Thursday, November 7, 2019


Each year, in autumn, as the weather turns cool, my hands and lips and hair become dryer earlier and earlier in the season. As anyone’s natural ability to moisturize is inversely proportional to their age, I’m likely tapping some deep reserves in my body that prevent my skin from busting into one large peel. But before reaching for some very expensive (read: $17) remedies, I generally try to hit some natural solutions first before giving into ease and buying a bunch of shiz. And so, as we’re right on the cusp of winter weather in the mid-Atlantic, I’ve found some “starting-line” motivation to eat in a way which might help moisturize my skin from the inside out. 

In Summer Lovin’ I wrote about foods that help cool us in the summer months. Indeed, Mother Nature, like any mother, cares for her kiddies and provides them with foods that can help them adjust to the climes of their general regions. And so in winter, in the continental U.S., foods that grow underground to stay warm can help our bodies do the same in the cooler months meaning that the sugars they store can give our bodies a hit of energy when needed. And while the best of foods (broccoli, cabbage and leafy greens) tend to stay in season year round, there are some foods that change which can help our bodies do the same.

While I don’t eat completely seasonally (I’m not a huge douche), there are some dishes I prefer in summer and those I prefer in winter. While the process of making a beef stew brings a sense of comfort and joy in the winter months, the thought of it gives me a shudder in summer. And this is natural as such a dish exemplifies the epitome of winter cooking with its starchy vegetables and heavy protein to help us work through drops in temperature. And so, with one eye on the natural, below are some foods and practices to help get us through the winter months. Enjoy!

Live the Process: There once was a brand named “Live the Process” which made great work out clothes and then seemed to disappear. And while I was always curious about their name, it seems to work well here. In a world where we can generally get any food at any time of year, I find that in my own life, something can be lost when I’m juicing a pineapple in the dead of winter (but more on that later). Attuning ourselves with the season is something great and very primal and as we do so, we may find that our appetites go up in the cooler months, providing us with an extra layer we might otherwise buy from J. Crew.  And so while I may perpetually be surprised to find my appetite go from zero to sixty in October, I generally live the process and let my body prepare for the cooler months. 

Carrots: My grandmother once told me a funny story about my grandfather planting carrots upside-down in the garden. And while I grow more skeptical with age, for someone who spent their childhood in the Bronx, it’s probably not a far off possibility. Carrots, grown underground (if planted correctly) contain a bit more sugar than their cruciferous cousins which may be why Self Magazine tells you to shun them. But I happen to think the following recipes work well in winter.

Honey-Glazed Carrots: While carrots might not contain the nutrients found in leafy greens, they definitely serve as a good side dish... a "genre" which is in high demand around the holiday season. Ergo, as we let ourselves "go" around this time, it's not a bad idea to double-down on the sweetness. ;)

Carrot Hummus: If Self Magazine suggests celery over carrots, the compromise could be making a carrot hummus and using celery as the delivery vehicle. Self magazine can literally eat it.

Carrot Soup: This is one of my favorite dishes to make in winter. I love soups. I love broccoli soup. I love cauliflower soup and I really love carrot soup in the winter. For the record, I hate tomato soup. 

Potatoes: While we're somewhat on the topic of the holiday season, potatoes often make the "naughty list" in terms of vegetables. High in starch, potatoes get a bad rap from people on extreme diets but are generally high in nutrients and can keep our bodies warm in the winter months. As a go-to recipe, I enjoy the following:

Sweet Potatoes with Tahini Butter: As stated before, vegetables are great until you start looking for some protein which is something I'm semi-conscious of as a functioning adult. Within this recipe, however, the tahini adds a small bump in the right direction or you could just serve them with chicken like an actual adult. 

Potatoes and Carrots

Beef Stew: The ultimate winter dish containing both carrots and potatoes, beef stew simply warms the body by thinking of it and using the slow cooker to create it is an extra hassle-free way to achieve it without much thought. So, for me, when the temperature drops and my appetite goes up, this is the ultimate remedy for my winter woes. 

