Tag Archive for Culture

Karma Cartel Fragrance Launch – Collab

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Back in October of 2015 I vended a local punk rock flea market. In the front area I remember meeting these two well dressed young men, with sleek correlating gear on. They were Jose Serrano and Chris Rockwell, partners for the clothing and lifestyle brand, Karma Cartel. I wouldn’t know it till nearly a year later, they would be collaborating with my own brand.

Chris runs a local series of events and coordinates with a lot of local talent in a very unique way. Support, Encouragement and Teamwork seem to be values that engulf the activities that the gentlemen take part in and host.

We found ourselves cosmically meeting to create a new flavor for their incredible brand, a pair of fragrances. These fragrances would embody the moral, spiritual and even swagger of their blooming indie label.

wonder

Several smell sessions and thought storms later, a really effortless set of communicating fragrances were born. ” K ” & ” C “

While entirely meant to both be unisex, one employs more of an assertive vigor while the other is softer and vulnerable.

image1Each is firmly rooted in  fine sandalwood and home brewed madagascar vanilla. “K” is twisted with brighter coconut tones and “C” is bound in leather & amber.  “K ” is paired with genuine grade AAA peridot and moonstone and whole Jasmine Buds. “C” is met with genuine garnet & coffee moonstone as well as red sandalwood bark.  Sandalwood and Jasmine both represented a karmic relationship, as both are deemed in some cultures as holy and sacred natural offerings. Both are made of certified green fragrances and plant concentrates and are nearly completely natural. image2 The outcome of this duo is much like the collaboration itself, my organic vibe meets their urban luxe & street spirit driven aura and the results are in the fragrances. Like all of my hues, each is meant to take you somewhere you longed to be,  perhaps once knew, and most certainly wish to go to again and again.
image4

Karma Cartel is launching this line Thursday August 18th! Visit their site, check out their label, and read more about these fragrances as well as snag them for yourselves! It was a pleasure designing for such a lively brand rooted in community and culture.

Interview With BethKaya – By Zoe Wilder – Reposting From Skirt Collective

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

– When Ms. Wilder approached me about an interview this winter, I admit I was hesitant. It seems strange to talk about yourself but at the same time I liked the idea of someone asking me about my work rather then me putting it in your face as I tend to do all on my own. Her questions were thought provoking and a good exercise in affirming where I am coming from and where I am going with my work. Please check out this article, give it a share and add your thoughts in the comments there or here! Thank You Zoe and and Skirt Collective!

Photo By Geraldine Vallecillos

Front Page:
http://www.skirtcollective.com/an-interview-with-intuitive-artist-and-homesteader-extraordinaire-bethkaya/

“As an empathetic artist, I am constantly absorbing energy from my customers and situations. In business, you are supposed to look out for your bottom line. My bottom line is the customer. The balance is tough.”

The terms “homesteading” and “DIY” are relatively new. They didn’t exist because that was simply how people lived their lives. Our great grandmothers had gardens where they grew vegetables and fruit. Everything had natural ingredients. That’s all there were. It was the norm. In so many ways, the world has wandered so far away from that connection between who we are and what we consume.

1545932_794096143958788_652880714359717903_n

Intention Gift Set

However, I’ve noticed a growing awareness in the world about where our food comes from, whether it’s made with love and good intentions, and how that affects our health. I see this awareness moving towards skin care products, jewelry and fashion. As people become more enlightened about intention, more spiritual entrepreneurs are rising to the occasion to meet the demand.

One of the most prolific conscious creators I’ve met is Jersey Shore artist, BethKaya. She’s been making jewelry, perfumes, soaps and intentional tonics for me for years. It’s been a real pleasure to watch her succeed. I’m continually inspired by her creations, which inspired me to reach out and ask her a few questions about her craft.

ZW: When did you know you wanted to- had to- create art for a living?

BK: At a very young age, I knew that art, ancient culture, and gems were things I couldn’t live without. As an adult, I did hard time in corporate marketing for a decade with an end goal to make art the full time gig some day. In 2002, I started making various goods like candles, jewelry and salves. I had intended to be a jewelry designer and gemologist by trade, and that’s what I studied at night at the Fashion Institute in New York City while doing that hard time, but it never felt like a real possibility until I had my son. Something about that forces you to give it a go for the sake of being home, and needing a unique income option. I figured I might as well give a go at everything I had pipe dreamed from the beginning, and see if it would stick. Some things did, some didn’t but my voice and identity as an artist started to emerge and so far, so good.

