Local Farming with SQUARE ROOTS in NYC

Living in a city like New York, the options for local foods and supplies are often limited. As an amateur chef, I enjoy browsing through the different farmers markets located in different areas throughout New York. While they are all amazing, my favourite is undoubtedly the one in Union Square.

'We are what we eat' is a phrase we often hear. What we choose to feed our body directly contributes to the health and performance of our body. Therefore, it is important to wonder where can we find truly fresh food that can support us, as an individual, community and as a planet. From experience, it is difficult to find local suppliers that provide fresh food.

 

That is until I discovered Square Roots.

 

Square Roots is an urban farm and entrepreneurship platform that aims to provide its local community with real and fresh food all year round. They are located in Brooklyn, New York City. 

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I was extremely fortunate to have visited the Square Roots’ location in Brooklyn over the weekend. Two of the entrepreneurs/farmers that worked at Square Roots, Paul and Bryan, were kind enough to give us a private tour of the facilities and how it all works. 

Square Roots has transformed several old shipping containers into indoor farms which are located in the parking space outside. The farmers each grow their own choice of greens for the season.

The greens grow in a hydroponic and controlled-climate space that is completely GMO-free, spray-free environment until they are ready to be harvested. The containers can produce more than 50 Ibs of greens each week and only need approximately eight gallons of water a day to sustain the system.

After the tour of the indoor farms, we were invited to have a light salad lunch, but this is not without first contributing to the harvesting and replanting of the greens we will be eating.

As you can see from the photos I was admiring the freshness of the lovely greens.

I had a wonderful time eating the greens and enjoying my afternoon with Square Roots.

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Given the present we live in today, there will undoubtedly be a number of challenges that we, as a society, will be dealing with in the future. One of them being the food industry. With the growing advances in technology and the changing climate, the future of food is uncertain. However, one thing that we can be certain of is that the methodology that we use in agriculture will have to evolve with the changing world.

That’s why, I am excited to have discovered programs such as Square Roots, who’s mission is to empower communities through real food and challenge the people to create better solutions to local food systems, urban agriculture and our day to day interaction with food.  

A very special thanks to Ollie Social (@ollie.co) for making this tour happen. They are an amazing new community that I recently joined, that allows me to enjoy the city that I have never had before. I have joined and enjoyed many of their activities the past few months and cannot wait to attend many more of their upcoming events.

Please check them out at https://olliesocial.co .

Also, another big thank you to Square Roots for the new Experience. They have a Farm-to-Local membership program where you are can order the Greens grown in these farms and have them directly send to you or other local locations that will make the most amazing healthy meal all year round.

For more information on Square Roots (@squarerootsgrow) and see when their next available farm tour is, please check them out on their website https://squarerootsgrow.com/ . 

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In the growing age of globalization, we are given dozens of choices everyday, from the coffee we drink to the clothes we buy. However, how is the abundance of objects affecting our daily lives? And more importantly, what is the effect of it on our society and planet as a whole? 

I have always been a strong advocate for supporting local economy and stores when I travel. 

 

But what can you do at home, as an individual of a global community?

 

Besides the usual traveling and lifestyle pieces I have written on my website, I will be exploring more on topics of sustainability and wellness. One of my favorite mentor once said 'we should all aim to think globally, act locally'. This concept still resonates with me today. It asks that we think about the wellbeing of the planet as a whole, and take action in supporting our own local communities. 

We are all agents of change. It is not about the grand gestures, but the small decisions we make everyday that define our imminent epoch. 

 

All photos and copyright to the owner of the blog.

 

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- From Flora

 

 

Double Rainbow @8:45am - UNIQLOxJWAnderson

 

Celebrating the official beginning of Autumn. 

 

Sweater weather is just around the corner and colours are just as valid as forever. Uniqlo has always been among some of my absolute favorite brands for its simple cuts and great prices. I have fallen completely in love with their new collection, the collaboration with JW Anderson. The fresh take on traditional pieces and vibrant colours make anyone's Autumn closet a little warmer and happier.  

 

Here's a fun shoot I did one early morning at Central Park while walking my dog. Unfortunately, he does not make a debut in today's shoot but maybe in the future. 

 

To see more from the collection, take a look on their website and also to purchase this fantastic sweater. 

