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Always Think Big and Shop Small

Small Business Saturday came and went this year and it was quite a success for many small businesses around the country – a record high $17.8 billion to be exact.

That is wonderful news for all our friends who run small biz commerce, but this doesn’t have to be a one day event. Plus, many of us prefer to to avoid shopping right after a holiday. We can continue to support local makers, artisans and creatives by purchasing the meaningful gifts they sell rather than the mass produced drivel many people wrap up and dish off to their family and friends year after year.

If you’re still looking for unique gifts, here is a list of all the small biz shops I love and will continue to support this holiday season:

1. Burro on Abbot Kinneyburrogoods.com
Burro carries an eclectic, thoughtful selection of everything you need to live a well-styled California life.

2. Guild on Abbot Kinneyguildla.com
Women’s fashion boutique and home to some favorite brands from around the world, like Freda Salvador and X Karla.

3. Tumbleweed & Dandelion on Abbot Kinneytumbleweedanddandelion.com

For the past two decades, Tumbleweed & Dandelion has provided Southern California and clients from around the world with custom home furnishings and goods all handmade in America.

4. Ya Livingwww.yaliving.com

Ya living collaborates with some of the most talented and skilled artisans and designers across the globe. Using the printing, dying and embroidery techniques they have developed and perfected over centuries, they create products that have a contemporary sensibility and exotic appeal.

5. Maison Bettina Duncanmaisonbettinaduncan.com

Maison Bettina Duncan jewelry is designed by Bettina and her team in Los Angeles using all natural gemstones sourced from around the world.

Also, while you’re getting your last minute shopping done, pop in some headphones and click here to check out my November Spotify Playlist.

The Star Science

The Juliette Interviews: The Star Science by Rob Perri

I have always been fascinated with Astrology. The concept that we are all born under a set of cosmic rules that may (or may not) govern our everyday lives is mind-boggling and I’m always open to learning more about this phenomenon.

Last week, I had the pleasure of having my chart read by Rob Perri who has recently started The Star Science, a service in which he offers readings based on your natal chart, solar returns – most importantly, synastry and the way our chart interacts with someone else’s, done in a more pragmatic and scientific way.

After my reading, I was blown away and had so many questions about Rob and his approach to astrology and star science.

Here is more about what he does and the wisdom he has to offer all of us:

JH: How did you get interested in reading astrology?

RP: I came to astrology as a skeptic. The idea that everybody of the same Sun sign could be experiencing something similar seemed ludicrous to me and anyone reading into a small blurb in their daily newspaper was really just engaging in wishful thinking and a form of entertainment. In many ways, I still believe that. But I set out to learn about astrology to prove that it was nonsense and it wasn’t until I started to study it that I realized it was much more complex than just your Sun sign. The natal chart as a whole and the way it interacts with transits and progressions is significant and the exact degrees and aspects that the planets make to each other has a mathematical and scientific element to it, while also having an archetypal and mythological component.

That’s where it can become more vague and nebulous. So it’s the combination of archetypes, mythological stories, and a form of mathematics and geometry that is at the heart of what astrology is for me. I think we can all agree that, even with all of our scientific achievements, there is something extremely mysterious about life and I believe that astrology can offer some insight into what is hidden, enigmatic, and magical about the universe. On a more mundane level, the moon has an effect on the tides. A significant part of our biological make up is water so naturally the moon will have a pull on our physical structure just as it does with the ocean. Well then what about the other planetary bodies? What about their effect on us?

JH: What type of astrology readings do you offer?

RP: I offer general natal chart readings, solar returns, progressed chart analysis, and synastry readings. The synastry reading, the way your chart interacts with someone else’s, has been quite popular. People like to have more information about the nature of relationships that they’re entering into and this type of reading can certainly offer insight into potential challenges and strengths of relationship dynamics.

JH: What information do you need from someone, other than their sign, to give a proper reading?

RP: In order to provide an accurate reading, I need the DOB, exact birth time and location. The birth time is essential for a precise reading.

JH: Without giving away any secrets, can you share a bit about your specific process to reading someone’s chart?

RP: I don’t think there’s any secret to it and I try to be as scientific as possible. It’s beneficial to know if there is an upcoming transit that is challenging. It’s like a weather report. If there’s a storm on the horizon, it’s worth investing in a raincoat. What I attempt to do is illuminate for each individual their strengths and weaknesses and where their energy is best directed in this life. I like to get to know the person and assist them in becoming the best version of themselves and this type of analysis can be extremely helpful in understanding their basic nature.

