Turmeric Masala Tea

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Turmeric Masala Tea

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This chai tea is a bit complicated but the end result is delicious so I'd suggest making a nice portion so you can sip and reheat throughout the evening. Turmeric is great for inflammation but the tea has such a bitter taste that I have to choke it down. I knew that if I found a tastier way of enjoying turmeric I'd be able to benefit from it's healing properties more often. 

In one pot I boiled two bananas for about 20 minutes or until the water became murky and thick.  Then in a second pot I added freshly grated turmeric and ginger, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom. I added 2 cups of water and  let this simmer for about 20 minutes to get a nice rich and spicy tea going. Then I added a cup of coconut cream and a 1/2 cup of almond milk. One my bananas were done I added the hot banana tea to the first pot along with 2 teaspoons of black tea. I now let all of this cook for another 10-15 minutes. 

Strain drink and than me later. 

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St Thomas After Irma: Yes, I'm Still Going Back

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St Thomas After Irma: Yes, I'm Still Going Back

"Why in the world would you want to move back there now that everything is destroyed?" I've heard that a few times since Irma and Maria bombarded my beautiful island with category five hurricane rain and winds. St Thomas is like that lover, that you just can't seem to leave. The one that just holds onto you and no matter how angry you get or how far you go, you just want to turn around and come right back. 

There's no way that I can tell my travel story without talking about the U.S. Virgin Islands. Five years ago I moved to the Caribbean as a job transfer from Alaska. I had been working in the fine jewelry industry on and off since 2001 and found a boss and a company that I loved working for. I was trepdatious though to say the least. All I knew of St Thomas was that it was going to cost me more than my Chicago apartment did, and it was hot as hell and everybody liked to party. It took some convincing but eventually I decided to give in and gave it a shot. 

The first few months were hard, I even can't lie. Watching my best friend of 15 years who came with me get addicted to drugs, from an obsessed island stalker and then turning right around and falling in love with "the wrong guy" was just rough. Even though I was prepared for the culture shock I still had some of the bumps along the road. Then there was of course the heat, which felt like a sad cloud from the comics was following me around and sobbing right over my head because no matter what I did I just could not stop freaking sweating. And last but not least there was the cultural difference. Now you'd think that since I'm still in my own country this wouldn't exsist but oh yes it does.  I am and I sound like, a Chicagoan.  I was judged harshly as a "statesider" or a "Yankee" because far too often people from the mainland come down to the island, like best friend did, just to find the dirtiest seediest parts of the island and then leave. 

When I moved to St Thomas I had been widowed just barely two years before, on December 27th. I didn't know what I needed I just knew that I was trying to figure things out in the healthiest way possible. After about 3 months I started to settle in and of course carnival time rolled around. I danced, I drank Brugal, I survived a shooting downtown, which simply made me feel like I was back in Chicago and suddenly it was time to fly out and go back to Alaska. It was five months of a whirlwind and I found myself on the plane, sobbing, like a stupid baby. 

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I went back to Alaska and talked about being in the Caribbean all summer long. I was purely obnoxious I'm sure. We tend to complain constantly when we're in a situation but once we are removed from them we tend to remember only the good parts. When I left I didn't think about any of the stressful or dangerous things that seemed like a big deal at the time. I remembered waking up at the crack of dawn on my off days, grabbing a cold beer, hiking down the hill to Havensight, hopping on the safari $1 bus and going to Emerald beach. I'd lay down my towel under one of the coconut trees and go back to sleep until the bar opened up for lunch. I'd eat lunch at Emerald beach and crack jokes with that great bartender that they used to have from Boston and go home to do laundry. In my morning of lesire I'd managed to get beautifully tanned, sun-kissed hair and a solid workout from swimming.  This was the life. 

Five months in Alaska passed and I went off to Prague to obtain my TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification. After my course I taught for ahwile in the Czech Republic but I started missing the island too much. When I returned, I found a house to rent that I planned to stay in until I was ready to purchase on the island. Although I didn't exactly know when or how I'd be able to do so I felt that I was going to be here for awhile.  The next winter season began and I started working on Mainstreet again and during my off time I'd travel to the British Virgin Islands. A whole new love affair started up. I spent time going sailing with my girlfriend and her husband. We'd chill out in that brilliant turquiose sea for 3-4 days at a time. Every chance I got I was on a boat or hanging out on the British Virgin Island expanding my love. 

The following year I decided to explore Thailand. I rented out my house and went off to Thailand twice during the off season that year and I loved it! It's a beautiful, and peaceful country and I managed to meet many loving people there. I still missed my St Thomas though and Thailand became my off season location for three years. In fact many of my Thai friends are very familiar with local artists like Pressure, Cool Sessions and even the carnival "Kick in She Back Door" by Onyan & Burning Flames. Oh yes! I taught them the absolute best! 

