New Music Monday: May 2016 Playlist

New Music Monday: May 2016 Playlist

I may have finally outdone myself with a seemingly bizarre, yet eclectic collection of sounds in a single playlist. Hip-hop, acoustic blues-folk, electronic rock, and indie pop all came together this month to form a fantastic collection of singles from an indisputably talented group of musicians. Many of my favorite artists produced new music. Wild Belle, Andrew Bird, Laura Mvula, and Michael Kiwanuka continue to recreate unique expressions of their authentic sound. Ben Harper and his original band, The Innocent Criminals, reunited after a nearly ten year hiatus in which they created a beautiful album marked with overt political statements. DJ Shadow, one of the key figures in the development of early instrumental hip-hop paired up with Run the Jewels to drop a profanity-laced, albeit deeply lyrical single off his upcoming album. Finally, the debut album of Montreal producer, Kaytranada is pure gold in a completely genre-defying collection of tracks. Get listening!     1) DRIVE ME CRAZY – KAYTRANADA, Vic Mensa 2) Green & Gold – Lianne La Havas, Donnie Trumpet, Nate Fox 3) Who Wants It – KCPX 4) Mississippi River – Wild Belle 5) Nobody Speak (feat. Run the Jewels) – DJ Shadow, Run the Jewels 6) Roll Up (feat. Marko Penn) – B.o.B, Marko Penn 7) GOT IT GOOD – KAYTRANADA, Craig David 8) Wristband – Paul Simon 9) One More Night – Michael Kiwanuka 10) Roma Fade- Andrew Bird 11) Phua Kao- Khun Narin 12) Bitten by the Apple – Big Black Delta, Kimbra 13) Waves – Gosh Pith 14) Tilted – Christine and the Queens 15) Call It What It Is- Ben Harper... read more
Sacred Sedona

Sacred Sedona

I kicked off 2016 with a truly special getaway to Sedona, Arizona. I began to hear stories of Sedona’s magic from a warm, intellectually curious, incredibly positive group of yogis during my teacher training this past fall at Santa Monica Power Yoga. All descriptions of Sedona alluded to a powerfully spiritual place of immense natural beauty. Knowing this sacred city was ideal for deep relaxation and renewal, there was no better place to go to set my New Year intentions.   The high desert town of Sedona is regarded as a geological wonderland. It is well known for its breathtaking red rock formations and rich Native American history. The healing energy of the town is highly palpable with a deeply calming metaphysical energy radiating throughout. Each hour of the day casts the multi-hued rock formations in a different beautiful light, creating a surreal environment of natural beauty.     Beyond the magnificent towering spires, jagged cliffs, and smooth red-rock mesas, Sedona is home to a number of natural energy vortexes. These sites are swirling centers of subtle energy that emanate out from the earth’s plane. Many people, including the Native Americans who deemed Sedona a sacred place, believe that the powerful energy of vortexes compound spiritual development and growth. A multitude of sacred sites throughout the world are said to be home to energy vortexes including the Stonehenge, Machu Picchu, and the Great Pyramids of Egypt.     Through the recommendation of a friend, we landed the services of Sedona-local, Larry Sprague. Serving as our guide, Larry directed us to the major vortex sites, including Airport Mesa, Bell Rock, Boynton Canyon,... read more
Classic Caesar Salad with Sourdough Croutons

Classic Caesar Salad with Sourdough Croutons

Homemade croutons are the easiest way to elevate a simple recipe to the next level. Compared to the hard, dry texture of store bought croutons, they are full of flavor with a wonderful soft, slightly crunchy texture. Whole Foods sells a killer sourdough boule that is absolutely perfect for homemade croutons!     The other key component of a great classic Caesar salad is the dressing. To save some prep time, the dressing can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. You really can’t afford to skip the raw egg yolk or anchovies. The egg yolk is essential for the creamy richness of the dressing, while the anchovies provide a salty, umami kick.     Prep Time: 30 mins Serves: 4 Ingredients: 2 romaine hearts 1 small sourdough boule 4 anchovy fillets 1 clove garlic, minced 1 large egg yolk 2 tbsp, fresh lemon juice 1/2 tsp, Dijon mustard 1/3 cup, olive oil Parmesan cheese Sea salt and black pepper to taste Preparation: To prepare the dressing, chop and combine the anchovy fillets and garlic clove. Mash into a paste and transfer to a medium bowl. Whisk in the egg yolk, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice. Gradually pour in olive oil and add 2 tablespoons of finely grated Parmesan cheese. Season with sea salt and black pepper and continue to whisk dressing until fully combined, thick, and glossy. Preheat the oven to 375°. Tear the sourdough boule into small bite-size pieces. Toss well with olive oil and bake for 10-15 minutes or until bread is golden-brown. Finally, tear romaine lettuce into 1-2 inch pieces and place into a large serving... read more
New Music: March 2016 Playlist