JH: How do you feel people can best utilize astrology in their daily lives and spiritual growth?

RP: For some people, they just need confirmation that what they feel inside is okay and correct. Sometimes the mind can create a story that is detrimental and regressive and it can be a terrible hinderance. That voice can be loud and pervasive and horribly damaging to spiritual growth. Meanwhile, the softer inner voice, is urging you to become who you are. Meditation is a great way to quiet the ego mind and contact your intuition. I like to help people get in touch with that voice in any way I can. For instance, it might be part of someone’s life plan to explore an artistic endeavor but they’re scared because it’s uncharted territory and subsequently they stray from their path out of fear. I like to give people the courage to face these challenges head on so they can fulfill what they came here to do. The information embedded in our charts is a great way to get in touch with our destiny.

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JH: In your opinion, what is the most powerful thing about astrology and having your chart read?

RP: For me, I think it’s gaining an understanding of where your soul is trying to go in this life. Each life is encoded with a purpose, some type of merit or experience that it’s attempting to attain. We may intuitively feel the call towards this but never truly actualize it out of fear or a clinging to what we already know or things that are more familiar. The Nodes of the Moon are elliptical points on the moon’s trajectory in orbit and supposedly how we incarnate into this physical realm. The North Node is where your soul is trying to go, what your attempting to attain in this life. Conversely, the South Node is where you’re coming from, things you’ve overdone or merits you’ve already gained from previous lifetimes. So there are potential gifts in the South Node area but you are meant to use them in order to move towards the more uncomfortable calling of the North Node. Some people instinctively know to move towards their North Node and are actively doing it everyday without fear or difficulty and that may be reflected in the positive aspects directed at their Nodal axis. Some people may have a restrictive influence afflicting them making it that much harder to achieve their goals. It’s beneficial to know these things. It’s possible we choose these challenges for ourselves from some plane of existence that is hidden from us in this material realm.

JH: Do people born under the same sign really exhibit the same traits or is it more than that?

RP: It’s much more than that. Your Sun and it’s sign placement are but one aspect of your chart. It’s an important aspect because it speaks to your life force and how you shine. But someone who’s Sun is in Leo in their 10th house of career will express that energy differently than someone who’s Sun is in Leo in their 4th house of home and family. To add to that, an individual may have to contend with a square from Saturn that challenges their Sun and it’s ability to express itself. This could be a life long struggle. The way the planets aspect each other is the full picture of each individual and what makes each of us unique and interesting. Basic Sun sign interpretation is but a tiny aspect of astrology and quite rudimentary. The full picture is much more complex, scientific, and fascinating.

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JH: Astrology fascinates me on many levels and there are many people who see this as a tool to predict the future or measure their karmic retribution. What would you say to those who feel this way and is there any truth to any of that?

RP: I try not to make concrete predictions and just attempt to explore the energy that is coming through from moment to moment. The Universe is an ebb and flow of positive and negative forces that is constantly in flux. It makes no sense to cling to positive outcomes and avert negative ones as both are necessary and adjunct parts of life. If we’re able to see that a difficult transit is approaching we can brace for it and try to recognize its purpose. Often times people look back on difficult life experiences as essential for their growth, however, when they were going through it they were crying out “Dear God, Why me?”

If we can gain a basic understanding of the reason we are faced with challenges then we can meet them head on instead of being blindsided. By the same token, it’s nice to know when you will be having a pleasant and harmonious transit and to make the most out of it. The Sun even shines on a dog’s ass from time to time. We all go through periods when we’re looking a little sexier or we’ve focused on eating healthier or working out and it’s reflected in our outward appearance. Or we’re going through a renaissance in our career or taken a year to get in touch with metaphysical concepts.

There’s a time and a place for everything and knowing that it’s the right time for a particular endeavor can be essential in fully engaging in it. All that being said, there are certainly karmic forces at play and it can be a difficult thing to understand and predict and while I may make someone aware that karmic implications are at play, I also try not to mess with it too much. Sometimes it just needs to play itself out and that’s the best thing for all involved. We all have to pay the piper at some point.

