Life Lately

Life Lately

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Thought I’d catch up on some life updates with you since it’s been awhile!  I am still decompressing from travel, but I’ve really had some great meetings and made some wonderful friends this week!

I got two modeling jobs from Q & my first paycheck, which was super exciting!

On Saturday I was privledged to participate in the Myth Masque show, modeling gorgeous pieces in a fashion show/performance for my super talented friend Jillian Ann’s new fashion company Ritual, which meant nothing less than meeting a lot of super talented, creative, beautiful, amazing people and being a part of something truly fantastic!  Everyone was dressed up like it was Halloween – I really couldn’t get enough of it!

I also got a chance to see the band Marriages and go backstage – which is always a completely enlightening and inspiring position for me as a musician.  A few days ago I finally met, hung with and shot/shot with the fantastic & talented Ryan Muirhead, whose work has consistently blown me away for almost a year now.

I’ve been music making my little butt off, not just in the studio in LA but also at home with my own setup.  It’s been very therapeutic and wonderful, and the projects I’ve been discussing with people have been very encouraged.  I’m so grateful to have such super talented friends & supportive company.

The garden is growing more than I can keep up with it!  My corn (supposedly “Knee High In July”) is literally almost as tall as me in May… I’ll find a rhyme for that some day. 🙂

I have new peas, beans and a huuuuge pumpkin vine sprouting!  I really can’t wait for harvest!  All the wildflowers that I planted have just shot up.  I’m looking for a place to plant my Pomegranate tree, which is outgrowing it’s pot, and the Apricot’s are small but green and coming along nicely. 🙂

To be honest, throughout all of this, I’ve been struggling with immense health & personal issues that have made it hard some days to keep a straight face while going through some day-to-day frustrations.  I’ve been taking tremendous steps in Perspective Shifting, meaning that when I get really caught up in feeling helpless or hopeless about Chronic Health Issues, I immediately turn to a form of self-therapy in order to find some relief.  Recently this has come in the form of reading about others who share my struggles, which I find immense comfort in.  Nature walks, even on days where I feel bed ridden, have also helped a lot.  It’s a reminder:

There is a big difference between what I think I can do, and what I can actually do.

My Positive Affirmation of the Day:

If you’re struggling, you deserve to make self-care a priority. Whether that means lying in bed all day, eating comfort food, putting off homework, crying, sleeping, rescheduling plans, finding an escape through a good book, watching your favorite tv show, or doing nothing at all — give yourself permission to put your healing first. Quiet the voice telling you to do more and be more, and today, whatever you do, let it be enough. Feel your feelings, breathe, and be gentle with yourself. Acknowledge that you’re doing the best you can to cope and survive. And trust that during this time of struggle, it’s enough.

Thank you very much.

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ORGANIC-ize Your Home

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House Plants

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The #1 thing you’ll notice upon just pulling up to my house is that I have… sort of a plant problem. If there are not 15 things potted on the front porch, there are plants hanging from the ceiling of the porch or planted in the garden, my workspace, studio, bathroom and bedroom all have at least one plant, and there are at least two by the kitchen sink. When you breathe, your body takes in oxygen and releases carbon dioxide. During photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. This opposite pattern of gas use makes plants and people natural partners. Adding plants to interior spaces can increase oxygen levels. It’s also been proven to uplift moods, purify the air, sharpen your focus and improve your mental health!

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Re-evaluating the plastics & glass we throw away – even if we recycle – is always the first step. A ton of things make great planters, and a lot of plants even grow upside down very well!

If you think you don’t have room for a plant, consider these upside down methods, a terrarium, a venus fly trap or a hanging planter!

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I’m cloning a bunch of peas outside (super successfully I might add!) in recycled Kombucha bottles, I planted some corn in an old egg container and every time I get strawberries, I’m super excited to plant new strawberries in the old container!

Clone Your Food

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Using your trimmings, seeds or sprouting veggies for clones is a great way to perpetuate growth and nourish yourself! You can stick the trimmings of most plants (and various parts of others, depending on if it’s a fruit or veggie) in a glass of water and they will sprout roots, peas, or both within a few weeks! It’s remarkable, fun and easy!

Filter Your Water

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It’s already pretty clear that we take our water for granted. The developed world has water on demand. Just turn a knob and presto! Running water. But this might not be the case for much longer, because in the United States, some neighboring states are beginning to sue one another over access to shared water resources, and aging infrastructures are struggling under the ever growing demand for abundant, clean water. Simply paying attention to how you use water can help you conserve this precious resource, too. For example, you can save water by shaving in the sink rather than the shower. And when you turn on your shower, place a 5-gallon bucket beneath the stream while you wait for the water to heat up, rather than simply allowing it to run down the drain. For instance, my laundry water drains straight to my garden via a duct. In the same case of the bath water, you can use this gray water in your garden.

