Posts tagged conversations
What's in My Bag: with Maribeth Helen
Maribeth Helen

By now, I'm sure you've come across the work of Maribeth Helen. She is an herbalist, word witch and an all around incredible being. Maribeth's zine, Self Care in Uncertain Times, is well loved and has been widely coveted. Most likely to to its release during a time when we seem to need it most and the beautifully worded and relatable title.

Maribeth's words are akin to coming home. She has a way of sharing her knowledge and experiences that is so thoughtful and patient, which is something that is so valuable in this world. Needless to say, I was stoked when Maribeth agreed to share what she carries around in her bag and what keeps her feeling nourished and powerful. 

Maribeth also has some workshops coming up! So if you are lucky enough to live near the towns that she is teaching in, I strongly encourage you to reserve your spot asap. Check out her workshops page if you're in California or Massachusetts!

Spencre xo

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Over the years I have intentionally let go of many of my possessions as I moved around quite a bit. Recently I've even enjoyed leaving my bag in the car and walking out for a short hike with only my water bottle to carry. With that said, I like to keep certain well-loved potions (and snacks!) close, especially if I'm out in the city, going to work, or taking a longer trip away from home. I've been in the habit of keeping a good book in my bag as to spend down time or breaks reading instead of looking at my phone. Lately I've been carrying this special tote made by fellow herbalist and awesome friend Bonnie Rose Weaver. 

Maribeth Helen : What's In My Bag
Maribeth Helen : What's in My Bag

The Stuff!

 1. Balsam Fir Hydrosol by Fat and the Land Apothecary: Anja has such an incredible spirit and relationship with the earth. I am constantly inspired by her connection to the plants and how she infuses the magic of the season into everything she does. I've been carrying her gently cooling and deeply grounding balsam fir hydrosol to keep my nervous system at ease and to refresh my skin after skipping around in the warm California sun. 

2. Citrus Digestive Bitters by Urban Moonshine: I try not to go anywhere without bitters. This sensitive digestive system can use all the support it can get and Urban Moonshine does such a good job at blending powerful and effective herbs in such a gentle and tasty way. I like to drop these bitters right on my tongue or in a little warm water before or after a meal to invigorate and enliven my whole digestive system while helping to strengthen it's ability to assimilate nutrients from the foods I enjoy.  

3. Pink yarrow flower essence: I love sending and receiving mail and I love when my friends send me perfect potions that always seem to line up with what I need. My dear friend Maggie Ruth tends to have a very intuitive sense when it comes to sending me plant medicine. As a sensitive and compassionate human who lives and works in a city, I am often struggling to keep healthy boundaries around what energy is mine and what energies I need to release. Maggie's pink flower essence helps to ground me in staying true to myself while being in relationship with other people. 

4. Tulsi & Ginger Tea by Traditional Medicinals: I love tea, duh. :) This particular blend by Traditional Medicinals is so warming and incredibly grounding. It's my go to on the go tea in case I need to ground out or take a moment to recollect, get cozy, and reset when I'm out for the day. It's also great if I'm eating out and need some extra support for my digestive system....yeah I'm totally that person who brings their own tea to the restaurant. I don't drink so I am in the habit of bringing tea with me to gatherings where there might be alcohol and I want to drink something other than water, and this blend helps to take the edge off my social anxiety. 

5. The Hour of Land by Terry Tempest Williams: This. Book. I'm reading it for a second time. It is long and it is slow (like my favorite walks) and it is filled with many many incredibly potent moments of wisdom that come from this woman's unwavering love of the land here in the United States. She calls this book "A Personal Topography of America's National Parks" and I am a total nerd for it. It is personal, it is political, it is wild and soft, rooted in history and questioning, it's observant and spiritual and totally present. It is fine storytelling and full of poetry. 

