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End of Summer Playlist

To help you fully soak in these delicious last languid days of Summer, we’ve put together a sun-drenched playlist full of old and new favorites for your listening and partying pleasure! Throw it on, lay back and chill out as you celebrate Labor Day Weekend with your gang! Take a moment to feel the sun on your face, dip your toes in the water & simply enjoy this great gift of being alive. Sending big love for your sunshine days!

xoxo Sirens & Scoundrels

 


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Words & Playlist by Christina Huntington // Photography by Christina Huntington & Sarah Prikryl

© 2019 Sirens and Scoundrels

ART OF FREELANCE

As artists and freelance creatives, we know it is not always easy to self-motivate, show up for your art and produce the work that has been calling out from deep within. So we’re gonna let you in on the little secret that has helped us each catapult our creative goals forward over the past two years. Allow us to formally introduce you to Art of Freelance—a bi-annual 10-week workshop that provides the structure, accountability and community to take your dream projects and make them a reality. Officially billed as “an accelerator for creatives who want to push themselves to the next level”, Art of Freelance encourages you to make the work you want to get hired for—by becoming your own ideal client first. We have benefited so immensely from doing this work that we didn’t want to just keep it to ourselves. We want to share it now with you, our awesome reader, in case you’ve had a dream drumming in your heart or a creative vision simmering away on the back burner and you are finally ready to bring those goals into fruition…with a little help from a friendly community of fellow artists birthing their dreams into life right alongside you.

HOW IT WORKS~

Enrollment for the Fall session is now open and ends Thursday, August 29th. The workshop runs from September 3rd-November 19th and cohort showcases are November 21st-23rd. The course takes place online, so it can be done from anywhere in the world. Once enrolled, you will “meet” with your individual creative cohort through an online classroom for 1-hour each week. The first three weeks consist of assignments to help you define your long-term goals and decide on your project. You do not need to know what your project is before enrolling, the course helps you discover what you want to focus on. The next six weeks are dedicated to creating your project with the support, encouragement and accountability of your weekly cohort. In the final week, you present your finished work during your final showcase.

CHRISTINA’S INSIGHTS~

“Art of Freelance sparked a renewed fire inside of me, gave me an accountability squad of respected fellow artists and helped me to achieve my personal creative goals that had been accumulating on the back-burner. I keep coming back each session because the incredible feeling of accomplishing your dreams in just ten weeks is beyond addicting, in the most life-affirming way. It honestly astounds even me how much I have accomplished in such a short amount of time. But I could not have done it without the AOF team cheering me on to go after it all. I would love for you to have the same benefit of this amazing community full of inspired and inspiring artists to help bring your dreams to life so you can answer the calls of your own heart and soul!”

–Christina Huntington

In 2 years of participating in AOF, I:

  • Claimed my desire to become a director & actualized that desire
  • Wrote, produced & directed my first *solo* narrative short film “Consensual Nonconsent”
  • Directed & shot four individual subjects for my intimate women’s video portrait series “Reclaiming Sexy”
  • Wrote my first *solo* feature screenplay “In Need of Repair” and submitted my initial rough draft to the Academy Nicholl Fellowship, where it placed in the official Top 10%
  • Co-wrote & co-directed the short film “The Applicant”, which was selected for the HBO Women in Comedy Festival 2018
  • Went back to school to study cinematography & graduated from my program at the top of my class
  • Enrolled in photography and photoshop classes, developed my own unique vision and created an experimental Cosmic Love photography series that sold prints
  • Started shooting projects for myself and other people professionally, getting my first paid jobs as a director, cinematographer & camera operator
  • Recorded and released my first full-length meditation album “Christina Huntington Meditation: Peace of Mind”. Available for download HERE: www.christinahuntingtonmeditation.com/new-products.
  • Recorded audio and video meditations that are featured on the Simple Habit App and Unplug Meditation App, expanding my meditation teaching to a global audience

SARAH’S INSIGHTS~

“I have so much gratitude for Art of Freelance as a course and as a community. Each session repeatedly invites me to commit to myself, in a space of accountability with others, and it has completely changed the way I go about my process as an artist and freelancer. For me, the biggest and most life-changing gift that the course has taught me is how to foster an attuned relationship with myself. By cultivating my own personal clarity, I now have awareness of where I’m channeling my energy. It continually helps me to curate creations that are in alignment with the highest vision of both my personal and creative life.