So there you have it: some ways to use elements from the ground to satisfy needs in the colder months. In general, aligning ourselves with the seasons is key not only for our own health but for the health of the planet as foods grown locally help support our surrounding economies and take less travel/carbon, etc. to reach our doorstep. As the saying goes, act naturally. ;)

Friday, May 24, 2019

Spring Awakenings

When I was younger, I was completely dismayed by the fact we couldn't hang Christmas lights. "We're not Christian," said my father, "so why would we hang Christmas lights?" And while the analytical part of my brain had developed enough to understand this bullshit, my still-developing emotional controls took it pretty hard. However, as I grew and matured a bit more, I came to find that beneath the guise of separate religious traditions, many of us took part in celebrating light in times of darkness (or winter). So while we couldn't hang Christmas lights, we could still engage in the seasonal juju by lighting the menorah (which, despite my fathers religious claims, was something he probably just found easier do to). And, just as these major and somewhat universal holidays celebrate the cyclical (and secular) change in the seasons, we as a people/society/whatever, seem to be cycling back to these secular roots as we begin to celebrate the aftermath of these festivities.  

In Anthropology, we learned that the god (or gods) of a society often reflect the values of the people who worship them. In ancient Greece where warfare was relatively prevalent, the gods were often strong (and moody). Eventually, as we became more settled, our gods became wise and as forgiving as our crop yields. And these days (if you are to believe Nietzsche) god is dead which a. may reflect the inner lives of city dwellers or b. reflect a general exodus from religion altogether. Either way, we seem to be getting back to our secular roots as we celebrate things like National Doughnut Day, National Siblings Day and, my personal favorite, National Tequila Day. In some sense, you might say consumerism + Instagram is the new religion. However, on a larger scale, we have things like Movember, dry January, etc. (like religion, most of these themes are used for good). And so, this April, I attempted to set a monthly theme that was helpful and tried to go against the grain of consumerism: cooking all my food at home. 

As stated above, I've always been intrigued by Catholicism in some ironic variation of the forbidden fruit. I love Christmas and I've always loved Easter... likely 'cause for me, baskets of chocolate were (and are) so much more intriguing than a boring Seder. But just as holidays in winter celebrate the theme of light, those in spring seem to celebrate rebirth and fertility as new plants begin to emerge from the ground and folks begin to emerge from their homes. So, with a new bounty at hand, I figured spring would be a great time to start a new challenge of cooking for myself exclusively, without traveling to restaurants in order to find flavor. In general, a few things happened: 

Things became easier and more interesting: As with anything done repeatedly, the process of shopping for and preparing foods became a bit more streamlined as I began to do it each day. As I generally rely on "greens and beans" for health, taste and economic purposes, I began to buy some combination of avocados, cucumbers and beans each day with the march of spring (no pun intended). And while this might seem a bit boring, keeping ingredients and their related dishes (of guac. and hummus, in my case) in heavy rotation actually allowed for greater spontaneity in the kitchen as I began to work more with each ingredient and became increasingly familiar with their flavors and textures. Just as a stable relationship allows for spontaneity, once I became comfortable with the foods I often used, I began to use them in new ways (and with new ingredients) to make things like...

Salad-e Shirazi: As the weather turns warmer (see Summer Lovin'), I began to use cucumbers and avocados as the greens in my beans and greens. As an adequate source of fat, avocados can replace oil and tahini in a hummus recipe and cucumbers can be eaten with the hummus. However, one day when I was out of beans, I came across this baby which definitely complies with the theme of easy (and interesting).  

Green Goddess Dressing: As with cucumbers and avocados, I've been buying parsley a bit more than usual. I'm not sure why but it may be because I once used a (literal) bunch to make the above dressing and have always subconsciously wanted to make it ever since. The featured dressing packs a lot of flavor which can be used to offset the sometimes mundane taste of cucumbers while adding some essential nutrients to your diet. 

