In the search for natural or clean beauty products – Deodorant

A couple of years ago, I started looking into having a cleaner diet. It’s not that I was eating badly, I always ate lots of fruits and vegetables, I just wanted to really know what type of ingredients I was consuming. I would do research on what food brands are better, green, organic, etc. You must know by now I’m all into food and beverage, and if I can eat cleaner, even if I have that one (or two) cheat days, the better I feel. I’ve been looking into doing the same type of search for beauty products, but seemed to never have the time. During quarantine I though, there’s no better time than now!

It seems that going natural or clean has been all the craze lately. There are so many labels out there that it gets confusing to choose the right product. I found this interesting article from Harper’s Bazaar that has short explanations for what clean, green, organic, vegan, etc products actually mean. Knowing this it’s a good way to start. https://www.harpersbazaar.com/beauty/skin-care/a28352553/clean-beauty/

During my research on natural or clean products I was currently using, I found out in some instances it was not really the case. Just because a product’s labels itself as clean or natural or organic or green, or etc etc etc, it doesn’t mean it actually is. Even brands sold at so-called organic stores may not be as organic/natural/clean/or whatever other label there is, as you may think. This is due to the fact that the clean product label is self-regulated and there’s a lot of variations of what qualifies as a clean product. The label natural is used for products that are made with ingredients found in nature, not synthetics nor chemicals. And the clean label is used for products that are eco-friendly and sustainable, but can be made using safe natural or synthetic materials. Some of the ingredients that should be avoided for clean beauty are: parabens, aluminum, phthalates, ethoxylated agents, formaldehyde, refined petroleum, hydroquinone, talc, triclosan, silica. But just because you may see that a product does not contain some of these ingredients it does not make it natural or clean (Did I mention how confusing this is!)

Another thing I discovered is where beauty products are actually made. I was using a clean make-up brand that used to be made in the United States, but was sold to a big international cosmetics brand a couple of years ago, and it’s now made in China. If you prefer to support the nationally-made brands, it’s always best to do some research before you buy. In the beauty industry, small companies are often bought by big corporations. Sometimes they keep on making the products nationally, but they may also take them internationally and you, as a consumer, wouldn’t be aware of this change.

I’m still looking for my favorite brands in a lot of products, specially because I haven’t decided if I want to go the natural or the clean route. As you can see this is a work in progress because going natural is not always the best choice, and going clean may not be 100% natural. Plus all the other variations mentioned in the article above. For this post I want to focus on deodorant. When you decide to switch to a natural or clean deodorant, it may take time to find the right one. If you need to try many, it may get frustrating at times, as some of these deodorants are not cheap. And then, like me, you end up with a collection of deodorants that you don’t really like. Also, a deodorant that is good for your friend may not be good for you. It all depends on your skin’s pH level. I would like to leave a little disclaimer here, all the deodorants that I tried are good products, I wanted to find the best one for me.

And my number one pick is (insert drumroll here) … Schmidt’s Charcoal + Magnesium. Schmidt is a natural brand that sells quite a range of aluminum-free deodorants. Most deodorants in the market contain aluminum salts. These antiperspirants work to form plugs within sweat ducts to temporarily prevent sweat from reaching the surface of the skin. Remember that sweating is good for the body, you don’t want to cover the sweat glands, you just want to neutralize odor; which this deodorant does beautifully. No odor at all, even after 8 hours of running around managing a restaurant or after a workout! Schmidt’s deodorants are not antiperspirants and therefore don’t contain any added aluminum, instead using natural plant powders or minerals like magnesium hydroxide and sodium bicarbonate to help keep you fresh. And as their website suggests, this deodorant does smell like recently fallen rain.

My fave!

Runner-up: Native Lavender and Rose. Others I tried (in no particular order): type A White Floral Linen, Native Vanilla, Native Cucumber, Schmidt’s Sage + Vetiver, Toms Fresh Coconut, Toms Lavender, Love Beauty and Planet Butter and Rose.

As this is a work in progress, I would love to hear your suggestions on this subject and any recommendations of your favorite deodorant or any beauty products, specially make-up, will be greatly appreciated. I’m looking for products that are easily accessible and preferably ones that do not require a subscription or one specific website and that are not uber expensive. Please leave a comment below!

xoxo Elisa

Pumpkin Spice Enzyme Mask

It’s fall everyone, and everything pumpkin is in season. I enjoy all things pumpkin. Pumpkin spice latte, pumpkin-flavored pancakes, pumpkin ice cream, and a really good pumpkin enzyme mask. Here is a recipe for a pumpkin enzyme mask that is sure to leave you glowing! 

Here’s what you need: 

¼ cup of pumpkin puree

1 tbsp of greek yogurt. 

1 tbsp of raw honey 

¼ tsp of cinnamon (optional) 

Use half of a small pumpkin cut into cubes. Steam the pumpkin until it’s soft. Blend all ingredients together and it’s ready for use. If you have sensitive skin leave out the cinnamon. The cinnamon works great at plumping your skin because it promotes blood circulation. Once applied, leave on for 20 min. Rinse off with warm water. 

Benefits of the ingredients: 

Pumpkin is filled with vitamin A which is great for stimulating collagen while the pumpkin enzyme helps to exfoliate the top layer of your skin. 

Greek yogurt has lactic acid which also aids with exfoliation and is super hydrating. Raw honey is antibacterial and it helps heal breakouts while leaving your skin hydrated. 

