the endless summer car show: a drive down memory lane

Let’s take a walk, shall we?

To reminisce is to indulge in enjoyable recollection of past events. Nostalgia. Reflecting on the bygone days can evoke a wide range of emotions. Laughter, tears, tears of laughter– whatever effect it has on you, you can almost certainly count on it warming your heart. In the November 2013 issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, a group of scientists conducted a study that suggested that nostalgia can play a beneficial role in people’s lives. Specifically, it may actually make people more optimistic about the future.

Often times, we’re told to stop living in the past. It’s easy to dwell on mistakes we’ve made or kick ourselves for staying in a toxic relationship for too long. In these cases, yes, you shouldn’t punish yourself for decisions that can’t be changed. But what about the times that made us happy? There’s nothing wrong with daydreaming about that crisp fall beach day spent with your family or your first date at that hole-in-the-wall sushi restaurant. If it brings a smile to your face, keep reminiscing. That 2013 study also said that when people used their positive memories as the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ during a hard time, it helped them pull themselves out of their rut faster than those that did not. Sounds about right.

I’ve always been the first one to get on the “remember when…” wagon. I find myself chasing places, people, and even things, that have stories to tell. I want to hear ’em all.


So when The Endless Summer Car Show parked in Hermosa, needless to say, I made sure to check it out. Car enthusiasts from all corners of the region gathered to show off their rides, which were in pristine condition. Woodies, t-birds, you name it. They lined the perimeter of the plaza and glistened with classic greatness as their owners stood proudly next to them. As they should. The car collector niche is alive and well in Southern California and it is impressive.


These racers have been around the block and back… a few times. Is anyone else curious about who had their first kiss in that one or what this one has seen? Maybe a square off between the Greasers and the Socs (hint: The Outsiders). The possibilities. You can really let your mind escape you when you start to think about it. It’s like reminiscing, but on someone else’s treasured memories– which has the potential to be more fun, depending on how creative you allow yourself be.


A pleasant stroll down memory lane…always reliable for a no-charge pick-me-up.

Your Gal, Shaye

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the importance of listening to your body: my story

Hi, all-

The last month I’ve been MIA so I want to apologize for being off my game and fill you in on the happenings, which taught me to pay closer attention to the warning signals the body sends when things are out of whack.

It all goes back to Wednesday, April 11th, 2018. My stomach started feeling funky midday but as a gal who frequently suffers from benign stomach-related issues, I waived it off as nothing. By midday the subsequent Friday, I was in the ER awaiting my fate, which turned out to be an emergency appendectomy.

Say whaaat! But Doc, I’ve never had surgery. I eat well, I’m generally healthy and I showed no signs or symptoms up until two days ago. Doesn’t matter kid; sometimes this stuff just happens.

Okay, so let’s backtrack again to the minimal symptoms I did show.

Wednesday 4/11, 1:30 pm: crampy internal gas pains begin.
Wednesday 4/11, 6 pm: all pressure, bloated ness, and pain has subsided. I went about my life and paid no mind to the pains that cramped my style that day. I must be better, right? Wrong.

Thursday 4/12, morning:

As mentioned, sporadic stomachaches are no stranger to me so I figured these were par for the course. While at work as a waitress, the pain gradually came again. Not only was it worse, but it felt different, which led me to think the two weren’t related. I ran through all potential causes– or so I thought. I wasn’t expecting my period so I ruled out hormonal cramps and I hadn’t eaten anything other than an Rx bar and a clementine so it couldn’t have been something I ate. The time seemingly crawled by. The pangs turned from unpleasant to excruciating. This time they were migrating throughout my abdominal region. “This is new,” I thought. “WTF is going on.” I was growing more and more concerned.

My shift was over at last and I limped home. I felt fatigued, feverish, and scared. This wasn’t like anything I had ever felt. Upon my arrival at Studio 3, I took a hot shower, doused myself with lavender oil, and jumped in bed in hopes of sleeping it off. Wishful thinking.

Thursday 4/12, 9 pm:

Matt got home from dinner with one of his buddies who was visiting and by this point, I had been rolling around in agony for the last 6 hours. To be frank, I have the tendency to dramatize so I couldn’t tell whether or not I was blowing the whole situation out of proportion. With my stomach bloated and rock hard and my trio of roommates as my witnesses, I concluded it was not normal. 

Friday 4/13, 6:30 am:

After the sleepless night, I decided it was time to call home. I fought back tears as I explained the symptoms to my dad, who passed the phone over to my mom. In the calmest way possible, she told me I had to go to the hospital. We agreed that my symptoms were almost certainly those of appendicitis. As per her demand, Vikki and I left for the ER. The timing couldn’t be worse as Matt was heading to Atlanta for his lacrosse season the same day and had to finish packing before leaving for the airport.

