our team name from the pull-down menu!

Register by phone: Call the AIDS Walk office at (213) 201-WALK (9255). Be sure to give our team name when you register!

Don't forget to select the option to be part of the Star Walkers Club at the time you register! Star Walkers are participants who set a goal to raise $1,000 or more for AIDS Walk Los Angeles. You can also become a member of the Star Walkers Club by setting your fundraising goal to $1,000 from your Fundraising HQ after you register.

Once you register, you can download a Sponsor Form from aidswalk.net to keep track of cash and checks that you collect. You will also be set up with a personal fundraising Web page to collect online credit card donations. You will receive an e-mail confirmation with your login information to access your Fundraising HQ. Visit aidswalk.net for more information to help you get started. Encourage your family members and friends to register online to walk with our team - the more the better!

We hope to see you on Sunday, October 16!

With Love,

Sonia, Tangee, and Crystal

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Documentary & Dinner Night Featuring "Bag It"

On Saturday July 17th, FLV had our first Documentary & Dinner Night.  The featured film was called "Bag It".  And let me tell you, it was definitely an eye opener!  I mean I already knew the detrimental effects of plastic bags and plastic in general (thus the reason why I stopped receiving plastic bags when shopping and the reason why Andrik's toys consist mainly of wood) but watching this movie solidifies my support in doing my best not to buy plastic items.  But what do you do when EVERYTHING is practically made, wrapped and sealed in plastic?  Just witness this, the next time you step foot in a grocery store, try to find how many items that do not consist of plastic - it will be very slim, trust me.  It is literally discouraging seeing every aisle plastered in this stuff.  But I do my best to buy as many items as I can that don't consist of plastic (which at times can be challenging) but like I said I do my best and I do my part to stay committed to being more sustainable and health conscious.

Here's the trailer to the movie that has inspired me to be an even more eco-friendly geek!

I was truly inspired by this documentary's message (as everyone else was that evening) and want to share it with the world!  But for now I'll share some interesting and appalling facts that I derived from the Bag It website and notes I wrote that evening:

  1. In the United States alone, an estimated 12 million barrels of oil is used annually to make the plastic bags that Americans consume. The United States International Trade Commission reported that 102 billion plastic bags were used in the U.S. in 2009. These bags often wind up in waterways or on the landscape, becoming eyesores and degrading water and soil as they break down into toxic bits. Their manufacture, transportation and disposal use large quantities of non-renewable resources and release equally large amounts of global-warming gases. Ecologically, hundreds of thousands of marine animals die every year when they eat plastic bags mistaken for food. 
  2.  Governments around the world have taken action to ban or restrict the use of plastic bags. In 2008, China banned the use of ultra-thin plastic bags, and it is estimated to have eliminated 40 billion bags in the first year. Ireland placed a fee on plastic bags and reportedly reduced consumption by 90%. 
  3.  Towns all over the United States are rising to the challenge and standing up to the oil, gas and plastic
    industries. San Francisco has banned plastic bags. Seattle has fought a hard fight to place a fee on single-use disposable plastic AND paper bags, only to be shut down by the American Chemistry Council, a group that profits greatly from the production of plastic bags. The ACC spends millions to combat anti-plastic bag campaigns.  In spite of this challenge, U.S. cities including Austin, Boston, New Haven, Portland, Phoenix and Annapolis are considering bag bans or fees.
  4. The production of plastic bags requires petroleum and often natural gas, both non-renewable resources that increase our dependency on foreign suppliers. Additionally, prospecting and drilling for these resources contributes to the destruction of fragile habitats and ecosystems around the world.
  5. Annual cost to US retailers alone is estimated at $4 billion.
  6. In a landfill, plastic bags take up to 1,000 years to degrade. As litter, they breakdown into tiny bits, contaminating our soil and water.
  7. When plastic bags break down, small plastic particles can pose threats to marine life and contaminate the food web. A 2001 paper by Japanese researchers reported that plastic debris acts like a sponge for toxic chemicals, soaking up a million fold greater concentration of such deadly compounds as PCBs and DDE (a breakdown product of the notorious insecticide DDT), than the surrounding seawater. These turn into toxic gut bombs for marine animals which frequently mistake these bits for food.  For more information and statistics, please visit Reuse It.
  8. Single-use disposables like water bottles, coffee cups, plastic utensils and take out containers make our lives more convenient. About 2,480,000 tons of plastic bottles and jars were disposed of in 2008 around the world.