New Music: March 2016 Playlist

The unique batch of artists in this playlist along with the remixes and collaborations got me thinking about music in the digital age. I am often remorseful over the shortened lifespan of a new album as our physical link has been lost. Some of my most memorable life experiences play out to the soundtrack of an album- The Killer’s Hot Fuss and Coldplay’s Parachutes to name a few. Yet it is when I compile a playlist of tracks like these that I am reminded of just how accessible, diverse, and genre-melding music has become in this age of all-access. The vast majority of these music discoveries were via Shazaam and Spotify’s incredible Discover Weekly playlist. If you haven’t used Spotify’s Discover Weekly feature yet, it’s time to jump aboard. Their complex algorithms curate a playlist to your personal preferences and only continue to get better each week. Get listening!     1) California Girls- NoMBe 2) Ghost- A.D.K.O.B 3) Giving Up On You- Wild Belle 4) Wood- Rostam 5) Tearing Me Up- RAC Mix- Bob Moses 6) All My Friends- PREP Remix- Snakehips, Tinashe, Chance the Rapper 7) Capsized- Andrew Bird 8) Love Is Blind- Låpsley 9) YOUTH- Troye Silvan 10) Surprise Yourself- Jack Garratt 11) Dapper- Domo Genesis, Anderson Paak 12) Lime Habit- POLICA   Follow me on... read more
Learning to Fall: A Coming of Age Documentary

Learning to Fall: A Coming of Age Documentary

A friend and former co-worker, Claire, recently shared with me a project of hers. A passionate storyteller, she is making a documentary chronicling stories of loss, vulnerability, and growth during young adulthood. The film intends to explore how we can overcome quarter-life hardships by using mindfulness as a tool. To do this, Claire will be traveling to a mindful recovery center in Northern Thailand to interview residents that want to share their story. I was immediately drawn to the project. Having traveled solo through Thailand and Cambodia a few years ago, I have a deep affinity for these beautiful lands. With a culture steeped in the teachings of mindfulness, meditation, and Theravāda Buddhism, a great sense of calm and peace radiates throughout Thailand. Also, having too experienced tremendous loss in my early twenties with the inexplicable loss of my best friend, I deeply value the power of these stories to transcend. Using yoga and meditation to access my own mindfulness, I am constantly grateful for these tools which grant me the ability to stay connected and treat each day as a true blessing. Learn more about this incredible project from the team: Learning to Fall is a short documentary chronicling stories of loss, vulnerability, and growth during young adulthood. This film explores how we can use mindfulness as a tool to overcome quarter-life hardships. Please help us share the stories of many who have experienced tough transitions during their young-adult lives. From the loss of a loved one, to the separation of a marriage, and more. By doing this, we can take a leap out of our comfort zones, embrace our vulnerabilities, and “Learn to Fall.” Learning to Fall is actively campaigning until April 1st, 2016.... read more
Superfood Snack: Honey, Banana & Almond Butter Toast

Superfood Snack: Honey, Banana & Almond Butter Toast

In honor of National Toast Day this is a super simple, delicious breakfast or post-workout snack. Packing a serious nutritional punch, almond butter is high in protein and healthy fat, while bananas are a great high-glycemic carbohydrate source, perfect for quick energy replenishment. Key to keeping this snack healthy are quality ingredients- namely whole-grain bread. I prefer to pick up my bread at the local Santa Monica Farmer’s Market to ensure a fresh, unprocessed loaf, loaded with 100% whole grains!     Prep Time: 5 minutes Ingredients: 1 slice, whole-grain bread 2 tbsp, almond butter 1/2 banana, sliced 1 tsp, honey Preparation: Toast bread then spread almond butter evenly over the slice. Top with sliced bananas and drizzle with... read more
New Music Monday: January 2016 Playlist

New Music Monday: January 2016 Playlist

This month’s playlist is a compilation of soulful tracks from a unique mix of artists. The emergence of the instrumental, club-friendly beat layered upon a smooth, R&B lyrical flow is most evident on Chet Faker and Marcus Marr’s latest four-track EP, Work.  However, this same captivating rhythm is also on Jack Garratt’s, “Worry” and Raf Riley’s “Summer.” Miike Snow, Ray LaMontagne, and Wild Belle all dropped impressive singles ahead of highly-anticipated, forthcoming album releases. While the artists stayed true to their form, Miike Snow’s latest work, including a catchy remix with Run the Jewels, is the greatest indication that the Swedish trio will be serving up something truly unique on their March 4th album release. Lastly, I cannot do it enough justice by simply marveling over Anderson Paak’s latest, Malibu, and will instead just insist you do not miss listening to this gem in it’s entirety!     1) Learning For Your Love- Marcus Marr, Chet Faker 2) Worry- Jack Garratt 3) Genghis Khan- Miike Snow 4) Shine A Light- BANNERS 5) Bank Rolls- Remix- Tate Kobang 6) Way Down We Go- Kaleo 7) Throw Down Your Guns- Wild Belle 8) The Bird- Anderson Paak 9) Wasting Time- Kids These Days 10) Summer- Raf Riley, Etta Bond, Avelino, Dun D 11) Part One- Hey, No Pressure- Ray LaMontagne 12) London- Grace Acladna 13) Devil Like Me- Rainbow Kitten Surprise Follow me on... read more
Retreat to Ojai

