Posts Tagged ‘fun’

sensual movement & herbs, oh my!

May 22, 2012

Several months ago I began to dance. Of course, I had danced before, but never like this. I started taking bellydance, African dance, and Journey Dance. And then came Qoya. Oh, sweet release! Qoya combines the mindfulness of yoga with the abandon of free form dance. It’s emotionally and spiritually freeing. It shakes out the cobwebs and leaves room for good vibrations to enter your life. So I’m thrilled to be collaborating with the woman who introduced me to Qoya, Mishel Herrera. We’re putting on a special workshop where we’ll shower you with a delightful sensory experience – taste, feel, smell, hear, and witness the transformative power of Qoya and herbal concoctions.

Register for Qoya & Herbs

Sunday, June 3
3 to 4:30 pm
Shambhala Yoga & Dance Center
367 Saint Marks Avenue (corner of Grand)
at the border of Prospect Heights and Crown Heights, Brooklyn

Pre-registration is recommended, ’cause this baby’s filling up fast!

Summer is a time for free movement, sensual pleasures, and plant abundance.

Let’s prepare our bodies, minds & souls for the hotter months with juicy, cooling herbal concoctions. We’ll open up our Qoya session with a lubricating, energizing & expanding herbal infusion to drink, plus some hydrating herbal creams to nourish our skin & senses.

Mishel Herrera, founder of La Dea Vita, and Liz Neves, founder of Raganella’s Botanical Solutions, invite you to a special Qoya class.

Qoya combines the traditional benefits of fitness — strength, flexibility, balance, endurance, and agility training — with a unique empowering approach that is feminine, expressive, and, most importantly, fun.

During the session, we’ll make personalized herbal bundles to enhance release & flow. We’ll wind down with a protective blend of herbs to bring us back out into the world as the radiant beings we are.

Come dance your heart’s desires & receive nourishment from healing plants.

Register for Qoya & Herbs

About your hostesses:

Mishel Herrera is founder of La Dea Vita [the Goddess Life]. LDV is a silk-road of Goddess inter-exchange of love, support, sisterhood, ideas, products, art, lifework & passion. It’s also a movement-couture line for women. Mishel desires to revolutionize the athletic-wear industry (and its ideal image of a healthy female body) by designing clothes that fit the diverse bodies of strong & healthy women. Mishel is a graduate of Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts. She teaches Qoya & yoga, and regularly participates in healing ceremonies around the country. She is excited to create a space for the incredible women of this community, and support them in their pursuit of their Dea Vita.

Liz Neves is a crafter, herbalist, permaculturist, and compost-turner living as close to earth’s natural rhythms as possible in the heart of the urban environment. She’s the creator of Raganella’s Botanical Solutions, a line of body care goods and herbal remedies – all handcrafted with love in her home. When she’s not creating, you can find Liz exploring the nooks and crannies of Prospect Park. (And sometimes on twitter & facebook, @raganella7.)

Learn more about Qoya…

crafted at the canal – my last holiday fair of the year!

December 11, 2011

Wow, I’m still recovering from yesterday’s super successful Holiday Market at PS321 in Park Slope. It was an amazingly well-put-together fair and the crowds were enthusiastic about all of the great offerings from crafters (like me). What I love about fairs like the PS321 Holiday Market are the people I get to meet and introduce to Raganella’s Botanical Solutions. And speaking of great people I like to meet…

So I’ve got one more fair this year, and I’m really excited about it. It’s being put on by Build It Green! (BIG!) NYC and Sustainable NYC, at the new BIG! location on 9th Street near the Gowanus (a perfect location for them IMHO; scroll to the bottom for more info). What I’m most psyched about is the people – the trash crafters and upcyclers – I’ll be in the company of that day. Here are just a few of the amazing artists & designers who will be there selling their goods:

Christian Rathbone (fine rugs)

Second Souls (sculpture)

Bespoke Glass Tiles



Wilder Alison (fabric art)


Rebutton Studios

and so many more. I’ll have my teas, herbal extracts, and body care goods for sale, as well as some special holiday deals. Come on out and get some one-of-a-kind gifts for your loves, and yourself!

