The Beach Bum

Please be advised that the following text contains spoilers…

My brother and I recently visited Nitehawk Cinema in Williamsburg to see The Beach Bum, Harmony Korine’s latest film starring Matthew McConaughey, Isla Fisher, and Snoop Dogg, with appearances from Jimmy Buffett, Jonah Hill, Zac Efron, among others. 

The theatre, like the film, is unapologetically absurd, catering custom introductions for each film consisting of random SnapChat videos, old movie trailers, movie scenes, and the like. The introduction for The Beach Bum includes a surfboard-chat scene from Forgetting Sarah Marshall, DJ Khaled’s SnapChat adventure on a jet ski, a video of an African American man clad in a Brooklyn teeshirt cursing to his heart’s content while drinking a disconcertingly neon beverage, as well as more conventional trailers for upcoming films. As random as our introduction was, it was nonetheless entertaining and delightfully humorous. 

The film itself, too, is at once random, hilarious, and, if one thinks hard enough, profound. Matthew McConaughey plays Moondog, a carefree Floridian who spends his days drinking, smoking, fishing, and writing poetry, as he is a published poet. Moondog is actually incredibly wealthy and owns a mansion on the waterfront, but the wealth comes from is wife, Minnie (Isla Fisher). After Minnie dies, her will requires that Moondog publish the novel he had always intended to write before he can partake in his wife’s inheritance. The two did indeed love each other, and the will is a testament to Minnie’s deep understanding of her husband. 

The Beach Bum follows Moondog’s shenanigans, including a short stay in rehab (before breaking free), witnessing an old friend have his foot bitten off by a shark, and finally setting fire to a sailboat containing millions of dollars in cash. The carelessness with which Moondog, a truly harmless character, lives life is comic but also renders him more likable. He clearly loves his family and loves having fun. He even admits that he feels the universe has conspired to make him happy. The odd admiration one feels for Moondog is accompanied by pity, as The Beach Bum is, after all, somewhat of a tragedy. Moondog seems unable to escape vices (alcohol, drugs, a lack of permanence) but seems absolutely content nonetheless. Perhaps he is the only person who is capable of finding joy in a lifestyle as seemingly structureless as his, and it is our reactions to his lifestyle that make him a tragic character. But, from his point of view, he is likely the happiest man in the world. 

Dorm-Friendly Beet Toast


Cooking for oneself in college can often be daunting due to limited finances, limited kitchen appliances, and limited time, but the following recipe (in truth, it is more like a non-recipe) for beet toast was created with all three in mind. Whether eaten for a light breakfast, a snack, or a light lunch, beet toast serves as an ideal source of fuel between classes and study breaks, club meetings and seminars. The versatility of it also invites experimentation, which can add excitement to one’s daily routine while also increasing the range of nutrients. Beet toast can also be made in one’s dorm room and can be adopted for any diet. It is truly a valuable asset in the life of a college student.


2 slices of beet, approx. 3/4-1 in. thick

Suggested Combinations:

almond butter
cacao powder
cacao nibs
pumpkin seeds

olive oil
broccoli florets

Other Optional Toppings:
nut/seed butters
chèvre/ vegan chèvre


Slice the beet into rounds of desired thickness. The beets can be eaten raw or can be placed in the microwave until tender if preferred. Add desired toppings and enjoy!

The Greek

I find it rude and distasteful to take pictures of the food or the restaurant, for that matter. This is just a sneaky snapshot of the interior. I apologize for a lack of pictures–as I find they detract from the experience. 🙂

The Greek, a lovely restaurant situated among the cobblestone streets of industrial Tribeca, is at once welcoming, delicious, sophisticated, and cozy. Upon entering the dimly lit space, what I assumed to be traditional Greek music greeted me, as did a kind hostess, who had a Greek accent.

My brother was–as usual–running behind, so I was offered to enjoy a drink at the bar while waiting for his arrival. The handsome bartender, with a friendly smile and Greek accent, handed me a menu complete with Greek titles for each dish. (As a lover of languages and an amateur learner of Ancient Greek, I greatly appreciated this element.)

The wine list consisted only of Greek wines, and, not knowing what to order among the natural/biodynamic selection, I timidly asked for some guidance. The bartender kindly responded by inquiring about my preferences: did I prefer full-bodied, etc.? Not too well-versed (yet) in the beautifully complex world of oenology, I stated that I enjoyed Malbecs, unsure of which adjectives applied to this varietal amongst the wine-adept.

