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Today’s post comes to us courtesy of our very own mama!  This lady knows what’s up so read on.

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Essential

Lately I’ve come to the realization that everyone is absolutely essential. It is one of those realizations that you know in your bones/heart is true. How or why I came to this conclusion I’m not sure, part of the journey I guess.

Everyone is an essential piece of the whole, irreplaceable. We bring our own unique makeup, gifts, skills, personality, potential; a perfect fit into the jigsaw puzzle of life. This jigsaw puzzle is multi-dimensional, universal, infinite and alive. Like all puzzles it’s not complete without all of the pieces. And since this puzzle is a living organism, what we individually bring is not only necessary but invaluable to the whole.

This realization also points out the ridiculous and time wasting practice of comparing ourselves to others, wanting to be something we are not. If we are not ourselves then who will be? Not only that, but if we are unique and essential to all of life, then isn’t it our job, purpose and meaning in life to be our best selves, fully, all out, beautifully ourselves?

Like our cells, the more healthy we are, the more functional the body, the more the body can do amazing things. Imagine what it would be like if everyone in humanity was living a full healthy expression of themselves. You are a vast universe, go exploring!
Infinite love and gratitude for being you.
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You may remember that I met Celina Paiz, creator of La Selva clothing, at a recent Taking It Offline event that I co-hosted.  Afterwards, I visited the La Selva studio and Celina shared with us, as a Homie of the Daythe story of how her vintage Guatemalan clothing line came to be .  All of La Selva’s pieces are one-of-a-kind.  “It took me years to collect the fabrics,” Paiz says.  “They’re my memories and my connection to Guatemalan weavers.  I don’t want to crank out products.  I want to create clothing that people treasure.”  

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photo by Ryan Barger

LaSelva1This coming weekend La Selva is partnering with Williamsburg vintage shop Antoinette to launch its very first POP-UP shop.  The La Selva POP-UP at Antoinette (119 Grand Street, Williamsburg) will take place on Saturday & Sunday, October 26th & 27th.

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Additionally, we are inviting the NYC-based women among you to come to Antoinette on Sunday, October 27th from 5-7 p.m. for a super casual Taking It Offline + Celina Paiz event!  Please join us for a cocktail.  Event details here.

*Limited edition garments will be available for purchase at a 25% discount.

I met Celina Paiz at the Taking It Offline event I co-hosted a few weeks ago.  We immediately hit it off and I was completely inspired to learn about the clothing collection she recently completed which consists of one-of-a-kind pieces made from vintage Guatemalan textiles.  Earlier this week I had the chance to visit Celina in her studio and see the gorgeous collection for myself.  The colors and patterns of the textiles Celina uses are stunning and it was so fun to talk to her about the Guatemalan textile traditions that live in every piece in the collection.  Today Celina shares the backstory to how La Selva came to be.

La Selva

Funny enough La Selva started in my sleep. The day an earthquake shook New York, I woke up from a full blown lucid dream. I dreamt an entire film, a melodrama about a young immigrant girl who works for a sample maker in New York. Half the movie was in Filipino, a language I don’t speak. In the dream, she has drawers filled with designs but is stuck working as a seamstress. Throughout the movie, her clothing signifies her transformation.

A little back story. I had originally embarked on a self-imposed dream study as part for my screenwriting process. My husband and I have collaborated on film projects since college and I was searching for a way to tap into my vivid dream life to bring it to the screen. So I read Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming and The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep. I spent months staring at a blank page and suddenly, overnight, I had my dream movie.

The more I researched the character, the more I realized I was looking at myself in a mirror. I’m an immigrant, born in Guatemala, raised in Miami. Like her, I have a connection to the fashion industry since I own a boutique in Guatemala City with my mom and sisters. While the character had suitcases under her bed crammed with clothing and trinkets from the Philippines, I had a closet of fabrics from Guate that I had spent years collecting. I started to think if the girl in the dream had drawers full of designs, then somewhere in my unconscious, I did too.

I decided to take the leap. I used my vintage fabrics to create my first collection for La Selva. It’s strange to look back on how it all went down but to me the creative process is always like that. As if behind the scenes, inspiration works itself through you until, eventually, you wake up to it.

Check out the full La Selva collection here

Guess who’s back?!  It’s our favorite wine aficionado and fellow blogger, Catherine, with her latest seasonal wine selections!  We just love these creative guides that she prepares exclusively for Sister Disco.  Can you guess the inspiration for this installment??