If you’re interested in a reading, Rob can be reached through Instagram @thestarscience – give him a follow and send a direct message to set up a reading. If you don’t have or use Instagram – let me know and I will connect you.

How to create your own 5-star luxury bedroom

Have you ever spent a weekend at a luxury hotel and said to yourself “I wish this was my bedroom?” As silly as that sounds – the more comfortable, yet minimalistic your bedroom is, the more sound you will likely sleep.

There is a reason why luxury hotels create this vibe – they want you to come back! So it would only make sense that you create this experience for yourself.

Looking to maximize your bedroom comfort but not sure how to do it? See below for my tips on what to do and where to buy:

1. Buy the right sheets and linens: I love Matteo. They are Los Angeles based and they have one simple philosophy: “to awaken the spirit of American manufacturing by fashioning sewn textiles” – meaning everything is hand made and they inspect every single sheet, producing the best quality you can buy.

2. Make sure you have the right lighting: Create the right mood with specific type of lighting that fits your bedroom. Is it a couple of table lamps you need or will a ceiling lamp do the trick? Maybe both! A good place to start would be HD Buttercup, they have all kinds of well-designed lighting options.

3. Curate some good smells: You obviously want an inviting smell in your bedroom – nothing too overpowering though. Try a candle from Diptyque Feu de Bois or Le Labo. They have some of the best scented candles you can buy. Le Labo Santal is my favorite!

4. Try some new window treatments: They say its best to wake up with the sun and keep your room bright, but that’s really not luxury hotel sleep. Try adding some options to your windows, like layering sheer curtains combined with a blackout layer. West Elm is a good place to start.

5. Make sure your room is minimalistic: Like my feng shui practioner Anita Rosenberg said in my interview with her, “Bedrooms have 2 purposes only; recharge your battery through sleep and rejuvenate your spirit through romance” Now even though a luxury hotel may have a TV in the room, I say get rid of it. Lose the plants too and any excess you don’t need or use in there.

6. Choose a cozy palette: Make sure to pick the right paint color for your room, something relaxing and peaceful works best. Nothing too loud or too bright. Portola Paints has some lovely colors.

7. Make it yours: This is important, you want it to feel both luxury and personal. Accentuate it with some hand-made home goods. I recommend visiting Tumbleweed & Dandelion or The Arc to start.

If you make even a few of these simple changes to your bedroom, you’re guaranteed to have a better nights sleep. Oh and don’t forget some good music to fill the room with ambience. Click here for my Spotify Picks for the month of October.

Tiffany Payne Malkin

The Juliette Interviews: The Arc by Tiffany Payne Malkin

There are many lovely boutique shops in and around LA that specialize in selling handmade goods which can accentuate any home. For this month’s interview, I’d like to share The Arc, owned by Tiffany Payne Malkin and the unique mission and purpose of her shop.

The Arc is a storefront, studio and online space that is home to a meticulously chosen collection of refined, handmade goods from around the globe focusing on cultural and traditional modes of making. They are particularly passionate about women makers and entrepreneurs. They have everything from exquisite decorative objects for the home to one-of-a-kind estate jewelry. Their focus is on interior design and exceptional gifts for friends, family, and businesses.

JH: Who or what inspired you to build (for lack of a better word) The Arc?

TPM: My inspiration began with a curiosity and interest in how time periods and cultures express themselves through an object, methods of making as well as conscious consumerism. I have long been inspired by the women in my life who are talented artists and wanted to create a company that would function as a platform for supporting, collaborating and sharing work and ideas with the world.

This is what has become the heartbeat of The Arc, in articulating an avenue through which we can surround ourselves with objects and expressions of story, design, the artist hand and beauty in our daily lives effortlessly and delightfully. We love to have fun with it and not get too serious!

JH: Who did you have in mind as your client when developing your brand?

TPM: People who love to create meaningful beauty in their lives and the lives of those around them. We wanted to appeal to those who don’t want mass produced goods, love design, the discovery of cultures, and conversation pieces.

JH: How do you source your goods?

TPM: Sourcing goods is an ongoing journey deriving from a lifetime of travel, research, exploration, and discovery! My background is in Art Direction, Production Design, and Art History, so that along with a personal passion for how I collect for myself is how I’ve developed my sourcing mechanisms. My knowledge of designs, techniques, and objects specific to particular countries and having many talented, creator friends has been instrumental in our selection too. Lastly, the parameters with which we create the collection also largely informs how we source in that, while we welcome everyone, our collection focuses on the handcrafted and in large part consists of objects made by women. I often select brands based on their mission, resources, and quality of materials or ingredients.

