Mexicali Travels: Holi, The Festival of Colors in India

1011419_10152245561008376_70218245_nMexicali founder Pete Erskine and his son Caleb were just in India for Holi, the annual festival of colors!  Holi proclaims the end of winter, and rejoices in the coming bounty of the Spring harvest season.  It is also a celebration of color and community–a chance to set differences aside and just have FUN!  The most boisterous of Hindu festivals, people most notably celebrate by throwing water and brightly colored powder (called gulal) at each other, creating a rainbow of radiant revelers everywhere you look!

Though Holi lasts for three days, most of the action is condensed into one raucous final day.  The night before, huge bonfires are lit in the streets of towns and cities and effigies of the demon Holika are burned, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil.  If cheerful rainbow colors and smiles are any indication, we’d say ‘good’ is the winner!

Here are a few favorite photos from Pete and Caleb’s Holi adventure, festively celebrating the coming of spring with many merry colors and good cheer!  The people in the photo are the very first suppliers and artisans we connected with  in India, who to this day create all the traditional block print that is done for our tapestries, curtains, bags, etc.  You can see a video of their printing process right here.  The whole Erskine family has visited and known them since the children of both families have been small.  As you can see by the photos, they all are still very good friends and the children still play together even though they are much older!  What a wonderful thing it is to have long-lasting friendships with awesome people–one of those beautiful things that makes us very grateful to be alive and doing what we do!

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March 16, 2014 Astrology & Energy: Full Moon in Virgo

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Illustration is “Winter Night with Full Moon” by Ev Cabrera Marinucci. You can get it here.

Happy full moon in Virgo! This moon guides us to put to use the things we’ve learned in the past few months, and let go of the old in order to make space for the new. It may be time to make a difficult decision in order to honor your greatest good. It may be that it is time to get rid of an outmoded way of thinking, or a habit that no longer serves. When you consider what this moon could possibly be guiding you to shed from your life, try to look beyond the first obvious thing (though that may need to go as well!).

Virgo helps us to understand and accept who we really are, recognizing at once the connection between ourselves and all other living things and the unique gifts that we each bring to the world. At the same time, the nitpicky nature of Virgo may lead us to be hard on ourselves in this self-evaluation, encouraging us to compare ourselves to others or the standards of others to see how we measure up. Ask yourself if you are seeing yourself as how and who you really are, or are you looking through a veil? If you simply hold the intention of wanting to see the truth, both the good and the bad, this full moon will likely offer some revealing answers. Once you have set this intention, pay attention to your dreams, imaginings, and experiences of synchronicity in your life for guidance.

If you are ready, it is a good time to face your fears and vulnarabilities and work to accept them. Try to consider what positive aspects of yourself have stemmed from or are related to the things you consider your flaws, with gratitude for how even the darkest and “worst” parts of you are part of what makes you whole. This is a challenging exercise, but will help you accept and ultimately celebrate the unique and wonderful being that is YOU!

Both light and shadow in our beings make us who we are and help us make a contribution to the world that is completely individual, and you may want to consider what you would most like that to look like. As Mary Oliver wrote, “What will you do with your one wild and precious life?”

It is a good time to bring your big dreams and intentions into the present, and commit to taking the first baby step towards achieving your goal. Do something practical, no matter how small, that supports your journey towards what you want to create in your life. Setting your intentions tonight under the light of the full moon–by writing it down, creating a vision board, drawing it in a picture, or just meditating on it–can help you manifest your desires.

Although right now (at least here in New England) the trees are still bare and the ground frozen, spring WILL come. What are your intentions for the next season in your life? The seeds you plant now will bear fruit when the real blooms and buds flower in the forests and the fields. Get ready.

