The Cauldron Stirs

Some of us live for this.

Fall.
So easy to breathe its name,
for the very word conjures up leaves of amber and ruby.
Crisp air. 
Fragrant herbs. 
Foxy coats and boots. 
And of course, the national orgasm that is pumpkin spice.

But then,
there are those of us that conjure something else entirely...

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As the veil between the worlds becomes thinner, spells are cast. Rituals heighten. The Season of the Witch is fleeting, but potent. 

You, my darling Beasties, can join the party with a simple Kitchen Witch concoction that will strengthen you for the coming seasonal shifts, both in body and in spirit.

Let's get the fires burning and the cauldron bubbling, shall we?

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I've brewed a most bewitching recipe for you: one so simple, you would swear on your Bastet statue that it had appeared out of thin air...

Autumn Spirit Soup

*please use all organic ingredients

  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 small apple (Pink Lady, Honeycrisp, and other cidery apples work best)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 3 small cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • extra virgin olive oil, first cold pressing if possible
  • pure water
  • Celtic salt
  • fresh ground pepper

First, chop your garlic. Turn your flame on low, and in a large pot swirl a bit of olive oil. Allow it to heat - it's ready when you place your hand above the pot, and can feel the warmth. Now toss in your garlic, and let it cook gently until it just turns translucent, releasing it's sensual aroma. While it gets going, chop your vegetables and apple. When the garlic is ready, toss them in, and give it a good stir to coat everything. Let them all mingle a bit, then pour in just enough water to cover everything.

Bring the cauldron to a boil, then lower the flame and simmer until everything is tender. Put out the fire and allow the soup to cool. Ladle into a high speed blender, and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour the mixture back into the pot, add the lemon, cumin, salt and pepper to taste. You're done!

As you are concocting, visualize you and whomever you are serving the soup to as very strong and healthy, full of vitality and energy to meet the season. Really feel it. Guiding you here are some very powerful friends. Carrots are loaded with intense amounts of vitamin A, which builds cells and strengthens your immune system. They are also full of disease fighting antioxidants, and, magickally speaking, create desire for sexual contact. They are ruled by fire, and thus can ignite your inner fires, particularly in the boudoir.  (I am picturing all my readers frantically going out to buy carrots, crunching them madly on the way home!)

Sweet potato is ruled by Venus, and you know what that means. Yes, my Darlings, more sex. And love!  These frisky tubers also give us plenty more vitamin A, a shot of vitamin C, lots of B vitamins, fiber, and beautifying minerals, for more vibrant health on the inside, and glowing radiance on the outside. 

Our goddess of love also rules the apple, long entwined with divinity throughout the ages. Apples are also very high in antioxidants, vitamin C, B vitamins and minerals, making them nutritional powerhouses as well as beauty food and high-vibration magickal friends. The smell of fresh apples alone was believed to boost low physical strength as well as ensure longevity. 

Lunar lemon provides another burst of vitamin C, as well as lending detoxifying properties to the mix. Lemon is associated with love, happiness, and purification, and was traditionally used to bring light indoors during the darker months. Fiery garlic gives protection and good health, and is loaded with natural immune boosters. Celtic salt not only detoxifies, but also contains all 92 beneficial live elements found in seawater. (Confused about salt? Read more here.) Peaceful cumin was believed to be favored by the Egyptian gods, and was offered in massive quantities to ensure happiness. And last, but never least, lovely black pepper purifies and protects. 

All in all, a most delicious way to fortify your body, ignite your love life, and look gorgeous while doing so!

To your health, Beasties.

As for me,
well,
I've got many more spells to cast...

xxx Alise

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No Quarter

I spent the morning catching up with friends.

It felt like ages since we had spoken.

In actuality, it had been one week. But one week without the wisdom of the trees and the birds had proved to be simply unbearable.

Days earlier, a wicked bout of illness had given me the bum's rush, hurling me unceremoniously into the weekend, cruel and unforgiving. A crash landing left me battered, bruised; unable to gather the strength needed to even stand. I hadn't seen it coming.

Or had I?

The past two weeks had been unbearably challenging. Anger and odium collided like great waves slamming the sides of my already battle-worn ship. My graceful and resilient sails were now tattered, and supplies had run dangerously low. My stars had seen to it that deep dark ugliness needed to rear itself, whether I was ready or not.

Now, usually I meet these challenges head on, not being one to back down, really, ever. (It's both a blessing and a curse.) But this time, the tide simply took me. So the body decided to dock my pirate ass for a spell, though it felt in reality like being marooned on a deserted island.  By my own crew, no less. "Sorry, Captain Flamehair, we had no choice.  Use the time wisely.

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This, traditionally, is the only way for me to stop the reckless internal spinning: by being forced, via the body's intelligence, to just stop. I'm guessing many of you know what I'm talking about. I don't get legitimately sick, like from a germ or virus. I'm simply too damned healthy for that. (Eternal thanks, beloved plants.) What I am susceptible to, however, is burn out. Endless mental wanderings, worrying, analyzing, and high-level creating, combined with a demanding, self-imposed work schedule makes for one perpetually-stretched-too-thin cat. Ignoring innate feline wisdom, I forget to rest. To take a pause. To be still. 

And so, after getting a glorious cosmic ass-kicking, I resolved once again to return to my animal roots.

But there's a problem with that.  I have made this observation and subsequent resolution many, many times before, which begs the question: at what point does it finally sink in?

After lying for days in a darkened cave of purrs, kisses, elixirs and blessed silence, I ventured out into the light once more. And there were my dear friends, right were I had left them. They knew, of course, that I had drifted too far without provisions, but were kind enough not to remind me of it.

Sipping a rather potent brew, I shared my seeds and bits of apple with the birds, gulping in the mountain air as if my very life depended on it. The winged ones know. They chattered merrily of their adventures, allowing me to forget mine. 

And then I saw him.

A most beautiful fuzzy bee, nestled in the hydrangea. There were many others busily buzzing about, but this one was different. Carefully, silently climbing the stems, he seemed determined to reach a center point. An architectural web, if you will, radiating inward toward a center nucleus. The heart. 

