Grandmother's Medicine

During this time, it’s easy to look around and see how much work we have to do and skills we must relearn in order to become more sustainable inhabitants of this planet. There are some individuals who are really making strides and examples of living in accordance & harmony with nature. Vicky Salcido-Cobbe is one of them. I met this woman earlier this season at the Spirit Weavers gathering when I took two of her herbal medicine classes. This woman is FULL of life, spirit, & emotion. She lives without internet, gardens most of the day, composes gorgeous books to teach others about herbalism, and spends time making her community supported herbalism boxes, amongst many other lovely handmade products. They are next level people! Vicky is setting the bar high and I am so honored to share her interview with you today. She is my hero. 

Q+A with Vicky Salcido Cobbe of Grandmother's Medicine

Q: What is Grandmother’s medicine and what inspired you to create it?

A: Grandmother’s Medicine started out as a collaboration between my dear friend Deena and I. We were both just so in love with herbs and we wanted to share them with the world. Deena is now a rockin' Massage Therapist and Birth Worker in San Diego, and Grandmother’s Medicine is growing and morphing all of the time.

The main purpose for Grandmother’s Medicine is to empower. We believe that localized, community driven herbalism is so very important and critical for our times. We hope to inspire other businesses to make the switch and support local farmers. 

Q: Tell us about your story in how you left one life and now lead a completely different one that one might say is more aligned with nature.

A: I'm going to give you the MAJOR Cliff's Notes version here. I lived in San Francisco and was on a pretty self-destructive path. Long story short, I made my way to Portland, where I got sick with a bad flu and visited a clinic. The doctor gave me a tincture bottle full of anti-viral herbs (I still have that bottle!) and I have been hooked ever since. After battling chronic stomach issues and bouts of mild depression and major anxiety, I finally felt like a natural, easy remedy was out there for me. So I decided to get educated.

I attended “Farm School” to learn about the food I was eating. I read and read and read and took online courses on herbalism. I joined Facebook groups. All of it was majorly empowering. My husband is also a man of the earth, so when the opportunity to move to a 160 acre Botanical Sanctuary and Women's Herbal School came up, we both just said “When do we leave?!” I found this special place we now call home by a dear friendship that was birthed at the 2nd annual Spirit Weaver's Gathering

I will just finish by saying that where I am today came totally through a series of VERY trusting moments on our part. We said YES when our gut felt like it was the right decision. We have never regretted it. 

Q: Walk us through a day in your life. 

A: Because of how intimately tied we are to the seasons, every day really does vary. I'll share how we generally are by season:

In the early Spring we are just like the busy, blooming, buzzing creatures and plants around us. We are waking from our winter slumber, in awe of the sun and the fresh green growth that is plump with potential and full of hope. In the Spring months, much of our time is spent planting seeds, amending garden beds with fresh compost, weeding (so much weeding), and planning for the Summer garden. We harvest and eat tons of “juicy green herbs” such as Nettle, Chickweed, and Miner's Lettuce. We delight in Violets. We also try to bug Ayana (of Unlearn and Rewild and Call of the Forests) to help us find some wild, edible mushrooms. ;)

By late Spring, we are already eating from the garden, harvesting and making herbal extracts from flowering mints (like Catnip and Motherwort) and delighting in the tastiness of herbs like Lemon Balm and Dandelion. We are also harvesting flowers such as Hawthorn, Calendula, and Dandelion. We are constantly trying to keep up with the drying baskets full of herbs!

In the Summer, we are...hot. It can get all the way to the low hundreds here, so we try to stay cool by swimming in the pond and taking cold showers. My personal constitution has an affinity for cool weather, so I really slow down in the Summer (when there is so much to do!) I have a bad habit of sleeping in, complaining about the heat, and generally feeling overwhelmed. Cold herbal water, early morning work, and siestas are helping though, and I am learning how to best function in the heat. Plants don't get to take a siesta, so I have to be ready to help them if they need it! We harvest SO MUCH FOOD – the garden in the summertime is the perfect example of nature's abundance. We collect Passionflower for our Sleep Tight formula, Wild Milky Oats and St. John's Wort. We often work in the garden well into the night – like sometimes until close to 10PM!

In the Fall, we admire the beautiful shifting colors of the Poison Oak. Yes – poison oak! We are surrounded by mostly evergreen trees, so we take color shifts wherever we can get them. We feel the days get shorter, the cool nights give us hope. By August, our entire Fall garden has been planted, and we are just making sure they are watered and tended until the rains come. We harvest winter squash for storing. This is the time when we harvest some of my most beloved medicines: the roots and berries. We dig up Dandelion, Burdock, Echinicea, Elecampane and Oregon Grape Root. We harvest Elderberries, Hawthorne berries, and raspberries. The greenhouse is mostly empty. The woodpiles are stacked and ready to keep us warmin the Fall and Winter months.

