LIVING / WELLNESS

FLORA & FAUNA…. (or, how nature healed my broken heart)

02.12.19

It’s no secret to all that I have an (un)healthy obsession with plants and flowers. Without fail, I can be found every few days on my porch in Venice, watering and tending to my plants and herbs, and rearranging the flowers in my home. It is the single most important habit that I have cultivated that helps me unwind, and brings me the greatest joy.

When I first started my “patio project” 2 years ago, it was actually out of a need for privacy. My apartment is located in a busy area with a lot of pedestrian traffic, and while it is mostly neighbors out for a run or walking their dogs, I still felt the need to create a bit of barrier so that I could sit freely on my patio without strangers watching me eat or listening to my phone calls. I often walked by a local business called Venice Plants on my morning coffee run to FlowerBoy on Lincoln Blvd (also my go to spot for flowers for my home), and one day I spotted some beautiful bougainvillea trellises that I knew would be a perfect border between my porch and the public. Upon further exploration, I also found a jasmine trellis, and decided to do a combination instead. It was the perfect solution. On Mondays and Tuesdays when I focused on Highbrow Hippie and often conducted multiple phone calls with Myka, I found myself happily working away at my vintage Trina Turk picnic table, surrounded by the various blooming vines. It was bliss.

Then, as everyone now knows, one day we were blindsided and things completely fell apart with our investor, and the weekly calls I conducted from my happy place building my dreams, turned into stressed out sessions with lawyers, filled with tears. Some days I just sat outside in silence, trying to wrap my head around what happened, only soothed by the scent of my jasmine and the sound of the wind chimes that hung from the trellis. Surrounded by beauty, I was at my absolute lowest point. To think about those days now, makes my eyes instantly fill with tears.

Throughout that time, I started to really amp up my focus on arranging flowers for my home. It was almost like my body and soul knew that I HAD to focus on creating something beautiful in order to aid my healing process. My socializing tapered off, and I spent money instead on flowers and plants of all kinds. I happily became a crazy plant and flower lady. Some weeks I explored working with just one color palette. Other weeks I combined different scent profiles. I played, and I explored, and I created a routine that gave me a bright moment of joy to look forward to every week. It was a way to pass the time while Myka and I tried to pick the pieces up and move on with our dreams for the business, and it slowly but surely started to heal my broken and traumatized heart.

When spring of last year came, I decided to up the ante a bit and dedicate a few months to focus on adding an herb garden and reading nook to my now already beloved patio. I thought of items that I loved to consume and use a lot in cooking and my daily life, and before long, again with help from the team at Venice Plants, I had a beautiful herb garden consisting of mint, basil, white sage, Thai basil, mini peppers, rosemary and edible flowers. I used these items not only to nourish my body, but as part of my meditation and New and Full Moon rituals. My little patio garden became far and away my favorite place to chill when I returned home from a day at the salon. Whether tucked in the corner with a book, arranging weekly flowers, or seated with friends enjoying a cocktail (or 3;)), it was a place I always looked forward to.

One day recently while sitting outside I suddenly looked up and around and took it all in. I sat in amazement at the special haven I built with my own two hands. I made it through hell, and I did it by creating a little slice of heaven. My oasis of flora and fauna. And then I got very still, and I checked in with my heart. It was happy.

AN IMPORTANT NOTE…

Two days ago I was informed of a petition that was circulating to help keep Venice Plants open. The word on the street is that Trader Joe’s is rumored to be demolishing the Fox building on Lincoln Blvd where Venice Plants resides. This news made my heart sink, and I hope it isn’t true. Venice Plants is an institution. Anyone that has shopped there and has worked with Dustin and his wife and sons know what a huge part of the Venice community they are. They have been here over 30 years and it would be devastating to think of Venice without them here. Please sign the petition below to help save Venice Plants and get the word out. It’s the least we can do to help this local business that has brought so much, to so many.

Many thanks

-Kadi

https://www.change.org/p/everyone-in-venice-let-venice-plants-stay

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LIVING

SIMPLE NEW MOON RITUAL

02.05.19

The moon is such a powerful presence in our lives, pulling on the oceans tides and creating a rhythm of life for all of us. There was a time when we were deeply connected to these rhythms, but, over time, technology and our modern culture has separated us from those celestial vibes. Aligning yourself with the cycles of nature as a practice can be a transformative and tapping into the energy phases of the moon is a good place to start. 

A new moon is the perfect time for reflection and intention setting. She brings with her the opportunity to explore creativity as she is dark and “empty” – fertile ground for new seeds of intention.