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No matter where I go in the world I miss St Thomas, Virgin Islands. When first came to St Thomas I had lost all sense of security and community. St Thomas gave me that back. I hated Christmas. St Thomas' beautiful and genuine celebrations have made me love Christmas more than ever. I was blessed enough to meet neighbors that became my extended family. I've never been on island away from my Mama's cooking and another Mama hasn't offered to feed me. The sense of community is truly beautiful and loving and if I don't go back, I will miss it for the rest of my life.

Currently I'm living in Kenya. If I hadn't moved to the Virgin Islands I'd never have been strong enough to endure what's going on here. I know that St Thomas has so many more gifts for me still and I vow that I will return to my beautiful island. I will be praying for Jah to guide me back home. He always does. 

 

Please get involved and donate to help restore these truly beautiful islands. I am encouraging people to please participate in the Adopt a Family Program , a local initive that can be trusted to appropriate funds honestly. 

 

 

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Healthy Beetroot Chai Recipe

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Healthy Beetroot Chai Recipe

Kenyan Tea Farmers

Kenyan Tea Farmers

Tea lovers like myself will appreciate this drink. I love a hot beverage and enjoy both the health benefits and calming effects of tea. I've been drinking tea for as long as I can remember. All of the pomp and circumstance that surrounds tea drinking- the tea pots, cups, spoons, saucers, tea napkins, I find it all lovely. Last year I rode throught the beautiful sprawling tea farms of Sri Lanka and it felt like a dream come true. 

Currently I'm in Mombasa, Kenya and although Kenya is one of the largest producers of tea in the world, this not a city where you're going to find an abundance of cafes to make a variety of flavored chais or lattes. Kenyan chai consisting of black tea and milk is a staple of the diet. Most Kenyans have chai every single morning with chapati, a flat bread or mahamry, a sweet triangle shaped pastry.

I really enjoy experimenting so I have been playing around with the traditional Kenyan chai by making it with coconut milk and almond milk and by adding different flavors like ginger and cardamom to create a flavor similar to Indian masala chai. The other night I decided to use some beetroot powder to make a beetroot chai. Beetroot is is great source of iron, magnesium and is powerful in lowering blood pressure and enhancing energy. There are many additional benfits of beetroot like cleansing and detoxing the blood of heavy metals and cleansing the liver. If you have a loved one that doesn't like beets this is a delcious way to introduce the benefit of beets into their diet.

 Beetroot chai produces a beautiful pink color and is a tasty and creamy alternative to hot cocoa. It's so pretty you can also try introducing it to your little ones in replace of the high fructose strawberry milk products.  You can choose between beetroot powder or juice however if you're using a beetroot powder be sure to add it after you've taken your milk off of the stove. Boiling the powder will remove the nutrients.  

Beetroot Chai

Beetroot Chai

Ingredients

1/2 cup of milk of your choice

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup of beetroot juice of 2tsp of beetroot powder

Honey to taste

 

 

How to Make It

Pour all ingredients into a saucepan.  Place over medium heat.  Allow to heat until small bubbles appear around the perimeter of the milk.  Stir the shai. When the milk comes to a boil, turn off the heat and stir well. If you're using beetroot powder you will want to add this now. Strain care and serve. 

Avoid adding too much sugar or honey as beetroot is already high in natural sugars. 

 

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Inside the Mind of an Mexican-Amaricón

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Inside the Mind of an Mexican-Amaricón

"Kia" by Gabriel Garcia Roman 

"Kia" by Gabriel Garcia Roman 

Through the power of social media and the grace of Jah I stumbled upon the brilliant artwork of Gabriel Garcia Roman. His artwork spoke to the honarary Chicana in me and reminded me of my days in the Mexican neighborhood of Pilsen Chicago. I later discovered that his flava runneth ova and he was indeed a native Chicagoan raised on the north-side. I can always spot my people. I began following Gabriel and instantly found him fascinating. Some days, it seemed like he was doing everything I was doing, laying out fabrics, designing, stumbling upon textiles goodies. Other days he was doing everything I wished I was doing, getting his hands dirty, playing with clay, creating jewelry.

Gabriel has quickly become one of my favorite artists. His works speaks volumes to this Cubana and makes me miss my late Colombian husband Andresito and my Mexican bario all at once. The only reason I haven't purchased on of his works is simply because I don't know what to buy! From his necklaces, to his shirts, to his prints everything is fantastic and ties together in his truly  Mexican-Amaricón style. His "Queer Icons" series showcases queer people of color with beautiful halos and give honor and visibility to a population rarely shown as such. I posted two of my favorites "Kia" and "Jahmal". 

