Renegades of Truth & Liberty

flag

To the world I state: We are a country of truth and liberty, please do not give up or turn away on us over the next four years, for we shall persevere in these times of dissonance as we learn how to collectively come into harmony.

Since Tuesday, it is like a ripple of disbelief has settled in. As an Empath I’ve been feeling over the past day the collective uncertainty and utter disappointment coming from our nation and world. I’ve wanted to hide from it, curl into a ball and float in my lovely dreams instead of facing reality.

What I initially felt once Trump won, was to run. I connected with a friend overseas setting a timeline to move there. I then thought, that’s a defense mechanism; running. Instead, even through the dismay, how about I stay and stand strong in the tenets I believe in; liberty, freedom, choice, tolerance, diversity, unity, compassion and love. Continuing in my service to humanity which includes writing, activism, healing, loving, spreading my individual truth as others to connect to their individual truth. In our individual truths we can connect to the strength of the collective.

Our current reality is one many couldn’t fathom actually being. Yet, it’s quite real. It is in these darker moments of despair and disbelief that the strongest of our suits shall come to surface. Dredging up our collective shadow to uncover the strength of who we are as a nation. Those of us who do not agree, nor understand the separatist, bigoted, racist and chauvinist values represented in Trump, shall not give up hope, nor run away, as easy as it is. Instead we shall stand strong in the truth and liberty that we have fought hundreds of years for as The United States of America.

Let’s watch as we spread stronger, brighter, more brilliantly over these next 4 years.

We are the change we wish to see.

xo,

Nicole

Collective Consciousness

Power of The People

7 Tips for an Empath

The Dead Sea

img_3982

It was as though time pulled me into itself. Standing still in such mud-filled, salt floating wonder I beseechingly asked the question. “Aware of awareness, where does it arise from, how is it we consciously experience this finite existence?

IMG_3960.JPG

The hot dry emptiness and sun’s bright gaze burning away all shadows of doubt. My spirit strengthened as I eclipsed certain parts of myself while wandering. Walking through Masada I questioned how it was such a place was built.

img_3956

Ein Gedi’s waterfalls enlivening what felt to be joyful liberation and tranquility. Finding a hidden spot to relish the freshness of the waterfalls I felt the ease of the environment soak into me. Such exquisiteness.

 

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

I chose Abraham tours for this day of sightseeing. The drive down to the Dead Sea winds with the pressure of going lower and lower and a quiet awe took over everyone on our bus. The dead sea comes into sight it’s cerulean blue amidst the sandy mountain terrain. A place of grandiose beauty filled me with awe struck wonder as the bus went lower. Surreal,  it felt like another world, with caves dotting the mountains that hid many secrets.

img_3957

Sinkholes made the roads impassable at certain points, detouring to new roads that were made. We were duly informed by our fabulous tour guide, that over the past 20 years, due to global warming, the Dead Sea has been drying up 3 meters a year. Spas built 15 years ago are now far away from what once was the shore.

IMG_3980.JPG

My DIATRIBE:

Such a stunning sea while floating in it, the health benefits from the sulphur to salt to mud are numerous. Yet 100 years from now, will it still be here? It put global warming into a very real perspective.

Because it’s drying up, at the beach I was at, plastics and non biodegradeble materials were stuck in the mud. I went around plucking them up and filling the garbage can, to help in the way I could, to preserve the gorgeousness of the sea.

IMG_3983.JPG

My mind started reeling. What is happening to the dead sea reinforced the notion that we are not prioritizing for 100-200 years from now, or our next 7 generations. How is it we have allowed the plundering of our resources to such a damaging effect on our planet?

We are polluting our air, soil and water, due to our reliance on fossil fuels and chemicals with no real solutions being offered. The Dakota pipeline is a prime example of this stupidity, for F’s sake.

What will happen to our resources? How is it they’ve become privatized and corporatized? Our reliance on fossil fuels is the biggest detriment to our environment and future, yet big money still wagers itself in it. How backwards, when there are so many more sustainable and green measures we as a race could and should be taking.

Let alone this topic is hardly mentioned  in our presidential elections. Instead we see petty distractions.

IMG_3967.JPG

Let’s be real. Water is our most precious resource and many clean sources are at stake, the Dakota pipeline is a perfect example of this resource being undermined.

We are in complete discord against nature and principles that apply to all biological functions. It’s common sense, is it not? Take what is needed, recycle what’s left over, don’t leave a fucking disastrous mess for the future.

Thanks for hearing my rant.

xo,

Nicole

Jerusalem

img_3948

“You’re not scared to be in Israel based on what they say in the news about the conflict?” I was asked many times. My answer “No, not at all.” My heart felt at home in Jerusalem, a feeling that felt like a deep surge of ancient wisdom. Knowing is hard to explain. Trusting it even more of a challenge. Explaining it can become nonsensical. This journey became a reclamation.

