SXSW SPIRIT GUIDE: 36-HOURS IN AUSTIN

Yee-haw, here comes the annual music and culture mash-up that is Austin’s SXSW festival. But there’s a whole other side to the town that’s more hippie than hipster (in a good way). Here’s our recipe for a weekend of self-discovery  and spiritual hi-jinx in the Portland of the South…

SATURDAY

9AM BLACK SWAN YOGA

The girls who run this donation based studio ($10-$15 suggested, $7 minimum) made a grainy, black and white freaking yogic music video as the intro to their website. All classes – Beginner, Power, Sweaty and Flow – take place in a 90-degree heated room, and if you can’t get to one of the four Austin locations there are even online classes to do. We suggest kicking off your Austin tour with the 9am Power class taught by Adam M at the Downtown studio. Set to a soundtrack of hip-hop, reggae, and, um, tango; “The idea is that we’re working ‘towards’ being the best version of ourselves and having some fun doing it,” he says.

Blackswanyoga.com

11AM JUICELAND

Now it’s obviously juice o’clock, and with seven locations dotted throughout Austin this is the place to get your greens on. We say go straight for the hard stuff and make your selection from the “Next Level” menu. How about a Cold Shower (cucumber, parsley, mint, watermelon, lime, salt) to cool you down after that hot yoga session? Or if you really need waking up, the Xtra Holla Pain Yo! (jalepeno, garlic, carrot, orange, cilantro, lime, salt) should do the trick. They also do smoothies and soups, and there’s a vegan, gluten free “Functionally Good Food” menu too.

Juiceland.com

12 NOON THE HERB BAR

You’re invited to switch off your mobile phone before you enter this magical mystery emporium, which, open since 1986, looks like Bilbo Baggins hobbit cave with its little red door almost buried behind the ivy bush that covers the front of the building. Inside, you’ll find everything from herbal tea blends and massage oils to locally produced natural beauty products and remedies, astro paraphernalia, crystals, prayer flags and wind chimes, all served up by super-friendly owner Twila Dawn Willis. Yep, it’s basically Numi retail heaven.

Theherbbar.com

1PM UNCOMMON OBJECTS

 

 

There’s plenty more magic to be found at this Austin stalwart, but rather than try to describe the kind of treasures a root around this sprawling space might uncover, we repeat for you their manifesto; “We relish the time worn and well loved. We are crazy about genuine patina. We cherish folk arts and parlor crafts from around the world. We reflect the melting pot that is the American experience. We adore ingenious repair. We honor beauty found in unexpected places. We are inspired by the joy found in serendipity.” And seriously, where else are you going to find a skate board that doubles up as a ouija?

Uncommonobjects.com

2PM MR NATURAL

There’s A LOT of amazing vegetarian food in Austin, but we’re sending you to this meat-free take on a traditional Tex Mex joint for a couple of reasons. 1) It comes highly recommended from Twila at the Herb Bar. 2) They do an ENTIRE GLUTEN FREE MENU. 3) There’s an yoga studio attached where they offer a ‘spiritual Hatha’ practise. And, maybe most importantly, 4) They produce a huge assortment of insane wheat / sugar / dairy / etc free cakes and pastries out of the on-site bakery.

MrNatural-austin.com

5PM SPARTAN

This ridiculously hip lifestyle boutique is essentially what the Numinous would be if we had a store (now there’s an idea…) Owner Currie Person has curated THE chicest collection of spiritually aware fashion, jewellery and homewares, while some new arrivals for spring include a crazy cool tie-dye leather bag from Creatures of Comfort, a selection of vintage Andean blanket rugs, this set of Bing Bang skull studs and the great felt hat by Janessa Leone pictured here.

Spartan-shop.com 

8PM CHEER-UP CHARLIE’S

With kombucha on tap and the MOST delicious vegan food truck parked out back, this indoor-outdoor bar / live music venue is a one-stop healthy hedonism shop. They also serve fresh pressed juice cocktails, while a parachute canopy covering the patio creates an other-worldly, that-bar-from-Star Wars kinda vibe. Oh, and check out the rad décor on the dance floor! Who needs ‘shrooms with all this trippy black light s*** going on?