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(image via here)

I get excited about asparagus season.  For real!  Like fresh, in-season, not-supermarket asparagus.

It’s nice in risotto…  Wrapped in pancetta…  Roasted and sprinkled with parmeggiano-reggiano…  Grilled and salted and dripped with lemon juice…  Blended into a soup…or crunched on raw.

It’s a segue-into-spring veggie.  I may still be wearing tights and boots, but when I bite into some fresh asparagus, I know I have made it through the winter.

I’ve never fully understood the obsession with wine and food pairings.  Going crazy over the perfect match-up seems like a waste of energy.  Perfection is relative anyway.  I believe there is an interchangeable spectrum of wines that can go with a particular dish.  The creative journey of finding all the ways they pair up is part of the fun.   Food and wine can have many soul mates…whatever works…free love!

Drink a wine that is delicious to you along with simple food that is tasty and real.  Do so with people and spaces that make you feel good…and there you have it.

That being said, there are some exceptions, such as asparagus (and a few other vegetables like artichokes), that are notoriously finicky as far as wine match-ups go.  Drink the wrong wine and you may find a chemical, too grassy, kind of gross taste in your mouth.  Not nice.

So, in celebration of a spring that has finally come and the harvest of those awesomely weird, stringy, bitter green stalks with their pretty bushy heads, here are 8 wines to help your asparagus experience be all that it should.

1)  Frascati Superiore DOC by Principe Pallavicini.  Approx: $10

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Frascati was the first thing that came to mind when I thought of wine for asparagus.  So here it is to start the list.  An ages-old blend of grapes local to the rolling hills surrounding the eternal city is the perfect suitor.  This particular blend includes Malvasia di Candia, Malvasia del Lazio, and Trebbiano Toscano.

2) Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Vigna di Gino by Fattoria San Lorenzo.  Approx $15

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Verdicchio is a native grape to the region of Marche, located in Central Italy on the Adriatic coast.  Verdicchio makes a white wine rich in saline minerality and sweet yet savory grassiness.  It is a grape that can turn out a fairly complex white of medium body.

3)  Erbaluce di Caluso La Rustia by Orsolani.  Approx: $22

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Erbaluce is another indigenous Italian grape.  This one being native to the Canavese Valley Piemonte, located in the northwest corner of the country.  Erbaluce makes bright whites with citrus, sunshine, and heady herbal qualities.  This one is made by a generations old producer from their version of a “roasted slope.”  Luscious.

4)  Malvasia “Emiliana” Colli Piacentini DOC by Lusenti.  Approx $22

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This wine is so fun.  It is made from Malvasia di Candia Aromatica, a local clone of a grape that grows all around Central Italy.  This particular take on malvasia is a straw-like shade and a little cloudy.  It is made completely naturally and has brilliant acidity.  The texture is frizzante – perfect for cleansing the palate.  Go ahead, try something different, get crazy!

5)  Salento IGT Le Vigne Rare by Pirro Varone.  Approx: $16

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If you ask anyone from Puglia, fiano minutolo is something completely unrelated to Fiano di Avellino…or any other fiano for that matter.  Whether or not this is true, this varietal expression of the fiano minutolo grape produced by Pirro Varone, an organic winery with a beautiful history, is something distinct.  Zingy, lean, and bright – the epitome of spring.

6) Vouvray Spring Sec by Vincent Careme – Approx $14

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100% Chenin Blanc produced organically and aged on its lees for a bit of time. Chenin Blanc is one of the most capable little grapes and can make a wine that is luxuriously rich in body and flavor.

7)  Rias Baixas by Santiago Ruiz.  Approx $17

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Here is a traditional blend of grapes native to the O Rosal sub-zone of Rias Baixas – albarino, loureiro, and treixadura.  Like licking a salty, rainy rock…in the most delicious way, of course.

8)  Sauvignon Blanc by St. Supery.  Approx $16

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100% Sauvignon blanc grown and made in the good ‘ole Napa Valley.  In classic Cali fashion, this is a pleasantly bold and sun-kissed expression of a well-known variety.

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Past guides from Catherine:

12 Wines to Keep You Cozy in Winter / Guide to Rosé / Guide to Bubbly

Today I’m so excited to introduce you to one of my oldest & closest friends, and new blogger, Katie of Suburbling.  Katie has always been a natural when it comes to writing and her genuine, thoughtful and down-to-earth personality shines through in all of her posts.  I can’t wait to see how her blog continues to develop and I’m certain you’ll find it worth returning to again and again!  Thanks, Katie!