After removing the mask apply your favorite moisturizer or your VilOt skin balm. Your skin will have a beautiful glow and feel hydrated and supple. Any leftover mask can be refrigerated for 1-2 weeks. Please leave a comment if you enjoyed the pumpkin enzyme mask. If you have your own recipe please feel free to share. I’d love to give it a try. 

Enjoy pumpkin lovers, 

Tasha

Vi Peel Part 2

Hello everyone,

I have completed my summer travels and couldn’t wait to book the appointment with Lavender Skin Bar for my second Vi Peel. Upon arrival, I was greeted promptly and escorted into the facial room. Being that this was my second treatment I knew what to expect. My skin was cleansed and prepped then the Vi Peel was applied. I didn’t notice any tingling this time around. I was sent home after 30 minutes with my own personal post-peel package that came along with home instructions. The esthetician asked me to wash my face after 4 hours with the cleanser that was in the kit.

I noticed a few differences between the first Vi Peel and my most recent treatment. My skin showed significant signs of peeling on the 2nd day around my mouth, chin, and the area right below my eyes. By day 4 most of the skin around my mouth and chin had peeled while the skin on my forehead appeared to be darker (which is completely normal). On the 5th day, the middle of my face revealed new skin but as you can see in the pics I still had a little ways to go. I do not advise going out in public on this day. The looks and reactions of others were comical. Just between us, it was difficult for me to keep a straight face without laughing.

By day 7 the peeling process was over and my skin looked amazing. Acne scars were noticeably lighter and the hyperpigmented areas on my forehead had lightened as well. Overall I am pleased with the results and I can’t wait for the next Vi Peel. Each day I cleansed my face morning and night. Post protection cream was applied as needed. The soothe moisturizing effect really helped with the itching. Before heading out every morning SPF50 was applied. It was applied again in the afternoon.

I had to pause using my beloved Vilot for about 8 days during this healing time and used only what was given to me in the kit.

In about four weeks I will call the Lavender Skin Bar and schedule the third Vi Peel. This would conclude my series of treatments. So far I’m enjoying the results. In order to maintain my more even toned skin I’ll be using the Vilot face balm and Vi Peel SPF50 daily.

I can’t wait to see the end results thank you for joining me throughout this process. 

See ya soon! 

Tasha

The Boho Rockstar

Megan is a singer/songwriter, fire dancer, model, wedding designer – phewee!

Any other talents I’ve missed? Music therapist – but that’s on the side.

You’re actively doing all the above? Yes. The fire dancing I haven’t been performing so much because there hasn’t been many events happening or music videos. The next time I perform fire it will probably be for my own music video, which was supposed to be shot and finished by now but everything got pushed back because of Covid. Then it became too hot, it’s a Western and I’ll be riding a horse. It’s just too hot to have the horse out day after day, we’re just waiting until it cools down.

Out of all your talents which brings you the most joy? That’s hard to answer. The music is number one, the music I’m writing now for the new album is finally progressing. All the songs tell my journey, the way I have written the songs, the way that my voice has developed. It has stepped up a notch and I am excited about this. My songs are inspirational and hope, it brings courage and inspiration to other people. So that brings me a lot of joy. The wedding design also. I have 2 parts of me, one that loves the rock & roll, the everything dark & skulls and the other loves the weddings and designing. I had a good time designing my website and setting up these photo shoots. Designing for brides also gives me so much joy. So I guess they equally bring me joy!

What style is your music? What’s your music background? What’s your current inspiration? My style of music is rock music but it’s a little like electro rock, I like a lot of synth sounds, but I’m bringing back a lot of guitar solos. I have an awesome guitar player and I bring back harmonies and trying to add depth to rock and roll like how it used to be in the 90’s but bringing it kind of modern. My favorite band is ‘Muse‘ from the UK, they’ve been together since the 90’s and they’re very rock but electro rock, a lot of synth sounds, a lot of wailing guitars and I get a lot of inspiration from them. As far as inspiration for my lyrics, I’ve just been kind of telling my story, telling my journey, telling how I came from a really dark place and how I got out of it and how my life is now and hoping to write these songs that can inspire other people to make changes in their lives and start to live a more positive, happy, fulfilling life.

What is the name of your band? I’ve been going by Morrison. After my last band, I decided I wanted to be a solo artist and then just have the band with me, so I have had the same band members since the beginning but as an artist I’m a solo artist not a band and I’m actually going through a name change right now because I’ve been releasing electronic music as ‘Megan Morrison‘ and the rock music as ‘Morrison‘ and it just doesn’t make sense. I want ‘Morrison‘ just be the strong artist name but the more I’ve grown into my music and myself, I realize it’s more personal and just like ‘Megan Morrison‘ to be my true self, I think that’s how I want to release all music. I’m kind of going through a rebranding right now with new photos, new bio, new everything, so when the album comes out it’s going to be a whole fresh kind of thing. Right now you’ll find my music under ‘Morrison‘ and you’ll find the two singles I have released under rock and then under ‘Megan Morrison‘ you’ll find the electronic music that I have and I have both coming out, more rock and electronic so I wanted to put it all together in one place, one artist name.