    Unfortunately, plastic is not disposable and the use of these items leads to environmental degradation. After being disposed, plastic containers and water bottles get placed in overflowing landfills, clogged rivers, and our ocean. And when the plastics break down, they do not biodegrade. Instead they break down into fragments that contaminate our natural resources.
  9. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American produces about 4.4 lbs. of garbage every day. That’s 29 lbs. per week or 1,600 lbs. per year. The United States produces approximately 220 million tons of garbage each year. This is equivalent to burying more than 82,000 football fields six feet deep in compacted garbage. This amount of trash could cover the state of Texas two and half times and also fills enough trucks to form a line to the moon.
  10. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is an area of the Pacific Ocean created by the currents of the North Pacific Gyre. It's a plastic soup that in some areas has concentrations of plastic 40 times greater than that of plankton. That means there is 40 times more plastic than food for the marine animals to eat. Scientists estimate its size to be at least twice the area of Texas.

    80% of the plastic and trash that finds its way into our oceans comes from the land. It takes about five years for garbage from the west coast of the United States to make it to the gyre and about one year from Asia. Plastic debris in the ocean doesn't biodegrade. It photodegrades, meaning sunlight and water break it down to smaller and smaller pieces that are mistaken for food by fish, sea birds and marine mammals.
  11. BPA has the characteristics of estrogen, a hormone that determines sexual traits and is key in the development of brain function and nerve cells. Recent studies have linked BPA to breast and prostate cancer, enlargement of the prostate, early onset of puberty, hyperactivity in children, obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
  12. Biologists studying BPA and phthalates are in agreement over the harmful effects of both chemicals. These chemicals are now proven to be toxic, endocrine-disrupting, hormone level-changing, and disease-causing. Do your best to avoid them by reading labels, using reusable containers and bottles, and seeking out BPA and phthalate-free products. 
  13. You can get further details on the above topics at Bag It Movie.
  14. Where does the plastic go beyond the blue bin?  And was the recycling logo created as a marketing strategy just so ACC (American Chemistry Council) can make more plastic products out of non-renewable resources?  Check out this link for further details.

    Here are a few more links to learn more about plastics and what others are doing to make a difference:
    1. The Story of Stuff
    2. B.E.A.C. H. (Beach Environmental Awareness Campaign Hawaii)
    3. Ecology Center
    4. Cradle to Cradle and here's a link from TED TV with William McDonough
    5. 365 Days of Trash - one man's goal to not throw away trash for a whole year
    6. How Do You Bag It? - Another great post about the documentary from a blog called Attainable Sustainable. 
 As Jeb Berrier (the film's main character) asks, "Why would you make something out of a material that is going to last forever, and you're just going to throw it away?"


1. Reduce single use items 
2. Bring your own cloth shopping bags 
3. Bring your own stainless steel water bottle
4. Bring your own coffee mug (have you ever noticed that when people go to a coffee chain, they order their coffee and receive them in those coffee cups (which are LINED in plastic) and end up drinking the coffee at the coffee shop??  Then 20 minutes later, they discard the coffee cup and once again is a single use item back into the landfills and oceans.
5. Buy it used
6. Buy less stuff
7. Buy less cans and more bottled goods - did you know that canned food is lined in BPA?? But there is hope and at least several that have made the transition to BPA-FREE cans.
8. Volunteer for community clean up 

So the facts are pretty crazy (and this is just a taste of what facts were given in the movie).  I highly recommend this movie to everyone!!!  I feel the desire to spread and share this movie with all willing to watch and especially share it within the school system.  Hey if the ACC is trying to brainwash our children by adding it in the textbooks for schools (read more here),  then why can't we educate them with the truth!  Hmmm....perhaps I should propose this to the producers of this movie if they haven't already started doing.

So yes our very first Documentary and Dinner night was very enlightening and has actually brought alot more awareness to those present that night.  One of our FLVillager mamas has even gone grocery shopping and forgot her bags at home and just like Jeb in the movie, put all the groceries in the car without bags and brought it home.  Even myself (the eco-friendly freak that I am), am even more aware and no longer buy almond milk because of the plastic tops that they come in (which was a good point in the movie - since when did they start using those and why?  They poured perfectly fine without those dang plastic tops!).  Now I make homemade almond milk at home and not only is it way less sugar than the store bought versions, I feel good about knowing exactly what is in the milk and feel good that one less plastic top will be found in the carcass of an Albatross bird.

What are ways YOU can make a difference and stop using plastic?  Check out these links:

1. Green Guides - How To Avoid Plastic 
2.  The Good Human - 10 Ways to Reduce Plastic Consumption
3. Eco Child's Play - 10 Ways to Avoid Toxic Plastic 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Family Love Yoga with Crystal D'Angora

Crystal D'Angora and Baby Rane

FLVillagers joined together with their lil ones in tow on Saturday August 20th with FLV's very own Playdate For A Cause (PFAC) Leader, Crystal D'Angora.
This was our first workshop where the children were included in the class and it was definitely a nice change that I know all the families appreciated. I loved the way Crystal interacted with the kids along with the engaging activities that she provided for them.  She showed us a combination of movement, breath, and meditation methods to strengthen and lengthen our entire bodies that emphasized on balance, strength, and flexibility, as well as Kundalini techniques taught by Yogi Bhajan. Not only what is a fun physical workout but the inclusive exercises Crystal showed us are proven to improve children's proprioceptive and developmental awareness. 