Spring Ragout: The second I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it (a rare circumstance for something with over three ingredients). At the beginning of my blog, I often wrote about soup stocks as I could never really find one quite flavorful. There were mustard broths that sucked, seaweed stocks that lacked flavor and then I finally settled on bone broth which I've almost referenced in every post since. However, this particular recipe uses tomatillos to enhance the broth's flavor with some acidic bite. And as I often worked with tomatoes over the past month, I felt comfortable substituting them in with other spring vegetables I had on hand. If you make one thing this spring, make this

I got really into cooking methods: As someone who was raised on Chinese takeout over home-cooked meals, I still have limited kitchen-skills despite my best efforts to make the opposite true. Just as one is able to better acquire a new language earlier in life, I don't think I'll ever reach a level of fluency in terms of cooking. Like my French, I'll always just be able to "get by." However, by spending an increased amount of time in the kitchen, my learning curve did spike a bit as I handled (the same) foods more, became more accustomed to their flavors and used them in different fashions in order to satisfy some semblance of diversity within my scope of recipes. And as I began to make more hummus, more guac. and more harissa, I began to think of how I could prefect them and make them increasingly complex. Ergo, I learned to cook beans to perfection and made my way through Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat in order to learn how each dish could become a success. A few takeaways lie below:

Each dish pretty much requires a balance of Salt, Fat, Acid and Heat: As I didn't really grow up in the kitchen, I really lost out on any fundamentals of cooking. And so I've searched high and low to find a tome that would educate me in such "dark arts" as opposed to simply providing recipes. As I generally prefer larger ideas to details (which I'm beginning to find is a bit of an issue in my life), I can often plan a large meal but could never delicately create the dishes without help from five different cookbooks. But reducing down a cacophony of flavors and foods into four categories helped to further streamline my shopping list while allowing me to wing it more in the kitchen. Based on the book above, along with something green and something bean, I would often have:

Lemons (or limes): Apparently, limes contain more acid than lemons but lemons are really used in a lot of dishes and are also great for cleaning. If I didn't have much in my house, I knew that I could make a dressing with one of these ingredients and throw it over something. 

Good Olive Oil: The more I cooked, the more I threw in the towel and simply bought the expensive olive oil I liked. As someone who loves olives, I've always been curious as to the fact that I've never liked olive oil. But, apparently, most olive oil is crap. This is not to say that good olive oil need be expensive, there are just a few that taste good which is often symbiotic with quality. Like lemons, as the ingredient is so ubiquitous, it's often good to have a good one on hand. I like this one here (also sold at Whole Foods). 

Herbs: As I got my food base on lock, I began to realize that herbs could enhance anything from hummus to guacamole (pretty much the only two dishes I make). But like lemons (and olive oil), things like parsley and cilantro pop up in quite a few recipes like every one above. Somehow, parsley has become something of a favorite and I've used it in everything from Green Goddess Dressing to Tahini Ranch Dressing (I like dressing). 

I saw a decrease in alcohol consumption: As seen above, I'm not sure when food became so expensive (probably at the same time I became old), however, when I would run out to restaurants with friends as opposed to prepare food at home, I often found myself in the circumstance of refusing to pay thirteen dollars for some trendy form of cauliflower and basically would buy something at a happy hour price in liquid form. And, in general, as my appetite and tolerance for food prices deceased, my reliance on alcohol increased as I never wanted to be that freak at a restaurant who didn't order anything (being trashed was okay). But as I began to cook at home, I also began relying less on alcohol and more on food that was increasingly tasty (and cheap). Whether this was good or bad from a moral perspective is irrelevant as this is not treatise for or against drinking. However, my skin and hair looked to be in better shape without the presence of said substance. 

So there you have it... a return back to secularism where a season's bounty was celebrated before taking on more dogmatic and commercial angles. And while my "spring awakening" likely put you to sleep, I hope you'll like the recipes and engage in some monthly challenges yourself. Tis' the season ;)

Our season's change, our gods change (according to Anthropology)... the one consistent 
in all this is change. My love for David Bowie will never change. 

Friday, March 22, 2019


When I began cooking and eating foods I enjoy (instead of eating everything), I found that the common thread (or line) that tied everything together was the Tropic of Cancer and/or Equator. While I initially followed the methods of French cooking as most Americans do, I quickly found
such strategies to be as outdated as the view of Europe at the center of the universe. Whereas the "traditional" form of cooking may have jived with more "traditional" lifestyles (read: women who have time to make Coq au Vin), the new guard of cuisine seems to be changing as quickly as our geo-politics, meaning that with new trends in populations and/or women in the workplace, our flavors and methods of cooking are changing to become increasingly sustainable to our evolving culture and needs.