Winter is truly the time for deep slumber here – sometimes. If the rains are rockin', we are oftentimes outside tending to the road. We live on a steep dirt road, so erosion is always on our minds here. We divert the water to the outside of the road and into creeks, we move fallen trees, rocks, and branches.

We have the wood stove rockin' most every day in Winter, so we place a big pot full of my famous Burdock Chai Tea on it and just drink away. We eat a lot more fat, so we also are sure to eat a lot of liver supporting herbs like Milk Thistle, Burdock, and Dandelion Roots. We are eating LOTS of soup, roasted vegetables, and breads – all totally loaded with immune-supporting herbs like rosemary, parsley, garlic, and thyme.

We are also catching up with friends, threshing seeds, weaving, listening to music, and reading A LOT. We plan for the Spring garden – which shows up before we know it. 

Q: What are some of the lessons you have learned from growing food and making medicine?

A: Phew – that is a big question. My perspective on all of life shifted the moment I harvested my first batch of Calendulaflowers that I grew from seed. Mostly I have learned time and again about the beautiful balance of life and death. When you are in the garden, all of life is living, breathing, fighting, eating, sexing, and dying. It is wild and purposeful. That which dies can be turned into rich nutrients for that which is born. It is very profound. It's helped me look at mortality differently, but it's also served as a great metaphor for life situations. It's like George Harrison sang, “All things must pass... all things must pass away...” 

I've also learned about commitment. In a very real sense, you get what you put into the garden. Some crops and herbs like beans, mints, and calendula don't need much at all and they provide you with so much. These kind of crops teach me that nature is oh so intelligent in her design! Other crops like tomatoes, root crops, and cannabis require more care such as pruning, feeding, tending, weeding, and thinning. Here I am reminded that modern day crops are different manifestations from their hardy wild ancestors. Most of the crops we grow nowadays co-evolved with us, so their design requires our care. Here I learn that commitment, devotion, and selflessness matter so much.

When I was in college for Journalism, my teacher, Brenda, shared a story that has earned permanent residence in my being:

Brenda was writing a story about a high-security prison which had implemented a garden program for their inmates. She toured the garden, met the prisoners, and interviewed the guards. When she felt complete in her research, she started to make her way out. On the way, she ran into an inmate (who was in prison for homicide) holding a tomato and looking at it in deep contemplation. Brenda asked the man what he was doing and after a deep breath he replied, “had I known how precious life was, I never would have taken one.”

Q: What plants are you growing right now?

A:It's late Summer right now, so a lot of the focus really is on the food. We are growing 8 types of tomatoes, 4 types of summer squash, 4 types of winter squash, turnips, radishes, beets, carrots, beans (green + dried), sprouting broccoli, tomatillos, and tons of lettuce, kale, chard, asian greens(such as tatsoi + bokchoy), mustard greens, and mache.  Our plum and mulberry trees are winding down, but the apple, figs, and pears are just ripening. The raspberries are setting their second fruits.

Many of the medicinal herbs we grow really rock in spring-late summer, then we cut them back to a few inches off the ground so that they can come back again next year. What is left right now is Boneset, Echincea, Elecampane, Elderberries, Mullein, Burdock (going to seed), spilanthes, basil, cilantro (+some that we let go to seed to have coriander), parsley, comfrey, raspberries, fennel, and dill. We also have our kitchen herbs – thyme, rosemary, oregano, etc.

Q: Do you have hope for our future?

A:Yes, I have to. I really really have to. When you see the daffodils bloom in the Spring, unwavering in their commitment to live, you just have to. When you meet kids who are blown away that a redwood seed could produce such a massive and beautiful tree, you have to. When you hear about all of the wonderful people shifting their focus from consumption to soil, you have to. 

I hope anyone reading this can understand that medicine, food, soil and water security is not the battle of a few hippies – it is the important work for people of all social and economic situations. It is the work of all religions. It is the work of all political parties. Not because “the Earth is our Mother and we should love her like one” (though I most certainly believe this is true), but because we are a species made up of organic elements that requires these things – clean water, food, soil, air – to SURVIVE. I can't think of another species who purposefully destroys that which they need to survive in exchange for something that provides absolutely nothing for them in terms of basic survival (money). Did you know that it's illegal to practice herbalism in the US? Time to get involved and make some changes.

Plant a seed. Grow soil. Meet your neighbor. Shut off your technology. The Earth is calling. 

Q: What kinds of medicine do you make and how do you get it out into the world?

A: When I first began working with herbs, I didn't have a garden. I purchased everything from large, reputable companies in bulk. Then I went to Farm School at a great place in San Diego called Wild Willow Farm and I learned about two very important tings: localization + soil. Everything changed from there.


