Keeping it real this Summer Solstice.

So I did a thing. A sweet teenager, probably 13 or so, came to my door with his dad. They were selling chocolate for a school trip.

Purdy's Chocolate.

I regretfully but likely condescendingly, smiled & told them 'No, sorry. It isn't fair trade.'

Cacao is notorious as one of many commodities us humans exploit one another for. It's responsible for child labour & slavery. Purdy's claims to give farmers fair prices & conditions, to only purchase sustainable cacao, & ensure people are treated properly. What they don't have is the 'Fair Trade' recognization on their labels. While it's true they can do as they claim without the designation, the fact is, I don't believe them. They are big business & they didn't bother to get the official recognition which even the smallest companies do.

There are no checks, no accountability to their claim.

As the father-son duo walk away I hear the father explain to his son what fair trade is. I thought that was awesome.

So I'm sweeping my floor, remembering my days of selling Brownie Cookies (ahem, full of palm oil don't buy them...), Jump Rope For Heart drives, & UNICEF at Halloween. Everyone was always so nice to me.

I thought 'It's so great that kids still do that sort of things these days. Too bad they're selling junk.'

This is when I start reflecting on travel & how great that trip to Japan will be & how the many journeys I've taken changed my life & shaped me.

That's when I knew I'd totally blown it.

 I humed & hawed about what I should do & finally jumped in my car, tracked them down, & apologized for being a total prat. Then I handed the young traveler to be $20, told him I think he's awesome, & asked him to learn more about chocolate trade in the world when he got home.

I doubt I made an impact at the end of the day but at least I saved a situation. My self-righteousness was not constructive (it never is). Instead of gaining an ally to a cause I find incredibly important, I would have alienated someone right as they are coming of purchasing power age. 

It's really easy to get frustrated when we see the choices people make but pushing at them & judging them is not going to get the results we want. It will do the opposite. 

Be kind. Be patient. Never give up.

xoxo, Jenn

PS Ditch the straw!

I can eat a peach for hours, here's why you should too.

I can eat a peach for hours, here's why you should too.

Peaches are a fan favourite. Juicy, sticky, wet—they're an ongoing mess but totally worth it. It's the last summer fruit before moving into the heartier apple season. Basically, it's your last chance to taste summer before the colours shift & everything falls to your feet. 

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Struttin through the Wild Divine

Struttin through the Wild Divine

The age of the wild dame isn’t dawning, it’s here. The delightfully tangled, soul-shaped, Goddess figuring each woman carries in her pocket, like a secret charm, is a talisman of the wild, divine devotion she secretly covets. This new age of woman, man, & beast dangles its feet off the ledge of tomorrow as it flicks it hair at yesterday’s sorrow. Yesterday’s imprisonment & lost delusionment. 

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Not quite a berry, not a full fruit: Cherries.

Not quite a berry, not a full fruit: Cherries.

It’s season is short & among the first of the summer harvests we get to enjoy. It’s small & bite sized; compact & incredibly juicy. They grow on big, bushy trees & love the sun. A single tree can produce up to 100 pounds of fruit in a season. For many, myself included, cherries mark the true beginning of summer.

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Beltane Blessings: Kupala's Alchemy

Beltane Blessings: Kupala's Alchemy

Since a goddess is at the very least as complicated as an human woman, the Goddess Kupala also possesses the injurious, flamable aspect of fire. While this further alludes to the theme of purification, transformation, & ahem, wait for it, alchemy (more on that momentarily), it's the nourishing ashes that begets the raw, unadulterated growth we all long for.

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Herbal Remedies: Minty Delight

Mentha piperita, or peppermint, is hearty & will take over any garden space given the chance. It's extremely easy to grow & find. Perhaps this is why it's so commonly found in the home for both culinary & medicinal purposes. Rich in volatile oils, it has a antimicrobial property making it extremely useful in fighting infections of the sensory organs (ears, nose, throat, & eyes). As it has an astringent quality, the mentha family is able assist in the fight against harmful bacteria, particularly where the lymphatic system is involved. A drop of essential oil on the nostril, inhaled, or applied to the chest helps clear mucous from the system & clear nasal passages or relieve the aches & pains caused by the flu.

 *This image is not mine.

*This image is not mine.

Mint is also very helpful in issues involving the digestive system by "...relaxing the stomach muscles, increasing the peristalsis of the intestine, & reducing the production of gas in the system." As a carminative "They thus support the the movement of material through the system & relieve distension due to gas." (The Complete Herbs Sourcebook). A small amount of its essential oil rubbed on a forehead will relieved headaches & as it's a rubefacient, it stimulates circulation when applied to a congested or inflamed area. 

 *This image is not mine.

*This image is not mine.

