Heaven On Earth: Esalen, Big Sur

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Another year, another journey to the Esalen Institute in Big Sur. In my opinion, there is no other place on this planet that compares to the beauty, essence, and purpose of Esalen. When I close my eyes and dream of my happy place, this is the place I envision. I can go on and on about it’s perfection, the people, the bodywork, the food or how I’m constantly trying to scheme up ways to live there but I’ll focus this post on this particular experience and the workshop I took.

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For a little backstory, I try to visit Esalen once a year. The past trips included a relationship workshop on Wilhelm Reich and Awake In The Wild, a weekend workshop dedicated to meditation in nature with Marc Coleman. This year, I took Paul Selig‘s workshop , I Am The Word. While I highly recommend Marc’s workshop (you can’t go wrong with outdoor mediation in heaven), I can’t stress enough how insanely powerful I Am The Word was. Paul is a channel and an empath; meaning, he channels his guides to deliver teachings and also works one-on-one to deliver highly intuitive, emotional readings. Maybe you’ve heard of Edgar Cayce or you’ve read the Abraham Hicks books – this is the same method of work. Enlightening knowledge simply pours out of Paul when he channels. To witness Paul work, is to witness true wonder and magic. I wouldn’t believe it, unless I saw it, but Paul’s eyes even changed color when he worked! The energy in the room was palpable and I can honestly say that I left this workshop a different person. Thank you Paul, thank you Esalen and thank you to the friends I made for sending me home a happier, more blissed-out person. I’d even venture to say that the entire weekend made my personal Top 5 Life Experiences list. Real energy was moved and I can’t wait to attend Paul’s workshop next year.

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If you’re interested in Paul’s work, I recommend reading his books. Each one is the unedited transcript from channeled sessions with his guides. Also, if you can’t make it to Esalen (which is a shame), you can attend one of Paul’s workshops around the world. Check out his website for more details.

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Side note – if you’re driving to Big Sur from Southern California, you have to pit stop at Centrally Grown in Cambria. The garden/farm/restaurant/bar/marketplace is located right off the 1 highway and it’s a little slice of bliss. I highly recommend the sandwiches from the marketplace and you can enjoy a nice ocean view while you dine. Trust me, you’re welcome!

FLOWEREVOLUTION: BLACK BAT

This is the third post in a series of reflections on our adventures with Lotus Wei’s  6 month FloweRevolution movement! This program focuses on the powers of a brand new flower elixir each month, and since we’re doing it together, we wanted to share our thoughts as we finish up each batch. Click HERE to look back at last month’s post, where we focused on the Peony flower elixir.

JULY’S FLOWER ELIXIR:
BLACK BAT COMPASSION, FEARLESSNESS, PROTECTIVE STRENGTH.
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IMAGE COURTESY OF LOTUS WEI

SAMANTHA:
What a month. July was chaotic and intense to say the least. My work and personal life were battling for time and work definitely won. With 2 weeks of travel on my plate, I found little to no time for myself (or even my family). I stayed committed to taking the black bat elixir but had little time for introspection and meditation. Amidst all of the craziness, I did find myself exerting a fierce amount of protection over myself. I was over extending myself but I wasn’t doing so quietly. Exhausted and drained at the end of my travels, I managed to squeeze in a healing session with an incredibly powerful shaman. I had numerous recommendations for her work within my close circle. So when I found myself in New York, I squeezed in a last minute session on my way to airport. Juliana Sabinson, you are the real deal and have a powerful gift. Besides the fact that we worked on compassion during the session (hello Black Bat), the most intuitive and powerful thing she told me was that I need to learn to trust and release. Because I’m also juggling, going and trying to push through, I’m in constant hunt and survive mode. I need to learn to trust that the universe has my back and I need to let myself be taken care of by my husband. If I don’t do these things, the universe will force me into this situation through sickness where I will learn what’s it’s like to really be taken care of. Few things have resonated with me as powerfully as that simple, yet complex advice. While July was an incredibly tough month, the Black Bat showed me that I need to choose myself and for that, I am grateful.