The bartender then selected two wines to taste. Both were fantastic, and, upon witnessing my surprised/delighted expression after swirling and sipping the second selection, a man–whom I assumed to be the sommelier–approached and began to passionately share his love of Greek wines, in particular the one I had just tasted, speaking of the islands on which the grapes were grown and ancient history of some varietals.

Such passion and hospitality permeate throughout every element of The Greek. Not only are the staff incredibly kind and hospitable–as well as extremely knowledgeable–but also professional, a rare combination in New York City’s competitive food environment.

The food is also insanely delicious and fresh. The Greek proudly holds itself to high standards with regards to the experience it seeks to create, especially the culinary element of this experience. Dedicated to cooking with seasonal, local, and organic produce, as well as scrupulously chosen Greek products, the food is of extremely high quality, as evidenced by its refreshing simplicity and unpretentious beauty and flavor.

Think whole-roasted bronzino so tender and flaky it melts in the mouth, accompanied by braised greens that lend it a delightfully chewy, lemony accompaniment; or a simple salad of spicy arugula, crisp Persian cucumbers, sweet tomatoes, and luscious, triangular slices of feta; or creamy Greek yogurt, kissed by sweet honey and cherries, with crunchy almond halva.

The authenticity of The Greek is evident and shows through its lively music, its rustic interior, its friendly (mostly Greek) staff, its Greek translations on the menu, and its beautifully-crafted, delicious food, made from the finest ingredients. The Greek refers to itself as a “home away from home” and humbly shares how the restaurant is, for those who work there as well as its guests, a house.

This designation could not be more accurate.

Dorm-Friendly Noatmeal

Eating healthfully as a college student can often seem daunting, time-consuming, and expensive. The seemingly inefficient nature of nourishing one’s body with healthy foods, however, is simply an illusion. While indulging every once in a while is certainly healthy, beginning the day with a nourishing and delicious breakfast provides the brain power needed to ace those classes, as well as the energy needed to attend an endless list of collegiate events. Below is a recipe that meets the above requirements and can easily be made in a dorm room. I hope you enjoy:


1/2 cup raw walnuts
1/4 cup raw cashews
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/2 cup cauliflower florets
cinnamon, to taste


Add all ingredients except cinnamon to a food processor or blender, and pulse until the mixture resembles course sand (or desired consistency). Transfer the mixture to a bowl for storage and mix in the desired amount of cinnamon. To serve, spoon out the desired amount of the mixture into your favorite bowl and soak in either water or almond milk overnight. The amount of liquid you use for soaking depends on the desired thickness. In the morning, heat for 1 minute and serve, adding any desired toppings.

Optional toppings: almond butter, cacao nibs, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, berries, almond milk, etc.

Sedona, Arizona: the Ultimate Weekend Getaway

The United States possesses its own unique collection of hidden gems. One such place is Sedona, Arizona. Though it is not hidden, per se, it provides a welcome respite from the busyness of one’s day-to-day routine.

Perhaps the most awe-inspiring aspect of this southwestern sanctuary is its stunning red rocks. Layers upon layers of glorious red, orange, and tan hues color the cliffs and spires that surround the town. My family stayed in Boynton Canyon, so we were actually surrounded by the rocks, which rose to impressive heights all around us. We had to crane our necks to capture the canyon’s entirety.

The geological splendors of Sedona also serve as an intriguing link to the past. One can only imagine how old the layers of rock at the bottom of the cliffs are. As time progressed, more layers were continuously added. The spires and unique formations were created from years and years of weather, shaped by the wind and rain. Pondering the history of one’s physical surroundings is certainly exciting, especially when the evidence of aging is so visible.

The Enchantment Resort, approximately 15 minutes from town and tucked away in the canyon, was an absolute delight. The distance from town was in fact an advantage, adding an element of privacy and intimacy. Large windows allow guests to fully take in the splendor of their surroundings while tasteful southwestern décor adds to the hotel’s allure. The Enchantment also boasts delicious, sophisticated cuisine.

Mii Amo Café serves fresh, healthy, and seasonally-inspired dishes in an unfortunately cafeteria-like setting. While it is a perfect spot for breakfast or lunch, I would forgo the café for a more elegant option come dinnertime. This place is more intended for pre- and post-spa nourishment.

Tii Gavo is a casual restaurant offering delicious food with a nod to traditional southwestern flavors. A good place for groups, picky eaters (like myself) can find a dish to their liking while sports fans enjoy the latest game at the bar.