I started a garden and began to grow my herbs. As my company grew and I moved to Mendocino County, I decided to make the shift to 100% locally grown herbs. I have been amazing with how easy it was to make that shift. So my remedies are made from herbs grown by us, our local farmer friends, and the wild. We try to use as many local solvents (like olive oil and beeswax) as possible.

The main way I share my remedies nowadays is through our Community Supported Herbalism program. It's a subscription program based on the CSA model that small farms use, but we also include a teaching booklet in every box. The mission is to not only be another form of consumerism, but a form of empowerment. We also offer our teaching booklets for a sliding scale for those who are interested. Our main passion is to empower, empower, empower.

Q: What are your top 3 must read books?

A: Phew, another hard one! I'm going to focus on resources here, and pretend that fiction doesn't exist. There are a TON of great books out there that go into great detail about herbs, cultivation, and preparations. Because I have SO much to do all of the time, I tend to use books that are straightforward and clear. That's whyI wrote my booklet – The Basics of Folk Herbalism. I wanted to add to the easy reference books out there.

The book I recommend most for people interested in getting into herbs is Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's Guide. It's her newest book, and it's really fantastic because it very simply lays out how to make herbal preparations such as herbal salves and tinctures. It also goes over 33 herbs, 9 of which are basic kitchen herbs that most everyone already has in their cupboard such as garlic, sage, and cinnamon. The other 24 are safe, effective, and easy to grow. I just love it because it is in full color, has lots of great recipes, and covers so much but never feels overwhelming. It's SUPER accessible!

My favorite book, hands down, for growing food is Frank Tozer's Vegetable Grower's Handbook. Again, I love it because of the simplicity of it. Crops are listed in alphabetical order, and he covers the basics of these crops from spacing, to timing, to pH needs, to harvesting. Each crop gets about 2-3 pages, and it is simple. A thorough reference book that doesn't feel overwhelming in the slightest. I joke that it's my gardening bible!

Lastly, I would recommend that as many people as possible read Stephen Harrod Buhner's The Lost Language of Plants.

Q: What makes for a super life?

A: Childlike joy and adoration for nature, and Sage-like reverence for all living things.

 

Love Beauty + Wellness Festival

Leaders and supporters of the clean beauty, health and wellness world, the Love Beauty + Wellness Festival is an event that is not to be missed. On Saturday, we gather together in downtown Los Angeles, at the Hudson Loft, to learn, shop & celebrate conscious creators who are trailblazing new paths for how to run ethical business in the new age. I wanted to find out more about June Farahan, the powerhouse behind the event. In this Q+A we learn about what products are rocking June’s world, what her beauty routine looks like, why she created the festival, and more. Enjoy this interview & I will see you this weekend!

Q&A with June Farahan, Founder of Love Beauty + Wellness Festival

Q: What inspired you to create Love Beauty + Wellness Festival like this?

A: I was inspired to create this festival out of my own passion to constantly search for non-toxic and nourishing beauty and wellness products. I realized that I am certainly not the only one who wanted to find out what is out there today. I had a desire to launch an online store which was going to be more edited in its curation than most of the other ones out there and in its inception, I realized that not only did I want to make sure we offered a selection that met our standards but offering an event to bring more awareness and education to green beauty and holistic wellness started to become a mission. When more people become aware they can truly appreciate. Another reason is to bring like-minded people together in one space. There are so many of us who are already members of this amazing tribe and I think in this world of technology it is so nice to actually meet in person. The positive vibes at this event are going to be amazing!

Q: Why is Love Beauty + Wellness different from other festivals?

A: This event is different as it brings together a line up of amazing speakers who are healers and educators and creators as well as a fun retail pop up store that attendees can treat themselves to for one day in the heart of LA. I wanted to make sure the speaker topics are interesting and composed of a balance of beauty and wellness educators, healers and creators. The goal is to inspire and educate in a fun environment. This is not a conference or tradeshow! There are some amazing destination festivals which are 2 or 3 day commitments but I wanted to offer a one-day event in the heart of LA for those who cannot make that kind of extended commitment.

Q: What standards does a brand have to adhere to in order to receive your approval & loyalty?

A: We have a long list of toxic ingredients which are on our 'avoid' list. I think most people have now heard of parabens and sulfates but don't realize there are a multitude of toxic ingredients in most large-scale commercial products. If you can't pronounce it question it! Not only should the ingredients list be 'clean' but it should be of high quality. And this goes hand in hand with efficacy of the product - it should do what it claims. At the end of the day we are in the beauty industry so packaging and branding remain important if we are retailing the products. Getting to understand how the products are made and who the creator is, is very important to me. Working with brands that have a integrity and similar philosophies make being in this space so much more pleasant.

Q: What are you some of your favorite Love Beauty + Wellness products?