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Blogging Advice from an Internet Wallflower

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(image via here)

I’ve been blogging for approximately two weeks now, so when Lauren and Farrell invited me to be the Homie of the Day, I decided it was high-time I dispensed some advice on blogging.

Really. I’m going to give some advice on blogging.

Fear not, I don’t purport to be an expert just yet. But I do have a little advice from my two weeks as a blogger, and the weeks before when I was thinking about blogging and thinking some more about blogging.

See, the decision to start a blog was a tough one for me because I suffer from a severe case of internet shyness. I was a late-comer to Facebook and rarely update my status. My Pinterest pages are woefully empty. I prefer to reply instead of reply-all. But, mostly thanks to Lauren, I took a deep breath and got out there. And I’m having fun with it.

So, here’s my advice for other internet wallflowers:

1. Just start writing. Write what interests you. Write what’s in your head.
2. Imagine you’re writing for a good friend. Don’t worry about appealing to a certain audience, or what others might think. Don’t wonder if someone will find you interesting.
3. Use blogs you love as models. (The first few posts I did felt like I was pretending to blog.)
4. Decide how often you want to post and stick to it. The best way to be interesting is to keep saying new and different things.
5. Enjoy it. The blog should be an outpouring of things you’d want to read and talk about — therefore, lots of fun to put together.

And now, here’s some great advice from an experienced blogger on how to blog for the long haul. And some on blogging as a career. And a compilation of blogging advice from bloggers much more experienced than I.

So, thanks, Lauren, for making me get off my chair and join the conversation. And thanks to Lauren and Farrell for inviting me to Sister Disco, clearly one of my favorite blogs.

Now, other internet wallflowers, if I can do it, anyone can. Your blog is calling you. Get started.

As you know, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner (or if you don’t: it is tomorrow).  To jump-start all of our hearts, we have a lovely post for you today courtesy of my multi-talented friend, Christina Soriano.  Christina is an artist and art teacher living in Manhattan’s East Village.  Thanks, Christina, for spreading the love!  xo

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Love is in the air! Over the past few days I couldn’t help but notice the vast amount of hearts and pink around me. Fortunately, I dig any holiday that allows for making cards…and themed baked goods. Here’s what you can do to have a sweet Valentine’s Day:

1. Make Valentines, of course. Here are some I made the night of the big “blizzard” aka nemo.

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2. Host a Valentine-making party! I worked with some 3 year olds this weekend and here is one masterpiece in the making.

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3. Go on a Valentine’s cookie hunt. These delectable treats came from News Café in Union Square and Crumbs.

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4. Meet a beautiful stranger and buy them a box of custom sweets from Zucker Bakery on East 9th st.

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5. Or go to your local drugstore and get one of these. Love is packaged in all sorts of ways!

photo (12)Have a lovely holiday! Keep in touch!

christina

twitter & instagram: @sorianodesigns

Aren’t all of our lives so enriched by the introduction to friends of our friends?!  Today is another case in point of this fact with this seasonal and trendy fashion forecast from our wonderful friend Jessica’s friend Kathryn White.  I had a sneak peak of Kathryn’s stylish post and have already been incorporating her tips into my winter look.  Thank you, Kathryn!

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I always look forward to returning home for the holidays to spend quality time with the fam. Now that I’m living in New York, heading back to sunny California at the brink of winter makes my travels all the merrier. Christmas came and went fairly quickly, and now I’m enjoying my last bit of fun in the sun before I head back to the cold. Like many of you, I’ve been spending the majority of 2013 hitting up the sales and re-vamping my wardrobe for spring. Hopefully it comes soon! In the mean time, we all have to endure those awkward few weeks of the year where winter slowly transitions into spring. As our puffy feather down jackets and wool coats begin to suffocate our bodies, tank tops and sundresses begin to devour every sweater and circle scarf hanging in department store windows. Despite the allure of all those flimsy frocks, we all know it’s far too cool outside for pool parties and rooftop barbeques. This realization sparks a deep frustration with the contrast between our current wardrobes and the merchandise being sold in stores. Turtleneck sweaters and knee-high boots seem overkill, but we’re not quite ready to bust out the booty shorts either.

