Monthly Archives: November 2016

[Witchy Ways] DIY Sage Sticks for Your New Moon Rituals

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As the year winds down, the palpable, universal energy feels like it’s picked up ten-fold. October’s New Moon fell on All Hallows Eve Eve, November’s New Moon comes tomorrow on the 29th as we’re clearing the air of Thanksgiving and it’s wonderful cast of visitors, while December’s New Moon falls right after Christmas on the 29th. Maybe – probably – it’s just me, but this year has felt different – it’s had a synchronistic air to it the entire time. That said, with the New Moon hanging over our head this evening – today marks the perfect time to get weave your witchy ways.

Coming from a pastime riddled with Tarot, rune stones, numerology and energy healing – it shouldn’t be that hard to understand that I live, eat, breathe and love in moon cycles. Though the moon cycles through it’s phases every 28.5 days, I find it incredibly beneficial to have a few reference guides just in case I don’t remember off the top of my head.  For phone apps, I highly suggest Moon Phase in the Apple Store or if you’re online –  you can always venture to Moon Giant for the latest and greatest in lunar happenings.  Last, but certainly not least, let your thirst for knowledge lead you to the fountain of your minds youth: resource books.  Load up on your literature and you’ll never have a dull day ahead of you; if you’re looking for a jumping off point, I would start with Llewellyn’s Moon Sign Book (snag your 2017 copy meow).  New Moons pose the perfect time to marinate on the last cycle, and set your intentions for the new one while Full Moons are excellent occasions to act on those intentions and make potential energy kinetic. As such, rituals surrounding the New Moon can be useful for grounding yourself and cleansing your spiritual space.

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Whenever the holidays rear their rasta colored head, an old quote always comes to mind: Everyone loves guests; some when they come, others when they leave.  Because let’s not get it twisted – this year’s Thanksgiving festivities were fantastic! Danny and I both had family come into town for the holiday, my parents stayed with us for four nights and Danny – bless his heart – made pretty much all of our Thanksgiving feast.  Now that the parental units are out of the house, we’ve finally realized just how tiring the holidays are when you’re actually adulting (also known as making a plan and following through with it).  Now that our house is full of post-holiday herbs, it’s the perfect time to get my home cleanse on.

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Materials

    • Twine – level up and get fancy with mutlicolored twine
    • Scissors
    • Fresh Herbs and Dried Flowers: Think Sage, Rosemary, Lavender, Rosebuds 

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It’s a pretty simple formula once you have all your supplies in place!

Take a helping handful of your herbs – feel free to mix and match, but make sure you’re heavier on the sage.  Amanda-10

Grab the herbs by the base of the leaves and begin to wrap the twine from the base, up to the very top – it’s okay for the bundle to be a bit loose, because we’re going to wrap the twine back down one more time.
After you’ve wrapped your smudge stick, find a nice place to let it air dry and let it hang upside down if possible.  In about three weeks, your sacred smudge stick full of your beautiful intentions will be ready – and just in time for the December New Moon, and the next influx of holiday visitors.

 What are your favorite Holiday crafts?  Let me know in the comments below!

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[The Audiofiles] Feel The Riddim This Thursday with Flex Up LA

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Los Angeles, kick December off right! On Thursday, December 1st, the International music collective – The Flex Up Crew is partnering up with Showcase Monday’s for an unforgettable night at Union Nightclub for the latest installation of LA’s Future Dancehall Night. Featuring the delectable sounds from Bad Royale, the locally loved Two Seven Clash, Ackee Juice Rockers and the evening’s special guests – Big Fish, you’ll be moving and grooving to the funky riddims all night long.

Tickets Available for $10 from TicketflyPushing the boundaries of bass, dubstep and moombahton – Southern California based Bad Royale has blossomed within the Dance circuit and honed in on their own unique brand of sound – Kingstep, while the Italian duo the Ackee Juice Rockers deliver a dancehall fusion of hip hop, electronic and ethnic rhythms within their DJ sets. Hometown heroes Two Seven Clash come Diplo approved and prepared to move, with one foot firmly based in the belief of Rastafari and the other planted on the streets of Los Angeles. Last but certainly not least, the night boasts beats from none other than Bid Fish – indisputably one of the most influential producers and DJs in Italy’s Urban and Hip Hop music scene, with various tracks and remixes released on Mad Decent.