Crafted at the Canal
A Holiday Reuse Craft Fair

Saturday & Sunday (I’ll be there on Saturday)
December 17 & 18
10am to 5pm
Build it Green! NYC (new location)
69 9th St, BK

get your {fashion} fixx

December 8, 2011

I just had to take a little break from making toothpaste and body scrubs for this weekend’s holiday fair to tell you about this amazingly fun experience I had last night. As you may know, in addition to my love of herbs and natural body care, I love to remake things. Well, last night I got to play around with some tired old and moth-eaten clothes, remaking them into some fabulously fun frankensteined fashion (oh wow, who loves alliteration?).

Down in DUMBO there’s this hidden little gem of a place known as Metamorfixx, home and studio of Petra Hanson, fashion designer, artist, musician, and now teacher. She gave me and 2 other friends lessons on how to take our worn out duds and make lovely new ones using various techniques. Two of my favorites were the sew-free t-shirt knot and on the opposite end of the spectrum, the super industrial Merrow serger.

Petra shows us this cute tank dress she made using the knot technique.

I took a t-shirt Livi got from a stoop sale and an old moth-eaten sweater to make this get-up I call Björkenstein.

I found out about Metamorfixx from my dearest friend Livi (Olivia Cleans Green), after she went to an Evolver reskilling event where Petra demonstrated her fabric “fixxing” skills.

Livi doesn’t usually where trousers, but she loved the look of this tuxedo pants jumpsuit. She fixxed it by cutting off the legs and inserting triangle-shaped fabric where the old inseams were. In the back, for added flare, Livi used some blue satin from a formal dress she’s had in her closet for many moons.

So how can you get your fashion fixx? Get in touch with Petra. She’s now teaching small workshops like the one I attended last night. You bring the clothing and she supplies the notions and know-how. It’s *sew* much fun! (Yeah, I know I’m a dork).

could you, would you, should you? yes! the PS321 holiday fair

December 5, 2011

If you live anywhere near Park Slope, Brooklyn, you know PS321. It’s that big school on 7th Avenue between 1st & 2nd Streets where kids are often spotted screaming with delight in the playground, or where the flea market is set up on the weekend. While that flea market can offer some sweet finds, the holiday fair put on by the school this year ain’t your grandmama’s flea. They’re calling it Stuff You Should Buy. A well curated collection of wares will be available – gorgeous baubles from Hecho en Brooklyn and Up Studio, creative terraria dioramas from Twig, adorable kids’ clothes from Overall Baby and Muny, and so much more. I’d say I’m in good company.

Saturday, December 10
10am to 5pm
Stuff You Should Buy
The new Holiday Shop at PS321
180 7th Ave, Brooklyn
(btwn 1st & 2nd Sts)

friends of friends & friends of animals: it’s a double holiday trouble weekend!

December 1, 2011

Hurray for Holiday Fairs! One of the most fun ways to sell my wares is out on the street with the people. I get to hang out with other craftspeople, represent my goods, and see the looks on folks’ faces when I tell them to sniff the sweet coffee body polisher or sip on the red bush spice tea.

This weekend, I’ve got a double header. Starting with the Brooklyn Friends School Holiday Fair and wrapping up with the super fun Vegan Shop-up, Holiday Edition. I hope you’ll come out to say hello, sniff some samples, and get a taste of tea.

Saturday, December 3
10:30am to 5pm
Brooklyn Friends School Holiday Craft Fair 
375 Pearl St, Brooklyn

I’m really grateful for Annie Bruce of Brooklyn Owl for bringing this one to my attention. BFS has been putting on this event for many years now and I have a feeling it’ll be a sweet family affair. Proceeds benefit Horizons at Brooklyn Friends School, an academic enrichment program benefiting downtown Brooklyn public school children.

I’ll have a wide range of body care products (think: delicious smelling body scrubs, delicate facial scrubs, and yummy creams), plus some herbal concoctions to help you stay healthy this winter. If you happen to be in downtown Brooklyn or Brooklyn Heights, stop by & say hi to Annie and me (we’re sharing a table) – and bring the kids if you’ve got ’em.