Over 6 sessions, I’ve met so many incredible, inspiring humans that are drawn to AOF that run the gamut from wanting to establish a new career, take their current career to the next level, commit to a side passion project or just want to spend the 10 weeks in community committing to a routine for themselves for the first time. I can’t wait to see who shows up for this round and what everyone will create within this Fall session, including myself. I am always surprised and delighted by what can be accomplished in 10 weeks when you have support, structure, accountability and community.”

— Sarah Prikryl

Over the span of 6 AOF sessions, I:

  • Segued careers and overhauled my website
  • Finished post-production on the award-winning documentary “Family: A Love Story” that is being used to raise awareness for the Foster Care System. (Winner of three “Best of Fest” awards.)
  • Completed post-production on the narrative short film “Lily”
  • Created my director’s reel
  • Collaborated to create three dance films (“Immersion”, “Ritual” & “Christina’s World”. “Christina’s World” is being used to raise awareness for Charcot Marie Tooth Disorder by the Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation.
  • Created a series of three spec ads integrating my dance film background into the commercial world
  • Explored developing a multi-screen video dance art installation
  • Explored developing a stop-motion music video concept for Liz Beebe’s song: “Papercuts”

LINKS TO PROJECTS AT: www.sarahprikryl.com

GO FOR IT!~

Some of our close friends who have joined the Art of Freelance community over the years have produced podcasts, albums, fine art photo series, body-positive boudoir photography, original card games, brand redesigns & relaunches, new product lines and on and on. Really whatever is in your heart, you can create! We just think you’re great, we believe in you and we want to see you make all your dreams come true! BIG BONUS: Scholarships are available by application process HERE, so you really have zero excuse not to show up for yourself, your heart & your art! Go get it!!

HAPPY CREATING!! xoxo, Sirens & Scoundrels

Art of Freelance enrollment ends Aug 29th & Fall session starts Sept 3rd. Get more info: HERE.


Be sure to subscribe to Sirens & Scoundrels for more awesome L.A. happenings and epic experiences! Enter your email address on our home page & hit “SUBSCRIBE”! 

Follow us on Instagram: @sirensandscoundrels


Words by Christina Huntington & Sarah Prikryl

Christina’s Project Photography by Christina HuntingtonDominic Lopez & Andrea Osojnik

Christina’s Behind-the-Scenes Photography by Becca Murray, Kelsey Gunn, Sydney Camille & Sarah Prikryl

Sarah’s Project Photography by Sarah Prikryl, Senda Bonnet, Gina Cholick & Elizabeth Messina

Sarah’s Behind-the-Scenes Photography by Josh Yeo & Gina Cholick

“Papercuts” Video by Sarah Prikryl

Art of Freelance Video by Art of Freelance 

Art of Freelance Event Photography by Sarah Ford, Wray Sinclair & Julia Lofstrand

© 2019 Sirens and Scoundrels

Summer Desert Retreat ~ Harmony Vista

Every year when summer hits the city, we start hearing the call of the desert. It might not seem like the obvious destination when the thermostat reaches 90° but for us here at Sirens & Scoundrels, summer and the deep desert have become our favorite pairing for a soul-filling and soul-fueling retreat with friends. We pack up all the fresh organic summer fruit we can find, plenty of iced beverages, pool floaties and board games and head out into the hot desert days to relax and unplug at our most beloved California summering spot—Joshua Tree.

Our favorite source for the perfect desert hacienda is  Joshua Desert Retreats. With nine properties spread across the east desert, we have been slowly meandering our way through each one over the years. JDR properties are much like staying at the famous Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo where each room has its own unique theme and eventually you just want to try them all. The same goes for JDR, except here each entire house has its own theme. We have written about the Mad Men in the desert 1960’s vibe of Jackalope, the wood-paneled 1970’s vintage bohemian Wiki Up, the sweet 1940’s rambling ranch house Godwin and the adorably tiny New Mexico-style cabin Adobe. For our latest summer friend retreat, we stayed at Harmony Vista.

Most JDR properties have a vintage vibe that make you feel as if you have somehow traveled back in time and Harmony Vista is no exception. This property feels like stepping into an elevated desert version of the cult classic film “Dazed & Confused”–as if school’s out for summer in 1976 and the only thing to do is go visit your friend who just happens to have the best party house in town and his parents are conveniently away for the weekend. Waiting your turn at the billiards table on the leather stools looking out onto the hot tub, you can almost feel Matthew McConaughey smiling happily to himself right beside you, “Alright, alright, alriiiight…”

The sprawling Asian-décor themed Harmony Vista wraps around to a large game room area complete with a pool table, ping-pong table and indoor jacuzzi, making it the perfect spot for a large group of friends looking to unwind and rustle up some desert fun together. What better way to bond than by beating each other at your own personal Garage Games Olympics? The outdoor patio is stocked full of all the fixings–bbq, grill, outdoor fire pit and large farm table for family-style meals al fresco, where you can cool off or heat up between rounds, depending on how you’re playing.

