Tuesday, September 30, 2014

DESTINATION: A CUP OF JOE


   Yesterday was International Coffee Day. I had been planning to publish this post then, until I got naturally caffeinated when I ended up going for a six smile hike . . . I don't drink coffee regularly nevertheless, but I do enjoy a cup of joe from time to time, especially if it's hand-ground and brewed in a Chemex. The earthiness warms my soul and, if I do get a cappuccino, the foam widens my eyes with excitement—I just devour it!

Here are my favourite local coffee shops around the two places I call home—Washington, D.C. + Amherst/Northampton . . .


WASHINGTON, D.C.

b a k e d + w i r e d
One cannot compile a list of best coffee shops of D.C. without including this little gem. Not only is the coffee selection divine—including multiple roasters such as Stumptown, Intelligentsia, Ceremony, and Sightglass—but they also create the creamiest, dreamiest, frothiest of blends with locally-sourced milk from Kreider Farms out of Lancaster County, PA. Angels sing and flap their wings with every sip; this is no exaggeration, this isn't the caffeine speaking. Let's not talk about the handsome + beautiful brewers who also hand-craft each handsome cup . . .

l a  c o l o m b e
I don't even know what to say about la colombe that has not already been said. The coffee is supreme. The atmosphere is very Wiliamsburg, dotted with parents you can only aspire to be as effortlessly cool as or that bearded-up + tattooed hipster you know you catch too many glimpses of. Good visuals + vibes abound. The cups that are reminiscent of china used for Turkish coffee also don't hurt my eleven-year-old homesick heart.

b i g  b e a r
I will be honest, I am quite partial to big bear's tea as it's the only thing I order there after about a century-long pondering of whether to get Emerald Lily or Jamaican Rooibos . . . but I am planning on grabbing some coffee there on my next trip, especially with such descriptions as "JacaItenago, guatemala, organic flavor of chocolate is graced by a variecty of fruit aromas" + "70 % el salvador 30% guatemala, organic the bourbon ( burr bone) is known for its sweetness, deep chocolatey balanced flavor king of the heirloon coffee varieties." "Yes I said yes I will Yes!" (I'll treat whomever gets that reference to a cup of joe)



   NORTHAMPTON / AMHERST

  a m h e r s t  +  n o r t h a m p t o n  c o f f e e
  No words, just love for this little coffee shop located in Amherst that also has a branch in NoHo. This is the place that made me fall in love with and appreciate—going along with their name—a higher cup of coffee. Thanks, Amherst Coffee, for turning me into a coffee snob with standards that reach thy heavens.

t h e  r o o s t
I've got major interior envy whenever I step into this place. It used to be Budqar's pharmacy + soda counter, whose vintage decor I can only fantasize about. The Roost's woody, earthy, + rustic atmosphere was designed by Liz Karney of sticks + bricks, who was even featured in Design Sponge. This place warms my soul. They also have a mean dirty chai.

What are your favourite local places?


photos courtesy of Amy Stone + Tumblr + Northampton Coffee

Sunday, September 28, 2014

FARMACY: TURMERIC + GOLDEN MILK


    This week has been quite a flurry of anxiety for me. So, unsurprisingly, I had a draining headache yesterday beginning from the waking hours until it worsened with the stress of schoolwork in mid-afternoon. To combat this inflammatory response, I reached for my go-to beautifying + anti-inflammatory tonic of golden milk

   The base of this tonic is turmeric, curcuma longa, which is a golden yellow or orange root from the same family of ginger. One of the most potent + healing spices, it is touted as the king of herbs in Ayurvedic Medicine. Turmeric is a powerhouse. Beyond its anti-inflammatory properties, it is used for treating a grand variety of ailments—from digestion to purifying the blood and even cancer. Its antioxidants are higher than that of Vitamin C and E, aiding the break-up of free radical accumulation in our bodies that cause disease. It's anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral, making it a potent fighter during the cold + flu season.

You can readily find ground turmeric in the spice section of most supermarkets. I do recommend, however, fresh turmeric when it is in season and if it's available at a near-by market. Asian markets often carry it. 

Below are two potently nutritious turmeric recipes to feed + activate your cells . . .

BENEFITS | blood and liver purifier • powerful anti-inflammatory • anti-cancer • anti-bacterial • digestive + heart protecter • immune boosting • bio-available • cell-activating • tissue regenerating • lymph system draining • skin clearing  immune system boosting  anti-ageing • awakening
 your cells . . .

TURMERIC SHOT | raw, vegan
3/4 cup of alkaline water
juice of one lemon
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
⅛ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
a grind of fresh, coarse black pepper
½ teaspoon of raw Manuka honey, optional 
I recommend the raw Manuka honey for its potent anti-carcinogen and anti-microbial properties. It's high in live enzymes, vitamins, and minerals that regenerate cell tissues. 
Form the cayenne pepper, turmeric powder, black pepper, and ½ teaspoon of raw honey into a paste. Add the lemon juice + apple cider vinegar—which are alkaline-forming—stir, and slowly add the water. Stir and chug!

