BLISS LIST: Summer 2020 (belated)

I know it's a little late, but … better late than never, right? I mean, if 2020 has taught us nothing else, it's taught us to be adaptable and to adjust course as needed!

So, today, I'm bringing you the Summer edition of the Bliss List.

The Bliss List, for those who may not already know, is a list of some the things that are piquing my interest, lighting me up, and generally inspiring and motivating me at the moment. This is a personal list, and I only post things I'm personally experiencing. And, at least for the time being, nothing I'm posting about is compensated via affiliations, sponsorships or other collaboration. It is my hope that sharing the things that are inspiring me will also inspire you in some way.

That's one of the beautiful things about life, isn't it? The free exchange of ideas and inspiration.

Without further ado, here is the Bliss List, Summer 2020 edition:

SELF CARE

Okay, so this is an ongoing thing for me, it's true. But thanks to this global pandemic and the forced quarantine that accompanied it, I've been really getting more intentional with my self-care practices and routines.

I've already incorporated weekly full body dry/wet exfoliations, as well as DIY home facials. I'm starting to include regular self-pedicures in the mix, now, too. It's so delicious!

I'm even busy creating new potion recipes for holistic face/body treatments, restorative tonics and teas, and delectable meals that nourish body and soul. (I'll be sharing some of these as soon as I've perfected them, so stay tuned!)

I've been loving my morning and evening movement sessions, which are a mix of yoga, calisthenics, pilates and general stretching, as well as daily affirmations, gratitude practice and journaling. And my morning meditations have been absolutely magickal experiences. So expansive and motivating and hopeful!

I'm so grateful to be showing up for myself in these healing and supportive ways. It really is such an affirming way to start every day with the willing choice to take really beautiful care of myself.

BERRY STRACCIATELLE NICE DREAM

Speaking of nourishing self care … I've also been really cleaning up my diet. (Okay, full disclosure, this one is always a bit of a roller coaster for me, but I've been having increasingly more up days than down.)

If you know me at all, you may already know that my ideal diet is a low fat high raw fruit-based species-specific diet. This way of eating seems to be optimal for me, for my physical health, and for my emotional/mental/spiritual health.

One of my favorite ways to enjoy fruity meals in the summer is in the form of Nice Dream. Nice Dream is what I call the ice-cream-like treat made from frozen bananas pulverized into a creamy mass of deliciousness in a Vitamix (or other high speed blender). It's perfectly tasty on its own, but the real fun lies in getting creative with add-ins.

My latest favorite is a berry stracciatelle variation. For the first part of the summer I was focusing on blueberries as my berry of choice, but, lately, I've switched over to strawberries. Both are wonderful, and, really, any berry will work here.

Stracciatelle is the Italian way of saying chocolate chip. And instead of processed chocolate, I use raw organic cacao nibs. They are crunchy and bittersweet and so satisfying! Cacao nibs are the perfect counterpoint to the dense sweetness of the banana and the tarty sweetness of the berries. It is nirvana in a bowl.

Try it! It will make your taste buds SING!

ATLANTIC // PACIFIC

I've long been a fan of Blair Eadie's style from photos on Instagram and Pinterest. But, I finally discovered her blog: Atlantic // Pacific. (Yes, I know, it's loooong overdue.)

She has such a fun, yet meticulous way of styling herself. Bright color explosions! Kooky pattern mixing! Textural kaleidoscopes! She always seems to ride the balance between downtown funky and uptown chic. That is a talent that is difficult to master, and I am absolutely in awe of her fashion magick.

When I was a young girl, I was really into fashion. I loved to hole up in my bedroom with the current style magazines, poring over every page, every detail for hours at a time. I knew all the models, and all the designers. It was so fun for me to imagine myself on the sets of those photo shoots living my best life in such beautiful costumes.

While I've retained that appreciation for fashion as a tool for self expression and artistic exploration, it has been a very long time since I made much of an effort to actually incorporate that love of style into my own life. Instead, I have tended toward comfort and practicality and, well, often, for economy.

And I'm feeling the loss. So, I'm slowly coaxing that younger version of myself, and all her fearless flair and sass, forward into my current life.

I imagine it will be a somewhat slow evolution, but I am feeling super inspired to bring my wardrobe back to life and back to a state of exciting experimentation in expression of who I am in any given moment.