Friday 4/13, 11:30am:

We spent about an hour and a half in the waiting room before I was finally admitted to the ER. I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t stand, or walk. They hooked me up to an IV; my nausea made it hard to drink water so I was severely dehydrated. When I returned from getting an MRI, Matt arrived before he set off to LAX. That helped. After another 2 hours of waiting, the surgeon confirmed what we already knew: appendicitis. The only solution: emergency appendectomy. Okay, so now I was flipping the f out. I was thousands of miles away from the security of my parents and faced with one of my first “you’re-on-your-own” situations. Although I had Kyle and Vikki, the thought of going under the knife so far from home was unnerving. Granted, it’s a common, almost zero-risk procedure that is completed an average of three times a day– in that hospital at least– but any surgery is still surgery. It was an especially big deal for a first-timer like myself. After my 5-minute freakout, I swallowed my nerves because I knew it had to be done whether I liked it or not.

Friday 4/13, 4 pm: went in for surgery.
Friday 4/13 4:45 pm: surgery successfully completed.

According to my surgeon, my appendix was inflamed to the point that it would have ruptured had I waited any longer. Meanwhile, two days before, I was completely fine! So freaky. It was a terrifying experience, but in the end, I feel like I came out braver and stronger. I’ve got the scars to prove it. The recovery process took a month. No exercise, water or sun exposure for 4-5 weeks. I’m all back to normal aside from the fact that I’m appendix-less.

The moral of my story? Some weird shiet goes down on Friday the 13th. But on a serious note, listen to your body. Although there are no precautionary measures you can take against appendicitis, which comes virtually out of nowhere, it showed me to pay closer attention to red flags. Don’t ignore unusual symptoms. If you think something is seriously wrong, trust that instinct.

Your Gal, Shaye

playlist: may good music be with you

Today is May 1st- say whaaat. For some reason, it’s a really hard pill for me to swallow this month; I can’t get over how fast time is flying. Spring is certainly in full bloom, but flowers aren’t the only fresh picks I got this month.

On my May-list I featured not one but two new singles from one of my artist crushes, Leon Bridges. I remember where I was the first time I was dazzled by his voice- it was that memorable. My best friend & musical soul sister, Melissa, and I were cruising in my ’99 Ford Escort when Better Man started playing on the radio. We legitimately parked the car to listen to it. His old school jazz club vibe can get the shyest wallflower out of their seat. Sorry, I’m fan-girling over here but he’s just that good.

Rainbow Kitten Surprise is also making another appearance. I’m pretty disappointed that I went on for so long without knowing who they were. They’ve been around since 2014-that’s four years RKS-less so I’m making up for lost time.

Don’t forget to check out Love Somebody by Ta-ku + Wafia and Toluca Lake by Tep No. I’m talking ‘on repeat for hours’ kind of songs. Take my word for it.

Less talking, more listening.

Your Gal, Shaye

a peek inside: my medicine cabinet

where the skin magic happens

Whether or not the Fountain of Youth actually existed is a question that remains unanswered but we do know one thing: if you take care of your body, your body will take care of you.

Although growing older is inevitable, signs of aging are something you can delay, depending on the precautionary measures you take. They key is to start from the inside and work your way out; eat well, drink boatloads of water, and exercise. But we mustn’t forget that tending to your outer shell comes in at a close second in terms of importance, which is why I take skincare so seriously.

It began with my seemingly ageless mother, who’s been stressing the significance of a good skincare regimen since I was a tiny thing on the beach, slathered in SPF 50 rocking a silly hat that was bigger than me. It was these practices– which I dreaded at the time–that instilled in me some of my most valued habits– the ones that help me maintain a healthy and [mostly] blemish-free complexion.

With that said, I’d be lying if I said my skin was perfect. I have unruly breakouts sometimes, too, but through research and trial-and-error, I have managed to find a handful of all-natural products and practices that keep that nonsense under control. Knowledge is better when shared so I’m going to let you in on a few of my best-kept secrets– the trusty products I keep in my rotation.

the “in” crowd

As discussed in gal’s spring skin glow-up guide, your skin is the body’s largest organ so it’s crucial that we’re mindful of how we treat our skin. More specifically, we must be careful about what we put on it because whatever it is will ultimately get absorbed. That’s why I roll with this crew: products free of chemicals or other harsh, potentially toxic ingredients. *If you can’t pronounce it, chances are you should steer clear.

Step 1: CLEANSER Trader Joe’s Face Wash with Tea Tree Oil

I have been using this face wash for about 7 years. Yes, years. It’s thorough, refreshing, and doesn’t break the bank. TJ’s all the way.

Step 2: TONER Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel

No facial regimen is complete without toner and Thayers is your best bet. They’ve been in biz since 1847 so it’s safe to say they’re doing something right. The rose petal scent is delicate and feminine and does a great job of wiping away any excess dirt your face wash missed. It pairs well with reusable cotton rounds.

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Step 3: FACIAL SERUM Odacité Papaya Geranium Serum Concentrate

This serum is my newest buddy and we’re getting along very well so far. It smells great and leaves your skin feeling like a million bucks. This Pa + G serum is specifically designed to help with hyperpigmentation and other dark spots, some of which I’ve gotten via sun damage. So far, I have seen a slight improvement in my skin but it’s too soon to really tell. * I usually wait about 5 minutes post serum application before I move on to the moisturizing step.