Sunday, December 4
12pm to 5pm
Vegan Holiday Shop-up!
@ Pine Box Rock Shop
Bushwick, Brooklyn
(off the Morgan Ave L)

Where else can you sip on delectable bloody marys that are more like a meal than a drink, snack on the tastiest vegan treats (like Brooklyn Hummus – super yummus!), and hang out with some of the coolest people you’ll ever meet? (Like Sarah of Woodside Bakehouse and Tara of Meow Meow Tweet!). It is guaranteed to be a rockin’ time at the Pine Box Rock Shop. I’ll have an array of goodies, like healing herbal extracts, tasty tea blends, and mouthwash. Come on out and channel your inner vegan (even if you aren’t one!)

get dirty nyc! harvest festival, friday, october 21

October 10, 2011

It’s time to celebrate the abundance of this year’s harvest! Come on down to the Get Dirty NYC! and The Commons Harvest Festival fundraiser. All of the requisite ingredients for such a fest will be represented: local food & beer, bluegrass music, raffled prizes, and a lotion-making demo by me! Full details below…

Get Dirty NYC! and The Commons Harvest Festival fundraiser

Friday, October 21, 2011
7:30pm – 11:30pm
The Commons
388 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn
(btwn Hoyt & Bond)

Celebrate the close of a productive growing season over food, drinks, demos, bluegrass music and merry-making at a joint fundraiser to benefit Get Dirty NYC! and The Commons! The party will be taking place at The Commons’ beautiful space in Brooklyn, which includes a working rooftop farm.

A $30 ticket includes seasonal hors d’oeuvres and a drink ticket. All proceeds benefit GDNYC! and The Commons.

  • Food by the Heat & the Coven
  • Drinks donated by Heartland Brewery and Bionade
  • Music by the Dust Busters bluegrass band
  • Demos by Raganella
  • Raffle Prizes include $65 worth of coffee from Stumptown Coffee, a $100 gift certificate from Jimmy’s no. 43, a $50 certificate from Cook’s Companion, and a $50 certificate from Bierkraft!

Space is limited so please RSVP on this Facebook event page or email You can also pay in advance on the Get Dirty NYC! website by clicking “Donate”.

If you’d like to volunteer at the party, please sign up at our wejoin page Volunteers at the party will receive free entry which includes food!

Get Dirty NYC!’s mission is to connect New Yorkers to hands-on gardening and farming opportunities around the city. GDNYC’s hope is to see New Yorkers working together to share skills, cultivate community relationships and nurture our city’s green spaces.

The Commons is a community & educational center dedicated to healthy communities, individuals and environment. Also home to the Foodshed market, open every Sunday 11-5 and Tues 4-8pm.

vegan shop-up, sunday, october 23

September 30, 2011

Come on out to the Pine Box Rock Shop in Bushwick for a wonderful assortment of local, vegan goodies & crafts on Sunday, October 23! I’ll be there selling herbal extracts, teas, dental care goods & more.

Details below (and follow this link to see who else will be there – yippee!!!)

Vegan Shop-up
at Pine Box Rock Shop
12 Grattan Street, Brooklyn
(Off the Morgan L)

Sunday, October 23
noon to 5pm

happy generosity day!

February 14, 2011

[Image from: Living Generously]

How do you feel about Valentine’s Day? Be honest. You hate it, right? Either you feel obligated to go out on a date and/or buy chocolates & flowers for your sweetheart or you feel like a loser if you don’t have anyone to smooch on this lovey-dovey holiday.

Well, this brilliant guy named Sasha came up with a way to turn V-day on its head (in a good way). He’s recoined it “Generosity Day.” Wow, how’s that for a load off? It makes the day so much more meaningful by allowing everyone to participate. Forget about the candy hearts, how about really giving your heart to someone who could use it? (okay, I don’t mean a heart transplant or anything, though donating your organs isn’t a bad idea). Instead of having one special Valentine, any person you meet can be the lucky recipient of your love. No one is left out. Help an old lady across the street. Heck, help any man or lady or child across the street. Smile and wave to neighbors you don’t know – after all, isn’t that what a stranger is? – as they pass.

