Winter Beauty

Elevate your mood health well-being & aesthetic Winter into Spring with these Artful Blog fabulous finds from near and afar. Who couldn’t use a beneficial beauty and beyond boost this time of year? The idea of deep rest, to replenish and renew the body mind spirit & recharge during this at-times-sluggish season is appealing, as is enhancing your beauty routine with nourishing & aromatically rich products, while adding a few essential seasonal pieces to your environment & wardrobe to refresh and organize, Artful Blog style. Comfort calm citrine calendula cream chakra curios country couture candles & more.

Magic Organic Apothecary Green Bath Potion & Balm

Fall in love with award-winning, artful artisan Magic Organic Apothecary, skincare products made in England, inspired by old herbal folklore with a sprinkling of magic! Therapeutic green bottled beauties that combine organic Yarrow with other herbal extracts & botanical oils to help nourish & invigorate the body mind spirit to improve well-being. Cult-classics include a multi-purpose beauty balm: The Green Balm, a decadent daily cleansing ritual, and some might say a miracle with all its weird & wonderful uses + healing powers. And a Green Bath Potion with refreshing Peppermint, detoxifying Fennel, relaxing Fir Needle & Birch to ease achy muscles & soften the skin. MOA spell for feeling balanced: Pour capful into the bath. Immerse in water, breathe in & let the natural essential oils clear the mind & lift your mood = magic!

Ursa Major Golden Hour Recovery Cream

Elevate your Winter skincare game with Ursa Major’s Super Natural hydration boost plus fast-absorbing Golden Hour Recovery Cream. An Artful Blog absolute favorite for its unisex qualities, healing Sunflower, Calendula & Sea Buckhorn properties + aromatics of Neroli, Sandalwood & a touch of sour Rose anchored with fresh-soaked Earth. Crafted by a great Green & grounded grooming line free of synthetic chemicals and toxins out of Vermont, with a brand ethos that comes from a desire to live a healthy, active, stress-free natural life close to the land. A stand out cream and brand in an increasingly crowded field for its philosophy, simplicity, efficacy, clean packaging & quality.

Sundari Neem Hand & Chamomile Eye Oil

Ayurveda teaches that the balancing of mind, body and spirit will ultimately lead to peace, harmony and lasting beauty, as will picking up Sundari’s stellar new floral citrus Neem Hand Oil & best-selling Chamomile Eye Oil. Positively potent travel-friendly essential oil aromatic botanical treats to quench thirsty skin. Skin is instantly relieved upon contact while the essential oils soak deep into the dermis to boost natural repair and defense processes. Sundari encompasses a complete line of Ayurvedic luxury spa treatments with worldwide distribution, that will help you discover truly healthy skin & encourage you to find your own sense of well-being.

Gülsha Rose Perfecting & Regenerative Elixirs

Discover distinctly divine & luxurious Rosa Damascena flower oil potions that are highly effective skin-enhancing elixirs for day & night. Formulated by French skincare experts & made in the Isparta region of Turkey famous for its Roses, using traditional techniques handed down through generations, with only a limited number of bottles being produced each year. It takes approximately 4000 kilograms of Roses, hand-picked before the sunrise, to produce just one kilo of pure Rose oil in an incredibly labor-intensive process. Gülsha perfectly distills this fragrant skin-loving essence & combines it with other powerfully healing & protective seed oils to nourish dehydrated skin with vital nutrients to restore radiance.

L.L. Bean Upworthy Down Jacket & Hunter Boots

Stay warm dry & stylishly seasonal in these Loden Green rural landscape classic wares. Artful Blog favorites for Gray Green rugged riding style perfection. L.L. Bean, the quintessential American company based in Maine known for its iconic boots and catalog, plus clothes & gear designed for getting out there, with cutting-edge technology for staying safe & warm. Whose motto is the outside is inside everything they make. At some point the typical New Englander stops letting the weather ruin another pair of boots and picks up a pair of Hunter boots. Then wonders how they ever did without them! Founded in 1856, Hunter is a British heritage brand renowned for its iconic original boot, and Royal Appointment to HM The Queen & HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. The brand has a rich history of innovation and continues to forge designs that shield pioneers from the elements and bleakest of landscapes.