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Step 4: FACIAL MOISTURIZER Kahina Giving Beauty Argan Oil or Hynt Beauty Sun Prep Broad Spectrum SPF 25

I don’t have enough fabulous words to describe Kahina’s Argan Oil. I discovered the miracle worker three years back while on the hunt for a new moisturizing oil. This was my morning and night oil until recently when I made a commitment to sun protection and invested in Hynt Sun Prep. Now, Kahina serves solely as my bedtime facial oil. It leaves your skin with a dewy glow after every single use.

In addition to the quality of the product, Kahina Giving Beauty is a highly respectable company. All of their products are “thoughtfully produced from start to finish with an eye toward cultural and environmental sustainability.” Kahina4lyfe.

Unless it’s raining outside, Hynt Sun Prep is my morning go-to. I strongly dislike the scent of sunscreen so I wanted to find a daily moisturizer that had SPF and that smelled like anything other than sunscreen. That’s when I stumbled upon Hynt! It boasts a fresh florally smell, goes on smoothly, and doesn’t leave any thick residue. I think it’ll be sticking with me for a while.

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Extra: ESSENTIAL OIL Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Oil

If I have any blemishes or problem spots, I apply Trader Joe’s tea tree oil to the particular area. It’s been a game changer. I started using it back in high school when stress and hormones wreaked havoc on my face-  we’ve been best friends ever since.

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Step 6: BODY MOISTURIZER MyHavtorn Organic Body Oil or Trader Joe’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

MyHavtorn body oil is heavenly. There, I said it. MyHavtorn is a family-owned company which hails from Sweden and “inspired by the power of nature.” I’m with it. It spreads like butter and smells… well, heavenly. I use the organic body oil sparingly because I love it so much and don’t want to run out, but whenever I do my body has the post-spa feeling.

I use TJ’s coconut oil on a more frequent basis. It never fails to quench my skin’s thirst for moisturization and again, smells amazing. If you couldn’t tell, the smell of a product is very important to me. Anyway, I apply coco oil post-dry brush + shower nearly every day. Major props to coconut oil for sticking by my side and keeping me moisturized. You’re the truest.

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Many things in life, like aging, are out of your control, but the way you treat yourself and your body is not one of them. Investing in quality products and routines are gifts that keep on giving. If you’re on the market, these products are worth it.

Your Gal, Shaye
P.S. If there are any ah-mazing all-natural products that you think I should know about, please let me know! 🙂

our journey to Joshua Tree, CA

Just 140 miles east of Los Angeles, in the High Desert of California, rests Joshua Tree National Park. Nestled between the towns of Yucca Valley, Twentynine Palms, and naturally, Joshua Tree. The national park is celebrated for its explosive sunsets, sparkling starry night skies, obscurely beautiful plant life, and hipster-approved shops and eateries.

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Due to its close proximity to the always bustling LA, this desert oasis is the quintessential back-to-basics getaway; close enough, but far enough. We often forget how crucial it is to our wellbeing–and sanity– that we take a step back from our busy schedules and make time to ground ourselves. Ditching the traffic and turning in street lights for stars to guide the way is guaranteed to reduce stress levels. If you weren’t already aware, spending time in nature has proven health benefits. More specifically, the desert provides higher air quality, less light pollution (which is helpful when you’re looking for constellations), and ample sunshine. Interestingly, the dry air in the desert also means less mold and bacteria, which is beneficial when it comes to wound-healing and respiratory problems.


OUR TRIP:

Last month, I was in dire need of getaway in the great outdoors. Initially, Matt and I planned to venture up the coast to Big Sur, but stormy weather deterred us from taking the trip. As desert lovers, we settled on Joshua Tree. We packed our Mitsubishi rental with our two-person tent, not enough blankets, one pillow (which I immediately regretted), and other various necessities and set off.

DAY ONE:

After about three hours in the car, we rolled through the sleepy trio of towns before we reached the park entrance. As luck had it, there were no camping sites available. This was our fault, we should have known, but thankfully we found a groovy campsite right outside of the park. During the spring and summer months, it hosts various festivals and other creative gatherings. It was sweet. For $20 a night, we secured a spot for our tent and our trusty red Mistu.

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Despite the forecasts’ call for high winds, I was hopeful it wouldn’t be the case. It was. We got our tent up and headed over to our on-the-road go-to, Walmart. I normally hate supporting big box stores like Walmart, but unfortunately, when you’re in small towns your options are limited. Matt and I stocked up on dinner for the night, salmon and veggies via firepit and pan, and drove back to our home for the night. The setting sun doesn’t wait for anyone so we started cooking right away. Matt manned the grill, and fought off the smoke like a champ, while I chopped the veggies. The end results weren’t exactly gourmet and faintly resembled that of toasted marshmallows, but we were hungry and cold, so it sufficed.


We admired the sunset, put out the fire, and retreated to the tent for the night, while the sounds of the whipping winds echoed through the valley.

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DAY TWO:

We rose, we shined, and we hit Mt. Ryan for a hike. Matt and I decided we’d give the first come first served on-site campgrounds another shot, so we packed up all of our belongings before we left.

After breaking a sweat and scoring some breathtaking views, Round 2 of the campground search commenced. We were pulling out of the last site, Jumbo Rocks, with no sign of a spot, when a fine gentleman waved us down and offered up his spot, as he was pulling out. The Desert Gods were looking down and granted us the authentic J. Tree experience we were looking for.