How did you get into wedding detailing side of things? I’ve been calling it wedding design and decor or wedding styling and then also interior styling and decor. How this all started was, I started making these giant dream catchers and I printed out little business cards and I made one for fun, a big one, out of a hula hoop and I posted a picture online and someone said “Oh my gosh, I want to buy that. How much?” So I’m like “I don’t know, maybe $150?” and she was like “oh my God yes!” so I shipped it to New York and then more people were asking about them, these are pretty time consuming, I’m going to have to charge a little bit more than $150 so then I just started getting orders. I started making them on my free time and put them up for sale. Then I started vending at Miami Flee and different places and word kind of spread and I was actually vending them outside the night club that I worked at and so it became this fun little side thing so I’m thinking, maybe I’ll turn this into a little business. I always wanted to learn macrame, so I made two little macrame wall hangings. This is fun I thought. The third thing I made was a huge, big backdrop and I found a tutorial online and there were certain parts I liked about it and certain parts I didn’t, so I kind of modified it but I’m still learning and figuring out, I mean I learned the basic knots, so I did that and then I started putting this stuff up online and I decided to join The Knot, (the wedding website), and a little bit of interest started and then I started to get some orders and decided “Okay maybe I should turn this into an actual business” so I start doing it legally because I’m just kind of selling them on the side so I opened my official music business last year, Morrison Music Incorporated, to release all my music and pay for the studio time and to have all that be official so then in the beginning of this year, I started the fictitious name ‘Nine Lives Designs’ underneath Megan Morrison Music and made it an official business and then just started doing this macrame and decided I wanted to try doing weddings so the beginning of Covid, I spent a solid month building the website and slowly getting photos and I set up a styled wedding shoot. I actually got booked to do this backyard wedding, which was the first thing and then from there buzz started to collect and I started to post everything on Pinterest and now all of a sudden my shop is getting all these views and some weeks I’m getting 10 orders and some weeks I’m getting 2, now I’m getting wedding inquiries every week on The Knot and Wedding Wire. I went up to Fort Lauderdale to look at a venue for a bride in March so it all just kinda fell into it and in the beginning of Covid when the stores started to open again I had to figure out how to do this better, so I’m Googling all kinds of stuff and I found all these wholesale stores, so I went and I created accounts at all of them and started finding little you know pieces, like the tall cylinder vases and things that are popular in weddings right now and started taking photos of them and adding them and saying we offer them, so now I’m doing a wedding in December and I ordered all these big gold lanterns and now like stuff is starting to pile up. My dream is to convert a little shipping container in the backyard to be my little design studio but right now we just have a little shed. So right now my music studio is also becoming my warehouse and boxes are piling up. Now everything is permanently setup in this like wooden kinda arch I built for the macrame making, but its right next to my computer where I make my music. Rope is expensive and it has almost doubled in price since Covid, its gotten a lot more expensive, so I’ve had to raise my prices a little bit and it’s very time consuming so I’ve been making these little pieces. I’ve been getting orders for 20 of them and those are good because I can literally sit on the couch and after I get home I make them. I know not to stress myself out, I put shipping time two to three weeks so I have plenty of time.

Do you have any online/social media people that you like? There’s Emily Faith that I like for macrame, she’s good and she’s funny. I find @justinablakeney from @thejungalow and Hugette from @disfunksionmag entertaining and inspiring women. It’s all been like a learning experience and especially with the wedding stuff. Google has been my best friend, just figuring out, like this girl for the wedding I’m doing in December, she wanted these gauze table runners in this like rust color like a very fall themed bohemian like I’m doing these bohemian rugs for her, for the ceremony, and then she wanted this kind of rust colored gauze, and I’m looking at it on Etsy and for the amount she wanted was $300 so I’m like “Wait a second let me look”, I found it’s made out of cheesecloth, then I Googled how they do this, it can be dyed, so then I found the RIT dye color chart to match, to mix different dyes to get this color, so I ordered the dye, found a different grades of cheesecloth so that was like another hour of Googling which grade of cheesecloth and then I found a roll of cheesecloth for, I think I got it for $80 and then I spent $25 on the dyes so all in all, a little over $100 for what would’ve cost $300, now I’m going to be dying yards and yards of cheesecloth but its all been a learning experience. What can I learn and how to make myself, and to me that’s how I’ve always been ever since I was little kid. I loved figuring things out and being creative, just making stuff, it just makes me happy and then that’s why I think that I love making my music but sometimes just that isn’t enough. I can’t really see the music that’s why I love the videos, making the music videos so much, to be able to actually make a craft and a product you can hold in you hand, that’s very, it gives me a lot of satisfaction. I like to challenge myself, “Okay I can do this, I can figure this out!” I was going into doing my first wedding, I got lucky that it was a very small wedding but it was like “Alright I’m kind of winging this but I made it through and she was happy”. She wanted these stormtroopers and that was so cool, pandemic backyard wedding with stormtroopers, why not? I’ve been wanting to submit that, the photos to wedding blogs and other platforms because it was so unique and a great idea for a small unique wedding.

What been your most rewarding moment? Ooohh, I think now what’s been really rewarding is getting to bring my music into the treatment center I’ve been working in and being able to bring awareness and hope to people that are struggling and I’ve had a bunch of people, and I’ve always opened up about my addiction on social media, people started to reach out to me, even like other artists and be like “I’ve been struggling” and when I’ve been able to open up about it and start helping other people through my music, that was really rewarding and it kind of gave me a purpose like “Okay, I think this is what I’m meant to do, this is the direction I’m meant to go in with my music”, like I decided that I wanted to be really open about it and not keep it a secret and that was scary but then once I did it and I saw how many people it was effecting and helping, it was like “Okay, I made the right decision”, so that’s been really rewarding. You know my past, I really struggled without it and I really struggled with self love and now that I’m able to love and appreciate myself, I wanna pass that on to other people and I want to help these people who are really struggling and I think the best way to do it, is through my music and I really look forward to releasing this album and telling my story and having these songs like the last song on the album ends with this big gospel choir and it’s just this really, like the album starts very kind of dark and very me and very rock and roll and then it just ends in this feel good like gospel choir song that’s like really just like gives you hope when you listen to it and I want to leave people feeling positive about their lives. This is the first time ever I’m releasing music and not putting a date on it because that’s just too much, too much pressure and then I’m never completely satisfied with the final product so I’m just letting it happen. It was supposed to be released last year but I’m glad it wasn’t because I’ve progressed and my voice has changed and just the content has changed and its really starting to sound like me.

