I took a week off - a self-imposed All Good Things vacation. A big thank you to those who missed me and checked in. I’ve had a sick kitty I’ve been nursing back to health and I was preparing my apartment for The Broadway Botanist to bring the finishing touches into my home.
I moved to Harlem in March and have loved this transition. There was a missing link in my home though. I’m on the 9th floor of 17 in my building that sits in a group of 5 other buildings. Our grounds are covered in green! Walls climbing with ivy, sweet rose bushes, forsythia that literally bloomed like yellow fireworks this spring, and a pink crepe myrtle that cracks my face into a smile every time I see it. Trees and grass, bushes and shrubs, squirrels and birds. It’s lovely. But I got on the elevator each day, leaving all of that verdant life downstairs and wouldn’t see it again until the next day.
I knew I needed to bring some of that beautiful nature into my personal space. I needed to wake up to more living things. I wanted to green up my space. Purify the air. I wanted daily inspiration from actually seeing things grow and bloom in my life to keep me on my own path forward. But where to begin?
Enter Jaime Verazin, Broadway dancer with a green thumb to rival her stunning moves on stage! She’s a lady entrepreneur in New York City that has a mission of helping people bring nature, beauty, and breath into their dressing rooms and homes. (Ummmm... I share a botanist with Sara Bareilles!)
Luckily, I have a chosen family of soul mates that ‘get’ me, that accept my little odd-bird ways, and are encouraged by my positivity and quest to look for the good in situations. Well, I have a sister bird in Jaime. So happy, so light-filled, and so generous with her joy. I swear these new plants she’s placed in my home are smiling and dancing in their pots. I’m not kidding. Look at them! They’re gorgeous!
Nature nurtures us. It’s grounding. Driving through the country, swimming in the ocean, hiking through the woods, gardening, picking apples, wandering through the farmers market. These activities connect us to the earth, remind us of the gift of life, and soothe and smooth out the prickly stressful parts of life.
I’ve learned it’s necessary to find these opportunities to harness nature and reap her benefits. A little plant love goes a long way. Buy yourself flowers, walk through a nursery, go on a garden tour, plant an herb garden in a little window box, stop and smell the roses. For real!
If you live in New York City, a visit from Jaime is an investment in your own nurturing and self-care. My home has been transformed, truly. I want that for you. If you don’t live near The Big Apple, you can still have some of Jaime’s infectious joy and love of nature. Her Instagram account will take your breath away with her growing beauties. Her blog on Medium is just what you green thumbs out there need to feed your inspiration.
With all the new life in my home, (and thankfully a recovering kitty cat, Franklin Armstrong!) I made some symbolic sunshine last week to celebrate. I gathered up some yellow veggies and cooked them up with some golden turmeric and ginger. My Harlem home is glowing!
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons peeled and grated fresh turmeric (or one teaspoon dried turmeric powder)
- 2 teaspoons peeled and grated fresh ginger (or one teaspoon dried ginger powder)
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1 cup chopped yellow zucchini squash
- 2 cups Sungold tomatoes (or yellow pear/grape tomatoes - whatever you can find, but Sungolds are my summertime jewel!)
- 1 seeded, cored, and roughly chopped yellow bell pepper
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- lots of cracked black pepper (black pepper increases the good-for-you properties of turmeric by a large margin!)
Heat the oil in a big pot over medium heat. Add the first 4 ingredients, stir. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the vegetables, stirring to coat with the aromatics. Add the broth. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 20 more minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Puree in batches in a blender or in the pot with a hand blender until smooth. Finish with a few more cranks from the black pepper grinder.