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DAY THREE:

The winds had no mercy on us and continued to howl throughout night two. The sunrise made it worth it, though. It was truly magnificent. It was difficult to decipher whether my shivers were from the morning chill or the palette of colors that painted the sky. We finished admiring the colors until our growling stomachs demanded breakfast. The wind was stubborn and was having no part of us starting a fire to cook so we settled on a diner- Carla’s Route 62 Diner. I  was not-so-secretly thrilled.


THE SKINNY

Although I would have loved to check out more shops, Matt and I went to Joshua Tree strictly for the nature experience, and that’s what we got. We did, however, make time to peek into a few of the gems that lined the main road.

  • The Grateful Desert Herb Shoppe & EcoMartThis spot is just what you’d picture being in Joshua Tree. The apothecary had everything from aromatherapy to chocolate to small knick-knacks. I purchased some loose-leaf chai tea, dried lavender, my cherished muslin tea bag, and an awesome logo sticker.  I use the lavender for tea or sometimes I toss some into a tiny sheer bag and leave it in my purse. Smells delightful.
  • Joshua Tree Health Foods: The store of my dreams. They had everything! I splurged on a lavender and blueberry dark chocolate bar. my taste buds had a dance party.  If anything, check this place out!
  • Natural Sisters CafeMatt and I stopped here on Day 2 for a coffee break. The joe was pretty tasty, but it was their pastries that caught my eye. I was doing a ‘no sugar, no carb’ weekend, so I didn’t try any, but if I go back, I will certainly stop back in.
  • Unity Home Thrift Shop: Your typical small town thrift shop chock-full of hidden treasures. Matt scored a sweet 90s bathing suit here. I wasn’t committed to the cause so I didn’t get anything, but it’s worth a visit.
  • Carla’s Route 62 Diner: This was where we had our last supper breakfast. I ordered huevos rancheros and they were delicious. With that said, we didn’t do too much research and sort of rushed the decision-making process. When I’m traveling, I’m very deliberate when choosing where to eat.
    Bottom line: I would recommend it, but I don’t think I would go back. Not because I didn’t enjoy it, more so because there were healthier, more interesting alternatives.

My perception of what Joshua Tree was before I went was entirely skewed. I originally thought it was just one town (not three) that was adorned with dozens of hip shops. Embarrassingly, I didn’t even know it was a national park! In reality, it’s a quiet strip that oozes desert excellence and boasts a handful of awesome mom & pop shops.

Next time I go to Joshua Tree, I’d switch it up a bit. For starters, I would write up a more thorough plan. I think I’d probably kick off the trip with primitive camping. It’s such a rewarding experience that gives you a real sense of accomplishment. From pitching your own tent to cooking your own food, it helps you grasp what life is like in the wild.

I’d finish off my stay by shacking up in a rustic meets boho mod Airbnb. The one I have in mind: Casa Joshua Tree. It’s the account that introduced me to Joshua Tree and is insanely beautiful.

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When all was said and done and we hopped back in the Mitsu to head home with smiles on faces. Our adventure was a great success. It was just the medicine my body– and mind– needed to decompress. Sometimes fresh air and mountain views is all it takes. If given the opportunity, take the trip!

Your Gal, Shaye

playlist: showering you with April tunes

¡Feliz Abril! I’ve decided not to do playlists anymore… April Fools! The corniest, as usual. Well, wishing everyone a happy April 1st, a happy Easter to those celebrating, and an especially happy new playlist day.

April, as a month, is the equivalent of a bouquet of freshly cut flowers and a breath of after-rain air. This playlist feels the same. Upbeat with a touch of soulful goodness and an alternative flair. If I’m honest, it’s pretty bangin’ and just the stuff you wanna cruise-with-the-windows-down to.

It features a couple songs from one of my current favorite bands, WetIf you haven’t heard them yet, do yourself a favor and start with the two songs on this playlist. You’ll be binge-listening to their entire album before you know it.

All about April.

Your Gal, Shaye

tru·isms: your spring skin glow-up guide

March showers bring dewy skin

The last few weeks have been wetter than usual in LA, which has provided nature with a much-needed revitalizer as it transitions from winter to spring. There is a shift for us, too, and it’s crucial that we take our skin into consideration as it adjusts to the new climate and warmer weather.

Springtime is the best of all worlds; brisk during the morning and nighttime hours but pleasantly balmy during the day. With that said, as the temps begin to rise and we spend more time outdoors, taking the necessary measures to adequately protect and nourish our skin is key. This means investing in a skincare routine that you’ll stick to. When you give your face and bod consistent TLC, it creates a difference you can see, and more importantly, feel. I’m talking: radiant glow.