Generosity Day could include acts such as:

— Giving the hard-working delivery guy a 50% tip
— Helping a stranger lift a heavy package up the subway steps
— Keeping your cool if you get splashed with mucky street water by a passing car (a generous gift to both you and the offender)

The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

If you’re into the social media thing, the twitter hashtag is #generosityday and the facebook page is

Here’s how I’m celebrating:

— I gave to 3 local projects via ioby and 1 project in Kenya via Global Giving

I’m giving away one free healthy home consultation session ($325 value!) to one lucky person who “likes” the Raganella facebook page. The winner will be chosen at random after midnight tonight (12:00AM ET 2/15/11). This is limited to folks who live in NYC, unless you’d like a consultation via skype (hey, I’m open to it if you are). All you’ve got to do is like the fan page. Good luck!


How will you celebrate Generosity Day?

raganella’s adventures in nyc

October 19, 2010

When I’m not working on my next workshop idea or helping clients choose (or make) healthier household products, I’m off in the wild. The wild of the city that is. Recently we (my boyfriend & I) experienced a series of local excursions of note all around the city. There is an urban wilderness to be found out there and I’ll be sharing more of my explorations as I experience them. Stay tuned!


Inwood Hill Park

This 196.4 acre wild park at the uppermost tip of Manhattan holds the last forest (Oak-Beech-Hickory) of its kind on the island, as well as the last salt marsh.

Out to the river, out to the sea

We were amazed by both the unkemptness (in a good way) of the park, as well as its proximity to the Westside Highway (we had to traverse it twice, both times via tunnel). We heard many uncommon (to our ears) bird calls and upon encountering a couple of birders, learned there were kinglets and black-capped chickadees in our midst. NYC boasts a diversity of wildlife way beyond the grey squirrel (and black & albino varieties) and pigeon. Check out this great article by Robert Sullivan to learn more.

Another thing NYC has that might surprise people is some great foraging finds. We spotted a chicken-of-the-woods from the path and without much hesitation (possibly) broke the park rules by hightailing it up the side of a hill to check it out (and grab enough fungi for 4 meals!).

From the woods we could see the salt marsh below. The marsh meets the Spuyten Duyvil (for the most part, the East River) before it heads out to the Hudson. Sea gulls and other wading birds seemingly lounge about, scooping up crustaceans and fish during low tide.

In the visitor center, one of the rangers showed us a flounder and striped bass that were caught in the marsh the day prior. They also had turtles, snakes, and walking sticks, all native to the area.

Marshy marshy marshy

To get to Inwood Hill Park, take the A to Dyckman St (200 St) or 207th St or the 1 to 207th St (10th Ave) and walk west. You can’t miss it!


Brooklyn Navy Yard

Open House NY (OHNY) is a free annual event that introduces otherwise closed off parts of NYC to residents and tourists alike. Our first OHNY excursion was at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

What was once an active port is now home to artists, fabricators, industrial companies, and film set builders.

After checking out an art exhibit, we wandered around a bit (until we got “caught” by security). It’s a bit like wandering through an abandoned town, albeit a bit more maintained.

on the waterfront

Visiting the Brooklyn Navy Yard seems to be a tricky venture. You can visit during Open House events like we did, or if you’re interested in leasing space, you could probably make an appointment to get inside. Otherwise, you can stand outside the gate, staring in longingly. To the south of the visitor’s gates, you can get a glimpse of the decaying old Officer’s Row residences in the yard. A great way to see how nature takes over when we don’t interfere. Directions to the Navy Yard.

Noshing nearby: If you’re peckish and up for a little walk, check out Vinegar Hill House. Delicious!


Newtown Creek Digester Eggs

After eating a tasty and fitting omelet breakfast at Williamsburg’s Egg, we hightailed it to the Newtown Creek’s digester eggs.

From digesting eggs to digester eggs

If you’ve ever looked across the East River to Brooklyn from the midtown Manhattan side (east), then you’ve seen the giant silver orbs that are the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment facility’s anaerobic digester “eggs.” I didn’t really think of them as beautiful until I got upclose & personal with the eggs at a recent tour (another OHNY event). We actually got to go to the top of the shiny lovelies to learn more about their function from one of the employees.

Here are a few fun facts about the facility & eggs:

  • Each egg (there are 8 of them) weighs 33 million lbs. They were manufactured in Texas, shipped to New Jersey, and piece-by-piece transported over the George Washington Bridge over 4.5 months. The eggs were assembled on site as they received each piece
  • The eggs utilize anaerobic bacteria to digest sewage. Three million cubic feet of methane is one of the byproducts of this anaerobic process. Only 20% of this methane is used to heat the plant. The rest is currently burned off (in carbon filtered cylinders). The facility is in talks with National Grid to channel this methane back into the grid. (Keep your fingers crossed!)