6. Snacks! : I never go anywhere without snacks because well, hanger. To this day when I visit my parents, my mom still brings an extra bag of almonds for me, just in case. I'm not kidding. So, snacks. My snacks range but usually I try to include some protein and fat. I've been loving YES bars which are made here in the bay area and always sprouted nuts are a win, lately paired with a blood orange because I can't get enough of the color! 

7. Grapefruit Rose Lip Balm by Wild Carrot: I am really picky when it comes to my lip balm and with this windy Spring weather I am always reaching for my favorite by Wild Carrot Herbals out of Oregon

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Find Maribeth online at maribethhelen.com and on Instagram @maribethhelen

Photo by Bonnie Rose Weaver

Photo by Bonnie Rose Weaver

Photos by Maribeth Helen with the exception of the one above these words, which is by Bonnie Rose Weaver.

Interview with Lauren Haynes of Wooden Spoon Herbs

I've admired Lauren Hayne's work over at Wooden Spoon Herbs, for quite a while now. When I discovered her on Instagram, I was immediately taken with the presentation of her products and the fact that she was, for the most part, working solo behind the scenes of this beautiful herbal company. 

There are a lot of things in store for Lauren and Wooden Spoon Herbs this year. With her new offering of one on one wellness consultations, the upcoming Good Medicine Confluence in Durango, Co., and her Indiegogo campaign, Lauren is living proof that it's possible to create a world of beauty and knowledge while being a badass #businesswitch. 

In case you didn't know, Lauren has launched an Indiegogo campaign to create her dream studio for Wooden Spoon Herbs. They have outgrown their current space and by contributing or simply sharing the campaign page, you're helping a small and trusted business expand and share more herbal medicine with the world. Which is always important. Check it out HERE


xx Spencre

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Photo by Lauren Haynes

Photo by Lauren Haynes

I like to start with the basics and I’m always so curious, what brought you to herbalism? Were plants a childhood fascination or something you discovered later on?

Plants were definitely a childhood fascination, along with animals! I have vivid memories of super verdant moss and the drive out to the country to visit relatives. I just wanted to coddle and nurture anything living, to develop relationship with it. So I loved all living things, and couldn’t wait to grow up to take care of the earth, buy organic foods, have a garden. I remember my mom telling me once, “I hope you get a good job to pay for all that organic food.”

My journey with herbalism began whilst working at a health food store. Walking around on my break one day, I discovered a selection of tinctures that were on clearance and only $5 apiece. Being the supreme bargain hunter I am, I wrote down the names of the plants and researched them all once I got home. And I was astounded. These plants could do so much. And such a variety of things! This really opened up my mind to how far we could go in self sufficiency and leaning on the earth to provide for us. There was no turning back!

 

You built Wooden Spoon Herbs mainly on your own, what has been the most challenging part about being a small business owner without a partner(s) for you?

Oof, great question. Well, really I started this business just going for it, knowing nothing about business. Very DIY, just like everything else I’ve ever done or made. Sometimes I do get a little envious of people who have business partners because they don’t have to make every single tiny decision on their own. But my boyfriend is so supportive, and lets me bounce so many ideas off of him so it feels like I have that support. It’s been hard making everything myself for so long, but I’m starting to bring people on to help. That’s part of the impetus behind my Indiegogo campaign, growing our space so that we can have more help! I love being in charge, steering this ship, and so I am looking forward to balancing that by building out a small team.
 

I love that you  source the plants for your products from farmers or harvest them yourself. What made you choose that route as opposed to purchasing bulk herbs from bigger companies?

Nothing against the bigger companies, I definitely appreciate them for providing herbs to the masses, but I realized as a small business I have the opportunity to forge a different supply chain. I could make sure people have a living wage, see photos of these farms and even visit if I wanted to! So it was ultimately a way for me to keep the relationship of humans to plants a little bit more intimate. To commodify them less. But to be fair, during the winter a lot of times I will run out of say, red raspberry leaf and source from Mountain Rose, who does a lot of sustainability work and has amazing quality product. I don’t want to be a snob. I do want to steer away from relying on exotic herbs, to reduce our carbon footprint and decolonize my practice in any way possible.