Perhaps our favorite part of any desert trip is the opportunity for stillness and self-reflection even when traveling with a group, guaranteeing both quality friend time and quality you time. With computers left at home and cell phones silently tucked away, it feels like stepping back in time but also like time just stops completely. As if you are suddenly operating in some alternate time and space where nothing else exists but the quiet languid stillness and the desert’s warm embrace. Take some time for reflection and meditation. Read a book, write that story that’s been running through your head, allow yourself to dream up your next big creative endeavor or life adventure. After all, it’s only in stillness that you can hear the requests of your own heart and soul. So take some time to tune in and listen.

Desert sunsets are a living meditation unto themselves. Taking time to become present with the awe-inspiring beauty of Nature and her ever-evolving evening paintings in the sky quenches a thirst inside the soul that perhaps you weren’t even aware of—providing instant nourishment, grounding and healing to the deepest parts of you. Something inside reawakens, remembering: “Ah yes, THIS is who I am! THIS is what Life is meant to be…”

The hot desert days give way to deliciously warm desert nights—the perfect conditions for stargazing or UFO hunting into the wee hours of the dawn. With almost no light pollution, the infinite sea of billions of stars shines brightly in all its celestial glory. During the month of August, the annual Perseid meteor shower makes its big show in the night sky with 100+ meteors an hour. They move at lightning speed, so be sure to bring your binoculars or telescopes for best viewing. But the Perseids are also known for producing giant green fireballs that streak across the sky seemingly just overhead and can be seen clearly with the naked eye. The peak of the Perseid shower is taking place this week while Venus is at her brightest point in the sky for the year, so go see them while you can! BONUS: JDR has a 50% off promotion during weekdays for the duration of summer, so there has never been a better time to go. Grab your gang and head out for your own soul retreat to relish these final weeks of summer and reset yourself for the rest of the year ahead. Your heart, body, mind, soul and EVERYTHING will thank you for it!

Click PLAY on video below for a sneak peek at the meteor showers in Joshua Tree:

Stay tuned for more of our Fave Summer Fun Picks delivered straight to you from us, with love!

Happy Summering!! xoxo  Sirens & Scoundrels

 

Joshua Desert Retreats in Joshua Tree, CA. 50% off weekdays in summer. Book your stay: HERE.


Be sure to subscribe to Sirens & Scoundrels for more awesome L.A. happenings and epic experiences! Enter your email address on our home page & hit “SUBSCRIBE”! 

Follow us on Instagram: @sirensandscoundrels


Words by Christina Huntington // Photography by Sarah Prikryl

Additional Photography by Christina Huntington

Video by Christina Huntington

© 2019 Sirens and Scoundrels

Sirens & Scoundrels Summer Faves~ Live Music with Kensington Presents

SURPRISE….we’re back!! The Sirens of Sirens & Scoundrels have been off on other adventures recently, but since two of our favorite things in the world are Los Angeles + Summer, we’re popping back up to let you in on all our best-of-Summer-fun faves to make sure you don’t miss a thing! We cannot wait to share our latest hot finds and delicious discoveries to help make your days brighter and your nights even cooler.

When it comes to cool nights, look no further than Kensington Presents, an event collective that consistently delivers the best-of-the-best live music in unusual locations. Known for their epic secret concerts at the Viaduct downtown, the fellas of Kensington have broadened their reach in recent years. What started as a tiny porch concert series at their home in Highland Park now includes intimate shows at York Manor, Resident & Hot Shot Muffler, along with larger curated events throughout the city. This summer, Kensington is busy brewing up tons of live music magic for your ultimate listening pleasure.

FUTURE SOUNDS at The Viaduct

Saturday August 3rd, Kensington will be throwing their first one-day festival FUTURE SOUNDS at the incomparably cool Viaduct—our favorite music destination in the city. FUTURE SOUNDS is a full evening of live music and immersive experiences, including food vendors, craft bars, performance art, improv poetry, projection mapping and activations by Wild Riot. The festival line-up is sure to stir your soul with performances by “pop rocket Jesse Jo Stark, sultry R&B vocalist Raquel Rodriguez, neo-soul phenom Stan Taylor, disco duo CAPYAC, electro-soul artist syd B and jazz-funk virtuoso Floyd Fuji.