A: The brands that are on our online store are all my current favorites! Right now my favorite skincare lines are Bottega Organica, Shiva Rose, Apoterra and H Is for Love. My current body care fave is Fig+Yarrow. I place more emphasis on skincare than make up but when I do want some 'enhancement' right now I reach for Vapour foundations, cheek stains and eyeshadows. The lipstick brand that I carry online and love right now is Kosas and the Henne lip exfoliator and lip balm should be everyone's staple products. I love making potions and tonics daily and we will be adding them to our online store right after the event.

June Farahan, Founder of Love Beauty + Wellness Festival and loveorganicbeauty.com

June Farahan, Founder of Love Beauty + Wellness Festival and loveorganicbeauty.com

Q: Can you describe the moment when you decided to organize Love Beauty + Wellness Festival and put energy in your life towards this cause?

A: I felt that my passions were truly coming to an alignment. I have loved the holistic beauty and wellness world for so long but being able to share my passion for it is so rewarding. It was exciting and scary at the same time but I kept seeing the same IG quotes in my feed like 'Do something that scares you everyday' and 'If not now, when'.  I knew I was going to have to work night and day to organize this but I have been rewarded by meeting so many amazing people along the way which constantly fuels me.

Q: What is this cause important to you and to the times we are living in now?

A: We live in a toxic world where too many of us are getting sick. Many of us in this space entered it because of an illness but people should not wait until they get sick before they search for a better lifestyle. Too many women just focus on looking good and forget about feeling good too. Beauty and wellness go hand in hand.

Q: What changes do you see currently happening in the beauty + wellness industry that keeps you feeling hopeful?

A: That younger people are interested and more and more creators are starting to make non-toxic products. I love it when I find out a friend has started to shop at the farmers market or has tried acupuncture for the first time! Mindful beauty and holistic wellness is not a trend but a lifestyle.

Q: What does beauty + wellness mean to you?

A: Beauty and wellness go hand in hand. You can't have one without the other. If you don't feel good there is no way you can really look good.

Q: What does you daily wellness + beauty routine look like?

A: Stretching and breathing before I reach for my cell phone. Drybrushing, dental care, shower and massaging my body with a great oil. I love using a muslin cloth to wash my face with a cleanser and follow with a great face oil. By then my dog is ready for his morning walk and when we get back I start with a hot lemon and cayenne water. Some days I also incorporate chlorella water or a shot of AVC to add an extra layer of detox. We go to the farmers market twice a week and prepare fresh meals everyday. Yoga, meditation and walking with my dog revive me.

Q: What makes for a super life?

A: Do everything with love!

The Love Beauty + Wellness Festival is a one-day event featuring speakers who are healers, educators, creators and influencers in the realm of natural beauty and holistic wellness.

A retail pop-up with our current edited favorites in the world of non-toxic beauty and wellness products is an opportunity to see, feel, smell, try and buy all the amazing products along with a selection of conscious lifestyle brands.

Come see, learn, meet and mingle with like-minded people in the world of green beauty and wellness!

The event is taking place at the Hudson Loft in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday July 30 from 10AM to 4.30PM.

                       *   TICKET INCLUDES A GIFT BAG AND LUNCH BY CAFE GRATITUDE *

Café Gratitude, Moon Juice, Bottega Organica, H Is For Love, Fig + Yarrow, Shiva Rose, Vapour Organic Beauty, Kosas, Henne Organics, Appoterra, Golda, TenOverTen, Aromatherapy Associates, Indie Lee, Hannes Dottir, The Wicked Boheme, Agent Nateur, Pursoma, Golddust Dresses, Go Raw, Organic Gemini, Califia Farms, Purely Elizabeth, Philosophie Foods, Zenbunni Chocolates, Poppy and Someday, Gemstone Organic, Energy Muse, Live The Process, Ocean and Main, Lalun Naturals, Ormus, La Lune Apothecary, ISOThrive, Black Lotus, Lotus Blooming Herbs, Under Luna, Alll Good Alchemy, Everbelleco, Apothecanna

A Letter to the Super Food Super Life Community

So I have taken a pretty significant break since my last post in early June. I have missed this site so much, and while I was away I took some much needed time for myself. I traveled to festivals, yoga centers, retreats, went camping & hiking in some of the most beautiful places in the Western part of the United States. I will be sharing many images & stories up on the site very soon. 

Over the past several weeks I have gotten download about Super Food Super Life, what is stands for and the changes/upgrades that need to be made to it. I realize that food is not just food that we cook in our kitchens or eat at restaurants, it’s everything we take into our bodies, including the air, water, beauty products, thoughts, feelings, environment & community around us. We are constantly having a conversation with that that enters our field. My goal with this site is to bring you the things that I have had a conversation with, and resonate so deeply and so highly that I can not help but share my favorites with you here. 

