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Fermentation Rocks! ~ Sauerkraut

Words & Recipe by Liz Beebe  // Photography by Becca Murray // Featured Photo by Jennifer Simonson

With Spring officially upon us, it’s time for a little Spring Cleaning—from the inside out! We’ve enlisted our fave LA lady songstress and healthy eating expert, Liz Beebe, to contribute a series of do-it-yourself fermentation recipes to help heal your gut, support your system and keep you in prime health so you can get out there and enjoy your fullest life!

HAPPY SPRING EATING!! xoxo, Sirens & Scoundrels

I am a huge proponent of food as medicine. I fully believe that if you feed your body whole, organic (when possible), nutrient-dense foods, you will look and feel your best. A great documentary called “Food As Medicine” just came out illustrating this lifestyle. It features some of the leading experts on diet as the number one intervention you can address to turn your health around. (It’s available for free to stream if you have Amazon Prime.) One of the ways I ensure that I’m getting all the vitamins I can is by ingesting fermented foods.

Fermentation is a bacterial method of breaking down foods so that your body can more easily absorb them, making them more “bio-available”. Fermented foods include (but are not limited to) kombucha, cheese, kefir, pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi and more!

Consuming fermented foods can improve digestion. They are also very beneficial for our microbiota (the colony of bacteria that live in our gut) as it helps to introduce and/or maintain the presence of beneficial bacteria in the gut. This is important because science proves that our gut acts as a second brain to our body. It is the largest producer of serotonin in the body and is instrumental in the proper production of hormones (especially important for women). So treat your gut right! Eat some fermented foods!

Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing some SUPER EASY and fun ways to make fermented foods at home. I recommend making these foods at home because it is exponentially cheaper than purchasing at the store, you can control the flavor and it ensures that the fermented food you are consuming is RAW. If you pasteurize fermented foods (the way that milk often is) then you are killing the very bacteria that you want to consume. I use a fermentation crock at my house. It is a one-time investment but makes for the easiest “set it and forget it” at-home fermentation. (Mine was about $60 for a 5L crock on Amazon, but you can usually find deals online here!) Okay, here we go!



SAUERKRAUT


INGREDIENTS~

  • 2-3 heads of cabbage. (You can use which ever kind you like. For this round, I used 2 heads of Savoy Cabbage and 1 head of Red Cabbage.)
  • Roughly 2 Tbsp Sea Salt

That’s it!


INSTRUCTIONS~

Reserve 2-3 leaves of cabbage (whole).

Core the heads of cabbage.

Chop into desired thickness. I prefer my sauerkraut in stringier, smaller pieces.

Cover the bottom of the crock with about 2-3 handfuls of chopped cabbage.

Sprinkle some sea salt over this layer. (I don’t measure the salt, I just sprinkle some after each layer. I’d describe it as a medium amount, not too generous but not a light sprinkling.)

Layer another 2-3 handfuls of cabbage. Using your fist, jam that cabbage down onto the previous layer. The end result is that you want as little air as possible in between the cabbage.

Follow with another sprinkling of sea salt.

Continue layering cabbage and sea salt until all the cabbage is in the crock and tamped down.

Cover the top of the chopped and salted cabbage with the whole leaves. (No need to salt this.) Place the weights on top of these whole leaves. (Sometimes I have to jam mine in there when the crock is full.)

Place the cover on the crock. Leave for 2 hours.

The salt should draw out liquid from the cabbage and create a brine for the cabbage to ferment in. However, I have always had to add additional liquid to the crock to ensure that the cabbage is fully covered. To do this, boil a tea kettle of water and dissolve 1/2 Tbsp of sea salt. LET IT COOL COMPLETELY. Pour the cooled, salted water into the crock until the liquid level reaches about 1 cm above the weights. Everything in the crock should be submerged in liquid.

Now replace the top of the crock and fill the reservoir around the lid with water. This lid creates an anaerobic environment by allowing gases made during the fermentation process to escape but no oxygen to get in! (Especially helpful for reducing any scum that naturally would form on top of the liquid inside the crock.)

Make sure that the reservoir around the lid stays filled with water. I have to refill mine a couple of times.

