new moon, new beginnings

The next new moon, on September 25, brings in the Jewish New Year.  Yet the new moon last week began the delights of a new year for me.  During that new moon:  Four children began school.  I celebrated my birthday with my closest friends who made the time to visit me all day long (I did bribe them with my teas and chocolates).  I began exploring the artist within along with other amazingly strong artists, a year long journey to deep explorations.

While I’m already missing the long days of summer, a very physically active yoga practice, staying out late watching my kids catch fireflies, and the many barefoot walks with Leila, I’m am now slowing down.  I feel it.  I’m craving warmer foods, spicier teas, and a nap here and there.  I am dedicating this autumn and winter to allowing myself to slow down.  Cigfy’s emphasis will be on herbs, women, and nourishment.  I personally will be practicing yoga at home, sketching in my journal every day, teaching botanical classes,  and finally allowing the knowledge I’ve been accumulating to reach out to women.

What about the raw chocolates!?  They will be around.  Limited, though.  Chai Fudge and Smoke and Mirrors bars in September (lavender with black volcanic salt).  Elderberry and Echinacea truffles in October.   The successes of Cigfy brought to the surface my talents to create, share and nourish.  And I can now acknowledge those skills so I can become what I’ve always prayed to be, a healer.   Chocolatier to a healer?!  I believe it can be.

Healing takes knowledge, but it is an art.  It comes from a place very, very deep inside.  So I dive into it as this New Year begins.

With love,



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Mid summer,
the sunlight has shifted.

Shadows are an uninvited usher.

I hesitate, already feeling the distance and memories of spring.
Yet Autumn is reaching out to meet me.

I grasp onto the earth with bare feet, allowing texture and heat to travel thru my body.
Till my soul feels and tastes the earth.

Now, together, we dance wildly and uninhibited.

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To my children

You are going to see more of my writings here along with Cigfy updates and other casual blogs.  I have always had a desire to write though  I protected it deep inside of me for years and years.  But words do flow out of me on paper and I am allowing myself to be daring and open up to share this part of me.  My intention is for this to be a way of documenting what I might not think of sharing to my children through my voice.  Because sometimes that voice has to be firm to get through a day.
Scary?  Yes.  That’s why I am doing this.  It is time to share.  Enjoy.

July 20, 2014

To my children

Watch me live this life, watch me.

Each day the same

awaking, creating, sleeping.

maybe, sometimes, flowing.

maybe, sometimes, resisting.


Each day remembering to recall

full breathes

warmth on my skin

the textures of earth

colors in the sky

coolness of water


scents that flow through the air

hearing a laugh

kissing a tear

moving freely in my body.


Feeling ecstasy and pain.  Loving with strength.  Fighting with passion.

Life is flowing, always changing.

Finding the balance of discipline and ease.

I am honored to have you watch me live this life.

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Leila’s Lullabye

Leila, every night falling asleep against my chest
my heart is her bedtime story, her lullabye.

No words are spoken,
next to me in bed.

I hope she becomes intoxicated by

Dan, Leila, and myself

My little Leila

the scents of jasmine and rose that I adorn.
So my healing becomes her healing.  
She falls into sleep deeper and deeper as I lie there waiting for my turn to come.

Did I ever imagine I would start a blog that’s usually about raw cacao and herbs and other tasty and nourishing treats, with a poem?  A poem that I wrote?  Never.  But did I ever imagine that I would fall in love with creating chocolates and that it would become a way my own intuition could surface and be heard?

Years ago I was a percussionist.  Trained classically with hours and hours of practicing.  Years of practicing.  Well earned callused and blistered fingers.  A petite girl passing from teens to twenties surrounded by drums and anything conceivable that could be struck and a composer would willingly, daringly put in a music score.  But beyond the practicing was performing from a deeper place, a place I couldn’t get to.  And I closed the doors on percussion.

Time passed and I became this Mom of four, now in her (early) forties.  And while little one’s tugged at anything they could to get more attention out of me, creating chocolates and studying herbs became my own private passion.  And I found a little something opening inside me.  I relaxed and dove into it, a deep inside place that I couldn’t locate as a musician.  It was my heart.

And I began to write and journal.  I forgot that I wanted to be a writer in college because drumming took me over.  And writing is the long lost place I now recall where I get to go deeper into this opening.  Usually this happens before the sun rises and before I practice my pranayama and asanas and especially before four children start stirring with their needs.  And it’s a very secretive and confusing place these days.  But I love when I feel it surface through words, onto paper…by my hand…from my soul.  Because it’s deeper than the heart yet finds it’s way out.

