Entries from December 2012

Brand Identity: Vidya Juice Cleanse

December 17, 2012

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When Claire Ragozzino emailed us over at Braid about doing some branding work for her company Vidya. Claire had a vision for selling truffles out of a caravan in India, teaching yoga, sharing her plant-based cooking expertise, and guiding her customers through juice cleanses. Like most creative entrepreneurs, Claire was not lacking in ideas of how she wanted to change the world. But she was kind of all over the place with her offerings and feeling a little bit scattered.

As we took Claire through The Braid Method we found that her core genius and the biggest impact she had for her own dream customers was through her juice cleanse offering. But it’s so much more than that. It’s about Vidya – which in sanskrit means clarity, knowledge, and inner wisdom – and Claire believes that wisdom and wellness begins from within. And so… with that Claire floods each and every cell of your body with her cold pressed, raw juice. But the juice only scratches the surface of the cleansing process. Claire also makes a custom tea blend to help you balance out your dosha and gives you lots of tips and guidance to make the most of your cleanse. Oh… and when you feel like eating some fried falafel you can call her cell phone and she’ll talk you off the ledge.

Once we nailed down Claire’s core genius and business vision we moved forward with her brand story and executing the identity – as seen above. And it’s so perfectly Claire. And of course, since working together, Claire has become a fast friend. She inspires me daily to treat my body with the utmost care and to dig deep for that Vidya. And it always ends in conversations about poop (when you’re cleansing you can’t help but go there) – which is how I know we were meant to be.

If you’re in OKC Claire is offering a detox 101 workshop + 1-day cleanse and restorative yoga class on January 5th and 6th at M+ Yoga. You can find more details on her Facebook page – (you should go “like” her, either way). If you’re not local but have your own juicer you can hire Claire to coach you through your own juice cleanse with custom recipes designed just for you.

Bottom three photos by Greer Inez… who recently went through a cleanse with Claire. You can read her experience here.  

Holiday Gifts for Witch Doctors

December 14, 2012

ToandFromMegBiram

I recently read that you shouldn’t give gifts that you really just want for yourself. Confession: all the gifts ideas I contributed to Meg Biram’s To and From Holiday Gift Guide I want for myself. The theme I chose is “witch doctor” – you know, for all the witch doctors in your life (I happen to have a few in mine). But the truth is I want to be a witch doctor – complete with an herb garden, a mysterious tarot deck, nag champa burning and midnight black nails.

I promise I’m the weirdest contributor to the To and From Holiday Gift Guide. So if black magic isn’t your thing still check it out for rad gift ideas for pretty much every single person in your life. Ever.

Manifest Destiny

December 12, 2012

ChasingTheDream

CloseToHome

I learned about Manifest Destiny in the 9th grade from my history teacher Ms. Bahan. The phrase Manifest Destiny grabbed my imagination and sent me into a fantastic daydream about the pioneer days and you know… manifesting destinies. I was terribly disappointed when I learned that it was an alleged prearrangement, appointed by God, to expand and colonize and enslave and fight and trample over anyone who got in the way. I mean… that’s just some horseshit right there.

But to this day, when I’m on the highway driving through small towns with big fields and huge horizons, peppered with small farmhouses and happy cows I can’t help but whisper “Manifest Destiny” to myself. More recently, while feeling especially inspired by the view from the road, I even said the words out loud. Jeremy replied “I don’t think that means what you think it does.” But the political ideology behind that phrase isn’t nearly as strong as the daydream I had attached to it in that 9th grade history class.

But I do believe the universe gives us the right to manifest our destinies. We get to choose the life we live – the story we tell.

Over the summer I wasn’t feeling super content in my space. I felt weighed down by Oklahoma – the politics and scorching heat were bringing me way down. But lately… there has been a shift in energy. I’m finding my tribe here of artists, writers, photographers, dancers, and soul-seekers. Creatives who are manifesting their destinies and making magic happen right here at home. And instead of looking at my state through a lens of lack I’m seeing it as this place rich with prosperity and abundance – a place to convene, converse, and create.

I recently wrote a somewhat pointed and even sarcastic post* calling for creative entrepreneurs all over the world to stop spending their money and energy working just to pay the bills – to move to OKC and live what you love. But that sentiment has become a reality that I’m taking to heart. Lately, I’m finding myself committed to manifesting my destiny, hunting down beauty, making magic, chasing the dream and finding it all a little closer to home.

*Edit: Sarcastic isn’t the right word. I’m being completely serious about there being some pretty amazing creative energy here in Oklahoma. I suppose I was being sarcastic in that I don’t think many people would trade their amazing, progressive cities on the coasts for Oklahoma. 

Day 15: Climbing Rysy

December 10, 2012

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The evening before we were scheduled to climb Rysy – the tallest mountain in Poland – I contemplated NOT making the hike. Over fried cheese, beer and shots of vodka (this was our typical supper every evening) I thought about my Aunt Lynda who has had two metal knees. I thought about my countless friends who have had knee surgeries only to go on and run marathons.