I squealed when Gabriel agreed to answer some questions for us and am highly anticipating the addition of his work to the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen, Chicago. 

See more of his work at http://www.gabrielgarciaroman.com

IG: https://www.instagram.com/gbrlgrcrmn 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ggarciaroman1

 

TT: Where do you call home?

GGR: I currently reside in NYC, Harlem U.S.A. to be exact!


TT: What is your favorite medium or style to work in?

GGR: That's like asking a parent who their favorite child is!  I can't name one as they all bring me joy when my hands are moving and creating.

TT: If you could have any talent or super power what would it be?

GGR: My super power would be to be rested while needing very little to no sleep at all, so that I could continue to work on all the projects without needing sleep!!


TT: What inspires you the most?

GGR: I’m inspired by the textures and patterns of my environment, no matter how mundane.  The patterns created by light being filtered through a lace curtain, the cracks of paint in an old painting, the texture of the concrete sidewalks, etc.


TT: Is your studio in your home or in a different location?

GGR: My studio is in my home; my kitchen and backyard are where I do a lot of my work.

TT: What do you do to keep yourself healthy?

GGR: I practice yoga to keep me centered, I ride my bike through the crazy streets of NYC to feel alive, and I go out dancing to work out any negative energy out of my body.


TT: Was there ever a time when you almost gave up on creating and if so why?

GGR: I don't think giving up was ever an option or a thought.  Creating is the way I communicate and respond to the world and not doing that would surely wither away into nothingness. 


TT: What is your creative process?

GGR: My creative process is not overthinking and getting your hands moving.  I probably waste a lot of material that way but I find that I waste so much time thinking and overthinking a new idea and lately I have given that up and start working on it immediately.  It’s the mistakes I make that help me improve on the project and also a lesson is learned in the process.  I also don’t tend to throw things away even if they are “mistakes” because I can reuse them for something else.


TT: How has social media affected your creation process?

GGR: I have been more open to sharing my process with people.  Prior to social media I would create work in my own bubble and only my friends would see my work.  Since the advent of social media I post not only the final piece but behind the scenes and process shots and videos of whatever project I'm working on.  I find that people respond positively when you let them into your process.


TT: How has social media affected your sales?

GGR: Social media has been the vehicle that gives my work visibility.  All if not most of the opportunities that I’ve gotten over the last couple of years has been through people connecting via Facebook, Instagram or Tumblr and a lot of that has turned into sales.

"Jahmal" by Gabriel Garcia Roman

"Jahmal" by Gabriel Garcia Roman


TT: Where is the most inspirational place you’ve traveled and how did that trip affect your work?

GGR: The most inspirational place I’ve traveled to definitely has to be Mexico! My family left Mexico when I was 2yrs old and I didn’t return until I was an adult.  I’ve been travelling back every year for the past 10 years and am always inspired by the handcrafts, the colors, the sights and sounds of my motherland. 


 

TT: What’s the biggest compliment you’ve ever gotten about your work?

GGR: A few weeks ago during the opening reception I was standing in front of my work and a woman approached me to ask if I was the artist and when I said I was she simply put her hand in my shoulder and shook her head as tears started rolling down her eyes.  She said my work touched her so much she couldn’t find the words to express it.  I just held her and said her emotional reaction was enough.

TT: What artists are you inspired by?

GGR: Some of the artists that pop in my head are Pieter Hugo, William Eggleston, Yinka Shonibare, Jan Van Eyck to name a few.
 

TT: What season do you like most or feel most creative in?

GGR: This one is easy.  I love summer!  I love hot and humid weather when people are half naked on the streets and glistening in their sweat.  I love beach trips with friends, eating dinner al fresco, weekend BBQ get-togethers, etc. 

TT: Have you been influenced by any culture that is not your own? If so which one and how?

GGR: I have lived in Harlem for over a decade and there is a sizable Senegalese and Ivorian population and I can’t help but be influenced by the vibrant colors and patterns the men and women wear. Those textiles have made it into the shirts that I make and that color sensibility has made it into my prints as well.

TT: What do you hope people take away from your work?  I work in so many different mediums but I have a very strong voice and there is part of me in every project or work that I make and so I would say that what I would hope people take all of the love and effort that goes into each work that I make, whether it be a print, a ceramic necklace or a piece of furniture.  It’s all made with so much time and care.

TT: How long does it take you to create a piece of artwork? 

GGR: Because I am all about the process when I make artwork it can range from an hour to a month.  It all depends on the project and or medium I’m working with.

TT: When did you realize that you were a creative being?

GGR: believe I took my creativity for granted most of my life and it wasn’t until I started making artwork in my mid 20s when I realized it’s always been inside of me but I didn’t use these magical powers until later in life.