Want to be aware of when the next full moon is coming? We’ve got gorgeous 2014 lunar calenders in a bevy of brilliant colors! Get yours here: http://ow.ly/t77O5

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Elephant Symbolism: Meaning of the Elephant as an Animal Totem

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Elephants are traditionally considered a symbol of good luck, wisdom, fertility, and protection. Wearing or placing in your home the image of the elephant with its trunk raised is thought to attract good fortune, as it showers its positive energy out of the trunk and into all surrounding beings and spaces. Elephants with their trunks down are thought to be accumulating positive energy and pushing through obstacles, and are particularly potent totems for those seeking fertility, wisdom, or strength.

Elephant is also associated with the root chakra, charging through blockages and offering energies of protection, love, loyalty, and quiet courage.

Some Asian cultures believe that the elephant is a cosmic creature–that, much like the turtle in Native American lore, the elephant carries the world on its back. Other cultures see it as an earthly animal, but one with a connection to divinity and ancient knowledge. Working with the elephant in meditation or waking life can help you to access your inner wisdom and own your power, overcoming obstacles with a steady force of strength that you possibly didn’t even realize you had.

Could you use a bit of elephant energy in your life? Get started here.

Tibetan Prayer Flags Explained: What Does All That Sanskrit Writing Mean?

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Our traditional Tibetan prayer flags are inscribed with symbols and words that are said to carry prayers and hopes into the breeze and across the lands. If you’ve ever wondered what all that Sanskrit writing means, read on!

The words on the prayer flags are a combination of mantra, sutra, and prayer. They aren’t directly translatable into English, as each mantra is an expression of an intention, energy, and the vibration of the sound. You might say that their inner meanings are beyond words.

A mantra is a powerful word or set of words with the capacity of influencing certain dimensions of energy. It is said that the vibration of mantras can control the invisible energies that govern existence. It’s the sound and the utterance of it that is said to have those powers, even without thinking about or necessarily understanding exactly what it is you’re saying. Buddhist monks will repeat a mantra over and over as a form of meditation, and a way of sending that energy out into the world. Similarly, the prayer flags send that energy out just by being hung!

One mantra that is on most prayer flags is OM MANI PADME HUNG, which is the mantra of the bodhisattva of compassion. Printed on prayer flags, this mantra sends blessings of compassion to the world.

Sutras are prose texts based on the words of the historical Buddha who taught in India 2500 years ago. One sutra often seen on prayer flags is the dharani. Similar to mantras, dharanis contain magical formulas which are comprised of symbolic letters and pieces of words. Read out of context, they make very little sense, but when on the flags they convey the essence of a teaching or a specific state of mind.

Text on the flags beyond mantras and sutras can be classified as prayers, and they include supplications, aspirations, and positive wishes written by various masters of Buddhism throughout history.

So in a nutshell, the words on prayer flags are all about sharing good vibes with the world!

You can learn more, including what the pictures on the flags mean, from this post here on our blog: http://wp.me/p2wKcA-2s

Get your own traditional prayer flags here: http://ow.ly/uvPe4

What prayers or positive intentions would you like to send out to the world?

Mexicali Blues Share the Adventure Giveaway: Crystal Gets Ready to Travel to Thailand!

9930dfa2464211e3b50722000a1fbd1f_8Crystal McLain, the fabulous winner of our Thailand Trip Giveaway, has been excitedly preparing for her grand adventure!  Learn a bit about her & check out her contest winning video here.  As well as studying her Lonely Planet guidebooks to determine her must-see places and must-do activities, Crystal has been buzzing around like a very busy bee to get prepped for the trip of a lifetime!  Here are some of the ways she is getting ready:

f2f4a8d846de11e3a9720e7aedef815c_8Training for an epic trek through Thailand w/ 20 extra pounds in her big hiking backpack!

Learning the language!  Crystal says, “One of the first things I did was familiarize myself with the SOUND of the Thai language. Even if I end up speaking nothing but English while I’m there, I thought it would be wise and polite to get used to the accent and pronunciation. This [above] was the first video I watched to do just that.  Next, I want to learn a few polite phrases to introduce conversation. A little effort goes a long way when traveling!”

131093_origGetting creative with her language learning!  “I used to make a countdown chain for Christmas when I was a kid. I thought it would be fun to do the same for my trip. So I made a 50 day chain with a Thai phrase or word I got from my Lonely Planet phrase book.”