 And there he stopped and sat still, not moving.

Zen Bee

I wasn't sure at first if he was hurt, or sleeping? (Do bees sleep? And if so, where? I had to stop my brain from taking off in the direction of ceaseless questioning. That would have ruined the moment. )  I realized he was merely there, just being, suspended in the fluidity of time.

After what seemed like an unbearably uncomfortable amount of minutes (for me anyway - hellloo, fire sign!) he stretched, reached up, took hold and grabbed the nearest blossom with such vigor and passion that you couldn't help but be impressed! And then he made his way around to all the flowers in the cluster, confident and strong. 

And, just like that, he flew away.

Bees are emblematic of fertility and great productivity, but they also remind us to savor the sweetness of life, the honeyed nectar of simple pleasures. This dear little messenger was clear in his medicine to me. And I owed him, by way of thanks, to heed it.

But what was that sound? With a rustle of the bushes, a tiny bunny appeared, delicately nibbling the fallen flowers whole, with rhythmic daintiness.

Bunny Flower Nibble

Rabbits of course also symbolize fertility, along with new life, and the ability to make great leaps and hops, but I have also always known them to appear when new money sources are about to make themselves known. More medicine for one on the precipice of great change...

So the recipe for today is not a food or beauty potion, technically. But really it is. It's spirit food. It's inner beauty that radiates out. It's the beauty of life, nature, spirit, and love. 

It's about taking the pause. You see, it is the spaces BETWEEN the thoughts that actually create. That space is where the magick actually happens. Stillness breathes life, my Loves, the life force needed to generate and to manifest.
Without this, your magick will not be potent. 

So adhere to this simple yet profound wisdom, Dear Ones, and share it. Next time you find yourself or someone you care about spinning out of control emotionally, or beholden to those sticky phantoms of fear, or driven by ego, remind them, and yourself, how it all works. 

Thank you to my wild friends, the nature spirits that patiently and continually light my way.

And to you for stopping by to spend a little time here.

Now, I do believe I have my sea legs back!
Is that my ship I see,
not too far in the distance?

(Mind you, whomever marooned me is totally walking the plank!)

xxx Alise

 

 

 

Blossom Lady

As days grow brighter,

and gentle rains rouse the verdant spirits

from their dreamtime adventures,

we prepare, Wild Ones, to make those dreams real.

Out we pop from our buds!

stretching in langor toward the Sun,

the sweet scented moss 

tickling our noses,

guided by birdsong...

Doesn't Spring, somehow, always feel like the first time?

Now, of course, an Elven Queen would be fairly famished after a long Winter's rest.

A bright-eyed forage through the untamed forest and her surrounding fields could offer a delightful array of beautiful plant gifts!

But let's get one thing straight: those of you know me are aware of my eye-rolling tendencies towards the "seasonal cleanse."

Is Spring a time of renewal? Of course.  

But the body actually operates on a detox cycle, followed by a nutritive cycle, on a daily basis.

Do you clean your house four times per year? Of course not.

Then why, oh why, would you clean your soul's temple so infrequently?

I've prepared for you, my beautiful hatchlings,

a nibble that not only cleanses, but feeds.

Making your body strong,

your skin and hair vibrant,

your mind clear and ready.

Everything comes alive.

Everything awakens.

For nature is the ultimate Femme Vitale...

Spring Faerie Salad

Serves One
*all ingredients must be organic or wild grown

9 leaves of fresh dandelion
1 C  baby spinach
1/4 C grated carrot
1/2 C sprouts/microgreens (I love a blend: radish, alfalfa, sunflower, etc.)
1/4 C sunflower seeds
1/4 C nettle leaf
Raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar
Cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
Celtic sea salt/fresh ground black pepper (know in certain circles as The Pinch-n-Grind)

Begin, my Loves, by grating several carrots. The easiest way? Give them a rough chop, then pulse in the food processor. Then you have some for the next few days. (You're welcome.)
Next, pull the dandelion leaves from their stalks, and tear gently with your fingers. Add in the spinach and carrots, and top with sprouts to form a gorgeous nest. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds and nettle leaf. Give it a light drizzle of the oil and cider vinegar, a pinch of Celtic salt, a grind of pepper, and you're there!

Dandelion is a bitter green, designed to detoxify the body by cleansing the liver, kidneys, and the blood. It also encourages fat metabolism and stabilizes blood sugar, while supplying the body with calcium, zinc, potassium, vitamins A, B, C, & D. A total powerhouse! Magickally, as with all greens, it is consumed to attract money, which just might come in handy as you get your dreams off the ground. *wink* 
We''re using eight leaves to symbolize personal power, for this potent dark green goodness also assists in making wishes come true...

Sprouts and microgreens are part of this magickal mélange to symbolize new life force emerging, and for their tremendous nutritional value. Carrots are filled with vitamin A, amongst other major nutrients, which keeps the signs of aging and stress off your face, helping to keep skin preternaturally young. Oh, and they're all about sex. Spring fever, anyone?

Sunflower seeds are amazing little health bites, so full of crucial minerals and vitamin E, to keep you beautiful inside and out...with a magickal boost to ensure success. Whatever you're conjuring, know you've got plant power on your side!

And what might this mysterious little faerie boat be carrying?

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Why, it's nettle! 

Long used as a protective herb, fiery nettle also gives passion a push in the right direction. Love it already? Here's more: nettle is an immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory wonder that supports kidney and bone health. Beauty-wise, our brilliant plant friend promotes hair growth and flawless skin, particularly effective in treating acne, psoriasis, and eczema. It's also a renowned female tonic (just use it with caution, or not at all, if you are pregnant.)

Allright, my succulents,

revel in this Spring energy!

All my love,

xxx Alise

 

 

The Dragon's Fire

"Dragons are fire made flesh."

-George R.R. Martin

Has ever a creature ignited so much fear and loathing, through the ages and across the lands, as the dragon?