Event Details
19+ to Dance, 21+ to Drink
Union Nightclub – Jewel’s Room
4067 West Pico Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA

Feast your ears on a taste of the weekend and get your dancing shoes ready – this is one event you won’t want to miss.

For more on Flex Up, head to their socials –

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

[Nature Is Nurture] This Friday, Green Is The New Black

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Dear 2016, there might only be five weeks left of you but I have a feeling these are going to be the longest five weeks ever.  Despite the fact I have my first true health diagnosis in three months, the icecaps aren’t melting, the world feels slightly post-apocalyptic and our president-elect is #notmypresident. It can’t just be me that feels an extrasensory burden of the cosmic consciousness, wrapped around life like a wet blanket; sometimes, it really did feel like David Bowie, Prince and Alan Rickman held together the fabric of the cosmos.

In just a few days, Thanksgiving will be here – but this year feels so very different feel than other years. Whether it’s the post-election depression that the country has seemingly been swimming in, the horrific actions against the protestors at Standing Rock, or the lack of chill between your neighbors tearing down their Halloween decorations and fast-forwarding right to the Christmas cheer – this moment, this moment right now feels different; it feels manufactured and store-bought instead of well-loved and handed down gently. And in a sense, that’s all Black Friday truly is: a day of fabricated happiness and discounted opulence masquerading as necessities for people who, no less than 12 hours before, were proclaiming how thankful they were for all that they had. Instead of rushing to the mall this Friday – think outside of the box and into the great outdoors where Green is the new Black, especially for you California locals out there. Spearheaded by the Save The Redwoods League and in conjunction with the California State Parks and the California State Parks foundation, the Green Friday initiative invites Californians near and far to venture to the state’s wonderful parks with their loved ones and enjoy themselves some nature.

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Spearheaded by the Save The Redwoods League and in conjunction with the California State Parks and the California State Parks foundation, the Green Friday initiative invites Californians near and far to venture to the state’s wonderful parks with their loved ones and enjoy themselves some nature. Enjoy high-quality time and high caliber conversations surrounded by the epic beauty and dramatic landscapes from the coast to the mountains of California.  Green Friday supplies access to one of California’s 116 state parks with a free day use pass so you don’t have to pay the $12 fee – instead, think of donating that $12 to a worthy cause like Standing Rock, the World Wildlife Fund or any number amazing organizations. The parking passes are first come first serve, and many parks are selling out – meaning you might even make a new best friend!  To get your green on in California this Friday, simply head to the  Green Friday website and get down on that web search.  If you’re not located in California, never fear – REI is continuing their #OptOutside campaign, this time with a little bit of help from the folks at Subaru and Google.

For more information on the California State Parks + Foundation, Save The Redwoods and Green Friday, head to their socials:

Save The Redwoods: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Blog

California State Parks Foundation: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Blog

California State Parks: www.parks.ca.gov | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Blog

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[Get Political] Be The Change You Want to See In The World

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Throughout my childhood, it was implored on me that there are three things you don’t discuss with strangers: sex, politics, and religion.  I don’t know about you guys, but those are three super interesting conversations that I’m always itching to have with anyone who will participate.  From what I can tell, previous generations weren’t just closed off about what others thought, nor were they closed minded – they literally never had the opportunity to engage with other viewpoints and have their opinions changed, nor change anyone else’s. In just the last twenty-four hours, I’ve engaged in discussions in the waiting room for the doctor, in line at the pet stores and during a work luncheon – and no one has shied away; if anything – they’re enthralled. Throughout each of these conversations, I continually question why this wasn’t okay for my parents before me, and their parents before them. Were they worried they were on the wrong side of history and scared of change, facts, and knowledge?  Or, were they right in the idea that certain feelings and ideals be kept private, for a select audience of our peers?