What is your goal for the five year mark, like five years from now? Five years from now I would like to maybe have a couple albums out. I would like to be traveling around, helping, and just spreading around my music, not just in Miami but around the country, possibly around the world. We’ll see what traveling looks like in five years, and I would love for that to be my main thing but I also would love my design business and bringing decor into other peoples homes and events. I’d like to have an established company with a team to help, so yeah that would be my main goal!

For Megan’s music & videos: morrisonmusicofficial.com IG: @meganmorrisonmusic Website for 9 Lives Design: 9livesdesign.co Pinterest: 9 Lives Designs IG: @9livesdesignco Etsy: 9 Lives Design Co

La energía sanadora de las flores.

En estos últimos meses, me puse como meta, sanar y cambiar desde adentro hacia afuera. Reinventarme. Volverme a encontrar. Si es que alguna vez lo había hecho antes. Aunque en realidad y siendo muy sincera conmigo misma, tal vez me esté empezando a conocer y desde ese lugar pueda empezar a reconocer, lo que ya no me hace bien. Y cómo ya les había contado antes, encontré en la meditación, o en las co-creaciones a través de la llama violeta acompañado del método alquimia, el lugar donde conecto conmigo misma. Sin embargo no estaba segura sobre qué camino seguir, solo buscaba algo que me satisfaga y pueda a través de eso poder asumir mis responsabilidades socioeconómicas.

Descubrí trabajando más de 18 años en la industria gastronómica, que el ayudar a los demás, era algo que me gustaba mucho hacer. Por este motivo tenia que elegir algo que tenga que ver con ayudar. Muchas veces esto de estar pensando siempre en los demás, hizo olvidarme bastante de mi, de mi amor propio. Seguramente tenga que ver con mi maternidad. Muchas veces nos postergamos. Tristemente la vida, vaya a tanta velocidad que no nos encuentre haciendo lo que vinimos a hacer. Yo no quisiera que eso me pase. Algunos le llaman misión, otros vocación, otros hobbies. Yo lo quiero llamar, mi destino. Sin querer queriendo, y viéndolo hoy desde perspectiva, vino a mi eso que yo llamo magia. Eso qué pasa en el momento justo y necesario. Lo perfecto.

Aunque a veces no siempre sea bueno lo que nos suceda, es ahí donde uno más aprende. En este caso vino a mi el poder de las flores. Algo que en mi corazón cuando llegó supe que siempre lo había querido hacer. Las flores me eligieron para sanar a todos los que estén a mi alrededor. Nadie se salvará!

La formación floral que estoy haciendo utiliza flores únicamente Argentinas, mi país nativo, lo cual me enamoró aún más. Hoy no quiero dejar de compartirles este mundo maravilloso de la terapia floral que amo y me enriquece cada día más! La creadora del sistema floral Argentino, se inspiró en la obra del Dr. Bach. Creado y elaborado en Buenos Aires, Argentina.
El propósito principal de la terapia floral, es estimular la conexión del alma con la personalidad, haciéndolas sensibles a los mensajes de nuestro ser espiritual” – Dr. Bach

También se puede decir que es una modalidad terapéutica, que nos ayuda a equilibrar nuestras emociones. Es un acompañamiento para aquellos momentos importantes de la vida. Nos regala equilibrio, paz, armonía y bienestar. Se puede utilizar en bebés, niños, adultos, plantas, animales y hasta para poder armonizar lugares de trabajo y hogares. No tienen contraindicaciones ni efectos secundarios. Tampoco no conllevan adicción y no interfieren con otras terapias, dándonos resultados notables y en varios casos, rápidos y duraderos. Las propiedades de la terapia floral fueron descritas y realizadas por la organización mundial de la salud en 1983.

Las esencias florales trabajan con el extracto vibracional de cada flor a través de su punto óptimo de floración que se sumergen en agua y se exponen al sol o a la ebullición. El proceso de la tintura madre que no tiene vencimiento, finaliza en la solución bebible para luego poder ser comercializada. Esta solución consiste en tomar de 2 a 4 gotas de la tintura madre que hemos elaborado y se coloca en botellas de color ámbar de 30 ml con 3/4 partes de agua mineral y 1/4 de brandy puro como conservante. Las gotas que pondremos serán 2 para combinaciones de hasta 7 esencias y 4 para fórmulas combinadas. La dosis será 4 gotas debajo de la lengua, 4 veces al dia. Aproximadamente esta dosis durará 21 días hasta un mes. Es importante no contaminar la pipeta, para esto es importante no tocar con nuestra boca ninguna parte del gotero. Si se contamina se puede reutilizar en plantas o animales. Existe una toma de rescate o emergencia que se toman en situaciones especiales, se colocan 4 gotas en un vaso de agua y se toma durante todo el dia con sorbitos cada 5 a 10 min. El vaso tiene que durar todo el dia. Los resultados de las flores no tardan más de un mes en notarse, muchas veces es menos.