 

I hope you enjoy the photos. 

 

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A special thanks to my photographer and room mate Tiffany, for the fun day and lovely photos. Check her out on instagram : @tiffanyncoffee

 

More photos from past travels coming soon! 

 

All photos and copyright to the owner of the blog.

 

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- From Flora

The Great Outdoors of New Zealand Part II

 

Thank you everyone for being so patient for my new posting. I have been traveling and working nonstop the past few months. I am very excited to finally publish part II of my New Zealand series!

 

Reaching our destination in Queensland.  

 

Known as one of the most beautiful places on earth, we took occupancy in New Zealand for a few days. We took daily trips out of the city to nearby sceneries and New Zealand continues to amaze us all.

I am so excited to share some of these places that I have visited along the way, as well as photographs I have taken.

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Queenstown : We stayed in this beautiful city for a few days, and adventured out of the city every day. There are so many great activities to do in the city. It is one of the most celebrated skiing and snowboarding locations in the winter. However, the fews day that we were there, the weather did not work to our favour, and we were greeted with gloomy weather.

There are many fun spots to visit when in town, perfect for a family and friends trip. I recommend going to the small city of Arrow town. It is an important historical gold mining town that allows us to better understand the substandard living condition gold miners had to face in the past, and to better appreciate the conditions and opportunities that are available to us now.

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 Milford Track : On one of our day trips, we were on our way to visit Milford Sound. On our way there, we have passed by many other locations with impeccable view. Along the Milford Track, we passed by many beautiful mountains and rainforests, which resulted in multiple breaks just to take photos of the incredible scenery. I highly recommend taking this route when traveling. It felt as if I have entered the fantastical world of Lord of the Rings.

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Mount Talbot : On our resting point to the next destination, we stopped along the way to visit a beautiful rainforest, where we witnessed nature's beauty at it's finest. The simple elements in nature like water and rock live in harmony despite their seemingly vast differences. It is their understanding that the key to existence is not through the destruction of each but to co-exist in "togetherness " in which both are able flourish. 

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Milford Sound : Also known as Piopiotahi, It is a fiord near the end of the South West area of the South Island in New Zealand. It was known as one of the world's most popular destinations. This was our destination of that day. Here we were able to enjoy a cruise along the water to truly appreciate the mountain views and waterfalls. The view did not disappoint.

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Along the way back, we have made a few more stops, and we returned during night fall.  I rarely see stars where I live. But a great man once said that 

 

"The cosmos is within us. We are made of star stuff. We are a way for the universe to known itself."  

- Carl Sagan.  

 

We are part of the cosmos as they are part of us. There is an undeniable and unspoken language that forges a connection between us. 

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Ending my road trip in New Zealand, it made me reflect on my own life and how I have chosen to live my life. I realised the changes I felt by being here that my priorities in life have switched. It was never about the layers of make-up you apply on your face or the fancy new clothes that you get season after season. It was about stripping all those away and still remaining "you." 

Witnessing the immense beauty that is natural around me in New Zealand gave me a new focus in life and motivation for my artistic outlet. I will be spending more time in daily life and my work, focusing on things I feel that matter, which is preservation.


I have never felt more free and alive than I have on this trip. To the great outdoors, who constantly has something spectacular to offer to those who want to see it.

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All photos and copyright to the owner of the blog.

 

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- From Flora

The Great Outdoors of New Zealand Part I

 

After bidding farewell to Australia, we headed towards our next destination.

 

Our next destination is Christchurch. Christchurch is located in the South side of New Zealand. That was the starting point of my next road trip adventure. 

 

New Zealand is generally divided into 2 major islands. They are the North Island (Te Ika-a-Māui) where the capital, Wellington is located. And the South Island (Te Waipounamu), where various part of the infamous movie series of the " Lord of the Rings" was filmed. If you grow up watching the film series, you would know that the movies contain some of the most beautiful Scenery in film history.  

Last year, I was on the North Islands of New Zealand. That travel has left a strong mark and impression on me because of the immense beauty of it's natural surrounding and the successful co-exist philosophy that people seem to have found with nature. 

This year, I was lucky enough to return to this great country and continue my exploration on the south part of the islands. I will be traveling by car to various places along the South Islands in New Zealand, beginning in Christchurch. Our final destination being Queenstown. However, we will be making a few steps along the way before then. 

