Garden Herb Kale Chips

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There was a sweet little savory herb garden right out the front door of Sunflower house when we moved in. Rosemary, thyme, mint, oregano, and parsley. All just a few steps away from the kitchen. Yesterday, inspired by this little peace of heaven, I made some kale chips. They were so good. Today, when I went to take a picture of them, feeling all sorry for myself about my good life, this little rosemary Deva showed herself to me.  We did a little dance, had a little chat, and it all washed away. Nature's awesome like that. Always reminding me to lean in close, and offering me a chance to believe in something else.  "Just stop and taste the savory," whispered the divine little purple queen. Well, yes ma'am, I think I will.

Besos, Latisha

rosemary queen.

Garlic Alfredo Garden Herb Kale Chips Soak 2 cups cashews overnight. Blend in high speed blender with 1 cup nutritional yeast, 1/2 c walnuts, juice of 1 lemon, 1.5 cups water, 5-6 sprigs fresh thyme (leaves removed from stem), 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (leaves removed from stem) 2-3 tsp salt, 1 tsp garlic powder.

Tear kale leaves from stem, massage sauce onto chips. Dehydrate until crunchy. Eat the garden. Taste the Savory. Permission granted, no dues required.

Save the Peels! {Citrus Extract}

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I am sharing some citrus love with you. Here's an easy favorite citrus HerbCraft that's sure to delight your senses and get you rolling right into spring.

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Citrus Peel Extract -- the Short Version Supplies: Brandy, citrus peel of choice, mason jar, cheesecloth, decorative bottles Method: Remove as much inner pith from peel as you can. Don't go nuts with it, just most of it will do. Chop peels into small bits. Fill mason jar 1/2 full with peel, add brandy to the top and stir up to ensure it is fully covered. Sit in dark place for as long as you can stand it 2 weeks at least. Strain and use when ready.

I've made this extract, which isn't really an extract actually but it's not exactly a tincture either so we'll just go with it for now, many many ways. So you know I think herbcraft is all about experimentation, and you can't ever really go wrong. But, I'll tell you a few of the things I learned while I was busy in my lab tinkering and you can choose where you'd like to start.

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The Booze Brandy makes a great choice because the sweetness seems to balance out the bitter really well, but it doesn't pull out the essential oils quite as much so the flavor tends to be more mild and much more is needed. Vodka is a better choice if you are wanting a stronger peel flavor, but always gives it that medicinal bite. You could always add maybe 1/4 parts honey to the extract to take the edge off a bit. Rum is actually my liquid of choice for making the most superb extract. Bacardi 151, in fact, has made the most delicious of them all. It seems to have the perfect balance of extraction power and sweetness. And unscientifically, the higher proof probably pulls out more of the goodness from the peels.

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The Peels Literally any citrus will do. Here's a breakdown of what I've tried. Lemon is brilliant, the meyers are the best. Light, sweet, and a bit floral actually. Navels are good for a strong bitter  and big orange flavor. Grapefruits are wildly bitter but the extract makes a great addition to herbal bitters, summer cocktails and waters. Mandarins are by far my favorite. The perfect blend of sweet and bitter. Mandarin in 151 is the drug of choice for us.

The Method You can simply chop fresh and add booze. Really. I promise. But you can also: Dry, then powder in a blender and add booze. This way is harder to strain but the flavor is way different than fresh. You can add equal parts honey before or after straining to turn it into an elixir. You can also, of course, use vinegar for a wicked awesome salad dressing and summer tonic. Generally for good medicine one moon cycle is plenty. But to get a bigger flavor from the oils, the longer the better it seems for these.

How to Use your Citrus Extract You can use it in baking as you would the store bought versions. We like it drizzled over yogurt with a bit of honey. In sparkling water, especially with some chopped basil. To brighten up your tea. A must have for your herbal digestive bitters. ....you get the idea.

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Love and Besos, Latisha

Spice Stuffed Snowfolks

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Make some herb'n snowfolks! We got out the jars of our favorite holiday spices, some old socks and rubberbands, and made a giant mess. Easy enough for a two and four year old with just a wee bit of help from mama, this craft could take 15 minutes or a few hours depending on enthusiasm. We hope you enjoy and would love to see yours if you try em out.

First gather your snowfolk supplies. For the bodies you'll need white tube socks or tights, dried beans or rice or some other  sturdy filler, rubber bands, and herbs and spices.

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For the hats you'll need, paint, something to paint with and a small square of fabric.

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Next create your spice blend and set aside. We mixed and mashed ours up in a mortar and pestle, but you can just mix em in a bowl or a spice grinder if you like.