Che Ah Chi, the resort’s signature restaurant, serves breakfast and dinner in a rather hotel-like atmosphere but, at breakfast, the views make up for it and at night, the room is dimly lit. Perhaps I am being slightly harsh, as the restaurant certainly is elegant, but it would be even more so with a more modern and fresh makeover. The food, however, certainly steals the show and quickly eclipses any ambience-related qualms. Che Ah Chi celebrates Native American and southwestern flavors, especially with their divine vegetable dishes. Unfortunately, dessert was slightly lacking, as the ice cream was a bit gummy and unimpressive flavor-wise.

If you do decide to venture out into town for an evening, the Elote Café is an excellent option. The atmosphere is certainly nothing special, but the liveliness of the place more than makes up for it (they take no reservations, so expect a LOT of people and long wait times), and the food is more than worth the daunting wait. I have always possessed a deep distaste for (Americanized) Mexican food, as I always viewed it a heavy and bloat-inducing. The Elote Café converted me. While the restaurant is certainly still indulgent, the food is bright, flavorful, modern, and absolutely delicious. There are more options than tacos and enchiladas. I ordered the sea bass adobo–a perfectly tender, and very spicy, grilled fillet of fish with salsa verde and pickled onions. Everything from the guacamole to the vanilla agave ice cream was perfectly executed. Each component of the meal had so much thought put into it, making it a truly satisfying and memorable meal.

Indulging in a spa treatment is also a lovely way to fully immerse yourself in the wellness-y vibe of Sedona. The Mii Amo Spa, though world-renowned and highly acclaimed, was unfortunately underwhelming. The treatments themselves, as well as the kind and amiable therapists, were outstanding, but the physical atmosphere of the spa was tired and outdated. Significant improvements could have been made regarding the spa waiting area, which was rather small. Things one would expect from an award-winning spa, such as cleanliness, aesthetically-pleasing massage rooms, and appropriately warm hot tub temperatures, seemed to go overlooked. I know how blessed I am to even be able to go to a spa. While back from college for Winter Break, a massage was a lovely–and much appreciated–treat, but for the exorbitant spa prices, however, the physical atmosphere was lacking.

Sedona is certainly a lovely place to visit. I was taken aback by its beauty, as I was not expecting such vividly-colored, nor beautifully shaped, rocks. The nature alone makes Sedona an extraordinary getaway, but the people, hotels, cuisine, and spas add a unique element that renders it even more enjoyable.

Winter Self-Care Products*

Self-care is an essential aspect to one’s overall health and wellbeing. With the upcoming Holiday Season and chilly weather, personal wellness could not be more important. Listed below are products that will inspire both an internal and external glow, as well as soothe the body during these wintry months.

Kopari Coconut Melt: This organic coconut oil is meant to be used as a moisturizer. It is perfect for hands and legs–commonly dry areas during this time of year. Kopari is 100% natural and smells divine, making it the perfect addition to one’s self-care repertoire.

Saje’s Sleep Well Oil: This oil is perfect for facilitating a sense of calm prior to bed. It is best to roll it on the inner wrists, the bottom of the feet, the temples, and behind the earlobes. After doing so, breathing in the oil’s lovely lavender-chamomile-valerian scent will help promote an even more restful sleep.

Hemp Garden’s Elevate CBD Lotion: This quaint shop on Cornelia Street sells products containing hemp or CBD, including lotion, candies, and bars. The Elevate lotions contain CBD and are perfect for soothing fatigued muscles. The lotion physically relaxes the body and can facilitate a deeper, more restorative sleep.

The Base Collective’s Magnesium Oil Spray: This spray works similarly to the CBD lotion in that it, too, provides relief for sore or fatigued muscles. The calming effect of magnesium can also help with sleep.

Live-Live & Organic’s Bee Yummy Skincare Line: Live-Live & Organic is a lovely health food/skin care store in the East Village. Its Bee Yummy products contain natural ingredients such as wildflower honey and royal jelly to promote healthy skin. The Bee Yummy Skinfood and Honey Mask are particularly divine.

Marie Veronique’s Gentle Gel Cleanser: This cleanser is perfect for sensitive skin. After using it, one’s face feels soft, clean, and moisturized. It also smells lovely and lasts for a considerably long time, as a single pump will suffice for a thorough and indulgent clean.

*Please note that these product recommendations are based upon my personal experiences. Everyone’s bodies and skin types are different and may react differently. Please know, however, that I have personally tested every one of these products and love all of them. If you decide to try some of these products for yourself, please do enjoy.

