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This weekend was the annual Harmany Festival in Santa Rosa – one of my favorite festivals.  We went Saturday to see Michael Franti and Spearhead and a bonus was the Sierra Leone Refugee Allstars (who were incredible and have an incredible story).   The Refugee All Stars actually met in a refugee camp in Sierra Leone where they were “living” after they had to flee their homes due to the rebels.  They met some of their members in other camps – the one member was an orphan, two of the members had limbs amputated by the rebels and they were given some old instruments by a Canadian aid organization.  Yet through these horrific events, an absolutely incredible and uplifting group of musicians was born.  The music is the kind that gets you up off your tired bum and gets you groovin’ and smiling!  And it’s a good reminder of how good life is.  And of course, Michael Franti is the epitome of feeling good music and getting up and groovin’ ( “How ya’ll feelin’!?”)  He always has a message and is all about Peace and Love and you can feel it through his music.  Two groups I highly recommend if they are in your area.

The Harmony Fest has been going on for 31 years.  It is a festival about healthy living, alternative living, eco-conscious living, peaceful living and just good living in general.  They have some of the most amazing speakers (Starhawk and Julia Butterfly Hill – two of my faves), classes/workshops/lectures, yoga, dance, meditation, body work, etc.  You can camp the entire weekend under the redwoods.  One year I am going to do that so I can attend some of the workshops and lectures and just get completely lost in “Harmony”.  We just went for the day – and there is no way to cover 1/4 of the Festival, but with the kids and $ (and Milo and Mo) we just enjoyed a wonderful day of Utopia!

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I’m still on a high from being there.  It will take a couple days to come down from my Utopian high.  I get so energized from being at an event such as this.  You see all the incredible ideas for eco living, healthy living, wonderful artists and a lot of “conscious” individuals in one location – yes it’s inspiring.

Have you been inspired lately?  What has gotten you inspired?

Well, it’s officially summer!  Not only does the calendar indicate it, this heat does too!  For those of us in the Bay Area, we’ve been experiencing record heat.  What happened to “June Gloom”?  Every year in June it’s foggy and kinda cool, and I’m always saying “when is the sun going to come out”.  Well, not this year- it’s already hit 100+ on several different occasions and during several different heat waves.  Can you say Global Warming!?  Not to mention the devastation across the country with fires, floods, tornadoes… Mother Nature is not a happy lady and she’s letting us know.

So back to summer stuff.  The festivals have begun out here- yeah! 

I love this time of year.  Daytime festivals with great music, food and messages.  A few weeks ago we made it to The Harmony Fest.  I was gravely ill the week prior- but I was not going to miss the fest.  Luckily by Sunday I was feeling better to at least attend one of the 3 days.  Not well enough to do a session of yoga with my favorite teacher Shiva Rea (I did her prenatal yoga all throughout my pregnancy and I also have done her Shakti Yoga video- she whips you into shape).  So I was sad about that.  But we managed to make it to listen to The Gospel According to Jerry (The Jerry Garcia Band with Melvin Seals opened up the day).  What a great way to start the day!  It felt great to feel the warm sun on your skin and the soft breeze blowing your hair while gettin’ your groove on to some great tunes! 

After that, we wanted to chill in the shade of the Children’s village and let Ryder do his thing.  They had magicians, face painters, music, hula hoops (Ryder’s new thing) and a bubble trough! 

The bubble trough was the hit of the party (I was enjoying myself making amoeba shaped bubbles that soared over the tree tops) I had to remove myself and give some of the kids a turn.  It was hard to pry him away.  We all had a great day.  Next year we need an adult only day b/c there are so many great speakers to listen to, they have a section of the fest called “The Eco Dome” where they have lots of classes/speakers talking about sustainability, solar power, bio diesel, etc.  I would love to spend an entire day there listening to all they have to say.  Not easy to do with two kids. 

I had to take a picture of this and share with everyone.  It was so cool, all made out of natural materials, twigs, branches, dried flowers, pine cones, flowers, stones, etc…… beautiful! 

Hope your summer is off to a great start. 

A couple tips that work well for us. 

California Baby Everyday/Year-Round SPF 30+ Sunblock Stick - click to enlarge

We have a couple of these sticks that we keep in the diaper bag and in my purse.  This is the perfect sunscreen for faces, I like it b/c it doesn’t get in their eyes.  In the past when I’ve used a lotion on their face, somehow it seemed that Ryder always got it in his eye.  I’ve never had that problem with this stick.  And it’s non-toxic, no parabens, the packaging is Pthalate free… check out the list of ingredients http://www.californiababy.com/ingredients.html

We also like http://www.jason-natural.com/home.php and http://www.natures-gate.com/shop/showCatalog.asp?category=173 for their all over sunscreen.  Always keep a couple on hand- you never want to be caught without it.

And we always keep a bag of sand toys in the car- you never know when a beach or park may appear in your travels.

And don’t forget those hats….. especially when you’re soaring through the air!  It’s sunny up there!

Happy summer adventures to you and your family