Dooney & Bourke Florentine Collection 

Dooney & Burke = vintage vibes Florentine gift to self or other that will stand the test of time. Inspired by America’s rich history in leather goods, ranging from mail pouches to saddle bags & early military gear, Dooney & Bourke known for its New England roots and heritage, designs & crafts instant classics with the perfect union of timeless American style, the highest regard for the finest raw materials & time-honored techniques of old world craftsman. The Florentine Collection with Vacchetta leather, matte Gold hardware & micro-suede detailing, has the look & feel of fine saddlery leather, and develops an even richer patina with time and use. The Artful Blog’s favorite pieces rich with enduring style, timeless versatility & effortless functionality.

Satya Jewelry Chakra Collection

Satya means “truth” in Sanskrit, and that sentiment beautifully inspires the New York-based designer yogini jewelry line of the same name, handcrafted for the modern & fearless woman in mind. Offering necklaces, bracelets, malas and earrings with symbols & semi-precious gemstones within specialty collections such as: Mandala -that embodies the divine spirit of this age-old art form, and Chakra -that delivers powerful messaging, mantras & inspiration to tap into empowerment. This year The Artful Blog choose Citrine & Yellow Jade as its empowering crystal allies for 2018. Both Solar Plexus Chakra stones -or Manipura, which governs health, self-worth & energy. Located in the seat of digestive fire, Manipura infuses the body with energy, balance & strength. In wearing these stones, you are supported to blossom in your growing spirituality, with inner peace, joy & happiness.

Farmhouse Pottery Candles & Match Striker

Farmhouse Pottery, Vermont based artisanal potters offering unique one-of-a-kind handmade pottery, décor & gifts. With original shapes brought back from another time when storage was done with handcrafted vessels. Rooted in traditional American pottery styling, basic in design, with many purposes for the home and entertaining, Farmhouse Pottery vessels are household essentials, that bring pleasure to everyday utility. Nothing celebrates seasonal nostalgia & the Winter Solstice –The Artful Blog’s second favorite season, with simple sophistication better than Farmhouse’s carefully crafted candles. With woodsy notes of Balsam Fir, Cedar & Sandalwood oils inspired by Vermont’s rural landscape, preserved natural beauty & seasonal change.

Edens Garden Single & Synergy Blend Essential Oils

While there are a lot of essential oil companies these days, only a few brands manage to get the real seal of approval when it comes to being utterly trustworthy & favored by their customers. Known for having an amazing variety of therapeutic-grade essential oils as well as beautiful gift sets & beneficial carrier oils, it comes as no surprise that Edens Garden is considered one of the best in terms of quality, price-point, selection & service. The expert aromatherapist crafted & curated collection of synergy blends are particularly noteworthy remedies, also included are 18 thoughtful OK For Kids blends, prompting everything from calm to sleep to joy. Edens Garden seasonal diffuser blend recipe: 4 Drops of Cedarwood + 4 Drops of Pine. The Artful Blog loves to drop this blend atop the woodstove this time of year for scentsational seasonal ambiance!

Alicia Adams Alpaca Baby Alpaca Throw

A 100% Baby Alpaca Handmade Throw that is softer than cashmere is just sublime. Alpaca is one of the world’s most luxurious fabrics, cherished the world over, not only for its scarcity but also for its natural attributes, its fineness, durability, and hypoallergenic & lightweight qualities. Adams’s gorgeous accessories suit any season, a swoon-worthy collection of hand-spun sweaters, blankets, robes & accessories perfect for stepping up your Winter wardrobe or gift-giving. The Artful Blog finds the throws especially comforting, perfect for Winter into Spring evenings by the fire. Alicia Adams Alpaca raises & manages its own herd of over 200 Suri Alpacas at The Artful Blog’s favorite family farm in New York’s Hudson Valley.