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Next roll up your sock to the toe and fill the beans.

fill the beans

Then add your spices.

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Next close bottom "snowball" with a rubber band.

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Repeat above steps two more times.

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Cut extra sock material, but leave enough to make the top part of the top hat.

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Now decorate your snowfolks. We used orange peels, star anise, cinnamon sticks, cardamom, allspice, juniper berries and black pepper corns, but use whatever you have on hand. Or if you're two and your getting molars, have a munch on a cinnamon stick. We've had quite the adventure with teething pain, but this remains one of our favorite ways to soothe. Note to the Mamas: while I've used this pain relieving remedy with both my kiddos with no problems, cinnamon sticks can break into chokable bits, so do keep an eye on them. We try to only keep the largest heartiest ones for sucking. And the cinnamon can dry out and burn the lips some, but you have a good salve in your apothecary anyway for that right? ;)

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Finally the hats. I'm not so creative in this department, so you might have a better option like maybe making hats from paper or fabric, but we ended up using a circle of fabric and some paint. We cut a circle in the fabric and thread it through the sock extras then just used black paint (we had acrylic, but im sure craft paint will do) to paint it together.

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The mess is mighty with the littles, but oh so very much fun, it kept them distracted for hours. And I'm sure there's some sensory/tactile edumacation something or other going on too. The smell is lovely if they sit on a shelf. But of course my girls have been playing with them all day so our house smells extra delicious. Sevilla promptly informed me we need to make another since we are four in our family. Perhaps, another day.....

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Savory Quinoa Breakfast

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 Savory Quinoa and Greens Breakfast Cereal

Prepare quinoa. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 cup quinoa. Reduce to simmer. Cover, let stand 11 minutes. When finished fluff quinoa with fork and remove from heat.

Prepare greens Saute 1/2 an onion in a bit of oil or butter until translucent, maybe 7 minutes or so. Chop three kale leaves, removing the ribs, and stir fry 3-4 minutes until vibrant green and a bit soft. Add a splash of water or broth if the veggies seem to stick to the pan. Remove from heat when finished.

Prepare eggs (for my vegan lovebugs, the cereal is quite amazing without the eggs as well) Fill small pan with water. Bring to boil. Add 4 eggs with a spoon, carefully. Boil, uncovered 6 minutes. Remove from pan with spoon and rinse under cold water. Peel.

Prepare Dish Delish Stir greens into quinoa. Add a splash of herbal vinegar or lemon juice, and a double splash of aminos, like Bragg's. Stir in a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and a bit of nutritional yeast. Fill an oatmeal bowl 2/3 full with quinoa greens mixture and add two soft boiled eggs. Mix and mush all with a fork. Add salt to taste. Enjoy.

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Nourishment of this kind seems so much deeper than noting the amount of protein and vitamins in the kale. It goes beyond recent arguments and 'scientific' studies about the nutrient content of organic foods. No. This kind of nourishment feeds us not simply at a cellular level but a soulular level. With every bite, I inhale the freshness of sea air, hear the waves crashing against the dark rocks, exhale as my fears and worries soar on with the silent morning seagull. It's a multi-sensory imprint of an entire experience that deeply fed me. One, that I can relive as soon as any one of those same sensory memories are triggered. The mind doesn't know the difference between real and imagined. So even among the chaos of a morning with two hungry tots arguing over the bowl with the bunnies on it, kettle whistles blowing and butts needing wiped, the moment the first bite hits my tongue, and that taste memory connects to my heart, I am back at Big Sur hearing the waves crash, watching the seagulls soar and a new kind of meditation emerges. The StoryFood Meditation.

This is one of those recipes that my daughters will receive. One that I hope will stay in our family for generations. As well as the story that created it for us. About how mama was brave enough to fill her baskets and relish in a week of self-care. About how important that choice is. About the connections made, and how so many things grew out of it. I crave this connection again to our healing experience. I miss the time of storyfood. You know, Aunt Susan's perfect pie crust, and that amazing soup you made the fall when all the pumpkins went bad. Where what we feed ourselves is more than the nutritional value of its components. It's a connection to an experience, a lifestyle, a story, that doesn't leave us empty and have us running to the cabinet to fill up on nothing. But instead, it's a memory, awakened by our sensory experiences creating a connection to our past by leaving gifts to our future.