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset
Old City Walls

Old City:

The roots in Jerusalem go deep, winding throughout history with many ideas originated there still circulating throughout our world. Quite an unbelievable place given it’s the epicenter of Abrahamic religions.

Within the old city walls, there are quarters; Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Armenian. A representation of everyone living and working amongst each other within the ancient walls.

img_3927

I am not religious, but honor the core spiritual tenets religions encompass. I’ve questioned throughout my life what I believe in, which is constantly evolving as I do. Many of the prophets which are at the heart of religions have similar messages: To be a good human.

I felt a release in my heart as I walked by a church singing prayers in Aramaic, such a beautiful sound, it rang like a song. Seeing some of the stations of the cross, feeling the intensity, I was lead to the Western Wall. I didn’t plan to go, it called me to it. Here there were deep prayers happening and some singing, before Shabbat started Friday night.

IMG_3949.JPG

Touching the wall, leaving my note, I prayed for peace and the thought came to me:

What does peace look like? Honoring traditions and still collectively moving beyond mindsets that separate and cause wars for our future generations to have a healthy existence. Including the mindset of greed that perpetuates the corporate stronghold on our planet which is destroying our natural resources.

I felt a reclamation of unity and what has been lost and fought in the name of religions. I know in my heart there is a peaceful way for us all to live in harmony and many things are collectively dismantling so we can see what the solutions will be.

img_4008

I found a spot that had wine and cheese, people were gathered outside at tables. Here I met a group of  Palestinians. While talking I asked them about the conflict, which from a perspective in the west seems extremely tense. I was told “We’re like cousins, we work together, live together, we come here every day from Bethlehem, the sensationalism in your news is not the way it is over here.”  I was invited to go to Bethlehem, next time I visit I most certainly will.

I heard from local Israelis as well a resounding “We all just want to live our lives, hopefully in peace.”

The Holocaust Museum: 

4yadvashem

The building itself is ingeniously designed, leading from one room to another in a zig zagging way. Inside, the videos, pictures and remnants are intense, sad, horrendous yet important to be seen. Honoring the past and victims, so as history never repeats itself in that way.

I saw this quote, which has been circulating recently, bringing tears to my eyes:

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist. 
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

  ~ Martin Niemöller

Perfuniq:

fullsizerender

I had my own custom made perfume at Perfuniq, which my flatmate from my airbnb, whom I’ll call Mariella who is so sweet, warm and hospitable, brought me to. Here I met the owner who makes all the scents and his wife, both incredibly nice. It took about an hour, tailored for me to what I liked and my preferences,  based on my answers. A proper scent-sation. Such a brilliant place, I loooove my perfume, we decided the name is “The Painted Veil”

fullsizerender

Local Jerusalem:

On Saturday to honor Shabbat many places are closed. I went to a local place that was open, meaning not Kosher. I had a delicious dinner and met another American. Our discussion ranging from biology to dark matter, to the quantum enigma and more. Mind blown would be an understatement, my mind was righteously bent after conversing.

Local Jerusalem life felt like home. If you’re ever in Jerusalem I highly recommend staying at Mariella’s place, contact me if so. At this Airbnb, I was invited to eat homemade food with friends and family members of Mariella’s and learned new Israeli recipes which were so scrumptious. Like Israeli salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, olive oil and lemon, so refreshing and tasty. Pita sandwiches with flavorful tahini, pickles and tuna with eggs, veggies and fresh herbs. Pasta that was so fresh tasting, most of the ingredients from the local market with a bit of spiciness that lingered in the garlic sauce.

Sai Baba.

IMG_4030.JPG

From experience, I understood that family is important to Israeli culture. People have migrated there from all over the world. There is a merging of cultures with similar values; cherishing family, community and tradition.

I talked love, relationships, dating, the world, culture, customs and the process of coming into self-love as a woman in our modern age, with Mariella. Even though we live thousands of miles away, our ideas were of a similar nature. Love in a relationship coming from a healthy place, being patient for the right “him’ to come along. Even if not, being happy with self no matter what. When self care is honored, it means caring for others at full capacity. Reciprocity.

I left at the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, with a sendoff of beautiful wishes and a fresh pomegranate. My intentions were to release all the ways I blundered the past year and welcome with an open heart what will enter for the new year.

Toda Raba

xo,

Nicole

I’ll be posting soon about the Dead Sea and Eilat. Much more of what I experienced  will be highlighted in my memoir.

Tel Aviv

img_3716

In getting lost, I tend to find more of myself. It’s beyond wandering, it’s a soul calling. Leaving Morocco on an energized note, I had a fabulous, culture-drenched time in such a unique country. The flight to Tel Aviv, I struck up conversation with the person sitting next to me, he was great and gave me a list of local and touristy things to see and do in Tel Aviv. Taking the train into Tel Aviv from the airport was clean, quick and affordable.