GOLDEN MILK | vegan optional
1 ½ tablespoons fresh or ground ginger
1 ½ tablespoons fresh or ground turmeric
¾ cup homemade mylk of your choice (almond, hemp, flax . . .)
1 teaspoon raw honey
1 teaspoon ghee or coconut oil
a pinch of Pink Himalayan salt
If you are using fresh turmeric + ginger, bring them to a boil then a simmer in 3 cups of water for 20 minutes. Strain the resulting tea and set aside.
If you are using dried + ground ingredients, simply heat your milk of choice. Form the powdered turmeric + ginger into a paste with the ghee or coconut oil, raw honey, + pink salt. Pour the mylk, sip, and warm your soul . . .

                                                                                            photo courtesy of Green Kitchen Stories

Friday, September 26, 2014

MADEWELL FALL: SUBDUED SHADES, RUSTIC SHORES, + COZY LAYERS



Madewell went to the shores of Normandy for their Fall campaign, and the palette of the line is as muted yet crisp as the shorelines they drew their inspiration from. Here are a selection of my favourite looks. I can almost hear the hushed waves + feel the billowing salt-drenched wind . . .
 



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

LENA DUNHAM + YOUR TWENTIES




ON SEE-THROUGH RAINDRESSES, YOUR BODY AS A PRECIOUS CARGO, & WRITING AS ACTIVISM

I have recently jumped back on the bandwagon of watching GIRLS and, I must say, Lena Dunham is quite the queen in my book. She is soon releasing a new book and in its honour, she has released a series of hilarious yet utterly poignant short videos. Watch them after the jump . . .

I don't believe in generalisations, and the lived experience of one's twenties is no exception. There is no should be's or must's—life flows as it does according to your own manner of pouring it out. That is not how society-at-large sees it, however, as thin-framed women in body-con dresses running down streets with breath perfumed with alcohol has become the norm. It's the should-be and a must. Anyone who does not fit such a construction then falls into an abyss of shouts & murmurs of body image issues, of unsteady relationships, of envy, and of insecurity. We dig ourselves into a hole of lesser-than status, allowing such stereotypes and norms to stomp on us above-ground.

These sentiments are in all seriousness, but Lena Dunham approaches them with the sense of humour that I believe most things should be approached with. Without a light mouth, we can end up crushing ourselves more with the depressing gravity of words we choose. Lena balances the acts quite gracefully . . .



ON FEMINISM



ON BODY IMAGE



ON FRIENDSHIP



ON SEX



ON INSECURITY



ON OCD & MENTAL ILLNESS


ON BULLIES



ON HUMOUR & DATING



ON DEATH


ON JEALOUSY



ON BEING TOO LOUD



photography by Michael Harris // courtesy of Interview Magazine
quote courtesy of Interview Magazine

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

NEW MOON IN LIBRA


    On the heels of the Fall Equinox, it is New Moon in Libra on September 23 and 24. This is a transitional time, not only through the seasons but also in thoughts. Now is the time to pause, reflect, and welcome the silence of the releasing past. Release all the thoughts, individuals, and goals that no longer serve your being. This will consequently launch you into a newfound sense of ground as you also step into a new season.

     Below are some powerful guiding words for tonight's reflections. So, before you crawl into bed tonight, make the time + space to list your intentions for this new moon cycle. Meditate if you can and make sure to soak up the beauty of the moonlit sky, trusting that your intentions will come into realisation.

How would it be if we could go out into the world and be content to be ourselves, centered in who we are and ready to accept the other person for who they are?  What if each of us could meet the Other in harmony and justice?  That’s Libra’s goal.

Enlist this Equinox/New Moon portal with honoring and ceremony, at the least a private review of where you have been and where you now want to head.  Present your open heart and your intentions to the invisible world, so it may align and serve the divine manifestation that you are.

You live and learn. Every experience along the way is a ‘seed realization’ for the future. Nothing is wasted. Everything is for a reason. In order to regain your balance, you may need to re-frame the past. Your soul is eternally creative. You are constantly ‘in the making’. Likewise in life you have an endless supply of creative potential, an endless sky full of love…”
      From Cathy Pagano,  Pat Liles, & Lea Whitehorse respectively, via Mystic Mama . . .

      This New Moon resonates so deeply with me with its light on an open heart, aesthetics and beauty, and its challenge to put ourselves out there to show others how we've mastered ourselves. It is in this Moon charged with creative courage that I am embarking on presenting you with my blog. My one and only intention on this New Moon is to have this platform flourish into a space where I can share with + guide you through a life of holistic living.

      It is upon the increasing interest, push, + questions I have gotten from family, friends, and acquaintances on my passions ranging from interior design to interior peace that I have decided to plunge into the waters of blogging—jumping in with a cannonball into uneasy waters. Here is a place where you will find a post on energy-clearing burning sage followed by tantalising Diptyque candles, one on Himalayan pink salt lamps but also another on Scalamandre wallpaper, on the serenity of camping on a brisk Autumn night alongside dreamy interiors of the Marlton Hotel. This is an exploration. This is a guidebook for holistic living, shaken & stirred . . .

     Photo courtesy of Michael Graydon