Este particular sistema de elaboración permite que los principios energéticos de la flor, que reorientan de un modo saludable las emociones y los sentimientos en desequilibrio, se fijen en el agua. Cada esencia floral es una información altamente organizada que alinea la energía del ser vivo que la incorpora a su sistema.

Se acoplan a la estructura energética del sujeto transformando las redes disarmónicas en flujos constantes y uniformes de energía regulada. Segun el Dr. Bach, intervienen elevando nuestras vibraciones y abriendo nuestros canales, no actúan por medio de la acción bioquímica, si bien terminan afectando positivamente la biología del ser vivo que las consume.

Los protagonistas para una correcta elaboración son los cuatro elementos: “la tierra es el suelo que soporta y aguanta la planta; el aire la nutre; el sol o el fuego le permiten transferir su fuerza, y el agua absorbe sus poderes curativos y los almacena. (Dr. Edward Bach)

El resultado es la quinta esencia obtenida de las flores. Es el alma, la conciencia de la planta la que queda impresa en el agua. La elaboración de los remedios es, sin lugar a dudas, un proceso alquímico.

Espero que les haya gustado y que estén atentos porque pronto podré recetar mis flores a quiénes se animen a probar el poder sanador de las flores.

Flores para todo el mundo!

Gisella Gaudini.

HOLY GUACAMOLE!

HistoriA:

El 16 de septiembre se festejan el dia de la independencia de méxico y el día internacional del guacamole.

El guacamole o guacamol es una salsa mexicana preparada a base de aguacate y chile verde y cilantro.

El nombre de guacamole proviene del nahuatl ahuacamolli traducido al español, que se compone de las palabras ahuacatl *aguacate* mas molli *mole o salsa* el aguacate tenia una significacion erotica para los aztecas, tanto que las mujeres no podian hacer la recoleccion de los fruto, ya que simbolizaban los testiculos.

Segun la mitología prehispánica quetzalcoatl, el dios tolteca, ofreció la receta del guacamole a su pueblo, quienes la extendieron por el territorio de mesoamérica.

La receta segun el territorio donde se prepare, puede variar en algunos ingredientes. En sus origenes el guacamole se elaboraba a base de aguacate machucado, agua, jugo de limon, tomate y chile. Posteriormente se han agregado diferentes ingredientes como la cebolla, el cilantro y el ajo. En mexico es empleado para acompañar diferentes tipos de carnes, tacos, tortas, quesadillas, tamales, chalupas, moletes y los nopales entre otros.

Esta receta cabe destacar, no solo es consumida en toda américa sino que ha traspasado las fronteras de este continente.

El aguacate es una fruta exótica, y tiene un gran valor nutrimental aportando a nuestro cuerpo a parte de grasas naturales, tambien proteinas, minerales, hierro, y fosforo. Es altamente beneficioso para la salud cardiovascular. Ayuda a reducir los niveles de colesterol y triglicéridos, aumentando el colesterol bueno por la presencia de grasas monoinsaturadas. Además es un antioxidante natural para la piel.

Tips para encontrar un buen aguacate: Lo mas importante es reconocer su estado de maduración , ni muy verde, ni muy negra, tiene que estar a punto. Para averiguarlo, hay que tocarlos con mucha suavidad para ver si están excesivamente duros o muy blandos . Otro truco consiste en mirar su interior sacando el rabillo de la parte superior, si lo vemos que es de color verde, significa que todavía le quedan unos días para madurar, si se ve negro o marrón, esta pasada. El color ideal es el amarillento. Si se compran verdes se puede ayudar a la maduración envolviendo los aguacates en papel de diario.

INGREDIENTES *(English below) 1/2 manojo de cilantro 2 aguacates 1/2 cebolla pequeña Zumo de 2 limones Sal a gusto Chile a gusto, puede ser verde o rojo 1 tomate pequeño Totopos o chips de maiz para acompañar son bienvenidos.

Preparacion: Cortamos los aguacates por la mitad, sacamos el hueso y lo reservamos. Un truco que no esta de mas, es poner el hueso en el centro del guacamole para que no se oxide tan rápido el aguacate. Le quitamos la cáscara a las mitades de los aguacates y la carne del aguacate la ponemos en un bol donde lo escachamos con un tenedor y lo rociamos con el limón para que no se oxide. Picamos en trocitos pequeñitos con la ayuda de un cuchillo, el cilantro y la cebolla y se lo añadimos al aguacate escarchado y revolvemos para que se mezcle todo bien. De esa manera ya tendremos el guacamole listo. Solo queda colocar la mezcla de todos lo ingredientes en un bol para servirlo y recuerda colocar en el medio el hueso de una de la mitades para que se mantenga más tiempo sin oxidar.

Agradecemos la colaboración del chef @davidbada del Hotel Como Miami Beach.

Hasta la proxima receta. Gisella.