For an inside scoop on what to expect, here’s what we’ve had to say about our past experiences at the Viaduct~

“Stepping into The Viaduct feels like unlocking the door to The Secret Garden—if that garden was a tiny park and entertainment venue hidden under Downtown’s Buena Vista Bridge beside the LA River with the MTA line zooming like a silver bullet overhead. Located deep in the far end of Los Angeles State Historic Park with the sweeping cityscape twinkling in the background, it really doesn’t get much cooler than this…Filled with genuine music lovers gathered together to celebrate live music, dance and have a great time, Kensington at The Viaduct is a magical night out that just has to be experienced to be fully understood. It’s a feeling. It’s a peak music moment. And you should be there.”

Get your tickets to FUTURE SOUNDS HERE

https://futuresoundsviaduct.eventbrite.com/?aff=sirens&afu=31836759157

FUTURE SOUNDS at The Viaduct. Saturday Aug 3rd, 2019, 4:00pm-Midnight. Event is 21+. Tickets are currently $25. After 7/31, they go up to $30. $45 VIP tickets get you two drink tickets, VIP entrance & a Future Sounds tote bag by Made Daze. A portion of all proceeds go to support music education nonprofit In The Band.

 

Concerts on The BLOC

The third Thursday of every month of Summer, the new open-air retail plaza The Bloc in DTLA hosts Concerts on The Bloc, a free live-music event curated by Kensington. KCRW’s DJ Novena Carmel hosts the night, with new musicians showcased each month. Grab a drink and a snack from the pop-up wine bar, take a seat on one of the comfy lawn chairs spread across the private “lawn”, cozy up under their soft fuzzy blankets and enjoy a thoroughly civilized, intimate evening of great music under our city stars. When we went, we had the supreme pleasure of lounging front-row with Hamish Anderson’s soulful and rollicking modern blues. Upcoming acts include India Carney & Raelee Nikole. This is the perfect spot to kick off a romantic date night or a mellow hang with friends before heading out on the town.

RSVP for your FREE tickets HERE~

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/concerts-on-the-bloc-tickets-59731183578

Concerts on The Bloc. Final show Thursday August 15th, 6:30pm. Event is 21+. Beer & wine available for purchase. Improv poetry by Ars Poetica. Tickets are FREE, but you must RSVP in advance via the Eventbrite link above.

 

Chinatown Summer Nights

Set right in the heart of Chinatown, one of our absolute favorite summer festivities is Chinatown Summer Nights. KCRW & LA Weekly have partnered to create a vibrant and electric all-ages celebration unlike any other. Giant rainbow confetti poppers explode overhead while your favorite KCRW DJs spin the night away under Central Plaza’s Chinese lanterns and neon lights for an unforgettably soul-lifting dance party. Across the street on the LA Weekly stage, live bands curated by Kensington play against a glittering city-at-night backdrop. With food trucks, outdoor movies and art exhibits to be discovered as you wind your way between stages, this is a Summer event not to be missed. If you’re into pure JOY and unadulterated DELIGHT, grab your gang and head out for the final night of the season on Saturday August 10th. Did we mention it’s totally free?

Chinatown Summer Nights. Saturday August 10th, 5pm-midnight. All ages. FREE, no RSVP required. Event schedule HERE.

JOY! DELIGHT! Click on the video below for a sneak peek at Chinatown Summer Nights:

Stay tuned for more of our Fave Summer Fun Picks delivered straight to you from us, with love!

Happy Summering!! xoxo  Sirens & Scoundrels


Be sure to subscribe to Sirens & Scoundrels for more awesome L.A. happenings and epic experiences! Enter your email address on our home page & hit “SUBSCRIBE”! 

Follow us on Instagram: @sirensandscoundrels.

Read more about Kensington Presents at the Viaduct: HERE.

Sign up for Kensington’s email invite list: http://www.kensingtonpresents.com.