The clothes and accessories we wear can be a very powerful tool. Costume designers choose the wardrobes for the characters of a play or film with great intention and precision in order to help the actors feel more like the characters they are playing. The same is true in everyday life: When I want to evoke a particular aspect of myself at a particular time, I can choose clothing and accessories which will accentuate how I feel in that role.

Exploring different parts of myself through costume and presentation has always been fun for me. (This is one of the reasons I enjoyed my brief stint doing costume work for a small theatrical concern back in my twenties.)

And Blair Eadie embodies that sense of fun, playfulness and unfettered expression that I want to bring back to my life. Check her out, she's a total expander!

ASHEVILLE, NC

I know it might seem a little strange to be listing a city I lived in, but left, here. But, I've recently fallen in love with Asheville all over again.

My sister and niecelet still live in AVL, so I get to visit somewhat regularly. When Sister separated from her husband, she moved to a different part of town. And this has been a game changer for me.

I realized quickly that it wasn't AVL that I didn't like, it was more that I didn't like living in West AVL. Now, there's nothing wrong with West AVL. It's just that it's not MY jam.

Now that I'm getting to spend some time in other areas of the city, I'm really feeling the magick of the place. So, I thought I'd name some of my current favorite places to play/shop/explore when I'm visiting.

Earth Magick is a lovely little magick shop on Lexington. The design of the shop is so serene and lovely and it's obviously lovingly curated. There's a wide selection of magickal tools, books and accoutrement. There's a little section in the back that features tarot readers, astrologers and other cosmically inclined professionals. And the energy of the place is so peaceful and elevated that I feel tenderly held from the moment I enter to the moment I leave.

I have two new favorite coffee shops in town: City Bakery (the one on Charlotte) and Liberty House Coffee & Cafe (on Liberty). The former has the most delicious beverages. (I'm a hot chocolate drinker, and my sister is a coffee drinker. We both swear by them.) The latter has gorgeous outdoor seating divided between gardens and patios, plus our friend, Anna, works there. Both are fantastic. I highly encourage you to stop by the next time you're in town.

Cornerstone Minerals & Natural History is one of many rock and crystal shops. And, to be fair, all of the crystal shops in town have something to offer. But Cornerstone is one of my favorite. It's been around for a long time, and I always seem to have friendly service there. Plus, I recently got a crystal from them that is really proving to be a powerhouse for me (a garden quartz - look for an IG post soon!), so there's that. They're conveniently located downtown on Lexington, and they have a super varied selection for all esthetics and wallets.

VENUS

You may already know I've been spending much of 2020 reintroducing myself to the goddess, Venus. I've been conducting my own Venus rituals on Fridays. (Friday is Venus' special day.)

My rituals started out as slightly elaborate affairs with a particular structure and form. After the first few attempts at those more formal ceremonies, I noticed I was kinda dreading doing them. Well, it wasn't so much that I was dreading the ceremony, but, rather, I was dreading all the energy required for all that pomp and circumstance.

Now, usually I'm all about pomp and circumstance. But, when I'm working something into my schedule on a consistent basis, I am learning that I'm more likely to keep it there if I keep it simple. So, my Venus rituals soon got pared down into much more simplified versions.

And this really worked well for me. In fact, it turns out, my interactions with Venus are much more intimate and intentional now. I'm gaining so much from engaging with Her in this way. Basically, my rituals are now an invocation followed by a conversation.

I talk with Her. I tell Her what's happening in my life. I offer Her praise and gratitude for everything She's sharing with me. I ask her guidance in my life. She's become a friend and confidant and counselor.

I am more and more aware of Her presence in my life. Since starting these rituals, I've had some amazing healing and expansion in so many areas of my life, and it's a direct result of Her blessings. There's more beauty and luxury in my life. My financial health has improved drastically. I've been processing and healing old sexual wounds. I've been opening myself more to Love, in all its many forms. I've been taking in the world through a more fully sensual perspective. It's done so much to improve my quality of life.

Venus is, after all, the epitome of living life to its fullest enjoyment. And that's what I strive for in my own life as well as here at Experiments In Bliss. Working with Venus on a consistent, loving and open basis has been one of the most blissful experiments I've ever undertaken. And the rewards are priceless.

​I hope you've all been enjoying the magick of Summer, despite all the uncertainties a global pandemic can bring. I'm sending you love and light as the heat of Summer wanes and the Autumnal breezes usher in a chill at Her heels. xoxo

Melanie Hayes
NCLMBT #4875, E14883, CYT

Email: experiments.in.bliss@gmail.com