These were the thoughts running through my mind as I shopped the sale rack at Urban Outfitters. Ultimately, I decided to mix and match a few warm weather pieces with a few cool weather pieces to satisfy the demands of the season and the runway. I came up with three simple ways to incorporate spring and summer pieces into your current wardrobe without having to freeze in the name of fashion. Hopefully these tips and tricks will inspire you to create ensembles that will ensure a smooth and trendy transition into the start of spring!

1. Invest in Lace-Ups  

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Lace up booties will be your best friend by the end of next month (if they aren’t already). They’re trendy, versatile, and practical. They’re also much warmer than the strappy sandals sitting in the department stores. Feel free to wear a pair with maxi skirts, dresses, or leggings. The only other cold weather item you’ll need is a light jacket. Denim is perfect for this time of year because it’s lightweight when worn on its own, and seals in heat when layered over a cardigan.

2. Love Your Layers 

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A lot of ladies avoid the layered look as spring approaches because they assume the added bulk will make them feel as though they’re stuck in the month of November. However, thin and lightweight layers will have the opposite effect. Here, I layered a cardigan over a loose fitting tank top, and topped it with a cargo jacket. Similar to denim, cargo jackets or military button ups are heavier than sweaters, but more breathable than coats. They both make excellent transition pieces. For bottoms, simply switch out your dark denim for a lighter wash to incorporate a spring color palette.

3. Cover Up Cleverly

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You don’t have to wait for 80-degree weather to rock your favorite mini skirt. Tights and leggings will keep your legs warm without distracting from the ensemble. As spring draws nearer and nearer, replace black tights with gray or pastel colors. Pattern on pattern is a great trend for spring, and it’s easy to mix and match with printed skirts and tank tops. Top it all off with a basic leather jacket for brisk evening strolls.

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Kathryn White is a senior at LIM College finishing her degree in marketing with a concentration in fashion publishing.  She is currently interning for Real Beauty.  Read more from Kathryn here and here.

Remember our close friend, former Homie and uber talented jewelry designer Bethany Cocco?!  Well, she’s been busy working on a resign of her website and adding some new pieces to her collection.  We love the new look and had to give you a little peek.  Check it out, then head over to view the rest of Bethany’s jewelry which is being offered at a 20% discount price through the New Year.

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This is just small sampling of her work.  Visit Bethany Cocco Jewelry to see more and to take advantage of the 20% holiday sale.  You can also visit Bethany’s Etsy Shop here.

She’s guided us before, and never astray.  We’re so excited to have yet another wine guide installment from our dear friend, wine connoisseur and very recent birthday-girl, Catherine from Grapes of Cath.  [Previous editions include a Guide to Bubbles and Rosés]  In this edition, Catherine’s provided a marvelous selection of 12 Wines to Keep You Cozy This Winter, so get real comfy and enjoy!

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Never are voices so beautiful as on a winter’s evening, when dusk almost hides the body, and
they seem to issue from nothingness with a note of intimacy seldom heard by day.

-Virginia Woolf

(image via here)

There is something so beautiful about the quiet of winter. Nature acts all on its own, with no
direction from any one of us. In the northeast it grows cold and dark a little too early in the day.
Our natural environment sends a message to follow suit – slow down, quiet your soul, nourish
yourself, take care.

And what is more nourishing than an inviting glass of wine on a chilly night? Preferably with a
delicious little snack, (I’m a sucker for salted nuts, doesn’t take much). Or even some comfort
food.

There are lots and lots (and lots) of red wines on the U.S. market. Hopefully you’ve found
yourself a good shop with savvy clerks. If not, ask your local store to bring in some of your true
blue favorites or untried curiosities. We can change our overall selection with a little effort.

Here are 12 suggestions that will help keep your palate and soul nice and toasty this season.
Some are lesser known, others certainly not. All are responsibly produced. Approach them
equally and see what sings to you.

