Saturday, October 28, 2017

Sensory Word of the Week: Labradorescent

According to, labradorescent refers to the "play of colors or colored reflections exhibited especially by labradorite and caused by internal structures that selectively reflect only certain colors." The root of the word refers to Labrador, the northeastern region of Canada where the mineral was originally discovered. 

Labradorite is a feldspar mineral, and some specimens display iridescent hues of blue, green, yellow, orange, or red. From what I have seen, it's a toned-down iridescence, and instead of displaying the whole rainbow, each specimen tends to reflect mostly one color. I recently purchased a labradorite ring from St. Louis-based retailer Collections by Joya and am loving the subtle brilliance of the greenish-gray stone.  

I have recently been reading a bit about crystals and minerals and their connections to the metaphysical. This field is very new to me, and I was amazed by the seemingly endless properties and uses of labradorite. According to, labradorite is "often considered to be a stone of magic," leading to clairvoyance and "coincidence control." It also is thought to bring out the best in people around you. Labradorite can promote intellectual clarity and strength; it encourages introspection that can lead to feelings of being at peace with inner struggles. Furthermore, the stone can also eliminate mental and emotional fatigue, bringing back a sense of energy, balance, and joy.

Fostering a sense of energy, balance, and joy is a big part of the reason behind the Starfire Senses blog. Perhaps these powerful properties are the reason I seemed to be magnetically drawn to the labradorite ring when browsing through Joya's many jewels. Nonetheless, I am happy appreciating its physical sensory appeal, its labradorescent beauty.

It's been a couple weeks since I have posted a sensory word of the week, and I wanted to return to the -escent or -escence mini-series. I have a few more coming soon, but as always, if you are thinking of any words that appeal to the senses, please send your suggestions my way!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A Sensory-filled Local Shopping Experience


This past Thursday I was invited to the Feminine Cartel, a local shopping event "for women who buy the best from creation to closet." I love to shop local when I can, and in this case, it was especially exciting because a few St. Louis retailers got together to feature their businesses for a good cause. A portion of the sales was donated to the relief efforts in Mexico, to help the people of Oaxaca recover and rebuild their communities after the major earthquake last month.

Relief for Mexico display

I don't normally think of shopping excursions, aside from the farmer's market, to be a multi-sensory experience, but this most certainly was a sensory-filled fashion frenzy. The event took place at LAUNCH Clothing & Accessories on the Hill. Their products come from both local designers and designers around the world. This industrial boutique storefront created such a high-energy atmosphere—the sights and sounds of creation were all around. This event was after hours, but I had the feeling that it is undoubtedly abuzz each day with work in progress throughout the first floor and the loft. I picked up an incredibly soft knit cream-colored sweater with fringe by Lemon (pictured below) from the LAUNCH collection. I wore it the next day over a button-up long-sleeved top and felt like the epitome of fall. 

Pink and black Beautiful Mexicana top and cream sweater from LAUNCH

Another retailer featured was Beautiful Mexicana. Over the summer I bought a beautiful black top with pink hand-stitching (pictured above). In addition to tops and dresses with this intricate embroidery, Beautiful Mexicana sells 100% handmade pieces of clothing as well as clutches and wallets from artisans in Mexico. Vibrant colors, geometric patterns, and floating flowery details abound!  

I also discovered Collections by Joya whichfeatures handmade jewelry from around the world. I quickly fell in love with a pair of the Favorite Fringe Earrings (above). I could have stared at the Joya display tables (above) for hours—the soft colors, glistening gems, colorful beads, and matted metals of necklaces, bracelets, and rings were like unique works of art.

Be U was another retailer that featured leggings from Colombia (above). Although I didn't make any purchases, I hope to in the future. The swirling neon patterns were almost as mesmerizing as fireworks.

Thank you to the four amazing St. Louis women who brought international fashion for an evening of fun. I appreciate the exposure to so much flair and the opportunity to support a good cause, if only a little bit. I hope more events like these will be scheduled soon!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Sunday Senspiration Meets Sensory Word of the Week

It's been a couple weeks since I have posted a sensory word of the week, and I wanted to return to the -escent or -escence mini-series. According to, arborescent means "resembling a tree in properties, growth, structure, or appearance." cites that the word is derived from the Latin word arbor meaning "tree." The Latin verb arborescere means "to become a tree."

When I think about experiencing trees through my senses, I think about how they look, which varies greatly—short, tall, round, skinny, scraggly, sleek, green, brown, red, orange. I think about the many different structures of branches and shapes of leaves. I think about the wide range of smells—earthy, sweet and flowery, cool and Christmassy, and every once in awhile, downright rotten. I think about the textures—the textures of the bark, some smooth, some very rough; the veiny textures of the leaves; or the textures of the many different things that are produced, from feathery flowers to spiky gumballs, from spiny pinecones to bumpy seed pods, from acorns to apples. I think about hearing leafy branches blowing in the wind or dried crunchy leaves tumbling down the streets.