So I give to you a little more about myself.

I’ll talk about chocolates soon enough.  That’s why there is Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.  Just wait to see what is coming this summer, starting with June…for You.  All from inside through knowledge, intuition and play.

With love,


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Let the Merryment Begin!

We did it!  Spring is really here.  As I look out my window at this moment, seeing the beautiful green buds on the trees turn into flowers, I’m excited and inspired.  And I am reassured as I am now getting use to this view as we moved into this house exactly one year ago.

And it was a long, long, cold winter.  Very cold, very long.  It hurt.  So looking out the window this evening watching the sun set has my complete admiration.

Let’s talk raw cacao!  May is around the corner and the May and June menu are planned.
Inspired by the warmth of the sun, the increasing sunlight, the smells, the blooms, the celebrations.
Each of these bars inspire and nourish your body and soul as they are based on traditional and modern herbal remedies.

May Menu:
The Raspberry Truffle:  A classic with fresh raspberries.  Cacao beans, coconut butter, agave, raspberries, sea salt $15 1/4 lb.
The Midnight Bar:  This new bar is requested often for it’s unadulterated darkness and rough texture, but the cinnamon teases you with sweetness.  Cacao beans, dates, coconut butter, cinnamon, cracked black pepper.  A lot of cinnamon.  $7 a bar.
And…presenting the “I Love You, Mom” Bar:  Pink and Floral with Cacao beans, dates, coconut butter, roses, hibiscus, pink peppercorns and pink himalayan sea salt.  Might just stay on the menu.  $8.50 a bar.

June Menu:
Matcha Tea Truffles:  The only white chocolate truffle by Cigfy.  Cacao butter, coconut butter, cashews, agave, matcha tea, vanilla bean and sea salt.  $17 1/4lb.
The “You’re The Best, Dad” Bar:  Mortar and Pestle crushed coffee beans and cacao nibs.  Cacao beans, dates, coconut butter, coffee beans and vanilla bean.  $8.50 a bar.
The “Midsummer Night’s Dream Bar”:  This one has been a dream of mine for two years and now it’s coming to fruition!  Cacao beans, dates, coconut butter, two different types of vanilla,  jasmine extracted oil and petals.  Beautiful.  $8.50 a bar.

Orders are placed traditionally by contacting Debbie directly who will confirm the order within 24 hours!
216-789-8811 or


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cacao stained hands and blood shot eyes

During December of 2013 I was seriously considering shutting down Cigfy.  To immerse myself in herbal studies and have a little more routine with the kids.  You see, making chocolates for Cigfy is my art.  It’s not a traditional canvas that you think art is created on, but it is art!  And as most artists know, it can drain you.  It can make you cry.  And I wasn’t sure if I wanted chocolate stained hands and blood shot eyes. So I took a break.  For about six weeks.

It didn’t last long.  I was craving to get my hands in cacao, to inhale the scent, and to get a little crazy.  If you know me and have come visit my kitchen when I’m making chocolates (I love visitors, they help inspire me and they get to taste test), I’m a little crazy when I am making chocolates.  Some of you say it’s because of the caffeine in the cacao….sorry, I don’t agree.  It’s because a flow of energy that merges my passions are coming together.

I’m in my home that I love with at least Leila hanging at my feet, I have herbs and oils and essences around me, and I get to play chocolatier…which was my favorite part of training as a pastry chef.  And when I mix and match and taste….well, I’m just giddy. And when the perfect combination comes together, it’s not the taste…it’s a warmth that overcomes my body that tells  me I nailed a recipe.

Obviously, I’m back into Cigfy stronger than ever.  My fingers are stained with cacao powder and my eyes are a little blood shot.  Don’t worry, I’m still making time to finish my Western Herbalism studies.

At home with Cigfy

At home with Cigfy

It’s ok.  My “little cult following” as I use to call it is growing and I dream often of the day Cigfy will ship powerful and nourishing chocolates many, many places.

Meanwhile, Cigfy is taking a two week vacation along with my kids.  Well needed and well deserved as I think about late spring and early summer chocolates.  Think Calendula, Roses, Berries.  And I will be expanding on my line of Ayurvedic chocolates and creating a chocolate bar for the men!  I love my girls, but the guys need a little chocolate, too!

Thank you for all the support and Cigfy love!  Visit me on Facebook where I’m most active, Pinterst and Instagram.  Peace.

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Ayurveda and Raw Cacao? An introduction…

Introducing the Ayurvedic line of Cigfy Raw Chocolates…..!