Don’t open the crock for a minimum of 2 weeks. At this point, you can begin tasting it. I prefer to leave mine fermenting for a minimum of 4 weeks but you can leave it even longer if you like!

When your sauerkraut is ready, scoop into sealable jars. It should fill about 5-6 jars. It will not go bad! I keep mine in the fridge but you can store them in a pantry as well. Keep for yourself or share with friends!


Liz Beebe is the lady lead singer of LA band Dustbowl Revival. When she’s not touring, she spends her time in Silverlake snuggling her French bulldogs and cooking food. She manages auto immune symptoms via lifestyle and diet and writes about her health journey at lizbeebe.com/blog. Follow her tour adventures on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat @beebejesus.


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

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© 2017 Sirens and Scoundrels //  Recipe © 2017 Liz Beebe

Travel Tales ~ Yosemite

Words & Photography by Alex M. Rice  //  Interview by Christina Huntington

Known primarily as a popular summer camping destination, we’ve always been huge fans of Yosemite in winter. So when we heard that one of our favorite recent LA transplants, designer and photographer Alex Rice, was heading to our beloved National Park for a solo winter adventure, we convinced her to let us tag along…by sharing her travel tales with us! We love that Alex was inspired by our same mission to get out and make your life an adventure! So come along for the ride on our first Travel Tales ~ YOSEMITE

HAPPY ADVENTURING!! xoxo, Sirens & Scoundrels


Instead of wearing a sparkly, uncomfortable party dress and hitting the city streets of LA for the New Year, I decided to immerse myself in nature. Although I was looking forward to the new year, 2016 had some incredible memories—living with my best friend in Washington D.C., working with talented artists and traveling with my mother to Montana. But after moving from Burke, VA (a place that was familiar to me for sixteen years) to my new home in East Hollywood, I felt I needed to celebrate my move by welcoming 2017 in a place I had never been. So I decided to hit the road for a spontaneous solo trip and spend the first day of 2017 in Yosemite National Park.

Honestly, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I just knew I wanted to go. So after a 4 ½ hour car ride armed with my sidekicks—a box of Cheez-Its, a few white chocolate macadamia nut Cliff Bars and a Nikon camera—I ended up in the middle of Yosemite on January 1st. When I got to the entrance, the park ranger handed me a map. My heart started racing—I couldn’t believe I made it to Yosemite! I didn’t even look at the map because I didn’t want to waste any time. Immediately, everything seemed surreal. Giant trees, towering mountains and low-hanging clouds engulfed me. I drove up a curvy road surrounded by sequoias. The forest became denser and the light peeked through the pines. There were patches of snow and ice on the ground, making the deep greens and reds from the trees illuminate the park. I realized I was naive to how massive Yosemite is—it felt endless. While driving up my first mountainside, white clouds covered most of the overlooks and the roads were hidden by dense fog, obscuring my view. But I was on the hunt, determined to see something through the mists. I finally saw a sign to Bridalveil Fall, so I quickly parked and ran out of my car to see this massive, powerful waterfall peeking through the trees. I just stood there staring, thinking how I’ve never felt so small. I hopped in my car again and nothing felt real…I just knew I had to keep exploring.

I tried to explore more of the park that first day, but the clouds covered most of the mountains and it started getting late. So on my second day, I finally got to see my Mac Book Pro screen saver in person. The sky was clear and Yosemite looked exactly how I had pictured it. I stuck my head out the car window and gazed in awe at how high the mountains grew. I stopped my car when I finally got to Half Dome. It was sprinkled with snow and glowing against the blue cloudless sky. The dome was so massive, its shadow turned the tallest pine tree black. I felt as though I was looking at a painting.

Since this was my first solo trip, I learned a lot pretty quickly. I decided camping alone might not be the best idea, so I stayed in a charming town called Oakhurst instead. Located about 20 minutes away from the entrance to Yosemite with plenty of cafes and stores to buy more supplies, it was the perfect spot. If I were to give any tips about going to Yosemite in winter, I would say buy a good pair of hiking boots with lots of traction because there are sheets of ice on the roads. Bring lots of water and snacks since it takes awhile to get out of Yosemite. Also, fill up on gas before entering the park. I made the amateur mistake of thinking half a tank would be enough. Luckily, there was a small gas station near the entrance.