*INGREDIENTS 1/2 bunch coriander / cilantro                           2 avocados                           1/2 small onion                              juice of 2 lemons                           salt to taste                                    chili to taste, can be green or red                1 small tomato                           Totopos or corn chips to accompany are welcome  

Preparation: Cut the avocados in half, remove the seed and set it up. One trick that’s not too bad is to put the seed in the center of the guacamole so that the avocado doesn’t brown so fast. We remove the peel from the halves of the avocados and the meat from the avocado we put it in a bowl where we mash it with a fork and spray it with the lemon so that it does not brown. Chop coriander/cilantro and onion then add it to the mashed avocado and stir everything well. That way we’ll get the guacamole ready. Just place the mixture of all the ingredients in a serving bowl and remember to place the seed in the middle bowl so that it stays longer without browning.

Underwater Fun

I’m on a creative streak since the beginning of the pandemic (who isn’t, right?). Although I am back at work full time, my schedule allows me to be arty in the mornings. From my last post you know I’m all about elevating my photos. Here’s how this art piece came about.

Frankie D (yup, that’s his nick name) and I were enjoying our pool time, always with a fun llama floatie and some tunes so my phone is always close by. What you may learn a long the way, is that Frankie D is super shy in front of every person outside of our house, but at home he’s a total ham. And I mean funny as hell and has no shame kind of ham. He allows his sister to record him too and you can hear them cackle with laughter for ages. I love that sound of them getting along!

I had an idea of photographing him just below the surface of the water with my iPhone. I was loving how the shots were coming out, with each photo there was a distortion of his face because of the moving water and bubbles. I then discovered that when he was in the patch of direct sunlight, the photo was even more clear, I was totally getting geeky excited. One more step; I changed it to portrait mode/natural light setting – my mind was blown. I knew at this point this was my new art piece that I had to work on. I was concerned that I would loose sharpness from printing an image from an iPhone so I took the image to Photoshop and saved it as I would a photo I was editing into a size that I knew I wanted to print. I had decided to print on canvas, and wanted it un-stretched (not already on a frame). The online place I order my prints from is Bay Roes. You have to download their software to be able to order from them. Not going to lie but I though I was doing something wrong the first time I ordered but you’ll navigate though it, if I can do it, so can you! There are so many options for printing and framing.

I ordered 2 prints and it took about 10 days. I will be ordering more, I just wanted to play with these 2 first to see the out come. To be honest, the first one was just a test. I had no expectations on this to work out first go. The prints to me were so sharp, clear and the quality blew me away. I was so happy.

I collected the items I needed during the 10 days of waiting. I ordered 2 types of glitter (then I blended them), 3D bubbles. I had resin (Nouveau) already in my arsenal. Don’t get me wrong I have a ton of glitter BUT I needed one that I thought would be transparent and glittery enough to replicate the shimmer of the water in the sunlight. I discovered 3D bubbles from an artist I follow on IG (Wynnmodernart), the second I saw them I knew they would be great to replicated the bubbles in the water. They are multi sized little iridescent glass balls. Some are tinny tiny though I sifted through them and only used the larger sizes.

Because I want all the Underwater Series to have the same look I needed to follow the same steps:

I make sure that I lay my canvas on acrylic, flat and leveled. Resin can be peeled off heavy plastic, but God forbid it touches anything else, it will remain there until the end of time. I mix 1:1 4oz resin and add a teaspoon of my blended glitter. I spread the liquid by my gloved hand carefully to the edges. This is where I forget to breathe. Resin is not the friendliest of mediums. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with it for years, and have had more fails with it than successes. Yet, I always go back to it. I torch it to get the air bubbles out. I scatter the 3D bubble to follow the line of bubbles he makes through his nose. I torch some more, I get obsessive about finding air bubbles (though in this case bubbles are welcome in certain areas), dust and pet hair that fall into your wet resin. You definitely DO NOT want either in your final piece. Once I walk away from it I don’t look back for at least 12 – 24 hours until it fully cures.

Check the video below for the final view of the piece, feel free to let me know what you think or if you can offer any suggestions on this piece or if you want me to write something specific!

See you next post!

A

Chocolate, the superfood – nutritious and delicious!

Chocolate is the most popular treat in the world. According to the World Cocoa Foundation, more than 3 million tons of cocoa beans are consumed worldwide every year. Not only does chocolate make you feel good, it’s also excellent for your health.

A little bit of history: chocolate is made from the fruit of the cacao tree, which is native of Central and South America. From each fruit you get pods which contain about 40 beans. The beans are dried and roasted to create cocoa beans. It is unclear where chocolate actually came about, but it is believed it started with a ceremonial drink made by the Olmecs around 1500 BC. The Olmecs then passed their knowledge to the Mayans, who not only consumed the chocolate drink, they also revered it. It was a very important part of their celebrations. Then the Aztecs took their admiration of chocolate to another level, they used it as a currency. To them, cacao beans were more important than gold. In the late 1500’s chocolate was introduce to Spain (there are many versions of whom actually brought it there). Soon after its introduction it was considered an indulgence all over Europe. In the mid 1600’s it was brought to Florida and became a huge American colony import. For centuries it was enjoyed as a beverage, it was only in the late 1800’s that it started being made into a chocolate bar by likes of Henri Nestle and Rudolf Lindt.

Health benefits: it’s good for your heart, brain, and mood. Dark chocolate, more specifically of 70% cacao or higher, is rich in antioxidants and nutrients due to a higher content of flavanol, a form of flavanoids. According to many reputable studies, dark chocolate may reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes, lowers blood pressure, blood sugar levels, inflammation and bad cholesterol, prevents memory loss as it increases brain function, fights free radicals and may play a role in cancer prevention, it’s good for your gut, as it may help with weight loss, it’s beneficial to your skin, and best of all … it puts you in a good mood! I have one bite of dark chocolate every day after lunch. Remember that moderation is the key, so it’s important to have about 1oz per day. Also consuming organic chocolate is always best.

