[Mon Poetry] Snake-Oil Salesman

Wrote this poem over two years ago… Originally intended for it to be lyrics to a song, but perhaps it’s better this way… If I just let it stay, this way

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Artwork Credit: Salvador Dali, “Tristram and Isolde” (1944)

“Snake-Oil Saleman” – © Brittany “Bella” Graham

Words, I’ve heard them before
Sweetly sugar coated
Slipping from the same softly oiled tongue,
He has no conscience, acts only to preserve his fun…
No concern for air that escapes out his lungs,

And his pre-occupation with his occupation,
Makes him not care
Unaware that he holds you frozen in his stare,
When he looks at you, he sees through you, leaves you bare
And he notices all the missing things that are no longer there,
A mirage of your fantasy
And he’ll morph into whatever that you want to see,
He’ll repeat back your secrets and your fantasies
A beautiful creature but still just a fantasy,
A mere man molded into what you want to see…

He’s Dionysus, cares only for pleasure of the moment
He’ll bring you gladness, then sadness,
Give you ecstasy then leave you swirling… lost in bacchiac madness, this sadness, its madness

Slowly he enters and works his way down into my thoughts…
I close my eyes and just enjoy the ride
He had me mesmerized, that’s why I’m so surprised
He wasn’t whom I thought…
Never what I thought

[Au Cinema] Film Nostalgia: Reliving the 1970’s with “The Source Family”

Bonjour mes amours! Almost a month ago I started working with a new client, the Long Beach Indie International Film Festival – and I wanted to take a moment, not only to introduce you to my latest consulting venture, but also to turn you on to my latest piece of creative writing ;)

As the festival’s Social Media Consultant and Festival Blogger, I will be writing and curating their weekly blog, as well as a number of other exciting digital media enterprises. The official blog launched today, and I would like to invite you to check out my piece on “The Source Family” documentary,” which highlights a spiritual commune of young, beautiful and esoteric hippies who lived in a Hollywood Hills mansion and were led by their spiritual father, “Father Yod,” also known as “Ya Ho Wha.”

Blog Excerpt:

“With their easy acceptance of a Rock N’ Roll lifestyle, a rejection for conformity, a push for sexual liberation and an overall “peace, love and freedom” philosophy, I’ve often felt a sort of kindred bond with Hippie counter-culture. At best, I could describe it as nostalgia for something I’ve never had – but have always intrinsically possessed – and as such, I have appropriated similar traits and ideologies (sans the inclination to LSD binges) into my own lifestyle.

Highlighted by health consciousness, a heavy spiritual movement and one of the most fascinating, bohemian-esque fashion “profiles” ever (flower headbands, flowing dresses, headpieces, crystal jewelry and more), the period I’ve always been most captivated with was the zenith of Hippie popularity, or the late 1960’s. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to attend Woodstock or the Summer of Love, and I sometimes feel cheated that my fate was to be born two decades after all the cool stuff happened and that I didn’t get a rad, far out psychedelic name like River Aquarian.”

Read the entire post here: http://www.longbeachindie.com/blog/film-nostalgia-reliving-the-1970s-with-the-source-family.html

[Bon Appétit] Cooking with Heather + Jenny of Spork Foods

“You never forget a beautiful thing that you have made,’ Chef Bugnard said. ‘Even after you eat it, it stays with you – always.” ― Julia Child, My Life in France

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Chef Jenny Engel – one-half of the dynamic sister-chef duo, Spork Foods – believes that vegan cuisine is maturing, and she wants to teach it to walk in high-heels. Jenny and her sister, Heather Goldberg, own Spork Foods – an L.A.based gourmet vegan food company and along with organic vegan cooking classes, they also offer in-home healthy eating consultations, private cooking parties, corporate trainings and team-building cooking classes.


Jenny (left) and Heather (right) chefing for the class

I had the pleasure of attending one of the Spork’s cooking classes – “Fancy Pants” to be exact – a couple of weeks ago and while sitting on a wooden stool surrounded by like-minded souls, I was both entertained, enthused and fascinated as the sisters showed us step by step how to cook:

  • Peanut Butter Baked Donuts with a maple coconut “bacon” topping
  • White Bean, Olive and Mushroom Pinwheels
  • Hearts of Palm Fritters with a Smoky Paprika Aioli
  • and Grilled Zucchini with a Saffron Cream Sauce


Grilled Zucchini with a Saffron Cream Sauce

Although the outside of the Spork Foods headquarters (located on the corner of Gardner Street + Santa Monica Boulevard) resembled more of a corporate headquarters – with its glass door and white-washed exterior – once you stepped inside and into their space, it was almost as if you were transported in your dear old mother’s kitchen. Or, rather Heather and Jenny’s mothers kitchen, since she was on-site assisting the sisters with the dishes, doling out of snacks and refills of water, as the sisters chatted, chopped and cooked for the class.