The next morning I woke up in our lodge that smelled like dirty socks and teenaged boys. I had decided not to hike to the top of Rysy. But I went ahead and strapped on my boots – the same boots that took me to Everest Base Camp and to the top of Kala Patthar. I had a sad breakfast of stale bread and sugary jam followed by a few anti-inflammatories.

I figured I would hike half way up and then turn around. The plan was to summit Rysy from the Slovakia side and trek down the Poland side to our next lodge. But it turns out a boulder was blocking the path down – so we’d have to back track down and take a bus to our next destination. It was my out – and it may have been divine intervention.

But before I knew it I was ascending the trail and scrambling up chains – which was the funnest part of the climb. Then we were at a little hut near the summit. With clear skies and only an hour to the top I decided to go for it. You see – stepping up didn’t seem to bother my knees at all. If only I had known what would be in for me coming down…

We spent a solid 30 minutes at the top of Rysy. We were literally straddling the line between Slovakia and Poland as we snapped shots of our accomplishment. We watched the clouds roll in as we ate our lunch (which for us vegetarians was a pepper) and began to think about heading down. And with each step down I realized that I had made a huge mistake on ever going up.

There was a family from England trekking with us – Alaric, his wife Judith, and their grown daughter, Georgia, who works as a doctor. Alaric and I spent many hours on the path talking politics and entrepreneurship. He loved to be contrary and stir some shit but he was genuine and had a great point-of-view. Georgia and I spent days talking about feminism and universal health care. Judith was a kind mom to Georgia and loving wife to Alaric – but I could tell there was something fierce and strong behind her proper English veneer. During the days we trek and chat – in the evenings we’d share pints of Polish beer. So as I was having a difficult time coming down the mountain Judith let me borrow her hiking sticks to take some weight off my knees – she offered up a tremendous amount of physical relief but the unobliged emotional support she lent me on the way down lifted me up too. At one point I took a step down on my right leg and heard a crunch in the side of my knee. It felt as if an ice pick had been shoved straight through the thick of my joint. And I cried.

I felt helpless, weak, embarrassed, and disappointed.

One careful step at a time, Jeremy, Judith, and I made it back to the lodge about an hour or two after everyone else. From there we walked about another hour (3 miles) along a flat asphalt road to a bus stop for our transfer to our next lodge in Poland. We arrived at Morskie Oko and walked another hour to our cabin. We arrived around 8PM – I took a shower and proceeded to numb my pain and hurt feelings with beers and vodka.

I was chasing this experience I had in Nepal, at the base of Mount Everest, into Eastern Europe. And I couldn’t find it. I couldn’t find my stride. I couldn’t find my breath. I couldn’t find my rhythm. I tried to find the lesson in it all, but I was blinded by pain and couldn’t find the meaning of it all.

That evening Jeremy and I crawled into a twin size bunk together. And as we wrapped our bruised bodies around each other on a tiny mattress on the other side of the world I at least found home.

I have the sky.

December 7, 2012

ShamanJuice

Last week I got really sick. It started as a faint feeling in my throat – as if I had a tortilla chip stuck in my tonsil. I was in denial that it could be anything serious – but that’s how it always begins. The next morning The Sick had spread down my throat and up into my head. From there it creeped into my lungs and every time I coughed I thought my brain might implode on itself. Between work and tight deadlines I tried to get as much rest as possible by watching all of season 1 of Downton Abbey (I’m hooked) and keeping my body as still and as horizontal as possible. For about a week I didn’t do any yoga, lift any weights, ride any bikes, or climb any walls. I took late afternoon naps and squeezed fresh ginger orange juice. But I didn’t feel like I was getting any better.

So I called my client / neighbor turned friend / witch doctor, Claire, for help. She brought me something called “shaman juice”. I was instructed to carefully measure and combine 5 drops of the medicine with 25 drops of fresh lemon juice, wait 10 minutes, dilute with 8 oz. of water and chug. This recipe was given to her by her boyfriend – a yogi who once spent 48 austere days in a cave, in Greece, meditating – only to be followed up with a case of SARS that was cured by this very shaman juice. Once the lemon had activated the contents of the dropper the mixture smelled a bit like bleach. But I was in.

The next day I was feeling a bit more like myself and itching to get moving. That evening, I pried Jeremy away from a 40-page math problem and grad school studies for a walk around the park. I was so happy to be outside. And in that moment of gratitude that the sky turned brilliant shades of pink, yellow, and teal. It was so still out you could hardly tell where your skin ended the the air began. I’ve always thought “content” was the kind of emotion that only boring people liked. But right then and right there I felt more content than I ever have before. It was a taste of pure satisfaction and truth, and just like a powerful drug, I think I’ll always be chasing that high.

LookUpSky

As of late, I’ve found myself a little sad that I don’t have a beach or a mountain range nearby. But I do have the sky. I just need to remember to look up.

iPhone photos via Instagram. You can follow me here. 

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