World leaders aside, mind you.


The ferocious Fafnír has dwelled in the imaginations of children for centuries, depicted as a greedy, ruthless, fire-breathing slayer with nearly impenetrable skin. Quite a feather in the cap of anyone who could rid the land of such a beast.

To me, as a child, they were simply misunderstood.

Of course, there were all those tales, dark and foreboding: the terrifying Hydra who challenged Hercules, the stealth Greek drakones that served as the getaway car for the dark witch Medea, and the great Welsh Red dragon that defeats the White Saxon dragon right in front of the King (and has to have it all explained to him by Merlin...hmm...a ruler who is also an idiot...where have I heard that one recently?)
And then, there was the fierce foe in of the aged and frankly exhausted Beowulf's final battle.
But in amongst those famous stories, lesser-known legends of the beast lurked...

There are those worshipped by the ancient Chinese, who considered themselves descendants of the dragon, who, as the ruler of moving bodies of water and rainfall, had control over the weather. They were also considered the representation of the masculine yang, and held in high regard as a symbol of strength, power, and good luck for those who are worthy. This continues today, as benevolent people of high achievement are said to be "dragons."

Ah! And the lovely dragon sisters, Léana and Léas, of magickal lore. They are personal favorites of mine. Léana, with her sliver-white mane watches over your sleep, keeping nightmares at bay and replacing your fears with peaceful visions. She is never far from her sibling Léas, the Moonbeam Dragon, with her swirling silver sparkles, who can only be summoned during a Full Moon. (So don't bug her during any other phase. It's just bad manners.)

And then, last but not least for today's folkloric wanderings, there is good old Smaug. He's the greediest of all, isn't he? And pretty lazy. But, he is, nonetheless, the creation of our beloved J.R.R. Tolkien, and is therefore a delight to read about.  

I always knew wild creature spirits watched over me as a child. They still do. For it is said that a dragon will perch on your shoulder to protect you...if you are willing.

Loves, with Spring so newly upon us, you may be wondering where, exactly, your own inner dragon fire is lurking.

The Sun goes into Aries, the season shifts, and you figure you're going to be shot out like a cannon into your next creative adventure, yes? 

But these first few weeks of warmer weather and the long-awaited appearance of the elusive sunshine tend to make you feel a bit day-dreamy. "Yeah, I should really get to blah, blah, and blah...but...I think I'll just go sit beneath a tree, and..."  

Time to take long walks and deep breaths.

Read.

Listen.

And get ready.

Because the moment will seize you fast and hard, the momentum gathering you along with it, hair flying and heels dropping below you, as Spring begins to move you forward and upward in its whirlwind of new energies. And it's right around the next corner.

To lend a dainty faerie hand, my Beloveds, is this impossibly pretty elixir I've crafted just for you, to ignite the creative fires stirring deep within, just aching to be released.

But don't be fooled by its beauty, it possesses a the power worthy of its namesake.

The dragonfruit is a gorgeous, tropical little creature that I must introduce you to. I first became acquainted with this one a couple of years ago on a balcony in Los Angeles, on a woozy afternoon that had followed an 18-hour film shoot. I woke up, wandered down to the farmer's market, hungry and feeling more than a bit surreal. I met these strange and fascinating fruits, and was completely bewitched by them. The name, first of all. I knew they would be intense. And whole, they actually look like cute little fishys doing weightless aquatic dances:

You can see why I fell in love. I took two back to where I was staying, opened them, settled into a deck chair, and experienced their magick. I dug in with a spoon to discover a flesh creamy and sweet, a bit like a nearly overripe pear, with an ever-so-slight slight tartness, and dotted with elegant black seeds of pure life force. Sunbathing that afternoon, I felt the fire reawaken. I was tired, yes, but filled with energies beyond the physical world. And I've worshipped these babies since.

Dragonfruit, or pitaya, is indeed a superfood, which always equates with beautyfood. It wields active antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, heaps of vitamin C, coveted B vitamins, fiber,  and immune boosters. Topically, a dragonfruit face masque will tighten and revive dull skin, giving you a radiant celestial glow. You can even apply it to your scalp, to keep hair smooth and healthy! 

I've added strawberries to the potion to conjure up a little Venusian love magick, and pomegranate for an extra shot of fire, all to fuel the fertility of your creations! The almonds combined with the liquids make for a fresher, creamier almond milk than the kind you buy...with the added touch of vitamin E for stunning skin and hair. Enjoy, Lovely Ones!

The Dragon's Elixir

1 whole Dragonfruit, flesh only
1/2 C pomegranate juice, unsweetened
1/2 C spring water
1/2 C fresh organic strawberries
1/4 C raw organic almonds
1 packet or dropper organic stevia, or to taste
Garnish with organic goji berries

Blend all these delights together in high-speed device (I always recommend a NutriBullet...it pulverizes everything.) Pour into a sexy cocktail glass and sip, drinking in all the energizing and beautifying energies it offers. 

I would concoct this potion, Beasties, during a Waxing Moon, when you need that push forward, and even nearest a Full Moon for an extra shot of manifesting prowess.

Happy Spring!

xxx Alise

 

 

 

 

 

Rockstar Ingredients: Watermelon

Watermelon gets dismissed so easily as sugary kid stuff.

But it’s not. 

If I were a watermelon, quite frankly, I’d be offended.

“Nice melons, Mamacita!”

Well, yes, thank you...but let’s raise our eyes slightly above the neckline to gaze upon this most magical offering, shall we?

Watermelon is, well, water. It’s actually 92% water. 
Hydration, my Beasties. 
The body craves it. Skin drinks it in.
Beauty from the inside out, no?
Besides that, it’s quite literally drenched in nutrients. Not in the least, blessed antioxidants and amino acids, but also impressive levels of vitamins A, C, and even B6! Bite into that.

Why do we care about antioxidants? Lovers, antioxidants are Goddess-sent warriors.
Listen to me: they keep you well, inside and out. Health-wise, they fight cancer. All kinds. 
Beauty-wise, they conquer the free-radicals that ravage your precious skin. 