1) Cahors 2010 Clos La Coutale
Cahors is one of the first wines that comes to mind when I think of wintertime. Almost every
bottle of Cahors I have tasted possesses a depth that fills the chilly crevices of the day. It is a black
wine, deep and inky in color and tannin. 100% mesmerizing Malbec. The Stevie Nicks of
Southwest France.
Approx. $14

2) Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso 2010 Tommasi
Typical styles of wine from this specific area in northern Italy’s region of Veneto are practically made for meditative winter evenings. Tommasi is a 4th generation family producer that makes traditional regional wines using Valpolicella varieties like Corvina Veronese, Rondinella, and Corvinone. The long-used ripasso process calls for made wine to be passed over the warmed skins of Amarone.  Tradition reigns!  Textbook yumminess – silk and cocoa and other luscious romantic sorts of things.
Approx. $22

3) Crianza Vina Cubillo 2005 R. Lopez de Heredia
Really real Rioja. Featuring Tempranillo and blended with a bit of Garnacha and other local
varieties, it is pure and deep and lovely in a red cherry, clean earth sort of way. Produced
sustainably and bottled unfiltered. The stuff that Rumi wrote of.
Approx. $26

4) Mayacamas Range Zinfandel 2009 Storybook Mountain
I could recommend the wines of Storybook Mountain over and over again. In my opinion,
their Zinfandel sets the bar. Zinfandel grapes are grown at an eastern aspect in Napa Valley’s
Mayacama Mountains. Excitedly stocked with all of the hedonistic Zinfandel attributes that Zin
lovers fiend, yet not sluggishly full-bodied. Compact yet agile. Certified Organic.
$36 direct from winery

5) Dolcetto d’Alba DOC Campot 2010 Castello di Verduno
Castello di Verduno, the castle at the top of the highest hill in the village of Verduno, Piedmont,
produces many beautiful wines. Of all their admirable and mention-worthy and wines, I am
going to point out their Dolcetto because, despite the grandness of their Barolo, it is the coziest.
Harvested from the campot, or highest vineyard on an eastward facing hill in the commune of
Barbaresco, this affable grape makes a wine full of heartbreakingly ripe purple fruit, balanced by
a grounding minerality. All in all, the wine comes together in a want-to-drink-it-every-day sort
of way.
Approx. $18

6) Petite Sirah 2010 Proulx
Harvested from old vines in the western part of Paso Robles, Proulx is made by Kevin Riley at his
family wine cellar. Voluptuous yet supple, concentrated like sun-soaked French plums.
Approx $14

7) Chinon Vieilles Vignes 2010 Domaine de Colombier
This selection is 100% Cabernet Franc grown in the Loire Valley’s limestones soil. Its sophisticatedly subtle blackberry, rosemary and thyme flavors are a perfect pairing for a hot cup of chile (and a football
game?!). Earthy and chalky and somehow always just right.
Approx. $18

8) Dao 2011 Quinta Cabriz
There are amazing values to be found in Portugese wines. Lots of lush and savory blackberry
in this old world quaffer made on an old property in the heart of Dao using local varieties like
Touriga Nacional and Alfrocheiro.
Approx. $8

9) Langhe Rosso DOC 2010 Produttori del Barbaresco
Produttori del Barbaresco is an inspiring example of what happens when people come together (in this case land owners and winemakers) to make something great. Produttori is a cooperative that was started in 1958 and produced its first 3 vintages in a church basement. The joint effort has consistently turned out quality wines that pay all of the respect that is due to their terroir. Produttori’s wines are made from 100% Nebbiolo in all of its brilliant strawberry layered glory. Price-wise, the value of their Langhe Rosso, Barbaresco, and cru vineyard wines is unmatchable. Worth trying many, many times (and vintages) over. Their Langhe Rosso is a fitting introduction.
Approx. $23

10) Pinotage 2010 Graham Beck
The marriage (or, technically, crossing) between Cinsault and Pinot Noir back in the mid 1920s
resulted in this idiosyncratic grape that wine drinkers usually love or hate. Personally, I love
it. Ripe, round red dirt and fresh tar are lured into a proper wine with a skilled winemaking and
little bit of oak aging.
Approx. $16

11) Zweigelt Novemberlese 2011 Weingut Steininger
Zweigelt, another crossing (between Blaufrankisch and St. Laurent), is oh-so-Austrian. Austere
with a crisply white and sunny winter day appeal. This wine, from the Kamptal region, is
the perfect thing when you seek something a little bit lighter in body, when you want some
cranberry and smoke, when you don’t want to think too hard. When you feel like that, you drink
something like this.
Approx $13

12) Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG 2008 Antonelli San Marco
Sagrantino is one of the most tannic grapes in the world. The wine it yields is big and wild and
hairy. In a nice way. Antonelli tames the feral beast into elegant (and age-worthy) wines to
open up and drink over the course of say, a long chilly work week. Perfect with chewy gamey
meat.
Approx. $32

*Vintages noted are the most current.

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