Awakening the Senses

No doubt, Spring has arrived. Ready or not.  Slightly resistant of the notion, personally, since as I’ve gotten more mature I embrace fall and winter. But it’s the time to embrace and not hold back. Make way for what wants to enter. Clear the space. Spring is here!  And here we have Wisteria, Italian style.  The color is simply divine. The species is rather invasive. I wanted to begin my post with nature, as always, and thought this was a great way to sum up Spring’s arrival via a shot I took in Italy. Welcome to this journey.

Below we see the unusual cypress trees indicative of the Italian countryside. I love them! When I shoot photos, I just go with my instincts and what captures my eye.

Easter has come and gone, but I spent my time in bed with a flu that I never saw coming. The trip to Italy this month I pretended to be my end-all, be-all. The trip with answers. My salvation.  Enlightenment. Or so I thought. I am on the up from being so far down, hallucinations during the night and all in a numb yet feverish state for more than three nights in a row. In retrospect, I think it was a mind altering drug. Not. I now realize my body shut down. Had no choice but to embrace hiding from the 80+degree days Easter Sunday and Marathon Monday. Simply hiding. Tossing and turning within my deep charcoal linen sheets enveloping me in within this tumultuous turmoil of fever. Thank God for grapefruit juice and blinds. This too, shall pass. I digress.

The Church. It’s Palm Sunday. I am in Florence. For the second trip from our home base of Montecatini- Tuscany. The highlight of my trip to Italy, in all honesty was the serendipitous discovery through the scent. Incense smoke from the cobblestone back streets in Florence, not far from the Santa Maria Train Station, leading my sister and I towards this elegant antique structure. The the overpowering fluid scent moving with intoxicating lure through the air – beckoning a surprise discovery. Here comes the mystery…..Embarking on this beauty and spirituality in this environment.

Palm Sunday 2017 Florence. Love. Heart opening.  The scent of Frankincense filled the Church’s entirety. Oh Bless.

We took part in Palm Sunday Mass, in Latin, like eras gone by in the US. The experience and the authenticity of  church, the nuns, looking like a painting, the architecture. I  was transported to another century. The history was soul grounding. Aren’t the ladies gorgeous?  Their graceful voices filled with melody envelop the entire church. The scene below I captured with my phone  during mass. A no no. But look at them! This scene looks like a painting. Their cloaks so majestic! This Latin mass set the tone of the day trip to Florence for me.

As we left this beautiful scene behind us, we ventured out by foot into the tourist driven scenes around the city of Florence. I placed my eyes and camera to work, seeking new discoveries and nuances along the beaten path. No stone left unturned. Taking nothing for granted. The history and age depicted below from a simple shot of these weathered shutter doors spoke to me of their years of wear and oh, what a beautiful patina tones.

OH the architecture with effortless beauty and stature. I recognized various tones of Ochre sprinkled throughout the country as its signature color. The rustic buildings and terrain lend themselves to these earthy tones.

I never tired of seeing these colors everywhere. The building below is a bit more elaborate than those above, regardless the natural age and beauty took breath away.

Food, Glorious Food

I wish I had a bevy of photos portraying the amazing food we had, but much to my dismay, the food was not that at all. It seems to me that there are more Italian restaurants with better ambiance here in the United States. And you can be sure you will not have to listen to the likes of Joe Cocker or Elton John while dining, as we did there in these very brightly lit rooms. WHAT THE HELL? I say. And no, we were not in tourist areas. We found little places family run, speaking next to no English. No candlelight. Just artificial flowers and ghastly lighting! Crazy!

The pasta was light, certainly delicious, but what’s with the lack of vegetables on every single menu? This  dish below was the best one on the entire trip. Succulent. Fresh wide pasta tubes crawling with seafood. Simply delicious! Not to mention the Tuscan wine we had to accompany our meal. Just a delight!  So wrapping up my trip, I will say that I missed having vegetable options, and am perplexed as to the void of them. Upon my return home, I hightailed it to Russo’s market in Watertown. I was immediately elevated back to a level of sophistication, in-depth produce offerings and fresh pastas unlike I’d ever seen. Alas it IS Spring.