IMG_3856.JPG

I immediately felt an ease being in Tel Aviv. I found my favorite coffee spot, City Cafe which I frequented every morning. Sipping the rich, strong flavor of Israeli coffee one morning, to iced latte the next. The fantastic people there got to know me by name. My vagabond nature grounding in to the habitual aspect of every day living. Sometimes being thousands of miles from home, makes me realize that ultimately home is within.

IMG_3870.JPG

I had many plans of places to go, yet my spirit needed the sea. The beach had a calming strength to it, one that called me to it day after day. It felt warm and nourishing floating and swimming in the softly rolling waves as the salt, sun and air soaked into me. I had lunches at spots on the coast, watching kids learn how to surf and people enjoying their time. Everyone was super nice and loved showing me what they could about the city, and inviting me along with what they were doing.

FullSizeRender.jpg

On my way to the beach I visited Camel Market, wandering through stands offering gifts, jewelry, fresh foods, juices, olives, cheeses, souvenirs and the likes. Each stand having a unique vibe, playing different music that perks the ears up. Stopping at some to buy fresh foods or little trinkets.

img_3684

Value was noticeably placed on fresh, seasonal foods, herbs and spices. The freshness and quality of the food blew my mind. I ate at so many phenomenal restaurants. The flavor profiles were fresh, rich, spicy or sweet, with herbs and spices that left lingering taste sensations. There were so many amazing places I stopped at, to go through them all would take up pages. I’ll highlight a few:

fullsizerender

North Abraxas: Usually you have to make reservations to eat here, luckily there was one spot at the bar in which I shared conversation and appetizers with those around me. The ambience was perfect, the fish so succulent and moist, freshly caught in a tomato sauce with melted cheese and veggies and scrumptiously spicy. Dipping oven baked bread into the sauce, it was so delicious I couldn’t get enough. I relinquished my normal eating habits of gluten and dairy free while traveling, it was so worthwhile.

IMG_3746.JPG

Supra: I decided to walk Rothschild Blvd and picked a spot that suited my fancy. I walked by Supra, then came back to it. Walking in it was quiet, I sat at the bar chatting with the awesome staff who were setting up for a party. Within an hour of eating a Georgian dish with meat and rice and blends of spices, the place was packed and there were dancers who took over the place.  Inviting me to dance up on the bar, which was AMAZING and way out of my norm.They thought I was professional contemporary dancer and kept inviting me to dance with them, for everyone. What a compliment and so fun!

IMG_3893.JPG

Emilia Romagna: I was strolling by on my way back from the beach and heard music playing, which was a burst of new tracks that were house,  soft bass, disco-ey middle eastern sounding. Ears piqued, I had to stop in. Here I ended up watching the chefs work their magic with chopping, mixing, cooking, breads and mediterranean freshness. I had a salad like a Caprese but with a ball of Buratta cheese, fresh tomatoes, basil and sweet yet tangy Balsamic vinaigrette and oils. Mmmmm.

img_3847

The old city,  Jaffa Port, is 4,000 years old. Walking around, soaking in the ancient grounds, feeling the depths of something deep within remembered. How long humans have created ways to connect to other parts of the world, by sea and ground, importing and exporting, to bring gems of different lands. It’s a gorgeous sight on the sea, from the old city to new city.

img_3786

IMG_3838.jpg

I felt such a beachy yet edgy ease in Tel Aviv, so much culture and Hebrew sounded melodious and grounded. If I were to compare to America, I found it to be a blend of NYC, Miami and San Francisco totally Israeli style. Most people spoke English making it easy to get around. The music, wow, the music. Everywhere I went, it was so diverse and dynamic sounding, I was told it’s the music capital of the middle east.

IMG_3714.JPG

Trusting my instincts meant understanding which step to take next through listening to my heart, mind and soul, when they’re in complete alignment it is like a song, or flow. One that has a different hum and tune wherever I am.

FullSizeRender.jpg

My mind whispered “move, go, stop, talk, play, eat, relax, process, take in the sun, or shade. Do what it is your heart is called to as you venture lands unknown yet familiar, for your inner compass always knows where to go, following it will lead you to your calling.”

 

xo,

Nicole

 

I’ll be back with more of my travels through Israel…

 

 

Morocco

img_3406

When traveling, especially alone, I try to let go of expectations to understand where it is I am. This creates the mystery of adventure and the unexpected. Planning as little as possible except for where to go, I like to live in the spontaneity of what presents itself as opportunity.

TANGIER

IMG_3458.jpg

Even though more liberal and women have more rights than conservative muslim countries, I made sure to have my shoulders covered and wear trousers. As soon as I landed, unsure of where to go I found the people were very nice and helpful and customs was easier than many countries I’ve traveled to. It just so happened that I arrived in Morocco during their holiday, Eid al-Adha. Which I’m told is like Thanksgiving and they slaughter rams to commemorate. Most stores and restaurants are closed for 3-5 days.  My taxi driver proceeded to tell me how it is a celebration. Gratitude. Life.