The Vata, Pitta, and Kapha raw cacao bars.

The Vata, Pitta, and Kapha raw cacao bars.

A·yur·ve·da   äyərˈvādə,-ˈvēdə/
noun: Ayurveda
The traditional Hindu system of medicine, which is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems and uses diet, herbal treatment, and yogic breathing.

The depths of Ayurveda take a lifetime to learn. But the concept is simple and the knowledge should be introduced to all people, starting in youth.  Recognizing the principles of Ayurveda in your day brings an understanding and even patience to you and your surroundings.

These three bars are a taste of bringing balance to you through Ayurveda.  Each bar is based on one of the three doshas in Ayurveda.

do·sha  ˈdōSHə/
(In Ayurvedic medicine) each of three energies believed to circulate in the body and govern physiological activity.

Vata:  Think about the wind, movement; insomnia and multitasking.  The best way to balance a Vata imbalance is to bring in heavier, more grounding and sedating qualities.
The Vata bar includes Raw Cacao, Dates, Almonds, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, *Coconut Palm Sugar, Anise, Vanilla Bean and Sea Salt.

Pitta:  Think Fire and Water.  A Pitta imbalance causes heat that can burn as a temper or as an inflamed skin and digestive system.  To balance Pitta, think cooling and sweet.  Romanticize the Pitta in you.
The Pitta Bar includes Raw Cacao, Dates, Coconut, Hibiscus, *Coconut Palm Sugar, Vanilla Bean and Rose Water.

Kapha:  Kapha is water, heavy and dense, from mellow to lethargic.  A kapha imbalance needs stimulation.  The Kapha bar is slightly spicy and drying, to heat you up a little and get you ready to move.
The Kapha Bar includes Raw Cacao, Dates, Turmeric, Ginger, Black Pepper, Sea Salt and *Raw Honey.

*I want you to recognize that each bar is primarily sweetened with fresh dates.  And then a dosha specific sweetener is added  to assist bringing balance to each dosha.  A little sweetener to assist in the balancing act.  Fun, huh?!

Enjoy this special line of raw chocolates from Cigfy!


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A new healing line of Cigfy chocolates

I suppose it was bound to happen, after two years of formal herbal studies in Western herbalism.  And with a passion for Ayurveda.  And drinking tea after tea after tea.  And eating lots of dark chocolate.  And meeting the most amazing and inspiring people.

You see, we could all buy a chocolate bar anywhere.  But Cigfy has a warmth, a balance in flavor and a feeling that settles deep inside of you.  Just a little bite, not a whole bar is needed.   Your taste buds tell you that it’s all o.k.  Afterall, it’s just cacao beans, a little sweetness and some added spices or fruit.

But now, the herbalist is taking over.  And that passion for Ayuveda “talk” just won’t go away.  So, now there is a line of Cigfy chocolate bars:  Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.  Ok, someone out there might laugh and say that raw cacao doesn’t fit into Ayurveda!  True, true, but this is about balance.  And most people want a little chocolate, so why not enhance it to fit your unique needs.

Vata:  Wind….the chaos in our heads and that make our feet run around multi tasking all day long, these crazy days.  The vata bar is grounding, heavy, sweet.  Raw Cacao Beans, Dates, Almonds, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Anise, Sea Salt, Coconut Palm Sugar for a little texture.

Pitta:  Fire…the heat that becomes stamina  but sometimes can’t calm or cool down on it’s own.  “simmer down!”  This bar is cooling and sweet to calm you….Raw Cacao Beans, Dates, Hibiscus, Coconut, Vanilla Bean, Rosewater, Coconut Palm sugar.

Kapha:  Water…the heaviness and lethargy of a cold winter, not wanting to get out of bed, staying out too late.  This bar has some heat, to warm you up and stimulate.  It might just make you perform a few sun salutations.

So there is your introduction to where Cigfy is heading in Spring 2014!

Contact Debbie with any questions or ordering information.  Each bar is $7 .



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Choosing your daily inspiration (or stimulation)

Yes, you heard me right.  We all have very full days.  Whether a stay at home Mom, a college grad student, or retired, each of us have a lot to accomplish in a day!  Our strength is needed.  Our gentleness is needed.

So, you wake up in the morning and maybe you slept like a baby for eight hours, or you were up with a newborn most of the night, at some point during the day you’re going to have a little urge to keep yourself going for the last round of responsibility for the day.  Maybe for an evening stroll with a friend or a yoga class.