Words by Christina Huntington // Photography & Video by Sarah Prikryl

Additional Video by Dominic Lopez

Promo Imagery for “Future Sounds” artists and “The Bloc” subject to copyright

© 2019 Sirens and Scoundrels

 

 

 

Pizza & Poetry

Words by Christina Huntington // Photography by Sarah Prikryl // Video by  Sarah Prikryl & Christina Huntington

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” –Mary Oliver, The Summer Day

As these gorgeous Spring days turn into warm Summer nights, it’s time to gather your loved ones around a long outdoor table to celebrate all the magic and wonder of being alive with the one thing everybody loves: pizza. Gluten-free, gluten-full, dairy-free, piled up with cheese–whichever way suits your fancy, build-your-own pizzas are always a wonderful way to create delicious art that you can eat. For our recent Sirens & Scoundrels “Pizza & Poetry” gathering, we brought together all the things we love most: friends, food, music, dancing and poetry. We set a long table with our favorite summer linens, flickering candles, fresh boughs of greens and mini stacks of vintage books. The invite called for guests to bring their favorite poems and a hearty appetite.

On the gorgeous terrace of Domain WeHo, Scoundrel drink master Richard Swan of The Grand Bevy was on hand mixing up champagne cocktails as the sun set over the Los Angeles skyline. Scoundrel Eme baked our build-your-own pizzas to perfection straight on the outdoor BBQ, paired with a crisp and delicious chopped antipasto salad. Siren Sarah grilled fresh pear halves face-down and served them up piping hot with vanilla bean ice cream and drizzled cinnamon pecan honey for dessert.

Classic records accompanied after-dinner dancing and sunset gazing as the first stars of summer shone out in the night sky. Finally, it was time for the main event. Gathered around with hot cups of tea, our guests took turns reading their favorite poems, revelling in the quiet simple pleasure of beautiful words shared aloud. It was that rarest kind of magical recipe~a night to satisfy heart, body, mind and soul!

Experience our night of delicious peaceful revelry HERE~

If you’re looking for a fun and unusual way to bring people together this summer, throw your own Pizza & Poetry night with our recipes below. Invite your friends to bring out their inner poets and feed their souls!

RECIPES

ANTIPASTO SALAD


Serves 8

INGREDIENTS


2 heads of Romaine Lettuce

1  cup chopped Radicchio

1 bunch of Organic Basil

1 can Chickpeas

8 oz. of Cherry Tomatoes

8 oz. of Mozzarella Balls in water (Ciliegine & optional Marinated Mozz balls)

1 package of Dried Italian Meat (salami or prosciutto)

8 oz. of sliced Pepperoncinis

8 oz. of Castelvetrano Olives (pitted)

8 oz. of Artichoke Hearts

2/3 cup Olive Oil

1 Lemon

1/4 cup Vinegar (balsamic or apple cider to your preference)

Salt & Pepper

PREPARATION


Course chop lettuce and radicchio. De-stem and chop basil leaves. Rinse and cut tomatoes in half. Strain and rinse chickpeas. Strain and chop artichokes, olives and pepperoncinis. Dice the salami. Strain and cut small mozzarella balls in half. Add all ingredients into a salad bowl.

Dressing: in a jar, shake olive oil, vinegar and juice and zest from one lemon with salt and pepper (to taste). Toss all ingredients with dressing immediately before serving.

GRILLED PEARS à la MODE


Serves 4

INGREDIENTS


2 Ripe Pears

1 tsp Coconut Oil

1 Tbs Honey

Dash of cinnamon & nutmeg

Vanilla Ice Cream (optional)

PREPARATION


Cut pears in half length-wise from stem to butt. Rub with coconut oil. If using a grill, cook pear halves flat-side down for 3-5 minutes until softened. Alternatives: you can use a heated skillet on the stovetop or cook pears on a baking sheet in the oven 400° for 10-12 minutes.Plate each half pear. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg. Drizzle with honey to your preference. Add a scoop of your favorite ice cream.

Happy Gathering!! xoxo, Sirens & Scoundrels 


Be sure to subscribe to Sirens & Scoundrels for unique local, travel, health & food adventures delivered straight to you! Enter your email address on our home page & hit “SUBSCRIBE”! 

Follow us on Instagram: @sirensandscoundrels


Recipes: Food by Sarah Prikryl  

© 2018 Sirens and Scoundrels

Harnessing the Energy of 2018: Year of the High Priestess

Words by Christina Huntington // Photography by Sarah Prikryl  // Graphic Design by Alex Rice

As 2018 continues to unfold, a literal new day is dawning before us. Over the course of human history, most civilizations and wisdom traditions developed ways to measure the fluctuating cycles of time and the unique energy held within each year, giving people tools and insights to best utilize those energies to help them on their own path. Most forms of astrology break up eras according to the twelve signs of the zodiac and their corresponding cosmic constellations. The Chinese Zodiac divides years according to twelve animals along with a corresponding element (fire, wood, water, metal, earth). Numerology assigns every year a number from 1-9, each with its own universal energetic property, derived by adding together the numbers in the year until it reduces down to a single digit. Tarot utilizes the roman numerical Major Arcana cards to distinguish the universal stages of the hero’s journey held within each new year.