Cheerupcharlies.com

12.30AM STARRY EYES

If you can drag yourself away from the fun times at Charlie’s (see above), Starry Eyes – described as “an occult tale of ambition, possession and the true cost of fame,” is being screened as part of the official SXSW schedule. Following the (mis)fortunes of a wannabe actress in Hollywood, after a series of strange auditions she lands the lead in a new film from a mysterious production company. “But with this opportunity comes bizarre ramifications that will transform her both mentally and physically…” Yikes!

SXSW.com

SUNDAY

10AM BARTON SPRINGS POOL

This man-made pool in Austin’s Zilker Park is filled from the water of the Main Barton Spring, the fourth largest natural spring in Texas. Open for year ‘round outdoor swimming, long before the pool was built the springs were considered sacred and were used for purification rituals by tribesmen of the local Tonkawa tribe. So where better to refresh your Sunday morning head?

Austintex.gov

11am JYOTISH ASTROLOGY WITH ANNE BEVERSDORF 

This renowned Austin astrologer goes back and forth between traditional Western and Vedic astrological systems during a reading, cross-checking information to give a totally in-depth, 360-reading. Coming to astrology as a healing modality, “My goal is to open doors for a deep flowering of your innermost Self in relation to the world. My peace is in hearing that YOU have found meaning in both joys and sorrows,” she says.

Stariel.com

1PM WHOLE FOODS RAW VEGAN FOOD BAR

Not only does Austin have one of the biggest Whole Foods in the world (or at least what feels like it, this is the home of their HQ after all), there’s also a WHOLE counter of the infamous salad bar dedicated to vegan (and mainly raw) cuisine. Well, hello broccoli cashew crunch, chickpea chix salad, pumpkin seed cheese, and raw German chocolate cake. Oh, or how about a raw flax seed tortilla was topped with kale and avocado, spicy cashew cheese, mock sour cream, cilantro and pico de gallo? Yes please.

Wholefoodsmarket.com

3PM GARDEN OF THE ANCIENTS

A 15-minute drive out of town, this “herb emporium and nursery” carries over 300 medicinal and culinary herbs, while the store itself is set among the creeping vines of a sprawling working herb and vegetable garden. They also grown a large selection of “ethnobotanical”, or medicinal, plants, including Daturas and Morning Glories, Wild Dagga, Baby Hawaiian Woodrose, Wormwood, Skullcap, Wild Lettuce, Wild Tobacco and the legendary San Pedro cactus. Properly witchy stuff.

Gardenoftheancients.com

5PM CUSTOM CRYSTAL DESIGN SESSION WITH FORREST LEE

Fort Worth native Forrest Lee has been creating his beautiful Healing Vortex Crystal Wraps since 2009, when he was gifted his first crystal – “with intense compassion from a dear brother in a hard time” – with life changing results. Now, “my goal is to spread healing and compassion by igniting that heart flame in each human. The crystals help remind us of our divinity,” he says, and a custom design session with Forrest is the best way to find the crystal that will work the hardest for YOU.

Facebook.com/healingvortex.crystalwraps

7PM BANGERS

Time to balance today’s air and water energy activities with some low down and earthy SAUSAGE. Bangers is Austin’s famous “sausage house & beer garden” – and, yes, their veggie options (beet and goat cheese or veggie BLT) get a huge thumbs up from us. The veggie ranchero brunch and sides (jalepeno cream corn with onion gratin anyone?) are also ridiculous, and all washed down with libations from the gluten free beer menu (yep, you read that right!)

Bangersaustin.com

9PM SOUND HEALING WITH TINA RODRIGUEZ

This incredible local healing artist, who works with crystal bowls as well as the sound of her own sweet voice, hosts regular group sessions and is available for one-to-one healing. As the rest of the SXSW revellers rock out to the closing sets of the festival, send your spirit soaring high on her beautiful cosmic vibes.

Facebook.com/tinalasirena

For full listings of what’s up at SXSW go to the festival website.

@SXSW

With thanks to Caleb Campaigne.