I select from four choices to inspire me each day.  I consider my roles for the day and how I am needed.  I choose from coffee, green tea, chocolate and herbs.  And I’m only talking organic, whole ingredients.  Candy bars and mocha latte drinks with a ton of syrup do not count.  

1.  Dark chocolate, think 70% or higher!  Love it.  I eat it for breakfast now and then.  The less ingredients the better, the more bitter the better.  I look for raw cacao and organic sugar for the main ingredients.  Try to skip the added crunch and flavors.  Make it a treat.  You will not overeat this.  Think a balanced euphoria with a little stimulation.  Perfect around 4pm when you are greeting kids off the bus.

2.  Coffee.  I thought I’d never drink it, now I love it.  Organic, no decaf, get good stuff.  I grind my own, use a 6 oz french press and do not sweeten it (ok, sometimes stevia).  I add almond milk.  That’s a personal preference.  Coconut milk, coconut oil, soy milk, whole milk.  I add cinnamon and nutmeg to cut the jitters a little.  And just a few times a week.  It’s a treat.  It makes me giddy and silly when I’m taking my kids out for a day of playing or when I need to be uber excited about a project I’m working on.  The feeling doesn’t last long, so remember that.  And I drink a lot of water on the days I drink coffee because it is dehydrating.  

3.  Green tea.  I recommend this to my new mama friends.  Green tea gives me a much more steady stimulation and it’s less mild than coffee (no ups and downs).  I have no trouble going to sleep when drinking green tea during the day.  And it feels so good in the body.  There’s matcha tea, jasmine….dark green to a very pale spring green.  Experiment.  Find your match.  You’ll know it when you find it.  (Now another blog will show you how I mixed a shot of espresso into a mug of matcha tea and my head was tingling for an hour….that was fun, maybe?)

4.  Herbal tea.  Yep!  Herbal tea can be stimulating.  Peppermint is my go to drink.  Somedays I don’t want to be crazy stimulated.  I want to keep low and mellow but still awake and alert.  I drink peppermint tea, sweeten it with a little sugar, maybe a little milk.  Kids love it, too.  I always feel like I’m drinking dessert.  

I hope this helps you think a little deeper into why, when, and how you need a little pick me up during your day.  But be gentle on yourself!  Maybe you do need a nap instead of a hot drink.  Maybe a brisk walk outside for a few minutes is what you need.  Or call a girlfriend (that can be a great “pick me up”).  Experiment, be kind to yourself and enjoy learning a little bit about you.  


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Unfolding into 2014

Life is very full, very busy.  It’s beautiful and chaotic at the same time.  Following is a little something I want to share with you, a taste of Cigfy and what goes on behind the scenes:

I still can’t believe that I reached three goals by mid December:
1.  I attended and assisted a birth (a baby girl!).
2.  I completed the first half of my herbalism training.
3.  I completed round one of Cigfy chocolates (the business).

And at the same time, while being a little overwhelmed most of the time, something was changing very deep inside of me.  I was feeling calmer, more grounded…Both life, and myself, was feeling…
dare I say Beautiful?!

Now, that’s not saying everything was Perfect.  Not the least.

But I was beginning to find a FLOW in life.  It was a feeling.
Years of chaos and fighting that chaos was quickly fading.

To celebrate my achievements and take in this new recognition of just being, I decided to take a winter break along with my kids and do very little.  I watched movies, read casually (ok, it was about aromatherapy for the spirit, think what you want), saw my family a lot and slept in.  I also thought a lot of these accomplishments and what 2014 could offer, if I allowed this flow to continue.

Just a few days after the New Year arrived the word UNFOLDING struck me.  That’s my word for this year.
I’m going to place it everywhere.  It IS time to unfold.
I visualize this as a flower blossoming or
an unborn child being birthed.  

Unfolding is exposing yourself to the unknown, it can be scary, it can be freeing…

I just read in an Ayurveda article that January is still very cold and dark (obviously!  I live in Cleveland), and that this is a time to stay indoors and prepare and plan for spring and new growth.

And funny thing is that I have been sitting with journals, lists, texts, books, oils, herbs, teas and chocolate during these cold dark days!   Actually feeling the unlimited possibilities for women to nourish, heal and balance.

Cigfy is becoming this beautiful place to share women’s wisdom, balance, and nourishment.  Welcome!

Love, Debbie
a chocolatier with an expertise in herbalism and nourishment, mom, creator (not in any particular order)



Disclaimer:  Now I might be leaving this blog with you having more questions.  What is she talking about??  What’s coming next??  Are there still chocolates?  Ahhhh, so much is going on.  So much is unfolding!  (see, there’s that word)  Recipes, stories, more goals, a good laugh at myself, a picture here and there of the kids.