White Bean, Olive and Mushroom Pinwheels

One thing that I really adored about the class is the overall ambiance of the “set.” I’m calling it a set because it really felt like we (the other 7 members of my small class) were audience members at a show on the Food Network, except that the show was interactive and we got to ask questions. The class stools were placed around a great big, “round-table” countertop, so each member was able to easily see each other, and natural light abounded through two big windows. It was like being in a country kitchen, and Heather and Jenny were like sweet, southern hosts inviting us to share their world and their meal. Not only did we learn how to cook everything step-by-step and up-close-and-personal, we were given papers with the full recipes to take home and also pens to take notes with.


Heather adding coconut “bacon” crumbs to the finished peanut butter donuts. Coconut bacon, because of course, it is a vegan class

Besides learning that cashews are so expensive because they come from “cashew apples” – that’s right, actual apples and are enclosed in toxic enzymes, who knew? – we also learned handy details about healthy eating and vegan food, and they made sure to pass certain ingredients around so that we could taste and smell them for ourselves.

cashewapple
Cashew apple. Image courtesy of http://www.lifeline.net.au

Then, after everything was made, we all sat around a gorgeous wooden table with adorable, elegant plates and linen napkins and enjoyed the fruits (errr, foods) of our labor. It was a chance to mingle with others in the class, hold fun, casual conversations and even make new friends. It was such a peaceful gathering… I really can’t think of a better way that I could have spent my Saturday morning. If you’re ever in the L.A. area – or not (as the sisters frequently travel nationwide teaching their classes) – I would definitely recommend trying to catch up with these beauties.

I’m not a vegan, but the class gave me a sense of all of the great food that can be created without the use of meat, and for that, I am really appreciative and grateful.


Peanut Butter Baked Donuts with a maple coconut “bacon” topping

For more information on Heather, Jenny and Spork Foods, visit: http://sporkfoods.com/

For Spork Foods’ cooking class schedule: http://sporkfoods.com/index.php/page/classes

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/SporkFoods/274889850995
Twitter:@SporkFoods
Instagram: @SporkFoods


Hearts of Palm Fritters with a Smoky Paprika Aioli

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[Sunday Meditation] Walking The Road Alone

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#BellaSundayMeditation: “Walking The Road Alone”

Please excuse the lateness of my post… I think that perhaps I needed the events of today to transpire to better conceptualize this message.

THE BACK STORY: Everyday for a week, I’ve received a sign confirming the message that I received on the New Moon. Two of the signs included messages in fortune cookies – which I NEVER pay attention to – but both were given to me by an inspiring stranger who is now an acquaintance (so I feel as if they were meant to be placed in my hands).

One read, “You will become a great leader of the community,” and the one today said, “You have strong spiritual powers + you should choose to develop them…” I’m actually going to keep today’s fortune to remind me of the message, which is…. “WALKING THE ROAD ALONE.” (Sorry for the lengthy introduction)

THE MESSAGE: As you travel along your Life’s road, there will be stretches where you will have no one to share it with. Now, this doesn’t mean that you’ll actually (physically) be alone, it just means that there will be places (physically AND metaphorically) where your friends cannot come. It could be that its simply time for your road to diverge (and maybe your roads will cross again in the future) – or it could be that you need to learn whatever’s being directed, ALONE. For instance, in every child’s Life there are experiences that shape the way they think, feel, act + perceive the world, and in essence, “molds” them into the adult they become. However, just because we’re adults doesn’t mean the molding stops. WE (us, me you) are wet clay + the energy we emit and absorb, IS constantly shaping our destiny + consciousness.

So, although we may have a team, one should never get too attached to the idea of “togetherness,” that you miss your individual calling. Think of yourself as the King on the chessboard and everyone else as the other pieces… “Pawns” are not (and never will) make it to the end of the game with you, but your Queen is (almost) a constant fixture. Disclaimer: This does NOT mean that you should use people + discard them, but it DOES mean that in order to “win” the game, you need to discover everyone’s true place in your Life.

Only YOU are in charge of the road you travel. Don’t miss your “turn” because of someone else. Branch off and IF other people follow, then they follow. BUT the key is, be comfortable enough NOT to look back + see if they’re there. YOU’RE THERE + you’re all that matters. Namaste

*Editor’s Note: The picture above is of my meditation altar that contains some of my crystals (Amethyst, Rose Quartz, Garnet, Snowflake Obsidian), sea salt, jasmine flowers, rose petals and a few other things.

