Years ago, I bought Yamerra products on one of these pop-up markets on Broadway. The pure Shea butter based skin-care products left an indelible mark in my memory, so much so that I decided to reach out to her beautiful founder, Maryam Moma, so we can meet again and talk natural beauty, wellness and wisdom. In Maryam's world, Yamerra stands for being driven with love, upward-moving, growing at heart and that's the energy Maryam stood in while starting her brand a few years ago and the one she's in today to make it blossom one step at a time. Maryam originally started making products that would heal her dry and scratched skin from playing in nature too much as nothing on the market would do the trick. She expanded into soaps, body butters, hair oils and is now launching her very own lighter-texture body lotions and men products. All her ingredients are carefully sourced from the best of the best. If there was one thing Maryam would not compromise on, it would QUA*LI*TY. You can find her products online, in a few stores in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Japan and if you are a traveler of the world as... hum hum... some of us, she just opened her very own mini-boutique in her native Nigeria. Need I say more for you to get your Shea own or does Maryam's skin below speak for itself? I thought so...
While running errands all over Manhattan in the last few months, I once stumbled upon this cute little pastel bakery on the Lower East Side, which, obviously, caught my sweet-tooth attention. Tu-lu's gluten-free bakery originated in Dallas, Texas, out of necessity for its founder, Tully Phillips, to enjoy her favorite treats after being diagnosed with gluten intolerance.
Walking into Tu-lu's is like walking inside a doll-house offering an adorable and scrumptious experience. Well-known for their cupcakes, they also offer a wide assortment of cookies, muffins, paninis made with their sunflower bread and frozen-cookie dough that you can bake at home, with some vegan options. I was lucky to taste one of their dairy-free baked Doughnut and Snickerdoodle cookie, both deliciously sweet and gingery! Need a pick me up on that rainy Thursday? Well, you know what to do and where to go now!
The beauty of living in NYC is that there is always something happening. Yesterday was one of those days where I got the chance to attend a great event at the ABC Carpet and Home store, all about Beauty, Wellness and Wisdom. Three of my favorite topics in the world ~ needless to say, I was a happy girl. I was fortunate to listen to a talk by Joe Cross from the movie "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead", a very interesting panel about Food as Medicine, led by Jason Wachob, founder of Mind Body Green, an intimate conversation with my beloved Ayurvedic practitioner Dr. Pratima Raichur, among others...
But the highlight of my day was listening to Latham Thomas' speech about OWNING OUR GLOW. Founder of Mama Glow, a company that offers nutrition, wellness and birth support to the mama community, Latham was beaming radiance from the inside-out and inspired me in many ways. She started her talk by "I'm not here to teach you anything but just to remind you of who you are" and every single word that she spoke echoed something, somewhere deep within indeed.
"Wear your Goddess out, Share your Unique Story, Ignite other's Light" are a few of the simple yet powerful pearls of wisdom I resonated with. But what stroke me the most, was the alignment between her words and her presence. She is a true embodiment of a strong, feminine, grounded and confident woman, and in being so, she reminds us of our birthright to reclaim that queendom we all deserve as the contemporary women that we are. Psst... I'm reading her book "Mama Glow, a hip guide to your fabulous abundant pregnancy", read on mamas-to-be, it's amazing!
Living in NYC and not know about Pure Food and Wine is like going to Paris and not know about La Durée Macaroons. Sacrilege... in the world of Raw Food, or as I like to call it better, Living & Bursting Food. As the first upscale raw vegan restaurant in the Big Apple, PF&W made a name for itself among the health nuts, and perhaps more surprisingly among the foodies as well. The menu offers a one of a kind plant-based selection of dishes made with the bestest and freshest ingredients and a real sense of creativity and passion for good food. Need I say that their desserts are absolutely mind-blowing or do the pictures speak for themselves? Yes, it's on the higher-end, so find yourself a good reason that calls for celebration and go indulge on pure food and wine (or ginger shots), I promise you, you won't regret it!
"It's time to get back to the way humans ate before industry ruined food." That's what you will read in the window walking inside Hu Kitchen, and that's what I call a powerful manifesto! What I love about this place is that it contrasts with all the juice bars and healthy restaurants in the city, which are slightly more targeted towards women, I find... There is something very masculine about Hu Kitchen, and it's as great thing. They are on a mission to shift the paradigm around food and allow everybody, even the guys who lifts weight 6 days a week, to realize that healthy food doesn't have to be tasteless and low-cal. They are all about unprocessed, local, whole, hearty and tasty food that can be enjoyed on-the-go or on-site while reading in-your-face kinda quotes such as "The words "healthy" and "natural" used to mean something before the cynical profiteers of the food industry hijacked them. We are taking them back". I'm diggin' your rough wisdom Hu.