Pema Chödrön 2018 Engagement Calendar

Get organized 2018 old school style with the Pema Chödrön: Awakening The Heart Weekly Engagement Calendar. A perennial Artful Blog essential that features quotes from Chödrön’s Book: Living Beautifully With Uncertainty & Change. Designed to help us cultivate compassion, courage & awareness within the challenges of daily life through mindfulness & eastern philosophy. Beloved Buddhist teacher, author, nun & mother, Pema Chödrön has inspired millions of people from around the world who have been touched by her example & message of practicing peace in these turbulent times. Purchase of this beautiful engagement calendar each year supports The Pema Chodron Foundation which is dedicated to preserving & sharing Pema’s inspiration & teachings in order that they might help us all awaken wisdom & compassion in ourselves & the world around us.

On Yoga

YOGA The Secret of Life by Francesco Mastalia, Cloth Hardcover, 224 Pages, Published by powerHouse Books, Worldwide release October 2017.

YOGA The Secret of Life is a photo-documentary about the spiritual and physical journey of yoga. Through photographs and text this fine art book explores the personal experiences of 108 of today’s leading practitioners and how this ancient practice has transformed their mind, body, and spirit.

The photographs for the project are taken on glass plates using the wet collodion process, a photographic technique dating back to the 1850’s. With the use of a large format wooden camera and antique brass lens, glass plates are hand-coated to produce one-of-a-kind ‘ambrotype’ images. The collodion process transports us to another place and time. When the light-sensitive chemicals absorb the sun’s ultraviolet rays, we enter a mysterious world where art and alchemy embrace. The photographs take on another dimension with the words that accompany them. The text provides an intimate and enlightening account of each yogi’s personal journey.

Elena Brower from YOGA The Secret Life by Francesco Mastalia.

Beyond the physical postures, YOGA The Secret of Life delves deep into the purpose of our existence and how to live a happy and fulfilled life. It explores understanding who we truly are, why we are here, and what our ultimate purpose is on this planet. Included are world-renowned yogis Radhanath Swami, Sharon Gannon, Davide Life, Gurmukh Kaur Khasla, Sri Dharma Mittra, Yogi Amrit Desai, Yogiraj Alan Finger, Shiva Rea, Rod Stryker, Seane Corn, Rodney Yee, Colleen Saidman Yee, Dana Flynn, Elena Brower, Krishna Das, Jai Uttal and more.

About

Italian-born Hudson Valley New York-based Francesco Mastalia is a documentary photographer and author that has traveled the world photographing tribal, religious, spiritual, and indigenous people. His first book Dreads, published by Workman Artisan is a photo documentary on the history of dreadlocks, which includes an introduction by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker. His recent book Organic: Farmers & Chefs of the Hudson Valley published by powerHouse Books is a photo-documentary of the Hudson Valley’s organic sustainable food movement. The portraits of the farmers and chefs therein were also photographed using the wet plate collodion photographic process resulting in a beautifully evocative narrative with a nostalgic feel.

Arise Festival

ARISE Musical Festival 5th Year Celebration August 4th-6th, 2017.  A musically diverse, festival-wonderland experience. Featuring 8 stages of live music, yoga, workshops, provocative documentary films and panel discussions, art installations, live painters and art gallery, performance artists, theme camps, a Wisdom Village and a Solution’s Village -showcasing ecological and social justice solutions with practical on-site demonstrations designed to make our world a better place, and more on 100+ beautiful mountain valley acres. Located at Sunrise Ranch -a 350-acre organic farm and retreat center located in a stunning Colorado mountain valley just west of the town of Loveland, this breathtaking Rocky Mountain oasis is the perfect container for participants to entertain and be entertained, explore their creative potential, connect with nature, stretch out, dive in, and dance. #arisethisaugust

About

The consummate summer camping festival for conscientious music fans -ARISE is renowned for bold and progressive “global cooling” initiatives, such as a long-held commitment to planting one tree with every ticket sold, staging a pre-festival permaculture training, local sourcing, an organic farmer’s market in the campground, and a leave-no-trace ethos. More than a music festival, it’s a movement. See here for lineup & tickets.