Although there were many sights that I fell in love with, from the waterfalls to Half Dome, my favorite memory was on my last day in the park. The fog crept back into the forest and roads. The whole scene looked like an ominous clip from a film. I remembered that this was the same image I saw when I first entered the park, so I wanted to capture that first memory. I found a small spot to park my car and ran out to the edge of the woods. Even though I was slightly worried because I could barely see what was in front of me, I remember thinking how beautiful and still the woods seemed. This was the exact picture I was looking for: peace.

After I said my goodbyes to my new favorite park and started the long car ride back to Los Angeles, I could not help but think about what Yosemite taught me. It’s okay to take a break from the real world and let your mind wander. If you want to go somewhere, just go. Don’t let any excuse stop you. It’s always worth creating the memories, even if it’s by yourself. Last year, I was so focused on moving out of DC, I completely lost track of myself. I worked endlessly saving money and researching different jobs. I realized I was no longer doing anything that I truly enjoyed. I wasn’t taking photos, I had stopped looking for hiking trails and I didn’t even bother to illustrate anymore. I was just rushing to “get out”. But once I got to Los Angeles, I felt as though I didn’t have a chance to really celebrate my accomplishments. With New Year’s just a few days away, I kept looking at pictures of Yosemite and thinking how I couldn’t wait to go someday. When my sister asked what I was doing to ring in 2017, without any hesitation I said, “I’m going to Yosemite.”


MEET ALEX

We sat down with Alex to go over all things awesome about discovering California!~

What do you love most about LA so far?

I love the food—there’s such a good variety. You can get Pho, you can get Mexican and everything’s really good. I haven’t experienced that before. And the weather, of course. It’s so beautiful. I can’t believe it’s March and so sunny and warm. And it doesn’t get that cold or humid.

What’s your favorite neighborhood?

I love Larchmont so much! It’s my speed. You can get coffee, you can get dinner or a drink. It’s quiet and it’s cute. And I love Bricks & Scones.

What do you appreciate most about California?

Everything is an hour away from each other. So you can go to the beach, the desert, the mountains. You can go Downtown if you want. You can just kind of see it all and have it all in a day if you really wanted to. You don’t get that anywhere else.

What are you dying to explore next? 

Oh man, a lot! In California, Big Sur is up there on my list. I wanna see that really bad. I haven’t been to San Francisco yet. And I want to see the redwoods and even Death Valley. I’m also dying to go to the Grand Canyon. And I want to go back to Yellowstone.

What’s inspiring you these days in life and in art?

Having an excuse to just get out and go somewhere different. And I like creating something super weird—I think the weirder the better. So weirdness is inspiring me right now, I guess!

Alex Rice is a designer and photographer based in Los Angeles. Alex moved to Los Angeles in October 2016 from the Washington DC area and is now ready to explore the West Coast. She is always up for an adventure, especially exploring her new home state. She hopes to share her experiences and inspire others to find their courage to explore. Follow her on Instagram: @alexmrice.


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

Follow us on Instagram: @sirensandscoundrels


© 2017 Sirens and Scoundrels // Photos © 2017 Alex M. Rice

The Antīc Ferari ~ “Antique Ferrari”

Words & Original Cocktail Recipe by Richard Swan

Photography by Sarah Prikryl // Interview by Christina Huntington 

It is one of my dreams in life to be able to walk into any bar across the world, order an Antīc Ferari and get a knowing nod from the bartender as they clink ice cubes into a mixing glass. I’ll watch them reach for and pour equal measures of Antica Carpano, Fernet Branca and Campari. They will stir that perfect concoction until it reaches arctic chill and then strain it over fresh ice, deftly or clumsily waving a grapefruit or orange peel in or near the glass–I don’t really care. Within a minute, I’ll order another to replace the one that’s just disappeared down my throat…

There is a warm fuzzy place in the cocktail world for 3-ingredient, equal-proportion drinks. Their very nature makes them easy to make at home and confident for us to order at the bar. The Negroni is arguably best in class: 1 ounces each of Gin, Campari and Sweet Vermouth chilled and served up or on the rocks. It is delicious, complex, infinitely customizable (see: Mezcal Negroni, White Negroni, plus an infinity more) and the ingredients are fairly ubiquitous.