10857787_781876031847466_7041746038664813570_n

BethKaya’s Signature Fragrance Oils On Custom Designed Reclaimed Wood Display Pieces by J Drew Carpentry

ZW: How do you incorporate holism and spirit into your practice as an artist?

BK: Frankly, it’s the foundation of my work. As I got deeper into motherhood (one of the holiest sacraments) and being a one income family, I started to see every opportunity to do – from less and closer to nature. There’s so much waste spiritually and literally in society, even in business. I realized that the practices I was using in my home to keep my faith and family healthy were the very things that people were connecting to most within my body of work. We have a massive garden. We preserve flowers, herbs and spices. I connect so deeply to our garden and its gifts. For that, I am so grateful. The gratitude is a major component to the spiritual part. Sacred geometry is an inherent component of this because it IS nature, and spirit’s language. Being an international business woman and gem dealer gives me the unique ability to connect with different cultures all over the world for the raw materials that I make my products from. The connections I make seem to trust me in a special way, and offer their customs and rituals to me with an open mind. I believe all of our cultures are meant to be celebrated and am thirsty to connect to sacred customs and mythology. Intention is another facet to my work. It is an energy vibration I deal with, by imbuing these thoughts into my pieces and ministry works.

ZW: I’m in love with your gemstone and botanical infused oils and perfumes; and I’m not the only one. You’re ability to combine scents is out of this world. You have a “superpower” called synesthesia that allows you to smell and taste colors and sounds. Tell me more about this and how it informs your practice.

BK: I never really knew my senses were different until I asked other people if they too tasted color or could smell something like sound. I mean, I knew I was out in left field for other reasons. But, this realization and perfume was a fork in the road. I think that this crossing of sensory wires grants me to cross-create a product like a perfume that will recreate a moment in time for someone on a 360 degree level with a specific energy.

11080940_824962400872162_9087839825807117815_n

BethKaya’s Signature Gemstone and Botanical Infused Roll On Fragrances

ZW: What are you focusing your creative energy towards lately?

BK: It’s always hard for me to focus on one medium, but the theme is just gemstone and botanical infused products with a specific intention – mostly holistic body care and perfumes. I still am doing custom jewelry pieces as well as orgone energy devices, but that’s being pushed more into the background.

ZW: When you are feeling spiritually bankrupt, what inspires you?

BK: Shutting everything down, and going out into nature with my husband and son. We reconnect and fuel up on the good stuff that life is about. Also prayer – I think praying is really a conversation with our higher selves, spirit and our guides. It’s important to check in with that on a regular basis. This plays into an attitude of gratitude that resets me when I am down on faith.

ZW: While more and more people are becoming hip to the concept of intention and the role this plays in what they eat and wear, there are still many people who have not been introduced to this idea. How do you reach the mainstream? Or rather, how does the mainstream make its way to you?

BK: A lot of spiritual concepts seem to come in and out of vogue. Right now “crystal energy” and “intention” have become hot buzzwords. Frankly, I see a lot of it watered down as a marketing gimmick, but I also see a lot of genuine interest in boarding a “spiritual arc” so to speak. This is an awakening that is growing rapidly, and extending itself to social media. Partnering with peers who are participating in this journey as well as using hashtags to call in those interested in seeking out what I am putting out there has drawn in the unique audience that appreciates and utilizes my work to the fullest.

ZW: How do you balance being an artist with being an entrepreneur?

BK: This part is pretty tough, admittedly. As an empathetic artist, I am constantly absorbing energy from my customers and situations. In business, you are supposed to look out for your bottom line. My bottom line is the customer. The balance is tough. I have to create for myself in addition to the demands of my clients. So I try to create a few things for myself before I jump into orders and purify my space via prayer and smudging. I focus well at night. And, I really am a better business woman in that zone than I am by day.

ZW: Homesteading is a big part of your life: gardening, canning, making natural cleaners, etc. It has even inspired you to make your amazing natural skin care products. At first glance, becoming so self sufficient can seem overwhelming. What advice do you have for aspiring homesteaders?