If you are a beginner to practicing any sort of ritual don’t be put off. If you are all “WTF is a new moon?” then I got you too. Click here to read a primer and then come back. We’ll wait, I promise.

This ritual is simple, easy and most of all effective. 

On the day of a New Moon schedule 30-45 minutes to devote to this practice. I prefer to do my moon rituals at night to fully capture the moons energy. If the weather is nice, it’s preferable to be outside. 

Find a quiet space where you will not be disturbed. 

Gather a notebook, a small glass of water, a white candle and a pen. 

Take a moment to get clarity on why you are doing this. What are your intentions for the next 29 days? There are no wrong answers here – it could be to be more compassionate, or to lose 5 lbs. Whatever it is, make sure it’s about you. Open up to your hearts desire and feel it in your body. 

Once you are clear on your intention, write it down. Keep writing it until you feel energized, excited and maybe a bit scared after reading it. You’ll know when it’s right – you will feel it in your body. 

Make sure it includes:

      • Who or what you wish to release or is no longer welcome in your life
      • Who or what you would like to bring in or welcome into your life

Once you have set your intention, it’s important to clear yourself and your space by burning a clearing incense or herb. I prefer palo santo or white sage.  Make sure that the space has an open window or door.

Once you have lit your smudge stick (or loose plants/herbs) blow it out and invite the smoke to envelop your body starting at your feet and ending at your head. 

While you are clearing yourself you can recite the following smudging prayer which I adopted from Deepak Chopra:

May my hands be cleansed, that they create beautiful things.

May my feet be cleansed, that they might take me where I most need to be.

May my heart be cleansed, that I might hear its messages clearly.

May my throat be cleansed, that I might speak rightly when words are needed.

May my eyes be cleansed, that I might see the signs and wonders of the world.

May this person and space be washed clean by the smoke of these fragrant plants.

And may that same smoke carry my prayers, spiraling, to the heavens.

Smudge the rest of the space. Go to the open window or door and fan the stagnant energy out of the room. 

Take a seat facing North. Place the glass of water and the candle in front of you. Light the candle. If you work with crystals, now is a great time to incorporate them. 

Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Make you inhale the same length as your exhale. Connect to an image of white light.

Recite your intention. Notice how it feels in your body. Imagine how it will feel once whatever you put out into the world comes back to you. See it as already having happened and feel the outcome.

Continue to sit quietly, focusing on your intention and the feeling it will bring you. After a few minutes gently open your eyes.

Know that the simple act of gaining clarity around your intentions, creating space to honor them and them sending them out into the Universe is enough and detach from the outcome.

Keep your intention close by and look at it daily to remind yourself of what you are working towards. If things come up that don’t support that intention, acknowledge them, know they are teaching tools and stay focused. Aligning with your intention is the easiest way to attract what you want into your life and connecting that energy with the energy of the moon is a great magnifier. 

Take the time each month to honor the New Moon, taking note of your intentions and seeing how things progress. Soon it will become a habit and over time, iyou will notice a shift in your body as you become more connected to the cycles of nature.

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LIVING

new year, same me

01.22.19

I have never really understood the “New Year, New Me” mantra. I mean, just because we’re starting a new year does that suddenly mean that you aren’t who you are anymore?

Just because you have decided to go to bed earlier/drink more water/spend more time outdoors/stop staring at your screen before bed doesn’t make you a new person. It’s still you, just with different habits, different intentions and possibly a different jean size. 

Here’s the thing – I don’t want to be new. I want to be worn in a bit, be flexible and have a little patina if you will. Most things that are new aren’t that great anyway. Think about it – a new puppy (carpet stains, chewed heels) , a new relationship (overthinking, overanalyzing) new shoes… Anyone else worn a new pair of shoes to an event only to regret it later? My Mom told me to always break in a new pair of heels around the house before wearing them out but did I listen? Noooooooo….

But you see, that was the old me. Even just saying old me sounds better, more like a favorite cashmere sweater that despite its hole on the sleeve and pilling that you scrape away each year, keeps you warm and feels great. But this year, I’m wearing it with a different pair of jeans – hell maybe even a skirt. Not new, just different. 

The new me says “Eliminate gluten! Pasta is overrated!” 

The old me says “Really, Myka? Rice pasta is NOT the same” 

The new me says “Going to bed at 9:00 is the key to success” The old me knows that unless Harris is fast asleep by 7:30, there is no way I can be in bed by 9. 