Watermelon also rides high on amino acids, which are absolutely essential to beauty and wellness. Think of them as Aphrodite’s pearls dancing inside us, building the immune and central nervous system, and metabolizing fat, all while supplying vital nutrients to nourish skin, hair, and nails from within by strengthening connective tissue.

Toss in lycopene and potassium, and what on earth are you waiting for?

Ahhh...the magical part...yes...

The lunar-ruled watermelon has her origins in Africa. The ancient Egyptians would mix the juice of the watermelon, prized by the god Set, with wine to heal illness, particularly in cases where the sick person was believed to be under the influence of a dark energy. It made it's way across the world to Hawaii, where the watermelon was rolled through the front door to help guide a deceased person with ease into their next life.
Best of all, watermelon is sacred to the sea goddess Yemaya. And she's the cat's meow. 

So, then, with ripe organic beauties still out there in droves,
do I have to shout?

(I abhor shouting.
I’d much rather whisper in your ear.)

“Dive in, Sweet ones...”

You can actually see the energetic vibration!

You can actually see the energetic vibration!

Magical Melon Elixir

  • 1 small organic watermelon
  • 1 C organic raspberries
  • 2 organic mint leaves
  • 2 drops lemon essential oil
  • juice of 1 lime

Set a piece of watermelon aside. We're going to have fun with that later. 
Blend the rest together except the lemon oil. Add that in last. Garnish with a few mint leaves, bring a sexy glass out onto the terrace, or under a tree, and sit back to enjoy it while you're flipping through an Italian Vogue, or devouring a juicy read.

The fine art of lounging isn't just for we cats. It's actually a very necessary ritual for all creatures.

The finely-honed skill of doing nothing at all.

Isn't it delicious?

Now, about that bit of watermelon we set aside earlier.
Here's a trick: It becomes a fabulous face mask. 

Just blend it up, and pour it into a bowl. Then, simply dip a fluffy (cruelty-free) foundation brush (or a cotton pad) into the nectar, and swipe it all across a freshly cleansed face. Don't forget to apply it gently around your eyes, both underneath and on the brow bone, and to your neck and décolleté. 
Let it dry for about 20 minutes or so, then rinse with cool water. 

Now a spray of rosewater, a dollop of moisturizer, and you're ready to knock someone's socks off!
(Or pants.)

This little facial leaves you with a toned, hydrated, fresh-looking visage.
Your skin will love it!

To your health, Darlings,
xxx Alise

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Do It Clean

I heave a dramatic sigh as I say this: the New York Summer is an especially mucky one.
This has been the dubious trend of late,
for at least as long as I can recall.

And while there are, admittedly, a handful of stunning days,
absolutely purrfect for frolic,
most are unbearably humid.
I’m not talking a balmy, sultry, tropical moisture in the air,
one that stirs up a musky Brando sensuality...

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE KIND OF MOMENT THIS ISN'T.

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE KIND OF MOMENT THIS ISN'T.

I’m talking gross.

You know the kind. 
In the city, it’s everywhere. The streets literally assault you with it.
In the country, it’s a more organic, moldy kind of thing.
The strange odors that arise from nowhere, from ghosts of tenants past,
no matter how fastidious you are. They even lurk in your car.  

Two Summers ago, I kid you not, I was lounging in my clawfoot bathtub, 
when my eye caught the sight of something strange:
a vision of something white at the base of the pedestal sink.
I half-emerged to lean over for a closer look. I figured something had dropped or spilled there.
It hadn’t.  
It was mushrooms.
Growing in my bathroom.

They had, literally, shot up overnight.
I stared at them, fascinated for a while.
I love mushrooms.
But then it dawned on me that this wasn’t actually a healthy thing, for fungi to be sprouting up out of...tile. 
That’s the kind of humidity I’m talking about.

What’s a girl to do?
Bust out the magic, of course!

Time to reclaim your space as the Den of Sensuality it should be.
Time for natural cleaning with super powers.

Gather a few sparkly glass bottles,
strip down to your delicates,
and get it on, right?

Wait...you mean you never thought of cleaning as a fun experience?
Oh, honey!
It's all in how you approach it.
I call my version "Naked Disco Cleaning," which is exactly what it sounds like.
It starts out innocently enough. You begin by BLASTING 70's disco. Fully clothed, of course. And the beat pounds. And you start dancing. And cleaning.
It gets hot. 
So you take off your blouse. And your hair gets wild. You're singing.
It all just keeps getting hotter. Off comes the skirt. 

You get the picture.

Once, someone I worked with dropped by while I was in mid-cleaning frenzy. I answered the door drenched in sweat, wearing purple cleaning gloves, insane hair, and little else. With a bemused stare and a hearty laugh, she shook her head and said, "Only you...ONLY...YOU...!"

I guess you should always check to see who's at the door before you open it.
 

Desirous Cleaning Mist

  • 12 oz. distilled water
  • 2 Tbsp liquid castille soap
  • 30 drops cinnamon essential oil
  • 20 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 15 drops orange essential oil

Just fill up your pretty 12 oz. spray bottle with the distilled water, add in the castille soap, then add your essential oils, slowly and with purpose. Feel negative energies leaving your precious space, old layers falling away, and fertile new ideas coming in. 

I absolutely love this blend, because it has a wondrously clean and lively scent, while remaining exotic and sensual. I think you'll love it too.

 And now, for my next number...

Lair Freshener

  • 4 oz. distilled water
  • 15 drops cinnamon essential oil
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 8 drops orange essential oil

Here again, this gloriously refreshing, sexy mix. Just like before, combine, enchant, and use to your heart's content! Just give them a little shimmy shake before each use to stimulate the oils.

Of course, you can adjust the oils to your liking. I always like to lay the cinnamon on heavily, for its lusty vibe and for its superior anti-microbial prowess. 