The Antīc Ferari is a criminally simple alteration of that timeless classic.

You need only glance at the backbar to visually check off the ingredients:

Antica Carpano? Check. I hope–this is the current industry standard for quality sweet vermouth. Don’t panic if your local pub doesn’t pour this, any decent sweet vermouth will do–just don’t stoop too low or allow them to pour anything from a dusty bottle.

Fernet Branca? Check. Flavor profile best described as a mixture of Jagermeister, Listerine and Sharpies. It’s fabulous stuff…I refer to it as ‘Bartender’s Mouthwash’.

Campari? Check. Italian bittersweet digestif with a scarlet hue once made possible by the inclusion of crushed beetle wings. (I know!)

All you need to do is order a Negroni, ask them to substitute Fernet Branca for the gin and you’re off to the races. Don’t worry if they give you a look…“Trust me,” you’ll say and then suggest they try it. Just be sure to watch their face while they do so…“It’s called an Antique Ferrari. You’re welcome….”

All of these fantastically complex ingredients come together to be so much greater than the sum of their already great parts. Initially sweet with warm vanilla bean from the Antica and a cold herbal snap from the Fernet that then melds into a delightfully numbing citrus peel dance on the palate from the Campari. It’s a rush, I tell you. And fair warning…just a little bit addictive.

Cheers! I hope you have as much fun turning people onto this drink as I have.


ANTIC FERARI

INGREDIENTS~

1 oz Antica Carpano Sweet Vermouth

1 oz Fernet Branca

1 oz Campari

ASSEMBLY~

stir all ingredients with cracked ice until very cold

strain up or over fresh cracked ice

express the oils of a grapefruit or orange peel and drop into the glass


MEET RICHARD

We sat down with Richard to pick his brain about cocktails, music & the Best of the Best of LA!~

If there were just ONE place you could take an out-of-towner visiting LA, where would you take them?

Dinner at Musso & Frank–a throwback to actual Old Hollywood. Now it’s surrounded by these wacky gross bars and, basically, stripper stores. But that place is still there and you can go in and look at the wall and see this is where Fitzgerald had martinis and Sinatra had steaks. Throw away all your dietary restrictions and go for it. I don’t care what you do or do not eat. You’re gonna eat a steak and potato and have four martinis at Musso’s.

Best places to grab a cocktail in LA?

There’s three tiers. If you want a really challenging but great cocktail, go to Birch. The bar manager there will take some abstract concept and turn it into a drink. Her cocktail menu is astonishing. If you want a drink made perfectly to spec and get some obscure whiskey cocktail from the Boston book and know they’re not going to have to look it up, go to Varnish. You can say, “I want a Remember the Maine” and they’ll make a perfect Remember the Maine. If you want some rotgut booze, go around the corner to Smog Cutter. It’s one of the oldest bars in LA and, thankfully, one of the most untouched by anything else. There’s a pool table, there’s always karaoke, but don’t order a cocktail there. Beer and highballs are all you can hope for.

What should everyone have stocked in their liquor cabinet at home at all times?

I’m the firm believer in being prepared for all occasions when it comes to drink. So I think you should always have a bottle of bubbly (it doesn’t have to be expensive), a white and a red, some beer. And then as far as liquor goes, have something clear and something brown. Clear can be vodka, gin, or silver rum or tequila. Brown, you can get some whiskey, rum or cognac. Then you’re ready for all occasions.

What’s the one drink everyone should master & be able to serve up to guests?