At the good ol’ age of 31, I’ve been around to see several elections now.  When I first left the Bay Area for college in Santa Barbara, I distinctly remember how anxious and nervous both Bush campaigns made me; I was determined, albeit slightly jaded, in the idea that I could effect a positive change in the world.   Then, I remember being part of history: I remember voting for Obama twice and bearing witness to a monumental moment with our first minority president. At the time, I remember thinking at those times how important it was to be part of the electoral process and if I could, I would double down on that sentiment today.

government of the people.  From the get-go, it was clear that there was a struggle looming ahead of us – but no one was privy to just how hard it would be.  I was, and still am, a proud Bernie supporter – hell, I even wore my ‘Feel The Bern’ shirt to the polls yesterday (and to that token, Los Angeles – you’ve got your election fashion on lock). Watching the election results come in reminded me of a disappointed parent:  it’s not that I didn’t know America was steeped in racist roots or had a slightly misogynistic flair.  But in all fairness, I was hopeful.  Hopeful that people had enough personal experience to negate any external bigotry, hopeful that people could see through the terrible charade of Trump and align more with Clinton’s character, but that’s not at all what happened. Clinton by in large is considered a member of the old guard, and for all intensive purposes – it’s the reason that Gary Johnson garnered up to 3% of the vote in pivotal states – taking necessary votes away from Clinton and ensuring Trump would take the lead. Trump, though bombastic, eccentric and politically incorrect, is not.  He’s made of his families money, can speak straight to America’s diminishing, white middle class – and make minorities cringe when he says “Make America Great Again”.  But he’s different, he’s anti-everything we dislike – and there isn’t a Bernie anymore, so what’s a misguided, poorly informed country to do…right? Sigh. 

The further we push away from the election, the easier it becomes to assign blame.  If the Democratic National Committee hadn’t sabotaged their own party and conspired against the genius that is Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Party could have had a chance in the election.  If the media had pulled back on their liberal bias, the public could have had an unadulterated look at our actual political climate.  If the Republican Party could have gotten their act together under a solid message, then an anti-establishment bigot wouldn’t have ran away with the election.  But, I also believe that the fault is equally mine.

As a blogger, as a writer, as a multicultural female, as an American – I deliver information in concise packages with flowery, verbose bows on the outside. It’s my duty to get the facts and information into the eyes, ears and minds of everyone around me and to that token – I feel that I’ve failed.  I didn’t get ahead of the issues, I didn’t delve into the policies or research the politics – for the most part, I had discussions in person, but I didn’t use my influence, my creative prowess, or my passion to push the message further.  So now, I have to hope that this isn’t falling on deaf ears.

More often than not, I’m met with the incorrect (il)logic that ‘One Vote Will Not Change Anything’. The fundamental flaw with that logic is dissuading people from engaging in our current political process.  One voice in a crowd is relatively quiet, but the voice of the crowd can echo far and wide. For minorities, for women – it hasn’t been an easy road.  We’ve been fighting tooth and nail for the right to be part of this process, which makes it all the more infuriating when people choose not to vote.   Unfortunately for those of us that participated, there’s a large percentage of the population that either didn’t vote, chose to vote third-party, or wrote in some asinine shit like Harambe or Hennessey as a protest vote. Granted, Snopes outed everyone’s claim that 15,000 actually wrote in Harambe – but if half the country truly did vote for Trump, it’s not that hard to believe.  Not to mention, voting for a Third Party candidate in such a divisive election, or otherwise even, is a selfish symptom of socio-economic privilege. If you’re one of the people willing to give up your vote, why not think of giving your voice to someone who can’t vote – including anyone in the penal system and undocumented workers; those options are real, and they give a voice to the people instead of taking it away from them.  It’s a right to vote, it’s a freedom – and to be quite honest, I personally wish it was rule of law.

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Beyond the President, there were several key races in California, as well as throughout the United States that I was keeping an eye on:

California

Medical Mary-J: Smoke ’em if you’ve got ’em! California has joined states like Colorado, Washington, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada in their approval of recreational weed; voters in Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota voted in approval of medical cannabis and forever a black sheep of American politics – Arizona voted against.