C’est la vie.

IMG_3429.jpg

I had a taxi tour guide take me out to the Hercules cave the following day, he was very nice and I highly recommend him if you’re in Tangier for an honest tour.  The scenic drive winded around the way, stopping at Cap Spartel and seeing where the Atlantic and Mediterraanean oceans meet, across the way is Gibraltar, Spain. The medina in Tangier along the coast is a spectacular spot inside the medina walls, the Casbah is a well known artists spot with winding narrow streets painted in different colors on the coast.

IMG_3474.jpg

 

Fez

 

IMG_3506.jpg

I took the train from Tangier to Fez which was easy to navigate and went through the beautiful countryside with olive trees and melon farms along the way. I stayed in a restored Riad, which means palace, that was built in the 1300’s in the medina. Fez is one of the largest pedestrian only old cities in the world. I had a tour guide assigned the following day who was incredible and if you’re in Fez I highly recommend him, his name is Med.

14322251_10207093840886050_2759783996661736307_n

I was taken around the outside of the city to see the wall, and structures and views of the medina, along with another of the King’s palace, museums, parks and Jewish quarter. The mosaic work and architecture are astonishing throughout the city. Everything seemed to be moving and bustling, busy and active once the holiday passed. Loving the handmade ceramics and rugs in the markets, one of a kind pieces can be found.

IMG_3594.jpg

Another of the tour guides assigned to me then took me to a local home.  I was given a taste of the celebration of the holiday, eating amazing Tagine with a family of 4, a husband, wife their child and friend and I, completely Moroccan style. Such a cool experience!  I fully stuffed myself with the richness of the flavors, saffron and herbs and oil in which the meat has been cooked in for hours and falls right off the bone, with french fries on top. It is a sensory and tactile experience, eating with the hands, using chunks of bread to pick up the dish with. Relishing the moment.

IMG_3620.jpg

Marrakech 

I took a night bus from Fez to Marrakech, arriving at 4am. Even though the girl sitting next to me didn’t speak english, she shared with me her sandwich and help with where to go. Arabic and French are the main languages of Morocco many also speak Spanish, Berber and English. Navigating was easy through the country, especially when I would ask for help.

IMG_3637.jpg

I stayed at Riad Palais des Princesses. The inside had gorgeous detail of Moroccan mosaic and colors and felt luxurious in the comfort of the room there. The people were exceptionally helpful and friendly and the breakfast delicious choices from cheeses to crepes and yogurt to fresh figs and juicy apricots. I had a Hamman and massage while there which was so luxurious and relaxing. The medina in Marrakech square was easy to get to and navigate around. I become a flaneuse while traveling, perusing the markets and strolling the sights.

IMG_3646.jpg

The way people would come together whenever I would ask a question to help me figure it out, was the epitome of what I feel Moroccan community is. People really work together to help.

Advice: As a solo female traveler, it’s important to know boundaries. My advice is to be aware and smart when out in the medina or anywhere. It takes firmness to walk away and say no thank you.

With a blend of African, European and Arabic cultures which make up Morocco, I found it to be a fantastic, exotic experience. I’m so happy it was part of my grand adventure, I would definitely suggest going there.

I’ll be back with my adventures in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem…..

 

xo,

Nicole

 

 

Spain

fullsizerender

I left London with a bit of nostalgia, the people of the city were so kind and friendly with their charming English way. Yet I would not let feelings of comfort get in the way of my grand adventure. Onwards to Spain.

I was presented with some difficulties arriving at the airport, flying with Ryan Air. I knew I had to pay for my extra baggage, which I was fully prepared to do. Yet I was charged over 200 euros for both flights for not checking in online and my baggage, twice. I let Ryan Air know that was outrageous and thankfully they reimbursed me for half of it.

IMG_3672.JPG

I arrived to Barcelona on the extremely affordable Aerobus that goes from airport and back for 5-8 euros. I was dropped off near the Gothic center where I was staying. It was warm and sunny with bustling activity in the square with fountains and throngs of people moving every which way. Walking through the small streets in the Gothic area I felt transported into medieval times with the winding, narrow streets with no cars felt like a maze of antiquity. I loved the location of my airbnb, right in the heart of Gothic center.  Sleeping like a baby the first night, I ventured out the following morning.

img_3384

My first stop was La Familia Sagrada, one of the reasons I chose Barcelona as a destination point, being a lover of Antoni Gaudi’s style of modernista and his ingenuis designs. I found the trains in Barcelona relatively easy to use, the people in Spain were nice and warm once they warmed up, and the Spanish there sounds different to the ear then what I’m used to, I found more ease with situations when speaking Spanish, which I know a bit of. Stepping out of the train stop Familia Sagrada meets you and is beyond mammoth and quite astonishing in large towers with carved, intricacy in the facade. I opted for the inside tour, which was mesmerizing with geometrical colors, fractal lights, carvings and intricate braids in the detail. It almost felt like a magical palace in some fantasy land. Quite unreal.

