Get Outside: Being in nature can help you feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
We all know that getting outside, taking in some fresh air and enjoying the sunshine is a great way to boost happiness. In fact, according to a study published in Psychological Science, interacting with nature gives your brain a break from overstimulation. As a result, your attention levels can actually improve. And, another study conducted by researchers from the University of Essex found that taking a walk in nature reduced depression scores in 71 percent of participants (compared to only 45 percent of participants who had reduced depression scores after taking a walk in a shopping center). With all of this in mind, it seems like a perfectly reasonable idea to get outside, and enjoy the city’s parks and green spaces.
Thankfully, New Orleans is home to Parkway Partners — a non-profit organization whose mission is to “empower residents to improve their communities through the preservation, maintenance and beautification of neutral grounds, urban gardens, green spaces, playgrounds, parks and the urban forest in New Orleans.” The organization began in 1982 in response to budget cuts to the New Orleans Department of Parks and Parkways. Today, it supports extensive programming throughout Orleans Parish, including more than 45 community gardens and urban farms; 11 public schoolyard gardens; the development and restoration of multiple parks, including Cancer Survivor’s Plaza, Lee Circle, Jackson Square, Washington Square and Palmer Park; and more than 11,500 trees planted since Hurricane Katrina.
The organization also hosts a free lecture and corresponding plant sale (that reflects the day’s topic and the current planting season) on the second Saturday of every month. On Aug. 8, join Parkway Partners for Cut Flowers in Your Garden: Growing and Designing a Cutting Garden. Speakers include Denise Richter and Megan McHugh of Pistil & Stamen Flower Farm and Studio. Gates are open from 9 a.m. to noon, and the speakers will present at 10 a.m. 1137 Baronne St., (504) 620-2224, parkwaypartnersnola.org
AHA! Moment: Experience health from the inside out at Affordable Healing Arts.
For everything mind and body related, look no further than Affordable Healing Arts. Located inside the New Orleans Healing Center, AHA! aims to “maintain and nurture a beautiful, safe, comfortable, affordable, supportive environment in which to offer a wide variety of healing arts to people of all walks of life.” Here, you’ll find everything from art therapy, hypnotherapy and massage therapy to functional medicine, mental health therapy and Zen Shiatsu. Each of the practitioners are independent small-business owners, and each sets his or her own rate for services. However, they are able to offer reduced prices because they benefit from reduced rental rates for their space at AHA!. 2372 St. Claude Ave., Ste. 220, (985) 467-0900, affordablehealingarts.com
Maria’s Pick – Perfect Pasta: Sundays are for family meals!
Growing up in a large Italian family, New Orleans Living publisher Maria Muro grew up in a household where food — and especially pasta — was always front and center. To this day, she still remembers family gatherings around a large kitchen table, everyone talking boisterously over each other, laughing and digging into big plates of pasta. Now in her adult life, she still finds the time to cook at home, and pasta is one of her favorite things to make.
In his new Sunday Pasta cookbook ($35, Garrubbo Communications, LLC), Edwin Garrubbo dishes up some delicious recipes that — should they show up on your kitchen table — will make your family very happy indeed. Garrubbo, who has close ties to New Orleans (he lived here in the 1990s, and his wife, Patricia Bazan Garrubbo’s family owns The Little Gem Saloon, and, before that, RioMar and La Boca), divided the book into recipes for each season. Muro’s favorite summer recipe from the cookbook is Spaghetti Con Le Vongole (spaghetti with clams). Pair it with a nice Pinot Grigio, and dine al fresco! Available at Octavia Books, 513 Octavia St., (504) 899-7323, octaviabooks.com