36-HOURS IN LALA LAND: YOUR SPIRIT GUIDE TO L.A.

Sun, sand, palm-trees and organic produce as far as the eye can see… yep, it’s L.A. baby…and we’re hitting it fast & hard. Welcome to 36 hours in L.A. Numinous style. By Raquel Griffin.

Okay before we even get started with our Los Angeles travel guide: TIP #1. As lovely as L.A. is her traffic is legendary so to beat the gridlock blues we suggest you make like the locals and plan your pleasure-seeking based on what side of town you’re on: which means EAST SIDE (Silverlake, Los Feliz, Echo Park, Hollywood) vs. WEST SIDE (Culver City, Venice, Santa Monica, Topanga, Malibu, Pacific Palisades). Though not a hard and fast rule it definitely beats having to endure a 2-hour round of car karaoke while you’re stuck on the 101. Trust us on this one.

SATURDAY – EAST SIDE

10AM: Tarot Reading at HOUSE OF INTUITION (Echo Park)

Billing themselves as “space of love and light specializing in spiritual guidance,” set yourself up with a stop at The House of Intuition. Located in a sweet cottage nestled above a busy street in Echo Park what the House lacks in size it makes up in services…from Astrology, Aura and Chakra Balancing, Reiki, Animal Communication, Sound Therapy and Meditation all your spiritual needs promise to be met within its walls. Need to know why Fido won’t cozy up with you and your new beau? Crown chakra feeling a bit off-center? Grab a session with any of the reputable readers & practitioners here and get it all taken care of. Easy.

www.houseofintuitionla.com

11AM: VINTAGE SHOPPING @ TAVIN (Echo Park)

1970’s Bohemian Vest by TavinShop on Etsy.com
1970’s Travel Bag by TavinShop on Etsy.com

For every gal who has ever dreamed of raiding Stevie Nicks’ wardrobe, this one’s for you. Steeped in 70’s Cali goodness, TAVIN stocks an impeccably curated selection of boho-gypsy gear perfect for your witchy-woman-festival-girl-tour-de-force look…tambourine not included.

www.lifebytavin.com

12PM: Lifestyle porn @ DREAM COLLECTIVE (Silverlake)

A slice of lifestyle heaven…
Kathryn Bentley’s designs

There’s teepee inside. It’s a clothing store ANNNDD there’s a T-E-E-P-E-E inside…only in L.A. and gosh darn it we LOVE that. Filled with a gorgeously curated selection of hand crafted items from local artisans like the shop’s owner, jewelry designer Kathryn Bentley, the Dream Collective aesthetic is all about embracing primordial forms and influences from indigenous cultures. Whether choosing an evil eye cuff from Kathryn Bentley’s collection, a card from Thunderwing Press or a pair of Cali-cool handmade leather sandals from Beatrice Valenzuela, at Dream Collective curating a magical, mystical lifestyle lair is all in a day’s work.

www.dreamcollective.com

1PM: Natural product junkies @ ECO APOTHECARY (Silverlake)

Handmade essential oils
Re-fills available here

A cute little sliver of a shop in Silverlake, The Eco-Apothecary is a stroke of brilliance. Filled with handmade Sulfate Free, Paraben free, Vegan and Organic home, bath and body products, the store’s large selection runs the gamut from detergent to hairspray and everything in between. Products are sold in bulk and you can bring a bottle and filler’ up or you can purchase one of the hundreds of colorful glass and BPA free plastic containers sold at the shop. And if that weren’t enough you can even take a whirl at creating your own signature fragrance with the extensive selection of handmade essential oils on hand…Ooh la la.

www.ecoapothecary.com

2PM: Thai Massage Yoga @ THE RAVEN SPA (Silverlake)

If you’re in need of some LA style pampering The Raven Spa & Healing Center is the place to go for the Thai yoga massage of your life. Guaranteed to melt stress and leave you feeling like a blissed-out bowl of jello, this signature treatment gives new meaning to the term “afternoon delight.”

www.theravenspa.com

4PM: Retail therapy @ SHAREEN VINTAGE (Downtown LA)