It’s also important to make sure that you have clean, filtered water to drink. The 35-year-old federal law regulating tap water is so out of date that the water Americans drink can pose what scientists say are serious health risks – and still be legal.

Research your home town and see for yourself!

Aromatherapy

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Where it’s this amazing Aromatherapy Flax Seed Pillow from Aquarian Bath (when I say amazing, I mean AMAZING), incense, soy candles from Hip E Chick, or my own little concoction, I really like to make sure that the house smells like something wonderful at all times. Aromatherapy is an exploration of creativity as well as technical knowledge. Creative expression comes from knowing the characteristics of oils and envisioning new combinations of scents. The scientific aspect of aromatherapy comes from knowing the subtle differences in essential oils that are attributable to thousands of aroma chemicals, and how these chemical constituents affect the human body. Some of my favorite scents for relaxation & calming are Vanilla, Lavender, Rose, Sage & Jasmine.

Remind Yourself

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There’s nothing I like more than a nice little reminder of who I am and what I’m trying to do with my life to start my day. Otherwise, you can get really caught up in things like finishing coffee before rush hour or answering e-mails before you’ve even brushed your teeth that the whole day gets hectic. Having nice little reminders like this in the house, by my workspace, in the bathroom, in the kitchen – wherever I will read it – is not only affirming, but I think rather lovely. 🙂

Rescue Some Real Books

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I think you all know by now that I’m totally mad about books…I left about two rooms full of boxes in New York when I moved, and have since been re-amassing a small (… by my standards…) collection of rescued and thrifted books! There are books absolutely everywhere in my home… every room, on the porch, on the couch. I’m tripping over them. But I always say if I’m going to have a problem… it may as well be an immense thirst for knowledge. 😉

I’ve always wanted to have a small bathroom library so that I could pull whatever I wanted during meditation & bath times, and my dreams are slowly but surely coming true! I might even decide to shop small bathroom vanities, so I could have more storage space in the bathroom for toileteries, as well as a space to store reading material. This way, none of the books will get wet and I will have something to help me relax on stressful days. I can’t say enough about the pleasure that reading brings me.

Re-Learn the Clean

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I don’t know about you, but my sensory memory of cleaning the house is riddled with toxic smells and choking on chemicals. I recently approached Hip e Chick about their all-natural cleaning products & hand soap, as well as all natural bathroom lotion for guests! As someone who has to clean the house pretty much consistently because my dog sheds & I take baths every day, I am SUPER impressed & truly very happy with these natural alternatives to cleaning my sink, stove, counters, bath & other sensitive places my body goes.

Create A Sanctuary

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Whether it’s soap shaped like rose petals, Buddha, Krishna, Jesus, dream catchers, vintage photos, or rocks in the sink, I always try to add a little touch of love to my home.

Finding ways to express yourself creatively is the nicest part of having your own place! Doing things that you’ve “always wanted to do” since you were a kid with your space is so, so rewarding!

Have fun ORGANIC-izing your space!

If you have any suggestions or comments on how you go green, feel free to leave them!

A big thank you to Hip E Chick & Aquarian Bath for their help on this post!

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Love & Light

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Beauty Blast, Art & some announcements

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Hey guys!  Am I too late for Easter? 🙂

My good friend Sam Spratt and I collaborated on this lovely painting.  You can check out “Mary” over here!  And don’t drool too much over Sam’s work – he gets very shy about it. 😉

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I hope you all had a lovely holiday!  Me and Josh went to the Self Realization Temple in LA to say some prayers and meditate and say hi to Jesus (the real reason for Easter!) and we visited the Elliott Smith Wall in LA to pay a bit of homage.  I picked up some plants at Sunset Nursery to start Spring off right, and I have a fantastic announcement!

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I’ve signed exclusively with Q LA!  They have been my dream agency for a very long time.  When I lived in NY I used to stalk their site and drool over all of their totally gorgeous girls and guys, wishing, hoping, praying… that some day… 🙂

Well, the day has come.  Mantras, prayers & dreams come true!  I really appreciate them taking a chance with me.  It’s a big step and I’m really happy with my choice.   We had a meeting and I signed yesterday, and by today, they had already uploaded my portfolio and we’re getting moving on castings!  Super profesh – I am very happy. 🙂

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Raelie is too!

There are a few other things going on that I can’t wait to pop the top on, but I really like to have work to show before I talk about things. 🙂  I appreciate your e-mails and you guys bearing with me! I’ve been well- just busy!

I am a bit overdue for a Beauty Blast, so I’ll share some of that with you now too!

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I found Leahlani not too long ago on Etsy and I couldn’t wait to share this brand with you all!

Leahlani Natural Skincare products are created by Leah, a certified and trained holistic esthetician. All of Leahlani products are free of toxic ingredients and loaded with nourishing and natural ingredients that are designed to work in harmony with your skin.

