Apr 8, 2015
1/ Satya Jewelry Mandala Sun Necklace. This mandala symbol represents unity, balance and harmony, and the sun symbol represents leadership, vitality, life. I think it's a nice reminder of the things that matter. And it's really beautiful.
2/Olga Prieto Brass Coin Kyanite Stone Long Necklace. Spanish designer Prieto is based in Mexico City and works with local artisans using Old World techniques. This necklace feels ancient and modern at the same time.
3/ TWO Khadi caftan in blue. I love this brand, TWO. Don't know much about them (hello future post!) but they're made in the USA and each one is just stunning.
4/Tatiana Choremi bracelets. Choremi says, "The All Seeing Eye is what gives you a vision, a dream, a clairvoyance." These hand made bracelets have an ancient vibe with their symbolism and iconography. I want multiple.
5/ Two white Khadi caftan with blue. Obsessed with these. I could have a closet full.
So how is everyoen doing? I have been INSANELY busy in the best way possible. This past Monday I launched the web site I have been working on for the past several months. OUR ESSENTIAL LIFE is an organization of wellness and health experts who want to change the world through awareness about your body's structure, nutrition, your environmental and emotional health and through the use of essential oils. It's a game changer and something I am so proud to be a part of as Creative Director.
Check it out, here.
Have a beautiful day wherever you are.
Apr 4, 2015
I grew up telling myself that I was a "guy's girl," convincing myself that I just had better friendships with guys than gals. I think I told myself this after several failed female friendships going as far back as childhood. It created a pattern for me, so naturally I began to seek out female friendships that were just simply doomed to be toxic for one reason or another. I then began telling myself that I had notoriously bad judgment about women. Man, the patterns we set ourselves up for!
So in my recent efforts to become a more loving, peaceful, giving human in this world, I have resolved to spend more time cultivating beautiful relationships with people around me, especially female friendships. I used to tell myself that femininity was weakness and silly. That to be strong, I needed to be more masculine, powerful, intimidating. That is such a lie, for me anyway. I think we can each become more powerful women by tapping into ancient femininity, peaceful power and love.
I really believe that women need other women. I don't know how to verbalize it yet, but it has something to do with something ancient and older than all of us. Something to do with wisdom, spirituality, rites of womanhood and motherhood. Something to do with the cosmic nature of things, gentle power and sensuality. It is support. It is tribal. It is something about universal love and acceptance-- these things could start with women. Come on, that's super powerful and so cool.
So all of this is to say that I had a couple of girlfriends over the other day to simply share beautiful, health supporting delicious food, to sit outside and enjoy the sunlight, conversation and each other's company. Each of these ladies are total brilliant, talented and beautiful women who I am so glad I am connecting with on a deeper level by simply being open to new energies, new possibilities and letting myself be open to giving up my "alone time" and being open to new people, new things.
Today Melina Hammer, photographer, stylist, recipe developer, Iyengar yogini, is sharing this easy "recipe" for Chickweed Scramble. Chickweed is a beautiful sign of Spring and that the soil is really fertile and ready for the new season. High in minerals and vitamins, you can use chickweed in a culinary capacity as an alternative to a Spring green or spinach.
Pictured here, Melina has rinsed the fresh chickweed, plucking off the flowering tips and is simply separating it. Super easy.
For the scramble:
1/ Rinse a handful of salt-packed capers under cold water and shake or pat dry. Over medium-high heat, fry capers in a glug of good olive oil until the buds pop and become golden, stirring occassionally. About five minutes. Transfer to a plate.
2/ Use two or so pasture-raised eggs per person. Crack them into a bowl, beat eggs, add freshly cracked pepper, and if you have herbs you'd like to use (like parsley, chervil or dill), add half in now. Using a heavy bottomed skillet over medium-low heat, melt coconut oil or butter. Pour in the egg mixture. After about a minute, swirl the eggs using a rubber spatula and making sure that with each swirl you scrape the bottom of the pan. Keep the eggs moving around so that they remain a custard quality, rather than hardening up into separate curds. They should take less than five minutes start to finish.
3/ Empty the still creamy eggs into dishes and top with the remainder of herbs or serve alongside tender greens, such as chickweed, a juicy Spring favorite.
4/ Add a few avocado wedges and top all with a scatter of fried capers. Enjoy this elemental, bliss-filled meal!