As far as products go, I do my best to avoid any made with chemicals. When you can, always opt for organic. It needn’t be anything fancy. Despite popular belief, naturalproducts don’t always come with a hefty price tag.  My regimen is fairly inexpensive and I’m confident that my skin is smiling 90% of the time. You just have to find the balance that works for you.

gal’s spring skin glow-up guide

  • CLEANSE
    • Skincare 101- this should come as no surprise. During the day (and night) our skin gets covered in bacteria, oil, pollutants, and other debris that are floating around in the air. Cleansing your face rids your skin of these impurities that could otherwise lead to clogged pores and other potential skin-related issues. It also encourages skin hydration, which we love.
      *Also, exfoliate about two or three times a week, depending on your skin type. Exfoliating is an extra step you can take ensure that your face is an impurity-free zone.
  • TONE
    • Often overlooked, but toning happens to be my favorite. Toner helps wipe away excess dirt that your cleanser missed. It also restores your skin’s pH balance, moisturizes, and can help tighten cell gaps after cleansing, adding an extra layer of protection. On top of that, it’s like drinking a cup of cold water with cucumber on a summer day- so refresh, so clean.
  • SERUM
    • Not sure what serum is? You’re not alone. Serum is a product that should be applied post-cleanse and pre-moisturize. It’s a water-based product that is composed of molecules with the capacity to penetrate deeply and directly provide skin with the benefits of its powerful active ingredients. Think: Vitamin C, Vitamin A (Retinol), Vitamin E, Hyaluronic Acid, Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs), Peptides, Glycerin, green tea, stem cells, and other various botanical extracts and oils.
      • Bottom line: Serum is essentially a skin power food, which feeds your skin with the benefits of each potent ingredient. They are known to make skin firmer, smoother, increase moisture levels, and for their anti-aging properties.
  • MOISTURIZE
    • After *pat drying* your face post-cleanse, do you notice that tight botox-esque feeling? Your skin has been stripped of its moisture and is crying to be quenched. Applying moisturizer helps hold water in the stratum corneum, the outermost layer of the skin. In other words, it helps keep your skin hydrated which trickles down to a number of other benefits. It helps fight wrinkles and maintain the elasticity in the skin, keeping your skin lookin’ young and feelin’ fine.
  • SPF
    • So important. Sunscreen is usually associated solely with the summer, but it should be worn every day. Ultraviolet rays that cause skin damage and skin cancer are always present- rain or shine. Even if its overcast and we don’t see any visible rays, UVB rays are still shining down, hitting your precious face. Protect it!
      • Minor league tip: If you’re like me and don’t love the smell of sunscreen, there are two-in-one moisturizers that don’t sport the smell. That’s your best bet.
  • HYDRATE
    • Ladies, this is the root of the magic. Without water, our organs cannot function and with the skin being our largest organ, staying hydrated is of the utmost importance. Water provides moisture as well as essential nutrients to the skin and its cells. Additionally, it replenishes the skin tissue, aiding in elasticity. It enhances complexion, delays signs of aging and combats certain skin disorders.

This may be called the spring skin glow-up guide, but these guidelines should be referred to all year long. Different climates and seasons warrant specific care, but if you keep these six power steps at the core of your routine, you’re lookin’ good.

Your Gal, Shaye

P.S. If you’re curious about which brands and products you can trust, fear not. In the coming weeks, we’re going to take a peek inside my medicine cabinet to check out which brands I rely on. I’ve been known to be a matchmaker in the beauty department. We’ll let you be the judge of that 😉 .

the vernal equinox: time to cleanse

At long last, we have reached the Vernal Equinox. As equinoxes always go, today the earth’s hemispheres receive the sun’s rays equally, resulting in a day and night that are seemingly identical in length. The term equinox literally means ‘equal night’ when translated from Latin (aequus means equal and nox means night).

To me, the equinox– like all others seasons– stands for more than the amount of sunlight and moonshine we receive. It’s a time for self-reflection. A time for deep emotional and physical cleansing. Like the flowers spring back to life after a dormant winter, we too, can dust ourselves off and bounce back with grace.

Frankly, I don’t think you need any excuse to hit the reset button, but a new season is a great opportunity to do just that. A season, in and of itself, essentially symbolizes a fresh beginning. So as an ode to spring, I’m doing some spring cleaning- of my feelings, my belongings, and anything else that no longer serves me. I’m also doing some spring striving, but we’ll call them resolutions. You should try it, too.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been documenting the return of various flowers and plants. It was amazing to see them come back to life right before my eyes.

Springing into Action

  1. Simplify
    • I’m talking about my closet, all my cabinets, and my feelings, of course. I want to get rid of any stale feelings or thoughts of mine that don’t do a damn thing but weigh me down.
      • I want to get rid of impulse purchases, unflattering pieces, or anything else that I haven’t picked up in over a month. If you haven’t worn or used it in 1-2 months, chances are you don’t need it. Make some extra cash by selling ’em. Or donate ’em.  Either way, it’s better that they won’t be taking up space in your dresser drawers.
  2. Self-love
    •  Exercise. Go outside. Wear sunscreen. Read. Be kind to yourself. Dry brush. Eat chocolate if you want chocolate — try to stick to dark, but if you want milk, by all means, eat the damn milk chocolate. Eat greens, too. Sleep in late sometimes. But also get up earlier than usual sometimes. Challenge yourself.  Journal. Don’t be too critical. Draw. Paint. Write. Write some more. Think. Dream. Plan. Cry. Laugh. Be a human. Accept that everyone’s journey is different. Listen to music! Breathe.
      • No more negative self-talk! Ignore the internal dialogue that tells you ‘you aren’t good enough’. Or you ‘can’t do this’ or ‘do that’. Because you can. And I can, too.
      • This point is probably the most important. Creating a healthy relationship with yourself, for some people, is a lifelong battle. That’s okay. As long as you’re taking the necessary steps to accept and love yourself,  you’re on the right track. There’s no timeframe or finish line. Be patient.
  3. Zero-waste
    • This is a new thing of mine. I’m trying my hardest to live a zero-waste lifestyle. No more plastic. Buy in bulk. Reusable bags, duh. A glass coffee mug.  It’s a change that will take time, mostly because it requires investing in several different reusable items, which I will elaborate on in an upcoming post.
  4. galtruism
    • Moving forward, galtruism is my priority. After simplifying, I’ll have more brainpower to dedicate to posts. I want to create a space that people can come to for advice, inspiration, tips… anything about anything (but mainly fashion, living, etc.). If there is anything in particular that you’d like to see or learn about, let me know. I’m always open to ideas.