Today's post about Province Apothecary marks the starts of the conscious commerce aspect of the site - highlighting businesses that (to me) respect the ingredients they use, the people they employ & the standard of integrity that they hold in operating their practice. Coming soon will be a “conscious commerce” space on the site that will highlight my favorite products and will take you directly to his or her store (not to a third party reseller) because I want to promote direct sales and exchange with the maker/artisan/store. I will also update and refresh the recipes & resources part of the site. There is so much more to come, but I just wanted to give you a taste!

I love you. Thank you for being here.

I ask you now,  "What are you feeding yourself today?" 

Province Apothecary

Portrait of Julie Clark, founder of Province Apothecary by Jenna Marie Wakani 

Portrait of Julie Clark, founder of Province Apothecary by Jenna Marie Wakani 

Sometimes you meet magical witches of the north, like Julie Clark from Province Apothecary, located in Canada. I first caught sight of this goddess at the Indie beauty Expo in Los Angeles, where I had a moment when looking at her products. I felt this high vibration coming from them — they almost seemed to levitate off the table and into my hands. I didn’t buy any products from her that day except for this little golden incense holder that was so simple, beautiful yet felt very spiritual & activating. 

Later, that same weekend, we both happened to be at a Apothecary Pop Up event, which included conscious beauty brands and meditation/ ajai alchemy by my girl Fern Olivia. I sat next to Julie in our group meditation circle, and I knew that she would be somebody that I could be friends with. It sounds like we engage in very similar activities, like attending regular mediation gathering with friends (a great way to have fun and get your mindfulness on). Later that day I got to try her moisturizing cream as a giveaway from that event, and it traveled with me everywhere in June. This cream was so hydrating, milky & yummy, so small that it fit in my pocket. My body drank that sh*t up and I cooed every time I applied it to my skin. While I haven’t tired the whole line, I trust that there is a lot more to fall in love with.

Q&A with Julie Clark, founder of Province Apothecary

Q: What is Province Apothecary and why did you open shop?

A: We are an organic, green skin care company. We hand make our products in Toronto and we have a skincare clinic where we give custom organic facials. Our passion is skin and teaching our clients and customers about green beauty and what their skin needs. 

Q: Why did you choose to open in Canada?

A: I'm originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia and I moved to Toronto, Onatario after leaving in NYC for 4 years. Canada is home!

Q: What does is it mean to you to be a “natural" aesthetician?

A: I’m a natural and holistic aesthetician, so I refuse to use any nasty chemicals or toxins on the skin. We use lots of food in our treatments and 100% green beauty products that we hand made. My focus is on education. Everyone is so different and their skin requires different techniques and ingredients, I love teaching our clients about their skins needs. I love facials because it is a time for someone to truly relax, and everything we do in a facial helps regenerate + rejuvenate their skin, relax and release tension from their muscles, stimulate their lymphatic system and promote healing at a cellular level. 

Q: What are some of your go-to Province Apothecary products right now?

A: I'm heading to Halifax to see my family and in my bag I have our Hydrating Rescue balm, I use it 10+ a day to keep my lips and hands hydrated. I have our moisturizer oil cleaner, a custom face serum, our regenerating exfoliator, our new eye serum and our No. 19 parfum botanic. I keep my routine extremely simple. 

Q: How do you go about formulating the product?

A: I am a certified aromatherapist and holistic health practitioner, and a studying herbalist. I formulate from ancient herbal wisdom and scientific research.

Q: Do you have a favorite plant ingredient?

A: I love our new beauty complex that we just launch in our eye serum and will be in our new Clear Skin Advanced line. It is a powerful blend of calendula, comfrey, plantain and gout kola infused in organic jojoba oil.

Q: Walk us through a day in your life.

A: Lately things have been busy, we are opening a store and production space in Toronto. I start off the day at the new space, trying to catch up on emails, see how everyone is doing and what they are working on ten I check in on products and what's getting made that day if their are any custom orders. I then head to the treatment space and see clients or work with my aestheticians at our skincare clinic, we are constantly trying new ingredients and making new products. It's so wonderful to have the opportunity to do this!

Q: What are some of your non-negotiable wellness practices or alternative treatments that you must do throughout the week?

A: exercise, meditation and sleep are my must haves. I love getting acupuncture, massages and Tom treatments whenever I have time!

Q: Are Canadians hip to alternative health and wellness?

A: I think so! Our whole team is and all of my friends are! It's so fun to get together and do mediation or make a healthy dinner. 

Q: What books are you reading right now?

A: Right now I am reading a few books on facial acupuncture. We are bringing it into the clinic, with a certified naturopath! 

Q: What is your grand vision for Province Apothecary?

A:  One day I hope to see our organic custom facials availed world-wide! 

