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A little patch of paradise


Last week, I was up early in the morning after the recent storm, heading out to Sweet Roots Farm for a visit.

Raindrops still glistened on the pine needles in the sunlight, and grasses in unmown fields swayed in the breeze. Clouds moved slowly onto their next destination. The scent of deer brush filled the air. After two days in the Bay Area, I was happy to be back home.

Driving down Auburn Road was better than a Thanksgiving feast.

I met with Robbie Martin and Deena Miller. Their Sweet Roots Farm is located on a south facing hillside and valley surrounded by Poorman's and Wolf creeks. It's a little patch of paradise. Deena's family purchased the land many years ago as a possible retirement location. Robbie and Deena began farming here in 2010. After a few years in a trailer, they moved into a small house. It was built just in time for the arrival of Hazel who accompanied her mother and I around the farm gurgling and grumbling her farming opinions.

But every story should begin at its roots, sweet roots. In 2008, Deena was a student teacher at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at the University of California Santa Cruz. There she met Robbie, who was also a student. They are two of the more than 1,500 Ecological Horticulture apprentices that have been trained in this program over the years. Many of these young people have gone on to establish their own organic farms, oversee food policy or head similar programs.

This year UC Santa Cruz is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the beginning of this program, which was instrumental in launching the organic food movement. In its five decades, the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems has cultivated a community of thoughtful leaders who are redefining organic farming. It began with two professors/farmers who were looking for a way to minimize the heavy chemical impact of California's princess crop, strawberries. In addition to training young farmers and creating a free 700-page training guide, the center's researchers developed novel approaches to many pesticide issues. Once they were considered radical innovations; today they are used by farmers all over the world.

In their sixth year of farming, Deena and Robbie are still passionate about spending time outdoors, growing things. But as business owners, they must analyze which products and services are helping them build their bottom line.

"I'm beginning to not feel overwhelmed about the farm. Robbie and I are finally seeing that there is a potential of it being sustainable," Deena said, flashing her thousand-watt smile.

Because Nevada County is becoming well known as a wedding destination, flowers have become their most profitable and enjoyable crop. Deena sells certified organic flowers in bulk buckets or does full service weddings designing and setting up all the arrangements — the table settings, bouquets and arbors. Last year she booked 36 weddings as well as special events.

"Brides are drawn to our huge palette of colors," she said, "shapes and textures that aren't available through the regular florists."

Growing and selling vegetable starts is another revenue source in the spring. They also wholesale eleven different certified organic vegetables to BriarPatch, Three Forks restaurant and other local establishments.

Everyone agrees beautiful flowers are food for the soul, but there are many that are actually edible. They add texture and a rainbow of color to a salad. Deena recommends calendulas, stock, dianthus, marigolds and bachelor's buttons; all are all safe to eat. Rose petals also give a lovely scent to a salad, but only those grown by someone you know that have not been sprayed should be eaten.

An easy and simple salad might be to start with a variety of baby greens, about 3 ounces. Grated carrot would add some sweetness and a light vinegar and oil dressing using a small shallot, perhaps lemon or orange juice, white wine or champagne vinegar, pinch of salt and fresh grated pepper. Flowers are too delicate to chop with a knife. Better to tear them apart by hand. Add them just before serving and after you've dressed the salad.Read more at:prom dress | evening dresses uk


10:06 Publié dans Fashion | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


Showcasing the Mx stardom


Dhwayah means dual, a term that beautifully captures the essence of transgender life. When Renju Renjimar founded Dhwayah Arts and Cultural Society, all she wanted was to create a space for her community members, and now, the society is all set for its biggest event so far- the first ever transgender beauty pageant in Kerala to be held in Kochi on June 15.

“There are many extremely talented individuals in our community. But they are often denied access to beauty contests because of their TG identity. They lack a platform to showcase their talent and Queen of Dhwayah 2017 offers exactly that. It’s also an attempt to integrate them into the mainstream,” says the celebrity make-up artist.

Fifteen contestants from various parts of Kerala will be vying for the crown of Queen of Dhwayah 2017, a gala event expected to feature a string of celebrities. “We conducted auditions in Kollam, Kochi and Kozhikode. 25 participants were selected and from them 15 contestants will be shortlisted for the final,” she says. The grand finale will be a star-studded affair to be graced by celebrities like Bollywood actor Madhubala, Shweta Menon, Parvathy Omanakuttan, Mamta Mohandas, Bhavana, Remya Nambeesan, Prayaga Martin and Rimi Tomy. “Shamna Kasim, Mukta and Krishnprabha will be performing at the event,” she adds.

