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So it’s official. I’ve been in New York nearly two years. End of June that is. And I’ve never had a Age of more clumsiness. Or more bruises – just ask my acupuncturist. I’ve heard it said that clumsy people are slightly at odds with their environment. Which is funny because I feel totally assimilated into my current one. Perhaps I’m missing a beat? But then the clumsy never believe themselves to be clumsy. To them, it seems as if there is a grand conspiracy. I think there may be. I recently dated someone who was appalled at the continuous misplacement of a large plastic, turquoise, seashell-encased phone. I know, I know. But I reason this: going out with a clumsy person is a great way of reducing your dependence on material things. And, I must confess, the items do tend to find their way back. It’s almost an exact science.

Most people feel quite warmly towards the clumsy. Shoutout to my mother. She knows the best that my clumsiness is actually a great way of meeting new people and apologizing profusely to them on my behalf. She also knows that I don’t dance on elevated surfaces. Ever. How do strippers do it? So far in the U.S. of A, I’ve torn my meniscus, broken a tooth, cricked my neck after lying on hidden rose quartz in a pillow (my rose quartz, my pillow), fallen up a flight of stairs and cut my lip, then slipped off a curb while my friend Gabi had her arm interlaced through mine. Side-note: I was holding a bottle of wine in one hand and a pair of perspex lips in the other. All you need to know is that the wine, the lips (thanks Lulu Guinness) and Gabi’s arm remained perfectly intact. Not one scratch on them – see two paragraphs above for more detail. Now might be a good time to tell you that my nickname is Bambi.

The thing is, Nature is spectacularly clumsy. There’s volcanic eruptions, comets crashing into planets and seismic earthquakes. Is evolution one clumsy mistake after another? A swan is grace in motion, but not when it lands on ice. Am I comparing myself to a swan? Maybe. But I’ll tell you this: if my physical manifestation of the internal awkwardness everyone feels in the china shop of life makes you laugh (not scowl), then I’m doing something right. And I don’t mind one bit if you think I’m goofy. Or call me Bambi.

 

source: ohmy.disney.com


 

My friend Lara sent this email a few weeks ago:

This morning, I had this overwhelming clarity that I want to start documenting what I am grateful for every day. But I think putting it out into the universe, and sharing with others seemed much more appealing than writing it for myself, so I am proposing we start a group daily gratitude forum and maybe add our quotes or other articles to our list…

Every day (or at least Monday through Friday) each of us just write anywhere between 1 and 5 things we are grateful for…the benefits are really significant and it’s the easiest thing in the world. What do you guys think?

And so everyday(ish) without fail we’ve been emailing each other what we are grateful for – it happened seamlessly and unanimously between four of us. Some email at the start of their day, some at the end, and it’s become my highlight, a co-creation so to speak. There are literally millions of ways we are blessed daily, and by saying what we are grateful for (which isn’t always easy), don’t you think we send our energy into the unseen world where we are all connected? And maybe those invisible threads strengthen our spiritual connections not just with ourselves but with others.

I thought I’d leave you with this Mark Twain masterpiece for whatever journey you are on today.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.

So throw off the bowlines.

Sail away from the safe harbor.

Catch the trade winds in your sails.

Explore.

Dream.

Discover.

 

 


 

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Whilst I was on holiday in Cape Town, South Africa, a place that’s known for its climate and rare and exotic plants, it occurred to me that some of the brands that we know and love back home originated here. There’s Bio-Oil (the UK’s biggest selling beauty product) which is used on scars and stretch marks. The company is owned by Capetonian brothers Justin and David Letschert, and rumour has it they are about to launch an exciting new oil. Then there’s the respected cosmeceutical brand Environ, founded by Dr Des Fernandes, a prominent Cape Town plastic surgeon, who pioneered the use of high dose vitamin A in skincare. He’s also the man who introduced skin needling as an alternative to laser treatments and chemical peels. The process uses tiny needles rolled over the skin to induce natural repair mechanisms.

Rooibus tea (redbush tea) is South Africa’s equivalent to PG Tips and the latest way to enjoy its antioxidant benefits is via skincare. Scientists believe that the high level of flavonoids – which encourage the body to destroy unwanted pathogens – along with superoxide dismutase, an excellent anti-ageing enzyme, and hefty dose of the mineral zinc (essential for skin function) are key regenerating ingredients. Out here there are numerous Rooibos skincare brands but the most popular is African Extracts Rooibos.