*** We added a couple brined caperberries on top since I have never had one before. Strange little tangy treat. There's the faintest sweetness to it that's tempered by the tart brininess, and the texture is great.
We were so caught up in enjoying the moment and each other's company that I totally failed to take pretty pictures of the afternoon. So here are my girlfriends, mid sentence, mid bite, mid Instagram! By the way, you should totally follow Melina on Instagram @melinahammer. Talk about INSANE INSPIRATION! And check out this piece about uses of capers that Melina did for Food 52, here.
Enjoy this beautiful Springtime. Spend quality time with people. Experience life.
Mar 29, 2015
Last night I took our son to see his first concert and it was a really special one. His daddy had assembled a Birmingham super band for one night only, to say farewell to Bottletree Cafe. (Can I just say right now there were two drummers and it was freaking awesome?)
I am really emotional about the end of this era. I am also very hopeful and confident that this major chapter in music history has laid the ground for a new future where music and art are accessible to anyone seeking to experience it.
This is what I wrote last night on my personal Facebook page when I got home. And I will share it here...
Duq and I were really fortunate to be there from the very beginning. My first shows I remember there were Will Oldham, MAN OR ASTRO-MAN? (Official Page) and BrightBlack Morning Light (Nathan brought driftwood and sage and a dog for the stage and he had eagle feathers tied in his hair and he was walking around with the stinkiest jar of_ like he was in the desert or something).
We were always treated like family-- I would get to run around taking photos of the biggest freaking bands. Merrilee let us in so many times when we were freaking broke as hell. It was the first place I had ever experienced that was AN EXPERIENCE. It was artistry and a place where each of our weird asses and the things we are passionate about were welcomed and fostered. Birmingham always had a history of people trampling each others' success or maybe getting in its own way of progress. Bottletree seemingly came out of nowhere and was the lightyears progress that this city needed to make a name for itself. It was a visionary place, and it inspired so many people in their music, their art, their personal journeys.
For decades to come, people all around the world will talk about Bottletree, that insane trippy as hell venue with the insane sound and the cool ass trailers and the best artist hospitality ever. It wasn't just home to us; it was home to thousands of bands out on the road, exhausted and aching and needing love. Bottletree was home. Bottletree was and always will be LOVE. I'm so proud to have been a part of this really monumental chapter in music history. To Merrilee, Brad, Brian, Tom, Daniel, Rebecca, Brad and the rest of the Bottletree pillars, thank you. Thank you for giving every ounce of yourselves to this, to us and to whatever the future brings. You have made a fucking rad ripple in the universe. LOVE Y'ALL. Thank you.
Here are some photos from last night. As someone who has been at Bottletree from the beginning a decade ago, it was really cool to be there with my husband and our child. When 7pm rolled around, I packed up my son and we went home for bedtime. It was a beautiful full spectrum moment, and I happily shed a few tears as I pulled away from the back door, hearing both the faint blare of rock and roll and the chatters of a baby in the backseat. This is truly rock and roll y'all.
Hanging out backstage.
Tennessee running around backstage while people load in and eat.
Behind the club.
Duq played with:
Drums: David Hickox (Plate Six, Broken Letters, Wooden Wand, Gum Creek Killers, etc) and Brad Davis (Plate Six, Broken Letters, Wooden Wand, GCK and more)
Keys: Michael Shackelford (The Grenadines, King Carnivore, Rebel Kings, etc.)
Bass: Greg Slamen (Through the Sparks, Cosmonaut Vacation, Rebel Kings, etc)
Guitars: David Swatzell (WRAY, Grenadines, Rebel Kings and more) and Jody Nelson (Through the Sparks and Rebel Kings and more)
Vocals: Bekah Fox (Great Book of John) and Many Rae (rock and roll queenie!)
Our Bottletree family portrait. PEACE.
So much LOVE today.
Mar 25, 2015
I am on a serious mission to switch to 100% natural, safely sourced, health promoting self-care and beauty products.
It can be so confusing, and packaging and branding can be so deceptive. When you read a lable, it's really important that there are no parabens or preservatives and chemicals, BUT it's also important to know what's organic and where certain things like Vitamin C, lactic acid, soy lecithin (an emulsifier) are sourced from. That can be really difficult as there are no standards in the green/organic beauty industry. I am still learning so much about all of this and it's something I am really excited to share with everyone.