I am totally perplexed as to the absence of all vegetables in Italy. Not in the street, on the menus, no where in sight! Perhaps it was the region we visited. I am not certain, but I do know this – here, they prominently thrive and exist.  I am very grateful and blessed to be a part of this earth here in New England. You serve us well! Spring represents many things, but in the realm of food, as the soil becomes richer and richer in nutrients, the spring bounty awakens. Artichokes and asparagus are the most obvious foods that represent Spring to me. Stuffing artichokes is a ritual I grew up with. It was our holiday food. I celebrate many different holidays with this beautiful vegetable. Slightly complex, but worth every moment. The Romans and Greeks advocated the medicinal and health benefiting  qualities of this thistle.  The high fiber content not to missed either.  The antioxidants and vitamins also offer vitamin C, vitamin K, rich in the B complex not to mention high in potassium. They need some time to prepare, but worth the effort. I love to sautée them after they have been cut in quarters and trimmed, with shallots, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. They are delicious one leaf at a time. The stems are especially hearty and fibrous.

Mushrooms on the other hand are plentiful at Russo’s market. They have so many varieties, and in all honesty- slightly scary to me since I am unfamiliar with many of them. The concept of foraging mushrooms turns me on, but that is not my calling. I’ll leave that to the pros. Radicchio, baby lettuce and fresh asparagus below in major abundance. The bitter deep red leaves of radicchio just taste so good raw, or grilled. Have you ever tried to grill them? They take on a very nutty flavor. Drizzle a little olive oil, salt, pepper and just a dash of balsamic before they hit the heat. I’ll show you a salad I conjured up in celebration of my return from Italy below, using escarole, radicchio, clementine slices and black Moroccan olives.

This salad was so refreshing, especially after the absence of raw vegetables. The colors, textures and  the taste was spot on, balanced and divine. Oh did I mention shaved fennel? I’ve posted the dressing recipe in the past, I believe. Please for pardon the repeat. 4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 2tsp dijon country style mustard, 2 minced cloves garlic, 2/3 cup olive oil drizzled into the mix. Add a small amount of cracked pepper. Voila. Done.

Marilyn Sang ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’

There you have it! Spring has sprung. April. The month of Diamonds. The birthstone for April. Clarity. Purity. Diamonds glistening in the sun, catching the light with grace. The healing properties of this magnificent stone are abundant. Diamonds truly are the symbol of purity. Their white light can help you bring your life into a cohesive whole. They bond relationships bringing love and clarity into a partnership. This stone has been the symbol of wealth for centuries. It is a stone of manifestation, attracting abundance. Diamonds are also well known to impart fearlessness, invincibility and fortitude. Diamonds clear emotional and mental pain, reducing fear and bring about new beginnings. This is a highly creative stone stimulating imagination and inventiveness. Happy Birthday you April babies!  One of my new pieces, AMODINI,  shown below looks like a relic from the Victorian era.  The multi strands of hand cut amethyst stones are wire wrapped making the connection. I’ve attached a locket as the pendant, swinging from a diamond bale which is held by all 5 strands. A halo of diamonds surround the enclosed locket. The circle measures 1.25″ and the necklace is 17″ in length.

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend! They simply make you feel good and rich when wearing them. Anywhere on the body!  For some reason, I’m favoring the circular shape, so here are a pair of diamond disc earrings, PRAMA, suspended on 18k gold earwires. These babies are 15mm and ready to order. I have 11mm in stock. Aren’t these dangle and drop earrings gorgeous?

And let me introduce to you a brand new piece featuring a circular Sunburst with a dangling tourmaline in the center. The piece is suspended from black onyx, spinel, lava and olive wood. The only color visible here is the subtle blue tourmaline. It was shot in early morning light against my zinc desk. Soon enough the weather will break and allow me to shoot outdoors once again.

This Diamond Sunburst makes me think about the sun growing higher in the sky, as the season sets in. Summer will be here before we know it. It’s time to embrace the warmth and all of the newly sprouted plants. Our souls are also sprouting. Remember that. We are living creatures with awakening senses. Time to celebrate our renewal!

I hope you enjoyed this blog journey.

Yours in joy,

Dava

 