BK: It’s overwhelming because it’s exciting. My first piece of advice is to grow something that will provide you with something in return. An herb garden is a great thing even if you are in an urban setting. Then, I recommend getting a big jug of white vinegar and two essential oils:  tea tree oil and lavender. Those three things have a myriad of uses! Cleaning products, antibacterial functions, and crafts galore. There is so much information out there: forums, Pinterest, books. Dive in. Solve a problem for your home in a self sufficient way. This is the foundation!

You can follow BethKaya on IG and Twitter: @BethKaya

FACEBOOK: BethKaya Design & Consulting

ETSY: BethKaya Etsy

*

How to store crystals? I have a lot of spiritual items from many cultures, religions, and practices hanging around designated spaces. Many of them made by loving hands. This is a #protection space by the front room everyone gets daily #light and a blast of #energy coming in and out. We #celebrate every #religion and #culture because we believe wholly they are all one. We are all one #spiritual family of #conscious humanity. Tap for artists. #spiritspace #orgone #hamsa #mezuzah #rosary #goddess #crystalball #dreamcatchers

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Instagram filter used: Nashville

View in Instagram ⇒

“Baskets of Happiness” By: Lady Cartelli

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

       Once a month I get a craving like no other. I need it. I have to have it. I can’t shake my hunger until it’s appeased. Xiao long bao (xlb), aka soup dumplings, is a Shanghai phenomenon that puts all other dumplings to shame. I have thought deeply about all types of dumplings. I once dedicated a car ride to brainstorming about all different cultural dumplings (ravioli, empanada, shumai, pierogi, etc.) and tried to engage my husband in such a conversation. His dumpling enthusiasm wasn’t quite at my level, but he can agree that soup dumplings are special. In fact, he lets me drag him to busy parts of Jersey, Chinatown, or even Flushing to satiate my obsession.

       When made correctly, soup dumplings are a culinary experience. Imagine a very thin skinned, steamed dumpling filled with a light pork mixture, as opposed to the dense mystery inside most take-out dumplings. Add to that a savory, decadent soup broth inside of the dumpling, surrounding the filling.

     Typically, restaurants that make xiao long bao will offer two types: pork and crab/pork mix. If you can’t handle fishy then I suggest sticking to the pork, I do.

How do you eat a soup dumpling?

First, try and control yourself when they present you with the basket full of happiness. They’re hot, so give them a minute. While you wait, put some of the vinegar accompaniment in your soup spoon. Use the provided tongs, or chopsticks, to grab the top, twisted part of the dumpling, and place the dumpling onto your spoon. Do this very carefully because if you break the dumpling you lose 90% of the awesome. Carefully nibble a small hole in the top of the dumpling, and sip some of the broth. Be present in this moment because nothing else will matter and troubles will fade away. Some of the broth will leak into your spoon (yay) and some of the broth will fall onto your plate (boo). Let the dumpling breathe for a moment, unhinge your jaw, and eat the best dumpling you’ve ever tasted. It’s blissful.

*Disclaimer, that is how I do it, and nothing about this process could be authentic.

Check out my husband, doing a decent job taking down a dumpling, here:

http://instagram.com/p/k5mgh6inUL

Here are my top 3 spots to eat xlb in the NYC area. Soup dumplings are best when the skin of the dumpling is thin, the meat inside isn’t heavy, and the broth is flavorful. I’ve tried these places out, and they fit the criteria.

  1. Petite Soo Chow, Cliffside Park, NJ
  2. Shanghai Cafe, Mott Street, Chinatown
  3. Nan Xiang Dumpling House, Flushing

In closing, if this post doesn’t make you rush out to try some xiao long bao, then maybe Anthony Bourdain can sway you:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SenvN3SjVbo

*Editors Note: Here are a few places in other neighborhoods outside of the New York area to get xlb. Enjoy!

-Kelly Hecht, Chief Editor

Shanghai Lounge, Georgetown, Washington, DC

Shanghai Taste, Rockville, MD

ROC, Los Angeles, CA

Moon Palace Restaurant, Chicago, IL

Lung Gong Restaurant, Miami, FL

Dumpling Happiness, Austin, TX

Gourmet Dumpling House, Boston, MA