Here are five products I am DYING to try:
1/ Soveral Mandarin Kiss Lip Balm. Lip products are one of the things that we really should be thinking about. I heard a statistic that in our lifetime we will CONSUME something like eleven POUNDS of lipstick. I mean, we are putting a thick substance on our lips and reapplying up to twenty times a day. We lick our lips and we eat food while wearing lipstick. It adds up, and we need to start being more conscious of this NOW. Especially because most lipsticks contain seriously toxic heavy metals, like lead. This product is gluten free and doesn't have terrible, horrible palm oil in it. It's supposed to heal and moisturize and seal and protect and encourages cell growth. Sounds awesome to me. Less than ten ingredients and they're all real oils and essential oils.
2/ May Lindstrom facial treatment bowl and brush. I am allllll about loose clay masks, the kind that you have to mix yourself and apply with a brush. It's primal and luxurious at the same time. My friend Ashley (hey girl!) recommended May Lindstrom to me and even gave me a sample of her prized May Lindstrom Problem Solver mask and I FELL IN LOVE. You really need a small bowl and a small brush to mix and apply a mask properly. I used a ramekin and a basting brush from my kitchen and it lacks the spot on purpose and the ritual element that I want with my sacred self-care time. This bowl and brush from May Lindstrom is just beautiful and feels kind of ancient and precious. Like I am partaking in the same ritual as empresses and queens.
3/ Pursoma Ocean Potion Bath. I LOVE BATHS. It is one of my top ten favorite things in life. It's a time to relax, detoxify your body, get elemental with temperatures and water and salts, and you can just tune out and tune in at the same time. And this is coming from someone with a really terrible tiny ceramic tub in a 1960s pink-tiled bathroom. Bath are freaking awesome. So this bath soak packet detoxifies, balances and remineralizes the body with French grey sea salt, seaweed and algae sourced from the North Atlantic Ocean. It stimulates the lymphatic system, which coupled with some skin brushing and lemon oil in your water, makes your skin glow and makes your body just more vibrant.
4/ Kahini Organic Argan Oil. Remember like ten years ago when EVERYONE was talking about that magical oil from Morocco that would make your hair as lustrous as the dark haired Berber women in the faraway lands of Arabia? I had a bottle of this imported argan oil from a beauty supply store that was of course laced with chemicals, but it smelled fantastic and made my hair amazing. Then there was Moroccan Oil, that giant behemoth that I am not really sure even uses argan oil in its products... Anyway, I haven't found REAL argan oil in years... and here it is. Argan trees are strong and resilient and survive the harsh desert by planting roots so deep they can't be shaken. The oil is harvested from the tree's seeds. I want this stuff like yesterday.
5/ Sun Potion Wildcrafted Shea Butter. Shea Butter is the miraculous deep intense moisturizer that no one is really talking about. It treats fine wrinkles, deeeeeeeply penetrates the skin and is even a natural protectant from the sun's harmful rays. I take a bath or shower and with damp skin, I slather the thick butter all over my body, and it locks in moisture for DAYS. (Because showering everyday is soooooooo overrated anyway.) I heard about this brand from one of my favorite over the top hippy California vibey bloggers, Shiva Rose. She's one of my favorites. Check her out. And I am IN LOVE with the couple behind this brand. They're out there and I love them.
Do you have any other recommendations?? Let me know!
Mar 23, 2015
I felt compelled to write. I feel like the past year--especially the past couple months-- have been a phase of purification in my life. A phase of refinement. Refining precious metals is an ancient practice. A metal would melt, fuse, be strained, sifted and purged. Dust would be blown away and the process would begin again, until one day what's left behind is pure and clear.
I feel like the past several years have been heavy refining. It's been hard. There's been trials in our marriage, deaths, births, illness, complete financial turmoil, being forced to face God and faith and to take up a practice of gratitude for the things that we tend to overlook. It's been hard and beautiful. I've gotten tired. I've questioned what is the freaking point. I've laid on my face and cried and begged for things to change. And they have changed. They do change. Every day something is changing-- in our lives and in our hearts.
I am learning that what really matters in all of this and unlocks everything like some shiny master key is this: EVERY STEP OF THIS LIFE AND YOUR PURPOSE BECOME MEANINGFUL WHEN YOU PRACTICE PRESENCE AND GRATITUDE.