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I’ve never had patience.  Nope.  I always wanted things to happen quickly, at that moment.  The only time I really practiced patience was during my years playing percussion.  I had the patience to practice my music 10 hours a day.  Over and over and over again.  But outside of practicing and music, I had no patience.

As a new Mom, I really had no patience.  I use to think if only I can have patience.

I’m at a time in my life where I have caved in.  I “got” patience.  It started about a year ago.  It was when Dan decided to leave his job.  And six weeks later, someone wanted to buy our house.  And it didn’t even have a For Sale sign in front.  And Leila was just a newborn.  And I found patience and humor.

And patience has stayed with me.  It’s wonderful.  Really wonderful.  It’s not about being lazy, it’s about letting things unfold.

I have patience while watching my children.  One morning Zac insisted he was going to buckle himself into the car seat.  We were late for drop off, but he was going to do it himself and while the older twins panicked, I watched him proudly coordinate the movements and the buckle went in.

I have patience making cigfy chocolates, as I move slowly and with dedication through the process and the end product.

I have patience as a student, Herbalism is not to be learned in a 200-300 hours intensive workshop.  Herbalism is a craft, an art, a science.

Now I have a new challenge.  It is when other people are not patient.  It’s my new peer pressure.  I only lose patience when someone mentions that maybe I should.  When I see others moving faster than me then a panic overcomes.  Am I too patient?  I started to give into it over the weekend.  And I was so overwhelmed by outside and inside voices that I wanted to lose my patience with everything, my children and husband, my chocolates, my studies.  But, as I mentioned in not these exact words to my Mom, “How can I not be patient?  I have this feeling that everything really is ok, I can’t say why, I can’t prove it.  But I can’t pretend it’s not there.  I know I just need to be patient.”

And I’m feeling much calmer again.  And my equipment has been fixed and an order came in so I can share my chocolates to many friends next week.  And I read books and take quizzes.  And I watch Leila try to put on a shoe, which can take a looong time.  But her smile is worth it.

Cigfy is more than just chocolate.  It is an art, a lifestyle, a family.  xo Debbie  


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rest and relaxation, Shabbat: the reality behind the scenes

I observe Shabbat.  My husband and I decided to start observing Shabbat about six years ago.  It was a cute idea at first, we dabbled in preparation, lighting the candles on time, not watching t.v. for a day and playing with the children.  About a year later we transitioned into full Shabbat observance.  No driving options (other than health emergencies), no technology at all, all meals prepared in advanced, and concluding with Havdalah.  Soon, this became a 25 hour retreat for us.  At that time my life started evolving around the weekly cycle of Shabbat and a lot of hard work is involved to prepare for this day.  

The cycle works like this for me.   Let’s start with Sunday morning, I take a deep breath and realize I retreated for a full day.  That’s pretty challenging these days with modern life.  Really challenging.  I let the kids watch t.v., I go on the computer, I make a hot breakfast.  I text.  I study.  Monday and Tuesday I enjoy modern life and all the options I have 24/7.  Wednesday it hits me that Shabbat is coming.  I sit down and plan a menu.  Then I let it go.  Thursday I go shopping for the food.  It’s not cheap.  You want to have an abundance of food (I’d feel like a complete failure if I didn’t have a meal to Wow the kids and friends).  I stare at the menu, I have the food in the fridge.  But I still need to cook dinner on Thursday night for the family.  Sometimes that’s cereal.   

If I’m well prepared, I make one or two Shabbat dishes on  a Thursday night.  I’ve had many Thursday evenings with a babysitter putting the kids to bed so I can cook.  Sometimes (Hi, Mackenzie and Rachael!), they help me with a dish!  I go to bed late because I want to indulge on Facebook, texting, and studying because Shabbat is coming soon.

It’s Friday.  I cook, shop for that “one  more thing I might be missing”, do a last minute push on Cigfy and maybe an herbalism assignment.  I sing the one Shabbat song I know around the house so the kids feel the coming change.  Then we run around like maniacs!  Showering, last minute laundry being folded, get the hot water on!  It’s crazy.  And then, as I tell the kids every week, “Ready or Not, It’s Shabbat”!  And I light the candles.

And then I do retreat.  I hit a big comfy chair and stare into space, cuddle with a child, or take out books to read.  Retreating is kind of trendy these days.  People make plans to escape.  It’s a little different for me, I have committed to this for life as my husband and children also take these 25 hours to “turn off” from the routine.  I have witnessed myself restructuring my life so we can do this every week, no options.  I have tantrums, sometimes I don’t want to do it.  But I do.  And I watch and observe.