Harvesting the Senses

Hello everyone! As summer winds down, the time is right to observe a slight chill approaching, shorter days and lots of bounty in the food arena. This time of year gives us the opportunity to squeeze in outdoor activities, as we enjoy the lazy hazy hot sizzling summer days dwindle. We have had a glorious Summer, weather wise, certainly no shortage of Vitamin D! These past few days, however, have delivered an edge, with the skies opening right up. The over due down pour is so refreshing. I was able to capture the rain drops on my windshield yesterday, delighted with the results. Not exactly sure what it is that allows concentration to come easier when 
IMG_9535the sky reveals clouds, mist, fog and rain rather than the relentless blaring sun. But it does. The time will be here again soon enough, so for now we celebrate the harvest abound. I start with something I can’t recall ever seeing until this trip to Russo’s in Watertown. Such fun! The rich colors are so inviting. What I did withIMG_9531these orange plum tomatoes, is slice and saute’ in olive oil, several cloves of chopped garlic, fresh basil, salt and pepper. It made a wonderful rustic “sauce” served over fresh pasta. Simple. The next recipe I’ve been making several times a week just because tomatoes are addicting this time of year. IMG_5871The photo above reflects a baby heirloom tomato medley, chopped English cucumber, small amount of chopped celery for more texture, capers, lime, cilantro. The “dressing” is nothing but 1/4 cup of olive oil heated with chopped garlic, and my new twist is adding shallot also. It gives the dish a rounder flavor. Squeeze the lime on the vegetables while the heated oil does its thing; run outside to my herb garden, and slice a big bunch of cilantro with scissors; slice it all over the bright contents in the bowl. By now,the
 chopped shallots and garlic  pop from the heat in the oil. Let it sit for a few minutes. Add crushed salt and pepper, then pour the oil mixture over the contents in the bowl.. Using salad servers, mix it well. refrigerate. Then pull out at meal time, and snip some fresh chives over it. Delicious!

Late summer boasts Harvesting, and appropriately named, I have concluded my latest collection of jewelry from Nymph. Allow me to introduce HARVEST.ImageThe Moody Blues sang “as the reds, browns, golds of Autumn lie in the gutter dead”; I add greens to this mixture. This collection is not shy of bold color nor pendants. They all feel like talisman to me. Your body will find comfort in these shapes and tones as the energy  speaks to the heart and  root chakras. Above you can see how much I enjoy shooting the gemstones on natural elements usually found in the woods behind my place of dwelling. Some of the pendants are adorned further using the halo treatment of diamonds surrounding the large gemstones.  Above, you’ll see aventurine, hessionite garnet in a couple of pieces ( very autumnal ), tanzanite mixed with citrine, african turquoise mixed with olive wood, holding a very large faceted topaz drop, triple strands of 31″ long brass and sterling silver giving way to the most magnificent rutilated quartz ever and in the center bottom row, is a newly learned stone for me Pietersite- it’s held with hessionite garnet and olive wood. Pietersite is known as the stone of vision. It is also a stone that resembles a thunderstorm bringing cleansing energy to aid one to create change.  Pietersite is known to help make an energetic connection to one’s deeper spiritual inner self. All of the pieces above and any of them from my collection speaks messages, sings tunes, and enlightens the mind and heart. Once you touch – you’ll see exactly what I mean. All are on display now for you to play with at MATSU, 92 Boston Post Road, Sudbury, Ma. 01776. Just call for an appointment. My hours will be back to normal after this coming weekend. Everyone is somewhere, other than here. Traffic differs so much to that of Newbury St back when!

 I’d like to complete my post this month with two “events”. The first is by introducing something I’ve been asked to replicate now for years… I did it. In the form of a Candle.! My signature scent will now be available in the form of a soy base candle, poured here in the US., hand packaged in Sudbury, and brought into your life.  60 hour burn time. $58. Available late September. DAVA.Candle1‘d a v a ‘ as appropriately named, you’ll discover once you smell this amazing scent. As described on the box; Hints of sandalwood, exotic spice and fresh air collide to create a rich and earthy fragrance conjuring a sensual and meditative state of mind.  

On September 20th, I’ll be holding my first event this Autumn. BOOK SIGNING< READING & SPIRITED DISCUSSION at Matsu, among all of the new merchandise in for fall! If you’d like to read this Memoir written by Diane Fraser, I’ll have it in store for purchase or you can go to Amazon. Growing Up Super Heroes. You will never take anything for granted in your life again. This book is very powerful, and I promise Sunday, September 20th will also be insightful. 11-4. 92 Boston Post Road.

 

Thank you for joining me on this journey. I look forward to seeing you in store and at this event very soon.

Yours in joy and style,

Dava

Beyond the Diminishing Hues of Autumnal Bliss

Yes, it’s really here!  Turning back the clocks early in the month was the first hint of the last days of Autumn. Pumpkin pies, Thanksgiving and visitors from afar all flocking to be with family and friends. This time of year is peaceful and unpretentious. I personally feel few expectations through Thanksgiving. As long as I don’t strive for utter perfection, the season can be very tranquil and calm. It is a rich season, visually and nutritionally. The days are also as simple as November’s birthstones: Citrine and Topaz. Both are very warm colors, just like the foods we cook, serve and eat for ourselves and loved ones.

There are so many places we can see richness in our lives – foods being several of them. As the seasons turn, the gourd family become much more available and popular. Below we see a lovely pumpkin pie. Other mouth watering options are pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin risotto, and pumpkin bread. This humble vegetable is an excellent source of carotenes, vitamins A, C and E. They also offer minerals, antioxidants and plenty of potassium.

