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ushankaa Russian fur cap with ear flaps that can be tied up to the crown of the cap, or tied at the chin to protect the ears, jaw and lower chin from the cold.

We’re talking California cold. The temperatures dropped to maybe 50˚ (during evening hours) and it’s kind of chilly in the house. I swear, I’m not even kidding you, I love it. It was a long and hot summer, even for us, those lucky bustards of South California. Don’t throw things at me envious Missourians and indignant Californians, for I have sinned much worse in my short life than utter these words: screw all-year-round summer weather. I’m so bored with the toned arm-bearing top-tanks and tanned thigh-revealing shorts. I’ve missed having some cloths on.

Luckily, my prayers have been answered, and I’ve noticed a shift in the weather pattern. We still get to enjoy sunny and warm days, but those now get framed by chilly mornings and cold evenings. All of a sudden we’ve realized the furnace is broken (Mike, I hope you’re reading this!), and that our windows really do close. Also, the comforter’s life has been filled with meaning again. It’s confidence grew overnight.

Hell, I got to wear socks today! I also restored my favorite tea mug that was on a sabbatical for all these months. I’ve just brewed myself a perfectly hot cup of organic twig tea…Oh. Nothing’s more soothing and comforting than a potion of soaked up branches and bushes.

Today I’m celebrating winter. And I don’t give a flying monkey what you say about autumn. Autumn-shmotumn. In California it’s not going to get any better than what I’ve got right now. At least I get to wear fuzzy socks and a furry mitt with the bikini that goes swimmingly with my new ushanka. I’m going all the way! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I will sit in front of my imaginary fireplace, hold a cup of intensely fragrant and rich hot chocolate (as real as it comes – see below), listen to the non-existent crackle of fire, and feel its heat on my rosy cheeks. In the state of utmost relaxation, high on serotonin, I won’t even reject the straight jacket Jason will surely dress me up in upon entering the site.

In order to fulfill the fantasy, I need to follow these steps (read carefully and take notes):

–       take a small sauce pan and set over a medium heat

–       pour about 3/4 cup of organic almond milk (unsweetened) into the pan

–       let the milk heat, but not boil

–       pick The Most Favorite Cup In The World and position it on a kitchen counter

–       open a sachet of organic FIRESIDE ALMOND HOT CHOCOLATE MIX bought from Whole Foods last Christmas

Hot Cocoa Powder

–       measure 2 tbsp of the powder and add to The Most Favorite Cup In The World

–       add 1/4 tsp of instant coffee (for that intense chocolate flavor, trust me)

–       take the milk off the heat and pour over the hot chocolate powder in the cup

–       mix all together

–       put on a bikini, fuzzy socks, and ushanka

–       sit in front of an imaginary fireplace

–       hold the cup with the Hot Chocolate in both hands

Hot Cocoa

–       say Hi to the White Rabbit

–       when I count to 3, you’ll open your eyes…

Oops, sorry. Was I daydreaming? Again?

Keep your fuzzy socks handy, everybody. It’s the ushanka season.


Cosmo Winter Style

HOLY FUCK is the best running music I’ve listened to by far. This electronica band from Toronto has successfully established its presence on the independent music scene since their creation in 2004.

Check them out on youtube:

Make sure to TURN UP THE VOLUME!

5933_123004603012_592198012_3071034_3721692_n After a weekend of various festivities and loving life while indulging on some luscious treats, I finally drove my self to the gym to bring the discipline back and regain inner balance.

What you take in, make sure to extract in some other form. Keep it forward. Don’t think about calories. That is just as bad for you as smoking – both deeply affect the quality of life, and shorten it. Whether it’s the toxin of a cigarette, or a toxic thought that brings you down, stresses you out, and keeps you in the clutches of guilt, both are just as destructive to your system. If you see your body as a car engine, you’ll know exactly how much gas it can take to run smoothly. If you flood it, the engine will cough and stall on you. Stay in tune with your body; it will tell you exactly what it needs whether it’s a slice of cheese or pastrami, a crunchy carrot, a steaming bowl of soup, a brownie oozing with chocolate, an earth shattering orgasm, or breaking a sweat during a high energy run.

It was HOLY FUCK that filled my head space allowing my body to chase free thoughts while treading on gym equipment, and – believe it or not – to completely relax. The old truth has proven itself once more – everything in nature thrives when in balance.


The weekend was officially launched with a Thursday Night Picnic in a park with a bunch of Leslie’s friends, and friends of friends, and then some. Each one contributed to the potluck on a patchwork of blankets. There was a jar of divine potato salad with a secret ingredient of grated pickles. We had tortilla chips and red snapper ceviche, quinoa salad and chunks of watermelon. Someone else brought a package of cheese nuggets made from REAL milk. I took a bite and was startled at how much the taste resembled flavors I remembered from home. It tasted like…hm… cheese?! Yes, the real deal…

I grew up in a small city in then still very agricultural Poland. Even though the town was surrounded by the industrial chimneys of power plants, we still lived close enough to farms and the countryside. Fresh milk straight from a cow, farmer’s cheese, large eggs, and grass fed beef were easily accessible. It was cheap, and yet organic. When I first came to America and had a bowl of cereal with “milk”, I couldn’t finish my breakfast. It tasted nothing like milk I ever knew. Frankly, it was pretty disgusting. It’s saddening to see the “food-like products” – to quote Michael Pollan – filling up hundreds of food stores’ shelves all over the States. Those items are tempting for their price, I understand, but the quality is just as low. I am convinced our society would be a much healthier one had it nourished itself with the pure foods produced by our planet.

My decision to take a vegan route was more complex than just based on the taste of food, but that was one of the important elements. I lasted about 7 years. However, now, living as a recovered omnivore, I still drink almond milk, I pick my veggies from local farmers at a market, I choose organic meats, eggs from cage-free hens, and beef from happy cows fed on grass, and not corn.

I digress.

At the picnic we shared wine, stories and laughs. Hours later it was the chill of the night that drove us away. We packed Cosmo and went home.


To be continued…

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