I keep the Shabbat meals mostly vegan.  A lot of raw.  Always some sweets.  I believe it’s a special day to enjoy the seasons and the gifts surrounding us.  Fruits, vegetables, soups, whole grains.  A lot of salads.  And chocolate.  You’ll see me at Whole Foods asking why the watermelons aren’t organic this week, not the local butcher.  Enjoy!

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The Yoga Practice

About 15 years ago I started to practice yoga.  I started because I read an article in a magazine that Madonna practiced yoga.  And I wanted Madonna arms.  I was already exercising 6 days a week at a gym and I was engaged to my husband at the time (so I had lots of free time…no kids yet).  My first yoga class was at a real hippie yoga studio.  We moved our toes for about an hour.  I wanted to run out of the room!  I needed cardio.

One year later and as a married woman, I wanted to try yoga again.  I found a woman, Barbara (Hi, Barbara!) and it was a great match.  This wasn’t sexy big studio yoga.  She taught in a room above a laundromat.  And it was freezing in the winter.  And the music was very calming, from a little radio.  And I got into a lunge and BOOM, I felt yoga.  Something opened and shifted and traveled through me.  I practiced once a week up until my pregnancy with the twins.

After the twins were born, I ached to do yoga.  And the yoga community changed during the nine months of pregnancy!  A boutique studio opened (Hi, Sandy!) and it was close and had the day time hours I needed.  And I hired a babysitter and I practiced a more physical yoga.  And I got a yoga body (hmmm, I was also working out at the community gym daily while the twins were in a kid care room along with my raw food diet). I attended any workshop I could manage to get into and was included as a peer with the teachers.  I practiced once a week.

I met great friends (Hi, Jennifer and Beth!).  I still love them like sisters though one lives in San Francisco and the other in New Mexico now).  Oh how I miss them.  I was balancing yoga with twins, trying to meditate, working on a handstand.  And then my Mommy friends started practicing yoga and they would practice 2-4 times a week!  Was I doing something wrong?  Oh no!  A voice came into my head and I started to put pressure on myself to go more often, get into that handstand no matter what, and compete.

Two more pregnancies came and went.  And I was a confused Mom and yogi.  Studios were opening left and right.  I tried Ashtanga, Anusara, Vinyasa, Yin.  Whatever I read about I tried.  And I couldn’t squeeze in yoga more than 1 time a week without becoming stressed.  Four kids, a babysitter and going to studios!  Vata took over, insomnia took over, anxiety took over.  This wasn’t right.    

I stopped my practice.  I took a deep breath.  I embraced my Judaism and a less physical practice with my husband.

Now, I like to think I found the balance.  I found My Yoga.  Debbie’s Yoga.  A Mom, daughter, sister, wife, friend, musician, baker and student.  I practice at home, I go to now and then.  Forget about the handstand!  I want to twist and lube up my body before the kids wake up so I can be a vibrant, real woman during the day and ready to handle all the challenges that can come before 8am!  I do still have the remnants of yoga arms, and I love them, cause I can hold my 18 month old and 4 year old at the same time.

Funny thing is that my Mom (who is 70) took up yoga about three years ago.  And she does all those show off poses I decided to let go of.  Good for her!

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Men can drink tea too, ya know.

About two years ago, my husband was told he had candida.  Part of his cleanse was to stop drinking coffee.  Now let me tell you that he needed his coffee.  Both the kids and myself were trained to not come near him in the morning without his first mug of coffee.  And I really knew he was addicted when on a Shabbat there was no hot water prepared and he took a tablespoon of instant coffee into his mouth and then down’d it with a little water.

He transitioned off of coffee through black tea and then green tea.  Now he goes back and forth between those caffeinated teas and with non-caffeinated adaptogens such as gotu kola and ashwagandha.  He drinks tea morning till evening.  Sometimes he remembers to keep some hot water on for my own mug.  

As I’m studying herbalism for Women’s health, I’m becoming very sensitive to the emotional and physical needs of our bodies and how reaching out and finding the right herb (tea) that speaks to each woman can bring on such needed balance.

But what about the men?  Can a man drink tea to help with sore muscles after a Bikram or Crossfit class or a run?  Men are sleep deprived when raising children and working long hours.  What about anxiety, depression, confusion, care taking, an illness?  When I saw this book and watched the author take questions on Twitter a couple weeks ago, I purchased the book without hesitation.  And I jumped up and down for joy when it arrived today.