Tea for the voracious Creatrix

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driving me, pushing boundaries, making me feel a bit uneasy, exploring all my opinions about the extent of my growth and surprise that awaits as the fully expressed vision. It all feels very similar to the emotions surrounding the first months of pregnancy. With all the swirl of new possibility and the ferver of creation, I think it's so easy for us to forget to nourish ourselves deeply in these moments. And clarity is much easier to find when I'm feeling fully fed. So the Mama Tea actually helps quite nicely offering good foodstuffs along with calming, nurturing gentle plant medicine. I suppose, in truth, I've answered my quandary for now. I think I'll just make myself another pot of tea, set out a cup for the muse, and follow her lead for awhile.

Nourishing Tea for the Voracious Creatrix  (previously known as Mama Tea) 1 Part Nettle 1 Part Red Raspberry Leaf 1 Part Oat Tops 1 Part Rose Hips 1 Part Spearmint 1 Part Hibiscus Steep several tablespoons in quart size jar with 1/2 a lemon for several hours or overnight if possible. Strain, enjoy.

This tea incorporates many of the herbs recommended by most folks for nourishing mamas to be, with a little herbmama twist. Generally, the tea is said to strengthen and tone the uterus in order to prepare it for childbirth. But the herbs are so rich in vitamins and minerals it really makes a wonderful cup of calming, strengthening, delicious medicine-food for anyone.  My addition gives the tea a little citrus kick and a thirst quenching flavor for these hot summer days.

Herb'n Fruit Rice Wraps

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Basil Mango Alfalfa Sprout Wrapped in Rice Paper

Ahh, the business and abundance of summer. The abundance of fruit. Of herbs. Of family. Of fun. Not much time for cooking whole meals and keeping them healthy. Here's one of our herb'n kitchen faves. Herbs, greens, fruit, wrapped in rice paper. They make great treats, healthy, sweet, and easy to prepare a day ahead and grab on the go, or bring to a potluck.

Supplies Rice Paper (found in most 'ethnic' aisles in the grocery store) Fruit in season Herbs in season Greens or sprouts of choice

How To: Fill a pie plate with boiled water (we keep a kettle on the stove on low to refill as we need, in order to keep the water warm) Soften the rice paper in the hot water, transfer to a plate, flatten out. Stuff with filings....roll-up.

Some of our Favorite combos are: Mint, cucumber, strawberry Basil, alfalfa sprout, mango Lemon balm, orange, kale Mint, apple, raisin, shredded carrot Rosemary, pear, bean sprout Chive, raspberry, cucumber

Add a delicious cilantro or mint yogurt honey dip and the crowd will go wild.

For the Love of Vinegar

I use rosemary infused vinegar to wash counter-tops and rinse hair and rose vinegar to as my facial astringent and to soothe sunburns. The rest of the vinegars we make end up being mostly for food and experimentation. It's my favorite way to use up extra herbs. We've got loads of em. I like them on salads, beans, reduced then stir-fried with greens, added to a pesto, in a little seltzer water (rose is amazing in summer this way), added to smoothies, soups.....you get the idea.

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I like raw apple cider vinegar best because it fits my herbmama way criteria, cheap and easy to find just about anywhere. However ume, rice vinegar and wine vinegars can be fun too. They make wonderful gifts, people go nuts over em.

Herbal Vinegars are super easy and fun to make:

  • Stuff a jar about 2/3 full with fresh herbs or fruit or greens or flowers or....and fill to the top with vinegar. Make sure none of the plant material is poking above the vinegar.

  • Cover with a plastic lid and keep in a dark place for at least three weeks. Vinegar will corrode the metal lids so you'll need to get one of the plastic kinds or put a piece of plastic between the glass and the lid. You can use plastic wrap or a zip lock bag.

  • After the three weeks you can strain and enjoy. If you can stand to go about six weeks, the flavor really intensifies. They should keep indefinitely.

The raspberries are just about to ripen up here and I've got 3 bottles of ACV on the ready. But I might wander over to that luscious patch of nettles across the street if they don't hurry!

Turmeric Prayer Flags

prayer for witches everywhere

Happy Sunny Summer Solstice!!!! Celebrating the sun today with a root of its likeness: turmeric.

I've been wanting to write this tutorial forEVER. I made these prayer flags....last summer I think.  But I just never had the time to do it. You see, I couldn't for the life of me do the craft and take awesome pictures, and edit them into a gorgeous artful tutorial. I almost hesitated to even share it this week. But it speaks to the real story of the herbmama. My days are busy and filled with everyday life stuff too. And it would be unrealistic to represent myself in this space as a perfect artful herbcrafting mum all the time. So I'm sharing the post anyway, without perfect how-to pictures and a crappy set of instructions. Because it's a fabulous Summer Solstice craft and it really is rather simple. Besides recipes are made to be broken anyway. I broke several when I made this craft myself. The art of herbcraft lies in the experiment. Make it your own.

