June 2020 Favorites: Bright Living, The Kitchy Kitchen, JQ Dickinson Salt-Works and Karl Shakur’s photography

June came and went in a blink of an eye. But, I have some wonderful small businesses to share with you as well as a whole bunch of really good informative articles that cover many things from the rich and their wealth distribution, how giving up TV can change your brain, to ways to save more money so let’s jump right in!

Bright Living

Ema Barba is a fellow Romanian that is doing wonderful things back home for at risk populations and I am so excited to introduce her to you!

Through her social business, Bright Living, that she founded with her partner, Cristian, she offers free Yoga and meditation sessions to vulnerable individuals like children living in rural Romania, people facing varied physical and emotional challenges and chronically ill patients.

Mental health is still a taboo topic in many parts of the world, and even more so in Romania, where the fight for survival, for the majority of our population, was the sole focus for decades! gradually, in recent years, as the quality of life increased, a slow awareness has been building regarding the spread and use of more holistic and natural practices, like yoga and meditation, to regulate and heal. People like Ema are instrumental in breaking down the barriers, busting the myths and allowing these practices (now scientifically documented and very well researched) to gain momentum and the much needed visibility. Even more so, through her platform, she offers accessibility.

So please consider supporting her on Patreon! for the price of 10 euros, roughly 12 dollars/month, you could directly impact the livelihood of hundreds of people in need.  Talk about making this world a better place! She also has lots of free content so make sure to follow her on Youtube, on her channel called I speak Yoga, for her yoga and meditation sessions.

The Kitchy Kitchen

I’ve recently re-discovered The Kitchy Kitchen, whom I’ve been following on Youtube some years ago. Claire Thomas has a knack for fun, simple and creative entertaining ideas and I’ve always enjoyed her recipes and hosting tips. But in the past two years, I believe she had a hiatus and I’d forgotten how much I enjoy her work. This lemon-poppy seed mini bundt cake recipe that I made once for a friends’ gathering was a hit, as well as her take on avocado toast and her quinoa rice pudding, just to name a few. She has been working hard behind scenes and co-authored a cooking book and published her own. You can check out both here.

J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works

You probably know by now how much I love discovering and supporting local businesses that focus on sustainability, heritage and a farm-to-table approach. Therefore, I was so delighted when my husband surprised me with a care package filled with goodies from J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works, a family owned salt farm in Malden, West Virginia.

The history of the place, as well as the family’s that now runs it, siblings Nancy Bruns and Lewis Payne, is one of resilience and craftsmanship. They are the current seventh-generation of salt-makers, running a 200-year-old family farm on the same land that their ancestors did back in 1817. The salt is harvested from deep below the majestic Appalachian mountains from an ancient sea that is more than 400 millions year old. Brine is extracted and then evaporated in special sun-houses and then hand harvested, thus maintaining the integrity and properties of salt and creating a perfect condiment for any dish. What makes this salt special, besides its purity, is the fact that it’s free of plastics, contaminants and heavy metals that may be found in other oceans.

My gift contained some of their small batch finishing salt, some incredibly delicious, dark chocolate, a container of cocktail peanuts (SO good), a lovely soap, a jar of their sea salt caramel sauce, and another goat milk chocolate bar. The chocolate was delicious! and this is saying much given that US is not known for its chocolate whilst the texture and taste of the salt reminded me a lot of other European fleur de sel salts. Take a look at their whole range of locally sourced products, for kitchen, pantry, home and bath, here.

Karl Shakur’s Photography

is stunning! natural shapes and patterns captured in a landscape photography that is breathtaking and follows the rhythm of seasons. These words cannot possibly describe the beauty of his photography so please go and check his work out! You can follow him on Instagram to see and keep up with his amazing work, as well as on Youtube for his very helpful tips and tricks on photography.

From the web

-Please, please learn about and consider supporting in any way that is available to you The Innocence Project (of which I’ve spoken before), in their efforts to free and exonerate the wrongly convicted, many of whom were convicted simply by being in the wrong place, at the wrong time and due to the color of their skin (!)

The stark racial inequity of personal finances in America

6 secrets I learned working for rich people

25 ways to save more money without making a dime extra

Where do the wealthy hide their money? this man tracks it.

How giving up TV for a month changed my brain and my life

The first vaccine and its discovery

-I’ve really enjoyed this interview with Julia and Thomas from Gal Meets Glam, a business I follow and love.  I enjoyed hearing their journey, from their humble beginning in a dorm room, their work ethic and pathos, and how they ended up having and scaling their now two businesses.

How the Olmsted, a NYC restaurant, adapted to the shutdown by cooking for and  helping its community. I love, love, LOVE this! a great example of how a local business can and should adapt to adversity and become creative with its resources in the best possible way.

Jamie Oliver’s tips for shopping and cooking during quarantine. As always, Jamie says it best.

Mindfulness in an Italian garden. Kylie’s cinematography is just out of this world.

The oldest treasures from 12 great libraries. Happy sigh.

A day at Stonehenge

-Last but not the least, each year on the 24th of June we are celebrating The Romanian Blouse, a symbol of our culture, its folklore and most of all, the artistry of the women weavers, knitters and makers of this garment that encapsulates so much of our history. Read about this garment, here.

How are we doing, friends?

June has been an intense month, with lots of changes and turmoil, isolating still in some ways.
Let me know how you are and tell me of the things that stuck with you this past month, or perhaps you’ve learned from and brought you joy.

Much love,


p.s: photo taken by me on a sunny and bluebird day in June, 2020.

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Content creator based in Virginia, USA. I write about living a conscious, sustainable lifestyle, exploring places and finding joy and beauty in the little things. Come and stay awhile!

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