bläanks | Urbanized Cottagecore

bläanks | Urbanized Cottagecore

The time now to buckle down on our own terms is ever vital as we do shelter in and define our own version of “sweater weather”. As of late a merging of the tactile and nude has defined this new vision of comfort and lounge, nothing hits like the combo of heat tech synthetics and the tried and tested fluidity of a good knit. But must we not forget that our full looks of SSENSE sale items are getting to peak fatigue as a stroll or hike around the neighborhood is the new cruising ground for who is cute and the dictation of what’s hot.

Fortunately, LA based interior design company bläanks has broken through from the hospitality range to get the goods direct to consumers. With their highly textural knits and bold to subdued colors, the brand gives a slight nod to its Scandinavian roots as well as the embrace of Los Angeles’ rock n roll traditions. We spoke to Judy Pokonosky and Suss Cousins to discuss sustainability, the emotions of knits, and defining the current culture of comfort.

What is the story on how you met each other, your style and vision are a great shift from the usual knitting traditions?

We met in the apparel industry about 25 years ago and re-connected roughly 4 years ago and started bläanks.

We were inspired and saw a great opportunity in the Hospitality and A+D Space for amazing textured knits that we applied to throws and pillows. We feel our unique background and experience brought something different to this market.

I notice that you shot at the Arroyo Seco, what was the significance to shooting there and in general this type of urban adjacent nature?

Being a California and specifically a Los Angeles based company we are very inspired by the amazing nature and outdoor spaces that are in literally in our backyards!

We love the history of California-the energy and possibilities of expanded space that the west coast provides-Southern California loves it’s outdoor living spaces.

With the worlds condition, how do you see the work you have done in homewares and interior life being part of a greater discussion on the way things are shifting?

We pride ourselves as a company with sustainable product and practices. 

With a custom made to order in the USA machine washable yarn strategy we keep our carbon footprint light and provide unique product for each client and project with competitive pricing. Our research shows that no one was checking all these boxes in this market.

How did this new venture into DTC and the patchwork pattern come together?

We were really excited to offer something unique that we ourselves wanted to design-definitely knitted throws and pillows that were limited editions.

 

What trends do you see coming up in knitwear and how have you participated or feel like you are pushing the culture forward? 

We have had a great response to the unique textures and color combos that we have designed. Knits are very emotional, and our clients really love the feel and energy of knitted goods vs. the usual woven product in the market. We research and are inspired by history of stitches from all over the world -bringing new twists to them into the 21st century with a definite eye on marketplace trend.

How do you see the brand differentiating from other knit oriented interior companies?

We want to highlight we are a custom resource; this is very important as people really respond to ordering and having unique product made for them. Suss has written 7 books about technical knitting, giving bläanks an incredible advantage in developing amazing knitted pillows and throws.

For more information on bläanks

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Spiritual Tools | In Times of Transformation

Spiritual Tools | In Times of Transformation

Spiritual Tools for Times of Transformation. 

A conversation with Astara founder, Crystal Healer & Herbalist Mariah K Lyons and Energetic Healer & Herbalist Julie Hovsepian

2020!?! Why is transformation so important at this time?

M – This has been a year of old systems and structures crumbling to be rebuilt and restructured in a new way. It’s been a root chakra year so on a very foundational level we are re-creating from the ground up (immune system!) and it’s been a massive year of systems in play and structures crumbling in order to rebuild a new.

J – I led a full moon event November 2019 and just saw this was the theme for that month that I had read somewhere “It’s a Moon to remind us of why we chose to incarnate at this tumultuous time and all the support available to us as we undertake huge transformation” and it’s incredible how timely that still feels for us today, and this conversation. To me, it’s so important for us to take this energy that’s building and essentially shouting at us with the turbulence of this past year and use it as opportunities for growth and expansion.  It’s so easy to resist change and stay numb to what’s happening around us, but we all have a fire within us that’s being lit right now to speak up, to change what’s not serving us individually, and to work together globally to help really shift us forward collectively.

What does transformation mean to you?

M: Changing form from one thing into another – energy is never destroyed it’s simply transmuted into something different – alchemically changes into something new. When we are transforming into new versions of ourselves there are certain ways of being that change over to create the new. Energy is shifted and alchemically changed to create something new. Nature teaches us about transformation – Winter transforming into Spring, leaves falling and becoming compost in the soil, and regenerating itself back up. We also learn it from the cycles of the moon, and transforming into different forms of ourselves as energetic beings.

J: Physical and energetic shedding of the old to step into an elevated space of being. It takes a lot of courage and trust to allow transformation to take place. It’s about letting go of the (un)comfortable state we are currently at by really leaning into that trust to leap into the unknown – because of that feeling deep inside of us that whatever is on the other side is soooo worth it.  For some it’s one small step in a unfamiliar direction that calls you – and then one day you look back and realize you are miles away from where you started and so much happier, and for others it’s a swift deep leap and taking the time you need to acclimate to your new grounds. The best part is there is no wrong way to do it, it’s always going to be in divine timing so it’s just about using your intuition and awareness that a change is needed and coming and having the courage to fly.

