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IN A SENSE : April

Issue 07 : April 
A monthly composition of Sensory Inspiration 
In April we observe buds blooming into flowers and light accompanying us on our evening walks. The shift in sunlight brings a shift in perspective and we are filled with hope, invigoration, and an openness of spirit. This month we invite in exploration, experimentation, and the energy of action. 

Spring is filled with live dance performances across the country. We are anxiously awaiting a few performances in which visual artists collaborate with choreographers and young choreographers work with more established dance companies. These collaborations are bringing a fresh and momentous energy to the world of dance.

We are particularly excited about The Movement Sessions, an artist led performance series showing at Little House, a Dries Van Noten exhibition space in Los Angeles. Performances are scheduled throughout the month of April, with themes of flowers, landscapes, nature, and harmony.
Leaves and Flowers tea will be served at each performance. 

Below is a list of live performances scheduled for this spring / summer season and 2 dance related films that we've enjoyed recently. 

Live Performances
- The Movement Sessions (LA)
- Alvin Ailey Dance Company (Berkeley / US Tour)
- Alonzo King Lines Ballet (San Francisco / LA / US Tour)
- LA Dance Project (Paris / Costa Mesa)
- A.I.M (NYC)
- Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, (Massachusetts)
- Batsheva Dance Company (Tel Aviv / France)

- Mr. Gaga - A documentary about Ohad Naharin, director of Batsheva Dance Company
- Carmen - A film by Benjamin Millipied, director of LA Dance Project

“I set out to write a book about what to do to make a great work of art. Instead, it revealed itself to be a book on how to be.” - Rick Rubin

Legendary music producer Rick Rubin is known for reconnecting musical artists to their authentic voice and inner wellspring of creativity. This winter he released his first book, The Creative Act: A Way of Being. Many assumed this book would be a narrative of Rubin's work in the music industry, but it actually reads more like a manual, filled with beautiful observations and wisdom to guide the creative process. In anticipation of reading his book we listened to an interview with Rick Rubin and Ezra Klein. The conversation speaks to the importance of staying open and present, so one can be aware of and receptive to moments of inspiration.

Click the link below to listen to the interview.
The Tao of Rick Rubin
Our work at Leaves and Flowers requires an ongoing conversation around scent and flavor. When selecting new teas and creating formulations we rely heavily on these senses to guide us. Many of our botanical blends are inspired by nature - a specific place, a season, one plant's relationship to another.  We often discuss what scents we encounter in the world and how they inspire us, which ones we bring in close to anoint our bodies and fill our homes. As we move into spring we find ourselves drawn to different scents than in winter. Below we share with you what we're currently drawn to in this new season.
Anna Morton, Co-Founder
As spring runneth over I'm wearing Cielo, a natural fragrance by Perfumera Curandera. All of Leanne's scents are exquisite but I find myself particularly drawn to this one lately, an ambrosial blend with notes of orange blossom, jasmine, wood, and smoke. This scent seems to encapsulate how I feel in this season, delicate but open, grounded but growing wings. 

Emily Erb, Co-Founder
Jasmine is one of the first blooms I've encountered this spring while walking in Berkeley. I'll bring fresh cuttings home and place them in my bedroom where the scent envelops me as I fall asleep. As I transition from my winter scent (Aesop's Hwl Eau De Parfum), I have been mixing a Jasmine Perfume from Earth Tu Face with Maison Louis Marie's No.9 Vallee De Farney. The warm, intoxicating aroma of jasmine gives a richness to the fresh, citrus notes. Blending the two encapsulates the season's first warm touches of sun, with the windy chilling evening air that persists.
Emily Sese, Account Manager
I always find myself gravitating towards oils and perfumes that include patchouli. I love the assortment of characteristics you get from the plant. Patchouli's heavy, woodsy base soothes and helps me feel grounded while its spicy herbaceous notes makes the scent feel fresh and relevant for all seasons. Lately, I've been wearing Dedcool's Fragrance 04, which is a blend of patchouli, fig, and black pepper.
Ochazuke is a simple Japanese dish where green tea is poured over cooked rice. Lately, we've been preparing different versions of this dish for a simple, comforting breakfast. A kombu dashi is made by cold steeping kombu overnight. In the morning simply prepare rice, steep our Genmaicha Green tea in the dashi, and pour the flavorful broth over rice. Additions such as steamed vegetables, fresh herbs, or a soft boiled egg can be added for a heartier meal.

Ochazuke 2 Servings
For the Genmaicha Kombu Dashi
1 piece Kombu (5 grams)
2 C water
1 tsp Genmaicha Green tea

- In an adequate sized jar add the kombu and cold water. Steep for 3-4 hours (or overnight) then strain

For the Ochazuke
1 C cooked sushi rice

3/4 C prepared Genmaicha Kombu Dashi
* Optional additions - fresh herbs, soft boiled egg, steamed vegetables, toasted sesame seeds, pickled ginger

- Prepare the rice and divide into two bowls (add any additions of your choice)
- In a saucepan bring 3/4 C of the kombu dashi to a simmer. Turn off heat
- Add Genmaicha tea, steep for 2 minutes then strain
- Pour immediately over the warmed rice and toppings and enjoy
The need for human touch is one our most basic needs. Research has shown that giving and receiving physical touch supports mental, emotional, and physical health. A wide range of symptoms ranging from anxiety, autoimmune disease, depression, and pain can be relieved by increasing touch. Touch ultimately slows our heart rate and brain waves, relaxing the entire nervous system.

An article by Mary Halton on IDEAS.TED.COM discusses why touch is essential to our human development and health, no matter our life stage, and what happens when we aren't touched. Our skin has a network of nerve fibers that detect and emotionally respond to touch from someone else and creates a sense of safety by affirming our relationships, social connection, and sense of self.

For April, we invite everyone to mindfully bring human touch into your daily life. It can be as small as shaking someones hand, booking a massage, or asking people you trust to linger in a hug, hold your hand, or stroke your hair. Let's celebrate this beautiful way we get to love and affirm one another. 
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