The best part? You can use these everywhere, my Darlings. On countertops, floors, sinks, tile...you name it! You wanna know an amazing little trick? Spray the Lair Freshener directly onto carpets, upholstery and textiles to freshen them. I even put some in my steamer in lieu of plain distilled water to deep clean my carpets and drapes. (This is also a fabulous way to gently clean your clothing.)

In case you are wondering, I haven't included white vinegar here for two reasons: first, it can damage certain natural materials like marble, stone, and wood. Second? Um...the smell. It's pretty bad

While I only use DoTerra essential oils for medicinal needs, including food and elixirs, a health food store grade is fine for cleaning. But Lovers, do not under any circumstances ingest these lesser brands. There is a massive difference in quality. A certified pure therapeutic grade oil (CPTG) has been throughly tested through a strict protocol, and has been harvested and distilled carefully by highly experienced growers. This all ensures a maximum potency and composition. For this reason they are generally a bit more expensive, so, again, a lower grade is acceptable for household spiffying.

Oh, and don't forget, our animal friends are sensitive, too, so gently introduce oils to them. For instance, one of my cats loathes all citrus aromas if they are too near her, while my other cat enjoys them. Go figure. 
So get a feel for what they can handle before spraying the floors, carpets, and anywhere they like to lounge.

Enough chatting.
Let's do this.
The Moon is waning, and I'm feeling all Donna Summer's "Bad Girls."

Now where are my roller skates?

xxx Alise

 

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The Cosmo Girl

It’s no secret that I love all things glamorous and sensual.

The pure joy of making every small detail special, sexy. 

The art of everyday glamour, if you will. 
It’s the little things. 

The tiny embroidered pouch that holds a jewel-hued vial of magic oil, nestled inside a velvet bag, to arise with langor from your purse, a pleasure to the touch.
The silken robe you wear just to check your emails in. The sparkly treasure boxes displayed regally upon your dressing table, whose only secrets are the mundane necessities they house. The gilded etched plate from which you nibble your gluten-free toast. 

I’ve always admired Dita von Teese for that.
The rituals of a glamorous life.
Once you get a taste, you’ll fall madly in love with it.
And the fact that you don’t need Dita’s bank account or social circle to create such beauty.

Of course, you do need to put some effort in. But it’s worth it.

When I was little, my young mother and her girlfriends all read Cosmopolitan magazine. It was, of course, a very different glossy back then. The cover girls were insanely gorgeous and sparkling, a mix of amplified glam and natural beauty. They weren’t famous, with the rare exception of a high-level bombshell film or tv star. And there were certainly no "famous-for-being-tacky" reality stars or manufactured pop silliness on those covers.
Inside the pages were secrets and stories, cheeky how-to’s, feline fashion spreads, ads to swoon over, and, of course, a very saucy monthly astrology guide, all aimed at a most bedazzling creature: The Cosmo Girl.

Vintage Glamorpusses.

Vintage Glamorpusses.

The Cosmo Girl had it all: a chic apartment, a great career, fab friends, and a sizzling love life. Oh, and the wardrobe for every possible situation. Everywhere she went, she brought style, smarts and sex appeal. I was madly in love with this idea. I didn’t even know what half of it referred to at that tender age, but I knew I wanted to be just like her when I grew up. 

In honor of this iconic gal, I’ll share with you one of my personal favorite Everyday Glamour Rituals:

A beauty potion in an impossibly sexy glass. With garnish. Mmm-hmm.

I’m a heavy drinker, you see: I knock back at least two each day.
And I’m talking the hard stuff.

Vitamins. Antioxidants. Minerals.

Oh, I love a real drink as much as anyone, of course. But skin needs hydration and craves nourishment…so this sexy little indulgence has major benefits.

So for you, my fluttering Butterflies,

I’m bringing back the Cocktail Hour.

Let me intoxicate you.

The Cosmo Girl

  • 8 C pure water
  • 3 Tbsp organic hibiscus flowers
  • 2 Tbsp organic rose hips (both found in natural food stores and online)
  • 3 drops lemon essential oil
  • two slices of fresh organic orange
  • a good splash of unsweetened pomegranate juice
  • 1-2 packets of stevia

Warm up the water in your little cauldron just to the point of heat, Loves, it doesn't need to boil. (Boiling actually can negate some of the beneficial properties naturally present in herbs and flowers.) With love in your heart, and a strong vision of the life you wish to create, sprinkle in the hibiscus and rose hips, and let them float on magic waters for...well, for as long as you like. Maybe overnight under the Full Moon tonight? 

When they're ready, add your lemon oil, oranges, and the pomegranate juice. Mix in the stevia to sweeten, chill, and you're ready to serve. I like to make a large batch, and keep it stored in a glass jar in the fridge. it keeps well for a few days, and over time the oils from the orange rind are released, deepening the flavor. 

In addition to powerful doses of vitamin C from the citrus, the pom provides super antioxidants, more vitamin C, A, E,  and a gorgeous color. It's actually one of the few fruits whose juice is as as beneficial as the actual fruit itself! It's also a rich source of myriad beauty minerals. 

Rose hips are the sacred fruit of this most treasured flower. Isn't that gorgeous? When all the petals have fallen, the rose hip remains, full with more vitamin C than an orange, and swelling with vitamin A, which keeps skin's elasticity, prevents wrinkles, and keeps those already formed from getting deeper. How's that for hot?

Speaking of heat, hibiscus tea ("karkady") was consumed by our wise ancient Egyptian ancestors to cool down on an arid desert day, as it carries the ability to lower body temperature, and is naturally moisturizing.  

So when you come in after a long day, grab a foxy glass and pour yourself a refreshing Beauty Cocktail. Don't have a selection of pretty drinking vessels? You need to get on that. Great ones can be had for pennies at dollar stores, flea markets, and discount housewares shops. See? Easy.

To your health, My Darlings!

Happy Full Blue Moon!

xxx Alise

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Seasonal Produce: Spring

And, it has happened.

Her petals have opened

to the sun, and to the wind

Botanical poetry, alive and well

bringing us back to joy,

with a creamy mocha center

and soft vanilla sage whispers.