Methane release

  • The facility currently handles 240 million gallons of wastewater per dry day, 500 million gallons on a wet day, and when the facility is fully complete, it will handle 700 million gallons per day at its max
  • Wastewater enters the facility at 150 parts per million of pollutants and leaves at 15 to 20 ppm, an 85% reduction in pollutants (which apparently exceeds the EPA standard)

To learn more about what happens to the water that we flush down the toilet, sink, or shower, check out this fact sheet about wastewater treatment in NYC.

The view from the top

To get to Newtown Creek visitor center – which is open to school groups on Tuesdays & Thursdays and the general public on Fridays & Saturdays – take the G train to Greenpoint Ave. Use the Greenpoint/Manhattan Ave exit. Walk along Greenpoint Avenue one long block east and cross McGuinness Blvd. Continue on Greenpoint Ave to the next traffic light and cross Provost. The Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant will be on your left. Follow the fence-line and continue walking until you reach the main gate to the plant, at a traffic light on Humboldt St.

I also highly recommend the Newtown Creek Nature Walk, which runs along the East River and includes native plantings and insightful sculpture work.


Green-Wood Cemetery

Green-Wood has been on my list of places to visit for a while. And on this past super-sunny Sunday, away we went to the famed cemetery. We walked from our apartment (stopping for brunch at the yummy Thistle Hill Tavern on the way) to the gates at 25th St & 5th Ave (a 2.5 mile walk).

The light was intense & dreamy as we made our way around the windy pathways, stopping to admire the graves of people like Louis Comfort Tiffany & William “Boss” Tweed.

My favorite grave marker was that of Peter Cooper (of Cooper Union fame). It’s an amazingly thought-out memorial, including all of Mr. Cooper’s achievements, a poem by Joaquin Miller, as well as his wife Sarah Bedell’s epitaph.

Peter Cooper's amazing epitaph

Patriot, philanthropist, sage

Peace on the dim Plutonian shore

Aside from the interred humans of note, there are some stunning tree specimens throughout the 478-acre cemetery. It’s also home to at least one very large hawk, a growing flock of wild parrots, and it’s a stopping-off point for many migrating birds as well.

Persimmon tree

To get to Green-Wood Cemetery, take the R train to 25th St in Brooklyn. Walk east one block to Green-Wood at 5th Ave and 25th St. (There are also entrances at 9th Ave & 20th St and on Fort Hamilton Ave, though not as grand as the main entrance.)

Watch this space for more city-centric adventures!

farm city, here i come!

September 9, 2010

I’m super excited to be participating in the Farm City Fair this Sunday (9.12), part of the larger 2-week-long Farm City event. I’ll be leading a worm composting demo and tabling all day alongside the NYC Compost Project in Brooklyn. If you come to the event you’ll also get a chance to learn some other great DIY skills from some of my favorite people, like:

  • Foraging with Leda Meredith (Leda’s Urban Homestead)
  • Pickling with Kate Payne (Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking)
  • Honey Extraction with Meg Paska (Brooklyn Honey)
  • Sausage Making with Tricia Okin (BK Tactical Meet Labs)
  • and much more!

(Thanks to Adriana Velez & BFC for making it possible!)

Full details on the day’s events below:

The Fair is a wild new take on the traditional County Fair.

Join us for a day-long celebration of art and food grown in Brooklyn!

The Fair aims to collapse the boundaries between consumer and producer, reducing disconnect between city dwellers and sources of our food stuffs.

Festivities engage all the senses:

Featured artists premiering new works include:

Featured Chefs putting Brooklyn into the local diet include:

  • Sean Rembold, Marlow & Sons;
  • George Weld, Egg; and
  • Chris “Ted” Jackson, Ted & Honey;
  • Tom Mylan, Famed Butcher from The Meat Hook

Sunday, September 12, 2010
11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Invisible Dog Art Center

51 Bergen Street, Brooklyn 11201

(Except for The Food Experiments, where you can also have some fine libations courtesy of Brooklyn Brewery)