When you think of the word transformation – what’s the visual you get for yourself?

M: Butterfly – literally changes shape from caterpillar form to completely different version of itself and transforms into something new.

J: There is a visual that I got in one of my meditations of this other worldly version of me flying above – confident, at peace and assured – and it’s what I quickly connect to when I feel like I need to step into something that challenges and scares me.

What’s biggest fear for most people when it comes to transformation?

M: Safety – our brains understand certain ways of being and doing things and when we transform into something different some of the safety structures that we have created by habits, thought forms, ways of relating to other people and self – those change and can be scary and uncomfortable. By nature the reptilian brain wants to create safety and structure based on things it knows and is comfortable with which it then equates to survival – this part of our brain is not comfortable in the unknown or in a new form because it doesn’t have any previous information to base off of and “keep you safe.”

J: Control is another big one and if there is anything that 2020 has shown us over and over again is that we aren’t in control. As humans, we have a hard time feeling like we don’t have control of our present and our future. There’s a huge gift in the practice of being aware of who/what we are trying to control in our lives, and for what we think our future needs to look like and trusting that what’s coming our way is to help us transform, get stronger, and continue to align us on our path.

Moonstone

Best advice/support for people navigating transformation?

M: Finding a space of grounding and connecting with self and earth helps to remind oneself that they are always at home within their body regardless of what’s changing in their lives, relationships and the world. Always at home in their body and deep connection with the earth.

Working with minerals/crystals/herbs to ground the body but work on a subtler energetic system of helping to support stabilization and harmonization within one energetic field.

J: Meditation is one of the biggest practices that we all have access to, that’s free and the more we do it, the more we are able to create space to allow clarity to come through during times of so much uncertainty. As we commit to a daily practice (of even just 3 mins to start), our bodies begin to feel safe and grounded and our intuition/inner compass strengthens tremendously.  We also have incredible herbs, available globally, that are here to help us during times transformation.

Mariah’s Crystal Recommends for Times of Transformation

Malachite – This crystal helps transmute grief, sadness and past traumas held in the heart and helps create open space for the new

Moonstone – This is the stone of new beginnings and helps us attune to energies of the lunar cycle, our own cycles of life and moving through transition and transformation into the next cycle

Herkimer Diamond – A crown chakra stone – very high frequency that helps us imagine and re- envision/visualize our new way of being so we can create that in our physical reality

Smoky Quartz – helps to keep one grounded in times of change and helps transmute and transform dense energies thought forms and ways of being into new expressions of being.

Julie’s Herbal Recommends for Times of Transformation*

(among many other scientific and energetic qualities for each herb listed, here are some highlights specific to this topic):

Ginger – this is one we should all have easy access to in dried or raw form – it’s grounding but really opening, brings more chi/energy to the body, helps with emotional stagnation – really moves energy in the body, opens the breath and the heart (and is also incredible for immune support and migraines) – this herb is great support for the solar plexus

Shisandra – this super herb is made for times of transformation –  an energizing adaptogen (helps your body adapt to stress), great for motivation and helping positive change take place in your life, anti-depressant, playful energy that helps build chi in your body, cleansing, helps with clearer communication and creative expression, great for helping the visionary – this herb is great support for the sacral chakra

Rhodiola – this is a very bitter herb that’s very stimulating and uplifting, also great anti-depressant, it moves a lot of energy, great for mental clarity and focus, great for helping us get unstuck, great for resilience during transformation – this herb is great support for the root chakra

Blue Lotus – very sacred herb that’s a great spiritual ally for transformation and rebirth, very euphoric, crown and 3rd eye opener and also a great heart tonic – this herb is great support for the crown chakra

*Herbs: Ideal to infuse/decoct the tea leaves or roots for at least 20 mins before consuming.

All are available as organic tinctures as well.
You can click here to check out some of Julie’s custom tincture blends:

Please contact Julie if you have any specific questions about these herbs and their usage and would like further herbal support – julie@inagoldenstate.com

Top to bottom: Ginger, Shisandra, Rhodiola, Blue Lotus, Julie’s Herbal Tinctures

More on Mariah K Lyons:

www.astara.com

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

MARIAH’S BOOK: CRYSTAL HEALING FOR WOMEN

More on Julie Hovsepian:

www.inagoldenstate.com

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

+More meditations, including a 9 min guided and 30 min guided meditations: https://www.inagoldenstate.com/downloads

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Creative Career Club | Natalie Alcala

Creative Career Club | Natalie Alcala

If there was ever a time to start a community in a post apocalyptic Utopia as LA, it is now. As with many of us, QooA included, the ideas of consumerism and embrace of sybarite takes on work and community have been ever shattered by the pandemic. Though every article has to serve a certain sense of reverence to the current political, social, and economic conditions of the world, a deep sense of modesty over what our self-grandeur had epitomized is now at the focal point of assessment. Leave it to an editorial maven like Natalie Alcala to take it upon herself to utilize this empathic sensibility to respond to her community with her latest project Creative Career Club.