And if the impossible beauty of the flowers have arrived,

then it must be time for...

Spring fruits and vegetables!

Oui! After eons of tubers (no offense, little underground starchy Darlings,) the new Spring collections are in!  

The mantra is always this: buy local, by organic. Produce that has to travel a long distance is invariably picked too early in order to look good upon arrival, so we end up with flavorless, nutrient-deprived food. Of course, depending on where you dwell, some things will never be in season, so when you crave, say, a mango in winter, just follow these tips to enjoy the best possible version of your plant loves. Go ahead, enjoy your old favorites, and make a few new friends while you're at it.. And use your senses! Does it smell luscious? Does it look vibrant and alive? Does it feel good in your hand?

Allright, Loves, let's see who's strutting down the primavera runway...

VEGETABLES:

ARTICHOKES - Look for tightly packed, intact leaves. Splayed leaves are a sign of not-so-fresh chokes.

ASPARAGUS - Once harvested, asparagus deteriorate rapidly, so place them in cool storage to retain freshness and nutrition. Look for firm, slim stalks and beautifully formed tips. Thick stalks can taste woody and kill your experience.

BELGIAN ENDIVE - I love Belgians! (wink, VK.) Choose endive with tips that have a pale, yellow-green color, and avoid wilted or browning heads.

BROCCOLI - Broccoli should be heavy for its size. Steer clear of dried or browning stalks and yellowing florets.

BUTTER LETTUCE - Bring home heads that look full of life! No wilting or browning.

CHIVES - You want graceful chives, uniform in size and color. Stay away from any wilting or yellowing.

COLLARD GREENS - Yesss! Collard wraps! Pick dark green leaves, but eat them quickly...once they turn yellow they're done.

CORN - Look for bright green husks, and don't be shy about peeling their clothing off. The corn beneath should be unblemished and juicy looking.

FAVA BEANS - If you are able to snag fresh favas, grab them! Young favas can be shelled, are usually small, and smell like Spring herself!

FENNEL - Another amazing addition to your repertoire! Licorice-y fennel grows wild all over Southern California and the Med-rim countryside...maybe that's why I love it so? (Actually it grows wild all over the globe.) Choose bright green feathery leaves and white, even bulbs. Add it to salads and raw savory dishes for a sexy kick.

GREEN BEANS - These should be crisp, firm, and vibrant. Stay away from dark spots and dried-out ends.

MUSTARD GREENS - Look for pretty, lacy green leaves, sans browning or wilting. And eat them quickly!

PEAS - Fresh English peas just scream Spring! Look for pods that are full, but not bulging. As soon as they mature, they become starchy and way less flavorful. Try to find ones at a farmer's market that have been just harvested.

RADICCHIO - Choose compact heads with tight, fresh-looking leaves. 

RADISHES - Go for bunches that are deep in color with solid roots. You want them firm and blemish-free. Avoid cracks.

RED LEAF LETTUCE - Select the ones that have fresh-looking, tightly packed leaves. Red leaf gets wilty quick, so enjoy it the day you market.

RHUBARB - Rhubarb (only eat the stalks, Loves) are quite tart, but when sweetened actually work as more of a fruit. Select unmarred stalks.

SNOW PEAS - You want the ones that are a bright green with flat, small seeds. They should snap when you pop them. Put them back if they look shriveled, dry, or discolored.

SORREL - If you haven't tried this delicious, citrusy green, do it now! Same rules of thumb as apply to all lettuces and greens. But these, in particular, need to be eaten the day you buy them. Let them sit and they become compost.

SPINACH - The younger the plant, the sweeter the leaves, so go for bright baby spinach. Hint: check the stems. If they are flexible, it's young.

SPRING BABY LETTUCE - So many gorgeous greens! Again, look for vibrant leaves, no wilting or discoloration.

SWISS CHARD - Grab dark green leaves with bright stems. And eat them fast!

VIDALIA ONIONS - The flatter the onion, the sweeter. Try it.

WATERCRESS - Choose bright green watercress that isn't yellowing or slippery. A fantastic addition to your salads or green shakes.

FRUIT:

APRICOTS - Choose ones that are rich in color, firm, and plump looking. These little ones bruise easily, but those can be used in jams, sauces, pureés, etc., so don't dismiss them. Their feelings will be hurt.

CHERRIES - The best ones are large (an inch or more in diameter), plump, firm, and rich in color. The deep, black cherries are always the sweetest! 

CHERIMOYA - You really have to strike while this baby is hot. This absolutely delicious, pineappl-ey/banana-ey/mango-ey fruit shouldn't be missed, but has a short shelf life, so seek it out, in all its dragon-skinned glory!

HONEYDEW MELON - The skin should be a an even cream, yellow, or white color, it should smell fragrant, and a tap should ring a hollow, not dull sound. Also, press into the area where the stem was. If it's mushy, bid it adieu.

JACKFRUIT - Another exotic yum! A ripe one will have a beautiful fragrance and yield to the touch. An unripe one will be hard with no perfume.

LIME - Easy: give them a squeeze. If they yield, they will be juicy.

MANGO - Color doesn't matter here. A ripe mango will give slightly when gently squeezed, and often a lovely sweet aroma. If it's hard as a rock, let it be.

ORANGES - Here's another example of a fruit that doesn't give it away by color. A ripe orange will look and feel juicy, like it's about to burst. Go for the plumpest ones.

PINEAPPLE - Are you ready? Smell the base of the pineapple. If it is ripe, it will grace you with its signature scent. 

STRAWBERRIES - These beauties should be plump, firm, well shaped, and uniformly colored. Avoid white tops, a tell-tale sign of being picked too early.
 

BLOSSOM LOVE. IMAGE BY  VK-RED DUVIVER.

BLOSSOM LOVE. IMAGE BY VK-RED DUVIVER.

Well now,

all that abundance should keep you busy for a while, no?

Let's get outside and have a little picnic together.