I was a Social Science major in college (as opposed to a "hard science" major.) And, as a pretty unsocial person, I ironically enjoyed the social aspect of such a topic, what with it's emphasis on human behavior. Additionally, I enjoyed the fact it wasn't very difficult (like a "hard" science). But I learned a lot through my classes. While referred to as a "soft-science" through its lack of hard evidence, I found that human behavior often follows just as many rules as the physical universe, particularly that of Newton's First Law of Motion which basically states that an object in motion (or at rest) will follow its given path until acted upon by an alternate force. Similarly, within the Social Sciences, we learned that the status quo will often roll on unquestioned unless worked with by opposing forces. And through structural discrimination, it was apparent that such a "quo" often worked to benefit men of European ancestry. And while this often seemed to incite a sense of sensitivity, to me it was always about making modifications to old traditions so that more people could feel at home. In a small way, this might mean requesting a greater variety of food options to meet a more diverse breadth of cultural needs or, as we've seen in recent years, it may be working to disassemble a culture of sexual discrimination in some (or all) industries. However, just like the universe, opposing forces are always acting on eachother and there are some who seek to counter this new found knowledge and change. And so, as it stands, this soft science has seemed to create a soft war between those who seek change and a merging of cultures and those who oppose it (called republicans). And the one thing cooking seems to synthesize at the moment is this dynamic between attachment to old ways vs. openness to the new. Conveniently, while my tastes have run south towards warmer climates, we've seen an influx in our population of folks from this region who have brought with them a rich culinary repertoire of food which is ironically less "rich (a.k.a. more healthy) than the old foods of Europe and a little easier or quicker to make which works well for women with that busy schedule. In short, opening up and blending our cultures is mo' better.

So, what this post was originally about is spice blends! We're better when we work together just as food tastes better when flavors fuse. And so embracing unique flavors and allowing ourselves exposure to the cuisines which feature them is a good thing! And as we look perhaps both actually and symbolically away from Northern Europe and its accompanying traditions and diets, we find ourselves viewing cultures where spice blends abound. Below are some blends that move in popularity from East to West. Enjoy!

Change gonna come.

Chinese Five Spice Blend: Whereas the flavor of European foods seemed to be based off fat (butter in France, oil in Italy and/or lard in Germany), flavor in the East seems to be more spice-centric. In this regard, Sichuan cuisine has its center of gravity squarely around the peppercorn. The Chinese Five Spice blend takes it one (or four) step/s further by adding star anise, cinnamon, cloves and fennel seeds in a combination that is not only tasty but healthy as well.

Curry Spice: Part of my cultural exposure began when I was young as my parents liked to take us to restaurants which ran the diaspora of world cultures (and my mom didn't like to cook). But while we went to Malaysian and Korean and Vietnamese restaurants (which was much less hip in the 90's), we mostly ate Indian food. Ironically, when my mom stayed home, and cooked, we ate more in the European tradition with a (bland) vegetable, a (bland) starch and a (bland) meat. But after my father became a vegetarian and my mother went back to work, two meals were (literally) not on the table. So, as opposed to meat and potatoes, we essentially go to eat meat and potatoes in a thick sauce or curry. So, as the mere mention of curry recalls my culinary awakening, I like to use it a lot.

Advieh: Earlier this year, I bought Persia off Amazon. It was a great and beautiful book which exposed me to a type of cuisine with which I was not too familiar. And I was happy to find that Persian food contained its own spice blend... if only for the consistency of such an element among cuisines on the Silk Road. Advieh, much like Chinese five spice and curry, contains cinnamon and cumin, respectively, however, adds the unique element of rose petals which makes it as interesting as it does inconvenient (but worth it ;)).

Taco Seasoning: Tacos are easy and this blend is delicious (on anything). From cauliflower to hummus, taco seasoning is a great, easy and healthy way to add (literal) spice to a dish, thus making it an exemplar of the reason we use spice blends in the first place.

So there you have it, a few blends that add flavor to dishes and perhaps symbolize the new dynamic of the new world order in which we will hopefully blend and complement eachother's uniqueness in one big, happy pot of stew. Whatever, it's (taco) Tuesday.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Basic Beauty

My dad used to tell me that, "every circumstance holds good and bad [elements]." But when I was younger and less prone to abstract thinking, I basically thought he was full of sh*t. However, as I age, I've found his words hold sound meaning as any sage advice would with the addition of maturity. Ergo, while I often find my small paycheck and it's limited applications to be frustrating, there's often a silver lining in the end.