Kauai Coconut Butter, blended on Kauai, is rich with vitamin E to heal and repair, & Shea butter, which is antioxidant rich.   Shea butter is also especially beneficial for stretch marks, eczema, dry skin, & general skin problems.  This Body Butter is delightful.  I really appreciate the hint of Vanilla.  Some Coconut products make my skin irritated but this is pure and lovely!

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Definitely my favorite of the bunch, I’ve been using the Honey Microdermabrasion 3-in-1 Mask, Cleanser and Exfoliator daily for nourished, hydrated, kissable skin!  I love the smell, the texture and it doesn’t taste half bad either. 🙂

photo 1-1This Lavender Spritzer is perfect for a pick me up on a hot day, or after a good bath!  I really love the subtle scents and warm aroma.  I spray some on my pillow at night for Aromatherapy!

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Leahlani’s Pikake Dream Cream is amazing!  I love the smell – Rosehip, Jasmine & Nature! 🙂  It just calls to me!  I really love to put this on before bed and let it sink into my skin.  Luxurious!

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I’m normally not “too big” on Eye & Wrinkle Cream (call it denial! Haha) but I’ve given this one and good go and it’s really wonderful.  I’m happy with it!  Smells really pure, 100% natural with no irritation, I think I’ll be sticking with this for a long time!  A little goes SUCH a long way!

Aloha!

What a great week!  Thank you all for sticking with me and for believing in me.  Sometimes it gets hard to believe in myself and I have a lot of (totally normal) “WTF am I doing with my life?” moments.  It’s really nice to know it’s been purposeful after all. 🙂

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Love & Light

DIY: Valerian

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So, something really sad happened this week: my tea kettle broke. 🙁

I went through about a day of boiling water in a pot on the stove before dragging J to Goodwill for a replacement.

We found some cute and amazing little vintage tea kettles, and a ton of tea cups I’ve been putting to good use with my newest Insomnia & Anxiety Natural Cure!

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Popular throughout Europe and the United States, where it grows abundantly, Valerian root contains a number of active chemical compounds. These include different alkaloids, but the most important may be gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, which is vital for brain function, and helps to inhibit the stress-causing neurotransmitters that can lead to a lack of sleep or persistent anxiety.

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This is the same active compound that is triggered by Valium, but valerian root tea is a far safer and milder alternative to this addictive drug. This has been backed up by clinical research in the past few decades.  Valerian has been used as a medicinal herb since at least the time of ancient Greece and Rome. Hippocrates described its properties, and Galen later prescribed it as a remedy for insomnia. In medieval Sweden, it was sometimes placed in the wedding clothes of the groom to ward off the “envy” of the elves.  In the sixteenth century the Anabaptist reformer Pilgram Marpeck prescribed valerian tea for a sick woman.

Valerian is also used for Abdominal Cramps, Nervousness, Obsessive Thoughts, Muscle Relaxation & Insomnia.  Once again, the pills, tinctures and teas containing Valerian can get pricey, so I got myself a little Valerian plant.  If you plan to use the roots, it is recommended that you snip off the leaves, that way the energy goes directly to the roots.

To prepare valerian tea, take one bag per cup of hot water and allow it to steep for approximately 10 minutes. When using valerian tea for insomnia or to get a better night of rest, it is recommended to drink valerian tea at night before bed in order to achieve the best results. It is also recommended to drink this tea regularly since it may take more than one night before taking a prominent effect.

I harvest the plant from a larger pot with adequate soil around it, that allows me to safety take the plant in and out without uprooting it:

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I then: 

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Break or cut off parts of the roots and put them in a Tea Strainer:

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Valerian has a strong odor, but mixing it with Honey or mixing with Lavender or Chamomile flowers takes that away very well.

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 Enjoy! 

 

*Valerian shouldn’t be taken with many medications, especially those that depress the central nervous system, such as sedatives and antihistamines. Valerian shouldn’t be taken with alcohol, before or after surgery, or by people with liver disease. It should not be taken before driving or operating machinery. Consultation with a qualified health practitioner is recommended.

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Munchie Monday: From Pot to Plate

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I am super excited to share My Organic Garden with you today.

It’s been a long journey.  I touched on it a little bit in this post, but my half-attempt at growing edible plants on a windowsill at my first apartment in LA was… half good, half pathetic.  I give myself an A for effort!

Everything would die by the time it got to the point of being edible specifically because I had no where to plant it, and after a few massive losses, I convinced myself (like we tend to do) that I was no good at gardening.

This brings me to the House.  It took about a month of settling in here (and waiting for Winter to pass) before I realized that I had a ton of good soil to work with and all I needed was a big imagination (thanks, Pinterest, for all your inspiration!)