Retreat to Ojai

Ojai is the quintessential California town. Nestled among the hills and mountains of Ventura County,  the city is an artistic and spiritual enclave. Ojai Valley is teeming with citrus groves, olive orchards, oak trees, and colorful succulents. In true California style, the city has a synergetic relationship with the local farming community, resulting in an abundance of fresh, farm to table eats. A short hour and a half drive outside of Los Angeles, a weekend retreat to Ojai is perfect for relaxation and rejuvenation!   Ojai’s landscape is abound with succulents and cacti. There is hardly a garden to be found that isn’t bursting with vibrant and unique varieties of this quirky and drought-friendly style of vegetation. Meditation Mount, a lush and sacred refuge set upon 32 acres of land is home to the International Garden of Peace, a serene path for walking mediation with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. A trip to Ojai is not complete without a moment of reflection at this site of remarkable beauty and peace.   The vintage wares and home goods shops of Ojai are among some of the best in Southern California. Summer Camp exemplifies the ubiquitous laidback, outdoor-inspired, SoCal aesthetic. Filled with beautiful handmade ceramics, custom-framed prints, and teeming with indoor greenery, this hip shop located within a converted gas station is a must visit. Also worth visiting are Modern Folk Living and Tipple & Ramble, both which feature a gorgeous curation of local artisan goods.   Similar to Joshua Tree, Ojai is teeming with creative, like-minded folks. The artistic eccentricity of the locals is evident throughout the city, as is the community’s focus on health, wellness, spirituality, and art. There is hardly... read more
New Music: November 2015 Playlist

New Music: November 2015 Playlist

This was another one of those joy of discovery months in new music! I cannot even begin to describe the elation of opening up my Spotify on Friday morning to find that a favorite artist of mine has dropped a hot single. This month these gems came in the form of releases from the lovely songbird, Banks, a catchy collaboration between Miike Snow and Run the Jewels, and an incredible remix of Drake’s “Hotline Bling” by Sam Smith and Disclosure. Perhaps nothing solidifies my love of music more firmly than a live performance to validate the soul and irrefutable talent of up and coming artists. I had the pleasure of two such performances recently- Raury at The Sayers Club and Wolf Alice at The Fonda. The authenticity of 19 year old, Raury’s message of unity, love, and peace was beautifully laid bare by his impassioned live performance. His memorable lyric from the track “Friends” where he sings, “I was never disappointed, cause everything was meant to be” came as a wonderful revelation during his performance.     1) Better- Banks 2) I Wanna Love You- Jessica Lee Mayfield 3) Johnny and Mary- Robert Palmer 4) Before I Fall- Bob Moses 5) You’re the Best- Dubbel Dutch Remix- Wet 6) The Trouble with Us- Marcus Marr, Chet Faker 7) Defense- Sarah Jaffe 8) Hotline Bling- Live from Maida Vale- Disclosure, Sam Smith 9) Heart Is Full (feat. Run the Jewels)-Remix 10) Tearing Me Up- Bob Moses 11) Friends- Raury, Tom Morello Follow me on... read more
New Music: October 2015 Playlist

New Music: October 2015 Playlist

This month’s roundup of new music discoveries is unequivocally one of my favorites. Granted it is highly eclectic in the span of artists and genres, each song resonated deeply and came together to form a curated playlist uniquely in tune with my state of mind. Whether in the form of Odessa’s beautifully, haunting melody found on “Low Hummed” or Raury’s profound and passionate lyrics on “Forbidden Knowledge,” each track exemplifies the higher power of music to touch the soul. The greatest draw of the music from the past month was the release of albums from lesser known artists, quickly rising in recognition as their irrefutable talent spreads to a broader audience. Raury’s All We Need is a brilliant demonstration of his lyrical artistry and ability to spread his message of love and non-violence through his art. Fat Freddy’s Drop have been a longtime favorite group of mine, with their reggae-funk sound transporting you to another time and place altogether. Finally, the most pleasant surprise of new releases came in the form of the newly formed group, EL VY, a collaborative project featuring the lead singer of The National. The album’s catchy folk-rock tunes were an instant hit in my book!     1) Forbidden Knowledge- Raury, Big K.R.I.T 2) Peaches- In The Valley Below 3) Paul is Alive- EL VY 4) Stay Alive- José González 5) Hummed Low- Odessa 6) Fine Without You- Best Coast 7) Angels (feat. Saba)- Chance The Rapper 8) Slings & Arrows- Fat Freddy’s Drop 9) Could I Be- Sylvan Esso 10) What I Might Do- Kilter Remix- Ben Pearce Follow me on... read more