Aussie Cafés of NYC

It is officially Fall here in New York City, and with this particularly cozy season comes a bout of chilly weather and a plunge in temperatures. Though the cool and crisp air is certainly refreshing and only adds to the excitement of the upcoming Holiday season, it is nevertheless desirable to experience some warm and summery vibes.

Luckily, the city’s latest gastronomic trend has helped combat the blues that people may experience with such a drastic weather change. Who better than the Aussies to add some warmth during these upcoming wintry months?

Australian cafés seem to have become the new “hotspot” for New Yorkers seeking a relatively healthy, but slightly indulgent, meal or snack during these cooler days. Two Australian restaurants in particular have been able to fully deliver on everything that one might expect, including delicious food, incredibly friendly staff, and a comforting, yet aesthetically pleasing, atmosphere.

In the heart of SoHo, Ruby’s Café offers a bright and airy sanctuary for a leisurely breakfast or lunch amidst a much-needed break from one’s shopping endeavors. The menu is diverse, making it the perfect spot for a group with varying tastes. Complete with a vast selection of burgers, sandwiches, salads, pastas, and “brekkie” items, Ruby’s Café can satisfy the pickiest eater while also pleasing that family member or friend who couldn’t care less about the food’s nutritional value.

What to order:

The kale salad is delicious but also indulgent. The crispy quinoa adds a satisfying crunch element. It is even more delicious with a side of avocado, for it makes the dish more substantial and also provides a dose of healthy fats.

The roasted Brussels sprouts were good, and slightly sweet, but they could have been far better had they been crispier. This dish had a funky acidic/sweet element which rendered it unique in comparison to traditional roasted brussels sprouts, although I prefer the latter to the former.

The pasta dishes looked heavenly. Though I did not order any pasta, several tables around me did. Each dish was colorful and satisfying to look at, especially with the extremely generous pile of grated parmesan cheese that crowned some of the customers’ glutenous meals.

A more homey and genuine Australian café, called Good Thanks, is located in the Lower East Side, just a few doors down from Russ & Daughter’s Café. The staff here was refreshingly genuine, kind, and attentive. There were some Aussies at Ruby’s, but it seemed that everyone working here was an Aussie, and the traditional Australian friendliness definitely showed–more so than at Ruby’s.

The food at Good Thanks is absolutely delicious. It is not fussy, but everything is made with the utmost care and is presented in a way that resembles an unpretentious piece of art. The micro greens that adorn the seasonal fruit bowl–which comes in a beautiful shallow wooden bowl–as well as the perfectly poached eggs on the avocado toast, are but one example of the admirable amount of thought put into each dish.

Their small wooden tables, ceramic plates, and quaint carafes of lemon water all add to the warmth and coziness one feels upon entering, but Good Thanks is not just another trendy café that mindlessly grasps onto fleeting trends, hoping to stay afloat in New York’s culinary battlefield. They are authentic and genuine. They take no shortcuts and ensure that everything–from the flavor to the atmosphere to the presentation– is executed mindfully and purposefully. The staff treats their customers like old friends, but a strong familial-like bond is evident among the staff members themselves.

The congenial atmosphere is reason enough to visit this LES gem, but the food is truly impeccable.

What to order:

Any of the egg dishes were delicious. I ordered two poached eggs with avocado and smoked salmon. Just be sure that, if you want to skip the toast that accompanies the eggs, to ask specifically for no bread. The salmon was not overpowered by salt, as many varieties unfortunately are, while the avocado was perfectly ripe and the eggs deliciously jammy.

My sister ordered the homemade, gluten-free banana bread, which came with a side of spiced butter. The bread, appearing gloriously dense and moist, was bejeweled with banana chunks and was, according to her, sinfully delicious.

Though I don’t drink coffee, my dad does and is rather particular about what constitutes a good cappuccino. He certainly expressed high approval of Good Thanks’ version of the classic café essential.

These two Aussie cafés are worth a visit–especially Good Thanks. In an age defined by ruthless culinary competition and stuffy restaurants lacking any character, Ruby’s Café and Good Thanks proved to be the perfect breaths of fresh air.