Renju says Queen of Dhwayah 2017 is not just a beauty contest, but a venue for transgenders to come out and claim their space. “There were grooming sessions after each auditions and the contestants say it immensely helped to boost their confidence levels. There are participants from remote parts who are normally denied all opportunities to come out and be independent,” she says.

The pageant is a platform to motivate the community members to come forward, she adds.“Lack of formal education and one factor that prevents transgenders to make it to mainstream. There are colleges with a column for transgenders in their application forms, but the students have to face a lot of harassment and they are not very comfortable in such institutions. Dhwayah 2017 is also an attempt from our part to spread an awareness, to sensitise the society,” she says.

Queen of Dhwayah will follow all the rules of regular beauty pageants and have eminent personalities as judges. “Apart from the winners, there will be a number of other titles as well. Getting any title like Miss Beautiful Hair or Miss Beautiful Eyes will be a great motivation to the participants,” she says. Though there has been great support form the celebrity community and public, the event has no sponsor so far. “Amidst all the happiness it’s something that bothers us. Hopefully we will get a good sponsor soon,” she winds up.Read more at:white evening dresses | royal blue prom dresses


11:07 Publié dans Fashion | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


Heirlooms: from me, to you, stylishly


(Photo:plus size prom dresses)

Last week, Katie Holmes revealed that she intends to pass down several of her Met Gala gowns, including the most recent ruffled demure teal Zac Posen dress, to her daughter Suri. Not only will the dresses carry economic value and cultural significance, but, perhaps most importantly for Suri, they will serve as a connection to her mother, telling the story of her social success and becoming threads in her legacy to be worn by later generations.

‘Loom’ originally meant tool (from the Old English geloma – meaning ‘utensil, tool’), so the word ‘heirloom’ is historically suggestive of a tool being passed down hereditarily. While we no longer commonly pass down axes or hammers to our grandchildren as they did in the fourteenth century (not only for fear of possible grievous harm but because the modern expectation is for an heirloom to be a valuable, at times quirky, often aesthetically pleasing object), the ritual of passing down items of familial and social worth continues. The word ‘loom’ more commonly refers to a machine that weaves thread or yarn into fabric. Heirlooms, as such, may be viewed as romantic weavers of ancestral life-threads with contemporary life-threads; as creative drivers of the metaphorical fabric of familial tapestry shrouded in mystery and pride.

Heirlooms can have sizeable monetary valuable, and have historically signalled social status. Whether it be an obscure engagement ring of a great-great-aunt, cufflinks, a *gasp* signet ring, or a family cross, jewellery is a common form of family heirloom that marks a stage of life, such as marriage, reaching the age of 21, or bequeathed in a will of a loved one. Kate Middleton’s Garrard & Co. Ceylon sapphire engagement ring belonged to Princess Diana. She also wore the ‘Halo’ Cartier royal heirloom tiara in 2011, something originally bought for the Queen Mother by King George VI. Closer to home is a tiara called the ‘Cambridge Lover’s Knot’, which belonged to Diana; a diamond and pearl tiara passed from Queen Mary to Queen Elizabeth II to Princess Diana and now to the current Duchess of Cambridge. Not only for Kate, but for all, having an heirloom brings with it responsibility of care and tradition continuation in the context of its history.

It is common for families to pass down historical items of clothing and fabric, not just for the rich and famous; christening dresses, childhood clothes and family linen are common examples. Men may hand down suits, while women often hand down their wedding dresses. Earlier this year Tess Newall got married in her great-great-grandmother’s 150-year-old wedding dress, and then found that the dry-cleaners she had entrusted with her family’s heirloom had lost it. The sense of loss must have been immense, not only for the raw absence of her own wedding memories, but also for the long-term familial loss , so she took to the press to spread the word, and fortunately, the dress reappeared. I know family members who have been less fortunate, losing pictures, paintings, clothes, diaries, and recipes to fire. In a world of fast-fashion, heirlooms have a novel fragility. Such items have a precarious nature, for they are not only perishable due to their age, but also the sensitivity of stories attached to them. Their personal value lies in subjective association, rather than objective worth. In this way, they are irreplaceable.

The fashion industry has recently been harking back to the past, with silk, velvet, lace all reappearing in the sartorial spotlight, which is perhaps suggestive of a nostalgia for the times gone by that heirlooms exemplify. In a time of constant change, heirlooms offer a channel for people to reweave themselves into the tapestry of their past and to be inspired by the lives of their ancestors. It is through history that there is familial diversity in a world which values norms. Without heirlooms, familial fabric can fade.Read more at:long prom dresses


08:22 Publié dans Fashion | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)