So I wind up with a mix of both, no gluten at home but when I’m out I will eat as I please. Sometimes I make it to bed at 9, sometimes I’m up until midnight. Not New Myka, but different. You see, the Old Me balances out the New Me. Because Old Me knows things that New Me might forget. Old Me knows that nothing is new, they are merely a conglomeration of existing things brought together and looked at in a new way.

Taking the old parts of me that I love, saying goodbye to others and trying on some new parts for size. If they fit – great, they stay, but if I have to slide them off under the table during dinner? Then the old ones need to stay. Because a New Year isn’t about a New You, it’s about new intentions, new habits and new perspectives. All because the Old You recognized that sometimes, something new is necessary. 

This year my theme for myself is Simplicity. I do my intention setting on my birthday, so at this point I’m 6 months in. I have integrated it into every part of my life through ritual, reflection and intention. Taking things down to their most basic element and enjoying the simple practice of less is more. I remind myself of this theme on my yoga mat in the mornings, when parenting, while eating and preparing food, building a business with Kadi and gearing up for a move to the West coast. 

6 months in I’m feeling extremely peaceful, grounded and acutely aware that the things that truly matter are usually the simplest ones. Just like that perfectly worn in cashmere sweater. 

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LIVING

Golden Hour

01.14.19

It’s been no secret that I’m loving warm tones in hair color lately. Honey, gold, whatever your description, I just can’t get enough. As I’ve stated before on the blog, our hair is a color wheel, with all the naturally occurring colors of the rainbow waiting to be revealed. The one thing that most of us have in common, no matter whether our starting point is darkest brown or blonde, is warmth. Warm tones are universally flattering, yet we spend a lot of time in the salon fighting against them. To me, it’s maddening. Even more frustrating, with Instagram, (and the filter that some employ to hide the hair’s natural warmth, clients often arrive to the salon requesting ashy, almost gray shades of blonde, devoid of any remaining warmth.

Some, afraid to disappoint, will spend hours stripping and toning the hair, instead of standing firm and explaining to the client that the toner used will, a) eventually wash out, and b) the process is doing irreparable damage that no amount of bonder will reverse. In the end, I blame social media really. Added hair pieces that give the illusion of almost silver/super ashy strands, put other colorists at a severe disadvantage when clients arrive with those inspiration photos in tow.

Meanwhile, they are all missing out on a “golden opportunity”. One of the best parts of embracing the warmth, is the natural grow out process. When hair is stripped or lifted to an unnatural color, or a color that your hair doesn’t want to naturally do, the upkeep is constant. Toners fade, and to maintain continuity, trips every four weeks to the salon are required. On the other hand, embracing the warmth allows a much softer grow out, as natural tones still remain in the hair, and don’t appear jarring as ones roots begin to grow in. My clients who choose warmer tones can easily stretch the time between appointments to double, or even triple, the amount of time.

Now, to play devils advocate, there is definitely a slippery slope when gold can veer into some scary territory. Think orange and/or brassy. While I never try to lift highlights too light when my aim is gold, because I know that hair naturally oxidizes no matter the precaution taken, I try to go just a bit lighter than my target (about half a shade) and then whatever target gloss or toner I use is then more of an enhancer, than a fix. This also helps to prevent the brassiness from occurring since I’ve made it to a point to go slightly lighter and break through it.

Another factor that has significantly changed the way I approach all my highlighting and balayage, is the discovery of a new product called “ColorKick” by Virtue Labs. I was given it late last year to try, and I have to say I was blown away at the difference in my clients’ color, especially my golden blondes. What is ColorKick exactly? Made with Alpha Keratin 60ku, a proprietary ingredient that is a part of all VirtueLabs products, it is the first-ever hair filler made from 100% pure, human keratin. What looks like delicate flakes of gold is mixed right into color or bleach, and it essentially replaces the cuticle of the hair. Think of a rocky, bumpy road being paved smooth. As a filler (NOT a bonder), it helps to replace lost keratin through the coloring process. Basically, it’s not a band-aid, it’s really doing permanent reparative work. You guys, basically it’s next level.

How does this translate to better hair color? Well, hair that’s been colored has usually lost a bit of its natural shine as a result of the chemical treatment. With ColorKick, because the cuticle is now way smoother, the shine and reflection of the color is dialed way up. Before, I used to proceed with maximum caution (that will never really change), but my mind really became convinced and more at ease after I had a major color correction from brown to blonde that had to be done in one day, and my client’s hair actually felt healthier and looked shinier AFTER we were done. It can also be mixed into hair masks and processes with heat for an ultimate shine treatment.