So, why is any of this important? Because we can harness these annual inherent energies for our greatest good, like going with the current of water. Think of it like swimming in a river. The water is there all around us, carrying us along its path whether we are aware of it or not. If you do nothing, the river will still keep heading in its natural direction. But if you know which way the current is running, you can use its momentum to carry you even further ahead with far greater ease if you consciously swim with the flow instead of against it. And if we take into account what ALL of these wisdom traditions are predicting for 2018, it looks like we’re in for one helluva year…

Before we can plan where we’re going though, it’s important to look back at where we’ve just been. We’re coming off of a “1 Year” in numerology (2+0+1+7 = 10 = 1) and a “Magician/ I” year in the Tarot. Which means 2017 was all about starting over on an entirely new nine-year-long cycle, right back at step one. For many people, this materialized as a year of endings, completions, letting go and new beginnings. It was a year of innovation, new ideas, new paths and lots of experimentation. It was all about DOING—trying lots of new things, following new interests, taking action and drawing upon our innate internal masculine “yang” energy to figure out what resources we had at our disposal to create these new dreams and realities with. It was a year of individuation—claiming your own self, your own path, your own desires based on who you are NOW (not whoever you were before) and venturing out boldly in new directions accordingly. As a Chinese Fire Rooster year, it was also about setting ‘boundaries! boundaries! boundaries!’, allowing your heart to guide you in considering new long-term goals for yourself in relation to the greater good as you started out onto your latest nine-year-long journey.

2018 can be considered a “2 Year” (2+0+1+8 = 11 = 2). However, because the number 11 is a Master Number (double digits of the same number), it takes a higher priority as an “11 Year”. So the energies of both “2” and “11” are applicable this year. Luckily, these energies are very complimentary, with 11 beautifully amplifying the innate energies of the 2. After a year of intense activity, the “2 Year” asks you to slow down a bit and get more Purpose-full in your actions. Check in with yourself to see where your true priorities lie now. Which seeds do you want to continue to water and cultivate to bring into blossoming fruition? Which crops do you need to let go of for the time being? Prioritizing is key this year, getting clear on what you want to be investing your time, energy and precious self into. Which of your goals are in full alignment with the real truth of who you are and what you want for your life?

The “11 Year” aspect will help you find these answers because an 11 year is all about MASTERY. Self-Mastery to be exact. Building on your newfound individuation while you learn to consult, trust and rely on your own intuition and inner voice as your guide, your personal North Star pointing you in the right direction. You are asked to be courageous with your talents this year—bravely sharing your most authentic self and your gifts with the world. It is a time of deep transformation and healing, integrating and balancing your light and dark aspects, shedding all that no longer serves you while beginning to embody the highest vision of your self and your life.

Relationships will also be key this year, as both 2 and 11 (double 1’s side-by-side) are about partnership. The lessons here are about HEALTHY partnership though. Partnership in balance, where all those involved are coming together whole and complete in themselves, standing on their own secure footing instead of collapsing onto each other in co-dependent entanglement. Instead of, “I NEED to be with you to feel happy/ give my life meaning/ make me feel loved and wanted”, healthy partnership says, “I am perfectly happy and secure in myself and my own life. I love myself unconditionally. And I CHOOSE to be with you because you add more of these wonderful experiences and ways of being to my already full life. We give and receive freely, honoring both our individual and collective goals in equal measure.” Khalil Gibran said it beautifully, “Let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you.”

2018 has a very strong innate feminine aspect at its core, with influence from both the “High Priestess (II)” and “Justice (XI)” cards in the tarot. While last year was all about the masculine “doing” energy within each of us, this year we are each asked to tap into our “being” energy, our feminine “yin” aspect of receptivity. This is what the High Priestess element has to teach us. Practically speaking, it means filtering everything through the lens of your intuition and inner wisdom. Going inward and consulting your own inner compass before taking action or making decisions. This will help to guide you in that very important prioritization process. Your heart and soul already know what they want for you. All you need to do is START ASKING. With Justice as the overseeing element, you need to make sure that you are operating from your highest integrity with all of your choices, behavior and actions. In this year, you literally reap what you sow, with the scales of Justice measuring your motivations and true intentions. So be sure to sow consciously.