Ethics in chocolate production: modern-day chocolate production comes at a cost. Many cocoa farmers struggle to make ends meet, so they turn to low-wage labor, sometimes even slave and/or child labor. Many chocolate producers have reconsider where they get their cocoa beans from. It is important to support those companies that use fair trade chocolate, which is created in an ethical and sustainable way.

Tasting/Pairing: chocolate falls into three categories; dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate. There are a few places that I love to get locally-made chocolate in Miami. However, for this particular chocolate and spirits pairing, I choose only one (stay tuned for future articles, as when things get better, I will go around the city and show you my favorite places). Cao Chocolates is the first small-batch artisan bean to bar business in South Florida. They use single origin cacao from small, fair-trade farms; most of them have the organic certification. You can purchase through their website, Instagram, Amazon, and at Milam’s Market (where I got these cute mini bars).

To make this pairing simple I choose to stick with the three categories of chocolate and searched online for the best spirits combinations beforehand. We paired as follows: White Chocolate with Gin and with Tequila, Milk Chocolate with Rum and Bourbon, Dark Chocolate with Bourbon and Japanese Whisky. The three of us had different favorites for all pairings, LOL … so we ended up trying all chocolate with all spirits, and added the XO Tequila to the mix as well. At this point we were even more confused! Even-though we had our favorites, we decided that the Japanese Whisky paired well with all chocolate types. At the end of the day, I believe that, unless you are a chocolate and spirits connoisseur, pairings are a very personal taste. Some of us love one type of chocolate over another, and the same goes for spirits. I’m not a rum person, so the rum for me didn’t go with any chocolate, however it may not be the same case for someone who loves rum. I could have salted extra dark chocolate all day with whisky or an anejo tequila, but the same may not work for people that can’t even think about having a bite of dark chocolate. This was a very fun afternoon with friends; you can also try it on date night … remember chocolate is an aphrodisiac. 😉

We did this tasting/pairing for fun, however if you would like to hear from actual professionals, Cao Chocolates is offering a virtual chocolate tasting. Learn everything about craft chocolate, how to properly taste it, best pairings, and more while having fun with Master Chocolate maker Ricardo “Cao” Trillos. Click on link or email them at info@caochocolates.com

xoxo Elisa

Full Moon Ritual Oil

We celebrate the Full Corn Moon (the last one of the summer) and Coconut Day by sharing a wonderful and moisturizing body oil. It contains a lot of energy and intentions; each ingredient is mindfully added. You can use this oil during meditation, practices, moon rituals or just because.

This particular batch has specifically been made with the intentions of Prosperity and Happiness although you can set any intention you please.

You will need: Glass Bottle (I’ve used 4oz) Coconut Carrier Oil (any carrier oil you prefer – Almond Oil is great too) Dried Flowers (any you like) Crystals (any you like, I’ve decided to only use Citrine in this blend) Yuzu & Jasmine essential oil blend (use single or any blend that makes you happy) Shimmer Pearl Mica Powder (cosmetic grade) Moon Energy – while the new moon is a time to set intentions for the future and launch new projects, the full moon is a time of culmination and fruition.

Store in a dark and cool place . The oil and scent should smell a little sweet and floral. Oil will expire eventually because the oils can go rancid, at this point discard.

I’ve purchased most of my items from Amazon, links are included.

BENEFITS OF COCONUT OIL Fight inflammation. Maintain bone structure. Cleanse and moisturize skin and hair. Remove dead skin cells and promote growth of newer and healthier skin. Facilitate healing of wounds. Soothe infection while promoting faster healing. Control and relieve skin discomfort caused by eczema, psoriasis and other skin problems. Strengthen hair. Boost immunity. Demonstrate antibacterial and anti-fungal activities. Reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

CITRINE QUARTZ It imparts joy, wonder, delight and enthusiasm. Raises self-esteem and self-confidence. Stimulates the brain, strengthening the intellect. Citrine promotes motivation, activates creativity and encourages self-expression. The most powerful way to benefit is to spend some regular time meditating with it. You can place the citrine on your solar plexus chakra, located a couple of inches above the navel, and visualize your affirmation coming true. A yellowish color, but they come in different shades. Known as the stone for monetary abundance and personal power.

TOP FIVE HAPPY SCENTS Vanilla – most fragrance studies show vanilla to be the top dog! Citrus – smells are great if you need a pick-me-up. Jasmine or Rose – jasmine or rose can increase your immediate association with happy thoughts. Peppermint – not only helps stimulate your mind and body, but can also help elevate your mood. Lavender – It’s not just a happy smell, but also one of the most relaxing scents out there. It’s been proven time and again to improve moods and soothe anxiety. It can even help you sleep better at night. 

*Available for purchase, contact Alessa. Small batches made at a time, unless preordered. Made only in time with the cycle of the full or new moon. Intentions are made per batch, unless special request is made well in advance. $25 (4oz) Payments accepted through Paypal.