In short, peppermint "...is an anticatarrhal, an aromatic, an antimicrobial, a carminative, a diaphoretic, an emmenagogue, a febrifuge, a nervine, & a stimulant." (mucous fighting, pleasantly smelling, digestion supporting, pathogenic microorganisms destroying, toxin eliminating, perspiration promoting, menstrual flow normalizing, fever fighting, nervous system supporting, physiological system stimulating).

Mint is extremely versatile in that it can be used as an essential oil, infusions, ointments, compresses, in tinctures, teas, dried, fresh, or frozen. It grows indoors or out. Can survive cooler weather & is a perennial. Mint is also a common ingredient in many dishes & is easily accessible in common grocery stores. 

Don't forget to check out our Vyana Granola 'Popped Quiona Coconut Mint'!

Available every Spring Equinox season.

Moon Magic: Walking Your Talk

I'm sassy, crassy, & bad-assy. I'm sarcastic & say fuck a lot. I have a lion-heart & my super-power is the art of the loving, firm scold. 

Also, I live in a state of love.

I see people whole; their beauty & their darkness. Who they are, could be, & want to be, both in their most beautiful & horrible states. I adore both. The light catches me; the darkness infatuates me. Seeing people so completely & adoring the package, means I love everyone, I interact with. I'm also very good at releasing these relationships when they have run their course. 

Usually.

It also makes me a little naive. Sometimes, I don't feel like extracting the lessons. Sometimes, a person gets to you so intensely that you lose a piece of yourself to them, even if the interaction was superficially meaningless. 

It's in those moments you have to be fucking brave.

& it's in those moments you have to walk your talk.

So when a man, who simultaneously stole & broke my heart, in two brief interactions, asked for a favour, it was time to do just that.

& thus, this video was born.

I suppose in this, we're force-fed the lesson & the darkness breaks.

Watch video on Instagram for the rest.

Winter Solstice 2016: 12 months of intention.

Winter Solstice 2016: 12 months of intention.

There's always a sigh of relief in the Northern Hemisphere when Winter Solstice comes & goes. We all, literally, see the cliche light at the end of the tunnel. The sun starts stretching after a long slumber, Yule is upon us, & the excitement of the New calendar Year get us ready for what's next.

Human's love the what's next.

We have the declarations of becoming anew & way too many gym subscriptions are purchased & forgotten, but the season never fails our giddy, excited selves. Even those who don't consider themselves festive can't help but get at least a little swept up by this promise. Because maybe, just maybe, this year actually could be different.

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Gratitude for water; A love letter from a broken heart.

Gratitude for water; A love letter from a broken heart.

Dear America,

This is a hard one.

I had to sit in the dark with journal to pen to even begin. There’s an unfortunate confluence of emotions that need processing. Mine. I require the sort of timeless reflection that can only beexpressed by hand. The inner work has manifested itself as a deliberate trip past the superficial talents of the every day. Here I sit, now barely scratching the surface. I’m depending on the quiet darkness to lead me inward & to the wisdom I need to process the tangled, yet simultaneously scattered emotions, you’ve left me with.  

I’m joined by presence of an elderly man. I knew he’d come. This Solemn Old Chief has been with 

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Sipping from the fountain of youth.

Sipping from the fountain of youth.

Empowered women are empowering. They lift & support you in a way only a good bra can. Unless of course you don't wear one, in which case, in addition to empowerment, you completely recognize the beauty of freedom. It's with a brave heart that someone puts themselves on the line & follows their dreams. I'm recognizing more every day how fucking brave you have to be to do live an authentic life.

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Finding balance (like a boss) this Fall Equinox.

Finding balance (like a boss) this Fall Equinox.

'Balance': finding it, looking for it, maintaining it, has been all the buzz since the beginning of time, for everyone. Work-life, social-home, the constant shifting of priorities & often overwhelming demands coming at you from all the sides, all the time. Some people seem to be pros at this. They have their shit together & are the masters of getting it all done while maintaining a sense of play.

I've never, ever been good at this.

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Lammas Blessings!

Lammas Blessings!

Metaphorically, this is a great time to evaluate your personal harvest. What seeds have you planted this summer? What are you nourishing & offering sunshine? Has it grown? Prospered? Are you ready to claim what you've toiled so hard for? I see among humans, including myself, a reluctance to fully claim what is ours. We tend to shy away from thriving to the fullest extent we deserve. Why do you think this is?

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Examples of a balanced diet.

Examples of a balanced diet.

The world of food is littered with fad diets, contradicting studies, & confusing parables (well, sort of). It's all too easy to get lost or caught up in this this black-hole, rat-race we, as a society, have created. Here's the short of it: keep it simple. As much as possible, shop on the outside perimeter of the grocery store. You know, where the fruits, veggies, & other yet-to-be-processed foods (& donuts) live. Golden Rule: Fresh is Best.

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