 

I have traveled to many places in my life, from North Korea to South Africa. However, no where can quite compare with New Zealand. I hope all my wonderful followers will be able to see this gorgeous place through my lens. 

 

I'm excited to share these experenices with you.  

 

Enjoy!  

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Some of the places we visited along the way... 

 

Lake Tekapo : A small town which we stayed one night on the way to Queenstown. It has an amazing outdoor hot spring. Great for looking at the stars and relaxing during a long trip. 

Peter's Lookout : A great stop if you want a beautiful view of Lake Pukaki.   

Lake Pukaki : This lake is located near Lake Tekapo. It is the largest lake of three ( Lake Tekapo and Ohau. ) 

Lindis Pass : A great drive through the Lindis Vally! I highly recommend this pass when driving through South New Zealand! It is also one of the first russock reserves in New Zealand. 

Farm Barn Cafe : No trip is fantastic without some coffee. We made a stop at this amazing cafe along the way from Christchurch to Lake Tekapo. It is right outside Fairlie. It has a nice view of the fields and outdoor siting. The coffee was obviously wonderful. 

 

Hope you liked Part I of the roadtrip. Part II will be uploaded soon. 

 

All photos and copyright to the owner of the blog.

 

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- From Flora

A little Sydney Photo Diary

 

I was in Sydney for a few days, visiting some family friends and seeing my good friend Abigail. She acted as my tour guide. 

 

I had an amazing time exploring Sydney with her. There is always something new and exciting about Sydney. But my favorite has always visiting some of their beaches and it was a shame that I was not able to surf this time. 

I am a high believer on the idea of "balance". Meaning the belief of acquiring a balance state of mind and lifestyle. Sydney is one of the few places I have been in my life that provides that.  

The perfect metropolitan city with great amount of nature and some of the best coffee in the world.

 

Special thanks to my sweetie, Abby for helping me take some of the photos from my trip! She is a fellow photographer. You can find and follow her on instagram @abigail.jh.

 

This is my photo diary from my time in Sydney.

I hope you enjoy the photos.

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All photos and copyright to the owner of the blog.

 

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- From Flora

"Down Under" the Sea

 

Hope you enjoy the little joke.

 

I began my summer trip with family and friends. Where better to start than somewhere a little more familiar.

 

Sydney.

 

It is a place with a reputation. Maybe because of the many infamous surfers and beaches it has presented. Yet, there is still something extremely mysterious about it, as it is relatively far from everywhere else in the world. In today's world, that may not be the worst thing.

I have visited Sydney many times. Growing up, Australia has always been our escape from home during the summer. The opposite season allow us to enjoy a different kind of summer. 

This time visiting, we made it our mission to check out the Sydney Fish Market early in the morning. Here we are able to enjoy the freshest catch of the day. 

Here are some of the photos from the day. 

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It was a day well spend with family.

 

All photos and copyright to the owner of the blog.

 

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- From Flora

'Old' Amsterdam Photo Diary and Favorites

'Old' Amsterdam Photo Diary and Favorites

 

Fun fact : New York used to be called 'New Amsterdam' as the Dutch were the first to occupy it in the 17th century. A lot of words such as Brooklyn (from Breukelen) and Harlem (from Haarlem) originate from the Dutch language.

 

These are some of my favourites from my trip to Amsterdam. It was my second time in this city, first for my friends. Despite having been to Amsterdam before, I was still in awe witnessing lovers and friends holding conversations while biking. 

My friends and I had an amazing time exploring the city, making new friends and discovering new places. Here are some of my personal recommendations and some photos from the trip. Enjoy!

Here are some of my personal recommendations for all of you if you visit Amsterdam in the future! 

Where to...

 

Eat

Winkel 43 - a cute café that serves incredible Apple Pie. One of the best in Amsterdam!

Le Caféier - If you are looking for a light meal or coffee, this is the place to go! They have amazing coffee, sweet snacks and sandwiches! I went almost everyday during this trip because my Airbnb was so close.

Pesca - If you are looking for a fun fish market experience, this is the place to be! They allow costumers to choose the seafood they want and how they want it made. However, this place can get a little packed, so remember to call and make sure they aren't fully booked. 