CAITLYN:
As I mentioned in last month’s post, I wasn’t feeling much of the love and gratitude that a lot of the other women in the program were feeling from the peony elixir. I ended the month feeling more like I’d been run over by a train than anything else. I was exhausted and feeling disappointed. It wasn’t until Week 3 of taking the Black Bat elixir daily when I realized my energy was lighter, I was less irritable and life just seemed more manageable. And when I took the time to think about where, why or how this could be, I realized I had made a major shift, while barely even realizing it.  I found myself committed to 2-3 Pilates classes a week, a daily meditation practice and writing in a journal on the nights I couldn’t sleep. To put this in perspective, I had barely been to Pilates 2 times in the last year, have honestly never had a regular meditation practice and haven’t journaled in at least 5+ years. So yea. Big deal. These are things I had been “meaning” to commit to (for an embarrassingly long time now) because even doing them here or there left me feeling more grounded, peaceful, and just plain happier. You’d think those feelings alone would be reason enough to stick with these good habits, but I have always found a way to fill up any extra time with work or some other nonsense, rather than myself. But this month, missing a workout or meditation just wasn’t an option. And I can’t help but think that the Black Bat elixir had something to do with helping me to be strong and compassionate for the one person I usually forget about… ME! See ya next month!

Conscious Consumption: Awamaki Labs

I went to Peru a few years after graduating college, and fell in love with it there, which is saying a lot considering I came home sick as a dog and having had my camera and wallet stolen on a bus ride. There was just something magical about every part of the country I visited. My time at the sand dunes and actual oasis in Huacachina, the seriously amazing (and cheap) guided horse ride taken in the hills outside Ollantaytambo, and of course, the truly miraculous sunrise hike up to Machu Picchu, had me dazzled. Maybe it was because we were backpacking, living on the cheap, staying in hostels and flying by the seat of our pants (which I don’t do often), but either way, I was completely charmed by the culture and color of it all. I’d share some photos to prove my point, but like I said before, I came home sans camera.

That being said, 5 or so years ago when I caught wind of Awamaki, “a nonprofit social enterprise that empowers Andean women with skills training, connects them to global market opportunities, and enables them to earn an income to transform their communities,” I was 100% in love. What is NOT to love about that mission statement? They have a lot of different programs to achieve this goal, but the one that I want to highlight is The Awamaki Lab, which pairs designers up with the weavers and knitters from these often tiny and remote villages in Peru to empower women, their trade and their communities through the sale of the goods produced. Some of the villages they work with are places I myself have traveled through, in utter awe of what a different kind of life a rural Andean woman has from an Angeleno woman. If I ever get a chance to go back, it is nice to think that these women might still be there weaving as they have for thousands of years. To know that they have an organization that cares enough to protect their way of life and make it even more sustainable, is nothing short of awesome. Take a look at the designs that are coming out of it all, and I guarantee you will most definitely want to support them too… xo Cait

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LLAMA BABY VEST ANYONE?! Yea. I thought so.

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Burgertime at Pharo’s.

IMG_7129_FotorPharo’s Burgers is in Alhambra, off of Garfield and Atlantic, riiiight across the street from an In N Out that always has a line around the block. (Pharo’s was actually spotted and added to my list while waiting in said In N Out line.) I’m not gonna lie, the burger was only so-so. Definitely not much compared to what you can get across the street for a little more waiting in a line. But the chili cheese fries? Yea. Those you should  definitley check out. Perfectly spicy, cheesy amazing goodness for $5. As you can see below, I barely touched the double cheeseburger, but those fries were gone in no time. I suggest next time you find yourself in the eternal In N Out line in Alhambra, send your passenger out for a little chili cheese fry starter ;) xo CaitIMG_7133_Fotor

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Cannonball Baby Shower!

cannonball1If there is one thing that our group of friends loves to do, and does ever so well, is throw a party. And I don’t mean your typical chips and red drink cup kinda party. This crew goes ALL out. And I love us for it.  I think that the past 5 years of wedding seasons and babies being born somehow turned us into legitimate party planners. I also think we no longer even know how to throw a ‘regular’ party. I kid you not, for this year’s 4th of July party, my family’s contribution was an actual fruit sculpture. Sometimes I feel like, hey, maybe I don’t have to go 500% on this. And then I laugh, and think, well yea, you don’t have to, but don’t you kinda waaaant to? So anyway, I bring you this past weekend’s baby shower, for the Canavan’s and their incoming Cannonball!