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I’m not sure how I forgot to say it, but happy spring to one and all. It’s one of my top four favorite seasons. The vernal freshness that fills the air can’t be beaten. On the real, though– go sit on a park bench next to some blooming beauties to expedite your self-reflection process.

Your Gal, Shaye

 

ginger, carrot, ‘n turmeric power bites

sugar, you are my candy ginger, carrot, ‘n turmeric gal

Many people claim to have a ‘sweet tooth’, but if they have a sweet tooth then I have a plain old sugar tooth. My candied cravings have lessened as I’ve gotten older and the types of treats I look for have changed as well. That’s not to say that if I see warm cookies and ice cream* I won’t go for it, but my palette has matured and I’m more mindful of what I feed my body. *(NadaMoo! is the best you heard it here first.)

In an effort to satisfy those stubborn gut bacteria every now and then, I’ve been messing around in the kitchen with various not-that-unhealthy ingredients. I must say, I am pleasantly surprised with the outcome(s). There have been two trial runs thus far in Studio 3 and the results are coco cacao bites and these, GCT power bites.

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I’ve never been a culinary master, so if I can whip up these balls and have them taste delish, it’s safe to say that you can, too. These GCT power bites are jam-packed nutrient-rich ingredients serving up a wholesome, guilt-free snack experience. I’ll elaborate on the benefits of each ingredient in a bit.

This whole recipe sharing thing is new to me, so I apologize in advance for guesstimations on the measurements. I usually eyeball and add based on taste, texture, etc; emphasis on ‘new to me’ in the previous sentence. Okay, so to be clear, all ingredients accompanied by an asterisk (*) is an approximated measurement. If you add a little less or a little more, it’ll be just as tasty. The next recipe I share will be exact — bear with me 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 4 medjool dates, pitted
  • 7 baby carrots, sliced and grated
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon*
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric *
  • 1/2 cup coco shreds
  • 1/2 cup grated ginger root
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/3 cup Almond butter*
  • 1/2 tbsp. ground flaxseed *
  • A touch of chia seeds

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Instructions:

  1. Add all ingredients to your food processor.
    • I used a NutriBullet; I’m not entirely sure whether or not it’s adept to mix ingredients like this on an everyday basis, but it’s served me well so far.
    • You’ll have to stop a few times to scrape the contents on the sides since there is no liquid base to help swoosh them around.
  2. Process for about a minute or so.
  3. Once it’s done, you can do one of two things: take the dough and put in the fridge to harden for about an hour then roll into balls or if it’s consistency allows you to roll it into balls right away, go for it.
  4. Once balls are rolled, put them in a glass Tupperware and throw ’em in the freezer.
  5. For the finale: once frozen, take out and feast on your GCT power bites! If eaten immediately out of the freezer, they take on a frozen treat persona- and wow, are they something else.
    • Note: although they’re perfect by themselves, if you’re looking to spice it up, toss one in with your morning yogurt.

Prep time: Less than 10 minutes

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Onto the good stuff: the benefits

  • Medjool dates: Dates get a bad rap for being sugar laden; they still provide several health benefits. Great for: weight loss, bowel movement support, reducing blood pressure, and promoting respiratory and digestive health.
  • Baby carrots: Good source of beta-carotene, fiber, vitamin K, potassium, and antioxidants. Help reduce the risk of cancer, lower blood cholesterol, and the improve eye health.
  • Ground cinnamon: Loaded with antioxidants, cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties that help lower your risk of diseases. Great for your heart, lowers cholesterol and reduces high blood pressure. Also helps fight diabetes by improving your body’s sensitivity to insulin. The list goes on…
  • Ground turmeric: Turmeric contains a curcumin, which is renowned for it’s anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. It also helps lower your risk of heart disease. Almost too many benefits to count. Here are some more.
  • Coconut shreds:  Chock full of protein, fiber, iron, and zinc. Quadruple threat. Keep in mind that there is a high-fat content, so it’s smart to limit your intake.
  • Ginger root: fights fungal infections, helps treat nausea, protects against stomach ulcers, eases menstrual pains, regulates blood sugar, relieves joint and muscle pain, and improves brain function- just to name a few.
  • Salt: In moderation, salt has plenty of benefits. It helps with oral rehydration, prevents iodine deficiency, helps prevent diabetes, and improves cardiovascular health.
  • Almond butter: Contains magnesium which boosts heart health, and potassium, which is important for good blood pressure and heart health. Almonds have a low-glycemic index, making almond butter blood sugar friendly.
  • Organic ground flaxseed: High in fiber, low in carbs. Helps lower cholesterol, support digestive health, and are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Chia seeds: These tiny seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, anti-oxidants, and protein. They also support digestion and promote energy.