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Today is about something different. Herbs, plants, nature bits....they provide us so much more than clinical medicine. When we make a connection to nature in this way, through play, it feeds us as more than healing an ailment. It heals a broken lineage of working with nature. We don't need to buy fancy dyes in little tubes. We really can make our own with plants. When we play with our kids and make art with herbs, they remember, we remember. They remember that the same vibrant gold that colored their rice, colored the t-shirt they wear to bed every night. We are imprinting our senses with age-old traditions and making relationships. Reconnecting the lines of lost heritage.

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So to celebrate solstice today, venture  into the 'ethnic' foods aisle and grab some turmeric. Make some face paint, dye your hands, color some tee-shirts and paint them, or enjoy some steamy yellow rice with a bit of ginger. Experiment, grab a root and channel the sun, get yellow, and play.

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Dyeing with Turmeric: Fill a 4 quart sauce pan with water Add 1cup dried and powdered turmeric Warm until dissolved Add scraps of fabric, tee-shirts, etc you wish to dye Simmer until desired color achieved To check color simply remove from turmeric bath and rinse under cold water resubmerge if darker color is desired Bath can be used many, many times with success Note: you will stain your hands and anything in sight, but it will wash out within a few days.

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Love and Besos, Latisha

Nothin But Nettle ....Challenge?

image by Gypsy Rae Photography

I was all geared up to announce my next project this week, but the not so subtle lessons of nature are pointing me in a slightly different direction. I dreamed up The Nothin But Nettle 30 Day Challenge as a fun way to introduce ya'll to one of my favorite daily medicines as well as take advantage of the exploring I will get to do for the first time with this plant in the wild when we move to the pacific northwest next month. But this grandmother plant has other plans for me. 

I have been very tired lately, thinking I was getting sick, being impatient with my family, ready to delete HerbMother all together and go hide in a little shell somewhere on the sea. The thing is, this move, this transition is rocking my socks. Being vulnerable about myself, jumping into creating my dream lifestyle/business isn't quite as glamorous as it seems. I think I've jumped over a fence, and am facing the demons of doubt and shadow as everything moves from ideas on paper to real tangible events. I sort of feel like my physical body is morphing into something new as my soul wakes up to a  fuller version of itself. You know, like in the sci-fi movies when the shape-shifters skin gets all distorted and stretched out as they change. My soul is in the battle of its lifetime, and I'm just feeling very tired from it all.

So I've been doing tons of reading about nettle energetically as well as medicinally. We know she is a sweeper. The image of the old grandmother with the straw broom sweeping the dirt floors comes to mind. She helps clean us out after a long winter while still providing deep nourishment, which is why she is my go to brew this time of year. And as we are clearing out our home, packing up the remaining boxes, sending most of them to goodwill, I am reminded of this power in her medicine. During our packing I rediscovered a children's story about nettle that I picked up last year. It is in the book Song of the Seven Herbs by Stan Padilla. In this story nettle is gifted to the people as food and medicine, but the people become greedy and she is over-harvested and left almost to die. But rather than let herself go completely, she desires to remain a gift to the people as she enjoys their company, but to remind them to be grateful and mindful of her presence she grows stickers on her leaves. She continues to offer herself up abundantly, but the stickers remain as a reminder to only take what we need and requiring that they harvest her very carefully.

I think I am over-harvested. Reading this story to my kiddos, felt like reading my own story. I've been giving so much of myself lately, all by choice and willingly and joyfully. But, I haven't taken much time in between to refill my basket. So rather than jump into another project, I'm just going to take it easy over the next month as we make our big transition. So much is happening so fast, I feel like I need to do this in order to stay present with my family in the way they need me. The mama might be the second word but it's really my first priority.

To honor the lesson of this beautiful plant, however I'll be blogging a bit less. But I will be sharing the information I've found in weekly Nettle Lovin' Linkups. If you'd like to contribute a guest post, or have a link to share shoot me an email and we'll get you  in on the party. Perhaps next spring, once I'm all settled in and have located my very own nettle patch, I'll revisit the challenge again.

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Love and Nettles, Latisha

A Rosy Remembered Remedy

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When Leslie of Comfrey Cottages shared she was doing a Remembered Remedy blog party, I knew immediately what I would be sharing. A Rosy Facial Steam.

Just after my parents split up, when we moved back to my mom's family home, I spent a lot of time with my aunts as she was a newly working single mom. My mom had three sisters and 4 married brothers so it was easy to do. But my Aunt Teresa and I had a special bond the summer I turned 13. She had three boys and I think she got a kick out of spending time doing girly things with me. I never dressed up more, played with my hair more, or was just plain girlish with anyone else before or since....until now.