Exactly a year ago, I was embarking on what was going to be the best month of my life. For the first time ever, I never wanted to be anywhere and anytime else but where I was.
Heading to India, I had no set plans other than immerse myself in the Indian culture and take my first teacher training in the mother land of yoga. The synchronistic encounters from my first 2 months there led my to Yogi Sivadas in Dharamsala.
For the next 30 days, I woke up to the sound of nature as the sun was coming out, meditated in my room overlooking the Himalayas, chanted with the 10 yogis from all over the world who underwent the training with me, practiced 4 hours of yoga and listened to fascinated lectures about yogic philosophy, Ayurveda, sutras, kriyas, chakras, mudras...
Will I ever be a yoga teacher? Who knows, but there is not a day that goes by without me remembering the wisdom I gained learning from such a knowledgeable, genuine and inspiring teacher. I would recommend this experience to anyone looking for time away from the tribulations of our world and inside what it really meant to me: the school of a way life.
Paris, Paris, Paris... Probably the best city in the world when it comes to fine dining. Greener options are not quite as available on the other hand. It's happening though, slowly but surely. And I was lucky to be introduced to Cafe Pinson, a lovely cafe with a trendy natural scandinavian look, that serves juices, smoothies and vegan food. How refreshing! So if you are vacationing in Paris, please do indulge in the traditional croissants, patisseries, or whatever else floats the boat of your taste-buds, food is such a big part of being on holidays and discovering a culture. And stop by Cafe Pinson everytime your system needs a green reboot!
While working on my new venture, I came across an oh-so-inspiring organization: Hot Bread Kitchen.
Hot Bread Kitchen has mastered the skilled of running a business while giving back to the community. They run a multi-ethnic bakery in Spanish Harlem, where you will find anything from fresh baguettes, corn tortillas, challah breads, nans, granolas.... all inspired by foreign-born and low-income women and made with local and organic ingredients. Hot Bread Kitchen also rents kitchen space for small entrepreneurs starting out in the food industry. 100% of the proceeds from the bakery and the kitchen incubator are reinvested in the baking training program to help these women from Mali, Mexico, Ethiopia, Morocco... learn English, computer skills and baking techniques to prepare them for a career in the culinary world or start their own business.
"Hot Bread Kitchen is way more than a bakery, it's the United Nation of Bread" says Jessamyn W. Rodriguez, founder and CEO "with a secret goal to change the face of this mostly-men dominated industry".
As you'll read the writings on the wall when you walk in, you'll know you stepped into the right place: "Real Food, Big Flavors, No Dieting" ~ my kind of mantra. Being on the look out for healthy eateries in NYC for the last few months, I had heard about Mulberry & Vine but somehow had not managed to make my way down to Tribeca and give it a try. I finally did last weekend and was happily surprised to find not-your-typical brunch spot but a cute kid-friendly cafeteria. Genevieve, one of the owner, confirmed my first impression when she explained that she had been living in this neighborhood for years and was tired not to have any options around to take her children for yummy-yet-healthy food. You guess it, she eventually decided to fulfill one of her childhood dream and opened it herself. What you will find there are mostly plant-based dishes, all local, seasonal, organic, pesticide/hormone and antibiotic-free, seasoned to perfection. The chef there mastered the art of pairing fresh herbs for exploding savors and flavors without relying on anything you couldn't pronounce. So go pay them a visit, for a casual date, or even better, a play date with your kiddos!
Nothing makes me happier than good food and yoga. Wait, tasty juices & yoga for a great cause do make me even happier! I was lucky to attend a very special practice at the Lyons Den Power Yoga studio last night, led by teachers from Kenya to the sound of African drums. These women, trained by the Africa Yoga Project, made us hold downward-facing-dogs like never before, reminding us to lead our life with our heart and that strength comes from going beyond the stories within our head. They made us shake what-our-momma-gave-us like nobody's business. And they shared how yoga transformed their life. Wanji grew up in the slums of Nairobi as a feisty kid who thought yoga was for fat people. After she eventually took her first yoga class, she felt a huge weight lifting off of her back. She had found the path that would lead her to taking a 200 hour yoga teacher training with the AYP. "I used to go to bed worrying about the people who hated me because of what I did to them. Now I sleep like a baby thinking about the people who love me for bringing yoga into their life". Class ended with Savasana to the sound Redemption Song by one of the student and well-deserved refreshing juices from Luli Tonix. "In Kenya, we love hugs and handstands". In New York too, thank you for being such an inspiration ladies.