IMG_3270.JPG

I went to Guell park, on my way there was charging my phone in a cafe and met sisters from Algeria. We sat talking about our travels while our phones charged. One of the many reasons I love traveling, to meet people from all over the world who have their brilliant stories to share. Quell park had more of Gaudi’s colorful architecture. I walked around to take in nature and the quirky, unique structures.

IMG_3192.JPG

I decided to test myself that evening and made it a commitment to let go of my quick, expectant, insta-have it and went to dinner at a beautiful place that had an outside terrace, phone-less. In this gorgeous upper area I sat, looking around, feeling a bit awkward at first, I relaxed and took in the whole of the environment, seeing how much everyone was enjoying company and the setting. Myself included. The table sitting next to me and I started up a conversation, two couples visiting from Germany.  They were so gregarious, social and fun. We kept great company for the remainder of the evening. The food was exceptionally fresh seafood that tasted like it was caught that day, our server was sensational. Like in London a hot topic, apparently, international politics were brought up. It was quite fascinating to again hear the resounding opinions, people are afraid what will happen to the world if such an unstable person, like T—-, were President.

img_3289

To the beach I must go, I thought to myself, one outside of Barcelona city. There was a train that went to areas along the sea to Sitges, that took about 30 minutes. This became the first time I had actually missed a stop on the train, I realized after a lady came by asking where I was going. It wasn’t just me, there were two girls from South Korea who also missed the stop. We grouped together determined to get to Sitges and hopped on a train going back that way. We AGAIN missed the stop and ended back up in Barcelona, realizing the first train we took didn’t actually stop in Sitges! Quite the back and forth yet once there it was more than worth it.

IMG_3328.JPG

IMG_3309.JPG

Sitges was like out of a mediterranean dream, walking through the Catalonian streets to find the beach, I was taken aback by the beauty along the sea, with the softly rolling waves and sun and restaurants, shops and homes up on the hills. A friend had mentioned to stop in Garaff on my way back. Which I’m so pleased I did. It had smaller beaches with less establishments, just as beautiful with cliffs and little cottages. I stopped at another Gaudi structure called Gaudi Garraf which I walked up and through, this was more like a small castle with interesting structures and design.

IMG_3345.JPG

IMG_3347.JPG

I walked through the city that evening, in appreciation, for life, for living, for now, and everything bringing me to it. I had released stress I didn’t realize I was carrying until it dissolved. The stress of doing my best to make my life work, so I am my best for self, life and others. I relaxed into the feeling of contentment with exactly how life is, right now, instead of how I’d like it to be different, or in some future reality. For what is meant to, will be. As someone recently said “Work smarter, not harder”

 

I’ll be back with my adventures in Morocco….

xo,

Nicole

London

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

Thank God I’m able to make this trip. I thought to myself on the plane from Montreal to London. I sacrifice many things in life to be able to travel and have for many years, yet I wouldn’t have it any different. A somewhat transient, Bohemian lifestyle, harldly planting roots til’ now. In my mind this trip was not compromise-able, well, almost not.

I’ve heard from several people in my life that I tend to be impulsively foolish, I like to think of it as intuitively living by listening to my heart. Of course, this way can sometimes lead me places unexplored, uncomfortable and I may feel underestimated, yet, I grow. I expand. I become who I am, constantly integrating everything I’m experiencing and learning. Which is why I travel. By experiencing other cultures, other lands and other ways of being, my mind expands and I become better at being me.

img_3021

I arrived in London and immediately felt I understood the lay of the land, in rapt fascination with the architecture and detail of the older gothic structures. The English accent sounds like musical notes to the ear, I was quite entranced by it and hearing the ease with which it was spoken, I took on a few words immediately. Loo. Trousers. Pint. The tube.

About half of my trip was reuniting with people I know. Which feels so yummy for my heart and soul, to be able to travel internationally and meet with people I have treasured bonds with. Amazing, I think to myself.

I visited with a family that I know from America and had such a cozy, connecting, reuniting time. Playing with a superbly special little one, while chatting and catching up with the family and having delicious, fun meal times.

Reminding me what an impact connections leave on a life, like an imprint,  leaving me feeling blessed to have the experiences. A reason, a season or a lifetime? I have found many connections in my life I don’t need to speak to all the time, yet they remain as close as ever and when reunited the bond is what is remembered.

 

IMG_2852.JPG

I was staying close to all the tube lines in an area of London. Yet now that I know the city more, I think I’d choose to stay elsewhere. The Underground, ahhh how easy it is to navigate in London, while I LOVE to walk as much as I can, I also like to understand the train systems and I bought myself an Oyster card for the week I was in London, I had so much use out of it.