My favourite essential oil, geranium, grows in abundance in Southern Africa and geranium farms are booming as they export the oil worldwide. The South African geranium (Pelargonium sidoides) was used for centuries by indigenous tribes to treat various respiratory infections and even tonsillitis before it became an essential oil used in fragrance and cosmetics. You can get a wonderful rose geranium mix from SOiL Essential Oils. See you soon Cape Town!


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“If you imagine less, less will be what you undoubtedly deserve. Do what you love, and don’t stop until you get what you love. Work as hard as you can, imagine immensities, don’t compromise, and don’t waste time. Start now. Not 20 years from now, not two weeks from now. Now.”

Debbie Millman’s 2009 anthology, Look Both Ways: Illustrated Essays on the Intersection of Life and Design, is a treasure in its entirety, no matter what facet of life you’re exploring. My heart exploded with joy when I read it, most especially the little excepts shared here. If not now, then when?

 

source: brainpickings.com


 

The quality of Somali bananas, aficionados say, is near unmatched in taste and texture, which is apparently due to their unique growing conditions; soil, irrigation systems and obviously tender loving care. And so it went that I had to try one yesterday and had a colleague who was simultaneously passing the Somali Halal Food Market in Syracuse on the way back from Onondaga County – love me such stellar synchronicities and a well-travelled nana.

Those aficionados were damn right: sweet, a bit sour and vanilla-y all at once. I actually like to freeze my bananas when they’re covered in brown spots – this is when they are at their sweetest and most creamy – and then blend however many I fancy with tahini (Meridian makes a great one) and vanilla almond milk, finishing off with a hearty sprinkle of crumbled carob or my friend Jenna’s amazing range of Upcakes Peanut Butter Cups on top; the siren call of soft serve satiated and a total mouth party.


 

I love the proverbial saying ‘speech is silver, but silence is golden’. Thomas Carlyle translated the phrase from ‘Sartor Resartus’ in which a character expounds at length on the virtues of silence. As humans we have the tendency to talk more and listen less, forgetting the art of waiting and allowing ourselves to hear other viewpoints. It’s a difficult conflict between a man and his mind to control senses and reactions, but it’s something I try to cultivate everyday.


 

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This past summer I noticed a burgeoning trend within my family. Fyi, that’s when three or more members start behaving uniformly. It happened mostly after lunch (but dinner and breakfast vied for their place too). One by one, people would start confessing to what they had eaten. A long inventory – because who doesn’t love a good list to help you feel in control – of various food groups sprung forth from satiated lips with a vague sense that somehow, somewhere, they were disappointing someone and not just themselves. It was funny, we laughed, and the fare was really really good.

I went to an all-girls school in London that had a chapel adjacent to it and would go up for communion whenever I attended. We were taught to not receive Holy Communion until we went to Confession, but clearly that was one step too far for me. I was 11 and Jewish. I remember a teacher hissing that “we needed to be properly educated about this to appreciate the sacrilege of our actions.” I also remember vividly what I learnt.  Catholics are born with Original Sin and “wrong” and “flawed” are part of the lexicon from the get-go. Jewish guilt in stark contrast seemed to me to be more about insufficiency. Have you lived up to the standards and expectations of your people? Your family? Catholics are eternally damned, Jews are ostracized. Weighty learnings for mine and my girlfriends’ younger selves.

But back to this summer. After a 15 course dinner we shaved white truffles on top of pizzas and tucked in. We didn’t. But we may as well have. When I once ate two tins of brownies with my best friend in less than half an hour, I wish I could tell you that I felt some form of self-hate and disgust, but really, I (and her) regret absolutely nothing.

 

source: Alexander Straulino

 

 

 

 


 

The antioxidant tisanes from Mariage Frères, that eternally chic tea merchant in Paris, are probably the best in the world. I’ve started to experiment with the various flavors (as well as drinking copious cups, especially of Pleine Lune, an almond and spice black tea mix that smells of marzipan and tastes like pastries) by straining them in boiling water to extract the scent and then mixing the juice into oils to create bespoke fragrances. For a ready-made aromatic fix, I love burning their Thé Rouge tea-scented candle which is redolent of night-time warmth and a sweet ally for the pejorative temperature onslaught.

Mariage Frères Marais // 30, Rue du Bourg-Tibourg, 75004, Paris