How often do you spend time thinking of that stupid thing you did or said or pining about what you really hope happens one day? How often do you dread that thing coming up on the calendar? How many times do you simply count down the days until that really exciting thing happens? What about this very moment? I have spent so much of my time preoccupied with the future: where we will live, what we will have built, the places we will go, and it has prevented me from being here right now in this moment, accepting it as it is-- joy, pain, stress and peace and all. It's as simple as pausing and breathing and taking note of the things around you. BE HERE NOW.
And that brings me to gratitude. It is so easy to bitch about the things you DON'T have and to compare yourself to this, that, the Other. When you neglect to acknowledge the incredible gifts around you and within you, when you fail to exercise gratitude for the immense blessings in your life, you will be miserable. This beautiful day? I am grateful for it. This hot cup of coffee that smells decadents and tastes delicious on my lips? I am grateful for it! The way it feels when my little boy runs up and throws his arms around me and buries his face in my shoulder laughing? I AM SO INCREDIBLY GRATEFUL FOR IT!
Look, there are big, bad, scary, hard things in life. Those things are bound to happen. The difference here is in how you respond to those big, bad, hairy things. I'm not telling you to jump up and down in glee about your house being foreclosed or debt collectors banging on your door. But you can choose to be present with your reality. Work as hard as you can to change it if it needs changing, of course. But be able to still appreciate the amazing and wonderful things in your life. Even amidst hard times.
This is so rambly, and I hope it makes some sense. There's so much swirling around my head right now and swirling in our lives, too. It's scary. But we are present. We are working hard. AND MORE THAN ANYTHING WE ARE SO GRATEFUL for so many things big and small.
Today, I challenge you to breathe steadily throughout your day, and when a negative thought, emotion or situation arises, express gratitude about something- yourself, your surroundings, whatever. Give thanks.
Mar 8, 2015
It has been a long Winter. And I am beyond ready for warmer temperatures, sunshine, bare shoulders, laying around the yard and frequent trips to the park. We had two beautiful days over the weekend, and I have completely shed my all black Winter wardrobe and am ready for some vibey colors and patterns and looking at the world through rosey colored glasses (and rosey colored VSCO filters).
The ocean is totally my Spirit place, where I feel most peaceful, most rested and calm and centered and authentically me. With the last day or two's sunshine, I am ready to go to the ocean...
And these colors are perfection...
All images are appropriately cited on my Pinterest page, here.
Mar 5, 2015
I have had such reservations about writing here lately. I haven't felt the inspiration or the motivation or the connection. Those are all words for excuses, and I am not really one for excuses. Ever. We are in a new adjustment phase. I feel like life post-baby will be filled with many of these phases. Something new comes up in life, you adjust to a new rhythm and you eventually move forward without what was previously a struggle. Right now, as the youths are sayin,' THE STRUGGLE IS REAL.
Maybe I am being hyperbolic. Maybe. I struggle with wanting to achieve my own standard of perfection. I know that is completely unrealistic, but it is a strong motivator for me. I have insanely high standards, and I use them to gauge how well I am performing or executing or pacing. This is a phenomenon that has only happened to me since becoming a mother. I was a really shitty time manager before I had a baby.
I know my time is ultimately governed by my tiny human's need for rhythms. It's a successful strategy for us (I think so, anyway). I know when he's going to wake, to eat, to nap, to need my attention and when he's going to sleep. I know that I go off to work three days a week and can work without any interruptions or breaks. I know when I come home, I need to relieve Duq so he can go work. I know that I need to wake up a little earlier to keep my standard of Rugged and Fancy, and I know I need to stay up a little later to paint and try to hustle a little more. But right now, I need my sleep. I need the brain downtime. I need to sit in bed in pajamas at 7pm and watch reruns of Modern Family.
I think that is what I have done the past couple weeks. In my free time, I totally checked out. It felt good. And now I need to pick up pace again. I have to allow myself to believe I really can do all of this. I don't doubt myself; I just sometimes get really introverted for the sake of self-preservation. I recharge. And then I move forward. It's okay to very occasionally get worn down by the hustle. Sit down. Stand up. Shake it off. Shake it some more.
Grown up life can be heavy with responsibilities, but you can strive to make it the life you dream of. And you have the power to choose how you see it.