A former fashion editor at Black Book Magazine during the heyday of the blog era, she shifted gears moving on to the fashion bible Racked, taking on the LA branch. It was with her down time with pregnancy that the constantly enterprising Alcala set out to form her Fashion Mamas brand. A work and play driven community which linked women and their children with others in the fashion communities. With this sentiment and having championed working with a diverse array of creatives Alcala reworked her playbook to better represent the creative community she had cultivated hence the launch of Creative Career Club. We caught up with Alcala on the eve of her launch to see why this community is important and where are we going next.

How do you see the idea of community in the modern age as far as IRL and digitally?

It’s all about merging common interest with the human condition. It’s creating a safe space, whether physical or digital or a remix, that fosters honest conversations and non-judgemental support. This can only happen if the community leader and their team emulate this energy when interacting with the community. Encourage questions, sharing of resources, and creative freedom — the magic is in the release of restraint. Most people organically want to hype one another up, and common interest is the catalyst or icebreaker for that energy. I always tell people that if you identify a group with common interests, and you’re a natural connector, and there are no spaces for this group to connect and create together, build it!

 

Why do you feel it is important to express this all inclusive experience for the creatives? 

We are all much more alike than we think. Society and its bad apples attempt to screw with synergy and pit humans against one another for empty causes. During my time as a writer, I interviewed hundreds of individuals from all backgrounds and identities; what they all had in common is that they had a unique vision. Once you reach their soul and learn more about their individual perspective and/or the cool shit they’re creating, it’s so inspiring that you can’t help but gravitate towards it. As a society, my hope is that we can respect, accept, and highlight all the unique backgrounds and identities of this world, but also look beyond that to simply and purely connect on another level. With CCC, we are building an accepting environment to prove that this is possible. The wider net will also foster more opportunities and resources for members, and hopefully diversify their circle in a variety of ways.

Have you ever felt stifled or dealt with people holding back your career due to your gender race or expression?

Absolutely. Especially in the fashion industry, Latinas were few and far between — and it’s still that way. I never felt polished enough or that I looked like everyone else, but my love for writing kept me in that semi-toxic industry. I decided to make the most of it by being unapologetically me — I wore what I wanted, followed my instincts, ignored and sometimes spoke up against the naysayers, and skipped off in a new direction. I’ve never met my father, so my therapist tells me that I feel as if I was born rejected, so that’s why I tend to reject rules. Forging my own path is how I survive in this world, and in a strange turn of events it’s actually made others accept me more.

 

Having started with a fashion career then moving into being the premiere mommy influencer why did you feel now was the right time to launch this project?

I love the targeted community I’ve created for mothers, Fashion Mamas, which is now six years old. I will never stop serving that community, however for my heart and history I wanted to also serve and support all of the creative humans I’ve met in my lifetime or will meet in the future. To know that they now have an inclusive space to connect in, and a media platform where we can share their stories, well it’s filling my heart hardcore — and it’s only the beginning.

Can you tell us more of the what CCC is all about… How do we join in?

Creative Career Club is a creative community for all. I’ve worked six years building a strong and impactful community for mothers, so this new club for creatives of all backgrounds and identities has the foundation of experience. CCC Members are able to meet digitally via our members-only portal and communication channels, as well as IRL at our 1,000-square-foot Creative Clubhouse in Silver Lake. Once the world opens up a bit more, we will host monthly events at the space, including gifting events, open forum conversations, movie nights, cannabis & collaging, and member-matching – a platonic take on “speed dating” but for friends. Our digital resources will be just as experiential cuz I’m a tech nerd at heart, so members from all over the world will be able to connect. We are also launching a media platform, CCC Journal, where I’ll be able to dust off my background as a writer, and CCC even has a merch shop. Creatives of all types can join by applying at creativecareerclub.com/apply.

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Sideways Infinite: Dissonance

Sideways Infinite: Dissonance

Mood: #Frustrated

I don’t know about y’all, but lately I’ve had a lingering low-grade headache. Cognitive dissonance definitely has me frustrated and flailing. As I embrace the suck of it, I’m hoping that the struggle leads to some valuable growth and understanding. Or maybe I’m just dehydrated and need to drink more water. Until I can find that inner peace, here are some of the truculent tracks helping me to grind through:

Run the Jewels ~ “Close your Eyes (and count to F*CK)” (L)

There needs to be more ZDLR and RtJ collaborations. *Cough*

IDLES ~ “Never Fight a Man With a Perm” (L)

The dulcet tones of IDLES are delightfully chaotic and cathartic.

Battles ~ “Atlas” (L)

John Stanier is such a ridiculous drummer

Notorious BIG (Ratatat Remix) ~ “Party and Bullsh*t” (L)

Ratatat’s remix does this Biggie track justice.

Le Tigre ~ “Deceptacon” (L)

I’m outta time, I’m outta f*cking time

I’m a gasoline gut with a Vaseline mind

At the Drive In ~ “One Armed Scissor (L)

The beginning to this track is like a sonic punch in the face.

Coriky ~ “Clean Kill (L)

It’s a clean kill

But it’s not clean…

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