IMG_2856.JPG

My screen was cracked on my I phone, which gave me the perfect excuse to go to the three story store in Covent gardens, where apparently used to be where farmers would sell their produce. I walked for a bit since it was too early for Apple to open and found Trafalgar square and the Mason museum which piques my interest of secret societies and such. I walked around and was given information about the different sects and clothing and symbols, which I find fascinating.

IMG_2882.JPG

While waiting for my phone I flaneused about, mingling with the crowds gathered around, watching street performers defy what seemed the laws of gravity. Finding myself wandering into the stores, sampling products, perfumes, delectables and falling in love with the bustle of the area. By being phone-less I immersed myself in the sensory outputs happening around me.

I had to sign up for hot yoga classes and went to quite an obscure location yet loved the classes and heat and instructions, buying a pass for $30 I was able to use it 4 times. It was such a relief for my body, mind and spirit knowing all the traveling I was about to undertake.

IMG_2849.JPG

I went to Spitalfields Market, which I had heard was fun to walk around and barter in. Located in the more hip area of East London I was there more so for the experience that crossed section many streets. The sellers weren’t as aggressive as many markets I’ve been to in the world, which felt a bit more relaxed, instead of pressured.

From there I walked to the London Bridge to see a view of the famous Tower Bridge. Again reuniting with a friend we had a bite to eat in a pizzeria and walked around the South Bank, aged with preserved antiquity. We passed by what used to be an old prison. Places like that and more are so enchanting especially when so well preserved as we found to be along the Thames.

fullsizerender-2

Echoes rise up to meet us in the now, a time long past where women were in dresses and petticoats and men in their formal wear watching shows put on and meandering around as we were. A spellbinding sight along the Thames while moving through the crowds of people, the cargo ships lazily move. Across the way are buildings that are the epitome of English architecture, which I won’t pretend to know that much about, only that it’s quite unbelievable in scope of detail and design. In a spellbiding way England perfectly captures the old amidst the new, and I am quite in love with its style.

img_3003

 

Taking the bus to Chelsea, I was able to see more of the city and areas surrounding it. I stopped at Trafalgar, a pub, and tried light and flaky fish and chips and lots of malt vinegar and ketchup, and a beer. I find it important to try local staples wherever I’m at, it was so tasty and an added treat to my day of wandering.

I visited with a friend I hadn’t seen in years at a restaurant a friend of ours had opened. In a hip, quite cool area, walking around before arriving I found it fashion forward and fun. The food at Smokey Tails was so scrumptious, the ambience amazing, sitting outside with a view of the square and I had such a fabulous time meeting up with my dear friend. Amazingly I remember when the restaurant was in the beginning stages, to see it busy and taste how amazing the food is brought me joy.

14225559_10207011550028830_4748737444832477341_n.jpg

I went to Oxford St. to visit Liberty. On my way there I stopped in a pub to sit outside it for a bit, have a glass of process and watch all the people walk by while checking my phone since I could only do so while on wi fi.  This turned into me meeting several people, sitting at the nearby tables on this gorgeous, perfect sunny day. Which sparked the topic of interest: American and international politics and the opinions of many people around us, which seemed to be of a similar accord. If a certain politician is chosen, obviously since it’s a he, it’s given, internationally he doesn’t seem to be favored. Rather people fear what will happen with how he is. In the UK to run for Prime Minister, who is kept in check by the Queen, he/she must have had time in the political system of England prior to becoming PM.

One of the gentleman I was speaking with used to be a part of Parliament and he met many well known politicians throughout his time in it. I did research to confirm he was who he said he was,  I’ll call him Pablo. I learned a lot about British politics with of course, the witty British humour. Capturing a story, I tried to be as unbiased as possible during this incredible show of political intelligence. Pablo was speaking about how he would give talks at American and British Universities on several subjects involving politics and defense.

He then said, verbatim. “America could be the best nation in the world. It could be the ultimate force for good. But it needs to understand that it’s political system is damaged and outdated, until it does become a force for international good and relations it is potentially a threat, not a benefit to the order of the world.” He the went on to quote Winston Churchill “American will always do the right thing- After exhausting all the alternatives”

IMG_3069-2.jpg

I was asked to then to “pretend” that I worked for the American Embassy, while his girlfriend was there. I played along because I love to get stories and sometimes create my own, imaginative tales. Not quite deceptive, more like what an actress or a journalist would do. How perfect it was getting international opinions of many people from the UK, especially amidst the turmoil right now, in America and internationally, regarding politics, including Brexit.

I left the group of them feeling intellectually stimulated, pondering many systems, to gain understanding. I then meandered into Liberty. What a perfect coincidence given I love words, etymology and contrived or not so contrived meaning. Liber is Latin origin for freedom.