If I am treating a Mom, who says the husband/father doesn’t need a little TLC?

Now, will most men drink their tea?  Will someone have to brew it for them?  Is Dan an exception?  I will find the answer to these questions.  And I am going to start working on my sons and their own needs.

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Raising a Mom

I want to dedicate today’s blog to my family.  It doesn’t matter if you have one or seven children.  Birthing, raising, loving, and teaching children is hard work.  And I make a lot of mistakes.  But I decided while the twins were still pretty young that it was better to be myself as a silly laughable Mom instead of a neurotic Mom (I did try the neurotic Mom thing for a while).  I let the kids laugh at me, watch me have temper tantrums.  I let them watch me study.  And they know when I’m trying out a new chocolate (cause I need calm and quiet during those moments).  I want them to see me make mistakes and recover from them.

I  go to bed each night hoping that I did everything possible during the day to raise my children as happy, content and confident people.  They are allowed some sugar, ice cream, chocolate and cookies.  But we also drink a lot of tea, and veggies need to be eaten throughout a day.  My children really do teach me.  From Leila learning by observation and perseverance, to Zac’s love of hugs and kisses, to Julia saving an earthworm at the pool, and Darren’s selfless act when a glass chandelier broke just in front of his baby sister as he ran and scooped her up in his arms.

Here’s a couple snapshots I took at those proud Mom moments.  Studying herbalism, making a sweet for Cigfy…it’s all for them.  I pray they surpass me in everything I do, know, and learn.

learning to make cupcakes from scratch

playing at the botanical garden

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Blogging each day this week: Sunday and Ayurveda talk

This week I’m going to blog daily, focusing on herbalism and recipes and a taste of what goes on behind the scenes, behind the raw cacao.  Enjoy!  

So, here’s a little visual on my self made Cigfy summer reading list.  As I’m now into my 2nd year of studying herbalism, I’m becoming a complete text book nerd.  My favorite time to study is on Saturday nights.  Who would’ve ever thought?  I haven’t watched a t.v. show in about a year.  Not one.  My kids sometimes ask me to join them to watch a Cupcake Wars on the Food Network.  And my husband really wants me to watch Dr. Who or The Walking Dead with him, but I pass.  I know I’m missing out on pop-culture, but what can I say?  I want to read.

(Now can you tell which books are the Vata, Pitta, Kapha?)  

While I’m studying Western Herbalism formally, specifically for Women’s Health, I’m absolutely passionate about Ayurveda.  Have you heard of it?

I don’t recall how I first learned about  Ayurveda, but I’m sure it was through my excitement in practicing yoga.   In Ayurveda there are three doshas (constitutions).  They are Vata (wind), Pitta (fire), and Kapha (water). Everyone has a little bit of each in them, their routines, their passions.  But one is dominant and another one is likely to knock you out of balance.

My education in Ayurveda is maturing.  At first, I thought it was all about the dosha, find the one you are and talk about it a lot, to anyone who will listen.  Then, a few years later, I learned that Ayurveda is herbalism!  Lots of herbs like ashwagandha (I love saying that), gotu kola, and tulsi.  That was when I shut my mouth.  Phase three (that’s where I’m at now), Ayurveda is a compassionate balancing act throughout your life.  Transforming!  To really simplify it, those three doshas are in our body and in the people around us and in everything we do.

How does this apply to Cigfy?!  Hmmmm, how do I explain this?  I love routine and schedules, that’s all Pitta.  The burning fire to get things done!  Such as waking up at 5:30 am to get yoga practice in before the kids wake up.  Baking and making chocolates is the Vata.  I’m on my feet, imagining, tasting, dancing like a butterfly non-stop till the recipe is done and chocolates are forming.  The Kapha?  That’s me studying.  I sit down!  Yep.  Just like a calm body of water, I rest and sit and read.  That’s until the vata kicks up a wind and the pitta starts the pulsating urge to make another plan.

Now, do I sound like a nerd?  (It’s really ok if I do)

Take a moment and see if you can find what the Vata, Pitta, Kapha are in your life.

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June News!

Yesterday was an early kick start to summer for Cigfy!  My daughter, Julia, and I were at the Little Italy Murray Hill art walk.   Just outside the Still Point Gallery, we set up a beautiful table which featured one of the Cigfy cacao bars and one of the Cigfy truffles.  Which ones?  The Midnight Bar coated in spicy sweet cinnamon and cracked black pepper, sweetened only with dates.  And the Matcha Tea truffles, truly Cigfy’s most unique confection as a white cacao truffle coated in matcha tea and coconut.