Is that a...rhubarb in your pocket...or...?

xxx Alise

How To Choose Purrfect Produce: Fall

Mmmmm!

A new season of Earthy delights is upon us, Delectable Ones.

Follow me as I forage the fields and the trees 

for the most delectable and devilishly Autumnal treats...

FABULOUS FALL VEGGIES:

Much of this edible poetry is available year-round, however, the cooler air produces sweeter, less bitter, tastier versions, so indulge!

  • ARTICHOKES - Fall produces a smaller, second go round on these delicacies. Squeeze the leaves! They will give a little squeak when super-fresh!
  • ARUGULA - Choose firm, bright leaves, no yellowing or spots. The larger leaves are more peppery tasting.
  • BEETS - Look for fresh, firm veggies with bright greens attached. You can cook the greens too!
  • BELGIAN ENDIVE - These are mostly forced to grow in artificial conditions, but fall is their natural harvest time.
  • BROCCOLI - Select one that is dark green with stiff stalks and tight florets. Any signs of yellowing, a rubbery feel, or white stems means you should skip it.
  • BRUSSELS SPROUTS - When you see these on the stalk, grab them! They last much longer than the cut ones do.
  • CABBAGE - Make sure the head is tight and compact, with good color and no wilting.
  • CARROTS - Look for ones that are firm and bright. No wilting or sprouting, please. A dark coloring at the top indicates that they are old.
  • CELERIAC - You want smooth skin and as few ridges as possible.
  • CELERY - Grab those straight, rigid stalks. Ahem. Steer clear of the limp ones.
  • CHARD - Choose dark green leaves with bright stems, avoiding dried or browning ones.
  • CHICORIES - Look for a creamy white color, with pale yellow tips.
  • EGGPLANT (AUBERGINES) - The skin should be smooth and shiny, and they should be a bit heavy for their size, with no tan patches.
  • ESCAROLE - Choose fresh, bright greens with no wilting or browning.
  • FENNEL - Look for a very white bulb. The smaller ones roast best if you are cooking them, and the leaves can be used for flavoring or tea!
  • GARLIC - Grab the ones with clean bulbs in a uniform color. Beware brown areas.
  • GREEN BEANS - You need bright, plump beans that snap. No limp ones.
  • HERBS - Thyme, Rosemary, and Sage are all in peak season right now-grab them!
  • HORSERADISH - Pick firm roots with fresh-looking cut ends. Avoid softness. 
  • JERUSALEM ARTICHOKES - Choose clean looking tubers with minimal bumps, no sprouting or soft spots.
  • KALE - Look for deep green leaves that are springy and don’t show signs of wilting or discoloring, plus a stem that isn’t dry. Remember: The smaller the leaves, the more mild the flavor.
  • LEMONGRASS - Fresh-looking, fragrant stalks with tight bulbs. The tips may be slightly dry, which is ok.
  • LETTUCE - As always, choose healthy, vibrant leaves!
  • MUSHROOMS (WILD) - Look for a smooth texture, dry but not dried out. 
  • OKRA - Pick ones that are firm and smooth...and fuzzy!
  • PARSNIPS - Fresh, firm veggies with bright greens attached, please!
  • PEPPERS - Buy naturally shiny, unwrinkled, firm, and blemish free, regardless of color.
  • POTATOES - Look for smooth ones, with few eyes and no blemishes (they can be toxic.) And no green patches or sprouting.
  • PUMPKINS - Small "pie pumpkins" are most delish when they still have 1-2 inches of healthy stem attached. Avoid blemishes and soft spots, but lopsided is fine!
  • RADICCHIO - Actually a chicory, the leaves should be unblemished, but the cut end can be browning slightly.
  • RADISHES - Take home smooth, bright ones with green tops. Avoid black spots, brown or white scars, and yellow or limp tops.
  • RAPINI (BROCCOLI RAABE) - Pick firm ones with thin stems and small florets, and no visible flowers.
  • RUTABEGAS - Look for firm, smaller ones, with a purple cast to the skin. Scratch the flesh. It should be yellow beneath.
  • SPINACH - Pick deep or bright green, unwilted leaves.
  • SWEET POTATOES - Grab the firm ones with no sign of decay. If baking, a uniform shape will ensure even cooking.
  • TOMATILLOS - The husks should been green! If the husk is papery or dry, the tomatillo is past it's prime.
  • TURNIPS - Select smaller to average sized ones, as the larger are woody. Baby turnips are super sweet, but don't yet have the purple color.
  • WINTER SQUASH/ZUCCHINI - Look for ones that are heavy and solid, without soft spots, have matte skin, and still has a stem.

FOXY FALL FRUITS:

  • APPLES - Look for one that is not only firm, but has naturally shiny and bright skin. No waxiness!
  • CRANBERRIES - Choose firm, shiny, plump ones...no shriveling!
  • FIGS - They should be soft, not mushy, but never hard. Check for a firm stem, as wigglyness is a sign of mushyness. Steer clear of any white fuzzy mold.
  • GRAPES - Green ones should have a slightly translucent, yellowish tone, and a frosty "bloom." Red and black ones should have a rich tone. All should be plump, with no leaking or wiggly stems.
  • PEARS - Choose fruits with smooth skin, and are free of bruises. I personally prefer ones that give when you squeeze them, otherwise they take forever to ripen.
  • QUINCES - Pick ones that are firm and relatively smooth, free of bruises or blemishes.
  • PERSIMMONS - Take home the glossy, firm, plump ones that still have their leaf attached.
  • POMEGRANATES - Select ones that are round, plump, and heavy for their size.

And don't forget all the sumptuous Autumn flowers! Chrysanthemums, in every stunning shade, are highly protective, magickal blooms. Besides planting them in the ground, I like to wrap small bouquets with twine or ribbon, and hang them in each window. I also love to adorn a chandelier or curvy lamp base with them when they are fresh and bendy...eventually they will dry beautifully, and stay with your for many, many months to come. 

Happy harvesting, Tasty Ones!