The Old Fashioned formula is all you need to know because it’s super versatile. It doesn’t have to be whiskey. You can do mezcal, you can do a gin Old Fashioned…it can be anything you want. Just add spirit, a touch of any kind of sugar you want to use and bitters. Then you can express your tastes with it because that’s just a very simple formula that you can mix and match. Slot some spirit in, throw different bitters in there, throw a different garnish in there and you can basically create your own version of an Old Fashioned. As long as you know the basic specs, you’re off to the races. And you can experiment with it and not spend all day since it’s only three ingredients–it’s easy. A mezcal Old Fashioned is fantastic.

What are your favorite places to check out live music in LA?

The resindencies at The Echo and The Satellite are always great. There’s no cover at the door, the crowd’s always fun, there’s no attitude and you never know what you’re gonna find. And then there’s The Baked Potato where you can always find some random stuff. Like Volto might be playing some night. Sometimes dipping your toes in the Sunset Strip is kind of hilarious for us East Siders to head over there and see what’s going on at The Viper Room.

What’s your real-life superpower?

I can taste things without putting them in my mouth. Through the many years of developing cocktail menus, I can see things and know how they’re going to taste just by reading the ingredients.

Richard is a first generation American, musician, gear head and cat dad. LA serves as his home base while he travels the country designing cocktail programs for events and venues as National Beverage Director for thegrandbevy.com. Follow his travels at @formulaswan.


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© 2017 Sirens and Scoundrels // Cocktail Recipe © 2017 Richard Swan

 

The Sacred Art of Self Love

Words by Christina Huntington

Photography by Sarah Prikryl // Contributing Photography by Christina Huntington

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 ever 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


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Follow us on Instagram: @sirensandscoundrels


© 2017 Sirens and Scoundrels

 

Make Your Life a Love Story!

Happy Valentine’s Day!! Sure, it may be a holiday that was made up to sell greeting cards, chocolate hearts and long stemmed roses…but we are always huge fans of any excuse to celebrate and spread more love in the world! But if we’re being totally honest, even just the word “love” can be challenging for a lot of people. We all have different interpretations of what love is from our own history and experience—how we’ve “gotten” it, how we’ve “lost” it and how well we have or have not managed to give it to others and ourselves. Love can also feel like a lot of pressure, inundated since birth with so many versions of what love “should” look like from, let’s face it, not necessarily the best sources. It’s left many people feeling confused about how to love and be loved in a healthy way that leaves us feeling joyful, secure, fulfilled and freely self-expressed. While, oh yeah…also having some fun.

This is the simplest guide to love that I have been able to distill from years of spiritually counseling people: get present. Forget about trying to figure out how to generate love and what it all means and where it’s all going. Just get present. This is how you make your ENTIRE LIFE romantic. Your life itself becomes a great love story when you drop away thinking about your life and simply be in it instead. If that sounds fantastical, it is. Life experienced this way becomes wonder-filled, awe-some, magic-al—all those words from childhood when the world was still brand new and full of hope and possibility. Becoming present requires a willingness for a return to innocence. Allowing yourself to be a beginner again, giving up what you “know”, being willing to see things differently and allowing life to be a constant state of curiosity and discovery.

So how do you just “get present” in our over-stimulated, over-extended, over-whelming modern world? Literally just start by opening your eyes and opening your heart to the beauty all around you. That means put your phone down, step away from the computer, put the video games away, turn the TV off. Step outside and watch the sunset in your front yard for ten minutes at the end of your day. Watch the pink clouds swell and fade as the stars twinkle to life and the moon begins to rise in the night sky. Feel the breeze on your face, the fresh air rushing into your lungs. Feel the ground beneath your feet. Pet your dog or cat. Feel your own heart beating. Allow yourself to just BE. The big secret of life is that all of its sweetness is hidden in the silence. When you allow yourself to get still with life, you are inviting intimacy.

It’s the same exact thing with people. When you invite stillness and a space for quiet listening, intimacy blooms. If you want to create real intimacy with the people in your life, you need to learn how to bring stillness into your relationships. When was the last time you really took in your partner, just looked into their eyes? Or the last time you shared secrets and dreams under a makeshift blanket fort? Vulnerability and a deep sense of connection blossom whenever we feel: seen, heard, valued and cared for (the four things all human beings crave most). So take a moment to just look into your partner’s eyes without having to do anything. Allow yourself to just enjoy the feeling of their touch, like the first time you ever held hands. Just breathe and be still together. Watch the sunset outside. Build that blanket fort and giggle. Just remember that life is meant to be lived in the here and now—which means collecting ALL of your five senses and bringing them into each and every moment.