Housed in a gigantic nondescript warehouse, Shareen Vintage is one of the most glorious vintage experiences ever. Actually the words vintage orgasm come to mind. Lined wall-to-wall with dresses, skirts and blouses from the 1950’s through the 1980’s, a knowledgeable member of Shareen’s sales staff will be assigned to you to will commence whisking you thorough their extensive collection while piling clothing up as you go along based on their sharp style assessment. Once you have your goods you’ll be given a “spot” to disrobe in what looks like a giant vintage living room. Since this place is strictly ladies only, the act of playing dress-up quickly turns into a party, with fellow customers randomly coo-ing and ahhing over each others wares. A couple of things to know before you go: 1) There are no “dressing rooms” so if you’re a little shy about stripping down to your skivvies we highly suggest you bring a slip 2) There are no price-tags. Each item is priced at the moment of sale by Shareen but fear not, prices mostly range from $20-$80.

www.facebook.com/shareenvintage

7.30PM: Dinner @ Shojin (Downtown L.A.)

Just a little light tempura…
Organic, vegan Japanese heaven

This amazing in-the-cut organic/vegan/macrobiotic Japanese hotspot tucked away on the third floor of an indoor mall in Little Tokyo is the perfect place to re-stock your tank while showing your tastebuds just how much you really care.

www.theshojin.com

SUNDAY: WEST SiiiiiDE

9:30AM: Morning worship @ AGAPE SPIRITUAL CENTER (Culver City)

If you you’ve ever watched the film “The Secret” then you’re familiar with Dr. Michael Bernard-Beckwith, founder of Agape Spiritual Center. Described as a “trans-denominational” church all are welcome at Agape, even atheists. Agape is all about “creating a community and a practice that is the embodiment of evolving consciousness” or what they like to call “new thought-meets ancient wisdom”. With pre-service meditation time, guest speakers like Marianne Williamson and “sermons” that often focus on our role as infinite beings co-creating reality, to say that Agape is not your momma’s church is an UNDERSTATEMENT. Add in a house band that serves up some serious guitar riffs and a choir that covers the Rolling Stones and you have the quintessential “church” for the new age. Hallelujah.

www.agapelive.com

11AM: Brunch @ CAFE GRATITUDE (Venice)

Eating the dream…
…at the only place to be seen.

Imagine a sleek, gourmet vegan and raw restaurant, now plop it down in the middle of a hip locale like Venice or Larchmont and what do you get? CAFE GRATITUDE. Created in Berkeley and recently expanded to Southern California, CAFE GRATITUDE is all about delivering dazzling dishes with a side of positive affirmations – plates are printed with statements like “I am Humble” and “I am Open Hearted.” With a menu that’s beyond healthy and a waitstaff that’s beyond attractive, it’s no wonder this has become THE PLACE for the kale and green smoothie set. And did I mention they have coconut bacon? A couple of tips on the menu: 1) Make sure to order a cup of “I am Immortal”…STAT. Made with Reishi, Shilajit, Ormus, coconut milk, raw honey & cinnamon..it’s a Cafe Gratitude love affair in a cup 2) Be prepared to want everything placed in front of you including their beautifully decorated “hamsa” water jugs and “What are you grateful for?” dishes. 3) Save room for dessert. Now, this might seem obvious but it’s easy to get side-tracked here. Trust us on this one. You’re welcome.

www.cafegratitude.com

1PM: Some reading time @ THUNDER BOLT BOOKS (Santa Monica)

Make friends with store manager Bobby
Everything from the Voodoo to the Vatican

Thunder Bolt Books is by far one of the best spiritual bookstores we have EVER set foot in. Though a small-ish space, Thunder Bolt  is packed ceiling to floor with every spiritualist book you could imagine…from obscure titles you could swear were “only available on Amazon” to newly released must-haves. What’s also refreshing is that works from all traditions are welcome here, so expect a great range on everything from Catholicism to Voodoo. And if that weren’t enough they’ve also got a fabulous $5 used book bin AND the biggest single cut crystal in the WESTERN HEMISPHERE. Yep. It’s pretty awesome. And if you’re nice, the super sweet and knowledgeable store manager Bobby might just pour you a cup of tea and you two can just kick back and shoot the breeze.