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Phew, that was a mouthful. What are you still doing reading this? Shimmy over to the kitchen so you can have a mouthful of GCT power bites by dessert time. Remember: life can be sweet and healthy.

Your Gal, Shaye

tru·isms: there’s an herbal tea for ‘that’

Afternoon tea, anyone?

For generations, people had no choice but to live off the land and work with what Mother Nature gave them. Lucky for them, our planet was fully equipped with all of the ingredients necessary for a fruitful life.

Several of those ancient remedies continue to be whipped up to this day, which speaks to their potency. One of my favorite magical herbal mixtures is none other than herbal teas. Not only is cuddling up with a cozy mug of organic goodness a gift to your taste buds, but it’s also a mega treat for your body.

Herbal teas, otherwise known as tisanes (pronounced tea-zahn), are not to be confused with regular teas. Interestingly, the word ‘tea’ really only accounts for the mixtures derived from the camellia sinensis plant. This includes black tea, white tea, oolong tea, and green tea. Herbal teas, on the other hand, are essentially just infusions (or decoctions) from any other plant that is brewed in hot water and thus, creates a sizzling bev.

These soothing concoctions have been around the block a few times and can be definitively traced back to Ancient China and Egypt, where they were consumed for the same medicinal and sheer enjoyment reasons.

Pro-tip: Using muslin bags and loose-leaf tea is an easy way to reduce your footprint and lessen the amount of waste you produce.

What’s your type?

There are a slew of tisanes that fall under the herbal umbrella, all of which are categorized based on the part of the plant they come from.

  • Leaf:  lemon balm, mint, lemongrass and verbena
  • Flower: rose, chamomile, lavender, and hibiscus
  • Bark: cinnamon, slippery elm, and black cherry bark
  • Root: ginger, chicory, and echinacea
  • Fruit/berry: peach, blueberry, raspberry,  and apple
  • Seed/spice: fennel, cardamom, and caraway

I’m here for the benefits (and the taste).

I love the way tisanes taste, but I’d be lying if I said the benefits didn’t play a role in why I drink it on the daily. Here are a few of the biggest draws for me:

  1. Aids in digestion: can help ease bloating, nausea, cramping, and diarrhea.
    • Try chamomile, peppermint, fennel, or ginger.
  2. Diuretic & laxative: helps eliminate toxins from the body, which in turn relieves stress on the gastrointestinal system, kidneys, and liver.
    • Try dandelion, hibiscus, or hawthorn.
  3. Boosts brain health: Adding teas to your diet can help prevent oxidative stress in the brain. It is also credited with boosting focus and concentration.
    • Try rosehip, ginger, or rooibos.
  4. Relieves stress, anxiety, & sleep issues: Certain teas can help relieve stress and anxiety which in turn helps lower levels of depression, boost energy, and reduces inflammation. By reducing inflammation, you can decrease gastrointestinal distress as well as arthritis, headaches, and hemorrhoids.
    • Try chamomile or valerian for stress & sleep-related results.
    • Try turmeric, peppermint, eucalyptus, or ginger if you’re solely looking for tisanes with anti-inflammatory properties.
  5. Antioxidants: In layman’s terms, antioxidants neutralize and remove the free radicals from the bloodstream, which is crucial to our well-being. Herbs naturally contain antioxidants which provide solid benefits when consumed. With that said, every herb is created differently thus antioxidant levels vary depending on the type of herbs used in each tisane.
    • Try elderflower, lemon balm, or thyme for a tea rich in antioxidants.

It’s brew time.

There are two ways to make and indulge in herbal teas.

  1. Infusion: This method is simply pouring the boiling water over the herbs. Remember to strain out the berries or plants, although there’s no harm in swallowing a few.
  2. Decoction: This method of preparation is commonly used for root, bark, and berry tisanes, as the longer boiling time extracts more of the flavor from the ingredients. It consists of placing the plants in the water to boil and boiling 2/3 of the water away, creating a rich, thick mixture.


The low-down: my faves.

Now that we’ve covered the herbal tea basics, I’ll give some personal insight on what my favorites teas are and why.  As mentioned in previous posts, I try to avoid prescribed or over-the-counter meds at all costs and usually turn to herbal or holistic remedies instead. Recently, herbal teas have been huge players in my healing game.