Learning how to breathe with our children, get centered, stretch, play, rejuvenate ourselves, and allow the energy to flow was such a wonderful way to bond with our families!   It was definitely a fun way to spend a Saturday evening together!

Here's a little bit of history about our beautiful Crystal:

Crystal D'Angora combines nearly 10 years as a certified Kundalini and children's Yoga and Pilates instructor and an eclectic background in theater, dance, Kundalini and Hatha yoga to create a holistic fusion of physical expression and discovery.  After teaching theater to homeless and abused youth through Los Angeles Free clinic's "Project Able," she attained a Bachelor of Arts degree from UC, Los Angeles in Literature and Child Development.  Her own yoga experience, which began in 1995, re-ignited the same sense of playful freedom from her youth in theater and dance, but also offered additional methods to heal physically, mentally, and emotionally.  

Crystal's passion for conscious choices in both birthing and parenting is supported by years of nanny experience, her undergraduate degree, and her commitment to a yoga and wellness oriented life-style.  She continues to find new ways to create a safe and fun environment for students (ages 2 years and up) to explore and express their unique physical and mental gifts.  Crystal's current work as co-founder/instructor of the Light Leaders Yoga teachers training program for children's yoga teachers, in addition to teaching various yoga classes and workshops at Golden Bridge, The Yogi Tree (FLV's home), and in her home studio, are all great sources of joy and growth.

Crystal combines her many years as a Pilates and Kundalini, prenatal, and children's yoga teacher with her new mommy-hood and love of movement to help you find the joy of movement in your body. You will enjoy structural re-alignment, balance, flexibility, and strength in an easy-going environment that puts your role as "parent" first!  

Yoga and meditation are some of the best tools to model a playful sense of confidence, concentration, and self-discipline for our babies/toddlers.  We know that when parents feel calm, confident, and loved that our children can thrive.  The vigorous Kundalini yoga kriyas, coupled with meditation and deep relaxation, is a perfect fit for parents and the energetic and active young bodies and minds of our little ones.  

And here are a couple of samples from the class that Crystal sent me to share with you: 
  1. Hot air balloon -Tuning in
            A. Basket - Easy pose – -Sitting tall, with pretzel legs (child pretends to be in the basket of a        balloon).

            “First we want to make the riding basket”

            *Next, use your imagination to turn your body into a big bright balloon.  Can you find your balloon’s color and shape (third eye)?  Place your hands on your tummy and fill it with air, now let it all out”  (3x’s)

            B. Prayer Pose – Rub the hands for “Hot air”

            “The air in our balloons have to get hot to make it fly.  Can you pretend to make a fire by rubbing your hands together?”

            C. Mantra –“Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo (I bow to the teacher in my heart) or Ohm (the sound of the Universe).” This reminds you to listen to your body when it tells you how it feels (i.e. if it needs a break or an extra rest.

            “Wow!  You were really flying.”

2. Yoga Hokey Pokey - (Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskar)

Start slowly with basic steps only:

You bring your hands up high.  Bring your hands down low.  You jump right back and slither like a snake.  You bring your tail up high and wag it like a dog.  Start all over again!  Then begin to add parts such as warrior jumps, (...Bring your tail up high and jump it to and fro, etc.).  This is also a great opportunity to invite children's creative suggestions!

These were just a couple of examples of the family fun we all got to experience!  It was definitely an amazing way to share some quality time with our lil ones, as well as get some exercise (physically and spiritually).

The following are some pictures of this evening...


Look at that nice form!

Warrior Pose

Wow!  Look at that head stand!


Touch your toesies!

A message from Crystal:

"I founded Light Leaders Yoga after 8 years of developing my skills as a children's yoga instructor.  With concrete evidence that yoga and meditation help to improve children's overall performance in school and general well-being,  we know the need for yoga in young lives will only increase. We also know that for children living in the stress of today's world, yoga helps kick out any surplus of negativity, fear, anxiety, anger, depression and other undeserved pressures which trickle down onto their young spirits from society. Yoga and meditation are some of the best tools to instill confidence, concentration, and self-discipline. We know that when children feel calm, confident, and  loved they can succeed.

I have direct experience with the effects that this powerful yoga has on young students and have noted ongoing progress in their lives as a result of a weekly practice.  We, as parents, can share and spread these teachings and techniques with our children to connect more deeply every day.  Using this mindful and playful practice, let's help to create healing communities for the next generation across the world."