The River Rock Lounge

The River Rock Lounge

In feng shui, river rocks are a wonderful and easy way to incorporate more earth into an environment.  The grounded energy provided by these smooth stones helps to bring peace, prosperity and abundance into an area.  Their close connection to water, which is associated with wealth, can bring about many positive changes when applied correctly.   They are an ideal example of what can happen when water meets land; two elements collaborating to creating something beautiful, natural and auspicious.  There is a swanky tavern in Sherman Oaks that has prime examples of elements in harmony known as The River Rock Lounge.

Located inside the historic Sportsmen’s Lodge along Ventura Boulevard, my friend Victoria and I decided to check out their Happy Hour.  From 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm, seven days a week, they offer $5.00 food options, as well as select beverages from $6.00 – $8.00.

RR Libations

In addition to select beer and wine options, The River Rock Lounge offers two cocktails on Happy Hour:  The Casting Couch and The Talent Scout (pictured on left.)  The Talent Scout is a seductive cucumber libation with pisco, lime juice, and a hint of basil.  I had two of these.  Delicious and refreshing.  As for wine, I opted to try their Liberty School Chardonnay (pictured on right).  I’ve been a fan of Liberty School’s Cabernet for years, so it was a safe bet I’d like their chardonnay – and I did!  Citrus and green apple are the dominant tastes in this luscious white wine.   Crisp and stimulating.

RR Artichoke Dip

Artichoke Dip – A tantalizing blend of cheeses, spinach and artichoke combined, with sun-dried tomatoes reposed on top.  The Happy Hour version comes with four sliced of pita, and a small phyllo cup filled with the dip.  (I only wish the portion was larger)  Luxurious and rich.

Mini Corn Dogs

Mini Corn Dogs – Corn dogs served gourmet style, and garnished with a piquant whole-grain mustard, onions and pickled veggies.  Four come to an order, and they’re piping hot.  Absolutely excellent.

RR Hot Wings

Hot Wings – My favorite food item here, hands down.  A myriad of spices and a tangy mango BBQ sauce cover these savory morsels of chicken.  Five come to an order, and a mild bleu cheese sauce is spread below.  It was so good, we ordered two of these.  Scrumptious and sophisticated.

The environment at River Rock is reminiscent of a vintage chalet of the Rock Hudson era, but with modern flair.  Faux Deer HeadUnlike most lodges, you won’t find any dead animals on the walls here.  Instead, they’ve opted for beautiful animal sculptures.  Most of them were elk heads (pictured), but there were also some sculpted fish over the fireplace, and a large plastered bison head over the bar.  These are inherently far more auspicious to have in an environment rather than their once living counterparts; they offer that lodge feel without the taxidermy.  Animal carcasses around the room = really bad energy.

Comfy leather seating in cream hues dominate the room, along with a few cafe tables and stools.  A more formal dining area is separated by a small wall of river rocks.

Wall Trees and Antler Chandelier

Cafe tables and stools gather in one area available for dancing.  I was most intrigued with the stylish tree wallpaper, which seemed to almost mimic the faux antlers in the chandelier.  Yet again providing that chalet-lodge feel, but without the negative connotations.

River Rock Carpet

Ornate carpet in an almost Klimt version of river rocks adorns many of the interior hallways.

RR Roses   I found the grounds of the lodge to be elegant calming.  A pond is spread throughout a large portion of the property, with small creeks and fountains creating an ethereal feel to the environment.  Rose bushes line many of the manmade creeks.

I was also particularly taken with these beautiful led trees (pictured below).  During the daytime hours when turned off, they make for intriguing arboreal statues.  But at night, when aglow, they make for an enchanting light source.  Scattered throughout the grounds, these are classy light fixtures with a distinct wood element influence.

Led Tree 03

There are many ways to incorporate river rocks into an environment.  One way I suggest to clients is to place them in the bathroom.  Find a flat bowl, or a plate with some kind of protective lip, and place river rocks inside it.  Place the vessel with the rocks on the toilet.  Ideally, this should be directly on the lid of the toilet tank, or on a shelf above.  Wash the rocks once a month with water and soap.  Having more earth in a bathroom environment will aid in keeping wealth and abundance from being flushed down the toilet, “grounding” ones finances and prosperity.

Bathroom Stones

One current decorating trend (which many interior designers have embraced)  is putting stones at the bottom of the bathroom sink.  This is another highly beneficial way to add the earth element to a bathroom or restroom.  However, some people may not like the idea of having to clean these sink stones on a regular basis.  If choosing to have rocks in the sink,  I suggest choosing a few wide, flat stones.  A good example of sink stones is the communal basin outside the restrooms of Take a Bao in Studio City.

Stone Hot Pad

This is a great hot pad, made from smooth stones glued to felt.

River Rock Door Mat

Here we have a wonderful door mat made from river rocks glued to thick shelf paper.  I would probably use something a little more substantial than shelf paper for the base, however.  Maybe something plastic, or a carpet remnant.  There are many places to get river rocks, such as Dollar Tree, Michael’s, or Hobby Lobby, as well as countless online options.  Or, one could go exploring along a beach or riverbank and select your own that way.  (Mine happen to be a mixture of found and purchased stones.)