Q: What ingredients make for a Super Life?

A: clean water, fruits, vegetables and beans! I'm having a true love affair with beans lately! My husband and I are making some amazing curries with them!

The Kosmic Kitchen Herbal Program

You can never stop learning. That is what I have realized. All herbalists, health coaches, nutritionists & chefs all have wisdom to share. Right when I got in touch with the Great Kosmic Kitchen, their book beamed with this energy I was searching for and I knew that I had to connect with them about their sacred herbal rituals about eating and living. 

What these girls gave me were the tools to take on some of my greatest health desires — to prepare food for the week, to start a garden, to religiously attend the farmers market and get my sugar cravings under control. They gave me so many quick and easy tips, that now come second nature to me, and I am eternally grateful for their program. 

I love how they gave a step by step and day by day guide for when to shop, cook & prep the meals. I really felt like they were there right beside me, even though they weren’t there physically. One of my favorite recipes was the frittata. I am obsessed with finding the freshest farmers market vegetables and getting creative each week. 

My carb snacks have since switched over to fresh raw farmers market veggies (mostly snap peas, my favorite)! I have become a huge fan of their Kitchari. I usually make a batch once a week, and have noticed that the variety of fresh herbs (that I love to order from Mountain Rose) have really helped my digestion. Licorice tea has been a key herbal component / recommendationmade to me for curbing my sugar cravings. Prepping food for the week gave me this sense of calm, knowing that wherever I went or when I gothome — that I would have something healthy to snack on. This has supported me to make better food choices. 

There is nothing like the experience of shopping, prepping & eating your own meals for an entire week straight. This was my time for me to focus on myself and make the changes I have always wanted to make, and by having someone to hold me accountable, I was able to make these habits last. I highly recommend this program for their accent wisdom that can be easily adapted to a modern lifestyle. 

If you're needing extra support bringing out your inner 'kitchen witch,' excited about infusing herbs into your life but aren't quite sure how, or busy and don't have time to even think about nourishing meals, let us know! We'd love to set up a custom herbal meal plan that's just right for you. 

L I T T L E Q U I N O A P A T T I E S

Ingredients 

garlic | herbs

2 ½ cups cooked quinoa, at room temp

4 eggs, beaten

½ tsp sea salt

⅓ cup scallions or chives, chopped

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

⅓ cup goat cheese (also fine to omit)

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 cup bread crumbs or ground nutsalmonds,

walnuts, pecans. Plus more if needed.

water, if needed

1 Tbsp ghee, butter or coconut oil

Directions

Combine quinoa, eggs and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the chives, onion, cheese and

garlic. Add the bread crumbs or nuts, stir and let sit for a few minutes so the bread

crumbs can absorb some of the moisture. At this point, you should have a mixture you

can easily form into 12, 1inch thick patties. Heat the fat in a cast iron skillet on medium

heat. Once melted and hot, begin to form the patties adding about 6 or less to the

skillet. Make sure they have enough room to be flipped easily. Cover and cook for 7

minutes or until nice and brown on the bottom. Flip and continue to cook until patties

are browned. Remove from the skillet and cool on a wire rack or plate while you cook

the remaining patties. 

Note: Ground almonds or walnuts work well in place of breadcrumbs if you want a gluten free

option. * Adapted from Near & Far by Heidi Swanson

Summer Essential - Bottega Organica Sea Salt & Peppermint Body Scrub

Some products instantly become an staple in my life. Bottega Organica’s Sea Salt & Peppermint Scrub is one of them. It is so important for us (especially those who live in cities) to detoxify our body, scrub off all of the dirt and leave all those dead skin cells behind. However, many ‘healthy” scrubs and soaps contain ingredients that are chemical-ladden and could end up causing more harm long term than good. This is why I love Bottega, their ingredients are some of the most pure, organic & potent I have ever seen. Read those labels, you may be surprised what you find! You know what they say, “if you couldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your body”.

My favorite thing to do with this scrub is to rub it all over my body and use a neutral dead sea sponge. Any natural sponge will do, but really go at it. As I am rubbing and scrubbing, I use positive affirmations and mantras to infuse good thoughts and vibrations into my body. I say things like, “I love my body, it is beautiful and is always letting go of all that does not serve its highest good.” I used to be insecure about my legs and especially the back of them, but using these affirmations really has changed my relationship to them. I notice that by using this high quality scrub, drinking lots of spring water, eating fresh whole foods, maintaining consistent exercise and rubbing high quality oils into them, has altered their shape and tone tremendously.