Julia and Cigfy

I love introducing the style of Cigfy to new people.  As a Mom, I’m inside my house a lot at the computer, in front of an herbalism book, or creating a meal or chocolate in the kitchen.  So, it’s nice to socialize for a day!

What would YOU like to see Cigfy accomplish this summer?  What CAN Cigfy offer Cleveland?  A weekly menu?  Teas?  Raw and Vegan ice creams?  More cacao bars?  Blog more recipes?  Support?

Cigfy will select one local response (chosen blind folded, of course) with a sample truffle and cacao bar!

Next Post will feature the Summer Menu and locations for Cigfy.  Love you all!  And Welcome to my new friends that were introduced to Cigfy yesterday!

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You gotta have a sense of humor!

My Laughing Leila

My Laughing Leila

The Party Midnight Bar

I think these two pictures are a pretty good representation of Cigfy, me, my family, my friends, my practice.  I was just telling someone very dear to me that we have to have a sense of humor and laugh a little more.

I’ve been fine tuning this technique myself.  With four kids, the husband, and really wanting to express myself publicly with my skills, life is never dull.  And I just gotta laugh if what I really want to do is freak out.  This has been a great shift for me, as I can be pretty wound up and always wanting to present perfection.  Hitting 40 years old I’ve loosened up.  My hair is now “tie dyed” (as my daughter says) with shimmery silver, copper and black hair presenting itself.  And it’s turned uber-curly suddenly.  So I take the coconut oil each morning, slick it back and up it goes in a knotty twisty bun.  My favorite shirts are Hanes sleeveless ribbed tanks for men.  And I have started practicing yoga twice daily.  Yep, I wake up early to watch the sun rise and practice while my body is really tight and I twist it and shake it up for the day.  And I practice after the kids go to bed, close to 11pm! to take in all that has happened during the day and notice how I’m all loose and flexible, yet how impatient my body became (so then I have to bring it back home for sleep).  There is something to always experience, learn, laugh about…. my hair, how a yoga practice changes from a.m. to p.m., driving 4 kids at 8am to school and watching the time fly by as the bus comes at 4pm.  Sure, I might have a freak out temper tantrum moment, but I even end up laughing at that.

Check out these pictures.  Leila now walks non stop except for when she eats and sleeps.  She gets her shoes, her jacket, her “purse” on for the day.  And the chocolate picture?…Well, that’s for my dear friend Sara’s birthday.  She wanted the midnight bar and as I was making it for her, she ran to my home with sprinkles.  Ta-Da!  Party time for the Midnight Bar.  Again, just laugh and go with what’s happening.

What else?  Sunday, June 9th Cigfy will be at the Little Italy Art Walk in the Old School House.  (that’s the corner of Mayfield and Murray Hill).  Stop by and say hi, walk around with a little Cigfy herbal lemonade and some chocolate.

Thanks for keeping up with Cigfy!  Love, Debbie


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May 1st


Today is dream like. The sky is crystal blue, buds are everywhere from white to pink to green. The luscious colors can make anyone forget about the long, cold Cleveland winter we just moved through. To me, and as I shared with my children this morning, these are the days to savor! Don’t rush May or late spring, as these days only get longer and better and everything is coming a live!

Cigfy is up and running for Mother’s Day. Inquire about ordering appropriate raw cacao bars and truffles now. All orders will receive a beautiful sampling of my herbal lavender infused tea with a bamboo infuser. I personally don’t think it gets much better than teas and chocolates.

And Save The Date! Sunday, June 9th I will be personally selling Cigfy chocolates and drinks at the Summer Murray Hill Art Walk. Details coming.


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Moving Day!

The Cigfy kitchen and apothecary is in boxes and the moving van comes on Monday, April 15! This move represents a lot for Dan and myself. We have worked hard this last year from career changes to leaving our beautiful home that we bought when we became engaged and where we brought four children into the world! We boxed it all up, donated a lot of what we accumulated and took to a rental for 8 months where three children shared a room and Leila stayed with Mom and Dad. It has been an emotional journey, all within a 6 mile distance from beginning to end.

I continued to make and explore the world chocolates and herbs and how it is a true labor of love for me.

I have to express the appreciation I have for the support from my family and friends which is absolutely unbelievable and I can not wait to share my new house and new endeavors with everyone.

Ingredients are in a truck travelling to the new home right now, ready for a few late April orders and…Mother’s Day!

Cigfy has a few plans for this summer, so keep watching! Think Cigfy Lemonade stand for kids and adults!

With love,
Debbie and the Cigfy family!

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