www.thunderboltspiritualbooks.com

** Not open Sunday, but worth checking out if you’re in Santa Monica: THE HOMEOPATHIC PHARMACY 

Staffed with amazingly knowledgeable homeopaths, this place is an alternative health junkies dream. Got something that ails you? From herbs to salves, to standard & hard to find homeopathic products they’ve got a remedy for EVERRRYYYTHING.  **RECOMMENDED PURCHASE: Net Remedies #9Like Rescue Remedy on steroids, it’s a super potent homeopathic cure-all for everything from cold & flu, to overexertion, neuralgia and anxiety. It’s like the perfect first-aid kit in a bottle that’s also small enough to fit your purse….and who doesn’t need that, right?

www.smhomeopathic.com/

3PM: More vintage shopping @ HIDDEN TREASURES (Topanga Canyon)

Kate Moss has shopped here!!
And so has Lenny Kravitz!!

Tucked away in the hills of Topanga Canyon, like something out of a dream HIDDDEN TREASURES is a vintage lover’s Shangri-La. In a time when the term “vintage” has become almost synonymous with unbelievably high prices, Hidden Treasures is an anomaly…an amazingly well-stocked (Kate Moss & Lenny Kravitz are fans), fairly priced vintage-store where you can still find pristine 20’s dresses and gorgeous buttery 60’s leather jackets attrue vintage prices (items range from $20 -$150). But don’t expect the “curated” 5-items-on-a-rack experience here. The selection and the space are expansive so be prepared to dig. It’s also worth checking out the $10 bin out in front – a quick look might yield a serious score. And don’t forget to ask Mary Bee, the store manager, about the “back room” because what you see in there might just render you speechless.

www.facebook.com/hiddentreasurestopanga

4:30PM: Meditation @ LAKE SHRINE RETREAT SELF-REALIZATION FELLOWSHIP (Pacific Palisades)

Sunset overlooking the Pacific Palisades?…Umm, yes please. Add beautifully landscaped grounds and the serene sound of birds chirping and you’ve got a meditation station triple-header.

www.lakeshrine.org

6PM: Kundalini yoga @ GOLDEN BRIDGE (Santa Monica)

Gurmukh: she rollerblades too

A sweet intimate spot and the newest outpost of the L.A. Kundalini mecca that is Golden Bridge (yes Demi Moore’s studio of choice), this is the perfect place to get your good vibes on. Plus it’s Gurmukh, people…It’s G-U-R-M-U-K-H.

www.goldenbridgeyoga.com

8:30PM: Dinner @ MATTHEW KENNEY’S – M.A.K.E. RESTAURANT (Santa Monica)

Home of the pitch-perfect fine dining / raw food  experience, super-star chef Matthew Kenny’s M.A.K.E. Restaurant is as good as it gets. Can’t get enough M.A.K.E. in your life? Well there’s an app for that. Matthew Kenny’s got an “Everyday Raw Detox app” featuring 100 recipes for healthier living. Now how smart is that?

www.matthewkenneycuisine.com

10pm: Cocktails poolside @ the BEVERLY HILLS HOTEL (Beverly Hills)

Seal in the high vibes of your visit with a nightcap at the Beverly Polo Lounge, not only the epitome of old school Hollywood glamour but meeting point of some seriously positive ley lines. According to L.A. psychic Aiden Chase; “There’s an energy field in the land here that supports wishes and dreams. The city’s natural ‘good vibe’ energy, from the Hollywood Hills to the ocean has supported people’s dreams from actor to entrepreneur for over 100 years…” And, interestingly, Chase pinpoints the Beverly Hills Hotel as “a huge power center” of this energy. In fact, “if I’m having a bad day, I will go there, meditate in the gardens and feel much better. I always have my meetings at this hotel, and they always turn out successful.” So kick back with a mojito and get your manifestation station on. A whole City of Angels will be listening.

Raquel Griffin is founder of Granola Glamour.
@granolaglamour