 

Shop 

Rumors Vintage & Design - If you follow me on Instagram, you should know that I am a really big fan of vintage clothing. Rumor Vintage was recommended to me by one of my friends I met during the trip, Naomi. They have some amazing pieces and I bought a really great pair of white vintage pants during my visit.

Sukha Amsterdam - This is another great store that I really liked. Besides clothing, there is furniture and home supplies for those of you interested. One thing that I really like about their designs and clothing are that they are very eco-friendly and are made from sustainable fabrics. 

 

See

Van Gogh Museum - When in Amsterdam, you have to check out some of Van Gogh's most renowned works, some of my personal favourites being Sunflowers and Bedroom in Arles

I Amsterdam Logo - Located very close to the Van Gogh Museum. Great place to go take one of those tourist photos - I took one the first time and this time I came as well!

Anna Frank Huis -  If you’ve read The Diary of a Young Girl, then you will know who Anna Frank is. If you haven't, Anna Frank was a young Jewish girl that lived during WWII. The house is a must see, and provides insight into what life was like during some of the most pivotal events in history. 

 

Do

Bike Bike and Bike - Nothing better than to bike in Amsterdam! It is one of the most bike friendly places I have ever been to. On a sunny day, there is no better way to travel around the city.

 

 

One last thing ...

As mentioned, a lot of recommendations were made by my new friend, Naomi who I met on my first day in Amsterdam. She liked my outfit and I thought she was very interesting. We went for dinner and ice-cream afterwards.

 

Turns out we are both Aquarius’s - definitely makes sense!

 

My story of how I met Naomi will always remind me of the possibilities in finding similar souls when you least expect it. The most spontaneous encounters in life lead to the best of friends everywhere you go. We should always be open to these spontaneous opportunities life throws at us.

Naomi is also a blogger and an amazing photographer! Please go check her out @littlekeystohappiness on Instagram and her website littlekeystohappiness.com

 

All photos and copyright to the owner of the blog.

 

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- From Flora 

Train thoughts are the best thoughts.

On being a traveler - Train thoughts are the best thoughts

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There is no other way of traveling quite like a train ride.

In our fast paced modern society, people seem to want to get to places quicker, faster, instantly. People believe that it is a natural course of the future. The destination seems to be of the greatest importance. 

 

But. 

 

What happened to the importance of the journey? Are they an irrelevant part of this entire experience?

 

I believe not.

 

Trains are among many delights from the past that we are still able to enjoy today. They are not unfamiliar to me, traveling from city to city.

 

It has always been my favourite mode of transport. The forever changing scenery in the passing window reminds us of the unpredictability of the world we live in. Nothing is long-lasting or permanent.  Every passenger on board has committed to this train journey and is trapped in this moving space. It allows us to have minimum contact with what happens outside this space and forces us to focus our energy and thoughts within this space. 

 

I always have the best thoughts here.

 

I have committed approximately three hours in this space for my travel from Paris to Amsterdam. The train trip was, as always, wonderful. I believe it has something to do with how well fed I was on this three hour ride - free meals and drinks on the hour. I am always accompanied by a good book during my travels. This time I have Madame Bovary written by Gustave Flaubert with me. I sit on a seat corner at the end of train, next to the window. Any seat by a window is always a good seat. I take notes and paint during this three hour trip. I took down notes I wanted to write about - this article being among the few. 

My final thoughts about train rides are that they are a luxury. I encourage you to take time out to truly enjoy these rides. And I suggest you do so while you still can. Witnessing the fast progression of modern society, we should question whether trains will be around in ten, twenty years time.

All photos and copyright to the owner of the blog.

 

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- From Flora 

La Perfect Parisian Bag - Isaac Reina

PART III : La Perfect Parisian Bag - Isaac Reina

I have a hobby when I travel. I have made it a mission to try and only shop local goods, in order to support the local economy. I have always valued the importance of locally designed and produced goods. I like knowing that the money I spend is helping to create and sustain the great cities and designs I see before me. More importantly, that they are able to prosper and continue the work they have done now and in the future. 

 

" Innovative designs and ideas do not have a nationality. Instead, a shared privilege. "

 -  From yours truly.

 

It was not the first time I have heard of the brand name Isaac Reina. I have been told by Parisians and foreigners that if you want to find something that is of authentic Paris designs, that it was the place to be. It was among the top things I wanted to visit when in Paris.