So if you want to create more love in your life, this is your assignment: for this entire week, practice bringing your sense of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch to as many moments as you possibly can. Feel what happens when you slow down, stop thinking about your life and allow yourself to fully experience it with every part of you instead. We promise—your whole life will become a beautiful love story!!

Wanna see what happens when you get present & gaze into your partner’s eyes? Watch our celestial stop motion fantasy below! Click arrow in center of screen for your Valentine’s Day Love Story! 

 

 

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”! 

Follow us on Instagram: @sirensandscoundrels


Words by Christina Huntington // Photography by Sarah Prikryl

Video by  Sarah Prikryl & Christina Huntington

© 2017 Sirens and Scoundrels

Sounds Like Love!

Happy Month of Love! In these parts, we like to take the entire month of February to celebrate love in ALL its forms. To kick things off right, we’d like to offer you a little mood music to help set the scene for whatever type of love you want to indulge in this month…with your self, with your partner or with the world. Anything that uplifts the heart and soul uplifts the whole world! In these chaotic times, take a moment to reconnect to the simple things that bring you joy and make you FEEL GOOD. We promise these tunes will start moving you in the right direction…

DREAMY NIGHTS // MONTH OF LOVE PLAYLIST ~

 

And stay tuned for this month’s articles on the many ways to celebrate and spread more love in your life! 

Happy Loving!! xoxo, Sirens & Scoundrels


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

© 2017 Sirens and Scoundrels

 

Setting Goals From Your Soul

Words by Alicia Lipinski of Quietfire Healing // Photography by Sarah Prikryl  //  Featured Photo by Gina Cholick

Welcome to February, dear Sirens and Scoundrels! Around this time, you might be revisiting the goals and intentions that you set for yourself at the beginning of the year. You might be congratulating yourself for all the progress that you’ve already made or you might be berating yourself for not having done more or for already falling off the wagon. Or if you’re like me and many of my clients right now, you might see so many things that you want to change, both in your life and the world at large, that you feel paralyzed with fear and indecision and don’t know where to start.

There is a very real, biological reason for this. In times of stress or panic, our sympathetic nervous system kicks in, sending our body into fight or flight mode. This response doesn’t require being chased by a bear. It can be triggered by a daily pile-up of stress at work or in your personal life. We’re even seeing this play out in the current political landscape.

In the wake of the election, some people took immediate action by organizing protests, attending marches, calling their elected officials and rallying around the causes that they believe in. Their natural instinct was to stand and fight. On the other hand, you may have heard others say they want to move to Canada or England or anywhere but here. Their natural instinct was to flee. Now let me make this clear: neither response is better than the other, so please don’t judge yourself for not reacting the same way as someone else. Both of these biological instincts are completely natural and appropriate.

Yet another common (and much less talked about) instinct is to feel totally immobilized and unsure of how to act. This is known as the freeze response. You’ve probably heard the phrase “like a deer caught in headlights.” In this instance, we feel so scared or overwhelmed that we can’t seem to think or react clearly. We physically, emotionally and/or psychologically shut down in order to cope. Remember, we’re not just talking about lions, tigers and bears here. This same thing can happen when we find ourselves faced with a goal or challenge that feels insurmountable—like wanting to solve all the world’s problems but not knowing how.

They say the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. But when your line looks like an Everest-size peak, it’s easy to feel frozen. So how do we make that massive mountain of change feel more like a molehill? We break it up into a series of steps. We choose small, manageable, sustainable actions that we can take on a daily basis. In time, these actions add up to our larger goal. In yoga, we call this process Vinyasa Krama.