I want to thank the people who have reached out to us over the past couple of weeks when I haven't really wanted to share here, when I have questioned the value of this space and when someone stole images of our little family from here and created a fake Facebook profile (it's gone now). It means so much that each of you comes here, cares about what I have to say and encourage me when I obviously need a little love.
So here is some encouragement for wherever you are today: Comparison is the thief of joy. If you're going to look at those around you, do it as a gesture of encouragement or appreciaton. Don't compare yourself. Don't judge. Don't criticize or condemn. Smile gently to that person and confidently to yourself and move forward with peace and joy.
Have an awesome day, y'all.
Feb 25, 2015
I had every intention of posting here with all of my usual fervor and effort. And I just haven't lately. I am adjusting to working in an office three days a wekk, and when I come home I just do not want to be on a computer again. But I also miss this space. This week I had a stomach bug. UGH. And now Alabama is in an official state of emergency because it may snow.
Anyway, here are a few things I am kind of dreaming of lately...
1/ Those vintage Chanel t-strap flats. DREAM SHOE. I want to wear them with skinny black jeans and black tank tops every day. Every. Day.
2/This Aranaz Noli bag, hand-woven in the Phillipines. Spring and Summer mean woven leather or straw bags to me.
3/ An open knit blush cashmere sweater from Vince. I am OBSESSED with this color. Obsessed.
4/ Satya Jewelry's long hand knotted silk mala. I recently finished that amazing 40 Days to Free workshop with Villager Yoga and we made our own mala, which I use to meditate SEVERAL times a day. So right now, of course, I am looking at all the different kinds of mala and thinking about making myself one with semi-precious stones. (I will be writing more soon about my experience with Villager Yoga!)
I hope this reaches you all in a happy, productive, satisfied and grateful place. I will be back to me here in this space soon.
Feb 20, 2015
You guys. I am feeling so much burnout here right now. I've been working full steam in my new position that I am not really talking about much in this space right now. Duq and I are basically passing ships that pass off the baby between each of our work, and Tennessee is currently sitting beside me just straight up throwing fits over a banana. I've been feeling really private lately, trying to remember what real life was like before we had computers on our phones and three devices on us at all times. Before social media and perfect filters and, geez, before selfies.
I have been working hard, and in my free time I want to spend time with my family, cook delicious and healthy food, paint and read, do some yoga, meditate. It's been completely satisfying and fulfilling. This is an adjustment period.
But there's still cool stuff I need to tell you about.
1/ Rose quartz. It's been used for thousands of years for bringing about well-being, especially in your closest relationships (hello, married people!). It opens the heart chakra and can bring peace, forgiveness, love to situations. Hence it's the perfect material for a, um, personal product. I now introduce to you the Chakrub. (Please tell me you are putting two and two together here.)
2/ Jade Rollers. The ancient Chinese empresses used these beautiful jade objects to improve circulation, cleanse the lymphatic system and promote clear skin. This cool medicinal stone depuffs your face and gives you a totally health promoting massage with that little bit of luxury and mysticism that I think we all want to experience in our products. I can't wait to order one of these babies.
3/ @ihavethisthingwithfloors. This is my favorite Instagram account ever. It's all amazing patterned, mostly mosaic floors. And shoes. It's an amazing source of inspiration for me. And wanderlust.
Do y'all like posts like this? A few things that I just think are cool and that you might want to know about? You guys mean a lot to me. Have a great weekend.
Feb 18, 2015
I haven't posted much in the last week, which is atypical for me. It's important to ask yourselves why you do what you do every once in a while. That process can reveal so much about what you're doing, where you want to go and can clarify what your motivations behind it are.
Why do I do this here? Sometimes I don't know. Right now, I don't know. I'm not going away anywhere. I am just taking a few days to decompress after some ridiculous interactions/comments/requests I have received lately.
There's a big conversation going on right now about whether what you present to the world via web sites, blogs, socials is honest and representative of that person's life. Yeah, some of my stuff is pretty because I do strive to make some beauty around me in my life. It's a lens through which I choose to look at my own life. And I am super open about our struggles and shortcomings, too. That's real life, amidst the pretty things.
This space is a place where I can talk about everything.
I hope it helps someone, encourages someone, shows something special, pretty, cool. But it's my space.
I will be back here next week.