Natural Skincare

Our skin, the body’s largest organ, is constantly bombarded with myriad chemicals and pollutants, especially when living in a large city like New York. Because of the seemingly constant daily exposure to harmful substances, it is best to avoid skin products that would only cause further damage. The modern skincare industry produces countless products that are rife with harmful chemicals. Our skin is able to absorb topical products, so it is crucial that one takes into account the body as a whole when pondering various skincare avenues. Luckily, there are many natural ingredients that greatly benefit the skin. Listed below are some key ingredients that can be uses to care for the skin in the healthiest, most wholesome manner possible. Each ingredient is a nutrient powerhouse and will flood your skin with nutritional benefits. Self-care is essential, and the skin is indeed a major part of it.

Raw Honey

-honey contains antibacterial properties and aids in the skin’s pH regulation. It also helps regulate the production of the skin’s natural oils, which, when disrupted, can cause acne, oiliness, and dryness


-matcha is rich in chlorophyll, which helps slow the growth of anaerobic bacteria. Its caffeine content also aids in the tightening of the skin and shrinking of pores

Apple Cider Vinegar

-apple cider vinegar’s pH is very similar to that of the skin’s, thus helping to keep it in check

Cucumber & Mint

-both cucumber and mint aid in reducing redness and inflammation. As an added bonus, cucumber seeds contain Vitamin E and potassium, therefore delivering essential nutrients to the skin


-blackberries are an extremely good source of antioxidants which protect the cells from free radicals. Free radicals are produced as a result of radiation exposure, pollutants such as smoke, and the breaking down of food and pose a great threat to the health of the skin

Incorporating these ingredients into one’s skincare routine will undoubtedly benefit the skin in myriad ways. They are a welcome alternative to the many chemical-laden commercial products on the market. All of these ingredients are edible, and simply eating them is a powerful first step towards taking better care of your skin. However, to further reap their benefits, topical application is highly effective. For ingredients that are slightly more difficult to apply manually, there are several vehicles that aid in facilitating the process, such as natural Greek yogurt. One can mix any of these ingredients into the yogurt to create a more economical way to apply them to the skin. Raw honey is another useful vehicle as are smashed banana or avocado. Hopefully these ingredients will bring you much joy. Please always remember the importance of self care and how our bodies always welcome a respite from the noise and pollution of modern life.

For further information and inspiration regarding all-natural skincare, the blogs Kale & Caramel, The Beauty Chef, and Hello Glow are all lovely resources. Much of the information in this article was inspired by their wisdom and provided an abundance of knowledge to aid in natural skin care.


Everyone is well aware that one’s home is something far different than a house.

is it a thing at all?

what does the word “home” encompass? what does it include?

for many, home produces feelings of warmth, comfort, nostalgia, security

for others it conjures up memories that have long been repressed.

for me, home is a source of light and love. it is grounding and evokes feelings of utter bliss.

my home is not only a place. it includes tranquil mountains and their quaint brooks;

the lush environment and its call to deer, squirrels, foxes, bears, owls;

the orange and red leaves in the fall, enveloping the town in a blanket of fiery hues;

the silent first snow, validating our excitement that winter has finally arrived.

it includes an intimate community of diverse individuals united by their love of the town and each other;

my family sharing our meals after a hectic day apart;

the smell of fresh vegetables roasting in the oven;

the softness of my bed and the gift of its warmth;

all this, and more, constitutes my home–an indefinable term, as it is simply too beautifully complicated to be compressed into a single definition.

home–everything that brings me back to my roots, reminding me that I am never truly alone.

La Monde Nostalgique

(Above: Roots and Tree Trunks by Vincent Van Gogh)

What is it about weather that evokes such a powerful emotional response when reflecting on the past?

The view out of the window of crispy leaves dancing in a sudden gust of warm, early-autumn wind. The late afternoon sun rays illuminating such a spectacle.

Falling asleep to the soft whisper of raindrops knocking on the roof and walls. Sometimes the rain would shout rather than whisper, but regardless of the tone, a feeling of total serenity ensued.

Playing with the dollhouse in the soft evening light of the Fall, the lamp providing just enough visual clarity so as not to disrupt the cozy and incredibly secure atmosphere of the room.

Waking to the crisp chill of the Winter air. An extra blanket is needed, yes, but the characteristic precursor to a new season is a welcome one–only increasing one’s sense of intimate security.

The soft blue evening light of autumn combined with the cozy glow of the living room lamps.

The gentle breeze tickling one’s face during the final days of summer.

The vast blanket of snow enveloping the surrounding environment.

The lush vegetation and its beautiful cycle of renewal through unique transitory phases.

The sound of birds chirping early in the morning, or of owls calling to each other in the night.

What is it about the natural world that evokes such strong feelings of nostalgia, producing and even stronger and more intimate connection to the memories which we hold so dear?