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I resisted being girly with my little ones for so long. Insisting on pants only and nothing pink, only one doll in the house, absolutely no princess movies. You get the idea. I am not sure what it was, some misinformed idea about what it really means to be feminist. Fear of them not being taken seriously or having the same opportunity as boys. I guess I was a little afraid. But as my girls have gotten older, I can't stand in the way of their own expression. Sevilla loves to wear dresses, her favorite color is certainly pink, and goodness if every single thing she owns must have jewels of some sort on it. Considering how much I kept it out of the house for so long, it made me realize how dogmatic I was being about it all. So I took the lid off. Supported her choices and reflected on what it really means to be a strong woman.

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Like the color of my lipstick is a sign of my declining mind. ~Ani DiFranco

Being a strong woman isn't about wearing pants and shoulder pads to compete with the boys, though there is nothing wrong with this expression. My husband says the biggest trick every played on the feminist is that to be liberated you have to become more like a man. It doesn't have anything to do with loss of curves and gentle touch, emotional expression and lightness of being. The world needs all these things more than ever. Being a strong woman is to be who you are however you are. Celebrating our feminine gestures should be a part of how we are strong. Teaching our girls to love our innate gifts of gathering, loving, balancing, and costuming without shame is the road we are choosing to take. I do believe men and women are different in the way we see and build the world. Celebrating woman as she is becomes the true test of feminism.

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So I can see my girls in all their beauty standing tall in their pink ruffled dress removing their sparkly jeweled sandals just before they climb their beloved paloverde tree. It is with great pleasure I am able to share this remedy with them gifted to me by my beautiful aunt with great pride for our family's feminine gesture and heritage.

Rose Facial Steam Fill a large bowl with fresh roses Add 1/4 c vinegar Cover with steaming hot water

Place a towel over your head and make a tent with the bowl. Breathe in deeply and repeat aloud: "I am a beautiful woman" until the steam cools.

Love and besos, latisha

Cilantro Edamame Hummus

Sage, my little munchkin who rarely eats anything but meat devoured it. 

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cilantro edamame hummus

Cilantro Edamame Hummus A giant bowl of shelled and cooked edamame A handfull of pepitas (pumpkin seeds) A drizzle of olive oil One big bunch or two grocery store boxes of fresh cilantro A head of garlic or four Some lime juice, salt, and pepper

Blend in a food processor. Enjoy with carrots, chips, pitas. Save some to share.

Love and Besos, Latisha

Candied Borage

Our garden is just starting to bloom like crazy and we are humming right along next to the bees making our harvest. The borage is always the first to grace us with her flowers and we've put together a few fun crafts with them. Borage flower vinegar. Though I usually use raw apple cider vinegar, I like white wine vinegars for this one because the flowers impart their beautiful color making a delicate pink brew and I cannot resist it. Collecting a few flowers each morning, being sure to leave enough for the bees, is a quiet meditative practice we enjoy as a family just after we wake.

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Borage Tea

I'm also enjoying a bit of fresh borage tea. A few flowers make the most sweet delicious cup. Their medicine is priceless to me.

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Finally, we've been making scrumptious candies to put in our other teas, on homemade sorbets, and just as little treats.

And.....here's a little video of our candy process. Hope you enjoy!

Borage Flower candies from Latisha Guthrie on Vimeo.

The simple sugar recipe I use is: 1/3 c sugar, 1/4 c water, 1 TB orange juice, and a dash of cinnamon. Melt everything together in a pan until dissolved and cool before using on flowers. Most any fun edible flowers will make great candies.

Welcome to Spring! What are you most looking forward to creating?

Love and Besos, Latisha

Pomegranate Inspirations

I've been entertaining the lovely Persephone and Aphrodite in my kitchen the last few days. I've been inspired to recreate some offerings I have not played with in some time. It's funny how pomegranate plays on the senses of women. Every time I write or post about it, the gals start to mmmmm and ahhhh and ooohhh, almost in a primal way. Like the very mention of this original forbidden fruit taps into something deep within our DNA. A history long since forgotten, retold to fit the needs of these times. But the wild woman stirs. The one who is curious not tempted, adventurous not disobedient, and sensual not sinful.

As our pomegranate begins to blossom and the heat bursts open the abundant fruit of her womb, I am reminded of all there is to be grateful for. The many seed of creativity, passion, and abundance that lives in a woman's heart.

Persephone Powder Goddess Skin Scrub, Aphrodite's Whisper Loose Herb Incense, Pomegranate Flower Essence Elixir.