There was a dual-level theme going on here… cannonballs, but with a sort of old school rock n roll feel. Because obviously that’s a thing, right? And you can’t just have one theme. That would be too easy.19490234838_4799b45785_zThe real thing that tied it together was a set of customized “printables” purchased on Etsy from Squawk Box Studio.  They are responsible for all of the print design you see here. (We did the printing, cutting, putting together part.) As always, I can’t say enough good things about Etsy . If you don’t know already, I’d be surprised, but it is the absolute first place to go when you need anything personalized. It’s a great platform that connects real working artists  and craftsman with the everyday person looking to make their Pinterest dreams come true, and it’s my favorite place to shop.19671151502_484c1353e4_z19490269090_a8ef230e90_zWe counted cannonballs, we played the ‘Dont Say Baby’ game, we wrote well wishes on newborn diapers and of course we had flash tats. Party Goddess Mia is to thank for getting together most of the decorations and finding the amazing animal print slap bracelets (!!!) but more importantly, for the genius introduction of temporary tattoos to our party throwing guidebook. That was a a serious crowd pleaser. I was actually sad to see mine wash off 2 days later.19055666824_5c588aa933_z19652043186_7bf67ec1c2_z19682750491_1a1385fcd4_z19678257275_e1650a10f3_zPersonalized decorate-able onesies anyone? Yea, we got that. Family Industries you da best.19055665944_e6d6f7bff8_zAnd yes, we DID label the snacks and salads. The tags were too cute not to use. So hey, maybe you thought that was a pasta salad, but now you totally know it is a pasta salad, and you are dazzled with cuteness.19682743321_b687806e73_z…AND THEN THERE WERE CUPCAKES! I tend to go a little overboard when it comes to cake, and this time was no different. The cannonball theme was too fun not to just run wild with.19057328173_2aee863b84_z19055676214_8ea119d418_z19057325093_c291282547_z19055674944_3b5c0e1565_z

AND GIFTS! (You know you want that wine and cheese t shirt in your size….)19057307043_574389dbf4_z

Everyone went home with a clipping of a Jade plant from the Hopkey family’s backyard. It was the perfect gift to end a special day spent celebrating our growing LA family. xo Cait19490236318_18a352345a_z

FLOWEREVOLUTION: PEONY

This is the second post in a series of reflections on our adventures with Lotus Wei’s FloweRevolution movement! The 6 month program focuses on the powers of a brand new flower elixir each month, and since we’re doing it together, we wanted to share our thoughts as we finish up each batch. Click HERE to look back at our first post, where we focused on the Royal Poinciana flower elixir.

JUNE’S FLOWER ELIXIR: PEONY FOR ABUNDANCE, GRATITUDE, MAGENTISM.Wallpaper-Peony-2048x1536-Tablet

IMAGE COURTESY OF LOTUS WEI

SAMANTHA:
Oh the peony, how I love the peony. Not only is it one of my favorite flowers, but I also have three tattooed alongside my peacock. I was so excited to see the pretty, pink peony elixir arrive at the beginning of June. When I read about the essence  and spirit of the flower, I couldn’t wait to get to know the peony on a deeper level. Getting acquainted with this elixir took some time though. Reading words like magnetism and abundance made me think I was going to manifest my huge dreams. I wasn’t seeing much action and honestly, June was a trying month. Then it hit me. Katie had released a guided meditation to accompany the peony. The meditation triggered the essence of the flower and I could feel my heart explode with gratitude. From that point forward, I couldn’t get enough and I managed to finish the bottle before the end of the month. The peony elixir helped me feel love and appreciation during trying times. And , I made it through the month with rose tinted glasses on. My head bows to the precious peony.

CAITLYN:
This month was a little less than climactic for me. I was/still am seriously over the moon with all the positive things I put forward in the month of May. And I can’t help but think that the addition of the Royal Poinciana flower elixir to my regimen helped to push me along. June, however, not so much. Ha. I felt like the month just flew by and left me spinning in its wake. Like I said in the last post, the simple act of stopping to take the elixir 5x a day can be a helpful exercise for a busy bee like me. And focusing on the good things in life during those 5 moments a day has an even more powerful effect. So don’t get me wrong, I am 100% invested. It’s just that somehow last month, the whole experience felt more profound. There are a lot of other tools (guided meditations, plus online calls & a support group) that I have access to by being a part of the movement. And I was definitely better about keeping up with them during the first month than the second, so I’ve made a pact with myself to take better advantage of them again in July. There is something very exciting about beginning every month with a new elixir, and a new focus… like a fresh start 12 times a year!! I’m coming for you July…

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Beauty Recipe: Gentle Face Wash

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We’re big believers in NOT using soap to wash your face. Instead, we opt for an oil based face wash to remove the gook and grime of the day. Like removes like: oil removes oil. And if you’re prone to dry skin like me, you’ll find that soap-based cleansers dry out your skin. Or, if you have oily skin, you’ll be interested to learn that soap strips your face of natural oils, causing your skin to produce more oil.