Integrity is also the main theme for 2018’s Year of the Wood Dog, according to Chinese astrology. Honoring your word, doing what you said you would do, operating from your core values and cultivating loyalty and unconditional love are key elements. In a Year of the Dog, you work hard on purposeful focused goals but you also need to remember to play. Home and family become a major focus point this year: how have you set up your Home? Do you feel at Home with your family, friends, in your own company? What is the love that you currently bring to your Homestead? How can you cultivate more love in the relationships that matter most to you, including the one with yourself?

To help you drop into the flow of this year, take a moment to either journal or meditate on these seven questions~

  1. What are my true priorities this year? Make a list or bring to mind the things you have been telling yourself to focus on for 2018. Sit with each one and see how it FEELS in your body when you think of it. Does it feel like a “Hell yes!”, a “not so much” or a “Hell no!”. Write down your list of “Hell yes” goals and focus on those for the rest of the year. That’s where your soul wants you to go.
  2. What shadow aspects of myself have been showing up in my life lately? (Your shadow materializes as negative, destructive or addictive patterns of thinking, behaving or believing that block you in the important areas of your life.) How can I give the shadow parts of myself the care and attention they are asking for? How can I help integrate, heal and come into balance with my light and dark aspects this year? What are 3 real actions I can take to do this, beginning this week?
  3. What are my unique gifts that I am being asked to share with the world? How do I feel about letting myself be fully seen and visible? What is the positive impact that my gifts can bring to those around me? What are ways to share my gifts that feel exciting and inspiring to me?
  4. Are there any places where I am out of integrity in my life right now? How can I bring my words and actions into better alignment this year?
  5. What are my core values? What do I want to stand for in life? Am I operating in alignment with my core values?
  6. What do I want my “Home” to feel like? How can I cultivate more love in my closest relationships and at Home inside myself?
  7. From my Deep Heart and from my Deep Soul, what do I most want to CREATE for myself and my life this year? How do I want to feel, what do I want to experience, who do I want to become by the end of 2018?

Dive on into the beautiful energies of 2018 and let the river carry you to the life of your wildest dreams!

 

HAPPY DREAMING & CREATING!! xoxo, Sirens & Scoundrels


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© 2018 Sirens and Scoundrels

Sacred Art of Self Love

Words by Christina Huntington // Photography by Sarah Prikryl // Contributing Photography by Christina Huntington

To kick off the Season of Love at Sirens & Scoundrels, we’re bringing back our most requested subject: The Sacred Art of Self Love. Before we can ever be available to truly love anyone or anything else, we must first learn to love ourselves. When we know how to love ourselves as a daily practice, we enter into our relationships whole, balanced and complete, able to joyfully give and receive with ease instead of just take take take take taking without ever feeling fulfilled. The following super simple and practical tools will help you start transforming your entire relationship to yourself today. Dive in, be gentle and enjoy the LOVE!!

The Sacred Art of Self Love ~

As we deep dive into all things L-O-V-E this month, we come face-to-face with the most crucial form of love to master: self love. It’s easy to look at seemingly endless social media feeds overflowing with infinite selfies and moment-to-moment replays of every minuscule activity as if everyone is engaged in broadcasting their own 24/7 reality series and think that self love is maybe the last thing we need to be worried about right now. But self promotion and even self confidence are very different from self love. As “look-at-me” culture skyrockets, studies show that our collective self worth seems to be plummeting to an all-time low, proving true the old adage that comparison is the thief of joy. In my work as a meditation teacher and spiritual counselor, self love is Issue Zero…the singular point of origin of all our issues, disappointments and challenges. Of course a healthy relationship to self love is something we all want. And if it were easy, we would all have it. But like reaching out for shooting stars we can never get close enough to, no amount of trying, efforting or chasing seems to allow that love to finally drop in our laps. Which is why we then fall back on those easy quick-fixes for the little hits of confidence that never seem to last, creating an endless cycle of needing more attention from external sources to continue to prop ourselves up on. Frankly, it’s exhausting. I’m tired just from writing that. So…what can we do?