Love bites to you,

all through the year...

xxx Alise



Vlog Vixen: Vegan Protein, Part Two

Ok, I'm officially an addict.

Coffee, yes.

Baked goods...uh-huh.

Sexy adventures?

Okay, you got me.

And now...

Video.

I've created Frankenstein's monster,

in the form of a Creature who is just bursting to share info with you...

So, enjoy, my Delicious Ones!

And, hey.

If we put our heads together,

and combine those three little addictions I just mentioned...

Ahem.

I love you,

Dirty Things...

xxx Alise

P.S. Need a recipe? Click here. And here.


The Kiss Of The Siren

The sea holds me like no other.

I'm in love with both the forest and the sea, but they live so far from each other,

and when I've been away from either one for too long, my heart aches.

I've always felt that the forest protects,

reaching out with branched arms,

allowing us to collapse into its thickets

to rest, and heal

until we are strong,

like new brush.

The sea, by contrast, is expansion.

Vast, flowing, endless...

we are asked to open up,

embrace change, take a leap of faith,

many new selves unfolding.

Can we even recognize us?

Kiss of The Siren,  Gustav Wertheimer, 19thC.

Kiss of The Siren, Gustav Wertheimer, 19thC.


Any mermaid worth her sea salts would never devour her fish friends.

And though she may ingest a man or two,

from time to time,  

the question remains: How to get quality proteins and the ever-elusive Omega 3's? Most vegans and raw foodists eat lots of seaweed: nori wraps, soups, hajiki salads, wakame noodles...

Not I.

I was in Vancouver when I was a teenager and new vegetarian. In a lovely Asian restaurant I was offered a bowl of seaweed soup. How exotic, I thought. It sounded incredibly delicious, and I was eager to dive right in.

It arrived looking like a giant vat of swamp water and smelling even worse. I tried not to grimace as I sipped the broth.

It was the most revolting thing I had ever tasted.

To this day, I can't go near the stuff.

However...

these little powdered gemstones are just my style:

Chlorella and spirulina.

My kind of gals.

Your body just doesn't get better friends than these two. Highly concentrated, quality proteins that are also detoxifying, immune building, rich in amino acids, vitamins A and C, all the B's, and so full of minerals my hair is shining just thinking about them! These ladies want you to feel amazing and look like the sea goddesses you are. That's what friends do!

My favorite way to hang with the algaes is to blend them into a shake elixir, using only 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon, with lots of berries, cacao, and a strongly flavored sweetener to mask the slight;y saltwater taste. Try this in the afternoon or evening, my Loves, as the body will not absorb or utilize protein first thing in the morning. 

And, as desirous as they are, they must be properly sourced. It breaks my heart that the ocean has been so abused, and is riddled with contamination. That contamination becomes part of our tainted energy if we aren't careful in selecting our algaes. The best ones are pricey, but you're only using a teeny bit per serving, so a bag will last you quite some time. Here a few excellent online resources:

http://watershed.net/CNS/

http://products.mercola.com/chlorella/

http://www.chlorellafactor.com/

And check out these organizations that are helping our sacred waters:

http://www.seashepherd.org/

http://oceana.org/en/eu/home

Can you hear her calling?

Can you hear her calling?

And, now, Pirates,

if you'll excuse me,

the moon is high, and I want a bath...

xxx Alise

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Instant Conjuring

You're home!

I'm so glad to see you...

(Kiss.)

You must be famished, my most beautiful Readers, after such a long day.

I'm going to whip up a divine, healthy, sultry little supper...

Just give me ten minutes.

Kick off your shoes. Fall back into that silky cushion.

Can I pour you a glass of chilled Spanish white?

Sensual Soba

  • 2 bundles 100% pure organic buckwheat soba noodles
  • 1/4-1/2 C nutritional yeast
  • Extra virgin oilve oil - first cold pressed, ideally 
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • Celtic salt

Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, add a sprinkle of salt, a drizzle of oil, and plunge the noodles in. With a pair of tongs - or even a fork - separate the noodles as they begin to cook, so they don't stick. (Always a good idea with gluten-free pastas, by the way. Keep an eye on them while they cook, also, making sure they are swimming freely!)

Allow them to cook about eight minutes. They should be soft, but still slightly chewy.

While you're letting that happen, chop your garlic.

When the noodles are done, drain them and toss them back into the pot. Add nutritional yeast and oil, stirring with the tongs to coat. Now toss in the garlic, and a few pinches of Celtic salt, and voilå! You can use as much or as little of the seasonings as suits your tastebuds. I dig them super slippery, cheesy, and salty...so I tend to have a heavy hand. But you will, honestly, get the best flavor when you really go for it. The combination of the buckwheat with the nutritional yeast is so flavorful...nutty and earthy, and then with the oil...mmmmmm! This will feed two with a salad, or just you if you in a voracious mood. 

A very sexy supper.

Filling, but not heavy. Delicious as all hell.

Oh, did I mention? One teaspoon of nutritional yeast will arm you with a day's supply of B-12, the ever-elusive yet crucial vitamin for vegan diets. And it's a complete protein. Yep. Plant power.

Keep a sharp eye, My Voluptuous Ones: Most commercial buckwheat noodles are cut in with semolina or wheat flour, making them not the best choice ever. And, the pure buckwheat variety can be pricey. I recently happened upon King Soba brand hiding bashfully on the very bottom shelf in the Asian section of my health food store for 1/3 the cost! I bought them all up immediately, so now the store stocks them. There's also a great supply here online if you can't find them. (They have different combinations, too. The Sweet Potato Buckwheat are excellent, and I'm dying to try the Pumpkin Ginger Brown Rice).

Buckwheat, loves, is not a grain. It is actually seed related to rhubarb and sorrel, making it a smashing choice for noodles...bursting with beauty minerals such as copper and manganese, heart-healthy and blood-sugar lowering, safe for those who suffer with celiac and GI disorders...and wildly tasty.


Now, come sit down with me. 

Dig in.

Life is good.

xxx Alise

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