You want to write a novel? Congratulations! Instead of worrying about finishing the entire book, start with writing for 10 minutes a day. Then gradually move up to 20 minutes, then 30, then maybe a full hour. You want to start a new fitness regime? Instead of feeling like you have to go to the gym every single day or else you’re a failure, start by committing to even just a day or two a week, then gradually increase the number or length of your visits over time if that feels appropriate. You want to take that big trip you’ve always dreamed of but don’t have the cash? Start by setting aside a few cents or dollars at a time. It doesn’t have to be a whole paycheck or last night’s lottery winnings.

We have a tendency to want to change everything overnight: our job, our relationship status, our body, our habits, our world. Just remember, whatever your goal, you don’t have to do it all in one day. As an intuitive healer and life coach, I’ve seen time and time again the synchronicities and absolute miracles that can occur when you begin to take even the smallest steps toward your dreams and the callings of your spirit. With every action that you take, the energy and momentum builds. Before you know it, your tiny snowball of steps has turned into an avalanche of action that completely changes the landscape of your life.

On the evening of the Women’s March, a friend asked me to do a tarot reading for our country—to look at where we are collectively and what we can be doing as individuals to make an impact right now. So I pulled a card from my favorite tarot deck and flipped it over to reveal the 10 of Wands. The image on the card is a woman climbing up a steep mountain, carrying a heavy burden on her back (the ten wands). Although the mountaintop is within sight, she is not looking at her final destination. She is focused on the next stone step that she is about to climb and reaches one hand out to steady herself on it. To me, this card doesn’t signify rapid movement but, rather, a slow and steady progression. It reminds us that even the tallest mountain can only be climbed one step at a time.

Therefore, it is important to be mindful of the step that you are currently on and to meet yourself WHERE YOU ARE AT and not where you think you should be. What can you do, right now, with what you already have and who you already are? What talents and resources are available for you to use in this very moment? (For help with this, try the exercise below.)

To continue with our climbing metaphor, maybe you’re the Eagle Scout who knows how to light fires out of twigs when the sun goes down and the temperature drops. Or the baker who filled her backpack with homemade granola bars to hand out when hunger strikes. Or the cheerleader who encourages everyone else to keep climbing when they feel tired or discouraged. Or the navigator who can help steer the group up the safest and most direct path.

Remember, you don’t have to be an expert at everything or take on every cause. As you focus on sharing your unique talents and passions with the world, you leave room for others to fill in the gaps with their unique talents and passions. This is how we all come together as a community, as vital pieces of a whole, finding ways to work together towards our individual and collective goals.

EXERCISE: Take Inventory of Your Time, Talents and Treasures

In your journal or on a blank sheet of paper, free write your answers to the following questions. Don’t censor yourself or overthink your answers. Just put pen to paper and see what comes out. The answers may surprise you.

Time: Where can I make time in my schedule or space in my life for my goals, passions and the causes that are important to me?

Talents: What am I good at? What skills, trades or training do I have? What do others compliment or praise me for? What do I enjoy doing? What lights me up? When do I feel fulfilled?

Treasures: What physical and financial resources do I currently have access to that I can use in service of my goals? (This might be money, locations or equipment.) What relationships do I have and what communities am I a part of? What are my hobbies and passions? What do I value in life? What causes are meaningful to me? What issues are close to my heart?

Every morning, you can then ask yourself this simple question: how can I best use my time, talents and treasures today? What one small action can I take toward my goals and the life I want to create for myself?

As you then move through your day, if you find yourself getting caught up in that fight or flight response or feeling frozen in fear, pause and take a few deep breaths to re-center yourself and calm your nervous system. Come back to the present moment—to the step that you are on—by simply noticing how you’re feeling and what is happening around you.

With daily focused action from your soul, you’ll find yourself up on that mountain peak in no time! 

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Alicia Lipinski is a gifted intuitive healer and spiritual counselor based in Los Angeles. She is also a certified Holy Fire Reiki practitioner, RYT 200 Yoga Instructor and herbalist who brews her own tonics and tinctures. She has studied a wide range of healing modalities, including Ayurveda, nutrition, life and wellness coaching, tarot, aromatherapy, crystal therapy and various forms of energy work and incorporates elements of each into her healing work. Yet her real medicine is her ability to see others for who they truly are and reflect that truth back to them.

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© 2017 Sirens and Scoundrels