Do you have a regular work routine? Or does your business life adjust day to day?

It’s pretty standard at this point! I wake up, answer emails, meditate and drink tea and then start filling orders, which takes up the bulk of my time. A few days a week my boyfriend works with me doing production, and then I can do fun stuff like this or write articles. Since we live in a rural area, a lot of days are spent in town running errands like picking up labels or making deliveries.

How do you like to practice self care? And what are some obstacles, if any, you face while maintaining a self care routine while running a business?

Obstacles to self care are running a business and working from home. I work a lot… which I love but it’s hard to turn off, because things are never finished per se. I have a lot of self care practices, from the boring like using a electric toothbrush to the more decadent, like taking a two hour tai chi class every week. I try to work out five days a week; that’s important to my mental wellbeing. And I try to eat three nourishing meals a day. I also take supplements: fish oil, evening primrose, beef liver pills, lion’s mane, hawthorn. I’m bad about making infusions & nettle doesn’t agree with me so I just take capsules (gasp!). So yeah, gardening, meditating, mindful movement, and just having as much fun as I can in general. Laughing a lot.

 

What is inspiring you these days? 

The spring is really inspiring me! All the colors and flowers are just to die for. Drooling emoji. I am also loving so many podcasts: Medicine Stories, That’s So Retrograde, Aviva Romm’s podcast, Self-Service, Tarot for the Wild Soul, Dream Freedom Beauty, Herbal Highway, the Goop Podcast, and then some nerdy ones about business and online marketing. Also this place in Nashville High Garden inspires me endlessly. It’s a tea room and they have a ferment and herbal tonic bar and it looks like an elf built it… Man. It’s incredible. Also Liz of Sister Spinster inspires me so much. Everything she’s doing blows my mind. And my friend Mary Evans of Spirit Speak. She is a creative force and so inspiring. You of course inspire me! And the Kosmic Kitchen ladies, and the Villagers shop in Asheville is a great example of a cooperatively run shop. It’s a homesteading shop.
 

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Spicy Carrot Soup, from Amy Chaplin

This is my favorite soup that I’ve been making constantly over the winter and early spring. It’s light but filling and so nourishing. I make it with coconut oil cornbread, from the Local Milk Blog.

SERVES 6

Ingredients 

  • 2 stalks lemongrass, halved lengthwise and chopped in 2-inch pieces

  • 6 Kaffir lime leaves

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil

  • 2 medium onions, diced

  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger

  • 1 serrano chili, seeded and minced

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste

  • 2 teaspoons homemade Curry Powder

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

  • 3 tablespoons minced cilantro stems, leaves reserved for garnish

  • 10 medium-large carrots (2 1/2 pounds), cut in 3/4nch dice (about 8 cups)

  • 6 cups filtered water

  • 1 13.5-fluid ounce can unsweetened full-fat coconut milk, stirred and divided

  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional

TO SERVE:

  • Cilantro leaves

  • Sliced red chilies

Method

Wrap lemongrass and Kaffir lime leaves in a piece of cheese¬cloth and tie it tightly; set aside.

Warm coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions, and sauté for 5 minutes or until golden. Add garlic, ginger, serrano chili, and salt; cook for 2 to 3 minutes more, lowering heat if mixture begins to stick. Stir in curry powder, turmeric, and cilantro stems. Add carrots, water, 1 1/4 cups coconut milk, and lemongrass-lime leaf bundle. Raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes or until carrots are tender. Remove from heat and remove lemongrass-lime leaf bundle and compost.

Blend soup in batches in an upright blender on highest speed for 1 to 2 minutes, until completely smooth and velvety; return to pot and season to taste. Stir in the cayenne pepper if using. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish each bowl with a drizzle of reserved coconut milk, cilantro leaves, and sliced chilies.

Check out Lauren's Indiegogo campaign HERE

Find Lauren online woodspoonherbs.com and on instagram @woodenspoonherbs