While I've come to understand my father's words as I age, I've also become increasingly like him, meaning that I try to save coin and avoid other's company whenever I can. And while I always thought that my father was a little cheap, it's true that we buy a billion things we don't need. There are those stupid circles we put on the back of our phones and then there are more abstract products which make the promise of happiness down the road. 

Both the beauty and pharmaceutical industries are billion dollar ones and, in a sense, they're not too dissimilar. Both employ chemists who whip up what's not there in nature... be it a bright, red lip color or a stable brain chemistry. And yet both offer products that more or less remedy issues which could otherwise (and cheaply) be stemmed by changes in our diet.

Suffice it to say, my medical "difficulties" range from the rather benign (dandruff/ yucky skin) to the rather severe (which we won't talk about). But I've found that, too an extent, food is the first line of defense in the fight against said maladies. Whereas the beauty (and sometimes medical) industries offer a salve to problems which have already begun, it turns out that (at least in the cosmetic sense), most of these artificial products can simply be avoided when we don't eat artificial food. So I set out to research some foods that might aggravate and/or remedy my ailments and then worked to find some recipes to which they might be applied. Enjoy! 

Clear Skin: When I was in high school, I had bad acne and when I was in college, it went away. But a few quick glances at photos made me cringe at the red complexion left over from the heyday of my youth. I tried to correct it with green powders and antibiotics but nothing worked... pretty much my first indication that most commercial products are some bullshit. And when I began to eat an intentionally healthier diet, I noticed my complexion begin to clear... pretty much my first indication that natural remedies work. And so when conducting a search of, "foods to eat for a clearer complexion," a few stood out:

Nuts (Specifically Brazil and Almonds): Throughout my research, nuts came up a bunch as remedies for a cacophony of issues. Indeed, nuts are high in protein... delivering the nutrient without the added load of hormones that can show up on our skin in the form of acne, redness, etc. And for a few recipes regarding the ingredient, I'll direct you to Mylking It for ways to use it well.  

Stuff High in Antioxidants: When bad things do enter our systems, antioxidants are able to catch such free radicals before they're able to wreak havoc on our skin and other organs. As such, fruits and veggies such as (blue)berries, tomatoes and kale are able to catch such culprits in order to have a positive net effect on our bodies. 

Stuff With (Good) Oils: As stated above, nuts come in handy for a variety of maladies. Most of them contain healthy oils as do sardines and avocado. I'm not sure why but I think the Omega-3's in them also serve as antioxidants, thus, we've come full-circle on this topic. 

Dandruff: As stated above, while my acne began to disappear in college, all the oil from my T-zone seemed to "head up" to my scalp where I've dealt with dandruff for awhile. While I mostly assumed the condition was due to my thick hair which wouldn't let a whole lot of shampoo touch my scalp, I quickly realized it was more likely the product of putting stuff in my body I didn't need which was digested and basically excreted out in other ways. Thus, cutting down on sugar and dairy can help manage your skin "up there" while eating foods like which have Omega-3's like the nuts and avocados featured above (along with peanut butter, eggs and olive oil), can help your cranial region look and feel fab-u-lous.

Anxiety: I used to think I had innate anxiety. Now I've realized that I just get stressed about not doing anything with my life. This being said, I do have a bit of genetic nervousness which has likely been passed down the genealogical tree from time immemorial. Yet I have noticed that when I've changed my diet, my anxiety levels have changed with it. As with dandruff, a healthier diet might not cure the condition, however, I've noticed it definitely helps. In this sense, similar to the remedies for most ailments it seems, foods such as eggs (for their zinc), Brazil nuts (for their selenium) and avocados (for their vitamin-B levels) along with asparagus and cashews and oysters all work to lower anxiety levels. 