What a pleasant surprise to discover a product that truly enhances an already favorite shade of mine. The only downside is that it is a bit pricey. I’m currently exploring ways that I can incorporate this product into more, if not most of my color treatments. Once the mathematics of it all are done (I am at the end of the day an independent contractor running a business!) I’ll pass on to clients how this can be added onto their color services. Stay tuned, and stay golden!

All hair color pictured – Kadi Lee

(Note: this post is NOT sponsored in any way, and all opinions expressed are just that, an opinion;))

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LIVING

THE LIGHTNESS OF BEING

11.29.18

Back in Summer of 2015 with a baby on the way and an upcoming home renovation, I started getting rid of everything unnecessary in my life. With a changing body and a changing home, I felt the need to create space for what was next and in my typical fashion that started with my surroundings.

Let me preface this by saying I am not a person who has a lot of things. I have moved 12 times since I was 18 with 1/3 of those moves being back and forth to Europe. I have learned to travel lightly. However, even with my editing, I still felt as though I had more than I needed, and I didn’t want anything that I didn’t use. In retrospect, it was a natural part of my spiritual journey.

Relieving myself of things in order to create space for additional clarity, grounding and focus. In addition, as an environmentalist, I feel like the acquisition of things is a temporary fix, and at the end of the day just more stuff to add to the ever expanding piles of trash that pollute the planet. The U.S. is the #1 trash-producing country in the world at 1,609 pounds per person per year. This means that 5% of the world’s people generate 40% of the world’s waste. That’s insane to me and seems extraordinarily short sighted.

It’s why I shop vintage, don’t use paper towels or cleaning wipes in my home, hate the waste created by take out, always carry my own water bottle and used cloth diapers, but that’s another post.

Beyond the obvious reasons to live lightly there was a more practical reason. We were living in a loft with a baby where the only room with a door was the bathroom. A friend told me about Marie Kondo’s Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and I quickly got to work following her method of touching each and every object to see if it brought me joy. I really tuned in; quickly discarding the things that didn’t spark a reaction and soon was left with about 50% of my wardrobe. As a spirit seeker and general vibey person, her energetic approach to organizing really resonated with me and I followed her directions to a T.

When we moved into our house (that was supposed to be an Airbnb)  we were all prepped to move to LA so put the bulk of our belongings into storage. One year later (after an unexpected hiccup in our plan), we have learned to live without all that is in storage leaving me to wonder why we needed it in the first place.

3 years after applying her methods, I continue to live with less and surround myself only with things that bring me joy. This practice has opened my eyes to the fact that I don’t care about clothes as much as I thought and prefer to spend my money on vintage furniture, beauty and wellness treatments, books, herbalism classes, travel and food. The Universe continues to support my plan. When my car was stolen I had my wedding china in the back because it wasn’t bringing me joy and I wanted to sell it. Wasn’t quite the way I thought it would happen, but the china is gone (maybe they used it for Thanksgiving!), the car is back and I got a check so I guess I’m on the right path. I got what I asked for, just in a different package.

As we roll into the Holidays, I am being super mindful of the sprit of the season and  focusing on activities and experiences that bring me joy. As the mother of a toddler who is just starting understand Christmas, it’s important to me that I create and share rituals with him. I want him to know that this time of year is to be savored and entered into with ease and gratitude; not stress, expectation and overwhelm. We can choose. It’s time to slow down, spend time with loved ones, help others in need and build energy for the next season. Fortunately it’s a pretty easy call in my family as we stopped giving each other presents years ago and instead go on a big family vacation for a week in January.

Best. Present. Ever.

This month we will officially welcome Winter which for me is always a time of introspection and quiet. Short days and long nights are natures signals to us to rest, but most of us spend the Holidays running around like a crazy; trying to get all the shopping/decorating/cooking/traveling/partying done.

Now I’m not saying slowing down is easy, we all have busy lives, but pay attention to what is happening around you. I was feeding into the stress and overwhelm of life a few weeks ago when one of my properties sprung a leak, my refrigerator stopped working and a chair that I sourced for a patio redesign project arrived damaged all in the same week. Instead of just ticking things off my list as  planned, I was ground to a screeching halt having to shift my focus to mundane, but necessary tasks, forcing me to slow down. Which in turn is exactly what I needed because sometimes I need to be reminded. Life is a long game and I, for one, have zero interest in being burned out. I want to enjoy each moment, knowing that that’s all we were really have.

This year I invite you to focus more on being rather than doing. On giving. On saying no when you when you need to. Or want to. Take time off. Rest. The Holiday season will be so much more enjoyable and so will you!

M.

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