Actually, we need to start by taking self love off the table completely. It’s a great idea but being a “concept”, it’s really hard to put into practice. How do you just suddenly start loving yourself if you’ve never been given the tools to do that, have a litany of stories and experiences in your head to prove otherwise and you don’t even know what it actually means? The simple secret is this: self love boils down to SELF CARE. If you want to learn how to love yourself, you have to learn how to care for yourself first. Like a parent put in charge of a newborn baby, at a certain point in adulthood you finally realize that your life (and heart) is now in your own hands. You are responsible for your own sense of comfort, safety, nurturing, protection, well-being and security in the world. So the first step to self care is learning to self-soothe, self-parent and fill our own needs. This doesn’t mean forcing ourselves to try to be happy and put on a smiling face whenever things get tough in an effort to just “make things okay”. It means meeting ourselves exactly where we really are and being okay with whatever that is. Allowing feelings like sorrow, loneliness, frustration and anger to be there if that’s what we are feeling. The important part is that we feel safe enough in our own company to build a trusted line of open communication—being able to both SPEAK our truth to ourselves and HEAR our truth from ourselves without judgment. Simply being able to listen to exactly what is happening inside of us and say, “Okay. I hear you. And I’ve got you. What do you need right now?” Then giving ourselves the things we need.

“FILL YOUR OWN NEEDS”~

In my meditation classes, I teach a few very simple exercises that can instantly transform your relationship to self love. The first one is literally just learning how to fill your own needs. It doesn’t require years of therapy or personal growth, just the ability to ask yourself three questions each day. Every morning when you wake up, take a moment to close your eyes and focus your attention on your heart (the energy center right in the middle of your chest). Then ask yourself these three questions…

In order to feel peaceful, nourished & cared for today…

  • What do I NEED?
  • What do I WANT?
  • What do I DESIRE?

Just write down a one or two word answer for each in a small journal. Then your only assignment is to give yourself at least ONE of those things each day.

There are subtle differences between phrasing here. “NEED” is just about our baseline survival—what do I absolutely HAVE to have in order to feel at peace today? “WANT” is something that is a preference that we would like and enjoy if it happened. “DESIRE” is something that feels really yummy, like a special treat for the soul. Don’t try to control the answers. Create a space of silent listening instead and wait for the answers to come through and show themselves to you. Maybe one day you NEED to get a good night’s sleep. Maybe the next day you really WANT to see friends and share some laughs. Another day you might DESIRE turning down the lights and slipping into a hot bubble bath with your favorite mood music. Be open to whatever you might hear from your own heart and soul and know that the answers will be different each day because YOU are different each day.

In emergency situations, this exercise can be distilled down even further. When you feel yourself experiencing an uncomfortable emotion or heading into the internal danger zone, simply put all of your focus on the center of your chest (you can even put your hands here if you wish, as a gentle physical reminder that you are present and listening with yourself) and ask: “What do I need right now to feel cared for and at peace?” Just this exercise alone will transform your entire relationship to yourself if you practice it regularly.

“50 HAPPY THINGS”~

This exercise is not only easy, it’s really fun and fills your life with delicious doses of daily sweetness. Sit down and make a list of 50 things that make you happy for no reason. (They are not going to further your career or skyrocket you to success.) These are little simple tangible experiences that you enjoy just because. Preferably inexpensive or free and easily accessible on a daily basis. Perhaps you like the feeling of grass beneath your bare feet. Eating fresh organic berries from the farmer’s market. The way the light comes in the window of your apartment in the late afternoon and your pet watches the tree shadows dancing on the floor. Gazing at the stars when everyone else is asleep. A hot jacuzzi. Scented candles. 60’s soul records. Okay…maybe those are all things I love, but you get the picture. The point is to create a list of things you love that you can give yourself EVERY DAY. And then that’s the next step: just commit to giving yourself ONE of these experiences every single day. Actively seek out these little ways to bring more simple joy into your life.

As with everything, that only way you’ll know that any of this works is if you try it yourself. So just for this week, your assignment is to take on a Great Self-Care Experiment. Practice asking yourself what you need in the morning and then meeting one of those needs each day. Get curious about what fills you with joy and then actively bring those Happy Things into your daily life. Try this out for seven days straight and see how you feel. I promise you can turn your entire relationship with yourself around in just a week if you really take this on as a spiritual practice. Be willing now to take responsibility for your own happiness, feelings of worth and sense of well-being. Give yourself the thing you have been craving your entire life: to know that you are heard, you are cared for, you are loved.

HAPPY LOVING!! xoxo, Sirens & Scoundrels


Be sure to subscribe to Sirens & Scoundrels for unique local, travel, health & food adventures delivered straight to you! Enter your email address on our home page & hit “SUBSCRIBE”! 

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© 2018 Sirens and Scoundrels