So when it comes down to it, nuts, avocados and some fruit and eggs (most often the Cadbury mini ones) have made it into my wheelhouse when I'm not stuffing myself with adult beverages. They're relatively inexpensive and have somewhat alleviated the need for expensive face washes, shampoos and other elements which have the capacity to deal with the aftermath of a gross diet. If we need to eat anyways, we'd might as well eat well. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Bezos

I've never been a huge fan of Jeff Bezos. It really has nothing to do with his business practices (which I'm not too familiar with but seem to work) or his politics (which I'm pretty familiar with and seem to work...well). It's really because he's always looked odd to me... a horrible reason to think poorly of someone and a trait I really must to grow out of. However, in other ways, I've managed to mature over the years.

Hard as it may be to believe, I was a pretty nice kid. And so quotes stating, "any act of kindness, however small, is never wasted" (or any variation thereof), was ironically wasted on me as felt the quality was pretty much on lock. However, as I was never really that brave, my father used to remix the quote on kindness, stating that,"be brave, say what you need to say. You never know how your small act will inspire another." And while I was never big on the kindness quotes, one that I did always like states that, "a candle does not lose its flame by lighting another."

Kindness is a quality that is relatively easy. Perhaps it is innate. While it sometimes takes patience, we pretty much know what we're in for when we do something nice for someone else. But bravery is a different beast. Almost by definition, we don't know what's on the other side of the door we're walking through (or avoiding). And so it is almost through the acts of others that we're able to learn what's on the other side of door number one, or two, or three. And while our own circumstances are always unique, sometimes, it takes that bit of inspiration from someone else in order to take those first and feeble steps. Despite other elements of the Bezos mystique, his recent actions have served as inspiration which fall under the headings of standing up for oneself, going with your gut, etc. While we may not think ourselves kingmakers like Bezos or "kings" like his adversaries, our small actions are always more important than we think and regardless if we're rich or poor, girl or boy, happy or sad... we are always vulnerable to vulnerability. So (enough rambling), while romance is nice, I recommend you think of someone this Valentine's who inspires you in ways that spill beyond a single day and into the rest of the year. Ergo, Mr. Bezos, you can be my Valentine. ;)

It's pink!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Ya Feets (2)

When I was in middle school (and/or jr. high as it was called back in the day), I found myself in the unfortunate position of bringing Converse sneakers to my first day of cross-country tryouts. Looking back, I'm not sure how such a situation happened as I played sports throughout my youth but, needless to say, the fact that I could only run two laps when everyone else could run three paired with some sideways looks from my teammates decidedly turned me off to the brand forever... until I found a cute pair on sale last week. However, as I wear my Converse kicks during the day (and do yoga after wearing them at night), I'm learning that perhaps I was not wrong to blame them exclusively for my poor performance and ridicule on the cross-country "court". As I've noticed that stretching ma feets has become more of an endeavor post purchase, I've confirmed that it was not my cross-country skills but the Converse brand which sucked and set out to find a new pair (or pairs) that would be better for my feets. After conducting some research, I came across not brands so much as types of shoes that are good for your feets. A few finding lie below. Enjoy!


In Health Before Beauty, I made reference (to my own mortification) to a massage received ages ago where I realized that it's not so bad to give our feet some extra attention. As, "it's where we spend most of our time," according to the masseuse in the story, getting a short pedicure (or foot massage) is not so much of a luxury as it is a luxurious necessity. However, if one chooses to drop the luxury entirely, a good pair of shoes is pretty important in maintaining our own health. To this extent, while there are many shoes that are bad for our feets, mmkkayy, there are a few that can treat our feet well (and can even be a little stylish... maybe).

Well fitting sneakers (obvi.): Sneakers are obviously good for your feet... at least ones that fit well. However, in my mind, they're not always the most fashionable item in the store. However, while Nike has always made good shoes for running, they're beginning to turn their attention to more leisure based shoes as well (as it would seem). A few of my favorites to come out recently include...

Blazer leather and ribbed knit trimmed satin sneakers: I bought these shoes and then felt guilty and returned them but in the short time I owned them... I found them to be super comfortable. As high-topped sneakers, the shoes offered solid ankle support but were still easy to slip on and off. Also, the satin sheen on the outside made the kicks a bit fashionable as well. However, if satin a'int yo thang, there are other sneakers in the Blazer collection as well.