The scrub leaves my body with a shimmery glow and a fresh scent of peppermint that lasts for hours. I do not use traditional fragrances anymore, mostly organic essential oils, so using this product takes that step out of the equation. Also, if I rub this on my skin prior to shaving, once I rinse it off, my skin is oiled up enough that I can do a nice clean shave. I love it! Efficient, clean & pure. It’s also gentle enough to use for sunburns & after sunbathing. It leaves the skin feeling soothed and calm — definitely a product to try for itchy, dry and irritate skin. This one is a Summer Essential to keep you cool, your skin feeling its best and most refreshed all season long.

About  ~ Source: BottegaOrganica.com

Mediterranean sea salt exfoliates and cleanses the skin. Organic shea butter combined with medicinal plants infused in extra-virgin olive oil provides immediate nourishment. Organic peppermint stimulates circulation while carrot and apricot provide natural vitamins and antioxidants. Prawn sage prolongs the radiance and vitality of healthy skin cells.

Ingredients 

Sea salt, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil bo, butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter *, mentha piperita (peppermint) leaf extract *, cera alba (beeswax) *, peppermint (mentha piperita) oil *, salvia haenkei (prawn sage) extract bo, salvia officinalis (sage) extract *, daucus carota sativa (carrot) root extract *, prunus armeniaca (apricot) fruit extract *, limonene eo, linalool eo

* certified organic herbs flowers and fruits

bo harvested by Bottega Organica

eo natural component of essential oil

Help Your Self

Images by Mariel Kon

Is it possible to have a crush on a store? Help Your Self, a wellness boutique located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, is quite possibly my biggest crush yet. Set all in white, I walked in and felt immediately cleansed & calm. During my recent trip to New York, I had the opportunity to meet owner and founder, Catherine Foley. She is sweet, loving & so caring. So much that she even talks to the herbs in her store and thanks them for working with her.

Catherine has built a safe haven for stereotypical stressed out New Yorkers, who may just need to ingest some plant magic and chill the fuck out. Help Your Self is a one-stop shop for all of your body, mind & soul needs. From tinctures to tonics to herbal first aid to classes to privates, you can expect to come here and walk out feeling new and improved.

I am so honored to have Catherine on the blog today, and share this dream store with you.

Q&A with Catherine Foley, Founder of Help Your Self

Q: What is Help Your Self and why did you open shop?

A: Help Your Self is a holistic wellness store and healing space. We support small batch healing artisans in the United States - herbalists, farmers, distillers, aromatherapists, practitioners and artists. Everything in the store is 100% organic and botanical - we believe reconnection and right relationship with nature is fundamental in personal wellbeing and the wellbeing of the planet as a whole. Integrating plant medicine into our daily lives is a simple and profound step in that direction; whether it’s using herbal-infused body oil, tree incense, an essential oil candle or a tincture. We live in a symbiotic relationship with the plant kingdom - we breathe for them and they breathe for us. It is the most significant relationship in our lives! Unfortunately, in modern times, we nourish this relationship less and less. At the core of our mission is to get you back into the practice of wellness. It does not typically require huge, broad changes, although those can be good, too. Whatever you can do each day is meaningful, even if it's just stopping for a moment and touching the bark on a tree, or taking in the deep blue sky. When you open your heart to the world in this way, we are all healed.

I opened Help Your Self because I received a vision during an acupuncture session in 2014 that I would open a "general store for the spirit" called Help Your Self. I was in a very different place at that time, managing the rooftop bar at the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg. I actually love business operations, and was exploring the possibility of founding my own company, but I just didn't know what it would be. It's a deeply beautiful process to manifest your dreams.

Q: Why did you choose to open in Brooklyn?

A: I've lived in Greenpoint since 2010 and always worked in Williamsburg. This is truly my home now. In fact, I've never lived anywhere longer in my adult life. I grew up in the suburbs of New York City and community was a very important thing to my dad. He was always involved with the local organizations and activities. I was actually a state-certified volunteer firefighter in my hometown! My dad imparted the value of community to me, and by opening my business here, I can continue to be a part of the fabric of life in northern Brooklyn. Living and working in the same neighborhood in New York is pretty amazing.

Q: What does is it mean to you to be connected to your intuition?

A: My dad died tragically when I was 12. After that, I started to experience precognitive dreaming. This was my first conscious understanding of my intuition and I've been in relationship with it ever since. In fact, most of the time, I don't realize I'm using my intuition because it's so deeply woven into who I am and how I experience my environment. We are all born with intuition, it's just a matter of staying open and listening. I think New Yorkers are very intuitive people - we live in such a stimulating environment and our senses are constantly engaged. We're particularly good at perceiving B.S.!

Q: Walk us through a day in your life.