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One of my favorite seasonal foods is butternut squash. I love it roasted with garlic, herbs, and shallots. I’m a fan of savory flavors, rather than sweet. You can change the whole flavor by adding cumin, turmeric, and other Middle Eastern spices as well.  Look at these cute little cubed pieces of fruit. Yes, butternut squash is from the family of fruit. Rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants this “fruit” is so easy to prepare – especially when you can purchase them already cubed. Great time saver. Incorporating butternut squash into your diet can reduce inflammation-related disorders such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 11.55.17 AM

November is the last month we see of earthy colors, with the last of the golden brown leaves still attached to the bark on the trees before finally letting go. This fall was very rich, and I see a fair amount of these deeply hued leaves still hanging on. They don’t want autumn to end. We know what comes next. But not quite yet! This tree clearly is hanging on. I don’t blame her! She’s gorgeous. IMG_3219

As I’ve said, it is a rich season, visually and nutritionally. May I introduce to you the birthstones of November: Citrine and Topaz. Both very warm, golden colors, just like the foods of the season. I’ve used this stone of abundance in various fashions as you can see, below. I love it in contrast to rubies, love it with the warmth of olive wood and brass, and I cherish the unpolished deep honey hue stones when mixed with pyrite, sandalwood and Kali, the goddess of love.picstitch-2Citrine is a joyful stone with energy so bright lighting up many aspects of life for those who wear it. It’s unexpected luck can appear in your life. Citrine is known as a prosperity and success stone. It is said to promote and manifest success and abundance in all areas. Citrine combats negative energy, and brings positivity to the beholder. It can relieve depression, self doubt, anger and irrational mood swings. Who needs a pill? You can see these pieces on my Etsy Nymph Jewels site, for pricing, to purchase or for additional information.picstitch-4

Many have come to know the stone for the month of November called many things. Golden topaz, Madiera citrine and  Spanish topaz. The photos above reflect these tones. The top left photo is an adujustable necklace with huge honey tones citrine nuggets, along with a tiny cluster of Madiera citrines for contrast. The lower left photo are very lemony toned faceted citrines that are wire wrapped and have  black diamond accent bead. The necklace on the right is a combination of a large faceted topaz drop and a bevy of lighter toned citrines. I’ve added copper and a chizled emerald for more flavor. I elaborated on the nature and healing properties of citrine, because it’s one of my favorite stones to create with and to wear.

The key word that comes to my mind in November is gratitude. It’s an inward feeling of kindness received and an outward attitude of giving.IMG_4212

Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express this feeling. I try to remind myself to express this to all of those around me that have supported me. Beginning with my Mom and Dad who gave me this life. What I do with it is entirely up to me. The more conscious I am, the better quality of life I can live, and the more appreciated those surrounding me feel. Below, my 88 year old mother, a true creative inspiration, myself and my sister, whose patience in life is a lesson for me to strive for. I don’t like leaving out my other sibling, but have no photos of him- oh wait, I found one! He’s in he infant stage and I am not very far beyond it in this black and white family photo. I am very proud of his art, as a seasoned saxophonist, and dancer. Yes. We received these traits from my parents. Blessed, we are. Sometimes they are hidden and not so obvious, but grateful none-the-less, as the smallest of them are reason enough to be cherished.IMG_6798

I am so fortunate to have had a successful business on Newbury St for over 30 years. I am so fortunate to have had the experience in learning beyond what a boutique can teach you, which I acquired during my “reign” at Neiman Marcus. This was truly a full, head-on learning experience. I never knew how little knowledge I had within the corporate realm. I am truly grateful, for their patience and faith in me. I lived, learned and listened to my soul tell me it was time to move on down the road.

I then shifted gears towards what I thought would be more in line with what I knew and moved over to a smaller boutique in Newton, as many of you may know, Gilda’s. Although it resulted in my leaving after a very short period of time, I am very proud to have given it everything I had. In doing so, I learned more about me. My vision was very clear. It was not Gilda’s vision. My strengths appeared quietly but could not be applied in this environment. At first I was disappointed, but then realized this was a very clear sign that I was in the wrong place, as it was not serving my inner spirit. I am, however, very grateful for having been given the opportunity to shine there, but my light was unseen.  I move ahead, not looking back. IMG_6794

I am blessed, grateful and appreciative to all of those who believe in me and have supported me. What’s next? Listen very carefully.

I am relaunching MATSU. Yes, it’s true.

Details to follow.

Until then, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

Yours in joy,

Dava