In addition to the delicious food and grounded ambiance, the service at the River Rock Lounge is excellent.  The staff are dressed in vintage, cabaret-esque attire.  Our server, Kellie, was attentive and delightful.  Her suggestions were spot-on and we wanted for nothing.  I can’t wait to come back here for their Sunday Brunch, which features $12.00 bottomless mimosas.  Or I may come back for Sunday night dinner.  In addition to live entertainment, Sunday is local’s night, and the corkage fee is waived.  Until then, I’m going to add some more river rocks to my environment.  I better get started on that door mat…

Sportsmans Lodge

River Rock Lounge, Sportsmen’s Lodge

12833 Ventura Boulevard, Sherman Oaks CA

818 432-7500

Hours:  Lunch:  Thursday – Friday 11:30 am – 3:00 pm, Brunch:  Saturday – Sunday 10:00 am – 3:00 pm, Dinner:  Monday – Thursday 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Friday – Saturday 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm, Sunday 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm,  Happy Hour:  Tuesday – Sunday 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm, Late Night Happy Hour:  Monday – Thursday 10:00 pm – Midnight (beverage only), Friday – Saturday 10:00 pm – Midnight (food and beverage)

http://www.riverloungela.com/home.html

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Cinnamon as an Aphrodisiac

Mentioned several times in the Bible, and in ancient Chinese writings, the fragrant spice known as cinnamon has been enchanting civilizations across the world.  Originally from Sri Lanka, cinnamon is derived from the inner bark of the cinnamon tree (part of the Evergreen family).  Cinnamon sticks, as we know them today, are pieces of the dried bark which naturally curls under heat.  These are then kept as sticks, or ground down into the powdery substance that most people use today.

The history of this well-traveled spice is quite colorful.  Those in ancient Egypt and Rome would use cinnamon for its sublime taste in various cuisines, and as incense.   It was also used for the embalming process during mummification, and taken medicinally.  The Romans would burn cinnamon as part of a funeral pyre, or in honor of the recently deceased.   During the Middle Ages, only the very elite could afford the spice, as most seasonings of that time where exorbitantly expensive.  Cinnamon was also valued for its preservative qualities when applied to meat, due to phenols which inhibit bacteria growth responsible for spoilage.  The fragrant aroma of cinnamon also helped to mask the stench of aged meat.

Cinnamon has many health benefits.  In addition to being a viable source of fiber, calcium, magnesium and iron, this natural substance can also lower cholesterol, aid in weight loss, and regulate blood sugar.  According to the U.S.  Department of Agriculture, use of cinnamon has been shown to suppress the growth of lymphoma and leukemia cancer cells.

From a feng shui perspective, cinnamon is very yin in essence, as are most spices.  Because it is more sweet than savory, its nature is even more yin than other seasonings.  As for the  elemental connection, it has  strong wood element, as it’s quite literally tree bark.  Its comforting brown hue is an example of the earth element.  I also feel that cinnamon has a bit of fire attached to it as well, as it conjures a natural warmth on the tastes buds.

Cinnamon has also been used throughout time as an aphrodisiac.  For both men and women, the use of cinnamon as part of one’s regular diet has been shown to naturally increase sex drive, due to its ability to  enhance blood circulation, gently heating up the body from the inside.  According to a study performed by the The Smell & Taste Research Foundation, located in Chicago, of the over two hundred scents tested on men, Cinnamon was the victor in causing and sustaining male arousal.   In feng shui terms, this makes complete sense.  Passion, romance, and sex are all controlled by the fire element.  The wood element feeds fire.  Cinnamon is wood, and therefore the use of this wooden spice assists in feeding the flames of passion.

There are many ways to add cinnamon to one’s way of living.  Below are the ones I personally use:

  • Sprinkle some on Hot Cocoa.
  • Sprinkle some on Vanilla Yogurt or Apple Sauce.
  • Add it to your Coffee!  Not only do I sprinkle it on top, but I mix a tablespoon of cinnamon in with the coffee grounds, when making a full pot.  It tastes sensational.
  • Cinnamon Toast.   I spread coconut oil over my toast, sprinkle cinnamon, and spread it all around.  Delicious and satisfying.
  • Aromatherapy.  Light cinnamon scented candles to heighten the romantic mood.  These are available from a variety of distributors, but the best time to buy this scent of candle is after the winter holidays; they’ll usually be on sale.
  • Mulled Wine and Sangria.   Whole cinnamon sticks are a great enhancement during autumn and winter.  Allow the stick to just lounge about the glass within the beverage; this adds a festive enticement to both beverages.  (This can work for other drinks as well)
  • Add to anything Pumpkin or Sweet Potato related.

And some other things I haven’t tried, but am going to:

  • Sprinkle some on Oatmeal.
  • Enchilada Sauce.  Add a teaspoon or two to canned (or fresh) enchilada sauce while it’s on the stove.  It adds a little mole flare to it.
  • Honey Tea.   One part cinnamon to two parts honey, combined in hot water, makes a delicious, healthy tea.  A tea bag could also be added  for further flavor.
  • Essential Oil.  Cinnamon scented oil is another way to influence a room’s chi and scent.
  • Cinnamon Buns.  Cinnamon buns are one of the best breakfast foods after a night of romantic bliss.  Those Cinnabon people are quite clever.
  • Sprinkle on top of Roasts, be it ham, pork, or lamb.
  • Lotion.  Various lotions and massage oils on the market today are cinnamon scented.  I need to purchase some.

Another way of using Cinnamon goes all the way back to biblical times – literally.   Proverb 7:17 is about a seductress luring a man to bed.  It indicates that the woman in question used cinnamon, myrrh, and aloe to “perfume” her chamber.   Aloe has a sweet, woody aroma, whereas myrrh has a very distinct, nutty scent.  Combining these two with enticing cinnamon, and you have an ideal olfactory recipe for creating a deeply sensual environment.  Try adding some more cinnamon to your world, and you may notice a very definite increase in passion…