These are the MVPs:
1. Peppermint: This tea never fails to put some ‘pepp’ in my step. Similar to one of my other favorite, fennel, peppermint is great for soothing an upset stomach. It’s one of my most-consumed during the colder months as it’s a natural decongestant, which helps clear out your sinuses. Added bonus: it’s refreshing and lowers stress and anxiety levels.
2. Fennel: I’ve struggled with digestive issues for a while (bloating, cramping, nausea) and fennel tea has helped significantly in alleviating those nasty feelings. It also has antispasmodic effects, which come in handy if you’re a menstrual cramp sufferer.
3. Chamomile: Relaxation mode kicks in immediately at sight of a steaming cup of chamomile tea. Herbal teas are naturally caffeine-free, so they’re perfect to enjoy around bedtime. Last week I had a cup of chamomile right after I applied lavender oil and right before I hit the hay and, I kid you not, I had the best night sleep I’ve had in years. Another fun fact about chamomile tea that many people don’t know is that it helps lower and regulate blood sugar levels.
4. Echinacea: Okay, so Echinacea tea isn’t in my rotation– yet. After doing some research, that’s going to change real quick. It has some impressive immune system-boosting qualities and has been proven to reduce cold and flu-like symptoms. On top of that, it’s known to relieve pain related to swollen joints and muscles. Sign me up.

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Chamomile tea being enjoyed from one my favorite mugs, courtesy of Goodwill ($2.99).

It’s officially tea time on the west coast.
That’s my cue. Cheers!

Your Gal, Shaye

playlist: springing into March

Do you hear what I hear?

The sound of birds chirping is music to my ears (no pun intended), although I have no real complaints regarding my first, dare I say, ‘winter’ in California. It barely dipped below 50 degrees the last few months; LA got nothin’ on East Coast winters, that’s for sure.

Although there’s greenery year-round, today was strangely the first day I noticed that everything looked awake. My light morning walk on my usual path was noticeably more vibrant and fragrant than I remembered. I even had the pleasure of sharing my stroll with two playful Monarch butterflies that couldn’t wait to take on the day.

Songbirds and butterflies aside, the release of my March playlist is also buzzing around. It’s a compilation of upbeat newbies & goldies that’ll put a little pep in your step as we spring into the new seez.

Happy listening.

Your Gal, Shaye

art as therapy: a day at the MOCA

The Therapy Part

I believe there are two universal languages: love and art. Despite what your native tongue is, you are born with the innate ability to feel, a sensation evoked by both love and art. They’re both capable of drawing out emotions that may have otherwise remained suppressed; they possess the genuine power to heal. Because of this, art can and should be used as a form of therapy. It really helps and I can tell you this firsthand.

Sometimes my moods are all over the place. It took me a while to fully understand why but I think I have it figured out: hormones, stress, and overthinking, which, funny enough, causes stress. Anyway, in order to get myself back to equilibrium, I’ve found that turning to art helps me the most. I use that term loosely, though, because I don’t always do the creating. Yeah, I journal and sometimes pick up a paintbrush, but aside from that, the opuses of others are where I find the most consolation. The emotions that fueled them to write those lyrics and mix those colors on that canvas were raw. For a girl that feels all the feelings, that resonates with me on a very personal level. I get it where they’re coming from because I’ve been there. I’ve felt it all: confidence, confusion, optimism, pessimism, love, heartbreak; knowing that I’m not the first to feel ‘this way’ or ‘that way’ is super comforting.

In addition to that always important emotional healing business, art also introduces you to artists from all walks of life. By strolling through the galleries, you’re exposed to dozens of new techniques and customs from different cultures. Basically, art cultivates you into a more well-rounded person and who doesn’t want to be well-rounded?

No. 61 (Rust and Blue) [Brown Blue, Brown on Blue] by Mark Rothko (1953)

Let’s tie this all together…where can you go for a therapy session with a side of enlightenment? You guessed it: museums.

Visiting museums in person *gasp* is extremely fulfilling. It’s sort of the equivalent of holding a book vs. reading a Kindle. Kindles are convenient, sure, but the act of flipping the pages is what creates the authentic experience. Similarly, scrolling through a digital gallery is cool and all, but being up close and checking out all the fine details is what it’s about.

Whenever I’m in a new place, visiting a museum or art exhibit is always a priority on my list. It’s an easy, fun stop that familiarizes you with the local culture without breaking the bank. Oh, and you get to see some impressive works of art. Added bonus: museums also serve as houses of inspiration- especially useful for those times that you feel you’ve hit a creative wall.

So naturally, upon moving to LA, I had to check out one of their [many] museums.


The Art Part

Museum of Contemporary Art– Downtown Los Angeles, California

I think I’ve done enough talking so I’ll let the photos below speak for themselves. The MOCA is lined with unique and wonderfully bizarre pieces that are totally up my alley. And yes, I know I just went on about how you shouldn’t just scroll through digital galleries, but this will do until you have the chance to check out the MOCA yourself if you haven’t already.

These were my favorites:

White Cigarette by James Rosenquist (1961)

Fountain, Sunset, Hollywood by Edward Ruscha (1999)
I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art by John Baldessari (1971)
Unsure of title- believe it is from Anna Maria Maiolino’s Drawn Objects Series (1975)

The next time you’re feeling a little ‘bleh’, get on the internet and Google: “museums near me.” It’s a foolproof way of finding an exhibit or museum in your area that you haven’t heard of. Or maybe you have heard of but haven’t made an effort to check out. Either way, make the time. You’ll leave with lifted spirits, a lil inspiration, and a tidbit or two of knowledge that you didn’t have before.

Your Gal, Shaye