FullSizeRender.jpg

 

My last night in London I met again with my dear friend Maria at the top of the Shard at Shang Ri La. Beautiful and opulent, the view was out of this world. We had such a blast, chatting, talking all the girly things over a bottle of wine and hor d’oeuvres, it was the perfect sendoff to Barcelona. Below was the view from above.

IMG_3083.jpg

 

l’ll be back with the next leg of this adventure in Barcelona.

 

xo,

Nicole

 

For more pictures please check out my Instagram account as it’s been quite difficult downloading them from phone to computer in a foreign country for some reason

14 Amazing Apple Cider Vinegar Uses

apple_cider_vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar, also known as ACV has varying uses for health, beauty and green living. Found in many kitchens, it is an ancient healing modality, dating back thousands of years. ACV is made from fermented apples which contain powerful acids that give it a pungent odor and sour taste. If you can get beyond the initial nose- scrunching feeling it gives, the benefits are extraordinary. When purchasing it’s important that it is organic which unpasteurized still has “The Mother” what looks like webs or gunk at the bottom.

Since I have a tendency to Bragg about all the uses, without detail, in past posts. Here are some detailed ways it can be used.

 1. ANTIOXIDANT: After the sugars have fermented into vinegar, the antioxidant benefits are numerous. Some include catechin, gallic acid, caffeic and chlorogenic acids. Amongst many benefits, antioxidants assist the immune system and neutralize free radicals.

2. SINUSES: The vitamins, minerals and acids contained in ACV help balance the body’s PH level. The natural anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties help the immune system fight off sinus infections and thin the mucus. Mixed with a dash of cayenne for more sinus support.

3. ENERGY: The minerals, enzymes, acids and amino acids in ACV can promote more balanced and higher levels of energy. ACV also helps to decrease fatigue and foggy-headedness.

4. SKIN: Using ACV on the skin as a facial toner or cleanser can balance the skin’s PH levels over time leaving skin glowing. It can also help fade bruises and ease burns.

5. DIABETES: ACV promotes healthy blood sugar levels and is anti-glycemic, which is beneficial for anyone with diabetes or blood sugar issues.

7. CLEANER: Mixed as a ratio with water 1:1, you can also add essential oils to this mixture. It has anti-microbial properties that kill pathogens and bacteria, studies have shown it to be as effective as bleach.

8. DIGESTION: Lack of digestive acids in the stomach leads to heartburn, taking a tablespoon of ACV in water improves the stomach acid, easing indigestion. It can also help the body break food down during the digestive process if taken before or after eating, due to the enzymes.

9. NATURAL ANTIBIOTIC: The acid, mineral and vitamin content of ACV make it a highly effective anti-viral, antibacterial and anti-fungal when taken internally. It also has probiotics and magnesium to balance the system when combating an infection.

10. PETS: ACV helps to repel fleas from animals. You can mix a similar ratio of 1:1 as the cleaner, even adding in a few drops of oils like tea tree or clove and rub on your pet’s fur to get the little buggers off. 1x a day for a month. Diatomaceous earth, which I’ll address in another post is touted for pets too.

12. FOOD: ACV is super yummy in dressings, salads, sauces, soups, veggies, pastas and more. It can add the perfect touch to many dishes. It also improves the nutrient absorption of food, vitamins and minerals.

13: WEIGHT LOSS:  Taking a tablespoon a day in water can help with weight management.  “Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry journal published a study finding that drinking it for just three months caused significant declines in body weight, abdominal fat, waist circumference, and triglycerides.”

14. DETOXING: ACV assists not only the metabolic process but also the liver, lymphatic drainage and cardiovascular systems. It also naturally balances the PH and kills candida, the root to many health issues.

search

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

These 14 that I’ve listed are of a hundred or so benefits of ACV. Which is why it is a staple in my life, for prevention and the all around amazing-ness it gives. Here are some ways to take it if you can’t stomach it alone.

2 TBLSPNS in 8 oz purified water with 1tspn blackstrap molasses or raw honey before a meal or anytime you need some energy. For more healing benefits adding cayenne is like super-charged ACV. For colds warm water, ACV and honey help immensely. If you’d like more advice, food and dressing recipes or ways to use it, please contact me directly.

xo,

Nicole

 

Related  articles:

 

10 Best Natural Antibiotics

1 TBSN ACV Eliminate Health Problems

Vitamins, minerals and remedies

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rebel With a Cause

FullSizeRender (1)

And I heard “Play safe, play by the rules. ” To which my soul whispered “Rules are meant to be bent. Therefore, I shall envision them as I see fit.”

I will play real.

I will play free.

I will play bold.

I will play smart.

I will play love.

I will play adventurous.

I will play light.

I will play wHealthy.

I will play fun.

I will play capacious expression.

I will play being human.

I will play comPassion.

I will play life, as it is lead.

I will play one hundred and eleven percent.

I will listen to my heart to understand what my soul’s calling is, as I unravel self through this multifarious existence.