The Death Penalty: This is why California can’t have nice things. We had a majority vote to approve Prop 66 to expedite the death penalty – but the majority also voted no on Prop 62 to repeal it.  I’m sorry, but killing someone for killing someone to prove that killing is wrong will never make sense.  In good news for the penal system, California did agree to allow parole consideration for non-violent felons.  It’s a small win, but it’s definitely a win – especially compared to Nebraska where they voted to repeal the repeal of the death penalty.

Other key California measures that passed include Prop 59 which recommends California push to overturn Citizens United, Prop 64 which requires the legislature to put bills online for 72 hours prior to a vote and Prop 63 putting background checks on purchasing ammunition, creating one of the strongest anti-gun law states in America.  Last but certainly not least, congrats to Kamala Harris for becoming California’s first African American Senate Representative.

Massachusetts

Minimum Size Requirements for Farm Animal Containment – In an effort to battle intensive animal confinement on farms, Massachusetts is joining 11 other states with bans on confinement.  The new law prohibits methods including the use of battery cages for hens, veal crates on baby calves and gestation crates for pigs.  On top of that, Massachusetts is going the extra mile – barring the sale of meat and eggs produced via these methods, regardless of their point of origin.

Washington DC

What’s better than 50 states? Well, according to the residents of Washington DC – 51.  With overwhelming support, DC voted to ratify themselves as the state of New Columbia.  The decision is now in congress’ hands.

Colorado

Last night, Colorado became just the sixth state to endorse assisted suicide in conjunction to consultations with two different physicians.

For the next two years we’ll be dealing with a Republican Senate, a Republican House and an anti-establishment President who caters to the conservatives that will be electing justices to our Supreme Court. Meaning – we have two years to get our shit together as progressives; two years to undo all of the undoing that is about to occur. Two years until the next midterm elections and four until the next presidential cycle.  As a minority, a female of color who will eventually raise a child that is also a minority, this country makes me nervous. As someone who wants to have a family in the next four years, I’m beside myself at the social climate and culture I will be raising them in. But I refuse to be anything but hopeful…adversity creates strength and resolution, and this election has sent a powerful message:

The sun is still shining, the world is intact and we’re going to get through this…together. It’s easy to throw our hands up, search for ways out of this mess and get frustrated – so instead, get educated, get active in your community and actually BE the change you wanted this election to be. Find an issue you’re passionate about, volunteer on a campaign, join a committee, organize a rally, raise your voice and be heard. 

Let this propel you to passionately pursue what drives you, use this tumultuous energy to create instead of destroy, try to understand the other instead of demonize them and we can get through this better than before. 

PS. Obama, I miss you already.

 

 

[The Audiofiles] Day Zero Returns to Tulum For a Mystical, Musical Journey

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One part musical journey, one part mystical experience – what the Ancient Mayan Calendar surmised about the cultural significance of Day Zero has catapulted into a once in a lifetime, or once in a year if you’re lucky, party in a jungle paradise. Since 2012, Crosstown Rebels have frequented Tulum, encouraging revelers, moonchildren and wanderers from across the globe to dive in and celebrate the wonder of one of the world’s most singular events, entranced by an international roster of artists.

Old world magic meets new world sound as Day Zero continues to make a name for itself in the Mexican wilderness. Nestled deep in the heart of the jungle, Day Zero reflects the constant ebb and flow of the natural habitat. With each consecutive sunrise and sunset, the ethos of Day Zero seeps deep into the soul, while the palpable energy from the caves, cenotes and natural amphitheater linger around every corner.

With the new chapter of Day Zero comes a new cast of cohorts; in addition to Crosstown Rebels’ bossman Damian Lazarus, this year’s music will be supplied by Dinky, DJ Three, Serge Devant, Mathew Johnson, and Metrika, as well as representatives from other like-minded global crews such as Innervisions Ame and Dixon.  Day Zero makes its triumphant returns from January 13-14th.

Purchase Tickets Here | RSVP on FacebookFor more on Day Zero, Damian Lazarus and Crosstown Rebels – head to their social media channels and websites:

Day Zero Festival: Website
Crosstown Rebels: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud
Damian Lazarus: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

[LA Life] Gallivant Through The Gardens of the Getty Villa

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The weekends are made for reveling and laxing; for shedding that thick skin you buiilt up throughout the week and letting your soul shine through in diamond delight for 48 hours. For those of us out on the North East side of Los Angeles, it’s also that one time a week that we’ll leave our pocket of the city and venture to Hollywood, Downtown, Long Beach, Malibu – little slices of our near and distant bubbles of life that feel like another planet entirely.