JH: What products do you feel you sell the most of and why?

TPM: Primarily it is home goods. Our home pieces sell the most to interior designers because we provide objects that inspire their clients. Our vintage and estate pieces are loved as well because they are one of a kind and come from such unique eras, such as our Viking wedding rings from the 9th-10th century. This is one of the reasons why our clients rely on us when shopping for unique touches to bring into their interiors or when searching for gifts for the people in their life.

JH: What was the biggest challenge in starting this type of business?

TPM: The biggest challenge was to take the leap of faith in a loved idea!

JH: What type of goods do you feel are the most important to enrich the house and home?

TPM: Goods that are useful, beautiful and create a conversation about an artist, culture or place in the world due to their unique qualities.

JH: What’s next for The Arc, and where do you hope it will be in 10 years?

TPM: We pride ourselves on having unique goods and the element of surprise and discovery in our collection, but we are currently working on The Arc Essentials – collaborations, creations, and consistent products evolving that our clients can return to on an ongoing basis. We also launched The Arc Sessions with my talented friend, Feng Shui consultant Meghan Wallace James and are currently planning the next event in our store. Our newsletter will let everyone know when the next gathering of our passionate community will be! Building and expanding our unique gifting services as we head into the holiday season is where we will offer a selection of tastefully designed and packaged gift boxes for clients. In 10 years we hope to have expanded our reach to other cities, established our line of essentials, and enhanced the lives of the many artists and sustainable organizations changing women’s lives in a long-lasting and impactful way.

There is no better time than now to empower women around the globe, so thank you to Tiffany for helping to inspire us all!

You can visit The Arc online here: www.thearcshop.com or their brick and mortar store at 5121 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027.

The Joy of Float Therapy

There is what seems to be this bizarre, yet genius form of stress relief expanding around LA called Float Therapy (also known as Float Tanks or Isolation Tanks). The idea is fairly simple: you get undressed, shower off and lie down in a shallow pool of heavily salted water. This allows you to float without doing much else but lying there spread out in Christ pose. This is typically done inside a pod or tank which is meant to be dark – you do have control over opening the tank or pod whenever you’d like – and many of them have colorful lights and music.

The main goal here is to relieve stress and anxiety through sensory deprivation – in other words floating in complete silence, in the dark with only your own thoughts  – deprived of any stimuli to take your focus away from your own mind.

The even bigger idea here is to reach what is called the theta state, which often happens in the final 20 minutes of the float.  Theta state also happens just as we fall asleep, when our brain waves go from alpha (or beta) into theta, the most relaxed our body becomes just before drifting into dream land. This can last for several minutes without you actually falling asleep, giving you a weightless feeling, as though you are floating in space.

So now that you know the science behind float therapy you’re probably dying to know where you can do this and how quickly can you get there.

Here is a short list of places I recommend around LA:

1. Pause Float Studio - Santa Monica. 310.439.1972. pausefloatstudio.com

2. Float Lab - 2 locations, Venice & Brentwood. 310-396-3336. floatlab.com

3. Just Float - Pasadena. 818.639.3572

4. Float Clinic - Torrance. 310.702.6870

So if you’re feeling stressed or want to know what its like to completely deprive your senses of any stimulation for a good 30 mins to an hour, book a session and let me know how it turned out.

DISCLAIMER: 150 EL CAMINO DRIVE, BEVERLY HILLS, CA 90212. 310 595 3888 © 2018 DOUGLAS ELLIMAN REAL ESTATE. ALL MATERIAL PRESENTED HEREIN IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY. WHILE, THIS INFORMATION IS BELIEVED TO BE CORRECT, IT IS REPRESENTED SUBJECT TO ERRORS, OMISSIONS, CHANGES OR WITHDRAWAL WITHOUT NOTICE. ALL PROPERTY INFORMATION, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO SQUARE FOOTAGE, ROOM COUNT, NUMBER OF BEDROOMS AND THE SCHOOL DISTRICT IN PROPERTY LISTINGS SHOULD BE VERIFIED BY YOUR OWN ATTORNEY, ARCHITECT OR ZONING EXPERT. EQUAL HOUSING OPPORTUNITY