As we change seasons from summer to #sweaterweather, we know these times have been difficult both individually and collectively as a community. I believe we’re all learning to appreciate the little things, the grounding quality of nature and the relationships we have with our family and friends. We’re craving connections that quarantine has put on pause or has made it more difficult. We find solace in reflecting for the memories we are grateful for and the memories we will cherish with a deeper sense of gratitude in the future.
With all of this going on, we created our Island “travel” gift box that features our unique citrus of the Philippines - the only and only, calamansi. In creating our signature scent when we first started Kaya Essentials, we discovered the powerful connection between scent, emotion and memories. There is a scientific explanation for all of this - with how our brain processes smell to create what we feel is “flavor” and how the emotion of scent is different for all of us, and it can change with our history as well.
Here’s a little explanation for how this process happens — When we inhale any aroma, the smell is processed by the olfactory bulb. This bulb lies at the the bottom of the brain, right next to the amygdala and the hippocampus, both of which help process emotion and memory.
We designed this “travel” gift box as a staycation sensory experience. There’s a little self care with our Calamansi & Coconut skincare for touch & smell. We have Calamansi Dark Chocolate, from our new artisan Filipino chocolate partner Theo & Philo - the first bean-to-bar chocolate social enterprise in the Philippines for taste. And we believe in the old school joy of putting pen to paper and letting someone know you’re thinking of them. It can be a therapeutic writing exercise that can heighten so many senses with all the emotions that come up for you.
For part of your evening, or staycation weekend, we’d love to share some of the things that connects us to Island Life.
If you were at our community friendsgiving dinner with Meryll Montano of @veganvedas or have attended any of her kamayans and ayurvedic cooking lessons, you’ve already experienced the warming, comforting and supportive energy that exudes within her. Here's a little throwback of our Friendsgiving Dinner at the Hunker House!
And what you may not know, is she’s been “stuck” on an island for 6+ months after visiting the Philippines at the start of quarantine in March. She writes, “I gifted myself with a 21 day self care retreat in Siargao with the intention to explore writing and get a little inspiration from island living… the universe had different plans.”
Meryll shares her reflections from island living and we channel her when we need that island state of mind: feeling grounded in your purpose and mental state, nourishing your body and soul with plant food and letting the inner child in you run through the sand to feel wild and free.
For sound, we’re listening to Meryl’s ukulele intimate performances - something she just picked up in June! We love “Dreams” and “Sunday Morning”.
To connect with our visual senses, Meryll’s adventures on the island inspires you to take it offline — and when you’re online, you’re drawn to connect on this platform with more care and intention. To give you a little taste of this vision (oh we’re just mixing up all the senses over here!) - this poem moves your body and soul.
Be sure to look out for Meryll’s new cookbook, “Stranded in Paradise: The Cookbook diary of a vegan, ayurvedic chef quarantined on Siargao Island” launching later this year. In a nutshell, the cookbook includes 25 plant-based recipes of veganized Filipino Indian, Italian and Ayurveda inspired dishes.
We’d love to know how you’ve been connecting with your senses with our Island “travel” gift box. Did you plan a self care evening for yourself? A “weekend getaway” experience with your partner? A virtual zoom retreat with your girlfriends? Whichever way is calling you to the most, we hope this island box transports you to a tropical state of mind.