0db6fba08ea411e3bcd612e10e870195_8Getting organized!  “Sometimes I’m clever.  Made a chart of our accomodations and excursions we’d like to go to with their name, address, phone number, and cost.  It unfolds in my Thai phrasebook and doesn’t fall out.”

2d20f97c8ae011e3adf212add793e3ba_8-1Meeting up with Mexicali Blues owners Kim and Pete for a bit their travel insight, and to plan their meeting in Bangkok!

d0158b52861211e3a91512c3ca72cc49_8Practicing packing light! “BOOM. That’s how you pack for two weeks in Thailand!”

We can’t wait to see and hear more about her journey!  Stay tuned for tales of her global exploration as she shares the adventure with us!

Jewelry Styling Tips: How to Choose the Best Necklace for Your Neckline

Coordinating your necklace to your neckline is a subtle trick that creates a huge impact on an outfit.  When this pairing is off, it can make your outfit look mismatched and awkward, but choosing the right necklace can instantly pull your look together, creating an effortlessly chic ensemble.

If you’ve been wondering what style of necklace to wear with a boat neck, scoop neck, v neck, crew neck, square neck, button-down, or strapless top or dress, read on for our easy fashion styling tips!

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strapless V_neck turtleneck square_neck crew_neck collared_shirt boat_neckBasic Tips:

  • When you are wearing a necklace which will rest above the shirt, you want the shape of the necklace to reflect the shape of the neckline (angular beads or pendants with a square neck, v-shaped necklaces and pendants with a v neck).  When you mix disparate shapes–voluminous round necklaces with a deep v, for example–things start to look “off”.
  • Pendants work particularly well with v neck shirts, because the weight of the pendant pulls the chain into a V shape.
  • When accessorizing a button-down shirt, chokers are best for people with long necks.  A pretty pendant hanging to just above the top button can lengthen the neck and add a bit of flair for those with shorter, wider necks.
  • Turtlenecks and boat neck tops look fabulous with long necklaces, layered or individually.
  • Crew or jewel necklines are perfect for showing off statement collars and bib-style necklaces.
  • Strapless tops or dresses are well-suited to choker necklaces, even for those who don’t have long necks.  The extra skin you are showing with this style of top creates the illusion of a longer neck.

Keep these ideas in mind next time you accessorize, and you may find yourself amazed at the big difference a little know-how can create when you apply it to your unique style!

#MyMexicaliLife: Show us YOUR Mexicali Life!

A love of music, a passion for travel, and a mindful devotion to fun are the core of who we are at Mexicali Blues.  We believe that world culture and community culture are two sides of the same peso.  Looking around our stores, homes, and wardrobes, we see these ideas reflected back to us time and again in our Mexicali lives!

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Crystal, the winner of our Thailand trip giveaway (who you will hear more about very soon, as she’s getting ready to begin that adventure!), began giving us glimpses into her Mexicali life through instagram, and it left us feeling SO inspired!  So many corners of her life are filled with or accented by Mexicali wares, and they reflect different aspects of her personality.  We see through these glimpses into Crystal’s world that she is creative, mindful, and a seeker and spreader of peace.  It made us start thinking about how Mexicali Blues isn’t just a mode of accessorizing–it’s a way of life!

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The things we wear and surround ourselves with are expressions of who we are.  We love seeing Crystal’s Mexicali life, and we want to see yours too!  Whenever we are fortunate enough to meet our amazing customers in person, we are always so inspired by their stories, style, and the things that make them smile.  We hope that through sharing images of your Mexicali Life, we can see how awesome YOU are!  Share photos of your Mexicali Life with us on our Facebook, Mexicali Blues Twitter (mexicali_blues), and Mexicali Blues Instagram (mexicali blues).  Tag your photos with #MyMexicaliLife and #MexicaliBlues, and if you’d like to shine in the limelight, we will feature you and your unique take on living the Mexicali Life here on our blog!

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