For this is the game that I wish to play as my essence and path are elucidated.

My truth and rules reside within as I am a self sovereign being.

xo,

Nicole

10 Popular Essential Oils and Benefits

essential-oil-16

Essential oils are amazing remedies, not only for health but also well-being. With a myriad of effects on the olfactory glands. Our scent glands are closely tied to our limbic system, which correlates to our instincts, moods and emotions. The glands access the amygdala and hippocampus; emotions and learning. This is the reason we tie emotions, memories and events to scents.

The use of essential oils dates, give or take, 5,000 years. Ancient. Below are some very popular oils and their benefits. I can say from personal use they are amazingly beneficial. I will highlight snippets of some benefits below.

1. LEMON OIL:  Lemon oil is made directly from the peel of lemons. It is a well-known disinfectant, killing the pathogens E.Coli and Salmonella when used on surfaces. It improves the metabolic process, aiding in weight loss and alkalinity: 1-2 drops added to water. Contains d-limonene, a cancer fighting antioxidant. Raises dopamine levels to improve mood, especially when diffusing in air. Nourishes the skin.

2. LAVENDAR OIL: I put a drop on the bottom if my feet every night. Promotes restful sleep, helps insomnia. Benefits nervous system through relaxation. Eases headaches, depression and stress. Stimulates blood circulation. Respiratory and sinus benefits. Hair care and hair growth. Cognitive function boost. Pain relief including muscle aches. Defends body against certain fevers. Helps restore hormonal balance.

3. ROSEMARY OIL:  A well-known herb, that is so flavorful and beneficial. Stimulates hair growth, add a few drops to shampoo. Relieves respiratory problems, especially when used with Eucalyptus oil. Helps indigestion. Detoxifies liver. Stimulates circulation. Increases concentration, memory and cognitive function. Studies have shown it can slow the onset of Alzheimer’s. Stress relief. Immune system boost. Put a drop on each temple.

4. FRANKINCENSE OIL: Sap from the Boswellia Tree. Promotes healthy cell regeneration. Useful for skin health, treats dry skin. Anti-aging. Strengthens gums and roots. Promotes mental peace and relaxation and stress relief. Helps digestion. Purifies the air. Speeds up the healing of cuts and wounds. Assists with symptoms associated with menstrual syndrome.

5. PEPPERMINT OIL: Peppermint is commonly associate with freshness and enlivening. Helps with indigestion, nausea and morning sickness. Headache relief. Joint therapy. ADHD support. Sunburn relief when added into a carrier like aloe or coconut oil. Natural energy boost. Promotes oral and skin health.

herbshanging-980px-1

6. SANDALWOOD OIL: A grounding scent that improves mental cognition and clarity. Boosts memory, especially when stressed. Promotes relaxation. Mild astringent and emollient when used in skin care. Natural aphrodisiac boosting libido, especially in men. Anti-inflammatory. Expectorant.

7. GERANIUM OIL: Sweetly smelling from the Geranium flower. Boosts immune system. Speeds up healing process of wounds and is a Hemostatic which speeds up coagulation. Helps heal scars and fades the skin. Promotes distribution of metabolism. Helps with Dementia and Alzheimer’s. Helps with depression, anxiety and anger issues.

8. ROSE OIL: A personal favorite although good quality can be pricey. Anti-depressant and anti-anxiety. Promotes feelings of joy, love and well-being. Reduces fever and inflammation. Treats wounds when used in lotion or oil. Anti-spasmodic with the respiratory system, limbs and digestive tract.

9. TEA TREE (MALELEAUCA) OIL: It comes from Australia. Along with Frankincense is anti-cancer. Antiseptic, anti-inflammatory. Helps infections and cuts. Oral health. deodorant. Kills mold. Anti-parasitic. Anti-fungal. Helps with eczema and Psoriasis. Treats acne. Use as a cleaner when adding 10-20 drops in water in a spray bottle.

10. EUCALYPTUS: An invigorating scent. The benefits are similar to all the oils I’ve included. Helps with cold and flu. Nourishes hair. Helps heal respiratory functions, including colds, sore throat and bronchitis. Mental stimulant, alleviating stress. Increases blood flow to the brain. Controls blood sugar when 1-2 drops ingested in water.

images

The benefits I’ve mentioned includes diffusing, oil burners,  adding 1-2  into water or oil carriers like Coconut oil or using directly on skin. Some of the oils are not suitable for ingesting in water, including tea tree oil. I have found the oils I use to be suitable for using directly on skin, be careful with not getting into the eyes. I use therapeutic oils that are sourced, cultivated and pure. There are many types of brands and oils out there and can be found at any health food store. Try using some for now and see how you feel. If you’d like to order high-grade, therapeutic oils please contact me directly.

Use at your own risk, for more disclaimer please refer to bottom of About The Journey page.

xo,

Nicole

Young Living

DoTerra