A: I like to sleep 8 to 10 hours a night, so I typically wake up between 8:30 and 9 am. The habits I formed as a teenager - namely, staying up late and sleeping in, have stayed with me. I like the feeling of being awake in the middle of the night when the world is quiet. It's my most creative time. And I have just never felt right waking up before 8 am. My family will tell you it's not a pretty time for me. After I wake up, I am slow to get out of bed. There is nothing more jarring for me than jumping out of the bed and running out of the house. I like to sit in the feelings of my dreams, check in with my body, my self, and process for a bit. Then I open my curtains and windows, light incense, light candles on my altar, put essential oils in the diffuser and smudge myself and my apartment with palo santo or cedar, calling in love and joy and all those good things.

I will make a protein-rich breakfast (think chicken liver and sauerkraut!), and after that, I sit in my meditation space and practice "light breathing," which I learned from my Shamanic Reiki teacher Llyn Roberts. It's a great way to release stagnant energies and draw cleansing, healing light into your body. Nine times out of 10, a cardinal will show up in the back yard when I am meditating. I'm not sure why, but this bird and I have a thing. There's also a huge maple tree out there, and I am very connected to that tree. After showering and going through my chemical-free beauty routine (thanks to the influence of my sister-in-law Tara Foley who founded Follain), I take all my vitamins and herbal supplements, and head to the shop. Stepping through the door and starting my day at Help Your Self is my high point. It makes me so happy to be here - I sing songs to all the herbs on the shelves and let them know how grateful I am to work with them.

Being a business owner and managing your time efficiently is an art that I am still getting the hang of. It is easy to feel pulled in many different directions, so I have to be diligent about protecting my energy, going slow and staying grounded. Getting just one or two things done on my eternal to-do list is a victory and I really try to celebrate the small, sometimes menial, triumphs. The real highlight of what I do every day is engaging with our customers and clients. Coming from a hospitality background, making real and meaningful connections with those who support Help Your Self is my absolute priority over everything else. This is a no-pretention zone where laughter and fun is encouraged. Life can be intense and painful. We are tested and challenged every day to be the person we want to be. New York is a very spiritual place in that sense. When you are called to get back in the driver's seat of your own life and wellbeing - to help yourself - sometimes it can get harder before it gets easier. Help Your Self is a refuge in that way, and your personal support system. After I close up shop for the evening, I typically head home, make dinner and unwind, or try to get out and see my friends and family. Just before I fall asleep, I do Reiki on myself and ask my dreams to help me understand a certain issue or experience. I also like to send out gratitude and light to the people in my life.

Q: What are some of your non-negotiable wellness practices or alternative treatments that you must do throughout the month?

A: The most significant practices for me are mindfulness and setting clear intentions. I am always checking in with myself and observing the feelings running through me. When I am feeling constricted, fearful or mad, I practice loving self-compassion, self-soothing and breathing love and acceptance into those feelings. Wellness is not about attaining perfection. It's about being comfortable with your imperfections and healing shame.

Emotional intelligence is something we have to fumble with and learn on our own - we are essentially socialized to not feel our feelings, which really is the root of much of our pain. Emotions are overwhelming, so we find shortcuts that feel okay in the moment, but wreak havoc over the long run. I spend a lot of time unlearning behaviors and retraining my brain. I also try to take ownership of my bad behavior. I grew up in a fiery, "blow and go" family, experienced traumas, and as an Aries, am inherently fiery. This is a powerful trifecta that has led to a lot of destruction in my life. As I get to know myself more, I am really working to transform these energies in a positive way. It can feel like surgery at times. But the intentions you set are like the overarching tone of your life - all the energy will follow those intentions. Being very clear about your intentions is important. The universe does listen, for better or for worse.

Q: Are New Yorkers hip to alternative health and wellness?

A: Wellness is definitely in the zeitgeist here. In a recent episode of the Real Housewives of New York City, Sonja Morgan talked about smudging her apartment with sage, Vogue is writing about flower essences and crystals, and Reiki Masters are employed in our hospitals. That being said, New Yorkers are traditionalists. We approach change and newness with some skepticism, especially if it's trendy or faddish. I appreciate this because there's a lot out there in the wellness world, and it's important to be discriminating. New Yorkers have an innate sense for authenticity, so I think whatever has staying power, you can trust to be the real deal.

Q: What books are you reading right now?

A: I am reading Soul Retrieval by Sandra Ingerman. I am doing a week long soul retrieval training with her in Joshua Tree in October. I'm excited to bring this practice back to Greenpoint!

Q: What is your grand vision for HYS?

A: We are just about to launch the booking component of our website, which means you will be able to sign up for healing services and workshops online. I have an amazing group of practitioners ready to offer their services here, and teachers eager to share their wisdom. We also want to start offering private group ceremonies and rituals for special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries. Later this year, we will launch e-commerce, and next year, I will be developing a Help Your Self product line. In the long run, I would love to open another location or two, and have also contemplated the idea of a retreat space in the Catskills.

Q: What ingredients make for a super life?

A: Irreverence, mystery and connection.