With all of this said, sometimes we like a little soap action in our lives. I find that when my skin transitions between seasons, it likes a little extra cleansing. Right now, I’m enjoying the Korean-style double cleanse method in the evening. I’ll start with an oil cleanser to remove all of my make-up and I’ll follow with this gentle face wash recipe. The beauty of this recipe (besides being so simple to make) is that it dilutes the soap so it doesn’t dry out the skin like a typical soap-based cleanser. If you love that squeaky clean feeling of a foaming wash and can’t quite wrap your head around an oil-based cleanser, this recipe is for you.

Ingredients
1/2 cup castile soap
1/2 cup rose hydrosol
1 tsp jojoba oil
10 drops geranium essential oil
8oz squeeze bottle or glass bottle with a pump top

Add all ingredients to your container of choice and shake before each use. How simple is that!

Happy crafting,
Sam

 

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Beauty Recipe: Deep Pore Cleansing Mask

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This clay mask recipe is the most important part of my Sunday skincare ritual. The mix of clay, cocoa and vitamin C not only deeply cleanses the pores but also brightens, tones and repairs the skin. Clay has healing properties but also acts like a magnet, drawing impurities from the pores. I like to use a mix of Rhassoul and Kaolin clay but think about your skin type when deciding which clay to work with (great selection of clays here).  Cocoa contains a higher level of antioxidants compared to green tea and aids in cell repair and increases blood circulation to improve the appearance of the skin. Vitamin C (or Camu Camu) fights wrinkles, brightens the skin and decreases damage from the sun when applied topically.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons Rhassoul Clay
1 tablespoon Kaolin Clay
1 tablespoon organic, raw Cocao Powder
1/2 teaspoon Vitamin C or Camu Camu Powder
8 drops Sweet Orange Essential Oil
6 drops Palmarosa Essential Oil
6 drops Sandalwood Essential Oil

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the essential oils one drop at a time and mix thoroughly to remove clumps. Store in a glass jar of choice and store in the fridge . When you’re ready to treat your skin to some extra loving care, simply mix 1 1/2 teaspoons of the mask with enough water, honey, apple cider vinegar or hydrosol to make a smooth paste (generally equal parts liquid to dry ingredients). Smooth on a cleansed face and allow the mask to work it’s magic for 15 minutes. Remove with a wet washcloth and follow with a moisturizer.

Happy crafting!

xo
Sam

Burgertime at Lucky Boy.

Lucky Boy is a walk-up/take out spot off of S. Arroyo Parkway in Pasadena. Fun fact: It is right across the street from where the VERY FIRST Trader Joe’s opened in 1967 and still stands today!

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Their burgers have thin patties, lots of chargrilled flavor and that good old shredded lettuce. Add in the biggest bag of fried zucchini you’ve ever seen and plan to be full for a good day and a half. The double cheeseburger is pictured here, but I’ve also had a damn good bacon burger in the past. And from what I can see written up about them online, it sounds like their breakfast burritos are some of the best around!! I guess we’ll just haaaaaave to go back!!  xoCait

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Beauty Recipes: Infusing Oil

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When it comes to DIY skincare, nothing is easier than infusing oil. The method is easy and the concept allows room for you’re own personal magic. We infuse oils for our scrubs, serums and my favorite…body oils. Working with locally-souced, organic flowers and herbs to create oil infusions treats various ailment and the possibilities for combinations and uses are endless.

There are various methods for infusing oils, but now that summer is here, we prefer the good ol’ fashioned sun-soaked method.

1. To start, select an organic, cold-pressed vegetable oil of choice. We like to use Sunflower oil (deeply nourishing and great for dry skin) or Grapeseed oil (great for sensitive skin and absorbs into the skin easily).

2. Next, gather a blend of dried flowers and herbs. You can also include a vanilla pod (cut into small pieces) for that  deliciously sweet scent. Have fun with this part! There are so many beneficial uses for herbs and flowers so do a little research or trust your intuition. We love to work with rose, lavender, chamomile, calendula, marshmallow root, vanilla and the list goes on…

3. Fill a glass mason jar with the herbs/flowers and pour the oil over until the the jar is filled. Take your time with this step and think about your intention for the oil as it pours over the herbs. This oil will become part of your beauty ritual so give it purpose (that’s what makes handmade products so personal). After the jar is filled, we like to add a few drops of flower essence to amplify the intention we’re working with. You can find some great flower essences through Lotus Wei and Delta Gardens.

4. Label the jar and include the date. Set the jar on your window sill where it can soak in the sun. Let the oil infuse for 2 weeks and each day give the jar a gentle shake.

5. After 2 weeks, strain the oil using a nut milk bag or fine mesh strainer and store your oil in a glass jar of choice.

Happy crafting!

xo
Sam