The idea that I could be self-sustaining in my nutrition plan was a good one, rooted with deep and great intentions… but the question was: could I pull it off?  I live right by the LA forest, just on the cusp of where things go from Green to Brown and you begin to remember that Los Angeles is a desert that we saturate with millions of gallons of water to pretend it’s a paradise.  This worried me a bit.  Another look at all my neighbor’s plants: mostly cacti and hardy trees, and I knew I’d need a bit more than a prayer to pull this off.

So, to my surprise, not only have my plants grown.. they’ve taken off!  I have now more than 30 different varieties of edible herbs, flowers, fruits & veggies growing in my garden and in pots along the sides of my house.  

To give you an idea, here are my new beans a week ago

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And here they are today

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If I didn’t have time, stamped and dated photographic evidence, I literally would not believe it.

Some other things I’ve had the opportunity to grow:

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This Spinach is the tastiest, most delicious and fresh I’ve ever had. 🙂

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pumpkinsprouts copyI’ve also gotten a few wonderful surprises… I planted squash and pumpkin back here a few weeks ago.

Not only have I dug up this spot numerous times to compost and plant other things, the seedlings (not one or two, but almost 5 now) have begun to grow in the garden despite the fact that it’s neither the season, the time, and that now I have at least 5 pumpkins I need to make room for! 🙂

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I really can’t believe that these used to just be a little bag that said “Fava Beans” on it!

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Rian got super inspired and turning an old wind piano into a garden bed.  It lives at my house and it’s grown SO much since he brought it over!

I love “adopting” plants for people who don’t feel like they have quite the time to take care of them!  The progress is so rewarding!

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So, so, SO excited for Strawberries!

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I started using my compost pile to grow these peas and they shot up!  This is all ONE pea plant!  I am pretty dumbfounded.

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These are my beans 1 week after planting:

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The experience of having, nurturing, and feeding myself from my organic garden has been immensely rewarding, completely satisfying and really gratifying.

If anyone has Pinterest, feel free to add me over there for more garden inspiration!  It’s SUCH a fun site and I’ll be updating on the status of my babies quite often. 🙂

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Grow Your Life

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I’ve always longed for a garden.  I have feebly attempted window gardens in all of the apartments I’ve lived in ( for almost a decade now! Eesh!)   It feels good to finally have a yard and my own house! What an immense blessing!

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I used my old bathroom tiles as repurposed and recycled materials for my walkway

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I planted my own fence

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dug and redug (and redug and redug and redug!) my lawn of weeds

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until it was ready for planting!

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I use 100% organic soil and potting practices

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and am compiling a compost pile ( anything from eggs shells, to pomegranate husks, to herbs to leftovers) on the side of my house which I use for my fruits, veggies and flowers to promote growth and wellness!

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Horticultural therapy is about using plants and the natural world to promote healing.  Using horticulture as therapy, I build upon the unique connection between myself and my plants.

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I get to seek them out as seeds, purchase them, plant them in organic soil, water and cultivate them, watch them grow, and then plant them in my garden bed!!  From there I get to see what promotes and exhibits their growth, and what tastes best for me personally! Keeping a close eye, watching them grow up, and now, getting to the point where they feed me, has been nothing less than immensely rewarding!

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What was important to me, having the blessing of a house and a front yard, was to build a meditative space that I could spend time in, do yoga, have breakfast, invite company, and that I could take care of.  I take these peaceful feelings and translate them into practical ideas of how I would like to see a personal garden aimed totally at relaxation.

ImageThe proven benefits of Horticulture Therapy have been immense. I feel fully that it supports emotional and physical healing by promoting happiness, peace and gratification. It is also helpful for relieving stress, and assisting in the general wellbeing for those suffering from physical disabilities. Little did I know that the act of doing this work ITSELF promotes the healing process!

ImageGardening can provide meaningful work, not busy work, for people seeking self-work for long-term care. It provides an opportunity to make decisions, develop cognitive skills, and become responsible for your own wellness.  The sensory stimulation in a garden may slow the effects of dementia, stimulate memory and assist in coping with chronic conditions.

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As someone who used to think that a bunch of medication and a dark room in a basement was my solution to good health, I cannot speak enough for this kind of therapy.  Mental health can be nurtured by giving people a sense of hands-on purpose in a community in which their contributions are valued. This is the opposite of the conventional mental health model, where patients are often treated with little more than medication and end up in their own isolated corner of the universe with little to do. With plant based therapy, they are immediately and continuously engaged in a world of organic beings that need their care.

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I am SO so excited to watch my plants grow, to feed myself, to expound on this idea and to continue to contribute to a cleaner life!

ImageThe DIY possibilities for creating a garden are endless!  I hope you enjoy and find your own healing through plant life!

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Oh! And in case you were concerned about the chickens…

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They were getting a little too street-friendly. 🙂

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