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chocolate ketchup, critical yeast and community croissants.
a little bit of everyday. a little bit of woo.
I island hopped, fell in love with Puerto Rico and maybe formed a coven.
If you follow me on the ‘gram (and the algorithm deigns to show you my stories), you probably caught a glimpse of last week’s trip to Puerto Rico. Last Friday, it felt like I had stepped into a portal when I boarded a black and pink propeller plane and, ~30 minutes later, appeared on a completely different island with a completely different vibe.
San Juan is like St. Croix’s trendy older sister who went to college and majored in design with a minor in cultural studies. The city itself reminds me of a mishmash of other places I’ve visited. It’s got the old world charm of France blended with the colorful expression of Mexico, with a dash of Mediterranean energy thanks to the pastel buildings and nearby ocean. I couldn’t stop taking pictures of the narrow, cobblestoned alleyways. Everything felt tinged with magic.
I went on this trip with four other women who I knew a little before our four days together, and I can safely say that the magic carried over into the connections we made. We had a five-course fancy ass meal together on our first night, and at one point, we all passed around Quiana’s smoky whisky drink and each took a sip. After the last woman drank, Quiana insisted that we all make eye contact with each other.
“I think we just formed a coven,” someone, maybe Quiana, whispered solemnly, half joking but half serious. And by the end of the weekend, it kind of came true: we ended up dubbing ourselves the Penthouse Witches, a nod to our swanky Air BnB that had us all singing Fergie’s song Glamorous every time we got to press the PH button in the elevator.
Costco croissants are best when shared.
Over the course of our trip, we joked that each of us had our “mom energy” moment, where we stepped into a caretaking role for the group. Quiana led the pack (she’s an actual mom, unlike the rest of us), and since she arrived in PR before the rest of us, she did a Costco run for the apartment.
Once of her impeccable selections was a giant package of croissants, which became sort of a running joke throughout the weekend. Who knew Costco had such good croissants?! At the end of our trip, we had two remaining croissants, which Josie lovingly wrapped in paper towels and put in her purse for later.
Later ended up being in front of the Starbucks in the San Juan airport. Four of us huddled around The Final Croissant and picked and pulled it apart, looking not unlike a group of hungry pigeons situated in a Parisian gutter. It was like some weird version of communion…if the body of Jesus was a buttery, flaky French pastry.
I tried chocolate ketchup and it wasn’t that bad!
For brunch one day, we ended up at Chocobar Cortes, which, as the name implies, is a restaurant themed around chocolate. And they take that seriously: there’s chocolate in, like, everything. Even the salad dressing.
We all started with hot chocolates (I got the Montezuma, which had a lil kick to it) and more croissants (I opted for churros as my Carb of Choice). And keeping with the community theme of the weekend, we ordered a bunch of dishes to share: french toast, croquetas de jamón serrano, bacalaito (a pile of cod fritters), a ham and cheese sandwich made of mallorca bread, and more.
The sandwich came with fries and the aforementioned chocolate ketchup, which somehow worked in a salty/sweet sort of way. I’m a ketchup aficionado, so I feel confident in giving it my stamp of approval.
The podcast that manages to make yeast sound spiritual:
Though my trip to Puerto Rico was refreshing, affirming and uplifting, going back to work was kind of tough. I felt really out of sorts for the rest of the week (I pulled the Ten of Swords at the end of our trip, and I was like 👀), so I was definitely in need of some grounding.
The On Being podcast is one that I turn to when I need to feel…something. Krista Tippett’s voice, paired with the spiritual, meaningful content, helps remind me of the bigger picture when all I can manage to focus on is the fact that I almost boiled a roach in my electric kettle in an attempt to make my morning coffee.
Recently, On Being published a four-part Foundations series, which aims to provide some essential frameworks for being a human seeking purpose. They’re all very short (<15 minutes), and they all got me thinking about capital-L Life.
You should listen to the whole series, but #2, Living the Questions, is perhaps my favorite. I won’t spoil it for you, but this quote by the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, will give you the gist:
What questions are you living right now?
When your friend pulls the perfect card for you at the crystal shop:
The Penthouse Witches also did a lot of shopping in Puerto Rico, and after our chocolate-laden lunch, we wandered into a metaphysical store called Turquesa, which had crystals, incense, cards, jewelry, and more. I was super stoked when a few of the other ladies expressed interest in cartomancy (and I even got to pull cards for everyone throughout the weekend), so we ended up looking through the decks they had.
We ended up pulling cards out of a oracle/practical magic deck called Wiccapedia Spell Deck. And I cracked up when Darean pulled this card for me:
My ex-husband and I *did* have an amicable divorce! And I totally sent the photo of the card to him. Yay for non-contentious breakups!
Women need to connect with other women IRL.
In case you haven’t picked up on it by this point in the newsletter, last weekend was really special to me. In a way, it cracked open something within me that has long been closed off, something that I’ve worked hard to heal within myself. I’ve written about friendship before and how hard it has been in the past for me to see myself as worthy of intimate, true connections with other folks, so being able to exist peacefully with other women meant a lot to me.
I think a big part of this magic lies in the fact that I didn’t set any expectations for this trip. None of us knew the others on a deep level, which strangely made it easier to open up. Perhaps my favorite moment was on the final morning of our time in Puerto Rico. We had just eaten breakfast (with croissants, of course), and we all just sat there and talked and shared about stuff that felt hard in life. Relationships, growth, figuring it all out…we just talked and held space for each other and healed together.
It was all so simple and organic. That’s what made it beautiful. The first episode of the On Being series talks about what Tippett terms “critical yeast,” or the fermentation process that happens when unlikely elements join together to create change. It’s like the change before the change. The quiet before.
And that’s exactly what happened this weekend—the five of us joined together and began to make…something. Maybe a croissant. Maybe a coven.
But we definitely started something. I’m excited to see what happens next.
Since I went on this Everyday Woo hiatus a few things have happened with this newsletter:
-I lost some paid subscribers, but not as many as I thought I would. I guess that’s the risk I took when I decided to pull back, but I feel good that a lot of folks are supporting all facets of me, not just the ones that involve producing at the level I was.
-Speaking of production, I’ve realized that I need to change the model of Everyday Woo to make it more sustainable. I can’t sustain writing twice a week. I just can’t. I’m still fine-tuning the model, which I plan to roll out in February, but I do know that I have to honor the slower pace my body, heart and soul need. I’m looking for evergreen creativity.
-I’m coming back! To follow the energy of the next full moon in the sign of Leo (which occurs on February 5th), I’m planning on resuming public posts on February 7th. Do I know what I’m going to write about yet? NO. But write I shall. It’ll likely be shorter and lighter, but that sounds pretty Leo-esque to me.
I decided to send this post to everyone to let folks know that a) I’m still alive and b) I’m still writing. If you’re a free subscriber, read this, and think, “hey, I want more of this sort of stuff,” consider subscribing. Because this day-in-the-life, intimate type of writing isn’t going anywhere and will definitely be a part of my paid subscription model moving forward.
Have an awesome weekend and eat a Costco croissant for me. There’s no Costco on St. Croix so truly, live life to the fullest. Get a hot dog while you’re at it.
True story. I called Hilly and had what I’m now calling a roach spiral. Island living=insects, but you’d better believe I’m going to spray the shit out of the apartment now.
Also, turquoise was one of my ‘in’ list items for 2023, so I *had* to go into that store!