[Mon Poetry] Lights Out

Be careful of your energy, your spirit and your time… You give it all away, and it all comes back to haunt you with time…

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Artwork Credit: “La Femme” – Lauri Blank

“Lights Out” – © Brittany “Bella” Graham (01. 15. 14)

Connected like an umbilical cord
From stitches you sewed in my womb,
You ripped them apart every time you pulled out
And stifled my screams with your mouth

And like a thief entering my house
You stole away the night,
Slipped out without saying a word
And took away my light

#FirmeHaiti – A Night of Fashion, Music + Fundraising

Bonjour mes amours! About three weeks ago – on Sunday, January 12th – Firme Foundation, along with my creative agency, Jacq & Bella, hosted a night of fashion, music and fundraising in honor of the 4th anniversary of the devastating Haiti earthquake.

Firme Foundation is a non-profit organization that builds homes and shelters for the many people (and families) displaced after the devastation of the 2010 Haiti earthquake – and after hearing about the many wonderful things that the foundation was doing for the Haitian community, my partner and I couldn’t resist getting involved.


My partner, Jacqueline Chambers, and I

The night was an absolute success and I am pleased to say that we packed the house (errr, the Redbury Hotel inside the Library Bar), even on a Sunday (which also happened to be the night of the Golden Globes)! The night featured a fashion show – with makeup services donated by the fabulous Linton twins of Artistic Glow and Kurejea Enjoli. Our friend, Sir James Royale, debuted his new song (written specifically for the event) and tore down the house with his creative partner, Lady Remedy. There were also vendors, an art auction by philanthropist and photographer, Alicia Marie Bower and thousands of dollars were raised for a great cause!

Make sure you check out the twin’s Artistic Glow website (http://www.artisticglow.com/), and Kurejea’s website (http://www.kurejeaenjoli.com/) and book them for your next event!


With makeup artist, Kurejea Enjoli


Artistic Glow makeup artist working on one of the models

Thank you to everyone who came out and please visit Firme Foundation to learn more about the great work they do!


With Sir James Royale, my partner, Jacq; and the founder of Firme Foundation

*Editor’s Note: All photos NOT marked with a Love & Biscotti watermark are courtesy of Firme Foundation and Alicia Marie Bower.

[Sunday Meditation] The Simple Pleasure of Silence

Hello loves. It’s been awhile since I’ve updated the blog so please excuse my absence… Sometimes Life has a way of just catching a hold of you, squeezing tight and not letting go and thus (perhaps needless to say), that’s where I have been these past couple of weeks; at the intersection of dreams and reality…

Since it’s Sunday, I guess it’s only right that my first post back should be a #SundayMeditation, and this one – like all the others before – was first posted on my Instagram account (@MsBellaGraham) and now it’s here. I recently put my Instagram on private so it may be harder to search for my past meditations unless you follow me (which you are more than welcome to), but I’ll also be posting more of them here so stay tuned ;)

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#BellaSundayMeditation: “The Simple Pleasure of Silence”

The other day, I wrote the following in response to someone’s comment about “Fear,” and of course, it ended up creating an entire dialogue…  Nevertheless, I’m sharing my peace of it (no misspelling, pun intended), as a lead-in to today’s meditation which is “THE SIMPLE PLEASURE OF SILENCE”

My words on Fear: “I don’t think there is anything – on this Earth (or beyond) – that we should fear… Not death, not shame, not Man and not even God… Everything; including the universe – and all the energy in it – exists solely for our pleasure… So just enjoy it.”

These words then led to someone commenting that “pleasure” can also be our downfall, to which I responded…  “Of course, there are consequences to everything. Although it is to some, my def. of pleasure is not synonymous with greed or evil, etc… The beauty of Life is simple and so is thought. Silence is simple. That’s pleasure… The universe is here for our simple and silent pleasure of simply BEING here.

Again, I’m only quoting this conversation b/c I’m going somewhere with it (I swear I am lol), but I think the quote in the picture best sums up my message, which is,YOU are the ultimate creator of YOUR world, and your circumstances are a DIRECT reflection of the energy YOU emit. If you think of the universe as a giant mirror, mirroring your actions – then as you move, so it shall move, and as you act, the universe, REACTS.

I fear nothing because I’ve looked in the mirror and have seen only beauty (of the kind that has nothing to do w/ physical appearance)… Divine thoughts lead to divine reactions… And if that doesn’t make sense to you now, keep studying… Self, silence, pleasure, energy… All traits of the Gods, which of course, you are. Namaste