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Built as an homage to the Herculaneum’s Villa of the Papyri, the gallery was curated back in 1954 and opened to the public in the 70’s. Back a several years ago, I took my first trip out west to the stunning Greek Inspired Getty Villa and marinated in the Greco Egyptian and Greco Roman artifacts and treasures.  This time felt different. As we entered, we lingered in the gardens, lapping up the luxurious landscapping and gorgeous greenery each corner of the Villa had to offer.

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The Getty Villa is open from 10am to 5pm, Monday through Wednesday and parking is $15 before 3pm and $10 after. Good news is that tickets to get in are $Free.99, you’ll just need to reserve your spot online to get in; you can plan ahead, or just get tickets the day of.  The food options, which admittedly aren’t why you come to a museum, are nominal but delicious – and the wine and beer selection makes for excellent Sunday Funday material.

For more on the Getty Villa, visit their socials – or just plan a visit!

Website | Yelp | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tickets

 

 

[The Audiofiles] Get a Dose of ‘Honesty’ With The Russ Liquid Test

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All Photos from Daniel Leist Photography

Back in 2015 when Russ Liquid brought Andrew Block onto the stage at the Gem and Jam Festival to debut his side-project ‘Stupid Americans’, it was evident that their musical bond extended far past what had manifested in front of us on stage. Between our elated eardrums and happy, dancing feet – we were fully immersed in musical bliss, swimming sweetly through sonic waves.  In a musical culture that more often than not rewards pre-programmed sound and demands levels of perfection that only pre-planned sets can deliver, it’s refreshing to experience the ever-evolving complexity of intelligent music that stems from live instrumentation and musical improvisation; the Russ Liquid continually dishes out just that.  As we walked away from Gem and Jam, we couldn’t stop gushing about how their sound, and their inspired, live collaborative process could blossom into something bigger than either performer could have imagined.  Fast forward into 2016 and a year and a half later, The Russ Liquid Test quartet is actively shaping the sound of the future.

The collaborative brainchild of Andrew Block, AJ Hall, Alvin Ford and none other than Russ Liquid himself – The Russ Liquid Test is in a genre all of its own: an avant-garde mix of Future Jazz and Livetronica, seamlessly pulling elements from Big Band, Funk and Soul.  They made their festival debut at this past Lightning in a Bottle, winning over the dancefloor with a Special Sunday set.  The Russ Liquid Test’s debut EP 1984 is set to drop on November 11th on Griz’s imprint All Good Records. Until then – we have a few salacious new singles to chew on and digitally digest.

Their debut track is the soulful, gritty ‘Honesty’, a single that both pays musical homage to the greats of the New Orleans Music Scene while manifesting their ethos for a new era of music. Moody and atmospheric, the vocals pull at the listener’s heartstrings with a slow, seductive quality that’s echoed by the Big Band sound of vibrant brass.  Joining The Russ Liquid Test on the track are Alvin Ford Jr of Dumpstaphunk and Pretty Lights notoriety on drums, and a horn section fully equipped with New Orleans players like Eric Bloom of Lettuce and the Aaron Neville Band. “Honesty” is available for streaming and download.

We wanted to create something that embodies both the modern sound of electronic music with the rich heritage of New Orleans music. so we mashed up electronic production with the sounds of New Orleans second line in a very unique way that is both future and vintage.” – Russ Liquid

The second single off of 1984 is the Hip Hop heavy ‘Land of the Free‘ with none other than Mr. Lif.  Pairing poignant lyrics on our current social and economic climate against the wailing, rally cries of the guitar – ‘Land of the Free‘ capitalizes on a cross-pollination of genres, expertly fusing Rap, Jazz and Live Electronica into a musical masterpiece.

For more on Russ Liquid and All Good Records, head to their social media channels –

Russ Liquid:  WebsiteFacebook | Twitter | Soundcloud | Bandcamp

All Good Records: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Soundcloud