Right across from Musée National Picasso, that was where the store sat comfortably.  It was the only store as of now. I was drawn to the store's interior design - it's clean layout and colour coordinated floor plan. Everything was of perfect balance. 

Although I was not able to meet the designer himself, I had the pleasure of speaking with a member of his team, Simon. He introduced the brand to me a bit more and how all the products were designed, created and produced here in Paris. From the leather work to the actual leather itself from France.

We shared the same opinion of the misfortune of people's lack of appreciation for handmade products these days. There is something special about each of them as they are all unique pieces. Much like us. 

I left with a few pieces of items and they will definitely be pieces that will appear more in my blog soon!

All photos and copyright to the owner of the blog.

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- From Flora 

Have a cigarette with me

PART II : Have a cigarette with me

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Photo from L'Amour l'après-midi (1972)

Stumbled upon a Parisian Cafe, the lovely Cafe Le Burnci, and couldn't help but stop here for a rest. I am not a smoker, but something in the Parisian air convinced me to have a cigarette. People-watching seems to be a Parisian past time. Cafe sitters observe those passing through, and I immerse myself in this culture, a culture so far and so foreign to New York.

Classically known for their croissants and perfume, smoking is another signature Parisian act. Smoking seems to be second nature. The Parisian air we breath is half-filled with the air of cigarettes. With a cigarette in one hand and a glass of red in the other, it got me thinking, 

 

“ what is it about smoking that Parisians love so much? ” 

 

As an attempt to get in the headspace of a Parisian, I continued smoking my cigarette. Maybe it was the smoke filling my head, combined with the pleasantly dizzying feeling that good wine gives you, I felt that I had reached a conclusion to this question. 

What is it about the symbolic notion of the cigarette, and the calm which nicotine provides? Can smoking be akin to acts of art, an art form that manifested in the city of love? A self-expression, perhaps of  rebellion, of innovation; silent protests towards the world?

Cigarettes are obviously bad for your health and the addiction is a difficult one to kick, but so are most things in life. Smoking is among one of our many tempting vices.

 

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- From Flora 

Living as a Parisian for a few days

PART I : Bonjour from Paris

 

Walking through the Parisian lights. Captivated by the charming old building. Revisiting classic novels written by Gustave Flaubert. All while listening to the album of “Midnight in Paris” on repeat was the way I decided to spend my time in Paris. 

 

Paris; It is one of the most difficult places for me to write as it is hard to describe and put into words the immense beauty and life that is Paris. As any artist, writer or painter from 1920s would tell you, Paris is the place to be. 

I have decided to travel here, alone and unarmed, as I have always believed in the healing power of Solitude. New York is always filled with people. Tourists and locals alike. There, I had responsibilities and routines that I followed. But here, I was no one. And somehow, that gave me comfort. 

Paris has always and will have a place in my heart, thanks to a special date I have had here long ago. I remember it was raining and we watched as it did on a carriage ride. It was a ride to remember.

I have adored history from a young age and especially french history. From Queens such as Marie Antoinette to eras as la Belle Époque. Something about the language, the way people live their lives that has a certain je ne sais quoi about it. Today, Paris has given birth to icons such as Inès de La Fressange to Jeanna Damas that brings a new side of Parisian glamour and style to the world. 

I hope you enjoy the little bits and pieces from my journey as it has brought me.

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All photos and copyright to the owner of the blog.

 

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- From Flora 

Before I Go..

Before I go, I did a mini photo shoot with aspirating photographer, Alex Gonzalez! You can see more of his work on Instagram with the name @igetignored and on igetignored.com. We had a fun chat about the photography world and got a little more insight into live in California. 

Jumpsuit: NOMIA, @nomianyc

Heels: Maryam Nassirzadeh, @maryam_nassir_zadeh

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- From Flora 

A Little Bit of Los Angeles

These are some of my favorite photos I have taken when traveling and wandering around Los angeles listening to the soundtrack of La La Land. I wasn’t in Los Angeles for a long period of time but I fell in love with the whimsical colors and organic designs that the city has. I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I do

Jumpsuit: NOMIA, @nomianyc

 

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- From Flora 

Hello from Los Angeles

For whose who recently watched the infamous movie ‘ La La Land ’, Los Angeles has once again reminded the world of it’s undying Hollywood charm and the true scarifies of ambitions and dreams.