TT: What is the one thing that most people assume about you that’s not at all accurate?

GGR: Most people assume that I’m a social butterfly because I have a large group of friends and am often out dancing.  The reality is I’m an introvert that enjoys one-on-one interactions over groups and when I dance it’s really a conversation between the DJ and me and nobody else exists.

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Healing Through Tantra Workshop

Contact us at info@traveltherapytours.org 

Contact us at info@traveltherapytours.org 

In an effort to combat trauma within the communities of people of color Chelcie and Priest will be offering a workshop called "Healing throurh Tantra". This workshop addresses sensitive issues around sexual abuse and teaches skills in tantra, meditation and intimacy to allow  parters to connect and release fears. 

These workshops will be private and limited to the cities of Chicago and New York only. If you are interested please contact directly at info@traveltherapytours.org to schedule your workshop. 

 

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Artist Spotlight : Anthony Burks

Somehow I discovered Anthony Burks's work via Facebook the way folks usually discover things. Someone somewhere posts something and you click add out of curiosity. His work has slowly become one of my favorites to to see floating through my timeline. 

Anthony Burks a disctinctly unique conceptual artist from Florida. His paintings mix colored pencils, watercolor, pen, and ink. He often mixes a unique palette of color with black and white. Beauty and strength are common themes through his work and his images have a softness so human they long to be touches. Anthony says that he chooses his subjects because of what they mean to him, and he tells their stories through his combination of realistic forms, bright colors, and abstract images.

 A graduate of the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, Anthony has exhibited at galleries, museums, and events for over twenty years, including: the Endangered Species of Florida Exhibition at the Paul Fisher Gallery; Collaboration: African Diaspora at the Armory Art Center; juried exhibit at the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens; CONTINUUM, a gallery that was an extension of ArtSynergy and ArtPalmBeach; Wild Things, an art exhibition benefitting the Rare Species Conservancy; and Elements, a collaboration with three artists to promote the understanding of South Florida’s ecosystem and The Everglades. His painting “Freedom 2001” can be found in the Cornell Museum Permanent Collection.

Although we are not very familiar with each other personally he has agreed to let us as him a few questions about his work. Please enjoy and follow him online at the links below. 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amp.burks

Website: https://www.anthonyburkscollection.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/amp_burks

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ampburks/

TT: Where do you call home?

AB: West Palm Beach, FL

TT: What is your favorite medium or style to work in?

AB: Colored pencil is the Medium I prefer to work in?

TT:  If you could have any talent or super power what would it be?

AB: I would have loved to have been a musician, preferably a drummer.

TT: What inspires you the most?

AB: My family inspires me.

TT: Is your studio in your home or in a different location?

AB: My studio is in my home.

TT: What do you do to keep yourself healthy?

AB: Take walks.

TT: Was there ever a time when you almost gave up on creating and if so why?

AB: Yes, because it was not financially rewarding. I decided instead of giving up & getting angry, I   would put that energy into my drawing.

TT:  What is your creative process?

AB: I dream it, I think it, I create it.

TT: How has social media affected your creation process?

AB: I have a larger audience now (nationally & internationally), which provides a better opportunity for my work to be seen.

TT: What’s the biggest compliment you’ve ever gotten about your work?

AB: Anytime someone connects with my work positively, it is always a compliment each & every time.

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TT: Do you have a muse and if so how does that person inspire you?

AB: Multi-media artist Nzingah Oniwosan & model Aiyze Hanif are my human muses because of their strong features.  Wild life animals (i.e. birds, big cats & African animals) are also my muses.

TT: What do you hope people take away from your work?

 AB: I do my work for me. If they are intrigued or inspired by what I create, that is a plus.

TT: How long does it take you to create a piece of artwork?

 AB: Average 22 hours. However I have taken as long as 36-48 hours

TT: When did you realize that you were a creative being?

AB: Since I was about 3 years old. I use to watch my mother color in coloring books all the time & I wanted to do thaat.

TT: What is the one thing that most people assume about you that’s not at all accurate?

AB: Many people assume when they see my wild life work, that I am Caucasian.  Not all black artists have to paint the “struggle” to be an authentic artist.

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Greetings!

Thanks for stopping by our new Travel Therapy Tours Blog! This is a space where we can share all of our information about wellness, creativity and travel with you! There's so much going on in our world right now as we prepare for our Roots and Culture Retreat in Kenya all while laying the groundwork for our retreat center in Tennessee. We've just purchased 20 beautiful acres of land in the mountains of eastern Tennessee and we are hoping to one day have this space the United States location for our healing and creativity services and projects. There's so much work to be done, but we're positive and plan to continue moving forward! 

 

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