My thoughts have drifted toward trees a lot lately, partly because fall is here, and I'm excited to see the changing colors. Also, I have been thinking about tree pose in yoga. Last month I started a 9-month Yoga Teacher Training program, and I've been spending quite a bit of time reading yoga teachings and books about anatomy. B.K.S. Iyengar, one of the most revered teachers, counts tree as one of the first two poses (the other being mountain pose). Tree is a standing pose, and standing poses are fundamental because they put your feet in contact with the ground. In his book Yoga of the Subtle Body, Tias Little claims that when feet connect to the ground, it's the starting point for evolving, and one can gain endurance, energy, steadiness, and resolve. Standing with the feet intentionally pressed into the floor or the earth gives a sense of grounded awareness and helps one to feel centered. I suppose tree is an appropriate name for a pose that creates so much. 

The word arborescent is typically used for describing plants that resemble a tree but technically are not, perhaps because they seem to have tree trunks and branches or other structural similarities. But what about describing other living beings as arborescent? When I think about what trees symbolically represent, it seems to me that being like a tree is something worth aspiring to. I pulled up some words of inspiration from images on the internet, some which may be familiar.   

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of
Some of these quotes might be familiar and even seem trite, but for me, I also realize how true they are. Trees seem to have magical abilities, changing colors and creating new leaves, yet they are all-natural. They're incredibly resilient, able to withstand cold winter, strong winds, loss of limbs, and even shifts in the earth (we've all seen those trees growing on the sides of steep hills). Trees are self-sufficient, making their own food when given only water and sunlight, and they also provide food and homes for other living creatures. Trees are powerful, grounded, and strong. They let go of what they don't need, and they create what they do need. What do you notice about trees, and what inspires or resonates with you?

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Sunday Senspiration: Rosemary

When considering herbs and spices, rosemary is among my favorites. The scent is pleasant yet pungent, and it's great for fall recipes. Plus, fresh rosemary sprigs look and feel like the branches of a Christmas tree, forest green and can I resist? 

According to my 100 Best Health Foods book by Judith Wills, rosemary has many benefits. As a strong antioxidant, it reduces aging effects and the risk of diseases, including cancer. It's a mental stimulant that supports memory, and it aids circulation. Moreover, rosemary has antibacterial properties and can be used to reduce symptoms of common colds and flus.

Rosemary is a wonderful ingredient for some savory, fragrant fall meals. It's great with potatoes—I add freshly chopped rosemary and olive oil to diced potatoes in a covered casserole dish and bake. Also, rosemary and bread are an amazing yet simple combination. You can bake chopped rosemary into bread. Or, instead of cheesy garlic bread, try cheesy rosemary bread—slice bread, sprinkle shredded asiago and chopped rosemary, and bake. I'll share a few more of my favorite rosemary recipes.
  • Rosemary vegetable flatbread—Rosemary is a perfect touch to a vegetable pizza. I like to start with a Flatout wrap, brush it with olive oil, and add a modest amount of pizza sauce. Then I top it with onions, bell peppers, olives, tomatoes, chopped fresh rosemary, and shredded cheese (the Quattro Formaggio blend from Trader Joes is my favorite).  

  • Stuffed acorn squash—Acorn squash are great, especially when you use them as a bowl. I first brown ground turkey, then sauté vegetables, garlic, and fresh rosemary with olive oil. I combine all the ingredients with some Italian bread crumbs, use the mixture to fill hollowed out acorn squash, and bake. I eat it straight out of the squash bowl, scooping out some delicious acorn squash with every bite.
  • Rosemary fig skewers—This savory fig recipe uses rosemary braches as skewers! Make a simple marinade with olive oil, fresh squeezed lemon juice, a dash of salt, minced garlic, and finely chopped rosemary. Pour it over a few figs, gently slide them onto the rosemary branches, and bake.

  • Rosemary-infused extra virgin olive oil from Vom Fass—I love cooking with infused olive oils. It adds just a bit more pizazz. I always keep rosemary-infused oil on hand, and I usually use it in the recipes above.

The pungent aroma of rosemary adds to flavor—flavor itself is composed of both smell and taste. In addition to cooking with it, I appreciate the fragrance of rosemary on its own. I've recently discovered some unique combinations.

  • Rosemary & lavender moisturizing body cream by Apothocare Co.—This lotion is handcrafted by a good friend of mine here in St. Louis. Apothecare Co. is her line of artisan botanical skincare made with active natural ingredients. The combination of crisp rosemary with the floral scent of lavender is really refreshing. It gives me a sense of fresh and clean without being overpowering. 
  • Rosemary + lemon soy candle by Little Barn Apothecary—Much like lavender, citrus in this case, balances out rosemary in a really interesting way. It's an exceedingly fresh and energetic smell.

This fall, I'm looking forward to finding even more delicious recipes and enjoying the aroma of rosemary. If you know of any creative recipes or products infused with rosemary, please share!