I was lucky enough to be visiting this great city once again, and my expectations of it is higher than ever. I was here to attend Style Fashion Week that hosted some of the best designers around the world. I was specially invited to do an interview with singer pop star Meredith O’Conner, who was accompanied by fellow songstress-singer Heather LaRose. 

Meredith O’Connor is talented singer-songwriter, actress and model that was raised in Long Island, New York. Her first debut was back in youtube. She has been touring around the world the past year, reaching places such as New Zealand. O’Connor is also a very vocal anti-bullying activist. She was inspired by her own experience from the past. She recently spoke in United Nations for the Kechie’s project, that speaks of the importance of educating women. 

Heather LaRose was a New York based singer songwriter that recently moved to Los Angeles who is also a gifted artist in her own right. 

The two singers will be opening the show tonight and I was fortunate enough to interview the two singers on the red carpet before they performed.


Hello, my name is Flora. I want to first congratulate both of you on opening on the show. 

Meredith: Yeah, thank you. The second we heard about the designer, Antonella Commatteo (@commatteo), is doing the show we got really excited as she is super talented. So I cannot wait for you guys to see it, it is going to be amazing.

Were you friends before the show? 

Meredith: Yes!

Heather: Oh freaking yeah!

Have you guys been able to see any of the clothing so far yet?

Meredith: Oh well we are wearing some of her pieces right now!

Tell me a little more about you clothes then!

Heather: So I am wearing this gorgeous see through-ish red jumpsuit and it is super comfortable, fits like a glove! and it is the most perfect shade of red for the red carpet. 

Meredith: And my outfit makes me feel super powerful and it is all about embracing women and I love it! I am so excited for you guys to see the entire collection!

As we all are! So since Spring is around the corner as I am very excited about it myself, are there any spring fashion styles that you have seen that has captured your eye?

Heather: Well, we just came from Fall Fashion Week but A few things that we have saw are furs and florals. Definitely in New York there were a lot of royal blues! 

Meredith: I remember exactly what you are talking about, I think that that is something that will be big next season! I also love the shoulder trend that has been happening as well.I am going to speaking at the United Nation tomorrow and I will be wearing the designer as well. I am so excited to bring her spring collections there!

I consider myself a New Yorker, and it is my second time in LA, what do you recommend someone visiting in LA to do or shop or eat?

Meredith: I think Veggie Grill! You have to go to Veggie Grill!

Heather: And if you want to do something a little more fancy, there are a lot of cute restaurants at Sunset! i recreantly had a cate there with a rocket scientist, no biggie! 

Meredith: I love veggie, vegan food and I think one of the most amazing things to do when you are out in LA is hike! We have amazing hike trails around and views! You can see the whole city from the peak!

I understand that you are currently on tour for your Anti-Bullying World Tour for the last two months. Tell me a little more about that!

Meredith: I really have to thank my fans, we are able to see out the theater in London also in New York in Madison Square Garden and here in the Ellen theater as well, and my fans are so loyal and they are truly making my dreams come true!

Also, you will be speaking in the United Nations tomorrow, has it always been a dream of yours?

Meredith: Yes it has! I have been working with UN women for the past year and the fact that this is what is happening tomorrow is surreal! I will be flying right out tonight and it will be a lot of fun!

I know that we are a big advocate for Anti-Bullying and it has been a strong influence in your career. Could you share a bit more with us?

Meredith: I think every since my first song became internet famous, I really want to let people to know that if you are lucky enough to be different and to never change! One of my favorite thing about Heather is that she is so weird! But thats the thing that makes her different and I have been told that I was weird and that it is a bad thing, but I believe that it is important to know that the thing that the things that make you unique is what makes you beautiful! 

That is so lovely, thank you for sharing that with us all! For both of you, can we expect any new songs soon?

Heather: Actually, yes we do!

Meredith: We have a new song coming out together soon! 

Congratulations! we are all looking forward to hearing it and good luck on your show tonight!

A special thanks to @Devintimothynelson for taking all the beautiful photos from that night!   Please check him out Instagram! 

 

Gown & Earrings: Alice + Olivia , @aliceandolivia

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- From Flora