Griselle the Artist

Tell us about your art background: I started art when I arrived in Iran, I had just finished high school and there was nothing I could really do there. I was always interested in doing creative things and music, I play the guitar. My mom is a painter and a crafter, so we would do crafty things. She signed me up to a group called The Diplomatic Ladies Association, it’s a charitable organization where the women who are married to or who are diplomats belong to this, they create events for other women within the diplomatic core. They fundraise money to donate to hospitals and children organizations in the country where they are holding these events. This is where we met Kim. Kim became my drawing and painting instructor, she was just amazing. I would spend all day with her – breakfast, lunch and dinner, I became part of her family. That is when I decided I wanted to study art in Berlin. So I applied, Kim helped me prepare a portfolio, but I was not accepted. This school was very strict so I did not meet their standards. At that time I was very much into surrealist kind of work like Salvador Dalí and Marguerite Zorach. I then came to the US because my brother was living here, starting high school as he was living with my grandmother. He had applied to Miami Dade College, and it was suggested I too apply. I managed to be accepted to their honors program, so I stayed. When I graduated 2 years later I was not able to continue on to university at that time, it took me about 10 years to get back and this time I signed up for FIU. I decided I would major in art history and I finished with a BFA and BA.

*Cartographie Feminine
*Containment#4

Containment #3 20157”x6 1/2”Cotton thread, wool, hair & twine embroidery on paper
Cartographie Feminine Ongoing 120” x 48”Embroidery on fabric and paper, vintage lace, hair & silver
Containment #4 201613”x34”Machine Embroidery on Paper
Flower Vaginas#2 01484” x 36”Fiber installation
Phallic Decomposition 2016 Embroidery on Paper

Do you typically work with textiles? Yes most of the time. While in college I was interested in feminist artwork and I read this essay by French feminist critic Hélène Cixous “The Laugh of the Medusa“. In this piece, she pretty much talks about how women can gain agency of their bodies and of their work and carve themselves that much needed space. She’s a writer from the 70’s, original feminist writing, so I’m thinking how can I make that contemporary to me? She focuses mostly on writing, that’s how women can carve out that space. Since I’m not a writer but I’m an artist, I was thinking how can I make into my language? I realized that embroidery and fabric manipulation is something I have inherited from my mother, and she from her mother and so on. It has been generation of women in my family who know how to embroider and crochet and do all kinds of creative fabric work. My grandmother used to make her own clothing and my mother too. I realized that this is what my creative language is, that’s the language I used to express myself and create my work. That is why I created my piece Cartographie Feminine piece. It all starts with holed fabrics called containments, this represents memory. I like the idea of memory because it’s something that is so intangible. A memory that you have experienced is a valid as as a memory that you have made up. So the processes in your brain are the same and you have to work to maintain those memories. In order to maintain those memories you have to remember and you have to revive those memories for you to keep them in front of your mind, and that’s what I started doing. I patched up destroyed fabric, mending it and try to create something new out of it. At that point in life I was disappointed with what my choices have been, I was going through a lot of problems with my then husband, I was thinking how can I make something better out of something shitty. So that is that process of adding over it, mending, stitching, fixing and embellishing as well. At the end of the day we are these aesthetic animals. We do that with our lives, we surround ourselves with these beautiful things we are attracted to what we find beauty in. That is also an important aspect of my work, I wanted it to be aesthetically pleasing. Which I was given a lot of crap for in university because some of the professors thought that my work was far too aesthetic. So it verged on being ‘design-y’. As an artist you do not want to be called that, but that’s me so I guess I will embrace it!

Containment#3

Do you think you will exhibit with your new work? Yes, I’m hoping I can do so. I have not made a lot of art in the last 2 – 3 years, I am trying to create new bodies of work. The process of the pixilation I like because very much like all the work I do, it is time consuming work so it gives you time to think. Again, that idea of memory comes in where you are rebuilding those memories while you’re doing the work. It is obsessive kind of work where you have to do it over and over and over again. It creates that really nice space too not only make the work that conceptualizes the idea, it also creates the space to live out that idea. I am currently working on the pixelated portraits which I like because I think that, yes it is tedious work, coming from mostly using old photographs of my family. I think it is interesting how again this plays with memory and how these photographs can be so sharp and how you can see so well. Some of them you I have not met, like my great grandmother Maria – I have a beautiful photograph of her with the whole family but the memories of her that I have are non-existent so it’s just things that maybe I’ve created in my head, and that pixelation, that blurriness that exemplifies that idea you have in your mind that is not truly formed. So I think that is a tangible description of that idea.

In the recent years there has been a huge surge of artists from China and from the East exhibiting and participating in all of these worldwide art fairs. Some of their work is incredible in terms of technique and concept, they are light years ahead of everyone else. You have to check out my favorite, his name is Xu Bing. He is a large scale installation artist and he is a big deal in the art world. He is a conceptual artist, I have actually met him and he has seen and loved my work. I have one of his works where he works with language and calligraphy. He invents his own characters. The piece that I have is a book with the alphabet he created all based on symbols you see – like stop signs, and the man and woman you see on the bathroom doors. All these symbols you see in society and help us get through society, he made a huge collection of it and made a story with it. So I have a book that he signed for me! His work is clever, highly conceptual and incredibly detailed. I saw another piece he created, one of his most famous ones in New York, it’s called Calligraphy From The Sky. He carved his alphabet in to a printing block and created yards and yards of calligraphy. He creates these stories with made up characters. You will be blown away by his work.

What is your next big vision for your art? I’m not sure yet, I just want to create art, exhibit it and we’ll see what happens. I would love to make large scaled commission pieces. There is another artist, her name is Teresita Fernandez. She also graduated from FIU, she also does these works for commission. They are super conceptual and just fabulous, she has a huge team that she works with. That’s the kind of work I would love to do!

We will see more of Griselle soon!