Note: The Artful Blog’s alma mater Naropa University has aligned with ARISE and is offering a discount on festival tickets to the Naropa community -current students & alumni.

The Journey

We have not even to risk the adventure alone
for the heroes of all time have gone before us.
The labyrinth is thoroughly known …
we have only to follow the thread of the hero path.
And where we had thought to find an abomination
we shall find a God.

And where we had thought to slay another
we shall slay ourselves.
Where we had thought to travel outwards
we shall come to the center of our own existence.
And where we had thought to be alone
we shall be with all the world.

~Joseph Campbell

On Mantra

Mantra and its practice are part of ancient Vedic tradition first developed by wise spiritualists who connected the sounds of the natural world around them to a greater universal energy. They saw sound and its vibrational quality as the audible manifestation of the energy to which we are all connected. They recognized that no matter who or where in the world a person is, if one sit’s quietly long enough, one can hear those connective sounds, and not only that, but can achieve peace through the concentrated practice of listening and repeating them. The sages began to mimic such sound patterns that they heard as a form of meditation, achieving a greater sense of clarity, awareness, and transcendent peace. This same concept, thousands of years later, can be appropriated to bring us closer to our highest self and to achieving what we most desire.

Traditional Mantra Meditation uses existing Sanskrit hymns and chants that have been shared and practiced apart of Vedic tradition. These mantras are typically vocations towards certain deities for blessings specific to them. The sounds of these prayers said in repetition are meant to induce a deeper meditative state, such as when a lullaby soothes a child to sleep. The linguistic nature of traditional mantra and the quality of their sounds works to quiet mental chatter and fosters a peaceful environment for the body and mind to exist. Examples of traditional mantras are: Om (ohm): The simplest to repeat, yet a powerful acknowledgement of connection between all beings. Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu (lo-kah sah-mah-stah sue-kee-no bah-vain-to): Asking for peace and contentment for all living things. Om namah shivaya (Ohm nah-mah she-vah-yah): An acknowledgement of the power, beauty, and unique perfection of another being.

Personal or Unique Mantra is another way of approaching the practice and benefiting from it. Just as is true of thoughts, there are no right or wrong mantras. Rather, your mantra is based on personal experience, and holds power as an individual and unique expression of what you most desire. Whether it be aimed at manifesting security, deep connection, pervasive self-confidence, or release from suffering, the only requirement of mantra is that it is authentic.

Spend a half hour with your journal, preferably in the morning when your mind is fresh, free-writing about what it is you desire at this moment in time. Without over-analyzation or personal judgement, let it flow freely. Writing it down will help you to gain clarity on what is most pertinent for you in the current moment. Decide which idea, goal, concept, emotion, etc., it is you want to focus on first. Once you have a sense of it in your mind, turn it into a declarative statement. Imagine you already have what you are looking to attract as part of your reality.

The Personal Mantra is an individualized expression. A concentrated effort to help you achieve stillness, and peace and ultimately aids in creating your optimal reality. Whatever that is for you at this moment, is right. As a side note, you can have multiple mantras at the ready, however when meditating with the mantra, it is important to repeat only one at a time in order to focus your energy towards one thing instead of smaller efforts towards multiple goals.

Mantra Recipe

  • 1/2 hour spent alone journaling about what you seek to attain
  • Refinement of what speaks to you as the most pertinent to focus on
  • Written declarative statement
  • 10 minutes daily quiet time sitting or walking slowly to repeat your mantra
  • Try incorporating mantra into your meditation practice and pay attention to what arises

Beyond Words

Tilt your head slightly to one side and lift your eyebrows expectantly. Ask questions. Delve into the subject at hand or let things come randomly. Don’t expect answers. Forget everything you’ve ever done. Make no comparisons. Simply listen. Listen with your eyes, as if the story you are hearing is happening right now. Listen without blinking, as if a move might frighten the truth away forever. Don’t attempt to copy anything down. Don’t bring a camera or a recorder. This is your chance to listen carefully. Your whole life might depend on what you hear.

~Joyce Sutphen