Blazer Mid-Vintage Sneakers: Not as fashionable as the ones above, I still regret not buying these sneakers last year before the high-tops became the trend (a situation which likely led to me eyeing the sneakers above in the first place). Anyways, wrapped in velvet, the mid vintage sneaker gives more of a 70's feel but is still just as comfortable and well made as any other Nike shoe. However, if you're going for a more futuristic look...

Air Force 1 Sage High Platform Sneaker: When I wasn't sure whether I wanted to buy the satin sneakers above, I came across the Air Force 1's. Written up as, "bold and irreverent" I was intrigued by the playful sense of fashion they could provide... until I realized I might look like an asshole.

Wedges: In preparation for this post, I found, much to my dismay, that ballet flats are not too good for your feet. While I thought that the lack of a heel would be directly proportional to the health of a shoe, I found that it's good to have a balance (in heel height). To this extent, I read that a wedge was a generally beneficial shoe, providing the cushioning of a thick sole with with an less extreme heel. And in this sense... I've always found J. Crew's Seville Espadrille to be a sensible choice... in terms of both fashion and comfort.

So there you have it. A few shoes to get you through work (and possibly the winter). Even if you choose to wear sexier, more stylish and less sensible shoes... be sure to take care of your feet. Stretch, get them worked out, etc. We only have one (pair).

Monday, January 7, 2019

Serenity. Now!

My father once commented that, "you and your brother were super-easy to raise during your teenage years," a comment which I found quite surprising as he always seemed to be mad about something during those times. My twenties (and early thirties) however, have been another story. Perhaps nervous about making my father more upset than he needed to be in my youth, my heyday of "whatthehellamIdoing" crossed with a gross negligence for time management came at a time when I was out of the house and therefore outside the realm of my parents full concern. And while I always felt I would land on my feet, day to day, I would often freak out about where I was going (in the long and short term), what I was doing (in the long and short term) and generally being an asshole to most people because I was scared of not knowing. But, as people do, I'm beginning to settle down... not so much in the typical sense with a family and kids but, as a bit of an introvert, I'm beginning to settle into my inner world where I generally spend most of my time n-e-wayz. And as the other worries I once had begin to evaporate, I'm left with a greater amount of energy to appreciate the smaller and simpler things in life... something that I've missed out on for awhile. 

In a post I will ONE DAY publish (it's taking me awhile) I'll reference the phrase, "as within, so without." In my mind, what goes on within us, be it biological or emotional is often reflected in our outer states. In this regard, as my mind calms down, I've noticed things become a bit calmer around me... a circumstance which has ended with a few more plants in my room. So, to make a calmer space, I suggest the following elements. Enjoy!


Aloe: Plants generally seemed to be owned by people who are less stressed. Maybe it's a bond with nature or maybe it's the fact that plants in one's space are shown to lead to happiness but, suffice it to say, I didn't have plants in my space for awhile... which left me at a loss as to how to care for them. Enter, aloe. A hearty plant with many medicinal uses, aloe is pretty easy (and cheap) to keep. As a succulent, aloe plants need to be watered about every three weeks. Throw in some sunlight and a stable room temperature and you've got a friend for life so it seems. 

Lilies: Having been stabilized by succulents, I've begun moving into flowers... a category of plants more delicate but will die anyways... leaving them a little lower maintenance than your regular household plant. As stated before, with the slight evaporation of stress on my life, I've been left with a slightly greater awareness of my senses. This means I've begun to enjoy some new smells and sounds and at least flowers take care of the former. In this regard, I've begun to pick up lilies at the store as they're sold in a "budget bunch." Lending a somewhat strong scent to one's environment, lilies are best placed in a wide opened space and bought before full bloom. Just don't give them to a friend as they represent death.

Water Fountain: Back when I was in high school, my father had set up a space devoted to his meditation practice. There were Buddhist statues and paintings and I noticed that my friends would often wander in much to my mortification. But one thing he had in there that I did enjoy was a small water fountain. You could plug it in and the water would runeth over small rocks... making a peaceful sound and thereby environment. And as I've noticed a need for more calm in my life, I've thought about purchasing a small fountain and sitting back like I did in the day and just relaxing. If you're in the market for a fountain, a few good ones reside here. Or, if you want to sit back and kick it old-school, there's always music...

Electric Relaxation.